Saturday, April 08, 2006

La Chute II

La Chute II

If you would go down to the dead
to retrieve my drum and lute
a word for you, take my word
I offer you directions

Do not wear a clean garment
they below will dirty you
they will mark you
as if you were a stranger

Nor rub yourself with oil
the finest oil from the cruse.
The smell of it will provoke them
they will walk round and round
alongside you

Carry no stick. At least
do not raise it,
or the shades of men will tremble,
will hover before you

Pick up nothing to throw, no matter the urging.
They against whom you hurl it will crowd you,
will fly thick on you.

Go barefoot. Make no sound.
And when you meet the wife you loved
do not kiss her
nor strike the wife you hated.
Likewise your sons. Give the beloved one no kiss,
do not spit on his brother

Behave, lest the outcry shall seize you
seize you for what you have done
for her who, there, lies naked
the mother
whose body in that place is uncovered
whose breasts lie open to you and the judges

in that place
where my drum and lute are

No comments: