Saturday, September 14, 2013

Longing for Prophets. Shirley Kaufman poem. Story of my life.

I figure since today is a holy day for distant ancestors running from the Cossacks back there in Georgia near Azerbaijan-- not that anyone on my father's side was religious or observant of much of anything but the world's inconsistencies (which need observation and witness, so I'm not complaining)-- I'll post a poem about longing for holiness, answers, a freaking needed explanation for the suffering.  On my mother's side, in Sweden, they're looking at the dark skies and cursing fate, then laughing. Someone's wondering what's funny.

Longing for Prophets

Not for their ice-pick eyes,
their weeping willow hair,
and their clenched fists beating at heaven.
Not for their warnings, predictions
of doom. But what they promised.
I don't care if their beards
are mildewed, and the ladders
are broken. Let them go on
picking the wormy fruit. Let the one
with the yoke around his neck
climb out of the cistern.
Let them come down from the heights
in their radiant despair
like the Sankei Juko dancers descending
on ropes, down from the hills
to the earth of their first existence.
Let them follow the track
we've cut on the sides of the mountains
into the desert, and stumble again
through the great rift, littered
with bones and the walls of cities.
Let them sift through the ashes
with their burned hands.  Let them
tell us what will come after.

Shirley Kaufman, from Field (journal) and Rivers of Salt (collection)
Drunken Boat interview with Shirley Kaufman
**& as you know the photo's a still from Bunuel's Simon of the Desert

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