Saturday, April 2, 2016

Neil Ellman- Three Poems

Canto I: The Dark Wood of Error

(Robert Rauschenberg, illustrated drawing)

No clues
no foreshadowing
no signs
no triggers to warn
of impending disaster
no oracles to prophesy
the invisible truth
of what comes next
in a world less predictable   
than the licks of a flame.

How could we have counted
the stars before they were born;
heard the voice of God
before He spoke;
or seen the Second Coming
before the first?

When hindsight is neither
foresight nor fated
how shall we proceed
without faith
that the sun will rise
again in the east?

Canto II:  Descent

(Robert Rauschenberg, illustrated drawing)

As I descend into darkness
how shall my descendants
remember me
for what I was—
a reprobate
and acrobat without a net
without the means to land
on a grateful earth;
or what I said I was
imperious, resolute,
committed enough
to  my beliefs
and eccentricities
to believe in my truth
as I said it was.

Let them remember me
according to their own conceits
the ways they wish
they were
with the life they should
have had
as I descend
into the pits of hell
in place of them.

Canto III:  The Vestibule of Hell

(Robert Rauschenberg, illustrated drawing)

So much certainty in the wait
so much waiting, so much time
to consider the past
I wait
for him to come
in whatever shape he chooses
to become
I wait
for a boat with the fallen sails
of an angel
to take me to other side
from whatever place I came
to whatever place will be
in the bowels of the earth
I wait In the entryway
for my final death
consumed by flames

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