Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sy Roth- A Poem

A Picture in the Garden Book of Zion

Midway life’s journey I was made aware
That I had strayed into a dark forest,
And the right path appeared not anywhere.
Ah, tongue cannot describe how it oppressed,
This wood, so harsh dismal and wild, that fear
At thought of it strikes now into my breast.

Dante—Canto I—Inferno

Part I--When Real

discarded clothing warms the torpid ground
gelatinous figures stretched thin along the margins
hunger for their share.

frightened youth,
cap pulled tight to his eyebrows
shuts out reality
but can just see the whispering woman
mouthing words through her twitching lips.

stripped to camisole,
her being waits among the clutter they will leave
she, stooped vermin,
restive among the heaps of other vermin
their harbinger eyes ablaze in their just spring--
hands outstretched to hold back the sky,
that trembles.

dark visages for an inky Charon voyage
greet a netherworld wrapped in their silence.
others wait behind in sweaty clumps,
millenniums of them
twitching to the nearby, staccato pings
final authoring of a hopeful resurrection.

wrap themselves in prayer shawls
camel-ride into their sunset
arbeit set to the rhythm of the next burst of a
mysterious chorus on a Glenn Miller afternoon,
she, fearful that her touch would sear the child.

Part II When Shadows Fall

sweat of lambs
bowing bleat of their mournful tunes
a Shema-marching horde
fades in the morass of sputtering prayers,
pitter-patter of a million small feet
goose-stepping to a raucous kettle drum
Wagnerian caterwauling adrift in the air,
gasps at the reality of their dawning---
interrogative hands stretch against the darkling sky
whispered curses whipped by an unruly wind,
pigeon-holed to their silent god.

Part III When Fiction

the galleries at the forest’s edge are filled with them
Silent watchers
a Chthonic monster chorus.

booty beckons
cursing the existence of the others
and their uplifted arms
and their frozen white bodies.

they titter in anticipation--
blast them all to hell for making them spelunkers-
beating their rat-a-tat drum solo.

deed done,
noisy crescendo melts them into the ground
shatters the silence of death
rapine, they pillage through the piles
hands drawn like hands in death rictus
scratching at the ground and the warm clothing.
smash their ears silent
against their own puffing wind.

Part IV Extinction

a sirocco of silence descends--
skritching cockroaches abide
in the refuse heaped
where booty a sea of velvet
litters the verdant fields.

the Valkyries,
restless ants,
cigarette smoke curling,
they waiting for the next picture
to be taken
seventh ring sealed.

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