May 18, 2008

Nirwan Dewanto (3)


I let them drink from the still waters of my depths
so that they will be more youthful, and more thirsty.
I block them both at the entryway
each time they make a move to leave this place
for I know that the Countenance, whose place is there so very far away
will turn them into nothing more than a standard mother and father.
They are the most beautiful creatures in this Garden:
more slippery than the tiger pierced with light
more swift than turtledoves the color of blood
more poisonous even than me.
Because I have no face of my own I follow their very movement
and spread over the entire Garden, from corner to corner
so that they will not get separated, or even defeated
by a treasure that appears from time to time
from behind the barrier: perhaps it is the Dead Sea
whose saltiness is not to be found in my source
or Karbala, where clusters of rock and earth
shine more splendidly when sprinkled with blood.
I suckle the breasts of the female so that

I will truly not compete with the male.
I swallow the sperm of the male so that
I will truly have no envy for the female.
I am even more impartial, leading both
to the tree of darkness, yea even unto the tree of light:
Choose for yourselves which fruit will be most fruitful:
when your tongue is wounded, so shall you know language
and when you are satiated, perhaps you will be destroyed.
Such was my advice, but they did not hear
anything but an indistinct hissing
so that in the end they merely drooped
at the edge of the river. Forgive me:
I will drench them with water, even if they
merely thirst, I will set them loose
so that I complete the circle.
Know this: they will awaken in the midst
of rows of mustard and wheat, then will light the fire
that will entice the Countenance to come to us.
Truly, allow me to go on without a visage
for I am only a kind of river
though my current is heard
only as the hiss of a forked tongue.
Believe me, I have nursed
those twins, cleansing them from the clay
and dregs of the creation of the earth and sky.
They are yours now — behold oh Countenance of Fire
but don’t force me to confess
as if to conceal in my depths
a single turn of the Way that leads to you.