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Below is my Canto

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CANTO I

 

Early on our life’s journey, but for me

What seems near the end, I stumbled.  Among tangled trails

The descriptions of which chills me frozen, adrift in briny sea

 

And thrashing in dark with eyes closed

Against the crack of a rocky, hostile shore.  I felt like

Dante, gone beyond now, in his peace, trialed

 

Tested, then fulfilled.  Me, thick in tangle but with

A hope’s light for a trail walked before, all the way

Down and up, so a smile, beneath tears, masking a weather

 

Of fear: I kept a sharp eye in search of my guide

Though heaviness slumbered on my brow.  I shook dew

From plastered hair.  Over a branch I pressed my legs for the other side

 

Where the shock seemed thinner but bushes, like nets, with grips

Of grabbing bramble; while beyond, through and above

Grey and rolling clouds, with green shades, a break of gaps

 

Of warm light that made dry the wet of me, shone.  The Fear

That at night soaked me through, burned now, away, rising

Off me like my shade departing; called there, to the sphere

 

By mighty Powers.  Behind and below me now, the raw

Menace shrank, cowering and curling on itself to find

It’s own coiling gloom.  Over this last branch I strove

 

To now rest myself in the dapple light, for a moment

I pleasured; so then to start again, along the mountain side

Stumbling in uneasiness because of the rough slanting bent.

 

And suddenly – A Scorpion, felt through frost

Curled, balled up, glowing phosphorus, at the joint

Shoulder and head attach sinewy muscle.  Desert

 

Cold crowding its poison pressing the warm

While I crouch, frightened, at the scrape, like shrapnel

Against metal stars; dim, blinking, and flickering with

 

Distant Thunder’s rumble.  I brushed her off to

Turn back on the trail once again but black beetle bugs

Crunched and cracked, caking, under tan boots, stopping time

 

For eight months, at dawn of this last decade…  I smiled

Now at Wayfarers, the site of Young Lions, The Growth of the Soil

And the taste of chipped teeth.  But then, fear spun me blind

 

With sand in my eyes, browning the air, all-atremble.

Then a dead foot, still farther, on a living man as well, purple

With rot, the skin sloughing with most terrible

 

Acid, buckling my sinuses and clogging my head

In allergic despondencies; I lost hope of the light.   

Like someone sure of his wisdom, instead

 

Of Despairs, but now stifled by the odorous soup of rotting at

The foot of his farther, so I felt in my rushing heart

As the stench turned me back the way I had come.  So I sat

 

When I reached the blocking branch I had climbed to

Contemplate again the thorny bush, now ripe with fruit, with root twisted

To trip the traveler.  Then before me my hoped for guide stood!

 

I cried in confusion: “Living now or dreadfully dead

From crowning heavens height or bitter hells depths, help me, a lost traveler

On my trail of tears, with no matter to the good or bad or instead

 

Of your intent.”  He replies: “ I was once born 

A man, lived a life but one day, woke a bug, then died.

I lived and suffered my safest days under my bed but

 

Before that, I too once sought the castle like graters gone before.  I spoke

With The Word once, from a phone in an inn, called for surveyor.

From a great distance I heard over hum of lines as from a far space

 

The tinkling musical mountains’ chimes of many children's’ laugh.

But you, why so glum at this struggle between

Light and dark?  You, walking in despair on my old paths…”

 

“Then are you Joseph K.?  The voice of letters that sung

The hymns of determined effort against amused indifference?”  I

Knew already the answer, so said: “I struggle, wrung

 

With the questions you made dance and cry and laugh.  I too

Cower under tables and cover, avoiding the milk and

Chocolate kicks of those who would sneer at uncertainty.  You

 

Are the despondent teacher, my hoped for guide, who shows the enigmatic

Path.  Who strives always for that unachievable

Wonder!  Make this spinning chaos a precious metric

 

Logic and lead me to what, post bug, now in the after, you’ve discovered.”

Said K. “For you to find your way from this feral place

Follow me…” He offered this gently, seeing my discomfort.

 

“The top you seek is the bottom of something

Much bigger while the swirl you fear is the Gnostismic

Ordering of something larger and more sinister

 

Still.  Look up, the shades, light as air, spinning in the light

Of heavenly bliss, so many there, with Dante and Beatrice at his

Side, his delicate jewel of heaven, a castle in sky’s height.

 

Like a bubble!  A painful opening indeed to be popped, to drown

In soapy film that splits the light and spangles, glorious

Brilliant color, that shifts though, tricking eyes with sound

 

And Floating beauty.  As luminous joy imprisons and binds

Above, with bars of light that blind, so night, at under, leave senses

Void and unfulfilled to wander.  But now look below, those tangled

 

Woods: I crawled and cried amongst that dark in my bug

Years and died a sticky death there as well.  My eyes

Crowded with muck and my insect throat choked with garbage sludge.

 

The roads have danger; therefore I judge it best you make choices

To follow me and I will be your guide

Away from here, down, up, and through the eternal places.

 

Our journey will take us below to the sorrow of angry

Souls night.  This pit of fear, of Hell, and war that makes men

Dream of a perfection of joyful order more sublime than sparkle airy

 

Radiance afloat in the sun: This dark, we shall first visit

Then to the plastic world and scratch ticket tuckers

These dwellers carry confidences that you and I may never get.

 

Ascending I’ll hold back, watching, giving your journey to Dante for

The taste of candy lulls me but for him only joy.

Those that dance in that jewel, I must admit, I fear.

 

Their strength lies in their dream and so makes it

Real.  If you go up feet first and by accidents pop the delicate

Orb, rest assured I’ll be waiting below to catch your spirit.

 

Up there is God’s Kingdome, His city, His seat of awe.

 Happy is the soul he welcomes into that intoxicating Realm!”

I: “Voice of enigma, please – by The God in that castle

 

In the circle in the sky – Take me where you

Will – In the yellow submarine, to below the thermal

Vents, to the first little life, in the sea of chaos, and through.

 

 

Then he set out, and I followed where he led, to survey the mysteries.

 

 

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