“You, the woman; I, the man; this, the world: And each is the work of all…
You, the sought for; I, the seeker; this, the search: And each is the mission of all.”
– Kenneth Patchen, “The Character of Love Seen as a Search for the Lost”
I watch you question and grope
The silent heavens for how to cope
With what stars fall from the sky;
I tell you to breathe, accept, hope.
You see indecipherable moments fly
That leave the white sea unicorn to die
Thrashing among the blood-frothing waves;
I tell you they are destiny.
You find that empty graves and filled graves
Terrify your nights and bathe
Your nude body in pulsing fire;
I tell you of spirits gathered in caves.
You let your heart starve, your soul tire
Fearing destiny’s crown of briar
And the universal skull;
I tell you death is more than to expire.
And I want to tell you you are beautiful
And holy, and even in this crucible
There is more mercy than wrath
And more to faith than is provable—
That our souls are pilgrims, each a half,
And that if you long for the endless path
The destination for you also longs;
That you must smile before you laugh.
And if all human voice was gathered in a song
It would sing of you and me,
Of your beauty and my beauty,
And melt into silence, to which it belongs.