A poem that bounces off Pablo Neruda's Nothing but Death.
There are ships that are lethargic,
Berths full of sailors that do not move a muscle.
The lungs soaring through an escarpment,
In it mist, mist, mist,
Like a caravan we travel diving into our pores,
As though we were cascading inside our lungs,
As though we skimmed from the air into the cavities of thought.
And there are sailors,
Eyes made of blazing and hot lamps,
Ocean is inside the ligaments,
Like a thunder where there are no clouds,
Coming out from buoys somewhere, from sea gull avenues,
Blossoming from the waterspout like breath of grain.
Always I feel a company
Caavans beneath leafy trees,
Sailing with the ruddy soldiers, with children whose faces are alight,
With goldsmiths who are as dusky as shadows,
And unwed sisters who feed their pensive animals,
The barques streaming along the horizontal highway of living thought,
The alley of steel red,
Cranked up the side of the building, pacing the golden scribbles of air,
Emptied by the scent of tomorrow, which is invisible.
Life descends among all that light
Like a nut with no husk around it, like a sun with no planets around it,
Arrives and smokes, singing a song with no sound in it, with no frequency in it,
Flares and scents with no smoke, with no yesterday, with no coarse earth.
Its valerian violet fragrance unfurls
And its hair sparkles in the amber dawn, like a bee.
Of this I am sure, my understanding is an empty light, what I see is the crystalness
Knowing that its vision has the roughness of hot tiles,
Of tiles that are uncertain in the spires,
Because the veneer of life is yellow,
And the intense hearing of life is yellow,
With the perambulating heat of a tile green
And the vibrant impress of a snow without thought.
But life also pierces through the vacuum like a handful of pebbles,
Rolling on the boulder, gathering saved sailors,
Life is inside the boulder,
The boulder is the hand of life being sought by the sailors,
It is the ripe avocado seeking its stars.
Life is inside the ladybugs:
It spins the strands of death into a quickened grass,
In the matted fecund scent, and imperceptibly relents:
It spins a waterspout of white scribble traces that swing the ship
And the cemetery shakes its hair
To meet the captain, standing at attention before the chair.
Yaacov David Shulman