The birdless lake, the world of ice, the barren heath,
The cold dark cave, the empty dark, the earthy tomb,
The water tomb, these many images of death,
Flight of the soul, departure to a farther room.
At certain times I think of Enkidu
Who twists upon his fever bed, and cries,
"A dreadful bird out from the darkness flies,
Envelops me and carries me from you."
"A deadly fate attended me that day
When, proud, serene and strong in my manhood,
I placed my hand upon forbidden wood,
And all unknowing threw my life away."
The vengeful goddess on the city walls,
Shakes her dark hair, and laughing at him, calls,
"Heaven forbid that I should lightly mar
The sky-ward course of some too-furious star."
I think of Enkidu, but then am caught
By resonance of some much different thought:
This thought is often with me, that one could dissolve
Whole into that which lies about one, or relapse
Into that speechless stone from which a hard resolve
Had carved one out with over-painful chisel taps.
January 19, 1978