The Pen of Memory

21 April 2019

By Philip Kuepper

Peals of bells fall,
like tears,
down the face of the air
over the little town
above the river.

The embering hour dies.
Dusk deepens.
The hearth of the sky goes out.
I blow on the coal-bright
stars in the hearth-black sky.
They flicker, catch hold
of log-like clouds.

The bells peal rapturous
over the promise of night,
the lamps lit,
the meal served, and eaten.
Sleep, after love, then, dream,
has pushed me off into the stream
of the subconscious, the boat rowed
by phantasmagorical shapes:
griffin, basilisk, chimera,
who know how to navigate
the depths I lie awake asleep in.

I mount, and ride each one
through the bramble-thick wood,
brambles that become thousands
of tiny hands that grab at me,
yet cannot grab hold my spirit.

All is dark-on-dark.
I climb a narrow stairwell
twisting high inside a tower,
the serpent yearning
to reach God.

Stars flame!,
the hearth of the sky become a conflagration,
a wall of fire veiling
the face of God.

The boat’s wake on the stream
of my subconscious wakens me.
I sweat out my dream,
saturating the sheets on my bed.
I lie back, my mind a blank.
I wait for the pen of memory
stroke it with words.

(21 January 2019)

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