Monday, October 7, 2013

The Garden of Earthly Delights - Panel III

The bridges - tightropes so tense
they'd break - go from dark
to dark

from behind sharp cliffs
there is light - always withheld -
not of the sun but of the crater, Burn! Burn! like kindness
of countless rocks, of regrets later
turned red-like, turned
- by the gnashing of teeth -

the horned-nuns,
the brown-beaked guards
an' the white-capped musicians
call out to them - arrows as sharp
as sin, and as thin - pierce their ears

they hear things:
the world is an anatomist's table
earmarked for bloodless curiosity
- because, only the past is red, red
would have been munificence in this world,
would have been life

here, ladders for years lead up to acacia trees,
long since dead, each rung
a harpoon
a bone

here, the strings of the harp - do they now 
mourn? - run through the heart - do they 
now make music in fire and brimstone? - through the guts,
and where fingers break - heartstrings,
played in the dark
are only hissing snakes

an uncertain dice is cast,
naked, their heads are compasses
- you never know what it takes
to be saved - sometimes mirror, sometimes gold, now south
an' now west, the dagger's plunged
in the white of their hands - Hell is the Impossibility 
of Rest - and, in their stomachs, inventions gone wrong,
gone cold, rats with sore intentions
flutes that make no
sound, that only gnash teeth

they always walk - death is never a sound sleep - but their feet
are boats and blue water is never deep, walk on ice then
is that what it takes? - till ice breaks, what fall
could be colder when the blood is the first to freeze,
iced-tears you cannot weep
yet cannot keep

the die is cast, the lantern's lit -
but it spits out only war, it spits out
only the dead - for the second time -

only the colour of the past is red
- red would have been kindness in this world -
for the last time, when they, barely seeing, grey, take a bow
hell is this world
right now.

Hieronymus Bosch's 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' (circa 1490-1510)