Emanation of Narcissus

To make old prose in modern rhyme more sweet—Keats

The wide Virgin’s eyes and glossy hair
the grape leaves filligreed in oaken beam—

Thus ledgered conjugations took on body

Shouted out a psalmody
from a corpse of nones and verspers

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Nave and sanctuary were thus graced

But statuary also filled a niche within the mind
conveying depth and heft to a contingency—

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Pure presence distilled from Narcissus…
Goldmund, cured of blindness, set out
to wander, shiver, assignate, witness Earthly death,
detect the Earth-mother in every stalk of the field
know the world in clayey fecundity
its convulsions and resilience

an empire growing from a cloister cell
an epic spun from an iota

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And can’t a thought—most waifish of essences—
take on the green foliage of abandon?
An unbreathed wish
enter the hot fields of desire?

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Who among us is so small dimensioned
as to lack a second nature that ventures windward
into whatever storm it must?

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Narcissus’s heart, given universal compass,
thus gathered the world in its mouth and hands

☨ ☨ ☨

The errant quests of Goldmund are wisps scarcely recalled
insubstantial as cascading verses, as a kiss in fleeing mists

As for Narcissus, he persists
He clasps these fine-traced lines to his capacious mind
a sacrament to love
a benediction throughout the age

This poem was published in Dumbo Press on March 3, 2024.

Andy Oram
January 15, 2024

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