Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Broken Tower

The Broken Tower The bell-rope that gathers God at dawn Dispatches me as though I dropped down the knell Of a spent day - to wander the cathedral lawn From pit to crucifix, feet chill on steps from hell. Have you not heard, have you not seen that corps Of shadows in the tower, whose shoulders sway Antiphonal carillons launched before The stars are caught and hived in the sun's ray? The bells, I say, the bells break down their tower; And swing I know not where. Their tongues engrave Membrane through marrow, my long-scattered score Of broken intervals… And I, their sexton slave! Oval encyclicals in canyons heaping The impasse high with choir. Banked voices slain! Pagodas, campaniles with reveilles out leaping- O terraced echoes prostrate on the plain!… And so it was I entered the broken world To trace the visionary company of love, its voice An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled) But not for long to hold each desperate choice. My word I poured. But was it cognate, scored Of that tribunal monarch of the air Whose thigh embronzes earth, strikes crystal Word In wounds pledged once to hope - cleft to despair? The steep encroachments of my blood left me No answer (could blood hold such a lofty tower As flings the question true?) -or is it she Whose sweet mortality stirs latent power?- And through whose pulse I hear, counting the strokes My veins recall and add, revived and sure The angelus of wars my chest evokes: What I hold healed, original now, and pure… And builds, within, a tower that is not stone (Not stone can jacket heaven) - but slip Of pebbles, - visible wings of silence sown In azure circles, widening as they dip The matrix of the heart, lift down the eye That shrines the quiet lake and swells a tower… The commodious, tall decorum of that sky Unseals her earth, and lifts love in its shower. - Hart Crane

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