Featured Poem 4/25/03:

The Lantern of the King

I have sought that sovereign center every border crosses
I have sought toxic subtle serpent wisdom in the rainbow escaping the glimmer of every blade
I have sought the shade that each sphinx gathers overshadowing height to cast beneath the sky,
I have sought to split myself upon the cross I am upon the point I am
I have sought mercy adding the overthrow of every wheel to greater rising
I have sought my strength beneath the bricks my overthrow has scattered square and single
I have led the earthen oxen turning the wheel that winds the winds
I have abided in the bright and blinking house of messengers
I have known the heated dreaming camels tread to course the moon
I have stood in the doorway, gleaming where strangers saw beyond their solitude
I have stood beside the window where starlight beamed decrees to emperors
I have set the nail that moved stubborn priests to lift the veils
I have pulled the sword from cloven air that cleaved lovers
I have mended fences that welcomed chariots to poised rest
Strangers: unto that eight-rayed chamber I was the beast and I was the tamer:
I have been that serpent that coiled cultured muscle wrapping beastly heart
I have been the hermit's hand and lantern where he burned within and fled beyond its light
I have been that palm that turned the wheel I rode
I have been that short sharp prod that righted arms to heart
I have been those boundless waters I could not center nor shore nor bottom for
I have been that fish diving guts to lay innocence in corruption
I have been that prop that fell clattering when balance was in heart again
I have been that eye whose closing dreamed devils from the dust
I have been that mouth whose roaring waking blasted airless towers
I have been that hook that binds the climbing state unto brilliant sky
I have been my heads’ own back, coiling night from lunar curvature
I have been my glowing brow, shining noon to horizontal need
I have been that burning tooth that only pliant flesh evaded
I have been that cross I draped the world upon
rounding broad height center in again
I have sought to glow with beauty
                      where I am burning every little death of me
                      upon my skin
I have sought my victory
                      where I have loved across a gulf
                      I could not paint my name upon
I have sought my gleaming splendor
                     Where, single beyond electric joinder
                      I sung a song that strangers sing to strangers
I have sought to found my house upon a single tree where my very bursting forth could womb me
I have sought my kingdom upon the cross beneath my skin that calls my glowing in.

© 2003 Benjamin Pierce

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