Gates of the Iron and Clay Empire
What was my maxim? For what did I live
and for what did I perish? Beneath a gold crown,
were my waistlines eternal, and did my neck,
surrounded by jewels, as a night
places the gemstones of planets, moons and stars,
draw a crowd?
Did the fawning nation swoon when
I came out, restless
as an immense sea roaring at the composed moon
over its correction and manipulation,
harsh as salt waves, euphoric in my mouth.
In what spirit did I rule?
When I spoke words of silver,
what resounded into the room
was swimming and submerging
beneath the waters of a river
no one could cross.
I buried my face in the dust,
I offered my cheek to my enemy,
never passionless or indifferent
my motions carried into deathlessness
at a banquet whereupon death would dance.
Where was I found?
The bronze meadow was my home,
the gem of seas, all seven,
the bear mountain I knew
like the back of my hand, and the
solace of the lace of the fields
I gathered into the hem of my garment.
I touched the waters of meribah
when I drank from the crystal decanter
and forged the way through the wood
for a people: my nation.
What was my figurehead
etched upon a coin? The copper touch piece
was a keepsake and currency of a nation
emaciated and gaunt,
starving for the food of my voice—
resonant and luminous as the fruit of the vine.
My charger went forth, no more than a colt
yet I was a horsewoman.
What I could not imitate of the ardent prayer,
I swallowed and said again in my own words,
opening the heavens and descending like an eagle.
What was my lady?
The statue was iron-silent, beckoning of power,
yet elegant in infertility,
a lament with an ode to the sons and daughters
of others, bleak and illustrious—
reflecting horror as a mirror
that would leave us unconfused as to the distinct
separateness of a mother and child.
The figure held a similitude, measuring time
and distance with a tape measure
instead of a scale.
Where did I break, and fall into the heart of the sea?
Why did the chasm open to swallow me like clay
deep beneath the earth.
Infusing me with the gems of nations,
and their varied colors,
I found meaning in the little things,
and recorded the symphonies of nature.
Somehow the movement of the shadows and lights
over the earth, played like a chord
upon the harp, its stringed note lingering
into the dust of mankind.