Truluv the Sailor

By Grossman, Allen | Chicago Review, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview
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Truluv the Sailor


Grossman, Allen, Chicago Review


le dernier couac du Rabbi Tarfon

There is some way the world is and also Some way the inner world, fierce female visitor By night, is, who beats the ground and cries out Aicha, aicha. I myself have heard her, And do still hear her, cry the name of her god. - Where your treasure is, there is your heart also. Oh my particular student, where is your heart?

1.

"You can see for yourself, kid! - That's the ruin On the precipice at Deep - a wild resort. Far below the ruin, using my Zeiss Field glasses, I made sketches: remembrances Of the world. Then, as we approached, successive Apertures revealed buttresses. And a row Of beautifully shaped, arched window-openings In Gothic style came into view. It seemed A cathedral and full of magic. But when Quite near, I saw that, in sober reality, The walls were barely 24 feet high And also, inexorably, the sea Had devoured the cliff, sea-sounds made inaudible The sermon, the whole church doomed to wrack and ruin.

2.

- "An ocean of voices has stormed ashore At Deep since the beginning of the world. Each voice speaks out loud when the wind is up. Each voice is singular, lost in thought, Though water. And the intricate black breakers Are tenements of many rooms. In each room Is one chair and in each chair sits a man Or woman thinking: 'What was not,' they think, 'Comes to be. And what comes to be infallibly Passes into memory. And what passes into Memory may become, for a time, a song. Then it vanishes. Songs vanish, they do Not end. It is infinity, the dying Without the death, ruins the house of God.'

3.

"O kid, standing at this shore, the earth Exploding about us as the storm waves Strike the rock, I wonder there can be traffic Between shores so distant and so disturbed! But to the river mouth the daily boats come home. - No longer twilight, it is now night. A huge sun has gone down into the ocean. All roads and other public ways on earth Are dark. And ocean, with the air above it (Also a public way) is dark and void As it was in the beginning. The paths Are deserted of their children and the forest Tracks unknown - not yet remembered, or never Again remembered - by men or by animals.

4.

"'When comes the long awaited, the orient pearl?' - What the beginning meant is discovered To mind only at the end of the story (Or, more precisely, near the end of the story For the end is nothing.) Then, great desire Wells up in you (in me, my kid!) like water, The only great desire there is: - to know The outcome as we approach the source. Look there! A boat of some kind (notice how It scorns all human instruments, and seeks No oar, nor engine, nor other sail than wings) Heaves to upwind and sends ashore a naked man, The blue jewel of the whole story in his eye (The lights, the signals, and the colors of it).

5.

"And YOU are the woman who knows he sees her Because of the blue jewel in the sailor's eye. His penis grows thick and all that goes with that. Think of it, kid, huge and heavy in your hand! Sex flows from death to life. Between the arousal Of the pilgrim who takes the blue-eyed sailor In her arms and the consummation of her passion (And the long sleep) extends this too brief vigil Of the senses - ascent with others on the mountain As the song of the blue-eyed sailor, from The beach, grows faint and fainter and the rains Come on. - Night on the mountain is full of thunder In the hour before the dawn, the darkest one. At last, the sun's light brightens the uplands.

6.

"O Lambs! Follow us to school on the mountain. Something is coming to pass on the blue floor Of the schooolroom in the rising light. Some children go to school alone on the heights. Others go, smiling, in company of friends And animals. - Today, there are three of us At the start: myself (the one with the Zeiss), YOU Kid, whoever you are, and a dog called Butch, A famous hound whose real name is unknown. (People - as you may have noticed - don't say much.

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