Truluv the Sailor

By Grossman, Allen | Chicago Review, January 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

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. …

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