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De Profundis

David Solway


In the deepest midnight of imagination
a man is conjuring metaphors.

He is hammering dreams and visions
like a fairytale shoemaker at his last.

For these are the hours the man devotes
to the fracas with the invincible other,

to wheeling among the wheels-in-wheels
of Anaximander and Ezekiel,

to defying the fascist in the body
and bringing decalogues out of desire,

to the pitching of inkwells at devils,
to the sooty rhetoric of ghosts.

Now he is pacing the ramparts at Elsinore—
for nothing great was ever done by daylight

and nothing dazzling in the Orphic mode
would keep on shining when the shadows bled.

And yet, when Nabilak grins in the corner
sinister as ouija

and out of the walls the galloping syllables
thunder and subside

and the elf self chuckles in the mind
and nips and tipples at the tantalus—

then the frazzled insomniac declares
there is no heaven like the morning air

and no evangelist to compare
with the milkman on his customary route



David Solway's works copyright © to the author.


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