Sing me no songs of consolation

 

Slivers of sky string
Their silver blue through
Green and rock, stones
Strewn in their path like
Little clouds, as if to sing
To me their broken tones
Of consolation. But
Who will bravely bring
The riverbed forth. The gravel
And sand of dry grief. Who
Will raise pebbles smooth as bone
Unwritten, unscratched. What thief?
Who dare to build that dyke
That will dam the waters and read
On them their smooth, unwritten
Consolation.
If there is such a one,
To that sturdy soul I say,
Show me the pebble, worn
As my heart, one among millions
And wring from that single stone
The river that runs from me, one
Among millions. Build me that
Single dam that will make
Of that river a lake
One, among millions,
Where I may stop, and leaning,
See no face but my own, broken
As only mine is, as a river
Washes through me, a mirror
For no grief but my own.
Until then, Sing me no songs
Of consolation, no hallelujahs
Of pain sung before. I take
No comfort in the lake
Of another’s tears.
Raise me that stone, dam me that lake,
Name the face that weeps into those waters.
There are fathers enough, I know,
And no dearth of daughters,
Yet I take no solace from the songs
Of bereavement that they make.
Like a primordial flood the
Massed choirs sing of loss and losing
And drown each daughter’s voice
Added without her choosing.
And I, who have no other choice,
Silent as I hold this dam against
The breaking of that deluge, I,
Who reach into the deep only
To throw back stones I cannot
Keep. I, who float,
Face up, like the dead, and reach
For clouds that lie like stones
That lie, that sing, that preach
But have nothing to teach
Me, nothing to place
In my palms, facing upward.
I slip silently under boats that
Skim the waters, their keels
Humming, and think – you,
Who are on the boats, you
Whose shirts do not fill
With waters that run through
You; you, whose fingers strain
The river as you glide through pain
You liars, deceivers, dealers in
Consolation. I want
No part of you. I hear
Your songs but they are not
Mine. Your tears
Fall on my face but they
Are not mine. I cannot
Fashion a lyre from my breath
Unless it bespeak
This death.

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