Schattentänzer Cannot Be Made Light of


If I cried out

            who would hear me up there

                                among the angelic orders?

And suppose one suddenly

             took me to his heart

                               I would shrivel

I couldn’t survive

            next to his

                           greater existence.

                        ~Rilke trans. by David Young



Just another empty cage stands alone

in the comfort of a dark


cliff.  Schattentänzer can feel

the closest distance—how it grows


and grows till there is so much space

in the work of breathing.  I’ve got to have


my suffering, so I can

withstand the weight of that


cross that is solely mine to bear.  It’s funny

how distance learns to grow.  In a terrible act


of courage, I did cry out, seducing

a treacherous thing to come to me.  It defined


beautiful love.  Maybe it was an angel or some God

made of man.  Indeed, I did shrivel just like


the poem had warned.  This human flesh is

always rejected that greater existence.  Beauty knows


its destructive nature—it only resides in moments

that pass the hand as little grains of sand


too small to notice by the naked eye.  God, sometimes

you just don’t come through.  I have


stitched the fabric of my existence sometimes

where the wind blows, moans, shrieks in the darkest


landscape.  Tell me, someone out there, of crazy

and maybe I will understand.  Gods and angels work


in league to disassemble all that’s mortal, yet it’s

the wind and water which erode any of the Earth’s


permanence.  Nothing lasts, so I cry

out on the wailing cliffs at Duino


where the wind keeps me from falling

while I lean out ailing to hear myself more completely


in the fissures of my skull.  The words come

to me.  Every letter later written on a tattered notebook exists


from the coursing blood just below my finger’s skin,

all while—as a life—I become less living


with every deep breath guiding the strokes

of my pen: that tap, tap, tapping on the keys


to the rhythm of my heart pounding out a battle

march.  If instead of wind, should I stand in fire


being the quick flicker of a dying flame, the Shadow

Dancer can only be seen the instant darkness licks the ether


making me no less a shadow, even as I balance

posed as the Lord


of Dance, Natarajasana, with the searing wisdom of rocks

ablaze under my footing, I am


still what I am, until I am no more.


Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s