Nov 142013
The stars above were eld creations, crabbed
Comma-marks in a grammar God abandoned, 
No longer the shining indices of fate
Nuns on reddened knees named holy--
Flayed things set burning for their shameful part
In the faded pattern, medieval masquerade.
Yet still they hung mistily aloft past the barbecue grill,
Marking dark coordinates by their nuclear light--
A graph-paper for physicists and their fancy pens,
Smartly charting tricky diktats of their will.

Daub by daub, the stars, as magic charms,
Had been painted on revolving spheres.
And, daub by daub, my ox-hair filbert brush
Transfers their fire from globbered palette 
To the steadily-easelled blank that I had brought.
I painted blind, unpained by too much sight or light
(As I noted had been the Great Dauber's habit,
Granting accidental freedom by parsec and mile).
From the quibble of a quark to quasar buoy-bells
The cosmic scale was sound, tanging only
When the chromic pestle bongs the mixer's brim,
Aping Tuvan semi-tones while my placid page
Fills insensibly with stars, and, daub by daub,
I strike what strokes of charcoal nothingness
Heaven presents.  I work without lamp or limit,
Toiling toward each outward edge from whichever
Central locus my accidental tent has pitched.

I squint into the rolling dim, and begin.  The vault
Is splattered with patterned blanks itself:
Intrusive bougainvillea disarm Orion.  Looming 
Oak leash Cygnus' feathered neck with leafy loops.
Every starry fable is fractured by a fault.

And there, in the middle of all light, all shadow,
Climbed the cragging outline of a midnight ziggurat.
Shadow by shadow, tall stars gone dark
Left the saw-tooth chop-out.  I painted as I perceived,
True to tempera and temperament.  Yes, there
It was, inking out wholesale swales of stars,
Rich galaxies gone dark, the zig-zag ziggurat!
No punched-out pyramidal obelisk had ever arisen
More straightly-rayed--granite sample of stark
AEgyptian sunbeams.  The ziggurat sprang
Chainsawed from the sky, a stepped rainbow 
Against Cosmos, and of the cosmos part, blackly blent.  
What was interposed between high stars and yard
That drew me there to draw?  Had daub
And desire torn new knowledge from the skies?
What would show still standing when the great star 
Came at adequate dawn, and illuminated enlarged 
My brune page?  Would the giant ziggurat
Be risen above Poughkeepsie like a circus tent
Dense with ecstatic dancers, as at a feast?

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