The Lover

Black beach

You have met me before but
(For now) you don’t recall.
Three lifetimes have passed and
The fire has purged you one
Too many times.
So much wandering has taken place,
Across the Seven Seas and up and down
Sacred mountains of virgin snow;
So much meandering through the muck of
Mankind it is a miracle we have come together
Again.

I was the Lover who first taught you to
Listen to the hawk’s call before the Flood,
To pay heed to the longing in its
Masculine plea.
To note how the clouds above the lake changed
Colours in response when the call climaxed.
‘Loneliness is understood by all,’
I sighed in your ear all night.

I was the Lover who told you to go to the river
And search for Narcissus in your reflection.
I said if you didn’t know who you were,
You could never aspire to be
Anything.
If you looked long enough you wouldn’t fall in.
A grown swan would swoop down from the air
To bear you away on his mighty wings.
(I would watch in envy.)

I was the Lover who said there was
No-one
Behind the pretty bright stars.
It was only you and me
Here, there and
Nowhere.
No other presences were necessary
So long as the humanist in me
Heard the humanist in you.
I said turn inward with your eyes open
And you would be rewarded with
A rare sight of selfless love.

You gave me your trust but I
Couldn’t save you from the end of times.

Now we are as before –
Young and luscious, giddy with
Affection.
But you should know from experience that
This condition is not always.
Just as three lifetimes ago
The flames will come and claim
This moment, your beauty and appeal
And our mortal union.
Only this time the process will hasten itself
As the world has been on fire
Since the Holy War began.
The Believers and the Infidels are slashing
Each other’s throats, spilling hate blood
Onto black soil conjuring the Maleficent King
And his bloody entourage.
Lovers like us will soon have no ground to
Stand on.
(Hear His growl in the distance.)

But if you give me your trust once more,
I will take you by the hand and lead the way
Through this crumbling town,
Through the vengeful mobs, violent vigilantes,
Gunslingers, knifewielders, stonecasters,
Proselytisers and lying politicians.
We will bypass the bombers with a
Suicide mission (those negators of life)
And will not look up at the sky where
Planes are being steered to crash into
The monuments of human ingenuity.
Along the way we will see starving souls
Dying of broken hearts,
And we will hear the howling of babies
Begging not to be reborn.
You will ask me: Where is the love, my brother?
Now shut your eyes and look ahead.
At the end of this ravaged road
There is a butterfly meadow that eases into
A silver beach where there is a lone shack
Built with extinct stoicism.
The sound of the incoming waves fills
The empty landscape and throughout
The hourless night you will hear
The tides of your own memories
Of all your previous lives.
The shack is without a roof.
As we lie down on the loving sand,
Palm in Palm,
We will be able to see the map of
Human destiny,
Beginning from the inception
Of intuition to the final realisation of
Inevitable mortality.
You will then see through the partition
And understand the necessity of
Loneliness,
The need for self-recognition,
And the absence of an omnipotent
Regulator.
Here on paradise beach
You will be the mirror of my thoughts
And I the echo of your white conscience.
Two as one.
Monolithic peace,
Unchanging horizon.

13.8.16  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Photo: ‘Black Sand Beach’ by George Diebold

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