H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n





Ghazal Of The High Plateau


mesmerized on the trip to this high plateau—the barren promontories,

windswept spruce giving way to high scrub & thence to rock outcrops


where marmosets chattered your names to the wind as you sang, half

in your sleep, takes of desert sun & wild waves on faraway November seas—


recalling the fallen hiker, his bandaged legs straddling his giant companion,

weary eyes haggard in stubbled cheeks whose lips whispered only blues—


time passed so quickly you hardly realized you'd arrived, & now, with

news of loved ones dead beyond your grasp & hopes, you turn to vanished


loves, vanished paths, & find no way, even the path behind you vanished

in clouds & mist, only glimpses of far peaks & guessed-at valleys ahead,


even the cairns indistinguishable in rock scree.  here, there is only one

tiny yellow flower, an unearthly flower, nameless, a crooked flower once


signed to you by a long-dead sage.  this is the sign you were to wait for:

consider your frail bones, aging in the meat of your boyhood leaping,


those aches in loins that once propelled loves & led to singing heights,

that song which brought you here, that you might sit.  the mists are


the myth of this season; the next path can't be seen with living eyes;

the heart's blind cupid can't fathom the love to come; sit.  even the light


will spill in strange showers over your tired limbs & into your eyes which,

blind until now, will open to the shadows of meadows & peaks now


unknown. in the dream, deer paths now blazoning broadway,

towers stacked high with grumbling dreams & cell-phoned illusions


melt away, as does the day you were stopped still before prairie-wild

grass, the sun blazing lights & shadows thru waves rolling to the horizon.


old friends return like wild leaves in moonlit valleys, sit & sing in your ear.

the mountain is not the mountain.  inside the vanished waves, beyond


mists & lost paths, songs become pathless riddles in your white hair

& aging eyes, your child-corpse moving on with naked winged feet,


the unearthly flower now a sprig at your ear, as you sing silence at last,

a breath, an ayre floating beyond this air as surely as you yourself were sung.



[Originally published in NHS 2000, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs00/cope.html.]