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Orpheus And Eurydice

By John Esam, 1969
A Book of Changes
Matter is Change
The restless fulfilling of possibility
Whose order is
The marvellous rider, Being,
One with his horse of Chance.
Wait not for another guide then —
Go hang your restless seed
Upon the restless ocean.
Each person is a natural law,
A sheath in the world
For the Sword of Nothingness, inscribed:
`Take this and cut the puppet free!'

Let go the strings that jerk
And never fear the laughing winds,
There is a heaviness in being
That will hold you here.
Life is weighted with itself,
No more yours to stop undressing
Than is the season birds leave.
A great river stretches across
The universe
Where sun and worlds are whorls
Lasting a moment
As the water goes shallow over stones;
Wells walk in the streets

Where seeing pours from Nothingness
Into space
And breaks like a flock of diving pigeons
Sweeping past your head.

Remember yourself
As an empty door the wind
Blows about in like a sleepy dog in a yard;
Listen to the stones of seeing
Falling down your senses' wells.
Consciousness comes as a growing
Like a man walking closer growing clearer
In your shape.
He will arrive and walk on
Within your body
Shining slightly from the void
As he goes into the distance.
Leave yourself there to turn
And follow him.

Seeing is an act that touches
The seen
And makes it move as leaves aware
That it is seen
And so hear itself
Coming constantly into being
Through the trees;
So the seer hears the seen
Working effortlessly within its selflessness,
And his long eyes make its spinning echo
Faster there so that the seen,
Feeling itself being seen through,
Knows that it comes into being
Througn being seen,
And that in seeing, being
Goes like a woman stepping down
from a train
To knowing, and knowing smiles...
Yet becomes aware of itself
As an object
And looks back into the seer;

So the seer's self rises quietly
To the surface
Of his self-objective eyes
And looks out into the world.
Open to all seeing now he listens
To the forest think
In the wind's slight breathing,
Hears sound coming in from space
Blow out through the seed's old ear
Into the experience of the thing,
Matter as a kind of knowing,
And made, singing reason's riding song
come out

Through all that is
The stars
Standing in their stirrups.

Follow yourself
Down through the world,
Your body full of creeks where
The hidden brightness the self is

Is the way,
Has the power of the empty circle senses
Work like winds within.

Walk, and let the ceaseless forms
Rise up through your shape to break
Upon the empty beach
And leave their meaning lying there
Like a man from some ship
The light has wrecked...
To walk is to think
When your self walks as another
In your body.
You have all natures in your nothingness
Like tongues that use
Your eyes without confusion, speak
To themselves as you walk by their stones
And riverbushes, not burning with meaning.
Learn to overhear yourself,
To see what you are
With what is, and
The continuous intelligence existence is
Will come through that silence that
Plays about every thing
As rocks far inland catch
On the seawind's throat.

Become responsible for yourself here
As a world hanging
In your body's breathing space
And all your seeing goes
To knowing
As the earth is curved out
From gravity's bending of the light.

Mortality is necessary
That things may continue;
Matter stays the speed
Of light
That selves may bring their selves
Out from the stony days' tower
Of cracking bells,
Until the sword of time must cut the
sun's knot

And let the dusty light out;
Like a dewy web bag of young spiders,
Broken open by a boy, disappearing
Down the dry grass,
Edges break the light
Shattering time into the mind's eye.

In matter's mirror pause between
The spaces, the ever-moving line
Of Time that flows both ways
Echoes in itself, makes
The planets mutter like old heads
And breaks against the hollows
of the' suns.
Time enters space lost in matter

Come through the edges of
One universe whose beginning
Seems to disappear somewhere beyond
the speed of light into another,
And shatter to the cosmic mirror there
Time catches on again...
So this world loses its origins
Into the next, and on towards
That centre in the past
Where the bell is being struck...
And there are even some who can still see
Stars in the nostrils of horses...

Our birth's a stone dropped
into emptiness,
A confusion like a sound that echoes

In the next room
Made by something you cannot find
When you go in
Through which time goes
Into the obscurity of a being as breath
Disappears down the blood into
the body.

This world is time gone
Dark in space
The sun's eye leaves its images
Gathering in;
Not desire to be too clear now
If you are to be a seer,
Everything here is a blind thing
Some seeing troubles into being.
Light must be held up
By matter's cloudy places long enough
For the world to grow clear,
Hanging round its old horizons
Where the brightness we see by
Clings as lovers lying lost
In each other's eyes
Go through their blindness to
Beaches behind the sun
Origin breaks
To selves upon.

Not only the sun
why I fell,
but the earth
breathed me in...
All those lives I left
with no life
that I might fly
unless I gave them
matter's chance
curled there
like airless mouths
dumb men's hands grew out...
and pulled me from
the air that they
might breathe
and walk among

So I fell to watching
the soft decay
of actions
that once meant flight
in old men's bodies...
And saw
that they had never
known what
those strange movements
in them might have been...
Each one choked
with unknown lives deepening
to a duller matter
the earth would rather
not have,
but must use...
All become slower, fallen
out from the quickness
of the self
living in its centres,
losing the sun's
feathery, flying light from
their breathing,
and so
their upper blood...
Lost consciousness
of their bodies' power
to find a way
up through the days
to the light body
of the soul
through the circulation
of the light
from the heart between
the eyes...
And could not rise
nor die,
matter going heavier
with senseless lives
hallucinating bodies
until nothing moves
and this
a dead planet winged
with hopeless ghosts sunk
in their own
bodies' cells
that cannot fly much longer.

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