I have come down half the overcrowded avenue
O Rhadamanthus, you to whose kingdom I journey
With seven children and several books on my shoulders
All screaming. I have left wounds on some pavements
So that your dogs and furies, hounding the heart to a stone,
Know where I go and where I have left my handmark.

I do not know the purpose of this journey
Between the big breasts and the grounded shoulders
Save that, in some way, by scribbiing on pavements,
The man glorifies both himself and the godlike stone.
O morning strike bright along this flashing handmark
I scrawl across Time in its heavenly avenue!

When my love groans with babies and books on its shoulders
This is the proud load of the labouring pavement
Ascending into the sun to burnish a stone.
Christopher, you would know. Saint, set your handmark
On my child-ridden forehead. Water this avenue
With the sweat of an infant-carrier on his journey.

Heavy my heart walks ahead on the pavements
With her high-heel shoe my martyrdom on stone:
Everywhere the red heart lies is a landmark;
I am in the right road, the slaughterer’s avenue.
Mother of all things, Love, approve my journey
With a fair share of lightning on my shoulders.

I am at midday. Bells rage in the stone
Arch of the chest. The sky wears my handmark
Where I have held it. Summer the avenue
Here where Alighieri started a hotter journey,
Summer more suffering, manhood beating the shoulders,
Than any winter or April. And on the pavements

Fate, photographer, fixing, in shadow, his handwork;
Recording, for ever, in image along the avenue
The lies and the lives we lived. This is a journey
Dollied by the unsleeping eye. No head and shoulders
Shunning the sinning loin, but, naked as pavements,
Every step stopped a monument in stone.

Avenue of myrtles and births! Lovers like statues
Unmoving in evening, all Eden on a pavement!
O journey of hazard and heroes, monster and blizzard,
Who happy unhappy as I when I slip from my shoulders
The heavy bag of the ego, and, dead cat by the pavement,
Lie down under my God’s immemorial stone?


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