Then the clubs descended, rose, descended,
And the canticles of the djinn enveloped me.
Just seven formless ones still remain,
Still retain a place in old formations,
Still resume position when clouds tremble
And time comes for the climb to turn to fall.
Last of the djinn, we know that time well.
When the west wind loosens mountain slopes
The wild stones descend from winter pastures
To be fashioned into palm-held axes,
Gathered into docile flocks for fleecing.
Like potatoes, compliant, asleep in mud,
They moan their low frequency lullabies
Along intermittent streams and ley lines,
Back up the hillsides to timberline.
We gather too, just outside the pale,
Where barbed wire is stretched between the posts.
It flexes beneath our each shift of weight,
Bends and quivers under our nervous stance.
We pause here at the limits, city limits.
We mock those long, slow movements of stones
As they pass out of country into town,
For the truth of Babel's abomination
Is not lost, is not forgotten among us.
The stones, locked in arches, braced in mortar,
Remember nothing now, and yield only
To the tug of the pyramid's apex.
Try as we might, we can't remind a stone.
But we, last of the djinn, still remember,
And we still observe that crime committed:
The domesticated crops and animals,
Machinery in the fields, hybrid grasses,
The uniform flowers and ideal fruits,
Parklands in gemstone geometries,
Rivers piled up in lakes behind dams.
We do not venture into their towns,
Where, no doubt, worse examples await.
We sit and chatter on telegraph wires,
Squeeze cuneiform into fruity paste,
Articulate the moth larvae's wish
As the black planchette moves from yes to no.
Defecating, we pronounce our consensus
Where the landscape artists on folding chairs
Paint paradise as self-portraiture
Poorly conceived, badly executed,
But boldly stated in primary colours.
Defecating, we deliver a verdict.
Artifice is depiction of Godhead,
Forbidden to those who cannot hold a form,
Abhorrent to those unenslaved by shape.
We arise aloft in furious cyclones.
We wrap twisted winds around prophecy
Directed at skeletal joint and hinge.
Limber are the puppets and graceful their strut
On the walkways built from Babel's rubble,
On the dance floors paved with prehistory.
We pace alongside, invisible cats:
Do they sense our voices along their tendons?
Gravity is underfoot, can they collapse?
We are aloft, we see the furrows and trenches,
We come hissing down the watershed slopes,
We slop through wide irrigation ditches
To bring word of emptiness to the depths,
A promise of heaven to declivities,
To cavities and captivities, to the depths.
End of Caput 4
Liber Jonae Contents