Saturday, January 19, 2008

Prometheus in His Crag

Pondered the vulture. Was this bird
His unborn half-self, some hyena
Afterbirth, some lump of his mother?

Or was it condemned human ballast -
His dying and his death, torn daily
From his immortality?

Or his blowtorch godhead
Puncturing those horrendous holes
In his human limits?

Was it his prophetic familiar?
The Knowledge, pebble-eyed,
Of the fates to be suffered in his image?

Was it the flapping, tattered hole -
The nothing door
Of his entry, draughting through him?
Or was it atomic law -
Was Life his transgression?
Was he the punished criminal aberration?

Was it the fire he had stolen?
Nowhere to go and now his pet,
And only him to feed on?

Or the supernatural spirit itself
That he had stolen from,
Now stealing from him the natural flesh?

Or was it the earth's enlightenment -
Was he an uninitiated infant
Mutilated towards alignment?

Or was it anti-self -
The him-shaped vacuum
In unbeing, pulling to empty him?

Or was it, after all, the Helper
Coming again to pick the crucial knot
Of all his bonds?

Image after image. Image after image. As the vulture


Ted Hughes

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