Subtle Degrees

Subtle Degrees

subtle degrees

of domination and servitude

are what you know as love


but love is different

it arrives complete

just there

like the moon in the window


like the sun

of neither east nor west

 nor of anyplace


when that sun arrives

east and west arrive



desire only that

of which you have no hope

seek only that

of which you have no clue


love is the sea of not being

and there intellect drowns

this is not the Oxus River

or some little creek

this is the shoreless sea;

here swimming ends

 always in drowning


a journey to the sea

is horses and fodder and contrivance


but at land’s end

the footsteps vanish


you lift up your robe

so us not to wet the hem;

come! drown in this sea

a thousand times


the moon passes over

the ocean of nonbeing


droplets of spray tear loose

 and fall back

on the cresting waves


a million galaxies

are a little scum

on that shoreless sea


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