She didn’t meet him. None of those I knew met him.
I was born in the demon’s breath. Call me Daimon.
Now I’m old enough to tell you where I came from,
was going, how I veered and lost the straight way.
The birds were bigger than now, the animals kept
their distance. They had seen their beloved die.
I like to wonder how he felt when the girl was shot.
Nobody talks of what is ever no one’s business.
I try to get by, in a cave of my own. My mother’s.
One day her bones and ashes spilled for the wind,
though the day was calm, the river far below.
His signature face was handsome, bearded, doomed.
He feared nothing. He killed with ease. Who loved
him were beautiful, clear-eyed and hungry for bed.
I saw one of his widows once. She had long red nails.
I have read his biography, where she is canonized
as his great lover. His true widow fought by his side.
Death is where all roads lead, sooner or (we hope)
later. Even alive in his world you take courage.
Beyond his death you saw what was left to do.
I asked her to tell me all she knew before we parted.
She wanted to know where I came from, was going.
I told her everything, it was not much. She laughed
boldly. I loved that. Yet I knew nothing of her.
He thought he could detect in nature–both animate and inanimate, with soul or without soul–something which manifests itself only in contradiction, and which, therefore, could not be comprehended under any idea, still less under one word. It was not godlike, for it seemed unreasonable; not human, for it had no understanding; nor devilish, for it was beneficent; nor angelic, for it often betrayed a malicious pleasure. It resembled chance, for it evolved no consequences: it was like Providence, for it hinted at connection. All that limits us it seemed to penetrate; it seemed to sport at will with the necessary elements of our existence; it contracted time and expanded space. In the impossible alone did it appear to find pleasure, while it rejected the possible with contempt.–Goethe, Truth and Fiction Relating to My Life, 1811-22.
(9 February 2013)