The Labyrinth

The Labyrinth

by Edward Sublett

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Overview

The Labyrinth by Edward Sublett

Labyrinth is a word of pre-Greek Minoan origin referring to a maze with a defined path but without the dead ends and false passageways of a maze. Believed to have been constructed in Crete at Knosses, the labyrinth in the myth was constructed by Daedalus at the command of King Minos to imprison the Minotaur, to whom ten young men were sacrificed each year.

In The Labyrinth, author Edward Sublett's new collection of poems, Sublett uses verse to reflect the temporary moments in our lives when we are lost, wondering what fate awaits us-as he did when he nearly went blind due to detached retinas in both eyes.

In addition to evoking this time, the poems of this collection also recall the feeling of being by the sea and the other islands scattered south of mainland Greece, especially the islands that comprise Santorini, basking in the sun and the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea. Both themes come together to become The Labyrinth, a poetry collection with a constant theme of loss-of the temporary moments of our lives and of personal memories-and of the understanding that we are all lost at some point in the Labyrinth awaiting our own personal Minotaur.

The sea passes over him, rises, falls, declines;

the tide comes in, the full moon staring down,

cold Diana's face reflected on the earth.

The moon is over an empty sea

and he dreams of another place

another voice and silence...

He drinks saltwater in order to do what must be done

and madness overwhelms him

for he can swim no longer in the gentle tide

or wind blown sea...

There is a star beyond the windowpane

he cannot touch, nor the sea with his eyes closed.

-from "Overwhelmed"

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475956443
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/29/2012
Pages: 82
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

THE LABYRINTH


By Edward Sublett

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Edward Sublett
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-5644-3


Chapter One

    ABSENCE

    An empty temple stands on an island in my heart,
    uninhabited in a season of falling leaves and empty clouds.
    Dreams in the waking hours disturb my peace
    as dreamless I lie abed awaiting the moon,
    until in some place hidden from my view
    I discern the scampering of animal feet,
    hear the soft panting of lovers
    in a corner of the island where no one lived before.
    Flesh enters flesh and there is the sound of a lonely bird,
    a moan, and there is the hollow sound of falling.

    There is a howling in the streets but it is not cats;
    there is a moan but it is not lovers;
    there is a storm but it is not cloudy;
    there are stars but it is not night;

    There is a screech that is not a hawk
    and the sound of a volcano in the still and silent air.
    Water moves and falls but makes no sound,
    surf slides to the beach and back and leaves no trace.

    I found a star on the ground and thought it a rock;
    I saw the sea but could not hear its sound.
    All around me was the voice of Prospero's island.


    ARIANDNE'S THREAD

    The beast in the center of the labyrinth
    from which no one can return
    waits like a starved animal
    to feed on empty reason.
    Warm and sticky blood on his hands
    tell of the monotonous death.

    The labyrinth is close and narrow
    and full of the blood and the odor of other men,
    heroes and fools who lost their way
    through the dark passage to where the Minotaur sleeps.

    The father that betrays you, Ariandne,
    you betray, only to have Theseus betray you
    to go found some city of dark corners
    with strange and familiar money lenders.

    You retrieved him from the beast
    and the dark labyrinth
    to be betrayed yourself
    and found yourself abandoned on Naxos
    in the wine dark sea.

    You wait on the beach for his return
    but tears do not dry the pain,
    and on the empty horizon
    only a sea gull, and starved whales beach.

    Then, strange and strong desire for a mortal woman
    brings the god to descend where he can finally be a man.
    Only in your mourning does Dionysos find you,
    and at last the silent dialogue of bodies
    fills the island with its sound.


    IPHEGENIA

    Who were the gods that sent the wind
    that took your life and sent ships to Troy,
    and their fate, to bloody the fields of Troy,
    bring Achilles fame and grief and death,
    and the sound of mourning throughout Greece,
    that changed gods to men and worse,
    and broke nature's natural order
    that took one more daughter?

    Sacrificed to a god playing the role,
    for a father's lust worse than pride.
    Everyone watched, gave the god his due,
    and watched the wind
    sail to its foreboding,
    enmity for all the earth for all its gods,
    its secrets, the trivial obsequities
    men make to themselves and their gods.

    But you are not in that landscape,
    nor in the sun, the stars,
    or the silhouette of the moon
    over the fading rose in the ocean.

    There is a bird circling without you
    around the sails of the ships leaving
    for another land
    where the sea changes with the
    color of the blood of men.


    THE VIEW FROM THE
    ALCHEMIST'S HOUSE


    He sets lingering over lead in his hands
    knowing all the while it is gold,
    but bought at the price of wisdom,
    of too many years alone.
    He no longer cares for gold
    like the world knows,
    the price others place on their lives.
    He has lost it now
    with the cost of love's last moments,
    like Atlantis lost in water,
    people fleeing
    in the boats toward another sunset,
    while he sits in his house
    remembering the gold that was her skin,
    the gold in her eyes at dawn,
    when the morning left them alone
    fleeing from their dreams.
    Toward another day in the sun
    the garden by the house
    shines like the metal he loved,
    but too like Midas touching
    everything he cared for,
    lost it in the gold in the clouds
    as sunset over his lover's eyes.
    And she gone now
    toward another lover,
    he picks apples as in eden
    that he can only touch now
    only in his lost and aged dreams.


    RESCUER

    The Minotaur's grave lies in your heart.
    He too was betrayed by his father,
    his mother, and his sister, Ariandne.

    On Naxos' beach weeping
    she saw only the sea,
    the dark sea, Poseidon's kingdom
    underlying all our weeping.
    Until a god came, an act of grace,
    she only mourned for what she thought was Theseus' betrayal
    not aware of what she had done
    in the maze's bloody ways.


    ODYSSEUS SPEAKING TO THE DEAD

    He saw dimly what he saw clearly before.
    He wondered why we are alone all our lives
    when you are just there beyond our sight,
    at the edge of our vision
    where we cannot see each other
    for the obstruction of things-
    the miasma of civilization
    that obscures the horizon.

    Why do we pretend to see
    when we see nothing?
    hear nothing?
    but only walk forward
    behind some leader whose name we forgot long ago?

    We were supposed to be lovers
    and yet she did not remember that;
    and I am left alone
    with only faceless bodies to love.
    Superimposed over your face
    is a thousand other faces that come to nothing-
    like Circe obscuring the face of Penelope
    in the mirror of Odysseus' soul.

    Why was it that only after speaking to the dead
    that he could go home?


    THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE

    The trouble with love is that it ends and never ends.
    You try and try, but it is never enough
    in the dark dry night of the desert of love
    to drink at the darkness
    and remain alone,
    haunted always by the sound of some lover
    that will remain.
    Even amidst war,
    the ending of the grains of sand
    that mark the hours of life,
    there is always the sound of lovers in their beds,
    the sound of the distant woman
    walking toward you out of the beautiful night,
    the stars of the Milky Way
    like the hair of the lover you lost.
    Memory plays tricks on lovers;
    the face slips between your fingers
    and becomes someone else's body
    that sleeps by your side
    even when alone.
    And love always ends and begins again,
    and death itself makes new
    the face of the woman hiding in the mirror
    just beyond your vision
    that will keep you alive one more day
    even if the world ends.
    Finally, the lover leaves
    but the taste remains
    of her skin like oranges
    in the garden of your dreams,
    the salt of lips tasting salt
    on the exhausted lover's body
    laying next to you.
    You regret it,
    try in the moist and bright day,
    the sun burning your flesh
    like the last lover's kiss,
    to forget, to prevent the failure of another love
    from breaking your scarred and now empty heart.
    You regret that it ends,
    but even the sun does not last forever.


    THERA

    Without her, like half a lover
    he lingers in the world
    above a blue sea
    and the silent caldera
    of a half-dead volcano,
    waiting for some sign of her
    in his now dreamless sleep.

    The murmmurring of the sea,
    the sound of the earth turning
    echoes in the room.

    The half island, broken earth and black sand,
    waits in the sea while
    he lays in sleep alone
    or with another who is not his lover.
    The flesh comes between them
    as it holds them together,
    and the empty flesh of his heart
    waits to beat to the sound of her voice.

    Like a half-dead lover
    the fire heats only water.
    The lingering fire, like a lover's passion
    waits for the moment that never comes.


    OVERWHELMED

    The sea passes over him, rises, falls, declines;
    the tide comes in, the full moon staring down,
    cold Diana's face reflected on the earth.
    The moon is over an empty sea
    and he dreams of another place
    another voice and silence,
    duties undone, like rocks in the sea
    breaking water into spumes of foam, mostly air.

    He drinks saltwater in order to do what must be done
    and madness overwhelms him
    for he can swim no longer in the gentle tide
    or wind blown sea.
    He dreams no longer of who is wise,
    and does not remember the dreams he had.
    There is a star beyond the windowpane
    he cannot touch, nor the sea with his eyes closed.

    The crow watches wearily
    the man picking up sticks in the dream
    to build a fire in the water,
    and the dragon's head in the vessel
    breaks and breathes fire on the stone
    and from it like an egg
    a bird flies to mate with the crow.


    THE FAR ISLANDS ...

    The far islands I dream about,
    the far isles I travel to,
    are closer than you, your lips
    and your far away heart.
    The dreams I have of you,
    places where the soul travels,
    are closer than your breasts,
    your small shell like ears
    and the tongue I long to taste.
    Yet you are closer to me than my skin
    inside me in dreams,
    in the sound of music in my ears.
    My lungs breath your breath,
    and the taste of salt in my mouth is like your sweat when dancing.


    WORDS TO THE LOVER

    if you love
    be careful of thieving things
    the first of which
    is love
    the last
    time
    keep watch upon the world
    the hunter of midnight madness
    it touches with its clammy hands
    the lovers in their bed
    it is the ambiguous hunter of life


    MY SISTER IN EGYPT

    Things unseen betrayed your presence
    as I remember you again.
    Long hours in tombs,
    waiting to be born,
    I knew you would return,
    if not this time, then another.
    Once dreaming that you departed
    you came again in another form.

    The great bright sun above
    we worshiped once,
    now burns above strange new hills,
    stretching forth its tendrils of fire
    over a different sea and coast
    than long ago in Alexandria.

    Once we walked in the dark night
    in the silver blue of moonlight
    listening to desert winds,
    tasting air like jasmine and wine,
    and now in the empty shadows
    we walk again under palm trees
    on sandy beaches unlike the Nile.

    The raven calls like Horus,
    distant relative, dark bird
    in a dark night in the Black Land,
    where in wrappings they lay you
    leaving me beside the desert floor weeping.
    Dark eyed and alone,
    by drifting sand in subtle shadows,
    we dreamed under palms
    about a land far away we knew not of,
    in cool Egyptian evenings.


    I REMEMBER THE OCEAN

    I remember the ocean
    and your voice echoing in the room,
    the rhythm of your voice
    pounding my heart
    like the beat of the sea
    on the earth's edges.

    I could in the night
    a thousand times break your heart,
    hear the remnants of the sea
    on the rocks of this shore,
    last vestige of the voice of the ocean
    in my ear as I sleep.

    Like flowers or colors without form
    the sea lingers on the shore
    while dolphins
    cut the colorless water.

    As I lay awake in bed listening to
    the sounds of the dreamless world
    I hear your voice in my ear when you are not there,
    my lover lost in the dark
    of my night and hesitating life


    LEAVING

    The very same breath you took
    when you died, I inhaled.
    The sky paled, and the moon quaked,
    the earth rang with the sound of wounded birds.

    Afterwards the dawn was dark,
    and my tears dried in the wind.

    Born on the shoulder of hawks
    your soul in bliss arose
    from the earth in paces swift
    to the heavens once again.


    LOVER

    Our lives separate us
    from ourselves and each other,
    take us to somewhere else
    with other lovers, your's, and those
    I learned to love in your absence.

    My love, not even having known me,
    you have gone to another
    who cannot hold you anymore than I.
    Yet you are closer to me than my skin;
    you are inside me in dreams,
    in the sound of music in my ears.

    The lovers we want do not exist,
    so lovers all too human fill up our dissatisfied hours;
    it is as if I waited all my life for you,
    waited a thousand years, a dozen lives
    and then we missed each other
    in everyone else we ever met.

    I hear your voice
    when you are not there,
    my lover lost in the dark
    of my night and hesitating life.
    You could not understand
    why I loved you like this,
    but in every lover's arms you momentarily found me,
    and I making love to a dozen women
    saw only your face and eyes and another's misunderstanding.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE LABYRINTH by Edward Sublett Copyright © 2012 by Edward Sublett. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Absence....................1
Ariandne's Thread....................2
Iphegenia....................3
The View from the Alchemist's House....................4
Rescuer....................5
Odysseus Speaking to the Dead....................6
The Trouble with Love....................7
Thera....................9
Overwhelmed....................10
The far islands....................11
Words to the Lover....................12
My Sister in Egypt....................13
I remember the ocean....................14
Leaving....................15
Lover....................16
Sunrise over Atlantis....................17
Nightbirds in Dreams....................18
Lover's Farewell....................19
Return....................20
My Flesh....................21
Faceless....................22
Masks....................23
Visions of You....................24
Impossible Lovers....................25
Awake....................26
The Room by the Sea....................27
The Golden Thread....................28
Chrysalis....................29
The Other Face....................30
Moonrise....................31
I Never Have You....................32
The voice of the absent lover....................33
Summer 2005....................34
In the dark....................37
Only you and God....................38
Is this my life?....................40
Poems on a Rainy Night....................41
The door....................42
Santorini Memory....................43
The end of time....................44
No Dolphins here....................45
The sound of the loom....................46
On the beaches of the world....................47
The Orders....................48
The afternoon lover....................49
Former loves....................50
The sea's own....................51
explanations are never enough....................52
We waited for orders....................53
The dead....................54
his Solitary Ocean....................55
From here the waves look endless....................56
Dreamers together....................57
Venice Remembered....................58
The Road to Damascus....................59
Us....................60
Arrival and Farewell....................61
Paths we walked....................62
The sound of her voice....................63
Three o'clock poetry....................64
Autumn 2005....................65
The echo of a life....................66
Former loves....................67
everything was already there....................68
Recollections....................69

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