Shall this frail body be the bridge that bears
Such blind, embloodied weight that screaming tears
At the mothering world, lost from the mothering womb
That gentle dark, that loving nothingness?
My century grows longer day by day
Lie-rotted now, ghost-trampled
Fear-drummed, by love be-bugled
And the pale snows smile deepening that lie
Where black rock ridges stare at a swirling sky.
For all of that, I still am not grown wise
My century's wit has been compressed to this:
Who would be born must build himself a bridge
Center to center, where darkness presses in
On seven gray horrors, unseen whisperers
Of frozen paranoid prayers in an echoless void.
Who would be born must set his foot at last
On the first step of twice-ten thousand miles
Nor shrink from the chasmed path, nor ever look back
At the salt pillars melting in the rain.
Who would be born must trust the bridge untried
Fling piteous wagers in that mad gambling
Nor ever ask, will this frail bridge suffice?
Will this frail body then suffice? I hear
The lost wind whimper in the creaking cold
And the raw blood cries, "If we fail, we fail!"
There is no other answer.
And all the while
How midwifely your touch descends to mine.
Next: I would disclose myself to you