I couldn’t stop for a moment to
appreciate the white simplicity of marble -
What beautiful hands, so inhuman,
So painful to sculpt -
A hammer into your eyelids:
From unseeing -
To black clean holes for mirrors.
And then the statues carved in bronze -
Such huge feet and faces, intrepidly distorted
Perversion, attractive, committing suicide
On a bridge to the receptive river.
When two black plaits of Styx
And claustrophobic Nile
Find their way into sand,
No precise place for grave -
Either to be discovered by two sticks
Or lash out against the houses
Tornado-like in hum-drum pity.
Sand is the greatest peace treaty -
Better that the Code of Hammurabi:
A bloody blister on my foot
Into the gentle substance
Sand appears very much to be the barrier between a variety of opposing forces (life and death/community and individuality/activity and inertia), but it especially addresses the mysteries of the former pair. The passage of death over the river Styx, the essence of life in the ancient Nile, the Biblical command that the shoreline should mark the furthest boundary of the sea. Things that both marble and bronze cannot experience, but humans know every time they have an injury; the barrier is thin and life is fragile.