Uruk’s Tower

‘Go to the walls and touch their immovable presence
With gentle fingers to find yourself.’
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Tablet I, column I

It is not a dream
This life.

Not me,
Nor my dreams.

I am not dream.
Nor is longing
Nor light
Nor dark
Nor sea
Nor sky
Nor my dreams dream,
Nor illusion.

I see, and in a way know, all is real
And every shadow, rock, and blade of grass of consequence.

For I have felt the city’s stones,
The rough hewed, cubed mountain roots,
Some cut stone, some baked clay,
The basic hard reality of earth,
With gentle fingers, too.

We have met across the Ages
And sat together in the same room.

You have taken me with gentle hands
To your secrete place of searchings—
You,
Whose thoughts and bird-like words were cut into clay,
As tablets to wing their way over mountains, years,
And the vaster spaces,
That trackless distant sea between the race’s head and heart.

‘Climb Uruk’s tower
And walk about on a windy night.
Look. Touch. Taste. Sense.’
You are no different than Gilgamesh or the Ancients
In the wind’s embrace.

How does spirit leap out of clay or page?
Why does wind wait patiently millennium to millennium
Penned in cuneiform
Waiting for light and eye and faith?

For the spirit proceeds from neither clay,
Nor eye, nor I, nor me—but Thee,
The maker of all men and things
In all times alike.

O Lord
At times I am blind, my fingers coarse and broken.
How can I read your Book’s braile?
Soften me.

And as the Son our sun
Release Love’s blazing light and selfless song
That we might see and hear.

Write within
And write without,
Upon these clay pots our life.

Roll your seal
Across these wetted, supple, living moments
That we, as thy sons,
Sealed
To Thee be.

Elliott Tepper 1995

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