We cannot know this statue, this satyr
with his head propped on a wineskin;
we cannot know if he dreams. In fact,
none can know in spite of aeons
of looking, of examining where his hip
is eaten away, eroded as if by our eyes.
For what has been lost we are to blame,
for what has been kept to be thrown
away. He sleeps, his brow furrowed, lips
furled, he sleeps in drunken stupor and his snores
though silent still insist. The need to be
drunk, we share this need to let consciousness
go. Satyr is the mentor
of blackout. He is the Bacchus we worship
within us. Observe in time his beard has grown
into the jug as man and vessel merge.
Together they seem content. He sleeps
because the wine has been drained.
There's no more stress, nor straining for he
no longer feels his hip, his brain, this unbearable
lightness. Now stone
seems to embrace this hallowed notion
of empty, of emptying space, this erasure, this sage
trace we sometimes leave behind. He is both
absent and present, a fading figure in a picture,
familiar, yet unrecognized,
ourselves at another age.
Mary di Michele, “If Stone Dreams,” from Debriefing the Rose: Poems. Copyright © 1998 by Mary di Michele. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Source: Debriefing the Rose: Poems (House of Anansi Press, 1998)