on the western slope of the Urals and the scatter
of lightning, now out of doors and into
the eagle span,
the true condition of bone
which is no more singular or settled or the
entitled guardian even, but the land of the
dead. Why are they lost, why do they
always wander, as if seeking
their end and drawing after them
the trail and fume of burning hemp?
Or they are not lost but
Passing: “If thoughtless abandonment
To the moment were really a blessing, I
Had actually been in ‘the Land of the
Blessed’.”
But it was not blessing, rather a fact so
hard-won that only the twist in the middle
air would do it anyway, so even he be wise
or with any recourse to the darkness of
his tent. The sequence of issue is no
more than this,
Apollo’s price, staff
leaning into the
ground and out

through the smoke-hole.
It is the spirit which dies
As the figure of change, which
Is the myth and fact of extent,
Which thus does start from
Marmora, or Aklavik, right
Out of the air.

No one harms these people: they
are sacred and have no
weapons. They sit or pass, in
the form of divine song,
They are free in the apt form of
displacement. They change
their shape, being of the essence as
a figure of extent. Which
for the power in rhyme
is gold, in this northern clime
which the Greeks so held to themselves and
which in the steppe was no more
than the royal figment.

This movement was of
course cruel beyond belief, as this
was the risk Aristeas took
with him. The conquests were for the motive of
sway, involving massive slaughter as the
obverse politics of claim. That is, slaves and
animals, life and not value. “the western Sar-
matian tribes lived side by side not in a loose
tribal configuration, but had been welded
into an organised imperium
under the leadership of one
royal tribe.” Royalty
as plural. Hence the calender as taking of
life, which left gold as the side-issue, pure
figure.

Guarded by the griffins, which lived close to the
mines, the gold reposed as the divine brilliance,
petrology of the sea air, so far from the shore
The beasts dug the metal out with
their eagle beaks, rending in the
cruel frost of that earth, and
yet they were the guardians, the figure of flight
and heat and the northern twist of the axis.
His name Aristeas, absent for
these seven years: we should
pay them or steal, it is no
more than the question they ask.


JH PRYNNE-
From
THE WHITE STONES