Arts & Culture

POEM: Secret Places of the Stairs

Telling secrets in the secret places of the stairs: Fingertips, like lighted candles, reaching out, from the dark (O my dove, thou art in the secret places of the stairs) reaching out from the clefts of the rock, from the … Read More

By / September 4, 2008

Telling secrets in the secret places of the stairs: Fingertips, like lighted candles, reaching out, from the dark

(O my dove, thou art in the secret places of the stairs) reaching out from the clefts of the rock, from the secret places of the stairs; reaching out, going out, going dark in the secret places of the stairs. O daughters of Jerusalem, I am black but comely, like a tent at midnight with a lion crouching at its door, sniffing at its door, under a full moon in an empty sky on a black night of a blacker god who whispers secrets to the lost men giggling in the secret places of the stairs – the congregation of the lost men, the broken men, the men sans hair, sans teeth, sans everything. I cannot bear to keep them anymore, these secrets of the secret places of the stairs, nor dare I speak them even though you question me incessantly, “Speak! Why do you never speak?” I never speak because I lost my tongue where the dead men left their bones and the living pick at them. I dare not speak except to those who cannot hear, who have no ears to hear, but hide in fear among the secret places of the stairs, squatting in the dust and muttering their prayers to a black god in a blacker sky surrounding a dead moon on a still night in the secret places of the stairs.

 

L. G. Corey was born in 1934 into a family of Turkish Sephardim on his mother’s side, and Romanian Kohanim on his father’s. For over 40 years his poems and other writings have appeared in such magazines as The Beloit Poetry Journal, Evergreen Review, Choice: A Quarterly Anthology of Poetry (edited by the poet, John Logan), Midstream, Dor L’Dor: Journal of the World Bible Association of Jerusalem, The Newsletter of the Orthodox Jewish Teachers Association of New York, The Critic: A Journal of Contemporary Catholic Culture, Journal of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, and the Jungian anthology, Modern Jew In Search of a Soul (edited by the author and Jungian scholar, J. Marvin Spiegelman) in which he contributed the chapter, "Kabbalah and the Interpretation of Dreams." He is the founder and spiritual leader of Donmeh West: A Virtual Community for the Study and Practice of Neo-Sabbatian Kabbalah.
Image: Zion, paper cut, by Archie Granot.