Subterranean Love


I sit alone on the shore of this dark cold lake

                  and let the lantern hiss engulf my thoughts

Deep in crevices random chips of quartz

                  and apatite catch the light and send it flying back

And once in a great while

                  a single drop falls from one of the huge

                  stalactites above and rides the windless air down

To fall into the lake the bell-like plop resonating

                  for long seconds while concentric rings of hunchback

                  water slowly crawl across the surface and scuttle up

                  at last upon the shore


Smells of immortality hang inside my cave

Rock icicles frow forever in inches measured every

                  thousand years

While the lake below holds the mirror of Narcissus to the

                  living rock gazing trapped upon it from above


                  the madness comes and softly steals my mind

                  the secrets of the night a' seeping down from the

                                    complacent world above


Turning out the lantern I scream and scream

                  while echoes tear around the walls

Goblin women softly creep from the hidden

                  cracks of the earth and fall upon me

Their cruel nails and teeth are all about me tearing

                  tearing at my clothes and flesh

Raping me in the deep places of the world

Until I can stand it no longer and the healing darkness

                  without enters me and I know no more


I awake bruised and spent to bring the truth

                  of light again to my cavern

Its shadows flee beyond my reach

While caught in mid-flight another diamond teardrop plunges

                  to the water


The lake intrigues me flat and still as smoked unsilvered


Crawling to its edge I scan its depths but nothing shows

                  my light obliquely bouncing off the deep reflection

                  of the roof

I strip my clothes away and touch my toes to the water's

                  liquid edge

Its cool touch caresses my feet

                  the ripples running away with the news

Emboldened I go slowly forward

My body starts to disappear below the mirror's surface

The cold smooth rock beneath my feet the only assurance

                  that they are there


The icy water climbs inside my bones

                  my groin and belly flutter 'til they are lost as well

At last I stop with water at my lips

                  the limestone taste confusing on my tongue

The light from shore is dim and cold

                  blind fish nose here and there about my legs


Looking up

                  a single drop from above

                  strikes me on the forehead and wets my hair


I surrender it to the lake

                  which promises me the secrets of the deeps


                                                                                                            Christopher J. Cramer

                                                                                                            October 19, 1983