The poet is a Proteus who flows
Up from the sea into a quaking tree
And from a tree into a snake, a rose,
A person and a stone, a tiny flea.
I am these things -- I speak their language, hear
Their thoughts and sighs -- I delve into their time
And space to tell you what they most revere,
Each dream and virtue, every lust and crime.
And thus you cannot hold me down, proclaim
You know my mind -- I am the voice of each
And every being which emerges, same
And different -- these are what I come to teach.
I am a lion -- try to grasp my mane
And I will like a fountain flow away
Between your fingers -- get a cup, it's vain,
For I'll become a golden ass and bray.
I am the atom and the stone, the stars
And firmament -- I am the flowers, fruit
Upon the branch, strong horses and old cars --
I am the leopard and earth-bound newt.
I'm man and woman, sane and lunatic,
I'm mortal and divine -- and in this strife
Where all I speak is true and but a trick
You'll find uncovered consciousness and life.