Who among you will embrace the rope,
Will contemplate its perfect braids,
Will marvel at its aesthetic, its symmetry?
O the rough hemp fibres so subordinated!
Like a Roman army to the task so aligned.
The perfect balance of silence and violence
Supple and pliant as a dozing adder.
Gaze you upon this irresistible thing!
As commanding as Rome’s Moses.
As imposing as Firenze’s David.
A texture to transfix the finger, numb the mind.
O the history and deeds of its thousand fathers!
Like Sodom and Gomorrah burning
It commands my disobedient eye.
Upon my lips already
The pungent taste of salt.