By Jeff Koons
SHEBA'S GIFTS TO SOLOMON
Queen Sheba loads forty mules with gold bricks
as gifts for Solomon. When her envoy and his party
reach the wide plain leading to Solomon's palace,
they see that the top layer of the entire plain
is pure gold. They travel on gold
for forty days!
What foolishness to take gold
to Solomon, when the dirt of his land
is gold. You who think to offer
your intelligence, reconsider. The mind
is less than road dust.
The embarrassing commonness they bring only
slows them down. They argue. They discuss
turning back, but they continue,
carrying out the orders of their queen.
Solomon laughs when he sees them unloading
"When have I asked you
for a sop for my soup? I don't want gifts
from you. I want you to be ready
for the gifts I give.
You worship a planet that creates gold.
Worship instead the one who creates the universe.
You worship the sun. The sun is only a cook.
Think of a solar eclipse. What if you get attacked
at midnight? Who will help you then?"
These astronomical matters fade.
Another initimacy happens,
a sun at midnight,
with no east, no night or day.
The clearest intelligences faint,
seeing the solar system flickering,
so tiny in that immense lightness.
Drops fall into a vapor, and the vapor explodes
into a galaxy. Half a ray strikes a patch of darkness.
A new sun appears.
One slight, alchemical gesture,
and saturnine qualities form inside
the planet Saturn.
The sensuous eye needs sunlight to see.
Use another eye.
Vision is luminous.
Sight is igneous, and sun-fire light very dark.