Dylan Thomas |
The bows glided down, and the coast
Blackened with birds took a last look
At his thrashing hair and whale-blue eye;
The trodden town rang its cobbles for luck.
Then good-bye to the fishermanned
Boat with its anchor free and fast
As a bird hooking over the sea,
High and dry by the top of the mast,
Whispered the affectionate sand
And the bulwarks of the dazzled quay.
For my sake sail, and never look back,
Said the looking land.
Sails drank the wind, and white as milk
He sped into the drinking dark;
The sun shipwrecked west on a pearl
And the moon swam out of its hulk.
Funnels and masts went by in a whirl.
Good-bye to the man on the sea-legged deck
To the gold gut that sings on his reel
To the bait that stalked out of the sack,
For we saw him throw to the swift flood
A girl alive with his hooks through her lips;
All the fishes were rayed in blood,
Said the dwindling ships.
Good-bye to chimneys and funnels,
Old wives that spin in the smoke,
He was blind to the eyes of candles
In the praying windows of waves
But heard his bait buck in the wake
And tussle in a shoal of loves.
Now cast down your rod, for the whole
Of the sea is hilly with whales,
She longs among horses and angels,
The rainbow-fish bend in her joys,
Floated the lost cathedral
Chimes of the rocked buoys.
Where the anchor rode like a gull
Miles over the moonstruck boat
A squall of birds bellowed and fell,
A cloud blew the rain from its throat;
He saw the storm smoke out to kill
With fuming bows and ram of ice,
Fire on starlight, rake Jesu's stream;
And nothing shone on the water's face
But the oil and bubble of the moon,
Plunging and piercing in his course
The lured fish under the foam
Witnessed with a kiss.
Whales in the wake like capes and Alps
Quaked the sick sea and snouted deep,
Deep the great bushed bait with raining lips
Slipped the fins of those humpbacked tons
And fled their love in a weaving dip.
Oh, Jericho was falling in their lungs!
She nipped and dived in the nick of love,
Spun on a spout like a long-legged ball
Till every beast blared down in a swerve
Till every turtle crushed from his shell
Till every bone in the rushing grave
Rose and crowed and fell!
Good luck to the hand on the rod,
There is thunder under its thumbs;
Gold gut is a lightning thread,
His fiery reel sings off its flames,
The whirled boat in the burn of his blood
Is crying from nets to knives,
Oh the shearwater birds and their boatsized brood
Oh the bulls of Biscay and their calves
Are making under the green, laid veil
The long-legged beautiful bait their wives.
Break the black news and paint on a sail
Huge weddings in the waves,
Over the wakeward-flashing spray
Over the gardens of the floor
Clash out the mounting dolphin's day,
My mast is a bell-spire,
Strike and smoothe, for my decks are drums,
Sing through the water-spoken prow
The octopus walking into her limbs
The polar eagle with his tread of snow.
From salt-lipped beak to the kick of the stern
Sing how the seal has kissed her dead!
The long, laid minute's bride drifts on
Old in her cruel bed.
Over the graveyard in the water
Mountains and galleries beneath
Nightingale and hyena
Rejoicing for that drifting death
Sing and howl through sand and anemone
Valley and sahara in a shell,
Oh all the wanting flesh his enemy
Thrown to the sea in the shell of a girl
Is old as water and plain as an eel;
Always good-bye to the long-legged bread
Scattered in the paths of his heels
For the salty birds fluttered and fed
And the tall grains foamed in their bills;
Always good-bye to the fires of the face,
For the crab-backed dead on the sea-bed rose
And scuttled over her eyes,
The blind, clawed stare is cold as sleet.
The tempter under the eyelid
Who shows to the selves asleep
Mast-high moon-white women naked
Walking in wishes and lovely for shame
Is dumb and gone with his flame of brides.
Susannah's drowned in the bearded stream
And no-one stirs at Sheba's side
But the hungry kings of the tides;
Sin who had a woman's shape
Sleeps till Silence blows on a cloud
And all the lifted waters walk and leap.
Lucifer that bird's dropping
Out of the sides of the north
Has melted away and is lost
Is always lost in her vaulted breath,
Venus lies star-struck in her wound
And the sensual ruins make
Seasons over the liquid world,
White springs in the dark.
Always good-bye, cried the voices through the shell,
Good-bye always, for the flesh is cast
And the fisherman winds his reel
With no more desire than a ghost.
Always good luck, praised the finned in the feather
Bird after dark and the laughing fish
As the sails drank up the hail of thunder
And the long-tailed lightning lit his catch.
The boat swims into the six-year weather,
A wind throws a shadow and it freezes fast.
See what the gold gut drags from under
Mountains and galleries to the crest!
See what clings to hair and skull
As the boat skims on with drinking wings!
The statues of great rain stand still,
And the flakes fall like hills.
Sing and strike his heavy haul
Toppling up the boatside in a snow of light!
His decks are drenched with miracles.
Oh miracle of fishes! The long dead bite!
Out of the urn a size of a man
Out of the room the weight of his trouble
Out of the house that holds a town
In the continent of a fossil
One by one in dust and shawl,
Dry as echoes and insect-faced,
His fathers cling to the hand of the girl
And the dead hand leads the past,
Leads them as children and as air
On to the blindly tossing tops;
The centuries throw back their hair
And the old men sing from newborn lips:
Time is bearing another son.
Kill Time! She turns in her pain!
The oak is felled in the acorn
And the hawk in the egg kills the wren.
He who blew the great fire in
And died on a hiss of flames
Or walked the earth in the evening
Counting the denials of the grains
Clings to her drifting hair, and climbs;
And he who taught their lips to sing
Weeps like the risen sun among
The liquid choirs of his tribes.
The rod bends low, divining land,
And through the sundered water crawls
A garden holding to her hand
With birds and animals
With men and women and waterfalls
Trees cool and dry in the whirlpool of ships
And stunned and still on the green, laid veil
Sand with legends in its virgin laps
And prophets loud on the burned dunes;
Insects and valleys hold her thighs hard,
Times and places grip her breast bone,
She is breaking with seasons and clouds;
Round her trailed wrist fresh water weaves,
with moving fish and rounded stones
Up and down the greater waves
A separate river breathes and runs;
Strike and sing his catch of fields
For the surge is sown with barley,
The cattle graze on the covered foam,
The hills have footed the waves away,
With wild sea fillies and soaking bridles
With salty colts and gales in their limbs
All the horses of his haul of miracles
Gallop through the arched, green farms,
Trot and gallop with gulls upon them
And thunderbolts in their manes.
O Rome and Sodom To-morrow and London
The country tide is cobbled with towns
And steeples pierce the cloud on her shoulder
And the streets that the fisherman combed
When his long-legged flesh was a wind on fire
And his loin was a hunting flame
Coil from the thoroughfares of her hair
And terribly lead him home alive
Lead her prodigal home to his terror,
The furious ox-killing house of love.
Down, down, down, under the ground,
Under the floating villages,
Turns the moon-chained and water-wound
Metropolis of fishes,
There is nothing left of the sea but its sound,
Under the earth the loud sea walks,
In deathbeds of orchards the boat dies down
And the bait is drowned among hayricks,
Land, land, land, nothing remains
Of the pacing, famous sea but its speech,
And into its talkative seven tombs
The anchor dives through the floors of a church.
Good-bye, good luck, struck the sun and the moon,
To the fisherman lost on the land.
He stands alone in the door of his home,
With his long-legged heart in his hand.
Gregory Corso |
Budger of history Brake of time You Bomb
Toy of universe Grandest of all snatched sky I cannot hate you
Do I hate the mischievous thunderbolt the jawbone of an ass
The bumpy club of One Million B.
the mace the flail the axe
Catapult Da Vinci tomahawk Cochise flintlock Kidd dagger Rathbone
Ah and the sad desparate gun of Verlaine Pushkin Dillinger Bogart
And hath not St.
Michael a burning sword St.
George a lance David a sling
Bomb you are as cruel as man makes you and you're no crueller than cancer
All Man hates you they'd rather die by car-crash lightning drowning
Falling off a roof electric-chair heart-attack old age old age O Bomb
They'd rather die by anything but you Death's finger is free-lance
Not up to man whether you boom or not Death has long since distributed its
categorical blue I sing thee Bomb Death's extravagance Death's jubilee
Gem of Death's supremest blue The flyer will crash his death will differ
with the climbor who'll fall to die by cobra is not to die by bad pork
Some die by swamp some by sea and some by the bushy-haired man in the night
O there are deaths like witches of Arc Scarey deaths like Boris Karloff
No-feeling deaths like birth-death sadless deaths like old pain Bowery
Abandoned deaths like Capital Punishment stately deaths like senators
And unthinkable deaths like Harpo Marx girls on Vogue covers my own
I do not know just how horrible Bombdeath is I can only imagine
Yet no other death I know has so laughable a preview I scope
a city New York City streaming starkeyed subway shelter
Scores and scores A fumble of humanity High heels bend
Hats whelming away Youth forgetting their combs
Ladies not knowing what to do with their shopping bags
Unperturbed gum machines Yet dangerous 3rd rail
Ritz Brothers from the Bronx caught in the A train
The smiling Schenley poster will always smile
Impish death Satyr Bomb Bombdeath
Turtles exploding over Istanbul
The jaguar's flying foot
soon to sink in arctic snow
Penguins plunged against the Sphinx
The top of the Empire state
arrowed in a broccoli field in Sicily
Eiffel shaped like a C in Magnolia Gardens
Sophia peeling over Sudan
O athletic Death Sportive Bomb
the temples of ancient times
their grand ruin ceased
Electrons Protons Neutrons
gathering Hersperean hair
walking the dolorous gulf of Arcady
joining marble helmsmen
entering the final ampitheater
with a hymnody feeling of all Troys
heralding cypressean torches
racing plumes and banners
and yet knowing Homer with a step of grace
Lo the visiting team of Present
the home team of Past
Lyre and tube together joined
Hark the hotdog soda olive grape
gala galaxy robed and uniformed
commissary O the happy stands
Ethereal root and cheer and boo
The billioned all-time attendance
The Zeusian pandemonium
Hermes racing Owens
The Spitball of Buddha
Christ striking out
Luther stealing third
Planeterium Death Hosannah Bomb
Gush the final rose O Spring Bomb
Come with thy gown of dynamite green
unmenace Nature's inviolate eye
Before you the wimpled Past
behind you the hallooing Future O Bomb
Bound in the grassy clarion air
like the fox of the tally-ho
thy field the universe thy hedge the geo
Leap Bomb bound Bomb frolic zig and zag
The stars a swarm of bees in thy binging bag
Stick angels on your jubilee feet
wheels of rainlight on your bunky seat
You are due and behold you are due
and the heavens are with you
hosanna incalescent glorious liaison
BOMB O havoc antiphony molten cleft BOOM
Bomb mark infinity a sudden furnace
spread thy multitudinous encompassed Sweep
set forth awful agenda
Carrion stars charnel planets carcass elements
Corpse the universe tee-hee finger-in-the-mouth hop
over its long long dead Nor
From thy nimbled matted spastic eye
exhaust deluges of celestial ghouls
From thy appellational womb
spew birth-gusts of of great worms
Rip open your belly Bomb
from your belly outflock vulturic salutations
Battle forth your spangled hyena finger stumps
along the brink of Paradise
O Bomb O final Pied Piper
both sun and firefly behind your shock waltz
God abandoned mock-nude
beneath His thin false-talc's apocalypse
He cannot hear thy flute's
He is spilled deaf into the Silencer's warty ear
His Kingdom an eternity of crude wax
Clogged clarions untrumpet Him
Sealed angels unsing Him
A thunderless God A dead God
O Bomb thy BOOM His tomb
That I lean forward on a desk of science
an astrologer dabbling in dragon prose
half-smart about wars bombs especially bombs
That I am unable to hate what is necessary to love
That I can't exist in a world that consents
a child in a park a man dying in an electric-chair
That I am able to laugh at all things
all that I know and do not know thus to conceal my pain
That I say I am a poet and therefore love all man
knowing my words to be the acquainted prophecy of all men
and my unwords no less an acquaintanceship
That I am manifold
a man pursuing the big lies of gold
or a poet roaming in bright ashes
or that which I imagine myself to be
a shark-toothed sleep a man-eater of dreams
I need not then be all-smart about bombs
Happily so for if I felt bombs were caterpillars
I'd doubt not they'd become butterflies
There is a hell for bombs
They're there I see them there
They sit in bits and sing songs
mostly German songs
And two very long American songs
and they wish there were more songs
especially Russian and Chinese songs
and some more very long American songs
Poor little Bomb that'll never be
an Eskimo song I love thee
I want to put a lollipop
in thy furcal mouth
A wig of Goldilocks on thy baldy bean
and have you skip with me Hansel and Gretel
along the Hollywoodian screen
O Bomb in which all lovely things
moral and physical anxiously participate
O fairylike plucked from the
grandest universe tree
O piece of heaven which gives
both mountain and anthill a sun
I am standing before your fantastic lily door
I bring you Midgardian roses Arcadian musk
Reputed cosmetics from the girls of heaven
Welcome me fear not thy opened door
nor thy cold ghost's grey memory
nor the pimps of indefinite weather
their cruel terrestial thaw
Oppenheimer is seated
in the dark pocket of Light
Fermi is dry in Death's Mozambique
Einstein his mythmouth
a barnacled wreath on the moon-squid's head
Let me in Bomb rise from that pregnant-rat corner
nor fear the raised-broom nations of the world
O Bomb I love you
I want to kiss your clank eat your boom
You are a paean an acme of scream
a lyric hat of Mister Thunder
O resound thy tanky knees
BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM
BOOM ye skies and BOOM ye suns
BOOM BOOM ye moons ye stars BOOM
nights ye BOOM ye days ye BOOM
BOOM BOOM ye winds ye clouds ye rains
go BANG ye lakes ye oceans BING
Barracuda BOOM and cougar BOOM
Ubangi BOOM orangutang
BING BANG BONG BOOM bee bear baboon
ye BANG ye BONG ye BING
the tail the fin the wing
Yes Yes into our midst a bomb will fall
Flowers will leap in joy their roots aching
Fields will kneel proud beneath the halleluyahs of the wind
Pinkbombs will blossom Elkbombs will perk their ears
Ah many a bomb that day will awe the bird a gentle look
Yet not enough to say a bomb will fall
or even contend celestial fire goes out
Know that the earth will madonna the Bomb
that in the hearts of men to come more bombs will be born
magisterial bombs wrapped in ermine all beautiful
and they'll sit plunk on earth's grumpy empires
fierce with moustaches of gold
Ruth Padel |
(published on BLINKING EYE, http://www.
Then spoke the thunder, shattering the looming blackness of our national life.
The rumble that breaks a spell of the dry season
– Saro-Wiwa, "The Storm Breaks"
Does a zebra foal dream? Head lower, lower
under lenticular dark cloud,
he drags harlequin fetlocks, porcelain
quails' egg hooflets through pimpling dust,
slower, slower through the silver
rainbow night, this soot and fester
cellar-lighting, electricity of the blue
and evil eye.
Night ringed with eyes,
gutter-glow of new-soused theatre,
hyena, leopard, caracal (that caramel cat
with ear tufts, anxious to feed her cubs)
watching the lame foal weakened by drought.
All you know is, that you don't know,
and are afraid.
where the big rocks laugh apart.
crowd this long auditorium, segment
after segment of the midnight shuffle-plains.
They radar in on bodies, fluids, molecules
of flesh that do not know they glow, they draw.
Let's give him one dream-memory,
a zebra wish fulfilled in dazing plod,
some sheer green wall of sugarcane.
And look - he's made it through
into the bleach and blaze, rose curdling
over indigo and lard, this granult scar
One more dawn nearer the water.
Sky blood-taggled, blood-tufted,
rushes over him like a white bowl
at the end of things, the little safe horizon
of a pilot's dial,
an inventory of therapeutic gems.
Vachel Lindsay |
[How different people and different animals look upon the moon: showing that each creature finds in it his own mood and disposition]
The Old Horse in the City
The moon's a peck of corn.
Heaped up for me to eat.
I wish that I might climb the path
And taste that supper sweet.
Men feed me straw and scanty grain
And beat me till I'm sore.
Some day I'll break the halter-rope
And smash the stable-door,
Run down the street and mount the hill
Just as the corn appears.
I've seen it rise at certain times
For years and years and years.
What the Hyena Said
The moon is but a golden skull,
She mounts the heavens now,
And Moon-Worms, mighty Moon-Worms
Are wreathed around her brow.
The Moon-Worms are a doughty race:
They eat her gray and golden face.
Her eye-sockets dead, and molding head:
These caverns are their dwelling-place.
The Moon-Worms, serpents of the skies,
From the great hollows of her eyes
Behold all souls, and they are wise:
With tiny, keen and icy eyes,
Behold how each man sins and dies.
When Earth in gold-corruption lies
Long dead, the moon-worm butterflies
On cyclone wings will reach this place —
Yea, rear their brood on earth's dead face.
What the Snow Man Said
The Moon's a snowball.
See the drifts
Of white that cross the sphere.
The Moon's a snowball, melted down
A dozen times a year.
Yet rolled again in hot July
When all my days are done
And cool to greet the weary eye
After the scorching sun.
The moon's a piece of winter fair
Renewed the year around,
Behold it, deathless and unstained,
Above the grimy ground!
It rolls on high so brave and white
Where the clear air-rivers flow,
Proclaiming Christmas all the time
And the glory of the snow!
What the Scare-crow Said
The dim-winged spirits of the night
Do fear and serve me well.
They creep from out the hedges of
The garden where I dwell.
I wave my arms across the walk.
The troops obey the sign,
And bring me shimmering shadow-robes
And cups of cowslip-wine.
Then dig a treasure called the moon,
A very precious thing,
And keep it in the air for me
Because I am a King.
What Grandpa Mouse Said
The moon's a holy owl-queen.
She keeps them in a jar
Under her arm till evening,
Then sallies forth to war.
She pours the owls upon us.
They hoot with horrid noise
And eat the naughty mousie-girls
And wicked mousie-boys.
So climb the moonvine every night
And to the owl-queen pray:
Leave good green cheese by moonlit trees
For her to take away.
And never squeak, my children,
Nor gnaw the smoke-house door:
The owl-queen then will love us
And send her birds no more.
The Beggar Speaks
"What Mister Moon Said to Me.
Come, eat the bread of idleness,
Come, sit beside the spring:
Some of the flowers will keep awake,
Some of the birds will sing.
Come, eat the bread no man has sought
For half a hundred years:
Men hurry so they have no griefs,
Nor even idle tears:
They hurry so they have no loves:
They cannot curse nor laugh —
Their hearts die in their youth with neither
Grave nor epitaph.
My bread would make them careless,
And never quite on time —
Their eyelids would be heavy,
Their fancies full of rhyme:
Each soul a mystic rose-tree,
Or a curious incense tree:
Come, eat the bread of idleness,
Said Mister Moon to me.
What the Forester Said
The moon is but a candle-glow
That flickers thro' the gloom:
The starry space, a castle hall:
And Earth, the children's room,
Where all night long the old trees stand
To watch the streams asleep:
Grandmothers guarding trundle-beds:
Good shepherds guarding sheep.
Friedrich von Schiller |
"What knight or what vassal will be so bold
As to plunge in the gulf below?
See! I hurl in its depths a goblet of gold,
Already the waters over it flow.
The man who can bring back the goblet to me,
May keep it henceforward,--his own it shall be.
Thus speaks the king, and he hurls from the height
Of the cliffs that, rugged and steep,
Hang over the boundless sea, with strong might,
The goblet afar, in the bellowing deep.
"And who'll be so daring,--I ask it once more,--
As to plunge in these billows that wildly roar?"
And the vassals and knights of high degree
Hear his words, but silent remain.
They cast their eyes on the raging sea,
And none will attempt the goblet to gain.
And a third time the question is asked by the king:
"Is there none that will dare in the gulf now to spring?"
Yet all as before in silence stand,
When a page, with a modest pride,
Steps out of the timorous squirely band,
And his girdle and mantle soon throws aside,
And all the knights, and the ladies too,
The noble stripling with wonderment view.
And when he draws nigh to the rocky brow,
And looks in the gulf so black,
The waters that she had swallowed but now,
The howling Charybdis is giving back;
And, with the distant thunder's dull sound.
From her gloomy womb they all-foaming rebound.
And it boils and it roars, and it hisses and seethes,
As when water and fire first blend;
To the sky spurts the foam in steam-laden wreaths,
And wave presses hard upon wave without end.
And the ocean will never exhausted be,
As if striving to bring forth another sea.
But at length the wild tumult seems pacified,
And blackly amid the white swell
A gaping chasm its jaws opens wide,
As if leading down to the depths of hell:
And the howling billows are seen by each eye
Down the whirling funnel all madly to fly.
Then quickly, before the breakers rebound,
The stripling commends him to Heaven,
And--a scream of horror is heard around,--
And now by the whirlpool away he is driven,
And secretly over the swimmer brave
Close the jaws, and he vanishes 'neath the dark wave.
O'er the watery gulf dread silence now lies,
But the deep sends up a dull yell,
And from mouth to mouth thus trembling it flies:
"Courageous stripling, oh, fare thee well!"
And duller and duller the howls recommence,
While they pause in anxious and fearful suspense.
"If even thy crown in the gulf thou shouldst fling,
And shouldst say, 'He who brings it to me
Shall wear it henceforward, and be the king,'
Thou couldst tempt me not e'en with that precious foe;
What under the howling deep is concealed
To no happy living soul is revealed!"
Full many a ship, by the whirlpool held fast,
Shoots straightway beneath the mad wave,
And, dashed to pieces, the hull and the mast
Emerge from the all-devouring grave,--
And the roaring approaches still nearer and nearer,
Like the howl of the tempest, still clearer and clearer.
And it boils and it roars, and it hisses and seethes,
As when water and fire first blend;
To the sky spurts the foam in steam-laden wreaths,
And wave passes hard upon wave without end.
And, with the distant thunder's dull sound,
From the ocean-womb they all-bellowing bound.
And lo! from the darkly flowing tide
Comes a vision white as a swan,
And an arm and a glistening neck are descried,
With might and with active zeal steering on;
And 'tis he, and behold! his left hand on high
Waves the goblet, while beaming with joy is his eye.
Then breathes he deeply, then breathes he long,
And blesses the light of the day;
While gladly exclaim to each other the throng:
"He lives! he is here! he is not the sea's prey!
From the tomb, from the eddying waters' control,
The brave one has rescued his living soul!"
And he comes, and they joyously round him stand;
At the feet of the monarch he falls,--
The goblet he, kneeling, puts in his hand,
And the king to his beauteous daughter calls,
Who fills it with sparkling wine to the brim;
The youth turns to the monarch, and speaks thus to him:
"Long life to the king! Let all those be glad
Who breathe in the light of the sky!
For below all is fearful, of moment sad;
Let not man to tempt the immortals e'er try,
Let him never desire the thing to see
That with terror and night they veil graciously.
"I was torn below with the speed of light,
When out of a cavern of rock
Rushed towards me a spring with furious might;
I was seized by the twofold torrent's wild shock,
And like a top, with a whirl and a bound,
Despite all resistance, was whirled around.
"Then God pointed out,--for to Him I cried
In that terrible moment of need,--
A craggy reef in the gulf's dark side;
I seized it in haste, and from death was then freed.
And there, on sharp corals, was hanging the cup,--
The fathomless pit had else swallowed it up.
"For under me lay it, still mountain-deep,
In a darkness of purple-tinged dye,
And though to the ear all might seem then asleep
With shuddering awe 'twas seen by the eye
How the salamanders' and dragons' dread forms
Filled those terrible jaws of hell with their swarms.
"There crowded, in union fearful and black,
In a horrible mass entwined,
The rock-fish, the ray with the thorny back,
And the hammer-fish's misshapen kind,
And the shark, the hyena dread of the sea,
With his angry teeth, grinned fiercely on me.
"There hung I, by fulness of terror possessed,
Where all human aid was unknown,
Amongst phantoms, the only sensitive breast,
In that fearful solitude all alone,
Where the voice of mankind could not reach to mine ear,
'Mid the monsters foul of that wilderness drear.
"Thus shuddering methought--when a something crawled near,
And a hundred limbs it out-flung,
And at me it snapped;--in my mortal fear,
I left hold of the coral to which I had clung;
Then the whirlpool seized on me with maddened roar,
Yet 'twas well, for it brought me to light once more.
The story in wonderment hears the king,
And he says, "The cup is thine own,
And I purpose also to give thee this ring,
Adorned with a costly, a priceless stone,
If thou'lt try once again, and bring word to me
What thou saw'st in the nethermost depths of the sea.
His daughter hears this with emotions soft,
And with flattering accent prays she:
"That fearful sport, father, attempt not too oft!
What none other would dare, he hath ventured for thee;
If thy heart's wild longings thou canst not tame,
Let the knights, if they can, put the squire to shame.
The king then seizes the goblet in haste,
In the gulf he hurls it with might:
"When the goblet once more in my hands thou hast placed,
Thou shalt rank at my court as the noblest knight,
And her as a bride thou shalt clasp e'en to-day,
Who for thee with tender compassion doth pray.
Then a force, as from Heaven, descends on him there,
And lightning gleams in his eye,
And blushes he sees on her features so fair,
And he sees her turn pale, and swooning lie;
Then eager the precious guerdon to win,
For life or for death, lo! he plunges him in!
The breakers they hear, and the breakers return,
Proclaimed by a thundering sound;
They bend o'er the gulf with glances that yearn,
And the waters are pouring in fast around;
Though upwards and downwards they rush and they rave,
The youth is brought back by no kindly wave.
Delmore Schwartz |
Nothing is given which is not taken.
Little or nothing is taken which is not freely desired,
freely, truly and fully.
"You would not seek me if you had not found me": this is
true of all that is supremely desired and admired.
"An enigma is an animal," said the hurried, harried
And a horse divided against itself cannot stand;
And a moron is a man who believes in having too many
wives: what harm is there in that?
O the endless fecundity of poetry is equaled
By its endless inexhaustible freshness, as in the discovery
of America and of poetry.
Hence it is clear that the truth is not strait and narrow but infinite:
All roads lead to Rome and to poetry
and to poem, sweet poem
and from, away and towards are the same typography.
Hence the poet must be, in a way, stupid and naive and a
Unless ye be as a little child ye cannot enter the kingdom
Hence the poet must be able to become a tiger like Blake; a
carousel like Rilke.
Hence he must be all things to be free, for all impersonations
a doormat and a monument
to all situations possible or actual
The cuckold, the cuckoo, the conqueror, and the coxcomb.
It is to him in the zoo that the zoo cries out and the hyena:
"Hello, take off your hat, king of the beasts, and be seated,
And hence the poet must seek to be essentially anonymous.
He must die a little death each morning.
He must swallow his toad and study his vomit
as Baudelaire studied la charogne of Jeanne Duval.
The poet must be or become both Keats and Renoir and
Keats as Renoir.
Mozart as Figaro and Edgar Allan Poe as Ophelia, stoned
out of her mind
drowning in the river called forever river and ever.
Keats as Mimi, Camille, and an aging gourmet.
He must also refuse the favors of the unattainable lady
(As Baudelaire refused Madame Sabatier when the fair
blonde summoned him,
For Jeanne Duval was enough and more than enough,
although she cuckolded him
With errand boys, servants, waiters; reality was Jeanne Duval.
Had he permitted Madame Sabatier to teach the poet a greater whiteness,
His devotion and conception of the divinity of Beauty
would have suffered an absolute diminution.
The poet must be both Casanova and St.
He must be Adonis, Nero, Hippolytus, Heathcliff, and
Genghis Kahn, Genghis Cohen, and Gordon Martini
Dandy Ghandi and St.
Professor Tenure, and Dizzy the dean and Disraeli of Death.
He would have worn the horns of existence upon his head,
He would have perceived them regarding the looking-glass,
He would have needed them the way a moose needs a hatrack;
Above his heavy head and in his loaded eyes, black and scorched,
He would have seen the meaning of the hat-rack, above the glass
Looking in the dark foyer.
For the poet must become nothing but poetry,
He must be nothing but a poem when he is writing
Until he is absent-minded as the dead are
Forgetful as the nymphs of Lethe and a lobotomy.
("the fat weed that rots on Lethe wharf").
Robert Southey |
O thou who from the mountain's height
Roll'st down thy clouds with all their weight
Of waters to old Niles majestic tide;
Or o'er the dark sepulchral plain
Recallest thy Palmyra's ancient pride,
Amid whose desolated domes
Secure the savage chacal roams,
Where from the fragments of the hallow'd fane
The Arabs rear their miserable homes!
Hear Genius hear thy children's cry!
Not always should'st thou love to brood
Stern o'er the desert solitude
Where seas of sand toss their hot surges high;
Nor Genius should the midnight song
Detain thee in some milder mood
The palmy plains among
Where Gambia to the torches light
Flows radiant thro' the awaken'd night.
Ah, linger not to hear the song!
Genius avenge thy children's wrong!
The Daemon COMMERCE on your shore
Pours all the horrors of his train,
And hark! where from the field of gore
Howls the hyena o'er the slain!
Lo! where the flaming village fires the skies!
Avenging Power awake--arise!
Arise thy children's wrong redress!
Ah heed the mother's wretchedness
When in the hot infectious air
O'er her sick babe she bows opprest--
Ah hear her when the Christians tear
The drooping infant from her breast!
Whelm'd in the waters he shall rest!
Hear thou the wretched mother's cries,
Avenging Power awake! arise!
By the rank infected air
That taints those dungeons of despair,
By those who there imprison'd die
Where the black herd promiscuous lie,
By the scourges blacken'd o'er
And stiff and hard with human gore,
By every groan of deep distress
By every curse of wretchedness,
By all the train of Crimes that flow
From the hopelessness of Woe,
By every drop of blood bespilt,
By Afric's wrongs and Europe's guilt,
Awake! arise! avenge!
And thou hast heard! and o'er their blood-fed plains
Swept thine avenging hurricanes;
And bade thy storms with whirlwind roar
Dash their proud navies on the shore;
And where their armies claim'd the fight
Wither'd the warrior's might;
And o'er the unholy host with baneful breath
There Genius thou hast breath'd the gales of Death.
So perish still the robbers of mankind!
What tho' from Justice bound and blind
Inhuman Power has snatch'd the sword!
What tho' thro' many an ignominious age
That Fiend with desolating rage
The tide of carnage pour'd!
Justice shall yet unclose her eyes,
Terrific yet in wrath arise,
And trample on the tyrant's breast,
And make Oppresion groan opprest.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |
Beside the ungathered rice he lay,
His sickle in his hand;
His breast was bare, his matted hair
Was buried in the sand.
Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,
He saw his Native Land.
Wide through the landscape of his dreams
The lordly Niger flowed;
Beneath the palm-trees on the plain
Once more a king he strode;
And heard the tinkling caravans
Descend the mountain-road.
He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
Among her children stand;
They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,
They held him by the hand!--
A tear burst from the sleeper's lids
And fell into the sand.
And then at furious speed he rode
Along the Niger's bank;
His bridle-reins were golden chains,
And, with a martial clank,
At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel
Smiting his stallion's flank.
Before him, like a blood-red flag,
The bright flamingoes flew;
From morn till night he followed their flight,
O'er plains where the tamarind grew,
Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,
And the ocean rose to view.
At night he heard the lion roar,
And the hyena scream,
And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds
Beside some hidden stream;
And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,
Through the triumph of his dream.
The forests, with their myriad tongues,
Shouted of liberty;
And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,
With a voice so wild and free,
That he started in his sleep and smiled
At their tempestuous glee.
He did not feel the driver's whip,
Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
And his lifeless body lay
A worn-out fetter, that the soul
Had broken and thrown away!
Victor Hugo |
When the Christians were doomed to the lions of old
By the priest and the praetor, combined to uphold
An idolatrous cause,
Forth they came while the vast Colosseum throughout
Gathered thousands looked on, and they fell 'mid the shout
Of "the People's" applause.
On the eve of that day of their evenings the last!
At the gates of their dungeon a gorgeous repast,
Rich, unstinted, unpriced,
That the doomed might (forsooth) gather strength ere they bled,
With an ignorant pity the jailers would spread
For the martyrs of Christ.
Oh, 'twas strange for a pupil of Paul to recline
On voluptuous couch, while Falernian wine
Fill'd his cup to the brim!
Dulcet music of Greece, Asiatic repose,
Spicy fragrance of Araby, Italian rose,
All united for him!
Every luxury known through the earth's wide expanse,
In profusion procured was put forth to enhance
The repast that they gave;
And no Sybarite, nursed in the lap of delight,
Such a banquet ere tasted as welcomed that night
The elect of the grave.
And the lion, meantime, shook his ponderous chain,
Loud and fierce howled the tiger, impatient to stain
The bloodthirsty arena;
Whilst the women of Rome, who applauded those deeds
And who hailed the forthcoming enjoyment, must needs
Shame the restless hyena.
They who figured as guests on that ultimate eve,
In their turn on the morrow were destined to give
To the lions their food;
For, behold, in the guise of a slave at that board,
Where his victims enjoyed all that life can afford,
Death administering stood.
Such, O monarchs of earth! was your banquet of power,
But the tocsin has burst on your festival hour—
'Tis your knell that it rings!
To the popular tiger a prey is decreed,
And the maw of Republican hunger will feed
On a banquet of Kings!
"FATHER PROUT" (FRANK MAHONY)