Modern Law--- Earth rotates--- All things were wrong, Galileo. Separated from God For one moment--- The Earth span And I felt our science. I awoke to a cold sun Gray in the windowsill; Creation's rhythm unsynchronized So that all on the earth teetered. All of our daily chores Frustrated, providence hadn't Ordered our goings to or fro. All were given unto chance. It felt like vertigo.
The idiot said on national TV Disparaging religion once again, "It is religion that separates us "And maligns the human spirit! "If we just got rid of it, people would have peace." His raging lunatics cry for a third of the earth to be lobotomized. Oh, yes, I read how Prods and Papes Hate each other in Ireland. Eerily, I see a different truth. How Blue and Red hate each other In America, And Democrat and Republican Hate each other. No... there is bitterness enough To be expelled from a man's house Should you consent to the wrong flash of insignia. Or, shall I talk to these idiots About race? How mobs burn down Manhattan Because of skin color And stores are looted because of class struggles? Really, maybe we ought to be adealistic. Then, perhaps we'd have peace But the idiots I referred to Have managed to give Hitlerian mindset To atheists, who assume themselves good atheists Only, throw the unruly Jews--I mean Christians--- Into the Gas Chambers,. Should I ever talk to that idiot I don't think I could speak. He's an excellent rhetorician Who turns a news article about how Hitler was not a Catholic And sources it in a debate To prove that Hitler was. Frankly, I'm about tired of it But in that little microcosm I cannot understand--- Why do Catholics and Protestants hate each other? I liken it to something that isn't religion--- It's just hate, and hate comes in many colors.
I Is poetry an expression of the self? Or is it an expression of the truth? II Are all our minds just solipsist teacups And no man, however penetrating Can truly know what is in another man's heart? Is all our poetry simply an expression of self? Or does a stranger share in our sufferings? Can there be an utterance of the truth Something true for all men Or even just two? Can there be an expression, A word uttered that is truly understood? Can the best poets be penetrated Or are we trapped in eternal silence Of the solipsist called our soul? We reach outward, but do we truly see The world for what it is? Do we share our sight Or are all men that of blindness And can only see what is seen for them? Are we truly alone In our bodies Our souls an isolated remnant Which travels, And it is only us and our sufferings? No one to reach out to No one to truly know us Nor no one we can truly know? Are we just solipsists? The answer, I do believe Is no.
You're only genius If you're a woman. Or if you have melanin in your skin. Dr. King cannot be quoted by Me. Despite the fact That I have worked so hard. No, I offend. Unintentionally I write honestly The way I see, the way I feel But it is offensive. Therefore, I get threatened To be expelled from houses For my violent speech. There is no hope for me For I am of a different time When talent and work--- Not what's in vogue--- Established a man. For if I were a woman I'd be published. The thing that makes me angry Is that I spent the past twelve years Working hard And nobody will understand the work I wrote. So why even bother publishing them? So, I watch the world burn. I watch people censor one another Because nobody listens. So, silently I write. Is it for myself? Am I forever to be the solipsist? Are the postmodernist lies Going to be the ones who tyrannize? Is it that we are all just solipsists? Selfishly saying And unable to truly understand one another? Then expel me from your restaurant Censor me on Google. I will watch the world burn And silently think, "I told you so."
Notes handwritten in my book. Angry I am that it must be the professor's Instruction. Underline, map the rhymes scheme A random thought---obviously too nuanced For a student to write. Then, as I read it, I hear about the writer's Mom and dad, her brother Her time farming. I begin to understand that the book was not Indeed, a professor's aimless notes Being forced into a student's book. No, they were studiously Put there, engaging with the text. Yet, there are only half a dozen poems Analyzed. Why was not the whole book written with Pencil, and such studious notes? Suspect, the book ended up at the local store And I purchased it. With some stranger's notes It is in my possession, Where I will keep it, And study it. Partly, I wish that stranger's notes Were written over the whole book For it is a shame to see it go back to the store Where I could buy it. If every book, page to page, Could be so studiously gleaned.
Working Title for New Book I Alex, your love for life exudes And your love for meaning in the little things. Like a child, you look upon the world And see greatness, you see unexplored Alleys in every nook and cranny. The strangeness of the world is still fresh In your youthful mind, So your sense of meaning is founded Upon a love for life and its victuals. Grow older, though, Alex, For one day you will, And looking upon the turtles Chirping their love songs In the spring You will at once find all things artificial. The aspirations of love The charters of worlds gone and far Of new lands, and sailing over the world's edge It will be a far off thing, When standing before the turtles chirping Their mating hymns. To which, life will be somber and melancholy, Yet, it will be sweeter, for the Turtles singing their hymns Will bring you the knowledge, Sweet it is, that within their happy little tales Lies the force of life, and the gay little charm Of something deep within every living thing. And when you find that, You will have found all wisdom And all charity. You will have stumbled upon the outer breath of God. II Jacque, you cry for a storm Against the church. You ire, and are indignant. Aught had such indignation at a time. You wish sin to be removed from this world And believe with your heart that all sin finds its root In the institutions of man. You see it, for they have always rejected you. You rage against a machine That neither you nor aught fully understand. Yet, the machine, dirty it is--- It brings upon its apparatus The sustenance of the poor. It is a place to tell dark secrets. Those secrets told, they will Vanish with the wind. Yes, you and aught rage against It, for it never accepted us. But, as black and dark the machine is It makes men civil And protects them from themselves. For in all things is sin, And to take away sin from a man It takes mercy, and a covering of skins. For our shame is bare before all mankind, And these institutions are the places Where the spinstresses weave our cloth And wrap us so we are no longer naked. You wish to strip the cloth From men When you wish to dissolve those institutions. For aught do understand it, But certainly, those institutions are good Because men need to cover their naked shame. III Cleopatra, your domain is yours Who gives words of strong guidance. Your ire is just, your indignation furious But your favor like a copper piece, Choice among the coinage. Silent and swift, your judgment comes While strong are you to battle. You lead this one, and he goes there. You lead that one, and she goes here. They all hearken to you. Egypt is guided by your strong bow But strange are the Satraps who preside Over the prosperity of our world. For much strong gain, The flows of the Nile overflow your head Yet you strive, even though the rewards are dim. For the fruits of your kingdom are small, Small among the kingdoms, Yet you man your post with dignity of office As a Prince among princes. The war comes, and allies flock to your aid For your reign is good, and just Though there are kings above you And kings above them. The peoples are wary Yet you keep your subjects under the yoke Of hard effort, and strength For you join yourself with them And thresh the corn, Beating out the fitches From the fold. IV Atalanta, you stand among your thorns. Everything you touch withers and dies. Your anger and shame behooves you As the food you feed the nations Wilts and does not satisfy. It is ashes in the mouth. You make haste to do good Yet only grief and shame come from your deeds. Your good is only ashes seeping from clenched fists. How the nations love you Atalanta. They cheer your fame But they curse the name of man Who challenges you. You, like Death, bring the shadow And the grey of the thunderstorm. Your benefactor is rude in his abuses And your lover is unkind. Slowly, your creeping vine tangles itself around The world, as you stand among your Thorns, and pluck the Corolla of the Rose To shape it into your deign. Fortunes you cannot make. And it flees from you; All things die and wilt in your hands. For the rose does not prosper For you do not proceed with Diligence. Your garden is fertile But you slack hand makes the bulbs stoop. V Sela, I see your strength And bitter rage. You course through the seas O' Bitter One, Ruler of a Thousand. When Cyrus came to Babylon and Ecbatana The peoples fled from your tyranny, For your wrath was kindled And your ire, your wrath Your broken pride, it caused the peoples To flee from their cities And they allowed Cyrus' forces within the walls unhindered. The Medes hate you, O Sela, As your hideousness is made the Form. The peoples lament While you set sail on the ocean, Mighty Princess of the North. You grow to hate So you draw forth your oars And pillage the coasts Causing all things beautiful to age. O! Sela, the world has become yours through Scythian war. VI Bitter David, I see you unravel The mysteries of a song. Your heart in melancholy turn, studied What would become vanity. Your daunting effort goes noticed By those who love music too, Of ages gone by. Stand at the age where deep Calls out to deep;--- But the Cypress in its Mourning replies, "Death has taken over the valleys. "Meaning doth sing her lute "In the Elburz "And armies travel through the Gate. "For the sun makes his revolution "Over the mountains "And on one side is day "And the other it is night." Yet none do draw the wisdom For men are marked out for their sins In youth. For a man's sin is discovered And it is now altered new, So that David, your effort was in vain. And with it the Cypress Mourns, for even the work of man Is besmirched by what's misunderstood. VII Hera, you were strong in Courtly abodes, where the messengers Could keep your stead And give you the sustenance you required. For it was the infidelity of Zeus Who led you to your humble position. This the peoples knew And gracious was their kindness toward you In your low estate. Completely innocent you were While Zeus made off and courted Danae. They were but men. You required rest; So with Artemis and Apollo. Yet, you instead wished to smite And like Prometheus steal the heavenly fire. You thundered, and your rage flung For the thunderbolts, but Artemis and Apollo Were sick of loves, and cried day and night For peace. Yet in your wrath There was no peace, But made war as Egypt's vine. Then, you established your house And cast your thunder at Cyrus Not Zeus; no, you threw down lightning at Cyrus Just as Cyrus had feared. Who would free God's people? Yet you, seeing yourself as a god Smote the one who shew the most kindness on you. For Artemis and Apollo's sake Cyrus rose early to counsel thou, Queen. Yet your fury hath spilled onto him Who was your greatest ally. Furious art you that one had told the truth? That war among the Titans would ruin The happiness of your children? This will be your ruin; And alas, God has told me it already is. VIII He came down, that Aeneas With his cloud, Shrouded in the mystery Of faith. "What liberty do I have?" He wondered, wishing to appease God Through the Meogic of the Law. The mystery is, that a wise man Can tell his riddles Without repudiation. That a man who has it in his mind To create worlds May create them. That a man, struggling to overcome Sin, does not have to abstain from anything Except what is sinful. If there be a train of bitterness in the heart That is sin. If Aeneas, you strive with Achilles And Odysseus and Virgil Then strive not with them For they make you doubt. However, stories contain in them wisdom. Hercules the right of passage for every man, And Bulfinch, a Christian Spun many a myth with joy For it was his work. For a man like me has very little use in this world Except to look at it And turn over its riddles. It does not have to be divine... Yet prophetic nonetheless God speaks, and it is my joy to write. Yet, you ask me a question... I suppose the answer Is that beauty is an utterance But since there is so little beauty Any trace becomes an idol. Yet I see no thing for me to do Beside utter beautiful utterances; Such it is that I do not sin. No more than Spenser or Wordsworth Or Coleridge. But, since there is only ignorance right now Any truth uttered will not be trusted. In fact, an utterance of truth Could set the world ablaze For men are spun their dreams by Morpheus And not by the poets anymore. IX The shadow within you Oh River of the Jordan Flows like the Styx into the recesses Of cold, imagination. Passing through desert lands The ashes of millions And the starving bodies of billions Flow through your wise deltas. Embrace the shadow? The cold, monstrous thing Within us? Who like Death and She'ol Twists and turns through hideous Forms, dark and seductive? Within the heart lies this The very thing Christ will exorcise. For twisting in passions and desire Murder and blasphemies Is this darkening of the soul. The Shadow, The Doppelganger. Latent, all feel its pressure Those who are wise; Those who are fools do not know it Yet it exhumes with all of their tongue. It is man's perfect enemy The shade which the white sepulcher contains. Find it, grab hold of it, Release it with kindness. Push it not back down into the body, But let the wicked beast Be like mist which steams Out from the soul By the sweat of faith And the renewing of the strength in Christ. X The heart-felt joy of play One finds in youth, ever striving For the pure emotion. And Nero, your heart is light, In you is joy, the turning of your marble Toys and the marching of them in their rows. Old, though, we find you As you put on your wolf's attire And with drawn leash are led through The meadowgrounds. Innocent, though strange, Your boyhood's emotions flood into you Pure, like the syringe. You bark, you trot, you kick your feet In the mud. You wag your tail and I find no sin in it. Then, the disapproval settles in. The peoples look on you And do not understand the spectacle, The unstructured exorcism of imagination. What is beautiful, what is serenity What is joy, is now poisoned forever. You push it down into your soul For play was all you knew. Play was everything you had. The joy, the frivolity, The utter freedom. Constrained to your dog costume--- For you are now old, And have chosen just this one form of play As is consistent with sagacity--- But no-one shares your joy. It is I who sees you are not sinning But are filled with hearty laughter And you feel pure child's joy. I understand you... But the stranger shares not your joy. So, what was first innocent Becomes howling sin. XI God of Our Youth What the devil wants are happy monkeys Silent, with no knowledge of future's past. Dancing with the strobes lit, and faces pale. Exerted with all fun and copulate With the familiar sting of sexual touch. Children to be raised by their bonobos To grow up without knowing what love is. Silent, with no knowledge, no speech, no thought Language simplified to terse chords of A ten thousand word vocabulary. No one works, no one has their property Starved; feeding on the remaining surplus Of past generation's stores of green corn. Breaking down the windows of good people To steal from them their hard earned silver coins. At the end, hell's the deserted cities Its deserts the overgrown farmer's fields Its dried up river beds the State's drained stores. This is Socialism, God of our Youth. XII To the Hymn of Auld Lang Syne Not an Original Piece, but One I Can Remember Singing But cannot find anywhere. Keep Your Eye on the Grand Ol' Flag Should all acquaintance be forgot And e'ry a heart do sag Should all acquaintance be forgot Keep your eye on the grand ol' flag. Should old acquaintance be forgot And all guns hammer their tacks Should old acquaintance be forgot Keep your eye on the grand ol' flag. Should auld acquaintance be forgot And the nation come under attack Should auld acquaintance be forgot Keep your eye on the grand ol' flag. Should our acquaintance be forgot And men forget this song Should our acquaintance be forgot The days seem ever so long But if all acquaintance be forgot And e'ry a heart do sag If all acquaintance be forgot Keep your eye on the grand ol' flag. XIII Sir Lucan and the Sphynx Canto I Upon the pass there came Sir Lucan And His squire Beowulf the Less. Beowulf the Less had a page Gregory. Gregory, the page, armored Beowulf From head to toe. He latched on helmet, Shield, shoe, girded Beowulf with His sword Gwyndylyn. Beowulf had aegis Strapped to his chest. However, Beowulf's helmet was weakened By a blow taken in mortal combat. Beowulf had slewn a man down in dishonorable show Of arms, where he and a knight Valiant Took to blows in the ring of combat. This knight threw down his gauntlet So Beowulf picked it up. Sir Lucan was Beowulf's Knight, and this knight beckoned Beowulf to stay home, And not to pick up the gauntlet. Yet, Beowulf picked up the gauntlet; And thus, battle was struck. The two warriors showed, down in the arena While Lucan watched, with scowl on his mug. Arthur sanctioned the tournament As Page Gregory was with damsel Thus, he did not throw in his lot to stop the tournament. It took to blows, the black knight, Called Sir Rancor, first took his sword And smote it down upon Beowulf's head. Beowulf took the blow; Sowith, his helmet cracked; Thus, Beowulf became wroth Who took his shield and smote Sir Rancor upon the breast, and Smote down his sword upon Sir Rancor's head. Blood poured out of Sir Rancors joints As Sir Rancor took to a blow At Beowulf's shield Bowing the shield with his chain mace. Beowulf, without helmet nor shield Acquiesced for the battle, And took his sword and ran it through Sir Rancor's Joint, by the armpit. Sir Rancor fell wounded, But took a dagger from his leg And shafted the weapon Into Beowulf's ankle Breaking his shoe's belt. Beowulf was uninjured; however, Taking his sword, he smote it down upon Sir Rancor's head. The knight fell, to wit, Beowulf drove his sword Into the heart of Sir Rancor Who lie on the ground, wounded. Arthur saw that the knight was dead So called the tournament closed Where Beowulf lost all his armor And Sir Rancor was lain smitten on the field of battle. Beowulf expected to be knighted for the feat However, Arthur saw no honor in this feud. Thus, Beowulf was yet still a squire. Beowulf saw the disdain on Lucan's face And saw he had disgraced his knight valiant. Lucan who would be later slain in battle To the Caerbanog, was disgruntled with Beowulf. For some say, this led Lucan to the Caerbanog's forest For he would no longer listen to sweet Beowulf. Page Gregory was not there to help Beowulf And Lucan was furious with Beowulf For accepting the challenge of so unworthy a knight. It came to be that Beowulf and Lucan had a quest Together. To shut up the Nile Dragon Who would attempt to Swallow the Daughter of Zion On that day. Beowulf and Lucan left In their armor, and Gregory Left Beowulf with these words: "Lucan cannot be trusted, "Do not believe a word he says "And be wary and wily of the things he does. "For Lucan is a savvy knight "Who only thinks of himself." Beowulf considered it, But knew it was not true. However, Lucan was furious with Beowulf For smiting the knight Rancor. Thus, Beowulf and Lucan set off on their journey. They would crusade down to Egypt. The Nile Dragon knew that they came, Thus he employed Nebo and Abaddon To come With the Elf Meogic And thus, cause Lucan more anger At his squire. Nebo came with his daughters Seventeen Thousand And Abaddon came with only himself. The two were chosen to be Pharaohs Kings of Egypt, And if they would slay Beowulf They would retain Egypt For themselves. Canto II It came to be, that in the salt valleys of Meggedon, Abaddon sought To conspire and therefore slay Beowulf the Less. Lucan and Beowulf---Gregory not behooved to come, For he could not--- Were on steed, Beowulf with Chantz And Lucan with his steed Crevan. Where Beowulf camped, Abaddon snatched him from his bed And took Beowulf to a village Where Beowulf would dream half his life away For sleep was better than the waking hour; Beowulf was captured by Abaddon Hencewith, he was brought to the low valleys. Now it was Abaddon who travelled with Lucan. Abaddon filled his mouth with many flatteries Toward Lucan. The two set out on the quest, but Abaddon was foolish, and no wisdom was in him. He did not slay Beowulf For he enjoyed the man's riddles. Thencewith, Abaddon walked with Sir Lucan Through the valleys of Meggedon Until they came to Africa's Gate. The two passed through But Abaddon was exceedingly happy, And more foolish than Lucan remembered Beowulf to be. However, Lucan fell to love Abaddon--- Because of his joy--- Like he were a son, and so pardoned Abaddon. For Lucan was enchanted. They walked for days Through the desert With its barren crags And salt rocks. It came upon the warfield, Nebo And his hordes of Daughters. Nebo, on his steed with leather skin, Was untransmogrified by the elf jewel; Thus, showed himself for what he truly be. He was leathery, and his ears a point; He was fat, and round, and gluttonous, His teeth were yellow And his lips were thin. His skin the color of ash, He had a face which was horrible To behold. Lucan mounted up on Crevan, And hoisted her javelin. "Beowulf, I have enjoyed your company "On this journey, yet now I go out to ride "Against this beast." Abaddon creased his lips into a grin Because he had loosened Lucan's armor When placing it upon him As was a squire's duty. Lucan hoisted up, and flung for Nebo. The seventeen thousand daughters of Nebo Flung down the mountain Into the bowled valley. The battle was gruesome As blood poured into rivers Through the ravines. Lucan had slaughtered so many Of Nebo's daughters. Nebo, thus, flung into a fit of rage And transformed himself Into a Giant. Lucan fell to a flight yet Lanced the Giant's foot; However, Lucan's armor joints came undone in battle And he was bare before the Giant's wrath. Abaddon danced a wicked dance And joined the fight against Lucan. He rushed at Lucan on Chantz However, Chantz knew 'twas Abaddon. So, Chantz stopped in mid gallop; Sofore, throwing Abaddon off his back. Lucan retreated toward Abaddon Trampling him with horse's hooves Seeing that he was not Beowulf But was Abaddon. Lucan fell into a sore fright That he was without his squire. Thus, Lucan galloped as fast as he could out of the battlefield. He had found himself in the Nile, And so discovered the black, fertile soil. There began to grow a vine from it And it shot out large, and heaved itself Upward. It grew tall into the sky Like the Tower of Babble, And it sprouted smaller vines from without it, Lit; it were starflesh. The Sphynx was spreading his vine All throughout the world A verdant weed, it Raised into the sky, and spread itself across the entirety of the earth. Lucan felt frightened, As he drew back on Crevan and galloped Toward his dominion. Lucan was no coward but saw that this vine had spread Throughout he whole of the world, And who was he to fight it? Howsofore, there came one who was beautiful. He took Lucan by the hand, And told him, "Do not give up on your son "He needs you and your love at this very hour. "For, Egypt is spreading its vine throughout the whole of the earth "And you must help him "By fighting back the fear "Of this vine, "To showing him that he is still loved." Lucan had received a vision of Beowulf Encased in a place where he was rendered useless. Thus, Lucan had to go rescue him. For Gregory could not As only Lucan's love could free Beowulf from his curse. Only Lucan's forgiveness, and alliance Could free Beowulf from this unholy trap. Canto III It came to be that Sir Lucan travelled into The heart of Egypt, To the Tombs of the ancient Pharaohs. The Sphynx prowled With shifting shoulder blades. There rose mummies From their crypts Five of the pharaohs of the past. The Sphynx spake, "Lucan, if you can beat me "I shall spare thee from the Caerbanog. "And thy squire Beowulf shall live." Lucan, upon Crevan, hoisted up his javelin. "I will be angry with my squire "For fighting his feud with the Knight Rancor. "However, I see that he is a man. "And he has made his own choices." The Sphynx spake, "Choices, yes. "He has made many choices, "And smote down the knight Rancor. "And for this, we see you cannot forgive him." The mummies flung toward Lucan And it was all Lucan could do to stay Upon his steed. He would slash the mummies He would kill them Only to have them resurrect themselves With their moving limbs. "You do not know the moegic of Egypt. "These are stronger than Orcs "And cannot be killed "By one who harbors anger." "Beowulf was my friend, "My companion from long ago. "Now, he is broody "And sad, and I do not know if I can love him the same "For his sadness is of his own making." The Sphynx said, "Then, Lucan, he shall die." Lucan fell upon his knees As Crevan Whinnied. "He will die?" "Of course, a man cannot bear the despair "Of having one so close to him "Perpetually angry. "For, Beowulf is entrapped by his own despair. "And that despair we are using to fuel "The spreading of this vine "Which shall feed on the world's joy "And it shall replace all joy with despair "Just like your son's. "For his grief is a weapon "We use to throw down the nations "And to give them no joy henceforth. "How can a man who is innocent "Have no joy? It can only be "That Pharaoh's vine "Recompense the world "Double for what it has done to Beowulf." Lucan then spake, "What has the world done to Beowulf?" The Sphynx spake, "The world? "What had it done "But cast him into shame "Through its unforgiveness? "Beginning with yours "Which was harbored long before "He smote down Sir Rancor. "For, you had resented him "Ever since he had chosen "Gregory as his Page." Nebo and Abaddon receded into the corridor And drew their swords. "Now, see, Lucan, I can save you "From the Caerbenog, "The Fairy lORD "If you defeat me." The Sphynx grew haughty. "What are you Sphynx?" Cried Lucan. The Sphynx said, "I? I am the flow of the times." The five mummies flung forth To maul Lucan And Abaddon and Nebo Attacked her At once. It began to grow into a horrendous feud As the seven fought mortal combat. No matter how much they fought The seven prevailed over Lucan. Lucan saw the Sphynx Prowling like a lion From without the battle. "Yes, Lucan, I am the Zeitgeist. "I am the thing you cleave to. "Surrender Beowulf, "For he is not your son." Lucan cried out a mighty roar, "Beowulf is my son!" And so she threw her lance In a mighty strike against the Sphynx's Chest. It sunk deep into the Sphynx. The Sphynx was smitten. He fell dead upon the bier of the golden Tombs. The Sphynx was dead. There came from time the Caerbonog As it spread forth from the vines. For the vines were the Caerbonog. It lit its fiery glow, Yet, Beowulf flung from his sleep Where the Caerbonog hid him. Beowulf took Lucan And galloped with him From without the Pyramid. The whole of Egypt quaked, As Nebo and Abaddon Rushed from the tombs. Pharaoh was dead And the mummies were crushed From beneath the pyramid's falling Aedicules. The Caerbanog was spread throughout the whole land. Abaddon and Nebo disappeared from without the pyramid. After which, a quake, And the Caerbanog fell 'pon A hard fall; Its verdant vines Turned to ashen yellow. "Wot not you that thou would have perished "To this cruel vine "Had you not saved me from this "My spell?" Spake Beowulf. Lucan saw that the deuterocanons Of the analogs of Fairyland Were now altered. The Caerbannog was defeated. Thus, Beowulf could live his happy life. Thus, Beowulf lived happily ever after. XIV I Saw Truth with Her Lover I saw Truth with her lover In the dark; I took my raiment, and galloped far away To where I slew a knight in combat And took his woman from him. I had then found a tree Of which I wished to make her a garland from Yet the tree bled and spoke. He told me of a wicked sorceress Who made he and his lover into those trees. I had found, also, that the knight I slew Had two brothers. I found too many enemies Yet was I angry with the Truth For her adultery; For why would she be in another's bed And not mine, when I was her betrothed? I had not seen t'wasn't her In that bed, but rather the apparition of Morpheus. For Truth, she seemed, slept nude with Hecate Yet it was only a magical spell Which made Truth seem a whore. XV Trivia, riddle odes And weave webs of lies. Every word you speak is Invented from the world, You make yourself more ancient than Hecate Who stands with her torch. You occupy yourself with every fact that contradicts Strange, ancient wisdom. The Love of the Two Peaches Is constructed, born a twelvemonth ago. Yet, it is born as ancient wisdom. Trivia, your weave a web Of factoids. Wisdom can still be purchased So the ancient accents are known. Paul Revere did ride a midnight ride Yet, Trivia, you make Boston's Massacre Riot control--- It was a massacre. Auld Lang Syne replaces "You're A Grand Ol' Flag" And Trivia, Mnemosyne is silently demented So all acquaintance is forgot. Good men are turned into Joseph, Yet all his mourners are comforted For great lies are being spun by Trivia. It soon becomes apparent The Love of the Two Peaches Isn't ancient. Neither was the City of Sodom one which stood ancient. For there is truth: And it is hidden By you Trivia. XVI Sing, oh wary ship traveler. Cyrus sees your weary eyes As the watch prowls the street Asking for bribes, and stirring the Little townsfolk into their homes. Prosperous was the land you fled to. Prosperous, and kind Until Sin's dark shadow grew over the basin Of the gorges. O! If you only knew our freedoms If you only knew. Cyrus, stir the Medes Stir the Medes Stir the Medes. Cyrus spoke, "I would cut them to pieces "And rip out their throats. "I would ravish the town squares "And purge the evil of this land. "I shall not spare their children. "I shall not spare the rod. "For I destroy even the Babes "When I go to war." O! Babylon! Prepare for war For the peoples desire the law of Yah And scorn the laws of Sin. From the East, from the North From the South, comes the armies Of Persia and Media. Sing o strong ones For freedom is meted And the war shall be fierce. Weapons shall unsheathe their naked steel And in one night the battle shall be lost For thee, o Babylon. For the barren ones in the East And the Barren ones in the South And the Barren ones in the North Are ashamed of you. XVII Dark and ancient truths Which still burgeon in the world today. American soldiers slaughter children. Iraqi soldiers violate women. War still gets fought by civilized countries. Were you offended by Cyrus? Yet our modern wars are fought just the same. Children die in bombings, Women are violated Men slaughter one another. What justifies war? What justifies the crimes attributed to war? War is the supreme evil. What justifies it? When is it justified to commit all atrocious evils? Surely there is a time, But now is not it. XVIII Let me fight our wars in verse. Purge the violence from our souls. Let me... Let me speak of rebellion Of slaughtering Of killing Of being unkind. Let me tell you of war You who wishes to kill the children You who wishes to violate the women You who wishes to plunder the spoil From the homes. Men die--- The very strangers I sing about The very souls who occupy my verse. These men, they die Picking up the rifle. Let me tell you the raw, uncensored Emotion of war. What kings feel when they send their troops into battle. Children are to be dashed against the stone. Women are to be ripped apart Their breasts ripped open And their bodies made into a heated flash of fury. No... what I write ought to be offensive Because you burgeon close to war. These things you all will be guilty of. So, let my poesy purge you of the evil. Show you the guilt. I'll draw you close to suicide I'll draw you close to homicide And then you can inch back And say, like it were a dream, "I had never done it." To know the feeling of a man's warm blood Upon hands--- I do not know it, but I know the feeling Of battle. I will show you, And let you meditate on it. For is my verse offensive? It ought to be. For both Woke and Nazi youths Will die with one another's Fluids upon them. Blood, guts and the ravished . My poem should be offensive. For war is offensive. Do you wish to walk to the brink? Do you wish to learn the regret Of having taken another's life? Of having violated someone? Will your conscience ever be made whole After knowing and tasting violence? So I say, eat with trembling. Drink with haste. Prepare your hearts for war. And if it doesn't come Give a sigh of relief. XIX Xenophanes, you poetically, and surgically Weave your origins of doubt. You find God to be cruel More like man than actual deity. I see the traces of wisdom in you How you want an origin of God's being And callously say, "Christ is only two thousand years old." Yet, ancient was the deity Who gave Moses Law, and more ancient was the deity Who gave some of which to Abraham Hammurabi's law; El is Hebrew for God And El is traced to Mesopotamia To be worshipped at the time of Melchizedek and Abraham. El, it turns out has a Son. The Scholars at Oxford and Yale Say, "It is the cult of righteousness." Yet, I say it is not so. What cult of righteousness springs up in China? What cult springs up in Greece? As if this God's truths were universal Found throughout West and East And firstly discovered in the Middle of the world? Greeks found Word, Charity, Agape Chinese found Tao, Filial Respect, and Universal Love. Jesus is the Word, is the perfect picture of Filial Respect and Charity and Love. How cultures found morality independent of one another. Yet, there are those who contest it. And Xenophanes, you find them Secreted in your doubt that man had anthropomorphized God. And that is what causes you to doubt. Yet, I see the same notions springing up in separate cultures Meaning there must Be. What is there? What can be found? If it's there to discover Who put it there? And these my God answers When He took on Human Flesh. No other satisfies it; Yet predicted at the beginning of human civilization--- When one man and another agreed upon their social contracts And thus forth bore rule--- Is the fingerprint of my God. That El, the nameless deity Had a Son And from this sprung what academics call "The Cult of Righteousness." And then I find philosophers discover those same truths. I say to myself, "The evidence is overwhelming. "And then add to it the Heavens and Isaiah's scroll;---the stories written in the constellations." I find one hundred percent proof that God is the Hebrew's God And that God's Word put on the Flesh of Man. XX Cyrus, I understand you The way you think. I know you from the inside How you have petulant doubts Yet rage at the heathen. I know your rage against God And seek to destroy Him. Yet I also know you secretly wish To use his laws to exact vengeance on this world. You do not believe in God You do not... But His laws are enticing as an engine To siege the Capitol And to tear down walls and bulwarks; To stir Media and Persia Against Assyria and Babylon. I know you from the inside And your rage which burns toward the infidel. Religion to you is a tool The Messiah an engine which you will use To usher in your reign. Alas, I stand here Arguing with you for the second time As you tell me, "On your death bed "You will say as Jesus said, "My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" Yet you take slaves, While you dash the infants upon the rocks. Christian you do not hate--- No, you love God's people. For it is in you to love God's people. Yet you rage against God as Satan himself And you move upon your holy quest to purge Sin's temple from the world. I see you in my thoughts and visions And I am like you So it disturbs me greatly. I am gentle, and meek; You are a warrior Believing in the law of my God Right down to the tittle--- Yet you do not believe in God. Such a strange doubt in you That I feel in my chest But I do not understand why you believe in my God's law But not the God Himself? Is it, like so many Jewish men You like the burdens of lamb stew and drink oblations? I say to you, You will be used to purge the land of its idols. That is what you wish. Yet it is I who shall prosper in the LORD's name For I will declare my portion That your rage may be just But it is not a wholesome intention to Desire to fix the world. XXI Alas, I call you Cyrus in this book. But you are not Cyrus. You are Nero. XXII Gahanna was shrouded in mystery As the Styx flows through the Acheron; Descended into the deep Son of a king, you trifle there. King of the scouts The minstrels sing of you In the woven dreams of Morpheus. The gum of Acacia is upon your thigh Yet I rejected it, for such is the disease Of mind, which your magic spun Through dirt and vulgarity. You sought me, and you found Cyrus. You found me, yet you were but a boy And our lives crossed on the banks of the Susquehanna. I do not know what powers are over me... Only that an Acquaintance, a man my equal, So says David, Whom I had counsel with in the LORD's house Will betray me. Forsooth, such a strange thing to be That it was a happy accident Which brought you to my humble life; Yet you should be one plotting against me. XXIII The Savanna is rubicund With delightful golden grains. Most gorgeous are her valleys With the hills among the rolling veldt. I, the animal, enraged By Serengeti hunger Am driven into mindfever Where I cannot perceive Nor understand; No, I am crazed by possibilities. If I had you, your plains would be mine And I would be the lion Within his Pride. There would be only nature and I. It would be of no use For only the air of the veldt Could satisfy me Should I be satisfied by you. I would desire nothing more And would never wander from my bounds In the safelands, Where poachers could not find me. For I will stay upon your plains And meander among your hills. XXIV There is an Amazon in the forest. Lusty she is, bare, exposed Easy to take and be pleased. Yet, she will tear you limb from limb And take your leg upon her gnashing teeth. She will bite it, with blood down her chin And her hair is knotted with the blood of men. Pleasing she seems far away Until you come close to her And she is too big for loves. You cannot marry her But become her slave Where she will malign you And break your spirit. I say, I have seen the Amazon kingdom And it is frightening. All men stay indoors And are frightened to peep Out the lattice, For the giantess walks among them. Elephant for steed And lust in her eyes. XXV Though you speak untruth Sor Juana, And always turn the right for the worse My love for waxes Like the moon, But it shall never wane. Violent, you protected your blessed young Though worthless men tried to steal Your fruit from you. And he is blessed The fruit of your womb. For you had taken your wounds And stripes, and your joy was made fruitful A man, more intelligent than I. More blessed than I on this earth. A man who possesses the sea And all of beauty.. Though you do not speak Words which are wise to the ears Your zeal and love for your child Is a light to my eyes And a longstanding gem And treasure in my heart. When men malign your name I speak in its defense. For there is speech--- And what of us have not been silly in our years?--- And then there is action. And though you speak I know you act upon your better nature. And for that I love you, Sor Juana. And I always shall. XXVI Cain, you present your grain offering. Your two hands labored day and night For the produce of the field. You present your offering And say, "Look upon my fruit "It is good." Lot, however, gave his beloved daughter To appease the lust of the Sodomites. Broken by this, and also the loss of his wife, Cain, you look upon him and say, "What had this man done that was good? "He gave of his women to be maligned by Sodomites." Lot, who loved his daughter, Felt maligned an entire lifetime For this sin. He had cried day and night Yet, it was either her, or the Holy Being. For, they would be slaughtered By lust, had Sodom's lust not been appeased. Oh, Cain, you look upon him, disgusted. Then you say, "My brother is poor "Why had not my mother killed him in the womb? "For he grew to be a lazy shepherd "And does nothing all day, except peer "Into the stars of heaven "And spin Idle tales by which he wishes to teach the peoples. "He is lazy, and is a degenerate. "For I know his sins, that he has done far "More wickedly than I. "Therefore, why had not my mother buried him "And his poverty in the womb? "For I am rich, and right, "And have grown my crop by my own sweat. "And all my brother did was stand in the green field "To tender his flock." XXVII Censures of the Ass He wants evidence for God's existence; Beauty comes under attack, censorship Threatens to destroy all things of conscience. Evidence, he claims, yet it is his whip Which tortures him like the mad Catholic. Holy is his crusade, holy and thick; Offended and driven mad by beauty That the mountains are hoary and frostbit That the trees are wooded, and the ponds green--- He, with his unholy, black candles lit Sings his prayers to the form of ash decay. Angelic voices he forbids to pray; Evidence is what he seeks to destroy:--- Art he calls pretentious; beauty a ploy.
Cain, you present your grain offering. Your two hands labored day and night For the produce of the field. You present your offering And say, "Look upon my fruit "It is good." Lot, however, gave his beloved daughter To appease the lust of the Sodomites. Broken by this, and also the loss of his wife, Cain, you look upon him and say, "What had this man done that was good? "He gave of his women to be maligned by Sodomites." Lot, who loved his daughter, Felt maligned an entire lifetime For this sin. He had cried day and night Yet, it was either her, or the Holy Being. For, they would be slaughtered By lust, had Sodom's lust not been appeased. Oh, Cain, you look upon him, disgusted. Then you say, "My brother is poor "Why had not my mother killed him in the womb? "For he grew to be a lazy shepherd "And does nothing all day, except peer "Into the stars of heaven "And spin Idle tales by which he wishes to teach the peoples. "He is lazy, and is a degenerate. "For I know his sins, that he has done far "More wickedly than I. "Therefore, why had not my mother buried him "And his poverty in the womb? "For I am rich, and right, "And have grown my crop by my own sweat. "And all my brother did was stand in the green field "To tender his flock."
Tile: The title is half a phrase common among Irish Nationalists. “England’s Difficulties are Ireland’s Opportunities.”
- Seamus is saying that he moved like a “Double Agent” among the “Big Concepts.” That is to say, that he sympathized with both sides. A double agent usually has no allegiances.
- He’s meditating on the word “Enemy.” He likens it to a machine’s hum, that is distant and in the background. Likening the Irish Rebellion to a “Machine” in the background of the nation. Much like our current Conservative movement is a hum in the background of national politics. It’s there, and Seamus Heaney is talking about how he moved through both camps, the IRA and the English. How he moved between each circles, really understanding the conflict. The outbreak of civil war a hum like a machine’s engine.
- An allusion to Nazi Germany. “When the Germans bombed Belfast.” Probably to obfuscate the poem’s meaning. Or, likening the environment to something like World War Two. It was a big deal to the Irish and English. Maybe something we fail to realize over here across the pond.
- This line is synthesis between the two major events, the Irish Rebellion and World War II. Both had their explosive moments, and both were probably whispered about. It seems so far away, but a likened analogy is that of the Conservative movements today, in the United States, silently, like a machine hum, in the background. It’s ever present, and there are whispers about it from the grown men. Seamus is speaking of it as a child, maybe remembering the bombs in World War II. But, also, remembering the ambiance of the modern day Irish Revolution. Perhaps he’s hearkening back to a day when the two sides were working together. Quoting “England’s Difficulties” as a unifier, making analogy that during World War II the two fronts were united.
- There was an active propaganda war against Ireland, where the Germans funneled propaganda into the Irish homes. Seamus is talking about listening to the propaganda, with half way zeal. The fact is that the propaganda wing of the Nazi party was trying to turn the Irish against England. It is what the poem is talking about. And Seamus is half sympathizing with the notion of rebellion, and half not. Hence the half quotation in the title.
- Lord Haw was a man who broadcasted Nazi Propaganda into the houses of Ireland. Obviously, being likened to an artist. In hind sight, we see that the Nazis were one of the most terrific forces of evil in history, and there is hardly a byword more synonymous with evil than Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party. However, under the fog of war, people were questioning their allegiances because they hadn’t the full knowledge of the extent of Hitler’s Evil. They were caught up in a haze, and even Seamus sympathized with them. It’s likely a source of shame for him.
- The last line is certainly a reference to the IRA and English confrontation. Not to Nazi Germany, as Seamus was only a boy at the time. The poem is an analogy of the Fog of War, and how no one truly knows who the good guys are until the dust settles. Seamus was carrying envois for the Irish Republican Army and the British. Seamus was showing himself conflicted at his time—yet he hides the act with allusions to World War II, where he could not have possibly had contact with German troops, since they were neither in Ireland, nor was Seamus old enough to truly be a part of that war. He would have been only six years old when the war ended. So, the story is an allusion to World War II and likening it to the modern crisis of the IRA bombings in England, how Seamus had half sympathies for both sides of the conflict, which is common among intellectuals and truly gifted men. One cannot fault Seamus for having sympathies, as there is a Fog of War that doesn’t allow the truth to be expressed, and it is likely the issue we have today where many philosophies and ideologies are being espoused, yet only time will tell whose are the right. And that does not mean force; it merely means whose side was in the right. Which can only be known after the dust settles, and the fog of war lifts.
Thoughts: What’s fair is that the work is allowed to be expressed. We tend to forget this as modern day citizens, with our certain moral philosophy, that under the time of crisis, we do not usually know who or which side is correct. It is simply the whims of the atmosphere, and perhaps, embarrassingly, you’ll find yourself on the wrong side with sympathies or half sympathies. An appropriate poem for the modern world, to take a step back and read the masters. Seamus’ experience is very familiar for today, when we have similar crises in our time, and allegiances might be muddied.
Heaney, Seamus. Selected Poems 1966 – 1987. Twelfth Printing. Faber, 1990. pp. 54.
He wants evidence for God's existence; Beauty comes under attack, censorship Threatens to destroy all things of conscience. Evidence, he claims, yet it is his whip Which tortures him like the mad Catholic. Holy is his crusade, holy and thick; Offended and driven mad by beauty That the mountains are hoary and frostbit That the trees are wooded, and the ponds green--- He, with his unholy, black candles lit Sings his prayers to the form of ash decay. Angelic voices he forbids to pray; Evidence is what he seeks to destroy:--- Art he calls pretentious; beauty a ploy.
- The Narrator of the poem had satisfied all her debts, “Paid for” all the happiness by the “Ides” of October. That is to say that she has no debts.
- She “used” to feel the presence of the child “All around [her].” Emotional and in the past tense.
- The poem then begins to draw some unique imagery. “Slough” means “Snake’s Skin”. As if the snake’s skin was a charm of some sort. The poem will get into further imagery, likening the Narrator to a mythological portrait. That of a woman wearing a Snake’s Skin and hedge of Roses.
- She wears the snake’s skin. Drawing an almost mythological figure for the narrator.
- Drawing from the emotion of bearing a child. She is “Flushed” like a “Peach.” Further making the portrait of a mythological birth, being that the narrator uses terms like “resurrection” in contrast to the sun. I sense no mythological foundation or framework in the poem. The woman is being likened to the Virgin Mary, this mythological figure carrying someone important. Not to the line of idolatry, either. It is simply a feeling, like the Narrator were the virgin Mary, or some figure like such.
- The figure has roses wrapped around her waist. She had made love in the “Ides of October” and bore her child in June. She is likening herself to a mythological figure, with roses wrapped around her waist and a snake’s skin as a sash.
- Now the narrator is in a New October, where she places the family portraits on the “Spanish Chest.” Likening to the archetype of familiarity, likely something she had growing up, or has sentimental attachment to.
- “Imagery”— Describing the child. Since the man is absent in the work, the imagery describes the child with “Emotion” “Animated” in his “cheeks.”
- She alludes to the “Moon” nursing the “Stars.” Emotion driven imagery, drawing the metaphor of the poem that she is nursing her baby.
- The Silk Worms’ nests are likened to the narrator’s child’s hair. “The” is used, setting the child apart from the mother, solely focusing the poem’s emotions on him. It strengthens the emotion of the piece, yet creates the awe stricken wonder of the scene.
- The imagery here is esoteric, likening the child to “Death”. Drawing the imagery from the cocoons, where the larvae must have metamorphosis before there is “Birth”, or the becoming.
- The child cries, and his lips tremble.
- The child loves his mother. The emotional impact of this verse is where the poem’s tension is weighted. She is describing the love of her child for her. Perhaps the poem a metaphor for Postpartum depression.
- The child’s fingers are nude, grasping the mother’s breast while giving suck.
Thoughts: It seems the poem is a metaphor for Postpartum depression. The last line really draws the feeling of the mother, while the thirteenth line draws a draws a metaphor on the baby’s love for the mother. I must admit it’s a bitter poem, but woven are the images of the snake’s skin, which is perhaps foreshadow. Perhaps an affaire brought on the pregnancy, which is alluded to by the absence of the father. The poem expressing the melancholy of Single Motherhood. I think the poem is expressing the wisdom of a mother with a child. She is like Mary Mother of Christ, but on the flip side there is a Cognitive Dissonance entangled in her single motherhood. It’s wielding dual emotions, the conflict of a mother in her situation.
Milton, Gabriela Marie. “The Ides of October.” WordPress. https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/132705124/posts/8322. 2020, 8/14/2020.