Stop a moment with me. Far from noise,
and every screen, and every City… Pause.
Be like the oak or like an acolyte
of Dawn—when dawns were gods, and there was silence
and it was holy. Come. Lay down your thoughts.
There is a thing that I would say to you
tonight (and I would have you listening)…
canto i: overture: a eulogy
It is a great endeavor, all in all,
and probably past my competence to bear,
but though I’d call to Heaven for its help
no Heavens hear (their end is mine to tell
and mine alone). …We should have requiem, no?
Music? (despite ‘the Muses’ fell) Well, though
for inspiration there’s no ‘Spirit’ now,
I’ll sing—I’ll conjure spirit, out of songs
or sod. Reanimate! I’ll threnody
I’ll sing the death of God.
I’ll sing, to numbered forests one more time
this final melody. Here, at the end
of a sick world—in spots of moon some arms
of yews let enter—here, I’ll end my music,
and stop my strings, and mute forever songs
and poems which once made hymns in Heaven. You,
butchered Significance—a deeper Meaning—
You’re deaf to songs at last. But from the skies
that overcast Your resting place, I’ll stop
and vigil, gaze below into Your hell,
and here devote this final symphony
to eulogize Your shade.
I played the harp once.
I used to sing. Chorus and choir—the whole…
damn…thing. I sang, and, singing…
For some, that deep assurance of The Light,
that charge of purpose, through the spiritual—
for some of us, that homey camp’s not camp—
home itself since boyhood.
Once, in clothes
of simple white, above (what should I call them?
The ‘Crystal Spheres’? The ‘rows’ in God’s Bouquet?)
Well, let’s just say, in presence of the One
(where - Pure - presided), I would stand and sing…
lifting my pretty prayers up in their turn,
extoling Sacred… Careless youth swept on,
(in time made soft by safety in His arms)
as I, by churching Seraphim, would come
before the Throne of God and burn with praise
ablaze in burning vistas of the Dawn…
up-fascinated—looking on Our Lord,
And all the propping of a Purpose, lost.
(So go our innocences
—and our Gods.)
The rest is as you’d guess it: Disenchanted
spend steel machineguns on the overworld
and scorch the Kingdom—slaying Seraphim,
the Rose of Angels—as they burst the bubble
E M P Y R E A N, and killed the El Shaddai…
That’s done. Over. Finished. The point is this:
that I, a turncoat to their cause, remained…
I linger still. When Heaven fell, I stayed
(from son of God: reluctant atheist)
and live now in the City of its ash.
Tonight, I fled. Tonight, I’ve left for…
—I know eventually I must go back!
but… That’s for later. Now, there’s night… warm air…
Tonight, I’ll make a marking of His end,
the Heavens’ siege: observed this late July,
2010 (Non Annus Domini).
For there is no escaping what we’ve made…:
The corporate Beast. Sleazed Salesmen’s propaganda.
And smiling Screens of smiling shit—to fill! ®
disillusioned with revolt, I’ve come
a mourner to God’s graveside, and—with hymns,
with eulogy—intend a wake, to watch
and grieve the carcass of Sublimity.
For through this Void we’ve opened up to dig it,
I look. I see Him. There — God’s ghost:
in all the twilight of an underworld…
. . . .
. . . . .
within a half-lit, windless wood
in eerie forests of the dead abyss
where the willow-sprays (in emerald mist)
bleed leaves into a thick collage of ash
and evergreen, and choke the dimming gloam
there sits God’s shadow
atop a rock of moss and boulder stone,
He broods. Hunched over…crumpling down His back
to cup a billowed beard in his old hand,
the Lord, LORD God, who looks toward meadowlands
that lie beyond his clearing
In dangled dreads, gray rivulets of locks
in spiraled double-helices descend
from His drooped temples—seeming, as they do,
perhaps the way the smoke from offered ewes
had rippled off the altar-tops that’d crowned
Jerusalem’s acropolis (though, those
curled to Heaven—these: shear down); or as
the rain, storm-gray, which children’d say He weeps
from cloudy shadows (well, He weeps them now).
For in the posture of a once-great-king,
whose head, drink-heavy with the Mysteries
of Justice, would on palm rest meditating
before some edict(Bliss or Fire, say)’s given—
so, holding for an Ark of Cherubim
this boulder as a throne to wonder on,
Night wraps Him round… or, such a seeming-night:
a dullish-darkness of the skies brought on
by what the moon can do in intercept
to null the sun. It is a quiet dungeon
(fittingly vast for such a Prisoner
of clout), and lusher still (by far) than what
death’s blight and barren tropes expect to sprout
among the barred and buried. There He lies…
to a clearing now, beyond those woods
(where He now looks, and takes in all His hell),
there, through the thicket’s thinning, old God gleans
some far expanse of underworld not yet
divined by Him (still freshly fallen), flecked
by distant glimmerings.
He leans His head…
glow with a muted quavering of brilliance.
But, from His distance, blur is all He sees—
…until (at last), no longer wavering,
the humbled Deity slides off His rock
and breaks the knots of brush to thread the trees…
Slivers of silver light slit sight through limbs
in bands and bars. The forest’s dark within…
Then—coming loose from the laired leaves and ferns
to gaze, at last, upon the wilted plains
A flash, or panging, sweeps
God’s gazing understanding like a gasp.
There, on the windswept heath, as far
as dull light from the moon-sun can reveal:
ruins of Heaven sprawled horizonward—
studs in the wasted hills of sacred scrap
like a blue desert, littered white with skulls:
Eternity spread to eternity…
God stands and stares.
God stands, and He breathes deep.
like a father past the family plot,
the once-high King of these fragmented blocks
meanders through the rubble of His reign
in shapes of resignation…
Is this it?
The place that good ol’ Heaven will not stir from
after it too fell blazing from the sky?
The puddled sieges of God’s city’s storm,
now pooled in ruin, resting… (Quando cœli
movendi sunt: Intention’s last remove.)
Here lie those Crystal Spheres
in shards. And all
the Primum Mobile
a broken clock.
Here the mechanics of Ideality
dissolve as ring on ring of singing stars
(once thought to grace the upper air) have fallen,
crashing to dirt and splintering to arc
like an exploded chain
of wreathing circles.
Everything is down.
The snug geometries of purposed cosmos: snapped!
The quintessential pillars that had borne
a seeing sky: disintegrate, spread out
in pieces on this valley.
goes God, who, at a pace –“adagio”—
now walks these broken passageways and halls:
some shadowed Spirit from a shattered world.
…Who knew the LORD was mortal? that the skies
could fall? before our revolution (mad
till then) revealed all notions and beliefs
for what they are, and struck the fatal blow
into the reeling Absolutes of humans?
Was there no Heaven—but for thinking so…?
Well, wandering this labyrinth of debris
(His hand occasionally alighting soft
on tumbled blocks of ruined numinous),
the quietly perusing Lord has stopped.
He views a stone.
This broken slab depicts…
Almighty’s battle with Leviathan…
(whose myth from ancient psalms turned pious minds
to awe, and eyes to Heaven: God was king,
and strong…) So on this moonlit ruin’s shard—
which shows the chaos that the beast began,
and glows a picture of the war it waged
and all its devastation of the world—
there bold Jehovah stands victorious
above the thing! and, in His mighty Hand,
holds dangling lines that, at their bottom, hook
the Serpent by a septum ring—its proud
rebellion and voracious mutiny
subdued by chains, and bound
by wiser Kingship…
their captive Victor’s torn His gaze
from faith’s archaic chronicles. With head
bent low, a trembling arm propped up against
the hieroglyphs, God’s eyes refuse to trace
one measure more, and fall—like Him—to where
dark ground is shaded by His darker shadow.
He leans into His history. The cold
memorial supports His weight and stands
a sturdy foil to his old flickering frame—
while now His other hand’s become a veil
to shroud His eyes, and shroud His face…
some rising murmur enters in…
His head. A solemn singing gains (though, soft
and faded like the whispers of the wind)
over some grassy ridge. He walks towards it…
Then, on its scope of ledge, he looks
what, down below Him, sighs its sea of singing:
For mile on mile of meadow: sullen feathers—
wounded flocks of His Angels comb the fields
for arms and armor lost amid the Fall.
And as they stoop, and search for what they lost—
like children raking through the rubble-mound
that was a home (before the cyclone struck),
to find some treasured toy, their threadbare doll
(so they can hug a friend amidst the loss?)—
they sing “in paradisum deducant”
and walk the grass.
Jehovah stands and stares
upon the hummock in the withered sedge,
as symphonies of wandering seraphs lull
these somber hills with Requiem.
is all along the meadowscape, and soft
as ever, wafting upward-caught in breeze
like mermaid song in ocean sprays. But, where
Already gone, it seems… Perhaps
to seek himself a hiding place? a cave?
Some dismal darkness dark enough to lose
the Living God
when Gods no longer live.
Well, haunting Holy Ghost: rest.
R. I. P.
. . . . .
. . . .
Out of our depths I draw these images:
obscure and murky through such distance (dim,
and deep), which weathers all the underworld
like faded notes on vellum sheets: squint-seen—
yet clear enough for plucking from the page
to strum an elegy for Spirit…
Hadn’t we loved it? once…? —Not without cause
(though crucial were those faults that caused His end
and proved His cross). Still, such a thing as “spirit,”
which gave us our ideal for centuries,
surely deserves some hymn, encomium,
to mark its passing? Mark, if just an hour,
God’s unmarked grave with… what? Orations? Well,
if He’s to sleep forever, I will spread
some flowers of regard upon this place:
a basic honor not performed for Him
but all the Sacred.
I helped slay it too.
Should we repent? For, woken of our dream
“Religion,” now a nightmare incubus—
that curse upon our planet and ourselves—
now this consuming, all-consuming Thing
molests our modern sleep, and violates
the only precious. You know what I mean!
The dollar-humping drudgery. The sickness
of these late days. Demon ‘Development.’
And the quick cash men make to fat themselves,
possessed by avarice; by glutless lust
to rape the Earth and desecrate it Product,©
men drooling for armageddon—for a world
self-ending, self-destructing—Mall on Mall
and Salesmen hawking lie on lie from Screens
that wrap a Beast of glass beset—and yet
…what else can be?
Cheap surface-peddlers rule—
and stupor, waste, commodity remain
our dear idolatries.
To them I must,
since brooding on the graves of Gods is vain
and I am done with singing—
before conceding peace and quiet here—
(self-exiled to a forest’s loneliness
away from our psychotic, shallow blaze
in wealth’s Metropolis)—once more
and play the solemn dirge Your wake is wanting.
Then may You rest. With God, I’ll bury songs,
whose final utterance can melody
the death of Him
and all that we’ve become…