The Mask of Anarchy_Percy B. Shelley

As I lay asleep in Italy

There came a voice from over the Sea,

And with great power it forth led me

To walk in the visions of Poesy.

I met Murder on the way –

He had a mask like Castlereagh –

Very smooth he looked, yet grim;

Seven blood-hounds followed him:

All were fat; and well they might

Be in admirable plight,

For one by one, and two by two,

He tossed the human hearts to chew

Which from his wide cloak he drew.

Next came Fraud, and he had on,

Like Eldon, an ermined gown;

His big tears, for he wept well,

Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

And the little children, who

Round his feet played to and fro,

Thinking every tear a gem,

Had their brains knocked out by them.

Clothed with the Bible, as with light,

And the shadows of the night,

Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy

On a crocodile rode by.

And many more Destructions played

In this ghastly masquerade,

All disguised, even to the eyes,

Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.

Last came Anarchy: he rode

On a white horse, splashed with blood;

He was pale even to the lips,

Like Death in the Apocalypse.

And he wore a kingly crown;

And in his grasp a sceptre shone;

On his brow this mark I saw –

‘I AM GOD, AND KING, AND LAW!’

With a pace stately and fast,

Over English land he passed,

Trampling to a mire of blood

The adoring multitude.

And a mighty troop around,

With their trampling shook the ground,

Waving each a bloody sword,

For the service of their Lord.

And with glorious triumph, they

Rode through England proud and gay,

Drunk as with intoxication

Of the wine of desolation.

O’er fields and towns, from sea to sea,

Passed the Pageant swift and free,

Tearing up, and trampling down;

Till they came to London town.

And each dweller, panic-stricken,

Felt his heart with terror sicken

Hearing the tempestuous cry

Of the triumph of Anarchy.

For with pomp to meet him came,

Clothed in arms like blood and flame,

The hired murderers, who did sing

‘Thou art God, and Law, and King.

‘We have waited, weak and lone

For thy coming, Mighty One!

Our Purses are empty, our swords are cold,

Give us glory, and blood, and gold.’

Lawyers and priests, a motley crowd,

To the earth their pale brows bowed;

Like a bad prayer not over loud,

Whispering – ‘Thou art Law and God.’ –

Then all cried with one accord,

‘Thou art King, and God and Lord;

Anarchy, to thee we bow,

Be thy name made holy now!’

And Anarchy, the skeleton,

Bowed and grinned to every one,

As well as if his education

Had cost ten millions to the nation.

For he knew the Palaces

Of our Kings were rightly his;

His the sceptre, crown and globe,

And the gold-inwoven robe.

So he sent his slaves before

To seize upon the Bank and Tower,

And was proceeding with intent

To meet his pensioned Parliament

When one fled past, a maniac maid,

And her name was Hope, she said:

But she looked more like Despair,

And she cried out in the air:

‘My father Time is weak and gray

With waiting for a better day;

See how idiot-like he stands,

Fumbling with his palsied hands!

He has had child after child,

And the dust of death is piled

Over every one but me –

Misery, oh, Misery!’

Then she lay down in the street,

Right before the horses’ feet,

Expecting, with a patient eye,

Murder, Fraud, and Anarchy.

When between her and her foes

A mist, a light, an image rose,

Small at first, and weak, and frail

Like the vapour of a vale:

Till as clouds grow on the blast,

Like tower-crowned giants striding fast,

And glare with lightnings as they fly,

And speak in thunder to the sky,

It grew – a Shape arrayed in mail

Brighter than the viper’s scale,

And upborne on wings whose grain

Was as the light of sunny rain.

On its helm, seen far away,

A planet, like the Morning’s, lay;

And those plumes its light rained through

Like a shower of crimson dew.

With step as soft as wind it passed

O’er the heads of men – so fast

That they knew the presence there,

And looked, – but all was empty air.

As flowers beneath May’s footstep waken,

As stars from Night’s loose hair are shaken,

As waves arise when loud winds call,

Thoughts sprung where’er that step did fall.

And the prostrate multitude

Looked – and ankle-deep in blood,

Hope, that maiden most serene,

Was walking with a quiet mien:

And Anarchy, the ghastly birth,

Lay dead earth upon the earth;

The Horse of Death tameless as wind

Fled, and with his hoofs did grind

To dust the murderers thronged behind.

A rushing light of clouds and splendour,

A sense awakening and yet tender

Was heard and felt – and at its close

These words of joy and fear arose

As if their own indignant Earth

Which gave the sons of England birth

Had felt their blood upon her brow,

And shuddering with a mother’s throe

Had turned every drop of blood

By which her face had been bedewed

To an accent unwithstood, –

As if her heart had cried aloud:

‘Men of England, heirs of Glory,

Heroes of unwritten story,

Nurslings of one mighty Mother,

Hopes of her, and one another;

‘Rise like Lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number,

Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you –

Ye are many – they are few.

‘What is Freedom? – ye can tell

That which slavery is, too well –

For its very name has grown

To an echo of your own.

‘Tis to work and have such pay

As just keeps life from day to day

In your limbs, as in a cell

For the tyrants’ use to dwell,

‘So that ye for them are made

Loom, and plough, and sword, and spade,

With or without your own will bent

To their defence and nourishment.

‘Tis to see your children weak

With their mothers pine and peak,

When the winter winds are bleak, –

They are dying whilst I speak.

‘Tis to hunger for such diet

As the rich man in his riot

Casts to the fat dogs that lie

Surfeiting beneath his eye;

‘Tis to let the Ghost of Gold

Take from Toil a thousandfold

More that e’er its substance could

In the tyrannies of old.

‘Paper coin – that forgery

Of the title-deeds, which ye

Hold to something of the worth

Of the inheritance of Earth.

‘Tis to be a slave in soul

And to hold no strong control

Over your own wills, but be

All that others make of ye.

‘And at length when ye complain

With a murmur weak and vain

‘Tis to see the Tyrant’s crew

Ride over your wives and you –

Blood is on the grass like dew.

‘Then it is to feel revenge

Fiercely thirsting to exchange

Blood for blood – and wrong for wrong –

Do not thus when ye are strong.

‘Birds find rest, in narrow nest

When weary of their wingèd quest

Beasts find fare, in woody lair

When storm and snow are in the air.

‘Asses, swine, have litter spread

And with fitting food are fed;

All things have a home but one –

Thou, Oh, Englishman, hast none!

‘This is slavery – savage men

Or wild beasts within a den

Would endure not as ye do –

But such ills they never knew.

‘What art thou Freedom? O! could slaves

Answer from their living graves

This demand – tyrants would flee

Like a dream’s dim imagery:

‘Thou art not, as impostors say,

A shadow soon to pass away,

A superstition, and a name

Echoing from the cave of Fame.

‘For the labourer thou art bread,

And a comely table spread

From his daily labour come

In a neat and happy home.

‘Thou art clothes, and fire, and food

For the trampled multitude –

No – in countries that are free

Such starvation cannot be

As in England now we see.

‘To the rich thou art a check,

When his foot is on the neck

Of his victim, thou dost make

That he treads upon a snake.

‘Thou art Justice – ne’er for gold

May thy righteous laws be sold

As laws are in England – thou

Shield’st alike the high and low.

‘Thou art Wisdom – Freemen never

Dream that God will damn for ever

All who think those things untrue

Of which Priests make such ado.

‘Thou art Peace – never by thee

Would blood and treasure wasted be

As tyrants wasted them, when all

Leagued to quench thy flame in Gaul.

‘What if English toil and blood

Was poured forth, even as a flood?

It availed, Oh, Liberty,

To dim, but not extinguish thee.

‘Thou art Love – the rich have kissed

Thy feet, and like him following Christ,

Give their substance to the free

And through the rough world follow thee,

‘Or turn their wealth to arms, and make

War for thy belovèd sake

On wealth, and war, and fraud – whence they

Drew the power which is their prey.

‘Science, Poetry, and Thought

Are thy lamps; they make the lot

Of the dwellers in a cot

So serene, they curse it not.

‘Spirit, Patience, Gentleness,

All that can adorn and bless

Art thou – let deeds, not words, express

Thine exceeding loveliness.

‘Let a great Assembly be

Of the fearless and the free

On some spot of English ground

Where the plains stretch wide around.

‘Let the blue sky overhead,

The green earth on which ye tread,

All that must eternal be

Witness the solemnity.

‘From the corners uttermost

Of the bounds of English coast;

From every hut, village, and town

Where those who live and suffer moan,

‘From the workhouse and the prison

Where pale as corpses newly risen,

Women, children, young and old

Groan for pain, and weep for cold –

‘From the haunts of daily life

Where is waged the daily strife

With common wants and common cares

Which sows the human heart with tares –

‘Lastly from the palaces

Where the murmur of distress

Echoes, like the distant sound

Of a wind alive around

‘Those prison halls of wealth and fashion,

Where some few feel such compassion

For those who groan, and toil, and wail

As must make their brethren pale –

‘Ye who suffer woes untold,

Or to feel, or to behold

Your lost country bought and sold

With a price of blood and gold –

‘Let a vast assembly be,

And with great solemnity

Declare with measured words that ye

Are, as God has made ye, free –

‘Be your strong and simple words

Keen to wound as sharpened swords,

And wide as targes let them be,

With their shade to cover ye.

‘Let the tyrants pour around

With a quick and startling sound,

Like the loosening of a sea,

Troops of armed emblazonry.

Let the charged artillery drive

Till the dead air seems alive

With the clash of clanging wheels,

And the tramp of horses’ heels.

‘Let the fixèd bayonet

Gleam with sharp desire to wet

Its bright point in English blood

Looking keen as one for food.

‘Let the horsemen’s scimitars

Wheel and flash, like sphereless stars

Thirsting to eclipse their burning

In a sea of death and mourning.

‘Stand ye calm and resolute,

Like a forest close and mute,

With folded arms and looks which are

Weapons of unvanquished war,

‘And let Panic, who outspeeds

The career of armèd steeds

Pass, a disregarded shade

Through your phalanx undismayed.

‘Let the laws of your own land,

Good or ill, between ye stand

Hand to hand, and foot to foot,

Arbiters of the dispute,

‘The old laws of England – they

Whose reverend heads with age are gray,

Children of a wiser day;

And whose solemn voice must be

Thine own echo – Liberty!

‘On those who first should violate

Such sacred heralds in their state

Rest the blood that must ensue,

And it will not rest on you.

‘And if then the tyrants dare

Let them ride among you there,

Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew, –

What they like, that let them do.

‘With folded arms and steady eyes,

And little fear, and less surprise,

Look upon them as they slay

Till their rage has died away.

‘Then they will return with shame

To the place from which they came,

And the blood thus shed will speak

In hot blushes on their cheek.

‘Every woman in the land

Will point at them as they stand –

They will hardly dare to greet

Their acquaintance in the street.

‘And the bold, true warriors

Who have hugged Danger in wars

Will turn to those who would be free,

Ashamed of such base company.

‘And that slaughter to the Nation

Shall steam up like inspiration,

Eloquent, oracular;

A volcano heard afar.

‘And these words shall then become

Like Oppression’s thundered doom

Ringing through each heart and brain,

Heard again – again – again –

‘Rise like Lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number –

Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you –

Ye are many – they are few.’

Lovesong_Rainer Maria Rilke

Lovesong

How shall I withhold my soul so that

it does not touch on yours? How shall I

uplift it over you to other things?

Ah willingly would I by some

lost thing in the dark give it harbor

in an unfamiliar silent place

that does not vibrate on when your depths vibrate.

Yet everything that touches us, you and me,

takes us together as a bow’s stroke does,

that out of two strings draws a single voice.

Upon what instrument are we two spanned?

And what player has us in his hand?

O sweet song.

 

 

Liebeslied

Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, dass

sie nicht an deine rührt? Wie soll ich sie

hingeben über dich zu andern Dingen?

Ach gerne möchte ich sei bei irgendetwas

Verlorenem im Dunkel unterbringen

an einer fremden stillen Stelle, die

nicht weiterschwingt, wenn deine Tiefen schwingen.

Doch alles, was uns anrührt, dich und mich,

nimmt uns zusammen wie ein Bogenstrich,

der aus zwei Saiten eine Stimme zieht.

Auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt?

Und welcher Spieler hat uns in der Hand?

O süsses Lied.

On Talking_Gibran Khalil Gibran

And then a scholar said, Speak of Talking

And he answered, saying:

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your

thoughts;

And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of

your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a

diversion and a pastime.

And in much of your talking, thinking is half

murdered.

For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of

words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.

There are those among you who seek the talkative

through fear of being alone.

The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their

naked selves and they would escape.

And there are those who talk, and without

knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they

themselves do not understand.

And there are those who have the truth within

them, but they tell it not in words.

In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in

rhythmic silence.

When you meet your friend on the roadside or in

the market-place, let the spirit in you move your lips

and direct your tongue.

Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of

his ear;

For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the

taste of the wine is remembered.

When the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no

more.

On Work_Khalil Gibran

Then a ploughman said, Speak to us of Work.

And he answered, saying:

You work that you may keep pace with the earth

and the soul of the earth.

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the

seasons, and to step out of life’s procession that

marches in majesty and proud submission towards

the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart

the whispering of the hours turn to music.

Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent,

when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and

labour a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part

of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that

dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth

loving life,

And to love life through labour is to be intimate with

life’s inmost secret.

But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the

support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow,

then I answer that naught but the sweat of your

brow shall wash away that which is written.

You have been told also that life is darkness, and in

your weariness you echo what was said by the

weary.

And I say that life is indeed darkness save when

there is urge,

And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge.

And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,

And all work is empty save when there is love;

And when you work with love you bind yourself to

yourself, and to one another, and to God.

And what is it to work with love?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from

your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear

that cloth.

It is to build a house with affection, even as if your

beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the

harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat

the fruit.

It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of

your own spirit.

And to know that all the blessed dead are standing

about you and watching.

Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep,

‘He who works in marble, and finds the shape of his

own soul in the stone, is nobler than he who

ploughs the soil.

‘And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth

in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes

the sandals for our feet.’

But I say, not in sleep, but in the overwakefulness of

noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to

the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of

grass;

And he alone is great who turns the voice of the

wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with

distaste, it is better than you should leave your work

and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of

those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a

bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your

grudges distils a poison in the wine.

And if you sing though as angels, and love not the

singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the

day and the voices of the night.

Marriage_Gregory Corso

Should I get married ? Should I be good ?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood ?
Don’t take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel ! It’s beautiful to feel !
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky-

When she introduces me to her parents
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit with my knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where’s the bathroom ?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap-
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before ! He wants our Mary Lou !
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living ?

Should I tell them ? Would they like me then ?
Say All right get married, we’re losing a daughter
but we’re gaining a son-
And should I then ask Where’s the bathroom ?

O God, and the wedding ! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just wait to get at the drinks and food-
And the priest ! he looking at me as if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife ?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue !
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She’s all yours, boy ! Ha-ha-ha !
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on-
Then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls ! Hordes of us ! Husbands ! Wives ! Flowers ! Chocolates !
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
Everybody knowing ! I’d almost be inclined not to do anything !
Stay up all night ! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye !
Screaming : I deny honeymoon ! I deny honeymoon !
running rampant into those almost climactic suites
yelling Radio belly ! Cat shovel !
O I’d live in Niagara forever ! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I’d sit there the Mad Honeymooner
devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy
a saint of divorce-

But I should get married I should be good
How nice it’d be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely wanting my baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth ! Radiant brains ! Apple deaf !
God what a husband I’d make ! Yes, I should get married !
So much to do ! Like sneaking into Mr Jones’ house late at night
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky !
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales !
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust-

Yes if I should get married and it’s Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear nor Roman coin soup-
O what would that be like !
Surely I’d give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle a bag of broken Bach records
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon

No, I doubt I’d be that kind of father
Not rural not snow no quiet window
but hot smelly tight New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job !

And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus
impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking-
No ! I should not get married ! I should never get married !
But-imagine if I were married to a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and a highball in the other
and we lived high up in a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days
No, can’t imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream-

O but what about love ? I forget love
not that I am incapable of love
It’s just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes-
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there’s maybe a girl now but she’s already married
And I don’t like men and-
But there’s got to be somebody !
Because what if I’m 60 years old and not married,
all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married ! All the universe married but me !

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible-
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so i wait-bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.