The Deacon's TaleIn the days of yore uncounted,
When men were simple and benign,
And truthful fables were recounted
Without craft or ill design,
There lived a good and Godly deacon
Who preached to all that shared his creed
As he held aloft the beacon
Of the virtuous life and deed.
He was a much-respected neighbour,
And a venerable sage,
With reputation forged by labour
And improved upon with age.
He said his prayers in the morning
Scarce he beheld the rising sun,
His withered lips in rev'rence forming,
"Praisèd be the Holy One!"
And if he was with mischief taken,
Plagued by him who lost his way,
When he, for instance, loath to waken,
Slept through nigh a half a day,
Fearing that his sloth may liken
Him to the Unholy One,
He kneeled before the smiling ikon
Of the Virgin and her Son.
He lived in modesty and measure,
With God, as always, at his right,
Guarding him from thoughtless pleasure,
Guiding him towards the light.
It happened that a fellow Father
Once gave a grand and lordly feast,
ApotheosisHere standing in a fearsome gale,
Cast by the seas onto a shore
Without a mountain or a dale,
With only sands that whip skin sore
And teeth of rock that seek to rend
A bird or beast from bone to bone,
And acrid winds his back to bend,
Exposed, despondent, and alone,
This is a man, this is a man.
He toils, wherefore he knoweth not;
He lives to shiver in the snow
Or lie prostrate when it is hot;
Whatever wonders he may sow,
He reaps a burr or bramble there,
For rains have smothered any crop,
The earth devoid of any fare,
And yet --- he toils, and will not stop:
He is a man, he is a man.
He builds a house of wood and stone
To fend off beasts and savage climes;
He tills his earth till seeds have grown,
He waits and weathers through the times.
His will is firm, his hands are strong,
And he endures, with pleasures scarce
To spur him, beckon him
...Ergo sum?Who am I?
Wrapped in spare sight
an inhalation of the direst evil
and expiration of the greatest good
and many-coloured as prismatic light
without a single streak of white.
That am I,
Begotten by time
a common language with the Sun
and crown of stars upon my cursèd brow
and ejection from the bowels of the earth
forever caught in my eternal birth.
That am I,
Ascent from below
an incarnation of transparent gods
and exaltation beyond any joy of life
and a reunion of serrated blood of skies
the veins of chaos in my eyes.
That am I,
Awareness of infinity
an absolution from the burden day
and soaring through the spears of Sheol's rays
and the finality of both expansion and the infinitesimal
and the reality of all that is impossible
wholly weightless in my gravity
and plural in my singularity
an upward motion forever gaining speed
without direction, without form
through glass-shards of the coldest nights
my pulse is lambent gold
Am I alive?
Or have I died, perhaps,
because I had been too
Untitled 19There is wailing in my ears.
Have I lost my mind at last?
Miseries here passed unshod,
And spirits of unspoken fears.
Where the bleeding plaster breaks
On the scraped and empty wall,
In the bare decrepit hall,
A long and eerie sound it makes,
A bloody, miserable sound,
Like a child that starved to death,
Like expiring, laboured breath,
Like the wailing of a hound
That is dying in the cold.
Stains of red reach from the wall,
A leaking, pulsing scarlet pall,
Over crack and over fold