Sovereignty of Man

Watching the waters as they run along,
Overwhelm the banks, or sit still,
We see the fortitude of time,
Of a great, imperious will.

Walking amidst the weary forests,
Between veteran oaks and captains of pine,
We know the stately nature of our world,
And the insignificance that is mine.

Beneath the rigid stellar ranges,
All life is quantified, muted, alone;
By the sun's providential light, the oceanic depths,
We are prostrate before Earth's throne.

When the long lengths of somethingless space
Impeach the sovereignty of human insight,
And science bewilders us with beautiful facts,
We wonder with rage and a benevolent fright.
The answer to greatness is not a great nothing,
But smallness shown in humility's light;
For the efforts of man to disprove man
Only illustrate God's artistic might.

Millennia of silence, tremendous astral melodies,
Planetary percussion, seasonal harmonies year after year;
The cosmos is God's nearest symphony -
But what good is music if there is no-one to hear?

The universe, and the wildness it holds,
Are merely the scraps of some higher place
Where the only table is the Table,
And every word is an embrace.

The triumphs of time and the inspiration of space,
Are as sure as the dawn of another day;
But all of that means not a single whit
When eternity is one moment away. 

A Sweet, Bloodless Rage

'To inscribe a painful melody
Upon a cold, blank page' -
These words he said to me
In a sweet, bloodless rage.

I never knew what he meant,
That emblem of solar youth,
But his simple, honest splendour
Beckoned me to their truth.

The day begins with spring:
The bright innocence of joy
Mixed with a portion of pride
That a painter might employ.

Summer's sun bequeaths a brutal strength,
The height of a hero's sigil;
Autumn's eve sends a humbling gloss
To prepare for Winter's vigil.

I lie awake upon the snow,
Breathing the fragrance of ashes -
My mind is a machine,
Red, burning, laden with rashes.

Therefore I dream in my death,
I dream in my bed of snow;
But a piercing song awakes me,
And now I know, now I know.

A delicate, dancing voice
Sang to me from the wild:
'Walk into my waiting arms,
Belong to me, my child'.

I know what she meant,
That picture of lunar light,
And her long, lively loveliness
Summoned me to the night.

'To inscribe a painful melody
Upon a cold, dark page'-
These words he said to me
In a sweet, bloodless rage.

The One; Or the Other

‘(William) died on Sunday night at 6 Oclock in a most glorious manner. He said He was going to that Country he had all His life wished to see & expressed Himself Happy, hoping for Salvation through Jesus Christ – Just before he died His Countenance became fair. His eyes Brighten’d and He burst out Singing of the things he saw in Heaven.’ ~George Richmond, a friend

For my Master

The thinking biped is a curious thing;
A prodigal son, lost between
The wild realms of heaven with gods unseen
And the labyrinths of dirt and suff’ring.

This acute stage on the ontological ladder
Offers the mystical option of unrestricted will,
Of the possibility to go down or higher still,
To become fiery spirit or some murky matter.

The world is open to our finite seeing:
A colourful playground, a bitter battlefield;
It is the celestial splendour cleverly concealed
By wrath and sin, by sensible being.

We are the children of the sun,
Born in a place as strange as it is home;
Consigned to journey beneath the astral dome,
We must leave when we’ve barely begun.

Nestled between two embattled regions,
We are the conciliation, the dark ingrate –
Discontent to meet our bright, cleansing fate
‘Till hell has summoned his legions.

Like Christ upon His blessed tree,
We are each salvation in a story –
Whether we grasp it in terrific glory,
Or enslave it in dark, ecstatic glee.

In this there can be no middle ground:
We stride near the light or yield to the black;
We submit to God to sustain our inherent lack,
Or we sustain ourselves, fed and eternally unfound.

This duality is a necessary deceit:
No darkness can legitimately persist,
No shadow can militantly resist
The penetration of light’s sunny fleet.

So we take heed and remember well,
That the great evil is but seeming,
A by-product of the devil’s dreaming.
The God who won and the beast that fell
Is the marriage of heaven & hell.

Waiting for an Answer

What, my love, does this world need;
An abundant harvest, a second coming?
The burden of a century's violent seed
Weighs upon our dark, lagging shoulders
Like a mountain of everlasting greed.

What, my love, is there to see;
The triumph of one, or collective retreat?
A soft despair grips our memory;
With the slyness of a persuasive guilt,
Life is cramped into me, me, me.

What, my love, is there to feel;
An eclipse of pain, or the descent of man?
Wild with the charisma of steel,
We are betrothed to the prince of thrills –
To whom we can only ever kneel.

What, my love, can we ever do;
Wish it all away, or labour like Los?
The night is shortest when we are through
With flashes of false, glimmering gods,
And surrender to something old, something new.

What, my love, is your Christian name;
Poor Greek enchantress, or darling Delia?
Whether impassioned, thoughtful, or lame,
We entreat you, precious sage,
To provide us counsel all the same.

‘The weight of the past is speedily undone
By amnesia’s kiss, by History won.
Let not Urizen enslave your ev’ry part,
Not your hand, not your flaming heart.
Seek to preserve a faith inside –
Await the storm, the turning tide.
For what will come after has come before:
Trial, tribulation, and supernal war.’ 

Our Crimson Flower

In the domain of human haunts and desires,
The mind bends, turns, and darkly conspires
To see its capacity grow,
To climax and thereby know
The wild secrets, life’s bravest, boldest fires.

Despite the height of its grim, logical tower,
The mind is subject to a higher power;
Buried in torrents of skin,
Bleeding without and within,
Sits the throne of our highest organ, our crimson flower.

Only the thumping heart can justly decide
Whether the sun is a king or bride;
Only the heart can feel,
Can discover, can peel
Away the layers and see that Plato has lied.

For the true fruits of life are seldom found
Through the sole use of mind, drawn and bound
By the coldness of reason,
Love’s perennial treason,
But through the eye of the heart, big and round.

Every man is an artist on his day,
And every man a poet, in his own way;
Whether inclined to kneel,
Or proudly wave his steel,
The heart commands, and the mind hurries to obey.

Our Mistress

A ragged winter descending from the pale
Envelops thought and verdant spirit;
In a raw gaiety expanding, unwinding,
Her cold voice alive with a wretched wail.

A vague temper, a formless name,
She escapes rigid definition:
To us oceans whisper rumours,
But nothing sacral, nothing the same.

An insistent wind blows long,
Beckoning change and limitless expanse;
Withered by time, and all else between,
The blade is lulled into a sleepy song.

Bearing a crown of humbled grey,
And a scepter of ungodly shame,
This spectral king bows in servitude,
Happily seduced by the fools at play.

Her vines grasp at the feet;
She bites relentlessly at the proud,
Ensnaring the wisest, the meekest;
These old souls trapped in the jungle of conceit.

From beyond the canopy, from under ground,
A redder spirit arises from within;
The golden sword emerges from slavery
To reveal the whore who would have us bound.

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