Saturday, September 13, 2014

Arcadia - To that gaunt House of Art which lacks for naught Of all the great things man has saved from Time, The withered body of a girl was brought Dead ere the world's glad youth had touched its prime, And seen by lonely Arabs lying hid In the dim wound of some black pyramid. But when they had unloosed the linen band Which swathed the Egyptian's body,- lo! was found Closed in the wasted hollow of her hand A little seed, which sown in English ground Did wondrous snow of starry blossoms bear, And spread rich odors through our Autumn air. With such strange arts this flower did allure That all forgotten was the asphodel, And the brown bee, the lily's paramour, Forsook the cup where he was wont to dwell, For not a thing of earth it seemed to be, But stolen from some heavenly Arcadia. In vain the sad narcissus, wan and white At its own beauty, hung across the stream, The purple dragon-fly had no delight With its gold-dust to make his wings a-gleam, Ah! no delight the jasmine-bloom to kiss, Or brush the rain-pearls from its eucharist. For love of it the passionate nightingale Forgot the hills of Thrace, the cruel king, And the pale dove no longer cared to sail Through the wet woods at time of blossoming, But round this flower of Egypt sought to float, With silvered wing and amethystine throat. While the hot sun blazed in his tower of blue A cooling wind crept from the land of snows, And the warm south with tender tears of dew Drenched its white leaves when Hesperos uprose Amid those sea-green meadows of the sky On which the scarlet bars of sunset lie. But when o'er wastes of lily-haunted field The tired birds had stayed their amorous tune, And broad and glittering like an argent shield High in the sapphire heavens hung the moon, Did no strange dream or evil memory make Each tremulous petal of its blossoms shake? Ah no! to this bright flower a thousand years Seemed but the lingering of a summer's day, It never knew the tide of cankering fears Which turn a boy's gold hair to withered gray, The dread desire of death it never knew, Or how all folk that they were born must rue. For we to death with pipe and dancing go, Nor would we pass the ivory gate again, As some sad river wearied of its flow Through the dull plains, the haunts of common men, Leaps lover-like into the terrible sea! And counts it gain to die so gloriously. We mar our lordly strength in barren strife With the world's legions led by clamorous care, It never feels decay but gathers life From the pure moonlight and the supreme air, We live beneath Time's wasting sovereignty, I the child of eternity...
Dance of Death - Carrying bouquet, and handkerchief, and gloves, Proud of her height as when she lived, she moves With all the careless and high-stepping grace, And the extravagant courtesan's thin face. Was slimmer waist e'er in a ball-room wooed? Her floating robe, in royal amplitude, Falls in deep folds around a dry foot, shod With a bright flower-like shoe that gems the sod. The swarms that hum about her collar-bones As the lascivious streams caress the stones, Conceal from every scornful jest that flies, Her gloomy beauty and her fathomless eyes Are made of shade and void; with flowery sprays Her skull is wreathed artistically, and sways, Feeble and weak, on her frail vertebrae. O charm of nothing decked in folly! they Who laugh and name you a caricature, They see not, they whom flesh and blood allure, The nameless grace of every bleached, bare bone, That is most dear to me, tall skeleton! Come you to trouble with your potent sneer The feast of Life! or are you driven here, To pleasure's Sabbath, by dead lusts that stir And goad your moving corpse on with a spur? Or do you hope, when sing the violins, And the pale candle-flame lights up our sins, To drive some mocking nightmare far apart, And cool the flame hell lighted in your heart? Fathomless well of fault and foolishness! Eternal alembic of antique distress! Still o'er the curved, white trellis of your sides The dateless, wandering serpent curls and glides. And truth to tell, I fear lest you should find, Among us here, no lover to your mind; Which of these hearts beat for the smile you gave? The charms of horror please none but the brave. Your eyes' black gulf, where awful brooding's stir, Brings giddiness; the prudent revelry Sees, while a horror grips him from beneath, The eternal smile of two white teeth. For he who has not folded in his arms A skeleton, nor fed on graveyard charms, Reckons not of furbelow, or paint, or scent, When Horror comes the way that Beauty went. O irresistible, with fleshless face, Say to these dancers in their dazzled race, "Proud lovers with the paint above your bones, Ye shall taste death, musk scented skeletons! Withered Antinuclear, dandies with plump faces, Ye varnished cadavers, and Grey Loveless, Ye go to lands unknown and void of breath, Drawn by the rumour of the Dance of Death. From Seine's cold quays to Ganges' burning stream, The mortal troupes dance onward in a dream; They do not see, within the opened sky, The Angel's sinister trumpet raised on high In every clime and under every sun, Death laughs at ye, mad mortals, as ye run; And oft perfumes herself with myrrh, like ye And mingles with your madness, irony... Adrian Alexis 09/01/14

Nails -

NAILS - I gave you sorrow to hang on your wall Like a calendar in one color. I wear a torn place on my sleeve. It isn't as simple as that.   Between no place of mine and no place of yours You'd have thought I'd know the way by now Just from thinking it over. Oh I know I've no excuse to be stuck here turning Like a mirror on a string, Except it's hardly credible how It all keeps changing. Loss has a wider choice of directions Than the other thing.   As if I had a system I shuffle among the lies Turning them over, if only I could be sure what I'd lost. I uncover my footprints, I Poke them till the eyes open. They don't recall what it looked like. When was I using it last? Was it like a ring or a light Or the autumn pond Which chokes and glitters but Grows colder? It could be all in the mind.  Anyway Nothing seems to bring it back to me.   And I've been to see Your hands as trees borne away on a flood, The same film over and over, And an old one at that, shattering its account To the last of the digits, and nothing And the blank end.   The lightning has shown me the scars of the future.   I've had a long look at someone Alone like a key in a lock Without what it takes to turn.   It isn't as simple as that.   Winter will think back to your lit harvest For which there is no help, and the seed Of eloquence will open its wings When you are gone. But at this moment When the nails are kissing the fingers good-bye And my only Chance is bleeding from me, When my one chance is bleeding, For speaking either truth or comfort I have no more tongue than a wound...