Kit Anderson

“Then Was My Neophyte” by Dylan Thomas

Then was my neophyte,
Child in white blood bent on its knees
Under the bell of rocks,
Ducked in the twelve, disciple seas
The winder of the water-clocks
Calls a green day and night.
My sea hermaphrodite,
Snail of man in His ship of fires
That burn the bitten decks,
Knew all His horrible desires
The climber of the water sex
Calls the green rock of light.

Who in these labyrinths,
This tidethread and the lane of scales,
Twine in a moon-blown shell,
Escapes to the flat cities’ sails
Furled on the fishes’ house and hell,
Nor falls to His green myths?
Stretch the salt photographs,
The landscape grief, love in His oils
Mirror from man to whale
That the green child see like a grail
Through veil and fin and fire and coil
Time on the canvas paths.

He films my vanity.
Shot in the wind, by tilted arcs,
Over the water come
Children from homes and children’s parks
Who speak on a finger and thumb,
And the masked, headless boy.
His reels and mystery
The winder of the clockwise scene
Wound like a ball of lakes
Then threw on that tide-hoisted screen
Love’s image till my heartbone breaks
By a dramatic sea.

Who kills my history?
The year-hedged row is lame with flint,
Blunt scythe and water blade.
‘Who could snap off the shapeless print
From your to-morrow-treading shade
With oracle for eye?’
Time kills me terribly.
‘Time shall not murder you,’ He said,
‘Nor the green nought be hurt;
Who could hack out your unsucked heart,
O green and unborn and undead?’
I saw time murder me.

“Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29

“First Love” by Stanley Kunitz

At his incipient sun
The ice of twenty winters broke,
Crackling, in her eyes.

Her mirroring, still mind,
That held the world (made double) calm,
Went fluid, and it ran.

There was a stir of music,
Mixed with flowers, in her blood;
A swift impulsive balm

From obscure roots;
Gold bees of clinging light
Swarmed in her brow.

Her throat is full of songs,
She hums, she is sensible of wings
Growing on her heart.

She is a tree in spring
Trembling with the hope of leaves,
Of which the leaves are tongues.

“I died for beauty” by Emily Dickinson

I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth, -the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

“The Mask Of Anarchy” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

1.
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.

2.
I met Murder on the way–
He had a mask like Castlereagh–
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:

3.
All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed them human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloak he drew.

4.
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.

5.
And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.

6.
Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.

7.
And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.

8.
Last came Anarchy: he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.

9.
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!’

10.
With a pace stately and fast,
Over English land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood
The adoring multitude.

11.
And a mighty troop around,
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword,
For the service of their Lord.

12.
And with glorious triumph, they
Rode through England proud and gay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of the wine of desolation.

13.
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.

14.
And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken
Hearing the tempestuous cry
Of the triumph of Anarchy.

15.
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.

16.
‘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.’

17.
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.’–

18.
Then all cried with one accord,
‘Thou art King, and God, and Lord;
Anarchy, to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!’

19.
And Anarchy, the Skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost ten millions to the nation.

20.
For he knew the Palaces
Of our Kings were rightly his;
His the sceptre, crown, and globe,
And the gold-inwoven robe.

21.
So he sent his slaves before
To seize upon the Bank and Tower,
And was proceeding with intent
To meet his pensioned Parliament

22.
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:

23.
‘My father Time is weak and gray
With waiting for a better day;
See how idiot-like he stands,
Fumbling with his palsied hands!

24.
‘He has had child after child,
And the dust of death is piled
Over every one but me–
Misery, oh, Misery!’

25.
Then she lay down in the street,
Right before the horses’ feet,
Expecting, with a patient eye,
Murder, Fraud, and Anarchy.

26.
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:

27.
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,

28.
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.

29.
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.

30.
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.

31.
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.

32.
And the prostrate multitude
Looked–and ankle-deep in blood,
Hope, that maiden most serene,
Was walking with a quiet mien:

33.
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.

34.
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

35.
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

36.
Had turned every drop of blood
By which her face had been bedewed
To an accent unwithstood,
As if her heart had cried aloud:

37.
‘Men of England, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another;

38.
‘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.

39.
‘What is Freedom?–ye can tell
That which slavery is, too well–
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.

40.
”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,

41.
‘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.

42.
”Tis to see your children weak
With their mothers pine and peak,
When the winter winds are bleak,
They are dying whilst I speak.

43.
”Tis to hunger for such diet
As the rich man in his riot
Casts to the fat dogs that lie
Surfeiting beneath his eye;

44.
”Tis to let the Ghost of Gold
Take from Toil a thousandfold
More than e’er its substance could
In the tyrannies of old.

45.
‘Paper coin–that forgery
Of the title-deeds, which ye
Hold to something of the worth
Of the inheritance of Earth.

46.
”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.

47.
‘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.

48.
‘Then it is to feel revenge
Fiercely thirsting to exchange
Blood for blood–and wrong for wrong–
Do not thus when ye are strong.

49.
‘Birds find rest, in narrow nest
When weary of their winged quest;
Beasts find fare, in woody lair
When storm and snow are in the air.

50.
‘Asses, swine, have litter spread
And with fitting food are fed;
All things have a home but one–
Thou, Oh, Englishman, hast none!

51.
‘This is Slavery–savage men,
Or wild beasts within a den
Would endure not as ye do–
But such ills they never knew.

52.
‘What art thou Freedom? O! could slaves
Answer from their living graves
This demand–tyrants would flee
Like a dream’s dim imagery:

53.
‘Thou art not, as impostors say,
A shadow soon to pass away,
A superstition, and a name
Echoing from the cave of Fame.

54.
‘For the labourer thou art bread,
And a comely table spread
From his daily labour come
In a neat and happy home.

55.
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.

56.
‘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.

57.
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.

58.
‘Thou art Wisdom–Freemen never
Dream that God will damn for ever
All who think those things untrue
Of which Priests make such ado.

59.
‘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.

60.
‘What if English toil and blood
Was poured forth, even as a flood?
It availed, Oh, Liberty,
To dim, but not extinguish thee.

61.
‘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,

62.
‘Or turn their wealth to arms, and make
War for thy beloved sake
On wealth, and war, and fraud–whence they
Drew the power which is their prey.

63.
‘Science, Poetry, and Thought
Are thy lamps; they make the lot
Of the dwellers in a cot
So serene, they curse it not.

64.
‘Spirit, Patience, Gentleness,
All that can adorn and bless
Art thou–let deeds, not words, express
Thine exceeding loveliness.

65.
‘Let a great Assembly be
Of the fearless and the free
On some spot of English ground
Where the plains stretch wide around.

66.
‘Let the blue sky overhead,
The green earth on which ye tread,
All that must eternal be
Witness the solemnity.

67.
‘From the corners uttermost
Of the bounds of English coast;
From every hut, village, and town
Where those who live and suffer moan
For others’ misery or their own,

68.
‘From the workhouse and the prison
Where pale as corpses newly risen,
Women, children, young and old
Groan for pain, and weep for cold–

69.
‘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–

70.
‘Lastly from the palaces
Where the murmur of distress
Echoes, like the distant sound
Of a wind alive around

71.
‘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–

72.
‘Ye who suffer woes untold,
Or to feel, or to behold
Your lost country bought and sold
With a price of blood and gold–

73.
‘Let a vast assembly be,
And with great solemnity
Declare with measured words that ye
Are, as God has made ye, free–

74.
‘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.

75.
‘Let the tyrants pour around
With a quick and startling sound,
Like the loosening of a sea,
Troops of armed emblazonry.

76.
‘Let the charged artillery drive
Till the dead air seems alive
With the clash of clanging wheels,
And the tramp of horses’ heels.

77.
‘Let the fixed bayonet
Gleam with sharp desire to wet
Its bright point in English blood
Looking keen as one for food.

78.
Let the horsemen’s scimitars
Wheel and flash, like sphereless stars
Thirsting to eclipse their burning
In a sea of death and mourning.

79.
‘Stand ye calm and resolute,
Like a forest close and mute,
With folded arms and looks which are
Weapons of unvanquished war,

80.
‘And let Panic, who outspeeds
The career of armed steeds
Pass, a disregarded shade
Through your phalanx undismayed.

81.
‘Let the laws of your own land,
Good or ill, between ye stand
Hand to hand, and foot to foot,
Arbiters of the dispute,

82.
‘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!

83.
‘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.

84.
‘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.

85.
‘With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear, and less surprise,
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away.

86.
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.

87.
‘Every woman in the land
Will point at them as they stand–
They will hardly dare to greet
Their acquaintance in the street.

88.
‘And the bold, true warriors
Who have hugged Danger in wars
Will turn to those who would be free,
Ashamed of such base company.

89.
‘And that slaughter to the Nation
Shall steam up like inspiration,
Eloquent, oracular;
A volcano heard afar.

90.
‘And these words shall then become
Like Oppression’s thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again–again–again–

91.
‘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.’

“buy me an ounce and i’ll sell you a pound.” by ee cummings

buy me an ounce and i’ll sell you a pound.
Turn
gert (spin!
helen)the slimmer the finger the thicker the thumb(it’s
whirl,
girls)
round and round

early to better is wiser for worse.
Give
liz (take!
tommy)we order a steak and they send us a pie(it’s
try,
boys)
mine is yours

ask me the name of the moon in the man.
Up
sam (down!
alice)a
hole in the ocean will never be missed(it’s
in,
girls) yours is mine

either was deafer than neither was dumb.
Skip
fred (jump!
neddy)but under the wonder is over the why(it’s
now,
boys) here we come

“In Time of The Breaking of Nations” by Thomas Hardy

Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.

Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War’s annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.

Selections from “The Black Riders and Other Lines” by Stephen Crane

I
Black riders came from the sea.
There was clang and clang of spear and shield,
And clash and clash of hoof and heel,
Wild shouts and the wave of hair
In the rush upon the wind:
Thus the ride of sin.

V
Once there came a man
Who said,
“Range me all men of the world in rows.”
And instantly
There was terrific clamour among the people
Against being ranged in rows.
There was a loud quarrel, world-wide.
It endured for ages;
And blood was shed
By those who would not stand in rows,
And by those who pined to stand in rows.
Eventually, the man went to death, weeping.
And those who staid in bloody scuffle
Knew not the great simplicity.

XXII
Once I saw mountains angry,
And ranged in battle-front.
Against them stood a little man;
Aye, he was no bigger than my finger.
I laughed, and spoke to one near me,
“Will he prevail?”
“Surely,” replied this other;
“His grandfathers beat them many times.”
Then did I see much virtue in grandfathers —
At least, for the little man
Who stood against the mountains.

XXIV
I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never — ”

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.

XXVIII
“Truth,” said a traveller,
“Is a rock, a mighty fortress;
Often have I been to it,
Even to its highest tower,
From whence the world looks black.”

“Truth,” said a traveller,
“Is a breath, a wind,
A shadow, a phantom;
Long have I pursued it,
But never have I touched
The hem of its garment.”
And I believed the second traveller;
For truth was to me
A breath, a wind,
A shadow, a phantom,
And never had I touched
The hem of its garment.

“What are they to us…” by Arthur Rimbaud

What are they to us, my heart, the sheets of blood
And embers, the thousand murders, and the long cries
Of rage, the sobs from every hell, bringing down
Every order – and still the North Wind, over the
wreckage,

And total vengeance? Nothing!… Even so,
We want it! Industrialists, princes, senates,
Die! Down with power, justice, history!
This is our due. Blood! Blood! The golden flame!

Throw everything into war, vengeance, terror,
My soul! We must spin in those jaws! Republics
Of the known world, wither! Emperors
Out! Regiments, settlers, nations, out! out! out!

Who’ll Stir up the whirlwinds of frenzied fire
If not us and those we call our brothers? Partners
In Romance, our turn has come, we’ll revel in it.
We shall never toil, O waves of fire!

Europe, Asia, America, disappear!
Everything has fallen to our march of revenge –
Cities and hinterlands! – We will be crushed!
Volcanoes will explode! And the ocean stricken…

Oh, my friends! My heart, I know they’re brothers:
Dark strangers, if we once got started! Let’s go! Go!
I can’t! I’m beginning to tremble, the old earth
Is on me – I am more and more yours – the earth melts.

It’s an illusion. I’m here. I’m still here.

A Selection From “A Season In Hell” by Arthur Rimbaud

Foreign parts are out. I’ll head for the roads round here again, saddled with my vice – the vice that took painful root in my side when I grew up . . . it rakes the sky, batters me, flattens me, drags me on.

The dregs of innocence, the last scrap of reticence. It’s on record. I refuse to carry my loathings and betrayals into the world.

All right then. The slog, the backpack, the desert, tedium and anger.

Who shall I sign up with? Which brute shall I worship? What holy image shall I desecrate? Whose hearts shall I break? What lie shall I espouse? Whose blood shall I trample?

Better to steer clear of the law. – The hard life; pure, mindless drudgery – raise the coffin lid with a shrivelled hand, settle in and expire. That way no growing old, no risks run: terror is unknown to the French.

– Ah but I’m so desolate, I’ll dedicate my drive for perfection to the first divine image that happens along.

What self-denial! What consummate charity! Still stuck here, even so!

De profundis Domine, how foolish can you get?