Saturday, July 28, 2018

A New Poem Draft and Two Poem Re-Drafts

The Tree of Knowing Good and Evil

Ages rise in splendor, born with tumult to be free,
Given good and evil by the serpent on the tree:

Apple for your tasting, dear, a wisdom God may fear,
Taste the peach of higher sight that makes the cosmos clear.
Swiftly all the schoolmen are a jape one might despise,
Mocked by haunted engines that are daring to be wise.

Peasants, unenlightened, are made free to serve the rod,
Money for their chaining seized from altars raised to God.
None can for them speak because the king has lost his head,
priests are turned to bureaucrats, and saints are lying dead.

Homebound wars of faith must all the peaceful nations flee!
Fight instead for cotton and for gold across the sea,
Fight instead for oil, for which the highways rise;
Call it 'cost of freedom' whene'er a soldier dies.

Freedom shall be given; no longer under heel,
All may follow reason, or be slaves to what they feel;
Freedom to be counted, to rise and speak your say:
Be as free as e'er you please, as long as you obey.

Babel rose in glory as the railroads ran on steam,
Bearing stones of science quarried from the land of dream,
Bearing hopes and horrors such as gods alone can make,
Weapons for the grasping hands that from the rajahs take.

Close the plains and commons; there's profit there to find;
Push the peasants off the land when they speak their mind;
Bring them, though they kick, to the progress of the age,
Teaching all that liberty is working for a wage.

'Prince of powers of the air' you thought was but a name;
Rumor broadcast on the air is power just the same:
Do your part and buy with thanks the gifts we advertise:
Factories, plastic, cars, and silver planes to fill the skies.

Life is like tradition; it is something handed down,
Being as you were before, heritage as crown;
Thirsting to be like the gods, we break the ties of past.
Ages born of breaking, though, unbroken cannot last.

Each solution to a problem will a newer problem form;
Never will the lightning-fire save you from the storm.
Yet you shall be mighty, as wise as gods on thrones,
Ruling land and sea and air till darkness takes your bones.

Greater shall you be, day by day, and year by year,
Greater in accomplishment for which you pay so dear;
Greater than the gods of old will ever men arise;
Greater till they are no more and every wonder dies:

Every age in splendor has a doom, that it must pass;
Every age of might reveals the serpent in the grass.


How small the world is,
and how far;
a million miles away I stand,
a weary endless void between,
and stretch my hand,
and stretch my hand,
and, God have mercy, stretch my hand,
again for this,
again for that,
again, again, for this, for that.
As though beneath a heavy sea,
as though I sat a million years,
as though the hours tar-like moved,
as though all talents went to waste,
again for this,
again for that.
The pointless thing must still be done,
the goal to reach an empty end,
again for this,
again for that.
Like sorrow without chance for tears,
like boredom without rest for need,
like hunger with no taste for food,
like weariness that cannot sleep,
again, again, for this, for that.


With old sepulchral light the moon,
harsh and vivid, plenilune,
stares with glaring eye on all
marked by traces of the Fall;
the night is dark, the night is bright
with unilluminating light,
with unchromatic, pristine white.

Standing stars look sadly down
on stark and shade-infested ground;
the eye is witched, its vision lies,
the light from every corner shies;
a primal sin, like stain, o'erlays
the compline earth as it prays:
O present help, assist our ways.

The moon resides in orbit high,
but higher orbits yet may fly;
the stars that in the evening wake
but gems of diadem now make
for regnal glory, light most sweet,
that spans the world and night defeats,
the moon itself beneath her feet.

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