Monday, September 28, 2009

The Tale of Athanasius: From the Lay of the Land of the King book II

“One golden day; when from the stone-hewn plow
Which, though my frame was slight, my heart urged on,
I turned with ruddy rounded face, sweat-healthy brow,
And clothing dusted with light grassy fronds;
I gathered up the lilies of the field
And tripped with clumsy passion through the grass
For romance, clean and innocent and feeled,
Then made me love my long-known neighbor lass.
I knew not how a courter was to clad
But walked in the sun’s light in working clothes
And that I may not seem a manless lad,
I wore a sword upon my trouser-close.
All large and free and fresh and strong I felt
Just as the hedgéd field where’pon She dwelt.

She was a modest maid of quiet ways
Who passed unnoticed in her family’s home
And no one saw her worthy of a praise
When to her healthy meals they did come.
But I knew she a secret virtue had
That, did the dragon depart from the brack
And waste the meadow, I’d be knightly lad
And she the one who would my cow’rdice crack.
For when she spoke of anything at all
(How no-one saw but I?) her words would bite
Like chisels on the hardened marble wall
And truth and justice follow. Will of might!
Who by home-acts by men all counted wrong
Can do what we cannot: You make us strong!

And in this mood, this palace crystal-light
That multiplies the goods refracted there
Until they become a bewildering, bright
And glorious thing that fillés all the air,
I shattered out when crashed a clashing shout.
My love cried out with high and helpless wails!
“A cruel, cruel man is lurking hereabout
To knife me like he’s processing a whale!”
I burst in through the opened heavy door
Into the stony house (it closed behind).
And there she lay, supine upon the floor
Her father o’er her with a deranged mind.
He thought himself to force upon her there
To soil her, and tug her lovely hair.

And as he sank a knife into her side,
I drew my sword. Its loyal metal rang
One with my voice: “You shall not touch my bride!”
My sword arm flew, and all things for me sang!
But fey he was and much too quick for speed
Of mine to make a fatal, fell dispatch.
We whirled all o’er: I followed, he did lead
The crisis trumping furnishings well-matched.
And every china plate upon the shelf
Did die in willing sacrifice for her
For though she loved them like a man loves wealth,
They and she, against HIM pow’rless were.
But he was old and dull, I young and skilled
And soon I had the daughter-killer killed.

But she had not a breath. I sat and wept
Upon her hands for full space of an hour.
But as the setting sun the meadows swept
With moist and bloody light and sinking pow’r
I thought upon her corpse, that she must not
Endure without a cleansing bath of earth.
I tried the door, to dig the grave I ought
But it was locked. Of op’ning there was dearth.
I searched for the key: upon the ice
That was her father dead my hands combed:
With caress loathsome my hands searched him twice
And through the rooms vile furnishings I probed.
Then noticed I a drain upon the floor.
The keys had flowed away. Unlock! No more!

And with them went all of my waking life.
I swooned. Insensible, I sprawled upon
Her pierced side. She would have been my wife!
Would that I slept! Awake was fear, not dawn.
I started up about at three of morn,
Awake as if I’d never slept at all,
To see a glowing filament or frond
Slow-serpentine itself between the desk and wall
As if a gorge-head lurked behind the desk:
A man with woman’s features, woman’s lips
And scorpion-tails a-sprouting from his mouth
Each one a tendril, groping for my leg.
And as it grabbed my shin, the truth I saw:
It came from inside the dead father’s jaw!

The jaw was moved by an unknown force
“My dear son, Athan, list to me,” it slimed
With slowness aggravating as, perforce,
The swamp-light cloud crawled up towards my spine.
“Do not reflex toward your wanted bride,
For I, through pact immortal, have the power
To move your limbs to mutilate her side
When’er I reach your heart. The devil’s dower
I paid in life. I wished to win at whist
You see. And for my soul’s priceless excheque,
I got all powers wanted: they’re on this list
That I’ll not read, so as to take you quick.
Don’t try to stop me: you can’t love the dead’s
Cold corpses. Wait. Keep your life and head.”

And then there surged, a heavy metal-mass
Through water: soft displaced by the weight
All overwhelming of the solid facts;
Cold duty, strong and real, surpassing great
Shoving aside the loving wat’ry thing
Of romance, which though hot and compelling
Is bleached in compare to all the cries:
The cold-filled cries, yet hotter cries than “love”
The cries sans nicety all filled above
The breaking point of romance with more blyss:
The beauty, glory, majesty, desire
Of Moral Duty. I, Athanasius,
Escaping from the demon, was inspired
To slow down its effects by hero-stroke:
With my own sword, my own legs I then broke.

Then, helpless, I did writhe upon the floor
Five minutes, maybe, freed from demon’s grasp,
Yet able not to flee from the horror
Impending: my free will's last final gasp.
Then as the tendrils closed upon my breast
To hypnotize me ever for its will,
There broke upon the door another guest
Quite uninvited by the man-devil.
From his free mouth there came a blast of spells
Uncountable and rapid and devout
With flying waters spurged from leafy wells
And oils designed to drive such demons out.
For several hours they fought upon the floor
a-Wrestling, and dueling spells galore.

And when ‘twas done, the magic-man emerged
And taking out his bag of healing herbs
With incantations healed the severed legs
And raised from sleep the girl (he used a dreg).
I, Athanasius saw that love was dead.
I’d tasted magic’s work in time of need,
When only it could save from That Most Dread
And from the Chains of death, it ‘lone could free.
She woke to life, and I to bitter death
We shed great tears of wormwood at the sight
Of all the joyful life the other hath.
No sin of envy: these tears were our right.
For I knew that I must magician be
A celibate, yet still He loved She."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hey! If you're on Facebook....[activated_at]=1253496566&quiz_metric[clicked_attribute]=feeds_clicked

it's a quiz I made to find out what sort of imagination you have. One of AGP's friends has taken it about 6 times to see what all the possible results are. Fascinating.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On Truth

The sleeper floats and slides in bliss of night
With dreams abounding. Facile to his will,
An endless line of decadent delight
Prostrates itself before his choice whimful.
Then presses he upon the sweetest sweet
That fits his mind like key into a lock
A sweet too perfect to be treat
Believable. Then comes the greatest shock.
He reaches for the thing. Behold! It shakes!
Transforms itself like whirlwinds made of steel
Into a monster-lion of golden make
That eats the rest of that most supine meal!
O well for you, who would those poisons eat,
They’re made by mind: the mind itself would eat.

In mind sweets, all teeth languish in the soft
And sug’ry clouds of nothing offered there.
Likewise the palate weakens slowly. Oft
There’s problems in the void, enticing air.
For if that which desired was what was,
All men would bore the faster with the earth.
The human being’s kept alive because
It’s’uprised from a Source of great rebirth.
O do not mourn, thou who hast Chocolate lost!
For candy made by minds is nothing good.
For beauties like to death, exchange for most
Solid, advent’rous, fierce, and filling food!
This thing is not a mush all soft and slack:
When you do push at truth, it pushes back!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inspired by St. Edith Stein....

This sonnet set, in a manner similar to the "Four and a Half Romantic Sonnets" that I posted maybe about half a year ago, explore the differences between the behaviours of men and women. The first sonnet explores St. Edith Stein's idea that gender (how you think and behave) is partially independent of sex (what you are). The second explores her ideas about how men and women use their work-faculties differently.
The third explores her ideas about how men and women grow closer to God differently. The third explores her belief that it is the husband's responsibility to give himself and his wife to God. Like the last sonnet set of which I spoke, the sonnets have the tone of the man struggling with and eventually overcoming the idea of himself being pointless compared to the woman.

O Muse of Poesy, having knowledge great
Of things unproven, read for me this code:
Should I behave according to the mode
Accustomed, or with charism counter fate
And act according to ‘clination strange?
For if one’s habit-acts proceed in kind
Unnaturally from the norm arranged
By certain sex, then how shall judge our minds?
Tis best to know both masculine and male
Or rather to inquire separately?
For they are like, but not identical.
Sex, not gender, is necessary.
I know not which provides the method best
But for the present, both of them we’ll test.

What purpose serves to separate the parts
That constitute a task? Seems weakness is
At work in this. He cannot handle th’art
Of intricate yet humble task-filled webs.
Or else the things that are this kind of work
Seem to outshine, like misty gold morning,
On plains, all else, and make it look a shirk
Quite far removed from important things.
But who is man to judge upon the use
Of studies, arts, and rulings God-decreed
By Him providing their full parts and juice?
Engage then, in heroic thoughts and deeds!
It may take strength and valor to combine,
But, hero, separation’s also thine.

When one does journey, does he take a road
To see a friend, on which he swerves aside
To paint a picture, kill a dragon-toad
Or else? Or does he direct ride?
When with a blazing love and loyalty
A man is fired, like a lightning flash
Or lava flow that slow engulfs a tree
Why does he burn the tree, and not just crash
Straight through to love the one he loves? Both ways
He groweth strong with exercize of love
So why, when pathway straight is good pathway
Does loyalty divert the thoughts of love?
It is because one does not love the less.
Love’s r’ward’s prompted, deferred by willingness.

Why would one choose a living book of lore
Arcane or with no ready-to-hand use,
A near machine that rituals galore
Pour forth from for the things that it does choose,
To be the channel through which waters new-
Expelled from Mother, from the skies azure,
And from the channel’s very walls, shew
Their joyful burbling to give God pleasure?
The channel’s virtues are its contents bright
And all the love with which they’re placed before
The throne of God. And this master of lore,
Whose sex does sometimes seem to be a blight,
Was chosen for his truly ritual dance
So e’en gift-ACT is love-obedience.

So never fear, man: you’re not challenged least.
Love you don’t lack, nor privilege of the priest.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rap came up in conversation today...someone tried to say that it was a legitimate form of artistic expression.

What was he talking about, for goodness' sake! Art's not about expression!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Necessity (not the use) of Poetry

Usually, I am a little put off by those writings that begin “there are two types of people.” Today, however, I am not. There are two types of people, those who think that the truth is outside their own heads, and those who do not.

As those of you who read this blog know, there are ways of communicating to those in the first category. You find your evidence, make your case, and hope that either you already agree with the other person, the other person is honest enough to believe your case, or that you are honest enough to believe theirs.

To those in the second category, however, communication seems like an impossibility. When anyone communicates, they take their concepts out of their heads and put them in the heads of others. For those in the second category, however, this is very difficult for several reasons:

1: Are there any others? (Extreme Cartesianism)
2: If there are others, is there any medium by which I can send my concepts to them? (Extreme Deconstructionalism)
3. If it’s all in the head, how can my concepts have validity for others, or theirs for me? (Relativism, even the non-extreme kind)

People of categories one and two are rare, for to believe either of those two positions requires enough knowledge, education, and intelligence to ask the necessary questions. You cannot be indoctrinated into being a Cartesian because the normal experiences of everyday life indoctrinate you into being an anti-Cartesian so much more effectively. You cannot be an extreme Deconstructionalist at all and remain sane because if language has no meaning, than the statement “language has no meaning” has no meaning. But people can, and are, indoctrinated into being relativists.

Unless you are a relativist yourself, you think that they are wrong and ought to mend the error of their thoughts. Yet, it is quite impossible to communicate anything relevant to them using the method of case-and-evidence.

Therefore, write poetry!

One cannot convince a consistent relativist of Truth by proofs. Proofs deal with truths and thus have no common ground with the relativist. What does have common ground with them is that which is not true or false, those things which have always been inside their heads. And among these are desires, passions, pleasures, pains, tragedies, laughters, fascinations, lifes, and loves: the very stuff of poetry.

He who addresses a relativist must be exceedingly crafty. His prime concern must appear to be not truth, but the beauty produced when his work meets the mind of the relativst.

In fact, it would be best if his prime concern actually was beauty, for then he is honest. But then, how does he convince the relativist?

His work must be made in such a way that its beauty is dependent on the truth in it. If he writes a beautiful poem about a tree, it must be so made that if you take away the truth about the tree, the beauty of the poem vanishes. If he wishes to excite passion for the truth, the essence of his work must be such that passion for the truth is essential to it: remove the passion and the work vanishes.

If he does these things, there is some hope that the relativist, in swallowing the beauty, will swallow the truth as well, and come to love it and believe it.

The one who wishes to possess truth and give it to others must know a great many things. It is a great misfortune that some who are knowledgable about the fundamentals of truth-finding and truth-communicating (metaphysics) and who are enthusiastic about giving truth away dislike poetry, the way in which truth seduces the myriads of those who hate it.