Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Tattered Man

"It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil."

The tattered man waved his
hand. "Nary die,"
he said. "All I want is
some pea soup an'
a good bed. Some pea soup."

Since he had turned his back
upon the fight
his fears had wondrously
magnified and
grown inexhaustible.

A house standing in fields
distantly placid
to him looked ominous
(If ever I
be worth a house again,
build all inward).

Shadows in the woods were
He was certain that in
this vista lurked fierce-eyed
hosts (a light shall
open the common out-

way); it was all a trap
and for earthly
greatness they were all to
be sacrificed.
(Generals were stupids.)
The enemy
presently would swallow
the whole command.

Raise all plain and rudely,
like rampiers,
and all light, like ancient
Temples, let in
at the top.

One window,
glowing a deep murder
red, shone squarely
through the leaves.  Far into
the sky went a leaning
tower of smoke
from the tall edifice.

Let it be, in fact (must
I abide the
actual scene?), a cottage,
white, embowered
with flowering shrubs, chosen
so to unfold
as a succession of
flowers upon
the walls and clustering
round the windows.

Revealed, the seemingly
natural truth
of his agitation
was infinite;
his mind tossed and surged
upon a sea,
an ocean appeared paved
with faces too
innumerable, turned
imploring him, wrathful,
despairing, surged
upwards by thousands, by
myriads, by
by centuries:

tyranny began to
unfold itself;
now it was upon the
rocking waters
of despotic, bantling
dreams that special power
of the human
face began to appear.

When he thought later of
it (better of),
he conceived that it is
better to view
the appalling than to
be merely near
hearing. This were to turn
one's back to all
the world and only look
at heaven

(but shall my
eyes be set to
see outwards?); no, instead
put a sky-light
on top of his head to
inwards for there were no
gazers to shut out
but the sun and moon, and
he was willing
they should look upon him.

Excepting a conscience
his Eumenides were
at his bed-feet,
and stared in upon him
through the curtains.
Watching by his pillow,
his Electra
sat, about to thrust him
between the shoulder blades.

Now came a tremendous
change, which, itself
unfolding slowly like
a scroll over
many months, promised a
far more dreadful
(as abiding) torment
than death, about to
smite one between the eyes:

Reason, being piece-meal,
and like light in
ancient Temples, let in
only at top,
prefers the false clubbing
of new men.

The matter
used might have been
better unfolded, and
much not used might
have been added with good

Still, fold
to sleep (out of seeing)
and fix upon heaven.

Perhaps, enough
has been given--

---(I will)
stand no more on
others' legs, nor build one
joy without ____.

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