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The War of the Roses

by E. L. Van Hine

War of the Roses
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published by
Threshold Publishing Company
P.O. Box 4033
Blaine, WA 98231


While the number of conflicts which have marred the history of humanity are beyond counting, there is in reality only one conflict which bears repeated and continuous examination: the conflict between the material and immaterial, the transitory and the eternal. Every war, to a greater or lesser extent, reflects the struggle each of us, in the solitude of our consciousness, faces as we choose between our conscience and the temptation offered by a world of material plenty and spiritual ambiguity.

As the specter of world conflict fades with each passing year, our memory of war recedes. There can be no doubt that the Cold War is a chill memory of another age; that global economic interests have overruled national empires, and that the survival of the human race -- the unspoken horror of the last generation -- is no longer in question. There remains, however, the question of our purpose here. Why, when we have gained so much as a race in achieving harmony between nations, does violence rage in streets, churches, and schools? What inner turmoil stirs the winds of youthful restlessness into storms of despair?

The war, no longer waged without, is ever waged within. This work is an attempt to examine the nature of human conflict; for we can expect no Millennial intervention by a vengeful Messiah as substitute for conscience, to set the world to rights. The privilege, and the burden, of our age, is to fight the last remaining foe: the self.

This book is a didactic work; it begins with Akira Kurosawa's unpouplar cinematic reflection of post-Holocaust Japan, and ends with a paean to the limitless power of the human spirit. Let us not forget our wars; let us not forget the past thirty years of fear even as we built at the brink of global destruction a vision of a world of greater spiritual awareness and personal responsibility.

December 12, 1995


Rhapsody in August

Akira sees the vast unblinking eye.

They gather for the festivals of Buddha
They cringe and suffer, wail a longing cry
They bow in reverence to the Bodhisattva
And wait the bald indifference of the sky.

Akira, we have seen the melted faces
And the charring of their gathered bones
We remember rains of poison manna
Pulverizing children in their wombs.

And now we weep again, for who cannot
As rhapsodies with rain begin again
To fill your jungles with the memory of rot
Your islands with the mystery of pain.

In memory of the deaths at Nagasaki.

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Intelligentsia Rise

The world has come unhinged
And so the bards, dusty and enrimed
Are grimed with fury's lashing singe
And wait for some politico to rise
To gag them dumb to speak.

What tortures must the gods invent
To bid you loose your tongues?
What strife must bind you motionless
To make your songs be sung?

How could I inveigle you
You scheming petty bards
To stop the evening's endless beers
And endless games of cards?

The world has come unhinged
And so the bards, crusty and enslimed
Are criminally wasted in the breaches [breeches]
Another laudanum has been contrived
Another blood for leeches

If you had a calling
Other than the siren song of city life
If you were discipled to a higher muse than Pan
Then you might be worthy of the Nike-mothered dream
And you might see the lion in the land.


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The Myrriod

Below the steaming surface
Of Zebratta's fetid lake
There looms a hidden consciousness
Within its thorny brake

They dwell beneath the cloudy stew
Upon the slime and rocks
The Hierarchs of Ignorance
The makers of its clocks

The genius of an ancient globe
So dark in nether fame
The charts of time have marked its death
In incandescent flame.

They orchestrate reality
On narrow meson beams
And ground their craft on methane seas
In oceanic dreams

I saw their torches in the night
In rain of fire and flare
Like salamanders on the wing
Like eagles in the air;

Descending on the crippled earth
They ride its solar surge
And plunging through the rended light
They come to join the purge.

The hatreds of the Myrriod
From age to bloody age
Are wove into a crimson cloth
In hieroglyphic rage;

They dwell as cuckoos in our nest
And in the empty rinds
Of those whose lives are emptiness
Whose hearts are dumb and blind;

And pleading for the Christic sword
To cleanse them from the air;
I felt their wrath a firestorm
An ultraviolet flare.

Send them back to stir the froth
Upon the lake of fire
We need no hosts of Myrriod
To feel Zebratta's ire;

Or better yet, the solar school
Of incandescent blasts
May teach these priests of ignorance
Their rightful place at last.

Upon receiving a message from a distant land
And sending home its messenger

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No Key to The Kingdom

...take the key
And do not tell my husband it was me.

I grow into the Eagle of the Tree
As Pythias or Samael the Subtle
And none is here to hasten food to roots
For they would hide their godliness in me.

And all they say is "Take the key,
And do not tell my husband it was me."
For they hide themselves in manacles
Disguise their light in forest garb of womanhood
Yet I am not deceived
I know the roundest shape conceals the same and shameful sword;
It matters not the scabbard nor the creed.

Take the key, they sing to me
And cast afar the blooming charm of sexuality;
And throw as faerie dust the veil of Circe on the sea;
"And do not tell my husband it was me."

I am the vessel ere they draw their Greater light to see
For none is here to hasten food to roots
And they would hide their godliness in me
Who will teach the vestals to be One with God and Me?
For consciousness is never competition
And sexual temptation is the oldest institution
Who but ignorants would waste their lives and constitutions
And compel their raging men to draw their harmless swords on Me?


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Man, In the Prescient Condition

I have folded up my hands before my chest
And sealed my Light within its sacred womb
For I am Heaven-borne and Heaven-blest
And Death the conquered hastens from the tomb.

Secrecy is writ upon my lips
And I no longer speak of sacred lore;
For Profanation sends its baleful ships
And Blasphemy has hastened to the shore.

I speak in riddled tongues before the swine
And cut the chaff from grain upon the ploughs;
The hour of ripened destiny has chimed
And Death is feeding late upon the cows.

I cannot escape the scene of doom
And watch with tearful eyes as towers fall
It is as writ, the gathering gloom
Brings rain to rend the shroud of Maya's pall.


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Non-Euclidean Space (An Exercise in Illogic)

When 5 is 7
Where 7 is the realm of sleep
And 5 are all the hordes of night
Released upon the deep
The candles sputter to the sight
Of signing pentagrams;
Pythagoras's theorem is our sacrificial lamb.


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The Poor Custodians:
A Requiem for the Age of Pound

Our best attentions are unpaid
The best of transits, retrograde
Purest hearts are lightest made
And brightest light, the amber shade.

In open view our crimes are ever done
From open mouths all calumny has come
For silence does not make of virtue song
Truth takes strength from evil's greatest wrong.

The lawyer is a poor custodian
The doctor does not mend the bleeding wound;
The poet is a refugee on Pisa's heap of ash;
Counting out his life in coffee spoons.

Chant and march and march and chant to cantos of his cant
The day is dawning fast, so fast retreat!
The galloping illusion shall be reined by other hands
And we will eat the dust beneath its feet.


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The Lash of the Procurer

The author of the universe is poor and out of cash;
And he would like his wisdom to increase;
And so he teaches you the rules of rough economy
And gives you flocks of followers to fleece.

The god that wants your money is not God;
The wisdom of accountants is the ignorance of shades;
The spirit of benignity has no will to gain;
The broker with the business suit is not of Heaven made
The gospel of his ravening is pain.

I learned this lie upon the knees of ministers of Baal;
I learned it in the boardrooms of their lust;
I learned it under rocks and in the echo of their halls;
I learned that all their gold had gone to rust.

The god that wants your body is not God;
The wisdom of the merchants is the ignorance of want;
The spirit of benignity has no desire to feel;
The procurator's blessing is a demon's gilded taunt,
The lash of the procurer does not heal.

I learned this lie upon the knees of ministers of Baal;
I learned it in the bedrooms of their lust;
I learned it in the jails and in the cellars of their hate;
I learned that all my love was turned to dust.

The lash of the procurer does not heal
The loud and ravening emptiness damnation without end
The thief will ever enter, ever steal
For that is of the nature of the ministers of Baal
Their nature is the loot of commonweal.


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The War of the Roses

In the coldest generation,
In the evening of the lie
When elder time had covered us in night
We knelt upon the breathing backs
And prayed our aimless runes
And plotted for the enemy of light.

It was thirty years we labored
In the hammered-metal sky
And built the sun as we remembered bright
And crisper noons we conquered in the great celestial lie
For thirty years we fought the endless fight.

It was thirty years we conquered
In the red and glorious dawns
And sang the songs of death to France and Rome
We were gleeful in the marshes
And cruel to all our slaves
And sent the rooks and knights against the pawns.

In thirty years we built our lie
And carved our golden god
When elder time revealed its final hour
We stood upon the broken backs
And sang our brazen tunes
And kings were herded fast before the Rod.

And thirty years were burning ash
When Ram began to rust
When elder time revealed its final hour
We took upon our broken backs
The bones of our despoil
And we became the slaves of those we crushed.

The War of Roses cannot be forgot
As lies cannot reveal the truth of sages
The law of Moses cannot be untaught
Nor sooner ease the aching of the ages.


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Eighth of Ides

In the hastening tide
The time of harvest and of grain
The month of plenty is upon me once again
Rotting like a haystack in the rain.

I greet the waning sun in salutation
And watch the clock grow weary in the tide
The waltz of life is ending for the year
It is the eighth of moons, the eighth of ides.

In atonement is the cleansing of the earth
And in the weeping sky the flowering morn
And in the wounded heart there grows the ruby of a rose
Where once there grew the hard and hardy thorn.


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The King of Trees

The slip upon induction waves
Annoyed the king of trees
And he held court on Saturday
On elm and bloody knees.

The king of trees held forth against the earl of fifty-twos
His argument a branch upon the drum
They planned a great campaign against the lower lands of cloth
And struck her groves with plagues upon the plums.

Oh Yakima, the belly of the universe
Your fruited plain erupts in winter light
You have no sword of peace against the warring king of trees
You cannot defeat his firefight.

By fire the ranks of wood will make them fall;
And papers give their dispatch to the storm
The call of the induction gives its message to the Yelm
And piny plinths unite them to the All.

When shall mud be done upon the breast of Yakima
When will balance triumph over sin?
Lights are hid in barrels under everybody's feet
Their violet touch a whisper on the skin.

The slip upon induction waves
Enraged the king of trees
So he held forth on Saturday
Amid the beans and peas.

The king of trees held forth against the marching of the age
His petition was a charge against the seed
The herald of the clock gave added power to his rage;
To cut the chaff and ferret out the weeds.

When shall mud be done upon the breast of Yakima
When will milk be flowing on the land?
The violet light is seeping through the acid in our plums
It matters not that they are cooked and canned.

Cut the chaff, the herald said
And ferret out the weeds
Fulfill the law of ripened destiny
And leave us with the ash and sand
With elms and bloody knees
To offer earth our strange and mutant seeds.


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9/22/68 - Of Light and Shadow

The day I saw the sun's corona bare
And held a glass as veil before my eyes
I saw salvation promised in its black interior
The seco
A blessing of its kind
A retreat into the refuge of the blind.

There is no salvation in the country of the mind
Where thought is measured not in light but shadow
There is no veil so thick it can obscure the utter truth
Or gauze the swath on lies
It was the merest sealing of my eyes.

What ear perceived the anguish of my cries?
For none would turn me from the loving sky
Nor staunch caressing burns
The silence waited on the glass that hid my eyes
It was the merest morning of disguise.

If lips could speak the word of wakening
They would have spoke that day
But none could see me burning in the brightness of the glass
Nor turn my face away
I saw the sun at midnight in my private inner skies
And knew the eye that gazed upon my eyes.

There is no salvation in the country of the kind
There is no mission workhouse for the shamed
There is no solar refuge for the criminally blind
Whose ignorance is ill-contrived as lame.

If lips could speak the word of wakening
They would bewail my pride
Where once I cried despair into the weeping verdant grass
The morning drew the veil of night aside;

To cast me, soldier once again
In warring light and shadow
Exulting in the energy of rage
Where once I cried despair into the weeping verdant grass
I found instead an inner war to wage;

There is no salvation in the country of the mind
Where always waits the sounding of the toll
There counts no dispensation for the criminally blind
Where Conscience serves as regent for the soul.


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The Harps

In the warps of gold and ancient frames
Wooden harps amid the dust and speckled windowpanes
My father saved them all to play someday;
But how could hands that never held a child
Strike out love that sings its praises to the Unknown God?

Never had the harps the wand of such a kindly master;
I was tiny in their shadow, mutely fingering their chords
Hiding from the wolves within the den
Where stood the broken orchestra in musty disarray.

Gilded paint, riddled with the casings of the worm
That tread in silence on the frames unstrung;
I lived amid the dust and windowpanes
Inheriting them all;
The guardians of a hid and growing madness
Sacrifices to a muse unsung.

I hid among the dust and windowpanes
The herald of a muse unsung;
The pianist without a score to play
A child without parents at the final close of day
Instrument in pieces, grown uncanny and unstrung.

How could hands that never held a child
Strike out love and send its praises to the Unknown God?
I had no hands to strike them at the final close of day
I had no place of mourning and no proper funeral mound
And sadder still, no proper place to pray;

I had instead a host of harps
A minor chord to play
A choir loft of angels in my limbo full of tears
Hiding from the wolves within the den;
I was a master to the golden strings
A virtuoso dark;
Whose virtue died with every dying day.


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Garden of Tishri

Brief my eye's despair
Which sees the turning age grow old...

For the shadow dogged me down the dust-filled road.
And the waning sun rejoiced in long repose.
We were as one;
We journeyed long together on that road.

And now we part forever.
Can it be, my enemy
That we now break that troth?
I see our journey hasten to its close.

The shadow dogged me, Numen,
On the long and bloody road
I tarried there and cast away my gold!
Oh brief my eye's despair
Which sees the turning age grow old.

For as the thorn is ripe upon the flower
And as its root grows dark with rot and soil
So we plant into ourselves the appetite for power
So we dig the grave of our despoil.

For as the shadow dogged me down the curved and twisted trail
And proferred me temptations in his lies
So the Numen gave to me the word that would prevail
And rent the shadow's veil upon my eyes.

For as the thorn grew ripe upon the flower
And as its root grew dark with my despoil
So the heavens opened, to flow openly in power
So the sun waxed hot upon the soil.

Can it be, my enemy
That we must part forever?
Is there still some light of me in you
Or some forgotten power in your staff?

It cannot be, and so the turning age grows old
The waxing sun rejoices in the morn
Shadows wane on candlesticks upon the cache of gold;
And severed from the flower is the thorn.

We kneel together, weeping, in our garden of despoil
Where rots the thorny bramble of our pride
The few of light, who see our labor rising from the soil
Soon behold the turning of the tide.

No more will tears be weeping, as the turning age grows old
No more will brethren harrow to the scythe
No more the voice shall beckon to the messianic fold
No more will widows hasten to the tithe.

The center does not hold
And so the realms of emptiness swing wide
Clear the rain of heaven on our brows
Cleansing us of callousness and pride.

And so we weep together, in the garden of despoil
Where rots the thorny chaff of our disgrace
Grows the shining center, in the secret of the soil
Seeds that hold the future of the race.

Brief my eye's despair
Which sees the turning age grow old...


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The Lady Waits

I sense a dread of evening in me
As though the mirrors wait
To echo out in shadowplay my morrow in the glass.

Something waits!
As yet unnamed
And cows the proud and righteous ere they speak!
And in their coward's silence sound the voices of the meek.

Something waits, and I am still,
Unmoving but for candlesticks and flames
What cows the proud and righteous ere they speak?
Can they be rendered dumb on every other Sunday
To pray our world to freedom in the breach?
I sense a dread of evening in me.

Something waits
As yet uncalled
Tremendous in the power of its toll
To echo out in mimicry our morrow in the glass.

Some head is crowned in Cosmic approbation
Some king is hid away beyond the storm
Some spectre puts his curse upon the nation
And grey tomorrow follows on the dawn.

I sense a dread of evening in me;
Rising on the bridge as I draw near;
The Lady of the Waters waits the lashing of the sea
To drown the grey tomorrow with her tears.


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In The Mill

Beneath the profusion of towers and streets
The engine stands gaping and hot
They gather to feed in the broke at her mouth
And hover to cull out the spots.

The mill grown as great as a city
The millers her deaf engineers
Her fabric a tissue as dainty as lace
Spun by the crashing of gears.

In evenings she weeps on the harbor
And night forms a muffling shroud
But the smashing goes on from the evening till dawn
With echoes a century loud.

Who feeds in the rag at the maw of the mill
Who gathers the fruit of the loom?
Who falls in the dust and the kraft and the crate
And whispers in deafening gloom?

No one can hear for the shouting
And no one can cease from his toil
No one resists the command of the mill
Lest all of the napkins be spoiled.

But I cease to think in the crash and the din
And the scream of the shuttle and gears
The simplest tissue a labor of sin
The murder of innocent ears.

What shall we throw in our shadowy broth
To free all the slaves from this hole?
Where would they go in a country of cloth
To the pit to be miners of coal?

Echoing here is the rage of the woods
As it falls in the passing of ages
And piling here are the acres of goods
Their passing has writ on their pages.


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An Opal Night
(for Doris Lessing)

The misty morning, clouded by the Englishwo
A blessing ofman's words;
Where I grasp my empty mind; and see a foreign thing;

A hand at once my own and not
Something masculine,

Must the eye recall the hand
That brought the poem to birth?

For I cannot recall the hand;
Only flickers in the stream...

The single jewel casting shadows in that silvered light.
In the gloom created by the Englishwoman's words
Revealed the sword in my forgotten hand
Raised against assaulting arms of night.

What Fate has folded us together in her palm
To feel the sacred searing of the fire
And draws us naked from the stream
For I cannot recall, but for the Englishwoman's words
The blow that struck me wakeful from the dream.


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Stone Palace

My rage has frozen in the colder edge of grief
Where once I smashed the panes of power
Stirred the misty wraiths into a rime
I was a watchman of the long eternal hour.

This was my heyday and my glory time
These were the stalwarts ranged behind me
Scurrying like ravens to the corps
I was a shout, a deafening, a fury in a cage
A clarion to stir the world to war.

What use the stone that built the carapace
To shelter one impervious to pain
Why mount a tower when there is no hiding place
To protect the flanks retreating from the plain?

For rage has died aborning in my breast
The morning dawns indubitably rose
For cracked and yawning wide upon that coldest edge of grief
My night of death has hastened to a close.


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I ate alone the bitter taste
Of winter's empty hour
Barren of the presence of the Sun;
Those who know its nourishment
Can have no lesser food;
I waited for the equinox to come.

And I waited out the emptiness
In hunger and in grief;
I waited out the afternoons of night
Hunger filled the cheerless days whose sun was passing brief
The hunger of a season lacking light.

At length tomorrow dawned on me
When grief had fled my sleep
And stronger grew the power of its ray
I who knew its nourishment
Could have no lesser food;
And woke to greet the promises of day.


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The Sharing of Fire

So many times an aspirant
Staring at this granite step
And waiting for the knock
And the grasp they made in memory of the Beloved
That never took my hand in Egypt.

A thousand years denied
In dreams that gave frustration to desire
While all the rest were called
There comes at last the sharing of the fire
The grasp is made in memory of the Beloved
That never took my hand...

All around in candlelight is Akhenaton's tomb
The sacred place of worthiest desire
The thousand years of emptiness consumed
Sacrificed in Akhenaton's fire.


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The First (Solar) Initiation

I was a wound

I was a wound that bled a dark regret
And would not heal.
I was a grief that sheared away
The camber of the Sun
And rose to drift in dark regret
Till eventide had come
A battered craft upon a shattered keel.


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Somewhere in the air around me
Silence grows
The velvet of the evening stretches out its gentle hand
And silence knows.

For I wandered in the wilderness, alone
Chaos was my innermost of worlds
And in the empty reaches where I lived my hidden life
There came a quiet tread upon the sand.

I await the soft descent of silence
As the evening stretches out its gentle hand
For from the well of chaos in the innermost of worlds
There comes the reign of peace upon the land.


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The Defeat of Reason

With the power I derived alone from anger
I rose to greet a waning day and meet a battle lost
Where reason was defeated by a grand philosopher
Whose wisdom would have felled the Rosy Cross;

But how could Philosophicus, returning from the West
Lend my vision to his newly-blinded sight?
Is it not my lesson to be faced with such a test
My mission, to restore the Greater Light?

Each pilgrim Philosophicus, could journey to the West
And place his feet before the altar bare;
Each could offer Reason to experimental test
So willingly the Brethren freely share;

But not in moments is the soul of man revealed
The light of which the few have ever seen;
From mighty minds in childhood its wisdom is concealed
For few enough can bear its glowing beam;

Each pilgrim Philosophicus was once iconoclast
Who once defeated reason with his mind;
The battle of the intellect is not the very last
To greet us on our journey to the shrine;

Remember, Philosophicus, the journey to the West
Is one of many facing one and all;
Long remains the journey to the Master's final test
For those who rise in answer to His call.

Eternally it seems, mankind progresses toward the light
Alone each finds the path beneath his feet;
Behind each pilgrim back remains the clamor of the fight;
The battle of the reason in defeat.


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From the Sleeping Citadel

Everything awakens in the ritual
All memories of light and dark return
The rising soul forsakes the sleeping citadel
And sparks the incense flaming in the urn;

For I am come alone, into the place of fire
The altar of the west where once I fell
The sanctuary where my sin evoked a sacred ire
That sent me to the sleeping citadel.

Now everything awakens in the ritual
And dark returns to battle with the light;
I pray my soul is strengthened from its ages spent in hell;
So that I am named the victor in the fight.


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Search for the Unknown Philospher

Alas, today I am confined
To answering in poetry
And arguing in rhyme
I cannot help you in your search
For others of your kind;
For those would be philosophers
Of such peculiar mind
That I could not evaluate
Their suitability
Their virtues in debate, for one
Their elasticity --

The kind of man that you require
For such an argument
Has a head of hardened steel
That even you won't dent;
A kind of hero on the field
Who will not flee his foes
And will not lose his Weltanshauung
Before your mighty blows;

I fear the man that you require
May not in fact exist;
For all the verbal dilettantes
Have vanished in the mist --
They drink their evening's weary wine
And gradually get pissed
It's too much work to crack a book
And harden up a fist;

Or worse! perhaps, he's vanished
Up the rocky mystic path
To flee the fundamentalists
Who shout in Christian wrath;
Leaving you with neophytes
Who can't complete the math
And a single English major
Who has read the Wyf of Bath;

The world has no philosophers
Who fit your kind of bill
They all are running restaurants
And dipping in the till
They don't want to read on Freud
And much less Stuart Mill
They revel in the sensory
And hone a duller skill;
The world becomes material
As months and years go by;
Ambitious schools with new ideas
In time have grown more shy;
Those we called philosophers
Have ceased to wonder why;
The kind of man that you require
Is not one such as I;

For I am on the rocky path
And silence is my creed
To take the flower as an oath
A promise for the seed
I am not of hardened steel
Or armed for harder deeds
I am just a neophyte
Unknown among the weeds.


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Schubian Psychosis

I am in a Schubian psychosis
Can't you see the symptomology?
Enraptured by the side-effects of skewed ontology
My Being has my Nothingness in angst.

If I were nursed inside a Skinner box;
Instead of breaking t
I would not have delusions of enlightenment ahead
I would be Scientific, born and bred.

But I am in a quandary of vast subjective modes
Hot youth is given over to the Muse
Maya's veil is torn apart by many piercing goads
So awesome is the power of this ruse.

This is the way of Schubian psychosis;
There is no way to close the inner eyes;
I am a heathen Mystic of perverse ontology
Captured by the beauty of the skies.


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I cannot speak to you in prose
Of all the world's ideals
I pluck the fruit of others' groves
And versify the peels.

It is a night for metric verse
On notes of sophistry
But do not be misled, for such
Is not 'philosophy.'


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The World Opaque (for Jeff)

The world is made opaque
There is no escaping from the world
Or from America;
You cannot sail the Gaean Reach
Or scale Andromeda

The nightmare of the fabulists
Is so much witch's brew;
For no amount of fantasy
Will soon enlighten you

The world is made opaque.
Imprisoned by the sensible
My tale for you is fake

The candle of enlightenment
The incense of the soul
Is so much glitter on the glass
And so much heated coal.

The world is made opaque
And so the distant murmuring
Will force you not awake.

And I am dumb.
As worlds grow old with time and tide
I grow each day more young
I cannot speak of higher things
For knowledge stills my tongue;

As the hour of evening comes
And darkness stills the air
I step out to my windowsill
Where wonders soon appear;

The candle of enlightenment
In time will weakly shine
And break apart the thickest shell
Of world-created rind

The world is made opaque for now
But only for a day
For as you grow in time more young
That world will pass away.


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The Orphic Odes of Spidios

And so comes Spidios
Who flourished in the eighty-fourth Olympiad
Unknown except among his followers
And in the rite arcane;
His teachings lost to war at Syracuse
Unremembered on the broad Achaean plain.

A would-be king of Acragas
A healer of the low;
The first to write an essay on the nature of the soul.

Who among the wanderers
Seeks to find for all the word that heals?
Memories of the golden light of Kupris
Compelled him to the labor of this pen
And so comes Spidios
To spread his light upon the world of men.

He wrote for days in solitude
The first of many Odes;
Instructions to initiates
And brief beatitudes
The credo of the reign of Love
Within the rule of Strife;
Of bloodless channels of the air
Which give the body life;

So comes Being into form from ceaseless Flux;
So comes matter into shape from twofold Force
Some comes aither from the fire of Hephaestus
Water from the slowing of Its course;

These are inklings only from the first of many Odes;
The fuller knowledge only few can read
These Orphic words instruction to initiates
Whose sight perceives the fruit within the seed.


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Maybe now
When roots are rising effortless
From sand I swore was solid ground
When fact is molded fast from pure emotion
I will call upon you yet again
To take me where I will not go alone.

Maybe then
When I was pure in naivete
And ignorance a cloak against my knowing
I could seize your hand in darkness
Seeking comfort as I faced a great unknown.

Maybe now
When I battle with the growing force
I come to know as consciousness
Whose path is forged of action and of strength
I will pause before I venture forth alone

And maybe now
Before I cry aloud to hide myself in you
Tasting bitters of regret from rages past
I hold myself together with the effort of my will
And the knowledge that my strength is all my own.


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The Philosopher's Bone

Carbuncle writhes at the sound of the scythes
As the slices of karma are portioned
Defending the dead as their sentence is read
And the damned march toward their misfortune;

He battles with fate at the Stygian gate
To hail the unfortunate mob
And waving a hand toward the shuffling band
His shouting dissolves into sobs.

He does not believe that reality's weave
Are made by the billions of weavers
Designing their days in their billions of ways
As laggards or overachievers;

They plan for their deaths, and number their breath
By design of their personal lives
And reap a reward by the cross or the sword
And go when their moment arrives.

Carbuncle writhes at the sound of the scythes
As the slices of karma are portioned
His children in bed with their lullabies read
Dreaming their make-believe fortune;

He plans for his death, and he numbers his breath
Denying each detail he makes
In deepening gloom he returns to his room
In hopes that he never awakes

The freedom from strife is the work of a life
To achieve the philosopher's stone;
Those do not believe they live what they weave
Wield instead a philosopher's bone.


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The Feast of Saint Bartolomey

How slowly do the ebbing waves of time and tide recede
Revealing the iniquities of man
The months have fled in waiting for this vision to proceed
Walking through the ruins in the sand...

It was the feast of Saint Bartolomey
When Innocent put Narbonensi down
He routed from the temples all his worldly enemy
And harvested the hatred they had sown.

The martyrs of the Christian age, the Albigensians
Succumbed before the evening light was gone
So I have found the meaning of these ruins in the sand
And I have seen the dark devour dawn.

How slowly do the ebbing waves of time and tide recede
Revealing the inquities of man
As months have fled I ponder what possessed him on that day
To carve this evil monument in sand?

Often have I sought for meditation's private peace
So solitude would seem to make me free
From visions from the story of a harlot and a beast
Heralding the reign of Blasphemy.

9/27/92, 4/25/93, 5/1/93

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Mrs. Lloyd

Transplanted from the sea and shore
And lichen-spotted rocks
All these West Atlantic crags
Are not as old as Wales
They do not hold the strength of sea
Or blow its certain gale.

They are not enough for her,
This grass, these lichen-crusted stones
Our metaphors are artefacts,
Lacking Europe's bones.

Imprisoned on a baseless rock
Without the stance a Titan holds
She cannot see the archetype
From which the world unfolds.

The rhythm in the common sea
Is consciousness in form
The illusion of the way, the most apparent blast
The gustings of a superficial storm.


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A Single Lamp Cannot Harm the Night

A single lamp cannot harm the night
Or raise a force between the wind
And all its mourning chimes;
A tiny light
Betraying the infinitude of man
A restlessness that resonates in rhyme.

There is fog upon the windowsill
But this, my single lamp
Cannot harm the night
As all the chimes we raise against it
Cannot halt the wind
Its random force redoubling in time.

Waiting, like the vigilant
Who trim the seven wicks
Filling voids with rare and perfect oil
I cannot find my solace in the moaning of the wind
Or tarry in the country of the blind.

There is no place for poetry
For vigilance, for prophecy
Fame is in the fog upon the door
The mystery of time is unrevealed within the clock
Concealed within the mourning of the chimes.

No place is left for poetry
A single lamp cannot harm the night
A silence heard beneath the wind
A solitary light
Does not disturb the gathering of fog.


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The Sphere of Severity

I thought the time had passed
The era of the sacerdote
Of pope and cacogen
The fate of witches sealed
Preserved in wood and tapestry
Has time not killed the pathogen
That blinded its most Catholic majesty?

The march of rising nations sounds
Their hunger is their greed
Their feet are stamping on the ground
And hatred is their creed.

It is transplanted here
Where bunkers dug into the ground
Are host to an incumbent germ
The heritage of blind theocracy
Its prophet raves on radio and sings a doomsday song
Setting down his military terms.

A holy war erupts beneath some star's malefic ray
A hillock hides the fruit of lunacy
I fear the rising tide of a millenial dismay
The waxing of the world's inconstancy.

The march of rising nations sounds
Their hunger is their greed
Their feet are stamping on the ground
And hatred is their creed.

A holy war erupts beneath some star's malefic ray
The century is crashing to a close
Beneath a hollow hillside crouch survivors of the fray
Frozen in a military pose.


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Centenary Rain

Again a night that will not pass
Again I lay anticipating rain
My soul is seated anxious on my brow
Considering the century again.

A hundred years of flood
A centenary rain
Scrubbing off the mountainsides
And wiping clean the plains.

I will not sleep tonight again
Awake and lying restlessly in bed
I await the growl of thunder and the hushes of the rain
The centenary flood that lies ahead

A hundred years of flood
A Noachian spree
Wiping down millenia
And topping up the sea

I never sleep on nights of centenary rain
My soul is seated anxious on my brow
Considering the century again.


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Innocence Lost

I sing of the trial of Edenton
Soul of American hate
Where vengeance was wrought against innocent foes
And justice was thought of too late.

Thick were emotions in Edenton
When friends became haughty with friends
And children were marched like an army of pawns
To exact a peculiar revenge.

Loud was the gossip in Edenton
And lawyers were sent in as knights
And cameras were gathered and evidence burned
As the holocaust quickly grew bright.

There was Inquisition in Edenton
Yet children are easily forced
In place of inquisitors therapists served
To pick at the scabs of divorce.

What is the future of Edenton
Now that its arrows are spent
Now that its daughters are blessed in hate
And their justice conveniently bent?

Seven were taken by Edenton
And thrown in the engine of hate
But many more children were fodder and fuse
For the ravenous maw of the state.

- for the seven defendants accused in Edenton N.C.


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Wygaen stands near Caerleon
Below the river Wy
Famed once for its smithy shop
And spreading chestnut tree.

Folk from Dyfed settled there
Became the Wygaen clan
Who spun on looms an ancient creed
From wool grown on the land.

Merlin came from Caerleon
To see what Wygaen spun
And ask of them a magick robe
To give to Britain's son.

Dark the thread that Wygaen wove
Into this magick cloth
And dark the power Merlin held
When Arthur took his troth.

I was a daughter Wygaen-born
And weaving was my trade
When Merlin came from Caerleon
To have this mantle made.

I mixed the dye from Celtic blood
Spilled on the hills of Wales
I wove on looms of Pictish gut
With bones of murdered Gaels.

And so the Dyfed Wygaens weave
And so the British rise
And so the Dyfed widows grieve
As Dyfed's child dies.

I was a daughter Wygaen-born
Who wove the end of things
When once I made a magick robe
For Merlin's chosen king.

Dyfed grew the warriors
And weavers from its clans
And Dyfed gave its life and blood
Into its killers' hands.

I never wove a thread again
Upon that cursed loom
And Wygaen followed all of Wales
Into the evening gloom.

Wygaen stands near Caerleon
Below the river Wy
Where Arthur's mighty army sought
Its passage to the sea.


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Arien's Dream

I flew blindly through the ravages
And lived a night of hate
And felt the razor edge of grief
At purgatory's gate.

I kissed nectar of forbidden fruit
And drank their filling bowl
I broke the mirrors of belief
That held a passion cold.

I saw the inner life of Arien
In currents of the stream
And drowned in sorrows unexpressed
That gushed out from her dream.

I lay upon the great unconsciousness
A raft upon the sea
Became the not that grew the I
That should could never be.

And blindly through the ravages of night
The gentle hand that stays
Returned me to reality
And led the child away.


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Plague of Rages

How long Lear stands
Rigid on the cliff
Battling the face of lime
How long do we attend this time
Waiting for his siege to lift?

How long he stands
Our subtle pleas
Unleash on us a plague of rages
A squall of glooms and madnesses
And calls of glee at hidden jests
From voices carried on the seas.

How long we stand
Glaring at the waves
To see the king who walked this verge
Defy the storm and then emerge
Cleansed of shadows demon-form'd
Crowned again and newly born
From the sanctum of Poseidon's caves.


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Emma Morgan

In the year of her sobriety
She changed her name
And in a sense, she rebecame
Her boots two lesbian identities
Solid symbols on her feet
To kick at anger found within herself
And pound on hostile streets.

It was Tishri of the magic year
The great retreat
Atonement came devoid of meat
Companions hate and deadly fear
Psychic symbols of her shame
To pen an anger found within herself
And find the public ear.

It was Nisan of the following
Delusion's feast
The fever grew a potent yeast
Her lovers fled like birds of dying spring
Despite the symbols on her feet
To fuel insanity she found within herself
A voice began to sing.


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Casus Belli

And yea, we wept
When we remembered Pluto
And long I wept, a prisoner abroad
And tasted new the appetite for power
Sprung anew from Aaron's new-grown rod.

So what shall cleanse my body
Of this dark and single seed
What shall purge the heart of dark-sown spoil
Where within the nightmare is the true and golden Creed
Rooted in a common human soil?

Am I then an alien, grown conscious on this earth
Leaven in the mixture of the race
Born to cure the cowardice that dogs mankind from birth
Sworn to temper will with learned grace?

And yea, I wept
When I remembered Pluto
An underworld created by my pride
For lo, the sun had dwindled to a mote of gleaming dust
Lashed by Helle's violence and tide.

What shall I become?
A single force, a might cause
A race of merely one?
A microcosmic fantasy, a song tomorrow sung
A consciousness adrift in Plato's Laws?


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Battle of Hastings

Their charge confused by mist, athwart by rain
They reconvene to make their charge again
With bows of rust and pikes of tarnished steel
They plunge across the black and muddy field.

This the terror of my youthful dreams
The shriek of men amid the horses' screams
Dusk arrived in early morning fog
And made our battlefield a swirling bog.

Today, in age, I feel the suddend of the sea through the surge
Of unseen force, malevolently urged
To leap aside of me to stab and hack
Alert to gain my unprotected back.

Their charge confused, and yet they still persist
And win the day in torrents, fog, and mist
But have these victors seen what they have won
A demon land devoid of life and sun?

We warriors, defeated on our knees
Amid the corpses in the shadow of the trees
Cast a circle with the blood of all our men
To bring the Roman empire to an end.


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Edgar Allan Poe

Is there no niche for him to dig between
The mortar and the stone
The spider and the antiphon
The nightmare and the dream

For surely pity would be found
If he could keep his fears in check till morning
If he could make the God-desired sound
Postpone the march toward the yawning crypt?

He holds a leaping fear
Unswallowed in his throat
Suggestings of a knocking on his door
The promises of laudanum are far too distant now
To keep the sun from dawning
Winter freezes him inside his coat.

For surely pity would be found
If he could keep his tears in check till morning
If he could make the Demon cower down
Postpone the march toward his nightmare's grip?

Oh well I know that twist of fate
That keeps us bleak till morning
That drives a wedge into our minds
Twixt mortar and the stone
To staunch the wound mortality
And keeps the mortal cowed
Oh loose the coil that keeps the mortal bowed!


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Had I sailed to port and held my ground
And netted Kraken with a single cast
Then Ariadne's smile would reward me
And Ariadne's thread would bind me fast.

And had I sailed to Andalusia instead
And conquered dragons on the desert floor
I climbed to greet the sages in her caves
Then Ariadne's spell would blight her moors.

But neither of those odysseys I took
And like the men enamored of the Song
I bound myself to stone and Siren sea
I lingered here, and tarried overlong.

How subtle is the pattern of her thread
Cretan in its weave, and white as milk
Binding all my senses to the web
Spun into the fabric of her silk.

Oh let me find the Andalusian plain
To free me from the treachery of Crete!
Let me climb the dragon's hidden tower
Safe upon the Sphinx's stony feet.

But neither of those odysseys I took
And like fair Helle cast upon the sky
I fell to earth in Ariadne's book
And drowned within her coldly smiling eye.

A hero is a metaphor in Ariadne's web
An odyssey a fantasy of dread
Andalusia's temple is a mote of dream and dross
The Hellespont a crossing for the dead.

A hero is a metaphor, Odysseus is dead
And now the princess cleans her blade erelong
And grows anew the tresses bound anew with milky thread
That weave together sea and Siren song.


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The Wine of Violence (apologies to James Morrow)

If I had stopped to wonder on this rock
Instead of pressing forward foot by foot
Tracked like prey and tracking prey alike
Perhaps I should remember love today.

For she was as a meadow full of wheat
Heady with the sun's full-flowering scent
And had I stopped to wonder on this rock
Perhaps I should remember love today.

These fields of death whereon I march
Wanderer adrift from beached sails
Tracked like prey and tracking prey alike
I cannot remember love today.

For she was metal drawn from Priam's sheath!
And she was poison burning in my breast
And she was Lethe's fountain springing forth
To break my sword and cleave my heartless chest!

If some kind eagle hear this sob and light
And marvel at a ship at broken mast
His laughter would be melody and horn
To thrust remembrance back into my clay.

For she was metal forged in Priam's fire
And she was glorious Death in glad array
I lay with Death and plucked her gilded lyre
Until her passion bled my love away.

There was some god who bid this madness go
The fever fled as Luna wanes above
And now I stop to wonder at this rock
And beg the sky to shelter me with sun.

How did I become the hunted prey?
How was manhood bled into the dust?
Where was Death when I was dreaming love
Drunken with the poison wine of lust?

The mark my feet have made accuse the man
Whose wandering convicts him of escape
The meadow's eye now empty of her form
Condemns the sullen wanderer for rape.

Here I stop and grieve for passion's sin
The dying flower wilting from above
This wine of violence distilled in clay
From equal parts of hatred and of love.


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A Prophet's Holiday

While the poet lays his pen aside to sleep
The four bleak angels make their reckoning
Conscience reawakens in their swords
To clamor for the last to take the wing;

Some pain has struck his heart a blow too great
Some tempest from an Archangelic host
Some element of rage is loosed and plummets from on high
As ailing Nostradamus yields the ghost.

'Tomorrow I shall be no more a Prophet!
Tomorrow all your laughter will be sobs
The poetry I write today tomorrow will be ash
Fuel upon the pyre of the mob.

I sink into the swamp of Last misgiving
A neophyte in alchemy of old;
A vision I misunderstood vouchsaf'd to me in dream
Misinterpreted, as long foretold.'

The poet takes the Prophet's holiday
His tragedy, his stolen century
That idiot St. John should have been the one to stay
To free them from the Rapture's potency!

The Devil pitches dung upon the hills;
And rats descend to eat the early corn
All the morning patients go without their morning pills
All the scheduled neonates are born.

And life goes on without the wise with wise prescription pads
Life without its Quality Control,
It's overboard with television's latest clothing ad
Yield before the blessed Super Bowl!

You are the men humanity must fear,
Yours the great Millennial event;
Nostradamus took his prophet's holiday,
Now dogs of war are picking up his scent.


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And If I Closed My Eyes

And if I closed my eyes
Would there rise again the spectre of the demon?
And if there were a greater dark
Would something greater rise against its gloom?

For some unspoken grief has waked me
Damned me to the vigil of this dawn
Something greater looms, like destiny approaching
Goading me to meet it further on

And if I closed my eyes
Would there rise again the dread concatenation?
Wednesday is approaching on the Martian end
Bent to the destruction of the damned

What force has pressed me forward in the moment
Prophecy has pinned me into now
Free me from damnation in the knowledge
Heavy grief is resting on my brow

And if I closed my eyes
There will rise again the specter of distress
Spirit sighs in solitude, and all our gold is dross
The time has come for man to make redress.


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I wait the Bodhisattva of Compassion
And pray to the ternal Lord of Light
The world around has gone to ashes quickly
Passing through eternities of night.

Born upon the cusp, when greater works are done
My labor seems eternally delayed
The hour turned but slowly while I tarry
Suddenly my hand is oddly stayed.

I have returned, to give this sign to you
This moment while the greatest works are done
To wear the patience of the age upon myself
And stand in salutation to the Sun.

But where, I wonder now, is the ternal Lord of Light
Where the Bodhisattva of Compassion?
Must patience be the waiting game anotehr century
While we watch a hundred nations arm and fight?

I have returned, but my sign has not yet come
The greatest works are not yet made complete
The prayer of peace is heard by all by morning or by night
But still their bombs are thrown into the street.

I am born to serve a purpose, at this most auspicious time
Born to show the harbinger of love
But not until the shout is stilled from cannon on the front
Will I receive this order from above.


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The Last Rower - for H.R.

Exra Pound, the guiding light
A genius of his age
A lord of Greek and old Chinese
Imprisoned in a cage.

Inspiration for the young
A decade from his death
The league who followed bore his cross
And drew his ragged breath.

The legions of cacophony
Who gathered at his head
Enthroned a verse inscrutable
For poetry was dead.


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I have lived so out of time
In lands now dust and stone
Whose tale is not more glorious
But only better known.

If those who follow turn and track
The vision to its home
They will not heed Cassandra's word
Or read Cassandra's poem;

If they still live so out of time
In lands Atlantean
They will not meet me at the gate
Nor gain Empyrean.


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Soliloquy of John Xavier the Younger

Do not suffer angels weep
For yet another season
Revenge is honey on the lips
That drew you into war,

Great the gaping arrow's wound
That stole away your reason
Whose ebbing flow has stopped the world
According to its law;

Do not suffer angels weep
For yet another season
Greater is the power you keep
Who bear the dragon's claw.


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