on his hands in Hades, head into Odysseus's
ewe-blood filled trench, saw through
Hades, as if "down" into an earlier prophecy:
as Pangaea separated into Laurasia and Gondwanaland,
so were creatures to separate into animals and men.
Would the separation continuum end when men
extracted language from the beasts?
As Tiresias drank animal blood to be able to speak
in Hades, so in an earlier abyss did
hominids, becoming men, swallow skulls of blood
that animal sounds might dream in them,
and take on the shapes of men? Tiresias saw
that the etymology of magic was in maggots,
each in syllable rags, wending their way
out a bison belly's imploded cavern,
that the prophet's task is to conduct
the savagery of the grass, to register
the zeros rising from the circuits of the dead
in suspension below, mouths forever frozen at
the roller coaster's summit in wild hello.
- Clayton Eshleman (1935-)
from Fracture (1983)
That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.
Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope
They are all bound on the wheel, these people,
This republic, Europe, Asia.
Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies,
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.
You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You
From Dante's feet, but even farther from his dirty
Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes
to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.
- Robinson Jeffers (1886-1962)
It is not bad. Let them play.
Let the guns bark and the bombing-plane
Speak his prodigious blasphemies.
It is not bad, it is high time,
Stark violence is still the sire of all the world's values.
What but the wolf's tooth whittled so fine
The fleet limbs of the antelope?
What but fear winged the birds, and hunger
Jeweled with such eyes the great goshawk's head?
Stark violence has been the sire of all the world's values.
Who would remember Helen's face
Lacking the terrible halo of spears?
Who formed Christ but Herod and Caesar,
The cruel and bloody victories of Caesar?
Violence, the bloody sire of all the world's values.
Never weep, let them play,
Old violence is not too old to beget new values.
- Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)
from Be Angry at the Sun (1941)