THE FOOL RINGS HIS BELLS Come, Death, I'd have a word with thee; And thou, poor Innocency; And Love--a lad with broken wing; And Pity, too: The Fool shall sing to you, As Fools will sing. Ay, music hath small sense, And a tune's soon told, And Earth is old, And my poor wits are dense; Yet have I secrets,--dark, my dear, To breathe you all: Come near. And lest some hideous listener tells, I'll ring my bells. They're all at war! Yes, yes, their bodies go 'Neath burning sun and icy star To chaunted songs of woe, Dragging cold cannon through a mud Of rain and blood; The new moon glinting hard on eyes Wide with insanities! Hush!... I use words I hardly know the meaning of; And the mute birds Are glancing at Love! From out their shade of leaf and flower, Trembling at treacheries Which even in noonday cower, Heed, heed not what I said Of frenzied hosts of men, More fools than I, On envy, hatred fed, Who kill, and die-- Spake I not plainly, then? Yet Pity whispered, "Why?" Thou silly thing, off to thy daisies go. Mine was not news for child to know, And Death--no ears hath. He hath supped where creep Eyeless worms in hush of sleep; Yet, when he smiles, the hand he draws Athwart his grinning jaws Faintly their thin bones rattle, and.... There, there; Hearken how my bells in the air Drive away care!... Nay, but a dream I had Of a world all mad. Not a simple happy mad like me, Who am mad like an empty scene Of water and willow tree, Where the wind hath been; But that foul Satan-mad, Who rots in his own head, And counts the dead, Not honest one--and two-- But for the ghosts they were, Brave, faithful, true, When, head in air, In Earth's dear green and blue Heaven they did share With Beauty who bade them there.... There, now! he goes-- Old Bones; I've wearied him. Ay, and the light doth dim, And asleep's the rose, And tired Innocence In dreams is hence.... Come, Love, my lad, Nodding that drowsy head, 'T is time thy prayers were said. _Walter de la Mare_
Monday, November 24, 2014
As The 100th Anniversary Of The First Year Of World War I (Remember The War To End All Wars) Continues ... Some Remembrances-Poets’ Corner
In say 1912, 1913, hell, even the beginning of 1914 before the war clouds got a full head of steam in the summer they all profusely professed, artists who saw the disjointedness of modern industrial society and put the pieces to paint, sculptors who put twisted pieces of metal juxtaposed to each other, writers of serious history books proving that, according to their Whiggish theory of progress, humankind had moved beyond war as an instrument of policy, writers of not so serious novels drenched in platitudes and hidden gabezo love affairs put paid to that notion in their sweet nothing words that man and woman had too much to do to denigrate themselves by crying the warrior’s cry and the maidens strewing flowers on the bloodlust streets, musicians whose muse spoke of delicate tempos and sweet muted violin concertos, and poets, ah, those constricted poets who bleed the moon of its amber swearing, swearing on a stack of seven sealed bibles, that they would go to the hells before touching the hair of another man, that come the war drums they would resist the siren call, would stick to their Whiggish, Futurist, Constructionist, Cubist, world and blast the war-makers to hell in quotes, words, chords, clanged metal, and pretty pastels.
And then the war drums intensified and they, they made of ordinary human clay as it turned out, poets, artists, sculptors, writers, serious and not, musicians went to the trenches to die deathless deaths in their thousands for….