Monday, November 9, 2020

Journey Of The Magi

I have a strange relationship to my precursor, T.S.Eliot. Here was a poet of brilliance yet too often he let himself get distracted by the darkness in life; this was a problem I found inherent in all poets I studied at university and one which I of course was culpable of myself as you can clearly see in the 'depressed' poetry of mine already on this blog.

However, I had good reason to be melancholy, because I was being attacked by mental ill health. These poets, and I include Shakespeare amongst them with his maudlin Tragedies, were not. They chose darkness over light whilst I fought darkness with the flicker of a candle, then a lamp, then the blazing sun!

I simply let myself go with Journey Of The Magi. No mumbling, grumbling birth and death like Eliot, these were alien beings, Magi who came to this world, our planet and simply could not get a handle on us at all. Though self-destructive in so many ways, I have always viewed human nature as fundamentally good, simply that so many of us can go so awry amongst the snares and nets of the Earth upon which we live.

Two people asked me what on earth this poem meant, to which I replied and still do, there is no meaning. This is a young poet flexing his muscles with vocabulary and language of freedom after the stricture and dryness of academic jargon. Go with the flow, reader, let the verse lift and buoy you along in its freedom and nonsense! This is my version of Journey Of The Magi...

I

From a storm-tossed maelstrom of madness
The Magi come, riding the waves,
Cresting the surf, trailing the wake of a thousand worlds in tow.
For an isle they head, a place shivering in mist,
And skirting the coast to a needle point they land among us.
On this sceptered jewel they dally, gleaning their art.

II
How we burn whose souls collated in the dusk drawn days of youth
Now stand judged and defiled. They have no right, these Magi,
They live by the light of other moons, other stars.
How dare they roam our minds at will
Plucking future's oneness from the grave,
Banging present's head against the walls of past's abode?
But we tolerate this blasphemy, this degradation of our lives
For paradise is, they tell us so, though
What wanton cruelty Utopia must inflict,
Chopping down the rafters of sense,
Its savage legacy lost in the wind of reality's sails
We cannot tell, nor shall we know.
Only this, that Endeavour's bowstring
Wielded by those wizened men shoots arrows of fulfllment
Through our hearts. That is their lesson, may we who stoke
The fires of our own demise learn it well.

III
They fly among us, studying our souls, and harbouring their force as one
Smite down what drives us forward. What right to disregard
This planet's only race that ever brought intelligence
Upon the rest, to call us slow and dull and dim,
Barbaric and aloof? We might have strained ourselves
To answer summons from above, to hold, possess and touch
The passions of yesteryear, but never in a thousand deaths
Upon the rim of every sun would we give ourselves to darkness.
We reason and we salvage hope from light,
Loosely drawing shawls upon our backs,
Hanging, sitting, giving warmth from outside cold,
Spinning hard upon the wheel of nothing threads to rag our souls.
The Magi watch, they learn these human ways, and never in their past,
In any other place, at any other time have they seen the like.
We are the Ark of their quest, a treasure trove unearthed,
We teach what we learn, growing, changing, loving, loathing,
Pressing forward with all our might towards the end.
We live in death, Magi, we live in death, that is what we bring,
That realisation and that alone. Now go, find other worlds
And teach what you have learned. Crest your surf, ride your waves,

Take our land in tow. We are yours Magi, we are yours.    

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