I have stood upon the battlements
Of ebon stone, and jet
Black light has bathed my body
With the force it can beget.
The Brothers of the Shadow
In their sullen scapulars
Have ministered unto my wants
And healed my battle scars.
I have stood in their cathedrals
And the hymns of hate I’ve sung,
I have heard the Mass of Mendes
Chanted by a slitted tongue.
I have taught the works of sorcery
To students of the fane,
By necromancy I have raised
The elemental rain.
I have viewed the land of utter night
And worn the monkish gown
Of those beyond life’s misty pale,
Have you ever thought ——-
How far is down?
Dark Goddess of the Inward Sky
The Star King sings; as Charioteer
He leaps forth with his hounding cry
And dashes through the lightning’s sear.
Tall Chessmen stand,
The World is square,
The King and Queen,
A royal pair,
Of Black and White in stately mate.
The Yin and Yang are Asian Light;
Their white and black spin on the Wheel:
Drawn by the vacuum of Her night
All things begin; and all things heal.
Tall Chessmen stand,
The World is square,
The King and Queen,
A stately pair,
Of White and Black in royal mate.
I must go down
In Earth’s dark crown
I must go down the slope
And sink my roots
In sandy boots
My arms a leather rope
I must be drowned
In rolling ground
Enclayed in silent hope
I must descend
The curtain rend
I must go down the Cave
In bones be traced
And, venous laced,
Possess the poisoned slave
Nor sing on high
For Kings who die:
This is the cycled grave
To be at home
In graveled loam
By Our Goddess planted
Pebbled eye enchanted
Be where I spoil
I must lie still
Beneath the hill
A star-born Dragon seed
And then course up
In vernal cup
Renewed in Goddess mead
And blossom proud,
A starry cloud,
Thrust on: such is Her need
Fair Goddess of the Windward Sky
Diana of the Groves
Divine Thy trees, Thy woodland frieze
Divine Thy treasure troves
In silence meet, in darkness greet
To share Thy Fish and Loaves
We leave this earth, this earth that is our pride,
This is our worth, by death of worlds we died,
Our hopes our loves, we leave our heritage
Of faith, to you who come across the stellar bridge.
Yours is the flame, the flame of truth and light,
Above the shambles of our hopeless fight,
Grieve not that we and all our kin are gone
We lived by grace which has been long withdrawn.
You are an alien race that will abide
Within the halls that we have been denied,
Hold fast the fire, this is our requiem,
Our peace be on you now and we with them
God grant that you may know what this betide
Yours is the slow task that we have defied
Accept our hope altho we cannot guide
For who may stand when suns and worlds collide.
Hymn for largo of “Finlandia” re the lost race
of planet Bronson Beta
Nails, red scales
Crust on crust;
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust.
Always quiet, never gabby —
That’s the way that Mr. Sabby
Goes about the slimy job
Of playing every sort of hob
With Uncle Sammy’s ships and men,
Which is the reason why we’ve been
Up late at night and out all day —
To see that Sabby doesn’t play.
SACRED AND PROFANE LOVE, OR THERE'S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE MOON, EITHER
When bored by the drone of the wedlocked pair
When bromides of marriage have started to wear,
Contemplate those of the crimson affair:
“I had to see you,” &, “Tonight belongs to us!”
Skewered on bliss of a dubious sort
Are all individuals moved to consort
With creatures inspiring this hackneyed retort:
“I can’t fight you any longer.”
Some with such wheezes have gone to the dead,
Unwitting that Liebestod lurked up ahead.
That pistols would perforate them as they said:
“This thing is bigger than both of us.”
Experimentation in matters of sin
Pales on the instant it’s destined to win;
Paramours end as conformers begin:
“I don’t want just this – I want you.”
Explorers are highly unlikely to hear
Novelties murmured into their ear;
Checkered with such is the checkered career:
“It’s not you I’m afraid of, it’s myself.”
Such liturgies standardize lovers in league
That someone will cry in the midst of intrigue
(And someone will hear in the midst of fatigue):
“You don’t want me – you just want sex!”
Strait is the gate and narrow the way
Closing at last on the ranging roue´ ;
Who plucks a primrose plants a cliche´ :
“We’re married – in the eyes of Heaven.”
The dangerous life is so swiftly prosaic
You might as well marry and live in Passaic;
It ends and begins in established mosaic:
“For God’s sake be careful, or someone will hear you!”
SADDLE SAGA (re GO of Ft. Riley, Kans.)
On the western plains where the wind does blow,
Where the water is scarce and the trees don’t grow,
We trooped and we fought in the long ago,
And this is our fearful tale.
This is our tale of whoa!
The Colonel was good, though slightly gruff,
The Sergeants were men and they knew their stuff,
The Men were wild and plenty tough
And each was hearty and hale.
We soldiered where it was rough!
The Injuns were hard and lean as wolves,
They raided and plundered and fired the roofs
Of the settlers huts, and the thundering hooves
Of the cavalry drummed again.
The cavalry fought the Sioux!
Then, when the Injuns were layin low
We’d rope and ride the buffalo
And rassle them in the patio
Of the Colonel’s litte shack.
Of the Colonel’s bungalow!
There’s one thing only we’d never do,
Tho we’d toast the West on ration brew,
And that was to shoot where Headquarters grew
On edge of the ground of parade.
That was a rule we all knew!
In other days the sarge was tough,
And little yardbirds had it rough;
For when it was their wont to play,
The Old Man felt it time to bray
And hold them in their lines so straight —
Chin in, chest out — it was their fate
To heel the line and guide it right,
With drill and dress from morn to night.
But now our sarge is lean and lank
And loose and limber in the shank,
His manner mild, his voice so sweet,
Just like a mother nanny’s bleat.
Each morning ere the night is done
He comes and wakes us every one
With gentle tap and whispered word —
The sleepy rookies’ morning bird.
Oh, sarge who was my father’s fright,
That you should be my shining light
In teaching me what I should know;
The rifle sling, the cadence slow,
What time to go to bed at night,
And that I shouldn’t come home tight.
The brood of chicks, the doting hen.
Don’t mind me, Sarge, with us “you’re in!”
Your eyes are as wise as the world
Your lips are a mockery
Of paint, your hair is curled
With the shape of the pottery
Of ancient Thrace, your face
I have seen when convolutes
Of meteor dust have swirled
Between the flowing roots
Of Yggdrasill, I know
The thoughts you have dreamed and lost,
For I am he whose foe
Is king of the giants, Frost.
SOME ONE BEHIND YOU?
He glances neither right nor left
His mouth is sealed, his sense bereft
He stumbles as tho blind
For he is summoned by the Eft
And he was hard to find
The Eft have Things to do their work
Android or formless they may lurk
Where shadows fog the mind
For they thrive best in sluggish murk
And tight their tendrils bind.
Implacable and mute as stone
He is not flesh, He is not bone
He is not cruel or kind
He walks by night, but not alone
No matter where you hide or pray
Someday He’ll find you — yes, someday
He’ll come and stand behind
The head you cannot turn away
The eyes you cannot rind.
And then your terror, white or fane
Will make no difference, for pain
Both horrible and blind
Will dip into your cringing brain
And clutch the shrieking mind.
The icy touch of His embrace
Is cold, is colder than the trace
Of shadow undefined
That wakes you, screaming in the face
And when they see your vacant stare
Your white eyes, dead and blind
Beyond which mask unfocused there
Is crawling blackness twined
Take care, then, mortal man, beware
SPACE TIDES: A PROPHECY
The roar of space winds poring o’er
The star hung cataracts of night
Has thundered on the sapphire shore
Of Orion. And in the light
Of clustered suns the men of Earth
Have heard this song celestial
Have stopped their labors, and their mirth,
Looked back to where, terrestrial,
Our mother planet swings in peace
Around her parent sun of old
And in those gyres that never cease
The story of our life is told.
From here the race of Man has sprung
To conquer space and claim the stars,
With fire atomic as the rung
He leaped the chasmed isobars
Between the worlds! From Him there came
The Cosmic Engineers who spanned
The stellar deep with ships of flame
Who saw galactic empires planned
For all of time. And so they dreamed
To throw the outposts of the Race
Beyond the farthest stars that gleamed
Upon the outer rim of space.
Hull down the ranging cruisers ride
The star winds o’er the Pleiades,
The space tanned mariners may stride
Their quarter-decks, or stand at ease
Along the bridge. While on patrol
Space borne torpedoes of the deep
Trans-stellar spaces gently roll
And feel the space tides as they leap
The curving parsecs. Through the roar
Of stellar seas their orbits run
And close hauled clippers drive before
The blast of an exploding sun
That ripples space. And in the holds
Of merchant argosies are gems
From Centaurus; strange fungoid molds,
Monstrosities with many limbs
From Aldebaran; by the tons
Uranium and all its ores;
The priceless commerce of the suns
Consigned to Earth from foreign shores!
The cold, dry wind of outer space
That sweeps a way between the stars
Has fanned Capella’s flaming face
And stirred the sanguine sands of Mars.
And I would ride that dark simoon
With the Corsair avatars of old,
In racing shells that plunge the flume
Of interstellar space. Behold
The orange flame of Fomalhaut’s
From far below the Median Deep,
And stand the watch with astronauts
Who time the light years as they seep
Across the universe. Who know
How wheeling galaxies will strain
The spatial curve; what storms may grow
A million years before they gain
The strength of cosmic hurricanes.
Such cyclone vortices as these,
Light-years across, have fanned the vanes
Of stations anchored in the seas
That wash Polaris. And the spawn
Of this space-warping typhoon wind
Are fiery molecules whole drawn
From some sub-ether. So they send
Another nebula to swirl
Across the strained and troubled void.
A cloud of new-born stars to whirl
And lure the questing anthropoid.
The power of atomic might
Stripped from the ore uranium,
Where neucleons are whipped in white
Heat from bed-rock neutronium,
Has fueled the navies of high space.
And out in that sidereal sleet
A mighty dreadnought seeks to trace
The orbit of a spindrift fleet
Lost on the deep. Whose men marooned
On racing meteorites have gazed
With fevered eyes, their minds attuned
To dusky phantoms on the glazed
Backdrop of stars: in dream they see
The sleeting comets crash and burn
And gaunt ribbed worlds flap hopelessly
About a guttered sun whose urn
Of ashes cold spills in the gloom—
Such drifting clouds of dust set free
May sail the dead, high seas of doom
Forever – yet may never see
Nor spume in breakers on the shore
Of worlds that spin in hyperspace:
Beyond the ken of terrene lore
Are planets out of time and space.
Upon the islands of a sun
In Andromeda’s stellar swarms
These cosmic pioneers have won
A beach-head. And against the storms
Of toxic gases they have wrought
Weird cities’ domed with crystal shell,
And to these alien worlds have brought
Some touch of Earth. Here they may dwell
Until once more the call of space
Has echoed in their hearts – and then
The snub-nosed mining fleets will pace
The comet trails, and trading men
Watch massive glyptodons make war
On monsters trapped in the marine
Of worlds ruled by the dinosaur
Near Procyon. Such men have seen
The speeding slag of cinder rocks
Orbit the Rim’s periphery
While from the sun ensorcelled locks
Of guardian keeps on Mercury.
SPIRIT OF EARTH
I am a Soldier –
I am the essence of hatred
And bred in the red alembic of war
I hate with a feral pride
Both brilliant and terrible.
Once I was Peace
And in my heart there glowed the futile hope
That for all time the bestial law of might
Had sheathed its sanguine talons
Now I know
That this was false, for in its stead there rose
The tyranny and arrogance of race
To sweep the world with flaming war and leave
The rancid blood of rapine to immerse
And clot the soil of freedom
Here my hopes
And thin illusions for a better world
Were crushed and torn between the titan claws
Of brutal force barbarian —-
The planned hypocrisy succeed its goal
And cultured nations reel before the lash
Of monster war mechanical unleashed ——-
And in my soul
Was gendered from this cataclysmic rift
A hatred more insatiate
Than lust of fame or gain or ought but that I find
This beast of Tyranny, and then with care
Enfold him sure and slowly that he feel
And know with terror numb’ed tongue the dread
Dark bitter taste of death — as kraken limbed
I crush his life with bonds unloosed and shorn
From peoples never conquered ——-
Thus I work
And plan that day of justice when all men
May live the peace of progress, and their will
Of life and love be not denied ——-
For this — I am a Soldier
For this — I kill!
The green wood hummed, all day the sun
Had shimmerd in the rustic glade
And quick the flies swept thru the shade
And I reached out and swatted one.
A swish and gurgle in the creek
As sly the perch browse in the stream
And dragon flies hang in the steam
Of stagnant pools that breed and reek.
Indolence on a summer day
The fitful slumber and the yawn
Of sleepy thunder in the brawn
Of satyr muscles tired of play —
Along an orbit charted by the sun
A charging cruiser swings —
With flaring jets
It sweeps a path elliptic.
At his set
A somber man keeps vigil for the call
Of other ships that rendezvous.
On beam’ed light that pulses as alive
With modulated frenquencies
An alien intelligence.
And scans the message ——
Then returns to sit
And contemplate again with weary gaze
He idly tunes
The photophones to scope a sullen sky
Whose barren waste of star embedded night
Has settled on his own immortal soul
A touch of its aridity.
And listens – half unconscious – to the dry
Hypnotic rustle of the myriad stars —–
When the muse is hard upon me
Would I lie upon the grass
Scribble with a stubby pencil
Whimsies ere they fade and pass;
Plot my verses willy-nilly
As they play across my mind
Humming quickly in and out
Catch it now or never find
The vagrant rhymes that startle, then
Dissolve and come no more;
Compared with this the work-a-day
Is really quite a chore.