Sunday, June 15, 2014

From the Verse Essays of Ivar Benløs: Battering

How carefully I detail
My quiet philosophy,
My long-distance perspective
On the madness of the world,
But let one gatekeeper block,
With a human smirk, my way,
And how quick I am to rage.

I could be a tree alone
On a sun swept, grassy slope
Overlooking a forest
Rapidly being timbered
And perfuming the breezes
That reach me with lop-limbed pleas
For help when they can't be helped

While I allow my own leaves
A calmly rustling response,
Until men with axes come.
I could be a secure oak
Surrounded by dragging vines
That poison the ground around
Their long, rapacious roots,

Convinced, long-lived thing I am,
That I can remain aloof,
Until the poison rises
Into my own veins. Anger,
The madness that is madness,
Will fell me as easily
As any weedy sapling.

I rise on the backs of felled
Giants cut down to shavings
To make a great shield for me
To ride on like a warrior,
Imagining my orders
Are holy, matter, carry
In a wide world not me,

But I am weak, not because
I carry no weight myself,
Or not only, but because
I carry poison in me
That felled my fellows, and wage
War against swords and axes
With siege engines hacked from peace.

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