Saturday, August 19, 2006

Death Comes Like a Revolution

Pitchforks and pikes in hand, the women stroll,
all maenads, down the park to the menagerie,
cull the roses and smash the coterie
of apollonian statues. Guns explode
and urge. The women free the cognac-gorged
lions, zebras, the snorting dromedary
and, hunger-maddened, raid the aviary
for heron, parrot, goshawk and flamingo.

Likewise Death overthrows the body’s shed--
the zoo assembly, parliament or diet--
over which the king surveyed his power and pomp.
Dragoons, attendants, nobles, all have fled.
Night closes on the unaccustomed quiet,
hushes the squawk out of the draining swamp.


Rui said...

ok, this is totally frivolous and irrelevant, but the last 2 lines of the octet remind me of this:

"When, in September 1465, the enthronement of George Neville as Archbishop of York was celebrated at Cawood Castle to demonstrate the riches and power of his family.... They consumed 4000 pigeons and 4000 crays, 2000 chickens, 204 cranes, 104 peacocks, 100 dozen quails, 400
swans, 400 herons, 113 oxen, 6 wild bulls, 608 pikes and bream, 12 porpoises and seals, 1000 sheep, 304 calves, 2000 pigs, 1000 capons, 400 plovers, 200 dozen of the birds called "rees", 4000 mallards and teals, 204 kids, 204
bitterns, 200 pheasants, 500 partridges, 400 woodcocks, 100 curlews, 1000 egrets, over 500 stags, bucks and roes..."

(R. Mitchell and M. Leys, A History of the English People, 1950)

on a slightly less frivolous note, this poem gives me a weird sense of deja vu, like a nightmare i'd almost forgotten.

i like it. especially the noise of the revolution. the sound effects work well. though i'm not sure i agree with the analogy - but then again i can't say and by the time i can it'll be too late.

this new violence in your work - it's intoxicating and frightening at the same time. whatever you are high on, it's working.


Jee Leong Koh said...

Only 12 porpoises and seals? You would think they could have done better than that! What a marvellous factoid, Rui. Thanks. The poem is an old one, though I still like certain effects in it, especially the quiet menace of the last 2 lines after the storm of sounds and actions in the octet. I'm glad you like it.

Jee Leong