The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, 1939
Blue flames... dancing, flickering,
dancing on the red-hot coals below, hissing
out a warm, smug message in accents hot and dry
as they lick the crusted stone.
Red bells and white porphyry; how odd,
strangely and inconceivably plural.
they are one, yet why?
Why are they there? Why?
Ah my little one, soon, too soon.
Dresden china, painted shepherdesses, slow
fixed smiles on their painted cheeks—mirthless
and artificial as the Mona Lisa.
Oh ye little symbols of a guarded security!
No flocks to come disturb your sylvan ease.
Why? Tell me Why?
Cease, my pet, cease your disturbing murmurings.
"Lullaby and good-night,
Thi-i-ne angel's deli-i-ght..."
Red plush, how opulent.
red plush, above, below, all round.
No escape! Echo the dreary word in
the hot unsympathetic depths of a murmurous blaze,
or in the vague, vapid smile of the shepherdess.
Oh God, the agony confinement—that cloying
sameness that gnaws at the very root of being.
Think of it! Life bordered and bounded by a wall
of red plush. Red plush! Red Plush!
Scream the word, howl it from your crags,
your lofty crags that are denied me.
Whisper it sonorously in your caspar'd scintillating grottos,
hear it echo with an insensate, maddening intensity
in the lofty vaults.
Mingle it with the sultry clink of well-glasses,
Breathe it in the stuffy board-room.
Shout it above the thun'drous roar of falling masonry,
whisper it in the ear of the dying man...and then
Leave it to the depths of a dawning consciousness,
Oh God—no way out!
A sinister, horrible captivity—held fast in the
silken bonds of Cerberus... unbreakable fetters
wrought in the dust, of antiquity.
Cast off those timorous inhibitions...
throw aside the tantalising folds and
reveal a world!
Why do you stand with blanched cheek...
Why that ghastly pallor? What do you see?
Far, far below... a maelstrom of swirling water.
Darksome and sinister.
Millions of tiny creatures struggling... impotently
hopelessly... all wrapped up in a swirling
vortex of beastliness.
Is there no escape there, either?
Alas, none. All will be sucked, engulfed inexorably
to glut the monster's icy maw.
Still... red plush, bells and white porphyry,
and... pale, blue, flames.