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Arachne. No. 3

Elegy 1944

Elegy 1944

The Flower-Venus of our Tropic day
Makes aim of anarchy, virtue of anger,
Beguiles with glittering the gilded flies
Who sack her hoard. She meshes them: they die.
Error and Truth have mated. These afford
The paradox of Love housed in the hangar,
The sleek, the svelte and unobtainable
In mannequins marvelled once, in sculpture lines,
By metal mastered. And as the forest boar
Apulian, whose stroke is lightning — he
Like gnarling torrents fearless in brute valour
Must bear with weight of seasons and their war
Deformity more monstrous. The sword-tusk
Which had unbellied hounds that yelping tore
His iron flank — this natural armament
Does now unseat its bony citadel
With curved enforced growth, boring each hour
More in his maddened skull, till Life aghast
At self-rebellion part, and immolate
His bones wake wonder in some rocky den.
page 21 So are we stricken mad in enmity
By our own steel ensanguined more with years.
The tyrant-crushing hand studying snares
Of tyranny, will grow all-tyrannous also —
Vain then the early vengeance, venom and bloody tears.
And some must paint a face of purpose
Upon the inane mask that Fortune bears;
Hope with dead Hope in them are warriors,
Seek love or violence to gloze,
Politics in the quarrelling of drunks
And Beauty as the whorish Babylon.
Of each volume published in England
One copy is presented to the British Museum,
Whose neo-Grecian pillars thus contain
Trash and tragedy, religion and pornography.
The inference is plain —
That Art is regarded as the mirror of Life,
Not as one bough of the everlasting Tree
But a quiet and interesting miniature
Which in future days may be inspected with pleasure
As men in ruined Pompeii walk to see
The Temple of Love though hate may gnaw their skulls.
O Blake !
I see you stand above the continents
Shadowing Asia, and the earthquake hordes
Of steel and turmoil, pointing to Heaven
With the left hand, with the right hand to Earth.
The tree of healing blossoms from your palms.
A sword from your mouth
I hold and am invincible
To grapple with the toils of leonine Mars,
Behold the heart of Man in love and pity,
The fire of healing flowering in my veins.