The Gods of Beauty, A Poetic Cycle
I would like to offer something a little different from my usual fare. Here are five poems selected from an ongoing cycle I have been writing. I hope you enjoy them.
The gods returned too late.
When the last body lay
In crumpled invocation,
Forgotten and charred,
They returned and looked
Upon a shattered world
With birds wheeling
Amidst bent timber
And rusty girders beseeching the skies.
The gods of beauty returned too late.
After the final death struggle
The shudder and shrug
Born from the last nuclear boom
As from some trumpet’s call
With the cymbal crash
Of the last building’s fall.
They returned too late.
As tears from a blinded iris,
The light of the last fusion blast,
They rose in the glory
Of triumphant return
And found no one waiting.
The last monk died clutching his book
The last mystic burned in trance
The hopeful stared at hopeless horizons
The faithful fainted away in fear
The old gods forgotten
The new gods cursed –
The gods of beauty returned too late.
They wandered then over desolate ground
Where for millennia man had stood
Where for millennia more no man would stand.
Marveling in wonder at the hurricane-tossed sands
And the fresh cracked earth
Where ice caps had gleamed.
They ran with the fox over shattered concrete
And flew with the sparrow through gaping windows
Like thieves surprised to find a house deserted.
Songs echoed in burgeoning branches
And wolves hunted beside once tame brethren.
A new peace and savagery reigned.
The sun still rose, more glaring
In the steaming skies where wild heats
Vied with sudden storms.
Awful, immense, but not quite empty
The earth yawned about their feet.
Those feet strode roads swift going to prairie.
But still the rolling streams
Displaced from long worn paths
Echoed the songs of children who were.
Still in hidden corners tattered pages spoke poems
Destined to rot and never be read.
Still the world spoke of those who were.
But time was resilient and would forget
And all to soil man’s mighty monuments turn.
And the gods of beauty wandered the earth.
The Things She Kept
One was Mnemnosyne
Goddess of memory
For none remained but she
To value the price of memory.
All else was growth and decay
All across the globe.
Fervent breedings and blossomings
And the crashing of human follies.
But she had returned
And walked the rounded orb
Touching, tucking, and cherishing
What would not come again.
A plastic label from a dish soap bottle
Bright green “ultra concentrated”
And bold letters “anti-bacterial”
Tucked beneath a flat stone
On the edges of the desert.
Dry and buried it would remain there,
A memory of man’s flight from mortality
And fear of the smallest attack.
Not nearly as fragile, this bit of plastic,
As the cars which already crumbled in rust.
Soon each skeletal frame would be forgotten
But not the tiny ceramic spark plugs.
Those sculptures would live out the ages
And return shining in the sun
Following some mad earthquake
A thousand thousand years after our death.
The migrations of birds
Returning to city parks
Where no one remains
To feed them.
Like swallows returning to the Sahara
In memory of when it was a sea.
The world itself remembers us
How the cats that haunt our empty streets
Will remember for generations
The mysterious desperate hunger for cream
In fine white bowls.
Our fingers touched it all,
The trash belt circling the planet
A necklace of high-tech waste
Now meaningless left-behinds.
And our voices still travel through space,
Cast out from our radios and screens
Never aware as they cross the infinite gulf
That their origin species is long since extinct.
Credit cards remain as well
Long after our money has rotted away
Desperately repeating our names
And the numbers by which we were bought and sold.
One did not arrive too late.
For him no arrival or departure beckoned.
Un-coming or –going,
Father of our whiling.
The dawn’s midnight setting
Shivers in each rainbow glance
And the blushing putrification of spring buds
Labor beneath winter snows.
His tread, all treaded, yet treaded
Haunted our minor paths
Where already sheen was rust
And seashores sank beneath the ice.
The crack, of the child’s bat
And arthritic fragile hip,
The lover’s sigh and newborn gasp
And death groan overlaying the purchase of a car.
All flesh was oil and coal
Rustled with summer leaves
Where mice hid before the moon
Was molten born from earth’s crust.
Our morning yawn an echo
Of our final parting,
With all fields plowed to fallow
And nothing leading or to follow.
-but something is free now.
The garden shrub gone wild.
The cicadas finally call their secret
Too terrible for human ears.
The awkward guest has left
And conversation resumes
Where freely the weed blooms
And deer widely wander the highways.
Where man had measured
Observed and predicted
All returns to the original unexpected.
Undetected and unbridled
By human estimation
The ancient unprecedented stirs.
Once more there is no before,
Again there is no after,
New anew each thing stretches
As the birds burst forth in laughter.
Kadmus is a practicing ceremonial magician with a long standing relationship to the ancient Celtic deities. His interests and practice are highly eclectic but a deep commitment to paganism is the bedrock upon which they all rest. Kadmus is also a published academic with a Ph.D. in philosophy teaching at the college level. You can find some of his reflections on the occult at http://starandsystem.blogspot.com/ or look him up on twitter at @starandsystem .