The world must change if we but imagine it. Copernicus squinting traded in his lamps For furious mysteries; Galileo tossed Aristotle out For a swinging stone, back to the turbulent sea of thought Because his ghost had no bones. What new paradigm Will rinse us shining from the misbegotten foam? Unimagined things grow real, grow real. Nietzsche knew pale Apollo well, that he Must step lightly from red Dionysus' side; Michelangelo's high man and God, that mirrored touch, Poured the raging heavens into our daily cup. What matter that before unimagined things grow real They must first condense in thought? Man's a drunkard With his dreams and will piss them to the sod. Unimagined things grow real, grow real. Aging wrong and aging right cannot Endure our scorn or enhance our thought (Morality's an old, old play, with curtains that must fall) But new worlds imagined, that body in the breech. Einstein knew that his equation unraveled no new sky ---That were indifferent--- but was a chant to change his mind. Unimagined things grow real, grow real.
Say whatever turned round in Plato's skull Or mounted Mary Magdalene's heart, St Teresa's chest, Pours quickly away; chill vapors dispersed by day. Say chance is in our substance and makes us free. Say whatever terror that holds man by the throat Is shed by accidental antidote. That St John in pan's cavern dwelt. Vast plans that had Caesar's mind for habitation Or in Hitler's bunker slept, and map by map were built, Were map by map and town by town disintegrated. Say chance whirls in what strength or thought threw out. Who knows but that chance is projected indecision, Petty habits of the mind grown great, great thoughts grown worse. What do we know of history and fate? Did Venus, Who knew Adonis' worth, imbibe his dead sperm for bitterness? What in her belly purred? What from the great legs leapt?
Was there carnage in that shot World-leveling god begot? Stubborn Christ born in an abandoned lot. Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust. Cracked heaven the dividing splinter teared, All that riotous confusion heard Before the roaring droplet seared. Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust. Did that staring infant's head Dimly unwrapped above the stiff bed Know what it engendered? Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust. Pack-animals' musty blood Flubbed responsive where they stood, Deep in the passionless mystery. Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust. And was that woman bleeding there As in a tapestry, for the crawling god prepared? All generation in a wound condoned. Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust. Did that penitential infant shriek Climbing heaven's empty cheek Draw ecstatic thunder down? Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust.
Before the geese upon the water have begun their day, Before cold dawn could allay the winter's deep dream of May, Or any symbolical host fly out of the dark, as it must, The thoughtful song, drawn like yarn out of a beggar's breast, And which had illuminated pride, so weak was the world's way, Unseen ages, like the bird with the silver ball for a soul, Died dreaming in that beggar's breast, before he could awake from the dust.
I When Twyla Tharp begins again Her own sweet body to command, Charm of personality or face must vanish Into the reality of pattern. Soldiers lined up pidgeon-toed At the mosque, shot out their enemies' heart. What lies still beating in the cart? Was there passion in that slaughter? II There was a dream of feasting, and we fed on dreams. Instinct in the sculptor's palsied hand Creates where it divides, eating to the face of man As if stone were so much rotten wood. Although young, it seemed all dignity must be spent On sinking love or suborned monument. Where was the gamble if the loss lacked reality? We were young and solemn and did what we would.
If I were the son of God And out of that grand house came Tumbling with lions On Heaven's bursting lawn, At breakneck dawn I'd race From grave to cradle again Until to a moldy house I crept And turn the last clod.
"A seed of knowing out of our ignorant fruit must drop. My pear tree, not Sartre's, rises from the wrong ground, blossoms and rots in God's green affections; memorizing Cicero all afternoon, the lagging speeches, a fist of pebbles in my mouth, shouting at the sea.... a carpet-bagging stumper after my sweet fee. We threw the golden teardrops uneaten to the hogs--- all boys and wickedness leaping Huck Finn's fence whitewashed in north Africa. The orchard door yawned on darkness as we exited, loaded down and laughing: reality in the act, not the scenery. A tentacle of happiness, not nausea, gripped me then coiling my black heart in light like an extra aorta, fibrous and alive and dangling from God's omnipresence."
The world enlarged from a shell Is stripped and standing bare, A grinding dancer on a stage, Violent with despair And sweet to look upon. Is not every lovely thing, All gauzy prettiness and hidden force veiled And held from revelation as destruction By gyring chance By delicate strings?
Because I am blind and walk agape And beat out rough rhythm with my stick Like the fascination of the sea I can create, as in Yeats' dream, Man in the soul of God And batter out a place Among twilit immensities To dwell in that contempt, Giving bitterness a face. Stick, stick, stick, stick. Because I am a blind old man And came blindly howling hence To fumble with a stick, I demand, Passion of my decrepitude unsung, A gallery where bright heroes hung Stand each for that passion That pitched them to their deaths; And I demand it built Behind the eye and in the heart Of God and his burning son; All glory in the uneaten bud. Stick, stick, stick, stick. I have heard on the walks and ways That give my confession to a stone That some with bitter inward breaths And some in necessity of fashion Live slave to what words have wrung Out of man's contemptible mash And nail to each star each part, As if misery made flesh were all. Stick, stick, stick, stick. I can see because I am blind How each tiresome human vine In eyeless arrogance of its kind Sprouts like a worm in its own food, Divine soul all lumped with mud. Each blind root heaves its back to the sun In perilous ignorance of its own blood. Stick, stick, stick, stick. Although I am blind and cannot see Bleak wreckage of the dark tide, Rank human ecstasies and defeats, I know what mysteries abide And carve these rude words upon my stick: We must feed what we beget; Imagination shall provide Some unsought froth as yet, rank spillage Of the glittering sublime. Stick, stick, stick, stick.