This spirit of mine is something unstudied, Inexorable and white, alive in solemn permanence. ---Lord Dermond To forget about the self at the self's Uttermost extent; it is the self Made a self at last. To survive in vigor The confinement of the eye, The glistering pinhole through which The self is summoned As by a bronze gong Until all the air is peacock feathers Is one way--in wild trial-- That the self, and its amiable Particulars may be forgotten. Cheered onward in a doubtful dark By numerous rumoring murmurs And silken sibilances, as if Drawn on by a forceful river Tumbling a blind man downstream To the sound of thickening confusion Is another way for the self to go,-- On and on, on and on, In dark discovery. To feel our broadening sexual silks Pulled and pulled, as through A pinhole, through the self And out of the self and into Another, and that self flowing And pulling as if a river until Our colors lay piled and swollen Before our adoring, a silken sail Full-bellied with desiring And with desiring only--a wind That moves through the self the self Had left behind and abandoned On the shore of no more. Is that another way, a wayless way Of want and wont? Dead or dreaming, the self Disappears, and in its place, In the place of the self spilled out Of itself, displaced and streaming, The self that had left its eye behind Like an abandoned portal, The self that had had an ear And has an ear no more, bereft, as it was, Among night voices in a dark place, The self that had had a sex Torn away in a shimmering wind Until the self has a self no more,-- Is only this, this fathomless Wildness without a where Without a how, without a why, Only this this,--in the place of that, Nearby, nearly here, In the place of the place and in place of it. A contemptuous wind Crawls like sludge Over motley rocks.
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.
Because I am old and refuse my death I have been bitter and I've been kind; Skeletal bitterness my enmities shook, Kindness flowed from head to foot. But of all those wind-gaunt faces I have worn as if strapped in the traces I most adore the look Of an old withered apple, its withdrawn glance, All sweetness concentrated To an unrelenting taste: An old bitten rind, bitten rind. But because I am bitter And dislike the taste Of joys overblown in any wind I have come to sing in the waste Of an old bitten rind: "Bitten rind, bitten time, Under stars or under sky The right emotion of a dirty crook Has nobleness to bless or curse, Confirm or rescind the pledge Made by our bodies as they lie Under this dirty hedge." An old bitten rind, bitten rind. Having tasted thus The fruit of an obscure look Or the sharp meaning of a song Under dull words in a book I laugh at all awhile And I myself forsake; For nothing's worth the riddle And no man's worth his wake, I stole a blind man's fiddle And sing what I forsake. An old bitten rind, bitten rind. I have nothing but am a queen: Monstrosities sworn must heel Forced by a hand unseen As dog to its master's whistle wheels. And although I am a great queen With stars on my fingers for rings And although I dance like a drunk And with the seen and unseen wink I am driven by passion to sing: An old bitten rind, bitten rind.