Log Cabin Chronicles



In the end, down the cobbled street,
on an old, chestnut, tired horse,
your one hand gloved, one hand
naked and mottled, you knew
it must be said, though none
would know of it to the bone,
to the end of where their cells conspire,
none would turn this over
like a cobblestone above larvae,
and in the very end these vermin
are like your fingers under stone,
yet you thought to say
you knew it must be said
"as a god self-slain,
on his own strange altar,
Death lies dead."

Yet we go, in the end,
as a god sustained, and you
came to suspect it's physics, physics,
not metaphysics, only we're not
clever enough yet to perceive,
or create, strong enough instruments
to pierce all the way to the other side
of our souls or natures, to the bend,
all the way down to see enough
that Death lies dead, a knot,
because instead our souls
circle on and on,
sometimes Algernon,
on and on, sometimes not.

[Auhor's Note: Algernon Charles Swinburne, a 19th century English poet and critic, was saved from excessive drink by his friend Theodore Watts-Dunton. With "Poems and Ballads" (1866), Swinburne endured one of the most famous literary scandals of the Victorian period, as the public registered shock over this celebration of physical love. The lines above in quotes are from Swinburne's poem "A Forsaken Garden."]

a poem about Joan of Arc

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© 1998 Ward Kelley /Log Cabin Chronicles/9.98