Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Poem: "Holy Man: Poem Written To An Earlier Self (As I Was Aged Twenty)"



HOLY MAN
:POEM WRITTEN ACROSS TIME 
TO AN EARLIER SELF (AS 
I WAS AGED TWENTY) 

(*Based on the Dostoevsky character featured in 
‘THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV'


as the machines go down
you read Dostoevsky
in factory calm,
writing a poem to
Father Zossima in
the sweat of oil
and anger…

“Holy Man, spirit of murdered ages,
how do your ikons speak to you now,
with the new definition of freedom
bought at such a terrible cost?
Holy Man, zeitgeist of Russia’s past,
does your Mater Dolorosa still smile
the beatific smile of unreasoned faith,
the faith which opiated the masses
who now pass by your place
with no flicker of recognition?
Holy Man, speak across the short
but distant and cruel century where your
faith was destroyed, rebuilt by the new
architects of truth to a different plan.
Holy Man, speak from the shadow-crawled
folds of the cowl which dance to the fire
illuming the ripples of your ancient face.
Holy Man, where now is your god?
why do you remain so silent...?” 

as the machines go down
you read Dostoevsky and
aim lines at Lit-mags,
while all around you
in steel and dreams
are the real poems
of your life…



Original version published in:
‘ZIMRI’ (UK)
‘SUCCESS no.37’ (UK)
‘NEW AGE POETRY MAGAZINE’ (UK)
‘TWEED vol.4 no.4’ (Australia - July 1976)
‘PAPYRUS CACAMA no.16’ (Germany - December 1978)
‘OCARINA: THE JAPONICA SINGS ISSUE’ (India - December 1979)
‘PERIAKTOS no.7’ (UK - March 1993)
‘CHRONICLES OF DISORDER no.4’ (UK - November 1996)

This version:
‘OUTLAW no.10: Spring’ (UK – March 2005)

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