Sunday, December 25, 2016

which half of sovereignty's the better part?

Which half of sovereignty’s the better part?
To rule this ardor with strategic swords
Would test all testament to armour’s art
In shielding ‘gainst the rush of passion’s hordes.
But to govern with a mawkish rein,
And lend a civil heel to all dissent,
Would be to bridled governance a bane,
And render it a buck to sentiment,
Which history distorts and then forgets.
So henceforth walls of iron I erect
To keep at bay the thoughts that lust begets,
And to official purpose I direct
The capital which others put to waste
In dim devotion to affection’s haste.

Sir Martin Caterwaul III, 1848

Saturday, September 10, 2016

what compass guides this cruel and kindly force

what compass guides this cruel and kindly force
to bend all reason to its course?
why does it seek so heavily
to navigate the seas of sorrows and unruly fates
and break upon the waves,
or else to linger on the storms of lengthy years
only to land upon a distant lonely shore?
perhaps the lands it seeks
are no more solitary
than those it leaves behind,
and the voyage is a lesson
which instructs the crew to mind itself at sea,
and steer by star and moon as captains do,
not by the blinding sun that children pander to.
but why should the cold and starry night surpass the lusty day,
when the last oversteps the first and renders it at bay?
are not the stars just other suns, but distantly removed?
their fires burn as brightly though they lie farther away.
is not the moon a dim reflection of tomorrow's day?
so perhaps the sun can lead us better than the night
across the oceans of uncertain time.
and though she winds us on a fevered track,
and gives us rounded leagues of torrid clime,
is not the shore which follows such a tack
more beauteous than one which falls upon a line?
so when our hours are wrought and all our miles are lost,
and we are asked to say, which tale will we relay?
unscathed by night,
or tempest-tossed by day?