Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Political Icarus (lines written at a concert)

The silly boy whose hubris spans the sky
Believing utterly that he can soar:
Apotheosised in his own desire
To dare and rise where no man rose before.

He is the champion of his own self.
(So, he declares, should all right-thinkers be.)
The god-like grandiosity he wears
In all its weirdly pompous crudity.

He does not own the limits of his reach,
Nor any boundary set upon his realm.
The skies were placed there for his conquering,
Himself the power, his desire the helm.

What if his wings are built from lowly wax?
In his own mind his flight is steel and fire,
Even the sun is subject to his lust,
And his great fury will not faint or tire.

He has not learned that pride builds to undo
(Those whom the gods destroy, they first make mad.)
And when his body plummets to the ground,
His own may weep, the earth does not feel sad.

But that’s to come. Now, poised upon his cliff,
Waiting ambition’s leap, ambition’s fall,
He writes the same old story yet again,
We shudder, who already heard it all.

**    **    **    **    **    **

Meanwhile, this music. Here my heart finds wings
Woven from wonder by these singing strings,
Till this self resonates, and stumbling sings
The sorrow and the beauty which it brings.
For love shall take me where no wings constrain,
For love can lift and carry and sustain.
And I, all naked-souled in this stark light,
Shall watch another Icarus take flight,
And though, in landing, he may fall on me,
Still grace notes hold my heart’s entirety.

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