Sir Phillip Sidney must be ranked among the gods,
(And not just those of rustic goat-herd shape),
For his two-shepherd-voiced Sestina, twisting
Out a doubly lengthened song, its stanzas, six beyond
The requisite of six, a landscape inexplicable,
But, in the end, disclosing—love, the reason.
Young drunken Swinburne, not much in love with reason,
Found his soul’s delight at play with drowsy gods
Of night. His joy fueled only there, by inexplicable,
Soft, power from the stars, a fleeting moon-drawn shape,
Burned over by the sun and quenched in dark, beyond
Life’s homeless flame, expiring, finally, dimly twisting
Out. Then Rudyard Kipling’s Royal Tramp, his twisting
Yarn, (’E liked it all!) skips on with homely reason;
Cares not to ever rest secure, but looks beyond
The goal and sees a journey (could it be the Hobo God’s
Direction of his winding ways?); asks only that the shape
Of life his epitaph reflects is joyful, though inexplicable.
And Wystan Auden, placing in his landscape, inexplicable
Refugees, wringing out our modern sorrows, and twisting
Founding fathers’ doctrines tight in rotting valleys, shapes
Redemption on the dream of urban growth. But surely reason
In this time of global degradation cries out for guardian gods
Of less metropolistic strain. Is it not cities we must grow beyond?
Fie! Ezra Pound, the crazy fascist genius, invokes beyond
Mere curse, the exhumation of his howling madman: inexplicable.
A reveler in battle and bright-flowing blood. Why call on gods
Of death to stir up strife and resurrect the plunging, twisting,
Sword of some crimson-drinking, rake? A love of war, his reason.
Could this blood-soaked music rise from ancient human shape?
Now, let me also draw from flesh, my wordy helix-shape.
Since DNA no longer sets the scientific prize, we peer beyond,
Post-modern, post-genomic, post-hypnotic—without reason.
The landscape of chlorophyll and the soul of blood are inexplicable
Again and we are cursed again and struggle back into the twisting
Labyrinthine mind, searching again, for our posthumous gods.
Shaped by a hex—love, landscape, soul and blood—inexplicable,
Beyond organic magic in the spiral strands—twisting
Reasonable chemistry into the work of gods.