COLLAGE FOR A BLEAK APRIL

Submitted by AWL on 27 July, 2008 - 4:07 Author: Sean Matgamna

[The second part of this is
listed seperately as: "What Is To Be Done.]

COLLAGE FOR A BLEAK APRIL
I have spent the splendid years
That the Lord God gave to my youth
In attempting impossible things
Deeming them alone worth the toil
Content to scatter the seed.

— Pat Pearse
The revolutionary
About to fail and die
Who died and rose
As he had planned
And as he knew he would
Because Jesus had;
Who failed and died and rose
A Fenian pheonix in his time
The spirit of an Ireland he imagined
And shaped posthumously
Achieving strange impossible things.

Go for it man!
There's lots of bread
To be made in Vegas,
And I don't mean tips
But big bucks
If I can hook up with the right operation.

— John Travolta
About to fail and live
In a movie on TV
Singing in Hollywoodese
Consoling anthems
Epitomes and fantasies
Of "The American Dream":
Follow the dollar
In the sky,
Hovering,
Like Constantine's high mesmerising gibbet
Above the looting armies
And their supine victims,
Casino optimism for the disinherited
Consent-evoking myth
Self-hypnotising mantra
Metaphysic of democracy and money:
You too will get your turn, be rich
Appropriate labour not your own:
When the celestial slot machine
Throws up three pictures of yourself
You will attain big, big bucks,
Democratically represent great wealth:
The lucre-lubricated pluto-democratic dream
—Go for it man!
And I have spent the years physicians
Confounded nature
To win for me
Following Pearse
On a deeper track
And on a longer darker slower trek
Across the noisy market-places of slavery, dreaming
The socialist dream
—Go for it workers!
—Myself
Here in a Peckham pub
Despairing, drunk
Lost in reverie, surprised
That I have lived so long
Grown so unexpectedly old
Done so little:
A doubting tired old priest, greyed
Bronterre washed up in Fleet Street pubs:
Bronterre manque
With thirty years in a foreign band, banished
Outside of our own time
Seed-bearing emissaries
From an age unborn, unwon,
Precocious tribunes of a future trapped
Smothering in its caul,
Revenant pioneers, striving
To stop the tide that's gone from going out
Unquiet ghosts who look and see
And think and feel,
But cannot touch or move
The heavy circumscribing world;
Mutant remnants of Lenin's broken horde
Squabbling, groping ignorant squatters
On demesne lands overgrown, de-mapped,
In huts and hovels we construct
From ruined edifices
Stones from broken arches
Annointed with old sanctity: stranded
Between the Appian crucifiction
And the resurrection.
11 THE HARP THAT ONCE
The harp that once
The hope that once
— We know the road behind us best —
Consoling hope and daily guide to millions,
The harp that once in Tara's halls
Its soul of music shed
The Hope that once
Is now malignant, jarring open lie,
The grimacing foul festering
Dehumanising scare-the-crow
On totem poles and tanks
Of the predatory tyrants who murdered it,
And in its vanished self, the consolation,
Sharded, irksome, blood-spurting, bitter consolation,
The spur and guide
Of ones and groupuscules:
The harp that once in Tara's halls
The soul of music shed,
Is now as mute on Tara's walls
As if that soul were fled.
Have I spent the years of my youth
Attempting impossible things?
Dependant addict of inverse myths
That parallel and compliment the bourgeois tale
Its mirror and its other self?
Are the years that I have spent
"Hoping and fighting"
Years spent in a waking dream,
My mother's dream disguised:
A world recast
Benign big human family
Well taught by love to reason,
The bitter-tongued obstreperous
Soft-hearted dream
Of human solidarity—?
Dreaming? Oh yes, indeed!
But is it senseless dreaming?
The compensating self-consoling fantasy
Of a remade world
To serve as aureole in this
False-hearted heartless world,
Booze for the soul
And self-finagling lies for the will,
Religious dreaming,
Intoxicated raucous commie sighing
For a place unlike our own,
In the vale of woe
Where humankind is doomed
To rule by predators, carnivores,
Cartels of predators,
Binge-feeding cannibals
Self-righteously gibbering predators,
Preying on their kind
Forever—?
I know the hallowed dream
Of what humankind can be
And I know its opposite, living
In the bowels of its blood-grimed enemy, amidst
The stench and ugliness
And shame
Of a tawdry tinsel-rich imbecile-minded
Endless mockery of what might be
Of what humankind could — at will! — construct:
Until I die
I'll let that vision,
Sweet aisling* in a poisoned world,
And my own old notion of what I am,
What I,
The taste of slavery in my mouth,
Must be, inspire me,
Spur me, shape and reshape me,
To fight for it, live for it
If needs be die for it!
111. THE NEED TO KNOW
And yet! And yet
Faintheartedness must have his due:
I want to know. Is it
Mere self-consoling myth we cultivate?
Is it a dream that died
And must remain forever dead,
Echoes and flashes
From battles fought too long ago
That never can be fought again:
Remnant of an era vanished, gone
Never to be called back, lost
In History's shimmering shifting vistas
Where possibility and mirage mix and merge,
And vanish,
Sometimes to reappear:
Is it a dead dream mouldering unlaid
Or seminal new-world-encoding seed?
Are we seed or husk?
I do not know
I cannot know
No one can know:
Predestination's lost his maps
Determinism's in two minds
Teleology still seeks God:—
I do not know:
There is no knowing in advance.
Even Plekhanov did not know:
How can anyone believe
He is chosen by history?
That is possible only
With the past
In the present it is senseless:
Only braggarts and swindlers
Can look at themselves
Through such flattering spectacles.

There is no knowing in advance;
No one can know:— I
Must stand my ground
Hold myself in my place
Unsure of what I am, knowing
That I may never know,
That maybe only others will
From what I help grow.

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