WEBSITE OF CLARKE EMERVANE

I LAZARUS

from Go Spell Death Backwards


Amid a world of ashes, and of leaf
I turn me homeward. Now is not the time
for bud or generation, but to cast
the withered flower to the breeze;

and now is not the season for relief,
but to unburden us from that sublime
misgiving of our native sphere and vast;
now is the time to throw away the keys.

And now is not the time or place for grief:
be godded in thy dust, and mourn divine;
for what is first is fated to be last;
the kings of heaven stand upon their knees;

now is the time to desecrate the wreath
snowed over with the earthly charms of mine,
and while the wedding banquets, we shall fast
and hang our mortal harping on the trees;

for now is not the time to join the feast,
no time to star the Babylonian sign;
for sake of anchorage we hoist the mast
and sail 'twixt bleeding devils on the seas;

now is the time for sacred unbelief
to shatter Baals and consecrate the wine
to voyages, and shrieve us of the past;
for all the earth belongs to such as these.

but while we wait on bended knees
and ennui reclaims our early motion,
the world is hurled in darkness and commotion;
and her devotion our disease.

I wait among the trees. And here
the grove knows neither asking nor desire,
th' allotted rows may elsewhere strum the lyre,
beyond all hope and fear.

For here alone does the enchantress spin;
I am absolved of all her luckless charms,
for I am living dead in heaven's arms,
and far beyond all mortal din;

and to this world of sin I turn
my ode of unrepentant hopelessness;
and let the lark remove from my distress,
for I am here. I shall not learn

from loss of native fire or tongue;
from heaven's jealous disarmament;
from scorn of devil's dotage. Hear
the white wings round the cloistered grave.
Hush the world to sound of wings.

The almond tree shall blossom by the fountain
for all the reclamation of the ocean;
and while I weep, O let me be the giver
back to the sacred mountain and its river;
and let me be the hearer of the spring,
that, while the bells ring backwards,
while the bells ring backwards -

I rid me of the sashes and the wreath;
and to the mountains thunderous
I stake my blessed lot of misery.
Let heaven's broker part the curtain,
draw me to the world's inverted mountain,
cast me down to heaven's anguished sea.
Ambitionless, I Lazarus
survey the mansions wondrous
amid a world of ashes, and of leaf.

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