This Bitter Ecstasy… (An Elegy)

I am about to pen this litany,

With a heart heavy, soul aflame I vent;

This sorrow, ecstatic high — consumes me,

I become one flame, a burst of light enraged,

My being on fire, of this world,

Its careless, loathsome, joys or pain — I no longer care.

-

The month has arrived, and with it news,

Those sands of Iraq — anew, they erupt;

The chief of martyrs lies there still,

Alas for the chief,

of beauty pure and mutilated form,

with innocent blood upon this lowly hearth spilt,

He lies there alone…all alone;

bared amongst wolves, upon arrows still.

-

His sanctity profaned,

Oh horror…abject horror,

My heart is weak,

All the houris scream,

The firmament roars,

And the panick’d beasts shelter seek;

He lies there alone…all alone,

bared amongst wolves, upon arrows still.

-

Of parched lips and patient will,

along the testing Euphrates,

oh carefree sojourner,

My loved chief lies there alone…all alone;

bared amongst wolves, upon arrows still.

-

The hounds are circling,

Their teeth barred, poised and savoring;

Closing in,

His steed pants,

and guards desperately with labored breath,

May the heavens now split asunder,

And the Hour establish, why wait?

This travesty cause to end;

Now that hope is dead — nothing remains,

For my loved chief lies there alone…all alone;

bared amongst wolves, upon arrows still.

-

Were I to be a peg to restrain,

Or a river to divert that destined course;

Or a fierce wind to halt the procession still,

Or a herald to disrupt the enemy’s hold;

This gift to art,

Forsake I would.

This love hath made me vain, uncaring,

This pain hath made me reckless…bold.

-

Bitter regret, this;

Crying, bitter regret, my time comes late,

No use now — it’s too late,

Cursed impotence of my creed — it’s too late,

Wretched fate!

But forsake this art I would, and my chief save;

This love hath made me vain, uncaring,

This pain hath made me reckless…bold.

-

This brand of faith is cruel,

It might lead me to blaspheme;

Keeping to the middle course is hard,

When all humanity,

All its innocent tragedy,

Or the best of it, with stabbing loss,

must be mourned.

Caution! I must not stray.

Lose my sense on this weary way.

-

But I will not lament in public,

No marks on my back — a rebel true;

This pain is personal — too deep;

It strikes a chord none other woe can reach,

Lends me to tear my peace, through and piercingly through;

I am beyond all comforting speech.

-

So let me cry in my own way,

No conniving pretense, loathsome drama — no inherited lore,

Crawled up in a hole all alone;

Give free reign to this anguish which steals,

This spirit which breaks,

And my head splits…piercing wail,

Utter distress,

No comfort for me — oh utter distress,

My youthful head turns white,

What sorrow!

I must now be let free.

-

My life for love,

And love to shield;

For my lonesome chief,

my wronged, kin-less, lonesome chief,

I would release.

-

This song is sacred, of love seared deep,

Not for the pleasures of hollow men;

No populist appeal or affirmation in kind, I seek — go away;

Leave me be.

I want for none, no tithe,

Again, haughty skeptic, leave me be.

-

Rationality — trespass not on the domain of this heart, now;

Your muse weeps, today, uncaring,

he will not heed!

Forsake fiend; yourself restrain!

Leave me be.

-

Rejoice! Oh, happy tears,

My joy, at last, comes from above,

Above, I have been heard, heed;

This grace bestowed be all my needed meed.

-

Rejoice now, and tears wipe!

For that chief of martyrs,

I slaughter my greed, now happy and ripe;

My soul is secure…suddenly free,

Let me exult,

His consent be all I need.

-

Bury me next to his feet,

My being forgotten — one nameless sheet;

I will await the end, crying, laughing, chanting his holy name -

Whirling eternally to this,

belated Marsiya (elegy)…my sole endearing beat.

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