Every time I seek a moment's
In solitude or quietness I am savaged
By that one image which will give no ease,
No comfort to the mind that
it has ravaged:
And yet I would not lose for all the world
That ghost of beauty that is always haunting
me as if I'd just been hurled
From such a height as couldn't be more daunting:
For in that fall there's fear yet there
That such a free yet so constrained a motion
Which must all flesh and blood and nerve employ
Could land me
in a warm and soothing ocean.
So from the chance of death I will not cease
When in that chance there is a chance of
© by Andrew Belsey, 2002
So, God, if your existence should be proved
still insist that I would not bow down.
No matter what, I never would be moved
To genuflect before your thorny crown.
worship's no thing for a human being
To get mixed up in. Any risk I take
Is very much a worthwhile hazard, seeing
dignity and freedom are at stake.
It's rumoured you became a man once - well,
If you should come again and stay a man
don't think I could possibly foretell
What good you might do in your natural span:
But try this world, with equals be
Just live this life, with no thought for a sequel.
© by Andrew Belsey, 2002
Written in Disgust of Vulgar Superstition
The church bells toll a melancholy round,
Calling the people to some other prayers,
Some other gloominess, more dreadful
More hearkening to the sermon's horrid sound.
Surely the mind of man is closely bound
In some black spell;
seeing that each one tears
Himself from fireside joys, and Lydian airs,
And converse high of those with glory crowned.
still they toil, and I should feel a damp -
A chill as from a tomb - did I not know
That they are dying like an outburnt
That 'tis their sighing, wailing ere they go
Into oblivion - that fresh flowers will grow,
And many glories
of immortal stamp.
John Keats (1795-1821)
In the Cathedral
The altar-lights burn low, the incense-fume
Sickens: O listen, how the priestly prayer
Runs as a fenland stream;
a dim despair
Hails through their chaunt of praise, who here inhume
A clay-cold Faith within its carven tomb.
come thou forth into the vital air
Keen, dark, and pure! grave Night is no betrayer,
And if perchance some faint cold
Her brow of mystery, shall we walk forlorn?
An altar of the natural rock may rise
Somewhere for men who
seek; there may be borne
On the night-wind authentic prophecies:
If not, let this--to breathe sane breath-suffice,
in yon East, mayhap, the dark be worn.
Edward Dowden (1843-1913)