May 15th, 2004


'Nother Pome

"Ascribed to Phantoms"

for K.J.

The shepherds of Arcadia (the real,
the literary Arcadia) were a hardassed bunch.
You see it in Theocritus, see it especially
in Virgil. Even Sir Philip Sidney, so long emasculate,
so effusive of language in the "New" Arcadia
(as who wouldn't be when his patroness is his sister?)
-- weed out the pretty stuff, there's truth in there:
"The dreadful cries of murdered men in forests"
(from Sidney's "Goatherd Gods," you don't hear that one
too mothering often).

                               And Crowley read them all:
in passionate youth, which he contrived to extend
throughout his life, and well beyond it, too.
Thelema is the religion of poets, most particularly
of godless poets: haunted as they are
by a pantheon of the real gods, those awful,
scary, primal, elemental ones: goddesses included.

His meanings largely lost, of course. Inferiors
presume to judge his poetry, usually without the burden
of reading much of it.

                                But there is nothing (I insist)
in English to excel, say, "Nothung," or
a small but imperishable list of like examples.
Many, today, erroneously ascribed to phantoms.

And why not? To how many poets is given
the opportunity to gestate gods?
"I took this from dictation! On my Oath!"
A century later, folks still red with insistence.

Worse yet, it's sort of true. It really is!
Not a bad trick, Unc. The Chiefs are in your debt.
LAShTAL! M....M! Ssssshhhhhh

-- A.J. Rose
28 Leo XCVI (18 August 2000 EV)

See: The Eclogues of Virgil, trans. 1999 by David Ferry; Eclogues & Georgics of Virgil, "translated" (really, replied to) by David R. Slavitt, 1971-72, 1990; "Nothung" by Aleister Crowley, the preliminary invocation to his "The Sword of Song," 1904; and a host of other titles nobody much bothers reading.  :)

The Idylls of Theocritus, by the way, contain (Idyll 2) one of the earliest written examples extant of sympathetic magick...a woman's very intense working to regain her lover. Nasty stuff!, good enough for Virgil to swipe for his own Eclogue VIII. You may recall that Dante turned Virgil into a Christian for the "Divine Comedy"; Crowley stole him back in "Nothung" (see Virgil's Eclogue IV).

© 2000 The Consciousness Institute, all rights reserved.

P.S. I have a four-page essay ("Systems of Romance") that expands on some of these notions, but don't want to clutter Friends' pages with the thing. Is four pages too long for an "lj cut"?