Fall 1959 • Vol. XXI No. 4 Poetry |

The Spent Substance

I. Rimbaud wrote a book and suffered to write it, Paced quickly in his room like something pent, Time pacing out--and when nobody read it, He burst his cage, this hated Occident, And plundered Abyssinia from a tent. While Emerson, who taught the Over-soul, Anemic udder to an earth of forms, Died painlessly in bed, and on the whole Was right at heart: though born infirm He fought through sickness to achieve his soul, And truly lost thte world's--leaving a scar We cannot tlhink of till we flex the stitch He zippered down the globe: a bleeding sutureEmitting a pus of terror that we scratch, Patch up and anguish, but leading to no future. And Kurtz, in hungry Africa, can tell How the trees thickened and their shadows massed: There too, there too, the days had a dark smell: They stank of duty as they feebly passed--And that was how he knew he was in hell. 2. Pale horse, and paling rider, Pegasus Mounts with a vocal burden . . . . When it fallsIts deatl-song down the air

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