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The Passage

ISSUE:  Winter 1960

Disindividuating Chaos
And old Discord clamped

Down on my downy love
Before it was spoken of,

Suckled must be in a year
First fingered; sensed no fear,

Then shot up in the blue sky
Conclamant with ability,

O I remember the holy day
When glory along me lay

In brightest shoots, singing sunbursts
And honey-great thirsts.

Then power came with outer throng
And dense strife of tongue.


With power came delight
When put the world to right

Before ever it was wrong,
Incredible joy, poem-song.

Early then I knew
It was a gift of the true,

I struck a dangerous course,
Reckless a spendthrift. Source

Was sure, great world-brightness
Washed clean in lightness

Opened along my ego,
I danced alone. I would go free

With a will never tame
In the soul’s single aim.


I took the world alive,
Drew honey from the hive.

Experience quickened,
Then discourse thickened,

The heaviness of a fall
Fell like a blight over all,

I jostled in sea-spate
Of world-wrestle, dared fate

To tell me the worst
And fell on pain, and cursed

The doom upon the race,
The death in every face,

And when I saw men die
I heard their holy cry.


Dense was world-drift
Nor could the senses lift

To purity of Psyche dream
But dream would deeper seem

With knowledge in every breath
Of loss, suffering, death.

I came into dark hours
In the loss of powers

And wove my life with men’s
Detentive stratagems.

I spoke beyond the nation
In imagination

And loved the mortal mind
Of timed humankind.


Language became
The unifying aim

In density and purity
Of all we can see,

The statements of the eye
Gained strong clarity,

The reaches of desire
Became a holy fire,

Words of fire to fashion
The song of man’s passion

And over the brooding hurl
Of world’s meaning, a furl

Of peace and ease, sight
Of unity, the holy light.


But ambivalence and terror
Struck everywhere in error

And in errors of living
My world-force was giving

Compulsions of the blood
In pluralistic love

As effort steepened,
As years deepened,

Darkened to satiety 
By a palled society

Without materialism,
Without aerialism

Of the soul’s light
And joyful fight.


Beside a river I stood
Nearby in a wood

Where was a spring
And in it a thing

That looked like a cup.
I wanted to lift it up.

It was hidden in mould,
Looked broken and old.

I bent and reached down
To an invisible town

Where antique lovers danced,
In bright air entranced,

And came to grips,
And put it to my lips.


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