That Brutal Steed

"Tis never the way one intends..."


Should one desire his verse to persistent through time and endure the headlong whirl of age, keep it far the self-righteous, the ostentatious, and above all, sentimental.

For more than anything do these affects ground a poem too firmly in the trivial Now with all its impotent cares and impuissant yearns, those which, buried tonight by some morning clamor, will never develop a seed of head to spring a morrow’s come.


‘Tis never the way one intends,

nor should it, working proper.

No matter my want for it,

my hope and pitiable wish:

I will never be able to say what

First Light joyed me to and rapture

stole from quivering lips as

lightning price its impossible apocalypse.


For “every thoughtful word a man a lie”

and every move of heart a cheat;

from chest to spine to skull

does every lovely thing a-stale

and every virgin sight a tail

despite a hero’s try to fool my

soul with some happy otherwise.


Only now have I a want to trust

He that in a youth of lust

built high upon impervious cloud

a faith no seeming storm could bow

until at last the Sun of other sides of

vast made weak the wax my wings

and forced my arms to other clings

that in the quiet of despair

gave food enough to bear

His loss, among other things.


Having thus no choice if choice is one does

take by reins that brutal steed but

grip and hold and be not bold

to think that I, lone rider, know better

than He most ancient of oldest Old.


If ages hence then know my darkened

countenance, be it not was I a lord of pen

or mind but one who tossed aside the reins

and slept upon the coarsey mane my mount as He sprinted across the skies.

The Chariot of Apollo, Odilon Redon

The Chariot of Apollo, Odilon Redon