Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A poem, to soothe and search the self.




Here is a poem, that has long been a favourite.

Ever reviled, accursed, ne’er understood,
Thou art the grisly terror of our age.
“Wreck of all order,” cry the multitude,
“Art thou, and war and murder’s endless rage.”

O, let them cry. To them that ne’er have striven
The truth that lies behind a word to find,
To them the word’s right meaning was not given.
They shall continue blind among the blind.

But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure,
Thou sayest all which I for goal have taken.
I give thee to the future! Thine secure
When each at least unto himself shall waken.

Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest’s thrill?
I cannot tell — but it the earth shall see!
I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will
Not rule, and also ruled I will not be!

— JOHN HENRY MACKAY.



Mackay, the author is someone about whom I must confess to knowing little.

He was born in Scotland in 1864, and died in Germany on May 16 1933, it is said he moved to Berlin, because of the then permissive attitude towards homosexuality and as a pederast he felt safer there than in Scotland.
He died just as Hitler was beginning to single out minorities for persecution, no doubt this poem would not have been to the taste of the Reich.

It is, I submit, a poem that should be remembered and read in moments of self-doubt.

2 comments:

betmo said...

are you tilting at windmills too? i had that feeling not too long ago.

landsker said...

Ah yes, we tilt at windmills, just like Quixote.
I think Cervantes (and Mackay)knew that they would not change the world, but just the same, by chronicling some of the human condition, there is a hope that future generations can learn from the mistakes of others.