martes, 20 de septiembre de 2011

Aleister Crowley at Netherwood: A Poem by Charles Bryant




Aleister Crowley at Netherwood

by Charles Bryant


The dying fire flickers, briefly flares
among the cooling cinders. Drugs and drink
revive his drooping spirits, comforting
his desolate old age. Revelation's
horned and splendid Beast finally
washed up here at Netherwood in teeming rain
damp from his taxi; at seventy, threescore
years and ten, the Biblical span.

A bombed-out post-war world; a crumbling house
smelling of cats and cabbage - how are the mighty
fallen, the seer superseded and redundant!
He who divided empires (seen and unseen)
now reduced to half a bowl of tepid water
for his morning wash and shave;
meals taken in his solitary room
to avoid the banal and temperate conversation
of fellow guests: despised rabble,
companions of his decline.

King among the cooking pots, faded Timelord
who's missed his Tardis. Desperation.
Heroin and brandy to dull the senses
and renew the Quest.
The Wanderer of the Waste has now come home
to seaside Hastings and a living death.
England is full of phonies: teatime colonels
who never heard the roar of battle guns
nor smelled the stench of cordite, snuffling
over sardine toast and scones.
'Tenants of the house,
thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season.
An old man driven by the Trades
to a sleepy corner.'

Deirdre came to visit with their son.
John Symonds came, to smirk and to record,
bringing an astrologer and noting
the plus-four suit, the smell, the puzzled look,
the head that seemed a skull; the Logos of the Aeon
shrunk and shrivelled; the Wickedest Man in the World
now infinitely weary.

Imperceptibly, his heroin intake soared,
enough to kill an elephant
or a room chockful of people.
Myocardial degeneration got him;
chronic bronchitis finished him off.
First of December, nineteen forty-seven.
Beneath his pillow a talisman
consecrated for enormous treasure.
He was hardly cold when somebody pinched his watch.

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