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"Ode of a Romantic Poem" (1991)


Thou still intriguing son of puzzlement,
Thou bewildering, baffling, vague notion,
Thou perpetual perplexion, that sent

As Janun messenger of emotion,
As Mercury of flying feeling felt,
Who canst for one provide a potion

Of sentiment: what story, tale, is dealt
With by thee, work of verse, of genesis
Or son of Ghengis, or of artists' belt,

In Eden or the bed of Alpheus?
What sacred river? What woman's wailing?
What pleasure dome? What streams are sinuous?
   Wild story which art saying everything,
   Violence and peace both, preserved; sing, O sing!


Composed stanzas do please, but those unwrote
Are pleasure more; so lyre `companied by,
Continue your song, ye work of po't;

Not to the hearing ears or scanning eye, 
To instead beloved more center of soul,
Self inside, letting imaginings fly:

Damsel, with thy dulcimer, and thy coal color,
canst end thy song not, nor ever
Can pleasure dome, caves of ice, e'er fall

To final closing night of death, never
Canst ancestors end thine prophesying,
Nor canst dome become thy own sepulcher
   Forever thy rocks wilt be rebounding
   Like hail, and dome be sunny; sing, O sing!


Ah, sacred, sacred river! that ne'er can
End mazy meanderings, that cannot
Bid farewell momently mighty fountain;

And singing Abyssinian, unforgot 
As vision envisioned, still singing songs
With stringed symphony, a thought of a thought;

More forceful song! more forceful, forceful song!
Forever motive and still be felt,
Forever turmoil seething through all long

Length of time; all as breathing emotive melt
Of human feeling high, satiating
To excess, ecstasy and sorrow felt
   In voice that cries: Beware! Beware! growing
   Suddenly gray with fear, with dread; O sing!


Who is this wailing for her demon love?
To what black temple, O paganist priest,
Leadst thou that heifer of above,

In garland dress, to what cavern of beast, 
Both size and depth as measureless? What milk
Is drunk? What honeydew ate? In East

Or before tribes of twelve? What Isaac's ilk
Settlement by bank to west, or airy built 
Stately palace of dynasty of silk,

Is driven empty of its folk, by gilt
Of his eyes, by waving hair, this morning?
And sizeless palace, forever more at hilt
   Of emptiness and silence, none to bring
   Light to the world, to meaning, silence weighing.


O Britannic form! Fair posture! with rhyme
Of mingled measure and meditative
Meandering, with force in e'ry line;

Thou empathic verse, dreadful and plaintive,
Dost make importunities of us
As does life, that great Darwinian sieve!

When generation has become callous
With state of ending aging, thou shalt stay
 In new era, after our current fuss,

And profound message to our children say:
"Feeling makes art, all of art is feeling"--
That is all ye need know today or morrow day.
   The trumpet seven sound, to ending bring,
   And just beyond? Angelic singers? Sing!