Voltaraine de Cleyre

(1866-1912 / USA)

The Feast Of Vultures - Poem by Voltaraine de Cleyre

A moan in the gloam in the air-peaks heard--
The Bird of Omen--the wild, fierce Bird,
In the night,
Like a whizz of light,
Arrowy winging before the storm,
Far away flinging
The whistling, singing,
White-curdled drops, wind-blown and warm,
From its beating, flapping,
Thunderous wings;
Crashing and clapping
The split night swings,
And rocks and totters,
Bled of its levin,
Atd reels and mutters
A curse to Heaven!
Reels and mutters and rolls and dies,
With a wild light streaking its black, blind eyes.

Far, Far, Farw
Through the red, mad morn,
Like a hurtling star,
Through the air upborne,
The Herald-Singer,
The Terror-Bringer,
Speeds--and behind, through the cloud-rags torn,
Gather and wheel a million wings,
Clanging as iron where the hammer rings;
The whipped sky shivers,
The White Gate shakes,
The ripped throne quivers,
The dumb God wakes,
And feels in his heart the talon-stings.
'Ruin,!Ruin!' the Whirlwind cries,
And it leaps at his throat and tears his eyes;
'Death for death, as ye long have dealt;
The heads of your victims your heads shall pelt;
The blood ye wrung to get drunk upon,
Drink, and be poisoned! On, Herald, on!'

Behold, behold,
How a moan is grown!
A cry hurled high 'gainst a scaffold's joist!
The Voice of Defiance--the roud, wild Voice!
Through the world,
A smoke-wreath curled
(Breath 'round hot kisses) around a fire!
See! the ground hisses
With red-streaming blood-clots of long-frozen ire,
Waked by the flying
Wild voice as it passes;
Groaning and crying,
The surge of the masses
Rolls and flashes
With thunderous roar--
Seams and lashes
The livid shore--
Seams and lashes and crunches abe beats,
And drags a ragged wall to its howling retreats!

Swift, swift, swift,
'Thwart the blood-rain's fall,
Through the fire-shot rigt
Of the broken wall,
The prophet-crying
The storm-song sighing,
Flies--and grom under Night's lifted pall,
Swarming, menace ten million darts,
Uplifting fragments of human shards!

Ah, white teeth chatter,
And dumb jaws fall,
While winged fires scatter
Till gloom gulfs all
Save the boom of the cannon that storm the forts
That the people bombard with their comrades'
'Vengeance! Vengeance!' the voices scream,
And the vulture pinions whirl and stream!
'Knife for knife, as ye long have dealt;
The edge ye whetted for us be felt,
Ye chopper o necks, on your own, on your own!
Bare it, Coward! On, Prophet, on!'

Behold how high
Rolls a prison cry!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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