Flight From The Sibyl Poem by Len Webster

Flight From The Sibyl

Rating: 4.5

'I love him who wants to
create beyond himself,
and thus perishes.'
(Thus Spake Zarathustra)

The scene of Heaven is never lusted.

In dreams he sees, in dreams he hears.

And here he claims his sanctity,
To be blown in the wind
Estranged from thought and fears
Driven into nothingness
Where the turning of the years
Becomes infinity.

The earth that drying gave up its ghost
When it let loose its only son in the void
All human knowledge foregone by prying hopes.

Remembering man is dust
And to dust he shall return,
Let pause be given to this fantasy
And try to let cling the will
That fastens its hopes
On the marshalling of duty.

Claiming nothing more than dust
Even the saint forsakes his duty.

The scene of Heaven is tainted, dried as a winter bough
That snaps in the hands of inquisitive children
Interested only in the here and the now,
And in the wondering thoughts that they must have
Of who is adult and who they would be if they were
Larger than their pocket-lives in this now within time.

The world will turn full circle in its dreadful
continuum of pain,
Spin wild in the darkness, oblivious to even the
existence of knowledge.

In dreams we see, in dreams we hear
As there, sunken in silver, beneath
windlashed, airwashed
His motto spelt from Sibyl
in tongues unknown
to men,
Walks Love and his brother, Loneliness,
fairborne to live
in hope,
Grasping at arms of vegetation,
Spinning hsi world of earthen tire,
Dropping dulling rains
for summer nears.

This is the Nightworld,
the world of reckless

Snitch the snatch
Snitch snatch
And snatch
The snitch snatch

Which the wretch'd
Watched witch
And snatched,

Far flung the rain that douches
The wildernestled Sun of Hope
that never comes,
Of the idol that never is.

This wilderness repels
the triumphant voice
of reason,
Human bonds are ever
shortly sighted.

Out of Wilderness
where tracks are hidden
from all view,
A sudden cry,
a high-pitched

'Behold! I have found a man,
and he is weak! '

* * *

I have found a Sibyl and she beckons me to follow her
Through untrod passages of mind and unplotted starways
of universe.

She speaks not to me but through her eyes she cries:
'Behold! I have found a mighty man,
and he is weak! '

My strength is not my own,
It is built upon rocks made of visions
I seem to find in others.

The Sibyl sadly laughs, stands on the threshold,
Cutting out my heart with sneers and sighs.

Burdened not, she has pointed the way,
Burdening me with fateful charms,
But despising me for human weakness.

They that have the power to hurt
but would do none
Have done the hurt
by standing near and watching
With bleary eyes of sadness
and discontent
Sowing seeds of endless lust,
weariness for each of us
To mark against.

It was well done.
The fiery beast attacked
Thrust us down in smoke and flames
Wherein we lay long unthinking.

Him outward thrust, the man-child borne
On wings of silver, faintly yellowed,
Stirred in Conscience, loving still
The liberation of a will
That skims that wistful field of violet
Unheeding in its infancy.

His strength is not his own,
It is built upon rocks made of visions
He yearns to find in others.

Ah, weak and ineffective race!
Untempered race! Imperfect race!
Build the new Jerusalem now
In your heart, your brain, your mind -
Communal mind, packed into unread books
On dusty shelves, unawed in darkness.

Overwhelming universe,
sun, stars, moon, and unreal earth,
We meet the fate of creatures past,
live in bridges in midstream,
Plunge into the darkened canyon
In which Ignorance breeds her children.

This canyon repels the voice of reason,
it is unchanging in simplicity;
Close-looking at its sand grains,
closer looking now
Into the powdered rock vision
Before the descending wilderness.

No: there is no wilderness.
All bone-tissue, dustlike, is here,
Grated finely, spread wide
Over the world that lies beyond,
Far beyond the place
Where human bonds are shortly sighted.

* * *

All things transitory and as symbols dismissed
without regret for the passing
Daylight, Godlight, light broken by shadows
Never-ending, never seen, never needing to be seen.

* * *

Closed the gate of evening
And the laughing wren that flitters
Trapped by the noises
Cannot find a resting place.

The beak that dipped is upward lifted
Who can tell where he will fly to
Once the veil is ripped
By the unknown hand?

He will soar away from us
Take his fearful wings in flight
And never to return.

Who is this man searching
For a dream to call his own
When nowhere can he settle
Though he travels on?

What rights has he
When he knows himself?

Shadows of the day that fell
And stopped his mind with silence
Echoes of the words once spoken
'You can come back to us...'

Where more can he journey
When his eyes have seen the world
And all its fear and loneliness
Mean nothing to him?

We who ask these questions
And cannot find the answer
Do so with a lust
For the intrigues of the night

And will he soar away from us
Take his fearful wings in flight
Never to return?

We wait the veil to ripen
patiently as one
Grouped in our singleness
with anger swelling

And the swelling head of winter fastens man's brain
With the dry skull of iron dust draped over by frost
The memory of evening where the fire-warmed breast
Beat out the fevering heart

This is our winter, sparse ridden through heat
On a cloudless blue sky and the cry of the raven

Below in our framework lies contempt of the nerve
That twitches and tangles and hangs on the skel-bound
Tree of desire that frosted still stands in an image
Repeated through volume on volume of books

See how we laugh away days through on days away
Nights cold and hovering on flame-heightened lusts

Then the knowledge that has been returns yet again
With the forethought of spring and the summer again
The autumn leaves brushed to one side of our memory
Closed in by the riddled frost heralding snow

* * *

Back wombwards, Mother of Jesus, mind.
Mined, bazzled, bedazzled, Lightformed,
Expazzled fireheated fainthearted frazzlefrier.

Trembling thus, the ringled rainsoaker varperased,
Testless to the multitesicled sun.

Earthraw, neversoaked, vapourised,
Drawn into the encycled frazzlefrier of Nevermore.

Unseeing, unseen, man that was foresaw such miracles
Dead now. Man frazzled,
All gone - books, wormbuds, trees of lavenderlining
Unmounted, unlearned, all is unlearned that ever was.

Summerday sun eternal - that lies before the longwaited night,
Shortweighted later, then withdrawal.

Farewell fond featherlined womb-tomb!

* * *

void fastens me deadly cold
finality of shadows that anded and should
entangle my mind with the new breath

but coldly streams darkness
and empathy sits on the throne of the soul
that sought to forget and sought not
to dream

lie in your bed, Lonely,
wrapped doubled
by sheets
that i longed gently
to touch

void fastens me dually
silently now to accept this desire
for a darkness that conjours reluctant

i cannot fasten oblivion
on you could i not and would not
and should not and need not i

void: call to me circling
releasing the wrapping for freeing
lose all these my plainest of thoughts

* * *

Then the meeting, now the parting.

Of it all I am weary.

Where our lips touched the winds howl,
Fury blinding away malignant dust
And calling 'Look!
Look what you have loved! '

A mock and a sigh and a weariness,
A glove-fit to cap upon my head
And a sinking of the heart to find
Fragmented flesh, ragged on pebbles
Washed by the sea.

Fallowed sand,
Playground of lost loves
Becomes the home of flies and birds
Soaring and banking
Flight billowing
Through the opening sky.

The waves who roar are voices,
Distant friends, not memories.

When You were here life was different.

There was You and I and laughing waves,
There were winds and stars and a smiling moon.
There were plans then.

Oh, yes, and in the plans,
The facts and figures
Downed on paper
There was our destruction!

Seaweed strewn
Still moist but dying
Beneath the rotting wood
On which I sit,
Ruined by the grounding bondage
Of visions transitory, without symbol.
Nothing as symbol sent.

* * *

Three piers, a handful of memories
Of smokestack chimneys and barking dogs
Of tar and grease and burning coal.

No longer memories, but a list
Of dreams and ideals, snatched as flies
From the air of the future,
The rotted wood cut away and thrown,
Fired to destruction,
Until, like memories, it burns
In this world without time.

Lying half-naked on wayward sand,
Staying from meanders,
He plays with naked children,
Runs with excitement at the freedom
of their years.

But in the schoolhall lined with toy people,
Where he would sit inthis other age,
Where juvenile romances would cherished be,
He would pick up his pen in an anger controlled
Before the patterning of answers on paper,
While the man-plan rose from tables
Fed on biscuits and drams of sketches,
Humankind slapping across the bent back
And releasing the yoke for neatly lined bars
in the city.

Let the good times be had of it
Standing in the sun, staring at the Adur,
Breathing in the deep, with blazing eyes,
Awaiting the protests over-ruled,
Awaiting the coming of the cutting machines
To carve out thick chalk-green hills,
To break vision upon vision.

* * *

It's cool now. When it's cool
I feel at peace in this country.

This land is mine and the land
I left behind is mine, too,
For one land is like another
If there are people who can love.

One to another the planners all whisper,
Plot their threats against us,
Yet even them I would love and would serve
If ever I could learn to hate two worlds
Which clutch me, cling upon my bones, and
tease the blood.

But these are the mockers, the unpure, unholy
people afraid to die lonely
In unknown tombs far down faint recesses
Ungirdled by cloud-light and triumphant day.

Hoping to keep identities, talking of memories,
hourly watching the spy-hole
Grow smaller, ever-diminishing, playing
With fantasy, unable to contain their oppressive desires.

What made me take this road through unmapped lands
in desperate hope to find
Among human trees a self in a haze of man-made
Mist-longing, mist-lonely, mist-desolate, view-hiding?

Sibyl, Mother of Jesus mind, forest calling
leaved she the way
That lost all men when bonds were cut,
Severed with the flaming edge of lust?

Endless questions, but where lies Reason
The name for the calmer process of mind?

Reason is this: a voice beyond clock-time
That says I must stop being me,
Become an artificial instrument,
A bending ear for others to hear-ache upon.

This fatigue is my normality, these words on paper
My sickness note, prepared for the parting
Of the searing ways that ridge their ride
Through an eye filled with diseased humanity.

I've had an eyeful of diseased humanity,
Find it a stomach upset, I'm sorry to say.
Thus this is it, my sickness note, my attempt
To separate the soaked clod of earth,
Never again to sense its lavender smell.

I surrender my ghost to this wind without end,
To this joy without a beginning.

My Sibyl is a cold one,
Colder and colder as she blows in the wind
And listens for me to cry out, as she:
'Behold! I have found a man,
and he is mighty weak! '

Oh, but I can see beyond the consciousness of your soul,
For I have been there, and know that within me
There you are - all, not one in isolation.

* * *

There he followed, a dog mangered
wind-torn thorn burdened howl
fleeing through storm trembling

lust engendered hysteria falling
down the skeleton no longer dry
disregarding the darkening call

in motion his strained emotion
cowering to simmer
with the fitting of the action
to the word daring strength
the spiralling nowhere world
portrayed in summer heat

belittling the mightiness
of fitting this action
to past words

* * *

The Devil is an opium branch
Who divorces the me from the I.

Here I am, a dot on paper, a framed me,
An ego-me, a different me from the I
That spins through the journeying darkness
Across the incomprehensible desert of faces.

My words are not my own,
They are built upon the shifting sands
Seen as the waters break within others.

I am a little world torn into pieces,
My words are empty words
Drawn in from the voices around,
Spewed out for others to hear
As travel they must on the long, long journey
Through the dream-rushing night
Violently breaking upon the bedrock head.

Those without must see without seeing,
Must know without knowing.
This, this is my reason for living,
To draw lines on paper, print words on pages
That no-one else will pick up to read,
To write words of misery, of painful explication
And ogle myself in a social mirror
With blood running razor cuts that continually stream.

I have tried hard to rediscover me,
Tried hard in a depth-probing vanity,
But the Sibyl that found her voice in the wind
Is now a vision apart.

The Sibyl that found her voice in the wind
Was never more than a dream.

* * *

He lacks a hero to worship,
A Christ-figure to mark against time.

He is not interested, not any more,
In pomegranate intimacy.

He rejects us all and hovers alone.
Whither he goes, none will follow,
For there none will travel alone.

Yet the voices will echo
And hang from the branches
And the faces will come in the night
And wherever he goes
There shall you be
In his time without meaning,
His suffering time.

The grating teeth and the earth-deep autumn
That leaved its way to the snow that comes never
Is chilling this time without meaning,
Drawing close the future that already is.

And his constant suffering lingers.

* * *

The last time he trod upon this earth
His wonder-heart found fulfilment.

Not now, no wonder any more,
Merely the thud thickening footsteps on a grave.

The last time those feet swept through leaves
Fear had no meaning.

Not now, no happiness
With the dampness of the rains.

When he ran upward on the downs
To be alone was to find happiness.

Now, as earthward he runs,
Sadness overflows the water's changing edge.

The flies he refused to kill are dead,
rotted, rotting, gone
All and forgotten.

The sea is not the water lapping but a windy howl
From the other side of the coast.

shall I eat the bright berries
and end the myth of a life
with the rains
shall I eat them
and end the deaths of flies
shall I expostulate
with my own nakedness
and feel the hate
that know we must?

These questions are not questions.
The rolling downs are crushing answers.

* * *

Ghosts of the past will conjour words I want to hear
WHen Ariel flies into this room
And causes Whisper to lose her sneer
In a timeless universe.

This mind is full of noises and the reveries
Of a day now passed
Will draw me from the actual world
That claims itself for life.

Terror and compulsion are said to lead us Godward
But I a Prospero could be
Who sends the storm to wreck the ship
That binds my foes to me.

No foes in this mind of noises,
No foes to reign supreme
As I persistently proclaim
My love of life through dream.

She who came to me before the sun will not forget
The cleared mist of rising dawn,
As will so many others who could never let
Me through straight-jacket prejudice.

Hate should be no more the rule of law,
Only Love will reign here
In this mind, this cloudless universe
Where sun alone is common.

Reluctantly, away from the crowd,
I spew up my guts in a white basin,
Letting loose upon the world
The sewered insides of lingering months.

With tears streaming, face whitened,
The hatred comes out all in a minute
And I am glad that it can be this way,
Biled in a basin, swilled down drains
So no man can see the sun-beaten grey forehead
That hides the troubled me behind cloisters.

Sea and the sand in the shells in the room
Where never before had I plotted to be,
Daylight, sun-bright, birds singing FOR ME.
Let loose the bitterness: it must all pass.

* * *

Nothing is about to happen.
This is the climax of the storm
The still centre where nothing beats
And no-one lives
Or dies.

Set in a staccato day
Where man would run and hide
Given half a chance
There are no moonbeams for the mind
To grasp.

Spring and the birds singing
Happiness in duty satisfied
Terror and grief as fallen prey
Become the tragic martyrs
Of right.

A tear in the corner of an eye
A strained nerve here
A whimsical smile there
And all is forsaken
For nothing.

Is to mis-represent the case
Or so we're told by teachers
And well-meaning, level-headed preachers
Of light.

You cannot claim my body
Not yet am I ready to sacrifice
All I have in this eternity
But you can martyr me
To Love.

* * *

Venturying through where love is the aim
Sole aspiration for now and for ever,
None desirous of sacrificial lust
But accepting what is and what must be.

Love uncoming from the nearest at hand
searching for nothing but purpose,
Hoping to find a one to lament us
In our disaster, our self-dying frame.

Driven unceasingly, what of destruction?
Nothing worldly that matters
We accept that of course with a toned-down
Bitterness that heralds light tainted.

Smoke curdling through upstairs bedsitters,
bedrooms lonely at twilight
Far-off where some frightened young girl
Admits her defeat and accepts her success

Lying astride, legs wide, skirt up and shyful,
ridding the evening of boredom
With panting embarrassment, to be taken like this,
The dial on the radio switched to new frontiers.

Empty wine bottles, soup cans, cups broken,
experience abashed
For littered batches of waste thoughts
Simmering on mindful and prejudicial disgust.

We who once loved are now separate,
hating the mark of fate
That daggers our bodies, lets run the blood-strength
Needed to face whatever's to come.

The brief spell that held us is broken
no longer required to be there.
The occasional nod when ways thraten to meet,
The consoling regret from one to another.

She would not share my vision,
Therefore to me she is dead,
Gone from the world where time had meaning
Into the oblivious valley of voices
That echo through the long night
And call for the morning.

Watching the spy-hole grow smaller,
bringing glared sun into focus,
Seeing the past and the future in all,
daring the voices to question.

Lost, lost in the shadows, lightform reflected
dim-glazed, en-chanted,
Where lies Sibyl, the one whose name bears
The calming process for the outward of mind?

Shakti she is, the Destroyer of all things transitory,
and can I create and preserve
What passes so suddenly in a symboline imprint
That impassions the darkening embrace?

I am outward terror-stricken of show,
taking past ages in one,
Drawing together, as preserve them I must
From the symbolined voices womb-echoed recurring.

The light of the New World opens,
The decision still to be reached,
The knowledge gained never forgotten,
Awaiting its trial and application;
The realisation that the everyday error
Is an awakening without sight and insight.

* * *

All things transitory and as symbols dismissed
without regret for the passing
Daylight, Godlight, light broken by shadows
Never-ending, never seen, never needing to be seen.

* * *

Morning: and a white blotch sky
Blue and glaring through stark trees.

And the strength that is not our own
Lies foundered upon the rocks made of visions
We week to find in others.

For the art we must practise is the art of seeing
and being there when needed
To calm the nerve-scoured sepulchres of the heart,
To hear words that could never be put to the test.

This is our all: and through the glint
Beyond the mourning weeds
Lies hope afresh, anew,
In the springtime of our future past.

* * *

Snapping now the breaking branch that
trembled in the ringled bark
Sought in winter to remove the
jointing arm
As scraped the autumn past
he did survive
Without a fear that there will
be no resurrection.

His witness is the cloudless sky
that dawning
Turns to close the coldness with
the coming of the spring.

In this, his resurrection-thought,
no fears can lie,
Confidence confounding all
that past this way

* * *

The church now is a playground here.

There are consecrated drains
and summer dresses
And the charred cross basks
in a sun roof.

A city of shadows and street cries.

Reflections in windows
that stare back
With the click of a camera

Coaches of people come to capture ruins
And press them into albums
In preparation for the darker corners.

Everything is ready for the Second Coming.

The sun is usher, the camera awaits the entrance,
And children smear stick palms down cotton.

Mainly written between 1968 and 1973, 'Flight from the Sibyl' was eventually published in a limited edition in 1993. The original indentations are lost here, however.
Error Success