CRITIQUE OF MODERN POETRY
(from STAY WITH GOD, page 104)
To say Brabazon was "not a partisan of recent Western civilization" is an
understatement. STAY WITH GOD is, among other things, a devastating social and
cultural critique of what the poet sees as an ego-centered society. His view of the arts
is no exception. Below are the main stanzas in which he puts forth his view of poetry
since the time of Mohammed, through the 1950's, when the book was published.
After Mohammed, Art raining over the earth, seas of flowers:
Troubadours, the Friends of God ('Mohammedan' and 'Christian') :
the Flower and the little flowers of Assisi (calling Him Jesus):
Dante writing love poems to Him (calling Him Beatrice)
but, bad luck, wandering off into a hell and heaven of self-imagining
rather than, as Majnun, following his 'Leila' to the grace of His feet.
'Ye certainly know how ter sculpt, ' said Hui Neng,
'but yet don't know a damned t'ing about Zen.'
Mohammed denied; and the false theology of the Son:
soon after this, the line of the saints coming to an end.
After this, men could only get themselves out of the way
occasionally, -only sometimes could Art show her pure form
to men's eyes, and men make purely offerings,
likenesses in likeness of the creativity of God.
With Dante & Co., the rot set in. Love still there, but delusion
of self-doing creeping in-not lover lost in lineaments of Beloved;
and characterization instead of attributes of God-begun
by Euripides who came after Aeschylus, after Homer the Pure.
The practice of writing is: Mr. Bacon said, to make one an exact man;
(the Pandava brothers' Guru, 'Don't shoot until you can see the target'):
the scholar Coomaraswamy said, to imprison fire against senility.
We define it, a burnt-offering insistent on present altar.
Since Dante & Co. we've been doing it ever since:
seriousness of the immature, craftsmen to each other,
children playing Prophets, 'I saw, I saw: --past tense;
"I feel"--artists as 'antennae of the race';
'No Guru no Shishya', the wrong way round.
Tongues before we were *ears*-scupture without zen.
Since Dante and Chaucer--a handful of work from Shakespear
(subtracting what he SAID from what he was paid to say):
from Burns, a poesy; from Rimbaud, a sentence
in search of a Master; from Nietzsche and Whitman,
two pages each, one for themselves, one for God;
Blok and Mayakovsky, two voices looking for a piano;
Lorca, a guitar seeking two lips behind a fan of olive trees;
from Synge and O'Casey and James Weldon Johnson, each three flowers;
one for each of the Trinity; from Gabriel Mistral,
five candles on the platter of Arti; from Pound,
harmony on a lute played with a rifle-trigger,
and sometimes almost making music; from Charles Chaplin
a rose growing out of a violin. The rest yoicking words into yawns
and snapping them with damp fingers.
© Avatar's Abode Trust, Woombye , QLD, Australia. reprinted with permission.
104/23 John: St. John of the Cross
104/27: 'No Guru no Shishya': (I am) neither teacher nor pupil'.
Sankaracharya in his Nirvan Shatak.
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