Monday, March 2, 2009

Kings and Counselors

Once departed I’m fated to struggle
Among the kings and counselors
In those desolate places
The broadening spaces
Meant for ruffians and thieves.

We’ll sip the brandy from God’s lips
While straining toward the sun:
Burn all the skin off our skulls
We must grow new faces!
The better to conceal our rottenness.

Predators with crowns of thorns
And scepters stolen from sepulchers
Collection has become our trade
For there’s much to do for the dead
But yet more to do for the living.

I'm still unsatisfied with the first stanza, but felt inclined to post anyway. Brutality in the comments, is entirely expected and welcomed.


sovietturkey said...

Welcome. I'm Shaun.

I like the concept.

I don't know if you're a punctuation person or not, but I think this would benefit from the (increased) use of periods and the like, particularly at the ends of lines. For example, the first stanza is essentially one sentence, while the second is either two or three, but the breaks between each aren't really recognized. That just creates a rhythm/flow problem for me, if that makes sense.

My other issue is the switch from "I'm" to "we" between the first and second stanzas. It's not clear whether or not the speaker is meant to belong with the "kings and counselors" (or "ruffians and thieves", or both, if they're meant to be one and the same), but after the initial lines, the speaker is suddenly speaking for a group. Again, if that makes sense.

I think the first and the final stanzas are fine, but I'd suggest breaking up the second-- isolate and empower the arrhythmic "We must grow new faces!" exclamation.

All in all, good stuff.

Terri said...

This sounds to me like a metaphor for the struggle some of us have with living in the world the way it has become set up. You speak about those that are in power and how they rule. It's disturbing & scary. I'm not happy with the way the world works, either....

Gunter Heidrich said...

So humanity's fated to be a moral Icarus? To lead a tiring mortality chasing that which is infinite through the implications of the finite?

I particularly like the last stanza, very Last Temptation of Christ-esque. The rest is fairly solidly written as well "straining toward the sun"'s quite nice, "The better to conceal our rottenness" weakens the narrative though I think. It tells more than shows in contrast to the rest of the poem.