The Birth of Tragedy by Irving Layton

And me happiest when I compose poems.

            Love, power, the huzza of battle
            Are something, are much;
yet a poem includes them like a pool
            water and reflection.
In me, nature’s divided things—
            tree, mould on tree—
            have their fruition;
I am their core. Let them swap,
bandy, like a flame swerve
I am their mouth; as a mouth I serve.

And I observe how the sensual moths
            big with odour and sunshine
dart into the perilous shrubbery;
or drop their visiting shadows
            upon the garden I one year made
of flowering stone to be a footstool
            for the perfect gods:
            who, friends to the ascending orders,
sustain all passionate meditations
and call down pardons
for the insurgent blood.

A quiet madman, never far from tears,
            I lie like a slain thing
            under the green air the trees
inhabit, or rest upon a chair
            towards which the inflammable air
tumbles on many robins’ wings;
            noting how seasonably
            leaf and blossom uncurl
and living things arrange their death,
while someone from afar off
blows birthday candles for the world.

One thought on “The Birth of Tragedy by Irving Layton

  1. Pingback: O poetry where art thou? – C2C Journal

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