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1. Prologue

(The book’s protagonist, Joel, an ex-believer and the speaker of the poem, begins his story in a forest. Having run away from a collapsing and psychotic world, he intends to sing a final eulogy for Spirit—any form of which his postmodern age has seemingly long since forgotten about…)

It is a great endeavor, all in all,

and probably past my competence to bear,

but though I’d call to Heaven for its help

no Heavens hear (their end is mine to tell

and mine alone). …We should have requiem, no?

Music? (despite ‘the Muses’ fell…) Well, though

for inspiration there’s no ‘Spirit’ now,

I’ll sing—I’ll conjure spirit, out of songs.

I’ll try. For Him, for all, here’s threnody

for Deity.

I’ll sing the death of God.

I’ll sing, to numbered forests one more time

this final melody. Here, at the end

of a sick world—in spots of moon some arms

of yews let enter—here, I’ll end my music,

and stop my strings, and mute forever songs

and poems which once made hymns in Heaven. You,

butchered Significance—a deeper Meaning—

You’re deaf to songs at last. But from the skies

that overcast Your resting place, I’ll stop

and vigil, gaze below into Your hell,

and here devote this final symphony

to eulogize Your shade.

I played the harp once.

I used to sing. Chorus and choir, the whole…

damn…thing. I sang, and, singing—


For some, that deep assurance of The Light,

that charge of purpose, through the spiritual—

for some of us, that homey camp’s not camp


home itself since boyhood.

Once, in clothes

of simple white, above (what should I call them?

The ‘Crystal Spheres’? The ‘rows’ in God’s Bouquet?)

Well, let’s just say, in presence of the One

(where - Pure - presided), I would stand and sing…

lifting my pretty prayers up in their turn,

extoling Sacred… Careless youth swept on,

(in time made soft by safety in His arms)

as I, by churching Seraphim, would come

before the Throne of God and burn with praise

ablaze in burning vistas of the Dawn…

up-fascinated—looking on Our Lord,


it burned.

Transcendence: overrun.

And all the propping of a Purpose, lost.

(So go our innocences

—and our Gods.)

The rest is as you’d guess it: Disenchanted

spend steel machineguns on the overworld

and scorch the Kingdom—slaying Seraphim,

the Rose of Angels—as they burst the bubble

E M P Y R E A N, and killed the El Shaddai…

That’s done. Over. Finished. The point is this:

that I, a turncoat to their cause, remained…

I linger still. When Heaven fell, I stayed

(from son of God: reluctant atheist)

and live now in the City of its ash.

Well… had.

Tonight, I fled. Tonight, I’ve left for…

—I know eventually I must go back!

but… That’s for later. Now, there’s night… warm air…

Tonight, I’ll make a marking of His end,

the Heavens’ siege: observed this late July…

For there is no escaping what we’ve made:

The corporate Beast. Sleazed Salesman’s propaganda.

And smiling Screens of smiling shit—to fill! ®


disillusioned with revolt, I’ve come

a mourner to God’s graveside, and—with hymns,

with eulogy—intend a wake, to watch

and grieve the carcass of Sublimity.

…Hadn’t we loved it? once…?

—Not without cause

(though, crucial were those faults that caused His end

and proved His cross). Still, such a thing as “Spirit,”

which gave us our ideal for centuries,

surely deserves some hymn, encomium,

to mark its passing? Mark, if just an hour,

God’s unmarked grave with… what? Orations? Well,

if He’s to sleep forever, I will spread

some flowers of regard upon this place:

a basic honor not performed for Him

but all the Sacred.

…I helped slay it too.

Should we repent? For, woken of our dream

“Religion,” now a nightmare incubus—

that curse upon our planet and ourselves—

now this consuming, all-consuming Thing

molests our modern sleep, and violates

the only precious. You know what I mean!

The dollar-humping drudgery. The sickness

of these late days. Demon “Developments.”

And the quick cash men make to fat themselves,

possessed by avarice; by glutless lust

to rape the Earth and desecrate it Product

men drooling for armageddon—for a world

self-ending, self-destructing—Mall on Mall

and Salesman hawking lie on lie from Screens

that wrap a Beast of glass beset—and yet

…what else can be?

Cheap surface-peddlers rule—

and stupor, waste, commodity remain

our dear idolatries.

…To them I must,

since brooding on the graves of Gods is vain

and I am done with singing.


once more,

before conceding peace and quiet here—

(self-exiled to a forest’s loneliness

away from our psychotic, shallow blaze

in wealth’s Metropolis)—once more

I’ll sing

and play the solemn dirge Your wake is wanting.

Then may You rest. With God, I’ll bury songs,

whose final utterance can melody

the death of Him

and all that we’ve become…

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