THE TRIBE
CONTENTS
The Tribe of Earth
Master and Slave
The Pilgrimage
On the Horizon of the Century
The Hermits Tale
The Nameless
Exodus
A Psalm
In Paradiso
And the last dance

THE TRIBE OF EARTH
And out of the still, the utter calm,
The sea asleep, a soft breeze
Gentle as a sigh of bliss touches the waters
In a shoreline kiss.
And the soft lapping now
Move into a rhythm, and out of there
From a vague whisper, a half murmur
Out of there a voice appear-
Us! Us! Us!
It’s us. It’s us.
We the race, the race possessed,
We the tribe, the tribe of Earth.
Us. Us. That’s us. That’s us.
We the tribe, the race possessed,
Passion born and passion born,
We the tribe, the tribe of Earth.
*
We come agaist as our ealy stirring
Come as
our first awakening
Gathering memory in the great chants,
And set memory on the great scrolls,
Bible and Koran, we wrote all down,
We of the Noble Eightfold Path,
We who wrote the Upanishads,
The unspoken spoken of the Tao,
That’s all us. We wrote all down.
The duet of Plato and Aristotle,
Ours. Ours. That’s our worth
We the tribe, The tribe of earth.
The Iliad, the Odyssey,
Lear and Hamlet and Macbeth,
Us again, Dante, Tolstoy, Goethe. Us.
We painted the Sistine ceiling,
We wrote the Last Quartets,
We lived in the realim of the mystial
Spilt the atom, cracked the code
We raised up out of rock and earth
The city skylines of the globe,
The great temples, great cathedrals,
That’s all us, we raised them up.
And the jets that streak the skies,
The ships that power across the oceans
The craft that took our feet to the moon
All us. All us. Again our worth,
We the tribe, the tribe of Earth.

*
The dairy tells in the century gone
We entered the inner and outer deeps,
The land of space-time, land of quantum,
We mapped the caverns of the brain
Transplanted heart and liver and lung
We healed and healed and healed,
Us. Us. That we did and that we did.

Our diary tells in the century gone
We liquidated, exterminated
A hundred million of the unwanted.
We did all that. That was us.
In the cold of our warm bodies
We sat, we plotted, plotted
That a hundred million must not live,
Our fellow human travellers.
Us. Us. We did that and that we did.
*
Possessive in all things.
Passionate in all things.
Great Healer. Great Killer.
Great Feeder. Great Starver.
The Gentle One. The Barbaric One.
Boundless Hater. Boundless Lover.
The evil one. The holy one.
That’s our way and this our path,
We the tribe, the tribe of Earth.

All this lead to making war.

 

MASTER AND SLAVE FALL IN EACH OTHER’S ARM
*
Master and slave fall in each other’s arm.
Side by side spiral, limb crossed on crossed limb.
Their empty eyes stare on, their fading warm
Bodies pale and still. And yet the alarm
Was known to them in depth of day and dream
As all around their indifferent calm
Voices from loud and from whispering lips
Spoke cataclysm, spoke apocalypse.
*
They were false who preached to us in these times
That wisdom would rise and be the champion
Of a chosen age. They were false whose rhymes
Brandished new worlds, new ways against the tone
Of history, they and their novel themes
All forgot the frailty of reason,
Forgot tomorrow is an invader
Come to disturb the passion of the hour.
*
Away at the Dinosaur’s final stand
Where the great spined mover once flared its rule
Remains were found at a lone footprint’s end.
The raised it bone by bone from bone dry soil
Spreading their excavations on the ground
And gave it plastic sockets, joints of steel
Along the vertebrae and nine inch bite.
Then set it up number one exhibit.
*
And now into the fullness of the feast,
Now at the zenith of the tribal dance
Our rhythm stirs the polar soul. We cast
Our poison in the pure seas as the trance
Emerges from the dance and there the last
Of the jungle clan is slain. Lungs that once
Cleansed the world’s breath- nature’s healing order
Come with life- are gone, gone, will come no more.
*
And so our ever watchful moon looks on.
She from whose early touch life here first stirred,
And mother earth in full lamentation,
The old cries unheeded, the prophets dead,
The great pilgrimage of evolution,
That holy, blesséd journey now betrayed.
And Eden’s garden empties once again.
And rhymes arise speaking of redemption.

THE PILGRIMAGE.
Evolutionary theory is not of the universal presentations of an inherent scientific triumph defying religious belief, that is, not from the conceptual boundary limitation of knowing. It is of the Being of knowing, the essence of all spirituality, the process of death and rising toward
perfection. Nor is this the traditional notion of the dialectic, that is, process toward the Idea, the Absolute but the totally opposing notion of the Being of the dialectic, that is, the process of the perfection of the self as the self. Every life form is of this inheritance, the perfect image of its vast journey, each species a work of mystical perfection beyond the creative capacity of the greatest artists.

To speak of that most early journey,
To tell the untold way, the unrevealed,
To let the news of the great pilgrimage
Rise out of its valley, announce it unto the plain-
Not that drum and trumpet of convention
That spread its wilderness upon the scene,
And not that aria of absorption,
Assimilation into the Idea, the Absolute,
But the pilgrim way, the solemn journey
Of the self, into death and into rising,
Shaping death into fresh life-
And here the reign of the kingdom of Beauty,
Here the place of the birth of Truth-
No more appealed in vague expression
Where verbal ways wrinkle and shrink
That the very thought itself now closes its eyes
To follow the deed, follow the deed,
Tell of the knowing beyond the thinking.
Away on the ocean’s moonward reach
I travelled the tidal rise. Somewhere there
In the parting ebb and the dusk lowering
I sat to rest, and arose, and stepped onward.
Somewhere in the forming mountains
I moved. Away there among them
In the molten spill, in the ravages of ice
And shaping gales, somewhere there
I entered and was gone, was vanished,
And from somewhere there I re appeared,
Changed of body, and travelled on.
In the first pale-green risen from the land
That the rains embraced, the sun kissed
Its blessing, I grew and grew.
I was there when sap browned into blood,
When limbs unrooted from the land
And the buds of things turned into brain-
I spoke afresh the threefold journey,
The new knowing of the old way,
And on from there, this pilgrimage,
Hermit and monk move to their wild abode
On Skellig and Holy Island, command
The scribes to spread their memory
On vellum scroll, on parchment-
The cataracts of western thought,
The meander of the eastern flow,
All come of the creatures of the pilgrimage,
Of the journey through the vast millions,
These tiniest ones to the largest,
All these, the grandest and the humblest,
Each the perfect image of their journey,
Each in their mystic countenance and form
Supreme, sublime beyond
The noble chisel of Michaelangelo,
Beyond the dawn-lit dark of Rembrandt,
The shell and risen form of Botticelli,
And this we destroy, exterminate,
Make extinct without a thought.


THE TURNING
Outstanding creative figures of the twentieth century begin their march from east to west as an affirmation of great truths uncovered, sublime works of art, of science and philosophy, and move in procession to enter their arch of triumph. But after crossing Armaghbreague they suddenly make a u-turn on the hill of Mullyard and march back east from where they came. A flight of migratory geese moving in the opposite direction suddenly confront them and they all have a Pentecostal moment that their understanding of absolutes and ultimate truths disintegrates in the wider order of Being.
On the horizon of the century
The head of Yeats comes. Near his rising stride
Jung’s face turns to Joyce. That’s Picasso,
Poincaré and Einstein side by side,
Planck there, Freud there, Bell there and Bohr,
Curie there stepping it, Eliot and Tolstoy,
Russell there and Wittgenstein, Woolf, Barth,
Heidegger and Sartre, Plath there, Ayre,
Marching it out across the Breague,
And onward, onward, mile there after mile.
Left! ...................Left!................Left

I stopped them on the Brackley Road.
I waved them down and stood and said-
“Why have to turned to face the east
When you passed this way to west?
Were you not moving to a journey’s end
To march through an arc of triumph,
And why on the hill of Mullyard
Did you make that sudden circling turn
And move away from the face of dusk,
Make return the place of dawn?”
They drew a breath, and a long breath,
And spoke loud as a single voice-

“We don’t know. We don’t know,
The wild geese, the flight to east,
And followed there. We followed there,
And no call or order made,
Nor slowing step, nor change of beat,
Why we did it, we don't know,
The wild geese, the flight to east
.”

“But before you go”- I said again-
“Was there not some early marching song
That fired the feet, and did it die
Voice after voice and the steps alone
Begin to louden, steps alone drum away
That all the buds you made for bloom
Had found their blossom wilting there,
And feet ever more on fire. But tell it plain,
Why did you not keep marching on,
Why the turning, why the turn?”

We don’t know and we don’t know.
The wild geese, the jourey east,
And followed there. We followed there.
And no call or order made,
Why did we do it- we don't know,
Nor slowing step, nor change of beat,
The wild geese, the flight to east”

And they moved off in their rhythm again
And marched away across Drumbunion
Up the sloping of Armaghbreague
Steady of step, steady of step
In and out of the mist of evening.
Slow twilight was falling there.
Faint and fainter the marching lines.
But on and on, line after line
They moved over the rim of the hill,
Lower and lower the final row
Into to the place from where they came,
Left!................ Left! .................Left!

 

DAY OF THE HERMIT
I watched him in his wild sea-broken place
Balancing along the shore, and there
At the stretch of the incoming wave,
At the gravel rattle of the returning swell
He stopped and faced to the ocean rim.
I thought I dare not speak to him
He of the gull and gannet’s way,
The seal’s bark, the badger growl
And his ways of prayer worn down to drone
Bare and shrunken as his frame.
He stirred at all that stirred his eye
Following rook and wild goose
Out of the clouded south, across the day
In their rhyming flap, enter distance and away.
*
I heard that for forty years he and his wilderness
Lived together, would not be parted,
Nor came to there from a calling heard
Or revelation fill a dream
But a wander ending at the ocean shore
And crossing over manned his head.
I’d heard his fasts were long. Day on day
Awoke into the touch of twilight
And he and bird song sounded prayer
And in a wind, the chorus of the waves.
He broke his fast on herb and berry,
On root and grain, and tilled his garden
Until the sun moved unto the throne of noon.
He after took his hooks for fish
And pouch of dulce and moved shoreward
Into the calm or temper of the day.
*
Once I stepped unto where his feet had stood
And the arriving tide well into its spread,
The tide rising over stone and pebble
As a snake’s swallowing of its constricted meal,
Reached the costal limit, and paused,
And on the boundary of the tidal edge
From where it made its parting
The seaweed wrote out a line,
A run of words in the low evening sun-

There is no route nor road
That is not come of a dying.

There is no path or passage
That is not the memory of a death.

And the words lingered in the muddy light,
And the cloth of dark wiped all away,

Nor ebb nor flow re-set a reading,
And brightening moon farewell the day.

THE NAMELESS.
The most despised and downtrodden human
as the greatest masterpiece of creation
.
And though you be branded “Nameless,”
You of no belonging in your face,
And though they speak of you as one accurséd
That fate withheld all shades of grace,
You the worthless, of no account,
Born to scavenge on the rims of life,
You not worth a welcome word on earth,
Not worth a marker on a grave-
Yet it was of your very presence
The formings of the world gathered,
In search of you and you alone
The ancients raised and dipped the pen
To trap your memory on their page,
And out of there the pipes sounded
Bonding hearings from the bare winds,
Sought you out and found you there
And broke into the solemn voice,
Chant in loud and lofty pitch-
I sing the masterpiece.
I sing the crowning of all design.
I sing the glory of all that’s made-
All else a bowing in your presence,
And you appear in your command
Corona flare in the sun’s revealing,
Aurora dance on the vault of night
.

EXODUS
Slow movers in the desert
Forge their sandy ways.
Behind, the Red Sea line
As a glow of distant land
Hold out on the horizon.
They stop. They turn. They face west
A minute’s silence to their savior
Thinning between heaven and earth.
The dust settles to their quiet.
The moments hold the vast peace
Until a shout breaks it up
And all turn and moved again,
The city on the march
In full deliverance,
On toward the kingdom
To the milk, to the wild honey,
Old heads full of thanks.
Young heads full of victory.


A PSALM
The unshakeable faith that destiny will be faithful
to solemn promises despite the storms and paradoxes that relentlessly oppose them.

And though the heavens keep their silence
We know you have heard our prayer.
And though the drought linger on the land
And the bushes wither on their sapless limbs,
Though heads of corn blacken in the noon-
Still pray the clouds to darken, spill their rains,
Still send our pleas to gather at your ear,
For we know that your thoughts are with us,
We know you have heard our prayer.
*
And should the winter wilds torment us
And our pleading rise in clouds of froth,
Though snow and the north wind dance away,
The thaw not come, the frost deepen,
We will not raise our hands in anger
Nor turn away in despair,
For we know you are ever listening,
We know you have heard our prayer.
*
And should the waves rage higher on the seas
To every cry for calm, and the gales
Grow wilder, our tossing ship grind on rock,
The harbor lashed, the swell drown the shore,
Our trust will not be shaken, will still be there,
For we know that your wisdom is wiser,
We know you have heard our prayer.
*
And though death follow in the steps of death
And our bended knees raw, our pleading
Bare as the gull’s squak, our throat gone bone dry,
And even though the wails of hunger rhyme
Out of the early day, into the hollow of night,
We know we will turn to you tomorrow,
Will place our hearts in your care,
We know you have heard the cry we made.
We know you have heard our prayer.

IN PARADISO
Under the vacant eyes of the world
Unheeded rages pace,
Unheeded voices, sharpened, swelled
In endless, boundless chorus.
What destiny has shaped that path,
What calling brought them there,
Come of a residue of worth
Or come of flame, born into fire?
*
And where did all that suffering go?
Where is all that pain gone?
Age following age, the great forgotten,
All those millions and their sorrow.
Somewhere from the moan and roar
There must rise a prophetic voice.
A revelation must soon appear.
There has to be a paradise.
*
Out of the still flesh and bone
A thin wailing sound is heard.
It thickens out into the word
Into ever strengthening tone-
“The fire, the fire has taken them
They who came from fire.
The fire has not forsaken them
They now gone to fire.”
*
At the heart of the great furnace
Brightness as solar fusion
A shade of body, of flawless face
Lies motionless. A summon
There opens its glassy eyes,
And raising itself from an elbow
Into its fullest rise
Moves around in the inferno.

AND THE LAST DANCE
And the dancing ended. And flute and harp
Slowed their tune. And the fires went down

And the smoke from there came no more.
It was the sound of war cries

Moving ever closer out of their distance,
The noise of charge and clash,

Parmenides in battle with Heraclitus,
Aristotle waging war on Plato,

And the ambush of Augustine on Pelagius,
Ockham’s assault on Aquinas

And out the reign of Descartes
Rages, turmoils in full abandon

As the howl and wail of tribal war,
Ism after ism at each other’s throat

Draw more and more into the flux-
All to un-clot, un-cloud, un-fog, un-mist

The authentic pathway of purpose.
There is no pause. No tiring phase.

No settlement but on and on
The vast turmoil of clamouring voices

Flare out their dawn and cross the day,
Rumble into dusk and under the world

And dawn again in full wild noise.
But as the days grew shorter,

And the longer nights grew longer
All now gathering into a single wail,

All lowering into a loud hum,
Gathering tone fuller and fuller

Into the full drone of the pipes
And the chanter flare a sudden reel,

And drum of feet and whoop of dancer.
Then that lament. Without a warning

She soared into the opening verse
And all around her quietened at once,

And that slow sway, and tight closed eyes
As she emptied her heart into the void.

Some swayed in rhyme, some gazed empty
Verse after verse as her voice fought

To shape the heart’ demand, soar and fall
And lingering into the last surge

Bade a long farewell to the parting note.
And all awoke out of their trance,

And she moved away to make the tea.
And there the eager waiting harper

Plucks the strings to show he’s ready
As the caller lines the dancers

Up along a middle aisle,
Four face four then five face five.

Stepping way. Stepping away.
And up at the top of the loft in the barn

The fiddler is sawing away at the jig,
The fluter is skipping around to his fluting

And the bodhran man, just arriving
Begins to find the beat to join the fray.

Battering away, rousing the rhythm,
Reeling it, jigging it, waltzing it

And into slow lament, and out again,
Away wild into the night. Away in the deep night.

And all quietens again,
And crest and trough level again
Touching land in a shoreline whisper.
And now the rise of moon, of dawn
Spread their glassy sheen
And silence rises out of there,
Out of sea and out of the land,
A silence to end all listening,
As silent as the silence
Before the first sound.