For John Gielgud
Upon the soil - (crushed rubies? Or the pomegranate's garnet seeds?)
And ridged with mounds like graves
Of giants and earth-worms, two Noachian survivors contemplate
Their glories of the past, their future state.
The small red Worm, rubied with dews of Death, declared:
'My redness is from Adam. I, the coral-plant,
Built by a million lives, endeavours, toils, loves, glories,
Am the first and last Democracy. The sun
Is not more universal in its love. And I have brothers
Who live in the flesh of Negroes, and are thick
As lute-strings, and as powerful. I have others
Who sing the praise of Death with a sweet tongue –
Great venomous serpents in the unknown Africa; they carry
A gold bell on their tails, which ever ringeth
As they proceed, and like an angel singeth.'
Then said her enemy the Hen - the musty, dusty density,
The entity of primal, flightless, winged Stupidity:
See how the Eagle falls like thunder from his height
And tears tnat continent of raging fire,
The heart, from the Tiger roaring like the sea,
And bears it to his nest
Wherein the huge eggs rest
From whence will break the young, the unfledged Murders:
(So, young ambitions lie in the heart of Man).
O you into whose maw
The heart of Man will fall
As you will fall to mine:
1 am more powerful than the father of those Murders,
It was no Eagle, but a fusty Hen
That pecked the fire-seeds from Prometheus' heart, a crazy chilling
Hen-coop Laughter, the first Criticism, killing
The fire he brought to men,
As Age kills young Desire.'
The Worm said, 'I am small, my redness is from Adam.
But conquerors tall
Come to my embrace as I were Venus. I
Am the paramour in the last bed of love, and mine, the kiss
That gives Eternity.
I am Princess of Darkness. Yet the huge gold world,
With all plantations, powers of gold growth that shall be the bread of men,
Arise from the toil of the small, the mighty Worm beneath the earth -
The blind, all-seeing Power at her great work of death and of rebirth.'