Charles Eager is a writer, teacher, and scholar currently living in Italy.
Vrbane Epigrammes ADMMXVII
Saturday. Nighttime. Head hits pillow
Afire with integration, drowsy
Worshipping the divine idea.
What’s this carrying of light towards
My eye? Why bides there any question
Regards great beauty’s integration?
Why paltriness, against this wholeness?
Full of sleep and waking: light,
Dark, clarity, obscurity,
Sated with expectation, and
Expecting my urbane ennui.
Matter’s objects grow abstracts,
Abstracts objects. Sleep’s waves
Embogue me, Palinurus-like,
And I drown in this sweet sea.
‘What sort of poetry?’ she asks,
‘What inspires you? Is it romantic?’
‘Romantic,’ I reply. She smiles.
O logos polysemous! hear!
This is my to-you prayer of thanks
For coming at the ripe, right hour.
She asked me to Paris this Friday.
Tomorrow will reveal, whether Aletheia spoke,
Or lying Dionysus.
Now I stand outside shut church,
Now I seek salvation swiftly
From this madness I petition, off.
Where can peace be found, where thrive,
When memory, so contra-peace,
Is so alive?
Here me, peaceful in this night of rages.
Vague desire, and destinies, fly all over,
In the bodies of these city-over-crawlers.
Yet their rages are no rage against
The rage raging in the middle of my peace:
Fire! give me one verse, one half-a-verse
Able to flame like this enchanted heart.
See, one can be in the mundane some thirty years, yet keep
Their bright ur-nascent angel still about them, to be seen
By those who to that light persist, and keep their eyes wide open.
Peace, Carolus, peace:
Nothing passed, no, nor nothing came,
Peace, Carolus, be at peace.
A night holds music: these
Drunk crowds their music too:
Whence I derive that music’s
The final substance of the world.
Eros, again? How long must you
Strike my writer’s heart? Strike
Rather the hand; immobilise;
This, Eros, is my supplication.
The heart, the soul, rules all activity;
The hand, divine, is but the dullard, heart’s
I do not wish to diminish her, yet
Nor want I her to grow, as she is,
Some haunty image. Let her not be stone,
She is a soft thing, joy. So why
Then does my heart to sorrow harden
Just to think of her?
Eros, you oversee unreason.