And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

tirsdag 27. februar 2018

Dies Irae - by Edward Kamau Brathwaite

It is a near-quotidian occurrence here at work, that at the beginning of sunset the great flocks of crows and jackdaws and rooks that inhabit the woods and fields around the university rise up in their entire numbers and seem to wage war on one another. I caught this image of them as they were flying across the campus buildings, and it appears as if they are rising out of the very earth itself. There is always a certain apocalyptic undercurrent, despite its daily repetition, and it also gives me a very good excuse to present to you the poem Dies Irae by Barbadian poet Edward Kamau Brathwaite, printed in his 1983 poetry collection Third World Poems.

Dies Irae

Dies irae dreadful day
when the world shall pass away
so the priests and shomen say

what gaunt phantoms shall affront me
mi lai sharpville wounded knee
arthur kissorcallatme

to what judgement meekly led
shall men gather trumpeted
by Louis Armstrong from the dead

life and death shall here be voice
less rising from their moist
interment hoist-

ing all their flags before them
poniard poison rocket bomb
nations of the earth shall come

and his record page on page
forever building he shall scan and give each age
sentences of righteous rage

if the pious then shall shake me
what reply can merchants make me
what defences can they fake?

mighty and majestic god-
head saviour of the broken herd
grant me mercy at thy word

day of fire dreadful day
day for which all sufferers pray
grant me vengeance with thy sword

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