Canto 95: Heaven

I want to be remembered as a guy who sings peace to all nations – not as a soldier

Harry Patch

An Old Friend

This I ask thee – tell it to me truly, Lord !
Who set from earth below, & kept the sky
Sure from falling? Who the streams & trees did make

Aslant Arunachala’s ancient height
All snow white was, the summit, slope & sky
Merged in one mass, as if a satellite,
About the mists a flight of falcons fly;
I heard a voice
Familiar & free,
“Poet you have a choice, descend or rise with me.”

“Having heard of the godly race,
My desire to meet them strong,
My mind turns to a gentle grace
Mine ears tuned to angel song,
Heaven’s infinitesimal space
I wish to drift among,
Tho’ fear my faith – or lack of one – may prove
A difficult division to remove.”

“It matters not if you believe
For all has been arranged –
Pens may truth-scrieve, but when ye leave,
With memory deranged,”
Said Dante, “From divinity your soul must grow estranged.”


Pearly Gates

Who can rescue man
If not his maker?
Do thy duty, Lord,

A golden stairwell in our hearts appears,
& so we rose into those realms of bliss,
A stunning clock of seven spinning spheres,
The perfect paradise that Heaven is;
With my wise friend
We for the centre made,
To silently ascend stairs of immortal jade.

We reach the heart of Helios
Where leaders of medicine,
Noble-minded poet-scholars,
Chaucer, Blake & Tennyson,
Sat with pious & religous
Men of education –
Discussing how the hearts of humans beat
With lyric-love, so summer-island sweet.

“This is a perfect walk,” I said,
Tears fill’d the happy eye,
On Dante led, all fear had fled,
As Heaven towers high,
Omniscient immensities of gladness amplify.

Sphere of the Sun

Rest in Peace

I wrote on the rocks & on the waves of the sea
Your name, my Beloved,
But the winds erased what I had written
Abu Firas

Beyond the vault of the slow-moving moon
Grey wonder of the second sacred sphere,
Where stars in vestal signals sing in tune,
More beautiful than all I hold so dear;
But for one soul,
My beloved grandma,
Who shunn’d the mortal fall for the immortal star.

“My son, tho’ ye are far away,
From low troubles upon earth,
I still recall the special day
Heaven calls your day of birth,
& daily for your safety pray
Beside the astral tirth,
To see you up in Heaven makes me proud…”
Her sweet voice falls, her face cover’d by cloud.

I watch’d her fading with a pang
& whisper’d true yikor,
The angels sang, their fanfares rang,
But still I wanted more…
“Go on my child,” her voice was mild, grief lifted from my core.

Ring of Lesser Spheres

Heavenly Passage

I had no beginning & I shall have
no end : the beam of light
stretches out before & behind
Ron Padgett

Light illimitable thrusts in plenitude,
The extravagant rising of a star,
All minds on earth sophisticate & crude
Awaken to the worlds these rays unbar;
With my wise friend
We for the centre made,
To silently ascend stairs of immortal jade.

We reach the heart of Helios
Where leaders of medicine,
Noble-minded poet-scholars,
Chaucer, Blake & Tennyson,
Sit with pious & religious
Men of education –
All of Mankind’s endeavours still exhume
Whenever literary minds exhume.

“Yes, such a perfect walk,” I said,
Mine eyes awash with tears,
On my friend led, all fear had fled,
As higher heaven nears
Omniscient immensities of thought-created spheres.

Sphere of the Sun

Beyond War

It is an eye of fire,
An eye of icy crystal,
A threat of ancient purity
Richard Eberhart

We climb into the crimson sphere of Mars,
Where all the relique idols of his reign
Dismantl’d victories, redundant wars,
Shall never raise the grace of god again;
An old sword stands
On battle cairn of bones,
Pearl pibroch in his hands straining the noble tones.

Souls join’d him in his lofty song,
Triumphant in harmony,
Exalted voices deep & strong,
Charlemagne & Duke Godfrey
But two cantari in that throng
Of dashing chivalry,
The music of the soldiers of the cross,
Lamentation-tinged for their war-gods loss.

Now the long page of peace begun
& legends live namore,
Thro’ gore & gun our world wars won,
Wisdom sent to the fore,
When modern human automons may only read of war.

The Ring of Mars

Epic Vistas

The bud
stands for all things
even for those things that don’t flower
Galway Kinnel

Like Burnley men when misty Pendle clears,
Fresh vistas spread, each vein’s fibres tingl’d,
Symphonious, the planetary spheres,
Mazy in a spangling motion mingl’d;
The Righteous blurr’d,
Merging as solid gold,
Spelling the holy word in splendours manifold.

Forms upon the firmament,
Spread across the starry tent,
Yet other phrases praise the Lamb,
We watch’d them all silent,
& yet, our souls were singing in concord
To this lovely libretto of the Lord.

“Now,” serves Dante, “Our paths must part,
This time together flown,
Before ye start open thy heart
& turn thy sins to stone,”
Then with a smile he join’d his kin & left me there alone.

Ring of Jupiter

Circle of Fixed Stars

On its helm, seen far away,
A planet, like the Morning’s, lay;
And those plumes its light rain’d through
Percy Bysshe Shelley

I climb’d up to a pearly battlement,
Mocking all human art, menhir fortress,
With stars & planets circumambient,
I saw Christ on his triumphal progress;
Saintly nation,
Forming translucent flame,
Gracious congregation chaunting their saviour’s name.

I reach a sacred area;
Biblical biblioteques
Contain ancyent apocrypha,
Younger angels plung’d in texts
To help divine Divinnia,
& claim the name of rex,
Threshing thro’ epic such as Gilgamesh,
Learning of how the Gods to return flesh.

As I left those crowded cloudlands
& their holy library,
I saw thousands of air-islands
Floating on crystal sea,
Spinning aswirl a palace form’d from pure infinity.



I observe, as I hold my lonely course,
That nothing exists without a source.
Thus, oaks from acorn, lions from cubs
Ogden Nash

As gradients upend alpinismo
& Scientologists can sell no more,
My way was barr’d by starry ocean’s flow,
So took a breath of faith & swam for shore;
I closed my eyes’
Til finger-tips touch beach,
Above such wonders rise, the Paradise in reach!

I tip-toed thro’ those holy halls
Upon a course collision,
Portraits of saints hung from the walls,
“Forgive my imposition…”
Tho’ hoary, Jove’s glory enthralls,
Beatific in vision!
My senses bath’d in light & swath’d with awe –
Alas… I write… can recollect no more

I woke up with rose-wreathed crown
Gliding by angel wing,
She set me down above the town
Upon a mountain king,
Then soar’d thro’ sky, shrinking to raven, thrush, fly, then… nothing.



When Faustus had with pleasure ta’en the view
Of rarest things & royal courts of kings,
He stayed his course & so he returned home
Christopher Marlowe

As mist envellop’d this ancient volcano
My verses soon unravelling no more,
Climaxing this penultimate canto
Preserving moral messages of war;
One line for all,
One tryptych for each sort,
One poem to recall the aeronaut of thought –

Which turn’d my mind to poetry
As the sun broke on the plain,
As Homer etch’d his Oddyssey –
This rocky kshetran fane
Guards all my focus wonderf’ly,
The last link in that chain,
Twenty seventh of the twenty seven,
Unfolding on the blank fields of Heaven

I felt my soul a rosy bird
Across the western glow,
Bringing the word, wings undeterr’d,
To where all futures flow,
‘Til, ‘Nihil humani a me alienum puto!’

Tamil Nadu

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