Canto 1: L’AMFIPARNASSO


I suddenly saw that directly to the North, over Onkoul’s Tunguska road, the sky split in two & fire appeared high and wide over the forest. After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing, the earth shook, & when the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways
Semenov

**************

Balrog

The atom is the smallest puppet spinning
in the smallest slot machine. And children love
the tale of the genii in the tiny flask
Dilys Laing

Across the wormy gyres of ceaseless time,
By Dogstar’s sister, wee Sirius B,
A soldier’s table spreads with scrolls of rhyme,
Those sacred fables of the Sah-Pu-Qi;
Epic, yet terse,
Legends of ancyent past,
Of how a Universe was born for us at last!

He read how Genesis & crew
Flew far in Star-Vimana,
How Mugulu & Mukulu,
Seriel & Semyaza,
Would populate a world so blue,
Naming it Zahara;
Dreamtrance disturb’d by Gen’ral Balthazeer,
“A chance, Captain, to further your career.

The Usgoth dance a dastard jig,
Hot words of harsh war made!”
Donning a wig, mounting Tehpig,
Rode Balrog to parade;
O gallant host, drumrolls & roars, rais’d rows of plasma-blade!

Dadghabbi


Ambush

Consider how they move, the galaxies
Through the ocean of night like drift nets
Dragging deep space, though nothing we know is there
David Sutton

Follow faint traces of light & lazar
Along great lanes of space innum’rable,
To twinsewn systems of a distant star,
In mortal combat lock’d incurable;
As Usgoth hordes
Embattle Dadghabbi,
Wide-wave electric swords in awesome chivalry.

Upon the fringes of the fray
Our graceful leuitenant rides,
His strong & stately steed of grey
By the jet-black vortex strides,
Tehpig splits skies with startling neigh,
Assaulted on all sides,
Balrog hauls reigns & gallops into space –
Trailing green vapours Gaargants three gave chase.

Upon a tapestry of stars
Hooves of quartz-crystal pound,
The Usgoth Gaars, all fangs & scars,
Gain steadily in ground,
Tripping the light fantastic at the searing speed of sound.

Space


The Chase Ends

All about me
Is heaven in all directions,
I love you, bright infinite space
J.A.Schade

Just a wee spot on the dimple of time,
A billion galaxies around us,
& them a wee spot, mere provincial clime,
The Universe spread always prepond’rous;
Fleshlife, starlight,
Swarms over airy rocks,
Some mastering space-flight, some shepherds & their flocks.

Amid amazing Milky Way
Balrog faced his pursuers,
As tho’ a Roman in the day
Of Tullus Hostillius –
When triplet sets made fierce affray
For their populaces –
Now like the last unwounded Roman son,
Our Knight faced three ‘Quirini,’ one-by-one.

Combat is join’d, fierce flash of blades,
Two toss’d into the void,
Last Usgoth fades, in Balrog wades,
Some speeding asteroid,
To slay his foe… Tehpig, alas, by Usgoth spear annoy’d.

Space


The Approach

On the world a thousand curses!
like the fickle elements its deceit,
we get a thing we would not ask for
Murchadh MacMhathain

On the flaming hoof rode the vorpal steed,
Out of the sapphire regions between stars,
Past Sol’s slumb’rous giants, to scythe at speed,
Yon the rocky ring, yon roseate Mars;
Full into view
Appears a peopl’d world,
A pearl of green & blue where whisp-white cloud-swirls curl’d.

Wings shredded so they could not steer,
Talon-slash trailing crimson,
All thro’ the scorching stratosphere
Plunges Vampyre Stallion,
No wince, no flinch, nor cry of fear,
Then, at the collision,
Marsh forests fly & land in piny piles,
The shatter’d tundra of a hundred miles.

All thro’ primeval Tunguska
Would devastation flood,
At the crater’s smoking centre
No beast of Eden stood;
Hail Alien! Bulbous, Bewing’d, Fangs thirsting Manling blood.

Siberia


The Sorceress

Winter mornings with suns of ice
& white worlds. Time of crows
They rule over the snowy fir forests
Alf Larsen

Long-Horn leads sickly steed thro’ Tulgey wood,
On ev’ry side bewitching whispering,
A phantom cry to curdle human blood,
A fence of ghoulish eyes ever-learing;
Tooth gate gnarl-grown,
Fang’d entrance to her lair,
O gaunt, dishevell’d crone! O jaundic’d, hellsent stare!

He steps thro’ arms aframe a door,
Enters gloom as black as tar,
“I have not seen thy like before!”
“I am from another star…”
“Welcome… sup flesh… this putrid sore…”
Cackles Baba Yaga,
Passing her guest a leg of leprosie –
He drank & thank’d for help, her only fee

A draught of blood, he slit his wrist,
Her beastly thirst to slake,
Mad mystic tryst! At witch-door hiss’d
Gigantic scarlet snake,
“This is sharp maw’d Zmei Gorynich, ye to the Beast shall take…”

Asia


The Bargain

Though the rasp of his flesh was so sore,
Faith, that had yearnings far keener than these,
Saw the soft sheen of the Thitherward Shore
MJ Preston

In the Necropolis’ most deepest tomb,
Far from the prying eyes of Seraphim,
Balrog swept down the shit-clad catacomb
Unto the Anti-Heaven’s inner rim;
Wide halls of bone,
Waulcaters amplified,
Unto the Serpent Throne beat leather-sails a-glide.

O suave, majestic demagogue
I humbly stand before thee,
The cosmos knows me as Balrog,
Lieutenant of Dadghabbi,
In these claws see I clutch a cog,
Heights of Technology –
With it you could defeat thine ancyent foes…”
Chrome circlet with deep sparkling azure glows.

What is the price? ” “A war!” “Indeed,
I can arrange the course –
But why?” “My steed may only feed
Upon a certain sauce…”
Low whinnies of encouragement wept from his wounded horse.

Pandemonium


Rousing the Aesir

Your mighty host set sail,
With valour in each longing heart
And vigour in the gale
Leigh Hunt

Loki canter’d the clammy trachts of Hell,
Strange presences witnessing wyrd meeting,
At first it seem’d their talk was flowing well,
But demons grant comforts only fleeting;
Be-elzebub
Sets his sharp scythe aspin…
Leaving a grubby stub, donning the bloody skin.

‘Loki’ rose to halls of glory,
Acknowledging each table
Serv’d by a busty Valkyrie
With meat & mead & fable,
Then entering a fine city
Carv’d from marv’lous marble,
His mission hidden by a face of stone,
Kneeling before, beneath auld Odin’s throne.

“Hullo!” chimes Frigg, “Why cometh here!”
“Satanus calls for War!”
A goblet cheer, all the Aesir
Applauded from the floor,
A vogue & gory battle cry to rouse the rage ofThor.

Valhalla


The Indifference of Jove

In human works, though labour’d on with pain,
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
In God’s, one single can its end produce
Alexander Pope

Saint Peter hoodah’d cross the skiey plains
Upon a silver, tuskless Elephant,
His cherub-captain rhythmic with the reigns;
Resplendent with immortal amorant,
All sides lustr’d
Roses celestial,
Chasm-clinging cluster’d oer clear terrestrial.

He rode thro’ Paradise Mountains
To a voice more like a dream,
Echoing amidst the fountains
Where the holy rivers stream,
“Since I offer’d Man redemptions,
Souls would I once redeem,
He errs more than the sinful sons of Eve,
If men rejoice in killing why then grieve?”

“There are dark troubles brewing sire,
Satanus plots a war,
With daemons dire & dragons fire,
The Aesir to the fore,”
“Silence,” urged Jove, “we let them be, ‘tis just another war.”

Divinnia


Conversazione

Echo, tongueless, sings her sweet
& mimic song in sheep-strewn meadows,
taking up the words of birds
Satyrus

Far from the prying eyes of Gods & Men,
The goddess KARMA flew to Fairyland,
Convers’d with Mab, queen of the Pixie Glen,
Around them lovely daffadillies fann’d;
Sipping mull’d brews,
Flavour’d with wildflowers,
Sharing their recent news, minutes turn to hours.

As woodnymph with translucent wings
Burnish’d words with berry cakes,
Sighs Mab, “these new Gods & their Kings
Seldom learn from late mistakes,
Discontented with what Fate brings,
Each lusts more while he takes –
In that I trust not Satanus, nor Mars,
Lords of land’s cancers & the sea’s catarrhs.

In these futurities foreseen
Your days will grow busy?”
Not quite, my queen, I choose one scene
So very carefully –
Two families shall represent all of Humanity.”

Shangri-La


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2 thoughts on “Canto 1: L’AMFIPARNASSO”

  1. I have finally got around to tackling this — what seems to be — a monster of a poem. I had to put it off for awhile as I was working on”Godot” for a production here in Geneva, which just finished. I have watched the video introduction which I found very interesting — especially the musicality of the Scottish accent in reading. I knew that the Scottish accent was musical, but I don’t think I’ve heard before one reading poetry and the sounds and rhythms were nothing short of hypnotic. The written introduction also whetted my appetite by reminding me of my own reading of Homer and Aeneas . Many years ago.

    So, now I am buckling my seatbelt and beginning the voyage into “Axis and Allies”. Thanks for turning me on to this — it looks very impressive and interesting, and the passion you showed for it in the video is infectious. I plan to come to Edinburgh in January or February, and would like to know where I could buy a printed version. Thanks again for sending me this link.

    Like

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