Jack Lindsay

ix.

The Poet explains the Situation to Los and Elza‑Enitharmon
while
William Blake listens impatiently

Why do I write then? Let us say for fame,
since that is a motive sufficiently degraded
to have no significance any way at all.
Or shall I say: that I may read the poem
to you, and hear you say ‘I think it's splendid.’
That, since it shuts out all except myself
who stroked you from the moonlight and long‑eyed
and tenderly sleeping and waking by my side.
But all the while I know that the truth is
I write because I do not wish to be sent
back again by my own splintered will
and that intention shaped between myself
and men and women that were once called gods
and goddesses. Yet I’ll not write for them
because they underrate my sense of humour.

I would refuse to work unless that were
too childish a rebellion far too like
Keats’ cowardice.
But I could be a blackguard
and whip fat trollops nudely screeching.
Still, that would pall. So I prefer to work;
and find that I am only interested in
the work I chose and was chosen to do.
And therefore
I’ll do it and say: It’s there, just what you wanted,
so much of imagery, ten tons or so,
enough to blow the Moon down on Hyde Park
or flick a ringarosy of wild Suns.
I made this analysis of the Image, look,
just as you told me, proved the diaphragm
of body and spirit was the sheeted blood
hung like the Sky between desire and image.
I routed metaphysics with finer logic
and wrote a dozen plays on lust and laughter
mixed with most up‑to‑date psychology,
harmonised the whole tradition of the past
with the new flux of rainbow and split crystal
and trees spitting with light.

And in the end
after the disruptive stabilising play
which shows the whole creation of an earth
and cataclysm creaking through its boards,
I died at the right time. Here is the work,
but I refuse to take your thanks for it –
to hell with heaven and my own brave soul!

So I’ll trot off and found another heaven
of lonelier energy, perhaps allow
you to come there, and you, and you, and you,
and then some dogs; but no one else.
Yet then
they will have had their will of me after all.
So this is my courage, not to conquer pain
and hate, but the smug kindness of the gods,
their smug paternal malice, to ignore it.


SOURCE: Lindsay, Jack. Collected Poems, illustrated by Helen Lindsay. Lake Forest, IL: The Cheiron Press, 1981. xvi, 605 p., [40] leaves of plates. Signed. Copy #31. Final section of the poem cycle “Dionysos” (from the period 1926-1930): pp. 147-148.


A Checklist of Jack Lindsay's Books
Includes all of the following Lindsay links & more

Collected Poems [Section Headnotes] by Jack Lindsay

"Request for Help" (to William Blake) by Jack Lindsay

"Courage" by Jack Lindsay

"Spinoza" poem by Jack Lindsay

"Giordano Bruno" by Jack Lindsay

"A Note on My Dialectic" by Jack Lindsay

"Towards a Marxist Aesthetic" by Jack Lindsay

Adorno and the Frankfurt School by Jack Lindsay

A Garland for Jack Lindsay

Jack Lindsay and British Poetry in the 1930s by Adrian Caesar

"The Origins of Jack Lindsay's Contributions to British Marxist Thought" by Joel R. Brouwer

William Blake Study Guide

Marx and Marxism Web Guide

Offsite Links:

Jack Lindsay - Wikipedia

Papers of Jack Lindsay (1900-1990) (MS 7168, National Library of Australia)

The Origins of Alchemy in Graeco-Roman Egypt by Jack Lindsay
Poem To Marie Delcourt-Curvers [HMTL]
To Marie Delcourt-Curvers [pdf file]
The First and Concluding Chapters


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