Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THIS IS THE END, by JEAN DE BOSSCHERE



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THIS IS THE END, by            
First Line: Open the divine comedy
Last Line: Still stick to his fingers. ...
Subject(s): African Americans; Children; Comedy; Laughter; Slavery; Negroes; American Blacks; Childhood; Serfs


Open the Divine Comedy
And amuse the children.
We, to go on living
Have not even
We have no more alcohol aflame.

The children laugh;
And a good old fellow, a hempen man,
Puts his bone fingers on my shoulder:
I see that certain worms have eaten his eyes,
But he keeps his nursling soul,
This man of white.
And he is no more ill-inclined than Jesus.

But he draws the curtain
And shows me his church
This evening, and how can I smile?

The old man smells of cold flesh and earthworms,
And I saw his church while entering

No! We are through,
This is the end!
We are the black children
To whom no one speaks!
Not a god in the dew
Bending over the daisies
To say:

"Everything's all right; sleep; and I am here,
Like the maid in the kitchen."

We made a hole in the canvas
And it was only a traveling show of mirrors;
We are the new pilgrims,
We're going off to preach the great explosion,
We'll supplant the morbid honey-sweets with crime.

We shall write Faust no longer,
All is discovered,
Ghastly betrayal!
Those who sang life
And wept death!
No walls now;
Hope? How?
Death, longed-for blackamoor!

I must hate the day
I put my trust in school things.
And even the white man has not stopped
Turning the yellowed pages of many books.
And, in broad daylight,
The horrible smell of damp clothing
In the class of the world,
And the stove is the sun.

In the middle stands the schoolmaster
With no symmetry
And too tight trousers.

He is the schoolmaster You and I,
Colic and violation. ...
Solemn-faced monkey!

He tells where God is
And that the earth is round
Up to the present:
He has a red scratch on his nose. ...

He is the schoolmaster,
Damp odor of linen,
He sweats
And understands.

While the syrups of the school still stick on his fingers,
And the master has not stopped believing
In the liberal
Arts, in lean shepherds and generals
And Gods—

He remains a rooted plant.

And, bound by maternal ties to the earth
Which we go round,—
He's a slave and labors for the Emperor;
Not a lime-twig to catch feathers,
Not an octopus taking food with all its arms,
Not a candle that absorbs while gleaming,
Not that, nor any thing that lives—

He remains smaller than the small earth;
Attached to his mothers and his races
Like a brick between its two plaster shirts,—

He rumbles with the eggs and the mire,
With the lies of Moses and the Cæsars,—
Consumptive palmiped with rubber paws,
Viaduct, endosmosis tube, black stream
Where life flows through—

He remains to black the boss's boots,
And sits on the see-saw of Greek verse,
Swallows still ... what has been digested,
Chooses iniquity,
Obeys.

He believes in the poor painting of the laws,
Subserves a hideous geography!
He amputates his ears and his nose,
And cuts off his dog's tail,
Murderer at the king's call,
Father in the names of the gods,
While, old and broken,
The syrups of the school
Still stick to his fingers. ...





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