Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT: 2. HE SAYS GOOD-BYE ..., by HANIEL (CLARK) LONG



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THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT: 2. HE SAYS GOOD-BYE ..., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The sound of subterranean violins
Last Line: Tree upon tree.
Subject(s): Alexander The Great (356-323 B.c.)


The sound of subterranean violins
Below the woodwind orchestra of leaves
Has entered me;
And lo, my song begins,
And Alexander dances as he weaves.

I sing the panic of young birth
And the ravishment of earth;
The bright dismay
Of flowers naked in the day;
The monstruous license and illusion
Of profusion,
The seed that struggles to creation
Through the surging night,
And the raids of emanation
To the light.

O frenzy to escape the Many
And be One;
To be blind to the debauchery of shade
And leap to the gold of the sun!
For everything I see is a release
From chaos to the peace
Of an identity.

O proud rejection of what cannot be
That gives the oak its majesty!
O great integrity of heart
That keeps each sapling faithful to his part
Was Alexander thus, or did he violate
With crimson the white dignity of fate?
Who knows?
Silent is the rose,
And Alexander dances here alone
With flesh unstable and dissolving bone.

I too, I, Alexander,
Have felt the fingers of the sea,
And trees had held me quietly.
Leopards have marked the inside of my thigh
With the play-bite; and from the farthest sky
Eagles have come impassioned to my breast
And longing for my life confessed.

I sing the panic of young breath,
And the struggle back to death.
'Tis strange,
We so desire to be apart -
And then we change,
We desire to have done,
To be gathered heart to heart.
After the day of million-fold identity
Follows the night when all identities are one.

And I,
Who face the sky
The proudest scion of my race,
No more would Alexander be,
But lie in the intricate embrace
Of flower after flower,
Tree upon tree.




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