Wednesday, May 18, 2011

the life of the world to come

I think there's a certain set of people who really really hope a disaster happens so they can say they're right and everyone else is wrong. I also think there's a sense that most of us have that what is now can't go on forever, there has to be some kind of finiteness, a shelf life, an end, be it self-destructive human dumbassery, the sun swallowing us up, the Second Coming, the Mahdi, Cthulu, Quetzalcoatl, Shiva the Destroyer of All Worlds. It's hardwired in there.

As your token born-again-er, who still believes that no mere mortal knows the day or the hour, I really haven't been paying much attention to whoever this Harold Camping and his Family Radio people are. I honestly just tune it out because everyone is always wrong, considering that in my lifetime, 1989, 2000, and countless others have gone by without even, and find the whole Left Behind thing a bit absurd. It's cheap catastrophic entertainment for people who like to read mediocre fiction. I figure that everyone got the whole first coming thing completely wrong, what's to say we won't do so with the second?

If history is any indication, it's just another in a long string of speculations from everywhere. I've got circa AD 1000 medieval "chants for the end of the world" sitting on my bookshelf at home, our library-ish amusement at sensationalistic pamphlets from Renaissance England reveals speculations about the Antichrist being everyone from Muhammad, Oliver Cromwell, and of course whoever the Pope was, thanks to the pending year of 1666 and the earthquakes and comets and other "straunge syghtes" such as the "rayning of bloud" in Rome.

I'm sure that someday all sorts of crazy will break loose if it hasn't already, but honestly, I really don't want to be around when it all goes down.

And am I born to die?
And lay this body down?
And as my trembling spirits fly
Into a world unknown

A land of deeper shade
Unpierced by human thought
The dreary region of the dead
Where all things are forgot

Soon as from earth I go
What will become of me?
Eternal happiness or woe
Must then my fortune be

Waked by the trumpet's sound
I from my grave shall rise
And see the Judge with glory crowned
And see the flaming skies


Anonymous said...

Allen Ginsberg
"Stanzas: Written at Night in Radio City"
If money made the mind more sane,
Of money mellowed in the bowel
The hunger beyond hunger's pain,
Or money choked the mortal growl
And made the groaner grin again,
Or did the laughing lamb embolden
To loll where has the lion lain,
I'd go make money and be golden.

Nor sex will salve the sickened soul,
Which has its holy goal an hour,
Holds to heart the golden pole,
But cannot save the silver shower,
Nor heal the sorry parts to whole.
Love is creeping under cover,
Where it hides its sleepy dole,
Else I were like any lover.

Many souls get lost at sea,
Others slave upon a stone:
Engines are not eyes to me,
Inside buildings I see bone.
Some from city to city flee,
Famous labors make them lie;
I cheat on that machinery,
Down in Arden I will die.

Art is short, nor style is sure:
Though words our virgin thoughts betray,
Time ravishes that thought most pure,
Which those who know, know anyway;
For if our daughter should endure,
When once we can no more complain,
Men take our beauty for a whore,
And like a whore, to entertain.

The city's hipper slickers shine,
Up in the attic with the bats;
The higher Chinamen, supine,
Wear a dragon in their hats:
He who seeks a secret sign
In a daze or sicker doze
Blows the flower superfine;
Not a poppy is a rose.

If fame were not a fickle charm,
There were far more famous men:
May boys amaze the world to arm,
Yet their charms are changed again,
And fearful heroes turn to harm;
But the shambles is a sham.
A few angels on a farm
Fare more fancy with their lamb.

No more of this too pretty talk,
Dead glimpses of apocalypse:
The child pissing off the rock,
Or woman withered in the lips,
Contemplate the unseen Cock
That crows all beasts to ecstasy;
As so the Saints beyond the clock
Cry to men their dead eyes see.

Come, incomparable crown,
Love my love is lost to claim,
O hollow fame that makes me groan;
We are a king without a name:
Regain thine angel's lost renown,
As, in the mind's forgotten meadow,
Where brightest shades sleep under stone,
Man runs after his own shadow

New York, March 1949

Anonymous said...

Randal Graves said...

The end is going on now, but is saved from our intervention by moving too slow for us to see.

Cthulhu is going to eat you last for spelling its name incorrectly.