CABBAGES AND KINGS: a chiasmus

Posted: April 20, 2013 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

 1

Alciabades

i

Pisander in Athens, in time of war

with armsful of presents (labelled ‘If’,

labelled ‘Trust Me’, ‘Guaranteed’),

 

says: “Alciabades …”,  (whoa, place him later – )

“…should be recalled, and the democratic

whatyoucallit, bodypolitic

thingy…” – (slight misdirection) – “… you know,

the constitution,  changed…”  (madness, surely)…

 

but they were counting off, like he was

on fingers – how they loved newfangleness –

now placed his, and they with him, this point, thus,

–  the sophist’s snake in the attic vase – this Then:

“…then they would have the king their ally.”

 

(Read: Paymaster, and read: Buy Me, Cheap;

read Desperate, Patched, and Thin.)

 

ii

Though Phrynichus, intrigued against intriguer,

said Alciabades cared little for cause

so long as he was recalled: democracy, oligarchy…

–  what we were free to do, what we were bound to do …

 

and how he feared the discovery of his inability,

and how that was what woke him constantly.

 

But no one listened nor wanted knowledge,

only peace, and so Phrynichus, the worn

and compromised rag that was their conscience,

readied himself for the assassin’s knife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Cromwell

i

“That we may understand really

the bottom of our desires…” …

“…not just plausible and good things

but seasonable and honest…”…

“…what we were, where we are,

what we were bound to do, what we are free to do….”

he paused, for he understood, then,

desires can change.

And when offered the crown

“…three times he put it by, each time

a little more reluctantly…”

I noticed this.

“Time was we had not boggled at this word.”

he said. To kill a king is no newfangleness.

ii

The Divine Rights of Kings – and of assassins;

Pascal’s Provincial Letters, their quiet reading,

subversively plots out the reasoning –

like a knot garden, a quiet strength

in the midst of tumult, where God

is the repository of conscience, and conscience

the true measure of action.

When God is wrenched out of gesture

let conscience be questioned

I would like to think

by each cut, slash… despatch.

iii

Naseby Hill, and the King coming on

from before, Prince Rupert from the right –

auxiliaries challenged their phalanx

and it broke.

How many stumbled, caught, vulnerable, died

in that garden, the rabbit warren

they charged across? The underground chambers

palpitating with life.

 

 

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