Friday, 31 January 2014

The Madness of Frederick

As a boy
I was taught
right from wrong
by parents
and by clerks
dressed down in fulgin cloaks.

I was told “thou shalt not”
by belligerent busibodies
who owned the divine rules
as their own shackles
and urgently pressed
those moral chains
on my full-virile frame:
seeking to hold me down,
so they might rape my mind.

The tirade of their words made no sense to me.
Obedience and observance are no virtues
they merit nothing
for they comprehend nothing.
They are empty of soul and spirit
and dark as the deepest abyss.
To conform to imperial diktat
is to abdicate one's own crown,
to resign one's own humanity
and forswear one's own existence:
aping some abstract essence
foreign to one's own truth
which must be found and forged
in the coil of life.

Their God is dead for me.
He serves no use,
has no crevice in my life.
What need have I of any tyrant governor,
who seeks only to carp
and criticise my acts,
curtail my will
and circumscribe my manhood.

And yet, if God is dead,
and rule of good and ill is passed away,
than how can I survive?
What sets my way,
directs my path?
What aim or end
can hold my heart's intent
and give me hope?

Without an ethic, how can I live:
or even set life apart from death?
It seems I must make up my own
and pass beyond the fancy-land
of good and evil
to the unknown country
of want and will
from make-believe
to made-belief!
I must impose my will
on an empty world,
project my private rational account
on a futile public pageant,
bereft of sense.

But if this lore
is nothing other
than want and will,
how can it bind
or help or guide?
How can it be more
than wanton urge
of lowly brute,
not the noble aspirations
and lofty ambitions
of superior man?

Pursuit of pleasure does not suffice,
no lasting satisfaction provide;
but only fleeting respite
before the dismal dawning
of the next drear day.

If will to power is all;
then what is that power for?
What motivates its exercise,
directs its choice of act?
There is no point in ability to do
if there's no point in doing anything!
It seems my mind must know
(or at least glimpse)
what is desirable and what desire is for
before my will can reasonably desire at all.

I am confused and stare into the abyss
of my whirling thoughts
which will not rest and
where there is no peace
nor hope nor joy.
From out that chasm
of woe
my gaze is turned back
onto me.

At first I fear
and then I find a clue:
to know myself, that is my task:
and in that knowledge
disclose what's good for me
by virtue of mine own constituent form
and so unearth,
by delvings of my reasoned mind,
what I most need,
what I may do,
and what I must forego.
I have to mine within myself
a precious ore: the lode-stone
to direct my own way by.

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