Come Over And Help Us (A Rhapsody)

Poem By John Brooks Wheelwright

Our masks are gauze / and screen our faces for those unlike us only,
Who are easily deceived. / Pierce through these masks to our unhidden tongues
And watch us scold, / scold with intellectual lust; / scold
Ourselves, our foes, our friends; / Europe, America, Boston; and all that is not
Boston; / till we reach a purity, fierce as the love of God; - / Hate.
Hate, still fed by the shadowed source; / but fallen, stagnant fallen;
Sunk low between thin channels; rises, rises; / swells to burst
Its walls; and rolls out deep and wide. / Hate rules our drowning Race.
Any freed from our Tyrant; / abandon their farms, forsake their Country, become American.

We, the least subtle of Peoples, / lead each only one life at a time, -
Being never, never anything but sincere; / yet we trust our honesty
So little that we dare not depart from it, - / knowing it to need habitual stimulation.
And living amid a world of Spooks, / we summon another to us
Who is (in some sort) our Clown, - / as he affords us amusement.
O! sweet tormentor, Doubt! longed-for and human, / leave us some plausible
Evil motive, however incredible. / The Hate in the World outside our World
(Envious, malicious, vindictive) / makes our Hate gleam in the splendor
Of a Castrate / who with tongue plucked out; / arms, legs sawed off;
Eyes and ears, pierced through; / still thinks / thinks
By means of all his nutriment, / with intense, exacting Energy, terrible, consuming.
Madness, we so politely placate / as an every-day inconvenience
We shun in secret. / Madness is sumptuous; Hate, ascetic.
Those only who remain sane, / taste the flavor of Hate.
Strong Joy, we forbid ourselves / and deny large pleasurable objects,
But, too shrewd to forego amusement, / we enjoy all joys which, dying, leave us teased.
So spare us, sweet Doubt, our tormentor, / the Arts, our concerts, and novels;
The theater, sports, the exotic past; / to use to stave off Madness,
To use as breathing spells, / that our drug's tang may not die.
If with less conviction, / with some result, some end, -
So pure ourselves; so clear our passion; / pure, clear, alone.

The New Englander leaves New England / to flaunt his drab person
Before Latin decors / and Asiatic back-drops.
Wearies. / Returns to life, -life tried for a little while.
A poor sort of thing / (filling the stomach; emptying the bowels;
Bothering to speak to friends on the street; / filling the stomach again;
Dancing, drinking, whoring) / forms the tissue of this fabric.-
(Marriage; society; business; charity; - / Life, and life refused.)

The New Englander appraises sins, / and finds them beyond his means, and hoards
Likewise, he seldom spends his goodness / on someone ignoble as he,
But, to make an occasion, he proves himself / that he is equally ignoble.
Then he breaks his fast! / Then he ends his thirsting!
He censors the Judge. / He passes judgment on the Censor. / No language is left.
His lone faculty, Condemnation, -condemned. / Nothing is left to say.
Proclaim an Armistice. / Through Existence, livid, void, / let silence flood.

Ask the Silent One your question. / (He is stupid in misery
No more than the talkative man, who talks through his hat.) / Ask the question.
If he replied at all, / it would be to remark that he never could despise
Anyone so much as himself / should he once give way to Self-pity.
A different act of faith is his, - / the white gesture of Humility.
He knows his weakness. / He is well-schooled / and he never forgets the shortest
Title of his Knowledge. / The jailer of his Soul sees Pride. / He sees
Tears, never. / The Silent One is so eaten away
He cannot make that little effort / which surrender to external Fact
Requires, / but looks out always with one wish, - / to realize he exists.

Lo! a Desire! / A Faint motive! / A motive (however faint) beyond disinterestedness.
Faint. / It is faint. / But the boundary is clear. / Desire, oh desire further!
Past that boundary lies Annihilation / where the Soul
Breaks the monotonous-familiar / and man wakes to the shocking
Unastounded company of other men. / But the Silent One would not pass
Where the Redmen have gone. / He would live without end. That, - / the ultimate nature of Hell.

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