JOHN BALL

Wycliffe's words and Langland's gave the Englisc
back their tongue. Manor french and church latin,
cut-off in the throat, battening behind
the buttresses of keeps and cathedrals,
parsing and declining. Johon Schepe
proclaims his hedgerow gospel, singing
from the furze like a yellowhammer:
Johan the Mullere hath ygrounde smal, smal, smal.
The Kynges sone of hevene schal pay for al.
Be war or ye be wo; Knoweth your freend
fro your foo. Haveth ynow, and seith ‘Hoo!'
There were no lords in Eden's commune.
Scythes sharpened on whetstones, gente non sancta.
War will follow the Word.

by Steve Ely

Other poems of STEVE ELY (6)

Comments (10)

I love this poem so much. I am addicted
.....most excellent...i like this ★
Allen This is a good poem, keep it up
Having heard him perform this several times with the harmonium, I can attest to the performance completely changing the experience of the poem. Some commenters don't seem to want to allow for the Buddhist context that permeates his work in this period, which I don't understand. We contextualize/historicize not to belittle but to better understand. For his mother, Ginsberg wrote a Kaddish on the occasion of her death - just 3 years before this poem for his father. It is but one part of a six or seven part series, and he is clearly exploring religious traditions in the face of death, loss.
Ginsberg and the aims of the beat generation. How we contemplated you? Yes Father Death Blues. Sing the blues and fly home in death, its a family affair. Child, Genius, Lover, Guru Death we considered you too, and its true, death is a teacher of the blues, alone with pain poverty too. Interesting you enclose Dharma Hinduism Death within Buddha Sangha Buddism Death. Both born in India yet Buddha largely rejected there, for the allure of chaste system and reincarnation. Yes Death an old family member at our fireside, Death our friend in travel, wherever we reside.
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