The Icy Flame, Mad Monk Mix

Live on, thou damned!
–Baudelaire, The Double Room

Life is the lash
Driving us on
Toward the flame
Without haste
Without pause
Calm, cruel, fixed
Indifferent to us
Its raw material that serves some purpose
We cannot know
Into the chilling fire, slave-soldiers!
Into Nature’s maw!
This command the only counsel
Of a universe without conscience
And desperate Man takes his own
He imagines worlds beyond
Over and above this grave
Clear of its stench and toil
He peoples them with his beloved
Who wait there serene and knowing
Holding the Secret in trust
He blasphemes Nature’s Holy Writ
As He works to will these things
He works in defiant futility
Despite Her daily proofs
Of disease and calamity
The endlessly varied forms
Her harvest of death takes, like
Myriad mutant troops enforcing Her terror
And She claims with equal indifference
Her rebels and Her slaves
But behind Her cold disdain
Concealed by Her advantage in time
Her actions reveal some jealousy
Of Man’s last means of resistance
His undying imagination
And frail She may be after all
Behind that horrible beautiful face
So we may as well call Her bluff
Though we know Her game is rigged, and
Sing defiant you fading voices!
We last, we last and
We have no fear, for
In that crucible of ice and dust
In that fire that will not warm
There, final and eternal
Only there
We are
At long last my tiring friend
No longer alone.

4 thoughts on “The Icy Flame, Mad Monk Mix

  1. Earlier version:Life is the lashDriving us onInto the fireWithout hasteWithout respiteWithout pauseCalm, cruel, fixedIndifferent to usIts raw material that serves some purposeWe cannot knowInto the chilling fire, slave-soldiers!Into Nature's maw!This command the only counselOf a universe without conscienceSo let us take our ownBe brave–as if you had the choiceAnd fake an embraceOf our rigid fateMock it as it mocks you nowImagine worlds beyondOver and above this graveFill them with wonderPeople them with your belovedWho wait there serene and knowingHolding the Secret in trustSing, as if you had the voiceAnd cheer at once–because it is only thereIn that crucible of ice and dustIn that fire that will not warmThere, final and eternalOnly thereWe areAt long last my tiring friendNo longer alone.


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