Reading Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy make
Apollo freeze and Dionysus play
gets all wrong what’s true and begs the bland lie.
Apollo’s heart moves as much as music
or song, fingers or voice, Dionysus
dragging the mind down into the body
to break its heart. No wonder Homer lives
in language plucked now by poets living
to specify how warriors die. That’s why
eight, nine centuries expired when Christ died.
Rap’s cadence turns language into music.
Maenads who once followed now lead the dance,
no more mad than their brothers. Not madness
but sanity’s in peril when war cries
whip up hurricanes to sweep a nation
into deeps no ghost survives. The mass starts
with music meant to reassure the flock
it weighs the soul that must praise St. Paul’s Christ.
The slaver blinded on the road takes slaves
to build twenty centuries of churches.
Let mad Nietzsche die without his sister
changing his work to prophesy Hitler.
Turn up the music to swallow her shrill
rant. The lost traveler under the hill
once walked the peaks debating his masters
until he sat in a cabin to tell
the story he would live after he fell
on the man with a whip beating a horse.
Syphillis ravaged Nietzsche, whose remorse
suicided him who asked why we kill.
(18 December 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander