Mudlark Poster No. 13 (1998)

Robert Sward

The Immortals, In Question
Report from the Front

Winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Robert Sward is the author of sixteen books including Uncivilizing (Insomniac Press, Canada); A Much-Married Man, A Novel; and Four Incarnations, New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press). Contributing Editor to eZines Blue Moon Review and Pares cum Paribus, Sward also served as editor for eSCENE 1996, "the best short stories to be published on the Internet." |


The Immortals, In Question

       — "We have overtaken our gods."
    — Nietzsche

What are they to do?  They have
no place to hide.  No patch
of sky, no church,
         no sanitoria.
What are
we to do?  After all
the photographs,
all the images recast
(into electronic, more useable form),
the ancient saints, priests, choir
boys (and girls) destroyed (pipe organs,
the formerly holy star,
the musical spheres...),
who will care for them, cleanse them,
feed them?
   What will the gods do?


Report from the Front

All over newspapers have stopped appearing,
and combatants everywhere are returning home.
No one knows what is happening.
The generals are on the phone with the President,
a former feature writer for the New YorkTimes.
No one knows even who has died, or how,
or who won last night, anything.
Those in attendance on them may,
for all we know, still be there.

All over newspapers have stopped appearing.
Words once more, more than ever,
have begun to matter. And people are writing
poetry. Opposing regiments, declares a friend,
are refusing evacuation, are engaged instead
in sonnet sequences; though they understand, he says,
the futility of iambics in the modern world.
That they are concerned with the history and meaning
of prosody. That they persist in their exercises
with great humility and reverence.

Copyright © Mudlark 1998
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