Give us gods, Oh give them us!
Give us gods.
We are so tired of men
and motor-power. —
But not gods grey-bearded and dictatorial,
nor yet that pale young man afraid of fatherhood
shelving substance on to the woman, Madonna mia! shabby virgin!
nor gusty Jove, with his eye on immortal tarts,
nor even the musical, suave young fellow
wooing boys and beauty.
Give us gods
give us something else —
Beyond the great bull that bellowed through space, and got his throat cut.
Beyond even that eagle, that phoenix, hanging over the gold egg of all things,
further still, before the curled horns of the ram stepped forth
or the stout swart beetle rolled the globe of dung in which man should hatch,
or even the sly gold serpent fatherly lifted his head off the earth to think —
Give us gods before these —
Thou shalt have other gods before these.
Where the waters end in marshes
swims the wild swan
sweeps the high goose above the mists
honking in the gloom the honk of procreation from such throats.
where the electron behaves and misbehaves as it will,
where the forces tie themselves up into knots of atoms
and come untied;
of mistiness complicated into knots and clots that barge about
and bump on one another and explode into more mist, or don’t,
mist of energy most scientific —
But give us gods!
where the father of all things swims in a mist of atoms
electrons and energies, quantums and relativities
mists, wreathing mists,
like a wild swan, or a goose, whose honk goes through my bladder.
And in the dark unscientific I feel the drum-winds of his wings
and the drip of his cold, webbed feet, mud-black
brush over my face as he goes
to seek the women in the dark, our women, our weird women whom he treads
with dreams and thrusts that make them cry in their sleep.
Gods, do you ask for gods?
Where there is woman there is swan.
Do you think, scientific man, you’ll be father of your own babies?
Don’t imagine it.
There’ll be babies born that are cygnets, O my soul!
young wild swans!
And babies of women will come out young wild geese, O my heart!
the geese that saved Rome, and will lose London.