POETRY: Canaan by Geoffrey Hill

Canaan by Geoffrey Hill

I

They march at God’s
pleasure through Flanders
with machine-pistols,
chorales, cannon
of obese bronze,
with groaning pushcarts,
to topple Baal. At
crossroads they hoist
corpses and soiled
banners of the Lamb.
The sun takes assize.
Aloof the blades
of oblation
rise, fall, as though they
were not obstructed
by blades of bone.

II

Fourier’s children
their steeds, kazoos,
the splashed fetlocks—
deliquescent manna
that most resembles
a sudden urban sleet—
shedding innocent blood
their ragged fusillade
a bit of a laugh
indifferent hatred
stained with their own works:
détentes of corpse-gas
reactive
furnaces of the spirit
immemorial
sightings in Canaan:
fig trees and planted vines
and the groves
unguarded
messuage for jackals.

III

Inquiry passes
and rectitude.
They do not spare
the sucking child nor are they
sparing with trumpets.
Now it is
Moloch his ovens
and the dropped babes naked
swung by an arm
or a leg like flails.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: