(lines in quotes from William Blake)
"Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?"
In a time when clipper ships, sails belling windward,
plied the ocean currents in search of new lands,
mariners, sailors, explorers alike
populated the edges of their maps
with fearsome beasts, deadly bygones
like the manticore, the peryton,
the leucrotta, and the catoblepas . . .
and then, all lands had been sundered,
plundered, surrendered to the hunger
of these Conquistadores, these ravagers,
robber barons with maps and sextants
facile archaeologists who weighed the material worth
of each priceless find to a nicety.
and most priceless of all, native virgins fall
to the hands of those who claim Divinity
as a cover for their lusts.
now, the many-times great-grandsons of these
conquerors and the natives they raped
bear the marks of both their parentage
in the language they speak, in their lean and tawny
frames. they walk an urban terrain, and in it
they are the fearsome beasts.
they dance the streets to primal rhythms,
their blood runs with the rumble of drums.
and men such as their many-times-great-grandsires
were, now walk in terror of them, feel
themselves nearing some forbidden border
of their mental maps as that music reaches
them on some subconscious level, as those
chatoyant eyes glance in their direction.
their high-rises and briefcases are empty play,
and now the aristocracy is the prey.
survival of the fittest? so you say,
before you step outside when night replaces day.
lords of creation? i think not.
i see fangs of steel in the dark.
"Did He who made the lamb make thee?"
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