The Cave of the Moon
by C.F. Russell
The solemn wizard made a mystic mark
Upon the stone that stood before the door:
"This means" he muttered, "this is Noah's Ark,
"And I am Noah warned by God before
"The deluge swallows up the wicked earth,
"And purging brings a better world to birth."
He entered bold the cave as black as night,
No weapon carried he except a wand
Of hazel wood, his own by right of might
To wrench it from the bush; his soul thus pawned
To demon for a tool of magic power
To make of him a fool for one brief hour.
The darkness covered up the prophet then
A boulder fell and wholly filled the hole;
His memory faded from the hearts of men.
The Ark became a tomb, his grave, the goal
Of his dramatic life devoted quite
To an eternal macromic rite.
Thus far the story's known to vulgar folk
Whose stupid minds encompass only what
They sense - the hidden pointel of the joke
May penetrate the brain of no one but
Him who can read the Book the sainted Knave
did write upon the wall within the cave.
You're lucky if you know your Alphabet
From A and B through C and D and E,
The value full, their order true to Zed,
A fool perhaps, a child, may have the key
That fits the lock that seals the Book upon
The wall within the cavern of the Moon.
The common Kabalistic scholar fails
To spell the words to rightly word the spells
Those ghostly breaths from hell that swell the sails
Wherewith the human spirit soars and dwells
Amidst the ether in those stately halls
Of spaceless scope beyond Times catawauls.
The brilliant scholar leavens stupid schools
Agreed - the rule's accepted everywhere,
And yet, 'tis true exceptions prove the rule.
Not five, not three - the sages do declare -
There are four ecstatics by ancient count,
But four exact, the even square amount.
Indifferences summit was the goal reached,
From which he plunged into the Abyss
Attaining opposite pinnacle, preached
A passionate sermon to himself on Bliss
For nothing is and nothing could be better than
The ecstasy refused that grips the master man.
An apathy as pure as light pervades
His bones; and ennui as soft as love
Must be his bed; he scorns such flimsy aids
As interest in life - what is above
Doth correspond to that which lies below,
And liberty's a treacherous sniff of snow.
The fifth and final ecstasy is coy,
It comes when other ecstasies have fled
The heart, and vacant made the noble head
That's owned by him to whom the childish toy
Of Life, the bauble Love, the plaything Light
and bubble Liberty n'er bring delight.
And so the book illuminates the soul
And warns the heart and feeds the mind and makes
The body like a shining copper bowl
Receptacle to keep the sacred cakes
of light that feed the famished festal fires
In core of star or heart of worm or mire.
Before me Gimel and behind me Tau,
The right handed path doth lead up to a Gate.
The ibis-headed god whose will is Law
Attends me on my left, above my Fate,
Beneath - the Towers of Darkness raise their spires
Within is Adenal and no desires.
This formula is but a veil of woe
Concealing unimaginable joys on earth
And peace unutterable and rest, to know
Which shall confer a Ring whose emerald girth
Entwines about a scarlet heart, the pain
Of Abel's death absolved the guilt of Cain!