A nod to Nietzsche

Nodding to Nietzsche

They say that god is love: yes, then, Nietzsche,
god is dead. Its bloated corpse is my heart—
my mouth and stomach fill with these buzzing,
stinking maggots and mind crawling, creeping,
lurching in broken swirls of worms and roaches
eating the carrion of my thoughts and
feasting on dead idealism and
corrupted vows—corpses of guardians
slain beside their dead god, angels dancing
no longer on the pin’s head, but rotting
in the fetid stench of human frailty
and failed faith. Yet death feeds life. It cycles
in apotheosis even stone dead.
As maggots become flies, so love’s death bears hope.

David M Pitchford
21 July 2009


7 thoughts on “A nod to Nietzsche

  1. Very good, David; especially
    ..Yet death feeds life. It cycles/in apotheosis even stone dead/As maggots become flies, so love’s death bears hope./ Optimism abounds in those last words. Love begins even as present love gives up the ghost. Your description of mind during the process shows stops and starts, faith lost, faith regained, a picture of the many seasons of love; love lost, love regained, shows nothing new under the son, endless cycles end with another beginning, and on and on it goes. *shrug* *grin*

    BTW, I love the new blog look, David..:)

  2. David, I forgot to rate your poem before submitting. Feel free to tweak the Rate-o-meter to 4 stars; I’d give it a 5 but then you’d have nothing left to strive for.. *duck*

  3. You should not only apprciate but consider it a gesture of great kindness that I would take my time to critique your poem. You are not afterall an old and dying man? You can live to write better poems.

    Your last line is:

    “As maggots become flies, so love’s death bears hope.”

    I hate to belabour the metaphor, but is a fly really so much better than a maggot. It’s not exactly like a bud sprouting into a lovely plant. If you are equating love with God-which is what I assume you are doing-and love’s death with God’s death than perhaps you could explain this a little bit better.

    Is there less love without God. Isn’t it just when God dies that the love people felt for him has a chance to recapitulate and refocus itself on any number of the multifarious earthly splendors?

    If I am right, you are making the mistake of thinking of Nietzsche as a sort of nihilist. He affirms life in all of it’s beauty and vulgarity. He is the life philosopher if there ever was one. His philosophy is not a fly compared to a maggot. I like to think of it more like my grandfather-near death (from skin cancer) refusing to retreat from a walk in the splendid sun.

    It’s about realizing the beauty and necessity of tragedy for life. This tragedy includes the death of God, but is not limited to it.

    Also, you mention that God’s “bloated corpse” is your heart. I hope I can take this as evidence that you once did believe in God and in fact ordered your life around that belief? If so, is this the best manifestation of your feeling towards God’s death?

    Instead of trying to come up with overbloated metaphors, why don’t you tell us what you really felt during the moment, instance, year, or years during your supposed convalescence following the death of God.

    That could make a beautiful and more importantly sincere poem. I’m sorry. I just don’t think this is a sincere poem… a sincere picture of your feelings.

    But you have every right to try and convince me otherwise.

    • Nodding to Nietzsche
      They say that god is love: then, Nietzsche, yes,
      god is dead. Its bloated corpse is my heart—
      mind memory-ravaged, life torn apart
      by stinking maggots as they consume no less
      than all: sins unforgiven though I confess
      all fault—mea culpa—life, all and part
      corrupt, iniquity in me an art
      of unbelieved words, verses void and vimless

      slain beside their dead god, angels dancing
      no longer on the pen’s head, but rutting
      in human frailty—this slippery slope
      of failed faith. Yet death feeds life—romancing
      apotheosis, Death stops his strutting:
      As maggots become flies, so love’s death births hope.

      David M Pitchford
      28 July 2009 (revised from 21 July)

    • Bahram: who are you that I should feel so blessed to have a moment of your thought or consideration? Who are you that I should take your opinion into consideration? I mean this as a serious question, not as a challenge. In my culture, it is considered rude to tell people how they should feel. If you mean it in kindness, then thank you.
      I don’t subscribe to your opinion on Nietzsche, but aside from that I don’t see how that determines this as a ‘terrible poem’. It is not altogether reasonable to assume that the poet and the narrative voice are one – that the narrative voice is the opinion or experience of the poet directly. Also, this poem is a sonnet. Originally it was written as an unrhymed sonnet. I’ve now framed it into a Petrarchan sonnet. The sonnet rejects Confessionalism and is not the place for what you seem to expect in a poem – the Zen moment or the ‘pure experience’.
      The metaphor is rather strained, but it is not a bad metaphor. In fact, I think it is rather clever. Especially how it works with the poem in a rhetorical sense. If the reader doesn’t comprehend it, that in itself does not make the metaphor a failure. As the metaphor works to rhetorically stretch the volta, it is the appropriate metaphor for this context.

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