For Byron and the Romantics

Flown from Chillon

When will the Truth be on my lips
and the Light be on my brow?

—Leonard Cohen from “Argument”


This is the human heart, uncorrupt. This
is divinity’s heart, the world’s soul.
What the altar; what sacrifice? Nature
receives her own, yet we in our myths, our
illusions as fallen beings, eject
ourselves from paradise, forfeit unlost
for lacking soulful strength and so reject
innocence as a softer state too gentle,
too soft for survival . . . and thus we die
to Truth and Beauty as soon as it touch
us deeper than the need to feed, the urge
to satisfy flesh. What has Truth to do
with deprivation? And what has Beauty
to do with self-denial’s strange commerce?

David Pitchford
20 July 2010


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