Face the Muse-ic

Tell us, O Muse, of those who judge
the way of life of us of youth
with time ahead. Is not the sword
of double edge now in his hand
who once was victim of its keen
and shining blade? Does not his mind
with looming, ebony thoughts of life,
contain a speck of hope for future years?
If time does this to able men,
when will the lesser seek to sear?

Mortal youth, within your state
of wise confusion lean lies the insight
sorely sought. Time is that of total life
to man, and overtake him soon
it shall. Now the sword is in man's hand,
and all too soon the swing will start
its swift and silent downward blow.
The flare of tempers, the blame of youth
are not real forces to stay the sword
and dam the river filled brimming full
with crimson blood and bobbing heads.
Keep in mind that of mortal men,
the meek will reign and rule this earth of green --
or black -- or that which stands.

(The two columns -- one above and one below -- were published in the Western Montana College student newspaper, Wescolite, 1968-69. The one above is philosophical about the Vietnam war, and the one below rips Richard Nixon for continuing that war.)

Tell us, O Muse, of the one so fair
and bold as to lead a country free
down the traveled path to agony.
Does this man from the land of waste --
this god who bides his time and then
comes forth to take the mighty helm,
millions of people to overwhelm?
Unto all Caesars a Brutus true,
yet so nobel a nation doth not comprehend --
not caring nor asking, asleep to the end,
taking this traitor for such a good friend.

O, restless mortal with mind so so quick,
you view the web of life of he
who powerless never happy will be
until he too should have a part
in shaping destiny for lowly man.
Even now across the wide expanse
of sky so blue this mortal leads
but does not see the pit below -
one death that will bestow
the River Blood, but it is so.
Wrong before this land has been
in taking paths that never end
with victory, but sad defeat,
and now with fate again will meet
to make its turn of coat complete.

Tell us, O Muse, of a citizen high
whose well liked mind as of late
has convinced himself that he is great.
He thinks among men that he alone
should yet receive the biggest bone,
and too the harvest lately grown.
Why do people liked so well
permit their pride in size to swell
and grow so blind as not to see
good friends and more begin to flee
from such unwanted company?

Mortal, you speak of he who local lies,
and lately slashed at those of blood
with tongue and thus began your flood.
Tis true he sees his position not
nor shall obtain ideals he once sought
but soon shall gain the hate he's fought.
Even now it rises in those he needs,
but being vain, he never heeds
that being royal, aloof, arrogant, bold
in casting loved ones in the same mold
will leave him only empty air to hold.

(a column about a local official's rise to power and its effects on his ego)

Tell, O Muse, of those so poised
to foreit texts on school's first day.
Are they in need of sleep so sweet
that not until noon do they open doors?
In stupor bliss do they not see
a line that stretches to eternity?
What kind of people with task before
would not prepare until the dawn
of that same day the task was on?
Is it to be forever more,
students endure the line they most abhor?

Mortal, thou with fury speak
of those whose task so hard must be.
They alone withstand the gale
of students' lust for knowledge "bound."
So great the job they must complete
that "ace" it early they cannot.
Thus, intent on books at early dawn,
struggling vainly against the throng,
slowly they sink from reality
with mental blocks that rise up tall.
They accept students wait the line
leading to lucid learning fine.

(a column critical of a textbook lending system then in use at Western Montana College)

Timothy Pilgrim