Archive for November 12th, 2017

Sunday, 12 November 2017

How Shall We Rise to Greet the Dawn? by Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell

How shall we rise to greet the dawn?
Not timidly,
With a hand above our eyes,
But greet the strong light
Joyfully;
Nor will we mistake the dawn
For the mid-day.

We must create and fashion a new God–
A God of power, of beauty, and of strength–
Created painfully, cruelly,
Labouring from the revulsion of men’s minds.

It is not that the money-changers
Ply their trade
Within the sacred places;
But that the old God
Has made the Stock Exchange his Temple.
We must drive him from it.
Why should we tinker with clay feet?
We will fashion
A perfect unity
Of precious metals.

Let us tear the paper moon
From its empty dome.
Let us see the world with young eyes.
Let us harness the waves to make power,
And in so doing,
Seek not to spoil their rolling freedom,
But to endow
The soiled and straining cities
With the same splendour of strength.

We will not be afraid,
Tho’ the golden geese cackle in the Capitol,
In fear
That their eggs may be placed
In an incubator.
Continually they cackle thus–
These venerable birds–
Crying, “Those whom the Gods love
Die young,”
Or something of that sort.
But we will see that they live
And prosper.

Let us prune the tree of language
Of its dead fruit.
Let us melt up the cliches
Into molten metal;
Fashion weapons that will scald and flay;
Let us curb this eternal humour
And become witty.

Let us dig up the dragon’s teeth
From this fertile soil;
Swiftly,
Before they fructify;
Let us give them as medicine
To the writhing monster itself.

We must create and fashion a new God–
A God of power, of beauty, and of strength;
Created painfully, cruelly,
Labouring from the revulsion of men’s minds.
Cast down the idols of a thousand years,
Crush them to dust
Beneath the dancing rhythm of our feet.
Oh! let us dance upon the weak and cruel:
We must create and fashion a new God.

November, 1918.

From: Sitwell, Osbert, Argonaut and Juggernaut, 1919, Chatto & Windus: London, pp. vii-ix.
(https://archive.org/details/argonautjuggerna00sitwuoft)

Date: 1918

By: Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell (1892-1969)