The Crocodile Discourses by Geoffrey Montagu Cookson (James Barton)

“I do not find it written in my slime
That God is Love; yet He is very good;
For first, He filed my teeth exceeding sharp,
And shut them in a trap of triple steel,
Gave me my saurian ancestry, whereby
I walk abroad unquestioned armiger,
And wear unrusted my tough coat of mail.
Also, to deck a brother deity
(For I am more than priest if less than God),
He offers lotus buds, and lends me stars
To float upon my pool; and when I swim
On moonless nights they tremble in the wash
And furrow of my wave. Familiar,
As to a schoolboy ciphers on a slate,
I meditate my deep astrology,
Reading the cycles and conjunctive hours
That ripen for my maw the virgin’s breasts,
The young wife’s womb. They have no time to scream,
I trip so smoothly down the darkling stair
And paddle in the deeps. My pool is called
Silence, the deadener of unseemly noise,
That rends so woundily the clamorous air.
I do not roar like loud and vulgar beasts,
But on a soft bed lay them tenderly,
Striving to calm them, lest they tear the flesh.
There the poor gape, that is their voiceless scream,
No echo has but bubbles. Soft, so soft
The seasoned flesh; the after-dinner sleep,
In reed-brake or thorn-thicket, sanctified
With comfortable closing of the lids
And beatific smile, of blessedness
And the peculiar care of Providence
Humbly acknowledged, sign, misunderstood,
But not the less sincere. Ah, yes, the fool
Hath said ” There is no God,” but I am wise;
Therefore to Him, who for His servant’s food
Fattens the suckling, strews with fin and spawn
My pool, and fills with splash of silver rain,
I give among warm rocks and waterweeds Amphibious thanks.”
Thus far the crocodile,
Reading his thesis theologiæ;
And all admitted it extremely sound.

From: Cookson, Geoffrey, “The Crocodile Discourses” in Wheels, 1920 (Fifth Cycle), 1920, pp. 52-53.
(http://www.modernistmagazines.com/media/pdf/301.pdf)

Date: 1912

By: Geoffrey Montagu Cookson (James Barton) (1867-1951)

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