John Cale live at The Roundhouse, London - 1971-01-17
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale

The Text Files

Aspen Magazine

Poems

Five poems and a story by John Cale: published in Aspen Magazine no. 9 (The Psychedelic issue) (winter/spring 1971)

Sebastian

Hold on your own the cannon cries
Above the sweet horizon
Before and after there will be
The golden taste Of courtship
Passing fragrance mouth to mouth
The apple and the core, Sebastian
There above all shall be
Torrential paradise amok
Lascivious comforts for the eye and tear
Falling
From the crystal's heart to the stainless foreground
Not abrupt, in haste, or too solemn minded
Caressing with a breeze, a filth as carefree
As any streptococcus abroad and
As rampant a cancer of delight as was contracted
In any swamp of virtue, dear boy.

Among most kings the lie is held
That force and timidity face each other
Night and (lay at the horizon where the cannons roar
While in retreat we counsel the tyrants about its
To seduce the county to the brink
Alarm the protectorate with obscurity
And sink the faith in disaster in to
The marrow of children in their eggs
Surrounded thus this twisted pus of fear
Antimony and paralysis fills the sky
The stars have a stale glare
The clouds a molten stop
The streets are soft with betrayal
And so forth.

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Safety

The lands of Sandwich meet at France
They bleed relentlessly on court and mail
Upon the verdant knights
The host from whom the guest withdraws
For fear the gong is not yet struck

The sun shines down in anger
At the sea before it dies
Ambitious to be tamed but
Relentlessly unmoved by ordeal
Consumed by day, pacified by night.

The forests long to be divine
The scrutiny of man by earth
Attempted from seductive glades
And lawless unborn virtues
Contained therein among the thrones
Of age and rancid violence.

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Boys

The boys of Latin concept hope and pray
That mother is at home and keeping well
As the waiter brings the drinks
And the shadowed laughter touching the wa
Of bitter friendships
Standing unconcealed among their crashing

Though the hooded halls give sanctuary
That Mother couldn't give
The pomp and circumstance of pain
Drawn about them in sheets
Flowed down clotting streets
That the clocks of ticking sense took note of
The time and the place of suffering.

The boys outdid their tutors one by one
And sacked the library with sullen care
Until their energies were spent
Then left in silent order with a column
Moving west until the landscape dipped
And fell away.

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Stolen

As the soldiers pass away
Thorns and bracken in the clay
So the poison in the blood corrodes the parasites
Of lift,
Until the doorways swing both ways in style
To show the sides of fortune
(discriminate) in the conscience of the sons upon the father
In disgust
We hold the locks of righteousness
In a crowned obituary to contentment

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Lightning

The lights are all out
When the children sleep
And the feeble ultima fit ills
Lying at their feet
As the tides go out
And the moon shines brightly
Through the elder skies of modern mail.

The days don't mean much
When the children sleep
While the poison parents
Fill the jutting streets
From the lighthouse to the farmyard
And the trembling hills
Below the elder skies of modern mail.

Soon the time will end when
The children sleep
And the flagblown wind clays
Curse the growing minds
Of greedy people
Not yet old enough
To pay the price of younger man
Beneath the elder skies of modern man

[top]

The Fish

Seldom if ever did the trees stand between Ivan and the sunset since the last days of the opium season       he could not tolerate the lavish circumstances of grandeur and decay oozing onward and obscuring the gentler monuments of progress in its livid contract most of the world had been asleep since his marriage       the horses stumbled everywhere       not a prize had been won       not a cheer raised in self defense       or a glove dropped in insinuation       the harsh realities were now lofty ideals seduced into finality and ransomed at gallant prices to end the day       thus so it was done the city began to appeal to him once more and so he raised his voice in c on versa tion from month to month it reached an unappealing equeal of pleasure       a frothing mendacity too infectious to ignore       he was not lonely       for he was too often criticized to be that       and the mirth which attended these charitable seances held society in its juice while the church smiled and increased its exegesis of priests and bishops to the wester" world       seldom if ever did the trees stand between Ivan and the sunset anymore       he divided his life between those on his left and those on his right as long as they were :11 front of him       he paid no attention to those behind hit"       being careful not to offend anyone he walked purposefully and with ease       holding his cane loosely his apparel maintained its useful conservatism in a day and age when love was a household word       altogether the days passed unnoticed among the friends who although changed in infinite motifs sat bleakly and murmured champagne with admirals seeking the greater security of knowledge concerning national affairs       a lending hand for all who wished to be remembered       these sultry meetings ran concurrently with the ascending fortune of music hall dammes and conjurers herded into prominence by the promoters of forgetfulness       shillings at odds with boredom       the limbs of war and those of senility gathered momentum in the hollow bones of oak trees holding lightning there was not much to be said of traffic in that time streets were cleared at dawn but not in curfew       the danger came from hypnosis       holding soundly on to the frozen past       a glory not yet seen       and Ivan knowing this well from experience tried to redirect his countrymen's efforts from solipsism to farce and thus to delinquency       (that avaricious sanctuary for non-violent partisans) who thought of subtle things in warmly obnoxious terms       nevertheless he persevered and took solace in the remarks of his late 2nd wife 'there are no rumours worth attending to in this life she said, 'if they are not both destructive and desirable'       and the wars had come and ended       thus far in solitary murder       that attractive suspicion which governments lend their activities to among others of the world. and Ivan seldom if ever saw the trees stand between him and the sunset       and let it be a warning to all.


© 1999- Hans Werksman