Reading Titus Andronicus In Three Mile Plains, N.S.

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Rue: When Witnesses sat before Bibles open like platesAnd spat sour sermons of interposition and nullification,While burr-orchards vomited bushels of thorns, and leavesRattled like uprooted skull-teeth across rough highways,And stars ejected brutal, serrated, heart-shredding light,And dark brothers lied down, quare, in government graves,Their white skulls jabbering amid farmer's dead flowers -.-The junked geraniums and broken truths of car engines,And History snapped its whip and bankrupted scholars,School was violent improvement. I opened ShakespeareAnd discovered a scarepriest, shaking in violent winds,Some hallowed, heartless man, his brain boiling blood,Aaron, seething, demanding, ."Is black so base a hue?."And shouting, ."Coal-black refutes and foils any other hueIn that it scorns to bear another hue.." O! Listen at that!I listen, flummoxed, for language cometh volatile,Each line burning, and unslaked Vengeance reddens rivers.I see that, notwithstanding hosts of buds, the sultry cumuliOf petals, greatening like the pluvial light in Turner's greatPaintings, the wind hovers -.- like a death sentence -.- overFields, chilling us with mortality recalcitrant. (Hear nowThe worm-sighing waves.) Sit fas aut nefas, I am becomeAaron, desiring poisoned lilies and burning, staggered air,A King James God, spitting fire, brimstone, leprosy, cancers,Dreaming of tearing down stars and letting grass incineratePale citizens' prized bones. What should they mean to me?A plough rots, returns to ore; weeds snatch it back to earth;The stones of the sanctuaries pour out onto every street.Like drastic Aaron's heir, Nat Turner, I's natural homicidal:My pages blaze, my lines pall, crying fratricidal damnation.

© Clarke George Elliott