Sons of Belial


  We are old,
  Old as song.
  Before Rome was
  Or Cyrene.
  Mad nights knew us
  And old men's wives.
  We knew who spilled the sacred oil
  For young-gold harlots of the town….
  We knew where the peacocks went
  And the white doe for sacrifice.

  We were the Sons of Belial.
  One black night
  Centuries ago
  We beat at a door
  In Gilead….
  We took the Levite's concubine
  We plucked her hands from off the door….
  We choked the cry into her throat
  And stuck the stars among her hair….
  We glimpsed the madly swaying stars
  Between the rhythms of her hair
  And all our mute and separate strings
  Swelled in a raging symphony….
  Our blood sang paeans
  All that night
  Till dawn fell like a wounded swan
  Upon the fields of Gilead.

  We are old….
  Old as song….
  We are dumb song.
  (Epics tingled
  In our blood
  When we haled Hypatia
  Over the stones
  In Alexandria.)
  Could we loose
  The wild rhythms clinched in us….
  March in bands of troubadours….
  We would be of gentle mood.
  When Christ healed us
  Who were dumb—
  When he freed our shut-in song—
  We strewed green palms
  At his pale feet…
  We sang hosannas
  In Jerusalem.
  And all our fumbling voices blent
  In a brief white harmony.
  (But a mightier song
  Was in us pent
  When we nailed Christ
  To a four-armed tree.)

  We are young.
  When we rise up with singing roots,
  (Warm rains washing
  Gutters of Berlin
  Where we stamped Rosa… Luxemburg
  On a night in spring.)
  Rhythms skurry in our blood.
  Little nimble rats of song
  In our feet run crazily
  And all is dust… we trample… on.
  Mad nights when we make ritual
  (Feet running before the sleuth-light…
  And the smell of burnt flesh
  By a flame-ringed hut
  In Missouri,
  Sweet as on Rome's pyre….)
  We make ropes do rigadoons
  With copper feet that jig on air….
  We are the Mob….
  Old as song.
  Tyre knew us
  And Israel.

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"Sons of Belial" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 5 Jun 2020. <>.

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