Sunday, December 07, 2014

Grain Liquor on a Chequerboard

Sissah said to the tyrant
All I have done can
Be paid by a grain of wheat
Placed double on a board
For chessmen, square
By square as your majesty
Deigns, filled row by row
Column by column
Doubled and doubled
And redoubled again
Though your granaries fail
Though the universe fail
Heavy with precision
The tasseled heads nod
Over your honor pledged
All your wealth spilled
Across a child's toy
Tipped over-loaded weighed
With the finite product
Of your vast imperial 
Fruited plains exhausted
And still your word not
Redeemed by the 
Feckless promise of  your
Ignorant imperiousness

So my thirst distilled
From every single grain
Wheat and rye and maize
Through the retorts of
Clever men and the
Art of bourbon-masters
Casked and even
The angels whose share
Spilled by the action of
Wood and wear and 
Time's long march
Through cooper's art
And warehouser's 
Patience and the fat
Fungoidal mass that
Growth from drunkard's
Environmental footprint
Darwinian god's imprint
On the wood of a 
Distillery's backlot.

So I am, so it is
All that thirst and despair
And the joy of a nightly
Drunken haze that kills
The regrets of a million
Wasted fruitless lives
Brown-tinted oceans of
Misery murdered in 
Alcoholic metabolic
Poisons, before the 
Liver reduced before the
Heart ruined before the
Stomach shredded the
Sorrow that murdered the
Rest killed by the hand of
The merciful distiller's 
Daughter, bourbon
Sweet as innocence
Sharp as the morning
Swift as the ending
That brings with it
That final finishing
Hangover which
Hangs over 
Lies of Eternity.

One cannot kill time
Without injuring eternity
To hell with 
Eternity which gifts us 
This taste of fire that
Burns on the tongue
To mind us of that
Lake of fire before
Our inevitable end.

M. Hagmaier


Anonymous said...

Life treating you okay? Been contemplating the decadence of the empire a bit lately, myself. Be well, and Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

PS - Ben H in Colorado

Mitch H. said...

Ironically enough for me, this one was not intended politically in the least. I was just using the old wheat-and-chessboard object-lesson on exponential sequences as a springboard for something about whiskey. I can't help that the classic formulation is about a courtier and a tyrant! ^_^

Anonymous said...

Oh, hey, regarding the next oldest post, it's been a while since I picked up that hardcopy of Rubaiyat. I breezed through the latter help a few entries looking for anything that popped out. Here we are!


Nay, but, for terror of his wrathful Face,
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace;
Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but
Would kick so poor a Coward from the

--BenH @ CO

Anonymous said...

my response to it:

"Nay, but, for terror of his wrathful Face,
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace;"

This has a lot of meaning to me today!

I guess the second half is just saying don't be too hard on people who legitimately can't call out injustice for fear of reprisals. I wonder if Snowden gets this stuff.

BenH @ CO

which_chick said...

I like the line breaks in this one, sort of like falling off a cliff or going down stairs that are of uneven height. It's unsettling in a good way.

Mitch H. said...

My unending prosodic war with foot and meter put to good use! ^_^

I will admit that I've been deliberately going for phrasing that wraps around the line breaks as a way to pull the reader through ahead of his own pace, hopefully to build a sense of runaway urgency.