Friday, February 20, 2015

On The Thesis that All Art is Political

A child of the future told me
His professor a prophet to sing
A song of militancy for thee
Art the ideologue's sole thing
Bound in uniform to forever be
Her long dark locks wrapped
With a length of barbed-wire
An officer's cap her only hat
Severe Marianne at the barricade
her only stance the banner held
High and straining forever forward
Above a blur of faceless men to lead.

All art political!  
And that
Which cannot
Be parsed
By this slogan
Or that cant
Kitsch! and
Thus a figure
Of derision
And dispute.

And so the party walls off
The faithful behind a fence
Of dogma and defenses
Raised against phantasms
Of unregimented minds
Bandits of book and bell
Wreckers in their hidden souls
Never laid bare before the
Altars of the proscenium
That enclosed ritual stage
Of the people's theatre
The democratic arts!

There is a certain breed of
Man, sabre on his belt
Who cannot look upon
Well-plowed acres of
Spring-green fields of hay
Without seeing in his
Mind the fields of fire
The lines of advance and
The cover inherent in a 
Cool dark wood across
Nodding heads of grain.

Thus the organizer and
Party militant gazes upon
The cultured and popular
Arts, and sees nothing but
Fields of battle to be 
Conquered and paced off
Fortified against the next
Tribal faith to come
And seize that which has
Been taken for the 
Party of the Faithful
Or revolutionary Red Front.

You!  With your gift of 
Song to raise above
The congregation ingathered
To stand before the
Familial altar of your
Gods as they might be!
Were you born to sing
Hymns of praise and beauty
Or to bawl out a battle-march?

You!  Whose pen is sharp
And swift and all things
Clever and clear and 
Deft in the design
Is your pen a tool to find
Whimsy and the truth
Entwined in God's design?
Or is it a dagger to be drawn
Against or in service to
The devils of your day?

C.M. Hagmaier

The irony here is that I'm the most political, or at least, ideological combative, of would-be poets.  I like to think that it's a defensive formation, but...