The Liberal Age

 

Who are these popinjays

Exposing themselves before us

With diamondlike gears flashing and foaming

In stainless-steel brainpans?

 

They are the new gods our time

Has thrown up,

Chanting their origins

And sympathy with the masses.

Hear their sepulchral voices

Emanating from the wool over their

Sheepskin temples.

The masses listen and tremble,

Worship and obey,

Snickering.

 

They suffer no other gods before them

Or after them.

They prove to us that the old

Prayers were clich├ęs, the old

Attitudes were meaningless, the old

Gods were mortal.

The logic of their arguments

Is aura and halo.

It goes before them in the marketplace,

Provoking astonishment,

And lingers after them, causing merchants and vendors

To fan the air.

 

Surely all this will pass away.

Honest wisdom is coy,

And its light subdued.

Only the steady

Grains of truth, filtered by time

Will survive these gods.

 

June 24, 1964

Revised October 26, 1964