Aleister Crowley Poems Part 1,Here is a most unusual man – a poet who was heavily involved in the occult and mysticism. He also found time to be a ceremonial magician and an occasional mountaineer but his major project was to be the founding member of a new religious philosophy which he called Thelema. As this developed Crowley saw himself in the role of prophet and it was his responsibility to inform the whole of humanity of the dawn of the Aeon of Horus.
It was perhaps inevitable that religion would play such a key role, at least in his early life, having been born into a household where the parents, who were upper class and very well off, were part of a faction of the Plymouth Brethren known as the Exclusive Brethren. Born in Warwickshire, England in 1875 he was christened Edward Alexander Crowley. Aleister’s young life consisted of daily bible readings and a limited circle of friends, all of who had to be of the same faith as him. The death of his father when the boy was 12 years old had such a profound effect on him that he turned away from conventional religion from then on.
Aleister Crowley died in 1947 at the age of 72 in Hastings of a respiratory infection but he was, by then, a heroin addict. Mysteriously the doctor who had been treating him died shortly after. It was said that Crowley had put a curse on him for refusing to continue prescribing drugs to him. In keeping with the life that had gone before, his cremation service was described as a ‘Black Mass’ with
Aleister Crowley Poems Part 1
“Aug.” 10, 1911.
Full moon to-night; and six and twenty years
Since my full moon first broke from angel spheres!
A year of infinite love unwearying —
No circling seasons, but perennial spring!
A year of triumph trampling through defeat,
The first made holy and the last made sweet
By this same love; a year of wealth and woe,
Joy, poverty, health, sickness — all one glow
In the pure light that filled our firmament
Of supreme silence and unbarred extent,
Wherein one sacrament was ours, one Lord,
One resurrection, one recurrent chord,
One incarnation, one descending dove,
All these being one, and that one being Love!
You sent your spirit into tunes; my soul
Yearned in a thousand melodies to enscroll
Its happiness: I left no flower unplucked
That might have graced your garland. I induct
Tragedy, comedy, farce, fable, song,
Each longing a little, each a little long,
But each aspiring only to express
Your excellence and my unworthiness —
Nay! but my worthiness, since I was sense
And spirit too of that same excellence.
So thus we solved the earth’s revolving riddle:
I could write verse, and you could play the fiddle,
While, as for love, the sun went through the signs,
And not a star but told him how love twines
A wreath for every decanate, degree,
Minute and second, linked eternally
In chains of flowers that never fading are,
Each one as sempiternal as a star.
Let me go back to your last birthday. Then
I was already your one man of men
Appointed to complete you, and fulfil
From everlasting the eternal will.
We lay within the flood of crimson light
In my own balcony that August night,
And conjuring the aright and the averse
Created yet another universe.
We worked together; dance and rite and spell
Arousing heaven and constraining hell.
We lived together; every hour of rest
Was honied from your tiger-lily breast.
We — oh what lingering doubt or fear betrayed
My life to fate! — we parted. Was I afraid?
I was afraid, afraid to live my love,
Afraid you played the serpent, I the dove,
Afraid of what I know not. I am glad
Of all the shame and wretchedness I had,
Since those six weeks have taught me not to doubt you,
And also that I cannot live without you.
Then I came back to you; black treasons rear
Their heads, blind hates, deaf agonies of fear,
Cruelty, cowardice, falsehood, broken pledges,
The temple soiled with senseless sacrileges,
Sickness and poverty, a thousand evils,
Concerted malice of a million devils; —
You never swerved; your high-pooped galleon
Went marvellously, majestically on
Full-sailed, while every other braver bark
Drove on the rocks, or foundered in the dark.
Then Easter, and the days of all delight!
God’s sun lit noontide and his moon midnight,
While above all, true centre of our world,
True source of light, our great love passion-pearled
Gave all its life and splendour to the sea
Above whose tides stood our stability.
Then sudden and fierce, no monitory moan,
Smote the mad mischief of the great cyclone.
How far below us all its fury rolled!
How vainly sulphur tries to tarnish gold!
We lived together: all its malice meant
Nothing but freedom of a continent!
It was the forest and the river that knew
The fact that one and one do not make two.
We worked, we walked, we slept, we were at ease,
We cried, we quarrelled; all the rocks and trees
For twenty miles could tell how lovers played,
And we could count a kiss for every glade.
Worry, starvation, illness and distress?
Each moment was a mine of happiness.
Then we grew tired of being country mice,
Came up to Paris, lived our sacrifice
There, giving holy berries to the moon,
July’s thanksgiving for the joys of June.
And you are gone away — and how shall I
Make August sing the raptures of July?
And you are gone away — what evil star
Makes you so competent and popular?
How have I raised this harpy-hag of Hell’s
Malice — that you are wanted somewhere else?
I wish you were like me a man forbid,
Banned, outcast, nice society well rid
Of the pair of us — then who would interfere
With us? — my darling, you would now be here!
But no! we must fight on, win through, succeed,
Earn the grudged praise that never comes to meed,
Lash dogs to kennel, trample snakes, put bit
In the mule-mouths that have such need of it,
Until the world there’s so much to forgive in
Becomes a little possible to live in.
God alone knows if battle or surrender
Be the true courage; either has its splendour.
But since we chose the first, God aid the right,
And damn me if I fail you in the fight!
God join again the ways that lie apart,
And bless the love of loyal heart to heart!
God keep us every hour in every thought,
And bring the vessel of our love to port!
These are my birthday wishes. Dawn’s at hand,
And you’re an exile in a lonely land.
But what were magic if it could not give
My thought enough vitality to live?
Do not then dream this night has been a loss!
All night I have hung, a god, upon the cross;
All night I have offered incense at the shrine;
All night you have been unutterably mine,
Miner in the memory of the first wild hour
When my rough grasp tore the unwilling flower
From your closed garden, mine in every mood,
In every tense, in every attitude,
In every possibility, still mine
While the sun’s pomp and pageant, sign to sign,
Stately proceeded, mine not only so
In the glamour of memory and austral glow
Of ardour, but by image of my brow
Stronger than sense, you are even here and now
Miner, utterly mine, my sister and my wife,
Mother of my children, mistress of my life!
O wild swan winging through the morning mist!
The thousand thousand kisses that we kissed,
The infinite device our love devised
If by some chance its truth might be surprised,
Are these all past? Are these to come? Believe me,
There is no parting; they can never leave me.
I have built you up into my heart and brain
So fast that we can never part again.
Why should I sing you these fantastic psalms
When all the time I have you in my arms?
Why? ’tis the murmur of our love that swells
Earth’s dithyrambs and ocean’s oracles.
But this is dawn; my soul shall make its nest
Where your sighs swing from rapture into rest
Love’s thurible, your tiger-lily breast.
Jupiter Mars P Moon
VENEZIA, “May” 19″th”, 1910.
Jupiter’s foursquare blaze of gold and blue
Rides on the moon, a lilac conch of pearl,
As if the dread god, charioted anew
Came conquering, his amazing disk awhirl
To war down all the stars. I see him through
The hair of this mine own Italian girl,
That bends her face on mine in the gondola!
There is scarce a breath of wind on the lagoon.
Life is absorbed in its beatitude,
A meditative mage beneath the moon
Ah! should we come, a delicate interlude,
To Campo Santo that, this night of June,
Heals for awhile the immitigable feud?
Your breath ruffles my soul in the gondola!
Through maze on maze of silent waterways,
Guarded by lightless sentinel palaces,
We glide; the soft plash of the oar, that sways
Our life, like love does, laps — no softer seas
Swoon in the bosom of Pacific bays!
We are in tune with the infinite ecstasies,
Sway with me, sway with me in the gondola!
They hold us in, these tangled sepulchres
That guard such ghostly life. They tower above
Our passage like the cliffs of death. There stirs
No angel from the pinnacles thereof.
All broods, all breeds. But immanent as Hers
That reigns is this most silent crown of love
That broods on me, and is I, in the gondola.
They twist, they twine, these white and black canals,
Now stark with lamplight, now a reach of Styx.
Even as out love – raging wild animals
Suddenly hoisted on the crucifix
To radiate seraphic coronals,
Flowers, flowers – O let our light and darkness mix,
Goddess and beast with me in the gondola!
Come! though your hair be a cascade of fire,
Your lips twin snakes, your tongue the lightning flash,
Your teeth God’s grip on life, your face His lyre,
Your eyes His stars – come, let our Venus lash
Our bodies with the whips of Her desire.
Your bed’s the world, your body the world-ash,
Shall I give the word to the man of the gondola?
(An Oath written during the Dawn Meditation)
Aiwaz! Confirm my troth with thee ! my will inspire
With secret sperm of subtle, free, creating Fire!
Mould thou my very flesh as Thine, renew my birth
In childhood merry as divine, enchanted earth!
Dissolve my rapture in Thine own, a sacred slaughter
Whereby to capture and atone the soul of water!
Fill thou my mind with gleaming Thought intense and rare
To One refined, outflung to naught, the Word of Air!
Most, bridal bound, my quintessential Form thus freeing
From self, be found one Selfhood blent in Spirit Being.
When the chill of earth black-breasted is uplifted at the
Of the red sun million-crested, and the forest blossoms
With the light that stirs and lustres of the dawn, and with
Of the wind’s cheek as it clusters from the hidden valley’s
Then I walk in woodland spaces, musing on the solemn
Of the immemorial places shut behind the starry rays
Of the East and all its splendour, of the West and all its peace;
And the stubborn lights grow tender, and the hard sounds
hush and cease.
In the wheel of heaven revolving, mysteries of death and
In the womb of time dissolving, shape anew a heaven and
Ever changing, ever growing, ever dwindling, ever dear,
Ever worth the passion glowing to distill a doubtful tear.
These are with me, these are of me, these approve me,
Choose me, move me, fear me, love me, master of the
night and day.
These are real, these illusion : I am of them, false or frail,
True or lasting, all is fusion in the spirit’s shadow-veil,
Till the knowledge -Lotus flowering hides the world
beneath its stem;
Neither I, nor nor God life-showering, find a counterpart in
As a spirit in a vision shows a countenance in fear,
Laughs the looker to derision, only comes to disappear,
Gods and mortals, mind and matter, in the glowing bud
Vein from vein they rend and shatter, and are nothingness
In the blessed, the enlightened, perfect eyes these visions
Pass and cease, poor shadows frightened,
leave no stain
upon the glass.
One last stroke, O heart- free master, one last certain
calm of will,
And the maker of Disaster shall be stricken and grow
Burn thou to the core of matter, to the spirit’s utmost
Consciousness and sense to shatter, ruin sight and form
Shatter, lake-reflected spectre; lake, rise up in mist to
Sun, dissolve in showers of nectar, and the Master’s
work is done.
Nectar perfume gently stealing, masterful and sweet and
Cleanse the world with light of healing in the ancient
House of Wrong !
Free a million mortals on the wheel on being
Open wide the mystic portals, and be altogether lost!
El Arabi! El Arabi! Burn in thy brilliance, mine own!
O Beautiful! O Barbarous! Seductive as a serpent is
That poises head and hood, and makes his body tremble to the drone
Of tom-tom and of cymbal wooed by love’s assassin sorceries!
El Arabi! El Arabi!
The moon is down; we are alone;
May not our mouths meet, madden, mix, melt in the starlight of a kiss?
There by the palms, the desert’s edge, I drew thee to my heart and held
Thy shy slim beauty for a splendid second; and fell moaning back,
Smitten by Love’s forked flashing rod -as if the uprooted mandrake yelled!
As if I had seen God, and died! I thirst! I writhe upon the rack!
El Arabi! El Arabi!
It is not love! I am compelled
By some fierce fate, a vulture poised, heaven’s single ominous speck of black.
There in the lonely bordj across the dreadful lines of sleeping men,
Swart sons of the Sahara, thou didst writhe slim, sinuous and swift,
Warning me with a viper’s hiss -and was not death upon us then,
No bastard of thy maiden kiss? God’s grace, the all-surpassing gift!
El Arabi! El Arabi!
Yea, death is man’s Elixir when
Life’s pale wine foams and splashes over his imagination’s rim!
El Arabi! El Arabi! witch-amber and obsidian
Thine eyes are, to ensorcell me, and leonine thy male caress.
Will not God grant us Paradise to end the music Earth began?
We play with loaded dice! He cannot choose but raise right hand to bless.
El Arabi! El Arabi!
Great is the love of God and man
While I am trembling in thine arms, wild wanderer of the wilderness!
In ocean, faint from pole to pole,
So all the wonder of her lips
Hints her innavigable soul.Such lights she gives as guide my bark;
But I am swallowed in the swell
Of her heart’s ocean, sagely dark,
That holds my heaven and holds my hell.In her I live, a mote minute
Dancing a moment in the sun:
In her I die, a sterile shoot
Of nightshade in oblivion.In her my elf dissolves, a grain
Of salt cast careless in the sea;
My passion purifies my pain
To peace past personality.
Love of my life, God grant the years
Confirm the chrism – rose to rood!
Anointing loves, asperging tears
In sanctifying solitude!
Man is so infinitely small
In all these stars, determinate.
Maker and moulder of them all,
Man is so infinitely great!
Athor and Asar
[Dedicated to Frank Harris, editor of Vanity Fair]
On the black night, beneath the winter moon,
I clothed me in the limbs of Codia,
Swooning my soul out into her red throat,
So that the glimmer of our skins, the tune
Og our ripe rythm, seemed the hideous play
Of death-worms crawling on a corpse,afloat
With life that takes its thirst
Only from things accurst.
Closer than Clodia’s clasp, Death had me down
To his black heart, and fed upon my breath,
So that we seemed a stilness -whiter than
The stars, more silent than the stars, a crown
Of Stars ! For in the icy kiss of death
I found that God that is denied to man
So long as love and thought
And life avail him aught.
[Dedicated to Horace Sheridan-Bickers]
A vision of flushed faces, shining limbs,
The madness of the music that entrances
All life in its delirium of dances!
The white world glitters in the void, and swims
Through the infinite seas of transcendental trances.
Yea! all the hoarded seed of all my fancies
Bursts in a shower of suns! The wine-cup brims
And bubbles over; I drink deep hymns
Of sorceries, of spells, of necromancies;
And all my spirit shudders; dew bedims
My sight -these girls and their alluring glances!
Their eyes that burn like dawn’s lascivious lances
Walking all earth to love -to love! Life skims
The cream of joy. If God could see what man sees,
(Intoxicating Nellies, Mauds and Nances!)
I see Him leave the sapphrine expanses,
The choir serene and the celestial air
To swoon into their sacramental hair!
In the dawn’s pearl-pure pavillion,
I wait for thee, with my dove’s breast
Shuddering, a god its bitter guest-
Have I not gilded my nails
And painted my lips with vermillion ?Am I not wholly stript
Of the deeds and thoughts that obscure thee?
I wait for thee, my soul distraught
With aching for some nameless naught
In its most arcane crypt-
Am I not fit to endure thee?Girded about the paps
With a golden girdle of glory,
Dost thou wait me, thy slave who am,
As a wolf lurks for a strayed white lamb?
The chain of the stars snaps,
And the deep of night is hoary!Thou whose mouth is a flame
With its seven-edged sword proceeding,
Come ! I am writhing with despair
Like a snake taken in a snare,
Moaning thy mystical name
Till my tongue is torn and bleeding!
Have I not gilded my nails
And painted my lips with vermillion?
Yea ! thou art I; the deed awakes,
Thy lightening strikes; thy thunder breaks
Wild as the bride that wails
In the bridegroom’s plumed pavillion!
Boo to Buddha
Helena, since we met!
A season so endears,
Nor you nor I forget
The fresh young faces that once clove
In that most fiery dawn of love.We wandered to and fro,
Who knew not how to woo,
Those eighteen years ago,
Sweetheart, when I and you
Exchanged high vows in heaven’s sight
That scarce survived a summer’s night.What scourge smote from the stars
What madness from the moon?
That night we broke the bars
Was quintessential June,
When you and I beneath the trees
Bartered our bold virginities.Eighteen -years, months, or hours?
Time is a tyrant’s toy!
Eternal are the flowers!
We are but girl and boy
Yet -since love leapt as swift to-night
As it had never left the light!
For fiercer from the South
Still flames your cruel hair,
And Trojan Helen’s mouth
Still not so ripe and rare
As Helena’s -nor love nor youth
So leaps with lust or thrills with truth.
Helena, still we hold
Flesh firmer, still we mix
Black hair with hair as gold.
Life has but served to fix
Our hearts; love lingers on the tongue,
And who loves once is always young.
The stars are still the same;
The changeful moon endures;
Come without fear or shame,
And draw my mouth to yours!
Youth fails, however flesh be fain;
Manhood and womanhood attain.
Life is a string of pearls,
And you the first I strung.
You left -first flower of girls! –
Life lyric on my tongue,
An indefatigable dance,
An inexhaustible romance!
Blush of love’s dawn, bright bud
That bloomed for my delight,
First blossom of my blood,
Burn in that blood to-night!
Helena, Helena, fiercely fresh,
Your flesh flies fervent to my flesh.
What sage can dare impugn
Our godhead swims, immune
From death and destiny.
Ignored the bubble in the flow
Of love eighteen short years ago!
Time -I embrace all time
As my arm rings your waist.
Space -you surpass, sublime,
As, taking me, we taste
Omnipotence, sense slaying sense,
Soul slaying soul, omniscience.
TO LAYLAH EIGHT-AND-TWENTY
Lamp of living loveliness,
Maid miraculously male,
Rapture of thine own excess
Blushing through the velvet veil
Where the olive cheeks aglow
Shadow-soften into snow,
Breasts like Bacchanals afloat
Under the proudly phallic throat!
Be thou to my pilgrimage
Light, and laughter sweet and sage,
Till the darkling day expire
Of my life in thy caress,
Thou my frenzy and my fire,
Lamp of living loveliness!
Thou the ruler of the rod
That beneath thy clasp extends
To the galaxies of God
From the gulph where ocean ends,
Cave of dragon, ruby rose,
Heart of hell, garden-close,
Hyacinth petal sweet to smell,
Split-hoof of the glad gazelle,
Be thou mine as I am thine,
As the vine’s ensigns entwine
At the sacring of the sun,
Thou the even and I the odd
Being and becoming one
On the abacus of God!
Thou the sacred snake that rears
Death, a jewelled crest across
The enchantment of the years,
All my love that is my loss.
Life and death, two and one,
Hate and love, moon and sun,
Light and darkness, never swerve
From the norm, note the nerve,
Name the name, exceed the excess
Of thy lamp of loveliness,
Living snake of lazy love,
Ithyphallic that uprears
Its Palladium above
The enchantment of the years!
From the vats of the storied sun;
For every one of yer love,
And life for every one.
Ye shall dance on hill and level;
Ye shall sing in hollow and height
In the festal mystical revel,
The rapurous Bacchanal rite!
The rocks and trees are yours,
And the waters under the hill,
By the might of that which endures,
The holy heaven of will!
I kindle a flame like a torrent
To rush from star to star;
Your hair as a comet’s horrent,
Ye shall see things as they are!
I lift the mask of matter;
I open the heart of man;
For I am of force to shatter
The cast that hideth -Pan!
Your loves shall lap up slaughter,
And dabbled with roses of blood
Each desperate darling daughter
Shall swim in the fervid flood.
I bring ye laughter and tears,
The kisses that foam and bleed,
The joys of a million years,
The flowers that bear no seed.
My life is bitter and sterile,
Its flame is a wandering star.
Ye shall pass in pleasure and peril
Across the mystic bar
That is set for wrath and weeping
Against the children of earth;
But ye in singing and sleeping
Shall pass in measure and mirth!
I lift my wand and wave you
Through hill to hill of delight :
My rosy rivers lave you
In innermost lustral light..
I lead you, lord of the maze,
In the darkness free of the sun;
In spite of the spite that is day’s
We are wed, we are wild, we are one.At Shigar Baltistan.
Gabriel whispered in mine ear
His archangelic poesie.
How can I write? I only hear
The sobbing murmur of the sea.
Raphael breathed and bade me pass
His rapt evangel to mankind;
I cannot even match, alas!
The ululation of the wind.
The gross grey gods like gargoyles spit
On every poet’s holy head;
No mustard-seed of truth or wit
In those curst furrows, quick or dead!
A tithe of what I know would cleanse
The leprosy of earth; and I –
My limits are like other men’s.
I must live dumb, and dumb must die!
A youth to flats and flatties not unknown.
The Plymouth Brethren gave it to him hot;
Trinity, Cambridge, claimed him for her own.At chess a minor master, Hoylake set
His handicap a 2. Love drove him crazy;
Three thousand women used to call him “pet”;
In other gardens daffodil or daisy?He climbed a lot of mountains in his time.
He stalked the tiger, bear and elephant.
he wrote a stack of poems, some sublime
Some not. Plays, essays, pictures, tales -my aunt!
He had the gift of laughing at himself.
Most affably he talked and walked with God.
And now the silly bastard’s on the shelf,
We’ve buried him beneath another sod.