Aleister Crowley Poems Part 3, 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 3
Pan to Artemis
Of Bacchus and Mars
In the sounding rebounding
Abyss of the stars!
O virgin in armour,
Thine arrows unsling
In the brilliant resilient
First rays of the spring!By the force of the fashion
Of love, when I broke
Through the shroud, through the cloud,
Through the storm, through the smoke,
To the mountain of passion
Volcanic that woke —
By the rage of the mage
I invoke, I invoke!By the midnight of madness: –
The lone-lying sea,
The swoon of the moon,
Your swoon into me,
The sentinel sadness
Of cliff-clinging pine,
That night of delight
You were mine, you were mine!You were mine, O my saint,
My maiden, my mate,
By the might of the right
Of the night of our fate.
Though I fall, though I faint,
Though I char, though I choke,
By the hour of our power
I invoke, I invoke!By the mystical union
Of fairy and faun,
Unspoken, unbroken –
The dust to the dawn! –
A secret communion
The listless, resistless,
Tumultuous tongue! -O virgin in armour,
Thine arrows unsling,
In the brilliant resilient
First rays of the spring!
No Godhead could charm her,
But manhood awoke –
O fiery Valkyrie,
I invoke, I invoke!
The mighty sound of forests murmuring
In answer to the dread command;
The stars that shudder when their king
extends his hand,
His awful hand to bless, to curse; or moves
Toward the dimmest den
In the thick leaves, not known of loves
Or nymphs or men;
(Only the sylph’s frail gossamer may wave
Their quiet frondage yet,
Only her dewy tears may lave
The mighty answer of the shaken sky
To his supreme behest; the call
Of Ibex that behold on high
And see the pale moon quiver and depart
Far beyond space, the sun ascend
And draw earth’s globe unto his heart
To make an end;
The shriek of startled birds; the sobs that tear
With sudden terror the sharp sea
That slept, and wove its golden hair
The rending of the earth at his command
Who wields the wrath of heaven, and is dumb;
Hell starts up – and before his hand
I heard these voices, and beheld afar
These dread works wrought at his behest:
And on his forehead, lo! a star,
And on his breast.
And on his feet I knew the sandals were
More beautiful than flame, and white,
And on the glory of his hair
The crown of night.
And I beheld his robe, and on its hem
Were writ unlawful words to say,
Broidered like lilies, with a gem
More clear than day.
And round him shone so wonderful a light
As when on Galilee
Jesus once walked, and clove the night,
And calmed the sea.
I scarce could see his features for the fire
That dwelt about his brow,
Yet, for the whiteness of my own desire,
I see him now;
Because my footsteps follow his, and tread
The awful bounds of heaven, and make
The very graves yield up their dead,
And high thrones shake;
Because my eyes still steadily behold
And dazzle not, nor shun the night,
The foam – born lamp of beaten gold
And secret might;
Because my forehead bears the sacred Name,
And my lips bear the brand
Of Him whose heaven is one flame,
Whose holy hand
Gathers this earth, who built the vaults of space,
Moulded the stars, and fixed the iron sea,
Because His love lights through my face
And all of me.
Because my hand may fasten on the sword
Of my heart falter not, and smite
Those lampless limits most abhorred
Of iron night,
And pass beyond their horror to attack
Fresh foemen, light and truth to bring
Through their untrodden fields of black,
A victor king.
I know all must be well, all must be free;
I know God as I know a friend;
I conquer, and most silently
Await the end.
Prologue to Rodin in Rime
Nor I can give, nor you can take; endures
The simple truth of me that is yours.
Is not the music mingled with the form
When all the heavens break in blind black storm?
Are we not veiled as Gods, and cruel as they,
Smiting our brilliance on the shuddering clay?
Silence and darkness cover us, confirm
Our splendour to its unappointed term:
For all the men homunculi that dance
Around us shudder at our brilliance.
These puppets perish in the good grand glare,
Our sworded sunlight in the boundless air !
These bats need cloisters; these tame birds a cage;
How should they know the Masters of the Age?
Or understand when the archangels cry
Adoring us Ellên kat’ asterh ei?
His mother, source of all his energy
Eternal, thence to draw the strength he needs
On earth to do indomitable deeds
Once more; and they, who saw but understood
Naught of his nature of beatitude
Were awed: they murmured with abated breath;
Alas the Master; so he sinks in death.
But whoso knows the mystery of man
Sees life and death as curves of one same plan.
when rosy limbs and sweat entwine;
But rapture drowns the sense and self,
the wine the drawer of the wine,And Him that planted first the grape-
o podex, in thy vault there dwells
A charm to make the member mad,
And shake the marrow of the spine.O member, in thy stubborn strength
a power avails on podex-sense
To boil the blood in breast and brain;
shudder the nerves incarnadine!From me thou drawest pearly drink –
and in its pourings both are drunk.
The Iman drives forth the drunken man
from out the marble prayer-shrine.Blue Mushtari strove with red Mirrikh
which should be master of the night-
But where is Mushtari, where Mirrikh
when in the sky the sun doth shine?Now El Qahar to Hazif gives
the worship unto poets due : –
But songs are nought and Music all;
what poet music may define?Allah’s the atheist! he owns
no Allah. Sneer, thou dullard churl!
The Sufi worships not, but drinks,
being himself the all-divine.Come, my Habib, the roses blush,
the waters gleam, the bulbul sings –
To pierce thy podex El Quahar’s
urgent and and imminent design!
A heart as true, a love as pure and keen.
These things endure, if anything endures.
But, in this jungle, what high heaven immures
Us in its silence, the supreme serene
Crowning the dagoba, what destined die
Rings on the table, what resistless dart
Strike me I love you; can you satisfy
The hunger of my heart!Nay; not in love, or faith, or hope is hidden
The drug that heals my life; I know too well
How all things lawful, and all things forbidden
Alike disclose no pearl upon the midden,
Offer no key to unlock the gate of Hell.
There is no escape from the eternal round,
No hope in love, or victory, or art.
There is no plumb-line long enough to sound
The abysses of my heart!There no dawn breaks; no sunlight penetrates
Its blackness; no moon shines, nor any star.
For its own horror of itself creates
Malignant fate from all benignant fates,
Of its own spite drives its own angel afar.
Nay; this is the great import of the curse
That the whole world is sick, and not a part.
Conterminous with its own universe
the horror of my heart!ANANDA VIJJA.
“To Lionel Engers-Kennedy: to the memory of Hargrave Jennings: and
to A. C. W. G. and H. E. H.”
Beneath the vine tree and the fig
Where mortal cares may not intrude,
On melon and on sucking pig
Although their brains are bright and big
Banquet the Great White Brotherhood.
Among the fountains and the trees
That fringed his garden’s glowing border,
At sunset walked, and, in the breeze
With his disciples, took his ease
An Adept of the Holy Order.
“My children,” Said the holy man,
“Once more I’m willing to unmask me.
This is my birthday; and my plan
Is to bestow on you (I can)
Whatever favour you may ask me.”
Nor curiosity nor greed
Brought these disciples to disaster;
For, being very wise indeed,
The adolescents all agreed
To ask His Secret of the Master.
With the “aplomb” and “savoir faire”
Peculiar to Eastern races,
He took the secret then and there
(What, is not lawful to declare),
And thrust it rudely in their faces.
“A filthy insult!” screamed the first;
The second smiled, “Ingenious blind!”
The youngest neither blessed nor cursed,
Contented to believe the worst –
That He had spoken all his mind!
The second earned the name of prig,
The first the epithet of prude;
The third, as merry as a grig,
On melon and on sucking pig
Feasts with the Great White Brotherhood.
The Five Adorations
and Morning Star:
Nowit asali fardh salat assobhi allahu akbar.I praise Thee, God, the fierce and swart; at noon Thou ridest
forth to war!
Nowit asali fardh salat assohri allahu akabr.I praise Thee, God, whose arrows dart their royal radiance
o’er the scar:
Nowit asali fardh salat asasri allahu akabr.I praise Thee, God, whose fires depart, who drivest down the
sky thy car:
Nowit asali fardh salat al maghrab allahu akabr.I praise Thee, God, whose purple heart is hidden in the abyss
Nowit asali fardh salat al asha allahu akabr.DOST ACHIHA KHAN.
The Four Winds
My lovers sing me psalms;
But are they as warm as those
That Laylah’s lover knows?The North wind said to the firs:
I have my worshippers;
But are they as keen as hers?The East wind said to the cedars:
My friends are no seceders;
But is their faith to me
As firm as his faith must be?The West wind said to the yews:
My children are pure as dews;
But what of her lover’s muse?So to spite the summer weather
The four winds howled together.But a great Voice from above
Cried: What do you know of love?Do you think all nature worth
The littlest life upon earth?I made the germ and the ant,
The tiger and elephant.
In the least of these there is more
Than your elemental war.
And the lovers whom ye slight
Are precious in my sight.
Peace to your mischief-brewing!
I love to watch their wooing.
Of all this Laylah heard
Never a word.
She lay beneath the trees
With her lover at her knees.
He sang of God above
And of love.
She lay at his side
And at set of sun
They were one.
Before they slept her pure smile curled;
“God bless all lovers in the World!”
And so say I the self-same word;
Nor doubt God heard.
The Garden of Janus
The cloud my bed is tinged with blood and foam.
The vault yet blazes with the sun
Writhing above the West, brave hippodrome
Whose gladiators shock and shun
As the blue night devours them, crested comb
Of sleep’s dead sea
That eats the shores of life, rings round eternity!
So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame
Into my bowels; my blood’s bewitched;
My brain’s afloat with ecstasy of shame.
That tearing pain is gone, enriched
By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same
Myself is gone
Sucked by the dragon down below death’s horizon.
I woke from this. I lay upon the lawn;
They had thrown roses on the moss
With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn,
My lord and I; God sailed across
The sky in’s galleon of amber, drawn
By singing winds
While we wove garlands of the flowers of our minds.
All day my lover deigned to murder me,
Linking his kisses in a chain
About my neck; demon-embroidery!
Bruises like far-ff mountains stain
The valley of my body of ivory!
Then last came sleep.
I wake, and he is gone; what should I do but weep?
Nay, for I wept enough — more sacred tears! —
When first he pinned me, gripped
My flesh, and as a stallion that rears,
Sprang, hero-thewed and satyr-lipped;
Crushed, as a grape between his teeth, my fears;
Sucked out my life
And stamped me with the shame, the monstrous word of
I will not weep; nay, I will follow him
Perchance he is not far,
Bathing his limbs in some delicious dim
Depth, where the evening star
May kiss his mouth, or by the black sky’s rim
He makes his prayer
To the great serpent that is coiled in rapture there.
I rose to seek him. First my footsteps faint
Pressed the starred moss; but soon
I wandered, like some sweet sequestered saint,
Into the wood, my mind. The moon
Was staggered by the trees; with fierce constraint
Hardly one ray
Pierced to the ragged earth about their roots that lay.
I wandered, crying on my Lord. I wandered
Eagerly seeking everywhere.
The stories of life that on my lips he squandered
Grew into shrill cries of despair,
Until the dryads frightened and dumfoundered
Fled into space —
Like to a demon-king’s was grown my maiden face!
At last I came unto the well, my soul
In that still glass, I saw no sign
Of him, and yet — what visions there uproll
To cloud that mirror-soul of mine?
Above my head there screams a flying scroll
Whose word burnt through
My being as when stars drop in black disastrous dew.
For in that scroll was written how the globe
Of space became; of how the light
Broke in that space and wrapped it in a robe
Of glory; of how One most white
Withdrew that Whole, and hid it in the lobe
Of his right Ear,
So that the Universe one dewdrop did appear.
Yea! and the end revealed a word, a spell,
An incantation, a device
Whereby the Eye of the Most Terrible
Wakes from its wilderness of ice
To flame, whereby the very core of hell
Bursts from its rind,
Sweeping the world away into the blank of mind.
So then I saw my fault; I plunged within
The well, and brake the images
That I had made, as I must make – Men spin
The webs that snare them – while the knee
Bend to the tyrant God – or unto Sin
The lecher sunder!
Ah! came that undulant light from over or from under?
It matters not. Come, change! come, Woe! Come, mask!
Drive Light, Life, Love into the deep!
In vain we labour at the loathsome task
Not knowing if we wake or sleep;
But in the end we lift the plumed casque
Of the dead warrior;
Find no chaste corpse therein, but a soft-smiling whore.
Then I returned into myself, and took
All in my arms, God’s universe:
Crushed its black juice out, while His anger shook
His dumbness pregnant with a curse.
I made me ink, and in a little book
I wrote one word
That God himself, the adder of Thought, had never heard.
It detonated. Nature, God, mankind
Like sulphur, nitre, charcoal, once
Blended, in one annihilation blind
Were rent into a myriad of suns.
Yea! all the mighty fabric of a Mind
Stood in the abyss,
Belching a Law for “That” more awful than for “This.”
Vain was the toil. So then I left the wood
And came unto the still black sea,
That oily monster of beatitude!
(‘Hath “Thee” for “Me,” and “Me” for “Thee!”)
There as I stood, a mask of solitude
Hiding a face
Wried as a satyr’s, rolled that ocean into space.
Then did I build an altar on the shore
Of oyster-shells, and ringed it round
With star-fish. Thither a green flame I bore
Of phosphor foam, and strewed the ground
With dew-drops, children of my wand, whose core
Was trembling steel
Electric that made spin the universal Wheel.
With that a goat came running from the cave
That lurked below the tall white cliff.
Thy name! cried I. The answer that gave
Was but one tempest-whisper – “If!”
Ah, then! his tongue to his black palate clave;
For on soul’s curtain
Is written this one certainty that naught is certain!
So then I caught that goat up in a kiss.
And cried Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!
Then all this body’s wealth of ambergris,
(Narcissus-scented flesh of man!)
I burnt before him in the sacrifice;
For he was sure –
Being the Doubt of Things, the one thing to endure!
Wherefore, when madness took him at the end,
He, doubt-goat, slew the goat of doubt;
And that which inward did for ever tend
Came at the last to have come out;
And I who had the World and God to friend
Found all three foes!
Drowned in that sea of changes, vacancies, and woes!
Yet all that Sea was swallowed up therein;
So they were not, and it was not.
As who should sweat his soul out through the skin
And find (sad fool!) he had begot
All that without him that he had left in,
And in himself
All he had taken out thereof, a mocking elf!
But now that all was gone, great Pan appeared.
Him then I strove to woo, to win,
Kissing his curled lips, playing with his beard,
Setting his brain a-shake, a-spin,
By that strong wand, and muttering of the weird
That only I
Knew of all souls alive or dead beneath the sky.
So still I conquered, and the vision passed.
Yet still was beaten, for I knew
Myself was He, Himself, the first and last;
And as an unicorn drinks dew
From under oak-leaves, so my strength was cast
Into the mire;
For all I did was dream, and all I dreamt desire.
More; in this journey I had clean forgotten
The quest, my lover. But the tomb
Of all these thoughts, the rancid and the rotten,
Proved in the end to be my womb
Wherein my Lord and lover had begotten
A little child
To drive me, laughing lion, into the wanton wild!
This child hath not one hair upon his head,
But he hath wings instead of ears.
No eyes hath he, but all his light is shed
Within him on the ordered sphere
Of nature that he hideth; and in stead
Of mouth he hath
One minute point of jet; silence, the lightning path!
Also his nostrils are shut up; for he
Hath not the need of any breath;
Nor can the curtain of eternity
Cover that head with life or death.
So all his body, a slim almond-tree,
Knoweth no bough
Nor branch nor twig nor bud, from never until now.
This thought I bred within my bowels, I am.
I am in him, as he in me;
And like a satyr ravishing a lamb
So either seems, or as the sea
Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram
Beats its own head
Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.
Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn!
Pile me the roses and the thorns,
Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn!
He may return. A million morns
May follow that first dire daemonic dawn
When he did split
My spirit with his lightnings and enveloped it!
So I am stretched out naked to the knife,
My whole soul twitching with the stress
Of the expected yet surprising strife,
A martyrdom of blessedness.
Though Death came, I could kiss him into life;
Though Life came, I
Could kiss him into death, and yet nor live nor die!
Yet I that am the babe, the sire, the dam,
Am also none of these at all;
For now that cosmic chaos of I AM
Bursts like a bubble. Mystical
The night comes down, a soaring wedge of flame
To be a sign to them who yet have never been.
The universe I measured with my rod.
The blacks were balanced with the whites;
Satan dropped down even as up soared God;
Whores prayed and danced with anchorites.
So in my book the even matched the odd:
No word I wrote
Therein, but sealed it with the signet of the goat.
This also I seal up. Read thou herein
Whose eyes are blind! Thou may’st behold
Within the wheel (that alway seems to spin
All ways) a point of static gold.
Then may’st thou out therewith, and fit it in
That extreme spher
Whose boundless farness makes it infinitely near.
The Hawk and the Babe
[Dedicated to Raymond Radclyffe]
I am that hawk of gold
Proud in adamantine poise
On the pillars of turquoise,
See,beyond the starry fold,
Where a darkling orb is rolled.
There, beneath a grove of yew,
Plays a babe. Should I despise
Such a foam of gold, and eyes
Burning beryline, so blue
That the sun seems peeping through?
Did I swoop, were Heaven amazed?
With my beak I strike but once;
Out there leap a million suns.
Through the universe that blazed
Screams theit light, and death is dazed.
In my womb the babe may leap;
Seek him not within my eye!
Nor demand thou of me why
I should plunge from crystal steep
Like a plummet to the deep!
See yon solitary star!
What a world of blackness wraps
Round it! Unimagined gaps!
Let it be! Content thy car
With the voyage to things that are!
Nor, an thou perchance behold
How I plunge and batten on
Earth’s exentrate carrion,
Deem turquoise match midden-mould
Or deny the Hawk of Gold!
AN ATTACK ON BARBERCRAFT
[Dedicated to George Cecil Jones]
At last an end of all I hoped and feared!
Muttered the hermit through his elfin beard.
Then what art thou? the evil whisper whirred.
I doubt me soerly if the hermit heard.
To all God’s questions never a word he said,
But simply shook his venerable head.
God sent all plagues; he laughed and heeded not,
Till people certified him insane.
But somehow all his fellow-luntaics
Began to imitate his silly ticks.
And stranger still, their prospects so enlarged
That one by one the patients were discharged.
God asked him by what right he interfered;
He only laughed and into his elfin beard.
When God revealed Himself to mortal prayer
He gave a fatal opening to Voltaire.
Our Hermi had dispensed with Sinai’s thunder,
But on the other hand he made no blunder;
He knew ( no doubt) that any axiom
Would furnish bricks to build some Donkeydom.
But!-all who urged that hermit to confess
Caught the infection of his happiness.
I would it were my fate to dree his weird;
I think that I will grow an elfin beard.
Mother of Light, and the Gods! Mother of Music, awake!
Silence and speech are at odds; Heaven and Hell are at
By the Rose and the Cross I conjure; I constrain by the
Snake and the Sword;
I am he that is sworn to endure -Bring us the word of the
By the brood of the Bysses of Brightening, whose God was
By the Lord of the Flame and Lightning, the King of
the Spirits of Fire;
By the Lord of the Waves and the Waters, the King of the
Hosts of the Sea,
The fairest of all of whose daughters was mother to me;
By the Lord of the Winds and the Breezes, the king of the
Spirits of Air,
In whose bosom the infinite ease is that cradled me there;
By the Lord of the Fields and the Mountains, the King of
the Spirits of Earth
That nurtured my life at his fountains from the hour of my
By the Wand and the Cup I conjure; by the Dagger and
Disk I constrain;
I am he that is sworn to endure; make thy music again!
I am Lord of the Star and the Seal; I am Lord of the Snake
and the Sword;
Reveal us the riddle, reveal! Bring us the word of the Lord!
As the flame of the sun, as the roar of the sea, as the storm
of the air,
As the quake of the earth -let it soar for a boon, for a bane,
for a snare,
For a lure, for a light, for a kiss, for a rod, for a scourge, for
a sword –
Bring us thy burden of bliss -Bring us the word of the