Aleister Crowley Poems Part 4

Aleister Crowley Poems Part 4, 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.

Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

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
Aleister Crowley Poems

Aleister Crowley Poems Part 4

The Ladder

[Dedicated to K.M.Ward]

“I will arise and go unto my father”

MALKUTH

Dark, dark all dark! I cower, I cringe.
Only above me is a citron tinge
As if some echo of red, gold and lue
Chimed on the night and let its shadow through.
Yet I who am thus prisoned and exiled
Am the right heir of glory, the crowned child.

I match my might against my Fate’s
I gird myself to reach the ultimate shores,
I arm myself the war to win:-
Lift up your heads, O mighty gates!
Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors!
The King of Glory shall come in.

TAU

I pass from the citrine eep indigo
Is this tall column. Snakes and vultures bend
Their hooted hate on him that would ascend.
O may the Four avail me ! Ageless woe,
Fear, torture, throng the threshold. LO1 The end
Of Matter ! The immensity of things

Let loose -new laws, new beings, new conditions;-
Dire chaos; see ! these new-fledged wings
Fail in its vagueness and initiations.
Only my circle saves me from the hate
Of all these monsters dead yet animate.

I match, &c.

YESOD

Hail, thou full moon, O flame of Amethyst !
Stupendous mountain on whose shoulders rest
The Eight Above. More stable is my crest
Than thine -and now I pierce thee, veil of mist!
Even as an arrow from the war-bow springs
I leap -my life is set with loftier things.

I match, & c.

SAMECH ( and the crossing of the Path of Pe)

Now swift, thou azure shaft of fading fire,
Pierce through the rainbow! Swift, O swift! how streams
The world by! Let Sandalphon and his quire
Of Angels ward me!
Ho! what

Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Mantra-Yoga

I

How should I seek to make a song for thee
When all my music is to moan thy name?
That long sad monotone – the same – the same –
Matching the mute insatiable sea
That throbs with life’s bewitching agony,
Too long to measure and too fierce to tame!
An hurtful joy, a fascinating shame
Is this great ache that grips the heart of me.

Even as a cancer, so this passion gnaws
Away my soul, and will not ease its jaws
Till I am dead. Then let me die! Who knows
But that this corpse committed to the earth
May be the occasion of some happier birth?
Spring’s earliest snowdrop? Summer’s latest rose?

II

Thou knowest what asp hath fixed its lethal tooth
In the white breast that trembled like a flower
At thy name whispered. thou hast marked how hour
By hour its poison hath dissolved my youth,
Half skilled to agonise, half skilled to soothe
This passion ineluctable, this power
Slave to its single end, to storm the tower
That holdeth thee, who art Authentic Truth.

O golden hawk! O lidless eye! Behold
How the grey creeps upon the shuddering gold!
Still I will strive! That thou mayst sweep
Swift on the dead from thine all-seeing steep –
And the unutterable word by spoken.

Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Neophyte

To-night I tread the unsubstantial way
That looms before me, as the thundering night
Falls on the ocean: I must stop, and pray
One little prayer, and then – what bitter fight
Flames at the end beyond the darkling goal?
These are my passions that my feet must read;
This is my sword, the fervour of my soul;
This is my Will, the crown upon my head.
For see! the darkness beckons: I have gone,
Before this terrible hour, towards the gloom,
Braved the wild dragon, called the tiger on
With whirling cries of pride, sought out the tomb
Where lurking vampires battened, and my steel
Has wrought its splendour through the gates of death
My courage did not falter: now I feel
My heart beat wave-wise, and my throat catch breath
As if I choked; some horror creeps between
The spirit of my will and its desire,
Some just reluctance to the Great Unseen
That coils its nameless terrors, and its dire
Fear round my heart; a devil cold as ice
Breathes somewhere, for I feel his shudder take
My veins: some deadlier asp or cockatrice
Slimes in my senses: I am half awake,
Half automatic, as I move along
Wrapped in a cloud of blackness deep as hell,
Hearing afar some half-forgotten song
As of disruption; yet strange glories dwell
Above my head, as if a sword of light,
Rayed of the very Dawn, would strike within
The limitations of this deadly night
That folds me for the sign of death and sin –
O Light! descend! My feet move vaguely on
In this amazing darkness, in the gloom
That I can touch with trembling sense. There shone
Once, in my misty memory, in the womb
Of some unformulated thought, the flame
And smoke of mighty pillars; yet my mind
Is clouded with the horror of this same
Path of the wise men: for my soul is blind
Yet: and the foemen I have never feared
I could not see (if such should cross the way),
And therefore I am strange: my soul is seared
With desolation of the blinding day
I have come out from: yes, that fearful light
Was not the Sun: my life has been the death,
This death may be the life: my spirit sight
Knows that at last, at least. My doubtful breath
Is breathing in a nobler air; I know,
I know it in my soul, despite of this,
The clinging darkness of the Long Ago,
Cruel as death, and closer than a kiss,
This horror of great darkness. I am come
Into this darkness to attain the light:
To gain my voice I make myself as dumb:
That I may see I close my outer sight:
So, I am here. My brows are bent in prayer:
I kneel already in the Gates of Dawn;
And I am come, albeit unaware,
To the deep sanctuary: my hope is drawn
From wells profounder than the very sea.
Yea, I am come, where least I guessed it so,
Into the very Presence of the Three
That Are beyond all Gods. And now I know
What spiritual Light is drawing me
Up to its stooping splendour. In my soul
I feel the Spring, the all-devouring Dawn,
Rush with my Rising. There, beyond the goal,
The Veil is rent!Yes: let the veil be drawn.
Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Pentagram

[Dedicated to George Raffalovich]

In the Years of the Primal Course, in the dawn of terrestrial
birth,
Man mastered the mammoth and horse, and Man was the
Lord of the Earth.

He made him an hollow skin from the heart of an holy tree,
He compassed the earth therein, and Man was the Lord of
the Sea.

He controlled the vigour of steam, he harnessed the light-
ning for hire;
He drove the celestial team, and man was the Lord of the
Fire.

Deep-mouthed from their thrones deep-seated, the choirs
of the æeons declare
The last of the demons defeated, for Man is the Lord of
the Air.

Arise, O Man, in thy strength! the kingdom is thine to
inherit,
Till the high gods witness at length that Man is the Lord
of his spirit.

Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Priestess of Panormita

Hear me, Lord of the Stars!
For thee I have worshipped ever
With stains and sorrows and scars,
With joyful, joyful endeavour.
Hear me, O lily-white goat!
O crisp as a thicket of thorns,
With a collar of gold for Thy throat,
A scarlet bow for Thy horns!Here, in the dusty air,
I build Thee a shrine of yew.
All green is the garland I wear,
But I feed it with blood for dew!
After the orange bars
That ribbed the green west dying
Are dead, O Lord of the Stars,
I come to Thee, come to Thee crying.The ambrosial moon that arose
With breasts slow heaving in splendour
Drops wine from her infinite snows.
Ineffably, utterly, tender.
O moon! ambrosial moon!
Arise on my desert of sorrow
That the Magical eyes of me swoon
With lust of rain to-morrow!Ages and ages ago
I stood on the bank of a river
Holy and Holy and holy, I know,
For ever and ever and ever!
A priest in the mystical shrine
I muttered a redeless rune,
Till the waters were redder than wine
In the blush of the harlot moon.

I and my brother priests
Worshipped a wonderful woman
With a body lithe as a beast’s
Subtly, horribly human.
Deep in the pit of her eyes
I saw the image of death,
And I drew the water of sighs
From the well of her lullaby breath.

She sitteth veiled for ever
Brooding over the waste.
She hath stirred or spoken never.
She is fiercely, manly chaste!
What madness made me awake
From the silence of utmost eld
The grey cold slime of the snake
That her poisonous body held?

By night I ravished a maid
From her father’s camp to the cave.
I bared the beautiful blade;
I dipped her thrice i’ the wave;
I slit her throat as a lamb’s,
That the fount of blood leapt high
With my clamorous dithyrambs
Like a stain on the shield of the sky.

With blood and censer and song
I rent the mysterious veil:
My eyes gaze long and long
On the deep of that blissful bale.
My cold grey kisses awake
From the silence of utmost eld
The grey cold slime of the snake
That her beautiful body held.

But — God! I was not content
With the blasphemous secret of years;
The veil is hardly rent
While the eyes rain stones for tears.
So I clung to the lips and laughed
As the storms of death abated,
The storms of the grevious graft
By the swing of her soul unsated.

Wherefore reborn as I am
By a stream profane and foul
In the reign of a Tortured Lamb,
In the realm of a sexless Owl,
I am set apart from the rest
By meed of the mystic rune
That reads in peril and pest
The ambrosial moon — the moon!

For under the tawny star
That shines in the Bull above
I can rein the riotous car
Of galloping, galloping Love;
And straight to the steady ray
Of the Lion-heart Lord I career,
Pointing my flaming way
With the spasm of night for a spear!

O moon! O secret sweet!
Chalcedony clouds of caresses
About the flame of our feet,
The night of our terrible tresses!
Is it a wonder, then,
If the people are mad with blindness,
And nothing is stranger to men
Than silence, and wisdom, and kindness?

Nay! let him fashion an arrow
Whose heart is sober and stout!
Let him pierce his God to the marrow!
Let the soul of his God flow out!
Whether a snake or a sun
In his horoscope Heaven hath cast,
It is nothing; every one
Shall win to the moon at last.

The mage hath wrought by his art
A billion shapes in the sun.
Look through to the heart of his heart,
And the many are shapes of one!
An end to the art of the mage,
And the cold grey blank of the prison!
An end to the adamant age!
The ambrosial moon is arisen.

I have bought a lily-white goat
For the price of a crown of thorns,
A collar of gold for its throat,
A scarlet bow for its horns.
I have bought a lark in the lift
For the price of a butt of sherry:
With these, and God for a gift,
It needs no wine to be merry!

I have bought for a wafer of bread
A garden of poppies and clover;
For a water bitter and dead
A foam of fire flowing over.
From the Lamb and his prison fare
And the owl’s blind stupor, arise
Be ye wise, and strong, and fair,
And the nectar afloat in your eyes!

Arise, O ambrosial moon
By the strong immemorial spell,
By the subtle veridical rune
That is mighty in heaven and hell!
Drip thy mystical dews
On the tongues of the tender fauns
In the shade of initiate yews
Remote from the desert dawns!

Satyrs and Fauns, I call.
Bring your beauty to man!
I am the mate for ye all’
I am the passionate Pan.
Come, O come to the dance
Leaping with wonderful whips,
Life on the stroke of a glance,
Death in the stroke of the lips!

I am hidden beyond,
Shed in a secret sinew
Smitten through by the fond
Folly of wisdom in you!
Come, while the moon (the moon!)
Sheds her ambrosial splendour,
Reels in the redeless rune
Ineffably, utterly, tender!
Hark! the appealing cry
Of deadly hurt in the hollow: —
Hyacinth! Hyacinth! Ay!
Smitten to death by Apollo.
Swift, O maiden moon,
Send thy ray-dews after;
Turn the dolorous tune
To soft ambiguous laughter!

Mourn, O Maenads, mourn!
Surely your comfort is over:
All we laugh at you lorn.
Ours are the poppies and clover!
O that mouth and eyes,
Mischievous, male, alluring!
O that twitch of the thighs
Dorian past enduring!

Where is wisdom now?
Where the sage and his doubt?
Surely the sweat of the brow
Hath driven the demon out.
Surely the scented sleep
That crowns the equal war
Is wiser than only to weep —
To weep for evermore!

Now, at the crown of the year,
The decadent days of October,
I come to thee, God, without fear;
Pious, chaste, and sober.
I solemnly sacrifice
This first-fruit flower of wine
For a vehicle of thy vice
As I am Thine to be mine.

For five in the year gone by
I pray Thee give to me one;
A love stronger than I,
A moon to swallow the sun!
May he be like a lily-white goat
Crisp as a thicket of thorns,
With a collar of gold for his throat,
A scarlet bow for his horns!

ELAINE CARR.

Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Quest

A part, immutable, unseen,
Being, before itself had been,
Became. Like dew a triple queen
Shone as the void uncovered:
The silence of deep height was drawn
A veil across the silver dawn
On holy wings that hovered.The music of three thoughts became
The beauty, that is one white flame,
The justice that surpasses shame,
The victory, the splendour,
The sacred fountain that is whirled
From depths beyond that older world
A new world to engender.The kingdom is extended. Night
Dwells, and I contemplate the sight
That is not seeing, but the light
That secretly is kindled,
Though oft-time its most holy fire
Lacks oil, whene’er my own Desire
Before desire has dwindled.I see the thin web binding me
With thirteen cords of unity
Toward the calm centre of the sea.
(O thou supernal mother!)
The triple light my path divides
To twain and fifty sudden sides
Each perfect as the other.

Now backward, inwards still my mind
Must track the intangible and blind,
And seeking, shall securely find
Hidden in secret places
Fresh feasts for every soul that strives,
New life for many mystic lives,
And strange new forms and faces.

My mind still searches, and attains
By many days and many pains
To That which Is and Was and reigns
Shadowed in four and ten;
And loses self in sacred lands,
And cries and quickens, and understands
Beyond the first Amen.

Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Rose and the Cross

Out of the seething cauldron of my woes,
Where sweets and salt and bitterness I flung;
Where charmed music gathered from my tongue,
And where I chained strange archipelagoes
Of fallen stars; where fiery passion flows
A curious bitumen; where among
The glowing medley moved the tune unsung
Of perfect love: thence grew the Mystic Rose.Its myriad petals of divided light;
Its leaves of the most radiant emerald;
Its heart of fire like rubies. At the sight
I lifted up my heart to God and called:
How shall I pluck this dream of my desire?
And lo! there shaped itself the Cross of Fire!
Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Tent

Only the stars endome the lonely camp,
Only the desert leagues encompass it;
Waterless wastes, a wilderness of wit,
Embattled Cold, Imagination’s Cramp.
Now was the Desolation fain to stamp
The congealed Spirit of man into the pit,
Save that, unquenchable because unlit,
The Love of God burns steady, like a Lamp.It burns! beyond the sands, beyond the stars.
It burns ! beyond the bands, beyond the bars.
And so the Expanse of Mystery, veil by veil,
Burns inward, plume on plume still folding over
The dissolved heart of the amazéd lover-
The angel wings upon the Holy Grail!W’aint t’ Aissha.
Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Titanic

Forth flashed the serpent streak of steel,
Consummate crown of man’s device;
Down crashed upon an immobile
And brainless barrier of ice.
Courage!
The grey gods shoot a laughing lip: –
Let not faith founder with the ship!We reel before the blows of fate;
Our stout souls stagger at the shock.
Oh! there is Something ultimate
Fixed faster than the living rock.
Courage!
Catastrophe beyond belief
Harden our hearts to fear and grief!The gods upon the Titans shower
Their high intolerable scorn;
But no god knoweth in what hour
A new Prometheus may be born.
Courage!
Man to his doom goes driving down;
A crown of thorns is still a crown!No power of nature shall withstand
At last the spirit of mankind:
It is not built upon the sand;
It is not wastrel to the wind.
Courage!
Disaster and destruction tend
To taller triumph in the end.

Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Twins

[Dedicated to Austin Osman Spare]

Have pity! show no pity!
Those eyes that send such shivers
Into my brain and spine : oh let them
Flame like the ancient city
Swallowed up by the sulphurous rivers
When men let angels fret them !

Yea ! let the south wind blow,
And the Turkish banner advance,
And the word go out : No quarter !
But I shall hod thee -so !
While the boys and maidens dance
About the shambles of slaughter !

I know thee who thou art,
The inmost fiend that curlest
Thy vampire tounge about
Earth’s corybantic heart,
Hell’s warrior that whirlest
The darts of horror and doubt !

Thou knowest me who I am
The inmost soul and saviour
Of man ; what hieroglyph
Of the dragon and the lamb
Shall thou and I engrave here
On Time’s inscandescable cliff ?

Look ! in the plished granite,
Black as thy cartouche is with sins,
I read the searing sentence
That blasts the eyes that scan it :
“HOOR and SET be TWINS.”
A fico for repentance !

Ay ! O Son of my mother
That snarled and clawed in her womb
As now we rave in our rapture,
I know thee, I love thee, brother !
Incestuous males that consumes
The light and the life that we capture.

Starve thou the soul of the world,
Brother, as I the body !
Shall we not glut our lust
On these wretches whom Fate hath hurled
To a hell of jesus and shoddy,
Dung and ethics and dust ?

Thou as I art Fate.
Coe then, conquer and kiss me !
Come ! what hinders? Believe me :
This is the thought we await.
The mark is fair ; can you miss me ?

See, how subtly I writhe !
Strange runes and unknown sigils
I trace in the trance that thrills us.
Death ! how lithe, how blithe
Are these male incestuous vigils !
Ah ! this is the spasm that kills us !

Wherefore I solemnly affirm
This twofold Oneness at the term.
Asar on Asi did beget
Horus twin brother unto Set.
Now Set and Horus kiss, to call
The Soul of the Unnatural
Forth from the dusk ; then nature slain
Lets the Beyond be born again.

This weird is of the tongue of Khem,
The Conjuration used of them.
Whoso shall speak it, let him die,
His bowels rotting inwardly,
Save he uncover and caress
The God that lighteth his liesse.

Aleister Crowley Poems
Aleister Crowley Poems

The Wild Ass

I

The secret of the House of Set
Is hidden in my sevenfold veil;
For I am he that doth beget
The Rood, and bear the Holy Graal.

Yet is my manhood woman-frail,
Barren my motherhood. They now
Shall men my mystic mountain scale?
These ram’s-horn thumbs jut from my brow

To push them to the miry slough
Wherein the foes of Set are caught.
Come, let us pluck the Golden Bough
From the brave Tree of life and thought!

Who heareth naught, he heedeth naught.
Come, we are safely housed and shrined
Where subtler images are wrought
Than boast the treasuries of Mind!

II

The secret of the House of Set.
As a poor pilgrim clambering
Toils on the slopes, so I to get
Halidom for my lord the King.

Faintly and feebly murmuring
I uttered the mysterious runes,
And bade my body’s sleekness sing
Silky, satanic, subtle tunes.

Was he not holy? Milk of moons
Were not so pallid as his cheek,
And roses of a million Junes
His mouth left livid. So I seek

In all God’s seas a tiny creek
Wherein to moor my shallop. Nay!
He is a mountain, chill with bleak
Stark winds of innocence astray!

The fearful passion sweeps me away.
So with a passionate thrill of fear
I creep -like shadows across Day!
Like Winter on the expended year! –

From those cold feet, a frozen meer,
To those cold knees, a lost lagoon,
To that wild woodland, strangely near
To the lone tower that tops the moon!

Verily and Amen! Unhewn
The great grim forest menaces.
What gardener may dare to prun
Those woods to build me palaces?

So climb, each ledge an infinite stress,
Lustful as light, as lechery loth,
From the brutality of Besz
To the plumed perjury of Thoth!

I held him holy. Holier both
Than aught the bearers of the bier,
Thoum-aesh-neith and Auramoth,
Saw in the hiding-house of fear.

The sorceries that span the sphere,
The spells that harness star and sun,
I whispered in his siren ear –
Once, twice, and thrice for every one!

Once, twice, and thrice -the boon’s begun!
With four and five and six it stirs:
With seven the druid dance is done,
And Death drives home his silver spurs!

Then -the last leap. What crowning curse
Can bid that cup of curses brim?
How may God’s maniac ministers
Lash the last languor out of Him?

I did it. How? So great and grim
The Gods are, I may never guess.
Suffice it, on his mouth I swim
A drowning dastard. The caress

Wakes the lost life. I see him dress
The godhead. Up he bounds and brays: –
The wild ass of the wilderness,
The soul that sees, the soul that slays!

Inhabit the untrodden ways;
Set! Thou my god and I thy priest,
Thy temple hidden in the haze
Of deserts death to god or beast!

Thou who art both shalt foin and feast
With me who am both, thy hate’s co-heir,
Lord of the West and of the East –
The scorpion’s hole, the lion’s lair!

I kissed his mouth -sublime despair!
Our souls were one; our bodies met –
Yea! darkness cover everywhere
The secret of the House of Set!

Leave a Comment