new zealand electronic poetry centre

Lola Ridge


online works
 

The Insane
     

Near by a canary is singing,
     Whistling and singing with glee;
By the railings the prisoners are clinging –
     They, friends, who are even as we.

As we, but the world does not know it,
     The secret is ours to keep;
To guard that our eyes may not show it –
     That our lips may not babble in sleep.

For, friends, they would take us and bind us,
     Not heeding nor answering why.
In place of a world they would find us
     An acre of garden and sky.

Oh! we are the merry and glad men,
     Ye crazed, irresponsible things,
Who brand us and bind us as madmen,
     And pose as our rulers and kings.

Ye – wandering blind through the ages,
     And dazed with your schisms and schools –
Know we are the wise men and sages,
     And ye are the children and fools.

And what of the laws of your making?
     Ye say: “It is thus – it shall be”;
And rise in your wrath at their breaking,
     Because ye are stronger than we.

But your rules are the ravings of fevers,
     Bred of shadows fantastic and vain,
That are spun by the little white weavers
     In the mystical loom of the brain.

They are born of your minions and creatures,
     Of the phantoms and shapes that ye saw;
But ye pose as our prophets and teachers –
     Till ye make your insanity law.

And so we are careful and cunning,
     Because ye are stronger than we.
By the railings the prisoners are sunning,
     And lo! it is sweet to be free!

 

 

‘The Insane,’ Bulletin 11 Jan 1906: 3. NSW.




Comments
Last updated 30 May, 2013