Semper animus libera
O Thou that watches over all
And marks the good in man
Unnamed Godhead of all the thronging spirits
Who guard thy mortal worlds -
When skies darken and the plunging waves roil through
When the mountains themselves spit ruddy fire
And melt into valleys or crash steaming into the ocean deeps -
To keep thy people safe in those mortal lives you grant.
O Monarch, supreme over lesser gods and kings
Thou arbiter of fates and keeper of eternal time
Whose gaze falls on each vale and reaches every height;
Seeing the burrowing rabbit and the swinging ape;
Encompassing the beasts as they crawled from the morass deep
Leaving behind the ichthyosaur's lightning strike and the breaching whale,
Seeing the seas withdraw and the skies darken
Seeing a present poison flow from the land
Knowing the warming and the new melt ice that deepens seas,
Mark my captive plight on this deep vaulted sphere.
For I am held fast by the cold embrace of creed and code
With portal bars forged by the priests
And chains hard cast of time's old canon -
These tight bonds cinch my very mind
That no free thought can escape to reach lesser gods or mortal kin.
O Ruler over all, I call out from this soul-baffling crypt
For I know you: know your magnitude and your love, know your power,
And so am held, as the shamans and elders hold mortal wandering tribes in sway,
A mocked and muted solitary entombed by the very nave and spires
Raised for your worship. I hate their pomp and vanity that fetter thou as well as I,
Their apse and narthex mark my bounds.
Glorious spires and towers ring with the clamour of pealing tongues
Carved granite and bright stone raise high the Saints while gargoyles spout;
Lead and crystal combine and shine the earth's bright hues on stony aisles
Even the lowly furniture around the choir is carved with seraphim and angels high
Such transient glory serves well the priests who bend their knee
And magnifies the stature of their office and their state
The priests must magnify their gods
The mullahs and the cardinals require their own eminence
Religions have their roots in faith
And grow strong with the people's love
Those roots have brought forth high boughs:
The trees have flourished and bloomed
The trees have flourished and bloomed
And cleric nurserymen claim
A necessary role
From my ebon throne I behold all worlds as one
In my thrall sprits and demigods bow down
My voice rolls across the peaks and those who would may hear
I have given men wisdom and with that, freedom
How am I to understand this plea?
Though my extremes may astound
And my soil hold tether the foundations of faiths;
Though my many lands may be conscribed
And governed oft by alb and chasuble
Yet I convene the multitude
The legion who seek eternal truth,
Who hope that the virtuous and the moral
May each aspire to divine reward.
For their love alone, above the sadness at my breast
wherein I rue those closer chains,
I plead a greater cause than lineage.
The tenets scribed of old do no more
Than raise thy godhead and mark all good!
Like those scribing copyists and monks of ink and vellum
I repeat, and repeat each echo above the hills
Each recital chimes long in the valleys and rebounds from the slopes
Knowing only a fleeting transience but loudly crying deliverance.
O for those penning skills that I might better plead -
My manuscript's rinceaux would trace the branches of my case
Gold or silver would embolden every uncial point and carmine emphasise.
No mortal man nor god could doubt my claims
Daughter of the land whose torment is heard in my darkest caverns
Whose anguish reaches my depths and my denizens below
My buoys knell their warning clamour in return
My reefs and deepest sounds, my ancient maelstroms and storms
May damage many a mortal man that ships across my seas
Such is their fate who venture out beyond their near horizon,
That risk all for such small profit as can float in their puny craft
But I do not take hostage to protect the liberty that my bounds offer
Nor hold captive those who would learn my many contours
I, Lord of the gods, Defender of faiths, must speak!
You lesser deities, you spirits and oceanides,
You furies and phantasms - let your ears hear my words.
That Demogorgan, supreme of your thrice blessed world
Where the infinite beginning lies harmonious with hidden order
That Demiurge that you know as the eternal brooding dream:
He who fashioned your worlds, shaped all that is material to you
Requires much of your small lives: Recognising your world, Glorify and give praise
Your creator! In return for that spirit with which you are blessed - Bow down!
But hold! Your lowly lives, your puny mortal minds have needed more!
Without your patriarchs and imams what would you understand of this mystery?
Your swami and cardinals, rabbi and lama guard the canon of your creed
You raised them to lead and keep you in your ritual faith
Their fine temples stand tall to keep you in your righteous ways
These are truly guardians for they hold Prometheus firm
But that very free spirit that is his mind is the cause holds him captive
Bow low to the source of my consciousness.
Creation brought me forth and I - Demogorgan - shaped all:
All that you see or feel, each dew-held leaf, horizoned storm or earth bound worm
The roaring forest beast and the sea foaming leviathan are mine!
And I raised mortal man to seek rank and position in his small communities
And so our echelons are set.
What would you ask of me?
What can I ask?
All things that your mind can tell
Who gave me reason
Lent my mind its power of thought
And imbued it with a will, imagination, passion?
Then, what is religion?
The belief in a god
Another question? What is its lack?
The deepest abysmal depths below are darkened by the hoards
Of those who have no faith: those gainsayers who can see no god
Each knows his heart and now knows his due
And again I ask, and need to know
An answer that will quiet my heart
When will that deep crypt wherein Prometheus is held bond
His belief in his god shrouded by his rejection of the panoply which surrounds
That earthen manifestation and governance of his god. And bounds his very prison.
Be opened that he may once again join that lesser pantheon
That watches over humankind and in that reunion
Anoint the earth with sweet peace and love?
Again, I would know the meaning
For have I not made men free?
What has Prometheus done that keeps him bound these many years
For I have heard his voice raised in praise even from the abysm
And from the crypt?
Do my priests forget me
That they entomb those who would see my face,
Destroy those who steal their fire?
They are but the limen beyond which Prometheus would step.
Let him be free to pursue his course:
Send Hephaestus in his chariot, that he may break the chains
Send Hercules to sunder the cell walls to their very stones
And make free him who truly loves me.
Let the green valleys and the high mountains sing
Let my rivers and rills echo the joy!
Prometheus is raised from the depths
To walk in freedom beneath the moon and stars
Let his voice raise hope in his people who endlessly toil
Beneath the Edict of Thessalonica,
Subject to those conjunctions that empower and govern.
Like Epicurus, he may look to separate power,
May return praise to the voice of the masses
But take care!
Praise may not require the golden spires,
The great steeples and gilded domes, the mighty temples,
The stately priests with scarlet capes trailing servers and censers:
Faith dwells only in the mind:
but its origins must be scribed on vellum
In inks that will not diminish over the many epochs.
Enough that priests keep the faith and their scribes its annals!
That much is true
No faith should require a submission of the will and intellect
The people are free!
See! He comes!
Unbound! His chains are sundered and the very dungeon walls destroyed.
With mighty Hercules, I compass his way from darkness.
Most glorious Prometheus! thy strength in suffering
Attests to the power of wisdom, courage and love
Which your soul ministers!
Thou art welcome!
O Thou that watches over worlds
And marks the good in all, witness our joy!
In many a moon glow and in the dark sun shadow of my cell
I called on thee!
O Sweet Asia, Eternal Earth
These kind words - like freedom -
Are sweet attestation to my belief that my prayers were heard
O Monarch, supreme over lesser gods and kings
Now is the hour in which my vow is charged
To cherish that freedom which you freely give
Throughout the worlds
This day shall shine in my skies as Sirius
When power has been razed and the glories of the worlds
Are now rightly ordered in their place; their beauty is gone from the high places
No despot is raised on high; How have the mighty fallen!
Gentle Prometheus! Your virtue shall endure
That firm assurance seals a bond
And proffers the throng understanding of their faith
You have suffered infinite woes. To forgive dark wrongs,
To defy dominance and yet to love
This is thy glory.