Jerome Rothenberg and Sadie Rothenberg

'The Shadow of a Mad King' (1–7)

Poems and Images

a work in progress 



summoning the sacred voice

of Shelley

a curse on GOD and KING and LAW

the echo of a poet’s angry cry

against a mad king



out of his mind and ours
the mad king rages
casting all hope aside
the phantoms of the past

reborn as lies



a family of thieves
and freaky princes
how they surround a mad king
keeping the faces of the dying

out of sight



no room for shame
the mad king stares

at his own face

the dead like hornets fly around

and won’t be still



a mad king riding past
lines of grey bodies
shines a dark light from narrow clown’s eyes
but knows no words nor touch

to calm them



mechanics of despair
the shadow of a mad king
hovers atop the other shadows
eager to hear their angry voices

echo his own



nothing to focus on
but what his skewed mind

shows a mad king
veneration of a dying world
empty of any sound but howls and lies