A Canticle for Innocent Comedians

by Ben Belitt

Ben Belitt

Keep Innocency!”
— ”Walter de la Mare

They smile in ceaseless manna fall,
Flutes, and the quills of wings,
Who bear belief, like coronal,
And tender tokenings;
For these, an upstart whim has cast The laughing paradigm That binds the halves of first and last To single troth, in time:
“Lay down thy brows,
O malcontent,
The bright brunt, and the dark;
Thou shalt be bent as light is bent Beneath the burning arc.
We tend for thee abiding pledge And drive in cleanly strength The flaw that widens to the wedge And shall be loosed at length.
“The custom of thy disbelief Upturns a double face: She spends the massive guise of grief
In pittances of grace,
And serves a comic shibboleth
That puzzles as it goes:
‘Elude the faith; yet the unfaith
Elects a winged close.’
“Itself itself shall cancel out
And pare the surmise green,
And doubt dissolve at last the doubt,
When Lazarus has been;
And bring the mocker by the tents,
The mind of gothic mood,
To bind an old beatitude
In modern innocence.”

Last updated September 22, 2022