Ode to the West?

The sun it rises, according to Hegel,

In that ancient Orient before the flood

Till the ships sailed toward Byzantium

And time itself came hanging over Europe.

It’s absolutely not accidental, says Hegel,

That the great Geist wind blew West—

It is and was the Occident

Where History itself would be won.


And so a cardinal direction claimed itself to be

A civilization of peerless superiority

Gathering evidence of its own supremacy

Through cosmological inquiries into its own destiny.

Dissecting and inspecting with great glee

From Descartes to Demolins they all did decree

Encomia of an all-knowing rationality

Defying and defiling any remaining mystery.


Imperial sails flew flags of progress

Adding entire continents to their shelves

And emissaries with instruments came

To put the world itself to work.

Through cogito came a cogent capitalist system

Ergo the sum of its parts was a globalized vision

Of labs like corporate pyramids—

That’s how the atomic bomb came to be

That crystallization of Western energy.


O Geist, thou breath of Adam’s being—

Winter lingers on, and Spring will never come

Until they’re all gone, the injustices that were done!

So be thou me, impetuous atom bomb,

And blow away the vast blue sea;

Billow up your messianic gales

And sing in menacing maelstroms;

Let the blaze ooze out from the abyss

Lighting every wave leaf and cloud;

Let threnodies rip and roar in every direction

Making the very earth bleed upon its thorns;

Write with me a savage decree

To blast out missiles made of enmity;

Let all wonder be burst asunder

And every repose be deposed;

Send me crying havoc in the night

And with Jupiter’s arrows smite the starlight;

So that it may all begin anew

So that we all may begin again.

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