Pledges

And those pledges

which between man and heaven held

by rapt contrivance, stumblings, stutterings,

and the visions of wan, rheumy eyes?

And those infatuated ordinances

scratched upon the stubborn tablets of persuasion?

Those promises of multiple remissions,

mercies like days,

a flow of timeless time?

Has nothing yet been everlasting,

nothing yet locked from forfeit,

certain beyond faith, logic, or conjecture?

Nothing yet: it was all trial,

man’s private humour of things unplain.

Heaven was the mist, thoughts left unthought,

blind scheming, unvoiced secrecies.

So they who plot against a king enthroned

do reference to a ghost-king:

their king’s a something born of whispers,

sanction of craven charters,

whose signature’s their own.

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