Some Other Things I Hated about the Twentieth Century

And when the bats and lunas appeared in courtyards at dusk,
They were no longer chased through green quadrangles
By children with tennis rackets,
But the lunas were captured and mounted with steel pins
Of a certain uniform manufacture,
And the bats were frozen (along with limbs of slaughtered animals)
By inquisitive young men who numbered
And catalogued their various small sucking and scavenging parasites,
And all the radiant-most conditions of life
Were outlawed, until nobody with a scroll and lectern
Ever dreamed that his skin could emit light
Or remembered the trail to a falls not made from water,
And Right and Wrong were enshrined and silted with dust
In the Museum of Everything Once Cherished
While other men and women wrote tedious (and also long) treatises
About being victims and no one not
Because every act is relative,
A mere firework with chemical or neural fuse.
Even among those who still felt a soul,
The tether was frail, a leash of rhinestones
Or a tendril of cloud-tinted ribbon,
And nobody had faith in anything much
Except that there was a pleasant bit here
And a sparkle of loveliness there,
So that the campuses and cities became populated by magpies,
And the fountain pen gave place to the ball point and worse.
Most I hate how I listened to voices
Of lovelessness and scorn, who set themselves higher
Than masters who processed around altars,
Reciting hero's tales and strewing flowers—
Those who with strong unfailing chants of praise
Sought truth in words, in art, without a thought
For critics, cant, and victimology,
And gave the useless, needful vision: how
To make or dream, discover, save, declare
A large and shining world in which to live.