A vision there is abides with me -- a vision of scorching verse,
Whose every line shall faithless be -- the essence of Perfect Curse!
An hour will come -- an hour sublime -- when I, with inkpot vast,
Shall fashion a grim and mordant rhyme, whose words shall rent and blast!
Red thoughts shall drip from the speeding pen -- they'll be written in god-like ink;
They shall reach the minds of careless men -- they shall force the world to think!
It haunts me aye, that vision of bliss -- O vision of joy perverse,
When I shall fashion with words that hiss the Ballad of Perfect Curse!
The looms of thought a song shall weave -- an anthem fierce and grand,
Whose flashing lines like swords shall cleave the shams that infest the land!
The roaring flails of rhyme shall beat, like hammers of massy steel,
When at last I fix in a song complete the thoughts that I sometimes feel!
The thoughts that come when the blatant world lies hushed in a cow-like sleep --
Like thunderbolts they shall be hurled, and the souls of men shall leap!
Aye, the earth shall start like a guilty thing -- shall drop like a toad its purse
When the shattering stanzas roll and ring of the Ballad of Perfect Curse!
The palsied creeds shall wither away -- shall pass from the sight of men;
And kings shall rush in a Judgment Dray, while he shall drive who can!
No more to cash the knee shall bend -- no more shall white men creep
Like prostrate worms to their journey's end -- yea, man shall be more than sheep!
The New Republic's flag shall fly -- new eras men shall see,
When my metred blast goes roaring by like the blast of artillery!
O song unsung! O god-like thought that my inmost soul doth nurse,
That by my pen may yet be wrought the Ballad of the Perfect Curse!
Volcanic thoughts sweep through the night -- red tides of lava gleam;
They pour their blaze of crimson light athwart my burning dream!
The pregnant lines take shining form, the long stern metres swing --
I hear thy voice, incarnate storm, for ever thundering!
Like vivid lightnings through my soul the jagged curses flash --
The blazing tides transmuted roll in rhymes, O God of Cash!
I see pale Cant -- it scuttles by, a dead thing in a Hearse,
And fetiches piled mountain high -- slain by my Perfect Curse!
A vision abides for eye with me -- 'tis a vision of burning verse,
Whose clarion lines shall perfect be -- the essence of Faultless Curse!
An Hour will come -- an Hour sublime when I, with an ink-pot vast,
Shall fashion a most infuriate rhyme whose words shall blight and blast!
Red thoughts shall drip from the speeding pen, and I'll boil down hell for ink --
I shall write an epistle to careless men that shall force the world to Think!
It haunts me, that dream of joy and light (O world where good dreams are scarce!),
That the gods have appointed me to write the Song of the Perfect Curse.
First published in The Bulletin, 20 June 1907