The Light of Knowledge

Charles Martin

BPR 42 | 2015


Charles Martin’s most recent poetry collection, Signs 
& Wonders, was published in 2011, by the Johns Hopkins University Press. His latest work is a collaborative translation with Gavin Flood of the Bhagavad Gita, published by W.W. Norton & Co. in 2012.

“...Tarzan, Lord Greystoke, is, doubtless, the only human being who ever joined in the fierce, mad, intoxicating revel of the Dum-Dum. From this primitive function has arisen, unquestionably, all the forms and ceremonials of modern church and state....” — Edgar Rice Burroughs

So there you were, in the confessional

With some old priest attending some new sin,

As I tore strips of meat from a fresh kill,

Then crawled back through the thick legs crowding in,
To scarf the orphan’s share—“Little White Skin,”
Named for my pasty face and hairless pelt.

But I danced beneath the full moon with my kin 

In the primeval forest where we dwelt,

Unable to stem the urges that I felt

When we collapsed in a promiscuous heap!

Pardon demanded kneeling, so you knelt,

While I fell into a rich phantasmal sleep

Wherein appeared the lurid, awkward shapes 

Of my companions, the anthropoid apes.