Final Flower of the Human Intellect

nez en l'airIt is hardly surprising that commercialism, the passport to physical prosperity, should be the prevalent idea of an age, when, through the disintegration of class-rule, prosperity is for the first time in history possible for all; nor is it surprising that the masses, stupefied from time immemorial in the cavern of Pain, hereditary and inescapable Pain, should, when released at last a little, drink some madness from the unaccustomed sun, and follow, as they do to-day, Pleasure for Pleasure’s sake, even over the precipice: nor, moreover, is it surprising that the vast majority of the people, educated, though it be but with a smattering, for the first time in history, should not yet to any great extent be partial to poetry, the final flower of the human intellect.

Read more of this lucid madness HERE

This stuff is crazy/beautiful – and Australian !  It is magnificent in its useless verbiage. It is the opening paragraph of a treatise on “Militant Poetry” by Bernard O’Dowd which I discovered recently. I love stumbling upon texts like this. It almost sounds like a parody of itself – it was scribed in 1909 and appears to be quite serious.
But that doesn’t mean we have to read it that way…

Do tell me more about that flower, Brother O’Dowd:

It is Poetry Militant I preach, and, as far as I can, wish to practice, and when at times, tempted mayhap by the sight of Australian Claude Lorraine picnic girls playing “drop the handkerchief” on a lush green meadow ringed by the fairy gold of the whispering wattle trees, I turn from the macadam to rest in a nook in a paddock dainty with maiden-hair and festooned with “supple-jack,” and attempt to lilt a fragment of the melodies of Poetry Triumphant, I have a very uneasy feeling that I am loafing and embarrassing the vanguard by an unwarrantable self-indulgence.


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