Nuremberg: The Power of Myth

(pace Campbell)1

The primal myth stirs.
Ancient sagas,
Pagan rites,
Warrior heroes
Converge,

Kindling a fire which shatters
The restraining chains of the centuries:
Science
Religion
Civilization.

The god-hero mounts the altar
Beneath the eagle’s wings.
Torches burn in the darkness
Reflected in the hopefilled eyes
Of the regathered tribes.

And the twisted black arms of the
Unleashed Primal Psyche
Reach out from bloody banners
To engulf the world
In the rhythm of the Dance.


1Written in 1995, I think it was, during a course I took in which the professor praised uncritically Joseph Campbell’s call to embrace ancient myth as the guiding force in an era in which traditional religion has (supposedly) lost all its meaning. Campbell’s idea (borrowed from Jung) has already been tried once this century . . . I don’t think we want to try it again.