I in no way admire Aleister Crowley. I tried to read both “Diary of Drug Fiend” and “The Confessions of Aleister Crowley” but I could not stand either of the books. After skimming them I decided not to bother with them. But today I happened upon an image of one of his poems which he had mimeographed to share with his friends.
The poem was called ‘Forty Years On: At the Metropole.’ which was written near the end of his life. It was interesting that he died in 1947, and the poem is from circa 1946. It could be one of his last works.
When I read the poem imaged Crowley having a private chuckle about how witty he thought he was with insights like “The sluts are sluttier, the inferior races are more annoying than ever, the weather colder.” He is complaining about life in Brighton. Here is the text that I transcribed from the image.
‘Forty Years On: At the Metropole”
the jobbers are fatter and older
the lounges are noticeability shabbier
the weather if anything colder
the residents duller & flabbier
the music more raucous and louder
the eating appallingly heartier
(line can not be read for it is marked up by a copywrite)
the tarts undeniable tariter
The Smites more pushingly present
The bill less addicted to fact
Yes, Brighton is rather less pleasant
Thank goodness the sea is intact
In the first line Crowley is mocking people who work for a living, but he died poor. I am not sure what to make of the line about eating. Did he mean healthier or just larger portions? What is hardy eating? The bill less addicted to fact may mean he is bemoaning rising prices. He does not like loud music just like an old person would complain about “modern music.” The poem’s merit lies in showing how Aleister Crowley looks at the world.
I would be interested in reading more of Aleister Crowley’s poems, but they are hard to find. I could not find them as eBooks or pdf and I dislike having physical books in my house. This is a whole separate rant, but I like the convivence of having all my books on a Kindle format so they don’t take up space and I can read them anytime and anywhere.
According to the Amazon Comments; Aleister Crowley : Selected Poems was once a Kindle Book, but it was only a low quality scan. No one bothered to type the poems into a computer. Third Party Amazon Sellers who scan a book they found free online and sell it for 99 cents need to be stopped. All of his work is in public domain and should be free according to sites such as Project Gutenberg.
The poem is for sale for about 80 dollars or pounds online, but who would want to buy it? I would like to see Aleister Crowley’s poems collected as an eBook so I could look them over and see if I liked any others. I started to look a bit and I found many of the are repulsively about unsettling topics not fit to be mentioned in my blog. I found an Individual Word Press Site with some of the poems typed up, but it was also hard to find. Maybe Google is suppressing the results in the search? Google ties to steer searches towards making a sale. You buy something even when you could have gotten it for free if you were willing to spend a lot of time searching for it.
Maybe Aleister Crowley has been underrated as a poet in favor of his books on Magic with a K, his fiction and his prose? In spite of being racist, misogynistic, and elitist maybe some of his poems have some kind of merit? I don’t know if I can even be sure that this is really his poem or his mimeograph? It does not seem to come with a certificate of authenticity. I sense that its real, but it’s better to be skeptical. I am calling it real for the sake of this article, but I don’t really know for sure.
The poem appeals to me is because my mother read me works of poems and sarcastic poems including poems from Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland, so I appreciated sarcasm at an early age. The poem is serious, but ironically unaware of the silliness it invokes in a modern reader.
If you are interested in learning more about Aleister Crowley I suggest you check out this You Tube Video which really explains it all in just under 20 minutes by You Tuber Thoughty2 called Meet the Most Dangerous Man in History. Maybe that title is also sarcastic since he never had anyone killed like Charles Manson did, as far as I know. But Aleister Crowley did have a cult going on similar to Manson. That makes him very dangerous but only for the people in his cult. He did not kill outsiders.
I am reposting the text I found to explain the poem in case the original site is deleted, there is a link above to the original page and here is a link to the Saved Page.
“Undated – circa 1946. First Edition thus. Mimeographed (or otherwise mechanically reproduced) on a single 8 x 10 inch buff colored sheet. Crowley published a slightly different version of this poem under the title ‘Forty Years On: To Angela Constadine’ in his Olla (1946). The version published in Olla appears to have been slightly bowdlerized, thus the lines which appear in the books as ‘The tarts quite a little bit tartier; The road-hog more pushingly present,” appear in this broadsheet as the more racially-offensive ”The tarts undeniably tartier; The Semite more pushingly present.’ Crowley apparently had a small number of this version ‘printed’ for recipients of copies of Olla who he thought would be appreciate it. VG condition. Item #31902″
There are still questions such as what is Olla? Who is Angela Constadine? This blurb creates more questions than it answers.