Saturday, 3 September 2011
The South African Roy Campbell was one of the best English-language poets of the 20th century. Despite that, his work has languished in obscurity. Why? Because he was deeply politically incorrect. He opposed Marxism and Freudianism, embraced a kind of muscular Christianity and supported Franco's side in the Spanish civil war. For this, he was predictably branded a "fascist" by the in-crowd. The fact that he joined the British army to fight Hitler, later broke with Franco over his support for Hitler and had previously written verse critiquing racial segregation in South Africa was conveniently forgotten. Today, while the work of Stalin-friendly poets like Stephen Spender continues to be celebrated, that of Roy Campbell - whom Spender acknowledged was "a great poet" even after Campbell punched him - is mostly forgotten.

Campbell can be seen as a victim of the Cultural Marxism that has dominated western culture for decades. His impression of it after encountering it directly in the form of the Bloomsbury group was healthy and correct.
Campbell began to see the three aspects of the new elite—sexual inversion, anti-patriotism, and progressive politics—as aspects of a single frame of mind. These three qualities amounted, for Campbell, to a refusal to grow up. The new elite, in Campbell’s opinion, lived as bloodless parasites on their social inferiors and moral betters; they jettisoned real responsibilities in favor of utopian fantasies and flattered themselves that their precious sensibilities were signs of moral refinement, rather than the marks of a fastidious narcissism.

One of my favourite Campbell poems is "The Making of a Poet". It seems to me to embody the plight of the modern Counterjihadist. To save our people, we must become pariahs to them.
In every herd there is some restive steer
Who leaps the cows and heads each hot stampede,
Till the old bulls unite in jealous fear
To hunt him from the pastures where they feed.

Lost in the night he hears the jungles crash
And desperately, lest his courage fail,
Across his hollow flanks with sounding lash
Scourges the heavy whipcord of his tail.

Far from the phalanxes of horns that ward
The sleeping herds he keeps the wolf at bay,
At nightfall by the slinking leopard spoored,
And goaded by the fly-swarm through the day.


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