“Questions”

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“Questions”

Questions mount in compliments, the third’s irrelevant:
To be or not to be, to seek the seen or unseen or not to see
at all; so, what’s a circus in a world without eternity?
Then, again, even if no one’s here still the monitor’s adamant
Unequivocal nothing has happened–so what’s the point?
And were you here beside me, would I then need sleep,
Awake but to open my mouth and sing? Would I seek another deep
Abyss within, impose a curfew on the thing or casually anoint
The latest impasse with a casual kiss? There’s a Judas in this;
His days are numbered with the dusts, the rust of wrinkled
Inevitability with excess housed in reliquaries of gold
Whence comes the latest least expected crop
Of shibboleths, coined and counted; there we’ll be atop the list
Some two branches on the tree, twin tokens found, no other sound,
And when I go you’ll miss the show, and who’ll lay me in the ground?

…art piece above by Robin Kranitzky & Kim Overstreet

“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Masá’il or `Questions'”

Bahá’í’s throughout the world gather today to commemorate the First Day of the Month of Masá’il [Questions]

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“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Masá’il or `Questions'”

Of sons, divinity required sacrifice;
Both obliged presented gifts, yet one
Found pleasure in the Judgment, son
And God were pleased; but, that the sacred rite
Eluded what was offered by the second
Brought an anger and a fire in Cain,
The fruit of envy, rancour, and desultory disdain
To both the elder brother and the God-reckoned
Greater of the two. Asked the Light,
“What hath made thee wroth?” silence was the answer.
The question posed, there rose no reply but cancer
Deep within the marrow of he who in his flight
Deduced the primal human action of the will:
Unbridled passion and the naked urge to kill.

“So Who’s’t Knows”

The Deluge by John Martin (1806-70). 1834.

“So Who’s’t Knows”

So who’s’t knows the end in such benign beginnings,
The coming floods that fallow flow from all that snow
And ice held hostage by the cold alone when any fool knows
That what comes down must in time admit a hit in later innings
The last whose time is preordained, the added sweater helps but winning
Nothing ‘gainst the close exchange that comes within the glow
Of this year’s logs piled high at the hearth, the comfort zone
Cannot endure another fiercer facing, just another frieze in reasoning
When all that matters now is reduced to splinters
In the opening hours of the wake of powers beyond a stream,
Beyond the hopes of wagers strung on nothing more
Than readings from the runes or yet another card pulled before
The Gipsy’s deck was shuffled or wrinkles of the winter’s
Palm were read, too little information here for dreams.

“In the End”

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“In the End”

In the end, they knew no more about the other
Than they were led to believe;
Their minions’ hearts on sleeves
Will please the local rag, the corps or sundry brothers
Everywhere from “Z” Town in Lincoln to Kansas City,
Kansas across that great Missouri Divide from the Plaza seen
From Independence through to the streets of Ferguson screened
(And we all know what that name has come to mean), facility
To felicity for some, agony to millions, and death to some few.
But, who’s to know what really came to pass that afternoon
Between the teen and the less-than-seasoned officer marooned
In destiny to make a difference where there was none, the glue
To evolution in the mainstream of what to date has only seemed
To flow from cause to effect, but is and never has been truly seen?

“The Test”

 

“The Test”

The test is in the poem’s weight, nothing equitable but fair,
And in and of itself an offering, a discrete particle in an innocuous conceit
Upon some higher power in the substance that in its sleep
Has left the path and all the usual signs and banners with little thought or care
To what it means to shoot the moon and sun,  to know what has came
To pass to mirror movements  of the moment; receivers quickly feign
Reaction to the pen and page and all such shibboleths as questions beg the reign
Of order in a desperate bid for substance and recognition inertia that sustains
Momentum in the swamp and swell of ownership by a simple dint of will:
Mindless arbitration comes to mind as sparks defining truth spill
Words and destinies and budding paradigms, the seed and fruit of every hill.
Both will measure every valley undetected, unrestrained.
The eye, the plume, the generations of the word itself must all reveal
An effortless encounter of win and lose no matter what the deal.

The Passing of `Abdu’l-Bahá

Bahá’ís of the entire world mark today as the Anniversary of the Ascension of `Abdu’l-Bahá. The passing of `Abdu’l-Bahá, the Centre of the Covenant, the Exemplar of the Faith, Son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith took place at about one o’clock in the morning on 28 November 1921; Bahá’ís commemorate that Event at about one o’clock in the morning and have been doing so since His passing in 1921.

The Passing of `Abdu’l-Bahá

The news of `Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing on November 28, 1921, was received by the Bahá’í world and the citizens of Haifa with profound distress and grief. The Holy Land–a land all too frequently convulsed by religious conflict– witnessed an unprecedented event of unity and collective emotion in the aftermath of `Abdu’l-Bahá’s death. Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druzes, of all persuasions and denominations; Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Armenians, and other ethnic groups were drawn together in mourning His passing and in sharing their common loss.

The funeral of `Abdu’l-Bahá, “a funeral the like of which Palestine had never seen,” drew “no less than ten thousand people…representing every class, religion and race in that country.” “A great throng,” the British High Commissioner wrote, “had gathered together, sorrowing for His death, but rejoicing also for His life.” The Governor of Jerusalem at the time also wrote in describing the funeral: “I have never known a more united expression of regret and respect than was called forth by the utter simplicity of the ceremony.

“The Café Stool”

“The Café Stool”

The café stool at the corner bus stop spins
Lukewarm as the smiles concentrate on the coffee. The counter reeks
Of vinegar and last night’s cream and stranded weeks
In tufts of cusps and smoke and maybes render standard wins

And dust bunnies in an otherwise long night’s wait. The daily turn
Put miles on both the urn and that old stool.
He’s going nowhere fast but yes, he knows the rules.
He’s been to school. He’s got a lot to say, and bile to burn

Before he bags the keys, and hits the road
For all it’s worth out there; and tell me, now, what’s

It worth? Another dime, another cup of time forever cuts
A path between the long and short, and both are simple codes

For what he means to say, “I’m here and going nowhere,
Fast, but, if you’ve found the exit, let me know, and I’ll be there.

Oh, well, and since you asked me, yes! The twisted lips,
Emaciated torso, darkest circles,
Smudges, really, orbs―a pair―and matching icicles
For breasts suggesting that they’re beyond suggesting; tips

Of fingers, possibly, or weaknesses supporting barbed wire frames,
And all this while naked, reading The New Yorker; raked, reclining, draped
Across a thing or two. A second piercing, pain, or whatever can be scraped
Together to perform the task achieves its consummate utilitarian fame

Expressed in motifs on the menu or à la mode made decorative and dative
In function, deliberately neutered as are the midnight waffles.
Yes! There’s so much that can be found in any diner or rendered awful
In some missing space or blank provided―the passive or the active

Voice required―sired, producing tired generations of sensations
To the point that what’s come in on the bus becomes the stuff of veneration.

“As the Sea”

Bahá’ís throughout the world celebrate this day [beginning at sunset] as the Day of the Covenant, the Celebration of the Eternal Covenant between God and Mankind through His Manifestations and Prophets, eternal in the past, eternal in the present, eternal in the future:

“His Holiness Abraham, on Him be peace, made a covenant concerning His Holiness Moses and gave the glad-tidings of His coming. His Holiness Moses made a covenant concerning the Promised One, i.e. His Holiness Christ, and announced the good news of His Manifestation to the world. His Holiness Christ made a covenant concerning the Paraclete and gave the tidings of His coming. His Holiness the Prophet Muhammad made a covenant concerning His Holiness the Báb and the Báb was the One promised by Muhammad, for Muhammad gave the tidings of His coming. The Báb made a Covenant concerning the Blessed Beauty of Bahá’u’lláh and gave the glad-tidings of His coming for the Blessed Beauty was the One promised by His Holiness the Báb. Bahá’u’lláh made a covenant concerning a promised One who will become manifest after one thousand or thousands of years. –`Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith

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“As the Sea”

As the sea swells, so the Covenant remains, promises fulfilled.
Through Abraham the Friend of God, and Moses, Giver
Of The Law; fruited and confirmed in Jesus Son of Mary given
In His Person more–the Love of God–and through His Will,
Submission under God in Hijáz through Muhammad, Seal of Prophets;
From the East, Lord Krishna of The Three, The holiness of Buddha in Purity;
The Fires of Zoroaster from the mountain; security from casuistry
Within the Witness of The Báb, and Justice in Bahá’u’lláh
`gainst the nursery rhymes of sophists
And the worship of Creation over He who did create
The whole with but a single Word, “Be!” Hosts exclaim and expiate
Their cavils at the Word through numbers, and the terror of the tribes.
Armies propagate
Their synergies against the tide of history, bow the knee to what they rape,
And call it truth. By God! The earth is weary of their weight.
The Word alone remains; the Covenant alone withstands this dreary freight.

“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Qawl or ‘Speech’”

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather today to celebrate the First Day of the Month of Qawl [Speech]

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“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Qawl or ‘Speech’”

Except to praise Creation and its Source,
Of what use are tongues, and what of speech
If not to practice affirmation, to reach
Beyond the baser nature—to stay the course
Of destinies and mighty histories,
Ensure the memory of battle lines
Between the Greater World and the Lesser we find
We must occupy…for a time—the lies and inconsistencies
Within the rented present tense? Respeaking irrelevant truths
In vain imaginings applied to the important against the backdrop of the Word,
The most important, the conscious choice between what we’ve heard
With clarity within the heart and what we have been told of old, roots
And tendrils of hypocrisy are struck dumb with but a look,
Surely. These, the Leaves and Boughs of Sadratu’l-Muntahá, Branches
never silent as from out the The Primal Mouthpiece, the Perspicuous Book.

“Yes”

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“Yes”

Yes. So much as I can see
staring Eastward across the waters
that later touch the Holy Land,
still, in the early briefer hour I cannot remember its equal.
Standing here alone in endless fields of wheat and corn
from where I feel an overweening rage Westward, miles
between those twin skyline cauldrons, and swells upwelling heat and sweat
in anxious presage: something coming! sweet release.
My body aches. I cannot stop the prayer beyond the syllables―light and lightning, cheaper thrills, the instant comfort and relief
of ice-cold waters of an irrigation ditch.

Nebraska! To ease the sweet pain,
I cannot wait. I know what’s coming. I’ve always known.

I should not be here, but am I, and nothing in this heart could be disarmed, alarmed or warned to cede to what appears and never once makes sense.

No. I see them, righteous boiling mountains
not of rock; no trees, no streams, no mirage―
no poetic soul’s terse natural verse here while there,
but two whirling dervishes from the West, floods
of supra-natural flotsam, mitred clouds
with stains of seed in florid green
to punctuate potential, a pure
perspicuous majesty
and they stare at me…

Their hour is come. It is their mercurial summons I hear,
its first flush reaching for me and I have no fear.
And in this empty plain,
a place where I’m forgotten,
my early exile, this beside the point
as I stand here, within the hour,
I’ll breathe, I’ll cry, I’ll laugh,
and damn the lightning,
I’ll survive!

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