“Some Are Crowned”
Some are crowned as apples, some as eggs,
Others wear the uniform of acorns scattered as the zeal
Of seasons turns by circumstance, some to reach the fields
And some to disappear. Whether treasures or the dregs,
The spike of thorns for classic torture, the prick of thistles for the symbol,
Implications dwindle in the winds and mountain snows will thaw
With no greater understanding than that nothing grows beyond the flaw
Bestowed. That fallow space displaces moistures by the bucket or the thimble
Best beloved, but nothing near the destiny of receptacles of grace wherein
The blessing and benefit is tested. Serenity, repose, and peace
Received, themselves the purpose while the price of life is death. Such ease,
So great a recognition of the burden’s broad design is thus resigned. In
That lethal insight of the germ we see how perfect are the needs,
That some fruits will be eaten and others reign again as seeds.
“The Girl Had Been No Problem”
The girl had been no problem at the start;
She was never late, she did her work, she raised
Her hand from time to time to disapprove or praise
Whatever happened in the class, a spark,
An edge in almost every session, eager to propose
That what was studied could not please
Her more, and as she rose, the breeze to ease
The burdens of her classmates–I supposed
Them all to be her friends. Then in time a rage
Came over her: she was absent from her seat,
Arrived at times so much more than late, she asked me to repeat
What had been covered in her absence. Clouds evolve, change;
I forced a meeting with the lady, “What is it you’ve discovered?”
Said she, “I may not pass this course, but neither will the others!”
Ask hucksters what they want and wander
Through oblivion to the source of specious theories,
Forecasts, and teapot tempests; reliquaries
That confuse Gertrude and her latest husband are set to thunder
In the index of both their worlds. The times are now aligned
To spend, to risk the whole at will. In the end, what binds
All capital are not the markets but the printing press–refined,
Its produce consigned as wallpaper in the study, and echoes of 1939
Followed closely on the air, subterfuge and incidentals
In the immanent reign of night–note the accent from the fireflies
That given space and stage enough are harmless as butterflies
And the common moth, winged creatures, given credentials
In an incremental vacuum. “Where’s the luminary of the age,”
They say, to feast his pen on renewable rites of slavery and sages?
Someone asked if I am sad these days;
Every planet in his season takes on hues of gloom,
And even so while I have moons to tend, all too soon
The Sunday’s over. Monday holds sway but walks away
Without a “By your leave!” for yet another week
And I suspect there’re dawns enough and dusks in what I write
For Tuesday’s struggles in the flight of sample allegories in the night
And day to last through Wednesday’s pride and Thursday’s sleek
And curious ride across the skies to Friday’s constant aim
To put another world between the fire here below and light above
And consecrate remaining fading vision’s fields to yielding fruits of love
Beneath His gaze. And so, yes, I make rude remarks while I remain
Here between these earthly clouds that are my ceilings and sods my floors,
And daily run the gauntlet of the startled sleeping spider in bananas
and apples rotten to the core.
Simple intelligence of the thing, the gait
Of common sense and goodwill, hearts
And minds that hold not solely to the arts
Or sciences nor to the overweening good, the late
Great planetary frieze born of shibboleths allied;
The vicinity of sanity claims a corner
On anonymity and a former
Aphorism outspoken often but never really tried.
“Come, stay awhile!” they say, fingers on the trigger
Offering nothing less than what is guessed
About the world and, yes, he sees it at its best
Because it’s nothing less than what looks bigger
To anyone who’s never been there and has no history.
To the wise, simplicity; to the foolish, one more mystery.
Roses for longevity, yes! tokens of a former reign
And deep within their sacrifice reds and florist’s greens,
Are fragrances of time and place from passing scenes
Of nuance, puddles deposited from accidents and incidental rains,
And that was yesterday; tomorrow, a torrent drowning visions—
Foundlings of future stories—deliverance in blessings saved
For half a century and more, prescient tokens, brave,
Benign and lacking only guile to cut the ribbons
Of what’s left of reticence. There are dangers in the cellophane.
Please! If this then that; if inertia, stimulation
Then, of course, the sum and price of abnegation;
What the Greeks call horses, the Trojans, lethal gains.
Intentions swept aside, abandoned, rapture’s secrecy
Is hidden virtue confused with common sense and mediocrity.
“She Asked Me How”
She asked me how I write my poetry,
And I knew why she asked. I also knew
She’d lost my name before the curfew
And meagre rations flung themselves at me.
But I’d another destiny and wrote
What I imagined she might say and told
Myself that she’d never trace the fold,
The scope of my reply; she’d not cope
With what was after all a reprimand.
Nothing stands. She lives, she denies
Her first and last replies; she’ll cry
At any rate, and hope her efforts land
In subtler valleys, held in escrow, there
Where truth at once is everywhere and rare.
“To Peer Through Glass Bottoms”
To peer through glass bottoms, back through doors
Toward me; outward from the ceiling, the interior;
Inward from the surface of the exterior
Of all I see; I wish to breathe. No satisfaction’s scored
On golf cards if the man has never wished to play;
No records made of voyages through veins
And arteries, or through the musings of the sane
And common mind, but oh, what he may
Decide to say if only he were not among
The living. Shining there with nothing, on
High above, and riding in the jet stream, strong
In atmospheres with atoms so far flung
That scream for the lack of crowding—here or there,
A view without a window—a step to where there are no stairs.
“They’ve Played That Card”
They’ve played that card so many times: they blur
The icons, alter megabits until it’s come to be a part
Of them in triplicate, and still they’re at it. There’s an art
To all this noise, and something sinister in words
And sounds that take up so much memory
And leave so little history in the space of fifteen minutes in the light.
The antidote, the better for the overhaul, continual flights
Through manuals of casuistry and blame, the counterfeit incendiary
Of every curtain call, the wherewithal in the daily stampede to press.
The public calls for even more than all must be obvious to any least
Observer. Within the Fed, the yeast that feeds the beauty to the beast—
To hell with all the rest—with no surprise and endless repetition, the test
Of wills and willing contradictions to the golden rule, the pundit’s song,
Remembrances of frogs who inhabit ponds but moments, and are gone.