Monthly Archives: April 2011

“He Chose What Homer Chose”

William Shakespeare
[23 April 1564 - 23 April 1616}

Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Shakespeare 447 years ago, and, according to what records we may or may not have, it also marks the Anniversary of the Passing of the Bard 395 years ago. The general facts concerning William Shakespeare support the idea that he was born and died on the same day. In honour of the occasion, of course, there is a repeat of a posting some time ago:

"He Chose What Homer Chose"

He chose what Homer chose; the place,
The measured lisp of every school boy; the time, eternity;
The hour, the glory of the present tense, the panoply
Of stars above the placeless with the taste
Of honeys made pedestrian, obscured by tongues, the paste
Left finite and sour from beyond divinity and the bower of worship--the realities
Of man, the Son of Man, the seat of constancy is faithlessness in cold identities
Obscured beyond the reach of all--
the trial of facelessness becomes their saving grace.
Who knew the eyes of John or Peter, Paul,
or the meek and more obscure Bartholomew
But that the rumours flew and vacancies were filled, their names
Now everywhere and nowhere is it written
How the Christ appeared, or how their God had smitten
What was left of their disguises, appetites and virtues notwithstanding crude
And morbid songs of their demise,

...and cannonlore for all that glory in the flames.

"The past cannot be cured."

--Queen Elizabeth I
[7 September 1533 - 24 March 1603]

“They Scrutinise”

“They Scrutinise”

They scrutinise the inner circle, seconds closer to the sun;
They tether vague fancies in what they see.
The goal, the Holy Mountain; the seed of moonbeams,
Sentimental grace notes in devotions on the run,
And as so much depends upon the multitudes, the hours in the flight,
The centre stage, the spotlight, so little alters the day’s applause,
The algorithms generously applied to the phrase or clause
Voiced without a thought to virtue, voids, or to the rites
Of solipsism in the critical mass, the accidental moment
Seen as just another occasional comma with little heed to order in a full stop.
I see them, I speak with them; I hear their thoughts,
Their questions earmarked from time to time–no need for comment
How much less provide a flint for yet another conflagration, yet another guess
Demanding fuel for candidates greater than the sun, never more, never less.


“The Grapes”

“The Grapes”

The grapes hang withered, the harvest
Long since gathered; what remains
Retains the trenchant memory stains
From yet another season, the weathered test
Of futures peopled with a need, steeples
Rising from the premises of the past
And doting on the future that will not last
Beyond a nightly glass of wine. No sequel
To a dream but sanctioned roots suspended
In the act of pruning; horizons in the line
Of distant vision topple hopes distended
From disuse and inadvertently atrophied; wasted
Spirits in the advertent death of taste.
The pupil clouds and nostrils to the offended
Ear are blocked in musks of sweeter youth
That knows no limit. The feet must surely slip on smooth
And smoother promises of liquids, fickle frosts and pools,
Refractions of an oily surface to rival molecules
On a glass as if nuances of insight, some private means to see
Beyond and through but not within the self. Counterfeits
And likenesses ignore both dissembling and the stuff of age
Accepts no protocol beyond the glory of the bellows to a furnace.
These young ones, tender seedlings, virile saplings
Congregate in spacious places fashioned in the hapless
Moment, centred near but not within intention with nothing purchased
Being no better than what they are or might be and what they are is gone,
As meretricious vapours of a neon evening’s whim rehearsed at evensong.

 


“They’ll Not Long Remember”

“They’ll Not Long Remember”

They’ll not long remember what I taught,
The wrong denied or calcified forgetfulness of what it meant
To know me. What was it then that never happened, what natural scents
Of some exchange or least intended subtle gestures sought
Assuaged a need in merely asking questions and receiving
Nothing in return where nothing much was said and no one yet
Suspected values or the price of precious seconds? What mattered set
Itself against the background of a potpourri of lies and phatic dialogue achieving
Benchmarks in absurdity in the classroom, yes,
but far beneath the need for scrutiny
To whom it never did concern. There is a personal indifference
In these shifts of fantasies of childhood, perfect foils to conscious interference
Spliced with tokens spoken once and then again–malicious unintended mutiny
In the end–a welcome respite from a single thought that was sustained in time.
The memory’s minutes neuter joys of every passing day
with nothing left to rhyme.

“Well It’s Simple, Really”

“Well It’s Simple, Really”

Well it’s simple, really: so to speak
I fall apart, I flounder in so much joy.
I’m not built for it; I’m not much for alloys–
I wish I were–I’ve tried. Attractions leak
Through me, and leave their scars on skin
Worn bare, leather turned to suede. I do not simply move. It’s not enough.
I’m never satisfied. as former hours like blossoms grow limp, calloused, rough
Anointed witnesses to the simile in every mile, yet from an ounce the hue
Of every gallon, maybe two, renders so little sign of significance or change
Within. I feel impervious to accolades and golden cords in plaited bands
About the two of us together with all the others ranked in rows. Demands
And idols claim much too much
within a pantheon of measured idols, a finite range
For what they’re worth. Encountered stations
preoccupy the space reserved in niches neatly all along the way
And all proclaim the prophesy and warning, “You know I may not last the day.”
I turn to trees and shrubs, and pleasure in nature’s liquid sounds
To soothe a wearied heart, neglect my own, and willingly ignore what’s left.
I know what’s out of sight, and neglecting all the disconnected dots bereft
Of solid form; I seek solace in the memory of what I’ve found
In the constants of so many wondrous ancient signs,
words and phrases in the books
Of men and gentle giants in their genius that
short of Scripture, Itself, may numb the mind
To beauty’s sympathies and preemptive empathies I only thought I had. I find
No time to hunt for treasure in the skies or nuggets in a brook
Or in the daily stream of all that is what follows merely in a dream, the broad,
Embolden strokes of changeless mortal ties to lives of muted hues
And dim-lit histories made ephemeral through the subtle clues
Extracted from the manuscripts of dessert caves
and catalogues promptly trod
Asunder in the gilded hubris of modern interests and disingenuous plans
To brick the yellow path with castles built on nothing more than sand.

“The Day Defines Eternity”

“The Day Defines Eternity”

The day defines eternity while its rites
Address themselves to Second Comings in the banks.
Their drunken dawns leave little more than husks grown rank
In what might have been a glorious musky mist. Delight
In shadows, the dampness of a late-night bar, nefarious decisions,
Addictive ends and all that drowns in rampant collusion
Sewn within the lining, a pocket
of darkness embroidered, timed confusion,
Utter usury of fantasies in trillions at the Fed, and all its fine revisions.
So it is with what it is that spawns nocturnal fiscal hope
In monthly monetary infusion after closing hours, florid firsts
And lasts in hourly quotations: their very earnings are their curse.
Ambitions, envy, greed along the taut and binding ropes
Of any other night. It is just so!
Still the constant Wall Street run is ever lost,
While speculators riot in the night and no one owns the costs.

“With Balances”

“With Balances”

With balances between necessity and plan–
The wife, the work, the friend–the three provide
A triad of security, and adjuncts to the ego, His swollen will at once subsides
Of course yet in collision, profusion in the offspring of propinquity. A man’s
Foundation will subdue or soften accidental fears, and nearly all confusion.
Men and wives unite to qualify the sanctity of introspection in both their lives.
The right hand knows what’s in the rites of progeny; the left, the hive’s
Eternal invocation, and mutual rapport from positive judicial collusion
Attracts the light within a close exchange and intercourse. With the friend–
The natural measure–labours then ordained support the whole
Of both the man and all that he can be, the sum of wife, friend, and all his roles,
Holy ballast in the ship, in surest navigation on a line of progress to the end.
The rudder his, so, too velocity, and all his energy: he breathes
First in then out in perfect ease and knows what he’s achieved.

“They Told Me All Along”

“They Told Me All Along”

They told me all along and often, always boisterous, boasting loudly, nights
Would come when I would feel the season’s counterfeits rally round
Ten thousand thousand fresh laconic smiles…

…and sweet obscenities chasing tails, and bound
For fiscal glory, …yes! I knew they knew it could not last–nor might
Not more–minutes, perhaps an icecube’s stand, this half hour, or that,…and yet
They always raised their fists on high, and swore,
despite their losses surely, yes, they’d do it all again, and lay
Their life’s breath’s money where their wit is hatched–within the mouth–to slay
Nine dragons thrice betrayed, and thrice removed,…

…and reconsider fiduciary exploits…. No regrets.
Their bellies’ joy in shredding….No! By God! Dissembling

…they were, and lying then.
They’re lying still–standards to the clan, and even after desperate stares
Surround their own destructions, bloated souls,…

…distorted cancer-yeasts, they’re all aware.
They scribble texts, graffitied mountain tailings, organs failing, seal their place:
“A hand! Extend a hand” they cry,” and deal the cards again and as we live
We die together…” “Well, the hell you say! In the Fed we trust; the government forgives,
for goodness sake!””…Mae West my friend, she’ll tell ya!

goodness has nothing to do with it!”

“Anxiety”

“Anxiety”

Anxiety brings to mind a smile, a certainty
That what is good is merely stalled
On sidetracks to avoid collision, the call
To order from the ethereal unseen; eternity
Does not disappear with so little provocation
As a disagreement, a suspicion of a difference
Of opinion, or what appears to be interference
Even to the very gates of defeat. The invocation,
“Thus far and no father!” is but a station’s stop
And not a terminal carved in destiny.
Nor is it understood to be a bending of the knee
To anything short of order in the chaos and the melée. The shop
Is closed when systems fail and nothing lasts forever:
Where there is place and time, re-creation pulls the levers.

“But Was It Really Wise?”

“But Was It Really Wise?”

But was it wise to see the end in the beginning?
Once, some years back, I had a dream
That with some fellow travelers in several cars it seemed
W’d hit a traffic jam cum parking lot, the condescending
Leavings of some dire event up there at the sea in the ninth inning
While we were yet in the bottom of the fourth; the team
Had halted, caught bumper to bumper in the scheme
To escape or somehow reach the sea, in spite of spinning
Wheels and going nowhere, gears remained in “Park.” I spied a service road;
Seduced by prospects of short circuiting my journey’s
Trial, I pulled right over the grassy divide and hit the raked
Lane leaving the sheep in the dust. In short time, my naked
Chosen lane brought me to the shores of the ocean as foretold
By discovery of the secret solution but, lo! impatience replaced by
Circumspection proved a Pyrrhic victory, and was it really wise?

…within the dream, I had reached that sea, but as I looked back at the snake that was the long and winding trail of traffic, I realised that I had achieved the goal, I had arrived at the destination,…alone….

…I once had a student to whom I said, “It’s the early bird that gets the worm!” in a discussion we were having in class about the evils procrastination, to which he promptly replied, “Yes, but there’s no point in getting there before the worm!” Above the howls of disapproval from the rest of the class, I gave him an extension on his due date for the essay in question over the weekend for his blatant originality…