“It’s All So Very Public”
It’s all so very public, clowns and circuses, dubious focus
On what is said and done and many rooms en extra to let.
With every late night’s round of favourite sons comes sincere bets
That what’s gone down is never quite enough; crocus
Fields, lichens dubious in origin, little more than earthly makeup.
We who hover through a screen on much of what extends beyond
Us serve but vested purposes, profit every hour on hedging darkling ponds
Of woods and forests sparing surfaces of pristine bank accounts for lack of
Mere æsthetic need. No! In itself we would not have it so;
But, so it is! If ochre I must be or green, then so I am;
If I efface the rocks and strip the fauna there along the shoreline–lands
Not mine–festivals that turn the soils again with every season’s floe
As in a momentary afterthought with needs to round out casts
Of thousands in the scheme of vapours, things; thus, then, so I last.
I may fast from time to time but I will have my way on this and every day
Through matins in the news broadcasts and mine fields
in the evenings that were formerly the greenest pastures;
Rising triumphs of élan in Tahrir Square, the courtesy
of urban gangs and spores of tribal Libyan disasters.
Countless are the trenches, pits and pitfalls, splays
And watersheds, the concentrated concerts of twice-born
living peoples sharing wealth in every breath.
Billions, humanities howsoever here and there
within the outer and the inner spheres
Of feigned insurgencies of feudal laws–occult
to feckless millions in the West–there come such semi-modern seers,
Of more recent wizened feral stocks and bursaries
to serve the ends of both the many cursed and newly blessed;
Sharecroppers, landlords, purveyors of speculative imagination,
festoon the gilded monarchies above the Persian Gulf, oh, yes.
Here along these ancient oriental paths are pipes to play
And canvases on which to paint now-naked fast, fiduciary aims may
Expose themselves within their pious domes of blue and marble blocks.
I’ll carve my own best
Misbegotten marks and credos leaving
fragments, chisels, well-worn Transylvanian stakes
For later souls to ponder while I gather what I can,
as I am always early and posterity always late.
“I Don’t Suppose I’ll Ever Know”
I don’t suppose I’ll ever know; she never told me.
I had no calling card; she had no address
Or if I had it with me, it was always less
That what she wrote to him and could never be
Disclosed. Of course, I looked for all the world; I seemed
To be forever browsing bookstores in more or less
Abandon even wonton dedication in the kind of eagerness
That only children presuppose is happiness or glee.
We were never there, you see, and I was ever
At the ready to believe in terms of passages that see her through
A time or two in something close to primacy, proximity
To what it was she never found in me—sublimity
Or something that she’d read in Keats and Shelly severed
In the end from Dover Beach and miles from Xanadu.
† William Butler Yeats [13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939]
‡ Percy Bysshe Shelley [4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822]
Posted in Detachment, Duplicity, Estrangement, Marriage and Divorce, Negation, Poetry, Providence, Relationships, Separation, Stations, Yearning
Tagged Dover Beach, Lyric Poetry, Sonnet, Xanadu
Iranian National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Irán that “disappeared” in 1980
Siimply disappeared; what we thought were fears
The bitter heat of rancid nights and silent alabaster days.
We wept for what we thought they lost and all the praise
And salutation in the aft of what is thought today:
have we wound our watches?
When we cross these final turnstiles,
Do we somehow? So bright the ivory prison tiles
In lines to be apprised and counted and each a view
Of hope; well, after all, the goal of every queue
Is evidence, the martyrs’ rites of passage, wailing walls,
Temples long ago destroyed and worshipped aptly in the fall,
While in the report and repartée we appear to stand enthralled
With promises of exoteric meaning, and esoteric premises of ease.
In these three years has anybody wept for us at Evin as in the time
Remembering Badí’s missive blessings condign?
Bádí, 17-year-old executed for delivering Bahá’u’lláh’s letter to the Sháh
* Evin Prison, an especially notorious and infamous prison in Iran.
Legs scream from disuse; interests
Never wane nor is there lack
Of resource to occupy the early morning hours; tact
Required is not so much in natural proclivities but tests
Produce no lasting gain, neither does it rest
With me to exercise the tongue nor double back
To quarterlies or turn the nightly critics’ wrack
Of sacrificial lambs upon the spits of bourgeois poets at best.
What’s needed here is something never hitherto dreamed
In me, a note within the notes to cauterise the day’s addenda:
A slight nod, a subtle indication from the heart
That what’s required here’s no literary arrow, no gift of art
To clear the plumbing, irrigate the tired eyes, pump iron into the stream
But the simple act of walking: yes, it’s time to stretch the legs,
place circulation above all mental circumlocution on the agenda.
…but of course, today it’s raining…
Swept aside; moments and celestial movements collide
And waste no never-mind for credence and retention
In the wake of greater cosmic rinds and supine moot reflection.
Mortality lies; not so, what histories provide
But in the daily interaction of missives from the Goal
And penultimate illunga * of the Source or
Sanctions of reaction to the triad of coarser
Ores of time, space, and matter. Time, an active order within the folds
Of space; space, the arena of experience within the heart
Of the observer; matter, phenomena in the passive
And reactive shadow of Creation and its antithesis. Simplicity is massive,
Complexity’s absurd; the question’s languages are art
And science while those of answers gloat on pathos and the abstract.
What is more pathetic than to be and yet be nothing in the act?
Simplicity in classic form requires
Prefects of a perfect vacuum
Combined in such a way as compliments the acumen
The open même, the crucible to test the zeitgeist as the whole inspires
Urgent needs to pause, to linger over consummations no longer there
In little more than a half a generation’s given time.
So granted this, so beautifully and tragically resigned,
Aloud come lamentations to “Move along!”or “Retire!”
With such a cry inscribed, there’s always were and is
A here and there in rapid profit worshiped, fierce
As gallstones of desperation: “This, our chosen age, rehearsed
Upon a cross of memories weighs but little more than lyrics in an ancient tryst!”
And, equally, the many, the registered so catalogued, remain aloof
Through symmetries of perfection in a timeline of embroidred truth.
*The word is illunga, from the Bantu language of Tshiluba, and means a person ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.
When there is this, that is.
With the arising of this, that arises.
When this is not, neither is that.
With the cessation of this, that ceases.
His Holiness The Buddha
Fresh paint, delicious lines, the objects redefined
And realigned from nothing in the mists; no finer thought
Than that the world is endless richness; vermillion sought
In blush against the blue, refined to purple, lined
In yellows; blackest soils blessed with green, and roses
Flourish in a russet sunset; pinks, the thinnest lips
Of kittens, endless movement, combinations, strips
And bands of speckled whiskers in the hours clothed
In what might be seduction to the blind, but in the child,
Delight, and even more, an endless glee
For every least discovery of felicity,
The presentation of a simple wonder in the wild,
A soothing leisure of a field of fragrance to the eyes,
To the mind a vision, to the hour a passing smile.
“A Simple Chemistry”
A simple chemistry, the day, the night,
And what of course is never meant to be;
But still the hope is there, the simile
That never quite transforms a noun nor quite
Contents itself in action, so never mind a verb.
But, then what a change of heart is there.
Reaction taut, willingness, a kind of gas, an air
Of great and greater expectations that serves
No more than casual attention yet is so deadly. No, of course,
It cannot come to this. But, yes, eventually it does.
And with the cat’s release, it must.
The thing is there to see, to feel, to taste. The horse
Before the cart, perhaps, but nonetheless, a paradigm of waste,
And with each fine turning of the wheel the love of wanton haste.
A maudlin isolation seeds contempt and leads the mind
To rites and righteous thinking that was not there before. He’ll defer
To what he thinks is plainly there on the plate; they infer
From this that he’s content, but caution! Not all nouns decline
The same, nor are their heirs in action conjugated
In the subjunctive: something other brings the two together
And there’s no part of speech that weathers
Scrutiny in the spirit. Sounds and syllables modulated,
Dress themselves in exceptions ruthless syntax will abhor.
There is no saving grace in this, no workable alternative
To perfect tenses forcing all to deal with God and His eternity:
Dallaire declared that he believed because he’d seen the Whore *;
And, after sleep and shadows, I believe the Orb will rise
Because I’ve seen the sun ignored in midnight lapis leasure skies.
*Lieutenant-General Roméo Antonius Dallaire [June 25, 1946-- ]
Posted in Action, Affirmation, Appearances, Double Sonnet, God, Grammar, Hope, Midnight, Poetry
Tagged 1946-- ], Double Sonnet, Lieutenant-General Romeo Antonius Dallaire [June 25, Lyric Poetry, Noun, Sonnet, Subjunctive tense, Verb
“I Found Someone”
I found someone breathing as if to pray;
No prayer, of course, no sign, no moon, no stars, silence–
Balm to souls and solace in the crisis
Of questions–many hopes absurd, what they say
Gives animas to eternity and shields simple fear from the terror
Of these days. I would not ask outright, I had no words, then,
Took flight, tight in twilight when
From cancer and fallen branches–errors,
Really, to the whole–to innocence conjuring lasting alibis,
Superfluous sentinels never come to rest, fruits of thought pressed
With violence enough that wine is produced—inebriation of more from less,
Wrath, the test , really, of what some old man once said. Patient sighs
Among sparrows egg him on while sitting on a porch swing, wisdoms at once:
“Make peace with the Fathers,” said he, “prepare to flee the Sons.”
Posted in Change, Cycles, End Times, Ends, Epiphany, Eternity, Fathers, Poetry, Sons
Tagged Age, Aging, Lyric Poetry, Relationships, Sonnet
Projection rules in those who deal in faith;
Like knowledge, faith can be acquired,
Manuals and rudiments desired
Each day among the hustlers give weight
To notions second only to their fees.
And what of practices, factions, seams that line
Grand curtains with magic, emotion, atmospheres so fine
That only children are attracted–they and bees–
The rhetoric’s so sweet. In possibilities
Truth is honed. What were only trifles
Traffic as much consolation prizes for the poor as riffles
To manipulators, mullas, priests, and rabbis
hell-bent on hyperbole.
Distraction is the only holy oil to those who will not heed
The warnings, common sense, and wreathes of mental weeds.
Gathering dust and seeds; we are in ceaseless search.
There is no end to both the harvest and the spoils.
And which of us discerns the which within the boils
And running sores, the cries of asperges me from the pulpit perch,
The torque and tongue of leisure, pleasure, and devotion?
No one is surprised and all pay homage to the tale
Of futures in dimensions of despotic, disparate claims that fail
Within the present, adduce the tedious notions
Of the past to be the prophesies of the wise,
and of course the final rupture:
Nor time, nor reticent imagination, no natural declenation defines
This earthly constant but simplicity in being here behind the line
That we deem to mark the boundaries of this world.
How often is it so that few perceive
the shadow of a moment’s fatuous pause;
Desperate souls find providence
in precious victory and devastating loss.
[5 May 1813 -
11 November 1855]
Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth— look at the dying man’s struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment.
Posted in Faith, Knowledge, Philosophy, Poetry, Providence
Tagged Double Sonnet, Lyric Poetry, Mullás, Priests, Rabbis, Søren Kierkegaard, Sonnets
An eye that spies the ends is blind to all beginnings. Behold the interim goal
Of travellers en route to respective vanishing points. Oh, the distant stations.
Occupied, souls espoused to the indicative,
to common motive, patrimony, emanations
Of the suns of their peculiar blessings in demise
mouth creation’s inner and outer wholes,
Divide the daily spoils, weights and ballasts
with blessings to them who bear it all:
“Tis a consummation” in fortitude “‘devoutly to be wished” *
at every turn about the stage with radiant acquiescence;
Seeing ten’s and multiples in terms of one’s and nothing’s, natural dissidents
For marking time with mercurial devotion,
schemes and schedules, all attend the call
Of Tiresias in the mornings of a hoary age that worships moonlight’s
Witnesses to lighting embers, they who are but never where they’re going.
Yes of course the hammer falls,
nocturnal sparks provide an impetus to groaning.
Who will ask for more? Burdens roam the night, the midnight rites
For teeth and tongue and pallet that rarely speak
but yield to winds that lift the veil
Of utterance in wondrous tongues
of worlds that must evolve and cannot fail.
* The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 3 Scene 1, by William Shakespeare [1586-1616]. First Folio 1623