Who sees it now will see but seers,
Wounded clerics of decision, clarities’ lesions
Healing well beyond commission and omission; legions
In the grain, amassed; the lady’s diamonds are celestial tears,
The plausible as asteroids of egregious values privy to the sun
Grown wondrous in the knowledge from afar
That imagines intercourse with a star
And if by happenstance as in the run
Of cosmic sagacity, fate, or chance admission,
An admonition finds its voice, inequities
Draw collisions, death defies finalities
That end in fire and stardust in derision.
No one sees beyond the sight and height of Ka
Who It is that dwells beyond Sadratu’l-Muntahá.
Crossing Rubicon’s the passing phrase,
The wearing down on soles of votaries; grinding
Gears, discretionary sifting blindly through the blinding
Page in an age of hasty erratum to displays
That weigh on patience, maintenance and labour.
They mark time as pleased with accents as ellipsis
Marks and ever overlook what escapes the lips
In what is better left unsaid; mountain valley neighbours
Will discover what shepherds in the lower highlands would
In time. But for the moment, obsequious testaments,
Reproofs of the ephemeral, pious objections, estimates
Of what’s to come bend to what cannot or should
Not last in solid states, and as economies’ periodic futures rise and fall;
Antony calmly takes the woman while Augustus takes the call.
“Though Winter’s Days Are Short”
Though winter’s days are short they linger long; nor Shakespeare,
Dickens, rhymes sublime, nor Frost, nor fresh philosophies
Of life replace the supple apple, the simpler breeze,
The ordered clutter of the hardware store, the smell of tires, shears
To cut the hedge defining future refining hours. I take the hint.
There will be another spring. He puts the books back on the shelf;
“To do” will trump “to learn”, the self by turn with elves
At work to hide my pipe, my wicks, and flints
To find me close behind them in the aft;
At best, for me a block of wood, a knife, and, yes,
Another broth sits roundly near my soul. The Saxon riddle gets
A nod from me, and basic the box of macaroni―Kraft
Of course―will do with bits of chicken or the blessing of a flake or two
Of tuna from the can, solace for what he can no longer chew. He sits and Sunday …only smiles tonight, his words are glass,
Illumined, yes,…but no light strikes him and he cannot see the page.
His hours leased over years yield nothing in eternity but sardonic age,
Invisible, a painted thought distracted by what’s been asked
Of him, years of cold neglect, and all those miles.
Still it’s not enough. If not tonight, then, when?
No doubt in time, but wait, the breezes grow to winds again,
And, where there are currents, other images, other trials.
The summer’s wounds have found their mark;
Is this the time for words, a second poem, a signatory fire
Lit to get it said, perhaps, to induce a faint desire,
Another phrase–there are so many–another cigarette’s the spark
So much to feel, so much to taste when once the sap begins to seep;
Nature is not conjured, the outcome’s sealed and in time all thought will cease.
Gandhi’s truths are motionless beneath an ocean born
Of visionary accidents that only seem to change; perceptions lie.
The eyes, the ears, the touch, all senses testify
Before the centre. Memories, chattels of the intellect, are torn
Between the ëgo and the mirror. He will board that train,
And see his own distinction in a one-way ticket bound
Zephyrs tell him what he only thinks he knows. Hounds
Innocuously pursue him, winds he cannot name refrain
From comment as he moves through caustic distances
That never crossed his mind. The earth is twinned,
The gears are jammed, yet breezes, golden prayer wheels, spin.
The pinnacle not the single shot of infamy―not the sun, but suns―an incident
Within a galaxy’s corruption far beyond its crucibles, hopes and cosmic excess:
Energy and matter never tire while circumstantial certainty leads destiny to rest.
“Off Hand I’d Say”
Off hand I’d say this section’s filled, the seats
Are taken, and in all this biting cold the jury’s
Out, and while the nation waits and scans itself, a libertarian fury
Bellows “Foul!” cloistred churches howl, and streets
In this small town are lined with booths and kiosks
Selling trinkets for the hanging sure to come.
If what’s been aired and stated stands the run
Of by-lines, commentaries, and jaundiced clues, the costs
Of fine democracy at work as free speech
Advocates declaim, the cartoons reign
Supreme above the mob who’d have the same
Indictment levelled at their enemies that screech
“Revenge!” and “Infamy!” against the polar opposite’s restraint;
While strains of ’29 and `39 are clearly heard in all this world’s complaint.
“All Honours Hold”
All honours hold potentials by and by,
The none of knows for whom
The season’s signs appear each day. How soon
The eagle’s call to arms removes all eyes to the skies
And far beyond; and something in eternity will signal
Deep within the old bull’s hour. This time he simply turns to leave
Through clouds and clods, the lack of spectators beneath his feet retrieve
The scents and memories of his ancient instincts; no time remains to mingle
With the cows or deal with musth along the trail to move his majesty to lands
Beyond the thinning grasses where space expands and does not shrink
For want of rain and multiples of tusks at meagre holes and bone dry sinks.
The loss of reasons dictate change when means grow less than needs demand.
And so it is in time for this Goliath; where youth once fled, now youth returns
but with a studied arrogance and impertinence and nothing left to trust:
The temples ache, the teeth are flat, and little’s left to scavengers and dust.
He sits in air too quick to breathe tonight, his words are glass,
No light strikes them; he cannot see the page.
His hours yield nothing now, sardonic age
Leaves watermarks and thought distracted by what’s been asked
When not demanded of him, years of cold neglect, and all those miles.
Still it’s not enough. If not tonight, then when?
It will out no doubt in time to catch the wind again,
And where the zephyr is yet another image, another trial.
The former summer’s thoughts have found their mark,
Is this the time for words? A second poem, a secondary fire
Lit to get it said perhaps, induce a faint desire,
One more phrase–there are so many–another candle in the dark
So much to feel, so much to taste until the thesis leaps,
With nothing conjured, nothing sealed: and all these thoughts will keep.
“I Know Who You Are”
I know who you are, the name escapes me.
You sit there still, so very still so I can’t see.
Jeffrey was like that, you know;
Jeffrey was my dog.
But you’re not a dog, and I can see you
Standing there or sitting there so cool
And thoughtful; I’m not in your thoughts,
You see, but you’ll have me brought
To your attention now and then to set the stage,
And I’m to go on with the show. The age
Allows you liberties, you say,
but you have no guarantees, you see.
Sooner or perhaps later, you find yourself alone,
And when you do, you’ll lean toward the sun to atone
For all you’ve outgrown or overlooked; you may even pray
And ask your mind to linger while I stay
Still and hidden in the wings so you can think someone’s listening.
I’m here all right, and so is He.
So you’ll go on barking up the same tree.
There’s no need to bark; He hears the squirrel.
“She Will Learn His Secrets”
She will learn his secrets, she will soon divine
The reasons why she met him, pause awhile
To listen, gave the edge, and more, will dance; she reconciles
His words and thoughts in line.
She delights in orderly progression, digressions she’s made
Because he takes the time to find expression
Made of scents and pure aggression.
He upholds the meaning of her palm before her eyes; stars pale and fade,
Illusions dance like plumes of smoke and incense only blisters,
As his aspirations bow or give the nod to some gentile triumph,
Nothing more, no, nothing, really. Accomplishments are her phatic myth.
She inhales the reasons why he’s here; he exhales, whispers
Something up and down, across, around, and all within a surreptitious smile
Containing why he’s here and why she isn’t, and seeking closure in denial.
“Tonight a Troubled Star”
Tonight a troubled star through a window smiles
As winter’s thoughts refine the gentle evening hours. Ever,
Even as when a child, the onslaught of nights could sever
Day from light with wondrous rites of questions ranged in endless miles
To roam before I dared to close my eyes. Such brittle brilliance gave
Me ample light for prayer. And now, come costs in autumn years,
The signs remain, and so again comes certitude dispelling fears
And wakefulness, intrepid wounds I’ve worn through all my days.
And, as with all such holy declarations, majesty and not a little comfort, time
And once again illumination for the manuscript but with a difference.
I’ve used these eyes before, and with a growing greater deference,
A nod to whatsoever causes hope in those who fall and they who rise
To the occasion while within creation’s grip; within my countless days
So many poems, each but fragile vessels hurry inland toward the bay
Whose port is clearly marked, ‘The End”. Currents swell between the arms
Of twin peninsulas, the beginnings and the ends, with breakers―no alarm
In this time, but simple statements. Warnings of disturbances disarm the day
And simple navigation wells from wrinkled maps to vastly disparate seas
Ensuring sufficient distances in passage from initials in receipt
Of signals on the coasts from the muse to the sources of benign conceit
And all the urgent comforts of the ark within the narcissist that can be
Measured in a man when put to port. Born of knowledge, the deed at midnight’s
Scribbling first perceived in quickened breaths blown hard upon a sapphire coal
As unsettling to the weary soul as circumstance so rapidly grows cold.
At length the moon, the ides of any month, the seaward tides set mariners aright
For leaving. As with all who find their rest in full-blown sails to aid their flight,
They who cannot pay the ferryman must seek the albatross at twilight.