Category Archives: Memory

“Disconsolation’s Signals”

Painting by Rolf Harris

“Disconsolation’s Signs”

Disconsolation’s signs, the truth will out
Through pavilions  of opinion; fault lines debase
The currency of doubt, and, at the going rate,
Lethargy, even prohibitions at the root
Of talk of golden calves must crystallise as collective
Nonsense based on phantoms hid within
Themselves like obscure poesy of gaudy display, the interim
But specifics of momentary revelations: selective
Memory wants its hearing.
No, if line and verse

Combines to set the tenor of the bell, what strikes
The golden instrument defines the tone, the trite
The cliché outcome, sporadic blessings cursed,
Immersed in baseless notions are the mint for multitudes
Of memory’s slips, the ratio of spirit to the limits of the fingertips.

Painting by Barry Hilton

“The Cello Hours”

“The Cello Hours”

The cello hours born in satisfaction’s flowering
Struggle for the taste of sunlight ambered
Quotidian pause between the yellowed evening hours in the embers
Of any passion’s flames, a body’s needs, so immediate, so towering
In the vertical for lack of space to run;
Steeper slopes too raked, some desperation’s blotting out
What memory’s suns’ refuse to yield–the stout
Resolve, the countenance of all volition’s fruits undone
By now and all but totally forgotten in the dying folds of coals.
We rush from one safe haven to another.
Absurd, but on this earth tectonic shifts that smother
Linger in the soul and while all the world’s aglow, the body sees but single goals
In search of yearning for the satisfied in every earthbound swarm:
“Touched or touching, now I tell you friend, I must be warm!”

 

“So Soothing”

“So Soothing”

So soothing the finger in the ice cream,
Cubes against the cheek, and we are satisfied.
Linchpins in a thought beatified
By leprechauns splicing memories from a thousand tactile dreams.
Revisit sidewalks here and there you’ll find so much to see.
Comes the furniture of the streets,
The crew, the caste, the long lost host of Oz; cleats
Raise sparks along the busied golden feed.
Some one of them, perhaps the dandelion, a deliberate violet
Transits the crosswalk, but one of them will seed
A nation raised on nations, the former garden—a stubborn breed,
A sprig of clover, something over there among the side effects
Of nowhere here today. It’s true but someone there, the one in plain
Song whispers something–baby slippers—and knows the reason for the rain.

…a revision of the poem…”Swept Aside”

…a revision of the poem…

“Swept Aside”

Swept aside, all moments and celestial mementos collide
And waste no never-mind on credence and retention
In the wake of greater cosmic rinds and supine celestial reflection.
Mortality by definition lies; not so through what histories imply
But in the daily interaction of missives from the Goal
And penultimate ilunga * of the Source or
Sanctions of interaction in the triumphant triad of the coarsest
Ores of time, of space, and all that matters. Time, the cosmic linen folds
Of space and active order; space, the theatre of experience at the heart
Of the observer; matter, but an audience, a phenomena in passive
Active shadows of Creation and its nemesis. Simplicity is massive,
Complexity but a word; a question’s languages are art
And science while the answers form the pathos and the abstract.
What is more pathetic than to be and yet be nothing in the act?
Simplicity in the classic form requires
The prefects of a perfect vacuum
Combined in such a way as compliments the acumen
Of a strident meme, the jealous zeitgeist, tests that to the whole inspire
An urgent need to pause, to linger over bodies no longer really there,
A little more than a half a generation’s substance in a given time.
So granted this, so beautifully and tragically resigned,
Aloud comes the elegies of episodes to “Move along!”or “Retire!”
With such a cry inscribed, there was and always is
A here and there in rapid profit worshipped, fierce
As gallstones of desperation: “This, our chosen age, rehearsed
Upon a cross of memories little more than lyrics of an ancient tryst!”
And, equally, the many crowned and catalogued, remain aloof
Through symmetries of perfection in a sacred dynasty of embroidered truth.

*The word is ilunga, 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

“Settle It In Yourself”

“Settle It In Yourself”

Settle it in yourself what it is I am.
And so I’ll always be, whether in the present
Mist or at some future bridge, a resident
Of residue and exigency. The man
I am abides the evident and final verdict.
Of course, you’ll turn the page, perhaps,
And possibly discard the volume on your lap
For tomes of better binding, fresher leaves, a sweeter sap
Than blood through veins; a shot of déjà vu within a wider habitat.
Still, it falls to you to test the afterthought, abide
The whole, and to this end both of us were born.
Forgetfulness is sound advice; while in a cage a single page is torn
From some eternal book and words enough remain to satisfy
The need to let it rest between us, firmly stated, fully formed:
We face the same eternity and once created cannot be outworn.

“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.