Category Archives: Poem

“As the Sea”

Bahá’ís throughout the world celebrate this day [beginning at sunset] as the Day of the Covenant, the Celebration of the Eternal Covenant between God and Mankind through His Manifestations and Prophets, eternal in the past, eternal in the present, eternal in the future:

“His Holiness Abraham, on Him be peace, made a covenant concerning His Holiness Moses and gave the glad-tidings of His coming. His Holiness Moses made a covenant concerning the Promised One, i.e. His Holiness Christ, and announced the good news of His Manifestation to the world. His Holiness Christ made a covenant concerning the Paraclete and gave the tidings of His coming. His Holiness the Prophet Muhammad made a covenant concerning His Holiness the Báb and the Báb was the One promised by Muhammad, for Muhammad gave the tidings of His coming. The Báb made a Covenant concerning the Blessed Beauty of Bahá’u’lláh and gave the glad-tidings of His coming for the Blessed Beauty was the One promised by His Holiness the Báb. Bahá’u’lláh made a covenant concerning a promised One who will become manifest after one thousand or thousands of years. –`Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith

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“As the Sea”

As the sea swells, so the Covenant remains, promises fulfilled.
Through Abraham the Friend of God, and Moses, Giver
Of The Law; fruited and confirmed in Jesus Son of Mary given
In His Person more–the Love of God–and through His Will,
Submission under God in Hijáz through Muhammad, Seal of Prophets;
From the East, Lord Krishna of The Three, The holiness of Buddha in Purity;
The Fires of Zoroaster from the mountain; security from casuistry
Within the Witness of The Báb, and Justice in Bahá’u’lláh
`gainst the nursery rhymes of sophists
And the worship of Creation over He who did create
The whole with but a single Word, “Be!” Hosts exclaim and expiate
Their cavils at the Word through numbers, and the terror of the tribes.
Armies propagate
Their synergies against the tide of history, bow the knee to what they rape,
And call it truth. By God! The earth is weary of their weight.
The Word alone remains; the Covenant alone withstands this dreary freight.

“Yes”

Storm1

“Yes”

Yes. So much as I can see
staring Eastward across the waters
that later touch the Holy Land,
still, in the early briefer hour I cannot remember its equal.
Standing here alone in endless fields of wheat and corn
from where I feel an overweening rage Westward, miles
between those twin skyline cauldrons, and swells upwelling heat and sweat
in anxious presage: something coming! sweet release.
My body aches. I cannot stop the prayer beyond the syllables―light and lightning, cheaper thrills, the instant comfort and relief
of ice-cold waters of an irrigation ditch.

Nebraska! To ease the sweet pain,
I cannot wait. I know what’s coming. I’ve always known.

I should not be here, but am I, and nothing in this heart could be disarmed, alarmed or warned to cede to what appears and never once makes sense.

No. I see them, righteous boiling mountains
not of rock; no trees, no streams, no mirage―
no poetic soul’s terse natural verse here while there,
but two whirling dervishes from the West, floods
of supra-natural flotsam, mitred clouds
with stains of seed in florid green
to punctuate potential, a pure
perspicuous majesty
and they stare at me…

Their hour is come. It is their mercurial summons I hear,
its first flush reaching for me and I have no fear.
And in this empty plain,
a place where I’m forgotten,
my early exile, this beside the point
as I stand here, within the hour,
I’ll breathe, I’ll cry, I’ll laugh,
and damn the lightning,
I’ll survive!

Storm2

“His Days In Office”

“His Days In Office”

His days in office draw him closer to himself;
He knows he’ll  finish what he long ago began,
And now? Well, now the dusts and sands
Sequestered in the hourglass run low, the shelf
Awaits, perhaps in this hall or on the other wall
Among the former Oval Offices eulogized
And honoured, and after all, who imagines perpetuity? No surprise
In this, and nothing to be done but heed the last election’s call.
He knows exactly what he’s  done, and he recalls
The early years when nothing hinted at the fall
Of institutions or what his fellows thought when one and all,
They outdid themselves before his very eyes. Wthal,
Their thoughts so tersely croaked upon the twigs of some fine November’s day,
Are odd reminders that values change, and curds dissolve in all that whey.

“Now Mark a Man’s Credentials”

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“Now Mark  the Man’s Credentials”

Now mark  the man’s credentials as he speaks
To pacify the greater numbers in the act
Within the sport of words, his only ammunition, the facts
Of light within his arbitrary audience. In this he cheats
Himself  and all that is of simplicity, the one
And indivisible beyond the Sadrat’ul-Muntahá, the point
By Whom the conscious constant cursive case of time appoints
Both upper and lower worlds and effortlessly runs
Within Itself this generations’s needs
Deposited, seeds of what will be in fields, in mountains locked,
And from which, freely, fire and ice withdraws their stocks.
Creation surely finds the end in deeds.
If in the breath there is not proof enough
To others witnessed, what is it to be
Amongst us all beyond mere mortal toil or immortal fee
And foils alike, these gems are simple stones.
And it is true that all have rights to speak?
If life is worth beholding to a saint,
Thus then reckon life worth living with no complaint,
A longer extended cut along the grain
For some; a sculpted verse, splinters carved, a life
In words of fine complexion for others while the knife
And chisel complete their commission in omission, again
In elimination to capture something safe,astounds,
Contraband of observation and objects more or less
For all the world in waiting; certitude’s with us,
My friend, in likelihood a likeness have they have found
A last and least messiah blindly plucked, jury duty in the crowd.
They must, if blind duty binds, expose the cloud
Above the clods whereon he sits uncrowned
By all but his delusion, angels’ muted corkscrews and horns
 Release the cork of new and untried bottles for every eye and ear to see
And hear upon the virgin bow of a ship which no one will believe
Is reason enough for this and one fine statue placed.
Gifted verses do not make the tale.
Ananias, lo! to you I speak in verse
To forsake this prophesy live or even worse.

Once

The only way to deal with an unfair world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. –Albert Camus

***

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.

—Truman Capote

“Sans Setting of the Sum”

“Sans Settling of the Sum”


Sans settling of the sum, no silent night;

The cold and darkest midnight, no brightest sun
Regained upon the freshness of a morning run
From first awakenings to the duties of the light.
Sans route and paths to shorelines, fishermen
Cast no net nor fruit upon the table there
Beneath the candle and the moonbeam; no joyful stares
Of wide-eyed eager mouths to take the bread, no beds
For doting families there to cradle and caress the children;
No willing intimacy in loving parents, no hopeful news.
And yet, of course, comes danger from the sea,
The stormy petrol cries in certain seasons that must be
Harbingers of hurricane and trial, what we choose
To call the birth pains in a loving mother: nature in herself brings waste.
Her ends must come before beginnings, her gifts but ballast tossed in haste.

“Within”

Pieper_Invite

“Within”

Within proximity of the cavern sits the hortatory proclivity of the moment,
Illusory porch mouthed in rock―remedial tomb
Of things―both here within and there without this inner, upper womb
To manifest what it is to be fashioned with the weight of sentiment,
Centre, concentric circle, ever flowing water, external wave
Of casual and monumental passion. To the outward, toiling; inward, bound
Beyond addiction and the need of source, resource, sound,
Deceiver of the whole. So, too, are we the humoured and pleased
Along the way. So it is and continues to be the breath of reckless, ceaseless ease
Within a tethered bulk, discomfort in a sometime suit, garment
Knit within itself in gravity to objects in a firmament
Of space of yesterdays skies and spaces signed today; resigned, a race
And fulcrum, grace of instinct bound within Plato’s Cave imagines virtues
lit with but a glance within the Upper Room of Christ
Provide a circumstance of perpetuity no matter what the price.

…art at top by Joshua Pieper…

“Disconnect the Vowels”

antistrophe

“Disconnect the Vowels”

Disconnect the vowels, then.  Glory in what’s left.
Within a simple strophe leave
Judgment by the door. Wear no sleeve
No packaged thing to sign a sentiment or star the shibboleth bereft
Of common sense, urgent cause
For precious ointments long ago
Nonplussed and unfit for use. Justly, as it should, in isolated slow
Progress through generations, the hoary stories’ pause
As literary cusps on scrolls between cycles’ broader strokes
To stoke what it is we think we know, or what all know as lies.
The verdicts will, of course, disguise themselves as scripture in the eyes.
And do you think so handsome gilded spokes
Of wheels as cycles’ pillars, circumferences to cover centuries of tears
So fragile that words ascribed to Lear can touch the hearts and quell all fears?

“Just What You Meant”

“Just What You Meant”

Just what you meant is not too clear today
While all the world feels indisposed but then, aside
From that, it seems the effort to decide
To see must equal if not dwarf the weight
Of longing to be done with this and out
The door and down the street, and gone.
You might well ask what siren draws me out along
A path to worlds away from you, when the route,
The melody we felt, inevitable as the juggernaut of dawn
And all we pledged through pale eternities in this
Fresh day still shone. Together, a certainty that ruled those early mists
Throughout the early morning’s night, what had drawn
Us so close with lightning’s grease to both our spirits’ light?
Instincts lost left walls of thought, but in the end,
all actions dulled as the sun rose and both of us took flight.

“Make No Mistake”

choices1

“Make No Mistake”

Make no mistake, choices present
Themselves in simple lives’ pursuit of complex
Revelations to ignite a present circumstance; one reflects
On powers of the tongue, the joys of pleasant
Intercourse and periodic forays into conflict,
And again, the peace of simply being here or better, no more
Here than there and having no idea what for.
Knowing begs remission to be a common asterisk
On someone else’s ledger, or possibly a footnote
To the reason why it all came out this way.
But one decides not so very much on what
Must come to be as whether to acknowledge or withhold the vote
On what in fact is and settle on what of course exacts
A fee but is at best an accidental abstract or but a figment of a fact.

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather tonight and tomorrow within the First Day of the Month of `Izzat [Might]

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“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of `Izzat’ or ‘Might'”

Judge well, judge fairly, judge the might of any man
In salutations there above it all, crowned, a name become a lyric,
A word in apposition to its legend; manipulated Pyrrhic
Hero, all ears offending, bending ciphers in the sand,
Commanding others in a fleeting circumstance with undisputed fame,
Raw powers granted for the sake of another hour, perhaps a day, gone,
Fossilised before the melody’s reached the page when so easily as on
A clouded noxious day, his specious honours clot, his reign
But vapours. What remains of yesterday’s effaced from buildings,
as from his body, plaudits once ubiquitous, become but shadows of the sun,
A nothingness distilled from arbitrary fruits of moot achievement
here and there among the shades. No lasting shame nor is there blame,
Nor action, bold distraction, no final satisfaction spent upon itself in vain
Parsed  from first to last so long as youth and strength sustain the every run
Through forgeries and fortunes. Judge this man when he is in the deepest well,
And buried sees his heaven while he knows he lives in hell.