Category Archives: Sun

“The Cello Hours”

“The Cello Hours”

The cello hours born in satisfaction’s flowering
Struggle for the taste of sunlight’s ambered
Quotidian pause between yellowed evening song in embers
Of any passion’s flames, the 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!”

 

“The ‘Once’, the ‘Ever’”

…dedicated to Hermann Bloch
1 November 1886– 30 May 1951
“”I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived.”

“The ‘Once’, the ‘Ever’”

The once, the ever, standing in the atrium must burn;
The nexus of the meeting of the feeble lamps are lit as Virgil sits alone,
The flint stone at the confluence of the rivers; a tone
Once heard, a trace no more than words. Ever then discerns
A wisdom in the lengthening of days on end;
A reconciliation of the first sun’s now within
The pale of the last night’s then and all its many-eyed kin;
The End, scintilla of a notion’s distant toast:
“To Cæsar!” Distractions in the movement defer to mortality, defend
The pattern as it is, the peoples’ choice, a proud
Morbidity based in universal song on this, a night of leaving, joy
On this, a day of meeting. Stars and verses, voids,
A universe of empty consummation never executed while clouds
Obscure the moon, as ever toils below;
Perspicuous, yes! the once and only suns express,
So dark a night as never and one more day of less.

.

Block’s Death of Virgil had to be the most ambitious reading of any single novel I have ever read with James’ The Ambassadors right up there with it, but a close second. The stimulus of both novels, however, is incomparable in value and I can suggest that anyone who values the language should read both of them at least once before death simply because they exist; as Everest has been for the mountain climbers, so both novels have been to anyone who reads and loves the language.

Block’s “Virgil” is not fun to read, but it represents an incomparable challenge and once conquered, a kind of badge of honour having braved the greatest storms of both prose and poetry that could be imagined short of blowing out the circuits of both.

With the James novel, it was said that it was his favourite, but apparently almost impenetrable to some readers of his time. To one “Lady ‘whomever’” who complained of this, he advised sticking with it and that once having arrived at a certain point in the narration, the specific gravity or gravitas of that novel would hit and the worth of the whole vindicated. And so it was; I had to read that novel page by page, reading each several times to get anything near clarity in what was being said or where the action of that novel was going. Then, one late afternoon, while cooling off from a very hot shower in preparation for going out for the evening, I decided to sit on my bed, pick up that novel and continue plugging away at it. Suddenly, there it was! A catharsis of unimaginable majesty that hit so hard that I almost cancelled my evening out in order to continue reading to the end. Great works are like that.

For me, there is no “fun” involved in reading, but the rewards are everlasting, something that is rare in the reading of secular prose. Block’s work is a combination of poetry and prose in a mixture I never thought possible until reading “Virgil,” and I cannot imagine now, an equal to this. My sonnet alludes to but one of the thoughts that seem to dance throughout that work in spite of laborious, endless poetry, all of which may be beautiful, but only in small doses like genuine truffles; like chocolate, there are some things in this world that are “legal” but close to lethal in effects, and Block’s “Virgil” comes quite close to that.

 

“I’ll Not Wait”

“I’ll Not Wait”

I’ll not wait till dawn to praise the sun;
Shadows follow closely where I sleep; this night must end:
I’m guaranteed as much. What, then? Tomorrow? What? Again
A word’s delay a world away is all, so, patience me. The midnight trains still run
Their course–stampeding to the east to crawl back westward–and catch
The rising or the setting cosmos all along the local milk run. Coaches
Matter not, jettisoned or newly recreated in the Milky Way, we approach
Our destinations, dusks or dawns in proper times; passengers dispatched,
Who only seem to arrive at destinations previously booked
And so we do not blithely cease to live because we wait
Upon a final station or dream of tracks not even built. Medusa guards the gate
That turns all nightly plans to stone, and we her momentary shades that looked
To make the journey know the Night Train only claims a means to ends
Through mirrors while season tickets mark what joys the daybreak sends.

“So Easy to Feel”

“So Easy to Feel”

So easy to feel, to seem to be, to know at last propinquity
As if the light declares the coming glory of the sun at daybreak
Redundant. But as that disk cannot be seen for more than seconds, I take
That certainty of coming morning within me,
Knowing that midnight’s richest prize in ivory
Is forever fixed as is the station of the sun; the moon an intimate
In someone’s flight, perhaps, but even so, as she reveals herself in states
And phases never hers, agitation gains nothing in the motion save in memory
And affectations of the sea within me–force upon another force,
Measured consequence of a functionary that renders boundaries
Of continental pride and the ocean’s doors
Cast aside in the riot of the tides, a natural stampede, no more
Than thresholds of natural accident, the stream and river’s course
Now rising, now again a swelling to apostrophes, eternal inertia born of gravity.

“Attila Smiles”

attila-the-hun

“Attila Smiles”

Attila smiles while Leo stands his ground
With shepherd’s staff in place and piety on his face;
The Hun is not impressed and as the city has no grace
For him save what its wealth and gravitas might allow,
The Holy One asks, “Who are you to take the city down?”
Perhaps because he knows no better than the javelin and mace,
The sanctity of words and something of its commonality erased
He needs to follow more than strands of wisdom in his crown
And though he takes the gold, there is no urge nor fancy to remain.
The Hun then turns his posse round through the lobby to the outer steppes
Of chaos, the loom of what’s beyond imagination in his wedge of space to the left
Of mystic ordre in the child of disordre and the fruits of a fecund cosmic strain.
It is just so within the greater scheme of things, a gossamer trace
Display the planets in the maw of darkness where the stars
and blackest matter still hold appointments with but vain imaginings of our past  and blindness beneath the glory of our own great avatar.

sun_CME_ring_shaped_1-31-2013

“The Phrase”

Hazel Reeves3

 

“The Phrase”

The phrase transcends the pen withdrawn
And so, too, the movement in and of itself.
The notebook’s filled, volumes line the shelf
And there upon a winter’s night, the low straw
Wins and he reviews the lot and finds the flaw
In each. Perhaps a word crossed out, a gulf
In time allows a light to objectivity less the self.
And when the wheel stops, the law
Of averages condemns the thing to sit there
Once again, forgotten, anonymous as a star
That far away, explodes with fireworks
That would consume a galaxy—matter gone berserk—
Ignite and what had no energies now amassed, a pregnant flare
Until at last, one starry night, a whisper reaches earthly ears.
Just so, the incomplete, the Word to words and back again
Traverse the gap as the task of phonemes
Aspires to ascend to higher stations, morphemes
Honoured in this natal happy path. Observe:
Throughout the zodiac of conscious meaning
Stars that matter to velocities in galaxies
Reborn inspire genitive ignition in the gravity
Of natural wisdom’s past and present leaning
To fruition in what was always meant to be.
The moon, in its phase; the sun, its angry season,
The poet writes within a pendulum of forces, reason
Bound, but nonetheless eternal mysteries
Revealed as the Ancient of Days calls behind the present hour
Words from phrases only time, distance and the pen can devour.
As the audience is eternal, so, too, what will compel
The heart and mind to ideal calligraphy; the wordsmith’s nod
Secure. And as “the source of all learning is the knowledge of God,”*
So, too, the gravitas of the nib cannot be silenced, nor the muse expelled.

Hazel Reeves2

*Bahá’u’lláh, Words of Wisdom, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh

…pieces of scupture by Hazel Reeves…

“Take a Number”

“Take a Number”

“Take a number,” someone whispered in the night,” any one
Will do!” and come to think of it, it happened to be true..
They’ll dine in or out or perhaps linger in that long blue
Moment in the atrium, or then again, they’ll take the sun
At midnight or take the stairs and skip the banister. They’ll taste
The wine gone flat; and why not? That is, of course, unless they’ve read the signs
In time to outwit the posse just a little forward in the line
From where they are to where they’re surely going. The race
Is on, you see, to falter willy nilly at the altar, to settle the bill,
Unzip the lining of the thing, pick up the ball
And run like hell through the side booth in the kitchen, down the hall,
Turn and cash in their chips on the spot. The cogent thrill
Is gone, perhaps, but not the will, and if they’ve read the bulbs correctly,
They’ll never reach the pantry door directly.

“Diversions Mount”

“Diversions Mount”

Diversions mount, but decisions are determined
And timing in celestial spheres and signs
Are not paused for dilatory motives nor do the blind
So easily blot out the sun. Some there are who enter
Darkness seeking the mercurial stations of the tongue, the move
From where they are to where they divine they must
Be without so much as limb or wing but straight through the dust
To strike pavilions over what is not and never could be a truth. Note all who’ve
Owned a cause to glorify the effects of blows to obfuscate, to conceive a sure
Obstruction of all evidence, nothing more. “In My Father’s House
Are many mansions,” written plainly in orchestrated independent clauses;
The caveat in escrow, the final contract awaits the ink *and “If it were
Not so,” He would have writ the mystery of galaxies and stars
as when polemic balances mark the seasons’ endless cosmic scars.

* John 14-1-9

“In the Meantime”

And, in the meantime, what?
If the requirement is the sun
And in the hour, none;
If patience swells but in the rutting cuts
No clearance, no escape from paths
To howling destinations; if the moon
Must hide behind the earth, the cry of loons
Is heard no more for lack
Of seasons in the ether;
If the house depends on creosote,
And vessels pine for tides; the coat,
The autumn’s lack of warmth and wintry blasts recuse nor
Will they join demand to orderly confusion, what then?
The egg exacerbates the vigil not within the cock but in the hen.

“Solace in the Courtesies”

…just a note to say that about a year ago, I posted the following sonnet induced by having seen the Moon and Jupiter in their full glory together; they’re both back, and contrary to public opinion, so am I; for the mind, “the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to:; for the heart, time is conquered, thank God… —Once, 23 July 2011

“Solace in the Courtesies”

Solace in the courtesies of the constellations, Jupiter
Surely there at sunrise, the brightest star,
Visible while the jealous moon, scarred,
The closest audience; apt, significant. The irony. Her
Dwarf, yet here in circumstance; the bond a quiet perpetuity.
The mighty planet rests for moments in the night,
And we regard the larger aegis the greater light
And think so little of her smaller celebrant; so great an inequity
In vision we’re wont to dote upon from such a station as this.
It is just so with all luminaries of perspicuous wisdom and guidance in the night
That they are worshipped in coal black skies, but preludes to the dawning light
Because it pleases the eye see none but them and rest awhile in ignorant bliss.
Yet with the rising of the sun, all former brilliance must surely fade,
Withdrawn by force to honour greater virtues than the night has made.

I wonder why it is that knowing consciously the identity of what that star is that shone this morning just before the sunrise and has been shining every morning so significantly in the southeastern skies makes so much difference. Tonight it was joined beautifully by proximity to the moon.

A few weeks ago, I learned from a friend that that bright, unusually vivid star was in fact the planet Jupiter. Not that the news was astounding, but in some quiet way it was comforting because as I looked out from my balcony in the early morning hours always just before sunrise, when the skies were clear I had seen that star and wondered just what it was. Somehow I wanted some confirmation as to just what that thing was. I wrote to my friend who was kind enough to confirm its identity for me that it is true that it’s Jupiter and it is very visible in the skies during the whole of June into July. Now, then, this silent delight in knowing consciously that I have seen with my own eyes this “other world” that shares our solar system in some subtle way pleases my soul. These are the signsof God, my friend, as if the moon and sun, the inevitable revival of the earth at spring, and countless spectacles of greater and lesser significance were not. Did I need another confirmation of the majesty of this Creation? These days, for me at least, even breathing is a sign of God and becomes more obviously so with every passing day at my age. —Once, July 2010