“You Own the Year”
You own the year and years before you
As I the year and all that’s passed;
Your signs are rising, eternity is steadfast.
Quo vadis, then? I who serve eternities am overruled
By sheer numbers, countless previous dispensations viewed
In retrospect and circumspect in vast
And spacious notions of impermanence and impasse.
I see before the fact in part, imperfectly at present, pursued
By spoils of the war and coupled with a dubious acquired taste
For bitters, an acerbic memory gained close at hand or lost at sea.
Nothing in this world is or is so stable
That it is not utterly dependent, created, removed and recreated on the table
Of bounties throughout creation; what God has willed to use or waste
Shall be not be more or less than what it is and what is not shall never be.*
* “Protect me, O my Lord, from every evil that Thine omniscience perceiveth, inasmuch as there is no power nor strength but in Thee, no triumph is forthcoming save from Thy presence, and it is Thine alone to command. Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be.
There is no power nor strength except in God, the Most Exalted, the Most Mighty.”
–His HolinessThe Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 190-191
Posted in Age, Aging, Certitude, Change, Civilisation, Covenant, Destiny, Detachment, Duplicity, End Times, Existence, Experience, Fate, God, Hegira, Hope, Image, Imagery, Imagism, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mankind, Mortality, New Year, Poem, Poetry, Providence, Pyrrhic Victory, Reality, Samsara, Sea, Sonnet, Sonnets, Spirituality
Tagged Age, Aging, End Times, Eternity, Existence, God, Imagism, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, Poem, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”
Bethlehem’s hour’s mourned, furtive glances northward toward Nazareth;
Veiled her expectations as soon enough her promised Son survives.
She knows that somewhere in between this king contrives
Within himself to build a wall. He practices precision; he does not guess.
He knows exactly what he wants, and from the East come
Three who only recently made queries round the campfires
‘Neath the skies beyond the Jordan. Casually they’ve inquired,
“What are these walls, and what the genesis of guns
And orchards plaited all along the shepherds’ run? Whose images are these,
And what is it they disguise, the vulgate for the people?”
Yes, they come, these three, adrift once again stalled between the steeples,
Barred, forbidden. Then again, their passage isn’t what it used to be.
They ask in vain and find the answers come as no surprise.
The king’s awake tonight; he’ll not fool the wise this time.
Posted in Bethlehem, Caesar, Christmas, Christmas Season, Civilisation, Double Sonnet, End Times, Herod, Holy Land, Hubris, Imagery, Imagination, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Magi, Materialism, Nazareth, Night, Poem, Poetry, Ptolemy, Pyrrhic Victory, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets, Walls, Wise men
Tagged Bethlehem, Christmas, Christmas Season, Double Sonnet, End Times, Herod, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Nazareth, Pain, Poem, poetry, Ptolemy, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets, Wise men
Order comes to counter what’s been settled
In the extra room. Chaos speaks: eyes today
Stray south to storms in brew, but thoughts at play
Are not contiguous. Reminder! kettle’s
On, and minutes from the inspiration,
Coffee, and that special toast
I’d meant to have with friends.
No, there’ll be no invitations sent
Today, but in these simple transportations
Warm reminders to the nose.
Seize the season, sit back, smile, and savour
Silence in the afternoon and windblown flavours
Wafting in like ghosts of days long petrified—the rose,
For instance, the night I found that message taped to my front door.
I tossed the flower on the table and read the note right there on the floor.
Posted in Age, Aging, Chaos, Coffee and toast, Imagery, Imagism, Kettle, Lyric Poetry, Nostalgia, Poem, Poetry, Rose, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Age, Aging, Autumn, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Relationships, Sonnet, Sonnets
“So Tired Tonight”
So tired tonight; the late nights rarely float;
I am here as much as there and wondering in myself when
If ever I will see the stars as well I once knew them. Then again,
The myriad monumentals, the smokey smell of creosote
From aging wharfs, the former headiness of worry,
The urgencies of thoughtlessness and giddy
Private joys of knowing no one knows the silly
Things I want to do. Night birds and a flurry
Of noted messages here, and over there, again the sun
That must soon rise high I see with it all
The weight of clear desire to rearrange what’s left of my small
World; and as for that lost ambitious excited little crab who cannot run
But sideways in what he takes as his private room, he’ll never make it back,
You know, to where he started as so easily the tides will smother both our tracks.
Posted in Aging, Crab, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets, Tides
Tagged Existence, Imagism, little crab, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, silly things, Sonnet, Sonnets
“He Looks Away”
He looks away from all his eyes allow
Because he has so much to leave obscure—
And don’t we all at times!— by habit inured,
He’ll reveal a spark to whom he vows
To walk a space, and possibly as with a pride
Of poets. Level phrases here and there arrive
To aid him as he rails against the tide
In early evening; his soft protesting tug, a brief aside
To all who indulge him; does he think to bid
Us well in all our journeys, slightly off and odd
Within our minds while he applauds
His audience daily? To our faces thinly hid
Within his voice and avatar, he’s guessing as he tests
Available living icons, shibboleths, and all we would address.
…Painting by Carl Spitzweg…
Posted in Age, Aging, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Poem, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Poem, poetry, Relationships
“A Pilot’s Flame”
A pilot’s flame and ambergris, fire and smoke, these privy orizons
As dews appear upon the sight of buds along an early summer’s talk
In the blind behind the backfields; still there is the chill,
a brief Nebraska morning’s walk
Through the shadows’ tides’ abiding shallows
in the breath of dawn; the garden
Path because we share so little
of the masters’ growth in blossoms’ bargains’
Fruits within us both and spare none, no idle chatter,
indeed a pittance of a fee for angels; pillars, cornstalks,
Arm in arm—so much can lead the way to joy within a cosmic room—locked
To one to yet another and another in the repetitious staid negotiation
of noxious clouds and dark but sterile clods, the feeble vain
Attempt to mask indignity in stride until desire’s destination’s
Reached—we know by stealth to find a symmetry in solutions,
Solace in respite from the others at the solstice
of that brief but potent spot.
A proper pole to pierce the continent,
a place we’ve never seen and always sought;
I need nothing more to see your face, to read your book
to savour proctors for procrastination
For the sake of pleasures found in greater prisms
for a lighter thought than pure imagination.
Posted in Affirmation, Angels, Antithesis, Clods, Cornstalks, Dawn, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Midsummer, Nebraska, Poetry, Prism, Procrastination, Pyrrhic Victory, Relationships, Respite, Shadows, Sonnet, Stealth, Synthesis, Thesis
Tagged Ambergris, Double Sonnet, Emotion, Existence, Imagism, Love, Lyric Poetry, Nature, Nebraska, poetry, Relationships, Sonnet, Sonnets
“Oh, I know”
Oh, I know it”s been said before but bears repeating:
Unless a man embrace estates, his sense
Of eternity, his gifts of endless strife and goals of regret intense
Enough to merit periodic casual to shameless open weeping
In the corridors; unless the deadly abyss of every night’s sleeping’s
Prone to breach and rupture within his dreams or by the clock;
unless ‘neath the lens,
His page is thus combustible by the light focused upon a spot,
his joy depends
On something well beyond his own heart’s contumely,
his gates–his paradise, his weeping–
Fall well beyond the storehouse of his eyes and its catalogue of fears,
His light is changed to fire in tragedy and myths of talismans that guide his way.
Again, unless all this is welcomed well before the final hour, his pride will swell,
His vanity implode, and circumstance becomes
a euphemism for all he sees as hell.
Remember please that breath and breathing signify that death is ever near
And in these final years, satisfaction’s just another word for nothing left to pay.
Posted in Age, Aging, Certitude, Death, Fear, Hope, Hubris, Imagery, Imagination, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Materialism, Mortality, Philosophy, Poem, Poetry, Pride, Pyrrhic Victory, Samsara, Sleep, Sonnet, Sonnets, Spirituality, Stations, Strife, Tragedy
Tagged Age, Death, Existence, Imagism, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, Poem, poetry, Pride, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets, Strife, Tragic Flaw
Hamlet asks if she is honest, if she’s fair;
The question does perplex the lady staring
At him while it happens that she’s wearing
His improprieties, while it happens on the stairs;
He frequents passages in what is advertised as home.
Still the question’s moot, Ophelia has no real idea
Of what it’s like to be a thing of less than beauty cursed; she’s a
Little foreign to the notion that one roams
Beyond the confines of what is truest north—
There are but two poles proffered by Gertrude as her husband’s only clues
And north must be somewhere near the stove,
Her safety just beyond the storage bin that holds the spoons and forks―
No, she’ll pass on both the question and his gifts to what’s beyond the arras;
Rich gifts do not wax floors, nor is this prince so careless. She’s seen the banks,
Below, the river’s malcontent; above,
the winds’ reeds’re resonant
With restive cycles in all those reasons. So many eyes intent
On recognition of what’s lately seen when all is rank.
Still Hamlet gathers evidence back and forth along the way. Her prince questions nothing honed from stationary life;
He does not own a life whose questions never fade
Remaining here but seconds in his needling days
Of endless desert silences in a crowd or in audience to an empty city’s sirens.
That one is here implies that everyone else is there along the far horizon
Beyond the accidental mistaken substance dreams and death. Ophelia slept,
No mystic talisman comes to thwart the fall; His promise he has kept
To weed the present neglected fallow fields and lighten pressures of neon nights.
In his peerless flight is knowing nothing of this life and spending his days in sporadic search for what in death poor Yorick must have felt.
Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell
me one thing.
What’s that, my lord?
Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’
And smelt so? pah!
Puts down the skull
E’en so, my lord.
To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may
not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,
till he find it stopping a bung-hole?
‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.
No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with
modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as
thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, ActV, Scene 1
Posted in Alexander the Great, Caesar, Death, Gertrude, Hamlet, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Ophelia, Poem, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Double Sonnet, Dreams, endless desert, Existence, far horizon, Illusion, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Poem, poetry, poor yorick, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
Bahá’ís throughout the world commemorate tonight after sunset and tomorrow before sunset, the first day of the Month of Núr [Light]. To each and all, a beautiful Feast!
“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Núr or `Light'”
He is much more than what He attracts; refraction of it all,
In lucid words these polished mirrors,
This luminosity in splendourous waves
that soothe all blatant latent fears
Within spheres of objectivity;
smartly uniformed, high-buttoned, tall,
Erect and unembellished,
capital of some fine handwriting
Scribbled there along the temple walls.
Script, the random code found
Wanting notwithstanding bolder strokes
of solace and credulity crowned
In serifs; lightest lightning
strikes a newly seated summer’s sighting,
Calligraphy to the eyes, herald of eternity…
…to the beholder; what? there
Upon the Holy Cliff, His brow–
the spring from stiller waters, golden pools;
Yes, clues. Siren and alarm
made moot above the spools
and threads that agitate creation’s needles’ dance
and aggravate of what remains where
Once there was a void. He leaves His mark
and we remain the ghostly detail of the lace;
I need not tell you Whose the eyes,
Whose the illumined brow; I’ve seen His face.
“Light and Shadow”
…Thou art the shadow of divine Light.
We are Thy shadow in this world.
Who has seen a shadow
separated from the Light?
Sometimes the shadow stays next to the Light.
Sometimes it disappears into the Light.
If it is next to the Light,
Light and shadow are equal to each other.
When it disappears,
it merges and unites with the Light…
When it realizes it’s disappearing,
the shadow grabs the Light tightly
with the hand of desire.
In order to have God’s radiance,
this desire takes him to God.
The story of the union and
separation of light and shadow never ends.
Posted in Imagery, Imagism, Light, Light and shadow, Lyric Poetry, Poem, Poetry, Rumi, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Existence, Imagery, Imagism, Immortality, Light, Light and shadow, Lyric Poetry, Nature, Poem, poetry, Rumi, Sonnet, Sonnets
Eddies edge pools of stilled and darker waters
Seeking, touching near what I’ve yearned
To know and where it was I learned
To close my eyes to images, tattered patterns, charters
Leaning gently north and east from where
It all began; stillborn journeys of patience, winding,
Woven, stolid movement while in action, stillness, finding
Nothing farther here or there than when I felt the glare
Of anger in the stars, no closer goals than when the sun
Denies its heat and lifting shadows, flees righteousness far beyond
My shallow mysteries and inexperienced gaze. I pause now and then on a span
Of steps, draw sweet ease within, and remember when it was began to run.
Lungs no longer large enough,
no bellows’ voice above the braying throng
Remains; no breath sufficient housing for the word,
…no everlasting melody in song.
I might have shone so brightly with a little gumption,
Possibly a nudge or two from vested interests,
Kinder words or just perhaps a brighter world. My life suggests
As much and while the ëgo’s none the worse for wear, presumption
Rests with those who argue with their fate
While I’ve remained asking nothing of it. I’ve no axe to grind
In this fine valley; nothing close to envy comes to mind
In thinking on what might have been if fragments left in testate
Had been a touch more polished, more evenly refined. I rest my case,
It seems, on what so easily comes to pass,
And what does not. Others I’ve taught.
What lessons I designed or ought
To have devised were nothing if not meant to last
Beyond my station, even further far removed from glory
Than the width of my recurring shoes or the copyright of my story.
Photographs above by Josh Sanders…
Posted in Age, Aging, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Poem, Poetry, Recollections, Reflections, Samsara, Sonnets
Tagged Double Sonnet, Imagery, Imagism, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, Poem, poetry, Sonnet, Sonnets