Tag Archives: Imagism

“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.

“I Withdraw”

“I Withdraw”

I withdraw so easily, or waking, dreamed
So soon as laboured in the day ill-advised
Through doors whether in or out with nothing analysed,
Nothing ostracised, nothing blind. Early minutes’ quiet gleaned
From what I see, Rorschach patterns reckoned ends bit off before
The deeds were quite done. Salutations to the daylight in the darkness
Knowing light my only threat. I sought no rest
But simply waved my rights before I’d hit the bathroom door.
Another matin ritual and by the time I see the streets
My spirits rise to the anthem of inversion, papers purchased and there
When no one hears me enter (no one saw me leave;  no one’s left
Who remembers where I stood before the fall–the cleft
Between the morning after and the afternoon before–the air,
The pavement, strokes of something like a sidewalk drawing, noted.
I’ve arrived in time to beat the elect but somehow never voted.)

“My, My, So Come Now!”

masques

“My, My, So Come Now!”

My, my, so come now! We’re a busy man today.
Strange to see when, only yesterday I heard you say
You’d turned a leaf or two, induced a change
So greatly you could taste it

You’d packed her bags, and said you’d waste it,
Took a train (perhaps a plane), or took the cure
In no more likely place than tree rings, age,
Withal, sublime, and now the buffet’s on.

. . .You called my name?
You knew your time had come for sure.
You wanted me to take for granted all
Your best intentions, and forestall
. . .some rupture in the waterbed.

Was it something someone said, or were you that disturbed
With smirking, smugness, the perturbed. . . .

(They’d never think of this before
To beat you to the punch to make the score
Themselves before the world, and all that’s holy);

So you were first to burn, the burn so solely
For the good it’d bring in time for auld lang syne,
And all that’s wholly pure and good tonight.

You know, when after all is said and done,

And certain things which must be spun
Restrain the world, there’s yet time to spin
The thing, and youth’s enough to win,
(You must have sown a few yourself and let the rest be damned.)

You do know why you pressed this thing tonight,
This thing you do when fires are boiling light,
. . . come on, you fool!…
Oh come all that’s faithful in the light tonight.

You know you’re on, so leave the wrath
As exposed as stumps and what’s still in the tub, a bath
Or better in the shower. Got a better plan?
Hey mahatma; got a better thing to do than leave?

You really want to lead, and bless the soils with seed.
In an evening not unlike this night there’s yeast this affair.
You want the world to see your hair
And how you move it all and how you salt the soil,

How you shake doxologies, burn incense and holy oils
Replicating earthly cannon till the cows go home,
And once again, of course you’re all alone. . .
. . .did I say that?
. . .did you say that?  Did I say that?

“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.

“Silversmiths”

“Silversmiths”

Silversmiths retrace the fire; sweats
In rivulets down brawny arms, twin bushes
To the chin and through the valley of the pectorals; and he pushes
Gyres in the waters;
determination defeats defect, fatigue, frets

Along the instrument mould the

shining of a gentle mind’s design,
Undone, the fist and fingers as hammers in the process
Till the thing that was not is and what little rest
In thought becomes the thing, itself, the line,
A cut above a cusp between inspiration
And its final destruction. Destination, oh! the beauty of the thing
Will guide his hands securely and the synthesis, the ring
Of something new or newer makes its run from mental registration
To obsession in the finishing and glories to polish a wondrous sign,
A medallion of conception, some fine image formed of inner space and time.

“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.

“You Own the Year”

“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

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

“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.

“Order Comes”

“Order Comes”


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.