Tag Archives: Poem

“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

“Now Mark a Man’s Credentials”

images

“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

“Vetted Miles”

Driving

“Vetted Miles”

Vetted miles and truck stops all across the state
To feel the blessing of the eyes, the rising voice
Within his own breast; the choice
Is always his, oh yes, of course, and he’s arrived, and late
Enough each time to bear the weight of witnesses that his
Are not his eyes, nor his the sacred words
That even he can use. He’s seen nothing here and so he’s turned
The car around and while it may be circumspect, he’s heading home.
Then comes the once again, the call
Is always there, that Tennyson and Frost in all the walls,
That albatross of restlessness that bleaches clarity in tones
Of sepia and bronze, the clothes,  the nakedness of all
Past memories perfumed in ancient rhyme. Silences make every room
A canyon trussed by random thoughts of “Yes?”, “Tonight?”, and “Soon?”

“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.

“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.

“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

“By Day, the Toil!”

Wrting

“By Day, the Toil!”

By day, the toil.  Just so. At times the ache
Returns, but somehow, nightfall must come. Perhaps
It is the hour, or something in the newly evening breeze, but laps
Throughout the day are then for someone’s sake
Forgotten, and he simply sits before the fire,
Or there, outside beneath the bluer, richer hues
Of cares and harsher edges of desire
To carve, to whittle, to embrace a life at once recused
In poetry, metre askew with so  little harmony, alone
Not so much in sparks, but in the riot of results.
He waves his hand and even owls listen; bolts
Of lightning in his voice again do not groan
But gently call to sit beside him in the light
Of distant days remembered in the call
to rest with him through the vanity of his night.

 

“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.

“He Looks Away”

spitzweg-57

“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…