Tag Archives: Poem

“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…

“Oh, I know”

“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.

“Hamlet Asks”

“Hamlet Asks”

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.

HORATIO

What’s that, my lord?

HAMLET

Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’
the earth?

HORATIO

E’en so.

HAMLET

And smelt so? pah!

Puts down the skull

HORATIO

E’en so, my lord.

HAMLET

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?

HORATIO

‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

HAMLET

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!

William Shakespeare
[1564-1616]

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, ActV, Scene 1

“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Núr or `Light'”

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.

Rumi
“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.

“Eddies”

“Eddies”


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…