“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
…dedicated to the many who wonder what’s become of all that is and where the bottom is…
“‘The underside’ … it’s not just in tandem, ‘Once, it’s everywhere! … sigh …’”
And she was right. It seems the predilection toward
The animal appears where there is none; the tsunami’s force is froward
Where there is no place to go but straight to hell for all but those who fly
Or settle for a second-rate mortgage off the high road’s endless traffic.
And we along the shores of what’s become the greater sea who sit
And sign within ourselves no higher there, nor lower here, are aware of it:
There is no real rest from those who foment
Condescension to Creation, laced with lies
To trap the innocent, and revel in the vanishing point
Below the picture, well beneath the edges or between the joints
Of slender bones and tissues in the body politic; cries
Will rise for them and for their victims and their families,
The “taken”, “took” and “broken for which poets scribble homilies.
“The tree outside the window taps very gently on the pane … I want to think quietly, calmly, spaciously, never to be interrupted, never to have to rise from my chair, to slip easily from one thing to another, without any sense of hostility, or obstacle. I want to sink deeper and deeper, away from the surface, with its hard separate facts. To steady myself, let me catch hold of the first idea that passes … Shakespeare … Well, he will do as well as another. A man who sat himself solidly in an arm-chair, and looked into the fire, so a shower of ideas fell perpetually from some very high Heaven down through his mind.”
The Mark on the Wall
“Wife, child, brother, parents, friends…We come only to go apart again. It is one continuous movement. They move away from us, and we move away from them. The law of life can’t be avoided. The law comes into operation the moment we detach ourselves from our mother’s womb. All struggle and misery in life is due to our attempt to arrest this law or get away from it or in allowing ourselves to be hurt by it. The fact must be recognized. A profound unmitigated lonliness is the only truth of life.”
R. K. Narayan
[October 10, 1906 -- May 13, 2001]
(shortened from Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami)
The English Teacher
Posted in Affirmation, Animal, Arts, Change, Chaos, Civilisation, Distraction, Duplicity, End Times, Family, Hubris, Hypocrisy, Isolation, Lonliness, Lyric Poetry, Mankind, Materialism, Mediocrity, Mortality, Negation, Poetry, Poets, Reunion, Separation, Sonnet, Willaim Shakespeare [1564-1616]
Tagged Immortality, Love, Lyric Poetry, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
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
“That Yearning’s Passed”
That yearning’s passed, I know
A peace of simplicity, relief;
A promise fulfilled, the passing of grief;
An outrageous gift of understanding’s flow
From grace to bounty; platitudes, slow
To middling in mine own eyes but quickened as when the wreath
Of outward stars surmounts the inward scars, the chief
Priests’ glower glowing darkly through an ancient glass. In escrow,
Then, to points of no demand and nothing left to chance.
Remember!! greatest secrets born within are less than burdens
In the light and more than shelter can bestow;
Turn the blindest eye to life’s sweet afterglow
And take another look. Let the foot another step and advance
Beyond the point of scripts for life’s inevitable diminishing returns.
Posted in Age, Aging, Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet
Tagged Age, Aging, Certitude, Detachment, Existence, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, poetry, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet, Strife, Tragic Flaw
Briefer images at dusk along the street and wonders
In me--who is that woman? Street lamps, yes! the moon
Or worse that slaps us both; tarnished, and in a tangent off some June
From long ago, memories in a travel log of time when I still blundered
Through the odyssey of all my fears and slumber seemed forever light,
The blush and dimming of the spots somehow pleasing to so many peoples,
Then, and still I stood to hit the queue to see her eyes.
Distilled prayer beneath the steeples,
Midnight trains and feeble seats in Greyhounds,
uses of the every highway dedicated to gemutlichkeit
And the momentary! More, a never-ending wanderlust and steam
To drain the festering boils of youth in rhymes of two dimensions:
Points from “A” to “B” to “C”, perhaps to “D”, and mention The here and there of this I saw or that within what dreams
Concealed in endless intercourse in the night and I so moth- like in the rites
Of great mahatmas in repose amid the golden spinning wheels and kites.
Posted in Age, Aging, Desire, Imagery, Lust, Lyric Poetry, Nostalgia, Passion, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet, Youth
Tagged Age, Aging, Delusion, End Times, Existence, Illusion, Lyric Poetry, poetry, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets, Strife, Tragic Flaw
“Not That What It Is”
Not that what it is is what it is, but what’s occurred
Is yours and yours, alone, while you insist
That curses blessed are blessings on a sometime list
Of what’s been missed and what’s been left behind these hoary curls
Belongs to you and you alone. Bliss bereft within your world
Is what I am because I know what love isn’t and what’s dismissed
In what we can so easily resist. You’re too good to me in all of this;
I know because I’ll be leaving soon and we’ll be hurled
So far out there that none of what you said and what we did
Will be remembered further than a passing glance
Through pages in some anthology or in a leaden book
Of poems with a long brass chain and hook
That keeps the leisure hours from outright theft
Of memories and souvenirs of what was left
Of us before the curtain fell with no place else to dance.
Posted in Age, Aging, Imagery, Lyric Poetry, Poem, Poetry, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Age, Aging, Death, Emotion, End Times, Existence, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, poetry, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets, Strife, Tragic Flaw
“Suppose the Action”
Suppose the action to be a trapezoid
When witnessed by an audience or seen
By overweening others through the brilliance of a screen;
The traffic of public view that makes it so must be avoided
If potential and potency of action reach
Beyond the drawing board to the other side
Beyond the nose, beyond the niggling tides
Of critical mass in thought that flow from one beach
To another trapped within the atrophy of a single mind or there
Beneath in morbid sinks. Mass produce spoil in spools of social thought
That come in every season, easily plagiarised, easily bought,
Fosilised tomes of self-help manuals basking in the bourgeois glare
Of hucksters’ spinning-wheels and gurus peddling wares:
Satisfaction will wilt with public notice at a fair.
“Settle It in Yourself”
Settle it in yourself who I am
And who I’ll always be, whether in the present
Mist that veils your eyes or at some future bridge, a resident
Of residue and exigency, a necessity for the nonce, only. The man
I am abides the evident and final verdict.
You’ll turn the page, perhaps,
And probably discard the volume on your lap
For tomes of better binding, fresher leaves, a sweeter sap
And staple than maple or hemlock; a shot of déjà vu within a wider cap.
Still, it falls to me to rest within the afterglow, abide
The whole, and to these ends both of us were born.
Forgetfulness is sound advice; while in the cage a single page is torn
From some eternal book and words enough remain to satisfy
The need to let it be a test between us, firmly stated, fully formed:
We face the same eternity and once created cannot be outworn.
…painting by Christopher Zhang…
Posted in Age, Aging, Lyric Poetry, Poem, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Age, Aging, Delusion, Emotion, Existence, Illusion, Imagery, Imagism, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, poetry, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets, Tragic Flaw
Waiting. Waiting. From where I sit
I see but platitudes of prepositions in multitudes in wait,
Rapacious greyhounds―verbs and nouns cut off at the gate—
While dangling snails modify themselves in the gambit
Toward their verbal soup seeking refuge.
What’s quick and nearer are the terrors
Writ and easy abscess to blatant errors
In the long run baked in the heat of subterfuge:
Aye me! What act that roars so loud and thunders in the index?
Yet pundits scream and stream the name of truth
With the watchword “Breaking news!” Abstruse,
Perhaps, yes! Obtuse and perpendicular to a blatant text
Announcing nothing more than ounces first, then gallons
Of bile and holiness at the claw and retribution in the talons.
Posted in Age, Aging, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet
Tagged Age, Aging, Delusion, End Times, Existence, Illusion, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, News Media, poetry, Samsara, Sonnet, Strife, Tragic Flaw
“He Will Not Compromise”
He will not compromise the stock, his private petri dish.
A line of foxes frolicking through the sheep must prick
The curiosity of any pilgrim pausing at the brook; the brick,
And mortar, tools of what a man constructs, the wish
That something happen here. Daubs of oil in the dish
Will draw the brush to do what must be done. The stick
Will find his cousins own the table; wicks
Are there, (if left unused) while golden fish,
Apparently at rest, take turns about the bowl
If only to sustain the journey to the point of death.
And so the heady phrase and weighty line:
While others may or may not find the rhyme
We neither weigh the consequence of natural signs nor pay the toll,
The fee for what it means to know the glory of the seed
within the bank of blanket soils of every soul.