Tag Archives: Sonnets

“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?

“Let Me Take Those Packages”

“Let Me Take Those Packages”


Let me take those packages for you; better yet,
Let’s open them together for the pleasure
Of the moment in the momentary leisure
Of the spirit of the day. A lapis lazuli. A set
Of microscopic diamonds and a matching pair
Of pearls, perhaps. Or yet again, what flower
Speaks your mind, what rites, what planet’s power’s
Fragrance says it all? What prism’s light binds a lightning strike; what flares,
What jaded talismans; what recommends the treasures that you’ve sought?
You know, we’ll never spend it through the flight, and as the greatest diva said
One January night*, “You may have dresses in the closet, baby, but they’s lead
Will line your coffin and you can’t only wear but one!” You’re caught
Between eleisons, then, and in this world’s final fading hour,
We’ll see what we can see tonight before the wine goes sour.

*Mahalia Jackson [1911-1972] born 26 October 1911, passed away on 27 January 1972 in Chicago, Illinois but it was not until 31 January that I learned of her passing and even then by accident when someone so very casually mentioned it in a moment while I was washing dishes….having no idea just what this Voice meant to me. Some of the greatest pains I ever felt in this world were somehow made bearable at the sound of that single voice, so many hours into the the night, listening to what was for me pure joy, and always, always hope…;it was a benign idolatry that always brought peace and tolerance to whatever the darker, earlier years of my life; massive funerals were held in Chicago and New Orleans, and one Nebraska boy cried that night and said, “Thank you! God bless you for all you gave me all these years!” Until this very day, almost every day, I have made her voice a part of my day…

If you can stand it and have patience with the the exceedingly poor recording, this is Mahalia as I always knew her…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdbQm8YCybU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O5hz5KnSdc

“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.

“The Greatest Sanctuary”

“The Greatest Sanctuary”

The greatest sanctuary saves, preserves, and seals
The last and latest treasure; final fears are entertained
And in the end repeat themselves penultimate in any age
That’s spent with nothing left to say. The morass of months reveal
Themselves as names, the briefer moments cast in isinglass,
And hung above the door as witness to emotions borrowed to defend
The journey of both giver and what it is that’s given–split ends
That pass at times for purity of desire. Consternation, then, at last
Effaced, those few peas remaining within the pod will spend
Themselves while outward bound to what is after all a dream
Or merely someone’s lunch. They groom together–the sheen
Is frayed–delay is shame when every effort to confirm or to renew offends.
Reconnoitred, what were formerly evergreens
disclose themselves as deciduous devotions
That decry their former riverbeds as puddles, watersheds of desiccated oceans
And long dead seas. . 

“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.

“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Mashíyyat” or “Will”

Bahá’ís throughout the world gathered yesterday evening after sunset or today before sunset to celebrate the First Day of the Month of Mashíyyat [Will]

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“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Mashíyyat” or “Will”

We bear witness to it in the station of a still
And changeless vision, cosine as it is to truth.
Volition reigns with all, and rules
To govern its existence will
Continue till the thing no longer bears its seal,
Its sign, its talisman nor sacred stamp
Of manifest yet hidden Lamps
By Whose Light truth’s revealed or is repealed.
There is no greater will than this. We are
Witnesses, the signatories of deeds
Of lingering motives, contracts, seeds
Of instituted factors in the sole
And universal changeless Will and Goal
Whose pages neither bend nor fold.

“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.

Remembrances of that morning in 2001…”My Eyes Looked Up”

Remembrances of that morning in 2001…


“My Eyes Looked Up”

My eyes looked up and what I saw was more
Than they could bear; a rushing through the halls
With the roar of sorrow in the ears; I heard the call,
A warning, a deafening “Danger! Be reminded here before
The fact that what’s been said will never
Be unuttered; fractures in the zeitgeist, ciphers of a shrine
To endless days of contemplation, meditation in the marrow, brine
And bitter herbs will be the fare from this day until the day of rest; if ever
Was a day of mourning this one is!” Students
In the classroom all abuzz and even verging on a levity
–They had so little to employ their hours–proclivity
To expect experience on a screen or in the rubrics
Of the media, always in the past and never present in the sixes and the sevens.
Another trumpet, another decade, and another word for it: ubiquitous now as “9/11″!

“Transitions”

“Transitions”

Transitions, troughs and floodgates
Swell before the crops are in;
Appointments rough-hewn begin
From centuries’ wealth in soils. He hesitates.
Lamentations of the classic farmer’s touch
Bestowed on something that was expected
Neither to outlast the seed nor tip the balance but once elected
Audit landscapes from the past and serve the sudden rush as much
As circumstance permits a well to gush and choose another path.
He was a teacher; was, and no doubt
Will continue to apply the torch to oils of souls
Whose mission is to lance the boils of youthful wrath
And freely prime the wells of mass miscalculation of the myths,
The babbling and cursive powers of hubris and its shibboleths.

 

“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