Tag Archives: Sonnets

“He Chose What Homer Chose”

William Shakespeare
[23 April 1564 - 23 April 1616}

Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Shakespeare 450 years ago, and, according to what records we may or may not have, it also marks the Anniversary of the Passing of the Bard 398 years ago. The general facts concerning William Shakespeare support the idea that he was born and died on the same day. In honour of the occasion, of course, there is a repeat of a posting some time ago:

"He Chose What Homer Chose"

He chose what Homer chose; the place,
The measured lisp of every school boy; the time, eternity;
The hour, the glory of the present tense, the panoply
Of stars above the placeless with the taste
Of honeys made pedestrian, obscured by tongues, the paste
Left finite and sour from beyond divinity and the bower of worship--the realities
Of man, the Son of Man, the seat of constancy is faithlessness in cold identities
Obscured beyond the reach of all--
the trial of facelessness becomes their saving grace.
Who knew the eyes of John or Peter, Paul,
or the meek and more obscure Bartholomew
But that the rumours flew and vacancies were filled, their names
Now everywhere and nowhere is it written
How the Christ appeared, or how their God had smitten
What was left of their disguises, appetites and virtues notwithstanding crude
And morbid songs of their demise,

...and cannonlore for all that glory in the flames.

"The past cannot be cured."

--Queen Elizabeth I
[7 September 1533 - 24 March 1603]

“Yes, of Course”

“Yes, of Course”

Yes, of course, it’s in the silences, the gaps; what isn’t there,
A kind of saving grace. Yes, it’s in the wrist and more, a second
Maiden voyage. The news announces daily the Titanic’s jocund
Journey redux, greater for revision less the ware
And less absorbing in the loss of souls from rarer thinner air
Brought faithfully to task but mind you nonetheless a reckoning
Within a construct; no! an edifice of remembrances within the seconding
Of resolutions that determines Elliot’s wave within the self-defining stare
Of relative modernity; but one tsunami in eternity amid the voids of space.
The promise of redemption’s found in balances of degrees
In praise of beauty in the sun spots’ mighty aura, the aurora in the fray
Of loose inebriating Northern Lights–try distraction while you pray–
Try the Northwest Passage in the making high above the Arctic’s former grace
Notes, rhythms in the writ, a metaphor in G, perhaps, but played in C.

“There was peace and the world had an even tenor to it’s way. Nothing was revealed in the morning, the trend of which was not known the night before. It seems to me that the disaster about to occur was the event, that not only made the world rub its eyes and awake, but woke it with a start, keeping it moving at a rapidly accelerating pace ever since, with less and less peace, satisfaction and happiness. To my mind the world of today awoke April 15, 1912. – Jack Thayer, Titanic Survivor

“But If I Loved”

“But If I Loved”

But, if I loved, there’d be no stumbling here,
No word, no moment spent in canvassing;
No south-bound sound, no! no jaundiced ring
Tone, no telephone—assuming no fear
No understatement—pressures here applied
To maudlin tracings follow no trump, no expression
No! no consummation in the passive key,
No suppression
Of fact, no fire in hyperbole, nor just plain lies.
Then I’d be forced to die, or something close
To leaving if I could:
But, I’m not made to feel so good;
I only wish I were; and just suppose
I should,
I would.

 

“I Found the Little Girl Alone”

…recollection from a day of teaching some time ago….

“I Found the Little Girl Alone”

I found the little girl alone, a leaner ladybug
Forlorn and crying in the cavern of the Cafeteria quite late
One afternoon; she sat with lunchbox and an empty plate.
“What brings you here?” I said. She just shrugged,
And said she didn’t know. I asked if she shouldn’t be
In class, and would she like some help to find her way?
“Oh, no!” she said, and then a lengthy silence. “I have to stay
And hurt a while until I’m done!” To me
She looked so small so delicate, and worn, so “Why the tears?
“My best friend hates me, and I don’t know why.”
“Well, what, then,” made her think she couldn’t try
To ask her friend just what she’d done? “That,” she feared,
“Will make it worse! She told me she’s got another friend at home
And now she took back her ring, and I’m here all alone!”

…I managed to walk the little girl back to her classroom, and in she went apparently in a kind of daze.  A few weeks later, I saw her in the playground laughing and seemingly happy as a lark, but from that day forward to the day she showed up in my senior English class, whenever our eyes would meet from time to time in the course of years of crossing paths and there was always a kind of sobriety in her glance that expressed thanks for having heard her and again, for having never mentioned that afternoon again.

“In the Fifties”

“In the Fifties”

In the Fifties all the wonder of pastel was “in,”
The funds so well arranged in bank accounts
Left dormant through the War. Largesse, secured amounts
Were stored, but goods were spare and produce thin,
Production not yet shelved to compliment the newfound peace.
The Sixties featured families rounded off from nine to an even five;
The troops were home, chariots had fins, and promises alive
Throughout the world to put such potential in the fleece
As might be had for children in the doxology to provide
A balance, a nom de plume for a strange apology
For the deprivation of Depression and the horrors of the War Years. Anthologies
Replaced by catalogues from Sears, recruits were down but churches thrived
And so did freedom, and to the sirens of liberty went the clear-eyed youths
Who loved at will and, sur le pouce, found themselves
in the Seventies illumined in haloes of hair and something to close to truths.

“He Passed the Bricks”

“He Passed the Bricks”

He passed the bricks he lived in once today
And for a second felt the loss, a certain regret
For what was then and is no longer. So wet,
So green, so full of hopes and dreams delayed
While he was arrogance, itself, and barely free from teachers.
So full of what it was he thought he was, he married,
Had a son, found his breadth again, and carried
Balances forward to the point he found he could not reach her.
Separation’s not so facile as inevitable,
Again a second house and this of straw, a second child
As though he gave a damn and still he could not reconcile
What differences it made. They deemed it irreconcilable,
The either of them undeniable and so they parted as they could.
There is no safety from the wolf, you know,
no magic castles built of brick nor straw nor wood.

“Oh, He Knows”

Summer: Young September's Cornfield 1954 by Alan Reynolds born 1926

“Oh, He Knows”

Oh, he knows, he surely knows that pain,
And in the morning of his life he drew
Himself from deeper wells he knew
He could not fathom, nor did the rain
Object, no rival to his tears, and all he did was dance.
Departing early, Venus rising in the mists of cold Nebraska dawns
Found sweat and pleasures in his skin as he was drawn
To deeper paths beyond the last and lasting chance
To turn aside; but, no! He did not return. And neither
Did he stop till he was well beyond the sleeping town
And found himself the audience of a thousand feathered clowns
Atop the ocean rows of corn and maize and high above the purple ether
Of the shallow island’s edge. The vanities that irrigate his endless thoughts
Were rivers then, and there he danced until he dropped.

…painting at top by Alan Reynolds…

“Confirmations”

“Confirmations”

Confirmations late, perhaps, but guaranteed;
Never ending certitude, the consolation of pieces
The tattered ends of surest re-creation and redress,
The eyes trained to see all between as weeds,
The winded wilderness of detraction,
Thoughtlessness, yes! but cannot tarnish the polished thought.
Win or lose, the matter’s been decided; ought
Escapes the scrutiny of the watcher, a refraction
From within illuminating all that’s without
And damn the static in the wavelength. Repercussions
Riddle doubting minds and incidental mental defections
From others in the cast. The curtain rises, scenes begin
And with or without climax or denouement, a lifetime of delights
Will out in time. But who feeds the candle in the late nights’ softer lights?

“Yes, Of Course”

“Yes, Of Course”

Yes, of course, until the consummate act;
That short sweet penultimate gust of wind’s a hurricane
If given half a chance; your word of caution, one’s whispered vain
Imagining breathed from one lost soul to yet another seals a pact
That places infinite variation at naught before the fact
And utter chaos in the glossary. The perfectly inane
Remains so long as everyone understands the midnight train
No longer runs its comforts here between abandoned stations
Formerly retained withal despite the costs and weathered till the waiting
Wooden benches are no longer polished to a shine by anxious travellers’
Backsides, these who only yesterday were soberly assured by cavillers
In all sincerity, “There’s greater worth to companies than to nations;
More to gain from printing presses than revenue beyond debating.”

“This You Chose”

“This You Chose”

This you chose, you know, the lethal wound, external fire,
Internal final cut the cleanest; the choice was never mine.
This you chose; your arms, your scent defined
The borders, walls, the floors, the exposure. Your desires
Say nothing past the yesterdays of pre-dawn, and glad
I was to rest the while, and glad you are that I am gone.
But nothing’s rendered in the late night’s song,
The me in you, and yes! You know the sad
Result: that moon’s pain can not know a sequel.
The senses, these you know , with no contempt,
But radiant resignation in the hours of heat and pure idolatry. Spent,
The sentence stands within this world. These final sentiments rule;
The veil, the truths we’ve always known; the hourglass, the idols of our nights,
Its sands, a closing hush of breath at daybreak when all our meteors take flight.