The parcels sit idle by the door, and I in the chair
Browsing bills rescued from the mailbox, notes
From no one these days to no one since even votes
For what remains from each day are meagre, a flare
Or two by email, terse reminders of a sometime love; I stare
For seconds at the ceiling and back to a tiny screen to scan what floats
Across the little window on the world; yet another memory to dote
On as I think back to when I last called, when last I was there.
Among the many scurrying to work each morning,
Earlier than need demands, too late, in fact to make a difference
To the fresh beginning in what lies before them in a day already spent
On efforts in the shower to stay awake or worse, the lint
Of days gone by still lingering since the phone rang long after warning
Bells were lost on both the dryer and clothing and none of it made sense.
“Marvellous,” so he thinks, “just why it is
Creation’s robe’s so blood stained? Stubborn remains, they insist;
They persist, disease, and carnage, yes! Rising famine, orphans; lists
That never end, and then of course that always fatal kiss,
This blasphemy of complaint and intuition that we
May not truly live at all!” Effortlessly, nights wear on. Responding,
These and beauteous phantoms blend and in their careless logging—
Pages in this life and well into the next—we see
The Sadrat’u’l-Muntahá and merely breathe. We throw up
Our hands and beg the question although we always know
Who and what it is we seek. To ourselves and no one else flow
Freely in the Upper Room the clouds of incense for a requiem; to Him, the cup,
The cynosure placed perpetually on the table, the guests long gone,
The Holy Writ upon the wall, this tabula rasa, this once and final song.
Spectators on 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…
The prince questions nothing in the stationary life;
He does not mourn a life whose questions never fade
Remaining here but seconds in the day—
In endless desert silences or audience to incessant city’s sirens–
And that one is here implies a demarcation on the far horizon,
No mistaken material substance as Ophelia slept,
No mystic talisman found to thwart the fall; His promise kept
To seed a cloudless day or lighten pressures in the bloated neon night;
His peerless plight, knowing nothing spends his days in endless search
and how poor Yorick must have felt.
True art is the collective equivalent to the dream and like the dream is never addressed to the material. It is the exposition to the living of the existence of virtue, the constant reminder of the potential for catharsis, a preternatural occasion that transcends all natural laws and sets the species above its evident material state, an event as precious to the living soul as it is invisible and beyond the blindness of the walking dead whose counter proposition to reality is that the world is in itself the end and is justified by whatever the dictates of instinct. The existence of a tragic protagonist who at once acknowledges his divine origins against the backdrop his earthly mortality is the glory of his tragedy and the comic irony of his temporary lethal perdicament, the juxtaposition of eternity beyond the confines of the present life set amid the turmoil of a world whose progress is ever beyond all sensual possibilities not to mention the vision of mortals who find immortality not only their nemesis, but their avowed enemy.
“That Is the Tail of Me”
That is the tail of me, which
At the moment I prefer to place before the toes
Of all you see and well beneath, aglow
With muted modesties, I know, but classic stitch
To those with taste in circles far beyond
The average; quietly I suggest everything yet nothing; desire
Is neither motif or design; a line of fire
In larger versions, majesty in better ponds
To drink, the tongue curled delicately under
And withdrawn if whiskers figure in the wonder
Of the thing (and, of course, they do!) no casual blunders
In the process of a civilized approach to milk and moisture
pulled both up and under
Attracting wildest speculation. . .and, indeed, they do!
. . . Concerning what comes next, yes!
Along with where to place these toes, these ears, and all those other parts that one might guess. . . are less obscure, . . .I leave to you!
“‘Oh, My,’ She Said”
“Oh, my,” she said, “I don’t mind!” and
She didn’t! The problem was that it was I
Who minded, and I should have let it slide,
But, no! I just had to let it land
On “One More Time!” I crossed the line
To bring up all our history–confusing it with prophesy–
To her, of course, it was all the same. It’s lost in me
The way I misdirect my plans at times;
She shouldn’t look that way of course, but blind
Men come to life when in the presence of the fine
Soft petals of a rose sensed with more than eyes.
It falls to me to meet the heights of these illusions, find
The nexus as with all familiars fortified with brew distilled
From grains of intuition and wine from simple grapes of will.
“‘Twas the Blueberry Pie”
`Twas the blueberry pie, you know; `twas
That pie as odd as that may sound, and I
Was hungry in the afternoon and spied
Her house―I’d come that way because
I had some several sundry savoury things to do
Along the road that day―and following my nose
A stronger apparition there within me rose,
And she was at the door in no time! Courage grew,
And she was quick to ask if I would chop
Some wood, and surely this was not beyond
My time and energies to spare? “The farther pond
Has deadwood there already cut!” The stop
To gather wood? No problem, ma’am and no delay!
T’was the pie, my son, and that’s precisely why you’re here today!
“It’s As He Told Her”
It’s as he told her, he always hurts the ones he loves.
Believe him when he tells you what he’ll do.
He’ll signal truth in words, explicit clues
To what his will intends no matter the subtleties above,
Below, or the quality of the clay. Fine attentions to the salty lioness
Are not always at the kill, yet in the afternoons,
The evenings or lights of several suns and moons
Appearances there are before the moment the scion
Lifts his head, a certain sign, a succinct rhythm
In his blood’s begun, and someone here must die.
In that split second, confirmations reign; he did not lie,
And as in the beginning when he sat with her before the schism,
Miles and distances between the warning and the fact;
Hours and days pass but memory deceives and hides the lethal act.
Is nothing more
Than the willing
Of the natural inevitability of change.
If change is possible,
There is hope
And since change is ubiquitous,
It precludes fear or humiliation
Or thoughts of annihilation
Stemming from the predicament
Of being an eternal being
In a mortal, material existence.
It is but one reason
Why the seeing eye
That if every believing soul
Were reduced by
To a single soul,
That soul will eternally proclaim,
“I have overcome the world!”
“Do You Hear Laughter, Ramses?”§
Do you hear laughter, Ramses? Perhaps a slice
Of whatever’s left of Kurdistan? The Yemen or Sudan? From the imams
Some slight adjustment in the going rate for poppies in Afghanistan?
Did you believe you were the first? By chance, would it be nice
To be the last?… but then again, there’s something lurking in the dice
And if by chance the six’s multiply to but thrice, the horn of Ethiopia’s
The prize for service with distinction, by default a supra-cornucopia,
Or just another nosegay for an ordinary day? Memories suffice
So far, my friend, and comes the cosmic slap when what was only yesterday
A casual promise warms up yet another Oedipus who in neglect reflects
The ancient legend in the latest model of the child to help defray the odds
On probability that this time, the Messiah’s come embarrassing the gods
Who claim another virgin’s loss an evening or a day’s diversion. Prospects
Multiply like maggots on the carcass of what’s forgotten anyway.
§ The title of this sonnet comes from a line addressed to Pharoah in the film, The Ten Commandments and came to mind as I stood on my balcony facing south and wondered at everything I’ve heard from Irán where just a few weeks ago, in one small village, the homes of the Bahá’ís living in that village were cruelly leveled in an attempt to rid the villagers of Bahá’ís without notice, without due process of law, without arrests, indictments, without any reason in the world except that they were Bahá’ís. I wondered at how anyone in my religion could be considered a threat to anyone else on this earth and particularly the established governments and leaders insofar as Baha’is are absolutely forbidden even to discuss politics and are rendered incapable of being a threat to any government or leader through the very Scriptures to which thy subscribe, and yet, for the last three years, a group of seven men and women have languished in Evin Prison in close and uncomfortable “rooms” or cells with nothing to sleep on but the floor and all this before they were summarily convicted of any crime, denied access most of the time of counsel, cut off from their families, and with their “trial” constantly postponed over this period of time so that even if they are ever set free because there is no evidence of a crime of any kind in any of these people, they will still have been imprisoned without a “By your leave!” with no compensation at all. Of course, I also wondered about the latest news from Egypt which inspires staring in disbelief, from events in Algeria and once again in Irán, from Jordan, Greece, from God knows where throughout this entire worried and worn planet. –Once
Posted in Algeria, Bahá’í, Bahá’í Faith, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gods, Greece, Hubris, Iran, Poetry, Ramses II, Revolution, Yemen
Tagged Lyric Poetry, Sonnets