Monthly Archives: December 2012

“Sonnet In Honour of the Feast of Sharaf”

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather today within the First Day of the Month of Sharaf [Honour]

Sharaf

“Sonnet In Honour

of the Feast of Sharaf”

Not that what is in my soul is pure, nor are my eyes
In proper shielded, buttressed against what should not be seen;
No, would it were not so, my thoughts are not so secluded from my dreams;
These, the ears, are not immune from babblings
of my brothers’ bathos on the sly.
My hands at times are placed not so firmly where they should not be
Nor to my taste the glories of my food. All
That modesty and honour require are no more than the call
Of truth intones without duplicity and from the centre of my heart’s alacrity.
These infectious imperfections gain election every day before my face
As in each hour may balance, in all, yet another blasphemy
salutes this world with uniformed joy in grayest
Glory, a plethora of pleasantries and follies strewn
through remaining weighty hours’ providential tally of rainy days.
I am never far from falling short of my own metaphors—similitudes and grace
Mirror whom I am in perfect cynosures,  refractions of the stolen lights
of all whom I am not—yet as I continue on
With what remains a Melody, a Meadow of Virtues not yet fully explored
is ever open to my gaze and ever honoured, never fully abdicated;
somehow in the end of days and with my latest last breath,
I am become the lyric of its eternal song.

“Epiphanies”

afterrain

“Epiphanies”

Epiphanies in several snowbound days require
So little but the will to see ourselves in bed
With breakfast in the morning after all is done and said,
And as we turn these pages, coffee inspires
Rising and falling nuance, the fondest anticipation—bacon,
Mounds of it, and six bright sunspots, yolks slow-fried
In butter wantonly abused in the black belly of the skillet deny
Nothing to the toast and for heaven’s sake on
Sundry Thursdays in the months, and Mondays,
Tuesdays, Wednesdays of the coming year
I’ll think on these bright moments with culinary fear
For both of us. Your smile, my laughter on our whitest days
Wrenched and strained, steeped from both our schedules thrown upon the floor
We closet in our winter’s gladness, dim the lights and bar the door.

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

Bethlehem

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

Bethlehem’s hours’ mourn, furtive glances northward toward Nazareth
Veil yet another year’s expectations as soon enough her promised Son survives.
This Sacred Lady knows that somewhere in between the two the king contrives
Within himself a fevered wall. He practices predilection; he does not guess.
He knows exactly what he wants, and from the East come
Annually the three who make queries round the campfires
‘Neath the skies from well beyond the Jordan. Casually they inquire,
“What are these Golan 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, what the New Year’s  Vulgate for the people?”
Yes, they come, these three, adrift once again, stalled between the steeples,
Innocent, yet barred, viscosity forbidding. Their passage isn’t what it used to be.
They ask in earnest and find the answers always cause for surprise.
The king’s awake tonight; he’ll not fool the wise this time.
“Yes,” they say, “you’ll find Herod’s tomb beneath it all, and Caesar’s not far
Behind buried in debris never imagined nor have the Magi ever seen
As much though their restive restless centuries’ search.  Truth has always been
Adjusted, gleaned by gratuities, facts of hubris born of Ptolemy’s predilections,
Dwarfed and all but swallowed in the complaisant craw of economies; schemes,
Modern pontiffs asserting prescient views in arrears and despite their slumbers
Solvent in the past and future well beyond prognosis and the numbers
Used to define their holiness and humour all humanity. Their smiles seem
To reach for meaning in every fireplace; they sift the ashes of the kiln
And pyre and dote on what they think they’ve found as if confirmed
Not least by carbon’s ancient age and not at all by what is earned.
Admire the Chinese, while they rise, ballast for the Pantheon of what fits the bill
And never mind the incense and sacrifice, the penury, the monuments to reigns
As numberless in academic catalogues as tea leaves left in cups and blood stains
on a million crosses planted in a Holy Land of boiling clouds and endless pain.

A threesome

“As Christmas Eve Is Everywhere”

God's Christmas Tree

“As Christmas Eve Is Everywhere”

As Christmas Eve is everywhere, so too the silence, sadness
Its valance,  a residue in the lining: I’m not there, the table’s not set,
There is no tree, no biscuits in the oven, no word from them as yet
And never will be save within my heart’s gladness
In the thought that what once was my heritage remains
Here within the certitude of who I am, forever wrought
Of memories in this time of year, and always in my thoughts.
I knew it was the last that late December night; it somehow came
To that as we were leaving. Half way down the lakefront land
I stopped and turned the car around, precious moments slipping by.
I found my Dad still in the driveway; Mom, no wonder as to why–
She looked away, a single sigh– “I forgot something, Dad,”
I stuck out my hand.
His grip was strong–our eyes met, then it was I
who turned away from this last treasured view
Of the two of them–the last of Christmas
with the greatest man of his time I ever knew.

“Fear”

index

“Fear”

Fear, and all things fear your breath
And that only when it’s too damn cold;
Yours is not the source after all. Even so, it lasts for but seconds in bold
Neon colours; reckon, then,  the shadow in stealth
And sign of something more than simple breathing?
Fear Creation and even more the Creator and all things fear you.
Accept both fear and trepidation and all souls pursue
Your death warrant or leave in peace; effects, the boiling broth to seething
Steeps wherever there are causes. Success is the flirt,
You know and equally victorious, they flash those teeth,
Those canines, those barbed corals on the reef
And their guardians the rays, those who give a damn, and if you’re not alert
Before they’re through, they make you know how much they love you.
For them, it’s in the index or more than likely in the brew.
So come, then,  to blows, perhaps, but never to the clues
Beyond the observations of the moment, contemplations viewed,
As thoughts and dwelling caves for the more or less sincerely
Involved. But, there’s the point! There is no point, the hour sees
Itself to the arbiter to the end that in the conclusion there may well be
A reckoning within the chance occasion between the you and me,
Wrapped in conspicuous consumption until the advent  of a third cares to listen.
Does the sun in glory truly set itself against its own fall
Whatever solutions unify his children nor their enemies withal?
True it is that early morning chill and dews that glisten
Do not last the hour to noon, and neither shall
They serve the moment’s view as all fortune will burn
The whole, and while the part inevitably returns
To haunt the memory, it does not touch the soul,
And if there’s something whispering in the gold,
It’s not the detail, not the story told,
Not a weakness in the strong, nor cowardice in bold,
But rather the humanity’s rôle for the moment sold,
(It’s true!) at times for the innocuous cup of coffee, Esau’s bowl
Of soup to while away the time until the final train departs, and gone.

“There Comes a Generous Helping”

puppet

“There Comes a Generous Helping”

There comes a generous helping and a generosity
In catalogues that absorb the time for hours
In afternoons or early evenings, contiguous common flowers,
Profusion, choice, and even weeds within a field rich with ferocity
That can delight the eyes and reduce the busy soul to giddiness
If given half a chance. And of what of this is free, where’s the end?
There is no end. And that’s the gift that sends
The greater joy to those for whom no pettiness
In personal demand requires a word of complaisant compliment,
A laurel, or possibly less, a spotlight on the stage littering the strand
Of silences in quiet umbrage to the many and never-you-mind the few.
And in the widest eyes there shine delicious dews
Of freshness and the joy of giving freely out of hand
To one and all who share this world of multitudes of common dust and sand.
The minutes support simplicity that make this world so grand.                                      Up from mountains to the skies, the smoke and fumes
Compromise the sun with rain, succeeding dispensations of rust, light and fire.
 A constant intercourse—purples, striking greens, and streaks of liquid sapphire
Echo next to nothing of the years  in lower cobalt vaults and valleys in rooms
Of empty desert flats. Somewhere nowhere near
A third dimension sits a second and the Primal First,
Whose wisdoms boast the toys of both the mortal camera and the eye; bursts
Of colour, meretricious travesties trapped in jars; the minimal, the austere,
The rough-hewn set between birth and death, their hues of classic frowns;
The lacquer-pinched and stylised will; their names in vain. Shrouds and gowns
Clothe the inhibition of surrogates, senseless nymphs, the glyphs and sounds
That are the stuff of jesters and the ballyhoo of royal clowns
Before the press magnified because the pantomime has lost its tone,
Its puppets loosed at last from strings to begin their long trip home.

“There Is So Little Here of Me”

the_empty_room_p_hdr

“There Is So Little
Here of Me”

Yes, there are the embers. We will never see
The end of this. I am so weak
Tonight. I sit and simply stare; I barely speak
In syllables. Words, last night’s diamonds, are now so many weeds, the peak
And valley of what it is we are and do. For what it’s worth, a laboured feast
Supposes a tomorrow, perhaps, but we’ve seen the last of us.
Make no mistake, there is no right when nothing’s left, no just
Conclusion when the lights go out. “But there is a truth,” you say, a beast
And some few gargoyles, and until now, we’ve not seen them; we ask
The obvious: “Where’s forever in all this dust?”
There is no peace in this virtual playground, no lasting rest,
No child to hold, no sanctuary from what lurks beneath the bed, no father’s best
To guide the troubled heart, no steel that does not rust.
And once, and then again, we come to see
What comes of denigrating blame, and raw hypocrisy.
Just yesterday I said something. There is so little here of me,
So much more of them, and yet they are so sure
Their lines are short along the network; they secure
The will with a touch, a word; they fawn on plausibility.
And while it’s rarely admitted, still there is a strain,
A stain left by the times. They must have noticed others will
Replace them at their stations as they rest the while—to fill
The same prescriptions, to sing the litany of ready refrains—
And pull their chairs a little closer for a better view
Of what seems just beyond what is; demands
Steal memory, drink the minutes and hours, and I must stand
And wait while they recuse, a little less confused,
Perhaps, but ever at their best to ask for more. They cannot see
That eternity’s demands of are less than theirs could ever be.

Photograph above by Matt Sparling

“One and One”

unity in diversity100

“One and One”

One and one is two sufficed to say until the day
Is trumped by yet another fledgling group of alloys,
 An isotope that arrives riding happenstance within a circle that deploys
Its toys more suited to radicals in threes or addressed to the nines; they play
Their respects, their token laughter swells, and hapless natural osmosis foils
Stasis to bring within a harvest of limitations without its genesis. From here,
Again, an intercourse, and lo! the ad hoc  crown of twelve’s sun’s spears
Just so, what is now joins a greater tree of commerce, a wider web of spoils.
A fuller ten and nine  intones its inventories, the benchmark’s tally.
As armies advance  in order, numbers rhyme in time to mark the Ides
Of every next month’s intercourse, and all foreseen with ease.  The endgames,
watermarks to denote every restive tribe, innuendoes of capacities in groups
are resigned to the finite, well below what purposes and aims
are erstwhile claimed as classic. Balanced satisfactions sally
Forth to witness that nagging “something,” an eternal gyroscope spinning
through successive turns of birth and thence to need and beyond.  Gleaning
Ends from all beginnings does not matter. The infection of malignant harvests
lurks in the unsuspecting cells of even the smallest and inauspicious seeding.

colour balls

“While Angels Kiss Your Griefs”

Mont-Lava32-SFb

“While Angels Kiss Your Griefs”

“The question’s not so known as that,” and as he sat
This Thomas thinks, but does not say as much,
Defraying trust, and much more or less with such
Emotion as he spares to feed the cat.
“I’ll deal, then, with simple souls, astound
With less the truth, the narrower in breadth,
The lighter lung of two employed. The wrested breath
Less the Ôm will suffer in the exodus, confound
Itself with traffic in upward sweeping breezes,
forsworn by all greater sources, benefits and trends,
Appearances that bootless expedience sends
On shoeless feet as when through the fields
Can anyone afford to laugh before
These  gorging Ætnas fully dine,
Their chisels molten blessings, bloodvines
To Gaea’s futures still in motion in periodic tortured lanes,…”

“Yet on such slopes do you see the fire

Dissolve again, and reconnoitre need,
While angels kiss your griefs before they bleed?”

Blood

“Drops”

Drops_of_rain_01

“Drops”

Drops seek solace within, oceans simply wait,
And we like remnants sustain strength or stand
In pride alone albeit withered in the wind; how a man
Achieves his goals is not determined by estates
In escrow, but through a covenant sealed, born
Within, fruition realised with others joined, sown
Together at once applied to others. Orphaned drops are blown
Apart and separated in even mild and tepid gusts; evaporated, torn
Asunder in the flush of sunrise and the incidence of heat within the sum of cells,
Their rooms conjoined, will manifest design; discrete buds unfold as movement
In and of itself self-conscious and wondrous, becomes a kind of star,  fit
For nothing short of singularity at conception; in this inception comes the swell
Of autumn clouds and summer rains revealing mortal remains of purposes
That cannot be erased so easily as growth and bounty surface.