Monthly Archives: February 2014

“Turn Left”

alone1

“Turn Left”

Turn left at fountains, then, to the south side
Of the park and memories of casual thought
On which he’s wont to sit and knead, the onslaught
Of mental detritus, an afterglow of present monthly tides
Reminding him of Dover Beach, some few sparks, the entrances
To evenings caught now between a season’s wealth
And dangers toward the eleventh month—the twelvth
The watchman’s rigour’s last—perhaps, the sure advance
Of scrutiny’s decay in a dynasty of years. Successes, they that take—
Hidden splendours—whose losses breed need and pleasure
Will at right angles bend beyond the simple measure
Of the lanes. All within the year’s end clearly underestimated
Magnitudes and the weight of regret for all that’s passed: remorseless,
the birth and death of stars evolving, conflicts of never-dying light;
The matter—ancient zircon’s azure oneness—will bless the heart by day
while nocturnal powers argue blatant blindness in the night.

“These Single Seconds”

dying_ember_by_thealmosthalfdead-d3bxc2o

“These Single Seconds”

These single seconds, presentiments of all
And nothing in eternity, everything in being
So alive; so much ado for yet another death in Venice, the seam
Of what is past as in a single passion’s pall
So sharpened in the moment that its cut
Is never noted until the point of infection. Minutes and the hour
Record a simple causal pause, time enough to harvest flowers
That surely wilts conceived so thoughtlessly. But
In the common flush of extremities, the blush, the rush, the flow,
This now is always yesterday’s dream, tailings of self-deception,
Always what has happened just before, some weak inflection
Of realities and truth but crudely reckoned, a seed yes! newly sown
That only time can nourish through nearly seven times ten in years
In swaddling veils of unmitigated grace and holiness in arrears.

“Still, It Is Within”

embers

“Still, It Is Within”

Still, it is within another winter’s votary’s thought at last;
I know I will not be with you here beyond the death
Of these same embers in the hearth, this house arrest
Of days and nights so beauty-worn. I am the fast
In winter’s moonlight bringing closer all who see
So little lit save in one another; days begun, recessed
Before their time. And so it is with graduated rest
From daily obligations, time enough to dream, at least to seem
To one another safe enough for one brief season, a familiar in the close
Encounter with so little interest but in the present evening’s run
To fetch a cow within, a log from out back, to secure the sun
But barely born. The moon grows reticent as the rising orb discloses
Evening weeds and as we build fires and take the steam.
The flame’s worn warmth is strong and so is loved…and so must it seem.

Happy and Joyous Ayyám-i-Há!…

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To the Bahá’ís and their friends throughout the world, a Happy and Joyous Ayyám-i-Há!…

Bahá’ís in more than 200 countries and territories are celebrating a four-day festival involving hospitality, gift giving, charity and social gatherings. The festival, which runs from the evening of 25 February until sunset on 1 March, serves as a spiritual preparation for a Holy Fast Period during the last month of the Bahá’í Year, which begins on March 2 and ends on March 20.

Shrine of The Bab

Night view of The Shrine of The Báb, on Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel

The Báb, the Prophet and Forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh [much as John the Baptist was to The Christ], the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, instituted the Badí Calendar in the Persian Bayán with 19 months of 19 days with a period of intercalary days to allow for the calendar to be solar. He did not, however, specify where the intercalary days should go. Bahá’u’lláh, Who announced Himself to be the One foretold by the Báb, confirmed and adopted the Badí Calendar in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, The Most Holy Book, His book of laws. He placed the intercalary days before the fasting month of `Alá’, the nineteenth and last month, and gave the intercalary days the name “Ayyám-i-Há” or “Days of Há”.

The nineteen months of the Bahá’í Calendar are named after the attributes of God. Ayyám-i-Há commemorates the transcendence of God over His attributes since its name “Há” has been used a symbol of the essence of God in the Bahá’í Holy Scriptures.

During the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há, Bahá’ís are encouraged to celebrate God and His oneness by showing love, fellowship and unity. In many instances Bahá’ís give and accept gifts to show forth the love, and it is a period of the year during which many Bahá’ís hold events which feature hospitality, food, festivities beginning within families and extending outwardly to as many souls as they can physically and materially manage.

Celebrations of Ayyám-i-Há, as the festival is called, take different forms in different locations as suits the taste and culture of the believers wherever they live in the world. At this time, then, since the Bahá’í Faith is acknowledged as the second most widespread of the world’s religions after Christianity, it follows that these festivities are being celebrated truly throughout almost the entire world in as many ways as there are cultures.

Of this period Bahá’u’lláh writes: “It behoveth the people of Bahá, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name.”

During the Fast which follows, Bahá’ís abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset as a reminder of the need for individuals to control their material desires. It is seen as a time of meditation and prayer during which Bahá’ís refresh and reinvigorate themselves spiritually. There are exemptions from the Fast for the young and elderly, and for those who are pregnant, ill or who are engaging in heavy work. The fasting period ends with the joyous Naw-Rúz (New Year) Festival, which begins at sunset on March 20, the first day of spring at the Spring Equinox.

Temple Wilmette

…Interior of the Bahá’í House of Worship, Wilmette, Illinois…

“Parched”

Moctezuma

“Parched”

I’ve been so very parched, so cold and harsh,
So desiccated here within the rind
Of once ripe full and fulminating brine,
Its fluids rife with subterranean marsh
Imbued with life and action on a barge,
Upon the so-called Styx that ever winds
The hither-thither bends of caves and mines
That Aztecs and their victims roamed at large
For ceremony’s sake and led the charge
As Moctezuma fell across the line
From fantasy to apathy refined
By noxious repetition of his entourage.
I never thought to check the latest almanac
When common sense became my cul-de-sac.

“Projection”

headache-quinn.anya_

“Projection”

Projection rules in those who deal in faith;
Like knowledge, faith can be acquired,
Manuals and rudiments desired
Each day among the hustlers give weight
To notions second only to their fees.
And what of practices, factions, seams that line
Grand curtains with magic, emotion, atmospheres so fine
That only children are attracted–they and bees–
The rhetoric’s so sweet. In possibilities
Truth is honed. What were only trifles
Traffic as much consolation for the poor as riffles
To manipulators, mullas, priests, and rabbis
hell-bent on hyperbole.
Distraction is the only holy oil to those who will not heed
The warnings, common sense, and wreathes of mental weeds.

—Once

Søren Kierkegaard
[5 May 1813 -11 November 1855]
Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth— look at the dying man’s struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment.”

“She’d Doubted”

Valery Vetshteyn [Валерий Ветштейн]

“She’d Doubted”

She’d doubted little but that she’d seen
The years erode in apathy; her reticence,
A lofty presage, the onslaught of age and common sense.
Few would guess. They’d cauterized intentions
and but for the rising of the occasional dream
In time might well have honed her fears but then she’d met herself
And found the chance encounter oddly pleasant.
He’d elevated loneliness―a badge of honour in youth―an essence
Among the many rites to be stacked neatly on the shelf,
And in time no lasting nights, no respites sealed; revealed, prayer’s the thing
Retained between the shadows, stale perhaps at times like flowers
Pressed between a journal’s soulless leaves, natural powers
Collapsed within a hidden room where only sunbeams and dustbunnies sing
Anywhere but in the rain. Banalities whispered endlessly, axioms, hesitation,
Then, between the beads, metered patience dwells just this side of resignation.
Patterns, tedious to the casual connoisseur of callow circumstance,
Whose aunts and uncles–convalescent cynosures–apply the appliqué
That bests all daily bread but adds nothing to the liquor save signatures
That serve as ligatures and borders between circuses
Of disingenuous serendipity; floral blooms of in between,
And on the other side of propinquity ane wider welding weeds
And creeping things visible but moments past the age of puberty. Seeds
Of adolescence are careless where they land, despondent with obscene
And righteous rage at opportunities of eternity and propagation. It is just so with common inmates as well those in military congregation:
Universal laws claim exclusive rights to the infinitive in subjugation
To principles set down by God-knows-what the conjugation.
We witness, then, in every accident a recusal of the spheres,
What flowers, tadpoles, insects, and the whole of mankind fears.

…painting by Valery Vetshteyn [Валерий Ветштейн]…

“Oh, Yes, We Knew”

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“Oh, Yes, We Knew”

Oh, yes, we knew. We might have risked the whole
On one more question, poised, composed, and right
Out loud for what and whom we were; a greater insight,
A finer vision bathed in brilliance to decorate some tree with cosmic gold;
A smoother season’s landing, home and homeless at last, within
Delusion’s bubble. Perhaps the stars are messages
Of hope, more probably self congratulations, potent presages
Of comimg spring’s grave new world’s blooming’s apathy. Begin
Again, but, no. We knew where this was going and where it’s been. Now
There are no mysteries left, nothing to hide, nothing to deny. We knew
Before the First Noel what it was we could but wouldn’t do.
You knew it…so did I, and yet so certain once again that somehow
We’d escape the shafts and stony paths, overlooked, freed
From gravity, free to gaze a while on tinsel, tiny coloured lights,
…and unmitigated slavery.

“I Can Suggest”

Night_Owl

“I Can Suggest”

“I can suggest that no one adopts
My line of reasoning or the solitary action
Of my life,” he whispers, “I’ve a fraction
Left to me, and while I opt
To survive, still, I mean to live a life
That bleeds straight out of this
Episode arrained by more than just a kiss
Or promissory note, or some cosmic strife
With fists raised high against the moon.
And just as wolves are wont to howl
Because Diana’s there, or possibly because an owl
Asks just who she is, soon
Enough the night’s owl is fed and wolves go into heat,
And no one sheds a tear for all those rabbits in retreat.”

“If Not Here and Now”

manus-elephant

“If Not Here and Now”

If not here and now, then when and where?
The elephant’s tusk and dust, their meaning clear,
Declare themselves in certain urgencies that do not register as fear,
But majesty and certitude. Principals are everywhere
And conscious. If the elixir is time, the air,
And place are so much the lessers to delicate atmospheres
And periodic lethal effigies of spirit. Ears
Dine on sentiments, rust in spare
Moments scattered through the memory just as in a sonnet
Recapitulations of majesties and wondrous wonder  rhyme with ramifications
Primed, these! the badge and banner of everlasting transformations
Of fire and ice, evolutions common to a passing comet,
Gaia knows whereof I speak in abstracts that we both know;
The gods had turn to stone e’en before their suns had yearned to glow.