Category Archives: Aging

“I Found The Day’s Messiah”

Adam

“I Found The Day’s Messiah”

I found the day’s messiah breathing as if to pray;
No prayer, of course, no sign, no moon, no stars, silence—
Balm to souls and solace in a crisis
Of questions—so many hopes lay absurd, what they must say
Gives Animas to eternity and shields a simple fear, the terror
Of these days. I would not ask outright, “I have no words,” then,
Took flight so very tight in twilight when
From cancer and fallen branches—errors,
Really, to the whole—innocence conjures lasting alibis,
Sentinels that never come to rest, fruits of thought pressed
With violence enough to produce the wine—more from less,
Inebriation from what the old man once said. Patient sighs
Amongst the sparrows egg him on while sitting on a porch with me.
“Make peace with the Fathers,” says he, “from Sons of Adam flee.”

Ivory_Cain_Abel_Louvre_AO4052

“This Wishing”

Sitting__Waiting__Wishing_by_eurai

“This Wishing”

I know this wishing to be as natural as breathing; none of us avoids it.
Having said this, still, while it is natural to the head,
It’s anathema to the heart as every affair noises over and over again.
Still, while we know desire, again, we hear that since it’s natural, it’s inevitable, And because it is inevitable, we must accept its rising fevers and all rude and Tumultuous downfall;
Both are natural and both are inevitable.
As there is a hairline difference between virtue and vice,
So too much the same between the crown of natural want
And its evil twin, lust.
Yes, of course I have wishes and hopes
And all that goes with both,
But again, having said this,
I know I am a fool, and there’s an end to it.

…photograph by eurie of DeviantArt…

“The ‘Once’, the ‘Ever'”

…dedicated to Hermann Bloch
1 November 1886– 30 May 1951
“”I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived.”

“The ‘Once’, the ‘Ever'”

The once, the ever, standing in the atrium must burn;
The nexus of the meeting of the feeble lamps are lit as Virgil sits alone,
The flint stone at the confluence of the rivers; a tone
Once heard, a trace no more than words. Ever then discerns
A wisdom in the lengthening of days on end;
A reconciliation of the first sun’s now within
The pale of the last night’s then and all its many-eyed kin;
The End, scintilla of a notion’s distant toast:
“To Cæsar!” Distractions in the movement defer to mortality, defend
The pattern as it is, the peoples’ choice, a proud
Morbidity based in universal song on this, a night of leaving, joy
On this, a day of meeting. Stars and verses, voids,
A universe of empty consummation never executed while clouds
Obscure the moon, as ever toils below;
Perspicuous, yes! the once and only suns express,
So dark a night as never and one more day of less.

.

Block’s Death of Virgil had to be the most ambitious reading of any single novel I have ever read with James’ The Ambassadors right up there with it, but a close second. The stimulus of both novels, however, is incomparable in value and I can suggest that anyone who values the language should read both of them at least once before death simply because they exist; as Everest has been for the mountain climbers, so both novels have been to anyone who reads and loves the language.

Block’s “Virgil” is not fun to read, but it represents an incomparable challenge and once conquered, a kind of badge of honour having braved the greatest storms of both prose and poetry that could be imagined short of blowing out the circuits of both.

With the James novel, it was said that it was his favourite, but apparently almost impenetrable to some readers of his time. To one “Lady ‘whomever’” who complained of this, he advised sticking with it and that once having arrived at a certain point in the narration, the specific gravity or gravitas of that novel would hit and the worth of the whole vindicated. And so it was; I had to read that novel page by page, reading each several times to get anything near clarity in what was being said or where the action of that novel was going. Then, one late afternoon, while cooling off from a very hot shower in preparation for going out for the evening, I decided to sit on my bed, pick up that novel and continue plugging away at it. Suddenly, there it was! A catharsis of unimaginable majesty that hit so hard that I almost cancelled my evening out in order to continue reading to the end. Great works are like that.

For me, there is no “fun” involved in reading, but the rewards are everlasting, something that is rare in the reading of secular prose. Block’s work is a combination of poetry and prose in a mixture I never thought possible until reading “Virgil,” and I cannot imagine now, an equal to this. My sonnet alludes to but one of the thoughts that seem to dance throughout that work in spite of laborious, endless poetry, all of which may be beautiful, but only in small doses like genuine truffles; like chocolate, there are some things in this world that are “legal” but close to lethal in effects, and Block’s “Virgil” comes quite close to that.

 

“Dark Witnesses”

“Dark Witnesses”

Dark witnesses record with eyes that never were
When I was young and only dreamed of what was left
In life to me out there, some single beauteous breath
Of God’s own living spirit; and as I recall we all were sure
Of it, and not at all concerned as days flew passively
Away and left us glued to what was here and now.
We saw no further than what was just beyond the bow
Of some shining barque, stillborn, sailless but massive
Still. And as I gaze today on all that came eventually, I think
I saw where I would be one day, and in these latter hours smile
On what that meant and whose small eyes were set so many miles
From where he sat amazed. My own children’s children sink
Their eager toes so deeply now into the sand and squeal in praise
Of joys I knew I’d never know in what remained of all my days.

“Happenstance”

Catherine Manchester

“Happenstance”

Happenstance and glory of a measured breath, the sun and moon
And distant scintillating light deranged and rearranged
To suite the insignificance of magnificence of a single scene and page.
Another sentence, a paragraph in which I find myself within a backlit room
To mark the hours the Doppler shadows all misfortune casts.
I have revelled in these signs, these periodic tedious monotonies,
Their very rising at once the thrall before the fall, monopolies
Of time and times again that only now appear to mask
Because when all that is has come to pass I happen to be standing here
A witness to creation’s synergies newly birthed. In the cold stare
Of noonish sunlight I sense with fragile accuracy the beneficial glare
Of all my peculiars, entities and particles that occupy the ear,
Delight the eye, and not so subtly remind me that I am,
And need not doubt the ground on which I stand.

…painting by Catherine Manchester…

“Questions”

Ambiguity_480

“Questions”

Questions mount in compliments, the third’s irrelevant:
To be or not to be, to seek the seen or unseen or not to see
at all; so, what’s a circus in a world without eternity?
Then, again, even if no one’s here still the monitor’s adamant
Unequivocal nothing has happened–so what’s the point?
And were you here beside me, would I then need sleep,
Awake but to open my mouth and sing? Would I seek another deep
Abyss within, impose a curfew on the thing or casually anoint
The latest impasse with a casual kiss? There’s a Judas in this;
His days are numbered with the dusts, the rust of wrinkled
Inevitability with excess housed in reliquaries of gold
Whence comes the latest least expected crop
Of shibboleths, coined and counted; there we’ll be atop the list
Some two branches on the tree, twin tokens found, no other sound,
And when I go you’ll miss the show, and who’ll lay me in the ground?

…art piece above by Robin Kranitzky & Kim Overstreet

“The Test”

 

“The Test”

The test is in the poem’s weight, nothing equitable but fair,
And in and of itself an offering, a discrete particle in an innocuous conceit
Upon some higher power in the substance that in its sleep
Has left the path and all the usual signs and banners with little thought or care
To what it means to shoot the moon and sun,  to know what has came
To pass to mirror movements  of the moment; receivers quickly feign
Reaction to the pen and page and all such shibboleths as questions beg the reign
Of order in a desperate bid for substance and recognition inertia that sustains
Momentum in the swamp and swell of ownership by a simple dint of will:
Mindless arbitration comes to mind as sparks defining truth spill
Words and destinies and budding paradigms, the seed and fruit of every hill.
Both will measure every valley undetected, unrestrained.
The eye, the plume, the generations of the word itself must all reveal
An effortless encounter of win and lose no matter what the deal.

“Yes”

Storm1

“Yes”

Yes. So much as I can see
staring Eastward across the waters
that later touch the Holy Land,
still, in the early briefer hour I cannot remember its equal.
Standing here alone in endless fields of wheat and corn
from where I feel an overweening rage Westward, miles
between those twin skyline cauldrons, and swells upwelling heat and sweat
in anxious presage: something coming! sweet release.
My body aches. I cannot stop the prayer beyond the syllables―light and lightning, cheaper thrills, the instant comfort and relief
of ice-cold waters of an irrigation ditch.

Nebraska! To ease the sweet pain,
I cannot wait. I know what’s coming. I’ve always known.

I should not be here, but am I, and nothing in this heart could be disarmed, alarmed or warned to cede to what appears and never once makes sense.

No. I see them, righteous boiling mountains
not of rock; no trees, no streams, no mirage―
no poetic soul’s terse natural verse here while there,
but two whirling dervishes from the West, floods
of supra-natural flotsam, mitred clouds
with stains of seed in florid green
to punctuate potential, a pure
perspicuous majesty
and they stare at me…

Their hour is come. It is their mercurial summons I hear,
its first flush reaching for me and I have no fear.
And in this empty plain,
a place where I’m forgotten,
my early exile, this beside the point
as I stand here, within the hour,
I’ll breathe, I’ll cry, I’ll laugh,
and damn the lightning,
I’ll survive!

Storm2

“A Mighty Ogre”

“A Mighty Ogre”

A mighty ogre looms, attend! Pointing
At the aged and frail, suspending sentences and dismissals;
Curt. Accusations rise as pernicious youthful lichens, thistles,
In the din of coarser winds through choirs of dandelions anointing
What they take to be their virgin soil yet cannot pollinate. But I am
Here to mention lightly–if at all–that we will surely meet
In landscapes where no salamander walks nor stalks and seek
A common ground in placeless journeys born of powers that can
Alone confirm the comedy of an eternal phoenix
or the tragedy of lethal mortal dreams
That once again refuse the mighty hawk or lowly
Dove to be our judge, and here before the wholly
Living rise above all but material integrity. The sorely
Tried and scorched in every age of folly’s folly
turn attentions inward toward the loam of hearts
Or outward,skyward to edge of air yet tethered whether
by the ancient strength of Cæsar’s horses
or the proper use of Virgil’s arts.

” Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.”
~W.B. Yeats
[13 June 1865-28 January 1939


“We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”

Tom Stoppard
[1937 – ]
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead [1967]

“His Dreams”

Horse1

“His Dreams”

His dreams define the smiles within his skies, but goals
Are drowned within the pits, the bottoms, the deadly dregs
Of what this world seeks that greets the eye; the festering eggs
To what in nature all but cedes reality. What foals
To what dark stallions then are bred?
He need not strain himself to know the truth of this,
And in his several steps he leaves no trace
Of what he’s become to mark his leaving of the place.
Specialties and exhibits, the inner lining of the kiss
That one day brings up bubbles from the depths of readied cauldrons;
Progeny and circumstance, my friend! Mortality confirms in
No uncertain terms a many-hidden hydra and remorse
For what a man must abdicate when incident has run its course.
His dreams refine the miles within his eyes, but goals
Are crowned within the lows, the highs, and all their middling rôles.