Category Archives: Aging

“You Own the Year”

“You Own the Year”

You own the year and years before you
As I the year and all that’s passed;
Your signs are rising; eternity is steadfast.
Quo vadis, then? I who serve eternities am overruled
By sheer numbers, countless previous dispensations viewed
In retrospect and circumspect as vast
And spacious notions of impermanence and impasse.
I see before the fact in part— imperfectly at present—pursued
By spoils of  wars and rumours coupled with a dubious acquired taste
For bitters, acerbic memory gained close at hand or lost at sea.
Nothing in this world is or is so stable
That it is not utterly dependent, created, removed and recreated on the table
Of bounties throughout creation; what God has willed to use or waste
Shall be not be more or less than what it is, and what is not shall never be.*

***

* “Protect me, O my Lord, from every evil that Thine omniscience perceiveth, inasmuch as there is no power nor strength but in Thee, no triumph is forthcoming save from Thy presence, and it is Thine alone to command. Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be.

There is no power nor strength except in God, the Most Exalted, the Most Mighty.”

–His HolinessThe Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 190-191

“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…

“Spell It for Me”

“Spell It for Me”


Spell it for me then, put it to the page;
Write it deftly in the margins if it satisfies,
Constricts, confines, and somehow justifies
The ciphers. Calligraphy implies a beauty caged,
A likeness petrified in seraphs, sighs beached in shadows, letters
Equal in significance to the words they form.
The lady doesn’t hesitate; both the single bee and all her swarm
Are natural metaphors in ancient scripts, instincts left unfettered
By the need to suppress or press a thought or bind
Its witnesses further than to cut a simple precedent,
The humble suggestion of a rhyme, a harbinger of content,
Coded, possibly imploded, sealed in what the mind defines
As patterned premises that merely tempt conclusions to evolve.
Haste? No time to waste before the riddle’s solved.

“What Peace of Mind?”

“What Peace of Mind?”

What peace of mind can find a living here?
Pundits’ fantasies will not stop the tears, the midnight cries,
Incessant lies, and still the public yearns to know what we despise
From commentators and the late show comics. Do we fear
The truth and turn the other way when asked
If what comes down the pipe is truly past
Our tacit understanding? Reasons? Seasons? Are there tasks
Beyond endurance here, or is it always first and last
A matter for the courts, the press, the cold realities
That simply digest information and ingest lucid cosmic facts:
There’s them that’s got, and them that’s wracked,
The rich, the poor, the lack of morals backed. Atrocities
And blessings rank as equals, ours to fricassee, ours to fear.
There’s them that’s got, all right, and them that no one hears.

“That Moment”

That moment,  these several when
The nothing further can be done, no real choice,
No option, no rest , no celebration; tasks, the last of many—voiced,
Now silent as were the über-years of work—will one day bend
The purest light, memory’s prism’s massive missive of relief and thanks
In weighty sentiments and fondest farewells, cheer
And season’s musk to see me on beyond reticence and fear
To take some few steps–arrogantly, yes, perhaps–toward paths that rank
Above all present trumps and common peculiars of this earth:
I have the fewer moments through to the very ends of means, I know,
And will it so for these hours. The unwieldy flow
Of days are proof enough that life’s lavas might well have spent their worth
Just so. Miseries of days beyond this present brief strife,
Born within the urgencies of time, are seeds of beauty
harvests from  shadows and their hints of an even better life.

“Transitions”

 

headache-quinn.anya_

“Transitions”

Transitions, troughs and floodgates
Swell before the crops are in;
Appointments rough-hewn begin
From centuries’ wealth in soils. He hesitates.
Lamentations of the classic farmer’s touch
Bestowed on something that was expected
Neither to outlast the seed nor tip the balance but once elected
Audit landscapes from the past and serve the sudden rush as much
As circumstance permits a well to gush and choose another path.
He was a teacher; was, and no doubt
Will continue to apply the torch to oils of souls
Whose mission is to lance the boils of youthful wrath
And freely prime the wells of mass miscalculation of the myths,
The babbling and cursive powers of hubris and its shibboleths.

 

“Allow a Little Contemplation”

Contemplation1

“Allow a Little Contemplation”

Allow a little contemplation; mind the rising curse;
Give some room to commitments—
If a little late—distillations of a sundry ointment
Fit for open wounds. For now, we’re just a little worse
For wear and lacking poise, but in this happenstance,
What rests in all this noise? Tomorrow
When the mildew from sorrows
In the news has dried and circumstance
Permits, I’ll take the sun and leave the news,
The erudite reviews, the blues in mood and pulchritude,
Indictments of the way we rush to witness multitudes
In soundbites consume themselves in lewd
Proposals that what is alien is natural to the native;
What’s not been touched, somehow evocative and obliquely dative.

…photograph by Michelle Duerden…

“I Am”

“I Am”

I am my feet, my history tells me so;
My shins; dexterity amid the rocks reveal it may be true;
My thighs; their balance in distraction sees me through
Illusions at the level of the  groin’s most pernicious foes,
Receptacles as voids in need of better news; and though
I am my mother’s navel, my father’s love left so many similar clues—
The evangel to what was otherwise ignored—that the view
In any given moment’s blocked.  Here, then, my heart maintains its flow
In reasonable annuity, and I’ll be damned if I am weak,
But if you ask my legs, you’ll find a sometime potent posse,
Nothing else. My once proud pectorals could
Never act alone―as if they thought they should―
But laboured twice the time for heartfelt evidence
That given time I would succeed―
And so I have as I can plainly see.
I am my eyes whose rivals in the ears
At times have overcome the world and all its fears,
But though twice born view both here and our eternity
I see but vanity served that while I eat, I hesitate and feed
On noise and what is after all experience in arrears.
I am my mind; “Cogito!”— the mantra’s cadence shows as through the years
I’ve dined on fine receipts and tallies that what I meant most certainly should be
The outcome of all my powers to deduce a spark from what I’ve seen,
A truth in what I’ve done and glean from what I’m told I’ve been—
This, despite  what I know I am,…but let that pass. I am
In fact conceit, itself, and in its place I stand
And where I sit and both but simple remedies to all I’ve gleaned:
“I am,” the Ancient Sage made replied, and “that I am,” shall be
a fleeting moment’s apostrophe to truth and not at all what I believe.

*********

3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Exodus

“Stars Repeat”

stars

“Stars Repeat”

Stars repeat their warnings; petrels sing
Like mockingbirds, aloof, alone, no voice
Heard; their own made moot by common choice;
Answers, yes! Of course! The bells still ring
As starlings make their homes in open barns
Before the bovine’s great equestrian friends.
Evening’s luminous azure loom descends,
And sad Arachne’s weaving skill alarms
Neither moth nor moon nor sun’s arrival signs
Perceive nor are they litmus to the lines
Expressed; the melodies, these foolish mimes
Who only seem to satisfy the thighs
(And never mind the costs), the breasts, the supple,
Kinder lights that flood the mind of he who bites the apple.

“The Test”

 

“The Test”

The test is in its gauge, a poem’s weight, nothing equitable but fair,
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 sun, its moon and know that they came
To pass as  a mirror’s movements  in 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 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.