Category Archives: Aging

“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.

“Vetted Miles”

Driving

“Vetted Miles”

Vetted miles and truck stops all across the state
To feel the blessing of the eyes, the rising voice
Within his own breast; the choice
Is always his, oh yes, of course, and he’s arrived, and late
Enough each time to bear the weight of witnesses that his
Are not his eyes, nor his the sacred words
That even he can use. He’s seen nothing here and so he’s turned
The car around and while it may be circumspect, he’s heading home.
Then comes the once again, the call
Is always there, that Tennyson and Frost in all the walls,
That albatross of restlessness that bleaches clarity in tones
Of sepia and bronze, the clothes,  the nakedness of all
Past memories perfumed in ancient rhyme. Silences make every room
A canyon trussed by random thoughts of “Yes?”, “Tonight?”, and “Soon?”

“Largesse”

Largesse

“Largesse”

Largesse, and aims are high perhaps but not so high
That all the world concedes the call
To extremes as must soon wane and not at all
So generously ordained as reach the loftiness of lies.
But weighed on level grounds prepared
To live and die within a tapestry
That may or may not be cause for apathy
And ecstasy in swelling ranks on alabaster stairs
To banks of realms we cannot yet see. Not first
Nor last among all are those who line
The avenues, the pedestrian mists, a teeming mankind
Spread as swarms in clouds throughout the world. Minds
And hearts cannot address themselves to what will
Out in time that every man deserves this sterling word,
This honour due to he who lives in spite of the absurd.

“I Am On or Off”

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“I Am On or Off”

I am on or off with nothing in between
And as I speak with few, some, or not
At all, to crowds or to the wall, I’m caught
In queue to glimpse the mind seen hiding high above the catwalk, the means,
The glare of someone’s thoughtless headlamps along a cold deserted road, eyes
Ablaze, altogether missing in the sketch.
I’m on my way to Canaan Land and far beyond,
A prisoner to some casual frog in my own back pond,
Declensions of a small plot of rooms stretch
Before me pleasingly. I have at once
Both everything and nothing worth the time
To move, vague velocities and straightened lines
Within the present augurs solids’ in a liquid balance. Suns
Aligned, I maintain the weight of fingers on the keys;
With so little depth in what I say, I am the simple universe at ease.