“No Need to Ask Who My Father Was”
No need to ask who my father was, sir.
You see my eyes, and know my actions plain
Enough. You see him here; as often pains
Come to me I ask his blessings, learned,
And to these wisdoms add what I’ve seen
And failed to see within my own desires–
Cadres of loving sons and daughters–in the fires
That make more than common motes or beams:
Accomplishments are roads away from here for us
And surely paths to what’s out there test both our strengths,
And whet the appetite, the greaters than eternities for what at length
Reigns even now in dreams beyond my father’s father’s trust,
Yet manifest enough—sovereign certitude—
A breath and more beyond this cloudy scope and range.
…this, a memory of my father on his birthday, 18 February 1918…
…dedicated to the many who wonder what’s become of all that is and where the bottom is…
“‘The underside’ … it’s not just in tandem, ‘Once, it’s everywhere! … sigh …'”
And she was right. It seems the predilection toward
The animal appears where there is none; the tsunami’s force is froward
Where there is no place to go but straight to hell for all but those who fly
Or settle for a second-rate mortgage off the high road’s endless traffic.
And we along the shores of what’s become the greater sea who sit
And sign within ourselves no higher there, nor lower here, are aware of it:
There is no real rest from those who foment
Condescension to Creation, laced with lies
To trap the innocent, and revel in the vanishing point
Below the picture, well beneath the edges or between the joints
Of slender bones and tissues in the body politic; cries
Will rise for them and for their victims and their families,
The “taken”, “took” and “broken for which poets scribble homilies.
“The tree outside the window taps very gently on the pane … I want to think quietly, calmly, spaciously, never to be interrupted, never to have to rise from my chair, to slip easily from one thing to another, without any sense of hostility, or obstacle. I want to sink deeper and deeper, away from the surface, with its hard separate facts. To steady myself, let me catch hold of the first idea that passes … Shakespeare … Well, he will do as well as another. A man who sat himself solidly in an arm-chair, and looked into the fire, so a shower of ideas fell perpetually from some very high Heaven down through his mind.”
The Mark on the Wall
“Wife, child, brother, parents, friends…We come only to go apart again. It is one continuous movement. They move away from us, and we move away from them. The law of life can’t be avoided. The law comes into operation the moment we detach ourselves from our mother’s womb. All struggle and misery in life is due to our attempt to arrest this law or get away from it or in allowing ourselves to be hurt by it. The fact must be recognized. A profound unmitigated lonliness is the only truth of life.”
R. K. Narayan
[October 10, 1906 — May 13, 2001]
(shortened from Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami)
The English Teacher
Posted in Affirmation, Animal, Arts, Change, Chaos, Civilisation, Distraction, Duplicity, End Times, Family, Hubris, Hypocrisy, Isolation, Lonliness, Lyric Poetry, Mankind, Materialism, Mediocrity, Mortality, Negation, Poetry, Poets, Reunion, Separation, Sonnet, Willaim Shakespeare [1564-1616]
Tagged Immortality, Love, Lyric Poetry, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
“He Passed the Bricks”
He passed the bricks he lived in once today
And for a second felt the loss, a certain regret
For what was then and is no longer. So wet,
So green, so full of hopes and dreams delayed
While he was arrogance, itself, and barely free from teachers.
So full of what it was he thought he was, he married,
Had a son, found his breadth again, and carried
Balances forward to the point he found he could not reach her.
Separation’s not so facile as inevitable,
Again a second house and this of straw, a second child
As though he gave a damn and still he could not reconcile
What differences it made. They deemed it irreconcilable,
The either of them undeniable and so they parted as they could.
There is no safety from the wolf, you know,
no magic castles built of brick nor straw nor wood.
My father fought as a pilot in the United States Navy in the Pacific Theatre of the Second World War and in Korea. . . for my mother, and for me, and in the name of justice for the entire world! He was the greatest man I ever met in his generation. From my father, the light of justice; from my mother, the fire of love.
“The most important thing a father can do
for his children is to love their mother.”
“A Sonnet for My Father”
And was it my own mother loved so greatly,
“No, no woman should,” she said, “love anyone
As much as I loved him!” And as his son
I knew him first because he gave me
Cherished gleanings of the name of justice
There above the love my mother bore
And brought the two together well before
They introduced me to the world. It was right
That she be loved by one in whose eyes light
And honour both to God and to His name,
The promise of his country, and its fame
Lay not so much in victory or in the glory of its might,
But kneading hope for human dignity with yeasts of truth renewed again
That set my mother’s eyes ablaze and far beyond the gaze of other lesser men.
Posted in Family, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Poem, Poetry, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Family, Father, Immortality, Justice, Love, Lyric Poetry, Mother, Poem, poetry, Relationships, Sonnet, Sonnets
With balances between necessity and plan–
The wife, the work, the friend–the three provide
A triad of security, and adjuncts to the ego, His swollen will at once subsides
Of course yet in collision, profusion in the offspring of propinquity. A man’s
Foundation will subdue or soften accidental fears, and nearly all confusion.
Men and wives unite to qualify the sanctity of introspection in both their lives.
The right hand knows what’s in the rites of progeny; the left, the hive’s
Eternal invocation, and mutual rapport from positive judicial collusion
Attracts the light within a close exchange and intercourse. With the friend–
The natural measure–labours then ordained support the whole
Of both the man and all that he can be, the sum of wife, friend, and all his roles,
Holy ballast in the ship, in surest navigation on a line of progress to the end.
The rudder his, so, too velocity, and all his energy: he breathes
First in then out in perfect ease and knows what he’s achieved.
Posted in Balance, Chaos, Family, Fidelity, Poetry, Relationships, Service
Tagged Friend, Lyric Poetry, Sonnets, Wife, Work