Category Archives: Numinosum

“She Hesitates” or a notion…dedicated to Xineann……whom I admire…and will never meet….

“She Hesitates” or a notion…dedicated to Xineann……whom I admire…and will never meet….

She hesitates because she sees the streets afire, ports
And fields are set ablaze, ashen air enough for firm distrust
Of voices so in harmony that something greater–smoke of lust,
Perhaps–makes cannon law
of fundamental truths abused as instrumental sports
That lead the populace to rallies and the mob to violence and hate,
The bailiwick of dark and stranger fruit;
neighbours seen as furniture
Within the garden; tables, chairs, and fine manure
For the flora to an end expressing nothing but itself. She may be late
In joining, friends, but she’s got solid reasons
For her reticence: So many voices can’t be right!
They say there’s truth in numbers, yes? The flight
From those few souls who’ve passed their seasons
Patiently may well have penned the word,
But broadcast and by distances alone, they’re never really heard.
You asked me why it was I stood there saying
Nothing, and it’s true, I might have made
A difference with a word or two. It was a trade,
You know–the moment for eternity–the laying
Of a track to future nothings, sweet and supple
In themselves, but not at all a match: I fear
For what I saw just now
And you would steer
The conversation toward the obvious, the couple
In the restaurant window dining in the comfort
Of the moment, thinking nothing, doing nothing.
I might have seen it coming, fluffing
Pillows, nonchalantly pulling covers down, the effort,
Minor, meanings so innocuous with both our souls
On fire. So simple, then, so bitter, blue and cold.
Tonight, a window, yesterday a wall,
And tomorrow is not with us now;
We seek dissembling, signs to brows,
Mild salutes to those who call
For gentile willingness, who see the dawn in early light
And come away with knowing smiles, and even laughter
In the brief exchange, yes. At best, a hesitation after
Gilded intimacies have seasoned action: “Is it right?”
Should I have asked the question then and there and leaned
A little as we veered so far from middles to the open road?
There are so many, here, you know! So great the load
And watermark of birth in thinking on the chasm between
Desire and finer laws of gravitas, the will that conquers all remorse:
No need for lubricants for flaccid passion while all the soul requires
is common sense and oceans of the heart’s delight to hold its course.

“Two of Them”

“Two of Them”

Two of them apprised will rise while only one survives;
The first, a germ like any other, in the second,
Excellence as loving makes it so. She reckons
Life in paragraphs and chapters, derives
Pleasure in the phrase, itself–in leisure lies
The notion of posterity, the fecund
Last and lonely station of a book—the legend
More important than the fact, the spies
Than what is spied upon. Where there are three
The Chinese say, some one of them must be a teacher.
Let both in compromise find refuge in the third
That one may truly love, the other form the words
Recording signs and sighs of mystery
And ritual and yet another sermon for the preacher.

—Once

 

“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

Gabriel José de la Concordia Garcia Márquez [1927 — 2014 ]
Love in the Time of Cholera

“They Might Have Opened All the Doors”

…again, in honour of the Blessed Event commemorated on this day…Bahá’ís throughout the world commemorate this evening after sundown and tomorrow the Declaration of The Báb, the Forerunner, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Whose purpose was to prepare the world for the imminent appearance of Bahá’u’lláh the Promise of All Ages and Religions and Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. The declaration of His mission on earth came in the early evening hours of 23 May 1844 when He declared His Advent to the first of the believers in His Faith.

“Whom do you claim to be,” he asked the Báb, “and what is the message which you have brought?” “I am,” thrice exclaimed the Báb, “I am, I am, the promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose  mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten. Verily I say, it is incumbent upon the peoples of both the East and the West to obey My word and to pledge allegiance to My person.”

The Dawn-Breakers, p. 316

The Báb (1819-1850)

House of The Báb in Shiráz, Irán [destroyed by Muslims in recent years


On May 23, 1844, in Shiráz, Persia, a young man known as The Báb announced the imminent appearance of the Messenger of God awaited by all the peoples of the world. The title “Báb” means “the Gate.” Although Himself the bearer of an Independent Revelation from God, The Báb declared that His purpose was to prepare mankind for this advent.


Swift and savage persecution at the hands of the dominant Muslim clergy followed this announcement. The Báb was arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and finally on July 9, 1850 was executed in the public square of the city of Tabríz. Some 20,000 of His followers perished in a series of massacres throughout Persia. Today, the majestic building with the golden dome, overlooking the Bay of Haifa, Israel, and set amidst beautiful gardens, is the Shrine where The Báb‘s earthly remains are entombed.

“They Might Have Opened
All the Doors”

They might have opened all the doors; they might have paced the floors;
They might have seen His image somewhere in the dream or lingering
In atavistic traces of His family line, the graces, strong and nimble fingering
Upon the instrument, the shrill nib carving statues from the stone,
in voice a thousand rapturous scores.
They might have seen themselves beside Him somewhere there in the breach,
His sun’s withdrawal at implosion, His apogée at dusk approaching
Whispering luminosities, crescendi in the vibration in clefs defying
barriers and shibboleths, crouching
In scattered catacombs, beyond the reach
Of mortals East and all expectant worshipers at West, in haste ancipating
Bas-relief scrawled along the walls and fractured vents
up from the seabed of all humanity,
Famed and storied such that His arrival only rivalled Bethlehem’s nativity
And by appointment, lest the Great Announcement
failed to spawn a catholic antipathy.
With but a word, the pantheon of deities and vain imaginings
that once were stone
were given breath to stifle such precocity in letters as the pen
Cannot recall nor circumscribe: that night, the Nineteen found their mark
as lightning from East to West and back again.

…admittedly obscure, my few words here will find their meaning in the hearts of all Bahá’ís who know the significance of this day; to all the rest, I beg indulgence for these few hours…

43:1 Afterward he brought me to The Báb, even The Báb that looketh toward the East: 43:2 And, behold, Bahá’u’lláh came from the way of the East: and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory.

43:3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.

43:4 And Bahá’u’lláh came into the House by the way of The Báb whose prospect is toward the East.

Ezekiel

“I Anticipate the Moments”

Numinosum

“I Anticipate the Moments”

I anticipate the moments. I survive,
But there’s not it–the fireflies sweep
Through me as sheets
Of rain and sleet within a tired mind. Contrived,
My expectations are a tepid fog compared
To what I feel when you are with me. Now
I see I cannot trust myself to disallow
Disguise and art; when face to face the errors
I embroider come unravelled right
Before my gaze and I am bound to show
Without what should remain within. Even now,
I cannot recreate myself in time to face the light
Of what I am, so plainly seen by you and all our gods, and I deny
I ever waited, wanted, longed, or even cared to see your eyes.

…painting by Susan Aldworth…

“Stations”

poverty

“Stations”

And comfort comes in stations on the banks
Of all great rivers, benchmarks, watersheds
And monuments, fuels to fire wholeness in zeitgeists; glories led
By strange humilities as masters whose histories are blanks,
About whom generations cavil yet in certainty invoke
In lesser moments of a meaner age as they lean toward
More prosaïc goals framed at best to ward
Off ephemeral national malaise. They must surely evoke
A wonder in the people, and awe
Amongst the gods, and in the end, such lights
Cannot be masked, nor can the transitory might
Of kings suppress their fires and eagles, nor what they note as law.
And of course, here we find our Shakespeare, Father of the modern text
Spread boldly through the backstreets of London, Beijing, or Washington
Dialogues whose stars retain their lights beyond the pale; Prophets,
Princes of the Peace, Messengers and Branches of God
Through Whom all that is is synthesized. These human synods
Of truth, chastisement, and admonition seek to stymie sophists,
Lift the veils but briefly in the clouds, the dusts of spoils
Within and without this tired earth. Notwithstanding, in and of Themselves
They submit to the inevitable scourge, the wrack, the nails;
And yet, no more than breath, itself, the Elixir provides little but foils
To byways and service roads for circuses of scoffers, hacks, and puppet kings.
Witness, then, the unfettered Word in time dividing fire from light, so simple.
To the heart, unlettered; to the mind, forsaken; mortality to symbols
And immortality to promises and everlasting healing to the joy of wings
And wonder for they who care to use them. The Standard: God is One! unfurled
And brilliantly revealed, as The Christ declares, “I’ve overcome the world!”

…a revision of the poem…”Swept Aside”

…a revision of the poem…

“Swept Aside”

Swept aside, all moments and celestial mementos collide
And waste no never-mind on credence and retention
In the wake of greater cosmic rinds and supine celestial reflection.
Mortality by definition lies; not so through what histories imply
But in the daily interaction of missives from the Goal
And penultimate ilunga * of the Source or
Sanctions of interaction in the triumphant triad of the coarsest
Ores of time, of space, and all that matters. Time, the cosmic linen folds
Of space and active order; space, the theatre of experience at the heart
Of the observer; matter, but an audience, a phenomena in passive
Active shadows of Creation and its nemesis. Simplicity is massive,
Complexity but a word; a question’s languages are art
And science while the answers form the pathos and the abstract.
What is more pathetic than to be and yet be nothing in the act?
Simplicity in the classic form requires
The prefects of a perfect vacuum
Combined in such a way as compliments the acumen
Of a strident meme, the jealous zeitgeist, tests that to the whole inspire
An urgent need to pause, to linger over bodies no longer really there,
A little more than a half a generation’s substance in a given time.
So granted this, so beautifully and tragically resigned,
Aloud comes the elegies of episodes to “Move along!”or “Retire!”
With such a cry inscribed, there was and always is
A here and there in rapid profit worshipped, fierce
As gallstones of desperation: “This, our chosen age, rehearsed
Upon a cross of memories little more than lyrics of an ancient tryst!”
And, equally, the many crowned and catalogued, remain aloof
Through symmetries of perfection in a sacred dynasty of embroidered truth.

*The word is ilunga, from the Bantu language of Tshiluba, and means a person ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

When there is this, that is.
With the arising of this, that arises.
When this is not, neither is that.
With the cessation of this, that ceases.

His Holiness The Buddha

“The Cells”

“The Cells”

The cells call out their scholarity,
Mighty spires reach for skies
That live seasons in the earth’s penumbra and expire
Forever, so they say. Turn, then, to odd peculiarity,
Particulars in ornate stone formations possibly deliberate
When once they housed a single evening’s temple
Built by want and ignorance of what is simple,
Worshipped by multitudes within, immediate
To some, an intimacy of bodies petrified
And sprung from some light’s supple
Flight that had a need for nuptials–
She, the goddess; he, the priest. So sanctified,
They possessed a night that launched a myriad cliffs
And in that blackest of shadows, its oceans shifted.

–Once

“The poem… is a little myth of man’s capacity to make life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see – it is, rather, a light by which we may see – and what we see is life.”

~Robert Penn Warren
[April 24, 1905—September 15, 1989]

“Imagination Styles the Face”


“Imagination Styles the Face”

Imagination styles the face of vanity that solves a thousand wrongs,
And no one guesses what’s behind the door.
Closer to the truth, the portal to escape closes just behind him; gore
And all that glitter exposed, tinsel moments in the early morning songs,
Playground glories among the boys and toys, reasons to declare
An eminence–petulant and sulking–ever hamartia, ever cool,
Who stalks the school yard–recess, lunch, and after school
And preys on younger lambs who cannot see nor dare
To think beyond the present master and the class
To one day leaving what was never meant to be
A permanent abode but stepping stones to what only seems
To be a day’s delay until the graduation fantasy, and one more hall pass.
“But, then again, I never meant to study, people…

I never meant to pass the test!”

“Decades, Fondest Friends”

“Decades, Fondest Friends”

Decades, fondest friends I will not see
Before I go; in off-appointed times
Each star appears to lead the way, divine
Appointments within the centrifuge , the siege
Of any given hour’s search for souls
Who bear hearing, to share an elemental joy,
Who bear witness to burdens nailed to every tree
within a tundra of grief, deployed
As when sagebrush in the undergrowth
Overcomes the vineyard, the goal–
Attained by twos not ones–steadfast
Forms hewn in solid granite, certitudes that
Worn become the greater victories.
Born, each in turn must then chose,
each will go his way, mysteries
Preserved, masteries revered set at last
Within an honoured niche, hallowed and adorned,
Placed duly on shelves of sixty years and more.

“I’d Like to Think”

“I’d Like to Think”

I’d like to think I am kind to all
I meet in every second season, selfless
Possibly; a distant reason alike to those who, though helpless
And veiled from hope still pick up the phone and call;
They must know that I’m enough to offer nothing of myself in words.
These angels only think they’re weak; I hear them when they read
The lines they’ve rehearsed like nursery rhymes and furiously feed
The mouths of meters of the rush hour, tokens only, fleeing spirits, birds,
forgotten souls encircling, kneading darkest manna in the night.
The ego rarely sees the joys of dawn; not prayer but breakfast comes
Between because their instincts make them fodder for the daily run
To close the open windows tight, and block the calling sun. Purity of light
Without, they prefer the fire within; the eyes are screened, by choice, preferring stations in a Conga line to eternity that knows no fear nor flight.