Category Archives: Poem

“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

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“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…

“Bathetic Moments’ Voiced”

AirForc3

“Bathetic Moments’ Voiced”

Bathetic moments’ voiced, a tremolo; a single cigarette, a candle
In a valley, the briefest transfer from so little matter
To so innocuous a spark is seen perhaps for miles, the latter
End of someone’s random afterthought, the ancient mantle
Of exchange expressed in grains of sand,
And this so far from source, so utterly homely
Yet brilliant in its insignificance and still the only
Vindication of its kind through fogbound skies on land.
There is a barrier between the two
An enigma, twice a paradox,
Two thrice wounded souls within a box
That sits astride a gleaming paragon of simple views
And simpler decisions. Dilemmas offered to the least in time
Retain their energies but sacrifice their matter in a simple rhyme.

…art by AirForc3 on deviantArt…

“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.

“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

“And Comfort Comes”

chaucer1

“And Comfort Comes”

And comfort comes too late from stations on the bank
Of all great rivers, benchmarks, watersheds
And monuments petrified as zeitgeists; glories led
By strange humility in masters whose histories are blank
With whom generations cavil and invoke
In lesser moments a meaner age,  a leaning toward
The more prosaïc goals framed to ward
Off meteoric national malaise. These, the Titans, evoke
Wonder in the people, and awe
Amongst their artisans, and in the hour such light
Cannot be masked nor can the transitory might
Of kings suppress such eagles, neither nets nor censors, nor the law.
And then comes Chaucer, then Shakespeare, Fathers of the modern text…
And what are tongues that roar so loud and thunder in the index?

william-shakespeare-007

“I’m Not So Cavalier”

humpty-dumpty-wall-image

“I’m Not So Cavalier”


I’m not so cavalier, you see; I’ve heard, I’ve lent a hand and bowed
To acid rains and lurid wastes and elements stacked,
Deranged, spewed, sprawled and rearranged, and I’ve attacked
And married Buicks, Saabs, and Fords and I’m not so very proud;
My many homes are bought and sold with not a thought
To living in them. Mine eyes have seen the glory of a myriad of pulpits,
Certified accountants and a pride of priests whose pious culprits’
Books are cooked in scarlets, blood-gelt orders in their sanctities taught
To serve the venal equinox between the self-sequestered fetid clans
In every land who have no ticket, pass, nor ever need to walk
When they can ride, nor ride when they can darn the stocks
That fuel the jet streams’ markets, currencies, and family plans
To lengthen gas lines leading lambs to houses built more or less on sand;
Three coins tossed in every fountain is the trend
while the Fed and Humpty Dumpty transcend The Wall Street Journal briefly
just before they hit the fan.

4 T

“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.

“Limbs”

 

Conceptual image with a businessman on top of a maze.

“Limbs”

Limbs, appendages, extensions, sinew stretched
Across chasms, voids, and axles;
Creation’s foam will occupy the mind; cosmic jackals,
Vain imaginings spun from fractals, etched
In plaited mesh and skeletal remains combine
To people thought and populate whole scenarios—
Nothing ever quiets the machine. The interim’s need will borrow
Legitimacy and gravitas from life’s singularity, refine
Their use within the era, penultimate lines in rhyme
Penned to presage the tentative, simple strokes of time.
Transition’s in the air, my friends, and next in line
For what’s about to come to pass might well be curses
For the speed with which the world embraces change for its mistakes.
Creation weds the art of accident to apposition for its own sake.

“It Matters Nothing”

2

“It Matters Nothing”

It matters nothing in the lightly screaming
Thoughts of what I might have done
Had this not gone so far; the early’s clusters, the latter’s stars, the sun’s
Eternal meridian, no matter what the clouds, the veils, the feelings,
With midnight’s nightly thinking on the path through Saturn’s rings
Remains the same, and in the end, illusion never dies.
So constant, time in winnowed wanderlust—the skies
The seas, the cosmic meadow’s breeze where only quasars sing
Simple measure pleasures of a thought made longer than a dream
That I may walk beside the old canal that leads to even older docks.
Yes, of course.  I might have visited more often.  But clocks
Are stormy petrels, eternal days that leave a stain on what’s deemed
Meet and seemly for the nonce; so while I frequent these familiar lanes I think
On what I might have said and how I might have stayed awhile,
and wines I’ll never drink.

…photograph above by ECU…