Category Archives: Poets

“They Linger”

estrangement

“They Linger”

They linger by the window; they seek
What’s just beyond not so much from desire but punctuation.
Souls in single file grant noteworthy unction
To the slightest glance howsoever intently; no more than a peek,
And as it happens simply walk on by. Innocuous.  The poet says
That passion will consume its fruits,
And I believe him as the notion suits
The age in which I live or the page I read; but if he seeks a “Yes!”
doubts evaporate like myrrh as she’s quite forgot
When she airs her rooms and threads her loom as if the purpose
in his witness were merely ballast for pain–
All her earthbound joys share the momentary respite
of a rural mailbox, at best a little shelter from the rain
For those who still receive their letters with the circulars. Caught
In fantasies defined in galaxies that disappear at sunrise
there remains the death knell of all wounds and worlds,
A poverty of nouns and adjectives that obfuscate reality
beyond the pale of words.

Stairs

“The Phrase”

Hazel Reeves3

 

“The Phrase”

The phrase transcends the pen withdrawn
And so, too, the movement in and of itself.
The notebook’s filled, volumes line the shelf
And there upon a winter’s night, the low straw
Wins and he reviews the lot and finds the flaw
In each. Perhaps a word crossed out, a gulf
In time allows a light to objectivity less the self.
And when the wheel stops, the law
Of averages condemns the thing to sit there
Once again, forgotten, anonymous as a star
That far away, explodes with fireworks
That would consume a galaxy—matter gone berserk—
Ignite and what had no energies now amassed, a pregnant flare
Until at last, one starry night, a whisper reaches earthly ears.
Just so, the incomplete, the Word to words and back again
Traverse the gap as the task of phonemes
Aspires to ascend to higher stations, morphemes
Honoured in this natal happy path. Observe:
Throughout the zodiac of conscious meaning
Stars that matter to velocities in galaxies
Reborn inspire genitive ignition in the gravity
Of natural wisdom’s past and present leaning
To fruition in what was always meant to be.
The moon, in its phase; the sun, its angry season,
The poet writes within a pendulum of forces, reason
Bound, but nonetheless eternal mysteries
Revealed as the Ancient of Days calls behind the present hour
Words from phrases only time, distance and the pen can devour.
As the audience is eternal, so, too, what will compel
The heart and mind to ideal calligraphy; the wordsmith’s nod
Secure. And as “the source of all learning is the knowledge of God,”*
So, too, the gravitas of the nib cannot be silenced, nor the muse expelled.

Hazel Reeves2

*Bahá’u’lláh, Words of Wisdom, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh

…pieces of scupture by Hazel Reeves…

“The Isotope Remains”

“The Isotope Remains”

The isotope remains—the poet, the element,
The precious gem—so reckoned in the raw,
So endemic to the lottery, the accidental draw
From which a this or that satisfaction in sentiment
Suggests addiction, defies abuse, or finds his way to hearts
And minds that think on distant destinations
As tools and vehicles that defy both procrastination
And rush delivery. The seer’s chants divorced from scenes, his arts
Will flourish with little pause to where the artist ground
His pigments or the siren purchases his precious stones.
Balanced even so, the unknown crews who violate borders all alone
To rape, to maim and pillage those whose labours’ fruits are found
Unguarded in the novice from inspiration leaches produce for philistines,
thieves of raw materials whether in the first or second person spaced;
No, the poet needs no acclamation, nor is the diamond’s progenitor effaced.

“The Underside”

…dedicated to the many who wonder what’s become of all that is and where the bottom is…

“The Underside”

“‘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.

Once

“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
Virginia Woolf
[1882-1941]

“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

“Perhaps Too Obscure”

“Perhaps Too Obscure”

Perhaps too obscure, absolutes, prerogatives, profits,
Relatives, feathers of the phoenix–costly downs for pillows,
Materials for bedding–indeed the silhouette
Of controversy in the bower prohibits
Poesy from kneading souls and seeding requisites
For immortality with mortal flaws and fatal shallow
Pools designed for poets such as these that wallow
In the larder oblivious to dangers, intrinsic
Natural blinds to tar pits where only fugitives
Attempt to flee from what is evident in destiny.
Notice neither freedom for the bird nor fish
To feed them gather here; unheeding species. Lavish
Ignorance and wanton lust are lost on adjectives
Whose ontogeny merely seeks but life and progeny.

“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]

“Humour Is Impossible”

“Humour Is Impossible”

Humour is impossible in the throes
of serious contemplation of the most potent question
ever asked on any secular page of literature:
“To be or not to be, that is the question,…”

When faced with such a query,
who will denigrate his own
imagined station and position within what is,
after all, a lethal situation for all of us?

The bourgeoisie cannot afford to ask the question;
the rich above the need of contemplation;
the poor too oppressed by the instincts,
the daily needs of hunting and gathering

simply to ensure a continued existence
in this world share  a modicum of
some comfort on the odd occasion.
The rich experience nothing because

every effort costs them nothing;
their pride, therefore, is rendered moot.
The bourgeois may well seek to own his world
in terms of expressions of what he imagines

the bailiwick of their betters,
and indeed, but fails to recognise
that ownership without purpose
sustained over a generation or two

is inevitably the prescription
for yet another application
of the Peter Principle
or the Dunning-Kruger Effect

and, as with poisons can provide
as great a lethal punch to the soul
as it can be in beneficial form to the body.
The poor experience the wonders

of life, struggle, and death but have no voice,
no language that does not promote
anything short of need at best, sedition
at worst when given half a chance,

and in the odd instance passing freedom from sheer want.
Witness: from a tax revolt in 1776, America did without its king;
1789, the French its monarchy and aristocracy;
1917, the Russians their czar, their aristocracy,
Their bourgeoisie yet all revolutions failed.

…But, Nymph in thine orisons be all my sins remembered,
strip away convention, then, and turn to prose….

Given all of the above and the advent of the credit card on the one hand, and ubiquitous Federal Reserve Bank Notes, the logical use and result of the invention of the printing press, what might have been humorous in the past has lost its flavour much like one’s wad of “chewing gum on the bedpost overnight,” simply because whether one addresses true tragedy or its counterpart in comedy, both rely on some helpful word as to what constitutes the intrinsic good or, in short, the presence of virtue and its ultimate outcome, nobility, vraiment…. Without such a word, we have no choice but to think nothing is too sacred to denigrate, belittle, or even to crucify, as the history of all of the many Prophets and Messengers of God, not to mention spiritual philosophers have experienced and met Their ends; what, then can be said of the qualities of the arts and sciences, and the “pith and marrow” of any given society on this planet?

In the end, what constitutes a poet if in fact the characteristics of the artists and sciences have been laughed to scorn just as those of the basic institutions from the kings, popes, religious leaders of all kinds, lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, librarians, professions of all sorts. Once one has laughed at God, Himself, it is difficult or even impossible to maintain any semblance of nobility; what should the present two or three generations expect but that after what amounts to almost continual world wars from the 1840′s and straight into the present hour? So much for religion, government, and so much for the arts and sciences, and ultimately so much for the sanctity of life, itself; if Hamlet had some difficulty in maintaining his sense of humour in a Denmark rotten to the core in its banquet days, what, then, can be said of the “remains of the day,” as it were, by the by, so to speak, as the crow flies, in our sweet time, …que çela reste entre nous deux?….

“So Smooth”

“So Smooth”

So smooth, so ever-abiding, hits the pocket
Every time; he makes the basket, finds the hole,
And never loses face. He’s always first to leave. Nothing’s slow
So nothing sags or lags, nor is his neo-light in question. No sockets
Left unplugged, it’s true, but never there on time
He never feeds the meter down the line.
Talisman itself, icon, the behemoth never needs to look for signs.
He never walks when he can ride, does not drive when he can fly.
His speech is writ; his name’s his habeas corpus and he’s booked
His morphemes long ago. If his recipes were ever really known, he’s there
At pond each day because he does not travel far, has no need to stand and stare
In disbelief. He’s got it made, he seeks no shade; the man is hooked
In both these worlds, you see, and if there’s any hacking
In the phrase with nothing in the metaphor he simply states he’s backing
Many points of reference here, “And you can place me east of Edom,
Ma’am and tell me who I am today and where I’ll be when all will end.
What statues, then, what silk route to the East defends
The past, what Zephyrs offer less per pound than bedlam
There for plucking? There, because it’s there for tasting;
There to be admired and where inflated sires hesitate, there is a fire
In the valley waiting down below. “Pick up the pen,” he says, the song
And chorus speechless.“Wounded Knee and Plymouth Rock are pacing,
Praying, supplicating even now, and what may not be said? Where
From here, and what remains? What’s left to leave out in the rain?
…Where’s profit here, where the justice, whom shall we defame?…”
“The road’s not long and we’ve so little time to pay the fare.”
“Time, my friend? You have your meme and meaning, you…”
“…If not narration, then, I have my point of view.”

“Alienation” by M

The following poem from M of strangebrew ,a site  on Stumbleupon.com worth more than a glance:

Alienation

Through windows I watch the world

Not longing for it

Removed, unmoved

I watch like a somber-eyed child

Robbed of childish wonder

My addiction to solitude a strange contradiction

To the desire of my silent heart

To be touched

M

“He Chose What Homer Chose”

William Shakespeare
[23 April 1564 - 23 April 1616}

Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Shakespeare 447 years ago, and, according to what records we may or may not have, it also marks the Anniversary of the Passing of the Bard 395 years ago. The general facts concerning William Shakespeare support the idea that he was born and died on the same day. In honour of the occasion, of course, there is a repeat of a posting some time ago:

"He Chose What Homer Chose"

He chose what Homer chose; the place,
The measured lisp of every school boy; the time, eternity;
The hour, the glory of the present tense, the panoply
Of stars above the placeless with the taste
Of honeys made pedestrian, obscured by tongues, the paste
Left finite and sour from beyond divinity and the bower of worship--the realities
Of man, the Son of Man, the seat of constancy is faithlessness in cold identities
Obscured beyond the reach of all--
the trial of facelessness becomes their saving grace.
Who knew the eyes of John or Peter, Paul,
or the meek and more obscure Bartholomew
But that the rumours flew and vacancies were filled, their names
Now everywhere and nowhere is it written
How the Christ appeared, or how their God had smitten
What was left of their disguises, appetites and virtues notwithstanding crude
And morbid songs of their demise,

...and cannonlore for all that glory in the flames.

"The past cannot be cured."

--Queen Elizabeth I
[7 September 1533 - 24 March 1603]