Category Archives: Questions

“Marvellous”

Edvard Munch - Study of an Old Man's Head

“Marvellous”

“Marvellous,” so he thinks, “just why it is
Creation’s robe’s so blood stained?  Stubborn remains, they insist;
They persist, disease, and carnage, yes! Rising famine, orphans; lists
That never end, and then of course that always fatal kiss,
This blasphemy of complaint and intuition that we
May not truly live at all!” Effortlessly, nights wear on. Responding,
These and beauteous phantoms blend and in their careless logging—
Pages in this life and well into the next—we see
The Sadrat’u’l-Muntahá and merely breathe. We throw up
Our hands and beg the question although we always know
Who and what it is we seek. To ourselves and no one else flow
Freely in the Upper Room the clouds of incense for a requiem; to Him, the cup,
The cynosure placed perpetually on the table, the guests long gone,
The Holy Writ upon the wall, this tabula rasa, this once and final song.

…painting above by Evard Munch…

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“Tonight a Troubled Star”

“Tonight a Troubled Star”

Tonight a troubled star through a window smiles
As winter’s thoughts refine the gentle evening hours. Ever,
Even as when a child, the onslaught of nights could sever
Day from light with wondrous rites  of questions ranged in endless miles
To roam before I dared to close my eyes. Such brittle brilliance gave
Me ample light for prayer. And now, come costs in autumn years,
The signs remain, and so again comes certitude dispelling fears
And wakefulness, intrepid  wounds I’ve worn through all my days.
And, as with all such holy declarations, majesty and not a little comfort, time
And once again illumination for the manuscript but with a difference.
I’ve used these eyes before, and with a growing greater deference,
A nod to whatsoever causes hope in those who fall and they who rise
To the occasion while within creation’s grip; within my countless days
So many poems, each but fragile vessels hurry inland toward the bay
Whose port is clearly marked, ‘The End”.  Currents swell between the arms
Of twin peninsulas, the beginnings and the ends, with breakers―no alarm
In this time, but simple statements. Warnings of disturbances disarm the day
And simple navigation wells from wrinkled maps to vastly disparate seas
Ensuring sufficient distances in passage from initials in receipt
Of signals on the coasts from the muse to the sources of benign conceit
And all the urgent comforts of the ark within the narcissist that can be
Measured in a man when put to port. Born of knowledge, the deed at midnight’s
Scribbling  first perceived in quickened breaths blown hard upon a sapphire coal
As unsettling to the weary soul as circumstance so rapidly grows cold.
At length the moon, the ides of any month, the seaward tides set mariners aright
For leaving. As with all who find their rest in full-blown sails to aid their flight,
They who cannot pay the ferryman must seek the albatross at twilight.

“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?….

“Spectators”

“Spectators”

Spectators on the banks,
Below, the river’s malcontent; above,
the winds’ reeds’re resonant
With restive cycles in all those reasons. So many eyes intent
On recognition of what’s lately seen when all is rank.
Still Hamlet gathers evidence back and forth along the way…

The prince questions nothing in the stationary life;
He does not mourn a life whose questions never fade
Remaining here but seconds in the day—
In endless desert silences or audience to incessant city’s sirens–
And that one is here implies a demarcation on the far horizon,
No mistaken material substance as Ophelia slept,
No mystic talisman found to thwart the fall; His promise kept
To seed a cloudless day or lighten pressures in the bloated neon night;
His peerless plight, knowing nothing spends his days in endless search
and how poor Yorick must have felt.