Tag Archives: Aging

“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…

“What Peace of Mind?”

“What Peace of Mind?”

What peace of mind can find a living here?
Pundits’ fantasies will not stop the tears, the midnight cries,
Incessant lies, and still the public yearns to know what we despise
From commentators and the late show comics. Do we fear
The truth and turn the other way when asked
If what comes down the pipe is truly past
Our tacit understanding? Reasons? Seasons? Are there tasks
Beyond endurance here, or is it always first and last
A matter for the courts, the press, the cold realities
That simply digest information and ingest lucid cosmic facts:
There’s them that’s got, and them that’s wracked,
The rich, the poor, the lack of morals backed. Atrocities
And blessings rank as equals, ours to fricassee, ours to fear.
There’s them that’s got, all right, and them that no one hears.

“Transitions”

 

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“Transitions”

Transitions, troughs and floodgates
Swell before the crops are in;
Appointments rough-hewn begin
From centuries’ wealth in soils. He hesitates.
Lamentations of the classic farmer’s touch
Bestowed on something that was expected
Neither to outlast the seed nor tip the balance but once elected
Audit landscapes from the past and serve the sudden rush as much
As circumstance permits a well to gush and choose another path.
He was a teacher; was, and no doubt
Will continue to apply the torch to oils of souls
Whose mission is to lance the boils of youthful wrath
And freely prime the wells of mass miscalculation of the myths,
The babbling and cursive powers of hubris and its shibboleths.

 

“Allow a Little Contemplation”

Contemplation1

“Allow a Little Contemplation”

Allow a little contemplation; mind the rising curse;
Give some room to commitments—
If a little late—distillations of a sundry ointment
Fit for open wounds. For now, we’re just a little worse
For wear and lacking poise, but in this happenstance,
What rests in all this noise? Tomorrow
When the mildew from sorrows
In the news has dried and circumstance
Permits, I’ll take the sun and leave the news,
The erudite reviews, the blues in mood and pulchritude,
Indictments of the way we rush to witness multitudes
In soundbites consume themselves in lewd
Proposals that what is alien is natural to the native;
What’s not been touched, somehow evocative and obliquely dative.

…photograph by Michelle Duerden…

“Catwalks”

RICOH

“Catwalks”

Catwalks above his life’s pavilions, sidewalks in a decent neighbourhood,
And nursing homes dot the landscape while all declare,
“You know, the Devil made me do it!”
Who denies the processes of thought, the fine idyllic conduits
From “Why not me?” to “All I am is what I should
Be,” whispered while whistling down alleys and paper routes. The avenues
Conjure images and constructs preserved en bas relief in two dimensions,
Melting icecaps in an ocean of invention and intervention at the mention
Of a third: “To whom and what for?” He wonders at the news,
Fresh-formed deadlines, spinal taps and tallies, and reams of “Things to Do”
And all before the door is closed and locked, keys deposited at the wicket.
Who’s survived to say that winter’s haze might raise the need to buy a ticket
To some gilded paradise conspicuous on the fridge, or a cruise for two
Along the coasts or toward the navel of the nation
As he remains at home inured of all such thought and aggravation?

“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

“Stars Repeat”

stars

“Stars Repeat”

Stars repeat their warnings; petrels sing
Like mockingbirds, aloof, alone, no voice
Heard; their own made moot by common choice;
Answers, yes! Of course! The bells still ring
As starlings make their homes in open barns
Before the bovine’s great equestrian friends.
Evening’s luminous azure loom descends,
And sad Arachne’s weaving skill alarms
Neither moth nor moon nor sun’s arrival signs
Perceive nor are they litmus to the lines
Expressed; the melodies, these foolish mimes
Who only seem to satisfy the thighs
(And never mind the costs), the breasts, the supple,
Kinder lights that flood the mind of he who bites the apple.

“You’re Beautiful, You Know”

“You’re Beautiful, You Know”

You’re beautiful, you know. I wish we’d known
Each other close to forty years and had nothing left to choose;
Perhaps, we’d loved and lost, the ring’d been tossed, and felt its sting in hues
Of optimism and betrayal, close reunion, loose communion, blown
The whole on both sides twice or thrice by now
And somehow landed in the same lane, the same
Neighbourhood, perhaps slid down the same incline
Or close behind; the same old bus route, timed
And never off, a good fifteen straight, if lame
Or limpid minutes, from door to door. And, on some rare
Spring adagio, that night’s soft jazz nondescript demoted to the rank of others
In the cast, the added stroke,  aromas of your cooking, not a hint of `druthers,
And none of this in my head. Yes, I might be a moment late because I’d care
Enough to stop somewhere to buy a rose or possibly a dozen just for you,
And there at last at half past five, amazing grace and dinner set for two.

”The Sum”

“The Sum”


The sum of yeasts spell the dregs of moments in the mould;

Images to come, some of use, most are not, and so a breeze:
Gentleness recalls; the times are short; the fee,
What stands stolid in the stamen does not yet unfold.
At so great a price, nothing enters, nothing leaves this place; nothing’s free and yet there is no looting,  no Granny Weatherall
To fear that in the groaning, smoothly flowing
Movement, here to there, both fruit and flower never knowing
Unity of purpose, no consummation in the delicacy
of dwelling too long on what must be—A glory for the anther’s night—
auspicates in favour of shadows of their mutual fate
While lighted paths from here to there spins restive, wearied states
In hours―minutes and seconds, really―and the weighty knowledge
that what augurs in the grace of beauty comes too late,
“. . .And I’ll be going, now!” The pistil whispers thus. “I am too late!”
The stigma augments as the fruit becomes too ripe,
and aspirations of eternity expose greater flaws
In auroras and rainbows as substances within themselves
one and all abandon fleeting glory in the name of natural laws.

—Once

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question …

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo..”

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
T.S. Eliot
[1888-1965]