Tag Archives: Double Sonnet

“Double Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Asmá [Names]”

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather this evening within the First Day of the Month of Asmá [Names]

“Double Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Asmá [Names]”

Greatness, the maw and gulf of differences between
Recipients of names and the manifestation of the same
In full-blown sail, vain imagining; objective oversight’s the blame,
The ark in any given second. A constant stream,
The crown of transformation comes in time to weave
From strands of gravity the produce and press of what is never really seen.
Within the visible, a name resides, the hidden thread of dreams,
Confirmation of life and being—in bas-relief,
Or so The Buddha warned—the reliquary of  lethal trust. Between the name
And its receipt abide the seeds of pernicious doubt and protestation,
Manifest but without form beyond all timely attestation,
More an emanation than anything in revelation. In every atom reigns
The distance and sweet velocities of change. The many tools
Of blind belief in Adam’s gift seek rest somewhere within reach of fools
Embracing blasphemy in luminous dichotomies, dilemma’s
Punctuation marks’ delusions born of natural mental sedition. Litanies–
The outward beads of faith and understanding–are crystals of epiphany
Drawn from rich deposits of deep enigma
  In which mystery serves as providence and a farce of perpetual plebiscites.
Their greatest acumen is servitude bestowed
By human justice whose tragic flaw is banal integrity, whose goal
Before the cock crows thrice must beg the question of myriad rites
Born in mortal time like Sisyphus in spite of all he knew and knows.
And when denial and prayer are in arrears,
When needs and resignation outweigh a sum of means,
Words gone bankrupt erupt and deeds are stripped clean of fat and lean.
Perpetual hopelessness finds remission in an average skein of years
With all that overwhelms the truth at sunrise
In redemption in the simple phrase, “I’m still alive!”

 

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

Bethlehem’s hour’s mourned, furtive glances northward toward Nazareth;
Veiled her expectations as soon enough her promised Son survives.
She knows that somewhere in between this king contrives
Within himself to build a wall. He practices precision; he does not guess.
He knows exactly what he wants, and from the East come
Three who only recently made queries round the campfires
‘Neath the skies beyond the Jordan. Casually they’ve inquired,
“What are these walls, and what the genesis of guns
And orchards plaited all along the shepherds’ run? Whose images are these,
And what is it they disguise, the vulgate for the people?”
Yes, they come, these three, adrift once again stalled between the steeples,
Barred, forbidden. Then again, their passage isn’t what it used to be.
They ask in vain and find the answers come as no surprise.
The king’s awake tonight; he’ll not fool the wise this time.

“They Make Such Declarations”

brazil1

“They Make Such Declarations”

They make such declarations, don’t they? They bet their lives
On all that seems and we’re inclined to give
Them credit for’t, and…perhaps they’re right, but then of course we live
As they do, fully eased, appeased, pleased to put on and off expressions
as if they were utensils, knives, or possibly wives.
Production far exceeds demand as the sanctified continue to enjoy eternal noons
In the world’s latest game. Do the math, then, friends; numbers, bounties burn by definition into wastes along warm Brazilian shores
Invoking freedoms—as we who have are wont to do—
Through eternally bloated days. With upraised palms,

the intensity of incense fails to mask telltale odours.
Miles beneath, the ooze’s upward bound, vapours restive here and there,
And as the Titans yawn, Rio bellows, shaking gown and hair
In all directions, scattering the saints of more than latter days, who dared
Her only yesterday to state her case, and lay her precious assets bare.
Migrants in the fault-lines smile, regarding who must rise and fall,
but when the prayers have ceased and denizens of Baghdad weep
Surely, even Isis bleeds. Her boils drained, her coffers fleeced,
She voids another thousand suns before she sleeps.

Brazil v Germany: Semi Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

“A Pilot’s Flame”

“A Pilot’s Flame”

A pilot’s flame and ambergris, fire and smoke, these privy orizons
As dews appear upon the sight of buds along an early summer’s talk
In the blind behind the backfields; still there is the chill,
a brief Nebraska morning’s walk
Through the shadows’ tides’ abiding shallows
in the breath of dawn; the garden
Path because we share so little
of the masters’ growth in blossoms’ bargains’
Fruits within us both and spare none, no idle chatter,
indeed a pittance of a fee for angels; pillars, cornstalks,
Arm in arm—so much can lead the way to joy within a cosmic room—locked
To one to yet another and another in the repetitious staid negotiation
of noxious clouds and dark but sterile clods, the feeble vain
Attempt to mask indignity in stride until desire’s destination’s
Reached—we know by stealth to find a symmetry in solutions,
Solace in respite from the others at the solstice
of that brief but potent spot.
A proper pole to pierce the continent,
a place we’ve never seen and always sought;
I need nothing more to see your face, to read your book
to savour proctors for procrastination
For the sake of pleasures found in greater prisms
for a lighter thought than pure imagination.

 

 

“Hamlet Asks”

“Hamlet Asks”

Hamlet asks if she is honest, if she’s fair;
The question does perplex the lady staring
At him while it happens that she’s wearing
His improprieties, while it happens on the stairs;
He frequents passages in what is advertised as home.
Still the question’s moot, Ophelia has no real idea
Of what it’s like to be a thing of less than beauty cursed; she’s a
Little foreign to the notion that one roams
Beyond the confines of what is truest north—
There are but two poles proffered by Gertrude as her husband’s only clues
And north must  be somewhere near the stove,
Her safety just beyond the storage bin that holds the spoons and forks―
No, she’ll pass on both the question and his gifts to what’s beyond the arras;
Rich gifts do not wax floors, nor is this prince so careless. She’s seen 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. Her prince questions nothing honed from stationary life;
He does not own a life whose questions never fade
Remaining here but seconds in his needling days
Of endless desert silences in a crowd or in audience to an empty city’s sirens.
That one is here implies that everyone else is there along the far horizon
Beyond the accidental mistaken substance dreams and death. Ophelia slept,
No mystic talisman comes to thwart the fall; His promise he has kept
To weed the present  neglected fallow fields and lighten pressures of neon nights.
In his peerless flight is knowing nothing of this life and spending his days in sporadic search for what in death poor Yorick must have felt.

.

Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell
me one thing.

HORATIO

What’s that, my lord?

HAMLET

Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’
the earth?

HORATIO

E’en so.

HAMLET

And smelt so? pah!

Puts down the skull

HORATIO

E’en so, my lord.

HAMLET

To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may
not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,
till he find it stopping a bung-hole?

HORATIO

‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

HAMLET

No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with
modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as
thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!

William Shakespeare
[1564-1616]

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, ActV, Scene 1

“Eddies”

“Eddies”


Eddies edge pools of stilled and darker waters
Seeking, touching near what I’ve yearned
To know and where it was I learned
To close my eyes to images, tattered patterns, charters
Leaning gently north and east from where
It all began; stillborn journeys of patience, winding,
Woven, stolid movement while in action, stillness, finding
Nothing farther here or there than when I felt the glare
Of anger in the stars, no closer goals than when the sun
Denies its heat and lifting shadows, flees righteousness far beyond
My shallow mysteries and inexperienced gaze. I pause now and then on a span
Of steps, draw sweet ease within, and remember when it was began to run.
Lungs no longer large enough,
no bellows’ voice above the braying throng
Remains; no breath sufficient housing for the word,
…no everlasting melody in song.
I might have shone so brightly with a little gumption,
Possibly a nudge or two from vested interests,
Kinder words or just perhaps a brighter world. My life suggests
As much and while the ëgo’s none the worse for wear, presumption
Rests with those who argue with their fate
While I’ve remained asking nothing of it. I’ve no axe to grind
In this fine valley; nothing close to envy comes to mind
In thinking on what might have been if fragments left in testate
Had been a touch more polished, more evenly refined. I rest my case,
It seems, on what so easily comes to pass,
And what does not. Others I’ve taught.
What lessons I designed or ought
To have devised were nothing if not meant to last
Beyond my station, even further far removed from glory
Than the width of my recurring shoes or the copyright of my story.

Photographs above by Josh Sanders…

“I May Fast”

kiev-middle_2799623k

“I May Fast”

I may fast from time to time but I will have my way on this and every day
Through matins in the news broadcasts and other phatic mine fields
drawn for the evenings that were formerly childhood’s greenest pastures.
Rising triumphs of élan in the latest Tahrir Square, the courtesy
of urban gangs and spores of tribal Libyan disasters,
Countless are the trenches, pits and pitfalls, splays
And watersheds, the concentrated concerts of twice-born
living peoples sharing wealth in every breath.
Billions, humanities howsoever here and there
within the outer and the inner spheres
Of feigned insurgencies of federated feudal laws―occult
to feckless millions in the West―there come such neo-modern seers,
More recent wizened feral stocks and bursaries
to serve the ends of both the many cursed and newly blessed;
Sharecroppers, landlords, purveyors of speculative imagination
festoon the gilded monarchies above the Persian Gulf. Oh, yes!
Here along these ancient oriental paths are pipes to play
And canvases on which to paint the now-naked past. Fiduciary aims may
Expose themselves within their pious domes of blue and marble blocks.
I’ll carve my own best
Misbegotten marks and credos leaving
fragments, chisels, well-worn Transylvanian stakes
For later souls to ponder while I gather what I can,
and as I am always early, posterity’s always late.

“I’ll Not Wait”

“I’ll Not Wait”

I’ll not wait till dawn to praise the sun;
Shadows follow closely where I sleep; this night must end:
I’m guaranteed as much. What, then? Tomorrow? What? Again
A word’s delay a world away is all, so, patience me. The midnight trains still run
Their course–stampeding to the east to crawl back westward–and catch
The rising or the setting cosmos all along the local milk run. Coaches
Matter not, jettisoned or newly recreated in the Milky Way, we approach
Our destinations, dusks or dawns in proper times; passengers dispatched,
Who only seem to arrive at destinations previously booked
And so we do not blithely cease to live because we wait
Upon a final station or dream of tracks not even built. Medusa guards the gate
That turns all nightly plans to stone, and we her momentary shades that looked
To make the journey know the Night Train only claims a means to ends
Through mirrors while season tickets mark what joys the daybreak sends.

“So Easy to Feel”

“So Easy to Feel”

So easy to feel, to seem to be, to know at last propinquity
As if the light declares the coming glory of the sun at daybreak
Redundant. But as that disk cannot be seen for more than seconds, I take
That certainty of coming morning within me,
Knowing that midnight’s richest prize in ivory
Is forever fixed as is the station of the sun; the moon an intimate
In someone’s flight, perhaps, but even so, as she reveals herself in states
And phases never hers, agitation gains nothing in the motion save in memory
And affectations of the sea within me–force upon another force,
Measured consequence of a functionary that renders boundaries
Of continental pride and the ocean’s doors
Cast aside in the riot of the tides, a natural stampede, no more
Than thresholds of natural accident, the stream and river’s course
Now rising, now again a swelling to apostrophes, eternal inertia born of gravity.

“There’s Nothing in Neruda”

Blue Dawn

“There’s Nothing in Neruda”

There’s nothing in Neruda* that’s not been said,
No subtle hint, no helpful word, no turn
Of phrase, no bold assertion that to earn
A place beneath the skin one must be bled,
Detained, flattered in the stacks of libraries, betrayed,
A Caulfield** in search of what Bukowski***never found
in hopes of finding hidden pearls among
Unnatural grains of sand before the oyster’s song was ever sung,
And all before his cock crew thrice—You know he never paid
Beyond the going price.
Are we not forgetting something here?

The witnesses? Another round of hemlock, please! and as the academics cheer
the proceeds of yet another idle idyll, a second glass of wine, perhaps a clear
And unequivocable glance at the mirror sitting there to interpolate
the riddle loaves and fishes of enigma or the positive benefits of fear.
Ah, yes! Neruda may have told the tale, but who was he to give us hope,
And from what box he now quotes himself and never
gives a river’s damn about what it was he wrote?
Of course, I can’t be sure of it, but from here it looks
For all the world that in truth I am you
And you are me
and there’s the misery, the mystery, the view

That’s missing in the metaphors and similes, the clue refined from brooks
And seas, the bakers’ scales and finely tuned anomalies,
the national sport of news and fresh cacophanies, hooks
By which we are urgently define and hone  the truth askew
From certitude, and based in faith that  separates all from each, proved
Or unapproved in swarms of groups and nations, the accidental nooks
And crannies of every greatness, every generation, seminar, religion,
Clan and sanctified plan proposed, to accent ancient schools and families.
All experience expresses the inverse from Hammurabi to our beloved Ramses,
Seen as freaks and distant relatives and relegated to exceptions
With a shot of charisma or some other social clot, profusion
In the masses of exclusion throughout of all the spies of life that seek.
So much to say with so little time to speak,
Whether for the self or for the same in orderly confusion.
Still larger loans from banks of life’re sired from brothers,
Even greater obligations and demands from mountain peaks,
And beyond the heights, the snowy summons of the higher roads and streets.
The recreating lights that cut the edge of fear of sacrifice in grieving mothers
Leads the restive albatross to discover, possibly to smother
In the blasphemy of his own need and greener pastures elsewhere―
a weak and weaker Icarus―in search of tests that cannot keep
His lightnings’ glories save in darker South Georgian seas, blunders
To suspect within his breast and nothing when at last he sleeps:
He discovers little more than what the drop within the puddle seeks.

*Chilean poet and diplomat, Pablo Naruda [12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973]
**Character from the novel The Catcher in the Rye, a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger
***German born American poet Charles Bukovski [August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994]

…Art at the top of this post, Liu Bolin 刘勃麟 – Photography of China