“He Will Not Compromise”
He will not compromise the stock, his private petri dish.
A line of foxes frolicking through the sheep must prick
The curiosity of any pilgrim pausing at the brook; the brick,
And mortar, tools of what a man constructs, the wish
That something happen here. Daubs of oil in the dish
Will draw the brush to do what must be done. The stick
Will find his cousins own the table; wicks
Are there, (if left unused) while golden fish,
Apparently at rest, take turns about the bowl
If only to sustain the journey to the point of death.
And so the heady phrase and weighty line:
While others may or may not find the rhyme
We neither weigh the consequence of natural signs nor pay the toll,
The fee for what it means to know the glory of the seed
within the bank of blanket soils of every soul.
“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.
Posted in Imagery, Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet
Tagged Double Sonnet, End Times, Existence, Lyric Poetry, News Media, Persian Gulf, Sonnet, Strife, Tragic Flaw, Urktaine riots
“But If I Loved”
But, if I loved, there’d be no stumbling here,
No word, no moment spent in canvassing;
No south-bound sound, no! no jaundiced ring
Tone, no telephone—assuming no fear
No understatement—pressures here applied
To maudlin tracings follow no trump, no expression
No! no consummation in the passive key,
Of fact, no fire in hyperbole, nor just plain lies.
Then I’d be forced to die, or something close
To leaving if I could:
But, I’m not made to feel so good;
I only wish I were; and just suppose
Posted in Age, Aging, Detachment, Imagery, Love, Lyric Poetry, Poem, Poetry, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet
Tagged Age, Aging, Emotion, Existence, Lyric Poetry, Relationships, Sonnets, spirituality, Tragic Flaw
…recollection from a day of teaching some time ago….
“I Found the Little Girl Alone”
I found the little girl alone, a leaner ladybug
Forlorn and crying in the cavern of the Cafeteria quite late
One afternoon; she sat with lunchbox and an empty plate.
“What brings you here?” I said. She just shrugged,
And said she didn’t know. I asked if she shouldn’t be
In class, and would she like some help to find her way?
“Oh, no!” she said, and then a lengthy silence. “I have to stay
And hurt a while until I’m done!” To me
She looked so small so delicate, and worn, so “Why the tears?
“My best friend hates me, and I don’t know why.”
“Well, what, then,” made her think she couldn’t try
To ask her friend just what she’d done? “That,” she feared,
“Will make it worse! She told me she’s got another friend at home
And now she took back her ring, and I’m here all alone!”
…I managed to walk the little girl back to her classroom, and in she went apparently in a kind of daze. A few weeks later, I saw her in the playground laughing and seemingly happy as a lark, but from that day forward to the day she showed up in my senior English class, whenever our eyes would meet from time to time in the course of years of crossing paths and there was always a kind of sobriety in her glance that expressed thanks for having heard her and again, for having never mentioned that afternoon again.
Posted in Aging, Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Relationships, Samsara, Sonnet
Tagged Aging, Existence, Lyric Poetry, Relationships, Sonnet, Sonnets, Strife
What? could they not wait? Justice always outs in time;
What? since Abel, not enough blood? Soils do not leave
Themselves a choice in these matters; mothers grieve
As doctors weave solutions; where once their limbs aligned,
They are no more. And, for a bowl of soup this Esau
Yields at ought his heritage? Who isn’t fooled in the dimming eyes of Isaac
In the aftermath? Reconciliation, you say? Can a Caveat
To destiny be forgiven, and where the wound is raw
Can any skin but the tougher scars be grown from what is sown?
And when the perpetrators contemplate their last actions,
The rupture of the children; the bodies, the lasting hideous imagination
Of that day along the Ides of April for which no religous idyll can atone.
O Crimea now, O Syria then, O America ever vigilant!
O streets and markets free but never far from the malignant.
Posted in Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet
Tagged America, Crimea, Delusion, End Times, Existence, Illusion, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, poetry, Sonnet, Strife, Syria, Tragic Flaw
Bahá’ís of the world commemorate this First day of the Bahá’í Month of Jalál [Glory] after sunset today or before sunset tomorrow.
“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Jalál [Glory]“
“The Dread of Moments”
Dread potentials, moments in the mould,
Images of nascent idols set to polish, so the keeper at his ease
Recalls; the times are shorter now; is not urgency greater than needs
Concealed within in a stamen that cannot yet unfold?
Nothing enters, nothing leaves this place, nothing’s free.
There are fears that in the groaning, smoothly flowing
Movement, here to there, the fruit and flower growing ever knowing
Unities of purpose, oblivious of confidence in returning delicacy.
Potential glory for the anther in the night,
auspicated but veiled in atavistic fate.
From here to there spells a restive, wearied state
In seconds–hours, really–and the weighty knowledge
that what augurs beauty pains in coming ever slightly too late,
“. . .And I’ll be going, now!” The pistil whispers thus: “I too am late!”
The stigma argues as the fruit becomes too ripe,
as aspirations of modernity expose their flaws
At dusk or dawn as substances within themselves
scribble all their glories in the name of natural laws.
Posted in Botany, Flowers, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Anther, Bahá'í Month of Jalál, Existence, Feast of Jalál [Glory], fruit and flower, Glory, Jalál [Glory], Natural laws, Nature, Pistil, Sonnet, Stamen, Stigma
“Oh, He Knows”
Oh, he knows, he surely knows that pain,
And in the morning of his life he drew
Himself from deeper wells he knew
He could not fathom, nor did the rain
Object, no rival to his tears, and all he did was dance.
Departing early, Venus rising in the mists of cold Nebraska dawns
Found sweat and pleasures in his skin as he was drawn
To deeper paths beyond the last and lasting chance
To turn aside; but, no! He did not return. And neither
Did he stop till he was well beyond the sleeping town
And found himself the audience of a thousand feathered clowns
Atop the ocean rows of corn and maize and high above the purple ether
Of the shallow island’s edge. The vanities that irrigate his endless thoughts
Were rivers then, and there he danced until he dropped.
…painting at top by Alan Reynolds…
Posted in Destiny, Experience, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Pain, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet
Tagged Emotion, Existence, Imagism, Joy, Lyric Poetry, poetry, Sonnet, Sonnets
“And When He Looked Again”
And when he looked again, he saw the two suns
Rehearsing illusions in the river’s voice, the highest good,
The other lost within himself; the tidal mirror could
Not bear separation from the source, one
In signs, yet silenced, ever flowing in what it did
In passing. Crudely graced, seducing visions perfectly,
The first declared itself a certainty,
Its faith a recreated memory, its secrets hid.
In less than seconds, there was nothing of the rival left
To view. A single pebble and the river, too deserted,
stretches seamlessly, the cleft
Between the golden orbs become a prism,
the heavens suspended twice, the right, the left,
The recreation of creation, binding immortal mortalities,
void and substance bereft,
The heavens and the earth; breathless, lost within a common interlude
Where visions set themselves through perpetual accident and certitude.
Posted in Age, Aging, Imagery, Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Sonnet
Tagged Age, Aging, Certitude, Emotion, End Times, Existence, Imagery, Imagism, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, Sonnet, Tragic Flaw
Confirmations late, perhaps, but guaranteed;
Never ending certitude, the consolation of pieces
The tattered ends of surest re-creation and redress,
The eyes trained to see all between as weeds,
The winded wilderness of detraction,
Thoughtlessness, yes! but cannot tarnish the polished thought.
Win or lose, the matter’s been decided; ought
Escapes the scrutiny of the watcher, a refraction
From within illuminating all that’s without
And damn the static in the wavelength. Repercussions
Riddle doubting minds and incidental mental defections
From others in the cast. The curtain rises, scenes begin
And with or without climax or denouement, a lifetime of delights
Will out in time. But who feeds the candle in the late nights’ softer lights?
Posted in Affirmation, Age, Aging, Certitude, Imagery, Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Sonnet
Tagged Age, Aging, Certitude, Existence, Lyric Poetry, Sonnets
The cul-de–sac within a maze does not wait
For introductions from the chair but bends the warp in time
To suit the labyrinth of audience, tempo and subtle rhyme
No greater than space required for one more trophy, a gilded plate
Or just another knickknack on the shelf; the current season’s wake
Allows so little time to plan for sudden guests whose line-up
At the door’s so crudely cumbersome and misaligned
That any gust of wind or shallow breeze contemplates
An exodus and the elevation of a queue to the rank of stampede.
No, we need no fire to raise alarms and no petrels to sing
The hourly anthem. Still it’s not so much what is, but what’s developing
That throws all order to the winds and what’s believed
Trumps what’s been gained upstaging all former rectitudes
And satisfaction, leaving grace disgraced and little left but platitudes.
… painting by Antonio Fontanesi…
Posted in Imagery, Lyric Poetry, Poetry, Sonnet
Tagged Age, Aging, End Times, Existence, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, poetry, Strife, Tragic Flaw