Tag Archives: Mortality

“This You Chose”

“This You Chose”

This you chose, you know, the lethal wound, external fire,
Internal final cut the cleanest; the choice was never mine.
This you chose; your arms, your scent defined
The borders, walls, the floors, the exposure. Your desires
Say nothing past the yesterdays of pre-dawn, and glad
I was to rest the while, and glad you are that I am gone.
But nothing’s rendered in the late night’s song,
The me in you, and yes! You know the sad
Result: that moon’s pain can not know a sequel.
The senses, these you know , with no contempt,
But radiant resignation in the hours of heat and pure idolatry. Spent,
The sentence stands within this world. These final sentiments rule;
The veil, the truths we’ve always known; the hourglass, the idols of our nights,
Its sands, a closing hush of breath at daybreak when all our meteors take flight.

“I Found The Day’s Messiah”

Adam

“I Found The Day’s Messiah”

I found the day’s messiah breathing as if to pray;
No prayer, of course, no sign, no moon, no stars, silence—
Balm to souls and solace in a crisis
Of questions—so many hopes lay absurd, what they must say
Gives Animas to eternity and shields a simple fear, the terror
Of these days. I would not ask outright, “I have no words,” then,
Took flight so very tight in twilight when
From cancer and fallen branches—errors,
Really, to the whole—innocence conjures lasting alibis,
Sentinels that never come to rest, fruits of thought pressed
With violence enough to produce the wine—more from less,
Inebriation from what the old man once said. Patient sighs
Amongst the sparrows egg him on while sitting on a porch with me.
“Make peace with the Fathers,” says he, “from Sons of Adam flee.”

Ivory_Cain_Abel_Louvre_AO4052

“This Wishing”

Sitting__Waiting__Wishing_by_eurai

“This Wishing”

I know this wishing to be as natural as breathing; none of us avoids it.
Having said this, still, while it is natural to the head,
It’s anathema to the heart as every affair noises over and over again.
Still, while we know desire, again, we hear that since it’s natural, it’s inevitable, And because it is inevitable, we must accept its rising fevers and all rude and Tumultuous downfall;
Both are natural and both are inevitable.
As there is a hairline difference between virtue and vice,
So too much the same between the crown of natural want
And its evil twin, lust.
Yes, of course I have wishes and hopes
And all that goes with both,
But again, having said this,
I know I am a fool, and there’s an end to it.

…photograph by eurie of DeviantArt…

“The ‘Once’, the ‘Ever'”

…dedicated to Hermann Bloch
1 November 1886– 30 May 1951
“”I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived.”

“The ‘Once’, the ‘Ever'”

The once, the ever, standing in the atrium must burn;
The nexus of the meeting of the feeble lamps are lit as Virgil sits alone,
The flint stone at the confluence of the rivers; a tone
Once heard, a trace no more than words. Ever then discerns
A wisdom in the lengthening of days on end;
A reconciliation of the first sun’s now within
The pale of the last night’s then and all its many-eyed kin;
The End, scintilla of a notion’s distant toast:
“To Cæsar!” Distractions in the movement defer to mortality, defend
The pattern as it is, the peoples’ choice, a proud
Morbidity based in universal song on this, a night of leaving, joy
On this, a day of meeting. Stars and verses, voids,
A universe of empty consummation never executed while clouds
Obscure the moon, as ever toils below;
Perspicuous, yes! the once and only suns express,
So dark a night as never and one more day of less.

.

Block’s Death of Virgil had to be the most ambitious reading of any single novel I have ever read with James’ The Ambassadors right up there with it, but a close second. The stimulus of both novels, however, is incomparable in value and I can suggest that anyone who values the language should read both of them at least once before death simply because they exist; as Everest has been for the mountain climbers, so both novels have been to anyone who reads and loves the language.

Block’s “Virgil” is not fun to read, but it represents an incomparable challenge and once conquered, a kind of badge of honour having braved the greatest storms of both prose and poetry that could be imagined short of blowing out the circuits of both.

With the James novel, it was said that it was his favourite, but apparently almost impenetrable to some readers of his time. To one “Lady ‘whomever’” who complained of this, he advised sticking with it and that once having arrived at a certain point in the narration, the specific gravity or gravitas of that novel would hit and the worth of the whole vindicated. And so it was; I had to read that novel page by page, reading each several times to get anything near clarity in what was being said or where the action of that novel was going. Then, one late afternoon, while cooling off from a very hot shower in preparation for going out for the evening, I decided to sit on my bed, pick up that novel and continue plugging away at it. Suddenly, there it was! A catharsis of unimaginable majesty that hit so hard that I almost cancelled my evening out in order to continue reading to the end. Great works are like that.

For me, there is no “fun” involved in reading, but the rewards are everlasting, something that is rare in the reading of secular prose. Block’s work is a combination of poetry and prose in a mixture I never thought possible until reading “Virgil,” and I cannot imagine now, an equal to this. My sonnet alludes to but one of the thoughts that seem to dance throughout that work in spite of laborious, endless poetry, all of which may be beautiful, but only in small doses like genuine truffles; like chocolate, there are some things in this world that are “legal” but close to lethal in effects, and Block’s “Virgil” comes quite close to that.

 

“Asking Nothing”

Queen-Bee
“Asking Nothing”

Asking nothing, pride itself knows no shame
But that it is not easily offended
By its authors, lasting aeons never once rescinded
As they bear hard against themselves with holy arrogance. Abel’s fame
Was no more great in folly than in triumph; blame,
The greater satisfaction, feeds upon itself, suspended
High above its frozen haven’s wasted heaven, extended
Low and lower than the expectations of his brother, Cain:
“Why,” then, “art thou wroth?” is heard with “What hast thou done?”
And in that instant, seconds into centuries cast their burdens
Leaving only fools to gather and surmise how long it’s been
Since innocence so easily spent itself pursuing means to every end.
If we breathe, we cannot be more anxious than the moon and sun,
And stars whose certain execution and anastrophe scribbles embroidered patterns equal to the physics of a nano-drop, as well, the roaring war of infinitives bound in verses primed that rhyme with energy and matter in the greater cosmic run.

“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…

“But That We All Are”

index

“But That We All Are”

But that we all are on the List and die
And once again appear on someone’s right
Or left-hand honoured roll in fame and light
And all that can be cherished, or idolised
Within a spectrum visible, allied,
Augmented well beyond the common sight,
Imagination rife with conjecture’s might,
A lunacy to thoughtful evidence, despised,
The greatest fear to those who would have it so,
Impediment to all that is the mind,
Bliss to hearts who bear the Holy Texts
Of all humanity; the choices grow
To what has sanctified the quest, the line
Of clear succession of life and what comes next.

Matt Adnate

…paintings above, Matt Adnate;  below, Michael Staniak…

“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Masá’il or `Questions'”

Bahá’í’s throughout the world gather today to commemorate the First Day of the Month of Masá’il [Questions]

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“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Masá’il or `Questions'”

Of sons, divinity required sacrifice;
Both obliged presented gifts, yet one
Found pleasure in the Judgment, son
And God were pleased; but, that the sacred rite
Eluded what was offered by the second
Brought an anger and a fire in Cain,
The fruit of envy, rancour, and desultory disdain
To both the elder brother and the God-reckoned
Greater of the two. Asked the Light,
“What hath made thee wroth?” silence was the answer.
The question posed, there rose no reply but cancer
Deep within the marrow of he who in his flight
Deduced the primal human action of the will:
Unbridled passion and the naked urge to kill.

“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Qawl or ‘Speech’”

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather today to celebrate the First Day of the Month of Qawl [Speech]

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“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Qawl or ‘Speech’”

Except to praise Creation and its Source,
Of what use are tongues, and what of speech
If not to practice affirmation, to reach
Beyond the baser nature—to stay the course
Of destinies and mighty histories,
Ensure the memory of battle lines
Between the Greater World and the Lesser we find
We must occupy…for a time—the lies and inconsistencies
Within the rented present tense? Respeaking irrelevant truths
In vain imaginings applied to the important against the backdrop of the Word,
The most important, the conscious choice between what we’ve heard
With clarity within the heart and what we have been told of old, roots
And tendrils of hypocrisy are struck dumb with but a look,
Surely. These, the Leaves and Boughs of Sadratu’l-Muntahá, Branches
never silent as from out the The Primal Mouthpiece, the Perspicuous Book.

“His Days In Office”

“His Days In Office”

His days in office draw him closer to himself;
He knows he’ll  finish what he long ago began,
And now? Well, now the dusts and sands
Sequestered in the hourglass run low, the shelf
Awaits, perhaps in this hall or on the other wall
Among the former Oval Offices eulogized
And honoured, and after all, who imagines perpetuity? No surprise
In this, and nothing to be done but heed the last election’s call.
He knows exactly what he’s  done, and he recalls
The early years when nothing hinted at the fall
Of institutions or what his fellows thought when one and all,
They outdid themselves before his very eyes. Wthal,
Their thoughts so tersely croaked upon the twigs of some fine November’s day,
Are odd reminders that values change, and curds dissolve in all that whey.