Tag Archives: Sonnets

“The Age”

“The Age”

The age, the arc, the spectre of unspeakables
And contention; a single strike will kill, but with the honeybee
Comes purpose by the lot and ensured harmony,
Do not disturb!” and “Multiples; Invincibles!
Reluctantly, to be sure,  but timely come the constables,
Harbingers of an hour’s solemnity
And stark reminders of inevitable uncertainties—
“A step too far!” is heard, and while the intruder’s able,
The antidote comes in hosts, swarms
And spirits in the multiples and in the interim
Kindnesses in part to save the whole.
No bellicose delivery here, no spectacle of effort to console
The soul but simple missives bearing news of certified afflictions warn
Of death: “The hive or thee, my friend: the hive or thee; attend!”

fear

“Elephantine”

“Elephantine”

Elephantine strides through memory
Anoint comforts when the mind is occupied
With choices on the breath and needs are satisfied
With so little stimulation. Revise the inventory,
Raise the stakes in fractions, ignore the signatories,
Take a stand and ask yourself, what’s been petrified,
Where’s the fractal scrawled upon the walls so sanctified
From changes soldered to eternity? Inflammatory
Selfdom pacified, perhaps, but there is no closure found in rest
Nor in the restive inspiration; what dreams have forged flamingo
Bliss that soothes the buyer’s mind or softens in the seller’s tone,
The bias toward the natural final stop or just another philosopher’s stone?
Some random kiss that lasts a thousand seconds cannot stand the test,
And never mind the consequences, nor accents in the innuendo.

“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

“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.

 

“Yes, Of Course”

“Yes, Of Course”

Yes, of course, until the consummate act;
That short sweet penultimate gust of wind’s a hurricane
If given half a chance; your word of caution, one’s whispered vain
Imagining breathed from one lost soul to yet another seals a pact
That places infinite variation at naught before the fact
And utter chaos in the glossary. The perfectly inane
Remains so long as everyone understands the midnight train
No longer runs its comforts here between abandoned stations
Formerly retained withal despite the costs and weathered till the waiting
Wooden benches are no longer polished to a shine by anxious travellers’
Backsides, these who only yesterday were soberly assured by cavillers
In all sincerity, “There’s greater worth to companies than to nations;
More to gain from printing presses than revenue beyond debating.”

“Dark Witnesses”

“Dark Witnesses”

Dark witnesses record with eyes that never were
When I was young and only dreamed of what was left
In life to me out there, some single beauteous breath
Of God’s own living spirit; and as I recall we all were sure
Of it, and not at all concerned as days flew passively
Away and left us glued to what was here and now.
We saw no further than what was just beyond the bow
Of some shining barque, stillborn, sailless but massive
Still. And as I gaze today on all that came eventually, I think
I saw where I would be one day, and in these latter hours smile
On what that meant and whose small eyes were set so many miles
From where he sat amazed. My own children’s children sink
Their eager toes so deeply now into the sand and squeal in praise
Of joys I knew I’d never know in what remained of all my days.

“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.

“He Delights in Convenient Signs”

vintage_radio_by_jesse-d4xymyv

“He Delights in Convenient Signs”

He delights in convenient signs: the sun, the moon, the stars
The universe, and through illusion his eyes declares the day
And night are one. His view will see its way
Through symbols. He sees all points of value from within or far
Above their azure prison bars of graphs, these atmospheres
That parent all the earth, extending parts per million through to voids
Above, below, and far behind the splay of asteroids,
And solitudes in comets, sunspots, suspect planets, clear
Blue skies, and all twelve scions in the heavens and this
With ease and loving faith with no regard for certitude. Who
Is not taken with parades, grand processions,
Multiples of keen perception spliced with clear impressions,
Curtain calls for universes, wholes in which the paper defines the clues
To occupy the crude sophistication of our many-billioned eyes?
And after all, these cosmic nosegays raise all souls, and take us to the skies.

parallel_universe

…at top, photograph by Jesse on deviantArt.com…

“Answers in the Tea-leaves”

IMG_9277

“Answers in the Tea-leaves”

Answers in the tea-leaves, sheaves appear before the harvest
Is gathered; there within the dross, a silence brewed to solution.
Questions, masked, bitters in the waters provide ablutions
To the tongue; dissolved, a saviour moot with which to invest
In what must come when coincidence and will are spent.
And what of proceeds, pensions, dubious transactions
Boxed and packaged in the cards, admiring factions
That succumb to givens in the numbers of the deck? The rent
Is paid, the covenants lapsed, and here again,
The possibilities drown within themselves! When Vonnegut died
There came a deadly pause and then applause (denied
Of course, but heard!) from every semi-colon on the plains
of every page. “Just so,” the concourse wails, “What will you write?”
“With what ink,”‘s the reply, “and with which nib,
and who’s the audience tonight?”