Hall of Mirrors

it reads:
When I see my own reflection there
Repeating without end
Time is turning on itself and where
Going round the bend
Rising silver glass without a face
Taking on my own
Though I'm walking in a crowded place
I am yet alone.


A Song of Winter

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
There was snow at the gates of heaven tonight
Falling fast, beyond man's ken
All made new in impenetrable white
And held fast the dwellings of men
Rime, the frost which holds and binds
Its hands gripped tight, primeval, grim--
And mystery still, unhandsome whim
That under heavy coldness grinds
With the water's edge - sharp and clear
White, not every-color here
Blessed be the man who finds
Safe and warm what he holds dear;

The billowed cloud which seems to breathe
A curse, or a warning where
Its breath comes forth, that makes it seethe
Snow on snow in snow-flecked air
The cruel north wind, the endless gray
Wind of winds! And winter-time
Singing hoarfrost, whistling rime
Thundering through its silent day
Except the voices - hear them rise
Edge and blade cut down to size
Bless the morning, clear the way
All you young, and all you wise.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In the time of Orion
I was a rider of the iron clouds
over the rim of Saturn
beneath the din of Titan's crowds
In the age of Arcturus
I strode high in Io's seas
With six merry Asuras
Just before the Great King's decrees
And in the days of Mercury
When the lights fell as Icarus' wings
Singing the final apogee
I was drinking deep of forgotten things;
How old am I, and how young
I was not before yesterday's sun
A leaf let fly where boughs were hung
But have seen more than anyone.


Winter's Afternoon

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
A summer afternoon declines, its lines
Make to seem past, some better times
Lazy perhaps, but burning off soon
The heat of such a long afternoon
Sun sinks, but slowly to the south
Let the word dusk not leave your mouth
When then our summer mood has past
It drags out - will it be autumn at last
And winter's late day is short and cool
The sun hurries to pass its rule
Suggesting rest - hearth and sleep
The north edge of the sky is deep
And it dives, fleeing the cutting wind
Whisper, heaven's lights have dimmed
Tell me of your fancy's flight --
In this, our long, dark winter's night.


The Final Lecture

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
(A small group gathers numbered but four
In a place where hundreds once sat
But now cannot boast even that
Which Socrates brought in his door;
The electrical light flickers from wear
And the seats do nothing but creak
So standing remain the company there
And the pre-eminent one turns to speak:)

True sons, now tell me a tale
Tell me the truth of our age;
Give not to fainting, nor unto rage
Do we succeed, do we fail?
When God in his fury tore us in two
How'd we forget why t'was done?
Did we even forget that we knew
That the two things were once one?

First, says the one, we took to a trail
Which was as broad as t'was long
To the folly there is not a song
In this I must reckon we fail.
A thousand we spent, years, or more
To remake the thing we'd torn down
As if we'd had not a reason before
To examine a thing once put down.

Says the second, there's more you know
Once we'd got on to the thing
To the table then we did bring
A precept we'd forged far below;
Is man just a soul in a bodily cage
An atom from natural mess
How'd he gather, how can he engage
How can a truth he confess?

The third sighs and grimly replies
And the last thing was but the worst
An idea as grand as perverse --
The finale to all of our lies
Make man a common- nobody owns
From which all power is drawn
God must now raise a people from stones
After this tragedy's dawn.

Was man improved? He wonders aloud
Did he find what they promised him
Was he then bold, or just dim
Was there any left to be proud?
But now let us say, those who once made
These ideas their weapons of choice
Are now dead, so let us forbade
King, priest or peasant
 --e're give them voice.

(The solemn assembly then did depart
From the place that once was called
Dark-roomed and ivory-halled
The place of high reasoning's heart--
But to this thing we did not put fire
Lest the lesson of it be forgot
God would in time his fulminant ire
The 'university' make not.)


The Young

The city is always built on the young
The old rule, and order its stones
But no brick or mortar is borne by their bones
They look out; and if they still see
They see past the walls to the waiting sea
Rising or falling, in threat or in calm
Its order is just what meets their eye
Good or bad; in praise or in qualm
If truth be what quickly leaps from their tongue
Or if they dwell in a fantasy's lie
The city is always built on the young.

The city is always built on the young
Children on their weary parents' knees
Our labors a call and not a disease
You too were once a baby in time
A child, and is youth such a crime
That it should be made against the law
To do its work, and then at last
If we tired souls had heard at all
There is no old man's war ere sung?
Youth shall be spent before it is past;
The city is always built on the young.

The city is always built on the young
Sing then, with the flame in your breast
And put each your mete and mettle to test
To save your life you must lose it he said
And in years well numbered you will be dead
We are all slaves to uprightness
- this much is true, but to what end?
Sing then, let your music confess,
The horn must be winded, the harp must be strung
Call then the maidens and mighty men
The city is always built on the young.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
We stood in silence -- once more
No sound came calling from the door
No lights aflicker, no sounds of cheer
No voices of those we hold most dear;

We stood in silence; unwhispered air
And invited it in, it stood right there
Perhaps it walked, perhaps it sat
Unseen, what was it looking at?

The silence stood, it was upright
It was morning, noon and night
Nor stirred the candle, with its flame
There was no way to say its name;

But stand in silence, we all did
Or did it stand in us instead
Stood it under, or stood above
This quiet I am speaking of?

We watched the pictures, they in turn
Winked softly in the candle-burn
Said nothing, for what is to say
Standing in that silent way?

The page's words were motionless
In their black and handsome dress
Poised upon a field of white
Standing in that silent night;

The moon and sun had hid their face
From this odd and half-lit place
The watch-quartz made as though it stopped
The time too stood, and silence dropped;

Whispers the child, perhaps in fear
In wonder of what we're doing here
Why so quiet? What do we listen for?
And we stood in silence, once more.
a postscript is here written:
Though romantics often thought children to be wise, perhaps misunderstanding Christ's admonition to 'be as a child' - a certain experiment can reveal that a child's lack of self-deception does not equate to wisdom. For the voice that silence whispers to us who know it well, does not yet seem to be heard by them, as when it is called upon, they do not know to let it speak. Instead, they wait for some audible sound to occur that we are listening for, or perhaps fear the silence and fill it with idle words. But silence can only be heard where sound ceases; this simple truth is subtle and they have yet to grasp it.