A Song For Two

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
We two often tender hearted
  Finding often ourselves wounded
    Our own efforts lost and foundered
      Wrecked upon the rocks of strife.

I for my part, clumsy-footed
  My prejudices deeply rooted
    Stepping boldly, blindly sighted
       Stabbing joys as with a knife.

You, I pray are patient-minded
  My own prayers in you are answered
    For forgiveness I may've offered
       Your recompense is more than rife.

This and this alone we've hoped on 
  Do good for evil, our only errand
    We stay calm and carry on
      The way we know for man and wife.


Whose Arts?

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
I see another promotion
A speaker has come 
A famous man:

I remember walking
The passages of that hotel
And thinking;

This is not the art I would pick
For I would not support
These artists.

Why is not hard to guess
For art is politic
In this post-modernity;

When we say, 'support the arts'
We all speak like practiced

We know everyone has in mind
Their favorite artists
Real or imaginary;

And behind those artists
A thousand ideas and causes
Values and vices.

Children need education
And this is certain
But what kind?

So can we not also ask
If we are to support the arts
Whose arts?

And the speaker knows
And the committee knows
And the audience applauds.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
Redford Robert Baltimore Arts Convention



it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
I'm not yet a true man
   Each face I wear's a mask;
Unmask me dear, unmask me!
   Until I'm me at last.


The Poet Throws Down, But Leaves The Pillows Aside

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
I had myself a battle, a little sort of tiff
It was with my shadow; appearing with a piff
Of gray and musty smoke, a curse upon his lips
A hatred for the struggle, and his hands upon his hips.

He had himself all sorts of contrary things to say
Not so much against me, but like night amid the day
Arguing that I was wrong while arguing I was right
Arguing that if I didn't argue I wouldn't sleep at night.

I took one look at him and said, "I know you from of old.
But back then I was more willing, and you far less bold.
But your case is done, and your strategy is foiled
I'll throw you down the laundry-chute, make sure your rear is oiled!'

In a brave attempt (though I be fain to call him brave)
He attempted his riposte: a broad and rambling rave!
'As life is only suffering, so who is one to tell
When your life is soon to be, to be a living hell!

You have largely by yourself made yourself agree
The first is true at least, at least, at least in a degree!
And so by what smart argument or logical advance
Can you rise above the wave of dumb and sickly chance?'

I thought a little bit, and I thought a bit a lot,
And in realizing what he was, I saw what he was not:
'It may be just for me to rot,' I said in my reply
'It may happen soon and sooner or only by and by.

And since I have no real right of justice to demand,
You may think it time to lay the chain upon my hand.
But no matter what my lot, my estate or my arrears
I will howl for heaven's mercy, until heaven hears!

And if indeed it is not in my own dear destiny
To be unburned in the flames as the saints may be;
I'll thank my God for beauty blest with every borrow'd breath
And bless Him with every sign I make, until the sign of death!'

Taken quite aback by this, my shade was now nonplussed
And seeing that his day had passed, he did as noon-days must
He made his fast escape attempt, which ended in a thump
For as he made to disappear, I kicked him in the rump!
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
Psalm 90 LXX


An Awful Thing

it reads:
An awful thing had happened to me
Today before just nine;
In turns it was eleven and eleven-to-three
But I woke up just fine.

You were in New York and I had to call
The details are a blur;
And we balanced, walked a crumbling wall
To avoid a prickly burr.

Now my phone was acting up
I threw it on the ground!
The battery and face broke right up
Neatly in a mound.

I swore up and down the pedigree
Of Google's phones was bad;
And awaking found it next to me
An HTC I had.

Last I recall us on the beach
In a town Victorian;
But you were there and out of reach
In New York again!

I was waiting for my old good friend
To Skype you from the bar
But his laptop was at the other end
He'd left it in his car!

I awoke asleep to wake again
A diff'rent time each time;
I know now before ten a.m.
Napping is a crime!


I Believe

it is addressed thusly:
Lines may be read alone or together, and this is meet.
it reads:
I believe
In the possibility
That I am entirely wrong
I take my leave, and now leave
From the volatility
Which drops long
Of reason's sheave.

The potential
Of all things is, but
Not all that can will be
Incremental; Neither incremental
Things all will be or what
In an instant was free
And given essential.

And I know
Now the reality
Of knowledge having known
How far it may go - and it may go
As far as man is free
Insofar he may own
Any below.

Vapor of dreams
Brace us as child
Chase us through time
Is what it seems? And what it seems
Is psyche riled
To utter in rhyme
Eternal themes.

But now leave
My leaden thoughts
And rise in mind above
And do not grieve (but if you grieve)
Think not on oughts
But suffer in love
This I believe.


The Sign & The Truth

it is addressed thusly:
A question.
it reads:
The form of the thing is the sign
Of the truth which may be and when
The eye sees the beauty within
The sign and the truth align.

Now does a man see the real
Whose fetishes line his walls
Do the features compose what he calls
The good for which he must feel?

When seeking the meaning of things
Men often examine the shapes
Put on the colors like capes
Fly in the forms as with wings;

A system is often conceived
Which brings them together in mind
Is this our symbol and sign?
A chimera by which we're deceived?

A symbol like translucent glass
Which veils and reveals all the same
Simple figures herald our game
A first stanza just like the last.


Rule (June)

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
And comes Rule with hot days
And we are told she is not-yet-summer
But summer she is, in the brilliance
Of the colors changing with the clouds.

In the woods, I mean, where from
Chartreuse and hunter comes a time
Where all is muted to the tones
Of grass in the time of spring.

Beneath my feet where moss and ant
And mosquito and wild-strawberry
Seemingly play; and in nature all
Play is seeming and seeming, play.

The fire-lit lilies all proudly proceed
And rule like a short dynasty from
Daffodil until midsummer in armies
Climbing walls and standing guard.

If I cared for calendars and the motion
Of the heavenly bodies in their bleach-white
Color-by-number charts I would've missed
Low summer, and Rule, his queen.


The Rain In The Summer

it is addressed thusly:
The sun turns gray / this rainy day
it reads:
A gray coolness sits
Over all this day, and I
Rest like the damp leaves.

Where went the heat here
That wilted and made thirsty
All flesh, and now hides?

Hands reaching for light
In the cool afternoon find
Drink and sag bedewed.


The Forgotten Things

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
I have dreamt too many dreams for ever them to be
As ten thousand stars in the sight above the sea
Invisible as the host in the brightness of the day
Or hidden in the night by the white Milky Way
O these, o these are my most beloved things
O mystery of the hidden, o silent one that sings
A light is in the eyes, a fire is in the bones
The unnamed share the name of the nameless holy ones.


Sonnet II, "If in true love you war"

it is addressed thusly:
Steel yourselves!

it reads:

I have known some whose speech and thought were clear
On matters valorous, of war and wound
To think of peace through battle found them swooned
To fight another, could the conscience sear?

And even others who knew 'twas not so
Desired peace and thus drew not the sword
A cold detente we soon had found abhorred
The end would come how soon, no man could know.

The seeming always calls a fruitless act
The battle-cry, the sounding of the horns
As all is lost, with wreck and waste before!
But what surprise awaits a knightly tact
If not the honest fisticuffs she scorns
Then hope in peace if in true love you war.


Sonnet I, "Through word oft and only"

it is addressed thusly:
We're quite thankful for the rubber eraser (and the delete key.)
it reads:
A word is written, and from it we read
A rightly spoken, broken sort of charm
Has it awoken, the rhyme which does no harm
And hearing it, inspires a good indeed?

And mostly now in writ we find untrue
Our good intentions for naught did we dream,
A dream of eloquence and words agleam
With honest love and sanguine valor's hue?

For now and ever in this world is hid
From man his own true wishes are concealed
And dim his eyes from passion's stormy din
So by word bound with chain his hands amid
And through word oft and only are revealed
From pain and lies the truth impressed within.

With The Breaking of Day

it is addressed thusly:
A question.

it reads:
And how does a man regain what is lost
Does he seek it long or pay its full cost?
Or does the man diligent, watch and pray
And find it again, with the breaking of day?


What is a Prayer?

it is addressed thusly:
A question, and an answer.

it reads:
Is it an exercise for just the mind
A magic word, a mere request for aid
Transforming acts, Imprinting newly made?
Is none and all, this man has come to find.



it is addressed thusly:
A song.

it reads:
I stand at the edge
Of this new thing; And now
I look back and see the land
Before this sea and breath
Leaves me; For I behold each
Field and moor, the grottos
The paths and highways which
I walked.

I stand at the edge
And an invisible tear leaves
My eyes; I do not cry but
I feel a sweet despair of
Mourning, for in me it will be
A new creation, and the old will be
Rolled up as one puts away
A coat.

I stand at the edge
Of memory and tear gently
At the fibers; old patches
Turning the old life into
New, bit by bit and what was
May be remembered like
Sepia tones, so gently in
My reveries.

I stand at the edge
And push forward; the wind
Goes where it wist, and I
Go with it now; and I shall
Only see again what was
After all else is gone
It's time undone and unmade
And I
With it.


The Sculptor's Lament

it is addressed thusly:
How clearly do we see?

it reads:
"I had in my mind," the old man said,
"What it was I was to say,
But what I had within my head
Could never see the light of day."
He then reclined his head.

I could not ask him why this was,
But only let him continue,
"The story can only be told thus,
For such is its true purview."
He then began it thus.

"A hundred statues stand true and tall
Perfect faces of their moment,
And line they this a beaut'ous hall
And pause and awe they foment."
But the story was not about the hall.

"In each is captured something true
For else they'd hold no beauty,
But each holds a problem new
For such is a statue's duty."
And neither was the story new.

"When a sculptor comes to make
And his is to do the making,
He wants the ancient mold to break
As each figure his art is breaking."
These beauties, do we come to break?

"No, my son, unless he's bent,
The sculptor will not break them
From each to each his eyes they went
To see how one might make them."
And on his story went.

"This sculptor is a man like you,
Great only when he's humble,
He catches glimpses of the True,
And feels his fingers fumble."
And that at least was true.

"He sees the forms and now recalls
Those who invoked their shapes
But narrow now, abridged by walls
Theirs seems the work of apes."
But we're not here to speak of walls.

"But now the rub, the statues' foil
Has to him become quite real
No matter how increased the toil
The counterfeits will steal!"
Was the story about the toil?

"To never make a thing of earth
Iconoclasts will rail
But his job, his call, his life, his worth
In earth-making not to fail."
But what was this thing of worth?

"So set he about to copy true
The forms that he was seeing
Each curve, each arc, each edge, each hue
That hint at beauty's being."
But this did not concern a hue.

"Would he succeed in this old creed
To craft a revelation?
Where is such a lofty deed?
Such a tribulation?"
What were we to say, of such a deed?

"It is undecided if he did
For even if his craft
Was so great and kept amid
Those with whom goodness laughed?"
Was beauty then to be hid?

"There still come the robbers now
To borrow of his forms;
They take all fraud its arts allows
Of head, of legs, of arms."
Who this crime allows?

"Nonetheless with his success
The sign may be renewed;
To the infinite, no less
An addition not eschewed."
A feat, no more, no less.

He his tale now finished here
With an uncertain end
And wiped away a single tear
Away he did me send.
Was it just to cry the tear?


The Sage Considers Evils Spoken of his Country-Men

it is addressed thusly:
To those who find Decoration Day a time to work politics.

it reads:
Dead men's bones, dead men's bones
What shall we do about them?
A song I hear, and it intones:
What would we do without them?

Each politic a fancy way
Of old intimidation
A hat, a brace, an ivr'y lei
What simple motivation!

And now consider modern wit
Of non-profit fund-raising
A body may suffice for it
Dead better than the living!

And some patriots may not wear
Their enemies for a showing
But their dead are often heard of there
In cajoling us in going.

The anarchist and counter-cult
Parade bones just the same
But worse; in evil they exult
Unearth the dead for shame!

All men it seems exploit the dead
Sometimes they think, for good
Oh, but to those who bow their head
Is better they never would.

You, consider those who passed
In valor beyond the pall
And if advantage you seek at last
You should just forget them all.