The Wind in the Heights

it is addressed thusly:
For G. Van Der Leun
it reads:
The wind among the heights that day
Was strong and brisk, and though they say
That old borough is high and dry
This day would make it seem a lie
For once we had heard of the deed
We required of none us to lead
To the promenade's tall edge
To gaze across its towering ledge
And see the city, whole in rout
Its deepest places turned out
To see the fires against the sky
The diving men whose rivers dry
Ran with fire and iron and blood
The blood their own, and dry the mud
Of the street on which they fell
And St. Nicholas' last tolling bell
So with a rumble, horrible and loud
The towers each became a cloud
A darkening soot the sun had dimmed
In fear the people, streets had rimmed
With men as men in terror fled
From the suffocating dread
And we from high and from afar
Thought not of this act of war
But marveled as each smoky band
Formed a darkling titan's hand
And reached across the river to us
And now, we too saw the panic and rush
And ran and squeezed and flew like dust
The coming dark! The rising dusk
Of cloud and gas and fire and ash
Along that narrow sidewalk dash
And barely inter our selves before
The darkness comes in all the more
And look from our own windows there
From front and back, the deadly air
As the dryness turns to rain
As though weeping in her pain
Seeing the glinting bits of men
Who died bravely there within
Gave city breath as from of old
And turned the gray of rain to gold.


The Song of The Poet at The Face of The Deep

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
"There are many things I have yet to tell,"
Said the poet to the wishing-well
"But I have no coins with which to ask,
I have only words to fit the task."
But from the well there was no reply
Only on the breeze was heard a gentle sigh.

"My first wish is for a silence deep,
A spirit for the secret I have to keep.
For my lips to weigh as milling-stones
So I may hear the spheres, their sounding tones."
But from the well there was no reply
Only on the breeze was heard a gentle sigh.

"My second wish is to be all alone,
With but a rooftop for my home
For as the sparrow like this remaineth fed,
Grant poor solitude to be my bed."
But from the well there was no reply
Only on the breeze was heard a gentle sigh.

"My third wish is stillness of the dead
Still like the lake mirroreth overhead
The clouds and birds and mountains and the sun
To not stir from the charms of anyone."
But from the well there was no reply
Only on the breeze was heard a gentle sigh.

And three sounds like stones were heard therein
Though not coin, nor gem were found within
For adequate words weigh like rocks when hurled
They drive them to the center of our world
But from the well there was no reply
Only on the breeze was heard a gentle sigh.


The Virtues

it reads:
"You have things which are not yours!"
Shouted the dusty troubadours;
Without a doubt a sentiment fine
They're all God's, they're not mine!


The Rose of the World

it is addressed thusly:
An ode. Apologies to WBY.
it reads:
Oh, great Rose of the World
Who from thorns was once unfurled
Can you not hear your servants call
Alas! It is the last hour by the wall
For the clock says eleven and a half
And they wonder why you do not laugh
The earth at hand is hard and cold
And men's hearts are growing old
Old of beauty, old of love
Old of wisdom which sits above
And each stroke bears little loam
Many rocks and clay beneath this dome
And the stars remind us of your light
Oh gold lamp-stand with beauty bright
And the messenger sent to tell of thee
And thy wondrous mystery?
A star he was, but one by birth
And we of semi-charmed earth
Behold now what but cannot be
Barren earth bears living tree
And the place we see is but a cave
But really it is become the only nave
And heaven! It is heaven then
And you the throne of Cherubim
Who sits with God upon her lap
Petal upon petal they overlap
For your womb must be the fertile ground
The garden of Eden! Wherein is found
All life in its ideal form
Even the lowly earthen worm
Of which I am, a digger-man
Eat of the earth for while I can
Oh, Rose, oh Rose, ask for us who
Bow our neck, beseech of you
A thing more deep and sweet and wild:
And she lifts her hand to give the Child.


The Sage Explicates His Exasperation

it reads:
I will explain with simple axioms
What I know of life's great conundrums
Though how often I've to repeat myself
I'll box the effort and place it on the shelf.


Dreamer, Dream Me

it is addressed thusly:
O my beautiful universe: dream of Reality and Reality will tell you everything. Admit the Reality, of which you are a dream, and you will awaken... -St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prayers by the Lake.
it reads:
Words, the keys to all mens' minds,
      the songs and symbols in them
My locks and stores of varied kinds
      once and more have been then
Sealed away behind a phrase,
      or barred beyond a statement
Belief and thought a twisting maze,
      memory a musky basement.

Hidden there are the truths sublime
      which we know not that we've learned
And fettered deep in aged rime
       the tools with which they're earned.
My eye, my hand, my foot, my arm;
       I ask for nothing more
Speak and I'll be healed from harm;
       just this I must implore.

'Antony!' he moves the sea, my spirit moves like wake;
'Antony, dream of Antony, You who dream, awake!'


What St. Nicholas Might Have Thought

it reads:
A red cap keeps a man warm
And a merry step keeps him from harm
Myra is a city of trouble and doubt
Nothing a gift or two won't do something about.



it reads:
"Who is deluded!" would say the man
who cannot see, but those who can
see simply that the man is blind
and to him are naught but kind.

Then cursed the most are those who see
But take sight as opportunity
To rob and wrong the crippled child
The wrath of justice, greatly riled.

But these indeed are blind as well
But it's a strange and sordid hell
When sight itself has come to be
The means by which we cannot see.


The 'Good' Excuse

it reads:
Does each weary travl'r see
Nature's gay, grand pageantry?

She is all decked for Christmastime
Flecked in white and silver rime
And red from oak and poplar bare
Whose advent umber under where
Leaves of green or orange had been
But pine and spruce now have the scene
With light from withered leave and grass
Whose dry clusters shine at last
With that high festal color gold
Who were not great until were old
And the effect upon the eyes
Makes men merry, warm and wise;

But this is just how I relate
Why I've failed to decorate.


Guilty Pleasures

it reads:
Sometimes, I admit
I wish, in the deepest
Recesses of my heart
That just one of the
Things that I have said
In the many words
I wrote and spoke
In seeking truth
Caused but one man
Somewhere reading it
To stop, start and say,
"No way!"



Winter's Night

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
As our world turns her back upon
That lantern, our effulgent sun
And behind clouds and buildings lies
The moon a-crossing pinlit skies
And north rides the course of light
And long breathes the waiting night

And long it is, at any hour
A dark and foreboding tower
Shows it six, or twelve or five
And heat lives only in the alive
How many hours are then the same?
How long is winter's waiting game?

Stretching out like summer's days
In winter's nights before me lays
The city's sky, a sickly red
On cloud or clear the lights have bled
Bled out their last and fleeting breath
For now sleep is the sleep of death

And waking comes, dropping long
As the leaking faucet's tinny song
Droop, droop, droop, in cold refrain
Until the dead shall rise again
 And see and greet the morning rain
And turn in that quavering dove-gray light
The rain to snow, and gray to white.


The Defense Rests, Perhaps Because it is Lazy

it reads:
The accusations are all quite true
Hypocrisy and what have you
I am not the man I seem
(I don't even support this team)
Virtues I simply don't possess
Have you seen how vain I dress?
Indeed I've judged most everyone
And I find not working to be fun
And fun I find quite tiresome
So I do all things under the gun
But even were I the worst you knew
We'd still have this work to do.


The Swordsman's Wife

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
A saw you then, in our dream
Or was it mine? It does often seem
That when I am near to you I find
Yours and mine are intertwined
And you were tall and bold and strong
As tall as I! If I saw not wrong
Though a little one in body be
In spirit you're a giant like me.


Things Never To Say To the Poet

it reads:
To the poet said he,
"Language is nothing but
Semantics, and see,
Evidence of what?"

"Evidence of all" was the reply,
"As years embed the body's frame,
What is known of earth and sky
Is stuck in every name."


The Poet Was Very Sorry

it is addressed thusly:
An apology.
it reads:
"Why poetry?" could be asked of me,
It seems idle creativity;
Words on page, on screen, on lips
While others fill their yards with ships;
Though I look not for apology
Off my tongue it slips.

Of others, I wrong them, true
Simply doing what I do;
With one, I make his fortunes worse
Another, tempt his heart to curse;
But who should mind, old or new
About a little verse?

Poetry is just a game
A man's one, but one the same
A sport of tag from word to word
No crowns or prizes first to third
But it's honored at least in name
Though it ne'er be heard.


Significance and Size

it reads:
The electron is so small
And yet if he is moving
At the wrong speed
Men may die.

Though men are made
Of many electrons:

The machine that flies the plane
Has a circuit
And on the circuit
The electron is king.

How small is the electron you say?
As small as you or I to the galaxy
To you or I.

And the plane is like the cosmos

So when someone tells you
That they are brave to think
Of their smallness in the world
And how insignificant it makes them
And that some people
Are less enlightened
As they don't consider their size

Then remember the electron
Who if he is the right electron
Unbeknownst to others
(And probably even himself)
Can move the entire cosmos
If he goes a little too fast.


Into the Morning

it reads:
Through my blinds the moving cars
Whose lights shine into early dawn
Whose drivers keep calm and carry on
Standing, look like flashing stars.