The Poet's Dream, Introduction

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
Ephrem Gray, he did one day
Sit down to write a sonnet
But his pen would not obey
From when he set upon it
To scribble out, without a doubt
The thing which he had dreamed
In verse, no worse, all about
The true picture that it seemed.
By try as he might, from morn to night
Things pushed his pen away
Chores and more, those duties light
Quietly his quest belay'd.
Till that vision, its lucent frission
Had faded faster than the fog
Of dawn, and on, and so his mission
Itself was sunk in sallow smog.
And he forgot, all but 'bon mot'
Of what had moved his mind of late
In daze, the phrase just marked the spot
It was, "I, grown, await."


The Poet's Dream, I

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
"Trouble's root sprouts forth in youth
Whose beginning is before remembrance
Unveiled, the heart finds earth uncouth
From whence it first found entrance."

Ephrem had then set down his pen
His tea-kettle whistled for attention
And askance the pen it lay for ten
Seconds and dripped extension
To his letter, if to make it better
Or twas its penned pretension.


Grand Reversal

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
We were the dumb beasts there
Awaiting the coming of our voices
Craning neck; mutely o'er where
Reclined one who made no noises
But spoke he not for lack of words
But for the use of lip and tongue
And we wordless, like other herds
Forgot our speech and what was sung
While pondered two, also silent
One with worry and one with song
For neither was there sure reliant
The years and winters endure long;
Though what laugh could the child
Have made had he there speech?
What strange song or mystery wild
Did he to his mother beseech?
Did he reassure her in return
With still small breath did he stop
Fear breathless when he did turn
The world upon its top?


On The Age of Things

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
In times like these a man can wonder
If age is not but a side effect
Of interminable layers of stress
Each pulled, rolled slowly under
Until even the surface is specked
With sweat, with time, and duress
Yet makes fine, dignified dress.



it is addressed thusly:
A question.
it reads:
When we speak of the Nativity,
All words seem to lack sufficiency;
Christmas is a warming of the heart,
For which a verse may do its part;
But no mere sentiment can contain
No melodic rhyme can right explain
What it is from all these flow
What made men celebrate the snow
When it was darkest, before they knew?
A hope of spring in a moon or two;
But the real root we cannot see
Lost in the mist of antiquity
Ideas many, but words are few
From the ones who first did strew
Holly-bough upon a hearth,
Raise festal tree upon the earth?
What was in his gleaming eye,
About spring-sprout did he sigh?
Or did he groan because in night
Like the earth, he hoped for light?


To Be Titled - Introduction

it is addressed thusly:
A prelude of sorts.
it reads:
Twixt night and day I found the bars
Which to my prison bound me
Of wood grown old which poison mars
I knew then did surround me;
Would I wake to find them there
Or alone sleep on in bliss?
In ecstasy I saw fill the air
The seeds of death's cold kiss.
So I took to wandering
   and wondered all the more
Till in holy dread I drank
   upon that mirthful shore
And drew the keeper from his pit
Who hides beneath the rock
And steal from his own bilious spit
The turning of the clock
And actual the prison make
Of wooden fettered sorrow
And from him take, that sallow snake
The memories of tomorrow.


To The Last Leaf

it is addressed thusly:
To a time of quietness.
it reads:
This leaf a blank page
Shall I write upon it now
Or silent, let fly?


The Sage Responds to Those Who Destroy the Images

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Cast aside, the images made
By human hands? And then to bade
Enter inner spaces, wade
Waist deep in deeper meaning;
This one, who within his snare
Cannot venture, enter there
Words too, for those who dare
Must see about their weaning;
And melody and gesture die
All form and shape, from the eye
Of he who seeks, whom cannot lie
The truer inner darkness?
"But he who truly enters there
knows no merely earthly care"
Our Father said, "but now fair
Returns to earth as spotless."
Then the pen and the voice
The feet, no more a merely noise
Image infers, a glorious guise
An art illuminated.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
In walking he came upon the strangest sight
Words there written as garish as they were bright:

"A total commitment is all we're asking for
Anything less, we know you don't really care
While you slack we may lose a thousand or more
Act now, there isn't another moment to spare!"

"If then these are counted virtues" replied the Sage,
"Then let me be the greatest fool of this age!"


Shut up

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
To be one shut up who can not come forth
As David cried, to that silence that absorbs
All inspiration, but maybe the dry quiet speaks
Without saying, and perhaps one of those Greeks
Said that silence is sound ending only to man
But not to God, to God! Who was before sound began.


The Hurricanes

it reads:
The passing giants
Whose shadows cast a dark cloud
Left us with buckets.


To walk on water is a marvelous feat
And these giant ones passed o'er it walking
Their shadows did a silent cloud create
But we with buckets gather water, talking.



Plato's Copse

it is addressed thusly:

it reads:
The brightness we have seen behind the shade
Is cast like shadows on a brightened wall
This light which we had always though we'd made
Beyond the veil; it is the all in all.
a postscript is here written:
Photo done picked from:


Light and the Shadows

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
An eye is given for an eye
And sons are for the widows
By this trick I cannot lie;
the Light and the Shadows.

A quarter turn marks part the night
For watchers of the windows
When sun gathers sharp and bright
in the Light and the Shadows.

In the left then hold the moon
For sight of nighttime's fellows
And right has sun, for your boon
Your Light and the Shadows.

"Come forth, come forth ye sleight of hand"
The speaker then he bellows;
"Where was one, now two stand
Light and the Shadows."


Field, Or

it is addressed thusly:

it reads:
This gold, though my own senses tell me so
Is but the bright embrace of flowered spring
Yet the path, the sky's fair dappled glow
Have brought to mind a far more heavenly thing.
a postscript is here written:
I absconded with this photo; scene of the crimes:


Purple Haze

it is addressed thusly:

it reads:
This is, she said to me, the king's own land
Although so few alive today may see it
It purples 'neath the twilight's gentle hand
Till morning's light should come and swiftly free it.
a postscript is here written:
A calumny! This photo was done took from:


Sound & Fury

it is addressed thusly:

it reads:
What I saw there I now cannot say
Asunder furling cloud, dark fog was gone
A thunder like the brilliant break of day
A sound the color of the coming dawn.
a postscript is here written:
Done took from:


The Flag of Civilization

it is addressed thusly:

it reads:
On sable, argent dish and silver swag
A cookie, vert, on sable, even spaced;
My table sets as though it were my flag
A heraldry of utmost poise and taste
a postscript is here written:
evicted by force from:


Leaning Down

it is addressed thusly:
it reads:
But with shape and contour we see it now
A sight our masters would not e'er allow
The watchers hover, dispassion upon their brow
So full of stars, in golden heaven's bow.
a postscript is here written:
pinched like candy from here:


Night Lighting

it is addressed thusly:

it reads:
Then with the swiftness of a change of mind
The cleft is by an arc of bril'iance breach'd
Will we who reaching up, then come to find
All flame we are, just as the lightning reach'd?
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:



it is addressed thusly:

it reads:
The resting of the breeze upon my hair
Which fell like raining from this lofty roof
It lays now like the lot of worldly care
Old yet lovely, colorless and aloof.
a postscript is here written:
Photo pilfered wretchedly from here:


Social Gospel

it is addressed thusly:
it reads:
Then is the bareness of the gospel this
A church as plain as any old gray pall
Who then may know what is true purpose is?
Then it is what I write upon the wall.
a postscript is here written:
picture unreasonably filched from:


The Shore's Face

it is addressed thusly:
it reads:
The edges of my psyche grow each year
More like a turquoise rock by lichen made
Somewhat hairy, only sunrise near
Does mark this rock from any other shade.
a postscript is here written:
Stolen shamelessly from here:


The Passer-by

it is addressed thusly:

it reads:
He said, 'It's hard when no-one understands
And who does? All words, we speak outright
That now we will be understood? They are but hands
To shield ourselves from understanding's light.'
a postscript is here written:
Photo stolen un-apologetically from here:



it is addressed thusly:
A musing.
it reads:
This! As if one had thrown all the colors
Into a bird so great and many-eyed
And thrust it haphazard upon the shores
Whereupon the bird had promptly died.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Plates! Get 'em spinning
Tell everyone you're winning
And hope they don't see the sweat
Your fifteen minutes ain't up yet!


The Dregs

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The solace of sunshine, the peace of rain
I would gather it up, into my silver cup
And drink deep, its secrets I would keep
Pouring like a golden tear, and hear
The last drip, drip, and so slack my grip
And leave the dregs last, in the cold glass
Leave the dregs there! for the brightening air
That breathes life to everyone
   is but the dregs of the sun.


First Numbered

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Six hundred and fifty seven --
How dare one to quantify
To count, that is, the leaven
Cast into the bread of life?
And thereby, see beyond its strife
Counted blessings, they say
None deserved, but each bought
Bought with each numbered day
Won in each battle fought
But to be given as one ought
Be all blessed things, away
As may man to his wife
Now give as he is able
Even to the blood of his life
If it yet be no fable
And each drop counted, then
As the tears even overwrought
And we return once again
Hereafter counting, consider our lot
Not blessings received, but given
Count each candle its lit-match sought;
- Six hundred and fifty seven.


The Sage Considers the Art of Disbelief

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The thwarted child responds with hate
And the arsenal of all denial
The disbeliever must too reciprocate
Being its likeness all the while.
God, whose subtleties they miss
Is unseen for them to revile
So to fellow-man, a deathly kiss
Will make their inch a mile.


The Poet Conisders the Lights of Heaven

it reads:
"What are the suns, if even
Sol Invictus, runt of their litter
pours more light, through sieving
Than would turn our world to glitter?

"What then must be, even more
The Womb of Stars, that vault
Amid the dusts of heaven's shore
Where each is made without fault?

"And how great is it - this pain
As dusky heaven brings forth her sons
That all of the worlds are but the stain
Of blood and water, from these mighty ones?"


The Crux

it reads:
What man will accept such injury?
Who but the doctor may wield the knife?
I know only what has been shown to me,
That death still is not the same as life.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Reincarnation, of which the poets spoke
May seem to us a foolish joke
And though ne'er transmigrated will I be
My son's the reincarnation of me.


Silver Stream

it is addressed thusly:
For Roland John Ford.
it reads:
I took a stone and skipped it
I drew forth my hand and dipped it
Dipped it deep within this stream
Can I recall how long it's been
Been since young I sat and watched
Watched as sundry items crossed
Crossed across this land?

A leaf does pass and with it fish
Fish of silver, as a wish
Passing long, and staying short
Seen but brief to make retort
Retort to call it back, a dream
Dream among the brown and green
And lay it in my hand?

What are carried, as the thoughts
Among the wispy watery knots
Who sing its wistful, burbling song
A song whose day was all but long
Long its measure, driving slow
Slow as we who sit below
And try to understand?

Lapping, rolling life and ring
Ring of trees about it sing
Sing of their source, sing of their end
Or sing of going 'round the bend
A bend beyond this riven land
And give forth a vision grand?
A cataract, a mighty strand?
Or yet, as I withdraw my hand
Nothing more than this.


The Poet Considers Things True

it reads:
Sometimes wearing the cloth
Of human thought
Flitting light like a moth
From is and ought
Man speaks a word and thinks
He has made truth
But truth, unseen, just blinks
And awaits his proof.


The Song of the Workman

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Whistle, sing or shout
Because these are the facts:
Until we work it out
No time yet to relax!


The Song of the Sleeper

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Am I not a dream?
And so in that dawn
Not as it may seem
As dream I'll be gone.


The Orator Speaks of The Human Condition

it is addressed thusly:
A question
it reads:
And when they have brought low
Everything that tears and stings
And even the elements will know
They are our playthings;
And then who will remain
The masters to tame?

Who is more dangerous than man
And who is more ingenious?
Are we not he? Then can
Anything be done to save us?
War is too grand
For a final stand;

All are too clever by half
And everyone is slightly mad
Perhaps one madcap laugh
Is what remains to be had
Before it all slips
Get into the ships!

And the clock no more does know
The times for its rings
And even the nurses are brought low
Who are the playthings
In this asylum
We must be 'em.



it reads:
Ignorance! And what other
Has been said of thee, but
To thy infamy, and no bother
To those that know, and what
Knowledge! It is but this
The wind blows not for itself
Nor shines sun by its wish
The earth covets not her wealth
The clouds frosting the hills
Ancient stars and worlds afar
Care not, nor have they wills
But it be found another's wish
As uncut rock upon the rills
Indifferent! Come out
Thou hidden jewel made
For thee? I doubt;
And to this thee I bade
Love, but care not for this
Which dies, but reach beyond
That of which we're merely fond
Let truth and mercy kiss
And be another's! And this
Is bliss.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Oh mirth! Is it the hidden play
Of the sun, of the rain, giving
The prism to break each ray
In effulgence of the living
Who alack and allay, fear
Sorrow, which as a rose
Upon which alights a tear;
But single, unless it dies
And come forth, as cries
Dear laughter, as nectar goes
Into honey, into night
And oh!
Sweetness and light.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The fear of the heart in unknowing
In the true other, which is to the mind
A remembrance of death going
Past knowledge, past time
Oh! To be whole before wholeness
Blooms forth on the vine
Until the very cleft of its fullness
This is the dread divine.


The Blessing of the Entrance

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
My hand finds the doorknob and I think
We live in exile, in this place
As in a desert, with naught to drink
We, the latter human race;
The one embraced our mis'rable state
As though our lot weren't lacking
The other impatient, could not wait
All things most glad attacking;
"No house as this is truly home
Nor is ours truly other
We will know when it is gone
This earth which is our mother;
As the line of good and ill
Lies within the heart
So the wicked or good will
May be its greatest part;
In the bringing exiles home
If be in this dwelling
That in heart they no more roam
With these verses telling."



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
It was there upon the village green
The warm light of flame when seen
Against the stars in window-frame
Dwelling only where fled fame
I think, blinking at perhaps a tear
For so far it was for a place so near
And men would cut his ragged coat
And reuse him like a Wilde quote
Hang him up like a trophy of sport
And men would pay - and men would gloat  -
But lowly always did he deport
Himself - throne over throne were lifted
O'er the wonders he once gifted
And 'neath thatched roofs to float
And who there saw his varigate coat?
And who thought he dwelt so near?
In each sigh, in each tear
A villein, of no particular fame
Found now, in ironic picture-frame
In hearthless houses often seen
Where no more is village green?
a postscript is here written:
In 'Howl's Moving Castle' does not the fire-demon somehow become the spirit of the hearth?


The Orator Considers What is Beautiful in its Time

it is addressed thusly:
A word.
it reads:
These persons of tan, taut skin
In the news, out of the corner of my eye
I think, is that a bronze mannequin?
But as often, my sight may lie
What is the makeup for that?
What body oils? What workout plans?
Is it brass elegance at the drop of a hat
Or hours of dabbing and light fans?
Is it the flash of the camera that brings
Out this metallic countenance?
Is it mortal desire which rings
The dab'd eyes, the strange romance?
I cannot blame, one such as I am
Who knows, perhaps I am misled
Content with my meager ham
Ready as ever, rolling out of bed
Perhaps a stray hair may interfere
And dirt intrude too dense
And tiredness too much inhere
As surely I lack good sense;
Nonetheless once I saw the woods
Unchang'd, surely, but for my eye
In a light so crisp, what strange moods!
I know of a beauty which does not lie.


12 Beautiful Gates

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
When I was in the city bright
Unnamed the streets, the never-night,
I saw there stood gates ten and two,
And each pearlescent color too
Caught and refracted scattered rays
Which color paints the man who stays.

But such visions, shadows are
Of more solid things by far
But unseen, and so what
Did my heart's own eye then cut
From this raw as gem from stone
Which sees the hidden itself alone?

These twelve gates are the beauties fair
Which are scatter'd 'bout the air
True splendor of the things that be
Twelve-tones for our melody
Four and three are join'd there
Triumphant, florid, humble, austere.


A Diapoeisis

it is addressed thusly:
A vision
it reads:
And the poet and the sage,
Did this dialogue engage:

"Oh, the fleeting desires of man
Which like weather-vane do turn
On a breath; And who here can
Know them at all? Or begin to learn
Their length or breadth or depth or span
Which ever change, and thus spurn
The wisest eye, most learned hand?"

"And he who sees the abyss all grim,
Does not that abyss see also him?"

"As these words are spoken through,
I see knowledge but half formed;
For it is true your heart I never knew
For your sins I've never mourned;
But what of these things is more true
This the truth we all have scorned,
This abyss for me is me, and for you is you."

"Then what of those who never could
Come to be but understood?"

"Self knowledge then, I think
Is to seek to understand
Others, and not fear the brink
Or the darkling, forgotten land
And as each, opaque as ink
Must turn to self, this key demand
Of his own, and deeply drink."

"So then to know, and thus be known
Is to be broken, lost and overthrown."

"Your couplets do express with terse
verbiage the core of what I've meant to mean
And perhaps you can with final verse
The ear of each soul cause to lean
In and hear, for better or worse
Silver-inlaid of gold, that queen
Broke-heart that broke the curse?"

"Wisdom says of knowledge but this,
Life is hid in death's cold kiss."


The Song of the Shooting Star

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Said the shooting star,
"To where shall you run?
Shall you traverse so far
As to outrace the sun?"

He who wandered did reply,
"I go where I will,
Now begone from the sky
Before I wish you ill."

Said the shooting star,
"But from what are you fleeing?
Is your home afar,
Or fear your state of being?"

He who wandered did reply,
"What business is it of yours
Who underneath the sky
Wanders, flees or tours?"

Said the shooting star,
"Then grant me but to know,
If you wished to go so far
Why know not where you go?"

He who wandered did reply,
"Am I such fascination?
I traverse from sea to sea
Until I know my destination."

Then as does his kind,
The star fell out of sight;
"A man his way does find,
But not by his own light."



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
In that apartment, the party there
Ceased speech to listen in with care
For a poet's verses bare
On color this he deemed to share:
"White, it is thought, a color fair
Of snow, of light, of purer air
And often things somewhat off
Do its pale moniker doff
Is pearl like white, though sometimes black?
And cream, and bone-white do they lack?
And what of the white of death?
The pallor of flesh alack of breath?
And though black is thought the hue of void
As the sight of light destroyed?
Is white not the blank of unused page?
And what of unrelenting rage?
The clenching fist does show its pale
And red not white, recalls the hale?"
This being spoken, each ear inclined
The poet ceased, a dog then whined
Each lord and lady was there reclined
Had each made up their own mind
And as God's answer to those there
With sudden shudder, did then tear
White-lightning through the darkened air.


The Sage's Futility

it reads:
The sage stood at the water's edge
And lamented his days saying,
"I am content to stand at this sedge
And see the twilight's graying;
But what good is knowing a thing
And of knowledge in the having
What does wisdom bring
The end to the soul's laughing?"
And the duck that was there
Sunning in the sun's last ray
At this took to the air
And called out to him to say,
"Why do you bring this bother
And noisome, loud declaiming
I'll find for me some other
With less penchant for complaining!"
And not having seen the duck
Nor expecting him to speak
The sage walked back through the muck
And was wordless for a week.


What May Come

it reads:
And summer comes by degrees,
The dark months receding
The bean-pole's rise decrees
May's soon to be greeting
My mind returns to other Mays
For the month of may-have-been
Is so named, in other ways
For other reasons I have seen
But how am I not like the world
In twelve-months so dressed,
A soul spiral like-curled
Round about its nothingness?

Hear then, this month does remind
Of every would-be and could
Weddings and adventures in kind
Opportunity tells one he should
But how we forget - like gentle earth
The scars of winter, the heat of June
Refreshed as through new birth
Our innocence regained so soon;
Only to be stolen - unless we regret
And become not merely innocent
A boon for its time and yet
For our labors, insufficient.

And the wheel of the mind turns slow
And forgetfulness is sweet repose
Oh! Woe to he who might know
Woe to him whose wisdom grows
Who remembers these old things
Who contemplates in this age
To he whose mind finds wings
To he whom would be a sage
But as labor is man's own lot
To toil with thorns and tears
To turn away from woe is not
To ever escape these doom'd years.


The Orator Declares his Rivalry

it is addressed thusly:
To certain persons, who will know this dedication.
it reads:
I will be your enemy, if only
So that you have someone to fight
Yes, I will earn your ignominy
If I can I shall earn the right
For what shall you know of these
Gladness, or fear, or relief
Of what the psalmist decrees
The teacher earns grief?
It is thought in this day and age
To antagonize is a greater evil
Than empassion'd crimes of rage
Than to be even the devil;
For it is thought that he has excuse
Even, but not I (for I know better)
In this then I will find great use
I shall be your grief's begetter;
But then too I shall be as well
The secret of your joy, to be
Even if I cast you down to hell;
Yes, I shall be your enemy
It is just as well.


On The Hearing Of The Death of a Certain Man (SONNET IV)

it is addressed thusly:
A word.
it reads:
I do believe a time comes for a man
Who is no-one's foe at all in person
The enemy of people and their land
We cannot in this our souls then worsen

By being glad for his demise, in knowing
That his terrors and his schemes have ended
And that it is God's gentle wind now blowing
Recompense on those whom he offended

Had killed, and now at this their mourning kin
Can finally say 'it is enough' and not
Be thought unjust or cowardly within;
For with the glad to shout, this is our lot.

But everyone knows and cannot pretend
That with him our troubles shall not end.


Sonnet III, 'The mute'

it reads:
The rainbow I'm told a promise was
In time long before my birth
And purple the sign of royalty's trust
The mighty upon the earth;

And even discrimination meant
What from the wise we ask
And the joy of solemn merriment
Had a word fit to the task;

But soiled by foreign mixture all of these
Our words and symbols have been marred
Lent to foreign gods of unknown lease
Pawned to masters penurious and hard;

And what has been our glorious return?
Ev'ry old lesson, we'll now relearn.


Nine PM

it is addressed thusly:
An ode
it reads:
The bells! May I be the one that tells
Of their endless sport - is this Heaven's court?
And early too, these driving swells
I hear now their glad report
Of what! They spake no words aright
But in sound capered and danced around
Their peals erupting in the night
The street's catcalls are all but drowned
Drowned by iron, brass - a joyful mass?
But we brave, await still in the grave
For our master to sit up at last
And make bright heaven a cave.


The Consideration of Things

it reads:
When I hear you, O Pharisee
From across every century
Do I grieve more than I should
We would, even though we could
Do other, despite our great loss
-  nail him again to the cross?



it reads:
In showing himself to be three
God has made known what it is to be.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
energetic procession freedom being god


The Cost

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
How is freedom different than peace?
Or how is peace other than freedom?
Something of both at least
Must be what is between them
Which men seek but know not of
And must miss the mark for either
Men want to believe peace is love
And freedom, if you'll believe her
Is no constraint from other men
Or just not of affirmation
Acceptance, attention and then
What is the realization?
Clear as day in this darkling plane
That they are by any device
Both goods by truth and by name
And ev'ry good shall receive its price.


An Ode to a Book of Addresses

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
O Book, who once was made
To dispel forget's dim shade
Has now done its job and yet
Because of this, I may forget.


The Orator Pleads for Zion

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The city is a place much different
To each man who has dwelt in it
For each street presents a dif'rent view
Another town, to me, to you
But the farce of the interstate
Is it drives the heart to hate
By presenting to the varied princes
A selfsame view, and each winces
For having her so oft in sight
He thinks that he may know her right
But as he has but oft but glanced her cover
He can desire, but never love her.


The Quietness of the Rews

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
"The Rews", she said, you must go find,
The picture, thus, within his mind
And before, the tall majestic hall
Apartments nine, and upon each wall
Plates so large, so platters were
Of fine enamels hung-rows there
And no sound had reached the ear
Save a meditative strumming lyre
Whose notes were not more than two
Such was the quietness of the rews.

And the silence hung heavy like an air
And mist like mystery gathered there
It was not visitor, but the second room
Seemed it to congregate, ever soon
And not obvious from prior place
It communed, hung heavy 'round his face
Some was smoke, a hookah's mist
But also the cool cloud his lips had kissed
And breathed it in, also his nous
Such was the quietness of the rews.

He stepped with softness into the third
Apartment and without a word
Found himself prepared to choke
For the mist was here a roiling smoke
And hardly a glint seen from the wall
Of the plates could be seen at all
And the strumming two-note song
And the hallway broad and long
Offal-obscured from a thousand flues
Such was the quietness of the rews.

And uncovering his mouth he stood before
A sitting, strumming, music-Moor
Who regarding him gently, strumming lyre
Bald in head, inclined his ear
To more deeply absorb his song
Which truth be told, was two notes long
And here overlooked a dewy lawn
A courtyard pillared stretching awn
And the walnut lyre knew well its cues
Such was the quietness of the rews.

He passed without halt into the fifth
A room of music's nearest kith
And though no men sat upon a chair
And all furnishings were vacant there
A murmuring was heard around
The gentle, sanguine chatter-sound
Of the pashas beyond by auspicious trick
Was here transported and laid thick
But of the means was left no clues
Such was the quietness of the rews.

And the sixth bore him yet more surprise
As he walked in he rubbed his eyes
For darkness walked about that place
Or there like company called and show'd its face
The only light was that beyond
Which spread not there, as lily-pond
Was the shadow, and he could see
And count the pashas, by two and three
Ten were they, and sat in twos
Such was the quietness of the rews.

His foot gave him warning, but heeding not
He proceeded, such was his lot
And the tension this apartment bore
Was as much, or maybe more
Than a man can bear! But from whence
Did this anxiety come, or commence?
It sat in chairs and hung like palls
It was in the floor, and in the walls
To enter its attention drew
Such was the quietness of the rews.

The eighth and prior apartment then
Stood between him and and ten
It drew him! Drew him, deeper still
He breathed and sighed here his fill
For wetness drew upon all things
Tear on the cheek, which came in streams
Myrrh and dew and oil were there
And the heavy silence wept but a tear
And saw the pashas bright reds and blues
Such was the quietness of the rews.

And with measured boldness stepped he in
And found himself to be within
A company of brightening lords
Who stopped their talk and idle words
To see their visitor, intruding boy
And weapons rattled, a rude envoy
And bare he then with certain dread
Back into the shadow'd rooms he fled
To send and send again the news
Such was the quietness of the rews.
a postscript is here written:

1. This poem derives from a dream. In the dream, 'The Quietness of the Rews' was something I seemed to be familiar with, as though it already existed. Upon awaking I tried to find evidence of such a thing existing, but could not. The poem was not in the dream, but the imagery for it was. I do not know the meaning of the young man fleeing at the end, nor what the 'Rews' are. I had assumed originally that the 'Rews' was in a particular accent a way of referring to the rows of enameled platters hanging on the walls of the manor, but as I wrote the poem I became less convinced of this. In fact, I am still uncertain what any of it means. But I present it to the reader more or less as it was, with some interpolation for rooms not clearly addressed in the dream.

2. Rews is said like 'few'.

3. Lyre in this case rhymes with 'leer' and not 'pyre'.


As a Drink Offering

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The shame of youth is this:
And we all know what we think
That spring's a verdant bliss
And else after a bitter drink

But it is simply to learn the art
Of consuming one's life to coal
As the candle's burning part
Makes bright by reducing the whole;

And the youth has in his hand
The handle of life to pour
Before he can understand
What he should use it for.


The Right Eye

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Dost thou judge, O eye
And hast thou not heard
What befalleth them that belie
That very word -- !
- pluck - to any eyeball
Ought it not to cause fear!
But inure to such sounds all
For thou art no ear!


The Prince

it is addressed thusly:
A ballad.
it reads:
He by will will rule the world;
He will see his desire fulfilled;
His kingdom it shall be unfurled
It will be as he had willed;

But the seamless, forms a seam
Like a slow and steady leak
And he has another dream
Of seven days of the week.

No lesson there for him
But what could it mean?
This department's lights are dim
A failing left unseen?

They will perish, it is ordained
From on high as there be
Survival's rules shall be retained
Fortune is as nothing to he.

But from whence comes now this
The deep of over-work'd man's brain?
For all his hits, this single miss
His unconscious must be to blame.

And before him now stand six
Six men he has never known
Their faces impassive, a gentle mix
of grave and mild and windward blown.

And now he recalls all the fools
Over whom his triumph rose
They failed to serve as his tools
For this he served them many woes;

And this time in his hand
Are five seeds of greatest worth
Just these and lifeless land
The seeds of all the earth!

Now he seeks wholly to find
To find from whence these chimeras come
He seeks doctors of the mind
And medicines, far more than some

But he dreams still all the more
No help from science's kens
He stands upon the furthest shore
And speaks with the four winds!

Madness grips him, for his loss
Of power over his own self
To sleep and dream, not turn and toss
Despite all earth's own wealth!

And now he walks a desolate place
On whom no river ever runs
As morning comes to greet its face
It rises with three suns!

The dire dread of deathlike sleep
Is sorrow to the soul
But even worse to fail to keep
One's own vessel whole.

As the leak now torrent bleak
And cracked, his sordid brain.
He fails to dream for at least a week
Until the coming rain.

It falls in mists and gathers there
In pools upon the ground
And in each the turbulent air
Is by torrents whipped around.

A woman and child now visit him
Which does not cause alarm
How they got so deep within?
- they had no will to harm.

So they speak not but look intent
And remain yet blissful dry
In a blink, they leave just as sent
His but a single cry.

His wealth, the wealth of all the earth
His fortress built all-true
His foreknowledge now of no worth
His charities askew?

But no matter the dreams had stopped
And much was left to do
With no dreams like rocks outcropped
His path was blazed anew!

But at last when he'd forgotten them
The final one returned
Each dream a flag, and emblem
Of what he'd never learned

Of what intelligence is all-blind
Of what wealth cannot hold
Of what foreknowledge cannot bind
Of things ever-old.

In his last dream he found his state
To be hale and well
But alone he was, so very great
He dreamt a dream of hell.


And the Second is Like Unto the First

it reads:
If help in just the smallest part
We'd helped a soul in need
Though Yours the greater, truer art,
Make this our only creed.


No Chimes

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
I sleep only knowing night
A time by time unmark'd
And waking comes with light
Across the dome is arc'd
The sun, whose burning face
Is with its color return'd,
Whose winter resting place
The north, is now only spurn'd;
I seek this time of peace
Whose face is yet unmark'd
By minutes' gloomy lease
To count, to count has spark'd
This change to dif'rent time
When it can be avail'd,
Which has the breath of rhyme
The swell of bells' increase
And has the poem's pace
As death nor tax's might
Against it has prevail'd.


To Lift The Voice

it reads:
A man must struggle to sing
When he feels his song is robbed him
And perhaps this is his offering
When his burdens mob him.


The Valley

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
I rise late in seeing
The morning, and being
Unable to greet the day
In a desired sort of way
But how it must be met
For any who would yet
Seek to possess their soul
And fill its glass more full

'my cup runs over' he said
but this wine like unseen bread
which comes from afar
as the door when ajar
is opened gently and clear
as though a man were there
such is the grace of these
days which pass not in peace

our spirit is in these cups
drunk when on sorrow it sups
greatly so, greatly so
face to face may know
dis-illusion is its theme
for when all fog has been
cleared & drawn from the room
we find then the empty tomb.



it reads:
You who depart now, go in peace
Bring us something wondrous;
If not grail or golden fleece
Your tale, and make it thund'rous!


The Sun In My Eyes

it reads:
In these days the brightness of the sun
Is noticed and commented by everyone
As though we yearn for grayness past
Instead of light, give us overcast.



it reads:
Good fighting begins with the feet
And mastery ends with the hand
'fore drilling attacks it is meet
To first learn how to stand.


The World

it reads:
I cannot grasp it
But to hold on, out of course
Like this traffic jam.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
psalm 82



The Swordsman Recalls His Whetting Song

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
The heart of the matter is this
For he who desires of bliss
Of peace, of joy and of life
He must muster a will for strife
The pain of despair and of hell
Of stress and the mind unwell
For in each the pride may lie
For in each it too may die.


The Swordsman's Thought Before First Steel

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Ahead the eyes as bright as flames
My breast now beats as war's own drums
I wonder now what be their names
But lo! The contest comes.


The Echo

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The beauty of a moment
Is drawn out in its echo
For the echo is not a repeat
But the moment as it is drawn
Into the fabric of the world
With all unrepeatable things
As remembered imperfectly
Making their only moment
All the more perfect in its time
And the future is more beautiful
And the past is more sublime
And the present is most kinetic.


The Swordsman Speaks of His Many Injuries

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
A scar here across my chest
A broken toe, a crushed knee
A bruise for each of the rest
Hands both maimed as oft may be
What may I say of these
That you may understand?
Were they mere disease
A blight upon a weary land?
So says the eye that looks
But does not see the heart
This be knowledge not of books
Not true science, nor true art
Since you I would not harm
I then must as silently
Hold high a brazen arm
And wordless, bear iniquity.


The Sage Considers a Thought of Death

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Sang the man, "Tis my thought of death
This a strange, unworldly breath
Though time come and make me old
Though old Winter chill me cold
Time and times may come again
The world a never ending end;
Death is dead! I'll have not lied
For when like old death I have died
I shall make something of this life
And scoff the old man for his strife
And though I be, what I have been
I shall never be again.


Origen's Conundrum

it reads:
Before I was, was I
Within you, and had the
glory as you have worn
In this vision? But in this vision
Does the instead future lie
Behind; as were a memory
Of tomorrow's morn?


The Poet had Nine Verses Writ for His Love

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Shall I compare your heart to a precious emerald?
But yours can't be bought, or bartered or sold;
Shall I say your love's a red, red rose?
Yours is no mere symbol, heaven knows;
Shall I call your touch a spring's warm breeze?
But you remain gentle, while Winter does freeze;
And while a poem may redeem the time
And truth has been colored by clever rhyme
Your love is what it is, and none of these.


The Winter-oak

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The winter-oak, whose arms
Cleft the cold sky, somnolent, slow
Growing into old age, gnarled, gray
Dappled with weather and drawn out long
His years each a rind, a skin further
Toward the waiting sun and clouds
Gathering now, and dispersing
Swirling like breath and flame
Hot, cold, indifferent, light, dark
Each passing leaving its mark
And though the philosophers say
They are unmoved, and endure
Yet to my eye, these elements
Are inconstant and shift without ceasing
Against the waiting winter-oak.


Wachet Auf

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
This was my dream, One was dreaming
And the dreamer who dreamed was I,
The one whom he dreamed was seeming
To be cast from the self-same die;

But his form was that of a figure
And he seemed but a shadow in depth
I could hardly make out any feature
For he shifted like midwinter's breath;

And I wondered at what he was seeing
And how I could see what he saw
For who knows the depths of a being
And who sees his inward law?

And the one whom he saw was awaking
At this we both made a start,
And held our breath, we were waiting
For the veil itself to depart;

But the one whom he saw was but starting
At some inward turbulent thought,
And the mist and shade slowly parting
As though by cataracts caught;

I considered then what was the meaning
Of all of this then which I saw?
He whom I saw too was gleaning
From his vision an inward law;

And he who slept was all-gleaming
And in his dream he uttered a cry:
"In this my dream, One is dreaming
And the dreamer who dreams is I!"


The Sage Contemplates Winter

it reads:
Though frost seems permanence,
The cold like the tomb
And the chill in a man's bones
Can only leave soon
And the vastness of the abyss
Is still like a glacier
Everlasting dark it seems
An eyeless embrasure
The way of things is not thus
Not thus as we think
For in the landing snowflake
Upon the eye to blink
We see the length of winter
A many-chambered thing
To melt away in moments,
To pass away in spring.


Blue Hour

it is addressed thusly:
A song
it reads:
We wake before the morning
Our eyes have known the dark
The time before beginning
'fore call of cock or lark
To wait and see arisen
Between the towers gray
Twilight's final schism
The brilliant break of day.
We who know the darkness
Know the shadowed cloud
It hangs about the markets
But isn't crass or loud
It mutes all shade and color
It sees to their dismay
It draws the daytime dolour
And makes the dawning gray.
When a man waits in shadow
Waiting for the light
His eyes are like a widow
Stranded by the night
Should he desire the morning
Of any earthly sun
May he hear this warning
Just this simple one;
Let the eye then gather
The light it needs to view
And not expect another
To give it all to you.


The Sage Contemplates Fleeting Beauty

it is addressed thusly:
An Ode.
it reads:
The world was a charcoal painting
With trees a bas-relief in white
The blue of the sky was dainty
Morning's countenance was light
And suchlike was the world in winter
With umbers for each naked limb
Life is a great moneychanger
Gold and silver hid within
And why should it be this season
Which compels us now to recall
The warmth of summer beyond reason
The cool and somber damp of fall?
The silver of the river's wetness
And the gold of wheat in harvest-time
The rain is ice and will not let us
The wood is dead and flecked with rime.
And all the while the fleeting beauty
The spring will come and steal away
We face ahead as were our duty
Miss the treasures that before us lay.



Song of Words, Second Movement

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
A tear begins, a scratch
Like the lighting of a match
Bursting with bright fires
And tearing of the wires

The lights begin to flare
And vanish in the air
The sleep of reason comes
With the calling of its drums

The drumming of the pops
As each lamp flashing, drops
This the work of your own hand
All I may do now is stand.


In Io I'm Invested

it reads:
A Jovian once told me a tale
On Callisto once lived a whale
Had a house on Ganymede
And on Europa he skied
Lost it all in space kelp sale.


Song of Words, Intermezzo I

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
What can be said of how you speak to me?
It is as one who is my closest friend;
Though you protest and say it cannot be;
You see the start and I have seen the end.

Friends are known by who they care about
And what is care but love for a man's soul?
Then love shown will remove ev'ry doubt
Even if to love was not the goal.

And persistence be a wondrous trait
Even to extremes as oft it goes
And with patience for the time you wait
To express this care? How long, who knows;

To grant me truth in word more than the others
This alone I'd have had I my druthers.


Song of Words, First Reprise, Variations

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
Light and light aglow
Make a contemplation
Of above and of below
We behold this 'new' creation.


In your eyes I see it now
A latent desire for something
To you, it's slowing down
Like the time is stretching

The heart to seize and break
The spirit of consuming
I see these in you wake
Their genesis is looming

Though all things shall be known
In their time and fashion
With this now overthrown
Desire alone is flashing.

Enlightenment will be yours
If you must take it now by force
I can open no more doors;
Nor now prevent this great divorce.


Song of Words, Canticle III

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
"What do you desire to see?"
And Truth I thought, it would be
Instead was afixed my wandering eye
Upon the nearest passerby.


Song of Words, First Development

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment
it reads:
The color of this mystery
Is not how it should be
The type of this romance
Was merely ignorance
As the child is to the world
So we must be uncurled
And see beyond our sight
"higher beauty, truth and light."


Song of Words, Canticle II

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
"What will you do then, Son of Man?"
He asked, and had I quite a plan
But while I considered my careful art
My hand stabbed him in the heart.


Song of Words, Canticle I

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
"What do you desire?" He asked of me
In truth was peace; to be but free
But while I thought my mouth replied:
"For my belly to be satisfied,"


Song of Words, First Movement

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
We begin to paint, splash after splash
But not with brushes; and not with paint
We draw with light, each hazy gash
A point of white, a flicker faint

On come the lights, one by one by one
To reveal to us the world we've known
Under moon and star and under sun
Even in darkness that we have sown.

Flush with beauty are our lamps
Of every color, from dusk to pale
Arranged in order, in stately camps
Our ships who have yet to sail.

And our pillars once stood in dark
Now open to a spacious place
Behold O eye, and know your mark
This glimpse is gone without a trace.


Song of Words, Theme

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
On comes the light and I
And you stand amid the dark
Accusations and words fly
But mostly miss the mark

Now begins the game
I painted for you our world
At least color-by-name
Its tapestries I unfurled

I have all the maps and you
Could ask me for them
But before this I knew
You'd yourself abhor them

It is time the for the game
A fantasy of a sort
For this I am to blame
For truth I oft distort

Now for your rocket theme
The great 'dis-understand'
Movement one of this dream
We 're-create' the land.

Of course discovery
Is not the author's way
We all are quite free
To go right out and say

The world you've imagined
You'll make up in your druthers
In all frankness hasn't
A whit of difference from the others.