4.26.2011

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.

4.23.2011

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.

4.22.2011

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?

4.19.2011

Theophany

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

4.18.2011

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.

4.15.2011

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.

4.13.2011

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.

4.12.2011

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:
notes.

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'.

4.11.2011

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.

4.04.2011

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!

4.02.2011

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.