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.