The Boy

it is addressed thusly:
An ode
it reads:
This child, what language does it speak?
I would have sworn it was one of my own
A child of Albion! Or at least halfway so
If I knew of the old tongues I could break
The code the strange syllables must form
Not spoken without purpose, but purposed
This child, in erratic fashion, to speak them
A prodigy of sudden turns and mayhem
Not play as we often said when perchance
This child did things strange and irrelevant
And always of disarming anger and tension
With purpose and never at all random
Wise perhaps, but simple and violent
Though smart enough to learn anything at all
Small in stature, by the marks on the wall
Still adorable, and all quite too innocent
This child, even as it does every havoc wreak
Climbing, tearing and with a new tantrum
For every boundary met, but yet in sum;
This child, what language does it speak?


When We Speak From the Night

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
When we speak from the night
Do we say what is true, do we?
Or do we speak conveniently
As recompense to every slight?
Anger is true, if angst is falsehood
Mind of earth and heart of wood
Of wormwood, even - but what word
Does fit a measured ferocity
Against sin; for such animosity
Could make all milk soon curd
If men of Vision are all drunken
On the wine of the Spirit shrunken
To the appetite of a man, I winced -
For those who drink do so at night
And if we must interpret right
Ours is then but absinthe --!
Strong certain, but bitter-strong
A drug for the mad, not for long
Taken, for only broken men fight
When we speak from the night.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
It was time to hibernate, we thought
To live off our fat for a month or two
Or three as bears, undisturbed within
Our lair, to wake only for spring
And Christmas wine, but to otherwise
Remain somewhat motionless in
The cold darkness; do the others see
How dark it has become? We wonder
but man must work and children call
But the spirit of winter is this; to find
The tomb inviting if only for its rest
Howbeit the bed and the cave alike
Remind, and the trees retreat to their root
The world is dead, as it will be dead again
And once was dead, though the sun is
Immortal, at least by the lives of men
And the seasons of the earth; How bright
Is the darkness when the frozen cold
Entombs in ice every last thing under
The demure moon; and perhaps the sleet
Is her tears in her lonely night
And endless track across the heaven
Like the road which was and is and will
Be; sometimes but a suggestion
But now a long, tired procession
Across the chilled face of the ground
Where the cars breath without sound
Of word or idea the inner man fought
It was time to hibernate, we thought.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Love has no history, and history no love
The mystery of history is what we're speaking of
History has no care or concern for the distant way
For the voices silenced before the coming of the day;

You are my arms, my legs, you are my hands and feet
To consider a man not but a cell, would it not be meet
To curse your birth and die the death, if you then must be
A statistical consideration of a faceless history?

But man is neither a thing at all if considered on his own
Such things are no more human; such things of earth and stone
That no man is, a statue gross, single and abstruse
A supposed immortal work of art, a work without a muse;

But man is not a museum just to stir a sentimental urge
Man is a procession, a festal funeral dirge
Played along that distant way, toward the waiting sea
The stones in love they walked above; such is History.


The Weeks and Days

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The weeks and days and hours of a life
Do they pass with each stray movement
Erratically, as in but a futile strife
For a momentary improvement?

Futility, it seems does make its house
Within such disjointed and numbered days
Where man and woman cannot but grouse
As each shoe and tire frays

And they still leave us a few of holidays
To make sure we don't decay to dust
But all the attitude betrays
That all is driven but by lust;

Listen for the bells or howling gale
Listen for the water running down
For the foghorn's mournful wail
For a footfall coming round;

Man does not get better by degrees
He only gets more worn and dull
It only marks increased disease
With each tick marked on the wall

Unless he become alive again
His work is but a quickened breath
For he himself is not his end
He must survive his death.


Digital Rights Management

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
"The thieves," one said, "Each man believes
Are customers, for each man receives
Our product, but we all know if he could
He would steal from us, and who would
Not? Therefore we would be remiss
If we did not prevent his every wish
And protect our right to demand a fee
Because nothing, nothing is for free!"

And this one, in returning to their home
When they were at last all alone
Flipped a screen with no regret
To see if their movies had downloaded yet.
Thus the one who thinks all others thieves
Dishonors all, as this one receives
Freely, but hidden from the light of day
Others' goods for which they could afford to pay.


The Sage Speaks of Enlightenment

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Stretching out against the night, I see the cedar's arms
The color of this winter night's uncertainty alarms
Black spears fifty fold and hundreds more below
And what's the color of the sky, I shall never know
I guess it is a purple or perhaps it is an orange
The light of modernity, as sickly as it's strange
The enlightenment! Enow I see it in the distance lay
It bustles with effulgence that rivals now the day
But at this middle distance its brightness is quite dim
Even if within itself with brightness it does brim
Eliot's old sunset; a patient etherized
Though if withal it is -- it is one oddly sized
And nearly dead, even if a sunset as it sets
Does the pain of loneliness rise as it begets
Is it any different then the city's sour light
Or is it in the ICU, extending through the night
Its final stay upon the earth, its throes have come upon
Its light now a vomit, cast upon my lawn
An excrement of smoky light to blot out all the stars
The eyes of every tower, the eyes of all the cars
Screaming in a chorus! Blaring into space
Where their rays abyssal ways consume without a trace?
So much for an enlightened age, a newly found insight
With electric lamps showing only their own light
Against them stands the darkness, but not just the obscure
Perhaps the dark of mystery, as deep as it is pure
Unpierced by sight they pierce the night, the older things rebel
Virginal shroud; a shadow'd cloud, the music starts to swell
But it is only just imagined, in between a breath
The man and the cedar tree are only what is left
The cedar black against the sky uncertain in its hue
Beware O man, against such can but darkness e'er be true.


The Poet to the Silver Light

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
In the silver light of the winter afternoon
Those who are not sleeping will be nodding soon
Into gray twilight of the fading, evening year
Not yet a sleep of reason, but a sleep of fear

In the rising silver of the winter's graysome morn
The mists foretold a coming, the fogs were all forsworn
And in the scattered rays of a northward sliding sun
One could mistake a battle lost, for a battle won

But the veils in veiling all foretold a coming storm
A squall of coldness coming, a wind in perfect form
A warmness only made for the accidental few
With the rising sun's ascent the fog only grew;

It gathered to a greatness in a muted silver light
As long as all is vagueness, perhaps we'll be alright
The solstice swiftly coming, borne but the interlude
Of the winter's darkness ready to intrude

But maybe we won't see it, perhaps the world will warm
Perhaps by chance escape this the perfect storm
But neither fate nor loophole or plead of insanity
Can avert this new direction, this enshrouded destiny.


The Orator Proclaims the Task

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The text is not enough, the text!
Words spoken here as hexed
They were; but I repeat myself
Find me the source of wealth
Of the memory of our people
If you or I are still able
Or do we sit perplexed?

The music is old, that musical
Not a song and dance at all
But a thing, and at last a place
As though no mask, but a face
And one alive with expression
Not any ire of repression
On such may we call?

The people here are not gray
Not shifting strawmen astray
In a wasteland, but men as men
Great and small without, within
Bright and dark and somber and glad
Thought of good, thought of bad
Thought worth time to say?

Man as terrible Man, and quite not
Human, not neutral even for a spot
But never disposable in kind
No beast, but edging close in mind
Upward -- for both even and odd
You begin to see the god!, the god
Where is becomes the ought.


Five Haikus

it is addressed thusly:
For the first month of Winter.
it reads:

Depth of sun's decline
Borne in low Winter's dark sky
To south, shadows point


A promenade comes
Uphill ahead yuletide bright
White and red beside


Each package sitting
Soon finds a place not so plain
In hands receiving.


The flames burning bright
Still glow, breathing cold air now
Saving oil and light.


Sunset of the world
Sees high in the east coming
Eve'ning star and night.


The Red Season

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The red season is come; but I have few words
And little reason to say them, if you had heard
Me hoarse, or silent, did you have to pretend?
Of course; both silence and season must end.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
I would write accurately to you of many things
I would draw them each in lines, with black and white
Set against one another in wood-cut relief
In columns and rows and concentric rings.

These letters you see, are they then this clarity
I would have you examine them one by one by one
And see if these really are the words I wrote
The words I set down all so carefully.

I would have these etchings come themselves alive
Of themselves; not as though it was my inspiration
But as though my inspiration was in them and was them
I would if I could, If I could only so strive.

I would make them all glorious things, one by one
Each a varigate coat of pigment and breathing-space
So that the senses would reel with grief and shock
And at a beauty so curious become undone.

Would I make them words, or melodies man sings
Would I draw them out like a breath on a cool day
And intone them long so that the air shimmers
Shimmers where the music then rings?

Or instead would they become an unheard ode
That you carry in your heart through winters and springs
And then no words are needed at all to see
Would I craft them in such a mode?

Words then fail, and I return to handwritten rings
Which are beautiful for just being and being still
Would I never suggest a single word or phrase
Would I then write to you, write to you of many things?


The Last

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
As the fading mist of high autumn's rains
Leaves fog in lowland woods and plains
And the bareness of all but the oak
And foreign cedar removes the cloak
Of the year, which becomes a retiring crone
Rolling up his garments to go rest alone
But we, gathering fuel and drawing in
Gather free, we still-free men
Into our homes, to remember clan
And family, and kind if we still can
And see with gimlet eye the fading day
The last, before the cold belay
With its grip each limb and so withdraw
Into our own and by our law
Of conservation of energy
Action, reaction, but across the lea
Is heard a crack - A rumble there
Was it the train, was it moving where
Came the sound? But we all just wait
And watch to see if it is running late
And the watch ticks long, as if to strain
The last fading mist of high autumn rain.



it is addressed thusly:
an ode.
it reads:
Found riding south windward wise
Amid the promise of solemn season
In autumn sun's northward treason
A moment made of poesy resides
Where smooth road mirrors mild
Comes brightly as dawn is styled
Painted wood all-colored leaf
Did make anew a bas-relief
If wedding-bells did then make sound
Green and gray would the pageant be
With yellow trimmed embroidery
With sky-blue its field and ground
Illuminated there, a brightening train
Of bride-tailor's legedermain
If sunlight, gold were siblings made
Here Jerusalem's ways were newly laid
A brighter earth in heaven's guise
Monet his brush had set aside
Van Gogh his ochre could not decide
If type or truth did here arise
Found riding southward, windward wise.



it is addressed thusly:
Makes waste.
it reads:
A fleeting fear of falling
Feeling, flying free; friction
Action, traction acting
As alacrity; arcing at last
Slip swinging, sliding as
Still as sunset, yet swiftly
Taking ten, twenty thirty
Times world-shrunk past
-- fast.


The Poet to the North Wind

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Fall is in full swing
With wind singing
and gathering storm
blasting everything clean
from limb and branch blown
bare, and to he who believes
winter to be beautiful
autumn is but its overture.

We have a notion
For the color of such season
A reason, even and perhaps
Why in its verdant lapse
It should turn gold and silver
Or orange and brown and gray
In turn in turning toward
the closing of the year.

We feel by living
That Christmas is the filling
Of our year full and then so
It climbs and climbs until
A bright song and ever-green
Speak something of our people
Who kindled hearth amid
A cold and barren place.

We who feel beauty
Call rustic desolate country
And see because of season
The thing within the thing
We must for we see it four
Ways, essential to our days
Is a change, but beneath
The thing grows, and remains.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The twilight month is half, and half another thing
As to laugh and cry, or as to sob and sing
A solemn festivity of the sinking, dying year
The wilting of the flower is the ripe'ning of the ear
In the western sun it must end in paradox
The day before the holy day is not of stones and stocks
A mockery of evil and a mockery of death
A sort of jolly irony held at winter's bated breath
But also too the Chinook time of unexpected balm
As the other month of fury and of calm
The golden Crown of harvest burns as though it were aflame
And if cold comes quicker, splendor is her name
Of every heated color from purple to ocher-brown
To see such liberality only a miser could bear a frown
But then to recall the pageantry is a funeral dirge
The sadness and the joy perhaps finesse a merge
Cast her down before the hearth, before it bright and drear
Before the all consuming fire, before the closing of the year.


The Poet In the Darkness

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The dark is something I knew about
A mind attuned to sense and thought
A rationale of is and ought
Of such I had no doubt.

It is that hidden, secret place
There be dragons, as long ago
Of this, the terra incognito
Where no road does trace.

It is true that at lack of light
Twisted things may find conceal
Dark predators may yet steal
As they roam the endless night.

And even more, the deeds can hide
Or so they think, skulking there
With gilded eye they smell the air
Conspiracy does in shade abide.

But dark cannot conceal the heart
For it is subtle sort of flame
Pretense about it is a game
Ignoring it a great worldly art.

What is deeper then, and still
Than those horrors of dark outside
Beyond their absurdities confide
And beyond their feeble will?

The nadir of all things! -- in shade
A sheltered mountain, perhaps a cave
Mere halflight is its winsome nave
A never-seen sacred glade.

Sitting here in the darkened room
With but breath and heft confide
Sight avails not, and must subside
A sensation which I cannot describe
An intimacy, I then did decide
Intimacy such as a mother's womb
Earth sighing in an empty tomb.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Dreams break -- and in their shatters
The crushed crystal ciaroscuro
Of ten thousand half-wishes
I see, squinting like an old sage
At last perhaps the moonlight
Of mind made clear of fog;
Or the height of human will --
In the sands of dead desire.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In time all things, but what things in time?
Even when they come, they come in a line
And that line is not straight, except to the eye
It comes right around, it does by and by;
Wait and you'll see it come round again
But wait, its beginning is not quite its end
In coming and going, just where does it go
And who is a poet, that he would know
Of the spiral of being, its fractal discourse
The path of becoming, for better or worse;
The thing that is nothing, it must become
A thing that is many, and a thing that is one
Many its virtues and just one its voice
To follow its fate, the fruit of its choice
Can it choose of its choosing or is that haram
Dictated wholly by a push or a bomb
Spiraling out both toward and away
Narrowing the dusk of the night and the day?
Or perhaps this outsider his coracle rows
Dreaming of life and of death which he knows
Until he awake, and reveal just one thing
Sound spinning outward; that soul he must sing!


The Poet Mourns for Poetry

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Such a wasteland, as Eliot glimpsed
Was it for nothing they raised Babel?
Had they guessed man was not able?
To even hear of it, the poet winced
Each critique like a column of tanks
Each destroying the previous' ranks
Gripping heaven and earth in futility
Even my words stink of this thought
Of the is over against the ought
A narrow silver coffin of utility
Its reaction, in its own imagination
Came up with an absurd machination
That it would fashion a world ideal
With nothing more than pure, pure genius
They thought, mankind! Have you not seen us
And feared? Towards sacrifice we feel
Such things for it is meet to pour
Except what is the oblation for?
And their fancy was such and such
That their love and peace would be so strong
In victory even those who were wrong
Were in truth only and inasmuch
As they themselves would fancy --
To overcome even that duality?
But the Real had for them a crueler joke
Or a harsher one; for the poor boheme
Had an idea, one, that only did seem
To be freedom, but was just that yoke
That he thought to put on the fools
And was the subject of his own rules
For he had not truly dreamed them up
O anemic! Drink deep of the irony
Is it a surprise the thinker was the one to see?
And did he try in vain to switch the cup
O sad creature, the poet winced
And thought of the fallen ruin's gaze
And the rustling whispers amid the haze
Such a wasteland, as Eliot glimpsed.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In silence falling, without tongues
Before speech; in a gasp of breath
Entering into light with new lungs
Towards life and towards death
Soaked in tears, another's blood
Washed and yet to be washed full
Of years, face upon face - and thud!
Sight once clear, rendered dull
Blinking, and now comes the cry
But does the mouth receive the sponge
Gall! As birth so he may die
In silence falling, without tongues.


The Unlikely House

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The house next door has its peculiar good
Not so much in structured certitudes
Nor in craftsmanship's felicities
And ideal? It falls short on most ev'ry count
In what a house is philosophically --
I've never met the man who mows the grass
Nor could I visit him if I so wished
He chose another town to sleep and eat
(And I hear tell he's not one great to meet)
But when I gaze out from my house's eyes
And see the tangled wild it has become
I am the last man left to tend the earth.


The Two in the Morning

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Pausing while peeling a boiled egg
She said, is there more to life than this
Explaining away every last dreg
Of the good wine of virtue's bliss
So that men may feel not the kiss
Of death or responsibility?

The poet responded, I begin to think
Then men have all aspired to remake
In their own image, every last link
But without God, and therefore take
Control, but all men are fake
And empty without Him.

Then perhaps, she thus replied
What is, is far too much for these
And saying wanting more, have lied
To themselves, though each perceives
The terror and weight of even leaves
Drifting so lithe and gently.

He thought a moment and took a sip
And felt the warmth clasped in his hand
Fading as a man's last dying grip
Into the cold morning across the land
And said, Even we do not understand
The weight of glory and of sin.


The Imaginations

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Fell, that Cthonic mass, I mean
Black, writhing as from another world
Tentacular (if such a word sticks)
Reaching and snaking from every aperture
Tangle, nigh Gordian knot of aught
But a shiny, unfathomable slippery mess
Best not looked at directly if indeed
One wishes to keep one's own eyes
Sometimes the dark is best for such
A task, to feel but not look, stretching
Hand past hand through alien mass
Until that very moment when contact
Means the plug fit the surge protector --
What else would I have been speaking of?


The Orator and the Bohemes

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
"Class and Identity," said the voice quite stern,
"Are the two axes upon which we turn."
But the Orator dissented and brashly said,
"Numbers and Classifications are for the dead."

"But you must be rationally classified," it replied
"It is for the common good we did decide."
"Down to the gates of hell," he retorted
"With the statistics by which such good is reported!"

"But you can't argue against Identity", it averred
"To find Who You Are has every passion stirred!"
"Yes, the way to be 'unique'" he said in jest
"'different' and 'special' like all of the rest!"

"Identity allows all to feel accepted," it went on
"So uniqueness cannot exalt either brain or brawn."
"Strength is a gift," he spat with contempt
"To help the weak, from this none are exempt."

"But those who are strong belittle," it chided
"That is what must be stopped, we have decided."
"A gift, if gifted" he then did explain
"Comes from God, not you, as life makes plain:

"Those who abuse it, will receive an end
"Through it, for God's own will does not bend
"And if they rise in their spirit to heaven's door
"As in Babel, their bodies will litter the floor."

"What you suggest is no moral law," it cried
"But to permit all power to be then exercised
"Until it finds some vague and 'natural' end
"Against this evil we will not bend!"

Waving then his hand dismissively
He shrugged his shoulders for all to see
And said, "Opinions on the matter are free,
"But not long can they withstand Reality."


The Poet Considers an Adulterous Generation

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Setting down old Steinbeck's script
It could be heard, for the poet quipped,
The sum of modern literature
Of poets, and every word-picture
Is the allure of the forbidden fruit
Of each letting this lust take root
There are some to whom this matters not
But theirs is not the highest spot
Amid the ranks of writers great
And so O World, you earn my hate
As you and e'en the post modern
When not gripped in political concern
Have to body reduced all that's good and free
And made romance just adultery.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
I see on passing the slim reflection
Of the light against the black coffee
Resting low in the pot, a confection
Of doubt calling, of restless energy
Of a single cup left - perhaps more
As though in personification
This smug, bitter brackish ichor
Is too proud to need validation;
But will lie in state slowly staining
Carafe and cup and counter soon,
Born of burnt berry and steam straining
Hot but always cold after noon;

Saying; "you need me, do you not
Though a bitter and brackish brew;"
But maybe smug coffee hadn't thought
I'd went cold turkey out of the blue.


The Orator calls thinks on Truth Long Forgotten

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The vision is ever constant, but reality is in flux
Says the man of ideas, whilst the bricks he ducks
To some of the others, who may wield the brick
Ideas all lack substance, but the world itself is thick;

The distributist who wrote that had something else in mind
For the ideas must find their purpose, when they are refined
By the fires of struggle, or at least some concrete test
If they were not constant, he'd quickly be redressed;

As many were in turn, often by their own device
Many were a lonely virtue, which soon becomes a vice;
Others resisted reality, tried to make for it a cage
And but others did only a war against it wage;

The golden thread! Do you see it running like the sparks
Through the dry kindling until the flame should make its marks
It zigs, it zags, it seems about as constant as the breeze
But is quite determined if you for a moment freeze;

And see the light and dark there create a kaleidoscope
Of this flashing fractal of a long forgotten hope
The good and true may always be driven to a rout
But drive still good man, drive still, for the truth will out!


The Falling Man

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When the falling man came down
As bread cast upon the sea of city
Do we then offer him our pity
That he set his face to the unfeeling ground?
What kind of heart is taken then
To gaze into the bleak faceless sky
With not even a tear for the eye
And make good of a certain end?
In this, glorious tragic life
It is the soul they cannot kill
For with a courageous, defiant will
He cleaves the air as would a knife;
All heroism must some time come to this
Happily ever after is beyond the door
In one act the soulless world abhor
And taste freedom once as bliss;
Do we not here catch a prophecy,
A figure set twixt north and south
An oracle who opens not his mouth
Who in a moment cuts through the tragedy?
And those monstrous towers fell
So great and inhuman they devoured men
Those without and those within
Except this figure broke their spell?
We must misunderstand his choice
Do we think he threw his life away?
But it was already forfeit on that day
And announced victory without a voice;
He is the symbol of life lived toward death
The grace of his dive ten seconds long
Is by but image's trick made strong
Though its life spanned a single breath?
He cannot be welcomed or understood
By his death he does not bring benefit
He does not argue for a social net
Or life free of suffering as we would;
Forced to choose between dying in fire
Huddled, choked of human dignity
Judged by harsh Muslim rapacity
AN EYE FOR AN EYE they must require;
He does what every true man must finally do
For he must suffer the lawless men
And prolong life through death's dark end
And then see all made new
You greet my words with thoughtful frown
But what is worth the deepest pity
That does not love the virtue amid the city
When the falling man came down?
a postscript is here written:
See the Esquire article, 'The Falling Man'. His identity was eventually discovered, but the picture, long absorbed as an emotional, and perhaps spiritual truth, pertains not to him, but to the symbol he formed in the chance moment in which he turned the darkest fate into bright destiny.


Ocean City

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In light and shadow we found solace
Sun's heat and draping clouds dappled
Burning sand as warmth of summer
Before its flame was by rain put out
And the cool of thread woven laid down
Under shade of canopy and pale cloud
Whose every-color is scattered to gray
And as the painter chose it was rightly
The muted teals and white-corn colored sands
Sky washed out in watercolor hues
And the daub of moving cotton-like white
Each point of parasol and chair bringing
Eye to move against the still horizon
And the lapping waves make allegation
Of their elder brothers being beached
And they rise and fall without knowing
Making the dark line of damp move
A color as cold-dark as indicates the toe
Searching for shell's shape by chance touching
Light walking through each rise pressing
Salt and sand in all places there found
And as the waves the great towers
Rise and fall behind us watching
And being watched by those behind them
But the road remains and the sea remains
And the beach by degrees drifts southward
And the strangers shade one another cordially
From the ever-present sun.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Now laying upon cloth upon the sand
In this day, cool, clouds parting we drove out
With stillness and breath on broken stones
I feel our world pace the tractless deep.


The Wife

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When in morning light I saw you
It was woman first seen
And I, with sight as been
Shorn of scale, set anew
If I had seen the brush Who painted
I would not have had a second take
In so seeing my sight did make
Scorn for all sin tainted
But the You I saw was true
In rose-gold bright statuary
In clarity I saw beyond clarity
When in morning light I saw you.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Ruin comes surely as ruin may come
With no less than a cheerful face
Though all be lost without a trace
And where now is the fortunate son
The one to whom they can turn
To escape depredation's cold burn?
Locked up in his tower across the sea
On Brasil he waits with what eyes?
Looks he east that he may too rise?
Or west across sunset lit lea?
He has risen indeed, driftwood man
As high as a beggared soul can
Beggared in his great manse
Having dove into the sea's wide arms
With all of his treasures and charms
And rises with each wave's expanse
And calls out broad to his fellows
But his breath in the wind's loud bellows
Comes out less than any man's voice
A hundred and forty letters in length
And still! And still in their strength
They stare in their world of Choice
But see only as far as the waves
Tir na Nog! Or are they but graves?
And find lost Brasil instead
They are tired of making men fit
They but only can force him to sit
And wish, wish they could die -- instead
Old Usher, did he despair
Did he stumble at the first stair
Was the sea but a swampy ground?
The wilderness made with man's hand
It does not fall, for it does not stand
And look! Look at the vision we've found
The tower is sinking, and we are struck dumb
Ruin comes as surely as ruin may come.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Passing fear, into his hands is received
The gift, and guarded with unyielding will
As himself his charge is then consumed
By it, for it, and in it, received anew
And rising to the vision there conceived
Does the eye then see the holocausts
Of the stars in their still, dark abyss
Revolve ever-slightly around a loaf of bread?



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Rousing from cave and copse and grotto gray
Forgotten thing that now haunts the world
Burnt to pitch and ash-white the cities lay
Fire razed them, and fire will make them live again.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Upon return old Mom had but this to say
Walking in the early morning light
Look east for but a moment to see the dawn
Then west to see all things lit by its coming.
a postscript is here written:
Pentameter: Fragment, Reverse Elaboration, Thesis, Antithesis-Synthesis. Do not intentionally rhyme.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Walking home before the dusk
We noticed crimson wafts of cloud
As if in the blue and white of the waning sky
For a moment a patriot's day was dawning.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When at last the rain subsides
Rising steam from August's heat
Falls cooling summer's strange device
We rest at last all things complete.



it reads:
Arising betwixt cleft of cloud and land
The transfigured sun makes known its face
No more red as it cast itself burning into the sea
But gold-white, into the waiting arms of morning.


The Earth is Flat & The Heavens a Dome (reprise)

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Once upon a time we're told
Of when times were much younger
Then at least they weren't old
Though antique still to the wonder;

Flat Earth was said to be a place
Suspended in the heavens
Domed Heavens themselves a veiled face
Numbered to the sevens;

Anon now we've thought to turn things out
And make them all much truer
Though just as true they are without
The skies are not much bluer;

Walk while you can your own flatland
Whose roundness is concealed
In bright abyss count as the sands
The pin-lit lamps revealed;

Question your own perceptions, then
That which you think you know
But stop not with what way back when
Was but quite in the vogue;

For if man was wrong to think Earth flat
His intellect failed him not
Like you and I, he made old hat
To rethink what was thought;

Imagination! It failed to reach
Beyond just what was seen
Who then could by clever speech
Claim thus he hasn't been?

The human being, this thinker that
Under upright skies does roam
For him, yes him! Earth's always flat
And the Heavens are but a dome.


The Orator Speaks of the Politic

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Equality, the enigma of modernity
He said, as he gave the pipe a puff
Not an issue for those of tougher stuff
But tougher men still worthily
Considered it redoubtable
Its claims all but unfloutable
They did not mean, he continued on
That really only men like them
Were equal, they considered when
And thought it would not be too long
As did many of the intellectual
And at least started with no intent to pull
A fast one, no -- reality they thought
Would eventually make every kind
Equally and quite right refined
We must aver that those who fought
In the Revolution would have gladly lost
Their position, if that were the cost
To make society to work aright
Such was the commitment to liberty
Such was the commitment to equality
The thugs come later in the night
Claims otherwise are projected lies
Which perhaps fool those not so wise
The sectarian always waited in the wings
To twist his words for his own gain
Perhaps the true bourgeois by name
He is the scapegoat Post-Modern brings
To the fore, and all Marx's men
Were obsessed with power when
They thought to remake all men by force
The force of ideas! This was called but 'love'
Certainly not what the Apostle was thinking of
Nor our fathers, before our culture's divorce
But meek men will always be trampled down
And their truths be met with every frown
Or used against them by Sun Tzu's law
It is only in God they be recognized
In the world they can become revised
Into a shape that no-one ever saw
And what is this! They forget Balaam
Call them Masons, and into them cram
All numinous, dark inequality
Though men are all but incomparable
And can never in this life reach full

This is the enigma of modernity.


The Thundering of the Modern World

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
From the thundering of the modern world
Come legions, Romans with blank eyes
From electric light and countless lies
Philistines, but with lips yet uncurled
In the snarls such men preferred
Or so our betters had averred

But what is a dream of a better life
If that dream is not also a dream
Or rather, a type of what shall be seen
Beyond? Who then grips this strife
With both hands? And on his feet stands
And sees but sees beyond the lands

But always within them and through them
Birds, the symbol for spirits in flight
Of moving life and souls of light
Countenance, or those who depart when
They fly up, or is it too literal
Is it perhaps just apocryphal?

Or is this veil simply part of the game
This great contest which we forget
Or perhaps for our device don't admit
Goes on, and God awards crowns the same
To great and small who are heavenly wise
Though they remain their respective size?

And as this is uttered the men crowd on
Down the high walled streets they pour
Trod and trod with feet and voices sore
Sometimes up around the White House lawn
The jack boot, the shoe, perhaps a sign
Perhaps a thought of the blurry line

That runs between all races of men
Which makes them distinct and still yet
All Noah's kin must in truth regret
That race and tribe is a gift is it then?
For it is given from Babel on down
As a priori, though science has found

That we are all related, of course to one
Man, or a few at least - his kin
And the Romans keep on crowding in --
But this contest has little care for me
Though no Bohemian, disaffected man
For this is not a place we can

The White, consider ours originally
The Red had it before us all
About this none can begin to call
A word to make it all make sense
But listen, my Red friend to a word
For both our grandfathers like a bird

Flew here for their recompense
And with two others this land is ours
Not these Romans and their bazaars
Though use them when you can my friend
For like Princes their breath will soon depart
And who will have the more constant art?

Who can avoid this single end?
The two others of course, I say to him
As the Romans are crushing in
Each door and window blasted out
All others screaming in mortal rout

Are the Black and Brown - a mystery
For one gave sweat the most and did slave
And was of all us perhaps more brave
And who inspired us all musically?
He learned the Faith a simple way
Though the Aristocrats of his day

Fancied themselves in a Roman cast
As Rome had lost its magic grasp
Though was never to give a dying gasp?
It was given to them as though at last
It would be a mental chain
But for the Black it was immortal gain

And the Brown is just a master twist
His Latin roots are clear as day
But anyone with eyes can say
-- as we duck the flying bricks --
Not a Roman, no, there is no name
That for the Hispanic can be the same

For all language is older than he
His sweating is perhaps greater still
He too will one day work his fill
And say to the Roman, 'what of thee?'
But here the line is never race
For the Roman is without a place

In neither heaven nor earth was it found
And he is the cosmopolitan
Red and black and white and tan
Known only by his selfsame sound
And that his color is just skin-deep
Unless it be for him to keep

The prizes he can steal from us
O, what this land once was
His shame! His color is not dignity
But 'sex and shopping', my old chief
(And he chuckles for humor's relief)
And says, "Celt and Christian wait and see --
What from ashes reborn will be unfurled
From the thundering of the Modern world!"


The Orator Curses His Contemporaries

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The poet's responsibility
Is not political nor can it be
He can deconstruct no thing at all
He cannot his hearer appall
For the fun of it - never
He must become one ever
Vigilant to The Beautiful Things
Until his own soul sings, sings, sings
Of what is, no mere floating text
No leering heart far over-sexed
No ax to bring down any wall
No cry for justice, unless God call
Through his words to stir the heart
This doing is never his own part
He is powerless, he cannot stand
He has no rights he may demand
And when this folly he does perfect
What happens, none may expect
Even the mighty are all brought down
Before the report of Beauty's sound.


The Poet to the Heavenly Void

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When I gaze into the morning sky
I think upon the days gone by
And those yet to come to pass
I think of the future, yes
What man cannot consider it
Though it remains futile yet?
What color is then the sky?
Which bears all colors by
The day and by the month
I caught a glimpse but once
Of the whole of a being
More than two eyes are seeing

Though blue, every colored sky
Is every-colored, by and by
You may see it is the rainbow
Whose fewer colors than we allow
Ourselves to consider then
Has an existence so very thin?

This blue, though plain the sky
Has a subtle richness by
Which we know it has a depth
Layers unrevealed yet
Opaque is its azure wall
Only through time may we see it all.


How To (not) Write a Poem

it is addressed thusly:
For my wife.
it reads:
Poetry? One might say its mystery
Is which word affords a second thought
It belongs neither to is nor ought
And is but disaster mastery
A floundering task, dare we ask
Dare we uncork its musky cask?
And see what starts a sprig of vine
Though wilted, small and not the best
Marred by weather, gnawed by pest
In time does somehow yield its wine?
The best ideas will all die fast
For poesy's ocean is far too vast
For mere human ideology
The words themselves! They have a will
As thought itself wished to fulfill
Some order of a meal for three
With wine? We must uncork again
But think instead, if but now and then
That the poet is the diamond's point
Along the groove of words to wend
And wind, as the platter draws to an end
Sharpen your mind, or else, aroint!
For cleverness here has a place
Not merely a show of poker-face
For the grooves inside are infinite
The trick cannot be what you think
It's how to beach and not to sink
There is far, far less control of it
Otherwise we may say it cannot be
Poetry? One might say it's mystery.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The grayness of evening, the poet once
Beseeched in his ignorance
What manner of unspoken hints
Saw he in its dim countenance?
We can only guess that he like us
Grew weary of life's weary fuss
A call to something older, true
It must be thought that he might make
As perhaps a voice across a lake
Echoes like light between the blue
And catches every moving thing
In the sea and upon the wing
And draws its form in bright relief
Where the sky lights not the east or west
But both, as the defense a moment rest
Catching breath; foreseeing grief
And pray for courage, though we wince
And like the poet beseech our ignorance.


The Sage Sings of His Many Aches

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
The problem of pain is quite simple
It's that it's not a problem at all
But that makes it more like a pimple
Or an issue we'd certainly call
Complex, since it's not what it seems
To pop it just provides some relief
While what is beneath then still teems
And takes your peace like a thief
Which makes it somewhat of an onion
Making use of it makes many tears
Is not pain also the pinion
Which turns the machine of all fears?
These images are not at all helpful
Nor are they intended to be
Getting your head around it is doubtful
But getting around it is free;
For each pain is an excuse to remember
The flaws of one's own estate
To turn 'round the accusing finger
To consider the hour is late;
It melts like the frost on a window
When the sun's rays do finally enthrall
The problem of pain is quite simple:
It's that it's not a problem at all.
a postscript is here written:
Apologies to the Don.


The Sound of Silence

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The sound of silence, a caveat
Spoken as though it were prophecy
Of glowing screens, of periphery
But not once had the prophet thought
Had Daniel, or those who first heard
That there were two meanings to ev'ry word?
Turning away we all shall digress
From speech and song and camaraderie
Away from the city and toward the sea
And into that great solitude we press
Eventually these earthly songs all fade
And even the television's cavalcade
Beyond them if we then find no speech
Who can make a case against us?
Who shall pass a judgement on us?
If even no more the muses beseech
Us to raise a voice in poetry's song?
The loud ringing of your words is long
Long rings the sound of passing road
Long rings the howl of the orator's declaim
Long rings the liquid down every drain
Long rings the hum of communicated code
Long rings the strikes of worker's blows
Long rings the list of society's woes
And loud is the cash register's ring
And the sounds of thousand feet anew
If there were any to sell it to
Come one, come all and bring --
We would disburse all our speech and sound
And maybe rise, quiet weather balloons
Past evenings, mornings, nights and noons
Until at last our peace we'd found
And found finally that it was not
The sound of silence, a caveat?



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Great towers rise like beached ships
Bastion lit bright against cold and rain
With farm and field plucked and beast slain
But beyond gate and door hushed lips
Tell of deserts dry, forests tall and far
Oceans fathomless under wandering star
Abandoned riches beneath crag and rift
Icy reaches, tombs and temples long-lost
Old fortresses sunk under seas wind-tossed
Fire and moon gates, each eye does lift
to speak of endless dark in night and deep;
And amid blind treasures, horrors creep.


Spiritus Mundi

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Should we expect to die in peace
In this time? The sense is just, no
As those young may vaguely know
Witness their hurry to find release
And how our betters think to take
From the future, to perhaps now make
A present worth living for them
And they have fewer presents just left
Before their boat should arc the cleft
And fall, all now secretly wonder when
Not if, things should fail and collapse
Perhaps, they are wrong, anyone snaps
Under so much pressure and stress
And we see even youth crumble down
Or what was youth, back around
A more golden time, but meaninglessness
Of mind-religion, of every empty word
Absurd, but visionary, they say for the third
Time, but we are pulled taut to find
Any meaning in the erratic soulish text
Expressionist, libertine, we, perplexed
Now look to death, past the grind
Which now holds no breath or release;
Should we expect to die in peace?


Fear Not Those

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
God begrudges no being its being
Which is goodness, which is madness
And love, and impossible unless
You're God; Our power stops at seeing
A body move, when in graves they lie
But only God can make it never die.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The paradox of prayer must be
Much like that of man's speech
Of whither and how it should reach
And make real what he wishes to see?
The measure of these words it is not
As treasures sold and those bought
A count, an amount, but if they do repeat
Themselves, such as others quite irrational
Like pi, which infinite repeats not at all
But the repeat of each word is a digit
And best, as the rest, if not from the head
For such words are at best dead
Being but mind's twitch or a mere fidget
But from where? Forget that for now
We may ask, if, if you'll allow
If it is in your thought to compel
My God, who yet may be yours
To withdraw from his heavenly stores
Things which vainglory swells,
Sells low to buy? Why think because
You know his name - take pause
Anything should be granted to you?
What do you know of that man Job
Did he not wear ash and torn robe
For day and night and moons too
And I, the wretch, for a moment saw
A loophole perhaps in cosmic law?
I am not a skeptic for I truly know
My prayer is received, every word
For before, foreknown and foreheard
And the one always present below?
Not always felt for certain and sure
No dewy fleece faith's need to abjure
Or to permit firm courage's lack
Or discretion and temperance to fail
Or working justice to not avail?
You must consider a different tack
And not expect what is simply a wish
This! And none other amiss
alack, alas, a loss or any other cost
For to speak with the beloved is just
Enough, must it all come back to trust?
You may yet get back what is lost
Poet, but not and never for free
This, the paradox of prayer must be.


The Cosmic Hmm

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Of the unseen worlds I've thought to speak
To speak of what man has not seen
To speak of what yet has not been
Disclosed, If we supposed in a pique
Of fugue that even this or that planetary
And I do not mean here imaginary
World, hurled forth from the forge
Could ever be seen by earthly eyes?
Dion spoke of that which lies
Beyond that mind and matter gorge
And bridged by faith, but I speak
Of nothing so near as to keep
It as a shadow, no, but of that
Which though counted quite concrete
Is nonetheless, to be discrete
The Unknow, below, and so what
Can be known of it for tales
To tell and well the tongue fails
Or fails not! Ought I then consider
Long, long ago and far, far away
With the glibness of the teller say
A silken yarn as tight as a spider
Weaves? He believes we shall not know
Whether we few left in the herebelow
Before the books are all disclosed
Are but one of many so disposed
To thought? Or to ought, are composed
Of all unlike things at once, at once
What we are and are not, but cosmic runts
Left by our Lucy to feckless punts?
But so much of the worlds, for our race
Are beyond our reach in time and space
Having already plead their case
And gone, leaving not rock nor bone
And the stars hum a questioning tone
Are we or aren't we alone?


The Orator Responds To His Own Words

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
"The heart is deceitful above all things"
He said, but everyone knows it does not lie
It lies only from the viewpoint of the eye
Which cannot glance its hidden springs
Which cannot search its ways at all
For whom inner life is but a thrall
Every man! Who peers inside will see
Deceptions and chimeras and false lights
Though what be there is by all rights
The only source for our truth to be
Discerned, earned hard by sweat
And tears and blood - but still yet
Man like mud in flesh and heart
Brittle clay, must know that which
His heart decrees is, stitch for stitch
The tapestries of his own inner art
In deceit the heart his truth it brings
For the heart is deceitful above all things.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The solid fact of your person remains
It is not, like graffiti or dirt on a wall
That must be wiped and cleared to call
It clean? Even after all of the stains
Are gone, it is not entirely smooth
Not a record without a groove
Some have thought that just because
All men are men, they be all reduced
To one face? Need it be traduced?
A part is not a whole, and other flaws
Make pause, and nor is there not
A face behind each muddy blot
A heinous facade it is and perhaps
We know the mask is of our make
But we cannot remember how to take
It off - and so soundless, lapse
Into thinking the painting be the stains
But the solid fact of the person remains.


The Sage's Wife

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
O Beauty sleeps, her watch she keeps
In that valley of unbroken dreams
Behind the eye, more than it seems
A flutter, a wave upon the deeps
Or does only the heart there see
The crests on that restless sea
As the mind there, in its silent prayer
Writes in an unknown tongue an ode
Or walks only without a sight a road
Between each sleepless eye to stare
And so unknown even to her own
I wonder, does there she travel alone
When she sightless, sails the deeps
Where what is, is not what it seems
Amid those streams, betwixt those dreams
That hidden she keeps, O Beauty who sleeps?



it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Forming a form isn't formal, fash'ning a fashion's an art
A plan's a part of the process, but not the significant part;
Knowing unknowns isn't normal, nor abnormal for that sort of thing
You have to know where you're going, but don't have a map you could bring;
But to know where you're going, you've got to know where you've been
Will you recognize it when you see it, if be it without or within?
Imagination can help you create it, but may just make something else
Golden calves for the breaking, or things for your old trophy shelf;
Knowledge just holds chimeras, ghosts of impossible shape
Symmetries ripe for unmaking, umbrages over them drape
Discipline gives no directions, but gives you the power to go
Intuition responds in enigmas, answers that can only grow;
The heart itself may hold answers, but you must batten its storms
Get past Desire's mad passions, get past Anger's two horns;
And memory! There be the dragons, and ideas of every kind
Too easy to let them control you, when you should be lord of the mind;
But the heart instructs without answer, and speaks just as quiet as air
And then to tell who is speaking? There may be other things there;
But by the end of the process, which we may have outlined
While we weren't looking, like bread that's a'cooking, we've found a form quite refined!


The Song of the Visitor

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
In the place of the paving stones,
Where there were a hundred homes
Lined up against each other in rows
I knew not one from the other, but saw
A man greeting me, waved from afar
And I came afoot as one who knows
To describe the colors I must attempt
It was varigate, of gray and dun unkempt
And the gentle old cars, of teal and white
And red and black and the chrome glinted
The stone homes and their austerity hinted
Through windows dim, of coming night
And I breathed the air, under the bluegray
With slate cloud in gossamer overlay
Sky, and I knew this man, though why
Here I cannot say, and he stood and waved
At the doorway, which here behaved
As windbreaker with its vinyl hood nigh
About its neck, and he said, "Dear friend,
Come off of the paving stones 'round the bend
For I know you have come far on foot
Was there no bus to carry, no cycle or car?"
"No," Said I, "Bullet train, but it is quite far."
"Then you should shake off the soot,
I wish that you had aforetime made call
And I would have driven to the wall
Myself and carried you here, but now,"
He said and opened the heavy latch
Just before the wind did catch
And carry dust quickly over the brow
Of the hill behind, which was lined
By houses hundred, old, refined
Who watched over the paving stones.

Within was appointed, as with such homes
A room twelve high and heavy tones
Of red and dark and damask pattern
As if a field of flowers there was strewn
Or was from their inward places hewn
But none of this had really mattered
He continued, "come in and I will show
This thing that you have come to know."
And the hum of electric lighting
Was soon to greet, my coat to stow
And with a glance as one does know
We were to our new task alighting.
"Did you know," He spoke anew
"Of that fellow, the late Agnew?"
I replied that I had not heard
And under lintels heavy passed
Here and there the curios amassed
Some old some new, but no word
And I checked my pocket clock
Whose lucence did the shadow mock
It was not more than half past three
And I pressed the item's flank
And therewhich its face went blank
And pocketed it, again to see
My friend walking now with haste
"There yet is no time to waste,
I must know your thoughts on this."
And through the kitchen we did turn
Whose humming was a silent spurn
To the door which opened with a hiss
A bulkhead here? What had he in
The place below, the dark within
Stretched below the twelve-foot height
With a hue of blue unearthly night
Beneath the heavy, austere homes?

Of blue, silver and green the tones
This deepling chamber under the stones
The pipes and wires, as though alive
Like some thing great and olden
Was to this underplace beholden
And did by slow breath live and thrive
"What is this?" I did to him say
But my odd fear he did not allay
And simply descended further yet
And the stairs that creaked and groaned
Played concert with the pipes which moaned
And sighed until we at bottom met
And the damp from here was driven out
Wheeled I then in curiosity about
To see what must have been a great machine
Or was, with its lights and dials
And small lit faces and tubes like vials
Of elfin wine, and thought I'd seen
A monstrosity, but he stopped and said,
"I ought to have been three times dead
But I have fortunes yet to be told
Here and see what hands have made
And be glad you had not kept, and stayed
But stepped forth, like me, quite bold
Against the dark and lit a lamp.."
He did trail off here, for the damp
Did bring him cough and wheeze below
This strange tomb of bluegreen glow
Whose white music breathed its tones?

Then unbeknownst to the heavy stones
Watched above by austere homes
He brought me to the central thing
Around which gathered many a screen
Which blinked to life as one who'd been
By the waking alarm's loud sting
Awakened, and I saw within
A host of tables, the numbers a din
Of movement and black and white
He said after a glance or two
And the pointer to quickly move
"Come, and see the thing aright
And see that mighty fragility
Which is though sterile, virility
And gives some life, where all was dead."
And down a metallic hallway we went
Which to neither way it bent
And now blinking and turning head,
I saw within the vacuum hold
Something brilliant and old
Whose tiny window showed a light
Which was full of stars and darkness
Whose silent spiral, markless
Held in it both day and night
He then said (perhaps to me,)
"This is the power of dark energy,
And if it should but shift a foot
Crushed to darkened powder, us
And those who pass now in the bus
Will all become but airless soot."
And the power of life and death
Were always man's, by his breath
Not by this or any device
But in him always, I know for sure
Without the singularity's lure
And my blood ran cold as ice;
So by churning the dying worlds
Man and beast make life and pearls
And we stood in the bluegreen glow
And we stood in the chamber below
Below the heavy, paving stones
Watched by the hundred austere homes.


The Orator makes his Case

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
I want to speak of the elemental things;
I have heard man tires of them,
I've heard what he places above them
Unworthy, words that may describe
A view of things from an odd-shaped glass
A purview whose qualities may pass
The test of novelty, but bribe
The senses into shock and awe
With only their subjects avoided
All of their Rorshachs Freuded
We have but a lexical hem and haw
And countless uncertain boundaries
Unstructured, attempted spontaneities,
But none to which a lighter music brings
To himself a man is speaking
We his voyeurs, notes are keeping
But silence as an old chair creaking
Marks its listless, erratic pace
Marks the tired lines on its face
And the doctors concerned with the case
And somewhere, outside academie
In an air more disciplined, more free
Free of political perspicacity
Somewhere a soul sings.


The Verse

it reads:
Charred wood, black as ash first
From the roiling fire and cast aside
Once grown high from field to riverside
Now burn bright and dream old
Now double burnt to break the cold
Ash and breath and earth: verse.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Sighing and roaring
Breath to breath pacing, steel heart
of oil burning, car.

Brown or green fading
White wall writing, what herald?
Road sign fast passing.

Colored centipede
Whose feet are wheels that sloughs on
Lengthening his rear.

Even breaking sigh
What signal's work so dispersed
Left turn and waiting?

Blue sky forgotten
In ocean of steel and gray
Lead-weight horizon.

No radio plays
I listen instead for breath
For mine and my charge.

Vying for places
Give and take half un-watching
Motives guessed wrongly.

Gripping discs tightly
Returning rubber to earth
All in a brake's work.

Sound of shouting, songs
Made unheard, hummed melody
Thousand steel voices.

Sun high and sun low
Lamps burning a cool, bright fire
Exiles find pasture.


What Goes Around

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
That poetry -
When I thought this through
It came to me like a brick
Through a window;

Listen to me -
Or just read, whichever suits
Your fancy. A conundrum
May follow.

Purity -
Or its lack, more precisely
Was the theme herein
Of these verses from back
When I read others' poetry
Now I dread though

To consider

But I do freely
You see, but I'm getting nowhere
From here to there, so soon
You will know.

The thought I see
Clearly, is this. Can a man become
The sort of man who suffers company
And yet, drives from his path
By fear of or by wrath
All those who could help him
All those who might make him
Be that which he needs to be?

Purity -
Before the face of God, before the gate
Of heaven, before Peter's grim pate
You: below?

But how could you not know
How would you not see what you were
Long ago?


In unbelief, why paint a picture of God?
(or Peter;) Ignore him and walk broad
And slow.

Things three;
Lies we tell ourselves and others,
Trying to have our druthers
And maybe if there is Karma
That it acts not on us - this Dharma
But oh,
Never directly -
But on others first.



it reads:
Ephemera, a word
Descriptive in its own power --
Great in its own hour
To describe what we think
Of a word.

Ironically, or not
Perception transforms reality --
To describe helps make things be
With no more than the blink
We've got.

Microscopic fidelity
Thinks it owns this awesome crux
Of observation's work which bucks
What might have been, we ink



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
My eye does keep expecting to see
In half sleep, a felicity
Around a door, an unknown light
Across the moor, a faerie wight
Down the hall, a shadowed man
Through the wall, a grasping hand
Though angels unseen vigils keep,
My imagination! When does it sleep?



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
That winsome ideal, the topic of Love
Is a suggestion we feel talkative of
Of its virtues! And of those who lack
We must demand they take it back!
Take back their evils, and all the wrongs
And weep a tear for the clamoring throngs
Who want only your understanding
And of course, every last other thing
For when we speak of love we can't
Help but give it our colorful slant
And forget its history, for it does seem
The very now of it does teem
With the feelings we seek as medicine
And gladly extol that it covers all sin
But its image is blurred as if by rain
Its clarion obscured by resentment's skein
And forgetting it has four at least
Faces as were each living beast
Of man, ox and eagle and lion
And belongs not to Nubia or Albion
And of its demands, can we call it free
It is only as cheap as your poverty
The widow's mite! She knew to buy low
And those who talk how can they know?
Love and death, the inseparable things
Caught like must in a linnet's wings
That you sneeze out and blink and tear
O you who drink! Harken now here
When you sing love you spit out death
It tarries along with the spit in your breath
And sweats out thick from every pore
And does into each listener bore:
If only men loved! You spit with a sigh;
But what have you said but, Why don't you die!?


How To Write a Poem

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Writing a poem you see
Is an act of utmost simplicity;
Don't overthink it? true --
Go where the thought carries you
But before all of that, way back
Verses laid stack upon stack
Must fill all the hidden spaces
Nigh spill out of inconvenient places
Of the heart? One might say
Your middle is right where they stay
So maybe it's life's punch in the gut
That makes all the poems come up.


The Riddle of Three

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
John Harmody, the first of three
Set a question for his fellows;
But before he could even squeak
it out Drake Elson ups and bellows:
"Dear friends, my umbrage I must have
And take more unless I hear
The answer to a riddle gave
To me this night last year."
Harmody, who likely winking
Carefully crafted those words
Now sat back, musing, thinking
While Elson sharpened swords.
"Three things I have in mind right now
The One it is the first,
then The Several and the Inifnite
now tell the best and worst!"
Ephrem the last (who looked up from his glass)
Smirked and said aloud:
"The answer that will likely pass
Will be how to grab a cloud."
Elson defied (and never lied)
Said, "With a vacuum pump.
Now for you at least you've tried
But Harmody's a lump!"
Then old John (with face quite long)
Had for Drake a bit of sport,
"There are answers right and wrong,
-- several -- is my retort."
"Since you are the author here,"
Said Elson with a roar
"Tell us why (do be a dear)
Or else be known a boor!"
"The answer depends, my good friends
On the one who asks,
And on what the answerer intends
To set for him as tasks.
The One it is the count of Truth
The single golden thread;
By it all things are joined, forsooth
It is thought's truest bread.
The Several are like in kind
All good and virtues true;
But different! Keep it in mind
If that path you would pursue.
The Infinite is beauty's law
A bright and endless band
A circle gold without a flaw
Counted with the sand."
Elson thought a moment more,
And in this way did conclude:
"Gray's right, and so you are a boor
To make us choose is rude!"


The Poet speaks of the Heart

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
The blazing spear, or so I imagine it
Longinus' spear, that split
The side of God? Find not it odd
That it may have cut, each tendon's rut
A jagged and broad stroke in and up
The center most dear - the heart of God.

A sentimental eye, If he wishes he can
Imagine as I, all manner of fan-
fiction about this heart, of thorns
of it being torn apart, of the scorns
it bears? But who cares --
Sentimentality, you see
Of this kind begets apathy.

But we shall see quite rather instead
Another scene about this wounded head
For the symbol here, simple and clear
Is that the heart is already pierced.

The heart bears wounds they say
Mired by cares, made old by day
and day and who can say why
It heals not, but grows old
And does sometimes, rot?

It is perhaps because the center of a thing
Whose inner laws a conclusion bring
Who must have a space within
Quite large enough to then begin
To contain a certain stuff?

Infinite, indefinitely large
A kind of light, not white nor orange
Nor yellow or gold, not young or old
How many wounds would then suffice
What sort of contradictory advice
To make this kind of hole?

And to express the meaningfulness
Of a simple sign, seeming casual dress
Ares war it, and wore it too
But he is dead, like those few
Who inspired that particular line?

The spear is not, as it ought
Carried out, carried by aught
In this mark, but about
The circle it has come through;

This hole, this whole affair
May we say, has death's air
And man's! The male's way
But a palm spans its breadth;
Of love, of war, of death.


The Sage speaks of the Mind

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
O mirror, is there any clearer
She asked of it, that lovely mirror
Which glinted a bit, in her hand it fit
But gave no reply, save her eye
Blinking, a sigh, where she did sit.

An Egyptian once, surely no dunce
Saw beyond his face, at least once
Up to the sun, whose disc was spun
Of golden light, all fiery-bright
The mirror's might was this way won.

The Grecian saw, aside his careful law
Of nature's test, wrote for he saw
A woman at rest, and upon her breast
A hand mirror's plate, to contemplate
Her own estate, a symbol of them best.

A Serb did make, of his crystal lake
An image bright; and then did make
A prayer at night, and in day-light
To see all things, twixt its grassy rings
Of this he sings, of universal sight.

O what world, round or uncurled
Is in there, yet to be a world
I yet stare, through countenance bare
Into the eye, that mirror's eye
And what may lie inside -
    - the sun? the lake? the symbol fair?
I think all Truth hides there.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Humiliation, the art of having been
One; whose insides were all but strewn
About the place; cast before each face
Of man, a moment's span, a space
Infinitesimal, that small is required
To see, And be with insides fired
Brittle clay, glazed this way and that
Embossed, perhaps lost like a scat-
-ter of golden leaves, or bad heaves
ought, to help when one perceives
one small, a pall cast o'er the eyes
of the soul, or a gambol that lies
in the feet, did one stop to greet
such a man? And in sun or sleet
or snow, or rain, go - but rewind
and see that poetry for the mind -
- is just all of these.


The Roar and The Dull

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
I heard the news this very day
For I am not yet deaf
Volume was what paved my way
Not a case of the ineff;
No thing so sacred as to require
The silence of the soul
Whomever twas did start the fire
Has really been on a roll;
Every! Word! It was! A Shout!
And no dullness to the roar
When asked what it was all about
My puzzlement I must implore;
As too much sunlight all at once
Can render men but blind
The shrillness quick made me a dunce
And cleared right out my mind!


The Censer

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Anger, said he, anger and rage!
It comes like as comes smoke blowing
For he who breathes oft is not knowing
Of when he turned the page
Of when ended that summer age
When winter's wind came blowing
The hungry cattle come, lowing
Out of barren places, cold
Cold of ageless gnawing and old
And even those who rage not at God
Even they must think it odd
When hot temper steps forth bold
But what for those who bought and sold
Who wore spots like those who gnawed
That smeared their faces of grimy sod?
Do not the beloved not shout at them?
But are they not, though lowly, men?
But injustice is blood on earth's face
Calling out to him, calling out to grace
Asking for how long, asking for when
When the graceless age shall end
Not for revenge; or pride apace
Do they violently, run this race
And sing as poets, these battle songs
For when time ends and ends the wrongs
But the greatest mountain is then love
Climb its heights, and care not of
When the sweetly scented prayer prolongs
The censer's release, above the throngs
Comes down as did the form of dove
For a moment the below as above
That living light, that making song
Becomes at last, a beautiful bomb.


The Ministrel Tells of a Way

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
What! The mazy meandering path,
That walk across the Wintermark
Whose trail trod a widening swath
The Summermere's image stark
Made there a sunlit flashing spark?

The walk, said he, beneath the tower
Whose ebon countenance does gaze
Whose eyeless windows glower
Whose shadow cuts the foggy haze
Beside the Summermere's ways?

Go not there, he said with care
For the trail goes under the mountain
Beyond the Pearlsand's choking air
Into the shadowed water fallen
To the heart of Goldmight's fountain.

And from there the Nightlit's purple eyes
Show visions made of jeweled flashes
Show imaginations, prophecies, lies
Beneath the Earthman's falling lashes
Nightlit is fed by Goldmight's ashes.

And the path is fiery and is cold
The heat of Goldmight's breaking heart
Makes the skin and lungs feel old
Until the last Earthman's sagging cart
At the Chilldark's borders part.

There the wood-gate lies in state
Frozen cold by Hazmel's spells
Who fears Verda the Queen called great
Whose home is under Ironwells,
Hazmel who fears the ringing bells.

And tell not any of the magnetic rocks
That are in the heart of the Livingdeep
Beneath the sacred leaves and stalks
Where the elders of each unmute beast
At night a solemn vigil keep.

And fear old Hazmel, Yonder Knight,
And Livingdeep while still she lives
Keeps vigils with these all at night
And hopes his wrath one day forgives
And to her children blessing gives.

And fear they all the purple hood
Who comes and goes without a sound
And searches that old virgin wood
And paces gently the Aspenmound
Until her charge at last be found.

But I see clearly now the roving kind
Have you among their merry number
Keep my wandering words in mind
See them in blood's musky umber
Let them echo like calling thunder!


The Poet's Dream, Final

it is addressed thusly:
And looking upon the verses writ
The poet had had enough of it
Thus from this point did wage
A plan to put them on one page:

A ballad for a world.
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.

Deep below the roots still grow
Though petrified and dead
And meek of wrath the path I go
Through the tractless and the dread.

A far descent beneath I went
To country hot and burning
Helped who dwelt by whom was sent
Free of desire's yearning.

To dweller deep, did promise keep
And pull him from his prison
Offered he then logic's leap
Which did demand decision.

'A coal that burns against the dark
An arrow that does not miss its mark
A hand that heals and holds to bind
A chill, enshrouding winter wind
An ancient lamp embossed with youth
A mighty arm endowed with ruth
A darkness seeing, searching eye
A flame with dancing sparks that fly
A foot to crush a serpent's head
A word soft-uttered, a breath of dread
A tattered coat worn with merry might
An arc that makes all-bright the night
A spinning band of golden worth
A brazen horn now sounding forth;

Seven and seven, mark them all
Know which of them, which shall fall?
(Spoke the dweller -- against the wall)
Ye who hear me not, to these I call
I need not best you, nor hand stall
Perish the unhearing,
         perish them all!

Listen friend, be loath to ascend
For worse things await than to die
Your world will have a bitter end
It will not be yours; the other does lie!'

And forgetting I, how I did respond
To his fierce and bitter query
My sight arose, and moved beyond
To new vision, a deeper theory.

And gathering to a greatness, I
Found my faculties reach beyond
And saw then these, when did fly
My mind above my memories fond

And drive past war and warring hate
And cut with wisdom's surer course
Found then I the drowning-gate
Onto which all water the ocean pours.

And then my vision came more clear
Past these sunny domes of yore
For I saw a sight so dear
A windswept world, a skylit shore

And these places had to them,
A felicity I leave here undescribed
For above I saw a starry fen
Whose master nary could be bribed.

And now my dream came clearer still
Of seeds seven, whose keepers lie in state
Around me there these heroes fell
These legends true, these kings called great

Now encircle, entombed at rest
All present here, though from time thrown
Called by the eighth, among the best
Held nascent now, but soon be grown.

The seeds I saw, were vices dread
In truth they were not always so
But I had it in my head
To take all seven, and then to go

Unhinge the ancient doors of death
And undo their evil with some good
Be carried then, with the breath
To follow her with purple hood.

Then he, that old totem nose
Whose habitat was for the birds
Told me tale of many woes
Which also sadly was of many words

In shorter form I will recall
The symbols which he wrote for me
In that telling, once and for all
See the end to what will be:

'A mirror which describes the heart
A cup discerned by wisdom's art
A pale sword which broke in two
A winter cat on hunt for you
A city where faith turns to dust
A library overcome with must
A jar of souls and minds to switch
A fair rose wilted black as pitch
A child who seeks but cannot find
A coin whose carrying did bind
A flower which sees only itself
The soulless blue-fire of an elf
A wordless edge to hem the will
A giant's rock upon a hill.

Look upon the suffering soul -
Though his means cannot be ours
For that life is in my bowl
And that soul is none but yours.

Angels all - yes as they say
Angels both meet and right
But dark angels are you today
You must be angels of light.'

A dream within a dream I saw therein
A prophecy dark, this vision thrice
Turning as the mind does within
And wake upon a bed of ice
And find a city gold and golden twice.

Those who may guide could but say
Only that they knew me not at all
And knew not who had sent this way
Myself and down Foundation's wall
And by a starry sea enthrall

And what hill did I climb until
I entered but with golden thread
That place of every wicked will
That place of breath and breathless dread
The wake of every waking dead?

And wake we did the keeper hid
Among the shifting half-lit light
From his tower he bade us rid
Of his charge, and by his might
He tore the tearless twilit night.

And such we were as those aver
The undying ones, they do not lie
Sealed and seared by fire's augur
The pit-thing killed us with its cry
Killed but to life, now ne'er to die.

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."

Ephrem Gray, he did one day
Sit down to write a sonnet
But his pen would not obey
From when he set upon it

The day fourteen he then had seen
Proceed from dawn to dusk
Could not tell his lot had been
To sit amid the musk

Stooping, writing and as if his hand
By his choice or by his fate
Wrote the phrase again, again:
It was, "I, grown, await."
a postscript is here written:
This concludes what the poet had composed.

It is dated, in the manner of European dating:




it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Love and compatibility, compatibility and love
These two would be the complementarity
That we're thinking of
When we consider romance, and consider it we will
For any chance we might enhance
Our enjoyment of it still
The utility of failing tests should however make it clear
About the rest who'd enjoy it best
Are but those who persevere.


The Poet's Dream, IX

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment
it reads:
"A dream within a dream I saw therein
A prophecy dark, this vision thrice
Turning as the mind does within
And wake upon a bed of ice
And find a city gold and golden twice.
Those who may guide could but say
Only that they knew me not at all
And knew not who had sent this way
Myself and down Foundation's wall
And by a starry sea enthrall
And what hill did I climb until
I entered but with golden thread
That place of every wicked will
That place of breath and breathless dread
The wake of every waking dead?
And wake we did the keeper hid
Among the shifting half-lit light
From his tower he bade us rid
Of his charge, and by his might
He tore the tearless twilit night.
And such we were as those aver
The undying ones, they do not lie
Sealed and seared by fire's augur
The pit-thing killed us with its cry
Killed but to life, now ne'er to die."

And who would, he gasped, wish such a thing?
Now that he had his full remembering
This, the thirteenth of the month
He remembered as he had once
A nursery rhyme they used to sing:

"I dreamed a dream of dying,
So I prayed a prayer of life
Don't stomp the snake that's lying
Flee him for his strife!

A love is worth a diamond
A true love has no price
The trouble's in the trying
The savor's in the spice!

Would you be my Valentine
Says knight on knee he bends
This night my lady be thee mine
Tomorrow the world it ends!"


Misery's Company

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
That sad despond, that dullsome gloom
That hangs about as vagrancy
Almost feels sorry to sweep the room
Almost colder in its vacancy
Oh, oh what foolish trifles for which we're bound
For is not the spring forthcoming?
Only a leaden heart could one have found
To be deaf of its drumming;
To look with sadness upon coming days
Days which are all quite actually brighter
It then is not light that allays
For is not that joy much slighter
I feel then mostly sorry most
For the worldly gloom itself
Pity to drive its haggard host
Every faerie, every elf
But maybe sympathize a trace
And feel its dumb despair not odd
And recall for all mere things no place
Before the light of the face of God?


The Poet's Dream, VIII

it is addressed thusly:
A fragment.
it reads:
"Then he, that old totem nose
Whose habitat was for the birds
Told me tale of many woes
Which also sadly was of many words

In shorter form I will recall
The symbols which he wrote for me
In that telling, once and for all
See the end to what will be:

A mirror which describes the heart
A cup discerned by wisdom's art
A pale sword which broke in two
A winter cat on hunt for you
A city where faith turns to dust
A library overcome with must
A jar of souls and minds to switch
A fair rose wilted black as pitch
A child who seeks but cannot find
A coin whose carrying did bind
A flower which sees only itself
The soulless blue-fire of an elf
A wordless edge to hem the will
A giant's rock upon a hill."

And woke our poet from reverie
Just in time the sunset to see
And remark the blots upon the page
Which seemed writing of another age
And find his menial tasks undone
Which then under the proverbial gun
He had to then with haste engage
And the war with memory later engage.