Flame on Flame

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Flame on flame, the poet said
Form remembered but name forgot
Feeling is warm and cold is thought
The soul made old with holy dread
Moves instead to a hidden song
The poet had said it all along;
The singing a roar unseen and far
Bringing as sound over distant trees
Unlooked but found for our dis-ease
So dense it shook our mouth ajar
Tense, did we fear? What was our choice
To hear the song or just the noise?
Listen beyond the sounding roar
Between the thousand shouting ones
Now sound seeming golden faintly runs
Now found less faint, now suggest a score
Now no more sound, now fire instead --
'Flame on flame', the poet said.


The Sage Remarks of the Outside

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Do they live on, all these strange ones
Beyond the reach of the novel sea
In between the cracks of plurality
Mismatched and rare and spare and dun --?
Every one to those with open hands
A plague upon their smoothed out lands
Weeds is perhaps the image forcalled
What must needs then be considered true
Does the man of all thus think it through;
And become sentimental or appalled 
A ruin! Covered in vines and tressed
About with flowers and with moss dressed?
In each thing is borne its seed of death
Which just means a nature underlies
That which changes, which grows or dies
Because there are many things and lest
Time should cease, and horizons close
There may be many or few of those;
But each of these things within as well
Seems to contain the same conceit
To find its own designs complete
Only when by stroke or spell
All is laid flat before its might
Does it too then proceed to night --?
Wise is the one who sees this truth
And moves slowly, loath to touch a fence
Knowing sea and stream's sure recompense
For he who shows them too much ruth
He forgets the terror of ten thousand suns --
As they live on, all these strange ones.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Then struggle on, struggle on, O man
In bright clash; a flash in the pan
And thundering a thousand strong
Bound fast in bellow-loud gong
Smoke and ash and blood and night
And the sudden fire of morning light
Then silence! -- live of ears and eyes
Tense waiting watching seas and skies
And desert plain wise fighting sleep
Then nothing -- but water moving deep
Rearranging pebbles on a washing-board
Like prize, loss and possession scored
But still poised sword and rank and file
Balanced breathless featherlight mile
Meaning made flesh of flesh and bone
Of piled, poised wave and tipping stone
Gathering four winds, a bellow long
Rings; a blast, a chant, a song --
Then down going, thunder across the moor
If man thus goes, man goes to war.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
I have been a dead man before
And before that; and the world
Which though ever-unfurled
Dies too; and in the old lore
When it began no one knew
But we guess out of the blue
And assume we know, because
- there is no because, but yet
we may somehow lessen debt
And loosen bonds and lift laws?
Such heat wafts and smoke will rise
From he who truly lives, but dies.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The pain that we have just begun to know
Is carved within us by the passing years
We rest, we stretch despite how it may grow
Not noticing the sculpture - it appears.


The Great Filter

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Kids, kids – it’s the new big thing
I want you to listen, just a for second
I promise I won’t try dance or sing
This is way bigger than anyone reckoned
They call it the Rift, and think it’s a door
But you and I, we know its so much more
It’s a perfect filter for everyone’s life
Hey — wait — I’m not done with my pitch
A minute, okay – please put away the knife
You know that insatiable, incurable itch
It’s big – we both know without a doubt
But this is Big too – so stand up and shout
Anything – everything you want –
Filter it out!
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
outside oculus in


The House of Pleasure

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In the house of pleasure, none is denied
For all of its truths must be ratified
In letter, for those who cannot decide
But waver, wavering on what is implied
In pleasure itself, for there on its side
Are written things blasphemous, snide
And all the bodies there for it died
All in a jest, are you so serious, it cried
And he wonders, if it had really lied
For what was a slope fast became a slide
Have you heard of its way, so easy and wide
Down-going humility, the publican sighed
But there are so many bones, can you divide
The quick from the dead, with everything dried
Even its form has ceased where it tried
To be pleasure at all,  but a suicide
So out - and away from all reason we glide
Thought into nothing; desire into pride.


The Orator Calls Upon the Last

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
O Europa; in a final hour we see
The truth of what was, in truth
Of we who wore beauty in youth
Every diadem and grand trophy
Was ours, was it not ours, friends?
Tell me then why this story ends;
All things die that mortal are
Even death; but do ideas perish?
Is their immortal conceit but garish
And rude - what of that star
That rules our day, will it not fade
Is its destiny not to be unmade?
All things then, live on by dying
Ah, but such a thing as we were
And knew it not, of this I am sure
Whose were we, tell me without lying
To whom did we yet belong --
We who were weak, and yet strong?
Yes! We were someone else's conceit
And they but our fascination
We who looked out on ev'ry nation
Made the sea bow under our fleet
Which no man had seen before --!
And wanted to know ev'ry shore?
The pallor of death awaiting reflection
We look so bright, young Hamlet
As day is bright and still yet
In considering our new direction
We looked back, we looked back in
But did we look beneath the skin?
We wonder if we shall sleep or dream;
Having forgot that we were here to do
Deeds that no man had seen or knew
Until they were done, until... does it seem
Strange that I remind you, O great city?!
O Europa! In a final hour we see!



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The part is before the whole he said
Do you not see how a thing is made --?
That to infer beyond sense God forbade
I had never heard, tho' bright reason fled
Before a noisy crowd of idol chatter
To make the earth round, made it flatter
An interchangeable part, did it make
A man forget what sort of shape required
What mentation must first have implied
A form of forms - a whole mistake
A limb or piece might by guess impart --
But the whole is still before the part.


No Sleep

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The labors do not cease because we sleep
Uncountable gears spin even in the dark
Where no light is; and no sound or spark
But a tick when the escape wheel a leap
Might make in its interminable course
Pushed by a light but irresistible force
Soever in motion about its source
Image by image, the story is told
Written by authors unknown to us
Without grumbling and without fuss
Like automatons they grow not old
With boredom for their thankless task
We might therefore desire to ask
Who hides behind that hidden mask
And know perhaps some secret law
As thought it was not yet known to us
The we who are, the we who was
The we who heard, the we who saw
In learning do we but memory keep
Or into the great unknown we leap
The labors do not cease because we sleep.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
From the balcony's secluded roost we see
Though trees mask, black on black-almost
Among the shadows of an embroidered host
Not just one bright display, but three.


Adrift Without a Star

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
'Neath an eyeless sky, the inkblack sea
Moves softly, utters not save a quiet sound
A lapping-sound, not saying what may be
The reach of its voice a furthest bound;
And beyond it, nothing, nothing known
Though the wind the boat has gently blown
Unsteady on shifting and traceless ground
And quickly away from it has flown.

Allow us a map, and a lamp electric
That by instrument we may probe the dark
Unheard sounds and an unseen metric
Keep alive in us that unknown spark
To burn bright and not consume or mar
Has the unbounded one come yet so far
For night over night the days to mark
His journey -- adrift, without a star?