The Benevolent


it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The benevolent, they come and go
And their will to good is uncertain
Who can say what the mind may show
When next we pull the curtain?
Their addled, passionate and wavering hands
The shifting sky, the switching sands
Though many stay on who are yet hurting
By their good will none falls or stands;

We march, all condemned to death
All contingent in our being
At once all body, at once all breath
All blindness and all seeing
The end is the same for all who know
Bones, dry bones and white as snow
And our comfort is always and ever fleeing
But the benevolent? They come and go.


The Sick Man


it is addressed thusly:

An ode.
it reads:
Into the arms of a colorless age
Bleak as the rain makes cold the sun
Wet-bleached out stage by stage
Gradual so the colors won't run
Mix by force all the unlike things
A depression, a grayness borne on wings
Spin until all the thread is spun
Not white but dun the spinning brings

Alas the atmosphere makes us sweat
And gives us chills like a sick man
We are not made ill, and still yet
Our insides make us feel pale and wan
Are we inside out, shall we sleep or wake
None of the treasures we desire to take
We are most blessed - we who ran
- and grew ill of a time diseased and fake.


The Engine of Dreams

it is addressed thusly:
A riddle.
it reads:
The engine of dreams it is more than it seems
Though not heretofore was it invented
To settle the score with all the machines
From which man had lately repented;
A thunderous task, at last to unmask
Its undulant plan, but whom shall we ask --?
Ask not the man had it rented
What few great tragedies had it prevented;
But its power endue whether lately or new
The truth of its uttermost schemes
He will not boast, whether lying or true
For he is the engine of dreams.


The Black Bird

it is addressed thusly:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictureartist/9682324028An ode.
it reads:
And so the raven calls
Though once lulled to silence
In search of bright treasure
Flying from the walls;-                       
-flying from the walls
With a rumor of violence
And ruin without measure
Sound - and silence falls.


The Aristocrat

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The absurd generosity of plants
- he laughed - is unknown to us
Though some men would chance
To fancy themselves yet generous;
Consider that they do not toil or spin
And they give to any old passer-by
It is but a when and not a why
And disdain because of what is within?
Themselves; all in all, with no sieve
And yet how many continue to give?
Man would almost fancy it a sin
To give all of himself to but live;

They insinuate themselves, of course
- the reply - and why should they not
A generosity that is more like a force
Seems an is and not a sort of ought
But not all, I suppose, can be claimed
For the seed itself is often the food
Given to the worthy without mood
And so the plant cannot then be blamed
The worker is worth his wages they say
Toiling to build but themselves all day
Worthy is what such a creature is named
Where the love of the Good is the Way.


The Orator To The Schadenfreude

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
I beseech you, try not to smile --
I know the habit it's become
Listen to my words awhile
If you can bear to listen some;
A strangeness has from it emerged
Grin to forget your present woes
Even while your spirit knows
How machine and man converged;
In a machine-mask of a style
A face to conceal both guilt and guile
Bear up then the gritting urge --
I beseech you! Try not to smile.


Canticle for the Dead

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
That solemn line came marching
Of both the lowly and the proud
Still under a silent sky arching
Open and free from every cloud
To whom did these faces belong
The downcast walk without a song
And neither is their trodding loud
And their suffering is long.

Alas, among these had humility
But did their abasement save
Those who now stand in equality
With those who took and those who gave?
They all dwell now in darkling dread
And have no sight within their head
Beseech then, you who can yet see
The One who can still save the Dead.


The Poet Explains His Mirth

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Those, they say, whose naivete
Is nuanced beyond belief
The eternal cynic, the worldly may
In 'nothing' find their relief
To I, who never tore down a thing
Nor honor did stain to break or fling
Their empty sayings bring no grief
I see clearly through, and so I sing.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The heaven yawns, the waters' reverse
Under the winking moon's light
Make seeming, for better or worse
A due process of day & night
Her metallic glint, a face upturned
A human face, or so they yearned
To make earthway to heaven spite
Though little of either they had learned;

The outshine, was the symbol there
Of their earthen mysteries
A sign-like circle marks the air
Heaving mountains, heaving seas
The moon the sun, the earth the moon
A shadow to silence immortal noon
Such was the flavor of their decrees
Outshine by shadow, instruct by boon;

But the spotless sun, whose language
Is far too large for us to see
too silent, too loud for our baggage
too grand for our land or sea
writing in spotted, inscrutable prose
unseen as before it the eye must close
fire and light and heaven will be
but will man? The sun only knows.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
spotless outside in


The Word Spoken in the Desolate Country

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Hard the wind blew, casting cold
Its fingers upon every upturned face
Scouring with steel wool every place
Ring upon ring the farthest wold
And twain stood, with side to side
Looking upon places far and wide;
One said: Does any yet live that desire?
See the wind: it moves earnestly
Its wants are simple; its actions, free
But it knows not the water from the fire.
The other said: man seems the same
For all his self-knowing is in vain;
One replied: if the wind could know
We must suppose it would understand
What it wished to pull from the land
Every mote caught up from below;
The other said: But man must think
As hearts must beat, eyes must blink;
The one then said: no return, then.
Eyes open, hearts must draw blood
Man must at least rise from the mud
It cannot be if, it must be when;
The other replied: but in his wealth
Man seems to only desire himself;
Well, said the one, would seem perverse
If a man wished to wish and not
Desired to be desired, for aught
Else but being beloved is of worth--?
But waiting to be desired, each to each
Sits alone, for love is out of reach.


The Word Spoken at the Utmost Place

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
And men today believe, he said
That they love too little, how absurd
The other replied, with pity fed
They ought to love more, in a word
Are they not another, parch'd, waterless land?
True, he said, but this is not at hand
Dry they are, but this is not conferred
By love's lack as I do understand;

Then what, the other replied in kind
Would make this riddle yield some sense
What sort of rede had you in mind?
Simple, he said, is their recompense
Wringing love from pity in such a state
For there is not much lovable of late
NO! He roared, pity knew offense
If this perverted age they did not hate!


The Poet Sings of the City at Night


it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Always beautiful at night
The shadows somehow calling
I hear rain lightly falling
And just memory is sight
A plaintive, indifferent sound
Reflection running on the ground;

Always beautiful at night
A deep breath, a weary groan
To but see the lights of home
Steam draft catches flight
A world without length or breadth
And a thousand layered depth;

Always beautiful at night
A distant sound of moving cars
A siren flash beneath the stars
Footsteps pacing, ever-slight
Tires crunch and tires slick
The sound of evening is thick;

Always beautiful at night
The melancholy of old Noir
Under heavy clouds that soar
Dropping noise into your sight
Bright, bright, bright and mystery
Night hiding what you cannot see

Always beautiful at night
Dark towers cast against a cloud
Fast-moving, the wind is loud
And portend a sleeping might
A hundred specters without depth
Still in form the shadows leapt;

Always beautiful at night
Sky colored of another world
Racing clouds their courses swirled
Jet blinking eyes, an errant kite
A searchlight dances up and down
Against a tower, about the town;

Always beautiful at night
Lights twain in every sitting pool
Green and red and white may fool
Drooping and blinking sight
To see the street bedecked with cheer
To see the closing of the year;

Always beautiful at night
Neon's warm and handsome glow
Offices wink above, and it below
Green and yellow, red and white
And blue and every brazen face
Letters of dreams they still may trace;

Always beautiful at night
The shining towers exhilarate
The stars beyond will have to wait
They hum with other-worldly light
They stand tall, and brazen and gay
But vanish in the coming day.