Pitch-black, Blood-red, Drab-grey


it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Though it once divided the highway
And bent the unyielding rail
This falling down factory still may
Not yet crumble before they fail
Songs of glass houses and stones
In neglect even solid brick groans
Its iron bars rust, its timbers grow stale
It is not what anyone admittedly owns
It is opaque and cuts the earth deep
But fear of the breath of frost
With agitation they must yet keep
Stones away at every cost
I have seen more than one posted bill
Declaring in letters, for good or for ill
That its cause is done, its wars are lost
I have now certainly read my fill
What is it then - a metal detailing plant
An old cathedral, a moldering clubroom
A system grown old of ritual and cant
A riot of stones may too soon presume
But the revolutions already had their day
Like demons drive them at last away
All is retrofitted, we forget too soon --
Pitch-black, blood-red, drab-grey.


The Sage Considers the Plain Things

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
As common things go, we may yet find
That some beauty was added that we did not know
For we weren't at all looking here below
William Morris, time out of mind
Made fancy things of those sundry and known
Clothes and furniture and others shown
Meanwhile no streetlamp had given him pause
To think of what it might signify
- do we suppose such things are all a lie?
It might seem that it was one of his laws
While Anderson had writ in his fairy-book
The tale of a street lamp whose fortunes took
A turn or two - but did anyone notice
Or think of the ugliness that did invade
As somehow something not man-made
And their ignorance then thus confess
Of the germane amid modernity's pox -
The simple elegance of the cardboard box?

a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
Chesterton Twelve Types


The Song of the Bits

it is addressed thusly:
An ode
it reads:
Would the bits then have nothing to say
Pulsing on and off and off and on
Would the endless information be gone
Ever repeating it in the same way
And as day does begin with night
So does darkness precede a light
Would these everlasting voices be still
Is no news good news after all
Do we look to the place of the skull
Do we know its thrice-starry hill
And forget the ceaseless stream of new
This torrent that we are passing through
Would the boundless images then cease
But far- return when called and told
To return back from the heavenly fold--?
Can their number do but increase
If for a day or two follow the quiet way
Would the bits then have nothing to say?


Freedom of Speech

it is addressed thusly:
 An ode.
it reads:
And so fiction becomes fact
The several forces attract
THE MIND - an empty room
As empty as a tomb
Rattles with unseen ghosts
Parasites seeking their hosts
But the eye is closed shut
Its shell hard as a nut
THE WORDS somehow exist
Even if the spirits all desist
And they bring life to its dreams
Through obscurity it seems
Though symbols are concrete
Word and symbol do not meet
THE THOUGHTS are just like speaking
or like seeing without peeking
that is, if they can still think
a shut eye cannot blink
no, there is only speaking in the head
their reality is dead.


Fear of the Heavens


it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
I saw it in a vision of a dream
The fission of a dreadful thing
No mouth to open and scream
Just a blank thing on the wing
No face had it and no eyes
But swift, it paced the skies
Light was it and painful its sting
Pain unto death that flies.

She tugged my dusty pant leg
And spoke - "It is cloudy today
We should not have to hide and beg"
And I wondered aloud in a way
That made her give this reply:
"Here we fear only the clear sky
For it is only on a clear day
That the drones come to make us die."

And somewhere four men - or is it
Four women, by the rule of parity
Wait patiently for the weather to fit
Their mission, and we can see
Vote upon vote and law ream upon ream
Build a dire crescendo to a theme
This must be the fist of popular sovereignty
-- I saw it in a vision of a dream.


Public Opinion


it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
No applause awaits them at all
Would we know if they were heroes
Not even a name in etch or scrawl
No place for the lily or the rose
What we don't know tells us more
Than what we know heretofore
They are not made any less tall
That them we know or ignore;
And we know not, but we insist
For the public weal - an abstract
That their fame must come to exist
Fed like a drug into veins dry and cracked
The common man; will he call
Himself a god, by an unknown pall
For the holy ones know it exact -
No applause awaits them at all.


The Binding


it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Fathers be good to your daughters
And mothers be good to your sons
A truth not considered by authors
Of the laws on which society runs
Much is made of the broken and sad
But who grasped the chance that was had
To make well for these forgotten ones
To make good before there was bad?
A circle must remain unbroken
For it to be quite so-called
But forgotten things are unspoken
So obvious we are appalled;
Shocked by modernity's slaughters
Though blood is thicker and wider-walled
We still drown under rising waters
Under the shout of rebellious guns--
So fathers be good to your daughters
And mothers be good to your sons.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Let Justice be done though the heavens fall
He said, and I beheld the falling starry host
In his eyes - was it merely the thunder's call
That man's justice was crudely interposed?
Consider - they turn all custom on its head
But did their righteousness ever raise the dead
Did their good will deliver the souls of all
From the tombs where they lie in darkling dread?

Forgetting that the dead once walked the earth
Made fairy-tale of hopes and dreams
That man once had, and ere his cosmic birth
Was not what now it strangely seems
Can Justice hang for its murderous crimes
I say - as though my mere verses and rhymes
Might strangewise drown out all the screams
Might blow the breath out of these times;

How could Justice fail? He then replied
How could it be guilty of any wrong?
He shook his head, and then he sighed
To have his patience tried so long
But if God is not just, as man would call
How does man's justice matter at all
Mercy and love and truth prolong --
But let justice be done, though the heavens fall.