The Orator Tells of His Secret Joy


it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
While they laughed and sung
We with downcast faces waited
They lit a flame in the dark
Burning out the sunless days
Blowing on a waning spark
"Why mourn?" each glibly says
Then when they were spent and sated
Our despair to joy was recreated
With the return of the invincible sun--
At last the first bells of Christmas rung.




it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The stormwind and the lightning dance
As though the air could catch that fire
Could catch it and put it out
Riding the wind as a spark on the wire
Gathering greatness spread about
Backwards, faster than the naked eye
From the flat and shadowed earth to fly
And write the lines of a strange romance
But west wind blows hard against the flame
Though the flight of arcing light just the same
Appears suddenly, a sudden chance
A change - still the storm then became --
In the distance I heard the echos sound
(Though the rain upon the window pound--)
A flash or two in that hushed expanse
A call to chase in some odd parlance;
Dash far away wind, sweep clean the ground
No brightness, just a great head of dust
Go east, towards the sun's ever-rise
Chase beyond the sight of my eyes
The train of a last and forlorn gust
Then one more blast; a fiery lance --
Then the silence of rain, as rain must
Be always silence and sound alike
With each drop the rooftile strike;
Did she catch him, did she perchance?
Or was it just a daydream like
The lines of a strange romance --
A stormwind and a lightning dance?



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
A heart with no memories
As bright and spotless as the sun
Does it belong to anyone
Whose heart was it before
An open heaven without a cloud
Is there such a thing anymore
It came not from the proud
Whose self-image is their disease
Nor did the lowly give it birth
Whose humble thoughts have worth
A great canyon without a breeze
A still and silent mirth
Immutable thing that moves
Here the real and ideal agrees
In the world there's no greater ease
Than once found to simply lose
A heart with no memories.


End of Cycle: "Adrift Without a Star"

This ends the third cycle (The first being 'The Earth is Flat and the Heavens a Dome" and the second being "Gold Smoke and Blue Fire") of poetry.

Adrift Without A Star was a phrase coined by a friend of mine, accidentally, when describing the fate of space probes that lost their way and being solar powered, were out of range of any energy source. There is almost zero friction in space so whatever last speed the probe had it would continue, but would have no power to change course unless it happened to come near enough to a star (perhaps an inevitability given the count of stars in the cosmos) to charge its batteries, provided they still would accept charge.

The meaning behind any symbol has a facile and prosaic expression, and sometimes a very clever distillation of its essence into a sentence. At its best Twitter, like other short mediums, becomes this: potent distillations of ideas. But it is mostly facile and prosaic. The notion of Adrift Without A Star is either so simple as to not require explanation or so subtle as to be incomprehensible except as wordless thoughts evoked as a byproduct of reading a number of poems.

In our time we have, like the hopeful prisoner of war, many reports of our deliverance from ruin. Our truly conservative forbears would brook no such optimism. A place with no king, no altar, no sacrifice, and no honor is not progressing towards greatness. It may be that within its shell a new life, like the hollow crust of an egg, is being nurtured for its time of nativity. Our best hope is in an advent if you will. We pray for a death both peaceful and free of sin for the rest.

The poems within this cycle should be thought of as the visions that pass during sleep in that time when a dream is becoming a nightmare but is not yet a nightmare; the passage from one to the other is not yet certain. The last poem written in it (Awake in the Night) is about precisely this; the vision of omens which cannot be controlled or perhaps even known. To pry into them is to turn the beautiful and desolate mystery of a dying world into a nightmare.

The poems that fall within this cycle are many, and I will likely cull a number of them for the finished work. Here is an exhaustive list:

  • Adrift Without a Star
  • The Orator Exhorts the Opposition
  • Vintage
  • The Poet Raises a Toast
  • The Human Progress
  • The Rose of Joy
  • Broken Things
  • Roko's Basilisk
  • Utter
  • Christmas Tree
  • Rail
  • Antony
  • The White Car
  • New Year
  • It Was a Very Good Year
  • No Rain
  • Dark City
  • Unravel
  • White Knight
  • The Blaze of Their Glory
  • Footprints
  • The Stele
  • The Poet Reflects Upon the Early Spring
  • The Orator Denounces a Baudy Festival
  • Roles
  • The Sage Rebukes Knowledge
  • Aim: Beauty
  • Askance
  • Howling at all Hours
  • Oculus Rift
  • Under the Legs of The Highway
  • Rest In Peace
  • The Sage Considers the Bishop's Advice
  • You Didn't Build This
  • Lenten Spring
  • The Former Ruins
  • No Brakes
  • The Theorist
  • The Orator Remarks on Choice Ironies
  • The Sage Contends for the Bond of Frendship
  • The Gull and the Crow
  • The Poet asks the Final Question
  • Together
  • The Lotus Eaters
  • Sunflower
  • The Man Blind From Birth
  • The Overture
  • Old Night
  • The Sage Remarks on Woman
  • The General Strike
  • Aloft
  • A Song of Evening
  • Pentecost
  • Kissing the Sea
  • Dress
  • The Poet Saw a Nightmare at the Death of a Poet
  • Sonnet V
  • The Quick
  • The Poet and the Hooded Night
  • Correspondence
  • No Sleep
  • Cast
  • The Orator Calls Upon the Last
  • The House of Pleasure
  • The Great Filter
  • Fast
  • The Sage Remarks of the Outside
  • Flame on Flame
  • The Whale's Song
  • Five Rings
  • Rainbow
  • Unrestrained
  • The President's Speech
  • The Homeless
  • Reasonable
  • The Husband's Song
  • Doom
  • Pulse
  • Rotherham
  • The Poet Sings of the City at Night
  • Outshine
  • The Poet Explains his Mirth
  • Canticle for the Dead
  • The Aristocrat
  • The Black Bird
  • The Engine of Dreams
  • The Sick Man
  • The Benevolent
  • Justice
  • The Binding
  • Public Opinion
  • Fear of the Heavens
  • The Song of the Bits
  • Icarus
  • Lazarus
  • Comet Catcher
  • Coalfire
  • Cohongarooton
  • Awake in the Night
 It's about 100 poems. Note that this does not include the Social Matter poems composed during this same period.

More to come.


Awake In The Night


it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
There I was awake in the night
I was not where I was a moment before
Outside was cold and unearthly light
Loud came the wind, a speechless roar
I was home again - where I used to be
Alone again, but alone and free
And heaven unquiet in an unseen war
Nowhere to go, nowhere to flee.

Dark inside, as a Christmas morn
Before the sun the land makes bright
The raging clouds all woolen-shorn
The moon behind made real the sight
And the walls held not the sound at bay
But sounding within as if to say
Nothing - but a display of speechless might
And where I was there was never day.

I draw a curtain; and squinting hard
Do I see something - do I see it there?
Snow glinting across a forsaken yard
And I thought of this, the realm of the air
Shifting shadows and fey light that bends
And I almost know what word it sends
But withdraw and turn, I know not where
This place it is - a place of omens.

I fear the uncertain in the endless sound
Something looms - but I ask not what
I wished no more than what I had found
And of what might be, I queried not
And beyond shouted the brazen wind
White and shifting and shadow-skinned
The gray air glowered over the empty lot
And in the dark the curtains moved within.

I turned to the east, without a thought
And began a prayer - but not to ask
Not my words were they, what I sought
Was to steady my mind for such a task
And to not bid welcome the unseen sea
And not to any fear or lost memory
To calm the storm - to remove the mask
The veil of desire's gray uncertainty.

And by degrees did change the atmosphere
Light along the edges of the window pane
Then again in a tree far away from here
Clear and bright and calm was its train
And just as the end of the prayer alight
Gone was the wind and the beautiful light
But you were there - you and I by name
And there I was awake, in the night.
a postscript is here written:
The end of  'Adrift Without a Star'