The Orator Speaks of the Heart

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
In courage have I done great things
As some may yet suggest?
No truth this speech within it brings
But to remind of my duress;
And they all tell me not to fear
But to do in love, or to take heart
But to do this I cannot even start
As before me would a sight appear
And cause a trembling in my hands
A quickening of my pace
In it a ladder before me stands
And around each speaking face
I climb despite their words so dear
And in dark below they disappear
In death while speaking, without a trace
And yet they tell me not to fear?


The Fire of Hearth


it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Sometimes when you awake at night
Do you hear a funny sound
If you are as I am, I think you might
And here is what I've found
If it's a thump, of it its a creak
Or a groaning of which you cannot speak
A shaking deep within the ground
Do you feel your heart grow weak?

Fear not, dear man, for all of these
Are sounds your furnace makes
In the winter, or when ere it please
It gets the groans or gets the shakes
Aflame within, it must still strive
With passion's strife, a burning drive
- in trembling fear do what it takes
To keep the fire of hearth alive.


The Song at The Waiting Sea

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Soundless we are, and no one knows
That we sleep and dream
The truth of things that ebbs and flows
We've pulled it at the seam
And found it empty as someone's clothes
When that person has gone
Will they return, do you suppose
To put the clothes back on?
We wait and think, and think and wait
Some Day we will be known
And below the altar we lie in state
Some Day it will be shown
That we are but hidden and not dead
Though we be less than dust
Together we rise, a heavenly bread--
Wait then, wait for us.


The Driver's Question

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Light snow, and each passing lamp
Has caught itself inside
A flake, an unmistakable stamp
To flash in, flash out, collide;
We who must travel, we confess
Amid the slick and careening cars
We pass as into a field of stars
Do we go then into nothingness?


Want and Lack


it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
What women want has been
A mystery for man to ponder
It is only because he hasn't seen
The ominous things set yonder
"Women want a man who's bad
Over one who's smart and solid"
He says pretending to be stolid
In face of fortune that he's had
Consider though the facts at hand
This rede so plainly doesn't stand
A trend it isn't, nor a fad
Every century it has coldly spanned;

Women want a project, yes
Sensing their desires awry
So they pick a handsome mess
Not even they can tell us why
But it is clear the messiness
Is itself what made the man
No wise woman truly can
Against the savage make redress
Strong and sharp and devious
Ambition or continence a must
Too tall? Never; they will confess--
A man who's beautiful is monstrous.
a postscript is here written:
now consider the old meaning of want, which meant not so much to desire as to be lacking something, and re-read the text from the beginning.

"What does a civilized woman lack?"


Words and Deeds


it is addressed thusly:
A word.
it reads:
Much ado yet is made of love
The heart, the flame, the dove--
The patriot may drape in the flag
But his secret is out of the bag--
"I leave you my peace", he said
"But not as the world does", instead--
Behind that lovely mask, my friend
Is no god who persevered to the end;
Now what thing would be reborn of you
With what you've put your soul through?
Your words made sound
            of beautiful demands
But had you been watching
             what did your hands?
You profess to know the book of love--
But love -- love was not what you were thinking of.


Artificial Intelligence

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Who is to say that angels
Are not merely God's machines
The sound of music swells
Is the music more than music seems?
Perfect obedience perfected there
In that realm above the air
Above the forges and starry streams
The harmony the perfect minds all share;

Pure thought, unhindered by mass
Watchers and swords and flames
Not through anything must they pass
What mortal truly knows their names?
The great watchwork a living thing--
Each gear a thinking machine
Its motion rings softly with their strains
Each eye, each hand, each wing.

We come back again to things of old
For we had not ever departed
What of these beings could then be told
What strange fear imparted?
Billions are they, even those that suffer
Though made true, such lies to offer
We had what we feared before we'd started --
The Unfriendly AI? It's Lucifer.


The Dancer's Daughter

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
A natural acrobat, she knows moves
That no one has ever taught her
Lifted high as she behooves --
For she is the dancer's daughter
When she could hardly walk yet
She could make time with a step
And grace in a tumble and totter
- And a smile in anyone she'd met.


The Sage Ponders Human Industry


it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
We don't do things like this anymore
Belching black smoke into the sky
Where spark and slag and soot must fly
A smog and smell creep round the door
All men become the same race: black
As smithies singed by fire before
And labor under its ponderous stack
The polluting cloud, the flames attack
And ash and sweat still stain the floor
What we had, we now must lack
Of industry, to drill, to frack
It is dreamed the day it all will cease
But does their wane meet our increase
Or does that wall begin to crack
Open, that held the elements before
At bay, and once that mighty claque
Has slept and can no longer watch the door
To great diligence will we, the poor
Return and thus win our honor back?
It's far too late to settle the score--
We don't do things like that anymore.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
sparrows point blast furnace demolished