The Sage to the Doctor

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Smooth hands, which make light and fast every task
Is my sight yet your sight - have I need to ask
My eye was evil then and yours was still good
"Do no harm", and when you sang I was moved
Though you knew it not, love of beauty behooved
When I moved but thought, you understood
"She knows not," I spoke as one in an ecstasy
A man made of smoke, you a bright flame
Where I darkened lie, you bring clarity
You broke the heart my tongue could but name
Doctor! To cleave between body and soul
With an incision clean, you made it whole.


The Orator to the Dancer

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
That slinky curve of a form;
I am undone, though man I was born
The eyes speak, the feet speak
But the hips move in time
I did not yet say sublime
The rhythm of the boards' creak
Under footfall called a dance
Or simply a walk or a stance
The rising back; the hair sleek
But for a moment she grants
A smile quick as a peek
And in hand - a romance.


The Auspex Sings to Rigel Kent

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Rigel Kent, that hoof that grinds down
Did in brightness come the boar
To root out and cast down
The stars forevermore?

Did Wormwood come and stain the sea
In absinthe-sickness make folly
With flood carry man and flea
In its destined volley?

Did at last shatter the dome of the sky
With the broad face of the moon
The hunter the whale espy
New in everlasting noon?

Did the sun fuming, rage out like a coal
Whose heat makes live and dead
Who ignore invincible Sol
With bitterness well-fed?

Did heaven and earth end in a breath
Rigel Kent, before a throne of light
Crowded out with life and death
Eternal day, eternal night?


Far Away

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
In the dust of morning's call
The dream was gone - desire withal
Was it that we were all fain
To see it gone - flame under flame
Reading of things still far away?

I am loath to say I read them too
Unelemental dreams dreaming drew
Day did not withhold them there
Dim of the haze of brightening air
Figments of things far away;

We believed it, we believed withal
That we harkened such a call
That embarking while standing still
Fain with zeal to go and fulfill
Dreams of things yet far away;

Then when things went sideways,
We, but mendicant stowaways
Loath to believe our vessel drove
Into tractless deep and then dove
Withal we were not yet far away

Be chary, be merry, be ruth
But happenstance forgot the truth
The reck our folly no one drew
No image they had for it, too
Eyes all on things far away.


Everlasting No More

it is addressed thusly:
The second imprecation.
it reads:
Poets of the twentieth century
Save for a precious few
Did you finally have your victory
Well tell me - did you?
Your words will not be misunderstood
They will not be a slogan on a shirt
They will never be run through the dirt
They will not be a saleable good--
That which is forgotten will not
Be abused, was this the battle you fought
To be authentic, and all of your blood
Sweat and tears - time and man forgot?

Go then quickly, as it is said
To the guards of the heavenly fold
Ask, if you can but remember the dead
What the prophets among them told
-- For the voices to at last be still
Which are yet but yours and so
What can never be sung will go
In great haste, obeying their will
Be forgotten, expire and be free
As footprints washed away by the sea
A few will stay, for good or for ill--
Poets of the twentieth century.


Partly Cloudy


it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The shattered sun, over crushed cloud
A bright fist beneath a white shroud
Neither rising nor setting as it may seem
Limpid is the sight, motionless the theme
Do the clouds move or the jilted sun
Are both still, or do both move as one
The lazy pines bask in overcast
As though no day would be their last
The sand less light, the road less gray
The summer less summer on such a day
A time in which it would be believed
That the wheel will turn as received
And stop not -- but for the rain
So it suggests -- but will it come again?