Child of Earth
Child of earth, cultivator of the field,
Kneeling in worship on the garden floor,
Immeasurable by words is your yield –
The nature of the nature you adore.
With an essence of goodness, you are sealed,
Your spirit sure as endless evermore.
Golden barley in the wisdom of age
Bows low in humility to the sage
Who knows well that amongst all living things
Creatures wherein noblest virtues show,
Are ever in a reverence of life found.
From a wholesome plot a wholesome crop springs!
The purest flowers and the sweetest herbs grow
In the richest soil, nearest to the ground.
Fated to a dark realm where dwells no peace,
Where weeping and wailing nothing avail,
And the musings of regret never cease,
Where all appeals and prayers falter and fail,
Immersed in the mordant waters of Styx,
Damned to the deepest depths of perdition,
Subject to mortality’s cruel barbed pricks,
I have known the ruin of self-sedition.
But hope I have found; a sunbeam streaming,
Redemption winging as a passing dove,
Silver-white through a radiant-cloud dome.
Heaven has arrived, in my soul beaming,
To warm me until I come back to love,
And lend me heart until I return home.
Contentment is a Lady
Ah, flee from me, thoughts of waking!
Leave me at my leisure repose!
What vain liberties you are taking
Only my sleeping fancy knows!
Ambitions may listlessly arise,
But I push my cares carelessly aside –
The battle never fought is always won!
Contentment is a lady with sleepy eyes,
A golden-haired bride
Gazing blissfully at the morning sun.
In Awe I behold
In awe I behold newly-waking morn;
How she unties her fire-bright hair, unshorn,
In the dour face of infinity’s scorn,
Undaunted by the darkness that affrights
Meeker hearts on forlorn and lonely nights,
Asserting her cheer from heavenly heights,
Boldly drawing back twilight’s dusky veil –
As breeze might sweep a departing ship’s sail,
Then swell full into a radiant gale.
As I bathe in a rapture of sunbeams,
I hail the gay goddess whose face thus gleams,
Gracing this day with her effulgent streams.
A Stride Ahead
Thank you, life, for another day!
With praise I draw this breath!
I account it well enough to stay
A stride ahead of death!
I’m a Butterfly
I’m a butterfly.
I don’t know why.
From flower to flower I flitter and fly.
Each bloom I kiss; each nectar I try.
I drink my fill then float on by.
I’m a butterfly
Till the day I die.
With a Kiss of Jasmine at Dawn
Rose-cheeked nymph, in your cherry-blossom gown,
For one young morning, dance with me!
Fairy princess, in your rosemary crown,
Knight me to uphold joy’s decree!
Touch the luster of this vision, O soul!
Savor this blossom before it is gone!
Moment of inspiration, make me whole,
With a kiss of jasmine at dawn.
Spring, I would flourish like a bloom of May,
If only I could clasp your hand.
For a while; until summer steals the day,
Let us amount to something grand.
Song of April
‘Tis a lively tune that each April plays,
When the crows’ raucous reign over the world
Is overthrown by an advent of days,
Whose tulip banners are boldly unfurled
To a chorus sung on the tongues of larks,
And throated by robins amongst the trees,
And chittered by sparrows in gay discourse,
When spring, in her finest attire, embarks
On proud procession, to bright melodies
Composed by the season’s most regent source.
A Dragonfly Sits upon a Cattail
A dragonfly sits upon a cattail,
With fairy-woven wings unfurled to sail,
Inspecting the world with emerald-orb eyes,
Regarding me a while before it flies.
Dragonfly, for now we share the same view.
Your gaze reflects me, and mine reflects you.
Dragonfly, your eyes see what my eyes see.
I am in you, and you are part of me.
Sunflower, fair in your bonnie bonnet,
What presumptuous cloud would dare detain
Blaze that stays radiant even in rain!
Your bright smile deserves at least a sonnet!
But what arrangement of words could suffice
To relate the grace of a star-like flame?
What mortal symmetry might better frame
Heaven shining from an earthly device?
Bloom whose beauty the summer sky favors,
Whose warm face winter’s lonely heart savors!
The Breath of God
Sing away. Float away.
Lay a soft whisper in my hair.
Upon an ocean fly,
Across a sea of endless blue,
Across an azure day.
A wisp of white upon the air,
A fleecy blanket on the sky,
The breath of god are you!
Wish on a Starfish
Make a wish on a starfish.
Find a dream in a sky of sand.
See the universe in a dish.
Behold, a light I can hold in my hand!
There’s a yellow one
Among the grass,
Too mellow for sun –
But could for gold pass.
Above the domain
Of the flower bed,
A tooth and a mane,
A dandy lion’s head!
Jinni, I deemed you an omen of fate,
Blacker than the night from which you arrived.
I believed you were evil incarnate.
Else how in this world could you have survived!
But you displayed heavenly affection.
From your eyes shone a starry reflection.
Pious jinni, I thank you fervently,
That of nine lives, you granted one to me.
Standing on a Tree Stump
Standing on a tree stump,
With my arms up in the air,
I feel my lifeblood pump,
As if my limbs were everywhere.
Standing like a mighty tree,
With a windy voice I cry.
I feel my roots beneath me,
And my soul up in the sky.
Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness give a soul hope,
Lend one’s song a lighter note for the day.
Genuine cheerfulness helps a heart cope.
A smile from a stranger goes a long way.
Nameless friend, let your name be charity –
A gentle heart to happiness avowed.
Exalted be cordial disparity,
In a solitary smile from the crowd!
Today I bask in blissful indulgence!
I revel in your felicitous glow!
My beaming face reflects the effulgence,
And bears your message wherever I go.
Praise him who bides the day
With song on his deeds,
Not sure what to say,
But knowing his tone exceeds
All measure of mortal boundaries
That his notes shall linger on the morrow,
When forever takes time’s foundries,
And dust has done away with sorrow.
She made for me a clover ring,
With a sweet blossom for a gem,
Sealed my matrimony with spring,
For a day, with a loop of stem.
She wed me to a sunny day,
Tied happiness to me with string.
For a time, I was joined with May,
United by a clover ring.
White Horses Ride
White horses ride the tide this night,
Spry upon the rolling waves!
Their hooves churn wild the salty spray!
Whitecaps surge at their passing flight!
Spindrift ‘neath their spirit raves,
That billows near then breaks away!
Frothing horses who know no fright,
Across the sea fields glide!
Ride, mighty horses, in breaking stride,
Upon the raging white!
When Dreams Were Reality
Do you remember those days
Of bright skies and clear air,
And happy-go-lucky ways,
When we were free of care?
Can you recall that past life,
When we lived day by day,
When we knew not gall nor strife,
And thought only to play!
Picture when we knew no fear,
All dark designs disposed,
When we were disposed to cheer,
So blithesomely composed!
Oh, how I wish we were there,
When dreams were reality,
When I was debonair,
And you were fancy-free!
No more tears! Save sorrow for later years
When no morrow comes with the setting sun.
Being well enough cheers most mortal fears
Until the better part of days is done.
Now is a fantasy when mere breath nears
Any titan victory ever won –
A bright summer pastel-shaded portrait
Framed in winter’s last color-fading sigh,
Moments in the final moment longed for,
Scenes from all dreams and schemes designed too late,
When grizzled heads on pillows heavy lie,
And passion-fevered lovers rise no more.
I will sing today of the sum of all I see.
I will concede the worth of my conception.
I will bask in the effulgent mystery
Of seeing and being a moment of perception.
I hear the ceaselessly prayed meditations of the flowing brook.
In fire-hued leaves of maple I read the runes of creation’s cryptic book
Placed so overtly in the face of crystal earth.
For an instant I exceed the measure of my birth!
In reverence I heed the significance of my death.
I distill all the flavors of existence into one breath,
Of frost painted in patterns of divinity upon the window pane,
Of weeping willows whispering along the meandering lane,
Of a rock high upon a cliff side,
Where I once watched eagles glide,
Of a cat that sat on my knee,
Of all life forces that surround me,
Of all living things ever begotten,
Of long-lost tales left to blow forgotten
In a wind that knows well its own time,
Having heard many ages, the oft-spoken rhyme.
In a tune fervored but fleeting,
Synchronized to the rhythm of my heart’s unsteady beating,
I sing to the gods who wear this collective disguise –
Praise I speak though it be to my own demise,
In half-remembered lyrics of my childhood,
Diluted to fit my limited understanding of evil and good.
I hope to be more, on angel-winged seeds to ride,
To be a reflection of rose petals, and in the radiance of the stars abide.
Oh, I wonder of many marvelous things,
Of who and why and how!
But I have a field to plow,
And an unknown limit of springs.
So, I account my time counting sunbeams of golden noon,
Sowing divination from my outstretched hand
Of mud, of dust, of crumbling sand.
And perhaps I may reap a swathe of the harvest moon.
Before the robins in fickle earnest fly away,
In praise of wonder, in joyous refrain,
With uplifted voice so I sing today,
Should tomorrow and the chance never come again.
Among the Thronging Flowers
Stand upon the highest garden stair,
Among the thronging flowers.
In the most spacious of bowers,
Sow your affinity to the air.
Gather a glittering bouquet
Of blossoms blooming in endless space.
Harvest a twinkling nosegay,
And hold it against your starlit face.
Walking on Holy Water
Do you remember when
We followed a stream down through a glen,
And found a wheat field growing there
Like golden waves of angel hair?
And blew a breeze of heaven sent
Across the flowing tides of grain.
Across an amber sea we went,
Across a magic plain.
Then from her bed, leapt up a fawn,
Like Neptune’s agile daughter.
And we followed after her till dawn,
Walking on holy water.
The house is so silent now,
I cannot bear to sit any longer.
Alone on this stump, I am cold,
Colder still to feel the sun
Of that morning
When these roots had life.
I hear a gust of wind picking up,
No branches for it to sway,
Just the gate hinges recalling the days
Of shade and laughter on the grass.
I think I should rise, meet it, him
The old man gone from his arm chair.
Were his knees newer, maybe he too
Would rise to see it.
He saw the colors it had before.
He rose on other days,
And walked the garden path
To the field beyond the shed.
The plots are fallow now,
Unplowed for some time,
Rows of posts still tied by rusted wire,
But not so tight as in times past
A few winters away from complete emancipation,
Though they must be too warped and weathered to care.
I fear the hedge is grown beyond hope.
No shears will bend its ways now.
The dead spot where the old tabby used
To bear her kittens has widened some,
Not so much that it wouldn’t still do
For cat shelter, or even a mouse.
The ghost should be gone since
He dragged the skeleton out with his hoe,
And buried the soul beneath the walnut tree.
He’ll not need the space any longer.
He’s hoed no more than tabby’s bones
For many summers.
A fine patch of fuzzy weeds grows
Where the strawberries did.
Memories of pumpkins, and grape vines,
And frosted plums come to mind.
A few rattling corn stalks are still standing
Like some deserted, Navaho graveyard.
A wind blows long and low, across the open rows –
A conscience burdened with past vice,
Or mirth simply expired,
As the whispering of witches,
Not in spell and conjuring,
But in repentance and remorse,
Or maybe just the cat.
I think I’ll rise and find it.
Warm, Wet, Embrace
With a voice of sirens, she sings,
With broad bold lips,
Whispers from a distance,
Smiles with perfect teeth,
Beckons me, her silken face,
Skin smooth and azure,
Wraps seductive fingers around me,
Spreads her skirt fro
Voluptuous rolling hips,
Draws it back a bit to show
Her petty coat beneath,
Edged in silvery lace,
Luring and retreating
My inordinate lust to entice.
I succumb without resistance,
With unconfined wings
Sail out to meet her,
I the holy ghost, and she
The virgin entreating,
Rolling me off to paradise,
Into her warm wet embrace.
We Wove Tales
Occupied otherwise with anxious concern,
We turned to the low-trilling voice
Fancied within the beating of all hearts that yearn
To follow a path of visionary choice.
In a deep wood, in a world of imaginary glory,
There was a bare spot worn by ancient feet,
Littered with time-bleached bones from many a treat –
Words laying there to be built into a story.
Upon a mountainside we bundled for sleep,
But turning our thoughts to a magical height,
We heard the beckoning fairies weep
To have a share in one more mystical sight.
From a cliff, from a lofty granite steeple,
Water in silver mist cascaded down,
Piping the ballads of lost tales and forgotten people,
Into an emerald pool, where all sorrow drowns,
And only happiness may at last prevail,
Where elves and dwarves together for treasure endeavor –
That never-tarnishing metal of the tale,
Ringed round with iridescent intrigue forever.
Witches, warriors, unicorns, and fauns,
Appeared and disappeared without a trace.
And children of innocence roamed immortal lawns,
Lending good and evil a single face.
I remember when we painted pictures on empty air
To calm the growing twilight.
In the deepening hours of despair,
We wove tales to cheer the night.
Love of the Written Word
Most noble is the unknown bard,
Who pours soul into sculptured lines,
Not for society’s regard,
But for an ardent heart’s designs.
Sure is the most uncertain dream,
Dreamt with spirit undiluted,
Pure as the clearest alpine stream,
Flowing ever unpolluted.
True is the poet whose songs raise
Feelings that may never be heard,
Who pains not for a hope of praise,
But for love of the written word.
In the Hollow
We met where the road dips down the hollow,
At the edge of old-man Hart’s orchard,
Laying low ’till he went to his reading –
Not that he’d begrudge a few apples for eating,
Even stealing forgiven,
But throwing, a sin, a blatant waste of food –
Food turned to weaponry
More irony than an upright man should abide.
So, we’d hide for a while in his tree –
A tree like no other, with a crotch wide
Enough for five boys and five again –
And the orchard beyond – such fine apples,
As much for eating as throwing.
We gleaned only a few from each branch,
So as not to bare any one branch too much.
And such seemed fair, since those that remained
Had more tree to grow on for the effort.
Then with piles at our feet to tide us over
For a while, we declared war, no malice intended,
Nature taking course, mischief orchestrated,
In unison the wind up, and concerted release,
A moment of anticipation,
(Time reduced to its lowest possible component)
For the allegro thud-clank of apples on metal,
Pulverized, blown to pulp and saucy spray
Across hood and on over windscreen,
A shrill shriek of brakes screeching,
Made for the trees we, up the hill,
Knees weak, legs wobbling, hands shaking,
Cider bubbles percolating in our veins,
Then waited out the passing terror,
Intimate with the grass, momentarily
Considering the error of our ways,
Lungs bursting, hearts leaping, dew seeping
Through the knees of our trousers,
Ready to go at it new, thirsting for more,
Unless enough fury was raised already,
Then such hopes were deferred for the night,
For another evening – another life.
For on occasion we were caught,
Captured outright and brought to justice.
Beaten at our own game, with heads low-bowed,
We confessed our sins, and in truth swore oaths
Of repentance no all-mighty could hold a boy to,
Nor we ourselves, when autumn wind stirred
The trees in the hollow and the error of our youth.
We Built A Castle
I entered a gate to the county jail,
With keys rattling on an iron ring,
Inhaled the metallic air imprisoned there –
Breath of tenants long moved on to bail.
I was just a boy then, but wise enough
To taste the ghosts of stagnant hours wasted
Behind broad, bulking, doors, in gray dimness,
Sun-barred beneath rays of electric bulbs.
The place had outgrown the law that made it –
In need of kinder locks and encumbrances,
The country sought an artist to reshape its fist.
The sheriff said I might suffice with a friend.
Karl was a cripple with a bowlegged hobble,
His bones as brittle as the matches
We used to light our cutting torches,
But he could hold steady enough to melt steel.
And I dragged out bars, and braces, and stalls,
Fulfilling the dreams of so many behind walls,
As odd a team as ever was we were, too innocent
To understand the machine we built,
But we put sweat and soul into it,
And welded new doors and stainless steel toilets
With the pride of any king’s masons,
And lent it new color like God to azaleas.
Our wages we gave little thought of.
Small coins seemed silly in those halls.
Satisfaction was as sweet as strawberries
As we wiped the sweat off our brows.
Karl finished the job but not the year.
The jail is still there, I understand,
His magnum opus and mine –
As significant as any song I’ve ever sung.
The Swimming Hole
It rushed out between rocks and moss,
As if it was in a hurry to go someplace,
Maybe eager to get out from under a mountain boss,
And be free from the starting block to run a fair race.
It seemed to know just where it wanted to go,
And went with a fantastic show,
Over gray mountain bones gurgled and hissed,
In a lusty voice sang,
Danced forth from a curtain of mist,
Where ferns, and cress, and myriad emerald spectators
Congregated along the banks for a good view
Of trout gladiators
Flipping in the shadows of overhang,
Against the current’s skew.
It built up enthusiasm as it unified in one force
With sister springs, through a hundred yards of willows pried,
Then roared along a gorge, until it found course
Liberal enough to keep it pacified,
There, meandering and meditating, slow and deep,
Along a tortuous track,
Like a giant serpent might creep,
Until it coiled radically back,
As if it had changed its mind about flowing out to sea.
And there, there was our swimming school,
In the leisure of a creek’s uncertainty,
Where water’s deviation had carved out a pool –
A pool the hue of sky refracted in a drop of dew –
And cold, as near to ice as liquid can be –
Much too cold for swimming, but too
Beautiful not to at least try and see
How long we could stay under
The spell of a serpent’s thumb –
Flying out like lightening, shaking like thunder,
Whooping and leaping to keep from going numb,
Bracing ourselves for another cleansing of our souls.
For to do otherwise, seemed to us a terrible waste –
Not to spend the jewel of all swimming holes –
Ambrosia poured generously and refusing a taste.
We spent summer nights in the backyard,
Congregated friends and brothers,
And sisters when we had to,
Waited with shoes on, in similitude of sleep,
Until our mothers were in bed.
Then freedom was ours,
The town ours for the taking,
Exclusive rights to everything within reach,
Though we rarely took more than the thought,
Preferring to dream of safaris in far-off lands,
Of adventures and mystery, of exotic places,
But none as grand as our neighborhood.
The lights of a late-night, fast-food, joint
Beckoned to us from several blocks away,
Like a desert mirage –
Root beer for the taking,
And not a dime between us.
But we discussed our plans,
If ever we got a dime or more.
And on occasion we made raids,
To appease our appetites,
On neighbor’s gardens,
With commando stealth, stole
Fresh peas and raspberries,
Ate by moonlight till stomachache set in,
Drank water from the hose,
And pissed our names on the side of the garage.
With the enthusiasm of Stratford bards,
We performed flashlight melodramas
For each other, with no regard for script,
Raw emotion let loose,
Till lights from the porch silenced us,
Brought the curtain down too soon.
With unrelenting vigor, we scrambled
For cover, for sleeping bags wet with dew,
A lump beneath each, a stone or pine cone,
To perturb ribcages and elbows –
And no use rolling aside,
As there were always more elsewhere.
Mosquitoes hovered at our faces,
But we lay in exquisite repose,
Breathed the scent of grass,
Hoped we could stay forever,
Without sleeping or waking,
In the hush of summer night,
And the ebbing rhythm of a sleeping town
To lullaby the cares of Earth away –
A distant hum of cars on the highway,
A cricket playing in the arbor,
And another beneath the back gate,
The rustle of a tom cat prowling the lilac bush,
From the trees above, the melancholy hoot
Of a mourning dove confused by the street lights,
In lazy intervals a hound baying in the distance,
Answered by the yelping mutt three houses down.
The sky was our final bedtime story –
There above us, the awe of firmament to reckon,
The vast domain of our deepest thoughts
On summer nights.
Bats darted across the moon.
Clouds passed the deep blackness of space.
And we lay in contemplation,
Attempting to divine the meaning of Cassiopeia.
I saw a shooting star once,
And made a wish,
But I can’t remember what it was.
Magic days! Those times when we lived in wonder,
And dreamed while others slumbered numb in their cocoons!
Let us loose the bonds we have unwittingly bound!
In rapturous splendor let us burst asunder!
Where are those lively tunes!
Where are those strains to be found,
Those days when music played from every corner of our being;
Refrains of joyful morning like Lilly blossoms strewn upon our shoulders!
Give me back that sleight of hand,
The power that made reality from seeing,
That alchemy that could change sand to boulders
And distant planets to sand!
O where is that potent drug of youth,
When we made cake from the crust of crumbs,
And shooed our troubles away like gnats from honey,
When fantasy sufficed as truth,
When we held the world under our thumbs,
And in our need turned laughter into money!
O red rose lips that I kissed boldly in the April rain,
Whose fragrant petals made heaven of my bed!
I wish to kneel before that bold bloom again,
And let the scent linger forever upon my forehead!
Master of the Day
I am master of the day.
I am lord of all I survey.
The world is my subjugation.
I am a god in my own way.
My designs I cannot Suppress.
My yearnings I cannot redress
With anything but creation.
My passion is akin to madness.