Dream of Peace
Dream of peace, although it may elude you,
Vain though it seems in your darkest hour!
Believe that harmony may soon ensue,
That by planting a seed it might flower.
Vanquished be the wicked will of sorrow
Leaving streaks of weeping upon your face.
Sleep soundly, in the hope of tomorrow,
In the serenity of earnest grace.
Discredit not the power of desire
That turns love to hate, and makes brothers clash,
Or easily extinguishes the fire
Which otherwise burns all purpose to ash.
All of our sins a vision might redeem.
Reality is wrought by what we dream.
The One Truth of My Invention
I have waded the swamps of a million seasons,
Thought in a thousand lives,
Discovered a hundred reasons
Why my existence so strives.
In what form shall I know
The one truth of my invention?
Mother, with what intention
Did you crawl from the salt sea so long ago?
My life is just a dream
In universal flow,
And matter but a stream
That only time can slow.
The hours are swiftly flowing.
The time of youth has passed.
I don’t know where I am going,
But I’m going there fast.
When I Threw Off My Blighted Shroud
When I threw off my blighted shroud,
And cast my chains aside,
When first I spoke the truth aloud,
And braved all who denied,
When I found God inside of me,
A burning mortal might,
When I beheld that shining light,
I knew that I was free!
I Seek Alone Untarnished Truth.
I seek alone untarnished truth.
Although difficult to find,
It resides in the heart of youth,
And the meditative mind.
Superstition is a fool’s realm,
Religion a foul pig sty.
And propaganda takes the helm
With a narrow-sighted eye.
I decry humankind’s blind rules.
All its dogmas I despise.
I will not sing the praise of fools.
And I cannot live with lies.
Misconceived Notions of Right
When shall human nature at last perceive
Peaceful coexistence nailed to a cross
Whose failed ideologies achieve
Little more than retribution and loss!
That humankind might turn the tattered page
That advocates intolerance and blame,
And fancies of self-emulating flight
That discard life in suicidal rage,
As moths flutter headlong into the flame,
Martyred to misconceived notions of right!
Promises of Glass
When I dwelt in a haze of innocence,
For endless days, gazing with crystal eyes,
In a whimsical daze of ignorance
Beyond all inclination to surmise
Else but happy promises more intense
Than my crude tongue had syllables to size,
I formed my perception in a semblance
Of translucent windowpanes stained with lies.
But one night I dreamed at last I would die –
Slip soundly into sleep and never wake.
Bliss is not the basis of every dream.
In waking, I find I cannot deny
That all promises of glass someday break,
And not every poem has a happy theme.
When You Are Wise with Death
Look no further, confounded friend,
For your ticket to eternity.
There is no first-class chariot to the end –
Admission is free.
Reality finds you wherever you go.
Take freely your breath.
Soon mystic morons’ bickering shall be done.
Accept what you don’t know as what you don’t know.
When you are wise with death,
Then belief and truth shall become as one.
Stained Glass Images
Where do you wander, errant knight,
In adamant hope of success?
What noble deed inspires your flight?
What fight does your effort address?
Is life really what you esteem?
Or is illusion what you know?
Have you added up all you dream?
Shall you truly reap what you sow?
Are you sure that you shall arise
At the end of your enterprise?
The moment before you die,
Cast your gaze up to the sky,
When stained glass images of light
In your mind are all that remain,
And the cold fragments of your plight
Settle down around you like rain.
The Haunted House of Mink Creek
Below Mink Creek Steeps there is an old homestead,
Or was – now just a square of foundation stones
That ranging cattle sometimes use as a bed.
There is half of a chimney where the wind moans
On November nights, as it must have back then.
But the old house burned down a long time ago.
The locals don’t seem to know exactly when.
Many claim to remember the story though.
They say they came from back east. But they won’t say
Their name. There seems to be power in the name
That folks feel best left unspoken. Anyway,
They all agree it was from east that they came.
They carved out a cattle ranch on the hillside,
Where the ground was too rocky to take a plow,
Up until the man committed suicide.
Nobody ever knew why or even how,
But he came back to make his widow’s life hell,
Terrorized her until she was unable
To keep from throwing her baby down the well.
They found her hanged above the kitchen table.
The house was bought and sold until none would buy,
As nobody could stay inside a whole night.
Eventually, locals decided to try
And join together, to give the ghosts a fight.
Twelve men stayed there in a show of rancher’s might,
Till the lanterns went out, and they were beaten.
Whatever lived in that house could scratch and bite.
And the ranchers ran, rather than be eaten.
All the men who helped burn the house to the ground
Said they never stopped having terrible dreams
Of the way the wood burned with a hissing sound,
And the stench of burning flesh, and the faint screams.
There is still a hollow where they filled the well,
And a strange weed that creeps on the cellar stairs,
But no recent cases of biting to tell.
Dark birds and bats flutter from their evening lairs.
Fog often shrouds the hillside like a curtain.
Whether restless spirits still abide as hosts
Is not anything one can say for certain.
But boys haunt it from time to time, hunting ghosts.
Shadows and Sand
We are only shadows and sand,
Blending into deepening shades of dusk.
We are fire in mystery’s hand,
Fragrance of bloom lost to decay’s stale musk.
We are vague promises broken,
Form and motion that time will soon rescind.
We are secrets vainly spoken,
Rumors on the dusty tongue of the wind.
Six Meditations in the Face of Hesitation
Though the armies of folly array,
Their dogmas in dogged display,
All foolishness at last shall fail,
And wisdom over all prevail.
Fear and lies are my enemy.
Truth alone can set me free.
Truth is the heart of the soul,
That no mortal law can control.
Be resolute in your quest for learning.
Be cautious of the direction of your yearning.
Hear all arguments and weigh them through,
In case you might find something new.
How shall I gain exaltation?
Man rises on the shoulders of man.
Therefore, I must do what I can
To bring my brothers’ emancipation.
Shadows and Dust
Lift your eyes, O humanity!
Above your pride and vanity!
You are but a transient endeavor,
Tossed in the timeless tides of forever!
For what is it that my soul pines
In this darkness to understand!
What mystical riddle defines
These lines in the palm of my hand?
What sublime alchemy divines
The meaning of rumors and sand?
Who vexes me with restless sleep?
From which awareness cannot wake!
Is my only question too deep?
Or the answer too hard to take?
In veracity, would I weep?
Or would my heart with rapture break?
What loss passes before my eyes!
And all the gods but misspent trust!
O what is there in truth but lies!
What am I but shadows and dust!
Absence makes the heart grow harder.
Absence makes the blood run thick,
Chokes the life-beat like a garter,
Makes a healthy yearning sick.
Absence makes a fire burn colder,
Numbs all senses with its pain,
Makes a promise hard to shoulder,
Makes all words of love in vain.
Boldly bear the chains of thy love.
Bravely face the hurt of thy loss.
The mires of despair, rise above!
Let the storms toss!
Love’s passion was meant to be felt –
As spark, as flame, as dying coal.
Fires burn and die. Snows freeze and melt.
There is a toll!
Was it better to have loved so,
And lost so much when love passed by,
Or never to have known such woe?
Love must soon die!
The shackles of a heart must be.
Pain is the forge of love’s device.
The end of love is misery.
It is the price!
Will O’ Wisp
She saw there on the bank, in the mist,
His vigil kept as he had declared before his death.
He had promised to keep his candle lit.
He said he would never leave her side unless he must.
She trusted him to come to the river where they had walked.
They had talked many afternoons there in the grass.
They had once talked of restless ghosts,
Of will o’ wisps rising and flitting in midair,
As a token of remembrance of the love of days passed.
One Twilight Apparition
Mist-veiled riverside, a place of the low-weeping willows,
In that transient space between day and night,
In a faded maiden-hair hue of twilight,
Stays always, sways and droops on shaded sward pillows,
The breeze-hosted eve,
Where ghosts conceive
A reenactment of a long-ago day.
Come from faraway, to pay
Homage to their secret place,
Invoked by the betrothal of yesteryears,
The lost spirits return to trace
The sacred space where spilled their heart-sent tears,
Where once flourished a garden of longing,
Where myriad dryads spriteward leap to meet
The twain, at the fog-form robes thronging,
With oaths of allegiance, to their guests entreat –
The entourage of otherworldly lovers
Whispering vows beneath shadow covers,
And the pixies implore the deep woods’ omniscient heart,
Their anguish falling as a soft summer rain.
To the mercy of the fog their sobbing wishes impart,
That the flow of ages must cease,
The current of time and timelessness flow as one,
That restless love may at last find peace,
And the search for conclusion at last be done!
And the willows pray, for a moment more,
For a moment more when once young love yearned for eternal youth,
For an enduring place beyond their mortal shore –
To sail far and wide, drifting out beyond the sea of truth,
To come to the banks where past and present meet,
Where trembled tender hearts and stood resolute feet.
But in an oblivion-sent breath, fleeting hope come and gone as before,
Lovers are lost once more to the ebony ocean of nevermore,
Disappearing in a momentary swirl,
In a moonlit whirl
Waltz of heaven-blown grass and leaves,
Calling to each other upon the breeze.
And the fairies weep softly in the trees.
And wind along the river banks openly grieves.
Into the Arms of Morpheus
I want to sleep in a deep and dreamless repose.
I want to blossom like an evening primrose –
Close my eyes to day, and enter night,
Recline irrevocably into the yawning might
Of eternity’s tranquil splendor,
Of oblivion’s somnolent wine partake,
Safe in Morpheus’ keep.
Oh, how I wish I could sleep –
Doze for a moment, and never wake!
Sonnet for a Distant Neighbor
Oft have I gazed across the sea at you,
The lonely void that limits our discourse,
Space gone unmarked by no lack of remorse,
Too far for all but starlight to get through.
If it were within my power to do,
I would take hope’s reins like a mighty steed,
And stride to your pasture in my due need,
That I should make my inquiry anew.
Has your kind arisen from swamp and sea,
To gaze in wonder at the vast expanse,
And consider how it all came to be?
Weighing the infinite odds of pure chance,
Does your regard ever wander to me,
As you watch the beacon of my sun dance?
As Ye Elizabethans
That hand wherein the deepest thought allays,
Pining of creed and kind therein expends,
Tradition in all forms never betrays.
In this the movement formulates all ends,
And speaks a common tongue all free souls must,
Preserves the sacred flame of will’s desire,
Else molder now beneath a shroud of dust,
And birthright in posterity expire.
Death’s mute and barren edict cannot seal
The depths and heights humanity has known,
While minds still yearn and burning hearts yet feel,
As ye Elizabethan’s have us shown.
This we perceive to make our effort worth,
And derive noble purpose of our birth.
Mother Shipton’s Prophecy
Children, have you heard the news?
Better mind your P’s and Q’s.
In eighteen hundred eighty-one,
The world to an end will surely come.
Time has all ran out, you see?
Since Mother Shipton’s prophecy
Blinded by the Light
Blinded by the light,
Afraid of finding bogies in the night,
He holds his tattered blanket tight,
Says, “I’m no ape.
There must be some mistake.
Just look at the way my banners drape.
I’ve had all the truth I’m going to take.
Of mud I’m made. I’m a higher grade
Than other animals are.
Why, if I had an ark,
I’d take all the believers and embark,
And find a twinkling star.”
Somnifacient den of thieves,
Pernicious lies are poison,
False hope a dying contagion.
The garden’s trees have many leaves.
A serpent’s bite is quite fatal,
Plain bread the only anodyne,
Veracity the finest wine,
And dulled conscience merely lethal.
Where’s the Resurrection?
Where’s the resurrection?
It’s time for insurrection!
Listen, all you seers!
I don’t want to blow your optimism.
I have no use for moral schism.
But, God, it’s been two thousand years!
Thy Only Kingdom
Solace thy thirst in wisdom.
Succor thy mind in learning,
For riches of knowledge yearning.
Let truth be thy only kingdom.
I’ll take mine undiluted;
No water, no ice,
No sweetener, no spice.
Give it to me straight.
It’s more easily computed,
Bitter and pure as a prepaid whore.
A straight dose is better to follow;
Harder to stomach, but easier to swallow.
Poised against eternal night,
The sun burns forth volcanic light,
Dauntless in his titanic fight.
Darkness, wise with senescence,
Bides the raging luminescence,
Knowing the limit of essence.
A Viking went a wenching
Beyond the northern sea.
A Viking went a pillaging
With bold audacity.
A Viking went a sailing
Across from Normandy.
A Viking in a drunken rage
Begat my family tree.
He ruled the alleyway,
Behind a Chinese restaurant,
Invisible by day,
Invincible in his night haunt
His kingdom of trash bins.
He was a stalwart defender,
A magnate of fish fins,
Banishing any pretender
To his egg foo young crown.
Many cats had challenged his rule,
Only to be struck down
By this cat who was no cat’s fool.
His armor bore the mark
Of triumph over suffering.
He was lord of the dark,
A truly-noble, one-eyed, king.
One summer plight, at half past midnight,
While I lay in slumber on my bed,
There arose a blight, a dreadful fright,
Like Cadmus rousing me from the dead
A hideous clamor of abuse,
A hot kettle of fish sort of spat
With no possibility of truce,
A war head-to-head, cat against cat.
And I, having a stake in the brawl,
An earnest wish to end the debate,
Howled forth my fiercest tom caterwaul,
In hopes one side would capitulate
Fellow on the Sidewalk
Fellow on the sidewalk,
Is it so unbearable below?
What blindness makes you so ride?
Senseless, I dare say!
Rain will not hold the sun
Away an hour more.
Best make for the daffodil bed,
Moist soil beneath the weeds at least.
Bold friend, show some prudence!
Your track seems precarious,
Too slow, I fear, to beat the afternoon.
There’s no future here.
Soon meat for a swallow you shall be,
Or baked by the rays hard as tack.
The heat of this day is not yet begun,
And the crack ahead a deep canyon is.
Turn away from this ill quest!
One grass is as green as another.
What difference forward or back?
There is no end to your folly!
On Becoming a Golden Statue
What else can I be
I am only me.
Where else can I flee?
Shall I make a run
To the sun,
To the source of the pun,
And erase my memory, take away my me and you –
Abracadabra, become something new,
Hum, hum, hum,
Come apart, part the sum?
Buddha, I am growing old.
Turn my brain to solid gold,
So, I can see
Peer through a clouded why
Until I Can’t feel anymore,
And wash ashore.
Who is this intelligence I see
Staring in disbelief at me?
O soul, O mysterious fire,
To what do we aspire?
Is this all that we are
A reflection of a star?
A teardrop upon the water of endeavor?
A concentric ripple fallen across forever?
Passing an Old House
Whose house this was, I cannot say,
The family has gone away.
Yet something lingers in the air,
As if to beckon me to stay.
The amber rays of evening light
Illuminate the chimney’s height,
Near set on fire the sagging eave,
Give glory to attrition’s blight.
No plow to cultivate new seeds,
What grew before is gone to weeds,
Along a path to an empty door
An avenue of bygone deeds.
Across the fields, a solemn breeze
Stirs lifeless leaves upon the trees,
Like ghosts of faded memories,
Mere ghosts of faded memories.
Ten Tenets of a Roman’s Meditations
If I am nothing but a product of chaotic brew,
Why should I wish to tarry in universal confusion?
And if the supposition of a governor is true,
I need only have faith in the order of his profusion.
O dear Zeus, on plowed fields rain, rain down on the Athenian plain!
In truth we ought not pray at all, else hope in vain.
Let us accept what the gods give us, whether pleasure or pain.
Be like a cliff against which waves constantly break.
Stand firm, though the furies of the oceans quake.
When you rise in the morning, let this thought be with you:
The labors for which I was created, I am going forth to do.
Be not unhappy or discontent if you fail where you have failed before.
Renew your philosophies, review your nature, and try once more.
The multitudes admire material things – of metal, stone, and wood.
Men a little more rational admire things that are founded upon good.
Men more instructed admire the principles of an aspiring soul.
He who is above all values his soul and strives to make it whole.
Think no thought or deed beneath you.
By base people’s words be not perverted.
From principles you know to be true,
A wise and tranquil course, be not diverted.
One man, having performed a service to another, calculates it as an outstanding debt won.
A second, accounts another’s debt owed to him, but for payment asks none.
A third, like a bee making honey, does good without thinking what he has done.
How am I now employing my soul? – What question is greater in the least!
Whose soul do I have now – that of a child, a man, a tyrant, or a beast?
Observe how ephemeral all human beings really are.
What today is breathing, tomorrow is ashes in a jar.
What did it avail conquerors to wage battle in their day?
How great now are Herculanuem, and, Helice, and Pompeii?
Pass through your short moment of time in harmony with nature.
End your journey in contentment, as an olive when mature,
Blessing the power that produced a crop as wondrous as you,
And thanking the tree, the earth, and the sun from which all grew.
Echoes of Past Voices
Overhead the setting sun hangs motionless upon the sky,
Thinking of the scenes it shined on yesterday;
Time that passed away in wisps like smoke before a blinking eye,
The who and why just left along the way.
I stand before the rising tide, and cast my gaze to open sea,
Beyond the waves that stretch before my finite reach of hand.
Here I dream of what has been, and what in coming days shall be;
That passes between my fingertips like grains of shapeless sand.
High above, the fleeting clouds, in shapes I can’t identify,
Float listlessly across the painted eve.
Swooping low a seagull cries an ancient dreamer’s lullaby,
Whose notes forgotten memories aggrieve.
Soft against the rising night, the lingering thoughts of daylight bring,
From distant shores, and yet so very near,
Echoes of past voices that in melodies of chaos sing,
As wind might whisper unto a listening ear.
Supplication to the Soulless Wind
I observe with sorrow the day setting,
In that endless instant when time stands still,
Yesterday forgetting, morning fretting,
Surrendering hope to a greater will.
Bowing my head with the dimming sunset,
Laden to breaking beneath mortal weight,
I am moved to a deep state of regret
That no articulation might relate.
I would find some consolation knowing
The meaning, if any, of my brief life –
Perhaps resolve my doubt before going;
The purpose of pain, suffering, and strife.
Am I only a spark of random chance,
Kindled for a moment of mystery;
The light of a miraculous trance,
Shining through the darkness of history?
My spirit has become stark and forlorn,
Parched and barren, in vast dunes of despair,
To think that tender flowers might be born
Only to wither in the desert air.
Do the fires of stars a deity define?
Or shall the light at last sputter and die?
Shall the most flawless of all gems shine
Unadmired by some great adoring eye?
Shall the order of all things be esteemed
The object of confusion’s random stand?
Or meaningless chaos filled and redeemed
By some creator’s omnipotent hand?
Overseer of all heavenly order,
Does your lot forbid compassion and love
For the lowly souls within your border,
Who prayerfully seek guidance from above?
Surely the law with blood lust is sodden,
That grants the merciless a divine leave
To vanquish the weak and the downtrodden –
Survival of the fittest to achieve.
Pray thee, look me straight in my bleeding heart,
And tell me I amount to more than mud,
Your designs some higher justice impart,
That you are guiltless of innocent blood!
Someday in enlightened joy arriving,
With a concurring judgment, let me say
Life was comprised of more than vain striving
And the futile suffering for a day.
Let the omnipotent powers that be,
Not falter in their effort to be fair!
Let the supreme will that created me,
Either gods or chance, harken to my prayer!
And chaos and creators refusing
The edict of their silence to rescind,
I shall account this meaningless musing
As supplication to the soulless wind.
Epitaphs of Alabaster
Now slumbers away the peerless flower.
Wilts to obscurity the crimson rose.
Sleeps the sentient heart in calm’s bower.
Silent all troubles in tranquil repose.
Now bows low the golden grass in season.
And droops the head without certain reason.
Mortal consequences all dreams impeach.
Vain spoken are the vows that lovers make.
Full are the spirits who life’s riddles know.
Free is the soul without chain or master.
Now glides a star beyond night’s finite reach,
Leaving a token of light in the wake.
Still the sad tears! Well I know why they flow
Upon epitaphs of alabaster.
Death smiles on everyone,
With a broad, nefarious grin.
He rattles the doorknob just for fun,
As he grimly saunters in.
All one can do is hand him a cup,
And fill it to the brim,
Then take a bow, and step right up,
And grin right back at him.