Life Is but Once
Where are you going?
What do you think shall come of you?
Time is quickly slowing.
Do you think your dream will come true?
I know that today
Is more certain than tomorrow.
And who can truly say
That happiness outlives sorrow?
Don’t wait for the bell
That rings for the regretful dunce.
Live every moment well.
Breath is dear, and life is but once.
Where I Am Sown
Blessed be the flower of hope;
That sprouts roots in any soil,
With all weather willing to cope,
To reap the reward of toil!
I will feast on any table.
I will grow what can be grown.
I will bud as I am able.
I will bloom where I am sown.
These city walls suppress my breath!
Within a world shaded with doom,
The living live a waking death,
Trapped within an airless tomb.
But my wild eyes refuse to see.
My mind resides on passing clouds.
I long to run from misery,
Far from the maddening crowds!
With the horizon I shall be,
On the trail of the fleeting day,
For the wanderlust is in me,
And nothing can make me stay!
We’re dying – there’s no denying.
But why waste our precious hours
On a lot of useless crying,
When we might be smelling flowers!
O for a palette of colors so fair!
O for a touch of artful mastery!
For a steady hand and the heart to dare
Frame joy with such dazzling symmetry!
Flowers, in your many forms, I adore
The sweet essence that fills you to the core,
And blooms from eternity’s barren soil!
Though your petals wither and your leaves spoil,
Though blossomed to a short season of shades,
There is much of life your spirit may tell!
O for the wisdom to understand well
Of painting boldly though the canvas fades!
Sister of sorrow, cease senseless striving –
Unspoken agonies meditated
Vainly against inner want, arriving
Long last in yearning unmitigated.
Renounce all proud vows of humility –
Vying with time, naked in loneliness,
Frigid lies alone to veil fading youth.
Deny no more moral futility.
Woman, of love and lust-longing confess!
Fast cloister your heart in actions of truth.
Gaze unashamed upon my countenance.
Relinquish your ear to my silver tongue.
Repose in affection’s exquisite trance;
This courtship on lips and fingertips sung.
Cast your raiment aside at my kiss.
Bare your bosom to my gentle design.
Touch me and let desire set you free.
In a sanctuary of sensual bliss,
Together we will drink of rapture’s wine
Until we are giddy with revelry!
Let me tell you about an evening
In Rome – wandering aimlessly, finding
Row upon row of old shops, veni, vedi,
Caesar, steepled streets, Benedictus,
A trace of Medici and Raphael,
Michelangelo in every cobblestone,
Music from the Spanish steps,
Figaro, Figaro, Figaro,
An olive-skinned girl at a fountain,
And Mediterranean sunset
Opaque on my face.
Ah! Light on the corner of crimson and yearning,
Sweet flower in bloom at the deepest of night,
The moon shines down full on the crest of your bosom,
And captures the grace of a poem in flight.
The trees in the sway of the wind rise to meet you,
That glisten of dew on your pink satin wings,
To ride on a whispering silk magic flutter,
Unbound ’til the sunburst a new dawning brings.
Cease Not This Exalting Fire
Love-afflicted, I am filled to bursting with ether,
Transubstantiated by her sweet inebriate;
Her boundless embrace – my dream incarnate.
I taste her! I breathe her!
In all forms I see her magical gaze.
She has strewn her smile upon me
Until I am sheathed in sparks of ecstasy.
I am wrapped full in a passion-induced daze,
Resigned to complete capture.
Up then! Away wherever you desire!
Cease not this exalting fire
Least linger a while that I might die in rapture.
Form on my pillow, O dream,
O picture of lustful desire!
Within a burning moonlight stream,
Set my waking night on fire!
Press softly to my wanton embrace,
O corporeal embodiment of aching want!
With churning modulations trace
The contours of my deep-hour haunt!
Let itinerant winds caress your hair,
Blow gently the waves wherein you lie.
In a licentious flow of summer air,
Cool the fever of my longing sigh.
I Will Remember You
I will remember you,
When time has turned to dust,
Never to say adieu.
Though death erodes all trust,
My will, I must believe,
A memory shall conceive
Beyond this mortal lust.
When the stars are but few,
When the sky has no blue,
When the heavens are through,
I will remember you.
Can You Take Me Higher?
Can you take me higher,
To a castle in the sky,
Fulfill my desire
To sprout silken wings and fly?
Can you take me higher,
Nigh unto the morning star,
With your look inspire
Me to glide where fairies are?
Take me to eternal rest,
Where I may always sigh,
Lie my head upon your breast
Forever – never die.
With my soul I inquire!
Can you take me higher?
One Last Taste of Fire
Give me one last kiss.
Give me one more taste of fire.
Share a bit of bliss.
Fulfill my final desire.
Before you leave,
Please let me believe
My love goes warm to the pyre.
Give me one more kiss.
Give me one last taste of fire.
Along a riverside we walked,
She and I, beneath an azure day,
Sun shining golden on the morning,
Glorious on the grain fields.
(Barley still painted with spring)
And Church bells rang clear and clean
From across the way,
Beyond the emerald-ribbon Main – Bells not for us,
But as much ours as Bischofsheim,
And the water ours,
And the day ours, seized,
Eternity the hours
Passed as currents
Into the Rhine, with no Lorelei to sing,
And no one to hear the history,
Dawn become yesteryear.
But in my dreams,
The Main still flows languidly.
She Was Young
She was young, and looked at me with bright eyes,
Companioned my lonely heart with laughter,
Seeing the world as innocent and full of surprise.
She led me through a graveyard, to a mountain height,
The wind there fresh, coming up from the valley.
And she surmised a future as bright as the day,
Playing, giggling softly, so joyful in being.
She told me that a wish is only a wish,
That what we pray for falls on deaf ears,
But we can dream.
A dream is free to wander where it will.
She maintained a resolute smile at our parting,
Holding to false hope, forcing cheer, refusing sorrow,
Braving the pain, persevering in the face of fear.
Sometimes after a rain, late in summer,
When night brings cool air into my room,
I reflect silently, staring at the ceiling,
Hearing distant cars out on the highway,
My dreams reaching out across time
To innocent days passed away,
And her eyes sadly searching, refusing sorrow.
Her smile undaunted is all I recall of her face.
In her late-hour reminiscence,
She saw him against the sunrise,
Strong upon his chestnut stallion,
Tipping his brim to her as she smiled –
She, the schoolmarm, daffodil, poem-worthy soul,
As lovely as the yellowing photograph upon the mantel.
Young was she, serenaded by bird song, morning song,
Wrapped in rapture –
The cowboy stepping down to the dew-fresh grass,
Holding his hat upon his chest, over his heart to keep in the emotion,
His rock-hard hand presenting the ring as delicately as it was able,
The iron ring, pounded from a horseshoe nail.
In her sagging dresser drawer,
She kept a horseshoe-nail ring.
In her late-hour reminiscence,
A cowboy brought her the wealth of Eldorado,
And placed it in the palm of her hand.
In a Pile of Leaves
We swam in seas of maple leaves,
Splashed in a wake of rustling waves,
Gathered golden treasure like thieves,
Buried ourselves in living graves,
But burst forth in resurrection,
Undaunted by death’s brittle chain,
In riotous insurrection,
Kicked up a storm of skyward rain.
In autumn winds, we went our ways,
Entered dreams wherein we hunkered,
And spent the better part of days,
In mountains we raised and conquered.
A pumpkin patch is a magical plot,
A lush, supernatural, garden spot,
Where goblins and ghouls meet to masquerade
As plain, orange pumpkins out on parade.
A pumpkin patch is a rendezvous place,
Where summer disappears without a trace,
And autumn turns down a dark narrow lane,
To hide in vines on a parallel plane
With all of the past seasons come and gone
To their final spring on a wizen lawn.
A pumpkin patch is paradise on earth,
A haven for friendless spirits to roam,
To which all drifters are destined from birth,
A home for ghosts who never found a home.
Come, lonely wanderers, rest from your day.
Rolling, rustling, leaves will show you the way
To gather together with a drear host,
And join in chorus with the silent throng.
When some night, I become a lonely ghost,
I will haunt a pumpkin patch the night long.
On a Magical Night
On a magical October night,
The porch is a delight
With a jeering jack o’ lantern bright.
Cornstalks in the fields murmur a fright,
When the wind is right.
A breath blown down from mountain height
Carries a leaf like a brittle kite.
And when the moon is right,
Shadows seem to shape the light,
But not quite.
One can see the trees, bone white,
As gaping jaws prepared to bite,
Or a demon free, or a witch in flight.
With luck, a spirit might come in sight,
With a little luck and magic, it might.
The Ripening of Delight
There was an orchard on a hillside,
Like some sweet oasis in a hay field,
And a rutted track of road to divide
Jurisdiction, and separate yield.
A boy wandered, instilled
By the crisp-biting scent
Of cool luscious jewels – thrilled,
Through heaven on earth went.
There was a robin’s nest,
Built in a season’s rent,
On an apple tree’s crest,
But with no inhabitant –
Abandoned on a fledgling’s whim to wander
Off to see the wide earth,
All universal mysteries to ponder,
And weigh a single apple’s worth.
Perhaps, intending to return someday
On a one-way ticket,
A bird lost its way,
Caught in some thorny thicket.
To any experienced fool made wise
By retrospect and regret,
It comes as no surprise
To find a bird flown far away, yet
Longing for a nest in orchard trees,
Riding out the sway
Upon a pear-scented breeze,
With no inclination but to stay.
Frost glistens on apples and pears,
A little past harvest time,
Twinkling magically, shares
A bit of alchemy’s rhyme,
Wages reason to keep any reasonable sort
Standing there year after year, waiting,
Abiding no other sport
Than the ripening of delight, never abating.
I Raised High a Castle
With bricks of regret and mortar of pain,
I raised high a castle around my heart;
A cold citadel where despair did reign
Upon a desolate throne, set apart
From all but nightly echoed grief and gloom.
But you built a bridge to my rampart height,
And swift brought to pass melancholy’s fall.
In my silent tower, dark as a tomb,
Pale in my chamber, I closed out the light.
But your love undermined my strongest wall.
The Rosen Arbor
Stand beneath the rosen arbor tonight,
Harbored in a sanctuary of love,
Within a lattice of silver moonlight,
And bask in ardor showered from above.
Out beyond the sleeping grass, shadows drape
Branches barren and bereft of bird song,
To the weeping gaze void of will or shape –
Shades of gray which divide not right from wrong.
Yet, safe in the bosom of affection
You bide in the fold of this sacred place,
In the embrace of scattered reflection
Of purest love proffered no other space.
For strong is the structure framed by the heart,
That hate cannot mar nor time tear apart.
Remember when we spent one summer day,
Oblivious to all but opiate
Music playing in some sidewalk cafe,
Intoxicated by love’s inebriate.
‘Tis not regret alone I serenade,
For loss of time or tune, but in truth,
Reminiscence as sweet as I can bear –
Lovers sharing scenes wherein dreams are made,
In a sidewalk cafe sipping on youth,
Sitting in afternoon sunshine, somewhere.
With Blooms Such as These
What gardener’s majestic pride
Planted seeds on this mountainside?
Whose transcendental essence frees
Me to gardens galaxies wide!
In buttercups up to my knees,
I stopped to watch the honey bees,
Drinking deeply of sweet delight,
As I drank in the honeyed breeze.
Standing on a heavenly height,
I witnessed an immortal sight.
I walked in the midst of fire.
I felt a great gardener’s might.
In faith I will live and expire,
With blooms such as these to inspire.
And I will blossom with desire,
To grow ever higher and higher.
Rose for a Nightingale
Nightingale, thou art not forlorn,
Thy sacrifice not made in vain
That hung thy life upon a thorn,
And tempered true love with its stain.
Purity, thou art not slighted
By the spurn of a thankless sway.
Thy charity stands unblighted,
Though the whole world withers away.
Nightingale, thy sweet notes impart
The tenets of a godly role.
I hold thy bloom against my heart,
And sing thy song within my soul.
Upon the frosted sward, I see
The closing tenant of fall’s yard –
A sparrow-laden plum tree
Blustered by twittering
Fruit, last flowers,
On silver-embellished towers,
Low sunlight glittering.
Through summer’s fallen estates,
As instrument of landlord winter, I
A northerly wind instigates
With my passing,
My effect surpassing
All threats of snow,
Like tempest gales blow,
Pluck the final harvest bare,
Scatter blossoms to the air,
Into an apparition of November sky.
Tangerine Evening Song
Sing, tangerine evening breeze,
Verse of reflection composed,
Of long-bygone memories,
Whose tune only evening knows!
Croon of glowing sunsets of yesteryear,
Of lost words whispered in the ear of night;
Secret oaths once sworn in earnest desire
By poets enthralled to transient cheer,
Empowered to sing by some godly might
That fills the heavens with ensouling fire.
O radiant tether!
O undying endeavor!
Our souls whisper together
Of song now one with never.
Who wants to live forever?
Who wants to live forever?
Most divine eye of night,
Keeper of secrets old,
Here beneath thy keen sight,
What tales must have been told!
Thou scorner of the morn,
At high nocturnal noon,
Here witness on the vine
All creatures ever born
To rise and swiftly swoon!
Bestow thy silver wine!
Fair light, immerse me now,
My house of flesh and bone!
Consecrate my pale brow!
Hear my low-throated drone!
For all songs e’er begat
Beneath thy history,
Pine on, O endless tune!
For all the ages that
Looked on thy mystery,
Shine on, O harvest moon!
A maiden has arrived,
Spread her ephemeral vestiges in the stealth of dawn,
Enswathed the threshold of morning with her frosty gown,
Attired the world in bridal white,
To wed the groom of first beholding,
Abiding unblighted, for the caress of flesh fingers,
For the blood-warmth to take up a portion of her veil,
To abide as one substance,
She and I,
For a moment of courtship.
Some say the dandelion is a weed.
But I insist it is a golden star
That turns from sun to quasar,
And sows the earth with celestial seed.
The notion may seem farfetched at first,
Until one realizes a dandelion’s thirst
For life and proliferation, the desire
To go from seed to heavenly fire.
I smile when I spy, on some manicured yard,
A dandelion sun shining brightly on the sward,
Prying up through a lawn in glorious form,
Through the most thunderous gardener’s storm,
Defying the mower’s effort to darken skies,
Like some immortal escape artist’s surprise.
Late night, when stars twinkle remotely,
Like dandelion parachutes floating across eternity,
I think, possibly, that somewhere out there,
A boy has been blowing dandelions into the air.
Take heart, red rose
Pressed into love’s device
Between the leaves of forgotten prose.
Now that passion cannot suffice,
Your withered bloom is redressed
In the memory you harbor.
Your perfume is expressed
Far beyond that summer arbor.
Here Is Your Canvas
Here is your canvas blue,
Rainbow colors too.
Touch your brush to it
Long flowing locks of flaxen gold.
Send your soul through it.
Paint your day, your moment.
Set your image glowing,
Knowing it shall pass as all things do
But surpassing all things for a moment.
Here is your canvas.
What picture will you paint?
Across a Field of Clover Running
Across a field of clover running,
Through the dew-wet sward I go,
Laws of earth and heaven shunning,
Through the streams of sunshine flow.
Bees on nectarous blossoms dancing,
Butterflies upon the wing,
Witness all my aimless prancing,
Hear the joyful song I sing.
Out across the emerald ceiling,
Soaring out across the green,
Like a swooping swallow feeling
Light as I have ever been,
Above a glorious clover field,
I move between the earth and sky.
To no element will I yield.
Listen to my exuberant cry.
This Day’s Refrain
Sparrows and robins nestled in their trees,
Throat forth joyous song.
Upon the buttercups hum earnest bees,
Content the day long.
Wind coos to me, passionate at my ear,
Lullabies of love.
Earth in her daily rotation doth hear
Sun sung from above.
Every garden needs a bard to impart
A rapturous strain.
I sing this for the garden of your heart,
As this day’s refrain.
To the Victor
Death, I defy thee!
My passionate breath
Warms thy sunless embrace.
Taste defeat then,
You uncompromising fiend,
For I rebuke thee!
My victory is won
Before I have lost,
For I have lived!
And eternity’s darkness
Cannot erase the mark
My soul has engraved upon it.
Were I to make a wish,
Were I to wish upon a star,
It would be upon a shooting star,
Though such a wish is fleeting,
Burning brilliantly, and fading instantaneously,
Not enduring as a common star
Or a common wish –
Lingering only for a moment of illumination,
But surpassing all stars for a moment.
This is the wish I would wish:
To shine brightly,
If only for a moment.
Were I to wish on a star,
I would wish for a shooting star –
The moment of its glorious passing
To share as my own.
A December Night
On a December night,
Hushed and blanketed white,
We crunched out across the snow,
Pulling our sleds as fast as we could go,
The heavenly flakes floating around,
Spreading more blanket on the ground,
Our pant legs stiff and creaking,
We, like wandering shepherds, seeking
A sign, something divine,
Beyond a field afar,
A snow-covered hill,
A ride, a thrill.
We might find it again, by and by,
Were we to seek, were we to try.
A Snowflake Has Melted in my Eye
Sweet to remember, sad with the years,
Are December evening tidings and cheers
Ringing clearly, bringing out yester morn,
In hazy snow-falling remembrance born –
A day far too near to be easily dispelled
By a heavy heart so sorrowfully swelled
Like seasons come and gone away again –
Snows fallen and melted to again begin.
Where do you wind, oh, north wind?
Wherein has a soul then sinned
A measure sufficient for a storm like this,
This soft-on-the-forehead-long-evaporated kiss,
Lingering so, as a low-hanging sunset,
Refusing to abide, in dire regret,
To the declaration of the stars
That a shining sun must give way to Mars?
Oh, golden, golden, morning passed away,
Wrapped up and displaced by a dimming day,
A glimmering crimson coal of light,
A summer stream springing into night,
A dream to be taken literally,
Relished and savored liberally,
In a sinking memory painfully setting,
In a weary mind is still begetting.
Oh, how we had our day!
The colors we had before the gray!
Fawns pranced in the warming sun!
Always, life had just begun,
And the succulent softness of youth
Yet to be hardened by truth!
Oh, for a moment more on that grass!
Oh, that time should never pass!
Life is a mysterious device
That turns a blossom into ice,
A sweet flower rising in spring birth,
Then falling fatefully back to earth,
The dew having lost its stake,
Leaving misty minds to quake.
Do not believe that I simply cry.
A snowflake has melted in my eye.
Picture when we waded in some bay,
And the surf lapped at our knees,
In the final moments of one day,
Wrapped up in a tranquil breeze,
Blown warm and wet across the ocean,
When the sun’s last embers beamed,
And the sky clouded with emotion –
Or so it seemed, as we watched and dreamed,
Neither in wakefulness, nor in sleep,
Neither by day, nor by night,
Somewhere between heaven and sea, deep
Immersed in wonder’s delight.
Of Ghost Ships
A picture unfolds before my mind’s eye,
Where entwines the courses of Main and Rhine,
Beneath a sun setting low in the sky,
When you and I witnessed the flow and shine
Of moments that in innocence confide.
Now I see the radiant face of joy!
I hear the current lapping at our feet;
As the voice of some ancient siren’s ploy,
Whose echoes to restless spirits entreat,
Beseeching love beneath her skirts safe hide.
Now glide the alabaster swans on glass,
On the face of a golden mirror cast,
Like concentric ripples that subtly pass
Into deepening eve – not meant to last,
As lost memories that in dreams abide.
Now we stand on the hazy banks of time,
Embarking from our port of flesh and bone,
As the elements of some divine rhyme,
Rigged to sail on fleeting visions alone,
Across endless stretches of cosmic tide.
Ah, but where is the book wherein to write
Words formed from the shards of fast-fading light!
Where is the meaning of bygone delight,
Lost on lips that sing between day and night
Of ghost ships that never again may ride?
The Strength of Your Hand
Mortality has shown me a world of pain –
Dark hours wherein my touch could find no friend,
When I thought I would never see you again,
Yearning for a swift and merciful end.
I have wallowed in deep mires of sorrow,
Swallowed gall until it lost all taste,
But now on the foundation of you I stand.
Though time plunders tomorrow,
And suffering is thrown to waste,
I am steadied by the strength of your hand.
She Loved Me for a While
She loved me for a while,
Though that fire is now an ember,
And the memory faraway.
On some mist-veiled isle,
The thrill I still remember
Of one long-ago day.
Let the light fall from the sky!
Let night dim my fading smile!
The world shall not deny
That she loved me for a while.
A Word of Love
Love, ask a gift of me amongst all things,
An unblemished flower in fullest bloom,
The joy a morning moment in May brings,
A sunbeam to brighten the deepest gloom!
Would you have the stars like diamonds strung –
Around your neck all of celestial grace,
Or night like velvet on your shoulders hung
To adorn the radiance of your face?
What gift can I with mortal power impart,
That in your nights of woe you may recall
And feel my sincerity cheer your heart?
I give you nothing, and I give you all.
What gift might suffice to bring you redress?
A word of love is all that I possess!
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.
A vision might all of our sins redeem.
Reality is wrought by what we dream.
A Distant Rose
I sought a very exceptional rose;
A flower supreme in every way –
Bloom that not age, nor blight, nor aphid knows,
Whose complexion is as clear as the day,
From whose countenance magnificence flows,
As the Sun presides over lowly Earth,
From which celestial radiance glows,
Surpassing any common flower’s birth.
I sought among roses a perfect rose,
Among peerless leaves, among tender buds,
Among thornless stems arrayed in flawless rows,
From which the essence of pristine dawn floods
And ambrosial fragrance constantly blows,
Whose dew-kissed petals delicately sway
To the hymns hummingbird’s gay wings compose,
To flutter of butterflies come to play.
I wanted to believe that desire sows
Blossoms as pure as a pure heart conceives.
But blooms wilt, and waking dreams at last doze,
And defect alone excellence achieves.
And I see that only from afar grows
The flower by blemish unpolluted.
Perfection in a distant rose best shows –
Whose wine’s bouquet is best drunk diluted.
Fire on a Wintry Night
The wind is ruthlessly sharp.
But my heart is warm and bright
With song as a flaming harp,
Like fire on a wintry night.
Ghosts array on a frosty night.
Ghosts twirl in starry flight.
Hush, weary world.
We will blanket your sleep.
We will lie soft and deep.
Beneath our sparkling white,
No more are you troubled.
To stay for a time in silence,
And rest by the flickering fireside,
In a glow of embers from the hearth,
Or stand at an open window,
A scent of rosemary from an open window,
And salt air blown from far across the sea,
In the darkness of night, stars to shine,
To cheer the darkness infinitesimally,
And out beyond the sleeping meadow,
The soothing rhythm of the seashore,
Gentle waves lapping at the sandy seashore –
I harbored this dream within me.
I have seen this, Achieved tranquility for a moment,
For an evening at an open window,
With the song of night and sea
To cleanse my soul.
Fair is the day,
Fairer still the company,
And the caress of clover against my cheek,
And the lichen scent from the spring side,
Where water, silver and flowing, forms a pool.
And the stream below, pushing toward the sea,
Praises effervescently the heart that will not be thwarted.
That fleeting moment of youth,
Wherein lies emancipation
From wearisome truth,
Wherein simple joy is honed
With anticipation of bliss
And thrill of the moment,
Therein, being decries all anxiety.
Therein, lies a feeling worth renewing,
A worthy angle of perception –
A palate for marrow without pith.
The Wind is Good for a Soul
The wind is good for a soul.
Feel the brisk breath blow
Upon a gradient knoll.
The turn of leaf will show
That wind is good for a soul.
The Spring of Our Origin
In the gurgling stream of our youth,
How simple our course,
Meandering with the flow!
The rocks were clear to see,
The falls certain
Our mutual assurances of truth,
Though ignorant all,
Sublimely taken by the current,
The discourse deepening,
The channel widening and digressing,
Opposing tangents to choose,
Low here, and low there,
And whether to turbulence or stagnation
We went, there was no way of knowing,
Only faith that some fate controlled our destiny.
At the delta of our arrival,
We stared into a vast sea of eternity,
And longed to return to the spring of our origin.
Thoughts While Lying on My Back in a Snowbank
Microbe in a drop of water in my eye,
Do you see me as well as I see you?
Can you look through the blue iris that is your sky,
And perceive as well as I what is false or true?
Perhaps you are too small to see.
You would understand, too,
If you were great like me,
And I were minuscule as you.
What is this you whisper of relativity,
Of understanding the concept of place,
Our relationship with infinity,
The universal principle of endless space,
And how one world fits inside another,
All linked in all, and all in transition!
I suppose, in a way, you are my brother.
I believe I’m beginning to see your position.
Under November Clouds
We have spread the compost, and cleared the weeds
From the back quarter, just in time for rain.
To set out tomato starts, or sow more seeds,
While frost nips at the squash vines, would be in vain.
We have reaped bounty from the tilth of our soil,
Improved our sowmanship with each year’s repetition.
And through our unwavering application of tool to toil,
We have worked our field to prime condition.
A garden needs no other purpose or care
Than to tend the needs of the crop there growing.
Let the fruit of each coming season bear
As they bear, with a principle harvest in knowing
That a gardener should hope for no more
Than to cultivate a garden that never grieves,
To walk under November clouds, and look for
Tulip bulbs beneath the fallen leaves.
Given a Will to Rake
Such a marvelous gift
To arise and wonder!
Let eyes heavenward lift,
When day breaks asunder,
Rises above the night,
Bursts the horizon’s hold!
Unsurpassed is the sight
Of infinity’s gold
And there for the taking,
Given the proper tool.
There’s joy for the making,
But give and take is the rule.
Happiness has a price.
Perfection has a stain.
Summer has winter’s ice. –
Always a loss for gain.
The putrid stench of pain,
And despair’s heavy musk,
Fury’s winds, tempest rain,
Rumor of coming dusk,
All so trivial are!
Slip through a spirit’s tines!
Yet, the leaves of a star,
Falling as sun shines,
Can be gathered at will,
Can soon a mountain make,
And can an abyss fill,
Given a will to rake.
Take the tree by any twig.
Trace from twig to stick to limb,
From limb to trunk to root, then dig!
All the dirt, cast aside. All the weeds, trim.
Seek the harvest there within,
Whether broad or thin,
A fig or figment.
Texture, or pigment,
High on the granary shelf.
Search deep, to know thyself.
Here is a Dream to Dream
Did you ever dream you were free
To seek spring in all regions,
Wandering earnestly, finding green in all things?
Did you ever gain a day of glorious contemplation?
In a tulip bud there rings a hue of truth –
A sign of making the day not altogether unpleasant,
Waking color where there were gray shades
Like ashen drapes on a dead man’s face.
A trace of truth paints away the stale and dreary way.
Cultivate a bud to blossom and array!
Here is a dream to dream, to scream heavenward –
To be free and never imprisoned again!
I will remember you, boy man of years ago,
In the last lavender glimmer of summer day,
Walking out of the back field in a golden glow,
Wearing the perfume of sweat and newly-baled hay.
I will recall your thoughts as you looked behind you,
Beyond farm and fences to the wandering sun,
Wondering what would be, years after you were through,
And if time would still remember what you had done.
Today as Forever
Ascend to a magical afterworld.
Once the immortal veil has been unfurled,
Dreams shall be as real as they seem.
Climb through the stars in a sunbeam,
To the land of eternity,
Where unicorns and fairies frolic with infinity,
Where mermaids wait out beyond the reef,
And the night owl has disavowed grief,
Singing the morning abreast robins and space,
Where lambs and lions embrace.
Fly away, fast away, over the cliff side,
Through the cascading mist, beyond the temporal tide.
Make a leap of faith upon the endless grass.
Abide in spring realms that never pass. In the garden, never wilting, endeavor
To live tomorrow today, and today as forever.
Furious, Headlong, Beast
Leap up from this creeping pace!
Set your heart racing,
Your soul facing no bounds!
What have you found in your being?
Rush forward, O furious, headlong, beast!
Better to live one day as a tiger,
Than a thousand years as a sheep!
Lawless as snowflakes, I spasm,
Examine the cross grain of my tongue,
Render soft-spoken tones,
Glean runes by my petrified eye.
What is seen is affected.
I sing of song,
Prideless and sacred, flowing from lustrous lips.
Swarthy and white-haired wild man prancing on a hillside am I,
Infused with utterance,
Revolting, and melting silently.
Embodiment of Perfection
Perfection, what is thy name?
Embodied as a decree!
Conceived above any blame
Is this picture of beauty!
In form of snow-pure rabbit.
Gentle child of innocence,
Clothed in angel-knit habit,
Delicate creation, whence
Hath thy creator formed thee?
Art thou solely flesh and blood,
Union with divinity,
Or atonement for the flood?
What god hath made thee, that made
This wretched world’s upheaval?
Hath the artist now forbade
The painting of more evil?
Remorse for all saintly lies,
The rosen hue of redemption
Is in thy forgiving eyes.
Forcing Love to Earn Her Wings
Tedious is the idiom spoken by attrition,
Relentless in defamation of all that is pure,
Foe to all ardor, for no apparent reason
Than joy in thwarting from complete fruition
The blossom of infatuation’s lure –
Harvesting sorrow in full season.
Passion purloined by years, lust burnt to dust,
Zeal must turn inward for the questions that confound,
While forgiveness perseveres and hope softly sings.
And though time turns the most endearing charms to rust,
Stoic loyalty stands his eroding ground,
Forcing love to earn her wings.
A Last Kiss for Eternity
Save the last light for me –
That wane spark in your eyes
Before you are set free,
While in your worldly guise.
At the close of your day,
At this hour grown so late,
Before you slip away
To your eternal fate,
Let me sing a final dream.
Before you set out on your own,
Upon a heavenward sunbeam,
Before you leave me all alone,
Let me send you reluctantly
Off unto your celestial role –
A last kiss for eternity,
To ease your fear and soothe your soul.
Together We Will Fly
If I lied deep in lavender,
And you reclined in bay,
If we were resigned to splendor,
To while all time away,
I wonder if I’d still know you,
If you’d remember me,
And if we could grasp through and through
Just what we’d come to be.
If I abode in leaves of gold,
And you blew in the breeze,
Do you think when the days grew cold
We might meet in the trees,
And whisper of days that are past?
Shall we then comprehend
Why temporal things cannot last?
Do severed bonds ever mend?
I wonder if there is some land
Where in love we may stay.
Straightaway we’d go hand in hand,
But I don’t know the way.
Lead on, whether or not you know!
We’ll never say good-bye!
It matters not which way we go.
Together we will fly!
Garden I Wander
Garden I wander, garden of wonder,
Garden around, within, above, under!
Garden, in thy yard I remember when
I found myself a new-born denizen,
Gazing profoundly in dumbfounded awe.
O the marvelous miracles I saw!
Shapes of mystery, of fear, of delight!
O overwhelming color of my sight!
Joy so sweet my spirit was ether-filled!
By sound instilled, by scent high, by touch thrilled,
I wandered the path in earnest yearning,
The fair faces of creation learning.
Lo! Morning-sunlit sward so green and free,
That bound with faith my innocence to me!
The stuff of pleasant dreams is made of such.
Should that the bee had never stung my touch!
Light would be my heart, bright would be my eyes,
Could time forget his tiresome lullabies,
Were I gifted to see beyond my tears,
And blessed to live a life of countless years.
But I am bound to obey the dictate
Of an uncompromising magistrate,
Who grants but a meager portion of breath!
Dolefully I approach the grove of death,
Consoled only by the lingering thought
That as the laws of creation are wrought,
Whether I long come to heaven or end,
Upon the garden’s will I must depend,
To see me drift peacefully off to sleep,
And in her flowers my significance keep.
Expectations of Something More
Am I the product of all that I sense –
Just fantasy, and nothing more intense?
Or is there a more refined conception,
Of which I lack a means of perception?
One enchanted moment of paradise
Arrived in my mind one bright afternoon,
Wrought by some supernatural device
That sent my spirit into a deep swoon.
Would that I could purchase there forever –
Transcendental reality capture,
And hold it in a never-failing clasp!
Henceforth, let bliss be my true endeavor,
With adamant claims to total rapture,
A dispensation of dreams in my grasp!
I am content with earthly enterprise,
But I look e’er to the opposing shore,
In hope that eternity may arise
Per my expectations of something more.
Time to Wake
Hand-in-hand we walk along some bright lane,
Going where we are going,
All attempts to turn aside in vain,
Knowing without knowing
That we must move along.
You sing some tune from childhood,
Your voice blending with meadowlark song.
And I would sing, too, if I could.
But my tongue can find no notes to sing.
Strayed to streets cobbled with bones a million years old,
I am a stranger to everything.
The sun shines silver and cold.
Black cherries on stems of alabaster grow –
A taste too sweet to be real.
Hollow lutes from the treetops blow
Some emotion I can no longer feel.
Then you whisper softly in my ear.
And I know that it is time to wake.
Too long have we feared fear.
Too long have we slept for sleep’s sake.
Taunt away, specters of past!
The pain cannot last.
Your time is through,
As all I ever dreamt or knew.
I walked beneath heaven tonight,
Stood underneath endless sky,
Gazed upon a celestial sight,
Looked the gods straight in the eye.
Will you longer detain me here,
Hide behind a bolted door,
Cower under your roof in fear,
Damned earthbound for evermore?
I would fly if I were able,
Recline on a shining star,
Dine from an immortal table,
If my hand could reach that far.
Silence Is Kind
Father Time, don’t leave me behind.
Set my hourglass at never.
Silence is kind.
If you don’t mind,
Wrap me in the hush of forever.
A Poem Composed on the Slate of Never
Let not my life be deemed a fleeting dream,
Fast dissipating into nevermore,
Adrift upon time’s everlasting stream,
Floating away to oblivion’s shore!
Let not my breath be aspiration vain,
As transient wind passing through the trees,
An inspiration without lasting gain,
A dying utterance, a wistful breeze!
Let me live each day as my final day,
Breathing each breath as though it were my last!
Let my thoughts in this precious present stay,
Reflecting this universe, deep and vast!
Let this one moment echo forever,
A poem composed on the slate of never!
Roses pink are the sign of my morning,
Symbols of hope for the new-waking day,
Both a greeting of peace and dire warning,
That all things pure and precious pass away.
What is death if we know a day of life?
What is loss if we love but an hour?
All the heavy hurt of our mortal strife,
Redeemed by the blossoms of a flower!
How fragile are the petals of being!
How weakly clings the dew upon the leaves!
How fleeting is this sight I am seeing,
For soon this tender moment wilts and grieves!
The thorns and tendrils of impending death
Magnify the worth of each fragrant breath!
Sonnet for an Atheist
O, how free was I when I went my way,
Each dogma cast as grit beneath my tread!
And how the simple facts in order lay,
When rid of every falsehood in my head!
Atheist I am called for my worldview,
Denying lies which render theists blind,
Seeking the path toward all that is true,
With a stalwart heart and resolute mind.
But I have more than rejection of lies
And cowardly comfort of endless breath,
Which religious fools and liars devise
To dull away the sting of certain death.
Rich in the lavish lap of truth I live,
Possessing gifts that gods can never give.
When You Are Old and Wise
When time has slipped from your feeble hold,
And your sands have turned to dust and mold,
When winter winds pass right through you,
When the sun won’t shine and the clouds rain rue,
When you’re left to wonder what it all was for,
Try to succor your soul with something more
Than empty words and lies –
When you are worn, when you are old and wise.
When the fight is done,
And the world has won,
Abandon yourself to the forces that control you,
Console your dashed hope with anything that might do.
If you lose your faith that another day shall be,
Of fear and regret be free,
When you come to face demise,
When you are learned, when you are old and wise.
Perhaps we shall meet another day.
Suffice it well enough to give hope a say.
Before you take the hand of fate, I want you so to know
I’m proud to have you as my friend – I’ll follow where you go.
And if our time is finished forever,
To make the bond less painful to sever,
I leave this poem to sing the sadness from your eyes,
In the end, when you’re old and wise.
My cup of tea is steeped in deepest lore,
From olden times in lost, exotic lands –
The stuff of ardent scenes since days of yore.
I hold a cup of legend in my hands.
Reposed upon my thoughts as on a throne,
Beneath a tropic jungle’s misted light,
In visions of fragrant haze, I am shown
Incense scent from some ancient temple height.
Sweet wisps of Gypsy secrets at my lips,
I recollect the wealth of friendships past,
Dispelled to naught, like vaporizing ships,
‘Cross seas of mystery and romance vast.
With kindred souls I sip, and muse, and dream,
And sail away on wafts of sultry steam.
The Four Winds
I. East Wind
O East wind, I have awoken to your song
Through lilacs sung, until I am in need
Of nothing more than your voice my life long,
Quickening my spirit with such sweet mead!
With spring you herald the new-dawning day!
Upon wings of glorious being fly,
‘Cross the horizon’s mountain-framed sashes!
O azure angel, have you come to stay,
To cleanse the heavens, clear the clouds, and dry
This dew glistening on my eyelashes?
II. South Wind
South wind, I heard rumors of far-off lands,
Breathed, languid and sultry, soft on my ear,
From wide seas where memory never stands
Still long enough for the meaning to clear.
A tranquil song of carelessness you sing,
An offhand ode to some tropical noon
Seen sailing through palm-secluded harbors.
Tidings of full-blooming blossom you bring,
Swaying cypress beneath the evening moon,
Settling perfumed among rose arbors.
III. West Wind
O west wind whispering from the sunset
Secrets of otherwise-forgotten dead,
Hushing the meadowlark’s joy with regret,
Ushering bulbs and seeds to a cold bed,
Before your low dirge flee the autumn leaves,
Like reluctant spirits on the threshold
Of demise, clutching at the hedge and gate,
While the willows weep, and the lodge pole grieves.
And I am moved to tears; as I grow old,
Believing more each year your words of fate.
IV. North Wind
North wind, in your raving where is the soul?
What fury makes your warlike trumpet blow?
Across the sullen seas you heave and roll,
O’er lifeless lands entombed in ice and snow,
Bringing the march of a barbarous hoard,
Leaving all forests and fields destitute
Before an onslaught of conscienceless harms.
Proud fool, you have put all life to the sword!
Now nothing answers your call for tribute,
Save a rattling of the alder’s arms.
Who has not wondered at the waking morn,
When day opened dew-wet lashes anew,
Of essence who watched while the world was born,
Wearing fragranced lace of virginal hue!
I saw her extend tender fingertips,
Forth aspiring as towering spires,
While shy cherries scarcely dared bare their limbs.
Her bloom proceeded from mystical lips
That whispered of timeless budding desires,
In a choir of a thousand sacred hymns.
Do you remember one warm afternoon,
When she danced in the form of leaves of grass,
To a beat of monarch’s wings and bee tune –
And frolicked free, in revelry and sass,
Until the tulips colored to the rims,
And daffodils brimmed over with nectar!
She was passionate in yielding a gain!
As a sparkling sunbeam in a brook swims,
She reflected her radiant specter,
Dwelling in rainbows after a light rain.
A season of plenty came to her door,
When grain weighed heavy the harvester’s hand,
And no unsatisfied want could ask more
Than a full portion of her fruitful land –
A share in her bountiful granaries!
She had stocked her store with goodness to share.
Thus, with no greater virtue to impart,
She gleaned the magic-laden apple trees,
Partaking of the crisp October air,
Until sweet-ripened to the very heart.
In an amber glow of low-setting sun,
Weary drooped below the edge of the sky,
Where bare-boned beeches and alders are done,
I have seen resignation in her eye.
Now remorseless north winds blow cruel and cold,
Sifting the stubbled fields with wisps of snow.
And storm clouds threaten from their lofty lair.
She has forgotten, since she has grown old,
All of her promises made so long ago.
O where are you going, my mother fair?
God for the Day
Place a laurel upon your beaming brow.
Forth assume your rightful title to fame.
Hear how the crowd proudly cheers for you now.
All thumbs direct heavenward your great name.
Though cheers soon diminish, and laurels sour,
And in time, king and vanquished are the same,
Though the brightest shining star fades away,
Come forward and be anointed this hour!
To the victor go the spoils of the game!
Glory be unto you, god for the day!
Divining Your Eternal Sigh
See how the stars shine for you –
Countless points of divine light
Whose glorious fires imbue
With promise eternal night.
See how heaven pines for you,
Divining your endless sigh;
Dreams of poppy fields come true,
When in peerless peace you lie.
Garden of Dreams
Though withers fast the vine of ambition,
From the seeds of imagination
Hope shall come to a fruition.
Wisdom is my insinuation.
With eternity as my goal,
I can grow anything my heart esteems
On the arbor of my soul,
In a garden of dreams.
Now I Am Free
Keeper of my destiny,
Hear my final plea.
Bear these words on cosmic flow,
I declare in parting, so that all may know,
Should time remember me:
Homeward I go!
Now I am free!
Songs of my being,
My sweat, my blood, my soul,
My fears, my joys, my tears,
Inked in passing,
All wisps are –
Mere wisps rising
And dissipating into nothing.
Sometimes Forever Never Comes
Autumn flower, in this remiss hour, sunset lingers, persevering!
Bonny countenance, that dost almost entice winter to spare her frost!
Winter whispers in the brisk November air that we, as dry leaves, shall drift away –
Our longing for purpose lost to the tides of eternity, turned to dust in the firmament!
Shall the fires of our love linger long, as a magnum opus of empty infinity?
Autumn eve, when summer hues are but shadows of remembrance,
Where is the treasure of my life, the jewel of my ultimate yearning?
Were my existence condensed into one brief breath of truth, I would wish to aspirate crisp clarity,
to taste the understanding of mortality, though on the lips of impending death.
Would eternal persistence in cosmic chaos avail a greater measure of perception?
If I had but one more day to live, I would spend it not in grief, nor rancor for my haggard estate,
But search for measure in my pith – wisdom that my strife was not in vain.
Sometimes forever never comes, though we endeavor to see it through.
Before Thy Day Doth Fade
Today, with all thy heart,
Love the bloom that wilts tomorrow.
Though from love thou must part,
Waste thou not a tear on sorrow.
At the sudden onset of night,
In the deepening shade,
Love thou dearly that precious light,
Before thy day doth fade.