Garden of Poetry by Daniel F Mitchell

 

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?

 

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.

 

Now We Wonder

One night we waltzed together by starlight,
In the vision of a celestial trance,
Beneath the fires many million years bright
Of faraway days long arrived by chance.
In earnest want we vowed never to die.
For a while we believed in forever,
Banishing thoughts otherwise as impure,
Until the rising sun took back our sky,
Threatening our starry ties to sever.
Now we wonder how long day might endure.

 

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!

 

The Dogs of War

Who will tether the dogs of war,
What firm yet gentle hand?
Who at last will even the score?
What foe will take a stand?

Who will allay the hunger pangs!
What spurn the savage track?
Who will pull the ravenous fangs?
What heart dares brave the pack?

Who desires to sit quietly by,
In meadows where white rabbits play,
When the dogs of war all sleeping lie,
And the bones are buried faraway?

 

Fortune Cookie

You are blessed not to believe
Fortune in a cookie lies.
In the end, what you achieve
Is gained through persistent tries.
Ignore that which doom mumbles.
Your fate is to understand.
The way the cookie crumbles
Is determined by your hand.

 

The Bird Sits

The bird sits in the doorway of her cage,
Halfway between freedom and security,
Halfway between the window and me,

Weighing the merits of adventure and old age –
Perpetual seeds or riotous play.

Her ultimate question is to stay or fly.

But certain mundane is more sure than uncertain fame.
Consideration is but an entertaining game.

Expecting that she would leave me someday,
Knowing that birds, like dreams, wither and die,
I never bothered to give her a name,
Fearing the pain of her loss when it came.

 

Disposing the Time

In silence the destitute pray,
Disposing their time in an offhand way,
Longing to face that final hour,
While steadily wilts the bloom of the flower.

There was a soul that starved away,
And died once more of sorrow,
Having not lived a single day,
Before there was no morrow.

 

It Must Be the Season

She loathes me!
She loathes so hot!
She loathes me!
But she’s all I’ve got.

It must be the season.
Here she goes again –
Anger without reason.
Don’t ask her to explain.

When she gets snappy,
Let her win the fight!
Would you rather be happy?
Or would you rather be right?

 

Our Own Fate

Sorry are the fools,
Who find out too late,
We can’t change the rules,
But we make our own fate.

 

Anvil

Time is the fire in which we burn.
Life is the forge in which we turn.
Of temporality, we learn.
For immortality, we yearn.

Age is the anvil that tests our mettle,
And tempers us for a timeless settle.

 

Should Someone Learn the Lessons Gone Before

Measure the race-long vein, the sordid stain;
All vain strivings heaped by humankind,
And reason shall find an absence of gain
Beyond a bane of the rational mind.
Sores of misbegotten religious creeds,
Power-mad fiends sure-damning all who live,
All amount to the sum of nothing more
Than scores of forgotten foolhardy deeds.
What blessed bounty would progression give,
Should someone learn the lessons gone before!

 

Helter-Skelter

She holds her head between her hands.
Her face is flushed with crimson fire.
Upon the edge of loss, she stands,
Staring into the abyss of her desire.
Once by passion deeply burned,
Her dreams of love have now been spurned.
And paradise has become hell.
Perhaps in limbo she is doomed to dwell,
From warmth and light apart,
As some burned-out star.

Helter-skelter, she felt her heart
Swelter like a throbbing scar.

 

Do I Have Your Attention Yet?

You’ve been told many times not to trust a stranger.
Did you ever wonder why?
Look at the time and tell me you’re not in danger –
And still you deny.

But in your heart, you find an empty space
That all reassurances can’t relieve.
Now look deep within my eyes,
And tell me that you don’t believe.
You must look past the lies
Reflected from your fading face.

The sun is setting. And
                                  the
                                     stars
                                        are
                                           falling
From the sky.
The night is calling.
And you are going to die.

(A brief pause for regret)

Do I have your attention yet?

 

What Did You Do for the Universe?

In your final moment of introspect,
When you stare death straight in his sullen eyes,
Shall you look back on your life and reflect,
Or be overwhelmed by your own demise?
Did you help make the world a better place?
Can you lift up your banner at long length?
Or shall you lower your head in disgrace?
Did you work with all your might, mind, and strength,
Or squander your spirit in idle waste?
Did you complain about your unfair lot,
Or through your difficulties wisdom seek?
Did you make decisions with undo haste?
Did you oppose the cruel, and defend the weak?
Or taint your honor with ignoble thought?
Did you satiate your most sordid need,
Or seek a creed of moral distinction?
Did you set service and love as your goal,
Or endeavor for selfishness and greed?
Did you save a species from extinction?
Ease the suffering of a single soul?
Did you struggle for truth and never cease,
Or did you perpetuate fallacy?
Did you fight for justice, to right all wrong?
Did you strive with all your being for peace,
Or was violence your only legacy?
Did you succor heavy hearts with your song?
Was existence a virtue or a crime?
In life, what did you do for human kind,
That might warrant a line of gentle verse?
Assess your effort while you still have time.
In your passing what did you leave behind?
Oh, what did you do for the universe?

 

Harbor

In the storm, where is security?
Before the temper of the tempest tossed,
The helmsman drowned, direction lost,
The course blown to obscurity,
Where does a soul turn for provision?
In the estuary of decision,
Blinded by despair, where, for evermore,
Might I find a better view?
Mind of reason, unfaltering oar,
I moor my heart in you.

 

For Which the Ancients Yearned

Long-past thoughts have been given their due –
Stepping stones to reach that which is true.
In with the old and out with the new?
Scorn the day and revere a worn shoe?
Lessons of antiquity are learned.
The mystics are dead, the dogmas spurned.
History’s dim lamps have all been burned.
Now is that for which the ancients yearned.

Or is the conclusion
Continued delusion?

 

Unashamed

Leaving one garden, I found another.
And as I was planted, so I bore fruit!
There I praised the vineyard of my brother,
Though he raised a crop I could not compute.
Are the ram’s lecherous tendencies sin?
Shall all ears the magpie’s harsh note deride?
Can a wolf for his appetite be blamed?
I sing the naked truth of all my kin!
It is time to cast our fig leaves aside,
And walk forth proudly, feeling unashamed.

 

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.

 

They Hint of Peace

In half-mad sequences of memory,
I see their faces again and again,
Like shadow shapes of smoke and emery,
Whose reason mere logic cannot attain.
With voices of falling water they speak,
From deep pools or across some distant lake,
Whose concepts constantly abrade my mind.
And though they never reveal what I seek,
Far beyond what my senses can partake,
They hint of peace my soul may someday find.

 

When We Stood on a Mountain

When faced with moments of despair, I try
To picture when we climbed a lofty peak,
And there became intimate with the sky,
Discovering the secrets all souls seek.
When I thirst for happiness, I recall
The time we drank from an alpine fountain,
And I am cleansed of all that makes me sad.
In moments of self-doubt, when I feel small,
I think of when we stood on a mountain,
And wished for nothing more than what we had.

 

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.

 

Firmly Rooted

Ardent vine of mine, wither as all things must!
But death shall dull his blade before thou art dust!

 

The Fifth Element

Life is bright with this dreamy light –
Heart of fire, water, wind, and earth –
A faint sheen of prismatic white
That suffuses muscadine mirth
Into inert bodies of mud.
What might animates flesh and blood!
Perchance an element abides,
A fifth part of the greater whole,
That forms the substance of the soul –
A power that over all presides.

 

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.

 

In Consequence of truth

Destroy my flesh, but invincible is my soul!
Thwart my ambitions, but inalienable is my goal!

Squeeze the song from my throat.
Tear the words from my tongue.
Yet from mouths of innocence, note,
Unadulterated notes are sung.

Make falsehood the law of state.
Give perjury the only debate.

Still, babes, with innate cries,
Shall claim their divine right
To declare fact the greatest might,
Looking ever to sky and stars with longing eyes,

Till veracity, in tireless attrition,
Rallies his victory to fruition

Against infidels to freedom and youth,
And with a silver ax severs all diseased heads.
Then old liars, palsied on their death beds,
Shall succumb with their sins in consequence of truth.

 

Behold

What dream is within your power?
Blossoming there, in your bower,
Blooming in your finest hour,
What is the form of your flower?

Behold the fair faces of faith!
Look on creation, and adore!
Marigolds with their golden smiles,
Mimic the sun’s shining glory.
Tulips vie with the waking day.
Trumpet vines herald their truth,
Blaring in a skyward vector
The summer daylight’s breaking news.
The aster mimes the evening star.
The rhododendron rears her head
As some whimsical shadow wraith.
Jasmine shines where moonbeams are,
Scenting the midnight with her name.
Everlasting peas presume youth,
With faces frosted and hoary.
Bee balm sets out alms for the bees,
Hears butterflies pray on bent knees.
Poppies make a calming nectar,
To convalesce the deepest hurts,
And bring jubilation instead.
Morning glory climb from the floor,
With determination that wins
Even the most difficult test.
Daffodils wear formal fashion,
Even as winter tears their skirts.
The wallflower burgeons her best
With the humblest of garbs,
Setting aside every regret.
Lavender puts on her best dress,
And dances her worries away.
Snapdragons flash their happy grins,
As about the fence they slither,
Unrestrained by time’s heartless vow
To render them toothless and lame.
Roses are blossoms of passion,
Radiating love’s many hues,
Though tormented by wicked barbs
Their hearts prevail over all trials.

All flowers at long last wither,
But while they may, they effloresce.
Set your nightshade aside for now.
A blush remains in your cheeks yet.

 

Gardens of my Dreams

In my dream, I dreamed we dream
That what we see is what we deem
To be real – we esteem as truth.
I had visions of endless youth,
Of daisies in a sunbeam,
Of sun beaming from my eyes,
Of perfume-scented skies,
Of blossoms blooming in a kiss
On my cheek in eternal bliss.
What difference night or day?
What wise intelligence can say
That what I see, or seek, or seem,
Is less real than flowers are,
Or the light of an afternoon star
Warming the gardens of my dreams?

 

Intangible

You within the fire rose,
I see your formless form there.
One could well-enough suppose
You are the morning sun’s glare.
But I see an aureole shine,
A burning bush sort of light,
That kindles all things divine,
And makes petal flames ignite.

 

Jinni

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.

 

Didactic Garden

Tears of despair water
The seeds of tuition,
Rear time’s daughter
To a blossoming fruition.

Life is only arid sand,
And breath but gainless gloom,
Until a lavish heart lays hand,
And makes a flower bloom.

 

Alone I Fear

I value not the incessant drone –
The madness of pack mentality.

I have no fear of being alone,
To face my soul and mortality,
Cultivating the fields, I have plowed,
In my mind, by my heart and my word.

Alone I fear being in a crowd,
And not knowing the whim of the herd.

 

Thorns on the Flowers

Tempestuous showers
Do roots firmly tether.
Thorns on the flowers
Turn soft hands to leather.

Subsiding rain,
And conquered pain,
Turn the vine to bloom again.

 

In a Wisp

Perception descended upon me as a wondrous mist,
As a breath of angelic whisper at my ear,
And kissed my cheek softly with gentle lips,
And awoke my soul to the translucence of my understanding,
And awoke my soul to the fire of my making,
Embracing my heart as an aura of light might embrace a star,
Seasonless as cosmic dust risen and descended.
With a heavenward sigh, I cried my joy,
And wished I might straightaway vaporize,
Ascend as transpiration in a wisp.

 

Tender Autumn Light

A tender autumn light
Shines luminous as day,
Illuminates the night
As if to say,
Why do you weep?
As a song the heaven sings,
In promise of other springs,
Her twinkling gently clears
My misty eyes of tears,
And bids me peaceful sleep.

 

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 joined 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.

 

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,
And run!

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.

 

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

I.

Though the armies of folly array,
Their dogmas in dogged display,
All foolishness at last shall fail,
And wisdom over all prevail.

II.

Fear and lies are my enemy.
Truth alone can set me free.

III.

Truth is the heart of the soul,
That no mortal law can control.

IV.

Be resolute in your quest for learning.
Be cautious of the direction of your yearning.

V.

Hear all arguments and weigh them through,
In case you might find something new.

VI.

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

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.

 

The Price

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,
                                                        United again.
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,
Completely surrender,
Of oblivion’s somnolent wine partake,
Safe in Morpheus’ keep.
Oh, how I wish I could sleep –
Doze for a moment, and never wake!

 

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.”

 

Having Believed

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.

 

Straight Dose

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.

 

Attrition

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

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.

 

One-Eyed King

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.

 

Katzenjammer

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
Through eternity?
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
Eventually,
Peer through a clouded why
Until I Can’t feel anymore,
And wash ashore.

 

Reflection

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

I.
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.

II.
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.

III.
Be like a cliff against which waves constantly break.
Stand firm, though the furies of the oceans quake.

IV.
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.

V.
Be not unhappy or discontent if you fail where you have failed before.
Renew your philosophies, review your nature, and try once more.

VI.
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.

VII.
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.

VIII.
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.

IX.
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?

X.
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

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.