Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Charms & Knots (A Book of Original Verse)





Part I: Plato’s Pigeon Hole
Part II: Aristotle’s Remainder
Part III: Anthology of Moons & Other Nouns

Dedicated To: The Late Kenneth Hovey, Former Associate Professor of English, University Of Texas San Antonio.  The cover pictures is of Abby (b. April 20, 1991 & d. April 2 2004).

Who read a Chapter, when they rise,
Shall ne're be troubled with ill eyes.
--George Herbert

Revised version December 2009/June 2016
 Part I

Plato's Pigeon Hole


Sonnet Sonnet

If all things have a Form as Plato thought
Then there would be a poem’s Form as well,
And though we’d be but shadows still we ought
To know the Form such theory would compel.

How so?  Unless mere babbling, verses need
An object to address. If we used more
Than four lines we’d be wordy.  We’d impede
Precision having fewer--back to four.

For those same reasons four lines each should do
The exploration of the object and
The options.  Endings sum up, thus demand
The brevity of splitting four in two.

Such lines all add up fourteen and would be
A Sonnet as the Form of poetry.

Partus Dei (Chang)

God took a risk with Mary.  Women’s eggs
Can duplicate, can deviate.  What if
Hers had produced an extra Jesus?  Just
Superfluous atonement?  Or would a
More sinister religion have emerged?
Would hypocrites have double testaments
From which to pick and choose as circumstance
Required?   Would good men follow separate Christs
Unless by chance Christs were conjoined, too.  Then
Could Christs have chased the money changers or
Hung on a cross in such a form?  If not,
Could Christs be split?  If so, could Christs be cloned?
Could that be why Ascension took away
From further science all the DNA?

Partus Dei (Eng)

As wombs can deviate was there a chance
Of twins when God became a man?  Could there
Have been a needless God-Man born or just
An extra portion of atonement?  Could
Two Christs have said the same upon the Mount?
(If so, who plagiarized?  If not, whose was
The proper speech?  Could God in either case
Be right and wrong?)  Could two have led the same
Disciples?  Sixty silver pieces then?
Could Peter have denied both?  If they'd been
Conjoined could one cross hold?  Divide them?  If
Divisible were they then clonable?
Could that be why Ascension took away
From further science all the DNA?

Pieta

In Rome I have seen Christ himself laid out
Across his mother’s lap. His gentle face
Displays no evil. Everything about
Him signals justice, purity and grace.

His mother, too, convinces in the way
She holds her child just crucified. Her eyes
Speak volumes more than lips alone could say
As she caresses God and man and cries.

There must of course be something quite profound
In art that speaks so well, that moves one when
It neither moves itself nor makes a sound.
It must of course unsettle thinking men

To see stone wearing piety — if it
Convinces, how much more the hypocrite?

Mummy Sonnet

Nobody someone, neither good nor ill,
I was unseen, a mediocrity
Of flesh that showed no depth or wisdom till
Embalmers shared their scholarship with me.
I took their gift.  Why not?  I did as they
Would have me do, let them rewrap me, and
Endured the drastic changes at their hand.
Finished, they put their instruments away
And left their masterpiece.  Though nothing saw
Me living, yet now vermin even will
Investigate me, wondering in awe
Along a Nile of bile my innards spill
Who made (and when) this old, decaying sphinx
And who can crack the riddles that it thinks.

Church Sonnet

What motives might entice such different kinds
To gather briefly in a Sunday mass?
Perhaps in such ephemeral crowds are minds
Drawn by the Holy Spirit, the stained glass,

The sacred music and the homily.
Perhaps some broken hearted people come
In search of explanations. Possibly
Some come in fear of brimstone — maybe some

Are children who don’t always sleep at night
Because of Hell. Perhaps some others burn
Quite differently and mingle where they might
Find mates or status or a little turn

At good, warm Sunday spirits where it’s fine
For even drunks to have a little wine.

Surgeon Sonnet

Of all the arts the kindest surely must
Be medicine.  It suffers no disease.
It heals impairments, mends deformities
And lessens pain, embarrassment, disgust.
Behold the wretched cripple.  Surely he
Would have his limbs cut up and remade good.
Behold poor twins tied Siamese.  They would
Of course bisect a monstrous unity.
Behold the beasts both foul and pretty, too.
They’d surely be reskinned so they could be
Lords of the Earth.  Behold the Maker.  He,
Too, has our face and frame.  It’s generous to
Wield knives therefore at what does not conform
When God, freaks, animals all want our norm.

Dead Coward’s Sonnet

His live feet, too, were cold.  Perhaps behind
Experience lurked things he could not see
Including perils hid beyond the mind.
Trapped in his head, he acted carefully.
For though myopic, still he wisely knew
That if an organ or a limb were lost
There would be none made new.  He had to do
As those unsure of risk but sure of cost.
He saw his proof in Nature, too.  The rat
Would sniff before it bit.  The mole would not
Live eyeless in the light.  The fiercest cat
Would pick the weakest zebra of a lot.
The worm liked caution, too.  Less risk was bound
To leave a more pristine piece underground.

God Loves A Garden

We lend our dogwoods' yearly stage of white
Now to our little band of daffodils
Whose golden trumpets sway from left to right
In annual concert as our green hall fills
With nibbling rabbits come to hear as well
Our towhee divas sing a little spell.
Too, bumblebees come savoring our parts,
Our visual and culinary arts,
To see and lick our canvases they find
Displayed about in brilliant colors round
Our galleries that we have been so kind
To raise from what was once mere weedy ground.
God loves a garden!  Thus we've no regret
For little lives we chopped in hoeing it.

Sonnet On Genius

What has no depth upon reflection when
Upon reflection nothing has amazed
Us?  (How’s it possible Jehovah raised
Creation from a void?)  Mere trifles then
Are deep by their own terms by being more
Than nothing.  Thus, mere dust mites have to be
Profounder than the void’s profundity.
Thus, on reflection even an old door
Knob turns with physics and geometry
As complex as nine planets and a star
Employ.  Why, even shallow verses are
Deep on reflection--all words have to be
Profound when even tiny strokes of ink
Are deep by their own terms when people think.

Sonnet On Soundness

A road's unbalanced briefly--soon we grow
A callus underfoot that cushions or
The texture changes or it doesn't so
We redefine the thoughts we had before
And smooth them out regardlessly.  Although
Quite shocked, we only briefly may deplore
New notions as unbalanced--they'll soon go
Into the annals of quaint history or
Live realigning thought so our minds are
Thus balanced either way.  Order's maintained
And equilibrium's thus foreordained
It seems.  If so, if nothing falters far,
Of course it follows no man's truly mad
Unless off kilter only by a tad.

Abomination Sonnet

Although it may at first seem strange to read
Carved altars are abominable to God,
The verity of this is plain indeed
Upon reflection.  Foolish priests! It's odd
You clerics would attempt a better rock
Than God Himself created in the field
When chisels of a man could not unlock
A better form.  Blasphemers, He's revealed
Himself in all His Work. No mortal's hand
Should vandalize His Labors or redo
Their message.  Preachers, God is telling you
He doesn't err, His rocks don't need help and
Those "different" kinds of people you would slay
Were made to "deviate" in such a way.

Sonnet On Omniscience

Omniscience is a wondrous thing.  It must
Intoxicate to know Pi's digits to
The end and negative square roots discussed
But never grasped by men, to know all, too,
The numbers of celestial bodies and
Their endless complex movements, to have known
Its riddle long before the Sphinx found sand
To crouch upon in Egypt, and alone
To know where past and future hide.  It would
Be wonderful--yet awful knowing all
The joys of every vice and crime.  Lord, should
I suffer that vast knowledge, that downfall,
I'd nail myself upon Golgotha, too,
As punishment for filthy things I knew.        

Testament

Though never chosen my executor,
Time has cremated moments of me with
No grief or rites.  I do therefore appoint
Each present self instead to handle each
Estate of me just past and each allied
Ephemeral corpse.  Although like Time each may
Consign to pyres its corpses, too, I ask
That some be stuffed at times to prop around
To grieve, to mock, to ponder, to instruct,
To decorate, to keep a history of
Me, to experiment--would all arise
At Resurrection for example?  Stuffed,
Such bodies should of course be kept just where
They fell so one preserves the proper air.

Grief

The chant grows louder in some minor key,
Dark evidence the circle's soon complete,
Suggesting the procession's nearing me
Again--There are the thousand shuffling feet!
Black hooded heads hang down.  I cannot see
A single face as they come creeping back.
They snarl all other movement, trapping me
In a melee of sackcloth, tears and black.
Their awful spectacle disturbs a rook
Abode each time.  The wailing black birds swarm
And cast a screaming shadow as they look
Below at that horrific slinking form
Of endless mourning circling round and round
While you sleep still, my Daddy, underground.

Bubble Sonnet

Godlike I blew soap bubbles as a boy
From my small pipe.  The First Cause thus of their
Existence, their First Mover, I’d enjoy
My spheres, my little bodies in the air--
Till I grew and diminished.  Then to me
There seemed no joy in snatching any breeze
Jehovah in the first days had set free
To close it up in cages such as these.
Instead it seemed fool hubris to believe
Such fleeting cells that barely held within
A breath were something wondrous to achieve.
Growth pares!  From baby days where we begin
Divine in little heads, we shrink as we
Grow down to man from what we used to be.

Crusades

What first distinguished man?  Fire and the wheel
Are common answers though the facts reveal
A third distinction one should not conceal:
Crusades.  Though some omit this third tool, we’ll
Examine it.   In a crusade, the backs
Of others (not wheels) move ambition.  Blacks,
Another’s wine, most anything that lacks
Defense will do.  Though not fire, it attacks
By using others’ fuel.  A parasite,
It leaps from host to host, is only bright
Consuming others to the point it might
Move worlds around.  It’s thus a tool that’s right
For easy heavy lifting.  With its aid,
Fools shine and therefore love a good crusade.

Rule Of Gold

As Faith is measured by itself alone,
It follows true believers have to hold
Creeds whether they are rational or prone
To the absurd or both.  Therefore the Gold
Rule's reasoned and unreasoned.  Christians do
As they'd be treated.  Thus, as they would be
Delighted at the chance to give alms, too,
Good Christians take their neighbor's charity.
As they'd be grateful for correction when
They err themselves, they will therefore chastise
Their neighbors.  As they recognize that men
Have no more constant neighbor, they likewise
Fall for the Devil, too, lest they condemn
Themselves for loving neighbors less than them.

A Hindu On Purusa

Can moderns contradict us Hindus who
Believe some primal man was carved up and
Then sacrificed in parts that formed the land,
The sea, the heavens, and the living, too?

His mouth made priests? His mind the morn?  His two
Arms princes? Eyes the sun? His thighs the band
Of common folk? His mouth fire?  His breath fanned
First winds?  His feet made serfs?  Can this be true?

Since instruments don't prove such things, since we
Perceive no unperceived and must hold thus
Experimental science ends with us,

The "primal" by our own terms, too, must be
Some first mind which is primal man before
Terms carved him up to make him something more.

Razing Babel

In simpler times a single tongue served as
A single handle on a broader world,
A single inventory of the means
To praise a multifaceted Divine.

In simpler times a single king sat throned,
A single hunter wearing Adam's skins
That claimed one sovereignty unchallenged of
Both man and beast without conflict of laws.

In simpler times a single way rose up
Unto the Heavens, a single tower men
Devised with one geometry and built
With proper symmetry of form until

God's thunderbolts, O Nimrods now and then,
Roared God will have diversity in men.


The Elect

Take that long-suffering slave:  if she instead
Were master, could descent dissent and shed
Vile arrogance slaves shirk and in its stead
Renounce that life that life inherited?

Take that starved, broken pauper:  if instead
Of life so harsh he often would be dead
He had a fuller purse, was fuller fed
Would he have known to offer paupers bread?

Take that queer soul who's “different”:  if instead
He'd turned out “normal” would he think a dead
Queer's better than a live one, too, and spread
Intolerance majorities have bred?

Is this not Grace?  Spared from such tests as these,
Has God not favored his minorities?


Looking Back

Though brief, sometimes when shaving I
            See someone different in
The glass--an altered eye or mouth,
            A varied brow or chin.

Sometimes my voice will resonate
            A different way, will sound
Just briefly like some other's from
            Some memory.  I've found

Presumptuous ideas that
            I've never had still yet
Seem somehow intimate.  As man,
            Christ also had I'd bet

Such moments and (like Buddha) said
            Samsara's in the head.

God's Hide

A million eyes that watched a universe
At once of present, past and future as
A million mouths at once spoke and performed
All present, past and future speech acts, and
A million arms with thunderbolts and blades
That wreaked their justice through all time at once
Borne on a million legs that bolted joined
In all directions after evil and
A million noble thoughts and boundless love
Mixed with a million sins omniscience must
In perfect, awful clarity teem would
Have overwhelmed Golgotha had God failed
To hide such awful things the day He died
Upon His Cross behind a human hide.

Zeno Phobia

With flawless logic Zeno bowed to proof
He could not eat a meal while it was hot
(Since moving spoons would put spoons where they're not,
A contradiction of such wares).  Aloof

In flawless logic Zeno bowed to proof
He couldn’t win a race however hot
The chase (since endless points on lines cannot
Be crossed as needed to advance).  Aloof

In flawless logic Zeno bowed to proof
He could not doff his cloak when he was hot
(Since it was where it was and thus could not
Be elsewhere, too, in doffing it).  Aloof

In perfect sense and nonsense, he betrayed
The fool who merely did as grammar said.

Buddha Sonnet

A band of oriental children played
By some stream's bend.  There they'd build in the sands
Small castles.  Their tired sweaty little hands
Would implement there plans small heads had made.
They finished.   With much effort they surveyed
There their small group of structures.  All works raised
Were judged and by such means babes damned or praised
Their builders who were vigilant, afraid
Their efforts might be crushed.  Therefore with care
Each guarded his own feat and physically
Defended it from feet that carelessly
Might trample work a builder must repair.
Then dark fell.  Then the children ran home and
Abandoned to the night such heaps of sand.

Sonnet Proving Grace

A country-club wife gives some wealth
            Her husband earned to prove
Herself.  A crippled old maid would
            Give her own could she move.

A monk who'd never had the chance
            To steal dies feeling blessed.
An unkept thief who's lived outside
            Dies feeling he's unblessed.

A writer who has never seen
            A bloody field of war
Dies proud of his brave words.  In shame
            A soldier flees real gore.

God's tests aren't standardized.  As He
            Is Moral, Grace must be.

Athenaeum

Apparently club members were just here--
Their fold-up chairs remain though they've gone home.
They've placed another hieroglyphic tome
Within their athenaeum.   Here I hear
They've expertise and stories stored in sheets
One cannot read yet--what's the meaning in
Such awful pictogramming as blue teats,
A sunken eye, a spot upon the chin
Or teeth clinched so and so?   Yet there are spines
With more wear than the others which suggests
Good reading if the hieroglyphic lines
Prove readable one day.  Thus, club and guests
Pray Champollions will come again who may
Decipher what for now is tucked away.

Cycle Of Months

    March

My calendar's first page was Springtime's, too.
Though Caesar's last, both Spring and I marked there
Our first month when we both emerged a pair,
I crying first the elder of the two.

That month three things (at least) something made new
(I, Spring and twins) from nothing more than air,
A Genesis beyond pure reason where
From naught new triplets (four things?) it withdrew.

Nor was there any lesser sorcery
In fixing essences then christened "me"
And "them" in those chaotic winds of March

Or in the faith somehow we would remain
Despite the permutations and the pain
Implicit in the terms of life's death march.

    April

Once live, the novel being had to stir.
Its essence was to shoot some tendrils out,
Imparting thus the motion which without
It would have not been quick but dead.  There were

Implicit in a novel character
As well those buds that soon formed on each sprout
And, too, the blooms since being comes about
Through self-expression.  Having to occur

In such an essence, buds came out to show
Themselves when every living thing must go
To Canterbury brandishing its tale

And playing simultaneously the fool
Away from home those first days at life's school
Too early for degrees, to pass, or fail.

   May

There were some weeks of may be that seemed time
When anything was possible, when we
Had form enough (we thought) few goals could be
Beyond our reach if we would only climb.

It was intoxicating, was sublime
To stand before the canvas feeling free
To plan a thousand masterpieces--we
Weren't wedded to a single paradigm.

It was therefore the time to dance around
Its poles to show the many ways we wound
(Or would or could) the world of some hot May.

It was therefore the time to do the same
For the intoxication of a game
That palliated fears of come what may.

    June

When night was in retreat, when day was in
A chariot parading victory,
I put on laurels, too.  I had to be
One of the victors Right assured would win.

For as Day's subject (not as Dark's) within
Life, I submitted to Light's sovereignty
With Proper Logic.  Music!  Poetry!
By my own terms, I was Apollo's twin

Although I shadowed from his Light risks run
When mortals proudly took on too much Sun
(Like Phaethon and Icarus who'd found

A son is not a Sun when one in flame
Crashed felled by Jupiter, when one in shame
Plunged head first, pigeon feathers swirling round.) 

   July And August

Lord in fee simple now, I walked the field
With compass in my hand as I surveyed
The boundaries the season's seisin made
Anticipating harvests we would yield.

I was quite busy.  Time awake I kneeled
To pull the timid "weeds", to take the spade
To the more stubborn ones, to take a blade
To prune "good plants" and carve up fruit. I peeled,

I was quite busy, had not noticed there
Was weathering, was gradual wear and tear
Upon the aging leaves of my fig tree.

I was quite busy, had not noticed light's
Stealthy retreat before the front of night's
Advance that nipped at Summer's "victory."

   September

Though Reason legislated still, Mind met
Its edges.  Jurisdiction's giving way
By such a Change thus left some answers gray
Through laws' conflict or absence.  Strange regret--

Though days were warm, though blossoms opened yet,
Though trees still wore their leaves and birds the way
They'd dressed since Spring and kept good makeup, they
Were trembling underneath faced with the threat

Of bolder shadows now, dark demons that
Were making more of Time their habitat.
Black aliens had left some place of birth

To aid the treason of a Harvest Moon
That mocked the Sun in brilliance planning soon
To rule Night's new majority on Earth.
           
   October and November

Although the Sun no longer shone supreme,
Reality remained unshattered--there
Was only need to tweak belief somewhere
For faith to work again and thus redeem

Us.  Faced with data that at first might seem
To contradict our systems, our repair
Was Bacchus.  He explained the dim affair
Of Fall: God's more than Mind.  To fix our scheme

We concentrated on the grape instead
Of vineyards now the leaves were withered, dead
Upon the barren, stripped and humbled vine.

We gave up blind devotion to a Sun
That fled as fast as Autumn shades had run
To find more stable warmth and light in wine.
           
   December

Awash in Black too awful to abide
By drink alone, we tweaked our faith to find
Implicit in that way we had defined
Our Dionysus pleasures yet untried.

We turned thus to a spit where we had tied
A family pig (whose foolish, simple mind
Had thought us kin) above some coals to wind.
There alchemy made pork from pig.  We tried

To feast away light's famine feeling more
Slaked till Persephone opened a door
Below to plunge to Winter's habitat

And loosed an awful draft.  The cold that burst
Through, froze us to the bone.  Being the first
Hard freeze, most other life it touched fell flat.

    January

As I had thought it first the Highest Good,
I was betrayed by Reason's perjuries
Before I was by more mendacities
Of Sense.  In disbelief, I freezing stood

Without the luxury of time.  I could
Just warm me now.  Without complexities
Of Thought or Feast, forgetting both of these,
I turned to Fire.  I offered Vulcan wood

And kept the rough god's altar in the grate
Lit constantly.  I would ingratiate
Myself with him within that present when

(Although in theory rendered two faced) I
Could hardly think too forward to the cry
Of wolves that scavenged in the city then.           

   February

Bizarre--a rap I'd never heard before
Awoke me.  I pulled my blue blanket round
To quit the fire, investigate the sound.
It was the North Wind tapping at the door.

Bizarre--the wrap, blue blanket that I wore,
Whose was it?  Had some owner's vermin found
Its covers first?  I dropped it to the ground.
Some novel knocking proved the North Wind's roar.

I took an inventory of my box
Of deeds and gold then re-secured the locks.
I heard strange knocks. I checked the door. Wind did

Such things I learned.  My blue quilt warmed me when
I found some old locked box.  Whose was it?  Then
Beside the fire I heard strange knocks and hid.

Ponce’s Fountain Of Youth

An old conquistador by queer
            Twist cursed he’d undergone
The very change a bold career
            Had wildly set upon
And shed himself a baby tear
            Lamenting age withdrawn
            Too soon. He wailed

Maturity’s a thin veneer--
            May seem thick going on
Till wear shows round the median year,
            Till more and more is gone,
Till drooling gummies reappear,
            Till diapers come back on
            Too soon. He wailed.

Part II

Aristotle's Remainder

The Form is in the thing?
Then any way we sing
Is Formal.

I Went Away To World

I went away to World
As boys are called to do
To banners they unfurled
And diagrams they drew.

Beneath the plate and male
Myself I never knew.
I fought to never fail
As proper soldiers do--
Till duty's done,
The battle's won
And armor's in a stack
So day can show
No soul we know
As bones come walking back.

He Holds Himself Wiser

He holds himself wiser
Than those who horde instead,
Their gold, their stock, their bread.
Yet Learned Man's a miser
Of thoughts piled in his head--
Although it's rarely said,
Despite the life he's led,
His brain's fertilizer
As soon as he is dead.

What Need Has God Of Man’s Army

What need has God of Man's Army
With powers such as His are? Me
I find it quite extremely odd
That some kill in the name of God--
What mortal aid could He require?
They say He set the Sun on fire.

Impetuous Trees?

Though countless centuries
Would counsel no, instead
Fool and thoughtless trees
Will torch their leaves in red
To warm the Autumn's chills
With no thought in their head
Of Winter's lurking ills.

Passing

There's much I passed
Along the way.
I passed in every chase.
I'd come in last
Were I to stray.
I passed at every place.

I passed the notes
That commerce took.
I passed up other kinds.
I passed with votes
I thought it took
To please the proper minds.

I passed on me.
I passed as them.
And time passed on as well.
I passed away.
They passed me down.
Some passed my stone. It fell.

Branches

How can I doubt you, Darwin?  My
            Own two evolved eyes see
That like the primates I too sleep
            In trees--mahogany
Or oak or pine or maple make
            Fine poster beds for me.           

Doubles

By sleight our site, our sight
Are multiplied till quite
Confounded.  We are out
Yet in and cringe about
The strain of double place.
Across the room our face
Appears quite boring while
A man attempts to smile
To cover up a yawn--
Yet we have also gone
(Though never moved) where we
Are better noted.  She
Hangs on each sentence, word,
Reflects on all she’s heard ....

And so and so and so
Our doubles’ numbers grow
More more we go out.  We
Meet us more frequently.
We cross us in the street.
In trains, in crowds we meet
Our reputations who
Are circulating, too.

Of A Carolina Queen

Waft vessel,
Rote vassal,
Of a Carolina Queen,
A winged burr
Dusts flowers
For amber alchemy.

 A Pauper's Plot

Though late, his fee has sprung--
His bones are dressed
And now he'll rest
With gentry he's among.

To A Grey Rock On Tempe Butte

Old rock I've stooped to take away
That Nature's cuniformed,
I wish Rosettas, too, informed
Me what your markings say.

Our Alumni

We yearly graduate
Another class of selves
Expanding our alumni
We catalogue on shelves.

Time’s Lesson

What does time Teach?
Those who can, Do.
Those who can't, Preach.

I Took Their Dose

I took their dose
Of awful prose.
Was blinded, quiet,
Stunted by it,
Wasting slow away
Till Byron, nurse,
Injected verse,
And Virgil sobered me
And Pushkin made,
With Dante's aid,
A poet's remedy--
Now clean, I lack
A monkeyed back!
Regress I'll never do!
Sobriety's
The way for me--
I bid their prose adieu!

         Five Ways
(Or A Poet's Thomas) 
            i

When sinners pitch their piece
In God's communion plate,
The chain of motions cease
With God they'd contemplate--

Else endless motion's done
And that could never be--
No push could ever reach
The pennies here we see.

Hah! Copper's in the bowl,
With clangs we all can hear,
And God we can't deny
Has started motions here!

            ii

As man is made between his sheets
And chickens in a shell,
The universe itself repeats
A need to hatch as well--

Else endless mating's done
And that could never be--
Though some might find it fun,
It'd be debauchery.

Hah! Birds are in their nest,
Their clucks we all can hear,
And god we can't deny
Has started breeding here!

iii

If not a must, we've only may
And lay would do as will,
So God must be if we're to say
That lay must fill the till.

If not a must, we've only may
And lay might never be,
And yet we've ever got our lay--
Ergo Divinity.

iv

We know a noble's better than
A common wife or working man,
While plainest bishops rank a priest
And popes are still the better beast--
Yet were no God to meter men,
They'd all be just a citizen.

v

The world we see is wound!
A watch of sky and ground!
It's plainly some design
When every sinner seen
Is someone churches fine
When coffers are too lean!

A Poet's Kant

Now we must punish all of those
            Who do some evil act--
It's just what everybody knows.
            We've morals. It's a fact.

His fires we need or some won't pay
            So evil proves there's God--
Though fools would think the other way
            and call the Prussian odd.

A Poet's Anselm

Saint Anselm here's a thought for you:
            God's greater if He's not
For then it's clear He didn't do
            The evils that we've got?

Root Reversal

To roots I tap the sky--
And they must wonder why
I'm turned around
From solid ground
Unplanted till I die.

Faith In God And Me

Is Self in skin or in the bone
Or flowing in a vein
Or in the breath or vocal tone
Or in some folds of brain?

I've never found it anywhere
I've stopped to look and see,
And yet I've never doubted where
Faith rescues God and Me.

Mystery In Communion?

There's mystery in Communion?  "Dine"
Means making flesh from bread
And making blood from drafts of wine--
Just turn round what He said.

They’d Call Him Ill

They'd call him ill who frets the sight
Of mountains in a heap
Or chaos in the starry night
Or fish bumps in the deep.

And yet it's sane to fret about
A bit of chaos where
One's hat is smudged, one's crease is out,
One's comb has missed some hair?

We Look And Speak As He Would Do

We look and speak as He would do
And yet we've kept our freedom, too?
Despite the words He forced on us
At Eden and in Babel's fuss
And though we're imaged same they say
God gave us freedom anyway?

Multi-Widower Of Me

I am a Multi-Widower.
Each present half of me
I lose upon the nonce, inter
In endless graves.  My plea,

O Lord, when You at last return--
The only hope I see--
Is You'll raise from each grave and urn
The many Dead of Me.

The Flood

I'd never wash away a World
            For then I'd long to know
The treasures lost, the poets swirled,
            The musics muted so

And wonder over friends I'd miss
            And tales they'd never share--
Instead of washings harsh as this,
            I'd spot clean here and there.
 
If Number Stopped At One

If Number stopped at One
All Counting would be done
As soon as It's begun--
A Tidy Bundle spun.

But God gave Two and Three--
Untidy Sums that Free.

For Clough

Whenever I would codify
            The tablets shatter quick
Beneath the weight the words imply
            Despite the terms I pick--

            To God alone we yield
(but as the Code's revealed).
            No graven image praise
(except this code we raise).
            No swearing in His name
(except a legal claim).
            No work the seventh day
(but do what tablets say).
            Give parents deference
(though the code has precedence).
            No man should ever kill
(except as tablets will).
            Don't have another's mate
(until courts liberate).
            No men should ever steal
(though bargain as they feel).
            To covet is a vice
(except where there's a price).
            No man should ever lie
(except to codify).

The Devil Reads His Bible, Too

The Devil reads His Bible, too,
            And has His own Degree
In what the Scriptures hold as True
            And what's Iniquity.

"Abominate!" He'll saintly scold
            And then apply the Flog
While counting Interest on His Gold
            And roasting up His Hog.

He threatens Slaves who'd run away
            With horrid flames of Hell
And cites what Paul and Peter say
            (Yet Exodus won't tell).

To hide Himself or flame a crowd
            He'll gladly bait a Jew
By shouting John and Acts aloud
            (Yet Jesus was one, too).

And if the mortals in His way
            Are women there as well,
Some Timothy He'll quickly say
            (Galatians He won't tell).

And if He's gratified by pain
            Inflicted on a child
He'll sing Proverbs in sweet refrain
            (Though Matthew would be mild)--

Perverting Rhetoric he plays
            A Hornèd Cicero
That picks his Prophets by the ways
            They make his Profits grow.

Success’s Gun Is Loaded

Success's gun is loaded and
            Its barrel's in our back.
Its ropes and cords have tied our hand.
            It's built for us a rack.
We fear, yet blush.  For it was we
            Who let the thug inside.
We heard his pitch and willfully
            Made sure the door was wide.

This Word’s A Box

This Word's a Box that holds a Note
            To open up and read,
While here's another that I tote
            That holds a little Deed,
While still another holds a Twig
            To laurel up your Head,
While here's another just as big
            That holds a Taunt instead--
We pack these Airy Crates with all
            We wish to ship and send
And claim a right to frank our haul--
            It's Freedom we contend.           

Reverend's Raven Beatrice

The Preacher says it is a complex world--
Dark things our simple mind can't comprehend
We leave in God's dominion.  We're but men.

We leave in God's dominion (we're but men)
Small tithes, our little bit of good brought to
Dark things our simple minds can't comprehend.

Though it is difficult to spare a tenth
(The Preacher says it is a complex world),
Such sacrifice must pale beside the Cross.

Envy turns men from God.  Though we are dumb,
Though it is difficult to spare a tenth,
Such sacrifice must pale beside the Cross.

Begrudge that meager Sunday giving?  Which
Base appetite has equal claim to tithes
We leave in God's dominion?  We're but men--

Base appetite has equal claim to tithes?
The Preacher says it is a complex:  "world
Envy" turns men from God.  Though we are dumb,

Begrudge that  meager Sunday giving, which
Base appetite has equal claim, too?   Tithes!
Such sacrifice must pale beside the Cross!

Though it is difficult to spare a tenth
We leave in God's dominion, we're but men--
Envy turns men from God.  Throw Bea her crumb!

Some Lessons From The Iliad

Be wary of the deals you make
            Or you may pay the price
Of liberties that others take
            When baser thoughts entice.

Be wary of the way you wield
            The power given you
For though Achilles seems to yield
            It's Pyrrhic when it's through.

Be wary of revenge You take
            For often in the end
It's nothing but a grave you make
            For you and for a friend.

Be wary of the public show
            Of wooden piety--
What's Truly Good is hidden.  It
            Is never there to see.

Born Again

You're born again?  Well, so am I.
        Some Muse delivered me--
A second self, another try,
        A further bit of be.

If second times are better then
        Have I not joined at last
The Order of you pious men
        Who claim a Higher Caste?

Cyclops

Where the viewpoint's the cave's alone
            There lacks the other side
So even were a second grown
            The beast remains one eyed.

Odysseus

Nobody trusted words, he did.
He kept them quivered and he hid
Behind the phrases No One said
Till he could spear the one-eyed head.

Words shielded years of long attack.
Words took No One to hell and back.
Words wooed a princess at the shore
And smote her mother even more.
Words bagged the wind and tamed a witch
And rivaled every siren's pitch--

It seems no one has spoken so
Since No One did so long ago.

George Eliot

They tried to make you Mary. Yet
            You Georged yourself instead
And didn't suffer any fret
            About what others Said.
You Middlemarched.  You Marnered and
            You did Deronda, too--
If that's the fruit of being banned
            Exile me now with You.

To Monsieur Descartes

I am the Perfect Instance here
            De Moi, so I must be.
For Nothing lacks which means it's clear
            There must exist a Me.

A Mouse In The House

The caller I would crush in fear
            Would seem instead a peer
If I'd but stop and ponder here
            Its genealogy.

It's from those mice that scurried round
            On Noah's ark undrowned
And others waiting on the ground
            When Jonah went to sea.

Its mothers lived when pharaohs did
            And Moses' mother hid
Her babe beneath the basket's lid--
            And yet it comes to me.

Price Of Order

I've heard that Furies even bite
            And terrify the Sun
If it should waiver (even slight)
            In courses it should run.

If that's the price of order then
            I'd rather have the night--
If there's no choice in stars or men
            What blessing is the light?

Inhospitality

Inhospitality's a sin
            Of the most wicked kind
As Lot and others of his kin
            And Sodom's lot would find--

And yet the birds leave starving and
            The smaller beasts receive
No more than callous swats of hand
            From men who would believe.

Jason’s Rhetoric

Vain Jason did deduction and
            Was sure the world did, too--
He thought he had her in his hand
            With just a word or two.

Yet proof that's pitched into the fire
            Is merely burned away--
Poor rhetor found Medea's ire
            Singed all he had to say.

1969 A.D.

We Trojans walked across the Moon.
            Apollo took us there
To add to English Realms the boon
            Of those beyond the air.

Wooing

I say a Rule--its words are clear--
"So what?" they say unless they fear
Some consequence or think they see
Some benefit in pleasing me
Or feel something requires they do--
A Hammurabi has to woo.

Time’s Market

Time's market's all in disarray.
            Its curves are in a mess.
Inflation nibbles every day
            And every moment's less.

We've come from when a day would take
            A century or more
To times when days will only make
            What minutes did before.

Infallibility

The Pope is right in Japanese,
            And Barking of the Hounds
And Signing Dances of the Bees
            And Bullfrogs' Croaking Sounds
And Ravens' Calls and Pythons' Squeeze
And Hawkish Shrieks and Mousy Pleas.
A Fluent Priest in all of These--
            Inerrancy astounds!

The Kindest Thing

The kindest thing He did for us
            Was guard the Tree of Life--
Although it would seem obvious
That He was being generous
Temptation is continuous
            To covet endless strife.

Ex Nihilo

If He who's perfect is unmade
            What need have we
            (Who'd lesser be)
Of any maker's aid?

Hypocrite Of  Venice

Pure Portia's such a Christian she
            Can slander an Old Jew
And pilfer all his property
To fine and punish properly
            What money lenders do.

Idols
 (After Psalm 115)

They've mouths yet never say a word.
            They've eyes yet never see.
They've ears although they've never heard.
            They've feet yet never flee.

They've noses, too, yet never smell.
            They've hands, yet never hold--
Although they're molded very well
            In silver or in gold.

Strapless

Poor Crusoe was condemned to hell
            Since he could not receive
The sacraments or go to church
            With others who believe

And clearly prove the adage wrong--
            They pull themselves on high
By their own bootstraps while the souls
            Of others rot and die.

More In One

Just three in one's
The Trinity
Though just a gnat's
Infinity?

Sphinx

The beast's a Ding-An-Sich it is
            And Ahab's strung its head
To ponder on and claim as his,
            A marvel now it's said

That once swam in the noumenon
            In back of all that sea
It swings now as phenomenon
            In front of all that see.

Trains

            I doubt.  They say:
"Then take some trains and round the Ball
            And judge it as you may."
Their counsel's safe.  For after all,
            Their tracks will point the way.

Natural Logic

What is a syllogism of a squirrel?
An oyster's sorite stringing out a pearl?
A modus ponens of a mother bear?
A middle term of clover and a hare?
Their worlds cohere
Which means it's clear
There must be Logic there?

Monopoly

If Nature doesn't seem to like our walls
            What inference should we make?
Creation loathes division yet installs
            A Peak, a Fault, a Quake,
            An Ocean?  It would take
            This stance with us yet make
            Itself the same mistake?
Frost--maybe she's protecting her own love
Of keeping things apart--a jealous shove
That shakes each flimsy Babel till it falls.

Keeping Time

She's our Crazy Auntie who
Hides herself when others call,
Hangs eight-legged pictures from the wall,
Knits corner doilies old maids do,
Paints our rooms a dingy hue,
Spots our books and breaks their glue,
Nips at any open rum,
And fiddles with our pendulum.

GAAP

Accountants guessed
That God drew west
When cost of brown
Was down,
And then drew east
When brown's increased
And green then cost
Him least.

Hell Is Ninety-Some Degrees

Hell is ninety-some degrees.
            It's cooler than we're told
                        From pulpits.

It's a roof and not a floor.
            Hell's higher than we're told
                        From pulpits.

Its demon's in the red mush. He's
            Hiding in some fold
                        Of pulp. It's,

It's--no, enough.  I'll say no more--
            I'll never be as bold
                        As pulpits.

Ticks

The ticks we'd keep
Clocked up still creep
All over us--
More ravenous
To wound the hand
That's wound them and
Won't let their pendulum sleep.

Slicing Logic

Logic's cut's surgery
For tumors of the mind,
But often simple butchery
In cuts of other kind.

Murdering Light

Although would seem required
To keep it pure and white,
Strike one band of rainbow
Instead you've murdered light.

Sewing Words

We sew a word Frankenstein
From new and shoveled parts
With no idea of the line
Of monsters that it starts . . . .

Light Frauds

I hear they've found some comets roaring by.
Forget the sun and moon!  Up in the sky
Some dust and ice put on a glitzy show
Portending and pretending proving why
Amazement is required.  From down below
I'd grab their sparkling tails and toss them back
Were tails not one of many things they lack.

Seurat’s Dots

How bad the distant rattlesnakes behave
Until you see them gobble down a rat
And prove that coils improve the habitat
And show they're better focused from afar
Like Seurat's dots--how sweet the roses are
Until you're close enough to see the worm
Some robin's left half-eaten there to squirm--
No--focus close and well--back off and find
Certainty and clarity's more blind.

Depression In The Grass

Depression's in the grass.
Depressions in the grass
Display some proof--
It preys aloof.
I've never seen it there.
It's blended well.  The hair
Is colored with the land
Like lions'. It can stand
As blades. Like deer I strain
But cannot see--Again
More evidence: a breath,
A filthy whiff of death,
Is carried on the air.
We wait. We know. It's there.

I Took A Walk Around My Brain

I took a walk around my brain,
            Looked in some open doors,
Yet passed on by the closed ones I
            Encountered on some floors.

To do it right, to be polite,
            A knock would be required
When doors are closed.  My hands opposed
            The tap.  They were too tired.

Difference

When we're alone he is the best of friends
But in a crowd he taunts me.  He depends.

In Ant

They built it well in Ant,
Their precious pyramid.
They ran the tunnels deep
Where royalty is hid--
Though nothing we should keep.
We stepped on what they did.

The Good Book's Dusty

A cobweb's claimed it.  One
Of such more modern thread
We can't see past what's spun.
The spiders speak instead.

Anselm’s First Draft

Imperfect Worlds imply imperfect parts.
Death's peace (like other pieces) is flawed, too,
And must have resurrection.  Faith is true.

Far Is Polaris

Though their best landmark is a star
            Some million years away
They’re confident.  They know they are
            On course and do not stray.
I’m shyer. I look down, not far,
            Before I walk the day.

Abnormal Morality

There cannot be a normal man
            Of character.  He would
Prefer the title rather than
            The risk of doing good.

2000 Line Dance

I stepped at once in different days,
            Months, years and centuries
To waltz between them as I made
            An hour’s dance.  For these
“Momentous times” occurred “just once”--
            As often as I’d please.

Haunted House

A cricket's ghost sits in the hall
            And watches without eyes.
A phantom web upon the wall
            Entangles airy flies

While extra footsteps in the house
            Are nothing other than
The patter of a former mouse
            Still running where it ran.

Peine forte et dure

Majority is weighty. Ribs
            Are cracking, they are pressed
Without Minority to roll
            The boulder off the chest.

Asylum

The sane must shutter up the mad,
     Must square the evidence
That two and two won't always add
     Up four--it's common sense.

Cuckoo Clocks

The endless circles of debate
            Where best to place a hand,
The constant swinging left and right
            Just follow the demand
Of Reason--anything that runs
            Of course can’t take a stand.

Puppy Love

The Moon must have a little crush.
            Those nights she walks with me
(Though I may tarry or may rush
Through open fields or densest brush)
            She follows doggedly.

Skull Hound

I raised that wolf within my head.
            How could it threaten me?
I had to kill it first instead
            Of letting it kill me.

I’ve done the murder--though it’s dead
            It still is stalking me.
I razed that wolf within my head.
            How could it threaten me?

When Melancholy Visits

When Melancholy visits me
            I haul that cripple round.
I show her hospitality.
I’m fearful of the penalty
            Those folks in Sodom found.

Who’s English?

Who’s English?  He’s the firstborn of mankind,
The sum of all the corners of the mind
That sail and wheel and bravery could find
Worth wedding in a common heir combined.

Will Time’s Teeth Fall Out, Too?

Will time mature one day?
Will its teeth fall out, too?
Will it no longer prey
Like Nosferatu?

Distressing Things

“I’ve messed it up.  My coffee cup
            Has left an awful ring.”
The present frets.  The future gets
            An improved antique thing.

Our Town

Why's every architecture book
            About our town abridged?
Should scholarship not have a look
            At all the building.  Did

Our robins have a Queen Anne, too?
            Did our wasps ever work
In marble?  Did our moles attempt
            Gothic above the ground?

How did our serpents first build? Where?
            And what about our bees?
Our rats?  Our beetles?  Shouldn't there
            Be plaques and notes for these?

Deus Ex Machina

A spider’s dropped--a fly cannot
            Unaided end a play.
A cricket scoffs, “It makes bad plot
            To intervene that way."

The Prick

Paul had a thorn stuck in his side
            He never named.  We see
The barb imbedded there no less,
            The razor bigotry

That sliced up Christians then the tongues
            Of women (silent you!)
And different men.  How could he be
            A Good Book star and do

Such things?  A bad example might
            Be good for us as well
When it identifies some snare
            Laid out for us by Hell.

Thus we’ve an argument the Book’s
            Good though a prick’s within
That dull or devious minds might use
            To validate the sin.

What’s The World Coming To?
 (Or A Puritan Judges The Buried Dead)

Those worthless legions grow and grow
            Of lazy bums who lie
In their own filth without a cent
            And never work.  Oh, my,

Why, even lawyer Rich who used
            To work the whole year round
One day turned lazy.  See!  He's joined
            Those deadbeats underground. 

Three Minute Egghead

It’s easy for the egghead--just
            Three minutes and he’s done
While my own time--to his disgust--
            Is not a constant one.

Family Tree

The Sabbath’s made for man. Why not
            Enjoy it by the birch?
And so they’ve fetched a frightened man
            For lynching after church.

They tie a Sunday tie for him.
            “Those look like Grandpa’s eyes
In that dark face,” one notes as they
            Then hoist him.  As he dies,

Some shriveled planter planted, lost,
            Stares upward in his tomb.
The empty sockets that once held
            Those same eyes (an heirloom

Now) watch a rusty lid and not
            Some little Sunday whim
As Klan drops clan, another line
            Of hushed descent from him.

Hitchhiking

To lord above the beasts man rides
            The coattails of a few
Exceptions to himself and proves
            A wonder--wonder do
The warthogs have a Washington,
            The crows a Callas, too?

An Average Maid

Time seems at best an average maid--
            Before we’re there real long,
She sweeps our dust beneath the rug
            And shuffles on along.
“Good help is rare.”  I think she does
            Not prove the maxim wrong.

 False Cognates

“Attend” means something else in French--
            How draw the line?  Maybe
These words are false cognates and this
            Is foreign poetry.

Metamorphoses

Man is Actaeon.  He believes
            He’s master of the beast
Till death transforms him and deceives
The servile worm that then perceives
            No master in the feast.

It’s Hard To Keep Me Straight

It’s hard to keep me straight with so
            Much multiplicity--
The squeezing into baby skin,
            The stretching out to three,

The schoolboy forms, the midlife looks,
            The dirty elderly
Wraps I now wear.  Why must there be
            Such varied dress for me?

If could I write me fewer garbs,
            If my own script could be
My draft instead I’d pen me clothes
            From thirty to maybe

Round thirty-five.  The quill’s not mine,
            Alas, and I’m not free
To dress myself.  I thus go out
Each day more shabbily.

Craving Suicide

The bigot craves his own demise--
            Without diversity
He’d melt himself into a blot
            Of seamless unity.

Poison Weed

Do swords still keep the Garden shut?
            I pray so!   Lord, I dread
That Tree Of Life (that poison weed,
            That even kills the dead)
Will manage to escape before
The days here can be fled.

Defining Contradiction

An independent universe
            Half wears clothes made for it--
A button pops off here and there,
            Some seams around it split

As fools lament it contradicts
            Itself where it won’t fit
(Though some like Zeno have their fun
            Instead.) The sharpest wit

Can’t find the end of pi or solve
            Two duties that are split
Or solve how God and man in Christ
            Are somehow interknit

Or ever tie me down. I’m not
            Consistent I admit.
For what is contradicting but
            refusing to submit?

Jack Being Stomped

House crickets chirp their fairy tale
            Of two-legged giants that
See jumping Jack leap from the veil
            Of dark and crush him flat.

There’s Fee, there’s Fie, there’s Fo, there’s Fum,
            And songs of Monsters who
Will stomp on any child as dumb
            As Jack in jumping, too.

Design

Just chasing tails?  Could be.  Could be
            We’re wheels instead and thus
Advance Higher Machinery
            When we’re circuitous
(Unless we’re running backwards!)  We
            Can’t know.  Our radius
Is too small for Theodicy
            To run outside of us.

(sōl īl)

Shipwrecked in me though when
Or how I don’t recall--
Long days (too long!), Soul Aisle,
I’ve walked You now.  Are You
Part of a chain, Soul Isle,
Sea links or simply sole?
I’ll never see by just
Sol--I’ll take poetry’s
Torch, too, along with me.

Angles*

All symbols, icons, indexes are bent.
  No reading lacks an angle which has meant
   Good language is as warping as bad--mind's
  Lacking a single point of view and finds
Each sign thus bends what it would represent.

*A poem using Peirce's three signs: symbols, icons & indexes
 
Rush Hour Funeral

He made good time until he hit
            A rush-hour funeral.
It snarled the intersections. It
            Confused the synchrony
Of stoplights.  Stalled, he grumbled as
            He watched a worm of cars
Inch slowly by him to a grave:
            “Why slink out at the worst
Of Times?! Death is eternal!  It
            Had all that time to crawl
Out more conveniently!”  He cursed
            The rudeness of it all.
 
Easter Fog

Behold the resurrection!  Now the rain
That fell on Friday climbs back out again
From underground.  Though it had slept there just
Part of three days, it's called back up and must
Abandon Earth.  It therefore stretches out
Faint spectral limbs in waking, moves about
The grass till Heaven opens, till it starts
Its slow ascension and at last departs.
 
Life Is A Journey

Proof's in the pudding.  "Journey" strums
            The ego.  Truth works so
Diapers to diapers, gums to gums,
            Life is a "journey" though
There's little difference how man comes
            And how he'll finally go.


JEDP

Were we formed first or last?  Words read
            Both ways--we're proud and need
To wonder if the millipede
            Is longer pedigreed.
 
Alzheimer's

Where am I now?  Have I some purpose here
That brought me now forgotten?  Lord, save me.
My mind is slipping way from me I fear.

I know things aren't always as they appear
And therefore still inquire, Lord, hopefully:
Where am I now?  Have I some purpose here?

Is there some conversation, Lord, that we're
Now having?  Lend a hand, Lord.  It could be
My mind is slipping way from me.  I fear

I don't recall the topics though I hear
Those last words trailing off.  Perplexity!
Where am I now?  Have I some purpose here?

What shall I say when nothing can cohere
Through time?  There is no truth?  Or must it be
My mind is slipping way from me?  I fear

Both answers are the same.  What were they?  Queer,
It seems I spoke though no one's here I see.
Where am I now?  Have I some purpose here?
My mind is slipping way from me I fear.

Wading At The Beach

I dip in my "Emotion," watery
"Irrational" and "Womb."  Might I begin
Again?  Warm waves of "Possibility"
Entice.  Archetypes, warm Sirens lure me in.

I'll take the bait yet keep "Reality"
Intact--until that dread epiphany
That freezes to the bone comes.  Any sea
I see by definition is in me.
 
The Viewing

I came upon some shriveled skin
            A colleague left behind
And wondered where the being went.
            Of course it crossed my mind
I’d done the same last week when I'd
            Passed snake hose left behind
And hadn't doubted some beast still
            Lived.  I was not inclined
To think less of a man despite
            The fact no soul's reclined
Beside its corpse and touchable.
            I had a moral kind
Of sense I could no less ignore
            Than the cadaver. Mind
Would not mix types of proof and faith
            Would be the blessed kind
That comes when no proof's laid before
            The eye.  I thus opined
With Christ until I felt a nudge
            And saw more mourners lined
In back.  Polite, I moved along,
            Made room for those behind.


Some Tracks Of Me

I've left some tracks of me in time
            Though no one knows me now--
Perhaps my little prints in rhyme
            Will prove me anyhow.


Part III An Anthology Of Moons And Other Nouns


Invitation

They tell us, children, truth is found
            In an objective way.

So let us all now gather round
            And hear what others say.

On The Moon

An Artist:

I watch imagination’s face
            And wonder how she can
Have all the vigorous thoughts that race
            In her yet limp in man.

A Musician:

There’s Rhythm’s mother overhead.
            She’s teased her silver hair
Up in a ball tonight instead
            Of other coifs they wear.

A Madman:

That awful eye looks down at me!
            That eye without a face!
O cruel Irrationality,
            Go prowl another place!

A Clam:

The night's inside an oyster. That's
            The only way that I
Can give an explanation of
            A pearl up in the sky.

A Crab:

I see some shell has got away.
            It rode some albatross
Up to the sky.  As good crabs do
            It walks sideways across.

A Lawyer:

The dark is prudent.  Learn from it.
            It burns a little light
So if some person trips and falls
            It’s not its oversight.

A Pharmacist:

There is some kind of tablet in
            The stomach of the night.
It’s taken every thirty days
            If I am counting right.

A Mistress:

The night’s paid monthly with a coin--
            No need of hoarding.  It
Is shopping time at dusk and she
            Will spend a little bit.

A Crow:

I see the block of whiteface that
            The hypocrites apply
To cover up their blackness. When
            So many would deny
Just who they are there’s never more
            Than just a month’s supply.

A Businessman:

What is that extra vein of rock
            Belonging to the Earth?
It’s essence is no more or less
            Than so much gravel’s worth.

An Old Man:

The Face Of Time is mocking me.
            It shrivels then it brings
Its youth straight back to underscore
            Old men can't do such things.

A Physician:

There is a boil upon the night
            That never fully clears--
It’s hardly shrunk away until
            Infection reappears.

A Geometrician:

That “Orb” is a miscarriage.  It
            Would be a circle.  Yet
It never has true shape.  It is
            An error, I regret.

A Cyclops:

The single lens is looking down
            On me with cousin’s pride
Until it shuts its lid--it hates
            To see the double eyed.

An Entomologist:

They glow in the cocoon as they
            Grow.  Stars hatch in the sack.
They soon will molt and spread their wings
            And fly off in the black.

A  Shepherd:

I see the Silver Face and know
            The Dog’s at work tonight--
It herds the tides and oceans with
            A constant tug and bite.

A Child:

If I had such a pretty ball
            As stars play with above
I’d keep it better--full of air--
            And shower it with love.

A Believer:

God shares His monthly watch with us
            Not only for the hour—
A cosmic mechanism proves
            A Cosmic Maker.  Our
Reason tells us Chance and men
            And beasts all lack such power.

An Atheist:

This pitted, ever changing blot
            Is Chance’s signature
Upon its fluky canvass.  God’s
            Hand can’t be so impure.    

           
On The Sun

A Firefly:

When mother's finished with her walk
            And tucked herself in bed
We children will slip softly out
            And wing round overhead.

An Old Soldier:

The day's confused.  It can't decide
            Which side of it is best
To wear its golden metal on--
            The East side or the West
Or somewhere in between.  It tries
            The options on its chest.

A Percussionist:

The other cymbal's gone.  Alas,
            It's incomplete now and
Can make no clamor greater than
            A single clapping hand.

A Botanist:

I've found a hardy citrus that
            Can grow in any clime.
At every place on land and sea
            It has a growing time.
I'm working on a name for it.
            Of current options I'm
Inclined to name it after me
            In Latin.  How sublime!

A Robin:

The day is such a massive egg!
            I wonder what could squat
Upon the shell and keep the yolk
            Above me there so hot.

A Tailor:

The day's sewn a big button on.
            I wish I had some thread
From that same spool.  It must be strong.
            I'd sew with it instead.

An Opera Singer:

The fiery prima donna hogs
            The stage alone all day--
Her hothead and her treachery
            Keep all the rest away.

A Fish:

Some busy-body's fumbled with
            The yellow plug of day
And now the stopper's popped and all
            The blue's draining away.

On The Stars

A Farmer:

The sun-pod's burst.  The seeds are spread
            About.  I pray that one
Will take good root tonight and grow
            Into another sun.

A Chimney Sweep:

The day's long banked out in the West.
            The grate's extinguished though
There are still cinders spread about
            That have some little glow.

A Camper:

The day's in its old sleeping bag
            And resting for the night.
The fraying portions of the cloth
            Expose some bits of light.

A Captain:

I wonder where so many ships
            Would sail so late at night.
It must be far away for I
            Can barely track their light.

An Anteater:

I wish my tongue were long enough
            To lap those flashy ants
From off the sky.  Alas, it is
            Too short for the expanse.

A Child:

Look at the crumbs left over from
            The cookie moon that took
A month to eat!  It’s time to sneak
            Another from the cook!


On Mountains

A Wet Nurse:

If I had nipples like the Earth
            On every side of me
I can’t imagine what my worth
            Would calculate to be.

A Coveter:

Who took the dirt that was around
            The piles he left behind?
What thief came first and dug the ground
            So this is all I find?

A Nobleman:

Come see there’s even rank within
            The dirt itself.  Come see
The heights that valleys underpin.
            Come see the hierarchy.

A Believer:

There’s comfort in a holy seat
            So visible to us
That proves the Owner more Concrete
            And less Mysterious.

An Ant:

Who needs a hill as big as that?
            We’re not impressed.  No.  We
Have stumbled on, are looking at
            Some insecurity.

A Puritan:

Those filthy heaps where witches lurk
            When night’s polluted day!
I won’t look at the Devil’s work!
            I’ll turn my eyes away!

A Sceptic:

Behold that monument to doubt,
            That flaunter of the way
Perspective shoves the constant out
            Of anything we’d say.

What is Poetry?

A poem is a change of eyes,
A verbal surgery
That lets the patient see
The old balls rolling in the drawer
Through new--if one asks me.

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