Thursday, June 9, 2016

Snow In August (A Book of Original Verse)


       Snow In August

She had enjoyed sweet certain knowledge that,
however hot the summer, August brought

its welcome snows upon a boundary fence
that she had kept to please her neighbors, too.

Although she had not sown its vines, she had
allowed that fence its luscious covers, had

declined to prune the annual tendrils so
that years could boost the bounties of the white

and snowy blossoms butterflies and bees,
too, found refreshing in the August heat
till such snows stopped, till angry neighbors spoke
at last about the inconsiderate weeds.

Embarrassed she had thought the worthless good,
she used her swing blade as a neighbor should.

     Erasing Rosa Parks

I’m glad that God did not share power
            To travel round in time
For then no matter what we choose
            Our choice would be a crime--
How could we undo villainies
            Yet not do offspring crime?

We’d have to send all slave boats back
            Yet keep them, too.  It would
Be wrong erasing innocents
            Born either way.  It would
Be wrong erasing Rosa Parks
            By doing as we should.

     Roman Pragmatism

Don’t simply dig a well.
An aqueduct as well

Draws drinks as well--as well

As looks.  What draws more well
Is better than a well.

    How They Would Be Done

What’s gold about the Golden Rule?
            Same gilded flashiness
That in a crown or scepter says
            “Think as the holder says”?

Although it lacks such flashiness,
            There’s better mettle.  One
Is sounder asking neighbors how
            They would prefer things done.

If asked to name that sounder rule
            A careful namer should
Use something modest that comports--
             Tin, zinc, or even wood.

    What’s In A Name

I pluck away some place within the weeds
To nest and sing and there avoid awhile
The wild’s unceasing appetite for all.
Composing such a nest, of course I shall

Weave in materials that comfort me
Yet do not harm the fabric (such as bands
Of rosaries for fingering a bit
And strings of Bach and Schubert.) Given that

“Placebos” placate, prime construction should
Avow them to avoid a vapid and
Thus subprime craft. Allowed my ornament,

I modify my piece of things themselves.
Long as they hold, I scoff at any claim
A lyre’s a liar by that or any name.

       Freer Buddhas*

I saw two little buddhas.  Very pleased
At their low price, I plucked them quick.  The clerk
Jumped just as eager selling them.  "Poor work
At pricing” was my thought.   I seized

The brownish bag in which she quickly squeezed
The little figures.  Fine, ornate artwork,
The low-priced little pair would plainly perk
Up spare spots on my parlor mantle.  Pleased

By such good fortune, I then thought no more
About the bargain buddhas till upon
Returning home I found the figures gone.

I blamed the clerk of course.  She’d known they were
On verge of their nirvanas and therefore
Had priced the pair to pare their loss to her.

* Two sale buddhas bought from the Freer in D.C. in July 2009 did go strangely missing.

      Antique Family Clocks

Their faces fading, moon dials out of phase,
I rarely rewind antique family clocks.
Beyond the tunes they play, they’ve little point--
Old rusting hands do nothing more than point

In predetermined circles that can’t sign
Which night in night is dark or demarcate
Our noons in night.  Nor can they tethered mark
Our noons in day or when our days are dark.

Wound round, hour categories twist upon
Themselves.  Our categories must instead
Discard such clocks and calendars’ fixed years
Or run us fast or run us in arrears.

We are our metronomes--to hell with clocks,
To hourglasses, gnomons, dials, or cocks.


Despite their different raising, most weekdays
A tramp and lawyer crossed each other’s ways.

The razored lawyer tied his neckties tight
To keep both foul airs out and feelings mum--
Until the counselor’s car at rush hour stalled

Beneath the heavy, humid summer rays

In plain sight of the site the parasite
Had daily fouled.  Mid horns, that bearded bum
Came to assist.  As long acquaintance called,

He pushed.  The lawyer steered ashamed and dazed
How razed was raised, how raised was never razed.

      Ergo Egoism

A monk unphased by Anselm’s cleverness,
Retorted with some witty wordplay, too:

“I shall concede for sake of argument
 That I am quite subordinate to you.
To understand you, I must understand
The way you think of me and what I do
Which means I’m still the center whether I
Should focus on myself or merely you.”

       Cur Deus Homo

A moral quandary comes before the world
Is balled and tethered round its single star.

The one who lacks a mother and a name,
Starts perfect in itself as one complete--

Though imperfection thinks of self alone
Which turns the perfect to imperfect, turns

It to a jumble both in self and deed--
Unselfishness needs others off its leash

And thereby frees up error and thus wrong.
Omnipotence is tied into a knot

It cannot solve and yet so-powered must.
It takes its skin and takes its punishment

Upon a cross, racks further avatars
As Krishna’s demonstrate with countless scars.

     No Alchemy of Me
                        (An Acrostic)

All cunning alchemies purporting to
Make happiness from others’ essence must
Of course deceive no less than those that claim
Rocks make rare metals.  Any good must be

Found in the thing.  If not, it counterfeits
A good it lacks.   Thus, souls are sole fits for
Themselves.  Uncovering each sole essence will
In turn prove measure of itself and joy.

    The Three Wise Men

Three men debated revelation.  Wilde
Would wrap it up into a single book
Where all of revelation is compiled
For easy reference should one need to look.
Gus thought it strange that all God had to say
Could squeeze into a single sack tied taut.
If true, he still could not discern the way
To find the sack.  All Nature, thus, he thought
Was  revelation.  Chas would not confuse
What authors thought with their own creatures’ views--
Did Shakespeare’s fools mean Shakespeare would be dumb?
Through Nature, ink or other medium
If God expressed himself, how prove he meant
More than mere fictions for his merriment?

    Winter Clocks

Most textbooks say the cold shrinks pendulums
Which makes some clocks run too fast winter months.
And yet one wonders if such clocks combine

More accuracy with pragmatism, too:

The winter days run faster being short
While speed perhaps keeps frostbite from bare hands
That bear cold circles without any gloves.

    Rev. Daniel On Dreams

I blame our nightmares on King Nimrod who
Built Babel.  Till it fell, all dreamers knew
The meaning of their dreams quite clearly—just
One lexicon implied no less.  Now one
Can only understand a dream if one
By chance dreams in one’s native lexicon
Instead of countless others coursing through
The night.  And yet,  I  somehow managed to
Catch all the words at Babel and can do
Translations for a modest fee for you.

     Tempus Fugit

I’ve lost the arrogance of keeping time,
     Of even thinking I had means to lime
         Or cage a thing that just as freely might
            Climb inside or climb out or take to flight
              At random defecating as it flaps.

               I’ve learned there is no meaning when it craps
           On heads below.  Despite what preachers say,
        Time’s dung, its chirps, its cackles don’t convey
     Blame, praise or mockery.  Time flies indeed--
Although the point of that is not its speed.


The “natural” opposes nature.  It
Would change the thing itself, tame the untame
And hitch some substitute up to a name.
Ineffable, things in themselves won’t fit
With any words though “natural” would try.

Where Arden keeps her sanctuary, I
Withdraw with Dukes and Rosalinds, with Jaques,
And Ennises, beyond false prophets, hacks,
Prudes, bigots and all other perverts who
Use “natural” to “measure” what they do.


Both God and I make kites to fly.
            We have our little fun.
I keep mine on a string and tie
            On tails not talons.  None

Are preyed upon by mine, none die—
            I pray that every one
Is kept in tow while in the sky
            And reeled down safe when done.

    Judgment Proof I

My only measure is myself.  Therefore,
I’m judgment proof since none may judge me and
Due process will not let me judge myself.

     Judgment Proof II

I never find myself unfit or base--
I cannot be a judge in my own case.
Nor can another make such findings--I’m
My only measure, only paradigm.

      Egyptian Nights

A thief of ninety years broke in a tomb
And “stole” a mummy’s heart--his youthful bloom
Of only ninety years plus life’s perfume
Made sweet the wrinkles, rotten teeth and rheum.

      Righteous Indignation

Some fifty miles away he’d found a room
He could afford and had just settled in--
He’d had enough of his foul wife and child
And hadn’t come back home from “fetching milk.”

He’d opened up a dirty closet to
Unpack those few possessions he had stashed
In flight and found himself unnerved to find
A ragged box upon the closet floor.

He warily removed the top and saw
Two mice that bared small teeth in firm defense
Of their small, screaming litter in the box.

With a curtain rod he killed the father first,
Then bludgeoned next the mother and her brood
In self-defense as any “real man” should.


Today I did not crawl back in the box
Which day each day seductively unlocks.

I did not lie and nap in numbing stress,
Did not retire in work but from it. Less
Fearful of the light and what it may
Show, I’d not euthanize another day.

At last, I ceased toil’s daily suicide--
To day I said, “I shall no longer hide.”

     Miscellaneous Epigrams And Riddles

            What’s Live Is Quick

What's “live” is “quick” the linguists say--
The nonce is born to leap away.

                Palladas 9-6

I was a wild pear tree until your graft
            Gave fragrance.  I reward you for your deed.

             From Palladas 10-60
One may trade time for wealth but not for more of life.

            From Palladas 10-75
As Nothing, we eat vanity and graze
            On breaths of wind in pastures of the air.

           From Palladas 10-82

Do we imagine dreams are life?  Or are
            We living although life itself is dead?

            A Riddle

To be or not to be?   Is anyone
Beyond poor Hamlet’s question? 

                                                     (Yes, a  nun.
A nun in being is a nun.  A nun
Not being, on the other hand, is none.
It therefore matters not should any nun
Select to be or choose oblivion.)

     A Possible Self-Epitaph

With this last terza, Harold Lloyd withdraws
Behind time’s curtain.  Past jeers, past applause,
He rests in verse and rests from reading laws.

     April 2, 2010

Let trumpets blow as well for her some day--
It’s both Good Friday and that second day
Of April when Saint Abby went away.

            Town and Country

Sequestered, each appears a bitter place.
Contrasted, each appears a better place.

                 Ethel Waters

She couldn’t read a note--a trivial thing.
She had no need of music.  She could sing.

                 Philaenis’s Dress

She isn’t color blind.   She matches hues
Of clothes by smells of dyes her tailors use.

                 Daphne’s Redress

Reject Apollo?  Is that daft?  Need one
Be switched with limbs and sticks like Daphne grew?

        A Modern Cannibal At Table

Since mind’s now brain (or in it), ignorance gains
Perspective eating missionary brains.

        Kant Acrostic

Copernicus, how can
A mind be central when
No mind exists without
The concept of a mind?

      Five O’Clock Upon the Sun

We shall not ask as others* may have done:
“When is it five o’clock upon the sun?”

*Wittgentein mocked this.

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