“If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive
do you think
ghosts will do it after?”
Gentle river, gentle river
Swift as glides thy stream along,
Many a bold Canadian voyageur,
Bravely swelled the gay chanson
Thus of old our valiant fathers,
Many a lagging year agone
Gliding oer the rippling waters,
Taught to banish care in song.
Now the sun’s behind the willows,
Now he gleams along the lake,
Hark across the bounding billows
Liquid songs the echoes wake.
Rise Apollo up before us,
E’ne the lark’s begun her lay
Let us all in deafning chorus
Praise the glorious king of day.
Thus we lead a life of pleasure,
Thus we while the hours away,
Thus we revel beyond measure,
Gaily live we while we may.
– Henry David Thoreau
A rock moves not when great winds blow,
Nor does it burn when near a flame.
It may grow hot or may grow cold,
Yet the rock will remain the same.
But constant stream of gentle water
Can wear it down to smallest stone,
And what was once hard and strong
Those things it no longer owns.
Now the passage of water and of time
Can make dust of immobile boulder.
Yet still it lives, though changed forever,
And us, a little bit older.
Fear not these passings, time flowing by,
When age comes to us all.
But hold them close, those that you can,
When death has come to call.
Welcome Christmas, come this way…
Christmas, oh Christmas.
A cold and desolate season welcomes you
to bring light, cheer, warmth and hope.
The Christmas-season is a belief,
more than it is a holiday.
More than the celebration of the messiah,
or the de facto creation of a religion.
Christmas is the embodiment of all love,
and charity becoming manifest.
That the most can provide for the least
to express nothing more than care.
There can be giving without gain,
Hope without loss,
Peace without harm,
And love without the expectation of reward.
When the Christians appropriated the
customs around the Winter Solstice,
they honored the themes of light;
of fire, charity and feasting.
Bringing about the new days,
each with longer hours of sun.
“The old has passed away.
Behold, the new has come!”
So Christmas, today and all days,
Fill us with the passion to remember love.
To remember charity,
and to provide for those less fortunate.
It isn’t in celebrating a day,
the 25th of December,
but celebrating the season
throughout the whole year that is Christmas.
A freckled face was her distress,
You’d think her own, but you’d be wrong.
She’d swear up and down she’d ate enough,
That all was well, but don’t they all?
Beneath the surface she hides the truth
Of years of pain and loss.
She wore her smile like a shield,
A shield that shine in the sun’s warmth.
Then, alone, the smile would fade.
Sometimes tears, and other times,
Years had passed, and still
Time did little to ease her suffering.
A hidden hurt that no one could know.
The mirror was her enemy then,
Unable to look at the her looking back.
But from that, those knowing eyes
Piercing inward, her stomach could not take it.
She swore she ate enough.
And looking up, she’d wash her face.
Her freckles would spark those moments.
Alone, she smiles. A sad smile.
It doesn’t take long for it to fade.
Tears. Or silence.
She hates the silence.
And she misses that face.
The energy of the Universe,
The speed of particles hurling through space –
Through our planet, our trees, our bodies:
Fire within and without.
One spark ignites, blazing hot,
Turning all form to ash.
That which fire does not burn:
time tends to that destruction.
If fire is the giver and taker of life,
Time is the doler of justice,
for time of life or fire.
And what is left cannot burn.
Heat is the awaiting combustion,
A creative and elemental force,
Unbridled in its curiosity and fervor –
Ever wandering in and among our spirit.
We feel the temperature of the sun;
the burns of flame and fire.
We know the warmth of summer’s day
and the safe enclosures in winter’s heart.
But so few have accessed the heat of creation,
The first flames licking life into mud and stone.
Those with such knowledge are genius,
or madmen, for it is blessing or curse.
Many more seek it, not knowing.
Asking question after question,
Hoping to receive an answer.
Not knowing they ask the question to the answer.
Seek, and ye shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened.
Who knows the way to Cold Mountain?
What do you carry with you, other than yourself?
Heat burns – can give or take.
But it is only the essence.
It is only everything, as it is nothing.
Those who speak know not; who know, speak not.
I just finished writing about a life post-poetry, and was in Target browsing the meager book section. A book section with some shelf space devoted to books of poetry. Poetry! (Also, the Spanish language Cat in the Hat, which I very nearly purchased because… why not?)
Given my meager Spanish, I doubt I could even understand it…
So, poetry. At Target. And thus I’m reminded of the growing poetry sections at Barnes & Noble. That poetry is still relevant has never been in question. But that poetry is seeing new consumption, that is the wonderful element to the story.
Have we moved past the age of poetry?
The verse that speaks most to us
is from an age gone by,
and as our language escapes us,
it seems less likely for us
to make use of the words
in the ways that the poets had.
We speak now in limited vocabularies,
forever adding words
To our dictionaries
but removing so many others
from our usage.
We stagger through life hindered
By our shrinking lexicons,
so suddenly incapable of
conveyance and appreciation
That it would be Gutenberg’s folly
To propel us in the ages of technology
While the actual inventions of his genius
Wither and rot to our consciousness.
Books no longer bound by conventions,
Electronic, delivered to illumined screens
Words, too, sit unused, unheard,
Save for ramblings of intellectuals and
Essays, long-formed and mostly unread.
Where do unspoken words go?
What graves guard the deceased syllables
of prose and poetry?
When the world reduces its collective rhetoric
to mere utterances, what remains?
How do we say, oh crazy ones,
That the world is not ready?
Your time has either passed,
Or has yet to come.
You burn with unquenchable fire,
A flame none of us can comprehend.
Then we witness your struggle
To control your madness, your blaze.
The dying embers leave us empty,
An unsettling quiet in the pit of our soul.
You brought brilliance with you,
Gave us light from your very core.
I watched them die down,
Oh crazy ones. You fire starters.
Each great and mad all at once.
Better than most, yet misunderstood.
For how could we understand you,
We without the fire of madness?
A silent hearth, unsure of itself,
Whimpering in our complacency, waiting.
In some simple presence
Was enough to ignite passion,
Buried deep, long held silent
And at bay. The rules
No longer applied, for you,
The crazy ones, We who,
Like you and so many others
Before, after, and all time
In between: You called out to us;
Not knowing you were doing it,
Giving us the strength of your fire,
A spark that by itself could
Ignite the world.
Mere contagion will have to suffice,
As I and those like me bare the truth –
Since you are gone, Oh you,
Who were one of the crazy ones.
You have given us laughter, fear,
Compassion, understanding, fire… Hope.
We hope that we brandish your fire well.
Without fear, or hesitation. The way you did.
Cuckolded and cropped,
A shadow with no self.
Beaten, bruised, broken, bloody,
Footsteps falter beneath me.
Capped at this height,
When once the sky.
Cleaved from the aether,
Dirt I reside.
In dirt I live.
In dirt I hide.
It is in the dirt
That I will die.
Countless words drawn from my lips
as looking above, I lie.
Bitter feeling enfolds my breast
Remembering the sky.