Archive for December, 2004

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Eye of the Paradox

December 30, 2004

2/3/1983


The eye of the paradox –
The heart of the fire.
The lull of the ocean waves –
The strum of the lyre.


The evanescence of the candle flame –
The warmth of the sun.
The earth is an oriflamme –
A symbol undone.


And we are a paradox –
We love yet we kill.
Our passion, our power –
They lead us to ill.


The eye of the hurricane –
The heat of the fire.
The crash of the ocean waves –
The scream of the lyre.




One of my earliest poems, and also one that, at the time, seemed particularly focused on one issue — that of the potential for nuclear holocaust.  Reading it now, though, it seems to have many more applications.  By the way, oriflamme means “An inspiring standard or symbol” and evanescence is “To dissipate or disappear like vapor”.  Guess I was showing off my SAT prep vocabulary at the time (I was 13).


I like the repeated montage in the opening and closing stanzas but I don’t know about the middle two stanzas.  Do they work for you?  Is this all too pretentious?

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Across the Sea

December 29, 2004

2/3/1983


It’s not how many are killed –
In the wars across the sea.
Or the way that they are killed –
In pure rage or jealousy.


For we care not how they kill –
In the wars across the sea.
But we care ‘bout who they kill –
Whether you or whether me.


For when they kill a man –
In the wars across the sea.
They also kill his friends –
Left instead a memory ––


Of the time when he was with us –
‘Fore the wars across the sea.
Of the time when life was clean –
In the shades of memory.


But now our lives are tainted –
From the blood across the sea.
And we long for new beginnings –
In the wars across the sea.




The devastation across the sea is truly unimaginable to those of us who live in our safe protected little worlds.  When I think of 75,000 dead, I cannot even begin to understand it.  Please, please, please do what you can to help others recover from this horrible tragedy.  Amazon.com has set up a way you can give to the Red Cross directly to help the survivors in Southeast Asia. Click here to do your part.

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A Celestial Ode

December 29, 2004

5/9/1986


By the blue-green pools of liquid
(Such a blue you’ll never see),
By the aging, dying cedar,
(Dare you call this husk a tree?)
Underneath the moonlit shadow
Hidden now with childlike glee
There I surely will be standing
In the Wood Infinity


On the shores of Endless Ocean
Where the bravest fear to stray,
Lies a capsule without motion,
Victim of the endless fray.
Under it, within the sand-pile,
Lies a creature scared of day,
And his silent scream is mine too:
“Here I am and here I’ll stay.”


On the highest of the highest,
Deep within the Purple Chain,
Where the air is somewhat weakened
(Only crystal falls as rain),
Where the view is ever onward
(You can see to here again)
On the ridge of Highest Peak is
Where I sing of love and pain.


You and I, we are a consort,
Like two ships, we share a road,
I am Love and you are Laughter,
Like Atlas’ back – I love the load.
I am daylight, you – my evening,
To my Luna is this ode,
I, Apollo, to you kneeling,
Crave your darkness for my abode.




A highly gothic love poem.  Written to my imaginary Luna, I was imagining a love writ by the Gods.  How would you describe that?  Not sure if it works — to my adult eyes it needs some work.  Your thoughts?  Feedback?

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Doggerel

December 28, 2004

I cannot tell which one is worse
(My head is filled with so much verse)
A Dickinson who cannot spell
Or Cummings’ commas gone to hell.


But still I know this much is true
My feet prove I’m a poet too.


(yep, you guessed it, they’re long fellows).




At the library tonight on the way home I picked up a copy of W.H. Auden’s light verse.  As I was heading back to the car, this just kind of popped into my head.  I’ve been reading an awful lot of poetry lately, so this fit.

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In the Shifting Glimmer

December 28, 2004

1/5/2002


In the shifting glimmer of the morning light
He awakes in terror at the lurid sight.
And his mind recoils from the pain of truth
That the white enamel was a human tooth.


Now his soul relaxes as the dream falls past
And he wonders once again how long he’ll last…
Will the Jews discover what he tried to hide?
Will the nightmares cease?  Will he survive their ride?


Now his mind returns to what he’d rather not,
Like the faceless faces he hoped time forgot
And the bounds are broken from the world of dreams
From beneath his pillow he can hear the screams…


For the pain inflicted sixty years ago
For the names of hurt, the things he should not know,
For the blind indifference that he turned their way
He is doomed to live for yet another day.


Now his door bursts open, he is in the street
And the passers-by don’t hear his pounding feet
For it does not matter where he tries to run
Since behind him sounds the call of Hell’s own drum…


In the fading glimmer of the evening’s light
As he settles down for yet another night
Now his mind returns to what it knows is truth:
He’ll forever pay for crimes of errant youth.




Some poems begin as ideas or images or snatches of verse.  This one began as a beat.  I heard the meter in my head first, the da-da-DUM-da-DUM-da-da-da-DUM-da-DUM, and knew I had to find a story or idea to fit it.  While the meter may reflect some kind of a waltz, I heard it as more of a haunting, increasing, and threatening drumbeat.  I imagined it accelerating kind of like a train starting up and growing faster and faster.  So with that sound, I needed an image — someone trying to outrun and escape the terrible force chasing them.  The idea of this poem was born.

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Unfinished business…

December 27, 2004

I am trying something different with today’s post.  Here are the opening two stanzas to a poem I began working on today.  My problem is I don’t know where to go with it and I am looking for some suggestions.  Who is the I in this poem?  Who are the two figures?  Are they both reflections of the same person?


I like the meter and rhyme scheme.  Do you?  Should there be a change in the next stanza?


Leave your feedback and I will work on the piece and post it when I am finished.




Looking elsewhere I can see
A person who inspires me
With all his generosity
And genuine concern.


Looking inward though I fear
Shows a very different sphere
I see self-concern held dear
From what I can discern.

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southern Snow

December 27, 2004

1/27/1986


it was a cold, green paradise
when Winter’s Wonder, cased in Ice
touched this land, and touched it twice
and covered it with Snow.


a single Flake came falling down,
then, all at once, from corners ’round
there came a single, hurried Sound
the Sound i heard was Snow.


and then More came and joined the Rest
as Snowflakes fell to Certain Death
until, when It in White was Dressed,
the Land let go


and now around Its frosty bed
are pillows fluffed for weary heads,
my soul to the outdoors was led,
to freely know…


but i, i sit and stare outside.
the Snowflakes seem to soar and glide
and still i stay Here, locked Inside
and watch the wondrous Snow




This was written during my high school years when I was living in Charleston, SC.  In the south, any amount of snow (even if it doesn’t actually stick) causes the world to stop.  This was the first snow storm I had ever seen (I was born in the Panama Canal Zone) so it was an occasion to remember.  I particularly remember the moment when the snow in the air finally began to stick to the not-so-frozen ground, and being awed at the process of winter’s arrival.