Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Few Short Verses from An Earlier Life


          An Introductory Note

If my syntax seems immoderately forced,
it is to somewhat hide my sense from
ears that want perception.
The times, devoid of honor,
require mild deceptions.
If my approach appears oblique,
truth is I speak straight-on,
though sideways, tongue-in-cheek.
No great offense
when Great Ones cooing frontal
lies affront the plainest sense.
A brittle spirit needs its small defense:
all bones break.
(To which I might append
that in the present instance
most bones seem to mend.)

                        Conjugal Pair

They wrestled bound in violent lovelock,
broiled and tumbled through the fury fire in
holocaust and hymn and bent the back of dark
with incantations shining in their limbs:

Rolling, turning, rising, falling,
sweat burnished white and mirror silver
white their faces white their flesh
white the flame that joined their single spine.

...and rainbow arched taut bow drawn
they flung their ancient torch to arc the dawn
and made their covenant with life.


She stood to the world with
undefended ardor only.
Naked as light she came,
as susceptible as hope.

So shy a creature
(too wholly heartcomposed
and cursed with giving)
she froze to death in the icy
emptiness of Real Time
leaving, like her footprints
in the melting snow, the skeleton
and the laugh, nothing more
(a lovewhite hanger for
outmoded flesh and the shadow of her
oncewere eyes).

                  Language Lesson

My son greets me cribside in the morning
in the sunrise tongue he fashions from the
pleasures of his waking.
Foolishly I answer, taking care with
phrasing in his baby grammar, while
he politely shows his four new teeth,
smiling at my errors.

A song outside his window...
I'm sure he wonders how the birds
(who are so small) can answer readily
his language which I (who seem so large)
seem quite unable to recall.

Prenatal Poem
(Against all science, I am certain that I remember)

Adumbration of a future vow,
the dream uneasy draws the dreamer
nearer to the narrow gate,
elicits images in the nightly watch
where figures formed of sea foam
forge the secrets of my natal state
and voices disincarnate whisper
in an unknown tongue.

At last the vigil has begun
that yields in time to waking
in the frightful light...
but first the water rite.

Before the passage comes the dream,
the solitary drama in
the purifying night,
the inquisition by the ghostly shapes,
the trial by combat in the shadow play...

Then at waterbreak I tumble into day.

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