Category: POETRY

Again, look up “poem” in the dictionary if you don’t recognize the word. Or, better yet, just have a look at what’s here and form your own impressions.

 

Florida Haiku

04 Nov 1974:

 

Leaves of palmetto:

maze’s roof waved by hot winds —

horizon of fronds.

 

06 Nov 1974: 

 

Soft chink of seashells

shifting with a gentle wave

merge with smooth-churned grains.

16 Sep 1974

Fearsome winds rattle

twigs against bare windowpane;

your quiet whisper.

14 Aug 1974

Intimate birches

rubbed by the storm together

speak with creaking bark.

16 July 1974

I have completed

the long journey of my life

to its beginning.

End of Exponential

Race among the garbage odors:

fly-gyres in summer air,

cyclone clouds of silent wings,

fly circles centered on my stare.

 

What is not today decaying?

Groceries turn into waste,

poems go to tattered pages;

tongues dry out and lose their taste.

 

Why do I continue watching,

figuring trajectories?

Somewhere maggot eggs are waiting,

forming new simplicities.

 

Is there any end to spending

everything we own or steal?

Can we carry on forever

trading money for a meal?

 

Termite generations cycle,

chewing cellulose to dust —

more discarded cells consuming.

Somehow, calculate I must:

 

How much longer can we make it?

How much further can we go?

How much more can we discover?

How much less can we still know?

 

 

(10 July 1974)

Hope

I can feel the stupid phoenix rising

out of the ashes of despair, dumb bird

aren’t you ashamed to be so

gullible?

Cynicism

False Reason leaps at Beauty’s throat.

The grinning beast you thought was your only hope

lives only to kill.

What wisdom leads only to death?

 

Death is unwise.

You wring yourself dry

while growing grass

splits mountains.

 

If truth is despair,

what is truth?

Elsewhere.

Consider: an open eye

looks up as well as down.

What is closed in us?

Justice

The fool said justice would be done.

The coward said it couldn’t.

The saint was just with everyone

although he knew they wouldn’t.

Edge of the Axe

(a postponed revision of “The Carpenter” from 1966)

 

I grew in the roots all winter,

wine waiting to rise;

I mellowed in wood till you made me see

the luxury of chair and table

set in a frozen skeleton of maple.

So seeing, I cut and killed the tree.

You made what you wanted

and we moved on.

 

I swam in a rolling tide of pine.

All the coniferous, brittle

turpentine trees

breathed into me

spirits of ordinary needles.

Then you began to see

how broad pine beams

build structure into dreams.

Again I saw timbers

toppled and trimmed,

treated for use.

 

Then I spoke in the oak’s rough tones,

grumbling green solidity.

I grew tough,

drew up gnarled and huge.

But soon enough

hard floors and solid stairs

called for the oak, broken and cut.

You cancelled the monument,

moving on.

 

Kneeling about the base

of a towering cypress temple

tended by storks and egret priests,

I needed to grow to know the grace,

the grand patience of that place.

I rose to an insular spike of pride,

mystical spire spun with thin green,

when again at the edge of understanding

you stepped away and wanted

weatherproof wood

so your structures would stand

when you moved on.

 

Save me the still willows,

silent, to wait on.

Stay, let me sit a while,

shifting and watching,

sifting my will

slowly away.

 

 

(22 July 1975 — a good example of ruining a poem by revision?)

The Carpenter

Cherry blossoms charged pink,

blinked of rich red future rush

of fine new fruit,

falling

freshly to me;

only too soon did I see,

reposing in now-familiar limbs,

that smooth red wood would so well suit

for carving fine rich furniture;

cutting and milling it

I moved on.

 

Ranging

in wide rolling tides of pine,

forests of firs, all the coniferous brittle

turpentine trees

breathed on me

a fresh crisp needle-fragrance;

I grew as wild and wide as that common tree.

But then I began to see

how broad pine beams

build structure into dreams —

and again I saw

timbers toppled and trimmed,

treated for use.

I moved on.

 

Along a lonely road

a live oak leaned and spoke

roughly in rich tones to me:

moss-bearded sage,

issuing wisdom gray with age,

grumbling green solidity.

I grew tough,

drew up gnarled and huge;

but soon enough

hard floors and solid stairs

called for the oak, broken and cut.

Nothing was left then but

to move on.

 

Kneeling about the base

of a towering cypress temple tended

by storks and egret priests,

I needed to grow to know the grace,

the grand patience of the place:

insular spike of pride,

mystical spire spun with thin green.

But then,

again at the edge of understanding,

I stepped away and wanted

weatherproof wood

so my structures would stand when I

moved on.

 

Save me the still willows,

silent, to wait on —

soul, let me sit awhile,

shifting and watching,

softly waiting,

sifting my will

slowly away.

 

 

(1966)

Suicidal

Adam,

cutter of cords,

died giddily in a greedy gamble.

Fading intuition knew and rang the only knell,

and in the reverberations of that solitary bell

mindstrings stirred into mad ensemble,

seeking lost chords.

Death —

resting, maybe —

is this the time to take the test,

to stalk and trap my anmal defeat?

But no.  The echoing knell recedes and bares my grave,

I hold on to my bones and guts and meat,

forget this death like all the rest,

greedy zombie —

living.

 

(26 Aug 1974)

Now Goes

The present flashes in and out

raising a spray of instants

in its wake.

Riding the moving moment

on a fresh-waked mind

I am in time

until I’m twisted away afraid

out of the stream

suspended

slowly to sink in the lake of today

and swim in all the

used seconds.

 

(14 July 1974)