Saturday, March 28, 2009

Under the Rain

Today was the perfect spring day. Rain was falling in a slow and soaking shower from a dense, grey cover of clouds. Majestic trees captured the water in a million budding leaves and let it down in rivulets through ruffled bark and moss. It was just warm enough to keep the damp from being chill. And, best of all, countless children made their way, in tow, to the morning market, dressed in the most wonderful collection of raincoats - frogs and plums, ducks and fairies, on and on - an endless and fanciful menagerie of youth.

Under the Rain

The rain, rebellious, drops down,
to make a mirror of the land
in silver puddles scattered round,
where little feet cavort, unplanned

and happy in the heady scent,
the splash of water on the brow,
to dash and dance in merriment
beneath the bent and dripping bough

that briskly works, but works in vain,
to keep the sapping soil dry,
as curled leaves collect the rain
and loose it with a pattered sigh,

and all around, fresh, fleeting shoots
unfold and open in the spray
that satisfies their thirsty roots,
so long denied and hid away.

This is the season, this the press
of life, awoken in the seed,
when somber clouds and damp duress
bring boundless joy to our need.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Into the East

Another poem inspired by the Odyssey. This time, the opening verse (in slightly modified form) is taken from lines 3-4 of book 12. Homer has an amazing ability to, at one and the same time, encapsulate the gritty and blood-soaked reality of ancient Greece in the beautiful language of nature and divinity. I restricted myself to the latter here, however, so no blood and guts this time around. This poem is also substantially longer than usual, but you can chalk that up to an extended gestation period - I've been working on it for about two weeks, now, whereas most of my poems are written in an hour or two over the course of one afternoon.

Into the East

Summering dawn has her dancing grounds there,
the sun has his rising sheen,
in the chimeric lands of the once-everywhere,
which no mortal eye has seen,

for hull cannot carry the compassing rose
on gossamer winds that fly
from ambrosial sands where the white goddess goes
and cormorants furl and cry,

and days are all one in the bright birthing bed,
as never a dusk to descend
with sable-soft coverlet crested in red;
beginning there begets no end,

and rolling of time reckons out a return,
as fresh as so many before,
to rise on the fires that endlessly burn
beneath the impregnable shore

where, youthful, the years of the old ages, fell
and free of the cindering star,
in arc through the firmament, wild and well
as ever the fields, afar,

name numberless days in Olympian song
that humans cannot harmonize;
our half-lilted note does not linger so long,
but sinks with the sundown, and dies,

and yet it remains in the land of the dawn,
where wakes every morning anew
the canticled sun, as the shadows flee on,
before the bright-carpeting dew.

Monday, March 16, 2009

One Word

It has been very difficult for me to write, lately. Part of the trouble is a lack of time; I meant to set aside an hour or two each day of Lent to write, but that has periodically fallen by the wayside in the crush of everyday. I still manage to fit in a bit, and sometimes more, here and there, but I know it is not enough, and I work to improve on that every chance I get. The real problem, however, is that I know I must write, whether or not I am inspired - this is the essence of the reality of writing, as opposed to the insipid dream of writing - but the longer I spend between productive evenings, the more difficult it becomes to make use of the time I have. And yet, however painful it becomes, and however much my muse seems to fail me, I will continue to write. I realize, now, that this is where my true desire lies, and no number of fruitless hours spent before an empty computer screen can ever measure up to the possibility of the beauty I am beginning to see. Also, it does not help that my comma key has begun acting up. Who would have thought that such a little piece of plastic could become such an insurmountable frustration? So here's a little, one-verse poem. It took far longer than it should have to write, but it says what I feel, and what more can I ask?

One Word

A single word is worth a thousandfold,
that doze upon the page in disbelief,
when labored forth in blood and sweat to hold
the quiet heart that quickens underneath.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Coffee and Conversation

I've been spending quite a bit of time in coffeeshops, lately, writing and reading and watching, and I am always struck by how long people can talk on and on about absolutely nothing. Conversations are rarely meaningful, these days, and when they are, they don't usually end in a good place. Surprisingly enough, the most interesting conversation I've heard in the past month occurred when an old bum sat down across from a business man in his late 30s, who was journaling, and began to question him about what he was writing. Eventually, the talk worked its way around to what the man was doing with his life, why he was writing, and what he really hoped to accomplish. All of this, however, came from the bum; for the business man, each answer was like pulling teeth. He neither worried about, nor cared to know, where he was going, and why. Eventually, though, the bum got the man to warm up to him and drew him out of himself in a true platonic dialogue. It was remarkable to watch, but even more remarkable to realize how happy we would all be if we thought as much about our destiny as that bum did.

Coffee and Conversation

So many words, that tumble out
and stir the rising coffee steam,
obscure a silent, wasting gout
that tears the stitches from the seam

between the body and the soul.
Each twitch expands the ragged rent,
and still the words are wrought to pull
a thread where needle never went.

As empty voices settle down,
and hope upon a hopeless way,
where conversation sets a crown
of motley fool's bells aplay,

we think to take some health from this,
from sounds that merely signify
the helplessness of life amiss,
unspoken in a speechless lie.

But still we talk, and still pretend
to hold a weak community
through conversation without end
and days endured unhappily.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Eos and Apollo

The first line of this poem is taken from Homer's Odyssey. It shows up in countless places throughout, but the particular one I stole came from line 170 of book 9. All the rest is my own, however, so, unfortunately, Homer can carry no blame, aside from being an initial inspiration.

Eos and Apollo

Young dawn, with fingertips of rose,
now makes a soft approach from Helios' house
to lay the dim stars in repose
and usher out her ancient phoeban spouse.

He waits, his chariot prepared,
all girt about in godly fire and light,
and holds his steeds, so fresh and flared,
from leaping forward in untimely flight.

She calls him forth, her waking chant
of spousal love sounds on the morning air
with warbling birds that raise a cant
of glory for the god, their humble prayer.

The two embrace in endless dance
that she begins and he concludes in turn,
her blush in bloom at his advance,
her chambers ready for his fit return.

Just so he bursts upon the earth,
as she recedes again into her hold,
and yet, in each they find their worth:
her beauty is his merry mirth;
his majesty, her happiness untold.