Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Enduring Bridge

I wrote this many months back - at least four, although I can't say for certain. It's a billet-doux to telephones and emails and handwritten letters and all those other sundry things that make distance in equal parts manageable and maddening.

The Enduring Bridge

So curious, that we must live apart
and only find liaison in a word
or two that tells the tenor of the heart,
but leaves the fundamental song unheard.

This firm division - necessary rift
of strict materiality - must hold
our minds in segregation, till the swift
and independent melodies unfold,

and unity discretely yields one,
as in an old duet we persevere.
Although they argue two apart is none,
a subtle harmony is all we hear,

for, long as living voices span the breach,
I have no fear our words will cease to reach.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Sometimes, I grow tired of constantly moving, yet never moving forward. I don't believe the things I want are overly ambitious, but somehow the distance between where I am and where I want to be always seems so great. In my heart, though, I know that these things would never make me truly happy. And to be fair, I could not possibly be happier than I am now.


A little space is what I seek;
a little space, no more;
a shelter from the manic week
behind a modest door;

a breath of time to pacify;
a tender breeze to stray
across my notions, all awry,
and limber limbs, asplay;

and silence, silence over all
to carry me to rest;
a respite from the teeming squall,
and I will find me blessed.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Last Rites

First coffins and now funerals. No, I'm not on a death-kick. In fact, I wrote this poem quite a while ago, and only now, finding myself rather dry and wanting of inspiration, have I pulled it out and dusted it off. And while it may not be as fresh as the morning paper, I still stand by its words. What do those words say? Well, have you noticed how modern funerals are frequently made into celebrations of life? Whether or not a man has lived a good life, we feel impelled to praise him in his death. This praise becomes simply the reward of living, rather than the just recompense of a life well-lived. And even if one seems to have lived a good life, who are we to judge? It is a particularly thorny issue, however, thanks to our trivialization of sorrow. Sorrow, we say, is bad, for it bears an uncomfortable likeness to depression. "Don't be sad," the preacher comforts the bereaved, "he is in a better place." Firstly, it is a conceit to think that we know when one is 'in a better place'. Secondly, we must allow ourselves to be sad, to feel sorrow. Sorrow is just as necessary as joy and each is appropriate to its own time. As the wisest man in the world once said (no, not Pete Seeger), all things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die; a time to weep and a time to laugh. So weep in times of sorrow and laugh in times of joy. It is all we are able to do.

Last Rites

A joy is contraband
to heavy-hearted woes,
as if an artless hand
would offer up a rose

to take the lily's place
of honor at the tomb;
a delicate disgrace,
indelicate in bloom,

when sorrow is the seed,
uncertain of the end
as certain of the need
for which it will ascend

to supplicate the guilt
that stains a sleeping head;
to bury, to the hilt,
petitions for the dead.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Know

Nowadays, conjugal love is equated with sex. The undeniable bond between the body and the soul, a bond which once subjugated the lesser to greater, has faded, firstly, into the correspondence of equals, and then into a revolt of our animal half, which has left the soul derided, and even ignored, as the useless trappings of an unfortunate puritanical history. And so, love is now affixed to feeling, urge, hunger, lust, et cetera, but never, ever can it be called knowledge. This was the way in which the Old Testament spoke of conjugal love, and the truth of this is paramount. If love is simply a feeling, then it is as weak as the hormones and chemical reactions that produce that feeling, for feelings are, in the end, rooted in the body, however amorphous and incorporeal they may seem. Love that knows the beloved, however, is immeasurably stronger and immeasurably more meaningful. And where is this knowledge? Why, in the intellect, of course. Any meaningful love - any real love - cannot reside in the emotions, but in the reason. The difference is this: when love is based in a bodily feeling, you love the object of that feeling, which is physical and psychological pleasure. On the other hand, when love is based in knowledge, you love the object of that knowledge, which is the beloved. Then unless you can first love with reason, you will never truly love with feeling.

I Know

If loving were a longing, barely held
within the flighty confines of the heart,
that joy would as quickly be expelled
as nurtured by our fluctuating art,

for sentiments are fickle as the wind
that daily alters over land and sea,
and such a love would surely be unpinned
by every altercation of degree.

But love that undergirds the heavy weight
of centuries in melody and verse
is ever more than orotund estate,
unfitly nurtured by a feeble nurse.

The truest love to occupy the soul
is knowledge of the deficit and whole.