Of once shouted poems
I hear the faintest echoes,
Just a murmur more than background noise today.
They sound a barely whispered chant
of ancient and confused distress
and if I try I can discern
a falling meter to it.
rings with the harmonics
of all of Persia’s unremembered bards
but gone beyond all resonance
are those whose languages
as well as songs
The Wind and the Hill
Furred like a Persian cat,
Rippling as the wind writes hieroglyphics on it.
That wind, they tell us,
Comes whorling and scrolling,
As ocean currents do,
From the ends of the world,
Of suffering and celebration;
Carrying talk of me,
My hill, and more,
Back whence it came.
Through the wormhole of time,
I see my youthful self
And feel again that world wind
On my face,
Marvel at its paisley scrawling,
Across the smooth volcanic breast
That looms above our makeshift army camp.
It takes away my fears
And, small price to pay, for just a moment,
My hopes, too.
Waiting is a subtle art
Learned through long apprenticeship.
Beginners merely pluck and scrape at time,
With all the racket of a tuning orchestra.
Journeymen start with an arrogant pianissimo
Which waxes with each note
Until, tripped by a passing arpeggio,
They fall into a premature melody, and thus,
Masters of waiting are few.
You know them by the measured rests,
The long and soundless deserts
Where the extravagant absence of music
Is foil to wild imagination of rhythms,
Mirages of symphony,
And ghostly whirls
Of non-existent fanfares and cadenzas,
Perpetual anticipation of which,
Orchestrates the studied power
That moves beneath their silences.
The Shining Ones
Have you ever seen one of the shining ones?
They’re there and not there,
like cleanest window glass,
that endlessly outpours beyond-born, blaze-bright goldenlight.
I want to be like that,
not here, that is, but there;
or rather, truly neither,
filled instead by the light my here-self merely frames,
the light where all of light comes from;
here and beyond-gone, also
where other or self cannot separate;
Because they are drawn back
to their deep-true oneness,
yet still are, still are unique
forms of the same unfolding infolding manifold
but not apart or alone,
Words are strung on a million strings,
crotcheted nets, wrapped in themselves,
dictionaries, in which
each many-stranded knot,
tapestries into unending differences,
but nowhere can you find the meaning of a single
We cast these nets,
poor fishers of meanings that we are,
but never catch;
the meaning-fishes swim right past,
for they are wild
and always moving,
only sometimes are they there,
when the net is cast,
We cannot see beneath the surface,
glitter-blinded as we are by ripples of fashion
and the breaking and the foaming
as the swells of self-assertion crash upon each other
and by the endless plastic bobbing jetsam dance
of annunciations, myths and dogmas.
Who will tell us when to cast the net and where?
The “Black Dog” the old english Statesman called it,
And took a little more from whiskey than whiskey took from him,
But that was not so kind to Labradors,
And all such less than fair dogs.
Wolf I’d rather call it,
Top predator of souls,
Hounding the evolution of our minds
from love of self to other,
from inward loss to outward grace.
Unless, of course, we manage to evade this wolf
And, in that, rob our suffering of its fruits,
and so seek shelter from our life in inner mausoleums,
Among funerary figures
Of Guilt, and Sin, and Long Regrets,
And all the unforgiven things,
Concerning which we claim our own exemption from forgiveness
of faults which, in any other, we might readily forgive,
Even though we know we share with them a common weakness and fragility.
For ourselves, then,
Singular even in this,