“Fierce Desire.”

I wrote this one last night under the influence of a can of  Boneshaker. It concerns my decompression from my thesis. I hope you like it! 🙂


Fierce Desire

I feel a quietness suffuse my soul,

A calm that rolls through me like seaward tide.

I feel the gentle loss of stern control

That comes on me when I let go of pride.

It doesn’t matter what the page will say;

It matters little where the footnotes fall.

I wrote a cogent text, in my own way,

Because I felt its urgent, whispered call:

I can live out the joy, the vibrant grace

That is my birthright from the holy flames;

I must discern a loving, welcome space

Where all my friends can hear Love speak their names.

My text is holy, full of living fire,

Because it joins true love to fierce desire.

“Fire and Clay.”

I wrote this one yesterday morning, during a very-necessary break from work. I hope you like it!


Fire and Clay

I feel the white flag flying in my heart,

The banner of our frail integrity.

With every touch, and every helpful word,

We tear down ancient walls of bias and hate,

And sow the seeds of love where stones have been.

Each time I hear your gentle, whispered peace,

I feel the warmth of sunlight flood my heart,

And know the quiet of your steady hand.

 

Although my anger keeps me warm and bright,

I just can’t hold it in. It’s too intense.

It must pour out in song and poetry

From deep within the chalice of my soul,

From my poor fragile cup of fire and clay.

My wrath will turn to joy, and fill my heart

With images of concrete loneliness,

Of yearning hearts in towers of glass and steel,

Of lovers’ walks beside the eastern sea.

 

The thunder of the waves on Venice Beach

Still fills my iron core with liquid peace,

And herons’ cries still speak to me of grace…

So even when the shadow steals my joy,

Absconding with the light that gave me birth,

I feel the hope in every reddened leaf,

And smell the smoke of sage and lavender,

And hear the silver songs of waking stars.

“Windowpanes.”

….and here is tonight’s poetic contribution. 🙂 It owes a little to Homer, and a little (in the first line) to Radiohead. Happy Saturday!


Windowpanes

I am not bullet-proof, or comatose;

I still respond to all these stimuli.

Although I block my ears, I hear the lash

Of racist discourse on the public’s back;

Nor can the choicest cuts from R.E.M.

Drown out the shells that blast Aleppo’s streets…

And lightning-bolt guitars can’t still my fears,

My fear of failure, or of penury;

My terror that I’ll be exposed one day,

My bright words thinner than a pane of glass.

 

My poetry can make us stop and think,

But does it realize my inner self?

Can any winged words, with crowing voice,

Express the moments when my soul takes flight—

The dance and laughter of a Zeppelin song,

The steady pressure of a longing kiss?

Conversely, can my broken words convey

The stern realities of grief and pain,

Those moments when I can’t get out of bed,

When I will read the B.B.C. and cry?

 

I know my words have substance, but they’re frail.

I am authentic, but I cannot be

Unless I know the limit of my flesh,

Unless I hold myself with all my fear

And turn my searching inner eye upon

The pain and joy that I can always feel.

I can befriend the darkness, and I must;

I always love the light, and I still do,

But I can see it best through panes of glass.

“Twelve Bars.”

I wrote this one on Good Friday. It sorta set the tone for Easter for me. 🙂

Twelve Bars

Bright keyboards drive away the agony:

Although I’ve felt depressed for fourteen months,

I find some solace in a major key,

And simple chords restore my errant soul.

The darkness cannot be my only friend

Because it has no substance of its own.

The shadow can’t create; it imitates.

It stoops to flattery, the lowest art,

And cloaks itself in sweet superlatives.

 

Today, two thousand dreary years ago,

The linen house that held the shekinah,

Exhausted, found itself all torn to shreds.

The Tyrian-purple robe that Jesus wore

Was grasped by several greedy Latin hands;

It couldn’t stanch the blood of Golgotha.

 

Today, our sullen shirts are much the same:

They cannot catch the blood that fills the seas,

Or drown the widespread cries of rioters

Where people have more guns than they have bread,

Where human bones still glare by city walls.

Poor Brussels wails in keen, embittered grief,

And bright Ankara wears a mourning shawl.

These darkened days, our grief will grind us down

As pigeons cry before the flying leaves,

And sullen ice still masks the fallow ground.

 

Where is the hope that marks our sunlit days?

Where is the light and music that we seek?

It waits within a sleek Italian wine,

And crouches in the soft glissando notes;

It travels through two lovers’ soft embrace,

And echoes through the navy concert hall

Where beefy men still sit to play-guitar,

Describing all their sorrows in a lick,

And playing through twelve bars of every joy.

 

It’s Friday. Sunday comes, but not just yet.

We can’t yet see the green trees for our grief,

The dull despair that lengthens every road,

And makes a chore of pulling on our clogs

To walk for seven miles with our friends,

To break our sorry bread in simple feast,

To taste anew Isaiah’s promises

That we will drink the lees of jars of wine

Where every tree bears leaves of health and grace,

Where Keith Moon sits behind the manic kit,

Where Jimi sets his new guitar aflame.

“Snowfall.”

This is the first of several posts I need to update. 🙂 Pardon my fairly long absence! I wrote this one tonight after a pretty dreary, hard day. I hope you like it. 🙂

Snowfall

The rain erases every happy thought;

No, wait. It’s not the melancholy rain.

The drain on all my vital energies

Is all the thoughts of dark vacuity,

Of what my life would be, were I not here.

The soft, insidious voice of misery

Still calls to me through poppy radio,

Still lurks below the strains of “Silver Bells.”

The shadow overcomes my nightly rest

And leaves me longing for the risen life

That I can feel with each fresh fall of snow.

 

That’s what I’m missing—snowfall. That’s the key

To unlock all the romance in my heart.

The vanished winter storms of long ago

Recall old songs by Bruce and the Police,

And fill me with a crisp snow-angel joy.

The smells of gingerbread and Earl Grey,

The sight (and taste!) of ripened Clementines

Transport me to a childish happiness,

And give me strength to face the gloomy days!

 

I cannot write it briefly: I love life,

Despite its greyish aches and dark-red pains;

Because of all its grace, I love my life.

Her sunlit smile when she swipes my card,

His joyous grin while plucking Wilco songs,

Our joy at table singing, “Bless the Lord,”

All come from Him who makes the winter’s snow,

Who placed a shining star on David’s town,

Who grew a precious shoot from Jesse’s line.

 

I do not know where all my thoughts will go,

Where every meditative thought will end,

When all the lights go out above my head,

And I am left with starlight and with you.

One thing I know: the darkness does not last.

It has no substance in its shadowed self,

And is betrayed each time I trim a wick

So I can share a pint of beer with friends,

Each time I hear a friendly voice, or sing

My low-voiced part within the heavens’ choir.

 

“You Came to Me.”

I started this poem on Thanksgiving Sunday, the 11th, and finished it just now.

I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

You Came to Me

I hear your voice, this moment, in my mind,

The ardour of our actuality.

Although I did not seek to know this place—

Its searing light, its scent of cinnamon,

Its echoes of my tears on dusty floor—

I made it, and I’m happy that I’m here.

I never asked to feel the firm embrace

Of calloused hands, or smooth, within these walls,

And yet…I did, because you came to me.

You broke down all my paltry wooden gates;

You mined beneath my gloomy granite wall,

And sailed across my vast autumnal moat,

The sea of sadness keeping me from life.

You did not sue for peace; you made no terms,

But summoned me, and at your call I came.

You bade my anger flower, and it grew

Into a rose-bush full of scent for you;

Your smile upon my soul came like the rain,

And filled my silos with your richest grain.

You filled my empty walls with tapestries

Depicting laughter, love, and gracious song…

And soon, my life was full of hue and cry—

The loving touch of friends, the taste of wine,

The ache and ardour of the joyous dance.

You bade me come to you, to know your touch,

And I surrendered to your sweet embrace:

I felt, and feel, delight each time I see

The orchards of the ripened thankfulness

That you have trusted me to till and sow.

You follow me on cold and lonely walks

Down sorrow’s streets, down avenues of angst;

You break my fall on asphalt, and on grass;

And you will always help me raise my voice,

To sing your praise in joyful company,

To mark the time that flies too swift away

With songs that veer from white to scarlet-red.

You lift my spirits from my chilly blues

To red, like sunsets on a mountain peak.

I owe you all I am, and so I sing;

I sing, and hope to please your open ear.

“Communion in the Sun.”

Recently, I went on two very different camping trips. Then, tonight–the first night I’ve had time for poetry in a while–I wrote this.

I hope you like it. 🙂

Communion in the Sun

I wake in darkness, and I know my strength.

I’ve portaged over rocks and through the rain;

I’ve watched the ants that live in Georgian Bay,

And hiked a multicoloured river-gorge.

I’ve laughed and cried through whiskey, wine, and beer,

And felt no trace of sadness in the Sun.

With arms extended, I have touched the flame

That smoulders in the centre of my soul,

To be flung outwards in propulsive streams,

To turn to stars that pinwheel through the dark.

I know my strength; its whispered name is Joy,

A joy emerging from her sky-blue eyes,

From clasping hands and tightly-held embrace,

From echoed words that sing from every page.

My joy is not complete without you here,

Without your funny voices and your laughs;

We’re less without communion in the Sun,

And lose ourselves when we are isolate.

I am because you are, and you are free

To blend with me in any way you choose,

Like vegetables and sausage in a soup

That simmers on a cheery element.

We are each other’s taste and touch and smell,

And yet retain integrity of form.

Your love means more than I can write in words;

It visits me in times of grief and pain,

And clothes me when my anger strips me bare.

Love is the ancient poultice healing me,

The friend who greets me by my inmost name

Across the decades of our sundering.

Your love becomes the substance of my song,

And bids me fly to bright Icarian heights

Where we can soar in tandem, and at peace.

I am because we are, and we—through Love—

Are forming into holy, perfect stones

To build our Parent’s house of charity.