“The World in a Drop of Rain.”

I wrote this one this evening, in response to world events. I hope you like it. 🙂


The World in a Drop of Rain

I sit here, in my slowly lowering chair,

And dream of summer, with all its sultry Sixties grooves.

The bitter winds and slush all fall away,

Leaving me with the world in a drop of rain,

And verdant dreams as green as grass in June.

 

Why do the nations rage, like winter winds,

Still howling threats of thermonuclear war?

Why do we bluster, in our nagging fear and pain,

And hound each other with the threat of force?

A great stone wall, a guarded parapet,

Can keep hate out, but still locks stern fear in,

And fear makes everyone a prisoner.

We amble all around the prism, staring out,

And watch our fears reflected in the glass.

We check ourselves with prejudice and pride.

 

Unless all countries come from the same muck—

And rest assured, they do—no one’s a shithole,

And we cannot cast our stones so easily,

Because we sit inside the prism fear.

We all come from the same dark, ancient dust,

The same primordial plasm beneath an African sun…

One mote of dust cannot judge another,

And we can’t see each other for the specks

Of hurt and hatred lodged within each eye.

 

I mean, the world’s too cold and dark to throw more shade;

Each gentle word’s a soft, subtle, solar ray,

And every smile’s alight with possibility:

We reach across the aisle to join our hands;

We knead the dough, and cut the peppers up,

And toss them in the scarlet aromatic sauce.

We snap the beans, and husk the waiting corn,

And break the bows, and shatter all the spears.

We follow all the errant shooting stars

Along their splendid cosmic arc of love.

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“The Climate of Conversation.”

On Monday afternoon, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation, and am now a doctor of theology! I’m a bit confused about that, going forward, but it feels important. 🙂

I sort of came to view my thesis as self-talk, the kind of motivational discourse with myself that empowers me to act in the world. When this poem talks about language, that’s what it’s talking about. I hope you like this. 🙂


The Climate of Conversation

It’s difficult to learn to live again,

To dwell within the silence as a friend.

I poured my grief and joy into a conversation,

Into a mode of discourse with myself

Where I embrace the Word that shapes my life.

 

What is that Word, still hanging on my lips?

Can I not now record it for the world to hear?

How does it sound? Is it a Hebrew phrase,

A lyrical line, like laughter in the wind?

Or is it Scots Gaelic, roughened with a burr?

What language holds the word of ontic power?

 

I can’t be sure if earthly language holds the key

To all the power that I unlocked yesterday.

That doesn’t really matter; I think the point

Lies in the dialogue of sheer delight,

The discourse that lays claim to all my flesh.

My body’s captivated by the holy word,

Enjoined to sing in its discursive chains.

 

Where can I find the joy of conversation?

I find it on the iron chin-up bar

Where my synapses talk to each other,

Sending soft messages of strength and love;

I find it in a raucous Springsteen song,

And in the gentle groove of Sixties soul…

I find it in the touch of loving hands,

And in a slowly-steeping cup of tea.

 

What is the end of dialogue? So what?

I think the point is living, growing action.

We do not simply speak of love and hate,

But live them out in gardens and dark hotel rooms.

The dogged seeds of love will bloom, with time,

Into the joyful flowers and foods of generous hearts,

While anything that grows in cold and callous climes

Will wither with the coming of the sun.

 

The someday of our love is not far off,

Though nascent hatreds stoke our latent fears,

And fierce floods strip Houston of security.

It’s just beyond the threshold; through the clouds,

We’ll see it in the fiery setting sun.

“Connection.”

I share this one with fear and trepidation.

Last night, I felt terribly lonely. To alleviate my loneliness, I listened to a number of late-Nineties pop songs, and I cried…and I wrote this poem, which expresses deep longing for connection with another person. Particularly, I long for touch and intimacy. I owe this poem to the lovely Leigh Nash, and to John Rzeznik.

I hope you like it. 🙂


Connection

The loneliness still follows me each day,

And stalks into my visions every night.

It haunts me with a saxophone’s soft tones,

And lives on in a longing Nineties song;

I want to feel the living flame Desire

That courses through my veins like lightning currents

Turned to the laughing power-chords of Joy.

 

The ache I feel is never memory,

But only yearning for the thing I’ve never had:

I long for sweet connection, with tongue and eye and hand,

To trust that I love someone who will not depart from me.

I hear the yearning whisper in my blood,

And sing its gentle song to every starlit sky.

 

The gentle ebb-tide swell of bass guitar is not enough;

I need the stark climactic cymbal-crash of a kiss,

The whispered melody of day-long conversation,

The chance to see stars shining in my lover’s eyes.

I ache to dance with someone in my good dress shirt,

And split a bottle of wine, and then…I’m sure you know.

 

I have no patience for small, patronizing words;

Don’t soften blows with, “Someday,” or with, “Soon.”

If passion is the force that turns the earth,

Then I would feel this love both here and now,

Although it might still fall quicksilver from my hand.

“Walking to La Ramblas.”

Walking to La Ramblas: Meditations on Loss and Grief

A few minutes ago, I read about a terrorist attack in Barcelona, and I’m still in recovery from the shock and terror of reading about Charlottesville a few days ago.

Let me be as clear as I can: evil actions make me sick. I know that I’ve hurt others, especially with my words, but I have never engaged in acts of hatred that kill others. I feel that denouncing, hating, and killing others for the colour of their skin, as for any other essential characteristic, is reprehensible.

I cannot imagine why people would commits actions like these, and so sometimes, all I can do is cry, and wish that the world were a better place. I cry because—by virtue of my white skin—I am complicit in racism; I weep because, as Tennyson wrote long ago, “I am a part of all that I have met.” For that matter, I’m part of all those I haven’t met, as well. I mourn because, for terrible reasons, human beings kill our own people. We kill our own flesh and blood.

Reflecting on the weight of human loss and grief in the last few days alone is very difficult. It makes EVERYTHING harder, because the grief obscures our hope.

In my heart, I walk with those who recently attended a candlelight vigil in Charlottesville, and sang Pete Seeger’s “We Shall Overcome.” “We are not afraid, we are not afraid…” In my heart, I weep with those who mourn their lost loved ones in Catalonia. What else can I do

I can pray. I find myself doing that constantly anyway.

I can write, and sing, about peace; I can particularly do the latter with my friends.

And I can love. By myself, I’m not enough, but it’s a start.

“Contours of Eternity: the Return.”

In light of a great experience sharing my poetry with some colleagues in California at an academic conference, I’ve decided to reboot my book of poetry, Contours of Eternity. Here, once again, is the link to the book, newly-priced and ready to sell!

http://www.blurb.ca/b/4705289-contours-of-eternity

I hope you like my work!

“Shadow-song.”

I wrote this l ast night; I’ve been thinking about it for six days…

And I hope I don’t have to explain it more than that. 🙂


Shadow-song: a Sonnet for Chris Cornell

Your liquid melodies are tidal waves,

Embracing us and drowning all our pain,

But there’s no lifeline; there’s no hand that saves.

Your beauty crashes into us again.

Your voice still melts away anxiety,

Both scarred by cigarettes and smooth as skin.

Its angel notes caress infinity;

We stand in awe; with you, we cannot sin.

You call to us from fear and helplessness;

You sing of shadow through your aching heart.

You offer honesty and sweet redress,

Though loneliness and loss obscure your art.

Your longing tones still echo through the sky.

Your music feeds us still, and does not die.

“The Lizard King.”

I wrote this week after the American election; I’d appreciate commentary or constructive critique.


The Lizard King

I know our earthly sorrow has a shape;

Sometimes, it feels like heavy teardrop-stones,

Each facet rounded to a liquid face.

At other times, it’s jagged, like the spires

Of ancient, semisolid stalagmites

That grow up from the onyx cavern floor.

 

Our fear—our abject terror—has a form.

Our fear is broken bottles and sharp stones,

To tear away our faces, cut our throats,

And mutilate our thousand joyful dreams.

As Berkeley burns, Dakota cries in pain,

And Washington will kiss the lizard’s lips.

This fear and dizzy numbness grips us all—

It is the barbell’s weight upon my chest,

The shadow lurking in the hotel hall,

The clammy, bearlike hand around your throat.

It waits within our every loving word,

Erasing our graffiti from the walls.

 

The lizard sees with lidless, hateful eyes,

And sends its slimy reptile progeny

To infiltrate our mammal rebel fronts.

Although its baleful eyes are everywhere,

We hold each other in the growing dark;

We wait to hear the low amphibian voice,

To drown it with impassioned earthly cries.

Our songs and shouts will drive the vermin off,

Will light its viscous lair aflame with love.

Our love helps us resist the Lizard King.