Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hymn to a Dying Sun

O fiery father:
Take your burning brand
From off my back.

No longer can I see the sky,
No longer feel the Earth--
The two old gods who
Hold me here,
These elements and familiars,
Who are scorched
And turning into ash,
Beneath the torch of your touch--

Like me: bent beneath
Your burden, your mass,
Like me bent lower
By your light.

For fire brings no forgiveness:
The forests are healed
By the scorched Earth's sadness
And the sky's sorrowful tears.
Never by you, your fury,
Your old man's clinging force
Grasping with blazing fingers
Of bitter, lonely possessiveness.

O fiery father:
Your blood has slowed
But still your face is blinding.

Like me: blind and blazing,
Like a broken sunflower
Bent to the ground
But always with my face to yours--
Even while I wither,
Even while my seeds dry up--
And always anxious for the dusk
That will not have a dawn.

So fire has no forgiveness:
But time knows not of mercy,
And light years have an end
Like embers dying, dark and cold.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Moon and Stars: A Hymn

Another post with Kabbalistic imagery and inspiration.

Moon and Stars

A Hymn

The diamond of the universe
Was shattered in the distant past
And scattered through the dreary void
    To liven up the space.

It broke apart like hand-blown glass
That falls upon a cobbled floor
Or like a lonely human heart
    That loves too much to rest.

But now the moon, a polished pearl,
Is smiling down to draw the tides,
The ebb and flow and wax and wane
    Of water, blood, and time.

Its gravely steady lunar force
(The parent and the child)
Is reaching out, as mothers would
    To stroke a baby’s cheek,

To seek the shards that lie about
Wherever chance has tossed them out
Like seeds of light upon the soil
    That spring will call to sprout.

Extending through the infinite,
Collecting them with tireless care,
It turns and turns to look about
    Till every sliver’s found.

And now this polished pearl the moon
Is dangling on a silver chain,
The priceless centerpiece that shines
    When set amongst the stars.

Monday, December 9, 2013

No, Time

No, Time

The ticking clock has a terrible sound:
The death screams of flickering moments
That are born and then suddenly gone
As echoes that slip into silence and sleep.

The shallow breaths and steady beat
Of Time’s unwavering heart are hard
To bear, and their stubborn insistence
Will wear away walls made of stone

In the heart and the gut stiff with sorrow
As the mind struggles blindly to grasp
The fading shadows of memories
And the ghosts of the moments long past

That were lived and were shared then forgotten
In a wrinkle or fold of the brain
Until tragedy dusts off the cobwebs
To show us the faces again,

Though changed, like a wispy reflection
Of sunlight in smoke in a mirror
That dances but cannot take shape
Before sunset steals it away...

The moments are dying and slipping away,
The memories sink into darkness and sleep,
The ticking clock has a terrible sound,
And I can but sit and stare in the deep.

Time is not a healer of wounds,
And time speaks no comforting spell.
Time is but a rambling fool
Who whistles while wandering to Hell.

Marah, Sea of Tears

There was a time in which the majority of my intellectual energy was devoted to researching, pondering, and writing about mystical and occult traditions. Foremost amongst these was Kabbalah, both in its Jewish and Western manifestations. While I do not believe in these systems, their beautiful imagery and symbolism and ontology still pluck a few nerves. This poem dives into Binah, one of the sephirot in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life...

Marah, Sea of Tears

How have I peered into those shadowed depths
And seen the world's demise?
   Can this same sorrow that she breeds
   Be where this serpentine path leads?
Are these same tears that swallow up my eyes
The resting-place of dreams?
Or shining seeds of vile destruction, each
Born from her darker side?

Engraved upon the blackness of her calm,
Smooth surface, still as Death,
   I see reflected many things,
   Foremost amongst them Saturn's rings;
Bewitched, I gaze and fall under the spell
Of ancient Father Time
Who, filled with vengeance, tells me mortal life
Is finite, futile dream.

And so I feed with my despair young twins,
The children of this Sea:
   For she is Mother, Dark and Light,
   Whose womb gives birth to Day and Night.
Full-grown, up from the softly crashing surf
The Son and Daughter spring,
Both born, like Aphrodite, from the foam
That breaks upon the sand.

Her name is Understanding to the brave
Ones who have felt her Love.
   While drowning all to purify,
   She strengthens as we pass her by.
I fear that, unlike Noah's guiding dove,
I have no hope of land:
Have I been left, forgotten, lying at
The Gateway of the Soul?

Yet while I drown so slowly, softly, drunk
Upon her salty wine,
   I ponder: Do her waters feed?
   Or, overbearing, drown the seed
Of Life's own Rose that has been placed with Love
Into the heart of Man?
And then with tenderness she shows me that
In truth there's naught to fear:

   Our greatest joys are sorrow-born;
   True Heaven lies past lands forlorn;
   In demon's shrouds is God adorned.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fullness

Fullness

A fat moon face
Smiles down on the world
In the darkness
Of waking night
In the stillness
Of frozen wind
And stops its drifting
For a time it seems
While red metal rooftops
Change colors
In a flash
Change planes
In a glimpse
Change states
In a wave.
Shall we go for a swim?

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Power and the Glory

The Power and the Glory


We flow into this world in a river of tears
Over whitewater rapids of fury and pain
As though dragged from our home, now a memory’s glimpse
That floats on the surface, breaks the skin, and then sinks.

And thus we dive into a long-dead sea,
Or so it seems despite the blinding light—
But cold, so cold, it bathes our naked flesh,
It flushes out our newborn innocence.
And yet our eyes are cleansed and truly see
Until the bitter waters of this timeless sea
Of mortal blood collect like cataracts, and years
Occlude in filmy, salty, stagnant tears.

So how can vision ever penetrate
The blinds upon our senses sealed and shut?
Or hope?  What hope can warm the darkened hearth
That chills within our chest and gathers dust?
The vision fades.  The womb becomes a tomb.
The endless Earth seems but a coffin’s core,
From mountaintop to valley, buried all
Within a claustrophobic, airless, shrinking space.

But breathe, just breathe the air, expand these lungs
That fill to feel what freedom might remain
For angel-minded beings bound in human skins,
For birds at heart who walk with crippled wings.
“Awake! arise! or sleep and farther fall!”
Each breath and burst of heart commands and begs—
But have we sense enough to hear and to believe
What every thrilling nerve and sinew sings
In every second always vibrating
With every other one in wondrous harmony?

For all the darts that seem to pierce our hearts with death
Are yet the pricks of hungry bumblebees
That enter in our blooms and work the spell
That fructifies another season’s miracle.
The atmosphere that shuts us in and holds
Our field of vision to the stark horizon’s edge
Is yet the greenhouse that allows our shoots
To grow protected from the wintry night beyond.

And the power of life is a heart that is broken
As the world shimmers softly when seen through our tears,
And the glory of life is a heart filled to bursting
As the world shimmers sweetly when washed with our tears.