Poems I like, mostly taken from the TAT Forum magazine
During the past week I have been enjoying poems available on the ‘net and I have selected a few to share here. Since all are already in the public domain I sincerely hope I have not broken any copyright. If I have let me know and I will rectify it.
A Part of Thee by Richard Rose
Though you should seek me, or, still never know
Me, I am with thee. Look at evenglow,
At drowsy hills whose dusky dream of peace
Streams up when restless Day’s hot sun shall cease,
Or in the misty glen or by the stream
Where sweetly damp the graceful breeze doth seem
To breathe its incense for your listless heart
Alone, until, like some strange hummingbird
That hovers near though scarcely seen or heard,
Enchanted by the lilac’s magic spell, —
That heart of thine doth trembling try to tell
Thee glorious words no tongue or race has heard —
Of harmony eternal. Though no word
Is spoken dear, know, I am speaking there,
For I am in thee ever, everywhere.
Yes I shall love when fame its gold bequeaths
Upon thee and when glory lays its wreaths
In honor on thy brow, and love thee still,
When in the felon’s cell thy cup doth fill
With pain and anguish, and thy friends abscond ….
Yes then I know I shall not be less fond,
Because I have not been in ages past
When foul disease its fatal shadow cast,
Or when the world drove thee forth alone, —
Was I not there, did I thy love disown?
Or when in lover’s arms you seem to find
A nearer god, a briefer, quicker, blind
But soothing bliss thou dost one hour forget
Me, still I will be with thee, joying in
Thy joy, and kindly quiet to your sin
And when thy fancied dream of joy is gone,
And stark reality returns upon
Thee, tearing thee with soul’s grief and remorse,
And in the painful dark you seek recourse,
Or maddened by the fury of a soul
That feels so helpless to remain a whole,
(As instinct whispers it should ever be)
Your tongue is flamed to loudly cursing me,
Then I’ll remember hate as but a form
Of love, and silent watch the passing storm.
Though you should seek me I am with thee still,
Though still you seek, look to the quiet hill,
When ev’ning mists and clouds descend and ride
In toneless ecstasy about its wide
Immobile shoulder; or when in from long
At sea you seem to sense a happy song
In flick’ring harbor lights and smell of green,
Or when in scented bower the dove unseen
Doth speak more eloquently than the sage,
Or when the sea-loved shore with surf doth rage,
Or when you note the littered bitch and learn
How her brute soul doth mellow with concern
At its new task; or look to infants’ eyes,
Or trusting youth’s, or if you are more wise,
Look deep into thyself for I am there,
For I am love, and I am everywhere ….
A part of thee, — and happily I share.
© 1982 Richard Rose. From “Carillon.” All Rights Reserved.
Books and audio CDs are available from Rose Publications.
Poems by Shawn Nevins
death for instance,
carry truth unimaginable.
Yet it rolls off the tongue
like a student of history recounting
what he’s never seen.
take a lifetime to define.
I look without the veil of words
and that look is vaster
than any thought of mine.
The desert is sparse and vast.
These words of ours are desert echoes.
What will be the call you hear?
A reflection, a glance, one unguarded moment
and all is known.
You turn to the world that beats at your door
because this body is tuned to life’s needs
and not your soul’s.
Where is your true life
among this fog of being?
Where is rest,
Only by remembering the possibilities,
wonder stolen by imagined consequences,
shuddering questions raised by fanciful twilight moments,
and dreams of perfection,
will you close your door to this world,
then, later, let it pass through your empty home.
They express whispers:
The silence after a falling star,
Before the next wave strikes the beach,
And the sun breaks the horizon.
Whispers of the eternal
Ever waiting, ever still.
Shouting into our time-born deafness.
What is Reality?
The mind grasps perfection,
But what is an Eternity?
Beyond the balance of life and death,
Beyond the mind, bursting thought.
“Nothing to cling to or stay your fall.”
The Bellows by Art Ticknor
Lying in bed,
Luxuriating in a few minutes between waking and arising,
I listen to the sound of my breathing…
Where will I be when the bellows are silent?
What will I be?
After years of searching within, I discovered the answer –
I recognized what I am
that subtends the waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep states,
that remains unchanging with the passing of nights and days,
of seasons, of years, of life.
Life and death I now see in perspective…
And see that they don’t affect me.
There is a place of Quiet by Bob Fergeson
There is a place of Quiet,
back beyond your hopes, fears, your dreams.
Don’t listen any longer
to those thieves.
as they keep you gazing stupidly at the patterns
bouncing about your fevered mind.
Listen instead for Silence,
quieter than a tiny bug crawling through dry leaves somewhere behind your fear.
Listen to your Self,
answering your own prayers back beyond thought,
in the silence behind your head,
before your memory, after your death,
beyond your dreams and desires,
and your anger at their coyness.
Be still, there’s no need to hurry.
We will all meet again,
in the quiet peace before our names were born …
back of beyond.
Praying Our Way Through Doubt
by Fredrick Zydek
There’s a cold fear nested at the heart
of every doubt, stress sharp as a sword,
hidden agendas, genuine reality waiting
to be sorted out like unmatched socks.
The truth is there are no cheap tickets
to Heaven, no shortcuts to Nirvana,
not a single free ride to enlightenment.
We must learn to ride towards them
on the backs of prayers and meditation.
There will be huge clues along the way.
Learning to be converted from nine
to five is a big step. Getting rid of our
unlovely behavior is another. We must
learn to nibble at the warm promise
of silence, go empty-handed through
the landscapes of loss, the prisons
of melancholy and betrayal. We must
claim sacred ground one doubt at a time,
pray until we can sort out the differences
between angels and serpents, go among
them wrapped in voices of our own faith,
mantras, contemplations, acts of pure
devotion and pleas. We must do the work
of warriors using the agendas of real saints.
by Gary Harmon
Emptiness filled with clanging,
And dogs that bark in the distance.
Winds that gently blow,
Trees that sway to and fro,
Are all connected.
As am I joined to them.
Nothing causing anything;
All in agreement with all.
Turning earth for a new planting;
Last fall’s leaves become fuel.
The season’s past growth tilling over,
Roles are traded;
Old becomes new as it repeats yet again.
The undercurrent of the changeless,
Watches and sees—nothing happening.
Empty are the thoughts that are forced.
Wisdom is not from there.
Lack of effort opens the gate for a flood of insights.
That which is changeless knows nothing.
Knowing is for trapped opinions.
Seemingly comfortable yet bound by belief.
Anchored to something called duration,
Waiting for change which can not be necessary
A slide-rule replaced by unknowing.
Just a hunch yet more vast than can be known.
Boundaries have no reality for that intuitive state
Which exists outside the identified.
A Dog Was Crying To-Night In Wicklow Also by Seamus Heaney
In memory of Donatus Nwoga
When human beings found out about death
They sent the dog to Chukwu with a message:
They wanted to be let back to the house of life.
They didn’t want to end up lost forever
Like burnt wood disappearing into smoke
Or ashes that get blown away to nothing.
Instead, they saw their souls in a flock at twilight
Cawing and headed back for the same old roosts
And the same bright airs and wing-stretchings each
Death would be like a night spent in the wood:
At first light they’d be back in the house of life.
(The dog was meant to tell all this to Chukwu).
But death and human beings took second place
When he trotted of the path and started barking
At another dog in broad daylight just barking
Back at him from the far bank of a river.
And that is how the toad reached Chukwu first,
The toad who’d overheard in the beginning
What the dog was meant to tell. “Human beings,”
(And here the toad was trusted absolutely),
“Human beings want death to last forever.”
Then Chukwu saw the people’s souls in birds
Coming towards him like black spots off the sunset
To a place where there would be neither roosts nor trees
Nor any way back to the house of life.
And his mind reddened and darkened all at once
And nothing that the dog would tell him later
Could change that vision. Great chiefs and great loves
In obliterated light, the toad in mud,
The dog crying out all night behind the corpse house.
The Good by Brendan Kennelly
The good are vulnerable
As any bird in flight,
They do not think of safety,
Are blind to possible extinction
And when most vulnerable
Are most themselves.
The good are real as the sun,
Are best perceived through clouds
Of casual corruption
That cannot kill the luminous sufficiency
That shines on city, sea and wilderness,
One man to another,
Who yet will not accept
Responsibilities of light.
The good incline to praise,
To have the knack of seeing that
The best is not destroyed
Although forever threatened.
The good go naked in all weathers,
And by their nakedness rebuke
The small protective sanities
That hide men from themselves.
The good are difficult to see
Though open, rare, destructible;
Always, they retain a kind of youth,
The vulnerable grace
Of any bird in flight,
Content to be itself,
Accomplished master and potential victim,
Accepting what the earth or sky intends.
I think that I know one or two
Among my friends.
Moving Water By Rumi
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river
moving in you, a joy.
When actions come from another section, the feeling disappears.
Don’t let others lead you.
They may be blind or, worse, vultures.
Reach for the rope of God.
And what is that?
Putting aside self-will.
Because of willfulness people sit in jail, the trapped bird’s wings are tied,
fish sizzle in the skillet.
The anger of police is willfulness.
You’ve seen a magistrate inflict visible punishment.
Now see the invisible.
If you could leave your selfishness, you
would see how you’ve been torturing your soul.
We are born and live inside black water in a well.
How could we know what an open field of sunlight is?
Don’t insist on going where you think you want to go.
Ask the way to the spring.
Your living pieces will form a harmony.
There is a moving palace that floats in the air
with balconies and clear water flowing through, infinity everywhere,
yet contained under a single tent.