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PLACES AND TIMES

POETRY COLLECTION


Part Three
-INKLINGS-



by
Betty Curtis
Copyright 1993 - 2000



45pages - 50.2 K















Contact: E-MAIL


Page One









CONTENTS

Please note:
Numbers are for poems. Page numbers are at page bottom.
To print out single page,print by page number.(bc)


1-Poetry
2-Intimation
3-Flower Weavers
4-Replies
5-Vacancy
6-Seed-Song
7-18th Century Parlor
8-Again
9-Strange Contrast
10-Transmutation
11-Lady In The Eastern Room
12-Beach Flight
13-Harvest
14-Night Rain
15-Power Failure
16-Fortune Teller
17-Storm
18-The Shadow
19-Prophecy
20-Spring Tonic
21-Rising Rock
22-Searchers
23-Dilemma
24-Caravans
25-Petition
26-Seasoned Sage
27-To Seekers
28-Still Small Voice
29-Sharon's Eyes
30-To The Psalmist






(cont. page 3)
-2-




















CONTENTS(cont.)

31-Year's Turning
32-Alice, Passing
33-Night Thoughts
34-Solace
35-Wildflower
36-Dream-Fragments
37-Vanishing Breed
38-Dream-Poor
39-Apprentice
40-The Bee
41-The Cry
42-Hard Labor
43-How Many Aprils ?
44-The Question
45-Egret
46-The Haze
47-Crossing
48-Vision
49-Signet
50-Rainbow
51-Stony Days
52-Drifting Leaves
53-Talisman
54-In Absentia
55-Brass Rooster
56-Under The Moon
57-Travel Lightly
58-Life's Byways
59-Cycles
60-Moving On






-3-


















-1-
POETRY

Poetry isn't finality.
It never has made that claim
It's an ancient ship on an endless sea,
giving the ports a name.

Poetry isn't an absolute.
It's a song of moving mortality.
Played on a guitar, or played on a flute,
it's a constant birth, not fatality.

Poetry isn't arrival, surcease.
It's endless investigation,
knowing camps on the Journey, not final peace.
It isn't a destination.

Poetry lives, and grows as we grow.
It blooms, and it comes to seed.
It has seasons and tides, as Life in its flow.
It changes with every need.

When we come to those Halls, where Light dispels
the mist of our doubt and care,
and music of vaster dimension swells,
Poetry will be there.

Poetry lives in us, weeps in us, sings,
and it's sometimes a saga of strife.
From the heart of humanity, poetry flings
our Soul to the stars ! It's Life !






-4-












-2-
INTIMATION

A semblance of memory drifting here -
not to be caught - fashioned of air.
Finer than spider-silk. Fleeter than wind.
Why can't I let this memory in ?

Some ancient vision quaking the depths.
Not to be captured. Not to be kept.
Just exhaled in living; worn in the eyes.
Why can't I let this memory rise ?

Down through the ages, treble and clear,
a far note of summons floats in the air.
Pierces the soul with bitter-sweet pain.
Only the wound, and the wonder,remain.


-3-
FLOWER WEAVERS

Steadily drips the rain.
Leaves of Autumn fall.
A violet aster flames,
against the garden wall.

Birds have spurned the chill.
They favor the shining coast.
A mist across the hills,
drifts like a wandering ghost.

Through the waning hours,
heart and memory sing.
They will weave the flowers,
that blossom in the Spring.




-5-









-4-
REPLIES

O Time, who winds around our heart
these intricate threads of Life,
lend us your slow, industrious art,
but spare us the tangles of strife.
Ah, but you answer , with shuttle flying,
"How shall the bird ascend the sky
with no resistance for thrustward plying ?
What you ask is a lie !"


O Love, let us learn our grip to lessen,
that we may accept you, and yet live free.
Spare us the pain and the ancient questions,
that linger uncertainly.
"You poor child", Love smiles in compassion,
"how young and untried to ask for such !
Love is a baptism, not a fashion !
You cannot love and remain untouched. !"


O Wisdom, who brings to the soul a peace,
come and abide in this troubled mind,
that it may rest in untroubled ease,
no longer to wander blind.
"You speak of illusion, who comes when you sleep,
and lures you to lay down your load,
not of us, who the Vigil keep,
and together walk the Road."



-6-











-5-
VACANCY

I cannot explain this dull ennui.
I seem to move in a normal way.
Eyes look out, but do not see.
I try to voice what I cannot say.

The faucet drips. I hear the plink.
I watch the parakeets at play.
Thoughts pass through, but I do not think.
The clock is ticking time away.

Chores have been done. The house is neat.
Something was busy all this day.
I stare at the slippers on my feet,
The sun is casting a longer ray.

No one would know, to see me here,
that I'm only a hollow, sham display.
I cannot explain it. It's all unclear.
I only know that I am - away.

-6-
SEED-SONG

We sense the demise of an era.
Death-throes of an age,
grins like a skull in the mirror,
but Hope sings in its cage.

We drift through days in flight,
toward an unknown destination,
but Faith abides in the night,
and strengthens our dedication.

Uncertain of where we wander,
yet sure of innate precision.
while on our way we ponder,
and sometimes we catch a Vision.

Seeds, on the winds of Autumn,
have no place to cling.
They blow on the wind they're caught on,
into a distant Spring.


-7-









-7-
18th CENTURY PARLOR

Reflected in the mirror,
a little crystal vase,
gilded with Autumn sunlight,
enshrines a Summer face.

A late rose from the garden,
robust with Summer's heart,
shines like a flame in silence.
It's fragrance has grown tart.

In a corner of the parlor,
through the golden afternoon,
a harpsichord waits with patience,
to play an Autumn tune.


-8-
AGAIN

Death has slammed the door in our face again.
Now we walk that dismal, sorrowful beach,
where all is grey, the chilly light is dim,
and the kindest words of friends just cannot reach.
This is a season that must run its course,
in secret silence of human consideration,
lest we salt the wounds of old remorse,
and burden others with this dark visitation.

All our knowledge and clever investigation,
disintergrates to dust blown in the wind.
Oh there will come a slow recuperation.
It shall be business-as-usual again.
But a part of us will walk this lonely land,
with tear filled eyes, bewildered as primitive man.


-8-











-9-
STRANGE CONTRAST

Morning lays lanquid on the hills.
How can this be, with the world afire ?
The meadowlark calls across the fields,
with the timeless song of Spring desire.

Leaves of the cottonwood flicker and gleam.
Sunlight soft with mosaic shade,
harbors the quail. Like some dark dream,
'News-Of-The-World' comes - a gaunt parade,
split with explosions, haunted with eyes,
sundered with terror, pervaded with threat,
spewing death's smoke and fire at the skies -
so far from order and harmony yet.

On islands of Nature, we look with numb shock,
at a quiet procession of life unaware.
The quail mother tends her fluttering flock,
while half of the world goes up in a flare.
The innocent move in a world of their own.
When death comes, it comes with no expectation,
but we die a thousand times, stripped to the bone,
by grinding confusion and disintegration.

Yet - perhaps from the center, silent and strong,
a buried remembrance of immortal soul,
trembles through space, like sound from a gong,
struck by Life's mallet, and flies to the Whole.


-9-

















-10-
TRANSMUTATION

There's an emptiness where it used to be;
an open space in the chest;
a hollow to fill with coffee, or tea,,
or brandy, for missing zest.

There's an echo of something floating there,
in a void that has no name.
A ghost of memory on a stair,
follows a tiny flame.

It leads to the Upper Chamber, bright,
with open windows. A shining beam,
of a distant sun pours down its light.
This is not the loss it seemed !

Here the heart can abide renewed.
Although it may seem strange,
the chambered skull provides a view,
that broadens the heart's old range.




-10-


















-11-
LADY IN THE EASTERN ROOM

The Sun, with courtly retinue,
has vanished in the West.
Memory passes in review.
Mind seeks out its rest.

Yet - no repose is gathered now.
Evening shadows lean,
dark as those upon the brow.
Where are we going ?
What does it mean ?


The Lady in the Eastern Room,
weaves a tapestry,
endlessly upon her loom,
with never-finished artistry.

All that clothes this temporal West,
are vague projections on a screen,
inadequate for lasting dress.
Where are we going ?
What does it mean ?


The mind no lasting helmet has.
The soul, no Earthly robe
unaltered by the years that pass,
as fingering losses probe.

Always we hear the clicking loom -
mystic weaving of that Queen,
the Lady in the Eastern Room.
Where are we going?
What does it mean?


-11-



















-12-
BEACH FLIGHT

Words. Words -
that never achieve an answer.
Shrill precepts.
Waves that never attain a shore.

Soul is constantly pounded.
Pinned down by debris of mis-interpretation.
Driftwood of old passages.

An archaic Moon,
sheds silver on it all.
Sun does not withold its Light.
Vague confiscations of Time -
reduce.

Spindrift spray rises.
There are companions of many sort,
like myself,
their habitat - this Sea.

Finally -
the Gull flies.


-12-




















-13-
HARVEST OF YEARS

That round clock, reaping fields of passing years.
cannot reap the stores within the heart.
Life's ruddy fruit and golden grain endures;
the subtle kind,sweetened by Love's art.
Grinding pressure of care,and weight of Time,
press down upon the precious secret store.
Even so, one makes exquisite wine.
Chaff of harvest passes, while the core,
kernel of worth,the time-transcending seed,
remains - a sifted, quintessential wealth,
Harvest rich with the essence that we need.
Therein lies the Soul's transforming health.
Much we may gather, but little we retain -
fragile tincture of enduring gain.



-13-




























-14-
NIGHT RAIN

It rains all night. Ah - but who would know,
how many rains like this ? They come and go,
as we too come and go, also embarked
on a spiral of cycles, light and dark.
It is the flow itself that bears us on -
on and onward - ever on and on.
Yet - who in bed, and restless perhaps with pain,
inner or outer kind, interprets the rain
as the dolorous descending of his soul,
steadily falling in a downward flow ?
Or - as crowds of sad and unsaved souls,descending,
in one dark, haunted night, unending ?
It rains all night. The fields and gardens drink.
We - perplexed voyagers, lie in bed - and think.


-14-


























-15-
POWER FAILURE

In its corner, the lamp is dead and cold,
the life-giving arteries have failed.
The T V set has sucumbed to stroke.
The portable radio wails.

We sit in that oldest cave, The Night,
while the elements rage about us.
Candle and lantern are our light.
Time goes on without us.

Our lantern casts an orange glow.
Corners lurk, dark and deep.
Exaggerated shadows flow.
We cannnot sleep.

Thunder quakes over the hills.
Lightning shocks the sight.
Winds throws rain against the sills,
with elemental might.

Centuries of science, swiftly returned
to a primitive world, by the wind !
We watch the sputtering lantern burn.
Fire is our old friend.

An old,old friend from the early caves,
worshipped by ancient man.
Raw fire, that both kills and saves,
consoles again.

Ages and ages have passed away.
Mankind and the elements remain
uneasy room-mates to this day,
mingling tonight in the rain.


-15-














-16-
FORTUNE-TELLER

The desert wind is restless -
wild as a Gypsy King,
whose campfire is his burning breast.
The Moon, his bangled Queen.

She rises in luminous languor,
and spreads her cards on the hills.
Desert denizens gather.
a sad coyote wails.

Cottonwood whines like a fiddle.
The desert wind grows cool.
The Queen, as if solving a riddle,
points to a card: The Fool.

-17-
THE STORM

Sea waves crash against the rocking pier-
sieze the feet, baptising them with chill.
Anguished fury of the storm adheres
to its oath of desolation, reducing will
to shattered, scattered fragments, hauled away,
by wind, from cohesive sequence; specific form.
Elements have conspired to grind the day !
Is this the ruthless passion of the storm:
to flatten citadels of technology ?
Strip the structures of greedy willfulness ?
Tear down the manmade spire, erect a Tree,
ancient and stolid monarch of wilderness ?
And bring Earth's children, questioning and cold,
naked with common need, to a chastened fold ?


-16-











-18-
SHADOW

Those leaden feet that echo
down corridors of years,
are doubts I'd like to silence,
and the blind-self's fears.

They trail me like a shadow,
accuse me when I fail,
and leave a print like teardrops,
along the Cycle's trail.

I would try to outrun them -
forget that hidden part,
but then I hear behind me
brave whistling in the dark.

-19
PROPHECY

They will come back - the years once blessed with peace,
when the tiller of the field was crowned with sun -
distant bells tolled rest when day was done -
the flock lolled in verdant pasture, and the beast
foraged in woodland, bland and mild.
They will return - the sunlit rooms of ages,
when young ones learned the wisdom of wise sages,
and the parent played in the meadow with the child.
Somewhere they wait, and wonder, and grow wiser:
the years that were blessed by the thoughtful Family of Man.
When this tormented time is blown like sand,
before a future wind, and peace arises -
again from the ashes - the legendary Bird
will soar again - and the gentle Dove be heard.


-17-











-20-
SPRING TONIC

Nature's exuberance resurrects the fields !
Scarlet and golden coinage scatters wide,
as if old miser Winter, converted, spills
all his hoarded wealth in one swift tide.
There is only strata of light to separate
sky from fields, and fields from gleaming hills.
Feathered rainbows arc and soar, ornate
in flourish and flash of vivid air-quadrilles.
All is music and color, flowing design,
aural scent from meadows exploding bloom.
All that the senses can endure, combine,
as perfumed and silken May sweeps into June.
Breathless before effulgent Nature's throne,
we return refeshed, quickened to the bone !

-21-
RISING ROCK

Video flashes on the walls
in surrealist rebound.
Rock-beat pistons down the halls,
in locomotive sound.

Psychedelic color swims,
in tides, from room to room -
the pounding, sounding flashing den,
a psychedelic womb.

All the senses escalate !
Incense wreathes the stars.
Awash in ancient tidal spate,
the sleeping giant stirs.

Rocking free, from side to side,
in liberated rising,
Atlas lifts his load, astride
the Cosmos' vast horizon.


-18-











-22-
SEARCHERS

We searched through leaves and fallen summer fruit.
An indeterminant quest. Old Winter's flute
scattered the drying leaves in chill, blue wind.
We paused a moment, watching the dance, and then,
turned at the sound of a trumpet, cold and clear.
Crystal geometries, floating in the air,
drifted tenderly, softly, silently down,
onto the floor of the waiting, wind-sheared ground.

The scene transformed before our searching eyes,
as glittering snow descended with graceful speed,
from out the high, cold arches of the sky,
it covered the fallen fruit - the hidden seed -
until a warmer, softer wind would sing
the quickening, summoning song of Spring.


-23-
DILEMMA

Ages expound in verse and prose.
Equations of science bloom like the rose.
The learned behold them, under their nose,
descending to superstition.

How many are like Penelope -
weaving, unweaving, a tapestry -
watching for what they do not see,
waiting in repetition ?


-19-










-24-
CARAVANS

Distant dreams, like caravans on the horizon,
always seem to recede, but not approach.
We catch the spicy, incensed wind that floats
across our desert, before their train rides on.
Flash of gold, whisper of camel bells,
scent of spices from the mystic East,
wines and silks - these call us from sleeping peace,
and brush us with shining dreams that time dispels.

Too much scanning hypnotic horizons bleeds
the life away from everyday endeavor.
We must gather our robes about us, for whatever
glistens afar cannot appease our needs.
To gather Life's treasures, known, and yet unknown,
we must embark on caravans of our own.

-25-
PETITION

Gather the Doves and let them coo,
on a silver island of silent sea !
Massive explosions of war blast through
that stately procession: Eternity.
We must hasten to hallow a spot -
carve us a cove from the thunderous sea,
before the Schoolhouse erupts like a blot
of fiery ash on immensity.
Whistle a tune from the gentler days !
Gather the Doves, and let us flee !
Carry the seed through the smouldering maze,
for the best of Humanity !


-20-














-26-
SEASONED SAGE

He smiled and embraced the trickling afternoon.
As it ebbed away, he did not long to hold.
Tapestried hills, resplendant in purple and gold,
he knew would fade into gathering dusk - and soon
lanky, sauntering Night would descend the slope.
How many evenings he had watched the change,
through all the parade of years. Now, nothing strange
greeted the eyes, or caused the mind to grope.
A mellowness shone about him. Ripened years
enfolded him in a cloak. He wore his weather,
styled by himself, and bearable. Whatever
extremes the world knew, with its wars and fears,
out of long struggle, he had come to know
that quiet Wisdom: the art of letting-go.

-27-
TO SEEKERS

Do not surrender ! Do not despair !
I see a grandeur in your gaze !
You are not one soul clutching at air,
you are Humanity in a maze !

The kindled light is dim, but it's there ,
flickering through clouds of doubt in the eye.
The oldest Counseler, on the Inner Stair,
knows the Way, and does not lie !

It's the other voices that you must doubt,
who endlessly chant of death and shame.
Ignoble and crude, they stamp and shout.

They don't even know your Name.


-21-

















-28-
STILL SMALL VOICE

We search through shadows for the light,
elusive wraith, who will not stay,
but ever beckons in the night.
Hide and seek, as children play.

Heart grows weary in confusion.
Soul grows heavy with despair.
Yet - there glimmers a profusion
of twinkling lights, beyond this care.

It's a long and poignant Journey,
on which we play a varied role,
until, in desperation turning,
we find the Inner Light of Soul.

We lay our burden down and listen,
to the soft Immortal Voice.
There, we find renewal glistens.
We lift our load anew - by choice.

This long labor and deep longing,
is an old, well-trodden Climb.
Angels aid, and friends are thronging
with us, on the Road of Time.


-22-











>BR>

-29-
SHARON'S EYES

Interlacing light and shadow under a net of trees,
constantly shifted by wind,
alternating highlight and depth,
these weave a tapestry of humanity,
across the face of this child.

Fascinated by bee antics, enthralled with butterflies,
ecstatic over chirping bird-friends,
innocent expectation - essence of untrammeled soul,
fountains exuberance for magic of immediate life.
Something that years in the world muffle.

Will experience, tempered wisdom, and time -
bring us again to a knowing simplicity ?
Renewal of childlike acceptance and marvel ?
Will the cataract of hynotic saturation fall from our eyes ?
Will dullness of inner faculty dissolve ?
Will we too again see the 'Essence' in manifestation ?

Sharon - I listen ! I look ! Sadly - I do not 'See'.
I try to find a thread of youthful memory,
to pierce the veil of bewildered lethargy and blindness.
To see again with eyes like Sharon's !
What a blessing !

A Child could lead us ,
if we would learn to unlearn and relearn.
If we would listen.


-23-

















-30-
TO THE PSALMIST

Put a candle in the window , Dave,
the kids are coming Home.
Their self-esteem is sagging,
and they're feeling all alone.

The cities have confused them.
The times have blurred their sight.
The artificial neon,
has been their only light.

But you know how it is, Dave,
to aspire, and yet sucumb
to temptation's subtle summons,
and to feel ashamed and numb.

Despite their trailing, tarnished wings,
dust-laden and wind-blown,
at the center, they are children,
and heartache's all they've known.

That's why I'm writing you, Dave.
You've known the battle's fray,
and all these wounded casualties,
you wouldn't turn away.

The line is growing longer,
and many more will come.
Put a candle in the window, Dave,
the kids are coming Home.


-24-




















-31-
YEAR'S TURNING

September light,
flickers pages of Memory.
Some far height,
sounds thin notes of reverie.

Golden, the fields.
Glazed and still, the meadow.
Harvest yields.
Grapes hang ripe in shadow.

O raucous Summer,
riot of rose and lime !
a softer strummer
plays on the lute of Time !

Birds of morning,
ride on the southern wind.
A distant warning,
whistles around the bend.

Homeward, Wanderers,
move in slow procession.
Time for the ponderers :
musing, and retrospection.


-25-




















-32-
ALICE, PASSING

Alice walks two feet ahead,
posture poised, demeanor calm,
and yet, it seems as if she sped,
mindful of some trailing harm.

She's composed, and yet aware
of flowers nodding on the way.
Mystically conscious precisely where
her feet are bound, she cannot stay.

And yet, there seems a lingering
with everything she passes,
as if her thoughts were fingering
creatures, trees, and grasses.

Branches move, as if a breeze
had fondly touched,not pressing,
but gently stroked each separate leaf,
with quiet, tender, blessing.

It's an illusion, that her eyes
see only the road before her.
She emanates a love that's wise,
and Nature's folk adore her.

Observing her silent, flowing message,
I sense we all should learn this art:
consistently mindful of our passage,
yet savoring each part.


-26-













-33-
NIGHT THOUGHTS

I stare from the window,
aware of hovering aura of night.
Full Moon is yet low in the East.
Wind purrs, cool.
All those dimples on the hills create a placid face
in moonlight.

One would not guess -
there wanders the coyote,on something's trail.
The rattler searches stealthily, for the unwary,
the less swift, the timid.
Clouds drift across the moon.

From a distance the strange cry comes -
the sound almost a human wail,
as if lamenting years of dark wandering.
The dimples deepen to pits.
Night bares its fangs.

How thin, the glass partition,
between that world,
and this web of technology and culture called a room-
this tiny island surrounded by creatures circling
through each deadly earnest hour,
weaving that life-and-death struggle
called Survival.

Not so unlike ourselves, after all,
who are constantly involved
in the spinning components of our world -
replenishing, extending, defending,
that fragile castle: Identity.


-27-












-34-
SOLACE

In the empty moments,
when light has ebbed, and spirit grieves,
the mind, devoid of comment,
retires to the heart ...

perceives -

there, in a quiet endurance,
of quiescent memories,
an ageless, nameless Confluence,
that only the Poet relieves.


-35-
WILDFLOWER

The wildflower in the meadow has no need
of people-approval to confirm its worth.
It listens to the message of its seed;
finds a haven on the breast of Earth.

Rooted in whatever soil it comes to,
courting no praise from strangers passing by,
it just becomes, by simply being true,
and lifts its lovely face toward the sky.

A little victory blowing in the field,
the wildflower blooms, and does not care
if others see it, or if, unrevealed,
it offers its beauty only to the air.
Nestled in Nature's silent, sheltering love,
the only praise it needs comes from above.


-28-
















-36-
DREAM FRAGMENTS

Scattered like waters,
around a rising diver,
the dream recedes,
in ever-widening rings,
as I emerge.

Floating,
tiny, irridescent bubbles,
prickling into obscurity,
one by one.

Floating fragments,
cannot be gathered into a whole.
Only vague, haunting,
disconnected images emerge with me,
into the morning light.

More puzzle than solution,
a charade of consciousness,
I cannot define in formative thought:

four old,old rings,carved with faces,
and a name -
Rebecca.


-29-

















-37-
VANISHING BREED

Hands roughened,
by work in the fields.
Noble simplicity in the eyes.
Sinews-toughened,
Son of the Hills -
interpreter of skies.

Companion of elements,
Nature's kin.
Wise in Seasonal lore.
Molder of implements,
Student of Wind,
Guard of the Earthly floor.

Mother who stitched warmth for her child.
Wife who shared extremes of time.
Faith that was strong.
Strength that was mild.
Soul that was plain - yet fine.

Rustic Sages, honest and true,
wed to the land of their birth.
Strength of the ages, now but a few,
the vanishing Salt of Earth.


-30-














-38-
DREAM-POOR

The scope of dreams is wider than the mind.
Woven of substance from a vaster sphere.
They are essence of a rarer kind,
not amply harbored in the waters here.

One may discount the air we cannot see
as having no claim to matter's stony throne,
and thus deny it as reality,
and yet - men perish for air, though strong of bone !

These words are not new. Many have counseled thus,
and I cannot embellish on their theme.
I speak to the young, for whom ado and fuss
with visible, temporal, things the world esteems,
has robbed them of a gentle thoughtfulness,
and cast them adrift on time, without a dream.


-39-
APPRENTICE

In the Under-Kingdom, for his light
the intermittent light of flashing cones,
a lone Apprentice hammers through the night,
building a shrine for tabernacled bones.

With a sound of glinting, silver bells,
tinkle in an April wind somewhere.
All day, the Sea sighs irridescent shells
of loveliness - and does not even care.

A multitude of mockers, and a lie -
(materials to fashion beauty of ?) -
gather and disperse, appear and die.
Nothing would put hand to it, but Love,
who is flame, and only knows the dark
as fragrance knows the rose, or song, the lark.


-31-















-40-
THE BEE

The Bee, that whirrs so busily,
in the oleander flower,
performs his service naturally,
and does not guess his power.

Summer hovers in the hills,
and strolls among the trees.
The Bee, contented, drinks his fill,
as is the way of bees.

He has not studied history
of oleander kind.
Nor does he name the Mystery
that travels through his mind.

That poison wells in the milky stalk,
is irrelevant to the Bee.
He steadily goes about his work -
and that is Alchemy.

The service he renders has no measure.
But it's no concern of his.
He simply works distilling treasure,
by being what he IS !


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THE CRY

In silence, the damned cry out in the night.
It cannot be heard with the ear,
but in troubled winds and unstable light;
a sorrow that has no tear.
A sorrow that gathers into a knot,
constricting the heart and breath,
twisted in chains and bound with a lock -
each day a little death.

Such warmth as there is, is an inner fire,
on the altar of the soul.
It may sear and burn with confined desire,
but cannot thaw the cold.
Their peace is acceptance and steady burn.
Who was it said, "The damned don't cry" -?
Whoever it was has something to learn :
it does not show in the eye -

but they cry.

-42-
HARD LABOR

How many years we weigh and wrangle !
Exalted Intellect, globe and scepter,
zealously labors - produces a tangle.
Truth is untouched, and we have left her.

Through the dark night, the storm in its fury,
battered by winds, and driven by time,
harrassed by an inner debating jury,
we weave our bonds by our own design.

Yet, comes a time, in lone desperation,
something arises, pure and wild,
shatters the web, and in liberation,
views the world and the stars as a child.

Out of arduous labors and cumbersome thought,
rough ore of dense complexity,
extracted in sorrow, by longing wrought,
at last the pure gold : simplicity.


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-43-
HOW MANY APRILS ?

How many Aprils have the ages known ?
Air is clean and soft; the daffodil
lifts up its golden torch; the lily, its cone.
How many souls have wandered through such fields ?
A carpet of color adorns the valley floor.
The young year waxes toward its brightest time.
Bluebirds are avidly at their nesting chores.
Again, we witness another April's prime.

Through slow ages many have paused before us.
Did Caesar once gaze upon such April wonder,
savoring those silent moments that restore us ?
Did he ponder with thoughts more gentle than power's thunder ? ?
Did he weep for the many young bodies that lay
on the Altar of War, beneath such bright display ?

-44-
QUESTION

Ronnie said a strange thing for a child -
"Do you think people die of broken hearts ?" I smiled,
and stayed my hand a moment from it's task.
"Why, Ronnie, I don't know. Some say so.
Why do you ask?"

I searched him, but his rowdy, cowboy eyes
were off astride some steed I could not know,
and I was left to draw a weak surmise,
as 'grown-ups' must, when lost worlds come and go -
outside their door.

"Well I think so !" he said.
And then would say no more.


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EGRET

A snowy egret comes slipping through the reeds;
tall reeds swaying, bronze, and brown, and green.
He follows a little broken trail that leads
into the swamp where somber cypress lean.
Sun comes dripping thickly through a crack,
where time forgot to tuck the mosses in,
spattering a little space of gold on black,
glittering brightly in the murky dim.

He wanders there to stand in the oozing light,
watching it flow and run, as it trickles down,
washing the fragile body, still and white,
settling on the head a saintly crown.
Only a soul of innocence and grace,
could bring such beauty to so dark a place.

-46-
HAZE

The haze that covers the valley,
echoes an inner weather.
Hills are cloaked in shadow,
dismal as yesterday's dreams.

Birds are no longer callow.
They burn with a vivid feather;
jet across the meadow,
blurred as a smoking stream.

The valley is ringed with walls,
and floored with desert sand.
A dull wind sighs and stalls.
It cannot wander farther.

The sunny cataract falls,
but does not light this land.
A mist hangs in the halls,
that is not air and water.


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-47-
CROSSING

Clouds of the underworld, red with strife,
rise like mist around the days.
Groping through shadows, tossed and hurled
against rocks of night, in a private maze.

There ! Through the gathering a torch appears !
Spilling the ruddy light of fire !
A promise. A smattering through the tears,
a fluttering, dim desire.

Yet - it is enough to light the way,
over the River, dark and deep.
Of fragile stuff, our hopes array,
themselves like an army waking from sleep.

The Ferryman calls. The sound is hollow,
echoing over the barrier host -
that ghostly wall. Our faith must follow -
follow his voice to the Shining Coast.

-48-
VISION

There's an articulate silence,
that pulses in the mind,
like the slow drip of a faucet,
in the stillness of the night -

like the ages slowly drumming,
and the marching of our kind,
across the floor of eons, into Universal Light.

Where stars pulse in the Heavens,
threads of forces bind
the spaces in Cohesion,
and all are on a Flight.


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-49-
SIGNET

He sketched a picture in the dust,
while we stood idly gazing.
His act seemed trivial to us,
whose thoughts were lightly grazing,
idly drifting through the scene,
rambling on the hills,
April pastures, lush and green,
and wooing daffodils.

Then, our vision found the lines,
in dust beneath our feet.
They had the power to jolt our minds,
though simple, plain, and neat.
It was a Signet written there
of something old and wise.
It rippled through the sleeping air,
and opened up our eyes.

Though sketched in sand,
which wind can sweep,
so quickly, and so well,
it echoed through our memory,
as clearly as a bell.
All the years have not erased
the swift awakening of it.
It was a Pyramid he traced,
and a Star above it.


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-50-
RAINBOW

I seek out the solace of poetry now.
The day has been hurried and long.
Clouds and winds invaded my brow,
and scattered the notes of my song.

I saw on the street a muffled display,
independant of scarves at the throat.
It covered the eyes with automaton glaze,
and hung over heads like a ghost.

Industry's wheels rotated and ground.
Traffic's cacophony flowed.
Earth in its orbit continued its round,
but only the neon glowed.

Then a rim of gold on the hull of a cloud,
splintered in sparkling rays -
scattered its gold on the hurrying crowd,
and startled a stranger's gaze.

Suffusing the city's teeming crowds,
Promise relieved the dark !
A tremulous arrow split the clouds,
with a rainbow's shining arc !


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-51-
STONY DAYS

Idle in disorder ? How can this be ?!
The mind in agitation cannot rest,
and yet,the body slumps lethargically,
gathering nerves in little heaps of stress.
There is a weariness too deep to name,
entrenched in marrow, frozen in arteries;
a weariness beyond the body's claim,
that cannot respond however mind may tease.
Such heavy weight as surely must abide
in granite heart of rock and time-etched stone;
congealed atoms which move, and yet are tied;
fire-bonded in gravity, harder than human bone,
while about them swirl great tides of water and wind,
requiring ages to loosen them again.

-52-
DRIFTING LEAVES

Adrift in a fragile canoe,
with a sail of sight,
pondering the stream of Life,
from this small night.
Old stars glitter above -
float in this stream,
soft as the fluid passage
of a dream.

Ancestral Blood
surges and pounds,
in this gathering of atoms,
a Universal sound -
older than our concourse
as races, nations, attitudes -
spilling Essential Life,
in flowing beatitudes.

The body flows quietly too,
a little raft on Time,
recording its tenuous passage,
on drifting leaves of rhyme.


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-53-
TALISMAN

Here we sit in disarray,
watching the slow-receding day
gather this shell-pink afternoon
into the pattern on Time's loom.

The pink in us still surges and flows,
tinting our lips and cheeks with rose,
tipping the lax, reclining hands,
like delicate starfish on the sand.

Wrinkled clothing of our unrest,
crumples about us in slack undress.
Across the darkening window, soon,
cascading silver will spill from the moon.

In all this grandeur, only we,
selfishly flaunt our poverty.
Yet - there a Talisman can redeem :
crystal slippers of a dream.

-54-
IN ABSENTIA

Receding stars have left us here,
beached on a sandy cove of day,
where a loitering morning breeze at play,
quietly murmurs and wanders near.

So too, within we recombine
that fluttering breath:identity,
and move through rooms uncertainly,
hands to the chores, absent of mind.

Circles of sameness groove the day
with routine trivia, while the heart
pumps as it must. That greater part
beats somewhere else, like the mind -

away.


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-55-
THE BRASS ROOSTER

The brass rooster spins,
in early morning light.
No cock-crow from him,
a sadly shining sight.

Yet many times we pause,
to search him in reflection.
Despite his lifeless flaws,
he tells the wind's direction.

He whirls through the days,
and creaks through the night.
Through the evening haze,
I heard his anchored flight.

Now he only turns
in distant memory -
a poignant thought that burns,
in idle reverie.

An image, not a truth,
he draws from me a tear.
Does he dream there on the roof,
that he's golden Chanticleer ?


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-56-
UNDER THE MOON

Under the Moon,the thinning trees
are blowing their way to June.
Under the stars, the freezing seas.
whisper to grass and dune.
Over the fields, the cities' lights,
icily dot the sky.
Over the days, and over the nights,
and over the years - a cry.

Under the Moon, the winter trees,
are gracefully on their way.
Under the stars, the freezing seas,
are waiting a summer day.
Over the fields, the cities rise,
tall in their pride of glowing.
Behind a dream, ahead the skies,
and in between - the going.

-57-
TRAVEL LIGHTLY

Travel lightly, Seeker,
across the fields of Time.
Keep the heart a chapel,
and faith, a Child in mind.

Should you wear the robes of office,
move in simple grace.
May honor keep your soul,
and honest be your face.

Ever take the time
to contemplate the Vast.
Look forward to the Future,
and bless the school of Past.

Travel lightly, Seeker.
Pause at every door,
and may the light of Spirit
keep you simple at the core.


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-58-
LIFE'S BYWAYS

There are quiet missions along the Way.
Under quiet tree one may rest and refresh.
Ages speak wind, and light, and creature.
Dove's soft morning call is not mourning.
Leaves whisper in gentle wind.
Liquified sunlight ripples through streams.

This is no main thoroughfare,
only a byway for kindred souls.
The Visionary wanders here.
Ascetic passes slowly in rough robes.
Pondering Seekers nod greeting to pervasive Life.

Youthful rebel eye, sees no activity here.
Zealot thunder, is diminished by expanse.
Artists drink the light, and pass it on.
Poets lave in distant music, and send it forth.

Seasoned old souls, weathered by Time,
move constantly in purposes of Presence,

labors of Love.


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-59-
CYCLES

So many Summers have come and gone.
So many Winters have passed away.
I speak not of seasons in the world,
but of the Inner Way.

Leaves may fall in youth or in age.
Roses may bloom within, whatever.
Rain may fall on the clearest day,
according to inner weather.

A bird will fly, when the mind is free,
and after pain, a butterfly
may light on a petal of inner peace,
or vanish into the sky.

So many Springs have gladdened the heart.
So many Autumns have stripped the trees.
So many snows, with silent art,
have blanketed sleeping seeds.

All ending cycles condense, yet retain
a summary seed, that will get through.
Spinning in spirals, they blossom again,

beginning anew.


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-60-
MOVING ON

Fold up the tents, friends.
The time has come to move on.
This long Pilgrimage,
we warm with campfire and song.

Stars are our nightly candles.
The Moon our little lamp.
Sun shines down on the pathway.
But home is a Pilgrim camp.

Whatever the whim of weather,
each day we cover some ground.
All of us share the Journey,
though debating where we're bound.

Fold up the tents, friends. Sunrise
glows faintly on that next hill.
It's time to move on for another day,

and we will.


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