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PLACES AND TIMES

POETRY COLLECTION


Part Two
- Windchimes -



by
Betty Curtis
Copyright 1993 - 2000



50 Pages - 53.4K















Contact
E-MAIL


-1-






CONTENTS

Please note: numbers are for poems. Page numbers are at bottom of page.
Must print out by page numbers. (bc)

1- Windchimes
2- Autumn Wind
3- Rivers
4- Transition
5- Respite
6- Moody Day
7- Eternal Child
8- Old Man's Thoughts
9- Compensation
10-Darkest Hour
11-Illusion
12-Paper Lanterns
13-Ganymede's Dedication
14-Asceticism
15-Riddle
16-Before The Storm
17-The Unbeliever
18-Thoughts On Art
19-Where ?
20-Bluebird's Return
21-Days
22-Love Note From Long Ago
23-Departure
24-Couturier
25-Idols Of The Mind
26-Whimsy
27-The Indefinable
28-The Desert
29-Creative Frustration
30-Modern Ritual


(cont. page 3)



-2-










CONTENTS (cont.)

31-Wicker Chair
32-Brief Episode
33-Lost Art
34-Cool Cat
35-In Praise Of Gentle Light
36-Hiatus
37-Grasshopper
38-By The Pool
39-Crankenstein's Lament 40-September Afternoon
41-To My Friends
43-Cycle 44-Thoughts Of A Seed
45-Winter Chant
46-Chip Away !
47-Flying Fishes
48-Shadows
49-The Haunting
50-A Curious Color
51-Old Poet's Dream
52-Rescue
53-Interior Underworld
54-Refining Fire
55-Timeless Communion
56-Hope Of Forgiveness
57-Approach
58-Unicorn
59-Winter Rose
60-Nameless




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-1-
WINDCHIMES

Breathless with heat of summer,
air is water-soaked.
Thunderheads slowly gather.
Hillsides seem to smoke.

A faint breeze ruffles the cottonwood.
Cactus endures it all.
Air flows through the window,
like a vaporous waterfall.

Softly, the windchimes tinkle,
cool as ice in a glass.
Something in that small movement,
nudges the lethargy past.

Such a soothing, and cheerful, reminder.
from such a tiny thing -
it takes only a ripple of air,
to make a windchime sing.




-4-















-2-
AUTUMN WIND

I write of a time that is passing;
try to record a vanishing world.
Like leaves on a swift Autumn wind,
our times are rapidly hurled,
toward a Tomorrow unknown.
Flying - flying - soon will be gone.
Are they fading to skeletal framework of science ?
Automaton breed ?
We must catch the fleet Essence,
condense it into seed,
before Ages are lost to mind and heart;
all that we know of love and art.

On the horizon, dark shadows reel.
No longer green mountains and spires;
cold towers, chrome and steel,
delicate wires;
nerves of man's 'new order' -
tangles of wind and water.

We must gather the tincture quickly -
the pathos - the glory of Soul -
ancient beauty and wonder - bfore the cold clock tolls-
silence to gentle dignity;
extinction of human empathy.

So much is fading away, my friend.
So many ways and pregnant dreams.
So many hours of peaceful pursuit,
passing like leaves in a stream.

We must each become its 'ark',
bearing the spirit through storm -
faithfully through the dark -
keep the caring warm.
We hold the Promise (who love it), secretly, silently curled,
in the warmth of the heart's remembrance,
seed for Tomorrow's world.


-5-











-3-
RIVERS

The music of rivers; the glint of their tone,
the smoke-veiled cities - the trees - the hills -
flowing and going, and always alone.
But here and there, the daffodils.

The sighing of rivers; the meadows they leave;
the vallies they search and pass.
They cannot look back. They must not grieve,
though nothing they touch will last.

They may tenderly touch the shore as they go.
They may bask in the sun awhile.
They may wear the fog, and taste the snow,
but silently onward file.

The praying of rivers. The thirst of their quest.
The surge of their liquid fires.
The rock and the mountain that dares to resist,
are carved into woodland spires.

The music of rivers, as they wind on their way,
in the flowing that Time has decreed.
In the heart of the silence, long memories lay,
and a spirit that longs to be free -
so they sing - on their way to the Sea.




-6-


















-4-
TRANSITION

In the May dusk, woven thick with flowers,
day and night are shafts of light and shade,
for dreamy hands to set in a parade.
Row on row, of silken pleated hours.
Tenderly, the reddening sun devours.
Dream by dream, illusion is betrayed.
Brilliance clamors hotly to dissuade
the dreamer from the darker dream that lowers.

And so - from tracing scriptures in the sand,
the finger turns accusingly to 'I'.
Listening for itself, the ear turns in.
Ear, and silent tongue, and idle hand,
await, as from some oracle, reply,
then turn to tracing scriptures, once again.




-7-























-5-
RESPITE

Curtains move in itinerant wind.
Clouds ride a current, high.
Anchored to a chair within,
I watch them passing by.

On a little shore of a little life,
tides of the larger one ebb and flow.
Stars parade in the nightly sky.
I watch them here below.

Pulsing in this listening heart;
pounding in this questioning mind;
is Essence of it all, in part -
a drop of the ocean , here enshrined.
'Small'and 'insignificant'
are never synonoymous, you know.
Value is 'essence' and 'intent'
wherever they may glow.

Every life, though small, or confined,
has a part to play, and answers some need.
What if it's tiny, and does not shine ?
Neither does a Seed !
Yet - nothing offers more proof of Life -
more promise of things to come.
Out of the depths of struggle and strife,
it stretches toward the sun.

And so - in wondering, and in pause,
not idle in my chair,
the Essence of LIfe quietly flows,
and blossoms in the air.


-8-
















-6-
MOODY DAY

Skies are mottled, blue and grey.
Hills answer, shade and shine.
A mulling wind has lost its way;
the groping echoes whine.

You wouldn't think a heart could be
reflected in the sky,
or that the rain's uncertainty,
might issue from an eye.

No - we are much more quick to say,
the clouds have cloaked our mood,
than that we might have sketched this day,
so half-inclined to brood.

And yet - perhaps this discontent -
these changelings, bright and deep,
moved in us somnambulent,
and rose with us from sleep.

Perhaps that pondering wind we hear;
the clouds that shift and roll;
the light, obscured, then blazing clear,
- are figments of our soul.


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-7-
SPIRIT, THE ETERNAL CHILD

I speak words like roses,
awhile they blaze, candleflame,
light that softly sings,
within the hollow dark.
Moth wings,
tremble tenderly around the glow, then burn
their hungry beauty,in the golden urn.

I think thoughts like castles, cold and wide -
grey and winding, where a tide
of vacant footsteps echoing,
causes corridors to sing;
announces torches' flame to view.
Like cherubs lost,
in gentle clouds, my thoughts are tossed,
from uselessness, to hope,
to fairy scope.

I do things like oceans, deep and wild;
without a pattern, weather-styled,
sun-defined, and named,
by sands and shells and fished, aimed -
arrows toward the Sun.
My wonders run,
shoreward - seaward - past the stretch,
where mountains gleam, and cities etch -
tomorrows -
one by one.


-10-





















-8-
OLD MAN'S THOUGHTS

I sit in the shade, and dream my old dreams,
as I did when I was a child.
Sunlight weaves lace, as it falls through the trees.
Its fire is filtered and mild.

Geese, flying down from their northern home,
sing an age-old prelude to Fall.
Air is cold and damp in the mornings now,
and a mist hangs over it all.

My skin is wrinkled. My legs are lame.
Years have taken their toll,
but dreams can fly farther,than when I could run,
and time has smoothed out my soul.

So friend, don't come to pity my state,
with hovering motions and sorrow.
I'm preening my wings in the shade today.
I'll fly on them tomorrow.




-11-























-9-
COMPENSATION

Slow drops of winter rain,
in delicate tracery,
write unknown script on the pane.
A moody poetry.

Confined to bed by illness,
the body's assertion stilled,
something sings in the stillness,
sweet as a bird on the hill.

Weariness has it's treasures;
silence, surrender, and sleep,
unlike the exuberant pleasures,
when the body is hardy and sleek.

In the waning power of flesh,
there comes an inner dawn.
The outer self struggles less,
and the inner self waxes strong.

As if in the lessening power,
of the body's clamoring role,
life draws in like a flower,
and strengthens the weary soul.



-12-










-10-
THE DARKEST HOUR

The city is sleeping in silence.
Moon disappears on her journey.
Wind blows through the lilacs.
Earth is endlessly turning.

No creature stirs. No calling
is heard from the distant hills.
The darkest hour is falling.
No light adorns the sills.

Under the rim, the fire lies,
hidden from present view.
We silently wait the sunrise,
in the soft beginning of dew.


-11-
ILLUSION

Pictures,
on a decorated mirror.
Only creaking,
when I touch the door.

Inquisitive,
I carefully draw nearer.
Creaking answers,
from the phantom floor.

Eyes are calm.
They have no light but questions.
This is a void,
I numbly stare into.

All the bold pretense,
can never lessen
-the nothingness.
It's easy to see through.



-13-






-12-
PAPER LANTERNS

Paper lanterns hanging from the trees.
Traffic on the street seems far away.
A garden party atmosphere deceives.
This is only children at their play.

We grown-ups have our sweet deceptions too.
We hang our twilights with a gold-foil moon;
paint our inner walls celestial blue,
and warm heart's winter with a summer tune.

Something wise has made this compensation,
tucked away where facts cannot intrude.
We call it dreaming, or imagination,
and with it weave a glow around the crude.

In troubled times, when life seems cold and dreary;
the far horizon stretches, grey and stark;
the pilgrim soul is faint, and faith is weary:
we hang our paper lanterns in the dark.


-13-
GANYMEDE'S DEDICATION

The sun will arise tomorrow, despite this night,
and someway heal my sorrow, voice my plight -
my inborn disposition to love,although I cannot win -
my silent song above, my noisy doubt within.

The much old-fashioned fever of this hour,
will fade away, and I will be a tower -
of soothing, calming strength to those who call.
They will not know this wall -

nor my eyes cast on it,nor ears that hear rebound,
nor all the weary avenues of my soul unwound,
nor all the times that I have heard - unkind -
"This is dedication - the cup does not taste the wine."


-14-















-14-
ASCETICISM

Into wild auroras, flux of light,
braced to meet the blaze, surrenders climb,
on weary feet, trailing clouds of Time,
along the spiral of a burning white.
Soul shudders up a sacrifice of fright.
Too long bewildered with the moan and grind,
of phantom worlds, shadows entertwined,
to dread the day, when fear is dead in night.

Against the light, her figure darker grows.
The blindness of too great a brilliance falls.
Yet - more fearful nights have stilled her care.
She cannot see the path, yet calmly goes,
a steep ascent, unguarded now by walls,
and all the way, the tethered demons glare.



-15-



















-15-
RIDDLE

As fragile as a butterfly,
enduring as the Sea;
borne on winds like thistledown;
determined as a tree.
A spark that flickers soft within,
then blazes in the eye.
From beginnings small and dim,
it soars across the sky..
Minute in fine exactitude;
immense in vast expanse;
some call its course a destiny,
and others name it chance.
A riddle fine, spun on a wheel,
woven on loom of Time;
opalescent composition,
resilient in design;
pervading and pervaded;
unique, but not alone -
intimately mated -
the Knower - and the Known.




-16-
























-16-
BEFORE THE STORM

No clear reminder came here to decide,
that we could not abide,
the changing temper of the tide.

No Prophet stood,
on wind-blown corner,amid strewn
newspapers of the latest bloom,
to cry out of impending doom.

But something is abroad.
It taints the air.
We do not know precisely where
it drifted from,
and most don't care.

Yet - there's an imminence disturbs the crowd,
as if a presence of portentous cloud.
Something we know within -
but do not speak aloud.




-17-





















-17-
THE UNBELIEVER

I walk around with a thorn in my heart.
It's the wrongs I can't correct;
the unborn hope, stifled art,
sorrow I can't reject.
I wash my face, comb my hair,
and dress in the current mode.
The smile is in place, but under there,
is a soul that's shivering cold.

All the loved ones who've slipped away,
beyond the curtain, to who-knows-where,
leave an empty place in every day.
I try to have faith that Someone cares,
but my ears are dull, and my vision dim,
I see and hear only this world.
I am not sure. I submerge again,
to the cave where sorrow is curled.
When I walk the street with this sad unrest,
I see others who pass through the day,
with pasted-on smiles, fashionably dressed,
carrying on with the 'play'.

Yet, here and there are certain eyes,
that seem to see more than I.
I'd like to put off this pretense and disguise,
and bravely ask them 'why ?'...
but these old chains of disbelief,
still paralyze my hope,
erode my spirit with hidden grief,
and send me through life to grope.


-18-












-18-
THOUGHTS ON ART

Identification is the artist's art.
Not detachment, as some think.
Empathy is the soul of art, they know.
Involvement is the ore.

Movement of the mortal world is part.
Essence of the finer world distinct,
as Van Gogh's eyes saw life and soul
issue from the core.

It is true their works begin submerged,
flowing strata of the common world.
Well they know the lashes and the bars.
Equally well, the longing.

The test is if the Essence has emerged,
through them into clarity, and curled
around the work, as pearls do, with no scar -
only great belonging.

-19-
WHERE ?

Locality is limit, and the heart
rebels at limits. Faithful with its dread,
seizes line, and particle, and part,
in hands of love, until each finite shred
has been transmuted to a new dimension.
Circumference becomes a spiraled ascent.
Boundary promotes its own extension,
by virtue of a pressured discontent.
'Where ?'is a word, and words are little worlds.
Select another world to answer that ?
No - love, at last, has grown too wise for trying.
So only sits, with great grey eyes unfurled,
and says in gentle silence, "We are at
the place where being born, is mostly dying."


-19-


















-20-
BLUEBIRD'S RETURN

The bluebird's feathers are blue again !
He left for a little while.
He must have wandered in some wild wind,
that rumpled his smooth, sleek style.

How bedraggled he reappeared !
Great patches of feathers were gone.
One leg limped, and one wing steered
a little askew - and no song.

Now his eyes are suspicious and keen.
A leaf astir can set him flying.
He comes to feed on lowered wing,
and can scarcely eat for eyeing.

His plumage is turning to sapphire blue,
and his flight improves each day.
Though the feathers are bright,and sleek,and new,
caution is here to stay.

Somehow an innocence has faded.
Oh sweet bluebird, what was the woe,
that sent you back all ragged and jaded ?
I guess we'll never know.



-20-













-21-
DAYS

They were splendid and tall,
washed in a thin green light, before -
when a sober face, long, and not beautiful,
looked skyward through all their music.
Music was solemn too - a small, grey bird -
trembling one moment in a coaxing hand,
and then, flying free, gliding plains of heaven.
This is the way of thoughtful children.

Days were swift then, all running together -
like beach towns bordering one interpretative ocean.
They were tender. Both suns and cold winds scraped.
But - they were clean, and they were kind.
Later, they became bright and shining with new color -
with great brilliance, a spring welling up -
glittering with fluid sparkle.

Sometimes they burned with a great heat in the breast,
fountained to the brain in flashes of gold light,
reaching out like a child for the lure of beauty.
Then - sad with endless loss, and cold transparence.
Silence fell, with the hint of muffled music.
It was grey. All grey, and stretching away in distance.

It seemed that at the end there was only night and silence.
And yet - sometimes we remembered stars, and pools,
and warm, slanted sunlight on the Road.
As in a dream, we remembered Mountains,
and bright waters.
Out of the shell- within us - a new day dawned.
We are Companions.


-21-










-22-

LOVE-NOTE OF LONG AGO

If I could come to you today,
what would I say, but this -
that all you are is graven here,
in filigrees of bliss;
that all you are is like the scent
of Persian spices, blown
across these golden, waiting rooms -
your old, forgotten home.

Tomorrow is a leaf that now
begins to lean in flight.
Yesterday has slippered feet,
that yet enchant the night.
All your ships are harbored here,
and through the firelit halls
of all our courts, the plaintive sound
of waiting music falls.

Yet - in his waiting, every King
concerns himself with State,
and moves through wise appointments,
lest bugles at his gate
should sound the long-awaited note,
so welcome and so sweet,
and his beloved come to find
no Kingdom at her feet.



-22-
















-23-
DEPARTURE

Children on the stairs,
groping in dim light.
Eyes turned upward,
searching ahead.

Surrounded by
ghostly discourses of the ages.
Striving to hear
the delivering music of Life;
to see the Light
streaming through an open window.

Children,
who have put aside their toys,
to embark on,
the Quest of the Soul

-24-
COUTURIER

How gloriously
water glistens,
when it's spread
with light !

In moonlight
it's like satin.
In sunlight,
diamond bright !

If only I could still
this inner agitation,
and let Light clothe my soul,
in dress for the occasion.



-23-















-25-
IDOLS OF THE MIND

Stacked up like a pillar,
wobbling on its base,
collected blocks of knowledge,
from a long pragmatic race.

A tremor can send it tumbling.
A storm can scatter like dust,
the tedious gains of science,
in which so many trust.

The flaw is in its nature,
all piece and part, no soul.
No concept of Cohesion.
No Vision of the Whole.

No Spirit that animates factors.
A film obscures the eyes,
and this blind-guide misleads us.
It cannot make us wise.



-24-



















-26-
WHIMSY

Do they come to you with labels ?
Do they categorize the wind ?
Do they fix the constellations in a course ?
That fragrant dinner on the table, the cook did not intend
as molecular works of chemists, or much worse !
It's a sumptuous feast ! A festival -
of savoring and wine,
where you rustle in your silk, with charming friends by candlelight.
Oh the weather feels so estival !
The moon so brightly shines !
But did you know refraction has bewildered you tonight ?

Stars are never where we see them.
Their glinting, splintered ray
has traveled many centuries, and may not still shine on.
Do not smile so sure and sly then,
all the scenery in this play,
even now is fast dissolving, like crisps of fading foam.
Love your dream and take it with you.
Fix the future in your heart.
Let the swift, ephemeral tides of living flow.
The very airs that now surround you,
faces, voices, science and art,
like the wildflower in the meadow, change to thistledown, and blow,
on winds of perpetual Autumn - toward tomorrow -
and not slow.



-25-




















-27-
THE INDEFINABLE

Oh soft, slow glow,
within the body's being,
how is it that you flow
to feeling, hearing, seeing ?

The ivory chess-men bones,
that hold this world together,
resonate with tones,
that tell an inner weather.

But tell me this, oh Tide,
that wanders through these cells,
what is it will abide,
when time has tolled its bell ?

"There is a wind that blows,
eternally uncaptured,
and That - as mystics know,
is ever Life-enraptured.

"When it grows weary here,
it wanders up the Hill,
and that which once seemed dear,
becomes an icy chill."



-26-



















-28-
THE DESERT

The desert seems so like an armory,
all swords and spears - hard-bladed.
Heavy artillery of wind
fires volleys of dust at the hills,
pelts the stubborn-standers so mercilessly,
even the thorny cactus bleeds red flowers.

Sentry Joshua Trees resist what would invade -
hold no counsel with itinerant strangers.
Desert severity confounds the unaccustomed.
One must submit quiescent application,
to its guardians -
wait, silent and unjudging, openhearted,
before the mantle of communion descends,
intangible yet prevading,

unstopping the ears, peeling the veil from the eyes,
revealing companion hills encamped around sunset fire,
glittering stars atwinkle in that stern old Prophet's eyes,
as the wailing coyote sings desert longing
through the night.



-27-























-29-
CREATIVE FRUSTRATION

We cannot walk like glowing gods,
down streets of cloudy pillars,
into burnished sunsets.
We cannot twang fretting of threads,
spun from invisible stars,
to chord our song.
These we may envision, but as we are,
we have no claim.

These splash in our interior,
like nymphs among pond lilies.
Even there, escape our grasp,
become evanescent, opalescent mist,
suffusing the small, grey, interpreting cloud of mind.

We search the shelves of knowledge to explain
what cannot be explained,
and are left holding feeble nuance.
The truth lies limp,
a lifeless mass of grasp-plucked feathers in our hand.
The bird has flown.

All we can say is dull fact,
sprayed with a luminous hint.
Any streetlight
can say that better.



-28-












-30-
MODERN RITUAL

Huddled buildings clinging to Earth in a cluster.
This is called a modern 'shopping mart'.
Around them, city life, all fuss and bluster,
surges and swells. Indigenous shopping cart
gallops on wheels that thump erratic pulse;
bubble gum has caused the roll to stutter.
It forages through aisles, increasing bulk;
explores for icy blocks of cheese and butter;
harvests the orchard bins of apple and pear;
drifts through isles of pineapple and lime.
Then - like the miniature railroad at the fair,
it arrives at the cashier's station in its time,
and emptied, passes into the cart depot,
awaiting another driver to make it go.


-31-
WICKER CHAIR

A wicker chair, caught in cascading light.
An old one, no product of factory.
What hands, with conscious care, wove through some night ?
Here, in the sun, light singles a gold trajectory.

From what moist and mellow world of warmth and water
were these reeds brought ?
Conditioned by time, dried and yellow,
smoothed to comfort, like Sage's thought.

A distinctive presence in this room.
It sits, as if in silent meditation,
with a bearing of being itself, no hesitation -
just peace and endurance, still and alone,
waiting to be a Sage's throne.



-29-










-32-
BRIEF EPISODE

When Bridget entered the Galactic Tearoom,
they were not aware of her,
so engrossed were they in their closed mingling.
She drifted like a wisp, through a sea of beings,
whose conversational thought passed in irregular waves
about her.
At the Captain's table, were grouped those
especially assured of mutual importance.
Like an alien, she paused, outside their awareness.
The Captain, accustomed to assuming alertness
for intruders, sensed some suspected presence;
narrowed his eyes, listened intently,
and turned his head quizzically.
Another, somewhat ascetic type,
a little apart from the mingling stream,
was aware, but could not formulate identification.

Bridget's smile was wistful. She felt somewhat of a 'waif'.
The steely span of long continuance was in her,
a strength of endurance Time had taught her,
touching both shores - native to neither.
She was separate, not by intent, but by seasoning.
It was not a lack of awareness of winds and waves,
nor was it disconcern for them.
It was a long ingrained familiarity with them -
and knowledge that they were unending.
One there (kindred being), recognized her presence.
Eyes met. A smile shared, a silent nod,
indicated communion.



-30-















-33-
THE LOST ART

"Sleep little girl, and waken new.
A quiet rest will do you good."
That was Grandmother's way to subdue,
trouble and illness. She knew it would.

There in the big, high feather-bed,
worries took wing and flew away.
"Sleep, little girl,sleep instead
of fretting and crying". She would say.

"Sleep, little girl, and mend your dreams,
in open fields of quiet rest.
Follow the heart's meandering streams.
Go and be Fancy's laughing guest."

Sleep, little doubt, Grandmother knew,
when the mind cannot untangle the woe,
we must turn it loose and wander through
fields of dreams, where healing winds blow.

But oh - who is at the window there ?
And why is this cot so hard ?
Sleep little fear. I can't lose care !
Grandmother, somewhere I've lost the art.



-31-





















-34-
COOL CAT

Surveying the distance, ground to tree,
where avenue-branches stretch leisurely;
paws together, tail atickle,
back arched high, an inverted sickle,
amber eyes serenly scan,
with much less furor than feverish man,
with problems much less steep.

At last abound with flying grace,
despite no wings ! Feet firmly placed.
Tail concurs foreknown success.
Now, flattened ears, the stalking dress,
as needle claws proclaim decree,
for higher vantage in the tree,
where calm eyes view a broad domain,
(in place beneath !) with cold disdain.

No kitten this, to mewl and cry,
but sovereign lord of land and sky -
who, after regal look-around,
condescends to return bound,
and cleans the paws soiled by the ground.



-32-


















-35-
IN PRAISE OF GENTLE LIGHT

Oh blue beneath the shining tree.
I find in you a special beauty.
Branches reaching sunward flee
this quiet shade cast off by duty.

Yet here, in August heat, the quail,
not quite equipped for eagle-flight,
can bring her fluttering young to sail
this splendid coolness of blue light.

There are those who tend the flame -
a glow against the winter storm.
You temper summer's blaze with shade,
they keep the snowbound spirit warm.

The tree's exalted by its height.
The storm's respected for its power.
I thank God for gentle light,
that grants us rest, though but an hour.



-33-
























-36-
HIATUS

I find withdrawal creeping into days.
It's harder to pretend each hour.
Gestures, motives, acts, display
a lessening of power.

It isn't sorrow, though it may appear
to be a dull, non-caring chill.
It's more a weariness with 'here' -
scanning of a distant hill.

I care, and yet I cannot seem to 'reach'.
It isn't simple apathy.
It's more a walking-on-the-beach,
a looking out to sea.

Exploring the secret inner rooms,
I find a little Orphaned Fawn,
standing startled, then it moves -
a flash of wonder - gone.

Days are islands in a misty Sea,
one by one I visit.
Each one is a little victory -
or is it ?



-34-
















-37-
GRASSHOPPER

He sits as if in meditation,
with all his thought indrawn.
I move a bit. No agitation.
He sits there, motionless and calm.

Those round eyes glitter. I can see them.
Yet - they neither blink nor change.
I watch and wonder what he's seeing,
and if,to him,it's known or strange.

He's grassy-green, long-legged, agile.
When he hops, he almost flies !
Yet - he seems so very fragile,
and I see questions in his eyes.



-38-
BY THE POOL

I watch the shining fishes swim.
Their pool is crystal clear.
Ripples move like fine harpstrings,
stroked by gentle air.

Boundaries of that little sphere
of soft liquidity,
are broad enough for fishes there.
To them it seems quite free.

Sunlight through the branches, sprays
their world with filtered light,
and I suppose they know their way
about it in the night.

A little world pursues its course,
intent upon its schemes.
Do other eyes watch us from worlds
much vaster than we dream ?



-35-







-39-
CRANKENSTEIN'S LAMENT
(In strong,indignant accent)

It's a little ridiculous, you know !
We are servants to our pride: machines !
The very things concocted to bestow-
more leisure time ! I say - what does it mean ?
Our lives are spent obtaining and maintaining
the little rascals of our own invention !
Tied to the wheel, freeway snarled, complaining,
lost from the promise of our prime intention:
more free time to expand our old horizons !
Whether we're engineer,miner,steno, or clerk,
that ancient glory of the sun-globe rising,
now only tells us we must speed to work !
Then hurry home each evening in a steam,
to watch the 'Evening News' destroy our dream.


-40-
SEPTEMBER AFTERNOON

Sunlight falling through lattice-work,
draws shadow-patterns on the floor.
Wind that stirs in the flame-vine,
rustles against the door.

Yellow-bells chime in silence,
muffled by velvet petals.
Windchimes float on the patio,
ringing enameled metal.

A whisper of something approaches;
sounds of a far-off drummer,
from out where a cold wind gathers,
announcing an end to summer.



-36-










-41-
TO MY FRIENDS

Haven't we grown wiser, and weary, yet,
of infinite, tangled intricacy;
innuendo, nuance, and theory;
the twisted, intellectual net ?
Are we not weary of alternating bubble-bath and doubt,
cluttering vision,insulating skin
never letting essential truth come out;
never letting simple Essence in ?
Can we ever return to seeing ages roll on,
uncontested by chattering theory;
each day athrill, joyously carried along,
riding our space-ship planet expectantly ?

Remember days when morning sang at the window,
borne on a slanted glimmering of sun ?
Remember when we and the morning were as one,
suffused with a buoyancy, rich and mellow ?
Remember watching our phantom breath float on the night ?
How we marveled to see the invisible suddenly there ?
When all the Universe seemed to share delight,
and stars exhaled their light in the frosty air ?
Is this what was meant by those words so simply styled -
yet argued through time by theologians and sages :
"...except you become as a little child..."
plaintive admonishment, whispered through ages ?



-37-






















-42-
RESONANCE

A trigger of a tree has fired me here,
amid a field of ancient species-knowing,
to find strange kinship with this blue wind blowing
a whispered message, yet a bit unclear.
There is a tug, a pang that sounds a chord,
Pure instinct, long covered over with thought.
This is cellular recall, genetic wrought,
that sounds in flesh and bone, but has no word.
The tree, all sun-webbed, wind-tossed, green,
bears no resemblance to angelic harp,
and yet, that strumming passage in between
strung branches, resonates within the heart,
and ages twang along the nerves to brain.
All of us know truths we can't explain.




-38-























-43-
CYCLE

The gentle waves of yesterday,I see upon the shore,
when youthful feet explored the sands,and visions danced before.
Brow was cool.Eyes serene.The heart, poised for its flight.
Love that stretched across the miles,still had a soothing light.

The quest seemed clear. The song seemed sweet. Hope,a shining cloud-
a quiet cloak of shifting shades,neither coarse nor proud.
Now, the feet move wearily. They can no longer run.
Brow is fevered, and the heart mourns love that did not come.

Yet - a quiet courage grows, unseen, unsaid, yet more,
as I recall the gentle waves upon the early shore.
Now,it almost seems I hear come down across the day
the calling voices listened for each step along the way.

The heart, which never seems to know to quit, or how, or when,
quickens and renews its pulse, and stirs to watch again.
Is this the Cycle now returned to where it was before -
or gentle waves of future times, now splashing to the shore ?



-39-





















-44-
THOUGHTS OF A SEED

Please forgive me, if I seem morose,
I write from a small and narrow quarter,
within a hard husk, uncomfortably close.
There's not much here but trickling water.
I hear only soft, faint, inner travel
of warm, slow pulse within my being.
It itches and urges to unravel
some secret promise, of which it's dreaming.

For now, all seeing is on the eyelid,
projected on an inner brow.
It's a hazy vision of all that I would
like to be, but cannot now.
I'll have a winter of calm to cover
my little world in blanketing snow,
till, safe in stillness, I may discover,
the way past husk, and how to grow.

And - later on, the tender fingers
of warming light from a distant sun,
moisture of Spring rain that lingers,
to soften and crack this shell, till it's gone.
Till my heart, long stifled and strangely numb,
may thaw and reach toward that Vision,
where this small core of counsel becomes
unfolding Life,in a new dimension.



-40-



















-45-
WINTER CHANT

Ice is on the windows. Ice is on the trees.
A cold wind chafes the meadow. A cold wind angers seas.
Fire blooms in the fireplace. Soup steams through the rooms.
We have our own devices to brighten up the gloom.

Clouds are mean and low, dense and dark, and threatening.
Soon will come the snow, lest we be forgetting.
It has a way of silently, with little licks of cold,
recalling our mortality, and the flesh's hold.

Elemental disconcern, has no care at all
that we are feeling spurned, nor that the purest fall.
We mortals have no power to still or speed the storm.
Conditioned by its hour, we work at keeping warm.

With some, it's more a matter of arduous survival.
But Spring conforms to pattern, and turns it to revival.
Ice is on the windows. Ice is on the trees.
Snow is falling splendor. Mind moans memories.



-41-




















-46-
CHIP AWAY !

Whittle down the walls. No sudden blast,
has ever achieved a final end to such.
Prejudice gathers strength when caught aghast
at sudden violence, but a subtle touch,
like homespun whittling, whistling in the shade,
goes unnoticed underneath the trees.
So we can chip away as years parade,
reducing the walls, replacing affinities.
Till scale by scale, and block by block, the stone
of bigotry shall slowly be removed,
with no alarm to armored flesh and bone;
unity of humanhood be proved,
and those who believe in it at last will see -
chipping away can bring a victory.


-47-
FLYING FISHES

Flying fishes, all these things:
dreams,hopes, carousel rings.
Rainbow colored, ephemeral, bright -
pathos and wonder of arcing flight...
out of water, into air.
Gravity harnessed,returning where
the dream of flight had first begun,
in latent water...
Resigned to swim
until the ancient, heavenward urge
compels to flight, and they emerge -
flying fishes, seeking the sky.
Without wings, they can't soar high.
Watching, one must at least admit,
it's quite a dazzling show !
They (like us) will try again.
Maybe wings will grow.


-42-












-48-
SHADOWS

Some shadows pass,
like vague, dim dreams.
Some shadows hover,
and cloud our view.
Some shadows drift,
like leaves in a stream.
Some shadows fall,
like dismal dew.

Exterior,
these we can observe,
with some degree
of calm separation -
but oh - those shadows
that ride the nerves,
and bristle our neck-hairs
with dark expectation !

-49-
THE HAUNTING

How good it would be to calm this 'little self' !
This cold and dull reactionary armor,
that plots my bondage in unconscious stealth,
and sows deep troubles,like a thistle-farmer.
Skulking about the hallways of old hope,
tainting each promise with its dismal airs.
Each day it blindly struggles up the slope.
Each night I hear it clanking on the stairs.
Yet - we are wed by some forgotten rite,
amd bound together thus (or so I'm told),
until this hollow core gives birth to light,
and has a form of pure transmuted gold.
For now, the best of us is yet unborn,
and bitter conflict pricks us with its thorn.


-43-












-50-
A CURIOUS COLOR

A curious color, as if undersea,
pervades the season.
I can't explain the wash of shimmering aquamarine,
nor give a reason.
An atmosphere from some forgotten world ?
Pehaps one never known ?
I cannot say.
It seems as if another sky has blown,
from interdimensional eons,
into this day.

Surely we should easily float,
above the ground !
Flow at will whither we are inclined.
With only longing for boat,
gravity bound,
we feel free, but are anchored in our time.
A curious color annoints the commonest things.
A light so tender. A light that sings.
I try to remember.



-44-


















-51-
Old Poet's Dream

In the evenings again, I will rest as the innocent do,
on the dusky porch steps, looking off with eyes of peace.
The pulse of my heart shall be as the slow, strong river.
Children shall look upward with eyes of trust.

Speaking in tones appropriate as the sea-breeze,
I shall bring calm.
All about us shall swell bright breakers of love.
In the evenings again, I shall turn in calm reflection,
scanning the streets, the fields, the tender light
of tall street lamps, and see down the roads of evening,
beyond the hills and cities,
clouds like halls of Promise.

I shall sing sweetly of color and clouds,
songbirds in trees, rain that is benediction.
I shall sing hymns to a wiser procession of seasons,
and hold in my heart the pearl of the age's pain.

In due season, we shall again rejoice -
to celebrate the Life of everyday.



-45-



















-52-
RESCUE

There's a little desert island we call'empty'.
We sit in lonely silence on the sand,
looking out across an endless Sea,
with only shells and sea-foam in our hand.

Sea-foam quickly vanishes to air.
Shells grow dry and brittle in awhile.
They lose their sparkle, like our eyes hung there,
above the little twisted rag of smile.

This all changes, when the sea-wind rises,
little wavelets splash against our feet.
Soon we see a ship on the horizon -
a ship of promise - that we run to meet.


-53-
INTERIOR UNDERWORLD

In tangles of Night, we roam,
a subterrean world.
Wander, searching for our Home;
from rock to river hurled.

Now uncertain of the way
out of a vague, uncharted maze.
We fence with phantoms. Shadows play
ephemeral dramas in the haze.

Here and there, a shining fragment,
suggests we may find gold.
Jewels flash, made of a substance
hands can never hold.

Groping through the shade and shining,
a hidden inner light reveals,
in earnest digging and refining,
glory that the dark conceals.


-46-












-54-
REFINING FIRE

What of the fire that burns away the dross ?
Are we to call it evil ? Though the ore,
no doubt does not consider it to bless,
when all is done, it leaves but gold, no scar.
No stigmata of the past ordeal.
Weight forgotten, and the flow
of a free,remaining purity,will heal.
Life calls us.We forget more than we know.
The refiner's work, is a strange work that destroys,
even while it redeems the rough and cold.
Who clings fondly to the past ? The joys
are radiantly showing in the bit of gold.
Then- whether to medallion, coin, or ring,
it glistens free. No memory of pain.


-55-
TIMELESS COMMUNION

We said 'goodbye' -
yet - it wasn't a parting at all.
We knew it, even then.
I cannot watch a gold leaf fall,
or hear the whisper of wind,
or witness the nightly sky,
but what I am washed with the magnitude -
the scope of your vision of Life.
To those of kindred thought, the dense and crude,
are never a barrier. Nor can Time intrude.
They ever merge on the frontiers of the heart.
And there is no 'apart'.


-47-














-56-
HOPE OF FORGIVENESS

When the trumpet is sounded, and angels hasten
to gather the tares, and harvest the wheat,
I hope they'll forgive, and perhaps not chasten,
for this heavy weight, and these dragging feet.

When the Shepherd comes, to call the sleeping,
those covered with sorrow among His herds,
I pray He will see this a 'Vigil' I'm keeping,
and forgive if He finds me buried in words.


-57-
APPROACH

I see those pillars. There are two.
There are no curtains, just a shadowed arch.
I can't go back. Must go through.
The path to those chambers seems so dark.

Just on the threshold - open beyond.
Columns enscribed by those from before.
I cannot turn back. I must go on.
My lamp is dim. I'm at the door.



-48-














-58-
UNICORN

Caught by the inner eye,
against the green,
beside a pool,
exquisite creature,
quivering and keen,
poised and cool.
Jewel in the forest shade,
with glowing eyes.
Radiance formed. Divinely made,
for glory, and for Paradise.
No fabled fantasy,
ephemeral as wind.
More Truth than dream !
A gleaming glyph of vibrancy,
reflected, phantom-twinned,
in the silent stream.



-59-
THE WINTER ROSE

The Winter Rose,
is quintessential worth.
It's fragrance blows,
across the fields of Earth.
It is a Rose,
with petals of spun gold.
It's beauty glows,
though never fully told.
Delicate and fine,
like a fragrant flame,
it blossoms throughout time.
Beauty beyond a name.
Shining in the Soul,
scenting our repose,
it blooms as Ages roll -
the Winter Rose.


-49-




















-60-
ICE CARVINGS

Like
ice carvings

all
named philosophies

return
to Essence.



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