Saturday, February 28, 2009

Counter Flow

The patter pitter of the rain
Played concert with the
Tock tick of the clock
As my day started with the
Setting of the sun
I could hear the music
Rolling and rocking
From the room next
As people went out and in
Slamming doors

From the window
I strained my neck
To see and look
Behold and lo
People about and up
Flowing fro and to
Like the tides and ebbs
Of swampy waters

The strange sequence
Of events that go and come
Had me bewildered and bothered
But on the down and up
Considered, it may be better
That our fortunes go and come
And fate is as we die and live

Bye, Bye Blackbird

Singing from high tension wires
Urging me to sing along
Follow the frittering flashes
Of smoldering plumes
Strung up like notes
I should be home by six
But it is a pity to miss
Bird burning up high
Will anyone understand?
Asked Billie, what lament
The song intones
Blackbird strung up
In high wire
No harder luck story
Than this been told
Make my bed and light the light
I’ll be home late tonight

A Murderous Season

His dark majesty rode in with fluttering cape shrouding the day
With no bugles to herald, no chorus chanting his usurping of the light
The people in the village huddled and together trembled with fright
Pulled down the shades and barricaded the doors of straw and mud
“We’re not ready for you,” they shouted peering through slits of rotting wood
“I come at my pleasure”, he roared from his fiery eyed ebony mount

“Where are your offerings…your fealty…your sacrifices?
Where is the fattest of sheep, the youngest of sons, the purest of maidens?”
“Tempt me not to summon my minions to wreak havoc on your lowly abodes”

“Oh your eminence, forgive us for our shortcomings, turn your anger
Somewhere else…the next village perhaps…we will be ready in a fortnight”
The sheep will be fattened, our Benjamin ready and the virgin dressed in white
With a shrug that shook forests, blew away clouds and tossed seas
He said “I am a god that does not wait, I want your offerings now.
Your pleas insult me, your excuses disgust me, your promises infuriate me

All throughout the village a heavy pall of fear and dread hovered
Then he left with a shattering flash of lightning and the roar of crashing waters
Even the dawn was reluctant to shine out of the gloomy wake

Through the gray of an unsettled morning light
No babies bawled, raucous children silenced and dogs lost their whimper
Huddling in corners of their decrepit huts mumbled prayers ululated
Fathers and mothers wrap their arms around their quivering wards

Somewhere in the village young men grouped and with loud voices
Declared “prepare, be ready, let’s put up a stand against this onslaught”
Lit torches crackled, the staccato thud of pegs driven on hardwood and
The gnashing of metal sheets lashed on steady moorings were heard all night
(Lit torches crackled, steel against steel gnashed with their honing
The staccato of bamboo poles hewed and sharpened in broken rhythms)

As before, his dreadful majesty comes without herald, without ominous harbingers
The sky will crack up and with bright electric storm light up a silhouette of trees
Along the edge, a bleak horizon flashing off and on in rapid succession
As bats dot the darkened the forest’s canopy like scattered ants in a broken hill

Now he came as threatened…sudden, looming big, terrifying and horrid
Against a backdrop of a splintered sky…a tattered Aurora’s hem
Thunderous hooves fell on hard and dry ground shaking up mountains
Primeval forests bared and hills flattened with every heavy stride

It was a peaceful night in the tiny hamlet, only the rustling of rotted leaves
And the mewling of a distant cat could be heard in the village square
Past the ruins of an adobe chapel, by the field of withered corn stalks
Roods of odd sizes and slabs of crude granite scattered on weeded plots

A murderous season came to pass, a plunder most cruel and swift
There is no redress, no recompense, no relief and no reparation
Injustice, unfairness and unconscionable cruelty never were protested
It is the way of all things and it will inflict its fury again in time

Friday, February 20, 2009

David’s Birthday Poems

1. There is this David from Saigon
Upon seeing a cake on a ledge
Huffed and puffed away
At eleven candles on its edge
Hey! It’s his birthday today!

2. Today David turns eleven
No finer lad this side of heaven
With his smile and clever wit
And a grouch not even a bit
Blew big candles on a cake
A bite of which you have to take

3. No nicer lad than David you will find
A cheery face to match a clever mind
Hey! Today is March three in Saigon
A day for moping and sulking to be gone
For he turns eleven and not a day late
Surely a day for everyone to celebrate.

Sea Change

Do you have a sea within you
Where awesome barnacled monsters
And fragile fish in shiny crimson vests
Scatter in the sea grass as they meet

A swarm of wrasse streaming through
Like muted skylarks chasing wind
On a swathe of gaudy pink corals and
Upon fields of somber olive kelp

Oh what a powerful will lie in wait
In the calm waters of the deep
Only the undulation of the sea grass
Give hint to the burgeoning force

Oft times, restless waves with billowing roar
Swell up to heave foamy white crests
To crash against the stolid gray cliffs
Challenging steadfast promontories

But the land will always frustrate the dare
The sea falls back deeper into its abysmal depths
Then, gathering strength, it rises again
Rallying waves to get back at a startled shore

Dark Eden

I lived in depths of a thousand fathoms
Where days are dark and cold
Darting shrimps leave silver streaks
The only light to be seen at noon

You can’t tell when it’s ebb or tide
In my abyss no precision gauge
Measure what is great and small
Leviathans and weak fish equal in esteem

Friendly barnacles smile but who’s to see
Sea grass greet should anyone come
Fiddler crabs play mute chamber music to
An audience of groupers with mouths agape

Endless miles of filigreed corals
Graceful kelp lined row on row
A regal maze of lime green hedges
Lie hidden in deep blue trenches

Loveliest place in all of the seven seas
Only if a million bonfires could be lit
An Eden kept secret, you know it’s there
Illumined by floodlights of my mind

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Remember Valentine

Do I recall saying,
Lines that ardent swains’ whisper?
Borrowed sonnets from the Portuguese

Do I recall offering,
What every adorer bears?
Wine-red roses and chocolate truffles

Do I recall the impetuous act,
That a lover on impulse dare?
Clasp hands delicate as Dresden blue

Do I recall the affectionate kiss,
That I, with fervent passion implored?
Scarlet lips voluptuous as Autumn cherries

I do recall with longing all these and more,
A lunatic fringe all young lovers dwell in,
Reckless adoration of the beloved on Valentine’s Day