Juvenilia: Vision of Tomorrow (1986: Age 15)

July 31, 1986

The world is restless under my feet
I haven’t seen the sun in days
Black clouds hover the ground I walk
Yet there is no one to see what I see

The world rots in universal entropy
No light finds the grass I walk
Heaven’s tears flood the pours of my dry skin
Heaven’s roars frighten the tiny children

Here in this isolated town sleeps a naive soul
Blind by youth to the world in his eyes
He knows none see his visions
He knows he speaks false words

Here in this isolated town I sleep
Blind by youth to the mad world in my eyes
I worry of love and other bittersweet passions
I will rise above to see the world

Over the Appalachians and through the pines
I long to have the vision of years
Yet only through time will God grant my wish
I will still dream of mares in the night, and white stallions.

Lightning flashes in my eyes
The princes and slaves, two-faced societies
The land ahead is covered by clouds
I run onward in spite of my blindness

Does she on the blue-green hilltop have sight
Are the stars above hers to gaze in a dreamy awe
Does she lie blind like the naive soul I am
She is one of the merry youth

A naive child searching through the attic
I look for the key to open my sight
Soon I will find it and unlock the door
Open my eyes to the winds eluding me

The key has been stolen
The door opens before my naive eyes
The wind’s howl threatens the lies in my life
Of sweet music and star filled skies

Shut the door- my eyes burn
My ears long for the sweet music
Reality is upon the blue-green hilltop
The stars are ours in a dreamy awe

Is this my sight?
Are these mountains only my visions?
Will you look with me or sit alone?
I, naive child dare to be an adult

There she rests alone on the blue-green hilltop
She has the stars in her gaze of dreamy awe
If only the stars were not behind the clouds
I would trap the stars in her gaze

The world rushes behind the drag of my feet
The light of the sky is hidden for me to find
I write these words never to be understood
Like the scream of a child in a moonless night

Please let me gaze at a starlit sky
One last chance to wish upon my naive falling star
Soon the truth will burn this naiveté
My child will crumble in the heap of an adult

She sits with me on the blue-green hilltop
The stars are ours to gaze in a dreamy awe
The sun will shine upon our new days
The blackness of night will pass

Will the world wait for me?
I gaze my dreamy awe one last time
Run from the hilltop with me, dream and weep
Soon the world will turn in the palm of your warm hand.

Image: Hilltop – Edward Henry Potthast

Juvenilia: The Child (1986: Age 15)

June 19, 1986

Bullets pierce and echo the air
Villagers abandon their flaming homes
The king cannot see, only the Lord sees
Reasons do not matter as bloodshed begins

On a hilltop the one flag quivers in the wind
Tears pour into the Child’s innocent eyes
His brother has died in the flames of war-
Horror from what was once so grand

Unnoticed, underfoot our freedom drifts
We, sightless, block our ears from the Child’s wail
His father has died in the ocean of war
Only to be as us- free

The fire rages across the countryside
The Child is shot in his tears
The memory of his brother burns
The memory of his father drowns

One man fills his jars with tears
His son fills dreams with fears
Both are dead, burned by lead
Nothing left, there is no son

Nothing left, there is no village
At dawn the flames consumed the last morsel
On a hillside the one flag quivers
The stars shine, the bullets pierce the air

We bury the Child under the flag
His father would have won the flag
They bled too long for
A reason too wrong

Bullets pierce and echo the air
The village burnt to the ground
Does any flesh mourn the Child?
Oh Lord…

Reasons do not matter when innocence sheds blood.

Image: Venitienne A Sa Toilette (Venetian Lady at Her Toilette) by Jacques Louis David

This Cup

I offer this cup to you
refill it with the blood
of imagination and immortality
offered like a gift from the gods.

I let it slip from my fingers
into the desert of adulthood.

She offers this cup to me
filled with blood shed
to resurrect the gift of love
piercing the limits of imagination.

In her hands it throbs
with a longing for childhood.

We offer this cup
a dry vessel filled with blood
to rediscover life in red
more vivid than imagined.

In our arms lips shiver
and restores our innocence.

We fill this cup
with truths lost in the desert,
the blood of mortal life
and love immortal.

Your gentle hand
fills my cup.

Image: Breakfast Still Life with Chalice by Willem Claesz Heda 1634

Liquid Jade

The ocean runs like liquid jade
Poured between fingers, pure and clean
Empty like I wish to be long enough
To settle between ears that heard too much.

God poured his glass of water here
So that I could see the bottom
A reminder of spots that can be touched
But many more that remain to dive for.

Should I take a break from these poems –
Lyrics to songs I sing alone –
Try to dance to a song everyone knows?
Not to give the night to conformity

Just to break the darkness
With a light from wax,
Words melted with a flame,
A spark that smells familiar, if foul.

Did the child wonder,
That darkness would not scare him?
Did the chid wonder
What darkness would inspire?

Image: Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky
https://www.boredpanda.com/mesmerizing-translucent-waves-19th-century-painting-ivan-konstantinovich-aivazovsky/

Never Be Weak, Son

Darkness coats the room,
A slippery cloak donned by hiding.

Men look for a lost piece so hard
They must destroy everything,

Build around them, an armor:
Never be weak, son, never.

The tissue that constructs us,
Rolling like clouds out of ether

Blown by God into shapes that fit
Alongside everything else

Is weak, so weak it needs bones:
Never be weak, son, never.

Image: Light In The Darkness by Jarmo Korhonen aka Jarko
https://fineartamerica.com/featured/light-in-the-darkness-jarmo-korhonen-aka-jarko.html

When Do I Stop Writing This Poem?

I feel like bread and wine in sepulcher
The Priest will soon bless…
Body and blood
One soul
Stitched back together.

Drunk Aristophanes
Joked with Socrates:
“Love is a Mighty God!
Dear friends… Gather…
Describe for us… How…
Two become… One…!”
One soul
Wandering the earth
As halfs.

When did I begin
Writing an endless poem?
Socrates and Aristophanes,
Drunk on ouzo,
Laugh with the Priest.

Morning Reflections 6/8/18: Psalm One

For how long will we choose to be chaff
Allow wind to take us on its journey
Never alight in any one spot to root?
When not chaff, but seed we agree to be
Do feet find soil to root in and grow
To become that which our vocation calls
True to the spirit and with the seasons
Able to fruit when read and shed leaves
When fallen to make fertile soil underfoot
From which the next seed will emerge strong
Seeking sunlight and tasting the cool waters
That stream around us even on hottest days
When our hearts fatigue wants us to give up
To the wind go only to have the souls root stay.

image: Gustav Klimt, The Tree of Life, 1905

This morning’s reflections follow morning spiritual practice of reading Aurelius, the Bible, and meditation. The primary source of inspiration being Psalm One in a loosely sonnet-like format. This is only a second draft, so any comments or suggestions are encouraged!

So Close to Losing You

Today, thought I just about made it
When the sand felt so soft under foot.
Surf as gentle as she has ever been
Kind, she tasted my toes, an offering.
The Bay as still as she has ever been
Called my heart ready, an offering.

So I swam, free style, each stroke
Reaching as far as it could, elbows high,
Until there was nothing left to reach for.
Stories tell of the peace felt the moment
Water rushes inside remaining voids
Releasing oxygen others need more.

Today, just about made it across the bay
When the bottom, littered with rocks
Called me its offering, gentle and kind.
So I swam until there was nothing left
Water rushed in like a baby yet born,
I closed my eyes, close enough to losing.

“Son,
Are you awake?
I’m right here.
Hey,
Are you awake?
I’ll watch you.

Today, swim with me,
Son, so close…
Your
Eyes:
I am not losing you
Not today.“

My voice:

This week’s song of the week finishes The National back-catalog with a response to the stunning melancholy of “About Today” formally released on the EP Cherry Tree, made more powerful in its live version on the Virginia EP. A conventional reading of the lyrics tell of a man next to his wife realizing he is losing her. An unconventional reading of the lyrics is more self-reflective, a man looking at himself so close to losing everything. Today, the 25th of May, both readings speak to me. My response, however, ends with the hopeful, yet pained voice of a Father, perhaps The Father, who watches over his Son, not yet ready to lose him. This cathartic poem has been brewing for some time, now, and at last finds its voice.

The Song:

Original version, a powerful part of the film The Warrior:

This live version, however, rips my heart out every time:

The Lyrics:

About Today
Songwriters: Aaron Dessner / Matthew Berninger

Today
You were far away
And I
Didn’t ask you why
What could I say
I was far away
You just walked away
And I just watched you
What could I say

How close am I
To losing you

Tonight
You just close your eyes
And I just watch you
Slip away

How close am I
To losing you

Hey, are you awake
Yeah I’m right here
Well can I ask you
About today

How close am I
To losing you

How close am I
To losing

About Today lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC

220px-cherry_tree_28ep29 220px-the_virginia_ep_cover

Up, Up, Up Into His Sky

I wake, having forgotten to look up
To see how god shapes his story for us
If only we had the cypher to the clouds.

I ask the trees, having watched Him longer,
If they have a code, they say, “no man,
Made up our own, more fun that way.”

I smile and move along to speak with birds
They all laugh together, “silly man, always
Thinking God does everything for you.”

I smile and look past them at the blue
Wanting to unlock the dictionary, and name
Every corner of the sky in between clouds.

Just then the birds’ silence stills me
To these pieces of universe we surmise
Are ours to discover and name.

Names that will be forgotten
Once their meaning dies and with us,
Drift up, up, up into His sky.

Image: Sky 2, Creator’s Celebration by Roxanne Dyer
https://roxannedyer.com/sky-oil-painting-art-gallery/