Sunday, January 31, 2010

In realms of dark you watch and wait
Hoping for a sign that will lead you
To light. A phrase, a smile, a
Look of the eyes that could prove
A sign of love.
Pluto, your cold demoted planet, moves slowly in its orbit
Through reaches of dark space.
Master of the Underworld, you are familiar
With caves of limitless night
And the black river that souls must cross
On their lonely pilgrimage.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hortus Conclusus

Over the high wall
Some leaves will fall
And float upon the pool’s still water.
Across the sky
A bird will fly
And pass its shadow over the bower.
No gust or breeze
Will sway the trees
Hedged about with brick and mortar.
Into this garden nook
No one may look
And tell what strange blossoms do flower.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chanson D'Amour

You love her face
Even when it’s hard and bony
Even when her chin is long and witch-like
You love the wildness in her eyes
And that they narrow when she smiles
You love her lips and the soft lisp
When she is excited
You love her head of thick curly hair
You love her long, thin torso
Almost flat-chested like a girl’s
You love her long fingers
With cracking fingernail polish
You love the fact that she pronates when she walks--
You love her.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiku

Fixed along the road,
The dark house shuts its square eyes
Hearing the night wind.

Eclipsed by plastic,
The moon through Venetian blinds
Visible, removed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

On the dark city street
You pause before a lighted window
And notice the table and chairs in a room--
Indicia of another life
And stand transfixed.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shiruken

Ninja star
Whirling through rooms
Through paper screens
Spinning silently
In the cool night air
Past swords of steel
And sleeping samurai
Circling, turning
Finding
Without seeking
Its lone, destined,
Hidden
Target
A breath of pure air
Through the nostrils,
A portal to heaven.

As the tea master said,
There is always, somewhere,
A fresh wind blowing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Somewhere on the internet
After a virtual tour of Bruges
With still, austere pictures of
Canals and Gothic towers
Downloaded in cyberspace
You ponder God and transgression
But soon you are distracted,
Ready for a chat in Tokyo.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Villanelle

Once the wheel turns, there’s nothing to do
Flowers of spring have all been undone
The past is a hole we fall into.

After the gesture, the doors close on you
Flowers of spring, their decline has begun
Once the wheel turns, there’s nothing to do.

Fixed in its pattern, what was is true
Flowers of spring had beauty bar none
The past is a hole we fall into.

Barely time to consider, barely time to reflect
Flowers of spring, no victory won
Once the wheel turns, there’s nothing to do.

The clock has claimed us, its bell we may rue
Flowers of spring fade in the sun
The past is a hole we fall into.

When night comes, the work is all through
No flowers of spring, not even one
Once the wheel turns, there’s nothing to do
The past is a hole we fall into.

Friday, January 8, 2010

From your window
You watch the white sky and
Withered branch blasted by winter
And become moody, disconsolate,
Quarrelsome over trifles,
Not fully knowing it is the rage
And sorrow of premature grieving,
The half-buried fear of a loss so deep
That even if you were exiled to the coldest star
You could not be more alone.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A love unspoken
Where is it?
Does it rest in silence
Behind closed lips
Or flash out in the eyes
And inform each gesture?
If it is not seen,
Does it exist?
Is it interred in a tomb
Left to decay
Or is it a fire
Noiselessly burning?
When the bomb goes off
And the walls blow out
And the sturdy floor cracks
In the shock waves
The comfortable furniture
You were so used to
Broken and useless
For support
Amdst the debris
And your disloyal
Body goes its own way
In the conflagration
You have the core
Residuum
Left in the white light
And capacious space
The perception
The reckoning
The mercy

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Annunciation

A Flemish angel
With a girl’s face
Entered the enclosed room
In silence
Like a wisp of smoke
The mirror showing only
The flowing curls of the Virgin's hair
And the light on a pewter dish.
Beyond the windowpane
The gabled roofs, the marketplace.

Monday, January 4, 2010

White-Bone Meditation

A skull unearthed
Jaw hung agape
As if its former tenant
Could express shock at death.
It’s the same story
Larvae, puss, putrefaction
The settling of an old score
A lingering debt renewed
With each birth
A harvest of souls brought forth
Naked, picked clean
Like the sound of a harpsichord
As it trills upward.

What if
Your neighbor suddenly was
A skeleton, knocking on your door
With bony knuckles?
Or your good friend, a grinning
Visage of bone and teeth?
What if the whole street, the town,
The world were filled with skeletons:
The young woman seductively swaying
Her exposed pelvis, the busy
Executive holding a cell phone
To a non-existent ear,
Skeletons in restaurants devouring
What’s left of flesh
Skeletons in court passing judgment
On themselves,
Skeletons lusting after other bones?
Would you have compassion?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

God's first language is silence.
St. John of the Cross

As in Zurbarán,
Silence and light pervades--
The citrons, the oranges,
The rose poised on the silver saucer--
They speak the words of form and light,
Of hidden holiness,
Of stillness,
Eternity in a cup,
A wicker basket.