Thursday, December 17, 2015

Seven Deer

Seven Deer

Pervasive quiet
A glow in the eastern sky
Before the sunrise

The warmth of the windless air
The warmth of a dusty road

A bird sings in code;
Perhaps we don’t understand
The way of nature

Attending a long lecture
Regarding evolution

Waves by the ocean
Slowly transforming the coast
Transforming a pier

Seagulls suddenly appear
As the sun dissolves the fog

A passive prologue
To a thickly scheduled day
Of obligations

Heart-felt associations
That draw us into the world

Like a flag unfurled
Blowing in a constant wind
Next to the town square

An old car needing repair
Rusting in the parking lot

Something she forgot,
When she was a little girl
How she felt secure

How illness was quickly cured
By the concern of parents

How they paid the rent,
How they cooked and served her meals,
How they bought her clothes,

How they helped though indisposed,
Though they were very busy

Trapped in the city,
Trapped by fate and by karma,
By astrology

As the planets glide slowly
Singing their songs in the sky

Planet earth relies
On the seasons of the sun,
The wheel of the year

The Spring Equinox is here
By the stream are seven deer

The water is clear,
On the bank a well-worn path
Where young students walk

That is where they smile and talk
As they’re strolling hand-in-hand

They think life is grand,
That this will last forever,
That time will stand still,

But for better or for ill,
Though they thought that this would last,

Love becomes the past,
Even grasses do not last,
Even mist dissolves

As the second hand revolves
On the public courthouse clock

It’s time to take stock
At the local statue store
Deities galore

Gods and Goddesses implore
That we put an end to war

Turning to the four
Directions, finding a place
In the stream of space

An angel flies, filled with grace
Above the field of the past

Where our hopes, at last,
Join with dreams and hand-in-hand
Create our future

A dance of many creatures
On the ground and in the air

Where a white-maned mare
Gallops on a field of stars
While the planet mars

Steadily observes the cars
That fill the rush-hour highway

The night of payday
Two friends heading to a bar
Feel the fist of cold

Even though they are not old
They pull their gloves on tighter

The snow looks whiter
Than the snow from last winter,
Maybe that’s because

The snow was thin, it would thaw,
Mixing with exhaust and dirt

Where it would convert
Into shiny slick black ice,
Slippery, like vice,

Slippery, like promises,
Slippery, like last week’s cash

Or the drugs he stashed
Behind his favorite books
Where no-one would look

As the ancient moonlight shook
The foundations of his dreams

All his hopes, it seems,
Did not work out in the way
That he hoped they would

Like some badly knotted wood,
Like a garden that turned dry,

Like a friend whose sly
Words covered a deception
Like a poisoned meal

‘Come on, it’s not a big deal,’
As she turns and walks away

The sky’s touched by gray
By a subtle hint of light,
A prelude to dawn

He wakes in bed, then he yawns,
There’s the first frost on the lawn

As crisp leaves hold on
For another week or two
Prior to a storm

Whose wind totally transforms
The way that the garden looks

The flow of a brook
Carries a discarded chair
Planks of rotting wood

Like words we’ve misunderstood,
Given half a chance we could

Have made it all good,
But that was not meant to be,
Like one lost at sea

Or a cup of bitter tea,
Or a song that’s badly sung,

Or a bell that’s rung
Fading into the warm air
Of the afternoon

With the cherry trees in bloom
Outside of the living room

They’ll soon come to doom
Shaken from their branches,
The simple fact is

Years have passed and now I’m old
Like a moss covered oak tree

That she stops to see
Next to the new masonry
The shadows are long

As the sunrise sings its song
As the new grass grasps the light

Seven larks in flight
Disappear behind the sight
Of the dancing white

Cloud formations, the polite
Children at kindergarten

Watch the new fountain
That was finished yesterday,
That was donated

By a man who was fated
To always feel insecure

To not know for sure
What he should do or should say
And that was the way

That he lived day after day
So he became reclusive,

Someone elusive,
Like a sound that’s barely heard,
An unuttered word,

Like the moon behind a cloud,
Like a letter never sent,

Like a fabric rent,
Like a rock beneath the snow,
Like a dream that I

Can’t understand though I try
To unravel the meaning

It stays unyielding,
The mist of time concealing
What we are dealing

With, like incense dispersing
When the morning Mass is through

And there are a few
People sitting on the pews
Quietly in prayer

‘Times like this in life are rare,’
Two old friends are hand-in-hand

Like the cliffs they stand,
Monuments to endurance
As the seasons change

Like a fluid mountain range,
Like cool fog above a stream,

Things swirl, planets dream,
Things swirl, it’s the first frost’s sheen,
Things swirl, stars careen,

Things swirl, they are inbetween,
Things swirl, the wind stirs the trees,

Things swirl, falling leaves
Skitter past a silent fox
To a fence that blocks

A path to some glacial rocks
Lying at the farm-field’s edge

Near a shaggy hedge
By a new development,
Sixteen new houses

Empty, and the problem is
That no one can afford them

Words from an anthem
No longer seem to inspire
Like an off-key choir

After the divorce she’s mired
And the kids, though grown, require,

Because things are dire,
More assistance, more support,
Than she expected

Life is tough, things neglected
Have a way of coming back

Dark, the road is black,
The swift outline of a bat,
Slowly thunder claps,

Somewhere a twig snaps,
A feral cat eats a scrap,

Time bends, there’s a gap,
An angel looks at a map,
He must arrive at

A cop at a speeding trap,
On the street a missing cap

Like other things that
Disappear without a trace
Cities that vanish,

A conjuration banished,
An ancient sea now deceased,

An apartment leased,
A full eclipse of the sun,
Days of joy and fun

When we used to play and run
On the shore of Elbow Lake

August was a break,
A motorboat left a wake,
On our vacation

We would joke and would mention
How the night was filled with beasts,

They were friendly beasts,
Seven deer and fireflies
And the white-barked birch

Seemed to shimmer and give birth
To stories both new and old,

Stories always told,
Stories that I never heard,
Stories without words,

Stories that seem sometimes blurred,
Stories that the moss will tell,

Stories from a shell
That sails on the stream of time
Past all that is here,

Past all the things that appear
Beyond all that disappears

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Ghazal for Emptiness

A Ghazal for Emptiness

I recall a simple song in the Grove of Emptiness,
The lingering light of dawn in the Grove of Emptiness.

I suspect that you’ll soon leave, autumn colors don’t deceive,
Nothing lasts for very long in the Grove of Emptiness.

Lightning flashes in the sky, I’m waiting for your reply,
There is nothing right or wrong in the Grove of Emptiness.

In the morning you make me some toast and fresh roast coffee,
Gestures of caring are strong in the Grove of Emptiness.

Ecclesiastes said, ‘See, all of this is vanity’,
All our hopes and fears are gone in the Grove of Emptiness.

Notions appear and disappear like flowers from last year,
A mountain does not last long in the Grove of Emptiness.

An ancient stream shifts course, a child, now grown up, feels remorse,
But I feel that I belong in the Grove of Emptiness.

My name is Jim, all is clear, there is nothing that is dim,
I am dancing with a throng in the Grove of Emptiness.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Ghazal for December

A Ghazal for December

The sound of the steady December rain,
Leaves in an eddy and December rain.

The tick-tock of the clock seems to have stopped
While in stillness I remember the rain.

The world’s filled with the cruel and many fools,
But there’s the stochastic sound of the rain.

I read a tweet that I quickly delete
While I’m walking in the wind and the rain.

Awake at night, I turn on my room’s light
And there’s the fantastic sound of the rain.

I heave a sigh for a lover who died
And recall the lullaby of the rain.

My name is Jim, I seek shelter within –
There are so many voices in the rain.