Saturday, June 04, 2005

Two Poem Drafts

Not my strongest work, but not my weakest, either. The first was written at the CPA, which was at the lovely campus of the University of Western Ontario. I stopped on the bridge above the river and scribbled it out. It was actually the main river, called the Thames, that I was above; I misread the signs at first and called it "North Creek." When I saw my mistake, I still kept "North Creek" because it sounds better.

North Creek

Once on a weary journey,
panting from the strain,
I fell;
the grass was green around me,
gently waving in the breeze,
but the yellow flowers that crowned the hilltop
were puritan-prim
and would not dance with the playful winds.
An exquisite gold flickered on the fin
of a fish that swam beneath rippled waters
that broke on the tumbled stones --
remains of some unremembered cataclysm --
piled in little islands near the shore.
The wind blew --
it was inspired --
the midges drifted in sweet oblivion
as the little birds leaped among them
(leaped, but the midges did not know them).
The spirit now within me,
I rose to steady feet and stepped,
again, upon my road,
in signed relief retaking
the goal of my unseen destination.


Truth is a living creature,
a quicksilver spirit,
a flowing fire of burning light;
it is a thing for the will to dote on,
a reward for mighty heroes
making sure the roots of the weak.

Do you own a diamond crown,
a gilded purse, a ruby cup?
Truth has a brighter glitter,
a surer value, a sweeter aspect;
all gems are but dim signs
of this living adamant.

An amaranth in the garden
they say is for never dying;
it is the secretmost tincture,
the green dragon of life's elixir,
but it is a mere likeness of semblance
of the true philosopher's stone.

Once in the liquid nighttime,
with artful moon bright and clear,
I heard the birds in the tree.
They sang in a noisy pattern,
a boisterous piping of flutes,
and they spoke of truth.

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