Saturday, January 06, 2007

Some Selected Poem Re-Drafts

Some more recent revisions of poem's I've previously posted in older recensions. I've posted them again because I think they are among my better ones. Let me know what you think. I'll probably select out a few more in a few days.

The Bacchae

When the god of wine and revel
made dizzy the city's prince,
the omens darkly muttered
with a strange malevolence.

But the king kept to his folly;
he was slain by the godly bull
and carried home in his mother's arms.
Amen: the gods are cruel.

You are proud in your ways, O mortals!
Better it is to mourn
than to march through mocking streets
to where the beasts are torn.

You are vain with the vain cosmetics
by which you hide your soul;
you boast of your civic order,
but destruction is your goal.

You speak the name of Justice?
But Justice walks with a sword
to slit the throats of mortals
with a fate no charm can ward.

When your life is over --
when we see the path you've trod --
we will see not boasted glory,
but the mocking of the god.


The sun is not a ball of fire
but the sum of one desire:
to lure; and thus must it appear
to thoughtless eyes a burning sphere.
But all this rolling globe of light
is more than what appears to sight;
less like a flame, more like a word
in which the thought and deed are blurred
it rolls, and in a single thought
all the paths of light are caught
and bent around it like a sea
extending to infinity;
it speaks, commanding: Come to me.

Some have thought the earth to fly
like a droplet in the sky;
a little water, a bit of earth,
a thing like nothing in its worth.
But they who ponder on the skies
study better, grow more wise,
and know: each star in its course
is subject to its endless force;
all the glories near and far
are affected where they are
by whispers born of ecstasy.
The whispers say: Come to me.

The stars are moved; each like a thought
has searched the sky and gently sought
the paths and ways by which things flow;
each is a word to those who know,
a gesture to each thing and kind
that the seeking soul can find;
each calls out to eternity,
each ripples out upon the sea,
each beckons, saying: Come to me.

A Tiger Pouncing

The light is a tiger pouncing,
a panther pawing, a lion roaring;
like waterfalls in their pouring,
its color thunders, unrelenting.

Rippling in the shadows
like a rumor in the city,
it leaps like glory's coming
in the rainbows of the flood.

The light on the wall is flowing,
shadow-playing, darkness-mousing,
leaping and lightly purring
as it panthers in my room.

A Saturday Morning Walk

Saturday I wandered far,
seeking explorations,
questing for I knew not what
in the morning promise of rain.

A good woman gave me two peaches,
omens of immortality;
they were sticky in my hands,
the juice running freely,
rich with sweetness,
a hope preserved
for the seed and for our taste.

The night before had been dark,
sheltered from moon and star;
but the darkness was a rolling darkness,
a seminary of life and hope,
like the darkness of the earth
feeding the growing root.

My memory held this all;
my thoughts looked out on the world,
seeing that it was good;
my will hoped for the glory
and the rising of the sun.

In such moments we are God-like,
more than words on water;
on such mornings we live
as whispers sent down from heaven
and writ with letters.


What is this I see, my God,
the presence all around me?
I lift my eyes to tangled thorns --
with bleat of ram and flash of horn
the gift has been provided;
a twilight ram, creation's cusp,
has grasped my hem in offering.
Satan caught him in the thorn,
the angel was his herald;
his hand is laid upon my hem
in gestures of creation.

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