Saturday, April 09, 2011

Three Poem Re-Drafts

Discourse of St. Symeon

Who stands upon the ocean-shore
and looks out to horizon's end
may in its vastness somewhat share
but yet is bound upon the sand;
such see in truth the boundless sea
and yet the sea extends beyond;
unbounded sea they truly saw
and yet their seeing had a bound.
Yet, content not just to see,
will others into vastness wade,
and what shall we of these folk say
who feel the waves roll strong and wet?
They too the endless ocean share,
but they are conscious and made full,
far more than any on the shore,
of fullness, depth, and overflow.
But will not those who wade out lose
their vision as the water weaves
a wall through which their eyes see less
of anything but wave on wave?
And to the one who simply swims
all but the ocean then will fade;
in such a state the world then seems
to be but currents that enfold.

This is so with glory bright!
Even thus will be the lot
of those who by God's grace are brought
into God's deep and endless light.

In All the World Are None for Me

In all the world are none for me.
The lonely whispers from the sea
like shadows slink out on the sly
beyond the corner of my eye:
no words enmesh the wary heart,
nor force, nor faith, nor artless art,
and always-mocking almost-mights
still haunt the dark and lonely nights
like long-smashed idols made of sand
that whisper of a promised land,
or gnat-like nothings made of air
and pithless deserts, dry and bare.
But one small impulse deep inside,
so stubborn in its inborn pride,
will seek, will quest, and never stay,
till love is found, or judgment day.


On a dark and stormy night when a gale was rising high,
I was walking in the forest and thought I heard a cry;
muffled by the distance to a sound like mournful sigh,
it rose above the wind, then wavered, faltered, died,
so light upon the ear I almost could have thought
it was a trick of sound by storm and gale-wind wrought.
What could that whisper be? Sense and query fought,
but puzzle over-balanced, so sense I heeded not:
I rushed into the darkness of the wind and rain and cold.
The lightning flashed and glamored on a castle ruined of old
and there, like sheep who stray from the devil's fallen fold,
there walked in shadowed night the terrors, bale and bold,
who turned the rain to ice with malice in their breath --
their eyes looked chill upon me, and I met my freezing death.

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