Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Three Poem Re-Drafts

Sooner or Later

Sooner or later we meet face to face
with the hard, bitter truth of life's urgent chase:
There is never a winner. We will all lose this race,
no matter our talent, no matter our pace.

"Sooner or later: yes, but how long?
This race may not go to the swift or the strong,
but we think some may win." There we are wrong.
The bells in the tower toll loss in their song.

"But maybe the race is not meant to be won!"
Time is the swiftest; no feet can outrun
the pace of its step. "But look at the sun
and tell me it's pointless, even when done.

"Maybe the race is supposed to be lost!
Where is the worth in the work without cost?"
And if by the storm we are endlessly tossed,
our hearts will grow cold with an undying frost.

But maybe the point is to learn how to lose,
how to let go the past, every wound, every bruise,
how to capture true joy, or (better yet) choose
a life with more colors than victory's hues.


Where am I, but here?
Fresh, cool wind pours on my face;
Frost-bright moon shines in my eyes.
Swift fish play, splash, in the lake.
High stars sing hymns in the skies.
Where are you, but here?

Where are you, but here?
Breeze-blown leaves shush in the trees,
Small birds trill flutes in the dark.
Sweet blooms raise scent for the bees.
Shy deer eat shoots in the park.
Where am I, but here?

The Thieves of Night

The thieves of night have stolen sleep.
I abetted them.
The moon is high, my heart is hot,
the world is evendim;
I wonder if you walk somewhere
beneath the sickle slim
of moon that hunts the wayward stars.
Unslept, I wonder where you are.

With ink of night I write a verse.
I understand it not --
my heart unknowing lyrics writes
with subtle pen of thought,
but at the end oblivion
will come and take the lot;
my thoughts are stolen with my sleep --
I seek in vain the paths you keep.

The night itself is stolen, too;
I aided con and heist:
the bait is laid, the trap is set,
the prey thereby enticed.
The spring is sprung, the teeth close down
with ruthlessness of vise:
the dawn! And yet my thoughts still stray
to wonder if you'll chance my way.

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