Sunday, October 29, 2017

Five Poem Re-Drafts

Cool and Crisp

It is cool and crisp this morning.
The moon is still on high
while hanging low
is a peachish glow
as birds sing lullaby.

The skin is tickled with shivers
like gently biting pups
that wrestle and play
to ring in the day
and wake their masters up.

To stretch is sovereign pleasure;
the linen feels like silk.
But now we must rise
and set flame to fry,
to have bacon and eggs with milk.

It is cool and crisp this morning.
Outside is the ball of the moon.
Our hope is high,
for in the sky
the sun will be rising soon.

Paternal Counsels

From age to age fathers' words
have been spoken, have been heard,
perhaps ignored, yet laid away
spoken again some other day
by their sons, now fathers too,
who wish to speak the word anew:

Seek the good and shun the vile
with dovelike grace and snakelike wiles.
Protect all those who need protection,
provide for those who need provision.
Be not afraid yourself to doubt,
or when uncertain to bow out;
be not afraid yourself to trust,
or ever to do the task you must.
Be loyal to wife and child and friend;
such loyalty should have no end.
Ungrumbling, accept the harder part;
seek only to be great of heart.
Avoid the idle, use well your time,
rarely shout and never whine.
Bear up when bearing must be done;
in crisis be the patient one.
Never hard-working men despise.
Keep your mouth from filth of lies.
Let none treat you like a slave;
from slavery your fellows save.
Never any fight begin,
but when you fight, fight to win.
Do well all things that come to hand:
act, in short, as befits a man.


Fire-brilliance in reason born
through the veil of time has torn,
felt the sun at silent morn
of heaven in silence streaming
above the Sleepers dreaming.

Sevenfold in drifting sleep
they secrets find and secrets keep,
hid in caverns old and deep
beyond the starlight gleaming
of heaven in silence streaming.

The angels, each in silent course,
move with love's all-moving force
to shape the tides of time's recourse
in realms of truth and seeming
beyond the starlight gleaming.

The light they breathe like crystal air,
with power perilous and fair
that pours by ray, by gleam, by flare
from sun of justice beaming
in realms of truth and seeming.

But one stands silent in the night,
bears the horn whose note in might
will wake all sleep to morning light,
above the Sleepers dreaming
from sun of justice beaming.

Lovers of the Sunset

They who love the sunset are all lovers true and right;
the only gold they treasure is the gold of dying light
as the sun dips down its head like a bull for sacrifice.
Who can love more purely than who loves the light that dies?

The children of the sunrise burst with splendor in the dawn;
they have no fear or trembling when the battle-lines are drawn.
But the lovers of the sunset fight with all, for never-again.
Who can fight more truly than who fights for glory slain?

The brothers of the noon will always make their joyful vows,
the mothers of the midnight in their shadows dream and drowse,
but the lovers of the sunset dance on sure and splendid feet.
Yea, who can dance more truly than who knows the light is sweet?

Wiglaf's Words

The broil of battle brought them together.
Said hardy Wiglaf, heavy-hearted,
"Our meals I remember in the mead-hall,
boasting of brave deeds of Beowulf,
great giver of sword, giver of arms;
to him we swore repayment in right
come the time, for kindness in kind--
even letting life to be lost.
Allowance he made for our claims as if weighty,
believing our boast and our steel's bite,
but he, mighty king, meant this great monster
to keep for himself, to conquer and kill
as in the yore-time, years of his youth,
days long ago, before our lord leaned
on lowlier lads, and lessers in arms.
The flame now feeds on kingly flesh.
By almighty God, let my bones burn
before my liege lord be lost in fire!
Who are we, shield-carriers homeward seeking
before battle is broken, with Beowulf battered?
For such dutiful king to die forsaken,
butchered and beaten by terrible beast,
is disallowed, when still there is sword
yet to be drawn, in honor to serve!"
Then swiftly he ran, his king to succor,
deeply driving through dragon-formed flame.
"Beowulf, king, brightly beloved!
Remember your boast to hold your repute,
to live life of glory never forgotten!
Fight, sire, fight, for life and for fame,
I at your side, at your service my sword!"

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