Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A New Poem Draft and Three Poem Re-Drafts

Sermon Against Censoriousness

None are pure beneath heaven's vault;
those who wish to find, may find a fault
and sins in droves, in endless herds,
like schools of fish, thick flocks of birds.
None have always hit the target right
or fought in forceful blaze the flawless fight,
and all who walk on earth have failed
at something; and none have ever sailed
across this sea remaining wholly dry --
no, not you, and surely never I --
and all have stumbled on the stony path.
Those who wish it may justify some wrath,
or sneer, or scorn, or burning-cold disdain.
But look around. We all are slain,
we all are bleeding on the battlefield
from wounds uncounted, our broken shield
and broken sword upon the ground;
immortals none of us are found
to be, however much we wish or dream.
Mere dream we are. Our glories gleam
like firefly-glimmers in the darkening night,
too soon to pass, and all too weak of light.
None are pure who, dying from the womb,
have ever-closer drawn to gaping tomb;
yes, look around. Where is the one
whose virtues brightly blaze like sun?
We all are faded, grimy, dark and dim,
with not one wing like the seraphim
or burning angels; if you hate
another's failing, you have but to wait
and you will find a worse in you;
I know it, for I live this, too.
No hypocrite with prance and preen
has ever proven true; the shine and sheen
to which they polish their outer face
will rub away and leave disgrace,
dishonor, the greenish, sickly pale
of one whose life is owed to hell.
Judge lightly, friend, judge lightly; who judges most
will surely find the devil in his boast;
still seek to split the right from wrong
and let none gull you with a song,
but know: we all are doomed to fall,
our splendor smashed, at trumpet-call.

Anton Wilhelm Amo

Spirit is purely active;
the senses do not bind it.
The passions do not chain
the undivided mind.
Who can bow to fate is wise,
having an inkling of God;
his words will be remembered
to everlasting ages.

Star of Ghana, Axim's child,
rising in all-circling sky
above the lands of the earth,
shine splendidly! None may doubt
your contribution of light
which, joined to uncounted stars,
lights the night of human life.

This World of Woe, So Wonderless, So Bland, So Sad

This world of woe, so wonderless, so bland, so sad,
blasé in worldly wisdom, yet unwise,
will blather words of love, for words are all it's had,
and never will have else, for love it must despise.

The worldly sages sigh in unfulfilling dreams;
they build up vanities to light a raging blaze.
Their meanings are banal, no matter how they seem,
for love is flame so bright it would their vision daze.

Amen, I say to you, they have their one reward.
The only love they have is symbol of their hearts,
a snake that eats its tail, a self-inflicting sword,
a legacy soon lost to folly, part by part.

But you -- take care to love, not love as madmen rave,
but love that seeks the good, that by the good can save.


The roads to Zion softly mourn, her women raped beside;
within the sanguine city square the dandled infant dies.
In streets the ruthless sword unties the husband from his wife;
in every house and every home it strips away all life.
With fury and with burning wrath the Lord became our foe,
to ruin every standing wall and render every woe
until the sabbaths come to end, and all the feasts have failed,
and law as coward flees away before the whip and flail,
and prophet's visions surely cease (their lies the Lord detests),
and babies' blood pours gushing out upon their mothers' breasts.
The joy of all the endless earth has vanished in the flame.
Completion of all beauty's life became a jeering name.
A gnawing, biting, hungry void a ruthless need now gives
as mothers boil bonny babes that other babes might live,
and women eat their children sweet, the ones for whom they care,
for none the aching famine leaves, and none the famine spares.
On holy temple precinct steps are priest and prophet slain;
on street and porch and burning field the people fall like rain --
the young, the grown, the sagely old, all bloody dusty ground,
and maid and gentle youth are wed among the corpses found.
Our end drew near, relentless, sure, like beat of constant drum;
our days like coins were numbered small -- and now our end is come.
But though I fall in tears aside, yet still my tongue might say
his love endures forever and aye, is new again each day,
and he is yet our portion sure, whatever fickle fate,
and he is good with gloried grace to those who for him wait --
But, Lord! You reign forever on your everlasting throne!
Do you forget your children now and leave us all alone?
Return us to your bosom, Lord, that we may be restored!
--Are we cast off forevermore, in wrath to be ignored?