Tuesday, January 13, 2009

En Memoriam

Mortality is a disheveled hospital blanket.

Groaning beneath a thin film of unconsciousness, a fitful life battles tirelessly and without peace. For what peace is to be had from IV needles, catheterized genitals, prodding aids with cold fingers and sterile voices? And, that thick smell of packaged gauze, spilt urine covered in ammonia.

The soul is made tangible in the vision of a dying man neglected in a hospital bed. Wounded and defeated, he shrinks from touch, both foreign and familiar. He responds almost imperceptibly to the call of his name, issuing only a shift in position or a more booming and staccato grunt.

With the body's diseased surrender, the soul regains the helm, and, like a masterful puppeteer, rattles the flesh in wordless repose until each jerk, each moan, each writhing gesture mirrors its true state. No more can the masks of reason, fear and pride deny the internal ache. The loss of dignity is the birth of an unimpeded soulful existence.

Fresh air is an expectorant of the soul. A taunting vision of a vast horizon peppered with evergreens and silver clouds lures the final breath from its organic entrapments. Sunlight finds his face as though offering direction. The soul's compass reorients its axis. North becomes skyward. South retreats to the bowels of the earth. East and West are left to the mortals still fit and able to roam on land.

Mortality is an Ethiopian woman wiping feces from your testicles.

If life is fragile, death is a wafer thin teacup balanced precariously in the mouth of a lit canon.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

La Fleur et La Poesie

Thus humble let me live and die
Nor long for Midas' golden touch;
If Heaven more generous gifts deny, I shall not miss them much, Too grateful for the blessing lent Of simple tastes and mind content!

Oliver Wendell Holmes,


The woman singeth at her spinning-wheel
A pleasant chant, ballad or barcarole;
She thinketh of her song, upon the whole,
Far more than of her flax; and yet the reel
Is full, and artfully her fingers feel
With quick adjustment, provident control,
The lines-too subtly twisted to unroll -
Out to a perfect thread. I hence appeal
To the dear Christian Church-that we may do
Our Father's business in these temples mirk,
Thus swift and steadfast, thus intent and strong;
While thus, apart from toil, our souls pursue
Some high calm spheric tune, and prove our work
The better for the sweetness of our song.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Work and Contemplation

White Chrysanthemum
seeker of truth

follow no path
all paths lead where

truth is here

e.e. cummings,
seeker of truth
If heaven were to do again,
And on the pasture bars,
I leaned to line the
figures in
Between the d otted starts,

I should be tempted to forget,
I fear, the Crown of Rule,
The Scales of Trade, the Cross of Faith,
As hardly worth renewal.

For these have governed in our lives,
And see how men have warred.
The Cross, the Crown, the Scales may all
As well have been the Sword.
Robert Frost, The Peaceful Shepherd

Whose love is given over-well
Shall look on Helen's face in hell,
Whilst those who love is thin and wise
May view John Knox in paradise.

Dorothy Parker,
Partial Comfort

Laugh and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough on its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
the echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing car.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox,

Wind shakes the big poplar,
The whole tree in a single sweep.
What bright scale fell and left this needle quivering?
What loaded balances have come to grief?

Seamus Heaney,
The Spirit Level


My face turned pale, a deadly pale.
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked what could I ail
My life and all seemed turned to clay.

And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my eyesight quite away.
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.

I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start.
They spoke as chords do from the string,
And blood burnt round my heart.

John Clare, First Love

Orange Blossom
Because I feel that in the heavens above
The angels, whispering one to another,
Can find among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of "Mother,"
Therefore by that dear name I have long called you,
You who are more than mother unto me,
And filled my heart of hearts, where death installed you,
In setting my Virginia's spirit free.
My mother -- my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are the mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
But that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul that its soul-life.

Edgar Allan Poe,
To My Mother

Passion Flower
SOME have won a wild delight,
By daring wi
lder sorrow;
Could I gain thy love to-night,
I'd hazard death to-morr

Welcome nights of broken sleep,
And days of carnage cold,
Could I deem that thou wouldst weep
To hear my perils told.

Passion's strength should nerve my arm,
Its ardour stir my life,
Till human force to that dread charm
Should yield and sink in wild alarm,
Like trees to tempest-strife.

Charlotte Bronte, Passion

Star of Bethlehem
"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --

And sweetest -- in the G ale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --

I've heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.

Emily Dickinson

When to the session of sweet silent thought
I summon up rem
embrance of things past,
I sigh the lack
of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precio
us friends hid in death¹s dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish¹d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on
thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
William Shakespeare