Monthly Archives: January 2014

Eight Cantos of Time


A light touch gives birth to a note
That sets as quickly as it rose.

A promise lies dead where fingers
Strike a chord and draw cruelly away.

Every now and then, the fingers
Descend in unison
As heralds of a newborn sun.

The drizzle that reverberates
Through His expansive halls
Is but the echo
Of the forgotten multitudes.

Aeons pass, and the melody awakes as if from a fabled slumber
An overarching joy
Breaks through the drone of the superfluous.

A deafening silence descends –
A silence that is but a prelude to a thundering epic
Its rhythm rising and falling in tandem
With His exquisitely choreographed chaos.

Then discord lets fall its precise fingers, slowly at first,
Adding to the music minute notes which are beautiful
Even in their dissonance
And but embellish His majestic harmony.

It is then that anarchy breaks through
Bringing an iron fist down
Obliterating every remnant of a melody that was supreme even a moment ago
Shattering all that was and all that could be.

Hallowed tears fall and serve only to moisten
The shattered ivory
Strewn over a newly-chequered floor.

[I wrote this poem last week. It envisions God as a pianist playing a never-ending melody that embodies all that is our world, and how He expresses His sorrow at the death of a great human being. The “eight” in the title is a reference to the number of octaves found on some of the better grand pianos.]

Runaway Mushroom

A streak of fire cleaves
The cerulean of the sky.

It suddenly cuts back
And arches up wide.

Fishtailing wildly
It shreds the heavens wide.

It spins round
And whistles down straight. Instantly

Two million souls are
Freed of their bonds
As night turns into day.

[another 2012 poem]

Tortured Silence

the cars honk
the lights flash
the refuse stinks
the flies hover
the mosquitoes bite

but he does not know
for he is

where the mind is afraid
and the head must not fly

where nothing is free

where the world is fractured and broken by the glory of barriers

where words have forgotten the depth of truth

where tireless defrauding stretches its arms towards perfection

where clear streams of reason are but superfluous and do not lead anywhere

where the mind is led forward – by the overarching ‘me’ – into ever-malevolent thought and action

what a heaven of freedom, my Father, into which my country awakes

[This poem is about an addict lost in a drug-induced slumber full of nightmares. It is largely a modification – gasp – of what is arguably Rabindranath Tagore’s most famous poem. Oh, and the picture is one of my favorite Edward Gorey works.]