Though even love between a man and wife Can die, still love as a quality lives. Love surpasses all close understanding. It outlasts the rare, few sands that time gives, For love revives anew every moment. As often as it’s snuffed, it’s lit again. It cannot be decisively put out. Love is eternal and has always been. It is passed through countless generations, Between all diverse aspects of mankind, Between folk and beast and tree and bright star— In all ages and lands, there is love, we find.
The dusk was very orange tonight A trick of the clouds and the light And as that same light slowly failed The gaudy orange sky quickly paled And turned into a starry sphere Like a face with comets ear to ear And an eyelike moon, clear and low. Seeing that, folk wonder, rightly, where the days go.
I know there are some others Who still prefer nature’s sweet light To the glare of the television set And who like mournful Tom Waits songs And can imagine what life was like Centuries before the Industrial Revolution, When the Natives on the plains Lived in teepees and the Mayans Were still constructing pyramids.
Sometimes I see a hummingbird flying And I remember hearing about How quickly its swift heart beats And I see the moon in the daytime Behind hammerhead clouds that still, With effort, look like floating castles.
I guess that the world’s just gotten tougher. The facts squeeze the youth Right out of you. Genocides, war, pollution, Disease, global warming, you name it— Everyone’s got an opinion and wants you to take a side. Hell, even the people who bury their heads In the sand and don’t harm a soul Get outed for not helping. But it makes it a little better somehow, to listen to old jazz With the music turned down real low And a hand-rolled cigarette between your fingers With a little bit of lamplight and A half-decent book written by a barely decent man, And a cold bottle of beer, To steal a few seconds from the world— It’s a guilty pleasure, made all the worse by knowing That outside the world is going up in flames, And you’re nestled in to the semi-darkness Enjoying a few moment’s peace.
Near an old stone cottage lies an old stone bridge In a grass-covered valley beyond a green ridge. The bridge spans a river that purls as it flows, One that makes a fine mist that catches rainbows.
It is a place as tender and as soft as a pheasant With soft, gentle breezes and pink flowers present, Where mothers and children can swim and can read And take the sweet rest that they both need.
But years before in the bridge’s mortar was mud, Made from mixing dirt and man’s blood, And the air, now pacific, was then filled with shrill screams From a man cruelly murdered at this crossing.
It was in the 1700s as he set on his way Past ripening orchards and stacks of gold hay. He was riding a young horse and whistling a song Through dusk’s fabled shadows: black, treacherous, and long.
Beneath the bridge were three murderous men Who leapt out to greet him with evil grins. They surrounded his horse with their swords all aglint; He understood at once their wicked intent.
The thieves acted quickly; they cut at his leg. The man fell from his horse, and he started to beg. But the bandits, wicked bastards, they stole his purse, Then they tortured that innocent till he left this earth.
They made their escape cleanly, and the man died in vain. He was half-eaten by crows when the sheriff came. And the sheriff he looked out over that stone-masoned bridge, And he saw there, far-off, the sight of the ridge.
The sheriff shook his head at the grisly scene, At the inhumanity of men and the cruelty they bring. But the years pass on, and the generations forget: A strong roaring fire dies, and is then again lit.
Seasons pass; centuries pass; the world turns. The buildings rise and fall; the field grows and burns. The geese they migrate, and the ducks come and go. The whales make their journeys far down below.
And at the end of the day, what have we to show? The human race is alive, that much we know. Still we circle that fiery sphere called the sun, And so we shall until our short day is done.
But till then the same places see new faces through years, The laughter, the weeping, the joy, and the tears. And the human race at once lovely, cruel, and so cold, Lives in a most-forgotten history that grows ever old.
“Quick Folk,” imagines the world as quite small when measured against the size of the universe or when held in the hand of a divine being. And it says that, although we sometimes contemplate what happens after death, when we hear the ticking of that mortal clock, still we must laugh and love and live our lives well.
The rhyme scheme is aabb.
We may all be but beings in spheres of glass
Made to march and tumble as hours pass
While some great Being holds us in mighty hand
Or sets us, like a trinket, upon a cabinet stand
Where we exist like strolling shapes in a snow globe,
Or mobile figurines on a topographic lobe
Where the mountains are like grains of rice
And Antarctica is but a trace of ice—
If we are all but tiny beings in these spheres,
Still have we our hopes and loves and dreams and fears
And as we pass through our short years,
We laugh with joy or cry with tears,
For as the hours wind from the mortal clock
With every quick tick and every quick tock
We wonder what lies past the last frontier
And hold our passing lives more dear.
It is a request that passion teach no more hard lessons. No broken hearts, no scars or scabs, just love.
Passion, amid that fair skulduggery that is Time,
Teach me no more hard lessons;
I need no more legions of tormenting lesions.
Leave me only love—soft as a pheasant,
Enduring as space—until my passing.
The Golden Bear
There once was a bear made of gold
Who lived amongst the snow and the cold
Each time he stepped the gold shone
Like a king’s royal throne
This rare bear was a fine sight to behold!
The Pious Moralist
There once was a pious moralist
Who condemned even the most virtuous kiss
She screamed at the children who played
And castigated her maid
Now when she dies she’s one no one will miss!
There once was a man with a skill:
Everything he touched he would kill
So when he put his thumb on a clock
It became as dead as a rock
And thus he made Time stand still!
My Oxford New American Dictionary defines an aphorism as, “A pithy observation that contains a general truth, such as, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’” This is a poem comprised of aphorisms, some of which already exist but have been reworded, and others which are of my own invention.
There’s truth in every aphorism
And poetry in those gnomic things:
Like, Time may mend the greatest schism.
And, Chaotic are the ways of kings.
In every mishap, there’s blame to share.
In each home, there’s room to care.
Knowledge is an unquenchable flame.
And, Sarcasm is the crutch of the lame.
Anything can go from bad to worse.
Addiction leaves a lightweight purse.
Every age is made of strange times.
Some men aren’t guilty of their crimes.
Unproveable is faith in the divine.
We oil the wheel that does whine.
All men go inevitably unto death.
Sweetest is the liberated breath.
All those who are poets must be true.
Politicians are wont to misconstrue.
Though in severalty we unite in league.
The true spy makes his own intrigue.
Each maxim among these and many more
Help comprise man’s expressive score.
And although often spoken like a catechism
There’s yet some truth in the aphorism.