Monthly Archives: December 2010

All That Is: a chant

Breath and body,
word and function,
birth and death
are both redemption;
Light and shadow,
whole and hollow,
clean and dirty,
fair and foul.
All is holy, all is sacred.

Friend and stranger,
love and hatred,
fruit and flower,
meat and mushroom.
Crypt and cradle,
bed and altar,
desk and hammock,
tent and mansion.
If not holy, nothing is.

Lust and anger,
peace and kindness,
male and female,
new and ancient.
Seen and unseen,
poor and wealthy,
cute and ugly,
shown and secret.
If not sacred, neither is.

Form and function,
toil and leisure,
want and lacking,
pain and pleasure.
Past and future,
earth and water,
air and fire,
self and other.
All is sacred, all that is.

17 DEC 2010

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Don’t You Cry: a chanson

Don’t you cry, if there ain’t no happy ending.
Don’t ask why, if it’s on truth that you’re depending.
Sometimes it seems it’s just time wasted if you dream;
but keeping on dreaming, just the same.

Don’t you cry; the sun will come up tomorrow.
I wouldn’t lie; there’s more to life than sorrow.
Sometimes it feels like there’s no point in your appeal;
but keep your hand in the game.

Don’t you cry; the world won’t always hurt you.
You decide: what you need won’t desert you.
Sometimes, I know, it’s hard to just let go;
but you don’t need someone to blame.

Don’t you cry; the darkness won’t last forever.
If you try, you’ll make it a little better.
Sometimes just one can’t get it done,
but keep going just the same.

17 DEC 2010

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The End: a chanso

Again the end comes ’round.
The nights grow longer still,
and taint each daylight hour
with hints of gray.

A year is gone! Profound,
how time escapes, and will
elude our grasping power
and run astray.

Our clock is now unwound;
the gears of our great mill
have ground their flour,
and are at bay.

All gone, except the sound
of memories, that will,
with new spring’s showers,
clear gloom away.

Again the end comes ’round;
review again the bill
for the last happy hour,
and gladly pay.

End’s wreath is birthing’s bower;
born, a new day.

16 DEC 2010

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The Great Unknown

It’s not so much the great unknown
that gives me pause and food for thought.
The universe may hide itself
as it sees fit, and choose to show
what tiny bits my mind can grasp
according to some private plan.
No, what’s out there, the mystery,
is not what keeps me up at night.

What keeps me wondering, late at night,
is that part we regard as known:
the “noble” truths, the pieces, parts,
that over centuries have grown
like sand caught in an oyster’s shell
into some grand and lustrous pearl,
its surface easy on the eye,
its core an irritating grain.

How plainly wrought, self-evident,
appears the thousand year old pearl;
but knowledge doesn’t grow like that.
It starts with sand, that’s clear enough,
but different forces coat the wound;
and their own interests, or designs,
small nudges, bumps, missteps or lies,
change truth’s shape and blur its flaws.

There’s the rub: the hidden flaws.
If what we know, or think is known,
is based on endless, unseen lies
that piled together seem a whole
beyond reproach, what do we know?
How much, in our experience,
is quite that easy to achieve?
What ageless lies do I believe?

It hangs there, like a house of cards;
One dares not touch it, or to breathe.
A single whisper, just one word
could rock to rubble the whole world;
well, what we care to name the world:
the tiny, weak facade we make.
Perhaps that’s why they bind the hands,
and cut the tongue out, at the stake.

09 DEC 2010

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Sing Another Song

Sing another song:
don’t make it too long,
make sure it’s nice and strong
so we all can sing along.
Sing another one
when the first one is done;
we’ve only just begun
having fun.

Sing something
that makes us feel all right;
something simple,
nothing too demanding.
Sing it like
you’ve always done before;
when you’re finished,
sing it just once more.

Sing another tune:
play the paid buffoon,
make us laugh and swoon,
we’ll give you the moon.
Sing another verse,
the same as the first;
no need to rehearse,
it can’t get much worse.

Sing us one
to get us through the night;
something sweet
that makes us feel like dancing.
Sing it like
you mean each single word;
sing the ones we like,
the ones we’ve heard.

Sing another song:
sing it loud and strong.
If it’s not too long,
we might sing along.
Sing it once again.
Make it never end,
like your life depends
on making us your friends.

08 DEC 2010

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Life requires art: a cento

Watch out! Art has been called a frill
by governments and citizens,
who balance budgets, cutting art
without a care. They’ve lost their souls,
and separate their heads from hearts.

Wake up! You tutors pass these laws,
yet forget young folk all start out
enthusiastic creatives;
yank their structured outlets
and they try to fly, but without wings.

Their frustration turns to rage,
which they have no means to contain;
just one fine art could hold it in:
distill it into dance, or paint,
from vitriol, make songs and shapes.

Good teachers know exactly what
it takes to form restraining walls
with strength enough to last until
emotions transmute into art.
That is culture; nothing less.

Poor tutors pass destructive laws
that cut the arts, and will destroy
millenia of work and strife,
civilization grown enough
to dare contain its own vision.

Without the arts, we have no plays
where Caesar is beat down with sticks,
school principals are gunned down instead;
raw instinct, rampant in the street,
turns artists into violent apes.

The spiritual? Morality?
They cease to be, and in their place,
we take the millions stripped from art
and build boot camps
to rehabilitate thugs.

07 DEC 2010

From a passage in “The Maiden King: The Reunion of Masculine and Feminine” by Robert Bly and Marion Woodman

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Beyond this point: a cautionary verse

Beyond this point, please tread with care:
there are no guard-rails mounted there,
nor safety nets to break your fall.
You might not make it back at all.

The light is poor, the floor is slick;
to navigate is quite a trick.
Until your pupils focus down,
you’ll see neither the sky or ground,

and worse, once your eyes do adjust,
you’ll only look because you must
at crumbling walls and broken paths;
brave adventure’s epitaphs

whose faded script from days long past
is all that names what did not last
on this dark path beyond the gate.
Turn back, now, before it’s too late!

There are no signs, no maps, no guides:
just where you go, no path decides;
you follow, where the darkness leads
without a single guarantee

of coming out the other side
the way you entered, or alive,
at least the way you understand.
So put away your foolish plans.

Beyond this point, we all must go:
if we would seek past what we know
of spring and summer, in the fall,
and for a moment, live at all.

06 DEC 2010

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