Tag Archives: ballade

Some Sense of Meaning: ballade

The world is what it is, the pundits claim;
and City Hall no pugilists defeat.
No matter where you go, things stay the same;
you either like your bourbon iced, or neat.
A thing is in itself almost complete;
just unifying theory holds it back,
a brave philosophy in which to beat
some sense of meaning when they feel its lack.

The picture is designed to fit the frame;
and even honest men practice deceit.
No matter how its critics might defame,
life runs along, wash, rinse, and then repeat.
As even excess sugar loses sweet,
so kindness turns to malice on the rack;
and gives to those who think best on their feet
some sense of meaning when they feel its lack.

The clever find someone to take the blame:
a scapegoat they will not most likely meet,
some part of their brave psyche soaked in shame –
the heart perhaps – and never miss a beat,
while fools still strive to enter and compete
in one more pointless lap around the track.
Like sheep, they seek for answers, as they bleat,
some sense of meaning when they feel its lack.

The world is what it is, wholly complete;
Each moment marches on, not to come back.
Men write philosophy to give blank sheets
some sense of meaning when they feel its lack.

13 JAN 2017

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The Legacy: a dizain

Let those you wish to sing your praise
remember not your fabled deeds,
nor cite your methods nor the ways
you solved a problem, met a need.
Reward like this is small, and leads
one to perform for weak applause.
Instead, let those who plead your cause
to future listeners recall how
from where you were, despite your flaws,
you did a thing worth doing now.

19 DEC 2012

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The Same Old Song: a ballade

Each night we play, you come to catch the show;
to see and be seen seeing, more to fact:
to smile like you alone are in the know
regarding “hidden treasures” like our act .
Let’s hope the grand veneer won’t start to crack,
and everyone will want to sing along
when next week, at the same time, we’ll be back
to play, almost by heart, the same old song.

Your faces melt in constant ebb and flow.
Sometimes, there’s no one there; sometimes, it’s packed.
The seasons change as students come and go,
but we remain to strum right through the slack.
Some nights, we’re less on stage than out in back,
yet no one says a word or thinks it’s wrong.
You only wonder just when we’ll get back
to play, almost by heart, the same old song.

It’s a grand institution, we all know:
a music that will always take you back
to when you felt alive and free to grow,
before you learned the social art of tact,
to multiply in silence, and subtract
each year when it arrives, and shuffle on,
another faceless card dealt from the stack
to play, almost by heart, the same old song.

Another night: we’re on, and you’ve come back;
the rhythm, like a river, moves us on
and on again, along life’s winding track,
to play, almost by heart, the same old song.

11 NOV 2010

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The Pebble and the Wall: a ballade

A pebble leaned against a towering wall
(at least that’s how it first appeared to me)
just barely seen beyond the shadow’s fall,
not much more than a speck of loose debris,
looking like it had been carelessly knocked free
and now was fated to be swept away
by passersby on their way down the street;
the lesser are forgotten in that way.

A smaller piece of stone, I can’t recall;
it seemed so insignificant, tiny.
Yet how it seemed in juxtapose enthralled
me, and caused me to think of destiny.
Because the cause for much we cannot see,
we overlook the obvious and stay
in search of greater meaning than we need;
the lesser are forgotten in that way.

The edifice that blocks the eye, the wall,
is built of unseen bits and filagree
that separate, are not much to see at all
but joined together seem like majesty.
So useless, insignificant, maybe,
these molecules of fundamental clay
that lend their strength and will the great to be;
the lesser are forgotten in that way.

Perhaps the towering wall is that which leans,
and depends on the pebble where it lays,
believing in what other people see;
the lesser are forgotten in that way.

03 APR 2004

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Bright and Clear: a ballade

There is a quiet place where one may find
a respite from the bustle of the day;
where silence soothes the worry of the mind
and with its echo, holds the world at bay.

In this majestic lull the muses play,
and come forth from the mist to seek my ear;
they whisper of enchanted, secret ways,
and offer inspiration bright and clear.

When seeing far too much has left me blind,
and history’s sad lessons bring dismay,
then sacred wisdom’s cloak around me winds,
to bring me peace and clear my doubt away.

And then, I turn back, strong, to the melee,
to fight against the shadows as they near;
with courage to withstand those who nay say,
and offer inspiration bright and clear.

Upon the right, the doubters may confine,
and on my left, authorities hold sway;
old friends may wonder at my new design,
while strangers at my doorstep wait in prey.

Yet on this course, I am obliged to stay
and ever forward, seek in spite of fear;
to search for truth, and find it where I may
and offer inspiration bright and clear.

So to this quiet place, I often stray,
when stagnant thought engulfs what I hold dear;
where I can search my heart for what to say
and offer inspiration bright and clear.

27 NOV 2002

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