Tag Archives: foolishness

Real Fools’ Gold: a barzeletta

If you would be thought no one’s fool:
don’t drool – that’s first thing on the list;
and at all times retain your cool.
Please, try it sober; don’t start pissed.

The key is to keep mostly still.
You will at times be dared to speak
but fight that urge; your language skills
will just betray you as a geek.

For god’s sake, don’t let that truth leak
if you would be thought no one’s fool.
Remember, stick to simple tools:
don’t drool – that’s first thing on the list.

14 NOV 2010

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Simpleton’s Tune: a balada

The simple truth? Who claims to know,
except to judge how the wind blows
first from the east, and then the west;
and who’s to claim which way is best?
To spend one’s time defining right,
without the benefit of might,
seems like a fruitless enterprise
best left to fools, not to the wise.
Breathe in and out, then out and in;
let go of lose, let go of win.
And once your head ceases to spin,
wait just a while, then start again.

The straightest fact? Who’s measured it,
except to their own benefit,
in gain or loss to their own side;
to question this, is suicide.
It’s to the victor go the spoils:
religion, history, and oil;
And those who dare stage a revolt
are branded heretics or dolts.
Breathe in and out, then out and in;
let go of lose, let go of win.
The rope is fraying, old and thin;
just wait a while, then start again.

The highest ground? Who’s standing there,
in some great, self-appointed chair
to pass their judgments from on high
and use their post to justify
that some have more, while most have less
and must in the next world redress
what grievances they would repair;
might just as well live on pure air:
breathe in and out, then out and in,
and let the world’s slow tilt and spin
remind you time and time again:
there is no end, only begin.

10 NOV 2010

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Martyr Without a Cause

Waken, would-be martyrs seeking causes
to in an instant devote life and limb, and cling
half-drowned along the upturned raft of culture
that leaking, seeks the bottom of the quay.

The words that might be spoken now are silenced;
upon the stump the bloody axe rests, still
slick from the cloying jugular wine that pools
beneath the severed head there in the bowl.

A brotherhood of fools will find its equal
among the rushes, bent with each new wind
and whispering inanities and slogans
that pampleteers shed like oak leaves each fall.

What would you say aloud to fire this army
of malcontents who look to their own skins?
Beyond the content of their bellies, do they seem to care
for rhetoric that asks after their minds?

And those self-sacrificers dream redemption songs
that for a moment, find a tuneful ear
and are transformed beyond a pale chimera
that floats upon the stale, dry air, then fades.

Is there a cause worth half this senseless slaughter?
Behind the scenes, the tribal elders watch
and pick out young recruits that seem more likely
to run in panic; these make the best bullies.

What do the gods require from each new generation?
Are not the first-fruits destined for their hands?
To pose elsewise is suicide, beyond the help of prayer;
besides, a death unscheduled can’t be used.

The rebel tools that stock the workshops of the status quo
serve best if left to rust, their edges dulled.
What good is there in martyrdom to others’ causes
unless you’ve nothing worthwhile back at home?

Curse you to your own self-made hells, you preachers
who safe behind your pulpits can commit
your congregation, knowing they are malleable,
their self-will sapped to serve some future realm.

And those who in their natures, find the substance
of service, but are lacking steady work —
be sure the cause you choose is your own making
and not the sad agenda of the damned.

24 MAY 2004

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The Shallow Water

a poem in blank verse

Again, the conversation turned to fate;
and as the group was interested, to chance,
the lines of battle drawn between the ones
who thought the world predestined yet misshaped

and those who found perfection or kismet
in random acts and notions of free will.
The problem, said the former, is the lack
of evidence to justify our claim;

and to rebut, the latter said, to wit,
all evidence is houses built on sand.
For after all, our frame of reference fits
inside a thimble floating on a sea.

At best, we know our own spot on the shore;
and of the entire ocean only guess.

04 APR 2004

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Fool’s Gold

I have tried to live my life each moment,
Let my imagination run its course;
and sought for truth, to find it, not to own it,
or make it fit my notions using force.

But there are times when I am sorely tested
By things as they appear, or seem to be;
And often my illusions are unwrested
In senseless struggles with reality.

The vain and pompous notions of my childhood
(and who has not had several score of these?)
have each been shattered – neither bad nor good,
but simple fact – and scattered to the breeze.

And now, I find that each small fragment lingers;
The dust of dreams that stains the poet’s fingers.

10 MAR 2004

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Old Pottage

While you still have your youth
is the time to find out
your version of the truth;
as you age, fear and doubt
can crack the careful clay
of all your work and play.
Then in a heaping pile
of broken pottery,
you sit waiting to die
or win the lottery.

15 AUG 2003

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