Tag Archives: significance

One Moment at a Time

Every moment has its special message. — from Bowl of Saki, Hazrat Inayat Khan

Up until three a.m. defining what
will be required of each to play their part
how they are held accountable for each
production number making up the show

In that nine-span of hours there exist
five times a thousand messages, it seems;
and each demands attention for itself,
requiring focus on the in-between,

disdaining what comes before or after.
These greedy missives at the speed of now,
their hard language garbled in translation
as the echo from the moment before

still rings in the ear, buzzing relentless
with its own sense of restless urgency.
Fueled by caffeine alone at this late hour,
they offer far too much information.

26 APR 2004

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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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Poetry On Demand

why can’t i clean the palette with
a wide stroke of the pen, and then
when the tabla is inky black
use a beam of light to form new words
that leave their silver traces in the
fading mist of significance?

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What makes me more significant
than a full-grown elephant
or tiny crawling ant
or a blooming potted plant
help me, for I really can’t

figure out what makes me more
gives me rights worth fighting for
earns me wasteful things galore
lets me throw trash at the shore
help me, my brain’s getting sore.

What makes me worth more than you
education or IQ
all the things my brain can do
the size of my grown-up shoe
help me, I must think it through

who said my species is best
better than all of the rest
and in spite of that, depressed
what makes mankind so damned blessed?
There, i’ve got that off my chest.

13 AUG 2003

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The Parable of the Mustard Seed

“Against you, I have great legions arrayed.
Your brothers even call out for your death;
yet you smile and do not waste your breath
with pleading, or seem in the least dismayed.

I hold the power to end your short life
Here in my hands, yet you refuse to speak
a word of self-defense and like a freak
just stand there, stretched neck poised against the knife!

What is this strength of spirit you possess
that gives you peace in this, your time of need?
You are just flesh and bone, you bruise and bleed.
Do I not speak the truth? I must confess

I do not understand your plan, or stance —
please, if you wish to live, this is your chance.”

“Of power and might what is it you know?
Can you bring a new life into the world
while grasping at truth, your hands tightly curled
into a fist? That kind of strength won’t grow,

but fades and withers with time. As the wind
comes down across the desert and will eat
both solid iron and soft flesh, it defeats
and crushes greater foes. Look, you will find

there is one source of strength here on this earth.
It fuels all things and does not subdivide;
how it is finds use or form is not decided
by you or I, who cannot judge its worth

nor guess from what dark place it manifests,
despite our measurements or endless tests.

The whole we see and know is our small part;
outside that range lie strange and useless powers.
What good to men the grace that blooms in flowers,
or the great force that keeps the stars apart?

What you believe is there within your reach
is shared with every other thing that lives;
and what allows your breath, may also give
its form to each grain of sand on the beach.

And like that speck of dust tossed in the sea
is the small portion of strength in our flock,
yet it may a move a mass of solid rock,
once you become the rock, quite easily.

For more than this I do not ask, or need.
Can such a tree grow from your mustard seed?

16 AUG 2003

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