Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

Shakespeare in Love

The flame the muse ignites inside the artist,
who would in service wish themselves consumed,
their dreams the fuel that feeds this beauty’s fire –
how bright are even sparks from this great pyre!

Against such light what chance has meager daybreak,
that would impress by merely ending night
yet fades with such indifference into evening?
‘Tis but an ember to devotion’s glow.

Its mad destructive urge will turn to kindling
all thoughts that wander from its candle point,
transforming those who seek it into marytrs
soothed only by the balm of its scorched hands.

The ardor of this radiant connection,
one soaked with inspiration’s kerosene,
the other wisps of smoke that feed on love,
cannot be comprehended from without.

Against such heat what show make giant bonfires,
their Beltane furnace lit for merely hours,
when lifetimes come and go in the brief instants
that muse and artist meet and share their souls?

12 FEB 2005

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Herding Cats: a gloss as a quintilla

The poets speak of love, and some
in tangled words seem lost and mired;
for each one that is awestruck dumb
or struggles when the words won’t come,
a dozen more seem uninspired,

and speak of passion secondhand
as if its pull they could resist
while calmly, at their whim’s command,
the muses at their elbow stand,
soft fingers guiding pen and wrist.

It does not work that way all.
To write of love, it must be past;
transcription of its plaintive call
in real-time, as the storm in squall
persists, and the clouds of its vast

expanse encompass every hour
spent dreaming, in long nights awake,
is beyond our feeble power;
better to describe a flower
in that brief span its life makes,

relying not on former blooms,
but in that moment, seeing clear.
The dry words dug from memory’s rooms
cannot suffice; they but entomb
its beauty in a gauze of sheer

invention, and show not the rose.
And so it is with love that lives;
To name it while its blossom shows
is to disrupt the stream that flows.
Thus dammed, just rivulets survive.

Yet those small trickles poets use
to describe, entire, the ocean;
and in their vanity, refuse
to wonder if the words they choose
outlining their heart’s devotion

Can possibly, in truth, report
all that is love. The wisest few
admit their failings, and resort
to politics and other sports;
that, rather than painting the dew.

16 APR 2004

Love looks not with the eyes, but
with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid
painted blind.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), A Midsummer Nights Dream (1595-6)

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On the Tao

The Tao that can be seen is not the Tao,
the obvious is never what it seems;
and often, what connects the who to how
is understood only by fools in dreams.

Still, once in a great while, a glimpse is seen
of balance, as it plays behind a cloud;
the light and dark and all points in between,
the word that vanishes if said aloud.

For only in the frame of the observed
Can our defining map much of the way;
And our illusions do naught but preserve
masks between it has been and come what may.

Both in our grasp and there beyond our reach,
The Tao embraces all, and defines each.

26 NOV 2002

for Pietro

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