Tag Archives: dying

I Will Not Dwell: a bob and wheel

I will not dwell on might-have beens,
nor doubt the world’s slow turn;
but fill my world with verdant greens,
with love’s unending yearn
    to learn
    of things beyond my reach,
    just out of sight and mind;
    what dreams and shadows have to teach,
    what fools and dreamers find.

I will not drown in endless tears,
nor mourn the days now past;
but instead relish those sweet years
as bricks and mortar cast
    to last
    what’s left of my short time,
    an edifice to stand
    in memory of me and mine,
    the work of my own hand.

I will not fear death, when it comes,
as it does for all things:
when my life’s constant, beating drum,
desists its pulsing ring
    and sings
    instead in silent song
    of energy released
    to other use, that moves along
    and finds, in new life, peace.

18 NOV 2010

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Time the Devourer

Tradition, will your ancient prison walls,
behind which all are born and most will die,
hold firm against time’s fervent battle cry
that need not force its soldiers in your halls

but deep down in your dungeons simply waits
while you parade its likeness on a throne,
pretending what was muscle is not bone
piled high against your cemetary gates?

For how long can this mad charade go on
before your weak nostalgia does not sate
nor satisfy the hunger of your state?
The flexing of its jaws is no mere yawn,

but warm up for the table. It will dine,
devouring ours and theirs, both mine and thine.

05 SEP 2006

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Abandon This Garbage: alcaics

Oh wisdom seeking mendicant travelers,
your baggage and burdens are troubling handicaps;
they will not help you on your journey.
Abandon this garbage by the roadside.

If you would find some unforeseen adventure,
let drop your jaded world-weary illusions;
you have no need of those old crutches.
Use your own power to find the pathway.

Look inward, pilgrim: investigate carefully
what you have right now. Nothing is infinite
that has an ending, a start or finish;
if you see its edges, it’s not the source.

No dusty volume filling up shelving space
can provide answers; nor can just believing
in teachers, prophets, soldiers or saints.
The source of energy does not costume.

It is not waiting, patiently camouflaged
while you are wasting excuses and lifetimes.
It does its business, whether you are
singing in harmony or out of tune.

11 AUG 2006

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Homestead Elegy: a quintilla

A quarter mile back down the lane
paved with loose stone and bits of brick,
past three tall trees that still remain
after ten years almost the same,
though at their bases weeds grow thick,

a wood frame house, its paint in peel
and tin roof rusted rough and brown
still stands, though some would say it kneels
between the overgrown bean fields
and waits for time to knock it down.

The circle drive, worn deep with holes
from tractor wheels and rude snow plows,
runs from the lane to the light pole,
its path no longer clear and whole –
just where it leads, no one knows now.

Beyond the house, down the back hill
through waist-high weeds and long cat-tails.
a drainage culvert runs; it fills
to form a moat, brackish and chilled,
when the snow melts, and spring storms hail.

Before, this place was live and hale,
a stand against the world untamed –
its yards well-tended, hay grass baled;
was not the farm, but farmers failed,
and left the land to take the blame.

Now later, its old bones lay bare,
the marrow dried to dust and stain;
gone too, those who could point to where
among the wild weeds it sleeps there
a quarter mile back down the lane.

revised 26 APR 2004

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Nothing of the Fall

Spring doesn’t know summer;
it’s just risen from the dead.
After all that time in winter,
it would rather play instead.

Spring doesn’t know summer,
but it gets there anyway:
every stormy April morning
leads to afternoon in May.

But summer knows the autumn –
it can feel it in the breeze;
and it dreads that first September,
when the chill attacks the knees.

Summer holds off autumn
for as long as it can bear,
pretending that its green-leaved glory
won’t end up cold and bare.

‘Cause the autumn won’t remember
how it laughed in early spring,
or the newness of the meadow
that gives birth to everything.

No, the autumn looks back longing
at the lessons summer learned,
thinking of the coming winter
as its green begins to turn.

Now, I am in mid-summer
and I sense the changing tide;
watching all my growth go amber,
but still holding spring inside.

When I come to November,
I hope I can still recall
the way the world looked in April
when I knew nothing of fall.

07 SEP 2003

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The Width of a Circle

Each thing that starts must have an end;
for every wax there is a wend
that once begun, moves to its finish.
Every birth has bury in it.

Like the moon face cycles through,
and new leaves sprout, then leave the bough,
things initiate and finish,
come to light and then must vanish.

Thus is nature, likewise man:
we rise and fall in a life’s span
and fight against the start of dying –
constantly, ’til we die trying.

In this circle is no starting
or conclusion, loss or parting;
you find neither foot or head
but instead, peace and acceptance.

Each couplet in this poem demonstrates a different rhyme: perfect, near, eye, half, masculine, feminine, end and internal, respectively.

21 AUG 2003

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Seed Thought on Living and Dying

My religion is to live – and die – without regret.
— Milarepa, 1052-1135 CE

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