Tag Archives: honor

The Threshing Floor: englyn cyrch

Give an answer, if you can,
where doubts plague each fighting man
weighting healthy action down
and distracting from good plans;

where blind fear is laying waste
to fresh brick and mortar paste
shielding helpless, sick and poor,
from the pike and bonfire’s baste;

where to live alone is brave,
which makes heroes from mere knaves
who seek glory for all time
in some lines from poet slaves;

where faith falters, and belief
in war’s leaders and great chiefs
leads to slaughter fresh new lambs
who learn firsthand of despair;

where if love is found at all,
it kneels at the wailing wall
and drags on through endless hours
hoping honor breaks its fall;

’til what lives to fight once more,
taught to win despite the score,
lays its weapons down and dies,
chaff dropped on the threshing floor.

06 MAR 2017

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A flame in darkness

It does no good to mourn one candle
when its flame goes out;
nor to try to keep it lit
when its wax melts away.

It does no good to sit in darkness
thinking of past light;
nor to imagine some bright place
where bulbs go to retire.

Each source is only one of many;
when one flame expires,
you must tend to the others
if you would have light at all.

The memory of dead lights won’t fade,
if they were truly yours;
they burn somewhere for someone else
if they once burned at all.

But those lights that are left behind
will fade out, if ignored;
if you would truly fight the darkness,
feed what fires remain.

29 APR 2013

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Yule Log 2004

The times when goodwill, peace and love
are praised are rare indeed;
and rarer still those instances
when thought translates to deed.

So in such seasons where these things
are found, take heart, rejoice,
and with compassion, grace and honor
add your hands and voice.

It matters not whose holiday
was borrowed, changed or nicked;
but just that at this time of year,
the bubble has been pricked

that splits us up in separate lives
and robs us of the sense
that we are all part of the whole
lifeforce experience.

So wassail, carol, hymn and jig;
let yuletide spirit reign —
for sadly, it may be a year
before it comes again.

25 DEC 2004

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A Different Mirror

I was raised on tales of princes, kings and dragon’s hordes;
the books they filled engulfed my world with sights
that to this day affect me deeply. I can hear the swords
(both those of plastic from my youth, and others forged of steel)
that came to clash against their foes each night,
caring more for the price worth paying than what they could afford.
King Arthur, the Green Knight, Quixote, seemed alive and real.

I think that each young man envisions serving some great king
whose cause is noble, pure and just, and worth our life itself.
We seek out those champions, imagining them different from ourselves,
yet sensing that the circumstance of birth, and station can
reveal the king to be a pauper, or make knight of common man.

We claim our independence, fiercely, so quick to deny
such foolish fancies, the great need that does not die inside
but with the years grows stronger, and makes us resort to lies
like “‘that dream world exists no more” or “we’ve advanced beyond
the childlike wish for guidance from some other’s regal hand.”

But it still remains, that longing; and the lucky ones may find
that all that separates us from that goal is our own grown-up minds.

I wonder, thinking on the legends woven in my past
exactly when, say, Arthur, knew how his die had been cast
and sloughed away his peasant’s garb, and found a sword at hand;
how long did he lay wondering, at night, dream-tossed and damned
to live a life that was not his, a pretense biding time
before the dreams that filled his head solidified in flesh?

I’ve often looked in mirrors, noting something in my eyes;
a smoke from a far distant fire that waits, unseen, disguised,
at other times, when I bewail the state of my affairs.
I wonder, who is it, exactly, who looks back from there.

The truth behind these tales is plain:
for those who think of themselves as kings
from birth, are not the regents who
live on in legends, past their deaths.

‘Tis only those who say, “not me”
and would deny their fates,
who step beyond their possibilities,
that are remembered, great.

For chivalry gives no great honor
measured out in gold;
It teaches when to let go,
what to grasp, and how to hold.

15 JUN 2004

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