These are poems — printed on a page —
though you recite them — they are from a page —
their hearts conform to forms of older age
to channel insight to a higher stage,

to marshal feelings — joy or wonder, fear,
what’s light, constricting, wid’ning, soft, austere —
in awed perceptions that seem perfect, clear —
resounding right within us, now and here.

And then you go away, and I do too,
and all the wisdom sounding old and new
and all the mysteries brought into view
shrink, go thin, but stay, play good, hold true

as things that will advance a bigger one
and drop in place when done with — done, not gone.


Clouds skip away from the full shine of the full moon
The palace is lit up
The maestro lifts his stick
Majesty begins
The richness of kings
at least in human terms

How quick things are
Violins gone from the ballroom
Metal heartstrings crushed at the crowded dance floor bar
A slow-paced miss-matched lovers’ tryst
empties a club
A crowd vomits onto the kerb
A moist eye mirrors a fist
There are boot prints on the face of the moon

The perfect is undone
—or perhaps never was—
but culture carries on
answering the question
‘why?’ with a loose ‘because’.

So, we can say curtly:
“This age will make a mark.
Let it be light, not dark.
An artist’s calm duty
is to make clear beauty.”

The poem’s form alludes to the strophe, antistrophe, epode of classical Greek choral/chorus tradition. 27 Sept  2013