C A D E N Z A : Sonnets by Steven Maloney
Copyright 2003, Library of Congress TXU 1-081-861 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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Sonnet Cycle: Sonnets on my own terms
To my Father
The greatness of a man is not measured
by mere words or deeds (his or ours) rather
it is felt in silent moments treasured;
in those quiet hours I bless my father.
He leads a simple, peaceful life teaching
love and kindness without saying a word;
yet his wordless words roar in my mind, heard
advising, consoling, never preaching.
I am forever conscious of his hands,
those great strong hands that wrote me in the book
of life, cut wood, thumbed texts from foreign lands,
guided the tiller and never once shook.
Look near not far, perhaps you´ll find him then;
the greatest men are ordinary men.
I much prefer the touch of grass to silk,
no wine rivals the taste of clear water,
what art compares to babies suckling milk?
The finest fragrance comes from a flower.
Mystical silence is the greatest sound,
as long as it includes the sound of leaves;
the heart truly is the Buddha, I´ve found,
a sermon crickets preach on summer eves.
I keep my favorite books in libraries,
expensive food and clothes store shelves best keep,
I don´t have time to hate my enemies,
without greed or hate, serenely we sleep.
To live simply is my philosophy;
I walk in unadorned simplicity.
The old familiar sound of wind is heard
in the cold and weary distance blowing,
hissing, whispering, steadily growing
more fierce, beyond capture by a mere word.
The branches of a willow sigh and sway,
dancing into the night with a drunken
fervor as if her lover shall not stay
past a dawn of heartbreak and eyes sunken.
First rain comes in the footsteps of a child
whose rosy, unkempt innocence fast grows
into a vain and lusty young man wild,
his heart pounding in gladness and sorrows.
Now in old age I save these words for last:
sunder the bonds and the storm will have passed.
Warbling softly in the cool evening breeze
Of spring a little bird of golden wing
Lectured on life and death with fluid ease;
From a perch among the gods did he sing.
G minor was his most personal key
And with it opened was our heart´s portal;
Never was Soul expressed more poignantly,
Gracing mankind with music immortal.
Mozart, wunderkind, from thy magic quill
Opera was born, and masses solemn;
Zealous toil marked thy drought-fill´d summers till
All Earth´s leaves blazed afire one last autumn.
Rara avis fly not into the night--
Till daybreak sing and fill us with delight.
Sonnet in E
Every day I find myself alone,
Eager to catch thy beauty known to flee
Even the shadows which cannot find thee...
Ethereal mistress: where hast thou gone?
Equal in wisdom to the eremite,
Exotic, rhapsodic--poetic eye
Erring never--erotic muse invite,
Entice me to join thee where flowers lie.
Eden shall be eternally complete
Eve, Even though angels might blush as we
Exult in our marital bliss, replete
Eventually with fruit from life´s tree.
Ebb and flow though ye may, eternal tide;
Eternity shall find me by thy side.
After a pause
I´ve been away, and it´s taken a while
to find the "old familiar" refrain
that murmurs deep within; I changed my style
a bit, and bit by bit it´s eased the pain
of loss (no, no one died; just some letting
go of old habits I used to cling to,
and learning new lessons about getting
old; sometimes loss means finding something new.)
I´ve lived some, loved some, endured poverty--
old shadow--through sadness and joy we cried
and through it all you never left my side:
my bread, my wine, my love: my Stephanie.
Sawing a new old tune again this day,
tilling the fields till dusk fades all away.
I gave you a poem the other day,
Lovingly written if crudely crafted,
Only I forgot as it was drafted:
Verses you like have a vertical play.
Every day I love you more, ah-Do;
Spring became summer and now we´re married.
Through good times and bad times we sow good seed,
Enjoying our love´s fruits, watching them grow.
Perhaps you´re a needle and I some thread;
Hemming, crocheting, our lace offerings
Always together--at table and bed,
Needle and thread knitting beautiful things.
If these lines should prove satisfactory,
Ecstatic and much relieved will I be.
You married not for money but for love,
a fact you may regret from time to time;
but when you wish to fly away, my dove,
console yourself on Earth with this small rhyme.
We have the greatest gift of life: our health,
and though I know that gold holds great power,
I´d trade all forms of fleeting, worldly wealth
to be at your side hour by timeless hour.
To laugh, to bask in sunshine in the Spring,
to cook and eat a meal we made at home,
to await the happy day soon to come:
a child´s young voice will cry out and we´ll sing.
Though Fate has served a bitter cup of strife,
let´s toast to Love and all that´s sweet in Life.
In those moments between sleep and waking
I sometimes open my eyes and wonder
to myself if it isn´t much better
to close them again and keep on dreaming,
safe in the asylum of Unconscious,
safe from the peril of this life which teems
with sorrow. Better to linger in dreams,
coddled in the warm arms of Morpheus.
In sleeping death I feel much more alive;
if death be sleep, sleep´s dream surpasses life,
for freedom here has wings and fields are rife
with hope and beauty´s fruits on which to thrive.
De la realidad quien es dueño?
Vida y muerte ambos son sueño.
Liberty means that all men should be free;
each American should reflect on this
truth we have forgotten, it seems to me.
for just look around and see how we dis-
regard the dignity of other lives,
ever meddling and imposing our rules,
espousing 'justice' with guns against knives,
dollars the goal of our elected fools.
Oh they sing our nation's songs hand in hand,
mouth platitudes...don't be fooled. These same men
raced to spill the blood of the Negro and
Indian, the Muslim, and the Asian.
Now what gives us the right; just who are we?
Goliath was vanquished; we too could be.
Sonnet Cycle: The Four Seasons
My plot to murder him began last night
when he fled, well-filled, our blood in his gut.
Anonymous high-pitched bastard. I´ll cut
him down, black-winged thief, before morning light.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEE like an old Rossini crescendo,
(no one listens to Rossini these days,
a damn shame). Rambling... got to focus... Go!
--silence-- (got him)... my wife´s approving gaze.
Oh God. New York summers do it to me.
First they take my blood, then my sanity.
Can´t think straight among dead fish and sultry
hips, screaming Chinese, loud bridges, sweaty
lips, a browbeating sun that makes me dumb.
I want to run away, towards autumn.
Crossing the bridge from summer to winter
like some obscure Hokusai, a Keats Ode
rings in the mists of memory; the road
not taken beckons, it´s damp leaves colder
than before. Musty texts read well again,
and sweet cooking smells waft through my window,
bringing a bright moon along now and then,
(honored guest), while gull anthems presage snow.
That old saint under the bridge doesn´t seem
to care he´ll be needing blankets soon; he
just sits there, paper in hand, glad to see
the passing show, knowing it´s all a dream.
Autumn: a return to where we´ve once been,
a time to ponder the spaces between.
If I were a painter, I´d only need
two, maybe three colors to paint winter;
perhaps gray and white and black. I concede
this has been done, but I feel it´s better
to go with what I feel, not what I know.
See that barren reed grove yonder and that
crooked old mulberry, loaded with snow?
Those baby sparrows, so fluffy and fat--
really they´re just richly inked pools of gray;
This morning nature´s become a painting.
´Scuse me while I dip my brush, I´m playing
monochromatic fantasies today...
A branch just fell, breaking the stillness deep,
but now all is quiet: the great white sleep.
Our hearts are drunk with the liquor of Spring,
that elixir of Life which flows upon
large and small, weak and strong, awakening
all--the resurrection of hope, its dawn.
The birds on the mulberry sing and dance,
emboldened by the melting winter snow;
butterflies abound, golden monarchs chance
enthroned--from flower to flower they go.
They spend hours contemplating the meaning
of dew and fragrance and soft mysteries;
from nowhere to nowhere, spirits greening,
their hearts bask in lepidopteran ease.
The Easter metamorphosis complete,
all reemerge to savor new life sweet.
Sonnet Cycle: Downtown Sonnets
The New Chinatown
You know you´re on East Broadway when you see
Buddhist monks with cell phones (greedy devils
on call, they chant for cash and get to be
well-heeled via donation). These evils
are minor compared to this onlooker´s
annoyance with hawking and spitting Fu-
zhounese who come here and pollute and do
anything for money. Pregnant hookers
know they´ll double their profits when their child
is born and sold. Guns and gambling and drugs
are hidden well behind façades of mild
kung pao chicken and blonde, hair-styling thugs.
The sound of mah jong and ill-played er hu,
The smell of dead crabs: "One dalla foh you!"
Much have I traveled in the realm of gold,
walked through its soot encrusted streets and halls,
admired the pageant of men, young and old,
who gracefully defile its ancient walls.
Defile in word and deed, their hands so worn
and spent by handling Satan´s currency,
they grasp and ring their morning bell forlorn
too cold, too numb to feel humanity.
They only taste the warm blood that they leech
from hopeful young and agèd folk they cheat,
no covenant is too sacred to breach,
"Why give a damn? These profits can´t be beat!"
Yet you and I both know there waits a hell
for those who ring that early morning bell.
The Good Rabbi
Shalom, Shalom. He works all day tending
Torahs and Talmuds and scholarly texts
amid cold steel machines (patents pending)
in the depths of his Henry Street annex.
Time stops as we enter his dim green lair
with its benches, tools and fragrant leather
rolls, its piles of volumes lying threadbare,
some intact, some loosely held together.
Is there a book Rabbi cannot restore?
He repairs more than books; he mends our hearts.
We leave the man different than before,
transformed by the warm kindness he imparts.
Kindness, a leaf from the book of wisdom.
You know it well, Rabbi. Shalom, Shalom.
I wonder what old Michelangelo
would think of what goes on in new Soho,
watching the rich play on cobblestone streets
with their cellphones, Warhols, and fancy treats...
"The Thursday opening will be trés chic."
"Love his work." "So playful." (how tongue-in-cheek).
"It´s eighty thousand; shall I wrap it up?"
"Fine." "More espresso?" "Please, another cup."
"It´s just grass on canvas; seems high to me,
dear..." "Good investment piece; pass the sushi."
(They leave the gallery, new X in hand.)
"I love it! It matches my new watchband!"
"Let´s hang it in the den, by the bonsai."
Who´s retching? Michelangelo and I.
slumming in east village myth
baby, you smell bad but not bad enough.
your white skin looks a bit too moist and smooth.
i know what tough times are; your life ain´t rough.
so what the hell are you trying to prove
hiding under that vintage army shirt
bought with daddy´s platinum visa card?
playing all day long in tompkins square dirt
begging cash for your drugs; is life that hard?
am i supposed to feel sorry for you
with your mutilations and tatooing,
the high price of blonde dreads (plain hair won´t do)
your grief-filled expressions and boohooing?
what could be the motivating factor
behind your performance, wooden actor?
droning in dim fluorescent apathy:
a scatological misdemeanor.
staggering in befuddled utterance,
frozen black limbs burning in effigy.
tracks crisscrossing, zigzagging, trick turning
(a self protective fear mechanism),
seeking refuge in winding mind tunnels
all day: begging, sleeping, hiding, burning.
the rhythm of the tracks, announcements drowned
in chewing gum blacked echoes, closing doors
stand clear of her and cops leave her alone
as she feeds among rats without a sound.
A C E, N & R, B D F Q.
a haven in hell; that´s what it´s come to.
a year later
my eleventh morning of September:
typical. coffee and a New York Post,
sleepwalking to work, a pale hungry ghost
in a.m. Gotham, one nine-to-fiver.
8:46: felt, not seen; an eerie
echo locked in time. faces. steps halting,
inverted - it´s a beautiful morning
in autumn, feel the breeze. it´s 9:03.
going home. people standing around (why?)
slow motion walking - fire fighters fighting
futility. why must the good men die?
10:05: south tower down. the screaming
acrid smoke that won´t go away. the fears
that haunt remembered mornings. faces. tears.
Requiem for a moth
Kyrie Eleison...Christe Eleison.
You rise from the depths, wafting up like smoke,
in your ashen, dusty, shadowy cloak,
thatch-winged Lazarus lepidopteran.
The fluttering of your quiet wings: part
space, part time; through life and death a mirror
of old, of anima--both, yet neither.
What is seen and unseen: the sacred heart.
Incense flickering. An inner mantra
sounding in ineffable, pure, white light:
Na Mo Amitabha...Amitabha.
intoning, invoking, fluttering, night.
Morning: the bells are tolling. Seize the day,
moth. To the pure land fly - away, away.
Plop! Those first cool drops always find their way
to a thirsty old furrowed brow--quenching,
removing the plow that burdens one´s day
they soak the skin, to the marrow drenching.
Walking in the rain; what greater pleasure
is there? Laughing children skipping along
dancing with the droplets, singing a song--
their wet happiness is beyond measure.
Ah the rain, it restores a weary soul;
Let´s all enjoy the taste of raindrops whole!
Eschew the frantic pace of soulless men,
who, feeling one raindrop hastily run
for shelter, fearing tweeds will be undone
by a little rain and puddle-jump Zen.
Recipe for Love
Beethoven said only the pure of heart
can make a good soup. I tend to agree.
Though loving can only be taught in part,
here´s a well-worn, time-tested recipe.
I´ll start with the classic ingredients:
1 large half-full glass of optimism,
3 cups each of compassion and patience,
Equal parts hugs and enthusiasm;
Liberal sprinklings of humor and grace,
A healthy balance between fantasy/
reality--Don´t forget ecstasy
or smiles. If appropriate, lust: to taste.
Heat over the eternal flame of time.
Serves all. Isn´t the soup of love sublime?
ode to a willing muse
The dedicated words which writers use
As with your shadow I with these did play;
So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse
Against the stormy gusts of winter´s day.
O! how I faint when I of you do write,
Incapable of more, replete with you...
O! from what power hast thou this powerful might?
Hearing you praised, I say ´tis so,´ ´tis true.´
Let not my love be called idolatry
When you entombèd in men´s eyes shall lie;
And take thou my oblation, poor but free;
Those lines that I before have writ don´t lie.
What strainèd touches rhetoric can lend!
Now all is done, save what shall have no end.
my meaningless generation: a pond
whose rank scum never seemed to float away.
small nihilistic worlds of privileged
folk coated with the residue of sin
and drugs, their empty lives an MTV
collage wrapped in denim and cigarettes.
awkward mumbled Tibet condolences
parroted with a muted arrogance,
ambitious women would enslave toy men
neither vintage-wearing fool would commit.
shrill music had no tune, no poetry,
art ceased to mean something, even nothing,
rap was crap and hip hop a flip flop and
try though they would whites could never be black.
(rhyme internally, please.)
leave my sonnet. it will never see the
light of day. my books will be given to
friends who will quietly throw them away
or use them to right imbalanced coffee
tables. so be it. take these pages and
make collage out of them. or confetti.
tear them up and fertilize your garden.
scrawl graffiti over them. consider
burning this book entire; the warmth of the
resulting fire will be much more real than
any false words scratched herein. but as you
light the match remember one thing, and may
this comfort your mind throughout the ages:
my warm blood is still wet on these pages.
Sonnet Cycle: The Five Elements
You have wearied men´s thoughts since times of old,
lovely goddess; your lustrous eyes bewitch
the world. You are worshipped by poor and rich
who live to feel your touch: so soft, yet cold.
I first saw your face when I was a child,
walking with my father by a church gilt
from floor to ceiling. Its priests showed no guilt
as beggars outside starved along dogs wild.
Happily since then you´ve been a stranger
for I know you for what you are: a thief
of men´s souls, a brilliant mirage, a brief
glint of happiness, her doppelgänger.
I´d burn that church, melt its gold. For a meal
and warm blankets for those men, you I´d steal.
Old tree, tell me a fantastic story
of stirring battles fought under your leaves,
of young lovers declaring love´s glory,
of mischievous scampering acorn thieves...
"I´ve been here since the dawn of ancient time,
young man, thus I have much to tell you. See,
my brother´s wood was used for Shakespeare´s rhyme,
my sister´s flesh made great Stradivari.
A cousin´s soul inhabits every tree
which yields great beams for temples east and west;
under my father sat Sakyamuni,
on mother´s arms Christ was put to the test..."
May you live to tell stories without end
ten thousand years, eternal soulful friend!
no greater softness, no power greater...
someday your oceans will reclaim the earth
as they did in Noah´s time, dear water.
oh we speak of a ´harnessed´ waterfall,
how silly; nothing is harnessed at all.
men calmly cross your frozen lakes and seas;
for you, little playthings are death and birth,
so I´m wary of too familiar ease.
amen, ye solvent! I do admire you,
aqua, in drink and song and murky verse.
I love your many colors, not just blue.
no greater softness, no power greater...
would you care to have some green tea and mirth?
then let´s water the plants a bit later.
Hail, black-skinned crackling wrathful deity!
Great Alexandrian equalizer,
come burn with flame-licked white hot equity
all cherished hopes and dreams, fair leveler.
Burn, burn, burn, burn the house down to the ground.
Burn, burn, burn, flood the cities with your fires,
quench man´s thirst with ashes till he is drowned,
consummate his lust on funeral pyres.
Consume, annihilate, create anew
in living, breathing holy holocaust;
no burning embers nor traces leave to
identify the remnants of souls lost.
For man must feel the consequences dire
of stealing from the gods their sacred fire.
(sprawled on your cool grassy bosom, dreaming...)
You´ve engulfed me whole a thousand times since
I was born, dear earth. I love you, mother,
just as naturally as breathing or
gazing at the clouds in lofty heaven
(though I´d prefer to stay here on the ground).
I´m all grown up, but still I suckle from
your tit, your milk ever warm--the fruit of
deep valleys and cold streams, of high mountains;
the fruit of grass and trees and flowers and
fields of grain and deserts and all creatures.
Someday I´ll die and return to your womb;
you understand this all, no words need I
speak. You give me life; what else can I say?
sonnet cycle: empathy
lined up at the welfare office again
"just have a seat" (as if we were old friends)
the slowness of the applicants mirrors
the workers, a great silent procession
suspended in time, a slow motion dance
of suitor and suited. we wait...and wait...
my ill-breakfasted dreams and fancies: per- -
forated like my blue application,
my supplication to the state: please sir,
may i have some more? answer: "have a seat".
more people streaming in, a river of
poverty. a caseworker calls her boy-
friend in silk-tipped expletives; the smile on
names called feeds our jealousy. i´m hungry.
"Charity begins at home", a hackneyed
phrase, perhaps; but who doesn´t need our love
and compassion devoid of all thoughts of
recognition? Both the poor and monied
need it. Both the good and evil need it.
The sun of charity shines on all men
and it differentiates not a bit,
for there is no difference among them.
How can there be difference when we bleed
in red, one and all? We all feel the fear
of death and the loss of those we hold dear,
so charity´s a universal need.
It´s so easy to do a little good.
Take the time. Charity is the soul´s food.
hand in hand
we must go on, we must endure. skies don´t
fall, eternal winds never cease to blow.
it will rain again, it might even snow;
without these, no spring! all our hoping won´t
change a thing, our cherished thoughts are for naught.
our dreams, our fears...better go rake some leaves
or jump in the nearest pond. thought achieves
little; bake bread and eat it while it´s hot.
"fresh coffee and hot bread" a paradise
equal to any other in the end.
such simple rhyme, have i gone ´round the bend?
(making it when you´re old is twice as nice...)
pray a little, but not too solemnly.
learn to laugh at your critic´s calumny.
True friends are an ever-elusive breed.
We are lucky if we find one or two
throughout our lives, they don´t come in fives. True
friends are orchids; the rest are common weeds.
The fragrance of wisdom and honesty
marks their words and deeds; they accept with love
our humble shortcomings, their loyalty
ever beyond doubt. True friends need not prove
themselves; they are as constant as the sun,
illuminating our darkest clouds: gloom
and despair. They save us from certain doom,
or do nothing, yet nothing´s left undone.
When you´re lonely, think only of these words;
for fair weather friends, go and feed the birds.
no silly stanzas i´ll write here in vain,
no bright ideas, no shallow effects...
none can describe my deep feeling--my brain
fails me. i´ll try the heart, but what comes next?
yes it´s difficult to write about you.
yes we´re too close for objectivity.
some might say our love is like a strong glue,
a permanent bond between you and me.
we can be seas or garbled calls apart
yet we visit each other in photos
we keep in private places of the heart,
places only we know. i cherish those.
sure as the sunrise, or Popayán rain,
we will always be together...again.
the cardboard man
for all my pain and suffering, i´m not
eighty years old, sitting on a cardboard
box, discarded by a society
that coldly forgot and left me to die...
a shiny new supermarket opened,
displacing him. excited shoppers pass
him by with bags full of meat, expensive
fruits and green vegetables, japanese rice,
winter melon. what about mr. wong?
what does mr. wong have? he has our love.
he tries to refuse it, but we insist
on giving. for we have not forgotten.
i squeeze his hand; i love my cardboard man.
i love that little brittle cardboard man.
breathing controls everything; it cannot
be denied. erratic breathing makes for
erratic behavior. our petty minds
seek solace in cheap stimuli and the
appeasement of ego. it is because
we don´t know how to breathe. i confess that
i once took breathing for granted. i no
longer do, for i cherish the gift of
life. breath is life--life is breath. when i sit
here quietly, my mind calm and at ease,
i feel a deep and lasting peace greater
than all the world´s riches. i´m happy to
harmonize with my breath; for when breath is
calm, hell itself is cool and refreshing.
Here lies buried a simple, quiet man
who tried throughout his life to free his mind
from the prisons of fear, hatred, and greed.
He tried and tried; at last he did succeed.
He succeeded by living a spartan
life, putting his cares and troubles behind,
setting them down, balancing word and deed.
But in samadhi was he truly freed.
No virtue, no sanctimonious plan
to ´do good´ or ´live right´ was he assigned
by some well meaning parish priest; his seed
of truth was ripe; Love was his creedless creed.
Perhaps on this common burial plot
a tree shall grow. Please sit here when it´s hot.
sonnet cycle: playthings
the chord on the manhattan bridge: a noise
by stravinsky or prokofiev... ives?
a monotonous monody, a dull
conversation in moonlit blue cables...
you´re late to rehearsal, white chevy van.
what´s the rush? look, it´s 12:04, man, and
as far i´m concerned no crescendo
is marked in the score. amateurs. gotta
love ´em. allright! don´t come in early, ford!
count, cadillac, count. hey, that was uncalled
for; is mama really that impatient?
my mother does what? you cad. go to hell.
they´re moving along now, i can see them.
shit, i was enjoying the nice music.
perhaps this sonnet isn´t authentic.
maybe even a trifle bombastic.
please understand that´s characteristic
of someone trying to be dramatic.
this striving results in the erratic,
sometimes skewed, sometimes funky, fantastic
lines barely held together by glue-stic--
a collage of language narcissistic
in its demeanor, yet optimistic
in its innards. (never pessimistic).
no, no. never. ever realistic.
you, dear reader, may feel it sadistic,
but today i´m merely voyeuristic.
what makes me tic? watching what makes you tic.
one see the sonnet before this is called
miracle! yes i put my mind at ease
and nothing really clever came to mind
´tics´ so i wanted a sonnet to be
by going to junk shops looking for old
a poor substitute if ever there was
jazz the salvation army is the best
my mind at EASE hey that was a minor
start here: i spent like three weeks trying to
named fleas i thought and thought meanwhile i put
not enough words rhyme with fleas and lice is
records especially classical and
though my needle sometimes jumps and skips beats
come up with a game plan for this sonnet
fleas 2, for the dim-witted
start here: i spent like three weeks trying to
come up with a game plan for this sonnet.
and nothing really clever came to mind
not enough words rhyme with ´fleas´ and lice is
a poor substitute if ever there was
one; see, the sonnet before this is called
´tics´ so i wanted a sonnet to be
named ´fleas´. i thought and thought...meanwhile i put
my mind at ease. (hell, that was a minor
miracle) yes i put my mind at ease
by going to junk shops looking for old
records especially classical and
jazz; the salvation army is the best,
though my needle sometimes jumps and skips beats.
d)ear mom, i thought i would write you today
about my breakfast: boloniya bread
wilkin and sons strawberry jam, pathmark
butter. it was the remnant of the old
loaf. stephanie insisted on buying
a new loaf yesterday. temptations were
too great; the new loaf was attacked, even
at midnight. the toaster was turned on, though
the bread was still fresh enough to eat ´as
is´. the croissant-like crust was crispy and
buttery smelling when i removed the
bread (sans tongs) to feel painfully--fully--
its rebirth. this bread is worthy of my
suffering. amen. i have nothing else.
zzz paulzukofsky room 309
. p-----pz. pp! p!
oy! enslavement! Z kampf mein
xenakis; freq. hertz tuiqwpax
xapwqiut ztreh .qerf ;sikanex
nice william schuman 1970,
man bald ..--- . -- brooklyn a grows in tree.
!t@u#r%a n%g^a l$i%l^ a * ***% (&,
&(m(e%s^s^y^ ___ann*!--- = = + (&.
dear charles, i was just getting ready to
edit a sonnet from my big white 3
ring binder when it bit me. the binder.
not the sonnet. the sonnet only growled.
what could this mean, charlie? does it mean that
i dare not edit my own work? that the
binder has ´issues´? that the plastic sleeve
is possessive of its contents, even
to the point of violence? where does it
end? i must take enormous risks as you
see. i will suffer for my poetry.
i´ll edit, but with a small ´e´. cafe
du monde coffee with chicory in hand,
boloniya bread, wilkin and sons jam.
Six Archaic Sonnets in homage to John Keats
Prelude: To the eternally elusive...
Though murky depths of Time diverg´d my soul
from thine, lovely angel, thou dost capture
it anew so as to be, with thee, whole--
and rise to Heaven in love-fill´d rapture
Suff´ring in despair I walk´d in the cold,
Gray, mourning silence of a faded youth
Till knowing thy love - whose worth can´t be told -
Which sav´d my lost soul with beauty and truth.
Thou art tender loveliness incarnate,
Sweeping me away with thine onyx hair
And bewitching almond eyes whose innate
Soft charms beguile, soothe, and ease the day´s care.
I worship at the temple of thy love,
Amid rugged hills and tender, flow´ring,
Moonlit valleys gaz´d at by stars above,
My love thy mystic potions empow´ring.
Thou nurseth me back to wholeness of heart;
Beloved, with thee I shall never part.
Thy heart is of a tender, thoughtful sort
Whose childish whims and graceful ways endear
Thee to devil and angel both, cohort
Of poets, bringer of laughter and cheer.
Thy aspirations have taken thee far
En route to academic excellence,
Yet let not thee thy thirst for knowledge mar:
Only Divine Grace gives true recompense.
True it is that man is a thinking reed,
But lost in thought he does not well his deed.
Lose thyself in oneness of this moment
and gain forever mystic at-one-ment.
(These are merely old words of dead sages;
My love for thee shall outlive the ages.)
My love for thee is a thief who robb´d me
Of reason and the mirthful happiness
Of music and frolic fill´d days; Distress
And Doom now toll my sad hours solemnly.
Come, sweet Death! Ease the gnawing, mournful pain
Of a lost soul banish´d from garden green
Whose lush wood, mumbling brook and Truth serene
I forsook for love´s bitter fruit in vain.
Deliver me from this hell where I freeze
And burn yet cannot die, where a fortress
Of ice surrounds thy reluctant heart, breeze
Of fire consumes, and there is no egress.
Open thy heart and grant me deliv´rance--
Unrequited love´s a brutal penance.
As delicate as a poppy flower
And aye as curiously seductive
As it´s milk thou art, Love, whose strange power
Thwarts my vain efforts to soberly live.
For thy warm, sweet, intoxicating gaze
Removes me from this sad, weary realm to
A timeless time of happy, drunken days
Spent rejoicing in thee and all that´s true.
Yet thy absence is a hell where, aching
With grief my trembling night-fill´d hours are spent
Writing brief nostalgic verse in torment,
Weakened heart scarce keeping pen from shaking.
Return me to thine heaven, kind seraph--
Let these poor lines be grateful epitaph.
Thy kisses fell upon me like the rain
Which reneweth the parch´d, crack´d, thirsty Earth,
Unleashing ecstatic floods, giving birth
In harvesting fields of dark amber grain.
There we shook the fruit from the tree of love;
In my arms you became fully woman--
Oh lusty nymph, thy cries were heard above--
Our love indeed was warmer than the Sun.
Warmer than the Sun, deeper than the Sea,
Peaceful as morning leaves strewn by the brook
After a tempest when we bold dared look
At the naked face of Eternity.
Thy mem´ry fills my ev´ry waking breath;
Embrace me not and I shall embrace Death.
Iridescent now are the small flowers
Long ago unnotic´d on country green.
Oriole´s song enraptures timeless hours--
Vocal ochre muse lost in song pristine.
Every thought rings with steeple bell toll´d truth;
Yearning is far gone for now I have thee,
O Titania, O ruddy-cheek´d youth
Under whose spell my fate it is to be.
Joyous fate indeed! Atropos, cut not
Our happy thread which runs together in
Just, true, harmonious marriage! Let spin
Our yarn of love which binds us in glad knot.
Serendipity brought us together;
My ardent true love is thine forever.
At one point I had considered using sonnet as a keyword text but soon realized that sonnet, or the plural form of that word, sonnets, might be misconstrued with sonnet, a work written by Steven Maloney such as his Cadenza Sonnets. So I decided to not write any sort of sonnet or sonnets keyword text for spiders but rather let the merits of my own sonnet speak for themselves. For if a sonnet is wanted, a good sonnet will be found at my sonnet site, which is known as CADENZA: Sonnets by Steven Maloney.