Wisdom

FCF38573-2929-4C13-B491-12CD9E788FD0The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

These things I know—

The soft words of love.
The solitary dreams of a poet.
The song of a thousand crickets.
The voice of a crying heart.
The pain and serenity of death.
The foretelling of dreams.
What it means to be free.

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Where Do Poems Come From?

B4C0A454-579E-47EC-B306-E76CD25BDF24I am not one of those poets who can sit down first thing in the morning with pen in hand and write a poem the way I can write an essay. I wait for the poem in the way one waits at a stop sign allowing their mind to drift until they are awakened from their escape by a honking car horn behind them. Sometimes the complete poem comes in a few seconds. Other times, bits and pieces drift in and out without a schedule. I can sit and toil over a poem, put it away, and a few months later take it out again. Often these bits and pieces from what I considered separate poems at some point converge into a single poem. That is why it becomes important to never throwaway a thought or a line of poetry.

Sometimes, the poet must prove his worthiness of the poem. I had the title of a poem on a post-it note for three months glued to my computer screen before the poem flowed into my body. I heard the words and wrote them down on paper. I seldom change more than a word or two when poems come in this manner. This poem is still in my opinion one of my best.

The poems I have to work on and struggle with a good deal may be more technically correct, but they feel more like a creation than a gift. Many of my poems come from dreams and experiences. I often write the words down while still half asleep, while the dream or words are still fresh in my consciousness. When I wake in the morning, I am often surprised to see the poem sitting on my night stand. A gift from the angels.

One Word

FCF38573-2929-4C13-B491-12CD9E788FD0But above all, the poet, is he who names things… And that’s the poet’s mission, profound and sacred communication. And another word for that is love. – Carlos Fuentes

If I could have but one word to describe you,
it would not be a word like “love” or “God,”
for although both of you—are true.
One carries too much baggage,
the other too many expectations.
This word would be a new word.
One created solely to describe you.
A word not encased by the rules of language
nor previously written with the hand of man.
This word would be a simple word, perhaps only
one syllable long, and yet it would embrace all
the known and forgotten languages of life.

A breath whispering in the blackness of space,
not audible to the expanding galaxies,
not conceivable to the floating nebula.
The power of this word lies not upon it’s surface
but in qualities hidden from view, like invisible stars—
It unfolds with knowledge, wisdom, magic and intent.
This word would encompass your radiance,
extol the benevolence of your heart,
be made whole by your acceptance.
Humbled, only from your eyes’ light,
This word would be a new word,
one never spoken or even thought.
This word would be the one word to describe you,
but one in which I will not live, confined.
This word, this one word, will live inside of me.

If

FCF38573-2929-4C13-B491-12CD9E788FD0Anything you can think of is likely to pass away. —Rumi

If I had held you more tightly,
would you still have pushed me away
If I had loved you more passionately,
would you still have lied about him
If I had given you all of me,
would you still have held something back
If I had lived your life, instead of my own
would you still awaken beside me
If I had reached across this bridge of separation
would you have extended a finger to touch
If I fall in love again and give my heart to her
would the memory of failed love haunt me
If this poem is the one I shall die in
would you mourn my passing at graveside
Thoughts, words, unanswerable questions.
Weight bearing burdens so easily carried
by two small letters, an “I” and an “F”.

Take Me Death

FCF38573-2929-4C13-B491-12CD9E788FD0Like a ghost from times passed
You creep up silently behind me.
Unwilling to confront me eye to eye.
You remain hidden in my blind spot.
Then you tap me on my shoulder
And quickly disappear back into your hell,
As I turn around to find no one is there.
Why do you play this game of cat and mouse?
What joy you must receive from my torment.
What satisfaction from my suffering of fate.
My body aches with pain and loss and yet…
You do not take me from my earthly misery,
but only add to my forsakenness.
Are you waiting for me to fall asleep, you coward…
to enter my life in the form of a dream?
A nightmare, from which I shall not awaken?

Song Of The Cricket

FCF38573-2929-4C13-B491-12CD9E788FD0It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has any meaning, but when we can believe it—and I do and always have—then there is nothing  we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it. — May Sarton

I am content with the moment…
but the moment does not hold
all of your dreams and desires.
And so, you leap into the future
carrying fragments of hope
which feel like chains upon my soul.
You mold a shield around your heart
which no arrow of love could pierce.
Can I say to you “I love you”
without having it mean— forever?
A word which has no meaning…
Don’t you know my heart beat
is merely an echo carried on
the crickets’ impermanent song?
It is certainty you hope for
when you know nothing ever is.

The Crushing Weight Of GoodBye

FCF38573-2929-4C13-B491-12CD9E788FD0She told him what had kept her away was Death. But he rejected that excuse—for Death, he said, can never come between lovers. — Maguib Mahdouz

I never thought the last time we said,
“Good bye,” would be the last time.
If I had known, I would have done it differently.
I would have said to you one more time,
“I love you.” Though I told you all the time,
this time would have been different— if I had known.
Our last embrace would have been much
tighter and a lot longer. Our last kiss,
more than just a brief touching of lips.
It would have been a most soulful kiss.
The kind that made you tingle with anticipation.
The last time we made love would not have been
so rushed by flight schedules and other lives—
If I had known it would be the last time
I would look into your liquid blue eyes,
I would have searched more deeply for reassurance
that you were coming back to me.
I would have made sure we had enough time
to complete the book I was reading to you.
If I had known it would be the last time
I would touch you, I would have defied the Lords
of our Life and Death, the very fates themselves
would be unraveling the threads of death they weave.
For if I had known it would be the last time I would
ever see you, I would never have said, “Goodbye.”

Alicia Keys (January 25, 1981 -)

Listen To Alicia Keys sing Like You’ll Never See Me Again here.