My Rules for Sailing
Always I fight to restrain expectations
For dreams are so easily drowned
Not every ship can survive in the open
And not all safe harbors are found
Often I’m angered by selfish behavior
Wrecking the world in its wake
Often I’ve wanted to keel-haul the guilty
Compelling the dreaming to wake
Sometimes I settle for what I’ve been given
And sometimes I set off for more
Sometimes I help others weather their tempests
And sometimes their pleas I ignore
Seldom the world offers kindly attention
And seldom it leaves me surprised
For ignorance showers our every encounter
And sorrow is seldom disguised
Never have I on the tailwinds of others
Expected to profit or thrive
Never will I overstate my achievements
And never will I have “arrived”
The Captain and the Maiden
The Captain stood over the elderly Maiden
Alone in the forested vale;
The chiton she wore appeared ragged and dirty,
Her skin had turned sallow and pale.
She lay in the forest, alone and unsheltered,
Her dwellings dismantled by time;
The world had forgotten their grand decoration
And stately, majestic design.
The lute by her feet held no music inside it,
Its strings had been broken and frayed;
With no one to listen or cherish its timbre,
Its function instead was decay.
The book by her side lay neglected, but open;
The sunlight had yellowed each page;
With none left to write to, her inkwell had hardened,
Its surface now crazen with age.
The Maiden herself appeared fragile and tired,
Her hair, like her eyes, were worn grey;
Her purpose and labors had long been forgotten,
And no one remembered her name.
The Captain raked through the old Maiden’s possessions
To steal only hammer and nail;
He stood up and nodded, then left her to whither,
Alone in the forested vale.
The Land of the Living
Both infancy and childhood
Are siblings from the start
Their friendship, seldom understood,
Is primal at its heart
Adolescence is a crowd
That passes through the night
It calls, exuberant and loud,
Yet quickly fades from sight
And middle-age is but a band
Of neighbors in their fields
Behind each swathe of tended land
Their secrets lay concealed
Old age, a stranger in the park,
Prefers its calm repose
Akin to dwellings cold and stark
From where he first arose
The Gods Themselves
You'll pass through the dimmest recesses
In darkness they'll want you to start
But reasoning only oppresses—
They'd rather you see with your heart
Sometimes my searching upsets them
Their tempers are never the same
But when they've consented, I've met them
And always they've known me by name
Sometimes their fire comes willing
When offering sweat as the spark
The blaze can grow, laughing and thrilling
But sometimes I'm left in the dark
You'll want to give up, you'll grow tired
But don't let the chase go ignored
The seeking is what they admire—
The seeking is what they'll reward
#poetry #thoughts #micropoetry
A pen is out, the mind reopens
Its secrets and their silence broken
A smoke is lit, the coffee’s black
It’s time for thought, for going back…
For going back to snow and frost:
The winter spills, all color lost
Skis unloaded, poles unpinned
Glinting bevels, biting wind
The lodge’s heat that primed your fingers
The moment lost, its warmth still lingers…
For going back to all that clings:
Family ties, now severed things
A need to go, a plea to stay
The flotsam friends who drift away
Deleted contacts, faded pages
A past embittered as it ages…
For going back to fervent whispers:
Lands of burning fields and blisters
Limestone slabs, the Southern Cross
Muddy waters leagues across
The jungle deeps, the belts of sand
The wonders I don’t understand…
The spell is burst. The present calls
The corporate combine slowly draws
My smoke is snuffed, the coffee’s cold
It’s time again for growing old.
A warm eclipse its entry brings:
Through glasses darkly, stranded things
Enliven and infect the heart
Setting time and soul apart
Faces slip, and moments pass—
Mere baubles in the cloudy glass
Words cast out and none remembered
But time persists—the past surrenders
The tangible then reappears
Until at last the surface clears
The visions fade, the faces dim...
How coldly then the light seeps in.
Do You Know These Characters?
Delusion comes as kindness
A gentleman throughout
His lies are but the finest
Adorning you with blindness
Before he casts you out
Revolt's a fairy-story
That children like to tell
Whose tales of noble glories
Sound comical and boring
To those who know them well
Anger sounds like reason
A false soliloquist
Whose influence will deepen
Each word a minor treason
When passions can't resist
Happiness is hollow
Despite his clientele
His pitch you'll quickly follow
Propped up with false bravado
But worth's the better sell
Amid the field, the future looms
A barrow-grove of lifeless rooms
No sylvan roof to blot the sun
And the rain will leave you shivering
What are you when your forest fades?
Can magic simply steal away?
The timeless things can be undone
And their loss will leave you quivering
#poetry #nature #loss
Beyond my porch, I watched a yellow bus
So like the one that had accepted me
Back then—when winter storms were dangerous
But on the bus, we had no sense of it—
No storm outside distracted from our laughter.
That's how it was: together, we could laugh.
Behind my car, I wrestled with the trunk
And forced a scraper out. My fingers burned
When raking off the frost that sealed the windows.
I got inside, and fumbling the dials,
I all but willed the heat to course my fingers.
In time they flexed, and then I joined the road.
The car was silent, save the hissing vents
And laughter revenant between my ears.
As ripples rest upon the shoal,
An image becomes clearer:
A silhouette is rendered whole,
As the pool draws flush its folds,
And forms therein a mirror.
Atop the sheen the portrait sways,
It dances in the dark;
Take care to glance but never gaze:
Beware the wickedness displayed
Within this watermark.
Whose image floats atop the sheen?
From whither was it born?
This homunculus you see
Is not as it appears to be:
In deceit it is adorned.
Behind its eyes no soul you'll find,
It moves not on its own;
By your perception it's defined,
A doppelganger of a kind
Malign and mischief-prone.
When viewing via mirror-pond
Your double in the glare,
Glance only at the figure spawned,
Gaze not into what lies beyond:
Beware this Gorgon's stare.