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by William Marr
by Pat Petros
by Bob McCarthy
by Tom Roby
(Tao Te Ching, XI)
Thirty spokes |
Share one hub.
The use of the cart
Depends on the part
That is void
We knead clay
To shape jar walls.
What it will hold
Inside this mould
Lies in emptiness.
Cut windows and doors
To craft a house.
The sweep of a broom
Will need enough room
What isn't there
Makes the difference.
|*The morphing is three fold: the title and design of the poem are mine, and I made the translation in a Taoist spirit from all the translations I could find.|
Through my picture window there resides|
a massive bank of fir.
I watch it often, from my couch,
Yesterday, there was a winter storm,
and piles of snow obscured the green,
and the branches toward the ground were bowed.
Today the skies are blue again, and with the sun
the heavy clumps of snow
fell further, fainting, to the ground below.
The branches bobbed and rose again,
and bounced as waves upon a shore,
with mirth, tossed and jostled by the silent wind.
So goes my life. There are times when heavy snow
holds me down too. Every limb is pressed upon
until I stagger, then stand still,
waiting for a better time when I shall be
Then, just as I thought that it could never be,
the weight drops off, and leaves me free
to move again. As with the silent wind I dance,
as supple as that bank of greenery.
His unwilling knees bend, and he kneels|
in wet grass, pushing into the moist dirt
of her grave, methodically, with precision,
as if it were a drafting lesson,
flowers that abound on the grounds of
Taliesin: dahlias, zinnias, Queen Anne's lace,
adorning her unmarked earthen crypt
with colors of morning, the scent of fresh day lilies.
This is as frilly as the clean lines
and pleasing proportions of his golden mean
will ever get, and yet never does he
Victorian a place with such fervor
as when he presses her nasturtiums
into the ground around where her face will rest.
As he lines her grave with their garden in the rain,
parallels and perpendiculars of his rectilinear
world gone amuck, pain spreads like a coffee stain,
brown on the blue lines and angles of his mind.
Why do all these thousands of sharp arrows|
Came together in one bundle and,
Pierced me with vengeance?
Or these arrows unexpectedly paying respects
To my feet of a "Guru"
In the great tradition of India.
Realization came to me in a flash
That I should be that "Drona,"
The mighty warrior--teacher of India.
The past lives of mine are projected
In front of my eyes one after the other
Every Hindu has many lives before this one.
Who am I in this live?
The arrows are digging open
The memories from the deep depths below.
Who is this unbelievable champion archer?
Who is this unparalleled sharpshooter?
To one and only I taught
This secret of special skill in archery
That was to "ARJUNA,"
The epic hero of "MAHA BHARATHA"--
The greatest civil war in India.
"Arjuna"--my dearest pupil--my blessings to you.
But alas! "Pandavas" the warring faction is no more
How could "Arjuna" be alive?
All have passed away--
From the memories filled past lives
And the present half sleep state,
Who could have dared to wake me up?
Except my own dreams!
When I was engrossed in my thoughts
Singing in a make-believe world,
Early in the chilly dark morning,
As I walk with my bare feet--
Icy cold water droplets began biting me.
On the pillows of fluffy
Rabbit ear tender plants,
In the middle of
Kissing, hissing, soft sounds,
Enjoined in an embrace,
In the trance of half sleep,
After the tender love act,
The sweet green grass shoots and
The plumpy water droplets
Are taking a deep nap
Without a twinge of a body movement.
Tender grass blades
Drenched in faint wet dreams
Are giggling merrily
Reflecting in the darling droplet's face.
When the drowsy droplets
Engaged in the sweet loving conversations,
While entwined in beloved's embrace.
A thunderbolt unmercifully
Shattered the tranquil love scene.
O! Cruelty!! You have no mercy.
Would not the droplets come together
As thousands of icicles to attack?
Would not the grass shoots
Sharpening their edges
Come together in bundles of arrows?
When they were trampled harsh
And crushed hard.
I feel guilty
For walking on them
That they are in the act of love-making.
I am graciously pardoned
By their lovers compassion for
Not transforming themselves
Into real dark scorpions
To bite me with their poisonous stings.
Thank God I am left alone
Without any harm.
You're looking well.
Why shouldn't I? I was only 20 when I was shot. And you--I can't believe it. You look so....
No. Grown up. You're dressed like someone from a magazine. The skirt, the--What are those boots?
Emu. An emu is like an ostrich, but not so tall. A friend in Australia had them made for me.
How'd you get here?
Heart Attack. Or did you mean why am I here, rather than...?
Heart attack, huh. I thought only men had heart attacks.
Not any more, if ever. And why are you here? I mean, you weren't all that good. You slapped me around. You kept me from talking to student wives. And you were rather racist.
Yeah, that's the funny thing. If I hadn't been racist, getting killed saving that Black kid wouldn't have landed me here. The rules are as crazy here as anywhere else. What happened to you after?
You left me in a hell of a spot. No money, no job, no education, and a six-month-old baby. Mom kept Joey while I went to school and then got a job as secretary with a publishing house. The pay was lousy, but there were lots of interesting people around. I started reading the books they published, and thought I could write better ones myself. With encouragement and a few hints from my friends there, I wrote The Cougar and the Countess. One of the editors liked it, and they published it. It ended up on the best-seller list, and so did six of my later books.
You mean there's a list of the top-selling books, like there is for movies?
Yes, that's right. And one of my books, Kabbalah and the Chorus Girl, was made into a movie. I wrote the screenplay. But what about you? What have you been doing here?
Oh, I'm in a state of grace. I just sit around.
You mean you don't --progress?
Why should I? I'm already here.
So we're back together again? For eternity?
Yeah, that's the way it works here. You, know--Bound on Earth, Bound in Heaven.
"Hey! You! Why are you wandering?"|
"Nay! Nay! I am just wondering!"
"Have not told me the name of you"
"Want to but all too mute!"
In this maze of nine way house
House to house counting doors
Under ground floors beyond pyramids
The room's numbers exceed myriads
Watching the games of 'vit and Mort'
Trying to cognize the tongues of the shadows
Scopes I can never be and the slopes never see
"Once I am the ruler ruled"
My citadel, standing on the seven high hills
Mimicking Rome may feel severe chill!
If water finds it's level and fire its heights
The 'Vit' offers a score of claps to 'Wit'
You are my tent where philosophy whispers
The age less quest knows no shores
Seasons cycle by while you gaze at sky
I am the flare in the hair and the sweep of the brush
Land and ocean scapes life that flush
I am the swing in the song full of notes
Zigzag gaps that tied with knots
I am the roar in the rear of the cloud
Sure lurking spark in mating streams
My love began before my tongue
I now recall the potter's song I am
Which startled the silent stars
Member me dear! Remember me!
You and I! Inclusive 'We'
We both remain in each other's hold
Finding the level and height at once told.
I shake my fist at you,|
two-faced demon sky.
I despise your deceit,
your cerulean passivity,
the cheerful face you turn
to the earth today,
the way the sun
smiles down warmth.
You should darken your visage,
match the surreal sorrow,
the fear, weighing us down.
You should thunder anger
against all perpetrators
of hate, of vengeance,
against killers of innocents
and their dreams,
rain down tears of remorse
for your complicity,
letting planes lay ghost tracks
through you, ride them like rails
of so many lives.
There is a man|
walking behind me
on Wood Street
He can't know
my heart hums
a surging theme
from Movement 1
of Mahler's Tenth.
He can't know
why I am walking
on Wood Street
And why am I?
It takes too long
to think about.
Who is this man
does he carry?
is in him?
I somehow am
this man walking
on Wood Street
with his day.
I can only know
my own form
but he and I
are breathing of
the same Breath.
plays on within me
as I enter a building.
The man continues
along the street
no attention to me,
this man walking
on Wood Street
who I am.
Copyright Notice: Copyrights for all of the above poems remain with the individual authors. No work here is to be reused without permission from its author. To request permission, contact a member of the ISPS Web Committee.|