Unfulfilled

40 years ago
16 flags unfurled o’er the fields
In the days after
The hard rain fell
And the thunder rolled.

Shepard and sheep
Soaked to the bone
Waiting for the warmth
Of the Sun to slide
Through dark clouds
And dry their wool.

Shuffling through the shadows
From the temple
To the marketplace
Without moving at all.

Merchants, thieves, and priests
Somehow sharing
The same space,
Thirsty for wealth, power, and praise.

Empty as a spent
Wine cask
That they desperately try
To refill with stale vinegar
Through cracked
Plastic straw.

4/27/18

My 21st poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Down the Tracks

Life is not a road
On which we walk.
Roads can be walked
In either direction.

Life is a train
On which we ride,
Ever traveling forward
At faster
And faster speeds
Until we reach
Our destination.

4/21/18

My 19th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Fragment of Verse on the Passage of Time

Days slip away
Brown hair turns gray
As a boy turns into a man.

4/18/18

My 17th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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The Feather

Feather by Justine Leys.jpg

A single white feather
Falling, flying; floating.
Ivory against an onyx sky.
Loosed from Lucifer’s wing,
Escaping un-singed
As he fell
In victory and defeat.

4/14/18

This poem was inspired by the above acrylic painting by my wife, Justine Leys. So far as I know she was just painting a feather, the association with Lucifer is just what sprang to mind when I saw it.

This is my 14th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Lotus Flower Haiku

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Lotus flowers float
Atop the dirty water
Growing in the sun.

4/12/18

My 13th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Image found at CulturalIndia.Net.

The Rolling River

Bob Dylan and the ghost of Leonard Cohen
Sitting shivah on short stools
Yarmulke pinned to gray curly hair
Mourning Yossef’s son,
Who got in trouble with the law
Questioning authority
Challenging the establishment
Threatening the status quo.

Low murmured Hebrew and Yiddish,
Swaying like reeds on the sea,
Thoughts linger of sandle-less Socrates,
Served a hemlock cocktail
By the powerful men of Athens,
Condemned to die
For the high crime
Of corrupting the youth
By teaching them
To think for themselves.

The times are changing,
Time is nothing but change:
A rolling river that’s never
The same.

Leonard sits shivah
In the lotus position
Meditating mind breaths
And beneficent Buddha nature,
Serene smile thinking of
The high born privileged prince
Slowly discovering the three fold
Reality of the common world,
Informing the high born
Priests, warriors, and kings
That their stratified social system
Is a mind made illusion
Just like everything else they see.

Socratic Stoic Jews breaking bread
With Benedict Spinoza
Recalling the ship of Citium
Wrecked on the Grecian shore
Near Athens.
Loitering in Hellenic bookstores
Discovering the wise words of Socrates
That hemlock couldn’t kill,
Following the dogs to the porch,
Writing philosophical prescriptions
To alleviate the suffering
Of ill flowing lives.

After seven days
Bob and Lenny
Return the cushions to the chairs,
And uncover the bathroom mirror
As sunlight bursts through
A beat-up Venetian blind.

4/10-4/12/18

My 12th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Hate and Love (Translation of Catullus 85)

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Gaius Valerius Catullus

The following poem is a translation of a poem written in Latin by the ancient Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84 – ca. 54 BCE). The poem was originally untitled, but is commonly referred to as Catullus 85. I was looking for a good translation of this poem for Go Dog Go Cafe‘s current National/Global Poetry Writing Month festivities, but wasn’t able to find one I was fully satisfied with, so I translated it myself and was rather pleased with how it turned out.

The original Latin text reads:

ōdī et amō. quārē id faciam, fortasse requīris.
nescio, sed fierī sentiō et excrucior.

This is my translation:

And while I hate, I love.
You might ask why I do this.
I don’t know,
But I feel it
And I am tormented.

My eleventh poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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This translation was originally posted on the Go Dog Go Cafe

Masquerade – a tanka

Mystery abounds
Life is a masquerade ball
Disguise required
No one can know who you are
Even you’re not really sure

4/10/18

My response to Colleen’s 2018 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 79, DANCE & COMMAND #SynonymsOnly.

My tenth poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Tetractys for a Pyrrhonic Skeptic

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Pyrrho of Elis

The
Only
Thing I know
For certain is
That I don’t know anything for certain.

4/6/18

My ninth poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Wisdom and Fools

Wise men know
What they do not know
And doubt what they do know.

Fools don’t know
What they don’t know
And never doubt
That they are right.

4/6/18

My eighth poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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