Saturday, October 19, 2013
The Eighth Day (With Heavy Hors D'oeuvres)
[to Ralph Waldo Emerson and all the poets before us]
everything has been stolen
I said to myself
in a waking dream:
the sound of your own words
in a rushing stream
the tempera sun from the baby's painting
before the paint has dried.
the moon behind the trees; the nursery snack and
fireside stories and other glories: thee and the
bridge that arched the flood's in a jeweled jail.*
mere beauty is derailed and made to serve
while the flood itself is squabbled over-
the laurel stripped from true competitors
by the advance teams well on their way
and music's jerked from the music stand
in luminous auditions before your eyes
by illiterate juries compromised
before the scherzo's even finished..
while the cufflinks of the kings,
the signet rings on either hand
the very short reigns I understand
the seal on the books of the non-essential dead
furnish all endowments behind closed doors
scooped out like a Cracker-Jack prize
awarded to whom they will,
with heavy hors d'oeuvres!!!
while poached like fish from a diamond stream-
fried up snazzy in a copper pan:
sizzle the redeemed,
the months from the calendar year
you counted on;
purloined, the baby's tear
and any dream you had.
someone's beckoning night and day
and highly paid for it, shoveling
pink night-lighted illusions
over the fiscal cliffs of home-grown Dread
they think they own-
riffing on freedom, not to be believed.
write what you know I write what
I see: imagination's burnished towers stoned
and the fire of former poets trampled out
as though they had not lived and your own words
in their sunset's after glow alive, alive o
disgraced in school
or barred from the programs...
how long they have tossed like a greasy salad
this crumpled heart and more
on the horn of their new day
dismissing God from his own gardens
as if that were possible
mary angela douglas 20 october 2013
Note: the line: the bridge that arched the flood's in ajeweled jailis an allusion to the famous poem below by
RRalph Waldo Emerson, "The Concord Hymn"
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson