Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Poor Devil by the Fire (Hugo Simberg), Sonnet #320

We caught a silver devil stealing soup.
Naked, sooty, his mouth painted crimson,
He sniffed our dinner's heady steam and sighed.
I pulled my belt and tried to throw a hoop
Over his horn-crowned brow and roped just one.
I yanked him down and soon had him hogtied.
He wriggled and whimpered, then spat and died.
We buried his carcass somewhere outside.
We don't remember where, though we have tried.
Twenty years later we found him at last,
At our soup again, now with thin blue lips,
Tipping the pot and taking little sips.
"Oh, Devil, why have you come back?" we asked.
He said, "I brought you with me from the past."

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Juniper Praising The Moon (D'Arcy Guerin Gue), Sonnet #319

Desiccation praising desolation.
How can things be more beautiful when dead?
Pretty Guinevere in adoration
Of her knight almost lost her pretty head.
Now she reaches for her sad, betrayed king,
As if she'd kiss his dusty lips and sing.
The moon looks down upon the juniper
And sees only petrified conifer.
I once climbed a not unsimilar tree
On a cloudy, starless night in a gale.
The branches cracked and broke and I fell free.
The moon appeared like a ship under sail.
The world is perfect, unbroken, and pure
(Though sad things happen), of this I am sure.

Note: Juniper is a derivation of the Welsh name Guinevere.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Gare Montparnasse, The Melancholy of Departure (Giorgio de Chirico), Sonnet #318

The second hand always departs.
The minute hand always arrives.
The hour hand claps at our lives
With one hand that stops and starts.
We climb the red stone clock tower,
Stare out slits in its white faces.
Its hands are minute and hour,
No second, which just erases,
Like the one on my mantelpiece,
Always threatening my decease.
We need a hand for time to come,
One that whirls while always slowing,
That tells us (since the hour's dumb),
When we'll be without our knowing.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

King Hobgoblin Sleeping (Hugo Simberg), Sonnet #317

I found a hobgoblin in my back yard,
With a possum pillow under his head,
Asleep, surrounded by a thousand kin
Standing in ranks, his imperial guard.
A cricket on a string droned by his bed
Of crepe tucked under his majesty's chin.
His crown (a fool's cap) and truncheon scepter
Were all he owned that made him emperor.
They cast his grandeur and his power spells.
His minions, one by one, exhausted, fell,
Near death, and groaning hauled each other up.
I shouted, "Wake thee! Or you'll interrupt
Your sire's sleep!" Then they all disappeared,
Leaving possum to chew the dead hob's beard.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Wounded Angel (Hugo Simberg), Sonnet #316

We found her nearly conscious under the willow,
Her wings so wet she must have come from the river.
We ripped a strip from her gown's hem and wrapped her brow.
A gash meant to us someone could not forgive her.
We dared not wipe the blood from her broken pinions,
Afraid that it might make us bleed or break our hands.
We remembered stories about the Lord's minions --
How their feathers had beaten mountains into sands.
Our minds blazed awe. She whispered, "No superstitions."
We cut two branches from an ash and made a chair
To carry her. She rose and sat, like light, like air.
She clutched five snowdrops we had taken from her hair.
We asked her how we should go. She pointed
At the river. "There," she said, "We are anointed."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bond of Union (Escher), Sonnet #315

For Ruth

They say that only gravity can make an orb,
That when two pliable objects come together,
An attracting force at their centers will absorb
All imbalance, all turbulence, wind and weather,
And even out the distance from center to rim
To form a satisfying equilibrium.
The loves of men and women are beribboned air,
Much that's empty and much almost decorated.
It's up to each to seek the beautiful and fair,
To smile, to look past the moment, sad or sated
(Though we'd wrestle the sun if it would hold the day!),
When the moment is over and has rolled away.
My love, our ribbons tighten and, like gravity,
Have made a single perfectly round you and me.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Stonehenge, Sonnet #314

Perhaps they never finished it.
The stones wouldn't stay put or fit.
The builders grew weary and quit.
Their act of faith was a battle
With a terrible mystery,
The unseen evil, gravity. 
The lifting high of each lintel,
Unsure of a secure seating,
Might have seemed a self-defeating
Act, simply in the repeating.
When we exhausted stone-layers
Fail, do we resort to prayer,
Or abject, wild ululation
In praise of our liberation.