Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Orchestra of the Opera (Degas), Sonnet #271

Half a life spent practicing the cello,
He's performed for less than a year before
An audience, may yet earn his fellow
Players' respect -- never the conductor's.
The little dancer with the pretty knees
Ignores him when curtain calls are over,
But later will do all she can to please.
(Many in the pit have been her lovers.)
That's him, looking up from his music stand,
Giving you, in the audience, the eye.
"Enjoy," it seems to say, "as if you can.
For me, this music is to live or die,
Sounds that cannot speak, yet signify,
And nothing you will ever understand."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Galaxy PGC 6240 (Hubble Telescope), Sonnet #270

One doesn't believe in the galaxies
Because they cannot speak. They ran away
And left us with nothing but dimming seas
Of light (not much of that), the random ray
Of heat, glow of illuminated gas,
And the supernova's vestigial mass.
Cataclysm: stars collide in silence
To the humiliation of science.
Lying awake, I go there every night --
A Lagrange point between planet and sun,
Steadfast along their centrifugal bight,
Worlds parsecs away, not unlike this one.
Things move in space but what does space move in?
What probe scratches the universe's skin?

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Banquet (Magritte), Sonnet #269

The sunset is a fickle idee fixe.
A prayer who cannot focus his mind
On one sentence from last Sunday's sermon,
A scientist who forces what he seeks,
A drunken hunter nodding in his blind,
All, intent on ideas — wavering sun.
But the sun never abandons a thought.
We might see it struggle and dim, caught
In leafed trees, or muddled by fog or haze,
Or gone below horizons where it dies
In the night ashes of extinguished days,
Until it's resurrected as sunrise.
We're all like suns to the sun, its to see
And to burn like an idea — to be.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Storm (Munch), Sonnet #268

An imp stamping in the attic,
The storm drives us and the neighbors
Into the street -- young widows, whores,
Lions -- hair spiked in the static.
The mansion is a locked fortress,
Lighthouse windows, chimneys cannon,
Twin sirens keening off and on.
The wind whips hard to undress us
As we trip on the paving stones
No one in the city owns.
When the trees swipe at the windows,
Rebuffed, torn black branches falling
Upwards, we hear babies bawling
As they fly by -- duck their wee blows.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Autumn Landscape at Dusk (Van Gogh), Sonnet #267

The trilling of the screech owl and the wind
In the leaves call to each other in words
Only the words themselves will comprehend.
I walk and answer with an empty mind,
Which slowly fills with the blinking of birds
And muted colors breezes twist and bend.
It's taken the sun's near infinite power
To tinge the air with diminishing light,
Like a mind telescoped to mere eyesight
Or eternity lasting just one hour.
I have found the owl in his empty knot --
Feathers indistinguishable from bark.
For a second nothing will thrive or rot
As the owl closes one eye to the dark.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Animals Extreme (Alice Guerin and Julia Guerin), Sonnet #266

Animals extreme are everywhere:
A laughing camel, sober wildebeest,
And four horses of the Apocaleast,
Dancing with a tang of Devil-may-care.
In my back yard the chipmunks chuck, chuck, chuck,
A sound like the jake braking of a truck.
The hummingbirds have taken to swilling
Berry wine. Our cats yowl like Bob Dylan.
The horses cavort until they are one,
A heady beast just dying to have fun.
The wildebeest needs to cheer up a bit.
It's not the end of the world, friend, not yet!
And you, my humpy friend, laugh all you want,
As you'd want me to, like Emmanuel Kant.

Note: Horses by Alice Bea Gurin and Laughing Camel
by Julia Rose Guerin. Click on the image to see a larger

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Vimalakirti, (Painter Unknown), Sonnet #265

Even a Buddha would think that the dark is light
And all is nothing and nothing is
is bullshit.
Thunderous silence is any mind's steady state.
On every eyelash thrives a ravenous mite,
Vimalakirti would have said, had he the wit.
We cannot eat what those who came before us ate.
There's one answer to each question, which is silence.
What is red? Why is Cassiopeia that way?
What is the difference between past and future tense?
What did you say? What do you say? What will you say?
On a clear day, the horizon line on the lake
Is the turned-away cheek of a sleeping Baku,
Devourer of nightmares. He is me and you.
Hold your tongue, close your eyes, and stay awake.