Thursday, October 19, 2017

Titan (NASA), Sonnet #374

Saturn’s moon is the mysterious one
Among the globes of gas and crusty orbs
That meander about our unfixed sun.
The elements earth has and will absorb
In infinite (call them) hours, from the lab
Of the solar system, have been stored up
In planets and moons, each drop in its cup,
No two the same, each its own unique tab.
Titan, though, would seem an alternate birth,
With oceans and sand, with mountains and rain,
(Even if what falls is only methane),
A negative of our radiant earth.
What swims in water seas under a sky
Of nitrogen? And, if something does — why?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Figure-Ground Illusion, Sonnet #373

Nothing is only one thing. Nothing.
An egg is both a womb and a prison,
A screech owl a hunter and great horns’ prey.
Funerals are gatherings and parting,
A thought both an act and a vision.
The sun is the start and the end of day.
In this shadowed bark we see a face,
Stern, discerning, a bit oblivious,
Contemptuous of all that’s obvious,
Stupid, loveless, cruel in the human race.
I see a bat fleeing a predator,
A cat or weasel nipping at its tail
(The eye being a restless editor) —
The man smiling because his cat will fail.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat (Simon de Myle), Sonnet #372

A billion species marched into the Ark.
Not one died off while the rain descended.
But Mt. Ararat was no pleasure park
And there half the lives Noah saved ended.
The suspension of the natural laws
That some will eat and some will be devoured
Vanished; unicorns found the lion’s jaws.
Raptors gorged on vermin and dragons scoured
The skies, while all fled the talons of the Roc,
A ravening, single, soon extinct cock.
Years on, man remade his cities and farms
And with the dispersal of beasts still wild,
Returned to the innocence of a child,
Immune to all but humanity’s harms.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mid-June (Burchfield), Sonnet #371

The tiger swallowtails eluded me
As a boy, lunging at them with my net.
Yet my daughter once put out a finger
And one landed like a bird on a tree.
She held it up as though she’d found a pet,
And cried “Come back!” when it didn’t linger.
It’s mid-September and growing colder.
I no longer wish to catch butterflies.
I take spiders outdoors (as I grow older)
And resent it when a cicada dies.
Why did I let June’s thick light disappear,
Leaving illumination of each sere
Spot on each turning leaf perfectly clear?
And don’t tell me it happens every year.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cicada (Ruth Diamond-Guerin), Sonnet #370

The cicada shifts the air like a loom.
Its sizzling klaxon rises in repeats,
Insisting on filling the summer’s room
Even as it winds down in lazy beats.
A pause. The shuttle shifts, then starts anew,
Reaching a pitch of pure intensity,
As if sound is the proof immensity
Of seething essence from which all life grew.
In September we see them fly around
Aimlessly, as if they want to be found
And later we do find them, on the ground,
While yet back and forth a few weakly sound.
The patterns in the late October leaves
Are what the now silenced cicada weaves.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Carpet of Memory (Klee), Sonnet #369

No one has a first memory, not one.
We can so designate any we choose,
The dimmest, the least associative,
A parent’s kiss or a promise undone,
The smell of mother’s milk, a game we lose,
But not that first moment we know we live.
For then they propagate like dry grasses
In a desert, patches of green, some sweet,
Some blown, or desiccated cactuses —
All ungraspable, too desired, too fleet.
I choose my first — not a moment, a dream:
“Wendy” and I are threatened by an ape.
She wears a witch’s hat and I a cape.
Then all fades away in a moon’s blank beam. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Second Day of the Creation (Escher), Sonnet #368

Today’s the second day of creation.
I’m sitting, sipping my coffee, and read
About the idea of ideation—
Interesting piece, though more of a screed.
The author is angry about something
He can’t express, but determines to try.
Over the ocean the cataracts sing,
The clouds dive dark and bright, and the waves fly.
The thunder, a clangor worthy of hell,
Fell silent an hour before the rain fell.
My reading’s become a hopeless muddle,
Some stones plopped into a muddy puddle.
I sigh and drop the book, disrobe, and leap
For the now pacific, still surging deep.