Thursday, April 28, 2016

Birth of Comedy (Max Ernst), Sonnet #295

All are dropped, but do all have a mother?
What wicked womb, illicit phantasm,
Bore forth the stick of laughter's orgasm,
Only to be deliriously smothered
(Unless the comedic had no parent,
Is thoroughly a bastardo, arrant,
A prancer in sexless harlequin pants).
The world's worst gag, he offers as a gift:
A statue of a man biting off a hen's head
Has a crack. Put your hand in there, fall dead.
The moral? "Beware of geeks bearing rifts."
The Eden apple was the world's first joke.
The last will be "water and fire make smoke."
Oh, Comedy, you old world-burdened moke.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Bathers (Picasso), Sonnet #294

The Bathers are seekers, not believers.
(Old Possum and Pound are as dry as rust,
While Frost and Stevens compromise with trust,
And Berryman is a soul deceiver.)
Though the Bathers are not sculpted from sand,
By some moist, cool Heisenbergian hand,
They're happiest on a floating island,
Where they can sit or swim or float or stand.
The Bathers build boats with uneven keels
They steer through sand in concentric circles;
It's easy to make progress when they kneel,
And the boats sometimes produce miracles.
At sandy palimpsests, they dare to peek,
Because (not often) they glimpse what they seek.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

River Bend (photographer unknown), Sonnet #293

I've had this image in my head for years.
Not exactly this place or century,
Or the season (no, that was never clear;
Late summer, early fall, most probably):
The hills smoother, the water cascading
From sand pools to shelves of smooth black granite,
Huge trout leaping at the sunlight's fading,
In time with the spinning of the planet.
I stand on the edge of the sandy spit,
Landing big brown, my Coachman in his jaw.
For one moment a cold and useless law
Flashes in his eye and dims his spirit.
I never know what happens in the end,
And won't until I find that river bend.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mr. Burl, Sonnet #292

I call him, comically, Mr. Burl,
A cancerous growth on an ancient oak,
And though he's funny to my little girl,
He is an alien evil. No joke.
For millennia the trees have captured
Invaders and frozen them in bark
And cambium, (their faces enraptured
Or agonized), inescapable arks
For all creatures from the limitless dark.
Sometimes an arm or ear is all that's left,
Arrested by constricting branches' cleft.
The oldest trees are often body casts
Of whole monsters, stifling their vicious blasts --
Our sentinels while the invasion lasts.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Three Worlds (Escher), Sonnet #291

The Koi sees, as we do, what's there,
Not the water, nor we, the air.
He hates the acid stink of leaves,
And how they choke his house's eaves.
Someday they will all disappear;
With one world gone, two seem clearer.
I count five kinds of leaves, or six,
But the trees have similar sticks.
I blame the wind for having blown,
Adding the errant to the known.
I see four worlds, though, not three;
Yes, the leaf, the pond, and the tree --
And the wakefulness of the Koi.
When he looks up here, he'll see me.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Knight Vanquishing Time, Death, and Monstrous Demons (Philips Wouwerman), Sonnet #290

The hourglass-helmed soldier with a pike
Stabs the fetlocks of the knight's white stallion.
That motherless bastard will always strike
From behind. His eye a peeling onion,
His heart and lungs a single ganglion,
He's more fearful than a death or demon.
The knight takes on all enemies, evil
Or not -- even the ovum and semen
Embedded in the bones of the just dead.
The crown an angel holds bears his free will,
Though he would sooner wear Time's severed head.
When all is vanquished and night descends,
The corpses rise -- spinning slowly, spinning still.
With nothing left to slay, the knight's life ends.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fateful Hour At Quarter to Twelve (Klee), Sonnet # 289

The waxing quarter moon, a pendulum,
Swings from eleven ten to forty-six,
Its math always slightly wrong in sum,
Its path a leaning gravity can't fix.
We stand beneath the clock-faced obelisk
And with tiny leaps try to grasp the disc.
I knew a witch once who wore sunglasses
When the hour's two hands approached midnight.
She said it had nothing to do with light,
But the way the dark turned to molasses.
She feared nothing more than the coming day,
Except its damn'd tendency to stay.
We're sleeping now with no time to time out,
Or a moon to wane, or a dream to doubt.