Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wall Painting From The Temple Of Longing (Klee), Sonnet #181

A full moon and a gibbous moon in the dawn sky
Shiver like arrowheads that just struck the bull's-eye.
The stars show us everything since the beginning,
Until we close our eyes and discover nothing.
We ask "Is that all?" The given answer is "Why?"
To appease us, the gods have granted us longing,
Desire for what we can't have, see, or know,
Since the future, like a broken frame of stained glass,
Is all that's left of all the moments we let pass,
And sheds upon the now only a splintered glow.
Some say time's arrow is just consciousness at play,
That duration flies as swiftly in reverse,
Mending all but the present with no delay.
Try reading this poem, again, from this last verse.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Gassed (John Singer Sargent), Sonnet #180

I drew a high number the last year of the draft,
But a childhood disease would have kept me 4-F.
I have a misshapen hip and couldn't force-march
Or negotiate a pitching deck, fore to aft.
I lost no friend or brothers to war; no one left
My high school to volunteer; no triumphal arch,
No memorial was erected in our town,
No first-hand accounts of battle were written down.
The nightly news showed all there was to see of death
And defeat: we lose each war the minute one man
Fails to open his eyes or to take a next breath,
And new wars start soon enough, because they can.
Both sides used mustard gas and we used napalm bombs,
Generously, Samaritans offering alms.