Saturday, May 9, 2009

Playing with Six Words, More or Less (a Sestina)

Mine. Work. Hand. Our. Age. Stars…work
with ease, they shine and hand
their light so freely to our
world, and have done so from first age.
Yet, here’s no ode to twinkling stars’
work, that grace’ night sky, yours and mine.

Our mine-work—stars!—hands age! Mine
own, feebling, but they still work.
Face and form no longer make a star
of me; Beauty slowly hands
me over. Yet, no proclitic to certain age.
My fate alone? No, it’s all of ours.

Stars are mines. Age’s work hands our
lodes to us. Bless these veins of mine.
Where’s the Kingdom? Now? This age?
Almost the theme of this here work,
Yet, no opus to “at hand.”
Our seeking Seers still look to stars.

Age’s stars are handy. My! Work star-
lit phrase to eat. In gentle melds our
words taste sweet. For more money in my hands,
what to provide or sell of mine?
Wait, is this a verse to noble work?
Star nude in films at this age?

Hands age; stars work. Our mine ages,
but, still gives, thank fortune’s stars,
and God, such mercies work.
Angels have Heaven, the Earth’s our
land, yet, no rhyme to “theirs,” “yours,” “mine.”
Age holds big blessings in small hands.

Work, and Sage Mystery: our hands
turn grapes into wine, that ages
much as like ore in mind’s mine,
or what Clever Muse has writ’ in stars.
Hear now what sweet labor is; not our
hands make word-play work.

No toil of hands in poem work,
Such joy in every age of ours,
To mine words from the stars.
--Marty Kummetz

Monday, May 4, 2009

a.m. cows

Inspired by the smallest fragment of a dream...I tugged a little on that thread, and this ballad almost wrote itself.

a.m. cows

In the gentle dawning quiet,
a Prophet wanders through the stalls,
strangely, pointing out the straight
from twisty halls.

Who’s this calling?
The Whys and Hows!
“This way to the a.m. cows!”

Almost, almost as if I’d never
left, I softly fade right in.
Drawn through a very narrow hall,
into this pure and silent place,
where timber rafters, limber walls,
breathe with timeless, supple grace.

Morning’s here, and it’s a glory.
“Let's hear some more or your life story,
and not meaning your biography!”
You'd s’pose this would evoke forlorning?
Not so, it’s just the whisper of each morning,
quite simply all that’s ever asked, you see.

Meekly shuffling, my heart pumping,
“Sorry, I’ve brought nothing here today,
guess I'll need to think up something.”

“Think up? Phooey!” He spits out.
Then I hear familiar shout
of my friend, the whys and hows.
“This way to the a.m. cows!”
He smiles, then lightly falls in hay,
straightens out his robes white cloth,
and wryly looks my way...

“When thoughts use you, you're not quite here,
Use the mind, not it use you,
and bring around what's truly new,
a poem, say, or an answer will appear.
It's you who've asked 'What is the way?'
So, be calm, and tell it quick—
yet, we’ve all day.”

More logical than it first seems,
I sort of know just what he means,
for, the whole tale’s here right now,
“Is that a great, big a.m. cow?”

“When one’s tense—past and pre, not present,
or in the ‘morrow dwelling, is that sin?”
I ask Zeke.
He nods.
I’m feelin’ kinda' wise somehow,
so, you know I pipe right in—
“This way to the a.m. cows!”

Soothy’s jumpin’, his staff thumpin’,
twirling, white robe flying,
now, I’m just dyin'—
laughing as he spins around,
several inches off the ground!
Then, mid barefoot pirouette,
he stops to sing--
“I don’t think that’s everything…”

Then a silence, a hint of death,
reflecting in those loving eyes
what's garnered here in this place’
very breath:

“Hear, let no man put asunder!”
(Here, insert some joyous thunder.)
“When not whole, one’s not Holy, therefore, wholly grieve!”
(Ahem, you’ll see…)
“Not Now did subtle snake deceive.”

Sudden movement broke my trance,
“Now we must resume the dance!”
Said the whys and hows.
“This way to the a.m. cows!”

“Don’t you think this solves all myst’ry?
Fills the holes in our brief hist’ry?
Please, dispense with all forlorn!
Now, with every breath let’s be reborn!”

“Not now, you now know all about.”
Then he gave a poignant shout.
“Always know, I am you Child, see?
Why not put all your how’s and why’s on me?”

Such simple stores from whys and hows,
it’s this way to the a.m. cows!

“Have I penned this familiar poem?”
I ask, “or read it, somewhere, someplace?”
“Yes and yes,” says the Sage, “you’re never alone,
here in this lofty, storing-space.”

How he got in I tried to guess.
His eyes on me gave utmost rest,
and whispered, “all this straw and hay you see?
So perfect for a baby’s nest.”

Always in the dawning quiet,
walks the Seer among the stalls,
leading seekers toward the straight
and narrow halls.

So all, seek your prophet—
Ask some whys and hows.
Hear ye, hear ye…Here ye, Now!
“This way to the a.m. Cows!”

--Marty Kummetz