With You With Me

She is everything that life can give me

Does she know how much she makes me happy?

I don’t always show her I adore her

Let her know I’ll always be there for he

 

When I’m with her I feel calm and blissful

She restores my soul and makes me peaceful

She inspires my feelings with desire

Lights my creativity with fire

 

Caught up in an artistic creation

I can wander from heartfelt connection

Still my heart is true and always loves her

And she stays true to me in my endeavor

 

Loving her I’m growing ever gladder

I’m for her for happier or sadder

Joyful in the two of us together

Learning how to love each other better

 

May this song, these words, begin to show you

How complete my life is now I know you

How ecstatic life is with you with me

I will always love you and you only

 

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Happiness

Happiness is a labor

Crawling out of dour

Funk isn’t fun

Smiling is an effort

 

But happiness can be achieved

Given the right circumstances

And substantial effort

Letting go and letting the groove come

 

There are other movements of the soul that are good, too

The blues is sublime

Creative passion

Ecstasy–not happiness

 

Sometimes I wonder why go on

If nothing matters

If nothing matters,

Why not keep going?

 

I can be happy

If the groove is right

If the right circumstances arise

I can smile

A Future Blues Song

Broke Again

Broke again, and a week until payday

Broke again and I don’t know where it went

Broke again, and a week until payday

Got nothing to show and my money’s all spent

 

I have a good time till the money’s all gone

I have a good time, I just do as I please

I have a good time till the money’s all gone

And I’m all out of cash and I’m feeling the squeeze

 

I’m struggling till payday, don’t know what I’ll do

I’m struggling till payday, how will I get by?

I’m struggling till payday, don’t know what I’ll do

It all costs too much for a regular guy

Art Has No Limitations

I remember how disappointed I was when I heard the last symphony of Beethoven’s 9 total.  I was 18 years old then.  One by one, I had discovered each symphony that I’d never heard before.  I would so look forward to hearing another symphony of his that I hadn’t heard yet.  I don’t remember what order I heard them in, but I still remember how sad I was that there were no more Beethoven symphonies to discover.

Then, a few years later I listened to the third symphony again.  For some reason, now I heard things in it I’d never heard before.  Then I heard the sixth symphony played live when I was in Ohio.  Again, I noticed sounds I hadn’t heard before.  When I told this to the conductor at the reception after the performance, he raised his eyebrows as if I were suggesting the orchestra played some wrong notes, which I wasn’t.

Then there is the ninth symphony.  For the longest time, I never understood the first movement.  I have struggled, trying to find a melody.  Melodies are so plain in the other works.  So even though I’d heard the first movement many times, I didn’t get it.  Then I heard a Cleveland Symphony Orchestra performance conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi.  His interpretation finally made sense to me.  Now, I had a glimpse of what Beethoven was doing in it.  I was hearing it for the first time, in a way.

I read a critic from Beethoven’s own time period, Carl Maria von Weber, who complained about the sustained “e” in the first movement, “Always that miserable e,” Weber writes and suggested that Beethoven must have grown deaf to the “e” and was now ripe for the madhouse.  That gave me a new way into the 7th symphony.  I listened intently and heard that sustained “e” I’d never noticed before.  It was like hearing the 7th for the first time.  And as I wrestled, trying to think up with horn lines for my own compositions, I listened intently to Beethoven’s orchestrations–yet another way to hear his symphonies afresh.

Beethoven wrote that the true artist could have no pride.  While he might be admired by a world-wide audience, he realizes that art has no limitations and awaits the time when the greater genius will shine forth like a blazing star.  Art has no limitations.  Great art holds so much that one can return to works of great art again and again and hear, see, read and experience it as if for the first time.  While my ear has listened to all 9 of Beethoven’s symphonies, my soul hasn’t heard all that is in them.  I can keep coming back, and discover Beethoven’s 9 symphonies for the first time.

Angels

I know the way angels work

You can, too, if you don’t yet

I’ve seen the way angels work

They work for you, too, if you haven’t noticed yet

 

It’s hard to tell in the moment

They don’t compel, but their ways always work

You see this in retrospect

You see this with relief, with astonishment, with thanks, with gratitude, with worship

 

With astonishment that it worked out

With relief that you were saved

With thanks, with gratitude that good prevailed

With worship, that God oversees our doings.

Youth and Age and Aging

You’re given an inflexible format at birth

Strong flexible sinews of youth

Weaken, stiffen, strain

Youth’s enthusiasm yields to age’s patience

Headstrong demands yield to forbearance

Irritation to tolerance

Discontent to contentment

Willful drive to peace

Gratitude to happiness

Youth yields to maturity

Maturity to aging

 

Poetry Lives!

Prose about poetry.  A few years back, my church held a celebration of the arts.  We were invited to bring personal art works for sale at our national gathering.  I brought some CD’s and some booklets of poetry.  I sold some CD’s but hardly any poetry booklets.  By way of consolation, one minister told me that people just aren’t reading poetry anymore.  He told me that poetry is a lost art.  About a year ago, I placed 3 of my poetry books on the “local writers'” shelf at a bookstore near where I live.  One book is gone, to date.  I sadly had to agree with the minister, that poetry is a lost art.

Then I noticed other evidence.  In my own blogging, I usually get a better response of likes when I post a poem, rather than when I post prose.  I visit the sites of the likes I receive, and, to my surprise, there are a lot of people out there also writing poetry.  Good poetry.  I also used to go to a late night coffee shop which held a poetry night once a month.  There was usually quite a good turnout for these poetry nights, and there were a lot of local poets sharing their verses.  I found out that there are other coffee shops in town which do the same thing.  And I have to mention hip-hop.  While some of the rhymes are simple, there is strong rhythm, and solid rhyme.

Then there are those university poetry journals.  Wallace Stevens started the trend to write verse that an ordinary reader can’t understand.  I am an educated reader, otherwise ordinary, and I can’t understand these poems.  I don’t mean that the ideas are complicated, or that they use big words–like T. S. Eliot, whom I do understand.  Rather, the verses are not ordinary sentences, with subjects, verbs, and objects.  The poets I’m talking about deliberately craft sentences in which the words don’t go together.  Why they would want to do that, I don’t understand, don’t care to understand.  But the poetry I read online, that I listen to in the coffee houses, that I hear in hip-hop songs I do understand, care to understand.

Robert Frost said that strong feeling is the beginning of poetry.  With the cultural apathy we seem to be surrounded by, I find strong feeling in the poetry that I encounter.  Underneath the political rhetoric, the apparent nonchalance of people you run into, the apathy to organized religion, there is strong feeling.  One poet writes, “Indifference is by far the least/I have to fear of man or beast.”  I disagree.  Indifference is a virus that infects the human spirit and leads to spiritual death.  But if poetry lives, humans live.  Poetry lives because humans live.  And that minister wasn’t right.  Poetry isn’t moribund.  It is alive, lively; it lives.

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