THE WHOLE WORLD SHOUTS, “YES!”

I passed the greater passage of my time alone

Sometimes I stood against the world and I felt fine

At other times, a peaceful solitude I’ve known

But all I was and all I did was only mine

 

Now my life is our life!  You are with me!  We two!

Your presence dances in my work, effort, ambition

New purpose that I never knew devolves from you

All for you, for us, is now my inspiration

 

With you my life is blessed

With you is happiness

With you I want the best

With you the whole world shouts, “YES!”

 

Now my world, my universe, is doubly joyous

Now I am we

And joy or grief for me is joy or grief for us

Solo so long, we two is all I ever want to be

OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER IS TRUE

For both of us it’s been a trying year

My new med change, you lost your old career

I felt drowning in manic passion

You seemed overwhelmed with stress and fear

We stayed together despite desperation

We struggled but remained in relation

 

In hard times and in good times we still date

Regardless of the trouble on our plate

You are my support; I support you

As we accept—in fact, embrace—our fate

Our love runs deep through all that we go through

In ease, in strain, in everything we do

 

And now it seems we’re coming through our trials

Our grimaces are yielding into smiles

The psychic storm we both drove through is ceasing

Having churned through tempestuous miles

Our difficulty finally is easing

And pleasure in each other still is pleasing

TOGETHERNESS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

With you with me, I can handle anything

It feels sometimes as if the world is at me

Frustrations, failures, attacks enemies bring

In all, your holding me holds me steady

 

As Tristan and Isolde lived on love’s bliss

Our Love Grotto blesses every place and date

The outside world which whirls outside our kiss

Our love and deeds receive and penetrate

 

And when I err—I do—and stray awry

You call me back and straighten my direction

In all the flowering arts I love to try

When weakness saps, you fire my motivation

 

In life what matters most to me is us

We are salvation among change and sin

An anchor when seas turn tempestuous

I became we; then did my life begin

 

It is a holy gift to love and care

The world, too often, is indifference

We are the answer to each other’s prayer

Togetherness makes all the difference

LEONARDO’S SONNETS PART II

In fact, brain synapses configure

New pathways forming in gray matter

Thought processes and capacities for

New comprehension’s creation

Creativity

Reading a new work viewing

A new art form or revisiting such as

The Mona Lisa

LINES WRITTEN IN DEJECTION, NEAR NAPLES

Fugue V from Well-Tempered Clavier

And in the new generation, creation, art work

Writing a sonnet

A whole new brain is born

Any least aspect changes the whole

Recasts the mold fashioning

Consciousness

Any new experience and learning

Love

Repentance

The Rig Veda

Makes a new capability to make

And so, the sonnets of Leonardo

Indeed conspire in the painting of

The Mona Lisa

OKOS

OKOS

 

Okos,” my grandmother used to call me in Hungarian

When I was young and trying to sound profound

“I see what you’re trying to do; you’re trying to sound smart,”

My writing coach told me much later in grad school,

“Sometimes you carry if off brilliantly.”

A couple people even thought me a genius, though I.Q. tests have not validated the presumption

“I think that is a low reading; they have better tests, now,” my psychologist said

And I wondered why make a test if you don’t trust the results

Me, skeptical of the whole notion of genius

I.Q.

And now the degrees I carry certify me smart

And I don’t have to try

 

It’s easy to impress when to go for the intellect

It’s so measurable, quantifiable, easy to see

It’s all so easy

Witness the admiration our social structure bestows upon the smart

You’ll endear yourself to any mother by saying her child is smart

It’s all so easy

I had a hard time explaining to a man deprived of education

That knowing a lot isn’t intelligence; that you can be smart without school

 

Wisdom is a fine acquisition

Deep insights devolve from learning, coupled with reflection

As naturally as an ancient tree grows summer fruit from spring blossoms in due season

And learning can be acquired by anyone through application and motivation

The ambiguous ambition to be okos

Not necessarily smart

 

The wash and impression of intelligence drowns out

The song of simple goodness

What of kind, caring, good-nature, nicety?

What of love?

“Now I’m among dumb, nice people

“Instead of cruel intelligent people,”

A Yale grad told me at a church convention

I don’t know why brilliant academicians want to be so cutting

Why they don’t want to be kind, caring, good-natured, nice guys

What of soul? Of Blues?

And Miles Davis Freddy Freeloader

Lives in the same world as Bach fugues

And people love Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise more

Than his mighty 3rd Symphony

And I love Bist Du Bei Mir,

Written for his wife, as much as

Bach’s Great G-Minor Fantasy and Fugue

 

And what of savage Nietzsche?

What of aristocracy’s progeny and their will to power?

Cutting comments twisted from intellectual cleverness

As if slave morality gives birth to

“sympathy, the kind, helping hand, the warm heart, patience, humility, and friendliness”

As if the good must be

“the safe man: he is good natured, easily deceived, perhaps a little stupid, un bonhomme

Yes, un bonhomme—a good man

No.  It does not all come down to Nietzsche.  and in this Nietzsche is dead wrong

Though he describes so well the desiderata I advocate and so desire to be and become

“Nice guys finish last,” they used to say

And I’ll finish last if that’s the necessary legacy of being

Nice

I don’t know what the Hungarian word is

YOU ARE

You are a firm foundation; you are the earth

Grounding the mistic effervescent misting effusions empyreal emanations volcanic endeavors

Cathedralic manifestations in which this life is built

The mists that a meadow flower-field breathes

The flighty clouds that condense in floating skies

Arising from oceanic bedrock by creative days’ energetic fire

Testing the receptiveness of a sea of otherness boundless around me

You receive me always.  Listen, lift up, light up life

When those clouds amass dark and impend disaster

Then you say, “There is no disaster.”

 

I’ve gotten along alone a long time

Time and times and half a time

As have you, too—in this our separate lives shared

But as I am alone in my generative doings’ aspirations

Being Self

You are always with the alone self generative

 

Gratitude

I forget sometimes

What all is gifted me, indeed, all I have

And it’s a lot

(Though most would call my circumstances straightened)

The greatest gift a Gracious Creator has endowed me

And you give daily, through the years, in the moment

Of your own volition to me

Carol, I thank you

AMBITION’S AMBIGUITY IN AGE

I’m not sure I know

 

How to about whether I can

Assert this point’s possible ambiguity

 

Things upon aging looking back

 

Ambitions to attain a name

Good job be important get ahead all the way to the top

 

Mystical experiences recast matters

 

I recall the litany I told the cabbie

Of failed attainments I felt entitled to by cheated life

 

Myself a failure disappointment and life half done things undone

 

Is it mysticism?  Workplace satisfaction?  Found love?

Olding?  That fuels my contentment

 

The whole question of ambition

 

Where’d that come from?!  How widespread in humanity

Nascent?  Acquired?  Self-imposed?  My grandmother?

 

My recasting of what I thought were failed attainments

 

In my age I realize that Swedenborg’s values were inscribed in maturity

For maturity?  And where would the world be without ambition in the younger

 

In my mind I distill a modicum of peak importances

 

And my failed ambitions fade into a fractured joke

And in my age I now understand Swedenborg’s values as mine

WILDFLOWERS

We love to see a meadow of wild flowers

And take delight in sweet pea, bluebell, pansy

But if we try to pick and hold their beauty

We find they fade and wilt in only hours

 

Still after we have placed them in a vase

We love their delicate pedals and scent

Like flowers, time with friends is only lent

Though beauty in friendships gives life grace

 

And we love it when our friends are nearby

But time with friends tends to be uncertain

If long or short, impermanence is certain

People change; in time we’ll say goodbye

 

Buddhists say that joy in friend or lover

Still is dukkha, suffering or grief

I see the transient nature of all life

Yet still take joy, delight, and pleasure

As it is in friendship, love, or flower

A REFLECTION ON THE ’80’S

I remember back in the ‘80’s

How often I heard how hard life is

How tough you have to get, to be, to get ahead

How many were reading Sun Tzu, The Art of War

How many longed to be back in college

Protected, with their friends, the camaraderie, safe

 

Fighting your way to the top is hard, tough

Clawing your way into obscene wealth is hard, tough

Competing with your fellows, maybe screwing them over

You have to get tough, and it is hard if you choose these paths

I haven’t studied war, and haven’t become tough

I know disappointment, grief, crushed dreams

The consequences of too much love

 

Creativity is hard, but not conflict with my fellows

The satisfaction I know in word or tone shames wealth

I claw my way into creations I love to live with

I compete with my piano, with pen or keyboard

I do not know where the top is, what it is, but I will likely not be there

I know the struggle of satisfying art, soul satisfactions

 

The path I have chosen tends toward calm

The friends I continue to make make community, trust

I continue to learn, learn peace, wisdom, love

I find that is a struggle with mortal stakes

That life is hard, yet it doesn’t make me tough, and I wish no retreat

Into adolescent protection, sophomoric camaraderie

The realization of such a longing would be retreat indeed

From all of my struggle to grow in peace, wisdom, love

And I wish nothing more

THE GIFT OF FLOWERS

We love when someone gives us flowers

And we love the mum, petunia, rose, or lily

Though knowing as we gaze on their beauty

That they will stay for many hours,–but only hours

 

Still, while they are in the vase

We take delight in the delicate pedals, scent

Like the gift of flowers, people in our lives are lent

A gift people are, a certain grace

 

We take delight when people are nearby

Yet the time we have together is uncertain

Long or short, impermanence is certain

People change, come and go, we meet and say goodbye

 

So the Buddhists say that enjoyment of friend, lover

Is dukkha—grief—suffering

Knowing the impermanence of everything

Gives the gift of delight and pleasure

For what it is, in friend, lover, or flower

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