verses in various meters about sundry themes.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


(to the tune, roughly, of "Tom Dula")

Hang down your hair out the window
Hang out your tears to dry
He’s banging on your brass, dear
He’s got a long-bow on his knee

The time it being late, dear
The rain it being cold
Don’t let him wait too long dear
Let him into your fold

You’ve cut off all access
with your Scandinavian knife
So no he must try harder
If he’ll take you as his wife

He met her under moonbeams
He held the string to her kite
And then she closed her eyes
before he could say good-night

The stair-case it goes downstairs
and goes right up again
The doorway it leads out
but doesn’t come in the same

Two travellers come on stubborn mules
a cat is ringing a bell
but the mice don’t seem so worried
as far as she can tell

She sees the promenade
and looks down to the pond
He sits there feeding pigeons
and the grey goose sings a song

She walks away from the window
and open the lock on her book
and holds the final chapter
with a curious furrowed look

He paces by the river
and catches a rusty bus
and goes back to the desert
for he knows he’s had enough

Hang down your hair out the window
Hang out your tears to dry
He’s banging on your brass, dear
He’s got a long-bow on his knee

(the end)
Commentary: Sure, there is some sort of plot
and references are oblique to real things,
but obviously it is mere nonsense and
simply goes with the music.


I’ll linger on before I go
‘til the earth is soft and melts the snow
Then I’ll vanish under my favorite tree
and leave you with my memory

I played the role of your best friend
I stuck by you to the bitter end
People will ask for half a year
Where I’ve gone but it’s not clear

They say that He makes all things new
What will I be when I next see you?
What will I say, will I have hands?
I’ve done no wrong, but I’m not a man

Will we stand by side on a sunlit plane?
Or will I look down with blame?
I know you wept, I smelled your tears
I was finally blind, but still could hear

I lingered ’til the moment was true
‘til five o'clock I waited for you
The stairs went up and so did you
You know it's true, I waited for you

So now you visit your talking friends
and what we had has come to an end
You don’t need to check on me
as I vanish under the ancient tree.

(the end)
Commentary: The dog died on the first day of spring
at five o'clock. “I” who is speaking here, of course, refers to the dog.

Double Sonnet on Psalm 1

All day and night and all it does is stand
while water runs, those leaves will never fade
Its constancy the wind can’t drive away
The strong roots of my tree hold fast the land

Small scraps and coupons tumble down the walk
Grey dust is spreading blocking out the sun
Don't let the darkness fall—my works' not done
I listen, learn, rememb'ring not to talk

The herd is thinning out, each year a few
Some turn a corner and they slip from view.

You may have noticed nothing going on
My tree is busy growing to the clouds
Sometimes alone, sometimes amid the crowds
But constantly my tree is growing strong

The land is sailing, skies are standing still
The wheels of mem’ry go around again
The river running in my mind needs rain
The river never stops—it never will

The herd is thinning—every week a few
As I turn another slips from view.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sonnet on Psalm 36

Sin speaks to evil men in their dark hearts
They have no God to fear before their eyes
For they beguile themselves with twisted thoughts
their guilt will not be found out or despised

Empty and false words are in his mouth
No longer knowing how to do what’s right
Before sleep comes he plans his evil out
with not a care for what or how he’ll fight

Up there where the blue sky and the air are thin
Love moves the wind and thickens welcome rain
I stand in happy water to my chin
And children’s laughter echoes in my brain

The busy feet of pride cannot stay still
A time of rest they call more time to kill

Sonnet on the Tale of One Who was Once a Mariner

There was fire in the engine room below
Many and brave the men who fought the flames
And five died terrible and slow
The voices still I hear—forgot the names

All was lost, the chief came up on deck
“Prepare yourself for she is going down”
And from the flame he lit a cigarette
We’re gonna get wet he said with a frown

T’was sixty years ago this very day
I close my half-blind eyes—I still can hear
Those voices branded on my memory
They sound so awful close and much too clear

Two ships went down in hungry waves
The deeps hold five more young and unmarked graves

Sonnet on Psalm 107

Once I was lost in hills and singing sands
and tramped in pointless circles of despair
reciting tattered pages in my hands
But no one picks up signals way down there

I climbed an ancient rock to look around
I strained through holes in rolling mist and saw
the pathway of the long gone and a town
its well-fed folk respectful of the law

And all I longed for and my hunger too
were satisfied—my thoughts were all set right
The drums beat not too fast and not to slow
As I lie down sleep comes to me at night

Like random drums the distant thunders roll
But love commands and fear has lost control.