Monday, May 16, 2011

Awaiting Passage

Earth in late Carboniferous Period (from Wikipedia, by Dr. Ron Blakely)
Athens, Georgia
August 28, 2010; May 2011

When a Southern August lays on hands with lush
embrace of steamy weeks in sticky haze,
then rise the ghosts of Carboniferous swamps
to cast their ancient spells, I hear their call:
Arise, reclaim Gondwana’s store
return us to Pangean shores
release your old reptilian core
to bask the vast unending light
through countless days of mindless sigh
hold close your closed ancestral ways
cling tight to pride and precious life
and dwell here past eternity
it’s long before the Fall.

But even turtles tire of heat, from tepid
streams they make retreat to cooling mud
and wait the weeks as by degrees the morning
dark creeps into day and evening light just melts
away, our softened minds now bless the nights
before the break of fall.

Through waning weeks I run the break of dark
by tidy lawns refreshed with dew, their scent
and sparkle stir anew as memories
reconstitute new seasons born long past
in grass stain and sweat and school boy pride hot
forged from two-a-day football trials in heat
and pads on high school fields that to young minds
must surely yield triumphant Friday nights
to come if only August days would end
at last in break of fall.

Ancestral rites of passage echo still –
those aching muscles, fresh gathering strength
still burn inside my body decades hence
in endless August once again when weeks
pile on and I await the break of heat
that ends the spell, as age and darkness creep,
encroach and claim their share of fading light
for longer nights of fall.

And far too soon I’ll take uncertain steps
on passageways through darkness into fog
but linger now, I hear still waters call:
Stay by my side, relax, abide
within the ways of harmony
and offer all a loving hand
through shadowlands to peaceful shores
beyond the snare of ancient spell
that weaves the hell of human strife
into the dreams of Fall.

But now, beloved, rest your soul
restored and whole for trials to come,
that bitter call you can’t ignore
when transformation presses sore
against your soul, prepare to fly:
release to all eternity
your fear and fight, your clench on life –
let them go, they strangle soul;
your singing blood, inquiring mind –
they served you well and saw you through
your passage from primeval slough,
tectonic heat, volcanic pride –
let go and cling to hope inside:
with grace, embrace the fall.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

False Memories

Athens, Georgia
April 30, 2011

I close my eyes and even now
I see the ball roll in the hole
it fell just left of center line
to save a score, it’s only right
my swings were crisp, the strokes were pure
in execution, strong and sure
I see it still as plain as sin
so why this feeling of despair
which haunts my memory of that hole?
Though memory’s strong, it’s also wrong:
in fact that ball slid by the cup
no matter what my call is now.

Though memory seeks to serve the soul
and that is kind, we need a break
but we must also serve what’s so
and cruel facts must play a role
in worlds that we construct inside.

I cannot hide in poetry,
this is no longer metaphor –
the ball fell in or it did not
it’s not some blurry quantum cat
awaiting its ambiguous fate:
dead or not I need the fact.

But now I question what is true
and what I hold in memory:
did that heron never speak
and share his sacred soul with me?
Did I never stride the high
savannah under blazing sky,
or never skied through snowy Banff
to bathe my soul in Lake Louise?

And was I not an engineer
who wrote in Fortran: IF-THEN-ELSE,
to have the code go through the THEN
or pass it by and do the ELSE?
But now I write my code in lines
that do no more than mark my time
in another world where golf balls drop
to serve what’s right, no matter what.