15 November 2018

Sauna Songs nos 2 and 3

A beauty and a seemingly irremediable sadness
There was a blow-up, apparently, at the rehearsal
From which almost by chance I was absent
Another exercise in powerlessness
(Even had I been there, of course)
All the bruised feelings, and now,
The unforced professional calm vying with hurried efforts
At damage control
All the bruised feelings, and why?
Sigh no more

We most of us might feel the impulse to ask, why?
So seldom do we properly learn, learn why,
Not any negation, but a way forward, I think,
To grow a little cool to the need to ask, why?

In almost comic contrast
The bus this morning (it would be, wouldn’t it?) was early
I saw it drive through the light hard by the graciously spired church
Yes, I ran
Not yet at the age to genuinely say, I shouldn’t run,
But running has never been my thing
Nor did I learn any love for it today

A single sentence wherein
The entire history of his family’s
By turns pathetic and tragic dysfunction
Was eloquently illustrated
A single sentence of beauty and
Of a sadness seemingly not
To be remedied
He cannot
He cannot speak the sentence
The bruised feelings too fresh
And he is not yet free from the impulse of why?
Sigh not so, but let them go
The distances
The baffling, impenetrable distances
The hourglass, the sand, the powerlessness

To my ear (sure, I speak figuratively, who wouldn’t?)
Came rumor of the drama
Immediately knew I would not wish to review the script
The theme of sadness were almost mocked
By pointless, tawdry detail

The clock which I set 20 minutes fast
The sight of whose face gave my wife such a start yesterday
The password I never remember and always need to reset
The reed I need to break in tomorrow
Since summer first was leafy
At the next stop
The bus driver did indeed stay for me
My running was not for nothing
Call it a small success and not a triumph
Down near the ground
The pointless detail looms large (not to say threatening)
The soul which has not yet learnt not to bother
Longs sweetly for ascent

The reed I need to break in tomorrow
Piecing together my shredded realization
Just how ephemeral it all (probably) is
Beauty and tears for the undiscoverable remedy
To the recurring implacable sadness
A gross unnatural rock to weigh down the breast of Hope itself
Dumps so dull and heavy
It respects no boundaries
Unlike us mortals
It suffers no limit
Nor shall I ask

(. . . pavan)
18 May 2018

He’s not saying it hasn’t all been fun
To the untrained eye, those laces look untied
The sun beat down and because most of April
Had been absurdly cold, the warmth of the May sun
Made my spirit giddy
Though I nevertheless doubt the need to run
The air conditioning on the bus
To the untrained eye, the bus looks bound for Swampscott
But nothing doing
At lunch we discussed a highly successful film composer
It isn’t that we scoffed at his work
We only questioned the comparison to
A certain composer of the century before
Fall River, where a certain ax murder remains
Forever befogged in uncertainty
I may never play cribbage there again

I’m all for letting the next guy wear what he please
But the bright orange T-shirt gives him
All the appearance of The Human Tennis Ball
I found myself quietly grateful that no one
Had brought a racquet onto the bus
Not sure why I now remember the puddingstone
She was keen that Paul should bring home
For the garden
Such dramatic topography
I wonder that no one has thought to christen
Fall River “the San Francisco of the East”
Love – 40
Not sure either why I now remember the great tortoise
Walking on the roadside near the Wenham pond
We almost could not believe our eyes
Carefully backed the car and sure enough
A lumbering solemn tortoise
Sagacious in its determined patience
Or maybe just moving because
She felt she must

The door to the church was open
So he went on in, sat quietly in a pew
And listened as the organist (another organist) practiced
They talked later and so many
Were the similarities that my friend
Wondered if the experience had been real
Or if he had somehow tumbled into his own past
To meet and to be pranked by his younger self
He contained his sorrow or at least
Blunted it
As he said (what I knew without his saying it)
How he wished he had his old job
To the untrained eye, the old job always appears
Desperately attractive
Wanted:  sex workers willing to urinate on foreign
Dignitary during his stay in Pyongyang
Red baseball caps a plus

But really, why is any of us suddenly
Faced with a long-forgotten bookmark recollection,
For no apparent reason, at this peculiar moment?
But I suppose that all moments
Are genuinely peculiar
There’s no real knowing
I’m sure there were actual recycle bins
When we first moved here
But it’s years since I saw them
And you make do my heart almost aches,
The sight of the green grass in sunlight
Joys it so
To the untrained eye, the green grass looks
Like grass

I still wonder at times
Which is the older
That patient, restless, highly successful tortoise
Or I

(... migratory reptiles)
9 May 2018

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