Beacons in the Darkness
21 March 2k9
“You cannot will yourself to write a poem, as you cannot will yourself to be struck by lightning.” ~Robert Pinsky
“Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me.” ~Sigmund Freud
In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared that March 21st. would thereafter be celebrated as World Poetry Day. As a poet, though some would argue for ‘fool’ as an identifier instead, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to UNESCO for recognizing this vital art form; which over thousands of years has been for humanity a beacon in the darkness, around which we cling to each other; an art which has illuminated and strengthened the umbilical connections between our minds, our souls and the Universe we call home. Therefore, in honor to my peers, and with gratitude to our patrons and readers, I offer a poem…
From the Schaumburg Woods
north of Chicago. Walking in such melancholy
places helps my friend mourn, and for me
nothing more of Why need be asked.
It is fall, but within the thin wood there are
katydids and cicadas singing yet. A raccoon came
to see what sort of nuisance the human was about
and, satisfied, left without saying a word.
Nevermind the airplanes above, Brian says—
Here all is enrapt with sunset,
full to brimming with sunset:
barely-hardened amber, plum, ocher, and delicate russet
reflects from the mirror of a murky pond.
Under such light, the vaulting boles of mossy trees
have been reforged into pillars of marble amidst the undergrowth,
veined in van Gogh yellow, cream copper and emerald;
ruins perhaps, of a long-forgotten Temple to the Sun.
Now tuned to the subliminal song of this place,
his grief seeps into the ground, is painted into the landscape,
such that the next wanderer to venture here
will surely find the place haunted.
Tramping amongst the white-noise crackle of leaves,
which lie colorful upon countless generations of moldy kin,
-who once lived and died in their own spectacle of Autumn-
he is soothed somewhat, and our talk soon turns to easier things
—of sealing wax, the price of gas, and the downfall of current kings.
Until we exchange the latest of our frequent farewells.
He called again, after a time,
to tell me that he had run over a squashed skunk
and could not escape the death-heady stink.
We concluded finally, that so it must be
with the spectre of Death we face each day,
and the constant reek of our own oft buried fear.
We become immune, inured, numbed-from-within—
although in truth, never quite comfortable with it.