There were days that even Judy had the Blues.
But there are days when all lost souls do...
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Allowing of course that there
Is no act that has an end,
How can I hope in time and space
To only love you while I can?
How can our hope or care be broken off
When none can yet declare
This is the point at which
This moment Now begins?
Can I describe the eyes' conviction
When what I see is lost inside unfolding worlds
Of how I wish the world to be?
If I should take anything which you have shown,
Attempt by my most human effort to extrapolate that vision
I swear I would produce no more than
My impression of what you truly are.
If I could take the motion of the gesture
By which you keep me in my place
In constant time and changing space,
Attempt to tear the coursing mystery into atomic composition
I do not think I could translate that to your taste.
No matter my provocation,
No matter your response,
The answer and the problem set
Conceal the complex truth
Behind our simple act.
Upon reaction each reaction pends;
How seldom do our motions
Move to make us something that is new;
Now everything I once assumed,
I twice assume is wrong!
Ronald C. Souhern
5th draft: 10/12/04
©1970 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 6:07 PM
Friday, September 10, 2004
"My darling Cleo, you smell so sweet!" I sighed.
The same, of course, if said of me, could only sound absurd,
At least to me, and she perhaps would not much more
Care to hear it said of her, whether loudly now
Or whispered in her short red hair as I did then.
Maybe it wasn't anything very true.
It was, after all, only perfume out of a bottle
That had a fancy pink glass stopper she could use
To caress into her skin the endless scent she sought
That funky fetching female hint
Based on flowers and ripened fruits
And the greasy musk of a small male deer.
Perhaps there was some alluring odor in it,
Even so, that was her very own.
Such sweetness from inside seemed mostly to infuse
Those five old-fashioned fuzzy pastel sweaters
She wore in random order through the week.
She let me brush my hand against one once
The one time that we kissed
Beneath her wine-splashed unsashed dryclean-only coat
And I pretended that I felt the warmth alone
And not the buoyant weight of her intriguing matron's curves!
Then Cleo blushed, and sniffed and hugged herself, and, tipsy, winked,
"Such fine angora is always warm and snug like this,
But isn't it a sissy ending for a gamy goat...?"
That lazy scent would cling to anything. I smell it now.
Once I found it lingering in the lining of
A leather watchband she'd hardly ever worn.
Always it suffused the deep-red woolen watch cap she liked,
When home, to throw across the room without a passing glance.
The more time passed since her divorce
that first long year or so,
the plumper she seemed to get, but she still looked good
and triggered my arousal more by far, I guess,
than she with her sweet sense would ever want to know.
I think we never had much of a chance,
that my goat-stained desire to make her care,
to make her prance,
was bound to make our glands
Go blind and bland like this
I wanted to consume her! She could not even kiss!
Maybe I'd have gotten further with her
if I'd schemed (yes!) even more,
if I could have simply stripped her complications down
to just that juicy scent
And dipped her dimple-deep in light sweet olive oil
And then myself in her
and rolled her plump new curves around
against my roundy own
as if we were two plum tomatoes, wet and ripe,
atop a bed of breadcrumbs adorning caesar salad!
I guess you think that sounds absurd.
She'd think so, too, I thought.
My feeling, though, is I still wish
she had let that gorgeous bright red hair of hers grow long
and let me ache for her in whispers just that much more!
Current draft (12th): 02/09/03
©2000 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 8:46 PM
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Criminals are the great existentialists now;
We cheer them on to life, but they go for the glory.
Death gives them identity; they even turn into artists
In their last golden moments of captivity.
We don’t understand it
And thus abhor it,
But the fact probably is, this dying’s
The first right thing they’ve ever done.
2nd draft: 02/08/03
©1981 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 12:09 PM
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Though it is true that high and wide above these ships
that smell of salt and earthy damp and slight dry-rot,
eagles soar and mate while sea gulls sail and call
as if to tell some yet-unfathomed fate,
though through the tangled rope and cloth
a feather falls and something true aloft turns false below,
here where this craft, becalmed and yet deranged,
lets drowning horses churn the glassy sea to froth,
though in the seascape's mist my dreams completely shift
and my careening mind storms back to land to find
I can but shake my lifted fist
against the pounding of the waves...
Still, in that sinking moment, comes an
unexpected rise, a flight as full
and swift and bright as seabirds' glinting vanes
of gold and gray and white. Now, once again,
I find my heart attendant to your sorrow
and for a moment unentailed by gathered furls,
cloud-white and high and wide yet windless sails,
I still have eyes to see you as before.
Now though adrift I stand ashore and view
old visions drawn out anew in this reflecting glass.
Between those always-closed old wooden blinds you opened our first
date, the small compulsions of my house and heartbreak gravitate--
stale scents of nicotine and ash, black coffee rings
and cans of Coke, pale sugar ants and salty crumbs--
slight things, I guess, largely unseen, yet how they marred
and mar the white wood shelf above my hearth.
Now in memory or in fact I stand still,
too close again, before the mirror hung above
this cold white mantle and heart's dark fire--face to face,
the same as then, as when you said I'd gone too far,
as when you pled that you would suffocate
if I kept pressing my demands
or that we might explode if I could not just love you
and not hate your husband's plain bright wedding band.
And for a while, that worked. Still, all my heart protests
that what it is I love in you
I wish to plainly see, and wish to fold
all fantasies complex into a simple scheme.
If with insistent words
or with a brave compassion
I could dare this growing mist
which makes me your displeasure,
if from my bold and quelling hateful stare
you could tell that
part of me would gladly die
to keep your heart my treasure,
if I could clutch
hell's phantoms by their throats,
make them dance
and cease to prance and gloat,
if all the things I love to say came true--how one
can love and not possess, for one--but, no, not me.
Confess: grim truth is what is true;
the rest is jagged jest, on land or out at sea...
For truth or dare, that seabird breeze could not become
a gossamer of warm air uplifting me with ease.
No flight enlivens or relieves this flagging flesh I bear,
not till the final horse's plight and the last feather's fall.
Still, though I sank and swam, and swim and sink here yet,
and though so brief (those bright reliefs!)
I think myself a better man that you and some
fair few have loved me so, absurd and errant as I am.
So, yes, it's me you see out there,
a sailor all at sea, one of those
jerry-built, jimmied, jangled lives astray,
as aimless as jetsam at ebb tide,
a muddled mariner amidships who strives
to soar, yet always goes over the side,
a churning hoof, a lifted fist,
that strains against and to the waves
till in the frothing sea
I sink and swim no more
15th draft: 07/28/04
©1976 Ronald C. Southern
Horse Latitudes: Plural noun. Either of two belts of latitudes located over the oceans at about 30° to 35° north and south, having high barometric pressure, calms, and light, changeable winds. Etymology: Possibly from Spanish golfo de las yeguas, mares' sea. Reports that horses often needed to be thrown overboard, to lighten the load when no wind was present, in order to move the vessels on the water may be apocryphal.
Posted by at 10:20 PM
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
My children in the churchyard
Are singing as the bells have rung,
Hoping as myself has sung
While reaching out of time
For the kindness of your hand.
My children on the city streets
Are dreaming as the sun has shone,
Starving as my heart has pined
While reaching out of bounds
For any place at all to stand.
My children on the greensward
Are growing as the trees have grown,
Soaring as my soul has flown
While reaching for the shyest hand
That I shall ever know.
My children on the plains of tears
Are cringing as the brave have fears,
Climbing as my heart has height
While groping with these vaneless wings
To gain your chaste embrace.
My children near the forest-dream
Are dying as the phoenix dies,
Shining as my eyes have wept
While catching at the warmest sun
My dawn has ever seen.
My children by this sun-lit shore
Are kneeling as the saints have prayed,
Knelling as heart's bells have rung
While reaching healing home at last,
My hand within your grasp.
3rd draft: 02/07/03
©1967 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 10:03 PM
Friday, June 25, 2004
(Saint Joan and Guinevere)
Don't let it be misunderstood
what it is to be alone with an overwhelming mood,
to be untaken once again, a savage wallflower at the waltz,
waiting for a chance to see eternity, not me, improve its stance
but, how, dear distant Guineverehow can I say that?
It is so seldom understood
why that which is chosen is most difficult in all the world,
why human hearts confused by doubts become enclosed by walls
why did they not break out or dare to ask
that lonely brave young Joan of Arc to dance?
Don't try to tell it now to any woman or any man,
don't even try to understand, how this reality of lies
surrounds us like a phantom's spell too subtle to undo.
Love's pirouettes in new soft shoes are all as real, World News avows,
as this old-dancing-shoe world-weariness will allow.
If you think cold sober reason can defend us from such dizzy views,
attend with me this still interior spinning room,
recline with me and shine those coal-black eyes I love this way
till gloom comes up the sheets like flames and clings to me
like smoke and stings your lids and leaves your lips quite parched...
How many dazed and daunted fools here, Gwen,
have seen the undisguised device or tool
of endless time reveal itself
and stood their ground before it?
How many voices strangled in the middle of
Whose given word unbroken will have the strength to cry aloud
when silent tears have drowned us in our pride, yet left us dry?
There's such a world of difference now between
Saint Joan's unfaded passion and what is left of mine.
Christ, be my new religion, Gwen, the wine on which I choke!
Well, why not laugh? Am I another priest or clerk
whose soul records this wide and syncopated concatenation of lies?
A cipher whose unsteady slate chalks up the works and warps
of clumsy possibilities, of cockeyed evolution? Who dances
minuets in mud-boots at the ball and mars the parquet floor?
Time again, time that's hung with festive variation,
time in fluid movement through the seasons,
through space arranged just-so for no apparent reason,
while celibates with beards hang fire in dominoes and masks,
limp puppets on taut strings with only one thing left to do...
When time and space put on their ballet shoes and spin,
whatever keeps us cheek-to-cheek will do for us, we grin,
within the raveled convolutions of this costume ball gone bad
but, still, that which is constant amid our own inconstancy
in part becomes our God. So, can you imagine the paradox I'm in?
The puppet-master moves the puppet,
but man is moved by nothing, or, like that damned Cauchon,
by nothing but momentum and inertia,
forgetting every heedless, dark, and broken heart that watched
the clean white hem of Joan's unarmored muslin smock begin to burn,
while time moved forth, at first slowly, lately fast,
it never stops or pauses, but glides like wind through grass
beyond the reach of love's embrace and far beyond recall
as season follows fallow season disguised as Guinevere
and we invent new reasons to turn away from grace.
Despite it all, I am a worldly man
neither hedonists nor ascetics have ever made
much sense to me; in truth or maya, both will bleed.
So, turning, I stumble one little step further
and pray that one step is what leads to another...
Alone again with an overwhelming mood,
I dream of Joan of Arc's undying, aching, fiery soul
and love's expiring old soft-shoe for Gwen
as if such strength and sweetness could be true,
as if I ever knew that dancebut how can I say that?
Note: Pierre Cauchon
Pierre Cauchon (kosho), 1371-1442, Bishop of Beauvais, Joan of Arc's tireless persecutor; the primary judge in her 1431 trial. He felt that her refusal to wear women's clothing was by itself proof of her disobedience to the church and of her heresy. At the same time, neither he nor any other official said or did anything to protect her when her brief effort to comply resulted in the English military guards being demonstrative about their sexual interest in her. In short, they attacked her, though she and God fought them off. Unfortunately, she and God did not have the same success with Cauchon's conduct of the trial.
Joan's "rehabilitation" trial took place in 1456. She was canonized in 1920.
10th draft: 06/26/04
©1975 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 10:33 PM
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Listen, oh listen,
Listen to this wayward wind that blows
Cool and calm through noisy streets,
Between the voices, between the choices,
Our palms outstretched, upraised,
The evening sun in glory,
Indifferent to our praise.
These many faces you contain,
Hold back or offer to my
I want to, yes,
I want to, no,
I want to shake these youthful dreams and say,
"Give up these tears or tell me why!"
I'd nibble your ears
And whisper, whisper
Oh, but not for love
Or do I mean, for Love Alone?
What man will dream his life away
And only speak to phrase or frame his own defense?
He is closed up in a fortress that is safe but dark.
Safe. But Dark.
But listen, listen,
Listen to this wind that gently blows
Calm and cool through cluttered streets,
Our palms outstretched, upraised,
The evening sun in glory
Indifferent to our praise…
4th draft: 06/23/04
©1974 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 2:50 PM
Friday, June 18, 2004
For someone who has accumulated so little,
I seem to have a lot of little things,
Whether preserved or accidentally kept
Or tucked away or spilling out like boys at play—
It’s odd just which things in the world will stay.
I run across them now and then,
Pictures and small decorations,
Oddments of different kinds,
Dusty things, dull or waxed or dingy things,
Leftover pieces and parts,
Black metal music machines and softish dreams,
Early technologies and quasi-arts
I can barely call the names of any more.
Things that I stopped in the middle of making,
Arts and Crafts projects,
Like that one braided belt I couldn’t complete,
Things ill conceived, badly done, or tangled,
Or hard things that were always breaking
Or soft things that would just never fit,
Like that wallet with leather parts too thick to sew,
Possessions of little value too valued to throw away.
Some things get lost too easily, I grant,
Yet others seem to cling.
Slides I took of Dan and Charlotte’s happy wedding,
Made moot by hostile divorce and my own estrangement.
Crinkled poems I sent copies of to people I once loved;
Unrelenting Christmas cards received in twos and ones—
Now all the addresses are changed, it seems.
Now all these things are strewn and stuffed
In cluttered boxes, cabinets, and drawers.
What can one do, after the rise and the rush of events,
With wornout remnants still in evidence
Of these losses and lost friends?
Envelopes that remain—some bottle-ringed, stained, and mottled,
Some with bent-cornered post cards or folded yellow pages spilling out.
Those old receipts, reminders, questions, answers,
Paper peregrinations, perambulations, and forgotten nascent thoughts,
The letters I penned and posted back in youthful haste—
Meaningful these days only to a few old hearts.
Books my friends wrote in—inscriptions, notes, graffiti.
One, who loved Durrell’s Quartet as I did,
Said he’d see me “in another book”—
Some did, some didn’t, George, and some Will yet, I guess.
Some, like you, may dream sweet music to the bitter end
And wish to paint those Dali-esque landscapes in reality,
But reality seems so far away now, back when no one we knew got sick,
I don’t even know how to begin that measure or if you in fact are dead.
Drawings in black and white by friends who now live far away,
Hidden, stored in folders for decades, hung now on paneled walls.
Sketches, sometimes of me, Art and otherwise, now draw me in,
Remind me, remand me, return me for a while in thought,
Where a sense of those old days surrounds me, but never stays.
I tracked dear Wilfried down in Friedberg after 30 years
And we were elated at first. He said he’d long ago abandoned Art
But that it didn’t matter. Too soon, he had no more to say,
Not even of his birds. His life is blurred and lost again in Germany
And, no matter what I say, my old friend is lost to me anew.
Things that people left behind—
A fine line drawing by that Hessian, perhaps,
Or a notebook cover some thoughtless lover
Once scribbled patterns on
Or wrote her treasured name across…
What was a purple and white macramé hatband,
Made for me in happy days by a woman I possessed,
But now so faded two colors have for years been one.
The leather hat I made myself—long gone.
It is so strange how some things stay possessed
Whether I have retained them or not!
Bill’s yellowing old blue-lined address book,
Left here years ago and not returned or sought;
It’s still around, moved from here to there
And back again as time goes by.
I spot it now and then among toy dragons, beside a butterfly in glass,
Some battered insect and cactus books collecting dust, a slight smell like must,
Reminding me of those fungus-scented, antique-timbered, unswept rooms
Where Bill and Waldine worked at Coppini’s defunct old sculpture studio.
Last year’s snapshot of Paula,
Brown-haired with a sprinkle of gray,
Seated with her daughter’s handsome happy half-Tibetan baby boy.
It does not seem so long ago she was a college girl
I made love to and tried but failed to love.
Around and round I went with her like a dog on a bone until perversely
We were friends again. She knew how I’d tried to hate her,
But gave me her forgiveness. I don’t see her much any more,
But I know she makes a very handsome grandma now
And feels remarkably good to hug.
Two black and white old photos of a high-school girl,
My sweetheart then and blonde, but long ago turned gray,
A bright young beauty twice preserved
In glass and silver frames she gave me with her heart.
She’s been discreetly displayed just so for thirty years—
One photo with a smile and one quite serious but serene.
I’ve kept them in this or that room
In each succeeding home I’ve had without her.
Though she’s another’s wife, and plump and flushed and older,
I know that beauty still.
At times I can’t believe I still conserve these foolish things,
These old and sometimes faded dried-up near-forgotten things.
My life is only here upon this page and spilling out once more
Where nothing new is wondrous or will stay,
But I have known a few who were the best,
Of whom I am reminded by all these little things
How good it was to know them
And that I know such beauty still.
10th draft: 06/18/04
©2003 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 9:08 PM
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Your obsession with your father
Gave you good material, I must say.
All that poetry, I mean. I envy you that.
Always having interesting subject matter.
You've made hay of it, and every poem was good!
It's odd how twisted you got, just thinking
About how powerful he was when you were little
How intelligent he was, how all-encompassing!
I wonder how it was I never felt him like that,
Never felt him turn his finely focused heat ray on me?
Did I just not draw his fire
Or was I fireproof in some way?
Was I insensate and could not apprehend
That fire and heat despite it being there?
I guess it was only of a certain kind
Familial, insidious, insinuating,
Not quite for public consumption.
It is strange, isn't it, how, among three offspring,
It was the girl in the middle, not the boys,
who most emulated him?
Perhaps they knew something about him
That you never absorbed?
Was it just that their fascination was less?
Was there something to avoid,
And they required a greater distance
Than Adoration could allow?
Boys don't care much for Adoration,
Unless they're the ones getting it
But that's neither here nor there.
Or is it?
3rd draft: 06/01/04
©2003 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 6:41 PM
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
"Who can I love?" he sang.
He sang it soft and long.
"Too many wives and lovers are already lost
Dear God, who can count the hurt, the cost?"
It was his soft and steady song,
But it was hard, not easy.
Who can I love
When time is hard and I am harder
And nothing's ever kind
Or do I simply mean, however wrong,
That now I find at long, long last that
Nothing's ever been so kind to me as you
Except the one who's dead?
I'm not so bad,
I always like to think.
So why can't I be kind,
Or kinder, or be perceived as such,
Convey myself as such,
Be someone soft to touch, but still a man
And one who's hard to know that much.
You're a woman fit to love, I see.
Dear Polly, who wouldn't want to love
A woman so deserving all
That to resist you would be another Fall,
Or legally Insane, or just a pain
Still, not easy, these clumsy ballets of love!
Why can't I be true in kind to you
And love you well or myself at bay
Or all these raucous friends of mine
Or all these blinded wounded kin
Every one so needful or hormone-driven!
Why can't I lead my newly-bearded son
To be less horrible than myself and love me
As even I deserve? Dear God, is it too late for love?
Oh be a little kind, or kinder, ageing heart
Whatever comes, I cannot help but think
That something soft behind the mask
Might yet be brought to bear upon this task
But you know how men just never dare to ask,
And it's still hard, not easy…
10th draft: 05/26/04
©2001 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 7:32 PM
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Those who broke into the tomb
Were first and those who did
Not choose to look were wise.
Then the walls begin to sigh,
If we push a little further,
We may die…"
Such sounds that float upon the breezes
Slip softly past the outer shell.
Inside the tower high above
Along the winding stair
Our cruelty ascends;
Oh hear the voice
Oh hear the voice
And turn aside from where
The bodies of the dead attend.
Here seven jaded ladies knelt
To rearrange their face;
Here seven savage widows stood to draw
The line and mark the place.
In this perfect solitary room the dying
King reflects upon imaginary wounds.
The shadow of a fated king
Cast up against imaginary walls,
Cut down, cut down to living size,
The darkness in the faded heart
Of reason bound on every side,
The image of a skull in dreams
As seen through dreamer's eyes.
Now men with pale gray eyes
Complain they cannot breathe
And ghostly feminine faces
Promenade around the tomb.
Cold hands of age complain against the years
And with both sword and knife
Strike out at spider's threads
And hands of grace immersed in tears
Reach out, reach out
To light the candle long unfound
Yes, here, here beside the bed.
Now all these phantom figures moving in the gloom
The dying king reflects upon,
Until he takes his bed of death, reclines at last
And gasps, without a mask, without a sword or mask…
Current draft: 05/05/04
©1972 Ronald C. Southern
Footnote: Earnur -- A passing historical reference from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy. "The Silmarillion" tells more about him, how Earnur, the last king of Gondor, rode alone to the gates of Minas Morgul to meet the Morgul-lord in single combat. "Betrayed by the Nazgûl, he was taken alive into the city of torment and no living man saw him ever again." Hereditary Stewards then reigned for many generations until the downfall of Sauron, brought about by the destruction of the One Ring and the return of the King.
Posted by at 6:29 PM
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Great heart, this flower, has closed;
Has sought, and lost, and chose.
Your touch, your tongue, your heat—fair game,
I deem, for all but me on this predacious street.
Live hard, live long, live gay;
Let the love that you feel lead the way.
My love is caught and held and flung
Like leaves the careless wind has blown
Out where the dead make speech that needs no tongue.
My friend, this power has flown;
Has sought, and found, and known.
Your cry, bold heart, still sings a song of the sea
That flows, Oh! But listen: nothing flows through me.
Love's hard, love's long, love's frayed;
What life will surrender, death takes away.
My life is done and spent and spun
Like dust some careless child has flung
Out where the dead make speech that speaks to none.
4th draft: 04/28/04
©1979 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 7:28 PM
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
In the absence of any kiss is found
A moment that jerks you into stillness,
Breathless stillness, a stillness
That no lonely heart can take,
No guileful word express,
No seeing eye dismiss.
In the absence of a kiss we find
A mindful means to madness as a jest,
The senseless touch of kindness and its death,
The cutting edge of reason without life
Where the silent knife impales itself upon itself
And none here know the reason for,
The beauty of, the distance from
That proffered gift, that lost-in-sift,
The poised and awkward promise of a kiss.
3rd draft: 02/10/03
©1972 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 10:17 PM
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
your hand that rests beside you
while you sit taps out a silent
beat; this pulse behind my ear
begins to imitate that beat.
"Are we conversant drums," I wonder,
and rest one hand on your knee,
draw up your skirt with the other.
"I am too cold to be so warm,"
is what you say, but I know
what that means; my hand between
your legs, I smile and say,
"How lovely you are; a beauty
that would suit any taste..."
4th draft: 08/26/01
©1979 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 11:23 PM
Monday, May 03, 2004
One of these days down the road, you’ll see,
Before life ends, it’ll happen,
You’ll be snake-bit or dog-bit or develop a limp
Or mistakenly kiss Michael Jackson’s chimp
Or breed carcinomas under your pits till you ache.
Maybe you’ll hit that next sharp corner
Clutching a cell-phone and a map and you’ll crash
And the semi behind you will crawl up your ass
And your floorboarded feet and all your false teeth
Will fall through the cracks deadly fast,
Leaving that jaunty $4 hat you wear juicy, frayed, and flat.
Or maybe you’ll thoughtlessly open
That creaky front door at home one night
And stumble willy-nilly across some burglar at work
Who didn’t expect you, either,
And the adrenalin will rise to a roar.
Maybe you’ll just be scared or maybe get
Your skull crushed and your eggs reduced to mush—
A thick or thin pink salsa slush
For firemen with rubber-soled feet
To hose off the graveled street.
Just wait, you’ll see…
7th draft: 05/03/04
©2003 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 10:26 PM
Sunday, May 02, 2004
This older woman likes it, he thought,
Being pawed aggressively like this,
Her back rubbing sensuously
Against the yielding plastic greenhouse wall,
her skirt clutched tightly in one hand,
Her half-seen face gaily grimacing
While she held him to her tightly in the dark.
It was better than she'd ever imagined, he imagined.
Not bad for him, either—he’d never felt better,
Though they’d just now met at the party.
Whatever was true, whatever was false,
The tall woman leaned back on the greenhouse wall
And spread her arms wide like a crucified bride
And trembled like a girl
With the younger man's face on her thighs.
4th draft: 05/02/04
©1975 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 10:00 PM
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Such heat in the street each evening:
Night’s fall finds the fault in all;
The waste that wore the heart to hardness
Lives in each of us, dies not with the dying Fall.
If time and tongue and tireless feet
Are finally spent from toiling in the dark,
Then through this rent that hope has made,
Shall not judgment pass and forever fade away?
What fanned hell's fire to fury burned bright
In the living flesh, but gave no light to see;
Yet all disheartened hearts must wonder: how
Through this foggy night will break the dawn of day?
These wrongs at the heart of darkness
Made waste in the veins of men; if lust
For love long sought is lost now, then why
This heart so bursting, expectant even now?
What anguish and what joy! The time arrives,
The time departs too soon; blessed be
Pleasure’s pain and pain's delight, for by
These wounds the world and we are wrought!
Men's tempers set the stride,
Make all the measures one of pride
But pleasure's pain and pain's delight
Care not for pride, but right.
What's wrong with this teething terror makes war
In the souls of men; if pride-of-strength's
The measure now of love long lost, long sought,
Then how this heart so bursting, so buoyant even now?
What fanned hell's fire to fury filled full
Conceited flesh, but starved the frantic heart;
Now in such need of touch we wonder:
Can day that breaks so hard and fast succeed?
If time and tongue and nameless fears
At last are washed away by tears,
Then from this heart of hope and doubt
Shall not judgment be cast out?
Dead heat in the street this evening:
His Fall cries the crime in all;
The haste that bore the Christ to harness
Lives in each of us, dies not with the dying call.
8th draft: 08/12/01
©1979 Ronald C. Southern
Posted by at 10:02 PM
Judy Garland's Blues
Why was Judy Garland sad?
Did she have everything—but not love?
What drove Judy Garland mad,
Or do I give her too much credit?
Was she just privately unlucky, after all the public luck?
Did she have two armfuls of nothing in the worn valises
She dragged into another mansion of expenses, pills, and airs
Amid lost things never declared, forever beyond her reach?
Did she have everything—but not love?
Was she too often left behind as a child
Or was she poisoned in the vein
As by too many drinks or a rattlesnake...
Twisted by some familial demon spirit she became
That Voodoo spirit, the reel and spin, the deadly living blues,
Forever frightened—no matter her age or image or magic—
Of what to choose and what to lose, out of control to the end?
Did she, like you, like me, have everything—
But could not feel the love that others gave
Or stay as brave as needed every moment?
Current draft: 4/12/2010
3rd draft: 04/26/05
©2004 Ronald C. Southern
[This is a separate and different title from the blog title.]
- ► June (4)
Chigger, Texas, USA