Survivors

Survivors

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sonnet Five: I watch and wait


© 2017 Steve King
All rights reserved


I watch and wait patiently for the sun,
and moments of forgetting then begun;
this bitter starlight cannot now redeem
an interregnum of confining dreams.
Old spirits are fled far and leave no trace,
no outlines to impress on shadowed space,
and though my pausing will not urge reward,
I’ll hold to what I pray shall be restored.
An undertow of hope thus sets my course,
and I must drift upon the dawning force,
to gather each small blessing that abides,
and cling to meanings cast upon new tides.
Emergent then, as from a numbing sleep,
so once again to sing, again to weep.


A new poem for the Poetry Pantry
http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I am old now...


© Steve King 2017
All rights reserved



I am old now, often older than I seem,
with new strangeness and a certain sense
that springs not only from unfolding years.
But this is all of my own view,
some inner seeing that reflects
no proper light from anywhere,
nor even any scene
that some other might see true.

The mirror in the hall holds far out of my sight;
the window too, where in a lapse of careless ease,
I might again behold the sudden ghost,
more true to every age, anchored in the pane,
clinging on a slender veil of inconstant opacity,
its form playing a noiseless rhythm,
searching yet for convenient repose
and any field of uncontested peace.

I piece together puzzles made of clouds
that shudder, fly upon the least of winds;
stir worlds within the orb of the unblinking cocktail glass,
and watch as visions stream, each along its way;
savor every expectation,
and the pull of all intentions,
that the lingering claim of conscience
shall not long outlast.

In the reach of bottomless light
the world seems empty of all things
except the deepened treads of time,
a universe enforcing balance
of all things I might have sought
and everything the heart tried to deny,
with point enough to serve tendentious retrospect,
and the pull of all latent desire,
even moment by moment;
for though no certain future is assigned,
I’ll take my leave to wager a good bet,
thinking every new-lived instant
gives a life to each impatient hope,
and fortifies all gentle conjurings.

Somewhere distant I recall
the portrait I alone was meant to see,
itself enough to capture any age.
And there it is:  somewhat a stranger now,
as any onetime friend might sometime be;
its lines still not so fully formed,
somewhat in haste conceived;
the eyes with what might pass for surety,
the naive brow an unmarked map
that cannot not be so now.
And though I must approve faint shades,
and take on faith that these have shown me fair,
I yet must note each errant stroke
and smile at untoward slips of shadow
that a keener artist would have striven to repair.

There roams in the dark tower,
like condemned kings and captive partisans,
a mix of ill contented thoughts,
contending for a single crack of light,
or a strain of gaiety singing far upon midnight,
almost unknowing now the graces of such leisure,
but still not quite reduced
to settling for the moments that incline
to the inviting void,
which alone must mitigate all cares.

I wonder at all things unsaid,
and of comforts yet unmet,
and of late strangnesses
that reasoned contemplation cannot cure.
Unsettled loves are gathered in a distant dream,
removed from every heart,
a far mirage that fades on every dawn,
posing as the last sum of desire.

Now must I cease these wanderings.
Each glimpse unfolds, that others might ensue,
and every view will further lead
until the thread I clutch unwinds in whole,
that my next thought would drift on its own airs,
so soon to slip from every moor,
without the charms of once familiar light,
to dance with dreams that dress a darker night.


 A new poem for the dVerse open night link
 https://dversepoets.com/

Monday, March 13, 2017

Signs


©  Steve King 2017
All rights reserved


1.

upthrust stones appear in the dark earth
sudden reds and umbers
in the highest trees
rivers yield to bedrock
floral splash retreats
from dry roadsides
sheltering waves ebb
mud creatures die before the sun
mountains whither and recede
while others intrude into empty sky
the earth shakes  and graves unseal
stormclouds gather on far hills
everywhere are signs it seems
the moonlight and the darkness
and the lightning
and the winds that sing
in my dream they heave to view
and in these echoes I must find
the word to say old things anew


2.

searching ancient holds
sifting through the sands
looking for the stars
for the ancient source
rooting for the hidden caves
and the shades of prophets
gone at last to ground
forgotten gone now
far from miracles
and sundry excitations
all are silent now
yes even prophets
silent now who onetime spoke
as from the very gods


3.

and in my books
strange marks appear
to dance the empty page
waiting for that word to come
for surer sense to settle ‘round
the strange newness of them all
a word
a harmony
to all the other words
sung in strange communion
to all that have been spoke to me
and all that I have heard
and all that yet await my meaning
any meaning

the one sound that gathers all
shouts that I may understand
this word that has eluded
the word inscribed alike
on those vagrant sands
and on the far strung stars
a word within surrounding silence
distance and old emptiness
since before the sands were sands
and stars were stars
when sands were stars
and stars sand
before even another sound to echo
before the advent of questions
before any answer
or an explanation
or an equivocation
or assertion
or apology
or a taking back
or a shouting
or a false whisper
or a clamor to end contemplation
or a witness
or even before the idea of silence
which must itself aspire to clamor
or spring from one
if it shall be truly known


4.

this thing I am that waits in dreams
first word
then picture
then story
all the legends to retell
there must be story
must there not
a story in those markings
that my dreaming has begot


5.

awakening as light itself
arising from behind hard horizons
hidden only for the time of dreaming
a sorcery unfolds
and I speak in tongues
the way a ghost
condemned to drift among the quick
might strain for words
walking live streets
but in that long silence
mouthing empty moans
at transient shapes
eager for the night
even as the morning comes
lingering near familiar shadows
come to trim the meaning of their day


6.

as the sun reveals
I would see
as the sun reveals
the ring of dawn embracing
every ready world
rolling like the tides
that would paint a captive sea
revealing all to me
settling ‘round again
to cure the mind of dreams
when all new things may come alive
and spirits teem
new myths to spring
while strains of ancient songs
sweating dreams
and visitations
might soon be well forgot.

An edge of darkness
for a moment that is not a moment
but a life begun
rewound again
and tempering the margins
of each exultation with the breath
of all those old cares


7.

Still the memories of dreams
might reach from their firm seat
might tantalize and so destroy belief
in tangibility to come
the very marks
and strange devices
left upon the page
all the sweet tranquility
that I would have
before another life begins
but still the book
and curious marks
older by another day
unchanged and so familiar
in their unfamiliar way



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Smile


©  Steve King  2016
All rights reserved


You have never seemed at all like me.
I say this in being self-aware,
in knowing that my every sense
is numbed by your insurmountable smile.

I surmise this singular aspect of guile
—this something more and something less—
flows not from some redoubt of high conscience,
or a wry disregard of worldly things;
nor from a fancied pose of irony.
No, none of these, I think.

They would be apprehended in their doing.
Indeed, I have seen through from time to time
in all the usual small ways.
Yet still a smile remains unsatisfied.

Yes, I surmise,
for what more might this smile bring?
Everything is handy guesswork now,
known only in a retrospect
of all my favorite speculations,
and none of your own.

And what should your expression yield to me,
with its smile or no?
Some inconstant glance,
not even minding where it falls,
now here, now there,
now celebrating this,
now mourning that?
I will not be moved by this,
nor any other aspect of such art.
It seems the world reserves too much
for me to isolate to you
what might be merely shifts of mood
or other dark exchanges of my heart.

I see I stand upon some lesser hill,
just balanced on the smallest points of faith:
that I am,
that I must be,
that every moment is a struggle
for a realm of sovereignty;
that I manifest an essence
in a strange contingency of time and place
not even of my choosing,
often times unknowing and unknown.

And yet it seems I must remain,
if only to assure this place
and consecrate a time;
that I survey all objects of desire,
observing from this far remove,
inventing, even, what another
might then misconstrue;
alas, reflecting not always
a bit of what some other might require.

And it is hard to sense all this,
to know I won’t requite in full.
But in my station I am not alone.
Not insurmountable as you, perhaps.
Perhaps if I am patient to a fault.

You are a distant drumbeat now,
to measure out the crushing dark;
a tremor on the airs.
Where is the map
to thread a journey
through all obstacles,
to find where lies the mystery
of your confounding peace?
A peace that, for all I now know,
may not begin to merit
fair exchange of any heart.


A new poem for the dVerse Poet's Pub
https://dversepoets.com/

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Cocktail Hour


© 2016 Steve King
All rights reserved


Old Fashions will sometimes suffice
to thaw this frozen writer’s ice.

Wine upholds me, in a pinch,
but rarely moves my pen an inch.

Brandy, Bourbon, Single Malt—
they stir my spirits to a fault.

But one Martini, every time,
amends my meter, rights my rhyme.



A new poem for the Poetry Pantry
Happy New Year, All!
http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/