Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Self Portraiture

by Steve King
© 2005
All rights reserved

I would need a volume to remind myself:
I have loosed all, despite the best intent,
except some given sense of this moment.
Life is too long for the span and spur
of quaint ideals and self-defining force,
faint memories of bold designs
that onetime served to fashion out a course.

I would need an echo to assist recall
even of my solemn
and least random of words:
so long speaking with myself,
I puzzle what it is
that all those others might have heard…
I would plumb the lyric in each dark nuance
and hear old promises remade.
Minor harmonics, left long unsung,
might singly play their parts, now undismayed.

I would need the dreaming of a thousand nights,
winding close upon the ancient core.
There are secret provinces
carved in the heart’s domain,
and passageways to well-forgotten realms
where longings war with unrequited claims;
where best and worst may languish intertwined;
where every stillborn orison,
forever is enjoined.

There would be new wonderings
amid the monuments
of long-forgiven loves
now lingering in their twilight of regret.
I would gild anew the shape
of that less reflective age,
and dredge beneath old shadows
for talismans to strew upon
this now impatient page.

How will I learn to see anew
and intimate of every thing,
of half forgot imaginings
that call in wild archaic tongues?
Or murmur in respecting tones
to render true the softening song
that unsought sudden sadness brings?
I might wake to those dreamings evermore,
and never apprehend a passion
that compelled before.

It is a distant odyssey
to circumambulate one’s past,
and tend to sundry leavings
that were never meant to last.
Still, one treads a landscape
that may never be renounced.
It is a scene alit by vagrant fires,
where brilliance and full darkness do conspire.
And so, the eye does quickly tire…

So… I will need your vision to abet.
Now you must be my ready surrogate
to render out the meanings I invent,
to ratify this sum of vague intent.
I shall speak at large to your desire,
and levy all my thoughts as you require.


  1. Quite the verse with some rhyme, helping the flow and you just know, you invent great under your tent.

  2. hey FYI the new word verification is playing fits with IE...i could not comment early b/c of it...

    we are a collage of our history...yet the most important day is the one in front of us...

  3. This is a great write....Minor harmonics, left long unsung,
    might singly play their parts, now this!

  4. Beautiful words...I was swayed along with your words. I specially like the 3rd and 4th verses ~

    Enjoyed your write tonight ~

  5. Ahh, Steve, you capture your thoughts and write your words in ways I only dream about. Stanza 3 really spoke to me, of dreaming and secret provinces carved in hearts domain. I am in awe!! I especially like how you pulled us, the readers, into the final stanza. This is classic, and absolutely beautiful.

  6. This is a beautiful, poignant write, Steve. The third stanza, especially, speaks to me..."secret provinces in the heart's domain.....where longings war with unrequited claims" ....there's more of course...and then you ask the reader to join you in your quest for definition and answers. Clever and original. A thoughtful and beautifully executed poem.

  7. i just love the minor harmonics...there's music in this verse for sure steve...enjoyed..

  8. The archaic gets a do-over from a modern breath beating it out, the structure is formal and the subject classic, yet there's a freshness in treatment that uses those factors as foundation to meander where it wills. Really like the way you morph similar words in different ways to complement their thoughts--well-forgotten/long-forgiven, especially, and change up the rhyme scheme when it suits the phrase/stanza instead of vice versa. Every poetic device from metaphor to alliteration, falls subtly right. My favorites are the third and fourth stanzas in a fine poem that shines throughout.

  9. Steve, this is classic poetry. "Circumambulating one's past" is what we poets do best. Your internal rhyme, your willingness to dig so deeply into your own gut, as it were, were thrilling, to way the least. "Longings war with unrequited claims," almost comes back on itself. Read it three times, aloud, savoring every word. Thank you, and peace, Amy