Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Labors of Love

by Steve King
© 2010
All rights reserved

I have been reminded
many and enough ways,
that love alone will ever serve
to rectify our days.

Love is a hardening prison:
we toil in passion’s chains;
and when our term at last is spent
we seek that cell again.

Tangled in these fetters
I struggle not so much;
my torture is to languish here,
glad for my jailer’s touch.

I shall never weary
of love’s most shackling songs,
nor wonder, as you’re singing them,
to whom they next belong.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Ruins of Troy

by Steve King
© 2010
All rights reserved

What matter'd it now?  She who made the sea move,
made it crawl with their ships; now she might well have been
just a fine polished marble, cold as that stone,
lugged off for booty, and stowed in the hold
of the man's mad desire.

Behind, the smoke rose so high o’er the plain;
and the cries of the dead rose too in the plumes,
and echoed the halls of the indifferent gods,
who heard all the groans as the gods always did:
so sated with god-love and smoke from their altars,
now giddy with griefs, and conjuring scores
to settle anon.

And the smoke and cries rose through the dark-browed clouds
long after the sails had dipped out of sight,
slipped over the edge of the smooth-seeming sea,
away from the cries and away from the smoke,
so heavy with swag, their blood-stained treasure;
and women they took, now sea-staring, weeping,
all huddled astern in the hard rocking ships.

It was all too quiet after the war years,
the blood men a-pace on the confining decks. 
They were near out of heroes, near out of their time,
out of sight of the smoke, out of sight of the land
and the army of graves laying siege to charred walls.

Away from the dark-browed clouds did they sail,
clouds carrying smoke and the cries of the dead;
beetles leaving the plague, scuttling back to their earth,
back to where it  began:  the azure-lapped land,
a twitch in the loin of the rugged spear-man.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


by Steve King
© 2012 
All rights reserved

I am done and gladly rise,
rub these letters from my eyes,
quell the music that abides
to stir old silence and surmise.

Finished as a guy may be,
abandoning this alchemy
of casting spells that soon reply
and howl their strange cacophony.

Noonday shadows rising high,
numbing rhythms twisting by;
idle dreams and compromise:
far past time to let it lie.

Though I’m done and gladly rise,
the dancing letters yet reprise;
the music stays, to no surprise,
to fill new silence, new surmise.

Folding close old revery
it sings occasioned certainies,
drawing forth the ancient ties
to meld with new epiphanies…

No matter that I gladly rise,
the music stays, the silence flies.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Before the Lotos Dream

by Steve King

All rights reserved

I thought that I would never be with you.
For you had always been a part of clamor—
joining tumult with a most profound
sense of peace; and you there at the center,
fending supplications with your ease,
adroit, alight, abominable tease.

I had never voice, nor had a choice,
except to watch it all, your pale hand leading
other souls in charmed communion,
one, then another, each in sacred turn,
up to a point of astonished silence,
their lips tasting the lotos of your wrist.

I wonder how it was our gazes met.
You always seemed to cast your eyes above
my station.  Where were you seeing then?
It was a darkened age, no gilding light
to mark the forming puzzle of my page.
I would not play the fool, nor strut the sage.

I worried that my presence had no gauge.
But you were well adept at listening.
Still, the furor rose around your aura:
you among what then were merely others.
Other than you and I.

I saw you step quickly out of their circle
and then were gone;  but you had shown them well.
They would embrace the spirit of your perfume,
the palpable mirage you trailed behind,
and love your idea as soon.

And then you stood
within the shadow that surrounded me.
Unbidden, you had come the unlikeliest way,
you unknown and I as yet unknowing.
Who knew why, or wanted then the question?
Now near my heart there was a sounding board,
your breast a solemn tabor for my cries:
my words now songs that will or will not soar,
but won't die borning, the old silent way.

I must hold quickly:  Somewhere in dying light,
amid the clamor that enchains them still,
I watch your clan of once-deserving souls
that sings no other dream, nor ever will.