Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On Rereading My Old Poems

© Steve King
All rights reserved

I thought any pathway back
should brook no mystery.
Yet the way to origins—
what I was, and what I said and did,
and what I thought,
and how I knew to do,
and who it was that struck those marks
all over the old sheets—
there is now only this:
I recall how each long-finished line
did onetime beckon
from its place of puzzlement,
while I mused and sought to see a way
to bring reluctant shadows full alive,
apart from all the other words,
shining within their own delights,
animate, robust to heart and mind,
and sprung of an enchanting genesis.

Waiting for each old world to unfold,
it is the dawning sense
of the obvious that surprises me so:
at  every turn an old familiar
given just another form,
while only in some strictest sense
is anything reborn.
Each old stroke dislodges to a partial light
a rude and rediscovered gem,
the best, largely obscure:
where once I knew each crowning glow,
now only sometimes do these yield
reflection of my will.

I must see each book finally closed,
each chapter sealed—
all the times consigned to right repose.

And then may new familiars rise instead,
so I may break off dreaming on the dead.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Prelude to "Conversation With the Madhi"


For the Wednesday Challenge at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads

©  Steve King
All rights reserved

How shall I know when all is right;
where goodness gathers by the way;
where darkening souls imbibe new light;
when new desires define new days?


I am no stranger to strange places, ma’am.
I’ve been a-seeking since this life began
to find a place where I could play my hand.
I come here not bereft of gifts or grace,
for I can turn my hand to anything
that can be dreamt of.
If a thing be dreamable
I have held it somewhere in my mind.
Somewhere soaring in my vagrant time.
But I forget myself again
and speak of lingering dreams in vain.
I will ask you…
I will ask you…
ah, but I forget again…

Such an inconstant star that leads my tracks!
How’s that for an epitaph?
I’m thinking tombstones more and more these days.
I’ve chiseled out a few across the years,
but always someone else to wear the suit.
You’d never know from looking out
upon this wretched ground
how rich it is in corpses.
Why, I’m afraid to break the surface
scratching a latrine
for fear of being dragged
into some wretched thing’s Hades
before my righteous time.
Ah… “ …’Ere my righteous time…”
How’s that for an epitaph?
Someone else, of course.

How many lives I’ve led,
how many different paths I’ve taken now,
out and away from the ancient matrix,
new treads rutting down the score
where others’ fleeing footsteps fell before.
Might I retrace my steps to find
proof that a life was onetime left behind?
And where then would that journey carry me?
And what sense would it make to ply
a path of least resistance in reverse?
Oh, ye of certain provenance
ought to rejoice the fact.
There is at least one terminus
to anchor your track.
You cannot fault the world-forsaken man—
who knows not whence he came—
bewailing the night sky.
Those who ask ‘What’s in a name?’
most often-time own one.
There’s something more in place for them
than two eyes and a grimace
peering through the mirror’s vacant visage.

Yes, someone put a word to me, back when.
I started out as somebody, but don’t know how I’ll end.
I’ve since worn a score of names,
and by any remain the same.
Without a doubt, no ordinary Joe;
no Tom nor Dick nor Harry that I know.
There should be words for everyone.
including those of us that run,
callow orphans of the sun,
random atoms,
it’s all one…