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…


  1. If this is only a prelude, there must be a really long conversation coming up next... :)

  2. Wonderful prelude! Only time will tell what comes next!

  3. You have allowed the thoughts to flow in this stream of consciousness, which has a very definite voice. The self-questioning taps in to the very human state of uncertainty, both of the future and decisions made in the past. Much enjoyed.

  4. wow, nice. i've been thinking tombstones more and more these days. that's some line, and some idea. love this.

  5. Love the conversation Steve ~ A bit somber with the mentioned of epitaphs but a wealth of journey from a man with many names ~ isn't it ironic we start by being sure of ourselves, by being somebody, but along the way, we don't where we will be or how we will be nor the ending ~

  6. This is a class act!
    So substantial and full of facets.

  7. You went into that dark place that is always intriguing in such a unique way.

  8. I like the illustration you chose to go with this somber piece. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  9. We all have questions of who we are and where we are have taken that questioning to such depth...I wonder

  10. I love the details that align your conversation, your inner dialogue~

  11. Great narrative poem

  12. very cool has a rather classical feel to it...the second stanza is def a fav...

    Such an inconstant star that leads my tracks!
    How’s that for an epitaph?...ha...i like...

    and the chiseling of tombstones through out the years...these were great touches in my opinion....really cool internal dialogue going on here..

  13. Phrase after phrase adds to both the illumined, the ruminative and the yearning feel of this. The early rhyme beats a signal drum, and then the verses come to it, cascading a waterfall of memories and images. My favorite lines are
    "...what sense would it make to ply
    a path of least resistance in reverse?" and ".. Those who ask ‘What’s in a name?’
    most often-time own one."
    Striking, intelligent writing, Steve.

  14. very cool dialogue steve....Those who ask ‘What’s in a name?’
    most often-time own one.... great phrases and love how it builds steve

  15. I agree with Brian: there is definitely a classical feel to this lovely poem. Quite delightful.