Sunday, December 6, 2015

That Next Season

©  2015  Steve King
All rights reserved


It had become that next season so soon,
each of us still holding tough
upon the old designs.

As if to know unmeasured newness
must be just another sham;
as if a newness would not last,
could not last to shake the silence,
loose the tired spell.


The dreams of age do still cascade
mightily to white mornings
and every captive emptiness.

As if new mornings might bring dews
to salve those night fevers;
new light to master every form,
and fill each waiting sense.

The dreams of pleasures spent,
the keen of old laments
calling from the latter shores
of what shall serve as memory.
Rising maelstroms and new mystery
to trim the shape of every grace
roiling there in dark currents,
gathering daily on that edge of dawn:
all, past and future, held to certain time,
new instants, knowing and unknown
unfounded, then found—
fair inklings of what might have done,
and of what yet may be,
scattered like unburied bones
to stitch a tale upon
a desert dreaming-ground.


Waiting advent of new sounds,
the hint of some deserved happiness
so close—we lingered, patient,
paused, to catch a rising chorus note:
hymns of any bright purpose at all,
or any power that would sing
amid the ruptures and the new-made rupturing.

Seeming so at ease,
watching in the sun like morning flowers,
(silly in the absence of all meaning)
waiting, caught up in reflexive motion
(happy then, in absence of all meaning).
No time for a straggling vision of belief,
nor weight of addled discontents.
We, in every nuance of new light
without admitted prejudice,
or hopes, or dark device,
not seeming to believe in any thing
save a morning, save a sun.


And yet the shadow of an old delight
did ply its way through memory
and the rampart ways of our desires;
as if delight could be reborn
alone from the stilled air,
from echoes long gone by.
As if old feeling might at any time reprise
without a cause or recompense,
or toll of unforeseen regret.


I tried to know all answers,
even without leave to ask,
in hopes that would not change,
in ideas long formed,
like stars we saw arrayed
in some faint corner of a sky;
each night,
            then next,
and next,

until, always, the sun…

our eyes alight like stars,

and then, always, the sun…


And each awakened conversation
devolved soon to long smiles,
awaiting words, laughter,
without even breath.

All the gazing lost upon the distant view,
redoubt of a promised charm,
hoping, ever, for an end
to match the pleasant recollections
we had always used.


In a shuttered room
I saw again the old portrait,
left to muster what it might of time,
searching eyes beneath a sheath of dust;
so like a faded mirror gone to mottle,
left at last to render what it must;
gathering a faint reflection,
casting only what it could of us.


And saw myself at last as I must be,
revisiting the times,
again, again, the times,
unrelinquished to their days;
and dreaming with a will
to witness and recover,
reciting still the old plainsong
and catechisms chanting each lost chance.

Every mood drawn back to tend upon
service of all absent shades
teeming in the doorless depth;
silence there, impenetrate,
traced not with the sunlight or my stars,
nor the glow of radiant dreaming;
without presence left to warm;
each mouth a hollow shadow
echoing phrases long unmourned,
and all their damned ancient oaths.


We are used to listening,
in tangles of regard,
in the fashions of rapt repartee,
in every way that politesse
redeems our crude awakenings
to others sudden in the small circle—
watching worlds collide
without accustomed warning,
nor a feast of omens
for gangs of hungry seers.

I am used to waiting for the word,
treasuring in that old excessive fashion
all the things that I have yet to learn.

Calibrating each response, just so,
not to upset assumptions or fears
held for obsolescent reasons,
and even, at the last,
the sometime certainty of simple humdrum.


And in the beginning…

Summers old, the child would linger
in abandoned orchards,
following the wagon ruts along
a fading road to sunset,
always content in the thinning shade
of waning elm and chestnut glades,
reeling at the shadow of a circling hawk,
pausing only for the mother’s sunset song
that summoned every darkness,
when dreams would gather and embraid
the treasures of a wondrous day—
just a day, as all else then, his own,
the currency of infant expectation,
for every kind of nascent hope,
when always dreams would measure true
and sure, and new,
and seeming without end.

A new poem for The Poetry Pantry
and the dVerse Poet's Pub


  1. "when dreams would gather and embraid / the treasures of a wondrous day—" i'd love to be steeped in this...

  2. Every mood drawn back to tend upon
    service of all absent shades
    teeming in the doorless depth;

    Wonderful thought provoking poem :)

  3. Every day is a growing, anticipation of what's coming next. What a wonderful upic poem. I always look forward to your excellent voice, the rhythm and the images. Splendid work.

    1. This is worth a second reading (and probably a third and a fourth... (and of course I mean epic above)

  4. A wonderful piece. I especially like "until, always, the sun…/ our eyes alight like stars, / and then, always, the sun…" Beautiful!

  5. I absolutely love this poem. Your themes of nostalgia and longing and lost time truly ring a note... and there are such beautiful, haunting lines here.

  6. This is excellent, Steve. I think this is a poem to read, reread, study, and reflect on. It is written by a poet (you) with a lot of life experience looking back at life as it was and what it could have been. Regrets, satisfactions, questionings, and more. Enjoyed this one a lot.

  7. I got lost in your piece, Steve. Amid the rumination on now and loss and memory, I found myself growing younger toward the end, each stanza leading back to that innocence. My favorite part entire is part 6 which--with its smiles and useful recollections and silences--felt like a comfortable place to be with one who shared my life.

  8. Wow, this is beautifully written Steve ~ The last part took my breath away ~ I would have to read this again for a deeper appreciation ~ Your cadence and phrasing are melodious ~

    Hope you are well ~

    1. Goodness this really shines Steve ~ Thanks for sharing this poem with us ~

  9. There is a hint of nostalgia throughout this journey that brings a sense of reconciliation. I read this about 3 times so I could fully appreciated the depth of the verses. Believing in the morning and a new sun..another day of living..and then always the sun..and in the end there is always a dream to keep us reaching.

  10. Ah my friend, getting lost in your words again. I am particularly fond of ii — especially:
    "The dreams of pleasures spent,
    the keen of old laments
    calling from the latter shores
    of what shall serve as memory."
    and from v:
    "I tried to know all answers,
    even without leave to ask,"
    and the culmination and reflecting of the whole of the final stanza.
    Well done and wonderful to read.

  11. OK, this epic ten-part poetic does shine, & it does require several readings to fully appreciate the depth within the depth, the words between the lines. This is not your teenager's poem; so much to ruminate over, to chew on, to study, to consider. So many excellent lines; I liked /the dreams of age do still cascade/mightily to white mornings/and every captive emptiness/ & /I am used to waiting for the word/treasuring in that old excessive fashion/all the things that I have yet to learn/--let's hear it for continuing education.

  12. I read this through twice. I really love the depth of the verses.

    you make me want to tackle my epic poem once more that I gave up on

    1. Yes. Please keep at it. I'd be interested in seeing what you have.

  13. Definitely epic poetry--when the muse lets loose, it lets loose. A lot that could be said about this but I think I'll focus on your skillful use of repetition--for example--"as if" and the way you hurl us through each number section with smooth transistions.

  14. This seems to be a portrait of a life of growing, learning and expansion of one's self. And much reflection and musing...I too had to reflect and muse on it after reading a couple of times. I appreciated the voice in this that sounded gentle and accepting of what IS. Pretty amazing...
    Gayle ~

  15. Ah.. oh..
    human awakening..
    end no longer
    comes again..
    Oh.. ah..
    a child's
    eYes wonder
    expresSinG new..
    Imagination and
    Creativity set
    yes.. end
    no longer end..
    beginning now..
    Light awakes iN
    Child of Truth..
    new begins

    Note.. this
    is one of the
    best poetic
    i have
    read to
    date at
    sMiles.. and
    i've read literally
    thousands.. rarely
    do i compliment..
    and never
    is my play
    all the

  16. I have so missed your poetry, Steve, but to make a poem like this, sometimes the intervention of time and of space is needed--very very rich and full--it would take many readings to really know it, but the mood of reminiscence pervades, of the perseverance of what is best in youth following us through out our lives, if we will be still and listen to it. Just an excellent, mature, and wise piece of writing.

  17. Dear Steve--I can't believe I missed this one but am also so very happy to have saved it for New Year's Day, which it seems to fit so well--it has wonderful elements of a journey--the journey of thought and analysis, the journey of sensation and speculation (of a sort), retrospection of course--the end is so very beautiful with the childhood sense of unending new, and bring us back to the beginning where new seems almost impossible, yet is still there too. (Not meaning to rhyme.) Really beautiful cadences and imagery in which the landscape of the mind--and the way it intersects with the physical world--is very well caught. Thanks. A very happy new year to you and hopes for more poems. k.