Saturday, January 17, 2015

Notes From Near The Cedar River

©  Steve King 2015
All Rights Reserved

I cannot see the way from here, out of
this darkness, and the weight of every dream—
strange transients, each one too brief to mark
its meaning on the face of any mood.
The night brings unmapped worlds into my view,
a dark vision that shares no grand display
beyond a bare perception, though I look
to every star, on each grim shape alive
in phantom silhouette, to reflections
that dance on surfaces, yet flare as deep
as any sky-bred fire in distant keep,
all borning to this unquiet intent.

The flow I hear, and I can sense movement
upon this world; a leaving, and the gift
of bringing far to near; a sense of old
and of the yet unknown, but never one
to mark an easy instant here for me,
to substitute for what must suit as now,
that holds no comfort, either of my place,
or where any horizon may yet call.
All cause remains a mystery to this:
each testing thought only hypothesis,
no startling conclusions to the fore,
no matter what another may conceive
about these musings, or the nascent brief
of any notion set to flourish here.

If wishes led, then might I find a path,
for I have spent a soul on each desire
that raised me to make bold in sentiment,
in faiths and perspective, in loves and song;
and more, when art has failed to every end,
and I aspired to music of next best.

Yet I cannot imagine better things,
or different half measures to embrace,
than to behold myself in every way
unfinished, and awaiting fuller days,
each draught of expectation just enough,
compelling me to silence at the last;
but decent silence, not forlorn escape,
nor uneasy retreat from some unknown:
these scattered stars remain and they may leave
no disarray.  It is for me to trace
the measure of those ageless ones complete
in every shaded meaning cast below,
in latent music teasing all around,
which holds no cadence for impatient hearts.

For there is art to spare in this waiting:
imagining the shapes of destiny,
and forms to fill out every half-cast dream.
Each hollowed moment gathers to the point:
how hopes must find their birth in emptiness—
a dark invention of the soul’s escape
from all that weighs; how hoarded memories
wake to remind of each thing fallen short;
how each unspoken, unremitted sin,
in its reluctant rising to fresh light,
may gain a grace to turn its burdens right,
or even find brief peace within the folds
of some abiding ambiguity.

A modest triumph, to outwait a night
and gather modest truth; for I am where
all meanings must devolve if any be;
if meaning may be recognized at all
beyond the murmur of the shifting airs,
the roll of waters, and the moon’s new light.
Such modest triumph, teasing beauty so
from each intruding thought, each pausing word,
in sudden longings that would steer my heart
if only I might let an old one go.

And so I hold for newness and surprise,
and cede a patience that is rare in me.
The old night, calling faintly to its own,
with a new irony smothers old dreams;
I am a page awaiting its new marks
that render paths to where old souls repair.

Withholding judgements now, and past all care,
I shall remain, ‘til beauty shows me there.

A new poem for Poets United