Monthly Archives: April 2018

Diart: El Cajón de Grecia, April 2018

Two poems for this month, a reworked (once again) version of The Song of Deborah and a new one, The Dream of Paul (Thespis).

 

 

The Song of Deborah

I. Dvorah

Deborah the name
from Dvorah a mother leader of her people
at time of torment.
Her people she rallies musters an army
chooses her general
to confront their oppressors
he declining the honor
lest she fight at his side.
Dvorah declares
to stand by him in battle
the glory of victory
not to be his
rather grasped by a woman.

II. Daughter

Deborah and daughter
they talk every day
though far apart
touching
assuring.

Daughter’s wedding
plans fall to pieces
a man uncertain.
Deborah flies
to daughter’s side
in caring embrace
from each the other
they take their strength
and the tears
they dry.

Daughter reaching out
with hand redeems him
she stands by him in trials
descrying his finger
unbanded by ring.

III. Poet

A child enfolded
at mother’s bosom
anguish dispelled by a mother’s love
appears to poet
unsuckled to breast
an orchid most rare
a flower of fable.

Perceiving his wonder
Deborah breaks off a rhizome
sprouting of roots
takes his hand into hers
folds the bud in his palm
and to poet sings

Nurture this slip
let it grow in your heart
for those who love
will be like the sun
rising in its strength.

The dream of Paul (Thespis)

I. Paul

In a fold of the mountain
Paul lives in a cabin
enveloped by forest
wife cats and dogs
pony and goat.
As evening approaches
his spirits rise
to his myriad masks
presenting first one
then yet another
speaking in voice
the soul of his role
enlivening his company
as they break their bread
tipple their wine.

II. Thespis

The gods of the mountain
ancient, tired
powers waning
dulled of duties
amongst themselves bicker
remedy unseen.

Thespis leads
a troupe of players
(the poet among them)
high up the mountain
a picnic to fête
the engagement of two.
Being short of attention
easily distracted
the fare’s been neglected
a certain annoyance.
The betrothed even
pick at their nits
and in their snit
flirt again with old lovers.

Piqued by disturbance
the gods appear
affrighting the players
Thespis only left standing.
Flashing his bolts
the god king resounds
are you not awed?

Hmph Thespis answers
you gods don’t inspire
robes turned rags
teeth rotten
shoulders stooped
glories long forgotten.
My troupe presents better.
But don’t take my word
assume our clothing
go down and mingle
judge for yourselves
how you are honored.
While on your holiday
invest us your powers
we’ll mind the world
each player a god
myself as king.

Thespis holds his reign loosely
his thoughts wander.
Players men and women
threaded in gold
imbibe nectar, ambrosia
minding not to their duties
chasing after each other
sun pairing with moon during the night.
Warm places grow cold
cold places warm
and the seas swell
sweeping the settlements spreading the shore.
Rains fall heavy or not at all
winds blow like never before
fields and forests wither and die
and spring grows silent.
The nations know war, famine and plague
and the wine vats draw empty
people left without solace
the Bacchus a teetotaler.

Time passes
the gods return to the mountain
furious chaos besetting the world.
They reclaim their robes
and the god king in flash
hurls Thespis and troupe
back down to the earth
thundering the curse
these players esteemed
never again to see footlights.

a picnic to fête
the engagement of two.
Being short of attention
easily distracted
the fare’s been neglected
a certain annoyance.
The betrothed even
pick at their nits
and in their snit
flirt again with old lovers.

Piqued by disturbance
the gods appear
affrighting the players
Thespis only left standing.
Flashing his bolts
the god king resounds
are you not awed?

Hmph Thespis answers
you gods don’t inspire
robes turned rags
teeth rotten
shoulders stooped
glories long forgotten.
My troupe presents better.
But don’t take my word
assume our clothing

go down and mingle
judge for yourselves

how you are perceived.
While on your holiday
invest us your powers
we’ll mind the world

each player a god
myself as king.

Thespis holds his reign loosely
his thoughts wander.
Players men and women
threaded in gold
imbibe nectar, ambrosia
minding not to their duties
chasing after each other
sun pairing with moon during the night.
Warm places grow cold
cold places warm
and the seas swell
sweeping the settlements
spreading the shore.
Rains fall heavy or not at all
winds blow like never before
fields and forests wither and die
and spring grows silent.
The nations know war, famine and plague
and the wine vats draw empty
people left without solace
the Bacchus a teetotaler.

Time passes
the gods return to the mountain
furious chaos besetting the world.
They reclaim their robes
and the god king in flash
hurls Thespis and troupe
back down to the earth
thundering the curse
these players esteemed
never again to see footlights.

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, March 2018

Here are five poems for March. The first two poems are reworkings of two from last month. The Song of Deborah has been completely reworked; for the other, a new title and a change in one stanza. Three new ones: one lamenting the loss of the white rhino, another about the strange goings-on in the Arctic, and another about our dear friend Justa.

 

The song of Deborah

I.

Deborah
explains
her name from Dvorah
mother
warrior
prophetess
guide of her people.

II.

Deborah, Emily
mother, daughter
they talk every day
though far apart
touching
assuring.

Emily’s wedding
plans fall to pieces
a man thought unworthy.
Deborah flies
to her daughter’s side
there together
hand in hand.
From each the other
they take their strength
and the tears
they dry.

III.

A child drawn
to a mother’s bosom
anguish dispelled
by a mother’s love
to the poet appears
an orchid precious
a flower of fable.

Perceiving his wonder
Deborah breaks off a rhizome
budding of roots
stretches out her hand
to him portending

Nurture this slip
let it grow in your heart
for those who love
will be like the sun
rising in its strength.

Meditation

wind
bare rustle of leaves

cloud
daubed white on sky blue

swallows
a swarm in the canyon

wren
burst of trill

Epitaph for the white rhino

On a preserve in Kenya
the last male white rhino
no longer standing
put down by his keepers
the breaking of spring
March 2018.
When young, abducted
imprisoned in a zoo
and given the name
by humans, Sudan
the land of his capture.

Brothers, sisters left wild
all murdered for money
the trade for horn.
Yemeni jambiyas
daggers for show.
Asian potions
useless medicine.

The male’s death leaves
at the same Kenyan refuge
two last females
fertile yet barren.

No pair of white rhinos
to embark on an ark
were there to be one.

Justa’s dream

At the side of a road
on the shoulders of Poás
a woman walking
untimely a widow
sees Quetzal bedraggled
his wings crippled.
Her hands take him in
her touch healing
her words soothe his mind.
At her movement he smiles
body lithe and supple.
With time his wings mend
his plumage resplends
once again ready
to take to the sky.

You have saved my life
Quetzal speaking.
I grant you three wishes
in honor of your gifts
so freely given.
Whatever you desire
I give you my promise.

What I would like is
my village would prosper
and as she speaks
roofs rusty turn bright
and houses though modest
gleam rainbows of color
yards flourish green
blossoming flowers.
People emerge from their doors
neatly groomed and attired
eyes wide to see streets
smoothed and sealed.

Your next wish? he asks.

I most of all wish that
my people be content
their hearts open
to each and to all
living plants and creatures
and so tread lightly
upon the Earth.
And her neighbors in the street
hug each other and laugh
and lifting their eyes
sing thanks for their blessings.

And what for yourself?
Quetzal inquires.

Just one thing I want,
the widow replies.
Long enough I have suffered
bereaved and lonely
I ask you for death.

How can one of such heart
desire to die?
With your compassion
you transformed the village!
Surely for you now
the sun will shine.

The widow sighs and replies
For me here there’s nothing
but ache of memory
pain of love lost.
I choose rather death.

To fulfill your wish
is beyond my power
Quetzal confesses.
If that indeed is your want
you must come with me
to my own land
for only my prince
can give you death.
Now climb on my back.

Quetzal bears the widow
to the top of the vulcán
they dive into the water
the lake of the crater
deep into the earth
and the widow’s eyes open
to the lush of green growth
orchids blooming in trees
monkeys calling
yigüirros singing
the air so soft
kissing the skin
and sitting in the garden
on a bench hewn from log
the Prince of Paradise.
They alight before him
and Quetzal tells the story
of her charity and wisdom
and for herself wishing
only merciful death.

That’s a fine story
Quetzal my friend
the prince declares.
He takes from his pocket
a bejeweled mirror
and holds it before
the widow’s face.
In the glass she sees
a reflection of spring
a woman full in her beauty
a future imbued
with promise of joy.

The prince asks the widow
Tell me, what do you see?

I see in the mirror
the widow smiles
the me that was
is no more.

And in her gladness
she sings for him
in her native tongue
the Song of Justa.

El canto de Justa

Después de algún tiempo
vuelvo a sonreír

y con el paso del tiempo
descubrí a una persona
que había dejado en el olvido
me descubrí a mí.

Ahora mis alas vuelven
a tomar el vuelo
para emprender la aventura
volver a florecer
seguir la vida
con ilusión y sueños en mi corazón.

¡Un añito más que celebrar!

The poet translates:

The song of Justa

Time has passed
I smile again

and with the passage of time
I discovered a person
I had abandoned.
I discovered myself.

Now my wings return
I once again take flight
to rise to adventure
to bloom anew
to embrace living
with hope and dreams in my heart.

Another first birthday
to celebrate!

A hole in the heart of winter

From deep Arctic dark
Polar Vortex swirls leaving
a hole in the heart of winter

and warm air flows
the tip of Greenland
the way to the Pole
ice turns to vapor

and frigid air blasts
the northern continents
chills the shoulders of Poás
the people there shiver.