Because there are uncounted secret ways
to live a life, perhaps therein to find
a shred of comfort through the march of days,
one cannot know the state of another’s mind.
We speak of standing in another’s shoes,
but that is hardly where the problem lies;
only by the willingness to lose
one’s self could one look through another’s eyes.
And even then there is no guarantee
that one might truly see another’s pain,
and even if one manages to see,
will what is lost be outweighed by the gain?
We love to boast we’re always gaining ground,
if not oneself at least the species whole,
but might it be that that which seems profound
is more pedestrian, despite the toll?
The disappearance of the dinosaur,
laid low in geologic blink of eye,
should give us pause for what could lay in store
and lead us toward renouncing every lie.
Those who see the universe as theirs
leave behind the ones who can’t keep pace,
and those who fear that nothing’s really theirs
may be weary of this endless race.
And who’s to say what one may call one’s own?
If not one’s self then surely nothing other;
how one lives is at the last alone
in spite of whom one may cast as a brother.
There are those who struggle to forgive,
themselves more so than those who’ve been unkind,
and if there is a god for whom to live,
one has to wonder what it has in mind.
Perhaps not all the dinosaurs are dead,
though little trace is left by those who still
attempt to lean toward caution as they tread
and think to leave no empty shoes to fill.
Once upon a time there was a dream
And from that dream emerged a fervent wish,
And with that wish a hope so feverish
There sprung a deed improbable to seem;
And from that deed there tracked a slippery slope
Of effects both seen and felt and heard,
Tumbling toward finale so absurd
That reason off with fate seemed to elope.
And with that marriage once again turned ’round
The wheel of dreaming onward to begin
Another play of words whose origin
Gets lost amid intentions quite profound,
But as we know the road to hell is paved
With purposes both good and grandiose,
And even without aim to be verbose
One may unto words become enslaved…
And on and on and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah,
Til all is quite apparently so silly
That one could go on ever willy-nilly
In vain attempt to catch the Great Aha!
There once was a boy who could dream a lost world
and manage to reach it at times;
his mind was a plaything, it swanned and it swirled
in realms he imagined and thoughts he unfurled
of heroes but also of crimes.
There once was a man who remembered it all
with much he would beg to forget:
the statements, the lies, the oft brazen gall
conceived of in pride but which soon spread a pall;
behavior he came to regret.
There once was a corpse with no thoughts to embrace,
no dreams and no memories, no lies;
whatever the spirit, now flown without trace
of heaven or hell, came to dwell in the grace
which only from death could arise.
There once was a world set with promise sublime
which lived by the natural laws
but found itself bullied and badgered in time,
yet sung its most sacred and unending rhyme
in spite of its human born flaws.
There once was a cosmos of darkness and light
which sprang from the Great Nevermind
to be of itself with no wrong and no right,
no matter how boundless not fail to unite
all things and ideas intertwined.
Came upon a wand’rin’ gypsy
walking down a long and dusty road;
would she please to tell my fortune,
looked into my eyes as if they showed
every lonely mile and heavy load.
And she said the gypsy was in me,
was deep within me, I’d never ever settle down;
she said I’d travel, unravel
the high and byways, here a hero, there a clown,
Have you seen the gypsy wagons
roll across the land; they pay no mind
to the world or to each other,
only paying tolls and passing time.
Have you heard the wand’rin’ gypsies’ rhyme?
And they know the gypsy is in them,
is deep with within them, they’ll never ever settle down;
they know they’ll travel, unravel
the high and byways, here a hero, there a clown,
There are gypsies of the earth and
there are gypsies of the endless sky;
some may sparkle for a lifetime,
some may blaze but quickly fade and die.
Only gypsies, they and you and I.
And we know the gypsy is in us,
is deep within us, we’ll never ever settle down;
we know we’ll travel, unravel
the high and byways, every hero, every clown
See the gypsies wand’rin’ down…
every hero, every clown…
all the gypsies wand’rin’ down.
The sun shines on behind the hill,
I see echoes of it still;
though sunset isn’t mine, then done,
yet it brings to me a thrill
to see my star in blazing glory!
Then it’s someone else’s story.
Dark, it seems has finally won,
but night’s lights find my territory.
I understand those points of light
are stars like mine and just as bright,
but I live close up to the one
which just now left me to the night.
Perhaps the fear of early men
was light would never come again
after setting of the sun,
waiting, wondering, if and when.
But sunset signals me release
as ghosts of sins which stalk me cease,
soon swept into oblivion;
I lay them down and sleep in peace.
And as I sleep I’m off to live
in vivid dreams, a fugitive
from that which dogs my daily run:
those sins too precious to forgive.
But sunrise in the east is found,
and then begins another round
of waking dreams from which is spun
a thought to yet be sunset bound.
And so I press on day to day
and look toward sunset as I pray,
and question with each orison
just how and when I’d gone astray
and thought too much of having fun…
and sought too much to have my way.
Been thought of as kind, been thought of as cruel,
been thought of as cowards and been thought the fool,
tangled up in the things we’ve been thought.
We’ve known all too well we’ve been all of these things
as we’ve wandered the earth in search of some jewel,
seldom finding the thing being sought.
One day we awoke, but finding no rest,
we found we’d been cursed despite being blessed;
we have run but we’ve always been caught.
We drink from the wellspring: it soothes as it sings
of the faith we have lost, of the truths we have guessed,
what we’ve learned being mostly self-taught.
The earth will not miss us, we’ll not miss the earth,
unsure of our place from the moment of birth;
we have sold out to all that we’ve bought.
We’re told we’re the ones for whom the bell rings
as we’re longing to know what all it’s been worth,
and we’ve feared it might all be for naught.
We have done our best, sometimes that’s been sad,
we have done our worst, been thought of as mad,
and so often not done as we ought.
Though sometimes we think of ourselves having wings,
far too little we see we’ve become ironclad
and held captive by what we have wrought from the dust
of the dreams that we’d brought to the battles
that ever we fought.
I brush by the curtain, I wait by the door;
I dwell on the scene that I’ve long seen before.
The players are different, their lines are the same;
the prompter is patiently trying my name.
I dream along as they whisper of fame,
in the evening they whisper rehearsing the sorrow and shame.
In the evening they’ve acted while I, I’ve directed
and so I’ve got no one to blame.
As the curtain goes up, one more opening night,
oh my God how I’ve wished I was lame.
I kneel at the alter, I paint on the mask;
I dig the pit deep, I get on with the task!
The players applaud as I toil in the cold,
the dust of my dreams well worth its weight in gold,
the sermons I’ve bartered or worse bought and sold,
in the market I gambled and squandered a fortune I’m told!
The excuses pile high as the reasons are buried,
the truth seems to crumble with mold.
As the rites are recited, the players bow out,
oh my God how I’ve wished I was old!
I walk to the river, I strip off the clothes;
I see the reflection that no one else knows.
Costumes are fragile, they float on their way,
so with the mask I paint on day to day;
I know full well that tomorrow the play
must go on as it will with the new players having their say.
But for now, for this moment the water is clear
as I’ve scrubbed all my best roles away.
As the curtain goes down, no one left here but me,
oh my God how I’ve wished I could stay.
They lived alone as you may know,
they lived apart to come and go;
they dwelt along the outer fence
with disparate lots in life to throw.
They tried to live without pretense
but time and time experience
proved to them it would not be;
and never reaching excellence,
they strove to act as orderly
as possible to some degree,
but chaos always reared its head
and off they’d shrink dejectedly
and long to feel their egos fed
or wonder should they just be dead.
But always dawned another day,
and so they’d vow to forge ahead,
searching for a sacred way
to work the work and play the play,
await the knell of final chime
and keep their hearts out of the fray.
They’d vow to get it right this time
and not commit another crime
but still each sin swelled with a tear
from under which they could not climb.
Then one day they just disappear,
though true they’d faded year to year,
and now it seems the long lost past
they laughed the laugh but fought the fear.
Had life flown by them far too fast
with far too many lots to cast?
And were they really separate though
they grew together toward the last?
Yes, they lived as you may know
seeming free to come and go;
they dwelt along the outer fence
but dreamed the center even so.
The yellow sun comes to its end
of blazing reign to now descend
towards broad horizons as the Earth
spins on its axis giving birth
to vibrant colors o’er the land
as if now painted on command.
So comes the gold as does the spread
of orange, violet, pink and red
to glorify the end of day.
These fiery hues on grand display
are hidden when the sun is high
but here they stream across the sky.
A ball of orange now the sun,
the dwindling of its light begun,
til finally it sinks out of sight
though echoes of its waning light
still linger on in afterglow
until the night begins its show
of distant suns which set in turn
on distant worlds for which they burn.
Once upon a time,
I thought that I would try
to reach the rainbow’s end
arced across the sky.
The pastel spectral ribbon
invited me to stand
upon the very spot
it seemed to touch the land.
I strode in that direction
but soon enough was clear
the rainbow’s end was slippery
and coming nowhere near.
It’s all a grand illusion,
there is no pot of gold.
The treasure is the rainbow,
the beauty we behold.
Hear the little children crying in the night,
longing for a mother to hold them tight.
Can this be right?
Were they born . . . just to die?
See the little children begging in the street;
hungry little faces don’t often eat.
It’s quite a treat
to be born just to die.
Hear the little children, see the little children
bound to slavery and to war.
What should we be thinking as their souls are shrinking,
what could be their suffering for?
All the little children wandering in the earth,
do they ever wonder about their birth?
What is life worth
being born just to die?
Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Syria, others in Africa and the Middle East and even here at home.
Jenny Miller disappeared just half past noon today;
told her mom that she was going down to church to pray.
She was only twelve years old but knowing her own mind,
she would seek her brother lost whom no one else could find.
Jenny Miller though so young could never be misled;
gone to find her brother from the war reported dead.
Heard this story long ago when I was quite naive;
now it seems a fairy tale I wanted to believe.
Someone said that God was dead, some war went raging on;
innocence gets lost before you ever know it’s gone.
I heard Jenny made it through though ever so alone,
finally settled down and had a daughter of her own.
Jenny’s daughter disappeared just half past noon today;
sadly nothing noble this time ’round is there to say.
Steal the fairy tale and sure the child will soon be gone;
tell me where the stealing stops and will the war rage on?
Jenny Miller goes to church but can’t quite seem to pray;
seems to her a fairy tale she lost along the way.
You know Jenny Miller surely just as well as I.
Bow your head in prayer but know you never can know why,
why the war within us rages on and some are lost;
growing up too quickly has its casualties and cost.
Jenny Miller disappeared just half past noon today;
gone to find her brother and her daughter so they say.
The grass has grown so thick and tall around
my suburban house, it’s been too long
I’ve let it go and now I mow in clumps.
It should be cut about each week to keep
it neat and tidy by the lawn care book,
but I, I hate the job so much I put
it off as long as possible and so
the grass and weeds have grown like fields of wheat.
A thresher’s what I need, I muse aloud.
The neighbor on one side cares even less
for mowing, trimming, clipping and the like;
he makes me feel less guilty than I might.
The neighbor on the other side cares more,
but he is quite forgiving of my sloth;
he laments his weeds and I reply,
at least they’re green, that’s all I care about.
Because we share a common line, I do
my best to mow within a day of him,
but now and then I fall too far behind.
So now my mower spews out clumps of grass
which must be raked up for the compost heap
and scraped out from beneath the mower’s deck.
I sometimes sit and contemplate the lawn,
about replacing it with Astroturf,
or green cement might do the job as well,
but neither option will be mine to choose.
Alas, the grass is mine no matter if
I like it or do not, it’s mine to mow.
And so behind the mower I do walk
and push for yardage which I do accrue,
though I am not as green as once I was,
my joints and limbs now stiffened up with age.
But now the lawn is short and that is that!
I’ve finally finished with the job at hand!
And one day I’ll have done the job for good,
and someone else will mow the lawn I lie
beneath, and they can let it grow too long,
for I won’t mind for resting under clumps
of grass or weeds…
or whether it is green.
I never meant to hurt you,
set you up and then desert you;
I was feeling small, feeling oh so scared.
You never meant to break me,
just the way you seemed to take me,
felt I had to be much more than I dared.
I’ve been told I was lazy,
maybe foolish, maybe crazy
not to hold on to you like a dream.
But you and I know something different:
it wasn’t all it seemed;
and yet I can’t forget you,
heaven knows I don’t regret you.
Yesterday surrounds me and I dream.
Last night I found your letter
just when I’d been feeling better,
just when I’d got back on my feet again.
I thought I’d been all through it,
worked it out, I thought I knew it;
guess I just don’t know how to make it end.
I’d moved out to the West Coast,
missed ’em all but I missed you most;
got your letter and read between the lines.
You were starting life all over
and you were feeling fine.
I wish the best for you, love,
with your new life and your new love;
yesterday goes floating down the line.
When it came to loving you I told myself I’d see it through,
but one and one’s not always two; tell me what am I to do?
The sun dies out behind the hill, evening breezes bring a chill;
But you stare at me as if a ghost could make you happier than most;
is it love or something less? If you knew would you confess?
I’ve been down this road before, left lovers, friends and so much more,
but after all who’s keeping score? Shadows creep across the floor;
The sun so many times has died; loving once again I’ve tried.
But it doesn’t matter much to you how many cozy coops I flew;
and did I, you must decide, steal your heart or just your pride?
But now it’s time to go to bed, I’ll wait until the dawn instead
to say to you the words I dread, tell you of a love that’s dead
It’s just that somewhere deep inside I fear the sun has finally died
And the thought of leaving you alone this night, it chills me to the bone;
it’s just you I’m thinking of…
one more night… one more night…one more night in lies of love…
These verses pretty well describe the state of my love life until later on at about 40 y/o when I met my wife.
“Lazarus, come out!”
nothingness . . . then blackness . . . turning into murky darkness . . .
tingling . . . burning . . . rising heat . . . excruciating pain . . .
decomposing tissues warming, regenerating . . . flesh born again . . .
a thought . . . what am I . . .
the overpowering smell . . . the roaring sound
eyes struggle open . . . vision hampered by a cloth . . .
limbs twitching, moving . . . sitting up . . . standing . . .
walking into the light . . .
familiar women freeing me from linen wrappings . . .
who am I . . . what has happened . . .
I am Lazarus, risen from the grave!
As my hearing and eyesight become ever more problematic
and getting up out of a chair’s now a bit of a chore,
and my balance may sometimes get iffy, forget acrobatic,
and it’s been a pain for some time to get up off the floor;
as I’ve found that finding the right word isn’t so easy,
and lapses in thought may remind me I’m not always keen,
and memory’s become a bit sluggish when once it was breezy,
and clever pronouncements get fewer and farther between;
as my fingers and toes can get chilly more so than they used to,
and my hand may reveal a slight tremor when spooning my soup,
and I’m passed bored being a weeding and lawn-caring guru,
and now I don’t quite stand up straight but with slightly a stoop,
I’ve found gaining age is a journey for bravery and boldness;
it isn’t for sissies, to that I can surely attest,
and as sure as I step ever deeper into my oldness,
I swear by my aches and my pains I will stay on the quest.
When tomorrow shines upon you as it will,
be the light not blinding to your eye;
may it guide you on through heartache,
through your tears, the heartbreak of your dreams,
your secret themes.
When tomorrow finds you trying, may it smile
on your efforts whether win or lose;
may you find the win and losing
builds your faith in choosing all the more,
all that’s in store.
As we leave each other now let’s say a prayer
that tomorrow we may try again;
let us pray tomorrow’s light
will lift us through the dark of night to see
who we might be.
May the path you leave behind you
lead you onward and remind you of
the ways of love.