Category Archives: Language

Cantabile

America,

about this unfinished symphony…

The movements that proceeded this one are fading and the players are tired.

This current antiphonal fugue section isn’t working well. The swells grows louder and less melodious by the measure. Gone are the phrases that rise and fall in unison. In their place are resonant pedal tones, brassy glissandos and clashes of cymbal and blat. Largely single voices that raise the din.

Remember the sweeping melodies of the past. True, the ancient tunes of the indigenous are mostly lost, but they were here when the land was born and still echo in our ears if we just listen. Our young work of art holds the jigs of immigrants, the hymns of the pious and yes, the blues of the enslaved. Some songs were joyous, others dripped with pain and sadness. They may have been singular in their experience, but they are unifying in their impact.

Across the landscape, the gospel choir of sinners and saints and the choral moments of victory shouted that we shall have a song, and you gave us one.

Contemporary ditties dot the eras, but do not define the work. Populism accentuates the moment, but ad libitum cannot sustain the chords. Intervals from fourth to fifth and augmented sevenths resolve themselves to prime.

Anger and happiness are to be heard throughout, folded in as motifs – but it must lead to where it begins and ends, in one voice.

A voice shared of past and future songs, of freedom for all, ringing bells of prosperity for each one of us, crescendo in equality and building the next movement.

Cantabile.

Perception

You ask me to think about paint colors,
and the soft gray you’ve chosen.
The hue of it is blue, but it reflects
a green during midday, when the sun is highest.

Blue is a color that knows no season, and paints the infinite sky

while green implies the growth of things – dotting where the eye sees.

Grey, itself – like clouds obscure the sky or fog obfuscates the landscape.

Such a color – gray/grey – spelled two ways yet has a continuum of sound transitioning between “a” and “e”

– in both, the sum is intermediate.

I slow down the diphthong
and try to catch the tones between the chromatic versions.
I voice this change in sound color aloud, with the intention
to consider them without interference.
You give me a sideways glance
and say, ”No, I meant, how do they look?”

******

A poem originally written in 2015 during NaPoWriMo, dusted off and reworked here.

Astigmatism

I take my glasses off, polish them in the tail of my shirt,
hoping to clear what confounds and conceals.
A bit more vision, a little less dirt
might give my field of view a broader appeal.

Yet, leaders’ actions are smudged – 
their intentions are keen.
Religion’s bright faces are blurred or unclean
and creation’s bright mornings revel unjudged.

The devilish details are hidden from view,
the rhyming and reason seem random and slant.
Perhaps my prescription is old, needs renewed;
I can’t glean the matter between Hume or Kant.

I polish the lenses, each hot breath I wipe,
viewing the world with horizons in fog.
The boundaries less of a contrast in stripes;
this poem, just maybe, a means to unclog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In kind

We were asked some time ago
to cover our ears and let it go.
As sounds of untruths filled the air
boasting promise (false), laid bare.
Asking us to ignore it all
to hear no evil was the call.

Then one day, we’re cautioned: wise
to keep our distance so no one dies,
to simply cover our mouths to spare.
We close salons and bars, daycare
so those at risk among us most
won’t pay excessive, deadly costs.

And whilst we’re dealt pandemic blows,
mankind’s poor character flaws disclose
an image in the mirror mulled.
Never spoken, but we’ve culled
an awful sinful, biased slant
that fills a cup we won’t decant.

And here we are today with this:
in basic calls we are remiss.
Simple facts to call out lies
and to hold account the ones who try.
To care enough to save the weak
and act on what our family speaks.

No politics that I can name
outweighs this simple, common claim:
mere decency should be our aim.

The wisdom of stick people

We make a step.

Then two. But never alike. There is so much space and planar geometry to consider.

Those drawn from points and lines, making conclusive statements from their biases in plain “right and wrong”

If x then y. Then straight ahead.

They are the ones inconsiderate of the spherical or the enveloping things about intervening axes and overlapped arcs.

Sometimes our way becomes brambled and thick with their branches.

It’s a crowd that crossed our path with felled reasoning, their limbs mangled in the present disagreements, All attempting to move forward.

We can go around it if we choose. We can scale the brush if we desire.

We may assist the ones blocking with compassion, convincing them to move another way.

Yet, the wisdom of stick people is to pile on, despite all admonishments, losing ourselves in the entanglements, rather than consider the spatial options.

We make a step, then two…

The bells of truth

(Sung to the tune of The Bells of Rhymney, by The Byrds)
I believe that he’s guilty,
says the voice of Mitt Romney.
Is there hope for conviction?
Not with the witness restrictions.
Where is the transparency?
Cries the moderate constituency.
Democracy is lost and feigned,
shouts the spirit of John McCain.

Other senators fear it,
repercussions and bitter explicits
and other hateful endictments
from the one that the “christians” assented.
Romney’s faith not dissuaded
from the cause that his oath would not betray.
Lesser ones fear it.
Repercussions quench the spirit.

People, pray for justice,
and relief from this, we’re all disgusted.
Bells would ring, ring, ring
if our leaders would simply do the right thing.
We are troubled, our country is bleeding,
and tempers around us, they are seething.
And when will the truth be
given full weight for all to see?

Portamento

As if the sunrise welled and overflowed,
an inkling of light, then creation bestowed.
Anticipation moments pass
from intra-chordal throes,
at last to grounded melody in phrase.

Or let me express in other ways;
a passion builds in smaller plays.

First, the pedal points of tone suffice,
a basis for embracing life.
Like moon and stars and sunlight greet
the common ground beneath our feet.

Tunes of commonality composed
above this founding base suppose
synchronicity imbued,
and many intervals accrue.

Yet, with the suspense here to next
a lingered moment’s desired effect
mellifluous, and tasting sweet,
such to sweep you off your feet.

As memories are long and vast
our songs with portamento last.

Keepsake

I’ve been sorting through old keepsakes,
some photographs I’ve found are faded now,
these echo sounds of places where I didn’t go – faces that I do not know
I can’t decide how to store them all –
The sepia memories of what you saw,
The air your family stories hold
should last as long as when you told them.
And what you did is what you wanted
To do, and nothing worse hindered you.
Scenes of travel – and songs of yore
Some motets in your mind’s reservoir.
Carols sung in a cavernous forum
were more than just some Ipsem Lorem.
Choirs of men and women singing
Relationships brought into being
How, lovely – snaps you strived to make
No different than our own keepsakes.
But yours dwelled firmly in His grace –
and dwelling in your family’s place
Devotion and hymn live with us here
Led with your baton, and your voice as clear
as when you walked into a room.
My minds-eye sees you, feels you too.
How lovely, this reminiscence sounds –
Even if an echo now.
Listening to you in my head
puts my thoughts to this poem’s thread
of places where the music soars
and you’re step-singing an angel chorus.
The keepsakes of your melody in harmony with the little things,
And now they’re ours, for all to sing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a moment of selective focus

Seeing narrow and close

the fresh rain that hangs like tears

from a florid pome and blurred green surrounds it.

The pinnacle of small details – the tip of a pen pressed

at the page or the placed dish inlaid with memories.

The indentions of your slow intake of breath fills me as you read

the texture from a leather-bound book.

Obsession takes a toll, roughshod over the global view

of landscape and horizon. Still and fixed,

the single moment aches in a story with pain

and the point that tarries after a kiss in the foreground, surrounded by rain.

***