So mote it be

Today, spoke I to a man old in the woods,
spoke of stones in the dark forest,
stones that knew of humankind and time,
spoke of ancient age before now.
before what we have written,
spoke of before what we call known,
these stones mottled with aeons,
weathered by the earth and its work,
these stones remembered and watched,
remembered and spoke of past before,
these scribes of the giant cataclysms,
watching the ancients descend to earth,
eyes of granite open to the past,
watching the unfolding of the future,
knowing what passed would again be,
watching the sons of soil in greedy toil,
brethren to the manna of Mother Earth,
descendent of the distant stars,
brethren to the woodland creatures,
now unknowing of who or what they were,
brethren of the stones, woods, water,
I am you, you are I, we are eternity,
spoke these watching brethren,
and thus the Gods said so mote it be.

©2014, Donald Harbour

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Enchantress

in the verdant deep woods,
the tome of time waits
an ancient silent sentinel,
expressing life in each leaf
in every dewdrop falling
from breeze blown boughs,
the scent of time is bound
to woodland earth creatures,
to the forest fertile loam
giving reason for mighty oaks,
dogwood, sassafras, spindly pines,
here there is quietude in life,
a circle of creation, dying,
birthing, returning, the rhythm
of the eternal seasonal clock,
as it has always been and will be,
Mother Nature does not care,
she is creation’s mistress,
her oil, gas and her coal,
are mankind’s succubus.

©2014, Donald Harbour

Dali got it right

Last night I happily dreamed,
Our world’s ship turned upside down,
Giant oaks hung suspended in the air,
While birds flew on the ground.

Air was not polluted for breath,
All water pure for drinking too,
The earth’s creatures took photographs,
Of caged humans in their public zoo.

It was a world of imaginations,
Where peace reigned supreme,
Where guns were licorice sticks,
And oil was frothy whipped cream.

Blue skies were always overhead,
Rivers and lakes placidly flowed,
Fish were scaled in sparkling diamonds,
Multicolored butterflies paved each road.

Cows were made for milk and mooing,
Chickens cheerfully clucked a chicken song,
Lions laid beside fluffy white lambs,
No one ever heard the words: “This is wrong!”

There were no gods or seraph,
No torture or misguided religious grief,
No war mongers, government or politicians,
Pontificating their bellicose belief.

Pink peddle-pushers road horseback,
Through fields of limeade green,
Not found were homeless without homes,
Unbranded tennis shoes were only seen.

Dali was captain of this wondrous ship,
Sailing over the sea of cosmic space,
The passengers of his whimsical bark,
Different hues of the same human race.

Dawn pulled me from the dream,
It whispered a new beginning had begun,
Startled I realized in a jolt of epiphany,
All of us, could make this year, the one.

©2014, Donald Harbour

About the dead man and poetry

I previously posted this poem in 2010. I was asked yesterday if I knew about Dead Man Poetry. So here is my effort to emulate the originator.

This particular form of poetry was developed by Marvin Bell and his Dead Man Poetry. Mr. Bell explains it in his own words:

The Dead Man poem is a form I created a few years ago and then couldn’t shake. Dead man poems come out of an old Zen admonition that says, “Live as if you were already dead.” But you needn’t feel remorse. The dead man is alive and dead at the same time. He lives it up, he has opinions, he makes bad jokes, he has sex. Is he me? No, but he knows a lot about me. Dead Man poems come in two parts. Each line of poetry in a dead man poem is a compete sentence, long or short.

The form is comprised of two sections. One is titled “The Dead Man and …” and the second “More About the Dead Man and … .” All lines are written as sentence lines and enjambment matters quite a bit. The first two lines generally turn back on each other. The two versions seem to discover or expose different things about the Dead Man, one more internal in nature, the other external.

With apologies to Marvin Bell!

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Live as if you were already dead.
– Zen admonition

1. About the dead man and poetry

The dead man is not a poet for he does not comprehend
the shades and nuances of meaning.
Even though he cannot understand, the dead man utters
words with weight.
Arcane in life, the dead man is the papyrus upon which
is written the prose of time.
For him time has no meaning other than dividing day from night.
He has always been and will always be the digger of incantatory
graves, the filler of assonance holes.
The mere existence of him does not create meaning for his
translation into thought lacks content.
In thought the dead man is described by lyrical cantata and
linen shrouded psalms.
There is never music in his rhyme for his speech is not
connected to the song of the universe.
Whenever there is hope, love, vision, purpose: he consumes
them from a burial ash urn.
Lacking the eyes to see other than his self, he has shunned the
visceral meat of satisfaction.
Living is not a choice or an occurrence for in living there can
be supreme gratification without desire.
Yet, for him the skill to convey profound emotional insight is
a death march through a literary nightmare.
He cannot perform his work since he has no ability to create
the most indistinct utterance of sound.
He has become a scapular shell of dried skin hanging in an
ancient stony chapel, weighted down by the chant of hooded
vicars who would utter those poetic verses he could not scribe.
The dead man has become the succulent pupa of belief that shares
no today, no tomorrow, only the injustice of the past where
there is no poetry of life.

2. More about the dead man and poetry

The dead man never could be a part of a slam.
The dead man could not produce a readable chapbook.
His only concern is the stillness and breathlessness of cold marble.
For him the dank earth is a Ginsberg elegy.
The Dead man could not withstand the withering wind of criticism
without disintegrating.
Never having acuity has given him no useful verse.
It could not be said of him that he had a poetic wisdom tooth for
dead man had lost his teeth.
When dead man is want to reason, he fails not understanding
the why.

© 2010, Donald Harbour

The colors of being

I do not know when it began or when
breath gave me the French kiss of life
but, I do remember its naked entrance
awash in birthing color, red, red as blood.

Life begins with a crimson passion,
a spontaneous ignition of the soul,
a firing of the spirit’s, spirituality, an
exploding kaleidoscope of pigments.

The nurturing soil of being dusky brown,
the rich fertile nutrient of beginning, rooting
flesh to bone, skin to flesh, mind to body,
a garden of composted existence.

Knowing is a universe of eternal blue,
a velvet dark blue of limitless forever,
pulling, inviting, a challenge to humankind
to comprehend the what and why.

Opening the mind’s eye stirs awakening,
surrounded by the green of our mother,
her trees, flowers, a teeming growing bounty,
a blinding awe of her sustaining abundance.

The firmament bares burnished golden hue
the purse of eternity gathering coin,
all the things we do or do not do, the gleaming
repository of the soul’s resurrection.

©2012, Donald Harbour

Anticipation

A poem in the form of a Japanese Tanka.

Grey marbled clouds
rolling across the sky,
on the earth below
life awaits a moist kiss
from nature’s pursed lips.

©2012, Donald Harbour

I know the meaning

I dreamed that one held the scepter
of life. Not a god, not a beast, not
a government, not the whole of the universe.
I dreamed a child and I knew the meaning.

©2012, Donald Harbour