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Archive for March, 2016

Never the time and the place
A
nd the loved one all together!
This path – how soft to pace!
This May – what magic weather!
Where is the loved one’s face?
In a dream that loved one’s face meets mine,
But the house is narrow, the place is bleak
Where, outside, rain and wind combine
With a furtive ear, if I arrive to speak,
With a hostile eye at my flushing cheek,
With a malice that marks each word, each sign!
O enemy sly and serpentine,
Uncoil thee from the waking man!
……Do I hold the Past
……Thus firm and fast
Yet doubt if the Future hold I can?
This path so soft to pace shall lead
Through the magic of May to herself indeed!
Or narrow if needs the house must be,
Outside are the storms and strangers: we –
Oh, close, safe, warm sleep I and she,
– I and she!

 

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Hungry Saws

Where birds nest,
At work lopping tops –
Men in nest.

——————–

A Tomtit

Sleek to fly,
Feathers all puffed up
When at rest.

——————–

Prelude

Thunderstorm –
Its anvil heralds
Rain curtain.

——————–
Saws – photo by Adrian van Leen at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/mX3jnLW/tree+loppers

Tomtit – photo by Reina Zijlstra at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/oXRuPb2/Sweet+little+tomtit+bird

Prelude – photo by Crystal Woroniuk at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/nxwVgtc/Approaching+Storm

——————–

* The haiku I write are lines of 3-5-3 syllables instead of 5-7-5.

See Haiku article here for explanation, if needed: https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/haiku/

——————–

© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.

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Afield at dusk

What things for dream there are when specter-like,
Moving among tall haycocks lightly piled,
I enter alone upon the stubble field,
From which the laborers’ voices late have died,
And in the antiphony of afterglow
And rising full moon, sit me down
Upon the full moon’s side of the first haycock
And lose myself amid so many alike.

I dream upon the opposing lights of the hour,
Preventing shadow until the moon prevail;
I dream upon the nighthawks peopling heaven,
Each circling each with vague unearthly cry,
Or plunging headlong with fierce twang afar;
And on the bat’s mute antics, who would seem
Dimly to have made out my secret place,
Only to lose it when he pirouettes,
And seek it endlessly with purblind haste;
On the last swallow’s sweep; and on the rasp
In the abyss of odor and rustle at my back,
That, silenced by my advent, finds once more,
After an interval, his instrument.
And tries once – twice – and thrice if I be there;
And on the worn book of old-golden song
I brought not here to read, it seems, but hold
And freshen in this air of withering sweetness;
But on the memory of one absent, most,
For whom these lines when they shall greet her eye.

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I was an “in and out”- an “in” to see
A friend, a broken one who had to mend,
An “in” extending heartfelt sympathy,
An “out” when my short visit came to end.

Then through the long and sterile hall I went,
Took elevator down its narrow chute;
Watched doors too slowly open post-descent
As if two snails were ending a dispute;

And then the lobby to the sliding doors
That opened to the world both bright and free
Where sky’s the limit for the bird that soars,
Where men can sample from a panoply.

Then from a hall of the hospital maze,
A nurse rolled forth a lady in a chair,
Wheeled from a room where she had been for days
Pajama-ed like a hibernating bear.

And she’d been holed up in a tiny den
Kept there because she was not well or whole.
She was no “in and out” like me, but “in”,
And in and in and in a cubbyhole.

And though her face was pale, there was a light
Upon it, both from out and from within
As she left dark days for the one that’s bright
For sun that would bring color to her skin.

I could, with quicker pace, have walked ahead.
Instead, I slowed to be an audience
And walk behind the one who’d left her bed
To take in life the place that she had once.

My wish: to see a sheltered flower bloom,
To watch one give her hellos and goodbyes,
One like a baby bursting from the womb
Who meets the teeming, waiting world and cries.

—————————————-

© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.

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All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I’d started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.

Over these things I could not see:
These were the things that bounded me.
And I could touch them with my hand,
Almost, I thought, from where I stand!
And all at once things seemed so small
My breath came short, and scarce at all.

But, sure, the sky is big, I said:
Miles and miles above my head,
So here upon my back I’ll lie
And look my fill into the sky.
And so I looked, and after all,
The sky was not so very tall.
The sky, I said must somewhere stop…
And -sure enough! – I see the top!
The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I ‘most could touch it with my hand!
And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed, to feel it touch the sky.

I screamed, and – lo! – Infinity
Came down and settled over me;
Forced back my scream into my chest;
Bent back my arm upon my breast;
And, pressing of the Undefined
The definition on my mind,
Held up before my eyes a glass
Through which my shrinking sight did pass
Until it seemed I must behold
Immensity made manifold;
Whispered to me a word whose sound
Deafened the air for worlds around,
And brought unmuffled to my ears
The gossiping of friendly spheres,
The creaking of the tented sky,
The ticking of Eternity.

I saw and heard, and knew at last
The How and Why of all things, past,
And present, and forevermore.
The Universe, cleft to the core,
Lay open to my probing sense,
That, sickening, I would fain pluck thence
But could not, – nay! but needs must suck
At the great wound, and would not pluck
My lips away till I had drawn
All venom out. – Ah, fearful pawn:
For my omniscience paid I toll
In infinite remorse of soul.

All sin was of my sinning, all
Atoning mine, and mine the gall
Of all regret.  Mine was the weight
Of every brooded wrong, the hate
That stood behind each envious thrust,
Mine every greed, mine every lust.

And all the while, for every grief,
Each suffering, I craved relief
With individual desire;
Carved all in vain!  And felt fierce fire
About a thousand people crawl;
Perished with each, – then mourned for all!

A man was starving in Capri;
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
And knew his hunger in my own.
I saw at sea a great fog bank
Between two ships that struck and sank;
A thousand screams the heavens smote;
And every scream tore through my throat.

No hurt I did not feel, no death
That was not mine; mine each last breath
That, crying, met an answering cry
From the compassion that was I.
All suffering mine, and mine its rod;
Mine, pity like the pity of God.

Ah, awful weight! Infinity
Pressed down upon the finite Me!
My anguished spirit, like a bird,
Beating against my lips I heard;
Yet lay the weight so close about
There was no room for it without.
And so beneath the weight lay I
And suffered death, but could not die.

Long had I lain thus, craving death,
When quietly the earth beneath
Gave way, and inch by inch, so great
At last had grown the crushing weight,
Into the earth I sank till I
Full six feet under ground did lie,
And sank no more, – there is no weight
Can follow here, however great,
From off my breast I felt it roll,
And as it went my tortured soul
Burst forth and fled in such a gust
That all about me swirled the dust.

Deep in the earth I rested now.
Cool is the hand upon the brow.
And soft its breast beneath the head
Of one who is so gladly dead.
And all at once, and over all
The pitying rain began to fall;
I lay and heard each pattering hoof
Upon my lowly, thatched roof,
And seemed to love the sound far more
Than ever I had done before.
For rain it hath a friendly sound
To one who’s six feet under ground;
And scarce the friendly voice or face
A grave is such a quiet place.

The rain, I said, is kind to come
And speak to me in my new home.
I would I were alive again
To kiss the fingers of the rain,
To drink into my eyes the shine
Of every slanting silver line,
To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
For soon the shower will be done,
And then the broad face of the sun
Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
Until the world with answering mirth
Shakes joyously, and each round drop
Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.

How can I bear it, buried here,
While overhead the sky grows clear
And blue again after the storm?
O, multi-coloured, multi-form,
Beloved beauty over me,
That I shall never, never see
Again!  Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
That I shall never more behold! –
Sleeping your myriad magics through,
Close-sepulchred away from you!
O God, I cried, give me new birth,
And put me back upon the earth!
Upset each cloud’s gigantic gourd
And let the heavy rain, down-poured
In one big torrent, set me free,
Washing my grave away from me!

I ceased; and through the breathless hush
That answered me, the far-off rush
Of herald wings came whispering
Like music down the vibrant string
Of my ascending prayer, and – crash!
Before the wild wind’s whistling lash
The startled storm-clouds reared on high
And plunged in terror down the sky!
And the big rain in one black wave
Fell from the sky and struck my grave.

I know not how such things can be;
I only know there came to me
A fragrance such as never clings
To aught save happy living things;
A sound as of some joyous elf
Singing sweet songs to please himself,
And, through and over everything,
A sense of glad awakening.
The grass, a-tiptoe at my ear,
Whispering to me I could hear;
I felt the rain’s cool finger-tips
Brushed tenderly across my lips,
Laid gently on my sealed sight,
And all at once the heavy night
Fell from my eyes and I could see! –
A drenched and dripping apple-tree,
A last long line of silver rain,
A sky grown clear and blue again.
And as I looked a quickening gust
Of wind blew up to me and thrust
Into my face a miracle
Of orchard-breath, and with the smell, –
I know not how such things can be! –
I breathed my soul back into me.

Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I
And hailed the earth with such a cry
As is not heard save from a man
Who has been dead, and lives again.
About the trees my arms I wound;
Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;
I raised my quivering arms on high:
I laughed and laughed into the sky;
Till at my throat a strangling sob
Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
Sent instant tears into my eyes:
O God, I cried, no dark disguise
Can e’er hereafter hide from me
Thy radiant identity!

Thou canst not move across the grass
But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
Nor speak, however silently,
But my hushed voice will answer Thee.
I know the path that tells Thy way
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart
And lay my finger on Thy heart!

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky, –
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat – the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

————————————-

The word “renascence” wasn’t in my vocabulary,
so I looked it up. It means “the revival of some-
thing that has been dormant” (renaissance).

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Nine one one –
A conspiracy!
We did it!

— 

In Dallas,
A conspiracy!
The Prez dies.

— 

My milk spoiled –
A conspiracy
To poison!

— 

A theory
Of conspiracy
Theorists:

— 

They’re plotting
Ev’ry single one
Together

— 

To create
Doubt in all of us
Of all things.

— 

It’s working!
I now have great doubts
About them.

——————–

* The haiku I write are lines of 3-5-3 syllables instead of 5-7-5.

See Haiku article here for explanation, if needed: https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/haiku/

——————–

© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.

 

 

 

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…………….“Old Hundred”

O Lord of Hosts! Almighty King!
Behold the sacrifice we bring!
To every arm thy strength impart,
Thy spirit shed through every heart! 

Wake in our breasts the living fires,
The holy faith that warmed our sires;
Thy hand hath made our Nation free;
To die for her is serving Thee. 

Be Thou a pillared flame to show
The midnight snare, the silent foe;
And when the battle thunders loud,
Still guide us in its moving cloud. 

God of all Nations! Sovereign Lord!
In thy dread name we draw the sword,
We lift the starry flag on high
That fills with light our stormy sky. 

From treason’s rent, from murder’s stain,
Guard Thou its folds till Peace shall reign, –
Till fort and field, till shore and sea,
Join our loud anthem, PRAISE TO THEE!

 

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This time sticks, and most times stones
Raised above one’s flesh and bones.
Markers for those who are left,
O’er the one of whom bereft.
Stakes of wood will rot, decay.
Stones last longer (one horse shay).
Mourners, though, are like the wood
Cannot stay like stones will, should.
Markers, then, of wood are fine.
Mourners’ time with them align.

——————————————–

photo by Michal Zacharzewski at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/nq1PRjw/Graveyard

——————————————–

© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.

 

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I cannot forget with what fervid devotion
I worshipped the visions of verse and of fame:
Each gaze at the glories of earth, sky, and ocean,
To my kindled emotions, was wind over flame. 

And deep were my musings in life’s early blossom,
‘Mid the twilight of mountain groves wandering long;
How thrilled my young veins, and how throbbed my full
……bosom,
When o’er me descended the spirit of song. 

‘Mong the deep-cloven fells that for ages had listened
To the rush of the pebble-paved river between,
Where the king-fisher screamed and gray precipice glistened,
All breathless with awe have I gazed on the scene; 

Till I felt the dark power, o’er my reveries stealing,
From his throne in the depth of that stern solitude,
And he breathed through my lips, in that tempest of feeling,
Strains warm with his spirit, though artless and rude.

Bright visions! I mixed with the world and ye faded;
No longer your pure rural worshipper now;
In the haunts your continual presence pervaded,
Ye shrink from the signet of care on my brow.

In the old mossy groves on the breast of the mountain,
In deep lonely glens where the waters complain,
By the shade of the rock, by the gush of the fountain,
I seek your loved footsteps, but seek them in vain.

Oh, leave not forlorn and forever forsaken,
Your pupil and victim, to life and its tears!
But sometimes return, and in mercy awaken
The glories ye showed to his earlier years.

 

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Sane

It’s proper:
Bell in the belfry,
And not bats.

——————–

 

In The Heights

Many kites
In their wheeling flights –
Pretty sights.

——————–

 

In The Air, On The Ground

Precision:
It often matters,
Life or death.

——————–

Sane – photo by Javier Gonzalez at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/mgo9V6y/Belfry

Heights – photo by Karunakar Rayker at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/mBcPvKm/kites+in+flight

Air – photo by sulaco229 (Robert) at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/mx8M424/Acrobatic+jet+airplane%2C+airpla

——————–

* The haiku I write are lines of 3-5-3 syllables instead of 5-7-5.

See Haiku article here for explanation, if needed: https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/haiku/

——————–

© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.

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