Bionote: I'm the author of two chapbooks. "Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty" has been nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award for best books published in 2017. "Cocktails in the Wild" was published earlier this year. I'm also the author of "Suosso's Lane," a novel of the Sacco-Vanzetti case. These poems are seasonally influenced -- a yearly stock-taking, a winter walk, a garden reflection.
Late Resolutions in the
Court of Naked Appeals (and Borrowed Quotes)
"Master of the [Court]/ Isn't worth my spit!
Hypocrite and toady/ and inebriate!" (Apologies to "Les Miz")
That only the great poets wrestle
with what it means to be human: viz Whitman,
per Harold Bloom: "As Adam early in the morning,
Walt is the unfailing God-man, our androgyne."
That our priorities may at times be reversed,
viz. Thoreau: ''Hardly a man takes a half-hour's nap after dinner,
but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, 'What's the news?'''
and yet what requires our greatest attention is that which is always before us.
And that contemplation of these homely universals
may require a wide-angle lens,
viz. John Lennon: "I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round.
I really love to watch them roll."
To take a walk outdoors everyday this winter,
even when it's sleeting gobshite.
To demonstrate in the court of Personal Appeals
my undying affections to those who continue
to bless both others and myself with displays of humanity and excellence,
and to accept, with patience, that "everybody wants
to rule the world." (per Tears for Fears)
To look both ways before crossing the bridge of time
when we come to it, as we always will.
To hold the page when the language of music
takes hold of me and patiently turn each leaf of the score on cue.
To strive to be one of those who, after we give the
land back to the indigenous, they let stay.
To love 'nature,' whatever is meant by that most elastic
of terms, even when it can no longer love me back.
To love those who always have.
Not once in a quarter-million years
did human two-legs race, dash, travel, transit at speed
as did the beasts of the grass-land, the sharks of the sea,
and the wings of the sky.
Standing, land-locked, we heard them rushing by.
Not for us this lurch in the wind,
the atmospheric surge of molecular displacement.
What is the physiological weight, the ineffable tumble, of 'speed'?
We ran down ancient time-rutted tracks,
took the pass that cycled round the mountain,
dashed across the grass-ground of the time-rich savannah
running down beasts with longer legs -- and twice as many!
Long-lived two-legs! who now neither run nor walk, but seldom,
yet glide above the friction of abiding earth
at a pace incomprehensible to those forebears who chose,
for reasons of life to tramp the road of life erect,
so did our near-fathers, earth-mothers, who tilled fields,
herded hordes, headed off to work, rounded canyons
following the game, slow-chewing up the miles
that now our hissing tires gulp.
We skip and wheel across the nations of the orb,
dot the cities with the digits on our cards,
return with speed of sound.
Yet days like this, fresh bitten in air,
reclaim our roots at merely body speed,
propelled along the verge of two-lane strip in tree-farm county
while gleaming carriages beyond the memory of time roar race-car by
and shake the flags of our bloodline's comprehension
in the wonder of their passing.
Loosestrife, Coral Bells,
A garden of names
The Heliotrope I planted
in the optimism of spring,
will it still be there?
Or absconded to somebody else's
round-up of peculiarities?
At night, do they walk about,
fertilizing other dreams?
And do they now sink down,
seeking the sun that no longer
warms their precious limbs
above the earth?
© 2018 Robert Knox
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