Archive for poetry

Pastures of Plenty – Woody Guthrie

Pastures of Plenty – Woody Guthrie

It’s a mighty hard row that my poor hands have hoed
My poor feet have traveled a hot dusty road
Out of your Dust Bowl and Westward we rolled
And your deserts were hot and your mountains were cold

I worked in your orchards of peaches and prunes
I slept on the ground in the light of the moon
On the edge of the city you’ll see us and then
We come with the dust and we go with the wind

California, Arizona, I harvest your crops
Well its North up to Oregon to gather your hops
Dig the beets from your ground, cut the grapes from your vine
To set on your table your light sparkling wine

Green pastures of plenty from dry desert ground
From the Grand Coulee Dam where the waters run down
Every state in the Union us migrants have been
We’ll work in this fight and we’ll fight till we win

It’s always we rambled, that river and I
All along your green valley, I will work till I die
My land I’ll defend with my life if it be
Cause my pastures of plenty must always be free

Performed by Michael Hurley 

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Lost and Found

happiness is a fleeing bird,
don’t try to catch it
you’ll crush it’s tiny heart.

joy is the call of a blooming lotus,
if you tried to listen
you’d drown out the chorus.

peace is a still and infinite pond,
and you the frog
croaking at the shore.

love is a fragile spring breeze,
may it linger to
grace these transient skins.

hate is a fire we try to hide,
it splits and burgles,
burns out our insides.

war is the charred borders of the soul,
which spills from the empty heavens
where we are not known.

bliss is a burp in the universal giggle,
we are lonesome when we
cannot swallow down the thistle.

life is a fleeting chance,
shining from a window where
we seldom glance.

death is a punctuation mark,
where we all full stop,
to be released, to start.

nothing ends, nothing begins,
and we are lost and found,
fragile kites in mortal winds.

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There is bronze in my blood

AmCelticSteve

How sweet the silence,
The nectar in which we hide,
Fragments of our self
We seldom seek inside.

We are lost to pitch coal night
Like frozen stars we orbit,
The moon blade is silent in glory,
Rising in early, clear light.

Countless memories to trace
An inception, a birth;
Strung out in mist of mind games,
A lover once known
Dancer distant from grace.

There are fragile shards
Of what I have become
Woven into thick rope,
Tough to the touch
And feelings so bound
That I am merely a stone in
The urn.

There is bronze in my blood
And in my bones,
There is blood on my teeth
The stain of murder
In my wounds.

There are nameless Gods
Which chart my path,
Through the forests, the mountain back;
Led by the skins of sheep
And the sails of billowing
Highland heather.

I am a man freed of fate,
A twisted dagger
Sure to tame
The wilderness of barren corners,
The drum that beats my heart.

I am smoothed in the valley stream
By the gentle ripples of time,
I am one with the mighty seas
I am one with the fire
I am one with the trees.

This man has wandered far and wide
Taken in exotic wines
To return an infidel and cured
Of the yoke of fear
And the noose of hope.

For to trust in self
To realise ones fate
Is but a strike of a skilled axe
On the countless rings
Of the fallen world.

I love life for her charms
Are not lost in the keepers lake,
I see the gateway to divinity
Where her weary body lays,

Where her gold locks tumble down
I caress this hallowed ground,
Plant wheat to watch it brightly sway
Rise fresh each dawn of glory day.

For with this love I am whole,
Not man, not flesh and bone,
But a spirit not easily found
In this self in which we drown.

Battling for the right
To lift my head and cry,
Dying for the call
To take what is left
No more.

Praying for the epoch
When desire is peace,
There grows a fragrant rose
Of which petals shall
Never fall.

Oh warrior!
Oh fearless sage!
We call to you this day
Cleanse our fear of death
Make us whole within each
Forgotten breath.

Calling to the night,
Breathing in the dark,
I ache with gilt memories
And play in silent arts.

Teach us how to slay
The infant as it lays,
For innocent and pure
We yearn for a Mothers call,
To be close to our kin, to faith,
To the hearth;
To sacrifice the ashes we share
And the ghosts which fuss our hearts.

 

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First Light

When the dawn is breaking,

Some things found,

A knocking.

 

Fabled ships on shores of plenty

Nothing left to claim as own,

Drawn into the depths of greens

and blues

By the lull of a sirens whim

And the longing horizon.

 

The depth of hardship

Where ice hardens and love

Springs form; a mirror,

To the dark everything above,

Thirsty for eyes;

The wandering gaze.

 

Lost dark snakes

Of the Nile originate

And Damascus brooding,

All over the heather lament

Of these damp glacial hills

Where a fable cast a light shadow

Within the fogs of this age,

 

Mystical chimes from the silent

Bell tower,

Religion receding behind stony walls,

Silent cries from the high street graveyard

And a loner sparrow perches

Above the dew-rich cobwebs

Of the old post office nook

Where we once spoke in running inks,

Not so long in the scrape and

Fodder forms around the artery,

Crossroads.

 

Brains depleted by a lasting ennui

Of soul deep melancholy etching

A new dawn replica,

 

First light not found

On reflection, no measure,

No composition, no gain to lose,

 

The finger picking songsmith

Has passed us by,

The fireside rendition of life

Shadows on the cave,

Up against the current yet locked into

Some rich vein,

Tied to a weight without measure,

Sinking in profound words

And drunk on the joys of

The wavering shimmer.

 

True harmony has left us beyond the dunes,

Where the oystercatchers fly like arrows

Towards the straits, clumps of disgarded seaweed and

Cobalt currents a molten maelstrom of conflict

Caught in glistening fluidity,

 

Much like this morning

Without first lights dawn

A pale imitation alive

Casting no shadow of consequence

To breech this stately main,

To bridge the gaps in hearts

To cross broken fingers or ingrown

Stains

Or find the word key we seek.

 

First light unlocks the gate,

Breaks the stale crust,

First light delivers.

 

I am written in.

Inked.

A knocking.

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The Cure At Troy – Seamus Heaney

Now it’s high watermark
and floodtide in the heart
and time to go.
The sea-nymphs in the spray
will be the chorus now.
What’s left to say?

Suspect too much sweet-talk
but never close your mind.
It was a fortunate wind
that blew me here. I leave
half-ready to believe
that a crippled trust might walk

and the half-true rhyme is love.

Seamus Heaney

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Out of Stillness – Rumi

I was happy to stay still
inside the pearl inside the shell,

but the hurricane of experience
lashed me out of hiding
and made me a wave moving into shore,

saying loudly the ocean’s secret
as I went, and then, spent there,

I slept like a fog against the cliff,
another stillness.

Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)

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Angrez

I
Blow into my ear Angrez,
Whisper your fears in blue plumes.

Each sound is a place, all is sound sired by
These universal winds.

Does it touch your skin?

From the glow, smoke rises,
From the heart, love escapes.
What pleases such flames?

I’ll take you with me when everything
Is sleeping, leave your legs,
Take those wings.

Leave your body alone and sing your way out
Of the dissonant dream.

Turn this world upside down.
All that sky, in blue eyes.

II
Discard your clothes,
Let your hair turn to rope,
Bury yourself in invisible rivers.
Fast until your bones are empty
And strong.

We must burn to see the light,
We must crack our statue to be free.
To be free, bring the outside, in.

We meet again on that empty road
Where two worlds collide,
We softly spoke to make it real,
We are linked like a chain you and I,
This rosary of lives
And crossing over we cannot part.

III
See the path unknown to science,
Rise like an opening flower;
Bloom, bloom, she climbs within us.

In the pure light we hide,
Up to the crown of our being and
Grace is given.

You are cosmic,
You glow in the dark,
You are untamed,
You are.

IV
When the book of the world is closed,
How can we see?
We must find a teacher to dust our lens,
Clean our ears.
They bring warmth to the rays of the sun
And empty out our form.

Things happen and there we are;
The sky, skies, the ocean, oceans;
In their language beyond words.

It’s a dance we cannot see, but can join
In time, when the mystical non-sense decrees.

Natures gifts pour into us, we are
Fed by the stars and sky, not potatoes.

How can we make an offering
Of what we are?
True love is not a show.

All borders are connections,
In our tears and sweat, the hidden knowledge
That is everywhere, that comes easy
When we are our own creation
And wise to befriend the mute vibration.

——

Angrez – In Hindi, an English or English-speaking white person.

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