AFTER THE BREAKDOWN:
No more let Mind extol its vain
insistence on Activity,
or martyred Psyche welcome Pain,
or Feeling show passivity
toward Will’s impressive reign.
No more let Heart’s timidity
suffer Super-ego’s cane,
or Reason force Love to stammer and cry
because she cannot be sane.
--from A Palpable Presence (2001)
Hawthorn flowers frothing forth,
spirea spilling onto the lawn—
a life lived once is not enough.
Roses flourish, then are gone,
and yet return another year.
And this, we feel, is only right:
Re-appearing, they counter our fear
that nature will be devoured in night.
But what of those of us who die?
No one sees us rise again.
Only faith can tell us why—
belief that our souls and bodies are hurled
into another, better world.
--from Profane & Sacred Loves (2002)
The Lord disdains all platitudes
Belovéd of the multitudes.
He loves the tangled, whimsical phrase;
To Him a pun’s a hymn of praise.
The unctuous moral, the bland corrective
Fill Him full of harsh invective.
A children’s book of nursery rhymes
Delights Him far more than The Times.
--from From Rage to Hope (2016)
LUDWIG II AT NEUSCHWANSTEIN
I see him reading in the full moon’s glow,
The crags above so like his own decaying
Molars, while the woods and fields below
Convey the gentle day’s spent ardor, playing
With his thoughts, which meet the chill of night.
Aside from Wagner and architecture, reading
Provides his greatest passion and delight.
For hours, until dawn, he goes on feeding
Upon the pages as a vampire does
On flesh and blood. And so his dreams are fed.
And no great majesty that ever was,
No heroic deed or love, is dead.
And lacking love himself, and home and wife,
To castles real as dreams he gives his life.
--from Munich Poems (2016)
THE RIVER TRAUN
These swirling pale green waters flow
Forever on and do not cease;
One knows the restlessness they know;
One also feels their inner peace.
We know ourselves as strangers here;
This is not our homeland; yet
This swirling pale green river here
I will not easily forget:
It lingers in my memory
And urges me to make this rhyme
And so becomes a part of me,
This ceaseless river, mocking time.
--from Salzkammergut Poems (2016)