“ A Short Death ” ~ be nocturnal sleep ~

One comes to terms

With nocturnal sleep,

Be cause for concern

It stays as brief keep,

Of enduring sojourn

To enjoy its breadth,

Save in transient term

Be but a short death,

That has us come back

In a day breaking way,

Tho ne’er assured fact

Let wishful thought play,

Thus so for more than a day!

 

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“ The Boy ” ~ who wanted to stay ~

There was a boy

Said ever glad,

For animate joy

Save he felt sad,

Its adolesce span

Exacts but a fad,

Be that so it may

Fix boy to be man,

He’d bid afar day

From stripling state,

That inevitable way

To descry adulthood,

Toward destined fate

Binds resolute say,

Held misnomer depth

Of ending youth’s stay,

He’d pursue cheat its death!

 

“ Time Out of Mind ”~ begs seek define ~

 

We’ve gone too far,

And now we’re made

To leave behind,

A world abused

In full decline,

Leaving no time

Or resolve find,

Glean to but mend

Our callous way,

We risk lifeline

To dominate

Time out of mind,

While far too late

Begs seek define,

How globe is to sustain

Held mortal span lifetime,

With man’s destructive vein

On a planet loosing hold,

He relents not to maim

Despite life short,

And death’s grim reach so long,

Gives no time to abort,

Man’s devastation too far gone!

 

                                                       Mañana, will be too late…!

 

 

Ian on Sunday – The extraordinary claims of poetry – by Ian McDonald

Intermittently through the year, and especially during memorable times up the immense and soul-redeeming Essequibo, I like to read Shelley – as we all should do from time to time since he is pre-eminently the poet of hope. “Let us believe in a kind of optimism in which we are our own gods,” he wrote, “because Hope is a solemn duty which we owe alike to ourselves and the world.”

Shelley had a Promethean vision which seemed to his age, as it must certainly seem to ours, wholly unattainable – a vision of men and women “Equal, unclassed, tribeless and nationless.” But we cannot and should not live without ideals, however unreachable they may seem. Shelley’s poetry argued always against the despair which in his age, as again in ours, seems to follow every hopeful upheaval, each successive glimpse of the vanishing form of liberty and the brotherhood of man.

Think of the despair that so quickly followed in the wake of the great burst of optimistic expectations of a new world dispensation arising out of the break-up of the communist empire and the end of the Cold War. Think how the promise of the Arab Spring has so quickly disappeared. Shelley would have spoken eloquently against such quick disillusion. He would have counselled us to keep the faith. In the same news programme that tells us of the latest horrors out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, or Syria or a score of other places we hear described the shining lives of the men and women who strive to bring help to such countries and so we hold on still to the slim hope that all may yet be well.

Almost more than anything I love Shelley because, in this most unpoetic age, I draw again from him the belief that poetry can be a transforming agent in people’s lives: “The most unfailing herald, companion or follower of the awakening of a great people to work a beneficial change in opinion or institution, is Poetry.”

This remarkable claim for poetry, for the power of the imagination to bring about social change – and in his Defence of Poetry he also wrote “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world” – explains Shelley’s appeal to readers as different as Baudelaire, Karl Marx, Yeats, Shaw, Gandhi and John Kennedy.

Shelley saw himself as taking part in a great movement of thought set in train by the French Revolution and the unprecedented hopes it generated. He believed that the poet – the prophet who sees into the hidden currents of his time far more acutely than his fellows – has a special obligation “to make the best of it,” to argue against despondency and disillusion and despair. This is the element in Shelley which must speak to us as man’s hatred of man reasserts itself with unbelievable ferocity, as civil carnage mounts across the world, as religious conflict spills blood in country after country, as gross inequality reestablishes itself in the privileged but miserable West, as war looms in the Middle East and avenging terror seems to spread everywhere.

In our own land, where hope has been shredded so often, where daily we are filled with revulsion at brutal public crimes and unspeakable acts of mindless domestic ferocity, let the force and relevance of poetry never be forgotten. Once I was reading Shelley while in “beloved Essequibo where my soul will go/if hereafter good things happen” – the poet’s great ‘Ode to the West Wind’ especially filling me with wonder all over again as it used to do in my young days – I came across some lines which struck me forcefully. They are from ‘Prometheus Unbound’ and they tell us to resolve never to lose heart:

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;

To forgive wrongs darker than death or nights;

To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;

To love, and bear; to Hope till Hope creates

From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;

Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent

This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be

Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;

This alone is Life, Joy, Empire and Victory.

Thus over the centuries do the words of poets return again and again to define our deepest needs and inspire mankind to endure against all odds. Amidst the chatter of bureaucrats and businessmen, academics and politicians, it is the voice of the poet, as he delves into the heart of things, which never ceases to give us hope.

“ The Death Of Youth ” ~ an ineluctable demise ~

 

The death of youth

Be not easy

To grasp as truth,

Destined must

Be so replaced,

Rendering thus

An altered state,

Though dispiriting

As youth’s fate,

Means be alive

If not beyond,

Ineluctable demise…

 

Hence youth’s adjust

To deal with age

Be hardly just,

Made so compose

With dwindling days,

When point but reached

Life’s ordained way,

Be yet blurred concern,

To grasp the death of youth!      

 

 

“ November ” ~ to remember ~

How could I not

Remember,

Fate had chose

November,

To death encumber

Exiguous shoulders,

And suffer weight

Of lamentable state,

With words inapt

In witless pap,

For just departed father

So long ago that November,

A then boy would remember!

                                                                      ode to 39 year old father

“ A Pact ” ~ with Lady Death ~

I made a pact

With Lady Death,

When I do reach

For a last breath, 

To keep at bay

Her Beelzebub,

And intercede

Till my choice deed

For carcass dear,

Finds where reside

Without he interfere…

 

Hence to decide

For up above,

Tho I am told

It’s rather cold,

I preclude not

The down below

Where it be hot,

Say cursed souls

Held sinful lot,                     

So I’ve been told

Thru pact I bade,        

With Lady Death!