Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The dead are never silent

The dead are never silent, though one would think they'd be,
Encoffined at their rest in tiny plots of earth;
No more among us, headstones marking where they lie
In serried ranks arranged on well-trimmed verdant fields.

The living muddle through the business of each day;
Life is for the living, and the dead? Dead and gone;
But time's passage allows for lyric tales to grow,
Nostalgic histories, enhanced each passing year.

In our dreams, the dead look vulnerable, and young;
Much younger than we are now, and their laughter rings,
As they smile and talk about a lemon-yellow future,
Where we live now, but they do not; or so it seems...

Not really gone, the dead still speak and make their case;
Unembarassed ghosts, contributing with gusto,
Pronouncing approbation, or dire admonitions;
Adding to life's tapestry, they still live.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I read a "poem" the other day

I read a poem the other day
That looked like prose; that poet's way
To give expression to his art,
And bare his innovative heart.

He sang no music, made no rhyme,
As poets used to, at one time.
His poem dismissed rhythm's clout;
I am free verse, it seemed to shout.

Last century, some poets said,
Formal rules were justly dead;
Substance mattered, and with that aim,
Rebellious poets made that claim.

Some flourished, and they often found
Inventive ways to break new ground;
Readers called their verses jewels,
Brave poems freed from ancient rules.

Old rules were snubbed, and in their place
Typography helped fill that space
With novel tricks like broken lines
And other forms of new design

Today some poets, having thought,
Revisited the changes wrought;
Sometimes they rhyme out in the clear,
Tradition now their new frontier.

Returning to the older verse,
They needn't worry which comes first;
Now poets have a choice to make,
A choice they're always free to take.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The meaning of life

A young man had a question that he pondered every day,
No matter what he tried to do, it wouldn't go away.
He struggled with the matter, each morning, noon, and night,
And he couldn't let it go, he just had to get it right.

He never found an answer, although he knew one must exist,
He pledged that he would solve it; it was first upon his list.
The question burned inside him, and it stabbed him like a knife;
What does it mean, what's it about, what is this thing called life?

He knew that they could tell him, though he knew not who they were,
The project needed lots of work, with whom should he confer?
He started with his parents, mother, father, all the rest;
Surely, they'd have the answer, surely, they would know it best.

His mom referred him to his dad, as father should know best
How to clear up this conundrum and answer his request,
But father disappointed him, he said he didn't know,
And counseled that he seek his teacher's help on where to go.

Next Monday, at the end of class, the young man made his plea,
Dumbfounded, teacher shook her head, "Why are you asking me?
I've asked that question lots myself; I still don't have a clue.
It might suffice to ask your rabbi, that's what I would do."

That made sense; who better knew, than leaders of the spirit?
He'd get an answer to his question when the rabbi'd hear it.
Next weekend, after services, the young man made his pitch;
"Please, tell me, rabbi, what is life? Please, help me scratch this itch."

The rabbi paused, and stroked his beard, and shrugged with great regret.
"The question's bothered me as well; it's something I don't get."
Exasperated though he was, the youth would not give in.
The library became his haunt; he swore that he would win.

As each year passed, so fast, so fast, he still pursued his aim.
He traveled far, in constant search, and still no answer came.
And then one day he had some luck, he learned about a man
Who had the answers he would need on life's elusive plan.

In the mighty Himalayas, the wise man had his lair,
And meditated day and night, and lived on simple fare.
The young man raised somer cash, and flew to Nepal to resolve
The burning question that the wise man finally would solve.

He climbed into the mountains, searching for his saintly prey
Until he found him at his cave, on one resplendent day.
Lotus-clothed in but a loin-cloth, there the old man waited
Contemplating all the questions nature has created.

The young man was ecstatic, he'd reached his destination,
The years of searching had paid off; trembling with elation,
"Quick," the young man asked this simulacrum of Gandhi,
"Is there meaning to this life? Please, tell me, now I'm handy."

A smile lit up the old man's face, he gestured with his palm,
"I'm glad to help a pilgrim find the truth and offer balm.
The meaning of our voyage? I'll just say hosanna!
I learned it many years ago;  Life is a banana!"

The young man's face went deathly white, and then it flushed bright red.
He sputtered, at a loss for words, and finally, he said,
"You're telling me, after all this work to solve my query,
That life is just a fruit? That's nuts! I'm not buying any."

The old man frowned with puzzlement to see him so upset.
"You mean it's not? I got it wrong? That's dumb as I could get.
You're telling me that I'm not right? I am a Pollyanna!
Are you sure, really sure?You mean it's no banana?"

Then, suddenly the young man stopped; his head began to clear,
He knew the answer all along; it wasn't there or here,
"Life's just life," he said, "in London orTopeka.
It's not a complicated thing; now I know, Eureka!"