Sunday, December 6, 2015

That Next Season

©  2015  Steve King
All rights reserved


It had become that next season so soon,
each of us still holding tough
upon the old designs.

As if to know unmeasured newness
must be just another sham;
as if a newness would not last,
could not last to shake the silence,
loose the tired spell.


The dreams of age do still cascade
mightily to white mornings
and every captive emptiness.

As if new mornings might bring dews
to salve those night fevers;
new light to master every form,
and fill each waiting sense.

The dreams of pleasures spent,
the keen of old laments
calling from the latter shores
of what shall serve as memory.
Rising maelstroms and new mystery
to trim the shape of every grace
roiling there in dark currents,
gathering daily on that edge of dawn:
all, past and future, held to certain time,
new instants, knowing and unknown
unfounded, then found—
fair inklings of what might have done,
and of what yet may be,
scattered like unburied bones
to stitch a tale upon
a desert dreaming-ground.


Waiting advent of new sounds,
the hint of some deserved happiness
so close—we lingered, patient,
paused, to catch a rising chorus note:
hymns of any bright purpose at all,
or any power that would sing
amid the ruptures and the new-made rupturing.

Seeming so at ease,
watching in the sun like morning flowers,
(silly in the absence of all meaning)
waiting, caught up in reflexive motion
(happy then, in absence of all meaning).
No time for a straggling vision of belief,
nor weight of addled discontents.
We, in every nuance of new light
without admitted prejudice,
or hopes, or dark device,
not seeming to believe in any thing
save a morning, save a sun.


And yet the shadow of an old delight
did ply its way through memory
and the rampart ways of our desires;
as if delight could be reborn
alone from the stilled air,
from echoes long gone by.
As if old feeling might at any time reprise
without a cause or recompense,
or toll of unforeseen regret.


I tried to know all answers,
even without leave to ask,
in hopes that would not change,
in ideas long formed,
like stars we saw arrayed
in some faint corner of a sky;
each night,
            then next,
and next,

until, always, the sun…

our eyes alight like stars,

and then, always, the sun…


And each awakened conversation
devolved soon to long smiles,
awaiting words, laughter,
without even breath.

All the gazing lost upon the distant view,
redoubt of a promised charm,
hoping, ever, for an end
to match the pleasant recollections
we had always used.


In a shuttered room
I saw again the old portrait,
left to muster what it might of time,
searching eyes beneath a sheath of dust;
so like a faded mirror gone to mottle,
left at last to render what it must;
gathering a faint reflection,
casting only what it could of us.


And saw myself at last as I must be,
revisiting the times,
again, again, the times,
unrelinquished to their days;
and dreaming with a will
to witness and recover,
reciting still the old plainsong
and catechisms chanting each lost chance.

Every mood drawn back to tend upon
service of all absent shades
teeming in the doorless depth;
silence there, impenetrate,
traced not with the sunlight or my stars,
nor the glow of radiant dreaming;
without presence left to warm;
each mouth a hollow shadow
echoing phrases long unmourned,
and all their damned ancient oaths.


We are used to listening,
in tangles of regard,
in the fashions of rapt repartee,
in every way that politesse
redeems our crude awakenings
to others sudden in the small circle—
watching worlds collide
without accustomed warning,
nor a feast of omens
for gangs of hungry seers.

I am used to waiting for the word,
treasuring in that old excessive fashion
all the things that I have yet to learn.

Calibrating each response, just so,
not to upset assumptions or fears
held for obsolescent reasons,
and even, at the last,
the sometime certainty of simple humdrum.


And in the beginning…

Summers old, the child would linger
in abandoned orchards,
following the wagon ruts along
a fading road to sunset,
always content in the thinning shade
of waning elm and chestnut glades,
reeling at the shadow of a circling hawk,
pausing only for the mother’s sunset song
that summoned every darkness,
when dreams would gather and embraid
the treasures of a wondrous day—
just a day, as all else then, his own,
the currency of infant expectation,
for every kind of nascent hope,
when always dreams would measure true
and sure, and new,
and seeming without end.

A new poem for The Poetry Pantry
and the dVerse Poet's Pub

Sunday, September 27, 2015


©  Steve King
All rights reserved

The clockface called it morning,
but without sense of newness,
nor of a moment pregnant
with light upon the world:
time enough to count the hours backward.

My sigh rolled across
a clutch of gathered blankets,
ill wind coursing on a naked peak.

My shadow fell across the emptiness—
stormclouds close upon a fallow field.

A new poem for The Poetry Pantry

Friday, September 4, 2015

These Mornings

© Steve King
All Rights reserved

These mornings the old men,
staring through the fog of coffee steam,
sing of spirits visiting their dreams,
and of a distant year,
of tears that will not balm
things that were simply meant to be.

And ritual tales of fair desire
to claim the place of memory;
laughter to deny that certain moment;
myriad reasons safely hid,
meanings that are cloaked amid
the fog of these mornings.

A new poem for The Poetry Pantry

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


by Steve King
© 2015

and then, you see,
when they came to break your bones
you learned to tell them things

some of it was true I know
but other parts could make no sense at all

I wondered if they knew the difference
wondered at the sounds I made
a chorus of dark music
echoing a distant tongue

much felt like a dream
the darkness
and the sudden light
the inversions
the cold
the darkness
and the hearthless heat
day and night at once
no element of sky or earth
or grace of wakening beyond
the mind left strangely free in flights
to ease hardening bonds

just as if a dream
where only strangers meet

do no harm I thought
but could not think
I did not think

save for one small thing

there comes that moment when one hopes
that he has finally known it all
will never stir to see another face

and yet 
he chooses still to name it hope


Monday, April 20, 2015

The Way

© 2015  Steve King
All rights reserved

Everything I read,
the musics that I hear,
grave statuaries gesturing to me
depictions, portraiture,
the call of this or that philosophy—
each of these, you say,
reflect a distillation
of some perfected world.

But only through another’s heart, I say.

These will not levitate me on their own
to some, or other, supposed place or time,
undoing what the world has done to me,
forestalling what it yet may do,
or often breach the shadows
that flow across each moment
of even the most casual of the minds.

Such beauties as here be
are like the concrete guards,
or steel fence poles,
or rounding moats,
or bright signposts
or winding stairs,
or dreaming notes
that channel this journey
through what I hope
shall one day be a life—
guides only to my wandering
toward that far pathway
dimly held in my present guesswork,
yet one that has been ever laid for me.
Though never on my journeys
in that quest for latent grandeurs,
hidden still in that stubborn array,
shall I expect some sudden perfect vista to appear.

Those worlds barely foreshadowed
by all these things
I read and see and hear:
those things that pose between our meanings—
dark for me, for you so blinding clear.

(A new poem to be shared in the Imaginary Garden

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Assignation

©  2015 Steve King
All rights reserved

You rest so easy in the guise
of your delighting dream,
with sunlight full upon your breast,
and shadows fallen on your eyes.

And from that dream confuse my name—
forget, it seems, the afternoon,
the waiting wonder that inflamed
in every sudden thrall.

So quick the fire, no need the moon;
and yet so soon your dreams required
that other call.

I’ll never ask you to deny
endearments that might seem misused,
for sometimes dreams must be excused.

But oh,
where have they fled, My All—
those thousand sighs?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Notes From Near The Cedar River

©  Steve King 2015
All Rights Reserved

I cannot see the way from here, out of
this darkness, and the weight of every dream—
strange transients, each one too brief to mark
its meaning on the face of any mood.
The night brings unmapped worlds into my view,
a dark vision that shares no grand display
beyond a bare perception, though I look
to every star, on each grim shape alive
in phantom silhouette, to reflections
that dance on surfaces, yet flare as deep
as any sky-bred fire in distant keep,
all borning to this unquiet intent.

The flow I hear, and I can sense movement
upon this world; a leaving, and the gift
of bringing far to near; a sense of old
and of the yet unknown, but never one
to mark an easy instant here for me,
to substitute for what must suit as now,
that holds no comfort, either of my place,
or where any horizon may yet call.
All cause remains a mystery to this:
each testing thought only hypothesis,
no startling conclusions to the fore,
no matter what another may conceive
about these musings, or the nascent brief
of any notion set to flourish here.

If wishes led, then might I find a path,
for I have spent a soul on each desire
that raised me to make bold in sentiment,
in faiths and perspective, in loves and song;
and more, when art has failed to every end,
and I aspired to music of next best.

Yet I cannot imagine better things,
or different half measures to embrace,
than to behold myself in every way
unfinished, and awaiting fuller days,
each draught of expectation just enough,
compelling me to silence at the last;
but decent silence, not forlorn escape,
nor uneasy retreat from some unknown:
these scattered stars remain and they may leave
no disarray.  It is for me to trace
the measure of those ageless ones complete
in every shaded meaning cast below,
in latent music teasing all around,
which holds no cadence for impatient hearts.

For there is art to spare in this waiting:
imagining the shapes of destiny,
and forms to fill out every half-cast dream.
Each hollowed moment gathers to the point:
how hopes must find their birth in emptiness—
a dark invention of the soul’s escape
from all that weighs; how hoarded memories
wake to remind of each thing fallen short;
how each unspoken, unremitted sin,
in its reluctant rising to fresh light,
may gain a grace to turn its burdens right,
or even find brief peace within the folds
of some abiding ambiguity.

A modest triumph, to outwait a night
and gather modest truth; for I am where
all meanings must devolve if any be;
if meaning may be recognized at all
beyond the murmur of the shifting airs,
the roll of waters, and the moon’s new light.
Such modest triumph, teasing beauty so
from each intruding thought, each pausing word,
in sudden longings that would steer my heart
if only I might let an old one go.

And so I hold for newness and surprise,
and cede a patience that is rare in me.
The old night, calling faintly to its own,
with a new irony smothers old dreams;
I am a page awaiting its new marks
that render paths to where old souls repair.

Withholding judgements now, and past all care,
I shall remain, ‘til beauty shows me there.

A new poem for Poets United