© 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;
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
and the dVerse Poet's Pub