Sunday, May 24, 2015

Beddoes

ATTENDANT: My lord --


VARINI: What are they, sirrah?


ATTENDANT: The palace-keys.
There is a banquet in the inner room:
Shall we remove the plate?


VARINI: Leave it alone:
Wine in the cups, the spicy meats uncovered,
And the round lamps each with a star of flame
Upon their brink; let winds begot on roses,
And grey with incense, rustle through the silk
And velvet curtains: -- then set all the windows,
The doors and gates, wide open; let the wolves,
Foxes, and owls, and snakes, come in and feast ;
Let the bats nestle in the golden bowls,
The shaggy brutes stretch on the velvet couches,
The serpent twine him o'er and o'er the harp's
Delicate chords: -- to Night, and all its devils,
We do abandon this accursed house.

-- From "The Second Brother," in The Poetical Works of Thomas Lovell Beddoes. J. M Dent and Co, London, 1890.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Give Reason For The One Bright Instant

Acquaintances, not seen for thirty years,
Confront me in my dreams. "What have you done
To justify a moment in the sun,
To ask a boon of eyes and hearts and ears,
That we should pay attention to your fears,
Your doubts and dreads? Give reason for the one
Bright instant that was heralded by none
Of your attempts to gain more than our jeers."

I understand their skeptical requests:
They knew me in the past, and watched me fail
A thousand times. Why should they wait for more?
But still, I never shy away from tests.
I work, I learn, I offer each new tale,
And praise the prompt of every slamming door.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Black Wings, Amber Highlights

How do I feel about my writing this year? Like this:

The Champlain Lookout in the Gatineau Park is 270 metres above the floor of the Ottawa Valley, and the road up the mountain is often steep. In the Spring, at several points, I have to get off my bicycle and walk uphill; in the Fall, I can bike all the way -- not with ease, and certainly not with grace, but I can get there.

The view is always worth a pounding heart. The light has a rawness, an intensity, that I never see elsewhere; the Ottawa River gleams like brass or silver far below; the ravens glide and circle over the hillside forests below my feet, or wing their way high above my head.

Sometimes, other cyclists come to a stop near the edge, and I can overhear their conversations. They talk about marathons and races, tennis and squash, skiing. From their appearance, I can see that they not only talk about such things, they do them -- apparently often, and no doubt well.

I do none of these things; I just ride my bike.

And this is how I feel about my writing: I can see the light of evening turn silver and gold. I can see the amber highlights on the black wings. I can bike up to the peak. But the people around me are athletes, and I am not.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Cry of Autumn Stars

My latest poem has been chosen by the Horror Writers Association for their second horror poetry showcase, and has been posted here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Soyez les bienvenus à la tour de Babel, modèle par excellence du cerveau humain caché à lui-même. C'est une réussite, d'atteindre l'incohérence en deux langues; alors, j'ai réussi, j'ai réussi.


Had I been born without a tongue,
Without capacity for speech,
And had I yearned, while very young,
To point at concepts out of reach:

The cadence of a song unsung;
The incandescent leaves of beech;
The lunar skull; diamonds hung
High and cold in winter's niche --

If I had been with stillness stung
And forced by gesture to beseech...

Would my life have been very much different?
Would I be any more baffled than I am right now?