Poets, or: Sages

My first Terzanelle

Beginnings bring inevitable ends
It's oft said the fourth dimension is time
Beginnings bring inevitable ends

Poets struggle to find reason in rhyme
Our endings birth beginnings for others
It's oft said the fourth dimension is time

Fulfillment is too often another's
Some would bleed themselves out onto pages
Our endings birth beginnings for others

Futile queries of ancients turned sages
Only spiritual rhythm matters
Some would bleed themselves out onto pages

Of bodies naught remains but mere tatters
Peace exists in only three dimensions
Only spiritual rhythm matters

Though some may cleave to other pretensions
Peace exists in only three dimensions
Beginnings bring inevitable ends
Beginnings bring inevitable ends

Hopes, or: Smoke rings

A pantoum

Thick smoke rings wafted through the steam
Small silver spoon stirred dark Earl Grey
Night clouds and hopes lit by moonbeam 
Recurring thoughts began to fray

Small silver spoon stirred dark Earl Grey
Gnarled finger clutched by digits slim
Recurring thoughts began to fray
Wise, pale blue eyes could not see him

Gnarled finger clutched by digits slim
Grandfather watched the sweet newborn
Wise, pale blue eyes could not see him
Oh, turns of time had left him worn

Grandfather watched the sweet newborn
Thick smoke rings wafted through the steam
Oh, turns of time had left him worn
Night clouds and hopes lit by moonbeam

‘Coming full circle’, a d’Verse prompt

The above poem is my response to the d’Verse ‘coming full circle’ prompt, which instructed poets to circle round and end where their poems begin. 

Possibilities included pantoums; villanelles; open forms; or even shape poems, but the goal was to attempt a circular poem where the first line and the last repeat (or are close). We were to think about the journey – where has the poem taken us? How has the meaning of that first line shifted? Has it become more certain or less? 

Possibility

I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being, which is precisely why I cannot call myself an atheist. It is why I occasionally recite the appropriate Jewish blessings before eating and am jealous of those who believe in supernatural forces that imbue their lives with purpose. It is why, in part, I was driven to recite the Orphan’s Kaddish daily during the year following Papa’s death. After all, who the heck knows? I sure don’t.

I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being, but I wish I could know the unknowable truth, one way or another. Is the universe ordered? Do our lives have meaning? Is suffering purposeful? I have not personally experienced anything to suggest that any of these possibilities are true; but would that they were…


d’Verse

It’s prosery time at d’Verse. The rules are simple:

  1. Use an assigned line in the body of your prose. You may change the punctuation and capitalization, but you are not allowed to insert any words within the line itself. You can add words at the beginning and/or at the end of the line; but the line itself must remain intact.
  2. Your prose can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. YOU CAN NOT WRITE A POEM for this prompt. AND, your prose should be no longer than 144 words, sans title. It does not have to be exactly 144 words. But it can be no longer than 144 words.

The assigned line was:

I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being.

Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012), ‘Possibilities’

A quick note:

Usually I respond to d’Verse prosery prompts with pieces of fiction, but the assigned line from Szymborska’s poem spoke directly to my heart, and I had been wanting to write a short piece like this regardless.

Some of my best friends are anonymous

On the one hand…

When I step back and think about it, the blogosphere seems such a strange realm; and I’m old enough to have grown up without the Internet so I have perspective on this. Still, one need not have been born before the Internet era to be struck be the notable differences between people’s “in person” relationships and “online” relationships.

For example, what would it mean to have an anonymous “in person” friend? Here on WordPress, on the other hand, it’s entirely normal that some of the people that I interact with most regularly are anonymous.

Also, for most who do not blog anonymously, there necessarily exist limits as to what we can comfortably post because our blogs are public. Would we write publicly about difficulties in our romantic relationships, careers, childhoods, etc., given that our loved ones, coworkers, and friends could read those posts?

Indeed, while I certainly believe that meaningful relationships can be birthed, developed, and sustained online, we must consider how much we actually know of our “long distance” friends. given that we have, essentially, no access to their lives other than the glimpses they grant us. What are they like offline? What are we like?


On the other hand…

Speaking personally, I tend to feel disconnected from many of the people I interact with in person, largely because my head is often very much in the clouds. So many others seem to be focused on practical, earthly matters that wear me out.

Despite my skepticism regarding anything supernatural, I find conversations about belief, the history of religion, the sociology of religion, etc., very stimulating. Also, politics – deep political analysis fascinates me. And, of course, poetry – the exploration of the human spirit and reality filtered through the human eye.

In a sense, therefore, when I think about this blog on WordPress, and when I find myself wondering how well it actually reflects who I am despite all that I omit from it, I feel that it actually reflects much of the real me. This is where I thrive, in the realm of words and concepts, which lend themselves to introspection, poetry, and musings. These are the kinds of interactions I wish I could have with people “in person” – I’d love for all of my conversations to be over images and verses.

Really, as I consider this further, I feel that one cannot possibly know me very well today without taking an active interest in my Skeptic’s Kaddish. Here is where I explore life’s meaning.