Thursday, September 20, 2018

Essentials


Essentials

First, there is survival—
which is air, water, food
and shelter, winter-clothing
and fuel for the fire.

It is staying out of danger,
and care for young and old
and those who may be ailing
or need some basic help.

As humans, we have done this,
through the ages, for our own
and even, when it was needed,
for others on our roads.

And then, there are the other things
in which we may delight
or draw upon for sustenance
of soul and heart and mind.

There is learning, which is needed
so that humans may survive—
the knowledge and the wisdom
of the past, in present life—
and more that we may learn ourselves
and pass on to the others—
to add to human knowledge
and the wisdom that can guide us.

There are pleasures—those of senses
and of other parts of mind.
There are satisfactions, needed
so we persevere and smile.

There is joy in our creations,
be these children of the flesh,
or the thoughts that turn to structures
made of wood or paint or words…

We have art and song and music
and all the crafts of Man
and all the games and knowledge
that are passed by mind and hand.

There is pain and there is sorrow
of the body and the mind.
And we each can be of comfort
by pausing to be kind.

There is joy in recognition.
There is sorrow, when we're scorned.
There is peace, in meditation,
In the depths beneath the storms.

There's a sense in us of oneness
with a sentience that is vast—
that knows of pain and pleasure
and of sorrow and of joy.
We are kin to those we're eating
or are eaten by in turn.

We have virtues and have vices
that at times may be reversed,
and the newer ones are layered
on the old that still abide.

There are instincts and emotions
that are primal and that drive
our actions in the present
as they did in ages past.

We had hunger, thirst and lusting,
and the three are with us still,
as those, who were without these,
have left no living trace.

There was bonding, there was friendship.
You can see these extant yet.
Though the trend is to annul these,
they have managed to survive.

There is love—and sacrifice.
There is fear and there is anger;
There is greed and there is hate.
And all of these were present
when we lived in trees and caves.

But in all things, there's a balance
that is lost, when senses close—
the outer and the inner ones
that whisper in the wind.
 
This blocks out all the voices
That are needed to be sane—
the voices of the waters, of the air and of the earth,
and the voices of the beings
that have death and so have birth.

There's the power to imagine
and the logic that's a guide,
and these things were there with ancients
and the beasts that still survive.

But our reason is a pilot
to the destinations which
are set by instincts, feelings
that our logics cannot reach.

These are some of the essentials
that have stayed, in essence, same.
And when these are forgotten,
Then we stoop to acts of shame.

2018 September 20th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Silent Yelp


The Silent Yelp 


Of all the droughts with which we deal,
The ones within are worst.
These dry the well to which we turn
To slake our inner thirst.

We’re weakened by this thirst within
That leaves us parched and dry.
So those who once had strength collapse,
Without the tears to cry.

So what to do?  I do not know.
There’s Nature, work and love.
Some turn to help the ones in need
And some to gods above.

******

Of all the battles that we wage,
The ones that rage within
Are hardest, since we also lose
The battles that we win.

These rob us of our inner peace
And so disturb the mind
That what we once could fetch with ease,
We now no longer find.

So what to do?  I do not know.
Some brave the inner battle
And others shy from this and yet
Are slaughtered then like cattle.

******

When fear and anger dwell within
And will not go away,
We then are turned from grace to sin,
As flesh and mind decay.

So many sorrows have their roots
In anger, fear and greed,
As envy, hatred grow from shoots
To trees that spread their seed.

So what to do?  I do not know.
Our disciplines might help
But when these each have long dissolved,
Who hears the silent yelp?

******

So there it is.  The ones who wage
The wars they base on “facts”
Have demons they have nursed within
That guide their outward acts.

And those who crave yet more of wealth
And disregard the cost,
In lives of humans, beasts and plants,
To demons, long are lost.

So what to do?  I do not know.
To a demon, we may turn
And say, “How are you then, my friend?
I see how much you burn.”

******

We each must face our devils and
It’s better if they’re friends.
Instead of wars, we then can work
In peace, to make amends.

How many friends and kin are lost
From lack of eye and ear?
How many loves have been dissolved
And turned to rage and fear?

So what to do?  I do not know.
I wish I were a sage.
I pray that you’ll be wiser and
Have fewer wars to wage.

2018 September 8th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York
  

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Most Malignant Star


The Most Malignant Star

The ways of men and women aren’t free
Of vices that are praised as virtuous things.
We listen, look around and hear and see
The devils fly about on angels’ wings.

And if we dare to say that things are not
The things that they’ve been long proclaimed to be,
We then are targeted and left to rot,
As each is hung from each convenient tree.

******

The labels that we use are weapons too
And so are potent, just as bullets are.
For sticks and stones can injure me and you,
But words alone can start or end a war.

So when a virtue is condemned as vice
Or vice versa, this can ripple far
And then, no matter what the sage advice,
The hordes obey the most malignant star.

************

Ahuras and asuras are the same
And dewas, devils may be twins as well.
So one gets credit and another, blame,
Although they both, within the other, dwell.

The black and white and all the shades of gray
Are captured in the photographic frame.
And yet, some only hark to yes or nay
And label all with one or other name.

******

Who renders certain proof of distant things
Or certifies what happened in the past?
Was that a bird or a bat that flew on wings
And vanished as the light was ebbing fast?

And so it is that humans fashion feints
To make, of what was first, the very last.
So scoundrels sit in palaces, while saints,
For all their labors, are in dungeons cast.
 
2018 August 8th, Wed.
Brooklyn, New York

Friday, August 3, 2018

Reality


Reality

Do pardon us for holding up
Our hands at yet more pukes.
Denuclearize? Let's start with those
Who have the most of nukes.

WMD's? Who's got the most
Of these? And has used them too?
So why this game of make-believe
That lulls both me and you?

And why is that pundits rant
When leaders try for peace?
They did it to Obama. Trump
Is getting now his piece.

Fanatics? Who’s been backing those
With funds and arms and more?
How many lives have been destroyed,
How many nations more?

Democracy?  Is that our aim
In ventures far away?
Or is it power and money?  Who
Has guts to rise and say?

2018 August 3rd, Fri.
Brooklyn, New York
  

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Bay Lights


Bay Lights

The past few days were hot and humid both, as the dog days often are, this time of year.

I’d wondered if the breezes by the ocean might be cooler than the air that rose from heated streets.

And so tonight I walked down to the Bay and saw the distant lights reflected from the tops of waves.  These swept towards the shore and softly splashed—again and yet again.

And all the rest was dark, as waters are on moonless nights—with stardust spread above.

But city lights had hidden much. 

I only saw the stars of Coney and of Staten Island, with the glowworms crawling on the Verrazano  Bridge—as fireflies slowly rose and arced from JFK.

And faraway, beyond the Jersey shore, from time to time I saw the lightning flash and set ablaze a bank of clouds—without a sound.

And walking back, before the thunderstorm, I saw the headlights speeding on the Belt, in obvious haste to go to—where they went.

The breezes?  Yes, they’d cooled me down a bit.  They freshened as I walked towards my home.

I’d read that LED’s make more of light and less of heat.  On Brooklyn’s sleeping streets, they’d turned the night, in parts, to pallid day.

The storm?  It never came.  It still is hot.

But I remember walking through the night and seeing then the lights, by Gravesend Bay.

And that is still relief.

2018 August 1st, Wed.
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Experience


Experience

There was little to know or to understand,
As I stood where the ocean meets the land.
I could see, by the light that was ebbing fast,
The sea and the clouds of the storm that passed.
I could feel the wind and the drops of rain.
I could hear the waves as they crashed again.
I could smell the scents in the breeze that blew.
And there, for that time, that was all I knew.

2018 July 22nd, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Wisdom-II


Wisdom-II 

When I was young, l always yearned
For knowledge.  Now I understand
That knowledge, needed though it is,
Needs wisdom as its guiding hand.

Around us, we can plainly see
That knowledge is a needed tool.
And yet, what use is knowledge when
It’s used in service to a fool?

And even if our bosses had
The knowledge that they often lack,
Without the needed wisdom, they
Can act in ways that set us back.

If wealth and power are the aims
Of those who buy the knowledge needed,
Then wars and famines are their games,
As those who’re dying go unheeded.

Our primal goals are always set
By instincts and by feelings, so
Our knowledge and our logic then
Can merely tell us how to go.

But where and why?  Such questions need
Some wisdom and humility.
If hubris and expedience reign,
The harvest is futility.

There is a wisdom of the heart—
An organ that is in the mind—
That balances what’s in the head
And steers us towards being kind.

Is wisdom knowledge in gestalt?
That could be so.  It cannot be
Divided into parts, no more
Than that which tethers you to me.

There are more things, as Shakespeare wrote,
Than in our neat philosophies.
The mess that can’t be analyzed
Is life itself, not just disease.

Get rid of it, and life will end.
Analysis has a rightful place,
But when we love, we do not wait
To analyze the heart or face.

There is a balance that is sensed
Between our logic and our heart.
And that’s a thing that can’t be taught
As science.  It’s a deeper art.

To err is being.  Our ideal
Might be a thing that does not err.
But such a thing cannot create.
And that’s a theorem I infer.

2018 July 19th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York
------------------------------------------
 

Related:
https://thedailypoet.blogspot.com/2018/04/for-me-and-you.html

https://thedailypoet.blogspot.com/2015/11/ignorance.html