Sunday, July 28, 2013

With Gentle Feet

With Gentle Feet
There are so many things that a man can do.
And a woman can do some more.
But when we have done these things, we see
We're still as we were before.

So the one, who thinks she'll do this and that
And so become another –
To her, I say, if that's your end,
It isn't worth the bother.

So do whatever you desire
Or what you have to do,
And savor thus your duty, pleasure,
While still remaining you.

For your body and your spirit are
As waves upon the sea,
And let's observe that wavelet, that
As cloud aspires to be.

It might forsake the ocean vast
And wash upon the land,
Or warmed by sun, as vapor rise –
And yet not understand.

For even if it rises high
Above the rolling plain,
Its nature is of water and,
As water, will remain.

And though it fall as snow upon
The lofty mountain peaks,
In time enough it will return,
As water, level seeks...

And though the sights that we may see
While mounting on ambition,
May serve to feed the dreams of age,
They will not give us vision.

For vision that is not of eyes
Alone is what is needed,
And when the heart is riven, then
Its vision isn't heeded.

And when ambition blinds our soul
Or we reject our parts,
Then all around us, shattered, lie
The bodies, minds and hearts...

So let the ones, who're driven, rise.
Observe them rise and fall.
Go carefully, with gentle feet,
With love for one and all.

There are so many things that a man can do.
And a woman can do some more.
But when we have done these things, we see
We're still as we were before.

So the one, who thinks he'll do this and that
And so become another –
To him, I say, if that's your end,
It isn't worth the bother.

2013 July 28th, Sun.


Edik Odik (This Way and That Way)

Edik Odik
Edik odik o`nek ghure, phire elam gho`re,
Bidda, buddhi, kan'd'o-gge`n ghorbar po`the phele.
Bar'ite to chilo jara, cole ge`che kothae.
Khali gho`re boxe bhabi, diner o`ndhokare.

Idhar udhar ghuumkar, mae~ ghar waapas aaya.
Mae~ ne saare akal chor ke aaya, safar ki sarak me.
Gharwaale to kidhar gaye, mahluum nahi~ mujhe.
Khaali kamre me baet'he hue, abh soc raha hu~ sirf.

I wandered near, I wandered far, returning home at last.
My knowledge, wits and common sense, I'd left along the way.
The ones I'd left behind at home had gone, I know not where.
I sit within an empty room and think, in dark of day.

2013 July 28th 
(or earlier)



Where shall we meet in the gloaming,
When shall I see you again?
There's so little of time remaining –
And yet it is time yet again...


Shall we meet by chance on a country road,
As the end of the day is coming?
And shall we dally there awhile,
With the crickets loudly humming?

Or shall I find you by a lake,
On another day, at evenfall?
And shall we linger by the shore,
As the frogs and the birds returning call?

Or shall we meet  in a wooded glen,
At the sunset hour, in another season?
And shall we stand there, in the dusk,
And wonder then if there's a reason?

Shall we cross upon the field,
At twilight, in another year?
Will you know that it is me,
And will I know that you are near?


We met and walked together awhile,
And then, in time, we parted.
But still, I think of you and smile,
Who far too soon departed...

I always feel that we'll meet again,
But then again we'll part.
And so it's always the end of the day,
When I sense that you are there.

But if I smile as the sun goes down,
Will I weep in the light of the dawning,
As I see you walking on the dew-wet grass,
And I know that you're gone forever?

How sad is the gloom of the evening,
How glad is the sun of the morn...
And yet, when I think of your passing,
I smile as I weep that you're gone.


Where shall we meet in the gloaming,
When shall I see you again?
There's so little of time remaining –
And yet it is time yet again...

2013 July 27th, Sat.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fluids In Fury

Fluids In Fury
When the wind is shrieking on Antarctic seas,
And the waves have grown to mountains on the move,
Then skillful whales have ways to still survive,
But humans are transfixed by fearful awe.

How powerful is air that's moving fast,
That drives destruction in the twister's whirl,
Or churns the sea and throws it at the land,
In great cyclones that circle 'round their calms.

So wind and water move and terrify,
As substance soft, ethereal turns to that
Which lifts and tears apart the works of man,
With pressure, speed then serving demon-wrath.

Bernoulli wrote and went upon his way,
But what he scribed remains the truth today,
Though some may doubt, until they start to see
How 'planes may fly and houses may explode.
And solids too can melt and then can flow,
Or in unmelted state vibrate and more.
So earth can swallow up a city or
Can tear it down to rubble in a trice.

And when the moving earth disturbs the seas,
Then ocean roars, as giant wall, at speed
Across the land, reclaiming as her own
The beings that had left her long ago...

Observe the power of the fluid state.
Behold the mountains that are frozen waves
That yet are moving, ever slowly, as
They crest and break in rows across the land.

But all these motions -- of the land, the sea,
The whirling air -- are driven by the sun
And by the heat that issues from the earth,
Itself a would-be sun within its heart.

And if you were to travel to the star,
Whose distant fury fuels wind and wave,
And if you could survive, what sights you'd see --
As matter, squeezed, yields radiant energy!

Then all of Earth's long history would seem
A tiny ripple in this flowing sea,
In which the whirlpools known as galaxies
Are spiraling to nothingness...

So matter is but energy, we're told,
Imprisoned and yet serving what's released,
And both in turn are issued from the word
That is a cousin to our time and space.

And though, within each atom of our cells,
The world dissolves as does the self in us,
And though we live upon the precipice,
It's in the fluids' fury that we see...

But where there's motion, there is stillness, yes.
Where all is passing, there is timelessness.
Abandon all, upon volcano's edge,
And spread your arms and whirl towards your death...

For only when we're free of fear, we live,
However briefly, yet in radiance.
Take courage then and dance with wind and wave.
The song of life is sounding in the vast.

2013 July 26th, Fri.


Monday, July 22, 2013


If you happen to be saddled
With a skin that isn't pink,
You should watch where you are going,
For it's not, as you might think.

You might say, “There is Obama,
There was Powell right before...”
But you'd better sit and listen.
There are things that you should know.

If you're followed as you're walking,
Returning from the store,
Pretend that it is nothing
Or you might regret it sore.

If you're followed by a driver,
As you're walking on the street,
Remember, keep on walking.
In this battle, best retreat.

If you try to go where drivers
In their vehicles, can't follow,
Skedaddle then – and faster,
If you see, behind, the feller.

You might think that by accosting
Or by challenging the guy,
You might still escape the torture,
But you really shouldn't try.

If you dare to try and fight him,
Then you know you might be killed.
So try to keep on walking,
For your color is your guilt.

If you're lying there and murdered
Then your mother, she might cry,
And your father, he might mumble,
“Tell me Jesus, tell me – why?”

But they'll let the one who murdered
Go back home and keep his gun.
You should never dream of fighting.
If you're followed, simply run.

You might think they still might get you,
But at least you've got a chance.
But you won't be having any
If you stick around to dance.

You may feel your life is threatened –
That he'll shoot you if you flee.
But you'd better still be running,
Or you simply may not be.

So listen to me close, son,
However strange I sound.
And even if you're cornered,
Never – ever – stand your ground!

I hope that you've been hearing.
Be a coward, never fight.
For though there is Obama,
See your color?  That ain't right.

2013 July 22nd, Mon.


Luna – Bright, Serene

Luna – Bright, Serene
The moon tonight was close to full,
And walking, I had seen
Her float between the streaming clouds,
In majesty serene.

The moon and sky I saw tonight,
So luminous and clear,
I wish we had within our minds,
Instead of fog and fear.

If only words that seers spoke
Perceiving sights afar,
Reflected truth as Luna does
Our nearest, fiery star...

Who dares to gaze at Sol on high,
Will blinded surely be.
In Luna's tranquil glow, that sun,
In temperance, we see.

I watched her sailing in the sky,
Or so she seemed to do.
Illusion, yes, but beautiful,
As could a life renew...

The sky above gives sustenance
The earth cannot provide,
As does the view from mountain high
Or mast on ocean wide.

Of sky and sea and earth are we,
And spirit that's unseen.
And all of this, I sensed tonight
In Luna, bright, serene...

2013 July 21st, Sun., 11:00 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn


Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Husband's Creed

The Husband's Creed
 Let me leave you here, my dear,
For just a little while.
And when I'm back, I'd like to see
A dinner and a smile.

An hour or two, perhaps a day,
A month or more, maybe...
How do I know, don't ask me more.
To tasks of household, see.

The duties of a wife, you know –
And that is all you need.
I will provide you wherewithal,
With which to children feed.

But do not ask me what I do
When I step out that door.
With what I say, be satisfied –
And do not ask me more.

I am a man – and men have needs,
As you, perhaps, were told.
Let that suffice.  Let those, who serve,
Refrain from questions bold.

So let me leave you here, my dear.
I'm sure you've work to do –
And I have mine.  We're married now
And I'll be watching you.

2013 July 21st, Sun.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I Saw the Moon

I Saw the Moon
I saw the moon beside a cedar tree.
I saw her moving as she walked with me.
And if I'd ventured to the dancing sea,
Her silver trail upon the waves, I'd see...

The moon is aged and yet is ever new.
She's watched the ancients and she watches you.
How many past have stood and marked her rise,
Or seen her shining in a lover's eyes?

I saw that moon, at full, on night of birth.
And in her rhythms, like the sea and earth,
She's followed me, an ever-watchful eye,
In all her guises, from the changing sky.

I might presume this old, familiar friend
Will watch this mortal as he meets his end.
And I will now request that on that day,
Beneath her gaze, I'm sent upon my way.

So if, as likely, I will lie within
A room, enclosed, with memory and sin,
I do beseech, whoever's at my side,
To take me where I sense her lunar tide.

And if there's none to help me leave this earth,
Remembering the moon I saw at birth,
And how she slipped behind the cedar tree,
From remnant coils, I'll lift my spirit free.

2013 July 19th, Fri.,  around 9:30 pm,
walking home from Gravesend Bay
along Shore Parkway,
between 17th & 18th Avenues,
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
(second stanza added later)


Friday, July 19, 2013

By the River

By the River
By the river's side, we met,
By the currents flowing.
We did not know, from where we came
Or where we would be going.

I still remember well the day
Our meetings there had started.
And I remember too the night
That we, in sorrow, parted...

How cool, the shade of leafy trees
On sun-kissed afternoons...
How wonderful, those nights we lay
Beneath the shining moon...

To every life, there comes a time
When darkness turns to light.
And so it was, that interlude
Of your and my delight...

We looked upon the waters then,
Reflecting moon and sun,
And on the dancing waves, we saw
The threads of being run...

We looked across the river and
We saw the other side.
We wondered if we'd ever cross
That river, flowing wide...

How many dreams we entertained,
How many thoughts we shared,
How many little things to show
That each, for other, cared...

How pleasantly those nights had passed,
Those days of dreaming then...
How sad it is, to think that we
May never meet again...

Oh how I long to see again
That river wide – and you,
To walk where river breezes blow
And kinship old renew...

The strands that intertwine and part,
In time are joined anew,
But memory is lost with death,
And so are I and you.

By the river's side, we'll meet,
By the waters flowing.
We will not know, from where we came
Or where we'll next be going...

2013 July 19th, Fri.
By New York Bay,
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
(added later: 4th stanza)

Note:  The following three stanzas were also added later, to follow before the last.  But they were subsequently excised and moved below.  They are kept there for those seeking some attempted explanation for that last stanza.

The river is the same and yet
Its waters, never old.
So we will pass away and yet
Our tale will be retold.

The river is the same and yet
The waters, ever new.
To others we will yield, who are
The newer I and you.

For even waters seeming new
Are from that mother risen,
To which they all at end will flow –
The deep and ancient ocean...

Also, a disclaimer:  This, like any other such from my pen or keyboard, is a romantic fantasy, no more...;-)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Play and the Audience

The Play and the Audience
A thought finds voice – and I can hear its speech.
Emotion rises.  I can feel its rise.
Thought, emotion then converse.  I watch.
In time, they dwindle and depart.  I stay.
Another thought inquires, “So where's this I?”
2013, July 18th, Thu.
Manhattan, Chinatown

A Window to the Sky

A Window to the Sky
Imprison me within a cell – but leave
A window there, that's open to the sky,
And I shall live a while – and even smile. 
But if you seal that view,  I soon will die.
2013 July 18th, Thu.
Manhattan, Chinatown

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Love and Zen

Love and Zen
When there is caring, there is also sight
That sees what's wrong as well as what is right.
And if there's power, there is action then,
And if there's not, the old familiar plight...

In each tradition, seers prophesied,
To draw attention to the problems tried...
A few succeeded and were honored men,
But most were laughed at, shunned or vilified.

There is compassion and there's cruelty.
And both of these, so many will not see.
And those who do, no matter how or when,
Are then accused of lacking sanity...

We're born and live and love and wonder why
Our fellow men embrace the easy lie.
The truth is there for those who care to ken.
Some care and try – but then it's time to die...

But this is not a paradise, this Earth,
In which, in pain, we each are given birth.
Yet there is love and there is also Zen.
Let's practice both – and then return to dirt.

We've some who only see in black and white.
They swing from love to hate, from ease to spite.
But others note the shades of gray and then
In brightness see the dark – in darkness, light.

2013 July 17th, Wed.


1. The word “men” is used as shorthand here
for “men and women”, to keep the rhyme and

2.  The Japanese word zen (Chinese chan)
derives from the Sanskrt dhyana, which may
be translated in English, depending on the
context, either as attention or as meditation
(deep, relaxed attention, especially the quiet
observation of one's own body-mind in the
present moment, beginning, for example,
with the breath).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Poet

The Poet
I saw a man, who'd dug a grave
And then lay down within.
I greeted him, “How do you do?
Is that a grave you're in?”

“It is.” he said.  I ventured then
To ask the reason why
He'd dug this grave (as I had seen)
And now, within, did lie.

“I am a poet, failed.” said he.
“Whatever else, I'd tried,
I'd made a mess of.  So, at end,
On poems, I relied.”

“Oh wonderful!  A poet!  Why,
I am delighted, sir!
For you're the first I've ever met.
An honor, you confer.”

And bowing low, in deep respect,
And also, so's to see,
I peered into that grave and saw
No trace of poetry.

“And where, oh poet (first I've met),
Are poetics of yours?
I've heard, a poem, when applied
At night, dyspepsia cures.”

At this, that poet muttered low.
His words, I strained to hear.
And in my notebook, I did scribe
Those noble words. They're here.

“I'll freely speak to you, because
You know so little, friend.
It's fitting that a dolt like you
Is witness to my end.”

And raising then his voice, he
With verses did regale,
Recounting what amounted to
A rather tawdry tale.

And all of what he said, I wrote,
At graveside taking seat.
And everything I heard from him,
I therefore can repeat.

“I started writing jingles when
I could do little else.
For though their quality was poor,
I'd learned that poetry sells.

“But I was told, 'There's better ways
For you to spend your time
Than this. Your poems rarely scan
And seldom even rhyme.'

'It's time for you to look ahead
And put yourself to use.
Such verses as you write amount
To nothing but abuse.'

“And so, I tried my best to see
The future, as they'd said,
But what I saw was dismal and
It filled my heart with dread.

“And when I'd tried to see ahead
And found that all was black,
I wished there was a way that I
Could go, reversing, back...

“Since I'd survived the past and it
Was old, familiar ground,
I thought that I'd be better off
Back there, for a second round...

“But being told that there's no way
To travel back in time,
The only thing that I could do
Is write yet more of rhymes.

“I then was told to look around
And see what others see –
A world that's waiting enterprise
With opportunity...

“But looking left and right I saw
There's peril everywhere.
I wished that I could run away
Where people better fare.

“But since they said that danger lurks
Wherever I might go,
The only thing I found that worked
Was writing verses more...

“I saw the worries on the faces
Of the people 'round,
And I'd begun to worry that
My mind was far from sound.

“But being told, by learned folk,
That worries can't be fled,
I scribed more verse, on paper, screen,
And even in my head.

“By then, I'd reached a point where
I'd written so much verse,
That verses were a burden too –
And getting, daily, worse.

“Oh woe betide the wastrel who's
Addicted in this way!
From versifying, I now wished
That I could run away...

“And so I sought out doctors of
Disorders of the mind –
For such as these, if you would look,
In plenty you will find.

“And I had asked, of physics such,
'Have you a cure for ailment
That makes me write in verses till
It's time for my confinement?'

“But I was told, for poetry,
There isn't any cure.
I asked if they were certain and
They said that they were sure.

“I asked myself if I could live
Addicted so, to verse.
The answer came from deep within:
A negative – and terse.

“The answer that I got was this:
A short and simple 'No.'
And then I realized it's time
For me to quit and go.

“For poetry deranges minds
And turns our brains to mush.
It chatters and it sticks its tongue
At those who say, 'Now shush!'

“It's better far to leave this world
Than stay and be afflicted
By such a thing, as that to which
I sadly am addicted.

“And since the doctors I had seen
Could see no way to fix it,
I now have dug this grave so I
Can make, in it, an exit.

“So if you come tomorrow, you
Will see me lying dead.
I hope that you will help to see
No homily is read.”

I'd scribbled all the poet said,
In the notebook that I carried.
And now, besides that poet's grave,
To pay respects, I tarried.

I waited till the sun went down,
And insects flew, that bite.
And slaps and curses then I heard
From poet, out of sight.

And peering in the dark, I saw
A pair of glowing eyes.
“Is this the poet's ghost?” I asked
Myself, in some surprise.

And gathering up my courage, I
Did venture then to say,
While looking at those glowing eyes,
And slipping, slow, away...

“Oh are you he, and still alive,
Who's final words, I've written?
Or are you he, no longer live,
And yet, by insects, bitten?”

I heard a growl, and then I saw
A hand reach out at me.
I thought it fit that I should leave,
And hastily did flee.

But when, to graveside, cautiously,
I tiptoed, in the morn,
I found that though the grave was there,
The poet, he was gone.

I wondered for a while at this,
And went then on my way.
But why that poet wasn't there,
I wonder, every day.

And I return, at times, to check
That grave that he had lain in.
And though the grave has long been filled,
A fig-tree, there, is growing...

Was it a spirit that I'd met,
Who spoke to me in rhymes?
Or was he just a man like me,
Reflecting on his times?

But as I wonder, lo, I find
There jingles, through my mind,
Such verses as that poet warned
Might all one's wits unwind...

So could it be, that on that eve,
As insects small were biting,
His poetry-pest, who'd drifted free,
Had found his “dolt” inviting?

So I reflect, on incident
So singular that I
Have written this, so someone might
Explain, before I die.

2013 July 15th, Mon.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Remembering / Infidelities

Remembering / Infidelities
The pigeons, having courted, hatched their eggs,
Are busy feeding their insistent young,
And so are little birds that dart from trees,
Whose limbs are now with verdant vestments hung.

But beasts are blessed and cursed with memory –
And they can see the future too at times.
And so, while still in summer's hot embrace,
I lie with other seasons in my rhymes...

While walking underneath a brilliant sun,
As summer spreads its spell of warmth and light,
I still remember well the spring, the fall,
The winter's cold – the dark of longest night...


For summer's end, by orbit is ordained,
As every day the sun goes slowly south.
And this is known to birds as well as men –
With winter's breath on twig in sparrow's mouth...

The seasons dance in circles 'round and 'round,
And each has qualities that are its own.
In winter, I will walk this street again,
Remembering the summers I have known...

It's said that men are polygamous, while
The women are a monogamous lot.
I doubt that this is true, but then I smile,
Remembering I've stirred proverbial pot...

For though I have been faithful to my spouse,
As much, perhaps, by circumstance as will,
I still have lain in every season's bed,
And striven, there, to comic roles fulfill.

And since I then retained those memories,
I once recited verses in my sleep.
And those, who heard, then looked at me in doubt,
As all my secrets they could share – or keep.

2013 July 14th, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm
(walking on Bath & Benson Avenues
between 18th & 19th Avenues – and 
seated at the Guatemalan diner at 

the corner of Benson & 18th)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn




You've come to me to seek advice, but I am old and stupid...
And what have I to offer you that isn't merely vapid?

If you would seek what's practical, or what advances most,
Go talk to those who're practical, and of advances boast...

But I can tell you what I've learned. It may be little use...
But it is free. To follow it, you always can refuse...

What little I have learned of note, I haven't learned from books...
But I have learned we cannot judge a thing by how it looks...

So look a little deeper then.  Do not, as you are told...
Do what you think is right.  Reject the lies that you are sold...

Let zealots force their fearful views upon the ones who follow,
Let cynics fish for sly rewards in waters safely shallow...

Be brave, my friend, embrace the deep and see the burning stars...
Go find that peace that lets us live amidst our senseless wars...

But know that you can tour the world and never find it there...
That peace resides within yourself, if you can shed your fear...

Of hubris, though, you must beware... Remember to be humble...
And listen to that person too, who seems to only mumble...

How much there is to understand, how little do we know...
And yet we dream we know it all – and then we have to go...

How manifold this universe, in which we live a while...
How little we have understood, we see and so we smile...

But you are young and I've no wish to rob you of your mooring...
I wish that I could tell you more, but I'd be long and boring...

You came to me to seek advice, I gave you only puzzles...
But shield your eyes, so you can see, from all that merely dazzles...

But you have seen a bit of this, a bit of that, my friend...
And you are bright, so you can tell me how to face my end...

No, do not go!  I only jest.  You've got to take a joke...
We still can talk awhile before it's time for me to croak...

2013 July 14th, Sat., 6:07 am.

A Prayer for Cleansing

A Prayer for Cleansing 
How many zealotries have plagued this world,
Replacing nature's wealth with poverty...

How much of avarice and jealousy
Have turned the efforts born of reason and
Of heart to naught, dismissed as fantasies
The hopes and visions giving sustenance...

How often has the narrowness of sight
Let ignorance prevail, as hardened hearts
Made virtues of the sins of callousness...

How much of horror has ambition wrought,
When coupled with the lies of all the rest...

And all of this is born of that unrest
That is the curse of human sentience.

Within the vortex of insanity,
There still resides the quiet eye of peace.

As violence rages like a fever's fire,
The healing dwells in silent sanity,
Enduring all that breaks the heart and mind,
With wisdom gleaned through long humility,
Compassionate and loving, quietly kind,
The antidote to all that poisons us...

We each can race along that driven path
That leads us all to hell – or turn and see
What still provides what meaning there is left...


Do come with me awhile upon this way,
That's old and worn, and yet remains as new...

Observe, in heartfelt quietude, and then
Let madness be – and walk in sanity...

Let I's defenses, raised in fear and greed –
Let I's defenses fall, so eyes can see...

Let's dive and bathe in Nature's streams and cleanse
Our minds and hearts of our obscuring sins...

Let go, let go of all your prejudice,
From all that gives you special station, flee...

The whirling dervish whirls and so is one
With all that's flowing in this universe...

Remember you are naught but transience
And use, with heart, your gift of sentience...

2013 July 14th, Sun, 5:31 am
(with some revisions later)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Saturday, July 13, 2013


While walking down a street, familiar, I
Had come upon a man who waved at me.
I did not know this man – but still waved back.
But then he asked me, “Who the heck are you?”

I fled, confused – and looking back, I saw
That he was pointing at me, to another man,
And saying, so I thought, “That person there,
He waved at me but then he ran away.”

I turned a corner, picking up my pace,
And so collided with a woman large.
On bouncing back, I saw the woman was
A person I had known. I greeted her.

She looked at me and frowned. But then, she said,
“Oh Harry! How've you been? It's been a while!”
And saying this, she stood and smiled past me.
I turned around to see, but found no one.

Again confused, I could not say a word.
For where was Harry?  Who the heck was he?
And so, I fled again, confused as hell.
But glancing back, I saw she followed me.

I started running, looking back at her
To see if she was catching up to me.
But no, she soon was out of breath – and stopped.
I thanked the gods – but then I bumped my knee.

It was a dog, upon whose back I fell.
A great big dog that barked and glared at me.
I lifted hands to better save my face,
But found his paws upon my heaving chest.

And pushing hands aside, with forceful nose,
He opened wide his jaws – and then I saw
A great red tongue that leaped to lick my face,
As I fell back, so pavement hit my head.

I lay there, stunned, enduring tongue and drool,
Until a person came and called out, “Tom!”
At this, the dog departed, wagging tail,
As he had done while he was over me.

I tried to gather scattered wits and then
To comprehend my last indignity.
I knew no dog called “Tom” – and yet I felt
The moisture still upon my squinting face.

And as I limped towards my home, I thought,
“Am I myself, or am I dreaming this?”
And so, I tried to wake myself – and did,
And saw I lay on my disheveled bed.

2013 July 13th, Fri.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Stranger

The Stranger

Come, and I'll tell you a story,
As this is a rainy day.
Sit, and I'll tell you a story,
And the rain will go away.

In a village, once, by the ocean,
As the stormy season neared,
As the villagers stood near the ocean,
A strange little man appeared.

And the mothers and fathers and children,
Who were gathered there, by the sea,
Wondered, how, out of nowhere,
That stranger came to be.

And the bachelors and spinsters questioned,
As bachelors and spinsters do,
If the stranger who'd come was married
Or still was a bachelor too.

And the widowers there, and the widows,
They all had their questions, yes.
But none had the courage to ask him,
Though several attempted to guess.

But he walked by the gawkers in silence
And he never said a word.
But he stopped, as he was walking,
To shoo away a bird.


And every day, for a fortnight,
They would see him walking there.
And though they all were curious,
To greet him, none would dare.

For the villagers all were fearful
Of the ghosts and goblins 'round.
So they'd watch him walk in silence,
And they rarely made a sound.

But they'd note the way he was walking
And the way that he looked as he walked.
And some believed he was human,
But at greeting him, they balked.

He walked with his beard and his belly,
He walked with a waddling walk.
And the mothers, who saw him walking,
They talked their mothers' talk.

He walked by the side of the ocean,
He walked by the side of the sea.
And the fathers, who saw him walking,
Asked, “Who the heck is he?”

And the bachelors there and the spinsters,
And the widows and widowers too,
They would look at each other and whisper,
“Is he like me and you?”

He walked in the evening and morning,
He walked in the noonday sun.
And the children, who saw him walking,
To see him close, would run...


But the mothers would hiss out loudly,
And the fathers would growl out stern,
And the children, who'd been running,
Would stop and would return.

They wondered where he came from,
They wondered where he went.
Three miles to the neighboring village,
No lodgings, there, to rent...

But they weren't bred to be curious,
Those villagers down by the sea.
They'd bless themselves when they saw him,
And then they'd let him be.

He walked by the side of the ocean,
He walked in the sun and rain.
He looked at the waves on the ocean
And he looked at them again.

He walked with a cane that he carried
And he tapped with the cane on the ground.
The watchers could hear him walking
With a softly tapping sound.


And he always walked in silence,
As he never said a word.
But he'd stop, as he was walking,
To shoo away a bird.


On a day that was wild and stormy,
A ship had come sailing by.
And all of the village was fearful
That the sailors all would die.

And along came the man with the belly
And the beard and the tapping cane.
And he walked to a seaside jetty,
In the wind and whipping rain.

He stood by the sea, on the jetty,
And he waved, in the air, his cane.
And he almost lost his footing
But he waved it high again.

He stood by the sea, on the jetty,
And he loudly yelled out, “Shoo!”
And he waved his cane at the ocean
As a crazy man would do.

And as they were watching the madman,
As the villagers thought he was,
They all said, “Ooh!  What happened?”
And they said this loud, because...

The wind, it had died, of a sudden,
And the ocean, it was calm.
The clouds had fled, with their raining.
And the sun was shining warm...

The sails on the ship were drooping
On a calm and glassy sea.
There wasn't a wave on the ocean,
As far as eye could see...


They stared in their awe and amazement,
They scratched on their heads and behinds.
They turned up their palms and made noises.
They asked, “Are we out of our minds?”

And the man with the beard and the belly
And the waddling walk and the cane,
He walked by the side of the ocean
And he tapped the ground with his cane...

They could see that his belly was shaking.
They could hear him laughing loud.
And the children ran towards him,
In a cheering, yelling crowd.

But just as that crowd was approaching
The man with the belly and beard,
He twirled his cane in a circle
And he turned and disappeared.

And that is the end of the story,
Whether you like it or not,
Because, the rest of the story,
Your grandpa has forgot...


But go, look out through the window,
And go and stand by the door.
And you'll see that the sun is shining.
So go and play some more...

2013 July 9th, Tue.
(with a few stanzas inserted July 12th, Fri.)

Befuddled / Great and Grand

Befuddled / Great and Grand
I saw a man, with a belly large,
And I wondered why, by fate,
I'd chanced to meet, on my evening walk,
With a person who was great.

And next – a woman, wide of hip,
With buttocks rolling high...
And seeing such a lady grand,
I asked, of Fortune, “Why?”

But then, next morning, I espied
A gent of tiny size.
And so I knew, what one day gives,
The next, in turn, denies.

But on that eve, I saw a dame
Whose size was average.
And where she fitted, in the scheme
Of things, I couldn't gauge.

And puzzled as to what this meant,
I lifted hands to sky,
“You've sent me great and grand and small
And average – but why?

A woman, walking by my side,
A man of muscle eyed.
She oohed at chest and biceps big.
Magnificent!” she sighed.

Was height or girth or weight the crux
That merits “great” or “grand”?
This matter deep, that worried me,
I wished to understand.

I dallied at the library
And looked up those who're "great".
I found that despots, so are named,
Who mayhem, most, create.

2013 July 9th, Sun.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Round Trip

Round Trip
Where the ocean meets the sky,
To that meeting, I shall fly.
You can watch me as I shrink
To the dot that still is I.

And you'll see me vanish then,
As I leave the realm of men
To be one with sea and sky,
And you'll wonder where I went.

When the days and years have passed
And your end is nearing fast,
You'll be looking out to sea
And you'll see the visions past.

Where the ocean meets the sky,
You will see a little fly,
And you'll watch it as it grows
To the man that still is I.

2013 July 9th, Tues.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Her Secret Vice

Her Secret Vice
“What's your hobby?” asked her friend.
“You heard me. Speak, and don't pretend.
I told you mine was postage stamps,
A pastime I acquired from gramps.
But you have never told me. Speak.
I've asked you several times this week.”

She could not speak, for quite a while.
But then, she tried to force a smile.
“Your game is up.” She told herself.
“It can't be kept to just yourself,
This thing you do, your secret shame.
Perhaps she'll understand, not blame.”

And thinking of her secret pleasure,
She found her courage, in some measure.
She'd bowed her head – and looking low,
Had studied well, companion's toe.
But now she tried to meet her eye.
“It's mathematics, on the sly.”

She'd murmured, what she could not shout.
At last!  Her secret now was out.
But searching in the hearer's face,
She saw the worst – a maid's disgrace.
And flustered, she looked down again,
While feeling, in her heart, that pain...

She'd hoped her friend could take, what men
Could not divine – or ever ken.
And so, she'd spilled her secret vice.
But see, her friend had turned to ice.
She saw her look of shock and horror,
And so was filled with sudden terror.

She wondered if she might be blamed
For feeling frightened and ashamed.
She wondered how to fix, what she
Had done – or how and where to flee.
She even wondered, if her life
She now should end, with pill or knife...

“But no,” she thought, “that's foolishness!
Let others think their nastiness.
For if my hobby gives me joy,
Why should I not, this gift, enjoy?
Was I not made by the Creator
To be, like Her, a calculator?”

And saying this, to soothe her pain,
She thought of pleasures past again.
The calculus was exquisite
For those, with skills prerequisite.
But even novices find joys
In playing with their basic toys...

And for the ones, who're more advanced
And have, in rings, with tensors danced,
Or played with algebras of Lie,
They know, what glory this can be.
What joys compare, upon this Earth,
With proofs – or giving theorems birth?

And so, with bashful, downcast eye,
She took her pleasures on the sly,
Remembering her sessions past,
In fields, with groups, that seemed to last
Beyond what humans could endure
And yet emerge, in essence, pure...

But glancing at her shell-shocked friend,
She knew her respite had to end.
But how, alas, she could explain
What she had done, escaping pain,
She did not know. But should she try,
Or wait till other asked her, “Why?”

2013 July 8th, Sun.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Darkened Hall

The Darkened Hall

The curtain's fallen. The players all have left.
And yet I sit within the darkened hall,
The voices of the play still echoing...

And if I sit enough, perhaps I'll see
The curtain rise -- and see the play begin --
Another play, perhaps, and yet the same,
As I sit watching in the darkened hall...

2013 July 6th, Sat


Friday, July 5, 2013

The Season of the Sun

The Season of the Sun

For all that lives on our planet's northern half,
This is the season of the warming sun,
With pack ice melting into open seas
And mountain glaciers feeding muddy flows,
With all the temperate zone arrayed in greens
And tropics bathed in solar radiance
Or flooded by the thunderstorm's deluge...

So some are fleeing now from fire or flood,
While others bask in languor in the sun...
And date-palms stand in desert oases,
While tal and coconut are bowed by gales
That bring with them the horizontal rain –
As in the stillness of the ocean's warmth,
The great cyclones are born that lash the seas...

And many now complain about the heat,
The humid air, the sweat that clings to skin...
And even lusts, ignited by the spring,
Are now put out by summer's stickiness...
But those of us, who shift with seasons' swings,
Adjust ourselves, accepting what it brings,
This passing season of the broiling sun...

It is the season now of fiery heat,
It is the season now of brown and green,
As throats and fields are parched by drought and sun
Or watered by the clouds that bring relief...
It is the time of fire and withered leaves,
And yet, the time for lushly growing grass...
It is the season now of rain and sun...

2013 July 5th, Fri.


Broad and Deep, the River

Broad and Deep, the River

Broad and deep, the river, oh,
Broad and deep the river!
See the river's steady flow,
Broad and deep, the river!

The ships, they come a-sailing, oh,
Broad and deep, the river!
See them come and see them go,
Broad and deep, the river!

Who are they, the sailors, oh,
Sailing down the river?
Some are young and some are old,
Sailing down the river!

Where are they a-sailing to,
Sailing down the river?
They're sailing to a city, far,
Sailing down the river!

What are they a-carrying, oh,
On those sailing ships?
They are carrying men and gold,
On those sailing ships!

How'd they get the men and gold
On those sailing ships?
It's looted gold and men in chains,
On those sailing ships!

The ships, they come a-sailing, oh,
Broad and deep, the river!
See them come and see them go,
Broad and deep, the river!

Broad and deep, the river, oh,
Broad and deep, the river!
See the river's steady flow,
Broad and deep the river...

2013 July 5th, Fri.
on the D-train to Manhattan,

crossing the East River
over the Brooklyn Bridge 

Thursday, July 4, 2013



I have dusted shelves and tables,
I have swept and mopped the floors.
I have cleared away the cobwebs
On the ceiling, by the doors.

I have cleaned the greasy kitchen.
And the bathroom, how it shines...
I've cooked and set the table,
Lit the candles, opened wines...

But the guest that I've awaited
Hasn't rung the doorbell yet.
I've been feeling rather anxious...
It is late... Did she forget?

But the place is looking better
Than it's been, for quite a while...
And I've company for dinner –
A little roach, at whom I smile...

2013 July 4th, Thurs.

 Note:  This may have been sparked by a
recollection of a poem by Robi Thakur
(Rabindranath Tagore), in which the poet
writes of waiting for his guest, in a room 
that has been swept clean in expectation.

This was probably meant to be an allegory,
with the sweeping of the room representing
the clearing out of clutter and distractions
from the body-mind-soul, and the guest
being none other than the Divine. Of course,
all that the poet can do is wait for that guest,
who may or may not come...

Attempting, perhaps, to recast this dimly
remembered piece (perhaps from Tagore's
Gitanjali) in a modern, urban context, I was
led, by the vagaries and dictates of rhyme and
meter, to candles and wines, neither of which
have ever been part of my dinner preparations...

And into that inner realm there came also that
little being that, for all I know, is as connected
to the divine as any other... and so may be as
good a stand-in as any other for that uncertain

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I met some souls, demented, yet alive,
Who rued their lives, misguided and misspent.
They asked, what lesson could a soul derive,
Except that all is naught, and made lament:

“How few, our moments, brief, of happiness,
How many, those of agony, despair...
In all save death, we've naught but diffidence,
And yet, we're born – to life and loving dare.”

I tried to tell a wanderer that I
Had aught to cherish in the life I'd lived.
He answered not, but with a baleful eye,
My own and so, my living soul, transfixed.

And as he stared into my self, I saw
That what I'd thought was precious now was turned
To worthless trifle.  All that I had built
With hope and labor was, to ashes, burned...

I screamed and wailed in horror and despair,
And heard their echoed voices join with me...
And all, I thought, had gone beyond repair,
Until I woke and light of dawn did see...

2013 July 3rd, Wed.



The day was quietly leaving – and the night was at the door.
It was raining, softly, softly, as the light was ebbing slow.
From the water in the gutters, the lights, reflected, shone,
As all across the city, those lights were turning on...

I was treading, slowly, softly, on my aging, sneakered feet,
And I'd hoisted my umbrella as I walked the city street –
For the rain was softly falling while the light was ebbing slow,
As the day was quietly leaving and the night was at the door...

I heard a neighbor talking as I passed her darkened house.
I could hear her quietly talking as I walked beside her house.
I could hear what she was saying, for my tread was soft and slow,
As the trees grew dark and looming as the night came in the door...

So the tide, it ebbs and rises – and the moon, it waxes, wanes.
And the city slows at evening as it's touched by gentle rains...
The night, it enters softly as the day has quietly left.
As the tide of light is turning, we remember those who've left...

The day, it had departed as I entered in my house.
And I waited, in the gloaming, for the coming of my spouse...
I would wait till it was midnight, then I'd call her on the 'phone,
As she left her ailing parent and she traveled home alone...

I wished that I could do as she had done so many years,
Remembering the ones I left behind while shedding tears...
But I waited there in silence and my cheeks and eyes were dry.
It was only for the living that I've ever had to cry...

2013 July 2nd, Tue.
(last two stanzas added July 3rd Wed.)