Versus my Verses
I fill the voids with scribblings such as these,
which serve to soothe my troubled soul a while.
And yet I know the issues I avoid
will still remain to plague this ailing mind.
Our angels, demons wait for vacant times
to show themselves. So good and evil, both,
and beauty, horror go unrecognized
until we find the time to stop and see.
And if, indeed, the time I take to write
these verses gives me chances still to be,
to gather in my scattered parts, to take
then stock – and so reflect, it’s time well spent.
But if, instead, I merely seek release
or refuge from the stresses of my life,
then every line I write appears to be
another ruse to fool my remnant sense.
We travel, each, upon our roads of life,
and some may find a pleasant walk awhile.
But then, the bandits and the dark ravines
appear. We’re beaten, broken – and we fear.
So some of us may turn to alcohol,
while others do as they are told by thugs.
And others yet, who’re drained of strength to fight,
may pen their verses, be these light or dark.
And some may write and keep their writings hidden,
while others visit these on readers’ heads.
And in my case, I do this, though unbidden,
and hope to leave some threads of sense behind.
But then, I wonder if my foolishness
is even greater than I once had thought,
and whether all the twine I twist and weave
will quickly fray to shreds and disappear.
No matter – verse, like beer, gives pleasure still
to those who brew it and to those who swill.
As bodies rot, so also words will fade.
There’s still delight, when verse, like life, is made.
So when, in darker moods, I find I curse
at all the time I've spent on writing verse,
I hear again that whisper of the muse
that bid me write – although it came out worse.
And so it is that verses come and go,
resolving nothing, much as children might
that mothers bear and then must tend until
they’re grown enough to face the cruel world.
But mothers spend their years on rearing kids,
and many fathers also do their share.
But poets like me are careless parents, for
they give their verses life and let them go.
And so I might condemn this work I do,
if not that endless toil I do for school,
where I’m a parent faux, for a year or term,
to children, often seven score or more.
Perhaps that other labor, more intense
and longer, far, might justify the verse.
Indeed, that’s what has led to it – and yet
I look at both and wonder – whither, why?
2015 April 17th Fri, 18th Sat & 20th Mon
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York
Note: I wrote the first four stanzas of this piece on 2015 April 17th Friday, around 8 pm, after leaving the school where I work. I wrote them while sitting on a “park” bench near the "Liberty Pole" and the New Utrecht Church, by 18th Avenue and 84th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
|Liberty Pole and New Utrecht Dutch Reformed Church|
18th Avenue & 84th Street, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
The pole was first erected in 1783, at the end of the revolutionary war with Britain.
|Top of New Utrecht Liberty Pole|
The New Utrecht Church was originally at a site, next to an old Dutch cemetery, that is now two long blocks away, on 16th and 84th. It was completed in 1700 and stood there for over a century. The church was rebuilt, in 1828-29, at its present site, using material from the original building.
|New Utrecht Dutch Reformed Church|
18th Ave & 84th St, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
The cemetery, still standing, dates back to 1654.
|New Utrecht Cemetery, 16th Avenue & 84th Street, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn|
The middle six stanzas (after the first break) were written the next day, at the Pakistani restaurant (Skyway) on Bath Avenue, between 20th and 21st Avenues, Bensonhurst.
The last four stanzas (after the second break) were added at home, in the early morning of April 20th, Monday, before leaving for work.