It’s been awhile but now I’m writing
Once again in metered verse.
And some of those to whom I’m sending
This will smile or laugh—or curse.
And since I’ve blanked out my emotions,
I consider now my choices:
How to give a form substantial
To the whispers of my voices.
Should I only draw my pictures—
Not with crayons, but with words—
Painting sunsets, valleys, mountains,
Fields and skies with flying birds?
Or should I chant in rhythms ancient,
Sounding vowels in my words,
Seeking rhymes and rising, falling—
Trilling like the singing birds?
Or should I write of what I’ve eaten—
Rice and cabbage, lentils, curds—
Writing also of digestion
And of what I’ve left as turds?
Perhaps it’s time that mathematics
Filled my verse with roots and surds— *
Or perhaps, I should write dirges
For Armenians, Turks and Kurds…
Should I fill my lines with nonsense,
Wasting my and readers’ time—
Though they offer still amusement,
Spoken out aloud with rhyme?
Or should I write of what I’m thinking,
How I view this sorry world?
Will you enter in the prisons,
In the hells in which we’re hurled?
Or should I write of feelings pleasant,
Sing of happiness and love,
Or raise my head towards the heavens,
Howling at the moon above?
Who can answer whence or whither,
Give us half a reason why
Each of us is born to dither
Just a while—and then to die?
I’ll be gone and then my verses
Will be lost, as all things are.
Why then should I write of living—
Joy and sorrow, peace and war?
Who will read these verses, written
In my notebooks in the night?
Who will bother still to mouth them,
Holding scribblings to the light?
Mine are verses born of grieving—
More of black and gray than white—
Yet there’s gold and silver in them—
Sparkles, hidden, of delight.
So I write, as if by random
Breezes blown, till gone from sight—
Like a little sailboat, bobbing
Through the heaving swells of night.
Should I end this poem neatly—
Tie the ends and pull them tight,
Or should I leave them hanging loosely,
Wondering why I chose to write?
There! It’s done, for better or—
As often far more likely—worse:
I’d felt the mists and rising vapors—
Asking for my rhyming verse.
Whence, these beings of the ether,
Seeking, each, their human voice?
Why is it—that we are bidden,
Yet appear to still have choice?
2016 May 13th Fri Brooklyn, New York (first two stanzas, central single stanza and last two stanzas added 2016 May 16th, Mon)
==================================== * Listed here are the uses of the words: (a) “surd” in mathematics and phonetics; (b) “root” in mathematics and linguistics. ====================================