Category Archives: Poems

Attempting an Explication of the Second Coming by W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst   

Are full of passionate intensity.



Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   

The darkness drops again; but now I know   

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Some rough beast, a gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun is slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. Maybe the biggest question of this poem is why is the thing slouching? It’s a huge monster with a lion body. We think of lion bodies as being fierce, muscular, solar king-like, even devine in their beautiful symmetry (“What immortal hand or eye/ dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”) not slouchy! Lions are proud. People who slouch are ashamed and or dejected with being. For someone about to become Jesus 2.0, the next savior of the world, he’s not too excited about taking the job, that’s for sure!

And why go back to the original place? London, Paris, or New York would seem a more appropriate place for a new savior of this day and age to be born. With going back to the Levant, I sense its a metaphor that the ideals of the pagan West, namely that of the ideal of the individual, which is what the sense of the Grail romances, the pagan myths and fairy-tales, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment are all about, have now been thoroughly overthrown, for the ideals of the Levant which are that of the group. If you’ve ever experienced a mob mentality break out, you definitely have seen gazes that are blank, pitiless, and soulless. That’s the equivalent of falling to all three temptations of the Buddha (Lust, Fear, Social Duty) in one fell swoop.

But why use “the Sun” as a simile? That definitely catches your attention. The sun is usually a metaphor and simile used for bright and hopeful sentiments. But not if your walking across the desert, right? Also, if you think of the sun only in its scientific definition, if you leave out the romance, mythological dimension of life, and only understand it as a function of physics, groveling as it were before shear fact, then the sun is indeed dead, a ruthless fireball fusing hydrogen into helium, that cares not a wit about life.

Some part of us knows something is wrong, but….

We are vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle.

Say what? Here’s my shot: A “rocking” cradle suggests instability, an unknowingness in an instinctual way, of whose side the MOTHER is on. Is she Athena or Circe? Does she want to kill us or for us to be the savior of the universe? Or in a way, as only Greek Mythology can intimate, be both? Or in another sense, the ground of our own being, of life’s being. Is it an inherently good thing, evil thing, or indifferent? I.e. “Something that should not have been,” as Schopenhauer suggests. Is nature, this thing that our consciousness rests on, inherently nasty, disgusting, and evil? If one has that sense, you will certainly be vexed to nightmare all the way back to birth.

This is when it gets exciting, the adventure. Because this is the entire sense of the burning point what is uniquely you that wants, that must be expressed, that has never been expressed before. Becoming imminent, and yet in a gesture to the East, most likely spontaneously, as the eminence of transcendence, completely without ego.

Changing My Mind About Publishing in Today’s Media Landscape

I pulled into Kroger’s tonight, and what I felt was a good poetic line seemed to flash into me —like so many do that don’t necessarily have a direct meaning consciously, but feel like they came from another place and I am just the receiver and feel like they are pointing towards something that is deep and true.

Normally I’d put the line in Notes like I’ve done hundreds if not thousands of times before and that’d be the last I’d see of it. Today I said, “Screw it, let’s post it.” And there from my car, from my Chrome browser on my iPhone 7+ I opened up my WordPress, created a new post and typed in the line. After I hit save, another line came to me that I added, and while I was in the store a third.

We’ll see how this experiment goes, but my point is, something keeps calling me toward this way of doing things in “real time” as the phrase goes.

Here’s another example with music. A few months ago, I had a somber tune (sweet sad) come to my head on a Saturday night about like this one, and right here in front of this iMac I propped my iPhone, opened up Garageband and recorded it, knowing it would be my next single.

But then a case of the “perfections” came in, and I still haven’t published it. I feel now like I should have gotten it out there, if not that night, for sure within the next week, even if it had a bracket of (Demo) beside it on Spotify. Now so many months later, the tune has sort of lost its “spark” inside of me, and even if I could lay down a technically better performance from taking my time, it would have lost its emotional spark that getting it at the moment or close to the moment would give.

Of course ten years ago, much less twenty or thirty, this would have been a ludicrous approach, but as an example, I was just listening to Rick Beato talking about the B-Side Police single “Murder by Numbers” and as much as I love Synchronicity. I would just absolutely love as much a sort of “B-Side” album of the band recording the whole album live in the same mode of “Murder by Numbers” — mistakes and all.

The great Carver Mead said “Listen to the Technology.” My gut is telling me that the technology, offering itself like this with its focus on immediacy, is telling us to publish, even in the formal arts of poetry and music, with the same immediacy that social media does.

Two New Iambic Dimeter Poems

The neurons fire
In love tonight
The singing choir
relieves my fright
sleep with the Rose
submerge the sea
The bower knows
what’s inside me
She’ll come again
another door
her song the wind
ears to the floor.
Don’t say a word.
Love’s almost born.

—————————-

Let conscious breathe
you won’t I know
but can’t we dream
away we go?
September morn
blues Christ can play
The bells adorn
The nightly day
The purring moon
she finds her tide
we’re in a swoon
away we ride.
Her romance seeds
The worlds best deeds.

 

A New Poem in Iambic Trimeter: Visiting Isis’ Sister

I know it wasn’t fair
to those who dance below:
Between our creaky stair
Descends our nightly ghost.
I’ve come to see my girl
Her sister plays alone.
Here in her deathly world
Her grievance sings her song.
What does she want from me?
A willingness to die?
Like Jesus on the tree,
A needle through the eye?
I sacrifice my bliss
For you my little sis.

Hafiz Poems

In A Tree House

Light
Will someday split you open
Even if your life is now a cage,

For a divine seed, the crown of destiny,
Is hidden and sown on an ancient fertile plain
You hold the title to.

Love will surely bust you wide open
Into an unfettered, blooming new galaxy

Even if your mind is now
A spoiled mule.

A life giving radiance will come,
The Friend’s gratuity will come –

O look again within yourself,
For I know you were once the elegant host
To all the marvels in creation.

From a sacred crevice in your body
A bow rises each night
And shoots your soul into God.

Behold the Beautiful Drunk Singing One
From the lunar vantage point of love.

He is conducting the affairs
Of the whole universe

While throwing wild parties
In a tree house – on a limb
In your heart.

—————

 

2 New Iambic Poems

This first one is in iambic tetrameter with the structure of an English Sonnet:

I lost you to Arabian nights:
The god Apollo’s basketball.
You had that day Queen Isis eyes..
Unfolding reddened fall leaves song.
It does mean something here in snow.
The M&#257rga flames the Firebird’s beak.
Somehow it made me let you go,
So silent beings now can speak.
I reach across the earth for you.
Across the universe I fly.
You’re under spellbound mountain dew.
Asleep by mirrors’ watchful eye.
Then something shakes the arch’s gate.
The colors open again Finn’s wake.

©2013 Stephen K. Pickering

 

This second one is a straight English Sonnet, having the structure and the 5 iambic feet per line, iambic pentameter:

It’s thought itself that’s separating us.
My little molecules are calling you.
So Jesus told the mountain, “Part to dust!”
And said let go, that you could do it too.
Transparent eyes that cover Western skies.
I hook the trailer hilt that pulls the sun.
I search for you each night on moonlight drives:
Some feeling in the heart that you’re the one.
You pulled me out of the beach’s seahorse sand.
And ponied up the soul for Daphne’s bed.
With wildest sleep we wake this magic land
Sing witches stirring lives from worlds we’ve banned.
The tea room veils the river’s bride in frost.
All calling for the princess who’s been lost.

©2013 Stephen K. Pickering