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September 14, 2008

Posted by Tim in Poetry.
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About a year and half ago I bought Nickel Creek’s album Why Should the Fire Die?  It is excellent.  There has always been, however, one track that I never cared for.  Today on the drive to church the CD was in and I payed close attention to it for the first time.  Behold “Helena”:

Helena, don’t walk away
Before you give me back my heart
If it were mine, it would be yours to take
I’m sorry I’ve let down my guard, oh Helena

You looked so sweet
I should have seen
While I was playing for fun
You were playing for keeps (more…)

For Mohammed March 12, 2008

Posted by Tim in Poetry.
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I.
His eyes are full of respect
For the divine lines drawn inside him
Through some arab sand
At the far edge of history.
His eyes are full of holy things
That cast shadows on his childhood
Strange shapes on a stranger
In a land where his soul belongs.

His hands are full of youth
Caged
In cuffs of suspicion and ignorance
And the first sin: willing to be deceived.
His hands trace the crosses in bricks
Like the crosses in his fist
That spat at pity
And chose truth and we over free satisfaction

His feet are bared and burning
For a sacred place
Full of hope and chances
And a new tongue: horizons.
His feet, scorched by many deserts’
Suns which beat him
The sojourner boy
Who dared to break through the mountains.

II.
And through the mountains a city came
On a hill like a white elephant
And its lights were piercing and mighty
And could not be hid.
His eyes, full of light
His hands, full of crosses
His feet, full of hope
The city, full of horizons.

III.
They did not bring him through the gates.
They took him through the space that does not exist
To where the city’s heart was excised:
The afflicted isle.

The afflicted isle
That beats in rhythm to the sound of fear
All locks, no keys
All rocks, no sand.
His eyes were opened inside their sacred place
And his feet, bared, lost hope at the city’s
Sons who beat him
But his hands were not willing to be deceived.

IV.
So he wrote, and he writes
Humanity’s song: The First and The Only Poem of Life
Divine lines that can only be seen
By the Sons of God.
And he sings:
Whenever ignorance takes hope captive
Whenever a city beats at divine lines –
Move it.

Opposition February 21, 2008

Posted by Tim in Poetry.
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It is not truth that disrupts them
(like flies on old lions)
But a shift and a challenge:
A wall in the middle
(like an invented organ
cancering upward).
They spread out their hands
And lie behind the horizons
Peering at newness with anger and pride
(like priests in conspiracy
unfolding evidence)
They sharpen their arms
Afraid.

So within the wall the work starts to quicken
(like foxes now knowing they’re prey)
And calls of don’t falter are heard round the circuit
And God is invoked and plans are constructed
(like redeemed rubble):
One arm a soldier
The other a slave.

Subbing January 29, 2008

Posted by Tim in Observations, Poetry.
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So, I’m at my old high school subbing for an English teacher today.  I just finished reading over the material for today, and… wow.  One poem for the honors class, another for the not-honors class.

 The poem for the honors class is “The Second Coming” by Yeats.  It is incredible, and incredibly difficult to understand.  I’m curious what you make of it.  I start to glance things, but the questions are stunning.  Read it, then try to answer the following *sampling* of questions.

What “centre” does he refer to, and why can’t it hold?

What “ceremony of innocence” is “drowned,” and why?

Why does he include 2 different references to birds in “falcon” and “desert birds”?

How and why does the poem end on an ironic note?

These questions have me puzzled, because I feel they are legitimate but hopelessly beyond me.

 The second poem is over 100 years old but very relevant to today; in fact my brother wrote a paper in college comparing it to today’s US foreign policy.  Consider this stanza:

Take up […]
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

How do you react to that?  Now Google the poem.  How do you react to it now?

Spooled November 30, 2006

Posted by Tim in Poetry.
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Friendship is like string-loaded spring-loaded kite spools
I must wind it in with simple continuous motions
– keep taut the line
But to spin I have but two hands
(And spinning one takes usually two)
And two feet to put on hold with and hope for the wind
– keep taut the line

And the subtlety is

Setting aside the spring-loaded spools sets to life the out-spinning into distance until the string stirring sets to fly

Yet holding and in-spinning on is work and the worth is mere friendship

Wish I had been warned
Wish kites had holes