15 June 2010

A Simple Desultory Poem for a Friend

For Sonia

"To make it burn you have to throw yourself in." - Galway Kinnell

We are left with only memories,
and the bitter pain they bring;
like the gentle recall of a perfume,
sweet as the first breath of Spring,
and skin, warm as sun-kissed grass;
as the course of human events
ebbs and flows through our lives,
ceaselessly pulling us farther and farther
from the place of peace we seek.

While the mind can imagine new love,
taking delight in the unknown and
living in the vicarious illusion of dreams,
we awake to endure the cruelty of solitude
and the numbing entropy of hope.
Despite the desultory touch of discontent,
your heart, repaired, though brittle,
will love again; trusting, like Sisyphus,
in the eventual success of its labours.

What could I promise you
that you haven’t already heard,
from much better men than I?
(Though their oaths, long shattered,
now lie strangled in the dust.)
I can not erase my human flaws;
only endure a Promethean fate,
while praying for the pure flame
to finally free my body and soul.

I could love one such as you,
anointing you as my Muse
and spilling my ink in praise;
if I were not already broken,
and the world were not as it is.
I’d reach up to steal the stars from Heaven
and wrap them in a box for you,
but you’d only make me put them back
so that all the world can see.

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