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by Alan Harris
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America the Beautiful Revisited
Another Sonnet to Another Spring
Aphorisms from "Poor Al's Almanack"
Claire de Lune
Columbus Day, 1980
Crack the Sky
Flower in Vase
Making a Tree
A universe in birth:
Each molecule a galaxy,
Each quark a tiny earth.
And what we call our universe,
All matter, time, and space,
May be a single atom of
A macrocosmic vase.
Thus up and down the scale of size
Both "small" and "large" are limitless
And join Eternity.
Great men have puzzled over God
To place Him in their plan,
As Primal Cause, or Sourceless Source,
Or vast Omniscient Man.
But God can never be confined
Within a man-made phrase;
He hides behind unnumbered veils
Impossible to raise.
And yet we see His evidence
In every time and place--
Behind each seed and universe,
Within each flower and vase.
Inside our inmost soul of souls,
If we can meditate,
We find a spark of light divine
And feel it radiate.
While nowhere, and yet everywhere,
Our God resides within;
Though still and small, His guiding voice
Transcends life's noisy din.
To hear His voice and understand,
Then fearlessly obey,
Is that which mystics, martyrs, saints,
And wise men call "The Way."
Consider every universe
And every point in space
As God in God in God in God,
As vase in flower in vase.
Sends up a tentative tentacle
And feels the Divine Touch.
The trinity of clay,
Body and heart and mind,
Joins the Trinity of Spirit,
Will and Wisdom and Soul,
As the one knowing the One.
Part 1: GenesisSeven soft planets
bloom on the trellis of space
like sunlit roses.
yellow universe in birth,
flows deeply toward light.
Forest dawn reveals
acres of acorns dormant
beneath parent oaks.
Virgin mountain bears
seven bouquets of roses
under Father Sky.
Fohat plants a tree
of apples laden with seeds
to orchard an earth.
Breeze of Creation
swirls sparks from sleeping embers;
monads dance alive.
Seven pearls glisten,
lucid on a stringless string,
linking space with space.
Part 2: ActivityBrooding dove in nest
warms empty eggs to fullness,
Honeybees from hives,
inhaling sublime nectar,
breathe sweet hexagons.
Colony of ants,
thoughts darting, busy, working--
mind in miniature.
Moon-struck timber wolves
howl their mantras mournfully
from far-off mountains.
Caged lion pacing,
fretful of the iron bars,
under silent sun.
Midnight crickets sing
in synchronous symphony
to unknown baton.
Spider in moonlight,
spinning fragile microcosm,
Part 3: ConsummationOrb of eye twinkling
with golden glint of grandness--
spark becoming star.
diffused by breeze-churned ripples,
returns to deep calm.
reveals a whispering valley
where all is in place.
Mind relaxing walls,
manyness softly merging
until one dream dreams.
Ark of human souls,
riding silent in dark waves,
bound for Pralaya.
Black night sky, speckled
with blazing bonfires of gods,
murmurs cosmic OM.
Voice of the Silence,
throbbing through hushed city night,
chanting "Peace, peace, peace...."
And tickles winter's seeds until they burst
In bright-green chlorophyllous flame, well-nursed
By throbs of heat and chill, of wet and dry.
Earth breathes her gentle procreative sigh
Into a billion billion eggs, her first
Prolific breath of love since blizzards cursed
In Capricorn and cold clouds choked the sky.
When hungry lungs inhale spring's balmy breath
And birds sing out "Rebirth!" from every tree,
Our souls trade withered shrouds of icy death
For flowing robes of immortality.
We read in every birth a crisp new page
Of Nature's Scripture, passed from age to age.
Teeters on a point of zenith
Like a juggler's disc
Twirling on a stick.
Intrepid owls (2)
Night blue into
A billion oranges
Molded into a smolder.
Up comes the sane sun
Wheeling the lunatic
Moon on ahead and
Tumbles it off the brink
Of spinning sky,
To be caught by the
Juggler and thrown up
There perhaps again.
Toward evanescent Truth.
Smile through hard frowns
Toward patient Joy.
Pray through frozen images
Toward warm Oneness.
Love through burning hatreds
Toward brilliant cool Light.
When Light floods the heart,
No veil can block,
No frown can discourage,
No image can conceal,
No hatred can destroy.
The proper moment is now.
The proper place is here.
The proper act is giving.
The proper feeling is love.
Converts her amber waves of grain to gold.
She logs her mountains' purple majesty
And risks her fruited plains in futures sold.
How could the selfless pilgrims have foreseen
The fiscal dust their sturdy feet would raise?
When did their quest for freedom of belief
Become obsessed with how much interest pays?
The early heroes' hearts were filled with fire,
Replaced of late by nuclear doomsday fear.
When greed fails in these days to get its way,
Then hired generals flatten all that's dear.
Those patriot dreamers failed to forecast years
Of lotteries and bets on football games,
Nor could they know what poverty and fears
Would lurk in cities bearing brave men's names.
America! My poor America!
Thy crown of brotherhood is hard to see.
Thy god is Gold; thy goodness yields to law,
And lawyers fight from fee to shining fee.
"We have no wood, no leaves," despaired the pupil.
"Plant a seed," said the master.
"We have no tree to make a seed," despaired the pupil.
"Search for a tree," said the master.
"We live in a desert," despaired the pupil.
"Go to a forest," said the master.
"We would have to bid farewell," despaired the pupil.
"Farewell," said the master.
"Farewell, Master; I am leaving," declared the pupil.
"Then stay," said the master with a gentle smile,
"for if you are leaving, your branches will
soon bear seeds."
And all the stars fell
Into a pool
Like egg yolks.
I threw the crescent moon
Like a boomerang
But it returned
To its distance.
I pried the earth loose
From the sun
But gravity broke my lever
And the earth stayed.
So I just fixed
A star omelet
And ate the universe.
At least something worked.
like roses screaming quietly
at the top of their scents.
Our inner self turns a valve here,
flips a switch there,
rechannels a thought, all undetected,
guiding the mind with commands never heard by ears.
We inhale a vital force sent up from the sun,
full of planetary power, star strength,
We exhale such love as we can muster from our
radiating peace into nearest air
and farthest galaxies.
We breathe our relentless ripples
onto shimmering oceans of spirit.
Each star hears our silence.
Our mental voice imprints itself
on a forgetless tablet of inner space,
indelible as a baby's first cry.
When we listen, the cold wind carries
the moan of mother earth
and the rising moon reflects
the sighs of setting sun.
Those who hear the universe
humming its silent symphony
learn to love each lento chord.
Strum my heart, you silent waves of love,
with your tuneful touch,
and help me sing the song of space
in the sanctum of my skull.
to an undark land that lies about me among unshadows.
I reach out a hand that I don't have, to grope, to touch,
and I feel nothing but soft everything.
Without ears I hear the soft multi-mumblehum
of a misty shore stretching into windless, waveless, waterless distance
where the surf pounds once every eon in a grand, spray-filled creation
within whose star-foam we humanly manifest.
Here I feel the peaceful pulse of Most Inner Underatom
beaming benevolence up through the tree that is we
and feeding our Adam-atoms a feast
of electric apples that never touch the ground.
I see every-you around me and in me.
Here is where you-I find sustenance beyond all paychecks.
Notice this gentle light from no visible sun.
Look at that tiny root leading upwards to a budding planet.
Rising up the humming spiral again, I hear little taps
of what most people call reality.
It is raining on the roof
and the cat needs to be fed.
Touching dim moods and whispering old warmth.
In its ethereal arc outside the window
The full moon is smooth and slow.
As Uncle Bill's fingers coax the keys
His cigar in the heavy green ashtray
Emits a flimsy plume of fragrance.
The smoke, like Debussy's essence,
Rises straight up and flutters a bit
Before it disappears.
Aunt Martha's supper dishes
Clatter a counterpoint in the sink.
Now there is a hypnotic hum,
A purr of the practical.
I could have written about
The soft tomblike canyon
We walked in today.
I could have captured three chipmunks
In a verbal cage somehow.
There could have been quaint failures
At describing gold-plated trees.
Irony might have jailed the camera-clicking
Kid-scolders bepeopling the park.
A childish whoop reverberating
from the bottom of the canyon
Could have lingered at the end of the poem.
As if winter's death were a silky dream,
And the influx of the new sun's warmth
Were the spark and flash of remembrance.
March will bring the quickening sprouts,
April the lush early growth,
May the flowering of procreation--
And then February dreams will fade away.
How many memories must there be
When seeds reclaim their hold on warming soil?
How many seeds are there? How many lives?
In the stillness of my heart I hear: "One."
I feel that life must be a cruel curse--
Begun with squall, cut off with pain and groans,
A little joke told by the universe.
Why am I here? What accident of fate
Breathed life into this form I occupy?
What kind of God would bother to create
A fragile human life, then let it die?
A voice within my heart says, "Mend your ways,
And light inside your consciousness will gleam.
Your bleakness, like the earth, delays dawn's rays,
But love and hope will end your desperate dream.
"Depression fills agnosticism's night,
But soon your soul must rise and follow light."
Western glow fading--
decrescendo of songbirds--
stars surprise the eye.
new petals without hurry,
knowing the sun waits.
pilots must fly in airplanes
and birds must use wings.
sparrows on wires chirp farewell
to the dimming day.
arthritic black oak branches
finger the cold sky.
trees, like commuters, rush toward
where they've always been.
a steeple stabs the blue sky
with its metal cross.
lightly brush the abbey wall;
monks seek light within.
pure white in morning sunlight--
suddenly, a fly.
far ahead on the blacktop
with his red gas can.
protect a torn nest of wrens
barren of feathers.
floats among twelve frogs singing
greenly in the pond.
over ballerina toe
then swishes away.
falling down loud steps of storm;
pounds of sky come down.
a slow, hypnotizing wheel
releasing flimsy gray clouds
to the moving moon.
listen to the wail of trains
far in the distance.
is a holy statement sent
for all eyes to hear.
tames to glimmering dewdrops
on frail gossamers.
shine out from jungle shadows,
rubies on velvet.
gently release tulip blooms
from tight, aching buds.
from her crescent-shaped ladle
the moon pours silver.
casts up a rainbow of sound
over summer grass.
scented by May-bloomed lilacs,
breathes early heaven.
stamp out bright dangling earrings
for delicate ears.
spiders strumming their cobwebs
under humming trees.
pregnant with eons of sounds
waiting to be heard.
paints a coat of life on earth
by way of reply.
gives each innermost spirit
every stone a work of love,
embraces the Christ.
gives forth undulating sounds--
magnetized upward by air,
a mother calls for her child--
two eternal notes.
build an eastern harmony
from solar rhythm.
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