Saints Alive

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We find no saints on Earth.
Just plain old men and women
Chipped, crimped and crackled.
Examine a fine bit of skin and you will find the mole of witchcraft…
But only if you want to.
Living bodies stink of life – the taxations of time, follies of youth, crippling doubt, condemnations of better souls…
What flawed creature could possibly be offered up to God as a paragon of what we can offer?
Present a good enough example
And we work it over with the finest toothed combs
Determined to catch the fleas that dig into every gleaming coat,
Loud in disappointment when we find it!
Toss out the charlatan! Another child of Eden!
Perhaps it takes the soft focus of death
To turn us into kinder judges of our kin.
There are no saints on Earth.
They exist only in words and our invisible hopes
The likes of which can dance on the heads of pins
And pass through the eyes of the Bayeux’s needles
Unweighted and unbound
Spiraling out of our grasp
To Heaven.

****

This is what happens when you read the news before breakfast, people.
EAT YOUR BREAKFAST FIRST.

Desperately Catching Up Part I

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Oh dear – between illness and work, I have been not doing a good job of getting this place updated on a daily basis. Shame, and eternal shame, nothing but shame.

(That’s strong, but Shakespeare understood words, Man.)

Now then, on to the process of catching up!

2.9
Drinking Haikus

Let the world turn on.
I’ll trace the full equator
Around my wine glass.

Rusty flirtation?
Clearly you did not drink your
Social lubricant.

He drinks whiskey neat.
She loves frills and twisty straws.
A perfect bar match.

2.10
Waking up

I had an unfortunate dream about you.
There were no giant catfish.
There were no one-toothed gypsies.
No, you soothed my troubles.
And though I was the harbor master,
And mistress of the manifests,
It was you that calmed me down.

I say unfortunate
because I awoke feeling peaceful.
Knowing full well that you
– the real you –
The you I would see
Was not my subconscious evolution of you.
No safe harbor to be gained from you,
But no squalls either.

My mind was calmed by the idea of you,
Yet you do not sail with me.
You are as distant as the lighthouse,
As vague as the foghorn,
And I cannot fathom you holding me
for longer than the three seconds
between my coat and the door.

Sleep deceives and dreams belie
The soundless depths of men.

2.11
Asking for Forgiveness

Asking for forgiveness
Forces us to look at the callouses on our souls.
Looking to faith hurts
Because we are hurting
Scared that we might not be healed,
That we may be hurt again,
That we may hurt again.

And we will.

2.12
New Earth

To feel the promise of life,
One need only run fingers
Through the decay of the fall.
That rich, cool promise of nourishment
Squishing between one’s fingers.
There is no time for dirt like spring,
When all life is waking
On the bones of the last season,
When Mother Nature is tossing her muddy head, exultant in the thaw!
Let it get up under your nails
And rub into your knuckle creases!
Enjoy it! Revel in it!
For soon it will turn into the cracked and hot summer dirt
And lose a fraction of its glory.
At least, until next spring.

Saint Brigid, Saint Patrick, Mary, and God

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Saint Brigid, Saint Patrick, Mary, and God

Saint Brigid saw Saint Patrick
Walking by her lake of beer.
She called to him, “Hey, Patrick!
Care to share a cup of cheer?”

Saint Patrick winked and nodded.
“Aye, but I will drink no beer.
It’s whiskey that’s my drink of choice –
Would you like a dram, my dear?”

So Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid
Got to celebrating days
Until their song reached Heaven
(Drunk voices carry quite a ways.)

Immaculate Mary descended
Down to the lake of beer
And Saint Brigid raised her tankard,
“Hey Mary, how ‘bout a mug of beer?”

Gentle Mary smiled at the pair
“I’ll drink something more fine.
If we’re in celebrating mood
I’d much prefer a glass of wine.”

So Brigid drank a mighty draught
And Patrick from his flasks
Sweet Mary had amphora brought
The angels rolled the casks.

The trio sat by the lake of beer
And sang hymnals full of praise
Until God himself popped into sight
(For he has mysterious ways)

“Across my kingdom’s reaches
Have I heard the noise you’ve made
You could awaken souls asleep
What happens in this glade?”

“Good Father,” said Saint Patrick.
“Come and join us for a drink!
Be merry and happy on a day of feast
Come on, Lord, whatdya think?”

“Holy Lord,” enjoined Saint Brigid.
“Let me offer you a glass!
Let’s celebrate the day of days
That many more may pass!”

“Almighty God,” spoke Mary.
“Come drink the grape’s delight
Let’s sing and dance and spin the Earth
Throughout the day and night.”

And God sat down beside them
By the lake of beer and song
He drank the whiskey and the wine
For God’s tolerance is strong.

Until, that is, God’s humor
Got the better of his mind
“Hey guys, check out what I can do!
Let’s see what I can find!”

Saint Brigid, Saint Patrick, and Mary
All paused within their drinking
Each wanting to see what the Lord would bring
To see what Yahweh was thinking.

With a mighty clap and a joyous noise
The Lord gave out a cheer
And all around the angels sang
And drank at the lake of beer.

Yet when the magic settled,
And the power had all been spent,
The only thing that God had made
Was an awkward looking rodent.

Its tail was rat, its fur was white
“I shall call it – an opossum!
It shall confound my mortal charges…
Now, which Saint had the rum?”

Saint Brigid cheered the creature
And Saint Patrick cried “Here! Here!”
Sweet Mary laughed and clapped her hands
By that merry lake of beer.

*****

Saint Brigid of Ireland is my patron saint, and her prayer involves providing beer for all eternity for the holy family. On this, Saint Patrick’s day, I like to think that God gets to enjoy him/herself with the Saints.

And like all drunks, strange creatures get made when God gets tipsy. I mean, the platypus, most deep sea creatures, the opossum (which I call God’s sneeze).

Internet Ghazal

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A “Ghazal” is an antique style of poetry which started in India and moved on through the Middle East. It has strong ties to Sufism.

Anyway, someone actually challenged me to write a Ghazal after I wrote a sonnet, which I wrote in response to an “incorrectly” identified haiku, which was itself a parody of a song lyric.

I highly recommend taking a moment of your day to read through the Wikipedia article about the Ghazal. It’s one of those nice little  pieces that illustrate the rules that certain forms require. A ghazal was to focus themes of love, mysticism, unattainable emotion – it’s actually beautiful and incredibly challenging if done correctly.

I was just trying to show off for a stranger on the internet.

Internet Ghazal

A poet’s words unnoticed, lost in thread forever
Buried amid counter-comments instead forever

Stretch out the Internet’s letters round the world
And fill all tongues with dread forever

Muses of the internet, be kind and present
Keep my creativity well-fed forever

Run virtual fingers through Wikipedian pages
So as not to lose my poetic cred forever

I’ll reach for old forms long forgotten
Sub-continentally considered dead forever

Stare at the GreatGreyBeast’s challenge
Let words rush through my head forever

Stand under the coded skies of the virtual world
Where thoughts have all but fled forever

To write, and write, delete and write again
A set of tiny literate wings I’ll spread forever

And though my bones will someday rest interred
Serving as the worm’s bread forever

My soul through words will always reach beyond
My soul through words that will be said forever.

—-

Well done!

In the Hall of God

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I see my faith in pieces,

Like so many shattered porcelain teacups

That were once perfect in form and function.

I weep for the lost wholeness.

Or I would, if I could remember how they looked before they fell.

Buy my memory is weak.

I have a sense of grace, now long departed,

And of surety, of a thing complete.

I wonder if I’ll ever get those pieces put back together,

Or if I will be forever cutting myself

On the sharp edges

Of a childlike, beautiful faith.