Friday, August 31, 2012

Beyond Lukewarmness

by CWK

Talking, talking: meaningless babble –
any-thing not to rouse the rabble.
Like some thoughtless brute machine
we keep walking, stalking
the satisfactions of these faceless dreams.

And, as for me, I must confess,
on clear days, when vision's best,
these seeming dreams turn vapid and absurd:
less like solid hope; more like fear deferred;
less dreams; more akin to nightmares dressed
in gawdy purple to deceive and to impress.

I wonder -- I swear, I wonder by the hour.
Have we fallen under some dark power?
Have we been sleeping 'way the days?
Have when been acting on the stage
that was our life as if our life was just a play?

I speak; I must. I know I court wrath.
"Tell it not!" I heard, "Tell it not in Gath!"
I know to say these things, so plain,
is an invitation to disdain --
but I shall not refrain.
I will shout it once for all, for all to hear.
Maybe, I may be less than sane
but madman sometime see more clear
the sights that sane men cannot bear.
Mock me. I don't care.
This is what I say; hear it if you dare...

Our deeds are few and far --
but our words fill up the vastness
of night's sky, like a billion blinking stars.
Words! -- without heart from men without chests;
words without number, better unsaid
-- but pleasant words, as men smile about the dead.

Words! -- piled high in graves, with lies interred;
we speak them oft, with voices soft, but slurred.
We barter revolution for a mild protest,
then tend trifles with worlds of weary words;
trading wakeful wars for sleepless rest,
and saying nothing more, and nothing less
than nothing – but we, or I, digress.

With hearts disaffected, we boast of love.
We speak -- of what?-- of what we know not of!
We speak of sensations, senselessly;
of affection, detested; of desire, but distant, disinterestedly.
of depths we speak; depths bereft of density;
of respect, yes, yet disrespectfully;
of fervor, yes -- a kind lacking in intensity;
of peace, in pieces: peace with no serenity;
We speak of tastes, untested;
of zeal, without zest; of the good, absent best;
of knowledge, unknown; of seeds, n'er sown;
of sights, unseen; of scent, sans essence;
of fasts, flush in decadence; of presents, not presence;
of persons, impersonally; of freedom, but rather reservedly;
And often to music we refer:
to music we have never played and never heard.
All our passion is the echo of a whispered rumor:
echoes cold, and dry, and stale--
like distant thunder: heard, but never felt.

Somewhere beyond lukewarmness
lies the distance between:
our self, and our all;
the answer and the call;
our faith and our creeds.
Somewhere amidst the vastness
there lies a bridge between
our words and our deeds:
what we would, and what we could do,
what we might, and what we should do,
and what we never seem
to get around, or get around to.

There’s this abyss: this gulf between
all boasts and the least bold deed:
what we hear, and what we heed;
what we say, and what we really mean.
I swear, I’d trade all our fads and fashions
for a single ounce of  passion;
And, I'd trade all our promises,
for a fickle fraction of true action.
I'd trade, I swear, every book in this dim age,
every word of every page,
for the truth that made men bleed:
for a single word of a single creed.
By my troth, I’d trade this sky of castles
for a chance to take my chances.
I would forsake the bright future forecasted
for a single second of sublime time
spent here and now, in a real ray of sunshine.
I would gladly gamble all my paper estates
for the prospect, for one day,
to walk upon a banal beach, and perchance
hold a grain – just one grain – of real sand
in my cold hand.

Talking, talking – all these wasted days
are filled with passive verbs, retreats,
delays, over-night stays, and more delays.
We fantasize of feasts, but never eat.
We cut the cards, but never play.
We talk of fire that warms our feet;
we sing of wrong in songs of right –
but the heat and song don't ever lead
to lives of life or lives of light.
I swear, I’d rather fail and fall on a clear day
in a real fight
than sit and talk of nonsense
in the moonlight.

At the first sign of a battle,
when we hear a saber rattle,
we disperse like the shade at high noon.
And when faced with disgrace or doom,
as all men are, late or soon,
we bow meekly, like flowers a swoon.
Great Scott! I'd rather be a barbarian --
benighted, illiterate, clad in rags out-worn,
charging wild-eyed with the hoard --
than some mild mannered poet
who spends his life indoors,
and composes books of nothing
while admiring a gourd.
Good grief! I'd rather drown out in the ocean
than die slow upon the shore.

I've heard some men of ages past
reviled for clinging fast to well-worn creeds;
at worst, I see their names have lasted
in the annals of the days of dare and deeds.
Good night! I'd rather tip toe over hades
knowing life and love will not abate me
at the appointed end of all my days,
than sit with idle men and silly songs debate,
while every second lost is lost a thousand ways.

Lately, on clear days, when vision's best,
I have been bold to peer into the vastness:
into the gulf between here and there.
It has occurred to me, more than once, to dare:
to close my eyes and hold my breath
and leap either to my life, or to my death.
And anon a sweet thought came: a sweet thought this:
A man might fling himself into the abyss
and tumble a million miles –
but he would, at least, at least for awhile,
fall into the distance 
between the answer and the call:
the distance between what he is
and what he just might be.

No comments:

Post a Comment