by miriam berg

Poems grouped by content

1. A Bold Little Chicken (Spring, 1953)
7. Nothing More (Fall, 1953)
11. Happy Birthday (Oct. 28, 1955)
18. The Devil Toupee (Fall, 1956)
44. My Vale of Scarlet (Nonsense poem #1)
57. Whoo? (Nonsense poem #2; fall, 1960)
68. Invitation To A Ukrainian Easter Egg Party (April, 1962)
74. Poem O' Granite (3rd Nonsense poem; Aug. 18, 1966)
97. Day or Night It's The Same Old World (4/28/79)

9. Half Dome (September, 1955)
15. Dreaming (June, 1956)
21. Life (June, 1957)
22. I'm a Spider (June, 1957)
23. Breakers (June, 1957)
24. Soulstorm (July 12, 1957)
26. Eclipse January 27th, 1958)
67. Walking At Night (nov 1 1961)
73. Hai-Ku (Jan 31, 1964)
77. More Hai-Ku (Oct 11, 1972)

8. Reverie On A Moonless Night (Fall, 1954)
13. Treasures (May, 1956)
14. Answer to For John (June, 1956)
16. Aphorisms (Summer, 1956)
17. Twenty-One (September, 1956)
19. The Mysterious Forest (May, 1957)
29. The Dying Embers (completed 1958)
36. On Understanding (March, 1958)
65. O To Become As A Little Child (July, 1961)
66. Second Philosophical Poem (Fall, 1961; What's the answer)
71. Conversation With A Stone On The Eve Of My Death (Dec 3, 1962)
76. I Walk Alone (October 6, 1972)
92. Long Night of Bitter Blackness (6/30/1978)
98 The Riddle of Life (May 3, 1979)
99. Pessimy (May 3, 1979)
100. The Mystery of Light (6//79)
103. Thou Shalt Call His Name Jesus (10/14/80)
106. Don't Think Don't Feel (11/9/1980)
108. She (12/9/1980)
114. Passing On (8/1/2004)
115. Abstaining from Complaining (12/28/12)
116. Abstaining from Resentment (7/29/13)
117. Abstaining from Impatience (8/5/13)
118. Abstaining from Self-Hatred (5/22/15)

25. The Flower (a story; Fall 1957)
37. The Child and the Oracle (3/30/1958)
49. Narrative Poem #1 (Summer, 1960)
88. Caroline Mary Series (May, 1978)

20. O To Have Seen (5/27/1957)
31. O Mourning Dove (3/8/1958)
35. The Clarion Voice (March 19th, 1958)
38. Where Is Then The Light (April 9, 1958)
43. The Storm (march 11, 1960)
56. O Wild Unruly Spirit (september 27th, 1960)
59. Don't Fall In Love With Me (Winter, 1961)
61. Hear Me Earth And Sky (April, 1961)
62. Somewhere The Sun Is Shining, Isn't It? (April, 1961)
63. Blues Julienne (April, 1961)
64. I Dreamed of You (May 10, 1961)

6. Happiness (Fall, 1953)
60. Sonnet XIII (february 20, 1961; The little gremlins dance)
70. Sonnet XIV (november 1962; I should have rather been a proud stag)
72. Sonnet XV (December 20, 1963; My heart seems stifled)
75. Sonnet XVI (August 29, 1972; Let not your heart be troubled)
81. Sonnet XVIII (March 21, 1978; I would walk among the flowers)
86. Dos And Don'ts (4/25/78)
94. How To Look At A Woman (4/5/79)
112. Depressio (8/3/81)

2. I Cannot Keep From Singing
3. When We're Together (Spring, 1953)
4. She Loves Me (probably summer, 1953)
5. Te Amo (August, 1953)
10. Thrills (Fall, 1955)
12. How Lovely You Are (Spring, 1956)
27. Whatever Can I Say (January 27, 1958)
28. Wandering (Spring, 1958)
30. Tumult (2/18/1958)
32. Sonnet I (July 12, 1957; The stars behind my brow)
33. Sonnet II (8/21/1957; Blessed is the evening)
34. Sonnet III (3/14/1958; For many years my spirit)
39. Thoughts (December 3rd, 1958)
40. Like Spreading Waves of Sunlight
41. I Think Of You (March 9, 1960)
42. Sonnet V (march 9 mcmlx; The world is filled)
45. Pat-Pat-Pat (5/7/1960)
46. Sonnet VI (may 13, 1960; Let me hold your hand)
47. Sonnet VII (May 28, 1960; The world is wide)
48. Sonnet VIII (May 28, 1960; They say that love is blind)
50. Priestess Of My Faith (june 20, 1960)
51. Sonnet IX (6/20/1960; Your sunset hair)
52. Live and Laugh and Love (6/21/1960)
53. Sonnet X (July, 1960; In moments deep)
54. Sonnet XI (8/12/1960; O lioness, my graceful)
55. Sonnet XII (8/12/1960; And Love is e'er my theme)
58. What Waters Stir (Winter, 1960-61)
69. Let Me Sing To You (Summer, 1962)
79. My Beloved And I Are One (10/11/1977)
80. Sonnet XVII (November, 1977; How I wish I were with you this night)
85. Love Poem (April 13, 1978)
90. Sonnet XX (June 25, 1978; I lie in bed at night and dream of you)
91. Sonnet XXI (June 27, 1978; My love, I want to marry you)

82. Song of Lust (March, 1978)
84. Scraps (4/13/78)
93. Fantasy (Fall, 1978)

78. Song of a Transvestite (November 4, 1976)
83. The Joy Of Being A Male (April 3, 1978)
87. Sonnet XIX (The Two Sexes; May 28, 1978)
89. The Joy Of Being Female (June 16, 1978)
95. Sonnet XXII (4/10/1979; O every time I see a woman's form)
96. Fragment of a Longing (4/17/1979)
101. The Wail Of Joanne (June 11, 1980)
102. Plaint (9/1/80)
104. Il Mio Penser (10/18/80)
105. The Golden Apples (10/26/80)
107. Netherbound (12/6/80)
109. Joanne's Lament (Spring, 1981)
110. To Fly Or Not To Fly (July 12, 1981)
111. Prologue (7/29/1981)
113. Lilith Commands Me (8/4/81)

List of Poems
1. A BOLD LITTLE CHICKEN (Spring, 1953)
(to Ron Fox)

A bold little chicken is digging my flowers,
Among the bright blooms where I've spent many hours;
My grandfather's blunderbuss I will get down,
And one little chicken will roll on the ground.
I can't find the powder, I can't find the ball,
I've searched in the attic, I've scoured the hall.
With hoe and a rake I'll chase naughty fowl,
And give him the evil eye plus a dark scowl.

My uncle has borrowed my shovel and hoe;
My rake has been borrowed, by whom I don't know.
A rusty old lawnmower is all that I see,
If I use it, then the chicken will flee,
And the grass will be cut and then it will fall.
This don't work either, the grass is too tall.
It's breaking the blades on this rusty old tool.
I'll catch that bird yet; I'll prove I'm no fool.

A shaker of salt or a butterfly net,
A rod and a reel, a chicken would get.
Skyhooks or beartraps would bring reward fine;
I'd catch me a chicken and then I would dine.

Perhaps he is thirsty--I'll lure him with drink;
Now who in the world ran off with my sink?
There goes the doorbell, someone's at the door,
Which I can't find 'cause I can't find the floor.
I've misplaced 'bout everything that you can name,
But it's not really my fault, my wife is to blame.
But there's chicken and dumplings for dinner I'm sure,
No bird my skunk cabbages can long endure.

The old clock is striking a quarter to four;
The telephone's ringing, now who is that for?
The fire siren's screeching, a horrible wail,
Or maybe my wife has escaped from the jail.
She'll probably come here to hide under the bed.
All this confusion, I wish I were dead,
Or fighting tigers and wolves in Malay.
It's safer than living here, day after day.

List of Poems
(song to Corky Corbelli)

I cannot keep from singing,
    From dancing all day long,
there's music in me ringing,
    My heart just bursts with song.

A sweet and lovely flower,
    A sprite that's young and gay,
I think of every hour,
    She's swept my cares away.

       The sun and moon and stars that glow
       Are all repeating what I know,
       That heaven above and earth below
       Are mine, so singing now I go;

My love to her I'm bringing,
    My heart will e'er be true.
I cannot keep from singing,
    Since I'm in love with you.

List of Poems
3. WHEN WE'RE TOGETHER (Spring, 1953)
(song to Corky Corbelli)

Oh, when we're together, my heart's like a feather,
    We're happy and dancing and gay;
The world's rolling over, yet we're in the clover,
    It's always a sunshiny day.
But when we're apart, there's an ache in my heart,
    A longing that ever doth say,
"I long to be near you, to see you and hear you,
    You chase all my troubles away."
The sun even sighs, there's clouds in the skies,
    A grayness that spreads through the blue;
But it all flies away upon each bright day
    When finally I come back to you,
And joyously greet my flower and sweet,
    My gal with her brown eyes so ture;
Away over the meadowland we will go hand-in-hand,
    Finding joy just for us two.

List of Poems
4. SHE LOVES ME (undated, but probably summer, 1953)
(to Corky Corbelli)

When I see the lovebeams in your eyes,
    More and more I realize
How deeply and how much you mean to me;

When I hold you close within my arms,
    Captivated by your charms,
I know our love was ever meant to be.

And all the bright omniscient stars on high
    Twinkling pertly in the sky
Look down and smile as we go walking by.

And every time your carmine lips I kiss,
    I know I love this little miss,
Once more I feel and know that she loves me.

List of Poems
5. TE AMO (August, 1953)
(To Corky Corbelli)

Amid the heat and blazing sun,
I still can have a lot of fun,
And rest and think on what I've done,
But more I think of only one:
A girl who means much more to me
Than lots of sun and wind so free,
Who keeps my heart and I her love,
Like parakeets, or dove to dove.

Like birds above a song I sing
Of "Te Amo"; to her I bring
A promise old, repeated new,
Devotion, adoration true.
A pledge of honor, faith, and trust;
A troth between that says, "We must
Live and laugh and love and let
The world go round, suns rise and set."

List of Poems
6. HAPPINESS (Fall, 1953)
(to Ron Fox, my first roommate)

I'm laughing, I'm carefree, I'm happy as a lark,
I love to see the children play and hear the puppies bark,
No sadness, or worry, or sorrow bothers me,
For I can live enjoying life so happy and so free!!

    The birds at daybreak me awake
        And I stroll out with a happy shout
    To greet the sun and ev'ryone
        Smiling with a song!
    Lightheartedly and happily
        I go my way all through the day
    Never sad but always glad
        As I go along!

I'm singing, I'm dancing, and turning round and round,
The air is always freshest while the dew is on the ground.
Treetops and mountains make all outdoors a throne,
By letting all the world be free I find it is my own!

    For love is mine and life is fine,
        Songs fill the air--there's no despair;
    But singing, laughter! here and hereafter!
        This will be my song!
    The world is joy and life's a toy,
        Belongs to all, oh, hear the call,
    Be gay and free, come, follow me,
        And carry it along!

List of Poems
7. NOTHING MORE (Fall 1953)
(by S.Z.Geny and M.Schnuppelgrutter with apologies to Edgar)

Once upon a midnight dreary, eerie, scary,
I was weary, I was wary, full of worry,
        Thinking of my lost Lenore,
Of my cheery, merry, fairy, fiery dearie,
        Marry, nary nothing more.

Ah! distinctly I remember every ember that December,
        Turns from amber to burnt umber;
I was burning limber lumber in my chamber that December,
        And it left an amber ember,
        Amber glare and little more.

And the silken sad uncertain flirtin' of a
Certain curtain soothed the partin' that was hurtin',
        Hurtin' me down to the core,
Partin' from a pert an' perky kitten, quittin' courtin',
        Quittin' now forevermore.

I was napping when a tapping on the over-
Lapping coping woke me yapping, gaping, groping;
Toward the rapping I went hopping, leaping, hoping
        That the rapping on the coping
        Was my little lost Lenore.
Then on opening the shutter to admit the latter critter,
In she'd flutter from the gutter with her bitter eyes a-glitter,
        So I opened wide the door.

What was there where, sighing, I bent ear and eye,
Peering, fearing, hearing nothing near or by,
        But the breakers on the shore?
Naught was near but the drear moor, the dark weir,
        The mere door and nothing more.

Then in strode a stately raven, shaven like a
Bard of Avon, yes, a shaven, rovin' raven
        Seekin' haven at my door.
Yes, that grievin', rovin' raven had been movin'--
Get me, Stephen?--for the warm and lovin' haven,
        Of my stove and oven door,
        Oven door and nothing more.

(Snomskec Zom Geny was a code name of Ron Fox,
.and Montmorency Schnuppelgrutter was a code name of mine, .whose cousin was my bassoon, Potpotsammy von Ishwoim Schnuppelgrutter)

List of Poems
(inspired by Jack Thornburg)

What is there, to draw a man from bitter thoughts,
Unpleasant things, that make the world
A darkened haze, a void wherein
Whatever would be good or right
Must suffer in the sight of all that it would not?

Dim sparks of love that flicker there
Do some great thing, however small
Bring joy and laughter to forlorn hearts,
Yet wither, for there is no recompense.

Contemplating all that he could do
All the good, the love, the peace
That could be spread in a world
Of pain--contemplating this,
He loses much, he loses more
As more he tries to do.

For none can give and never cease
To pour his soul into the world;
His love had better gone to those
Who gather 'round his hearth on birthdays,
Who get the most from every deed
Because they know--and love--the doer.

A man's heart and soul are neither
Ocean, nor the wind, that do encompass
All within their caress;
Many must be the hearts that do this work,
That spread a little love and joy
To one or two--and hence, to all.

Obscure in the rolling tide of life
Wanting no more than to do their cause
They twinkle and glow, the stars that
Do no more than their light will reach;
They wither and die, the sparks that seek
To light the world.

List of Poems
9. HALF DOME (September, 1955)
(for Saralyn P Taylor)

Guardian of a wondrous vale,
Keeping watch o'er every trail
Stands a Rock of Ages high,
Reaching upward to the sky.

A massive dome, with wind-blown wall,
That oversees the valley's sprawl;
That says to each that in his shade
Goes trembling past, Be not afraid;

I am the master here below
I am your father as you go
Along the cliffs, along the streams,
Within the grandeur here which seems

Menacing, tyrannical,
Unfriendly as an icicle,
But I stand firm; I give to you
Security and strength to do

Whatever here you want to dare.
Fear not, I grant your every prayer.
I guard and guide through night and day
All who walk within my sway.

My hand and eyes are always here.
His shoulders also ever near
Make shadows playthings in the trees,
Make piper's trills of every breeze.

The mighty giant never sleeps
Nor daydreams, up among the steeps;
The waters roar and plunge the walls
But, I'm still here, he always calls,

Across the silent, starlit night--
Through day across to every height.
And no one ever needs to fear
For this mighty rock is always here.

(written after my experience in Yosemite, Labor Day, 1955)

List of Poems
10. THRILLS (Fall, 1955)
(to Sue Broadwood, Stebbins Hall resident)

Above my roof the sun is shining;
Brightly through my windowpane pours its tawny brilliance,
Streams in its gleaming radiance, lighting all the corners,
Spangling the dark lines, lending a golden glow everywhere.
It makes the walls rejoice and quiver,
Endowed from above with a bit of heavenly splendor.
But it cannot match the ecstasy I feel,
It cannot stand beside the glorious delight that comes
When I see you, when I hear you, when I can say again,
In subdued fervor to my heart--She's here, once more!

The winds sigh and whine with mighty breath
And scatter all they gather with their sweeping strokes.
They whisk away the dust and dampness;
They drive it off and thrust it far with powerful hands,
But not a tenth so strong nor half so far
As the mist and shadow from my hours are put to flight,
As the dreary cobwebs from my lonesome spirit
    are brushed away and disappear,
When I see you, when I hear you, when I can be again
In sublime pleasure, in exultant devotion with you once more.

Splashing ever, rolling out and in
Breakers rise and plunge, foam and dash,
Swelling jaggedly and stretching far along the sands,
Incessant in their flowing, arching, breaking, pounding,
And noble in their faithful motion, always crashing, crashing.
They hold me fast, engrossed and of no other thought.
Much more my moments long and oft depressed become enrapt
Thrilled by your presence, your eyes, yourself.
Their yearning is made still by the unceasing laving
Of your loving, warm, and beatific person,
When I meet you, when I hear you, when sunny day comes again
And you I can in tranquil joy adore.

Daisies in the meadows, and waving barley-fields
And lofty pinetrees, tiny toadstools,
The world adorned with growing things,
With greenness, color, moisture, fruits,
Attest the bounty of our good parent earth,
Show forth the beauty and the glory found in life;
Greater still than these--more fresh and pleasant,
More sweet and succulent, more beauteous, the fullness of all--
Always to me are the moments blissful,
Are those instants rapturous, divine,
When I see you, when I hear you, when at your side I say again,
I love this girl, and shall stay here evermore!

List of Poems
11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY (Oct. 28, 1955)
(dedicated to my youngest brother David, born Nov. 1, 1939)

Gad--a birthday rolls around!
Sixteen years ago we found
A little bundle of frogs and snails
Thoroughly mixed with some puppydog's tails.
As time went by this monster grew,
And now we find that it's become you.
A most obstreperous, 'strornry pet,
But we find we love you yet.
    So I wish you happy birthday, brother,
    Make the most of your years--and be good to your mother!

List of Poems
12. HOW LOVELY (Spring 1956)
(to Sue Koeberle)

How lovely you are, my adorable one,
Daintiest and sweetest under the sun--
A radiant star, a jewel in the hight,
Ablaze and asparkle with heavenly light.

How lovely, how lovely, your radiant form
That makes my soul seethe like a furious storm!
How glorious and warm, your eyes and your lips!
How perfect, how buxom your breasts and your hips!

How lovely you are, this vision I know;
My praises and songs continuous flow.
How precious and rare, you exquisiteness--
I love and desire you, I must confess.

List of Poems
13. TREASURES (May, 1956)
(to Sue Koeberle)

A song,
A melodious sound,
Floating, drifting
Entwining round my soul.
A song of songs,
A dream of dreams,
A breath of enchantment
That strengthens me,
Is part of me.

A thought,
A golden ideal,
That stirs me deep
Within to cultivate
The fruits and flowers,
The works of God,
A spirit of power,
That spurs me on,
That leads me on.

A view,
A marvelous sight,
My inner sensations;
A picture rare,
Inspiring, great;
A memorable scene
Enriching me
With confidence.

A verse,
A few little lines,
Tender, simple,
An insight into life,
A rhyme of truth,
A phrase and a couplet
That comes from love,
And fills me up.

A dream,
Airy wisp of some
Panoply of structure;
A hope, a wish,
A glimpse beyond,
To build up a castle,
A faith in works
Ennobling me.

List of Poems
14. ANSWER TO FOR JOHN (June, 1956)
(to Steve Kresge)

I, I do not know
We are alone, together within the tangled mesh
of effervescing life--no, we are neither alone nor together
in this confused pool, broken and ruffled
by crossing, intermingling ripples
that seem a pattern, that seem none, chaos:
dreams, and acts, and voices, making a sermon,
A sermon, but naught but cloudy murmurings, indistinct,
tingling the thought with advice, nonsense.....

The silence of the night, brooding over all, all,
over all, but nothing....
Words crackle heavily in this restlessness,
this quietude, nursing our concupiscence.
You--you are warm, and my mouth waters at your touch;
yet i feel distant, apart, yet a part of you.
I ponder on this vastness, horizons broad as the sea,
but cramped as the reach of a snail within its castle.
Somewhere upon that water drifts a ship,
a ship whose course I should command, whose
spreading wake I should lead.
I cannot tell you all I feel,
for while I speak, I ache and tremble with doubt, with fear,
with doubt about the cryptic meanings,
with fear, for may not a fog blur the approach
and await of that vessel?

I know that I am here, and I am here
now, the verge of a concrescence of our lives,
the gratification of life's urge:
and I am not here, for, like an errant flock,
my thoughts stray again into the sky,
Searching, plucking with a hope to keep, scarce buds
of inspiration, but...killing with that plucking.
I return to you, to say some meaning, to say none;
I leave, I again come, can my unrest explain itself?
The great secret steals before me; I glimpse it,
but my view grows cold again; I do not know.

List of Poems
15. DREAMING (June, 1956)
(to Sue Koeberle)

I wandered through the hills and valleys,
Climbing over rocks, and gullies,
Lupines and red poppies waving,
In the south wind, warm and laving.
I lingered by the river's edges,
Throwing berries to the fishes,
Ran and played with scant direction,
Laughed aloud at my reflection.

The sunlight danced and boldly flirted,
Robins peeped, their heads averted,
Cocked on side, staring askance,
Giving me a questioning glance,
As if to say, "How dare you share
Our freedom here without a care,
Our joy that we send forth in song,
cheerily, sweetly, all day long?"

I could not answer though I wanted
To express their spirit vaunted,
Tell them how my heart was loving,
How my life was so worth living.
I searched among the reeds and flowers,
Peeked at grouse in grassy bowers,
Insects in their hurry crawling,
Here and there a brown leaf falling.

The red and gold flared up and faded;
Silently the night invaded;
A thousand candles started peeping;
I returned where all were sleeping.
The nighthawk soaring high and squawking
Lit the night while I was walking;
Shadows, chirps and peace abounded;
Deep in me their echoes sounded.

List of Poems
16. APHORISMS (Summer, 1956)
(Long, long ago, to Rose)

Rampant roots fear not to rend the rock.
Crows steal the seeds while silly scarecrows stare.
Naked in a snowstorm I must be.

List of Poems
17. TWENTY-ONE (September, 1956)
(for my sister Phyllis, on her 21st birthday)

Once a year this nonsense comes,
        like measuring daylight's hours,
Like clothespins on the backyard line,
Spaced, pretending there must be
        divisions, marking end and end, and beginnings.
Are there joints in the flowing river?

Once it was fun, pin-the-tail and popping napkins.
Now it means something more;
Now you are an adult, a Somebody on your own.
The time comes when it will be no more
        than the revolution of the wheel,
No more than the incessant chiming of the tower
        as another watch has drifted by.

The gates will close softly, one by one;
Closing on the garden you have tended.
Looking in the mirror you will see
The garden dense with growth, well cared for;
Perhaps a desert, here and there a trembling flower,
        or a cairn of rocks.
You will have run another lap around the track,
Grown another ring beneath the bark and sapwood,
Leaving a splendid wake, alive
        with whatever you've given it--
Footprints marking out a trail for your remembrance,
        for your pensiveness,
Blazoning the way toward the light, the gray.

List of Poems
18. THE DEVIL TOUPEE (Fall, 1956)
(for Jan Andrea Newman)

Now, since I have nothing to do,
        and lest I start the day to rue
And end up feeling very blue
        and go to bed before it's through
And maybe have a nightmare, too

I had better start anew
        to work on something, for it's true
That if they find I nothing do
I'll have to paddle my own canoe,
        and beat the pavement with my shoe,
In search of work, that I might accrue
        a savings fund, the residue
To purchase me my bread and stew,
        And other things that I may chew.

Wouldn't that be a splendid coup?

But it all might be a big snafu,
        and I'll have to go to Timbuktu,
And live a pauper, that my due
        for spending in work, hours so few,
As these I use to write to you,
So I must end it now, adieu!

List of Poems
(for Dr. Leo Zeff)

There is a mysterious forest on earth
Growing and dying and all giving birth
All reaching upward to grasp at the sky,
Sunshine and rain helping them to grow high.

Their roots interlock, their branches entwine,
But each grows alone in its special design;
Each bears its flowers and ripens its fruits
In its own special way, the one that it suits.

Each one is green, and sap flows in all
And each by itself grows stately and tall.
All make the forest but each is a tree,
Growing and making its identity.

List of Poems
20. O TO HAVE SEEN (5/27/57)
(to Marty Turner)

O to have seen
    the moment supreme,
To have seen it as real,
    not as a dream,
Protecting the thrill,
Whate'er it might mean.

Now never to know
    except as a test
The warmth of a flower
    that now seems the best.
I painfully cower
As I see it go.

Vanished and gone
    is the treasure I knew
Stolen at midday
    as though I were through;
It seemed in the way
To be used as a pawn.

I can no more sleep
    nor thrill to the bird;
I restlessly plod
    and nothing is heard
As I go o'er the sod,
But the sobs as I weep.

The winds shriek and mourn,
    the trees only sigh;
The rain patters down,
    the storm passes by
And over the ground
Daylight is reborn.

So stars always shine
    and life, precious jewel,
Haunts and enchants
    us, though it be cruel;
I shall sing and dance
And sorrow and pine.

List of Poems
21. LIFE (June, 1957)
(to no one)

Life is like an evanescent cloud:
    either our steps drop lightly
and we say we are in the seventh heaven;
or the cloud is black and threatening
    and we look for the silver lining.

It obscures,
    with beautiful shapes;
It decorates,
    and mars;
It brings devastating torrents
    and quenches desiccated growth;
It is far beyond our reach,
    and surrounds us inescapably.

The sun goes behind a cloud, and we chill;
W the light leaves our lives for a moment,
W and we are destitute, devoid of meaning.
But the clouds pass, ever drifting
    (for surely they are not moving,
    they are aimless, lost, fey)
In and out of the face of the jewel of the skies;
And always we find more to attach ourselves to,
    to give and to receive from;
Another real will-o'-the-wisp staining our panorama,
    and lasting as long as we watch and enjoy,
    but do not try to capture.

List of Poems
22. I'M A SPIDER (June, 1957)
(probably to a friend of Archy's)

I'm a spider
    trusting in the palm of the wind
    to a gossamer cable

Seeking a safe landing,
    swaying, swaying as I hazard
    my precarious balance suspended
    above a plunge

One web spun, another broken,
    the remains of dead flies I leave
    behind as I invade pioneer ground

Another, another,
    It goes on endlessly, dull repetition
    of the urge for life and the
    fulfillment of that urge.

List of Poems
23. BREAKERS (June, 1957)
(to the mighty pursing and unpursing lips of the ocean, its breakers)

Rolling, swelling banks of jelly
Arching, ditching on the beach;
Instilling feeling in my belly
Crouching, watching breakers reach

Foaming, roaming sandy kingdom,
Chasing, placing lathered face
Drumming, booming, awesome, gruesome,
Rising, racing space to space

Splashing, crashing tidal pushers
Curving, swerving salt conclaves;
Rushing, mushing hydra ushers
Caving, laving shellfish graves

List of Poems
24. SOULSTORM (July 12, 1957)

Pain, longing
A void, a night, a chill;
Gray, dull, bleak fog

Engulfing voraciously,
Swallowing remorselessly,
\Dissolving hopelessly

Hear the rain-clock
    empty tick-tock
Mindless swish-zoom
    of the wind-broom
The thunder-drums
    make groaning strums
Cruel whistling flip
    the lightning-whip

The desolate darkness spreads
And eats away all peace
The torrent drenches heads
And wrinkles nature's fleece
The grasses bow their tops in pain
Birds hide their eyes beneath their wing
Some can escape the stabbing rain
While others stand the murdering.
The moistened fingers of the deluge search through every crevice;
The clotting broth of shadows stunts and stifles breath and seeing;
Relentlessly imprisoning all reaching, all endeavors
To break the shell, escape the mud, reclothe in nascent being
The savage spinning whirlpool
Immerses every straying fool
Each liquid gust a sharpened tool,
Each movement a heart-freezing ghoul;
The dusk falls thick like lead,
The light will not come back;
The paths are gone ahead,
Washed out, the water's sack;

From cloudy paws
    come lightning-claws
    demon tirade
Endless whistle
    the wind-bristle
Drops unstanching

Absorbing ceaselessly
Surrounding pitilessly
Digesting viciously

Black, drawn curtain of night
Cold, death, zero
Lost, staring

List of Poems
25. THE FLOWER (Fall 1957)
(for Marty Turner, I think)

        There was a little girl, or maybe she was full-grown; her name
might have been Malvina, or Natasha; but that doesn't matter. She
lived in a brick cottage on the outskirts of a little hamlet at the
bottom of a broad valley. She lived by herself except for a parrot
named Jasper and a mouse who had no name, since he woyuld answer to
none anyway. Natalye painted; that is, every morning she would paint
a picture of the first thing she noticed. Then she would bake cookies
for Jasper, and gather nuts and seeds for the little mouse. She
painted sunrises, she painted landscapes, she painted butterflies,
grapes, and toads.

        One day growing in her garden was a flower, its lines smooth
and graceful, its colours lustrous and gay, its demeanor haughty as
it unfurled its shimmering petals to the earth and sky and to Natasha,
saying proudly, "Here I am!" Immediately Natasha said, "I must paint
this flower!" and set to work. By evening she had finished; and when
she looked at it, for the first time she was displeased. "Tomorrow,"
she said to Jasper, "I shall paint it again, properly." Jasper said,
"Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow!" And the mouse just squeaked, for he
could say nothing.

        So the next day she hurriedly painted it over; and again she was
unhappy. "I must paint it again, before it dies," she said anxiously
to Jasper, who could only reply, "Again, again, again and again." And
the mouse said nothing, for he was asleep.

        Next day the swallows were singing and soaring around the eaves
of her cottage, the dampness of the morning dew gave a rich smell to
the air, and again she painted carefull, seeking to enrich each detail
and fill the picture so that it would say as eloquently as the flower
did, "Here I am!" And once more she was dissatisfied. "Why can't I
get it right?" she complained to Jasper, who replied, "Can't! can't!
can't!" And the mouse only squeaked and squeaked, for he was hungry.

        Day after day passed as Natasha sought to capture the brilliance
and radiance of the flower, hurrying because she wished to finish
before the end of the season of the flower. Jasper started gathering
seeds for the little mouse, and ate the insects himself. Natalye grew
more and more unhappy while the flower bloomed smugly and powerfully
in the garden, tho' it had received no water and the other plants were
turning yellow. Finally one day after 40 attempts to paint the flower
Natalye awoke to find it gone, and suddenly she noticed the sere look
of her garden and saw the ragged feathers of Jasper, and heard the
tiny squeak of her little mouse. "Oh!" she said to herself and her
eavesdropping parrot said, "Oh! oh!" and the little mouse squeaked,
"Ee!" She drew no picture that day, and as she sat on the lawn that
evening with her mouse and Jasper, watching the setting of the Evening
star, she thought to herself, "A poem would recall the majesty of that
flower," and Jasper somehow answered, "Flower, flower."

        So the next day after baking a cake and combing out the mouse's
whiskers she went for a long walk with her pets into the woods that
covered the valley sides. On top of a rock which jutted its beak out
into the open air above the buzzing pines she tried to write. After
finishing a short poem she discovered that her mouse was lost. Jasper
had been visiting some rock pigeons and had not seen him leave. "Never
mind, he'll come back," Natasha reassured Jasper, who answered, "Never,
never, never!" For five days and nights Natasha remained there,
looking short distances from the pinnacle while Jasper flew on longer
searches. After all the nearby nuts and berries were gone she wearily
took her poem and her parrot and returned home.

A flower in such glory
Must really know a story
To tell to all the lands,
To all the list'ning bands,
    Of beauty, rich and deep;
    Come, tell it ere you sleep.

The flower does not move;
It surely can't approve
Of keeping what it knows
Of raptures and of woes
    Solely for itself,
    Like a book upon a shelf.

Ho, flower, vain and proud,
Stop gazing on the cloud,
Look 'round you, see the mirth
Of life upon the earth!
    Tell us what you know;
    Tell it ere you go.

The flower now for days
Has ignor-ed my gaze;
I want to catch the spell
That's ringing like a bell,
    And save it for mankind;
    I thought he wouldn't mind.

No flower ever sprang
From earth with such a bang;
I know no other bloom
So proudly to assume
    The world belonged to him;
    The world was but his whim.

My flower bed is bare
Of that one flower rare
Whose beauty I could not
Catch, tho' hard I sought.
    Now gone, I know not why,
    From all the world and I.

List of Poems
26. ECLIPSE (January 27th, 1958)
(to no one)

    Ho! a dragon's in the sky!
The giant eye that warms the night
    is swallowed

    See! his mouth distended wide,
A greedy python that constricts
    and bolts
    his prey.

    No! the ruler of the night
Eternal metamorphic,

    She, returning into bloom
Slowly extricates herself
    one more time,

    Oh! nocturnal victory!
The princess of all the midnight sky
    shines forth
    her song.

List of Poems
27. WHATEVER CAN I SAY (January 27, 1958)
(to someone)

Whatever can I say,
    and what is there to do?
I wander through the day
    plagued by thoughts of you.

Not intellectual grains,
    but feelings in my blood;
Tremblings in my veins--
    I'd translate if I could.

But all the meaning there
    is cryptic, but intense;
The hot coals' ruddy glare,
    passionate turbulence.

An agitated soul,
    seeking some release,
Shivering in the cold,
    praying for surcease.

I know what is the source,
    like breakers ever pounding,
that generates this force,
    deep in me resounding.

But glassy opaque walls
    stand rigidly between,
As at the foot of falls,
    the steep heights intervene.

And only birds can fly;
    only buds woo bees.
Who can caress the sky?
    only giant trees.

So nothing can I say,
    and nothing can I do;
There isn't any way
    except to be with you.

List of Poems
28. WANDERING (Spring, 1958)
(for Linda Allen)

By myself I wander far away from she,
    From the girl of my dreams,
    My nympholeptic schemes,
    From the one who it seems
Will not give my heart back to me.

I watch on the wing butterflies up above
    'Gainst the sky blue and clear,
    And they are more near,
    Than the one who is dear,
The one that I always shall love.

The branches are growing out from the pines
    Far out of my reach,
    Insuperable breach;
    I can only beseech
Her, for like them afar off she shines.

The flocculent puff-balls decorating the sky,
    Empyrean white,
    Reflect down all light,
    What unearthly delight
To be there, or with you, far up high.

List of Poems
29. THE DYING EMBERS (begun 1950; completed in 1958)
(to myself, feeling sad at the embers in the fireplace)

As I brood in my chamber, so lonely and bare,
My mind quite despondent with grief and despair,
Upon the blank wall I cast a blank stare,
Or glance at the door that shuts out the cold air.

The sun in its pathway despitefully jeers
At my desolate thoughts of my wasted years,
The moon and the star-figures draw out my tears
Of regret and sorrow as my twilight appears.

Continuous labor has all been in vain;
The welkin's requited me nothing but rain.
Softly my hearth breathes a murmur of pain,
Scolding me often, a pitying refrain.

I watch the red embers all dying away
My tragedy reflected in all they can say--
Once like a torch, or the sun lighting day,
A fulgent dynamo, defying decay.

Once it was I that did burn with a blaze
Of sthenic desire to fill all my days
With gilded achievement in myriad ways
By virile bold vigor, winning me praise.

Like the carnelian fire that on my hearth stood,
I seethed with ambition to work for man's good,
But untoward fate cast a dark sable hood,
Blotting my dreams, though I did what I could.

Like those ruddy hot coals, searing the skin,
Echoes of yesterday make a sharp din,
Remind me and chide me with what I have been,
Burn me and spurn me, bringing chagrin.

And now that the time has continued to flow,
My purpose and strength have vanished below.
Succeeding years saw oblivion grow,
Cherished hopes fade away, burning down low.

Like the dull ashes, extinguished at last,
My road has no future, only a past;
The cinders are cooling and hardening fast,
Both they and I on the heap will be cast.

This cadence is just like a dead chunk of clay,
With no heat or light, amorphous and gray.
The flickering wick nods a limp dying ray
At subsiding soft sobs as the fount dies away.

The well is now dry except for some mud
That quickly will yield to the air all its blood.
A chill like an icicle falls; hear the thud--
Soon black opaque darkness will come like a flood

Consuming the levees, rotten with mold,
That struggle to keep out the damp from the hold,
But the collapse will come and all will be cold
As the gelid green water drowns out the fold.

List of Poems
30. TUMULT (2/18/1958)
(to Linda Allen)

Like the strumming, drumming of the woodgrouse,
    or the drip, drip, drip of the rain,

Like the crash, rolling, splashing, splash
    of the rhythmic, arhythmic waves,

Like the chirping, trilling cacophony of the
    thousand little titmice flitting on the lawn,

Like the buzzing and the humming and the fanning of the air
    by a hundred thousand little wings of honeybees
    and butterflies and ladybirds and all the constant singsong
    of a million little lives,

This dithyrambic pulse,

This fulgurating wave,

Is churning up a yearning in my stomach and my bowels
    and roiling and moiling like the plunging of a mountain rapids,
    exacerbating the excitement that rages within my ribs,

    A tumultuous tempest twisting my duramen,
        a simoom making my leaves shudder like a shimmering aspen,

    half-whispered roars, half-shrieked silence,
        throbbing with a burning phlogiston,

    cincture by a grumbling, rumbling avalanche,
        by a rushing, crushing lava flow

List of Poems
31. O MOURNING DOVE (3/8/1958)
(to Linda Allen)

O, mourning dove, mourning dove, thou art alone,
Grey is thy song, grey, like thy cloak, like a morning fog,
Grey, with rosy edges like a sunset cloud,
But, thy grey song is joy,
        thy grey song is love, is peace,
        thy grey song is the melody of two hearts.

O, mourning dove, is thy mate gone?

O, mourning dove, mourning dove, thou sittest high;
Still are thy wings, still as their sky, as thy noble tree,
Still, a poignant form like a shadowed pool,
But, thy stillness is life,
        thy stillness is balm, is gold,
        thy stillness is the motion of thy being.

O, mourning dove, why dost thou sigh?

O' mourning dove, mourning dove, who look'st below,
Plain is thy frock, like plains of grass, like thy naked tree,
Plain, without display, preserving thy heart,
But, thy plain coat blesses,
        thy plain coat is thy riches,
        thy plain coat affirms thy sincerity.

O, mourning dove, where wilt thou go?

List of Poems
32. SONNET I (July 12, 1957)
(to Linda Allen)

The stars behind my brow are twinkling
More than any on a cloudless night;
Of their electric magic I've an inkling--
What warm volcano makes them glow so bright,
So dazzling, like some silver nuggets streaming
Incessantly before my hidden sight.
I wake, and soon their peal is loudly beaming;
I say my prayers, and like ten thousand eyes,
Insistent rays surround and hold me, seeming
Thrilling chords; and bidden echoes rise
Within my depth, and as a shower sprinkling
Meadowlands and soaking what there lies,
    The light and warmth from all that milky way
    Saturate and perfume both night and day.

List of Poems
33. SONNET II (8/21/1957)
(to Linda Allen)

Blessed is the evening and the morning
For all the world my laughing sister is,
With eyes and hands broadcasting me a warning
That flower buds are but ephemeris.
Pluck not the lily from her floating throne;
Her binding chains and veins are all there is
To keep awake the color she has grown.
Possession of the rainbow is a lie;
Leave the spankled earth-tiara alone,
And let the healthy vision of the sky
Fall upon its palms, that give but scorning
To a clasp; whose greeting is, to die.
    Glances beckon every avenue;
    My blood is one with flowers, earth, and you.

List of Poems
34. SONNET III (3/14/1958)
(to Linda Allen)

For many years my spirit doubted whether
Any find could prove the final score,
That any prize could live through changing weather
And still bloom dear as it had sung before;
It seemed to me the gateways would stand open--
My soul would never cease to search
So finally my yearning gave up hoping,
And I decided just to let things grow,
When suddenly I found, since free from groping,
That in my eyes the sparkling gem did glow,
The pearl of greatest price for which I'd rather
Forsake all else and everything I know;
    For this enchantment's like the living air,
    That gives me breath, is with me everywhere.

List of Poems
35. THE CLARION VOICE (March 19th, 1958)
(to Linda Allen)

The clarion voice of Nature
    and the strident tones of logic
Signify the story's end,
    the climax true and tragic.

The shadow of the twilight,
    sombre, grey, and dreary,
Silhouettes the riddle's key,
    the wand of some dark fairy;

For light rays never enter
    into caverns, damp and chilly,
Though colour, sculpture, majesty,
    adorn the buried valley.

I cannot scale a precipice
    nor swim the endless ocean,
Nor covet honey of the bees,
    nor objects of my passion.

And well it is i cannot
    reach the limits of desires,
The artificial pictures which
    assimilate my cares,

For flowing mountain streamlets
    are purer, fresher, colder,
Sweeter, more enrapturing,
    more spirited, and bolder

Than a trammeled manmade channel
    which is dug into the surface
Of the riant terra firma
    that always is our preface.

List of Poems
36. UNDERSTANDING (probably March, 1958, because of the paper)
(to no one)

For what is understanding?

    Knowledge of the underlying reality?

Verbalized it is false, as a minute
    description of the contours of a tree
    will not enable us to re-create the tree

Communicated it is wasted, as a little
    child knows not the meaning of red,
    of square, of growth, of death, until
    the words gain associations through
    many tellings

Strictured it is killed, as no analysis
    of a song, of a picture, of a dance
    can explain the excitement, the thrill,
    the bond which emanates and enthralls
    spectator and performer

Inexplicable, ineffable, no reason but its own,
    no key, no clue, no path,
    understanding is standing under the heavens,
    not playing Atlas, not playing Eurynome

List of Poems
37. THE CHILD AND THE ORACLE (3/30/1958)
(possibly for Linda Allen)

        The child stood at the door of the cave. It seemed warm within,
and so he stepped into the silence. A dull glow nestled at the end of
the cavern, and he climbed toward it. A small, fragrant fire was at its
heart, in a basin carved in the granite. He looked around and at first
saw nothing, then suddenly it seemed to him that he saw a figure behind
the blaze. It was the Oracle.
        "Seek ye me, son of men?" purred the Oracle.
        "What are you?" responded the child in wonder.
        "I am the spirit of the mountain, son of men. I am constant, and
still, and men presume to g1ean additional wisdom by visiting me."
        "What do they ask?" asked the child after a pause.
        "They want to know where is success, and glory, and wealth, and
love, and what is the future, and what is wisdom, and what they should
do, or work for, or believe in."
        "What do you tell them?" the child wanted to know.
        "Child," rumbled the figure, "no man leaves me richer than as he
came; if he has eyes, he need only look about him to find his answer.
I, I have none. Yet they need words, so I give tnem words. If they wish
to know the future, I say, What hath been is, and will be. What you
are is what you want. Find out what you want, and pursue it. But, they
ask, what is worth wanting? So I reply, can you understand desire? the
desire of a miser for his gold? or a tyrant for power? or a he-ass for
the female? or the smoke for the heights of the air? or the rain for
the earth, or the bird to sing? the squirrel to scamper or a woman for
child? Is life so unapparent that you descend into a cave to find it?
        "Or they ask for wisdom. Verily, you know as much as any of tnat,
even me. I ask t' you, child of men, what is wisdom?"
        "Me? I know nothing, spirit of the mountain. I can only run and
play in the sunshine and grass. But the darkness of your cave is restful,
and I cannot always run and play.
        "Thanks indeed, 0 little sage. See that jar? if you are thlrsty,
drlnk of it; but only the earth's surface provides food," the oracle
went on musingly.
        "And then there are those who wish honor, and glory, and wealth.
To whom I can only reply, What you had yesterday, you have today. What
is it? What you wish for tomorrow will not come till then. Why be
impatient! The peach tree bears its fruit in season, and in the
meanwhile, it blossoms, it leaves, it dances and sings in the wind,
and worships the sun."
        "Then they ask, will the harvest and its fruits be mine? I ask them,
is it your empty heart you want me to fill for you?"
        The child curled up in a corner near the fire after having drunk
of the contents of the jar. "I should like to sleep, spirit of the
        "Sleep deep, then, little fair-skinned one."
        And as the child slept, he dreamed; and as he dreamed, he left that
haven of childhood, and became a man; and as a man he stood again
before the Oracle.
        "Tell me. 0 spirit of the mountain, how may I know my true love? It
        "Why do you ask me this? Is not the answer in your own breast? Only
you can know the stirrings, the concord, the sympathetic vibrations of
your heart. Trust them, and know that if they are answered by she of
your mind, then the flame of life is irresistible."
        And again, he stood before the Orac1e, older, darker, quieter,
and said, "Tell me, 0 Oracle, was I right in my choice?"
        "O timid fool, do you yet regard it as a choice? Do you desire a
justification? assurance that it is right? Ask yourself, have your
feelings faltered, your mind meandered, your thoughts turned, or has
there been a constancy, constant outlet, constant inlet, constant as
the waterfall tumbling down the crags?"
        Once more, he stood facing the Oracle, still erect, wrinkled with
life and love.
        "Oracle, the eye of heaven winks at me; for I have given as it
pours forth, freely, unhesitateingly; and I have received as the
outstretched arms of the soil, fulfilling its purpose and seeking
        "And has there been no desire but that which comes of itself?"
        Then the child awoke, and sprang up; the Oracle was gone, and the
child saw that it was again light outside the cave, and so he returned
to the sunshine and grass.

List of Poems
38. WHERE IS THEN THE LIGHT? (April 9, 1958)
(to Linda Allen)

Where is then the light?
Where is the spring,
    the knothole, the crevice where into
        pour the golden arrows?

For long have I sought,
Long, wearisomely,
    through the many thickets and glens,
        the darkest recesses.

The night-time covers all;
Yet, I know there is
    an eternal brillian sun-lantern
        that can flood the blackness.

So, I search forever;
My hands grasp, and lose
    again the curtains hiding the fire,
        concealing the flower.

I hear a little music,
And smell some soft fragrance,
    redolent with the savour and juice
        of the mystic valley.

But the perfume passes,
The carven crystal tones,
    Tantalizing with sugary images,
        always diminuendo.

List of Poems
39. THOUGHTS (December 3rd, 1958)
(to Jeanie Rokos)

A man, his shadow, each alone,
Sometimes asunder when the sunlight fades,
    Cannot be unknotted.

One wonders as the singing sea
With salty tongue assaults the silent sand;
    Separate, they perish;
The plunging, plund'ring, pounding foam,
The pliant, patient and complacent beach,
    Each one needs the other.

Two streams meander through the plain;
And after carving out a curving path,
    At some point they're joined;
They kiss and kill while still apart,
But once combined become an arm of calm,
    Blended in dependence.

And thus with us, another birth,
A springing into flowering, into love;
    Union from partition.

(We met in November, decided to be married in December,
.then called it off a week before)

List of Poems
(to Patricia Murphy)

Like spreading waves of sunlight,
    thundering against the walls,
Or coloured flowers, heav'nly bright,
    the sight and sound of you enthralls

Me, causing me to tremble,
    and burn with ceaseless flame,
I cannot therefore dissemble,
    I want to holler out your name,

And how I feel, and how I breathe,
    and how I am enchanted,
How I want to place a wreath
    on you, whose image has been planted

Within me now to grow,
    comfort, bloom and shade;
The seventh heaven now I know,
    and my fortune has been made!

List of Poems
41. I THINK OF YOU (March 9, 1960)
(to Patricia Murphy)

I think of you again,
    I think of you out loud;
You motivate my pen,
    You put me on a cloud.
Not in a cloud, but on--
    Not only in my head,
My solitude is gone,
    My loneliness has fled.
You fill me with delight,
    You bestow on me a calm;
You're like a rainbow bright;
    To you I sing this psalm.
You are my one retreat,
    You are my life's response:
I want to kiss your feet,
    And drink long at the founts
That are your lips and eyes,
    That are your fingertips.
You're an oasis in disguise,
    Sending a thousand ships
That are now conquering me,
    Like Helen's ships to Troy!
Oh, please don't let me be,
    This bondage, it is joy,
It's diamond, it is gold,
    More than the burning sun,
More than was ever told
    In legend or in fun.

You are my one delight,
    My treasure here on earth;
You make broad day from night,
    You've given me rebirth.
I've said all this before,
    And so have other men;
But you deserve it more,
    Again, and then again.
For happiness is rare,
    And love is rarer still;
But these are what we share,
    And what we always will.
The root of all my faith,
    The peak of all the pile,
Are you, my earthly wraith,
    For I'm a Patsy-phile!

(second verse added June 23, 1960)

List of Poems
42. SONNET V (march 9 mcmlx)
(to Patricia Murphy)

The world is filled with many solemn thoughts,
And others that are in a lighter vein;
We seem to ever oscillate between
These two extremes, frivolity and oughts.
The man is happy who is neither one
But both, a blend of colour and of grey,
Who lets some laughter decorate the day
That otherwise is cold, without a sun.
How is it then that we can harmonize,
Like a song of sorrow which we sing?
How is it to each other that we cling
And share each other's happiness and sighs?
    Because we are a common soul of God,
    With gravity and jubilancy shod.

List of Poems
43. A STORM (March 11, 1960)
(to Patricia)

The storm rages and cries,
    spends itself in fury,
    wastes itself riotously,
And gloom and chill invades the soul
    as the breath of the gale howls.

But the tears of the wild darkness
    nourish the earth
    and refresh the day,
And the calm and sweet of new birth
    is the corpse of the storm.

List of Poems
44. MY VALE OF SCARLET (Nonsense Poem #1; 3/11/1960)
(to Patricia)

My vale of scarlet has refused to sing
    as before which older sunshine played,
What were his colour, former rivers bring
    to running stones which eat or drink no shade;
And liquid greak some fewer flying hills
    who constantly like gravel going to seed
Have for her by me of daffodils,
    her lake-blue dancing teeth on mortal bleed.

On top by summer's dusty wilder fold
    for shadows gleaming sundry shot his sight;
And swampy bellow launching redder gold
    he after many, tender laughter quite.
Sprinkling, spanking, quenched through indiscreet,
    more is it were does sometime overstand.
Aroma in how droning rainbow sweet
    exploded, some dissolved who contraband.

What has I whirled, which liver spleen

List of Poems
45. PAT-PAT-PAT (may 7, 1960)
(to Patricia Murphy)

If that were this and this were that
My heart would still go Pat-Pat-Pat!
The gentle rain would learn the tune
And Pat-Pat-Pat would not stop soon.

    Pat-Pat-Pat! just think of that!
    Just think of her and hold your hat!
    Like the flicker's rat-tat-tat,
    Join the chorus, Pat-Pat-Pat!

Patricia too's a singing name;
The lords and ladies used the same;
And through the day and night I'd wish ya
Would join me singing of Patricia!

    All the world goes round and round,
    Patricia is the moving sound;
    And like the merry merry-go-round
    Patricia, Patricia, my heart does pound!

Murphy sounds like leafy trees
Stirred to voices by the breeze;
Soft and sweet and strong and earthy
Like the girl, Patricia Murphy!

    Patricia Murphjy, that's the ticket,
    That's the roses in the thicket,
    That's the ornament for your wicket,
    Patricia Murphy, see it, pick it!

List of Poems
46. SONNET VI (may 13, 1960)
(to patricia)

Let me hold your hand and walk beside you;
Put your hand in mine and walk with me.
Speak to me of payness and of virtue,
I'll speak to you of what I feel and see.
Laugh and let me share that precious glee,
Turn away from everything and sigh,
But let me know what all those worries be;
If they be sad or hard, they shall pass by.
Whate'er you do, it's as it were I,
Singing, dancing, sleeping 'neath the sun,
United as the earth, the sea, the sky,
Our interlocking spirits are now one.
    Let me love you, and all my fears are gone;
    Say you love me, then His will is done!

List of Poems
47. SONNET VII (May 28, 1960)
(To Patricia)

The world is wide, and brimming are the seas,
Repletion, wealth, abundance are their own.
So you are to me as on my knees
I praise the vision which on me has shone.
O'erwhelming are the fulgent harmonies,
That silence all other music I have known,
That grow and mingle in such symphonies
As have enrich-ed me from you alone.
Oh, brilliant star that warms and quickens me,
That takes from me some virtue in return,
Making us a stronger one than two,
You are the dawn, the coloured mystery.
    The fire that makes cold Heaven's arches burn;
    You are my love, you are my birth anew.

List of Poems
48. SONNET VIII (May 28, 1960)
(To Patricia)

They say that Love is blind. What could be
A tragedy if all that's blind were love?
If all men did had that intensity
Of feeling, of sensations? Or of
The peace that comes from absence of desire?
If men would sharpen up their heart and mind
By plunging in and through that temp'ring fire,
And fronm fulfillment in another find
The joyful Halleloo reverbating
Through their life? Love is a tender bond
That opens up men's eyes, removes the grating
Which prisons us; and who does not respond
    When loving hands caress the yearning soul?
    Love is the only way to become whole.

List of Poems
49. NARRATIVE POEM #1 (Summer, 1960)
(to Patricia; published in the Editors, 1964)

Surrounding a cottage, old-fashioned and small,
A flourishing garden once stood by the road,
Where travelers would often stop for a look,
Admiring the flowers and grasses and shrubs
Which tingled with care, with laughter and fun.
And sometimes the window would open up wide,
The widow who lavished her love and her life
Upon that small meadow and miniature wood
Would cry out a greeting and ask him to stop
And share with her, crumpets and four o'clock tea.
Scarce ever a passerby, charmed by the voice,
Entrapped by the wonderful feel of the place,
Would refuse her invariable company seat,
And she would soon learn of the traveler's way,
And where he was going, and where he had been,
And what did he think of the towns he had passed,
And did he like small towns, or larger ones, too;
And what of his family and what of his work,
And what were his thoughts as he wandered alone,
And what did he think of her garden and home;
And many a tale, exciting and lone,
Did the old woman hear over crumpets and tea:
Of long-gone friends and also relations,
Of fiery persons who could not stay still,
Who'd left all they had to wander and sing,
Or missions important that were undertaken
In hope of enriching a meagre possession,
In hope of a love or a friend or a brother,
In hope of adventure, or success, or of pleasure.
Often then after the story was told
They'd talk of philosophy, science, society,
And share with each other their fears and ideas;
Theories about the existence of man,
And purpose and truth, of love and of will.
And often the lady would say with a laugh,
"Why, never has that been apparent to me,
But now it is clear, and you've shown the light."
Or often, again, the traveler would say,
"My wanderings, although I think they are great,
Ignore the real problems which I left behind;
I saw there no reason to stay and to fight
And to learn and to help where I know the best
The nature of people, and, then, of myself;
So thanks to you, madam, for opening my eyes."
And sometimes a traveler, rapt by her spell,
Would stay for the night in her neat little cottage,
And share with her, breakfast of sausage and eggs
And orange juice and doughnuts and fresh goats' milk,
And more conversation, and views of the world,
And finally depart in the clear noonday sun.
Or if it were raining, the guest would remain,
And play ancient games with the saintly old lady,
Or talk of the objets d'art which filled out
Her fresh little cottage which sparkled and shone
Because of the tenderness shown to the plants,
And also to the animals, goats, chickens, dogs,
Uncaged sparrows, and even a snake
Who stayed by the waterpump out by the fence,
An opossum who hid 'neath the floor of the hosue,
Some little white mice who ran in the kitchen,
And one old gray owl who sometimes flew 'round,
And sat in the boughs of the pussy-willow tree
And stared, unblinking, at ev'ryone there.
And sometimes, some others who lived in the town
Would come for a bee while the wand'rer delayed,
Bring cookies and fruit, and set down to work,
To knit and to sew, and to talk of the town,
Creative virtue concealed in the chatter,
Kind hearts whose pleasure lay in the rocking
And making some garment for some poorer person,
And sharing the goodness which e'er overflowed
From the kindly old lady who lived by the road;
But finally the trav'ler, who itched to remain,
Would take farewell, his Aloha, his hat,
His share of the peace and the earnest endeavor
Reflected in all that's contained in this scene.
And never the widow forgot any face;
She'd talk of the visitors who'd lingered there,
And, exub'rantly joyful, she'd welcome each one,
Give them some fruit for their hot dusty way,
Throw open her doors, as we have related,
Throw open her mind, throw open her heart,
Throw open her spirit, radiant and loving.
And so I conclude, with something like this:
The world's meant for people, to have and to share,
The world is a fruitful and glorious land,
But keep your eyes open and your hands at work,
Whether with objects or people or thoughts,
Have largeness of heart, and laughter of mind,
Keep your fingers in practice, they're meant to be used,
In music, in creating, working or play.
Sometimes you'll feel that you must be alone,
And that's a necessity, in spite of my moral,
To settle, to simmer, and to recuperate
And gather the wrinkled and tarnished folds
Of the garments of self, to clean and to press,
Then return to the picnic of playing with life,
Of turning the stones which you see into bread,
Of searching the mystery of each human heart,
And of exercising the Power within,
Which cries for fulfillment of its energy.
So if you have listened to this story and moral,
My song it is done, and tell it to others
If you agree, but yet if you don't,
You may have a diff'rent or new understanding
Of what's what with people, with life, and with doing.
So follow it, don't doubt it, hold to it fast,
Unless you find that it's inadequate,
Then be not afraid to change in the middle,
From horse to horse, to continue to ride,
Dangerous and difficult though it may be.
Better to struggle and escape, than to drown.

List of Poems
50. PRIESTESS OF MY FAITH (june 20, 1960)
(to Pat)

Priestess of my faith, my votaress,
I devote myself to you, all, undivided;
The all-beneficent sun in his mighty path
Evokes not a part of the homage due you.
The voracious ocean, full of death and life,
Stands less in awe, in worship, praise, or fear.

Priestess of my faith, my white goddess,
Divine being come to grace my hours,
Let me see that Olympian lightning
Twinkle in your lake-blue dancing eyes;
Let me hear that music of the spheres,
The rainbow chording of your voice, your song.

Priestess of my faith, thou elect,
Certainty that is my pillar of fire,
The web and woof of life you've given form,
And colours, fragrance, harmony have descended.
The heart and soul of my existence
Have found its energy and blood from you.

Priestess of my faith, my hope, and love,
High priestess with the keys and seven seals,
Lead me through the jungles and the hills,
The incoherent crowding circumstances;
Follow me in search of richer shrines,
Deeper in the realms of consciousness.

Priestess of my faith, my inspiration,
Reverently I genuflect to you.
This worship though is not a longing upward,
For I shall leap to stand up there beside you;
This passion, furious driving from my bones
Is the energy that kindles me to love.

Priestess of my faith, my sure belief,
I cannot stop to breathe or take a rest;
I sing to all creation of my fate,
This center and this axis I have found;
I shout and write and smile a secret smile,
And start again to sing this panegyric.

Priestess of my faith, at your altar
I'll drink the holy water and kiss your feet,
Your body and your soul hold me in sway
And guide my thoughts and feelings from afar;
Your spirit hovers like a golden halo
And nourishes, refreshes, and quickens me.

Priestess of a thousand and one worlds,
Bringer of the word of God to me,
Fortissimo the orchestra of life
Has swelled and now it permeates the air;
Prestissimo the rollicking melodies
In which I join sound all the world around.

Priestess of my faith, thou heavenly balm,
Peace, and tranquil blanket over me,
I'll stay with thee if ever all else fail,
If skies should fall and rivers overflow;
I'll love you always, no magnet ever was
As tenacious of its steel as I of love.

List of Poems
51. SONNET IX (June 20,1960)
(to Pat)

Your sunset hair is your princess' crown;
Your eyes like jewels of blue bedeck your face
Of peach complexion, soft as eider down.
Your sweet-pea lips enhance the fairy grace
Which radiates your sculptured body o'er;
Those firm and supple curves where shadows play
Increase in value to me more and more.
Your understanding fingers that can say
A world of love and care in gentle touch,
Call forth as by a mighty trumpet blast
An answering hand; and though I love this much,
This work of art and heaven, from first to last
    The bond unbreakable that sets us free
    Is cemented by your personality.

List of Poems
52. LIVE AND LAUGH AND LOVE (june 21, 1960)
(to patricia; first verse quoted from an earlier poem)

(Like birds above a song I sing
Of "Te Amo"; to you I bring
A promise old repeated new,
Devotion, adoration true.
I pledgeof honour, faith, and trust,
A troth between which says, "We must
Live and laugh and love and let
The world go by, suns rise and set.)

Live! and let the world go by.
But it will share with you and I
Its deepest secrets, joy and woe,
And shelter us where'er we go,
Give us today our daily bread,
And smile and wink upon our bed.
Live, and all that living means
Will open and unfold its scenes.

Laugh! and like the rolling wind
Whose robust breath is never thin
And like the gently babbling brook
Which passes through without a look
At trees and birds,and, too, like them,
With chirping song and flow'ry stem,
Laugh, and you unlock the door
To see the heart and to adore.

Love! the richest gift of all,
To ev'ry ear a clarion call,
The hardest benediction, she
Makes conflict into harmony,
Gives to the earth a rosier glow,
Spreads out a meaning here, below
The ruling stars,who join with her
To watch her magic re-occur.

So we must love and laugh and live,
That all these treasures may us give
The crown of thorns, transformed to balm,
The cross, become a fruitful palm.
This nectar and ambrosia sweet
Will stoke our fires to such a heat
As scarcely ever mortals find,
Our hearts being ever intertwined!

List of Poems
53. SONNET X (August, 1960)
(to Pat)

In moments deep man often turns to prayer,
Though vain and cocksure at some other time;
And, certain that there must be something there,
He opens up his faith to the sublime.
Not just from habit, nor yet like something learned,
But really from the deepest core of being,
He reaches out for something undiscerned,
Something powerful, all-wise, all-seeing.
And so I place my smitten trust in God,
And so I say, The great inscrutable
Will stand by us, will be a staff and rod
To bring us to what is desirable.
    Thus to timeless destiny I plead,
    And pray that love will rise and master need.

List of Poems
54. SONNET XI (august 12, 1960)
(to pat-pat-pat)

O lioness, my graceful, purring mate,
Ruler of the jungles and the hills,
Serene golden queen, how you elate
Me, stirring up the waters, sending thrills
Along my veins; and how you can relax
With but a smile my tenseness and my fears;
With but a word, a look, my spirits wax
Stronger than the pressure which appears
In legion host to stifle peace of mind.
But all these enemies evaporate
And next you here or there I always find
Peace and joy and life which emanate
    From the conjunction of our minds, our flesh
    When the flame of love burns up afresh.

List of Poems
55. SONNET XII (august 12, 1960)
(to pat-pat-pat)

And love is e'er my theme, my dance, my song.
For faith is nourishment to produce growth,
And hope is winds which carry us along,
But love is fruit, pollinated by us both.
Love is fruit, ripe and juicy, red--
With seeds within that it may spread anew
A honeycomb, on which we shall be fed,
Sweet, so sweet, but sweeter since from you.
Doubt, despair, desire, devils all,
Would kill the fruit and spoil the honeycomb,
But faith and hope and love will rise up tall,
Strike down these foes and drive them from our home
    And we will live and thrive on this, our love,
    Our heritage from life and from above.

List of Poems
56. O WILD UNRULY SPIRIT (september 27th, 1960)
(to pat-pat-pat)

O, wild unruly spirit of the
Darkness and the light
The pulsing being which inhabits both
The magic sway of unlit chambers
And the pouring showers of the sunshine

Why torment me thus?
Why strike my exposed back and slash
My vitals?
Why is this baptism by fire, this threshing
Of the wheat in the garner,
The only gift you can bestow?

The horizons had widened from a two-eyed view
To include each and ev'ry phase of life
And the kingly accolade, the queenly handkerchief
Were not so far distant
When the thunderheads arose and darkening clouds
Gathered and burst into the chill of torrents
And the terror of the lightning crash--

So was it that my hopes had left their sense
And desires outstripped the service
Which denotes the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
Was it that the traditional vision
Is incomplete, prejudicial, soporific,

Requiring that a tornado purge the soul?
Requiring that the earthly man be drawn
And quartered that the spiritual may thrive?
Requiring that the heart be boiled in oil
To slay the germs of the material, the animal?

This cleansing, scouring experience
Rending and racking my single-minded spirit,
I pray may lead the way to purer
Response and responsibility
To richer life and environment.

(written when Pat and I were breaking up)

List of Poems
57. WHOO? (fall, 1960)
(just for rhythmic fun)

One - puzzle, - yakking - free,
One by two, - four by me.
Over, under, roundabout,
Some is multiple, without doubt.
Under the rickety skidding pile,
Which sundered a shuddering platinum file,
Once upon a summertime the sugary silverware
Fattened up a porcupine whose handkerchief was buried there.

(the first line is in a quarter-note rhythm;
.the second and third lines are in a eighth-note rhythm; .the fourth line has a triplet on the second beat; .the fifth line has two triplets, two eighth-notes, one quarter-note; .the sixth line has three triplets and a quarter-note; .the seventh line has 4 sixteenths twice and two triplets; .the last line is all sixteenth notes)

List of Poems
58. WHAT WATERS STIR (Winter, 1960-61)
(to Julie Powell)

What waters stir
As the wind of God blows on them
White-caps and arches rise,
And splash and rise again;

The air is still,
And a voice comes from afar, from near,
"Behold and see, and feel,
And stand, and move,"
In long pealing chords of blue and red,
In long perfumed breaths of blue and red.

The sun peeks from behind its clouds,
A game of hide-and-seek for those who care;
The lightnings skip along the ridges,
The petrels rest,
And the fury and the passion of the centuries,
Of the aeons,
Is compressed into a moment
As time stands still, and two hearts
Drum out a question, an answer, a chorus,
Echoing 'gainst the sandy cliffs,
Responded to by a flutter of poplar leaves,
And a scurry of life in hidden corners,
The mute ones who live and die
And gather food and gather food and never rest,
And the garrulous ones who only die,
Greedy drinkers of the sunshine,
Timid tea-drinkers who hide behind curtains,
Their eyes follow the pageant of the sea,
Their pulses tremble with the storm,
Their stances acknowledge God and man,
God in man, man in God.

The rainbow grows and rules the sky
As calm invades the freshened earth.
The sun tires of hide-and-seek
And petrels, loons, and cormorants
Play hide-and-seek, a deathly game
With sparkling swimmers beneath the ocean surface.

What blue and red
Fills the air like a bellows,
The air shaking the water from its hair?
What blue and red arrests in motion
The hurry and the rush, unaimed, unknowing?
A storm of blue and red
Follows the storm of wind and wet
Preceding the storm of struggling, erring, seeking life,
Knowing what and where, but not where or how.

List of Poems
59. DON'T FALL IN LOVE WITH ME (Winter, 1961)
(sort of, from Julie to John)

Don't! fall in love with me
before I fall in love with you!
Be careful, dear, of what you see,
and more of what you want to do.
Love often seems the journey's goal,
but life goes always on and on,
And he who worships woman's soul
oft finds both love and she are gone.

Don't! fall in love with me
before I fall in love with you!
It's very pleasant to be free,
and hard to be forever true.
Love's like a tiger by the tail,
and life is like a shifting boat
It's better far to learn to sail
than be clawed by love, or cease to float.

Don't! fall in love with me
before I fall in love with you!
For heaven, dear, I may not bee;
Red passion often turns to blue.
Love is a dark, mysterious land
Life, like the spreading countryside;
And little do we understand,
So in emotions do we hide.

Don't! fall in love with me
before I fall in love with you!
You'd better set those fieldmice free
than spoil Cinderella's shoe.
Love comes at night, alone, uncalled,
Life's doors and windows open wide,
And trusting in yourself and God,
Explore them, do not be denied.

Don't! fall in love, I say,
before I fall in love with you!
I'll love and give to all I may
And seldom wonder why or who.
Love, like the cloak invisible,
Disguises what we want to see;
So, till I find you loveable,
Don't you fall in love with me!

(the first two lines Julie said to me in December of 1960;
.and i wrote this poem to amplify on that feeling of hers.)

List of Poems
60. SONNET XIII (february 20, 1961)
(to Julie Powell)

The little gremlins dance around and play,
And point their laughing fingers at my face
And at my heart, as if they mean to say,
What, think you share of heavenly grace?
Do you think this dawning of the day
In colour rose intruding every space
Means, Where you are you'd better stay,
There couldn't ever be a greener place.
To them I cannot answer No or Yes,
For, Yes, that feeling covers me all over,
That, here I stand, and this one thing I choose,
Love, or life, or love and life, no less,
Eye to eye, and patience of a lover,
Yet, No, because this joy i'll not abuse.

List of Poems
61. HEAR ME EARTH AND SKY (April, 1961)
(to Juliene)

Dusty with the tears of the stars
The air around me smiles,
And slowly winks its eyes.

Its fingers, like a slow-rising sun
The opening curtain of dawn
Laugh a damp sweetness.

Within its firefly eyes
I see your voice and you,
Nourishing its smile.

The throbbing singing of its hands
Refreshed by thoughts of you,
Cheers, rejuvenates,

Ennobles, plunges to ecstasy,
The tension, which sings itself
Of my flowering heart,

Pollinated by the bees,
Who carry the rosy honey
From your fruitful heart,

That harmonica of love,
That apple of the garden,
That sweetsmelling blossom,

To my hungry, thirsty soul,
Abiding in your rays,
Of brilliant, warming light.

Oh! mighty ocean, singing sea,
Peaceful mountain tall,
And hardy evergreen,

Hear my pledge of golden truth,
This promise old and new,
This heart and soul I give,

Purple devotion, ripened courage,
Juicy love and care,
Hear me, Earth and Sky!

List of Poems
(to Julie Powell)

The early morn's the saddest time,
The wistful wak'ning of the earth,
The poignant pulsing of the newborn day,
Enhancing all the joy and happiness that you have,
And making all the loneliness
Of strong and weaker spirits
Heavier than it really is,
Sharper, clearer than it really is,
Replacing the stillness of the night before
When you found on sinking into slumber
That the world is one.

I said good-bye, good-bye to those
With whom the evening had been shared,
And whether it were struggle over selves or thoughts
Or fragile outbursts of a vigorous spirit,
Or whether it were nothing become gold,
Spilling radiance ineluctable,
A strange flavor remaining there,
As back into myself, my bed, I once more
Retreated, with thoughts, memories, feelings,
A strange flavor, overwhelming,
Peace, and yet not peace.

    Not humbleness, nor inferiority,
    not beat-out, nor having lost,
    not What-the-hell,
        what's the use,
        what am I doing here?
        why? who? how?

    And neither the everlasting Yea,
    nor the mystical regeneration
        of St. Juliana,

But, like the trail, the open rocky trail,
Distance tramped long behind,
How far more not known,
No running brooklets nearby,
Only gently breathing pines,
And the perfume of sugar-pine pitch
And the crackle of the centuries' needles
Blanketing the earth.

List of Poems
63. BLUES JULIENNE (April, 1961)
(based on Julie's words to me)

Oh! I've got no peace!
No! I've got no peace!
I've got so many suitors --
Why won't they cease?

Oh! please let me be
Still, still as a tree;
Rushing and dashing about
Are not for me.

        I just want to be left alone;
        Quiet as a cliff of stone;
        I just want to be by myself,
        Listening in a mountain dell.

Oh! let me have peace;
Give me that golden fleece;
I'll not run like a mountain deer --
Let me have peace,
Let me have peace,
Let me have peace!

        Strength I'll find from the open sky,
        Standing on a mountain high,
        Let the world go its noisy way,
        Peace I'll find here every day;

Oh! let me have peace;
Give me that golden fleece;
I'll not run like a mountain deer --
Let me have peace,
Let me have peace,
Let - me - have - peace!

List of Poems
64. I DREAMED OF YOU (May 10, 1961)
(to Julie)

I dreamed of you last night, my dear.

I dreamed your bounty fell on me,
And love rose in me noisily.

I dreamed that we walked hand in hand,
And saw the wonders of the land,
The pageant for us God has planned.

I dreamed that in each other's eyes
We sought and found and lived the prize
That puzzles all the great and wise,
Because it's mixed with laughs and sighs.

I dreamed and woke again in bed
To find that dream and you had fled;
But isn't that what we both said?
"Worship oft finds that she is gone."
"I'll disappear and travel on."

But still, I dreamed of you, my dear.

List of Poems
(to Eva Brodell)

O to become as a little child,
Whose every hour is beguiled
With many little things to do
And whose world is always new,
Since they're not tired of it all--
Not theirs the pain of Adam's fall;
They have not reached to worry's thrall.

To see the world with children's eyes,
Far more clearly than all the wise,
To feel the urge to run, and tun,
To see the truth in everyone;
To have imagination free,
Dreams that are reality,
Happiness in what you see.

Our Jesus told us we must be
As little children, trusting, free
Of fears, of failure, with open hearts,
And laughing minds, not playing parts
Learned from without, not from within.
He told us we must start again
As if reborn, and free from sin.

Was he right, or was he wrong?
Do little children most belong
To Nature's plan, with life's intent?
And where's the place where our youth went?
Why shouldn't it stay, if that's the plan?
Why can't we live as we began,
Be as a child, while still a man?

I do not know the reasons why
From us our childloke joys do fly.
But knowing children and their life
Frees us from the puzzling strife
That seems to go with growing old.
A child's small hand is more than gold,
Put in mine makes warm from cold.

But why this message given you
Who is still a child? I guess, to
Let you know my thought and mind,
Even though you may not find
These thoughts to be what interest you,
But you brighten up my heart, you do,
And that is what is really true.

So never lose your childlike grace,
And even when you're face to face
With all the problems life and give
With love, and marriage, and death, yet live
As you are now, light from the sun,
Finding everywhere is fun,
And everything that can be done.

List of Poems
(to no one)

What's the answer to the question?
What's the question that we ask?
Why do we ask so many questions
And take the oracles to task?

Why is the which and who am I
And where was what, now, tell me why?
We look and look, why do we look
In depth and breadth, at shelf and nook?
Beneath the stones and twigs and leaves?
Behind the shed, along the eaves?
This monstrous game of hide-and-seek
We never win, and so get the beak.

A transcendental new perspective
Beyond the needs of flesh and time
Has wracked the mind of man, an active
Ferment causing thought to climb
Beyond the peak, beyond the top,
We should have known the place to stop
For nothing now we see below,
We challenge all we used to know,
We ask, suppose, make new tableaux,
But never sure that it is so,
Save some, whose questions die away,
And dogma's all we hear them say,
Though conflicts beset every way
That Man has preached to light his day
And all are really just the same,
Another way to play the game.

("Get the beak" is an old "Herm" term meaning frustrated)
("Herm" is the family and school nickname for my brother)

List of Poems
67. WALKING AT NIGHT (nov 1 1961)
(to Helen Maurer "eleno mome")

the trees breathed softly

their scarlet crowns and gold
making the hills to vibrate
and i vibrated with them
as i walked, walked, walked

a sadness lay in the grass
the browning cloak of the hills
a poignant sadness which whispered
of its green youth passed by

out over the city my gaze stretched its fingers
touching the lights here and there
but never resting
there a million lives like a million leaves
of brown upon the ground
whisper to each other
drowned by the vastness of the sky
by the multitude of houses, lights, streets
by the pressure of the beating heart and puzzled brain

come to me, my fragrant star
my sugary jewel
come sit and sing and stay
and give your heart to me
and take myself into you
come, let us be one at peace

some saffron sunlight thunders more in choir
upon your cheek it casts a ruddy gowb
that light is ours, that light is not ours
the triumphal canopy andvoice of heaven
enjoining, comforting, inspiring us be

why not blend our hands and feet
why not continue as before
our paths of life but now together
let not your self be lost to sight
but keep your first commitment
2 B U
the second commitment is the work--
the thrilling search into another's self--
until the final choice can then be made
2 B 2 N 1

(this one certainly shows traces of e e cummings!
."eleno mome" is a Bulgarian dance, and it was a nickname .we used for Helen Maurer, since "Elena" is the same name as Helen)

List of Poems
(to everyone)

hey nonny nonny

hey nonny mouse

why do the birds sing and the children play

because it's spring

because it's Easter

because they're happy

because it's good

come come come come come come come come come come

do not, do not -- unnecessarily, do not unnecessarily complicate,

do not unnecessarily complicate things

come to 2645 Shasta Road, Berkeley

April 21

Sunset -- ??

Ukrainian Easter Egg Party

folk sing before during after forever

yolks folks songs gongs hey nonny mouse

from the court fool

("hey nonny mouse" is a misspelling of "anonymous")
."Do not unnecessarily complicate things" was a round i wrote .for Steve Kresge's musical in 1957)

List of Poems
69. LET ME SING TO YOU (Summer, 1962)
(to Carolyn Brown-eyes)

Let me sing to you
Let me sing to you in phrases of praise
    You are some brightsome star
    Twinkling toes and sparkling eyes
    Of all the constellations and galaxies
    You are a fiery jewel
    Glistening cheeks and supple form
    Among the sands and pebbles

For when you dance
For when you dance and let your life pour forth
    A miracle seems to be born
    A soul, body, and heart is fused in one
    And each enhancing each
    there is a balm and spice and gold
    The magic of a red red west
    The glory on a mountain peak
    With rocks, trees, distance, clouds
    All at one's feet
    And all in your feet and eyes and self

The world is there
The vast and spreading universe has found its source
    Where'er you dance and sing and smile
    Was e'er a restless mind and soul
    So blest with such a heavenly vision
    So near and real
    As when you dance
    (Hear me, you trees and flowers,
    Benign redwood and tender myrtle)
    For is not her whole being a dance?

Let me sing to you
And let me sing of you in notes and tones of gold
    A fairy from the Lurline band
    A princess like none ever known
    From whence that soul of dancing,
    But from the realm of fantasy?
    Perhaps from the ethereal rainbow?
    A naiad from a laughing brook?

Oh, hear me, trees and flowers
Hear me lofty mountains and breakers loud
    I cannot sing of her enough
    I cannot say enough of her
    For she is dance, and dance is she
    I'll gather up whate'er I can
    Like walnuts ripened from the branch
    And dance with her, what else is there?
    And like the fairies dancing in the ring
    Of mushrooms grown in newly moistened grass
    Perhaps she'll disappear if i advance too close
    But my life and soul and dance
    Have been enriched by her touch
    Her fingers, hair, and glance
    Have been filled to running over
    And no grass grows so green
    And no summer afternoon smells as good
    And no sunny morn is as fresh and sweet
    As this blossom dancing in the breeze
    As this Proserpina, this Polychrome,
    Who fills my soul with joy and song.

List of Poems
70. SONNET XIV (november 1962)
(to Julie)

I should have rather been a proud stag
To roam alone among the lonely pines;
To rise above the meadow to the crag,
And gaze afar at dim horizon lines;
To raise my noble antlers to the sky,
Never a word or sound that I might say --
Than be a man whose dreams gang aft awry,
Whose gains and losses both just fade away.
I look at all the life upon the earth,
That's close to me, and that that's far from me,
And seek to close my arms around its girth,
But find I can't, and that it wants to flee.
    I am alone, and proud; but would that I
    Could really share myself with those nearby!

List of Poems
(at a workshop at Four Springs with Elizabeth Boyden Howes)

    Are you dead?


    Well, I am going to be.

    No you're not.

    What's it like?

    Like me.

    You mean I'll become stone?

    Aren't you already?


    Are you compassionate unto all creatures as God is?

    I have tried to be open to everything.

    And the wind has just whistled through.

    Should I have been closed?

    You should have been as a dragon ~
with the communication bursting forth as fire.

    Have you?

    I am what I am.

    So am I.

    We are brothers.

    But man and I have not been.

    Because you are not still and firm like me.

    But I like to eat and play and spend energy and make love
and swim and fly and be unpredictable.

    So do I.

    What do you mean?

    No man can understand me or predict what I will say to him. Most
cannot even understand my words.

    Can you fly?

    If I want.

    I don't need to.

    What do you want?


    Not even to stay alive?

    One needn't try; if one does, one does.

    Or the more you love, the more you love.

    And you can do what you please if you do what you please.

    And I'm very happy to tell you I'm very happy.

    Are you really?

    I don't know. What difference does it make?


    I'm glad I talked to you.


    Should I have a reason?


    But I do. This has been a very meditative conversation. Will you
accompany me to hell?

    Why not? I've been there before, it's quite beautiful, high
mountains, clear water, people whenever you want conversation.

    What's heaven like?

    There isn't any.

    But where do good people go?

    There aren't any.

    Haven't you found any at all?

    Yes. They are now birds and flowers.




    Let's go. Hold my hand?

List of Poems
72. SONNET XV (December 20, 1963)
(to myself, i guess)

My heart seems stifled, buried under clay,
And grey clouds blot the sun and sky from view;
The road I've walked leads everywhere in vain,
And no birds sing, no brooklets dance and laugh.
Once all the facets of the jewel of life
Iridiscent promised food and warmth;
Yet now like stones of lava cold and dull
And tasteless, somber, empty, black, and harsh;
The curtain seems to fall, a lifeless thud,
Upon a play, and just a play, whose action
All was turgid, wrong, unclear, and bad,
A cloying smell of alleys and of dumps.
    Worse than the creeping cold of dying coals
    Is rotting flotsam stranded on the shoals.

List of Poems
73. HAI-KU (Jan 31, 1964)
(from my Hai-Ku period)

I asked the brook,
The brook asked the almond tree,
The almond tree just bloomed.

        * * *

The earth was purple,
Jewels of dew hung from green grass blades,
What priceless treasure!

        * * *

I danced with the sea,
Back and forth, and back and forth,
And back and forth again.

i danced with the sea,
I leapt and bounded to its rhythms,
And it kissed my feet.

I danced with the sea,
As we rolled and splashed together,
We were eternal laughter.

I danced with the sea,
Its arms were full of rough caresses,
And our bodies with passion.

I danced with the sea,
For a little while I held its hand,
But then, I went away.

        * * *

Within the sky-blue
And the rampant twilight-red,
I moved in awe.

The sun retiring
Turned the earth to red and gold,
A chorus of thundering colors.

        * * *
The pink sky sky at dawn
Turns golden and white like a bell,
Red sunset tolls the night.

My life has been long;
The closest to heaven I've found
Is dancing with Carolyn Brown.

        * * *

List of Poems
74. POEM O' GRANITE (2nd NONSENSE POEM; Aug. 18, 1966)
(to noone)

A wanderer wandered right into my room
"Pardon me, sir, may I have a broom?"
I turned away quickly, hiding my face --
"There's nary a broom or a mop anyplace
But what dances or sings like a devil or girl
Beginning forever to braid up her curl."

He looked from the ceiling around to the wall
"Then may I proceed to your phone and then call
The wasps or its cousins who shatter with night
To examine the emptiness, whether it's right?"
I jumped and I bumped with my fist at the door --
"Pray leave me and do not come here any more!"

His eyes glistened white like a sunset at dawn,
"If you wish, sir, I'll stay here while you travel on."
A greenish pink blackness came into my heart
As I said, "But the apples, don't they need a start
To bottom the buttons and butter the blue
And scour the biscuits for pumpkins, don't you?"

He whirled his orange, and pursed up his jaws,
And pulled out a file to sharpen his claws,
And slowly, oh, slowly, he once more did say,
"Didn't you wonder or wind up the day
To be like a sky?" I said, with a grin,
"If I had, then the horses would never get in!"

"Oh, of course, I forgot, or perhaps never knew,
But now that I can, I shall, after you."
He smiled, like the clouds as they sing to the sun;
So I said, rather quickly, for I hadn't begun,
"Why do you finish and please, whom you will,
For others and many last night whether still?"

The sunshine and mutterings rose to a peak
And whenever other palatable squeak,
"Thunder! and bedtime! and none have their joy!"
"Oh, blessed! and bleeding! my ancestor boy
Has an ankle behind him and running right back,"
But the shades were all closed and I sat on a tack.

List of Poems
75. SONNET XVI (August 29, 1972)
(for Abby Berman)

"Let not your heart be troubled." Let there be
A joy like rain and sunshine from the sky,
From ev'ry side enhancing all the earth,
Let there be a song, a dance, a flight
Of spirits born of God, forever free,
Like the mountains regally reaching high
To touch the clouds, to touch the heavenly girth,
To taste the sun by day, the stars by night.
E'en if the skies be sometimes dark and grey
The color, scent, and sound seem gone away,
It is but for a moment; that moment still
Is part of all there is. And so, until
    The cosmic light and heat rejuvenate,
    "Let not your heart be troubled;" life is great.

List of Poems
76. MORE HAI-KU (Oct 11, 1972)
(to Abby, i think)

Upon a still dark pool
A lily opened to smile and sing
Then turned brown and died.

From the sky came a flower
With perfume and dazzling beauty
It vanished in the night.

Where was I last night?
The roses bloomed and the crickets sang
When I awoke they were gone.

Could there have been magic
That made me see heaven on earth?
But was it not real?

For I longed to fly
And it seemed that I might learn
But my feet drug.

Perhaps in another season
When light and heat unfold again
I will be a flower.

Who can caress the sky?
The soaring hawks and silent redwoods;
I am but a man.

List of Poems
77. I WALK ALONE (october 6, 1972)
(to myself)

I walk alone,
I walk alone in the day and the night.

The voices and shadows encompass me round
Who can see my heart?
Who are the millions
    whose eyes and hands and hearts
    are just like my own?
Why does the substanceless air
    sever me like walls of glass
    like walls of steel
    from my brothers and sisters?

The sun rises and sets
The moon comes and goes --
Where will she be next?
    (or is the moon a boy,
    a huntsman not a huntress
    or am I a woman
    or are we all one?)
The wind and rain enfold me
And all the barriers between me and nature
Dissolve with my wet clothes and chilled skin
And I am the heart of nature
The hearth of the universe.

What keeps me distant from others
What devil in me seeks to avoid and avoids seeking?
    and looks within for everything
There is nothing in me
There is everything around me
There is everyone around me
And I am everyone
And everyone is me.

The sun rises and sets
My inner light flares to glowing brightness
Then dims as its bundled energy
Cannot replenish itself
And is slowly drained of that portion of God
That is continually being created,
Energy from nothing
Or rather, energy from everything.

How can I burst this cell of self
And cast my bread upon the waters
    the cold dark waters
    the shining rippling waters
    the still waters
    the agitated waters as wind and life stir them
    from above and below?

O eternal timeless formless being
When will truth and light and love
Be everpresent
In my turbulent tergiversating soul
And all the ravelled and unravelled ends
Of thought and feeling, now here, now there,
Be together, be altogether,
Be one?

List of Poems
78. SONG OF A TRANSVESTITE (November 4, 1976)
(to myself)

When I was young I wanted to be a girl;
As I grew older I wanted to be a woman;
And through it all I became a man, a dancer, a teacher.

I liked to dress in pretty dresses and blouses,
And brush and comb my long dark wavy hair;
Only my hair was short, because I was a boy, and not a girl.

As I grew older I learned to crave women;
Some deep unsatisfied longing that filled my soul;
And often and often I sought escape by pretending to be a woman.

At times I have wanted desperately to be a woman;
To have breasts and hips and long dark wavy hair;
To be a wife and lover and mother to achieve full womanhood.

But I have also chased women with all of the possible lust
That could entrap and push and drive a male;
I've wanted and yearned and wished for and dreamed of woman
    after woman.

And then one day I met a woman who was a woman;
I found myself no longer wanting to be a woman,
Because of frustration, because of impossibility of ever attaining
    that ideal.

With wine and song I renounced my transvestite life,
And began to reach out to men and women alike;
I found love for men, and peace and friendship with more women
    than ever before.

I let my hair grow long as a sign of the change,
To focus my consciousness on the reality, not the symbol;
Since external appearance is not, can not be my real being.

I'm still turned on by many more women than I can
Ever possibly have or get to know or to satisfy;
The deep longing and yearning is still there, a heavy weight
    in my life.

I'm still turned on by wearing women's clothes;
Because I like them, addictively no doubt;
But no longer craving to be a woman, but full of being myself.

I do not need a woman's body to be happy;
Whatever love I have to give I can give
By being myself, whether I wear a skirt and blouse or not.

I'm filled with joy and a kind of freedom
To now wear a dress when I want to wear a dress,
Because it's just me, and I'm a man, a dancer, a teacher.

List of Poems
79. MY BELOVED AND I ARE ONE (10/11/1977)
(to Caroline Series)

My beloved and I are one;
When the winds blow over the sands and through the trees,
When the moon shines over the waves and tall grasses,
We walk together,
We walk by ourselves,
Listening to the sounds of night and stillness.

My beloved and I are one,
When the sun's rays fall along the sidewalks and the hedges,
And the flowers open again and dewdrops twinkle,
We walk together,
Our hands in each other's,
And our hearts beating as one and our thoughts in unison.

We and the universe are one,
Life surging and rippling as bodies seek to be entwined,
Love uniting and strengthening two beings seeking closeness,
Who has not felt it?
Who has not hoped for
The rich and full completeness of two conjoined spirits?

We are fulfilled in each other;
The gifts of joy and peace, of secure trust and sharing,
Transcendent and resplendent like some glowing jewels,
Permeate our souls,
Bring up satisfaction
In a tense and struggling world where often no birds sing.

My beloved and I are one,
She brings a blanket of balm to ease my spirit,
We bring each other a strength of oak and of willow,
To bear our loads,
To bend when need be,
My beloved and I are like the mountains and the sea.

List of Poems
80. SONNET XVII (November, 1977)
(to Caroline)

How I wish I were with you this night!
Eight thousand miles keep us far apart;
My arms are aching now to hold you tight
To soothe the loneliness that's in my heart!

How long it's been since I looked into your eyes!
Then I could see that smile upon your face
So like the dawn in the eastern skies;
I feel fulfilled and warm in your embrace.

What joy it always is to be with you!
What satisfaction comes from sharing all;
What is the magic that makes all things new
When we are with each other? It is the call

    Of love to separate spirits, to trust and give
    Completely to each other so each may live.

List of Poems
81. SONNET XVIII (March 21, 1978)
(to women)

I would walk among the flowers and just let them be;
But flowers have a beauty that intoxicates me!
The flowers have a fragrance that I can almost taste,
And I love the gentle form with which each one is graced.

Each flower as it blossoms for its short life span
Adorns my sombre world, more than even jewels can!
Each flower with its petals as they cluster on the vine
Attracts my pulse, excites my eye, and makes me wish them mine!

The flowers are so beautiful, whatever can I do?
I would not wish them less to have their form and scent and hue.
I want to pluck them to my breast but know that I can not;
A flower dies when it is plucked, it never can be caught.

    I know the world is richer since it's so full of flowers;
    Though I can't pick them, still I'm glad they brighten up my hours!

List of Poems
82. SONG OF LUST (March, 1978)
(to a former lover)

My body craves your body now,
To taste and sip your lips and tongue,
To feel your breasts pressed close to me,
My penis warm within your cun;

It feels so good and warm and close,
My arms enwrapped around your back,
Your arms around my back and sides,
Our breathing in and out the same;

How can it be I long for this,
To rub my mouth against your mouth,
To bounce upon your softig flesh,
And once more come inside of you;

When all that distance lies between
Our minds and all our deeper selves?
The touch of sex once learned is hard
To shed; and I am still aroused

By any woman, and still more
By one whose softness I have felt;
My craving deep for breasts to suck
And cunts to lick and penetrate

Is both a pleasure and a chain
That to you me subordinates,
Because you wear a woman's form,
And that's the food of life to me.

List of Poems
83. THE JOY OF BEING A MALE (April 3, 1978)
(to anyone)

I enjoy being a male,
    But I would enjoy being a female too.
Being a male means I am strong, confident, and self-assured;
    But of course a woman can be strong and self-confident too.
People expect a male to be dominant,
    And I have had more than my share of dominance;
People expect a woman to be sensitive and submissive,
    And somehow I have managed to cultivate those qualities too.

I enjoy being a male,
    About as much as I enjoy anything.
I do not feel that I can be womanly,
    In the universal and cosmic sense of being womanly.
I do not feel that I am manly,
    In the sense in which society and people expect it.
At best I feel that I am boyish,
    In the carefree and innocent sense of the word.

I enjoy being a male;
    What else can one be but what one is?
And why should it be better to be male or female
    When both are the fruit of life?
I feel a beauty to the female role,
    And an awkwardness and superfluity to the male;
I feel secure in my maleness,
    But I would be glad to change it if I could.

I enjoy being a male
    For that is the gift life gave me on my birth day;
And a gift is to be used
    And not abandon-ed or left to waste away.
The purpose of being a male
    Is to bring comfort and joy to a female;
This vessel of life is a bower
    Of affection and attention, acceptance of all.

List of Poems
84. SCRAPS (4/13/78)
(to myself)

My penis and my brain are in a constant tug of war;
And oftentimes I wonder what they're in a battle for.
They torment me enormously and wrack my spirit sore,
    And keep me so up-tight;
My God, why can't my body and my brain cooperate?
Why must one of them keep trying to predominate?
Is there any sense to it or is it only fate?
    I ask myself all night.

Some people are like jewels,
And some are like ripe juicy fruit,
And some are like both.

I wish that I could see
What way was best for me
And not be in such turmoil all the time;
Could I but find a way
Of rejoicing ev'ry day,
And seeing what I have to be sublime.

List of Poems
85. LOVE POEM (April 13, 1978)
(to Linda K)

Linda, you're like a jewel;
A deep and comforting garnet so red,
A dark ruby,
An emerald dark and intense as a starlit night,
Whose sparkling and glistening
Fills my body and spirit and makes my veins tingle
With a delight, with a calm, with a richness.

Linda, you're like a flower,
With petals of smooth pastel-coloured silk,
Soft as down,
Like a spring blossom with a refreshing sweetness,
Engulfing me in your fragrance
And wrapping me round with those soft petals,
Making me melt, making me warm, making me sing.

Linda, you're like a fruit,
Like a fresh peach, soft, ripe and juicy,
Like a cherry,
Like a golden apple, smelling of autumn harvest,
Making my mouth water,
And making me dream of a full cornucopia
Of excitement, of nourishment, of contentment.

Linda, you're like a goddess,
A willowy naiad of the flowing water,
A teasing smile,
With a radiant face and enthralling eyes,
Beckoning me to come nearer,
To shed my mortal trappings and self-hiding clothes,
And swim with you, and run with you, and lay with you.

List of Poems
86. DOS AND DON'TS (4/25/78)
(to myself)

I do not wish to kiss anyone
    Unless I feel that we are close,
I do not wish to fuck anyone,
    Unless I am willing to lie there without fucking
I do not wish to lie with anyone
    Unless we share our souls completely with each other.

I am attracted to all women,
I enjoy being attracted to women
It is enough that I be,attracted to a woman
I have all the contact with women that I need.

I am one with all things
I am in tune with all things
I am thrilled by all things
I am fortunate in all things
I survive with all things
I am successful with all things.

I relate with all things.

List of Poems
87. SONNET XIX (THE TWO SEXES; May 28, 1978)
(to life)

To be a woman's like being the earth itself;
To be a male's like being the roving sun.
The earth, it bears and nourishes living things;
The sun radiates energy freely everywhere.

A female, she has the everlasting joy
Of bearing and nursing each newborn as it comes;
To do this work requires hidden strength,
And receptivity, and giving of all.

So it is for the male to give suppport,
To be the throne so that the female can succeed;
To irradiate and energize and surround
Them with a bower of life-infusing light.

    But neither could alone have hope to live;
    Each gives, and takes what they themselves can't give.

List of Poems
(to Caroline)

A woman strong and supple like a beech
Came from the British Isles forth to teach;
Though her mind was like her body, sure and strong,
She was not sure of where she did belong.

From Oxford town she started on her way;
She lived in France for many a joyful day;
In Boston and at Harvard she did live,
Till in Berkeley she arrived, herself to give.

Many friends she made in many a town;
And once she married, as if to settle down;
But soon she saw that that was not for her --
A different sort of life she did prefer.

Mathematics was her special art;
Although it often seemed a thing apart
From human needs and human brotherhood;
For those she wished to do whate'er she could.

She lived and tried to live a simple life,
Affectionate to others, free from strife;
Through meditation she did reach within
To learn of God; and to grow she did begin.

The Quaker meeting with its seeking ways
Became her own as days succeeded days.
And with it and with them she did unite
To share their hope and energy and sight.

Then back to England she returned again
To teach in Cambridge halls; and she found then
That once more like a stranger she did feel,
And nothing satisfied her; naught seemed real.

But finally she met and found new Friends
And shared their home and hers for mutual ends
To closer grow in spirit and in love
And deeper seek for truth the meaning of.

        * * * * *

Now out of all the friendships she did find
Was one which grew upon her heart and mind;
It grew a bond of trust, support, and love;
It filled her soul like the sun which shone above,

And she filled him with fullness and with calm,
With tender caring, unity, aplomb;
They gave themselves what neither knew before:
A oneness, closeness, union, and much more.

'Twas while she was in Berkeley they did meet;
Scarce moments shared made each one feel replete
With comfort, and with wholeness; gradually
They came to feel themselves one entity.

How strong and deep the love which they had grown
Was by her living back in England shown;
For as the days and months went slowly by,
Though far apart, they felt each other nigh.

Through endless time though hemispheres apart
Each kept the other close within their heart,
Waiting for the time when space would melt
And let them live the oneness which they felt.

List of Poems
89. THE JOY OF BEING FEMALE (June 16, 1978)
(to myself)

If I could only have a woman's shape,
E'en if my friends would only stand and gape,
    I think that I'd be happy all the time;
The gentle lines of breast and waist and hip,
The softness of the cheek and face and lip,
    Would give me pleasure radiant and sublime.

What tender joy I'd feel to wash and bathe,
With perfumed oil and soap, and then to swathe
    My torso and my limbs while getting dry;
To powder all my skin from top to toe,
To set my hair in curlers; I would glow,
    I'd feel like in the seventhheaven high.

And then to wear a bra with cups all filled,
And softly clinging panties, plain or frilled,
    O'er them a slip of rayon and of lace;
A pink and silken blouse with ruffled sleeves,
A printed skirt with flowers or with leaves,
    A touch of rouge or lipstick on my face.

Stockings sheer and smooth from toe to thigh,
My feet in high-heeled shoes, but not too high,
    A matching belt that's snug around my waist;
A chain of gold to sparkle 'round my neck,
A bracelet and a ring which would bedeck
    The female form with which I would be graced.

I'd put a drop of perfume on each wrist,
Each ankle, ear, each elbow and each breast,
    So like a flower I would seem to be;
My hair once set I'd comb in flowing waves,
Wear dangle earrings; how my spirit craves
    To be a female, dressed so gorgeously.

Or sometimes I would wear a cocktail gown
Of satin with the necklace cut low down;
    And have my hair a braid or in a bun;
Pearls or gems to sparkle on my wrist
And ears and neck; oh, I could make a list
    Of all the ways that I could dress for fun:

For instance, in a two piece bathing suit,
Hoping all the men would think me cute,
    With smooth bare legs and tummy to admire;
Or sometimes, just a springtime cotton dress,
No bra, to let my breasts bounce fetterless,
    Or in mini-skirt and see-through blouse attire;

Or like a working woman, day or night,
In a girdle and a skirt that's tight,
    Or a pantsuit, to show off my bottom sway;
So many different blouses I could wear,
Sleveless, buttoned, tatted, with a flair'
    And scarves and gloves, and perfume every day.

        * * * * *

But if a female form I really had,
That in itself would make me ever glad,
    Not needing clothes or jewels or rouge to wear;
Since any skirt and any pair of pants
Would be enough to make my spirits dance,
    Because beneath I'd be a she when bare.

And of my joy it would be just the shell,
For even more there'd be, as I will tell:
    For I could go 'mongst men and women all;
With women I could be as sweet as they,
With men I could bring pleasure; and one day
    A man I'd find in love with then to fall.

And gently breathe the spring into his life,
To cuddle close, and then to be his wife,
    His sweetheart, rose, his lover, doll, and dear;
To dance for him, to care for him, and be
His friend and his companion constantly;
    At night to feel his body breathing near.

We'd lie there holding in a soft embrace;
He'd kiss me on my ears and on my face,
    And on my shoulders and upon each breast;
He'd suck my nipples; I would hold him there,
And run my fingers gently through his hair,
    And kiss his cheek, and stroke him on the chest,

And on his back and sides, and stomach, too;
I'd hold his penis gently as it grew;
    And fondle it, so that it would grow warm;
Then he would push me down upon the bed,
And lie on top of me, and hold my head,
    And kiss my mouth so hard, a gath'ring storm;

I'd put my arms around his neck so tight,
And wiggle underneath, to get just right,
    So into me his penis he could push;
I'd lick his tongue, and move my hips around,
While he went in and out; my heart would pound,
    And we would be like fire, the burning bush;

I'd kiss him when he came inside of me,
I'd bear a child or two, or maybe three;
    I'd nurse them all, and feel love from me flow;
I'd feel them growing, slowly first inside,
Then day by day, all in the world so wide,
    I'd be their patient mother as they'd grow.

We'd go for walks around the park or town;
We'd find a house somewhere to settle down;
    I'd cook and bake for him, and make him clothes;
We'd share together things which made us sad,
And even more the things which made us glad:
    Sunsets, flowers, children, all that grows.

        * * * * *

So, could I be a female, flesh and soul,
Exulting in the form and in the role,
    Unbounded pleasure to me that would bring;
Unbounded joy I'd have with all to share;
For every being I'd have tender care;
    From day to day and morn till night I'd sing.

List of Poems
90. SONNET XX (June 25, 1978)
(to Caroline)

I lie in bed at night and dream of you;
Your body close to mine, our arms around
Each other gently in a soft embrace;
Our faces close, we breath each other's breath;

Sometimes our eyes are opened wide and bright,
Like being there inside each other's mind;
Sometimes our mouths meet moist and greedily
To taste the honey and the milk that's there;

OUr bottoms growing warmer as they touch,
That warmth that comes from love more than desire;
My organ enters yours as we unite,
And tender love enfolds and makes us one.

    No flower, tree, volcano, sun, or star
    Exceeds the beauty and the joy we share.

List of Poems
91. SONNET XXI (June 27, 1978)
(to Caroline)

My love, I want to marry you, I do;
No star burns brighter than the love I bear;
I want to hold your hand and comfort you,
And share and blend our lives with tender care.

I want to be the bastion of your life,
To give support, and let your spirit grow;
No less I want for you to be my wife,
The half of me I've always sought to know;

To me you are a bloom like Sharon's rose,
A sunbeam bringing warmth upon my skin,
Down to my bones; your love around me flows,
Inspiring me with hope and trust, wherein

    Is all the treasure ever I've dreamt of;
    The same I'd bring to you I hope, my love.

List of Poems
(to heaven)

O night,
Long night of bitter blackness,
Here am I,
Longing for the dawn,
Pleading with the skies to fill with light,
Though overhead crinkle
The hard bright stars,
And the air is crisp and cold,
Clean, and pure,
Enveloping me in a swathe of rough but tender care,
A dizzy sense of space
And enclosure
Confounds and uneases me.

For months,
For day upon weary day,
I shudder,
Each minute filled with thorns,
As life's cornucopia seems to smother me;
A thousand snares
Tighten around me
My muscles and stomach growing stiff
As my bones,
And I feel like I'm only a wart on the face of the earth;
A rotted clot of dung,
A barnacle,
Some creature that's gone wrong.

I cry,
The screams resound within me,
Their silent echoes stab me again;
Constricted, I strain to be free and fly;
The earth is wide,
The sky spreads above,
There must be a right place for me,
For me to be;
Why does it happen that I don't seem to fit in anyplace?
But like some alien being,
Grotesque, bizarre,
I slink and grope my way?

I hope
And hope against forlorn hope
That perhaps
Some day it will come at last,
Sometime the pressure and the tension will go,
And I will float
Like gossamer clouds;
And life will be colorful and war,
Filling my veins with melody and my body with harmony,
So my soul can sing
Like it should
Of joy like the rain and sun.

List of Poems
93. FANTASY (Fall, 1978)
(to love)

Were I with a woman who was shapely, tall and fair,
Would I not be happier than any other where?
She'd be in a silken dress, her hair brushed round her head,
Her skin would be so soft and pink, her lips so moist and red;
We'd walk outside beneath a tree and sit there side by side;
I'd put my arm around her back and kiss her like a bride;
I'd smell her breath like musk and oil, a fragrance heavenly;
I'd fondle both her breasts and then her bottom tenderly.
We'd find a sheltered bower where the flowers grew around,
Beneath the trees we'd make a grassy couch upon the ground.
Then as the sun was setting I'd unbutton her silk dress
And pull it off so slowly with a steady soft caress.
I'd pull off her slip, unsnap her bra and pull it off as well;
Take off her shoes and stockings, and her panties last of all;
Then she'd lie down upon her back and I'd massage her feet,
Her legs her arms and shoulders, tummy, and her breasts so sweet;
I'd suck each nipple ling'ringly, and stroke her pubic hair;
When she grew moist I'd turn and lick and suck her there
As she grew warmer I would push my tongue into her hole,
And when she came I'd swallow it, like honeyed drops of gold.
She'd cling around my buttocks (somehow I got undressed);
She'd suck my penis lovingly and hold me to her breast.
Then one more time I'd turn around and lie on top of her;
Kiss her lips and suck her tongue and slip inside of her;
Then as we kissed and as my penis pushed its way inside
I'd say to her, I love you, and she'd say, I am your bride;
I'd feel each quarter inch of her soft flesh against me tight,
One arm around her back, the other on her buttocks tight.
She'd pull my hair and squeeze her legs and wiggle with her hip,
And as we pumped together her saliva I would sip.
Then we would come together as she would scream with quiet bliss,
We'd lie there still and throbbing in a moist and endless kiss.
I do not know what other pleasure ever would exceed
Such warm and loving union which is ecstasy indeed.

(this simply poured out of me one day much as did "Song of Lust". But
.now I am almost ashamed of writing it. i include it only to show some .of the spaces I have been in the past.)

List of Poems
94. HOW TO LOOK AT A WOMAN (4/5/79)

To look at the sky may not give as much pleasure
    as to look at a woman,

But it is always uplifting,

And it is better to be uplifted than to be cast down.

I do not mean that I am always cast down whenever I
    look at a woman,

Except when I think about how I can't have them,

Or that my day for having them is past.

Perhaps, indeed, everything we do is or can be
    uplifting, from food to clothes to music and dancing;

And in fact the effect on most people seems to be
    at least slightly uplifting;

So it may be that even if all the words of a song
    are false, and even if the entire effect of music
    is the same as brainwashing or conditioning;

And even if attractive clothes are wholly superficial,
    and even if food does nothing but indulge gluttony
    and selfish satisfaction;

Still by them we often find ourselves uplifted,
    and mayhap that's an absolute good.

And thus it surely should be that I can find myself
    uplifted by looking at a woman, just as much as
    by looking at the sky.

List of Poems
95. SONNET XXII (April 10, 1979)
(to the winds)

O, every time I see a woman's form
It makes me wish I could a female be;
It wakes again my seething inner storm,
For greater pleasure none there seems for me;

Not all the satisfactions I have found
Can drive that potent craving from my mind;
Even did endless pleasure me surround,
And all the wealth of ages I could find,

And Solomon's glory; I still would ever long
To have that gift from God which can't be willed:
To be a female, graceful, soft and strong,
To be a woman; then would I feel fulfilled,

    Then would I feel sufficient and at peace,
    And all the yearning of my soul would cease.

List of Poems
96. FRAGMENT OF A LONGING (April 17, 1979)
(to the rain)

The highest joy on earth for me
    Would be to be a woman;
It seems the very pinnacle
    Of life, of being human;
I know it's very obvious
    That men are necessary
For women, to fulfill themselves,
    And also help them carry
The task of raising children, and of
    Finding joy in living;
Of being fully intimate,
    And sharing, trusting, giving;
Now women have the harder part,
    But I would like it better,
Because I do experience
    My maleness as a fetter
From which I'd be released, and have
    A female body rather,
And be a woman in this life,
    Her joy and pain to gather.

List of Poems
(to Fate)

I hate red lights with a venomous passion;
I'd surely be glad if they went out of fashion.
Red lights, they stop me wherever I go,
Whether I'm driving fast or slow,
Red lights, they stop me on ev'ry street,
I turn at a corner, another I meet.
I look up ahead, the next one is green;
But scarcely a green light I've ever seen
But what changes again as I come near,
Making me see red as I see red appear.
Like a slap in the face, or a trip by a foot,
I'm thwarted as up their barriers they put.
Why can't my ride be continuous flow?
Why do they stop me wherever I go?
It seems like it must be more than just chance.
It must be a demon which halts my advance,
A demon which blocks and tries me to upset,
Then laughs at me, the madder I get.
"I win! I win!" he invisibly jeers
While I boil inside, shifting my gears.
Well, day or night it's the same old world:
At each red light my dander gets curled.
The demon still lurks, with glee to annoy me;
I guess that some day he'll surely destroy me.

List of Poems
98. THE RIDDLE OF LIFE (May 3, 1979)
(to myself)

Why do I want so many things that I can't get,
    and get so many things that I don't want?

I know that I get everything which I need,
    but I want much more than I need;
I know that everything is my teacher,
    but nonetheless, I am full of addictions.

I am addicted to women;
I am addicted to quiet;
I am addicted to myself, and to my own way.

But I do not need women;
I do not need quiet;
I do not need my own way.

Then what DO I need?

I need to be unaddicted.

But the only way I have found to be unaddicted
    is to be meditative at all times,
    and in all situations.

But again, do I NEED to be unaddicted?

If not, then what DO I need?

Verily, I am a prisoner inside my skull.
How can I get out?
I could cry for help.
But COULD I cry for help?

I am ashamed to cry for help.
I am afraid to cry for help.

I could reach out for human contact.

But I don't! I don't!
    why not? why not?

I am tired of reaching out only to women.
But I WANT women, with all of the bottomless desire
    that it is conceivable for one person to have.
For one person?!
    for two people!


Whither go I?

List of Poems
99. PESSIMY (May 3, 1979)
(to everyone)

We are all conscripted into life,
    for none of us chose to be born;
Not only that, but we all stand on death row,
    for each of us is condemned to die,
    and sooner or later, we must each
    go on that long journey alone.

And we are all prisoners on the earth,
    for we cannot choose to leave;
And even our bodies place limits on us
    for we cannot fly, and we must always eat,
    and we can only stay awake for so long
    and do only one thing at a time.

Our minds strive vainly to comprehend infinity
    and to find the meaning of life;
Our sight is curtailed by distance,
    and our hearing by babel of noise;
    our energy oft dries to a trickle,
    and our spirits sink deep into the darkness.

But conscription and condemnation,
    imprisonment and limitation
Notwithstanding, there still seems to be
    a golden thread there intertwined.
    Perhaps not even the mightiest God
    could spin EVERYTHING out of gold;

And what we hope for in love
    and want when we seek for happiness
May be just that fragile thread
    sometimes invisible, always surrounded
    and interwoven with the black and grey
    threads which carry the bulk of the load;

But it's still there, like the evanescent rainbow,
    or the cooling midsummer breeze,
Or the fragrance of a solitary flower,
    or the tone of a thrush or a lark, or a bell,
    a speck of rapture on a plain of dust,
    a burst of beauty in an abyss of pain.

So these things shouldn't make us sad
    even though they may not make us merry;
For conscripted or not, our souls can love
    and find joy and peace;
    and death, though it come as a shock,
    releases us from the chain of life,
    and is as much of a gift as birth.

List of Poems
(to Friends)

It's said there's inward light in me,
Which brightly burns for all to see.
Now, if I had another choice,
Instead of light, to hear a voice,
Like Samuel of old, who heard
(Though no one else) God's spoken word,
Impelling me to word and deed,
Could I not from sin's thrall be freed?
To venture forth around the earth,
And to the gospel give rebirth?
A voice with words is clearer, sure,
Than light, no matter mixed or pure,
Because I must interpret light
In words, but can I get them right?
How can I know the words I choose
Are those which God would have me use?
And even if there were no doubt,
In me or anyone, about
The way I did my light express,
How often still, we all must guess
What inner feelings really mean,
Or what the vision we have seen
Relates to, or to what events?
Are they past, or are they hence?
Are they now, or are they then?
Must I ask the light again?
But words would not these questions raise,
And of their source I could sing praise,
And do whate'er they told me to,
Provided that their sense I kenw.
For now a fault with this I see:
If God should speak in words to me
Why should it be in my own tongue
Of all the languages among
The peoples of the earth? then, why?
For others know as much as I.
Alas! I can't trust light or sound;
So where can truth and love be found?
There is no bulb within to burn
Like candles; nor radio to turn
My feet into some chosen way.
I can but do from day to day
The things I see which need be done,
To make life flow for ev'ryone.

List of Poems
101. THE WAIL OF JOANNE (June 11, 1980)
(to heaven; after "The Wail Of Archy", by Archy the Cockroach)

damned be this transsexuality
double-damned be the boob de choisy
the gink that went and invented it
i hope that his soul for the rest of
the tedious span of existence
bides in the shell of a spider
a male black widow being eaten

i once was a carefree transvestite
I renounced then my psyche transmuted
inflamed with an urge to be female
gods how i yearn to be human
neither a puffed macho male
nor yet a tortured transsexual
a deepthroated bearded transsexual
given to longing for women
busty sweet feminine women
o rather had i been a lion
to preen and to purr like a kitten

gods i am pent in this body
i with the soul of penelope
am stuck with the lack of a womb
i with the gift of ariadne
must smile when a woman would mate me
a longing to be a real woman
this is the punishment meted
because i wore clothes of my sister's

here i abide with a penis
neither a man nor a woman
and advances from women who want
a male to be their companion
to give them a babe in their bodies
are all of the contacts i have
to soothe my wish to give birth
women who care for each other
and for the people around them
especially for their own man
frustration worse than tantalus

i with the insight of athene
got caught in a moribund marriage
and nearly shriveled and died
i with the instincts of eve
trapped as a male chasing women
grasping at gratification
afterwards hollow and empty

i with the devotion of mary
expected to live by aggression

gods what a charnel existence
curses upon that de choisy
i hope that he dwells for a million
turns of the wheel of life
a drone and a drone and a drone
in innumerable nests of queen bees

i with the soul of desdemona
doomed always to be stifled in bed

once i was maddened with passion
and dolled up in a wig and a dress
in an effort to find satisfaction
gods what a wretched pathetic
and anticlimactic attempt
i looked like a man in a dress
i felt like a statue of lead
i couldnt relate to the people
i passed in the street and the store
though desperately wanting some contact
and each time a teller said maam
i inwardly cringed at my farce

not mine was the sweet integration
of female fulfilled with life
gods what a terrible burden
not to be woman or man
gods what heartbreaking pathos
to be always doomed to be male
o make me a male completely
or make me into a real woman
give me the mind of a male
or give me the shape of a woman

if i were to plan out a drama
great as great ibsens doll house
it would be touched with the masculine
and people would think it was normal

even the women i talk with
women with children and lovers
expressing their full femininity
approve of my being a male

damned be the soul of de choisy
who first crystallized this notion
and men becoming as women
i hope that he turns into a soldier
ensorcelled by being half marble
impaled for the rest of time
as an example of fruitless desire

List of Poems
102. PLAINT (9/1/80)
(to heaven)

I am Lilith's daughter
Pained and pinioned in a male form
Detested and despised
Insanely jealous of all my sisters
Walking and talking around the earth

I know their weaknesses and strengths
As well as my own
I'm frightened of becoming a woman
As much as I wish to

I'm disguised as Her son
And even a son who shows some merit
Not just ability
But tenderness and caring as great as Hers
Largesse and love sometimes unstinted

Why can't I say, I am Lilith's son
As much as Her daughter
And adapt myself to becoming a man
As much as I hate to?

I am Lilith's daughter
Concealed behind a masculine face
Screaming to get out
And be myself, feminine, motherly,
And be myself as I long to be

Mother, release me from this shell
Ornate and opaque
Let me live as the woman I am
Outside, as inside

List of Poems
(to all who call themselves Christian)

The heavens opened,
And a dove descended,
And a voice was heard,
In the words of the second Psalm, eighth verse,
    Thou art my child,
    This day have I begotten thee.

Who was it who saw the vision
And heard the voice?
Was it John's followers,
Or John, himself?
Or was it Jesus alone?
Or perhaps all of them together?

The words, THOU art mine,
Make us think that it was to Jesus alone,
Unless the voice was saying
That they were all God's children,
Begotten that day.

The centuries' tale would tell
That Joseph his father --
Or Mary's husband and not Jesus' father at all
If we accept the impossible, ridiculous,
    and demeaning tale
Of the Virgin Birth
Which would have us believe
That God horsed around with a human female
Who then gave birth to a son
Without the help of a male --
Anyway, that Joseph heard an angel in a dream,

And nowhere in the stories do we read
That Jesus claimed or accepted the title of "Christ"
And in fact he rebuked those who called him the "Son of God"
And also those who called him Blessed, and Good Master.
(The sixty-second verse of the fourteenth chapter of Mark
Is obviously a mistake by the author
Because Matthew, Luke, and John all report
That on that occasion Jesus answered,
"You are the one who is saying that"
Meaning that it was not himself who had said that)

Jesus himself said,
In the words of the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah
Quoted by Luke,
    The Spirit of God is upon me,
    To preach the good news to the poor
    And the time of the coming of the rulership of God.

And he said, in the fifth chapter of John,
    I can of myself do nothing.

And in the seventeenth chapter of Mark, tenth verse,
    Why callest thou me good?
    Only one is good, even God.

So the ancient stories themselves tell us
That Jesus was but a man
An extraordinary man, perhaps,
cco wept, felt anger, had compassion,
Thundered against the Pharisees and hypocrites,
Wanted to gather the people of Jerusalem to him
As a mother hen gathers her brood,
And welcomed the little children into his arms.

And the most we can say for "Christ"
Is that is is but a word
Referring to the spirit of divinity
Dwelling within each person
Exemplified quintessentially
In the person of Jesus
But no more than the inherent potential for Godness
Within every woman and child and man.

List of Poems
104. IL MIO PENSER (10/18/80)
(to heaven)

I want breasts
So much that I sometimes feel I would rather die
    than be without them

I want to nurse a baby
With a powerful passion that makes me wither
    for not being able to

I want a vagina
So that I can be the entered and not the enterer
    in the act of love-making
And the giver of pleasure rather than the taker
But even this craving is not as strong
    as the colossal longing I have
    which fills me with pain and anguish
    whenever I see a woman who is breast-blessed

I want to be a woman
Because women have breasts and vaginas

I say that I want to be a woman
Because they are nurturing and caring
    and more naturally loving and giving
But I fear this is a rationalization

I want to be a female
Because of their physical shape

But even their physical shape
Is linked to their inward physiology
And to the roles and nature which they manifest

List of Poems
105. THE GOLDEN APPLES (10/26/1980)
(to my children)

I am my children's father.

Christ! what a hollow echo.

Still, my children are my children.
No warmer sound excites the gentle air
Nor breathes its deep and truthful strength
Into my heart. Around my loins
Like a blanket woven rich and sweet
I feel a cosmic union. I am me.

Whence, then, this mighty urge
Disquieting me through night and day
So that no moment passes
When a female form intrudes my sight
But I am wracked with pain?

O Lilith,
Mother of us all,
I pray you relieve this my agony;
My life is pledged to you;
But still this soul-burning flogging,
Carnage carnelian to my wits and thoughts,
Continues whether I smile or frown.

Were a goddess tall to stand before me,
"John! thou pitiable tortured spirit,
Tight and tense with inflamed desire,
One wish I grant thee: wilt thou be
A woman now, forever?

At first a mighty sea enveloping me,
Happy anticipation of heavenly joy
And peace! like never known before,
Empowerment beyond my dreams,
Beauty rich and gragrant, one with myself;
Why would I hesitate?

O selfish man! wanting your own pleasure
First; and others', when?
My answer would be slow and struggled:
"How could I live, slaying my children's father?
Angel of Lilith, no pleasure here on earth I've found
Save by my children's side;

'Tis not the carnival sparkling and popping,
Nor the steeped intensity of a springtime day
Or sunny basking by the mountain woods and lake,
Merriment and laughter,
But rather the ruddy coals' embrace,
Warming deep and long, not surface and thrill;

To be a woman is my heart's desire;
To be a woman keeps me searching, longing,
Dreaming, seeking, eager at times with hope,
Dashed at others with painful frustration.
What a hollow shell, this male form I wear!
I'm enslaved in a male body,
No escape, now or ever.

But still, I cannot take your gift;
For what would I tell my children?
My youngest daughter, who loves her father dearly?
My son, who treats him like a brother?
My oldest daughter, most like him,
Maturity beyond her years, no adolescent she?

Alas! My bosom heaves like an earthquaked land.
Forgive me, Mother and Lady! for this desire;
But I cannot take your gift without my children's yea,
But how can I even ask them?

I bow my head in anguish; a tear forms and drops,
My sorrow makes me tremble.
Still I see, my suffering is but within,
Not like the lonely desert
Of women and men who seek for love,
Finding it not,
Nor realler wheels of disease and poverty
Cruelty of mistreatment by the world, by people.

Let all our hearts be open!
May all our hearts reach out
And touch, embrace, and heal
The manifold misery on the earth.

O Lilith!
You are our sun in winter's cold,
Our cooling stream in summer's heat;
I would you were more present
In me, and those around,
But in me, especially.

List of Poems
106. DON'T THINK DON'T FEEL (11/9/80)
(to Alexander Peer)

Don't - think.
Don't - feel.
That's what I say - to - me.
Thinking just confuses me, so stop, stop, stop.
And feeling, ev'ry feeling, it just hurts, hurts, hurts.

What's the use of doing things if it's just for myself?
But I can undertake and persevere without hope of success
And sweat and strain and get sloppy and tired
If it's for someone else.
Not everyone else, I'm sorry to say,
Just the many and any who're special to me.

But we have to think, the savants say
And we have to feel, is the cant of today.
Your feelings are your life and breath.
Repressing them's the living death.
I know that for sure, my objectivity knows,
Because of my stomach, which sours and squalls
When I swallow my anger,
Or button my lip and my throat and my tongue,
Or when I'm bursting with pressure
To say to a woman,
    I like what you're wearing. I like how you look.
    I'd like to sit near you. It makes me feel good.
But no, no, I shrivel and blench,
Close up my eyes and twist up my mouth,
I feel like an octopus that's just squirted ink.
I feel like those feelings, they just make me stink.
'Twas easy to write, but harder to say.
I'm afraid of driving each woman away.

Don't think, don't feel,
Do what you can, but do what you must.
Your mission in life is to fetch and to carry,
To work, with a will, with a song, but to work.
Oh! could I sing, like a finch or a thrush.
Her purpose is that, and it fits with the rest,
But it doesn't fit me, as far as I see,
It doesn't fit me, it just doesn't fit.

And thinking's no answer, when feeling's a pain;
I bat at my mind and my head and my brain,
Look in each face, and hope for a smile,
I know that I give one, once in a while.
Is life so tedious, and existence so dreary?
Of everything under the sun I am weary.
And all is the same, from my rise till my set;
I try, but I'm tired, but it's not over yet;
An unanswered riddle is all that I find:
A heart of granite and an addled mind.

List of Poems
107. NETHERBOUND (12/6/1980)
(to humanity)

I've got a cancer of the mind.

No, it should rather be called a cancer of the psyche.

This is a poem not for publication.
This is a poem of death.

My mind is troubled, is dis-eased, is warped.

I think it is better for me to be a woman than a man.

I would rather be a woman than a man.

I have seen myself rationalizing femaleness
When all I want is to look like, nay, to be a woman.
What good is appearance only?

I have seen myself downgrading being male
And saying all manner of anti-male things
And preaching male inferiority and incompleteness
And in the end
And in the end
It only demans myself
What good is this lump of clay
Bemuscled, behaired, bepenised
Surging with a powerful will
No love
Save for my children three
If it can see worth in only half the human race?

But changing this dominant point of view
Dominating my soul
Is well-nigh impossible
Is like growing a third eye
On the tip of my index finger
Is fully as hard
As that transsexual transformation I wish for
No sense
No sense in it at all
But realler than the touch of the world
Or the flowing of fluids through my body
Pissing and shitting

We live by songs and dances
Ritualized and ritualizing throughout time
What do our dreams mean without?
My dreams consume me
Flay me, scorch me
Divide me, separate me
Imprison me in a tower of glass
The person in the iron mask
I see out, they see in
No communication, though light and sound
Without my dreams, I die
I talk of love
I talk of love for everybody
I talk of brothers and sisters
Sister is a word warm and rich and fragrant
Brother is a word alien and cold
Falseness is in my words
Falseness is in my heart
My mind says it wants to be free
My bones and flesh hold back and scream,
To be different is to die
To be different than I am
To be the same as others
Is loss of self
Is death

I pretend
I pretend to be
I pretend I am
I pretend I am here
I cannot be reborn
Without being re-born
Re-young, re-adolescent
This hot piece of earth
Piercing eyes and wagging tongue
Off in a sorry byway
Of human existence
Turn back?
Who can turn back?
Who can be one single day younger?
Time flows on
Time rolls on
Down the plunging fall over the mountain cliff
There is no turning back

God herself
Would not intervene
To save herself
Am I
Lesser of all things
Worth saving?

List of Poems
108. SHE (12/9/1980)
(to Lilith)

It is a lie to call God "He".

Therefore I call Her She,
I call her Lady and Mistress,
Lilith, Mother of all creatures.

It would be a lie to say the earth is flat,
Or that water runs uphill,
Or that two equal objects would fall at different rates.

Therefore we do not say those things.

We could say that God is a tree
Because She has properties like a tree
But that would not make Her into a tree.

We could call Her a rock, or the ocean, or the sun,
Because She has properties like them,
Because She is permanent and enduring,
Because She welcomes all into Her bosom,
Because She warms and gives life to all life,
But that does not make her a rock or the ocean or the sun.

It may be that there is truth
In the inspired wisdom of our time
That God is neither male nor female
Nor both,
But is in fact a thing like the ocean or the sun,
Even, if you will, a spirit or being,
Sexless, as they are sexless.

It may further be that this Being,
Whether neuter,
Or hermaphroditic,
Is still one to which we can relate personally,
Or which relates to each of us personally,
That is, as if it were a person,
Though that be no more than anthropomorphic projection,
Just as calling God a Being
Or He or She
Or even saying, A God,
And capitalizing the word,
As if it were a proper name,
That is, the name of a person,
Is anthropomorphic projection.

(O Giver of all life,
And Strengthener in time of distress
Let me know You aright
And walk in your paths all the days of my life!)

To impute will, intention, personality
To the cosmos
Is to anthropomorphize it.

We do this every time we say, A God,
The Spirit, A Being.

But as long as people call her "He",
I shall call her She.

But why?
Why should the female pronoun be preferred
Over the male?
Does it make any difference?

What is the difference
Between masculine and feminine properties
    when ascribed to God?

The difference is there,
And the difference is this,
And it is the reason why She is She
And not He.

(O let us sing
Praises to our heavenly Queen
For She has made us
And nurtures us
And teaches us how to be like Her!)

What is the most godly quality we know?

It is love.
Nay, more, it is UNCONDITIONAL love.
It is caring.
It is caring for EACH and EVERY creature
As we care for ourselves,
As we care for others,
As part of God herself
Without which She is diminished.

It is men
Who have created CONDITIONAL love,
Who create distinctions
Between good people and bad people
And put themselves first,
Who keep for themselves
That which they will not share with others
(Woe unto you, PHarisees and hypocrites!)
Who talk of desert and deserving,
Who fancy themselves rulers of creation,

And saviours of peoplekind,
And all those others
As sheep,
Servants to serve them --
Get out of my way!
The shriek of the pompous male.

Jesus said, He is greatest among you
Who ministers unto you,
That is, cares for you.

Moses said it incompletely long before:
Love God unconditionally,
And love your neighbor as yourself,
And love the stranger that is within your gates.

The wisdom of Proverbs also taught:
Love the stranger; give him food if he is hungry,
    and drink if he is thirsty.

Hosea, sufferer and lonely,
Said that God says,
In verse six of chapter six,
A powerful statement of Godlike grace,
I will have UNLIMITED love,
And not ritual and formality;

I will have UNCONDITIONAL love,
And not conditions forced upon others.
Even Paul the apostle,
Enslaver of women and oppressor of men,
That God is a God of unlimited forgiveness
Side by side with his false picture
Of a God whose wrath burns to destroy us
If we do not accept Jesus as the son of that God.

All through the ages
The gist of people-God-experiences has been
That God is love,
Unlimited, unlimiting.
We do not earn Her grace.
It is there always,
It is there for us to take, and to partake.

And Jesus says,
Even as God sends the rain upon all
And the sun shines upon good and evil people alike,
Then also let your love include all people,
Even as She includes all in Her love.
(The Greek word "teleoi", translated by the King James scholars
as "perfect", actually means "whole" or "entire" or "complete"
or simply, universal.)

Jesus did not say, She.
His picture of God was that of a father,
And it was up to us to return to him,
Who was always there,
Arms outstretched and eager
To welcome and embrace us back.
But that does not prove it.

What hubris, me to question his image!

But I, insignificant as I am,
Have vision and understanding like his.

I will never accomplish in my lifetime
What he accomplished in his,
Because I lack ability and love.
But that does not impair my vision
Nor my understanding of Her ways.

It may be that there have been many fathers
Whose arms were just as outstretched and eager
To receive their children
As any mother
Or the Mother of us all.

But that only happens
When males take on themselves
The unconditional love of a mother.
Who can deny it?
Even Solomon saw
That woman's love was such
That a mother would rather give up her child
Than see it die.

Then Erich Fromm, prophet and seer of our time,
Has said,
Mother's love is UNCONDITIONAL love.
Father's love is CONDITIONAL love.

Now Fromm may be right or wrong,
But in either case I, I do not wish to say,
I will love you ONLY if you do thus-and-so.
That is conditional love.
I would rather be like God
(Lady, help me to be like you!)
And love all Her children unconditionally,
And say, in the words of Ken Keyes,
The prophet of unconditional love,
Who says,

And he further says that this means,

        I love you because you are there,
        I love you because you are part of the here and now
of my life.
        Although our minds and bodies may be on different trips,
        On the consciousness level we are alike in our humanness,
        We are one.

Surely God would be less than God
If She loved us conditionally,
If She said,
You must behave yourselves or I will not love you.
Fortunately, O blessed truth!
That is not what She says.
Not the thousands of years of thunderers
Who have said,
God requires you to do thus-and-so,
Or "His" wrath will fall upon you,
And "He" will punish you for your disobedience,
And cast you outside ""His" love
Will make that lie true.

We may love people while we hurt them and limit them,
Because we think we see some greater good,
Because we think that is best for their growth.
So we drown in our selfishness,
Our arrogant pseudo-wisdom.

But helping people to grow
Is not the same as being conditional in our love;
It is not saying,
I will love you, IF you grow.
It is saying,
You can and MUST grow
If you will be like Her,
And that is your heritage and birthright.
I cannot give it to you,
For then it would not be yours.
When we speak thus
We are not withholding our love
Nor placing limits on love.

Lilith! I thrill to your love
Of me,
Of all peoplekind,
And I will never again pervert that love
By calling you male.

List of Poems
109. JOANNE'S LAMENT (Spring, 1981)
(to everyone)

My name is Joanne Miriam, I'm in an awful spot;
I should be in a female form for masculine I'm not.
I should have been a woman, not a man, I don't know why.
I should have been a female, and the thought it makes me cry.

I want to be a mother and a wife and have a child;
I want to nurse it at my breast, I'd watch it as it smiled.
I want to be a lover to a man, and for him care,
Inspire him, and be his friend, and all our living share!

I wish I'd been a little girl with curls and dresses bright;
I know it may sound silly but it fills me with delight.
I wish I'd been a woman young and struggling on her way,
Sharing with her sisters, and growing every way.

It may be I can work and pray and bring about my dream
Of living as a woman should and end my inner scream;
This male form I wear is not so bad, now, don't you see?
But if the heavens answer, I will be truly me!

List of Poems
110. TO FLY OR NOT TO FLY (July 12, 1981)
(to heaven)

It's like flying.

I mean it's as impossible for me as flying is.

Whenever I see a woman in the street, or on the bus
    or in the store, every fiber of my soul and body
    cries out in pain at not being a woman.

How can such longing be?

The ocean clings to the shore, and the earth hugs
    tightly its aqueous mantle.

Trees and flowers push micrometircally towards the sky;
    an insect burrows steadily if mindlessly to make its

Even I, wracked as I am, pursue relentlessly those
    courses of action I have decided upon.

Like searing coals against my flesh, or icy blades
    cutting me to ribbons from within, my desire to be
    a female reduces me to a tortured hulk, grasping
    desperately at the walls and posts around me to keep
    from drowning.

"Come, lovely and soothing death!" sang Whitman.

How lovely it would be, to sleep forever, to be free
    of this desperate craving! and its impossibility
    of realization!

Then like a sip of water to a desert-starved wanderer,
    or a ray of warm sunshine to one long buried in the
    dark and damp of some endless cave,

The vision of becoming a woman quickens me, sparks me
    to reaching out to take, to fly, to soar into the sky;

To join the dance of female life, somehow;

To become filled with the rainbow, and honey of the
    female bees;

Only would I follow in the path of my erstwhile brothers,
    now my sisters, daring to don their wings of feathers
    and bonds of wax and sail into the sun;

All those physical features of this unwanted masculine
    body, to change them, one by one:

Hair, voice, figure, walk;

Then to live as a vessel of light, of love, a flower,
    a being one with the light and love of the Universe,
    Lilith, Herself;

'Tis not enough for me to be light and love in this
    alien body, though better than not to be Her at all;

Then somehow to ameliorate the pain to those who knew
    and rejoiced in the brother and father and friend
    I was;

But I cannot fly, because I cannot grow wings, and
    wax-held masses of feathers are not my own.

Alas! I see across the chasm, the greener grass and
    fragrant flowers burgeoning with radiance,

And bury my head in my arms at the sight;

Insupportable burden! unbearable pain!

Why was I born?

List of Poems
111. PROLOGUE (7/29/81)
(to Irene Sardanis)

I'm inhabited by three women.

Miriam is the child in me, a little girl,
A bit autistic,
Starved for pleasure,
Yearning to deck herself in dresses and jewelry
And flowers,
Loving to play with children, tiny ones;
She is the most needy person in me.

Joanne I have known long, the parent in me;
My "female valence" I used to call her,
Imperious and moralistic,
Wanting what she thinks best for everyone,
Furious at obstacles and stumbling,
But caring and concerned and worried when problems arise.
For many seasons now I have wished to become her,
Fully, happily,
Blocked by no fault of my own,
Nor hers,
Only the joys and features of being a father.
My three children are my treasure,
And their father is theirs.

Susan I met in a dream,
Wearing a red satin dress,
Sitting on the grass next to a man,
His arm around me.
She was shy at first.
Strangers passed by. "What is your name?"
Snuggling closer, I said, "Susan Fitz".
Oh, wave of warmth and fulfillment!
The dream passed.
But I now know Susan as the adult in me,
Placid and loving and serious,
Doing what needs to be done,
Enlightened by a vision of Lilith one night,
Long ago in the mountains,
"Whatever happens, we'll be all right,
And we'll deal with it."

I'm getting to know these women better,
And enjoying their presence and influence.

List of Poems
112. DEPRESSIO (8/3/81)
(to all)

I am a withered fig tree.

'Tis told in Mark's gospel
That Jesus passed by a fig tree,
And finding no fruit on it,
He cursed it, saying,
Let no one eat fruit from thee again, forever.
In the evening the disciples saw that the tree
    had withered.

I am that withered fig tree.

How strange, that Jesus,
Who taught love and forgiveness,
Should curse a tree!

Trees do no harm;
Some trees are poison,
Still, trees do no harm to us
Though we slay them by the millions
And have burned them since the beginning of time.

But I am that withered fig tree.

Perhaps an insect or a worm
Had bitten through the heart or the root
So that it died a natural death.
That is, according to nature,
Where life preys upon life
And death is but the end of a cycle,
And no curse was actually spoken
By Jesus
Or anyone else.

But still, I am that withered fig tree.

I do not know what child of God
I passed by, on the other side of the road,
Who needed a cup of water
Or the touch of a hand
Or the sound of a voice,
That has caused me to become cursed
And become barren of fruit
And wither,
Or what worm of hate or desire
Has cut the vein of my heartwood
So that my springs of love and giving
Have dried up.

Where is that fountain
That can resurrect my arid spirit?
What rains can come
And benevolent sunshine
And cause the seeds to sprout once more?

For I am that withered fig tree.

Now in Luke's gospel we read instead
That Jesus told a story
About a man who had a barren fig tree,
Whose workers said,
Let us cut it down.
No, said the farmer,
Let us dig it about and irrigate it,
And if it bear fruit next year, well and good;
But, if not, then we shall cut it down.

The gospels also report that Jesus said
About a farmer whose fields had been sowed with weeds
By a vandal,
Let both the weeds and the wheat grow together
Until the harvest.

Alas! that my roots have been strangled
By the weeds,
And my stalks are barren!

For I am that withered fig tree.

I know not if Lilith has reprieved me,
Digging me about and irrigating me,
Hoping that I will again bear fruit.
Is not my life filled with occasion
For sharing bread and water
And soul and body
And mind and heart
As much as any woman or man obtains?

Yet how dry is my heart!

Surrounded by thousands of strangers,
Lilith's other children,
I plod on my daily way,
Staring into silent faces;
What can I say?

For I am that withered fig tree.

Jesus said to the Pharisees,
Woe unto you, hypocrites!
Who wear fine clothes and gold,
But keep the kingdom of God for yourselves
And the people's wealth,
And betray your God.
You are whited sepulchres
Full of dead men's bones
And all uncleanness.

I too am a whited sepulchre.

I am hollow and empty.
I will love and serve women,
Longing to be one myself,
Hating being a male,
And closed to other males,
Half a person,
Full of hate and envy,
Two of the deadly sins.
Let me be different.
Why can't I be different!
Because my soul is withered
My soul is dry
My soul cannot grow again
Dried roots
Dried branches
Dead trunk
Rotten pith

How can parched bones be alive again.
Flowing with blood,
Staunch, supportive?

For I am a whited sepulchre
Full of dead men's bones

I am a withered fig tree


List of Poems
113. LILITH COMMANDS ME (8/4/81)
(to all)

Lilith commands me,
Lilith commands me to cleanse this vessel.

This vessel is polluted,
Contaminated with an alien substance,
Voluntarily chosen hitherto,
For hope and dreams of something better
Than the dry and tasteless daily bread
The throat-choking gruel
On which I'm forced to live.

Oh ingratitude!

Lilith's gifts are Lilith's gifts
And what can be more foolish
Than me telling Her what to do
Or what to give
Or what to take away?

Rather should the young foolish miss
bow her head and kneel
Thankful for having anything at all
For she surely deserves nothing.

Like handholds on a cliff,
Waterwings at sea,
Glider fins to sail through the air
Seem these substances in my body
Moving me in a coveted direction
Beckoning me on
My last hope before hopelessness.


"Who prop'st, thou ask'st, in these bad days my mind?"




I struggle and grope
Through a daily briarpatch of thorns and poison oak
My movement quicksanded
My flesh anguished and painful
My bowels on fire
My muscles tense and cracking
My heart shriveled and blenched
Is this your gift, Lilith?

Come sightless one,
Heartless one,
Let no complaint pass your lips.
What is, is;
What should be, will be;
Or perhaps, won't be.

Women and men have suffered worse tortures
Or else have died
Some have chosen suffering and death
Rather than oppose your will.

If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.
Howbeit, not what I will, but what Thou wilt.

I Know
That love brings the greatest joy
Even in the midst of discomfort and pain
Why is it so hard for me to love?

Oh emptiness, bitter emptiness!

Oh Lilith
Fulness of life,
Let my veins course with your strength again
Let my heart sing
No, that's too much to ask for
'Tis enough
That I bear my burdens gracefully
And do my best not to groan
And seek to give and help
Whether or not there be any reward
And seek not to hurt
Unintentionally, no more than intentionally

List of Poems
114. PASSING ON (8/1/2004)
(composed at a Friends Meeting workshop on aging)

What does death hold for me, or for anyone?
Rather, what do you think death holds for you?

For me, death holds nothing.
Death is not a grim spectre, a skeleton cloaked in black,
    carrying a scythe;
Death is a continuation, a transition.
My mother always told me, Death is just passing on, into the next world.
She never said, Someone had died;
    she always said, They just passed on.
I sat with my mother on her last day, the day she passed on,
    myself and my two daughters.
She was hard to understand, but she seemed to be trying to tell us,
    Love each other, have fun with each other, be happy.
I did not know it was her last day until that evening
    when Arden Wood called me to say,
    Your mother has decided to leave us.
    (They also never said anyone died, just that they passed on.)

Three months earlier, I had sat with my father as he passed away,
    during his last hours and last minutes.
I remember how there was a kind of gasping wheeze and a shudder
    as i sat there holding his hand in one of mine
    and the other hand holding his shoulder,
    and i could almost see his spirit as it left his body,
    a blue-silvery essence as Tertullian says,
    thinning out and disappearing.
My father had been unable to communicate verbally during his last year,
    but i knew he had heard me
    whenever he gave a little quirky smile at something i said,
    so we never got to talk about death.
Knowing him, i think it held nothing for him either,
    or perhaps i got that from him:
    no fear, no pain, no more anything, just a quiet end.
I watched the funeral society men as they came in,
    and wrapped his remains in a shroud
    and took them to be cremated.
Later i placed his urn in the ground next to my stepmother
    and their son, my step-brother.
But i will always hold in memory his last few years;
    his health was declining and his conversation deteriorated
    but he was unfailingly cheerful and amiable to everyone,
    and was clearly loved by the attendants at the convalescent home
    where he lived until he passed on.
May i always be as cheerful.

Two of his children, no, three of them, had already passed on:
    my step-brother died in 1959 after a truck hit him on his bicycle;
    my youngest brother was killed in a plane crash in the Sierras in 1971;
    and my sister, one year younger than myself, died of cancer in 1977.
I went up in an airplane to help search for my brother's plane;
    it was not found until three months later.
My brother David and i had always been planning to get together
    and talk about life and philosophy and everything else,
    but now there would be no more chance.
He was loved in my home town where my mother had taught
    half the town's residents (it seemed) in her first grade classes,
    and where he was building a career for himself;
It was moving to see the endless procession of people of the community
    coming to visit my mom and bringing her casseroles and flowers.
And I sat with my sister on her last day as she was sleeping.
I sang songs from our childhood to her as i sat there,
    since she did not wake for me.
Next morning my spouse answered a phone call and then said,
    Phyllis's gone.
I kept in touch with her six children, my nieces and nephews,
    even though they lived all over the country;
But our closeness has dissipated somehow since my mother,
    their grandmother,
    passed away.

I recall the first funeral i attended, for my father's father in 1952.
My father was crying, and i was frightened by my grandfather's corpse.
I had never seen my father cry before,
    and i decided that I didn't ever want to go to a funeral again;
And i didn't until my Aunt Elizabeth passed on in 1980,
    and i went to her funeral, and looked at her body
    without the same fear i had had 28 years before.
My other grandfather had died in 1943,
    working in his fields of barley and tomatoes.
I was only 9 then, and never felt i knew him very well.

In 1956 about, i was working at a job where i had time to meditate;
And in thinking about the matter of death and afterlife
    it came clearly to my mind that what we call our life or anyone else's
    is just a wave on the boundless, eternal sea of Life
    and that what we call death
    is just the sinking of that wave back into the sea of Life itself.
The individual seems to be gone,
    but their essence remains as part of that great sea.

Twenty years later i had a friend who always tried to persuade me
    that people were more afraid of death than anything else,
    and that all of our problems and neuroses came from that fear.
But it seemed to me then
    and it has always seemed to me
That i do not fear death, nor does anyone else;
For we do not know what death is,
And how can we fear something we don't know anything about.
We may not want it, but we do not fear it
    any more than we fear sickness or accident or any other painful experience.
Socrates asked, How do we know that death isn't the greatest good?
Death is like an endless sleep (he said);
And if we remember our most peaceful sleep, undisturbed even by dreams,
Would we not choose such a sleep over all the troubles of existence?
And if the tales of an afterlife be true,
    the greatest and best men of all time are there,
Minos and Rhadamanthos and Triptolemus and the rest;
And what would a man not give if he might converse with Orpheus and Musaeus
    and Homer and Hesiod and all the other great men of the ages;
What infinite delight there would be in talking to them
    and asking them questions!

Socrates also said, The difficulty, my friends,
    is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness,
    for that runs faster than death.

And finally, i always remember, when Jean Valjean was dying,
    and his foster-daughter Cosette and her husband Marius were there,
He concluded his last words to them by saying,
    "It is nothing to die; it is frightful not to have lived."

List of Poems
(to SLAA and myself)

I'm abstaining from complaining,
And it doesn't seem so hard,
But ev'ry other sentence
And my resolution is marr'd.

I'm abstaining from complaining.
I don't know what else to do,
Trying to find some inner peace
Before my life is through.

And what's there to complain about
That noone else has felt?
Since I'm the same as ev'ryone
Oh! let my temper melt!

Let me be as soft as grass,
Rebounding after creatures pass.

List of Poems
(to SLAA and myself)

I'm abstaining from resentment;
It's like poison in my veins.
It betters nothing ever
And ever nothing gains.

    I'm abstaining from resentment;
    It's like mud upon my face;
    And if folks could ever see it
    I'd really fall from grace.

I'm learning to accept it all,
And be helpful if i can;
And love it like i do myself.
That surely is life's plan.

    I don't need resentment any more;
    That isn't what my life is for.

List of Poems
(to SLAA and myself)

I'm abstaining from impatience.
Why should i wait AND fret
And get all hot and bothered
And make myself upset?

    I'm abstaining from impatience;
    Impatiently, but then,
    No matter what the obstacle,
    It just comes back again.

And ev'ry time I get uptight
And want each thing my way
I'm farther off from getting it;
It happens ev'ry day.

    Let me relax and be at peace,
    Then will ev'ry trouble cease.

List of Poems
(to SLAA and myself)

I'm abstaining from self-hatred;
It really makes no sense--
To hate one of God's creatures
With a rancor so intense!

    And if the sages all are right,
    And everything is good,
    Then we surely ought to love ourselves--
    I'd do it if i could.

And if we're one with every thing
And every thing is one
We ought to treat it caringly
Until our lives are done;

    And after, too, for all i know.
    God goofed it up, if that's not so.

Chronological list