My Love Is Like To Ice

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Greenland Ice Cap – Photograph by Olaf Otto Becker 2008.
Fire And Ice

by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Amoretti XXX: My Love is like to ice, and I to fire

BY EDMUND SPENSER
My Love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congeal’d with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.

I have an obscure interest in first person accounts of arctic exploration from about 1880 to 1930.  This was a period when men and women still traveled and explored for the sheer adventure of being the first to go some where.  My favorite writers are Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen, two college friends, who established the Thule trading station in Greenland as a way to support their real goals, which was to accomplish many firsts exploring the uncharted territory of Greenland and northern Canada and along the way record the ethnography and history of the people of the frozen North. Rasmussen and Freuchen had no interest in going to the North Pole, for it lacked the one thing that fascinated them the most – the Intuit people.

Rasmussen was a anthropologist who was collecting the stories and oral history of the Intuit.  Rasmussen and Freuchen both embraced the Intuit way of life, the people and their culture and were uniquely suited for this task.  Rasmussen was the son of Missionary and an Intuit woman, who was raised in a traditional village in Greenland, but returned to Denmark for his college education where he met Fruechen.  His tales of Greenland and its rugged spirit, inspired the two friends to set out on a life long series of adventures that stand to this day as some of the most remarkable journeys in arctic history.

Freuchen and Rasmussen
Peter Freuchen and Knud Rasmussen

The two of them accomplished what I consider to be the most incredible arctic feat of exploration ever – the unsupported Fifth Thule expedition.  The expedition set out to scientifically prove the origin of the Inuit people, and collect the evidence to help the rest of the world have a broader understanding of this remarkable culture.  In a completely self sufficient, unsupported and unresupplied expedition, 7 people on dogsled set out from Greenland to cross over the ice to Canada. After a year of careful documentation  of the people and ancient sites of Eastern northernmost Canada, several of the members of the expedition were physically unable to continue, including Freuchen, who suffered extreme frost bite on one leg, eventually resulting in its amputation below the knee. Rasmussen was undeterred and would continue with one man and one woman for 2 and half more years.  The three of them would cover 18,000 miles over the course of three years of traversing and criss-crossing all of Northern Canada, across the bearing straight into Russia, only to be denied further passage by Russian authorities, and then back to Alaska, to catch passage and sail back to Greenland. Rasmussen published his journey and scientific findings in a seven volume set and proves what Rasmussen himself accomplished, which is the Intuit people settled the entire top of the world by their ingenuity, athleticism and complete adaptation to the arctic environment.  He proved that even in the most isolated areas of the arctic there was a common language, common stories, common religion, common technologies that tied these people together into one society of origin.

Knud Rasmussen
Knud Rasmussen

Global warming has made the type of expeditions that Rasmussen and Fruechen accomplished impossible, because there is too much unstable ice and open water during the winter in areas that they crossed safely with dog sleds 100 years ago.

The arctic cold has been a natural barrier of protection for the amazing ecosystems of the far north.  An environment that was until recently, only experienced by the native people and few adventurers that had the ability to overcome the austerity of the conditions to thrive in extreme elements.  I fear that with that barrier of ice and cold diminishing, there will be a renewed fervor by governments and business interests to send expeditions to the North in coming years, not to chart its lands and waters  for the sake of pure knowledge and adventure, but to extract samples and create outposts that can facilitate the extraction and exploitation of oil, minerals and natural resources waiting beneath the ice that will be more accessible in the future to a world greedy to strip the arctic of whatever  can be exploited to make a buck.

The Northwest Passage, an elusive dream for hundreds of years, is about to become a normalized shipped lane, open to a wide variety of vessels for long periods during the summer months.   And with the sudden increase in shipping traffic to this fragile ecosystem, bring a whole new level of pressure with unknowable consequences to our planet.  I am sure that neither Peter Freuchen or Knud Rasmussen ever conceived of a reality where their beloved Greenland would be threatened by the melting of the very ice cap that makes Greenland unique.


 

Greenland

By T. A. Fry

I should like to go to Greenland
Where ice calves along blue bays.
I would like to go to Greenland
Before it’s glaciers melt away.

I am in wonder of a Greenland
Where all the green is white.
I ponder what I’ve done Dear
To protect the arctic night.

Can we conceive the sky is warming?
Imagine all that sinks beneath?
Sixty meters of rising water
Our modernity will bequeath.

Do we honestly think we’ll build
Dykes strong enough to hold?
Do we honestly think we’ve willed
A future worthy to behold?

It’ll take a thousand years
To melt every single drop.
Will future Pioneers
Have the will to make it stop?

I should like to go to Greenland.
Just not the Greenland of today.
I’d like to go to the Greenland
Where the ice was borne to stay.

 

Once in A Blue Moon

blue-moon-supermoon-2018
Super Blue Moon Jan. 31 2018

To Science

by Edgar Allen Poe

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

 

Crooked Handle

By T. A. Fry

Crooked handle, points of light,
Ladle full of black delight,
Obscured from sight or burning bright,
The dipper points due north.

It’s infinite, a soup of dreams.
Laughter broth with tiger cream,
Pig-tailed girls, little boys lean
Who dare to venture forth.

What of those who turn away?
Or hunker down and choose to stay.
Who hate the night, embrace the day,
And face the sunshine south.

Restraint is in the milky way,
River of light, come what may.
For roosters crow and donkeys bray
With a smiling mouth.

Then there’s those that love the moon.
It’s gentle light, a babies croon,
A swooping owl, a laughing loon,
Peace rises in the east.

The moon it waxes and it wanes,
Outside our doors and window panes.
Old or young, it’s all the same.
The grateful at a feast.

Adventurers and nestled stones,
Withered muscle, sturdy bone,
A crowded dance or home alone,
Our lonely sun sails west.

The sun it rises and it sets,
The miser saves, the gambler bets
A desert’s dry, an ocean’s  wet,
Your love my welcome guest.


© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Not As One, But As A Tribe

Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg (1878 – 1967)
Definition 11.  “Poetry is a series of explanations of life, fading off into horizons too swift for explanations.”
Carl Sandburg

Let Me Tell You What A Poem Brings

by Juan Felipe Herrera

Before you go further,
let me tell you what a poem brings,
first, you must know the secret, there is no poem
to speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries,
yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me telling you this,
instead of going day by day against the razors, well,
the judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket
sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example, from
the outside you think you are being entertained,
when you enter, things change, you get caught by surprise,
your mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold
standing still in the middle of a storm, a poem, of course,
is always open for business too, except, as you can see,
it isn’t exactly business that pulls your spirit into
the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you can play,
you can even join in on the gossip—the mist, that is,
the mist becomes central to your existence.


Sonnet 9

by Carl Sandburg

Fair is the rising morn when o’er the sky
The orient sun expands his roseate ray,
And lovely to the Bard’s enthusiast eye
Fades the meek radiance of departing day;
But fairer is the smile of one we love,
Than all the scenes in Nature’s ample sway.
And sweeter than the music of the grove,
The voice that bids us welcome. Such delight
EDITH! is mine, escaping to thy sight
From the hard durance of the empty throng.
Too swiftly then towards the silent night
Ye Hours of happiness! ye speed along,
Whilst I, from all the World’s cold cares apart,
Pour out the feelings of my burthen’d heart.


There are blog posts I know I should end without commentary, let the poems speak for themselves.   This is one of those posts, where my inner voice screams “Stop, you’ll ruin it,” and like an idiot, I ignore that voice and push on anyways.

I think there are many others, like myself, who find respite in poetry. I believe it is a global,  powerful, informed group of  individuals, who by their very nature, are diverse, complicated and have developed, maybe without even knowing it, their own definitions of poetry, like Carl Sandburg….


Not As One, But As A Tribe

by T. A. Fry

Not as one, but as a tribe
Held to a mark befit our bent,
With poets as our willing scribes.
A writ of civic sacraments.

A language we can all abide;
Like wind before a wild horse.
Ideas that sweep along our lives
Allegory to avail our course.

Who lauds our lyric heroes now?
Inspirer’s of a greater good.
Words to guide what we avow,
Signposts in a darkening wood.

What laureate shall stake their claim
As mirror to a better world?
And silence critics that proclaim
They alone turn sand to pearls.


© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Not Too Many

Burl
Burl On A Tree

“Love her but leave her wild….”
– Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird

I was in Calgary, Alberta this week, reading the morning paper, and came across an article regarding the small Canadian press Coach House Books.  This prestigious literary firm is taking a hiatus on accepting new poetry manuscripts, as they are rethinking their business model on the financial viability of publishing poetry moving forward.  Such is the state of things in the poetry world. I appreciate those of you who take the time to read my blog and choose to make poetry part of your day.

I enjoy simple Saturday mornings, waking up with nothing better to do than write. Yesterday was one such morning.  My subconscious had been messing with several ideas over the course of the week that turned into the following sonnet. Celebrating my children’s birthday has that effect on me, contemplating passage of time.

A Neil Gaiman quote I totally relate to is:

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”

This sonnet, Not Too Many,  has all the things I enjoy about writing sonnets; double meanings, contradictions, internal rhyming, good mouth feel when read aloud and the ability to be reinterpreted by the reader.

A note about burls.  A burl on a tree is a reaction to some kind of foreign stress, most often by an insect, virus or fungus, that causes the tree to wall it up in beauty, protecting itself and the newcomer, changing the very nature of their interaction. Burls can be above ground and visible or below ground and hidden but are always covered in bark and nurtured by the tree.


 

Not Too Many

By T. A. Fry

Why does old love wend its own designs?
In the game of love, I have taken licks
Been knocked down, learned new tricks, only to find
Sometimes, it was mere lust or politics.
Then came children and something wild grew.
Love became an ache that took my breath away
It’s fierce, complex, bigger than I ever knew.
Love’s not negotiable, it’s here to stay,
And stay and stay, like a burl on a tree,
Each ring a wrinkle,  love’s softer side,
Another bulge to indulge entirely.
For love is the lotion that tanned this hide.
If I had a choice, not one, but any
I would mend love with words, not too many.


© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Don’t Leave Me Here Alone

Goosebumps

“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.”

Neil Gaiman

Sonnet

by Neil Gaiman

I don’t think that I’ve been in love as such,
Although I liked a few folk pretty well.
Love must be vaster than my smiles or touch.
For brave men died and empires rose and fell
For love, girls follow boys to foreign lands.
And men have followed women into hell.

In plays and poems someone understands,
There’s something makes us more than blood and bone,
And more than biological demands.
For me love’s like the wind unseen, unknown.
I see the trees are bending where it’s been.
I know that it leaves wreckage where it’s blown.
I really don’t know what I love you means.
I think it means don’t leave me here alone.

For more information check out Neil Gaiman’s blog where this sonnet was originally published.

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2005/10/other-one.html


Maybe love is the story, the fairy tale, that we tell ourselves because it is truer and longer lasting than the days we have already forgotten from this past week.  And sonnets, the psalms by which we pass those stories down.

Salvation

by T. A. Fry

Wherein it begins;
Salvation.  To caress a nape of neck
Or silky hair upon a woman’s hock.
To crave creation of goose bumps that fleck
A breast or smiles that shiver like a shock.
I swear no fealty to love’s mirth, nor bow
Before any Goddess’s  pain or pleasure.
I’ll take my memories as a trove and vow
When old, to view them at my leisure.

What’s done is done, move on, no turning back.
No more open arms. You’ve bled the good
From willing hearts, with promises that smack
Of dishonest pleas, when stay you never could.
Must I void the truth of love once cherished,
Just for being human and it perished.


© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

On Bended Knee

Malvolio-And-Maria-From-Shakespeare-s-Twelfth-Night-550336

On Bended Knee

by T. A. Fry

Were I on bended knee,
And you upon a throne?
What would you decree?
What would I bemoan?

Have we any choice?
Is there any sense?
Not by human voice.
Nor by recompense.


Sonnet 58

by William Shakespeare

That god forbid, that made me first your slave,
I should in thought control your times of pleasure,
Or at your hand th’ account of hours to crave,
Being your vassal bound to stay your leisure.
O let me suffer, being at your beck,
Th’ imprisoned absence of your liberty;
And patience tame to sufferance bide each check,
Without accusing you of injury.
Be where you list, your charter is so strong
That you yourself may privilege your time
To what you will; to you it doth belong
Yourself to pardon of self-doing crime.
I am to wait, though waiting so be hell,
Not blame your pleasure, be it ill or well


Happy Twelfth Night!  Depending on how you start counting the 12 days of Christmas, it was either yesterday or today and marks the end of the holidays and the beginning of Epiphany.  It’s time to take down festive decorations and settle in to the pleasant gloom of January. Twelfth Night has lost some of its relevance, but my Mother honored the tradition of taking down her Christmas tree on twelfth night.

Historically Twelfth night was an excuse for a party.  Few of us are waking up to bake a cake with a pea and bean inside and invite friends over to drink wassail, but it sounds like the kind of silliness we need right now as a distraction from Trumpism. Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night with the intention of it being performed on Twelfth Night. A comedy with serious themes on love and service.  Sounds like life….

In case you are inspired to throw a Twelfth Night shindig this evening, here’s a delicious wassail recipe.  Serve it hot with a slice of cake.

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rittenhouse-inn-wassail-punch-367909

367909_wassail-punch_1x1
Wassail at Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield WI

Twelfth Night

By Robert Herrick

NOW, now the mirth comes
With the cake full of plums,
Where bean’s the king of the sport here;
Beside we must know,
The pea also
Must revel, as queen, in the court here.

Begin then to choose,
This night as ye use,
Who shall for the present delight here,
Be a king by the lot,
And who shall not
Be Twelfth-day queen for the night here.

Which known, let us make
Joy-sops with the cake ;
And let not a man then be seen here,
Who unurg’d will not drink
To the base from the brink
A health to the king and queen here.

Next crown a bowl full
With gentle lamb’s wool :
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
With store of ale too ;
And thus ye must do
To make the wassail a swinger.

Give then to the king
And queen wassailing :
And though with ale ye be whet here,
Yet part from hence
As free from offence
As when ye innocent met here.


© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wait For The Wisest Of All Counselors

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“Wait for that wisest of all counselors, Time.”

Pericles

New Love, New Life

by Johann Goethe
Translated by A. S. Kline

Heart, my heart, what can it mean?
What could trouble you so?
What a strange new life, it seems!
You, I no longer know.
Everything you loved is done,
Everything that grieved you,
All your work and peace is gone –
How could this overtake you!

Are you caught by lovely youth
By that beloved form,
By those eyes so good and true,
By that all-powerful force?
When I try to run away,
Collect myself and flee,
In a moment my path strays
Back to her you see.

By that magic thread, so
That cannot be untied,
The dear wanton girl, oh
She holds me fast: and I
Must lie within her magic spell
And live where she may go.
How great the change, I tell!
Love! Love! Let me go!


 

How often is what is perceived by other’s as being delusional the product of vacuity? I would like to think that I can avoid using this blog as a private confessional.  However, writing a blog and sending it out into the world is like speaking to an audience behind a veiled curtain. Readers are silent jurors who enter and exit through a different door than the one I use, with never more than a glimpse of their coming and going.  I never know who reads these words unless they choose to make their presence felt with a “like” or a comment.  I can see the footprints of readers from around the world as a count from a specific country on a specific page,  but I have no idea what they think or felt in reading the poems I select for my own enjoyment.  The greatest gift a reader can bestow is to take time to provide feedback, regardless if that feedback is positive or negative.  

Recognizing parts of my subconscious and conscious mind are laid bare on these pages, I attempt to at least not stray into self-absorbed prattle, worried that I will start sounding like a penitent looking for absolution.  Yet, if I write without admitting my human foibles, I risk sounding one-dimensional and even worse, the sin of all sins as a writer, sounding dull.  No one wants to read well-behaved words.  The magic of poetry is that I can let it speak for itself, let the poetry delve into the recesses of our minds, where the real adventures begin. The reader can decide if the postcards in words I have selected, either written by my hand or someone else’s, is an experience real or imagined. Regardless of where the words originated, each reader will take from it what they choose.

I was reminded over Christmas holidays, how others impose their own impulses, dreams, doubts, fears and motivations over the top of another’s creativity.  We each mix liberally analysis with anxiety to produce our own conclusions. Creative expression naturally welcomes criticism that, upon retrospect, seems perfectly logical, but may have nothing to do with the writer’s or artist’s intent.   It is most unsatisfying to dispel the myth of genius and admit simple-mindedness, offering up a boring explanation that I wasn’t bright enough to have intentionally created the connection they now so clearly see, which although should have been obvious to me at the time, was in reality, the product of complete ignorance or completely different motivation.  Isn’t this what makes being human so interesting?  We walk around contemplating the mundane and the magnificent with no comprehension of what anyone else is thinking at any given moment about a darn thing we are up to. Thank goodness!


Lucky Penny Lover

By T. A. Fry

Lucky Penny Lover
Brimming in my brain
What did you discover
Swimming in the rain

Golden locks aplenty
Porridge to your taste?
Love me only gently
Don’t let us go to waste

Serene within your socket
Graceful in mid-flight
Put me in your pocket
Beauty fills my sight

Lovin’s in the air
Skin’s upon my mind
A smell inside your hair
Our poetry aligns

Does fingering or bowin’
Lift you to first chair
Does knitting or the sewin’
Make a King so rare

Circle round our souls
Lay me on your breast
Let’s just rock and roll
The hell with all the rest

Who’s the super hero
Complete with tights and cape
Slow from ten to zero
Nuzzle at my nape

Smudging with my poems
Words got in your eye
Budging, tho’ tend to roam
Please keep it a surprise

Torrid is our passion
Scalding is our heat
Florid in its fashion
Bawdy in its beat.

Turgid with desire
Lurid with our fate
Afresh in love’s attire
Despite its sprawling weight

Let’s wake up each day smitten
Let’s wake up each day stunned
Queen Mary – What’s to be written?
King Arthur – What’s simply done?


© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Weltering In The Grace of Love’s Remand

file (1)
November sunset on my street corner.

For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme

I am a late bloomer as a writer and am still finding my way playing with words.  I have come to appreciate the idea of a muse; having at times, an almost out-of-body experience where it feels like words flow from my fingertips as I type in ways that are separate from my conscious brain. When this happens, I wait anxiously, like an onlooker,  to see what my fingertips have to say as the words appear on the screen.   Not that my writing hits the page in its final form with a first draft. My writing process consists of trying to get a first draft done fairly quickly; quick being a relative term as it can range from one hour, to one day to one month.  From there I tend to tinker endlessly, changing lines, changing words, re-ordering structure, reading the poem out loud over and over again, with literally dozens of edits, until it reads at least to me, without awkwardness. I will sometimes come back to a poem over a year later and make edits, finding the fallow period helps my subconscious smooth out flaws.

I am still amazed by the well of experience from which inspiration arises. Sometimes it starts with one word.  An example is the sonnet Simple Praise.    It came about while reading Lila by Marilynne Robinson.  In it is there is a bible passage that re-occurs throughout the book.  The passage is from Ezekiel and is relayed by Robinson as:

And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was cut, neither was thou washed in water to cleanse thee; thou was not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. No eye pitied thee, to do any of these things unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou was cast out in the open field, for that thy person was abhorred, in the day thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee weltering in thy blood, I said unto thee, Though thy art in thy blood, live; yea, I said unto thee, Though thou art in thy blood, live!.

A powerful metaphor for a middle-aged man in the midst of his mid-life crisis; get up, stop wallowing, take responsibility for your true skin, taste your blood and live.

The first time I read it, a word jumped out at me – weltering.  It’s one of those words, that I thought I knew the definition, but on it coming into my consciousness more deeply, I doubted whether I fully comprehended its meaning.  So it sent me to the dictionary.

Welter
verb (used without object)
  1. to roll, toss, or heave, as waves or the sea.
  2. to roll, writhe, or tumble about; wallow, as animals (often followed by about):
  3. to lie bathed in or be drenched in something, especially blood.
  4. to become deeply or extensively involved, associated, entangled,etc.:
    to welter in confusion or despair.
noun
  1. confused mass; a jumble or muddle: welter of anxious faces.
  2. a state of commotion, turmoil, or upheaval.
  3. a rolling, tossing, or tumbling about, as or as if by the sea, waves, or wind.

Definition from Dictionary.com

 

Several of the definitions held portent to what was happening in my life, in particular the concept of being deeply entangled and in a state of commotion and turmoil.  At the time, I was attempting to use poetry as a vehicle to imperfectly capture portions of my spirituality and this one word, weltering, began swirling in my mind and from it a sonnet emerged.

The sonnet Simple Praise intentionally has connections to Reinhold Neibor and his focus on realism. On this week before Christmas, as I prepare to celebrate with family and friends, I feel more strongly the passage of time.  Christmas is my yearly reminder on the possibilities of rebirth and renewal. It is a time I try to strengthen my internal connections to hope and celebration. It is a time to be thankful.  And to remind myself to live, truly live, in the coming new year!


Simple Praise

by T.A. Fry

Weltering in the grace of love’s remand,
What brokenness have I put right today?
God is unknowable.  Yet I pray
To avoid the trap of greed’s quicksand.
Cold foot in mouth, hot tongue in hand,
I offer restitution my own to pay.
To lessen debt’s cycle of dismay,
And honor my debtors, if not their demands.

In silence I ask what’s to be done?
Make the best of all things in my power.
And accept the rest as it plainly comes?
Bless me with useful work to inherit.
I’ll not worship thee with obscure merit.
Only simple praise for the setting sun.


© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

To Ezra Pound

ezra-pound-9445428-1-402
Ezra Pound

Poetic Eggs

by Ezra Pound

I am a grave poetic hen
that lays poetic eggs.
And to enhance my temperament
A little quiet begs.

We make the yolk philosophy
True beauty the albumen.
And then gum on a shell of form
To make the screed sound human.


Ode

NOUN

  • A lyric poem, typically one in the form of an address to a particular subject, written in varied or irregular metre.

    Oxford English Dictionary


To Ezra Pound

by T. A. Fry

For your convictions, not the least of which
Was treason: by what do I measure you?
Was it romance or reason that carved your niche?
An Imagist, whose chant was Make it New.
The unkept vagrant of rebellious screed,
Who Frost declared, “wanton and a poseur.”
Should I forgive your racist, fascist deeds
In lieu of your roiled poetic allure?
Pound for Pound, man’s the most fallible beast.
My own past mocks in brilliance and despair.
If our life is but A Moveable Feast*?
Let’s hope the worst is not beyond repair.
And with words, left to time, an image paint,
The truth of it; both serpent and a saint.

*Pound and Hemingway were long-time friends who both lived in Paris during the period Hemingway wrote A Moveable Feast.  The reference in the sonnet is an acknowledgement to shared passions and demons.  Hemingway lobbied for Pound’s release from the insane asylum where he was incarcerated for treason in the United States from 1945 – 1957.  Read my prior blog post, Make it New, for more stirrings on Ezra Pound.


© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gallant Ghosts, Undaunted

IMG_1557I have ghosts on my mind this week,  with Halloween, The Day of the Dead and All Saints Day all swirling beneath the surface.  A good yarn, which is all any poem should aspire, at least the ones that keep my attention, require some truth,  a truth worth tending.   The question is always how much truth comes from a writer’s imagination and how much from their experience?  Truth in literature may be fabricated entirely.   An empathetic phrase by which we catch a collective breath of understanding.

I write primarily in first person.   I realize that this may create confusion for anyone who knows me personally and chooses to view the narrative as literal.   What is real and what is not real?  Isn’t that the cloak behind which all writers hide and invent a reality worthy of putting to paper.

We don’t have Shakespeare’s blog or twitter feed to gain further insights into his poetry.  He left the interpretation of his writing to the reader.   But make no mistake,  Love plays a role in all this business. A most generous Love, a Love that both clasps hearts in irons and springs the lock of freedom.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, in my view, is a mirror in which to view myself.   Yes, it is hubris to put one of my sonnets alongside Shakespeare’s and pretend they belong in the same space.  But then isn’t it hubris that drives any of us to write in the first place?   My sonnet, Gallant Ghosts, Undaunted, was written during the tail spin of a relationship. It is a fictional Polaroid of a future yet to be experienced, but hoped for with an optimism of forgiveness.  I was delusional.  Hell hath no fury…..

It is a connection to a beginning and an homage to the role that poetry played throughout our relationship.  I am fully aware that the last few words are identical to a sonnet from the 1700s.   I will share the story behind that fact in the next blog.

Sonnet 29

By William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
       For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
       That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

 

 

Gallant Ghosts, Undaunted

by T. A. Fry

I think of you, writing late in the nightfall
Revering your muse, as no other may place
Claims to a heart, forever a rightful
Palace of dreams,  once my saving grace.
What’s mine is yours,  our auspices blessed
By memories of loving which illumine my soul.
On Darkest Night(s) as you slowly undress,
Recall my touch, though its loss be a toll.

Come gallant ghosts, lay down by my side
Undaunted: whisper poems long written for me.
Their haunting passion shall always reside
Deep in bruised hearts, a grand larceny.
Timeless this beauty, in mind’s eye I hold,  
The feel of your lips and outlive the old.

________________________________

© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.