Past Life Memories With My Father

1.

We sat upon the temple steps
Overlooking the marketplace.
Casual, side by side, on the uppermost step,
So that neither would presume to sit higher.
And yet still the dark mystery behind,
The large doors, the smaller one inset like a jewel.
Only at times of great festivals
Would the larger doors be opened wide.
Then the crowds jubilant and wild
Would bridge the distinction made
By these soft low steps of stone.
In my hands, forearms resting on knees,
I finger a stalk of straw, blown by winds
That gust occasionally through the city gates
Lifting feathers and dust from the streets below.
I turn the stalk as I turn my mind,
Sifting the dry contents of fields forever turned to hay.
You too are unsure where to look.
But your hand gestures to stay my meandering
And point out something that occurs below.
Ah yes, this stalk is yet no cryptic key.
I stab the air in vain and flick it away with my wrist.
Whatever, we must stay present with this.

2.

Maddened fireflies assail the lanternlight.
The envy of these motherfuckers might
Come to grief with little distinction
Other than their own extinction.

3.

Bearded we might
Scuttle down priory hallways,
One leading the other by the elbow
As though in flight.
Cloistered amid the booklined walls
We try to recall where we have read
What might beckon the other from the night.
Something seen when the moon was passing
The leadlight window framed above.
The hands turn thin sheaves of manuscript
As though we know there’s little time.
And who could say what was discovered,
How much the two friends dared to share,
The ages lost and yet in passing,
Who now knows what’s next in line?

4.

Sorry, the train began on time.
The words were planned that were to rhyme.
The sense is now what’s left behind
Once thoughts have been committed to line.
Some missed the junction, went astray,
Like you and I from day to day.
What use regret and guilt and shame,
The many thin grey shades of blame.
The most is what is left today,
To bring it forth else fade away.
  
28 – 11 – 96

 

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