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 Page: Profile: Poetry   Total Views: 13,712,453  

Poem Specs

VxPoem ID: 19218


Posted: January 13th. 2006 10:35:33 PM

Views: 1634

Lilies and Cedars and Corn

by B. T. Newberg

Age Group: Adult

- 1. -
Come to me soft Gratitude:
As maiden Truth I am rolling in excrement,
Picking it up and turning it,
Molding figurines of deer and antelope,
Cedars and mountains and absolutes,
Exceding so far in beauty
I almost forget their origins;
I cavort here with Ignorance my sweet;
He is handsome and calm
Like a well-worn shoe;
We roll the familiarity
As time goes by without a scent;
Our scent is all that we know;
It stops up our nostrils
With comfortable stucco;
The lily smell does not come in,
The cedar smell does not come in,
The ripe smell of corn does not come in;
This is our hut of mud and thatch,
Where we last forever...

- 2. -
Come to me soft Gratitude:
There was a girl once called Inspiration,
And her mother knew not who the father was,
So great was the joy of conception;
And she slipped like a causeless gift
Out of black and earthy moisture
Into the waiting hands of man,
Was caught by one-eyed Thought,
Who did not wait for the afterbirth,
But stole her away to be raised up,
And Thought renamed her Truth;
How supple-strong she was!
Like a springy rapier!
He could not help but magnify her;
And so his one precipitous eye,
Reflexive and roving as polished steel,
He plucked from out its socket,
Unpeeled in layers like an onion,
And made from the burnished shavings
A tower of glass and panel;
High up in the focal tower-loft
He laid the child in swaddles,
And the march of glass and panel
Syndicated her image,
Scattering ghosts of her beauty
Over earth and mud...

- 3. -
Come to me soft Gratitude:
There was a handsome loafe
Coursing up and down the thoroughfare
In loose-stringed sandals,
Lounging now with horsemen,
Now with flower-girls,
Now with book-men and councilors,
Making fine drama of busy-ness;
The scent of him was everyplace,
The sweat of his labors
Showed on his purchased cloak,
And the inplanes of his forearms
Clasped and clasped in greeting,
And the tendons of knee and heel
Were taut as deer and antelope,
Sure as mountains and absolutes;
Came he to a flash of light,
Dancing and cloying the soft earth;
And liking the pleasing image,
He followed it to a tremulous tower...

- 4. -
Come to me soft Gratitude:
Who is this bony man,
This no-eyed man with but one socket,
Who kneels inclined to the tower?
His arms outstretch to a play of images,
Like one struck dumb by lightning,
Or a monk on the verge of tears;
The art of glass and panel
Scintillates his consciousness
With blinding sparks of glitter,
Nor sound nor scent of other thing
Imposes enough to notice;
He does not sense the loafe approaching
In loose-stringed sandals,
Gliding like light into the crevices,
As quickly filling up the tower
With the drip of his sweat;
And there she beheld him:
The child, grown to a woman,
Vibrated her supple-strong limbs,
And cleaved to the well-worn youth,
As natural as he to her...

- 5. -
Come to me soft Gratitude:
The mother knows when her child is missing;
She senses soft disturbance,
And weeps before anyone knows why;
The little thing she called Inspiration,
Given up to the midwife Thought,
Was raised into a maid called Truth--
How could the loafe not want her?
And now her no-eyed guardian
Still palms his bony arms,
Lipping incoherent prayers
To her ripe magnificence
In long innocuous raptures;
And the mother rattles and weeps,
She weeps and hoarses and shrieks,
And her lone harpy dirge
Makes every breathing creature
Sink unto a chill;
Then blinks the bony Thought,
Shaken out of his stupor,
And lo! the tower is bare,
Vacant and empty and stale,
As if it never was filled,
And the bony Thought blinks,
And the tower is empty and bare...

- 6. -
Come to me soft Gratitude:
As maiden Truth I am rolling in excrement,
And I stink more lovely than saffron;
I cavort here with Ignorance my sweet,
And the sweat of his labor
Drips on my supple-strong limbs;
Already his mind is distant,
As we mold like deer and antelope;
In his mind he's already abandoned me,
It is only a matter of time;
While we mold each other
Into fine-smelling absolutes,
Nor lilies nor cedars nor corn,
Only, only, only... this;
I know we'll not last forever:
When Thought reconstructs his eye,
He will find me here discarded
In a gangrenous dung-heap,
Wreaking of molded saffron;
He will take me home in a sheet,
And bathe me in a cold spring,
Somberly set the dinner table,
And then sit there looking down,
Taking spoons of thin broth,
For the memory of my innocence;
But is there one thing here
For which I am not grateful?
My life is no more exalted,
No more flashing than gray,
Nor sharp than a tarnished mirror;
But I like this blighted existence,
That keeps me wet on the ground;
See, there is one thing here
For which I am very grateful:
My belly is growing bold,
Round and full and swooning;
Time comes by wreaking of flowers,
And still my belly swells;
Something is now inside me,
Nor of stucco nor of mold:
O my sweet unborn daughter,
My sweet and fragrant daughter!
I think I shall call you Experience;
And soon you shall know the smell
Of mists coming down off the mountains,
Of the deer and the antelope,
Of inscapes and laboring tendons,
Of black and earthy moisture,
The earth and the mud,
The long roll of familiarity,
And lilies and cedars and corn...

Author's Notes: It's been a while since I wrote poetry without specific meter and form. It's a little scary, hard to tell between beauty and wretchedness. This was composed in a spirit after reading Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

copyright 2006

As a Naturalistic Pagan, I believe in evidence. There is no evidence that deities and magic are "real" in the most literal sense, but they may yet be moving and powerful. These poems are a tribute to the inspiration of Pagan ways.

For more information on naturalism, see

Author's Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
More Poems: B. T. Newberg has posted 73 additional poems- View them?
Author's Profile: To learn more about B. T. Newberg - Click HERE
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