Saturday, June 12, 2010

In Retrospect

    I N R E T R O S P E C T

    (Ode to Love's Labors Lost Unperceived)

    [New York City, Summer/Fall 1980]


1    If wisdom's strong, to reason may suffice

Should that be wrong, some charm to mesmerize

This soul to ease the pain. If not,

The great and near-great's words may plagiarize!


2    In vain sought comfort in philosophy,

Or comfort sought in others' company;

In verses crude, can I venture erode

Love's burden's Hell, Life's poignant agony?


3    Heaven, elusive "vision of fulfilled desire,"

Hell, looming "shadow of a soul on fire"

Of love begot by cruel Destiny

Sooner than born is sent off to retire!


4    'Twixt right and wrong, how easy to define,

'Twixt love and hate is harder drawn the line.

Mistakes are made before we even know

That worst of them is one's will to resign.


5    Anger and rage, brute children of illusion

When deigned to reign bring fetters to emotion.

If it should be that we shall not be one,

What gain is made by wrathful condemnation?


6    Prithee, is it that never blooms so sweet

The rose as from where mournful tears are let?

The joys that from few fleeting moments sprung

Are mem'ries true, no justice to regret!


7    Not all the roads we take lead us to Rome,

Nor all the sins we dared commit bring doom;

Will all the blossoms we may yet behold

Be sweeter made by picking them in gloom?


8    As breeze caressing but few blades of green

With dewdrops feed the grass ere dawn sets in,

Few words that never meant to touch the soul

With vehemence precipitate the pain.


9    The glance that was stolen with a pause

Did fire not the anger which broke loose,

Search deep beneath the veil of pleasantries

Peradventure you'd still find the cause.


10    "A hair divides the false and true," they say,

A giant leap from "thee-and-me" to "we""

It takes no less than all that one is worth

And more to spare for cares along the way.


11    If one needs but few moments to carouse

Will-o-the-wisp would serve no worse spouse.

Take better heed, it hurts to be deceived,

Save fools, none heed for such half-way-house!


12    One moment in premeditation's haste

One argument for mortal wisdom quest

One moment which to love's perdition prove

Wild vengeance of annihilation's waste!


13    Can silence with proverbial eloquence

Set council for the heartache's recompense

To heal the wounds that only lovers know

And teardrops wash some error's insolence?


14    No Bacchal cure of legend potency

Nor pastime pure, not sheer obstinacy

E'n sweet Oblivion's comfort but in vain

Recapture love's life-giving rhapsody.


15    Come, Nightingale from thine throne divine

Come, bring the tune to soothe this heart of mine

In woe begone, in stormy tide adrift,

Come, sing thine song so shoreward may recline.


16    Indeed, indeed, not hither bring thy rhyme

Sweet Serenade to her dear heart sublime

To her dear ears, sweet nothings in my name

Pray, whisper till beyond the end of time.


17    For mine voice rings venom in her ears

And mine birth deemed shameful to her peers;

My ways and loving entreaty provoke

In her torrential flood of angry tears!


18    This selfsame storm of my predicament

Abates to calm at her commandement;

The ebbs and flows, she holds, she surely knows

The key to predetermination's vent.

9    Ere predetermination's book was wrote

How oft the Well of Life to some has put

Forth hope, and yes, some inspiration so

Love's toil need not be reduced to naught?


20    How oft, indeed, that we, so hoping fall

Ensnared in Love's deep intermeshing thrall?

Whence in the wake of heartbreak's undertow

Shall start to walk and not content to crawl?


21    Lest be content with what is coming forth

Befits to ask what self-reflection's worth.

Why! vanquished dreams, as dreams, remain untrue

If not for new beginnings and rebirth!


22    Out from the whirlpool of that turbid wake

Arise questions dare I not answer seek

Those lovely lips that I life-treasure kiss

Who else, whose lips, they kisses give and take?


23    Oh, let you kiss them, what have I to do

With what you will, or say, or where you go?

Much as I care, I am aware I may

Wreak havoc on the world but heed not you!


24    How odd it seems that Logic negative

Can blissful dreams dismiss to make believe

All would be well; and why not, if you please,

Sing Requiem: a living soul's reprieve?


25    Oh, yesterday, how we with passion kissed

In love's embrace your arms were heaven's nest;

Same nest today you eagerly prepare

To welcome one yet-better favored guest!


26    Of love possessed, consumed by jealousy

Abandoned reason for some fantasy

Of better days that some tomorrow may

Bring back the warmth of by-gone ecstasy.


27    Sweet mem'ries dwell in shadows of a kiss

You blew my way by a moment's caprice

My heart beguiled, too drunk to but guess

Not all of sweet things made are lovers' bliss!


28    Yesterday' kiss and promise did provoke

Today's despair, resentment, chain, and yoke;

The hope tirelessly nurtured by the hour

So late discovered yet so soon forsook


29    Yet bewitched by your magical power

Condemned to long endure love's endeavor

To what may yet be proved the better end

And sweet reward for teardrops shed so far.


30    So oft methought deserving ridicule

That I continue wanting you, and all

Of you, knowing you're not even aware

What Hell you wrought to my tormented soul


31    The wheels of life do roll, and having rolled

May yet some sweeter tale of love unfold,

Or better yet, as past wont to repeat:

Some bitter wrath in aggravation's mold!


32    Indeed, indeed, 'tis not for me to blame

You and your ways of playing Cupid's game;

You sample all the options -- that I know

And I resent; but want you just the same!


33    And so, sweet lady, whom I love so true

You brought my life in this world much woe,

Condemned my prospect as but so much dirt

For you to brush off and to bid adieu!


34    I must resolve this by myself, I must!

How long can someone in agony last?

Oh what a pity -- the spectacle:

Of Love reduced to Desire in the Dust!


35    No, knows no measure, oh, the misery

When lovers make resort to beggary

Knowing that both the beggar and the begged

Of love's devotion make a mockery!


36    You, who with well-intentioned malice win

Away the peace I used to wander in,

Can you but place some stakes into the odds

And not foreclose the chance that ought begin?


37    Oh, questions, and more questions, yet no more

Do answers come than mermaids come to shore

To build a rainbow bridge across the gulf

So broken dreams may blissfully recur.


38    Born to lose! You hinted e'er so often

Are they who dreams conceive to be broken.

For all the troubles you took to conceal

That epitaph, of me was oft spoken.


39    Yet you won't break with an opinion's force

A life which knew the better and the worse

Of all, else, incidental circumstance

    For which the will, at least, is half the source.

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