Function of the Muse

And so the Poetess turned
To regard me
Her expression . . .
tolerant . . .

“Tell me please
Of what use is a Muse?
How is it that men such as you
Go on and on about . . . Muses?”

My Lady
(she didn’t like that)
If I pour out my Life-Parna
without a Muse to receive it
It is as cheap wine cast upon the sands . . .

If I set out on this voyage
Of discovering the True Poem
Blessed be the Lady’s token
For without such assurance
How can the poet Sojourn
How can the poet create?

For the absence of the Lady’s token
Reduces the poet to a mere selfish narcissist
Seeking his own aggrandizement
Contributing nothing that any money changer can’t claim

But if I feel the blessing of the Lady
Calling to my inner soul . . .
If I create for her pleasure
If I create with no thought of myself
Then will I come to know
the True Poem
Then can I rest
When she reads . . . and the radiance
of Her smile
Casts back all the Darkness my spirit can offer

In that Moment
I am no longer me
I am the Poet

The Artist


She pictures an open door
the Sun when its spent
She pictures the corridor
now vacant with lament

She pictures the empty shelf
no leaves upon the tree
She draws me outside myself
but never pictures me

in matters of life


she asked
“Are the gods silent
or is it me?”

the gods are not silent
even in this moment

there is no silence

life is thick, thunderous marching boots
on crazed dictators
stamping across a tin roof

life is a wining dog at the door

life is the roar of a river eating its own banks

and yet
the gods. . .
they are quiet, but not silent

life is a whisper in a hurricane
life is a fragile bloom
even though last spring the frost killed the other bloom
life is a gentle second in a year of bedlam

in matters of life
if we are wise
we appreciate it when we have it



the reality of the sky-eyed child

i met a child on the road
that runs beside Parnassus

and we had conversations about all the animals
the way waters run downhill
and the way the sun plays with the moon

later that day a man came up the path
the man began to scream and stamp his feet
the man challenged the child
and called the child all manner of fowl and vile names

i tried to comfort the man
but he would have none of it
i put my hand on the man’s shoulder
and i saw that where the child stood there was a demon
i jumped away
and where the demon stood there was a fearful child

the man started toward the child and i hit the man
i did my best to deter the man but he got past me

the child picked up a stem of grass
and stuck the man

the man was grievously hurt
and he lay on the ground writhing

the child was very upset and crying

i shouted
“Why did this happen?
Why did he see you as a demon and i see you as a child?”

i did my best to tend the man’s wounds

the child came to us then
and lay his hand on the man’s head

the man drooped and i thought the child had killed him
but the man was asleep and dreaming
his breathing was regular and his face at peace

i looked into the sky-eyes of the child
i asked “Will he die?”
the child replied “Not today.”

there ensued a silence
not unlike the silence between the stars

again i asked
“Why do i see you as a child
and he saw you as a demon?”

the child sighed a sigh
centuries old
then said
“I am reality
and humans see me as they want me to be.”

and i wept
for my own stupidity and carelessness
but the child touched my arm and said
“You may not see me for all that I am
but you see me for the good I do.
Between you and him
I much prefer your interpretation.”