Time, Most Dread Of Disciplines

O time, most dread of disciplines, who mends
not what mars us, but to woe bears increase,
as dull growth likeness unto likeness lends,
marking limiting’s limit in surcease,

upon your bank we draw ourselves in coin
so airily minted that pain’s dark thrust
mocks fitfully our minds, as to purloin
of self the better stuff of truthful trust.

Time, time, of tutors are you the supreme,
for gripped in toil of your usury,
we, paupered all, learn the seeds of doubting’s dream.
Of nought stamps this banker men to harry.

Yet faith, if it would be more than time’s fool,
no coin may show, lest mere coin, estranged, rul

One Lilac Fragrant Twilight Of Late Spring

One lilac fragrant twilight of late spring
a pack of dogs surrounded me just where
University’s flank joined the ghetto –
slowly they began to circle watching

My feet to see how I’d move – dogs yellow
and brown and black and tan, their ribs sticking
out from their chests, hunting me as if
they knew their hunger’s business, how to kill

Sweet the evening was, soft the fading light
as I wondered what it would be to feel
the fangs of these dogs, to fall and fade, die –
then came explosion of sweet savagery

As I roared, rushed, struck, stunned the largest dog
So they broke and left me in lilac fog

We’ve Got Our Hands On The Plans – DNA

We’ve got our hands on the plans – DNA
and RNA, histones and all the rest,
but we don’t see where our folly nestles,
how it is built so deeply in that what

We do with what we think we know in this
golden age of exploration is bound
to be clumsy, insensitive and blind,
so that when we wake from this spell our shame

Won’t be enough to guide us in how to
regret, repent, seek to atone, restore
what we have disturbed, rescue what we’ve bent:
future presence of mind is hard to find

Our hands on the plans repeat old troubles,
We become our own serpentine doubles

In Deep Blue Long Gone Huge Afternoon By

In deep blue long gone huge afternoon by
blue blue Indian sea under blue blue
African sky a yellow mongrel dog
sleeping off the heat went in my blue eyes

And never came out again – there he lies
on the dark sand in a palm tree’s slim shade
bowed like a pipe cleaner and sleeps and sleeps
and mixes forgetting and remembering

Just so wild pigments of my dreams
can steal from him true hues of love and loss,
the times it went for me and against me,
while waves rocked and stars climbed hidden ladders

A yellow mongrel’s work who once was flesh
And now is dogged in another mesh

In A Mud Walled Room With No Furniture (Brasil ’66)

In a mud walled room with no furniture
I am still sleeping in a blue hammock
the color of earth.. a two year old comes
to wake me, shakes me, saying, “Quero pao”

I grunt, rise, walk up red laterite hill
with his tiny hand in mine, buy four loaves
of bread still warm from the oven, for him,
his seven brothers, sisters, his mother

I’m twenty and it’s a summer’s escape
from the colder north where I belong and
not for thirty years do I recognize
Luciano’s my father who first knew

Himself starving in wartime – the rapture
Of his hand in mine I still have, sleeping

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