On Time 

Crystal Ball - Farther Than Haute Médoc - Karma-Samsara & the Bug - 75 Years

Crystal Ball

We’ll all end up broken in the scrap-heap of time

with the boards and steel latches

that once upon a time opened stained-glass windows to the rolling seas,

with the callipers and giant mirrors

that first showed us our small reflection in the rolling stars;

windows and mirrors shattered six feet under

in a layer of sediment ten thousand years old


Farther Than Haute Médoc


I have been, and will return to being a bunch of red grapes

when the wine presses of the South are empty of meaning.

I have travelled from slope to cellar, from vineyards to the gullets of France.

In a past life of raindrops and caterpillars I slid down the rain-drenched vine

into a jungle of green leaves and red roots.

In others I was plucked by the fingers of Sicilian peasants,

or pressed in the stained-wood carcasses of Provence.

Steeped in the lore of languid hours

I laboured in gentian high in the Swiss Alps until the blue turned to amber.

I have sat with Omar Khayyam in a thousand cafes

but still can't fathom the empty cup. 


Karma-Samsara & the Bug


Beneath Shakespeare and the stars

 the ego shrinks till at last you reach the size of Kafka’s bug

and scurry about your beetle business

until you’re old and grey

and awed by the blades of grass

some greybeard cosmos sowed over your little grave

where you lie like one of Poe’s unhappy victims

waiting to be reborn

until finally you’re reincarnated in a caterpillar shape

inching your way toward the light

that glistens at the end of a dark wet bough

until finally you take that daring leap

shaking your wings in the misty air

in the mountain ranges of Shan Shui

shan shui.jpeg

75 Years = .00003 Percent of Our Galactic Rotation



1. Eternity

Life's becoming so precious

that we won't even have time to lose it all:

the purple sunrise dying on the edge of a swirling ball;

the last real — and metaphoric — minutes near the eighteenth hole;

(Redwoods Golf Course, Langley, B.C.)

(Redwoods Golf Course, Langley, B.C.)

several lines of poetry in a billion leagues of ink;

the nightly dreams that make no sense

in a universe of overwhelming math and logic,

one thing causing the next; space and time omnipotent

but, as if to confound it all,

emotion and understanding, love and wonder;

moments of being before the endless night.

2. History

Scientists and poets point us irremediably to the watery deep.

Half a billion years ago we opened our gills and dreamt of flight.

Four and a half thousand years ago we first sank in the cuneiform of Sumer, slowly,

blackward in the boat of Magilum.

A stylus dug our grave in wet clay — Death’s first, but common, ride.

Together, with Enkidu and Gilgamesh, we sank into the water from where we came,

unfated to sail with Urshanabi (the original ferryman, two thousand years before Charon)

or land on an other side.

Optimists dreamt of options ever since:

nectar and ambrosia, milk and honey, water and wine,

as if the afterlife were an outdoor restaurant in Trastevere

and the world were a pizza being whirled by some Italian in a floppy hat

and tossed into the oven, to be drunk with a glass of Frascati Superiore

Secco Fontana.

There we were drinking and munching on what we thought was the first slice,

a crisp pepperoni sliding on the golden crust of Earth, flung on a Spiral Arm.

Outside the restaurant the streets are dark.

Everything we ever loved lies behind us, on menus and lists of words.

What lies ahead is anyone’s guess.

If it’s anything, it’s a variant of Hope.



Next: Alas, Poor Yorick

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