Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Law of Gratitude

I'd be the most spirited man alive if I were bound
to be the whisper in your ear each morning.

We would discuss the weather in detail,
the consistency of clouds over tea.

Every step in our garden is a nourishment, and
here, now, at the storm-born beginning of things,

you remind me in a quickening glance,
that tumult is the supplication of circumstances.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

This Poem Can Not Be Written

for Mom

All my life I called you, to you
—out  to you, out for you . . .

How was I to know
that you never had a name?

We never spoke of it,
only  there is so much more

that you must know.  You
nourished me, set my lips to your breast

and unleashed the sea in my thirst.
Our contract, not with life but

each other is how I'll lose you
for good.  In the years

I have left, to whom shall I give myself,
having already taken in more than I am?

Who would receive your assent?
Which is the island of your song?

When I call out  suddenly
it is not your voice.  In reply,

the sky sends in the clouds, origin
born on the backs of blackbirds.

Breaking like fall on the boughs,
death is the odd number of crows.

image used with permission, courtesy of:
poem by Jeffrey Patrick Bennett


What stone is this?
Is it the pulse in my chest gone 
still  in the presence of an overwhelming odd?
What stone can this be? 
Can it be muscle, broken totem to living fable
where memory acts on a grasp
in gasp of release?

Standing solitary against the tides of an age,
here is no defense against life,
but to fade.

What stone is this?
Does it support  even as temples upon it have fallen,
even a Saints unfathomable abandon as it vanish
under threat of the unforgiving advance of life,
some harmony in the voice of a star?

To contemplate a stone, one
may know only inevitable intent:

a stone is not become a stone
until under the lightness of a butterfly
the ground is felt to move,

as witnesses the tides
as embraces the moon
as found by the heat of a torch
in the gathering crowd.

Image taken by GĂ©raldine — used with permission.
poem © Jeffrey Patrick Bennett

Monday, October 13, 2014

In Tribute to Osip Mandelstam and Lin Yutang:

Night is the best time
For conversation
Because there is a lack of glamour
In conversations during the day.

Retired to mildness in Voronezh, Osip
Dresses wounds with mercy's cloth—a red flag
Drummed up in honor of a distant star gone dark.
Those wounds, seeing release, lie still.

Doggedly he lay un-broken, his attentive eye
Slumped in the slack flesh of resignation.
O, if only Stalin had walked the night,
What glorious poetry we would have!

Covetous, we keep war—how pitiful our General,
Stumbling over temple steppes and yet each morning
the barkeep sweetly smiles!  How he pours
For us, for our tonight—for to night we surrender!

Night is the best time
For conversation
Because there is a lack of glamour
In conversations during the day.

© 2014 Jeffrey Patrick Bennett

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Some Innocence


In the low place the youngest sits in silhouette.  A golden ball, rolling away unchased.  An older one still is sitting.  Children cluster like spores to dark corners.  Hula hoop
—gordian tangle of pink ribbon
and undone shoelace—grasses overgrow like the grasping hands of the dead
thrilling at the cycle of life and on, like played hands tied to the spokes of a great
Is this how childhood leaves?
What's the deal?

They must have to leave, to wind like a wire around us,
an idea charging, charging for the errant deed emerging in their minds
as thousands of campfires around the globe go dark.
We can only rejoin the lost!

Lamps in the corners, the lost like stumps of oak pock the dark places
and where the Knights go down in the forest,
that's where you'll find

a golden ball,
rolling away, unchased,
taking tradition to the low.

Lullabies in the corners,
their Mothers are searching, searching,
for agony!

To be lost to one's home is to tear out a Mother's language.

A Father can do nothing for this, save set lamps
in the corners,
corners for the lost,
searching out the lost . . .
—children wander off,
voices go dim.

"self portrait" by Vivian Maier
here by permission, courtesy of:
poem © Jeffrey Patrick Bennett