Thursday, August 21, 2014

Saturn has always been a ringed planet. . .

Three Images for Saturn

Saturn has always been a ringed planet.  Crop circles, it's told
are boldly suggestive of a talent for vanity—single-celled amoeba
act as yet another indivisible signature dish, indistinguishable
from nebulae, or black holes, or the magnitude of a dog star in
open comparison.  His rings, once believed to be the ash of life,
merely courtesans at the theatre of gastronomic dinner-circus.

Saturn's rings casts shadows over him as if they were clouds.
Frogs and storms have no place to bed for long.

Saturn throws a violent temper, he rages from his birthplace:
In the middle of his first kiss, the poet tastes electricity.
A comet punches holes in the clouds as it breaks apart over
A nearby lake, scattering liquid gold over silver light.
A new ring was formed that night from available elements.

©2014   J. Patrick Bennett

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Every now and again, a poem finds me that I think might be better told by a better poet, and as though it might run out of breath—I do my best to convey the conversation it carried so far. Time, even as an invention can turn against us. . .it's not as if we would wish to threaten ourselves, or any another for that matter! It's the nature of this place—everything is temporary, from a certain point of view.

A Fox

Many years ago a photograph
Captures a young woman casting
A peculiar smile, her lips parted
in a knowing,
mischief in her.

Vines overgrow the sun-
side of the main house, pink stones
frame her theatre.

Peat rich loam,
alfalfa pellets mounded around
the base of "A Touch of Class".  Her

Moss-emerald leather chair warms
her long gray hall:

her estate keeps books,
her iron hinges weep
under a lover's fingertips,
the east gate latch disturbed—

and her courtyard is overrun!
Petals deep red fall.

Birch leaves continue to clap
long since the wedding bells drew down,
long since her battered shores
swollen with sorrow—her conscripts drawn
to wander in the mean
vacant of a main force—
 relinquished pulse for all but loss.

She eyes the post,
Eyes the skies in vain for signs of candlelight.
Horses cry from the cumulus.  How ages in an instant pass.

Ghosts wander her halls, the draperies rear up
in a breeze weaving themselves in between the voicing
of the floorboards
and a come-hither door
and softens them.

A daughter knows her—
no one else has come.
A fox moves off in the thicket.

©2014   J. Patrick Bennett

A great many of my poems are Matins, Songs, Hymnal in nature and this one, a gift for a far away friend finds its place as I do, in the garden we call life.


The tree in our garden should always have the wandering cloud to talk with—
Both are formations devoted to named elements.

I will always see the tree, even when the tree is looking away.
Even looking beyond the skies I know, beloved tree, how the lights there

Reveal a widening cestus, how they resonate with a chorus in magnificent melody!
I know how they call you home—I also hear their call.

I can always see the bride of the heavens—not a single star matches her eyes,
Not one bed of diamonds prepared will shine behind her.  Silk is her instrument

When wood bends, wheat winds and unwinds upon the suggestion at her lips.
Music is her appetite—from her empty hands all life is given, freely.

I will always hear the Priestess of the Moon, she who drapes the lake in moonlight
Side by side the earth bows in honor of her, and below its clay sheath

Life rises to the cell, driven in unborn knowledge, inspired to fly, wanton
To surpass the limitations of lungs and breasts and flesh and rejoice!

©2014   J. Patrick Bennett

I've been playing with the ghazal form for some time, and have been greatly impressed in the setting that Robert Bly gives the form. Rather than the 18 syllable couplet, Bly gives the 12 syllable tercet an opportunity to develop a more Western breath. This is a forgiving form, and for that I am grateful.

Jian Yu Speaks With Me About the Chinese Spirit
(For Qu Yuan)

The birches quake in their leaves—the night crow swallows.
When I'm with you I am plums laden with his tree.
You speak: "One should practice compassion with the hands."

To prepare such a feast, raspberries swell under
Storms on the Neva, melons ménage along the
Banks of the Charente, zhongzi with wet dates like gems

Shine on the hand of the Miluo – each river
In turn reveres her ghost!  What then are the birches,
Turning to face this way and that, trying to say?

That secret your lips nest below your tongue – Geb has
Spoken!  So, I bathe my hands in compassion, I
Root around the garden, bury the leaves fallen.

The moon and sun weave tonight into tomorrow.
Shadow, light, a floral feast to honor our host.
The birches quake in their leaves, their seeds are falling!

"J, there's not one day that passes through this garden,
Nor one night that goes unanswered by the birches."
There are ten thousand names for beloved in this.

©2014   J. Patrick Bennett

What it is to give away, to ever overflow:


At the cusp of the deep blue sky
I and my ravenous skyward eye
rely on clouds for cover.

Upon the lip of same precipice I
offer my lover the sky, such as she teaches me puissance and guise,
and nock.

Plunging our fingertips deep down and drum,
we arch with our spines—why one
juts out a tongue and one hums.

to stay a whimper when hand forms cup
then as hands,
heavier on the downbeat press!

to open up when she place her foot over mine
then like wine,
think of the sky nonetheless.

to be cast adrift by that which courses between us
then as clouds,
unending in storm, undress!

Unspoken one,
how this cloth ignites
in a miniature sun

in the language of one, one
silvery slip, one
suggestion of moon, one

full kiss, river is this, one
sleek slow thrust of quiver
for arrow, be

gifted in this bliss,
be un—
done, be one.

©2014   J. Patrick Bennett

This one from a lone thistle, plucked in a walking dream:

Long Before the Sun

I see forgiveness for a thousand torments
granted in the scepter that one Scottish thistle
forges as it orbits the sun.

I find reprieve in excess for a thousand transgressions
gifted without cost in a copse of silver pine,
glorious pens, drunk in moonlight.

I hear one lumbering shame in sluggish retreat
while one thousand tiny tendernesses, each
bearing the standard of Mercy

fold their lips over the specter of doubt,
all prayed out in prayers at dawn

all given voice
in the audible glamour of finches at daybreak.

I know we will have sorrow,
even as we will have fulfillment—
this blueprint is drafted

by a hand that works the darkest room,
long before the sun rises,
long before the sun.

©2014   J. Patrick Bennett

Our Kind—One of four new poems revised!

Our Kind
(For A.S.)

As the great wyrm evolution
rolls over its Limits by limitless

banking toward an aeon
we will never greet, our kind
aren't landing on our feet.

Our kind fall away.
This is not motion.
This is action,

An island of gerber daisies
leaning in the midday sun,
where crows roll and

for the cool tongue,
the open mouth of the lowest

of stands
of silver pine.

What's on my mind?
When I wake, numb with sleep,
I am at my most ambitious.

That's why I pray,
why silently I stele every pillow
and why I cast them on the floor.

With you,
I spill
my guts out,

I want to roll and dive,
glamorous and alive

as ash can be when lost
in light's volcanic trickery.

Agree with my dying devotion, fevered
and lost in an ocean.

©2014   J. Patrick Bennett