NO TIME FOR POETRY

by Eric Rosenbloom
copyright 1998


I
A leaf clinging to the tree:
You shake the limb to watch it fall
And throw yourself among its myriad cousins,
Their last task to feed our autumn play
Before shivering in brown dust,
The leaves of Spring already dreamed of,
Ignorant of their end.

The leaf quivering there,
Longing to hold in its slipping grasp,
Sure that the nourishing sap will return,
Drawing air to prepare its offering,
The magic that keeps it all alive,
Was suddenly shattered of its myth.

And fluttering in a dance
Of friction and gravity, it weighed
The folly of the season past
Against the doubtful fate it drifted toward
And saw you shaking its cousins loose
And came in that vision to peaceful rest.

II
Your soul, if I may call it that —
Your wholeness, selfness, secret delight —
Embarks upon a sacred journey, epic
Is another word I dare to use,
To steer through murk and roar
To find the beauty that knows your own.
Charting the course with each glimpse of a star
In the darkness of our inner mystery . . .

III
An airplane flies across the sun,
Mythical beast flung aloft by science:
Inside the fearful pray safe passage,
The oblivious leaf through magazines,
The faithless nervously call for seltzer
To calm their churning stomachs,
And salesmen plan their attacks,
Each of us caught
Between magic and reason,
Truth and beauty.

IV
The Sacrifice: I am the son of a madman
Who burned down our home in a fit
Of jealousy. It is he I think of,
Not the doctor who repaired my voice
And calmed my mother with chemical care —
It is he I think of and the tree we planted
Among the rocks, a lonely sentinel
Each morning I carry water to —
A small thing this act of devotion,
The beginning of love’s return.

V
Nature has hidden our beauty in a bower
And shows us the entrance at an odd unknown hour
With devils to cause the undetermined to cower
Or lead them away with descriptions too dour —
A moated and gated and windowless tower
To turn every suitor and resident sour,
The devils that show us the thorns with the flower.

VI
The hour of contemplation is gone
In day’s electrically colonized night,
No need to wait in hope for the dawn
For a flick of the switch can restore us to light:
No need to linger in the dark awake
To the chaos that lurks and will soon overtake.

You can keep up the roar of the too-conscious day
Till you fall into bed and immediately sleep,
You can live where the demons all seem far away,
In a comfort and style democratic and cheap:
No time for poetry, never a look
To the darkened pages of an unpopular book.

Instead of the light of the passing day’s business,
Dear heart you are reading your own,
Bringing light in the garden where devils obsess
Over blossoms to daydreams and secrets atone:
In this time, in the space, between daylight and dream
We might tumble with some of the demons that teem.

VII
The green of life hides a rainbow of colors
In leaves that we see before falling to brown dust.
This time is no different, drifting down
To the sylvan floor and sleep and glimmering dreams.
This time is different, because love
Is always different, your embrace is always new.
In hope I ride my bark afloat on breaths of air
That in the necessary darkness carries me to you.