January 11, 2016

The Beasts That We Keep


If we knew the intent of the beasts that we keep
In the far fields and dark valleys, in the pale light of sleep,
In the marked shards of clay, in papyrus and parchment,
Beneath the brick hearth, in the marks on old bones,
In the marrow of bones, in the plowing of stones
Parting sand furrows where our dreams are pale sparks
In the roots of our nerves, sprouting to thoughts,
To the tee-shirt philosophies of cheap magazines,
And the afternoon shows of electronic dreams,
That drown our blank selves when dredged up from sleep.

If we knew the intent of the beasts that we keep,
We would surely sit senseless, would hide from the sun,
And turn on ourselves the unregistered gun.
If we knew the intent of the beasts that we seek.

If we knew the intent of the beasts which we slay
From couches confessional, in the stone barns of God
Where the soul's soundings echo the light in the sod
To our penitent minds; which illumines our stark
Hearts from within, that dazzles our dark
With His fierce pyrotechnics, with His animate spark
That glows in that womb where all yearning starts,
And yearns for the flare at the top of the arc --
But burns like dead screams flung down in the dark,
Like torches cast deep where drowned Incas decay --

We would know then this life takes place in one day,
That the beasts which we keep are the beasts of our sleep,
Created from dust in the long dusk of God,
That we know the intent of the beasts that we keep.

Note: The item below on Freeing Bandit brought this particular poem from several years ago to mind.

Posted by Vanderleun at January 11, 2016 8:03 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

That's fine, fine writing.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at August 23, 2012 9:59 AM



Posted by: jwm at August 23, 2012 5:10 PM

I feel like a dope commenting "that's a good one!" every time you post one of these, but that's a good one!

You do well in that meter. Most of your best are in that--like the one about grain, with the Sumerian marked tablets imagery (I really liked that one).

I love the picture of the leopard: I've come face-to-face with that look and I only prevailed by letting the beast I keep off the leash I keep.

Really good; I'm gonna read it again.

Posted by: Gray at August 23, 2012 10:48 PM

Come at me, bro.


Posted by: Gray at August 23, 2012 10:50 PM

GVDL, your mentoring and meditations in words and rhythms are disturbing, soothing, enlightening, addicting. Encore!
When will Volume 1 of your collected works be made available?

Posted by: Howard Nelson at November 9, 2014 12:23 PM

I wonder, are the beasts that you tame lurking in the lines of your fine poet's soul?

Posted by: Jewel at November 10, 2014 7:20 AM

Gerard -- Some kinds of poetry are, to me, like abstract art. I need an interpretation, notes.

Mary had a little Lamb,
His fleece was white as snow.
Everywhere that Mary went,
the Lamb was sure to go.

I know poetry like I know stick figures. I read your poetry anyway.

Posted by: Abigail Adams at November 10, 2014 1:55 PM

And our companion cats and faithful dogs,
do we really know their nature?
Who knows for certain until one dies,
what we owe them, these angels in disguise?

Posted by: Howard Nelson at January 11, 2016 4:33 PM