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The Beasts That We Keep

If we knew the intent of the beasts that we keep
In  our fields, our dark valleys, in the pale light of sleep,
In our 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 mind’s furrows where 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 our couches confessional, our stone barns of God
Where the soul’s soundings echo the light of 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 our 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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mark October 26, 2018, 11:35 AM

    Gerard, I love the rhythmic sense of this poem, the twists and turns of your allusions, and references to all things ethereal. This could easily be a song, by Leonard Cohen, even, may I say, Dylan in his younger days. Key parts of it should be set to music, in my view. You’ve got to be the top online poet, in addition to essayist, for which you win your best blog site rankings. Been quietly following (and contributing) for years, but I’m moved to comment here. Thank you for sharing your mind with us.

  • Vanderleun October 26, 2018, 1:29 PM

    That’s a very insightful comment, Mark. Pretty much checks off the boxes that occur in my mind when reviewing my poems.

  • ghostsniper October 26, 2018, 2:17 PM

    I’d like to hear Gordon Lightfoot do that.