Spent last evening with invisible thread.
Beneath a crocheted installation,
a gossamer of words were spun and said.
And so wove the night, an incantation
of elevated thought, lifted to a lilt:
hoisted on updrafts of spinnakered air.
As carried by a cello, music spilt
in generous play; danced without a care.
Awash with mood, a manuscript of lines
described the evening and caressed the night.
Suspended hours – hung – as Art designs:
poised in proportion for fanciful flight.
. Spent last evening with invisible thread;
. an entanglement of thoughts, it could be said.
To the reader: It was the gentle ambiance I remember. My home-town (Canberra) was celebrating its Centenary Year with all manner of auspicious events and occasions. One of which was the launch of a book: The Invisible Thread. An evening of ‘light’ entertainment: readings, interspersed with musical interludes. The invisible thread by nature has an unseen presence; nonetheless, it’s strong with connective pull by association.
To the poet: In 2011, I wrote a sonnet (TG-S51) on the same theme. It’s interesting to compare the two. The first unravels the concept of ‘thread’ as an object; the second is much more metaphorical in tone. The second sonnet (TG-S220) plays with a thread’s connective symbolism. Both string together a short narrative. By way of footnote, a few edits (recently applied) gave this sonnet some extra tug.
Once again, death rejoices a new grave,
a soiled-over body, a buried soul;
welcomes The Dead (Le Mort) to Hades’ cave;
adds a fresh bag of bones to its countless toll.
The spoils of victory entombed, encased
in a casket of clay, in wet mud drenched,
dispirited, disposed of, laid to waste,
laid to rest in pieces; so long entrenched.
‘So Long’ farewelled, given back; dust to dust…
But listen, through the dirge, the Angels sing.
‘Hark’ the Angels sing (as so the Angels must)
“Where, Oh Death, is your victory, your sting?”
. Through nothingness Death must surrender all,
. beyond nothingness – Eternity’s call.
To the reader: He was 94 at death. An Uncle. An only son. An alcoholic… a troubled soul… a widower with children… a mechanic… a reformed alcoholic… a preacher; a man who found redemption. At life’s end, a man who had travelled a long and arduous journey of self-discovery. An adored father… a revered brother… a soul at rest; freed of Death’s sting, for “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11: 25-26).
To the poet: This sonnet is a layered interpretation of one man’s passage through, and beyond, the doors of death towards eternal peace. To begin with, words rattle with visual references, “but listen” (at line 10) calls upon a new register of interpretation: “Hark the Angels sing”. The dismissal of Death as an ending in itself (1 Corinthians 15:55) takes the sting out of life’s terminal destination. At Death we join the countless dead and become at last united with one collective spirit… so the story goes.
Sadly, one certainty of life is death.
And so, it is for all of us to end.
Somewhere, there awaits our final breath.
Inhaled, not for exchange, but to expend.
This breath, of all breaths, is to be remorsed.
It’s the breath most wasted and least returned.
Consumed for the purpose of life’s exhaust;
of continuation, it’s least concerned.
Somewhere, then, this final breath sits in wait…
to be swallowed deep but not ingested.
This breath has destiny; a half-used fate;
incomplete, resolute, uncontested.
. But for one-breath, we have life’s abundance.
. It’s through this-breath, that we meet redundance.
To the reader: Not breathless, simply exhausted of life. It’s the last breath taken and not returned. Delivers a terminal solution. The act of living is respiration. Recycled air; a generous spirit. Acts of goodness get taken for granted. We begin and end our lives with a gasp. Air is a rich and abundant resource. Not a trivial keep-worthy trinket. Not to be held for longer than needed. Its living purpose is spent and renewed.
To the poet: In ‘to the reader’ I collected together eleven sentences loosely connected to the topic of breath. Each sentence is ten-syllables long and follows on from the previous; but it’s not poetry. The difference has something to do with a missing thread of consciousness. The thread of poetry is tied by the poet and un-ravelled by the reader; one gives the other receives … together we breathe the spirit of art.
It’s claimed ‘the gun is innocent’ … guiltless;
absolved of all responsibility.
A much maligned artefact, mere witness
to bloodshed … has no culpability.
Left then to wonder, left in state of stun.
‘Pursuit of happiness … justice and peace’
Doubt’s made a target of the smoking gun.
Trigger-point stand-off with hair-pin release.
Struggling to make sense, tense with disbelief.
Broken logic, broken hearts, broken dreams,
shattered confidence; consequence is grief.
To bear arms, not as simple as it seems.
. Nothing gained by force is a remedy.
. What worth is a good man with enmity?
To the reader: What relationship would prosper on the promulgation of fear and suspicion? Not one that values the pursuit of happiness. By nature, the trigger-happy fool is impulsive and irresponsible; prone to late apology; an after-thought. The perceived need to self-protect describes an individualistic ideology where social order is mistrusted; it’s the breeding ground for gun-toting rhetoric and double-barrelled nonsense.
To the poet: With this sonnet my aim was broad. I took a scatter-gun approach to the target. A rat-a-tat list of ideas that sprayed shrapnel far and wide. On the rambling range, I used a metaphoric weapon that had no respect for its victim. Collateral damage was an unfortunate consequence, tolerated as expected impact. The late volta (the swivel at line 12) took final aim… in case the point was missed.
No curse more worse than animosity.
Hateful envy, a pox of bilious bile,
jealous anger, savage ferocity,
pity gone putrid, ugly and vile.
Desires become cravings; converted
wants become needs; crudely, love becomes lust;
good things strangled, hopelessly perverted…
so steel turns to rust, and diamonds to dust.
Animosity will foul its own nest:
over-paint a masterpiece, self-corrupt
the elegance of beauty crudely dressed.
The curse of animosity – one-upped!
. The success of others (not yours to own)
. If not resolved, will turn a heart to stone.
To the reader: Animosity is a stifling energy. Characteristically, it’s an emotional state that directs spiteful anger at a rival who has gained a perceived ‘unfair advantage’ in the relationship. From small issues problems fester and spiral out of all proportion. Resolution is unlikely to occur without some helpful intervention that manages to recalibrate the tension. Animosity is more often quelled than it is quashed.
To the poet: A sonnet that taps into raw-emotion needs to anchor its rancour hard and fast. There’s little room to escalate slowly. The first line: “no curse more worse than animosity” unravels the expose; and the avalanche torrents forth. In a poem like this, the rush of verbiage is propelled on the back of poetic ploys that are easily translated into expected rhythms and solid rhymes; given a liberal dose of assonance, consonance and alliteration.
Not a year that went exactly as planned:
melodrama, tragedy and high farce.
Controversial guests that denied the bland
intent of pleasant passage come to pass.
We’ve managed (despite these guests) to cope
with upset, and to patch-up those mistakes
that through repair addressed the slippery slope.
We’ve all learnt something: learnt what it takes
to muddle-on, to pull-back from the brink;
to keep calm; bunker down and take it slow.
With stoic grit, we’ve learnt to neither blink
nor shrink from scandal’s shame or worry’s woe.
. We are the better for adversity.
. So claims the wisdom of perversity.
To the reader: I worked with a colleague who muddled his way through a year of workplace calamities. Piles of paperwork spilled over his desk; nothing got finished; technologies failed, and deadlines passed. With such hopeless organisational skills, other staff watched-on in dismay. His boss gave up all hope of a supervised solution; so the problem just got worse. The disconnect widened and office isolation became entrenched.
To the poet: I left a card somewhere on his desk. An end-of-year message that added precarious height to an existing pile of paper. And so began this sonnet. It’s not about ‘him’ more informed by his various predicaments. His office isolation (somewhat self-imposed) reminded me of brackets. Brackets (here exampled) recognise a necessary petition of parts; inclusive features, distinct in nature… describes him well.