The Yeatsian

Poetry & Lyricism "A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought, Our stitching and unstitching has been naught." WB Yeats "Adam's Curse"

My Photo
Location: at the Singer's Microphone, United States

I'm in my second marriage to a wonderful woman, my beautiful wife! I thank God everyday He brought her to me! "Restore us, O God of hosts: Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!" PSALM 80

Thursday, February 02, 2006


The gray winds of autumn blow and swirl
in a dance with death around me
whistle and whine through a window-crack
spinning mad red leaves into great heaps.

Human souls lonely and alone
weighed down by their fleshy freight
trudge up hill.

There are no lovers in England.
For to be a lover one must be curved like light,
curved like the wing of a swallow,
unbearably dual,

And there are no swallows in England.
Here all learn to hate lovers,
to sneer and turn awry
smouldering jealously
while swans in pairs swim by.

October, 1989

Maidenhair as Metaphor

September, an afternoon cold and dark
it was when last we kissed, and turned away.
Your destination was Jerusalem,
a village rich as a fragrant garden
and deep as a darkeyed woman fulfilled
but red and bloody as a massacre,
a heart of lashing pain, strife and hate,
and yet your home; while I turned to return
to the north and the cold bitter wind,
where I would turn my eyes and ears to face
the void inside.

And on that afternoon
I bought a fern, a maidenhair so lush
with green life and leaf that even a dark
September might seem eternal spring.
That maidenhair I meant to content me,
in kindly compensation for the loss
of your presence and the loss of your voice,
a balm to soothe the self-inflicted wound
of having turned away that afternoon
from your gentle eyes and smile, and your arms.

And so I placed it near the bed, keeping
a watchful, a loving eye on its green,
feeding and stroking it, singing it songs
--then praying, as it too turned away,
leaf by leaf, its life sliding away
before my eyes and heart. And that winter
was bitter loneliness, aching desire,
and the darkness of confusion and entropy.

What was it made the spring return, and sing
in my chest, in my eyes, in my breath?
What was it made the maidenhair turn green
again, return to the wealth of the fountain,
rediscovering the scent of jasmine joy,
expanding, when it seemed most to contract?

As if she'd heard the magic of your voice
returning your love and sorrow to my arms,
the fern sent forth a bud, green and light,
a bud that was but the herald of a host
of like green buds, proudly opening out
to the space I pray that you will turn to joy.

And once again the dream will live, redeeming
our fall from glory into servitude,
pulsating to the rhythm of desire
felt and fulfilled, in a motion sublime,
and making green become the color white,
green subsuming the source of the rainbow,
green transmuting the lineaments of pain,
and the sinews of death, green becoming
the fire of the blood and the power of the eye,
and turning sensual into eternal delight.

Oct. 11 - Nov. 1, 1990

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Spanish Holiday

I know a village, south in the Spanish hills,
Above the green sea, waving and warm,
Where jasmine flowers scent and sweet the air,
And singers wander among winding streets.

Together there my love and I will dream
A dream, in unison, on a winter's
Afternoon, a dream to wash our eyes
That we may know with new intensity
The taste of pungent oranges hanging
Ripe and heavy, ah, just within our reach.

Far from England's dreary skies, and far
From its louts and stifling traditions,
My love and I will walk along the shore
Imbibing the air and each the other's eyes;
Gently dancing, as it laps at our feet,
Our hearts will sing with the voice of the sea.

September 19 - 23, 1990

The Knowing to Come

One day I'll sing my love a song
To burn away the bitterness
That's broken down these bones so long,
And I'll numb my loneliness.

She'll hear the song and know my voice,
That strange, that caged-up beast,
She'll laught to recognize the choice
That led us each to each,

Mine to her breast, heer breast to mine,
Each water to the dry,
She'll se and she'll know the flaming sign
Free-falling through the sky.

August 7 - 9, 1990
adapted to music, June 1996

Golden Image

A book somewhere has said,
or someone dreaming has written:
"The moisture of a man's soul
can dry and can evaporate,
rising invisible to the blue,
there to form a cloud and float away,
beyond the hills, beyond the seas,
beyond the lands of his sons,
and fade and dissipate;
but the moisture of a man's soul
can collect itself and precipitate
the purest image of its desire,
no golden calf to idolize,
no fantasy to mock the beholder's eye
no, just an image of clarity
like the moon swimming in a sea of blue,
just an image that would draw into one
the lines of his seeing and the curves of his knowing."

I read the book but would not believe,
until I saw your eyes,
until I saw your golden eyes,
and felt your golden thighs.

September 3, 1990
adapted to music, June 1996

Peerless Paramour

"And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes" John Keats

In the shadows of the nightfall light
as the waters of the soul collect in store
there glows a flame peerless and fine.
Like luminous jewels hanging
green in a field of silky black
are her eyes;
like emeralds lighting a moonless sky,
daring and proud, resilient, extravagant
are her eyes,
mistress and queen of all she looks upon
with her peerless eyes.

Black is the color that her voice rises out of
like the shades of blue that glide along her voice
pure and clear in line and timbre, a silver-blue voice
rich in the joy of its own performance and power.
The voice of an angel exulting in its own perfection
would only mimic the spirit of her melodious strains
that pour forth like an artesian spring
bearing green life to dry desert stones.
And the passions that rise articulate from within her
strip away the scaffolding so patiently erected
to repair and rebuild the heart.

Peerless eyes and silken voice
together perform a dance enchanting eye and ear,
turning the pale hues of muddy earth
to watery splendor, to breath light and airy,
to fire golden, sublime and divine.
Thus do her emerald eyes and passionate voice
sweep away all comers, sweep up the fortunate
and sweep over hearts longing for a little sweetness
to lighten the burden of the desperate journey
that ever rolls before our bloody dust.

April, 1994

Time Traveler

For ten months now, with a dreadful tread,
Have I beaten the boards, cudgelled my brain,
And cried and prayed, to know the mercy of the gods,

But all I have to show, for the madness in my veins,
Is your name on my lips--the sound of my hope--
And tears of shame.

July 26 - 28, 1990

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dawn in the Evening

With a pizza in the plaza dawn began,
Culminating long past midnight
With tea beneath the pines and the stars,
And as the sun rose in our hearts,
Music swelled and rose in our blood,
Beckoning us to a new promontory,
A golden fire, a vision resplendent,
Like the dancers that spun around us,
Weaving shreds of life into light.

A human soul is a fragile god,
Guided by a destiny of its own invention.
My own soul, aching for its counterpart,
Had wandered aimless, desolate, forlorn
Among shapeless crowds of human shadows.
Loss seemed the natural state,
The pain of loneliness the first sense.
In a slumber had the will lain,
Dormant under the pressure of a memory,
A memory so sweet and refined that a starling
Would blush at such perfection.
For month upon empty month
Have I not come home
To an empty flat and an empty bed
Without a lover's arms to warm me,
Without even the indifferent arms
Of a wife to act the pretense of a love?

The jealous sun partook of our power,
The ecstatic power of mad dancers,
With a massive transfusion of heat and light,
As the midday revival pulsed with rhythms,
Burgeoned with melodies, and gushed with harmonies,
Seizing, fusing musicians and dancers
Into one reckless, indomitable one.
It was a frenzy that smashed mere limits,
An American chaos of passion and purity,
A resurrection through music to light,
A coupling with the darkness of feeling and fury,
And out of the one there rose a voice
Persuasive unto itself, wild, enchanted,
A voice that sang of the moment as holy
As silence, a miracle of pure affirmation,
And the voice burst within the hearts
Of the dancers and all at once they knew.

The sweat of the dancers precipitated a cloud,
A shadow washed over the crowd,
And the voice became an echo receeding through the hills,
As I found that I had crossed to beyond.
Ah, sweet silent release.
And from that moment the darkness of the night
Ceased to oppress, as a figure divine
Appeared from out of the cool night.
She danced, we danced, like rolling waves,
Like savage beasts, like gods immortal.
And the moment of speech came upon us
Like an embrace without a cause.

At the Banquet Plato's sages spoke
Of desire and origins, the cleft in our being,
And the pursuit of our counter-souls,
High theme of Romance and the quest
For wholeness, fulfillment, and the gold of the soul,
A guitar will tempt you to the edge of the cliff,
A dance will sweep you up and away,
But a woman's body will take you down
To the depth of the mystery that haunts your nights
And divides your days into sadness and pursuit.
At the threshold you stand, aching and longing,
As love and power coalesce
To an image felt more than seen or heard,
And a veil slips from the face of the moon.

The differences and the distances
That constitute this fallen state
Return to plague me, and give me joy,
And the memory of the festival sweetly fades
Into the common light of struggle and sorrow,
And yet I pray that this revival might linger
Like a kiss, like a touch, like a kind word,
To renew these eyes, to empower this voice,
That I might dwell in the illusion of immortality,
Embracing bitterness as equal to joy,
And turning sadness into a golden lamp
To guide my slow descent to mother earth.

September, 1993

Library Queen

The queen bee holds her court
Among the short-loan stacks.
Many visitors their homage pay

And with their queen cavort and play.
Loud and long they act,
And, for a bit more sport, they f**t.

January 9 - 10, 1991


When it appears,
the smile that flows from your eyes
and dies along your throat,
that perfect relaxation of your face,
a goddess dwells in the form of your flesh,
in the curve of your cheekbone.

This is the smile and the curve
transumed in the eye of the artist
as his chisel caresses stone,
kissing cold marble,
until flushed as with a living image,
it blushes, glorious and divine with desire.

December 20 - 27, 1990

Sonnet for a Rose

A smile flashes from out your eyes--
Golden-brown and warm, your eyes,
Aglow with a sweet secret joy--
Your beauty a sparkling dancing sky.
Lighting a candle of fragrant incense,
Your guardians are the elements:
Air caressing you, nursing your sleep,
Water refreshing you, wet and deep,
Your breast breathes the scents of earth,
Expanding your dreams, expanding your worth,
Fire brings you truth and vision,
The holy form of your strength and passion,
The engine of the stars of love,
The engine of the stars you love.

February 15, 1990

Monday, February 21, 2005


Yours is the beauty of a wild red rose,
wicked and joyous
delicate and sweet.

Yours is the dancing in the blood that knows,
impulsive and generous,
strong and free.

Yours the music that sings like a star,
white and harmonious,
deep as the sea.

And yours is the rainbow that arches the air,
lightly it colors us,
lightly we see.

August 22 - 25, 1990

Skies and Souls

Tonight the sidewalks of Sligo
flowing with the pleasure of our steps
have borne the light freight
of two wandering souls,
the green touching the blue,
blue touching green,
eyes that dance in the darkness
of a cool august night,
eyes that kiss the silence
of the skies within
and the skies beyond.

Two skies and two souls,
each, swan-like,
gliding down and reaching in
to feed deep on the rushes of the bay.
What was that touch
that came through the skin?
Why was it warm?

Even the dim and watchful
eyes of Mrs. Clancy
in a dream drift away
to her days of youthful desire,
as we beneath a streetlight
each receive an intimate gift,
a secret hidden deep
within the rushes of the soul,
a seed that bears a future rose
unfolding, opening out
in the fullness of the one.

Two skies and two souls,
each, swan-like,
gliding down and reaching in
to feed deep on the rushes of the bay.
What was that touch
that came through the skin?
Why was it warm?

The rain has let up,
the mist-gray clouds have risen a bit,
and the voice of the river
echoes from old stone walls,
while my eyes follow the dance-flight
of the swallows of Sligo
at play around an old church tower,
at play in a joyful prayer,
a reckless prayer
to the beyond within them
within the cut of their wings.
And the poem that is your eyes
rises before me.

Two skies, two souls,
each, swan-like,
gliding down and reaching in
to feed deep on the rushes of the bay.
What was that touch
that came through the skin?
Why was it warm?

August 16 - 21, 1990

She Dares the Beyond

Her eyes are the color of the morning sun
Breaking above a silver horizon

And drawing the dawn from the bosom of night
Like dreams, in the deep-rising of flight.

Her lips are the breath of the rose of May
That breaks the soil, reaching to the sky

With her perfume, until it fades
Like a shadow among the shades.

And her arms are the soothing gift of a stream
That rushes pure snow every spring

From the mountains of crystal blue air
To lakes, shimmering with the light of a star--

Ah! sweet music under golden moons
And in the blood, voices of the sun.

Feb. 28 - March 16, 1991

The Kiss

The ice that packs the walks and the ways
Will not thaw on St. Valentine's day
And the fog that is frozen cold and gray
Will not lift on St. Valentine's day
And the snows that blanket the green lawns white
Will not melt on St. Valentine's night
And the wars that drain red blood from the heart
Will not die on St. Valentine's night.

But the ice that burdens the ways of the heart
The snows that weigh down the light of the heart
The fog that blinds the eyes of the heart
Will dissolve in the kiss of St. Valentine's night.

Feb. 14, 1991


Catch a snowflake on your tongue
Chase it down, make it run
Let it tingle on the tip
Let it moisten, let it slip

And be the flake unique
That flutters like the voice you speak
Dance and let it breathe
Dressing in white the evergreens.

Catch one in your golden hair
Let it taste the winter air
Feel the warm delight
When bodies touch on a winter's night.

Feb. 19, 1991

Monday, February 07, 2005

Homeopathic Pique

Political correctness is a bloody curse
That marxists and feminists (puritans!) use like a purse
To buy and to beat us, to make us perverse--
The purge the glory form art and from verse.

January 11, 1991

Jog For Health

Every time I make
My body run the path
I follow changes
Like the moon
I take it round the lake
Beneath the trees
Where lovers in summer
Their fancies please.

November 18, December 13, 1990

An Interview with Steve McQueen, in Heaven

Int: Well, Steve, you've just come back from an exciting trip up the Nile . . .

McQ: Yea, it was really something--swimming through catacombs, and blazing a new trail for scientists to follow round those slippery rocks.

Int: How did you feel about that strip, that margin, where the desert meets the water?

McQ: Well, you're a spirit yourself, so you know how exciting it can be when fire touches water. {pause} But since Angela Davis is MY Ringer in the Tower, I didn't quit till I'd securely drive all those pitons, shaped like chairs, into the stone wall path.

Int: Angela Davis? But you died of lung cancer, Steve, after being a life-long chainsmoker. How could Angela Davis be your "ringer in the tower"?

McQ: {aside} These fools. {to Int.} Well, I reckon you have got a point there. I'm a bit miffed myself. At least it wasn't Maya Angelou. But as you know, we don't choose our ringers in the tower. Come to think of it, maybe it was Angelo Dundee.

Int: Heaven does work in strange ways.

November 18, 1990


Break mellon! smash I would this head!
F... eloquence! f... this pain
boring hot nails inside my brain,
wrenching bone from eye, blood red,
No! a stiletto twisting through the eye, I
radiate hate,
curse and cry, murmur and moan,
mulekicked, name after name--
no sign of blessing in my fate?

January, February, October, 1990


for the Kurds, bombarded by Saddam Hussein

I bared my tired breast
To give some milk
Among silent stones
And barren hills,
To a weeping, a sick and hungry child,
Among the curses and cries
That swell the air.
But she died in my arms.
Her eyes no longer smiled
Her voice went dry
And a bitter wind blew from the mountain-ice
Down onto the multitudes in flight.
And I heard myself singing,
But in a strange voice,

O eyes that were witness to the wound
That bled to the ground,
O earth, happy to receive our blood,
O joy, born of sorrow and of the word,
When will we emerge out of the darkness?

April 1991


for Salman Rushdie
" . . . A horror of thoughts that suddenly are real . . . " Wallace Stevens

Brian Keenan's breaking voice
rings out the strains
of heroic long-suffering.
His sense of "hostage"
cuts deep, cuts through to the nerve,
to the site of blinding pain
where body-dust writhes in flames,
where a mind or a shade at noon
knows only the bitter sun,
where breath or force is crushed
by brotherly brutality,
like a single ember
buried under heaps of human snow.

For nearly five years
did Brian Keenan know the hag, Despair,
beaten into his flesh,
until at midnight
it seemed to fly within his very blood;
chained to his skin,
until at infernal night
it seemed to breathe through his own voice;
cursed in his ear,
until time stopped on the cusp of his pain
and his Irish eye and smile
seemed cauterized to his burning bowels.

Brian Keenan's is a voice from beyond,
because his hand has stroked broken glass,
and bled and throbbed,
because his eye has watched and witnessed
the rape of the void within,
because his ear has listened
to the pulse of his blood
beating to the rhythms
of cries in the dark.

August 30-31, 1990

Winter Visions

Regard the trees of a winter's day:
Leafless and angled, branched and gray
They push, straining to scratch the sky,
To challenge their god and their destiny.

Regard the trees of winter.

But regard the waters of a winter sky:
Their blue is aimless and deep, like the sea,
And their cloud black as tragedy.
They roar in the ear, and spit in the eye.

Regard the waters of winter.

But regard the stars of a winter's night,
Like diamonds burning in a like of ice,
Like emeralds, embers, or light from her eyes,
Like drops of dew in the desert light.

Regard the stars of winter.

But regard the silence in winter's voice,
Silence white as a moon in space,
Silence calm as an infant's face
As it dreams in the deep its mother's eyes.

Regard the silence in winter,
The trees, the waters, the stars of winter.
Regard the silence.

January 21-22, 1991

Sunday, February 06, 2005

In Praise of Her Eyes

". . . sapphires flashing from the central sky. . . " Wallace Stevens

Like the poet's sapphires,
the blue of your eyes seems a first blue,
the blue of deepest spring
hiding within the winter's gray,
blue that is bluer than the green of spring,
early, like the morning star
that heralds the light of later day.

The blue of your eyes seems to rise from within you,
uplifting, capacious,
like a glory from beyond the bluest of skies,
when you smile, like a dawning dream
that warms as it breathes its blue translucence,
from inside to out,
from ember to fire,
intense, like cool jazz,
radiant, and self-transforming.

O, say how two blue lamps can glow so pure,
dominating with tenderness
all the other lights of heaven,
say how rich is the touch of a blue
that can move a heart to open and to smile,
and say how sweet is the bliss of a blue
that knows itself and its power
in the dark of the night.

March 5, 1990

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Beyond Exquisite Joy

"Exquisite" is a sign too pale to tell
of the fine lines of light that fall from your eyes,
or of the pounding of heart's blood
at their sight.
Nor can "joy" be the name
of that touch that lips would enjoy
were ours to join in a song of one.
The lark that sings the sun as it rises,
though she breathe a melody that is nature's own,
will never image forth the sound
that is the sounding of my "self" within,
the voice of a soul
singing to the touch of your smile.

Feb. 22, 1990