Friday, May 30, 2014


                  Feeling lost and all at sea,
                  Baffled by perplexity?
                  Whatever knowledge you would get
                  You’ll catch it with the Internet,
                  In which interstices you’ll find
                  The contents of the Human Mind.


Thursday, May 29, 2014


     The Wonder, O, the Miracle of life—
     our consciousness of splendor and of strife
     and the extremes of ecstasy and terror
     when we’ve soared right or plummeted in error!
     Such is our vagrant lot as humankind:
     sometimes the visionary, sometimes blind,
     exploring and inventing beyond bounds—
     in whom at best amazing grace redounds;
     but yet at worst, a vile monstrosity
     devoid of love, of light, of sympathy.
     What hope is there we may in time grow wise
     before our folly’s fouled this enterprise
     of life on Earth, this miracle of birth,
     in all the universe of highest worth?


Wednesday, May 28, 2014


    If there’s no God, some Person in the sky
    Whom we must fear and reverently obey,
    And whom it is forbidden to deny,
    What happens then to those who would say nay?

    Nothing.  Except responsibility—
    For now they realize that everyone
    Of us must cultivate integrity
    Without which this world’s promise is undone.

    We’ve now evolved enough to realize
    Implicit in the cosmos is a plan
    That we have gained insight to realize,
    Which is the prime directive of our clan:

         Our mandate is to cultivate and nourish
         Whatever causes life on Earth to flourish.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014


      What is our culture but a treasury
      of stories teaching us how we should live,
      amounting to our kind’s mythology
      of what to praise, condemn, or then forgive.

      We need these codes and customs to survive
      in our societies and to make sense,
      as stories do, by teaching us to thrive
      or deal with failure—a form of recompense.

      It’s meaning that our kind of mind demands,
      beyond what other creatures seem to need
      directed by exigencies and glands,
      while we require the guidance of a creed:

           a story that gives meaning to our lives,
           a goal toward which a hero stoutly strives.


Monday, May 26, 2014


The Cosmos is becoming self-aware
designing us among its agents who
grow conscious, then self-conscious, and can share
the wonder of their transcendental view.

Although not everyone may apprehend
what is revealed in cosmic consciousness,
that state to which enraptured souls ascend
and feel what seems a heavenly caress,

blesséd few who do all testify
to the reality of that estate,
which no persuasions bend them to deny,
for rapture is not open to debate.

     Such gnosis may in time grow commonplace,
     and we’ll transcend the bounds of time and space.


Sunday, May 25, 2014


          Although our prime directive’s to survive,
          There’s more to life than being just alive;
          Our next imperative is to contrive
          The many ways for humankind to thrive.



    That genius or that talent that resides
    In each of us and secretly confides
    What our vocation is, how we are called
    To serve the world or otherwise be stalled
    In our misguided efforts to succeed,
    Intends our gifts to serve some urgent need.

    What need then is fulfilled by poetry
    Unless to show that ingenuity
    With words and sounds can first delight and then
    Enlighten by the wielding of a pen—
    That strokes of genius may be deftly made
    As much as when a violin is played

         Yet more, because this sound is also sense:
         A poem may have wisdom to dispense.


Saturday, May 24, 2014


       Let’s say I’m nearing death and soon:
       What then am I most likely to regret?
       I think it might be all these projects strewn
       About this room, whose deadlines are unmet—

       My aims and aspirations incomplete,
       My hopes and promises still unfulfilled
       Now bound for ignominious defeat
       My chalice of vitality being spilled.

       And yet, for all I know, this is not so,
       And I’ve still time and opportunity
       To carry out my missions and to grow
       Accomplished, leaving as a legacy

            Whatever fruits of genius I can fashion
            Expressing both intelligence and passion.


Friday, May 23, 2014


for Ray Kurzweil

      Although some claim the Singularity
      (barring a catastrophic accident)
      will let us live on Earth indefinitely,
      is immortality a good intent?

      I think we need the goad of finitude
      to let us savor life’s precarious joys,
      which with more urgent relish are pursued
      when scarce, whereas a surfeit of them cloys.

      Without the ever-lurking specter Death
      and the dread prospect of oblivion,
      we’d have no prompt to savor every breath
      as when we know our lives may soon be done.

           Though it seems paradoxical, we owe
           our joy in life to knowing we must go.


Thursday, May 22, 2014


  Would you be wise?  Then you must realize
  Those values that should guide your lifelong course,
  And what these values are you may surmise
  By tracing wisdom to its secret source,

  Which is not elsewhere in the outer world,
  Encrypted in some tomb or tome, but look
  Within your heart, for there it lies enfurled,
  A revelation not to be mistook:

  What you would have all others do to you
  In treating you with reverence and respect,
  Is just the same as you’re obliged to do,
  For only loving kindness is correct. 

       To be always compassionate, not cruel:
       This is, most simply said, the Golden Rule.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


      Let’s say there is no Heaven and no Hell
      but just a myth devised to make us good;
      nor yet an Eden where our forebears fell,
      reminding us of how we always should
      comport ourselves with true obedience
      to those Commandments by which all may live
      in loving concord with a common sense
      of dignity, and willing to forgive.

      And yet such stories serve to illustrate
      a vision of how humans should behave
      if we would grow into the full estate
      of our humanity and finally save
      ourselves from failings that we would despise
      once waking up and growing wholly wise.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014


   What Patrick Jane has over everyone
   on his investigative team is that
   he is not just more clever but more fun
   in how the finds and foils each dirty rat.

   Though not a psychic but a mentalist,
   he has no super powers as a sleuth
   yet keenly sees what other eyes have missed
   while all along they’re staring at the truth.

   By inference, deduction and sheer wit,
   Jane, thread by thread, undoes the tangled web
   of evil and deception, bit by bit,
   exposing both the kingpin and the pleb.

        Of what does such mentality consist?
        To know that brain beats brawn and wit tops fist.


Monday, May 19, 2014


    Eyes closed, peaceful, semi-recumbent in
    his half-cocked easy chair, the poet sits
    and muses till at last apt words begin
    to flow into strict measures where each fits,
    and so a stream of thought meanders down
    the page, propelled by beat and rhyme to find
    whatever verb or adjective or noun
    may be most adventitiously aligned
    with the emerging current of discourse
    as thought discovers what it has to say
    through notions flowing from some occult source
    that now mysteriously find their way
    onto the page as ink flows from his pen,
    and when they’re done, the poet says, “Amen.”


Sunday, May 18, 2014


     Though other creatures do, like us, pursue
     apt answers to these fundamental five
     questions of what and where and when and who
     and how; it’s only we of all alive
     who have a mind to pose the question why:
     which then defines our quintessential quest
     to find a way to live that’s not awry
     but meaningful—with confidence and zest.
     Why are we here?  Why is the universe?
     Why must we suffer as we do, then die?
     Is human life a blessing or a curse?
     Why is it we seem bound to question why?
          If we could answer this, we’d end our quest,
          yet with such certainty, we’d lose life’s zest.


Saturday, May 17, 2014


     What is it one should worship and revere
     Because above all else it is most dear?
     The answer must be Higher Consciousness,
     Which humankind seems destined to express
     And which some few have managed to achieve,
     Enough to make the rest of us believe
     That wisdom is our species’ destiny,
     The way we’ll end our history’s misery.

     Our challenge, then, is how to cultivate
     What helps us grow to that serene estate:
     It’s quiet first, a stilling of the mind,
     So we may providently grow aligned
     With what it is that brought us into being,
     A vision of what’s ultimately freeing.


Friday, May 16, 2014


    The reason I’m a formalist is that
    These rhythms and these rhymes help generate
    An energy that keeps from falling flat
    A line where beat and thought both correlate;
    But more than that, this method can evoke
    From misty depths in my subconscious mind,
    With the ah-ha and the ha-ha of a joke,
    Some revelation toward which I’m inclined,
    Yet without this elaborate scaffolding,
    I’d never fashion such an edifice;
    Or call this scheme a maze designed to bring
    Both me and you to such a point as this
        Where in due time we finally realize
        The aim of such devices is surprise.


Thursday, May 15, 2014


     The prospects that we humans can evolve
     Into a wiser version of our kind
     Are slim unless we can at last resolve
     To cultivate a more enlightened mind,
     Discovering how to raise our consciousness
     To view what saints and sages of the past
     Have realized can make a mind progress
     By opening to a cosmic vision vast
     And wondrous, able to transform both hearts
     And heads, enlightening and inspiring souls,
     Inculcating in us celestial arts
     That bind our fragmentary parts in wholes.
          Now is the time we humans must invoke
          That Spirit with whom saints and sages spoke.



                    The Muse of Poetry inspires

The longer that you try:

“The dyer’s hand at last acquires

The color of the dye.”


   There is no higher calling than to care
   for the well-being of all those in need,
   helping with the burdens they must bear,
   attending to their troubles when they plead.

   Of course we have our pleasures to pursue
   when not bound by responsibilities,
   and there are many things we’d rather do,
   if only sing a song or shoot the breeze.

   Yet nothing will so deeply gratify
   as knowing that you’ve done what must be done
   and shown neighbors that they can rely
   on you to carry out what many shun.

        Then when you come to need the help of others,
        you’ll find a world of sisters and of brothers.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014


 What is the scope of human consciousness
 When opened to its widest aperture?
 At present most of us can only guess,
 Although some few now claim to be more sure.

 These psychonauts have sailed through inner space
 Exploring hidden vistas in their souls
 As avatars of our adventurous race
 Who demonstrate our most exalted goals.

 While human history’s replete with war,
 And violence has been our specialty,
 We may in time grow wiser and abhor
 What veers us from the path of decency.

      But only when we’ve learned to master fear,
      Will cruelty and hatred disappear.


Monday, May 12, 2014


     A sonnet, if no other thing, is clever.
    Oh, yes, it must be sonorous and sing,
    But it’s an intellectual endeavor,
    A cannily designed, well-crafted thing
    That keeps its meter and discovers rhymes
    As it proceeds, designing on the fly,
    Construing new directions while it climbs
    With sprezzatura—appearing not to try.
    Those efforts and those pains must seem a game
    Played with balletic and athletic grace,
    Performed to make its audience exclaim
    How each move ends in a predestined place,
         Though you, the poet, know quite otherwise:
         That every line you write is a surprise.



        Let’s say that I’ve retired and now I face
        One long, continuous sabbatical:
        What plan or regimen should I embrace
        To keep myself from going slack and dull?

        Although eventually I may decline
        In strength of mind and body with the years,
        Till then I’d aim intently to refine
        My aptitudes, avoiding all such fears.

        To wear out or to rust out is a choice;
        To let a talent “fust in us unused”
        Or find a way to give it life and voice
        We must decide, not leaving it abused.

            So, let this last sabbatical I’ve earned
            Show how my curiosity has burned.


Friday, May 9, 2014


        Abash, Abate, abet, abstemious . . .
        And so began our first-form vocab list,
        Which made us all awhile put up a fuss
        That Mr. Harlow cruelly would insist
        Upon our learning ten new words a week
        While still remembering all of those before—
        Prompting us to rebel in such a pique*
        We took our case to the headmaster’s door.
        Somehow he mollified our wrath, and we
        Complied with that outrageous regimen,
        Not knowing yet its profitability
        For all occasions when we’d wield a pen:
             The SAT was not the least of these,
             Plus all our essays earning A’s and B’s.

        *(No doubt a word we'd learned one wordlist week) 


Thursday, May 8, 2014


   The readiness is all, the ripeness, too:
   Two rules for life and art that Shakespeare knew,
   Which mean that Genius works in its own time
   According to its destined paradigm,
   Nor will it be presumptuously coerced,
   Though in due time its treasures are disbursed.
   Meanwhile we seek such wholesome nourishment
   And exercise as further our intent
   To bring our hidden latencies to birth
   Made manifest for all to see their worth.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014


    Where does aggression come from but from fear?
    We are afraid of losing something dear
    And thus defend ourselves from all assault,
    Yet in so doing, we commit a fault,
    Since violence is never justified
    Unless all peaceful means have first been tried
    To gain those ends to which we have a right
    With all care taken to avoid a fight.

    The way to peace is generosity,
    The opposite of animosity;
    It’s learning to be kind to all our kind,
    Our motives being harmoniously aligned
    Because we hold no principle above
    Each one’s innate entitlement to love.


Monday, May 5, 2014


       Erastus Theophrastus Muggledor
       One day announced himself at my front door
       Unbidden and unknown and on a mission
       For a faith I took as just a superstition:

       He said that we’re not made for enmity.
       But, rather, we’re hardwired for empathy;
       Though malefactors practice double-dealing,
       Still most of us are moved by fellow feeling
       And do to others as we’d have them do
       Compassionately, while standing in our shoe.

       “But I thought Darwin said, ‘It’s tooth and claw’”
       I said.  He said, “He later fixed that flaw
       And recognized survival all depends
       Not on our enemies, but on our friends.



for Jeremy Riflin

     Though “dog eat dog” was once the final word
     when Survival of the Fittest ruled the day
     and scientists to Darwin all deferred,
     we reckon now another, happier way.

     We find in primates signs of empathy,
     that selfishness is not the only rule
     by which the higher orders live—we see
     we can be kindly, though we’re often cruel.

     The way ahead in this most perilous time
     is to progress empathically and learn
     the arts and manners of a paradigm
     that guarantees we’ll neither freeze nor burn.

          For fire and ice lie in our forecast now,
          which only empathy can disallow.


Sunday, May 4, 2014


        “Once upon a time” the story starts
        then takes us on the journey of its plot
        engaging, at the best, both minds and hearts,
        discerning what is true from what is not.
        Because the tale’s a mystery, we must
        keep all our wits about us as we read,
        while wondering if we can always trust
        the narrator or clues that might mislead.
        A sudden turn of fresh events may throw
        us off the track, beginning a new course
        of episodes, adding another foe,
        yet all the while we close in on the source
        of all the mayhem, ever held in thrall
        until Sherlock at last discloses all.


Saturday, May 3, 2014


   Shakespeare lives on today in Prospero,
   His crafty, artful, supernatural mage
   Who conjures tempests on the wooden O
   Of our Bard’s global microcosmic stage.

   That we might think those players in their passion
   (Reciting their poetic dialogue,
   Strangely composed in antiquated fashion)
   Would raise in us no more than a mental fog

   Is contradicted by experience:
   Like Prospero’s, the visions of the Bard
   Beguile and captivate our every sense,
   While softening each heart, however hard.

        Devised by cosmological design,
        His plays disclose their maker as divine.