Reading Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale in California, March 31, 2020

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I.

Blithe nightingale, to this far shore unknown—
Who did so flit
In forest shadows knit
Of Lincoln green, in Keats’ day gone by—
Decorously, yet still as wild
As any bird could be in that domestic isle;

So sweetly singing ‘neath the rain-rinsed sky
And in the mottled shade of trees and sheepish clouds,
To conjure reminisces not my own—

Elusive creature! Present now,
Then, in one melancholy moment, gone;
Evocative, allusive and high-flown, eschewing crowds—
One glimpse of thee
I fain would see,
O bird most suitable for poetry!

II.

Here in California, meantime,
it’s the 21st century.
The crows and bluejays and us
have all been shoved
to the jagged edges
of the furthest continent from home.

Outside my door, I hear
the birds debating who’s
going to be the first
one up against the wall

come the revolution.

 

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Could you see it

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Could you see it
if I asked you to accept mere words for visions
and said there were all
the colors of a salt marsh?

If I told you, the sea presses
her white mouth to the earth

where the green of saltgrass
is a thousand yellows
the yellow of the sedge a million greens

and the black small flies revel in the muck
that lies at the roots
while each dragonfly stitches its portion
of the moment?

I am not arguing for or against God
my only revelation is
the blowing fog
the smoking sun.

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the girl in the swing having accomplished

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the girl in the swing having accomplished
prodigies of momentum
no longer needs her father
her friends too are out of alignment

she rushes and rushes
into a future
away from the present
into a future again

and ever
at the farthest edge of now
her forward rush commences again

just once when she was leaning back
so far back
she saw the departing world
quite clearly

the earth balanced perfectly atop
the tree that clung to the bird
that stood on its head
on the sky

 

then suddenly she knew the roots of the sky
were infinite
and that the rush of time itself
could not unseat it

 

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Your bird does not fit our needs at this time (poem written with a found pen)

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We’re sorry but your bird
Does not fit our needs at this time

Due not to its filthy plumage
Or the fact it’s excessively common

We simply receive too many birds for us
To comment on any single Bird

And even though we wish you luck
And success in all your future endeavors

This bird simply will not do.

 

Found_Pen - 0310200935

 

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A flash of Gold or Crimson

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A flash of Gold or Crimson
Are such domestic birds!
Whose colors–immemorial–
Have trafficked Human roads.

Hues of Song and Storybook
Of Wealth and Pageantry–
So haunting ’tis to glimpse them here
In the untraveled Green.

 

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— bent stick in the path, ridging

I.

– bent stick in the path, ridging
the dust

where the sun
has been beating down

ten thousand hours
since last it rained

if you were a snake

I’d know
what to do
with you

tip my hat
wish you good hunting.

II.

First a red
tailed hawk
juking from
treetrunk

to tall grass

under the dark canopy

and next I, emerging, see

coyotes
flashing against the sky.

I don’t understand this world
anymore.

 

Coyote Pounce by Justin

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Credo

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Tell the truth but tell it scant
Saving some for later – give the savor
Of what’s undenied – but still may be
Refined. Truth unadorned
Bores – so leave undefined
Beginning, end, or middle – since the mind
Forgets conclusions – but adores a riddle.

 

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The Instructions

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Under a weight of words
the courtroom air declines;
the oaken pews are worn;
the fixtures bide their time.

Without a breath or cease
the solemn judge holds forth.
No voice responsive sighs.
All brook his ageless worth.

The eagle on the pole
conducts a fierce salute;
the slackened flag below
cannot conceal its truth.

So spoke in ancient times
Solon or Cicero
to men who stood alike
athwart the verbal flow:

Who shifted just the same
or rocking toe to heel
imbibed the toneless dream
the while the day grew still.

The law’s an endless story
that’s bodied forth by men
monotonously hasty
to some eventual end.

 

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