After the Words

for Davis Taylor, follower of Meher Baba

The skies are black with the flapping bodies of words,
the roads choc-a-bloc with the beep and squeal of words.
In the subways the dark antennae of old words
rot and fur. A shuddering tower of words
stays personal, behind each pair of eyes
holds the high ground. But now, for one who is freed
from the pothering din, and out of the brain’s ensemble,
there are no more words.

We roam in a wildwood, past dense curtains of words
that shroud our sight. An open prison of words
constructed for our freedom. Ever-new words
charge and gambol, a flora and fauna of words
that feed on us as we on them. Lies, lies –
the world’s a lie, of our own making indeed.
Each whispered utterance is untrue. We dissemble
till beyond words.

There was a man who chose to voice no words.
In silence he defeated that siren sound,
and won such knowledge in his own spell of life
as, beyond matter, to personify love.
In you he had the perfect follower.

Back to words. Your poetry breathes the presence
almost, of a messenger turned disciple.
No more of that. But now as I think of you
and look out at the bare sea from a bare shore –
what does not tell of love? For a moment Nature
shows her hand – a quietness underlying
her own quick words.

The sea bears on, and after you have been,
offers a verse of striving and arrival.
The distant mountain-hills across the firth,
still in their strength, declaim an epic line.
From where this touch of harmony about
the air, the clouds, the light, and a sudden bird
that’s circled into view? Of an old tale
there’s a new telling now, in Nature’s echo.

Back to words. A damned cacophony
of artifice. If music moderates
in poetry and song a half-blind focus,
the jarring grinding intermesh of minds
we wrest a way by – let not singing cease.
Let not tomorrow lose a settled beat,
continuance and clear space, the melody
of art, even as today embraces harshness.
Let everywhere remember to keep time,
and silence keep a seat at every table.
In a dark light let understanding deepen.


After the words
there is a further state, if only here,
old friend, where you are not, where you are still.
For after you have been I can believe
in a time when we may live less by disguise,
and kindness take its place ahead of greed.
Your spirit stays on, past all this preamble,
after the words.

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