By Love Beguiled
Don't get me wrong.
If I appear distracted,
Look knocked out by the light,
You make a very strong appearance,
A singularity into whose inexplicable center my mind spins.
I remember once, years ago,
When I landed in New York,
After living a year and half in Europe,
How the neon of America,
It appeared so awesomely garish, and bright.
Yet, when I close my eyes and picture it,
All seems pale before the radiance of your face.
That we, two people, would meet for morning breakfast,
Look out the café's windows at the steady rain,
Then, under the cover of our umbrellas,
Walk here and there, along avenues of inviting store fronts,
Have an early coffee and tea,
Or do I have the hour wrong,
Might the time better be described as brunch,
Or was it at an hour still later, and in another place,
In the afternoon, say somewhere on the Turnpike,
Or when we stopped at a crossroad to check our map,
At first I thought it might be vapors, something in the air,
Then I mulled the question over once again, and figured,
It must have been an electromagnetic charge,
And I wondered,
Had a fluke momentary electricity overwhelmed us?
Or perhaps, was it, cupid himself who truly stole
Behind fixtures of the thoroughfares?
I thought I had spied him crouched near a mailbox,
At start of our walk on Main Street in Point Pleasant!
The winged child pulled from his quiver, arrows,
Their heads were dipped in love potion,
– My thinking ran to the lines of the ancient story -
That once he aimed and shot them,
Grievously their tear into our mortal flesh.
I knew his wound would make for a ruckus extraordinaire.
I felt that expectations were suddenly turning great.
This romance presses hard upon me.
I find myself bound up, an affection drives me
It barks a claim beyond everyday physical experience.
I am being compelled to express it.
To gain your confidence,
To prove my mind sound, not at loss to reason,
I couch my verse
In a mood commonly called the subjunctive.
Though the posing of this frame of mind
Has little usage in today's English,
I try its grammar, or, is it, pretend to use it, so to temper
My over-wrought emotion and to quiet,
Soften my immodest and elevated parlance.
Were I not to employ this principle of language,
One might believe my love for you be shameless.
The mood, also, provides proper relief
For the all, too-far-out attitude, the conceit,
Which has me begging
The suspension of common sense and natural order
In order to pose an audacious proposition
As having a semblance of truth,
That I have come to possess a gift, as it were,
That Higher Power had granted me prophetic mantle.
Understand. I solely express my own wish and desire,
That all I say remains contingent,
The frame of mind here still hypothetical and dependent.
I do not use the imperative, I make no demand.
I have no special outcome in mind.
I dwell in fortress called Zion,
And come from it in the Pilgrims' coat and hat.
I look in the mirror and see their collar and tie.
And, like those passengers on board the Mayflower,
I know the Lord to be my helper. I fear not.
Who among your former friends has ever said it better?
And were you to live a long and hearty life
As all actuaries predict, what future friend
Might ever phrase it near as well as I have put it?
And if you ask the source of this lyric
That it arrive, as I propose, transcending the usual,
Everyday manner and common syntax, I must rejoin
That Sentiment Supreme, Him, the real pilot,
That when we drove in the white, Ford van and crossed
Jersey's North shore highways, while the soft brown,
Oh the magic, dream-like, living, pale, ethereal,
And somewhat golden light accented the downpours,
Whose constant unleashed falling, more
Like rain the Lord had promised Noah,
Than any explicable, temporary phenomenon of weather.
Wie es eigentlich gewesen.
“The carriage held but just us - and immortality.”
That when we traveled our first day together,
Though it is months ago, and now becomes the years,
All the time which has passed, I suggest
That it feels shorter than the day, that day
I first surmised the engine's mounts
Were tied to point, and that we, too, were belted, on board,
Hurled straight ahead in solemn league with Eternity.
Mercy, let it be known, Mercy freely bestowed,
Not for this, the one earthly moment,
But for our children’s children,
Drawn and signed, and at once delivered,
A grant for us and them, settled in this verse,
And from where, you might ask, derives this trust,
Sure as Word once promised Abraham?
I hear the text my grandmother spoke.
I see her at work when she ironed and folded,
Yet while she stooped to lay the laundry
Into the wicker oval basket at her feet,
And I, the child, I watched her nod the affirmative nod,
I saw that as she smiled a light had joined her face,
Today I repeat to you what she said to me,
“And I will bless them that bless you,
And curse him that curses you...”
And then the line which revealed,
She told me how the stanza means,
I hear the words my grandmother said,
That in you, I say through you, my darling, “... in you
“Shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
STANLEY PACION's Other Poems
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(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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