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Love Sonnets

Omnia vincit Amor

Amata mea, per sempre nel mio cuore, non Iontano dala mia mente.

Dedicated to the Beloved Inspiratrice, whose physical manifestation blessed me with her beauty, friendship and presence.

Love’s Mistress Sad mistress, pray do not to me resign, Thy troth,- to be a servile concubine, I could not conjure love from passions spent, To draw thee from fidelity’s intent. Thy beauty: gentle waves frame curious eyes, To charm heart’s morals with small lingering sighs, No ardent moments passing should replace, The constant love on pale complexion’s face, Nor with the failing years of mortal lives, Displace the fond embrace with passion’s guile. Tears moisten not soft lashes with regrets, The Fates may weave far crueler schemes combined, Affection too may fail life’ s passing tests, If love in eros’ name be thus defined.


The poet begins with a plea to the lady not to rescind her vows of marriage in the pursuit of a mere caprice. To do so would only lead to disrespect. The poet makes a declaration that he is incapable of erotic love in such a situation, as it involves a deception in marriage. Neither would he wish to distract the lady from the promises she has made to her husband. Love requires honesty and faithfulness, and observance to such vows that have been freely taken. To take a lover whilst neglecting the duties of marriage mars the respect required for true love. The beauty of the lady causes the poet to be unsure of the value of such morals when mesmerised by her company, until he is reminded of the universal and eternal nature of Beauty through his admiration of her physical form. He is then reminded that sexual desires are transitory in comparison to the constant and enduring love found in faithful and dependable friendship. Circumstances could yield to the affection found in friendship to be lost or marred by the pursuit of such actions. Love cannot endure if it is only defined in terms of sexual love. “Do not to me resign, Thy troth to be a servile concubine”. There is a dual sense in the use of resign. Either to “submit passively”, or to “relinquish”. Do not submit passively to love as there is thrill in the chase. Do not relinquish vows whilst in wedlock. Such is the ambiguity of being in love.

Love's Kindness Cast not cruel words, lest tender hearts be cleft, Short lived be love if taunts are left to prey, In truth, both joys and sorrows pass away, But love endures, if gentle spirits stay.

The heart must like the sapling tree not break, but bend when shaken by aggrieve`d storms, Till love’s still centre raging moods placate, To pacify the strickened soul forlorn.

The act of virtue’s love is to console, Mock not the weak, nor trick with words of shame, Address with calm intent, do not defame, With peace restore, less angry words enflame.

Abide in peace, fair moderate speech retain, And know through love the strength of trust remains.

_______________________________________________________________ Speak gently to your lover and harbour no resentment. Let peace nurture the blessings of joy .

Love's Name Love be not love if call`ed by that name, It feigns to praise, and seeks, or gratifies, Its self to centred pleasures, or remains, ‘pon this unaltered course, and truth denies.

Know this: true love is selfless and thinks rare, of else but what its counterpart may need, It finds through this its joy sufficient bears, and wavers not; from this is virtue deemed.

Yet on cruel seas are ships in tempests tossed, As hearts are led, strong shaken by life’s tides; Let love be fashioned not from wandering lust, But harboured through fair steadfast compromise.

With rose and garland unkissed girls are taught, Such love which bears the name of sweet amour; From patience, trust and gentle friendship sought, Is born that love which grows to e’er endure.

Life changes, as love shall, but constant be,

That greater virtue named: fidelity. ___________________________________

Love’s Measure (The trouble with Shakespeare) The constancy of love doth yield respect, Its measure brings affection to sad hearts, Sincerity may stream from past regrets, Forsworn the hasty vow both ne’er shall part. Is love an ever fixed unchanging mark? I ask thee poet of your song inspired, Is truth found in the warbling of the lark? For love’s desires, though free, may yet be mired, In petty thoughts and feigned indulgences, True minds must their impediments admit, And from this act attain concordances, To lead more honest hearts to then commit. If these truths cleave no poet need conspire, To cheat against his wife with bitter ire. ______________________________________________________________________

Constancy in love (in the primary sense of being dependable and faithful) serves as a foundation to allow mutual respect between two lovers to flourish. Respect in turn facilitates an enduring love to evolve. New lovers often claim in the heat of passion that their love will last forever, and that they will never part, being blinded to the realities of their changing situation, and not being fully aware of the person to whom they say it. Constancy comes from the security of the recognition that, in spite of past disappointments, they will continuously make an attempt to discern the truth about their lover, once the ardour of first love begins to wane. Erotic love is an obsession focused only on the fulfilment of a self- projection. Constant love is born from the task to discern the person as they truly are. The nature of this dedicated love ideally yields respect. Respect involves honesty, causing the lovers to abjure hasty promises of eternal love, whilst being focused on the long term task of their mutual dedication to serve, and know each other better, in the ever present now. In this, love becomes a meaningful act, and is not offered merely as a caprice, with no basis or knowledge of the changing person involved. Shakespeare implies love is a constant in a sea of troubles and changes in this life. Yet this makes no concession to the changing and evolving nature of love. The irony is Socratic, as it involves the raising of a question to which the questioner knows the answer. Further irony is added with a cynical slant questioning the value of beautiful words concerning constant love, over the reality of impulses felt and given freely. Erotic "free" love (viewed as a caprice) contrasts with the emotional fulfilment

which constant love may bring. There is an implication of "free love" leading to egocentric pettiness and insincere pleasures. This again contrasts with the morality and sincerity of dedicated love. There is a dual sense in the notion of “impediments admit”. The use of the term impediment may mean both an ‘impairment’ (a ‘fault’ or ‘weakness’) as well as an ‘obstacle’. To ‘admit’ has both a sense of ‘to disclose’ in honest discussion, or to admit in the sense of ‘permit’ or ‘allow’. Shakespeare might well be using only the latter sense in his claim that he would “not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments”. In other words, he would not allow obstacles to prevent the coming together or marriage of true minds. I, however, make much of it in the above rejoinder. The first sense is that dedicated or constant lovers will, in order to maintain their love, be sincere and honest enough to confess their own weaknesses and shortcomings, and be honest and sincere enough to recognise and accept them in their lover also. This might be difficult, but sincere lovers will try, if they are indeed committed to each other. This includes forgiveness of lover’s transgressions. As well as the concern to be sincere and honest in the admission of their own transgressions, or desires to transgress. A second sense is the notion that a man and wife should permit the recognition of obstacles to prevent transgressions. The vow of marriage is a pledge to be faithful and not merely to serve. In this, there is a sense of responsibility to duty in marriage, which the lovers should be constantly aware of. A sense that the pledge delineates boundaries on how to behave and act, which should override any desires to engage in a caprice. This is an acceptance of the marriage troth as a freely given obstacle to the whims of fancy. A third sense is the duty to confess obstacles (such as marriage vows) to those who might seek to commit adultery. In admitting or confessing obstacles (or impediments) to someone outside of the marriage, that person would either decline to engage the lover, thereby not permitting infidelity to arise, or they would chose to accept, whilst at least knowing the clear truth of the matter. A relationship founded in love cannot be based on a lie. Harmony and agreement can be fostered between two people only if they speak with honesty and sincerity. This being accepted, the endeavour to be sincere and honest is the binding tie between two lovers in their committed relationship to each other. If these words are true, and taken on board, then Shakespeare would have had no cause to have been unfaithful to his wife in anger due to her infidelity. To take a lover in anger at the infidelity of one's wife is a cruelty, and not an act of love. It is indicative of something worse than a mere caprice.

Love’s Offspring Though rising sun doth herald breaking day, My mistress I could not from thee depart, Nor would I from thy bosom wish to stray, As thou disclose the secrets of thy heart.

Whilst near thy heart I feel the child of truth, As thy low voice soft whispers of our love, And in thine eyes, I see the light which proves, That none shall ever prise our bond apart, Or cause misunderstandings, or concerns, To mar the careful words which we impart.

Whilst in our chamber bed thy tresses fall, To frame the smile which I each day adorn, With kisses and with close affections small, Nine months attentive to our dream unborn. __________________________________________________________ On the intimacy of a lover with his pregnant wife, and the simplicity of joys which arise from such affections.

If love a cynic leaves Love may, in differing guise, present its face, With varying degrees of tenderness: As passion ardent, or through gentle grace, Fair service, or in constant faithfulness.

If new love calls when old love comes to nought, Let not the heart in fear be circumspect, Be brave, for love from brooding ne’er was wrought, Nor nurtured harking back to past regrets.

Above all else to lovers speak the truth, Be modest, kind and free from vanity, For beauty’s face must fade with passing youth, But virtues’ beauty grows through honesty.

If love a cynic leaves I beg thee try, To nurture optimism ere ye die. ___________________________________________

Be optimistic in the face of disappointments in love, by looking beyond cosmetic beauty, and cultivating the beauty of the several virtues.

Love’s Vows. Vows cannot bind two lovers to their love, Betrothal doth not tie my heart to thee. Love only sings the song of heaven above, Affections be the treasure of the free.

My dearest friend who rests now by my side, I gladly serve as she doth tend to me, In serving thus we closely do abide, For in that joy we nurture liberty.

The beauty, joy and light which from her eyes, Attends to love- conferring presently, The virtues of her grace- my soul doth prize, Which nurture love’s affections constantly.

Such virtues yield intentions in the heart, Ensuring faithful lovers ne’er shall part. __________________________________

There are simple pleasures in love, but to offer a troth to love is meaningless if it turns a lover into a possession or a slave. In marriage, a lover makes a declaration to serve honour and obey. No one need swear an oath to this in order to freely express constancy, but it does, for some, provide a necessary moral guideline to enable love to evolve. Let the troth of love be a liberation of hearts in

service, not a burden, nor an enforceable oath to serve and follow the other partner's demands. Service may be given freely in love, and is beautiful, but to enforce a freely held feeling destroys love once it is turned into an expectant command.

The erotic love between a man and a woman, when they first meet, is primarily focused on little real knowledge of their partner, but the self- gratification of lust, and as a self- projection. Love will not last unless it is supported by constant affections, most often expressed in friendship. In friendship, friends often expect little, and live only to please their friends. In this selfless service they glean pleasure for themselves. In doing this, they seek out their friends with time to share. In so doing, they glean the joy of service in pleasing their friends, which is a liberating experience. Constant love has its basis in friendship. It may be defined as the selfless and dedicated desire to freely serve, and helps discern the reality of their partner's nature as it is in itself, and not merely as a self- projection of their own desires. Whilst love evolves and changes, constancy in love (i.e. in the primary sense of being dependable and faithful) serves as a foundation to allow mutual respect between two people to flourish.

Astounding beauty, joy and light emanating from the eyes of the Beloved confers a sacrament of purifying grace to the heart. Such beauty does not blind the heart to virtues, but binds the hearts of lovers to attend to virtues. The virtues alluded to are kindness, affection, constancy and faithfulness.

Love’s Parting He bore his soul to the thunderous sky, To purge his heart of sorrow. She drank the river’s murmuring song, Then bled for compromise. His words oft spoke of passing love, Her eyes had been struck blind, Their lips which praised joy’s wonder, To the earth were sacrificed. Let hearts be ever chaste and good, Intentions all be pure, When lovers make the parting ways, And friendship ne’er abjure. Lest pride belie good dignity, And angry words endure.

____________________________________ When lovers part there is no sense in remonstrations, in spite of wounded pride. Be gentle and noble in the parting. Think of the virtues of love which your lover brought to you through their company and be satisfied. Help them to remember you at your best. Love is a gift which should not be demanded by anyone.

Love’s Testimony She is light, transparent sight, her shoulders are revealed, as happy, sad waterfalls be brief. Her arms with love adorned, now play with fingers small, but all things pass, and beauty must like youth, as she confesses grief. If waters then run dry, if love be false, I spake it not, I bear not false belief.

_____________________________________________________________________ A testament to awakening love.

Love's Philosophy Old restless time, with furrowed lines, cuts deep as beauty fades, As red lips pale, as senses fail, as hair turns grey as ash, The ebbing bloom of youth is proof of beauty’s fair charade, Marked by the season’s calendar, each quick’ning year to pass.

Approaching death, unwelcomed guest, too shows in mirror’s glare; The span of life and weight of strife left by experience. Upon the elder brow alighted sits each troubling care, Which seeks to blight fair beauty’s light and dim its brilliance.

Through casements hewn, the waning moon, illuminates the task, As she oft flits a mirrored glance, or frowns with furtive frets, Yet lengthening marks, which age imparts, shall ne’er her virtue mask: The grace which flows within, which beauty’s inner self begets.

‘Tis right to love in this life, reconciled to our demise, To celebrate fair beauty, whilst accepting time’s domain; Yet know the universal essence passed shall e’er survive, Endure through Life eternal, and through Love shall still remain.

Though time and death, in this brief span, hold sway o’er mortal lives,

The treasure found in true love as a virtue never dies. _________________________________________________

Heroic Sonnet, iambic pentameter as below:

Love’s Philosophy Times hand reveals its work as beauty fades, As cheeks turn pale, as hair grows grey as ash, For what be Beauty but youth’s fair charade, With which each quick’ning season gained must pass? Approaching death too shows in mirror’s glare, With marks regretful, and of troubling strife, Which ‘pon the elder brow a wealth of cares, Deep rests to mar the passage of a life. The waning moon illuminates her task, As she oft flits a glance of furtive frets, Yet furrowed marks shall ne’er her virtues mask; The grace which beauty’s inner self begets. If Beauty is eternal Love survives, ‘Tis we who change and pass from life’s domain, The underlying essence which survives, Endures through Form and ever shall remain. Though time and death hold sway o’er mortal lives, Fair Beauty’s form as virtue never dies.

Love's Power When I expired lie in my silent tomb, Upon the air recite this epitaph: This man of moods in verse once strove to speak, He sought the proud to teach and raise the weak, He praised the Earth, the living sun and stars Knew God and light were part of who we are. In Nature’s vast parade we may discern, The cosmic craft imbued through life to learn, That power revealed in opposites attracts, Through love fulfils in every thought and act. We all are perfect, imperfections see, Pray we can but embody what we be, Love fair, unite, lest hate makes souls depraved, And tarry not: for noughts won in the grave.

Love's Gift From the spring of love upwelling, channelled by compassion’s heart, Friendship may a fairer ardour grow, through tending virtue’s art, In this purer love transfigured, built with fair and noble grace, Is a bond creative measured, which base passions ne’er displace.

As the bees enticed by roses’ folded petal stamen crowned, Nectar drink, to mix for honey, stored to feed for winter bound, So the bright attractions’ pleasures, drawing lovers, do ensure, That the sweet affections treasured, nurture love to make secure.

Let the lost be found in friendship, still repose thereafter tend, Love is but a disposition, borne by life until the end, Stored in our genetic memories, which passed on shall death defeat, Let us live by virtue’s sanctions, so our minds in love be steeped.

From still depths of sweet remembrance past the poets meditate, Through transmuted willed arousal, strive the numen to create, Thence confessed the inner meaning of true love’s significance, By the nature of life’s sorrows, joys, each aspects redolence.

Born from one creative act, a thousand tongues of passions peak, Fill with joyous exaltations, and majestic merge to speak,

May this act with the Belov`ed, wake the inner voice replete, Thence be born ecstatic union, till the lovers be complete.

Sex is but a fleeting pleasure, sensory, a brief delight, Let it not become mere habit, but a sacred act to light, Every secret of love’s wonder, that the heart desires be known; As from this is born the wisdom that enacts from virtues shown.

Let us down the generations hold to love as we create, So the nature of that wisdom born within illuminates, Keep each heart felt affirmation, recognise its sacred rite, Pledge that we our children teach to honour, love and live aright.

Lovers shall recall the past, and call the future theirs, and live, When they bring new life to bear, and with their offspring share and give. Through their children love is passed in endless perpetuity, And in loving they too live in partial immortality.


Love's Forbearance If fair youth’s face persuades thee thou art old, Reflect not beauty’s face, but beauty’s speech, When wisdom guides not innocence to teach, Lost worlds of expectation bear the breach. Through temperance wisdom lacks the flitting tongue, The wiser soul of youth too oft proclaims, A wealth of world perceptions to his shame, He doffs no cap to class, nor age, or name. With babbling youth good wisdom bears the brunt, In silence thoughts may pass the sitter by, Let wisdom’s youth exuberance defy, And wisdom’s failing youth- full years belie. Speak well of life, share knowledge as received, Fair speech years flatter, whilst it ne’er deceives.

__________________________________________________________ A didactic meditation involving the characters of Wisdom and Youth seen from two perspectives.

(1) The appearance of Youth is the indicator of the passage of time for Wisdom. Youth’s power lies in its persuasion through physical beauty. (2) Wisdom should not seek to imitate that which it lacks physically. Youth’s attribute of beauty is belied by its spoken words. Wisdom is reminded of Youth’s inexperience when Youth speaks. Youth’s attribute too is an enthusiasm to talk at length, an enthusiasm which wisdom should seek to emulate. Wisdom may be stupefied to silence through the apprehension of Youth’s beauty, but must engage in response by focusing on language and not outward appearance. (3) Wisdom must teach Youth and free it of its naivety. The measure of Wisdom is experience, and this helps teach the lessons of life, whilst recognising the attributes of innocence. Wisdom is the practical implementation of knowledge from experience given through the act of teaching. Failure of Wisdom to instruct Youth results only in the maintenance of Youth's ignorance. (4) The uniting of innocence and experience (Youth and Wisdom) may result in the creative possibility of a new world, or perspective on the world arising. Failure results only in unfulfilled

expectations; both as an emotional response, and as an attempt to induce unity. Separation results, filled by the gap of the hope for future fulfilment. (5) The pitfall of Wisdom is its self- conceit: a lack of concern to instruct or voice comment, silenced by the burden of its greater knowledge, or the vanity of understanding. Alternatively, Wisdom speaks with consideration, and offers focused responses, unlike Youth, who jumps from one issue to another due to a lack of depth or appreciation of the topic in hand. (6) Youth may be brash: “the wiser soul” is an ironic dig at the naivety of youth as it espouses what it believes too much. Alternatively, the wise soul when addressing the topic "of youth" may constantly harp on the generational gap, or the “problems of youth” obsessively. (7) Youth may proclaim he is wise, but he is shamed as a fool in such a proclamation. Alternatively, Wisdom too may consider he has a wealth of knowledge gleaned over the course of a life. (8) Youth may through lack of experience or brashness respect none in terms of their achievements, as he fails to recognise something he lacks. Alternatively, Wisdom’s arrogance underestimates the qualities which Youth may bear. (9) Wisdom may in the vanity of his silence be subject to unanswered criticisms by the talkative and brash youth. Alternatively, Youth in babbling incessantly forfeits the possibility of Wisdom’s presence. (10) Silence may cause Wisdom to forget the ideas which may instruct Youth if they are unvoiced. Youth cannot learn if Wisdom does not speak. (11) Wisdom must attain the enthusiasm of Youth in speech, whilst Wisdom must answer the charges of Youth. Wisdom must display that experience over exuberance finally tells. (12) Wisdom must overcome his proclivities to lethargic old age and adopt the exuberance of Youth. Alternatively, Wisdom must not be overly critical of Youth’s failings. (13) Life’s combination of innocence and experience must be shared and no presumptions made as to superior value based on age if lessons are to be learned. (14) The age of an individual is both flattering in terms for both Wisdom and Youth: inasmuch as it is flattering for Wisdom to be in the presence of Youth due to Youth's beauty, and Youth to be in the presence of Wisdom due to Wisdom's maturity and forbearance. Deceptions arise from the assumption Wisdom lacks enthusiasm in the weight of its silent knowledge, or lacks in terms of its physical attributes. Wisdom is deceived if it presumes Youth has attributes it does not have based on the glamour of its physical attributes, or its enthusiastic speech which lacks a more weighty measure, or is coloured by excessive zeal. Wisdom may be deceived through flattery also: presuming it has projected attributes based on the admiration by Youth, which undermine its claim to guide wisely and indiscriminately: as only a fool thinks himself wise and an old man beautiful. Youth may practise selfdeceit in the brashness of its own presumed knowledge or the deception its physical superiority. Deception and flattery must not become obstacles to the union of minds engaged through shared discussion. The fairest speech is truthful and brings a measure of credibility, irrespective of age.

Love’s Deceit Some lovers may when they their suit espy, Dupe to charm and woo with flattering lies, One lie vaults social class to match the best, Another jigs, then on the mattress rests. For bolsters make a bed, and words a catch, To fan the passionate heart and spark the match, Though only if tongues be resilient, Long memory keeps to details diligent: Grand words betray unlived experience. Lovers lie and in both acts they jouk, To sow the seeds for turmoil and rebuke, A blubbering babe midst claims all lacking proof, Be loving’s legacy in shirking truthAnd all to lose the shirt and free the jupe!

Cold stars bear witness Impassioned force of beauty mesmerised, Bear witness stars to ruined ecstasy, The midnight raptures of love’s histories, Which anguish falsely banished now despise. Desire be madness reason sacrificed, Entice superior moment’s fleeting joys, Intoxicating kisses oft beguile, Then rest upon the lips to slowly die: Exultant bliss reborn so swift destroys, The mist of furies’ storms blood red enfold, Engulf the female cycle gods of old, Creator and destroyer, she besouled, Awakens death in life with flames of goldStrange agonies of love past joys excise. _________________________________________________________________ The influence of beauty intoxicates and stirs passion in the lover until they act only as projections. The shock of rejection causes a final appeal to the stars, which signify the enduring as opposed to the transient. Rejection causes the poet to reflect on the light of past disappointments coldly as the stars shine coldly and dispassionately in the black firmament. The poet feels anguish return, it contextualises the reality of love, in keeping with past experiences: there is only madness in passionate love, it is a passing intoxication, which suspends reason and leads the lover to ruin. Although it is the most pleasurable of experiences it cannot endure. The lover's kisses were a deception, promising eternal love, but in reality they offered nothing. The ecstasy of passion in itself feeds the illusion, and causes emotional suffering. It brings emotional destruction in its wake. Woman is both creator and destroyer. Her moods are cyclical, and she inspires the deities of ancient worship in her various personae. As both creator and destroyer, she combines opposites, bringing an emotional death, whilst producing a rebirth and a new awakening. The cathartic nature of the sorrow produces a purging from the illusions of joy.

I Bacchus When mortal passions bound me, Intoxicating poetry led me from the clay and fields, And bade my heart to hark the orbit wheels. By night, a muse’s song with stars baptised me, Filled my soul with yearning fire, Magnetised and crowned me. As I drank deep her wine, She nourished with her eyes the child within, Dispelled the haunting song of requiem, Transformed my heart through joy to love again. I Bacchus, drunk on life at last, Put down my ageing books of ash, To find all of the raging past had gone‌ Reborn my true love spaketh then inside me.

Poets, Prophets, Pariahs, Thieves (The poet tries on various personae)

Sympatheia (portrait of the poet as a living tool)

Before ye now a poet stands, A mortal, human, flesh. Sensuous, strong and resolute, Passionate, intense. Sensitive, ardent, critical, Humanistic, apolitical. Open with love in soul and heart, and ready now to be used.

Being of mind and body sound in my forty seventh year, Replete with strength and vigour, I proclaim to all who hear, That all who are of woman born, Be citizens of the world, True liberty requires the free, accept no tyranny.

Let every man and woman bear their civil rights from birth, Let none be thus excluded by their rank or place, or name, It is the universal right of all that lives on Earth, Thence all of equal station shall embody this refrain:

Let molten sunlight flow and pour through thy skin, thy blood and veins,

No living trees need uproot themselves at whispered incantations and names, In witnessing life am I channelled with love, and with this shall I be used.

Awake multitudinous voices- Speak! Reveal with waking visions deep, Great rolling time’s cataclysmic end, The song of the Earth, which my spirit sends: Incarnate sheath organic, born of stars, thou shall be used.

For I am thee, as thou art me, Thou bringest life to all I see, Proclaiming with such tongues this song of love, I shall be used.

Ecto-plasmic, astral bodied spheres, thou shall be used. Trickling semen sap, the fibrous root be not contained, Convulsing dripping fire, condensed in stars, thou shall be used. Synaptic nerves, eclectic storms and dreams shall map the course.

The serpent wakes the dragon’s breath within, and shall be used, Secretions moist that ooze from lips and cracks shall free the locks, Arise ye plenteous force that breathes and moves within the gait. Let not the conscious force that writhes and moves be thus confused.

Pulsating currents breeding fertile eggs thou shall be used, In filtered places bright, where still the sun and moon reside, The stuff that links placenta to the womb and to the stars, The nesting space, to nourish yet the replicating eye.

Shag of bearded grass, a pillowed bed, thou shall be used, The rude unruly seas whose yawning mouths now groan and gape, Dripping milky breasts and licking lips thou shall be used, Etching lines upon the fluid feelings of a face.

Effusive sweat from toil and knotted hand thou shall be used, The aching knees of famished tilling dust with nought to reap. The broken plough, the chaff and wheat, The bending back poor labourers keep, With these and every dry and twisted bone, I shall be used.

Pliant, plangent verses thrive, Sung by the music of a world of lives, And the gasping rattle of the death bed cry, The love juice drawn from a female bride, a newborn’s tears, a mother’s sighs,

Libidinal joy and fears, the ageing years, All shall be used.

Through affirmation and rejection, The esoteric revelation, The macrocosmic incarnation, The lies of a poor Pope peddling conviction, With these and every passionate last embrace I shall be used.

The divine grows within me, for I am divine, Exterior flesh holds interior mind, No church need contain me, no dogma defame me: My body a shrine shall be used.

My blood carries atoms connected to stars, spinning symphonic thoughts, And all these shall be used. My ears sense the winds: emanations that ring, Vibrating molecular air to be used.

Contained in this song be the ebb and the flow, Clear chorus of rivers, deep mountains of snow, Embracing fast cities, great mansions and slums, thick oil slime, pollution, the beating war drum,

The lame and the sorrowed, sick paupers in need, The grasp of the dying, the grieving bereaved, Uniting each part to the whole synthesis, Through love as a force to be used.

As body and mind are both grown from the sun, Nor part be defiled, nor should yet be reviled, The poet’s I am bears each facet of truth, A cosmos, reborn and attuned. ______________________________________________________________ συμπάθεια: sympathy, affinity of parts to the organic whole, mutual interdependence.

In Memoriam: Ezra Pound (on holy ground) Fluid elemental limbs magnetic, Spheres and structures, Verses embryonic, Clear, transposed, Incant, incant, Historic poetry. Fractured shards of Sussex flint, ‘ere yet, You would recant oh Ezra Pound, Unkept - those spirit forms in magic mirrors bound... Before green backs replaced Venetian lira, Slipping through your gnarled and knotted fingers, Graced to fall not from your memory spent, Illumined fire ye stormed the gates of Heaven, Sent- not lost but found, Ex spiritus anoints your golden ground. For poetic initiation, voice those tantric occult sounds, Romantic garb, ‘afore ye stripped indulgent minds and clowns, Of every false and trite façade, and trivial boundary. Sublimitate et in ex profundis deus-weep, We failed, we failed to channel that pneumatic force, To keep, those seeds ye sowed, But harvested the words of chaff, To reap- and how we tried new voices, As you scowled my troubadour. Oh send your paradies sublime invoked once more to meet, Those Chinese puzzles quick dispatched into the Vortex, Deep, Yet thence not underground, but resting close to Dante’s feet, Restored no life reborn or new, But petrified by time.

In brief- new verse resides in spheres mundane and less profound, From which high strutting parapets they seek the prize and crown,

The mediocre jongleurs parade the guilded name: Poeta in excelsis- as they covet art for fame, But modern mortal pens bereft, hath this no right to claim. (Sussex: Stone Cottage 2009)


Night scenes from the past whilst on the road I went into a bar one night and met three angels bleeding, Helium breathing hipsters, The music was revealing, So reified, Electrified, It celebrated genocide.

One fell down to earth man, Lost his wings ecstatically, But hit the ground in agony, So many casualtiesJumping out of windows then, Or fleeing from their minds, Too many earthly crimes, Condemned young boys to die.

I went into a bar one night and met the King of May, A tenement genius Moses, he kissed my hand and prayed. Flower child and Marxist, reciting with his long stick, Complex moral paradigms, with the Buddhists looking on.

Gay Jew replete with Blake and Hesse, In suit and tie you did impress, Professing mystic metaphors to cultivate the West.

Your brothers offered flowers and dreams of ashrams basking in the breeze,

Upon the lapping Ganges, ‘neath your starry dynamo. Parading in their shades and beards, And reeling in the years, As if they knew the real samadhi, And they’d felt it personally.

Who’d split the Berlin Wall one day, They’d carried stones of it they’d say, Through ardent demonstrations trod, They sang their merry wayWith passports to another world, They slowly lost their magic words, They spoke of the absurd, Whilst chanting mantras of response.

They sat in smoky rooms and planned the end time tragically, As they retired to bend their schemes, By burning sticks, they sometimes dreamed, of cannabis, Resulting in great non- activity. Whilst writing essays furtively, They claimed they must drop out. They justified their passive lives as if they were like Gandhi’s child, And spoke of peace and love, which served to save them from disgrace.

They munched a diet of Nietzsche more than Christ, And spent free hours cultivating vice, Rehearsing in the mirror, as they hoped for eager crowds.

The crowds who listened on the ground, To deafening silence as they frowned, And wondered at the purpose of it all.

Shunning all their profit plans, Their parents' morals were a sham, They sought to covet everything, They did not think to steal: Sharing food and partners was the deal, And in that sharing all their pain was healed.

I went into a bar one night and talked with Joan of Arc, She had four flowers in her hair and claimed her aim was art, And love was just a password from the tyranny of men, So many female eunuchs then, Still clinging to their hate, While smiling strongly at the men they need to impregnate, Their wombs with fiery seeds: she cried with heartfelt sympathy, She did not need the men they sought to keep her dignity.

With purity she clung strong to the bar, Unable to escape her chains too far, The stars had beckoned, but ignited, forging every link to hold her down. Far so far beyond the madding crowd, She bent her figure forward, sexy, proud, So all her natural beauty that she offered playfully,

Became eclipsed by burning words she sold as heresy: She cast her witchcraft spell with verve, And spoke enchantingly.

I went into a bar one night and spoke with Jesus Christ, An artist filled with sad regrets of uninspiring silhouettes, That he had sketched with lead in red, upon a canvas wet.

With paint and turps, In youth he’d made six masterworks, Out gracing Renoir’ set. Sad he’d painted over them, No money, his exhibits were too high: Far too busy reaching for the sky, To try curtailing earthy costs.

He asked my good opinion of the reworked parodies, Reflecting his new visions with a bland dexterity. His life was spent in moments such as these, Whilst running from the judge’s wrath with pleas, Withdrawing his small benefits for wrong activities. He lives with shadows now, Can’t face the light or crowds.

I went into a bar one night and drank and sat alone, Filling empty moments with the vapid, murmuring drone, Of mundane conversations proud,

And yet devoid of feeling, People so demeaning, talking brashly of their wealth, With the confidence of culture, seeking nothing but the self.

Mimicking the tableaux poses, The confident designer clothing nouveau millionaires, who claim that culture now is trash. Seeking in celebrity inspiring stocks and cash, This generation copies what they once decried as crass. Forgot the old ideals defamed that some want to reclaim, As if those lost ideals have now been ludicrously shamedMiddle age is just a nameWe need much better dreams not old, and purpose all the same.

And is the glass half empty? Then hit me once again.

Nijinsky Luminous Lycergian, Paradisical Parisian, Alchemical nymph grave entwined with the vines.

Faunish so crucified, The earth plane identified, Ecstatically praised by a wreath made of flowers.

Their petals soft fell when your feet touched the ground, And the towering trees bent their arms low in praise, So sweet to be sorrowful, to mourn for the dead, Whilst they buried your love in electrical beds.

So heavy the sky and the flowers hid their heads, For your love was so frightening, alarming, inspiring, Spasmodically firing and melting the sun, As you waited to walk on the waters above.

I love you because you loved life's aching arms, And also because little birds were your friends, I flinched at the needles and shocks which alarmed, Whilst sharing your pain which did pass in the end.

I shed bitter tears as I tore at my soul, For a man who believed that true love helped him see;

A punished messiah who once carried the load, Condemned by the blind to a lost purgatory .

(Montmartre, 2009)

On the Memory of her voice now departed When I think back on thee dear friend, I wrestle not with grievances, Nor dwell with woes, Nor summon memories past of times misspent, Or linger with regrets, Thy thoughts inspired my best; And from your soul refined, I found nobility the kind that holds a stateless heart to joy steadfast, Which bound my heart to thee, And from a mouth unused to singing praise, I thank the day we came ourselves to claim, Our share of true felicity, In innocent simplicity. For my friend was not fair of form, but grace embodied every syllable she spake, And in her words she voiced not rank disdain, Nor mimicked observations of crude shame, of others faults, But was with every word and generous deed, a sacrament of kindnesses, In brief: I ne’er shall find another love to pleaseThe memory of her voice my one reprieve.

She led me down the garden path. When I was just a lad up North, past Snake down Whistle way, Singin’ with the minstrels as we strummed quick time away, I searched for me first cherry, tellin’ tales to hide me shame, Of all those sweetest conquests, to me mates to boost me fame.

Up at the crack, past breakfast, every weekday Mam did goad, To rouse me from me sleep filled bed, and out on to the road, Shufflin’ past the corner shop to catch the number nine, To take me to the factory gate, to weave the cloth from twine.

Never carin’ if the weft be warp, or warp be weft, Me mind too full of fragant locks and Summer girls undressed, Mixin’ up me heddles with me shuttles in the shed, I had nay thought of battenin’ as me pickin lay in shreds.

“By lad thee loaf is full of dreams, why for thee actin’ daft? Thou’ll never earn ten shillin’ if thee mind’s not in the graft. Mind once thee ‘ave thee wage, no doubt they’ll spend it in the grass, And let that lass from Tinsle lead thee down the garden path. Just like a brace before ye, but ave a mind it does nay last, Or you’ll waste a fortnight’s money ‘fore thee pants back round thee ass.”

I ‘ad no mind for what me gaffer spake, no nous at all, But ‘ad a mind to go and find this lass and ‘ave a ball, Thinkin’ she could teach me all those movements that I’d feigned, To make up time for all those fancy conquests falsely claimed.

So aft a week of toil, I went a wanderin’ round the lanes, In search of that game girly once I’d wheedled out her name, To offer a proposal, bein’ Wakes Week with me stash, I thought I’d lovin’ plenty, but I’d ne’er run out of cash.

And then by luck I chanced upon her sittin’ on a wall, Claimin’ for a shillin’ she would kiss and show me all, Although fulls ‘ows your father was more for the marryin’ kind, She’d help me with me burden, if I paid up full in kind.

And for another shillin’ she might gladly let me roam, And for a shillin’ more, she’d let me kiss her cherry stone; The one I’d never sampled, Though I said I ‘ad for years, Whilst braggin’ loud inth’ Eagle with me mates whilst we drank beers.

Thence like a brace before me, with a mind to make it last, I spent all me ten shillin’ with that girly in the grass.

Fragment The crystalline transparency which swirling winds vibrate, Support the plumes of white blue fire which alchemised as light, Split the folding firmament as clouds the chariots, Transporting to their destination thunderbolts of sound, Fling forth at first their lightning spears to pierce the naked ground. That sacred ground which dissipates the charge of flashing fire, Contains within its fertile soil the trace of elements, Which gentle rains of early spring by bracing breezes muster, To mix in mother nature’s womb, The matrix of all life.

(Arizona desert 2008)

Appassionata Untie her corset laces, Swift The neck oh nape seducer, Naked wings. Lips and fingers tracing secret paths, Wild virgin dreams. Taste the flesh infused with heated blood expelled, or cream‌ For mountain men confused devour far sparkling eyes, Defused, Three Graces of the future in attendance. Withdrawn the flame- impassionate defendant. Thrice sunken then by wine, The neophyte resigns.

(Florence 2008)

Strong arms- so rest your gentle head Soft are the kisses that spring my love, From the feathered plumes of our bed. Dispatched by my lips to your cheeks my love, Gently pressed to your head.

Rest in my arms be complete my love, If your heart is a troublesome thing, Curled in my arms there is peace my love, Sleep like the dove on the wing.

The world is a wearisome place my love, Our song is beyond the west wind, Though mortal we be in the end my love, Our love through eternity sings.

In the depths of the night we confess my love, Our thoughts and our hopes and our fears, Forgotten the times that we spoke my love, Through the bitterest words of our tears.

In that time when I look in your eyes my love, In that time when my heart speaks with yours,

Your eyes span eternity’s space my love, Your face in my hands is adored.

Though mortal the span of our lives my love, For all things that live surely die, Though our bodies decay in the end my love, Our souls thru eternity fly.

(Gers, France 2001)

Frontline Winston Lynton Crazy Jones, stands up straight with his handgun, With his gold red green bandana, hiding all his natty dread. Winston Lynton Crazy Jones, says an eight bars in his car, All yah need ta do is follow, round da back ta blow yah brains. Winston Lynton's brothers hassle, selling dark on the Frontline, Proud to say that they are soldiers, and they never did no time… “But me faarda's still in prison Winston Lynton testifies, And me mudder's kicked da bucket, And me sistor jacks a line.” “Bettar use no dirty works, if yah want wots in me car, Nevar mix wiv baakin powder, So yah always get it pure. If yah want a smokin partee, Bettar get into me car. Then I'll thread yah wiv a needle, Come wiv me it isn't far.” Winston Lynton Crazy Jones, wants to take Nick on a trip, To a place where none can see him, So the pigs can't give no lip. “If yah want ta meet me brudders, Bettar get into me car, Then I'll thread yah wiv a needle, Come wiv me it isn't far.” Winston Lynton's voice keeps shouting, As Nick's heartbeat keeps on pounding,

“Bettar do what Winston tells yah, or he'll not return no favour.” Winston Lynton Crazy Jones, says he's wants to split some skin, Cos Nick doesn't want no needle, As the crack would do him in. “Bettar skip yah ganja trip, Cos your life ain't worth that shit. Winston Lynton's face turns older, As he jabs Nick in the shoulder.” Thought you would not be a Yardie, Thought you'd be more like Bob Marley, Winston Lynton Crazy Jones, Midnight runs and broken bones. “Take all of me ganja money, Take all of me credit card, Take all of me sixties dreamin, Just don't take me to the yard.” Winston Lynton in the morning, Never saw the bloody shootin, Thought it was a pig car wailin Never saw the bloody crime. (Manchester 1996)

The Days of Wrath (on the death of Joan of Arc) Fugue of death the moon is crumbling, Four arch angels’ trumpets sounding, Woken from her grave of slumber, Branded by the hours unnumbered Fugue of death the stars are weeping, Masked by heaven’s bosom bleeding, Lost within the vaulted chamber, Speaks her pious heart unfavoured. But the voice of conscience whispers, As the storm of night approaches, Drown`ed by that desolation, Waiting for her lost redemption. Fugue of death the silence witnessed, Pleading for her god’s forgiveness, Standing in the hanging chamber, Waiting for her Lord and Saviour.

But the prayer remains unanswered, As she listens petrified, To the voices of the spectres, Echoing the Devil’s labours. “Come to us your dearest brethren, Death awaits to sanctify, Tarry not with saintly causes. Hexen’s fire be martyred pride.” Fugue of death the sky has fallen, On the blessed and crucified, Naked in the hanging chamber, Waiting for her Lord and Saviour.

On meeting a beggar boy in Calcutta Baksheesh! Baksheesh! Baba Baksheesh! A half-starved orphaned boy aged seven, Beseeches Lakshmi's alms from heaven, Black eyes speak more of the trials of man, Than sage or political leaders can.

Baksheesh! Baksheesh! Baba Baksheesh! Black hair is aged with Asia's dirt, Rust ragged loin cloth, loosed, ungirt, Is all that clothes his claim from birth, To piteous poverty.

Thin black boy more man than child, With desperate ploys you ply your wiles, Mimicking close my guilty smiles, With sorrowed looks and charming guile. ‘Tis wrong not right poor children cry, ‘Tis wrong not right the hungry die. An outstretched hand with naan is fed, Yet he seeks not just leavened bread, But more, the means to dress not beg, A Brahmin's dignity. His plight lost on indignant crowds, Too deafened by the wailing loud...

‘Tis meet and right the poor should live, ‘Tis meet and right the rich should give. As Lamas dream of banished thrones, Red China bleeds Tibetan snows, Mixing smiles on the old Silk Road, With burning skin and ochre robes. Shall sleeping dragons then swallow you whole, If money swift breeds envy? Nay sleeping dragons shan’t swallow you whole For money makes them friendly. Great India’s Raj: your dawning praised the new born sun at birth, With sacred Vedic hymns, you quenched the raging spiritual thirst, But where the west sun follows now, you shall be surely led, The Brahmin and the Dalit both, Must now be clothed and fed. (India 1993)

Still Life Your love be like the leavened bread; The staple, feeding hunger, quelling pangs of past regrets. Your lips be pomegranates red; So ample, moist with flowing juice to quench dry parching thirst. Of agate stone your eyes and peacock feathers fine reach out, Each lash extends to make amends with welcome wings. Oh be my love: and every fertile word and charming smile, Shall bring us to a warm embrace and lose the passing miles. Your form a Spanish instrument, Oh sing you sad guitar with bending neck, A curving silhouette, And round your neck the lines are frets, Stroking fire the burnished bronze and gold, Your skin I long to taste and own with kisses deep. Your back bejewelled with oyster shells, Beneath your light transparent skin is wrought, A mountain range of peaks: small pearls of bone that meet, The ripening apples of your cheeks, And from each half grow sheaves of wheat, Binding to the earth your damson feet. Your smile is fruitful like the vine, Your laughter caskets filled with wine, On tables poured in glasses fine, Drink loving joyousness.

In Praise of Spring When stamen nectar sweet of April flowers, Entice the bee to clambering drunken feed, The hoary frost and snow dissolved by showers, Can banish not to slumbering happy breeds.

Blue flittering wing`ed dragonflies alight, Upon the sparkling sheen of membrane ponds, Their nurtured nymph eggs placed amidst the bright, And glistening jewell`ed hatchings of the throng.

The spinning spider weaving gossamer, From temple architectural prison heeds. Entwined with lustrous film -the prey doth foster, A tremulous wave before the slayer feeds.

A skylark's greeting melds the morning air, To cheer the heart; which is its fitting meed, If pleasures from such sounds be measured there, All hearts find recompense if sorely grieved.

A lass through meadows wends a pretty way, And there imparts brief secrets unconfessed,

Of love with which she marks the length of day, And dreams her lover nestles on her breast.

If sorrow like the frets and vaporous airs, That oft with cloud the radiant moon bemask, What brightening cheer the temperate sun compares, That swift dispels cold mists and Winter’s blasts?

Be constant like the sun and not the moon, Do not permit the dark contagious cloud, To smother up thy countenance with rue, Shine gladly forth. Cast not a dour gloom!


The moon is not sorrowful; which of itself shines only from the reflected light of the gladdening sun. Cold mists and watery vapours mask its countenance and induce a gloomy air. Be constant and temperate in mood and affect not others with infectious sadness. Be of a cheering disposition and dispel coldness with a warm response and bright smile.

Palingenesia The soul of a tree is in a book, I hear its voice speak every line, Its pain in every word corrupts, The written word; its pulse and rhyme.

I sense this with my silent mind.

A woman’s womb her eggs shall keep, Till in her arms a new born cries, The murmur of her babe asleep, Imbuing joy within her eyes…

Reflects love’s fair maternity.

The rain a quickening slow descent, From yawning sky shall fall to feed, The thirsting soil with rich intent, To fertilise the growing seed.

I feel its musicality.

Fibrous tendrils, Silken threads, Bind the ivy round the head, We be the living made by death, Then born again by atom’s breath.

By Friston Wood In sensate visions touched by angel’s wings, Whilst striding over hills and rocky peaks, Through glades slow wending, Downs and fountain springs, Shared I the chorused cries which Nature speaks. Once in the breach`ed sky did I behold, A crown of light, Its rays cast spears of gold, To pierce my arrowed heart with deep desire, Through energy and tongues of living fire. Like Moses and King Ramesses were thought, To be reborn from light, Love’s influence, Did guide divisive mind and passions wrought, And unify two streams in confluence. In Spirit’s light both love and reason merged, As time and space suspended on the verge, Born from Imagination’s faculty, Glad herald of creative imagery. No silver taler, jewels, black precious pearls, Could buy that sunlit vision of the world, Nor would I seek exchange or sacrifice, Rare sight, for Milton’s eyes at any price.

Ode on Sleep and Dreams The sun hath set, Day’s raging rout takes flight, Amidst the clasp of Winter’s steely cold, Sweet silence, the oasis of the Night, Now stills the restless wanderings of the soul; Thence slumberous veils upon the mind alight, As Morpheus blackening wings soft downed enfold, Whilst in their glad attendance and delight, Fair hypnogogic fantasies evolve.

Whence by swift Hypnos wing`ed chariot borne, Thou must be led to Lethe’s darkening streams, Sup long a draught of waves oblivious, Which steal the full remembrance of rich dreams, Fret not upon the loss, thou cannot know, Full fleeting fragments strewn, delirious, Which on forgotten strands lost time disowns, Yet glint like pearls in shells mysterious.

Awake to dreams, divine those treasures hold, Far more the truth of what thou’st claims to be, Which as the grains of sand slip through the mould,

Reveal sleep’s thoughts as wish filled fantasies.

Pearlescent flowing waves, compressing time, Desirous force of life’s experience, Which on the placid mind shall crystallise, Collect and thence project imperious.

How strange this Sleep, Sleep and her sister Death, Both lie beneath the fields of reverie, Both bear a shadowed train of dark repose, Which cloaks the glittering spark of memory. In submerged caverns deep within, consigned, Below the strata far from wakefulness, They lull the active mind at their behest, Be still, by their command to take its rest.

Yet differences ‘twixt Sleep and Death remain: Dark Death with sombre moods leads grief’s refrain, Ne’er bears a thought, nor Beauty contemplates, She seldom keeps good time, and friendship breaks.

Whilst Sleep’s handmaiden, by her chamber door, Awaits to dress her lady in attire, Of fairest hues, bejewelled she is adorned, With dreams, which shall her suitor’s love inspire.

From these prophetic seers proclaimed as signs, Strange omens coalesced with auguries, Young poets clothed in verses beautified, the tenets of Attic philosophies. Yet know the sovereign law once spoke of dreams, Which souls now dead once praised and held sublime: “The One endures, the Many change and pass”, This truth lives on, and shall eternal last.

Steven Parris Ward (M.Phil, Ph.D) is an English poet and philosopher. He has written books on Greek philosophy and poetry. His most recent publication, "The Dance Macabre", is due to be published in 2010.

Steven Paris Ward is of Anglo/ Irish lineage. In Ireland Ward is a common surname. It is a translation from Irish Mac an Bhaird (pronounced mock on vard) which literally means "son of the poet". Traditionally the Wards were poets in old Gaelic society, hundreds of years ago, when Ireland still had chiefs. As highly valued members of society, the poets were employed by the chief to write in praise of the chief or the clann, or to write poems that chronicled the events of the time. The etymology of Steven comes from Stephen meaning he who is crowned with laurel or laurel wreath befitting of the poet. The etymology of Parris derives from Paris which might come from the Celtic word parisio meaning "the craftsmen".

Love Sonnets (and other poems)  

Sonnets and other poetry by Steven Parris Ward

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