Sometimes We Call That Poetry.
I walked home everyday for most of a year, under sunsets that taught Mucha his color and inspired Smetana’s symphonies.
I’ve watched ballet at the Bolshoi and known Red Square — with and without her snows. I’ve touched the burning bush and walked on The Great Pyramid. I’ve been happily lost in the Louvre and the pubs of Pigalle. I’ve walked the streets of ancient Carthage and sunned myself on Mediterranean shores. I’ve seen the sunrise over Japan from the top of Mt. Fuji and walked the black sands of Miho in Shimizu.
I’ve heard the Grand Canyon singing to me and Crater Lake warning me back. I’ve dived into the Red Sea and surfed in Maui… heard the howler monkeys of Belize under a jungle canopy and released baby sea turtles in the failing light on a quiet beach in Mexico. I’ve attended soccer games in Brazil and business meetings in Germany.
Signed million-dollar contracts behind hard, glass enclaves and wandered homeless through the Mojave listening to ancient tides in the wind…
I have known much of the world… much of life really.
And every day, pedestrian or grand, I am curious to know more.
It seems like small recompense — these humble words, the little turns of phrase I return in payment for such iconic adventures, the bright (and dark) days I’ve known. I am vibrantly aware I owe living much more than I can ever pay back.
Someone once wrote:
“Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool,
But you yourself may prove to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.”
Those lines always remind me that the great axis of life isn’t really foolishness or wisdom. The great arc, the holy fulcrum, is absolute appreciation.
Eyes to see, heart to feel, soul to sing.
A deep, deep willingness to be and live.
Sometimes we call that by another name.
Sometimes we call that…
Southern winds, northern memories…
Of a small house in a wayside town
Lost now, naturally, to modern prides —
Imperative we want, imperative we sell.
Gone, our treehouse and tidy apple orchard.
Gone, the alleyway haunts of our tabby.
Gone, the sunflowers, rhubarb and lilacs.
Only three huge firs — wooly, defiant — stand.
Gone — summer in the Sawtooth Mountains.
Gone, like neighborhoods and dinnertime.
Gone, those blushing country loves —
Only a last scent and sentiment… linger.
Gone, mom’s Desiderata in the kitchen.
Gone, the oversized living-room radio.
Gone, like slim odds slimming further —
Only the road will have us now.
Gone, the lumber-rich forest.
Gone, the extra elementary school.
Gone, all reasons to go and so…
Only one ramshackle heart remains…
In those cruel, coyote-howl lands
They told me to call home.
We roamed love, insensate monsters —
Brighter, faster, bigger —
Worshiping at today’s altar,
“Now, here, just as you are.”
Until days became years — years, decades.
The skin we were in, melting —
Setting brute hearts free
To discover the mislaying of…
Flame in fire.
So fledglings bow
To the verity of yesterday — mated
In instinctual sky
Between winged, willful legend
And this new place — warm, stony.
Living is leveling.
Moments gone praying,
Become “sweet faith” remembered.
Sentiment — wise demiurge,
Seduces savage congregations
To literate devotions…
Where true ache is peregrine passion
Caught wild in firestorm — a final embrace,
Of complete tenderness.
Lands to plant,
Seas to look upon,
Amidst a patrimony of ghosts…
Bring me memory —
Place to dream,
Small alcove to read,
The will to pen, and
Call forth feral muse…
While uncivil hearts,
Clad in night’s satin
No desires, but these —
Pretty words, like blades —
Lost in green, completely undone,
Touching perennial grace.
Tath Ray Ashcraft is a writer from Las Vegas, NV. He is also a lover, brother, father, son, poet, yogi, traveler, double Gemini/Cancer Moon and plant daddy. He is the author of Fearless Giving: Leave Want Behind. Live Congruently. Discover Your Legacy. The above are selections from his first poetry collection King Of The May: Poems, now available on Amazon. He posts regularly on Instagram.