Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Alienation of Time

Eternal swinging of loose clock
hands like mirrors of broken
emptiness as in an endless lake
or swift-legged horse of life
dream in nightmare
unknown for time.

A bleeding heart of time
drips on the face of the clock
as it hides in a nightmare
which has been broken
by the reality of life
shown in ripples of a lake.

The cool, calm lake
does not obey time
which rules our puny life
like a King Kong-powered clock
that has shatteringly broken
into the cumulative social nightmare.

Four horses stamped the nightmare
when their four riders become a lake
of unknown, yet broken
keepers of the vanishing time
inside of a melted clock
who will not realize life.

It is the theory that life
is no more than a circling nightmare
like an endless pirouetting clock
which drops ripple-reflecting in the lake
or a dream of dissolute time
whose hands are broken.

Our own defenses have broken
so that the shelters are no longer life
but a meager vision of time
that creates screaming nightmare
under a hidden lake
behind the shattering lost clock.

The clock is broken
like a waving lake of reflective life
which is no more than a nightmare of time.
A few days ago, I promised (or threatened) to post a poem I wrote in high school. I wrote this in the fall of 1974, after I had seen an exhibition of jewelry designed by surrealist painter Salvador Dali.  Just as Dali worked in a hyper-realistic style, it seemed appropriate to do my "surrealistic" work within a formal structure; in this case, a sestina.

In the spring of 1975, I became aware of a poetry contest offered by the Poetry Society of Oklahoma open to high school students. With Padre's encouragement, I entered.  I received a very nice note from the judge, who was impressed by my attempt to write a sestina, and was happy with that.

I don't recall what the competition was like at my level, but I did win first place for my division.  Re-typing the poem now, thirty years later, I'm painfully aware of flaws in the prosody.  I'm very aware of times I added a word that was unnecessary, or jerry-rigged word order so I get the "key words" to fall in the proper place at the end of the line.

Still, I don't have the heart to muck around right now & "correct" the work of my younger self. How can you see my growth as a writer without seeing the indiscretions of my youth?

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