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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

The Rhodora


Rhodora (Rhododendron canadense)

Photographed in Cole Harbour Heritage Park, Nova Scotia

 

 

 

                                             Rhodora

by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1934

On being asked when is the flower In May,

when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew;
But in my simple ignorance suppose
The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.

The Rhodora is a very common flower in the park during May and early June

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of my favorite authors from the 19th century.  He was a pantheist, whose essays often dealt with the relationship between God and nature.  He was a contemporary with Henry David Thoreau, whom he knew well and had frequent conversations with.

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The Daisy


To the Daisy

By William Wordsworth

Verse one

In youth from rock to rock I went,
From hill to hill in discontent
Of pleasure high and turbulent,
Most pleased when most uneasy;
But now my own delights I make, –
My thirst at every rill can slake,
And gladly Nature’s love partake
Of Thee, sweet Daisy!

 

The photograph is from a collection of wildflower photos taken in The Cole Harbour Heritage Park, Nova Scotia.

William Wordsworth has for many years been a favorite of mine among the 19th century romantic poets.  I’m trying to find poems that treat specific flowers that I find in the park.  This is the first of many

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Calmer Waves


I wrote this poem in 1987, which by now seems to be eons ago, but that being a fact, perhaps there is more truth  annd relevance to the words today, November 17, 2016

              Calmer Waves            mug shots of kenny 001 small

                              For I have yet to feel in these

Years of vague contentment,

The tingling joy of love and thrill

That youth so richly did bestow.

The roar and might of stormy seas

That ruled the ocean for so long

Are now but calmer waves in waters

Wrought by winds of lesser strength

And fullness of the surging tides,

But that which was will ever be

The blissful pleasures of my dreams,

The winds that brought the ships to port

And those that wrecked the tallest mast;

And yet beyond the calmness of the bay,

The shelter from the stormy sea,

There lingers yet another shore

Untouched by eyes that hunger still.

Kenny B. Larsen

Assens, Denmark

Feb. 19, 1987

I wrote a post script to the poem in 2003.   Here it is:

1987, that was 17 years ago and already then I had begun perceiving intimations of what was to lie ahead.  I’m happy to say that those “Hungry eyes” did get to see a hell of a lot more. Oh God! Did they ever.  It’s been one hell of a good life.

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In Other Realms.


This is in memory of my father, Knud Christian Flyborg Larsen, May 13, 1907-April 20, 1995

I composed it a little over a year after he passed away.  I thought I had published it, but I’m unable to locate it, so here it is again.

.

IN OTHER REALMS

 

.

Where is now your laughter, the smiling eyes that greeted me
When I perchance came by to say hello and talk of olden days?
You chose to leave and go by trails as yet unknown to me,
Before I came to bid you happy journey.

No stone nor simple cross exists to mark or to inform
That once you looked upon this land and loved it’s
Graceful splendor much as I, and all of those who
Feasted here, before I came to see this realm.

I think not of you as gone beyond a further meet
The sun will rise to hail the new and old again, again.
That brilliant, radiant glory, companion to the soul
And mother to the needs of all that is or soon will be.

Do you hear the screeching gulls there by the bay?
Where countless waves have found their end.
The surging sands and weeds, the flotsam of the sea
That stranded there a moment while on a longer journey.

I look upon a single star and sense an empty strangeness!
Is this a berth where other ships belong?
Or destined port of call for each who ploughed the
Seas of life toward an unknown destiny?

Do you see the daffodils that greet the budding sky of spring?
Or do you walk among the throng of white and pink
Below the beech that yet for years will bear your name
The one you carved in a youthful, prankish jest?

stout is now its trunk, yet youthful tender boughs abound
And newness all around. When I look upon this aging tree
I sense a closeness to another time, when dreams of triumph
And lofty deeds came lightly as clouds upon a summer sky.

If present realm is not tomorrow’s house of glory,
Where then plays the child that lived the dream?
In the jeweled darkness the rivers find the abyss of death,
Predestined cradle of their own primordial birth.

I, who yet must play in pastures of this moment
And search for answers in the hollow echoes of my calls,
Behold within my soul a vision of the seeds
That fruited fields in countless other realms.

In memory of my Father
Knud Christian Larsen, whom I loved very dearly

May 13,1907, April 20, 1995

 

 

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The Mountain


Your lofty face and mighty girth

Confront me like an angry spirit,

Dressed in somber black, your hair

A silver misty grey flowing round

Your white, unyielding shoulders-

You taunt me with your brash

Imposing posture, rising bluntly

From the prickly greens

Spread around your broad expanse

 

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This is not poetry but rather a ballad in the style of Robert W. Service.  I wrote this in 1987, during a short stay in Denmark.  John Ross was a close friend of mine and a collegue in the mining business.  We worked on many projects together and I have fond memories of him.  John passed away away a few years ago so I’m publishing this in memory of him and the many crazy adventures we had together.

===================================================================

THE BALLAD OF JOHN’S MOUNTAIN

 He went to a bar, a hangout for miners

And shouted aloud in a searing voice,

Are you game for a chance on golden riches,

Or is this for you tramps the only choice?

 

I heard of a mountain, it is far from here,

Well south of the border, the Rum is free

I’ll give you a share of the gold we find,

Enough to pay for your longest boozing spree.

 

What say you four in the corner there

Will you join me in this and earn some green?

I’ll pay for your fare and treat you all right,

we’ll make it in ways you have never seen.

 

The tramps signed up and off they went

To the land of sun and rain and heat.

Don’t fear, said John, We’ll soon be there,

You’ll like it just fine, its hard to beat.

 

They climbed for hours toward the mountain,

The men were tired, the mules were kicking,

The packs were heavy, the rain was pouring

and the tramps were taking a heavy licking.

 

Keep on, said John, We’ll make it yet.

The mist was clearing way up yonder.

Oh curse this day and the promise of gold

the tramps said loud, it’s all a blunder.

 

They made their camp at journeys end

And faced the rugged towering cliffs,

Let’s make some holes and blow a round,

Before we end up as walking stiffs.

 

The mountain roared, the smoke was acrid,

There’s gold in there, John heard them shout;

She’s four foot wide and speckled with yellow

We’ve got her beat, we’re rich, no doubt!

 

They laughed and danced, all smeared with grime,

I told you all, you worthless scum,

You’d find that gold and make some cash.

Let’s head for the village and a taste of Rum.

 

They slugged their way down the mountain path,

The mules could sense the miner’s thrill.

We’ve got her made, we’re wealthy tramps,

There’s plenty of gold in that there hill.

  

Let’s hang our guns at Rosie’s place,

Tonight we’ll think of other duties,

Forget that dreary mountain mine

And treat the lovely dark eyed beauties.

 

The feast went on to dawn’s first light,

The girls were soft and willing.

Wake up you tramps and hear me well,

Its time to go back to the drilling.

 

With a curse on their lips and pounding heads

They headed back up the mountain.

The sweat was pouring, their thirst was fierce,

They were miles from Rosie’s cantina fountain.

 

The rounds went in by day and by night,

They mucked and trammed to a growing pile;

They swore at the work and damned the heat,

The tunnel was less than one twentieth mile.

 

She played us foul, that yellow streak,

She pinched and died in the last two rounds.

Fear not, said John, that strike is fair,

The ore may be running at least an ounce.

 

They figured the cost and the total tons

And the price of jacklegs and scattered tools.

They made a report on their worthless findings

Designed to attract some promoting fools.

 

They came in droves to buy up the options,

Their greed was beyond our wildest notions.

We’re experts, said they, we mine the markets,

We make our millions on phoney promotions.

 

Let’s take their money and run said John,

It’s time to leave this stinking place,

they paid us high for a worthless mountain

And I hold in my hand another ace.

written in Assens, Denmark, 1987

 

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Love Lost


Love lost

               The night crept through the open window

its dark, clammy hands touching my body

as I lay thinking—

          Thinking of you under the palms swaying gently

in the wind,

          Thinking of the waves that washed the shore

and touched you,

          Thinking of the sun that  brushed your hair

into a golden glory,

          Thinking of the soft, warm touch of your

hands upon my face,

          Thinking of the time when we reached into

the realm of life’s creation,

          Thinking of the moment when your journey

found the path to boundless space—

          The dark and clammy hands of the night

came through the window and

touched my shivering soul.

Kenny Beechmount

December 28, 2012

 

 

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