Monday, January 20, 2014

Ghost In The Machine

Man Leaning On A Parapet~Georges Seurat
Ghost In The Machine
 “The best portion of a good man's life: 
his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.”
~William Wordsworth

When the morning's a veil of grey
and the gold is still a closed fist,
the sighing comes over the fields
spilled in a tickling mist
from a silver pail of silence
before the anxious birds
begin their nervy chorus,
before the softshell world
uncracks itself before us.

That's when you seem to turn,
breath of lilacs panting
just behind my ear,
whispers in an old planting;
all you were and weren't
a music changed to noise,
all your fading fragrance
feeding till it cloys.

So shade, take coffee with me here
where the night and light collide,
and tell me what became of
the man who could be kind. 

~April 2013 , lightly revised, January 2014

posted for   real toads
This was originally written for a challenge Kerry gave us last April:to take one of three quotes from poet William Wordsworth as our jumping off point. It's a favorite of mine, so I dusted it off for another trip around the block.


  1. The pairing of deux ex machina -- or rather, the ghost of that love god -- with the Wordsworth quote produces such a hallowed then harrowing image. So summery and sweet, so terribly ironic in the end. Music changed to noise, indeed. Five smiley sunflowers on an frosed sill. Incredible.

  2. This begs to be recited orally...the sound so soft and lovely. The ending jars me back to present troubles. This is incredibly good!

  3. exquisite! ~ sublimely till the last stanza grounding ~ at the end - the more imperfection - the more we can invent, and what is the better of being creative...

  4. the gold is still a closed fist . . . love that line.

  5. This has a really great flow to it! I love the images in the first stanza the most! Thank you for sharing. This poem comes off dark to me, at the same time, there is a calm. The speaker is very natural about it and sits to contemplate.

  6. nice build, but that last stanza where you address the shade directly, inviting him to coffee and conversation...and to discuss what happened to them to change them...that is my it is what i would like to do but often dont take that road....

  7. I quite enjoy it when you leave the dark side behind now and then and gravitate toward the light.

  8. Simply brilliant.
    such a soothing read
    connecting and synthesising
    the quote and the image and
    making more from the sum of parts
    so well assembled:

    the gold is still a closed fist

    and the rhythms that go with it

    a pleasure to read.

  9. OMG. Ten minutes ago I posted the film trailer of the documentary by the name of your always blows me away, these synchronicities. The poem is wonderful and the closing lines have such poignancy and impact...what became of the man who could be kind. Sigh.

  10. WOW! To sit and talk is a wonderful twist.

  11. oh.
    gentle, but with a nip at the end there, like a warmish spring day that suddenly cups your arms with goosebumps. ~

  12. Loved this - terrifically evocative and genuinely lyrical - really enjoyed especially: "before the softshell world
    uncracks itself before us..." Beautiful writing.... With Best Wishes Scott

  13. A beautiful write...the ending is something I too wish I could question wouldn't be as poetic. It would be more like, "What the hell happened to you?"

  14. Is that your claymore i see leaning in the corner, set aside for the moment? Is this gorgeous poem any less marvelous the second time? Perhaps it is even more so.

  15. Beautiful--I felt like I remembered the beginning--I don't remember the end as well, though it is very beautiful. The use of "shade" in this context is is especially beautiful I think - k.

  16. I'm reading this at dawn - and your description of that time of day in the first stanza is possibly the best I have ever read. I look out the window and back at your words... perfect.

  17. It held me gripped throughout. Your choice of descriptI've words, marvellous.

  18. Such a beautiful, painterly balm in your words. But like some soothing creams, the slight sting emerges later.

  19. sometimes, a person thinks they've found a friend, but wrinkled time reveals the slowly missing parts, shining light on the truth about attraction of equals, when neither is up to the rhythm of it...and dear sylvia, she had the hubris to remove herself over a little pain, and leave two children in her sleeping wake

  20. what became of
    the man who could be kind

    One often asks the question as there are not many of them around! Nicely Joy!


  21. Soothing...?
    Perhaps, but to me you paint the world to be kind of a loud place.
    Loud yet serene.
    A Hedgewitch Kind of Day!

  22. From dawn to dusk, this image-filled piece offers a look into one's day as well as one's soul. Love the last sentence.

  23. Thoughtful, contemplative.. I don't think they mean the same thing. I like to contemplate how the mind works. I love how you took us on a journey and made us think. Lovely.

  24. fabulous poem... killer last stanza and final line! love this, Joy!

  25. the most intimate good morning i can remember reading. you really put me in nature here.

  26. The accidental rhyme in time is a favorite of mine . . .


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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