Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Death Sound of Solar Emperors

Brighter than the argent
full moon’s face on even
the clearest of nights,
when stars are distant
diamonds, holes in the
living surface of our
velvet over-shroud
pierced by heroes’
arrowheads in the
wonderful, imaginary

Harder than the heavy
iron spikes, driven by
steamhammers deep
into wood, into the
shifting, dark rock,
into baser metals that
cower like dreams in
daylight, this built-up
track across the miles
our singular contribution,
our home in that unknown
place between what can
be and what might.

Hotter than the molten
core of stars far larger
and wilder than our own
where dense metals fuse
and the silent roar of the
universal engine winds
high, trying to overcome
the hush of the void and
its dark tranquility, still
facing failure while immolating
nearby planets, growing
ever larger in self-effigy
in order to make some
impact beyond a tiny, lingering
flash in the night sky a thousand
million years on, so that cave
dwellers point and rub stone
talismans against the omen
so long gone that only light
and its weary rays remain,
because even the death sound
of solar emperors can hardly
overwhelm the calm powers
of infinite distance.

Higher than imagined heavens,
theorized and hoped for
forevers half alive but in ruins
as they slowly crumble under
their own weight, we erect
glorious but fundamentally
flawed edifices in the face
of the coming tide, imagining
ourselves a second and more
perfect bite at the apple of
evermore, all evidence to the
contrary aside, all knowledge
of solar death and the doubting
of these mighty engines put
by because we are builders,
and the journey across the
barrens must be made true
and possible by our combined
labor, or these desolate homes
and all this sweat will have
been for no great purpose,
and false dreams, houses
built on boggy land still
overmatch the sadness
of that lonely understanding.


Bill said...

"and castles made of sand, fall into the sea, eventually" - Jimi

I always enjoy the path through your posts... often it's nearly the end before I can see where you're going... another good piece!

Firehawk said...


Probably my favorite Hendrix song.

Glad you enjoy the journeys, for they are journeys for me, too, these dark intervals.

Bill said...

I was wondering... do you know, what you're going to write, before you start? I ask because for me, I'll sit down, wanting to write 'something'... when I'm finished.. it's like you said it was a journey, and I'm often just along for the ride. I often wonder 'where' my words come from, as it's been a rare occasion that I was aware of them before I started writing.

But the real question is... is the song (or that line anyway) - on target, or did I miss the meaning of your words?

Firehawk said...


The "Castles made of Sand" idea was part of it. I'm always hesitant to explicate my poems too much. I think that they mean whatever the reader takes them to mean. If the weight of the words slews your mental ship in a particular direction, who am I to correct you? After all, once I'm done writing it, it's not really "mine" anymore. It exists as an interation between the word and the mind absorbing it.

For this one, I suppose my root assumption is that our place in the universe is very tiny, our scope limited, our grasp not much longer than our own arm-length. Still, because we need to feel that our daily efforts mean something in the grander scheme of things, we invent ways to keep ourselves interested and at the swirling center of cosmic events.

Do I know what I'll write beforehand? I'll generally be struck by some powerful idea or phrase that galvanizes me to sit down. Even when I think I know where I'm going, that's usually not so. I might have a clue, but after the first turning, I'm usually back to instinct, which is better. I believe that poetry is a momentry, almost improvised form at its best. As to where it comes from, I usually say that it's a transmission from the Mother Ship, and that I'm just the agent by which it chooses to be expressed.

Whew! Long answer. Cheers.

Braleigh said...

There is always some astoundingly universal aspect to your poems. I can read the same one numerous times and it has a completely different meaning to me every time. I shall now crown you as my favourite composer of prose.

It was strange...last night while taking a delicious vacation from life on the park swing I unwittingly found myself quoting "Imminent and Unknown." It took about 15 seconds before I realized what I was quoting. I have no idea how it penetrated my mind to the point of memorization. It is exceedingly rare for me to be able to memorize poetry as it feels like it's on a different level of consciousness. I never have any problem with musical lyrics or scripts...or even shakespeare. I don't know what I'm trying to say- it was just a really cool moment.

Thank you ever so much for your last comment. It brightened my day beyond belief, as your comments often do.

I look forward to your next piece.

Firehawk said...


You're wonderful. 'Nuff said.

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