Friday, August 18, 2006

Into the Raven-Black Ghazals of Night

Marching, we take these storms
with us unto the gloom,
laughing at the devils who
burn like the sparks in
dying campfires in the
eyes of our enemies,
this scorn they said
would doom us never
giving its death wound,
never teaching us temperance,
and so, laughing unto
further night and oblivion,
we went.

Marching, we take these storms
and devils burning within us,
these inborn enemies we carry,
our deathright and foul temper,
these seeds of the doom always
whispered at our backs as we
went, gloriously intransigent,
obdurate to a fault and yet
still fallible, great clouds of
nothingness upon our thundering

Marching, we take these storms
and tempest sparks, these
ungrieving wounds we ignore
until they are the death of us,
ever intemperate within the
ever widening sphere of night
and oblivion, going down to
further dusk, all energies
spent but scorn and bile,
passing bitterly from this
earth and into whatever
new realm will hold us.

Marching, we take these storms
of dying with a laugh, now
hollow, aching into further
night and oblivion, going
down to die like wild
dogs chained, feral and
broken, unequal to
surrender, damaged beyond
care or saving, yet still
awash with refusal and
the pride of the unbent,
doomed because doom
is our business and trade,
carried from cradle to grave
in every molecule and fiber,
eating ever inward in silence
until, like ancient suns, it
exhausts the fuel and burns
the vessel, and the marching
noise of boots and mean
laughter is finally drawn
to a permanent halt, and
we are reviled, then feared,
then wondered about, and
finally forgotten, even the
roads we walked faded,
even the scorched places
on the earth healed, even
the last generation of pale
progeny gone to dust, all
lands empty of the echoes
of our laughter.


MB said...

Ay, Patrick, this carries for me such a sense of our country's current situation. I don't know if you meant it that way, but at the moment, it's what I read.

Swiftboat said...

In light of MB's comment I reread this one a few times. God almighty Firehawk, your a bit like and old testament prophet. (What will you be like when you actually get to be old?) Drunken hubris on a spiraling death march. Laughing all the way. Yes, it does seem to sum up the current state of affairs.

PS: This one reads aloud quite nicely – there were just a few hick ups due entirely to my inadequacy as a reader.

Thanks Firehawk and thanks also to MB for making me go back and read again from another perspective.

drthunder said...

Strange! This one hit me very much the same way as it it MB and Swiftboat. I, too, plan to re-read this one.

Bill said...

"we are reviled, then feared,
then wondered about, and
finally forgotten

and sometimes revered... but ultimately forgotten. I didn't see this so much as the 'state of the nation' as of life... and the journey we all take.

That said, after I read MB's comment, I can certainly see how that association can fit.

As always, I enjoyed the way you blend the current with the past, and tap those universal feelings we all have.

Nicely done!!

Bobby-T said...

I also saw this as ones personal journey through the phases of our finite existence. Starting with the impetuous indifference of youth, progressing to a defiant yet hopeful outlook, but hope begins to ebb and resentment starts. Finally reaching the point of resignation and apathy. Upon rereading this, I could see the parallel of "The American Empire", its rise and fall.

Bobby-T said...

"...if he can remember...but lay here dying all alone..."
Just reread This Voice, This Arm, This Heart, and thought this particular passage profoundly moving and thought provoking. I must revisit it again I think.

Firehawk said...


I don't know that I was thinking directly about our current political situation, but I'm sure that does have a subliminal effect on all my thought processes.


I am, in fact, a part-time Old Testament Prophet. I don't get to wander around in the desert as much as I used to, but I still do it when I'm able.

Glad it read well. I suppose that's the true measure of the art.


Re-read as much as you like, I don't mind.


I'm glad those invisible connections were able to come through. I feel that poetry is so much open to interpretation. One person may get a whole different image or sense out of the words than another. There is no "right" way to read a poem, just the gradiations of response to the words. If there's no room for the reader to impose his/her own conceptions on the work, then it's isn't poetry, but preaching. That's my take on it, anyway. The poet has to leave room for the reader's mind to live inside the lines.


Thanks for coming over and sharing your thoughts,

The circular motion of things does seem to come out when you look at the long view. The fire within us can only burn bright for any passion over a certain interval, just as our strength and fortitude cannot withstand the erosion of time forever.

Glad you can go back and re-visit some of the past stuff when you want. That's what it's there for.

Thanks, everyone, for coming over.

MB said...

The poet has to leave room for the reader's mind to live inside the lines.

I really like the way you put that!

At the same time, I believe that the creation of poetry is a very personal thing. Subject to wide-ranging interpretation, certainly. And I don't mean personal in the sense that it's directly "about" the writer. But that the creative process and product is extremely personal to the poet. Because the poet must not just think about the reader's needs, but go after whatever it is they are inspired to pursue, with a purity of purpose.

Firehawk said...


That's true, of course. You have to think of the work, and not its audience, or you'll end up sublimating the true power of the piece. Still, once you let it go, once the pen lifts from the paper, it's not yours anymore.

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