The Sweetness (poem)

How sweet is thine air
By this river in Spring
In thy forest of nature’s virtue
Whose melting ice quenches
Creatures that are free
Where you live removed
From men who struggle
In the dust of millenniums
Where hard rock is their pillow
Piercing sirens their night
As maidens overcome you
In midsummer night dreams

How soft is your bed
How warm is thine love
How wondrous are thy trees
That shelter you like heaven
How omnipotent is thy bounty
How ignorant the peasant
Who knows not the forest where you live
Who touches not
The mercy of water

How plush are thy blessings
How esteemed is thy character
How many days have you lay here
Soothed by rivers of rain
Outside your window
Listening to the rolling thunder
The same crash of lightning
In your wooded paradise
That terrifies…. the urchins of the city
Lost in tunnels
Riding trains that go only in circles
Where they sleep off the poison
Never to know this nectar
Hoping only for tomorrow
Thankful even for their misery
To be alive to witness
To find the one bench meant for them
In the rising metropolis

How delicate is thy moss
Growing on rounded rocks
In the gentle sound of thine brook
Where tiny silver fishes
Darted all Summer
Until red fire leaves of autumn fell

How beautiful are thy children
Who do not fall into gutters
Where slaves are seeking refuge
From the storms of man
Spent like old women
Bent down to memory and failure
How sweet is thy feast
How powerful is thy invitation
Even thy garbage…. exceeds the value of men
Who cannot find you
Who know not thy purpose
Having none but to prove
Permission to exist
For another day

How god-like are thy statues
In the beauty of your garden
Where flowers give quench
To hummingbirds
You are awakened…. Each morning
To the paradise of birds larking
Unlike the nicotine stained paper hotel
In dregs of Gotham
Where disheveled old men
Cough desperately for air
Coughing up the violent phlegm
Of their failing lives
Coughing up the coins
For another pack…. of coffin nails

How beautiful is thy mausoleum
How fortified thy name
Carved in stone for generations to see
Protected from all things old, dark, and fleeting
Unlike runaways
Forced to sell their virtue
Found dead after tasting the seed of despair
Never found, never living, never unbound
From the chains of no name
Freezing, hiding
From warriors who imprison them
Runaways cast from wombs
Beaten by half men fathers
Children never believing
They are anything but whores

How quiet and serene is thy night
How romantic is thy moon
How tranquil thy books
How treasured thy travels
How artful thy artifacts
How secure thy coat of arms
How bless-ed thy line of blood
Unspilled like murder.... on masses of men
Huddled by campfires
With bottles of wine
A long way down your river
Some of whom will awaken tomorrow
Unfrozen, not yet stiffs in the night
The lice-laden, rat-nipped
Torn shatters of men along the banks
Hell bent for eternity under bridges
Drinking poison to kill poison
Desperately seeking the sleep of humanity
Losing all grip on their sanity

How tweed and handsome is thy woolen suit
That fleeced the lambs of slaughter
How tender is the beauty…. of your daughter
How strong and right your sons
How lucky was your mother
For thy plate was filled.... thy cup has flowed
Thy measure made to stone
Thy very house.... thy very life
Thy very deed.... thy honor
But why... ever did you live
What seed have you sewn
That your children divide your lot
That your name live on and on
Neither yours nor mine…. is any of this
At the hour of your time

edited 2006Ja09Mo: Changed "How tweed and noble" to "How tweed and handsome". Also removed question marks in last lines.
edited 2009 July 20 Mo: Changed "Like midsummer night dreams" to "In midsummer night dreams"

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© Vincent B. Rain