Love and the Sublime
by Rori O’Keeffe
Copyright © 2016 by Rori O’Keeffe
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Sweet Sentiment Saves Me
These moments with their lustre in your presence
Tick as the world spins its wrath my way;
A web of others’ deceit has ensnared my life,
But with you my retreat is itself a new day.
Vengeance curled its fist ‘round my heart
Till I felt my blood stinging at their laughter;
Not a word said I to their empty sockets,
For I knew that I would feel your ribs after.
It was a year of thorny torment, with demonic
Slipping of the noose around my neck;
I could crawl away, wrecked by their scourge -
Those hours were a wasteland’s lonesome trek.
I’ve never had much feeling for the shining sun -
It comes to me too late in the day;
By the moon I’ve made my way in this world,
By glimmering fountains I quietly play.
I strain the rope not to laugh madly;
I’ve disposed of the earth over my grave.
I have no taste of iron on my tongue,
With teeth on my dagger, I’m mild yet brave.
A song sung by owls enchants the forest,
For who but they can spot what’s wise?
I heard your shining voice in the chorus,
And sensed a moment within your eyes.
You, from the lake, held up as a sword,
May return there still one enshrouded day;
But with you I can battle all my demons,
Withering they are at the news that I play.
No knife in cold hearts can slay such beasts;
Only love’s warm bath and the moon’s silver beam
Can hold them at bay while you, my friend,
Soothingly pull me from their eyes all agleam.
Still I wonder at the war you have won;
Still, I feel your stirring within me.
The demons you slew may laugh no more,
And now I ask what our love will be.
This cratered landscape we call our home,
Is where your brave spirit rose over my bed;
I look up at you as the owl turns away,
And know that soon, we shall also be dead.
Nothingness used to enthrall me,
With its candy stores and tasks without end;
Laziness has crept into my bones,
And my gaze softens your will till it bends.
Dear lover, don’t leave this fine table -
The bread I will serve goes well with my wine.
Gentle you are as you pull out my chair,
A promise to never be a demon of mine.
The trees have watched as you made time slip away,
And leave me with not a single foe;
You may follow me now to my bed by the garden -
We have sown the one sweet sentiment we know.
Nothing is what it seems to be,
Though things are what they just are;
Our love is plain and unadorned,
Spangled with mirth as we play.
A man was shot down south -
What colour was the man?
Blue lives taken, a politician sighs,
And again people see what is not there.
Others’ cruel fantasies continually intrude,
And our boat is buffeted by those gales
That turn on us from the direction of the TV,
And insist that our love is in vain:
Is it not selfish to smile while the world
Is so vicious?
Can we not feel the futility of love?
Nothing can withstand the madness of the crowds -
They’ll drink the blood of misery
Till doom cracks open its face
And the fossils emerge from ancient ground
To dance as we make way to our graves.
A Universe that may be eternal,
That may be ephemeral,
And that certainly touches us
Through an ether,
Signs that our woes matter not a trifle,
And the butterfly is as real as you or I.
We are but ghosts, feeling substance for a time -
It is a gift, this illusion of being;
But glad we are to return to the mist
That rolls over the waters of this world.
I come down from my hill now,
To look the mad in their shimmering eyes:
What was here before us, shall gladly take us back;
What follows from us is our voice
Given to the ages of this world we visit.
You only are what you were before your birth;
You can only be what you’ll ever be after you die;
Love this moment, with all its artifice;
We are alive, and so the rest of my story
Those who cannot see others, kill them;
Embrace the madness
Of love, and leave others be;
We’ll dance ‘round our graves for a time,
Then return to the quiet of mysterious existence.
I am a knot in the wood,
I am an eddy in the stream,
I am seen, yet not here for long;
Love me as you would the gold,
Or the moon, sun and stars,
If you also wish to possess their light.
Love me for a moment,
That’s where it all begins.
Love yourself as well,
And grant me that right of living,
And soon we’ll dance by our very graves,
And return to the mist, whence we came.
A world that roots its self-understanding in a dream world of illusion is bound to overlook sublime truths and what those truths lead us to: An appreciation of the power of love. Two poems, ~820 words. No adult-only content.