reperiendi

Better than anything 1

Posted in Poetry by Mike Stay on 2011 March 31

Better than memories wholesale,
Better than lasers on mars,
Better than alien obelisks
Chock full of stars,

Better than blade runners dreaming,
Better than spice that must flow,
Better than River and reavers,
Better than lightsaber glow,

Better than “Dammit, I’m a doc!”
Or simply “fascinating” Spock,
Better than anything except being in love.

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The Best is Lost

Posted in Poetry by Mike Stay on 2011 February 19

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and laurel they go: but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains – but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love –
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind:
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

– Edna St Vincent Millay

The Word of God

Posted in Astronomy, Chemistry, Evolution, General physics, History, Poetry, Theocosmology by Mike Stay on 2010 November 3

From desert cliff and mountaintop we trace the wide design,
Strike-slip fault and overthrust and syn and anticline…
We gaze upon creation where erosion makes it known,
And count the countless aeons in the banding of the stone.
Odd, long-vanished creatures and their tracks & shells are found;
Where truth has left its sketches on the slate below the ground.
The patient stone can speak, if we but listen when it talks.
Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the rocks.

There are those who name the stars, who watch the sky by night,
Seeking out the darkest place, to better see the light.
Long ago, when torture broke the remnant of his will,
Galileo recanted, but the Earth is moving still.
High above the mountaintops, where only distance bars,
The truth has left its footprints in the dust between the stars.
We may watch and study or may shudder and deny,
Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the sky.

By stem and root and branch we trace, by feather, fang and fur,
How the living things that are descend from things that were.
The moss, the kelp, the zebrafish, the very mice and flies,
These tiny, humble, wordless things–how shall they tell us lies?
We are kin to beasts; no other answer can we bring.
The truth has left its fingerprints on every living thing.
Remember, should you have to choose between them in the strife,
Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote life.

And we who listen to the stars, or walk the dusty grade,
Or break the very atoms down to see how they are made,
Or study cells, or living things, seek truth with open hand.
The profoundest act of worship is to try to understand.
Deep in flower and in flesh, in star and soil and seed,
The truth has left its living word for anyone to read.
So turn and look where best you think the story is unfurled.
Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the world.

-Catherine Faber, The Word of God

Soliton

Posted in Poetry by Mike Stay on 2010 May 7

With a stroke, the pilot glides forward across the lake.
He does not know the names of the vortices cast off by his oar;
Neither is he known to the Sun.

Job, Isaiah, Percy, Sting

Posted in Poetry by Mike Stay on 2007 February 3

Job 30: 29
29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.

Isa 13:19-22
19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.
21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.
22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Isa. 34: 11-15
11 ¶ But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.
12 They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing.
13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.
14 The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.
15 There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.

Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:–Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley

Mad about you

A stone’s throw from Jerusalem
I walked a lonely mile in the moonlight
And though a million stars were shining
My heart was lost on a distant planet
That whirls around the April moon
Whirling in an arc of sadness
I’m lost without you, I’m lost without you

Though all my kingdoms turn to sand and fall into the sea
I’m mad about you, I’m mad about you

And from the dark secluded valleys
I heard the ancient songs of sadness
But every step I thought of you
Every footstep only you
Every star a grain of sand
The leavings of a dried up ocean
Tell me, how much longer,
How much longer?

They say a city in the desert lies
The vanity of an ancient king
But the city lies in broken pieces
Where the wind howls and the vultures sing
These are the works of man
This is the sum of our ambition
It would make a prison of my life
If you became another’s wife

With every prison blown to dust, my enemies walk free
I’m mad about you, I’m mad about you

And I have never in my life
Felt more alone than I do now
Although I claim dominions over all I see
It means nothing to me
There are no victories
In all our histories
Without love

A stone’s throw from Jerusalem
I walked a lonely mile in the moonlight
And though a million stars were shining
My heart was lost on a distant planet
That whirls around the April moon
Whirling in an arc of sadness
I’m lost without you, I’m lost without you

And though you hold the keys to ruin of everything I see
With every prison blown to dust, my enemies walk free
Though all my kingdoms turn to sand and fall into the sea
I’m mad about you, I’m mad about you.

— Gordon Matthew ‘Sting’ Sumner

Exile

Posted in Poetry by Mike Stay on 2007 January 24

I find this intensely moving.

Exile
by Douglas Stay

In a strange, distant land, by decree of the king
I journey down roads that are foreign.
The faces are stone when I’m so far from home,
And the words and the fields seem barren.
An echo of home in the silence of stars
In the breeze as it blows in the morning
My memory fails as I tell myself tales
Hearing ravens cry their shrill warning.
I awake in the night hearing voices I love
Drift away like the leaves in November
And the flavor of bread as these far paths I tread
Recalls meals from the edge of remember.
Oh! The banners we made in a hurry that day
Seem to fly in the corners of vision.
Passing shadows at night play tricks on my sight
Till the star of the morning has risen.
I long for the day when the years pass away,
And my time in exile has ended.
I will make my way home, to my fortress of stone
And the walls that so long I defended.