Thursday, January 04, 2024

Finding a Stable Place in Life

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Stephen Kingsnorth
—Poetry by Stephen Kingsnorth,
Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain 


Raised arms, fall leaves, round earring drops,
or light and dark as interweaved,
turban colour palette range,
cloth flaming red, flamenco mood,
some grace displayed, bringer of peace,
or chestnut, dun to chocolate—
to what is your attention drawn?

So, given choice, what do you see,
intended focus of the lens,
however spun, imagery,
perverse, refuse the given guide,
decline the angle fed, the line,
new vanish point, horizons seek,
bring fresh eyes to the given site?
 —Public Domain Photo


Observing things is easier
than people and their inner styles.
Is it that I fear plumbing eyes,
that peering may reveal our lives,
a pupil, mirror of sore times?

A distant scene of crouch, or limb—
a risk to go out on a whim—
a portrait studied, easel pinned,
no interaction, subject fixed,
landscape, horizon nailed with ease.

A changing light, the moving sight,
an echo sounding in my thoughts,
the sensibility about—
these I can manage, smith a phrase,
without risk facing self-doubt times.

So take the couch and pillow rest,
from bird-hide let me watch awhile,
binoculars at focal length,
my notebook, as the laptop is,
record the plumage, call and bill.
  —Public Domain Photo


Observe, pose questions, invite muse,
invoke the mystic harmonies
to share those universal traits,
as guide to where dilemmas rise.
For most there are no arguments,
the settled view from hinterland,
the mindset of bequested news,
suffice, prolong the status quo.
So how do we, pop-culture means
enable wider readership,
or present, open-mike terrain,
in entertainment to present
the causes crying out for thought,
those issues, cul-de-sac, by root?
The transfer, print to web alert
a starting point, but maybe void,
unless we infiltrate the more,
find lingua franca, maybe wall,
graffiti artist, streetwise call?
I like anthologies in print,
but who will notice, gogglebox,
submissions sent with bio, pix,
and who picks scent up from the trail?
 —Public Domain Photo

Who lifts the lid on torture ways
when folk hoodwinked, ‘We don’t do that’,
those lashes laid on our behalf,
to prove our free, democracy?
Regimes of which we disapprove
despite crossed choices, ballot box,
though who is ‘we’ who tells us so—
can, dare we trust what’s classified?

So lift the lids and look again
beyond those hoods who blinker eyes
or flutter lashes, whip up charm,
and see the spectacle for real.
Old men dream dreams, night vision reel,
unless the prism intervenes,
rays bent, refracted spectrum sent,
and ‘white’ light bows to rainbow range.

So am I conned, white purity,
or know that site diversity?  
A sight of promise, covenant
to the whole world, not just our part.
Whatever name you know god by,
’tis greater, ear heard or eye seen.
Few ‘I’s have eyes, that see afresh,  
for tromp l’oeil, most humankind. 
  —Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Stephen Kingsnorth

We know they’re filtered, coffee grounds—
the same for sound bites that we hear,
now with AI, the site’s not clear,
but open-eyed—save tromp l’oeil?
For fear, deception, anchor points,
like verify on broadcast news,
so, spot what differs, puzzle page,
my belt and braces, shapes compared.
When talking to the colour blind,
I know their blue is brown to me,
so labels differ, spectrum’s range,
but they still know when autumn dressed.
One may be day—a sunny beach—
the other night with limelight shift;
but reason and experience
suggests art trickery afoot.
We need our seers, with second sight—
I call them poets in disguise—
who see beyond first glancing show,
wait long enough for afterglow.
Perhaps it’s back to stand and stare,
maybe reflect what’s really there,
the tree from Eden to the skull,
or Bodhi lore, to contemplate.
The more I see of canopy,
the acorn with inherent growth,
webbed mycorrhiza underneath,
I see tree teleology.
For if alone, this tree in pose,
unsettles me with eroteme,
the Greenman has fulfilled his cause,
and pilgrimage for me begun.
  —Public Domain Photo

After “Journey of the Magi” by T.S. Eliot

This was the first, met spoken Word,
of players demythologised.
Epiphany to me at least,
a caravan entrenched in sand,
as seekers of new star bogged down,
of graphic Zoroastrians,
who took the hump, cold comfort nights,
their awning dawning, wake up call.

Did Matthew—wise adopted name—
write for a readership of Jews,
that gentile flock towards their God,
or was it universal claim,
that aliens saw where others blind?

Ariel view, tense future past,
the end of magic in three trees—
so Sycorax might testify—
as this old sage finds death awaits,
cribbed lines, divines who wrote before,
travelogue printed just in time.

The numinous unstable fare
if God incarnate born to die.
  —Public Domain Photo


Homage, that the fitting word
for wise, whose site, epiphany.
Their lids provided second sight,
mind-eyes for reading, dawning light,
as pause for heat of daytime drowse.
The night sky featured starry tail,
alongside bear and crab and scales,
a falling cataract of tales,
burning onto day-doze screen.

This travelogue, what purpose filled?
To show that Persia bowed the knee,
and Zarathustra dumbly heard?
Or foreign faith perceived the sign
that home-grown scholars failed to see?
Rebuke, or sympathetic ear—
what is this editor’s affair?
And do we recognise its terms,
so busy casting class with crowns?

Before the men were counted three,
and coronation made them kings—
who else holds gold, incense and myrrh?
Unless a parable declared
assume the trinity of bearers fact,
and goldilocks historic girl?
Yet prose and poetry surround
a journey through the desert sand
to find a stable place in life.


Today’s LittleNip:

The whole present moment was a celebration; it always had been; all I needed was fresh eyes to see it.

—Narissa Doumani


Our thanks to Stephen Kingsnorth for today’s post, based on a recent Kitchen Seed of the Week: Fresh Eyes. Epiphany, celebrated in the Christian world on January 6 this year, symbolizes those fresh eyes—new hope for the world. New hope—we can all use a fresh batch of that!

Poetry Unplugged returns to The Silver Lining Cocktail Bar (formerly Luna’s Cafe) in Sacramento tonight, 8pm. Lara Gularte will be facilitating an Ekphrastic workshop at the Switchboard Gallery in Placerville today at 5:30pm. And there will be an all-open mic at Poetry Night Reading Series in Davis, 7pm. Click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS ( for details about these and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.
The January Issue of Sacramento Poetry Center's Poet News is now available at


A whole new year! Time to get our…
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