Monday, January 18, 2016


How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness every where!
And yet this time removed was summer’s time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.
- William Shakespeare, "Sonnet 97" (1609)


FreeThinke said...


___________ A January Man __________

Ghandi set the pattern for your feet ––
Needing methods that could overthrow
Ingrained –– entrenched –– Injustice you faced heat
Ku-Klux-Klansmen lit to bring you low.
Looking Terror squarely in the face
Many would have flinched, but you stood firm.
Relentlessly you gave courage to your race ––
Oppressed –– assessed as lower than a worm!
Truth and Courage were your sword and shield.
Cleansing us from same you spoke aloud
Of mindless meanness –– our disgrace revealed.
Despite denials, our heads are bowed.
O, martyred man of God, you had one flaw
They say, but we look back on you with awe.

~ FreeThinke - The Sandpiper, Winter 1996-97

-FJ said...

One of the benefits I had hoped that America would derive from Barack Obama's presidency was a reduction in the African-American need for maintaining political "separateness" once a Black man held the highest political office and political equal-rights-of-intermarriage had been successfully demonstrated. I had hoped that Plato's "Golden Chord" would replace the silver. I suppose only time will tell.

from the Jowett summary of Plato's, "Statesman" The good legislator can implant by education the higher principles; and where they exist there is no difficulty in inserting the lesser human bonds, by which the State is held together; these are the laws of intermarriage, and of union for the sake of offspring. Most persons in their marriages seek after wealth or power; or they are clannish, and choose those who are like themselves,--the temperate marrying the temperate, and the courageous the courageous. The two classes thrive and flourish at first, but they soon degenerate; the one become mad, and the other feeble and useless. This would not have been the case, if they had both originally held the same notions about the honourable and the good; for then they never would have allowed the temperate natures to be separated from the courageous, but they would have bound them together by common honours and reputations, by intermarriages, and by the choice of rulers who combine both qualities. The temperate are careful and just, but are wanting in the power of action; the courageous fall short of them in justice, but in action are superior to them: and no state can prosper in which either of these qualities is wanting. The noblest and best of all webs or states is that which the royal science weaves, combining the two sorts of natures in a single texture, and in this enfolding freeman and slave and every other social element, and presiding over them all.

'Your picture, Stranger, of the king and statesman, no less than of the Sophist, is quite perfect.'

FreeThinke said...

___ Winter Haiku ___

A Champagne bottle
Placed in anticipation
Of a heavy snow

Stands erect, and waits
To see itself get buried
In a crystal shroud.

Can bubbly wine freeze
Or lose its sparkling luster
Buried in the snow?

If not, when snow starts
To melt, Champagne should be chilled
And ready to drink.

Could a better time
To stage a celebration
Be than when snow thaws?

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

___ SNOW HAIKU ___

Fresh snow at sunset
Trees glistening quietly
In pink and copper tones.

Snow covered branches
Thaw, then turn to crystal lace
Gleaming in sun light.

Melting on the ground
As snow deserts the branches
Black twigs claw the sky.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

It sifts from leaden sieves,

It powders all the wood,

It fills with alabaster wool

The wrinkles of the road.
It makes an even face

Of mountain and of plain––-

Unbroken forehead from the east

Unto the east again.
It reaches to the fence,
It wraps it, rail by rail,

Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil
On stump and stack and stem––-

The summer's empty room,

Acres of seams where harvests were,

Recordless, but for them.
It ruffles wrists of posts,

As ankles of a queen––

Then stills its artisans like ghosts,

Denying they have been.

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

FreeThinke said...

I hope this is the last
We'll hear of it this year.
Though melted now, I fear
‘Tis driven into ground.

We've seen and heard so much
About these frozen veils
That now the subject fails
With meaning to redound.

The end seems near at last,
So then what must we do?
Is conversation through?
Could topics new be found?

A metaphor for Time
It symbolizes Passing
Of all the years amassing
Behind us without sound.

For we too like the snow
Have been and done our best––
Or worst––and soon must rest
Then blend into the ground.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

____________ LONDON SNOW ____________

When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
___ Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
___ Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
___ All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;
___ And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled—marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
___ The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
___ Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;
___ Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder,
“O look at the trees!” they cried, “O look at the trees!”
___ With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,
A country company long dispersed asunder:
 ___ When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul’s high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
___ For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go:
___ But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labor and sorrow slumber
At the sight of the beauty that greets them,
___ for the charm they have broken.

~ Robert Bridges, 1844 - 1930

FreeThinke said...

When icicles hang by the wall,
___ And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
___ And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipped, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
________ To-whoo;
To-whit, to-whoo, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
___ And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
___ And Marian’s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
________ To-whoo;
To-whit, to-whoo, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

~ William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
From “Love’s Labor ’s Lost,” Act V. Sc. 2

FreeThinke said...

________ TWO by FROST ________

There's a patch of old snow in a corner

That I should have guessed

Was a blow-away paper the rain

Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if

Small print overspread it,
he news of a day I've forgotten ––

If I ever read it.

~ Robert Frost (1874-1953)

_ Dust of Snow _

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

~ Robert Frost (1874-1963)

FreeThinke said...

____ The Snow Storm ____

No hawk hangs over in this air:
The urgent snow is everywhere.
The wing adroiter than a sail
Must lean away from such a gale,
Abandoning its straight intent,
Or else expose tough ligament
And tender flesh to what before
Meant dampened feathers, nothing more.
Forceless upon our backs there fall
Infrequent flakes hexagonal,
Devised in many a curious style
To charm our safety for a while,
Where close to earth like mice we go
Under the horizontal snow.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

-FJ said...

Your poems rest in good company, FT.

FreeThinke said...

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


No matter what life you lead
the virgin is a lovely number:
cheeks as fragile as cigarette paper,
arms and legs made of Limoges,
lips like Vin Du Rhône,
rolling her china-blue doll eyes
open and shut.
Open to say,
Good Day Mama,
and shut for the thrust
of the unicorn.
She is unsoiled.
She is as white as a bonefish.

Once there was a lovely virgin
called Snow White.
Say she was thirteen.
Her stepmother,
a beauty in her own right,
though eaten, of course, by age,
would hear of no beauty surpassing her own.
Beauty is a simple passion,
but, oh my friends, in the end
you will dance the fire dance in iron shoes.
The stepmother had a mirror to which she referred--
something like the weather forecast--
a mirror that proclaimed
the one beauty of the land.
She would ask,
Looking glass upon the wall,
who is fairest of us all?
And the mirror would reply,
You are the fairest of us all.
Pride pumped in her like poison.

Suddenly one day the mirror replied,
Queen, you are full fair, 'tis true,
but Snow White is fairer than you.
Until that moment Snow White
had been no more important
than a dust mouse under the bed.
But now the queen saw brown spots on her hand
and four whiskers over her lip
so she condemned Snow White
to be hacked to death.
Bring me her heart, she said to the hunter,
and I will salt it and eat it.
The hunter, however, let his prisoner go
and brought a boar's heart back to the castle.
The queen chewed it up like a cube steak.
Now I am fairest, she said,
lapping her slim white fingers.


FreeThinke said...

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


Snow White walked in the wildwood
for weeks and weeks.
At each turn there were twenty doorways
and at each stood a hungry wolf,
his tongue lolling out like a worm.
The birds called out lewdly,
talking like pink parrots,
and the snakes hung down in loops,
each a noose for her sweet white neck.
On the seventh week
she came to the seventh mountain
and there she found the dwarf house.
It was as droll as a honeymoon cottage
and completely equipped with
seven beds, seven chairs, seven forks
and seven chamber pots.
Snow White ate seven chicken livers
and lay down, at last, to sleep.

The dwarfs, those little hot dogs,
walked three times around Snow White,
the sleeping virgin. They were wise
and wattled like small czars.
Yes. It's a good omen,
they said, and will bring us luck.
They stood on tiptoes to watch
Snow White wake up. She told them
about the mirror and the killer-queen
and they asked her to stay and keep house.
Beware of your stepmother,
they said.
Soon she will know you are here.
While we are away in the mines
during the day, you must not
open the door.

Looking glass upon the wall . . .
The mirror told
and so the queen dressed herself in rags
and went out like a peddler to trap Snow White.
She went across seven mountains.
She came to the dwarf house
and Snow White opened the door
and bought a bit of lacing.
The queen fastened it tightly
around her bodice,
as tight as an Ace bandage,
so tight that Snow White swooned.
She lay on the floor, a plucked daisy.
When the dwarfs came home they undid the lace
and she revived miraculously.
She was as full of life as soda pop.
Beware of your stepmother,
they said.
She will try once more.

Snow White, the dumb bunny,
opened the door
and she bit into a poison apple
and fell down for the final time.
When the dwarfs returned
they undid her bodice,
they looked for a comb,
but it did no good.
Though they washed her with wine
and rubbed her with butter
it was to no avail.
She lay as still as a gold piece.

The seven dwarfs could not bring themselves
to bury her in the black ground
so they made a glass coffin
and set it upon the seventh mountain
so that all who passed by
could peek in upon her beauty.
A prince came one June day
and would not budge.
He stayed so long his hair turned green
and still he would not leave.
The dwarfs took pity upon him
and gave him the glass Snow White--
its doll's eyes shut forever--
to keep in his far-off castle.
As the prince's men carried the coffin
they stumbled and dropped it
and the chunk of apple flew out
of her throat and she woke up miraculously.

And thus Snow White became the prince's bride.
The wicked queen was invited to the wedding feast
and when she arrived there were
red-hot iron shoes,
in the manner of red-hot roller skates,
clamped upon her feet.
First your toes will smoke
and then your heels will turn black
and you will fry upward like a frog,
she was told.
And so she danced until she was dead,
a subterranean figure,
her tongue flicking in and out
like a gas jet.
Meanwhile Snow White held court,
rolling her china-blue doll eyes open and shut
and sometimes referring to her mirror
as women do.

~ Anne Sexton (1928-1974)

FreeThinke said...

_____________ SENTINELS ____________

Shovels poised in frozen arms they stand
Noiselessly and guard the homeward paths ––
Obese, rotund, avuncular. The land
White around them drifts like bubble baths,
Moving not, however, as those do.
Enisled in sparkling crystal’s frozen mass
Not one of them a mate will e’er pursue.
Stoically poised above the grass
Panda-like with eyes of coal they wait
Impassively, and do not even flinch,
Recoil or shrink at barbarous crimes of hate.
Instead, they wait for warmth, then-inch-by-inch––
Tired––shrinking––soundless––mix with mud
Soberly to join the Springtime Flood.

~ FreeThinke - The Sandpiper

FreeThinke said...

________ SONNET LXXIII ________

That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see'st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west;

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,

Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.

This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.

~ William Shakespeare (1564-1616)