By John Lawrence Nazareth
The daybreak creeps in with the morn.
Under the sun’s first kiss,
The swooning night has slipped away,
And with it flee the dreams of creatures
Gently swaying in the stars’ soft light.
The raucous jay
Leads the daybreak’s chirping squad.
And now the trees,
Silent watchmen in the moon’s soft glow,
The shadows in the heart that lengthen with the day
Are just a shadow of themselves.
And tears that moistened eyelids laid to sleep
Have dried and, in their places, drops of dew
Are testament to yet another morning fresh with hope.
A fragile truce prevails.
A Dance of Hope and Despair
Finger not the tightening noose, in hope;
Better to have wilted like a flower
When the spring runs dry.
In the depths of marshes the serpent waters are running.
Why are our eyes shut to the heavens?
Sealed, cast-iron eyelids,
Blinkers of desire.
Across the full moon the wild geese are flying.
In every orchard the fruit ripens.
Why am I only now planting seeds?
Icicles of weariness slowly dripping.
A dreary winter slowly turning to a heady spring?
Or is it just the candles flickering?
As Duty propels on a path lit but dimly.
An ink-smeared sky leers at the travelers
And clouds blot out, one by one, the mirages on the road.
Haze, and by the wayside tinder waits for the spark.
Then, slowly, colors run over the sky.
Against the dark silhouettes
Of steeples and palm trees.
The gilt-edged hour
As the sun descends to the frozen underworld,
And the welcoming cries come up but faintly.
Ah! How stealthy is the night’s advance.
Shiva – Destroyer of Man
“Restless Wind, where art thou blowing?”
“Deep into caves of timeless unknowing.
Mournful my cry and sadly I whistle,
I startle the leaves, awaking the thistle.
Mine is the task to tear up the oak
(I must feed the flames of the fires that I stoke).
I heed not imploring arms as I scatter his seed,
But endless my bounty to a poor earth-grown weed.
That, then, is my duty: uprooting in Time,
For destruction in your eyes is abuilding in mine.”
“But have you no pity for the cries that you hear?
And have you no mercy, will you not heed a tear?
The wet of my cheek, the dew of the morn?
Pray, tell me your secret, do you not blow forlorn?”
“I am old Father William and will not long here tarry,
But, by God, do you think that to mercy I’d marry?
Mine is the task to waste and to burn,
Light flames on an altar and when will I turn?
When the mainspring of Time at last has run down,
Then my footsteps will falter, and then will I drown.
But now runs my ploughshare, sharp-honed and keen,
Through the fat of the earth and, aye, through the lean.
Long run the furrows — straight and defined,
With long and deep furrows will your brow be lined,
And from seeds strewn within will the breed of my mind
Spring with song soft and happy and, aye, also kind.”
John Lawrence (Larry) Nazareth is a mathematical and algorithmic scientist by profession and an avocational writer. These three poems are taken from his booklet of twenty-one poems, Three Faces of God and Other Poems, Apollo Printing, Berkeley, California (1986), which can now be obtained in an on-line (pdf) version, free-of-charge, by sending a request to the following email: email@example.com .