Sunday, September 20, 2015


NO HEAVY SUIT OF ARMOR...silver shields, for me no swords; 
no piercing flesh of villains...beasts, collecting of rewards; 
no sweeping gestures, long incisive glances, wisdom words;
no grit, no faith unshakable, no gentlemen’s accords;  
no gallant crossing of the perilous and icy fjords;  
no solitary rides to distant hills—no joining them (the hordes);
no fending of the sick and weak, obeying of the lords;  
no entrances so grand—dramatic exits non towards 
bold adventures and novel romances no heart affords.

Hear me now, and hear me well:  This "I" can't heal (nor can save). 
I’m only knight in name. I'm mortal—just like you!  I'm slave 
to whim of time and space, to every nameless shallow grave. 
It's only when this "I" can be, that it does—like a wave
I wash you over when we meet.  But wave does not behave  
as does a weathered shoreline, bearing clouds, or sun.  Can't brave 
the storms at night, give sight to blind, or tame the crimson light.
Escape this body, ask you, Oust the soul?  Can not.  Can't fight
the human life in you, erase what I had never write.  

Listen: Within life (the real and the true), I do alright
(even great), by being myself—naked, cracked, and finite.
Sometimes that is all I need to be, it’s enough, despite
what you may believe, have thought, or felt; and in fact it's quite
counter to what we’re told, that one must shine, as color white— 
perfect, pure.  But could it be, that mud is all that you need,
To paint the soldiers' footsteps (men whose hearts are torn and bleed), 
to paint the shores drenched in rain, and that gasping flower seed— 
downing mud and drinking with unadulterated greed?

Yes at times romantic, hero, Arash, at times the knight,
this "I" could ride the horse of wisdom, up some thrilling height,  
to mark the bounds—with arrow flying swiftly out of sight—
of Persia-Tūrān**, of the dream and truth, of day and night. 
But knight can only be a knight by Poet's august might;
and when the faithful poet, He withdraws, it sinks (in fright)
my lifeless hands; and writhe these drunk heroic words—they flag, 
like the tamest souls of the wildest preys thus trapped, 
or last words of poem, pickled, silence-tickled.

* The poem was inspired in part by legend of Arash Kamangir or Arash-e-Kamangir (read: Āraŝ e Kamāngir; translate: Arash-the-Archer), an archer from Persian mythology, specifically, Ferdowsi's Shahnameh. 

** In Shahnameh, Turan was at war with Iran/Persia.  Arash's bowshot decided the boundary between the two sides.

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