In The Far Great West
The things we used to believe
we called it poetry, we called it song.
With our dimly remembered impressions
of those revelatory days of our youth,
can we even acknowledge the remnants?
Walk a while again in the weeds and dust,
was it betrayal, then forgiveness and trust?
The bright words spin about, coalesce, then
flutter upon the screen, gathering imperatives.
Is there no sense of recognition, do the tones,
rhythms, cadences awaken no memories for you?
The renegade is gone, the far country is near,
hasten to the day, abandon all your fear.
We talk again of delights, feasts for the eyes,
this collection of DNA bits and bytes hailed as
the new revolution. The antidote for greed,
maternal embrace at newcomerís arrival,
oxytocinís touch, reach out now, cathedral
grovesí inspiration, humble humankindís
jubilations and laments are all that can prevent
catastrophe, heal the planet, pay the rent.
Billions to bail out the banker boys, but
not one red cent to promote compassion.
The wretched edifice ready to topple
into an unholy mess, only salvation
is Old Abeís appeal to our better angels.
We knew it then, and should know it still
but if you donít embrace the world
wholeheartedly, you wonít hear the word.
Hop to it, scotch the rumors, spike the guns,
break out the rum, silence the drums.
Thereís hope left, but there must be precise
navigation to pace our way from this dismal place,
only the best intentions can break us out of this
prison of capitalist calculations run amok.
Now youíre waiting for the crescendo, the familiar
refrains, the well-studied verses and quatrains.
Beware, that which comes with the dawn can dispel
certainties of the night and leave vulnerable to dayís
new disharmonies that no maestro can remedy.
Keeping pace with the second hand,
elan vital, every moment unrehearsed,
timeís advantages become the syncopation
for the bright-faced childís recreation of
the Big Bang, choreographed in accord
with eternal, universal, beneficent optimism.
So weíve spun the dials again, turned knobs,
tweaked the catís whiskers to apprehend
the soulís appassionato and behold,
the choice is ours, cast away the dirges,
throw back the dark curtains, bask again
in the golden rays, bathe in autumnís
first rains. The seeds are stirring,
everythingís turning, pick your spot,
state your case, play your tune,
this is all, this is everything, this is you,
reclaim your heart, find your voice,
take flight to the higher ground.
---Jack Oakes 9/28/09