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Selected Poems of Steven Curtis Lance

Displaying Poems 1526 thru 1550 of 2765 Poems

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Jan 3, 2008, 5:16 pm


Compassion Fatigue

Those things you think so therefore think you see
Concrete with your own eyes as though complete
As how it is so far from me so near
To you which you then call reality
An inescapable cage at the zoo
Which you find conclusive so you repeat
As though I have to hear them slow to hear
Stay stubbornly invisible to me
You say it is hopeless but I will not

I know your numbers add the way they do
And threaten as you say no matter what
Then you add your threat of subtracting you
Which you will insist is not a threat but
Merely how merely my life has to be
I still remember one thing you forgot
I still believe my miracle will come
You say it is hopeless but I will not

If you have no hope left I still have some
You tried to help me and you give up now
I love you and I thought you loved me too
But I have to make my last stand somehow
And now I find myself out of your league
You tire of me now as of compassion
With warm words yet with eyes so cold so clear
I am alone again in my fashion
You say it is hopeless but I will not

Although as you know I was once like you
You judge me as unworthy to be here
I fell through the cracks down out of your league
Although before you were right here I was
Now a victim of compassion fatigue
Still I remain if victimized in pain
Although judged as unworthy to be here
If just to show the world (and you) again

You say it is hopeless but I will not

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVIII








Jan 1, 2008, 12:30 am


Birthday Meditation

31 December MMVII

It was better than it could have been and
Yet it could have been better than it was
But what it was and is (which is my hand
As dealt me) was to become my because

The answer which I came to understand
To "Why am I here?" My quest and my cause
Is but to leave it better than I found
It waiting for me to take up and be
(If sometimes squalid at other times grand)
Whatever I want now as I set free
My destiny found lying on the ground
As a wrapped gift by the side of the road

This compass which tells me where I am bound
How best to bear the burden share the load
Life gave me I must wear upon my back
This knowledge I need in order to grow
And how to love and live with what I lack
Or rather without what others might know
Who spoke into the dark without a sound
And told nothing since no one told them so

But that was back before I came around
I mean to make some noise before I go
And not go quietly into the dark
If there is to be fire I am the spark

Have I lived long enough? (How about you?)
I have not yet learned how to be a man
Despite what I have done and what I do
So I must keep doing the best I can
Although it might not be enough at last
And not go quietly into the dark
Into the dreary dustbin of the past
If there is to be fire: I am the spark

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 29, 2007, 10:33 pm


Water Music

My ashes soon will join the sea
I always enjoyed the beach
And passed my Sea Stones out for free
Such as I could afford to
And though I subtly sought to teach
Daresay I never bored you

I was not much but what I was
Brought us more credit than blame
I hope you will remember me
And smile when you say my name

My reach fulfilled its grasp because
My nights and days were the same
I saw the stars in squadrons storm
To scrub the sky and scour me
I sang the sea informed by form
And felt its waves empower me

My own Ash Wednesday sacrament
Will settle to the seabed
The equipoise we spoke and meant
In all those poems we read

As death from life is different
I will go to sea instead
And when I do remember please
That joy of understanding
When we shared poems such as these
Hearts pure and undemanding

Beneath the lamplight late at night
There was magic in the air
We spoke our hearts and heard them right
Now to be heard everywhere

Keep those old chewed-up manuscripts
I gave you and think of me
Poets like us are not for crypts
But to be part of the sea

My life your love our sea as one
In true triangularity
Will meet in the seaweed's tangle
Red seaweed dusted grey with me
Where jellyfish streamers dangle
Then rock the boat with a party

If when you pour some of me blows away
Sea breeze will breathe me in and it will say:

"We have a taste for poetry
As he who went to sea at last
Borne on my breath and carried free
Into the future from the past
The elements in harmony"

The sea will sing informed by form
Eternity empower me
The stars will swirl down in a swarm
Bright fireflies to devour me
As glorious life victorious loves me free

My beautiful children all I love you so
Celebrate your lives and mine when I must go

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 27, 2007, 9:30 pm


Son of a Gun

to Amanda Cardona for her twenty-fifth birthday

They say he first worked for the bad guys then
He saw he could work for the good guys when
They called him up not caring right from wrong
So slaughtered for both sides silent and strong
Since all he ever wanted was to kill
And this hunger was shared by other men

When he found out the good guys were worse than
The bad guys then he asked what kind of man
He was and his answer was to go mad
As honest killers have done and do still
His heart and mind broke beyond good and bad
Beyond the black breakwater of the will

I can finally understand him now
But used to seek to summon him somehow
To disappear imagined enemies
Who were not amenable to reason
One of my absent father fantasies
A childhood nightmare of killing season

And so my father Wallace Dean Lance was
A hitman for the cause of just because
Which seemed I suppose like reason enough
And now he is dead as I will die too
Should such time come as I can bear no more
Until then that which keeps me here is you

You and a certain curiosity
My hitman father passed along to me
Since I am here with my ticket paid for
Past pain to remain until our play ends
To place my rhyme in space and time and soar
Because unlike my father I have friends

Not friends with connections nor friends with guns
People like that are not friends anyway
Who go away when the going gets tough
But friends like you who are genuine ones
With whose help I am able to get through
The night that I might live a better day

Son of a hitman bad good and then mad
My father's life seems meaningless and sad
And though I have killed no one that you know
It is hard to stay and easy to go
Meaning costs more in the market these days
If I could afford some I would be glad

Balancing here on the blade of always
I mean to make atonement for the sin
Which burns in the blood of my family
And would prevent me before I begin
But there is a certain stubbornness in
A son of a hitman a son like me

If it can be done then I am the one
To balance the wheel: a son of a gun

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 24, 2007, 4:39 pm


Healing Waters

I found out last night I have lost everything
I lie on my bed and my cat lies on me
Through a weeping window which used to be mine
I can hear the Christmas bells of my church ring
I sigh here instead by a cup of cold tea
With faint hope of favor human or divine

Yet faint though it is it is hope just the same
Its spark fanned by the fact that people read me
Some who have suffered have come to trust my name
I hope they know I need them if they need me
And I feel like they can understand my shame

As I must leave my home now and slip away
Some other hurt hearts share this hurt poetry
These sharp and bloody shards of who I once was
Of who I am and we are even today
We are not dead yet and I still have my cat
My readers know how much I thank God for that

I will get up and go to the Plaza now
A place as improbable as me because
It survived through purity of heart somehow
And it only exists to make things better
At a time when it seems things could be no worse

Stray drops from the fountain mingle with my tears
There is love and beauty in the universe
Teardrop by teardrop and letter by letter
No matter what we win and lose through the years
Healing waters of the only home I know
Kiss my face one more time before I must go

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 23, 2007, 4:02 pm


Right Where You Are

If you enter a door
You exited before
Do you go anywhere
If no one knows you went?
You go out and come in
Receiving what is sent
But not from here to there
In linearity

Although you may go far
Should the journey allow
The point along the way
As you follow your star
Is not to go somewhere
But to be the wise say
Not to end nor begin
Never early nor late
At the corner where now
Intersects with your fate

Recipient of grace
Your purpose is to be
Now you are everywhere
And yet nowhere somehow
To neither lose nor win
But both to go and stay
In a state without place
In the smile on your face

To be right where you are

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 21, 2007, 12:04 am


I Finally Wept for My Father Today

I finally wept for my father today
The one who abandoned me when I was young
When he was young too then the years had their way
With us both while to the last he held his tongue
As I did but the silence is broken now

He was my father even though he was wrong
Time passed us and in the end would not allow
The reunion I hoped for yet feared so long
But the silence between us is broken now
Like my mother's heart so many years ago

Sometimes I feel I can hear the voices of
All of my dead loved and lost known and unknown
One of those things no one can prove but just know
What it feels like more than anything is love
Speaking in the silence when I am alone

Which makes me wonder what to be alone is
And if the next voice I might hear might be his

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 19, 2007, 9:13 pm


Being Me

I

I am embarrassed to seem a failure
When so many had been expecting me
Or maybe it was just my family

To have made them proud might have been the cure
But they were honest and they said they were

And now they have all gone into the light
As I have gone further into the dark
I will live simply and sleep in the park

Although a failure is what I might seem
I am still here now and I can still dream

II

If poor and sick and uncomfortable
Having made rather a mess of living
I am not one of the irritable
Who seem to prefer getting to giving

I give away such as I have to give
Which could be why I have so little now
Having hit bottom deciding to live
Against bad odds and good advice somehow

Everybody knows what is best for me
But I have to follow my destiny

III

My grandma thought it was I was too smart
She and her doctor were worried for me
Life broke my mind just like it broke her heart

I think my mother saw how it would be
But she married my father after all

My grandpa was not my grandfather but
With that perspective could see that my fall
Would lift my people up no matter what

What they all wanted was to make it right
But ran out of time as day became night

IV

My children love me and I love them too
They watch me curiously anyway
One eye made proud one blind by what I do
I think one or two of them might still pray

The future is impossible to see
In fact the present is pretty hazy
As the past slips slowly from memory
Every now and then someone goes crazy

Since someone has to do it I will be
Myself since I am best at being me

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 19, 2007, 1:56 am


Yes

Each day its world each life its universe
Which may turn upside down at any time
Where everything changes in a heartbeat
Often for better and sometimes for worse

Fortune can turn in shadowed pantomime
To prowl down an unfamiliar street
Where possibilities are limitless
And all one has to pay is to say yes

I want to live in the affirmative
At least I would like to try it awhile
After so long in its alternative
They say it takes less energy to smile

At least in that way a conservative
When it comes to shown emotion and such
I never had the optimistic touch
But I would live well if I am to live

Nor do I think I am asking too much
Where possibilities are limitless
If only here today or so they say
Since I am here I will stay and say yes

Yes to the future and yes to the past
To the only gift which I can afford
This present always opened first and last
The process of life in a single word

And all one has to pay is to say yes

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 17, 2007, 8:54 pm


Evolution Revolution

for and against those pictured within

What is it about the slamming of doors
Which characterizes bullies and boors?
What is it about the dread of it all
Which keeps us from walking down the dark hall?

A certain unevolved stupidity
Which takes delight in slamming and scaring
Belching and farting cursing and swearing
Would love to be the death of you and me

So lock up the doors the bullies and boors
And know the world is not theirs but is mine and yours
The world is wise and it belongs to us
However hard the unevolved might fight and fuss

So duck 'em and buck 'em and F**K 'em and never you mind:
Rear up on those hind legs of yours and leave the apes behind!

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 15, 2007, 1:40 pm


Suicide Note

My world is empty far as I can see
My enemy is not outside but in
I live incarcerated to die free
I die to live and as I lose I win
Another martyr of mortality

The reaper brings his scythe to lay me low
But cuts me free to fall so I can fly
My seed will sprout tomorrow bloom and grow
My way of life turns out to be to die

Up through the disappointed atmosphere
Of broken promises and poisoned dreams
Up up and away and away from here
Where hate enslaves and yet where love redeems

When there might seem to be no hope at all
Then autumn comes to free the leaf to fall
All that I am might seem like none at all
But my autumn is here now and I fall
To feed my seed of immortality

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 13, 2007, 10:08 am


Because We Share This

Is this for always or only tonight?

I have to be honest and tell you I
Have never known of a time except now
But when it is right then it will be right
And when it is wrong we will smile and sigh

We take the bad to get the good somehow

Whether forever or just for now this
Is something for always if only when
Someday we remember this soft warm kiss
As present past and future (now and then)

Live love and leave but live to love again

I suppose we were supposed to have met
Remember December and tears like rain
Nourishing the earth for another birth
The earth has not seen the last of us yet

I love you more because we share this pain

I thought this was impossible until
Sheltering under your hair on the train
I tasted you but having tasted will
Desire you who inspire me to this fire

For always if that is what you require

We know no regret nor can we forget
This is for always and only tonight
Always and only (we know this is right)
Always and only if only tonight

I love you more because we share this pain

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 12, 2007, 3:53 pm


Oops!

Of the people whom I find annoying
The Recovering Fundamentalist
Who would do good building by destroying
Or the Closeted (False) Conservative
Whose rules only count for the rest of us
And who makes us dance for a chance to live
I cannot tell which makes the greater fuss
So two vie and tie for top of my list
And I think these are equally to blame
For making the world so wearisome now
In fact they are likely one and the same

Pay no attention to what they allow
For that would be nothing in any case
And do what you jolly well please I say
Attempting to enjoy yourself somehow
Since that is what people do anyway
Faith is not ordering people about
Creation is not for those who destroy
The truth is whispered (only liars shout)
My God is broadminded and we enjoy
Watching the bluenoses step in the shit
Which they shat on us (for the hell of it)

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 11, 2007, 3:09 am


The Quest

chorus mysticus

Until equipoise turns to ecstasy
Solitude is taken as sacrament
It is not loneliness alone with God
Poised on a promise I pause to repent
Embracing the fast the watch and the rod
Alone with God and I will not relent
While I must wrestle the mysteries of
The quest which I have come this far to learn

A word beyond words of loves beyond love
Is free to all who would dare to be kind
Which none may earn but each may own in turn
By treading where the immortals have trod
Up steep winding paths to infinity
Where I must make my pilgrimage alone
Familiar with the moon if I would be
Known in your heart as I am in my own

And when I know and am known I will see
When you will too as everyone what I
Was sent here for in the first place to find
The answer to the riddle why we die
And when we do what becomes of the mind
Considering this question constantly
If thoughts have wings then by these I will fly
But I will not leave those I love behind

I will share it all and point to the sky
Where I have been and hope to inspire you
To find in your youth as I in my age
Such gleanings as seem helpful good and true
One gathers by the path of pilgrimage
The point of it being to do the best
We can remaining faithful to the quest
Until equipoise turns to ecstasy

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 9, 2007, 2:03 pm


Lonely Street

In the beginning it was bemusing
To be disarrayed by humanity
So new and overwhelming as it was
For one knowing nothing of anything
To be riding the rails of puberty
Learning the rules of a dangerous game
In time to come to become confusing

Thinking too much about why and because
Which led then to a time of refusing
To let myself feel what I knew was real
To admit how beautiful it could be
Acting as though my heart were made of steel
When it was made of flowers blood and flame
Convincing no one of the lie at all
My need worn manifestly as my name
With red autumn leaves beginning to fall

Now I admit how much it means to me
To share an umbrella under the rain
Since not of steel I hurt and bleed and feel
I always knew but now I say it plain
My eyes are open now and I can see
What open eyes being honest reveal
As I have loved so would I love again

Was what I heard an answer when I cried
Or just an echo of a troubled mind
Acting out some internal dialogue
Explaining itself to be justified?
Who is it who speaks to me in the night
A whispered suggestion from far away
Convicting me before I have been tried
And telling me I must go free today
Is someone there or is my mind not right?

The hunter by agreement with his dog
Decided to leave the question behind
But I wait for its answer every day
Believing stubbornly hoping to find
Among this world of words something to say
Which might mean something to someone somehow
I wonder if anyone understands

If you understand would you tell me now
Out here as we hold our hearts in our hands?
Where we stand awkward looking at our feet
Where I wonder if we suffer in vain
Beyond what now seems merely amusing
We seem so lonely and in so much pain
Together here alone on Lonely Street
But insofar as the pain will allow
As I have loved so would I love again

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 8, 2007, 4:03 am


Still Open

To open to the possibility
Of meaningful interaction in this
Brief intermezzo of you and of me
To maybe even seal it with a kiss
Of cost to none of benefit to all
Is what I want and how I want to be

Come share with me a secret for awhile
A subtly-shared shining star we can call
Our own whenever we see it and smile
Or maybe an airplane flying somewhere
So far away it might never get there
Still open to the possibility

I know you and know you are lonely too
Because inside of us we are the same
As we seek each other as we must do
We find the picture is shaped by the frame
And of their stories which of them is true?
No cash no credit no one is to blame

The angle of your cigarette indicts
It whispers of a thousand eyes of night
Down in the garden of earthly delights
Eyes which have seen it all and like to fight
About it whichever way they might feel
Since I quit smoking those eyes seem unreal

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 7, 2007, 12:42 am


The Dow and the Tao

The Dow is not the Tao
The free will pay a fee
The wheel still turns for now
But no one rides for free

No one is calling to my attention
(Or at least not anyone I recall)
Anyone paying attention to me
Since I am several sizes too small
So I will leave this sword of Damocles
Hung by its hair in its timeworn tension
To bring some other sucker to his knees

The elephant in the room I mention
Since unmentioned it is there anyhow
Has been for me I never got to be
As I recall hearing my ex-wife say
"Old enough for responsibility"
Or something along those lines anyway
Something involving immaturity

I lost what little I had hoped to win
With no grey hairs at least not until then
Serious worry had yet to begin
Now thoroughly grey I still wonder when
The adulthood of which she spoke kicks in
Will life be like angry pigs in a pen
Or orderly as a recycling bin?

The Tao is not the Dow
Nor has it ever been
The wheel turns still somehow
Whatever that might mean

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 5, 2007, 9:47 pm


Tough Guy (Not Enough Guy)

Being a tough guy is not enough guy
If you would be a hero go be kind
If you would be enlightened change your mind
And if you would taste immortality
Embrace your children and let love flow free
As the essence of everything you do
Be true to yourself and your dignity
Hold tight to your dreams until they come true
Then believe in the happiness you find
Which no one else can take away from you
No matter how tough (not enough) guys try

When you find happiness you get to keep
What you have found so claim it as your own
Its branches will grow strong its roots go deep
A tree to shade you when you feel alone
If someone tries to cut it down then say
"No: I will not be pushed around today
I will never let you use me again"
To "No" is to refuse to play that game
Wherein no one wins anything but pain
To "No" is to be (the most direct way)
A human being worthy of the name

Sent here to learn compassion or to die
Being a tough guy is not enough guy

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 4, 2007, 9:10 pm


Winter

Mice must leave their corners at last
Flies on the wall fall to the past

This mouse in the corner fly on the wall
Was given much to see with much required
For each of the pretty promises made
An equal and opposite price was paid
I wish I could have understood it all

But the sacrifice of suffering fired
A burning dawn within me that this was
Predestined destiny so deep-desired
That in pursuit of it I am afraid
I had to break the rules as I obeyed

My perspective was limited because
Long exercise of duty left me tired
Ending up a brokenhearted misfit
Albeit fascinated all the same
Trying if failing to make sense of it

If I could return from riddling this game
I would bring back the beautiful and true
Stuffed in my pockets smuggled out for you
A mouse in the corner fly on the wall
Slipping out unnoticed secret and small

Sometimes mice roar sometimes flies soar
But must leave their corners at last
I was but temporary there
And from the wall fell to the past
As everything does everywhere

Soon it will not be winter anymore

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 2, 2007, 2:20 pm


A Mystery Which No One Need Explain

Opportunity knocked while I was out
And might have knocked me out if I had known
By the time I heard that it was about
It had passed by and I was left alone
They say it will come back some other day
But I never wanted it anyway

If you knew what it was would you tell me
Or would you think it wiser to remain
Steadfast in silent solidarity?
A mystery which no one need explain
(And therefore most know better than to try)
I am like you part pleasure and part pain
Better but bitter as the years go by
Less permanent than I had hoped to be
A shadow-play too fragile to sustain

My friend we both know too well what we are
And nothing can be done about it but
To say a prayer or wish upon a star
The wheel turns as it will no matter what
We fall like leaves but gently and not far
So if you hear a knock go to the door
And answer it before a stranger does
It might be what we have been waiting for
Although what that would be I could not say

Opportunity knocked (I thought it was)
But I was out and thought it went away
I am glad you are with me now because
As my eyes adjust to the dark I see
The key turn silently within the lock
Could this already be that other day?

Something is coming but I hear no knock
A mystery which no one need explain

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 1, 2007, 8:29 pm


To Spend the Evening Quietly

After a long day of debauchery
With all of its riotous roistering
I like to spend the evening quietly
In reading and writing and cloistering

Just Fred and me in our sanctuary
A cat and man both of a certain age
Closer to the end than the beginning
Of lives which have been extraordinary
Now settling in the season of the sage
Having survived to see ourselves winning

We see ourselves growing old truth be told
The days grow short debauchery grows tame
His cat food grows stale and my tea grows cold
Our roistering not so riotous now
A cat and man curled side by side the same
Cloister to roister as time will allow

Who takes the credit also gets the blame
We ask for neither and have both somehow
Tomorrow is another day but we
Would like to spend the evening quietly

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Dec 1, 2007, 12:34 am


Among My Souvenirs

The bookends of my life are books themselves
My days are represented on my shelves
I wrote a few and others wrote the rest
I journey here across the universe
I write and read and think of life as quest
As drama we never get to rehearse
As wandering and searching for the best
To treasure here if I find it someday
Then leave behind me when I go away
My moments moving forward in reverse

When I go it might not be very far
That is if I ever go anywhere
I see out my window a small blue star
And if it would have me I could go there
But this is where I am where I belong
I feel like I exist when I am here
My heart is quiet and my love is strong
To have the bookends of my life so near
That I remember everything between
What was and what is and what might have been

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 30, 2007, 5:09 am


Countdown

When others have judged me then I have tried
To please them but they were not satisfied
It was never that they cared about me
They only insisted that I agree
That they were as much better as they thought
Than me then having humiliated
Me with a warning to stay in my place
Moved on to hurt others smug and sated
Now I am just somebody they forgot
Another recipient of their grace

Stop looking down on me you Bush-league boobs
As if anyone could look up to you!
I enjoy watching you go down the tubes
Too late for you now whatever you do
You felt so morally superior
You huffed and puffed and postured on TV
You thundered only you knew what was true
But you were scared and felt inferior
As you nailed down your new theocracy
To force the spring by false security

I hate to tell you but your time has passed
Peoria got wise to you at last
When they could not find their democracy
Euphoria was sweet but went too fast
It was like cocaine you want it again
But sick of snorting prigs and pigs of pain
Barnyard bullies and snakehandlers of hate
The people rise against you one by one
Your days of swagger dwindle as we wait
The nightmare ends soon: we rise with the sun

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 28, 2007, 7:06 pm


Two-Part Invention

As counterpoint delights the mind
And harmony inspires
Where our voices answer voices
Which call as we respond
It is when gospel answers law
When law at last comes true
We spring ahead to fall behind
In winter's deep desires

But our music gives us choices
With promptings from beyond
To help remember what we knew
We did see what we thought we saw
But can we bear the knowledge of
This counterpoint which we call love?
We did see what we thought we saw
And it was love as I love you

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 27, 2007, 10:45 pm


Souvenirs of Ecstasy

If I have ever learned anything
And if I did it was the hard way
It is that desire is suffering
And the funny thing about it was
I never wanted much anyway

But the way I know this is because
Once in awhile I have had a day
When I got what I thought I desired
Only to be disappointed when
It left me feeling hollow and tired
And worse off than I was before then

Absurdity seems to enjoy me
I do not enjoy it anymore
And like crime it never seems to pay
All its riddling has become a bore
Yet this is not what would destroy me
As I had to learn it the hard way
Desire is that which brings suffering

I never wanted much anyway
Except for possibly everything
Still I wanted and so I became
A purple-hearted casualty
Desire is the face which bears the name
Of suffering for those who would be
Free but are a little slow to learn

Made to look foolish looking for love
Slowly we learn to suffer each day
Lovers and poets and fools like me
Tempted by fire who forget the burn
Stubborn believers in destiny
Wanting so much to have an above

Alone tonight I look up and see
The scars I earned by my suffering
Stars as souvenirs of ecstasy
And the funny thing about it was
Maybe I never learned anything

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII











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