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Selected Poems of Steven Curtis Lance

Displaying Poems 1576 thru 1600 of 2799 Poems

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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








Nov 26, 2007, 1:54 am


Caravan

I am no wise man only a misfit
An outsider regarding a window
As someone who tries to make sense of it
And wonders what the insiders might know
Sometimes I think no one knows anything

I blunder but smile and wonder the while
Apparently as clueless as can be
To see so many march out single file
Before my eyes to dance with destiny
I am no canary but I can sing

So whose destiny is it anyway?
Is it their own or that of what they serve?
Lights in the window turn night into day
I wonder if we get what we deserve
I might have a brief candle I could bring

I follow behind their long caravan
Alone at a distance unknown unseen
This is the tragedy they once called Man
I guess the sad part is what might have been
The king is dead they say long live the king

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 24, 2007, 10:32 am


Of All Places

A demon came to sit on me awhile
Speaking body language like it was French
But only in curses stealing my smile
Pulling me out of the game for the trench
With only the escape of poetry
Giving rise to my highly-mannered style
Because I am screaming though silently

Those who suffer most become the most kind
Helping us across the timebending Nile
Then on to ford the Jordan of the mind
Their dreams like corpses floating in the mud
I cringe to cross with a shudder to find
The river was of human seed and blood
I know who carried me and whom to thank

Dark river demon I beg you to leave
Just as I beg the sun to rise and shine
Suffering is that which makes me believe
That of all places one of them is mine
Beyond this river bloody dark and dank
That I exist as much as anyone
A blossom from the barrel of a gun

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 22, 2007, 9:14 pm


Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day MMVII

A good day by nature bad day by choice
The cruel architecture of the mind
Walls in my freedom denies me my voice
To feel passed over or else left behind
And wonder aloud about it at last

I become less sure of reality
The more I stand up stumbling from the past
Out of the nothingness hoping to be

Does anyone else miss how it once was
When it seemed things might get better somehow?
I wonder about that a lot because
I feel lonelier than ever right now
And wishing I had a community

All is plastic and made in China for
The likes of me and maybe you (the poor)
But I felt less thankful when I had more

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 20, 2007, 2:37 am


The Rest of Me

If sawn in half you would still be all there
One in two places and both at half price
Assuming it was a good magician
Who undertook to slice your rump roast rare
Bodies divided against themselves find
(Although breaking up can be hard to do)
The foot end follows the end with the mind
And getting back together is so nice
You get to reacquaint yourself with you
It only takes one half to break the ice

But now I avoid it nevertheless
Under the care of the great physician
Although it has happened (if not onstage)
Both ends of me enjoy connectedness
And I no longer go to magic shows
Nor would I volunteer now to be sawn
I did it once but would not do it twice
Life is fragmented enough heaven knows
And most of the good magicians have gone
Perhaps like me they went on pilgrimage

It might have been only my heart to be
Sawn through and not really magic at all
It took awhile to find the rest of me
To reunite the pieces afterward
Scattered by stagecraft and chicanery
In time to take a bow in time to fall
An autumnal leaf or a wounded bird
By instinct to meet my mortality
It seemed a magic trick but it was not
It left its mark on me (not without pain)

Yet when I fell I found I rose again
Caught by the great physician I forgot

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 17, 2007, 5:44 pm


Raindrops for the Rain

The non-physical form of blindness
(I speak of the self-inflicted kind)
Might be cured by a little kindness
And a slight opening of the mind
Transforming victim into healer
Along the road from night into day

Such measures are feared as radical
(Things like the opening of the eyes)
By the hidebound hypothetical
Leery of light as truth-revealer
Hoping unseen it might go away

Some people would almost rather die
(Or perhaps rather live partially)
Than to contemplate a butterfly
If looking at bugs might make them see
Something which pokes at their potential
Giving pause by possibility
Though it once felt right and would again
Though they want it more than they could say

So rather than have their sight restored
Afraid of what they might realize
They settle down to be blind ...and bored
(Though it once felt right and would again!
Though they want it more than they could say!)
Not seeing the raindrops for the rain

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 14, 2007, 6:16 am


Moon and Sea

Why am I salty as the sea inside?
Whenever I go to sea I return
To something I knew before I could learn
Why are you regulated by the tide?

It seems to me if anecdotally
We are as much of ocean as of land
We and the sea share deep affinity
A connection I feel and understand
I know we are affected by the moon
As we look forward to its rising soon

It has the best effect on us it could
It makes us feel as warm as it looks cool
Bringing to light what is misunderstood
By those who scoff at the nature of things
A lunatic is mad but is no fool
It is not for fools that the night-bird sings

The world is for dreamers like you and me
Reality is a matter of mind
For us since we left the scoffers behind
To think about things like the moon and sea

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 13, 2007, 6:16 am


Hard Knocks and Soft Answers

When the school of hard knocks meets
The study of soft answers
Then we can feel our heartbeats
In rhythm as the dancers
Who present this our ballet
Of shared human empathy
By which we are led to say
I feel you and you feel me

(What shall we say and what shall we do?
I move away yet closer to you)

We are all connected by
This web of propinquity
There to catch us when we fall
Not to mention your and my
Now-unfolding destiny
Which we share here after all
We are just the way we are
Together and yet lonely

(What shall we do and what shall we say?
We move closer though we move away)

Isolated like a star
In space as one and only
All and each so far apart
And yet all and each right here
Our shared rhythm of the heart
Felt from far brings us back near
When the school of hard knocks meets
The study of soft answers

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 12, 2007, 6:04 am


Like Birds Waiting for the Rain

Like birds waiting for the rain
We huddle on benches where
All the old men used to sit

They died and were born again
We are here as they were there
So we should get used to it

Time is irrelevant but
For a timely reckoning
A sometime reminder what
Is drawing us beckoning

We follow without question
(For whom would we ask it of?)
The deeply felt suggestion
Nothing is stronger than love

Old men there are old women too
Of any age for each of you
And what will I do? Never mind

I am one of the left behind
Aslant beneath the autumn rain
But I am drawn as anyone

Though wounded and weary of pain
If only they could feel the sun
These broken wings would rise again:
The healing of the will by love

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 10, 2007, 6:15 pm


Blood Red Rose

chorus mysticus

You who have loved who have listened to me
And answered me before I have spoken
Feeling my feelings by pierced empathy
At close of day open when the doors close
Behind us alone with eternity

You who know how to fix what is broken
Keep my heart open so my eyes can see
Your eyes reflected in the eyes of those
Who know and yet who know not what to say
I choose them as the chosen ones you chose

Your petals unfold in an open heart
You drape the dusk before you dawn the day
Everyone sees only some someone knows
Rhythm and reason and ultimate cause
Turning with the season learning to be

One: we are made of two which none may part
Two: we are one with all that ever was
Finding myself to give myself away
I lose myself in order to be free
My secret my lover my blood red rose

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 8, 2007, 1:13 am


The Most Beautiful Thing on Earth

Standing bereft of fur or feather
Outside society ostracized
Naked in this inclement weather
Vulnerable but categorized
I reached the end then slipped my tether

I was disappointed in my day
Thought too hopeless to be criticized
Only the lonely could know my night
But that was someone else far away
Might have been me or might have been you
Might have been both of us together
There in the dark while we never knew

Since I seem so little able to
Have much effect on things around me
I just do my best at what I do
Creating by faith and not by sight
An illusion now illusion-free

If I was wrong or if I was right
In spite of the when and the whether
Or else perhaps because of it all
Standing bereft of fur or feather
Suffering wears better in the fall
Clemency in inclement weather
Suffering us to be together

Death is the closest a man ever gets
To the feeling of giving birth
All pain consumed in climax none regrets
The most beautiful thing on earth

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 5, 2007, 10:25 pm


Autumnal People

What is it then? What is it after all
Which makes each autumn ache this old refrain
Of bittersweet like the maple leaf's fall
Which falling dies that leaves might rise again?

How good it is whatever it might be
This turning tender burning of the year
So personal yet universally
Such symbol of how briefly we are here

We gather are thankful and remember
At the twilight of another year's day
November draws us to our December
It is because it has to be this way

The nutmeg and the pumpkins and the straw
The leaves in drifts anticipating snow
To welcome the freeze to hasten the thaw
What is it then? Autumnal people know

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 4, 2007, 9:01 am


November

I realize I have no hope to see
My future but this is all right with me
What I hope to see is my here and now
(As well as I can see it anyhow)

And then again I wonder if I could
Stand to see just how little understood
Or much misunderstood I am: I guess
Such present knowledge might just make a mess...
But if I could make sense of it I would

I love somebody who may never know
Yet still I aspire to find out someday
What love tastes like before time comes to go
I need to know before I go away
The hope of love holds fast and it dies slow

After my life's work is done for my pay
I want something real and not just for show
To seal my life with meaning like a kiss
I have so little else to leave behind
What I would like to leave behind is this:

Somebody loved me (they say love is blind)
Somebody loved me a long time ago...

And who am I? Your fellow leaf in fall
Borne by the breeze bound wherever we blow:
November is the deepest month of all
(And December is not for us to know)

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 3, 2007, 5:23 am


Still Free

I felt unwanted by polite society
Though I struggled politely to make it better
Polite society seemed impolite to me
So I built my own context letter by letter
And line by line my personal sanctuary
Of thousands of poems interlocking like bricks
With walls constructed seamlessly of prosody
Life can throw at me what it likes but nothing sticks

My personal society is quite polite
Graced as it is with specific gentility
Albeit with a certain eccentricity
Though it is always autumn here and always night
The moon is always full the stars shine dazzlingly
Against the deep blue velvet sky and diamond bright
The ancient everlasting light by which I see
And it is all for me and it is quite all right

Far from the garish glare and incivility
Of the plastic fantastic unreality
Of the bloated distended Wal-Mart world out there
Supersized and hypnotized by lies and madness
Where most have forgotten what it meant to play fair
Where antidepressants cannot heal the sadness
Nor tranquilizers blot out the anxiety
Of a most impolite polite society

I will spend my days in solitude with gladness
Though my democracy is dead I am still free

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Nov 1, 2007, 4:53 am


Promise the Dust

May those who make promises then break them
Airily merry with nary a thought
Be sharply recalled to what they forgot
May their self-satisfaction forsake them
And may they feel what their breaking has brought
Good and hard so to get their attention
May we find the love they hid as we sought
Yet never found now as the wheel comes round

We have been hurt we need hardly mention
But having seen promises broken and
Hearts along with them the same as our own
To reach out in vain for the withdrawn hand
Of someone you trusted and fall alone
We have felt all this so we understand
How it feels to be yesterday's flavor
To be once known and then at once unknown

But seeing the truth can make us braver
Though it might cost us a part of our trust
The rain has fallen and the wind has blown
The moon has tricked the sea to lick the land
And left only ruin and rot and rust
Where castles of promises made of sand
Are broken like bubbles and overthrown
We leave the breakers to promise the dust

May we find the love they hid as we sought
Yet never found now as the wheel comes round

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Oct 29, 2007, 10:08 pm


Sickbed with Cat

In the end all that
I have is this cat
It is only he
With me now I see
A culture of two
One might say (I do)

Only us as we
Attempt to contend
However we can
Odd couple we are
Fat cat and thin man
With what fate might send

Whatever it sends
Freddie Noodles is
My friend I am his
We two are true friends
We have come this far
And we will get by

I do not know how
Nor am I sure why
Yet not knowing still
Believe that we will
Survive how hard fall
Fell this year somehow

We struggle each day
To get from it all
Some sense of fair play
In life through this loss
Detritus and dross
Entangling our way

But we will get through
Because we have to

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Oct 27, 2007, 7:19 am


Inside

I want to sail to the strong-shouldered coast
Of pure imagination and arrive
At somewhere I can be my uttermost
Discover what it means to be alive
And find out what it takes to be a me

Whether I know it or not I am free:
Though I might seem imprisoned even here
Where I always thought I was meant to be
By something as simple as simple fear
Since what I loved best disappointed most

How beautiful it is no matter what
I suffered then or now how late the day
Some understand me and many do not
Or would not or could not as some might say
The day slants away but the night purrs near

Whether we know it or not we are free:
If I could ask you anything at all
It would be to sing the morning of spring
Recall the golden afternoon of fall
I would ask you remember everything

Pure imagination is what is true
A place where we can be our uttermost
Discover what it means to be alive
And find out what it takes to be a we
Not someplace else but inside me and you

+Steven Curtis Lance


Copyright MMVII











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