SONGS  BEFORE SHRINE

            by                           

          Stephen Gill      

     (award-winning poet)     

                                                                                                           

Note: Some of these poems have appeared also in more than seventy publications.

© copyright Stephen Gill                                                                                                

All rights reserved

Email: stephengill@cogeco.ca        

 

 

 

TO MOTHER

 

Years have gone by

still

I see your tearful eyes                                  

and catch the choking moans

coming from the crumbling pyramid

of pains.

 

When

dawn is dimmed

amidst dull  clouds

and shroud is spread                                   

on my despair

your name emanates

in pleasing designs.

 

Image of sacrifice

message of hope

you are highly prized.

The gift of this life                                         

I owe to you.                          

                                                                                   

A blind boy

shattered  in  destiny’s cage

I long for your loving care.

Mother dear

I wish you were here.

 


======================================

 

TO BE

 

The muse 

that muscles  the vision of poets                

shape my pen into the plough

that will prepare my land

for sowing peace

wherever sharpness of its blade

touches.

Carpet a comforting glare of the sun

to melt the snow

that is known to freeze even hearts.  

I wish to harvest

a ripened  manna of wonders

of the youthful bloom

for  the court of enlightenment     

to validate the claim

that outgrowths

from diversity of landscape

stem from the cosmic order

of the same source.  

Fragrance of spring

sustain a structure of strength

with the braces of my lyrics

that  will secure breaths together

in a mystical dance

to the tune of the song of life.

 

The blazing blows of the wilderness

fan the smoulders of my spirit

into the burning flames 

that will consume from my writing

all that is dross                                                         

for the gold of my passion

to shine.

 

=====================================

 

SEEKING THE DOVE OF PEACE

Let us walk

side by side

my friend

to seek out that dove

that has been sought

since Adam's time.

 

Let us go

guiding one another

above the snow-capped hills

into the bewildered valleys

to bring that bird home.

 

Let us ask all beings

even the beasts

if they would

give us their hands.

Let us not surrender.

 

I hear the dove's melody

in my soul;

I see its face

before my eyes;

I feel its beat

in my blood;

I envision it flying

across my horizon;

I smell its presence                                                 

in the air.                                                       

 

Hands linked

like brothers

walking side by side

like twins

in the light

dusk or dark

though blind-folded                                                  

yet bound in a design

let us go.

Directing one another

let us march

to embrace that dove

before we die.

                                              


========================

 

WHEN

When

harmony was established

among the stars, sun, moon, earth

and every other object,

the universe was carved.

 

When

harmony was fused

into the mind, soul, heart

and every other organ of the body,

the human was created.

 

When

harmony symphonizes

nature, humans

and every creature of the animal kingdom,

peace emerges.

 

When                                                

harmony disintegrates

the gates of hell open wide

for lava to flow.

 

==========================

 

MY CANADA

My Canada

in thy lap 

lie all nations

humans and beasts

melt into one shape

under thy care   

my Canada.                                                              

Thy land and life

and springs

thy summer and fall

and skies

thy joyful birds--

delight-giving sights--

breathe a new life in me

my Canada.

A nation so great

diverse and brave

thy rivers and lakes

wide and long highways

reveal thy riches to me

my Canada.

 

Thy soul

a serene temple

for every creed

for every breed.                    

My heart will sing

always for thee


my lips will chant

night and day for thee.

O Canada!

My well of love                                                     

full  for thee.

A peace-adoring dove

never my love

shall cease for thee

my Canada.

 

===========================

 

THE MEECHLAKE FISH

With a tail for deliberate ruin

a crocodile of racial disharmony

enters the waters of my land

in the guise of the Meechlake fish.

It plays with the waves of life

mudding the crystal flow of love.

Its spear-like teeth flash often.

To escape

from the tunnel of its jaw

bathers seek safer spots.

Fear and ignorance carry now

explosives of confused hatred.

One can see red drops

sailing with morning bubbles

shaped like graves.

Who will ask

where the greenery has gone ?

Why does autumn lurk on the banks ?

And why is there more excavation

for the hard-shelled eggs

of the crocodiles?

 

============================       

 


UNFAIR OPHELIA    

      (For LC P)

To assail

or not to assail

that is the question.

Should writers resign themselves

to the stench of your structure

of injustice

braced by the barbs of bigotry

or uncover your ugliness

at the shrine of law and liberty?

To be or not to be

that is the question

whether it is rewarding to toil alone

on the rocky island of writing

and raise a crop for self-appeasement


or slaughter the wolves of hunger

in the domain of your prejudice.

To die in the dark

is not for us.

Writers must use their coin

that is the Lord's wish.

Should poets

let the flower of hope be wasted

by the sickles of racial winds

is the question now.                                               

                     

You bathe

in the bounteous gleam of the public purse

clipping ambitious wings

of self-exiled guests

that shames the courtiers of Apollo.

You debase the name of the nation.

Be soft

unfair Ophelia

fear the fire of that undiscovered land

from which no traveler has returned.

Should a writer

who has breathed his whole life                

under the fragrant canopy of the Muse

be so banished from her court

is a question now ?

                                                                                        

======================================


 

 

THE WORLD OF POETRY

The world of poetry

is woven with rainbow strings

sorted in the secret caves of desire

to recreate

the source of that supreme grace

that evolves

in the womb of solitary hours

during the creative nights of its conception.

 

Its beauty--- a harmonious marriage

between art and knowledge---

nourishes the child of a human journey

through varied landscapes

enveloping the nourisher

with an unexplainable calm of the brooks

flowing leisurely through  jungles

and hills

along the shores of divinity.

 

Its creator

cultivates in every line of  furrows

a crop of the palpitation of human groans

and a glory that is the essence

of trailing clouds

while weighing the tangled mysteries.

 

Its sky is studded with diamonds

excavated from the rocky valleys

of human experience

with the sole help

of primitive knife of the craft

and an ink

fused with laughter and tears.

 

The soul of poetry

can be reflected but partially

through the earthly mirror of symbols.

 

==============================

 

A QUESTION

If the nuclear bombs drop

Will the buds bloom again ?

Will the birds chirp again ?

Will the spring return again ?

  If the nuclear bombs drop

Will maidens be wedded again ?

Will love's moon arise again ?

Will rains kiss the earth again ?

  If the nuclear bombs drop

Will the dawn be born again ?

Will the players play again ?

Will the children swim again ?

  If the nuclear bombs drop

Will God save anyone ?

Who will cry, who'll console ?

Will not all be lost ?

 

=================================

                                  

I AM STILL A MAN

I am a Christian

but before that

do you know

what I was?

 

I am a Panjabi

but before that

who was I?

Why do you look

so strangely?

 

Neither Christian

nor Panjabi

when I entered the world.

I was only a person.  

Don't look sternly.

 

I am not fanatic

or bloodthirsty.

I am just a man

like you

or anybody.

 

My religion

was not my choice;

yet I love all creeds.

I did not choose

 

my tongue either;

yet I respect all breeds.

Every culture,

a beauty of the same garden.

I am also

your God's child.

 

I am a human

I love humankind.

Smile, my friend                                          

because

we are all one.

 

================================

 

 

PEACE              

 

I see hopeless crop

in a winter dress

a dry leaf I lie

tempests toss me around.

 

Joyless eyes

emitting senseless smiles

cannot squeeze out  bitterness

plastered on the restless leaf.

 

You are

the sovereign of the beauty

that is pictured partially

in  the orb of the serene ocean

on a warm cloudless night.

Before

shadows of the evening  approach

let me clasp those moments                                   

that ride on the blessed passion 

of calm energy.

Wearing

a  jacket of peace 

let me swim to the shores

where freedoms flow.

I would like to  bathe in the waters

that spout from the fountain

of your comforting  grace.

                                                                                               

            ===============================================                                     

 

HARMONY AND PEACE

 

I searched for you

within the walls of temples

mosques and shrines

in poor man's places

the mansions of graces

in the piles of books

and the isle of a recluse.

 

I sought you in health

and pleasures of wealth

yoga, prayer, meditation

state of utter abstention

rosy lips, cosy laps

in my sweat and my naps

I roamed in lotus-land

danced and drank

to glance at your beauty.

 

You're a will-o'-the-wisp

a chain of onion layers

mysterious, another paradox

you seem cruel and flippant

or just  an image to believe.

 

What valley or cave

house or lake

planet or  mind

abode do you find?

 

For which of those sins

offences and crimes

have we lost the time to breathe?

No hope, no spark

to own your tranquil eyes.

                                                                                   

 

 

THESE CHILDREN

 

These children

have yet to learn

to deal with the muddy pellets of abuse

or the ice of neglect 

while maturing  into the oaks

of exceptional might.

Almighty

protect  these seedlings

in the sheltered bay

of your tender care

with apprehensive solicitude.                                             

They have

yet to use their coins.

 

Gardner

nurture the growth of these roots

with rare delicacies of concerns

watch these rainbows of the millennium.

The feverish excitements of today 

need them for their rest

in the castle of the comfort

of tomorrow. 

The voyage

of the meaningful explorations

for the inner self

they have yet to embark.                                         

They are the top deck

where human expectations 

for the warmth of the spring

bask in the adulation of love.

Captain                                                         

sail the steamer  of these children

to a safer island.

 

Riding even the ruthless currents

of domestic violence 

let these angels savour 

the ambrosia of peace.

Creator

bathe  these blissful gems

with the softness of unstained holiness.

 

©Stephen Gill

www.stephengill.ca