APPREHENDING

gratitude
for minutia and large
flowing creation

and homing
family, mystery within walls
around our bedding

wealth beyond cash
and clutter
overabundance of opportunities
to engage

any strength generously

distinguishing between gifts
and hard-earned wealth
and everything seized from others

remembering greed
bondage and
warfare
gluttony all entangle
lust

yet if we love liberally
this sojourn
exposing each deception
in relentless light

reunion .  reconciliation
uttered utterly
forgives . accepts
corrects . and gives again

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set, click here.

LOOKING OUT

picnic table with a block of snow 2-feet deep atop it
and a hole at the center

extraordinary deep purple in the Siberian irises

Quaker ladies abloom on the meeting burial ground –
even on the Friends graves in Pine Hill Cemetery

the ox-eye daisies I lifted from rock and sand
to transplant here – my wife’s beloved June flower,
the blossom smaller and more delicate than the Shasta

old woman across the street with her phlox

sunflower, yes
forest sunflower
jungle sunflower
and the jingle, from the neighbor’s
wind chime

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
For more,
click here.

THE SILENCE IN BEETHOVEN

When it comes to the fine arts, we love our biographies of tortured genius, and Ludwig van Beethoven serves the storytellers admirably. Baptized December 17, 1770, in Bonn, his tempestuous and tragic life was one of failed love affairs, strained friendships, and especially the deafness that accompanied his greatest musical achievements. And yet many of us find him not only speaking for us but also extending inspiration in the quest for fullness and fidelity.

In part it’s a story of the way Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven reestablish the center of classical music, centering it in the German-speaking world far from its Italian roots and the Renaissance genius of Monteverdi and Palestrina.

As I discussed earlier this year, Beethoven’s popularity rests largely on works that he wrote in the second half of his life, past the age of Mozart’s death, the years that encompass what are known as his Middle (or Heroic) and Late periods. The years accompanied by deafness.

For much of my life, I’ve not been alone in finding that what most appealed to me were the works from the Middle period – the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth symphonies, the violin and “Emperor” piano concertos, the Rasumovsky string quartets – stirring works raging with dramatic struggle and promised victory. With all of their emotional parallels to athletic contests, these have justifiably ensured his enduring public adoration.

More recently, though, they’ve given way in my estimation as the Late period works have risen in preference. Quite simply, these have never been considered all that accessible. Many of them defiantly turn their back on the audience in a pursuit of boldly intricate, often extended, musical puzzles that plumb the depths of human despair, loneliness, resolve, as well as lofty heights. Indeed, for years the assumption has been that these are not for public consumption but are rather reserved for private investigation among the cognoscenti, should they be so honored.

Continue reading “THE SILENCE IN BEETHOVEN”

SHELLS UNDER THE RIGGING

fingers stiff, numb
on ice-encased rigging

any fire in the hull
a hazard

tend the footing, Jack,
and stay dry, if you can

steering around the storm

*   *   *

hell comes without
flame
without smoke
under the prow

*   *   *

impressed
by chance misfortune

or the flight from somebody
gone astray

rolled together, creaking
skin to crab shell

all the same
lost, for the cold duration

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of seacoast poems,
click here.

CLEARING, FROM SNOW

after the blizzard, a raven
lands over our suet and cracked corn bird feeders

and then, while digging out
the driveway
the front steps for the mail carrier
and the barn steps for the grandmother
a pathway to the compost bins, on one side
and the stacked firewood, on the other

I’m at the heart of my universe

while my wife tends the fires
in our kitchen

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of Home Maintenance poems,
click here.

CURTAINS

to embrace something with the wisdom of the final round

people crowding the boulevard in Baltimore
to watch Robert Kennedy’s funeral train pass
overhead

in that portrait of seven famed figures
Annie, turned to stone under a blue-jay feather

how that small town in snow looks more like Pennsylvania
or Midwest
than New England

Blake, the Muggletonian and lithographer
the surviving Beats portrayed
as Ginsberg tying a shoelace

would see something with the sharpness of the first time

all that baroque light over a cathedral altar
the cumulus effect
enveloping a solo deer

naked
in the garden
awaiting snowfall

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of
Partitas, click here.

MUTED WITNESS

best known for our anti-war witness
we could do much more
individually and together
to summon others
to transcendental worship

*   *   *

if we hesitate to strip naked or don sackcloth
to march brazenly into parking lots
and through malls
or the courthouse
or legislature
to proclaim Truth

to those who reach for a Budweiser
the first thing
1st-Day morning
or so passionately decry anything
smacking of religion or church

how else do we extend the welcome?
maybe we’re just getting old
or sedate
or muffling passion

this is more important
than placing a notice
in the paper or a line in the phone book
if anyone remembers

*   *   *

there’s no invitation
without an address
or sign
or billowing aromatic
celebration
made visible

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set, click here.