Saturday, June 2, 2012

Work Psalm

Knock, and He'll open the door...Become nothing, and He'll turn you into everything. ~ Rumi

Red dawn clouds moil like blood
and promise hawk flight over Lake Superior.
Glacial crags jut into the highway
that runs past rocky lake shore
where elevators shoot grain
into ships in the harbor.
Railroad cars on the bridge
roll on tracks
from the pit where dozers climb
like ants on mountains of taconite.

Call up tohu and bohu; take axe
to the dead carcass of the day
and spread its mass at
the four ends of the earth.
Still, I am there. I the zero.
Empty cipher without name.

I seek nothing in nothingness,
not a thing to take along death’s
way like magic rock, secret chant,
or the souls of those I might
enslave to my desire to be god.

My job is a rite of belief, rote
task betokening death.
Its routine is miracle enough to praise
Maker of sky, lake, woods.
Their history mine but not mine,
their breath my last breath of holy air.

I’ll raise a cross on the
mound of my rebellion against
these days given in love and call
that name beyond names,
that love beyond love that knows
what to love and who and when;
love that rewards with no regret
but brings in its wake a tide
of days renewed and futures
unknown to augury or statistic.

Creation anew, world anew,
person anew. Known unknown.

(c) copyright 2012 Charles David Miller. All rights reserved.

24 comments:

  1. as always...you go deep in your work psalm...deep to the substance and meaning of work..awesome write charles..like the rumi quote as well..and would love if we would manage to get some of that back what work really means and is

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  2. The lyrical underpinnings of the piece are evident; and a unique perspective on work, turning it into a ritualized set of actions deserving of the psalmist.

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  3. " that name beyond names,
    that love beyond love that knows
    what to love and who and when;
    love that rewards with no regret"

    This psalmist speaks deep truths!
    Thank you for a beautiful read.

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  4. Your poetry is wonderful - the second stanza is so emotive (almost tears)

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  5. The language in this is transcendent, Charles. I get a sense of the divine, a formless divine, that pervades all of us, all of creation, and whose work we see, perhaps even do, but cannot know. (And none of that is easy for a skeptic like me, but I do believe in spirit, and if I hadn't before, this poem would most likely have made me.) The ending stanza is beautiful, but I also like the entire stanza beginning "I seek nothing in nothingness..." where you seem to combine human and gnosis. Complex yet lucent piece.

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  6. 'I seek nothing in nothingness. Love beyond love.'
    This is so deep on so many levels. Yes, it speaks to something of the divine in us all. It is only work if we see it as such.
    Amazing write Charles.

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  7. That last stanza is a poetic beauty ~ I feel the deep sense of spirituality here against the backdrop of everyday life ~ To have a work that is meaningful and pleasing to the Maker, if only ~

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  8. Work has become religion....we worship it. We live by its rules. We let it dictate our feelings. Your Poem runs deep chaz...this is feels more than just about work- but about questioning the fundamental values that underpin society as a whole....this is heavyweight!

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  9. nice....some really vivid points man...taking hte axe to the carcass of the day and spreading it....and love the religeon bent as well....smiles...the last two stanzas in particular...there is a better way you know...smiles...

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  10. ah, i feel the satisfaction in this, the grandeur in the small, to find the thing and place that fits with a minimum of friction... harmony i think its called, balance. its hard work being a human being, survival is a race without a racetrack and too many race car ya-yas. but a small measure of grace is all i hope for in this life. keep up the good work (as a poet and a human being)

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  11. I so enjoyed the quote...the sounds you manipulate the message you portray so well and the closing two stanzas are so timeless and strong. Really such a great offering, Chaz. Smiles to you!

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  12. 'take axe to the dead carcass of the day' what a line...a very spiritual look at the language of working hard. I really enjoyed the reading.

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  13. Still waters run deep. A smooth poem with deep meanings and points to ponder. You write some great lines.

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  14. You never cease to amaze me with your deep dives into the underbelly of the topic at hand. This one is especially deft and you "work" it well! I like it!

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  15. gorgeous descriptions.

    i'm wondering if by i'll raise a cross, you mean death.

    also, how does blood moil.

    Sonnet 24

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    1. No, the cross as a sign of rebellion does not mean death but life, a rebellion against death. Blood moils the same way as clouds when they are used in metaphor with each other.

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  16. "known unknown" -

    and

    "tracks
    from the pit where dozers climb
    like ants on mountains of taconite"

    there's a powerful current in the surge of the lines, that, for me, with the unexpected calling of forth of :

    "a tide
    of days renewed and futures
    unknown to augury or statistic" -

    is startling in its ring of truth

    nice work charles ;-)

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  17. Nice take on the prompt--I think most of us focused on work = job, but you seem to get to the essence of "work" in your piece. I enjoyed reading it.

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  18. This expresses a trancendent perception of common experience. It connects with our ability to feel awe in the face of lifes most intense experiences. Great job.

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  19. Interesting writing Charles, very much welcome!

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  20. take axe
    to the dead carcass of the day
    and spread its mass at
    the four ends of the earth.

    being a fan of hardcore imagery your introduction struck me with vivid pictures but the development of the piece and its exploration of what i percieve as a rebellion or rallying against the machine took me deeper...
    the human inserection vs the sisyphusistic toil ... if i am obligated to have one hand pushing the rock because of my birth form, then i will have the other hand alternating between waving my rock ryhmer at lunar and penning something angry: a V stimulating read charles ...

    also i must thank you for your articulate and intelligent reading of my piece... posting something of this nature can be a lonely buisness, especially if my underlying intention goes unrecognised: your comment has energised my idea... and strengthened my resolve...

    thank you Charles

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  21. Really sucks you in and doesn't let go, this one at your show. You just grasped the imagery in every way imaginable, quite the feat, awesome job.

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  22. Those last two lines are magical Charles! Loved this!! :)

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