Posted by: Peadar Ban | July 11, 2018

THE LADY IS DEAD

And here I am high above the huddled

Mourners in the pews, their heads bowed in prayer,

Me wondering if she may or mayn’t,

I almost always feel this way, be safe

For all eternity.  Will she get safely

Where we all, on some level, hope to be,

Back in God,s pocket as my father said,

And did very little about while here;

Confident, I do think, we would pray him home,

At last coming to assume the weight of

Responsibility for the ones who

Can do nothing for themselves any more?

 

I watch them filing out when Mass is done

Wearing sad smiles, wiping away last tears

And shaking hands, hugging old friends who’ve come

To show they love you and will miss her, too.

And, I wonder how long it will be before

Something as silly as a pennant race will

Put a stop to intentions truly meant.

 

Don’t we do it all the time?  Behave that way

Filling our heart with our own goodness?  But,

The lady is dead, and, God knows how I feel,

While my team, good as they are, needs prayers too!

P.E.G  July 11, 2018

 

 

 

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Posted by: Peadar Ban | May 9, 2018

The Last Tulip

Quietly the rower gliding by seems

Less a man than spirit sent

To ride the silver surfaced river’s softness

Enchanting just another watcher standing

On the green bank alone in sweetest morning

Amid song bright birds, infant leaves, the last tulip

And his sun splashed arms pulling, pulling, away.

Posted by: Peadar Ban | February 27, 2018

WHOSE ONLY LASTING MONUMENT IS TIME

“Stop us!?” say the waves.  “We have rolled thousands

Of miles.”  The mountains at the shore stand

Still. Solid, granite walls wait silently.

Of stony calm wide gray oceans take no heed.

They have broken greater on wind, waves and rain.

 

I sit thinking while the river, such a

Proud thing pouring from old northern hills,

Now grown full, swift, before me, brings back

From those hills, up thrown a thousand, thousand

Years and more beyond counting, or sum I

Can measure, by deep Ocean’s waves or her

Cruel pounding storms and rains, born far offshore

Where none but sun and moon see, ancient stars

And silent space standing mute cold witness,

Water’s original home born in flame,

The cauldron cradle, nothing now but dust.

 

The river does the ocean’s will, bringing back

What pounding waves and freezing rain have carved

Out of aeonic stone from the world’s deeps.

Returning atom by atom, year by year piled,

The matter of mountains’ mother and ocean

As well, twins identical in Earth’s womb,

Or one, the Worm Ouroboros, some say

Appearing. Disappearing. Always here.

Whose only lasting monument is time.

 

PEG  02/27/2018

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Peadar Ban | February 21, 2018

SUMMER DROPPED IN

I heard a noise.  Opening my front door

I saw Summer standing there.  “You!” I said

And let him in, surprised to hear the birds

Outside brightly singing in summer’s light

Soft on the snow, see little snow puddles

On the grass, diamonds of water drops

Necklacing trees.  Summer entered the house

Filling the rooms with his presence while I

Stood silently, happily, wondering

Why he had come, how long Summer would stay.

 

I showed Summer to the back of the place

In wonder still, and Summer said, “I see

The river sparkling in my sunlight.  Waiting

Do you think?”  Summer turned to me and smiled

The warm smile I remembered.  All those times

I’d seen it before came back peacefully.

“How long will you stay?” I asked quietly.

 

And Summer paused.  My neighbor’s cat, out now

There weren’t any piles of snow to breast,

Curved in and out between my legs and purred

Deeply in pure delight.  A raucous Jay

Off in a tree by the river’s bank called

Laughingly, the first Jay I’d heard in months,

While little sparrows peeped across the grass

In search of seed mindless of the old cat

Curling around my legs as mindlessly, while

A Cardinal bathed leisurely beside

Us in the old fountain in warm sunlight.

 

As his eminence finished and flew off

I glanced again at Summer.  My look

A question, a need to know of his plans.

“I just stopped by, “ he said, “to see how things

Were.  I cannot stay of course,  I’ll be back.”

“Of course, “ I told him, “I knew that.”  “The trees

And all the other things would be confused,”

He continued and turned.  I sensed a sadness

In Summer I had never sensed before.

Certainly Winter, Spring nor Autumn had

Never seemed sad to me as Summer did

Now.  Perhaps, a fleeting thought came to me,

I had ignored him all these years, ignored

His favors to me of warmth, long days, sweet

Evenings, flower scented soft winds sighing,

Bright Dawn’s early song and light symphony,

And I said as much as he turned to go.

 

And, just like the friend he is, or father

Who always smiled when he went away,

Summer smiled, waved and said, “I will be back.”

 

PEG 02/21/2018

Posted by: Peadar Ban | February 3, 2018

READING AUGUSTINE: FOUR

AN ACCIDENTAL OCCASION

“What am I apart from God’s sustaining love?  An accidental occasion of perennial neediness…” **

 

Unsatisfied wonder never leaves me.

Am I an accidental occasion

Of perennial neediness, rootless

Thing and nameless, essentially alone?

Believed something in the rushing flood, flung

For a time by dumb chance, blind circumstance

Against another thing; rock, twisted root?

Just one whirling turbulence spinning

With all the others in tighter circles

Passing, timeless, first submerged, then raised up.

Moved by blind force; nor care, nor peace attend.

Will I see the fire fall from cruel sky?

 

Unsatisfied wonder still moves in me.

 

“Open the book.  Open the book and read!”

The war is won.  No longer any need

The ashes, burning sands, darkened wood

We once found so pleasant that we believed they could

Be truth itself; diminished, unseeing

Dry, dark, seeming close, yet not there.  Such dear

Unsatisfying treasures lie!  Awake

Find what was always there and see true joy!

 

PEG  Feb. 3 2018

**  See the essay “Augustine’s Confessions and the Source of Christian Character”  by

Christopher J. Thompson, in “The Confessions, Saint Augustine of Hippo” Ignatius Critical Editions

Editor, Joseph Pearce, P. 506

Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 29, 2018

DEEPLY INTERESTED IN THE UNFOLDING

Some old men I know are strange animals

Sitting in one place, sometimes all morning,

Quietly watching the wall across the room

Or the bare tree trunk outside the window.

A young man would move the furniture

At least, or, soon getting up, go outside

To rake the leaves from the garden beds

Beneath the tree before the crocus bloomed.

Make straight the stones along the garden way.

 

I have seen old men walking slowly by

At almost any time of day looking

To me like fellows somewhere far away

Who, when I speak a greeting, often silently

Return mine with the merest glance, eloquent

In its simplicity; all that’s needed

On a dark night to keep the course they’re on.

 

Men of a certain age will watch the day

In the same way an infant might calmly

Follow from its crib or its cradle mother’s

Path across, or in and out of, its room

Knowing what will come somehow; none the less

Deeply interested in the unfolding.

 

PEG

January 29, 2018

Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 23, 2018

Reading Augustine: Two

“I know time rules me, and I long for its end when time is no more.”

 

I cannot see the speed of time.  Who can?

Invisible thing, waiting, here and gone

Somewhere (to wait again?). I wonder now

While time rushes by my eyes to some then,

Has time a place, a country, where seconds, minutes,

Hours and all its other known forms reside ?

What there governs the Land of Time?  How long

May each period of Time’s government

Continue?  And by whom?  Is it self ruled?

Does it see itself move and self adjust?

 

Does each period know its place, its time

To move, or in the Land of Time to wait?

Where, after it has done what it must do,

Does it return, to wait, to repeat,

To do it again what had been done before.

Again! Ages upon endless ages?

 

Time cannot be a democracy, nor

Will its appearance, length, duration

In being, yet surely exists, closely

Involved in all things we need to take time

To do.  Where then is time stored, to be used

Counted out, measured, and put to work for us?

Used well or wasted, frittered away.

Whatever that means.  How may I save it

I often wonder, as I am told it’s

Slipping away, someday will be all gone.

 

Is it all in my mind and nothing more?

But, when there is no time left what will take

Its place for we who have lived for so long

Under its rule?  For, as the saying goes,

“Time rules all things!”  Come chaos then, or peace

In timeless rest?  That all depends, I guess

On the use we make of it.  Use it well

And one goes to heaven.  Unwisely?  Hell!

 

“Could anyone measure past periods that no longer exist, or future periods that do not yet exist?  Only someone who is bold enough to claim that what has no being can be measured.  So then, while time is passing it can be felt and measured, but once past it cannot, because it no longer exists.”  Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions: Ignatius Critical Ed., Bk XI, Ch. 16, p.347

Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 19, 2018

Mark and Rudy

When Mark and Rudy went walking by

With Rudy on the leash

They left a double trail

Through the virgin snow.

 

The sun was barely risen

Shining weakly through the trees.

The river at the bottom of the hill

Flowed, clear of ice, peacefully, nearly still

While west beyond the railroad tracks, night

Sank behind the city and disappeared.

 

I wasn’t there.  Night, when I showed up,

Was gone beyond returning.  Another one would

Come along soon enough.  Soon enough. I

Thought.  For me, never soon enough, who am

Wide awake before the first bird sings.

 

Except this morning.  They were all well up

And about bird business when I arrived

In wonder at the light; rosy dawn gone,

Busy day well on under winter sun.

 

Mark’s a big man with a beard, was in the

Coast guard, flies a flag, believes in True God.

Rudy, his dog, getting old, is territorial.

Dogs get that way, and people too, sometimes

When they reach a certain age.  Habitual

Too.  Every morning the two of them walk

The same route, the same way, the same time,

No matter the weather or temperature.

 

No eager puppies bounding, or bright eyed

young boys pass by my house each waking day

While I, though vigilant, need not worry

To warn them if they stray.  As I must the

Thieving squirrels, scampering chipmunks, grackle hordes

Summer brings, and a thousand other things.

 

All year long Mark and Rudy come and go.

Appearing, passing, like time, the wind, snow

In whose newly fallen cover, their tracks,

Evidence of their early going by,

Mark outside.  And Rudy, always ready

To warn a passing soul with low growls and

Loud barks behind his closed doors what danger

Waits within, is just a slender track

In sparkling snow falling throughout the night, kaleidoscope

Of tiny jewels full now in the light

Dazzling eyes and soul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 15, 2018

Reading Augustine

He says memory is immense; nooks and

Crannies, caverns and cubby holes beyond

Numbering, contain all we have done, all

We have seen and thought and experienced.

 

Can I see the soul of a tree, its memory,

Or know it through and through from green bud

To heart wood; quiet, sturdy at the core;

Rough barked, new leafed; wide spreading slender branches

Snaking out and up to the waiting sky?

Is each its own, as myself I am?  Some

Do say trees are; visited by creatures

Who know them. Generous with shelter, food.

Well known so throughout the wood, down the days

That when they fall earth shudders and all come

To marvel, mourn and whisper of the fallen one.

And, does receiving earth promise soft rest?

 

Where is the river’s soul which endless flows

To the sea in every season; wild thing, soft ribbon

Never still, never same?  Angry threat each stormy

Spring.  Asleep beneath Winter’s frosty throw.

Hosting sleds and skaters on the coldest days.

Open to splashing laughing children when

Summer heat drives them to its sand banked shore.

 

Surely the river, as the tree, its woods

And all around, has personality?

Whose? Whom do I know when at last I know

You, and them in You?  Help me, then, to know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 12, 2018

An Old Man’s Poem

I started a poem the other day.

I waved the pen that I held in my hand..

No, it was a pencil… to muster Words.

They lay sleeping, lazy things, in my mind.

And, then I stopped, staring at the tiled floor.

Wondered what was wrong.  Saw cobwebs.  Heard crickets.

 

Everything was there, paper, pencil.  But

Words, neat companies, battalions of words

Which would have mustered, marched in rank on rank

Obedient, Brave, well trained; my sweet boon

Companions…(Did I say Brave?)…  Words failed me.

 

Sweet they slept, deep, and all I could was hope

Somewhere, near or far’ I don’t know, somewhere

A muse, on duty in sylvan meadow,

At rest on a lily pad in some deep

Calm mountain mirrored, flower bordered lake

Eating honeyed fruit from a Centaur’s hand

Would get a clue.

 

But, no!  And, like a phantom from the farthest star

Inspiration flew

 

 

 

 

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