Children of Time (4 by Ken)

(Four Poems by Ken McKeon):

November Play

I’m Northern, I’m an obelisk in time,
I am a front for the night sky,
I soar straight up,
I point past the clanging moon,

I expect no one,
I welcome all,

See how the stars align,
Know how our shining laughter
Has its source in the deeply pooling night,

Shall we not put aside the wreckage of our lives,
As merely dust on the mirror
That vanity beholds,
Why look there to find our face?

Touch what’s close at hand, far away,
We are forever sheer becomings
Even as we fall away
Into the buzzing loam
That has no form at all,

We are breathless as we breathe,
Timeless within the brevities of time.

Why not play, live, play, die, play.

Morning Owl

This grey owl must have
Sailed on in at close of night,
Heavily feathered wings,
Grey strutted, hook beaked,
Claws sharp enough
To seize a mouse
With one quick snatch,

It’s perched now in silent roundness on a branch,

It must be well fed,
Just as I will be
After I’m through being
What seems like friendly with this owl,

I heard it whisper as it flew
Around the pond at first light,
I barely saw its form in flight
As it shouldered the dark woods
And claimed the early air as its alone,

Then it settled down here,
Not all that far away,

I must have been waiting for it,
For as I found it,
It brushed on through my heart
Like the fleeting sound
Of a bell rung only once,

And I woke up at last a greeting of the day,
Arms swung gently out,
Palms brought easily in,

They touch, I nod,

Then I stepped on back into my life.
And the owl held itself well
Within the stillness of its day.

The Child

A child gazes down at a pile of sticks,
He knows the game requires him
To pick up each one
Without disturbing any other,

His mind is full of silence,
He understands,
He is such a stick himself,
He longs for quiet
Within his clattering world,
So full of elbows, of barks, teeth,
Awful shattering scenes,
He wants to remove himself,
Off to the side at first,
Then maybe Mars,
Some beyond
Out where deep space displays
The wonders that simply must surely be,

Why else would he have a mind, a heart,
Legs ready to leap, eyes so capable
Of vision, that light itself
Brightens them each day with suns
Brighter than this shadow fare
On which he must daily feed?

Last Steps

Traces of yesterday hang around forever,
Various remotes tossed down on the couch,
Each one universal,
All of them partial,

Two or three books,
An afghan,
A pillow,

A jacket lying crumpled on the floor,

Nothing completed really happened here,
That’s how it seems,

Hesitations, shiftings, restlessness,

Somebody thought himself into a nowhere
And just left his life,
Left it in idle

As he climbed the stairs towards sleep.

Were his steps strong,
His mind clear,
Was his grip on railing tight or loose
When he crested at last
And entered the thorough night
With a final step?

And if this was all,
What then?

A pleasing buoyancy arising towards a light?
A falling away towards a muted dissolution?
A leveling silence deepening, pooling,
A silence echoing only as itself
Until it no longer is,

The failing beat of a moth’s grey wing
Against a window pane
Or a dusty window sill?

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