Poem On 75th Birthday

Posted by Jon Madian on Apr 12, 2016
7723 reads  
As is my yearly habit, I recently wrote a poem on my birthday.  This year was my 75th, and I was encouraged to share it more broadly, so here goes!

 ONCE UPON MY TIME
(Poem for my 75th Birthday)

The skull locks the eye
cuts the horizon's round arc
while rhyme sings through
time's harp-strung spirals
sculpts the gift of air into
lilting sounds and silence

The quiet heart rocks the cradle
that stills the baby
so flows the rebounding tides of rhyme
where meter softly bent
holds sway in repeating motion
mysterious as pendulums at play

Rebounding perfect arcs
swing from towering church clocks
as if shamed-souls
may reach beyond guilt gilded time
by counting beads with obedient fingers

In the beginning, before light is matter
before meter gives form to beauty,
before sunlight burns cool and green,
before the moon opens her heart
to mix her full white breast
with splashing sea
and snow white foam
there is a time before time
where all the songs we ever sing
are sung…

But we huddle in Plato's Cave
in low light and shadow
where in the age of chance
we sacrifice innocence
imagining freedom is flash,
cash, and romance,

Longing for the sweet song
of dew fresh flesh
for ardent gestures and postures
to breach the veil
to unwind breath
in conch pink spirals
so in our subsiding tide
we might discover echoes of eternity
in salty skin and sated pleasure

In time, as surely as
the tidal foam rushes
to the yearning shore
a babe is born
to toddle from nature's gracious nipple
to smile, giggle, babble,
walk and talk, to sing, hunt,
play golf and go off to war

And to perhaps come home to build
a house, a farm, an enterprise
for desire and cash flow
all marching, marching,
to the steeple tall clockwork
of hormones and seasons,
insurance companies, soap operas, banks
and repentance

Until, in white hair and slack skin days,
the soft flesh that clung to the skull loosens,
hormones unwind,
tides retreat, sliding further and further
from smooth white sand,
from moon and sun until
the work of clocks is done

And toddling in wrinkled robe
and worn slippers the earth whispers
to those still blessed to hear
how all that was sought,
and bought and thought
that was such and such, and such
never really mattered much

And new sight is born as surely as a chick's
dark eye emerges from its just cracked egg
the peacock, thousand eyed soul singer,
flies north without a wing
and learns to sing the song of thanks
for all that this one life,
this, my once upon my time
did bring

Posted by Jon Madian | Tags: | permalink


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Comments (7)

  • Madhur Khanna wrote ...

    Wishing you a beautiful 75th birthday Jon. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Mike wrote ...

    Beautiful Jon!

  • Charlie Hopkins wrote ...

    "Until, in white hair and slack skin days,
    the soft flesh that clung to the skull loosens,
    hormones unwind,
    tides retreat, sliding further and further
    from smooth white sand,
    from moon and sun until
    the work of clocks is done"

    Powerful words, Jon, and full of the beauty of truth.

  • Phil Brady wrote ...

    And new sight is born as surely as a chick's
    dark eye emerges from its just cracked egg
    the peacock, thousand eyed soul singer,
    flies north without a wing
    and learns to sing the song of thanks
    for all that this one life,
    this, my once upon my time
    did bring

    Love the last stanza, especially "my once upon my time".
    Nice work, all of it; thanks for sharing.

  • DavidHowardElton wrote ...

    Excellent poetry... I will need to read this many times

  • Israel wrote ...

    Dearest Jon:
    Such beautiful and meaningful words.
    Thank you for sharing them with me.

  • Susan Villani wrote ...

    Happy, happy birthday Jon. We celebrate the day you were born, and the gifts you have given us throughout our relationships with you. How kind of you to give us a present on the day of your birth!