Gilbert Huntly: Four Poems of Love and Death ***

1.  Dark Waters

Dark waters to navigate;
A fractured mast, I fear.
So far to sail, so deep to sound,
No star by which to steer!

No smiling moon illuminates;
No beacon’s guiding light
Does offers hope, nor tend to ease
This journey into Night.

And to my God I pray now
This voyage soon to end—
And steer my craft and tortured sail
Into a milder wind;

To drift into the sunshine;
To lift my spirits high;
To still this storm which tears my soul,
Then beach me there, to die!

—   §   —

2.  No Return

Far, far across the roiling sea
My lover waits in reverie
While penning verse she writes for me—
And my return.

Her brow, so perfect and refined,
Casts shadows dancing on the rhyme
While candles flicker, marking time
For my return.

Her fingers, coaxing pen to write
Poetic love she feels inside,
Awaiting dawn, the changing tide—
And my return.

Alas! No more our arms we’ll link!
And as this noble ship does sink
I cry her name, while on the brink
Of No Return.

—   §   —

3.  Always and Forever

“Always and forever,” my lover said to me,
“Always and forever will I give my love to thee.”
Then I to her bestowed a kiss in token of reply
Knowing “always and forever” would amend
As time goes by.

That “always and forever” is a fantasy of rhyme
Becomes more clearly certain with the passages of time,
For flesh and blood does age and wilt—back to dust, again;
And where Always and Forever is—
No mortal can attain.

For “always and forever” is not for flesh and blood.
Always and Forever is a province of the gods;
And for the price of loving, they exact from us the pain
Of knowing “Always and forever” is
A promise made, in vain.

But, breaking not tradition, I bespoke the tale anew,
Saying “always and forever” would I likewise love her too;
For the concept of Forever makes our love seem fine and high;
So for “always and forever” will be told—
The soothing lie.

—   §   —

4.  The Truth in the Mirror

The looking glass reveals to me
A spectre which I seldom see—
The sight of me just as I am:
Of flesh and bone—a mortal man.

In younger days, with less reflection,
I thought I had achieved perfection:
Bullet proof . . . forever young.
And thus somehow to life I clung.

But now that days are getting grayer.
No more am I a carefree player.
I understand how I’ve been blest,
Sojourning here among the rest.

And I—like they—will wilt and die
(Oh fleeting Time, where did you fly?)
So soon the flesh to dust returns.
Ah, this too late—too late one learns!

13 thoughts to “Gilbert Huntly: Four Poems of Love and Death ***”

  1. Hey, Gil –

    Great poems of love and life.

    I detected some Melville there….. and some Pennsylvania Deutsch tossed in, as they would retort, “We get too soon oldt, undt too late schmart!” 🙂

  2. Hi Lasha,
    I have almost completed the italian translation of these beautiful four poems. I will send them by email still today. Please keep your email watched. Thanks. Gian Franco

  3. As with anyone who writes anything, I see things about these I would have changed had I known Lasha would have so well displayed them. It is best to let poems simmer awhile, forget them, then return much later to edit. (She does quite a beautiful job on her presentation – and makes it LOOK better than it IS.)

    1. “It is best to let poems simmer awhile, forget them, then return much later to edit.”

      Enjoyed your verse, dear Gilbert. You are a true romantic in the old style!

      As you say, the more you sit on your poems before publication, letting them “simmer”, the better. This is a bit like laying down wine, letting it mature in the cellar for years. The great Roman poet Horace, in his Ars Poetica (‘The Poetic Art’), suggested a long wait of seven years! I think maybe your poems would have lost much of their spontaneity had you waited that long!

      I guess there are no set rules. And you have to do what suits your nature best. Some painters dash off a painting in a few hours like Van Gogh or Picasso and sell it the same day. Others take ages, working on the same canvas and making constant improvements over the years.

      Best wishes,

      Saki

  4. “Humility and submission is really difficult to achieve…” Yes it is Gilbert, but you already have come a very long way – as your poems prove. You truly are a “diamond in the rough”. Let it shine!

  5. Thanks, Jo. Unfortunately, being “rough” is more a necessity, now, than it has been in my “white privileged” life. People almost NEED a whacking to wake themselves out of mental stupor. Events now politic are absolutely threatening our American atmosphere of industrious peace. There is no way to handle it with polite refinement.

  6. Banned as I am I think, band-aides wrapped about wounded hands, clips closing slices along fingers longing to type again, I nonetheless have a comment or two on Gilbert’s fourth poem. Self-serving as some will claim even now, I nonetheless point out what’s obvious: You forever project, you always reflect, then, sometimes, you retro-spect — all in an instant! You need not a mirror, though deployment | employment of a mirror I personally find very helpful.

    I recommend Louise Hay’s 21-day Mirror Work exercise as an introduction to this potentially efficient method of self-realization. I took but 11 months or so to complete that course! I could NOT get past Chapter 1. Once I did, with GOD’s Grace, clear sailing toward our flat, faulty Earth’s circumference!

    The point here is that what you see, you projected. If you watch your image as if “in a mirror”, then, as Werner Erhard phrased it, you be “at effect”. Donovan nailed it with a “ditty” during the ’60s (spelling and punctuation mine, a la LD):
    Happiness runs in a circular motion.
    Thought is like a little boat upon the sea.
    Everybody is a part of everything anyway,
    You can have everything if you let your Self be
    WHY O?
    Be CAUSE!

    Cause projects, effect we perceive as reflection.

    Exercise: Look into a mirror for ten minutes or fewer. Just see what you comes back to your eyes. Then, retro-spect: Where do I come from, what is my feeling | emotion right now? THEN, project a happy face onto the silvered glass that faces back to your self. See, feel the change?

    Alan

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