How Rare A Lyre (1983)

Empty streets, empty days,
Year after year no word of praise.
Men called villains; women, too;
Year after year no dreams pursue.

Achievement past called selfish greed;
Now no one dares one exulting deed.
Action’s over, goals are dust;
No vital triumph, no joyous lust.

What? What?? What???
What alien sound is that?

How rare a lyre of human fire
I hear rise warm and clear.
From lost years’ height new singing might
Thrills all abandons here!

“We are the light of heroes’ sight—-
This stone-cloaked steel and I.
Our tall proclaim: He bears our name
Who’d from himself not fly.”

Up glad’ning slope I stamp my hope,
Then top a hill to see—
A halo hair, a face taut-fair,
A form’s bare harmony.

She stands alone by sky-scrape stone
And scans it, proud and free.
Things far beyond have but one dawn—-
Her climbing self to see.

“I sang to man one creed: ‘I can’,
Though none came here long years.
I sing again, ‘I can! I can!’
And you step near to hear.

“Your fearless gaze shows thought-full ways,
Each step you take is great.
Your truth that wins be man’s ‘Can’t sin,
Can only ‘can’t’ abate.

“These temples won, their forms well done,
Each soaring man-love free,
If by life’s rise you’d guide your eyes,
See them, but first, see me.”

I name your name—-Egoistian Flame—-
And walk the high way to;
I brush the lyre of Midas-fire
And feed my lips with you.

One liquid breath, one gilding word,
I need not hear or guess;
Song’s singeing blaze molds all its rays
To fill my mouth with—-“Yes!”

Then up, alone, by ‘spiring stone,
Past Death’s humility,
It’s you and I, and I and you,
On ledges edging free.

Now both your hands are bolt mine hands,
And so our frames, en-wound;
We feel Love’s might in-seal us, bright,
Who is our shrine profound.

We string the lyre, sweep breath entire,
Desire, chord in a kiss;
With lips our-curled we mine the world
All lines of ‘can’ insist.

On tamed rock plane we lock in gain
Like granite-bursting wings;
And Passion gives, and Beauty lives,
And First Dream wakes and sings.

“Your lines are swept, their views I’ve kept,
I know the love of Time;
In Pride’s high place see I my face,
Devoured of eyes that climb.”

Our mouths are pure, rare lyres endure,
Our towers cast up right;
High steps that dare, high scans ‘Up there!’
End last, right here, in light.

Mid dews soft-sewn on silvering stone
The heights of the world live;
And lays of youth, and the praise of truth,
My hands to your body give.

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2 Responses to How Rare A Lyre (1983)

  1. Opus Dei says:

    Magic man (that’s you!) at his best! This is brilliant…I loved the action, the drama in there ❤

  2. Thank you, Opus. Yes, this is a brilliant poem. The last line sums it all up, suggesting an almost stately, noble rite. The internal music is like a building going up, block upon block of it. I’m glad you love it’s action and drama.

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