RUNAGATES: On Translation

RUNAGATES: On Translation

He is the God that …letteth the runagates continue in scarceness.

~Psalm 68:6, Coverdale’s translation

 

Runagate is a wonderful word.

Renegade–isn’t.

Rebel is a mere ho-hum.

 

Renegades just storm around

waving ther six-guns,

and rebels build barricades

in the streets and die pro patria.

But a runagate charges

at the closed openings,

batters against locks and bars

and when no entry can be found,

runs around searching

for a kitchen door ajar,

a window left unlatched,

a crack somewhere

in the defense, a careless ladder

leaning against a wall.

—————————-Runagates

are not beloved by the gods of order

who do nothing to encourage them.

But scarceness never troubles

runagates, who can live on locusts

and wild honey, two fishes,

bread from stone.

 

The long dash is where I want a long space. WordPress won’t let me make one, even if I use Word. Go figure.

 

Jan. 21, 2015

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MAYBE IT LOOKS LIKE THIS

MAYBE IT LOOKS LIKE THIS

( a little pantoum)

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, 

you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  

~Matthew 18:3

I can’t. It’s too hard.

You can’t make me.

I’m not big enough.

I can’t fix it.

 

You can’t make me.

I’m hungry. I need a nap.

I can’t fix anybody.

I’m not brave enough.

 

It’s late. I’m so tired.

This isn’t fair.

I’m not strong enough.

I’m not holy enough.

 

This is hopeless–

the same lesson over and over.

I’m not advanced enough,

still powerless to change.

 

Same damn lesson over and over–

still way beyond me

and I am still powerless.

I give up.

 

This is too much for me.

I’m not big enough.

I give up. I quit.

This is too hard. I can’t.

SNOW BEGINS

Snow begins, flake by flake.

For a little while I can follow

the little shapes as they fall

from the snow-colored

sky to the snow-covered ground.

 

I would wish all my life

to be this way:

slow steps, distinct musics,

each moment acknowledged,

every face its own.

 

January 2, 2015

MANNERS FOR GENTLEMEN

MANNERS FOR GENTLEMEN

A gentleman should never question a lady’s poems.

~Ray Hudson

 

A gentleman always pours wine for a lady

so that the fire under her skin

will not set the alcohol ablaze.

 

A gentleman always precedes a lady into a crowd

to shield the innocent

from the power of her gaze.

 

A gentleman always seizes his hatbrim when a lady passes

so that the whirlwind that follows her

will not carry it off into the street.

 

A gentleman always opens a door for a lady

so that she may have her sword arm free

to vanquish the villans lurking behind.

(This is also why he carries her packages.)

 

A gentleman always walks on the streetside of a lady

so that she may, with a white-gloved finger,

tap into place any loose bricks

in the foundations of civilization.

 

A gentlemen always follows a lady into a carriage

so that he will not be in the way

if she must stun the driver, seize the reins,

and gallop resolutely toward the invading hordes.

 

 

ATLANTA REVIEW, fall 2008

E PLURIBUS MEUM–(after taking too many Facebook quizzes)

an old one that still applies:

 

E  PLURIBUS MEUM

(after taking too many Facebook quizzes)

Of course King David

had lots in common with Ophelia.

Both liked to sing.

Both had difficult boyfriends

involved in dark plots.  Both

had trouble handling loss.

And Ophelia and the King

had a kind of I-Love-

Lucy approach to life–

plunge right in.

It doesn’t matter if

you don’t have the right clothes.

But John Locke?

Well now, he pulls me all

together, with his belief

that everyone starts clean

and accumulates layers

of life, like laughs or

petticoats, or kingdoms

and complicated wives.