The Love Song of John Smith

How then should I presume?
And where should I begin?
Dare I, dare I assume
My words her heart to win?

Am I to be a brute?
For them it seems to work!
O, Passion, bottled fruit,
So trapped by my pride’s cork!

Love seems so natural
(In my mind, ’tis but said!)
Yet how phenomenal
That I am so afraid!

So drowned by sirens’ songs!
So maddened by their charms!
Each day this body longs
With agony, cruel and warm.

The hero in disguise
Is he whose tongue is fool.
I cannot speak those lies!
So silence, then, must rule.

A silence fraught with pain,
Madness bound by a string.
A traveler waxed in vain,
For still the sirens sing.

They know nothing of it!
And still I am to blame.
Must I so calmly sit
And watch their botched up game?

O, Mephistopheles!
Tempted am I to bet
That of those fair lilies,
Any one could I get.

The devil with my care!
I know just what to say!
The color of my hair
Grows whiter every day!

And yet, what if she mocks
Attempts to bare my soul,
And hurls against the rocks
The words to make us whole?

What foolish beast am I,
So trapped in my own snares?
From Courting must I flee
For having found her bare.

Melancholy, my cave,
(Of hope, I am bereft!)
I hope one day ’twill save
The few words I have left.

But no!  Leave me to grief,
And let my tears be proof
That Love’s only relief
Is to be kept aloof.

For is this what I seek?
To gain a nightingale
Whose thoughtless chirpings reek
of boredom, rank and stale?

And is this what I want?
A moulded empty mote
Who constantly must chant
A ritual learned from rote?

And yet, what else is there
Among trivialities
Where cruelty laid bare
Doth hide in niceties?

Am I the sole remains
Of empty faithless lines?
Or am I, then, the Fool
(And do they see the signs)?

My temple has no place
In worlds without a faith
Where Truth is but a face
Where Love is but a wraith.

So let me die in peace
Each day a little more.
One day, my hopes will cease.
Eros will be no more.

As summer turns to fall,
Then fall into winter,
I must forget the Call
To make them all better.

Their games will become Truth.
My rules will never be.
And then, as passes Youth,
My desire, set free.

Let silence be the rule.
Let Pain be what I praise.
If I am thus the Fool,
Then Love be but a maze.

Go on, you oafish boys,
And sputter all your lies!
If women be your toys,
My dreams, therefore, are sighs.

Aphrodite, goodbye!
You were my only love.
But now, Boredom’s dead cry
Is all that rings Above.

And now he speaks to her,
Not caring what he says.
And as I look at her,
She seems as in a daze.

She slowly nods her head
And feigns to hear him speak.
(But how her heart is dead,
For all his words are weak!)

A Cerce with a swine,
(Yet still her smile she keeps!)
His lust, the potent wine
Which lulls her to her sleep.

I yearn to offer her
The treasures in my tongue.
I need to rescue her
From boredom’s plaintive song.

How then should I presume?
And where should I begin?
Dare I, dare I assume
My words her heart could win?

Desert Rain

Carefully combing the crowd,
Always wanting to find woman
To make me more than mortal man,
Hoping to hear love call me clear and loud,
Every day, like a nomad in the desert of loneliness, i
Reached out and grabbed strangers with my piercing gaze.
Impatience urged me on, rough rider on tired mount. but yet
Never i thought that in my desperate search for a hidden you, i
Ever would stumble upon you, flower bloomed from rained tears.

Black Jungle

The stars.
The sky.
Nothing else.
looks down upon me
through the thousand eyes
of other planets.
The world is a
I look about,
pearls of sweat trickling
down my brow,
drowning my eyes in
An animal screams,
the hair on my spine,
draping me in a blanket of icy
The flutter of bat wings
rapes the silence of the night.
An owl hurls a scream
into my ears.
The trees, like me, shiver,
though the wind tries to soothe us
with its caress.
Life underground
stands still. Quiet
silent marauders,
tiptoe through the bushes
seeking their prey.
They will find me soon,
I realize nervously.
The moon reflects all
in the paths undercover,
to my need for clarity. Suddenly
a ribbon of light appears between the branches of an elm.
I sigh. I am master now.


How my soul longs for thee
In silent misery.
A smile painted on my face,
as I try to hide Disgrace.
O, sweet rose of my heart,
Why must we be apart?
O, sweet flower of my soul,
Only you can make me whole!
The Father holds me dear
And brushes off my fear.
But tears across my face
Keep me so far from Grace.
Yet hope within my breast
Envelops my regrets
Like a mantle of silk,
Like a mother’s sweet milk.
I refuse to give in
To the despair within.
She lies within the earth
And I wait to give birth
To eternal Eden,
My blessing and my bane.
I wait for You, O Lord!
If you but say the Word,
I know that she will come,
My rose, my healing balm.

My empty garden

She lies inside my mind, hidden in my hunger, the seed of a pregnant fruit
rotting away.
Under the dark depths of my soul, the fountain of Life drips away,
waiting for her to come and drink from me my kiss.
Beyond my eyes, they pass me by, strangers, walking graves unfertile for her birth,
and their vacant eyes fall upon me and float away like dried out leaves,
slaves to the whims of a tired wind.
Overrun by the choking weeds of my sighs,
Love is an empty garden, guarded by the angel of Time
wielding the flaming sword of Desire.

For Dad…

Michel Gochtovtt

Grains of life you planted in my mind,
Rain, the tears I have shed when you died.
Every word of wisdom left behind
Grows like a wild garden deep inside
Of my heart, where you will always be.
Really, father, you were never gone.
You are still here, cultivating me.

Germinant dans les terres de ma tête,
Rappelles-toi tous tes mots de sagesse
Enveloppés dans tes petals d’amour,
Gardés frais par ta précieuse tendresse.
Oh mon père, ils poussent toujours dans moi,
Rien ne serais-je si ce n’était sans toi.
Y a-t-il rien dans mon coeur plus vivant que toi?

In Memoriam, Michel Gochtovtt, May 23, 1924-July 21, 2012
With love from your children, Alexandre, Gregory, Annabel, and Tessa
We miss you painfully, Dad.

Paradise in the city

A bonzai tree next to a pine,
beds of rock for you and me,
a falling star to make you mine.

No goldfish swims in the pond,
and the streetlamps outshine the stars.
No temple to bless our bond.
Our witnesses are passing cars.

Pavement stands under our feet.
The midnight air scented with smog.
No paddies or fields of wheat,
but only vents steaming with fog.

Like a pearl dropped in a sewer,
or a bubble upon the air,
or hiding place without a door,
this garden is our secret care.

Let me hold you close to me,
and let this garden be our tryst.
Let me try to make you see,
that without me, you are so missed.

Keep this garden in your heart.
Do not forget how my lips felt,
so that when we are apart,
twin hearts into one heart might melt.

Whenever you want to cry,
close your eyes and there you’ll be.
Let your tears crash down and die
upon the earth and think of me.

And if you whisper my name,
i’ll fly to you upon moonbeams.
And there we will meet without shame,
and we will make love in our dreams.

Zen Fairytale

As we watched Comet
under Moon in silent Fog,
Wind carried our wish.
(April 17, Fox island)

By the flowing stream
on a moist carpet of grass,
your tongue wets my tongue.
(May 4, Old Fort)

Flames of fire sigh
as your body under me
crushes down the sand.
(May 17, Fox island)

Under a willow,
with cold feet in dewy grass,
weeping for our love.
(June 9, Franke Park)

Feet against the rocks
cutting skin like knives of glass,
but you hold my hand.
(June 13, Headwaters-Foster Parks)

Up on a rooftop
under a red summer sun,
we plant cherry pits.
(June 15, your rooftop)

Floating rubber boat
heard us on the river when
we said, “I love you.”
(June 7, Headwaters Park)

Published in West Chester University’s Daedalus Literary Magazine April, 2015


Upon her belly lay my head,
within a graveyard in the night.
And as my lips rose to her breast,
she softly whispered, “Love, be still.”

My cheek alive among the dead,
how on her flesh it burned with might!
Although my passion found no rest,
she softly whispered, “Love, be still.”

“My love,” I implored in her ear,
“I want to die here with you now.”
But with her hand, she pushed away,
and softly whispered, “Love, be still.”

And as her lips did calm my fears,
and as she softly stroked my brow,
and as her head did rock and sway,
she softly whispered “Love, be still.”

I felt her flesh against my nose,
I felt her black hair brush my cheek.
I said, “How sweet you are! How kind!”
She softly whispered, “Love, be still.”

Each day my longing for her grows,
and love of her doth make me weak.
But when lust hunts me in my mind,
she softly whispers, “Love, be still.”

Published in Eber & Wein Publishing
June 2015