Saturday, January 5, 2013

Steve Barfield - 5 Poems and 1 Flash Fiction 

A Prayer for the Sufi Poet Rumi

I wish for you many gardens in your afterlife.
I wish you a Persian garden.
Look for a location that is walled
with trellised grapes and wisteria.
This is a place for serenity.
I wish for you a pleasure garden.
Here in a hidden cave
with just enough oil light
to see the beauty.
This is a place for passion.
I wish for you a Bedouin garden.
The desert is without detail
and is undecorated.
Yet, a lone nomad can see the night sky
awash with the stars.
Here is found the symmetry
carved from Arabian math.
This is a place for the intellect.
I wish for you what the stars have promised:
a garden of abundance
with gushing water.

                                            Rumi at the Pillar

A timid oil lamp interprets this evening.  Shadows are a reality also.
Attentive scribes lean forward to listen.  The Persian poet, with his hand
to the pillar, is circling counter clockwise.  His head is canted to the outside
with eyes closed.  He constantly tells all that he sees.   His twisting path
is a quest for clarity.  The poet’s left hand is centered on the everyday world
while maintaining equilibrium.   His right hand investigates momentum
and inertia.  He treads a path that seeks Information from constant motion.   
Circling a well of information is a pivoting search for spiritual physics. 
Centrifugal force is an elliptical bridge that sorts the essential from the ordinary.
His sandals scrape rhythmic patterns through the space-time foam.  Echoing
on the cool stone walls is an exhaustive pursuance of elemental truths
and an axis to the fabric of time.  Rumi’s face is brighter than the ambient light.

Whirling Dervish

Is there a spirit in the spin?
With clockwise logic,
are you turning away from the world?
Are your arms outstretched
to embrace some cosmic balance?
What are you seeing?
Or do you seek the dark?
There must be a sloughing
of space and time.
You may find transport to the truth.
But, be careful with what is found.
Truth is despised
and so its proponents.
The world in contemplation offers:
no nostalgia for the past
no liking of the present
and no hope for the future.
Your robes are immaculate
with circular perfection.
These are clothes fit
to take you before your God
Can you hear the poet Rumi
telling a philosophy of love?

Border # 2

Trusting this trail of broken glass
we wander
through a barbed-wire desert.

Here is a land without moisture,
a land without mercy
a land without end.

Hallucination or mirage
the horizon floats
offering no explication.
If I could only catch my breath,
I could keep up with the others.
Maybe I can live here
in this cactus garden?
To El Norte
the path is littered
with the brittle bones
of the unprepared.
Oh Lord!
What makes my soul so sore?

Border # 3

If attempting a run at the border,
be careful of the word hope.
It is a word that leads to the wasteland.
You will find the scarce plants
all have barbed needles and thorns
for they know what it takes to survive.
This land has the fever
of a being at death’s edge.
A thirsting fever to humble
even the Maya and Aztec.
Here lies a wayfarer
with a heavy black bag of hope
in a desert of white light.
Really his hope was not to suffer.
In a cosmological sense
his wish was fulfilled.

                                        Japanese Kodo Drums Number 1
The sweating men in loin cloths labor to draw the thunder from these immense drums.
This is a thunder loud enough to reach back to the ancestors.  These drums were harvested
from ancient trees that were known and respected by the ancestors.  Your ribs will completely
know this rhythm. 

Then too is the color of cadence.  There is security in the expected.  But the drums drift
into an investigation of all possible natural rhythms.  The click and rub of the bamboo is
almost a groan.  Here are intricate knots in a rope that are sinews pulled tight to circle a post.

A woman is dancing in a kimono the color of plum blossoms.  She floats above the floor.
Her dance is with hands more than feet.  She is telling the story of a single reed on a seaside 
dune. In the morning it held a butterfly.  

In the afternoon a wind of malicious demons storms through the dunes bending this reed to the 
sand.  But because of its morning generosity her Zen sustained the reed and she has endured.  
First hear the gong and then the celebration of the flute.

More than varied clouds the drums are landscapes.  Now the drums are a river rushing down a
granite gorge. Slender ferns comb through the shimmering green mist.  There is moss and lichen
on wet stone and a smell of pine.  First there is thunder and then the storm.  The drums sound a
prayer to all storms seeking to know man’s place in nature.

Steve Barfield is a poet, playwright and screenwriter. His poetry has appeared internationally and has been translated into Spanish, French and German for various journals and anthologies. His latest book of poetry, Festival of Stone, is available from The Bitter Oleander Press ( Author of several screenplays and plays his play Asteroid was produced at Towson University.  He is currently at work on his fourth screenplay. He is best known as an established poet of the Immanentist style of poetry and is a contributing poet to the We Are You Project International (

1 comment: