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Lucius Furius Jun 11
In youth, we knew great passion –
but tossed it aside,
thinking it easily found again.

In age, we understand --
great love is lightning in a bottle,
quicksilver, slipping through the hand....
Lucius Furius Dec 2019
[I apologize for sending you this message via this "poem", but I can't think of any other way....]

As some of you may have noticed, each of my Hello-Poetry poems has a link (in the Notes) to an audio of me reciting the poem.  (See Examples below.)    

Much to my dismay, I recently discovered that, because of a mistake I had made, none of these links were working.  I've corrected the problem -- so if you've clicked on one of these links in the past and found it not working, it should be OK now.....

  (I'm a big believer in poems as feelings spoken aloud – not just something you see on a page.)
Examples:  
humanist-art.org/old-site/audio/SoF_068_babylon.MP3 and
humanist-art.org/old-site/audio/SoF_063_fullness.MP3
Lucius Furius Jun 2019
Here's to those who suffer voluntarily,
who rise above the mean and merely momentary
pleasure that we feel sitting on a couch,
eating Cheetos, watching reruns of "The Brady Bunch";

those who exercise, walk fast (raising weights
with their arms in rhythm to their feet),
jog, or actually even run --
as long as there's no clear goal in mind,
no Olympic medal, no short-skirted cheerleaders
proffering kisses;

residents of Blakely, Georgia, and Moosejaw, Saskatchewan,
who steadfastly resist removal to California
and similar climes, knowing intuitively
that delight in perfect weather is born in sub-zero winters,
in summer's humid swelter;

those who do without air-conditioning,
using the money for a violin
or books or trips to the local swimming pool;

those who fast, mortify the flesh, --
or at least skip breakfast occasionally,
refusing to indulge every ****** whim,
letting them ripen, at least now and then,
into actual, robust hunger;

monks in solemn Kentucky silence,
some, I suppose, are misanthropes, here I speak of those
with a normal affection for chat and hubbub
who restrict themselves to a reverent silence,
speech being used only in extremity;

blood donors.
Hear Lucius/Jerry read the poem: humanist-art.org/old-site/audio/SoF_047_suffer.MP3 .
This poem is part of the Scraps of Faith collection of poems ( humanist-art.org/scrapsoffaith.htm )
Lucius Furius Jan 2019
I say there is no physical beauty.
This skin, this flesh, this bone
are but the clay of which we make our beauty,
the instrument on which we play our beauty.
  
Witness the failure of funeral directors to please true aesthetes:
the dead Ingrid Bergman lacks the beauty of a living bag lady.
  
Tennis masters
given K-Mart rackets
win gracefully,
while the high-school violinist
playing a Stradivarius
fails to delight us.
  
Thus noses, lips, ******* have no beauty in themselves.
Perfect features are easily distorted by
anger, sloth, irritability, or conceit.
But in a rare few
energy, grace, composure, and sensitivity
are blended in such a quantity
that they overflow
and color with an exquisite beauty every pore of the body,
fill with a subtle music every gesture, every word.
  
I say there is no physical beauty.
This skin, this flesh, this bone
are but the clay of which we make our beauty,
the instrument on which we play our beauty.
Hear Lucius/Jerry read the poem: humanist-art.org/old-site/audio/SoF_005_beauty.MP3 .
This poem is part of the Scraps of Faith collection of poems ( https://humanist-art.org/scrapsoffaith.htm ).
Lucius Furius Dec 2018
This desert is our life.
From the dry earth we gather roots and melons.
Over the endless sands we hunt the gemsbok and the springbok.
  
Sometimes the ga roots are shriveled and bitter.
Sometimes men are sick with thirst and hunger.
  
When there is water we drink and sing and clap our hands.
When there is food we eat and dance and clap our hands.
  
The eland does not come to us and ask to be eaten --
one must know how to make the arrow and poison it
and where to look and how to hide and shoot. . . .
  
What man is so foolish as to expect more? To expect
the rain to be always falling, his eggs full of water and
his stomach full of meat?
  
You have strong animals to carry you.
You have much food and water.
Your digging sticks are hard and sharp.
Your shooting-sticks are like lightning.
  
You are a powerful man and a good man.
I can see that in your eyes.

But what you offer is a dream.
  
You can give us water and meat.
You can fill our hands with tobacco and perfect beads.

But you cannot give us happiness.

  
A man can only drink so much and then he is full.
If a man is always eating honey, he tires of it and becomes sick.
  
And even if all life were sweet --
what man is not food for lions and dogs?
A man who has tasted in his life no bitterness will find death very bitter.
  
My mouth longs for sweetness
but sweetness brings bitterness
and in the end they are one.
  
So I ask you:
Take your digging sticks and your shooting-sticks.
And do not leave them behind.
Go to the green lands you came from.
We shall walk in this desert as we always have.
(The occasion for this speech is the arrival of an expedition
headed by a European in a Bushman werf around the year 1900.)

Hear Lucius/Jerry read the poem: humanist-art.org/old-site/audio/SoF_007_bushman.MP3 .
Note: This poem is part of the Scraps of Faith collection of poems ( https://humanist-art.org/scrapsoffaith.htm )
Lucius Furius Oct 2018
No garden flowers for me,
no gaudy, painted flowers
(hotel swimming pools beside the ocean).
  
Give me wildflowers --
ironweed and jewelweed,
chicory and Queens-Anne's-lace.
Hear Lucius/Jerry read the poem:  humanist-art.org/old-site/audio/SoF_008_garden.MP3 .
Lucius Furius Sep 2018
I
"She's lovely . . . so natural."
A corpse pumped full of formaldehyde.
My grandmother? That prodigious maker of
pies, cakes, stuffing, and cranberry ice?
That lover of Burger King restaurants,
amusement parks, presidential elections, and long summer rides?
Her flushed face is like stone.
This body is a mockery of her being.
(Her fearless motion is done.)
  
   II
She gave us life.
Crass, fond, willful. She gave us life
like turkey and stuffing.
She is the answer to our dark questionings.
Hear Lucius/Jerry read the poem: humanist-art.org/old-site/audio/SoF_012_grandma.MP3 .
This poem is part of the Scraps of Faith collection of poems ( https://humanist-art.org/scrapsoffaith.htm )
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