LAUREL LEAVES POETRY


Monthly Poetry Magazine



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POET AND POEMS OF THE MONTH

LÊ PHḀM LÊ




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poetandpoemsofthemonth

SEPTEMBER 2014

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SELECTED POEMS

 

Stepping into the Light of Tomorrow

Here I sit after midnight looking into a campfire 
reminiscing about my great-grandparents
and contemplating the day that is at hand.
Yesterday is today so
today is now tomorrow, 
and I wonder what the dawn will bring.

For eons, we have been immersed in violence.
For millennia, we have lived to serve ourselves.
For decades war has been of a scope more devastating than
other generations could ever have conceived.

With the rings of the wood in the campfire,
 I see yesterday burning in flames.
I need to discard the current reign of fire and fear 
to enter the age where I live by the wisdom 
conveyed by the unfulfilled words of my forbearers: I will
   Love all people, even those who are different from myself,
   Respect every culture and language,
   Understand that I am no better or worse than any other person,
   Embrace all people as created equal as well as different,
   Practice that everyone should have an equal opportunity 
  	for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For the sake of my grandchildren I will put into practice
	“…with liberty and justice for all.”

 

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Power Of The Gods

In folklore and myths the gods could do anything—
traveling by magical means they whisked through the air
materializing wherever they chose
to do anything they wanted
be it love, lust, kindness or war.

Today, at the base of Mt. Olympus
we have high tension wires more powerful
than lightning bolts thrown by an angry Zeus. 
Power lines carry the miracle of electricity
from power plants to homes, turn night into day,
give us distant viewing of actions on continents far away,
use mysterious boxes to convert languages one for another,
and give us information more extensive 
than any one human brain can hold.

I see these things, not in a dream
but from a wondrous, air conditioned chariot
called a tour bus, transferring 
my friends and me through the countryside.
Our faces are blurred by speed
and distorted by glare 
of an invisible barrier we call a window.

We dream today of exceeding our abilities
the way our forefathers dreamed of exceeding theirs.
Today, we live more amazing lives
than the ancients could ever have dreamed.

Tomorrow, we step into our “time that is to come”
where our descendants will live 
in ways we have not yet imagined.
They will chuckle and shake their heads
at how primitively we lived.

 

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Two On The Same Path

She walks through the museum like a queen
garbed in a royal purple coat, as if
crowned with a spiritual spire reaching heavenward.
Seeking food and drink, she passes a statue
of an ancient woman offering sustenance.
Her life is filled with passion, longing,
giving,  receiving, love,  loss, friends, family 
uncertainty, various insecurities  and recent death.
Yet she walks like a queen today
because her reality is of love, joy 
and overcoming obstacles.

Another walked this same path, on the same day.
Shabbily dressed, with a cane
she tottered with her needs annoying her. 
She could not see the offerings of antiquity.
She did not see the opulence of today.
She focused only on the distance between
her wants and her unsatisfactory fulfillment.

Two walked the same path today.
One said “Thank you.”
The other wondered why.

 

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Some Day I Will Die

When I die, I hope I will not rage.
I want to go welcoming the change, ready to step into a new adventure,
ready to discover this vast new universe 
which will be revealed.

Some day I will die,
and on that day, I hope I will embrace this new facet of life
as I did the first day of school when life as a baby ended;
and as I did on accepting my first full-time job when life as a child ended;
and as I did when I retired and life as a prime adult ended.

Some day I will die.
Because I have died and been reborn many times
I do not need to fear what lies ahead.
The unknown always faces me.
Partial death has always led to greater growth and happiness.

But If I am wrong and the final death of the body 
is total, unending oblivion, then that too is to be embraced,
for I have lived my life of great rewards.
I have lived my life with marvelous adventures.
I have lived my life with increasingly understanding
the unity of the universe.

Some day I will die but I will not hurry that day.
I will live each day I have as a prize to be treasured,
a jewel to be displayed, an adventure of interaction.

As the day I die approaches,
I hope I will see it as a graduation, not into a scary place 
full of demons I can not control,
but as a passage into the world for which I have prepared.
I work hard to gather experience.
I work hard to gather joy.
I work hard to cast off unwanted burdens of ego, anger, fright,
for these will stigmatize me in the world that I am to face.

I live my life as a marvelous adventure striving 
for success, enlightenment and unity. 
Each day I am grateful. Each night the “me” of that day dies
to be born anew in dreams and again in the coming morning.
So I welcome each new day and I shall not fear that
some day I will die.

 

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The New Arthurian Legends Begins

Excalibur Re-found
    Pulling the Could-Be out of the Stone

How glorious the shimmering sword
encased in natural stone!
Moss softens the lines of the rock.
Sun dances on the small bit of exposed blade.
A teen contemplates what would happen… if….

The child, nearing adulthood,
walks around the anomaly
knowing what might be,
having learned what was,

contemplates the blade, hilt, guard, 
gives a little tug and falls backward,
sword in hand ringing with freedom.

Visions clash of conquering the world.
Visions rage of wealth beyond imagination.
Visions flash of an empty life
filled with fear of theft and assassination.

The youth has pulled the Could-Be out of the stone.
The old King Arthur wielded it,
built Camelot, and died in confused distress.

This adolescent thinks some more
then carries it home and mounts it
on the wall above the couch
where it can shimmer with the blaze
of electric fixtures that light the night.
On the wall, it can catch gold rays of the sun, 
that fill the room with a wealth
of warmth during a summer sunrise.

She places it where all can see
and where it is accessible.
All can admire it as a remembrance of olden times
when the sword had been used
for personal gain and the destruction of others.
But mounted on the wall as an archaic artifact, 
it will be used for war no more.

 

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