the pilgrim’s protest

the pilgrim’s progress was won (one

remembers, in spite of a bunyan)

on foot painfully, for the fact is

that shoes hurt and really in practice

discarding them tends to expose

too-tender soles.  only those

soles long-accustomed to rock

are immune to the alternate shock

of steps.  if the pilgrim had cried

resting wearily by the roadside

he’d have witnessed the green war rage

between wayside wheat and the sage

through a tear’s lens and been moved,

being stilled, and christ proved.


i heard a gong make the air throng with song upon song:

song making song meeting song eating song, beating song,

song welling in swelling in yelling in telling of

a dragon blazing, benign, amazing!


the dragon paused and her wild line

of spark enclosed a dark flame-shine

and she scathingly said with never a word

that never gong’s song was ever so heard

yelling or spelling or telling the young

spark upon dark of the ancient rare

crackle and glitter of reactive air

which from stillness and silence is wrung.


and a young saint on a serious horse

reined to a stop and he ventured, “of course,

if one could fathom the infernal mystery

(perhaps by perusing the math, myth and history

of dragons, and learning the physics of sound

through permutant force-forms, a way could be found

to bash the living dragons out of gongs.

but as you can see by the cross on my shield

dragons and i have on many a field

flowered the grass in the fire-footed dance

and mostly i’ve just run ‘em through with my lance.

(the flowering of fields from the spittle and sweat

and the blood and the sparks as they fall tender yet

occasional harmonic songs.)”


so i sat in the tangle of weeds by the road

and took out my lunch from my too-heavy load

and through a tear’s lens with a clear-sighted glance

i watched wheat and sage in a fire-footed dance

sowing dandelion, vetch and sea-onion;


flowers of the rue; and of the thorn

blood-drop berries of gong-song born,

and i cried, less from grief than the fact that i needed

the tear.  so i watched, with my sandwich unheeded,

and ruefully massaged my bunion.










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