PREVIOUS NEXT FIRST ODE TO THE MEADOW LARK, Perched upon Pride, there stands Autumn...


 van Gogh's Still Life With Four Sunflowers
Perched upon Pride, there stands Autumn

perpendicular to a man punching ice-cubes
deep into the ice-waters
that he makes out of himself

caught in Change's neat machinery, having
tempted Fate by slashing Vanity's burning veins,

his modesty undone, made a torment

and trying to swim (Why's ripping torrents)
weeping the Blood-cold tears & squared of The World

... looks at the clock
thinking, always thinking: "Within
the next half hour I shall be saved!"

labitur occulte fallitque volatilis aetas
et nihil est annis velocius
80 (in Mankind's

null distinctions) unconvinced, praying: "Within
the next half-hour I shall be saved!" But

th'Winter tells him: "Life is to be shaped
It doesn't shape itself..." The Spring:

"Of course, this was O long ago..." when Man
still was what he could make out of what he saw
(what he could make out of half what he knew)

O Sing!
You songbirds of the world!

for your songs are th'roots of the earth
growing up into the Heart of heavens


The Summer: "Quae caret ora
cruore nostro?
81"And, "This is
Blood!" he told us (Caution's creepy men)

pouring some of it into our empty glasses because
emptiness. Holding high our torches all toothed

with Truth the suspected, hailing
Imagination's invisible taxies

with their telling tunes we went
gnawing deep through our self-mined
caverns' black emptiness or coming out & standing there

like unfinished torsos of stone just marveling
at an odd sort of moonlight's grace flirting over gravestones

everywhere ... "There are those who actually believe
Blood-letting's indispensable to all human society

& that even the most advanced
civilizations must 'base themselves upon

Blood" (fretting in all our feelings) we laughed
at the pun where there was none--hearing, distantly,

in our hearts, Horror's crawling horses:

it suddenly dawned on us we were all, we are
(every last one of us): the past's pillars:

"But, drink up! gentlemen, drink up! Good, eh?"

Somebody there, some radical I think
asked him a question about The Source & he
said, "That silly old matter again!?" (anon &

always): "I'm afraid that's one of those technical problems
we academicians are helpless in (like
what makes the motor turn): I suppose

THEY make it, somewhere," leaving us wondering
whether he meant the motor in nova fert animus

mutatas dicere formas corpora 83we smiled
& drank without conscience --Good, eh? before th'mirror

toasting our instructor) Self Deception, that exquisite
relentless connoisseur cradled in the unclean,

after those maddened matins more & more
with my unproven dreams-sprinkling wings

always falling short amongst the reaching branches
and going on from there for a walk ... naked

amongst the nude remains (netting the Winds), one
day, I met another One who was trying to bag them!

where just then The Sun was loving the rosebuds

awake: one who's never been pestered by
Embarrassment's pink flies

between the peace of distant Viet Nam 84 cannons
of definition blasting apart the magics of all our lies

in the solitude always the slope, like seraphs,
I told him: "I am a poet"
85 (isolation

like a bouquet) & watching the slowly-flying flocks
of some departing excellence overhead

he said (squirming with all the squirrels of his
kindness raising storms around him):

" I am a philosopher! "
judging the modes like a jungle of moods

in our mutual confessions of boughs
tipping birds to the sunshine, subdued a hue
of self-consolations,

"The noblest Dream Mankind can have,"
it suddenly dawned on him, "Is

trying to wake up!" in the claws

of Chance weeping over the inflated All
down Life's conical tunnel

I asked him, out of innocence: "Catch
anything?" And he answered me, while we went

skipping over primordial obstacles
& madly through the abandoned reds rotting around our
walking varnished, scaling
monstrous analogies and then (like some

giant apes) clinging to Conviction's shallow spires
... his speech like a pealing thunder...

( that, 'A Quest 86 is concerned only with Searching!'

shivering & shaking
with eloquence like his other disorders

& pains like aspens in the tall grass)
we passed (up) many an obvious treasure in our way
through Morning's certain maybes,

his conclusion: "Under these circumstances,
any chance discovery or find
would be quite inappropriate" so distant from

th'bitter ghastly of suffering & war
or th'outlandish little of want

& snug in the glittering shawl of our personal garden
gently smelling th'lilacs like some general lunacy

(peopled in the petals): trying to catch sight
of those fluttering whispers which bring down bull

elephants but are dumbed so easily by
the all-drowning moans in the abdomen

he suddenly said violently full of self-
control: "Let us continue about our business..." August
that Summer ghost wandering in through my

awe (the window) looking on the dead trees that touch
the rainbows above them (Time's up-turned trees
of distance, reflecting over the lost

like a pool splattered over the politic dyke
& spilling over the consciences in drips): a

nation of comparisons (without compassion)
crying out like all the others: "We are the good!

Renoir's Nini In The Garden
We are the kind! We are the keepers
of all human conscience!

We know better than everybody else
put together"... shaking in the self-righteousness of
the Viet Nam war's nether nails scratching

at the conscience with such scars ... in the dull
golden loaf of th'sunshine

I turn to some cauterizing self-inwardness
crying in my height puzzled a flatness
of earth-bound Icarus stretching my thoughts
in the too-much's elastic languages: "O, thou cool Sun!

"O vestiges of sunrays-rags..."
wiping away the world & bleaching out

my hair of worries into a Winter's prey,
bleaching the Blood of our earth-bound tragedies
into the dull heavenly happenings of analysis

th'deep green/orange of those trees that go unarmed
against the unresisting afternoon aglow with gladness,

pilgrims beyond their marching
in the convulsions of triumph spilling their timbers

throughout th'quiet of Time without
maiming & killing, unlike... O thou unmannered

Man! of brutality

like some burial, when will you learn
it's impossible to deodorize with all you burn

& destroy & lay waste: the inheritance will yet
remain--Rot the reminder!... & never-mind

our own obnoxiously industrious tongue, & Pain
the unpensive (telling it all) like devils

of th'divine or pitchforked angels forever gossiping
to those shocking cherubs of Fate that always hover

above our loves ... like hates, above our so-
called kindness dressed in the short-fused prospect

of thank-you-s eternal (otherwise
our pitiless reproach), that

world-encircling ice
that drowns the tenuous warmth O,

Summer sinking away so lazily as I raise my eyes
from the Past's blinding proverbs & look upon THEM

then, to see IF they're looking down on me

for I must keep myself away from their humanity
(which doesn't belong to me... Pride's

all-powerful, all-purposeful
Pose) that brand of humanity cluttering

Th'Common with kings: If I want to be saved,
I must look down the road

The Real Road, when I walk theirs (alone

in that undecided dawn
like whisperings of the unwilling)
although not excusing myself from
(with them) attending Distrust's strange church

(and not just so they won't suspect me) because

all those presentments that so consistently cut across
the track of the Sun --but declining to join

their festivals of th'fatal that look so much fun
what with that brilliant Sun of theirs Armageddon

... they might discover the reverend rage
of the strange & alien in me

if I'm not careful and keep my eyes on
that pavement just as revealing as any mirror,

glancing never so longingly at the shade:
I th'firm believer in the Eventual's self-repair...

I always manage to graciously refuse
to participate,

but I think they might yet notice &
have a fit of indignation at my
taking their burning selfless love for a hate
( like some self-seeking )

& th'other fables of infallibility
that tell about our frailties with almost poetical
ability--How could I let them know the outrage
of their always being so right!?

I, one of those impertinent innocents
who belongs to that proscribed tribe

of fools the handful barnacles on their miracle!

I must not look them in the eye to see
O God MY Precious IF
they are looking back to me! O no, that must

never happen, for who can look upon the heart
of himself & live? It's almost better if
by some quirk of destiny I should look down on them
with aplomb, or they should have to look up

to me (bridges over their basements) dreaming
the dream of Time like an annihilation, of

life the handclasp in the silence of all lives,

of that unremembered realization
in its interior of terror that's

the eternal unripe, Myth the unbroken,

Piety the prophet (yes, worship it silently),

Labor the religion (the fellowship for profit):

Woe on you if ever it should befall
they have to look up to you

for being that tall! stacked the Authentic!

amidst the sunshine's bright absurdities
... bands of blockbusters blowing

through the images of th'unborn ... I cry out
to them all looking like ropewalker ducks &

munching upon those doom-dipped cookies
( Because & Because )

we toss, so innocent-looking, at
Design's swift dogs

& always ever so radiant & radiant
to the rotten: like one self-conscious but in self-

rapture: "Neighbor, cool it, O cool Sun,
cool it, cool it," as they hose me down

with Indecision, burning & wooden):
YOU ARE TOO HOT! along the mud & mud

that's all that's left of their superior lesson
their footsteps sinking & sinking

until it seems (to Mind forever restless) that
they have reached The Dust which, quiet & dry,
lies under all moving things, unsuspected,

making believe it's hard as rock --while
it really has a heart of gold

if only they really believed it! those
stranded mariners of the land like

trees trembling in their goings-nowhere
(for all their roots)

groping the enchantments of Change,
pecking at Patience's pale apples like

miners so bold, such fools
--who suddenly stop at their place

& install a ritual of Victory, dance their brains off
& proclaim it one marvelous stuff

all made up like paper martyrs under the storm
taking on all heights
of salt: O we have reached ( the scramble

of ) the afternoon, late, no less, always
standing beside the open terraces of their love/our hate:

toes in the traffic, removed somehow
from their hate/our love:
everything that doesn't concern us,
watching Meaning's self-molding minutes (those birds)
sink to their distance & fully aware

as we always seem to be ( despite our scary
penchant for the contrary ) that:


in their heaven AND IT'S WE WHO ARE
going to Hell (or elsewhere --who can tell
for sure? when from the outside th'walls
of Heaven & Hell look the same

and it's only when you're too-far gone
that you can finally see: one's to keep th'riff-raff outside

while the other one keeps the riff-raff in
... either way, you see, Man does his worst
in a good cause as well as in a bad one)

--I have spent a whole adolescence
like so much doggerel without sense

although in measured metrics & worn out feet
following my own eclectic hence & wit,
tossing away all those clinging kittens of Caution,

I say: I have run out of places to run to!

wearing my pendants of pains for penance
& anonymously murdered within the slaughters

(of Laughters), the muchlater Meanwhile where [sic]
like all the others: I too am tucked in The Instead
(way over my head)

simmering in the mellow & melting
in the make: I have run out of
places to run to!

I say & spit upon the long-suffering Sun
in its dungeons of dusk,

the little (so tenuous tides
of the Autumn shaking with languor, civilized,

shuddering all the leaves of its manuscript of surrender)
falling into pieces its own (& not

the world's) embroiled in its unceasing wars
yet trying to re-establish democracy

amidst that din (the stomach growling at a dish)

or losing it anew (by the majority's 88 coming to believe
in some minority's tyranny as truly in its name
& benefit despite what the papers keep telling us
about Meaning beyond the mean), men too dizzy
in The Solution's zig-zag, always
Song at its someone (in the moonlight
shocking over the darkness with its chalk, or

aloft upon the dawn's untouchable driftwoods)
--all those later majesties of oneness:

humanity! so warm at its earliest (miracles
all-wired) & th'rresistible awakenings

by the sea-side's primeval, th'tide's whips
trying to uncork the shore at the feet of Day's

glowing disguises, assuming ladders
included in the Heights, yet free

of Hurry's tied hands, of Expectation's
moot empires, of Ecstasy part Defeat,

leaping through its passions, perverted,
reading poets in every womb, lies in every lip,

wide-awake for its self-preservation,
slumber disturbs Th'Great Prodigious

(perception of rest, for all the rest is
pure perception after all). The throat quivers

before the agitated Blast of Morning's so violent
waste; in the newspapers

the blank abiding wordiness of man
is mirrored in its making;

all his dreams hiding like mere memory nailed to the
cross of th'unrecoverable

(registering in all The Worlds his Heart
hovering above th'heartlessness of his self-love
only but some handful of half-sympathetic smiles)

saying, "Death is the ultimate
inspiration," and, "Birth chokes the throat."

Don't you see this? "What?" Quid rides? Mutato
nomine de te fabula narratur!
89 my man, says

the newspaper (that Hollowness affects the earliest
Morning Sun! ... "And it's a light which

although it does not fail to commemorate" ... Flesh
& the rest: Trust made-up the monster,

Lust like a halo, Humor (the one wall that
will always survive of God's house at last
so we can go there weeping our tearful vows),

Truth the incredible trail (too straight to take
wholesale), Reason like a romance, and those

never-receding notions of Chance (Luck
good & bad, the illustrations of the Devil's fad),

that funeral Love, Despair the indescribable,
the indefatigable Gall, and the babble

of Mind at its grammar) ... it's all & much more
told in th'leaves of the newspapers:

greetings to the world like some unpronounceable pun
that yet leaves the leaves of our outstarts
wrapped in their coldness, blown to
a come & gone, Beauty the final violence,
mixing a harbor out of Hell's hopes,

Pleasure the ultimate punishment we pick for
ourselves: the wise... we the sensible, the too quick,

the clever, the brilliant, too bright to worship
the Sun picking up real cheap the dew's junked droplets,

shivering in our Dark ... and this is just the time
for some smart-ass to come along

selling (pardon your own cliche) the milk of
human kindness! that most considerable con: The Always

( just about this time )
somebody passes by selling his own, "New Special Tool!

Getcher New Special Tool!" (for any fool) What:
Don't you buy it!? You, Monarch Sun, ruler of

Nothing but your shadows 90
(certainly not your Self!) shining down on

all those boys sent to hunt down the Viet Nam fawn
through the shouting shade Death The Unexceeded

spokesman of The Untold,
frail & foreign in the heat of't all not yet Th'Fall

(gathering & gathering in the still undamaged
synagogues of Summer): that minister of the must

... the rabbi gets up before the host of scouring
centuries & calls, "Who cuts the Sun?!"

Leaving behind: The Dark in all its aborted
beauty, one walks
the eternal passage between Heaven & Hell

(where everything looks the same
& no living man knows even a single
difference in all) ... Prudence
from its impeachment, the unbalanced
boundaries of th'brain in Forgetfulness

th'fatal grey, watching mankind
that marvelous & unmitigated

Man (like molten baboons endlessly mating
in a nameless mass) at Work like some self-wounding,

although always in motion (standing
atop th'Moment's dormant moth)

pounding the pavement that holds down
the puberty of The Earth (old documents of beliefs

& hopes, aspirations, riches, deceptions
& self-delusions that seem to unfold like maps) all,

everything is one whole
affair of shadows which cannot together hold! having

Been (that beverage like a banquet), and
peopling the probables ( nothing to be proud of,

especially ), nor merely your living presence
like a plateau in its flat humanity the handicraft

( like a travesty ): feeding The Eternal
Flame: Puberty that lights up The Word & brings it

from The Darkness into the dampening dawn-
ing of Sense which takes on the look of some
quaint, awkward & old-fashioned Court

where The Word has become but a tennis ball!
players toss back & forth against each other

until one of them drops it (through no fault of his own
I'm sure of it): he losing! just lacking
the right amount of the much needed

human touch--In its place:
the placid plastic

& Luck the landlord, Mind the meandering
floundering, flourishing in th'Heretofore

tells me, "Go take a cold shower! Joe, and
wipe off that grime of Greatness

you're trying to build up: You're much too
downcast in the dumps... Make
some dough, make a few broads ( Flesh feeds all

fantasies) --You'll understand when you're dead &

buried..." But how could I do it? I was deaf,
blind, I was young! ... I was high

riding a kick: And this was my business, then
the tears that were forever falling into my pockets
in the tremor of the timeless ...

Wrapped in a role of irrelevance:
every morning I would take to th'streets

to make my rounds walking & hawking,
offering my tears for sale:

"Mister Taylor, good morning! Good morning! Yes,
we do have your favorites today

--Ah, but, Mister Williamson, there's
such a demand nowadays for th'most virgin tears
one can manage (as you gentlemen know). Maybe

tomorrow (the unretrieved)

I'll have a better selection
... O Miss Anthony! Sweet, gentle Miss Anthony:

True tears are your bag --If only I could lower my price
for your sake! But business is loaded down with
lots of unbreachable principles

& a guy's gotta make a buck also 91
(as you folks into bestiality will understand) ...

I'll see what I can do for you tomorrow & tomorrow &
tomorrow & NO: Mister Hardy, I'm so terribly sorry,

but NO CREDIT! Yes, yes, I quite agree with you
dear Miss Levertov: It's a dry world, indeed,

one hell of a dry world!" And, as you read, O
Miss Levertov, as you read: a brown bear struggles

in a terrible agony to pee finally dying from exhaustion
dyeing th'snows immaculate
black with his blood

otherwise unable to soliloquize his soul's
sublimity or insecurity (this, as you read):

the spires that hold the worlds above our heads
are toppled by The Great Flood of a dry tear

(I believe you, believe me bursting at my veins
with an Irony powerful enough even to turn

the nostrils of the rotten) & it ain't easy
O no, Obscene! Th'Sun (masturbating

for Joy!) I don't know: Bloodthirsty Allah
or even Jehovah The Barrister may be God, but
neither has offered much historical proofs: that
Polynesian god who consists merely of a large rock
has the better claim --Certainly it's the only one
(of the lot) who exists, who has anything at all to do
with this world, the only one whom we can
touch), and yet: Help! O God! Have mercy, O Lord!
Have Mercy! Lord, save us! Forgive us!

Assist us, O Lord, assist us! O Christ!
Buddha! Brahma! Jehovah! Zeus! Jupiter!

Mazda! Allah! Vishnu! Logos! & Nous! Help us,

God! Save us! Save us! scream The Despairing
Fools (not yet defeated) at th'deceptive

sinking of The World AS THE SUN ASCENDS
Renoir's Path Leading To The High Grass
there's yet a Garden 92
full of shade, full of Peace the unpracticed

grown a gladness of grass where Ought the goat
finds finally the fodder it needs against

(that hounding hunger out of Hell
therein: Hate ... mounted upon Fate's Great Apparatus)

then the wisp of wings which raise
humanity above the crowd (over the contempt of

Time) ... can grab hold of great gusts

& stuff them in its mouth breathing phoenixes
with every sigh. And skimming over the breathing

breadth of the never-ending Abyss (the unretrievable
plunge): The Past--I stand mute,

drinking the unquenching (death
of The Invisible Sun) of suspense at its Noon of

burning The Insurmountable sometimes
with, "What's the purpose? of ..." down a nail

[IF a Martian 93 (with no other point
of reference except one little rusted nail
by which to judge Mankind, O posthumously) may
conclude, looking askance on it, that it

"... was a phallic symbol of some sort ..." if
he'd read Freud, and not the hinge of all human life
"With no practical use," ]

as it develops: ALL WE KNOW, wound up

in the whispering wisps
of Wishing, Th'Noon of NO, Patience like

a parable, Sympathy like a spider, Failure like
a faith, Fear the inference, the mutiny

of The Human Mind, Contempt the unrecognizable coward,
Kindness (the delirium of The Right)
but a bequest of th'Moment
(mother of th'cruellest Evermore), below
th'howl of inhuman heights: Memory
in its labyrinth brinking the edges

of Lust humping against the humdrum and
Love like a hole, Luck like a crazy clown,

frost upon the unfettered fountains of our human
feelings, the Soul suffering Salvation

at its Agony's supremest surfeit,
the shadow that shapes the Sun

tumbling through Time's turnstiles
that, ever turning, span the tackling of
the teeming-wide, wearing his sapphire sadness,

murdered a lousy way by the overwhelming measures

of the well-meaning, torn apart by good
intentions, original people know

how not to imitate Failure94
(leaping through The Most),

knocked drunken in the honor of the hurricane
wrecking the harried in its way,

that Man of Peace (the one that's most often
wrapped in wars), muted in his mantle of tempest

for wading slow motion through a World warped
into a never-ending waiting & waiting for

the lightning Apocalypse of its thundering words of
empty warnings where ALL WE KNOW, all we really know

is: to imitate Success 95, we obviously do not know
Not to imitate Failure (it is so difficult)

O Lord, we only know that
we grow by letting Knowledge,

Go, by letting it go

... We laugh but by letting laughter only
(All we're after by what we were before):

Sing! by letting Song,

Live! by letting Life (We are
forgiven by Why we forgive)

I repeat that: by letting
we live (O we live by letting):


By Letting We Live.

By letting, although
we always believe that they believe

(as they also believe that we believe
they are the good & we the bad,

while we believe) that we are the good
and they the bad & so it goes:

Dust can't forgive

& modulating its way through the marvels of Man
at his firmest, parked upon some antediluvian

amplitude of Shock the unwashed ...

who should be content to go like a breeze of
Autumn (like a breaking train, and ruffling up
the ladies' long-drawn dresses) of Grunt
( just Grunt ) in your self-assurance because

Hell, we don't know who we are ( do
we? now ) & there's the reassurance in this
that we may just (maybe, just maybe) be
not half as bad as we really feel we are

or being slightly tanned to extinction by regrets
(the greatest dismantling art of Man's), blackened
at the bidding dissuasions of The Dark and

lighting our way by the glittering clusters of
our numberless regional Gods, searching, searching only

where The Light (always trying to find a Paradise
without gate-keepers where we can crash

our ordeal of gall) best at our greatest ignorance,

Human Arrogance, awashed in anguish, our baby,
so cute in its squawk [of "Don't call me out

into that thing you call The Night! where
the darkness falls with such an uncivilized

Hush! (where even the twilights linger
in undefined blush) and everything shuts itself about

until all anyone can believe is that he sees
only himself (staring down the blinding visage

of his whatever unknown!)... all anyone hears is his own
s'unheeded Shout
96 of terror the lascivious thrill

petaled to a living height and
when the echo makes its return (always returns):

it is a flower! unfolding
like that appalling flower which
immortality obtains out of that Glory we believe
we've been (blooming only in the memory: who can
cut it down?) in all its pubescence The Particular

always teetering on th'brink of
going back against the Eventual
on which it is always banking,

winks over wrinkles, Purity only an approximation,
the stuttering languages of human insight

but rotting in its rhythms trying to lull all
Doubt (forever unstabilized & bouncing off a balance

of never-minds)
so human! --Do not call me out into that Night

where I will see things I do not even have to imagine
in my Garden: the Sun! a halo of laughs

fluttering in the mirror's self-flatteries
(about th'violence of blues & plums like planets,

deaf to th'nagging generations of
God rattling their teeth of self-treasons

throughout Day's righteousness

(that withering Wonder outside, all the more beautiful
to behold, the more distant)--Couched

in my preconceptions: I will come out
only at Dawn to see nothing but Morning

breaking into my Garden..." while, less fortunate,
more human: I walked the last of Summer at its amber

like Hell's haunted Him

trying to stuff my ears shut against the sirens
of The Too Much, at the edge of that benumbing Autumn

bemoaning Time's end, leaving behind forever:
April's transparent tricks,

forever afraid to find myself
amidst those fitful white Winter tears that flower

like the flurries of Fate... about the scattered
rocks like lumps of stillness (outside like a gulf),

keeping well away from the questioning thickets,
looking for converts to the leaderless Will

as the defenseless Breeze caught the harried Sun
in a distress of clouds & crushed them against him,

walking to dissipate the distance (still left me)
from one place to another toweling the howls of Man

as if searching for A Possible Voice
to tell me where they're hiding
from themselves, but the rocks (th'simmering coals of silence,

so cold and so cold) proved too intelligent
and kept their death, "Ah, well, perhaps were we

to frame A Broken Heart it would look better to
us:" agog amongst th'frogs of Fear & lunging

after Lust's bloated ibises... this is confusing, Lord
( that in the quest for any Answer

we've lost THE Question which gave us Aim

spreadeagled upon the rocking back & forth
of all the centuries: I struggled to remain

awake, knowing (or maybe only suspecting)

that it is only with The Light 97
Life comes out of hiding, gorgeous in all its got

& raging disparately against the razorblades
of Oneness (like a universe with no other escape

than perishing into th'next-most novelty
of a new shape)

shouting: "It doesn't really matter (what
we're shooting at), what matters is our

accuracy!" being but specimens of the Magic!
and, around us, Nature but some unnatural specter through

our haunted Mind, that is: something other than
the dumbness of th'twisted children playing

by the ancient pavilions (Passion's spent corpses)
once the fortresses of what's important

--now but the empty worship of
Wit the one-liner, or th'nerveless No,

Greatness the goblin, Meaning like an empty frame
(the self-rounding ratio), Failure like scattering

flakes, Jealousy the jewel of the Devil, Wrong
the unregulated, among the mumble of the moneyed men,

like a Sun always shining & shining
the shoes of Inaction mimicking the powerful

steady horses of common sense driving Fate
into the ugliest games imaginable

all through the paralysis of the Particular

its crippled legs carrying us in the halting jerks
of disbalance, the girls & boys of our
Blood running & funning tiptoe over th'precarious
cares & Death like a turbulence! but: who cares?

who cares what
hands grab for, pot holes all over our souls,

Comfort like a prowess: It's mostly each
other's throats amongst th'gobbling

violets of blackness, or
trampling th'daisies like sips of Day

that tastes to us the poison
pouring out of th'celestial solar lips of

facing up to it--our Indomitability

the toughness like perversity (we children all too
self-willing, playing shoeless upon the wonderful counsel
of the Winter's first ever felt cold)

 Sisley's Canal of Loing At Moret
without wings over the Abyss' quiet dissuasion
dangling Th'Future like a plunge, Frankness

too freckled above, and Sadness like a silhouette below,
Sorrow the saviour surgeon of our self-welding, centerless

middle: swelling into a swan
before our eye (like iceberg

--Are we ever aware) in the immeasurable instant
of Void the invariable,

Probability like a sentence,

we singers of insufficiencies with our big-throated
might, Woe like a boarder,

Candor the inconsiderate
considerable, and Pride & Pain like partners,

are we ever Aware? relaxing behind Laziness
the ringleader (the raven which keeps repeating

You cannot panic The Past, O no, you cannot, you
cannot panic Th'Past! so we keep on turning &

churning up) The Moment like a bomb

& trying to terrorize the Future with lies
th'meaningless moaning milk of Man's inner
firmaments unfolding Fear the fountain that pours out

blindly th'passions & more human passions
(the tedium of morticians like stars)

in the prison dazzled by The Dark like lack
& led by the hunch of hunger:

those unworn, unworried mentors
of Time, more grubs than angels: the young,
self-magnified in the Midnight so massive,

dismantling their very Might
almost into comic elements, Are they aware?
always wearing out asking for everything it's worth,

driving Blindness the bison ramshackled
to the very boundaries of all th'centuries

regardless of any good God, are they
really aware--One can't tell from (merely): their eyes

(they are too accomplished actors) and if you ask them
they're straightaway strumming on their guitars
that, "Blindness is cool"

of apple blossoms somehow or perhaps
(of raw rememberings? "Blood that can't
spill to the earth from the brain," slipping over

th'dew like a pun, "Runs
up the nose & then wraps) the Mind

in th'red wings of Th'Dark
Angels," they sing: "Of what good is The Light

( All that Light! ) if it's only to discover
Darkness!..." & not bad: Neath them

waterfalls, 98 Love idling out of existence
full-blast: O Lord of the Quiet,

there's nought soundless, and none toneless, not one
dumb tongue! (Solitude maybe

but no dampened Soul made One):

"O God, you son-of-a-bitch, you mdr-fkr (if Mary spoke 99
the truth):
100 You've been scaring the Hell out of me

all this time with no Purpose!" O good, my son,
It is good! Now you are full of Heaven!

"You stupid Ass! Now I am utterly empty:
Hell was all I had!" that strange any-least-little

-half-decently-human urge like a Stonehenge
at The Timeless Edge bargaining over Being (the brutal

Truth's most marvelous and beautiful
bull), blackened, more-or-less human:

I came into The Shape

out of The Sun, refusing to persist as the illusion
(of Faith), left there alone, afraid, a million myths

yet handcuffing my wrists, sitting quietly
for th'longest while imaginable

like myself the fatal frame become such Nothing
as hardly the backlash of my own shade, strung
from the rope of Purpose & Conscience
giving me th'creeps, counting upon the cannot,

in The Soul's mute whoring
painted Regret's dyeing rate

but only a drip from th'valves of Blame, like all
my fellow men, a ghost out of

Mankind the mausoleum being overcome
by the cold
of Man's own unkindness, personified, singing

upon the rocks like rack: "Here sits The Century
upon its ass: closely

questioning The Passion it has itself unleashed
over the poisoned grass, going over the most

harmless, or Reason's exclamations (the renunciation)
in most moral/conscientious Quest to try to find

the Word guilty, track down the False Step,
reviewing the faces of th'butchers & th'victims alike

to see if it finds Anyone to reprove (if he
should move): Prove nothing! Look at how

Th'Monster has already trampled Peace!

Our one sole remaining purpose's if IT should
stir: pounce mad with vengeance on Th'Past already

waned beyond the wonder of the brilliant & bright
we can't forgive ever (because they brought us to this site)
just to pursue its evil to the last,

here sits this Century,
upon Why's awful waste, all-thorned

like a cheated man, crashing the too-late's murderous
ambulances against Fate, the Autumn shuffling (through

leaves of the Summer's demise's lazy transcripts)
after Meaning's inscrutable merits,

leaving no stone unturned,

where all of Man's words prove nothing except a mouth
under the dam of Mortality puddled with depressing

looks, a thousand random thoughts & moods
which once, after Winter's couch in its comma,
might have perhaps culminated in th'warmth of Spring
now revive nothing except a greater coldness
in the darkness-shrouded skin of loose & running
sand blanketing that long-ago

warmth ( once the lambs', now their
slaughtering's), requiems to requiems
the marriage of the Day and Night,

the coldness at its conspiracy
but some cosmetic over the yearlong
yearnings of Youth: casual according to its Cause,

now much too distant, or too deeply sunk
to touch th'surface of the unrestrainable Dawn

always leaping for martyrdom,

and Dusk, that long choking death of the Day
in massive caravans recoiling across our Minds
unmanned, drowning in the droughts of destiny:

Imperilled in the splendor
of War: the World gathers its globe in a whirl

or reasons the icy deterrences turning into torrents
with any temperate calm, mating all th'arguments
to Madness: the Human

Mind bestows laurels on its mangled
mirrored mimes dancing recklessly

all illegitimate arguments
like a trance, spending its gaze

upon the ideas sailing th'sinking tide
of waiting, like gulls adrift in its scroll of legends

the law: Only parched lips remaining
after the already dying afternoon's laughable Sun

rips all apart (th'littered bits of Light remaining
into the sad, ugly Sunset wafting), always

wafting in The Afterwards, here
sits: The Century

whilst, caught in Th'Tiger's Great Grrr, its ordinary men
devise their quite ordinary World

as cluttered with despoilment as any one
won by default, here, where Tomorrow is
already become even before it has begun [ being
but Yesterday's much talked-about shadow;

and Oblivion the flower
of Fame (amongst one's forgettable
fellows) always falling apart ], washed away with
the touch of O, th'liquid children of Shock
that stock th'Void

like vortex exclaiming the muddy call
of cosmic seduction which tempts us all
into the exhausted lull

of Human Progress ( like saps ) & therein fall

dreaming of never-ending waterfalls ..."

I shake th'shades to the very foundations of
my soul (condensed a Cosmic Plus) and take my time

towards all those ticking twilights
that await me at the dizzyingly delicious entrance

to distance (from Ambition's sober shapes)
knowing: I do not wish to add anything more
to the things that already make me up

and bound me--Every time I add anything else
to my life I cannot then live without it

O God, Endurance 101 like a darling in all
this dullness, in all this ever-increasing

diminishing of Man's: I stood upon a little hill
the world-mountain & carefully surveying
the play of calm like a drama under my sight:

All things as before, Fun all-fanged,
Clock a lock, th'clouds still carving

capricious peacocks of Wind ... except that now
I felt a terrible urge to do, to make, to

triumph, even to vanquish!... And what? O, that
I knew not, and so I conquered Everything

(by its parts): fields, rivers & lakes, dales,
deserts, oceans & hills, areas &
regions uncharted previously

or overlooked, lost or forgotten--And still
I only felt but half satisfied. Angry, I turned

upon th'unmade world of the Mind

& made it, by force, dint or chance
to my own image, and did all the things

I wished, wont & dared over its limpid Faith
triumphing above th'World too raped

there I sat quietly--but for a while, only, and then

again was I left all alone (in triumph upon
my world): which pointed out to me that
the only thing left for me was
to beat out my very Self: At last
I had wanted to become all at once: conqueror
& conquered! ... the moment pointed out The Meaning

and I finally saw the undeniable need
there is (in any number of worlds)
of conquering myself! (I wept,

punching ice cubes down into the punch,

knowing I can conquer all but my conquering,
naturally. And, it goes with that): No one

who has found the woodland's Sun

playing by the shadows (of himself), O no one
who's found himself upon

the crystal musics of some secluded grounds
sacred but to himself (no one) who has come

upon The Poignant sudden flower's smile
in th'face of such continuous, cold
& cruel a review of sadness--No one who has

stumbled starkly upon the true
obedience to eternal things
owed by mortality (and's claimed it

his fabric): No one who has seen with O

a measure: all the awful magnitude
of Time, always more than 50% remaining

where more than 50% done, who has

voraciously scoured his too unfeeling Soul
for crumbs of the sublime emotions... No one

who lives in a world where
The Nuclear Bomb is the most wonderful,
miraculous & beautiful Gift
that has ever been given to Mankind

( Who can even begin to calculate
how many cuts have been prevented by pain,

how many millions & millions of human lives
have been spared by The Terror

of Nuclear War)--Truly Prometheus's Gift
of life-giving Fire for a very dark world!

No one, asking What is th'cause of War? where
someone can still send out his fellows to war,

or where soldiers still believe that War
consists only of battles

( even Hitler wanted to conquer the world
one win at a time)... but there's always
that last little battle--and then
Total War! ... hobbled by Hope to keeping
on the go, no one (his character like a coal

in the throes of Hell), more than blind,
in the Darkness' indoors,

beating out paths past Because

& towards Necessity's conclusions, bow-tied, malformed
amongst all forms, hand-tied, leaping

blind! across the traffics of Time, O no one
(that tippler of totalities): Mankind

more unique even than its peak,

no one, emperor Madness, Choice at its chariot
(shattered, full of Death the distance that

takes us there to plop the unexpected
unqualified spectrums of all we've done), no

one, weeping the spirals of the laureled wanton,
descried no destiny but (a)

sigh, Justice just ice, like th'ancients
living their leisure in that unpanicked Past,

no one, being sucked into the freezing fevers of
Failure by th'worms of Which, Who, How & What,

Why, no one, Tomorrow
cringing into its yesteryear

joking a jumbled jungle of guerrillas against
Th'Gone (already & no one, in Viet Nam, lost

under the noses & tight surveillance of common sense,
that darkest silver that Hell will allow)

no one

in the unbundled flurries of the unsubtle Blood
snowing unsightly Bravery for th'cause of Wrong

through the unsteady Age of untrustworthy Sincerity
like stones that on closer examination turn out to be

Dust, O the dust of (no one
the cormorant after our cares) no one,

distorted to a dot

of no one, th'harmless maniac always narrowing
and narrowing into being right, caged a ritual Rage,

trying to sleep it off upon Whys too lumpy,

constantly trying to swat away
the thoughts through the soft,
the signs like insects, pointing to the immaculate
sometimes, no one in his laments like monuments,

starving in his devouring (desperately
the delicious fruits of the newly found)

and still sooner wasted & wan, no one,

in his remote identity the Shasha Shah relishing
the unchanging shudders
of the heavens, its points like prints
of th'divine, inspired a rapture

(fireworks the framework),

laughing hale & sick, buried in its broody bones

O, no one, the heinous unheeding Intent
in its aftermath: Humility like millenniums th'Mule

of meaning; no one, crumbling a fool within th'compass
of his confession: nought but confusion

the Kingdom of All-Is-Come; old age only
like some preliminary to the Age of never-ending
dying & dying, as feeble as any quibble (of current Fame,

in fact but sages of th'feeble silences
that step out of the Past into the mirror),

living in the illusions of our safe conclusions

like made-up lunacy looking through th'lenses
of common sense to put on the final touches

upon its twisted Faith, too much, no one, too much,

O, all those opposites & hypocrites:
Remorse & Couldn't-Care-Less

(too quick an open-mindedness that's invariably
always curving into its own unquestioned Course), no

one, of course, Who can crush the mowers
of the too much?... Not, certainly, that ornament

Order, that traveling tongue doing its
decimals of the Dazzling (documents enough

to dike Fate! into the reservoirs of some human
semblance of civilization), nor Piety like a patent,

plumbing the Upon, nor Mortality's musics breaking into
a tombstone's monotone, Zodiacs of Th'Same all

our magics, nor Nature going about her God like a vamp
(in her organic gowns like some mendicant

recreant! too ornate to take), nor Love (that
illusionist) shattered into a myriad scattered reminders of
The Dust, O no, no one but zithers in the finale
of bronze the dumbest, straining their tightened strings

to reach up to th'peacock purples of Certainty
(the ceiling beyond the distance), and then tumbling

like sticks through the empurpled
pearls that light the Darkness

of so sick a World (of no one, wearing treason like a tie
before the pain of glass, Gall dainty-gloved, that

diamond: Denial, denouement by a nod, adjusting
to a smile the Woe perched upon Pride,

Meadow Lark,                            

O Meadow Lark,  

                                so swift-
ly chasing Th'Horizon's arc across

the sprouting lace of mountains kissing
th'clouds! the Wind wrinkled in its hurries

amongst the forests of The interlacing
parks gracing, Meadow Lark:

Do you hear the rivulet's rippling
(over the wolfpack's bark), or

the firs' topmost fun

whispering a complaint? their leaves, foliages &
grasses' fanned acclaims of Wind? And, do you

notice how The Overwhelming, overlapping
scarlets! flow down into fires! upwards streaming

( across Nature's most incomparable connections )
from the olive/greens' all-swarming Warmth?

... Meadow Lark, Say! and

Can you tell me how it feels to follow

free and naked on The Savage

wings of Purpose & not wander
on the Ys, not wander on

the Ys, the Ys
Manet's Peonies

^{78} Here [as in "FRAGMENTS OF ACCEPTANCE FROM REALIZATION," and "MONOLOGUE" the themes, aims, and circumstances of composition are all distinct from each other, yet there is an element of dramaturgy running through all three: As the title indicates, "MONOLOGUE" began life as a work (theoretically) intended for the stage; not at all in the sense of a closet play but as a fully realized performance, as if were it not because it achieved too great a complexity, it would make good drama (a one man & supporting company). The poem, most of the time a narrative, was originally designed to relate the story of 'an' artist/turned/politician (it uses the inversed symbolism of Hamlet --"The Actor"-- who is The Public Man turned poet (by civic impotence) as a point of departure perhaps from which to formulate a more true-to-form symbol (the form is art)... a surprising number of public men start out as artists (perhaps Hitler is the worst 'best' example), rather than turn to art after politics, art providing a number of excellent tools for propaganda and self-promotion.

"ACCEPTANCE FROM REALIZATION," is a quest for what urges Man on. It literally "thumbs" through The Religious, Scientific, Humanistic, Metaphysical alternatives. It also proposes an individual actor as stand-in for the Common Man. And there we get a vision of such a man bouncing around the innards of some monstrous and morbid pinball machine... "TO THE MEADOW LARK" contains a few sprinkled references to Viet Nam --It is more a comment on its contemporary scene than the other two works, seeking Man's identity within a social context (the other poems do not --even "MONOLOGUE" uses its urbanity more as background scenery than social map). "TO THE MEADOW LARK" raises questions and points about our fellow men (or to them): there are a number of human beings wandering through its lines, some speaking their own words.

Probably the greatest motion picture I ever saw has an imposing title, "BIG BUSINESS" {Laurel & Hardy}, yet it's simply a brief glimpse into our human nature. This little flick allows us to reflect upon the absurd and truly ridiculous waste that is all human conflict, and why it may be that men fight wars at all --The spectacle is such a profound and self- evident insight into this that I believe if every human being on earth had the opportunity to study this little film this alone would go a long way towards making all forms of human conflict less likely... we would be embarrassed to engage so seriously in such an obviously ridiculous waste of human effort (as are all wars & practically other forms of human conflict). "Big Business" depicts the descent into Chaos (that is necessary to take such human conflicts seriously) and in such a startlingly manifest manner that at every single stage of that descent the viewer can easily see how any least appeal to personal responsibility (rather than to the general principles which are driving the entire insane drama) would result in a reasonable, sane consideration of its absurdity --Which never happens in the Laurel & Hardy movie. And yet, at the same time, we can't help but 'understand' why (as things develop in this movie), why the appeal is always to principle (to your personal pride and loyalty to the whatever group... Laurel & Hardy in this case), even when it leads to the craziest fury: Here we can also see ourselves caught up in the conundrum as well (for at every instant the next crazy increment is not all that unreasonable).@

^{79} Standing between Autumn and Spring (Summer & Winter become the ice-cube tears and ocean of blood) in a zone whose reality is wholly subjective (although a complex equation between extremes of liquid states... not of water but of blood). Spring formulates an interpretation (where one would expect it to be the origin of the world-elixir). Autumn is instead The Source (it inspires the tears that then fall into Winter's frozen perspective). The human condition can perhaps be best described as an endless waiting: on a cosmic level we wait for evolution to resolve the problems of humanity, and on a personal level each one of us is waiting to see what the next moment may bring (at this level it's unreasonable to expect Reality to resolve the problems presently staring us in the face).@

^{80} "Time glides by imperceptibly & cheats us in its flight (and nothing's swifter than the years)." --Ovid@

^{81} "Whose shore is clean of our blood?" --Horace@

^{82} Of course, there is no 'pun' (the word 'base' merely suggests 'debase'). The speaker is quite serious, although it's almost impossible for his fellow human beings to believe it so.

It is a hopeless situation to seek ultimate sources from the academic teachings. To begin with, such institutions are primarily put into place to mold individuals into their societies and civilizations. At best, they are a favorable point of departure.@

^{83} "My mind's bent on telling of things changed into new forms" ('the evolution of the many-formed reality') et al. --Ovid.@

^{84} Although revised in 1978, this poem was written in 1968, when Viet Nam seemed so crucial to me (as well as to those contemporaries of mine who also had their noses rubbed in it)@

^{85} Every man is a poet & every man a philosopher as well. This meeting, at this stage of the 'sacred quest' is inevitable. The war in Vietnam is only coincidental at this time (I would hate to use the word 'timely'). The fleeting nature of truth (or, reality) allows the poet the freedom to shape a new truth, a new reality, almost from moment to moment. Of course, the philosopher does not so much discover as interpret (the scientist does not so much interpret as finds the connections).@

^{86} ... pretty much expresses the position of a man who finds himself at odds with the popular superstitions. It doesn't imply that he has discovered how far from the truth they are but merely that he is painfully aware of the distance. Foremostly, if he is honest, such an individual must first question his own sanity before challenging the soundness of a majority point of view.@

^{87} As always the Sun is the key to that equation between the seasons that runs through the work: The human spirit (blood) described through the symbols of the various seasons in the form of volatile attitudes (for they run from one to the other quite 'predictably' beyond any possibility of their ever becoming absolutely predictable).@

^{88} There is no 'right' and/or 'wrong' except for/to the majority opinion (meaning: If it does good or wrong to the majority, and/or, if the majority thinks it either good and/or wrong," as Shakespeare knew. ('Majorities' can either be democratic or not.) ['majorities' + 'subject']@

^{89} Why laugh? Change the name & the story is about you!" --Horace@

^{90} If the Sun symbolizes the natural order of existence, as Nature has come to shape it, and (like most primitive societies understood it)... rule over it, then "the shadows" must be taken to allude to that aspect of human existence which holds itself in opposition to the natural state of Nature: Human law seeks to set itself up above natural law... when it asserts that the domination of the weak by the strong, for example (which is the natural law), goes against human laws 'of conduct.'

... In a very real sense, the evolution of the human animal is a manifestation of the earth's maturity (even if we've never studied much such aspects of planetary evolution). Still, who would argue that the poem's contention (that this period of human existence is its most primitive & awkward adolescence) is not somehow/someway correct?@

^{91} The "kid" has to make a living (which must remain in character with the nature of Man, the highest form of life (a parasitic state), who must invariably prove himself the greatest --if subtlest-- parasite). To become a trader in the tears of humanity (as, to a greater or lesser degree, all of us civilized peoples are) is the least we can expect of him. Only plants are (mostly) non- parasitic, since most are symbiotic.

How can I blame people for their superstitions? How does the ordinary man, usually tucked away in some dark corner of the earth, keeping vigil over his sick child, explain to that child (or to himself) the justice of 'chance?'

I found it convenient to use the 'bear' in Denise Levertov's poem to express the revulsion a sensitive human being undergoes (catharsis) at the realization of his true role both within mankind as well as within the universe. It is eventually a mystic realization: that man should hang by the coattails of so many gods (of his own making) as if strapped to reality's solid form! The astronomical relationship between Sun and Earth is inversed because regardless of the absolute truth (that in their relationship the Sun does not move) the 'human' truth (that which applies to us when we, regardless of all else, apply it to ourselves) is what's really important because it is the body of the facts we work with, and thus, which make humanity itself work.@

^{92} This 'Garden' turns up always as the place of ultimate achievement (not only in this poem but also in many, many other of my works --and indeed in Voltaire's Candide and many other works of literature & mythology). At this crucial point in the poem, the protagonist has achieved a measure of enlightenment out of his life's experiences, and here it is that he qualifies for the ministry of a more fundamental Quest. Wars are fought to assure a [perceived necessary future] 'peace' in our Garden.@

^{93} The 'Martian' is that one perspective which is outside all our other 'conventional' ones (although, obviously, also a human perspective --or it would not be found in this human poem). Nails have as great a claim to being mankind's greatest invention as the plow, wheel, or nuclear bomb.@

^{94} The best of us know how not to imitate Failure (even if not not to do so). The rest of us, I'm afraid are always trying to imitate success (and getting lost following a path usually unique to each and every success).@

^{95} Success is too original for Man, a brute creature (of dumb learning) rather than an eternally original god. All we think of as "good" is so thought because it is the exception to the general rule (that all things are either "bad" (or of no use to us)). Knowledge may lead us to Success, experiences may lead us to Failure. ("Look before you leap.") Knowledge without action leaves us sterile (but that's another story). The articulation of our protagonist's enlightenment makes the point that knowledge may not keep us from failure (since it can sometimes be false knowledge), but its suppression always guarantees no Success at all.@

^{96} The protagonist, in his Garden (of sorts), certainly views the outside world as enshrouded in darkness. "S'unheeded Shout" offers a number of possible meanings. The "flower" (singular) that occupies the Garden looks into its uniqueness --We have always associated just such a solitary flower with the vulnerability of the individual. Such a self-doubt must surely have been the cause of Man's expulsion from Eden (also mirrored here).@

^{97} The 'Light of Day' (which brings the knowledge that threatens the dignity of The One & Only God keeping within the bounds of sanity the chaos of existence) must seem extremely offensive to that nameless peasant the world over.@

^{98} The work is loaded with references to 'the' waters (including mud, drips, and ice). It is one way of relating the fundamental oneness of life and non-life in order to make it into the metaphor of two different aspects of such "similar substances" as blood & water... certainly our everyday language is chock-full of cliches concerning this relationship ("blood 's thicker than water" et al.). This is usually the way we try to imagine life (motion) as a single force, of course... the body of it.@

^{99} the blasphemy: (Mary being 'The Mother of God')@

^{100} This blasphemy derives from my Roman Catholic background (in the language of which religion Mary is "The Mother of God"). The satanic [contrast to God] monster turns out to be the very spirit of righteousness that tramples its way over the times. I do not doubt this image will be repulsive/offensive to those with strong religious scruples, but to speak of the Truth (or another of those absolutes) is never so dramatic as to call the Absolute by a familiar specific pseudonym (such as God, etc.).@

^{101} By this time it almost becomes proverbial that Man's intellectual quests tend to return to some more fundamental (or maybe I should say more & more fundamental) 'doubt.' This happens here as well. All so-called (for they are but human) enlightenments lead back to the question of just how reliable is The Mechanism (be it process or machine) that "dares" to make such Judgment in the first place? The futility (frustration) that comes with such a realization throws the protagonist into a fit (of actions: for Man, if reduced to the simplest metaphor, is a mechanism for action --maybe his real curse, if he is cursed-- and when all else fails him, even his very Soul, he always seems to descend into mindless actions; thus that wonderful invention... the straight jacket).@

^{102} The reader should, by the time he reaches the final page, be more involved with the incantations of the poetry than with the mere problems of life's philosophical complexities --The reading should become hypnotic; to the point that he breaks into the structure of the direct address to "the Meadow Lark" that concludes the work without the least expectation of there coming upon any kind of philosophical resolution to the dilemmas he had 'figured through.' The ending harkens back to the beginning, where the 'philosopher' [of the first few pages of the poem] plainly states that 'the nature of life is living itself' rather than some metaphysical justification by Man to the Cosmic Emptiness about him (the filling up of which full-fills him): There is no such a void 'about' living, and man's cup can never "runneth over" so long as he does live. (Perhaps at this point the more perceptive readers will realize that the 'lark' is not just some bird but a pun: A 'lark' is also 'a jolly good time, to sport, to frolic' --from which, & from such a phrase as 'going out for a lark,' I've taken the liberty of deducing it to a more sedate meaning: I often use 'lark' to mean a 'walk,' or 'a stroll' (not trying to coin new meanings, but simply pointing out that usage has toned down the flippant nature of a much over-worked word from the early twenties). Maybe back then when people actually did 'go for a lark' they did go out for an uproariously good time, but the times have made such 'good times' rarer): A metaphorical pun.@