Tares in the Wheat

“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God,” Luke 9:62

“The sun will burn; the heat will cause you sweat; Dust will choke before the sun is set,” Michael Curtis, -“Novice”-

When I recall various seeds I’ve sown
I’m prone to clench my teeth and tug my hair.
I look back on the lea and it looks bare.
My bag of seed was by the devil blown
chock-full of tares, not wheat, misleading plants:
Green at first but browning on the easel.
I’m upset; but relieved that it’s legal
to change my name, or move, or to supplant,
to start afresh and bury the old crap,
is comforting. I keep my eyes ahead,
on the offing, tighten the safety strap,
and press on plowing till I’m spent and dead.
The juvenile weeds were a mishap.
From now on (try!) I’ll make Prudence my friend.

 

The Dawn Sleep

For Aurora

My anxious soul has bothered me all night.
I lie awake without Sleep’s soothing balm
which relieves stress; I toss and turn; I light
a candle by which I can live a psalm.
My hypos* get the best of me, I fear
a death alone in a black static night;
and even when I start to nod I tear
my eyes back open lest I should alight
in that black void. I spend a night like this
when like a mother creeping up the stairs
slowly and softly, catching unawares
my nervous spirit dwelling on black Dis*,
she lightens the sky, tames my morbid mares,
and with her lilac lips my eyelids kiss.

 

A Recurring Dream, Vanquished

I had a nightmare when I was a boy
with animals at first docile and sweet,
with tie-dyed leaves which were like cruel decoys
distracting me from what I was to meet…
A bright, autumnal tunnel would transform
to craggy scene of blacks and shark-gray blues,
one blasted tree-trunk and a thunder storm,
a Sea of Death and all its darkening hues!

I amble down another sylvan path
and all about me the umbrageous trees
display colors that make me want to laugh;
or say a thankful prayer upon my knees.
For now, when I have reached this Cliff of mine,
the Terror’s altered: I see the Sublime.

 

Reid McGrath is a poet living in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Featured Image: “The Voyage of Life: Manhood,” by Thomas Cole.

Notes:

*Hypos: short for hypochondria; allusion to the first page of Moby Dick

*Dis: the abode of the dead, the underworld


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