Saturday, June 30, 2012

Les Phares - by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Bob Atkinson

Les Phares

Rubens, fleuve d'oubli, jardin de la paresse,
Oreiller de chair fraîche où l'on ne peut aimer,
Mais où la vie afflue et s'agite sans cesse,
Comme l'air dans le ciel et la mer dans la mer;
Léonard de Vinci, miroir profond et sombre,
Où des anges charmants, avec un doux souris
Tout chargé de mystère, apparaissent à l'ombre
Des glaciers et des pins qui ferment leur pays;
Rembrandt, triste hôpital tout rempli de murmures,
Et d'un grand crucifix décoré seulement,
Où la prière en pleurs s'exhale des ordures,
Et d'un rayon d'hiver traversé brusquement;
Michel-Ange, lieu vague où l'on voit des Hercules
Se mêler à des Christ, et se lever tout droits
Des fantômes puissants, qui dans les crépuscules
Déchirent leur suaire en étirant leurs doigts;
Colères de boxeur, impudences de faune,
Toi qui sus ramasser la beauté des goujats,
Grand cœur gonflé d'orgueil, homme débile et jaune,
Puget, mélancolique empereur des forçats;
Watteau, ce carnaval où bien des cœurs illustres,
Comme des papillons, errent en flamboyant,
Décors frais et légers éclairés par des lustres
Qui versent la folie à ce bal tournoyant;
Goya, cauchemar plein de choses inconnues,
De fœtus qu'on fait cuire au milieu des sabbats,
De vieilles au miroir et d'enfants toutes nues,
Pour tenter les Démons ajustant bien leurs bas;
Delacroix, lac de sang hanté des mauvais anges,
Ombragé par un bois de sapin toujours vert,
Où, sous un ciel chagrin, des fanfares étranges
Passent, comme un soupir étouffé de Weber;
Ces malédictions, ces blasphèmes, ces plaintes,
Ces extases, ces cris, ces pleurs, ces Te Deum,
Sont un écho redit par mille labyrinthes;
C'est pour les cœurs mortels un divin opium.
C'est un cri répété par mille sentinelles,
Un ordre renvoyé par mille porte-voix;
C'est un phare allumé sur mille citadelles,
Un appel de chasseurs perdus dans les grands bois!
Car c'est vraiment, Seigneur, le meilleur témoignage
Que nous puissions donner de notre dignité
Que cet ardent sanglot qui roule d'âge en âge
Et vient mourir au bord de votre éternité!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Bobs by Bob Atkinson


(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

son of a general, duty called
an army man with pride
so filled with due devotion
to rules of an ordered life

look upon his photograph
first see only pomp
then as you understand his times
you sit and stare in awe

for that little island to
rule such a vast land of men
took ideas of civilization
the wonder of what we can

do if we believe in order
which holds no gratitude
sets us on our mission
seeing our vision through

later days told more tales
of battles to be fought
on the edge of our creation
our fears for living wrong

sure, you now can look
at what they did as bad
sending armies to oversee
what wasn't their own lands

divided those who argued
fought brother against his kin
and took what they needed
from those who had no plan

at least they taught the lessons
to those who listened good
fighting among yourselves
destroys your attitude

keeps you in the quagmire
of never producing much
except the agitation
of hating your own kind

when you hear ugly complaints
of one side against the other
take the origin of this
as being somewhat inferior

to successful leaders
ones who hold us to progress
by force of will and belief
in social organization's potential

patterns we all see depict
what's been done before
when one in a hundred citizens
exposed the hundred to their lore

conquered strong force with weak
only weapon did they have
social organization arranged
as tradition had outlined

forgetting past history lessons
haunts future life with doubt
as if removing progress
returns us to stone age trials

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Julia by Bob Atkinson

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson
crying ended slowly
when mother left, forever gone
sending chills through her small body
something so easily understood

she had loved her mommy
had loved her daddy too
three of them were a team
spite of sometimes angry moods

Julia, sweet by nature
left her face blank when told the truth
mother would leave their home for all time
not come back to soothe her moods

daddy, he would seem a statue
staring long at a blank wall of paint
then find his daughter sitting
on his lap when he arose again

those of us who lost their hearts
because of family squabbles
eventually recover some of our
soul carved with sharp blade's power

there can be future happiness
but softly it is tempered
knowing what we once had
is now gone, forever ended

circumstance tore apart the fabric
of a child's simple wants
can see ogres and demons
world drained by one so selfish

thoughts made only of themselves
not caring whom they injure
carries with it many years of pain
and scars for those deserted

no child, it isn't you
who caused this awful mess
mommy needed something
although I gave my best ..."

so in her eyes she told the story
to Rose there at the pool
mommy left us for something else
what that is, I've not a clue”

later in the afternoon
we heard from afar that cry
Rose, Rose... how are you?
I'm Julia, do you love my smile?”

Julia, I need a picture”
I asked so fast of her
hands went straight to her sides
face framed an attitude

out of the corner of her mouth
asked as if amused, “how's this?”
I snapped a quick photograph
she hugged Rose, then danced a tune

I painted her a doll to hold
perfect match for this wondrous child
and always in my thoughts it seems
asked how these two dolls survived

a doll for her comfort
to replace that which was lost
for love is good when given
when taken breaks one's heart

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Greece Expiring by Bob Atkinson

 Greece Expiring

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

as if in eighteen twenty-five
after Lord Byron upped and died
the battle raged as today's events
for local rule on the Greek side

learned ones of northern towns
should have seen this clearly
as the southern peoples too
dispositions vary with latitude greatly

for one to compete
with the other, seems to me
somewhere between simply dumb
and even that much dumber, please

northern climates propagate
an attitude of immediacy
which no one in the southern state
sees as useful, really

laid back, enjoying life
rather that compete
is the purpose retrograde, or
simply caused by warmer seasons?

do not stop at a red light
within Greece's complex borders
no one expects rules of order
that low to be taken seriously

you'll lose your nice back bumper
they expect you not to stop
or halt for the lady and child
in that marked crosswalk

taken not as serious intent
it doesn't matter that you stop
when that stoplight flashes brightly
those small rules matter not

up in the north, you could believe
that red light as a brick wall
do correctly what is taught”
they yell way down the hall

but then
in Greece you cannot find
a hurtful gentleman
they are so sweet to each other
when shaking hand to hand

in the north when you shake
one's hand to say hello
your other hand goes to your wallet
if not, then you'll be broke

money means much to them
in status it can buy
is why their cars have three stars
or six plugs under, behind

in the south, it means not much
character is their window
to the soul of good and evil
not so much so on the go

so when you mix these attitudes
you'll find they do not fit
adjustment's needed for the times
when currency's are ill equipped

to handle different cultures
modifications need be made
for the different lifestyles
one in sun and one in shade

Dangerous Seductiveness by Bob Atkinson

Dangerous Seductiveness

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

observation leads us blindly
to see with ingrained mores
those realities of past history
our old grandfather's stories

stories written not in books
in our blood with genetic hooks
written plainly, in language vague
not what we're used to, yet plain as day

for us to feel with open hearts
this language of truth discarded
must for sure show attention
to good order and convention

unless we relax and know ourselves
why we fight and why we pout
cannot, will not, progress love's art
only sink well into oblivion's darkness

Goethe elected to illuminate
this irrepressible urge to explain
a pious force we feel inside
searching for truth as we live to die

giving meaning to that which we
lived and breathed and sought with tears
that final clarification of purpose which
defines our intuition's final kiss

along with those other fragments
we tend to rip the world apart
hoping out of this wild destruction
come the roots of new construction

alienation of self through dissatisfaction
carries with it battle's seasons
hurt and pain caused by inclination
to eradicate, not mold new creations

so, if your reflex tells you now
to go bonkers, violent, wild
hold back a little bit
it's just genetics not good wit

dangerously seductive are these forces
for good and evil, prone to generate losses
we must, will do, more to improve
what our grandchildren think and do

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Sower by Bob Atkinson

 The Sower

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

we know not what's held in the bag
when we toss our thoughts downwind
do the years treat our ideals gently
or do our doctrines violence begin

sincere when they first arrived
as open excitement because of clarity
carved to our needs for progress
against that which we find wanting

some will try to foster change
where change holds no good charter
gives only muddy vision of life
takes away what is sorely needed

we need that crystal translucence
 of purpose, thought and deed
which binds us to our brothers
in both blood and search for freedom

builds hope for future harmony
casting out our callous cousins
holding firm in our resolve
to make for social progress

some give lightning in a bottle
as snake oil to the public
grabbing from the population
a strong measure of their humanity

wild misunderstandings abound
with issues at the fore of greatness
cause us to leave at home our reason
losing touch with why we're breathing

insure that backpack you carry
on your shoulders big and strong
contains all the good in you
not what hurts the ones you love

grains you grab with tight fist
have powers if you choose
to make yourself into a saint
or devil by your moods

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Top Hat or Tricorne? ........ (or the death of the baseball cap) by Bob Atkinson

Top Hat or Tricorne?
(or the death of the baseball cap)

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

looking large, no beaver pelt
black, silky, tall, fully cheerful, svelte
top hats may again return to style
wicked in nature, so wild of desire

back when Lincoln led the land
back then hat status wasn't planned
all wore the top hats, tall and round
wore this work hat on our crown

Gibus saw to it they went flat
saved much space in opera's hat room
otherwise with all those stovepipes stacked
take a number, await an opening sadly

bankers, lawyers, normal men
refused to let sun shine on them
without a hat to protect their soul
made them taller when they strolled

Tricorne had done full duty prior
nifty chapeau, a three cornered locution
which one day may again appear on
heads of mountaineers and fashion seekers

yet, if beavers have their say
top hat's the best that comes their way
not because of style or grace
it's silk, not of beaver hide made

perhaps if some great inventor
designs a Tricorne made of felt or leather
beavers would not shake so nervous
letting us choose our own headpiece for service

now, why you ask am I concerned
about these older hat's return
is there motive in my words
or am I striking deadened nerves?

well, if you really want to know
in my mind, baseball caps don't show
style and grace of former beanies
look all crude like upturned weenies

Stetsons, mmmm..., they are well made
yet hearken back to Western days
don't show culture beyond equestrian,
bovine herds, those outside endeavors

so with choices limited to ego
must wait until fashion fits my credo
top hat fits me like hot tea brewed
Tricorne, now that's my tempered soup
(sorry Goldilocks)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Seven and Eight by Bob Atkinson

Seven and Eight 
**** the story of the great Arizona earthquake ****

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jetsam by Bob Atkinson

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

when in distress a vessel carries
much of what is extraordinary
over and above its frame
much in wanting of future fame

flotsam gathers around our feet
creating swirls of ancient seeds
confuses many with a mixture rich
of subtle voices and politics

comes a time when we must make
decisions practical, not idealist twists
reducing complexity to the frame
later on playing the idealistic game

now's the time to lighten our load
take down banners and fighting modes
turn attention to our fears of quagmire
gathering, collecting unity's power

throw out those slogans which divide
forget dogma easily used to hide
our common goals, wants and fears
future visions of lives so dear

moral pickle takes our hearts
anarchy flirting is quite dangerous
luxury of engaging thought
won't be with us unless we stop

history shows what power does
creates a force opposed to ours
whichever side we are on
will be clout retrograde against us

settle down and throw out that which
we need not now with us in a ditch
lighten our load, keep on straight course
working out all problems without remorse

eject the jetsam not required
for current humanity, those evil powers
settle down without wild struggle
weaken opposition with forceful softness

Friday, June 8, 2012

Transcend by Bob Atkinson


(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

torturous is the tortuous route
of language in its best form
can written words closely mimic what
the poet attempts to profess as normal?

no poet lies within the realm
of sage or learned saint
just thinks more over what he feels
tries to put it down upon the page

counts the words and lines to see
definitions met as one was taught
thereby overlooking why one writes
started penning words for naught

form can't be allowed center stage
no rigid structure for all good thoughts
doesn't matter how it's written
just how thinking squirts right out

if there's meter, or if there's rhyme
method contributes not to substance
form pales in usefulness when shown
hands the reader nothing of consequence

lines carried upon the reader's face
layout the poet's worth in stages
does the reader feel magic inside
do words touch his inner arrangement?

what the poet thought important
in feelings, fact or fantastic story
excites our character if impassioned
feeling close to the sender's message

will we look within ourselves to find
elusive demons and barbaric pride
or can we lapse into a coma
by truth adopting our real self image?

emotions transferred freely between minds
by harmonies conveyed intact with words
gives our life meaningful direction
knowing we are the same as others

melding minds in sane discourse
becomes the poet's real objective
feeling and seeing similar ideals
connects our emotional ties of reason

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Boletas and Senoritas by Bob Atkinson

Boletas and Senoritas

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

a lion worth ten dollars
a bull only five, no more
a horse would bring a dollar
one rooster a half dollar silver worth

a calf? well, a quarter dollar
a pig, only one bit for it
these handy Boletas for currency
money carefully by hand printed

Tubac colored its own horse
different from other locales
empty of life when Anglos came
full of life, now a full grown town

Charlie and his fine men
eager to please the traveler
built up adobe dwellings
stocking whiskey in their cellars

women flocked in from Sonora
on mules, on feet, on wagons
to find an employed husband
get married by the man

Cardinal found out this gent
married couples outside the church
sent his envoy to correct this thing
or secure monies for his purse

miners could support their women
they had these paying jobs
satin, lace and hams were wished
and children by the dozen

men labored daily in the mines
one mine bore the name of Sam
the other, hidden south of Arivaca
Montana Peak was Poston's on the lam

a tightly knit community
where guns were never used
a happy little bunch of men
and women with new shoes

Apaches had befriended them
as they moved across from Texas
deserts below mountain ranges
river waters always abundant

the treaty Charlie had enforced
seemed simple to his brain
leave them alone and they will go
upon their merry way

Apaches and the Mexicans
held much against each other
something about the slavery
Spaniards used for muscle power

out of the ground the slaves
dug silver and gold, no pay
hard work until death would come
to give them some restful days

women and small children
of those who worshipped not
the God of those who believed
heathens had true spirit lacked

freely moving upon the lands
Apaches took revenge for this
winning sometimes, sometimes losing
a fearful tit for tat

all felt the wrath of those who had
muskets, rifles, arrows, spears
a struggle of identities ancient
sometimes dishonest tricks were used

three hundred years of battles
two hundred towns of lore
sent bad men packing for their homes
from the east then came some more

first bunch had tamed the wild men
with talk and nothing more
friendliness of purpose
alternative would be some gore

so, for nearly five years
from fifty-six 'til sixty-one
peace stayed here in this land
while men for good ore dug

a few times were misunderstandings
as fourteen found at Canoa Ranch
when lumber men had no knowledge
of when to kill and when to fall back

then the force of arrogance destroyed
all good will which had been planted
when Bascom held Cochise's friends
and relatives for kidnapper's ransom