The Tower

May 12, 2016

How like a child who seems to climb each day
To higher floors. How like a new sunrise,
Something off to the west, something gay
To warm the mountain’s shadows in your eyes…
Save that for later; climb up these old steps.
The tower is ready now; your mission is
Accomplished; go to sleep. All your projects
Have borne the fruit of day; your gifts are his.
Surprise! As the snow melts, you stare and stare,
For words that loved the world are words you hear,
But cannot see. The tower cries beware.
The child inside you flees. You were his fear.
You’d like to save every house you ever owned.
Tower, ranch house, Tudor, now dethroned.

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6 Responses to “The Tower”

  1. Thomas Davis Says:

    If you ever find clarity in you soul, Jim, will you lend it to me?

  2. extrasimile Says:

    Hi Thomas:
    I see what you mean about the Frost line: a folksy dip into metaphysics. Like Socrates going ‘down to Piraeus’. The philosopher of the ladder…or steps, this being a tower, can both ascend and descend.
    I just wish I found that clarity in my soul that you find in my poetry.

    The above comment got copied from the other poem. I’ll have to figure how to remove it when i have more time.

  3. extrasimile Says:

    No, Thomas, you should. You’ve had an interesting life. [Remember the old Chinese curse: ‘May you live in interesting times.’] When I was a kid we lived next to a boy who was crazy for all things Indian. He made his own arrows and I think even his bows. I sort of got an introduction through him to a much different culture than baby boom Long Island. I think he eventually went out west and did something with the some Indian group. His name is James Mische [spelling is very problematic; tha’s how it is pronounce. When we moved, I lost touch with him.
    By the way that’s quite a nice picture.
    Don’t knock doing good. It’s a lot harder than it looks. Besides, you didn’t want to be Steven King, did you?

  4. Thomas Davis Says:

    Ah, Jim. You are now a master sonneteer. No surprise. Your last set of poems have reached a new level. The first several lines of this reminded me of Robert Frost and “After Apple Picking,” a poem I’ve loved forever. It has the same metaphorical sense to it. It has dual meaning that is unstated but obviously present.

    But then,
    . . . The tower cries beware.
    The child inside you flees. You were his fear.

    These lines strike you with the force of a sledge hammer. This is not a poet looking back on a well lived life, although that sense is also present in the poem, but one who is dealing with difficulties and facing up to them with courage. This sense is why like Christine Moran’s poetry, a poet who is published by John’s publisher at Bennison Press, so well.

    Then the culminating couplet:
    You’d like to save every house you ever owned.
    Tower, ranch house, Tudor, now dethroned.

    A powerful sense of recounting, of celebrating, but regret is in these lines, emotions so complex you would have thought that they would be impossible to capture in a poem.

    You have always intrigued me because of the puzzle quality in your poetry, but this, and other recent poems, surpass that. You still have the complexity that Wallace Stevens was so powerful at rendering, but you have distilled that into a clarity of emotion and metaphor that stirs the spirit with a countenance that is not my own.

    Like John, who, for my money is one of the best contemporary poets, I celebrate what you are writing right now.

  5. extrasimile Says:

    Thanks John. This one kind of wrote itself.I love it when that happens.

  6. John Looker Says:

    This is an extraordinary poem! It is carefully crafted with scrupulous adherence to sonnet form, metre and rhyme while reverberating with nostalgia, longing, anxiety, hope and more. Most moving, Jim, and magical.


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