Lifeblood by Rote

1.

Three blue-distant hummocks mark southeast
If you stand atop the neighborhood
Imagining a compass rose
Limned in ink against the sky.

Hung below their bellies is a dark,
Horned buttress, clearer in its nearness.
The closer hill looks clean against
The wildness of its far-off brother,

Hunkered like a preacher with
A prophet weeping at his back.

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Hoc est Corpus Meum

Hieronymus Bosch: The Conjurer, 1475-1480

Last week I sat in a theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with my wife and four-year-old son. We were waiting for Terry Evanswood’s magic show to start and sharing a comically small box of popcorn that my wife assured me I didn’t want to know the cost of.  I was more worried, though, that my son’s attention span wouldn’t last the full hour and a half. It turned out I had nothing to worry about. He was mesmerized from the first second to the last. I spent more time watching his reactions than I did the performance.

In my son’s stunned expression, I find something that I long for, something that I believe we all long for in one degree or another—a sense of wonder. In an age and culture where the answer to virtually any question we can conceive is just a few taps and swipes away, wonder and unknowing are absent. It is one thing, however, to suspend disbelief for a couple hours to enjoy a magic show, and another to live a life believing anything blindly.

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The Rumor of Good News

The Potato Eaters – 1885, Vincent van Gogh

What is it about Vincent Van Gogh that continues to inspire artists? Painters mimic techniques he perfected. Scores of filmmakers, songwriters, and poets have created their own works of art with Van Gogh as their subject. What is it about this artist that so inspires other artists? A definitive answer to that question may not be possible, but as a songwriter who has himself written a song about Van Gogh, I can at least speak to what inspires me.

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In Your Eyes

Photo by John Palmer Gregg

I have searched for poetry in every corner of the light.
I have searched it out in the shadows of evening
and in the silver reflections of moonlight.
I have orchestrated and waited for its’ arrival
Often sitting for hours, by candlelight,
Waiting for poetry to grace me with its’ voice.

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