An excerpt from the book ‘Loam of Leaves’.  Read it slowly and ponder the difference between the shallow and the deep in this, our present time, and humanity’s ‘War of Minds’.

Our Finest Vanity  (1984)

There are those days,
Those idle days,
When the sky paints grey
The earth
And sets the mind aside itself,
Beyond the body,
Into yesterday,Chasing truth among the shadows,
Stirring sentiment with a stick.

And all the makings of what we are
Settle in the calm;
And we cipher among them
Like old photos, strange and familiar.

And to such moments of humans
I tilt my hat,
Extend my hand.

The tale is tragic, melancholy,
Laid upon the weavings
Of delicate moments
Told in the feeble voice of youth,
Spoken in the passion of old dreams.

How noble the day is!
It survives by wit alone,
As I am old in my puberty,

Nay, I, as many, have lived
And died,
In countless and tired ways,
Revived by new resolution!

The epic is in the mist,
Among the turns of the galaxies;
And, yesterday is as lost
As the first spark of light
That lit the ancient stars.

I recall only one morning,
Its’ brevity profound,
Yet, a monument to antiquity,
The discourse of the human vein.
It is an ode
To our day and place,
Embracing the menagerie
Of dubious drama……
The lust of the moment….

For, I praise the beginning,
The  primal loam
Of this grand ship.

Here the stone bares its’ marrow,
Lays its’ bones
Upon the spring thaws,
Sails the mountain rivulets
And lays to rest
On the basins and deltas.

I sing to the grains of earth,
To the river bottom loam,
Sheddings of the mountains’ face
…..Sweet mountain carcass.

Here to the burrowers of earth,
Tree climbers, The sky gliders and water swimmers!
And to those who walk the land,
The creatures and critters,
The predator and prey,
The tough-sacked pachyderm
And fantailed fox.

To those beyond number,
Melting their existence
Into a beautiful, horrendous brew,
I do not totally understand, but drink,
Nor can I see clearly, but savor the drink.
I am inseparable from everything
Yet an island unto myself,
Seeking fine fantasy
And settling for raw reality.

Here to the dreamers!
Those whose delicate minds
Make fragile worlds
That vanish in the dawn!

There is a grand tree
And warm autumn afternoon
For the ol’ red squirrel;
And, for him, the silence

Of a sleeping forest,
A good sun
And broad-forked limb
On which to dream.

He hears the rustle
Of the trailing leaves
On the crisp brown forest floor,
The gentle sway of his limber limb
And a dream of nut-bins
Full and rich and ripe.
And, his dream is no grander
In his journey of life and death.

To this, our dreams are our mirrors,
Servants of distortion,
Deceptions’ joyous bounty
Where the weak are strong
And the little are great,

Where the big and strong
Fulfill their empty vanity,
Where the cowardly
pretend to emanate their valor
and the brave mellow their regrets.

But, dreams endear
The soft shimmer of hope,
Making tomorrow the harvest,
The festival of a mundane moment.
Dreams are freedoms’ drink,
The power of life’s motion.
Dreams are life awake

And a dreamless life only sleeps.
Dream on, sweet life and universe!
Make your expectations
The builders’ hammer!

The whimper of an angel
Echoes in our planets’ groan
As it bleeds to the drillers’ needle,
The blade of a spoiled wantonness,
The countless crawling feet
Of the simple needs
And the hypocrites protesting
The very thing of all their comforts.

And, alas, sweet earth is above it all,
Recalling all the countless things
It has fostered and nurtured
And seen parish to fossiled stone.

It dreams of only tomorrow,
When it is silent again,
Full of the fertility of itself.

And infant stars will glitter,
In the flawless nights,
Upon sleeping waterways
And oceans and lakes.

The whippoorwill will chant
Its’ immortal tunes
Across the lush hill-land valleys
And there may be some remnant
Of what was once called ‘human’
Sitting alone in the theater of earth and sky,
Dreaming of full storage
As he awaits the crisp, quiet winter.

And, should someone’s finest dreams
Appear upon the crest
Of some newborn star
In the evenings’ twilight
They might well sit quietly
And dream of harmony with life,
And this dream of true dreamers
Is our finest vanity.

Clay Howard (The Universal Infidel)

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