Like most cyberbuffs I once upon a time toyed with verse. Most were written when I was very young and are singularly bad. Perhaps their best quality lies in demonstrating why I write music rather than verse these days. Below are a few that are slightly less than awful.

The first poem is about friendship. C.S. Lewis once wrote that, “Lovers seek for privacy. Friends find this solitude about them.... We picture lovers face to face but Friends side by side....” I tried to capture the spirit of that idea in the poem. In today’s world where so many people feel that in order for relationships to be real they have to be based in romance or, worse, sex, I wanted to show that real relationships transcend those bounds. Does it work? You tell me.

Where the Moon and Water Meet

Where the moon and water meet
there let us greet
and blend our hearts with the rippling waves,
touching gently, softly,
as kindly light caresses the ruffling swells,
tender in the mellifluous night;
where time and place surge and swell,
rolling with the docile main,
visible yet unreal,
a place transcending mortal meeting.

There hearts may dwell,
where the moon and water meet,
giving, taking of that part
denied in lawful circumstance;
here most freely greet,
and in one silent, fecund act
outside this carnal world
beget our own in clement sky
where stars take up the song.

Who holds the moon —
that ardent orb of kindred light
which smiles upon our guileless lay?
He Who holds the waters yet,
whose kiss and lap upon the shore
bring peace and greeting to our allied light
and to our souls which soar beyond
the highest stellate glimmer.

So friends should meet
when otherworlds go flirting,
and side by side should tarry at that paragraph of light,
where kiss empyreal and touch ethereal
bring more to life than passion ill-advised:
where light and dark mix deep and high;
where strength lies waiting yet unknown;
where hush and friendship comely lie,
where the moon and water meet.

Copyright © 1981, John Craton

While Lying on Your Breast I Felt

While lying on your breast I felt
the heat of your breath
on my neck;
your fingers wended their way
through my hair —
I never could keep up with my comb.
The leaves whispered all around us
as they fell,
the winds sang from every quarter,
but we were silent.
About a quarter-mile away I could hear
a dog barking:
probably some poor, innocent cat
that couldn’t read
had wandered into his domain.
On the bridge railings a bird sat
fussing at the sun; he seemed
to want it to halt. But we,
who were smarter than he,
knew we could do nothing
and let it set.

Copyright © 1970, John Craton

Engels Nachtegaeltje

The night was soft
as was the song of the Angel’s Nightingale:
the wooden pipe had shown its virtuosity,
the nimble fingers their familiarity
with its many chromatic openings.
The wind, much the same as had
made possible the Dutchman’s song
and the applause of its variations,
had its own set of variations
to part through my hair
and to give the experience of evening.
All these things came to view
only in their fullest context,
the balance of joy and sorrow, light and dark,
after this breath had brought me to thee
and carried on its wings
the song of our existence,
the seed of our young love.

Copyright © 1974, John Craton

Two Paisleys

1.  At right of way
paths become discernable,
and to new worlds,

never worlds,
the never-ending road goes on;
but who’s to say
the ways shall never meet?
or whether will they
come together at our feet?
A better-ending, never-ending road,
a lesser, finer, more abiding trope —
a kingly glimpse of things unknown....

2.  Willing to go on,
the signs of courage let them pass,
and forever chimes the carillon,

a glockenspiel,
a celeste of great harvest-hope;
will that be
for every way ahead?
or to be free
the past of weary ways has led?
A feel of lilacs and of spark,
a fuller, more abounding grace —
a kingly glimpse of things unknown....

Copyright © 1972, John Craton

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