The Cogitations of Hogan Games
1. A Maker of Light Verse Having A Sunny Time
‘Flairant dans tous les coins les hasards de la rime,
Trébuchant sur les mots comme sur les paves,
Heurtant parfois des vers depuis longtemps rêves.’
Baudelaire, ‘Le Soleil’
I see myself as others do. They accept me
now as an old man, not without his vanity,
who’s allowed to kiss the bride and hold the baby
and is honoured for grey beard’s humanity
and parting sadness. Someone who life is leaving.
Montaigne, you said life was all about the good death.
Didn’t you hesitate on the threshold of believing
that life is good in itself, and let live this let?
‘I leave the fruits of my studies for death to taste.
We shall see what come from the mouth or the heart.‘
These are not the words of a sad soul who has chased
life into a grave and jumps in to die apart.
Blaise Pascal chose not to think about death at all,
rather than fake a happy one. A Jansenist
believes that nothing better than life can befall
a human sinner, unless it is not to exist.
But I’m with Montaigne who did not give in
to ‘the terrible bite of necessity’ in the dark.
He faced it with a calm mind, peacefully living
in the hope that when he came home his dog would bark.
Nor did he abandon the life his youth once wished
would surprise him, but sadly watched it to the close,
suffering family feuds and kidney stones. He kissed
the scarecrow in the mirror and thumbed his nose.
The sons that he brought up by his own book were blind
to his wisdom and joined their mother to rescind
a quiet life. So be it. Knowledge is never mind.
‘We grasp at everything but catch nothing save wind.’
2. Poor Little Buttercup
‘Une tête, sur la table de nuit, repose
Comme un renoncule’, Baudelaire, ‘Un Martyre’, Les
Fleurs du Mal
I ache with age. The trajectory is defined
downwards, I know. Once I didn’t care what happened.
Now I have no choice but to read between the lines
and, when that fails, flip the pages to reach the end.
A latter-day tenderness for cut flowers consoles.
But only when stolen from gardens at nightfall.
My head rests on the table like a renoncule.
An armful of mimosa lasts no time at all.
Now my stalks are severed from adventitious roots
I could be a waxed arrangement in the crypt
of a revenant, who, haunting for home truths,
shakes the dust in the air down on top of it,
giving my velvet petals a sepulchral veneer,
so wilting I’m made an art for posterity
to pick from a brocade bed where the dead flower’s sere
meets decay half way. It’s the growing I pity.
When young we see ourselves and trust the reflection.
Everything we think we are gives us its blessing.
Everything we think others will be is a beckon
to nowhere in particular. All learn this lesson
too late to change direction in mid-air, and crash
to earth in a dry drop, and nobody reclaims
the black box that would explain why. We live on as
the sky descends and the ground opens in flames.
My heart sinks at youth’s optimism for every time
life withers on the vine we pile on manure,
as the plant is cut down, dead wood in its roots. Mine
will at least fill a vase and die giving pleasure,
if not to me. The young grow into disappointment,
while, preserved in aspic, I’m nobody’s fool
and don’t waste myself following a dead scent.
Tête sur la table repose comme un renoncule.