No. 4 & 5


Bill Coyle  

The Common


Now, when the trees are bare, I can see in their upper branches
 nests that the birds of the air built for themselves and their young. 
These do not sow or reap or store up in barns, yet their dwellings
 seem to me to surpass anything I could make.
Why are they worth less than I, then? And where is the human spirit?
 Where, if not in the wind stirring the branches now? 


Once I detested the look of skeletal branches in winter;
 now I am ready to learn all that they have to teach, 
ready to turn from the evergreen trees that have been through the ages
 types of eternal life, green and full all year round.
Christ, give me life everlasting, but give me, to guide me in this life,
 trees that put forth their leaves, lose them, then grow them again.


 Out on the common the leafless boughs have been decked out for months, now,
 strings of white Christmas tree lights twined around each bare limb.
Every tree, by night, is a branch of Yggdrasil, world-tree
 ramifying its way into the darkness of space.
Artifice, at its heart, is the human touch describing
 lucidly what the world, stripped to its essence, is.


The World is a rebellious child at play,
watched by its anxious parents Night and Day.


The Flesh, regardless of what Christ might say,
is willing. Any time of night or day.


The Devil is Our Father, and so we pray
to have tomorrow’s bread today. Today.


Knowledge is found at the Know Ledge,
high above all you know
and when you stand there scanning
the world below,

it won’t, for all its beauty,
be the phenomenal view
of foreign and familiar
that dazzles you—

mountains on the horizon
staggering toward the sun,
the flood-plains where your battles 
were lost and won—

But how, when you stand on the Know Ledge,
and catch your breath and call
to the world you came from, crying
hello to it all, 

you hear within the voices
echoing in reply
an emptiness allowing
for earth and sky.

Post-Colonial Studies


The two surviving
Speakers of Mati Ke, ancient
Sister and brother,
Honor a tribal taboo
And do not speak to each other.


On an island bought
For him by a worthy follower,
Adi Da Samraj,
long awaited avatar,
native New Yorker, holds sway.


In the country, homes
Are often set on stilts. Some
Of the stilts are bombs,
Ordinance left from the war.
Some of the bombs are still live.



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