T. (Tom) Merrill

T. (Tom) Merrill is a poet, painter and photographer who prefers to let his words, paintings and photographs speak for themselves.  On the invitation of Kritya to publish his work, he said -- I seldom write poetry these days, since it has been run off the stage, although I did compose one recently that I suppose expresses my opinion of those who in the Western sphere at least, seem to have successfully commandeered the art.

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Kritya is happy to publish his new-born poem along with other poems we have found with the help of Michael R. Burch, editor of www.thehypertexts.com We are posting some of the pictures and paintings of T. Merrill on this page so that readers can see his visual, as well as his verbal, art.

AN ADVERTISING TRICK

Exiled in the people's name
For crimes against our extant tongue,
We exited the scene, but still
From obscure corners watched as one
And all of our stiff sentencers,
Jealous of erstwhile
Claims to fame,
Strove to make their new and O
So common touch the touchstone, till
In fact it so became.

No irksome sonic barrier now
Held back elusively prosaic
Flights in which they loved to keep
Their distance while
Being fiercely unarchaic.
Vaunted as a vast advance,
Their wingless craft took off and seemed
To elevate the earthbound,
By rising into clouds on feet
That never left the ground.

As hopelessly their numbers grew
And fortified the high frontier,
Strict measure ceased to task the voice
All worked together tuning
To the new telluric ear.
Mystery joined untrammeled speech
To heighten its unwieldy heft
With hints of the profound,
And make their natural native style
More certain to confound,

As if when everyone was lost
The more it clinched their crown.
Dressed like all the rest they yet
Did not appear familiar,
Never truly loose or free
For all the plain attire.
Their costume could not quite disguise
A wish to be beyond,
Nor hide the gloating genius in
Their non-transparency.

Still, since for decades it has been
A fate accomplished, we
In sad but true defeat admit
The triumph of their winning trick,
To wit:
A cherished difference, advertised
As similarity.
hael R. Burch

Of Modern Mysteries

My love is no new poet,
But has a simple tongue;
To love, no use in speaking
Except as to the young.

And whom else should we speak to
If not the one we love?
And so I seldom speak as
If speaking from above.

I do not darkly draw what
I most want understood,
But often say "I love you,"
As bygone poets would.

Who Long Kept Hid

I prayed to stars, when I was young,
To lure love where I lay
Lone as a shore that calls a sea
The tide has turned away.

Love did not come, and oh they seemed
Indifferent to my cry,
Who long kept hid how love could be
A kindness to deny.

In the Stillness of Many

Many nights when undrawn to the living,
I have gone to the graveyard instead,
And sought out my truth among ashes,
And for beauty,
Lain down with the dead.

In the stillness of many a midnight,
I have warmed to their wakening sound,
The impassioned, and scorned, and unliving
Who speak to my heart
From the ground.

How Only Cold

If to such happiness an end must come,
As ends may swallow all dear hopes and dreams,
And should you vanish, and my heart grow numb
With sorrow, as though yet so soon it seems;
And if the bitterness should long consume
My thoughts of you, who briefly lit the day,
And sun no more return to re-illume
And lift the flower withered in the clay;
Yet memory of a distant atmosphere,
Travail obscure as rock in some dark field,
The glassed-in din's dull pulsing in my ear,
Faint throb of stars, so long astir but sealed,
Recalls a love left even more alone,
How only cold released the ache of stone.

I Had of Love

I had of love, when it first came,
A single, lonesome bolt;
It had but one--and I could find
No living antidote.

And so, I made my cure of hearts
A cold night wind instead,
And all the sadly brimming stars
Shone down on our chill bed.

And then I hummed forgotten fields
A lover's lullaby,
And by the fallen gates of hope,
We wept, the wind and I.

Though Sorrow Mock

I shall not give you up for lost,
though grief prevail,
tears overcome,
strength fail;

Though silence join with ash
to prove all perish;
though sorrow mock my hope
for all I cherish.

There But for the Grace

Tripped by a flash
painting of a silhouetted
square pair twilight-crowned
with fiery sunburst flaring

out over them
like a blast from an open
furnace cleaving cloudmass into dark,
smoky,

billowing wings a vision branded
deep revives, sudden
cable-snap, freefall
in side by side
shafts,
cascades
of dust spilling down,
tombs sealed the way snow
slips off mountains, gravemaking

thaw of steel
or ice,
how a curious
master of heights surveying

the world from a summit late
one summer stepped
so casually, blithely
recording last days, lost sights.

Then Pines

How spring's first green is gold
the not yet weeping
willows show,
when in the sketch called April, they
like faint forsythias glow.

Then pines,
like men who must endure
though all their treasure pass,
mark summer's end where fall's first change
lies golden in the grass.

Companions

Composing the flock I thought I heard
When wonder drew me out the door,
A solitary mockingbird,
Busily being more,

Absorbed in his little crowd of sounds,
A parody of me,
Was gathering in his singleness
Some songs for company.

I Do Not See

I do not see the stars tonight
Nor wonder if they shine,
For many years have passed since I
Wished any beauty mine.

I do not seek the flowered wood's
Unworldly hush and stir,
Nor are there cherished haunts of mind
As long ago there were.

I find no sail to lull me now
Away to courts of dream,
And upward from the sod I push
Blue skies fade out unseen.

Then to Thee Gladly

O Lord,
if in the sight of Thee
is peace, and happiness
fills all who look
on Thee;
And where Thou art,
all troubles
truly cease, and Thou
art truly, and as said
to be;
Then to thee gladly
I send forth
my love--to Thy
protection, speed
an ill-used guest;
From sorrow, anguish,
tears, to aeons of
that light,
which but to look upon
is rest.

Summer Yardwork

I seek no gift of song today,
no melody
self-made,
but something hard
and uninspired,
to draw the chilling shade.

Doubtless sleep would better serve
to rouse them
from their lairs,
and make the stealthy shadows come
and take me
unawares.

But in this blind
and watchful mood,
which stalls the flow of time,
since dreams are far,
I move the sun
by wrestling out a rhyme.

Clocking a Harvester

Clocking a harvester,
from nut to underground larder and back,
I found the course consistently run
in thirty-five,
forty seconds maximum--
and I clocked his clockwork awhile;

and seeing how hard he worked
at building up his stockpile--
at such a relentlessly steady pace--
and since a rest seemed due,
I slipped out and scattered a few
by the hole to his home.

When I looked, later on,
they were gone.
I had put out the peanuts to see
if the jays
or the squirrels would get to them first, but instead
found a new mouth to feed--

not at all to complain. Truth be told,
sharing such stores I suppose is an old
custom of mine,
and recalls a time
when all my best handfuls were aimed
at arming another against the coming cold.

Return

When somehow you appeared and took
this heart not mine to give,
and spring broke out again and gave
me every cause
to live,

It seemed as if some power had sent
a spirit to restore
that other Eden
that I knew,
when all was lost before.

Blessing the Cup

While morning yet was rose,
not thorn,
earth glistening
as if newly born,
I came across
a romance here:
he hadn't seen
the shadows clear,
nor seemed
to be at all aware;
she watched,
and was content to stare.

I thought of how a love began,
of Eden, too,
the dawn of man
and how that garden
turned to grief;
of sorrow
borne without relief;
and yet,
I did not fail to bless
the tainted cup of happiness,
nor reverently to tiptoe by
this sleeper in the flower's eye.

 CONFIDENCE MAN

To prove the seasoned skeptic still
Hopeful enough to cheat,
He plied the same smooth promises
His doubles never keep,

Then pocketed his gains, and left
A fool to fume regret
While watching clockhands calculate
One more dishonored debt.


Tomorrow Some New Star

Upon the stars tonight
appears some care,
some stricken pulse, as blurs the silent pool
or wavers in some ancient's vacant stare;

Say they were borne there
by a love proved cruel,
drawn as by some brute hypnotic power
out into fields of deep night's lonely hell;
as vigil lights
are wrenched in their low hour,
something not yet lulled by time's dim spell
seems waked in them; which heart's fresh longings

rise tonight,
and reach up there to wring
perhaps some life from those emerging eyes
so almost moved in their frail glimmering?

Tomorrow some new star must yearn,
as when
one heart grows still, and one turns blind to men.


 DEATH IN LIFE

 Though his demise was not like that
 Of billions lodged beneath the ground,
 Yet it was cast as such to one
 Who must believe him buried now.
 It helped sidestep analysis
 Of faith's demolishment by phone,
 And rendered pointless idle queries
 About affairs no longer known.
 Should he be spotted on some rue
 Not visibly yet void of breath,
 That hunched ghost shinning into view
 Might but recall his sudden death,
 The funeral held, the obit quoted,
 And down an aisle a coffin toted.

Diluvian Meditation

More and more, as he kept tracking new
Awakenings of flesh, and nothing served
To ease the pained awareness out of mind,
He feared his final bill for life was due.
As rivers trespass fields in a flood,
Defy containment, spill their banks and run
To regions rarely focused on, so spread
Such poisons as men nurture in their blood.
Though apprehensive, he resolved to wait,
Content to ply his pleas as antidote
And hope a miracle might detour fate,
And while odd feelings preyed upon his peace
Supposed, if something had him by the throat,
This way or that, sensation yet would cease.
 


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