Warren Falcon

Veteran Poet - 1,907 Points (04/23/52 - xxxx / Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)

Unexpected Fire, A Son's Cycle - Poem by Warren Falcon

for my father,
Major Warren Falcon, Sr.

Of Childhood Lamenting - Song of Experience

Might I sing it then?

How many stones he hauled

Not bidden but rough forced

Hand by hand from coagulate soil,

A boy's red wagon rusting

Full of spilled tumble-stones -

Unyielding stars between the rows, silent.

Brooding father with

His hoe to weed or ridge

To row or brow to strike

Made of a boy a mule and plow

At Earth's farthest Edge

Too ill-tilled to nurture

But more to fracture.

Land and the boy turned by his

Father's bad blood to waste.

Both boy and corn obedient

To his And Greater Hand grew tall.

He hid there late summers in

Fateful stalks, grew small on

Shadowed afternoons reading of

Exiled, royal Odysseus and scores

More, native born and slave, driven

From homing soil beyond surf, beyond tall

Mountains and fragrances desert-walled.

He waited, a stone for a small boy's hand,

Or a God's, to haul him or throw,

But it was his father's.

I often stare now at my own to know the difference...


Adolescence - Praising.

Cleaning Fish On Good Friday,1966

Fate, then, heavy in a boy's hand

hoists dead weight to a nail on a tree.

His knife scores firm flesh yielding

beneath freshly limp gills - there is an

instrument made just for this, pincher-pliers

for catfish skin - he grips and tears,

uses his weight down-stripping smoothly

bare to such luscence little ribs of roseate flesh.

Only the overly large head, the ugly face

whiskered within gilded monstrance,

remain pure to form, thin-lipped and

mocking, restrained by depth pressures,

sustained on surface trash, dead things

that sink down it's treasures.

Tenderly sing, then, to a nail

a boy's blood catechism -

hands, minds, meant to be stained,

mercy's quality unstrained

neither by will nor gill.

Scavenging flocks gladly fill their

gullets inhaling entrails tossed

in supplicant bins.

In unison Gregorian they scream:

There is a nail for me

plain, a chorus of barks** -

splintered lips

punctuated surprise,

glossolalia of rivers

now given weight.

One can only will

praise to 'The End',

and spill, after pliers,

one's silken guts in offering.

**A catfish when brought to shore barks, a rasping, barking discharge of air.


Middle Age - Awareness of Mortality Sure

Our Mutual Confession

Descending the hill in unplanned rehearsal
for what has become a destined association,
our mutual confession is invisibly drawn.

A ruined one-room church appears,
a cemetery plot weed-hidden behind this
once sentinel house long remote to men and
as present as God, my own presence is bound
to his who stands confounded now as three,
one above grave, one within it, and me
in between, one eye upon him, the other
upon sagging dirt where bones and a
ragged shirt share an unexpected
moment of veils confused in sunlight's
disarray of leaves, wood, of stone and
shadows frozen there, not breathing
for us all in unstoried astonishment.

Here horseflies feast.
Upon weathered stones are
only creases where once were
names, dates, even God's Word,
chiseled by a now unknown hand,
an impression only, one among many,
reduced to no plot but that of Providence
left to surmise swatting at Eucharistic
flies proving only flesh and only blood,
a flood of questions eventually exhaled,
and exhaling still, waiting beside
a white rock with wings,
ignoring fire,

leaning into changes.


Middle-Age - Acceptance - Forgiveness

Repose Of Needles

For Sanju,

If you need to stand or lie
in the shade for awhile then
do so as farmers do, as does
my father who farms his despair
in hot sun then lays beneath
pines in cooler shade to rest,
to dream that activity between
dirt and sky means some lasting
thing in its doing even though
his ruined life cannot make
it right between clouds and
his obsession with weeds.

Between the garden and the
un-tilled woods he rests,
repose of needles and bark,
mid-day sun insisting its
question slowly. Night dawning
he at last in darkness stands
returned from day, a practical
vision of green shoots to come
from blistered hands.

Up hill to the colder house,
he wills himself to life enough,
speaks some words to wife,
arcs widely around silent wary
children and lives to be old.
His loss of memory leaves it
for others to forgive, to live on
in the rich rot of that ongoing
question which nurtures his
memory haltingly, gracefully, on.

Astonished, I have arrived at
love for him who hurt me most,
have learned to obey the odor
of decaying things compelling
hands to dirt. Within the dream
of staying, the tendril and the heart,
my aging body takes on my
father's form; I, too, like him,
am a farmer when I note how
it moves in its winding reach,
rooting, rising, giving horizon.


Reconciliation - Radiance:


What can I bring to harvest but these
bruised hands, these cracked stones?

Praise to the fruit tree long untended
beneath mendicant stars.

A boy above, his Radio flyer** lightening full,
Reaches to me now en exilio, the farther flung.

Father, my most difficult, most diffident friend,
My most loving curse,
A strange and fragrant Grace arrives -


From unexpected fire

comes frail, brief blossoms.

*William Shakespeare

**Radio Flyer is a toy company, famous for it's red wagons.
The company opened in 1917, the year of my father's birth.

Comments about Unexpected Fire, A Son's Cycle by Warren Falcon

  • (3/9/2011 5:48:00 PM)

    This is an excellent piece. The mention of the fish brought it home. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, March 5, 2011

Poem Edited: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

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