Sunday, December 14, 2008


Your words are the wild beasts
you have tamed to your hand,
a petting zoo of courteous
crocodiles and cobras.

But my words are domesticated,
horses and dogs and roosters,
on guard, at work, carrying
themselves where best they serve.

Suppose, someday, a stranger,
an untutored tiger,
wanders into their midst?
Will it sleep before

my fireplace, purring
away its savage song?
Might it come to you,
ears begging to be scratched?

Or, wisely, it may turn
and disappear into
its jungle home; some words
remain wild animals.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


A word or two (oops, I'm already over two, aren't I?) about the sort of poetry I'd like to see at Peripheral Vision Magazine. I essentially have two criteria:

1) Avoid that heavy irony, aren't-I-clever thing that is so common and so passe. And so Post-Modern.

2) Avoid being too conceptual. A poem (or any other work of art) should attempt to actually say something.

Naturally, any submission should also be good!

(cross posted from the PVM blog)
The Thanksgiving holiday and trip to Tennessee went well enough. I doubt I'll be going back up there very soon, however; perhaps when warmer weather returns I'll be thinking about another visit. Maybe even take time to get to Nashville. It's been a while since I spent time there.

This coming weekend is, once again, the annual Christmas Concert at Tuskegee University. Free to the public, Sunday evening, Dec 7, in the 'Chapel' (which is actually a rather large concert hall). For the first time in several years, I am not doing the recording so I'll be able to sit back and relax. And, I'll be able take my mother -- I'm sure she'll enjoy it and it's not that long a journey from here.

I haven't baked fruitcakes for quite some time. It used to be a regular thing before the Christmas holiday. Of course, they were real fruitcakes, not those hideous gooey things they sell at the grocers. I'm attempting it this year. Today, in fact. Pulled out my copy of 'The United States Regional Cookbook' (published in 1939) for the 'Golden Fruitcake' recipe. One of my favorite cookbooks and one of my favorite fruitcakes. Maybe next year I'll attempt one the traditional dark Southern cakes -- the sort that's good right out of the oven but even better when allowed to mellow a while after soaking to taste with Bourbon.

Naturally, I have not put up my tree yet. Steve is a traditionalist (and a bit of a contrarian) and will wait. It's still Advent and I intend to treat this time as such.

I have no words beyond these hollow prayers,
these markers in my book of life-goes-on.
Take them, anyway; none better come.
These are the words I have. All else is gone.

Each familiar platitude is worn
like pebbles in a stream. The water flows
onward, downward, to the distant sea,
but writes upon the stone all that it knows.

I should have more words. They too have run
off to the ocean, hidden there among
drowned cities built of alabaster poems
when language was still new upon man's tongue.

Let them go. They left me as I slowed,
forgot the names I gave them in my youth.
What remains will do, must do; they are
my polished pebbles tumbling toward the truth.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Yes, good ol' pentameter.