Photo from PxHere/CCO public domain
In the cold vastness of space without end,
we swirl through time, around the sun,
alone, unknown, unknowable, lonely
collections of stardust, certain we matter,
but vague as to why and how, unable
to prove our value, yet convinced we must
matter, that the matter which forms us
is formed around a ghost within the machine
that is each of us, whether alone or together;
and we pray, we bray like jackasses how unique
we each are, we rant, we rave, we demand
recognition, unable to recognize our connection
to everything else in the known and knowable
universe; we are built from the building blocks
that form all else, but would deny the connection,
seeking connection with the unknowable,
the invisible, the unfathomable, while ignoring
the wonder of our connection with all that exists;
from (star)dust we came, to (star)dust we return,
and we are sister and brother to the glorious beauty
of star, black hole, moon, field, forest, mountain, river,
stream, ocean, plant, insect, mammal, reptile, fish,
and amphibian, as well as the sensuous delight of sound –
bird call, waterfall, wolf howl, symphony, jazz combo,
electric guitar, fiddle, bagpipe, mandolin, bouzouki, sax,
and oud, the roar of ocean’s arrival at shore, the whisper
and murmur of stream, brook, hushed midnight
rainfall, the exhalation of breath as snow falls,
the magnificence of lightning and the wild power of thunder –
all, all, all is each of us, and each of us is all that surrounds us
and abounds throughout all that can be seen and not seen;
yet even with this extraordinary outpouring of which
we are part, we are, in heart and mind, too often alone
and desperate, unwilling to recognize the all that is
in us and the us that is in all we see and imagine.
And all that is tumbles toward the dust which has
formed us all, and calls us back to be reshaped
again and again until there is no longer any stardust
to conjure wild beauty in the midst of the cold void.
Michael L. Newell’s work appears frequently in Jerry Jazz Musician.
He was born in Florida in 1945. In addition to living in thirteen states, he has lived in Japan, The Philippine Islands, Thailand, The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Mexico, Egypt, Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Bolivia, and Rwanda. He currently lives in a small town on the Florida coast.
Newell studied writing with Benjamin Saltman and Ann Stanford. His poems have appeared in a number of periodicals including Aethlon; The Journal of Sport Literature; Bellowing Ark; College English; Current; English Journal; First Class; The Iconoclast; Issa’s Untidy Hut; Jerry Jazz Musician; Lilliput Review; Poetry Depth Quarterly; Rattle; Shemom; Ship of Fools; Tulane Review; and Verse-Virtual.
Some of his previous books include A Stranger to the Land; Seeking Shelter; A Long Time Traveling; Traveling Without Compass or Map; Meditation of an Old Man Standing on a Bridge; Wandering; Each Step a Discovery; and Making My Peace.
“Harry’s Psalm” is from Mr. Newell’s new collection of poetry, The Harry Poems (cyberwit.net), a cycle of 116 poems described by author Robert Wexelblatt as “a lifelong project that, poem by poem, builds up a complex and distinct persona who endures life’s trials and undergoes all sorts of moods. Newell expresses Harry’s unique and trenchant sensibility in verses of many forms, in the precise and condensed diction of poetry. Taken together, they achieve the scope of a novel.”
The Harry Poems is available on Amazon by clicking here. While there you can find other books of his as well.
Listen to the 1962 recording of Bill Evans playing “Stairway to the Stars,” with Chuck Israels (bass) and Paul Motian (drums) [Universal Music Group]
Click here for information about how to submit your poetry