Wild Sonnets 1-10

The Wild Sonnets

– 1 –

With brevity being what being is,
And all our periods and purpose pared
Into parenthesis, what more can we,
In the conjugation of a grave
Still hope to be – an utterance that breaks
Beneath the breath – a half-completed phrase
That silent falls, before the all that it conveys.

Yet some words have means to carry more
Than single meanings, and some in sounds
Identical are by both root and route the echo
Of their differences. So sentenced, we –
Must in the etymology and trope of time –
Put all such repetition out of reach,
To be in person singular, singular in speech.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading:

– 2 –

The soul uncaged, not from its fist of ribs,
But risen forth from reason, fears nothing more –
Not height’s ascension nor the silvered sudden
Of the drumming and the coming of the storm,
Nor the beckoning back of the voices
That below us we have left – these are the least,
Next to the beast itself that fears the beast.


It is the wild within us that has built
The bars – the hunger that has set the having
Out of reach. Dream into day, as through
The forest of insatiate sensation,
Hooved and horned, we pipe our perilous song.
O hear and answer – frolic, weep and feed,
When our worst freedoms from themselves are freed.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading:

– 3 –

Idolatry at either end of the dial –
The boy and his long year of yearning,
Mindful of the man and world as one.
In his school of days still learning how
To pen upon the pages of his turning,
Turning to what formulations form at hand
Increase of coinage, comfort and command.


Then the elder, who’s long since reconciled
The best of his ambition to the brunt
And hammer of his days, his book become
A glossary of loss, and the backward child
That raised him, a figure at the front of hope
That even hope forgets, unless the world and man
Remember where both were bound and both began.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 4 –

It winds down now, the hands and numbers numb,
The gears, still intricate in silence, like lovers,
Fingers folded over thumb. I will hold you now,
Forever, now that time is done. Unpictured
In our minds, a gradual magic,
The slow removal of presence and props,
We watch what fades, but feel the world that stops.


So listen now to what no longer moves,
Time’s keeping is not kept – the unmotioned
Grace of the machine is that it does not dream
It’s ending, but holds itself forever still,
Proving then that meaning is in movement,
And in movement, which our souls may keep,
Turns chance upon us, as clocks turn from sleep.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 5 –

Read then in red, the bible of the skin,
The word made living and the living
In letters writ down. Does not your breath
Bear as much of God, as all the testaments
Combined? Scholar and scripture will say no,
But backwards, deep within your sleep at night,
It is with your forward angels that you fight.


Each man is in himself a thing made as much
Of myth as birth and bone, a story laid
Of labyrinth, madness, mercy and the long
Excursions home at sea. Tie me to the mast,
And let me howl, for I hear the hungry
Beauties sing their bloody song upon the shore,
Where desire leads me to desire nothing more.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 6 –

The seed within the beast that is the sowing
Of the soul, and the root it rises to, however
Cleaned and reasoned, link to aristocrat
And animal alike. The more that knowing
Claws into the body, the more sensation claims
The mind, as though the spine were but a chain,
Reciprocal in reference and refrain.


There, each a prisoner in the other’s cage,
Schooled and creatured in this hovel of bone;
At base, all men are base, and can hurl themselves
At anything opposing, like a stone.
At best, all men are best conditioned to be
Articulate and architect for peace,
Restless equally for rest, and for release.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 7 –

There is every minute a wind that’s born
To blow you from yourself, that scatters
Into several selves, and everywhere, the one
True thing you thought you were. Now from you,
The sequential green goes from gold to gone,
What matters is made bare, to branch and bone,
A freeze and fever made of stem and stone.


Loveliness and luck seem now a charity
That nature lends, a fruit that fades before
Both touch and taste. As all unshades,
The earth grows rich with what we, rotting,
Leave behind. Russet and rustle, yellow
And yearn, the root beneath cannot be seen,
Yet knows anew, what growing is and green.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 8 –

Nature, under the navy of her own,
Brings us from distant causes a stranger
Sustenance. Ferried fruits from unfamiliar lands,
Roots and spices whose names in Arabic
Make, in music and aroma both, our senses
Alien to themselves – here uncrated on the pier
Of our perceiving, a transport of what’s known and near.


Can an antique preference fare against
The trade and traffic of the day? What before
Was loved now lessens to the taste –
Our appetite is newly edged, freshly now
Confectioned, though in what it savors, sinks.
Were there an argosy that inwardly could sail,
Not for treasures new, but pleasures that prevail.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 9 –

Blind as I am to both horizons –
That are at either end, the eye’s invention
Bent equally between the curtain’d earth
And the need to know the close is not
Yet near. The margins we remark upon,
Sloped with gold or opal, sate the sense –
As remove is marvel both, and recompense.


Yet heaven’s best is not beyond us,
Nor should a vision’s distance be more dear
Than what our having holds, that holds us here.
Our better understanding understands that we
Lie centered in perfection more than in
Periphery. The edge of us is not an arc
Begun by dawn, nor does it end at dark.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 10 –

Mute and mutable – for whatever reason
Reason sounds in us so deeply that we
Surrender sound, for whatever wisdom
We permit the wide orchestral urge
Of our confession to be quieted –
Even the songs of the solitary bird
Require not the reckoning of being heard.


All my quiet I will now lay aside
Since the trumpet’s coming and the crown
May not be mine. The loud parade may pass
Upon some other street than this I know,
Yet I will have, if nothing else, the audience
Of my own song. And none need here attend,
What music makes of me, til mine or music’s end.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon