Wild Sonnets 31-40

– 31 –

What would our worships be if here was heaven?
And what more do we imagine there will be
Once we have slipped into eternity?
When the raucous richness, so pressing
And so present, is vanished from the habit
Of our having – will sensation, finished and free,
Find it long has longed for endless vacancy?


Would then not truly revelation come
That our breathing and discursive days
Were the end and onset of our blessings best,
Which if the constant manglings of the mind
Laid down, to cherish sagely and attend,
We would know the fine ethereal of all
Was lastingly ours – to have missed or to recall?


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 32 –

Whatever of the immediate you can make
Is gift and gain enough. Those riches vaulted
Deep in our imagination, which for the now
May not be reached – are in their value
Level with all that has been lost and spent.
Hollow is the habit of mind that misprizes
All that is, before its fading rises.


It cannot be felt, though it is everywhere –
Finality. Slow to begin and quick to fall,
The eye attunes to objects absent more,
Knows in nostalgia only, missing more
The manic strokes of time’s wild brushes,
Less certain to see until the frenzy’s framed,
In the gallery of all that’s gone, but named.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 33 –

When what today was praised is by the past
Forgot, a wingless thing that can no longer
Lift itself into the cold, archival air –
When all that fed upon the morsel
Of the moment is left for hungry
In the lean hereafter, to feast on dust
With silver withered now to rot and rust –


Then shall be sifted through the spreading ash,
The gems that unacknowledged and ignored
For stones of lesser value, vanished now –
Will not the murmuring of crowds to come,
Themselves in thrall to the day’s diversions,
Lean back and marvel that so much was made
Of what was empty first, and then began to fade?


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 34 –

Whatever silence sings, it is the last we hear,
The note and nuncio before the none.
Prior then to this, in the key of our creation,
Are the voices, multivarious, that raise
A music we do not assume as sound –
An oratorio of ordinary things,
That will be missed amid what quiet brings.


So let the quotidian continue
In its crowded and collected song.
Its choral glory too sudden to ascend
Or last. Are not our days so staved and struck
Within the lilt and larger melody
Of living? How many strings are briefly stirred,
That here we miss, tomorrow to be heard?


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 35 –

Sometimes in the deep and dead of sleep
The dead have come to me – the departed
In my dreams invoke and visit, dressed again
In living garments and a guise that’s gone.
Their presence, past, seems not a summoning
Of mine, that underneath the lidded eye,
Require out of reverie their cold reply.


Friendly and familiar in their faded forms,
They speak to me of simple things,
As if their crossing were for conversation,
As if the words of those that still could breathe,
Were as close to texture as a text could come.
For the pleasure of a moment they arrive,
Until alone we wake, remembered and alive.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 36 –

To be complete, it needs no answer –
Its simple curvature provides enough,
Its arc and gap, a pleasurable shape,
Unneeding to be closed. Desire thinks
It wishes to be quenched – and yet how many
Mourn what the question will disclose,
When angels ask what the devil only knows.


There is to breathing no one truth –
For many truths themselves are things
That breathe. An inward action of the air,
And exhalation after – diametrically
Directed, being opposite but not
Opposed. Never and always always show
The end of inquiry is yes and no.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 37 –

Were I to have waited for the way,
The path’s appearance would not have found
Its reach of stone to my reluctant steps.
We half construct the stars we steer by,
And in wayward illustration ink the maps
That lead us on. Such navigation grows
By impulse further than what we impose.


And so I pause, midway in the making
Of this world and pilgrimage as one –
An Aligheri and allegory both,
In my fabled and concentric sins
Which are salvation too. Purge me then,
Not of damnation, but of doubt – to dare
The road unravel none knows where –


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 38 –

Amid the mad immediate I sing,
Whether it be in omen of what’s yet
To come, or amen for all that has.
Are we not in the eye of wonder,
Whether in the glinting rain or the sheen
Of snow, in recollection’s echo, or the ache
That after triumph takes not long to overtake?


Time touches us but briefly, like the strings
Of some strange instrument, fashioned
To be played by everything, but timbred, grained
And struck in chords and colors of our own.
Subtle in song, ensemble and solo both,
What seems as havoc to our hearing is heard
Above in bright accordance, still or stirred.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 39 –

Born as I was – a wilderness of one,
A madness of many, and frenzy of sudden
And stone. Made as I am – of fiber
And fume, of riot and ready, of tempest
And tomb, of reason and steam, of steady
And done. Burned into being, this myriad mine,
Like the sun in an array of rays doth shine.


Yet how do we, in our numerable selves,
Become so strangered and so sleeved
Into a single name? Scaffold and manifold,
Fury and frame – so plenteously peopled,
As both communion and crowd,
A division to be marveled at and mourn,
At one in the wilderness, and every moment born.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

– 40 –

Engendered first from joy, why should we not
In such a state remain? And who of our encounter
Was not of much the same composed? Born as we,
Underneath the same companionable moon,
That even as it empties, hulls and hollows
To the new, from love’s eclipse into the light,
What exulted in our making most was right.


And yet we trade in trouble most – make it
Our coin and our concern, believing that
To brighten we must burn. Petty thoughts
And perturbation – a currency not worth
The spending. Each moment minted,
Is a kind of gold, the wealth of which is pursed
In our own person, tendered to us from the first.


– Nicholas Korn

audio reading: coming soon

Nicholas Korn