Category Archives: poems

A Journey

The bus turns in at
A small service station.
I get off to stretch my legs
And buy another cup of coffee.
Where I am going?
I don’t know,
To the next dirty town, to the next hectic bus depot
To the next ———.
I look around me and see
My fellow travelers drinking coffee also.
Suddenly I see all humanity
Huddled over a cup of coffee
Stopping now to rest a bit
And then moving on.
Where is this road
With its coffee shops along the way
Leading us to? I don’t know.
Perhaps back to the sea
Back to the Sea of Eternity
Where we melt into the
Universal Whole again.

Vancouver, B.C. — April 1960

Thoughts

Woe! Alas and alack!
Life is ugly, dirty and black
And that’s the way it will always be
For those who can’t its beauty see.
Four dingy walls and me inside
In the slums of Vancouver.
And oft my soul it cried:
How? Why? Where?
And oft my body sighed:
How long? What for? Why?
How long can you endure?
No one knows, no one is sure
Of anything, everything is dirty
Nothing is pure.
I took Life by the throat
And every rule of living I plied
And when I saw the ideals fall
I was sure there was no REASON at all.
I tried and plied and plied and tried
Until the Truth burned clean inside.
You want me that Truth to give
To you who only half have lived?
Alas, the Truth I will freely tell:
Heaven you will never see
Until you’ve lived thru’ your own
Particular Hell.

Vancouver, B.C. — March, 1960

Four Walls

Four walls. It matters not the place
But soon or late you’ll have to face
And fight ideas.

I made many enemies among ideas
And they chased me and sought me
And never let me free
Until they cornered me into these four walls.
And here without family, money or friends,
Cornered, I stood and fought.
And fierce was the battle
So long delayed for they had grown bitter
With Time.
I wrestled with them and many a time
Even after hope was gone.
What kept me fighting and battling so?
Yea, what makes the universe go?
My soul and I wrestled with them
For we could not bear to have them
Hang like parasites on our existence anymore.
And these four walls were strewn with
The carrion of dead ideas.

Now battered, haggard, weary and wiser
Shall I hoard the Truth and be a miser?
The battle is over? The victory won?
Who knows? Who can tell?

This only I know, please do not jeer
“Enemies we were only because of fear.”

Vancouver, B.C. — March, 1960

From Reading Chinese Poetry (Po-Chu I)

I’m tired of the city.
The city tugs and pulls at my clothes
And drags me down,
Down into gutters and sewers.
I long for the clean country
Where I can sit and watch the
Moon rise and set.

And hear the wind sigh
In the trees growing
Fatter and wiser with each year.
No one grows wiser in the city
Only fatter.
I long to lie on the grass
And feel the movement of the earth.

Vancouver, B.C. — March, 1960

Ode to my Landlady

Skqueesh, skquaash,
Pardon me, but I’m the cleaning lady.
Skqueesh, skquaash,
I clean human spit and grime
Off floors and walls and toilet bowls.
I wasn’t always a cleaning woman
I was beautiful once. I was
The prettiest girl in High School,
So the fellahs thought when they picked me
For their queen.
I was going to be a movie actress.
Oh I had high hopes and big dreams
I even got a part in a screen play.
But then love walked in and punctured my balloon.
Did I fall in love with a playwright?
A stage director, a film star, a business executive?

No.
I fell in love with a big, huge
Ox of a boyish truck-driver!
So I gave up my career and future
For love.
For a big, ox of a boyish truck-driver!
Oh we dreamed our little dream
And loved our little love
Till things got tough, a family to raise,
Rent to be paid, bills to be met.
Then one day my truck-driver drove off
On his truck and never returned.
Oh I still try to keep my figure
And my youth beauty fresh.
But age and hard-times have made
My skin rough and red,
My features sagging and sloppy
Until now I’m only fit to clean the grit
Of humanity.

Skqueesh, skquaash,
My daughter?
I told her to go to school, get an education,
Get a good job and wait
For the right man to come along,
One who would give her a home and security.
What does she do?
The first guy she meets
She runs off and marries him.
Oh, Fate and Fortune smile on them
Let their dreams come true!
Don’t let her become like me
A dirty, old washer woman.
Skqueesh, skquaash.

Vancouver, B.C. — March, 1960

Drunk with Life

I am drunk with life.
I stumble forward, reeling
And staggering
Unable to get my balance
Unable to think coherently.
I have swallowed too much
Too quickly,
And my head reels with
The Intoxication.
I swallowed Life with one gulp
And added Love for a chaser.
Now I stagger about
Unable to work, unable to act
Efficiently.
I’ll stumble about falling
And fawning, shouting inarticulate
Words and phrases
Until Death makes me sober.

Vancouver, B.C. — March, 1960

Advice on Life to a Child

Do not think or feel, my friend
It only brings unpleasantness in the end.

Life is wonderful they say
And from the beaten path do not stray.

Thinking is out of fashion I fear
So don’t think, people will only jeer.

Live in silence, do not criticize
For to do so is indeed unwise.

Do not attempt to write something new
For they will only point and laugh at you.

If they see someone foot-loose and fancy-free
They catch and dissect him immediately

An unhappy childhood, an unbalanced mind
But there’s not many of those you’ll find.

For the main stock is healthy still
But these will give you quite a thrill.

But these are not to be taken seriously
For who wants to be foot-loose and fancy-free?

Life is wonderful, they only want to escape it
They are the ones who simply can’t take it.

Attempt nothing until you can see
If it will end profitably.

Go to church every Sun-day
Bow your head and solemnly pray:

“Oh, Lord, I’m a sinner, I am lost
Lift my burdens, I’ll pay the cost

Of wickedness and evil I repent
For to hell I don’t want to be sent.

Fill my days with joy and happiness
My sins and wrongs I gladly confess.”

Go marching through life, keeping time
May your days and your years be happy and sublime.

Vancouver, B.C. — February, 1960