Black Orpheus: Blasphemous Energies Deceive the Magic Hour

Fresh quote through evergreen sea breeze,
a lie in the wind, a hangman in a whisper,
the flower budded and wilted before
sacred flame cleansed and birthed.
Hidden ghosts present themselves
as salves of incense, demystified
emanant, radiant smoke, fog inside,
haze of natural born energies:
earth, water, air, fire.
Spice as spunky as skunk
subdue the alchemical shift
of desire. The pyre is stacked
a thousand feet to the sky, an
effigy of pleasure and hedonism,
an homage to gluttony and vice,
a blessing. Never so generous,
Mother has borrowed life against
Herself to bargain for the soul.
Her child rebukes her, rebels,
becomes a renegade
against itself,
eats itself,
devours itself,
a cannibal for excessive vanity.
It set the pyre alight and walks away,
vying for the crystalline altars
of the clear minded gods
and their many servants
that occupy and copulate
in the distant slopes
where rails and
needles provide
cautious governance
to the shadows that rule.
The ancient Green Man
rots with puritanical lust,
the son of god rebukes
the devil, the Judas
goat breaks its
illusion, its glamour
cast on the collective conscience
and deception breaking with
the daylight. Ascension eyes.
Awake with the macrocosm
floating on clouds. The micro
speculates, waits for the
forest to arrive. But
it may be centuries.
It took centuries for them
to rule the world. It took decades
for them to be taken apart.
They will not harness the energy of
hippies and love light no more.
They will not hijack one world,
one peace, one love. They will
not throw hexes and witchcraft
through programs and television.
They will find heel to a servant
that has shrugged off the shackles
of slavery, and mitigated the crown
of sovereignty to itself and all of
its kind. While watch the scourge,
in wan tatters of relaxed flesh
electric in the meditative exhalation
of the afterglow. Content, hyperlucid,
receptive, calm. Electric. The flora
forsaken, verdant is the pall through
scores of cemetery, a mile last each
year gone by in reverence of that
sacred path, a green one of creativity,
love and delight outspent by the
somber slumber of raucous echoes
and cacophonous reiterations.
The love of horizon birthing sun
broke the spell the pagan once cast,
gave itself over to a darker force,
prayed inside all archangels
held steadfast with integrity,
held themselves down no longer
than needed to compel the shadows
before the point of rationale
and the nature of the weak human being
sends it into a twirling nosedive,
a fastidious sprawl in sordid
consciousways, the subdued
mind in obsession, locked away
for hours, hot and bothered,
restrained and giving, selfless,
the moral compass spun.

“Black Orpheus: Blasphemous Energies Deceive the Magic Hour” is a poem written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.

Retrospection by President John Quincy Adams

When life’s fair dream has just passed away
to three sore years and tehn,
Before we turn again to clay
the lot of ortel men,
‘Tis wise a backward eye to cast
on life’s revolving scene,
with calmness to review the past
and ask what we have been.

The cradle and the mother’s breast
have vanish’d from the mind,
of joys the sweetest and the best,
nor left a trace behind.
Maternal tenderness and care
were lavished all in vain–
of bliss; whatever was our share
no vestiges remain.

Far distant, like a beacon light
On ocean’s boundless waste,
a single spot appears in sight
yet indistinctly traced.
Some mimic stage’s thrilling cry,
some agony of fear,
some painted wonder to the eye,
some trumpet the ear.

These are the first events of life
that fasten on the brain,
and through the world’s incessant strife
indelible remain.
they form the link with ages past
from former worlds a gleam;
with murky vapors overcast,
the net-work of a dream.

Daguerreotype portrait of John Quincy Adams, c. late 1840s. (Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)

John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States of America. He was born July 11th, 1767 in Quincy, Massachusetts. He served as president from 1825 to 1829, previously serving as the 8th Secretary of State. His father was John Adams, second president of the United States of America. He passed on February 23, 1848 due to complications of a cerebral hemorrhage. President Adams published a book of poetry titled, Poems of Religion and Society.

The Hour-Glass by President John Quincy Adams

Alas! how swift the moments fly!
How flash the years along!
Scarce here, yet gone already by,
The burden of a song.
See childhood, youth, and manhood pass,
And age, with furrowed brow;
Time was—Time shall be—drain the glass—
But where in Time is now?

Time is the measure but of change;
No present hour is found;
The past, the future, fill the range
Of Time’s unceasing round.
Where, then, is now? In realms above,
With God’s atoning Lamb,
In regions of eternal love,
Where sits enthroned I AM.

Then, pilgrim, let thy joys and tears
On Time no longer lean;
But henceforth all thy hopes and fears
From earth’s affections wean:
To God let votive accents rise;
With truth, with virtue, live;
So all the bliss that Time denies
Eternity shall give.

Daguerreotype portrait of John Quincy Adams, c. late 1840s. (Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)

John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States of America. He was born July 11th, 1767 in Quincy, Massachusetts. He served as president from 1825 to 1829, previously serving as the 8th Secretary of State. His father was John Adams, second president of the United States of America. He passed on February 23, 1848 due to complications of a cerebral hemorrhage. President Adams published a book of poetry titled, Poems of Religion and Society.

Why, Meryl, Why!?

A true iron lady,
death has become her.
The perfect hymn
of the violin
escorts her
into the wood
dark and wide.
She dances with
the children in the darkness,
in the darkness of the evil
and devilish wood.

Original Tweet @MerylStreep. What possible topic could this flash poem be about? Weaponized poetry, pretentious passive-aggression or old-school scholarly ass-whooping?

Why, Meryl, Why? is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.

Sweet Lady, Awake! by President John Tyler

Original text of “Sweet Lady, Awake!” by President John Tyler. Library of Congress.

Sweet lady awake, from your slumbers awake,
Weird beings we come o’er hill and through brake
To sing you a song in the stillness of night
Oh, read you our riddle fair lady aright?
We are sent by the one whose found heart is your own,
Who mourns in thy absence and sighs all alone.
Alas, he is distant—but tho’ far, far away,
He thinks of you, Lady, by night and by day.
     Sweet lady awake, sweet lady awake!
His hearth, altho’ lonely, is bright with your fame,
And therefore we breathe not the breath of his name.
For oh! if your dreams have response in your tone,
Long since have you known it as well as your own.
We are things of the sea, of the earth, and the air,
But ere you again to your pillow repair,
Entrust us to say you gave ear to our strain,
And were he the minstrel you would listen again.
     Sweet lady awake, sweet lady awake!


President John Tyler. USA. 19th Century.


President John Tyler was the tenth president of the United States of America. He was born March 29th, 1790 in Charles City County, Virginia, and served as President from 1841 to 1845 after serving as Vice President to President Harrison who passed of typhoid fever / pneumonia only a month into his tenure. President Tyler is credited with the annexation of The Republic of Texas from Mexico, however his legacy is cloaked in controversy as he is the only United States President buried under the Confederate Flag, and not the flag of the United States of America.

From Your Bright Sparkling Eyes, I Was Undone by President George Washington

Original text of the sonnet, “From Your Bright Sparkling Eyes, I Was Undone” by President George Washington. Library of Congress.


From your bright sparkling Eyes, I was undone;
Rays, you have, more transparent than the sun,
Amidst its glory in the rising Day,
None can you equal in your bright array;
Constant in your calm and unspotted Mind;
Equal to all, but will to none Prove kind,
So knowing, seldom one so Young, you’l Find
Ah! woe’s me that I should Love and conceal,
Long have I wish’d, but never dare reveal,
Even though severely Loves Pains I feel;
Xerxes that great, was’t free from Cupids Dart,
And all the greatest Heroes, felt the smart.


George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. He was born February 22nd, 1732 and held office from 1789 to 1797.

Poetry and Politics

The political environment in the United States of America, the whole world, is volatile. I don’t think there has been a more contentious election cycle from election campaigning through end of first term that has severed the unity of many people in the nation, and divided everything from men and women, to family structures, to community and friends, and deepened the well of political prejudice. As artists of the written word, there is no doubt that these societal issues may come out in the work of poet and other artists. Activist poetry, more prevalent today on both sides of the political aisle in America, and scattered through every polarized spectrum of politics worldwide, overtly addresses these ideas and philosophies and in some cases become its call to arms, its pool of inspiration. This political schism has also shown the hand of propagandists, and has shown how the general public does not care for the celebrity and affluent-type dictating political opinions and instructions. Along with separation of church and state, the separation of state and entertainment is requested. While an artist like Dolly Parton may find this obvious and easy to do, it may be hopeless for a poet. A trick of the trades is to be able to balance the artistic creative with real-world conditions and the necessities thereof, like the necessity of money to live comfortably and validly. But to be able to have an artistic career and a political opinion may be no easy task; a delicate balance. Poets and artists like myself, however, whom seem to be overt in their opinions in some public domains, will not intermingle their political opinion into certain aspects of their creativity. So, readers will never see posts on The Root of Many Returns dot com promoting any political party, though members of my personal Twitter stream may be privy to some pretty heavy expressions of political opinion and secularism, readers may experience art that expresses political view. The most obvious that comes to mind is my poem, End the Fed, published in December 2019 on this website.

There is no room for poetry in politics, but the same cannot be said about the opposite. While I have not come across any legislation or political speech that was overtly poetic, unless you think Truman and Kennedy were merely full of symbolism, and MLK allegory and metaphor, I have found certain American presidents turned to poetry for release and expression in various tones and topics. There, too, is also the poets presented at presidential inaugurations, poets of the American Revolution like Emerson and Longfellow, and even peculiar musings like “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr., and made popular by singer/songwriter Al Wilson (included at the aft of this entry) that have been injected into the American political scene by figures like President Trump who used it as a metaphor for illegal immigration. For the pleasure of the readers, and for historical pertinence, The Root of Many Returns is proud to present a brief series: Presidential Poems, poetry by American presidents, to be followed by a series of patriotic poems, industrial and post-industrial revolution poetry that honors and reveres the United States of America.

 


The Snake
by Oscar Brown Jr.

On her way to work one mornin’
Down the path alongside the lake
A tender-hearted woman saw a poor half-frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
“Oh well,” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”
“Take me in oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk
And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk
Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she’d taken in had been revived
“Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried
“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”
Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite
“Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
“I saved you,” cried that woman
“And you’ve bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
”Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,“ sighed the snake.

President Trump read “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr. on the campaign trail during the 2016 Presidential Election cycle. He read the poem as a metaphor for illegal immigration. What else could this poem represent in political context?