Kindness by Design
Random acts of kindness are indeed
a poor substitute for prepense deeds
committed according to schedule.
The question is straightforward:
will we pass on the anguish and woes
the world has heaped on our shoulders,
or will we override our default response
and behave as embodied blessings?
Choosing kindness demands grace,
one of many gifts we give ourselves.
Preferring kindness is a heroism unhailed,
yet a matter of utmost spiritual import.
Kindness is the highest wisdom of all,
and the sage who lacks it is a charlatan.
Only the unenlightened could deny
the exigency of habitual kindness,
envoy of love, agent of godliness.
Let us thank one another in advance
for effusive kindheartedness
every now and then and again,
and let us say amen and amen.
The deceased, inert in the flag-draped coffin atop a bier
overhears the laudation from a choir of admirers
come from near and far to pay final respects
in a solemn assembly of mourners.
Outpourings of grief, gratitude, and melody mingle
under the vast canopy shading from desert sun
ministers, dignitaries, and grandees
keen to preview what their own funerals might resemble.
The honor guard stands now at attention, now at ease,
as protocol officers direct proceedings,
rabbis mutter prayers, and the cantor’s voice
chaperones the soul heavenward unto angels.
Harmonious diapason cedes to sober monody
as attendees rise and watch uniformed pallbearers
shoulder mortal remains and escort them to their
resting place to be inhumed and covered with sand.
None speaks ill of the dead; at such an hour,
elision serves as dignified handmaiden of grace.
Only merits and service are mentioned;
only good intentions are recollected.
Let us warmly praise, and bless, and forgive
and ever bear witness to the good;
may our eyes espy virtues
and our mouths pronounce appreciation.
Sunset over Montfort
Understandably (in hindsight),
scarce seekers venture to discover
the Holy Land’s El Dorado or Shangri-La,
onerous to locate, arduous to reach,
clandestinely nestled on a spur
amid Galilee’s Keziv streambed,
curtained by sylvan environs
veiling its improbable situation.
Oddly isolated, the skeletal shell
with its towers and archways awaits
in a valley quiescent by day save
for a burbling flux in winter
yet where nightly canine choristers
howl the moon’s advent in unison
from surrounding hilltops
with fervor unswerving.
Haunting ruins impress themselves
on the imagination, threatening slumber
with a slew of whys and wherefores
plaguing the modern mind hard-pressed
to fathom the curious calculus
of armored knights and squires
secluded in a fortified hideaway
remote from assailants and rationale.
Dusk settles the matter for the moment,
forcing a hasty descent and hellish clamber
up the adjacent summit toward civilization
as rays fade fast and hiking turns perilous.
Once breathing resumes atop the opposite peak,
there remains in darkness a final trice
to perceive specters and conceive
the lifeway of the mysteriously austere.
Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 160+ publications in 23 countries. www.brandonmarlon.com.