Paths to Kingdom's Gate


Spring 1968 (TBob)

Greyly
the day kneels
in soft submission
to the hour of the folding of chairs
 

The Walk

My new kinship
I am related to my parents
not so much through blood
for that is way of dust
which embraces this world
but I am beginning to know a kinship
where I am linked to them solely through Christ.
When blood, dust and memory are gone
the link of kinship remains
and through this kinship I receive the promise of Abraham
an extended familly
more numerous than grains of sand
likewise in fellowship
If I have fellowship in Chist with those who are in Chist
and whom I can see
My fellowship is also with those in Chist whom I cannot see

If we are born of dust as was Adam
then we return to dust
but when we accept that we are chosen for new life
we are born from the heart of the Creator
through the grace of his sacrifice
though much of our life is still determined by dust
when we stop functioning
in this place of dust
we return to the heart of the Creator

Sin
which separates us from the heart of the Creator
occurs when the substance
of this place
where we are consigned for our brief life of dust
is internalized
becomes the focus of our desire
and the destination of our walk

The psalmist says:
"As a Father cares for his children
so does the Lord for those who love Him
for He knows whereof we are made
that we are but dust
our days are like the grass
and we bloom as the flower in the field
when the wind blows over it
it is gone
and its place shall know it no more."

Human memory also
is born of dust
and so long as it leads
solely down a chain of human events
it leads but to dust and vanity
Only when when a rememoration leads us to the events of the Creator's work
where He has intervened for our sake
to transform us from the dust to creatures of His heart
only where the representation of human events
leads us to embrace the respect and love for eachother
that the Creator has for us
does it tanscend its substance, its process, and its life within human memory
 
 

Walking home in late February

a cold black wind sews shadows on the ground
while ice fires devour western ridges
gilding girders on river bridges
lo, the coward sun takes flight to Morningtown
and we are left
breathless brothers to fugitive clouds
freeze-dried and still
in the sepulchral silence of winter sky

TBob (2.27.02)
 
 

Day's Edge  (TBob 3.23.02)

Gazing eastward
through the ambiguous promise of morning haze
to distant twilights in the mind's eye
where ashes of dead suns
are gathered in the faintly glowing urns of penumbral clouds
I feel their fleeting silence
rush through my ears
and veins
until it is swallowed in the boisterous noise
of daylight
and a flutter of Phoenix wings
pierces the veil of my reverie
 
 

Storm coda (sometime Fall of 2001)

And when at last
the solar eye does pierce the shredding clouds
it casts a glory of muted gold in rain-soaked dusk
upon the land
and joins the polychrome praise of trees
dancing their delight in wind's embrace

       Bob Peckham
 
 

"...praeterit enim figura huius mundi." (I Cor.7,31) - 1987

a railer sun
probes frost-blighted lawns
color drained
pommeled and bruised by late autumn rains
the birth-doomed promise of spring
is now a rotting corps
whose stubborn death embrace
hides chain-link fence bottoms
but oh, paradoxical and mysterious Entropy
chemical cradle
ever outliving the living
vital and villainous architect of dust
we
symbiotic adversaries
grow feeble in our common finitude
awaiting the void
beyond power and memory

TBob
 

"Le Petit dejeuner a Martin" par TBob Perverti

Il a mis le bacon
dans le poële
Il l'a frit
Dans la graisse du bacon
Il a mis des oeufs
Il a sorti les petits pains chauds
de leur poële

Il a mis le bacon
sur l'assiette
Il a mis les oeufs
avec le bacon
Il a mis les petits pains chauds
sur l'assiette
avec le bacon et les oeufs
et il a mis la sauce "red-eye" là-dessus
sans me parler
du procès de OJ
sans m'en offrir à manger
Puis, il est parti
parti traire ses vaches
ses vaches si précieuses
Et moi j'ai pris
mon nez dans mon mouchoir
et je me suis mouchée.

Bob Peckham
 
 

"Priez pour paix"  Charles d'Orléans

PRIEZ pour paix, douce Vierge Marie,
Reine des cieux et du monde maistresse,
Faites prier, par vostre courtoisie,
Saints et saintes, et prenez vostre adresse
Vers vostre fils, requerant sa hautesse
Qu'il lui plaise son peuple regarder
Que de son sang a voulu racheter,
En deboutant guerre qui tout desvoie;
De prieres ne vous veuillez lasser,
Priez pour paix, le vrai tresor de joie.

Priez, prelats et gens de sainte vie,
Religieux, ne dormez en paresse,
Priez, maistres et tous suivant clergie,
Car par guerre faut que l'estude cesse;
Moustiers destruits sont sans qu'on les redresse,
Le service de Dieu vous faut laisser,
Quand ne pouvez en repos demeurer;
Priez si fort que briefment Dieu vous oie,
L'Eglise veut a ce vous ordonner;
Priez pour paix, le vrai tresor de joie.

Priez, princes qui avez seigneurie,
Rois, ducs, comtes, barons pleins de noblesse,
Gentils hommes avec chevalerie;
Car meschants gens surmontent gentillesse;
En leurs mains ont toute vostre richesse,
Debats les font en haut estat monter,
Vous le pouvez chascun jour voir a clair,
Et sont riches de vos biens et monnoie,
Dont vous deussiez le peuple supporter;
Priez pour paix, le vrai tresor de joie.

Priez, peuples qui souffrez tyrannie,
Car vos seigneurs sont en telle faiblesse
Qu'ils ne peuvent vous garder pour maistrie,
Ni vous aider en votre grand destresse;
Loyaux marchands, la selle si vous blesse
Fort sur le dos, chacun vous vient presser
Et ne pouvez marchandise mener,
Car vous n'avez sur passage ni voie,
En maint peril vous convient-il passer;
Priez pour paix, le vrai tresor de joie.

   ENVOI

Dieu tout-puissant nous vueille conforter
Toutes choses en terre, ciel et mer,
Priez vers lui que brief en tout pourvoie;
En lui seulement est de tous maux amender;
Priez pour paix, le vrai tresor de joie.

CODA (TBob)

Priez PDGs de toute industrie,
Ouvriers, cadres chômeurs; qu'on redresse
Le tort sanglant de guerre, et qu'on oublie
Les chemins noirs menant vers la déesse
Folle qui se croit reine. Il n'y a presse
De faire sur nous les coupes verser.
Nous voulons tous le regard éviter
Que la Mort d'Harmaguedon nous envoye,
Le cri des gens que le feu va bruler.
Priez pour paix, le vray tresor de joye.
 
 
 
 

Questions indiscrètes (TBob 1994)

Me demander ou je travaille
C'est poser question indiscrete
Mieux vaut manger un' livre d'ail
Que parler de facon si bete

Me demander mon parti pris
Suis-j' FN ou bien RPR
"On n'accepte point ca", je crie
Mieux vaut parler d'la fete des peres
 
 

"Heureux qui ..." (1997)

Heureux qui est professeur
Et pas administrateur
Ces types-ci sont toujours cons
Et ce qu'ils font n'est jamais bon
Moi, je préfère un sort sanglant
à tous les postes dans leurs rangs
 
 
 

"Mon pays, c'est..." (TBob 1992)

Mon pays,
c'est ma folie des ordinateurs,
cybersilence,
humanisé
par des voix écrites.
Mon clavier,
dont on peut voir les do-ré-mi d'une musique oculaire,
avale les nuits blanches des écrans.
 
 

"Rien de plus..."  (TBob 1994)

Rien de plus sexy qu'un bon ordinateur (c'est ordinaturel)
Ni de plus poétique que la technologie du bus optique
Ni de plus jolie que la pluie sur un sandwich
Ni de plus beau que le lavabo
Ni de plus chantable que notre chantefable
 
 

Wall-Street RAPP-up (Tbob 1999)

Yo! pay attention now, Wall-Street Dan!
Ya know Greenspan
He da man
He gonna take a stand
Ya think you rad dad, e-trade stoker
Read the street sans broker? . . .
So meet da Fed
Ya dead
Ya gonna lose ya head
 
 

"Osama's Rap Sheet" (TBob 2001)

Osama Ben Laden...Yo he ain't no man
He always hidin' wit the Taliban
Ya know he wake up inna mornin' wash his face in a pan
Yah, he trip on his beard, an' he fall in the sand
Ewa, he hang wit a gang they call al Qaeda
Ya know they hate ta see us livin' la dolce vita
So now they tellin' us that we can't put'em in jail
We gonna get the groundhog to deliver his mail ;-)
 
 
 

"Roadtrip"

Sing we a coffeesong
of dusty dashboards
and broken words
mother of mornings
with fog as the father of towns
and rear-view mirrors as burying grounds
for many a waning form

TBob 2001
 
 

for David Gatwood (TBob 1999)

agile flight of fingers on cloistered keyboard
delivering felt-hammered acoustic jazz
or delving into digital dilemmas
father of futures that soar beyond the poet's eye
to trivialize millennial thresholds
 
 
 

"Ode to Coffee"

Pour me a steaming cup of now
black soul of the sun
devouring fog banks
in its morning rage
liquid shadow
burning like daylight
within
melting idle ice
and shredding the torpor of lingering night.

May 27, 2002 TennesseeBob Peckham
 
 
 

Answers to Melting Questions
Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt?

flowers now seen
              full of
              yearning
              elation
              sunlight
              tenderness
              eloquence
              rossetti's invention
              yore
              enchantment
              and
              reincarnation

(TBob 2002)
 
 

"Home at last" (TBob, Spring 2003)

Home at last
after many years of wanderin'
I'll leave my sorrows out on the dusty road
No peace out there, always one step short o' victory
I've played the game
and I've been reapin' what I sowed
OH, rest is so sweet for these prodigal feet, comin'
Home at last
Lord, I'm layin' down my load

My home town
out in the golden heartland
friends and family and Sundays in the park
those bitter days that found me on the highway
without my roots, now I'm fumblin' in the dark
OH, rest is so sweet for these prodigal feet, comin'
Home at last
Where love has left its mark

Saying solong, now
to hard times in the city
my rear-view mirror is where they disappear
I've found new life just over the horizon
with loving hearts my memory holds so dear
OH, rest is so sweet for these prodigal feet, comin'
Home at last
I've nothing left to fear
 
 
 

Spring Thaw (TBob, Fall 2002)

Can you tell me in truth you still love me
When our first dreams are vanished like the melting snow
New promise blooming down by the roadside
is calling out to you to pack and go

 Oh we both stood by each other through the bad times
 While the cold winds were blowin through the cracks in the wall

 Yet the seeds of change are planted in the garden
 And I'm wondring if you'll be here in the fall

Spent too many tearful nights to remember
When those glad vows of summer filled a steadfast heart
Their words are tried in the storms of our December
And scattered as the spring thaws  do us part

 Oh we both stood by each other through the bad times
 While the cold winds were blowin through the cracks in the wall

 Yet the seeds of change are planted in the garden
 And I'm wondring if you'll be here in the fall

You still listen to me talking 'bout tomorrow
But I see in your eyes a heart that's outward bound
And we'll be taking different roads that lead to sorrow
When the spring sun melts the snow that's on the ground

 Oh we both stood by each other through the bad times
 While the cold winds were blowin through the cracks in the wall

 Yet the seeds of change are planted in the garden
 And I'm wondring if you'll be here in the fall
 
 
 
 

"Paques des renouveaux" (TBob 2003)

Paques des renouveaux
le vrai printemps
qui n'est ni  caché ni écrasé
par les hivers
un espoir pour le genre de paix
qui résidera dans tout coeur humain
effaçant nos inclinations
vers la haine
vers la violence
vers la convoitise
vers le refus du pardon
et toute autre
qui nous sépare les uns des autres.
 
 

9/19/'02 (TBob)

Gray cloud lace on pink daybreak sky
a breeze sings your fragile mysteries
 
 

Proverb (TBob 2002)

Spring fathers the fancy
while autumn is the true harvester of hearts
 
 

Lingua albae   9/30/02 (TBob)
 

Sometimes
from dewy star-born silence
the sky murmurs a lighter shade of dark
before it decks itself in purple wreathes
of sun-spoken clouds
 

(TBob 06/30/03)
 

"unmown field" (TBob, July 2003)

unmown field
full of morning
whose scriptorium sky
is already graced with gentle cloudy glyphes
and where green blades whisper the day's impending heat in dewless monotony
punctuated only by spent dandelions and unnamable weedy buds
All yield their muted glory to the oven of day
 
 

"Spanish moss"

Spanish moss,
tree hair in listless live oak
weighs the breeze
with ghostly grace

TBob 1.19.03
 

"Lord of the morning"

Lord of the morning
Source of peace
Collector of cool and quiet moments
To shield us from the noise of day
Casting diamond nets of dewey grass
That these may become fishers of eyes
As they delight
In the caress of the the rising sun
 

(June 2003 TBob)
 
 
 

White Stone l'été de 1993

Soleil
exilé des nuits de gala
lampe de Chronos
néant des jours fours
tu présides des marées moqueuses
épaisses de la lenteur de nos rames
et tu consumes ta propre lumière
d'une chaleur qui évapore nos rêves
et qui fait pourrir nos espoirs
comme tant de morts
cachés dans les poches du géant.

O Sun
exiled from gala nights
lamp of Chronos
chaos of oven days
you preside over mocking tides
thick with the slowness of our oars
and you consume your own light
with a heat that evaporates our dreams
and rots our hopes
like so many corpses
hidden in the pockets of the the giant.

TBob
 

For my Mom, awaiting a trip back home to White Stone, VA
 

                          A house for dying
                     focus of reality
                locus of memory
           outside her shrinking ambulatory circle
      a house consigned to dreams, and. . .
 ah, those "some day" smiles
spray painted on the walls of misgiving
     from water you came . . .
          to water returning
               your spirit leaps to light second-story windows
                    in that crepuscular edifice
                         crying
                              "ubi sunt qui post nos erunt?"

(TBob 1993)
 
 

High Coo (TBob, 2000)

Through Bill Gates
and Visual Basic
Defaults are now viral faucets
 
 

Tonal Shift (March 1987)

contagious redbud laughter
spreads its springfires
of lavender derision
beneath gawking winterbare branches
 
 
 

a Valentine poem for Vida (TBob, February 14, 198?)

Cupid struck me with his shaft
And I who at Love's power have laughed
To be his liege did yield my sword
But he has not become my lord
I love a lass who sees in me
All good things that I'm meant to be
This sovereign of a million charms
Makes me a freeman in her arms
 
 

Vida's Song (TBob 1983)

sing your may-spring melody
in the summer wind
let it float high and free
till it mingles and twines
with a lyric of leaves
then, make it your song for me

so we'll have song when leaves do blush
in the autumn cold
and meadow grass turns brown
in the diamond-frost morning
we'll  find summer's delight
winter's silence filled with sound
 
 

Pour la Toussaint (1989)

east-facing autumn oak
morning-sun mural
medallion of the moribund
you too will be a trope
commemorating chlorophyll in the bland liturgy of painless death

scratching on concrete scores
     in drybones wind
          your toneless melody
               a tempo vario

then will the multitude of leaves sing your solemnities
in ever-gray drone sky of late November
'til all these fragile choirs embrace in ice chapels.
 
 
 

Non sequiturs from the glorious squeaking void

Silence cries "midnight"
and hurls dawn upon us
baking our words in the ovens of doomsday
stepping in tune with the nettles of noonday
sorrowful sandals
pumps with no handles
arob@se lodged in the eye of the luddite
thus,
in the seas swarming
we curse global warming
and where are the yesteryears knee-deep in snow?
only the wizard will know.

TBob (2002)
 
 

Day's Edge - A Narrative

Gazing eastward
through the ambiguous promise of morning haze
to distant twilights in the mind's eye
where ashes of dead suns
are gathered in the faintly glowing urns of penumbral clouds
I feel their fleeting silence
rush through my ears
and veins
until it is swallowed in the boisterous noise
of daylight
and a flutter of Phoenix wings
pierces the veil of my reverie

TBob  3.23.02
 
 

"...et vocabunt nomen eius Emmanuel, quod est interpretatum     Nobiscum Deus."

  Emmanuel, Emmanuel,
  the sound of Your Name alone
  could fill the empty nights
  from cave to second coming.
  Long expected hope of nations,
  brightest and best . . . You are here without warning
  And I,
  stunned,
  ever naked in the knowledge of my sin,
  can but joyfully stammer Your praises.

TBob (199?)
 
 

A Reading of Proverbs 8 (TBob 2002)

Before earth was
I am
the life water of springs
the shape of hill and mountain
the goodness of soil
the meaning of ever-expanding sky
the wisdom and joy of creation
the answer to questions un-asked
the end present at the beginning
 
 

Maine Summer Sunday (commencé en 1962, révisé en 2002)

So many steaming cups of Sunday
Breathless coastal Sundays
Those Sundays so careless
They forgot me
Trailing in front
As they drifted backwards
On sun-feathered sounds
The towns
All urgent and squawking a legion of sea-gull squawks
Awakened form the dull sleep of hundred dogs at noon
And we
Walking on beaches
Paved with neglect
Lo, the stony answers
To all our questions
That broke like glass behind our backs
Yet...
Somehow
Milled in the promise of pure sand
The bald and pious piers
Stood like rows of melting licorice sticks
Growing beneath us
And baking their dark sweet hymns into our bare feet.
 
 

"In my Father's house" (TBob 199?)

In my Father's house
believe me
there are many mansions
If it were not so
why would I have told you
that I go to prepare you a place
And when I come again
I will take you to Myself
That where I go
you shall be
That where I go
you shall be
 
 

"I am the Bread of Life" (TBob 1980s)

I am the Bread of Life, all who come to me shall not hunger
I am the Bread of Life, all who believe in me shall never thirst

It is my Father alone
Who gives you the true bread of heaven
The bread that descends from God
To give new life to the world.

I am the Bread of Life, all who come to me shall not hunger
I am the Bread of Life, all who believe in me shall never thirst

For this is the the will of my Father
That all who see the Son
And all who believe in Him
Shall have eternal life

I am the Bread of Life, all who come to me shall not hunger
I am the Bread of Life, all who believe in me shall never thirst
 

And no one comes to me
Unless the Father who sent me draws him
And all who come to me
I will raise them up at the last day
 
 
 

"As the flower of the field: from a walk in the heat of day" (TBob 07.13.03)
 
Lord, you were with me in the wet world of my mothers womb
You were my water of absolution and of promise as I took your name
You have written in my heart the meaning of life
See how my existence here
is like a piece of dry paper in a raging fire
I crinkle and blacken
pale and grow fragile
oxidize in writhing agony
Yet
when the wind comes to scatter my insignificant remains
I hear your words:
"More than you can know
I have loved you
I love you still
now and always"
And as these words ripen in my soul
I see your kingdom spring to life before my eyes
 
 

for the baptism of my son, Ronald Charles Peckham,
on December 23, 1984

phúnix in Christ
arise from the wet fire of death unto sin
begin your new life
you growing in Him
He dwelling in you.

flesh of my flesh
come find a new kinship in God's family
joint heir with His Son
whose kingdom is now
and ever shall be.
 
 

Lay Down Your Life.  Take Up Your Cross

If anyone would follow me,
Then let him first deny himself,
And, gainless from his worldly toil,
Lay down his life,
Take up his cross.
This vanity, consumed like the dross
        in the just fire of Godís intent
                 will burn away and leave him pure.

Make no mistake, her doom is sure,
She who would save her life and win
The barren treasure of this world.
Lay down your life,
Take up your cross.
Your earthly cares, consumed like the dross
       in the just fire of Godís intent
             will burn away and leave you free.

My victory won in this place of strife
Iíll not remain unto myself
Like the grain of wheat upon the ground, I
Lay down my life,
Take up my cross.
These bitter days, consumed like the dross
       in the just fire of Godís intent
             now burn away and leave me life.

TBob (sometime near 1990)
 
 

A Musical Meditation on Psalm 19:1-6 robert d. peckham

The heavens declare the glory of God
and the earth as the work of His hands

The heavens declare the glory of God
and the earth as the work of His hands

One day tells its tale to another
And then night unto night sings its song

The heavens declare the glory of God
Let their voices be heard from now on

Although they have no words or language
And we heed not their tongueless praise

Although they have no words or language
And we heed not their tongueless praise

Their sound has gone  to the ends of the earth
And their message unto all lands

The heavens declare the glory of God
and the earth as the work of His hands
 
 

A Musical Meditation on Psalm 19:7-14, robert d. peckham

The law of the Lord revives the soul
And makes the simple wise
His precepts are right and rejoice the heart
His commandment is light to the eyes.

 O cleanse me of my secret faults
 And keep me from sins of self will.
 The Lordís decrees are righteousness
 His servants obey them still.

More prized are His judgments than much fine gold
And sweeter than honey from the comb.
Lord sanctify my words, my thoughts
And make my heart your home.

 O cleanse me of my secret faults
 And keep me from sins of self will.
 The Lordís decrees are righteousness
 His servants obey them still.

Your unfailing wisdom, by this I am warned.
In Your statutes I find great reward
And in them abiding will I blameless be,
My Rock, my Redeemer, my Lord.

 O cleanse me of my secret faults
 And keep me from sins of self will.
 The Lordís decrees are righteousness
 His servants obey them still.
 
 

Stormstruck

Iraqi attack
 on sacred Saudi soil
Patriots pop
 and make scudding clouds boil
Serpents of Saddam
 dancing in Dhahran
Traitor trajectory
 leads to a launch site
Wondrous wart hogs
 guided by satellite
Fireborn frenzy
 darkling epiphany
Bedouins wonder
 at desert-storm's thunder.

TBob (1991)
 
 

Filioque  (a meditation on Acts 2:)

His flight is swift
at bloodmoon,
but only drunks and fools will hail His coming,
their hearts groaning and turning
like rusty weather vanes in His holy wind.
"Et dabo prodigo in caelo sursum...",
Word from Word,
whispered in the ruins of ancient towers.
Then will joysongs forged in the fire of tears
collide in counterpoint,
build forth and peak in plainchant,
measuring silence in the throats of unbelievers.

robert d. peckham