Nancy G. Brundrett's Heartmusic Journal

Whatever strikes my fancy now and then....
Friday, February 18, 2005
A Soldier of the Heart

Written by:

Rod McKuen
go to his site and buy his books. He is my favorite poet these days. This is a long poem, but it has so much beauty and intertwining beautifully heart engraved words.

I am a soldier of the heart
I am a sailor of the soul
I dance on silver girders
in the silver sky
I swing through porticos,
sway on pedestals
and perch on teeter-totter beams
lost from some gods’ old erector set.
I am not alone.
I never am.
A dozen hard hat angels dance
and straddle steel shafts
and spikes
amid the skeletons of every building
growing, going up.
On afternoons when sunlight reaches out
and with a narrow finger strokes
my naked shoulder
I celebrate and consecrate the sun.
I crawl and roll and come inside the sun
and I am warmer than a hundred solar planets.
I nibble at the sun’s electric edges
bite off stinging mouthfuls
and in the swallowing I become white hot.
the sun.
And the sun is my undoing
it saps me like a many-fingered family of taproots
groping at muscles, eating at arteries
till finally I fall back flushed and spent
yet renewed and ready
A cooling wind shoots past
traveling sixty stories and beyond.
I turn and sight an elevator
rising through the open frame
of this as yet unfinished picture.
The elevator stops.
A single passenger inside
signals with a sigh,
a hand held out.
I do.
We ride together.
A face, a body, alien till now
and here amid the vertical
and horizontal beams
a yard away from heaven
no more time is lost on dreaming.
We hold each other.
Turn away,
Then roll and cling to one another
yet again.
The Master’s hand comes down
and gently touches each of us.
Surely I have passed from one dream
to another.
No matter, I am high and high on air
safe from any army or front running scout
With HATE or NO emblazoned on a shield.
The sun again
and we are orbiting as equals,
traversing a sky that has no end
hands held so taught and tight
that muscles bulge and burst
spitting red-gold blood
into the atmosphere.
To climb with pleasure fingers through me
then back inside my eyes again.
They bulge and burst and blow
straight upto mix with unseen stars.
I am a soldier of the heart
I am a sailor of the soul
braiding walls together,
locking beams
and righting rivets driven wrong.
Every afternoon of every day
the hidden whistle blows.
the driver of the crane,
the hoister of the dream jumps down.
heavy hats are lifted from the tops
of heavy heads
as privately to private places
ever builder and apprentice goes
to bask within soft neon afterglows.
After dark some muscles ache
that were not muscles yesterday
or on the day before.
Knots double inside bigger knots
that must have had their birth
when that first child was learning how
to form the fist that carried him
from crib and condominium,
then further still to war.
Night carries on its back a nightsack
Filled with solitude and more;
The brave are lonely
in the middle black –fooled
by midnight’s promises too often
they grow hungry for the morning air –
the waning moon,
that initial breath the dawn expels
before inhaling ten o’clock
and then exhaling noon.


I am a diver of the deep
and I have gone where fishes swim
and coral caulks the cracks
of earth crusts flooded and forgotten
with mermaids I have roamed
the oceans bottom
and combed the seaweed
from my crotch and hair.
Above the waves or in the deep
I have always been and am
a soldier of the heart
a steady sailor of the soul
ready to roll on with oceans
or live on sandbars in the quiet
while currents stirred around me
and sea spray arched on either side
and met above my head.
As sailor I have seen the wind,
not merely felt it as the land man does.
Watched it kick the air from sails
and bloated seamen
and send whole boatloads full of life
to afterlife amid the rocks and pilings
of a hundred coastlines.
And I have cocked my sailors cap
just so, in beach bar towns,
And watched as those who covet bulges
in white uniforms,
watched me.
bemused I was and glad to be so noticed.
Afraid I was and no one knew
not other sailors in their drunkenness
or kindly girls and women
in the ports we sailed to
who taught me life and let me live
a sailor’s life, nothing less,
nothing more.
I have sailed as many seas
as seas there are.
Navy Blue, jade green
and every color in-between.
Sequined seas and those
that belched an iridescent azure foam,
plankton plaid and dotted swisson European coastlines
and home in California deeper blues
and hues between the diamond water, shark
skin white,
a healthy Royal blue,
above a lighter overbite.
As much as I've made love
to suns of every season
seas of every shade made love to me.


I am a rider on the rain
atop a wild unbridled stallion
whose body rises up to meet my own.
You see our twin manes blowing
as we begin to gallop down and up
and out across the eyelid of the day
then in amid tall grasses
Growing on time’s underbelly
we move together but in place.
Our ears, antenna’s biting at the air
tuned toward some silver satellite
that spins and sends down photographs
of other times and other wolds.
My belly flat against his back
as we dive under bridges
or thread through canyons
narrower than noon.
The bone along his back has split my thighs
and held them
both together.
In the middle distance
stud or stallion is presumed the same
each expected to take up the centaur’s bow
and who is better armed for battle
than one who terms himself
a soldier of the heart?
As such I am called upon to fight
and to conspire against
the loss of reason, the absence of love
the ill that men of all persuasions
direct toward themselves and one another.
I do go forward – never back
there is no time to think again
regroup or join in circles
to protect the covered wagon
from marauders.
Distance and distrust in man
is not by plan or grand design.
mistrust like specks of dust or dirt
infect and ulcerate an eye
until it bursts and spills, not tears
but liquid of a darker kind
inside the head.
The end result: mind blindness.
We know that lack of love and loving
can spoil the purest heart,
divide a memory till it splits
and quarters by itself.
And so as horse and rider
we are always up ahead
not as leader, not as leader
but in advance of leader,
As we come closer to the river
our sweat as pungent as the dying oyster’s
when the pearl has been removed.
we pause and scrub each other down
like lovers after love, mourners after death.
our battle is not with
the wind of change.
our hooves stir up the wind of sameness
our manes will rise and flail against
emptiness and nothing.
Truer enemies no soldier ever had.
As centaur we are one.
I blink, the horse is gone.
I rise and claw the grass and in my rage at my abandonment
I try to tear the mountains down
until with bloody feet and fingers raw
I rail at stars and yell at winds –
My shout is more a whinny than a cry.
I die.
Am resurrected as a gelding.
Paid in full for fantasies.
I am a soldier of the heart
I am a sailor of the soul
I wish things better than they are
I wish things as I know they should be
I have been told that I am pounding at
a seven-story wall.
But the workman and the working man inside me
continues to reach out and up.
I am a builder of tall dreams.
I am a diver of the deep.
I am a rider on the rain.
I am a poet – trapped inside
the body of a man,
wishing to escape to freedom,
wishing to be something, someone else.
Wishes are not paid for
their outcome is not earnedt
hey do not come true from work
or still more wishing.
Some fade, some stay as only wishes
but knowing that is not enough
to stop the solitary man
from chasing, embracing solitary dreams.
I am a soldier of the heart
I am a sailor of the soul
I am what truth and dreams
and lies
have made me.
I will not be stopped from marching
belly in and head erect through all tomorrows left ahead for me.
I breathe the air and love spills out.
I inhale, draw in great mouthfuls
of the love I’m after,
Out of nothing, everything.
out of less comes more.
I am a soldier of the heart.
The heart, you know, is everything.


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