Poetry & Verse

Our ‘Master of Verse’ for the Class of 1968 is Sandy Carden, whose first-ever entry is below. We salute his courage. If there are any other poets or writers of impromptu verse out there who would like to be included, please contact Sandy.
 

“Who am I to Say Goodbye: 40 Poems” (2018 est – excerpts)
By Bill Stucky

 
1. AT NIGHT

Long after dinner, just before bed,
I went out to the dumpster
and tossed the garbage.
Done, I stood up – tall –
leaned way back,
both hands on my hips,
to loosen the lower back
and my eyes stretched wide – in amazement
opened up by the sky.

There was no more ‘ me’,
just a vast dark blue net of light
studded with brilliant bright stars
thrown out over all that was known and unknown.

In the center of it all,
the Big Dipper, like a ladle, tipped
to ease the blue light of Infinity
down the throat of ‘I Am.’

Drinking stopped when the whole body tingled, warm –
when the whole mind smiled, surprised –
when the whole heart dissolved with song –
like sound in the silence.
 

2. THROWING OUT WORDS

Throwing out words
with the violin of the mind
or jamming on the guitar of the mouth
does make a difference, causing
every point in the universe
to hum and to dance
when you are listening
and feeling it deeply.

But making music
that takes form in long term change
and makes an impression on time
over and over again
for decades, or centuries ,  even millennia
like the pyramids –
that kind of music is something else
born
at the still point.

There, music spins out in spirals
like light from the Sun,
and pours in waves all over the universe
touching every single thing
with the kiss of its vibration.

Lucky you,
every single pore and pulse of your body, mind and being
is implanted with that kiss.

The Beloved leaves no one untouched.
 

3.  DEATH HAS VISITED ME

Death has visited me, now and then,
both in the body and out of it,
as if it could tell how ripe I am
for being bigger.

Shining Love back on Death
until Death blinks and looks away
I point out
that now is not my time.

I am still working hard on the point of living,
not yet ready to take on the point of dying.
But Death has dared to look me straight in the eye
suggesting I could get bigger than being at all.

Suddenly everything seen feels
absolutely full of wonder.
Like when seeing rainbows, I am
grateful for the interruption.
 

4.  FROM YOU AND ME

Who am I to say goodbye
when there is no place
that I could go
where you are not.

You and i are always
there together
in the everywhere
now being complete.

Since we are the Great Self
in the heart of all beings
now we know
that even when the body goes

Love is still here
as the real remains of the day,
and bliss is the point,
the real point of it all.

Funny, how every breath
reveals this joy between our thoughts
and fatigue finds rest
in this exhilaration.


 

Reminiscence and a Toast
By G. Alexander (Sandy) Carden, Ezra Stiles

It’s been a while by my watch dial
Since I lived in New Haven
Five decades and a few months past,
A generation and a half,
Some times to cry, and times to laugh
And memories worth saving.

In ‘68 my life seemed great,
Directionless and single
I had no clue what I would do
When all this “growing-up” was through
But wave the flag of white and blue
And Eli’s Latin shingle.

My busted knee had set me free
From work in the Armed Forces.
So I decided I would try
My hand at teaching those whose minds
Were educated less than I….
I settled upon horses.

When putting limb and life at risk
On horseback seemed not prudent
With great Professor Rosenkranz
A Micro-Lab job forged a chance
And opportunities enhanced
To emerge a Med Student.

Columbia was my working home
For over thirty seasons.
Research, med school and residency
Through Ford and Carter Presidencies
To move on I’d some hesitancy
But green pastures gave me reasons.

Forsaking the Big Apple’s crunch
For Windy City’s breezes
My future goals were clearly reckoned
I wavered barely for a second
By U. Chicago I’d been beckoned
To study Infectious Diseases.

From Great Lakes winter chills
To Atlanta’s warm green hills
Epidemics were the next topic
Studying parasitology in the EIS at CDC
Where work was fun and travel free
I researched disease in the tropics.

My second year at CDC, an epidemic came to be
Believed to be an STD.
I co-authored the first publication
Of ills that plagued a generation
And rang alarms through many nations
They called it HIV.

Though Public Health brought me a wealth
Of knowledge and adventure
My when-to-go-fishin’ intuition
Turned me toward a different mission.
Sensing my best path was as a clinician
I dove into practice indentured.

Housed in small rental quarters
With a barn full of boarders
To provide my equestrian fix
Managing a practice quickly growing
Windsurfing whenever it was blowing
Boarding in the Rockies when it’s snowing
Provided an eclectic lifestyle mix.

Hard work and sporting pleasures rife
Produced a fun but shallow life.
When a pretty young lawyer named Stephanie showed up
I knew in short order my future was sewed up
My wish for a family too long had been slowed up.
I persuaded her to be my wife.

Our family ranks began to swell
When Lilly arrived, then Isabel –
Almost three years apart.
My polo career was over and done
But my wonderful partner made parenting fun.
To watch them crawl, then walk, then run
Was great food for the soul and the heart.

All parents know as their kids grow
They’ll see themselves reflected.
Despite the messages we send
They learn to make their compass bend
And turn out better in the end
Than ever we expected.

Once a year I am out in
The high Andes Mountains
On an Ecuadorian medical mission
In the thin cold alpine air
Lilly and I give basic care
To needy Quechuan Indians there
With a team of devoted physicians .

Back home I’ll sometimes find a way
To leave work and go out to play
At casting flies or shooting clays.
But if the weather’s hot or wet
Pond hockey is a better bet
The joy of mailing puck to net
And the rink’s cool and dry night and day.

Now my cortex I’m gleaning
Searching deeper for meaning
From all these events of the past.
Inner feelings we’re baring
While with classmates we’re sharing
Tales of our lives’ wayfaring
In our search for Lux et Veritas.

So from your chairs lift your asses
And raise up your glasses
Be it Geritol, whiskey or beer
And prepare to regale
All your classmates at Yale
With some outrageous tales
While we toast to the next 50 years!!


Moments After
By William C. Graves
*
Trying to look on the bright side
We were always looking through
Our eyelashes at each other. I was.
Then there were moments the rush
Was more important, and why we finally
Had to buy the thing and have it rebuilt.
Oh, I don’ feel so bad. It was like betting
On the dark side of the moon. Then the
Storms came, and inside the opera house,
The tall, young tenor hit his high note and
It seemed for a moment that that
Note was trying to confirm suspicions
We’d had about each others hearing.
So that if we went to the moon, and
It was colder or darker or more lived in
Than we had thought, then we would continue
Losing, because in a way we were always right.
And for the moment I am asleep in the others life,
For in storms one sleeps most soundly.