Excerpt for Poems (Mostly) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Poems (Mostly)

James Wheeler

Includes The Angela Poems

Selected Lowku

Eleven Children’s Stories


ISBN: 9780463492383

copyright 2014, 2018 by James Wheeler

Distributed by Smashwords

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Table of Contents


The Angela Poems

Selected Lowku

Children’s Stories

One Final One



While you sleep I wonder at

This mind at rest upon my arm

Product of four billion years

And atoms from exploding stars

Center of a universe

Which it creates, then contemplates

Cave dwelling of a primitive god

In birth-throes of its self-creation

Incomprehensible complexity

Of matter mind-infused

That takes this time from its rush toward Being

To rest upon my arm

I reach to touch your cheek

But hand draws back in fearful awe

As ape before the Monolith


fat old buzzard

picking away at a body on

the sand taking its time because there's no

competition and it's not especially

hungry just eating out of habit and in

contemplation of sparse pickings in the future so

on it goes about its noble business bit by tasty bit until

at last the frame that formed me, clean and white,

sparkles and glows in the pure desert light.


Northern Fall

Old windy air

with a touch of cold

bobs and dips

clusters of blue

deserted asters

in three-quarter time

as a faithless sun sets off

to kiss and flirt

with another



Birth Day Acrostic

Late the whip of will calls

Awake in the swamp of mind

Until the dark sky splits

Red in cream at the eastern

Edge and the white soul rises

Light over still gray waters.


In the Compost

Fertile wormings, dank rites, dark digestings,

Mouths by the thousands, legs by the millions,

Bugs beyond number, squirming and chewing,

Eating the dead, eating each other,

Gnawing and sucking, osmosing, secreting,

On through the day, on through the night,

Down there where life eats life and death,

Down there life’s all ingest,

Down in the compost.


Bright Sun

Bright sun, would I knew the turmoil in your heart,

Or felt your anger at that binding force,

That hand which will not let you burst apart,

Or burned with heat could melt a million worlds,

Or knew the way to that love's source

Which can each second bear a billion births.

But these I seek are in one eyeblink sought,

For instantly this insanity of atoms bubbling

Incinerates the image, evaporates all thought

Of what kind of thing, of awesome awful thing--

None but Shiva could conceive

In this place of roiling pain

Where is born the food of fruit and grain

The violence on which we feed.


First Frosts and After

Winter slides a warning wind

From northern ice across our fields

And blasts the blossoms with a backhand nonchalance

Of flowers I worked all spring and summer to inspire.

It settles down like powdered bone.

Birds leave.

Deer starve.

Philosophies are altered.

Winter, color of all colors

That melt into your time,

Will you let me feel

The slow heartbeat beneath your blanket?


In Vermont

Buds thrust out, begging for the sun's caressing

Fingertips of warming gold, and rivulets trickle

Down the dark of hidden earth.

Spring comes like the first coming of a frozen love.

The first moist heaves of a green heat,

Now the fear of cold is gone,

Animate all summer's growing pleasures

And, when golden light's suffused each cell,

Send calm through fall's exhaled content.



With sapphire eyes on silver wings

I sail, circling down a pale haze wind

In the time of breathing out

On the dark side of a dead moon.



Black glass lake under dead air night

Beckoning shimmers from lakeshore lights

One on dock watches star-punctured sky

While from worlds unknown life stares back

eye to eye



Our sun illuminates, dissipates

Rumors of death in foreign lands

Warm winds wipe clean

Scenes of blood-glistening sands

Blue skies belie

Death lists in powers of ten

Surely war is a boogie-man story for men


Where are the flame-forged lines

That splash and hiss in consciousness

Enameled lines engraved with acid

Lines hand asks to hold and turn

Lines that dance with love and rage

Lines that roil brain's blood?


I Look for a Poem

That sings with startled exuberance

As a sparrow whose tail God grabs


Soul's Ocean

Within thee, love, lies the peace

Of the universe's ocean

That knows no wind

Nor wind-blown wave,

No sail, no tide, no darting fleeing fish,

No brave dreams of golden isles,

Nor dreams of lung-soaked sinking,

Nor beating wing of time-grayed gull;

It's cupped within infinity's basin,

The encapsulating skull.


The Shards of God

Fragments of love, blown out from the center

In the cataclysm of birthing agony,

Strewn over the worlds

Beneath the sands,

Pieces of His art, we are

The shards of God.

At last we hear no more

The awful keening of the breaking;

The time of turning has begun.

And now we see,

As reassembled one by one,

At the end of time we form

The heart of God.


Within me soul pecks away

At opaque shell skin

And in unexpected moments

I feel it start to spread its wings


A Spot

Rolling air heavy with heat

Yellow-white light shines

Phosphorescent night

Filtering down to leaf-roofed road

In the middle we stood motionless

While the silent wind blew the lurid leaves

And the earth turned round

And hurtled on through space and time

Without a sound


“Why do we live the way we do,

Father, tell me why do we live”

“Every feeling must be felt

Each cry of faith or fear sung out

Desire, like poison from a sponge, wrung out

Time slept through till time is out

When all will then awaken”



On a softly breathing warm summer night

The moonlight floats on the purple lilacs'

Homage to the air

And my love’s hair catches the exhaltations

Of hay cut three days before

(The mower's ghost machines

Still loom among the bales).

Beyond the rail we stand,

Inhaling the moonlight breeze

And the cautious mysteries of this night

So gently contoured

To the fields and trees.


Human Importance in the Circle

White or green the slope,

As the sun dies

It sets his many-windowed house aflame

Upon the mountain;

And he, who in this nightly blaze

Burns his love bright and brighter,

At the end of every night unsleeping

Ignites the sun

As it starts above the mountain.



Calm and gentle are her eyes

And deep with silent knowing,

Voice that soothes like shyest breeze,

Within her heart love ever growing.



The harp sounds of a Welsh lullaby learned last evening

returning in echo and haunting grace

The little wind feel of the white ceiling fan

spinning through a Southern night

The mist of star jasmine

through the screen between two worlds

And at the juncture of all my thoughts

their bridge, their hinge, their glue

Your words, your scent, your softness

The aching comfort of the absent you


Prayer to Brahma

Help me to write with such purity, such truth,

That, if all be lost, it will be written once again

By another in the following year

Or in the fourth millennium.


Hymn to Brahma

You who crush the stars and whirling worlds

In remorseless hand of gravity,

O Brahma, how tender is your love.

You who hold in thought each grain of sand

On every beach of each world's seas,

O Brahma, how personal your love.

You who blinkless eye a trillion deaths each instant,

Yet when my thought but drifts from you,

O Brahma, what anguished tears you shed.


Each node in the matrix dreaming the lattice,

Each the creator, each the creation.

Now watch as one node stirs and wakens

From millennial sleep:

The matrix destroyed in the instant's first half,

Then in the last reformed, whole and dreaming.


Beauty and Beast

My beloved, deep in your heart deep in the night

Do not wish me transfigured to a prince--

When beast dies, then dies beauty



Beautiful bird

I know some day

You will fly away

But please

Not today


Pour Lal

I see the beauty of the peace

In the eye of the storm;

I feel the love in the heart of all matter;

I hear the silence in the depth

Of the wind-tortured ocean;

I see God”s smile behind your tear-glistening face.

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