Louis Faber – Three Poems


At Present

Somewhere in the world
at this very moment,
something remarkable
is being laid to ruin.
It is our nature to tear down
what we cannot understand,
what we hold different,
what does not comport
with our present view
of how things ought to be.
Somewhere in the world
at this very moment
something remarkable
is being born,
is being created,
is arising
out of an idea,
a thought, an emotion.
We are all
somewhere in the world
at this very moment.


There was a time when I thought
of collecting maps, for I believed
they could take me places
I might never otherwise go. I
started a collection, haunting
old bookshops and antique stores,
and made a few purchases which
I tucked away in a portfolio, ready
for my journeys when I deemed
that the time was right for departure.
Many are gone now, donated or discarded,
and the few that remain are saved
more for the artistry of the cartographer,
than any more motionary purpose,
for some time ago I discovered
it was impossible to go distant places
when you had no idea where you really were.

The Weight Of Mourning

The weight of mourning defies precise measurement,
and all of the rules of mathematics fail in an attempt.
Grief rejects being placed on scales, there is never
a moment of pure equilibrium, only a teetering
that always threatens to bring it all down in a heap.
A million who are nameless and faceless is an agony
and yet eighty thousand with names on white walls
of the ancient synagogue in Prague seem
to weigh as heavy or heavier on the heart,
and the youngest of those taken are the heaviest
a burden almost too great to bear,
no lighter for our freely flowing tears.
And yet a woman, nameless, faceless
and dead a dozen years, who I knew as my mother
but nothing more, save odd facts that insured
it would be all I would ever know, that woman
was a crushing burden, but one I had to bear alone
and did, if barely, until the moment
when by twist of fate, and DNA, she had a name
and soon thereafter a face, and as I stared at her,
as I stared, too, at the mirror, the hole she left,
that emptiness grew vast and heavy, and I
must now struggle not to collapse beneath it.

Author’s Statement on Beauty

As a Buddhist, I’ve come to realize that beauty arises from, and is the essence of existence. We cannot exist (long) without it, nor can we define it. It is like Buddha nature, it is there, independent of us – it does not require us, we require it. Children innately understand beauty, as we age we begin to seek it. We would be better served remembering the advice of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Our job is merely to allow beauty in all of its shapes and forms.

the entire flower
and a single rose petal
duplicate beauty

Louis Faber has been writing and publishing poetry for many years. His work has appeared widely in the United States, Canada and Great Britain in such journals as The Worcester Review, The South Carolina Review, Rattle and Pearl. He divides time between Rochester, NY and Coconut Creek, Florida. More at: anoldwriter.com.