Rodney Goddard Aller
October 16, 1916 - March 21, 2005

     


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Rod selected these poems from "Lane's End"

by his mother, Catherine Aller

(copyright 1948)



On a Sundial Offering Interpretations
February Fourteenth Swimmers The Incomparable
Content Tablecloth David and Goliath
Betelgeuze Defined

On a Sundial

In sun or showers,

By day or night,

Snowflake or flowers

Or moon-lit hours,

The Eternal now

Be thy delight.



February Fourteenth

Blow, blow, thou winter wind!

Snow, snow, thou snow, in chunks!

I'm warm at the heart and I'm light in the mind;

The sap is back in the maple trunks.

Then shake! ye bough!

And roar! ye gales!

And frost! ye window pane!

In two weeks, now,

They'll hang out the pails,

For the sap is up again!

It's little I reck of the weather alarms;

It's little I care about winter scenes;

They know for a fact at the Maple Farms,

They told me to-day, South Canaan way,

That the sap is up at Dean's!



Content

If I'd a world to choose from

I know that I would take

This corner of Connecticut,

This lane along the lake.

And if, for occupation,

I could have my favorite one,

I'd tend a garden full of bees

And herbs and flowers and grass and trees,

In rain and dew and sun.

Or else, on winter afternoon,

By all the world forsook,

I'd choose this house, this little room,

This fire, this chair,

This book.




David and Goliath

A smooth round stone for the occasion served,

One of a million from the river bed,

Shot from a circle to the mark unswerved

And prone upon the earth a lie fell dead.

For every empty boast - Truth's circumstance;

manifestation small of fact well known;

And all the lies that walk the earth advance

Only to meet at length a smooth round stone.



Betelgeuze

(click  for Hubble view of star)

The wheeling clocks of heaven have unrolled,

Waning October with its mist and flame;

The altar fires upon the autumn hills

Have burnt themselves for beauty and are cold.

Soon there shall come a night of silver frost;

We shall look star-ward 'till we see again

Up-rising from the empty arms of earth

The great Orion whom the skies had lost.

Gallant, imperial, in glory dressed,

He'll stride upon the night, and we shall see

His high right shoulder where a queenly star

Clings to him, and has laid her head to rest;

The oldest star of heaven, and loveliest.

Oh million watchers of the ancient skies

Who saw

Giant and goddess, fantasy and fears!

A million morrows hence, and still with awe

Man shall behold, among those blazing spheres,

Majestic mystery, a timeless law -

Beauty immortal through the long light-years.



Offering

Keeper of dreams

And hungers of the heart,

Who sees the start

Of tears,

Who weighs the worth

Of all our gleams

Of glory,

All the seeds of joy

that bore no bloom

On earth,

The youth

That faltered in the far pursuit

Of an inscrutable and lovely truth -

Fair in all gloom,

Frail as a rainbow wraith,

Accept at last

From these undaunted years

All we could ever give you -

Hope and Faith.



Swimmers

Anger - it is a loose and easy tide,

Rolling in shallows,

Breaking upon the stones

Of hard and stubborn facts

That show a different face

From either side.

It does not move the still,

The deeper zones,

Where trustful love

And lovely truth abide.

Justice is stronger,

Is a nobler thing.

It has a way of sweeping surely through

Passions, and surging charge and counter charge;

The gusty strife of petty issues

Levels along its swing

With steady swell of the eternal true.

There are still waters, friend,

And there are seas of gallantry and grace

Beyond this tempest;

Fertile waters, warn,

Beyond this troubled place.

Make for a deeper haven from the storm.

Strong swimmers, both,

Unhampered, you and I,

Who would not drown another

With a lie.


Tablecloth

The master Leonardo painted it -

But my good work is there;

Fold upon fold of linen, broidered fair,

The level creases in and out

Laid smooth with care.

True art, he called it -

And he knew the worth;

Smiled when he said perhaps sometime they'd say

We'd done - between us -

The most famous table-cloth on earth.

Said other things, his own strange way:

How all of art, reaching to touch the skies,

Must take the common stuff of every day,

To make a vision clear to others' eyes.

Even the saints, he said, must pass the salt,

Drink from an ordinary cup.

He used the Prior's longest board

With four stout props to hold it up.

He painted different thoughts on every face,

Thoughts no man there could speak:

sorrow, confusion, horror, fear -

Look, you can trace,

Along with ordinary things and near,

Courage, sublime and meek;

Self-righteous indignation;

Hot debate;

The peace of God that comes from Heaven;

Black smouldering hate.

There they are, upon the plaster wall,

Jesus and Judas, the Apostles all.

It takes the common things to make the unseen

Shine,

And so, beneath the face of Christ,

He put the wooden bowls, the bread, the wine -

And that long clean white table-cloth of mine.


Defined

Meshed in the inarticulance of words

the luminous secret shines.

Anomaly in this:

The bars emit

only deflected shadows of a Light

no word confines.

For words are symbols that exist in time;

Time-born;

Unable to perform beyond-time act;

At once the prison and the key,

Turning a fretted gateway in the opaque mind

down passages where broken prisms bend;

Frustrate to free

forever timeless, wordless fact,

In the beginning, in the end

defined

only by One - the Living Word

is He.



Interpretations

Granting Omnipotence its farthest star,

And systems infinite, by law decreed;

Truth by such calculus is cold and far;

Love is interpreter for human need:

And though Love's symbols may be flung

across

The face of measureless immensities

We should have wandered to a woeful loss

Had One not come and taught us what

Love is.

Let logic in the atom be compressed -

Whereat profound significance conclude -

But there is down within a robin's nest

That speaketh softly of infinitude.




The Incomparable



Or Buddha,

Keener than Kant

Or Plato, Wiser than Socrates.

Gather your sons of glory -

He is not one of these.

He is no code,

No ethic,

No system of thought,

No plan.

But philosophy may not contain,

Theology cannot explain

his way with man.

He spoke in a dying language,

But since the world was begun

Never man spake as this man -

Never

Under the sun.


 

 

(click to enlarge - Rodney Aller)
Selections by Rodney G. Aller

Selection of Poems by Cassie Cammann, Rod's daughter


One Pulse

Last night the stars hung over head,
Only two stars of all the Dipper's seven,
As I lay floating, floating in the lake,
My face toward heaven,
As I lay thinking of the stir in leaves
That dream, that dream,
A million dreaming leaves along the bank,
A million moving fishes up the stream,
A million veins of sap in every stem,
Rootlets that push and push below the sod,
When suddenly the earth, the trees, the sky,
The rippled fishes, and the lake, and I
Were all one pulse within the heart
Of God.
A tender tremor unto life, to life,
And love of every living thing that grew.
Floating below the Dipper's misty stars
In sheer delight I lay,
And thought of you.


I did not seek you for an argument.
Leave it to those who must.
I pour not wine out to the long dissent
of capitol or labor:
To the drift
Of theories no man may wholly know--
Or wholly trust,
Set upon sands that settle slow
Or swift.

I did not seek you for the sacrament
I took long since in faith.
That bread is broken and that wine is spent
Before the face of death

Over the shoulder of the hurrying years
The rising winds are due.
I sought you for companionship,
And comfort's crumb or two.
Let's dine no more on bitter herbs,
And drink no more of rue.


TO H.L.A.--------------A BILL OF RIGHTS

Question no more my constant love of you.
Of all the living past, what debt is paid?
Our yesterdays divide.... they bind as well.
The present by the past is underlaid.

Not if you wanted to could you untwine
The meshes of yourself that yet are me!
Or tear the tissue of our lives apart,
Or from each other set the other free.

Bound by the steady circuits of the sun
These rich and ranging years,
In jest and journeys, whispers in the dark,
Pleasure and patience, angers, joy and tears.

Nor do I think that death us two shall part
"God gave us to each other" -- and gives still.
And other gifts of other loves to each.
Have made that promise surer to fulfill.

Ask me no more if my true constancy
Shuts out the warmth of other fires than this:
The wave-lengths of the human heart stretch wide:
And every sun may every other kiss.

What holds - what ever held - a living soul
To any other thing in unity
Save its own sure, spontaneous response? -
Of nothing less is my fidelity.

We are as free as every wind of heaven -
And we are bound as every flower to light.
Of my own will my love to you was given.
The right to love you free my only right.

As free to love the whole wide universe,
And out of it whatever love shall send -
As love sent you - for better or for worse,
Forever and forever without end!


                                 Catherine Aller
                                           to
                                  Howard Aller


AGED-in-the-WOOD.

 Poem by Catherine Goddard Aller
 

Id like a little place for lying down
If I grow old,
A low and little couch of green or brown,
And from good cushions, red, blue, black, & gold.
The winter evenings would be luxury!
But now - the chairs are all too big -
       For me!

 Id like a little couch before the fire.
Id banish the gloom
With softened lamps, or bright,
As we desire,
In that warm room,
Book linedAged in the Wood-
That suits so well our older, calmer blood.

 Id like your special chair of yellow leather
No further off than out stretched hand can touch.
Wed read our books and magazines together,
And play the games we play so long, so much-
Id keep my cozy, velvet slippered feet
Tucked under me, to make a higher seat.

 You must have slippers make of soft morocco,
A lounging suit, a perfect reading lamp,
A jar of cloissenay for your tobacco,
To keep it just the right degree of damp
We will be very quiet, If you choose,
Or you may read aloud the daily news.

 And I can see our amber light that flashes
Our tinkling Sleigh bells of the taller size,
And I can see the steady fall of ashes
In both our ash trays rise,
And in the wood box, or the fire things,
A cricket sings.
& sometimes Ill lie and read
Sometimes Ill sit
Depending on the temporary need-
Sometimes Ill write or sometimes I will knit

And if its cold, to make my comfort full,
Ill have an afghan made of colored wool.

 If all these pleasant dreams
(But dreams as yet)
Your fancy please,
There some things well have to get
For all this Ease.
The starting point of all of it, you see
 Was this:

                  THE CHAIRS ARE ALL TOO BIG FOR ME.


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