The House of Sleep

Posted on | July 18, 2012 | Comments Off on The House of Sleep

What is the source?

Is it a great flaming sun
fueled by passion’s heat
the fusion of life and mystery

Bound by the gravity of its words
the poets all orbit the source
their faces perpetually turned
to its lambent flame.

But this is the poet’s realm
where truth and metaphor mix
this sun a metaphor for truth.

For every poet who
imagines the source
there is another metaphor born.

Where truth and beauty conjoin
there lies the poet’s realm
every metaphor a path
that leads to its door.

How many poets stop at that door?
turn away, content.

Those who dare the door
come to the House of Sleep.

The sky is dark with raven wings
for here the rooks rule sky
the House clings to the earth beneath
you know it is the center
where forces meet
the House tells you
if you listen.

It is a castle without battlements
yet inside it is larger still
no one knows
all its ways.

Life did not begin here
but all spirits pass
living and unliving
in this place of dreams
and the dreamers roam
caught between one glimpse
and the next.

Here in the House of Sleep
are the doors that open
for a poet’s breath
that none other may pass.

More doors there are than these
doors to all the worlds
whether the dreamers be there or not
and doors to all places past
and the places that may be
for what is forbidden to mortal men
dreamers and poets may pass free.

This is the poet’s hearth
this House of Sleep
and if it, too, be a metaphor
know that it is truth as well
and be prepared
to come here when next you sleep
if you are a poet
and if you dare.



Please tell me about your visit to the House of Sleep!


When I Cross Over

Posted on | June 25, 2012 | 14 Comments


I am not who I am
I write messages on the sky.

I am a bordering creature
at home in air or on land
I cross the borders
or they shift beneath me
I am always in this world
and often in another.

Those like me are not like me
though we share many things
the carrion and the corn
the glossy black
so obvious by day
invisible by night
the winged air and wary land.

There are places I go
that they may not
when I speak to them of this,
the sparkle of my eyes
reflected in their dull stare,
they do not know of what I speak
or even that I do
hearing only an echo
of their own broken voice.

Mostly I go alone
for to be with them
is a greater aloneness.

When I cross over
it is not what I do
it is what I am.

When I cross over
I become one with the one
and I see through the eyes of time.

When I return
and the world becomes small
I am a part and apart
I am a part of the one
and yet apart
I am a part of the brotherhood of crows
and yet apart.

I am a part of the wholeness
and apart in my loneliness.

Yet with me comes
the eyes of time
and I write what I see
on wind and sky
and again I wait the time
when I cross over.

Please comment!
copyright 2012 – Bauke Kamstra

What is the Sound of Death?

Posted on | June 11, 2012 | Comments Off on What is the Sound of Death?

What is the Sound of Death?

No crow can sing it is said
a voice as raw as its carrion meat
rough as shaken gravel
so harsh it would seem to strangle itself
as raucous as a crowd at a hanging.

So terrible is this sound
that even the crow’s chicks cringe
when their parents declare their love,
an endearment in the language of crows
resembles a curse in any other.

The crows know this
they make no choir
but have impressed upon themselves
a law of silence so strict
that when they gather
to endure the night
the only sound
is their defecations
striking ground.

What is the sound of death?

When men meet on bloodied earth
and murder make
with such fury
such thunderous sound
that one would think
would wake the recent dead
so generously strewn
about the proud battlefield.

Is this the sound?

The dirge that plays
or the keening wails
of grief that follow death’s release

Are these the sounds?

The soft swollen weeping
whose silent tears
are swept into tiny jars
that the sorrow
might be buried
with the dead.

Is this silence the sound of death?

It is when violence
wounds the flesh
and breaks the bones
that the sacred crows descend
called to that arcane task
bequeathed their race long time past
to call the souls from tortured flesh
into the realms of death.

This is the sound.



Please comment!









Bauke Kamstra – © copyright 2012

This Peaceable Land

Posted on | June 5, 2012 | 2 Comments

Watch crow poised
on dead tree perch
while below the crowd
of gossiping crows
serve up breakfast
well-seasoned meat
from the automat road
and broken shells
from the pilfered eggs
of grieving neighbour birds.

Gloating they preen
the glossy black
that hides them by night
makes them bold by day
as playfully they guess
where shadow ends
and crow begins.

No battles around here anymore
they moan harshly, clattering their beaks
and people bury their dead!

Servants of chaos
they wonder if
some dark portent
winged on sky
for an observant eye
could incite violence
a domestic disturbance
and spill a little red
on the abundant green.

It is the ennui
of this too peaceable land
that has a murder of crows
plotting murder.


I Know the Darkness Well

Posted on | March 5, 2012 | Comments Off on I Know the Darkness Well

I Know the Darkness Well

Out there in the world, the nitty-
gritty, dirt ridden world where
disappointment and misery share
the same addresses, not on a single
street, or block, or quarter but in
all quarters even where the wealthy
build their walls to keep it out they
just keep it in playful gardens and
kitchen nooks like a black stone hearth
god buried in ashes to be resurrected
and polished on irrational holidays,
put into service to be worshiped
with pain and mockery and fear.

They are just people who do not know
the truth any better than I do so they
step over corpses of starved to death
as I did once in a place where starving
was the all-consuming pastime and
disappointment and misery were just the
wealthy currency in the river of despair
where hope might sit cross-legged and
beneficent somewhere near the source but
who has the energy to swim against that
loathsome torrent.

The fear that god is dead or never was
is as common as dirt in the hearts of
atheist and fervent alike as easily
found in temples or the steamy kitchens
in which I worked or on the top of
the monumental towers where I also
labored computing the complexities
by which wealth was disbursed in
orderly, allocated piles so large that
their shadows fell on the frequent
emptiness where most of us dwell.

I’ve reveled in the squalid romance
where poets squealed and bombast artists
descried the sorry state of art in this country,
in smoky bars in minor keys of crying
songs by turn sexy hormone-laced heartbeat
dances and again angry outrage clashing
into dim boozecan ears stashed in
concrete warehouse against the day
they might feel wanted or needed again
while the tired asses of prostitutes rested
on the stoop of my dreams of colors
too vivid to survive the grind of daily

I’ve been these places and more with
my Diogenes lamp held high, and I admit,
at times extinguished in dark diversions
where my blinded, groping heart embraced
a conflagration of distraction meant
to ward the teeming desperation that
I thought would eat the world of unhappy
people and dogs and trees and unmapped
avenues where baskets full of emptiness
were infinitely divided among all the
leaderless followers.

I know the darkness well and tailored
it to fit my soul where it ignored
my sensitive tears and unwieldy moments
of brightness fueled by the fumes of
an empty tank.

I know the darkness well.

But… there were smiles as well even
in those places where sustenance was
scarce, where no nutrients graced the
boiling froth, and again in places that
know no lack of anything but that smile,
it would still peek out of shy faces and
children’s mouths and I would be held
to a families breast and suckled
on love when they’d nothing else to give.

I walked into a desert of silence sweating out,
cold and hot, the fevered dreams of have not,
want not, know not and in that noiseless void,
bereft of innocence and naivete, the shroud
of fear I’d clung to ripped bleeding from
my tired hands and light poured in through
the tear, the void was full of it to spare
and while I still know nothing it is a nothing
full of light, the darkness abolished simply
because it is no thing but an absence
created by shutting your eyes.

I still weep as sparkling diamond
tears well up onto my squinting eyes
which like too many deaths and births
of cave born fish, had lost their sight
of glittering stalagmites, alone in an
eternal night, as my raw senses burning
bright, inverted, tuned to rising light.

I knew the darkness well.



I am new to poetry and would very much appreciate any comments/clarity a reader could provide.


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