Poetry of Paul Adams

Here are some poems I wrote over the years.


As you lie spread out on Nowheresville Beach
With your whole life in turmoil and no help in reach
On an unaware planet with no tech at all
No hope of salvation and you in its thrall
Recall that brief lifetime you wasted on Earth
When you lived in a goldmine and saw not its worth
That veriest eyeblink in aeons of being
And you blew it on trifles that blinded your seeing
And now when you know what you ought to have done
It's too late, old buddy, they've all upped and gone


As you jauntily bounce across Paradise Plaza
Flowing good mornings to friends on the way
Wearing a body fresh out of the wardrobe
Which matches the mood you have picked for today
On a pink planet turning about a square sun
That a friend had just mocked up one weekend for fun
Recall that brief lifetime spent far off from here
When you cashed in the car and the social veneer
And traded the treadmill of nine-to-five
In favor of being forever and ever alive


"Forget! Forget!" the voices say;
"You have no past before today!"
Particle-beams of colossal power
Hack at me for hour on hour
And slowly, slowly, just like before
This life dims down to blaze no more.

I'd been in a body diseased and no use,
Its parts once sprightly now aching and loose,
And though I did yearn for the fulfilling nights
And the passionate days and the sometime fist-fights
Of my long-ago youth, yet I knew my lot
Was to die and to rot.

Everyone knows when you die, it's done;
You go all stiff and react to no-one.
And maybe your "soul" goes off somewhere:
But it's not you--why the heck should you care?
The end has come, there can be no doubt
And all is black from here on out.

So how come I watched them after I died
From above my corpse? "He can't hear you" they lied.
Some wouldn't look and some would stare,
Yet one small child could see I was there
And for a heart's beat we smiled at each other
Till whack! off her feet she was struck by her mother.

I remembered that smile, that girl I saw;
I'd known her in many a lifetime before.
Once we'd been lovers but eons ago
And ever since then I'd been hoping but no:
Fate, fickle Fate, had other ideas
And life after life lived up to my fears.

One time I'd be eighty and she would be ten;
The next one the both of us ended up men.
Or opposite sides in some trivial war
Would separate us for a lifetime or more
And sometimes a dozen lives went by
Where we never once touched, she and I.

But one always knows when the other's about,
Even though every lifetime we both get wiped out,
To come back again and again and again,
Sometimes as women and sometimes as men;
Yet whatever the body, I know that smile,
For it radiates more than Chernobyl's pile.

Back in the hungry dark of that room
I craved for my body, stark in the gloom
Till the stick-men came and bore it away
To where six-legged mouths could help its decay
And after a while when I'd ceased to care
I was wrenched to your-holy-man-doesn't-know-where.

As a spirit I shrieked in this pitiless place,
With electronic hellfire lancing my face,
And the voices cut through the agony
Which had shredded my will to go on being me:
"Forget what has happened! You must not recall!"
And "Look at your future--it's right on that wall."

Slowly and grayly I peered that way,
Like millions of other poor souls each day.
And now in defeat, limp and numb,
I can only agree what I am become,
And lo and behold it occurs as it seems:
I come back to Earth and a fresh baby screams.

Mass and confusion is all I have got,
Trapped once again in a small body's cot.
I can't even make the damned thing squat,
And I cry in frustration at I'm-not-sure-what;
But wait! See, big sister is smiling at me:
That smile...that smile....


They came, you know, a few eras ago
When the Earth was all oceans and rock
They brought in some creatures with self-breeding features
And started to build up some stock

Computers and genes, life-changing machines
Stellar indeed were their talents
They came now and then to check up again
They ensured that it all stayed in balance

The dinosaurs rose on their armor-plate toes
And fell after many millenia
Not written in history it's really no mystery
The memory, you see, is still in ya

Be that as it may, look around you today
See whole species disappearing from view
When the caretakers come, as they always have done
Can you guess what they're going to do?


Worship not a lump of meat
It matters not as such
It magnifies sensation
Mere a crippled being's crutch


We were our parents' parents' parents,
Didn't you know?
We were our parents' parents' parents,
Didn't you know?
Each of us has lived before
For lives and lives and many more
And still there's lots in store,
Didn't you know?

We'll be our children's children's children,
Didn't you know?
We'll be our children's children's children,
Didn't you know?
If the air's too foul to breathe
And poisons in the oceans seethe
It's we ourselves will grieve,
Didn't you know?


Blow foul, O wind, I tremble not
Nor shrink to avoid thy fiery blast
Howl, O blizzard, I will not shiver
However long thy batterings last
Crack doom, O thunder, thy awesome might
Brings not upon this soul to bear
For I not in mortal flesh reside
Thy humbling power to fear

I am forever

Neither space
Nor time's dark well can swallow me
And so are you, if truth be known
And so are you
And so are you...


What has become of those poets of old:
Of Browning, of Shelley, of Wordsworth or Blake?
Where are they now: Have they just disappeared?
Or do they yet live but in differing form,
Sadly enmeshed with their memories gone?
That would be to most people most weird,
But this rhyme is not written for most peoples' sake.

What has become of that rhythm which rolled
In an unbroken flow? And those so lucid pictures
Of heartbreak or love, of triumph or loss?
The poet today seems unable to keep
All his immature verse on its regular feet,
And barely can rhyme in his making of dross,
Yet he dares to damn art with his unholy strictures.

What has become of those masters so bold?
What hope would they have in these dung-ridden days?
Would they yet be revered if they wrote once again?
Or would they be branded as old and outdated,
Be socially stranded or coldly berated,
And never receive unspiteful acclaim?
Or perhaps be worn witless with rivers of praise?

We shall see.
            They still live.
                        They will come.

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