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Best Poems Written by Kyle Elsbernd

Below are the all-time best Kyle Elsbernd poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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Ode to a Guitar

Your tempered strings and true, O ancient lyre!
Harp-like, thy graceful template shall resonate
Within the hollow confines of my soul
Not tortoise and beech, but rather the ideal
Purity of your design (here but fully
Realized by half) speaks to me
Now as ever before in my youth
Touches, as it were, my heart-strings
(Not inaptly named!) and stirs forth
From the depths of my being a song.

O! if I could master that song sublime
A tune to capture thy several contradictions
'Twere a song would outlive the race of men
Embodying form and function, earth and air
Female grace in curve and force in line
With woman's waist and hips, yet double-tusked
Shoulders square, slender neck, even a mouth
Teeth of gut, a creature turned inside-out
A half-opened signpost to infinity.

Copyright © Kyle Elsbernd | Year Posted 2016

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Genghis Khan

Ride, ride, ride thou figure from the East
In thy curse hath many a mother wept
On thy brow the furrows of distant steppes
Yield unto a steely mask of doom
Destruction follows in thy path and yet
Methinks I spy a flicker of regret
Extinguish it lest humanity engulf it betimes
As distant lands fall under your encompassing sway.

A fire burns, a coward trembles in his tent
What's won is rent from hands too numb to feel
The surging, coursing power of thy grip
Let slip thine enemies, let thy repute 
Incite counsel of war then savor the fruit
Of a thousand-footed gathering of days
The purpled way, the jewel-encrusted chalice
Of wine claret. Drink to your heart's content.

If I were thou and thou wert I my friend 
I should not pause to see the ground below
For lonely be the lofty heights, perpend:
Far art faren, far remains to go
Nor bride, nor bairn, nor comfort in repose
Hath sped thee on thy way from whence we ride 
The rudest nutriments, the barest clothes
Sans bed, sans friend, sans tout, bare ground thou lie'.

Now polished steel glistens, mirrors gray
The slanting dome of sky's inverted bowl 
Oiled leather on black courser's velvet skin
And restless hooves an inch in sodden loam
A leathern mask, five halberds thus skyward
Stand, barren hillock's strange reeds
Sprouting in the wind-swept smoke
Of morning's hasty decampment. Thus proceed
These men unto a destiny untold.

Of Indus, Asia, Europe, northern climes
Of snow, of sand and vine, the watery strand
I sing. Dismount and pluck the crocus sweet
But brief, then crush beneath thy heel. Spur on!
Ghengis Khan!
Of Afrique dark and thrice-looted Rome
Thy story-tellers may rhyme and make song.

Home, home rider from the East return
Scorch the earth and burn to cindered ash
Laugh with all the mirth thy new-found freedom
Might yield unto thy solitary path
Unlearn the lessons civil, richness hath
Bone and marrow, thew and sinew softened
Thy courser turn the sod, horizon calls
Spur on! Sing thy song, thy name live on 
Ghengis Khan

Copyright © Kyle Elsbernd | Year Posted 2016

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Spaces I

I am Späces
The poet's muse
And I bring something old 
And something new

The spirit of the word am I 
And I've existed in all places 
And all times
Filling the gaps
The empty spaces in between 
What we say and mean

Recognize my face?
Familiar, the cast of my eye?
Many faces have I
All spaces to fill
And voices too 
The lowest and the high

The light on neck and on my wrist
Like perfume is
Filling up this space
Or maybe a stage light twist
Sweeping these boards
These empty, empty boards
I will more
Filling up this space

All history is a metaphor
Vile word that!
What for?
Yet metaphor it is
An arcing, ranging beam
Upon whose plinth I sit

Poets & priests foretell
The common bond between all things
How the grandest designs are writ
In the meanest things
Patterns repeat, expand, breathe out
Until they are full blown
And then no more
Recede & quite fade into oblivion
Or at least a scale which we note not
And that's my job
The tiniest atom, the galaxy is, if only in model
The same force which makes it and the forest primeval
Makes us too
And therefore is beauty but a reflection of that recognition
A mirror unto ourselves, both fair & fell
Which once was lost

Cities rise and fall, armies amass and disperse
Family fortunes have their uséd patterns too
Each one a metaphor for the other

A children's toy from Russia
Matryosha doll you know so well
Many painted, self-containéd shells
Crack open the large, therein the smaller lies 
Same face, same charming peasant red cheeks
And again & again
There is no heart.
The heart is the pattern itself
And thus are we all but shells

Nay, less than shells, for did you know
Seven times each cell's replaced within your life?
That's seven new bodies -- more or less
More in childhood, fewer with time
The brain less so for thence proceeds the pattern
Each cell has a memory of all its former lives
Tending to which, like a magnet, it will return
Our body's but a beggar's coat
A patchwork hand-me-down
Bound by a silvery thread of life
Or a mere funnel for food and water
Food goes in, serves its seven-year sentence
Released from the cell is expelled
You are pinching earth, water, and a plan
Nothing more

(Continued in Part 2)

Copyright © Kyle Elsbernd | Year Posted 2016

Details | Kyle Elsbernd Poem

Spaces II

(continued from Part 1)

Two points create a line
A space from two words
And on and on a verse
A poetry line is sound and sense
A dense fabric of many textures & hues
Woven on a temporal loom
With patterns numberless
And spaces to process

Call it 'opening the spigot'
Listening to the inner voice
The once-empty vessel now filled
With experience rich & varied
Readings and reflections
And most of all, life
Life upon life pouring forth 
Such that it fairly frightens you
And humbles too
In all its prodigal richness
Turn the tap, it's all there
There in the spaces inside 

A child held aloft on a swing
Endowed is she with energy
Potential energy it’s called
But where of all places does that energy reside?
Inside the child? Or in your hands?
Or maybe in God’s mind?
It matters not for there it abides
Waiting patiently to be untied
Released it will not knock nor queue in line
Such energy in all of us lies
At a fixéd point whose locus is nowhere
And whose circumference infinite is

These are my ears; they have yet to fail me
These, my hands; strong, broad, and true
Forearms corded, purple veins
At once forceful and delicate, tender and terrible
A man’s hands but also an animal’s 
Capable of many things
Made for honest labor
Or simply tracing God’s noble thoughts on paper

Many songs have been wrought
On a lover’s sigh
A letter unsent
A sentiment unspoken
The essence of art is its very insubstance
And therein, too, its beauty

The most fantastical  butterfly trapped in a jar
The laboratory specimen, disrobed, pinned open on paraffin
To dissect is to destroy, but
To know life we must take life
In order to live, something else must die
Therein the paradox lies
But all life is restored through poetry
Ars langa, vita brevis
Art is long, life is short
The poet breathes, recussitates, revives, renews
In every language of the world
Spirit & air are one & the same – spire, spirit
Respire, breathe out; expire, stop breathing
Aspire, breathe higher; inspire, give life
Yahweh, Allah, God
The spirit moves us as wind in the trees
Unseen, though present, animating
We all give voice to what’s within 
As the forest gives voice to the wind
And so I end as I begin

I am Späces, the poet's muse
And I bring something old and something new
For your pleasure and profit
Come, if these few words do thee delight
Fill up this space on this day of nights. 

Copyright © Kyle Elsbernd | Year Posted 2016