William Conelly

Four poems

A Summer’s Day 

with old friends

Faces wear from the surface in,
worked by our lives’ abrasive tips,

each decade scoring deeper skin,
around the eyes, beside the lips.

Yet spirits strengthen with the rub,
and alter from mere humanoid

to life beyond their mortal snub:
oh, seraphs of the sunny void!


The Calling

to Yoga Meditation, 1967

An elephant descends from heaven.
It steps down foursquare in your garden,
Sent by, it states in princely tones,
The Guiding Spirit of Creation
to speed you out of this circle of stones
onto the straight road of Salvation!

Presuming sun induced delirium,
you hoe ahead, soulfully dumb.

Renounce those beans! trumpets the beast.
Forswear your loamy downward passion!
The Lord desires you at His Feast!
Attend Him in the yogic fashion:
Muse on the thinnest goblet lip,
traced by the subtlest finger tip,
sounding the aural strains of Light!
Khrisna awaits you, day or night!

Beans trampled to a seeping wallow,
what’s there to do?  Start up and follow.



an Arhat of Buddhism

in Kelania, Sri Lanka

He slept the nights of youth
near unaware of sleeping,
new-fangled days ahead
his only goal in keeping,

until great sets of waves,
or a deadly poison snake,
reared into nightmare shape
to threaten him awake.

Disquieted, he sought
pure Being—that still spot
between the restive ways
of body, heart and thought—

and found a solace there
dreams could not overlay—
where venom and the crush
of death must ebb away.


All This Is That’

from the Upanishads

The Energy that binds
our bodies to our minds
enjoins our lives; its bond,
once weakened, may respond
to willpower, nursing care,
fresh outlooks, ease, or prayer,
and keep its grip some time
beyond our parents’ time.
It will, alas, unfix.

Forget the stones and sticks
once heaved at nothingness,
our anger in duress,
the honest pleasures gleaned
from knowing that we dreamed—
there is a Fusion quite
beyond our spoken metrics,
vital day or night,
from which lifetimes unfix.


William ConollyAfter military service William Conelly took both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Unrelated writing and research followed, before he returned to academia. Since 2000, Conelly has served in both America and the UK as an associate professor, tutor and seminar leader in writing and English Studies. Retired, now he resides in the West Midlands town of Warwick. In 2015 The Able Muse Press published an assortment of Conelly’s verse titled Uncontested Grounds; it may be reviewed at their website or via Amazon.


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