Dream Baby

Dream lightly, then glide
Wakefully through a loose-lipped life
Bang each drum brought your way
Apologize where necessary
When tossed a ball, toss it back
When planted in the ground, be sure to multiply
Given twenty, save ten, spend
Ten, make up ten, and dedicate ten
Dream lightly, but carry a big lipstick

When randomized, pour concrete
When straitjacketed, get Houdini
And apply your favorite decals.

Give everyone the time of day
When you can, or are grateful.
Trade membership in a high society
For inkwells and clarinets.
Donate all largesse to various
Open-eyed wanderers.
When left in front, consider the back.
If no car appears,
Dream lightly, and leave no prints.

If tomorrow will not come, split
Up today. If today convenes
At a special time, then
Give it a bump and a boot.
Triangles can add up, squares, too.
Give no quarter, but consider larger
Amounts, or more than one.
Dream lightly, and leave the prince behind.

Don’t buy the party line, but
Please consider the conga line.
If the shoes fit someone else,
Try on some sandals.
Dream lightly, and dance
Whenever asked, or not.

If you spot a star somewhere overhead
Imagine a life you think cannot be.
Dream lightly, then come to me.
I’m waiting serious/not serious
As can be.


Awakening with Zeno

Determined, I approach the
Gateless gate, halving
The distance again,
And again, and again . . . until
I’m so near, but still not there.

Zeno assumed I never will be.
Dr. Math says, logically, of course
You will. Just like a
Runner halving the distance to
First base, over and over,
Always eventually gets there.
Finite limits on infinity –
That’s what our world is
Composed of – left,
Right and sideways.

But this gateless gate – is it
Worldly, or infinite?
Is that a useless question?

And let’s not even talk about
Whether there’s really a gate,
Or it’s really gateless, or whether
There’s any point to this
Trying, again and again.
Or that’s it’s all about the journey.
Please. That’s the worst. Even if
It’s true, I just
Can’t take it.
It’s enough to drive a fellow nuts.


Kingdom of Mu

I never conquered the Kingdom of Mu
Though I hoped I’d be one who did
I chased all the rumors, I geared up for battle
Made sure I was ready at every turn
But I never conquered the Kingdom of Mu

They must be inside the castle gates
At ease in serenity, they live without weapons
Having come from here, they understand our longing
We sit under the stars, trying out different prayers
They must be near us inside the castle gates

Inside I know it is peaceful; outside we all fight
Years of effort lead nowhere at all
They say it’ll be there
When we finally stop looking
Inside it’s peaceful; outside we all fight

There are stories of the paths they made
How they came upon the Kingdom of Mu
How they finally stopped looking
Drew breath and then the arrow flew away
There are stories of the paths they made

Somewhere they’re joyful in the Kingdom of Mu
In the public square, in the cool courtyards
While we suffer and pray in our close little rooms
They play, or dance, or sit by the fountain
Somewhere they’re joyful in the Kingdom of Mu

I’ll never stop searching for the Kingdom of Mu
I rise each morning with that my goal
What’s wrong inside us, there it is righted
What’s lost and forgotten, there it can be found
I’ll never stop searching for the Kingdom of Mu

I never learned where Kingdom lies
Or why it is so elusive
I’ve made every effort, but directions perplex me
I never learned where the Kingdom lies

Those before me longed for it, those after will, too
Its libraries provide answers, its chambers rest
Wherever we go, it awaits our arrival
Those before me longed for it, those after will, too

I oil my muscles, test the flex of my bow
I ride each trail as if it is new
When others call out, I’m never diverted
I press on relentless toward the Kingdom of Mu
I oil my muscles, test the flex of my bow

Some day I’ll find the Kingdom of Mu
I dream they see me near and find me worthy
Some day I’ll hear their songs and laughter
I’ll drop my bow and ride through the gate
And give up on conquering the Kingdom of Mu


Joe Welch’s writing is influenced by Buddhist principles.  He’s an intellectual property lawyer in Chicago who only recently began submitting his poetry again, after being published by the Harvard Advocate and padran aram while in his 20s.  He taught IP law at Northwestern’s law school for more than 20 years, and co-authored a treatise and a popular textbook.  These days he is writing poetry full-time.IMG_5133

One thought on “Poems by Joe Welch

  1. I am wild about “Dream Lightly” ..it s getting copied and put in my file of keepers…probably the most positive poem I have read in a long time…my style ..thank you !!


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