poetry bookDaguerreotyes of People, Place, & Time

This poignant collection of poetry begins with a title as unusual as its author.  A “daguerreotype” is an old-fashioned tin portrait, such as one of the early photographs from the days of Eston’s childhood.  Again delving into metaphor as the expression of life itself, Roberts’ poems roam the fields of passion, family, grief, special occasions, and art.

The poems vary in form and meter and consist of lyrics, place-poems, dramatic monologues, and philosophical musings. They are meant to represent one expression of the metaphorical impulse–a force seen by this writer as the promulgator of everything existing on the planet and in our known universe. Metaphor, in other words, is an expression of what Roberts calls survival drive, itself a metaphor.

Its earliest origins can be observed in the actions of particles moving about in a quantum universe where like particles are attracted to each other outside and within the purview of time. This attraction, this expression of comparison, can be seen as the earliest and most rudimentary form of awareness. Furthermore, it should be noted, these particles are compelled to search out workable combinations, and the “click” that occurs when one is found is tantamount to the creation of metaphor and what, in humans, is called the “A-Ha!” response.

Through the process of evolution–and it is important to recognize that in nature time is as exigent as it chooses to be–life forms developed with varying degrees of awareness, culminating, ultimately, in the self-concept of Homo sapiens and the production of language–itself a metaphor based, initially, on physical survival drive. Over time, this drive to survive came to be applied to our feelings of emotional well being, what psychologists call self-concept.

Poems (and all forms of art) are, in the final analysis, the highest expression of survival drive, this being so because they are not constrained to be about eating and “getting and spending.” It has been said that no one reads poetry anymore. If that is so, it´s a sad commentary on human affairs. The combination of feeling and seeing (the gasp of understanding) that constitutes genuine poetry represents the apogee of humanness. Our feet may walk on soil, but our minds can parse the stars! Come read with Roberts and be alive!

“In Daguerreotypes, we follow Roberts’ vaulting voice from Eden and classical Agamemnon through poems revealing his philosophy of metaphor hard at work, to elegies of friends and family, ending with pieces that mark momentous events in the history of humanity.”

~Jubal Tiner, PhD,  Assistant Professor of English, Brevard College

Daguerreotyes of People, Place, & Time, autographed hardcover, 104 pages, $12.95

Daguerreotyes of People, Place, & Time, autographed softcover, 104 pages, $8.95

poetry bookPoems of Purpose

Poems of Purpose is a collection of poems dedicated to the author’s belief that metaphor is at the root of all creation—be it physical or non-physical—and that poetry is one of the highest expressions of that impulse to survival.

Poems of Purpose is divided into two sections, the first section being dedicated exclusively to documenting the method of metaphor. The last entry in this section—a pastiche of poetry and prose— seeks to explicate and demonstrate the role of metaphor in human life.

The second section, entitled “Leafs and Leavings,” is a collection of poems—some recent, and some quite ancient (“In Retrospect,” being an improved version of a poem written in the ninth grade)—but all of them illustrate the work of metaphor in the realm of powerful emotions.

Without exception, all of the poems represented in this volume are designed to engage the reader in a depthful involvement in the richness that is the human experience. “Open your heart to feeling and your mind to understanding.”

Poems of Purpose, autographed hardcover, 86 pages, $19.95

Also available on Amazon.com.

Poems of Purpose, autographed softcover, 86 pages, $12.95

Also available on Amazon.com.


From Poems of Purpose…


To Whom It May Concern

One day last week, walking west on Highway 276,
I found this fuzzy creature, branded in stripes
And shades of variegated brown and black and gold.
Up here we call them wooly worms, and he/she/it
Was determined, bent and bound, to cross the highway
Going north.  With that tenderness born of greater mass
(And insight), I lifted the creature—fearing for its death
By truck or car or bicycle—and carried it/she/he
Across the highway where, oh so carefully, I deposited
He/she/it—this multi-coated traveler—on the grass
Beside the highway, pointing what I presumed to be
The head in what I presumed to be a northerly direction . . .


Lost In Zebulon

Beside the sea, beside the sea, on soggy, shifting sands,
A solitary seeker watched waves wash in incessantly
And wondered this aloud: “What drives this ocean spirit
To waste itself against this desert shore? What drives
My manic search for answers and for final meaning?”


He was born to run, and run and run he did—a lad
Barefoot in overalls, the wind against his face.
His heart was young, his limbs were strong, exuberance
Strummed his name.  He ran because he could, and he ran
Oblivious to the energy that drove him.

Along the way his running changed to metaphor—
A straining of the self against a wall of meaning
As sinewy as hide, always just ahead, giving of
Itself sometimes grudgingly and sometimes snapping back
With an animal ferocity.   But still he ran.

And when he turned to preaching, of truth revealed to him
In scriptures, of truths emblazoned on his brain and signatured
In stars, his words rang strong and fervid, moving and well-meant;
And this form of running pleased.  He preached because he could,
Oblivious to the energy that drove him.

But, then, when preaching failed to satisfy, he turned instead
To poetry, to lyric songs that sang of life and love and beauty,
To legends of utopias: Xanadu, Byzantium, and Eden.
In lust for final answers, he wrote because he could,
Oblivious to the energy that drove him.

(Hear me, skeptic readers: Lest you, like him, search for Zebulon—
That ancient tribe invested with right meanings, a ghost-town house
Of cards featuring white-haired six-gun toters who slay uncertainties,
Blinding all to energies that drive them–you must devise,
By your own will, a raison d’etre of your own.)


All was black that morning, before a sun invented morning,
And space was measureless and masked the face of nothingness,
And nothing moved or had identity or worried the wall of meaning.
Had they but eyes to see it—those non-existent things—
They might have seen a quantum cloud, a random mass

Of random molecules—lost like him in Zebulon—discover
Similitude, the grounding force of everything, even contrast.
And it was then that Nature sang, “Eureka!”—having first knowledge
Of herself—and then the search for tinges of herself began.
And, when it came to pass that there were humans, they called this force

That drove all running god, and though the word suffices as synonym,
The stubborn wall remains.  Against this faceless force, this blank,
Forfending wall, we seek to bind and form, running against
A chilling deadline.  It wishes us no harm—this wall; it
Simply is.  Cursed by its curse of seeking, we are, all, its children.


There was a time, before that thing we call mechanics of
The quanta, when men endowed savages with the blessedness
Of intuitive right-living.  In touch with their back-to-basic selves,
They argued, men moved in tandemed unison with nature.
No factories, no taint of civilization, marred their landscape,

No laws infringed upon their right to be children of innocence.
“Had we but eyes to see it,” they said, “we could behold
Life lived in natural benevolence.”  Flowers lovingly bestowed
Upon one’s enemies would squash all enmity.  All wars
Would disappear, and love would flow like milk and honey.

So, for a time, the rules of insouciance ruled the firmament
And man found peace in the giving over of existence
To impulse or to mandated truth.  Nature smiled, and her stars
Blinked back in affirmation:  “Go with the flow, my children;
Trouble not yourselves with thinking.  Why run when ye can rest?”

But born, herself, of quest and questioning, nature’s advice
Was grounded in hypocrisy.  “Kill the stirring drive to strive
And you are dead,” the logic born of running said.  And so
This seeker strove—running hard against impending entropy,
Resisting the rut-mythology of un-thought-out acquiescence.


And thus it came to pass, through bootless searching, he found himself
Compelled to face this fact: The hunger-force that drove his search
Was mere machine: An ever-cycling search for similarities,
That held him lock and captive.  There were no final truths,
Only slots, mechanic openings for that clicking moment

The world and nature calls survival.  This force that drove his quest
For answers enslaved him to its functioning as surely as
The manacles of slavery bound up the black-skinned minions of
The need for linen to the will of white-skinned masters.  It was not fear
Of death that drove him, although the fear of it kept him awake at night;

It was not even this: The search for final answers.  Unbeknownst
To him, and to the mass of men, the drive that drove him was
The force called metaphor, the face behind all versions of survival.
This will to live, engrained unsupervised in matter, is well-known
In pursuits academic:  Fill-in-the-blanks correctly,

Be rewarded with a “yes!” Confronted, thus, with brute
Mechanic fact, this seeker after truth came face to face
With another infamy: The dream of freedom is itself
A metaphor, born of imprisonment as deep and fatal
As the very fact of life. Why live in vain pursuit of nothing?

Faustian disillusionment his lot, black is the wall, oh Zebulon!


“There must be more to life than this!” this one-time preacher said,
“Or else the door to history, philosophy, and art is blocked and closed.
We live our lives for nothing, locked blind and rotting in
The toils of a colossal ignorance: True love a hopeless hope,
The dream of freedom naught, the cost of living dross, a vanity.”

Then, once upon a morning, it came to him.  If all of life
Is metaphor, no laws forestall our making for ourselves
Our own realities.  Why not create by will a wall of self,
Reverse the tide of metaphor against itself, and defeat
Thereby the instinct-driven drive to marathon?

What law mandates that we participate in this march
Of manikins, manufacturing blindly strands of DNA?
Why not, instead, put that blind drive to metaphor
To our own purposes, to the consciously created
Images of self invested with the drive for excellence?

Freed from unconscious servitude, unconscious replication,
We can turn our energies from war and economics
To ending poverty, to educating children in the science
Of building self, to creating edifices to art that celebrate
The human spirit.  By freeing self we can at last be free.

To do less, to fail to front one’s will against this force
That guides the paths of planets, is to remain automatons—
Creatures bound and tied to the wheel that created them,
Searchers born to search for metaphors, stagnate, unformed,
And acquiescent, content with easy answers.

“So be it,” the lax are heard to say, losing their lives
In work, in feeding hungry broods, in easy platitudes
That serve another’s need, blinding their minds with beer
And opiates: Self-assigned itinerants in irrelevance,
Bound to the wall of a mechanistic tic-tac-toe,

They line the walls of self with gossip and commercials.
“Life need not be this way!” this one-time preacher cried,
Turning his back upon the surging sea. “Building a sense of self
And doing it consciously is hard, but for me the choice is clear:
I will hive no more forever in the tribe of Zebulon.”