Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
BLESSED be this place,
More blessed still this tower;
A ******, arrogant power
Rose out of the race
Uttering, mastering it,
Rose like these walls from these
Storm-beaten cottages --
In mockery I have set
A powerful emblem up,
And sing it rhyme upon rhyme
In mockery of a time
HaIf dead at the top.
Alexandria's was a beacon tower, and Babylon's
An image of the moving heavens, a log-book of the
sun's journey and the moon's;
And Shelley had his towers, thought's crowned powers
he called them once.
I declare this tower is my symbol; I declare
This winding, gyring, spiring treadmill of a stair is my
ancestral stair;
That Goldsmith and the Dean, Berkeley and Burke
have travelled there.
Swift beating on his breast in sibylline frenzy blind
Because the heart in his blood-sodden breast had
dragged him down into mankind,
Goldsmith deliberately sipping at the honey-*** of his
mind,
And haughtier-headed Burke that proved the State a
tree,
That this unconquerable labyrinth of the birds, cen-
tury after century,
Cast but dead leaves to mathematical equality;
And God-appointed Berkeley that proved all things a
dream,
That this pragmatical, preposterous pig of a world, its
farrow that so solid seem,
Must vanish on the instant if the mind but change its
theme;
Saeva Indignatio and the labourer's hire,
The strength that gives our blood and state magnani-
mity of its own desire;
Everything that is not God consumed with intellectual
fire.
III
The purity of the unclouded moon
Has flung its atrowy shaft upon the floor.
Seven centuries have passed and it is pure,
The blood of innocence has left no stain.
There, on blood-saturated ground, have stood
Soldier, assassin, executioner.
Whether for daily pittance or in blind fear
Or out of abstract hatred, and shed blood,
But could not cast a single jet thereon.
Odour of blood on the ancestral stair!
And we that have shed none must gather there
And clamour in drunken frenzy for the moon.

IV
Upon the dusty, glittering windows cling,
And seem to cling upon the moonlit skies,
Tortoiseshell butterflies, peacock butterflies,
A couple of night-moths are on the wing.
Is every modern nation like the tower,
Half dead at the top? No matter what I said,
For wisdom is the property of the dead,
A something incompatible with life; and power,
Like everything that has the stain of blood,
A property of the living; but no stain
Can come upon the visage of the moon
When it has looked in glory from a cloud.
ConnectHook Feb 2016
by John Greenleaf Whittier  (1807 – 1892)

“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits which be Angels of Light are augmented not only by the Divine Light of the Sun, but also by our common Wood fire: and as the celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same.”

        COR. AGRIPPA,
           Occult Philosophy, Book I. chap. v.


Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow; and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight; the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.


                                       EMERSON

The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.

Meanwhile we did our nightly chores, —
Brought in the wood from out of doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Raked down the herd’s-grass for the cows;
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
Impatient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold’s pole of birch,
The **** his crested helmet bent
And down his querulous challenge sent.

Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingàd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.

So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature’s geometric signs,
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below, —
A universe of sky and snow!
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant spendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa’s leaning miracle.

A prompt, decisive man, no breath
Our father wasted: “Boys, a path!”
Well pleased, (for when did farmer boy
Count such a summons less than joy?)
Our buskins on our feet we drew;
With mittened hands, and caps drawn low,
To guard our necks and ears from snow,
We cut the solid whiteness through.
And, where the drift was deepest, made
A tunnel walled and overlaid
With dazzling crystal: we had read
Of rare Aladdin’s wondrous cave,
And to our own his name we gave,
With many a wish the luck were ours
To test his lamp’s supernal powers.
We reached the barn with merry din,
And roused the prisoned brutes within.
The old horse ****** his long head out,
And grave with wonder gazed about;
The **** his ***** greeting said,
And forth his speckled harem led;
The oxen lashed their tails, and hooked,
And mild reproach of hunger looked;
The hornëd patriarch of the sheep,
Like Egypt’s Amun roused from sleep,
Shook his sage head with gesture mute,
And emphasized with stamp of foot.

All day the gusty north-wind bore
The loosening drift its breath before;
Low circling round its southern zone,
The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone.
No church-bell lent its Christian tone
To the savage air, no social smoke
Curled over woods of snow-hung oak.
A solitude made more intense
By dreary-voicëd elements,
The shrieking of the mindless wind,
The moaning tree-boughs swaying blind,
And on the glass the unmeaning beat
Of ghostly finger-tips of sleet.
Beyond the circle of our hearth
No welcome sound of toil or mirth
Unbound the spell, and testified
Of human life and thought outside.
We minded that the sharpest ear
The buried brooklet could not hear,
The music of whose liquid lip
Had been to us companionship,
And, in our lonely life, had grown
To have an almost human tone.

As night drew on, and, from the crest
Of wooded knolls that ridged the west,
The sun, a snow-blown traveller, sank
From sight beneath the smothering bank,
We piled, with care, our nightly stack
Of wood against the chimney-back, —
The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,
And on its top the stout back-stick;
The knotty forestick laid apart,
And filled between with curious art

The ragged brush; then, hovering near,
We watched the first red blaze appear,
Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam
On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,
Until the old, rude-furnished room
Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom;
While radiant with a mimic flame
Outside the sparkling drift became,
And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree
Our own warm hearth seemed blazing free.
The crane and pendent trammels showed,
The Turks’ heads on the andirons glowed;
While childish fancy, prompt to tell
The meaning of the miracle,
Whispered the old rhyme: “Under the tree,
When fire outdoors burns merrily,
There the witches are making tea.”

The moon above the eastern wood
Shone at its full; the hill-range stood
Transfigured in the silver flood,
Its blown snows flashing cold and keen,
Dead white, save where some sharp ravine
Took shadow, or the sombre green
Of hemlocks turned to pitchy black
Against the whiteness at their back.
For such a world and such a night
Most fitting that unwarming light,
Which only seemed where’er it fell
To make the coldness visible.

Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
The frost-line back with tropic heat;
And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
The merrier up its roaring draught
The great throat of the chimney laughed;
The house-dog on his paws outspread
Laid to the fire his drowsy head,
The cat’s dark silhouette on the wall
A couchant tiger’s seemed to fall;
And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons’ straddling feet,
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October’s wood.

What matter how the night behaved?
What matter how the north-wind raved?
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire’s ruddy glow.
O Time and Change! — with hair as gray
As was my sire’s that winter day,
How strange it seems, with so much gone
Of life and love, to still live on!
Ah, brother! only I and thou
Are left of all that circle now, —
The dear home faces whereupon
That fitful firelight paled and shone.
Henceforward, listen as we will,
The voices of that hearth are still;
Look where we may, the wide earth o’er,
Those lighted faces smile no more.

We tread the paths their feet have worn,
We sit beneath their orchard trees,
We hear, like them, the hum of bees
And rustle of the bladed corn;
We turn the pages that they read,
Their written words we linger o’er,
But in the sun they cast no shade,
No voice is heard, no sign is made,
No step is on the conscious floor!
Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust,
(Since He who knows our need is just,)
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through his cypress-trees!
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
Nor looks to see the breaking day
Across the mournful marbles play!
Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,
The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
That Life is ever lord of Death,
And Love can never lose its own!

We sped the time with stories old,
Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told,
Or stammered from our school-book lore
“The Chief of Gambia’s golden shore.”
How often since, when all the land
Was clay in Slavery’s shaping hand,
As if a far-blown trumpet stirred
Dame Mercy Warren’s rousing word:
“Does not the voice of reason cry,
Claim the first right which Nature gave,
From the red scourge of ******* to fly,
Nor deign to live a burdened slave!”
Our father rode again his ride
On Memphremagog’s wooded side;
Sat down again to moose and samp
In trapper’s hut and Indian camp;
Lived o’er the old idyllic ease
Beneath St. François’ hemlock-trees;
Again for him the moonlight shone
On Norman cap and bodiced zone;
Again he heard the violin play
Which led the village dance away.
And mingled in its merry whirl
The grandam and the laughing girl.
Or, nearer home, our steps he led
Where Salisbury’s level marshes spread
Mile-wide as flies the laden bee;
Where merry mowers, hale and strong,
Swept, scythe on scythe, their swaths along
The low green prairies of the sea.
We shared the fishing off Boar’s Head,
And round the rocky Isles of Shoals
The hake-broil on the drift-wood coals;
The chowder on the sand-beach made,
Dipped by the hungry, steaming hot,
With spoons of clam-shell from the ***.
We heard the tales of witchcraft old,
And dream and sign and marvel told
To sleepy listeners as they lay
Stretched idly on the salted hay,
Adrift along the winding shores,
When favoring breezes deigned to blow
The square sail of the gundelow
And idle lay the useless oars.

Our mother, while she turned her wheel
Or run the new-knit stocking-heel,
Told how the Indian hordes came down
At midnight on Concheco town,
And how her own great-uncle bore
His cruel scalp-mark to fourscore.
Recalling, in her fitting phrase,
So rich and picturesque and free
(The common unrhymed poetry
Of simple life and country ways,)
The story of her early days, —
She made us welcome to her home;
Old hearths grew wide to give us room;
We stole with her a frightened look
At the gray wizard’s conjuring-book,
The fame whereof went far and wide
Through all the simple country side;
We heard the hawks at twilight play,
The boat-horn on Piscataqua,
The loon’s weird laughter far away;
We fished her little trout-brook, knew
What flowers in wood and meadow grew,
What sunny hillsides autumn-brown
She climbed to shake the ripe nuts down,
Saw where in sheltered cove and bay,
The ducks’ black squadron anchored lay,
And heard the wild-geese calling loud
Beneath the gray November cloud.
Then, haply, with a look more grave,
And soberer tone, some tale she gave
From painful Sewel’s ancient tome,
Beloved in every Quaker home,
Of faith fire-winged by martyrdom,
Or Chalkley’s Journal, old and quaint, —
Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint! —
Who, when the dreary calms prevailed,
And water-**** and bread-cask failed,
And cruel, hungry eyes pursued
His portly presence mad for food,
With dark hints muttered under breath
Of casting lots for life or death,

Offered, if Heaven withheld supplies,
To be himself the sacrifice.
Then, suddenly, as if to save
The good man from his living grave,
A ripple on the water grew,
A school of porpoise flashed in view.
“Take, eat,” he said, “and be content;
These fishes in my stead are sent
By Him who gave the tangled ram
To spare the child of Abraham.”
Our uncle, innocent of books,
Was rich in lore of fields and brooks,
The ancient teachers never dumb
Of Nature’s unhoused lyceum.
In moons and tides and weather wise,
He read the clouds as prophecies,
And foul or fair could well divine,
By many an occult hint and sign,
Holding the cunning-warded keys
To all the woodcraft mysteries;
Himself to Nature’s heart so near
v That all her voices in his ear
Of beast or bird had meanings clear,
Like Apollonius of old,
Who knew the tales the sparrows told,
Or Hermes, who interpreted
What the sage cranes of Nilus said;
A simple, guileless, childlike man,
Content to live where life began;
Strong only on his native grounds,
The little world of sights and sounds
Whose girdle was the parish bounds,
Whereof his fondly partial pride
The common features magnified,
As Surrey hills to mountains grew
In White of Selborne’s loving view, —
He told how teal and loon he shot,
And how the eagle’s eggs he got,
The feats on pond and river done,
The prodigies of rod and gun;
Till, warming with the tales he told,
Forgotten was the outside cold,
The bitter wind unheeded blew,
From ripening corn the pigeons flew,
The partridge drummed i’ the wood, the mink
Went fishing down the river-brink.
In fields with bean or clover gay,
The woodchuck, like a hermit gray,
Peered from the doorway of his cell;
The muskrat plied the mason’s trade,
And tier by tier his mud-walls laid;
And from the shagbark overhead
The grizzled squirrel dropped his shell.

Next, the dear aunt, whose smile of cheer
And voice in dreams I see and hear, —
The sweetest woman ever Fate
Perverse denied a household mate,
Who, lonely, homeless, not the less
Found peace in love’s unselfishness,
And welcome wheresoe’er she went,
A calm and gracious element,
Whose presence seemed the sweet income
And womanly atmosphere of home, —
Called up her girlhood memories,
The huskings and the apple-bees,
The sleigh-rides and the summer sails,
Weaving through all the poor details
And homespun warp of circumstance
A golden woof-thread of romance.
For well she kept her genial mood
And simple faith of maidenhood;
Before her still a cloud-land lay,
The mirage loomed across her way;
The morning dew, that dries so soon
With others, glistened at her noon;
Through years of toil and soil and care,
From glossy tress to thin gray hair,
All unprofaned she held apart
The ****** fancies of the heart.
Be shame to him of woman born
Who hath for such but thought of scorn.
There, too, our elder sister plied
Her evening task the stand beside;
A full, rich nature, free to trust,
Truthful and almost sternly just,
Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act,
And make her generous thought a fact,
Keeping with many a light disguise
The secret of self-sacrifice.

O heart sore-tried! thou hast the best
That Heaven itself could give thee, — rest,
Rest from all bitter thoughts and things!
How many a poor one’s blessing went
With thee beneath the low green tent
Whose curtain never outward swings!

As one who held herself a part
Of all she saw, and let her heart
Against the household ***** lean,
Upon the motley-braided mat
Our youngest and our dearest sat,
Lifting her large, sweet, asking eyes,
Now bathed in the unfading green
And holy peace of Paradise.
Oh, looking from some heavenly hill,
Or from the shade of saintly palms,
Or silver reach of river calms,
Do those large eyes behold me still?
With me one little year ago: —
The chill weight of the winter snow
For months upon her grave has lain;
And now, when summer south-winds blow
And brier and harebell bloom again,
I tread the pleasant paths we trod,
I see the violet-sprinkled sod
Whereon she leaned, too frail and weak
The hillside flowers she loved to seek,
Yet following me where’er I went
With dark eyes full of love’s content.
The birds are glad; the brier-rose fills
The air with sweetness; all the hills
Stretch green to June’s unclouded sky;
But still I wait with ear and eye
For something gone which should be nigh,
A loss in all familiar things,
In flower that blooms, and bird that sings.
And yet, dear heart! remembering thee,
Am I not richer than of old?
Safe in thy immortality,
What change can reach the wealth I hold?
What chance can mar the pearl and gold
Thy love hath left in trust with me?
And while in life’s late afternoon,
Where cool and long the shadows grow,
I walk to meet the night that soon
Shall shape and shadow overflow,
I cannot feel that thou art far,
Since near at need the angels are;
And when the sunset gates unbar,
Shall I not see thee waiting stand,
And, white against the evening star,
The welcome of thy beckoning hand?

Brisk wielder of the birch and rule,
The master of the district school
Held at the fire his favored place,
Its warm glow lit a laughing face
Fresh-hued and fair, where scarce appeared
The uncertain prophecy of beard.
He teased the mitten-blinded cat,
Played cross-pins on my uncle’s hat,
Sang songs, and told us what befalls
In classic Dartmouth’s college halls.
Born the wild Northern hills among,
From whence his yeoman father wrung
By patient toil subsistence scant,
Not competence and yet not want,
He early gained the power to pay
His cheerful, self-reliant way;
Could doff at ease his scholar’s gown
To peddle wares from town to town;
Or through the long vacation’s reach
In lonely lowland districts teach,
Where all the droll experience found
At stranger hearths in boarding round,
The moonlit skater’s keen delight,
The sleigh-drive through the frosty night,
The rustic party, with its rough
Accompaniment of blind-man’s-buff,
And whirling-plate, and forfeits paid,
His winter task a pastime made.
Happy the snow-locked homes wherein
He tuned his merry violin,

Or played the athlete in the barn,
Or held the good dame’s winding-yarn,
Or mirth-provoking versions told
Of classic legends rare and old,
Wherein the scenes of Greece and Rome
Had all the commonplace of home,
And little seemed at best the odds
‘Twixt Yankee pedlers and old gods;
Where Pindus-born Arachthus took
The guise of any grist-mill brook,
And dread Olympus at his will
Became a huckleberry hill.

A careless boy that night he seemed;
But at his desk he had the look
And air of one who wisely schemed,
And hostage from the future took
In trainëd thought and lore of book.
Large-brained, clear-eyed, of such as he
Shall Freedom’s young apostles be,
Who, following in War’s ****** trail,
Shall every lingering wrong assail;
All chains from limb and spirit strike,
Uplift the black and white alike;
Scatter before their swift advance
The darkness and the ignorance,
The pride, the lust, the squalid sloth,
Which nurtured Treason’s monstrous growth,
Made ****** pastime, and the hell
Of prison-torture possible;
The cruel lie of caste refute,
Old forms remould, and substitute
For Slavery’s lash the freeman’s will,
For blind routine, wise-handed skill;
A school-house plant on every hill,
Stretching in radiate nerve-lines thence
The quick wires of intelligence;
Till North and South together brought
Shall own the same electric thought,
In peace a common flag salute,
And, side by side in labor’s free
And unresentful rivalry,
Harvest the fields wherein they fought.

Another guest that winter night
Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light.
Unmarked by time, and yet not young,
The honeyed music of her tongue
And words of meekness scarcely told
A nature passionate and bold,

Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide,
Its milder features dwarfed beside
Her unbent will’s majestic pride.
She sat among us, at the best,
A not unfeared, half-welcome guest,
Rebuking with her cultured phrase
Our homeliness of words and ways.
A certain pard-like, treacherous grace
Swayed the lithe limbs and drooped the lash,
Lent the white teeth their dazzling flash;
And under low brows, black with night,
Rayed out at times a dangerous light;
The sharp heat-lightnings of her face
Presaging ill to him whom Fate
Condemned to share her love or hate.
A woman tropical, intense
In thought and act, in soul and sense,
She blended in a like degree
The ***** and the devotee,
Revealing with each freak or feint
The temper of Petruchio’s Kate,
The raptures of Siena’s saint.
Her tapering hand and rounded wrist
Had facile power to form a fist;
The warm, dark languish of her eyes
Was never safe from wrath’s surprise.
Brows saintly calm and lips devout
Knew every change of scowl and pout;
And the sweet voice had notes more high
And shrill for social battle-cry.

Since then what old cathedral town
Has missed her pilgrim staff and gown,
What convent-gate has held its lock
Against the challenge of her knock!
Through Smyrna’s plague-hushed thoroughfares,
Up sea-set Malta’s rocky stairs,
Gray olive slopes of hills that hem
Thy tombs and shrines, Jerusalem,
Or startling on her desert throne
The crazy Queen of Lebanon
With claims fantastic as her own,
Her tireless feet have held their way;
And still, unrestful, bowed, and gray,
She watches under Eastern skies,
With hope each day renewed and fresh,
The Lord’s quick coming in the flesh,
Whereof she dreams and prophesies!
Where’er her troubled path may be,
The Lord’s sweet pity with her go!
The outward wayward life we see,
The hidden springs we may not know.
Nor is it given us to discern
What threads the fatal sisters spun,
Through what ancestral years has run
The sorrow with the woman born,
What forged her cruel chain of moods,
What set her feet in solitudes,
And held the love within her mute,
What mingled madness in the blood,
A life-long discord and annoy,
Water of tears with oil of joy,
And hid within the folded bud
Perversities of flower and fruit.
It is not ours to separate
The tangled skein of will and fate,
To show what metes and bounds should stand
Upon the soul’s debatable land,
And between choice and Providence
Divide the circle of events;
But He who knows our frame is just,
Merciful and compassionate,
And full of sweet assurances
And hope for all the language is,
That He remembereth we are dust!

At last the great logs, crumbling low,
Sent out a dull and duller glow,
The bull’s-eye watch that hung in view,
Ticking its weary circuit through,
Pointed with mutely warning sign
Its black hand to the hour of nine.
That sign the pleasant circle broke:
My uncle ceased his pipe to smoke,
Knocked from its bowl the refuse gray,
And laid it tenderly away;
Then roused himself to safely cover
The dull red brands with ashes over.
And while, with care, our mother laid
The work aside, her steps she stayed
One moment, seeking to express
Her grateful sense of happiness
For food and shelter, warmth and health,
And love’s contentment more than wealth,
With simple wishes (not the weak,
Vain prayers which no fulfilment seek,
But such as warm the generous heart,
O’er-prompt to do with Heaven its part)
That none might lack, that bitter night,
For bread and clothing, warmth and light.

Within our beds awhile we heard
The wind that round the gables roared,
With now and then a ruder shock,
Which made our very bedsteads rock.
We heard the loosened clapboards tost,
The board-nails snapping in the frost;
And on us, through the unplastered wall,
Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall.
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do
When hearts are light and life is new;
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew,
Till in the summer-land of dreams
They softened to the sound of streams,
Low stir of leaves, and dip of oars,
And lapsing waves on quiet shores.
Of merry voices high and clear;
And saw the teamsters drawing near
To break the drifted highways out.
Down the long hillside treading slow
We saw the half-buried oxen go,
Shaking the snow from heads uptost,
Their straining nostrils white with frost.
Before our door the straggling train
Drew up, an added team to gain.
The elders threshed their hands a-cold,
Passed, with the cider-mug, their jokes
From lip to lip; the younger folks
Down the loose snow-banks, wrestling, rolled,
Then toiled again the cavalcade
O’er windy hill, through clogged ravine,
And woodland paths that wound between
Low drooping pine-boughs winter-weighed.
From every barn a team afoot,
At every house a new recruit,
Where, drawn by Nature’s subtlest law,
Haply the watchful young men saw
Sweet doorway pictures of the curls
And curious eyes of merry girls,
Lifting their hands in mock defence
Against the snow-ball’s compliments,
And reading in each missive tost
The charm with Eden never lost.
We heard once more the sleigh-bells’ sound;
And, following where the teamsters led,
The wise old Doctor went his round,
Just pausing at our door to say,
In the brief autocratic way
Of one who, prompt at Duty’s call,
Was free to urge her claim on all,
That some poor neighbor sick abed
At night our mother’s aid would need.
For, one in generous thought and deed,
What mattered in the sufferer’s sight
The Quaker matron’s inward light,
The Doctor’s mail of Calvin’s creed?
All hearts confess the saints elect
Who, twain in faith, in love agree,
And melt not in an acid sect
The Christian pearl of charity!

So days went on: a week had passed
Since the great world was heard from last.
The Almanac we studied o’er,
Read and reread our little store
Of books and pamphlets, scarce a score;
One harmless novel, mostly hid
From younger eyes, a book forbid,
And poetry, (or good or bad,
A single book was all we had,)
Where Ellwood’s meek, drab-skirted Muse,
A stranger to the heathen Nine,
Sang, with a somewhat nasal whine,
The wars of David and the Jews.
At last the floundering carrier bore
The village paper to our door.
Lo! broadening outward as we read,
To warmer zones the horizon spread
In panoramic length unrolled
We saw the marvels that it told.
Before us passed the painted Creeks,
A   nd daft McGregor on his raids
In Costa Rica’s everglades.
And up Taygetos winding slow
Rode Ypsilanti’s Mainote Greeks,
A Turk’s head at each saddle-bow!
Welcome to us its week-old news,
Its corner for the rustic Muse,
Its monthly gauge of snow and rain,
Its record, mingling in a breath
The wedding bell and dirge of death:
Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale,
The latest culprit sent to jail;
Its hue and cry of stolen and lost,
Its vendue sales and goods at cost,
And traffic calling loud for gain.
We felt the stir of hall and street,
The pulse of life that round us beat;
The chill embargo of the snow
Was melted in the genial glow;
Wide swung again our ice-locked door,
And all the world was ours once more!

Clasp, Angel of the backword look
And folded wings of ashen gray
And voice of echoes far away,
The brazen covers of thy book;
The weird palimpsest old and vast,
Wherein thou hid’st the spectral past;
Where, closely mingling, pale and glow
The characters of joy and woe;
The monographs of outlived years,
Or smile-illumed or dim with tears,
Green hills of life that ***** to death,
And haunts of home, whose vistaed trees
Shade off to mournful cypresses
With the white amaranths underneath.
Even while I look, I can but heed
The restless sands’ incessant fall,
Importunate hours that hours succeed,
Each clamorous with its own sharp need,
And duty keeping pace with all.
Shut down and clasp with heavy lids;
I hear again the voice that bids
The dreamer leave his dream midway
For larger hopes and graver fears:
Life greatens in these later years,
The century’s aloe flowers to-day!

Yet, haply, in some lull of life,
Some Truce of God which breaks its strife,
The worldling’s eyes shall gather dew,
Dreaming in throngful city ways
Of winter joys his boyhood knew;
And dear and early friends — the few
Who yet remain — shall pause to view
These Flemish pictures of old days;
Sit with me by the homestead hearth,
And stretch the hands of memory forth
To warm them at the wood-fire’s blaze!
And thanks untraced to lips unknown
Shall greet me like the odors blown
From unseen meadows newly mown,
Wood-fringed, the wayside gaze beyond;
The traveller owns the grateful sense
Of sweetness near, he knows not whence,
And, pausing, takes with forehead bare
The benediction of the air.

Written in  1865
In its day, 'twas a best-seller and earned significant income for Whittier

https://youtu.be/vVOQ54YQ73A
Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya;aopicho@yahoo.com)

But I remain a believer in my ancestral religion
Whose God is wele but not the Germany world, it is a religion,
Like most of universal ancestral ones,
With appalling moral threshold,
When Elijah Masinde of dini ya Misambwa
Despised those who condemned man as notoriously religious
He meant human religious approach to life is absolute in nature
However diverse religions compete for human ears
Rich ones glorified in the luring away of modal ears
But all are devoid of spiritual impetus
Disappointing the progenitors of religious imperialism
These short-cutters in matters of sanctimony
Will not come to our heaven
They will get me sharing a cup of tea
With my sister- in-law; Mary, the mother of Jesus
And I will shun them, I will not know them
I will not invite them to a heavenly cup of tea
They will be suffocated by cadaverous appetite,
For we honor our religion with ancestral regard;
The Faith of Our Ancestors
But in ridicule they call us kaffirs, pagans, christo-pagans,
Animists, atheists, gentiles, non-believers, mediumists,
Rebellious rebels or whatsoever they call us;
The anti-muhamedan-mis-christologists,
                                                              Let them delude themselves,
If they disparage us with sick contumely
Abreast the dumbfounding development in sciences
Plus so fortuitous humanistic awareness,
Humanity in Religion has to adjust optimally
Religious masters have to help
Interpret the religious Books, bible, gita, quran
All Written or verbalistically in the glory of epical orality
In tandem with the best centered
Life extant,
Otherwise selfish religions becomes an old wine bag
With its old and stale wine,
You will persuade Russian carousers to drink
But to your chagrin, none will condone, your stale wine
Do not seek to sell your faith
Because every human community
Has an ancestral faith
Respect them all for that is gods in their accolade of
Omonipresecence,
Any man or woman without religion is dangerous
                                                But do not advantagize yourselves
At the expense of people of other faiths
It is  good you reciprocated
Planet earth is our only sure and known abode
If we lived well here, and there is another world
For those who will be good, we hope the conclave of Gods
Would all sit in judgment for their credit
And reward those who helped humble humanity
Of their religions as well as those of other religions
As for all the Gods love humanists.
Al Drood  Mar 2018
Ancestral Home
Al Drood Mar 2018
By green and windblown rippled slopes
where cattle graze in summer sun;
beneath blue skies when larks sing shrill,
and rabbits by the hedgerows run.
When meadowsweet and columbine
bedeck the lea like ocean foam;
we soft return like shadows lost
to seek our old ancestral home.

Within the tree-lined borderlands
we wait until the day is done;
‘til passing fancies leave us be
and once again our time is come.
When doors and gates are closed and locked
we slip within as night winds roam;
and talk in whispered secrecy
of times in our ancestral home.

No more within cold fireplace
do fallen logs burn bright and fair;
from panelled walls in sullen oils
dark portraits of the long-dead stare.
On bowing shelves of oak repose
forgotten tales in leathern tome;
unread by men for centuries,
hid deep in our ancestral home.

And through the marches of the night
we drift from room to balcony;
recalling days of childhood lost,
the laughter of sweet memory.
Yet all too soon we must be gone
‘ere birds again chorale the dawn;
and disappear like shadows soft
that fly from our ancestral home.
How strange to greet, this frosty morn,
In graceful counterfeit of flower,
These children of the meadows, born
Of sunshine and of showers!

How well the conscious wood retains
The pictures of its flower-sown home,
The lights and shades, the purple stains,
And golden hues of bloom!

It was a happy thought to bring
To the dark season's frost and rime
This painted memory of spring,
This dream of summertime.

Our hearts are lighter for its sake,
Our fancy's age renews its youth,
And dim-remembered fictions take
The guise of present truth.

A wizard of the Merrimac,--
So old ancestral legends say,--
Could call green leaf and blossom back
To frosted stem and spray.

The dry logs of the cottage wall,
Beneath his touch, put out their leaves;
The clay-bound swallow, at his call,
Played round the icy eaves.

The settler saw his oaken flail
Take bud, and bloom before his eyes;
From frozen pools he saw the pale
Sweet summer lilies rise.

To their old homes, by man profaned
Came the sad dryads, exiled long,
And through their leafy tongues complained
Of household use and wrong.

The beechen platter sprouted wild,
The pipkin wore its old-time green,
The cradle o'er the sleeping child
Became a leafy screen.

Haply our gentle friend hath met,
While wandering in her sylvan quest,
Haunting his native woodlands yet,
That Druid of the West;

And while the dew on leaf and flower
Glistened in the moonlight clear and still,
Learned the dusk wizard's spell of power,
And caught his trick of skill.

But welcome, be it new or old,
The gift which makes the day more bright,
And paints, upon the ground of cold
And darkness, warmth and light!

Without is neither gold nor green;
Within, for birds, the birch-logs sing;
Yet, summer-like, we sit between
The autumn and the spring.

The one, with bridal blush of rose,
And sweetest breath of woodland balm,
And one whose matron lips unclose
In smiles of saintly calm.

Fill soft and deep, O winter snow!
The sweet azalea's oaken dells,
And hide the banks where roses blow
And swing the azure bells!

O'erlay the amber violet's leaves,
The purple aster's brookside home,
Guard all the flowers her pencil gives
A live beyond their bloom.

And she, when spring comes round again,
By greening ***** and singing flood
Shall wander, seeking, not in vain
Her darlings of the wood.
Scott M Reamer Apr 2013
Man life know just set eyes way like young world soul day hunger space mouth earth thoughts ignorance blind things mind knew final moment human creation kind creatures souls high forgotten dream love spoke self existence face holy deep bound think home void say surrender ear forever called held ephemeral red state end shall heed hope edge living waking fall sea wake garden need February thought past wanderer got men page colored tepid terrible **** proudly untitled features point painted faceless box forgot render wild spring splendor  handfuls looking half brain lost torn ancestral  unseen vision inner summer honor mister owned banner save today fear groans wasn't smoke  street fable strange year contrast black years  able pain body spoken word known motion  palpitate reeling nature culture disclaimers  cancer beg attentive frames ****** base profound double remember wholly finger death token  cries continue folk oh fishing form broken true  divides spread ah twas away breathe wait warning hallowed wish closer lens turn eye live  constant current author hung theory dangle  bramble chemical new force changes adderall  anymore giving beneath possess pardon commentaries eternity internal walk reason  long change does idea glimpse consciousness  wandering simply wonder physical dreams war  sleep told rest benign prior begging truth little  2012 born tale crow bowels allegory animal rule  exasperate making horse curse hands ones read  rearrange capture doing command fail awake  aperture seedlings shift steely sir nap spead ****** demons slits clever telling loud spits la-la-di-dah killing slip game reflected nameless ask  lovers rabid bear salivate plunder shameless  famously savior mint rides menthol bully fate traded melodies play misunderstand mammals gentle witless fine utterly savage silt tongue-less  dirt dilutes pure non-sensory taste briefly ravage dismember it''ll shedding ruined curtain  knots offers plot fulfills munificent two-act  relegates boxz bug altruistic wintergreen tossing  callously guise grovels one's singers treachery ashes mid-life mutter fashion parading  ambiguity separatist liars staple steeping neath  guidelines scoffing stitch moans civil wrote  Fictitious undoing fables table effigies serve  sonnets staged remark psalm swoll praise harken  beggar verse bread lines heavily electricity detection snow sack-happy preaching credit  spotted wicked best gravity gun campaign owe  barge choir revelry celebratory satiated sinking  headline pack hound persistently propaganda  gentlemen excluding diminished ******* run idles  occupied levies wolfishly honestly misinformation cuba vehemently dumb grace spectator erasing  toned sage crowded secrets inter-connectivity  loaned prayer hymns grave mistaken magnified  vandals selective jump leak escapes says minister  buckle mass honesty shut tar children's hats  monument doping long-lived electrical ladle  exaggerated cartoons address seconds cool cradle bleak yang's mind-framed hypnotic  walker caps folly treble claim streaks mixtures  swelled interstate elapse teasing spoon mobile  succulent witchcraft borderline fatal 99 temple stacks sups plastics creeps neurotic ills tossed  meek sipping old crack interlock wax alleyway  coughing blown freak clock birthdays societies  slow flashing viscous candy argument toothless  pills cerebral rapt wall bisect lives wheezing  photo kid starter foiled pair saturated self-castrating pre-packed naked uncertainly pill  used came chaos coated reprisal fells wrack  irreverent mirth sickly disinherited proudest  collate wheeze appearance palette disharmony  discontented bastardized emotive bio inhale diction beat spoiled reclamation loudest tempo  totally disembodied matte imperfect shells flat  struck sounding imparts flak origin severance remarked bone walls snared leaflets mocking  hot scripting adjective noun agape seemingly  resistant gawk calamity passage paintings wind  trashcans signings sits cheap makers poetry persist scrap slipping individual talk wonders  leaving questions fold actor fancy parchment  fates engenders flown jaws stripped longer music  sacrifice fakers book boldly frown sigh atop patient hang trade occupation blows spectacular  whispers worthy backward waving certainty danced suppose needn't ‘drawkcab’ second-guessing  boys forget marched motto heads tightly lies two-tone earthbound harp twice turns goodnight  lying ***** internally indiscriminate nickname  drunk convictions myth steep  in-consumption  fitting artist **** universal sick expressions bad  du spell melody big siphon proud learn sprawls song spastic something temperaments utter check  fissures stomp totality blend definitely thrall sing rug voice shade pestilence ties commiserate round devil steady brains emotional certain gate  suckling gates dearth decay weight bounce pound  carrier pangs glass startle contest earthen web  tug pressed air patience flush amassed guest gone apprehension staring empathize captain believe fading in-perceivable deathbed guarder makes surrounds scatter drooling ebb blink cob tome  venom near door lair derision draws host stairs scent parts curiosities spider webbing surprise wares tips stepping ascetics starkness realize picture surroundings dictations grand pillars  deaf limited comparisons greet visual residents  personal settings dismiss alien law stability common earthly shiftless places prelude  understanding mosaic keen trifling embodiments  geared inception whisper visible jowls kiss murky  puddle rank dawn dichotomy single faithful fraying pays tailor veil climb mores pence whim  breath wellspring samara god stony pear  shadows fruiting forebodes moonlit looming  shown passed bog gold wracked faint tongues  noble preachers mirror shifting layered depth  threads jungle narcissus bemused seamstress self-worshiping architect's wore slumber anomalous  opened barren seam lip caustic scene coupled brick gardener's clenches -with forms idle breed  embodied lore starving empathy design illusion  tree coat fabricate lucid mason scatter-all  narrative seeking imbued 16th shivering chemicals 17th 15thrisk improperly dare  deliberate plan purge try brought chapter speed  aide utmost spirit leading intervention felt  recall recent advent sincerity times diary  lackluster piously lasting happy holding hear  stem tasteless whimpers wet spine monstrosity  dripping causes position quite softly claws pallet  answer digging tearing beast satiating circle breaks skips redwoods beckoning rotted hushed  gray lapsing monoliths deities creborus  imbuement hand stroll paradigm rendered chorus shy whispering forest residual tension  surrenders tolerance lull anew sentenced  bearing tide birds dirge divergent rim joined  cogs wood hesitant mist emergent towering offer  awareness confinement inverted faultier stowed  plane sanctified blanketing trusting memory fossil flash twists laden self-indulgent fleeting invitation agony grip shore impetus lingering  crows promise gift union swallowing endless floor supposed ecstasy sensory intent  psychotropic cradling placement interned  jagged connectivity exchange congenial begun  summons singular spiral assumes ambient reciprocates re-entry fruition reached aggregate lifetime limbs birthed instinct  frightening tarry proper entire light  boundaries innocence pursuit ago discover left  youth's unknowing sacred time place meager  simple fact cast ceaseless wide-eyed literal  apparent coincidence create boldness morphed  crooked kempt mere stumble buried shutter fairy  pivotal definitive months worth shear ambition sound required journeyed self-reflections title  facets vague restless intimation gut wanderer's  leap motivate path account boy soon bears faith  question tripped reasons uproot awaited confronted days step heal provocations wisps crushing transcend chronicles instance  directness raw drove occurrence objective-less  real enters slightest confident nondescript  typify  foreshortened interment paradox bitter heart  devoid jeopardy angry sensation confidential guilty arrogance mercy compliance reprieve  vincent deadening factual sign emotion awe  inhibition shackled butterflies absence actual sciences acknowledgement violent stagnant  spiritual American doors roots lack matted fore  gestures society cause streams intensity hair impossible discord lonely hearts resounding  jest  what's flavored pains closed toxic contented  happenstance scientific knowledge yeah  wizardry shaking stifled withdrawn bloom  jitter dreads settle asocial hulton make  predisposed figurative reflections demeanors  wondered affect hulton's projected sense  morning industry arrays ghosts feeling  certainly endomorphic where's partially wrath  passer mornings jovial unease advertized asking  trash onward wished tempers media mentality connect pasts sharp-toothed scramble great colours trial test salvation continually lent  degree secretly subjection social waned  disconnected colors grimly intellectual civilization cash trading baffling particular  digest myths monumental ending seasons winter  repetition introducing agent everlasting  shoulders delivered honestly-- possession funny  continence history unsightly function suffering propulsion profession divulge familiar tugs era  importance capability perpetuation spite inventory words entirety leveling fray insight  date record continues writer getting evermore fellow tongue possessions identical proof accuracy education similar sack admittance  favor unravel conveyance guilt gives beginnings  predicting audacity definition bobby heady eaters frameless learned release stone grandeur sang  speak molds sleeps split built seats people folded  sheer pour evoked playhouse liquid boring  tellers frayed stark walked reality pleas doth  preformed shows beak pride squawks opinions  greatest bold stunning sightings he'd loudly slain  sunk watch legend precipice theater deeper compound commentator civility justly silly sin  reverent seen prophetic moral confounds notion  lacking explain attempt prolific viral estrange proclivity scorn hide blur pious strung eden's  horror cut skin arch cruel twig mother vile  pass lend woods peach shrunken trail man's canopy worn 434 eat warm limb familiar father delete.

You are what your reading lady. Now would you hold this gun?
Brian O'blivion Oct 2013
where solar lips are parted
and crescent ******* hardened
cobalt fire licks your name off its oldest breath
this ****** hollow bends its neck through thermal skies and sand
scarlet waves of heat off your (sweet ancestral) hand
come inside, the door is open. the answer's always yes

Medusa’s gaze would turn to sand
if she knew the stony glories spanned
within rock candy walls ablaze
flood plains carry hydrogen freight
from your abyss' collapsing weight
the broken ***** flowers rusting in the haze

long stem bows in the cut orchestral
steal blood from the times ancestral
the ink has spilled and left a stain
under folded layers of skin
that the mirror reflects from views within
your eyes are naked lights, innumerable and plain.
retrofitted, edited and repurposed...like, simultaneously...
Al Drood  Jul 2018
Ancestral Home
Al Drood Jul 2018
By green and windblown rippled slopes
where cattle graze in summer sun;
beneath blue skies when larks sing shrill
and rabbits by the hedgerows run.
When meadowsweet and columbine
bedeck the lea like ocean foam;
we soft return like shadows lost
to seek our old ancestral home.

Within the tree-lined borderlands
we wait until the day is done;
‘til passing fancies leave us be
and once again our time is come.
When doors and gates are closed and locked
we slip within as night winds roam;
and talk in whispered secrecy
of times in our ancestral home.

No more within cold fireplace
do fallen logs burn bright and fair;
from panelled walls in sullen oils
dark portraits of the long-dead stare.
On bowing shelves of oak repose
forgotten tales in leathern tome;
unread by men for centuries,
hid deep in our ancestral home.

And through the marches of the night
we drift from room to balcony;
recalling days of childhood lost,
the laughter of sweet memory.
Yet all too soon we must be gone
‘ere birds again chorale the dawn;
and disappear like shadows soft
that fly from our ancestral home.
At Oakwell Hall, an Elizabethan manor house in West Yorkshire.
Prathipa Nair Jun 2016
It was the month of April
Was in grade seventh or eighth
Spending summer holidays
With my mischievous cousins
In my ancestral home
One night making me
Scary and neurotic
Jingling sound of anklets
Woke me from my sleep
That sound climbing upstairs
Nearing to our bed where
Me and my cousin slept
Waking her from her sleep
With a fear on her face
Pale with yellow and red

Moving towards us rapidly
With a aim to harm us
Closing our eyes tight
Holding our hands together
Heart beating faster like a cheetah
Becoming speechless
Trying to call out louder
Someone to help us
But was in vain to do so
Came out my voice
Just to reach my mother
Came running to us with
A fear and looking worried
Hugging her with tears
Running downstairs like a lightning

Narrating the nightmare
In the morning to granny
Heard an ancestral story
About the jingling of anklets
In excitement was she
Annotating about Gods
Walking through the streets
Their legs with anklets
And hands with iron chains
Protecting the people from
The darkness and evils
Lucky are those who can
Hear that Holy sound
With an innocent smile
Felt how lucky we are !
THE RAT AND THE PREGNANT WOMAN


A story poem

BY

Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya;aopicho@yahoo.com)



Dedicated to;
My mother Neddy Nabisino Mayende Kuloba Makhakara
And her mother Maritini Nabengele Nasenya Mulemia Namugugu Ilungu wa Wenwa.
The story telling power of these two ladies is the primary source of my passion and love for humorous and peace bettling stories. I owe them all the recognitions.







OPENING SONG
How do I start telling this story that I got from my
Grandmothers when sited around the fire yard in the evening?
I don’t know how to start surely,
For to day I am very shy; all of your eyes
Are on me, looking at me like ocean of looking organs
But let me embolden my self with the belt
Of a story teller that my grand father gave me
And commanded me to preach peace
Through story telling in every place I go
So my spiritual service to humanity is telling stories
Is to soothe and heal wounds of humanity
By softly telling peaceful stories
Let me then cough to clear my voice and start;

Long time ago, but not very long time
Some where between the centuries of twelve hundred
And seventeen hundred after the death of the other Jewish
Story teller who died without a wife, who died on the cross
But others say he died on the stake, his name was Jesus,
There existed only two kingdoms in land which is known today
As Bukusu land found in the present east Africa or Indian Ocean coastal Africa,
The first occupants of this vast land is the sons and daughters of Babukusu
Or the ones who like selling ironsmith products
And hence the name the people of Bukusu; the people who sell,
The two kingdoms were the Kingdom of muntu and the kingdom of manani
The citizens in the kingdom of muntu were short men and short women
Handsome and beautiful, slender and not assertive in their physical disposition
But the citizens of the kingdom of manani were all cyclopic,
In their everything; the manner of walking, talking farting, micturating
Farming, breathing, snoring, smiling, singing, whispering
Their whisper was a noisy as the tropical thunderclap
They were tall men and tall women, very tall
Their young person was as short as the tallest
Person in the kingdom of muntu,
When one of the citizen of manani snores
All the citizens of Muntu along together with,
Their king Walumoli wa Muntu had no option
But remain awake throughout the night,
Because the cacophony of a snore from
The sleeping courts of Manani was not bearable,

On many occasions Walumoli wa Muntu
The conscientious king of the muntu kingdom
Had arranged to talk to Silinki wa Namunguba
The ostensible king of the Manani Kingdom
About the cacophonous sleep robbing
Snores of daughters and sons in neighbour kingdom of Manani
Only to cow and chicken away in a feat of prudence
Lest Silinki wa Namunguba will suspect him for being
A night runner or a thief of *** perhaps
Who roams his compound during the wee of the night
In hunt of any of Namunguba’s wife maybe
Perchance having gone out for a mid-night *******,
This is how legendary snores of the sons and daughters
Of Silinki wa Namunguba the king of Manani
Has remained unchecked for ever till today,

One time an ugly passer by happened to be seen
Traversing the kingdom of muntu
In the early afternoon some two
Hours after Walumoli the king
Had just cleared the last plate
Of the mid day meal from
His last wife Khatembete Kho Bwibo Khakhalikaha Nobwoya
He always eats her food last in the afternoon
Because it comes on the table steaming youthfulness
He loves his Khatembete wife, the wife of his old age
The wife he married by use and show of the royal regalia
The powers and dignity of the king of muntu
He married her when he his a king, the scepter in his hand,

Going back to the ugly passer by
It was never known where he came from
Not from the east where the Indian Ocean is
Not from the west where the vastness of the land
Of black people of Baganda and Bacongo
Baigbo and Bayoruba or Bafulana of Nigeria
Or the sons of Madiokor Ngoni Diop in the Senegal,
Not from the south from shaka the Zulu and Mandella the wise one
Not from north in the land of Dinka and Nuer, Ethiopian Jewish and the Egyptians,
The passerby was ugly and from no where, in a dress and
A very ***** dress that fumed out a malodorously stenching reek
He was a man in attires of a woman; this was a taboo in the land of muntu
He was left handed and a heavy weight stammerer, with an appalling
Protuberation of   a hunched back, an enormous hunchback
Enmassing entired of his masculine shoulders,
When the wind blew his loose dress followed it
Leaving the man’s thighs and then bossom naked,
Leading bystanders to a strange discovery; he was not circumcised
He was old like any other father, he had beards
But not yet circumcised, his ***** ends in corkscrew of a sheath,
This was a taboo in the land of muntu, in the kingdom of muntu
Which Walumoli wa Muntu the son of Mukitang’a Mutukuika ruled
For the spirits, gods and ancestors as well as foremen of the kingdom
Behooved that all male offsprings of the kingdom of muntu
Whether born in marriage or out of the wedlock
Born the blood or born as a ******* must and must be
Circumcised in the early teen hood
They must be circumcised before they grow the hairs
On the face, on the chest, in the scapula and on the areas
Surrounding the testicles, the **** and the endings of the backbone,
The man again had six fingers on the legs and on the hands
He walks slowly like a porcupine, his dress was in tartars
He was violent to every one he met
Insulting old people and old women with words
Of bad manners not used in the kingdom of muntu,
He terrified and beat young children, including the royal children
And grand children of Walumoli the king of muntu
He again had to beat and chase nine young virgins
Who had come from the palace of Walumoli the king of Muntu
Away from the forest when they picking fire wood
As well as playing a game of hide and seek with other palace lads,
The ugly passer by then chased to get hold of the
Nalukosi the first born daughter of
Khatembete Kho Bwibo Khakhalikaha Nobwoya
The beloved last wife of the king of Muntu
All other virgins ran home, but Nalukosi remained behind
In the inextricable grip of the ugly passer by
She screamed with hysteria of a hypochondriac
She screamed and kicked with her wholesome mighty
The stubborn passer by never left her alone
She gnawed the ugly passer by with
Her girlish claws of her fingernails
But is like the passer by was mentally disordered
He was a ******* of some time
He derived some pleasure and instead
Enjoyed the girlish scratches of his captive,
Before the eight running virgins reached the palace
Together with their companions, the playmate lads
The shrilling scream of the captive Nalukosi
Was sharply heard at the palace, first by King Walumoli
Who called his wife Khatembete Kho Bwibo Khakhalikha Nobwoya
To come out of the hut, the kitchen and help to listen,
Immediately Mukisu wa Mujonji the palace keeper surfaced
His face displayed genuine askance of an adept military man
Whose martial arts have rusted for a week without usage
He confirmed to the king that the cry from the forest
Is of the one from this royal home of your majesty the king
And none other than the ****** princes Nalukosi Mukoyonjo
The pride of her father, the eye of the palace,
Without hesitation the king permitted the wallabying Mukisu ,
Permission to run in a military dint and find out whatever that
Was eating Nalukosi Mukoyonjo the familial heart of the king,
Mukisu wa Mujonji who was clearly known in the kingdom of muntu,
For his swift running like a desert kite, he already twice chased
And gotten single handedly two male gazelles,
Without aid of a dog nor aid of fellow hunters
And delivered them to the king as a present to the palace
Which he achieved because of the speed of his legs,
On this royal permission he unsheathed his matchette
And went away like any arrow from the bow
His shirt trailing behind him like mare’s tail
Or like the flag on the post on a windy day,
Not a lot of time passed.
Mukisu wa Mujonji is at the spot of struggle,
Between Nalukosi and the Ugly passerby
There was no question or talking,
The first thing was Mukisu to sink the Matchette
With all of his mighty into the tummy of the ugly stranger
The bowels of the ugly stranger opened puffwiiii!
He breathed and gasped twice then succumbed to death.
His grip still strong on the leg of Nalukosi Mukoyonjo
The ugly passer by reached the rigor Mortis
When Nalukosi was still strongly gripped in his
Beastly hand, Mukisu wa Mujonji with all the skills
Used a Sharp matchette again; chopped of the hand
Of the ugly dead passer by off, from its torso
At the point of the muscular elbow,
Now Nalukosi was extricated, but not fully
From the grip of the dead ugly stranger,
The chopped off hand is still knotted at her leg
Around her leg, the dead hand also grips.
Nalukosi jumped here and there to throw away
The leg and the dead hand, but it was not easy to throw
The hand still stubbornly gripped around her angle,
*** time passed, each and every one of the kingdom came
Including the king Walumoli wa Muntu himself
And his nine wives, Khatembete Khobwibo Khakhalikha Nobwoya
Came last, as she was energyless due to rudely shocking tidings
Which the escaping virgins and lads had given her
That the ugly passer by had turned into the ogre
And had swallowed her daughter Nalukosi
That he had swallowed her piecemeal without chewing,
People of muntu came and found the ugly passerby dead
The left had chopped off its torso
But still hanging loosely on the leg of Nalukosi
Nalukosi jumping, kicking, screaming
Screaming away the dead hand from the grip of leg
But nothing had forthcame her way,
Walumoli wa Muntu could not afford to see
The hand on the leg of her beloved daughter
What could he tell his wife, is your all know
Dear reader and audience to this song;
Even the mighty and the wise ones
Generously bend when under the pressure of love,
Out of this dint, even before Mukisu wa Mujonji
Could display his next military card
Walumoli wa Muntu grapped the dead hand
That stuck of the leg of her daughter
And pulled it with another force that
No man born of woman has
Never used since the creation of the earth
By the gods and spirits of Muntu,
The hand come off, he throw it
On the cadaver of the ugly stranger,
He clicked and clicked and hissed
With anger like a wild turkey
In the African thorny forest,
He ordered the dead one to be buried
Their without haste, nor ceremony
Mukisu wa Mujonji buried the body
Quickly in a brief moment with precision
As if he was taking notes
From the lines of the poem
OF Pablo Neruda on how
To bury a dog behind the house
This time burying an ugly stranger
Behind the forts of the kingdom,
After all these women, children and men
Of muntu plus their king Walumoli
Went back to their houses hilariously
Broken into a song and a wild *** dance;
Makoe eehe! Makoe !
Nifwe Talangi Makoe !
Talangi!
Khwaula embogo sitella
Nifwe Talangi!
They sang up to midnight before
They all retired to their beds
Respective beds with panting thoraces
From heavy singing and dancing.

There is connection and disconexion between
The living and the dead, the living fear the dead
And dead loves the living,
The dead want the company of the living
For the living to accompany in the land of the dead,
When the ugly stranger was killed
And buried uncircumcised with the hunch
Not plucked out of his back
The gods and the livings dead
In the realm of the ancestors
Of the kingdom of Muntu were not happy,
They never wanted uncircumcised old man
With a hunch back to join them
And worse enough with the six fingers,
The gods and ancestors really god annoyed
That Walumoli wa Muntu has done them bad
He is only caring for the living, the pre-mortals
Especially his last wife and the daughter
But he has neglected the ancestors,
Why trash to ancestors a stark humanity,
They communed among themselves
And resolved to sent Namaroro
The god of dreams, dreams as messages
From the ancestors and dreams from the gods
Namaroro visited Namunyu Lubunda the palace
Prophet in the Kingdom of Muntu to pass
The message vesseling unhappiness of the ancestors
And gods in a blend of gloomy read to execute
A vendetta;
This is when in the wee of the night that Namunyu Lubunda
Dreamed and had a vision of a old man from
The east is warning of the coming long spell of starvation
That will befall the kingdom of Muntu for ten years
                                      That Namaroro told Namunyu Lubunda
As for ten seasons of foodlessness
Behold a begging kingdom
Behold a starving throne,
The scepter of Muntu is a disgrace
To the holder
Then Namunyu Lubunda set forth by dawn
To the Palace to meet Walumoli wa Muntu
In his, palace before any other royal chores come up,
Both good and bad luck combined
Only to have Namunyu Lubunda to get the king at the palace
He got him fresh and relaxed chewing the cup of fortune
In his full ego, all his wives had submitted to the morning dishes
To his dining hall in the palace, he moved his hands from
One plate of food to the other.
Namunyu Lubunda entered with a submissive salutation
To the royal, He bowed and declared the glory of the king
In typical standards of the ethnic composition of the house of Muntu
Walumoli wa Muntu Mukitang’a Mutukuika
Majave Kutusi Mbirira Omwene esimbo ya
Kumukasa,
Walumoli responded with a feat of dignity to Namunyu Lubunda
The palace prophet, as he roared to him; come in
Come in son of Lubunda son of our people,
He did mention the name of Namunyu Lubunda father
As he fears his words may escape with the power
Of his kingdom the scepter of Muntu
To other insignificant families in the kingdom,
Let me announce what brings me here; intoned Namunyu
Go ahead and announce my holiness
s the prophet of this kingdom; responded Walumoli,
Misfortune is awaiting the kingdom
It will eat this kingdom away
Like a ravenous hyena on the ewe’s tail
The ancestors and the spirits of this land
This kingdom of yours the son of Muntu
Are immensely offended with your recent behaviour
In which you commandeered all villages
In your kingdom; from east and west
The **** the innocent passer by
With your owner hands that handle the scepter
You killed and lay to rest the foreigner
A pure omurende to the kingdom of muntu
You buried him uncircumcised without contrite
In the cemeteries of our foremen who asleep and circumcised
Why did you lower the dignity of our forefathers
Who never share a roof with uncircumcised person
To share the ancestral realm; our emagombe
With hunchback foreigner not circumcised?
This kingdom is condemned to all spell of curse of death
Ceaseless hunger famines and starvation
Women dwindle in their reproductive capacity
Rarely will you come across a pregnant woman
Food will be difficulty to put on the table
Even the sweat of your brow will go to naught,
You will not be buried with insignia
Like a pauper you killed will you be buried
The house of your wife Khatembete Kho Bwibo
Khakhalikha no bwoya is a house of no consequences
For even your daughter Nalukosi stands cursed
She will not mature to be wedded into a marriage
She will hover the earth under heavy agonies of hunger,
My assignment is done and over
With or without your permission let me go.









THE FIRST SONG
Our song continues dear brethren
Come join me in arms we sing
Joyous singing of these songs of peace
Telling the world peaceful stories
As we enjoy sitting together around my grandmothers fire yard
Warming our selves to her lovely fire inherent in her good stories,
These songs will sing the glory and success of the king of Manani
It is an irregular Ode to Silinki wa Namunguba the son of Mwangani,
The son of Tunduli, the son of Wajala Njovu, the son of Welikhe, the son
Of manyorori, the son of Chumbe, the son of Kajo, the Son of Mabati, the son of welotia,
The son of sikele sia mulia, the son of Toywa,the son of siruju, the son of Mango, the son of Mulwoni sinyanya Bakhasi, the son of Mbakara , the son of Makhakara wa Nambuya, the son of Mukoye mulala kukhalikha w0nga, the son of Zumba the son of God.
Silinki
Kuzhur Wilson Sep 2013
My poetry, which knew it was
the cry of a lonely bird
on a solitary tree
in my village,
asked Spring its name.

Spring began to speak –

The fruit laden Vayyankatha, her thorny pangs, hijab-wearing  Guf, her minarets, Thondi  blushing red with kisses,  her moist lips, orphaned Adalodakam, Nellippuli in a polka dotted dress, Pulivakawaiting for the breeze, Anjili   head towards the south, yawning Cherupuuna, Pera with the names of grandmas scribbled on her leaves, Ilantha blowing into the hearth, Ilapongu rubbing his eyes, Irippa, Atha laughing noisily,Cholavenga in tattered clothes, Irumbakam, Padappa catching his breath after running, Pattipunna wagging his tail, bare footed Pattuthali, Thekku the noblest among them, Thekkotta, Neervalam  recollecting her last birth, Neeraal, sobbing Neelakkadambu, Pathimukam, lazy thanal murikku, Karimaruthu, Karinkura, Asttumayil, Velladevaram, Kattukadukka, the gluttonous Badam, amnesiac Vazhanna, boredVarachi, Nangmaila, Eucalyptuswith a sprained back, viscous red Rakthachandanam, saffron robed Rudraksham, Vakka, Vanchi,  Parangimaavu nostalgic of his ancestral home, Vari, Nedunaar, Marotti with a hundred offsprings, Malangara, Malampunna ,Nenmeni Vaka trying his luck in a lottery, Nelli with a sour smile.

Kadaplaavu doing sketches with leaves, Kari straying from the queue, Kattuthuvara buying things on credit, Kattutheyila boiling over, Kattupunna with a pus-oozing sore, Kumkumam putting a bindi on her forehead, starving Ventheku, Vellakadambu making a missed call, Kattadi standing aloof, her feeble hands,  flowering Ilanji, her fragrant trunk, sighing Aalmaram, Pachavattil, Pachilamaram  gossiping with the chameleon, Panachi,Pamparakumbil, Kadambu memories adorning her head, Kudamaram carrying provisions for the home,  Punnappa,Poongu, gray hairedChuruli, Chuvannakil  singing a folk song, dark skinned Vattil, Kulaku, Karinjaaval, sozzled Pamparam, Chorappayir, njama, Njaaval  tempting the birds, Njaara, Alasippooscratching his palm, Ashokam  humming a sad song.

Ezhilampala chewing on a masala paan, Peenaari wearing a tie, Peelivaka, Pulichakka with a broken leg, Pezhu demanding his wages, Kumbil, Kurangaadi, Kasukka with a dislocated elbow,Valiyakaara, Vallabham, Chavandi, stunning Chinnakil , Chittal with a failed brake, Vidana, Sheemappanji, the loan shark Odukku, Oda  on musth,fatherless Kadakonna, childlessShimshapa, Sindooram with a flushed face, Karinthakara singing the thannaaro, Vellappayir high on grass, Poothilanji showing off her blossoms, sour faced Kudampuli.

Wet in the rain Kulamaavu, Kudamaavu circling around himself, Pari from the netherworld,Poopathiri in a priest’s robe,  Poochakadambu on all fours, Kulappunna covered in a blanket, Kundalappala checking his astro forecast, Pachotti, ******* Perumaram, Perumbal  thinking of the sea, phlegm clogged Anathondi, Anakkotti, Cheruthuvara, Ilavangam, Thanni,naughty Thirukkalli,  Karappongu, embracing Kattadi, Thudali, Thelli, Kara, Malayathi,Malavirinji, shameless Kashumaavu,mud slinging Karuka, Vedinal, suicide prone Attumaruthu,Attuvanchi  who glides on the stream like a fallen shadow.

Mandaram  dressed in white, Vanna, brazen Mahagani, Karivelam doing the accounts,Jakarantha, Koombala, friendless Koovalam, Kattukamuku with his hands around friends, Kolli, Paruva,Krishnanaal with a crooked smile, Cocoa with no one to turn to, Cork,Palakapayyani, Pavizhamalli wearing necklace and bangles, a lonely Mazhamaram, Mangium, Mathalam exposing her *******, Chemmaram, Pashakottamaram, Malavembu, tearful Chamatha, Vatta, Vattakoombitired of running around, smoking Pine, Porippovanam, Kaaluvnthatherakam, Thembaavu, grinningDantaputri, Narivenga, Navathi, grumbling Mazhukkanjiram,Arayanjili,  Arayal playing a game with the wind.

Choola kissing the sizzling wind, Arinelli, Maavu reciting sadly the poem Mampazham,  Chandana vembu, Peraal stretching its back, Pulivaaka, Unnam, Naythanbakam,Karpooram in a slow glow, Naaykumbil, trumpeting Pongu, outcast Pottavaaka, bursting Poriyal, vagabond Ponthavaaka, Plaavu lost in some thought, Pootham  head covered , Ethappana  greening while yellowing, Manjadi, Mullanvenga, Mullilam lifting his dhoti to expose his genitals, Mullilavu hopping around, Moongappezhu, Neermaruthu saying enough is enough, withered Neermathalam ,Moottikkay, Ithi, Ithiyaal, Vella velam, Kalppayir, Kallar, Majakkadambu singing a lullaby, Choondappana wary of fish bones.

Stooping Punna, Matti scared of her big brother, Paarijaatham watching the midnight movie, Paalakal, Paali,Paarakam doing cartwheels, Viri, Athi showing off  her seeds,Ampazhammassaging his chest, Ayani inlove with her son, Manjakkonna, Manjamandaram in search of something, Chullithi with eyes closed, Kallilavu like an oozing rock, Malamandaram eyeing the vultures,Velleetti cursing the thunder, Venga,Veppu, Vraali, Akil, sighing Acacia,Balsa, Blanka, Beedimaram with a rattling cough,  Agasthi, Cherukonna with a sheepish smile, Kambali, woundedNagamaram.

Pathiri, touching his forehead to the ground, his eyes heavenward, Ankolam ruined by debts,Kattumarotti, Kundalappala, Aattumaruthu,Poovam, Erumanaakku, Karingotta, Vediplaavu his salary still unpaid, Venmurikku, Manjanaathi, Manimaruthu jolted awake, Mathagirivembu, Karaanjili  escorting his daughter, Karakongu,Karappongu, Ilippa on her way back, Ooravu half-awake after a dream and with a sucker smile, Ennappana about to immolate himself, fattened  Ennappine,Azhantha waiting for someone, Chorapatri with a cracked head,Sheemappoola,Poovankara, Malampuli, Puli with sharpened stakes.

Obese Theettipplaavu,Malambongu, Chorimathimurikku, Irippa bailing out his friend, Irumbakamwho lost his job, Kunkumappoo, Karinthaali, Scoot, Rose Kadambu, Aamathali, Aarampuli,Attilippucaught in the crowd, Irul  blessed by the elders, Vellavatti, whistling Mula, Kattukonna in a hat, Kaniiram learning the alphabets, broker Cheru,Kattuchembakam exposing his arm pit,Thandidiyan, Neeroli, Ezhachembakam waiting for her bus, Karimbana in a newly constructed house, Karivenga,Karivali writing a poem, Ungu in a baby frock, Udi, Plasha, Elamaruthupromising to meet later, Chembakam dying to hug.

Vellakil who bathes the kids, Vellavaaka who forgot his umbrella, Attuthekku who failed the exam, lustful Aattunochi,Malanthudali with her legs spread, Malanthengu with chest ****** up,Malamanchadi who is learning to count, Malambarathi exposing her *******, intoxicated Aval, Arana reciting the poem Karuna, insane Alakku who dashes off to the temple, Cheru who cannot stop washing clothes, Kudappana ready to elope, irreligious Jaathi, Silver Oak laughing boisterously, Kattuveppu waiting for the kids, Sumami ******* on a toffee, annoyed Parappoola,frightened Pinar, Ithi stopping her ears at swear words, Ithiyal with lots of smiles, Kovidaram with music in his mind, Ilakkali showing her belly, blossoming Ilavu, Chadachi who ***** sadistically, cool fingered Chandanam.

dominating Charakkonna, office going Cheelanthi, Gulgulu glued to Kochu channel, Gulmohur with dyed hair, Irul with a fuming face, early rising Kanikonna, Kanala who has a sound sleep, Karingali  who pees standing, Kambakam with an ***** *****, Kallavi  beseeching to stuff her up, Karanjili  quivering in lust, calm Karaal, Kaari who hums while *******, Kaavalam who naps after the toil,Thannimaram showing off her petals, Thambakam kissing the ****, Thellipayar savouring a *****,Neerkurunda in post-****** languor, Malaya breastfeeding her kid, bullying Kathi, mad hat Eetti,Cheeni  not remembering his mom,  Kunnivaka showing his gums, Kuppamanja who laughs in sleep, Othalanga swallowing poison, blooming Poovarasu.

Spring went on,
reeling off names to me.
The rain the sun the wind and the cold
Rolled in one after the other.
Spring kept pulling out
names from its memory.

People got scared of
my poetry gone wild.
They stopped passing that way.

A snake goes slithering away.
A hare finds its own path and dashes away.
A poothankiri, from a bush, flies away.



(Trans from Malayalam by Ra Sh)
1.      Mampazham (Ripe Mango) is the title of a famouspoem by Vyloppilli.
2.      Karuna (Compassion) is the title of a long poemby Kumaran Asan.
3.      Poothankiri – A white headed babbler.
4.      Thanaaro - An obscene devotional song.
Shalini Nayar Sep 2014
the hundred year old stairs
wakes up from its dreamless slumber
to find the world has spun
for an infinity too long

it once roamed
and ruled
the household of Chathanathodi
making way to the rooms
upstairs
that conspired a thousand
whispered secrets

simultaneously
sprawling its termite-infested legs
to make way
downstairs
that injected an aura of
omnipotence

its laddery body was now a little chipped
and its creaky joints, a little shaky
but it didn't matter
as it was still conspicuous
and strong
like Hercules
leading unsuspecting mortals
upstairs and downstairs
to its universe of Gods

Shalini Nayar
© 2001
I am an African
My skin is black
My hair is black
I am black
I take pride in my blackness
For my colour is not a badge
Of shame, but an identity,
Yes black is my identify
Africa is my identity
I am the son  of the black soil,
A soil rich in history
And blessed with diverse cultures
Each unique in their own way,
I am an African
Africa a nation of the oppressed
But slowly rising to conquer
And claim what is theirs
From the oppressors,
Yes the sleeping sons of Jacob
Are rising,  slowly realising
Their potential as nation ,
Yes my fellow Africans are rising
The black nation is on its knees
I'm a proud african,
Africa my roots
Africa my identity
Africa my ancestral land
Africa my home
Africa is who i am
I am African

Copyrights.

Taetso jojo

— The End —