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Sally A Bayan Aug 2018
..


Save from the hidden nests of birds,
it was the only one there...isolated,
like an isle...crested on the leveled
top of a gorge...its way down or up
was through a hand-carved series of
steps on its *****...at its front was a
curved gorge......one would think,
it was trying to cross over

the cottage was small, weather-beaten,
desolate......its wooden walls seemed to
have shrunk...its faded colors proclaimed
its age...its having survived past storms....
from its window, the stream was seen,
and heard, flowing on and on between
these two precipitous valleys.

light came from the sun...and moon,
music was provided by the murmurs of
the forceful wind, the continuous flow of
water on the stream, the stirring of the leaves,
the crackling of branches and twigs, the birds'
singing in the spring...the pounding of heavy
rains on its roof...and countless other hymns
of nature......the dweller had heard them all...

beneath a lonely moon glow,
when nights were cold,
there hovered low 'pon its aged roof,
rounds of layered fog...like a series of
steps....like a stairway to the sky...
fog slyly crept, and wilfully shrouded
the cottage.....it vanished from view,
the two gorges and the stream, hushed,
in the dark loneliness of that secluded
spot......their vulnerabilities, trapped
inside....misshapen silhouettes...

in light and in dark,
the whistles of nearing and departing
boats....were wailing, haunting calls,
piercing the peaceful calm of the valleys, or,
maybe, the stilled complacence of the cottage,
or...of the one living in that lonely cottage,
...lost, or gone astray, now weary and worn,
willing to be found...longing to be reunited
.......with the light and warmth of love...

the cottage, the gorges, and the stream
would be loneliest,
without the cottage dweller...


Sally

© Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
August 27th, 2018
"...no man is an island..."
Nicole Dawn May 2015
There once was a little thatch cottage,
With little happy children,
A little green garden,
And a perfect little family.

Then the little children's father
Got cancer and died.
And the perfect little family
In the little thatch cottage,
Was not so perfect anymore.

The little children grew up,
And soon moved away.
And the little children's mother,
Now a little old lady,
Was a little more lonely.

The little old lady
Then passed away,
In the little thatch cottage.
No one lived there again.

The little thatch cottage,
Got surrounded by the forest,
Then was struck by lightening,
And burned to the ground.

The little thatch cottage,
Is now no more.
Nature has taken it.
And it will never be returned.
I don't even know.......
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
She said, ‘You are funny, the way you set yourself up the moment we arrive. You look into every room to see if it’s suitable as a place to work. Is there a table? Where are the plugs? Is there a good chair at the right height? If there isn’t, are there cushions to make it so? You are funny.’
 
He countered this, but his excuse didn’t sound very convincing. He knew exactly what she meant, but it hurt him a little that she should think it ‘funny’. There’s nothing funny about trying to compose music, he thought. It’s not ‘radio in the head’ you know – this was a favourite expression he’d once heard an American composer use. You don’t just turn a switch and the music’s playing, waiting for you to write it down. You have to find it – though he believed it was usually there, somewhere, waiting to be found. But it’s elusive. You have to work hard to detect what might be there, there in the silence of your imagination.
 
Later over their first meal in this large cottage she said, ‘How do you stop hearing all those settings of the Mass that you must have heard or sung since childhood?’ She’d been rehearsing Verdi’s Requiem recently and was full of snippets of this stirring piece. He was a) writing a Mass to celebrate a cathedral’s reordering after a year as a building site, and b) he’d been a boy chorister and the form and order of the Mass was deeply engrained in his aural memory. He only had to hear the plainsong introduction Gloria in Excelsis Deo to be back in the Queen’s chapel singing Palestrina, or Byrd or Poulenc.
 
His ‘found’ corner was in the living room. The table wasn’t a table but a long cabinet she’d kindly covered with a tablecloth. You couldn’t get your feet under the thing, but with his little portable drawing board there was space to sit properly because the board jutted out beyond the cabinet’s top. It was the right length and its depth was OK, enough space for the board and, next to it, his laptop computer. On the floor beside his chair he placed a few of his reference scores and a box of necessary ‘bits’.
 
The room had two large sofas, an equally large television, some unexplainable and instantly dismissible items of decoration, a standard lamp, and a wood burning stove. The stove was wonderful, and on their second evening in the cottage, when clear skies and a stiff breeze promised a cold night, she’d lit it and, as the evening progressed, they basked in its warmth, she filling envelopes with her cards, he struggling with sleep over a book.
 
Despite and because this was a new, though temporary, location he had got up at 5.0am. This is a usual time for composers who need their daily fix of absolute quiet. And here, in this cottage set amidst autumn fields, within sight of a river estuary, under vast, panoramic uninterrupted skies, there was the distinct possibility of silence – all day. The double-glazing made doubly sure of that.
 
He had sat with a mug of tea at 5.10 and contemplated the silence, or rather what infiltrated the stillness of the cottage as sound. In the kitchen the clock ticked, the refrigerator seemed to need a period of machine noise once its door had been opened. At 6.0am the central heating fired up for a while. Outside, the small fruit trees in the garden moved vigorously in the wind, but he couldn’t hear either the wind or a rustle of leaves.  A car droned past on the nearby road. The clear sky began to lighten promising a fine day. This would certainly do for silence.
 
His thoughts returned to her question of the previous evening, and his answer. He was about to face up to his explanation. ‘I empty myself of all musical sound’, he’d said, ‘I imagine an empty space into which I might bring a single note, a long held drone of a note, a ‘d’ above middle ‘c’ on a chamber ***** (seeing it’s a Mass I’m writing).  Harrison Birtwistle always starts on an ‘e’. A ‘d’ to me seems older and kinder. An ‘e’ is too modern and progressive, slightly brash and noisy.’
 
He can see she is quizzical with this anecdotal stuff. Is he having me on? But no, he is not having her on. Such choices are important. Without them progress would be difficult when the thinking and planning has to stop and the composing has to begin. His notebook, sitting on his drawing board with some first sketches, plays testament to that. In this book glimpses of music appear in rhythmic abstracts, though rarely any pitches, and there are pages of written description. He likes to imagine what a new work is, and what it is not. This he writes down. Composer Paul Hindemith reckoned you had first to address the ‘conditions of performance’. That meant thinking about the performers, the location, above all the context. A Mass can be, for a composer, so many things. There were certainly requirements and constraints. The commission had to fulfil a number of criteria, some imposed by circumstance, some self-imposed by desire. All this goes into the melting ***, or rather the notebook. And after the notebook, he takes a large piece of A3 paper and clarifies this thinking and planning onto (if possible) a single sheet.
 
And so, to the task in hand. His objective, he had decided, is to focus on the whole rather than the particular. Don’t think about the Kyrie on its own, but consider how it lies with the Gloria. And so with the Sanctus & Benedictus. How do they connect to the Agnus Dei. He begins on the A3 sheet of plain paper ‘making a map of connections’. Kyrie to Gloria, Gloria to Credo and so on. Then what about Agnus Dei and the Gloria? Is there going to be any commonality – in rhythm, pace and tempo (we’ll leave melody and harmony for now)? Steady, he finds himself saying, aren’t we going back over old ground? His notebook has pages of attempts at rhythmizing the text. There are just so many ways to do this. Each rhythmic solution begets a different slant of meaning.
 
This is to be a congregational Mass, but one that has a role for a 4-part choir and ***** and a ‘jazz instrument’. Impatient to see notes on paper, he composes a new introduction to a Kyrie as a rhythmic sketch, then, experimentally, adds pitches. He scores it fully, just 10 bars or so, but it is barely finished before his critical inner voice says, ‘What’s this for? Do you all need this? This is showing off.’ So the filled-out sketch drops to the floor and he examines this element of ‘beginning’ the incipit.
 
He remembers how a meditation on that word inhabits the opening chapter of George Steiner’s great book Grammars of Creation. He sees in his mind’s eye the complex, colourful and ornate letter that begins the Lindesfarne Gospels. His beginnings for each movement, he decides, might be two chords, one overlaying the other: two ‘simple’ diatonic chords when sounded separately, but complex and with a measure of mystery when played together. The Mass is often described as a mystery. It is that ritual of a meal undertaken by a community of people who in the breaking of bread and wine wish to bring God’s presence amongst them. So it is a mystery. And so, he tells himself, his music will aim to hold something of mystery. It should not be a comment on that mystery, but be a mystery itself. It should not be homely and comfortable; it should be as minimal and sparing of musical commentary as possible.
 
When, as a teenager, he first began to set words to music he quickly experienced the need (it seemed) to fashion accompaniments that were commentaries on the text the voice was singing. These accompaniments did not underpin the words so much as add a commentary upon them. What lay beneath the words was his reaction, indeed imaginative extension of the words. He eschewed then both melisma and repetition. He sought an extreme independence between word and music, even though the word became the scenario of the music. Any musical setting was derived from the composition of the vocal line.  It was all about finding the ‘key’ to a song, what unlocked the door to the room of life it occupied. The music was the room where the poem’s utterance lived.
 
With a Mass you were in trouble for the outset. There was a poetry of sorts, but poetry that, in the countless versions of the vernacular, had lost (perhaps had never had) the resonance of the Latin. He thought suddenly of the supposed words of William Byrd, ‘He who sings prays twice’. Yes, such commonplace words are intercessional, but when sung become more than they are. But he knew he had to be careful here.
 
Why do we sing the words of the Mass he asks himself? Do we need to sing these words of the Mass? Are they the words that Christ spoke as he broke bread and poured wine to his friends and disciples at his last supper? The answer is no. Certainly these words of the Mass we usually sing surround the most intimate words of that final meal, words only the priest in Christ’s name may articulate.
 
Write out the words of the Mass that represent its collective worship and what do you have? Rather non-descript poetry? A kind of formula for collective incantation during worship? Can we read these words and not hear a surrounding music? He thinks for a moment of being asked to put new music to words of The Beatles. All you need is love. Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Oh bla dee oh bla da life goes on. Now, now this is silliness, his Critical Voice complains. And yet it’s not. When you compose a popular song the gap between some words scribbled on the back of an envelope and the hook of chords and melody developed in an accidental moment (that becomes a way of clothing such words) is often minimal. Apart, words and music seem like orphans in a storm. Together they are home and dry.
 
He realises, and not for the first time, that he is seeking a total musical solution to the whole of the setting of those words collectively given voice to by those participating in the Mass.
 
And so: to the task in hand. His objective: to focus on the whole rather than the particular.  Where had he heard that thought before? - when he had sat down at his drawing board an hour and half previously. He’d gone in a circle of thought, and with his sketch on the floor at his feet, nothing to show for all that effort.
 
Meanwhile the sun had risen. He could hear her moving about in the bathroom. He went to the kitchen and laid out what they would need to breakfast together. As he poured milk into a jug, primed the toaster, filled the kettle, the business of what might constitute a whole solution to this setting of the Mass followed him around the kitchen and breakfast room like a demanding child. He knew all about demanding children. How often had he come home from his studio to prepare breakfast and see small people to school? - more often than he cared to remember. And when he remembered he became sad that it was no more.  His children had so often provided a welcome buffer from sessions of intense thought and activity. He loved the walk to school, the first quarter of a mile through the park, a long avenue of chestnut trees. It was always the end of April and pink and white blossoms were appearing, or it was September and there were conkers everywhere. It was under these trees his daughter would skip and even his sons would hold hands with him; he would feel their warmth, their livingness.
 
But now, preparing breakfast, his Critical Voice was that demanding child and he realised when she appeared in the kitchen he spoke to her with a voice of an artist in conversation with his critics, not the voice of the man who had the previous night lost himself to joy in her dear embrace. And he was ashamed it was so.
 
How he loved her gentle manner as she negotiated his ‘coming too’ after those two hours of concentration and inner dialogue. Gradually, by the second cup of coffee he felt a right person, and the hours ahead did not seem too impossible.
 
When she’d gone off to her work, silence reasserted itself. He played his viola for half an hour, just scales and exercises and a few folk songs he was learning by heart. This gathering habit was, he would say if asked, to reassert his musicianship, the link between his body and making sound musically. That the viola seemed to resonate throughout his whole body gave him pleasure. He liked the ****** movement required to produce a flowing sequence of bow strokes. The trick at the end of this daily practice was to put the instrument in its case and move immediately to his desk. No pause to check email – that blight on a morning’s work. No pause to look at today’s list. Back to the work in hand: the Mass.
 
But instead his mind and intention seemed to slip sideways and almost unconsciously he found himself sketching (on the few remaining staves of a vocal experiment) what appeared to be a piano piece. The rhythmic flow of it seemed to dance across the page to be halted only when the few empty staves were filled. He knew this was one of those pieces that addressed the pianist, not the listener. He sat back in his chair and imagined a scenario of a pianist opening this music and after a few minutes’ reflection and reading through allowing her hands to move very slowly and silently a few millimetres over the keys.  Such imagining led him to hear possible harmonic simultaneities, dynamics and articulations, though he knew such things would probably be lost or reinvented on a second imagined ‘performance’. No matter. Now his make-believe pianist sounded the first bar out. It had a depth and a richness that surprised him – it was a fine piano. He was touched by its affect. He felt the possibilities of extending what he’d written. So he did. And for the next half an hour lived in the pastures of good continuation, those rich luxuriant meadows reached by a rickerty rackerty bridge and guarded by a troll who today was nowhere to be seen.
 
It was a curious piece. It came to a halt on an enigmatic, go-nowhere / go-anywhere chord after what seemed a short declamatory coda (he later added the marking deliberamente). Then, after a few minutes reflection he wrote a rising arpeggio, a broken chord in which the consonant elements gradually acquired a rising sequence of dissonance pitches until halted by a repetition. As he wrote this ending he realised that the repeated note, an ‘a’ flat, was a kind of fulcrum around which the whole of the music moved. It held an enigmatic presence in the harmony, being sometimes a g# sometimes an ‘a’ flat, and its function often different. It made the music take on a wistful quality.
 
At that point he thought of her little artists’ book series she had titled Tide Marks. Many of these were made of a concertina of folded pages revealing - as your eyes moved through its pages - something akin to the tide’s longitudinal mark. This centred on the page and spread away both upwards and downwards, just like those mirror images of coloured glass seen in a child’s kaleidoscope. No moment of view was ever quite the same, but there were commonalities born of the conditions of a certain day and time.  His ‘Tide Mark’ was just like that. He’d followed a mark made in his imagination from one point to another point a little distant. The musical working out also had a reflection mechanism: what started in one hand became mirrored in the other. He had unexpectedly supplied an ending, this arpegiated gesture of finality that wasn’t properly final but faded away. When he thought further about the role of the ending, he added a few more notes to the arpeggio, but notes that were not be sounded but ghosted, the player miming a press of the keys.
 
He looked at the clock. Nearly five o’clock. The afternoon had all but disappeared. Time had retreated into glorious silence . There had been three whole hours of it. How wonderful that was after months of battling with the incessant and draining turbulence of sound that was ever present in his city life. To be here in this quiet cottage he could now get thoroughly lost – in silence. Even when she was here he could be a few rooms apart, and find silence.
 
A week more of this, a fortnight even . . . but he knew he might only manage a few days before visitors arrived and his long day would be squeezed into the early morning hours and occasional uncertain periods when people were out and about.
 
When she returned, very soon now, she would make tea and cut cake, and they’d sit (like old people they wer
Marian  Jun 2013
Sunset Cottage
Marian Jun 2013
Down a long lane
With a sunset in the west
Flowers here and there
Tall firs and pines
From in the distance
The song of a bubbling creek
Comes from the dark beautiful forest
Where shade mingles with twilight skies
Only the faint painting of a sunset
Is left in the celestial veil of
Sky now
Slowly the colors
Bleed and fade
Then suddenly all together vanish
As I walk down this lane
Listening to the evening sounds
Crickets, cicadas, and katydids
The song of the whippoorwill
And the solo of the wood thrush
Makes me dance alone
On that long lane
Now I skip and now I jump
And now I twirl around
'Til I make my way to that sequestered cottage
That makes beauty sing
And happy tears cry
Some say it's just a cottage
Nothing fancy or grand
But in my heart I know
That this cottage is
A Home Sweet Home indeed
And I will always remember
This scene I created and painted in my head
Perhaps this painted journeys
Will help my broken heart heal
And my broken wings mend
Whenever I think of
Sunset Cottage

*~Marian~
I don't know if its just me but when you make a poem and describe what you imagine and create long fascinating journeys its like...like your on the best vacation EVER!!!! :) ~<3
Candy Glidden Jul 2010
Down by the lake, in the cottage made of stone
The porch is taken over by all the flowers grown.
The walkway needs weeded, and the chimney needs repairs
There are holes in the wood that we used to build the stairs.
The windows are fogged over from the dust in the air
Underneath the shade tree sits my worn out rocking chair.
Inside is full of cob webs, and smells of filthy must
The kitchen sink is tarnished, and covered in rust.
The bathrooms are molded from the absence of use
The wooden floors are covered with a thin coat of dew.
From the lack of attention and tender loving care
The beauty of the cottage has vanished in thin air.
If the time were taken to show how much we cared
The beauty of the cottage, and the warmth would still be there.
Over time it faded, the need of caring hands
Now down by the lake, the lonely cottage stands.
Copyright2004   Candy R. Glidden
Rangzeb Hussain Mar 2010
Long ago in shadows when the world was in magic robed,
Thus begins this tragic tale from times old,
A Mother and a bright girl did have a cottage near a hill,
On the edge of a creeping forest did they live.

Poor they were yet happy too with songs at dawn,
Nor did their stomachs in hunger churn or yawn,
Life was hard but they got by with chickens hatching hatching,
Eyes in the night always watching watching.

The Mother did always caution her delightful daughter,
“Freia, don’t be a lamb to the slaughter,
Wrap your apple blossom face from the dead eyes of dogs,
Beware the men who haunt the forest fog.”

The bright days were dreamed away in peace and solitude,
No neighbours did intrude,
Time slipped away over the misty mountains and innocent lambs,
The years ran on, so silently they ran.

One day in late autumn when Freia had maidenhood reached,
She was asked to gather wood for heat,
The days were getting shorter and the spiked nights were colder,
Shadows scratched by their door.

“Give me my red scarf quick for I want to be a girl good!
For you I will get sticks of tinder wood!”
But before she let go her dancing daughter dear
The Mother did speak of fear.

“Freia, hush and listen! Return quickly for I am in fear soaking,
Watch out for the wet croaking Water-Goblin
Who reigns and dines beneath the river and hides in woodbine,
Take heed, Lady Night upon the sky shows her signs.”

“Never fear, dear Mother wise of mine,” said Freia,
“Blind Mistress Night, ha!
She will never ever catch or lay her black claws upon me,
Just wait and see! Back I will be.”

Freia skipped and slipped into the forest loud with sound,
She was collecting wood from the ground
When an idea came darting and burrowed into her curious mind,
“There’s no Water-Goblin! It’s a tale to scare and blind.”

And to prove her Mother wrong about tales tall and long
She went to the riverbank to sing a song,
The place was dark and no bird sang in the gloomy twilight,
Bright bones upon the bank caught her sight.

A frosty wind licked her and goose-pimples did appear,
Her spine chilled and shivered,
She tried to brush off the terror in which she was crippled,
Upon the river her eyes spied a ripple.

Something was swimming and straight to her heading!
Her legs grew heavy and she stopped humming,
She stayed rooted as up her legs crawled spidery lice,
She stood like a statue carved out of ice.

Bubbles were breaking above the tar-like water ring,
The gap closing between her and the thing,
“O, why did I to this dead river come running and singing?
How I wish I was at home skipping!”

It was as if some magic older than time kept her frozen,
Freia had thus been chosen,
The gap between her and the creature was fast closing,
If only she was at home safely dozing!

She tried to shout but only dry silence puffed out,
Her eyes bulged, she was clouded in doubt,
Tears fell upon her cheeks but she still could not scream,
Cruel, O how wrong everything now seemed!

Something dark, something bleeding green greed
Crept from the water with fluid speed,
The creature from the river wrapped a long strong arm
And held Freia’s gentle palms.

“Mine!” it gurgled through gnashing sharp teeth.
“Please, no!” spoke Freia in fever’s heat.
“Bride you will be!” the scaly creature hugged and hissed,
With jagged lips he did upon Freia plant a kiss.

The Water-Goblin, for indeed it was he,
Dragged away Freia by the knee,
Into the cold and dank river he waded,
O, how his touch she hated!

“I’ll drown!” Freia screamed, “To the shore take me!”
“Please, no!” she tried to sense make him see,
“I’m sure to slip and sink and in the water drown and weep!”
“Will not,” spoke he, “Magic bubble I shall for you weave!”

He spun his murky magic and just as he had promised and hissed,
A large air bubble circled Freia’s body and hips,
He lowered her ever deeper into his Netherworld Kingdom,
Up above the sun into the horizon did drown.

The green-eyed Water-Goblin a wedding banquet did hold,
It was a hideous party truth be told,
The guests he had invited made Freia’s skin crawl,
Demons of all kinds smiled and prowled.

The poor girl dizzily danced with the greedy groom,
Her speech slurred and darkness loomed,
Her pulse quickened and her breath came in bursts short,
Her husband’s nails did pinch and hurt.

A year and a day passed away like a carnivorous nightmare
And Freia birthed a baby golden haired,
“Pretty child,” grunted the Water-Goblin, “Is it a boy?”
“No, it’s a girl,” spoke Freia with joy.

Freia enjoyed the happiness by and by tick,
But soon she became homesick,
She wished to see her Mother and to her show the baby,
In that watery Kingdom she was but a trophy.

“Please let me visit my mother?” she kept pleading.
“Never!” he kept repeating.
“Please?” Freia was all honey, clever and charming.
“Never ever!” he was no more laughing.

And so it went on, and on, each and every day,
The Water-Goblin did for an end pray,
“Wife go then,” he one day gave in and readily flipped,
“Back you must come!” he spat through rotted lips.  

“Go now,” he gestured with claws ******
And at the child in the crib he pointed,
“The baby tender and sweet will with me stay,
Come back or else she pays.”

Freia begged, “To my dear Mother I want to baby display.”
“Hark and hear!” he kicked the cot of clay,
“Listen to my dread law. The child here plays.
Return to me by dark of this day.”

He took her to the surface and released her from the spell
Which kept her prisoner in the river red,
She went away yet still she heard a warning burning in her ears,
“Be back before dark or else they be tears!”

When to the old cottage she arrived she wiped her tears,
Her Mother was sitting in the rocking chair,
In the very air floated cobwebs, dust and impending doom,
The room was cloaked in layers of grainy gloom.

Freia rushed to her Mother feeling sad and weak,
It had been a year since they last did speak,
Mother and daughter warmly hugged and held each other fast,
“O, my doll, you return at last from the past!”

Freia did to her Mother tell her tale from beginning to end,
She was broken and needed to mend,
To her Mother she told about her beautiful baby,
Outside, the light was fast fading.

“I must now go back to my darling child before dark
Or else my dread lord will bark
And wreck vengeance most sharp upon my precious pearl,
O, how I miss my darling girl!”

“But don’t you see?” began the wise Mother true,
“The Water-Goblin has no magic over you.
It is said that whosoever returns to dry land can the spell break
If they keep the Water-Goblin at bay till daybreak.”

“Will the vile Water-Goblin free me and my child sweet?
And will he shift this curse? O, do speak!”
“Yes! You and the baby will be safe,” the Mother explained,
“The Water-Goblin will crack and be in pain.”

“Now we wait for the night of shadows long,” said the Mother poor
As she bolted the door,
“Go and bar the kitchen windows, I begin to feel sick,
Lock also the house on this side, be quick!”

No sooner had they barred the door of the cottage old
When the wind howled down the valley cold,
Night shrouded the land and black things moved outside,
They heard the rain pelting the hillside.

The storm with titanic volcanic fury spoke,
Everything fled even hope,
The cottage door with demonic force did vibrate,
Something was tearing the cottage.

“Has he come for me?” Freia shook in her Mother’s arms,
“Has my Master come to inflict harm?”
“No!” shouted her Mother over the thunderclaps,
“It’s the storm perhaps.”

Scratching was heard and they began to fearfully pray,
The panel above the doorway shattered,
Sharp shards of glass everywhere cascaded and scattered,
“Come back!” the thing outside banged and battered.

“It’s the wind. Only the wind, darling dear,” the Mother cleared
Her frightened daughter’s eyes full of fear,
The noise and the angry threats of the unseen creature
Drove darts of icy terror into their features.

“When will this nightmare end?” asked Freia with concern.
Replied the Mother, “Dawn is about to be born.
This Water-Goblin has to go back to his Kingdom before sunrise
Or else he will lose his life and prize.”

Crash! Something broke, splinters of wood in the air flew,
Cracked claws clawed across morning dew,
A hairy paw with nails long and sharp shot through the opening
Above the door and for the lock began searching.

A heartrending howl of frustration then was heard,
Without warning the probing fist did disappear
And there was an unnatural silence in the morning land,
The Hour of the dead Wolf was at hand.

Bang! Something outside the door had horribly burst,
Something had been flung with frightful force
But the cottage door was strong and held firm and fast
The Mother dryly spoke, “The terror has passed.”

“Has it?” said Freia as she with caution went to unhook the lock,
The handle was cold and her heart still in shock,
Her brow and hands wet with the nightmare’s perspiration,
She paused before the door in desperation.

Something lay on the ground before the door all blood and bone,
The sight would bring tears even to a stone,
Freia saw what the Water-Goblin had used to batter the door with,
O, how she wished to stitch her eyelids!

For there lay the lifeless body of her baby on the earth,
This was the baby to whom she had given birth,
Only a small finger remained of the golden curled girl,
The Water-Goblin’s curse had done the worst.



©Rangzeb Hussain
Outside Words Oct 2018
At an unknown time of night at our cottage in northern Michigan…
My younger brother and I heard strange noises coming from the beach again…
We looked up at the ceiling and then the window…
As the voices from outside, in a lively allegro…
Grew softer and louder in repeating crescendos…
We skittered out the door and stared in fascination…
For what we saw must have been our imagination…

The door closed with a creak as our feet hit the grass…
It was at that moment we got a look at the mass…
Of stubby foot, hunchback creatures from which the sounds had amassed…

There was about six of them chanting like a choir…
They danced and paraded around our burnt out fire…
As we looked on, we saw our fire raise…
It got brighter as they lifted their hands in waves…
As light betook the blue beach night…
A crowd of colorfully masked gremlins caught us in their sights!

Their feet slowed to a stop and they quieted down…
They stood still as the fire flickered off their weird wooden frowns…
One reached out his hand in a come-here motion…
They seemed to stand and wait with an encouraging notion…
As the fire crackled and the waves tumbled onto the beach…

All I can remember, is for the rest of that summer…
My younger brother and I served as the drummers…
For that quirky marching band of lake sprites…
With which our burnt out fire we’d reignite…
At an unknown time of night at our cottage in northern Michigan…
© Outside Words
Terry Collett Apr 2014
Judith took me
to the derelict cottage
just off the wood
in the Easter recess

from school
she opened up
the back door
and into the kitchen

with its smell
of damp and decay
it's been empty for years
she said

my sister and I
used to come here
and pretend
it was our own cottage

smells horrible
I said
ignore the smell
she said

pretend it's our
own cottage
and we have
just moved in

after marrying
when did we marry?
I asked
after we left school

she said
smiling
she walked into
a larger room

with wide windows
looking out
onto a large
overgrown garden

we could grow
some of our own food
she said
looking out

the window
I looked at
the hanging wallpaper
and a damp patch

on the ceiling
and our children
could play out there
she said

what children?  I asked
when did they come along?
after we married
she said

I don't remember
I said smiling
you will
if you pretend better

she said
moving through
to another room
at the front

I noticed a space
where a picture
must have hung
because it was cleaner

than the rest
of the wall
I like this room
she said

this is where we will sit
and have our TV
and radio
and the children

can sit with us
and we can cuddle them
I nodded playing along
let me show you upstairs

to the bedrooms
she said
so I followed her
up the creaky stairs

her green skirt
swaying as she walked
three bedrooms
she said

one for us
one for our boys
and one for our girls
she stood

in the front bedroom
looking out
over an untidy hedge
onto the road

this is our bedroom
she said
turning around
looking at it all

our bed can go there
she said
pointing to a wall
on the left

and we can have
a dressing table
and dresser
the room was empty

and smelt
over by the right wall
was a pile of ****
some one's been here

and dumped
I said
probably some *****
or hobo

she looked
at the ****
and said
who's dumped

in our bedroom?
I laughed
it isn't our room yet
pretend

she said
I pretended
the **** wasn't there
and we went

into the other bedrooms
and she said
this was where
such and such

will be
and out of the window
the overgrown garden
seemed vast

with an apple orchard
to the left
she touched my hand
and squeezed it

we will be happy here
she said
I looked about
the room years after  

the cottage smelt ranker
and she was dead.
A BOY AND GIRL AND AN EMPTY COTTAGE IN 1962.
Suburbs filled with people filled with dreams
Humble lives are grander than they seem
Children laughing, playing, having fun
In our little old blue cottage ‘neath the sun

Homeless, but not heartless, but not loved
Lives in Hell, but lives for God above
No one loves him, he loves everyone
In our little old blue cottage ‘neath the sun

Love ought to be bright and shining
In all of our hearts
For what it’s worth
It is in mine
We are all brothers and sisters
The sons and daughters
Of Mother Earth
And Father Time

High Schools make the students make the grade
Teenage love is broken and it’s made
They may whine, but they’ll cry when it’s done
In our little old blue cottage ‘neath the sun

Young man in a tizzy, in a trance
Seeing in a lady new romance
Thinking to himself, “She is the one”
In our little old blue cottage ‘neath the sun

Love ought to be bright and shining
In all of our hearts
For what it’s worth
It is in mine
We are all brothers and sisters
The sons and daughters
Of Mother Earth
And Father Time

Love ought to be bright and shining
In all of our hearts
For what it’s worth
It is in mine
We are all brothers and sisters
The sons and daughters
Of Mother Earth
And Father Time

A smile is not something to be worn
And certainly not something to be scorned
For hatred is not something you can feel
Once you see that love is all that is real

Don’t believe the lies
Open up your eyes
Even when it seems that hatred is your friend
There is so much more
Just outside your door
That will greet you if you never hate again

And if you simply open up your heart
You’ll see yourself given a fresh new start
For angels are down here not just above
And no matter how it seems you are loved
This is the last song on Matt and the Hat. No matter who we are, we are family, and there's no point in hatred if you have love, that's what this song's all about, Charlie Brown. This song references the first song on the album "So Much More" to create a bookends feel to the whole thing. In addition to that, the last phrase ("You are loved") is a phrase that changed my life. Every Friday in Choir, they would tell us that, and even though I'm very lucky to have a family as great as I do, somehow I just didn't realized how lucky and loved I am.

And if you're reading this, you are loved too.
Chris  Jun 2015
A cottage
Chris Jun 2015


A cottage
at the end of the path,
between maple trees and evergreens,
a front porch, weathered boards,
memories in the grain,
summers by the lake,
green converse allstars,
monopoly into the wee hours of the morning,
pancakes and bacon mornings,
red ginham table cloths,
chasing fireflies, sparklers,
hot dogs on the grille,
spitting watermelon seeds, sticky chins...
a cottage, memories,
and now we make our own,
hand in hand as love
once again sits on the porch,
counting stars and drinking lemonade,
you and me and a cottage
at the end of a path...
*love
Good night beautiful
PERSONIFICATIONS.

Boys.            Girls.
  January.                February.
  March.                  April.
  July.                   May.
  August.                 June.
  October.                September.
  December.               November.

  Robin Redbreasts; Lambs and Sheep; Nightingale and
  Nestlings.

  Various Flowers, Fruits, etc.

  Scene: A Cottage with its Grounds.


[A room in a large comfortable cottage; a fire burning on
the hearth; a table on which the breakfast things have
been left standing. January discovered seated by the
fire.]


          January.

Cold the day and cold the drifted snow,
Dim the day until the cold dark night.

                    [Stirs the fire.

Crackle, sparkle, *****; embers glow:
Some one may be plodding through the snow
Longing for a light,
For the light that you and I can show.
If no one else should come,
Here Robin Redbreast's welcome to a crumb,
And never troublesome:
Robin, why don't you come and fetch your crumb?


  Here's butter for my hunch of bread,
    And sugar for your crumb;
  Here's room upon the hearthrug,
    If you'll only come.

  In your scarlet waistcoat,
    With your keen bright eye,
  Where are you loitering?
    Wings were made to fly!

  Make haste to breakfast,
    Come and fetch your crumb,
  For I'm as glad to see you
    As you are glad to come.


[Two Robin Redbreasts are seen tapping with their beaks at
the lattice, which January opens. The birds flutter in,
hop about the floor, and peck up the crumbs and sugar
thrown to them. They have scarcely finished their meal,
when a knock is heard at the door. January hangs a
guard in front of the fire, and opens to February, who
appears with a bunch of snowdrops in her hand.]

          January.

Good-morrow, sister.

          February.

            Brother, joy to you!
I've brought some snowdrops; only just a few,
But quite enough to prove the world awake,
Cheerful and hopeful in the frosty dew
And for the pale sun's sake.

[She hands a few of her snowdrops to January, who retires
into the background. While February stands arranging
the remaining snowdrops in a glass of water on the
window-sill, a soft butting and bleating are heard outside.
She opens the door, and sees one foremost lamb, with
other sheep and lambs bleating and crowding towards
her.]

          February.

O you, you little wonder, come--come in,
You wonderful, you woolly soft white lamb:
You panting mother ewe, come too,
And lead that tottering twin
Safe in:
Bring all your bleating kith and kin,
Except the ***** ram.

[February opens a second door in the background, and the
little flock files through into a warm and sheltered compartment
out of sight.]

  The lambkin tottering in its walk
    With just a fleece to wear;
  The snowdrop drooping on its stalk
      So slender,--
  Snowdrop and lamb, a pretty pair,
  Braving the cold for our delight,
      Both white,
      Both tender.

[A rattling of doors and windows; branches seen without,
tossing violently to and fro.]

How the doors rattle, and the branches sway!
Here's brother March comes whirling on his way
With winds that eddy and sing.

[She turns the handle of the door, which bursts open, and
discloses March hastening up, both hands full of violets
and anemones.]

          February.

Come, show me what you bring;
For I have said my say, fulfilled my day,
And must away.

          March.

[Stopping short on the threshold.]

    I blow an arouse
    Through the world's wide house
  To quicken the torpid earth:
    Grappling I fling
    Each feeble thing,
  But bring strong life to the birth.
    I wrestle and frown,
    And topple down;
  I wrench, I rend, I uproot;
    Yet the violet
    Is born where I set
  The sole of my flying foot,

[Hands violets and anemones to February, who retires into
the background.]

    And in my wake
    Frail wind-flowers quake,
  And the catkins promise fruit.
    I drive ocean ashore
    With rush and roar,
  And he cannot say me nay:
    My harpstrings all
    Are the forests tall,
  Making music when I play.
    And as others perforce,
    So I on my course
  Run and needs must run,
    With sap on the mount
    And buds past count
  And rivers and clouds and sun,
    With seasons and breath
    And time and death
  And all that has yet begun.

[Before March has done speaking, a voice is heard approaching
accompanied by a twittering of birds. April comes
along singing, and stands outside and out of sight to finish
her song.]

          April.

[Outside.]

  Pretty little three
  Sparrows in a tree,
    Light upon the wing;
    Though you cannot sing
    You can chirp of Spring:
  Chirp of Spring to me,
  Sparrows, from your tree.

  Never mind the showers,
  Chirp about the flowers
    While you build a nest:
    Straws from east and west,
    Feathers from your breast,
  Make the snuggest bowers
  In a world of flowers.

  You must dart away
  From the chosen spray,
    You intrusive third
    Extra little bird;
    Join the unwedded herd!
  These have done with play,
  And must work to-day.

          April.

[Appearing at the open door.]

Good-morrow and good-bye: if others fly,
Of all the flying months you're the most flying.

          March.

You're hope and sweetness, April.

          April.

            Birth means dying,
As wings and wind mean flying;
So you and I and all things fly or die;
And sometimes I sit sighing to think of dying.
But meanwhile I've a rainbow in my showers,
And a lapful of flowers,
And these dear nestlings aged three hours;
And here's their mother sitting,
Their father's merely flitting
To find their breakfast somewhere in my bowers.

[As she speaks April shows March her apron full of flowers
and nest full of birds. March wanders away into the
grounds. April, without entering the cottage, hangs over
the hungry nestlings watching them.]

          April.

  What beaks you have, you funny things,
    What voices shrill and weak;
  Who'd think that anything that sings
    Could sing through such a beak?
  Yet you'll be nightingales one day,
    And charm the country-side,
  When I'm away and far away
    And May is queen and bride.

[May arrives unperceived by April, and gives her a kiss.
April starts and looks round.]

          April.

Ah May, good-morrow May, and so good-bye.

          May.

That's just your way, sweet April, smile and sigh:
Your sorrow's half in fun,
Begun and done
And turned to joy while twenty seconds run.
I've gathered flowers all as I came along,
At every step a flower
Fed by your last bright shower,--

[She divides an armful of all sorts of flowers with April, who
strolls away through the garden.]

          May.

And gathering flowers I listened to the song
Of every bird in bower.
    The world and I are far too full of bliss
    To think or plan or toil or care;
      The sun is waxing strong,
      The days are waxing long,
        And all that is,
          Is fair.

    Here are my buds of lily and of rose,
    And here's my namesake-blossom, may;
      And from a watery spot
      See here forget-me-not,
        With all that blows
          To-day.

    Hark to my linnets from the hedges green,
    Blackbird and lark and thrush and dove,
      And every nightingale
      And cuckoo tells its tale,
        And all they mean
          Is love.

[June appears at the further end of the garden, coming slowly
towards May, who, seeing her, exclaims]

          May.

Surely you're come too early, sister June.

          June.

Indeed I feel as if I came too soon
To round your young May moon
And set the world a-gasping at my noon.
Yet come I must. So here are strawberries
Sun-flushed and sweet, as many as you please;
And here are full-blown roses by the score,
More roses, and yet more.

[May, eating strawberries, withdraws among the flower beds.]

          June.

The sun does all my long day's work for me,
  Raises and ripens everything;
I need but sit beneath a leafy tree
    And watch and sing.

[Seats herself in the shadow of a laburnum.

Or if I'm lulled by note of bird and bee,
  Or lulled by noontide's silence deep,
I need but nestle down beneath my tree
    And drop asleep.

[June falls asleep; and is not awakened by the voice of July,
who behind the scenes is heard half singing, half calling.]

          July.

     [Behind the scenes.]

Blue flags, yellow flags, flags all freckled,
Which will you take? yellow, blue, speckled!
Take which you will, speckled, blue, yellow,
Each in its way has not a fellow.

[Enter July, a basket of many-colored irises slung upon his
shoulders, a bunch of ripe grass in one hand, and a plate
piled full of peaches balanced upon the other. He steals
up to June, and tickles her with the grass. She wakes.]

          June.

What, here already?

          July.

                  Nay, my tryst is kept;
The longest day slipped by you while you slept.
I've brought you one curved pyramid of bloom,

                        [Hands her the plate.

Not flowers, but peaches, gathered where the bees,
As downy, bask and boom
In sunshine and in gloom of trees.
But get you in, a storm is at my heels;
The whirlwind whistles and wheels,
Lightning flashes and thunder peals,
Flying and following hard upon my heels.

[June takes shelter in a thickly-woven arbor.]

          July.

  The roar of a storm sweeps up
    From the east to the lurid west,
  The darkening sky, like a cup,
    Is filled with rain to the brink;

  The sky is purple and fire,
    Blackness and noise and unrest;
  The earth, parched with desire,
      Opens her mouth to drink.

  Send forth thy thunder and fire,
    Turn over thy brimming cup,
  O sky, appease the desire
    Of earth in her parched unrest;
  Pour out drink to her thirst,
    Her famishing life lift up;
  Make thyself fair as at first,
      With a rainbow for thy crest.

  Have done with thunder and fire,
    O sky with the rainbow crest;
  O earth, have done with desire,
    Drink, and drink deep, and rest.

[Enter August, carrying a sheaf made up of different kinds of
grain.]

          July.

Hail, brother August, flushed and warm
And scatheless from my storm.
Your hands are full of corn, I see,
As full as hands can be:

And earth and air both smell as sweet as balm
In their recovered calm,
And that they owe to me.

[July retires into a shrubbery.]

          August.

  Wheat sways heavy, oats are airy,
    Barley bows a graceful head,
  Short and small shoots up canary,
    Each of these is some one's bread;
  Bread for man or bread for beast,
      Or at very least
      A bird's savory feast.

  Men are brethren of each other,
    One in flesh and one in food;
  And a sort of foster brother
    Is the litter, or the brood,
  Of that folk in fur or feather,
      Who, with men together,
      Breast the wind and weather.

[August descries September toiling across the lawn.]

          August.

My harvest home is ended; and I spy
September drawing nigh
With the first thought of Autumn in her eye,
And the first sigh
Of Autumn wind among her locks that fly.

[September arrives, carrying upon her head a basket heaped
high with fruit]


          September.

Unload me, brother. I have brought a few
Plums and these pears for you,
A dozen kinds of apples, one or two
Melons, some figs all bursting through
Their skins, and pearled with dew
These damsons violet-blue.

[While September is speaking, August lifts the basket to the
ground, selects various fruits, and withdraws slowly along
the gravel walk, eating a pear as he goes.]

      

— The End —