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How sweetly shines, through azure skies,
  The lamp of Heaven on Lora’s shore;
Where Alva’s hoary turrets rise,
  And hear the din of arms no more!

But often has yon rolling moon,
  On Alva’s casques of silver play’d;
And view’d, at midnight’s silent noon,
  Her chiefs in gleaming mail array’d:

And, on the crimson’d rocks beneath,
  Which scowl o’er ocean’s sullen flow,
Pale in the scatter’d ranks of death,
  She saw the gasping warrior low;

While many an eye, which ne’er again
  Could mark the rising orb of day,
Turn’d feebly from the gory plain,
  Beheld in death her fading ray.

Once, to those eyes the lamp of Love,
  They blest her dear propitious light;
But, now, she glimmer’d from above,
  A sad, funereal torch of night.

Faded is Alva’s noble race,
  And grey her towers are seen afar;
No more her heroes urge the chase,
  Or roll the crimson tide of war.

But, who was last of Alva’s clan?
  Why grows the moss on Alva’s stone?
Her towers resound no steps of man,
  They echo to the gale alone.

And, when that gale is fierce and high,
  A sound is heard in yonder hall;
It rises hoarsely through the sky,
  And vibrates o’er the mould’ring wall.

Yes, when the eddying tempest sighs,
  It shakes the shield of Oscar brave;
But, there, no more his banners rise,
  No more his plumes of sable wave.

Fair shone the sun on Oscar’s birth,
  When Angus hail’d his eldest born;
The vassals round their chieftain’s hearth
  Crowd to applaud the happy morn.

They feast upon the mountain deer,
  The Pibroch rais’d its piercing note,
To gladden more their Highland cheer,
  The strains in martial numbers float.

And they who heard the war-notes wild,
  Hop’d that, one day, the Pibroch’s strain
Should play before the Hero’s child,
  While he should lead the Tartan train.

Another year is quickly past,
  And Angus hails another son;
His natal day is like the last,
  Nor soon the jocund feast was done.

Taught by their sire to bend the bow,
  On Alva’s dusky hills of wind,
The boys in childhood chas’d the roe,
  And left their hounds in speed behind.

But ere their years of youth are o’er,
  They mingle in the ranks of war;
They lightly wheel the bright claymore,
  And send the whistling arrow far.

Dark was the flow of Oscar’s hair,
  Wildly it stream’d along the gale;
But Allan’s locks were bright and fair,
  And pensive seem’d his cheek, and pale.

But Oscar own’d a hero’s soul,
  His dark eye shone through beams of truth;
Allan had early learn’d controul,
  And smooth his words had been from youth.

Both, both were brave; the Saxon spear
  Was shiver’d oft beneath their steel;
And Oscar’s ***** scorn’d to fear,
  But Oscar’s ***** knew to feel;

While Allan’s soul belied his form,
  Unworthy with such charms to dwell:
Keen as the lightning of the storm,
  On foes his deadly vengeance fell.

From high Southannon’s distant tower
  Arrived a young and noble dame;
With Kenneth’s lands to form her dower,
  Glenalvon’s blue-eyed daughter came;

And Oscar claim’d the beauteous bride,
  And Angus on his Oscar smil’d:
It soothed the father’s feudal pride
  Thus to obtain Glenalvon’s child.

Hark! to the Pibroch’s pleasing note,
  Hark! to the swelling nuptial song,
In joyous strains the voices float,
  And, still, the choral peal prolong.

See how the Heroes’ blood-red plumes
  Assembled wave in Alva’s hall;
Each youth his varied plaid assumes,
  Attending on their chieftain’s call.

It is not war their aid demands,
  The Pibroch plays the song of peace;
To Oscar’s nuptials throng the bands
  Nor yet the sounds of pleasure cease.

But where is Oscar? sure ’tis late:
  Is this a bridegroom’s ardent flame?
While thronging guests and ladies wait,
  Nor Oscar nor his brother came.

At length young Allan join’d the bride;
  “Why comes not Oscar?” Angus said:
“Is he not here?” the Youth replied;
  “With me he rov’d not o’er the glade:

“Perchance, forgetful of the day,
  ’Tis his to chase the bounding roe;
Or Ocean’s waves prolong his stay:
  Yet, Oscar’s bark is seldom slow.”

“Oh, no!” the anguish’d Sire rejoin’d,
  “Nor chase, nor wave, my Boy delay;
Would he to Mora seem unkind?
  Would aught to her impede his way?

“Oh, search, ye Chiefs! oh, search around!
  Allan, with these, through Alva fly;
Till Oscar, till my son is found,
  Haste, haste, nor dare attempt reply.”

All is confusion—through the vale,
  The name of Oscar hoarsely rings,
It rises on the murm’ring gale,
  Till night expands her dusky wings.

It breaks the stillness of the night,
  But echoes through her shades in vain;
It sounds through morning’s misty light,
  But Oscar comes not o’er the plain.

Three days, three sleepless nights, the Chief
  For Oscar search’d each mountain cave;
Then hope is lost; in boundless grief,
  His locks in grey-torn ringlets wave.

“Oscar! my son!—thou God of Heav’n,
  Restore the prop of sinking age!
Or, if that hope no more is given,
  Yield his assassin to my rage.

“Yes, on some desert rocky shore
  My Oscar’s whiten’d bones must lie;
Then grant, thou God! I ask no more,
  With him his frantic Sire may die!

“Yet, he may live,—away, despair!
  Be calm, my soul! he yet may live;
T’ arraign my fate, my voice forbear!
  O God! my impious prayer forgive.

“What, if he live for me no more,
  I sink forgotten in the dust,
The hope of Alva’s age is o’er:
  Alas! can pangs like these be just?”

Thus did the hapless Parent mourn,
  Till Time, who soothes severest woe,
Had bade serenity return,
  And made the tear-drop cease to flow.

For, still, some latent hope surviv’d
  That Oscar might once more appear;
His hope now droop’d and now revived,
  Till Time had told a tedious year.

Days roll’d along, the orb of light
  Again had run his destined race;
No Oscar bless’d his father’s sight,
  And sorrow left a fainter trace.

For youthful Allan still remain’d,
  And, now, his father’s only joy:
And Mora’s heart was quickly gain’d,
  For beauty crown’d the fair-hair’d boy.

She thought that Oscar low was laid,
  And Allan’s face was wondrous fair;
If Oscar liv’d, some other maid
  Had claim’d his faithless *****’s care.

And Angus said, if one year more
  In fruitless hope was pass’d away,
His fondest scruples should be o’er,
  And he would name their nuptial day.

Slow roll’d the moons, but blest at last
  Arriv’d the dearly destin’d morn:
The year of anxious trembling past,
  What smiles the lovers’ cheeks adorn!

Hark to the Pibroch’s pleasing note!
  Hark to the swelling nuptial song!
In joyous strains the voices float,
  And, still, the choral peal prolong.

Again the clan, in festive crowd,
  Throng through the gate of Alva’s hall;
The sounds of mirth re-echo loud,
  And all their former joy recall.

But who is he, whose darken’d brow
  Glooms in the midst of general mirth?
Before his eyes’ far fiercer glow
  The blue flames curdle o’er the hearth.

Dark is the robe which wraps his form,
  And tall his plume of gory red;
His voice is like the rising storm,
  But light and trackless is his tread.

’Tis noon of night, the pledge goes round,
  The bridegroom’s health is deeply quaff’d;
With shouts the vaulted roofs resound,
  And all combine to hail the draught.

Sudden the stranger-chief arose,
  And all the clamorous crowd are hush’d;
And Angus’ cheek with wonder glows,
  And Mora’s tender ***** blush’d.

“Old man!” he cried, “this pledge is done,
  Thou saw’st ’twas truly drunk by me;
It hail’d the nuptials of thy son:
  Now will I claim a pledge from thee.

“While all around is mirth and joy,
  To bless thy Allan’s happy lot,
Say, hadst thou ne’er another boy?
  Say, why should Oscar be forgot?”

“Alas!” the hapless Sire replied,
  The big tear starting as he spoke,
“When Oscar left my hall, or died,
  This aged heart was almost broke.

“Thrice has the earth revolv’d her course
  Since Oscar’s form has bless’d my sight;
And Allan is my last resource,
  Since martial Oscar’s death, or flight.”

“’Tis well,” replied the stranger stern,
  And fiercely flash’d his rolling eye;
“Thy Oscar’s fate, I fain would learn;
  Perhaps the Hero did not die.

“Perchance, if those, whom most he lov’d,
  Would call, thy Oscar might return;
Perchance, the chief has only rov’d;
  For him thy Beltane, yet, may burn.

“Fill high the bowl the table round,
  We will not claim the pledge by stealth;
With wine let every cup be crown’d;
  Pledge me departed Oscar’s health.”

“With all my soul,” old Angus said,
  And fill’d his goblet to the brim:
“Here’s to my boy! alive or dead,
  I ne’er shall find a son like him.”

“Bravely, old man, this health has sped;
  But why does Allan trembling stand?
Come, drink remembrance of the dead,
  And raise thy cup with firmer hand.”

The crimson glow of Allan’s face
  Was turn’d at once to ghastly hue;
The drops of death each other chace,
  Adown in agonizing dew.

Thrice did he raise the goblet high,
  And thrice his lips refused to taste;
For thrice he caught the stranger’s eye
  On his with deadly fury plac’d.

“And is it thus a brother hails
  A brother’s fond remembrance here?
If thus affection’s strength prevails,
  What might we not expect from fear?”

Roused by the sneer, he rais’d the bowl,
  “Would Oscar now could share our mirth!”
Internal fear appall’d his soul;
  He said, and dash’d the cup to earth.

“’Tis he! I hear my murderer’s voice!”
  Loud shrieks a darkly gleaming Form.
“A murderer’s voice!” the roof replies,
  And deeply swells the bursting storm.

The tapers wink, the chieftains shrink,
  The stranger’s gone,—amidst the crew,
A Form was seen, in tartan green,
  And tall the shade terrific grew.

His waist was bound with a broad belt round,
  His plume of sable stream’d on high;
But his breast was bare, with the red wounds there,
  And fix’d was the glare of his glassy eye.

And thrice he smil’d, with his eye so wild
  On Angus bending low the knee;
And thrice he frown’d, on a Chief on the ground,
  Whom shivering crowds with horror see.

The bolts loud roll from pole to pole,
  And thunders through the welkin ring,
And the gleaming form, through the mist of the storm,
  Was borne on high by the whirlwind’s wing.

Cold was the feast, the revel ceas’d.
  Who lies upon the stony floor?
Oblivion press’d old Angus’ breast,
  At length his life-pulse throbs once more.

“Away, away! let the leech essay
  To pour the light on Allan’s eyes:”
His sand is done,—his race is run;
  Oh! never more shall Allan rise!

But Oscar’s breast is cold as clay,
  His locks are lifted by the gale;
And Allan’s barbèd arrow lay
  With him in dark Glentanar’s vale.

And whence the dreadful stranger came,
  Or who, no mortal wight can tell;
But no one doubts the form of flame,
  For Alva’s sons knew Oscar well.

Ambition nerv’d young Allan’s hand,
  Exulting demons wing’d his dart;
While Envy wav’d her burning brand,
  And pour’d her venom round his heart.

Swift is the shaft from Allan’s bow;
  Whose streaming life-blood stains his side?
Dark Oscar’s sable crest is low,
  The dart has drunk his vital tide.

And Mora’s eye could Allan move,
  She bade his wounded pride rebel:
Alas! that eyes, which beam’d with love,
  Should urge the soul to deeds of Hell.

Lo! see’st thou not a lonely tomb,
  Which rises o’er a warrior dead?
It glimmers through the twilight gloom;
  Oh! that is Allan’s nuptial bed.

Far, distant far, the noble grave
  Which held his clan’s great ashes stood;
And o’er his corse no banners wave,
  For they were stain’d with kindred blood.

What minstrel grey, what hoary bard,
  Shall Allan’s deeds on harp-strings raise?
The song is glory’s chief reward,
  But who can strike a murd’rer’s praise?

Unstrung, untouch’d, the harp must stand,
  No minstrel dare the theme awake;
Guilt would benumb his palsied hand,
  His harp in shuddering chords would break.

No lyre of fame, no hallow’d verse,
  Shall sound his glories high in air:
A dying father’s bitter curse,
  A brother’s death-groan echoes there.
Candace  Jun 2014
Firebird
Candace Jun 2014
The driveway was strewn with rotted oak leaves, and Oscar wondered if the old man was still alive. He stopped his car just short of the rusted garage door, knowing that from this vantage point no one from the house could see him. Stepping out of his car, he strode toward the front door. The outside looked much the same as before, ivy gnarling up the walls and spiders webbing around the door. He held up his hand to knock.
“It’s open, Oscar.” He was relieved to hear the old man’s voice through the open window.
“Thanks, Harry. I’ll be right in.” Oscar nudged the front door open and walked into the kitchen. The green wallpaper was faded but the little square table in the corner was clean. The old man had his back to Oscar, stooped over the sink drying the last of a small batch of dishes. Oscar stuck his hands in his sweatshirt pocket.
“The wood looks like it’s staying dry,” Oscar said. The old man gave a slight nod, wiping the counter with slow, decided movements. “I heard it’s been a wet winter.”  
“Not too bad.” The man looked at Oscar with tired eyes. “Those gutters need cleaning, though.”
“I’ll do what I can before I go.”
The old man turned his pale neck back toward the sink. “That’s fine.”
“Do you need anything from town? Or anything?”
The old man didn’t respond. Oscar took his cue to leave, walking through the laundry room and out the back door. An enclosure of thick oaks and cedars faced him, not quite a forest, but more than he could count. His feet carried him on the familiar path, up the mountain where the air was thin, and he struggled to breathe deeply. The trees grew thicker and the path narrower, but he trudged on, finally coming to a stop at a small clearing housing the remains of several tree stumps. In the middle of these stumps sat a bright yellow lawnchair currently unoccupied. Oscar took the opportunity to catch his breath, closing his eyes and lowering himself into the squeaky chair, waiting for her to come. He imagined her sneaking up behind him, covering his eyes. She’d giggle and lope back into the trees beckoning him come to follow her.
He heard a slight rustle through the trees and saw her walk toward him, her steps slower than usual. Her once long hair was cut short against her scalp and her belly protruded in an obvious way. She stopped just short of his arm’s reach, resting one hand over her belly. She cocked her head to the side, looking Oscar up and down. Her eyes settled on his face but not his eyes.
“You got old,” she said.
“You didn’t.” Oscar smiled while she stayed serious.
“I got old and died three times,” she said. “This is me,” she said pointing at her belly.
Oscar reached out to touch her arm, but she took his hand, leading him back out of the clearing down the mountain. He didn’t wonder where they were going. He set aside all the world but her. As he followed behind her, he thought that she looked much different than last time. Her eyes seemed less savage and her skin less pale. He thought she looked strange without her long hair tangled with leaves and wind, and he wondered if the same person that put this baby inside her was also trying to fix her, to make her like everyone else. He tightened his grip on her hand and rushed ahead of her. She gave a tiny laugh and started running after him.
Soon she let go of his hand and sat gracelessly on the ground, resting her head against a tree. Oscar turned around and sat across from her, watching her pick the leaves off a fallen branch.
“This is my tree,” she said, holding up the branch.
“I’ll plant it for you, so it can grow bigger.”
“It’s already dead. Won’t get any bigger.” She began pulling the twigs off the branch, smoothing it into a pole shape.  
“Are you done with college?” she asked.
“Another year.”
“I’m going to go, too.” She sounded like she meant it. Oscar wondered if he had been gone for too long this time. “Soon,” she said.  
Oscar nodded. “You don’t have hair anymore.”
She looked up at Oscar, not meeting his eyes. “It was trapping all my thoughts in my head.”
Oscar smiled. “Now all your thoughts are running around like rabbits having little thought babies of their own.” She laughed out of courtesy, and it bothered him. They sat in silence. He continued to watch her.
“Do you think it’s going to rain today?” she asked.
“Since when do we talk about the weather?”
“I want to.” Oscar said nothing. “I think it’s going to rain. I can smell the water in the air. Do you remember Frankie, that gerbil I had as a kid?”
“I’m leaving again tomorrow.”
“I know.” She started to stand up, bracing herself against the bare branch in her hands. “Frankie knew when it would rain. He did this thing with his ear. Twitch.” She brushed off her pants. “Next time you come back, I’ll be a baby. Brand new and wrinkly.” She met his eyes.
“Are you going to name it after the dad?” He asked, hoping that the dad was long gone.
“No, me.”
Oscar thought she looked very young then, and he could imagine her becoming younger and younger as he continued to age. He would grow into an old man like her father, stooped over and feeble, and she would go to college, reborn without him. Without her hair, she would run faster and he wouldn’t be able to keep up.
“Let’s watch the sunset,” she said, taking his hand. “Go get some lawnchairs and I’ll meet you there.”
He watched her trek up the mountain for a moment before making his descent. As he neared the house, he saw the old man gathering wood, one piece at a time. His bones seemed to creak as he lifted the tarp off the remaining dry wood, feeling which pieces were dry enough. The old man seemed to acutely feel each footstep, pausing on every stair and taking a deep breath, before entering the house. Watching the old man repeat this process again and again, Oscar decided that all the youth in the world did not belong to her. He would preserve her forever as she was now, and by standing in her orbit maybe she could give him everlasting life.
He waved to the old man as he hoisted two lawnchairs over his shoulder. After the old man had walked back inside, seemingly for the last time, Oscar grabbed the half-empty canister by the woodpile and began climbing toward the clearing where she was waiting. He hoped the rain would never come. He arrived out of breath and set up the chairs in their usual places between the tree stumps. She stood at the edge of the clearing, her arms wrapped around her protruding belly, watching as the sun crawled below the tree line. She smiled at him and he beckoned her to sit down. She sat and Oscar told her to close her eyes.
“I want to see,” she said.
“It’s a surprise.”
Oscar crossed the clearing, carrying the canister. He looked as the base of each tree, trying to find the right one in the fading light. “It’s the one on the left,” she shouted.
“Keep your eyes closed.” He tried to sound stern, but he couldn’t stop smiling. He saw the tree and began to pour the contents of the canister onto the trunk.
“I knew you remembered Frankie,” she said. There was a large stone underneath the tree as a monument to the gerbil. Oscar remembered that it was the biggest stone that they could carry as children.
“I know.” Oscar took the makeshift walking stick she had made earlier from her hands and wrapped a piece of his shirt around it. He again crossed the clearing pulling out his lighter. He lit the end of the pole before putting the flame to the gasoline soaked tree. He backed away from the tree as the fire struggled up the wet trunk before flaring in the leaves overhead. It crackled and hissed through pinecones, trying to keep its hold on the damp tree.
Oscar’s leg hit the edge of a stump and he sat down. He felt her walk up next to him. Tearing his gaze away from the fire, he looked up at her, and it seemed to him that her skin mimicked the red of the fire, coming alive in its light. Her eyes were once again untamed, feral. Oscar imagined that no time had passed since he left for college and that no time would ever pass again.
She took his hand, just as the fire spread to another treetop, and put it on her belly. “It won’t burn forever,” she said, letting go of his hand and turning to carry the lawnchair back down the mountain.
It rained. Oscar stayed watching the last embers flicker and die before his feet blindly carried him back to the house where he would clean the gutters and leave.
Jessica Lima Mar 2017
30 YEARS AGO
*******************­*****

He could no longer smell lead in the air when he opened his eyes. He had somehow survived the war, but couldn't tell how long he had been passed out for. "Long enough I bet" He said to himself on a tone so low, he wondered if he had truly spoken or just imagined it. Doing a quick assessment of his surroundings his heart grew sad. Nothing moved. His friends, his foes... all dead, piled on top of each other.

Oscar slowly moved the weight of his body onto his forearms, trying to get a better view of the carnage that surrounded him. His body hurt quite a lot, but his legs, stretched out before him didn't. Not at all. For a second he allowed himself to smile. He would be able to walk out of there and get help. He moved the bodies that lay on top of his lower body to assess the real damage on his legs but nothing could have prepared him for what he saw. Oscar had lost both legs from the knee down, and rats ate at what was left of his upper leg. He screamed and his eco was heard across the field.

*****************­******

The next time Oscar opened his eyes he lay on a hospital bed. His mother sat next to him, holding his hand; Her small face puffed up from crying.

"My son" She tried to speak further but her tears threaten to drown her.

"Mother" Oscar calmed his voice, trying to comfort the sobbing woman "I am alright" He smiled at her but it did not reach his eyes.

"They say they can fix you" she said rapidly, barely stopping to breathe. "They say they can make you whole again! Give you back your legs, and full function of your body. They even said they can make you stronger. Better. Smarter." She stopped then. Let go of her son's hand, and started to pace the room. "Not that I think you aren't fine as you are" she added.

"They? Who are you talking about mother?

"The doctor. We are in the military hospital. You have been honorably discharged due to the nature of your injuries. If you refuse the deal, you'll be moved to a civilian hospital next week. If you accept, then you'll undergo the enhancement right away."

The door opened, and a  young man walked in. His intelligent, metallic gray eyes scanned the room, till they landed on Oscar.

"Hello Oscar" He paused as if expecting a reply. Upon receiving none, he continued. " I am Michael Black-Hunter"

"Mr. Black-Hunter is the doctor I've been telling you about son" Oscar's eyes met his mother's. He saw hope there.

"Please Ellen, call me Mike"

Oscar cleared his throat. "I'll do it." Startled by the notion that he would not have to do any persuasion that particular day Mike grinned to himself.

"Very good, very good. First things first. I must rid you of any weakness" Mike quickly  snapped his fingers and mumbled in a language unknown to anyone else in the room. A second goes by, then a minute. Suddenly time had lost its grip on Oscar and Ellen.

"Ellen dear" Mike approached the woman, turned her body to face Oscar "Can you tell me who the gentleman on the hospital bed is?"

Ellen seem puzzled by the question, but she replied regardless. "Mr. Black-Hunter why do you mock me? You are well aware I do not know this man."

"And you Oscar? Who is Ellen to you?"

Oscar made an impatient sound. "I have no time for this Mike, the woman said we don't know each other!"

"How perfect." Pleased with his work, Michael Black-Hunter walked a confused Ellen out of the hospital room.

******************­******
                                        PRESENT DAY

Brooke faced Oscar. Anger radiated from her tiny frame like angry ocean waves during a storm.

"I don't need you. I can do this on my own, I always have." Brooke proceeded to step away from Mike, unaware of a new agent charging with intent towards her. Within seconds the agent's knife made contact with Brooke's skull. She collapsed on Oscar's arms.

"I thought she would dodge that" The agent screamed as Oscar held her up by the throat with one hand. "Its part of the training to go against one of the best, you know that." Tears fell from her eyes but Oscar could not find a **** to give. He broke the agents neck. Her name tag fell from her breast at the same time life left her body. Oscar caught the tag in his hand then read the name out loud. 'Ellen' it said. That made him feel funny, but he couldn't be sure why.

"You failed" Oscar dumped her body on the ground. Then carried Brooke inside to get patched up. "You can't die Brooke. I actually need you" He whispered to her passed out form. After dropping her off with the nurse he went back outside to light the cigarette he had been craving. The new agent's body was gone.




to be continued....
I contend that it is not my place to give testimony or
To tell what love is but that I must include love
Here now so that I can get on with my story
Intelligibly with the help of the word itself
Without any other ideas or explanation for it.

Dr. David Dosa, speaking on behalf of Oscar the cat,
Stated that Oscar was never wrong and that Oscar
Seemed to have some innate ability to know when a
Patient at the Steere House Nursing Home was going
To pass - going all the way back to when the cat was a kitten.

Dr. Dosa went on to say that the pernicious, anti-social cat
At the Rhode Island center would only cuddle up to those
Patients who were in their last 2 to 4 hours of life.
The talented Oscar has proven the medical staff wrong on
Several occasions when patients were close to death.

Dr. Rosa – when asked about Oscar’s accuracy stated
That Oscar was right 100% of the time and that to his
Knowledge or to his staff’s knowledge that Oscar had
Never gone in and cuddled up to any person who was
Not near death, something that he had to accept - that
The cat had better instincts than he – a doctor – possessed.

At present, I hope that I have sufficiently captured
The reader’s understanding that there are yet many
Things out there in the real physical world that neither
Science nor religion can understand but I know what
Oscar knows – what he knows is this thing called love.

Now that phrase is not at all to my liking.
For to say a man is fallen in love, -
Or that he is deeply in love, -
Or up to the ears in love and sometimes
Even head over heels in love carries
With it an idiomatic implication that love is

Somehow beneath the man (fallen) – something
Regurgitated in Plato’s opinion which with all his
Divinity ship – I for one hold that the thought of Love
Being beneath a man be damnable and heretical.
While Oscar the cat simply says – let love be what it will.

And possibly, just possibly - gentle reader -
Without any further current explanation, so do I now
Join ranks with Oscar as I write of a love that is
Alive and well – and if I do not come and cuddle
With you it is not because I do not love you.

Tis but my task to find those in greater need and
When I find them near death, afraid or lost
I, like Oscar, I know of their fear and of their
Desperation so with pen in hand
I purr next to them cajoling

Them onto their next great experience.
KV Srikanth Mar 14
Ennio Morricone
Collaboration with Sergio Leone
Whips And Whistles
New sound to background
Sphagetti Westerns backbone
Never left Rome
Music his home
400 plus films scored
Distinct sound endured
Many Auteurs frequently collaborated
Fan favorite for decades
Won Oscar for The Hateful Eight
One of two to
To get the honor
Lifetime Oscar
For Composer extraordinaire
All roads lead to Rome
All notes lead to Morricone

Lalo Schifrin
Argentinian Pianist
Cult following with memorable Scores
Jazz themed band and Grammys Galore
Television Series & Movie themes
Added value with his Name
Superstars  first choice
Studios rejoice
A list Star to Act
Lalo to compose the Soundtrack
Fans across the world
Saw movies for his score

Henri Mancini won 4 Oscar's
Immortal theme for Pink Panther
Baby Elephant Walk
For Howard Hawks
Romeo and juliet love theme
Number one on the Billboard scheme
Partnership with Directors
  Everlasting music created
Deserving Hall of Famer
Years later for many
Still the favorite composer

Elmer Bernstein
Creme de la creme
Only composer
Nominated for oscar
Every decade since the 1950s
Won for Thorough Modern Millie
Versatility the key
Budget did not  affect
Genre did neither
The Magnificent seven & The Great Escape
Tunes stand testimony
For creativity and longevity

Dave Grusin patnership with
Sydney Pollack cruising
Director Composer  combination
Last of the Finest
Grammy s lost count
Oscar made the count
Composed the music for
Columbia TRISTAR logo
Outstanding musical score
Grusin music totally pure

Roy Budd Composer
Who learnt by ear
Could play by Three
At birth a Prodigy
Soldier Blue with Candice Bergen
Gave him the due recognition
Best Pianist Award
5 years consecutive
Soundtrack for films
Each one Superlative
Score for Get Carter
In our memories forever
Brain hemorrhage
Took him away  at an early age

Jerry Goldsmith debuted
in live television
Rambo and Star Trek
Franchise to name a few
His compositions always new
Composers like him
A very few
The Omen finally
got him his due
Paramount & Universal pictures
The music accompanying
The logos of the Studios
Jerry doing his wizardry
With the audio
Grammy and Oscar nominations
To be counted
Four more pairs of hands
Need to be included

Marvin Hamlisch winner
Of three Oscars
All in the same year
The Sting and The Way We were
Nobody does it better
Only one after Richard Rogers
To win The Grammy Tony Emmy Oscar and the Pulitzer

Bill Conti score for Rocky
One of the most Remembered in movie history
Replaced John Barry
In For your eyes only
Scored for the Oscar
Ceremony
19 times a record
envy of many
Won Oscar and Emmy
No Dynasty or Cagney & Lacey
without Conti

John Barry score for Sean Connery as James Bond
The super spy
A permanent legacy
Created by the supremacy
Of his musical ability
5 time oscar winner
From North Yorkshire
Illness threatened career Came back better then ever
Sold out concerts
Arena sized halls
Glory again after a fall
Oscar for The Lion in Winter
His personal favorite Goldfinger

Maurice Jarre  Composer and Conductor
Won 3 Oscars
All collaborations
with David Lean
Big Budget Films
His speciality
The Themes popularity
Showcased his versatility
His music told the story
Close your eyes and
You will know the reality
Appealing to every taste
Was Jarre's forte

David Shire
Winner of the Oscar
For Norma Rae
Composer & Songwriter
Streisands Pianist
Scored for Television & Movies
Conversation and Pelham
Musical confirmation
That his compositions
Will bear the
Test of time

Michel Legrand
son of a Composer
Winner of 3 Oscars
Conductor for many of
The French New Wave directors
Founder of the French Musical
Windmills of your mind
Forever etched in our minds
Over 200 films in a career
Prolific in nature
Select from his repertoire
Of music
Fill the air with Legrand magic

Michael Small son of an actor
Became a composer
Parallax View & Night Moves
Provides you with the mood
Alan Pakula & Arthur Penn
Directors for whom notes he penned
Sidney Lumet Bob Rafelson & John Schleisinger
Legends in their own right
Small' talent shined bright
Prostate cancer
Took away this Great Music Director

Charles Bernstein used Music & Sound effects
To maximum effect
Oscar Winning Documentary
Which had no oral commentary
To tell the story
Scored for horror genre
A cult in the sub culture
Burt Reynolds in White Lightning first chance to
Score for a feature
Charles Bronson in Mr Majestyk
Made these films click

John Williams pianist for
Goldsmith Bernstein & Mancini
Second only to Walt Disney
In Oscar Nominations
52 and counting
Winner greatest Soundtrack
Of all time
Star Wars earned him that name &  fame
Widely regarded as most successful  Musician
Positivity is the key
Particular theme  for different characters
Greatest ever
RAJ NANDY Jul 2017
THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD IN VERSE
Dear Readers, I have tried to cover the salient features of this True Story in free flowing verse mainly with end rhymes. If you read it loud, you can hear the chimes! Due to the short attention span of my readers I had to cut short this long story, and conclude with the
Golden Era of Hollywood by stretching it up to the 1950's only. When TV began to challenge the Big Screen Cinema seriously! I have used only a part of my notes here. Kindly read the entire poem and don't hesitate to know many interesting facts - which I also did not know! I wish there was a provision for posting a few interesting photographs for you here. Best wishes, - Raj Nandy, New Delhi.  

                 THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD :
                        THE AMERICAN  DREAM
                             BY RAJ NANDY

           A SHORT  HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
Since the earliest days, optical toys, shadow shows, and ‘magic
lanterns’, had created the illusion of motion.
This concept was first described by Mark Roget in 1824 as  
the 'persistent of vision'.
Giving impetus to the development of big screen cinema with its
close-ups, capturing all controlled and subtle expressions!
The actors were no longer required to shout out their parts with
exaggerated actions as on the Elizabethan Stage.
Now even a single tear drop could get noticed easily by the entire
movie audience!
With the best scene being included and edited after a few retakes.
To Thomas Edison and his able assistant William Rogers we owe the invention of Kinetoscope, the first movie camera.
On the grounds of his West Orange, New Jersey laboratory, Edison
built his first movie studio called the ‘Black Maria’.   (1893)
He also purchased a string of patents related to motion picture
Camera; forming the Edison Trust, - a cartel that took control of
the Film Industry entire!

Fort Lee, New Jersey:
On a small borough on the opposite bank of the Hudson River lay
the deserted Fort Lee.
Here scores of film production crews descended armed with picture Cameras, on this isolated part of New Jersey!
In 1907 Edison’s company came there to shoot a short silent film –
‘Rescue From an Eagle’s Nest’,
Which featured for the first time the actor and director DW Griffith.
The independent Chaplin Film Company built the first permanent
movie studio in 1910 in Fort Lee.
While some of the biggest Hollywood studios like the Universal,
MGM, and 20th Century Fox, had their roots in Fort Lee.
Some of the famous stars of the silent movie era included ‘Fatty’
Arbuckle, Will Rogers, Mary Pickford, Dorothy and Lillian Gish,
Lionel Barrymore, Rudolph Valentine and Pearl White.
In those days there were no reflectors and electric arch lights.
So movies were made on rooftops to capture the bright sunlight!
During unpredictable bad weather days, filming had to be stopped
despite the revolving stage which was made, -
To rotate and capture the sunlight before the lights atarted to fade!

Shift from New Jersey to West Coast California:
Now Edison who held the patents for the bulb, phonograph, and the Camera, had exhibited a near monopoly;
On the production, distribution, and exhibition of the movies which made this budding industry to shift to California from
New Jersey!
California with its natural scenery, its open range, mountains, desert, and snow country, had the basic ingredients for the movie industry.
But most importantly, California had bright Sunshine for almost
365 days of the year!
While eight miles away from Hollywood lay the port city of Los Angeles with its cheap labour.

                        THE RISE  OF  HOLLYWOOD
It was a real estate tycoon Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida from
Kansas, who during the 1880s founded ‘Hollywood’ as a community for like-minded temperate followers.
It is generally said that Daeida gave the name Hollywood perhaps
due to the areas abundant red-berried shrubs also known as
California Holly.
Spring blossoms around and above the Hollywood Hills with its rich variety,  gave it a touch of paradise for all to see !
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903, and during
1910 unified with the city of Los Angeles.
While a year later, the first film studio had moved in from New
Jersey, to escape Thomas Edison’s monopoly!    (1911)

In 1913 Cecil B. De Mille and Jesse Lasky, had leased a barn with
studio facilities.
And directed the first feature length film ‘Squaw Man’ in 1914.
Today this studio is home to Hollywood Heritage Museum as we get to see.
The timeless symbol of Hollywood film industry that famous sign on top of Mount Lee, was put up by a real estate developer in 1923.  
This sign had read as ‘’HOLLY WOOD LAND’’ initially.
Despite decades of run-ins with vandals and pranksters, it managed to hang on to its prime location near the summit of the Hollywood Hills.
The last restoration work was carried out in 1978 initiated by Hugh
Hefner of the ******* Magazine.
Those nine white letters 45 feet tall now read ‘HOLLYWOOD’, and has become a landmark and America’s cultural icon, and an evocative symbol for ambition, glamour, and dream.
Forever enticing aspiring actors to flock to Hollywood, hypnotised
by lure of the big screen!

                     GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
The Silent Movie Era which began in 1895, ended in 1935 with the
production of ‘Dance of Virgins’, filmed entirely in the island of Bali.
The first Sound film ‘The Jazz Singer’ by Warner Bros. was made with a Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology.  (October 1927)
Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, this decade along with the 1940s have been regarded by some as Hollywood’s Golden Age.
However, I think that this Golden Age includes the decades of the
1940s and the 1950s instead.
When the advent of Television began to challenge the Film Industry
itself !

First Academy Award:
On 16th May 1929 in the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard,
the First Academy Award presentation was held.
Around 270 people were in attendance, and tickets were priced at
$5 per head.
When the best films of 1927 & 1928 were honored by the Academy
of Motion Production and Sciences, or the AMPS.
Emil Jennings became the best actor, and Janet Gaynor the best actress.
Special Award went to Charlie Chaplin for his contribution to the
silent movie era and for his silent film ‘The Circus’.
While Warren Brothers was commended for making the first talking picture ‘The Jazz Singer’, - also receiving a Special Award!
Now, the origin of the term ‘OSCAR’ has remained disputed.
The Academy adopted this name from 1939 onwards it is stated.
OSCAR award has now become “the stuff dreams are made of”!
It is a gold-plated statuette of a knight 13.5 inches in height, weighing 8.5 pounds, was designed by MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons.
Annually awarded for honouring and encouraging excellence in all
facets of motion picture production.

Movies During the Great Depression Era (1929-1941):
Musicals and dance movies starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers provided escapism and good entertainment during this age.
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it
backwards and in high heels,” - the Critics had said.
This compatible pair entertained the viewers for almost one and
a half decade.
During the ‘30s, gangster movies were popular starring James Cagey, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson.
While family movies had their popular child artist Shirley Temple.
Swashbuckler films of the Golden Age saw the sword fighting scenes of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn.
Flynn got idolized playing ‘Robin Hood’, this film got released in
1938 on the big screen!
Story of the American Civil War got presented in the epic ‘Gone With The Wind’ (1939) with Clarke Gable and Vivian Leigh.
This movie received 8 Oscars including the award for the Best Film, - creating a landmark in motion picture’s history!
More serious movies like John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and
John Ford’s  ‘How Green Was My Valley’, were released in 1940 and 1941 respectively.
While the viewers escaped that depressive age to the magical world
of  ‘Wizard of Oz’ with its actress Judy Garland most eagerly!
Let us not forget John Wayne the King of the Westerns, who began
his acting career in the 1930s with his movie ‘The Big Trail’;
He went on to complete 84 films before his career came to an end.
Beginning of the 40s also saw Bob Hope and the crooner Bing Crosby, who entertained the public and also the fighting troops.
For the Second World War (1939-45) had interrupted the Golden Age of Hollywood.
When actors like Henry Fonda, Clarke Gable, James Stewart and
Douglas Fairbanks joined the armed forces temporarily leaving
Hollywood.
Few propaganda movies supporting the war efforts were also made.
While landmark movies like ‘Philadelphia Story’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Citizen Kane’,
‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, were some of the most successful movies of that decade.  (The 1940s)
Now I come towards the end of my Hollywood Story with the decade  of the 1950s, thereby extending the period of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Since having past the Great Depression and the Second World War,  the Hollywood movie industry truly matured and came of age.

                        HOLLYWOOD  OF  THE  1950s

BACKGROU­ND:
The decade of the ‘50s was known for its post-war affluence and
choice of leisure time activities.
It was a decade of middle-class values, fast-food restaurants, and
drive-in- movies;
Of ‘baby-boom’, all-electric home, the first credit cards, and new fast moving cars like the Ford, Plymouth, Buick, Hudson, and Chevrolet.
But not forgetting the white racist terrorism in the Southern States!
This era saw the beginning of Cold War, with Eisenhower
succeeding Harry S. Truman as the American President.
But for the film industry, most importantly, what really mattered  
was the advent of the Domestic TV.
When the older viewers preferred to stay at home instead of going
out to the movies.
By 1950, 10.5 million US homes had a television set, and on the
30th December 1953, the first Color TV went on sale!
Film industries used techniques such as Cinemascope, Vista Vision,
and gimmicks like 3-D techniques,
To get back their former movie audience back on their seats!
However, the big scene spectacle films did retain its charm and
fantasy.
Since fantasy epics like ‘The Story of Robin Hood’, and Biblical epics like ‘The Robe’, ‘Quo Vadis’, ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben-Hur’, did retain its big screen visual appeal.
‘The Robe’ released on 16th September 1953, was the first film shot
and projected in Cinema Scope;
In which special lenses were used to compress a wide image into a
standard frame and then expanded it again during projection;
Resulting in an image almost two and a half times as high and also as wide, - captivating the viewers imagination!

DEMAND FOR NEW THEMES DURING THE 1950s :
The idealized portrayal of men and women since the Second World War,
Now failed to satisfy the youth who sought exciting symbols for rebellion.
So Hollywood responded with anti-heroes with stars like James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman.
They replaced conventional actors like Tyron Power, Van Johnson, and Robert Taylor to a great extent, to meet the requirement of the age.
Anti-heroines included Ava Gardner, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe with her vibrant *** appeal;
She provided excitement for the new generation with a change of scene.
Themes of rebellion against established authority was present in many Rock and Roll songs,
Including the 1954 Bill Hailey and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around the Clock’.
The era also saw rise to stardom of Elvis Presley the teen heartthrob.
Meeting the youthful aspirations with his songs like ‘Jailhouse Rock’!
I recall the lyrics of this 1957 film ‘Jailhouse Rock’ of my school days, which had featured the youth icon Elvis:
   “The Warden threw a party in the county jail,
     The prison band was there and they began to wail.
     The band was jumping and the joint began to sing,
     You should’ve heard them knocked-out jail bird sing.
     Let’s rock, everybody in the whole cell block……………
     Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
     Little Joe was blowing the slide trombone.
     The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang!
     The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang,
      Let's rock,.................... (Lyrics of the song.)

Rock and Roll music began to tear down color barriers, and Afro-
American musicians like Chuck Berry and Little Richard became
very popular!
Now I must caution my readers that thousands of feature films got  released during this eventful decade in Hollywood.
To cover them all within this limited space becomes an impossible
task, which may kindly be understood !
However, I shall try to do so in a summarized form as best as I could.

BOX OFFICE HITS YEAR-WISE FROM 1950 To 1959 :
Top Ten Year-Wise hit films chronologically are: Cinderella (1950),
Quo Vadis, The Greatest Show on Earth, Peter Pan, Rear Window,
Lady and the *****, Ten Commandments, Bridge on the River
Kwai, South Pacific, and Ben-Hur of 1959.

However Taking The Entire Decade Of 1950s Collectively,
The Top Films Get Rated As Follows Respectively:
The Ten Commandments, followed by Lady and the *****, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Bridge on the River Kwai, Around the World in Eighty Days, This is Cinerama, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, South Pacific, The Robe, Giant, Seven Wonders of the World, White Christmas, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Sayonara, Demetrius and the Gladiator, Peyton Place, Some Like It Hot, Quo Vadis, and Auntie Mame.

Film Debuts By Rising Stars During The 1950s :
The decade of the ‘50s saw a number of famous film stars making
their first appearance.
There was Peter Sellers in ‘The Black Rose’, Marlon Brando in
‘The Men’, and actress Sophia Loren in ‘Toto Tarzan’.
Following year saw Charles Bronson in ‘You Are in the Navy Now’,
Audrey Hepburn in ‘Our Wild Oats’, and Grace Kelly, the future
Princess of Monaco, in her first film ‘Fourteen Hours’. (1951)
While **** Brigitte Bardot appeared in 1952 movie ‘Crazy for Love’; and 1953 saw Steve Mc Queen in ‘******* The Run’.
Jack Lemon, Paul Newman, and Omar Sharif featured in films
during 1954.
The following year saw Clint Eastwood, Shirley Mc Lean, Walter
Matthau, and Jane Mansfield, all of whom the audience adored.
The British actor Michael Cain appeared in 1956; also Elvis Presley
the youth icon in ‘Love Me Tender’ and as the future Rock and Roll
King!
In 1957 came Sean Connery, followed by Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, and Vanessa Redgrave.
While the closing decade of the ‘50s saw James Coburn, along with
director, script writer, and producer Steven Spielberg, make their
debut appearance.

Deaths During The 1950s: This decade also saw the death of actors
like Humphrey Bogart, Tyron Power and Errol Flynn.
Including the death of producer and director of epic movies the
renowned Cecil B. De Mille!
Though I have conclude the Golden Age of Hollywood with the 50’s Decade,
The glitz and glamour of its Oscar Awards continue even to this day.
With its red carpet and lighted marquee appeal and fashion display!

CONTINUING THE HOLLYWOOD STORY WITH FEW TITBITS :
From Fort Lee of New Jersey we have travelled west to Hollywood,
California.
From the silent movie days to the first ‘talking picture’ with Warren
Bros’ film ‘The Jazz Singer’.  (06 Oct 1927)
On 31st July 1928 for the first time the audience heard the MGM’s
mascot Leo’s mighty roar!
While in July 1929 Warren Bros’ first all-talking and all- Technicolor
Film appeared titled - ‘On With The Show’.
Austrian born Hedy Lamarr shocked the audience appearing **** in a Czechoslovak film ‘Ecstasy’!  (1933)
She fled from her husband to join MGM, becoming a star of the
‘40s and the ‘50s.
The ‘Private Life of Henry VII’ became the first British film to win the  American Academy Award.  (1933)
On 11Dec 1934, FOX released ‘Bright Eyes’ with Shirley Temple,
who became the first Child artist to win this Award!
While in 1937 Walt Disney released the first full animated feature
film titled - ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarf ‘.
The British film director Alfred Hitchcock who came to
Hollywood later;
Between 1940 and 1947, made great thrillers like 'Rebecca', ‘Notorious’, ‘Rear Window’, and ‘Dial M for ******’.
But he never won an Oscar as a Director!

THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD:
This award began in 1944 by the Foreign Correspondence Association at
the 20th Century Fox Studio.
To award critically acclaimed films and television shows, by awarding a
Scroll initially.
Later a Golden Globe was made on a pedestal, with a film strip around it.
In 1955 the Cecil B. De Mille Award was created, with De Mille as its first
recipient.

THE GRAMMY AWARD:
In 1959 The National Academy of Recording and Sciences sponsored the
First Grammy Award for music recorded during 1958.
When Frank Sinatra won for his album cover ‘Only The Lonely’, but he
did not sing.
Among the 28 other categories there was Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie
for his musical Dance Band Performance.
There was Kingston Trio’s song ‘Tom Dooly’, and the ‘Chipmunk Song’,
which brings back nostalgic memories of my school days!

CONCLUDING HOLLYWOOD STORY  WITH STUDIOS OF THE 1950s

Challenge Faced by the Movie Industry:
Now the challenge before the Movie Industry was how to adjust to the
rapidly changing conditions created by the growing TV Industry.
Resulting in loss of revenue, with viewers getting addicted to
their Domestic TV screen most conveniently!

The late 1950s saw two studios REPUBLIC and the RKO go out of business!
REPUBLIC from 1935- ‘59 based in Los Angeles, developed the careers of
John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and specializing in the Westerns.
RKO was one of the Big Five Studios of Hollywood along with Paramount,
MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers in those days.

RKO Studio which begun with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the ‘30s,
included actress Katherine Hepburn who holds the record for four Oscars
even to this day;
And later had Robert Mitchum and Carry Grant under an agreement.
But in 1948, RKO Studio came under the control Howard Hughes the
temperamental Industrialist.
Soon the scandal drive and litigation prone RKO Studio closed, while
other Big Four Studios had managed to remain afloat!


PARAMOUNT STUDIO:
Paramount Studio split into two separate companies in 1950.
Its Theatre chain later merged with ABC Radio & Television Network;
And they created an independent Production/Distribution Network.
Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had been Paramount’s two biggest stars.
Followed by actors like Alan Ladd, William Holden, Jerry Lewis, Dean
Martin, Charlton Heston, and Dorothy Lamour.
They also had the producer/director Cecil B. De Mille producing high-
grossing Epics like ‘Samson & Delilah’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’.
Also the movie maker Hal Wallis, who discovered Burt Lancaster and
Elvis Presley - two great talents!

20th CENTURY FOX:
Cinema Scope became FOX’s most successful technological innovation
with its hit film ‘The Robe’. (1953)
Its Darryl Zanuck had observed during the early ‘50s, that audience  
were more interested in escapist entertainments mainly.
So he turned to FOX to musicals, comedies, and adventure stories.
Biggest stars of FOX were Gregory Peck & Susan Hayward; also
stars like Victor Mature, Anne Baxter, and Richard Wind Mark.
Not forgetting Marilyn Monroe in her Cinema Scope Box Office hit
movie - ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’, which was also shown on
prime time TV, as a romantic comedy film of 1953.

WARREN BROTHERS:
During 1950 the studio was mainly a family managed company with
three brothers Harry, Albert, and Jack Warren.
To meet the challenges of that period, Warren Bros. released most of
its actors like James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Oliver de Havilland, -
Along with few others from their long-term contractual commitments;
Retaining only Errol Flynn, and Ronald Regan who went on to become
the future President.
Like 20th Century Fox, Warren Bros switched to musicals, comedies,
and adventure movies, with Doris Day as its biggest musical star.
The studio also entered into short term agreements with Gary Copper,
John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, and Random Scott.
Warren Bros also became the first major studio to invest in 3-D
production of films, scoring a big hit with its 3-D  suspense thriller
‘House of Wax’ in 1953.

MINOR STUDIOS were mainly three, - United Artists, Columbia, and
The Universal.
They did not own any theatre chain, and specialized in low-budgeted
‘B’ Movies those days.
Now to cut a long story short it must be said, that Hollywood finally
did participate in the evolution of Television industry, which led to
their integration eventually.
Though strategies involving hardware development and ownership of
broadcast outlets remained unsuccessful unfortunately.
However, Hollywood did succeed through program supply like prime-
time series, and made-for-TV films for the growing TV market making
things more colorful!
Thus it could be said that the TV industry provided the film industry
with new opportunities,  laying the groundwork for its diversification
and concentration;
That characterized the entertainment industry during the latter half  
of our previous century.
I must now confess that I have not visited the movie theatre over the last
two decades!
I watch movies on my big screen TV and my Computer screen these days.
Old classical movies are all available on ‘You Tube’ for me, and I can watch
them any time whenever I am free!
Thanks for reading patiently, - Raj Nandy.
**ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY OF NEW DELHI
Nuha Fariha Jan 2013
Javier Oscar
Has two first names
Two hands, two feet
One brain
(Though he wished he had two,
One for work and one for play)
Everyday, Javier Oscar walks to work
Crossing two streets
Striding up two stairs
Sitting in-between two equally shaped
Gray Squares
With two bowls in front of him
Round with two light blue swirls
One for pennies, one for food
Everyday, after work, Javier Oscar walks
To a park, to a bridge, to his favorite
Two trees
Where he squats in a shelter, a home of
Two cardboard boxes and two shredded raincoats
One a kitchen, one a bedroom
Every two days, Javier Oscar donates
Two dollars to charity
One a future hope, one a forgotten love.
For Javier Oscar is not poor
He has two hands, two feet, two names
One a man, one a soul.
B Jul 2013
Oscar the dog
loves ****
ha ha
so it seems
he gets high
when I smoke ****
he's in the kitchen
he jumps and pleads
every time
I get the ****
he sings a song
he loves ****

Oscar the dog
gets excited
when I boil eggs
he's uninvited
but every time
I smoke ****
there is he
Oscar the dog
he loves trees

I once saw him beg
from his knees
for a little hit
a bit of ****
he said to me
Ben please
Let me hit it
please

To calm his nerves
I succeed
in getting him high
on my ****
that's my dog
he's high as can be
He loves ****
and so it be
russia
the mother of the love was cindy. she lives as wari and has no longer power. her beauty is renowned and she should rule.

argentina was the land of dd but mexico was goal and it was dana's land. dana is alive but needs to take control.

germany was grand and elsa was their king. elizabeth will rule. william was leam and harry was star. charles was ruu.

venice

the leader of the wall must take the city down dunstable will rule but row must take command (paul p) just lift the iron up and drink the holy well. paul (row my) must lead the way and let the city fall like jerico to row.

sibelius was chief his love could control hell. his land was mexico. he will return in 100 years. for now his son razor must reign. razor reigns already he was always strong with his power.

anthony (anthony p) is still rome. druididous stole from anthony. italy will love his power. his father still lives. he was known as tora. he will always save his people every time. (anthony and cleopatra).

simon (simon d) was the bell of the dance. his land was the guard of the law, his saviour was the christ.

palastine was oscar's (livin christ) land. he loved the people first and then the chosen leader. china stole his heart but his mother's magic eye was always the greener for the dome of the bar which was his mother's land.

syria was kim's the turks obeyed her law and her partner simon rice was the lord of undeceived. (kim's favourite sword - immaculate) kim would only ever give land to someone who beat her in a sword fight.

pakistan was morrow. morrow still lives. i will give him pakistan tomorrow.

laura (y) was time of space. her land was always persia. she always controlled the south and gail (r) did not deceive.

gail was the haunted skull. her wind would launch the sail. her seas were ever brave and her love was always true. persia (north)
was her heart. never steal her heart.

spain was not my son he was never in my life but portugal was spain and gavin (p) was their king.

the catharsis will run and run. i will never be deceived the gate is always closed for love is in our hearts.

england

gina (p) was our queen her lands would always flow. china stole her heart but england was her throne. ( i would like gina to come back to china to bend for the corn) gina's mother was druella in the ancient times.

david (b) was the king, he was the lionheart. he was our favourite king and no man could deceive.

scotland

gavin (p) was the james and diamond was his jewel. diamond is his wife and he must now command for nothing could corrupt.

stuart scotten was a scotish noble.

michael never ruled but no man thought he should his love was always wine and wine should not be loved. (as usual we will give him the principality of lowe as a gift so he does not destroy everyone).

serbia was the good, the love that jesus saw. give my son his thone. the love will be believed. in ancient histories serbia was known as dela. (see note lower serbia is now held by lassa and tal as guardians of the land below mount denar.) serbia and palastine must live in peace now the jew is gone who wanted to hurt palastine so much her people were forced south.

ok important note. we believe serbia was originally dunne but he always wanted land so he was not allowed back to earth. his lands were south of mount denar. oscar/ the christ/ the livin held after dunne left the earth but it was eventually agreed serbia below mount denar would be loved by tal and lassa as guardians of the land.

iatilahhomanne is the blue sky is yugoslavia. his wife is doran. she was his love. his old name was swee. yugoslavia is west of tee and north of do or die generally it is where teem is now. (old dree) their language was hebrew their god was jesus. the jews wanted christ to be their god not their christ. it is easy to find yugoslavia of the old world it is next to dree (ethiopia) and west of door. we believe they were also palastinian descent in the old world.  

pakistan was blue, she gave it to her heart and lassa always rules. lassa is alive give him his power back. no man then will grieve for joshua is back.

australia is madam it must return her power she knows the paths of peace and lives as mary rose.

newzealand is (d) (not good) madam must take control or ruby (a place) will aspire.

america is (d) she seethes to take the land. her hatred scalds and scalds it was berire's land. berire was the chief his land was mule and strike the karaoke's scream i will protect his thone.

orinoco should control his mind is always lead he knows no dark of heart and all his love is treve.

treve is always beth but she was ian's soul. please leave me ian's heart and yours should be atol.

atol would not be right. orinoco always marries beth (yet again). gail will not marry jet.

jason (rye) was no fool his lands were israel's heart. he loved the soul of rule but simon (d) could command.

kirby was the goo, india his throne. he was the amicable man his love was always christ the taj mahal he built and that was his home.

ian

i only want to love one girl, her name is beth. her love is like a bird that listens to the sky and then listens to all my love for her.

denmark

denmark was lasa at the dawn of time demeter is the rule and she's the queen of time. demeter now is young she is the queen of time her land is do or die and masa must command.

esotonia

was the house built by the sea it was eric's house and he was the son of the man he was the love of the life and he lives these days as stan.

france was warren hall but i must now be true. please give my catherine (m) land for aragon must rule. she was also in the ancient history joan of arc.

venice
paul (p) row my (principality palace in tlau.) dunstable took paul's money.

laura y (south china) it was the bys that took laura's money.

mowh has saved the word in china but as usual she tried to take power and had to be destroyed..

in venice beth was cocyo (the giver of bliss)  ( row cocco)

stav in south china is oscar's principality. stav is where oscar (the livin) is always happy. tao (ian and my son) loves to live in lowe.

the emperor of berling (north west south china) should have been. martin j. his brother originally drim dra dro was originally the prince of lowe but when i gave martin his territory in berling nick j became the prince of toi with the principality of toi. this was true in ancient times. martin was known as jo.  

orinoco was the emperor of china. the world was the waiting because the love would always be good.  

skybird drew was ray son. drew were the rightful thone of japan. the drew meant the solace of the earth.

gina in venice was tray.

ian's mother was fred.

eusebius was the poet of the heart.

eri (y) sometimes marries the man of the water.

michael is the guardian of the keep. i will always love my true.

helen (v) was the lover of the vine. she was chinese but had no throne.

claire was jezibel.

david was dow and fun

dunstable was char the feather of the water. he stole row fun.

in venice
eri was elea
laura was dezibel
gavin was cla

i have accepted as a gift a principality province in tithale.

kim of indonisia was the man the people loved. kim of the creator. we used to call kim the good man of our lives and the gentle spirit. everything of his goodness is returned.

our love was the strength of the world.

solace was drew. drew was the noblest family of all.

laura (y) was the mwang the rulers of the town and they were always princes.

in 1288 beth said goodness is more powerful than evil.

watling, turner and maccarthy were forced.

i am the family of fwoah.

lauren fwoah meant lauren the beautiful.

it was the evil family foo who made everybody born (or moved) to england. i demand all their money returned.

trump was the man of the star. he wanted the world to be quiet but loved. his name was choo. his current wife is belle and she was always his queen. his throne is peru.

boris was the baron of the star. your wife is livia and your land was mexico and your name was boro. your son was stevio the prayer of the mind and bringer of peace.

blair was catcho, the man who spent the fun. his original land was japan and he was noble but not the throne. the throne is now skybird drew.

it was the swinster family who hurt diana.

the current emperor of china is loco. he will give the territories to beth. his wife was the queen of the north.

*** (orinoco) was the conqueror of time. his destiny was power. he always loved beth and his province was the south.

japan is dalta at the moment it should have been drew. he stole for power as the armies wouldn't work. he wanted peru but i will not give peru for his destiny is fire!

peru should be malta but malta should be fire the love was the love of the love was always peru and peru should be ruled by scotland.

india was palm of par he was death of silence he was a resiliant man and today he lives as par.

atlantis was my sky i'll always love her heart. her chimney burnt to flame when carthage stole my love. phonecia was the blue and blue as of the wave (m) does wish but it is oscar's soul.

ian wynn was wales his love was orinoco. his daughter still lives as simone.

anthony (rome) was cabra in italy and dree in china which meant love me love. he was also lieu which meant the loved. (anthony and cleopatra)

lean built pisa tower. he was best at food.

row meant delight the sky.

the agha khan was dal which meant the love. he believes his true throne tunisia. i believe this is correct. also iran and iraq.

tin is throne of india.

del was the true throne of sweden. he is in charge.

norway was lion's land. it belongs to strong. who lives as guy.

the shah of iran was simon rice's father. he was the true throne. he was known as tal, which meant the good leader. iraq was also his which was the flower of land, denmark was also tal's land because yassa pretended lassa, this meant the throne was wrong but tal is lawful throne and lassa agrees.

godolphin was the arabian throne.

gina's money was taken by tong and fau who was the imposter winner of gold. they are both dead.

beth's love was the strength of the world.

drua took beth's seal in the china parliament. he stole my money. i was the word of china. i will return and take my rightful seat. my friend the shah of iran has already bought me the principality of siam and principality stav for my livin/oscar/christ ( oscar was born 25/12/97 this is the truth) as a wedding present. my mother gail has bought blue principality province. lowe i have agreed purchase when fun returned for my tao and my michaels.

gina was croan in china.

laura (y) married fleep.

dree took beth's money by pretending royal blood.

dominic (b) was poland of the ancient worlds his charm was nina and she was the curl. nina was so beautiful no man could ever resist, deceit could not destroy them there would always be a whirl!
Stephen Jackson Feb 2017
Oscar the Octopus lived in a tank
at the centre of Monterrey.
He drew in the crowds with legs suckered proud
as they pressed the glass open mouthed.
He took back his legs when he heard them scream and bowed to rapturous applause.
He reigned supreme but they hadn't yet seen
Medusa's glowing legs next door.

One Thursday in June Oscar changed his tune
As he heard a sound from above.
He took off his crown when he saw floating down
A beautiful gay sea horse.

With eye lashes long and singing a song
From the trumpet that was his nose.
The lyrics he heard sounded absurd
About the joy of having curled tails.

He danced for his guests as Oscar digest
they came to see a new show.
A man who gives birth is surely well worth
A pause to watch them being squeezed out.

Oscar was seen by a few in between
the eyes that easily marvel.
When they tapped on the glass he fell on his ***
As he tried to curl all his tails.

Oscar the Octopus lived in a tank
At the centre of Monterrey.
When the crowds didn't come his stage time was done
And they served him to staff on a plate.
Alyssa Underwood Mar 2016
I

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
  For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
  When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
  And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
  In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
  With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain,
  Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
  A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
  “That fellows got to swing.”

Dear Christ! the very prison walls
  Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
  Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
  My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what hunted thought
  Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
  With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
  And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
  By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

Some **** their love when they are young,
  And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
  Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
  The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
  Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
  And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
  Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
  On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
  Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
  Into an empty place

He does not sit with silent men
  Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
  And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
  The prison of its prey.

He does not wake at dawn to see
  Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
  The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
  With the yellow face of Doom.

He does not rise in piteous haste
  To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
  Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
******* a watch whose little ticks
  Are like horrible hammer-blows.

He does not know that sickening thirst
  That sands one’s throat, before
The hangman with his gardener’s gloves
  Slips through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
  That the throat may thirst no more.

He does not bend his head to hear
  The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the terror of his soul
  Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
  Into the hideous shed.

He does not stare upon the air
  Through a little roof of glass;
He does not pray with lips of clay
  For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
  The kiss of Caiaphas.


II

Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
  In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and gay,
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
  Its raveled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
  Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
  In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
  And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
  Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
  Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
  As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
  Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
  A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
  The man who had to swing.

And strange it was to see him pass
  With a step so light and gay,
And strange it was to see him look
  So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
  Had such a debt to pay.

For oak and elm have pleasant leaves
  That in the spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
  With its adder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
  Before it bears its fruit!

The loftiest place is that seat of grace
  For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
  Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer’s collar take
  His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
  When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
  Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
  To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
  We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
  Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
  His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
  Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
  In the black dock’s dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
  In God’s sweet world again.

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
  We had crossed each other’s way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
  We had no word to say;
For we did not meet in the holy night,
  But in the shameful day.

A prison wall was round us both,
  Two outcast men were we:
The world had ****** us from its heart,
  And God from out His care:
And the iron gin that waits for Sin
  Had caught us in its snare.


III

In Debtors’ Yard the stones are hard,
  And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
  Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a Warder walked,
  For fear the man might die.

Or else he sat with those who watched
  His anguish night and day;
Who watched him when he rose to weep,
  And when he crouched to pray;
Who watched him lest himself should rob
  Their scaffold of its prey.

The Governor was strong upon
  The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
  A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called
  And left a little tract.

And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
  And drank his quart of beer:
His soul was resolute, and held
  No hiding-place for fear;
He often said that he was glad
  The hangman’s hands were near.

But why he said so strange a thing
  No Warder dared to ask:
For he to whom a watcher’s doom
  Is given as his task,
Must set a lock upon his lips,
  And make his face a mask.

Or else he might be moved, and try
  To comfort or console:
And what should Human Pity do
  Pent up in Murderers’ Hole?
What word of grace in such a place
  Could help a brother’s soul?

With slouch and swing around the ring
  We trod the Fool’s Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
  The Devil’s Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
  Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
  With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
  And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
  And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
  We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
  And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
  Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
  Crawled like a ****-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
  That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
  We passed an open grave.

With yawning mouth the yellow hole
  Gaped for a living thing;
The very mud cried out for blood
  To the thirsty asphalte ring:
And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
  Some prisoner had to swing.

Right in we went, with soul intent
  On Death and Dread and Doom:
The hangman, with his little bag,
  Went shuffling through the gloom
And each man trembled as he crept
  Into his numbered tomb.

That night the empty corridors
  Were full of forms of Fear,
And up and down the iron town
  Stole feet we could not hear,
And through the bars that hide the stars
  White faces seemed to peer.

He lay as one who lies and dreams
  In a pleasant meadow-land,
The watcher watched him as he slept,
  And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
  With a hangman close at hand?

But there is no sleep when men must weep
  Who never yet have wept:
So we—the fool, the fraud, the knave—
  That endless vigil kept,
And through each brain on hands of pain
  Another’s terror crept.

Alas! it is a fearful thing
  To feel another’s guilt!
For, right within, the sword of Sin
  Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
And as molten lead were the tears we shed
  For the blood we had not spilt.

The Warders with their shoes of felt
  Crept by each padlocked door,
And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
  Grey figures on the floor,
And wondered why men knelt to pray
  Who never prayed before.

All through the night we knelt and prayed,
  Mad mourners of a corpse!
The troubled plumes of midnight were
  The plumes upon a hearse:
And bitter wine upon a sponge
  Was the savior of Remorse.

The **** crew, the red **** crew,
  But never came the day:
And crooked shape of Terror crouched,
  In the corners where we lay:
And each evil sprite that walks by night
  Before us seemed to play.

They glided past, they glided fast,
  Like travelers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
  Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
  The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
  Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
  They trod a saraband:
And the ****** grotesques made arabesques,
  Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
  They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
  As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and long they sang,
  For they sang to wake the dead.

“Oho!” they cried, “The world is wide,
  But fettered limbs go lame!
And once, or twice, to throw the dice
  Is a gentlemanly game,
But he does not win who plays with Sin
  In the secret House of Shame.”

No things of air these antics were
  That frolicked with such glee:
To men whose lives were held in gyves,
  And whose feet might not go free,
Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
  Most terrible to see.

Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
  Some wheeled in smirking pairs:
With the mincing step of demirep
  Some sidled up the stairs:
And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
  Each helped us at our prayers.

The morning wind began to moan,
  But still the night went on:
Through its giant loom the web of gloom
  Crept till each thread was spun:
And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
  Of the Justice of the Sun.

The moaning wind went wandering round
  The weeping prison-wall:
Till like a wheel of turning-steel
  We felt the minutes crawl:
O moaning wind! what had we done
  To have such a seneschal?

At last I saw the shadowed bars
  Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
  That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
  God’s dreadful dawn was red.

At six o’clock we cleaned our cells,
  At seven all was still,
But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
  The prison seemed to fill,
For the Lord of Death with icy breath
  Had entered in to ****.

He did not pass in purple pomp,
  Nor ride a moon-white steed.
Three yards of cord and a sliding board
  Are all the gallows’ need:
So with rope of shame the Herald came
  To do the secret deed.

We were as men who through a fen
  Of filthy darkness *****:
We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
  Or give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
  And what was dead was Hope.

For Man’s grim Justice goes its way,
  And will not swerve aside:
It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
  It has a deadly stride:
With iron heel it slays the strong,
  The monstrous parricide!

We waited for the stroke of eight:
  Each tongue was thick with thirst:
For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
  That makes a man accursed,
And Fate will use a running noose
  For the best man and the worst.

We had no other thing to do,
  Save to wait for the sign to come:
So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
  Quiet we sat and dumb:
But each man’s heart beat thick and quick
  Like a madman on a drum!

With sudden shock the prison-clock
  Smote on the shivering air,
And from all the gaol rose up a wail
  Of impotent despair,
Like the sound that frightened marshes hear
  From a ***** in his lair.

And as one sees most fearful things
  In the crystal of a dream,
We saw the greasy hempen rope
  Hooked to the blackened beam,
And heard the prayer the hangman’s snare
  Strangled into a scream.

And all the woe that moved him so
  That he gave that bitter cry,
And the wild regrets, and the ****** sweats,
  None knew so well as I:
For he who lives more lives than one
  More deaths than one must die.


IV

There is no chapel on the day
  On which they hang a man:
The Chaplain’s heart is far too sick,
  Or his face is far too wan,
Or there is that written in his eyes
  Which none should look upon.

So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
  And then they rang the bell,
And the Warders with their jingling keys
  Opened each listening cell,
And down the iron stair we tramped,
  Each from his separate Hell.

Out into God’s sweet air we went,
  But not in wonted way,
For this man’s face was white with fear,
  And that man’s face was grey,
And I never saw sad men who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw sad men who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  We prisoners called the sky,
And at every careless cloud that passed
  In happy freedom by.

But there were those amongst us all
  Who walked with downcast head,
And knew that, had each got his due,
  They should have died instead:
He had but killed a thing that lived
  Whilst they had killed the dead.

For he who sins a second time
  Wakes a dead soul to pain,
And draws it from its spotted shroud,
  And makes it bleed again,
And makes it bleed great gouts of blood
  And makes it bleed in vain!

Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
  With crooked arrows starred,
Silently we went round and round
  The slippery asphalte yard;
Silently we went round and round,
  And no man spoke a word.

Silently we went round and round,
  And through each hollow mind
The memory of dreadful things
  Rushed like a dreadful wind,
And Horror stalked before each man,
  And terror crept behind.

The Warders strutted up and down,
  And kept their herd of brutes,
Their uniforms were ***** and span,
  And they wore their Sunday suits,
But we knew the work they had been at
  By the quicklime on their boots.

For where a grave had opened wide,
  There was no grave at all:
Only a stretch of mud and sand
  By the hideous prison-wall,
And a little heap of burning lime,
  That the man should have his pall.

For he has a pall, this wretched man,
  Such as few men can claim:
Deep down below a prison-yard,
  Naked for greater shame,
He lies, with fetters on each foot,
  Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

And all the while the burning lime
  Eats flesh and bone away,
It eats the brittle bone by night,
  And the soft flesh by the day,
It eats the flesh and bones by turns,
  But it eats the heart alway.

For three long years they will not sow
  Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
  Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
  With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer’s heart would taint
  Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God’s kindly earth
  Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
  The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
  Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
  Christ brings his will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
  Bloomed in the great Pope’s sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
  May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
  Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
  A common man’s despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
  Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
  By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who ***** the yard
  That God’s Son died for all.

Yet though the hideous prison-wall
  Still hems him round and round,
And a spirit man not walk by night
  That is with fetters bound,
And a spirit may not weep that lies
  In such unholy ground,

He is at peace—this wretched man—
  At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to make him mad,
  Nor does Terror walk at noon,
For the lampless Earth in which he lies
  Has neither Sun nor Moon.

They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
  They did not even toll
A reguiem that might have brought
  Rest to his startled soul,
But hurriedly they took him out,
  And hid him in a hole.

They stripped him of his canvas clothes,
  And gave him to the flies;
They mocked the swollen purple throat
  And the stark and staring eyes:
And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
  In which their convict lies.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
  By his dishonored grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
  That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
  Whom Christ came down to save.

Yet all is well; he has but passed
  To Life’s appointed bourne:
And alien tears will fill for him
  Pity’s long-broken urn,
For his mourner will be outcast men,
  And outcasts always mourn.


V

I know not whether Laws be right,
  Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in gaol
  Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
  A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
  That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took his brother’s life,
  And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
  With a most evil fan.

This too I know—and wise it were
  If each could know the same—
That every prison that men build
  Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
  How men their brothers maim.

With bars they blur the gracious moon,
  And blind the goodly sun:
And they do well to hide their Hell,
  For in it things are done
That Son of God nor son of Man
  Ever should look upon!

The vilest deeds like poison weeds
  Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
  That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
  And the Warder is Despair

For they starve the little frightened child
  Till it weeps both night and day:
And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
  And gibe the old and grey,
And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
And none a word may say.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
  Is foul and dark latrine,
And the fetid breath of living Death
  Chokes up each grated screen,
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
  In Humanity’s machine.

The brackish water that we drink
  Creeps with a loathsome slime,
And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
  Is full of chalk and lime,
And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
  Wild-eyed and cries to Time.

But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
  Like asp with adder fight,
We have little care of prison fare,
  For what chills and kills outright
Is that every stone one lifts by day
  Becomes one’s heart by night.

With midnight always in one’s heart,
  And twilight in one’s cell,
We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
  Each in his separate Hell,
And the silence is more awful far
  Than the sound of a brazen bell.

And never a human voice comes near
  To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
  Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
  With soul and body marred.

And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
  Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
  And some men make no moan:
But God’s eternal Laws are kind
  And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
  In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
  Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean *****’s house
  With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
  And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
  And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
  May Lord Christ enter in?

And he of the swollen purple throat.
  And the stark and staring eyes,
Waits for the holy hands that took
  The Thief to Paradise;
And a broken and a contrite heart
  The Lord will not despise.

The man in red who reads the Law
  Gave him three weeks of life,
Three little weeks in which to heal
  His soul of his soul’s strife,
And cleanse from every blot of blood
  The hand that held the knife.

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
  The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
  And only tears can heal:
And the crimson stain that was of Cain
  Became Christ’s snow-white seal.


VI

In Reading gaol by Reading town
  There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
  Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
  And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
  In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
  Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
  And so he had to die.

And all men **** the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

— The End —