Cupping candles on the open landscape,
marching to the heartbeat of the earth,
head hung low I hold the empty plate
that carries my last meal, the vanished mirth

I knew before the terrible black promise
of days that have been too long in the night.
I know I will not see the fabled summit.
A phosphorous reminder of the light,

Solemn-eyed the moon proclaims my doom,
my quiet song on this unhappy moor,
as I who move from chaos into gloom
light candles and bring darkness to the world.

If I could find within this grave omission
the fortitude of strength to stay the hand
that trembles with an urge to amputation
on the backdoor of tomorrow where I stand

How I would walk then as the need arises
and before the looming mountain make my plea
as far away the sun it blithely rises,
but I do not think that it will rise for me.

I do not think that it will rise for me.
With your last breaths you said to me, that I
must “save the world with words! A pen that sings
gives birth to forms of life that time can not!
On tips of tongues the lungs of love’s voice hides.”
Monosyllabic iambic pentameter.
Because why not?
A town whose people shapeshift everyday
keeps only worn-down roads and festive lights;

the shops, almost enchanted, switching names --
to change at will is to be true to type.

But though it's bittersweet, I must not dwell,
for dwelling simply makes me wish to die:

there cannot be a more merciless hell
than to be self-aware of time gone by -

so I face the days head-on, one by one,
thanking whatever deity's up there

for clockwork rising-falling of the sun;
a beauteous sight we're allowed to share.

Singing 'nostalgia' on our aged guitars
just picks at scabs that are to become scars.
baby's first sonnet. watching the future unfold in front of you is terrifying, but i'm attempting to convince myself that it's wonderful.
Hailee Dilworth Nov 2017
Who are you to obtain my well being?
my disparates have led to my demise:
whilst you stand, withering and pretending,
your eyes, holding the veil of disguise.

i beg, so soft, for a forgiving glance:
but it is my own that turns around
i seek the world in which i have the chance
to burn the veil that i myself have found.

you may use words to strike me down for now,
but I know that they can never harm me.
my mind is set, I am forever bound
to the will I place and choose to lead.

though the memories never fully decay
i act as i am, i say what i say.
a lot of people will try and drag you down and claim you’re like them but realize... you’re who you are and nothing can change that. so, live in the moment and be who you are because that’s beautiful.
nom de plume Apr 2017
my head feels funny so i thought i'd write
a sonnet in an attempt to get sleep
tired eyes meet heavy thoughts meet long nights
lonely hours breed thoughts of hearts sworn to keep

why do these thoughts always come back to you?
oh, all the things i would give to forget
me swearing to you my love and time too
when do promises become cursed debt?

maybe i am not the best with my words
i have a disposition to sadness
does that mean you can cut my heart in thirds?
tearing me apart in your cruel madness?

though still confused, i'm glad you fucked off
though i'm without sleep, i am moving on
we were volatile, a damn molotov
now i can move peacefully into dawn

though lacking you, it is still a new day
i would not have it any other way
David Betten Oct 2016
SORCERER 1
            Fell prince, what can we say? Shall we
            Wring fingers, gazing nervously
            Into our black, obsidian mirror?

SORCERER 2
            Or, in our water jugs, to peer,
            Unbinding and retying twine,
            In hope epiphanies shall shine?

SORCERER 3
            Or shall we three, like puzzling mages,
            Cast bright corn-kernels ‘cross the pages
            Of scripture, wincing to descry
            Some omen there?

SORCERER 1                        Or shall we lie?

SORCERER 2
            Were not your lethal gaze forbidden,
            Our eyes from yours no longer hidden,

SORCERER 3
            These mirrors unfilmed to windows-

SORCERER 1                                                 Wink
            We not, you might their contents drink.
                                                           They look at Motecuhzoma.
                    
TLACAELEL
            Bold, brass, and bungling open-sesames,
            Whose saucy tongues shall spice my hangman’s stew,
            You dare let sink your cataracted gaze
            Upon the solar luminance of our king?
            Who meets these eyes, beholds the face of death.

MOTECUHZOMA
            Shackles shall seal their eyes. Clap them away.
            My hopes were stillborn by these blind-man’s bluffs.

SORCERER 1
            A grand charade shall come to pass,
            As marching mysteries amass,
            And urgently these lurkings gather.

SORCERER 2
            If that is what your lord had rather
            Hear from us, so be it, then.

SORCERER 3
            We’ll break our seal and thus unpen
            Two breeds of vision we may show:
From my play in verse, thefloralwar.com
David Betten Oct 2016
MOTECUHZOMA
            Our priests have proven green and tenderfoot
            By goggling at our late, ill auguries:
            Dumbfounded, counselless, they scan their toes.
            For this have I agreed to pawn my pride
            In dabbling with questionable cures
            By calling forth the aid of sorcerers.

PRIEST OF TLALOC
            Dread lord, how might your grace with confidence
            Place mercenary warlocks in your trust,
            Who twist their gifts toward late-night banditry,
            It’s said, to paralyze their shaky preys.
            Tezcatlipoca, our capricious master,
            Might cloud our muddy minds yet murkier
            For slumping to such dubious helps as these
            If they make mock of his peculiar knowings.

TLACAELEL
            Don’t worry. If they cool your fevered fears
            We’ll hail their hocus-pocus as white physic.
            If not, then as black fiends in iron they’ll rot.

MOTECUHZOMA
            Bring in these esoteric ministers.

                                  A guard leads in three Sorcerers

            You three obscure and dicing conjurers:
            Have you beheld grim omens in the clouds,
            Or prodigies upon the earth? You three,
            Who fathom ‘neath earth’s black and gem-jammed caverns
            To skim atop cold pools of stone-blind fish
            And witness those who have not winked at day;
            Who sink into the water’s murky deeps,
            And loiter drowsily among the weeds,
            Mustering fronds and nightshades for your charms.

PRIEST OF TLALOC
            Have you encountered stray and mongreled men?
            Or lightless nooks congeal as dead men’s shades?
            Or midnight women, crablike, creep in broods?
            Shall we be leveled flat by strange disease,
            Or locusts, pirating their greedy shares?
            From sudden deaths, from wars or wild beasts?
            Shall rainstorms sink our rooftops down to jetties,
            And Tlaloc drown us in a tide of bounty,
            Or broil us in cruel sabbatical?

MOTECUHZOMA
            You must not candy up tart truth for me.
            Have you not heard our thirsting goddess cry,
            And nightly croaking from the earth’s deep faults?
From my play in verse, thefloralwar.com
David Betten Oct 2016
TLACAELEL
            Great, gold-eyed Eagle, greet our messenger,
            We offer his most precious fluid, Lord.
            Bright Hummingbird, accept Thy rubied fruit.
            In tawny plumes, Thou chaperonest the day.
            [To worshipers] We are collaborators with the gods,
            Performing our transcendent duty here.
            For by this action lie the only means
            To eternalize the circuits of the sun:
            An aloe balm to all the sufferings
            Of his interminable pilgrimage.

WORSHIPERS       Blue Prince, may Thou incline Thy heart, that by Thy grace for yet a while may we see in dreams.

TLACAELEL
            For we are God’s own chosen tribe, elect,
            As kernels gleaned and winnowed from the chaff,
            To side in cosmic struggle with the sun,
            To side with goodness, vowed to ascertain
            Its triumph over evil’s looming storm,
            And to bestow to all humanity
            The heavenwide profits of the victory
            Of the resilient forces of the light
            Over the gathering powers of the night.
            Let us pray.                                                          Exit.

WORSHIPERS       Huitzilopochtli, perform Thy office. Do Thy work. May I not reject Thee. May I not falter before Thee. May Thy heart desire whatsoever Thou mayest desire. This is all.
                                                                                   *Trumpets, drum. All exit.
From my play in verse, thefloralwar.com
David Betten Oct 2016
ALVARADO                                              Old friend, admit,
            You have not crossed this river Styx before,
            But I and that long-suffering soldier have,
            And seen such sights to make your codstones crawl:
            I mean the hell of human sacrifice.
            When trumpets howl, and myrrh infects the air,
            A wall-broad drum resounds a thundering knell,
            To call the cultists to their grisly pyramid.
                                               A drum is heard, repeating at intervals.
            One victim strains across the clammy slab,
            A ghoul down-wrenching at each tortured limb,
            To keep the spinal shambles tautly arched;
            To see the black, satanic hangman leer,
            With clotted snarls of hair, and clawlike nails,
            Lifting the cutlery to tremble skyward,
            And to this brittle bird cage plunge the flint;
            He loots the poor chest of its jewel. The heart,
            Exhumed, hot from the plundered cavity,
            Reluctant to desist its wonted pulse,
            Still shudders in the fiend’s vampiric gripe,
            Which he uprears to slake the smoldering sun.
            Unearthly, braying like a beast possessed,
            And, wielding disarticulated joints-
            The fleshless femurs of a virgin maid-
            Or, glaring through a mask of patchwork flesh,
            The druid forges down the crannied steps,
            Cascading with a rill of molten marrow.
            He kicks the corpse to tumble in the throng,
            Who spring to snatch his gobbets for their dish,
            And chant (the word goes) “Now our gods are coming . . .”
                                                                                                     *They exit.
From my play in verse, thefloralwar.com
David Betten Oct 2016
CORTÉS
            But how to learn their Tower-of-Babel tongues?
            I think I have an inkling. Sandoval,
            Bring me that Díaz from the footmen’s ranks-
            A proud alumnus of this school of vice.                     Exit Sandoval.
            Young Sandoval shows promise of promotion,
            But, Alvarado, you’re my confidante,
            As well as in effect my deputy.
            We must concur about these Indians.
            They are not possibly the “natural slaves”
            Of which the pagan Aristotle spoke,
            And can be raised to all the dignity
            Of sons of Christ.

ALVARADO                         I’ll take your word.

CORTÉS                                                            Take God’s.

                                          Enter DÍAZ.

DÍAZ      God save you, captain! What mighty business of state pulls my
rare proficiencies away from tent-tying?

CORTÉS
            So Díaz,
            Twice now have you arrived in Cozumel
            With this old villain, who reveals to me,
            When last you pitched your tents, a year ago,
            Your fleet encountered awestruck Indians,
            Who nodded at the whiteness of your hides
            And uttered, “Castilán . . . Castilán.”
            Who came before, that they knew you by face?

DÍAZ
            Some say that eight years past, lost in the fog,
             A Spanish galleon shattered on these reefs.
            Her ribs discharged a dash of castaways
            That disappeared into these gloomy woods.

ALVARADO
            And thus within hide our interpreters.

DÍAZ
            So: Castellano . . . Castilán.

CORTÉS                                             Well done.
            Commune with these glad-handed Indians,
            And sleuth it out through means of pantomime
            If any of our cast-off countrymen
            Might swelter yet in this unsparing clime.                      Exit Díaz.

ALVARADO
            And as regards your noble savages?

CORTÉS
            I shall induct them to the host of Christ.
            I’ll give them scissors, candles, silver mirrors,
            With tops and kites to cheer their little ones.
            As your bombastic threats have scattered them,
            I must so kindly call to coax them back.

ALVARADO
            With prayer and kindness- Save us all! Kind words!

CORTÉS
            Speak now, or hold your peace. . .
From my play in verse, thefloralwar.com
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