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ConnectHook Feb 2016
by John Greenleaf Whittier  (1807 – 1892)

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

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


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


                                       EMERSON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://youtu.be/vVOQ54YQ73A
Smoke Scribe Aug 2018
The Violent Storm by the Water
(Do You Trust Your Imagination)
was not unexpected
but its fury was without compare,
poet awake in semi-preparation

living by water should be a human right for all,
even a small room, overlooking, gives new meaning to
perspective

we blessed with a patio door, encased in a glass window big enough for a smallish elephant to come visit and play with children

a storm is observed up close and personal as if one was in
an IMAX 3D  theater, and the edges of existence were being redefined,
sharpened by fury, tooled by tools untouched by mortal hands

miles of bay illuminated with bass drum furious accompaniment

stand before the screen,
poets arms outstretched as a supplicant,
the light of the lightening passes through him,
yet , behind me, she still sleeps

then the entire house shakes, reverberates, as if to say:


”tremble humans, cower, you are not permitted to watch my majesty, for such it was when created heaven and earth”

bold poet window worshipping
risky answers:

“but who will know
if even a poet cannot declaim sights
no one else has seen?”

”true, true, but you must choose if poet truly,
do you trust your imagination human,
to prove that the powers of the heavens are limitless?”

write of storms unseen and nature endless miracles

”then you may call yourself
a miracle too,
a poet

violent #storm violentstorn
CK Baker Apr 2017
to exonerate the clipping
we took the back road to oswega
the tudor house rabbits
had long lost their heads
(presumably to the *****)
and what remained
of the scape
was dead
and dry
and orange

that happy home
on the brink
of cattle loop
was now gull grey ~
the needles
and stragglers
(from shady bay)
remained in numbers
on the outskirt
of the park

the fabled town
of horse drawn tours
was stone washed ~
on the back of
government docks
sat decrepit toppers
set on high tide
against the lighthouse
and its measured song

flutes and fiddles
and acoustic sitars
ride the accompaniment
nose rings
and signage
in the hands of
staged protesters
the sickly spit strewn
with tidal run
and ocean bags

hedgerow trimmed
alongside the sea walk
rolling hills bend
before the chuck
mint juleps
and flop hats
peak the parade
clydesdales
and royals
blinded in back
a princess sits in her royal lounge
troubled at mind, restless of heart
trembling limbs and parched tongue
the rivers in her eyes betray
the sorrow that drowns her soul
with shaking fingers she struggles
for a firm grip on her quill
her heart pours out in fluid words
to express a love nursed for years

“My Lord, from childhood I have heard
of your courageous acts and kind character
of your handsomeness and perfectness
and I am unable to draw my mind away
from thoughts of you and yours
I am shamelessly besotted by you
Like a sunflower that is drawn to the sun
I am drawn to you
It is against the common notion
for a woman to ask a man
to take her hand in marriage
I break every tradition,
but Mukunda, answer my question-
which woman, high-born
and well-versed in all the arts,
will not wish to be your consort-
and besides I have already considered myself
wedded to you, in thought and spirit
is it not immoral then
when I consider myself a married woman
and when I am already yours
body, mind and soul,
to allow me another marriage?
My brother Rukmi has arranged
a marriage for me, and it is in the morrow
my heart sinks in sorrow
you are my saviour-
it behooves you to come
and claim what is yours
and how to accomplish it without needless bloodshed
need not cause you worry, for I have a plan
tomorrow morning I shall go for my pre-nuptial prayer
at the temple in the outskirts
away from curious eyes
and it is from there
that you can take me
please do come Krishna and save me
from this mockery of a marriage
I have already said that I am yours
and if you do not come, I shall
with no second thought ensure
that I am no longer alive
to be the object of another man’s desire
and if not in this birth, we shall
in another birth be man and wife”


she seals the letter with  burning tears
and entrusts in a priest’s willing hands to deliver
this receptacle of her hopes and fears
a sliver of hope begins to glimmer
as exhaustion finally takes over
and sleep beckons with gentle hands
to distant happier lands

In the morning she awakes
mind no more clouded or deluded
a faith unshaken that strengthens
as her messenger arrives
bearing happy news
her heart gladdens

Krishna will come – of that she is sure
a love denied will now be hers
the blush of excitement gives way
to shyness - kept so far at bay
the letter was written boldly enough
but now her maiden coyness asserts its sway
with eager pulsing heart she awaits
the moment of freedom and fastening
with her love – it seems too long a day!

In her best finery she is bedecked
a bride blossoming like a flower
eyes shining like diamonds
in their excitement
nocturnal hair that falls to her waist
in a tidy plait
lips tinged with a secret smile
an accompaniment to her glowing face
her blush spreads
like a rose amongst jasmines

with slow sure steps
and comely gait
eyes glistening with hope
and conviction strengthened with faith
she proceeds towards the temple
with sincere emotion she prays

“Devi Parvati, with your motherly grace
look upon me with your kind gaze
as once through penance you gained
your true love as a husband
I too embark today
on a quest to find my way
to him who is my very soul- I pray
let Krishna me my husband”


As every minute passes hope grows
and then she hears his majestic roar
like  a dark thunder-cloud he appears
his turmeric vestment blowing in the wind
and like lighting in the night sky
suddenly and nimbly he hoists her
onto his chariot and they are away

and then the powerful anticipation of this moment gave way
to its pure enjoyment, the company of the loved one

and thus it was that the unflinching Rukmini
wedded Krishna one day.

- Vijayalakshmi Harish
        10.9.2012

Copyright © Vijayalakshmi Harish
Joel M Frye Sep 2016
The power of music
and friendship
heals dead connections;
a well-meaning member
of a jam session
offers me a guitar.
I politely decline,
embarrassed by my disability,
and they shrug.  Your choice.
The familiar curves
beneath my arm
like a woman
from my past,
my amnesiac left hand
reaches for the
muscle memory
of fifty years' practice.
After an agonizing minute,
the G chord miraculously plays,
as I played it at five,
the three big fingers alone
strong enough to hold it.
The switch to C impossible;
so I play a variation.
Doesn't sound bad with the group.
My God, I might play a D7
by the next time it comes around
in the song.
The gang is playing old standards,
Ohio State music;
three chords and a cloud of dust,
which suits my present skill(?) well.
I almost cried when a few tunes later,
we sang A Horse With No Name
to my accompaniment.

Beethoven was deaf, yet heard the Ode To Joy.
Hawking is paralyzed, and travels the universe.
I have three good fingers,
and no good excuses.
Victoria Essex Nov 2012
Life’s moments and happenings are like little thieves
They don’t want any money
They still take it
Putting salt on cracked lips, stealing the warmth of a heart
Sobs resonate in lonely halls
Everything reeks
Of lifeless dust
Even darkness can’t fight them off
Or push away the pain

The cold, swift figures taste like hatred
Longtime friend with the soul of a sister
Offers a consoling embrace
It bleeds good feelings
Now they want our money
Thieves aren’t fair, nor logical
No rhyme
No reason
Life’s a poorly written song
Bad music *****
The bold melody clashes
With its vague accompaniment
We didn’t want them so we welcomed them

‘There must be some way out of here’
Said the joker to the thief
I don’t think there is any way out

The precious tokens of life should be protected
By an army of mindlessly trained children
Who fall in love with the thieves
Whose forgiving minds omit the fear

Thieves call us easy
We are forever sobbing
Cries heard only by past selves and invisible belongings
When we prove we are great
And pass impassable tests
Everything will return

We aren’t capable of such feats
Our memories sing us haunting songs
We cry out with our salty lips
And empty hearts
Robbed of any motivation
Robbed of any care
Robbed of love
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
I'm imagining it's Christmas Day. There's snow of course. Wet boots in the hall. We've walked up on the hill and looked across to Wales illuminated in a brief yet vivid sunset. A parliament of crows gathered by Dafyns to honour the day. All the while we made secret love with our fingers through black knitted gloves.
 
But just two days before Advent begins I stand in my kitchen cutting up the fruit for our soon to be made cake, a cake we'll bake together. This is such joy I tremble a little that it can and is so.
 
I run through the recipe mentally checking what I know to be here. I love this bringing together of ingredients I know to be in my cupboard, this ’ having things to hand’. So comforting. Cranberries, figs, whole hazelnuts, ground almonds; they are all here waiting in the dark of my store cupboard. I long now to bring them into the open and together in my fingers, touch their particular textures and then mix and bind and stir.
 
He's zesting a lemon and an orange, a gentle presence in my kitchen, keeping a respectful distance. He regards cooking as gift-giving. He says each meal he cooks is his little gift to me, made with love. I know this to be true.
 
He talks about writing an Advent letter to an Austrian friend. This lady, who I once met at an opening, celebrates the Feast of Advent with a party. She bakes the traditional sweet breads and cakes, has made a wreath for her table and placed the candles that mark the journey of Advent into Christmas. Four red, one white. After tea she will sing her childhood folk songs and those indigestible Lutheran hymns to the accompaniment of her zither.
 
He is I know reflecting on this period of preparation for the birth of the Eternal Christ. He talks of 'being away' at this time when the university term ended weeks before Christmas and he would walk the empty beach at Porth Colman where this summer he swam naked in the sea whilst I drew wild pictures with charcoal from a recent fire, and he told me my eyes were so very beautiful, and that he loved me with all his heart.
 
And I stand in my kitchen with my ‘soon to be baked’ Christmas Cake. I am imagining now the fireside, my cup of Jasmine tea, the knife in my hand firmly breaking into icing and almond paste, into the dark womb of our fruit filled cake bringing into the soft firelight of my sitting room a texture into which together we stirred our wishes for the future, and will soon taste the possibility of it all.
Nat Lipstadt Jan 2018
based on the essay in the notes below
which was forwarded to me by Liz Balise
<>
all poems and their accompaniment sauces commence with onions,
that start by fouling the air, bringing forth only unrestricted tearings,
but then...

the slow cooking elicits the sugars hid within,
the unpleasant odor, refined into something
minted new sweet and savory.

so too, the poem must simmer, slow cooked,
harmonizing the caramelizing,
even if some ingredients
claim the first born birthright of the eldest first essential,
despite the collective harmonizing.

the ripened color of the blood red tomatoes,
the ruddy cheery sanguinity of
certain words in each poem,
are the coloration of its entirety -
the ones your never forgive for never letting you forget them!

what matters not but how, the daring to substitute the new how,
how you chef see it and color it with the crazy way how
you beckon us over one by one to the big *** for a tasting
accepting critiques and suggestions, a thousand pinches
of your salty sweet essences.

and the recipe is dog stained and pointy corner ear-edged,
cause you cannot exactly write it down, and you bend the corner
for every substitution and variation,
cause every poem
made to taste the how of us,
each one a subtle different.

everyone understands metaphor,
even the society of the reticent ones in the back row,
just say the “trapdoor of depression” and they’ll nod knowingly,
so say to them a poem is a metaphor for you,
and spaghetti sauce is how you see, recreate in words,
how you need to add an ingredient of yourself
to this one,
a word, a phrase, becomes you,
becoming you in it,
in you,
you in it are both poet and poem,

a simmering new and different

————————————————————————-


A Well Written Essay— The Spaghetti Sauce Method

As a teacher and a learner, I have always wanted to see the "nuts and bolts" of everything. Yes, it slows the process down, but the learning is more complete, and a person becomes capable of making endless connections of understanding, branching to other  creative possibilities. Writing like dancing, and all that is worth learning, deserves all of the pieces and steps of the process.
I remember telling my students every year that grammar could indeed be a dry bone, but necessary in the process of good communication. Told them that I would teach writing by the "spaghetti sauce method" (Visualize their perplexed faces here.). "A well-written essay should be like a really good sauce-- smooth, fine textured, with a complete harmony of meat, sweet, tomato, and seasonings-- not one overpowering the others, but all in marvelous union of great flavor and aroma."
I continued, giving the example of my mother's
(God rest 'er) Irish spaghetti sauce" as a contrast. "Mama would throw in onions, peppers (if she had ‘em), hamburger, salt and pepper, fry it all in corn oil, and mix with two cans of plain tomato sauce. This was all okay with me," I went on,“ till I experienced the epiphany of garlic, basil, oregano, pork neck bones and a cup of wine; in the kitchen of an Italian neighbor, who walked me through the process and ingredients of real Italian sauce that was simmered for hours."
I continued to nudge them with the comparison: "Excellent writing is more than talent and passion, otherwise a tirade of curses, knotted ideas, and copied paragraphs of someone else would always do.” "No," I went on, "It is clear thought, captured, slow-cooked in the labor of mind and understanding— and in good time, expressed, in a way that others can comprehend -- with great attention to the cardinal rule: It is not as much WHAT you say-- but HOW you say it."
Through the year I focused on one or two aspects of better writing at a time for each paper. It was an uphill battle, often teaching against the mediocrity of the expectations in the PA State Standards of Assessment. It would add ten hours to my work week to grade and comment on a set of a 115 papers.
Nigel Morgan Dec 2012
He said I’m the wrong shape. I could do with putting on a few pounds and, almost as an after thought he said, you’ll have to cut your hair – yourself.  I know she was an artist, and a mother, and a gardener. I had to admit to him I didn’t know any painters. My cousin Julie’s a sculptor – same thing he said – but I had to tell him I hadn’t yet looked at her painting, only what he showed us in his presentation.  He then told me exactly where in the National Museum of Wales I could see one of her paintings – Gallery 14 – and its from this period, a Parisiene picture. He suggested I might go to Cambridge and spend a day at a place called Kettles Yard. There are more Winifreds there than anywhere else in the UK, and many pictures by her close friend Christopher Wood.
 
Oh dear. This is difficult. The only thing going for me seems I’m about the right age and I’ve have children, though mine are older than hers in the production. I was so surprised to get this part, but as Michael said over the phone, your profile fits. Except for the weight and the hair, and I know nothing about painting. Why should I? Jeff told me, the composer Morton Feldman once said if you haven’t got a friend whose a painter, you’re in trouble. I’m in trouble. But he has very kind eyes and when he touched me gently on the shoulder after Lizzie and I sung that shells duet I had to look away.
 
Reaching down arm-deep into bright water
I gathered on white sand under waves
Shells, drifted up on beaches where I alone
Inhabit a finite world of years and days.
I reached my arm down a myriad years
To gather treasure from the yester-millennial sea-floor,
Held in my fingers forms shaped on the day of creation….
 
They sleep on the ocean floor like humming-tops
Whose music is the mother-of-pearl octave of the rainbow,
Harmonious shells that whisper for ever in our ears,
‘The world that you inhabit has not yet been created’

 
Mind you, I don’t envy Lizzie being Kathleen Raine. Now that is a difficult part, even though she’s only in Act 2. Raine was definitely odd. He says I have to understand their friendship, because there was something about it that made them both more than they were. I don’t understand that.
 
Jane and the children are amazing already. Martin (my ‘other’ half Ben Nicholson) said they’d been rehearsing with Robert because his wife (Robert’s wife Debbie) is at WNO and they were scared about this one. I’ll say this for him he knows exactly how children interrupt, constantly. It’s clever the way he uses the interruptions to change direction of the dialogue. Conversations are often left unfinished. The bit when that ***** Barbara visits the apartment unexpectedly is brilliant. She’s completely demolished by these kids of her lover.
 
But those letters . . . he said, can you imagine your husband writing to you over a period of 40 years? Quite a thought that. David wrote to me a few times when I was in Madrid for Cosi just after we’d met, but it was all telephone calls after that. Why waste paper, time and a stamp. But I take his point – their letters are so beautiful – and they were separated for God’s sake. He’d gone off with another woman, and even brought her to Paris. And you could not have two totally different women – she ,slight, chain-smoking, work-a-holic, sharp-tongued with that Yorkshire edge, and me with ‘a quiet voice, trying always to be gentle and kind ‘– W would be called an earth-mother these days. She was a kind of hippie, only she had money – mind you most of those hippies of the 60s had money otherwise they couldn’t have done drugs (heard that on Radio 4 last week in a programme about Richard Brautigan). But they wrote to each other almost every day.
 
Dear Ben,.
            Do you know there are several kinds of happiness, and there is one sort which I have found. It is the sort that is within oneself, enjoying fresh promise, and taking all the experiences of life that one has been through, so-called sad ones and so-called happy ones, to make up understanding that is further on than joy or sorrow. I have been extremely lucky – I have had ten years of companionship with an ‘all-time’ painter, working in the medium of classic eternity and that has been better than a lifetime with any second-class person – isn’t it - I have found it so…
 
Best love Winifred

 
What’s clever about the letter sequences is the way the two-way correspondence is handled as a duet and right in the middle of it you’ll get a flashback – like Winifred suddenly remembering her first meeting with Ben.
 
I heard this voice
In the room next door
I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t move
I knew, I knew for certain
This was the man I would marry.
And when we were introduced
He seemed to know this too.

 
We gaily call this an opera, but it’s not. It’s something else. It simply doesn’t do what you think it’s going to do. Even when you do something for a second time the accompaniment doesn’t do what you expect and remembered. It’s this open-form business. Something else I know nothing about. He mentioned Umberto Eco – now I’ve read Name of the Rose. When Braque or Mondrian or Jan Eps visit unannounced I have no idea which one it’s going to be – these guys just used to turn up. Sometimes two at once. W didn’t invite them. They came for her English hospitality (home baking I think) and her beautiful apartment come studio – beautiful, because she made it so. Her French was appalling, and this is difficult because I speak quite well, and now I have to speak like an idiot. Bridget  (playing Cissy the Cumbrian nanny) having her French lesson is a hoot, and with the children correcting her all the time, it’s lovely.
 
He was very sweet when we broke for lunch. Sara, he said, as I collapsed into an auditorium seat to find my bag and mobile, Sara, we’ve got to find you a painter to spend a day with . . . so you’ll know how to stand in front of an easel.  I phoned Sarah Jane Brown who has a studio in Cardiff and she’d love to meet you. Here’s her number. She paints flowers and landscapes – as well as the abstract stuff - just like Winifred. Her tutor at the RCA actually knew Winifred. And with that he disappeared to a dark corner of the theatre and unwrapped his sandwiches. You can tell he’s not into break discussions with Julian or Michael. I think he’s terribly shy. He’s interested in the cast and so he picks them off one by one. Julian I know doesn’t like this. I think everything needs to go through me, he said at the end of yesterday’s rehearsal. Who does he think he is?! Lizzie reminded Julian he was the composer and what he doesn’t know about this whole period and its characters isn’t knowledge. Liz thinks he’s a sweetie – and she’s sung his Raine settings at Branwyn Hall last year – with Robert who was his MD with BBCNOW. Liz knows Julian hasn’t done his usual homework because he’s got this production in Birmingham on the boil. Unknown Colour is a distraction he can do without.
 
This afternoon it’s back to the mayhem of those ensemble scenes in Act 1. They’re quite crazy, but I’m already beginning to feel I can start to be someone other than me. Did you know I have this lovely song? It’s quite Sondheim . . .
 
*I like to have a picture in my room.
Without one, my room feels bare
however much furniture is there;
Pictures play so many roles.
My room has too much going on in it
for something extravagant.
In the morning it is a sanctuary,
in the daytime a factory,
in the evening a place of festivity,
and through the night a place of rest.
 
I want a window in it,  
And a focal point, something alive and silent.
A bunch of flowers on the window sill?
Yes, but they will wither.
A cat curled up on the hearth?
Yes, but it will go away and prowl upon the rooftops.
 
A picture will always be there.
It will make no sound. It will wait.
If it is true I shall never grow tired of it.
I shall see something fresh in it
when I glance at it tomorrow.
It will always be my friend.
Rangzeb Hussain Feb 2011
Journey to Mecca – The IMAX Experience

Imagine the scene... There are crowds of people milling about, some in queues, some chatting by the windows, others sipping a warm drink. There are children playing in corners, babies drinking milk, and wherever you look you see people of all creeds and races united under the banner of a shared humanity. And what is the reason for this diverse cross section of society to be present in one place on a quiet and sleepy Sunday afternoon at Birmingham’s ThinkTank? The answer is right there across the busy foyer. It is a poster for a new IMAX film called “Journey to Mecca”. The very air bubbles with excitement and expectation as the cinema staff cut the proverbial ribbon and usher the people into the auditorium.

Space, vast and open, is the first thing that hits the audience as they take their seats and let their eyes wander over the immense spectrum of the IMAX screen. A map unfurls across the screen and a narrator explains the time and lays down the background to the scene that is about to commence. The year is 1325, the place is Tangier and the story is about a man who is about to embark upon a journey to the holy city of Mecca on a pilgrimage. The charismatic young man is Ibn Battuta, he stares at the stars that twinkle across the canvas of the night sky and he dreams of spires, of domes, of jewelled cities that sparkle in the desert sands, and his vision swoops like a falcon over the alleys and streets of the kingdom until they rest upon the Ka’aba, the sacred building at the heart of Islam.

Ibn Battuta bids farewell to his beloved family and sets out on his journey which will see him tested, both physically and psychologically, as he travels to the fabled city of Mecca. His trials and tribulations on the road to Mecca are detailed with an emotional richness rarely seen in modern cinema. The script is nuanced in a way that allows the audience to connect with the action and the various characters. The depth of research and the care in which the tale is told is delicately balanced. This is cinema as entertainment and as education.

The film reveals the magic and wonder of the Hajj by contrasting the life of Ibn Battuta with modern day worshippers at the same holy sites as those visited by the young traveller all those years ago. The scale of the event is brought to realisation in a way that will make even the most jaded film connoisseur gasp with astonishment.

In terms of technicalities, the IMAX technology is notorious for being extremely expensive and difficult to master. The format does not allow for the creative freedom that one can utilize in 35mm, so it is to the credit of the crew that this film looks seamless and breathtaking. Every single frame of the drama is a beautifully crafted canvas that seems to glow like a painting. The cinematography is exemplary and employs a painterly palette. The deserts and mountains are dry, cracked and dusty brown like wrinkled parchment while the sun drips golden lava across the scorching landscape. The white garments of the pilgrims are like beacons floating in the creamy dust of the desert sands whilst the tapestries hanging in the bazaars are lovingly stitched in green and blue threads; and the silver and gold bangles on the arms and ankles of the village girls ****** and twinkle. The atmosphere of warmth and friendship is apparent in every scene, especially when the succulent food is shared by the soft red glow of the campfires. High above this blend of colours, languages and the swirl of human emotions are the dancing stars that ripple in the heavens. The spectacle and sounds of a bygone era are stunningly designed.

The soundtrack also serves the film quite well. The music is never intrusive or melodramatic, it is there as a soft accompaniment to the proceedings. The use of strings, Moorish mandolins, African percussion and the human voice brings an exotic and ethereal ambiance to the drama.

“Journey to Mecca” is a journey of hope, a journey of understanding and a journey that will inspire. The sheer magnitude and beauty of this film left the audience awed and instilled a desire to learn more about the past which we sometimes neglect to reflect upon in our fast moving lives. This film is an ode to peace, love and compassion, and acts as a bridge of understanding between the past and present. And, as the film fades to black at the ******, there is a final haunting image that will resonate with every member of the audience. The message is simple and poignant. It illustrates the transient and swift nature of life; it shows how we glow brightly by the light of the noon day sun and then fade into the tranquil shadows of the coming twilight. Our journey in this life should be one that respects all of humanity despite our cultural or political differences. It is not often that one leaves the cinema knowing that your soul has been moved by something rare, delicate and exquisite. This was one of those rare occasions.
Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared,
Alcinous and Ulysses both rose, and Alcinous led the way to the
Phaecian place of assembly, which was near the ships. When they got
there they sat down side by side on a seat of polished stone, while
Minerva took the form of one of Alcinous’ servants, and went round the
town in order to help Ulysses to get home. She went up to the
citizens, man by man, and said, “Aldermen and town councillors of
the Phaeacians, come to the assembly all of you and listen to the
stranger who has just come off a long voyage to the house of King
Alcinous; he looks like an immortal god.”
  With these words she made them all want to come, and they flocked to
the assembly till seats and standing room were alike crowded. Every
one was struck with the appearance of Ulysses, for Minerva had
beautified him about the head and shoulders, making him look taller
and stouter than he really was, that he might impress the Phaecians
favourably as being a very remarkable man, and might come off well
in the many trials of skill to which they would challenge him. Then,
when they were got together, Alcinous spoke:
  “Hear me,” said he, “aldermen and town councillors of the
Phaeacians, that I may speak even as I am minded. This stranger,
whoever he may be, has found his way to my house from somewhere or
other either East or West. He wants an escort and wishes to have the
matter settled. Let us then get one ready for him, as we have done for
others before him; indeed, no one who ever yet came to my house has
been able to complain of me for not speeding on his way soon enough.
Let us draw a ship into the sea—one that has never yet made a voyage-
and man her with two and fifty of our smartest young sailors. Then
when you have made fast your oars each by his own seat, leave the ship
and come to my house to prepare a feast. I will find you in
everything. I am giving will these instructions to the young men who
will form the crew, for as regards you aldermen and town
councillors, you will join me in entertaining our guest in the
cloisters. I can take no excuses, and we will have Demodocus to sing
to us; for there is no bard like him whatever he may choose to sing
about.”
  Alcinous then led the way, and the others followed after, while a
servant went to fetch Demodocus. The fifty-two picked oarsmen went
to the sea shore as they had been told, and when they got there they
drew the ship into the water, got her mast and sails inside her, bound
the oars to the thole-pins with twisted thongs of leather, all in
due course, and spread the white sails aloft. They moored the vessel a
little way out from land, and then came on shore and went to the house
of King Alcinous. The outhouses, yards, and all the precincts were
filled with crowds of men in great multitudes both old and young;
and Alcinous killed them a dozen sheep, eight full grown pigs, and two
oxen. These they skinned and dressed so as to provide a magnificent
banquet.
  A servant presently led in the famous bard Demodocus, whom the
muse had dearly loved, but to whom she had given both good and evil,
for though she had endowed him with a divine gift of song, she had
robbed him of his eyesight. Pontonous set a seat for him among the
guests, leaning it up against a bearing-post. He hung the lyre for him
on a peg over his head, and showed him where he was to feel for it
with his hands. He also set a fair table with a basket of victuals
by his side, and a cup of wine from which he might drink whenever he
was so disposed.
  The company then laid their hands upon the good things that were
before them, but as soon as they had had enough to eat and drink,
the muse inspired Demodocus to sing the feats of heroes, and more
especially a matter that was then in the mouths of all men, to wit,
the quarrel between Ulysses and Achilles, and the fierce words that
they heaped on one another as they gat together at a banquet. But
Agamemnon was glad when he heard his chieftains quarrelling with one
another, for Apollo had foretold him this at Pytho when he crossed the
stone floor to consult the oracle. Here was the beginning of the
evil that by the will of Jove fell both Danaans and Trojans.
  Thus sang the bard, but Ulysses drew his purple mantle over his head
and covered his face, for he was ashamed to let the Phaeacians see
that he was weeping. When the bard left off singing he wiped the tears
from his eyes, uncovered his face, and, taking his cup, made a
drink-offering to the gods; but when the Phaeacians pressed
Demodocus to sing further, for they delighted in his lays, then
Ulysses again drew his mantle over his head and wept bitterly. No
one noticed his distress except Alcinous, who was sitting near him,
and heard the heavy sighs that he was heaving. So he at once said,
“Aldermen and town councillors of the Phaeacians, we have had enough
now, both of the feast, and of the minstrelsy that is its due
accompaniment; let us proceed therefore to the athletic sports, so
that our guest on his return home may be able to tell his friends
how much we surpass all other nations as boxers, wrestlers, jumpers,
and runners.”
  With these words he led the way, and the others followed after. A
servant hung Demodocus’s lyre on its peg for him, led him out of the
cloister, and set him on the same way as that along which all the
chief men of the Phaeacians were going to see the sports; a crowd of
several thousands of people followed them, and there were many
excellent competitors for all the prizes. Acroneos, Ocyalus, Elatreus,
Nauteus, Prymneus, Anchialus, Eretmeus, Ponteus, Proreus, Thoon,
Anabesineus, and Amphialus son of Polyneus son of Tecton. There was
also Euryalus son of Naubolus, who was like Mars himself, and was
the best looking man among the Phaecians except Laodamas. Three sons
of Alcinous, Laodamas, Halios, and Clytoneus, competed also.
  The foot races came first. The course was set out for them from
the starting post, and they raised a dust upon the plain as they all
flew forward at the same moment. Clytoneus came in first by a long
way; he left every one else behind him by the length of the furrow
that a couple of mules can plough in a fallow field. They then
turned to the painful art of wrestling, and here Euryalus proved to be
the best man. Amphialus excelled all the others in jumping, while at
throwing the disc there was no one who could approach Elatreus.
Alcinous’s son Laodamas was the best boxer, and he it was who
presently said, when they had all been diverted with the games, “Let
us ask the stranger whether he excels in any of these sports; he seems
very powerfully built; his thighs, claves, hands, and neck are of
prodigious strength, nor is he at all old, but he has suffered much
lately, and there is nothing like the sea for making havoc with a man,
no matter how strong he is.”
  “You are quite right, Laodamas,” replied Euryalus, “go up to your
guest and speak to him about it yourself.”
  When Laodamas heard this he made his way into the middle of the
crowd and said to Ulysses, “I hope, Sir, that you will enter
yourself for some one or other of our competitions if you are
skilled in any of them—and you must have gone in for many a one
before now. There is nothing that does any one so much credit all
his life long as the showing himself a proper man with his hands and
feet. Have a try therefore at something, and banish all sorrow from
your mind. Your return home will not be long delayed, for the ship
is already drawn into the water, and the crew is found.”
  Ulysses answered, “Laodamas, why do you taunt me in this way? my
mind is set rather on cares than contests; I have been through
infinite trouble, and am come among you now as a suppliant, praying
your king and people to further me on my return home.”
  Then Euryalus reviled him outright and said, “I gather, then, that
you are unskilled in any of the many sports that men generally delight
in. I suppose you are one of those grasping traders that go about in
ships as captains or merchants, and who think of nothing but of
their outward freights and homeward cargoes. There does not seem to be
much of the athlete about you.”
  “For shame, Sir,” answered Ulysses, fiercely, “you are an insolent
fellow—so true is it that the gods do not grace all men alike in
speech, person, and understanding. One man may be of weak presence,
but heaven has adorned this with such a good conversation that he
charms every one who sees him; his honeyed moderation carries his
hearers with him so that he is leader in all assemblies of his
fellows, and wherever he goes he is looked up to. Another may be as
handsome as a god, but his good looks are not crowned with discretion.
This is your case. No god could make a finer looking fellow than you
are, but you are a fool. Your ill-judged remarks have made me
exceedingly angry, and you are quite mistaken, for I excel in a
great many athletic exercises; indeed, so long as I had youth and
strength, I was among the first athletes of the age. Now, however, I
am worn out by labour and sorrow, for I have gone through much both on
the field of battle and by the waves of the weary sea; still, in spite
of all this I will compete, for your taunts have stung me to the
quick.”
  So he hurried up without even taking his cloak off, and seized a
disc, larger, more massive and much heavier than those used by the
Phaeacians when disc-throwing among themselves. Then, swinging it
back, he threw it from his brawny hand, and it made a humming sound in
the air as he did so. The Phaeacians quailed beneath the rushing of
its flight as it sped gracefully from his hand, and flew beyond any
mark that had been made yet. Minerva, in the form of a man, came and
marked the place where it had fallen. “A blind man, Sir,” said she,
“could easily tell your mark by groping for it—it is so far ahead
of any other. You may make your mind easy about this contest, for no
Phaeacian can come near to such a throw as yours.”
  Ulysses was glad when he found he had a friend among the lookers-on,
so he began to speak more pleasantly. “Young men,” said he, “come up
to that throw if you can, and I will throw another disc as heavy or
even heavier. If anyone wants to have a bout with me let him come
on, for I am exceedingly angry; I will box, wrestle, or run, I do
not care what it is, with any man of you all except Laodamas, but
not with him because I am his guest, and one cannot compete with one’s
own personal friend. At least I do not think it a prudent or a
sensible thing for a guest to challenge his host’s family at any game,
especially when he is in a foreign country. He will cut the ground
from under his own feet if he does; but I make no exception as regards
any one else, for I want to have the matter out and know which is
the best man. I am a good hand at every kind of athletic sport known
among mankind. I am an excellent archer. In battle I am always the
first to bring a man down with my arrow, no matter how many more are
taking aim at him alongside of me. Philoctetes was the only man who
could shoot better than I could when we Achaeans were before Troy
and in practice. I far excel every one else in the whole world, of
those who still eat bread upon the face of the earth, but I should not
like to shoot against the mighty dead, such as Hercules, or Eurytus
the Cechalian-men who could shoot against the gods themselves. This in
fact was how Eurytus came prematurely by his end, for Apollo was angry
with him and killed him because he challenged him as an archer. I
can throw a dart farther than any one else can shoot an arrow. Running
is the only point in respect of which I am afraid some of the
Phaecians might beat me, for I have been brought down very low at sea;
my provisions ran short, and therefore I am still weak.”
  They all held their peace except King Alcinous, who began, “Sir,
we have had much pleasure in hearing all that you have told us, from
which I understand that you are willing to show your prowess, as
having been displeased with some insolent remarks that have been
made to you by one of our athletes, and which could never have been
uttered by any one who knows how to talk with propriety. I hope you
will apprehend my meaning, and will explain to any be one of your
chief men who may be dining with yourself and your family when you get
home, that we have an hereditary aptitude for accomplishments of all
kinds. We are not particularly remarkable for our boxing, nor yet as
wrestlers, but we are singularly fleet of foot and are excellent
sailors. We are extremely fond of good dinners, music, and dancing; we
also like frequent changes of linen, warm baths, and good beds, so
now, please, some of you who are the best dancers set about dancing,
that our guest on his return home may be able to tell his friends
how much we surpass all other nations as sailors, runners, dancers,
minstrels. Demodocus has left his lyre at my house, so run some one or
other of you and fetch it for him.”
  On this a servant hurried off to bring the lyre from the king’s
house, and the nine men who had been chosen as stewards stood forward.
It was their business to manage everything connected with the
sports, so they made the ground smooth and marked a wide space for the
dancers. Presently the servant came back with Demodocus’s lyre, and he
took his place in the midst of them, whereon the best young dancers in
the town began to foot and trip it so nimbly that Ulysses was
delighted with the merry twinkling of their feet.
  Meanwhile the bard began to sing the loves of Mars and Venus, and
how they first began their intrigue in the house of Vulcan. Mars
made Venus many presents, and defiled King Vulcan’s marriage bed, so
the sun, who saw what they were about, told Vulcan. Vulcan was very
angry when he heard such dreadful news, so he went to his smithy
brooding mischief, got his great anvil into its place, and began to
forge some chains which none could either unloose or break, so that
they might stay there in that place. When he had finished his snare he
went into his bedroom and festooned the bed-posts all over with chains
like cobwebs; he also let many hang down from the great beam of the
ceiling. Not even a god could see them, so fine and subtle were
they. As soon as he had spread the chains all over the bed, he made as
though he were setting out for the fair state of Lemnos, which of
all places in the world was the one he was most fond of. But Mars kept
no blind look out, and as soon as he saw him start, hurried off to his
house, burning with love for Venus.
  Now Venus was just come in from a visit to her father Jove, and
was about sitting down when Mars came inside the house, an said as
he took her hand in his own, “Let us go to the couch of Vulcan: he
is not at home, but is gone off to Lemnos among the Sintians, whose
speech is barbarous.”
  She was nothing loth, so they went to the couch to take their
rest, whereon they were caught in the toils which cunning Vulcan had
spread for them, and could neither get up nor stir hand or foot, but
found too late that they were in a trap. Then Vulcan came up to
them, for he had turned back before reaching Lemnos, when his scout
the sun told him what was going on. He was in a furious passion, and
stood in the vestibule making a dreadful noise as he shouted to all
the gods.
  “Father Jove,” he cried, “and all you other blessed gods who live
for ever, come here and see the ridiculous and disgraceful sight
that I will show you. Jove’s daughter Venus is always dishonouring
me because I am lame. She is in love with Mars, who is handsome and
clean built, whereas I am a *******—but my parents are to blame for
that, not I; they ought never to have begotten me. Come and see the
pair together asleep on my bed. It makes me furious to look at them.
They are very fond of one another, but I do not think they will lie
there longer than they can help, nor do I think that they will sleep
much; there, however, they shall stay till her father has repaid me
the sum I gave him for his baggage of a daughter, who is fair but
not honest.”
  On this the gods gathered to the **
Paul Hansford Aug 2016
The flag, a white crescent and single star
on a field of crimson — kırmızı, not just 'red' —
tells of Islam. The men drinking beer and rakı
at pavement tables, even in Ramadan,
and the short-skirted, bare-armed girls,
parading with bare-faced confidence,
tell of other influences;
but at the appointed hour we hear the call to prayer
from the marble minaret, a slim finger
pointing to the sky beside shining domes
reflecting the vault of heaven.
At five a.m. we hear it faintly through hotel double-glazing,
or at sunset, as a peaceful accompaniment to the spectacle,
and we remember where we are.
But especially at the midday hour,
when the voice of the muezzin echoes
over noisy street or market,
and from another minaret and another
the duet becomes a trio, a quartet
of different melodies, out of tune
with each other but never discordant
(in these tones the word has no meaning),
the faithful are reminded, however busy they may be,
that their God requires something of them.
Then, entering the cool calm of the mosque,
entering the quiet forest of pillars,
feeling through the soles of our bare feet
marble polished by the tread
of generations of worshippers,
fine-grained wood,
the rich softness of crimson carpet,
we luxuriate in the textures as they combine
with the formal floral patterns of the tiles,
the ornate calligraphy of the inscriptions,
the rich colours of the glass,
and we realise that the builders of these mosques
knew what they were doing, so many years ago,
how peace can enter the soul
through the senses.
The letter that looks like a lower-case "i" without the dot and appears here in "kırmızı" and "rakı" is pronounced, in the delightfully phonetic Turkish language, as a kind of "uh", as in "I am writing A [uh] poem" or "I have read THE [thuh] book".
Patrice Jones Jan 2014
Light cresting the horizon, she reveals herself to me.
Her brilliant beauty shining, enlightening me is the Sun.
Leaving me blind eyes for it's long since I've seen the light.
As my sight returns, I see a smile upon her glowing face.
Happiness and warmth shines through, but also sadness.
Such a cavernous sorrow only matched by mine.

She speaks to me of a wish to be with the Moon once more.
Like when the land was warm and both did linger in the sky.
A brisk winter wind now engulfs the Sun.
Yet still she shines beautiful life, given to all that behold her.
I have felt her kind light on me, and I have come to cherish the feel.
Memories of my unending midnight that left me cold and bleak, evaporated;
replaced with joy, for returned have the young embers of feelings.

With the presence of the Sun I have been brought back to life.
And I wish to covet her, like the day does the light.
I whisper a wish, a pining desire to share that heavenly grace with the Sun.
But I may only behold her poetic wonder with my eyes I fear.
Far to deep is her flame, which I still yearn after.
Trudging forth is a feeling of looming disaster,
for her thirst is of the Moon's accompaniment alone.

Who am I to stand between the Sun and Moon? Gods in the sky.
For I do not reside above the clouds; I am but a mere observer far below.
Enchanted by the mellow glide through the heavens that they shared.
The Moon should feel her kind sunshine upon his face again.
He knows little of the night that I have hid in for ages repeated,
for he is not charged to linger in darkness for all eternity, like I.

A reluctance I feel to accept the truth, but I may not escape it.
Though, should my heart be tamed? Which is so full of longing.
Ages have passed since my bones have felt this empowering warmth.
I find my mind imagining, dreaming, wandering;
into a place it's far too long since felt any comfort in.
Only to be brought back to the present by the warmth of her smile,
a glance from her beautiful piercing eyes, to hark of her divine laughter.
Remembering that happiness is felt in the presence of a flower,
yet to pluck it for ones self, would begin an end to its beauty.

Whatever may be the desire of the Sun, I share for her too.
For she has shown me life like I've forgotten was possible.
A gift of the like that I could never return with all of my days.
A lost soul in lingering affection of a star, to be looked upon as a fool.
Though a fool for attempting, rather a fool for abstaining.
So return to the dark I will, awaiting in hope for my day to come.
The day that the Sun should like to illuminate me again, and fill my soul with warmth.
Yet I am terrified that day will never arrive for me,
for I've known not but this tragic desolation that has consumed my heart.
Until I met the Sun.
harlee kae Jul 2014
there's ant bites
on the backs of my legs
from sitting with you
at the pond,
and dipping our toes in the water
for the baby leeches morning snack.
and the bites are throbbing
in time with my heart,
which aches for your presence.
and my aching heart
is a nice accompaniment
for the aching between my legs.
which longs to be filled with you.
like i was yesterday.
*but that was yesterday.
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2013
I mashup me, myself, and thee: Part II

Excerpts from my poems about poets, poetry and the process of composition. In chronological order, from the earliest to the most recent.
---------------------------------------------------------­-----------------------------------------------------------------­----


The three poems went about their business,
Bringing heaven to earth,
FYI, even Angels can't be everywhere, so,
God invented poems to do his ***** work,
Cleansing souls.

They rode in~out of town on a prankster wave,
A cheering throng was not around,
But a singular poet saw, recorded the vision,
And thus, this nameless poet,
Below unmasked, unsealed,
Cleansed one more soul,
And that soul, this soul, as required,
Paid it forward.
~
Nothing produced from this place
where routine means the gorge tastes bile,
When surcease is welcome relief,
Where dancing on ice in bare feet
Is step one to ripping your chest open by your own hands,
The toxins thus released rejuvenated by salted air,
Can be finally be transcribed onto paper
And realized.

Warn them once and then begin, you,
Get serious, delve, with hurricane unambiguity,
to torrential words upon the unsuspecting,
let them taste the rawness, only the truth provides,
let them know salt tears so briney,
They will flee this place, n'er to return.

~
One day she intro'd me as her fav poet,
To which I acknowledged by addressing her as
My number one fan,
Which seems to have stuck,
so I acknowledge her as such,
And always add a polite, respectful, winking,
Yes ma'am!
~
Like this new day,
there are always
new poems

Like last night's sunset,
day's efforts reviewed,
a special light,
a yellowed marker,
highlighting a few deserving

Take them home,
kiss them goodnight,
rest them in the poetry file
that is no file,
but a large fabric box where
sewing tools once stored

How appropriate and
how happy that makes me.

~
Yo! Yo!
Remember your first real high,
That moment
No absolution, no return.
That moment
When you admitted, confessed,
to yourself:

I am
Forever forward,
A home-grown poet.
I am
Soul enslaved to words.
The alphabet - My oxygen molecules,
I am both,
Addict and dealer
A ****** poet

Yo! Yo!
So you do recall,
The exact moment,
God-spark-within, ascendancy gained
You lost control,
Wept words instead of tears!
A ****** poet ******!

Yo! Yo!

Sophie's Choice.
You chose writing over breathing,
Worshiper of the purest pleaure,
******* in deep the smoke-high of
Head-nodding discontented contentment
Stealing anything you saw
For to satisfy the need, the craven
Craving.
****** poets!

Yo! Yo!

Don't you're ever sleep?
Hear that the city, the state,
Gonna methadone your kind
In a special program
Teach you only language to sign.
**** poets!

I am a ****** poet.

The first step taken.
Admission.
Poetry is my default rest position,

My drug of choice.
~
Have you noticed here

Each poet declaims his fellow
The better one, his teacher,
From whom they shall learn and gather up
Inspiration

Gonna run for Congress,
My first bill, Poetry-care,
Will make it a requirement that
All citizens must contribute,
Exchange once a day
To this peaceful place,
Even just a syllable, a single letter,

K?

~
Literally my eyes see words awaiting coordinating,
Poems flying by, needing plucking,
How a child eats his morning cereal,
His rituals informing, of the man yet to be,
How our bodies lay, hair unbrushed,
Tying us into a conjoined knot...

No matter that plain words are my ordinary tools,
With them I shall scribe the small,
Cherish the little, grab the middle,
Simplicity my golden rule,
Write they say, about what you know best,
Surely in the diurnal motions,
The arc of daily commotion,
Do we not all excel?
~
The ice of poetry,
glassine smooth
but
charged hardness,
hits you, ****** you,
unexpected snowball in the face,

the fire of poetry,
cherished phrase, a patois,
comfort food when
whole winter skies
swallow you bleak

mutual contradictions of poetry
savaging the soothed ego,
revealing the raging id

what's in a word anyway?

~
Please Pop, pick wise,
the life and lies, the faces and disguises,
I will need employ to achieve success
in the eyes of my reading beholders,
who own the liens on my soul
because of the promises I believed,
when you sang me
glowing lullabies of my future days,
how everyone would love my stories,
my poems, someday...
~
Place your ****** hands upon thy chest.
Let them melt thru and come to rest,
Inside, the battle ongoing, under thy breast.
Watch, eyes open, knowing, fearful.
Swiftly, with no hesitation, from within,
Rip open your body, exhaling the best,
And the worst of what you got.

The cool air rushes in,
Stirring the inside stew of:
Infected grime, shameful desires,
Secrets that should not have been exposed,
The ***** stuff that you alone know exists.

Contact with the atmosphere makes
Self-pity dies, blue blood turn red,
The TNT tightness explodes,
Ashamed, you have only one escape hatch.

Now, you are ready to write.

~
My life is on the boring side,
So welcome gents to look inside,
The surfed sites, the emails, hardly slimy,
But stay the fk away from my poetry!

Tis obvious from your midnight editing,
That my wordily, working body has been discretely
Simonized,
My data,
Googlized,
My poems,
Scrutinized,
A comma, a colon, a verb, out of place, capsized,
Little threads kept in door jambs, their alteration,
Your snooping presence, a confirming revelation
~
Where I write, here, all comes so easy,
Every glance a poem formed,
Every phrase a title to a poem served,
Every conversation overheard and those wind-lifted brought,
A seed, a germ, a word~worm hooked to the pole crook of
My finger saying, see man, time to get more ink and paper,
Go and catch us a few poems for dinner

The snapper weakfish word colors are
Running past my-by the thousands,
We will need a basket to catch but a fraction
Of what you see, more than more enough to share,
Only Happy Poems for all

It is this rhyming way I view the wold,
That is my freedom, is my-present essence,
How the poems come, how thy flow,
Peaking, I cannot berate, rarely eat,
Sleep a thing of the past (as you be aware, beware)
There is poetry in simply everything.

~
But if my aura be a comfort insufficient,
Let this surprise poetic gift awaiting your arrival,
Give you rest, from crying surcease!

For when the who, the why of me interrogatory posed,
Describe me in a brevity I ne'er possessed, say:
He was just a poet, and I,
Just, his lover, number one fan.

This truth eternal, never to change.
~
But I am open to learning, the arduous task
Of raising a teenage daughter,
After I have my head examined

Though I am just a bunch of eclectic electrons,
I got powers a few, like making life's happiness
Hearted happier, encouraging your forays into
You-know-what,
And when tables turn, a hasty retreat you beat,
For imaginary cappuccinos and poems we will meet,
Comparing notes on who felt lousier when...

But what I can do 100% is assure you
There is no lone nor lonely daughter extant,
Your voice not just clear but soft-edged,
For I have poetically adopted you,
Here and now, assuming you sign on the
.............................................................­line

~
Take these words at plain face,
and look not askance
at this fair warning,
for I am but a tragic,
empty vessel for you to fill,
you are the raconteur,
me, just a  
poet poseur extraordinaire,
street urchin, word merchant,
all my verbally, wordly goods expropriated
from the wind,  where your scattered thoughts
lie about, carelessly,
unattended
~
Guiltless in life, we but survived,
Hurting no one, no thing,
Yet, here we lie, ignored, unattended,
Yet, you fail again to see our connection?
You do not recognize us?

We are the shells, the husks of you,
Your poems unread, you labors unpreserved,
All wasted, for unless they are read, they die,
As you will too.
Some fast, by water, some slower, time-eroded,
All, ended, by drowning in the Sea of Who Cares!

~
What sourced this elegiac distich,
Too many poets, fully disclosing their downbeat, aroma of defeat?

The world is in a **** mood, not one of us, got nothing
Good to say, seems that love storms ripping hearts
With no trace of mercy, the radio has elected nonstop
Taylor Swift and Jonas Bro's
Just to make the point!

It is so easy to feel ******,
When the sun is unshining, elegant distich, **** me.

Thinking back, getting a good idea,
Found some long necked Corona overlooked,
Turn on the tv, pretend I'm a real cowboy,
And for god's sake, shut down poetry,
Good Bye Poetry, for the rest of the day.
~
once upon a time,
a traffic light rainbow,
stopped n' go, was a word design,
demarcated visions of spun sugar,
bodegas sold me
magic beans by the pound,
masterminded into cups of delight,
treasury's bounty overflowed,
now, dregs drain, sink stained,
as are my writing utensils,
my ink stained, us-less, fingers

come visit me, unknown stranger,
let us exchange fluidity, barbs,
a contest of kissing, eye lashing
wit ands shared vision stashing,
and together, once more,
write with our feet,
while holding hands,
becoming once more
poets of the street.

Only, come quickly.

~

But reading thy cries, an exercise,
Teeth-gnashing frustration.
It brings no relief.

So sad girl,
Write till you are righted,
May be it will snow on July 4th,
And tho unnatural,
So is thy grief.

Nonetheless, write me write me all about it,
Right us,
For tho snow falls, its loveliness,
Makes the heart rise up in gladness!
~
She brings me coffee in bed.
I propose a violin accompaniment.
Some babka, with nice-crumbly-in-bed
Streusel topping,
A concerto we could make!

Her derision snorted so loud,
The mollusks on the beach
From their shells come out.

"Good luck with that,
Put that fantasy on
Your **** poetry site,
Cause that is the closest you will ever get!"

~
For she will be my heroine for all time,

These words to expand with rhyme and verse,
T'is a welcome task, one familiar, but anew,
Each dawn each dusk, a daily trust, a love poem diurnal-birthed,
As if god created the world, but left upon completion,
With a grievous thirst, a new notion, he did burst.

He created the Eighth Day, for celebration of his
Most cherished invention, the idea of love.
This is where, the secret writ Eleventh Commandment occurs,
Love thy Poetry Gods, Honor them with daily verbs.
~
Officer...you should see me gut a

Poem,

Slice its belly open,
Sometimes straight, sometimes Askew,
Feed the gulls them
****** insides on the dock, by-moonlight,
Can ya cut me some slack?

Mmm, I see here in your license,
You are a disabled guy,
A **** poet ******,
Who often does his best work
Legally all alone in the HOV lane,
So I'm gonna let you off this time
Just with a warning!

~
We can share words, we can grant tiny easements,
We can weep with you unseen tears,
We can etsy you little homemade gifts
Like this.

That you can take and keep, and break out in time of need knowing full well that these words will not spoil nor rancid turn, cannot be out grown,, or torn, or rent asunder in anyway for once they are shared
They are irrevocable.
~
When you write,
It as if you write upon our
One skin,
For I am your tablet,
Your sole/sol/soul composition.

So stop kissing me
and
Write upon us.

~
This will not be the hardest poem I e're wrote,
But if there is no inspiration
For you to smote,
And armpits refuse to provide perspiration,
To source juices for a new creation,
Try this trick,
I promise you
No one will lick your ice cream cone,
Nor mistake you for Leonard Cohen,
But when you are done,
You will be High Priest of
Hello Poetry for the rest of the day!
~
You think you can write?
Then employ  a word outside your comfort zone,
Go it alone,
And write four sentences that will make
The hopeful reader stand up and
you twice as much, and shout

Hallelujah
*******.

Work. Poetry is work. Hard work.
Don't fret. But, think on it. Have the sweetest dreams.
In the morning, when you but awake,
A poem will be aborning in thy mind,
And dare I say it, you will find a new freedom
In free verse.
(I know you will slip in a rhyme or two,
I can't help but do it too)

~
Had myself forgot,
That a poem needs a
Frame of jungle gym sounds,
An aural aura resonance unbound.
Purposed to make the heart lift
Your ears say:

Say what!

It needs a tune,
An internal music,
It needs a lilt!
A cadence, that both
Marches and swings,
Even when'd urgent dirge
grief pours forth.
~
This Sabbath day you fog-hide
Your gift of bay and beach
So quiet implore, beseech,
Keep the sailors safe,
And your poets saved.

I ask much.
But I ask for all of us,
There are so many such
That are booster-chair needy
That I am succumbed, overwhelmed,
Enormity fearsome needs help even from a deity.

Small words, big hopes.

If you cannot grant it,
Won't wait for intervention,
Do it myself, answer prayers one and all,
Best I can, starting now with this
Po-hymn.

~
I used to sleep
With pen and paper on my nighttime table.
Nowadays, my iPad tablet rests upon my chest,
Not only does it keep me warn,
It takes my poems from within, Fresh Direct,^
Edits, credits, and delivers them to your door,
While I'm still sleeping.

Which is why they come at all hours.
It is also why they call them,
Love's Labour's Lost saving devices.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
**So I spend my cold, hard time
laying down cold hard verse,
Can't stop, cause it's my daddy's dying curse.

I am both: Addict and dealer, a ****** poet ******.
RAJ NANDY Apr 2016
Dear Poet friends. After reading Dolly Lama’s poem ‘Poetry Helps Heal’, I was reminded of a poem I composed many years ago titled ‘The Healing Power of Poetry’. This poem is not a work of fiction, but based on reality. Hope you like it, and tell your friends to read the same. Thanks, - Raj, New Delhi.


  THE HEALING POWER OF POETRY:
    KNOWN  AS  ‘BIBLIOTHERAPY’

The word Poetry derives from the Greek word ‘poesis’,
Which means ‘a making’ of a literary art form,
Where language is used for its evocative, aesthetic,
and emotional response.
A poem is an emotional-intellectual-physical construct, -
meant to touch its reader’s heart!
Poetry links one individual to another by its
distilled experience.
Through its rhythm of words and imagery,  -
driving away our inner loneliness!

‘Words are the physicians of the diseased mind’, -
Oceanus  tells Prometheus in ancient Greek
Mythology.
Thus the Oracles at Delphi used the healing power
of poetry, -
Through their various ritualistic chants and
incantations;
And tamed many a savage mind into subjugation!

The Roman physician Soranus in the First Century
AD,
Had prescribed poetry and drama for his patients
who were mentally oppressed;
Tragedy for his maniac patients, and Comedy for
the depressed.
The great psychiatrist Sigmund Freud had clarified,
That it was not he but the Poet, who had discovered
the Subconscious Mind!
Freud went on to say that the human mind is a
poetry-making *****;
Focus of ‘poetry for healing’ is self-expression and
growth of the individual.
Whereas focus of ‘poetry as an art’ becomes the
very poem itself!
But both use the same technique Freud had said;
Words, rhythm, metaphors, sound, and images,
But in the end the result is the same.
The word ‘therapy’ comes from the Greek word
‘therapeia’, -
Meaning to nurse or cure through dance, song,
drama or poetry;
Perhaps the divine way to poetic therapy!
It is therefore not surprising that Asclepius, the
Greek God of Healing,
Is the son of Apollo, the God of Poetry and Medicine!

The first hospital for the mentally ill in the American
Colonies,
Was set up in Pennsylvania in 1751, by Benjamin
Franklin.
Where a number of ancillary treatments were used,
Including the writing of poetry and reading it aloud.
Written by the patients who were mentally ill.  @ (see notes)
‘Bibliotherapy’ was the term used for poetic therapy,
Which had become popular during the Sixties and
the Seventies.
It was also effectively used in Group Therapy,
With patients sharing their feeling and emotions,
Providing a release for their inner pain and tension !
The rhythm and repetition of words often created
a hypnotic trance, -
Reaching out to those ‘secret places’ - creating a
bridge, -
To that unconscious mind from which poetry springs!
Friends, in support of what I have just said let me
quote,
Those immortal lines which Robert Frost once wrote;-
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
  But I have promises to keep,
  And miles to go before I sleep,
  And miles to go before I sleep” # (see notes below)

Foot Notes: ** Initially poetry was ****** recited and also sung to the accompaniment of the lyre. After the invention of  writing, it started to develop its own form. Forms make arrangement out of derangement, harmony out of discord, and order out of chaos!
@= Writings of some of these patients were also published in a newspaper titled “The Illuminator”.
# = Lines quoted above are from Robert Frost’s famous poem, “Stopping by The Woods on A Snowy Evening”, - were extensively
used for poetic therapy at the Hospital.
        All Copy Rights Reserved By the Author Raj Nandy

--------------------------------------------------------­------------------------
judy smith Jul 2015
Summer diet: Weight loss summer food

The weather may change but our diet remains constant. Whatever the weather, summer, winter or the monsoon we want our pav bhaji or Schezwan chicken or the spicy kebabs and the masala chai.

But realization never strikes us that change in weather could mean a change in diet as well. For those on a weight loss diet the options are slim, you need food that is delicious, low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals as well as fibers. Let's peak into your refrigerator and cook up the best summer weight loss meals.

Max on vegetables: Vegetables are the best bet when the sun is unforgiving. Red meat is not advisable for summer as it increases your body's internal energy requirement for digestion - thus, tiring you out if you aren't in great health to begin with. Luckily Indian food is known for delicious vegetarian food, which means that you won't need to make too much of a compromise when shifting to a palette that mostly involves leafy vegetables.

Go easy on the nuts: Dried nuts are rich in calories and to avoid over indulging yourself with nuts have them in small proportion and stock away the rest. Another reason to avoid nuts in summer is that they produce heat in your body, which could result in heat boils. Go easy when snacking on these energy nibbles.

Learn about salads: They are no longer just sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and beetroot. Salads have evolved; restaurants have a wide selection of different salads. Indians are more open to feasting on salads as a meal. It takes less time to prepare and you can toss in anything you want even chicken and fish along with the greens. Add citrus fruits, chilled cucumber and fresh lettuce and you've got the perfect summer meal.

Try the chilled soups: Gazpacho is the first dish that comes to mind when you hear the words - chilled soups. But you can try out soups made of tomatoes, green peas and cucumbers; they are both cooling and refreshing. If you like beetroot, you should try chilled beetroot soup too. Healthy and refreshing, these chilled soups are the perfect starters on a hot and balmy summer night.

Enjoy fruits as desserts: Fruits cool the body, rejuvenate your cells, keep you hydrated, and taste like heaven on a hot summer day. Dice some fruits in a bowl, sprinkle some chat or cinnamon powder and you have an awesome dessert. Watermelon is the most sought after fruit when the sun is relentless.

Meet your summer crush - low fat yogurt: Dairy products are always a healthy option, provided they are low fat. Good for digestion and rich in calcium, you can have yogurt any way you like - whipped into lassi, sweeten with sugar or mixed with fruits. Yogurt is cheap and doesn't need a fancy accompaniment, but you do need a refrigerator to preserve the healthy bacteria.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-melbourne | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide
TD Mar 2016
"You look upset."

"I do? Funny."



Pots and pans clang an obnoxious accompaniment to

an appraising stare from the cook through the pass-through.

An old woman limps by with raisin-bread hands.

Led to her seat as she clutches her cane with arthritic fingers,

the world mills about underwhelmed.



Curious interlopers peer with nosy eyes and forks at the ready.

"Hey it's your birthday!"

Knowing grins and laughs exchange.

(Hilarious. Ha-ha-ha?)



It's my birthday and you don't belong

and you and you.

Thanks family for allowing unknowns

to infiltrate my happy place.



Sad faces, lonely faces,

"all the lonely people,"

and I'm sitting here eating chicken salad

I can't afford--pretending.



You picked the place, the time, the people.

I'm so glad you did this for me,

because that's what "I" really wanted.

At least the chicken doesn't care about my feelings.

(-takes a bite with a side of "relish")



Oldest sister's here because she adores free food

and Daddy will pay.

Teen sister's here because she likes food

but despises me.  How funny. Ha ha



Waitress serves a smile

waiting nervously at control freak's beck and call.

(The tips are good, I'll just have to deal with him.)



"Don't worry about the cost,

you're the only one who can have dessert,

it's for your birthday after all.

Oh well your sister can have some too...



It's your birthday after all."





It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to.. cry if I..

Why am I here?

Oh yeah..

Chicken.
I thought                                         you'd left us, long ago
desolate on a swing
                       rocking stale, dry grass and still air
                      
                      crossing
never quite                  the hurdle

                                                               ­                                                    lost

unaware
sweating youth in this humidity

I thought we'd never make it past the
rusty red and brown of weathered fences

                            like
              felt                        moun
   They                                  
                                                     tains

                                                               ­   Made of dirt
                                                                ­                       (guilt)
and an endless turmoiling scent, still fresh



I thought you'd forlorned us                  
h     e     a     v    y       r  a  i  n   and warm bodies
standing next to oxidized hoops
                                                          one adjacent to the other
The haze of the heat hard, but not impossible
to withstand                swaying like the gust of wind, swaying  
                                            the blazing sun and my open palms swaying




Why was it here                                         that it felt like you left us
                                                              ­                                              stumped,  
unaware,­
consuming  with no  
                                              idea of the Greater



2.


                                                W­ H A T was it about inner cities
And skin that would tan
Or resist the sun
   that made you  mutter murky words  


judgement
                   that made me hike a

                                  K
                       A
            E
P
that for so long made feel like a (lost) traveler
unable to come find my way   D O W N.

Still on a mountain top
Never quite crossing the hurdle.
That’s how you wanted me
A
     B
          A
                N
                     D  O N E D.

3.

But my tongue made sounds
copper pots and plastic measuring cups
became the pious  accompaniment
of a song sung inwardly
until it manifested
Words on lips
                            Lips willing to kiss the purple clouds made out of strange fruit and a high border walls over my hand and back

4. A Swimsuit and a pool that could cool
me
small children see the cicatrixes
      But I walk towards the water; I have long abandoned shame.
joyce knee Dec 2014
I walk beneath the shadows of dragonflies and
in fields of stunted daisies
A witness to migrating monarchs
Whose voyage is eons from being completed,
when they only have 3 weeks at most to live.

I walk in pale fields of dusty sunbeams
and loud fading moonlight
Humming crickets play accompaniment
to solo pairs of feet, making way for still creeks
and large lily pads
to find a nice place to think.
801 Jan 2017
Recall the warmth of love untold.
Once found in manure and rags at night
Outcast of men-yet gifted gold-
Now celebrated in smiles and lights

Recall the sweetness with each sip
The sweetness of his face,
As immortality faded away
To become the greatest gift of grace

Let peppermint sticks bring to mind
The innocence and blood
From birth to death he carried
Now, forevermore, his legacy of love

And on this night remember
the childhood wonder once known
When chocolate, presents and stories
with Christmas came into your home

But the marshmallows are for family
Who cushion life’s many blows
May your Christmas be sweet and merry
As your love for Christ and family grows
I don't really like this one so much but I wrote it for my dad and mom to go with gifts to his parishioners, their neighbors and my mom's workmates. I tried to create something within their sphere of beliefs and leave my own convictions out of it. The accompanying gift was hot chocolate packets, gingerbread mangers to sit on the rim of the cup, mini-candy canes and marshmallows. I confess, the gift was also my idea. Conceived primarily because it seems I spend more time baking cookies for the many gift boxes they give out every year than doing anything else. This way, I spent about three hours in the kitchen and, with a little help boxing, was free of baking for the rest of my short Christmas. It was a much more merry Christmas for it.
Nigel Morgan Jan 2013
The sun rises tentatively through the forest heights behind the palace. In the pre-dawn light Jia Li has secured water and fuel for her visitors and despite the attentions of the pack horse men, who have returned from an evening at her village the worse for drink, she settles to feed her infant child. Meng Ning enters to seek her counsel. She already guesses his intentions and answers his brief questions with confidence. She knows the route to the Red Slate Path, perhaps four li distant. The path is clear, though little used. It is not a place those of her village visit, though she has learnt that the path itself defies nature’s attempts to cover its existence.
    Zuo Fen is standing on the terrace as Meng Ning returns to the Emperor’s Hall. She has slept deeply, is refreshed after a period of meditation and, despite the cold, has been washed and massaged by her maid. She appears dressed for walking, her boots, fur cloak and hat in purposeful combination. As she surveys the lake flocks of wild geese and duck chatter and squabble as they float on the surface. There are some experimental flights, pairs of duck taking off to fly in wide arcs only to return to the same stretch of water from where they rose in tandem. Soon the geese will leave to fly across the forests and moorland for distant harvested fields where they will spend the day foraging. Meng Ning points to a distant peninsula jutting out from the northern shore of the lake. Behind it, he says, lies the cove of the Red Slate Path. Perhaps there they will be able to understand more keenly the why of this mystery.

‘At such a distance,’ says Zuo Fen, ‘the detail of a boat would be quite lost. I imagine the peninsula acting like a pointing finger to its floating form. There is already fashioning within me a possible story that might explain this mystery.’

She smiles warmly at Meng Ning who bows his head rather than stare into her jade green eyes. She moves closer to his standing posture, taking his left hand secure but tense against the balustrade of the veranda. Lowering one leg before the other she slowly kneels, removing her hat, loosening her fur cloak that now spreads itself of its own accord beside and behind her. With both hands behind her neck she lifts her long hair found to parted and tied in simple peasant fashion. Raising her hands to full-stretch her sleeping hair warm from the bare skin of her back slowly cascades forward and across each of her ******* to curl like two cats in the bowl of her robe.

‘Mei Lim is with Jia Li’, Zuo Fen says curiously and with a voice Meng Ning has not encountered before. ‘I fell to sleep dreaming of your kind presence and the joy of being touched and kissed.’ He cannot see her face as she speaks, only the quivering fall of her hair across her kneeling body. ‘I awoke feeling your breath on my cheek and so brought your limbs to entwine with my own.’ He now senses the delicate unguents of her body; they compass him about, his hand falls from the balustrade to touch her hair.

Finding her right ear his fingers describe its shape, its sculptured relief of folded forms and crevices. He is becoming faint with something outside passion that requires him to go beyond her ear and flow of hair about his fingers. He unties his cloak, letting it drop behind him. He removes his boots and outer garments. She follows his example. He moves to her side, adopts the position of the swallow resting on the wind. They face one another.  To the accompaniment of their breathing, her hands begin a dance in the space between their lower limbs as though they are birds turning and falling in flight. Unlike the courtesans he sees at court her nails are short, her fingers long. Then, it is as though her hand holds a brush forming characters and she begins to write on his body with short deft movements this way that way describing her flight of passion. Some intuition tells him to allow this, and not to seek repricocity, as it seems from her breathing that these very actions give her the greatest delight, bring her to the edge of the first coitus. Eyes closed, he moves his nose into a glancing embrace with her own, feeling there a semblance of perspiration, that tell-tale sign of a woman’s readiness for the deeper embrace. She responds to this with sighs and swift movements of rapture that envelope him, and now, as she quickly brings her limbs into a right conjunction, he places one hand beneath her, the other to recline her body gently to the floor, her cloak becoming a pillow for her head.
    He now looks directly at her, her face expressionless as though all thought and feeling has entered her body in preparation to receive his own. She does not blink. There is a moment of great stillness, a great wave of calm breaks, moves forward and pulls back – and again, again. In an instant he will enter her Jade Gate to caress and kiss and move where only his Lord has visited. He knows that once there he will seal his own fate . . .
     It is the talk of poets that women are often at their most sensitive to love’s attention in the morning hours, and that this was, for so many reasons, the most impractical of times for men. Zuo Fen herself had written fu poems that took the reader to the most intimate moments of a concubine’s experience in the morning hours, those times when alone the body gathers to itself its essential nature, and is often caressed with the woman’s own hand and thoughts. To understand such circumstance, to hold its sweetness as an abiding taste during the formalities of the day, only to release its flavour in the pleasure hours of the night, was a manly attribute, said to be treasured, indeed honoured by women.
      When Meng Ning withdrew Zuo Fen lay for some while letting the unaccustomed circumstance and its location only gradually allow a return to conscious and present thoughts. She pictured now her journey to the Red Slate Path, Jia Li, her baby on her back, striding beside Meng Ning, then herself and finally Mei Lim - who would have entreated her mistress to be allowed to accompany her. There was the glade, a small bowl in the hillside where it was just possible to see a small cave from which, glistening, the broken patterns of the slate path fell after half a li into the lake. She would investigate the cave. She would walk to the water’s edge, where the trees stepped into and reached over the lake to lay a carpet of fallen leaves. Then to see the path gradually, gradually disappear into the depths.
    Whilst Zuo Fen, with her eyes closed, projected her thoughts forward in time, with accustomed tact Mei Lim left those accouterments a woman needs after the attentions of a lover. She feared for the young man, though she knew her Lord prized too much his Lady of The Purple Chamber to effect jealousy or display anger.
    As the sun cleared away the thin cloud and approached its zenith the company broached the crest of the hill above the glade. It was, Zuo Fen had to admit, just as she had imagined lying prone and in disarray in the Emperor’s hall. In silence, and in the company of her imagination, she now paced from cave to path to water, and standing at the very edge of the lake’s bank focused her mind to envisage the events of twenty years past.
     It was as though a rhapsody was already formed. She found herself recounting the tale in her world of characters where there is only present time. She felt her hand describe them with the flow of her brush, heard the sound of its movement across the thick parchment. She was slow to notice that Meng Ning had disrobed and was entering the water. Without a word she watched him move through the carpet of floating leaves, some sticking to his nakedness, and onwards, slowly, following the submerged path until his torso then only his shoulders were visible. She then knew what he hoped to find, even after the passage of so many years.

She saw it all, suddenly. The sorcerer Yang Mo and the Emperor’s second wife descending the Red Slate Path as a cavalcade of fire and smoke, loud flashes of light, noises of brass and clashing metal enveloped the glade and the boat itself. The watching company witnessed for a moment the couple disappear under the waters only for their collective sight to be shrouded in a climaxed confusion of the sorcerer’s devices and effects.

When, finally the smoke cleared, the boat and the lovers had vanished.

Zuo Fen watched Meng Ning disappear from view. She imagined him, as the pearl fishers she had heard tell of, diving down to the depths, holding his breath to seek what might remain of the illusory boat. But time passed beyond the possibility of what she knew could be endured by human-kind. The surface of the water remained unbroken. The division of open water made by Meng Ning in breaking apart the carpet of floating leaves was already reforming itself.
   Removing her cloak and her boots, and unpinning her hair, Zuo Fen stepped into the water. A memory floated towards her of bathing in the lake near to her summer retreat. Water held no fear for her, only now the cold consumed her. Her loosed hair, and her elaborate untied robe settled on the water’s surface: to surround her like a lily pad, she the budding flower at its centre. She felt her feet still firmly on the Red Slate Path, her chin now resting on the water’s surface. Whatever had happened to Meng Ning she knew her action to be compliant. She had immersed herself with the very element that had brought him either death or, as she knew in her heart, a most honorable escape.
There's a saga in every direction
Stories to be told , a lesson languishing -
o'er tilled countryside and dirt road
Smokehouses , immaculate small towns
Sorghum presses , Pecan groves , Loblolly Crowns
May Robin carols , topwater Bream slice the surface of
brook fed glass ponds  , Whippoorwill's , Pileated Knights worshipping the given Dawn
https://www.guitartabcreator.com/tabs/hookapooka/piedmont-character
** I wrote a tiny piece of guitar music to go with this write ...Hope you enjoy !

Copyright August 21 , 2016 by Randolph L Wilson * All Rights Reserved
Nigel Morgan May 2015
In a distant land, far beyond the time we know now, there lived an ancient people who knew in their bones of a past outside memory. Things happened over and over; as day became night night became day, spring followed winter, summer followed spring, autumn followed summer and then, and then as autumn came, at least the well-known ordered days passed full of preparation for the transhumance, that great movement of flocks and herds from the summer mountains to the winter pastures. But in the great oak woods of this region the leaves seemed reluctant to fall. Even after the first frosts when the trees glimmered with rime as the sun rose. Even when winter’s cousin, the great wind from the west, ravaged the conical roofs of the shepherds’ huts. The leaves did not fall.

For Lucila, searching for leaves as she climbed each day higher and higher through the parched undergrowth under the most ancient oaks, there were only acorns, slews of acorns at her feet. There were no leaves, or rather no leaves that might be gathered as newly fallen. Only the faint husks of leaves of the previous autumn, leaves of provenance already gathered before she left the mountains last year for the winter plains, leaves she had placed into her deep sleeves, into her voluminous apron, into the large pockets of her vlaterz, the ornate felt jacket of the married woman.

Since her childhood she had picked and pocketed these oaken leaves, felt their thin, veined, patterned forms, felt, followed, caressed them between her finger tips. It was as though her pockets were full of the hands of children, seven-fingered hands, stroking her fingers with their pointed tips when her fingers were pocketed.

She would find private places to lay out her gathered leaves. She wanted none to know or touch or speak of these her children of the oak forest. She had waited all summer, as she had done since a child, watching them bud and grow on the branch, and then, with the frosts and winds of autumn, fall, fall, fall to the ground, but best of all fall into her small hands, every leaf there to be caught, fallen into the bowl of her cupped hands. And for every leaf caught, a wish.

Her autumn days became full of wishes. She would lie awake on her straw mattress after Mikas had risen for the night milking, that time when the rustling bells of the goats had no accompaniment from the birds. She would assemble her lists of wishes, wishes ready for leaves not yet fallen into the bowl of her cupped hands. May the toes of my baby be perfectly formed? May his hair fall straight without a single curl? May I know only the pain I can bear when he comes? May the mother of Mikas love this child?

As the fine autumn days moved towards the feast day of St Anolysius, the traditional day of departure of the winter transhumance, there was, this season, an unspoken tension present in the still, dry air. Already preparations were being made for the long journey to the winter plains. There was soon to be a wedding now three days away, of the Phatos boy to the Tamosel girl. The boy was from an adjoining summer pasture and had travelled during the summer months with an itinerant uncle, a pedlar of sorts and beggar of repute. So he had seen something of the world beyond those of the herds and flocks can expect to see. He was rightly-made and fit to marry, although, of course, the girl was to be well-kept secret until the day itself.

Lucila remembered those wedding days, her wedding days, those anxious days of waiting when encased in her finery, in her seemingly impenetrable and voluminous wedding clothes she had remained all but hidden from view. While around her the revelling came and went, the drunkenness, the feasting, the riotous eruptions of noise and movement, the sudden visitations of relatives she did not know, the fierce instructions of women who spoke to her now as a woman no longer a young girl or a dear child, women she knew as silent, shy and respectful who were now loud and lewd, who told her things she could hardly believe, what a man might do, what a man might be, what a woman had to suffer - all these things happening at the same time. And then her soon-to-be husband’s drunk-beyond-reason friends had carried off the basket with her trousseau and dressed themselves riotously in her finest embroidered blouses, her intricate layered skirts, her petticoats, even the nightdress deemed the one to be worn when eventually, after three days revelry, she would be visited by a man, now more goat than man, sodden with drink, insensible to what little she understood as human passion beyond the coupling of goats. Of course Semisar had prepared the bright blood for the bridesbed sheet, the necessary evidence, and as Mikas lay sprawled unconscious at the foot of the marriage bed she had allowed herself to be dishevelled, to feign the aftermath of the act he was supposed to have committed upon her. That would, she knew, come later . . .

It was then, in those terrible days and after, she took comfort from her silent, private stitching into leaves, the darning of acorns, the spinning of skeins of goats’ wool she would walnut-dye and weave around stones and pieces of glass. She would bring together leaves bound into tiny books, volumes containing for her a language of leaves, the signs and symbols of nature she had named, that only she knew. She could not read the words of the priest’s book but was fluent in the script of veins and ribs and patterning that every leaf owned. When autumn came she could hardly move a step for picking up a fallen leaf, reading its story, learning of its history. But this autumn now, at the time of leaf fall, the fall of the leaf did not happen and those leaves of last year at her feet were ready to disintegrate at her touch. She was filled with dread. She knew she could not leave the mountains without a collection of leaves to stitch and weave through the shorter days and long, long winter nights. She had imagined sharing with her infant child this language she had learnt, had stitched into her daily life.

It was Semisar of course, who voiced it first. Semisar, the self-appointed weather ears and horizon eyes of the community, who followed her into the woods, who had forced Lucila against a tree holding one broad arm and her body’s weight like a bar from which Lucila could not escape, and with the other arm and hand rifled the broad pockets of Lucila’s apron. Semisar tossed the delicate chicken bone needles to the ground, unravelled the bobbins of walnut-stained yarn, crumpled the delicately folded and stitched, but yet to be finished, constructions of leaves . . . And spewed forth a torrent of terrible words. Already the men knew that the lack of leaf fall was peculiar only to the woods above and around their village. Over the other side of the mountain Telgatho had said this was not so. Was Lucila a Magnelz? Perhaps a Cutvlael? This baby she carried, a girl of course, was already making evil. Semisar placed her hand over and around the ripe hard form of the unborn child, feeling for its shape, its elbows and knees, the spine. And from there, with a vicelike grip on the wrist, Semisar dragged Lucila up and far into the woods to where the mountain with its caves and rocks touched the last trees, and from there to the cave where she seemed to know Lucila’s treasures lay, her treasures from childhood. Semisar would destroy everything, then the leaves would surely fall.

When Lucila did not return to prepare the evening meal Mikas was to learn all. Should he leave her be? He had been told women had these times of strange behaviour before childbirth. The wedding of the Phatos boy was almost upon them and the young men were already behaving like goats before the rut. The festive candles and tinselled wedding crowns had been fetched from the nearest town two days ride distant, the decoration of the tiny mountain basilica and the accommodation for the priest was in hand. The women were busy with the making of sweets and treats to be thrown at the wedding pair by guests and well-wishers. Later, the same women would prepare the dough for the millstones of bread that would be baked in the stone ovens. The men had already chosen the finest lambs to spit-roast for the feast.

She will return, Semisar had said after waiting by the fold where Mikas flocks, now gathered from the heights, awaited their journey south. All will be well, Mikas, never fear. The infant, a girl, may not last its birth, Semisar warned, but seeing the shocked face of Mikas, explained a still-birth might be providential for all. Know this time will pass, she said, and you can still be blessed with many sons. We are forever in the hands of the spirit, she said, leaving without the customary salutation of farewell.
                                               
However different the lives of man and woman may by tradition and circumstance become, those who share the ways and rites of marriage are inextricably linked by fate’s own hand and purpose. Mikas has come to know his once-bride, the child become woman in his clumsy embrace, the girl of perhaps fifteen summers fulfilling now his mother’s previous role, who speaks little but watches and listens, is unfailingly attentive to his needs and demands, and who now carries his child ( it can only be a boy), carries this boy high in her womb and with a confidence his family has already remarked upon.

After their wedding he had often returned home to Lucila at the time of the sun’s zenith when it is customary for the village women to seek the shade of their huts and sleep. It was an unwritten rite due to a newly-wed husband to feign the sudden need for a forgotten tool or seek to examine a sick animal in the home fold. After several fruitless visits when he found their hut empty he timed his visit earlier to see her black-scarfed figure disappear into the oak woods.  He followed her secretively, and had observed her seated beneath an ancient warrior of a tree, had watched over her intricate making. Furthermore and later he came to know where she hid the results of this often fevered stitching of things from nature’s store and stash, though an supernatural fear forbade him to enter the cleft between rocks into which she would disappear. He began to know how times and turns of the days affected her actions, but had left her be. She would usually return bright-eyed and with a quiet wonder, of what he did not know, but she carried something back within her that gave her a peculiar peace and beauty. It seemed akin to the well-being Mikas knew from handling a fine ewe from his flock . . .

And she would sometimes allow herself to be handled thus. She let him place his hands over her in that joyful ownership and command of a man whose life is wholly bound up with flocks and herds and the well-being of the female species. He would come from the evening watch with the ever-constant count of his flock still on his lips, and by a mixture of accident and stealth touch her wholly-clothed body, sometimes needing his fingers into the thick wool of her stockings, stroking the chestnut silken hairs that he found above her bare wrists, marvelling at her small hands with their perfect nails. He knew from the ribaldry of men that women were trained from childhood to display to men as little as possible of their intimate selves. But alone and apart all day on a remote hillside, alone save for several hundred sheep, brought to Mikas in his solitary state wild and conjured thoughts of feminine spirits, unencumbered by clothes, brighter and more various than any night-time dream. And he had succumbed to the pleasure of such thoughts times beyond reason, finding himself imagining Lucila as he knew she was unlikely ever to allow herself to be. But even in the single winter and summer of their life together there had been moments of surprise and revelation, and accompanied by these precious thoughts he went in search of her in the darkness of a three-quarter moon, into the stillness of the night-time wood.

Ah Lucilla. We might think that after the scourge of Semisar, the physical outrage of her baby’s forced examination, and finally the destruction of her treasures, this child-wife herself with child would be desolate with grief at what had come about. She had not been forced to follow Semisar into the small cave where wrapped in woven blankets her treasures lay between the thinnest sheets of impure and rejected parchment gleaned surreptitiously after shearing, but holding each and every treasure distinct and detached. There was enough light for Semisar to pause in wonder at the intricate constructions, bright with the aura of extreme fragility owned by many of the smaller makings. And not just the leaves of the oak were here, but of the mastic, the walnut, the flaky-barked strawberry and its smoothed barked cousin. There were leaves and sheaves of bark from lowland trees of the winter sojourn, there were dried fruits mysteriously arranged, constructions of acorns threaded with the dark madder-red yarn, even acorns cracked and damaged from their tree fall had been ‘mended’ with thread.

Semisar was to open some of the tiny books of leaved pages where she witnessed a form of writing she did not recognise (she could not read but had seen the priest’s writing and the print of the holy books). This she wondered at, as surely Lucila had only the education of the home? Such symbols must belong to the spirit world. Another sign that Lucila had infringed order and disturbed custom. It would take but a matter of minutes to turn such makings into little more than a layer of dust on the floor.

With her bare hands Semisar ground together these elaborate confections, these lovingly-made conjunctions of needle’s art with nature’s purpose and accidental beauty. She ground them together until they were dust.

When Semisar returned into the pale afternoon light it seemed Lucila had remained as she had been left: motionless, and without expression. If Semisar had known the phenomenon of shock, Lucila was in that condition. But, in the manner of a woman preparing to grieve for the dead she had removed her black scarf and unwound the long dark chestnut plaits that flowed down her back. But there were no tears. only a dumb silence but for the heavy exhalation of breath. It seemed that she looked beyond Semisar into the world of spirits invoking perhaps their aid, their comfort.

What happened had neither invoked sadness nor grief. It was as if it had been ordained in the elusive pattern of things. It felt like the clearing of the summer hut before the final departure for the long journey to the winter world. The hut, Lucila had been taught, was to be left spotless, every item put in its rightful place ready to be taken up again on the return to the summer life, exactly as if it had been undisturbed by absence . Not a crumb would remain before the rugs and coverings were rolled and removed, summer clothes hard washed and tightly mended, to be folded then wrapped between sprigs of aromatic herbs.

Lucila would go now and collect her precious but scattered needles from beneath the ancient oak. She would begin again - only to make and embroider garments for her daughter. It was as though, despite this ‘loss’, she had retained within her physical self the memory of every stitch driven into nature’s fabric.

Suddenly Lucila remembered that saints’ day which had sanctioned a winter’s walk with her mother, a day when her eyes had been drawn to a world of patterns and objects at her feet: the damaged acorn, the fractured leaf, the broken berried branch, the wisp of wool left impaled upon a stub of thorns. She had been five, maybe six summers old. She had already known the comforting action of the needle’s press again the felted cloth, but then, as if impelled by some force quite outside herself, had ‘borrowed’ one of her mother’s needles and begun her odyssey of darning, mending, stitching, enduring her mother’s censure - a waste of good thread, little one - until her skill became obvious and one of delight, but a private delight her mother hid from all and sundry, and then pressed upon her ‘proper’ work with needle and thread. But the damage had been done, the dye cast. She became nature’s needle slave and quartered those personal but often invisible
j f Feb 2012
The privacy of a bathroom stall and
And two roommates
A triple by any other name

so closely identifying with
the toothpaste **** in
the sink
its like a skin, you know
the grime
it keeps things warm
but the conclusion, forever missing
the ever elusive reason why
(akin to opening a door to an empty room)
is mysteriously absent

the room is empty and I can throw my head against the wall with abandon

sighing, of course
to the ever present accompaniment
of fallen beauty products on a
gross tile floor slick with intentions

the room is occupied and I lift my head from the wall with cautious precision

these walls are thin and I hear
the meaningless sounds of people going about their day
the trite sound of a dropping book
or a sweatshirt being unzipped

the room is empty again, and will be for a while,  and the poster behind my shoulder curls in protest as I shift my shoulders to think better
bulletcookie Nov 2018
standing straight at pond's edge, cattails—
brown corn dogs on ***** blonde stalks
several with cream colored bursting guts
hang below sky waiting on sail
there, a red-wing black bird clings
as Cirque du Soleil actor's acrobatic feat
trilling its own musical accompaniment

other cattails tilt triangle shapes
reflected side, angle, side complexion
over water's bottomless mirror
colored autumn, by shore's tree leaves,
mallard ducks, and brooding clouds
while black headed chickadees splash out
ripples of Impressionist pigments weave

-cec
WistfulHope Sep 2014
Sometimes I listen to songs

About regret and lost love

From a guys perspective.

So I can pretend you're

Singing the words to me,

Your beautiful voice that's

Always off key.
You...
Iris Nyx Nov 2014
I fell asleep for the first time last night
His words
They were the phantom arms
that held me as I slept

That held me together
as I tore at the seams
Unintentionally he healed
a small part

Very small
oh so very little
but there
nonetheless
touka Jan 2018
cold,

I will my eyes to focus
reprimand my dark surroundings
and the many failing lights that sit
just a few yards away
blurry, blue dots
that jut out from the soil
of my neighbors yard
some decoration, I suppose

wet,

I hear the past, present and future collide with a crash
with a few strong voices
who bargain for nothing more than an insight
into each others inevitability

cold,

light flickers back on behind me
and I could kiss it hello
potent and poignant,
I'm so glad you are breathing
maybe that's a little forward, but it's more than power
I still struggle to focus my sight
maybe my ears, however
quiet still could not fall if it had untied shoes

wet, and so cold it's become dull

the ground is malleable, mud and muck sloshing around my pathway
my feet toss the puddles of winter water up and around my ankles
it soaks into my socks
sends a chill that stalks the length of my spine

wet and cold

I meander through the murk, biding it away
I jump onto the sleek black surface, staving off the frigid pains
and lay my head down to hide from sight

my vision is full of black holes

it's lovely, the rain
but not when its best accompaniment is the long silhouette of the house you'd escaped
who would I tell
a few foggy figures latch onto my regard

cells collapse in on their own

my face grows warm and I feel my features contort
a sad scowl appropriate for the situation at hand
tears roar past the dam I'd crafted
but it was dark, no one would see
I was hiding under nightfall
which might sound cool if I didn't mean I was laying on top of an old car crying at 5 in the morning

reborn starving and unconsoled

I still hear a few voices, then a few footsteps that quicken
a pace, a parse, a prying for more
and then a collective quiet
I stiffen, stifle my woes

the bite and the cry as it corrodes the hull

numb creeps in around my skin
especially my feet, the extent of the cold finally settling in
but I wasn't ready

the bigger the bang, the brighter the star

I have a conversation with myself in my head
and not to come off loony
but there are a few things that shouldn't have been said by either parties involved
if you catch my drift

theory tugs at the strings in my heart

a soft gust of January wind strokes the bare skin of my legs
I wonder
I wonder if I could stop if I were to start
and so I wonder and wonder
but it seems the answer isn't quite so mysterious

paradigms practice their weight in the void

I bet an imaginary amount of some imaginary currency
to myself, of course
that if I wasn't able to before, I definitely won't be able to sleep now

the dance of matter and its taunting toy

I hear my name called, footsteps shuffling, offering their warn
a somewhat concerned voice from beyond the beyond
the front door, I mean
out of sight, I freeze, my mouth stuffed full of cotton
half hoping they'll forget I exist for a few
so I can try to compose myself

with the space around it as it threatens tall

however well I could compose myself at this point, anyway
I know I'll be found
I don't want to speak, I'm not sure if I could
when these things happened, my mouth tended to malfunction as much as my spine
so I'd bite my tongue and stand shrinking
my muscles curling into a shaken stir

saturn sleeps, its uninhabitable crawl

a warm blanket, I don't remember the color
I'm brought inside and laid down
and I avoid the hot remnants of some loud, leering summer
the air is thick with it

its air stings my skin, and I hear a song
  ‍    ‍
so this is the weirdest, longest and most intimate poem I've ever done. It also kind of deviates from my usual style
(the italics are a bit glitched out BC of hellopoetry so sorry for that)
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2019
The Deepest Twist

<>
for my friends who know that when HP says this my 1300th
poem, it’s off the mark by hundreds; nonetheless
1300 is worthy number to celebrate your affections
nat
<>

you return back my older children, fully grown,
my eldest word babies who never ever visit,
blessing them anew, lavishly, with special wishes

I,
take them,
with both hands, a reacquainting occurs,
the old words, deep twist, now hurtful hurt because
reimagining when and how easy they came to be birthed and
how the replication of that process is now a
practiced impossibility

how they burst forth, in purple majesty, wheat waving,
wholly formed, bathed in holy water, leaving no stretch marks,
only just an empty sac inside instantly needing,
needling me into auto-refilling right away

even the twenty four hour, hard deliveries,
long and arduous, were so easy created faust-fast,
that the errors of typography contained,
became lasting hall marks, iconic nomenclatures of
passionate loving-nonpareil

now, well past point of urgent addiction,
unlike then every glance, each sidewalk cracking,
lamppost shadow casting was
a sea story for a deep dive delving asap

I,
supplied answers for the internal badgering incessant
happy ****** need, mine, to go, spill the words,
cab or bus motion nursing them,
now they come slowly strolling,
semi-formed, needy, inconclusive, reused,
and feeling as trite as a cloth coat from an old thrift shop,
so wanting for tender loving care,
which is to provide when you are
four score

wondering how easy it was in prior times when inspiration
fell like a deciduous tree’s fall colorings gifts or
as little children’s nightly multitude variety of dream tales,
when whole worlds uncovered, nay, universes,
hidden between summers green grass blades,
or in unique snowflakes

the semi-forgot love affairs that parented poems
by the score of scarred orchestral scores,
now love circle-turn in holding patters in the
crowded skies above nyc,
awaiting for a trafficked man to give permissions
to “run-away”land that rarely is granted

once, poems in turbulent fluid born, noisy ripping of skin,
****** by the emitting of  constant calming tenderous words,
wonderful drippings, so many multiple births in a moment,
even the OBGYN is complaining,

give other poets a chance at parenthood!

the awesome anger of human tragedy is now so shopworn
from over experience,
even god visits less and less, for it is written,
nothing new under the sun*

though soon his annual visitors day approaches (Day of Atonement) and god will require new
words of human comforting,
a new poem acknowledging that being godlike
is ******* hard work,
for humans are annoyingly capable of incredulous kindness

how can one justify allowing unlacing acts of insane violence to tear
the hand stitched lacing fabric that’s ever ready
to bring us together in an instant elegiac joining

the truth is every one of todays poem are clawed,
shovel dug out from cavities and crevasses,
your new words of recognition of the oldies but goodies,
iron of irony, make it hard, hard, painful to write
without an epidural to numb the painful
dumbing down

when I am breaching my waters, I am hard to spot,
we ancient humpbacks live beneath the deep distanced,
cold waters for many more minutes
than we need surface for breathing,
the show-off fluking, less and less,
and when we birth,
every two years,
must bring the calf-poem to the surface instantly,
to breath, lest it die,
all the while repeating to ourselves:

what was miraculous writing is now nearly invisible,
to blinded fingers that arrhythmically cane tap,
words difficult to recall, recalculate, recalibrate
into a wholly poem

only the **** tears,
that same shameful violin permanent-accompaniment,
they laugh at me when now, they alone
come first quickest, all too easy,


appearing nataurally,

without a formal
written
invitation
“He says, "Son, can you play me a memory
I'm not really sure how it goes
But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man's clothes"

Sing us a song, you're the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
And you've got us feelin' alright”
Evans?  Yes, many a time
I came down his bare flight
Of stairs into the gaunt kitchen
With its wood fire, where crickets sang
Accompaniment to the black kettle"s
Whine, and so into the cold
Dark to smother in the thick tide
Of night that drifted about the walls
Of his stark farm on the hill ridge.

It was not the dark filling my eyes
And mouth appalled me; not even the drip
Of rain like blood from the one tree
Weather-tortured.  It was the dark
Silting the veins of that sick man
I left stranded upon the vast
And lonely shore of his bleak bed.
SE Reimer Nov 2013
He, miles from home is tired and alone, his body worn and ravaged by cancer. This treatment, though over but a moment too late, he arrives at the station as the last bus home rolls out of sight.

The next not till morning, his body fatiguing, his weary head needs a resting place. But like the story of old, he’s turned away; to this disfigured soul seems there’s no more room at the inn this night.

A border house owner, on her front porch she finds him, begging for a place to rest his soul. “I don’t need a bed, I’ll just sit here instead. With a face like mine marred," he said, "I know I create quite a fright."

But with compassion compelling, she finds herself telling him, “Sir, be of good cheer, please stay with me here. I’ll give you a bed for your weary head; yes, here you’ll be safe until morning light.”  

Said he, “Don’t know where to begin, but my condition of skin, gives others chagrin. Please, don’t think me rude, but I won’t need any food; just a small safe corner I would prefer, for in the morn I’ll be travelin’ home."

Later that evening, they talk for a spell. Her respect for him growing, as to his tell she sits listening; finds herself knowing that deep in this heart runs a pure river flowing, a body so frail, his heart has outgrown.

Home, is a daughter, with five hungry mouths; her husband disabled, unable to walk. He their provider with a fisherman’s rod, his own condition an afterthought. No word of complaint, only thankful instead, making her grateful to have heard his tome.  

Sure as promised, next morning she finds him, sheets neatly folded there on his bed.  As he is leaving she hears him asking,”Ma’am, may I return to this room?  While others reject me, you’re willing to accept me; last night left me grateful I wasn’t alone.”  

And return he did, with accompaniment of fish and oysters shelled fresh as his gift.  As his kindness she pondered she couldn’t but wonder at the hour of his awakening, for with shelling and travel, it left precious little for sleep.

Months they passed by and his visits continued and even when absent his thanks persisted, by parcel his gift from the sea would arrive, wrapped in spinach or kale, then packaged and mailed, each one showing his gratitude deep.

“Did you board that man with awful appearance?” a neighbor’s voice broke through her daydreams one day. Truth rose up inside, she had nothing to hide as she answered. “Any losses I suffered are smaller than gains, for lessons like these don’t come cheap.”

“See… these Mums that today bloom in my garden were once merely seeds, easily forgotten. But planted and watered they grew, in an old dented pail most would've discarded. But once strong and grown tall, I gently transplanted them allowing their beauty to beam.”

And here she reflected on thoughts that were tumbling, she found herself grateful for this enlightening: a lesson here offered, one others had missed, this remarkable teacher others dismissed; one teacher uncommon gave her life lessons, these three...

*1. Don’t judge a book by its cover, or silence the teacher before the lesson begins. 2. Let gratitude flow as an unending response. 3. Our Father often places His best seed, in an old dented pail where it grows in test; then gently is lifted to bloom in His garden, its legacy gleaming for all here to see.
Post Script:

Our son Daniel is one who was lifted from the old dented pail in which he came to us.  Today he stands tall, blooming brightly in our Father’s garden, his legacy still speaking to all.  

I did not contrive this story myself, nor is it a new story.  I don’t know just how old it is, but it does seem to have been around for some time.  Its truth many question, perhaps legitimately so.  However, regardless of its veracity, even if simply a short novel written to relay some time-tested truths, I see only benefit in its propagation.  If you’ve never before read it, I invite you to read the story for yourself here:
http://antiquetractorsforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=4319

My poetic version makes some subtle changes, solely for prose, not overall message.  I truly hope you will enjoy this as much as I did, both as I read the original and then as I wrote this poem.  Hereafter, should you visit my wife’s vintage shop out here in the Pacific NW, you will find the following message on a card affixed to each old dented pail you find hanging there:
  
“LESSONS OF THE OLD DENTED PAIL:  Always remember...
1. Don’t judge a book by its cover or silence the teacher before the lesson begins.
2. Let gratitude flow as an unending response.
3. Our Father often places His best seed, in an old dented pail where it grows in test; then gently is lifted to bloom in His garden, its legacy gleaming for all here to see.

For the complete story follow this link... “
(the link of course leading to the entire poem and the original story on her own blog)
Nat Lipstadt Feb 2015
winter's after-the-noon shadow lights,
fused-tinged with early-onset grays,
harbinger of one for whom death
detaches the answer from that question
too soon asked, so long unanswered,
why me?

those gray lights, a violin accompaniment,
mourning pitched wailings unasked for,
yet always in attendance, court courtiers,
feelings of insufficiency, angry angst insects

envy days when simplistic unknown fears
were the worst enemy, never lingering,
for unknowns have no answers and
cannot obtain permanent resident visas

but reality, another matter, mad hatter,
asking repeating what is this, why is this,
even comprehension partial gives
no comforting answer satisfactory logical

envy innocence past, for newer questions now *****,
comfort by the lies in the essaying, trialling,
if, but, for, the distractions most affordable,
so grasp the pen that is the envy of thy companions

let the ink wail louder than you,
make paper shed what you have used up,
let envy of lost and found, found, yet still lost,
salve, but not solve, soothe, but not save

in the winter afternoons, those shortest days
of indeterminable longevity, words received,
offer little, but words self-conscripted,
a mortal transcript of pain immortalized by pen, relief will yet be,

for the pen is the envy of all
>~~~~~~~~<
For my friends who suffer in silence
Jeff Stier Jul 2016
When I first met her
God put a speaking trumpet
straight up against my ear
and stated
very slowly
in that Godly voice
that is a mix of
the ocean's roar
and the singing of
Barry White

"This is the one
you've been looking for."

The stars were in on it
bubbling like champagne
in the night sky
singing a sweet accompaniment
a singular poem
of one word:
Yes.

What would you do?

I took the only possible path:
Surrender.

Gave up my wandering ways
quit my womanizing
got hitched straight away
tied the knot
didn't know a thing
about knot tying
but the **** thing held.

And here we are.
Poet number one
that would be her.

Poet number two-and-a-half
me

Marriage solved nothing
brought more questions
than answers
more unfinished business
than completed tasks

Yet at this late stage
a sense that against all odds
against the evidence
of my hands
against every argument
presented by the priest
who reluctantly married us

Something has gone
wonderfully right.

The stars,
dear friends,
truly know their business.
Nat Lipstadt Nov 2013
The seat, 15C,
it calls itself,
screams at me,
let me out!
can't breathe,
with you in it.

pretty sure
sir seat,
it ain't me
that got wider,
but that you
are slimmer.

your momma cut you
3/4 inch, on a metallic line,
on either side, each wrist,
read it in the Journal,
their motto, no fooling!

yup,
even at 10,000 feet,
the ****
cutting word
gotta put in a
guest appearance.

in the exit row
we swore an oath,
administered with
great solemnity to a
no-nonsense stewardess.

bowed we did,
to the AAlmighty,
in the event ,
we needed to operate
the emergency exit,
we would a good job.

**** right,
all cheerfully replied.
nat, women and children first,
which was perhaps
why my fingers
were crossed
under my iPad.

sweetly, they offered me
juice, soda or water,
hard crust of bread,
cost 6.99 if you could
squeeze your hand
in between
your **** and the seat,
your wallet to retrieve.
(credit cards only)

plenty turbulence on board,
the east coast weathering,
you may well have heard,
inclement weather
up and down its entirety.
at least,
I read that in Miami,
the rain is warmer.
(no charge for the
RRR, real rock n' roll)

because I am feeling
the holiday spirit,
signed up for the
up-in-the-air Internet,
the price paid,
I won't reveal,
lest you call me Midas.

somewhere over Tennessee,
I thought I would drop you
this note, pretending it was a
for-real, certified, sorta of a
poem, disguised as a
Genuine Thanksgiving Prayer.

in a way you will never understand,
that lovely thunderbolt lit up yellow,
just a click, a finger tip flick,
kind words in accompaniment,
make feel better about myself.

much do I have,
for it is given unto me,
to be thankful for.

you cannot be thankful for
having,
only for giving and receiving.

this is my first thanksgiving here,
and though jocular do I prose,
with earnest almighty I promise myself,
I will share my corn, feed you pieces
of me that I don't speak of to others.

my feast of words, more glorious,
because of your attentions,
the warmth of of your fires of
appreciation are recorded,
each in its own unique neuron,
cherished, cared for,
and as promised,

I will shake your hands,
then your body
and your soul,
as long as
I have breath,
an Internet connection,
eyes to weep
at mine own foibles,
fingers to record,
and something
worth sharing,

I am sending you a thunderbolt,
and a notification official,
that you have given me much
thanksgiving in the year
two thousand and thirteen.

thank you.
Avoid seat 15C, just won't shut up.
Also,  http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2013/10/23/feeling-squeezed-in-coach-class-its-not-just-you-plane-seats-are-shrinking/?KEYWORDS=Coach
spysgrandson Dec 2012
steamed broccoli calls me
its scent a melodious accompaniment
to the dance of
nitrogen and oxygen we call air
next I will torch
the dead silent flesh
of some sinless bovine beast
a sacramental conflagration
whose rich vapors will
add strings and woodwinds
to the wafting symphony
tickling my snout  
my salivary will weep  
in effortless anticipation  
of jubilant mastication  
of the flora and fauna  
of my own culinary killing fields  
that allow me
a few more waltzes  
in this soundless song of air
my last poem, the woman on the bus, was timed with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the topic was our legacy of discrimination against those of color--this poem, the repast, was inspired by...broccoli
Äŧül Dec 2012
What I Forgot...

I Can't Actually Recall That,
But I'd Again Try To Pull It Outta My Hat.

I Barely Remember It,
But A Smile Comes To My Face,
Whenever I Get Any Faint Hint.

Her Face Flashes In Memory,
As I Try To Recall Her Face,
In My Moments Of Loneliness,
Of Inexplicable Emptiness.

Her Sweet Voice Rings In My Ears,
As I Get Bored By Stuff,
In The While I Pass Through Clears,
Of The Forests Feeling Lonely,
Trying To Divert My Mind & Attention.

The More I Try To Hate Her,
The Less I Succeed.
The More I Try To Erase Her,
The Less I Succeed.
The More I Try To Forget Her,
The Less I Succeed.

As I Get Along With The Void She Created,
I Realize Her Value - Miss Her More.
Any Other Cuter Girls Whom I've Dated,
I Can't Find Her Exact Successor.
And As I Spend My Days In Solitude,
I Long Again To Kiss Her,
I Wish She'd Know That I Miss Her.

I Forgot How To Get Along,
People Often Translate Me Wrong.
I Forgot How To Actually Smile,
I Find The Society Standing At A Mile.
I Forgot How To Be Happy Alone,
Not That I've Never Been That Way Before.
I Forgot How To Properly Kiss A Girl,
Was It By The Lips Straight Or Given A Twirl.

What I Didn't Forget Is To Write,
And To Read.
I Didn't Forget To Go To The Burial Site,
And To Lament.
What I Should Keep In Mind Is The Reality,
And Focus On It.
I Shouldn't Repent Over The Breakup's Gravity,
And Overcome It.
I Should Abandon This Surly Look On My Rigid Face.

A Small Smile Comes To My Lips,
As I Put Away Her Memory Forcibly.
She Sure Is A Beautiful Memory,
A Memory I Love To Revisit All The Days.
Though This Isn't The Life,
The Accompaniment I Desired.
I Still Don't Try In This Existence,
To Find A Replacement.
I Still Love Her I Feel,
Oh! Forget It - I Escape.
My HP Poem #21
© Atul Kaushal
Fah Jan 2014
when i'm around you
       i feel the slow   paced    bass   line of the universe moving....

i can hear the galaxies turn
      and the atoms cascade as waterfalls in my mind with your electric fingers tracing my spine.



I am lightning without thunder, but you are not thunder nor the rain.

But a swift wind accompaniment to my silent flashes,

Wrapping the electricity with invisible peace .

*Do you know how beautiful it is to have someone that want to work with you? To take you for all you are and still manage to find the beauty in what you dreamt to be your ugliest scars...

showing beauty in the dark....

( yes, it seems  you too are another good one who knows the value of darkness...it seems many of us who seek this path do these days) *

---


We are
     the shimmer of light that reflects in the deep hollows of flute pipes      
echos around the womb like space of cosmos microcosm .

(I've felt love before , but this....this is not love as i used to know it..

This is a slow boiling , stewing and ripening with age mulled wine with toast and Camembert kinda thing )

----

Did you know coincidentally , your name is in the number 2013
and if i recall correctly ,
13 is the year  i met you in.

It's charming how these clever little signals appear when i'm around you -
contemplating you they emerge , another experience.


........

But in my space , i see the purpose here too -

perspective.

Because when i'm with you , it's pretty much just you.

(and whatever room we happen to be in ) - sometimes other things do appear but they are easy to dissolve.
---


we put definition on the imagination , sharing and the quest.... and that's one of the things i enjoy the most.

Peace x
Greg Berlin Jun 2013
Her knuckles are white
Clutched in agony
Against my thigh
The muscles in her arms
Contract and then
Expand
Over over over again
At a varied velocity
An unstable rhythm
Of quick short breaths
And exasperated ecstasy

Oh the savagery
I pull her over and mount
Eyes alight with adrenaline
A leg atop each shoulder
Depraved in the most
Lustrous of acts
Oh the savagery
She bites her lip as
Muttered obscenities
Float raggedly through
An instrumental
Accompaniment
Of muscle on muscle
****. ****. ****.

Shh
Don't ruin it

She is quite the specimen
All thighs and ***
A body meticulously
Toned by a lack
Of self confidence
From the view atop her
I almost feel pity
I almost feel sympathy
A hand grabs at my hair
Oh the savagery
She is gone
So far gone
It's a disgusting
Disease
This pleasure
Nails dig into my back
And she is mine
To abuse
I am her drug
And she is nothing
A helpless addict
She is mine to
Corrupt
Mine to destroy
She's begging
For it

In a pitiful display
Of heroism
And hedonism
I oblige her

Shh
Don't ruin it

— The End —