Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Bells in the town alight with spring
converse, with a concordance of new airs
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

People emerge from winter to hear them ring,
children glitter with mischief and the blind man hears
bells in the town alight with spring.

Even he on his eyes feels the caressing
finger of Persephone, and her voice escaped from tears
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

Bird feels the enchantment of his wing
and in ten fine notes dispels twenty cares.
Bells in the town alight with spring

warble the praise of Time, for he can bring
this season: chimes the merry heaven bears
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

All evil men intent on evil thing
falter, for in their cold unready ears
bells in the town alight with spring
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.
Shofi Ahmed Nov 2017
Don't get lost in the starry sky
alight at the Moon for countless stars!
cher Jun 2017
I want to feel your skin on mine--
With our fingers intertwined,
Feel it burning under your touch;
Breathing in, fading out
Just a glance, anxious bouts
Intensify

Lungs aching inside
My chest injured after the cries,
Thoughts always denied
After spouting out all those lies.
Cause I’ve been in this doubt
There’s a chance I’ll burn out
Of this light, but
Random grins, silent shouts
***** the chance I’ll burn out
I’m alight

I want to see your smile in mine--
Intoxication is blind,
Feel it burning inside my lungs
Breathing in, fading out
Just a glance, anxious bouts
Intensify

Lungs aching inside
My chest injured after the cries,
Thoughts always denied
After spouting out all those lies.
Cause I’ve been in this doubt
There’s a chance I’ll burn out
Of this light, but
Random grins, silent shouts
***** the chance I’ll burn out
I’m alight

But I know you don’t feel it,
Cause I know you think it’s a lie
No matter the tears that fall each night
You won’t alight the same way

Lungs aching inside
My chest injured after the cries,
Thoughts always denied
After spouting out all those lies.
Cause I’ve been in this doubt
There’s a chance I’ll burn out
Of this light, but
Random grins, silent shouts
***** the chance I’ll burn out
I’m alight
not a poem-- just song lyrics i wrote
hey look i fell for someone again
Not-So-Superman Mar 2014
Being a star is hard work.

As I shine all through the night,
keeping up my brilliant light,
and struggling to be a pleasant sight.

I realize,

there are so many others
that are
alight.

Being a star, is hard work.
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
haley Oct 2017
Endless stains of blood
On white t-shirts
On nights that scatter blue trees over black earth
Alight by shooting stars
The mother tells her child
Unwilling to unlock the truth

The truth those stars
Don't grant your wishes
They grab them
With scarred scratching hands.
Alight,

The damp stitches in the soil
Cemetery symmetrical to hospital
Those shooting stars circling
Like a vulture
Speeds towards dead carcasses
Still, the murdering star will not cease

To break bones
That have already broken
To take lives
That have already been taken
To burn
What is already charred

Today
smells like burnt muddied skin
feels like gnawing on your own fingers for feast
sounds like tired, howling machines
spurring and sputtering, never-ending their onwards trek
Swallowing distances and with it, nameless faces
countless places

Today the earthquakes of death
Don't make the land shake anymore
For it has learned to cope
With the desolate cemeteries filled with mute bones

Today burns like gasoline
Looks like intestines decorating destroyed doorways
Today it rains curdled crimson

Tell me shooting star
If the child liked  jam on his toast
Did he snore?
Did he like math? Or english?
Shooting star doesn't know and neither the bombs.

As bodies fall from trees
like rotten plums.

The world was born in blood
And has not ceased to suckle its wounds
Endless blood thirst, Endless war
But not endless skin to bleed.
Kris Oct 2017
The ancient bridge is alight with rage
burning bright like dragon's breath--
fierce, invigorating, brimming in age.

I.
she had been a structure of the primeval kind
wooden bones tied together with tendons of twine
and sweat the subtle scent of forest from pine.

a mother she had been to the lands that relied
on her undying presence throughout bodies of time,
their parted lips looking for a voice in their midst.

yet, it was not soft thanks nor words of praise
but instead scorn that was spat at her from the
toothless mouth whom she would steadily aid.

II.
loveless from the moment of her birth--built by force
hammering nails until they fit (and she bled)
wires strung tense above her, intended to strain.

and yet through it all she kept her balanced grace--
did not falter--not even from the howling remarks
of the de-hearted winds that carved scars through her;

not when the snow seasonally perched on her back,
refused to budge; filling her caves with ice, 'til the sun
melted them like tears, meanwhile searing her skin;

not wavered by the storm of steps--the most agonizing,
this relentless drum-beating, a headache’s throbbing
that never gave her even a heartbeat's rest.

III.
thus the flames became the sole love to taste her
intimate, attentive; the blaze left no part unsavored
they carefully consumed her whole, limb by limb.

first stroking her weary wings until they lowered;
blanketing her shivering legs that always stood firm
but, exposed, had wanted to be covered.

licking delicately the buckling belly that was worn raw;
what rapture! what warmth! a foreign feeling of awe
for it had heretofore only ever known violation as law.

and so at last the foundation creaked, fatigued;
her last breath (one she had been holding for eternity)
erupted as a half-happy cry, for she resolved to release;

the weight of sisyphean struggle collapsed piece by piece
and as the fire consumed her, all pressure was relieved--
for ashes perceive not burden--they are as light as dreams.
At night! I am not a thought
Over the infamous sunlight;
But rather one with heightened breath,
A creature like all beings,
I hath life and sometimes death.

At night! What a solitary life
That I oft' bathe myself in blood;
It hath a romantic smell to touch
And fantasies on its very own,
Like the world around is torn
When I drink it, when I taste it.

At night! What a succulent sight
And dried livelihood, such might
Who may think of such grandeur
In the afternoon's bad odour?
The night presents to me a lovely light
To hunt and race towards the night.

At night! What a lovely lace
And fierce sigh to embrace;
Unlike those held stiffly in breath
I am at all in no fear of death,
And there, a thousand skies
Shall not watch my shaky lies?

At night! What a cold showdown
As I float in midair in town;
Every piece of flesh is tempting,
Now that my thirst is seeping
Through the dire brass of my lungs,
That I know not between us.

At night! What a sacred taste
Of one's opened flesh;
I am as violent as Desire itself,
And trembling as 'tis troubled night.
What if I cannot love, nor hear myself
That I can see the Light?

At night! What a bare heaven
Up there, that hath opened;
But again, 'tis committed to poor souls
And t'ose alive only, unlike me
I shall not breathe, nor be old;
Nor shall my stale beauty

At night! What a loneliness
A story, and yet a broken sadness
I shall wander to dusk and dust;
And pain myself with roaming lust
Shall I be the human, and again
I cannot flirt with the earth's rain.

At night! What a tasteless breath
The very end that feels like death;
When one ain't ill, and just no;
I cannot be here until tomorrow
I had love then, but 'tis now death
An apparition I hath not had

At night! What a wordless call
And yet I hath no longer words;
My lover, my human lover
Then, he died of my cold hunger
I hath been placed in my own hell;
And cannot fake such tears so well

At night! What a wondrous sight
Sitting in mercy by the rainbow;
Ah, my love, who was once in fright
Old as his human self by the window
And I, was not born to see the light
And he died, I could not know.

At night! What a clueless moon
And a rabid but endless tune;
And the cloud, but cannot speak
Although I wish to ask he sea
Within the reserved, but pretty week
To sail my lover back into me

At night! What a tireless roam
And I cannot stop even by my poem;
To devour such a long life
And hurt that may be tough,
Miseries that may be naive
Tears that may not be enough.

At night! What a severed sight
I hath, that I cannot fly right
Who saith I shall need such wings
That shall not read, nor sing?
I might just turn human by then;
Joining my love in death again.

At night! What a sturdy light
That awaits me behind the grass,
Satisfying me the whole night
And gone as more days pass
What is good, and what is rigid
Who shall come to me again, merry meet?

At night! What a buoyant step
And I may put again my cape;
I may not be late, but too sweetly
I hath to seek more life for me;
I may not die, but to die reverently;
For him, I shall dream for free

At night! What a childish touch
But there is no more time to watch,
I kneel down and sip hungrily
At the heartbeat dying down by me;
T'is time, 'tis of a village *****
Hastily split by her brown bench.

At night! What a cold April
And who knows what summer feels;
I might lay about to seek some idyll,
While the skies but a flamed torch
To read riddles of the far North,
And drink my heap, my Lord.

At night! What a sweet sick dream
To my lost love, my limb
I like to writ all in a poem,
And drink of love in my room
What is better than love, my life?
What is sweeter to kiss, my lips?

At night! What a shuddered rose
And a catchy, stunned prose
But I may not be a true lover;
A truth, that one always hides
After the setting sun, the thin nights
Who shall craft myself an ode?

At night! What a shimmered thought
That I had remembered about you,
About a song I knew was true
And we embraced, while seeing
The night was already looking;
And hark! The sour stars finally cheering.

At night! What a blundering smile
And hastened sweat of love,
A shyness that never leaves me
And my cheeks, my beauty;
I can rest here, and for a while
I think I can leave my everything.

At night! What a blushed cheek,
For love is so soft, so meek;
For my love is held in midair,
Given but treated so unfair,
I am gasping for some fresh air,
But shan't cry, nor care

At night! What a young heartbeat,
But again, 'tis not mine;
For human blood is always a cure,
Although cold, minuscule, and unsure
I hath no care what 'tis all about
My hunger is there, and frets too loud.

At night! What an insane bird,
And so shockingly treacherous;
O my love, should I vouch for thee still,
And be kind, whilst all stands still;
But again, 'tis as chilly for my poetry,
For there is no life for one like me.

At night! What a rigid flute,
That is flamboyantly blown still,
I may not be by the long route,
But I love you, and want you still,
The thought of humans make me sick;
But without such breath I am so weak;

At night! What a lifeless sun,
Celebrated by all inhumans;
I am nobody that one wants,
I neither lighten nor illuminate,
And I do not appear in one's dream,
I am a devil, and not as I seem;

At night! What a poet, and poetry;
A poetry wearing a black veil,
And is read out of the doors,
I hath written strongly across the moors,
I hath been invited by such discourse
And troubled itches, troubled sights.

At night! What a vast suburban,
On the outskirts of my last town;
And I have to move, yet, I do,
Although I am a recent and new,
And to be with the morn, too vague;
I am afraid I shall be too late.

At night! What an edgeless voyage
That has come of life, of age;
A stellar one as I go again
In search of new vinegar and friends,
And who says a vampire has much to make
Whilst 'tis all for their crude sake?

At night! What a holy night;
And sounds ring and sing about me,
Those of bloodied hearts none shall see,
And I coldly devour again before the dawn;
And be asleep in the afternoon,
To wake up to the solitary moon.

At night! What a clouded light;
And voices entrap me in unison,
Throwing about new destinations;
In which my rough food shall satisfy me
And intensify my rugged beauty,
As I have no halos under the sun.

At night! What a trembling sigh;
But to me all skies are not too high,
And heights shall ask me to play,
Basking my life in the glory of those days.
And who is the sun, to seep into me,
I am dead, just like I was meant to be.

At night! What a coloured weep,
Of everyone in their drowned sleep,
But who says a sleep is peaceful,
Alight in hell, and be healed painful;
And be astonished for days after,
Feeling like life in short is forever.

At night! What an adorned heart
Whose one can cheer from afar;
But to humans, love may be distant
So soon as there rises a new moment;
I, who cannot feel tinges of emotion
And its cursed, fatal passions.

At night! What a demure feel
That one may just fall ill,
For neither I nor they have shared passion;
My life is too full of temptations.
And who should soar into the night -
All love to praise the faint daylight.

At night! What a sanguine wish
That one may just cold kiss,
They wish they couldst do in person
With no reason, no concoction;
But what is a wish not so bright
That we canst only witness in daylight?

At night! What a passioned chest
That should be put to rest,
Hath it undergone too many tests,
Between the East and West,
And the fatality of our hunger,
That feels eternal, and lives forever?

At night! What a loving heat
That I feel all in a single beat;
That I am not cold in cold any more,
That I can see now, unlike before;
To attain such quietness, and peace -
To dream and be alight in midnight bliss.

At night! What a loving heart
That I crave for from miles apart;
And I just know that I love you,
And your eyes, being too human
I knew they would be true,
But could I still see you then?

At night! What a new love;
That was born from the hunt
That none wishes for, nor wants
But I was there, waiting for thee
Behind the furry fir tree
That one hath died, and another
Is born, to bind me forever

At night! What forbidden love;
For 'tis a human again, and madly
I have fallen in love too badly;
In my flights, my giddy travels
I may have fallen too naively
That I cannot stay behind the wheels.

At night! What a love in profusion
Dead then, but not in union
Ah, but 'tis all a story
Not in life, for I do love to tell
That I shall not feel deep, nor sorry
For love hath always been a hell

At night! What a love blooming
For one cannot stop cheering
In silence, like me, hearing
For another love to come, clearing;
That I can turn human, and to heaven
To a faith I should hasten

At night! What a love searing
All hate, all curses, all bearings
And I, a vampire, shall sing my song;
That I hath waited for love too long
But in my eternal life, o dear
Perhaps thou canst ne'er be here

At night! What a love tempting
And I cannot stop laughing
Until I am full of disgraced tears;
And not of untold fears
For fears are not mine, and not hours
We have no death, nor blurred hours

At night! What a love promise
For us to be wise, and kiss
I hath longed to have wedding bliss;
But again, I am not the first
For vampires 'tis all the worst;
I hath only my rhymes, my words!

At night! What a love story
That I canst only feel within me
And to swallow such gurgling tearsl
Wouldst be crowded, be weird
I hath no life to entertain me
Nor a lover to hear my poetry

At night! What a love tale
That I canst only relish in hell;
Perhaps, I am not like one my own,
In exhaust and fumes, I am alone
Under the stars and moon that know
I shall face every day, and tomorrow

At night! What a love kiss
That I dream of, like a butterfly
But all is indeed a tired lie;
In all eternity, hath I been cursed
And in all worlds, hath I hurt
For whose I hath no more words

At night! What a love wish
That I cannot blame mine, nor his
To all wise, that are not wise;
To all whiteness that is a lie
For love hath but been a thief to me
And a harm to my living sanity

At night! What a love charm
That I hath discarded from my arms;
For I cannot feel, nor see you
In growing anything anew,
I hath seen but too few
I cannot have you in my arms.

At night! What a love war
That I hath removed from my tales;
I hath shut myself off of the door
And be the one no-one tells,
Who shall choose not to be alight;
To love with softness and bright?

At night! What a love heart
And a soreness cast away
I hath not seen the night, nor day
And stayed stiff again, today;
I cannot play in the afternoon,
Nor face the loving, dancing moon.

At night! What a love joy
That I hath not to tease,
Nor to pleasantly annoy;
I hath turned to dust, and dust is me
Pale as the armour of my beauty,
Eternal to life, and I can be
Not to love, not to be free.
RAJ NANDY Jul 2018
Dear Readers, concept of Time has bewildered our ancient sages, philosophers, poets, artists,  including our famous scientists and physicists even to this day. It has no doubt also impacted my    
mind in several ways! Therefore, this series about the ‘Enigma of Time In Verse’ is now being composed and posted to share my thoughts with my Poet friends on this Site. If you like it kindly re-post this poem. Thanking You, - Raj Nandy from New Delhi.
             

   THE ENIGMA OF TIME IN VERSE : PART ONE
                           BY RAJ NANDY

                 A  SHORT  INTRODUCTION

During my childhood days, time appeared to be joyful and endless.
Though my parents had observed the clock all the while,
Telling me when to rise, when to eat, play, do my homework, -
till it was my bed time.
Alas, my childhood days as cherished memories are now left behind.
With rest of the world  I am now chasing that winged arrow of Time!

Those Management Gurus say, that our twenty four hours day,
Is time enough for those who can manage time from day to day.
Yet I do find, that I am generally chasing time, not to be left behind!
Hoping that a full time job will provide, some quality time, with the desired comforts of life.
Therefore, I abide my time, hoping to have the time of my life one day, with some quality time coming my way.
But in this mad race against time, while chasing that butterfly of happiness,
I must learn to cool down and breathe, before time decides to elude me!
For with patience and perseverance, that butterfly of happiness, will alight gently on my shoulder in good time, and perhaps at
the right time!
While time is universally regarded as the fourth dimension by our physicists,
It is said to flow at different rates for different individuals as mentioned by Shakespeare the English dramatist.

          FEW  LITERARY  QUOTES  ABOUT  TIME

In ‘As You Like It’ Act 3, Shakespeare refers to ‘the swift steps’ and the ‘lazy foot’of time  in a relativistic way.
Time ‘trots’ for a young woman between her engagement and marriage when a week feels like seven years for her every day!
Time ‘ambles’ for a priest who doesn’t know Latin and a rich man without gout;
Since the priest is spared the burden of exhausting study, and the rich man is spared the burden of exhausting poverty - no doubt.
But time ‘gallops’ for a thief walking to the gallows, for even if he walks slowly, he happens to gets there too soon!
While time ‘stands still’ for lawyers on vacation, since he sleeps his holidays away!

Now moving forward to Einstein who once described his ‘Theory of Relativity’ very humorously in the following way; -
“When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it’s two hours,” he had said with a chuckle!

Getting back to Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ Act One on that blasted heath,
Macbeth asks the three witches, “If you can look into the seeds of Time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear…”
And finally that brilliant piece of soliloquy about Time by Macbeth in Act 5:
“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
  Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
  To the last syllable of recorded time,
  And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
  The way to dusty death….”

John Milton’s poem ‘On Time’ composed in 1930 ends with his optimistic lines:
“Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
  Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
  Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace …..
  When once our heavenly-guided soul shall clime,
  Then all this Earthly grossness quit,
  Attired with Stars, we shall forever sit
  Triumphing over Death and Chance, and thee O Time.”

Alexander Pope in his ‘Imitations of Horace’ (1738) writes:
“Years following years steal something every day,
  At last they steal us from ourselves away.”
Romantic poets have dealt with the transience of time, which got popularised by the Latin phrase ‘Carpe diem’ which tells us to ‘seize the day’;
This Latin phrase has been borrowed from the Roman lyrical poet Horace of ancient days.

Charles Dickens’ novel ‘Hard Times’ is an autobiography describing his difficult childhood days.
While the famous opening lines of his historical novel ‘A Tale of Two Cites’ take us back to 18th century London and Paris under times sway.
I quote Dickens’ memorable opening lines:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us ......”

We have the Nobel Laureate Tagore’s well known poetic lines on the subject of Time:
“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”
“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of leaf.”
He described the Taj Mahal as “a tear drop on the cheek of Time,” in his unique poetic style!

TS Eliot’s ‘Four Quarters’ of 1935,  include extended rumination on the nature of Time:
“Time present and time past,
  Are both perhaps present in time future.
  And time future contained in time past.
  If all time is eternally present,
  All time is unredeemable.
  What might have been is an abstraction
  Remaining a perpetual possibility,
  Only in a world of speculation….”
(Notes: This concept will become clearer in my Part Two, presently under construction.)

Next I have a quote from WH Auden’s poem ‘As I Walked Out One Evening’composed in 1937:
“But all the clocks in the city
  Began to whirr and chime:
  O let not Time deceive you.
  You cannot conquer Time.”

Subject of Time forms an important part of science fiction even to this day.
HG Well’s ‘The Time Machine’ (1895) interests both the layman and the Scientific community even today!
Finally, I would like to conclude my Part One on ‘The Enigma of Time in Verse’ with my favourite poem composed by the British poet Ralph Hodgson:
  
TIME, you old gipsy man,
  Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
  Just for one day?
  
All things I'll give you
Will you be my guest,
Bells for your jennet
Of silver the best,
Goldsmiths shall beat you
A great golden ring,
Peacocks shall bow to you,
Little boys sing,
Oh, and sweet girls will
Festoon you with may.
Time, you old gipsy,
Why hasten away?
  
Last week in Babylon,
Last night in Rome,
Morning, and in the crush
Under Paul's dome;
Under Paul's dial
You tighten your rein—
Only a moment,
And off once again;
Off to some city
Now blind in the womb,
Off to another
Ere that's in the tomb.
  
Time, you old gipsy man,
  Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
  Just for one day.

In Part Two I shall cover the Concepts of Time along with its Philosophical speculations.
Before moving on to Einstein’s concept of Time, and its present Scientific interpretations.
Thanks for reading patiently, from Raj Nandy of New Delhi.
Even as the sun with purple-coloured face
Had ta’en his last leave of the weeping morn,
Rose-cheeked Adonis hied him to the chase;
Hunting he loved, but love he laughed to scorn.
Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,
And like a bold-faced suitor ‘gins to woo him.

“Thrice fairer than myself,” thus she began
“The fields chief flower, sweet above compare,
Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man,
More white and red than doves or roses are;
Nature that made thee with herself at strife
Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.

“Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed,
And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow;
If thou wilt deign this favour, for thy meed
A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know.
Here come and sit where never serpent hisses,
And being set, I’ll smother thee with kisses.

“And yet not cloy thy lips with loathed satiety,
But rather famish them amid their plenty,
Making them red and pale with fresh variety:
Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty.
A summer’s day will seem an hour but short,
Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport.”

With this she seizeth on his sweating palm,
The precedent of pith and livelihood,
And, trembling in her passion, calls it balm,
Earth’s sovereign salve to do a goddess good.
Being so enraged, desire doth lend her force
Courageously to pluck him from his horse.

Over one arm the ***** courser’s rein,
Under her other was the tender boy,
Who blushed and pouted in a dull disdain,
With leaden appetite, unapt to toy;
She red and hot as coals of glowing fire,
He red for shame, but frosty in desire.

The studded bridle on a ragged bough
Nimbly she fastens—O, how quick is love!
The steed is stalled up, and even now
To tie the rider she begins to prove.
Backward she pushed him, as she would be ******,
And governed him in strength, though not in lust.

So soon was she along as he was down,
Each leaning on their elbows and their hips;
Now doth she stroke his cheek, now doth he frown
And ‘gins to chide, but soon she stops his lips,
And, kissing, speaks with lustful language broken:
“If thou wilt chide, thy lips shall never open”.

He burns with bashful shame; she with her tears
Doth quench the maiden burning of his cheeks;
Then with her windy sighs and golden hairs
To fan and blow them dry again she seeks.
He saith she is immodest, blames her miss;
What follows more she murders with a kiss.

Even as an empty eagle, sharp by fast,
Tires with her beak on feathers, flesh, and bone,
Shaking her wings, devouring all in haste,
Till either gorge be stuffed or prey be gone;
Even so she kissed his brow, his cheek, his chin,
And where she ends she doth anew begin.

Forced to content, but never to obey,
Panting he lies, and breatheth in her face;
She feedeth on the steam as on a prey,
And calls it heavenly moisture, air of grace,
Wishing her cheeks were gardens full of flowers,
So they were dewed with such distilling showers.

Look how a bird lies tangled in a net,
So fastened in her arms Adonis lies;
Pure shame and awed resistance made him fret,
Which bred more beauty in his angry eyes.
Rain added to a river that is rank
Perforce will force it overflow the bank.

Still she entreats, and prettily entreats,
For to a pretty ear she tunes her tale;
Still is he sullen, still he lours and frets,
‘Twixt crimson shame and anger ashy-pale.
Being red, she loves him best; and being white,
Her best is bettered with a more delight.

Look how he can, she cannot choose but love;
And by her fair immortal hand she swears
From his soft ***** never to remove
Till he take truce with her contending tears,
Which long have rained, making her cheeks all wet;
And one sweet kiss shall pay this countless debt.

Upon this promise did he raise his chin,
Like a dive-dapper peering through a wave
Who, being looked on, ducks as quickly in;
So offers he to give what she did crave;
But when her lips were ready for his pay,
He winks, and turns his lips another way.

Never did passenger in summer’s heat
More thirst for drink than she for this good turn.
Her help she sees, but help she cannot get;
She bathes in water, yet her fire must burn.
“O pity,” ‘gan she cry “flint-hearted boy,
’Tis but a kiss I beg; why art thou coy?

“I have been wooed as I entreat thee now
Even by the stern and direful god of war,
Whose sinewy neck in battle ne’er did bow,
Who conquers where he comes in every jar;
Yet hath he been my captive and my slave,
And begged for that which thou unasked shalt have.

“Over my altars hath he hung his lance,
His battered shield, his uncontrolled crest,
And for my sake hath learned to sport and dance,
To toy, to wanton, dally, smile, and jest,
Scorning his churlish drum and ensign red,
Making my arms his field, his tent my bed.

“Thus he that overruled I overswayed,
Leading him prisoner in a red-rose chain;
Strong-tempered steel his stronger strength obeyed,
Yet was he servile to my coy disdain.
O be not proud, nor brag not of thy might,
For mast’ring her that foiled the god of fight.

“Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine,
—Though mine be not so fair, yet are they red—
The kiss shall be thine own as well as mine.
What seest thou in the ground? Hold up thy head;
Look in mine eyeballs, there thy beauty lies;
Then why not lips on lips, since eyes in eyes?

“Art thou ashamed to kiss? Then wink again,
And I will wink; so shall the day seem night.
Love keeps his revels where there are but twain;
Be bold to play, our sport is not in sight:
These blue-veined violets whereon we lean
Never can blab, nor know not what we mean.

“The tender spring upon thy tempting lip
Shows thee unripe; yet mayst thou well be tasted.
Make use of time, let not advantage slip:
Beauty within itself should not be wasted.
Fair flowers that are not gathered in their prime
Rot and consume themselves in little time.

“Were I hard-favoured, foul, or wrinkled-old,
Ill-nurtured, crooked, churlish, harsh in voice,
O’erworn, despised, rheumatic, and cold,
Thick-sighted, barren, lean, and lacking juice,
Then mightst thou pause, for then I were not for thee;
But having no defects, why dost abhor me?

“Thou canst not see one wrinkle in my brow,
Mine eyes are grey and bright and quick in turning,
My beauty as the spring doth yearly grow,
My flesh is soft and plump, my marrow burning;
My smooth moist hand, were it with thy hand felt,
Would in thy palm dissolve or seem to melt.

“Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear,
Or like a fairy trip upon the green,
Or like a nymph, with long dishevelled hair,
Dance on the sands, and yet no footing seen.
Love is a spirit all compact of fire,
Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire.

“Witness this primrose bank whereon I lie:
These forceless flowers like sturdy trees support me;
Two strengthless doves will draw me through the sky
From morn till night, even where I list to sport me.
Is love so light, sweet boy, and may it be
That thou should think it heavy unto thee?

“Is thine own heart to thine own face affected?
Can thy right hand seize love upon thy left?
Then woo thyself, be of thyself rejected,
Steal thine own freedom, and complain on theft.
Narcissus so himself himself forsook,
And died to kiss his shadow in the brook.

“Torches are made to light, jewels to wear,
Dainties to taste, fresh beauty for the use,
Herbs for their smell, and sappy plants to bear;
Things growing to themselves are growth’s abuse.
Seeds spring from seeds, and beauty breedeth beauty;
Thou wast begot: to get it is thy duty.

“Upon the earth’s increase why shouldst thou feed,
Unless the earth with thy increase be fed?
By law of nature thou art bound to breed,
That thine may live when thou thyself art dead;
And so in spite of death thou dost survive,
In that thy likeness still is left alive.”

By this, the lovesick queen began to sweat,
For where they lay the shadow had forsook them,
And Titan, tired in the midday heat,
With burning eye did hotly overlook them,
Wishing Adonis had his team to guide,
So he were like him, and by Venus’ side.

And now Adonis, with a lazy sprite,
And with a heavy, dark, disliking eye,
His louring brows o’erwhelming his fair sight,
Like misty vapours when they blot the sky,
Souring his cheeks, cries “Fie, no more of love!
The sun doth burn my face; I must remove.”

“Ay me,” quoth Venus “young, and so unkind!
What bare excuses mak’st thou to be gone!
I’ll sigh celestial breath, whose gentle wind
Shall cool the heat of this descending sun.
I’ll make a shadow for thee of my hairs;
If they burn too, I’ll quench them with my tears.

“The sun that shines from heaven shines but warm,
And lo, I lie between that sun and thee;
The heat I have from thence doth little harm:
Thine eye darts forth the fire that burneth me;
And were I not immortal, life were done
Between this heavenly and earthly sun.

“Art thou obdurate, flinty, hard as steel?
Nay, more than flint, for stone at rain relenteth.
Art thou a woman’s son, and canst not feel
What ’tis to love, how want of love tormenteth?
O, had thy mother borne so hard a mind
She had not brought forth thee, but died unkind.

“What am I that thou shouldst contemn me this?
Or what great danger dwells upon my suit?
What were thy lips the worse for one poor kiss?
Speak, fair; but speak fair words, or else be mute.
Give me one kiss, I’ll give it thee again,
And one for int’rest, if thou wilt have twain.

“Fie, lifeless picture, cold and senseless stone,
Well-painted idol, image dull and dead,
Statue contenting but the eye alone,
Thing like a man, but of no woman bred!
Thou art no man, though of a man’s complexion,
For men will kiss even by their own direction.”

This said, impatience chokes her pleading tongue,
And swelling passion doth provoke a pause;
Red cheeks and fiery eyes blaze forth her wrong:
Being judge in love, she cannot right her cause;
And now she weeps, and now she fain would speak,
And now her sobs do her intendments break.

Sometime she shakes her head, and then his hand;
Now gazeth she on him, now on the ground;
Sometime her arms infold him like a band;
She would, he will not in her arms be bound;
And when from thence he struggles to be gone,
She locks her lily fingers one in one.

“Fondling,” she saith “since I have hemmed thee here
Within the circuit of this ivory pale,
I’ll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer:
Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale;
Graze on my lips, and if those hills be dry,
Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.

“Within this limit is relief enough,
Sweet bottom-grass and high delightful plain,
Round rising hillocks, brakes obscure and rough,
To shelter thee from tempest and from rain:
Then be my deer, since I am such a park;
No dog shall rouse thee, though a thousand bark.”

At this Adonis smiles as in disdain,
That in each cheek appears a pretty dimple.
Love made those hollows, if himself were slain,
He might be buried in a tomb so simple,
Foreknowing well, if there he came to lie,
Why, there Love lived, and there he could not die.

These lovely caves, these round enchanting pits,
Opened their mouths to swallow Venus’ liking.
Being mad before, how doth she now for wits?
Struck dead at first, what needs a second striking?
Poor queen of love, in thine own law forlorn,
To love a cheek that smiles at thee in scorn!

Now which way shall she turn? What shall she say?
Her words are done, her woes the more increasing.
The time is spent, her object will away,
And from her twining arms doth urge releasing.
“Pity!” she cries “Some favour, some remorse!”
Away he springs, and hasteth to his horse.

But lo, from forth a copse that neighbours by
A breeding jennet, *****, young, and proud,
Adonis’ trampling courser doth espy,
And forth she rushes, snorts, and neighs aloud.
The strong-necked steed, being tied unto a tree,
Breaketh his rein, and to her straight goes he.

Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,
And now his woven girths he breaks asunder;
The bearing earth with his hard hoof he wounds,
Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven’s thunder;
The iron bit he crusheth ‘tween his teeth,
Controlling what he was controlled with.

His ears up-pricked; his braided hanging mane
Upon his compassed crest now stand on end;
His nostrils drink the air, and forth again,
As from a furnace, vapours doth he send;
His eye, which scornfully glisters like fire,
Shows his hot courage and his high desire.

Sometime he trots, as if he told the steps,
With gentle majesty and modest pride;
Anon he rears upright, curvets and leaps,
As who should say ‘Lo, thus my strength is tried,
And this I do to captivate the eye
Of the fair ******* that is standing by.’

What recketh he his rider’s angry stir,
His flattering ‘Holla’ or his ‘Stand, I say’?
What cares he now for curb or pricking spur,
For rich caparisons or trappings gay?
He sees his love, and nothing else he sees,
For nothing else with his proud sight agrees.

Look when a painter would surpass the life
In limning out a well-proportioned steed,
His art with nature’s workmanship at strife,
As if the dead the living should exceed;
So did this horse excel a common one
In shape, in courage, colour, pace, and bone.

Round-hoofed, short-jointed, fetlocks **** and long,
Broad breast, full eye, small head, and nostril wide,
High crest, short ears, straight legs and passing strong,
Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide;
Look what a horse should have he did not lack,
Save a proud rider on so proud a back.

Sometime he scuds far off, and there he stares;
Anon he starts at stirring of a feather;
To bid the wind a base he now prepares,
And whe’er he run or fly they know not whether;
For through his mane and tail the high wind sings,
Fanning the hairs, who wave like feathered wings.

He looks upon his love, and neighs unto her;
She answers him as if she knew his mind:
Being proud, as females are, to see him woo her,
She puts on outward strangeness, seems unkind,
Spurns at his love, and scorns the heat he feels,
Beating his kind embracements with her heels.

Then, like a melancholy malcontent,
He vails his tail that, like a falling plume,
Cool shadow to his melting buttock lent;
He stamps, and bites the poor flies in his fume.
His love, perceiving how he was enraged,
Grew kinder, and his fury was assuaged.

His testy master goeth about to take him,
When, lo, the unbacked *******, full of fear,
Jealous of catching, swiftly doth forsake him,
With her the horse, and left Adonis there.
As they were mad, unto the wood they hie them,
Outstripping crows that strive to overfly them.

All swoll’n with chafing, down Adonis sits,
Banning his boist’rous and unruly beast;
And now the happy season once more fits
That lovesick Love by pleading may be blest;
For lovers say the heart hath treble wrong
When it is barred the aidance of the tongue.

An oven that is stopped, or river stayed,
Burneth more hotly, swelleth with more rage;
So of concealed sorrow may be said.
Free vent of words love’s fire doth assuage;
But when the heart’s attorney once is mute,
The client breaks, as desperate in his suit.

He sees her coming, and begins to glow,
Even as a dying coal revives with wind,
And with his bonnet hides his angry brow,
Looks on the dull earth with disturbed mind,
Taking no notice that she is so nigh,
For all askance he holds her in his eye.

O what a sight it was wistly to view
How she came stealing to the wayward boy!
To note the fighting conflict of her hue,
How white and red each other did destroy!
But now her cheek was pale, and by-and-by
It flashed forth fire, as lightning from the sky.

Now was she just before him as he sat,
And like a lowly lover down she kneels;
With one fair hand she heaveth up his hat,
Her other tender hand his fair cheek feels.
His tend’rer cheek receives her soft hand’s print
As apt as new-fall’n snow takes any dint.

O what a war of looks was then between them,
Her eyes petitioners to his eyes suing!
His eyes saw her eyes as they had not seen them;
Her eyes wooed still, his eyes disdained the wooing;
And all this dumb-play had his acts made plain
With tears which chorus-like her eyes did rain.

Full gently now she takes him by the hand,
A lily prisoned in a gaol of snow,
Or ivory in an alabaster band;
So white a friend engirts so white a foe.
This beauteous combat, wilful and unwilling,
Showed like two silver doves that sit a-billing.

Once more the engine of her thoughts began:
“O fairest mover on this mortal round,
Would t
Edward Laine Sep 2011
The old green door creaked when it opened. The same way it always did. The same old pitiful, sad sound it had made for years.
Sad because, like the rest of Jimmy's Bar it wouldn't be broken the way it was if someone would only take the time to fix it, in this case to grease the hinges, and then maybe the joint wouldn't be such a dive.
But that was the way it was, and the old green door pretty much summed up the whole place before you had even stepped in.

It was an everyday scene, this dreary November afternoon like any other: the glasses from the night(or nights) before were still stacked up on the far end of the bar, waiting to be washed, or just used again. The regulars, as they were known really didn't care if they were drinking out of a ***** glass or having a shot or a short out of a pint glass or beer or a stout or a bitter or an ale or a cider or even a water or milk(to wash down or soak up the days drinking) out of the same old ***** glass they had been drinking out of all week long.
Anyway, when the door creaked this time, it was old Tom Ashley that made it creak.
He shuffled in like the broken down bindle-stiff he was. Yawning like a lion and rubbing his unwashed hands on his four day beard. His grey hair as bed-headed and dishevelled as ever.  He was wearing the same crinkled-up blazer he always wore, tailor made some time in his youth but now in his advancing years was ill-fitting and torn at the shoulder, but still he wore a white flower in the lapel, and it didn't much matter that he had picked it from the side of the road, it helped to mask the smell of his unwashed body and whatever filth he had been stewing in his little down town room above the second hand book store. It wasn't much, but it suited him fine: the rent was cheap, and Chuck, the owner would let him borrow books two at a time, so long as he returned them in week, and he always did. He loved to read, and rumour had it, that a long time ago when he was in his twenties he had written a novel which had sold innumerable copies and made him a very wealthy man. The twist in the tale, went that he had written said novel under a pen name and no soul knew what it was, and when questioned he would neither confirm nor deny ever writing a book at all. It was some great secret, but after time people had ceased asking questions and stopped caring all together on the subject. All that anybody knew for sure was; he did not work and always had money to drink. It was his only great mystery.  T.S Eliot and Thomas Hardy were among his favourite writers. He had a great stack of unread books he had been saving in shoe box on his window sill. He called these his 'raining season'.

But for now, the arrangement with Chuck would suit him just fine.
He dragged his drunkards feet across the floor and over to the bar. All dark wood with four green velour upholstered bar stools, that of course, had seen better days too.
He put his hands flat on the bar, leaned back on his heels and ordered
a double Talisker in his most polite manner. He was a drunk, indeed but 'manners cost nothing'' he had said in the past. Grum, the bartender(his name was Graham, but in the long years of him working in the bar and
all the drunks slurring his name it gradually became Grum)smiled false heartedly, turned his back and whilst pouring old Toms whiskey into a brandy glass looked over his shoulder and said, ''so Mr. Ashley, how's
life treatin' ya'?'' Tom was looking at the floor or the window or the at the back of his eyelids and paid no attention to the barkeep. He was always
a little despondent before his first drink of the day. When Grum placed the drink on the bar he asked the same question again, and Tom, fumbling with his glass, simply murmured a monosyllabic reply that couldn't be understood with his mouth full of that first glug of sweet,
sweet whiskey he had been aching for. Then he looked up at tom with
big his shiney/glazed eyes, ''hey grum,
now that it is a fine whiskey, Robert Lewis Stevenson
used to drink this you know?'' Grum did know, Tom had told him this nearly every day for as long as he had been coming in the place, but
he nodded towards Tom and smiled acceptingly all the same. ''The king of drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, he said'' Grum mouthed the words along with him,  caustically and half smiled at him again. Tom drained his glass and ordered another one of the same.

A few more drinks, a few hours and a few more drinks again
passed, Tom put them all on his tab like he always did. Grum,
nor the owner of the bar minded, he always paid his tab before
he stumbled home good and drunk and he didn’t cause too
much trouble apart from the odd argument with other customers
or staff but he never used his fists and he always knew when
he was beat In which case he would become very apologetic
and more often than not veer out of the bar back stepping
like a scared dog with his tail between his tattered trousers.
Drinking can make a cowardly man brave but not a smart
man dumb and Tom was indeed a smart man. Regardless
of what others might say. He was very articulate, well read
with a good head (jauntily perched) on his (crooked) shoulders.
By now it was getting late, Tom didn't know what time it was,
or couldn't figure out what time it was by simply looking at
the clock, the bar had one of those backwards clocks, I
don't know if you have ever seen one, the numbers run
anti-clockwise, which may not seem like much of task to
decipher I know, but believe me, if you are as drunk as tom
was by this point you really can not make head nor tails of
them. He knew it was getting late though as it was dark
outside and the  lamp posts were glowing their orange glow
through the window and the crack in the door. It was around
ten o’clock now and Tom had moved on to wine, he would
order a glass of Shiraz and say ''hey Grum, you know Hafez
used to drink this stuff, used to let it sit for forty days to achieve
a greater ''clarity of wine'' he called it, forty days!'' ''Mr Ashley''
said Grum looking up from wiping down the grimy bar and
now growing quite tired of the old man’s presence and what seemed
to be constant theories and facts of the various drinks he
was devouring, ''what are you rabbiting on about now, old
man?'' ''Hafez'' said old Tom ''he was a Persian poet from the
1300's as I recall... really quite good'', ''Well, Tom that is
truly fascinating, I must be sure to look in to him next time
I'm looking for fourteenth century poetry!'' said the barkeep,
mockingly. ''Good, good, be sure that you do'' Tom said,
taking a long ****-eyed slurp of his drink and not noticing
the sarcasm from the worn out bartender. He didn't mean
to poke fun at Tom he was anxious to get home to his wife
who he missed and longed to join, all alone in their warm
marital bed in the room upstairs. But Tom did not understand
this concept, he had never been married but had left a long
line of women behind him, loved and left in the tracks of his
vagabond youth, he had once been a good looking man a
''handsome devil'' confident and charming in all his wit and
literary references to poets of old he had memorised passages from ,Thoreau,Tennyson ,Byron, Frost etc. And more times
than not passed these passages of love and beauty off as
his own for the simple purpose of getting various now wooed
and wanting women up to his room. But now after  many
years of late nights, cigarettes and empty bottles cast aside
had taken their toll on him he spent his nights alone in his
cold single bed drunk and lonely with his only company being
once in a while a sad eyed dead eyed lady of the night, but
only very rarely would he give in to this temptation and it
always left him feeling hollow and more sober than he had
cared to be in many long years.
The bell rang last orders.
He ordered another drink, a Gin this time and as he took
the first sip, pleasingly, Grum stared at him with great open
eyes and his hand resting on his chin to animate how he
was waiting for the old man to state some worthless fact
about his new drink but the old man just sat there swaying
gently looking very glazed and just when the barkeep was
just about to blurt out his astonishment that Tom had noting
to say, old Tom Ashley, old drunk Tom took a deep breath
with his mouth wide, leaned back on his stool and said...
''hey, you know who used to drink gin? F. Scott Fitzgerald''
''really?'' said the barkeep snidely ''Oh yes'' said Tom
''The funny thing is Hemingway and all those old gents
used to tease Fitzgerald about his low tolerance, a real
light weight! He paused and took a sip ''but err, yes
he did like the odd glass of gin'' he said, mumbling
into the bottom of his glass.
Now, reaching the end of the night, the bartender
yawning, rubbing his eyes and the old man with
close to sixty pounds on his tab, sprawled across the
bar, spinning the last drop of his drink on the glasses
edge and seeming quite mesmerised by it and all its
holy splendour, he stopped and sat up right like a shot,
and looking quite sober now he shouted ''Grum,
Graham, hey, come here!'' the sleepy bartender was
sitting on a chair with his feet up on the bar, half asleep,
''Hey Graham, come here'' ''eh-ugh, what? What do you
want?'' said the barkeep sounding bemused and
befuddled
in his waking state, ''just come over here will you,
please''
the barkeep rolled off his chair sluggishly and slid
his feet across the floor towards the old man ''what is
it?'' he said scratching his head with his eyes still half
closed. The old man drowned what was left of his
drink and said ''I think I've had an epiphany, well err
well, more of a theory really w-well..'' he was stuttering
. ''oh yeah? And what would that be, Mr Ashley?'' said
the bartender, folding his arms in anticipation. ''pour
me another whiskey and I'll tell you''
''one mor... you must be kidding me, get the hell
out of here you old drunk we're closed!'' the old man
put his hands together as if in prayer and said in his
most sincere voice, '' oh please, Grum, just one more
for the road, I'll tell you my theory and then I'll be on
my way, OK?'' ''FINE, fine'' said Grum ''ONE more and
then you're GONE'' he walked over to the other side
of the bar poured a whiskey and another for himself.
''OK, here’s your drink old man, and I don't wanna
hear another of your ******* facts about writers
or poets or whoever OK?'' Tom snatched the drink of
the bar, ''OK, OK, I promise!'' he said. Tom took a slow
slurp at his drink and relaxed back in his seat and
sat quite, looking calm again.
The bartender sat staring at him, expecting the old
man to say something but he didn’t, he just sat there
on his stool, sipping his whiskey, Grum leaned forward
on the bar and with his nose nearly touching the old
mans, said ''SO? Out with it, what was this ****
theory I just HAD to hear?'' ''AH'' said the old man,
waving his index finger in the air, he looked down
into his breast pocket, pulled out a pack of cigarettes,
calmly took two out, handed one to the barkeep,
struck a match from his ***** finger nail, lit his own
the proceeded to light the barkeeps too.
Taking a long draw and now speaking with the blue
smoke pouring out his mouth said '' let me ask you a question''
... he paused, …  ''would agree that everybody
makes mistakes?'' the barkeep looked puzzled as to
where this was going but nodded and grunted a
''uh-hum'' ''well'' said the old man would you also
agree that everybody also learns... and continues
learning from their mistakes?'' again looking puzzled
but this time more  intrigued grunted the same ''uh-hum'' noise,
though this time a little more drawn out and
higher pitched and said ''where exactly are you going
with this?'' curiously.
''well..'' let me explain fully said Tom. He took another
pull on his cigarette and a sip on his drink, ''right,
my theory is: everybody keeps making mistakes, as
you agreed, this meaning that the whole world keeps
making mistakes too, and so the world keeps learning
from is mistakes, as you also agreed, with me so far?''
the barkeep nodded ''right'' Tom continued ''the world
keeps makiing and learning from its mistakes, my
theory is that one day, the world will have made so
many mistakes and learned from them all, so many
that there are no more mistakes to make, right? And
thus, with no mistakes left to learn from the word will
be all knowing and thus... PERFECT! Am I right? The
barkeep, now looking quite in awe and staring at his
cigarette smoke in the orange street light coming t
hrough the window, raised his glass and said quite
excitedly ''and when the world is then a perfect place
Jesus will return! Right?'' ''well Graham...'' said the old
man doubtingly ''I am in no way a religious man, but I
guess if that’s your thing then yes I guess you could be
right, yes''
He then drowned the rest of his whiskey in one giant
gulp, stubbed out his cigarette in the empty glass
and said ''now, I really must get going ,it really is getting quite
late'' and begun to walk towards the door. The
bartender hurried around the bar and grabbed Tom
by the arm,
'' you cant just leave now! We need to discuss this!
Please stay, we'll have another drink, on the house!''
''Now, now,Graham'' said the old man, ''we can discuss
this another night, I really must get to bed now'' he
walked over to the door, and just as his hand touched
the handle the barkeep stopped him again and said
quite hurriedly,'' but I need answers, how will I know
everything is going to be alight? You know PERFECT,
just like you said!'' the old man opened the door
slightly, turned around coolly and said ''now, don’t
worry yourself, I’m sure everything will turn out fine
and we’ll talk about it more tomorrow, OK?'' the
barkeep nodded acceptingly and held the door open
for the
old man, ''sure sure, OK'' he said ''tomorrow it is,
Mr Ashley''
Just as Tom was walking out the door he stopped
looked at the   barkeep with large grin on his face
and said very fast, as fast as he could ''you-know-an-interesting
-fact-about-whiskey-it-was -Dylan-Thomas'
-favourite-drink-in-fact-his-last-words-were -"I've-had-18
-straight-whiskeys......I-think-that's-the-record."­!! HAHA '' he
laughed almost uncontrollably. Graham the barkeep looked
at him with a smile of new found admiration and began to
close the door on him.
Just as the door was nearly shut, the old man stopped
once
more, pulled out a roll of money, looked in to the
bartenders
eyes and put the money into his shirt pocket, then putting
his left hand on the bartenders shoulder said ''oh and
Grum, one of those great ol' women I let get away, once told ,me:
''if you are looking at the moon then,everything is alight'' and slapped
him lightly on the cheek.
. Then finally, pointing at the barkeeps shirt pocket said ''
for the bar tab'' then went spinning out the door way with
the grace of a ballroom dancer(rather than the old drunk
he had the reputation for being) and standing in the
orange glow of the street and seeing the look of sheer
wonderment on the bartenders face still standing in the
old green door way and shouted ''LOOK UP, THE MOON,
THE MOON!'' The barkeep, shaking his head and laughing,
peered his head out of the door and took a glance at the
moon and grinned widely then closed the old green door
for the night. It made the same old loud creak when he shut it.

                                       FIN
Jeff Gaines Mar 2018
Cardinal
Oh, Cardinal
You great scarlet bird.

You hop along my porch rail
But you don't say a word.

Defiant
So Defiant
Of nature's camouflage.

There is no way to hide
Your bright red entourage.

Orange
Bright Orange.
Your sharp pointy beak.

Gathers the worms and the seeds
All the meals that you seek.

Feed
Feed her.
This mate that you court.

Such a noble young man
You dance and cavort.

Sing
Sing sweet
You and your friends

I'll love your songs every morning
'Til winter comes 'round again.

Babies
Your babies
I'll meet them come next year.

When in the Fall, they'll alight on my porch
And bring my morning's cheer.

Cardinal
Oh, Cardinal
I'm so glad you're here, you see.

I knew your parents and now you have come
Singing just for me.
I live pretty far out in the country. The birds here are really awesome. I love to go out late at night and listen to the Barred Owl or spend an afternoon sitting in our back meadow to watch the breeding pair of Peregrine Falcons that have a nest in one of our Methuselah oaks.

But every morning as the sun rises and I have my coffee on the back porch ... the Cardinals always seem to be the early risers. Their songs begin with the very first crack of light. They seem to have gotten used to me, as they now land on my porch rail, pretty close to me.

They sing and court mates and sometimes, I swear, they just kinda bop around on the railing and watch ME!

They are simply beautiful and I LOVE having my coffee with them each morning!
Shofi Ahmed Jan 2020
Fly perfectly straight high and shew the fly
out of the fly-bottle on your way.
Rise to victory far above the blue sky
ripping the reward is the opening of paradise!

The road ahead is all clear eye wide open space
up this way, the end is all vast open to reach
things small and big can grow and disappear in it.
You will see sunrises and sunsets on the way
waxing and waning moon flickering stars in the dark
be mindful though as you sway it got to be laser-sharp.
There is no hard shoulder on this highway
miss it by an inch and risk loosing forever!

There is hope there is light up in the high
pick your paintbrush as does the sun.
Goodness knows how it sneaks in right on the black
canvas of the night painting the first light
lo, it shows up in heaven the candle of the daylight.
So long there are a man and a woman
never give up our canary bird can fly  
rosy or not the nest in every morn nets a sunrise!

(1)
A woman indeed plucks up the courage
she never had to look up to the stars
be it for the guide or the light in the night.
Fathima herself was the full Moon every night
is thanks to her Godsent innate light.

With it, she can bask in the full spread of the pi
on top of its short decimals mounting high
constantly as if countless stars in the sky.

The time and space down the sun
and that under Fathima's light
is a far cry from each other
but can live side by side.

Like she points out:
'A circle is masculine
while the pi is feminine'.

Pi forms the circle while it's fine prints
decimal dots continue to spring.
Sprawling trillions of new digits
the bandwagon is still increasing.
Connecting the dots is an untouched dream.
The full moon pi picture is in veil
unseen at large, yet in short 3.145 it can live!  

(2)
Fathima can fly her lock of hair
in the lurking air of the transcended pi.
Because she is the primitive feminine
God's secret feminine opus!
An immeasurable black hole in between
the short and transcended pi runs like a river
and dances new on every riverbank
in the many curls of Fathima's jet black hair!

She lent out a hair to the planet earth
and crossed over here like a silhouette
without spilling out the colour
of the transcended end of the pi.
The earth takes it in the core of her heart
as if it would keepsake it forever.
Weaving the pi in Fathima instils the hair
tied it as a perfect circle the first and the front one
of the only ideal circle duo in the universe.

The motion inside the hair is the earth's finest fluid core
none is as deep as high as proportionate a perfect flow.
No time is as revealing no music is as sweet in this orb
no force is as mighty nor as a prevailing giant to explore
it's the cause of gravity and the heat at the earth's core.
the play of spirit and matter in the mix first and foremost
thanks to the pure resonance of 'Qun' be the word of God!

(3)
The way to the earth's core is exposed to none other
save the Angel of Death the lucky one.

See both sides of the one lofty sky swathed in countless stars  
but the day and night render through still remains an unseen one  
Terra is shalet zeroed in Fathima is heaven on earth!  
Up in the sky-high bank turning the starry bowl upside down
Fathima took no star nor a pearl diving deep down the Arab water,
the brightest luminary came after Muhammad (PBUH),
in veil from the Night of Measures and into the flipside in the night
she's gone without lifting the veil but left her penetrating mark.

Few could find the shortcut contemplating on this blank canvas
till to date, the Moon looks down into the abyss down the sea
looking for a mirror in the bottom in the as above so below matter
since God Sent Fathima touched on the all-inclusive primitive water.

She just raised a drop up, and the sun got caught up in the sky
the ancient fold of time still unfurls with the sun-kissed flowers
for the new hands yet the fingerprint on the sun remains only her!

Azrael heads to Fathima around the year 632 after death
touches down in Medina on his usual thin earth he steps.  
But this time a little mundane dust couldn't be thicker
he keeps descending deep down to the earth's centre
following from Medina there the angel locates her
inside the perfect circle a closed geometric figure.

(4)
Fathima is the female headline her secret is not all known
when she used to visit the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
he would stand up for her hold her hand and kiss it
and seat her on his seat, she would do the same to the prophet
when he would visit her like they did know each other
in and outside the spheres of heaven and earth!

She is the embodiment of the infinite feminine variations
the first spiritual woman created following God's word Qun.
Her is the mother tongue of the ever diversified feminine lingua
no one woman on her own can rhyme with her alone
she has no peer her rhetoric is unique like none other.
The galactic run from planet to planet up on the starry ladder
climbing high up the mountain heaven yet streams out like oval
off their rock bottom stone until that unleashes the final run
in perfect circle delving into the rhythm of the loop at the centre
made of Fathima's hair charged by 'Qun' God's uncreated word.  

Prophet David can sing on the bank of the river
and can see the fish are jumping to him out of the water.
The masculine is open form, eye on everywhere,
but not her the woman is in juxtaposition her
all-inclusive schema supplanting the details rest only on her.
She is the unseen world within the world at best imagine her!
Guess through this inwardly open door who might disappear?
It's nature before the scientist on ultimate discovery of the matter!  

Aligning with her down the rainbow up high the land absorbs
the grooming sky looking on the running rivers within her.
Her words spread through like the smart cloud that flies far
over the lands and valleys but not even the wind none other
gets a sniff of the potion and melody it caries until that rain down
without a hurdle without a visual she moves on at the target
such a soul needs no after death lift from the angel of death.

Before Azrael Fathima loses the arc of the circle then and there
so not the earth but giant Azrael can take the pressure!
Marked by a fluid discharge since then she is cooling this fire
In Shaa Allah God willing when she ajars it will be elixir!  

(5)
Draw a straight line, but it won't be perfect
it keeps bending, fly straight touching the sky
the flight path won't look like a straight line
it would be like the crest of a crescent moon
like curve touched the sky, like climbing up
atop the pyramid is not going high straight on
it goes up from the widespread seked slopes.

Like the stock market chart moves never
in straight lines but in a zigzag pattern.
Move big but start small, the golden ratio
is always 1.618 something is never the full 2
but gives the formula to design flawlessly on the go
from micro to macro level all the way to the true north!    

Fathima being the original feminine eyeing at her
she can tap in the knowhow of naturally feminine nature.
And discovers the immanent pattern - the world
is pre-designed and measured is never a coincidence.
The creatures' creativity, scientist's science
is to follow, discover working formulas like phi and pi.

Play along it works until an unknown hour strikes
comes with accurate knowledge dead on time
numerically correct never miss taking life away
as if it was calculated beforehand before the birth.
A newborn is born for a limited time
already set but no one knows when it goes up  
is a deadlock clock but it isn't so shrouded
in the blueprint of the creatures' grand design
there the clock ticks safe and sounds it never dies!  

(6)
Fathima hailing from the other side of the pool
eyes on the ever live pre-design side of the creation!
Then its corporeal face was only a water drop,
the primitive one looks see-through but dead zero
knowledge of its lively other side of the pool.
She comes closer and perfectly mirrors both sides
that shines through on her reflected face on the water.
An absolute new image that livens up the dead part
Bang - Big Bang! It gets the spark for the corporeal world
to explode out from the very first drop of the water!

The appearance of Fathima was miraculously instrumental
by the grace of God, it showed up the finite and infinite, 0 and 1,
future in the present and the death and life on the play!
Nature tends to follow suit it just saw the perfect role model
it moved big bang, but banged out only to its corporeal set!
A far cry from being at par symmetrical with its infinite reality
like the precursor image of it's Big Bang that it aspires to be!

Fathima leaves the door open elevating a perfect circle,
not a straight line, follows the pattern to take the variations
into account in the very first matter, the water drop.
She zooms in more into the abyss irrational portion
and aces the circle with her hair leaving a muslin fine
empty open zero at the starting point at the bottom.
The ocean of the pi digits, the DNA of all things material
banged out of it, still, the zero is numberless irrational!

(7)
All things, within oneself and in a set constantly vibrate,
strive to align with the enduring reality of itself.
The atom vibrates to reach out to its immortal portion
that doesn't die and is in the know of its lower base.
The planets are in a defined circular orbit, accurately measured
just the apex on top of their dynamic pyramid the pyramidon
is tucked away; they too have an irrational portion in the circle.

With the finest spin, they zoom in the spacious universe,
in part and like the sun outside the constellations round they go
never miss a target line yet to re-discover Fathima's perfect circle
the origin of their digital essences' breakthrough
the door to their transcended destination de jour.
Lo the matter turns the last stone pulsing across the cosmos
the mortal horizontal spread, the spirit returns home.

The earth has a line in its swansong it has a place in paradise
it's not here to stay for good neither to perish forever!

Matters form and break without losing the rope,
it's not to paint the shades of the eternal blue.
There is just an irrational portion in the circle
at the heart of the earth, as above, so below.  
The deep the high the perfect circle
up and down the centre of gravitation for all!

At even and at odd the vibration within the matter is fluid
somewhere is parched there the arch matter must make a splash.
Far away on that dark beach, the full-fledged sea of the matters
outpours its billowy potion with the Moon on the frontline
the physical world's most glowed up firefly!

(8)
The seven seas swell up smoothly into the moonlight-dip
oh, the waterless Moon at the core is still fasting.
Led by the time the sweet swan punting along the waves
streams down the watery inner circle of the planets.
In the Moon, it's stuck no water in the last waterfront
where paradise is on the other side of the pool!  

The sun dips away into the night
bathing the horizon in shades of pink and gold,
the dazzling hues soon turn to taupe.
Drawing down painting the picture in full colour
only to find the time is up on the halfway,
yet to print a colour copy of the night!
The other unseen half is passed down to the Moon
tiptoeing in slow motion in the depths of the night
barely keeping the head afloat in a fathomless ocean
of shades of black hails from where knows none.  

The sun enkindles the moon half-lit keeping itself away
in the shadow as if comparing the shades now it knows
a mehrem a veiled female is ahead not to look on or
compared to that the sun has no light or true are both.

Wrapt in the eternal night beneath its black mole
once the moon on the front approaching most close
directly down to the centre of the earth eyes on
over that inlaid string hairy black perfect circle
never did it turn back the same gaze is still on
orbiting around the earth in synchronous rotation.

(9)
The never-ending night, becoming a night indeed
it's coming to an end so soon in our time.
In Shaa Allah I will see it with my eyes before I die
in the Night of Measures in an odd night in Ramadan
Fathima from the transcendental end of irrational heart
will turn on top of the curve opening for the first time
a 9-degree angle in the circle at the centre of the earth.

Instantly the leading force, time will get the first sniff
of the other world, so peaceful heart-melting serene.
Rapturous time feeling an ounce of the enduring peace
for the first time cutting all the corners with ease
will be propelled into its yet uncharted golden mean.
Scurrying to the peaceful abode time will be on its wings
across the globe, people will be stunned seeing
how first the times pass from then on incredibly quick!

Fathima, the first spiritual woman on duty, will start
pulling her hair back off the circle at the centre
Juxtaposed in between the worlds of here and hereafter.
She will take back every inch of it, the heavenly bodies
will feel the pinch of her every little subtle pull
that too will be a boon helping them perfect their circle.

(10)
Soon she opens it just 9-degree wide at first
the Moon will see a glimpse of the first drop of water.
Without it, it's living perched without the water of life
that's destined to rain down soon and the Moon
back into its original pond shall revive!
Mapping the pi's whole infinitesimals playground
finally, Fathima will turn the circle upside down
before the stunning sun rising in the western sky!

By now under Fathima's hair's shaded closed circle
it must have sailed far over the blue sky in the other world.
Billowing with the breeze over the sea of uncharted water
and stacking to the brim with all that it could discover
humbly stood like a cloud in that corner of the sky.

The time is finally ticking fast to rain down with love
paradise's welcoming schema rendering in waterpaint drops
on the Moon over the sea of matters, that's most glowed up firefly
ah, finally can break the fast sipping in a drop of elixir!
It's their heavenly adopted, Miʿrāj performed, primitive water.
The Moon with the seven seas will leave off the corporeal shell
gliding gracefully with this stately water nymph as if it never dies
and will make a splash plopping into the pond of paradise!  

For the matter ultimately is water and its extent is sound
Fathima will fetch it the water of life and take it to the next life!
Oh, the matter shall do both die and revive with Israfil's sound
the cloud will fly out of the dead water on the ground,
like the earth with chorus songs of the rain revives.
When that a melodious nymph in the water makes waves
see paradise is here the Moon over the sea can't take off its eyes.

(11)
Hang on though they all set ready on their horizontal span  
to pull in such a fluid yet colourful descending like a rainbow swan.
First chaste Fathima will evaporate her hair's perfume away
that's yet lingering in the water warming it up to its premium
no crowd then can see where this heady, fragrant cloud will fly!
There are the momentum and delights where that will alight.

Israfil might then blow his trumpet swooning the world away
the secret will remain secret exception is noted in the Qur'an.
A strange sound will silence the chorus of the innate digits
collapsing the floating cosmos bubbling on their music.  
The corporeal circle will collapse as if there is no base no pi
the melody of the first word Qun means Be will still be loud
supercalifragilisticexpialidocious so how can we all expire?

Israfil too will play his reviving trumpet pure mellifluous
and In Shaa Allah numerically perfect Fathima will rise
amidst the resonant Qun as like she did in the beginning
when except prophet Muhammad (PBUH) there was nothing!
Now the earth once zeroed in beneath her hair will follow her
the stunned terra will discover Fathima took her hair away
only to shift the constellation up onto the upper world!

The old songs of the planets the chorus of the digits will revive
from the zero bases in the core the digital panache that dance
planet upon the planet as if they are always at the perfect hertz.

Indeed that is yet to come, the arts of the fine layers
opening from the irrational pi, the finest one is to flower
when Fathima will unloop her circled hair at the centre
piercing the very immanent irrational cut
that no creation can fathom only the loving creator Allah
will turn odd to even in between the here and hereafter
then the ocean stuck in deep salt shall turn to enduring potion!
The As-Sirat shall turn to be the bridge to paradise
the body shall revive with the enduring soul forever
and with ah Fathima couple shall enter paradise In Shaa Allah
with the rhapsody 'all praise is for Allah' Alhamdulillah!
Seazy Inkwell Sep 2017
The city spearheads the futures we sincerely sold,
As it pluckers your pennies and your coins of gold.

I felt poor amid the auras of their fearsome metals,
Cowering in the clothes of our daily struggles.

I am destitute enough
To bleach out the interests of my cards,
To shatter your savings for a disabled future,
To rummage the stock markets for apertures.

Yet within you exhales tentacles of the color Yellow.

Yellow as in,
The scattered stars that scorch the injured sky,
The mellowing voices of neon artificial lights,
The apex of fire alight in frostbitten nights,
And the yolk of hope my cheers rely.

So while you chase the sun
with your copper-clad hands,
remember but this:

all that glitters is not gold,
It’s the color Yellow in these eyes I behold.
Megan Sherman Feb 2017
Alight, alight! That honeyed bow
Wends through sky, celestial arc
Imbued with bright and cosmic spark
Light about her dims as colour shows
Vivid, supreme, rainbow's girth
Envelops all the world and sky
As tender creatures go flitting by
Bow blooms in to view and lights all earth
To Rainbow's strength I have aspired
And for her fine beauty: who conspired?

Alight, alight! That hallowed sight
Swims in to mind, borne aloft
On lovely, gentle zephyr soft
Harbringer of eternal delight
Fierce the luscious hues and hot
The blazing fury of the bow
The spectrum of joy I, loving, know
A soothing sight above my cot
In distant deeps she manifests
For her touch, I feel blessed
Benji James Jun 2017
Driving down the freeway
Looking at the stars
Wondering how far you are
I've been spending all of my time
Looking for a girl
Who'll fill in my life
And my heart it only beats for one
I'm still looking
still, can't find the one

I've been searching far and wide
Don't know where it is she hides
Not sure why this flame keeps dying
I set my heart alight
Why does the fire keep fading

I don't want to spend
Another night alone
I can't hold myself together
On my own
I need a girl
Who can hold me tight
I need a girl
Who can light up my skies
No, I don't want to spend
Another night alone
Won't hold myself together
On my own

Cruising through the street
Looking for a sign
Looking for a sign
Of a girl who will just be mine
And I keep walking up mountains
Looking at the views
Hoping soon that I'll find you
And I've been going to all of these places
Hoping soon a girl will fill these spaces

I've been searching far and wide
Don't know where it is she hides
Not sure why this flame keeps dying
I set my heart alight
Why does the fire keep fading

I don't want to spend
Another night alone
I can't hold myself together
On my own
I need a girl
Who can hold me tight
I need a girl
Who can light up my skies
No, I don't want to spend
Another night alone
Won't hold myself together
On my own

Laying in my bed
It's pitch black
Have we ever even met
I'm thinking of places
Where I might find you
Maybe I should just stop searching
Maybe this is fruitless
Maybe everybody thinks I'm just stupid
All I know is I can't find Cupid
And my heart is slowing to a calm pace
That's when I drift off to sleep

I've been searching far and wide
Don't know where it is she hides
Not sure why this flame keeps dying
I set my heart alight
Why does the fire keep fading

I don't want to spend
Another night alone
I can't hold myself together
On my own
I need a girl
Who can hold me tight
I need a girl
Who can light up my skies
No, I don't want to spend
Another night alone
Won't hold myself together
On my own

Tell me am I dreaming
I can hear a voice
Off in the distance
Sounds so sweet
That's when I turn around
And I see you
I think I'm melting
You said I can love you
My heart starts racing
She goes in for the kiss
That's when I wake up
And now my head won't stop thinking
Who was the girl in my dream?
Who was that girl I've just seen?

I've been searching far and wide
Don't know where it is she hides
Not sure why this flame keeps dying
I set my heart alight
Why does the fire keep fading

I don't want to spend
Another night alone
I can't hold myself together
On my own
I need a girl
Who can hold me tight
I need a girl
Who can light up my skies
No, I don't want to spend
Another night alone
Won't hold myself together
On my own

©2017 Written By Benji James
Maggie Emmett Jul 2015
PROLOGUE
               Hyde Park weekend of politics and pop,
Geldof’s gang of divas and mad hatters;
Sergeant Pepper only one heart beating,
resurrected by a once dead Beatle.
The ******, Queen and Irish juggernauts;
The Entertainer and dead bands
re-jigged for the sake of humanity.
   The almighty single named entities
all out for Africa and people power.
Olympics in the bag, a Waterloo
of celebrations in the street that night
Leaping and whooping in sheer delight
Nelson rocking in Trafalgar Square
The promised computer wonderlands
rising from the poisoned dead heart wasteland;
derelict, deserted, still festering.
The Brave Tomorrow in a world of hate.
The flame will be lit, magic rings aloft
and harmony will be our middle name.

On the seventh day of the seventh month,
Festival of the skilful Weaving girl;
the ‘war on terror’ just a tattered trope
drained and exhausted and put out of sight
in a dark corner of a darker shelf.
A power surge the first lie of the day.
Savagely woken from our pleasant dream
al Qa’ida opens up a new franchise
and a new frontier for terror to prowl.

               Howling sirens shatter morning’s progress
Hysterical screech of ambulances
and police cars trying to grip the road.
The oppressive drone of helicopters
gathering like the Furies in the sky;
Blair’s hubris is acknowledged by the gods.
Without warning the deadly game begins.

The Leviathan state machinery,
certain of its strength and authority,
with sheer balletic co-ordination,
steadies itself for a fine performance.
The new citizen army in ‘day glow’
take up their ‘Support Official’ roles,
like air raid wardens in the last big show;
feisty  yet firm, delivering every line
deep voiced and clearly to the whole theatre.
On cue, the Police fan out through Bloomsbury
clearing every emergency exit,
arresting and handcuffing surly streets,
locking down this ancient river city.
Fetching in fluorescent green costuming,
the old Bill nimbly Tangos and Foxtrots
the airways, Oscar, Charlie and Yankee
quickly reply with grid reference Echo;
Whiskey, Sierra, Quebec, November,
beam out from New Scotland Yard,
staccato, nearly lost in static space.
      
              LIVERPOOL STREET STATION
8.51 a.m. Circle Line

Shehezad Tanweer was born in England.
A migrant’s child of hope and better life,
dreaming of his future from his birth.
Only twenty two short years on this earth.
In a madrassah, Lahore, Pakistan,
he spent twelve weeks reading and rote learning
verses chosen from the sacred text.
Chanting the syllables, hour after hour,
swaying back and forth with the word rhythm,
like an underground train rocking the rails,
as it weaves its way beneath the world,
in turning tunnels in the dead of night.

Teve Talevski had a meeting
across the river, he knew he’d be late.
**** trains they do it to you every time.
But something odd happened while he waited
A taut-limbed young woman sashayed past him
in a forget-me-not blue dress of silk.
She rustled on the platform as she turned.
She turned to him and smiled, and he smiled back.
Stale tunnel air pushed along in the rush
of the train arriving in the station.
He found a seat and watched her from afar.
Opened his paper for distraction’s sake
Olympic win exciting like the smile.

Train heading southwest under Whitechapel.
Deafening blast, rushing sound blast, bright flash
of golden light, flying glass and debris
Twisted people thrown to ground, darkness;
the dreadful silent second in blackness.
The stench of human flesh and gunpowder,
burning rubber and fiery acrid smoke.
Screaming bone bare pain, blood-drenched tearing pain.
Pitiful weeping, begging for a god
to come, someone to come, and help them out.

Teve pushes off a dead weighted man.
He stands unsteady trying to balance.
Railway staff with torches, moving spotlights
**** and jolt, catching still life scenery,
lighting the exit in gloomy dimness.
They file down the track to Aldgate Station,
Teve passes the sardine can carriage
torn apart by a fierce hungry giant.
Through the dust, four lifeless bodies take shape
and disappear again in drifting smoke.
It’s only later, when safe above ground,
Teve looks around and starts to wonder
where his blue epiphany girl has gone.

                 KINGS CROSS STATION
8.56 a.m. Piccadilly Line

Many named Lyndsey Germaine, Jamaican,
living with his wife and child in Aylesbury,
laying low, never visited the Mosque.   
                Buckinghamshire bomber known as Jamal,
clean shaven, wearing normal western clothes,
annoyed his neighbours with loud music.
Samantha-wife converted and renamed,
Sherafiyah and took to wearing black.
Devout in that jet black shalmar kameez.
Loving father cradled close his daughter
Caressed her cheek and held her tiny hand
He wondered what the future held for her.

Station of the lost and homeless people,
where you can buy anything at a price.
A place where a face can be lost forever;
where the future’s as real as faded dreams.
Below the mainline trains, deep underground
Piccadilly lines cross the River Thames
Cram-packed, shoulder to shoulder and standing,
the train heading southward for Russell Square,
barely pulls away from Kings Cross Station,
when Arash Kazerouni hears the bang,
‘Almighty bang’ before everything stopped.
Twenty six hearts stopped beating that moment.
But glass flew apart in a shattering wave,
followed by a  huge whoosh of smoky soot.
Panic raced down the line with ice fingers
touching and tagging the living with fear.
Spine chiller blanching faces white with shock.

Gracia Hormigos, a housekeeper,
thought, I am being electrocuted.
Her body was shaking, it seemed her mind
was in free fall, no safety cord to pull,
just disconnected, so she looked around,
saw the man next to her had no right leg,
a shattered shard of bone and gouts of  blood,
Where was the rest of his leg and his foot ?

Level headed ones with serious voices
spoke over the screaming and the sobbing;
Titanic lifeboat voices giving orders;
Iceberg cool voices of reassurance;
We’re stoical British bulldog voices
that organize the mayhem and chaos
into meaty chunks of jobs to be done.
Clear air required - break the windows now;
Lines could be live - so we stay where we are;
Help will be here shortly - try to stay calm.

John, Mark and Emma introduce themselves
They never usually speak underground,
averting your gaze, tube train etiquette.
Disaster has its opportunities;
Try the new mobile, take a photograph;
Ring your Mum and Dad, ****** battery’s flat;
My network’s down; my phone light’s still working
Useful to see the way, step carefully.

   Fiona asks, ‘Am I dreaming all this?’
A shrieking man answers her, “I’m dying!”
Hammered glass finally breaks, fresher air;
too late for the man in the front carriage.
London Transport staff in yellow jackets
start an orderly evacuation
The mobile phones held up to light the way.
Only nineteen minutes in a lifetime.
  
EDGEWARE ROAD STATION
9.17 a.m. Circle Line

               Mohammed Sadique Khan, the oldest one.
Perhaps the leader, at least a mentor.
Yorkshire man born, married with a daughter
Gently spoken man, endlessly patient,
worked in the Hamara, Lodge Lane, Leeds,
Council-funded, multi-faith youth Centre;
and the local Primary school, in Beeston.
No-one could believe this of  Mr Khan;
well educated, caring and very kind
Where did he hide his secret other life  ?

Wise enough to wait for the second train.
Two for the price of one, a real bargain.
Westbound second carriage is blown away,
a commuter blasted from the platform,
hurled under the wheels of the east bound train.
Moon Crater holes, the walls pitted and pocked;
a sparse dark-side landscape with black, black air.
The ripped and shredded metal bursts free
like a surprising party popper;
Steel curlicues corkscrew through wood and glass.
Mass is made atomic in the closed space.
Roasting meat and Auschwitzed cremation stench
saturates the already murky air.              
Our human kindling feeds the greedy fire;
Heads alight like medieval torches;
Fiery liquid skin drops from the faceless;
Punk afro hair is cauterised and singed.  
Heat intensity, like a wayward iron,
scorches clothes, fuses fibres together.
Seven people escape this inferno;
many die in later days, badly burned,
and everyone there will live a scarred life.

               TAVISTOCK ROAD
9.47 a.m. Number 30 Bus  

Hasib Hussain migrant son, English born
barely an adult, loved by his mother;
reported him missing later that night.
Police typed his description in the file
and matched his clothes to fragments from the scene.
A hapless victim or vicious bomber ?
Child of the ‘Ummah’ waging deadly war.
Seventy two black eyed virgins waiting
in jihadist paradise just for you.

Red double-decker bus, number thirty,
going from Hackney Wick to Marble Arch;
stuck in traffic, diversions everywhere.
Driver pulls up next to a tree lined square;
the Parking Inspector, Ade Soji,
tells the driver he’s in Tavistock Road,
British Museum nearby and the Square.
A place of peace and quiet reflection;
the sad history of war is remembered;
symbols to make us never forget death;
Cherry Tree from Hiroshima, Japan;
Holocaust Memorial for Jewish dead;
sturdy statue of  Mahatma Gandhi.
Peaceful resistance that drove the Lion out.
Freedom for India but death for him.

Sudden sonic boom, bus roof tears apart,
seats erupt with volcanic force upward,
hot larva of blood and tissue rains down.
Bloodied road becomes a charnel-house scene;
disembodied limbs among the wreckage,
headless corpses; sinews, muscles and bone.
Buildings spattered and smeared with human paint
Impressionist daubs, blood red like the bus.

Jasmine Gardiner, running late for work;
all trains were cancelled from Euston Station;  
she headed for the square, to catch the bus.
It drove straight past her standing at the stop;
before she could curse aloud - Kaboom !
Instinctively she ran, ran for her life.
Umbrella shield from the shower of gore.

On the lower deck, two Aussies squeezed in;
Catherine Klestov was standing in the aisle,
floored by the bomb, suffered cuts and bruises
She limped to Islington two days later.
Louise Barry was reading the paper,
she was ‘****-scared’ by the explosion;
she crawled out of the remnants of the bus,
broken and burned, she lay flat on the road,
the world of sound had gone, ear drums had burst;
she lay there drowsy, quiet, looking up
and amazingly the sky was still there.

Sam Ly, Vietnamese Australian,
One of the boat people once welcomed here.
A refugee, held in his mother’s arms,
she died of cancer, before he was three.
Hi Ly struggled to raise his son alone;
a tough life, inner city high rise flats.
Education the smart migrant’s revenge,
Monash Uni and an IT degree.
Lucky Sam, perfect job of a lifetime;
in London, with his one love, Mandy Ha,
Life going great until that fateful day;
on the seventh day of the seventh month,
Festival of the skilful Weaving girl.

Three other Aussies on that ****** bus;
no serious physical injuries,
Sam’s luck ran out, in choosing where to sit.
His neck was broken, could not breath alone;
his head smashed and crushed, fractured bones and burns
Wrapped in a cocoon of coma safe
This broken figure lying on white sheets
in an English Intensive Care Unit
did not seem like Hi Ly’s beloved son;
but he sat by Sam’s bed in disbelief,
seven days and seven nights of struggle,
until the final hour, when it was done.

In the pit of our stomach we all knew,
but we kept on deep breathing and hoping
this nauseous reality would pass.
The weary inevitability
of horrific disasters such as these.
Strangely familiar like an old newsreel
Black and white, it happened long ago.
But its happening now right before our eyes
satellite pictures beam and bounce the globe.
Twelve thousand miles we watch the story
Plot unfolds rapidly, chapters emerge
We know the places names of this narrative.
  
It is all subterranean, hidden
from the curious, voyeuristic gaze,
Until the icon bus, we are hopeful
This public spectacle is above ground
We can see the force that mangled the bus,
fury that tore people apart limb by limb
Now we can imagine a bomb below,
far below, people trapped, fiery hell;
fighting to breathe each breath in tunnelled tombs.

Herded from the blast they are strangely calm,
obedient, shuffling this way and that.
Blood-streaked, sooty and dishevelled they come.
Out from the choking darkness far below
Dazzled by the brightness of the morning
of a day they feared might be their last.
They have breathed deeply of Kurtz’s horror.
Sights and sounds unimaginable before
will haunt their waking hours for many years;
a lifetime of nightmares in the making.
They trudge like weary soldiers from the Somme
already see the world with older eyes.

On the surface, they find a world where life
simply goes on as before, unmindful.
Cyclist couriers still defy road laws,
sprint racing again in Le Tour de France;
beer-gutted, real men are loading lorries;
lunch time sandwiches are made as usual,
sold and eaten at desks and in the street.
Roadside cafes sell lots of hot sweet tea.
The Umbrella stand soon does brisk business.
Sign writers' hands, still steady, paint the sign.
The summer blooms are watered in the park.
A ***** stretches on the bench and wakes up,
he folds and stows his newspaper blankets;
mouth dry,  he sips water at the fountain.
A lady scoops up her black poodle’s ****.
A young couple argues over nothing.
Betting shops are full of people losing
money and dreaming of a trifecta.
Martin’s still smoking despite the patches.
There’s a rush on Brandy in nearby pubs
Retired gardener dead heads his flowers
and picks a lettuce for the evening meal

Fifty six minutes from start to finish.
Perfectly orchestrated performance.
Rush hour co-ordination excellent.
Maximum devastation was ensured.
Cruel, merciless killing so coldly done.
Fine detail in the maiming and damage.

A REVIEW

Well activated practical response.
Rehearsals really paid off on the day.
Brilliant touch with bus transport for victims;
Space blankets well deployed for shock effect;
Dramatic improv by Paramedics;
Nurses, medicos and casualty staff
showed great technical E.R. Skills - Bravo !
Plenty of pizzazz and dash as always
from the nifty, London Ambo drivers;
Old fashioned know-how from the Fire fighters
in hosing down the fireworks underground.
Dangerous rescues were undertaken,
accomplished with buckets of common sense.
And what can one say about those Bobbies,
jolly good show, the lips unquivering
and universally stiff, no mean feat
in this Premiere season tear-jerker.
Nail-bitingly brittle, but a smash-hit
Poignant misery and stoic suffering,
fortitude, forbearance and lots of grit
Altogether was quite tickety boo.



NOTES ON THE POEM

Liverpool Street Station

A Circle Line train from Moorgate with six carriages and a capacity of 1272 passengers [ 192 seated; 1080 standing]. 7 dead on the first day.

Southbound, destination Aldgate. Explosion occurs midway between Liverpool Street and Aldgate.

Shehezad Tanweer was reported to have ‘never been political’ by a friend who played cricket with him 10 days before the bombing

Teve Talevski is a real person and I have elaborated a little on reports in the press. He runs a coffee shop in North London.

At the time of writing the fate of the blue dress lady is not known

Kings Cross Station

A Piccadilly Line train with six carriages and a capacity of 1238 passengers [272 seated; 966 standing]. 21 dead on first day.

Southbound, destination Russell Square. Explosion occurs mi
This poem is part of a longer poem called Seasons of Terror. This poem was performed at the University of Adelaide, Bonython Hall as a community event. The poem was read by local poets, broadcasters, personalities and politicians from the South Australia Parliament and a Federal MP & Senator. The State Premier was represented by the Hon. Michael Atkinson, who spoke about the role of the Emergency services in our society. The Chiefs of Police, Fire and Ambulence; all religious and community organisations' senior reprasentatives; the First Secretary of the British High Commission and the general public were present. It was recorded by Radio Adelaide and broadcast live as well as coverage from Channel 7 TV News. The Queen,Tony Blair, Australian Governor General and many other public dignitaries sent messages of support for the work being read. A string quartet and a solo flautist also played at this event.
Josiah Israel Jan 2017
by— Josiah Israel

Twas oft the way in days of old,
When knight would battle brave and bold,
The damsels hand in hopes to hold,
Worth more then polished Stone, or Gold
For this is what a boy is told
When day is done and night is cold…

“One day my son, thy chance will come
Though courage oft may waver,
When lady waits, through sable gates
For thee brave lad, to save her!”

For when a dragon stole a maid,
Awaiting ransom duly paid,
Twas bravest knight, armor arrayed  
With noble steed and burnished blade
Rode swiftly to the damsels aid…

“You have not birth of high degree
Yet be thou brave and fight,
For low in rank thy birth may be
Yet heart makes noble knight!”

And after facing beast and foe
The knight with maiden free would go
Away to fields in need of ***
For seeds ere winter need to grow
And none can reap who do not sow…

“Not all you do will win a prize
Of gold or silver bent,
So reap a harvest good in size
And be thee well content.”

And when the battle horn he hears
The knight must banish all his fears
And ride to war, with battle cheers
On maidens cheek alight her tears
Fearing death, she spends the years…

“To win renown in battle
Might also be your path,
May your enemies armor rattle
As they feel your righteous wrath!”

But after kings campaign is done
The knight to home will swiftly run
From dusk through night to rising sun
Till maiden sees her hero come
Heart moving swift, a beating drum
Her heart a prize which first he won!

“Home is best at warring's end
To be with those you cherish,
A place to rest, your wounds to mend
Where love will never perish”

Though all the kingdom knows his name
And minstrels spread the brave knights fame
His love for she, remains the same
And they live happily, Knight and Dame…
I love the medieval Ballad kind of poem. Alfred Lord Tennyson was my inspiration for this style :D
alight upon my weary day
you bring your dance
then dance away
mystic beauty show your smile
alight again this lonely mile
come with me cross quantum's beam
night upon night
dream upon dream
vanishing as thought takes hold
I awaken
I turn cold

alight upon my weary day
bring your dance to me
and stay
night upon night
dream upon dream
beautiful dancer
playing with fluff
Vicki Kralapp Aug 2012
Sitting in Circular Quay in a bistro on a warm winters day
dreaming while watching the tourists and ships sail by.
As I eat oysters and drink the day in with my wine,
past memories wash over me.

Morning teas, chats, and paper bark trees,
hikes through the bush and walks along the beach.
Watching dolphins play at dawn
and fishing the waters on New South Wales shores.

The Harbor Bridge alight with Bicentennial Fireworks;
a surreal beginning to this adventure.
Wringing every drop from days spent,
finding a new world with each step.

Discovering myself through the wisdom and eyes of you,
maturing, becoming my own.
Like family, you’ve been both mentor and friend,
carrying me through fire and back.

My life was undone as I first saw your shore.
Feeling my heart would break
with our first goodbyes,
unknowing that an permanent bond had been forged.

Tracing back over the years since we met,
I’ve been given more than my share.
Making me ponder how I have been blessed,
to count you as a true friend.
All poems are copy written and sole property of Vicki Kralapp.
The Terry Tree Aug 2014
Spirit Dolphin

To be in tune in natures light
To be in touch and resonate
Intelligent communicate
Heartbeats of love and breath of life

Superior to human sight
Your sound waves and reverberates
To be in tune in natures light
To be in touch and resonate

You touch the stars and elevate
Our spirits to become alight
Giving us freedom to ignite
Centers begin to emanate
To be in tune in natures light

Beneath the sun, beneath the moon
You teach us how to breathe with care
Oceanic friend, solar flare
Communicating our monsoon

Teaching in us how to commune
Opening our minds to beware
Beneath the sun, beneath the moon
You teach us how to breathe with care

Your innocence rests like lagoon
On the surface emotions bare
Vulnerability is there
Beneath the sun, beneath the moon

A good omen to protect us
Saving the lives of so many
Selfless creature giving plenty
From outer space some do discuss

To touch you frees us from raucous
To ride with you fulfills empty
A good omen to protect us
Saving the lives of so many

With you we find our playfulness
Self-confidence more than any
Never to lose our assembly
Connect us all with inner trust
A good omen to protect us

Helping others finding our truth
To be One Universally
What might seem strange is certainly
A reflection upon our youth

Make bright our eyes with wisdom's root
Free from shame inadvertently
Helping others finding our truth
To be One Universally

Though we may taste forbidden fruit
What we will learn so artfully
Forgives our aches so perfectly
Flipping through curious pursuit
Helping others finding our truth

© tHE tERRY tREE
Poetic Form | Rondel
Pagan Paul Aug 2018
.
Its 2 am and I am so wired.
Why can't I just be normally tired?
As others enjoy some restful sleep,
I am in a place far more deep.....

And the abyss calls so inviting,
          a leap into the unknown and beyond.
With clarity I jump out and fly,
          an excuse for reality to quietly abscond.

Psychedelic nausea as the dimensions twist,
forcing me to a place where I do not exist,
a land in which I may be killed or kissed,
but certain my presence would not be missed.

The feelers take a hold of me,
     whispering secrets of antiquity,
revealing images of aeons gone,
     in spoken word, rhyme and song.
I have the histories of many worlds
     all in my mind strung up like pearls.
A line of lanterns alight once more,
     open and willing for me to explore.
And my pale blue eyes no longer see
     the images created by any reality.

It is secret knowledge of ancient times,
I receive in the script of cryptic rhymes.


© Pagan Paul (09/08/18)
.
rained-on parade Jul 2016
My name spells love in every language
you say you’ve learnt; the pulsating
streets of your veins are alight with life tonight.

We walk them with empty-pockets and
hand-in-hand; the only crimes we commit
is that we lead each other to dark places;

a castle of lies; half-said the only loving
we’ve done is in our heads.
We lose time in words and suddenly

it’s four a.m. and the coldest hands
have only ever been yours; all that throbbing
gone to waste. Rest your heart

with me, it’s never lost; four a.m.
is your hour with me
because you’ll sleep and awake

and we’ll become thieves of conversations
stealing emotions we hide in jokes
and the sundry ‘have a nice day’s.
You, who else?
Alice Lovey Apr 2018
Alight my candles within;
I am a dark old church with an old *****.
Peeling splinters of old wood,
Echoing haunts where old stood.
Can you hear a monotonous symphony?
No, listen closely, I’m resonating polyphony
That I could and can still play.

When you alight my candles within
The chamber illuminates and warms your skin.
The once faded paintings dance colorfully
And I recite for you my heart.
Because when I am aglow,
Brightened with the love I need to start,
Nothing could quiet my song
But being alone once more in the dark.
I don’t know why my usual imagery for these things are dark empty rooms with musical instruments, but at least it’s a bit more light (get it) and positive than the last.
To Paint a Water Lily

A green level of lily leaves
Roofs the pond's chamber and paves

The flies' furious arena: study
These, the two minds of this lady.

First observe the air's dragonfly
That eats meat, that bullets by

Or stands in space to take aim;
Others as dangerous comb the hum

Under the trees.  There are battle-shouts
And death-cries everywhere hereabouts

But inaudible, so the eyes praise
To see the colours of these flies

Rainbow their arcs, spark, or settle
Cooling like beads of molten metal

Through the spectrum.  Think what worse
is the pond-bed's matter of course;

Prehistoric bedragoned times
Crawl that darkness with Latin names,

Have evolved no improvements there,
Jaws for heads, the set stare,

Ignorant of age as of hour—
Now paint the long-necked lily-flower

Which, deep in both worlds, can be still
As a painting, trembling hardly at all

Though the dragonfly alight,
Whatever horror nudge her root.
Gary L May 2015
If I must die, let me die in the morning light
with the sunrise in my sight
let it be dawn for my final alight
I just want to fly tonight
Megan Sherman Nov 2016
Words alight my thinking like a flare
I wield my pen and set to work
Entangled in a phonetic affair

World goes roving on without a care
As shades of amber yield to night
Words alight my thinking like a flare

When I dream sometimes the muse no longer there
Made by separation dearer
I try to summon her in prayer

Muse glides in to thought, her words are near
Enter streams and dreams of lucid fire
Words alight my thinking like a flare

I’ve been here sat all day upon my chair
Chasing herds of words inside my head
Entangled in a phonetic affair

Muse’s thoughts I love to share
Her insights deep and pure and rare
Words light up my thinking like a flare
I am entangled in a phonetic affair
James Anderson Jul 2010
I look up at the starless sky
Without the stars who should be there
Sharing this moment with me
This moment that hold no significance

While I look, I miss the sky
I miss the stars
I miss the light they provide
All that’s left is the moon

All alone that poor moon is
Glowing in the dark
When it should be glowing in the light
Just like me, alone when we should have others

I feel the moon’s sorrow
For I feel the same
The empty sky is no place
No place for either of us

I wonder what happened
Those poor little flecks of light
One day here
The next day gone

Not a single word was said
About their disappearance
All forget about them
Except for the moon and I

Every night I would look
Waiting for the stars to come back
To see the moon no longer alone
To see the sky back alight

Every night I would look
And ever y time I would despair
For the stars are still gone
And show no sign of returning

I hear the moon weep
The man on the moon weeps
The tears silent
But the sorrow is deafening


After eons passed
The stars did not return
I waited, and so did the moon
Finding comfort in each other’s presence

There are some nights
When the moon is gone
And the sky is dark
Missing the moon

I detest those nights
Fearing the worst
That the moon had gone
And joined the stars


My fears never came to pass
For the moon would always return
At first a sliver
Then it would all be back

Even in the darkness of space
The moon kept it bright
A single candle in the darkness
Burning ever bright

I went out one night to see the moon
That was my reason now
For I knew the stars were gone
But the moon was still there

And on that one special night
I realized with keep insight
That not all the stars were gone
That one was still left

For the moon was not a candle
But a mirror
It reflected the light off another
The light of the Sun

I told the moon what I figured
And the moon was joyous
For not all the stars had left
The Sun was still there

And armed with that fact
That one star was still there
A glimmer of hope rekindled
And I knew what I had to do

I said farewell to the moon
It knew what I was doing
I left for the sky
To bring back the stars
Just started writing because a friend inspired me to write, and this is what I came up with.
Emma-Leigh Ivy Sep 2015
If I took my chances

& tumbled off the edge,

would you take the plunge with me

or turn and run instead?

If I told you that I had

forsaken love for flight,

would you send your dove

to alight into my night?
tranquil Jun 2014
love is rebel

when maddening rush of waves in sea
pound upon rocks obliterating all reverence
and meekest lilies bud in deserts to destroy
drowsy, shrivelled spirits of arid expanse

winds hum a song

and ballad of crimson bleeds from skylark's beak
as millennia of smoldering agony melt the furnace
of a gasping heart stomped upon by boots of time
weary, tired of burning for this world

i turn to you

chasing the merriest dream shut against an eye
of a frail romance, seeking a moment's solace
in tender touch of your silvery hue
lest my soul discern emptiness of my being

and turn blind without

caress of blissful light streaming down divinity
of a paradise which shall be home to lovers
in a moment something akin to blossoms fair
and be named the marvel of a moonlit sky

but how you only part

with moment lapsing into oblivion like a stream
housing ripples which fade into obscurity
as you flowing ride seaward along noiseless breezes
only to rest in nethers of a watery labyrinth

and doomed to burn

i part ways till my beloved's sleep grieves upon
dark stillness of heart as garish rays burn alight;
fill the land with a curtain of longing;
await your blissful countenance at twilight

beyond a chore of night and day

indulge in gleaming splendour of a festival
witnessed by angels and mortals alike
amid fleeting tenderness that paints our wispy sky
with a rosy blush, we seek each other

wriggling along

emptiness of space and hallucinate
a glittering spread of stars half asleep or coy
while celestial arena dumbfounded by our mutinous flight
gazes at two Gods sailing, sinking in each others arms

do humans plead and pray

wrought with sorrow, wish away the ill omen
turning glorious light to abominable darkness
as if life betrayed the vanquished spirit of
terrorized souls shouting, beating pots and drums

should someone tell the world

and those beseeching mercy from heavens
escape is a wing endowed to dream
through eyes of a lover which turn to riot
illuminate the darkness of a lifetime's longing

tell them dearie, tell them now

to the chanting, screaming vengeful barbarians
we're a tangle of coldly breathed sighs in lonesome nights
a mad rush of blooming desire grew tired of servility
wrapped inside the ring of black burning passion

we are the embrace

frozen in background of a singular nothingness
for which seems like an eternity but which shall
only last for a desperate twinkle of time
while savoured feasts of memories brew in our being

but long as we are bound

baited to the hook of grand order
crunched and gnashed under weight of divine province
we will part in an eye's blink again
like melody turned to a moan

-- the sun
faint and pale, vague as mist
in drowsing depth of shaded sky
gleaming sweet between the hills
you bless me with eternal light

tracing out the spiral steps
tresses silver pave the way
out in garden of my stars
beams of gold do so convey

tales of shiny mistress knocking
a door of white, still rustiness
awaiting night's crescendo
a valiant saviour - nothing less

though momentary interludes
fleeting glimpses, passing glances
shall slip away in an eyes blink
with churning spell of nature's dances

while night sighs of nostalgia
beckoned by call of time
reluctantly we submit
tremble with solemn goodbyes

as slender arms of dreamy beams
leaning dwell in treads of clouds
we'll dress the pitch of emptiness
all in eager lonely shrouds

-- the moon
An evening all aglow with summer light
And autumn colour—fairest of the year.

The wheat-fields, crowned with shocks of tawny gold,
All interspersed with rough sowthistle roots,
And interlaced with white convolvulus,
Lay, flecked with purple shadows, in the sun.
The shouts of little children, gleaning there
The scattered ears and wild blue-bottle flowers—
Mixed with the corn-crake's crying, and the song
Of lone wood birds whose mother-cares were o'er,
And with the whispering rustle of red leaves—
Scarce stirred the stillness. And the gossamer sheen
Was spread on upland meadows, silver bright
In low red sunshine and soft kissing wind—
Showing where angels in the night had trailed
Their garments on the turf. Tall arrow-heads,
With flag and rush and fringing grasses, dropped
Their seeds and blossoms in the sleepy pool.
The water-lily lay on her green leaf,
White, fair, and stately; while an amorous branch
Of silver willow, drooping in the stream,
Sent soft, low-babbling ripples towards her:
And oh, the woods!—erst haunted with the song
Of nightingales and tender coo of doves—
They stood all flushed and kindling 'neath the touch
Of death—kind death!—fair, fond, reluctant death!—
A dappled mass of glory!
Harvest-time;
With russet wood-fruit thick upon the ground,
'Mid crumpled ferns and delicate blue harebells.
The orchard-apples rolled in seedy grass—
Apples of gold, and violet-velvet plums;
And all the tangled hedgerows bore a crop
Of scarlet hips, blue sloes, and blackberries,
And orange clusters of the mountain ash.
The crimson fungus and soft mosses clung
To old decaying trunks; the summer bine
Drooped, shivering, in the glossy ivy's grasp.
By day the blue air bore upon its wings
Wide-wandering seeds, pale drifts of thistle-down;
By night the fog crept low upon the earth,
All white and cool, and calmed its feverishness,
And veiled it over with a veil of tears.

The curlew and the plover were come back
To still, bleak shores; the little summer birds
Were gone—to Persian gardens, and the groves
Of Greece and Italy, and the palmy lands.

A Norman tower, with moss and lichen clothed,
Wherein old bells, on old worm-eaten frames
And rusty wheels, had swung for centuries,
Chiming the same soft chime—the lullaby
Of cradled rooks and blinking bats and owls;
Setting the same sweet tune, from year to year,
For generations of true hearts to sing.
A wide churchyard, with grassy slopes and nooks,
And shady corners and meandering paths;
With glimpses of dim windows and grey walls
Just caught at here and there amongst the green
Of flowering shrubs and sweet lime-avenues.
An old house standing near—a parsonage-house—
With broad thatched roof and overhanging eaves,
O'errun with banksia roses,—a low house,
With ivied windows and a latticed porch,
Shut in a tiny Paradise, all sweet
With hum of bees and scent of mignonette.

We lay our lazy length upon the grass
In that same Paradise, my friend and I.
And, as we lay, we talked of college days—
Wild, racing, hunting, steeple-chasing days;
Of river reaches, fishing-grounds, and weirs,
Bats, gloves, debates, and in-humanities:
And then of boon-companions of those days,
How lost and scattered, married, changed, and dead;
Until he flung his arm across his face,
And feigned to slumber.
He was changed, my friend;
Not like the man—the leader of his set—
The favourite of the college—that I knew.
And more than time had changed him. He had been
“A little wild,” the Lady Alice said;
“A little gay, as all young men will be
At first, before they settle down to life—
While they have money, health, and no restraint,
Nor any work to do,” Ah, yes! But this
Was mystery unexplained—that he was sad
And still and thoughtful, like an aged man;
And scarcely thirty. With a winsome flash,
The old bright heart would shine out here and there;
But aye to be o'ershadowed and hushed down,

As he had hushed it now.
His dog lay near,
With long, sharp muzzle resting on his paws,
And wistful eyes, half shut,—but watching him;
A deerhound of illustrious race, all grey
And grizzled, with soft, wrinkled, velvet ears;
A gaunt, gigantic, wolfish-looking brute,
And worth his weight in gold.
“There, there,” said he,
And raised him on his elbow, “you have looked
Enough at me; now look at some one else.”

“You could not see him, surely, with your arm
Across your face?”
“No, but I felt his eyes;
They are such sharp, wise eyes—persistent eyes—
Perpetually reproachful. Look at them;
Had ever dog such eyes?”
“Oh yes,” I thought;
But, wondering, turned my talk upon his breed.
And was he of the famed Glengarry stock?
And in what season was he entered? Where,
Pray, did he pick him up?
He moved himself
At that last question, with a little writhe
Of sudden pain or restlessness; and sighed.
And then he slowly rose, pushed back the hair
From his broad brows; and, whistling softly, said,
“Come here, old dog, and we will tell him. Come.”

“On such a day, and such a time, as this,
Old Tom and I were stalking on the hills,
Near seven years ago. Bad luck was ours;
For we had searched up corrie, glen, and burn,
From earliest daybreak—wading to the waist
Peat-rift and purple heather—all in vain!
We struck a track nigh every hour, to lose
A noble quarry by ignoble chance—
The crowing of a grouse-****, or the flight
Of startled mallards from a reedy pool,
Or subtle, hair's breadth veering of the wind.
And now 'twas waning sunset—rosy soft

On far grey peaks, and the green valley spread
Beneath us. We had climbed a ridge, and lay
Debating in low whispers of our plans
For night and morning. Golden eagles sailed
Above our heads; the wild ducks swam about

Amid the reeds and rushes of the pools;
A lonely heron stood on one long leg
In shallow water, watching for a meal;
And there, to windward, couching in the grass
That fringed the blue edge of a sleeping loch—
Waiting for dusk to feed and drink—there lay
A herd of deer.
“And as we looked and planned,
A mountain storm of sweeping mist and rain
Came down upon us. It passed by, and left
The burnies swollen that we had to cross;
And left us barely light enough to see
The broad, black, branching antlers, clustering still
Amid the long grass in the valley.

“‘Sir,’
Said Tom, ‘there is a shealing down below,
To leeward. We might bivouac there to-night,
And come again at dawn.’
“And so we crept
Adown the glen, and stumbled in the dark
Against the doorway of the keeper's home,
And over two big deerhounds—ancestors
Of this our old companion. There was light
And warmth, a welcome and a heather bed,
At Colin's cottage; with a meal of eggs
And fresh trout, broiled by dainty little hands,
And sweetest milk and oatcake. There were songs
And Gaelic legends, and long talk of deer—
Mixt with a sweet, low laughter, and the whir
Of spinning-wheel.
“The dogs lay at her feet—
The feet of Colin's daughter—with their soft
Dark velvet ears pricked up for every sound
And movement that she made. Right royal brutes,
Whereon I gazed with envy.
“ ‘What,’ I asked,
‘Would Colin take for these?’
“ ‘Eh, sir,’ said he,
And shook his head, ‘I cannot sell the dogs.
They're priceless, they, and—Jeanie's favourites.
But there's a litter in the shed—five pups,
As like as peas to this one. You may choose
Amongst them, sir—take any that you like.
Get us the lantern, Jeanie. You shall show
The gentleman.’
“Ah, she was fair, that girl!

Not like the other lassies—cottage folk;
For there was subtle trace of gentle blood
Through all her beauty and in all her ways.
(The mother's race was ‘poor and proud,’ they said).
Ay, she was fair, my darling! with her shy,
Brown, innocent face and delicate-shapen limbs.
She had the tenderest mouth you ever saw,
And grey, dark eyes, and broad, straight-pencill'd brows;
Dark hair, sun-dappled with a sheeny gold;
Dark chestnut braids that knotted up the light,
As soft as satin. You could scarcely hear
Her step, or hear the rustling of her gown,
Or the soft hovering motion of her hands
At household work. She seemed to bring a spell
Of tender calm and silence where she came.
You felt her presence—and not by its stir,
But by its restfulness. She was a sight
To be remembered—standing in the straw;
A sleepy pup soft-cradled in her arms
Like any Christian baby; standing still,
The while I handled his ungainly limbs.
And Colin blustered of the sport—of hounds,
Roe, ptarmigan, and trout, and ducal deer—
Ne'er lifting up that sweet, unconscious face,
To see why I was silent. Oh, I would
You could have seen her then. She was so fair,
And oh, so young!—scarce seventeen at most—
So ignorant and so young!
“Tell them, my friend—
Your flock—the restless-hearted—they who scorn
The ordered fashion fitted to our race,
And scoff at laws they may not understand—
Tell them that they are fools. They cannot mate
With other than their kind, but woe will come
In some shape—mostly shame, but always grief
And disappointment. Ah, my love! my love!
But she was different from the common sort;
A peasant, ignorant, simple, undefiled;
The child of rugged peasant-parents, taught
In all their thoughts and ways; yet with that touch
Of tender grace about her, softening all
The rougher evidence of her lowly state—
That undefined, unconscious dignity—
That delicate instinct for the reading right
The riddles of less simple minds than hers—
That sharper, finer, subtler sense of life—
That something which does not possess a name,

Which made her beauty beautiful to me—
The long-lost legacy of forgotten knights.

“I chose amongst the five fat creeping things
This rare old dog. And Jeanie promised kind
And gentle nurture for its infant days;
And promised she would keep it till I came
Another year. And so we went to rest.
And in the morning, ere the sun was up,
We left our rifles, and went out to run
The browsing red-deer with old Colin's hounds.
Through glen and bog, through brawling mountain streams,
Grey, lichened boulders, furze, and juniper,
And purple wilderness of moor, we toiled,
Ere yet the distant snow-peak was alight.
We chased a hart to water; saw him stand
At bay, with sweeping antlers, in the burn.
His large, wild, wistful eyes despairingly
Turned to the deeper eddies; and we saw
The choking struggle and the bitter end,
And cut his gallant throat upon the grass,
And left him. Then we followed a fresh track—
A dozen tracks—and hunted till the noon;
Shot cormorants and wild cats in the cliffs,
And snipe and blackcock on the ferny hills;
And set our floating night-lines at the loch;—
And then came back to Jeanie.
“Well, you know
What follows such commencement:—how I found
The woods and corries round about her home
Fruitful of roe and red-deer; how I found
The grouse lay thickest on adjacent moors;
Discovered ptarmigan on rocky peaks,
And rare small game on birch-besprinkled hills,
O'ershadowing that rude shealing; how the pools
Were full of wild-fowl, and the loch of trout;
How vermin harboured in the underwood,
And rocks, and reedy marshes; how I found
The sport aye best in this charmed neighbourhood.
And then I e'en must wander to the door,
To leave a bird for Colin, or to ask
A lodging for some stormy night, or see
How fared my infant deerhound.
“And I saw
The creeping dawn unfolding; saw the doubt,
And faith, and longing swaying her sweet heart;
And every flow just distancing the ebb.

I saw her try to bar the golden gates
Whence love demanded egress,—calm her eyes,
And still the tender, sensitive, tell-tale lips,
And steal away to corners; saw her face
Grow graver and more wistful, day by day;
And felt the gradual strengthening of my hold.
I did not stay to think of it—to ask
What I was doing!
“In the early time,
She used to slip away to household work
When I was there, and would not talk to me;
But when I came not, she would climb the glen
In secret, and look out, with shaded brow,
Across the valley. Ay, I caught her once—
Like some young helpless doe, amongst the fern—
I caught her, and I kissed her mouth and eyes;
And with those kisses signed and sealed our fate
For evermore. Then came our happy days—
The bright, brief, shining days without a cloud!
In ferny hollows and deep, rustling woods,
That shut us in and shut out all the world—
The far, forgotten world—we met, and kissed,
And parted, silent, in the balmy dusk.
We haunted still roe-coverts, hand in hand,
And murmured, under our breath, of love and faith,
And swore great oaths for one of us to keep.
We sat for hours, with sealèd lips, and heard
The crossbill chattering in the larches—heard
The sweet wind whispering as it passed us by—
And heard our own hearts' music in the hush.
Ah, blessed days! ah, happy, innocent days!—
I would I had them back.
“Then came the Duke,
And Lady Alice, with her worldly grace
And artificial beauty—with the gleam
Of jewels, and the dainty shine of silk,
And perfumed softness of white lace and lawn;
With all the glamour of her courtly ways,
Her talk of art and fashion, and the world
We both belonged to. Ah, she hardened me!
I lost the sweetness of the heathery moors
And hills and quiet woodlands, in that scent
Of London clubs and royal drawing-rooms;
I lost the tender chivalry of my love,
The keen sense of its sacredness, the clear
Perception of mine honour, by degrees,
Brought face to face with customs of my kind.

I was no more a “man;” nor she, my love,
A delicate lily of womanhood—ah, no!
I was the heir of an illustrious house,
And she a simple, homespun cottage-girl.

“And now I stole at rarer intervals
To those dim trysting woods; and when I came
I brought my cunning worldly wisdom—talked
Of empty forms and marriages in heaven—
To stain that simple soul, God pardon me!
And she would shiver in the stillness, scared
And shocked, with her pathetic eyes—aye proof
Against the fatal, false philosophy.
But my will was the strongest, and my love
The weakest; and she knew it.
“Well, well, well,
I need not talk of that. There came the day
Of our last parting in the ferny glen—
A bitter parting, parting from my life,
Its light and peace for ever! And I turned
To ***** and billiards, politics and wine;
Was wooed by Lady Alice, and half won;
And passed a feverous winter in the world.
Ah, do not frown! You do not understand.
You never knew that hopeless thirst for peace—
That gnawing hunger, gnawing at your life;
The passion, born too late! I tell you, friend,
The ruth, and love, and longing for my child,
It broke my heart at last.
“In the hot days
Of August, I went back; I went alone.
And on old garrulous Margery—relict she
Of some departed seneschal—I rained
My eager questions. ‘Had the poaching been
As ruinous and as audacious as of old?
Were the dogs well? and had she felt the heat?
And—I supposed the keeper, Colin, still
Was somewhere on the place?’
“ ‘Nay, sir,’; said she,
‘But he has left the neighbourhood. He ne'er
Has held his head up since he lost his child,
Poor soul, a month ago.’
“I heard—I heard!
His child—he had but one—my little one,
Whom I had meant to marry in a week!

“ ‘Ah, sir, she turned out badly after all,
The girl we thought a pattern for all girls.
We know not how it happened, for she named
No names. And, sir, it preyed upon her mind,
And weakened it; and she forgot us all,
And seemed as one aye walking in her sleep
She noticed no one—no one but the dog,
A young deerhound that followed her about;
Though him she hugged and kissed in a strange way
When none was by. And Colin, he was hard
Upon the girl; and when she sat so still,
And pale and passive, while he raved and stormed,
Looking beyond him, as it were, he grew
The harder and more harsh. He did not know
That she was not herself. Men are so blind!
But when he saw her floating in the loch,
The moonlight on her face, and her long hair
All tangled in the rushes; saw the hound
Whining and crying, tugging at her plaid—
Ah, sir, it was a death-stroke!’
“This was all.
This was the end of her sweet life—the end
Of all worth having of mine own! At night
I crept across the moors to find her grave,
And kiss the wet earth covering it—and found
The deerhound lying there asleep. Ay me!
It was the bitterest darkness,—nevermore
To break out into dawn and day again!

“And Lady Alice shakes her dainty head,
Lifts her arch eyebrows, smiles, and whispers, “Once
He was a little wild!’ ”
With that he laughed;
Then suddenly flung his face upon the grass,
Crying, “Leave me for a little—let me be!”
And in the dusky stillness hugged his woe,
And wept away his pas
vircapio gale Mar 2013
a poetic rain,
in small print,
fills the white sky page
...and leaves it pregnant with a frontier glowing brighter
than the prime moved space attuned to matter's birth
--all the freedom still, and more... continues growing heedless of the dark surround

and as a bright lotus conjures flight from murky soils--
heavy, sinking, rooted into nether darks--
you digest even drivel as you read, and leap beyond,
celebrating its inherent scope, tendril values spanning all potentiality;
i squint to see you silhouetted there: silent poet flying in between the signs,
to re-sign brilliance on that plane,
and voice the silence intertwining muse and verbal ruse

producing in an everpresent rain the giving-rise to words,
the meaning prior and pretend, and signaled apprehension past intent:
deluge inspiration in the rents of earth, carry dust into the rainbow clouds, and see the shaking world alight in lovingkindness without end

speaking now in arts reversed,
in playing poems and writing at a pitch to sweeten tongues with memories relived...
speaking in the ripple-visage looking back at skys beneath a surface weight we bear,
and shed in holding breath in waves, and squinting tight
the urge to love a universes' birth, conceive
the poem that generates progenesis of stellar forms
each...day
words to twist the vital helix of all oneness beings into being fair
chiasmi of the night alive to sing expanse, to sing alive galactic seas alight
into the pan-flute of the gods re-tuned to shakuhachi tones,
tabla moans and pops of ancient memories reborn
make verbal love within raags beloved rivers smooth at sitar drone
... within the theater your poetic home enfolds

Blinded by love,* can a lotus grow?
through this, beyond chance, to realize...kinship with a chameleon?
with an ant in unexplored territory?
mysteries hiding
revealing deeper mysteries, the hues of Kerala regrown
unknown cloud of "known"-unknown rising...
unknown cloud of possible-knowns to be...
being past, unknown cloud to wash the earth...
allowing all other clouds, dharma-megha cloud returning to that ocean..
--what limits of versatility attain here in my underwater tears?

we can be A dog and a cat transfixed by a sun set
lizards versus spiders crawling for our meals
the dance and dancer one
and we can tend the gardens all our lovers left
or tend the Goddess Night in daring shadow walks with her to inner, spiraled light
that inner vined garden of her truth forever singing you are me
tat twam asi in hues dark maidenhood restrokes
euphoric agony contains a clue
where negatives dream each other through and through
in a subtle exchange self with self before a mirror that eats all reflections









*)O(
italics are credited to the poetry of K. Balachandran, being either direct quotes or titles
Shouting for longevity,
Slamming at the counterers…
- upon your dignified respite!
Would-be detractors without brevity,
Before the wine-dark Sea at night…
A pleading to philosophy of commonly renowned,
Beating sand and posturing, uncouth before a crown;

“Priam please!”

Sun and Moon,
two sons shall plead,
nay, -beg in tandem with the man;

“He serves the seas, trust him please, our father; this priest of Trojan-land!”

Laocoon

“Fear the Greeks, of mind I speak, approval by a van-i-ty; it surely is a death you seek!

An asp this horse, gift no more and tragedy in due remorse,

I beg of you my call to heed, wooden-burnt this crispy steed,

…alight in flame, glorified name; Poseidon shall endorse!”

Priests of Apollo

“Ridiculous! Worship we must, now bring it to the City thus!”

Laocoon

“The actions of accursed Kore,

Need I remind you all Paris caused this war?

For he mocked this god, the abyss it knows, with terror comes a deadly tide,

**** that fool and his fiddling pride!

Burn this beast we must with haste for Greeks they have a certain taste,

Their acts meant always to confound, wily, since they were unbound.

What harm may do, to rest at shore? Consult the stars of yester-yore.

Assign no chore, one heaven’s night, plus a day, to sit upon our princely shore?”


Setting
(read/spoken at the fastest pace the reader can go)

A horrid hiss above the wave as two doth slither from out the cave…

  The creatures from the darkest days, ancient spectacle for the knaves, bear witness to the punishment, commanded by a great trident, hearing screams of bannermen, for King and council a shocking twist, serpents ****** from out the mists, encircling priest and his kin, the howling they had done no sin, never be forgot-ten, as Typhon cried out merrily, serpents and the tragic sea; swallowed up all the three.

Priam

“Farewell dear Laocoon and two sons with thee!”
The name. "Laocoon," translates to, "Peoples knowledge," or "Knowledge of the peoples." This is a retelling of a section of the Iliad.
JL Stanley Feb 2011
Alight upon a frail stem,
Tussle, sway with the wind
In your brutal dance
Beneath an indifferent sun.

Underneath the brittle shell
Is a secret grace,
Waiting, longing to emerge.
Come back to me,

Fearless and on fire.
Strip skin, soul, bone,
Writhe in wondrous pain
Listen to the voice of blood.

There is power in small things -
The transparent wing emerging,
A song of light, this dying breath,
Revelation of soul to sky.

I am your heart,
Your body's final rest.
Come back to me.
© 2003 J.L.Stanley
NUMB, half asleep, and dazed with whirl of wheels,
And gasp of steam, and measured clank of chains,
I heard a blithe voice break a sudden pause,
Ringing familiarly through the lamp-lit night,
“Wife, here's your Venice!”
I was lifted down,
And gazed about in stupid wonderment,
Holding my little Katie by the hand—
My yellow-haired step-daughter. And again
Two strong arms led me to the water-brink,
And laid me on soft cushions in a boat,—
A queer boat, by a queerer boatman manned—
Swarthy-faced, ragged, with a scarlet cap—
Whose wild, weird note smote shrilly through the dark.
Oh yes, it was my Venice! Beautiful,
With melancholy, ghostly beauty—old,
And sorrowful, and weary—yet so fair,
So like a queen still, with her royal robes,
Full of harmonious colour, rent and worn!
I only saw her shadow in the stream,
By flickering lamplight,—only saw, as yet,
White, misty palace-portals here and there,
Pillars, and marble steps, and balconies,
Along the broad line of the Grand Canal;
And, in the smaller water-ways, a patch
Of wall, or dim bridge arching overhead.
But I could feel the rest. 'Twas Venice!—ay,
The veritable Venice of my dreams.

I saw the grey dawn shimmer down the stream,
And all the city rise, new bathed in light,
With rose-red blooms on her decaying walls,
And gold tints quivering up her domes and spires—
Sharp-drawn, with delicate pencillings, on a sky
Blue as forget-me-nots in June. I saw
The broad day staring in her palace-fronts,
Pointing to yawning gap and crumbling boss,
And colonnades, time-stained and broken, flecked
With soft, sad, dying colours—sculpture-wreathed,
And gloriously proportioned; saw the glow
Light up her bright, harmonious, fountain'd squares,
And spread out on her marble steps, and pass
Down silent courts and secret passages,
Gathering up motley treasures on its way;—

Groups of rich fruit from the Rialto mart,
Scarlet and brown and purple, with green leaves—
Fragments of exquisite carving, lichen-grown,
Found, 'mid pathetic squalor, in some niche
Where wild, half-naked urchins lived and played—
A bright robe, crowned with a pale, dark-eyed face—
A red-striped awning 'gainst an old grey wall—
A delicate opal gleam upon the tide.

I looked out from my window, and I saw
Venice, my Venice, naked in the sun—
Sad, faded, and unutterably forlorn!—
But still unutterably beautiful.

For days and days I wandered up and down—
Holding my breath in awe and ecstasy,—
Following my husband to familiar haunts,
Making acquaintance with his well-loved friends,
Whose faces I had only seen in dreams
And books and photographs and his careless talk.
For days and days—with sunny hours of rest
And musing chat, in that cool room of ours,
Paved with white marble, on the Grand Canal;
For days and days—with happy nights between,
Half-spent, while little Katie lay asleep
Out on the balcony, with the moon and stars.

O Venice, Venice!—with thy water-streets—
Thy gardens bathed in sunset, flushing red
Behind San Giorgio Maggiore's dome—
Thy glimmering lines of haughty palaces
Shadowing fair arch and column in the stream—
Thy most divine cathedral, and its square,
With vagabonds and loungers daily thronged,
Taking their ice, their coffee, and their ease—
Thy sunny campo's, with their clamorous din,
Their shrieking vendors of fresh fish and fruit—
Thy churches and thy pictures—thy sweet bits
Of colour—thy grand relics of the dead—
Thy gondoliers and water-bearers—girls
With dark, soft eyes, and creamy faces, crowned
With braided locks as bright and black as jet—
Wild ragamuffins, picturesque in rags,
And swarming beggars and old witch-like crones,
And brown-cloaked contadini, hot and tired,
Sleeping, face-downward, on the sunny steps—
Thy fairy islands floating in the sun—
Thy poppy-sprinkled, grave-strewn Lido shore—

Thy poetry and thy pathos—all so strange!—
Thou didst bring many a lump into my throat,
And many a passionate thrill into my heart,
And once a tangled dream into my head.

'Twixt afternoon and evening. I was tired;
The air was hot and golden—not a breath
Of wind until the sunset—hot and still.
Our floor was water-sprinkled; our thick walls
And open doors and windows, shadowed deep
With jalousies and awnings, made a cool
And grateful shadow for my little couch.
A subtle perfume stole about the room
From a small table, piled with purple grapes,
And water-melon slices, pink and wet,
And ripe, sweet figs, and golden apricots,
New-laid on green leaves from our garden—leaves
Wherewith an antique torso had been clothed.
My husband read his novel on the floor,
Propped up on cushions and an Indian shawl;
And little Katie slumbered at his feet,
Her yellow curls alight, and delicate tints
Of colour in the white folds of her frock.
I lay, and mused, in comfort and at ease,
Watching them both and playing with my thoughts;
And then I fell into a long, deep sleep,
And dreamed.
I saw a water-wilderness—
Islands entangled in a net of streams—
Cross-threads of rippling channels, woven through
Bare sands, and shallows glimmering blue and broad—
A line of white sea-breakers far away.
There came a smoke and crying from the land—
Ruin was there, and ashes, and the blood
Of conquered cities, trampled down to death.
But here, methought, amid these lonely gulfs,
There rose up towers and bulwarks, fair and strong,
Lapped in the silver sea-mists;—waxing aye
Fairer and stronger—till they seemed to mock
The broad-based kingdoms on the mainland shore.
I saw a great fleet sailing in the sun,
Sailing anear the sand-slip, whereon broke
The long white wave-crests of the outer sea,—
Pepin of Lombardy, with his warrior hosts—
Following the ****** steps of Attila!
I saw the smoke rise when he touched the towns
That lay, outposted, in his ravenous reach;

Then, in their island of deep waters,* saw
A gallant band defy him to his face,
And drive him out, with his fair vessels wrecked
And charred with flames, into the sea again.
“Ah, this is Venice!” I said proudly—“queen
Whose haughty spirit none shall subjugate.”

It was the night. The great stars hung, like globes
Of gold, in purple skies, and cast their light
In palpitating ripples down the flood
That washed and gurgled through the silent streets—
White-bordered now with marble palaces.
It was the night. I saw a grey-haired man,
Sitting alone in a dark convent-porch—
In beggar's garments, with a kingly face,
And eyes that watched for dawnlight anxiously—
A weary man, who could not rest nor sleep.
I heard him muttering prayers beneath his breath,
And once a malediction—while the air
Hummed with the soft, low psalm-chants from within.
And then, as grey gleams yellowed in the east,
I saw him bend his venerable head,
Creep to the door, and knock.
Again I saw
The long-drawn billows breaking on the land,
And galleys rocking in the summer noon.
The old man, richly retinued, and clad
In princely robes, stood there, and spread his arms,
And cried, to one low-kneeling at his feet,
“Take thou my blessing with thee, O my son!
And let this sword, wherewith I gird thee, smite
The impious tyrant-king, who hath defied,
Dethroned, and exiled him who is as Christ.
The Lord be good to thee, my son, my son,
For thy most righteous dealing!”
And again
'Twas that long slip of land betwixt the sea
And still lagoons of Venice—curling waves
Flinging light, foamy spray upon the sand.
The noon was past, and rose-red shadows fell
Across the waters. Lo! the galleys came
To anchorage again—and lo! the Duke
Yet once more bent his noble head to earth,
And laid a victory at the old man's feet,
Praying a blessing with exulting heart.
“This day, my well-belovèd, thou art blessed,
And Venice with thee, for St. Peter's sake.

And I will give thee, for thy bride and queen,
The sea which thou hast conquered. Take this ring,
As sign of her subjection, and thy right
To be her lord for ever.”
Once again
I saw that old man,—in the vestibule
Of St. Mark's fair cathedral,—circled round
With cardinals and priests, ambassadors
And the noblesse of Venice—richly robed
In papal vestments, with the triple crown
Gleaming upon his brows. There was a hush:—
I saw a glittering train come sweeping on,
From the blue water and across the square,
Thronged with an eager multitude,—the Duke,
And with him Barbarossa, humbled now,
And fain to pray for pardon. With bare heads,
They reached the church, and paused. The Emperor knelt,
Casting away his purple mantle—knelt,
And crept along the pavement, as to kiss
Those feet, which had been weary twenty years
With his own persecutions. And the Pope
Lifted his white haired, crowned, majestic head,
And trod upon his neck,—crying out to Christ,
“Upon the lion and adder shalt thou go—
The dragon shalt thou tread beneath thy feet!”
The vision changed. Sweet incense-clouds rose up
From the cathedral altar, mix'd with hymns
And solemn chantings, o'er ten thousand heads;
And ebbed and died away along the aisles.
I saw a train of nobles—knights of France—
Pass 'neath the glorious arches through the crowd,
And stand, with halo of soft, coloured light
On their fair brows—the while their leader's voice
Rang through the throbbing silence like a bell.
“Signiors, we come to Venice, by the will
Of the most high and puissant lords of France,
To pray you look with your compassionate eyes
Upon the Holy City of our Christ—
Wherein He lived, and suffered, and was lain
Asleep, to wake in glory, for our sakes—
By Paynim dogs dishonoured and defiled!
Signiors, we come to you, for you are strong.
The seas which lie betwixt that land and this
Obey you. O have pity! See, we kneel—
Our Masters bid us kneel—and bid us stay
Here at your feet until you grant our prayers!”
Wherewith the knights fell down upon their knees,

And lifted up their supplicating hands.
Lo! the ten thousand people rose as one,
And shouted with a shout that shook the domes
And gleaming roofs above them—echoing down,
Through marble pavements, to the shrine below,
Where lay the miraculous body of their Saint
(Shed he not heavenly radiance as he heard?—
Perfuming the damp air of his secret crypt),
And cried, with an exceeding mighty cry,
“We do consent! We will be pitiful!”
The thunder of their voices reached the sea,
And thrilled through all the netted water-veins
Of their rich city. Silence fell anon,
Slowly, with fluttering wings, upon the crowd;
And then a veil of darkness.
And again
The filtered sunlight streamed upon those walls,
Marbled and sculptured with divinest grace;
Again I saw a multitude of heads,
Soft-wreathed with cloudy incense, bent in prayer—
The heads of haughty barons, armed knights,
And pilgrims girded with their staff and scrip,
The warriors of the Holy Sepulchre.
The music died away along the roof;
The hush was broken—not by him of France—
By Enrico Dandolo, whose grey head
Venice had circled with the ducal crown.
The old man looked down, with his dim, wise eyes,
Stretching his hands abroad, and spake. “Seigneurs,
My children, see—your vessels lie in port
Freighted for battle. And you, standing here,
Wait but the first fair wind. The bravest hosts
Are with you, and the noblest enterprise
Conceived of man. Behold, I am grey-haired,
And old and feeble. Yet am I your lord.
And, if it be your pleasure, I will trust
My ducal seat in Venice to my son,
And be your guide and leader.”
When they heard,
They cried aloud, “In God's name, go with us!”
And the old man, with holy weeping, passed
Adown the tribune to the altar-steps;
And, kneeling, fixed the cross upon his cap.
A ray of sudden sunshine lit his face—
The grand, grey, furrowed face—and lit the cross,
Until it twinkled like a cross of fire.
“We shall be safe with him,” the people said,

Straining their wet, bright eyes; “and we shall reap
Harvests of glory from our battle-fields!”

Anon there rose a vapour from the sea—
A dim white mist, that thickened into fog.
The campanile and columns were blurred out,
Cathedral domes and spires, and colonnades
Of marble palaces on the Grand Canal.
Joy-bells rang sadly and softly—far away;
Banners of welcome waved like wind-blown clouds;
Glad shouts were muffled into mournful wails.
A Doge was come to be enthroned and crowned,—
Not in the great Bucentaur—not in pomp;
The water-ways had wandered in the mist,
And he had tracked them, slowly, painfully,
From San Clemente to Venice, in a frail
And humble gondola. A Doge was come;
But he, alas! had missed his landing-place,
And set his foot upon the blood-stained stones
Betwixt the blood-red columns. Ah, the sea—
The bride, the queen—she was the first to turn
Against her passionate, proud, ill-fated lord!

Slowly the sea-fog melted, and I saw
Long, limp dead bodies dangling in the sun.
Two granite pillars towered on either side,
And broad blue waters glittered at their feet.
“These are the traitors,” said the people; “they
Who, with our Lord the Duke, would overthrow
The government of Venice.”
And anon,
The doors about the palace were made fast.
A great crowd gathered round them, with hushed breath
And throbbing pulses. And I knew their lord,
The Duke Faliero, knelt upon his knees,
On the broad landing of the marble stairs
Where he had sworn the oath he could not keep—
Vexed with the tyrannous oligarchic rule
That held his haughty spirit netted in,
And cut so keenly that he writhed and chafed
Until he burst the meshes—could not keep!
I watched and waited, feeling sick at heart;
And then I saw a figure, robed in black—
One of their dark, ubiquitous, supreme
And fearful tribunal of Ten—come forth,
And hold a dripping sword-blade in the air.
“Justice has fallen on the traitor! See,
His blood has paid the forfeit of his crime!”

And all the people, hearing, murmured deep,
Cursing their dead lord, and the council, too,
Whose swift, sure, heavy hand had dealt his death.

Then came the night, all grey and still and sad.
I saw a few red torches flare and flame
Over a little gondola, where lay
The headless body of the traitor Duke,
Stripped of his ducal vestments. Floating down
The quiet waters, it passed out of sight,
Bearing him to unhonoured burial.
And then came mist and darkness.
Lo! I heard
The shrill clang of alarm-bells, and the wails
Of men and women in the wakened streets.
A thousand torches flickered up and down,
Lighting their ghastly faces and bare heads;
The while they crowded to the open doors
Of all the churches—to confess their sins,
To pray for absolution, and a last
Lord's Supper—their viaticum, whose death
Seemed near at hand—ay, nearer than the dawn.
“Chioggia is fall'n!” they cried, “and we are lost!”

Anon I saw them hurrying to and fro,
With eager eyes and hearts and blither feet—
Grave priests, with warlike weapons in their hands,
And delicate women, with their ornaments
Of gold and jewels for the public fund—
Mix'd with the bearded crowd, whose lives were given,
With all they had, to Venice in her need.
No more I heard the wailing of despair,—
But great Pisani's blithe word of command,
The dip of oars, and creak of beams and chains,
And ring of hammers in the arsenal.
“Venice shall ne'er be lost!” her people cried—
Whose names were worthy of the Golden Book—
“Venice shall ne'er be conquered!”
And anon
I saw a scene of triumph—saw the Doge,
In his Bucentaur, sailing to the land—
Chioggia behind him blackened in the smoke,
Venice before, all banners, bells, and shouts
Of passionate rejoicing! Ten long months
Had Genoa waged that war of life and death;
And now—behold the remnant of her host,
Shrunken and hollow-eyed and bound with chains—
Trailing their galleys in the conqueror's wake!

Once more the tremulous waters, flaked with light;
A covered vessel, with an armèd guard—
A yelling mob on fair San Giorgio's isle,
And ominous whisperings in the city squares.
Carrara's noble head bowed down at last,
Beaten by many storms,—his golden spurs
Caught in the meshes of a hidden snare!
“O Venice!” I cried, “where is thy great heart
And honourable soul?”
And yet once more
I saw her—the gay Sybaris of the world—
The rich voluptuous city—sunk in sloth.
I heard Napoleon's cannon at her gates,
And her degenerate nobles cry for fear.
I saw at last the great Republic fall—
Conquered by her own sickness, and with scarce
A noticeable wound—I saw her fall!
And she had stood above a thousand years!
O Carlo Zeno! O Pisani! Sure
Ye turned and groaned for pity in your graves.
I saw the flames devour her Golden Book
Beneath the rootless “Tree of Liberty;”
I saw the Lion's le

— The End —