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Saint Audrey Jul 2018
Casualty: my interest fading
Once waxing moon now seen waning
And I did concede your irksome warning
And watched as the rest played out

So let bygones be gone, fallen out by the side
Of this road, worn down, still restless, keeping straight
Eyes glinting off token little bits of hospitality
Mother nature being so inclined at times

The stress so unnerving, I hardly doubt it
But tension is eased once it comes to acceptance
And I accept in full, finding time to unwind
Winding stretch of lonely road, dotted here and there by
An occasional landmark
Or a lonely tractor pulling behind it
Iron bars, old and rusted
Found in their hold
Bales of hay or
A small little pond
With a bench beside it
Holding initials carved against the grain

With a heart surrounding

As mine beats slower

At last, the sun begins going down

And the moon grows brighter
Even in its state
And my feet move faster
Though my body is withering
I feel this separation growing
As my mind takes flight and leaves me

Behind, in the twisting twilight
And alone, I walk along
Liz Aug 2014
Down to the deep south
I trudge
down through the snow
with the pink,
pink clouds
scattering their
over spangled, darkened
farms and hay bales.
Across early orange
styles and frosted
footprints, into
fielded horizons.
Terry Collett Nov 2013
She crosses fields to find him,
passing cows, over low fences,
along dust tracks. He's probably
at the farm, his mother said, he

works there after school some
days and at week ends if he has
time to spare, so she goes there,
her bike parked by the cottage

wall, on foot, treading her way,
warm morning, Saturday. He
sees her coming through the farm,
dressed in jeans, blouse and boots,

her red hair tied in a bunch, hands
in her pockets, mouth chewing gum.
Farm hands view her a she passes,
their eyes feeding on her swaying

behind, her tiny ****, not knowing
13 years had scarcely gone, then
turn away, back to their work of
milking cows or weighing milk

or cleaning cow sheds of **** and
straw. Your mother said I'd find
you here, Lizbeth says, eyeing
him, his face and eyes and the

way he stands. He views her,
sensing her non-countryside ways,
a towny, others'd say. Just doing
a bit, he says, got hay bales to

stack, tidy and lay. Can I help?
she says, I’ve nothing much to do?
If you like, he says, and walks
along to the barn and she follows,

swaying her hips, holding her
head to one side. He shows her
the hay bales, where they need
to be and how to stack. It smells

in here, she says, heat of hay,
he says, gets stuffy. She runs a hand
over the nearest bales. Soft enough,
she says, looking at him, her eyes

focusing, sniffing the air. Soft enough
for what? He says. To lay on, cuddle
on, she say softly. Best not, he says,
others may come. Not up there, she

says, pointing to a higher place above
their heads, there we'd not been seen.
Best not, he says, they want me for
work not to laze or shirk. She pouts

her lips, walks about the barn, touching
with her fingers, running palms over
the bales. Just a little while, she says,
unbuttoning her blouse, needn't be long,

fingers slowly working the buttons.
There's mice and rats about, he says,
could be anywhere in here. She pauses,
her fingers still, her eyes enlarging.

Here? she asks. He nods, seen them
about, a few hours ago. She buttons
up her blouse, gazing around. Shame,
she says, wanted to, you know, here

in the quiet, us alone. He stands and
gazes, takes in her slim frame, her eyes,
her hands holding each other and
squeezing. Another time maybe, she

says, some other place, somewhere
that's quiet, where we'd not be disturbed.
He nods, viewing her small *******
tidied away, at least for the day, like

small babes put to bed, and tucked
up safe and sound. She kisses his cheek,
touches his arm, see you, she says softly,
see you around, and she walks way,

her swaying behind, tight in her jeans,
walking through dust and hay, see you,
she says, blowing a kiss, another day.
ryn Sep 2014
Light train chugging, working to outrun
Over exerting, pulling along your freight
Sand is running out under the diminishing sun
Fastidiously you tug on your enormous weight

Segmented equal in seven hulking proportions
Weaving between sleeping rocky giants
Assertion in your drive gifted from the high heavens
Borne of light your cargo load of tenants

Silver blurred rays glinting back as reply
As you power your way through
Defying seconds, before the last rays should die
Against odds, delivering what is due

Questing to alleviate my inflicted darkness
Spear of brilliance slicing through my mind
Illuminating the farthest and tiniest of crevices
Nook and crannies that willed me blind

Careful manoeuvring to keep your balance
Through scenic views fraught with treachery
Furiously working to keep your cadence
Hopeful of unloading the load you carry

What lies dormant in that cargo of yours?
What sleeps easy within those boxcars?
What stokes the fire to diligently run your course?
What promises you bear, travelling near and far?

Bales of hope and crates of strength
Supplies of kindness and self-worth
Reside within your immense length
Intact and lay quiet within your formidable girth

Reliant on the light that fuels and feeds
Your axles seem tireless guiding forth those wheels
Thundering over land with the power of a thousand steeds
Armed to your teeth with alloys and steels

Expelling grit and dirt as you pummelled across
Grey-white fumes, shoot up to the sky
Flag flogged by wind, billow and toss
Blaring your whistle as you race on by

Propelling forward, horizon up ahead
There it all its tenebrous glory
Darkened locomotive seething mad with dread
Brace for the clash and the loads the two carry
See "Doom Train"
See "Collision Course"
Nat Lipstadt Jun 2018
(from “A Love Song” by William Carlos Williams)


familiar that apple google and amazon
have me under 24 hour surveillance
e-specially now
as I am in their
geosphere of influence

but sending me a love poem of WCWs that isolates my locale, my intended inebriation status,
and is addressed to me personally (“you”),
that’s just creepy

so charged am I, obligated to oblige,
to counter-compose a love song of mine own,
under the pinot “influence,”
(in a manner of speaking)
which a love taught me to love

what if,
a new love song ecrit,
to an old and loverly land,
a woman-land designed to be desired,
no difference -
kissing a new girl first time,
a wet and unforgettable
when falling
on the neck of your one beloved anew renewed

now I tremble-tread
for the line of great predecessors,
“the land lover scribes”
skilled in natures homaging,
is like a line out the door,
around the corner as if
a new flavor ice cream
has just been isolated and mined and I...

but a novitiate
in a far away, wild untamed world
where my nature taken by her nature
cannot deny paying my just due:

late middle English, from self + edge

how perfect!
“an edge,
woven on a fabric during manufacture,
intended to prevent unraveling”

the pacific coast air
the irregular shoreline - expanding/receding,
god’s own forestry reserve,
the cascades, a goal on the horizon,
country roads where ancient wheat stalks grow wild
all a tonic intermingled, an alcohol to
imbibe through mouth nostrils eyes and skin

all will be my own selvage!
preventing the eastern unraveling disease,
a nearly incurable permafrost low grade
kate spaded infection,
brought along with me for decades,
my loon June companion, now stalling out,
lost from my happy head

a vineyard on every corner,
marijuana growing next door,
rivers that change like children growing up and down,
cheek to jowled property line
live the berries and the hazelnut groves,
god’s hay bales wrapped in plastic
like marshmallows dotting the landscape

all daring you to say

I could
it  here
A Love Song
William Carlos Williams, 1883 - 1963

I lie here thinking of you:—

the stain of love
is upon the world!
Yellow, yellow, yellow
it eats into the leaves,
smears with saffron
the horned branches that lean
against a smooth purple sky!
There is no light
only a honey-thick stain
that drips from leaf to leaf
and limb to limb
spoiling the colors
of the whole world—

you far off there under
the wine-red selvage of the west
Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run,
Along Morea’s hills the setting Sun;
Not, as in northern climes, obscurely bright,
But one unclouded blaze of living light;
O’er the hushed deep the yellow beam he throws,
Gilds the green wave that trembles as it glows;
On old ægina’s rock and Hydra’s isle
The God of gladness sheds his parting smile;
O’er his own regions lingering loves to shine,
Though there his altars are no more divine.
Descending fast, the mountain-shadows kiss
Thy glorious Gulf, unconquered Salamis!
Their azure arches through the long expanse,
More deeply purpled, meet his mellowing glance,
And tenderest tints, along their summits driven,
Mark his gay course, and own the hues of Heaven;
Till, darkly shaded from the land and deep,
Behind his Delphian rock he sinks to sleep.

  On such an eve his palest beam he cast
When, Athens! here thy Wisest looked his last.
How watched thy better sons his farewell ray,
That closed their murdered Sage’s latest day!
Not yet—not yet—Sol pauses on the hill,
The precious hour of parting lingers still;
But sad his light to agonizing eyes,
And dark the mountain’s once delightful dyes;
Gloom o’er the lovely land he seemed to pour,
The land where Phoebus never frowned before;
But ere he sunk below Cithaeron’s head,
The cup of Woe was quaffed—the Spirit fled;
The soul of Him that scorned to fear or fly,
Who lived and died as none can live or die.

  But lo! from high Hymettus to the plain
The Queen of Night asserts her silent reign;
No murky vapour, herald of the storm,
Hides her fair face, or girds her glowing form;
With cornice glimmering as the moonbeams play,
There the white column greets her grateful ray,
And bright around, with quivering beams beset,
Her emblem sparkles o’er the Minaret;
The groves of olive scattered dark and wide,
Where meek Cephisus sheds his scanty tide,
The cypress saddening by the sacred mosque,
The gleaming turret of the gay kiosk,
And sad and sombre ’mid the holy calm,
Near Theseus’ fane, yon solitary palm;
All, tinged with varied hues, arrest the eye;
And dull were his that passed them heedless by.
Again the ægean, heard no more afar,
Lulls his chafed breast from elemental war:
Again his waves in milder tints unfold
Their long expanse of sapphire and of gold,
Mixed with the shades of many a distant isle
That frown, where gentler Ocean deigns to smile.

  As thus, within the walls of Pallas’ fane,
I marked the beauties of the land and main,
Alone, and friendless, on the magic shore,
Whose arts and arms but live in poets’ lore;
Oft as the matchless dome I turned to scan,
Sacred to Gods, but not secure from Man,
The Past returned, the Present seemed to cease,
And Glory knew no clime beyond her Greece!

  Hour rolled along, and Dian’******on high
Had gained the centre of her softest sky;
And yet unwearied still my footsteps trod
O’er the vain shrine of many a vanished God:
But chiefly, Pallas! thine, when Hecate’s glare
Checked by thy columns, fell more sadly fair
O’er the chill marble, where the startling tread
Thrills the lone heart like echoes from the dead.
Long had I mused, and treasured every trace
The wreck of Greece recorded of her race,
When, lo! a giant-form before me strode,
And Pallas hailed me in her own Abode!

  Yes,’twas Minerva’s self; but, ah! how changed,
Since o’er the Dardan field in arms she ranged!
Not such as erst, by her divine command,
Her form appeared from Phidias’ plastic hand:
Gone were the terrors of her awful brow,
Her idle ægis bore no Gorgon now;
Her helm was dinted, and the broken lance
Seemed weak and shaftless e’en to mortal glance;
The Olive Branch, which still she deigned to clasp,
Shrunk from her touch, and withered in her grasp;
And, ah! though still the brightest of the sky,
Celestial tears bedimmed her large blue eye;
Round the rent casque her owlet circled slow,
And mourned his mistress with a shriek of woe!

  “Mortal!”—’twas thus she spake—”that blush of shame
Proclaims thee Briton, once a noble name;
First of the mighty, foremost of the free,
Now honoured ‘less’ by all, and ‘least’ by me:
Chief of thy foes shall Pallas still be found.
Seek’st thou the cause of loathing!—look around.
Lo! here, despite of war and wasting fire,
I saw successive Tyrannies expire;
‘Scaped from the ravage of the Turk and Goth,
Thy country sends a spoiler worse than both.
Survey this vacant, violated fane;
Recount the relics torn that yet remain:
‘These’ Cecrops placed, ‘this’ Pericles adorned,
‘That’ Adrian reared when drooping Science mourned.
What more I owe let Gratitude attest—
Know, Alaric and Elgin did the rest.
That all may learn from whence the plunderer came,
The insulted wall sustains his hated name:
For Elgin’s fame thus grateful Pallas pleads,
Below, his name—above, behold his deeds!
Be ever hailed with equal honour here
The Gothic monarch and the Pictish peer:
Arms gave the first his right, the last had none,
But basely stole what less barbarians won.
So when the Lion quits his fell repast,
Next prowls the Wolf, the filthy Jackal last:
Flesh, limbs, and blood the former make their own,
The last poor brute securely gnaws the bone.
Yet still the Gods are just, and crimes are crossed:
See here what Elgin won, and what he lost!
Another name with his pollutes my shrine:
Behold where Dian’s beams disdain to shine!
Some retribution still might Pallas claim,
When Venus half avenged Minerva’s shame.”

  She ceased awhile, and thus I dared reply,
To soothe the vengeance kindling in her eye:
“Daughter of Jove! in Britain’s injured name,
A true-born Briton may the deed disclaim.
Frown not on England; England owns him not:
Athena, no! thy plunderer was a Scot.
Ask’st thou the difference? From fair Phyles’ towers
Survey Boeotia;—Caledonia’s ours.
And well I know within that ******* land
Hath Wisdom’s goddess never held command;
A barren soil, where Nature’s germs, confined
To stern sterility, can stint the mind;
Whose thistle well betrays the niggard earth,
Emblem of all to whom the Land gives birth;
Each genial influence nurtured to resist;
A land of meanness, sophistry, and mist.
Each breeze from foggy mount and marshy plain
Dilutes with drivel every drizzly brain,
Till, burst at length, each wat’ry head o’erflows,
Foul as their soil, and frigid as their snows:
Then thousand schemes of petulance and pride
Despatch her scheming children far and wide;
Some East, some West, some—everywhere but North!
In quest of lawless gain, they issue forth.
And thus—accursed be the day and year!
She sent a Pict to play the felon here.
Yet Caledonia claims some native worth,
As dull Boeotia gave a Pindar birth;
So may her few, the lettered and the brave,
Bound to no clime, and victors of the grave,
Shake off the sordid dust of such a land,
And shine like children of a happier strand;
As once, of yore, in some obnoxious place,
Ten names (if found) had saved a wretched race.”

  “Mortal!” the blue-eyed maid resumed, “once more
Bear back my mandate to thy native shore.
Though fallen, alas! this vengeance yet is mine,
To turn my counsels far from lands like thine.
Hear then in silence Pallas’ stern behest;
Hear and believe, for Time will tell the rest.

  “First on the head of him who did this deed
My curse shall light,—on him and all his seed:
Without one spark of intellectual fire,
Be all the sons as senseless as the sire:
If one with wit the parent brood disgrace,
Believe him ******* of a brighter race:
Still with his hireling artists let him prate,
And Folly’s praise repay for Wisdom’s hate;
Long of their Patron’s gusto let them tell,
Whose noblest, native gusto is—to sell:
To sell, and make—may shame record the day!—
The State—Receiver of his pilfered prey.
Meantime, the flattering, feeble dotard, West,
Europe’s worst dauber, and poor Britain’s best,
With palsied hand shall turn each model o’er,
And own himself an infant of fourscore.
Be all the Bruisers culled from all St. Giles’,
That Art and Nature may compare their styles;
While brawny brutes in stupid wonder stare,
And marvel at his Lordship’s ’stone shop’ there.
Round the thronged gate shall sauntering coxcombs creep
To lounge and lucubrate, to prate and peep;
While many a languid maid, with longing sigh,
On giant statues casts the curious eye;
The room with transient glance appears to skim,
Yet marks the mighty back and length of limb;
Mourns o’er the difference of now and then;
Exclaims, ‘These Greeks indeed were proper men!’
Draws slight comparisons of ‘these’ with ‘those’,
And envies Laïs all her Attic beaux.
When shall a modern maid have swains like these?
Alas! Sir Harry is no Hercules!
And last of all, amidst the gaping crew,
Some calm spectator, as he takes his view,
In silent indignation mixed with grief,
Admires the plunder, but abhors the thief.
Oh, loathed in life, nor pardoned in the dust,
May Hate pursue his sacrilegious lust!
Linked with the fool that fired the Ephesian dome,
Shall vengeance follow far beyond the tomb,
And Eratostratus and Elgin shine
In many a branding page and burning line;
Alike reserved for aye to stand accursed,
Perchance the second blacker than the first.

  “So let him stand, through ages yet unborn,
Fixed statue on the pedestal of Scorn;
Though not for him alone revenge shall wait,
But fits thy country for her coming fate:
Hers were the deeds that taught her lawless son
To do what oft Britannia’s self had done.
Look to the Baltic—blazing from afar,
Your old Ally yet mourns perfidious war.
Not to such deeds did Pallas lend her aid,
Or break the compact which herself had made;
Far from such counsels, from the faithless field
She fled—but left behind her Gorgon shield;
A fatal gift that turned your friends to stone,
And left lost Albion hated and alone.

“Look to the East, where Ganges’ swarthy race
Shall shake your tyrant empire to its base;
Lo! there Rebellion rears her ghastly head,
And glares the Nemesis of native dead;
Till Indus rolls a deep purpureal flood,
And claims his long arrear of northern blood.
So may ye perish!—Pallas, when she gave
Your free-born rights, forbade ye to enslave.

  “Look on your Spain!—she clasps the hand she hates,
But boldly clasps, and thrusts you from her gates.
Bear witness, bright Barossa! thou canst tell
Whose were the sons that bravely fought and fell.
But Lusitania, kind and dear ally,
Can spare a few to fight, and sometimes fly.
Oh glorious field! by Famine fiercely won,
The Gaul retires for once, and all is done!
But when did Pallas teach, that one retreat
Retrieved three long Olympiads of defeat?

  “Look last at home—ye love not to look there
On the grim smile of comfortless despair:
Your city saddens: loud though Revel howls,
Here Famine faints, and yonder Rapine prowls.
See all alike of more or less bereft;
No misers tremble when there’s nothing left.
‘Blest paper credit;’ who shall dare to sing?
It clogs like lead Corruption’s weary wing.
Yet Pallas pluck’d each Premier by the ear,
Who Gods and men alike disdained to hear;
But one, repentant o’er a bankrupt state,
On Pallas calls,—but calls, alas! too late:
Then raves for’——’; to that Mentor bends,
Though he and Pallas never yet were friends.
Him senates hear, whom never yet they heard,
Contemptuous once, and now no less absurd.
So, once of yore, each reasonable frog,
Swore faith and fealty to his sovereign ‘log.’
Thus hailed your rulers their patrician clod,
As Egypt chose an onion for a God.

  “Now fare ye well! enjoy your little hour;
Go, grasp the shadow of your vanished power;
Gloss o’er the failure of each fondest scheme;
Your strength a name, your bloated wealth a dream.
Gone is that Gold, the marvel of mankind.
And Pirates barter all that’s left behind.
No more the hirelings, purchased near and far,
Crowd to the ranks of mercenary war.
The idle merchant on the useless quay
Droops o’er the bales no bark may bear away;
Or, back returning, sees rejected stores
Rot piecemeal on his own encumbered shores:
The starved mechanic breaks his rusting loom,
And desperate mans him ‘gainst the coming doom.
Then in the Senates of your sinking state
Show me the man whose counsels may have weight.
Vain is each voice where tones could once command;
E’en factions cease to charm a factious land:
Yet jarring sects convulse a sister Isle,
And light with maddening hands the mutual pile.

  “’Tis done, ’tis past—since Pallas warns in vain;
The Furies seize her abdicated reign:
Wide o’er the realm they wave their kindling brands,
And wring her vitals with their fiery hands.
But one convulsive struggle still remains,
And Gaul shall weep ere Albion wear her chains,
The bannered pomp of war, the glittering files,
O’er whose gay trappings stern Bellona smiles;
The brazen trump, the spirit-stirring drum,
That bid the foe defiance ere they come;
The hero bounding at his country’s call,
The glorious death that consecrates his fall,
Swell the young heart with visionary charms.
And bid it antedate the joys of arms.
But know, a lesson you may yet be taught,
With death alone are laurels cheaply bought;
Not in the conflict Havoc seeks delight,
His day of mercy is the day of fight.
But when the field is fought, the battle won,
Though drenched with gore, his woes are but begun:
His deeper deeds as yet ye know by name;
The slaughtered peasant and the ravished dame,
The rifled mansion and the foe-reaped field,
Ill suit with souls at home, untaught to yield.
Say with what eye along the distant down
Would flying burghers mark the blazing town?
How view the column of ascending flames
Shake his red shadow o’er the startled Thames?
Nay, frown not, Albion! for the torch was thine
That lit such pyres from Tagus to the Rhine:
Now should they burst on thy devoted coast,
Go, ask thy ***** who deserves them most?
The law of Heaven and Earth is life for life,
And she who raised, in vain regrets, the strife.”
The evil men in Washington do scheme
Be not shocked by this declaration
Their wickedness put upon the nation
Control and compliance is their very theme
Cameras gleaning all manner of datum
The greater population not aware
Files stored on computer hardware
Intrusive these measures hear the drum
Citizens of America spotted
Someone somewhere is tapping the phone
Gathering loads of pertinent tales
All those locales on maps are well plotted
No one is left out of the spying zone
Operatives filling their bales
After reading an article about (spy drones) been used to gather information on American citizens I wrote this poem.
ryn Aug 2014
Sanctuary is here; hiding in plain sight
Bedimmed beings step into the light
Stumble upon you may; hear us you might
All is welcome; no guard dogs that bite

Step inside, matters not armed or unarmed
Come as you are; steady or alarmed
Sip and drink from our collective fountains
Rest your eyes on our self painted mountains

Come on close and meet us all
Under shady trees or beyond the knoll
Some of us don masks or hide behind names
Some come naked but we're all one and the same

See our lives, spun from heavy layered bales
Woven intricate telling fantastic tales
Weavings we let fly, to catch each other's fables and stories
We admire them for what they are and the seed each carries

Be aware... Should you not understand
We may bear similar signatures but wear different brands
We, the people, trade in euphemisms
Broken sentences and long forgotten idioms

We are weavers, dreamers and scribes
Pouring here the outside world we imbibe
We are unguarded hearts speaking in metaphoric tongues
We provide safe haven for bruised souls with punctured lungs

So welcome traveler, shed your load
You might like it here in our coveted abode
Revel in the monochromatic sights you see
Where freedom of thought is revered in this here Sanctuary...
Michael Bauer Mar 2015
i lost everything and that’s when the war came
then they reinstated the draft and began mobilizing
with the hope of defeating tyranny once again
and preserving our freedom and securing our resources

a few years before the war i was in a tense mood
privileged to attend university and expand my mind into proto-intellectualism
reading Shakespeare and studying Postcolonial Literature and non-fiction writing
while stacking up a mountain of student loan debt and watching things unravel

i started smoking bales of **** with my medical marijuana prescription
and stuttered through a false start and a series of stalls
watching my life fall apart but enjoying the rollercoaster ride
and falling in love again with the night time like in my teenage years

the television started showing explosion after explosion on city streets
there were also talks about the weather changing wildly and some people were on edge
but then when the war came everything sort of became more focused yet fatalistic

i never thought i’d get drafted but when the Selective Service notice arrived i wasn’t going to fight it
i enlisted in the Navy the following week and once I stepped on that bus everything just sort of became automatic
as i was swallowed into the machine and molded into a soldier

the process of soldierization is a fascinating phenomenon
a desperate or controlling government picks through it’s citizens
finding those most suitable for combating its perceived enemies
and reprograms select individuals to become a part of the killing machine

i don’t know how they picked me
i figured i would’ve been viewed as a loose cannon
and been thrown into a file for the shredder
but despite my liberal dissident undertones i was dropped into the US armed forces

i was stationed on a missile cruiser for the first three years of the war against the Islamic State
i thought it would just be a lot of sitting around in my underwear
launching cruise missiles *****-nilly and having **** ***
but it was so much better than that

i was lucky to not be stationed in the Pacific when things really started heating up
but instead got to sit around in the Mediterranean sun
smoking Turkish cigarettes in the shade of the missile array
stoking the fires and setting the Middle East aflame

on the day Russia launched into the Baltic states i was on leave in Athens
it was still somewhat of a surprise although everyone was anticipating the change
i was summoned back aboard my ship the next day and converged like a phalanx
we waited off the coast of Troy then continued through the Bosporus

we fired a lot more missiles before they finally got a Mig through to sink us
put a nice little dent in the hull and we jumped off into the cool waters of the Black
we didn’t see any of our ships or helicopters after that
but we were near the coast and managed to get to land a few days after the emergency ration ran out

**originally posted on my blog at on January 23, 2015
THAT crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, "O sea-starved, hungry sea.'
RAJ NANDY Jun 2015
               KHYBER PASS!
              By Raj Nandy

“When spring-time flushes the desert grass,
Our caravan wind through the Khyber Pass.
Lean are the camels but fat the frails,
Lighter the purses but heavy the bales!
As the snowbound trade of the North comes down,
To the market square of Peshawar town.”
- Rudyard Kipling (Dec1865- Jan 1936).

Those immortal lines of Kipling had enticed me,
To delve into famous Khyber’s exotic History ;
And today I narrate its wondrous story!

Steeped in adventure, bloodshed and mystery,
The Khyber remains the doorway of History!
Winston Churchill, then a young newspaper
correspondent in 18 97 had said, -
‘Each rock and hill along the pass had a story
to tell! ’
Cutting across the limestone cliffs more than
thousand feet high,
This narrow winding path of 45 km’s stretch,
Cuts through the Hindu Kush mountain range!
Forming a part of the ancient Silk Route between
Central and South Asia;
Linking Kabul with Peshawar town during those
early days of Pre-Independent India!
The area is inhabited by fierce Pashtun tribesmen,
who live by their ancient Honor Code;
They value their land and liberty, and their winding
mountain roads !
They can be the greatest of friends and deadliest
of foes;
And as the saying goes, for a friend a Pashtun
can even give up his life;
But he never forgets a wrong or when rubbed on
the wrong side !
He always avenges a wrong deed done, -
Even after decades, through his sons!
The indigenous tribes living along the pass,
Regard this area as their sole preserve!
They have levied a toll on all travelers from
the earliest days,
For their safe conduct and passage through the
Khyber, - as Historians say!

At its highest point the Khyber is 3500 ft in height,
But its strategic importance can never be denied!
Around 2000 BC came the Indo-Aryan tribes
from Central Asia,
Migrating to the rich fertile plains of Ancient India!
In 326 BC, the great Alexander came through,
By bribing the local tribes to gain their favour,
To defeat King Porus on the banks of Jhelum River;
And set up his short-lived Bactrian Empire!
In 1192 AD Afghan warlord Mohammad Ghori, -
Invaded India to set up The Sultanate at Delhi!
In 1220 Genghis Khan with his Mongol hordes
came through the Khyber;
With the help of local tribesmen to plunder the
ruling Arab Empire!
In 1380 through this pass came Timur Lane,
To wreck and destroy the Delhi Sultanate!
And finally from Kabul through the Khyber path,
Came Babur to establish the Mogul Empire with
his victory at Panipath!
From 1839 till 1919, here the British had fought,
- three ****** Anglo-Afghan Wars!
And before retreating, drew the famous Durand
Line to ally fears;
But this Line is now the cause of bickering and
tribal tears!

At Jamrud Cantonment town 17 km west of
Lies the doorway to the historic Khyber!
The track passes through a breath-taking rugged
mountainous terrain, -
Through 34 tunnels, over 92 bridges, a 42 kilometer’s
of winding stretch!
A five hour’s journey at Laudi Kotal gets complete;
The line stands as a tribute to British Engineering
The legendary Khyber Rifles had guarded the
western flanks of the British Empire,
With garrisoned troops guarding this route entire! @
Since 1990 this train is run by a private enterprise, #
With local tribesmen always taking a free joy ride!
Recent Taliban attacks made Pakistan to close
the Khyber Pass,
An uneasy truce prevails, only God knows how
long it will last ?!
But with that Durand Line of 1893 demarcated,
Forty million Pashtuns today stand divided, -
Between Pakistan and Afghanistan!
With hopes, aspirations and dreams of becoming
- Raj Nandy
New Delhi .

Battle Of Panipath, April 1526, where Babur defeated numerically
superior forces of Ibrahim Lodhi; thereby establishing the Moghul
Empire in India!
On 04Nov1925, the British inaugurated the Khyber Railway to carry
troops up to Laudi Kotal on the other end, short of the Afghan border
to guard the western flanks of the British Empire!
@KHYBER RIFLES: - Raised in early1880s with HQs at Laudi Kotal,
& garrison troops manning the Forts at Ali Masjid near the
mid-way point of the Pass, and also at Fort Maud to the east of the
Khyber Pass.
KHYBER RAILWAYS: With 75 seats, a kitchenette, and two toilets;
pulled by two old Lancashire engines of 1920 vintage! It cuts across
Peshwar Airport under Air Traffic Control! It was stopped in 1982, as
economically not viable! Started again by a Private Enterprise
in 1990, in collaboration with the Pak Railway! After the Partition of
India in 1947, the Khyber is under the Federal Administered Tribal
Area of Pakistan! A difficult and a volatile region to govern! The
Khyber now remains closed due political reasons! Thanks for
Valsa George Oct 2017
I hear a wind whispering from the hills
It comes down tickling the woodland rills
From far is heard the frightened murmur of leaves
As it pounces on them like wayside thieves

It shakes the branches of flowering trees
And their weak petals drop like confetti in the breeze
Over hills and trees it loves to skip and stray
Always in motion, never inclined to stay

It moves unhampered over streams and field
With no resistance to its might, they simply yield
Like a child, it romps over the sloppy meadows
In its gentle touch, dances the gleeful flowers

It skillfully pleats the blue chiffon of the ocean
Sometimes curling waves in electric motion
Over the sea it runs puffing up the sails
And over the sky heaping clouds in bales

Sometimes it steals furtively like a lover
And disappears kissing our cheeks under cover
Often it comes capering with a lilt and a swing
We feel delighted when we hear its merry song

Like a nomad, the wind roams from place to place,
Hiding its mysterious presence from our glance
From an unknown hide out it comes like a spirit
But always making us feel its vigorous might!

At times it gains force and roars like a beast
Felling trees and wreaking havoc with its twist
In rampage, it sweeps the sea and the ground
Triggering sparks of fear and horror all around
So happy to see this enthusiastic response to my straight and simple lines. I have no words to thank you dear friends, especially to Kim who has given an extra shine to my poem......!
Tom McCone Mar 2014
dunedin. friday, three, afternoon.
set from home under a blue sky
with full& prepared pack,
a somewhat empty stomach,
and a necessity to get away from the city.
hiking boots tread asphalt down to the depot,
where, in thirty-seven minutes punctuated
by plastic seats grafted to a wall
and a mildly disjunct group of small or
big-time travellers, the naked bus
pulled in, a hematite centipede
crawling into the lot. it was a bus,
no complaints. all others' bags
stowed, twenty seven bucks outta pocket
and swung into the front-right-window seat,
bid a farewell to the beat-down
pub across the road and onto the one-way
merging into a highway and outta
town the dark bug skittered, on
schedule or something resembling it.
behind the driver, the sun came through
around the beam in the window. warm patterns
laid on skin, the countryside's broad expanse:

cylindrical bales of hay scattered about
paddocks, dark late-autumn florets of flax
on roadsides, plumes of white smoke from
bonfires in townships as small as a thumbnail,
hedgelines of eucalyptus, pine; russet streaks
through bark of single gum trees stood
off-centre in fields. sticky-wooded hillsides
punctured by fire breaks roll almost forever
and back. the rushing sound of passing cars
through the 3/4-golden ratio of the driver's
ajar window; twenty-first century mansions
verging on out-of-place. saplings emerging,
bracketed, through verdant grass patches.
museum abbatoirs. toitoi like hen's plumage
lining drainage ditches. another Elizabeth st-
(how many could be counted out by now?) tidy
front yards and milton liquorland through this
small town. an everpresent tilting sun. fields
of flowered nettle. s-bends through pancake layers
of hills. a delapidated gravel quarry at stony
creek. deer farms, sheep farms, bovine farms, alpaca
farms (favourite); another bonfire seen down a
long gulley; a power substation, all organized
tangles. a two-four 300m before the bridge into

balclutha. 4.40pm.
across the road into the i-site
two friendly ladies circle locations
to make (got a car) or try to make (on foot),
offering a ride in half an hour,
leave it to chance.
across another road, drifter's emporium
(that's the name, no joke) got a knife
to open up cans- bought no cans, brought
no cans, still nice to have one anyway.
down the road, 200ml from unichem, waste
no time, turn ninety degrees, cross a
railway, then outta town in a sec. first
photo: half highway, half clutha river. fine
shot. sit down, watch the water couple mins,
head down the road. red-black ferns radiate
under willows down the riverbank. metal
bumper-bars keep legs on, the road rolls
gentle turns, diverges from the river. stick
to the former, faster that way. no intentions
of hitching. just wanna walk. and walk. and
walk. guy yells out a car window. envy,
likely. who cares. apple tree hangs over
a dry ditch. pick a small one, gone in
a minute. probably ain't sprayed. been
eating ice-cream dinners more often'n
not the last coupla weeks- isn't much
the stomach won't or can't handle anymore,

odours of decay from the freezing works.
seagulls sound out nearby.

down the road, the reek of death fades
out. back to grass. sit in some of the
tall stuff, under a spindly tree. put down
some ink, a handful of asst. nuts. 'bout
thirteen fingers of daylight left. no idea
if the coast is further than that. little
care. down the road the land flattens out,
decent sign. the junction was a fair bit
past reckoned, though. flipped a chunk
of bark (too lazy to get a coin out) to
figure whether the coast was worth it. bark
said no, went out anyway. gotta see the sea,
keeps you sane. past a lush native
acre or two- some lucky ******'s front lawn-
changed mentality, slung out a thumb (first
time). beginner's luck, kid straight outta
seventh form pulls over in a mustard-yellow
*******' kinda beach-van. was headin' out
to the coast, funnily enough. had been up
in raglan (surf central, nz), back down with
the 'rents now, though. out kaka point, only
one of his age, he reckoned, no schoolhouse
there, just olds. was going to surf academy,
pretty apt. little envious.

the plains spread out and out, ocean just
rose up out of a field. there's nothing
more perfect. gentle waves stroke the sands,
houses stare intently out at the mingling of
blues. one cloud hovers so far away it doesn't
even exist. down the other end of kaka point,
back on solid ground, walking into a gorge, laments
about not choosing the coastal route. but owaka
is the new destination, bout 11ks, give or take
(5ks later, sign says another 15.. some give). nothing
coulda beat that sight anyway, stepping outta
a van onto that pristine beach.

entry: gorge route to owaka. seven.
late light painted the tops of hills absolute
gold. thought maybe this way ain't so bad. beside a
converging valley, phone got enough reception
for dad to get through. said in balclutha coulda
got a room with a colleague. too far out now. lost
him in the middle of a sentence about camera film.
surprised to have even got that far. road wound
troughlike through the bottom of the gorge, became
parallel to a cute little stream. climbed down chickenwire
holding the road in place, ****** in it (had to).
clambered back up, continued walking as the occasional
campervan rolled on by. took a photo of the sun perched
on a hilltop, sent it to mel. dunno why. anxieties
over the perfect sunrise picture came frequently,
a goal become turmoil. the gorge flattened out,
and soon in countryside my fears allayed. round
a corner in picturesque nowhere, found my shot.
sat in long grass. stole it. sighed. ate a handful
of nuts. moved on. {about eight}

dark consumed the surrounding gentle-rolling hills,
nowhere near owaka, which was probably the tiny bundle
of lights nestling a little below the foot of a
mountain in the distance (not too far off, in
reality). near the turnoff to surat bay (was heading
there, plans change) a ute honks. taken as friendly.
a right turn instead of a left, farmsteads lit
up in fireplace tones, the sound cows make at
dusk. it got colder. would one jersey be sufficient?
hoepfully. stars began pinpricking the royal blues of the
night sky in its opening hues. eight-fourty-ish slugged
back about 3/4 of the syrup, along with half of a box
of fruit medley (so **** delicious), in light of dull
calf aches becoming increasingly apparent. needed
to walk a helluva lot more. ain't one for lettin'
nothing get in the way of that. lights in the distance
became the entry sign for a camp-site. no interest,
head on. past another farmhouse, stars came out in
packs. three cows upon a slight hilltop. next junction
pulled left a good eighty degrees and was on the
straight to owaka. less than two minutes later,
a dog-ute pulled to a halt and offers up a ride down
most of the stretch. didn't say no.

still stable, as two pig-hunters tell
of their drive back from picking up a couple
pig-dogs somewhere north. they were heading
out bush to shoot, thought they'd seen
another guy they'd picked up a couple weeks
ago, who'd taken 'em out somewhere they
couldn't remember. paranoia grips, but
the lads are fairly innocuous. they say it's
dangerous out here, gotta be ballsy walking
middle of the night, no gun, no dog,
all by yourself. wasn't worried, got nothing
to lose anyway (still, this sets helluva
mood). by a turnoff a k outta owaka, dropped
off. said probably all that'll be open there
is a pub, if that. bid luck and set their way.
above, the whole sky is covered with shining
glitter. down a dip and turn, **** in the
middle of the road. an ominous sign indicating
the outskirts of

owaka. approximately 9.40pm

my head loosens as i approach. the lights
form across a small valley i can't verify
exists or not between dog barks i mistake
for the yells of drunkards and lights
pirouetting from cars behind me. i slow
down i don't want to do this.

owaka is terrifying. plastic.

the street corners thud like cardboard. i
walk past a garden of teapots, a computer
screen inside the house glares through the
window pane bending breathing outward. there
is nobody here, still there is a feeling
like there's people everywhere, flocking
in shadows. a silhouette moving in a
distant cafe doorway. the sound of teeth,
of darkness fallen. thick russian tones
sound from a shelf of a motel. eyes
everywhere, mostly mine. i stop only round
a bend and down near a police station, yet
feeling no more safe, sitting in a gutter to
send mel my plans, to tell myself my plans.
i want to be nowhere again. i am soon nowhere.

out of breath, out the other end of owaka,
the sick streetlights fade into comforting
dark nestled between bunches of indistinct
treelines. the feeling of safety lasts but
twenty minutes, where another dip in the
road leads through a patch of bush, in which
gunshots ring periodically and laughter and
barking rings through. breaking down, it takes
five minutes to resolve and keep going. ain't
got nothing to lose, anyway. boots squeak like
diseased hinges all down the road. hadn't
noticed beforehand, the only thing noticed
now. an impending doom hangs thick like fog,
the thought of being strung up like an
underweight hog. walking faster and
not much quieter, the other side of the
bush couldn't have come sooner. the fear
lasts until the gunshots are distant nothing.
still alive, still out of breath, still
fairly ****** up, there's no comfort like the
sound of nothing but the occasional insect's
chirp. vestiges of still water came around
a corner and just kept coming as the golden
moon sung serenity all over. finally, a peace
came to rest over the landscape. sitting by
the road with a clear view of the moon's light
sheathed in the waters, the stars above wreath
a cirrus eye to watch over the marshland
plants leading into the placid waters of

catlins lake, west. ten fifty-one.
crossing a one-way bridge over a river winding
its way into the lake, another turning point
decision arose: continue down the highway
along the river, or head straight out and
toward the coast again. having resolved to
make it to a waterfall by dawn, and the latter
offering a possibility of this, the decision
made itself. turning back around the other side
of the lake, the road wound a couple times
up a gentle ***** out and up from the valley
at the tail of the lake, and into a slightly
more elevated valley. the country roads ran
easily and smooth, paved roughly but solid.
not a car came by for kilometers at a time.
lay on the road past a turnoff for quarter
of an hour letting serenity wash over, the
hills miniscule in comparison to home, the
sky motionless, massive thin halo about the
moon. walking on, night-birds called from
time to time (no moreporks, though. not until
dawn), figuring out how to whistle them back.
a turnoff to purakaunui bay strongly
considered and ultimately ignored; retrospectively
a great call, considering the size of the detour.
hedgerows of macrocarpa, limbs clearly cut
haphazard where once they'd hung over the
road. occasional 4wd passing, always a 4wd,
be it flash new or trusty old. you'd need
one out here. have no fun, otherwise.
monolithic pine-ish hedge bushes, squatting
giants. once, a glimmering in the sky, a
plane from queenstown (assumedly) almost
way too far to make out. the colossus of
the one human-shaped shadow cast down
from the moon to my boots. how small
a thing in this place. swamped out by
the beauty of this neverending valley.

the road turned, not quite a hairpin,
but not entirely bluntly, a welcome
break from the straight or gentle
sway, and five minutes turned to dirt.
had to lay down again- legs screaming
by this point for rest. still, they
had nothing against pressing on. dad
taught me to just keep going. that's
the thing about walking. stop for a
little bit and you're good to go
again. pushing for the fall was probably
overkill, but no worry now. dirt road
felt so right after a good 20+ks of
asphalt, only infrequently punctuated
by roadside moss or thin grass. it
was as if beginning again (well,
kinda, if only with as much energy).
having downed only a litre of water
(leaving only half a litre more), a
litre of fruit juice and about 100
grams of assorted nuts since more
than twelve hours ago by this point,
it should have been a shock to
still be going by this point. don't
really need that much anyway, though.
gone on less for longer. hydration,
anyway, was the least of all worries,
the air being thick with water, ground
fog having been laid down hours ago.

up the dirt track, more cows. they make strange
sounds at night. didn't know anything yet,
though. that's still to come. a ute swang past
going the other way, indiscriminate hollers
from the passenger-side window. waved back
cheerily. so far from anything to be anything
but upbeat now. not even the heavy shroud of
tiredness could touch that, yet. the track wound
on forever. was stopping every half-kilometer
to stand and stretch, warding off the oncoming
aches. the onset was unwieldy, though. didn't
have long. past a B&B;, wondered whether anyone
actually ever stayed there (surely would, who'd
not revisit this place over and over once they'd
discovered it?)- certainly would've, having the
cash (apparently parts of "lion, witch and the
wardrobe" were filmed here. huh). further on, the
road turned back to seal, unfortunately, but
with small promise- surely, at least fairly
close by this point. turning a corner, a small
and infinitely beautiful indent against the bush,
a small paddock bunched up against it, stream
wound against the bases of trees, all lit by
the clear tones of a now unswathed moon, sat
aside the road. it was distilled perfection.
it was too much, just had to keep goin' or
risk shattering that image. next turn was
a set of DOC toilets, an excellent sign. must be
basically sitting on the path entry now. searched
all 'round the back for it, up the road, nothing.
not entirely despondent but bewildered, moved
forward and found a signpost. the falls were now
behind? turned around and searched even more
thoroughly, quiet hope turning to desperation
by the silent light of the moon. finally,
straight across the road from the toilets,
was the green and gold sign, cloaked in
darkness under clustering trees, professing
a ten-minute bushwalk to the

purakaunui falls. saturday. 1.32 am.**
venturing into the bush by the dull light
of a screen of a dying phone, the breeze
made small movements through the canopy. it
couldn't have been any more tranquil. edging
way through the winding cliffish track through
dense brush, the sound of a trickling stream
engorged into a lush symphony of water. crossing
a single-sided bridge across an unseeable chasm,
twinkling from the ferns behind became apparent.
turning off the dull light, the tiny neon bulbs of
glow-worms littered the dirt wall risen up about
half a metre, where the track had been cut out.
my heart soared. all heights of beauty come
together. continuing down the path, glow-worms
litter the surroundings and the rushing of
water comes to a roar. at a look-out platform
above the falls, nothing can be seen save a
slight glisten. down perilous steps (wouldn't
be too bad if you could actually see 'em) the
final viewing platform lay at level with the
bottom of the falls. they stood like a statue
in the dark, winding trails of thin white wash
through the shadows hung under trees. left
speechless from something hardly made out, turned
around and back up the stairs to where the
glowing dots seemed their most concentrated.
into the ferns above, clambered through and
around moss-painted tree trunks and came to rest
a couple hundred metres from the trail, under
a fern, under a rata. packed everything but
a blanket from nan into the bag, laid it out
on curled leaf litter and folded up into it,
feet too sore to remove 'em from boots, curling
knees up into the blanket and tucking a hand
between 'em to keep it warm. only face and
ankles exposed, watched the moon's light trickle
through canopy layers for a few hours, readjusting
tendons in legs as they came to ache. sleep (or
something resembling it) set in, somewhere
around four.

some time slightly before six, the realisation
that my legs had extended and become so cold that
they'd started cramping all the way through hit,
coupled with the sounds coming through the bush.
thank you, if you made it all the way through :>
Locksley Hall

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Comrades, leave me here a little, while as yet 't is early morn:
Leave me here, and when you want me, sound upon the bugle-horn.

'T is the place, and all around it, as of old, the curlews call,
Dreary gleams about the moorland flying over Locksley Hall;

Locksley Hall, that in the distance overlooks the sandy tracts,
And the hollow ocean-ridges roaring into cataracts.

Many a night from yonder ivied casement, ere I went to rest,
Did I look on great Orion sloping slowly to the West.

Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.

Here about the beach I wander'd, nourishing a youth sublime
With the fairy tales of science, and the long result of Time;

When the centuries behind me like a fruitful land reposed;
When I clung to all the present for the promise that it closed:

When I dipt into the future far as human eye could see;
Saw the Vision of the world and all the wonder that would be.--

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;

In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove;
In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one so young,
And her eyes on all my motions with a mute observance hung.

And I said, "My cousin Amy, speak, and speak the truth to me,
Trust me, cousin, all the current of my being sets to thee."

On her pallid cheek and forehead came a colour and a light,
As I have seen the rosy red flushing in the northern night.

And she turn'd--her ***** shaken with a sudden storm of sighs--
All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of hazel eyes--

Saying, "I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me wrong";
Saying, "Dost thou love me, cousin?" weeping, "I have loved thee long."

Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd it in his glowing hands;
Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.

Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out of sight.

Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
And her whisper throng'd my pulses with the fulness of the Spring.

Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,
And our spirits rush'd together at the touching of the lips.

O my cousin, shallow-hearted! O my Amy, mine no more!
O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the barren, barren shore!

Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung,
Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!

Is it well to wish thee happy?--having known me--to decline
On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine!

Yet it shall be; thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with clay.

As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown,
And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.

He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.

What is this? his eyes are heavy; think not they are glazed with wine.
Go to him, it is thy duty, kiss him, take his hand in thine.

It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is overwrought:
Soothe him with thy finer fancies, touch him with thy lighter thought.

He will answer to the purpose, easy things to understand--
Better thou wert dead before me, tho' I slew thee with my hand!

Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart's disgrace,
Roll'd in one another's arms, and silent in a last embrace.

Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of youth!
Cursed be the social lies that warp us from the living truth!

Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature's rule!
Cursed be the gold that gilds the straiten'd forehead of the fool!

Well--'t is well that I should bluster!--Hadst thou less unworthy proved--
Would to God--for I had loved thee more than ever wife was loved.

Am I mad, that I should cherish that which bears but bitter fruit?
I will pluck it from my *****, tho' my heart be at the root.

Never, tho' my mortal summers to such length of years should come
As the many-winter'd crow that leads the clanging rookery home.

Where is comfort? in division of the records of the mind?
Can I part her from herself, and love her, as I knew her, kind?

I remember one that perish'd; sweetly did she speak and move;
Such a one do I remember, whom to look at was to love.

Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love she bore?
No--she never loved me truly; love is love for evermore.

Comfort? comfort scorn'd of devils! this is truth the poet sings,
That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.

Drug thy memories, lest thou learn it, lest thy heart be put to proof,
In the dead unhappy night, and when the rain is on the roof.

Like a dog, he hunts in dreams, and thou art staring at the wall,
Where the dying night-lamp flickers, and the shadows rise and fall.

Then a hand shall pass before thee, pointing to his drunken sleep,
To thy widow'd marriage-pillows, to the tears that thou wilt weep.

Thou shalt hear the "Never, never," whisper'd by the phantom years,
And a song from out the distance in the ringing of thine ears;

And an eye shall vex thee, looking ancient kindness on thy pain.
Turn thee, turn thee on thy pillow; get thee to thy rest again.

Nay, but Nature brings thee solace; for a tender voice will cry.
'T is a purer life than thine, a lip to drain thy trouble dry.

Baby lips will laugh me down; my latest rival brings thee rest.
Baby fingers, waxen touches, press me from the mother's breast.

O, the child too clothes the father with a dearness not his due.
Half is thine and half is his: it will be worthy of the two.

O, I see thee old and formal, fitted to thy petty part,
With a little hoard of maxims preaching down a daughter's heart.

"They were dangerous guides the feelings--she herself was not exempt--
Truly, she herself had suffer'd"--Perish in thy self-contempt!

Overlive it--lower yet--be happy! wherefore should I care?
I myself must mix with action, lest I wither by despair.

What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
Every door is barr'd with gold, and opens but to golden keys.

Every gate is throng'd with suitors, all the markets overflow.
I have but an angry fancy; what is that which I should do?

I had been content to perish, falling on the foeman's ground,
When the ranks are roll'd in vapour, and the winds are laid with sound.

But the jingling of the guinea helps the hurt that Honour feels,
And the nations do but murmur, snarling at each other's heels.

Can I but relive in sadness? I will turn that earlier page.
Hide me from my deep emotion, O thou wondrous Mother-Age!

Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife,
When I heard my days before me, and the tumult of my life;

Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father's field,

And at night along the dusky highway near and nearer drawn,
Sees in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary dawn;

And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him then,
Underneath the light he looks at, in among the throngs of men:

Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new:
That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do:

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales;

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the thunder-storm;

Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

So I triumph'd ere my passion sweeping thro' me left me dry,
Left me with the palsied heart, and left me with the jaundiced eye;

Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are out of joint:
Science moves, but slowly, slowly, creeping on from point to point:

Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion, creeping nigher,
Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly-dying fire.

Yet I doubt not thro' the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widen'd with the process of the suns.

What is that to him that reaps not harvest of his youthful joys,
Tho' the deep heart of existence beat for ever like a boy's?

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,
And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast,
Full of sad experience, moving toward the stillness of his rest.

Hark, my merry comrades call me, sounding on the bugle-horn,
They to whom my foolish passion were a target for their scorn:

Shall it not be scorn to me to harp on such a moulder'd string?
I am shamed thro' all my nature to have loved so slight a thing.

Weakness to be wroth with weakness! woman's pleasure, woman's pain--
Nature made them blinder motions bounded in a shallower brain:

Woman is the lesser man, and all thy passions, match'd with mine,
Are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine--

Here at least, where nature sickens, nothing. Ah, for some retreat
Deep in yonder shining Orient, where my life began to beat;

Where in wild Mahratta-battle fell my father evil-starr'd,--
I was left a trampled orphan, and a selfish uncle's ward.

Or to burst all links of habit--there to wander far away,
On from island unto island at the gateways of the day.

Larger constellations burning, mellow moons and happy skies,
Breadths of tropic shade and palms in cluster, knots of Paradise.

Never comes the trader, never floats an European flag,
Slides the bird o'er lustrous woodland, swings the trailer from the crag;

Droops the heavy-blossom'd bower, hangs the heavy-fruited tree--
Summer isles of Eden lying in dark-purple spheres of sea.

There methinks would be enjoyment more than in this march of mind,
In the steamship, in the railway, in the thoughts that shake mankind.

There the passions cramp'd no longer shall have scope and breathing space;
I will take some savage woman, she shall rear my dusky race.

Iron-jointed, supple-sinew'd, they shall dive, and they shall run,
Catch the wild goat by the hair, and hurl their lances in the sun;

Whistle back the parrot's call, and leap the rainbows of the brooks,
Not with blinded eyesight poring over miserable books--

Fool, again the dream, the fancy! but I know my words are wild,
But I count the gray barbarian lower than the Christian child.

I, to herd with narrow foreheads, vacant of our glorious gains,
Like a beast with lower pleasures, like a beast with lower pains!

Mated with a squalid savage--what to me were sun or clime?
I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time--

I that rather held it better men should perish one by one,
Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua's moon in Ajalon!

Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.

Thro' the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day;
Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.

Mother-Age (for mine I knew not) help me as when life begun:
Rift the hills, and roll the waters, flash the lightnings, weigh the Sun.

O, I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set.
Ancient founts of inspiration well thro' all my fancy yet.

Howsoever these things be, a long farewell to Locksley Hall!
Now for me the woods may wither, now for me the roof-tree fall.

Comes a vapour from the margin, blackening over heath and holt,
Cramming all the blast before it, in its breast a thunderbolt.

Let it fall on Locksley Hall, with rain or hail, or fire or snow;
For the mighty wind arises, roaring seaward, and I go.
Nigel Morgan Sep 2012
She was very warm in bed except for her nose, which was more than cold, though not quite frozen. Her bear, who she had folded into her arms but as a prelude to pulling back the covers - no duvees here just scratchy blankets- she placed on her on the pillow. Jellikins was pink and not a proper bear for a nine year old. She'd been her bear since infancy, small and a bit grubby, and pink.
It was still quite dark, silent. She could see her dressing gown hanging on the door - just. There was a movement downstairs; her father making tea perhaps. This was his time of day, the early morning. For as long as she could remember he was up and often out when she woke. Even at Christmas, particularly at Christmas when she sought her mother's bed he was 'out', working or walking in the park . But here at the farm he was here, downstairs, and if she went down now he'd wrap her in a blanket or two and read to her until the light changed through the kitchen window on to the yard, a gradual blueness, then, if it was a clear day she'd watch the sun draw itself from the sea in a golden ball.
She loved it when he read, because he loved to read, and because he loved to read to her, holding her gently in his arms, she would drift off into her own thoughts. Being out with dogs on the cliff paths, the smell of the Christmas tree at home that her mother would decorate tonight, being on the train for six hours with picnicy food, game after game of Go and those strange  word puzzles her father would invent , then the cycle ride with the big downhill rush to Morfyn and the long long push up Rhiw hill in the twilight . . .
Later, after their first breakfast they'd go out into the frozen yard and let the dogs out. Into the old sheds with their simple wooden latches hand-smoothed requiring the barest touch to open; then **** and his mum bounding out, and the little dogs yapping and yapping. Next, to barn and with the knife she'd been trusted with, she waited for the bales to land at her feet, flying out of the darkness up high near the roof. Cutting the baler twine and stuffing it in her coat pocket she opened out the compressed straw ready for Blossom and her friends to munch and scrunch, **** and **** their way through their breakfast.
On a farm the opening and closing of gates was like a little ceremony. Always the same careful ordering of movement; you could only open this gate if you'd closed that . . . you always checked the tail of the chain was the whole way through the loop and secure.
Meanwhile proper morning had arrived: it had been dark, now it was light, properly morning time. She could move all ten beasts on her own, from the Plas field across the yard to the Stack and back again - four gates each way and never a slip.
She had read at school that the beasts spoke to each other on Chrismas Eve, at the moment of the birth, when this baby was born in the stable. Although she doubted this just a little – Who had actually heard them? Was there  a recording perhaps? She wondered what they would say to each other tonight. Surely they spoke to each other all the time. Well, the beasts she knew mooed and grunted constantly. Was it just that we could understand them when suddenly it became Christmas? And how long could they talk for? Just a few minutes, or the rest of the night until the sun rose? She imagined herself opening her bedroom window at midnight to listen to them in the stack yard. She would look up at the sparkly sky, a sky that was so awesome that she and her father would, on a clear night, go up the mountain before bed and stand at the very top to look at the immense upturned bowl of the heavens rising out of the sea on three sides. At home the sky was just a red glow, occasionally the moon rose through the trees in the park, but the stars seemed hardly indistinguishable from passing aeroplanes, only they twinkled and moved. You couldn’t see those fields of stars her father wondered at it here on the mountain, those distant constellations, stars beyond number and time, light years away. Beside which the thought of animals talking to each other for a few minutes at Christmas seemed entirely possible.
Harry J Baxter Jan 2014
I know I didn't treat a lot you right
I'm a closed book with a big bad padlock on it
maybe you could say trust issues
but **** it I love you guys
no ****
(maybe a little)
because no matter where or how I have been
I have had some great people there for me
to keep me walking along that tight rope
without the fear of a body full of broken bones
We climbed hay bales in Drax
and ran away from the farmer in his combine harvester
we let everybody's tires down
and we went to the club and stayed until closing time
until after there were no taxis left
walking four miles home at four in the morning
we had a laugh mate
And to my Yankee friends
The rest of the world may hate you
but I don't
video games all night
ding **** ditch
homecoming and prom
and smoking cigarettes behind best buy
whole days spent on a couch laughing harder than we were high
the bowl we bought together
aptly named Willem Defoe
Marathon movie nights
post virginity loss high fives
telling me you were proud of me
for how I handled my parents' almost divorce
And I'm a cynical, ******* introvert
and at times I never want to see a human being ever again
but when that feeling fades
you guys are the first people I text
r Jul 2014
hay came in rectangular bales
when I was younger, we used
to stack them and make forts
shooting imaginary indians or vc
depending on the weather.

sunny days we killed indians
rainy days were for killing vc.

the war ended and there were no vc
I grew to respect the indians
to learn their history, my history
watching the news, seeing
white men killing indians again
at a place called wounded knee
once again-wounded knee, dad said.

nowdays hay comes in round bales
the vc are our friends, and the indians
aren't worth shooting anymore.

r ~ 7/2/14
 |    wounded knee
 / \
I bounce around from town to town
Never really laying roots
My world is in my duffle
With a second pair of boots

I muddle through with what I have
I'm always on the road
With my thoughts, and few possessions
That's me, always on the go

I do not have a fixed address
My thumb, it leads the way
I've woken up in farmers fields
I've slept near bales of hay
My thumb, it is my compass
I don't reside too long
I move around at random
I'm a lyric with no song

I've slept beneath a starlit sky
Woken up in feather beds
I don't know where I'll be each day
Or where I'll lay my head

I've lived down by the train tracks
Woken up as they go by
I've cavorted with a scarecrow
As the birds still filled the sky

I do not have a fixed address
My thumb, it leads the way
I've woken up in farmers fields
I've slept near bales of hay
My thumb, it is my compass
I don't reside too long
I move around at random
I'm a lyric with no song

I do not like to stick around
To linger, that's not me
When I start to getting comfortable
It's time to leave, be free

I have no one that I'm close to
For to leave would cause them pain
The world is there to travel
And,, I'm off again...
Pagan Paul Mar 2017
Fazzy moams on wivvel crusts
carry jazms on flocked pavs.
Rinkulled witty over sark
unburcoaled plinks of bloo.

Serry nark are they cronking
and fillipas grapples in kloque.
Verx on spappled gurns are they
torting through gattering weems.

Fernol wend the schism klone
Glolling fast in clutty pawk.
Scenty flox drozzle by teas
Nisting on cowt rinnalled dawn.

Yurish casts of nash pigoon
stoz over hinty-hanty bynum.
When in merdeen lemp quimsy
dilly noff flyx and wempwarble.

For loofin under korots mingle
At the imtem tong fallop.
Shoozy bales of cremp deflate
and gwample rooks the plisties.

©Pagan Paul (22/06/16)
From my old notebook I found recently :)
Yes there is a story in it!

This—is the land—the Sunset washes—
These—are the Banks of the Yellow Sea—
Where it rose—or whither it rushes—
These—are the Western Mystery!

Night after Night
Her purple traffic
Strews the landing with Opal Bales—
Merchantmen—poise upon Horizons—
Dip—and vanish like Orioles!
insomniatrical May 2017
Take me to a place where I can be with you.
A place where the ocean meets the sky
And the sunset on the horizon is painted by God's best artisans.

Take me to a place where you'd hold my hand
In a deep evergreen forest,
Lush with thick foliage and dewy from rain.

Take me to a place where I can taste the sweetest fruits on your lips,
Where my senses are overjoyed by a multitude of flavours,
Each one reminding me of you.

Take me to a place,
A field,
The moon and stars shining
And a night as clear as mountain waters.
Take me to that field,
Where the grass grew tall
And hay bales were laid alongside us.
Where the ground was mostly dry
But still damp,
Where regardless, we laid down among the carrot lace
And you were beneath me,
My very definition of beauty.
The moon in your stormy-blue eyes
And a smile playing at your lips
When suddenly,
Your smile disappeared and you looked right at me,
Lips parted.
Instinct took me,
And although inexperienced,
We worked together like oiled machines
With all our gears functioning.
It was the first and the last time,
Coldest and hottest.
It was a raging inferno
And an arctic storm.
I felt like I was stolen of breath
But given new air.
You filled my lungs and intoxicated me,
But I could have never been more sober.

Take me to that place again.
Marshal Gebbie Oct 2009
The stink of fish on earthen streets
A hot wind blows from ochre hills
Black faces shine with brilliant teeth
Street market ***** doth cure all ills.
Redness in her plaited hair
Rhythm in her steady tread
A harmony of balance, she carries
Water jars on her head.
A market girl is singing
As she sits among bananas
The drama in her music
Is as dusty as the street,
It fills the air with magic
As it lilts above street chatter
In the atmosphere of Africa
Where new and ancient meet.

The goat boy herds his docile flock
Through camel trains and bales
The steamer tethered at the dock
Announces that she sails
With billowed steam and mournful wail
It echoes through the town
And the planter and his agent
Bargain with a harried frown.
The bleating of the goat herd
And the stench of fish and dung
Is as ordinary as Africa
In the searing mid day sun.

Zanzibar is spices, Zanzibar is Stone.
Club Zanzibar is whiskey on the rocks
Consumed alone
Or shared upon the balcony
In the shadow of a palm
With the turquoise Indian ocean
Reaching out beyond the arm.
Do you see the dhows are sailing?
Do you see the fishing nets?
Do you hear the oarsmen chanting?
Did you see black muscle flex?
Have you watched the dripping sweat
Cascade on alabaster brow?
Have you inhaled the scent of Africa
And allowed it to allow?

Colobus monkeys in the treetops
Narrow lanes in the bazaar
Dull white walls adorn stone buildings
And the rupee is by far
The favorite tenure of the Island
Since the days when slaves were sold
By Arab camel caravaners
Who traded coin for young black gold.
East and west collide in concert
Africa and Asia blend
The Sultan's mix of race and spice
In Zanzibar, beyond lands end.

Mangere Bridge
3rd June 2008
- From Watching the Ripples Radiate
Terry Collett Mar 2012
Despite the fact
that other local kids

were in the hay barn playing
Jane stood at the barn doors

looking in apprehensively
and you stood beside her

waiting for her to move in
or say something

but she just stood looking in
are we allowed in to play?

she asked
sure as long as we don’t

cause damage to the hay bales
you replied

and she sniffed the air
and moved in

and looked around
the huge barn

with its semi dark
and smells of hay

and captured sun
and warmth

the other kids played
but took no notice

of Jane or you
as you entered

closed the doors
and moved around

the hay strewn floor
haven’t you been

in a hay barn before?
you asked looking

at her bright summer dress
and white socks and sandals

yes years ago
she said

as she paused
at the edge

of the nearest hay bale
and sat down

and you sat beside her
in the semi dark

with sunlight making
small light through cracks

and holes in the walls
I don’t like mice and rats

she said
and I saw one once

in another barn
and it frightened me

you sat in silence
for a few moments

taking in the air and smells
and then the other kids

ran off out side
into the sunlight

talking of playing
down by the pond

and catching things
you sat still

until their voices died off
and then she said

why have you
brought me in here?

you looked at her eyes
in the dull light

and her lips moving
with their small speech

to be alone with you
without prying eyes

you said
oh I see

she replied
and stood up

and climbed upwards
on the hay bales

with you following
behind her

seeing her sway
as she moved

her hands pulling
her upwards

her legs taking each step
onto a hay bale carefully

then having reach
high up in the barn

she sat down
and you sat beside her

if my father saw me here
he’d think things

Jane said
and she looked at you

with her large eyes
what things? you asked

watching her lay back
with her hands

behind her head
I don’t know

he never said
she muttered

as she lay there
she lifted a leg

and her dress
slipped downwards

revealing a glimpse
of naked thigh

that’s parents for you
you uttered

never saying
what they think

or saying things
but don't explain

you lay down
beside her

on the hay
as outside the barn

the soft sound
of pitter patter

on the roof
of sudden rain.
today I caught a leaf
while walking in the park
with your mother and you,
rain falling, weeks after your father
died in Cornwall.

walking through the slight drizzle,
leaves clinging to the front of my shoes,
and yours, and your mother's,
made us look like
foot-soldiers for autumn.

gusts of wind blowing up from the
sheer drops to the Don River
shook more leaves
from the arms of mothertree
which first argued them into life.

the great Niobes of maples
and sumachs and oaks, now weakened,
cling to themselves and shiver.
I resolve to maintain
the memory of their grief.

a breeze shakes loose
a few more leaves -
my hand snakes out
like a wagonmaster's whip
and catches one, to cradle

I put it in the side pocket
of my car door, little knowing
one windy day the following week
it would be gone
as intended

bonaventure Saptel
A born salesman,
my father made all his dough
by selling wool to Fieldcrest, Woolrich and Faribo.

A born talker,
he could sell one hundred wet-down bales
of that white stuff. He could clock the miles and the sales

and make it pay.
At home each sentence he would utter
had first pleased the buyer who'd paid him off in butter.

Each word
had been tried over and over, at any rate,
on the man who was sold by the man who filled my plate.

My father hovered
over the Yorkshire pudding and the beef:
a peddler, a hawker, a merchant and an Indian chief.

Roosevelt! Willkie! and war!
How suddenly gauche I was
with my old-maid heart and my funny teenage applause.

Each night at home
my father was in love with maps
while the radio fought its battles with Nazis and ****.

Except when he hid
in his bedroom on a three-day drunk,
he typed out complex itineraries, packed his trunk,

his matched luggage
and pocketed a confirmed reservation,
his heart already pushing over the red routes of the nation.

I sit at my desk
each night with no place to go,
opening thee wrinkled maps of Milwaukee and Buffalo,

the whole U.S.,
its cemeteries, its arbitrary time zones,
through routes like small veins, capitals like small stones.

He died on the road,
his heart pushed from neck to back,
his white hanky signaling from the window of the Cadillac.

My husband,
as blue-eyed as a picture book, sells wool:
boxes of card waste, laps and rovings he can pull

to the thread
and say Leicester, Rambouillet, Merino,
a half-blood, it's greasy and thick, yellow as old snow.

And when you drive off, my darling,
Yes, sir! Yes, sir! It's one for my dame,
your sample cases branded with my father's name,

your itinerary open,
its tolls ticking and greedy,
its highways built up like new loves, raw and speedy.
Annie Jan 2019
Under sizzling and bleeping
The time runs nigh
Between heaven and hell
In a room, too bright
Runs a body deadly circles
Captured in pipes
While the fellowship falls silent
As the headman decides
To live and let die

Slow, but soon, the dying noise
Leaves a weakly beating heart
Fighting it's own pointless war
No men alive shall ever thwart
And lifes children turn quiet
As they face the final loss
The fact they can´t deny
They live and let die

Now, the silence bales and centers
Around the fallen prey
Slowly, death spreads, like a cancer
Drives the living far away
Until only ease is lagging
In the minds that still stand by
Relief about the outcome
To live and let die
Written 2013, after a very, in a psychological way, exhausting day.
The scarecrow, solitary in the field
Tatty coat, all astray
Looks out over all his land
If he could talk, what would he say.

Summer,autumn, winter too
Wind and rain, clouds of grey
He never flinches from his post
If he could see, what would he say

Children play amoungst the crops
Neatly parcelled bales of hay
Days grow shorter, crisper, cooler
If he could hear, what would he say

Invisable tears and a broken heart
His lonely vigil every day
Timeless days and empty nights
If he could walk, would he walk away.
Bruised Orange Jan 2013
My neighbor mows his grass at night.
Back and forth he marches, pushing his mower in tight, tidy rows.
He has a lovely sprinkler system.  
It keeps his lawn green, and growing, year round.

Also, he decorates.
For fourth of July this year, he hung a light up American flag on his garage door.
He messed up a little, and it hung upside down.  
He never did fix it, but I'm pretty sure he's much more patriotic than I am, even so.  

In October, he hung a giant, painted jack o lantern on his fence, along with a black cat.
They looked nice, friendly even.
He took it down on October 30th, and he kept his porch light off on Halloween night.

I don't remember Thanksgiving, but I'm sure there was something,
A turkey, bales of hay, pumpkins.  
Probably, he wore a Pilgrim's hat to work every day.  
I would have liked to see that.

At Christmas time, there was a light up tree that he planted in his front lawn.
Also, reindeer, those white ones with lights that move their heads up and down.
Best of all, though, he had one of those leg lamps.  Like from that movie, 'The Christmas Story'?
And it was no scaled down version like you might find at Target, let me tell you.  
No, this leg belonged to a woman  five foot seven, at the very least.
I could see it shining from his living room window every single night for a month.

My neighbor mows his grass at night.
Or sometimes at five in the morning, if that is what works best for him that day.
Two or three times a week, I hear him out there mowing.
Yes, even in January.

His wife operates the blower.  
She blows the leaves that fall off my trees and drift into her yard.
She blows them into the middle of the street, then turns, and goes into her house.

Sometimes, the two of them will sit on a bench in their yard.
That bench faces my yard, my front door.
Whenever they sit out there, they look straight ahead while they are talking.  
It FEELS like they are talking about me.

Me, and all my fallen leaves from the Red Oak that have not yet made their way into their lawn.  
Me, and my Bermuda grass that hangs over the side of the curb, crispy and brown.
That grass scares them, threatening to creep across the road and into their own landscape.
Me, and my hooligan children who turn on the water hose in the summertime.
They just let it run while they play and laugh.  
Sometimes, they squirt the cars driving by.
This drives the neighbors bonkers.

I remember when we first moved in, they brought over a casserole, and introduced themselves.
I thought, 'Oh boy, they are gonna be tough.'
And they are.  They are.
eh. alright. it isn't exactly poetry. But I like how it sounds, even so. A narrative something or other.  A good exercise for myself, to address my practically paranoiac fears of JUDGEMENT.  lol  I'd like to toilet paper this couple's lawn.  Nightly.  Then, I'd take my blower, and blast their toilet paper out into the middle of the street.  yeah.
Harry J Baxter Oct 2013
He likes to play pretend
making sense of the make believe
believing all the words
which worked their way
through his windows
he climbs to the top of hay bales
to tumble towards the earth
a heap of laughter
running away from the farmers
perched high atop their tractors
like a tractor beam
he is drawn towards
the endless day dreams
of rainy Mondays
behind classroom windows
but recess is over now
and the bar is open
all night
When the wheat from fields are reaped,  
There's much work yet to be done.
Stalks are then cut and harrowed,
Then they're dried by wind and sun.

The work done by the bailer,
Compacts straw that's in furrows,
After twine tightens the straw,
Each bale off the baler goes.

Today lets forget the gym,    
It's the day that we make straw.
It's time to work our muscles.
From rest it's time to withdraw.

There'll be work on the trailer,  
And there'll be work on the field.
The work is more exhausting,        
Where the wheat had a good field.

Bales are brought to the trailer,    
Where they're thrown then stacked on it.
The work is sure exhausting,
But its not yet time to quit.

Byhe bale escalator, 
To the barn times bales are brought.
When there's no escalator,
We then work more than we ought.

Stacking bales inside the barn,  
Laborious it's there too;
When the bales are put away,
To the kitchen we head to.
Harry J Baxter Jul 2014
We used to play guns with sticks
and we all knew how to die convincingly
with playing cards in our spokes
we summit hills atop motorcycles
we walked through woods
explorers and pioneers
waiting for dinner or supper or bedtime
when summer was another world entirely
and the stains on our clothes
told stories
and not worries
We would carve sticks into spears
with knives our mothers did not know we had
today we hunt pheasant
we never did catch one
but we made dens deep in the woods
and climbed trees until we didn’t know how to get down
the hay bales stacked four stories high
in the farmer’s field
was a jungle gym
and when the farmer chased us away
in his combine harvester
we were playing Jurassic Park
back when girls were silly, annoying little things
that none of us were quite sure why we liked
and fights were forgotten within the hour
we had better things to laugh at
a marble composition book filled with ****** raps
and graffiti designs
we would take stones and make them into entire planets
but before long
our shadows caught up with us
a stick was just a stick
a bike just a way to beat the heat
and we were all too aware
of the special effects
two wars, two wounds
four deployments in ten years
the trauma, the scars
the waste, the tears

a soldier driven to madness
numb warriors driven to drink
a lost decade of blood-lust
gives a nation pause to think

how virtue becomes nightmare
how ideals implode and die
how the paradox of intention
is undermined with hidden lies

fighting wars to **** terrorists
on obscure Afghan plains
generations of young ones
sentenced to death and pain

the ***** of bloodied footprints
march strait to a profiteer’s bank
depositing lucrative spoils of war
fill contracts to build more tanks

woe to the battlefield heroes
who answered a country’s call
decorated with broken families
and home mortgage defaults

a minds discombobulation
nurses a spiritual malaise
fuels emotional breakdowns
kindles smoldering rage

kneeling to medieval potentates
to win hearts of corrupt Afghans
guard Loya Jirgas of narco kingpins
spill blood to defend tribal lands

the call of deranged duty
maniacal as a video game
lines of the real and phantasmagoric
firm only in minds of the insane

the Skype connection broken
won’t see the kids face tonight
a land mine took a buddy’s leg
some ***** will set things right

the brain starts quickly buzzin
a zillion scenes flash in the head
better paint blood on the door jams
the grim reaper gonna thresh the dead

don a suit of Kevlar armor
the invincible angel stalks
to avenge blatant inequities
he suffered here and in Iraq

a land washed by ****** oceans
scarlet splashed on every door
death prowls along dark roads
a passover finds no safe abode

the screaming eyes of the angel
inflamed with red spikes of hate
seeks to still the heaving roil
his raging heart could not abate

he murdered a sleeping family
and found another to share its fate
a desperate act to cleanse himself
to find a profane state of grace

this pilgrim of death was not finished
cool retribution must square accounts
a burnt offering to the Lords of War
speak the deeds sermon on the mount

dragging live and dead bodies
stacking unholy pyres in the hall
no angel to stop this Abraham's hand
this grotesque executioners pall

Staff Sargent Bales was arrested
He now sits in the prison of his thoughts
does his trembling mind have knowledge
of what his awful hands have wrought?

or does a trembling nation
so much in love with war
understand its complicity
with what it should abhor?

the blood of innocents drip
from every American sill
as the passover approaches
the stain invites an angel’s ill will

Music Selection:
Charles Gounod,
Funeral March of a Marionette

Tears of the widower, when he sees
  A late-lost form that sleep reveals,
  And moves his doubtful arms, and feels
Her place is empty, fall like these;

Which weep a loss for ever new,
  A void where heart on heart reposed;
  And, where warm hands have prest and closed,
Silence, till I be silent too.

Which weeps the comrade of my choice,
  An awful thought, a life removed,
  The human-hearted man I loved,
A Spirit, not a breathing voice.

Come Time, and teach me, many years,
  I do not suffer in a dream;
  For now so strange do these things seem,
Mine eyes have leisure for their tears;

My fancies time to rise on wing,
  And glance about the approaching sails,
  As tho' they brought but merchants' bales,
And not the burthen that they bring.
Nigel Morgan Dec 2012

In the photo
she’s striding across the yard
following Blossom and her procession of cows,
from the stack yard to the Home Field
twice a day
after we fed them from bales of hay
untied and thrown in chunks to the manger.
They wheeze and munch,
shuffle and ****,
never to be hurried,
their patience exemplary.
How can a season cycle in such juxtaposition? The feelings of grandeur sputter to an end, summer closes. The promise of beloved holidays sparks the last bit of life to flame. Huddling into coat collars and gloved pockets we challenge the winds to bite back. Orchards, hay bales, ghosts and goblins. I see my benevolent grandfather raking and re-raking mountains of dry leaves as my brother and I delight in the destruction -I miss him. The days become shorter, we draw closer, closer to someone. I recall so strongly a song by the Get Up Kids that takes me back to the days of trick or treat and homecoming queens. That was lifetimes ago. I’ve broken and healed so many times my heart must look like scar tissue. Jaded.  We use to say, “as long as there’s Christmas”. I think this year I’ll ask St. Nick to skip my house. This fireplace has been sealed with hard red brick and wet mortar. None of that matters, really. She needs me, needs me to be strong, to catch her, as if I am the one to fix it. I don’t know how-I never have. I’ve done this all before. This time, I  wish you’d catch me.
Lydia Brents May 2015
A little lamb with hooves of black
Asleep atop rich bales of hay
As heavy thunder fails to wrack
A little lamb with hooves of black
The stallion’s ropes - once taut - lay slack
As braids of rain untie and spray
A little lamb with hooves of black
Asleep atop rich bales of hay
Anthony Williams Jul 2014
In shortening she made me jam roly poly
a Jezebel in a grand fully furnished way aglow
with bold basement statements broad brushed full on
to glaze the way to a plum job whole storey mission
proclaiming sofas as soft as any humble pin cushion
stuffed with unfinished symphonies in a mansion
booming out to empire builders' biggest guns
tended by harems of belly dancing bumble bees
burbling alongside a myriad of louder hues
flowing into bouffant hairstyle shrubs brushed
and blow dried into blooming privacy bushes

but outside she transformed
yet served by outsize platters
prolific with blazing seasonings
glazed with enough sweets
to satisfy a pudding feast
laid before a sumptuous appetite
comforting peahens with broad beans
ripened beside horizons of warm salads
dressed by blooming strawberries
pores plumped up from ladles
dunked deep as finger buns
into sloppy icing barrels
awash with hoarded nuts
of sweet toothed squirrels
engorged to dozing on branch barges
full to the gunnels and slow wallowing
in troughs laden with fatted chugs
rambling across rolling oceans awash
with tranquil rafts of whales nibbling
each morning on shoals expanding
beyond shallows into deep new ports
to offload uncontainable cargo
swung low on sweeping vista nets
dragging tree trunks packed like Jumbo
to land with a thump in wide sided carts

splashing and rocking slowly on their ways
until mopped up by richly saturated bales
of overgrown Danish butter grass pats
resplendent amidst dollops of luscious
double churned cream gateaux farm gates
open for cuddling golden syrup spoons of heat
spreading mellowness deep into the sponge
of unfolded meadows with encyclopedic knowledge
accumulated into increased volumes of decisive “belle”
resounding excitedly across the hills of plenty

chirrups bumping cheekiness into narrow valleys
to settle hawk eyes wide open to opportunities
accumulating it all in seam stretched sack boasts
of the good life storehoused bigger than most
but ready to collect and offload refreshment
like the slow but steady wobbling airships
stretched out resplendent across hay loft skies
fluffed up between a sweating Queen bed cumulus
keen to bounce into cloudless heady ensembles
swung high over thigh slapping oompah band hills

in a tug-of-war snapping heartstring restraint
and low frequency waves of contentment
she apportioned herself and me in generosity
celebrating a fully stocked love stacked larder
sweet with chock-a-block huffs and puffs
and then glad sighs of expansive success
in relief a schmooze diorama all she was after
Summer's glorious bamboozled ardour
by Anthony Williams
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2015
It was my first Cathedral,
Cavernous and nearly silent.
Dark enough that I closed,
My eyes giving them time
To adjust to the depths,
Of it's shadowed blackness.

Languid slanting rays
Of penetrating sunshine,
Alive with moving mists,
Of floating, rotating dust,
The only source of light.

The bittersweet scents,
Of venerable age mixed,
With fodder and animal waste,
Not at all unpleasant to sniff.

Leather tack hung on walls,
Awaiting the call to work.
Long delayed, and overlooked,
Replaced by mechanical steeds,
Wheels and blades of steel.

Neatly festooned wall hooks
Displaying wooden handled
Hard-worn steel hand tools,
Flecked with rust, chipped by use.

The choir was in the rafters,
Pigeons’ and Doves
Cooing Heavenly Hymns.
Occasionally the murmur of,
Feathers flapping on high,
Like the sounds,
Of Angels wings.

I climbed the ladder,
Into the Loft up high,
Followed by a friendly,
Old one eyed Barn Cat,
I recall his name was Cy.

Old Cy who knew,
All the good places,
To explore and secretly hide.
And too, where tasty rodents
Were found in heavenly,
bountiful supply.

That lofty perch,
Among the penetrating
slanting rays of sunlight
Inspired a fathomless hush
of contemplation and inner bliss,
I'd never known before, or since.

We sat silent for many minutes,
In a state of transfixed repose,
Old Cy and I, speaking not a word.  

We crawled among stacked bales,
Of fragrant fresh cut hay,
Like a lofty Fortress built for us,
Playing and imagining,
Endless flights of fantasy,
Long into the eve of day.

Yes, my Grandfather’s
Old wooden Barn,
Was indeed a magical,
Reverent and sacred place,  
As any formal denominational
house, of any faith.

If ever, I truly felt,
The presence of Holy Grace
Surely it was within,
That impressionable
all inspiring place.

Even fleeing memories
of a long ago small boy,
Have not diminished,
That big Cathedral's
Prevailing, exalted space.
Spiritually overseen by,
An old, feline, one-eyed
clergyman named Cy.
Grand old wooden barns are a
disappearing breed.
Standing in various stages of
disrepair and non-use, replaced
by metal clad boring industrial
looking structures.
They are a relic of the past.
But anyone that has memories like
mine, told here will never forget how
grand they were. If you get a chance to
visit one, do so before they are all gone
and see if I was telling the truth.

I was recently in another big old wood
barn and was moved to write about it,
but found this older piece that pretty
much says it all. So it's a re-post.

— The End —