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Sally A Bayan Aug 2018
..


Save from the hidden nests of birds,
it was the only one there...isolated,
like an isle...crested on the leveled
top of a gorge...its way down or up
was through a hand-carved series of
steps on its *****...at its front was a
curved gorge......one would think,
it was trying to cross over

the cottage was small, weather-beaten,
desolate......its wooden walls seemed to
have shrunk...its faded colors proclaimed
its age...its having survived past storms....
from its window, the stream was seen,
and heard, flowing on and on between
these two precipitous valleys.

light came from the sun...and moon,
music was provided by the murmurs of
the forceful wind, the continuous flow of
water on the stream, the stirring of the leaves,
the crackling of branches and twigs, the birds'
singing in the spring...the pounding of heavy
rains on its roof...and countless other hymns
of nature......the dweller had heard them all...

beneath a lonely moon glow,
when nights were cold,
there hovered low 'pon its aged roof,
rounds of layered fog...like a series of
steps....like a stairway to the sky...
fog slyly crept, and wilfully shrouded
the cottage.....it vanished from view,
the two gorges and the stream, hushed,
in the dark loneliness of that secluded
spot......their vulnerabilities, trapped
inside....misshapen silhouettes...

in light and in dark,
the whistles of nearing and departing
boats....were wailing, haunting calls,
piercing the peaceful calm of the valleys, or,
maybe, the stilled complacence of the cottage,
or...of the one living in that lonely cottage,
...lost, or gone astray, now weary and worn,
willing to be found...longing to be reunited
.......with the light and warmth of love...

the cottage, the gorges, and the stream
would be loneliest,
without the cottage dweller...


Sally

© Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
August 27th, 2018
"...no man is an island..."
Nicole Dawn May 2015
There once was a little thatch cottage,
With little happy children,
A little green garden,
And a perfect little family.

Then the little children's father
Got cancer and died.
And the perfect little family
In the little thatch cottage,
Was not so perfect anymore.

The little children grew up,
And soon moved away.
And the little children's mother,
Now a little old lady,
Was a little more lonely.

The little old lady
Then passed away,
In the little thatch cottage.
No one lived there again.

The little thatch cottage,
Got surrounded by the forest,
Then was struck by lightening,
And burned to the ground.

The little thatch cottage,
Is now no more.
Nature has taken it.
And it will never be returned.
I don't even know.......
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
She said, ‘You are funny, the way you set yourself up the moment we arrive. You look into every room to see if it’s suitable as a place to work. Is there a table? Where are the plugs? Is there a good chair at the right height? If there isn’t, are there cushions to make it so? You are funny.’
 
He countered this, but his excuse didn’t sound very convincing. He knew exactly what she meant, but it hurt him a little that she should think it ‘funny’. There’s nothing funny about trying to compose music, he thought. It’s not ‘radio in the head’ you know – this was a favourite expression he’d once heard an American composer use. You don’t just turn a switch and the music’s playing, waiting for you to write it down. You have to find it – though he believed it was usually there, somewhere, waiting to be found. But it’s elusive. You have to work hard to detect what might be there, there in the silence of your imagination.
 
Later over their first meal in this large cottage she said, ‘How do you stop hearing all those settings of the Mass that you must have heard or sung since childhood?’ She’d been rehearsing Verdi’s Requiem recently and was full of snippets of this stirring piece. He was a) writing a Mass to celebrate a cathedral’s reordering after a year as a building site, and b) he’d been a boy chorister and the form and order of the Mass was deeply engrained in his aural memory. He only had to hear the plainsong introduction Gloria in Excelsis Deo to be back in the Queen’s chapel singing Palestrina, or Byrd or Poulenc.
 
His ‘found’ corner was in the living room. The table wasn’t a table but a long cabinet she’d kindly covered with a tablecloth. You couldn’t get your feet under the thing, but with his little portable drawing board there was space to sit properly because the board jutted out beyond the cabinet’s top. It was the right length and its depth was OK, enough space for the board and, next to it, his laptop computer. On the floor beside his chair he placed a few of his reference scores and a box of necessary ‘bits’.
 
The room had two large sofas, an equally large television, some unexplainable and instantly dismissible items of decoration, a standard lamp, and a wood burning stove. The stove was wonderful, and on their second evening in the cottage, when clear skies and a stiff breeze promised a cold night, she’d lit it and, as the evening progressed, they basked in its warmth, she filling envelopes with her cards, he struggling with sleep over a book.
 
Despite and because this was a new, though temporary, location he had got up at 5.0am. This is a usual time for composers who need their daily fix of absolute quiet. And here, in this cottage set amidst autumn fields, within sight of a river estuary, under vast, panoramic uninterrupted skies, there was the distinct possibility of silence – all day. The double-glazing made doubly sure of that.
 
He had sat with a mug of tea at 5.10 and contemplated the silence, or rather what infiltrated the stillness of the cottage as sound. In the kitchen the clock ticked, the refrigerator seemed to need a period of machine noise once its door had been opened. At 6.0am the central heating fired up for a while. Outside, the small fruit trees in the garden moved vigorously in the wind, but he couldn’t hear either the wind or a rustle of leaves.  A car droned past on the nearby road. The clear sky began to lighten promising a fine day. This would certainly do for silence.
 
His thoughts returned to her question of the previous evening, and his answer. He was about to face up to his explanation. ‘I empty myself of all musical sound’, he’d said, ‘I imagine an empty space into which I might bring a single note, a long held drone of a note, a ‘d’ above middle ‘c’ on a chamber ***** (seeing it’s a Mass I’m writing).  Harrison Birtwistle always starts on an ‘e’. A ‘d’ to me seems older and kinder. An ‘e’ is too modern and progressive, slightly brash and noisy.’
 
He can see she is quizzical with this anecdotal stuff. Is he having me on? But no, he is not having her on. Such choices are important. Without them progress would be difficult when the thinking and planning has to stop and the composing has to begin. His notebook, sitting on his drawing board with some first sketches, plays testament to that. In this book glimpses of music appear in rhythmic abstracts, though rarely any pitches, and there are pages of written description. He likes to imagine what a new work is, and what it is not. This he writes down. Composer Paul Hindemith reckoned you had first to address the ‘conditions of performance’. That meant thinking about the performers, the location, above all the context. A Mass can be, for a composer, so many things. There were certainly requirements and constraints. The commission had to fulfil a number of criteria, some imposed by circumstance, some self-imposed by desire. All this goes into the melting ***, or rather the notebook. And after the notebook, he takes a large piece of A3 paper and clarifies this thinking and planning onto (if possible) a single sheet.
 
And so, to the task in hand. His objective, he had decided, is to focus on the whole rather than the particular. Don’t think about the Kyrie on its own, but consider how it lies with the Gloria. And so with the Sanctus & Benedictus. How do they connect to the Agnus Dei. He begins on the A3 sheet of plain paper ‘making a map of connections’. Kyrie to Gloria, Gloria to Credo and so on. Then what about Agnus Dei and the Gloria? Is there going to be any commonality – in rhythm, pace and tempo (we’ll leave melody and harmony for now)? Steady, he finds himself saying, aren’t we going back over old ground? His notebook has pages of attempts at rhythmizing the text. There are just so many ways to do this. Each rhythmic solution begets a different slant of meaning.
 
This is to be a congregational Mass, but one that has a role for a 4-part choir and ***** and a ‘jazz instrument’. Impatient to see notes on paper, he composes a new introduction to a Kyrie as a rhythmic sketch, then, experimentally, adds pitches. He scores it fully, just 10 bars or so, but it is barely finished before his critical inner voice says, ‘What’s this for? Do you all need this? This is showing off.’ So the filled-out sketch drops to the floor and he examines this element of ‘beginning’ the incipit.
 
He remembers how a meditation on that word inhabits the opening chapter of George Steiner’s great book Grammars of Creation. He sees in his mind’s eye the complex, colourful and ornate letter that begins the Lindesfarne Gospels. His beginnings for each movement, he decides, might be two chords, one overlaying the other: two ‘simple’ diatonic chords when sounded separately, but complex and with a measure of mystery when played together. The Mass is often described as a mystery. It is that ritual of a meal undertaken by a community of people who in the breaking of bread and wine wish to bring God’s presence amongst them. So it is a mystery. And so, he tells himself, his music will aim to hold something of mystery. It should not be a comment on that mystery, but be a mystery itself. It should not be homely and comfortable; it should be as minimal and sparing of musical commentary as possible.
 
When, as a teenager, he first began to set words to music he quickly experienced the need (it seemed) to fashion accompaniments that were commentaries on the text the voice was singing. These accompaniments did not underpin the words so much as add a commentary upon them. What lay beneath the words was his reaction, indeed imaginative extension of the words. He eschewed then both melisma and repetition. He sought an extreme independence between word and music, even though the word became the scenario of the music. Any musical setting was derived from the composition of the vocal line.  It was all about finding the ‘key’ to a song, what unlocked the door to the room of life it occupied. The music was the room where the poem’s utterance lived.
 
With a Mass you were in trouble for the outset. There was a poetry of sorts, but poetry that, in the countless versions of the vernacular, had lost (perhaps had never had) the resonance of the Latin. He thought suddenly of the supposed words of William Byrd, ‘He who sings prays twice’. Yes, such commonplace words are intercessional, but when sung become more than they are. But he knew he had to be careful here.
 
Why do we sing the words of the Mass he asks himself? Do we need to sing these words of the Mass? Are they the words that Christ spoke as he broke bread and poured wine to his friends and disciples at his last supper? The answer is no. Certainly these words of the Mass we usually sing surround the most intimate words of that final meal, words only the priest in Christ’s name may articulate.
 
Write out the words of the Mass that represent its collective worship and what do you have? Rather non-descript poetry? A kind of formula for collective incantation during worship? Can we read these words and not hear a surrounding music? He thinks for a moment of being asked to put new music to words of The Beatles. All you need is love. Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Oh bla dee oh bla da life goes on. Now, now this is silliness, his Critical Voice complains. And yet it’s not. When you compose a popular song the gap between some words scribbled on the back of an envelope and the hook of chords and melody developed in an accidental moment (that becomes a way of clothing such words) is often minimal. Apart, words and music seem like orphans in a storm. Together they are home and dry.
 
He realises, and not for the first time, that he is seeking a total musical solution to the whole of the setting of those words collectively given voice to by those participating in the Mass.
 
And so: to the task in hand. His objective: to focus on the whole rather than the particular.  Where had he heard that thought before? - when he had sat down at his drawing board an hour and half previously. He’d gone in a circle of thought, and with his sketch on the floor at his feet, nothing to show for all that effort.
 
Meanwhile the sun had risen. He could hear her moving about in the bathroom. He went to the kitchen and laid out what they would need to breakfast together. As he poured milk into a jug, primed the toaster, filled the kettle, the business of what might constitute a whole solution to this setting of the Mass followed him around the kitchen and breakfast room like a demanding child. He knew all about demanding children. How often had he come home from his studio to prepare breakfast and see small people to school? - more often than he cared to remember. And when he remembered he became sad that it was no more.  His children had so often provided a welcome buffer from sessions of intense thought and activity. He loved the walk to school, the first quarter of a mile through the park, a long avenue of chestnut trees. It was always the end of April and pink and white blossoms were appearing, or it was September and there were conkers everywhere. It was under these trees his daughter would skip and even his sons would hold hands with him; he would feel their warmth, their livingness.
 
But now, preparing breakfast, his Critical Voice was that demanding child and he realised when she appeared in the kitchen he spoke to her with a voice of an artist in conversation with his critics, not the voice of the man who had the previous night lost himself to joy in her dear embrace. And he was ashamed it was so.
 
How he loved her gentle manner as she negotiated his ‘coming too’ after those two hours of concentration and inner dialogue. Gradually, by the second cup of coffee he felt a right person, and the hours ahead did not seem too impossible.
 
When she’d gone off to her work, silence reasserted itself. He played his viola for half an hour, just scales and exercises and a few folk songs he was learning by heart. This gathering habit was, he would say if asked, to reassert his musicianship, the link between his body and making sound musically. That the viola seemed to resonate throughout his whole body gave him pleasure. He liked the ****** movement required to produce a flowing sequence of bow strokes. The trick at the end of this daily practice was to put the instrument in its case and move immediately to his desk. No pause to check email – that blight on a morning’s work. No pause to look at today’s list. Back to the work in hand: the Mass.
 
But instead his mind and intention seemed to slip sideways and almost unconsciously he found himself sketching (on the few remaining staves of a vocal experiment) what appeared to be a piano piece. The rhythmic flow of it seemed to dance across the page to be halted only when the few empty staves were filled. He knew this was one of those pieces that addressed the pianist, not the listener. He sat back in his chair and imagined a scenario of a pianist opening this music and after a few minutes’ reflection and reading through allowing her hands to move very slowly and silently a few millimetres over the keys.  Such imagining led him to hear possible harmonic simultaneities, dynamics and articulations, though he knew such things would probably be lost or reinvented on a second imagined ‘performance’. No matter. Now his make-believe pianist sounded the first bar out. It had a depth and a richness that surprised him – it was a fine piano. He was touched by its affect. He felt the possibilities of extending what he’d written. So he did. And for the next half an hour lived in the pastures of good continuation, those rich luxuriant meadows reached by a rickerty rackerty bridge and guarded by a troll who today was nowhere to be seen.
 
It was a curious piece. It came to a halt on an enigmatic, go-nowhere / go-anywhere chord after what seemed a short declamatory coda (he later added the marking deliberamente). Then, after a few minutes reflection he wrote a rising arpeggio, a broken chord in which the consonant elements gradually acquired a rising sequence of dissonance pitches until halted by a repetition. As he wrote this ending he realised that the repeated note, an ‘a’ flat, was a kind of fulcrum around which the whole of the music moved. It held an enigmatic presence in the harmony, being sometimes a g# sometimes an ‘a’ flat, and its function often different. It made the music take on a wistful quality.
 
At that point he thought of her little artists’ book series she had titled Tide Marks. Many of these were made of a concertina of folded pages revealing - as your eyes moved through its pages - something akin to the tide’s longitudinal mark. This centred on the page and spread away both upwards and downwards, just like those mirror images of coloured glass seen in a child’s kaleidoscope. No moment of view was ever quite the same, but there were commonalities born of the conditions of a certain day and time.  His ‘Tide Mark’ was just like that. He’d followed a mark made in his imagination from one point to another point a little distant. The musical working out also had a reflection mechanism: what started in one hand became mirrored in the other. He had unexpectedly supplied an ending, this arpegiated gesture of finality that wasn’t properly final but faded away. When he thought further about the role of the ending, he added a few more notes to the arpeggio, but notes that were not be sounded but ghosted, the player miming a press of the keys.
 
He looked at the clock. Nearly five o’clock. The afternoon had all but disappeared. Time had retreated into glorious silence . There had been three whole hours of it. How wonderful that was after months of battling with the incessant and draining turbulence of sound that was ever present in his city life. To be here in this quiet cottage he could now get thoroughly lost – in silence. Even when she was here he could be a few rooms apart, and find silence.
 
A week more of this, a fortnight even . . . but he knew he might only manage a few days before visitors arrived and his long day would be squeezed into the early morning hours and occasional uncertain periods when people were out and about.
 
When she returned, very soon now, she would make tea and cut cake, and they’d sit (like old people they wer
Marian Jun 2013
Down a long lane
With a sunset in the west
Flowers here and there
Tall firs and pines
From in the distance
The song of a bubbling creek
Comes from the dark beautiful forest
Where shade mingles with twilight skies
Only the faint painting of a sunset
Is left in the celestial veil of
Sky now
Slowly the colors
Bleed and fade
Then suddenly all together vanish
As I walk down this lane
Listening to the evening sounds
Crickets, cicadas, and katydids
The song of the whippoorwill
And the solo of the wood thrush
Makes me dance alone
On that long lane
Now I skip and now I jump
And now I twirl around
'Til I make my way to that sequestered cottage
That makes beauty sing
And happy tears cry
Some say it's just a cottage
Nothing fancy or grand
But in my heart I know
That this cottage is
A Home Sweet Home indeed
And I will always remember
This scene I created and painted in my head
Perhaps this painted journeys
Will help my broken heart heal
And my broken wings mend
Whenever I think of
Sunset Cottage

*~Marian~
I don't know if its just me but when you make a poem and describe what you imagine and create long fascinating journeys its like...like your on the best vacation EVER!!!! :) ~<3
Candy Glidden Jul 2010
Down by the lake, in the cottage made of stone
The porch is taken over by all the flowers grown.
The walkway needs weeded, and the chimney needs repairs
There are holes in the wood that we used to build the stairs.
The windows are fogged over from the dust in the air
Underneath the shade tree sits my worn out rocking chair.
Inside is full of cob webs, and smells of filthy must
The kitchen sink is tarnished, and covered in rust.
The bathrooms are molded from the absence of use
The wooden floors are covered with a thin coat of dew.
From the lack of attention and tender loving care
The beauty of the cottage has vanished in thin air.
If the time were taken to show how much we cared
The beauty of the cottage, and the warmth would still be there.
Over time it faded, the need of caring hands
Now down by the lake, the lonely cottage stands.
Copyright2004   Candy R. Glidden
Rangzeb Hussain Mar 2010
Long ago in shadows when the world was in magic robed,
Thus begins this tragic tale from times old,
A Mother and a bright girl did have a cottage near a hill,
On the edge of a creeping forest did they live.

Poor they were yet happy too with songs at dawn,
Nor did their stomachs in hunger churn or yawn,
Life was hard but they got by with chickens hatching hatching,
Eyes in the night always watching watching.

The Mother did always caution her delightful daughter,
“Freia, don’t be a lamb to the slaughter,
Wrap your apple blossom face from the dead eyes of dogs,
Beware the men who haunt the forest fog.”

The bright days were dreamed away in peace and solitude,
No neighbours did intrude,
Time slipped away over the misty mountains and innocent lambs,
The years ran on, so silently they ran.

One day in late autumn when Freia had maidenhood reached,
She was asked to gather wood for heat,
The days were getting shorter and the spiked nights were colder,
Shadows scratched by their door.

“Give me my red scarf quick for I want to be a girl good!
For you I will get sticks of tinder wood!”
But before she let go her dancing daughter dear
The Mother did speak of fear.

“Freia, hush and listen! Return quickly for I am in fear soaking,
Watch out for the wet croaking Water-Goblin
Who reigns and dines beneath the river and hides in woodbine,
Take heed, Lady Night upon the sky shows her signs.”

“Never fear, dear Mother wise of mine,” said Freia,
“Blind Mistress Night, ha!
She will never ever catch or lay her black claws upon me,
Just wait and see! Back I will be.”

Freia skipped and slipped into the forest loud with sound,
She was collecting wood from the ground
When an idea came darting and burrowed into her curious mind,
“There’s no Water-Goblin! It’s a tale to scare and blind.”

And to prove her Mother wrong about tales tall and long
She went to the riverbank to sing a song,
The place was dark and no bird sang in the gloomy twilight,
Bright bones upon the bank caught her sight.

A frosty wind licked her and goose-pimples did appear,
Her spine chilled and shivered,
She tried to brush off the terror in which she was crippled,
Upon the river her eyes spied a ripple.

Something was swimming and straight to her heading!
Her legs grew heavy and she stopped humming,
She stayed rooted as up her legs crawled spidery lice,
She stood like a statue carved out of ice.

Bubbles were breaking above the tar-like water ring,
The gap closing between her and the thing,
“O, why did I to this dead river come running and singing?
How I wish I was at home skipping!”

It was as if some magic older than time kept her frozen,
Freia had thus been chosen,
The gap between her and the creature was fast closing,
If only she was at home safely dozing!

She tried to shout but only dry silence puffed out,
Her eyes bulged, she was clouded in doubt,
Tears fell upon her cheeks but she still could not scream,
Cruel, O how wrong everything now seemed!

Something dark, something bleeding green greed
Crept from the water with fluid speed,
The creature from the river wrapped a long strong arm
And held Freia’s gentle palms.

“Mine!” it gurgled through gnashing sharp teeth.
“Please, no!” spoke Freia in fever’s heat.
“Bride you will be!” the scaly creature hugged and hissed,
With jagged lips he did upon Freia plant a kiss.

The Water-Goblin, for indeed it was he,
Dragged away Freia by the knee,
Into the cold and dank river he waded,
O, how his touch she hated!

“I’ll drown!” Freia screamed, “To the shore take me!”
“Please, no!” she tried to sense make him see,
“I’m sure to slip and sink and in the water drown and weep!”
“Will not,” spoke he, “Magic bubble I shall for you weave!”

He spun his murky magic and just as he had promised and hissed,
A large air bubble circled Freia’s body and hips,
He lowered her ever deeper into his Netherworld Kingdom,
Up above the sun into the horizon did drown.

The green-eyed Water-Goblin a wedding banquet did hold,
It was a hideous party truth be told,
The guests he had invited made Freia’s skin crawl,
Demons of all kinds smiled and prowled.

The poor girl dizzily danced with the greedy groom,
Her speech slurred and darkness loomed,
Her pulse quickened and her breath came in bursts short,
Her husband’s nails did pinch and hurt.

A year and a day passed away like a carnivorous nightmare
And Freia birthed a baby golden haired,
“Pretty child,” grunted the Water-Goblin, “Is it a boy?”
“No, it’s a girl,” spoke Freia with joy.

Freia enjoyed the happiness by and by tick,
But soon she became homesick,
She wished to see her Mother and to her show the baby,
In that watery Kingdom she was but a trophy.

“Please let me visit my mother?” she kept pleading.
“Never!” he kept repeating.
“Please?” Freia was all honey, clever and charming.
“Never ever!” he was no more laughing.

And so it went on, and on, each and every day,
The Water-Goblin did for an end pray,
“Wife go then,” he one day gave in and readily flipped,
“Back you must come!” he spat through rotted lips.  

“Go now,” he gestured with claws ******
And at the child in the crib he pointed,
“The baby tender and sweet will with me stay,
Come back or else she pays.”

Freia begged, “To my dear Mother I want to baby display.”
“Hark and hear!” he kicked the cot of clay,
“Listen to my dread law. The child here plays.
Return to me by dark of this day.”

He took her to the surface and released her from the spell
Which kept her prisoner in the river red,
She went away yet still she heard a warning burning in her ears,
“Be back before dark or else they be tears!”

When to the old cottage she arrived she wiped her tears,
Her Mother was sitting in the rocking chair,
In the very air floated cobwebs, dust and impending doom,
The room was cloaked in layers of grainy gloom.

Freia rushed to her Mother feeling sad and weak,
It had been a year since they last did speak,
Mother and daughter warmly hugged and held each other fast,
“O, my doll, you return at last from the past!”

Freia did to her Mother tell her tale from beginning to end,
She was broken and needed to mend,
To her Mother she told about her beautiful baby,
Outside, the light was fast fading.

“I must now go back to my darling child before dark
Or else my dread lord will bark
And wreck vengeance most sharp upon my precious pearl,
O, how I miss my darling girl!”

“But don’t you see?” began the wise Mother true,
“The Water-Goblin has no magic over you.
It is said that whosoever returns to dry land can the spell break
If they keep the Water-Goblin at bay till daybreak.”

“Will the vile Water-Goblin free me and my child sweet?
And will he shift this curse? O, do speak!”
“Yes! You and the baby will be safe,” the Mother explained,
“The Water-Goblin will crack and be in pain.”

“Now we wait for the night of shadows long,” said the Mother poor
As she bolted the door,
“Go and bar the kitchen windows, I begin to feel sick,
Lock also the house on this side, be quick!”

No sooner had they barred the door of the cottage old
When the wind howled down the valley cold,
Night shrouded the land and black things moved outside,
They heard the rain pelting the hillside.

The storm with titanic volcanic fury spoke,
Everything fled even hope,
The cottage door with demonic force did vibrate,
Something was tearing the cottage.

“Has he come for me?” Freia shook in her Mother’s arms,
“Has my Master come to inflict harm?”
“No!” shouted her Mother over the thunderclaps,
“It’s the storm perhaps.”

Scratching was heard and they began to fearfully pray,
The panel above the doorway shattered,
Sharp shards of glass everywhere cascaded and scattered,
“Come back!” the thing outside banged and battered.

“It’s the wind. Only the wind, darling dear,” the Mother cleared
Her frightened daughter’s eyes full of fear,
The noise and the angry threats of the unseen creature
Drove darts of icy terror into their features.

“When will this nightmare end?” asked Freia with concern.
Replied the Mother, “Dawn is about to be born.
This Water-Goblin has to go back to his Kingdom before sunrise
Or else he will lose his life and prize.”

Crash! Something broke, splinters of wood in the air flew,
Cracked claws clawed across morning dew,
A hairy paw with nails long and sharp shot through the opening
Above the door and for the lock began searching.

A heartrending howl of frustration then was heard,
Without warning the probing fist did disappear
And there was an unnatural silence in the morning land,
The Hour of the dead Wolf was at hand.

Bang! Something outside the door had horribly burst,
Something had been flung with frightful force
But the cottage door was strong and held firm and fast
The Mother dryly spoke, “The terror has passed.”

“Has it?” said Freia as she with caution went to unhook the lock,
The handle was cold and her heart still in shock,
Her brow and hands wet with the nightmare’s perspiration,
She paused before the door in desperation.

Something lay on the ground before the door all blood and bone,
The sight would bring tears even to a stone,
Freia saw what the Water-Goblin had used to batter the door with,
O, how she wished to stitch her eyelids!

For there lay the lifeless body of her baby on the earth,
This was the baby to whom she had given birth,
Only a small finger remained of the golden curled girl,
The Water-Goblin’s curse had done the worst.



©Rangzeb Hussain
Outside Words Oct 2018
At an unknown time of night at our cottage in northern Michigan…
My younger brother and I heard strange noises coming from the beach again…
We looked up at the ceiling and then the window…
As the voices from outside, in a lively allegro…
Grew softer and louder in repeating crescendos…
We skittered out the door and stared in fascination…
For what we saw must have been our imagination…

The door closed with a creak as our feet hit the grass…
It was at that moment we got a look at the mass…
Of stubby foot, hunchback creatures from which the sounds had amassed…

There was about six of them chanting like a choir…
They danced and paraded around our burnt out fire…
As we looked on, we saw our fire raise…
It got brighter as they lifted their hands in waves…
As light betook the blue beach night…
A crowd of colorfully masked gremlins caught us in their sights!

Their feet slowed to a stop and they quieted down…
They stood still as the fire flickered off their weird wooden frowns…
One reached out his hand in a come-here motion…
They seemed to stand and wait with an encouraging notion…
As the fire crackled and the waves tumbled onto the beach…

All I can remember, is for the rest of that summer…
My younger brother and I served as the drummers…
For that quirky marching band of lake sprites…
With which our burnt out fire we’d reignite…
At an unknown time of night at our cottage in northern Michigan…
© Outside Words
Terry Collett Apr 2014
Judith took me
to the derelict cottage
just off the wood
in the Easter recess

from school
she opened up
the back door
and into the kitchen

with its smell
of damp and decay
it's been empty for years
she said

my sister and I
used to come here
and pretend
it was our own cottage

smells horrible
I said
ignore the smell
she said

pretend it's our
own cottage
and we have
just moved in

after marrying
when did we marry?
I asked
after we left school

she said
smiling
she walked into
a larger room

with wide windows
looking out
onto a large
overgrown garden

we could grow
some of our own food
she said
looking out

the window
I looked at
the hanging wallpaper
and a damp patch

on the ceiling
and our children
could play out there
she said

what children?  I asked
when did they come along?
after we married
she said

I don't remember
I said smiling
you will
if you pretend better

she said
moving through
to another room
at the front

I noticed a space
where a picture
must have hung
because it was cleaner

than the rest
of the wall
I like this room
she said

this is where we will sit
and have our TV
and radio
and the children

can sit with us
and we can cuddle them
I nodded playing along
let me show you upstairs

to the bedrooms
she said
so I followed her
up the creaky stairs

her green skirt
swaying as she walked
three bedrooms
she said

one for us
one for our boys
and one for our girls
she stood

in the front bedroom
looking out
over an untidy hedge
onto the road

this is our bedroom
she said
turning around
looking at it all

our bed can go there
she said
pointing to a wall
on the left

and we can have
a dressing table
and dresser
the room was empty

and smelt
over by the right wall
was a pile of ****
some one's been here

and dumped
I said
probably some *****
or hobo

she looked
at the ****
and said
who's dumped

in our bedroom?
I laughed
it isn't our room yet
pretend

she said
I pretended
the **** wasn't there
and we went

into the other bedrooms
and she said
this was where
such and such

will be
and out of the window
the overgrown garden
seemed vast

with an apple orchard
to the left
she touched my hand
and squeezed it

we will be happy here
she said
I looked about
the room years after  

the cottage smelt ranker
and she was dead.
A BOY AND GIRL AND AN EMPTY COTTAGE IN 1962.
Suburbs filled with people filled with dreams
Humble lives are grander than they seem
Children laughing, playing, having fun
In our little old blue cottage ‘neath the sun

Homeless, but not heartless, but not loved
Lives in Hell, but lives for God above
No one loves him, he loves everyone
In our little old blue cottage ‘neath the sun

Love ought to be bright and shining
In all of our hearts
For what it’s worth
It is in mine
We are all brothers and sisters
The sons and daughters
Of Mother Earth
And Father Time

High Schools make the students make the grade
Teenage love is broken and it’s made
They may whine, but they’ll cry when it’s done
In our little old blue cottage ‘neath the sun

Young man in a tizzy, in a trance
Seeing in a lady new romance
Thinking to himself, “She is the one”
In our little old blue cottage ‘neath the sun

Love ought to be bright and shining
In all of our hearts
For what it’s worth
It is in mine
We are all brothers and sisters
The sons and daughters
Of Mother Earth
And Father Time

Love ought to be bright and shining
In all of our hearts
For what it’s worth
It is in mine
We are all brothers and sisters
The sons and daughters
Of Mother Earth
And Father Time

A smile is not something to be worn
And certainly not something to be scorned
For hatred is not something you can feel
Once you see that love is all that is real

Don’t believe the lies
Open up your eyes
Even when it seems that hatred is your friend
There is so much more
Just outside your door
That will greet you if you never hate again

And if you simply open up your heart
You’ll see yourself given a fresh new start
For angels are down here not just above
And no matter how it seems you are loved
This is the last song on Matt and the Hat. No matter who we are, we are family, and there's no point in hatred if you have love, that's what this song's all about, Charlie Brown. This song references the first song on the album "So Much More" to create a bookends feel to the whole thing. In addition to that, the last phrase ("You are loved") is a phrase that changed my life. Every Friday in Choir, they would tell us that, and even though I'm very lucky to have a family as great as I do, somehow I just didn't realized how lucky and loved I am.

And if you're reading this, you are loved too.
Chris Jun 2015


A cottage
at the end of the path,
between maple trees and evergreens,
a front porch, weathered boards,
memories in the grain,
summers by the lake,
green converse allstars,
monopoly into the wee hours of the morning,
pancakes and bacon mornings,
red ginham table cloths,
chasing fireflies, sparklers,
hot dogs on the grille,
spitting watermelon seeds, sticky chins...
a cottage, memories,
and now we make our own,
hand in hand as love
once again sits on the porch,
counting stars and drinking lemonade,
you and me and a cottage
at the end of a path...
*love
Good night beautiful
The wind blew out and the sea rolled in
By the cliffs and the curving beach,
A lonely stretch, they were kith and kin
And had never heard human speech,
A cottage grew by the shore one day
There were figures of surly men,
The sea had muttered, ‘They’re in my bay,’
And the wind replied, ‘Amen!’

The men had left but the cottage stayed
Like a wound to the ocean’s pride,
It split the wind at the valley floor
As it passed there, either side,
The sea said ‘blow it away my friend,
For it grieves my heart to see,
The works of man where I lap the sand,’
And the wind said, ‘Leave it to me!’

It soughed and soared at the eventime
And it scored with sand from the beach,
It struggled to topple the chimney pots
As it surged at one and each,
It lost its puff as the sun came up
When the tide was on the ebb,
‘I couldn’t move it a jot,’ it sighed,
‘And the roof, it felt like lead.’

‘We’ll wait for the winter tides,’ my friend,
‘I’ll surge and wash it away,
I’ll undermine its foundations, then
I’ll sweep it out in the bay.’
But then a flickering candle lit
From a window, facing the shore,
‘There’s something a-move, for a shadow flit
Last night through the cottage door!’

The sea had grumbled, ‘We’ll wait and see
What lingers there in the light,’
The wind peered in at the window pane
And sighed at the wondrous sight,
‘A creature there with its golden hair
And its eyes, a deep sea blue,
That set me quivering in their stare,
So what will they do to you?’

The morning saw at the cottage door
A woman all dressed in white,
She wandered along the empty shore
And the sea had gulped, ‘You’re right!’
He lapped his waters around her feet
As she waded in for a swim,
And said to the wind, ‘She’s warm and sweet,
And it’s sad, but you can’t come in!’

Back on the beach, a gentle breeze
Had whispered the woman dry,
Then flitted, scurrying out to sea,
‘You’ve changed your tune, but why?’
‘I think we needed that cottage there,
In reflection, let it stand.’
The wind just capered along the shore
As the door of the cottage slammed.

David Lewis Paget
Sometimes
When words of the flesh
Cease to prevent the sound of silence
From resonating in my soul
I dream of a cottage
A little cottage by the sea
With rose vines lingering on the walls
And a garden filled to the brim
With daffodils, tulips and daisies
With a little piano
Whose sweet strains
Fill many a winter’s night with unbound pleasure
I dream of days filled with footloose and fancy free frolicking
Exploring new places
Trying new things
Adding more snapshots to the memory shelf
Each day ending with the joy of falling asleep in each other’s arms
I dream of waking up to the sound of your heartbeat
The most significant sound in my world
I dream of hours spent curled up next to you
Simply listening to your voice
A voice more dear to me
Than any beloved melody
I dream of lingering smiles
Of walking down golden lanes
With the rain pouring down our faces
Of growing old together
Like the beautiful leaves
Of a Canadian autumn
I dream of never ever having to say good bye
Just you and me
In our cottage by the sea.....
Ms Ann Thrope Jun 2014
It was definitely winter time as I trotted thru a foot of snow
My eyes were locked onto the sky;
my self-esteem was low
& yet I made it thru the field where daffodils once swayed
The Cottage laid 100 yards before me in mid-day
It's shutters had all fallen off, & only one remained
It's door was busted, rusted--all swallowed in decay
& yet I forced my entrance & stood  in the disarray  
(The fact of the matter is, I liked it better this way...)
The arms of the rocking chair were worn down to the bone
As pots & pans & tupperware were splashed around the home
At least a home it used to be but that was long ago....  
It seems it's one-time owner was knocked far from his thrown...
The windows were all busted out by rocks that laid the ground
The frost had overtook the place by more than heaps & bounds
It was obvious there'd been no visitors for more than many years
The less than freezing temperatures had made this crystal clear
& as I stood there shivering, thinking of the day
When this sight that laid before me was filled with sun & play
The Cottage was so perfectly constructed in this way
Children had once filled the field where daffodils once swayed
& now I had returned to complete my mission from the start
The plan, unfolding perfectly--The destruction of my heart.
Written May 23 2012, edited 2014
We chanced in passing by that afternoon
To catch it in a sort of special picture
Among tar-banded ancient cherry trees,
Set well back from the road in rank lodged grass,
The little cottage we were speaking of,
A front with just a door between two windows,
Fresh painted by the shower a velvet black.
We paused, the minister and I, to look.
He made as if to hold it at arm’s length
Or put the leaves aside that framed it in.
“Pretty,” he said. “Come in. No one will care.”
The path was a vague parting in the grass
That led us to a weathered window-sill.
We pressed our faces to the pane. “You see,” he said,
“Everything’s as she left it when she died.
Her sons won’t sell the house or the things in it.
They say they mean to come and summer here
Where they were boys. They haven’t come this year.
They live so far away—one is out west—
It will be hard for them to keep their word.
Anyway they won’t have the place disturbed.”
A buttoned hair-cloth lounge spread scrolling arms
Under a crayon portrait on the wall
Done sadly from an old daguerreotype.
“That was the father as he went to war.
She always, when she talked about war,
Sooner or later came and leaned, half knelt
Against the lounge beside it, though I doubt
If such unlifelike lines kept power to stir
Anything in her after all the years.
He fell at Gettysburg or Fredericksburg,
I ought to know—it makes a difference which:
Fredericksburg wasn’t Gettysburg, of course.
But what I’m getting to is how forsaken
A little cottage this has always seemed;
Since she went more than ever, but before—
I don’t mean altogether by the lives
That had gone out of it, the father first,
Then the two sons, till she was left alone.
(Nothing could draw her after those two sons.
She valued the considerate neglect
She had at some cost taught them after years.)
I mean by the world’s having passed it by—
As we almost got by this afternoon.
It always seems to me a sort of mark
To measure how far fifty years have brought us.
Why not sit down if you are in no haste?
These doorsteps seldom have a visitor.
The warping boards pull out their own old nails
With none to tread and put them in their place.
She had her own idea of things, the old lady.
And she liked talk. She had seen Garrison
And Whittier, and had her story of them.
One wasn’t long in learning that she thought
Whatever else the Civil War was for
It wasn’t just to keep the States together,
Nor just to free the slaves, though it did both.
She wouldn’t have believed those ends enough
To have given outright for them all she gave.
Her giving somehow touched the principle
That all men are created free and equal.
And to hear her quaint phrases—so removed
From the world’s view to-day of all those things.
That’s a hard mystery of Jefferson’s.
What did he mean? Of course the easy way
Is to decide it simply isn’t true.
It may not be. I heard a fellow say so.
But never mind, the Welshman got it planted
Where it will trouble us a thousand years.
Each age will have to reconsider it.
You couldn’t tell her what the West was saying,
And what the South to her serene belief.
She had some art of hearing and yet not
Hearing the latter wisdom of the world.
White was the only race she ever knew.
Black she had scarcely seen, and yellow never.
But how could they be made so very unlike
By the same hand working in the same stuff?
She had supposed the war decided that.
What are you going to do with such a person?
Strange how such innocence gets its own way.
I shouldn’t be surprised if in this world
It were the force that would at last prevail.
Do you know but for her there was a time
When to please younger members of the church,
Or rather say non-members in the church,
Whom we all have to think of nowadays,
I would have changed the Creed a very little?
Not that she ever had to ask me not to;
It never got so far as that; but the bare thought
Of her old tremulous bonnet in the pew,
And of her half asleep was too much for me.
Why, I might wake her up and startle her.
It was the words ‘descended into Hades’
That seemed too pagan to our liberal youth.
You know they suffered from a general onslaught.
And well, if they weren’t true why keep right on
Saying them like the heathen? We could drop them.
Only—there was the bonnet in the pew.
Such a phrase couldn’t have meant much to her.
But suppose she had missed it from the Creed
As a child misses the unsaid Good-night,
And falls asleep with heartache—how should I feel?
I’m just as glad she made me keep hands off,
For, dear me, why abandon a belief
Merely because it ceases to be true.
Cling to it long enough, and not a doubt
It will turn true again, for so it goes.
Most of the change we think we see in life
Is due to truths being in and out of favour.
As I sit here, and oftentimes, I wish
I could be monarch of a desert land
I could devote and dedicate forever
To the truths we keep coming back and back to.
So desert it would have to be, so walled
By mountain ranges half in summer snow,
No one would covet it or think it worth
The pains of conquering to force change on.
Scattered oases where men dwelt, but mostly
Sand dunes held loosely in tamarisk
Blown over and over themselves in idleness.
Sand grains should sugar in the natal dew
The babe born to the desert, the sand storm
****** mid-waste my cowering caravans—

“There are bees in this wall.” He struck the clapboards,
Fierce heads looked out; small bodies pivoted.
We rose to go. Sunset blazed on the windows.
PERSONIFICATIONS.

Boys.            Girls.
  January.                February.
  March.                  April.
  July.                   May.
  August.                 June.
  October.                September.
  December.               November.

  Robin Redbreasts; Lambs and Sheep; Nightingale and
  Nestlings.

  Various Flowers, Fruits, etc.

  Scene: A Cottage with its Grounds.


[A room in a large comfortable cottage; a fire burning on
the hearth; a table on which the breakfast things have
been left standing. January discovered seated by the
fire.]


          January.

Cold the day and cold the drifted snow,
Dim the day until the cold dark night.

                    [Stirs the fire.

Crackle, sparkle, *****; embers glow:
Some one may be plodding through the snow
Longing for a light,
For the light that you and I can show.
If no one else should come,
Here Robin Redbreast's welcome to a crumb,
And never troublesome:
Robin, why don't you come and fetch your crumb?


  Here's butter for my hunch of bread,
    And sugar for your crumb;
  Here's room upon the hearthrug,
    If you'll only come.

  In your scarlet waistcoat,
    With your keen bright eye,
  Where are you loitering?
    Wings were made to fly!

  Make haste to breakfast,
    Come and fetch your crumb,
  For I'm as glad to see you
    As you are glad to come.


[Two Robin Redbreasts are seen tapping with their beaks at
the lattice, which January opens. The birds flutter in,
hop about the floor, and peck up the crumbs and sugar
thrown to them. They have scarcely finished their meal,
when a knock is heard at the door. January hangs a
guard in front of the fire, and opens to February, who
appears with a bunch of snowdrops in her hand.]

          January.

Good-morrow, sister.

          February.

            Brother, joy to you!
I've brought some snowdrops; only just a few,
But quite enough to prove the world awake,
Cheerful and hopeful in the frosty dew
And for the pale sun's sake.

[She hands a few of her snowdrops to January, who retires
into the background. While February stands arranging
the remaining snowdrops in a glass of water on the
window-sill, a soft butting and bleating are heard outside.
She opens the door, and sees one foremost lamb, with
other sheep and lambs bleating and crowding towards
her.]

          February.

O you, you little wonder, come--come in,
You wonderful, you woolly soft white lamb:
You panting mother ewe, come too,
And lead that tottering twin
Safe in:
Bring all your bleating kith and kin,
Except the ***** ram.

[February opens a second door in the background, and the
little flock files through into a warm and sheltered compartment
out of sight.]

  The lambkin tottering in its walk
    With just a fleece to wear;
  The snowdrop drooping on its stalk
      So slender,--
  Snowdrop and lamb, a pretty pair,
  Braving the cold for our delight,
      Both white,
      Both tender.

[A rattling of doors and windows; branches seen without,
tossing violently to and fro.]

How the doors rattle, and the branches sway!
Here's brother March comes whirling on his way
With winds that eddy and sing.

[She turns the handle of the door, which bursts open, and
discloses March hastening up, both hands full of violets
and anemones.]

          February.

Come, show me what you bring;
For I have said my say, fulfilled my day,
And must away.

          March.

[Stopping short on the threshold.]

    I blow an arouse
    Through the world's wide house
  To quicken the torpid earth:
    Grappling I fling
    Each feeble thing,
  But bring strong life to the birth.
    I wrestle and frown,
    And topple down;
  I wrench, I rend, I uproot;
    Yet the violet
    Is born where I set
  The sole of my flying foot,

[Hands violets and anemones to February, who retires into
the background.]

    And in my wake
    Frail wind-flowers quake,
  And the catkins promise fruit.
    I drive ocean ashore
    With rush and roar,
  And he cannot say me nay:
    My harpstrings all
    Are the forests tall,
  Making music when I play.
    And as others perforce,
    So I on my course
  Run and needs must run,
    With sap on the mount
    And buds past count
  And rivers and clouds and sun,
    With seasons and breath
    And time and death
  And all that has yet begun.

[Before March has done speaking, a voice is heard approaching
accompanied by a twittering of birds. April comes
along singing, and stands outside and out of sight to finish
her song.]

          April.

[Outside.]

  Pretty little three
  Sparrows in a tree,
    Light upon the wing;
    Though you cannot sing
    You can chirp of Spring:
  Chirp of Spring to me,
  Sparrows, from your tree.

  Never mind the showers,
  Chirp about the flowers
    While you build a nest:
    Straws from east and west,
    Feathers from your breast,
  Make the snuggest bowers
  In a world of flowers.

  You must dart away
  From the chosen spray,
    You intrusive third
    Extra little bird;
    Join the unwedded herd!
  These have done with play,
  And must work to-day.

          April.

[Appearing at the open door.]

Good-morrow and good-bye: if others fly,
Of all the flying months you're the most flying.

          March.

You're hope and sweetness, April.

          April.

            Birth means dying,
As wings and wind mean flying;
So you and I and all things fly or die;
And sometimes I sit sighing to think of dying.
But meanwhile I've a rainbow in my showers,
And a lapful of flowers,
And these dear nestlings aged three hours;
And here's their mother sitting,
Their father's merely flitting
To find their breakfast somewhere in my bowers.

[As she speaks April shows March her apron full of flowers
and nest full of birds. March wanders away into the
grounds. April, without entering the cottage, hangs over
the hungry nestlings watching them.]

          April.

  What beaks you have, you funny things,
    What voices shrill and weak;
  Who'd think that anything that sings
    Could sing through such a beak?
  Yet you'll be nightingales one day,
    And charm the country-side,
  When I'm away and far away
    And May is queen and bride.

[May arrives unperceived by April, and gives her a kiss.
April starts and looks round.]

          April.

Ah May, good-morrow May, and so good-bye.

          May.

That's just your way, sweet April, smile and sigh:
Your sorrow's half in fun,
Begun and done
And turned to joy while twenty seconds run.
I've gathered flowers all as I came along,
At every step a flower
Fed by your last bright shower,--

[She divides an armful of all sorts of flowers with April, who
strolls away through the garden.]

          May.

And gathering flowers I listened to the song
Of every bird in bower.
    The world and I are far too full of bliss
    To think or plan or toil or care;
      The sun is waxing strong,
      The days are waxing long,
        And all that is,
          Is fair.

    Here are my buds of lily and of rose,
    And here's my namesake-blossom, may;
      And from a watery spot
      See here forget-me-not,
        With all that blows
          To-day.

    Hark to my linnets from the hedges green,
    Blackbird and lark and thrush and dove,
      And every nightingale
      And cuckoo tells its tale,
        And all they mean
          Is love.

[June appears at the further end of the garden, coming slowly
towards May, who, seeing her, exclaims]

          May.

Surely you're come too early, sister June.

          June.

Indeed I feel as if I came too soon
To round your young May moon
And set the world a-gasping at my noon.
Yet come I must. So here are strawberries
Sun-flushed and sweet, as many as you please;
And here are full-blown roses by the score,
More roses, and yet more.

[May, eating strawberries, withdraws among the flower beds.]

          June.

The sun does all my long day's work for me,
  Raises and ripens everything;
I need but sit beneath a leafy tree
    And watch and sing.

[Seats herself in the shadow of a laburnum.

Or if I'm lulled by note of bird and bee,
  Or lulled by noontide's silence deep,
I need but nestle down beneath my tree
    And drop asleep.

[June falls asleep; and is not awakened by the voice of July,
who behind the scenes is heard half singing, half calling.]

          July.

     [Behind the scenes.]

Blue flags, yellow flags, flags all freckled,
Which will you take? yellow, blue, speckled!
Take which you will, speckled, blue, yellow,
Each in its way has not a fellow.

[Enter July, a basket of many-colored irises slung upon his
shoulders, a bunch of ripe grass in one hand, and a plate
piled full of peaches balanced upon the other. He steals
up to June, and tickles her with the grass. She wakes.]

          June.

What, here already?

          July.

                  Nay, my tryst is kept;
The longest day slipped by you while you slept.
I've brought you one curved pyramid of bloom,

                        [Hands her the plate.

Not flowers, but peaches, gathered where the bees,
As downy, bask and boom
In sunshine and in gloom of trees.
But get you in, a storm is at my heels;
The whirlwind whistles and wheels,
Lightning flashes and thunder peals,
Flying and following hard upon my heels.

[June takes shelter in a thickly-woven arbor.]

          July.

  The roar of a storm sweeps up
    From the east to the lurid west,
  The darkening sky, like a cup,
    Is filled with rain to the brink;

  The sky is purple and fire,
    Blackness and noise and unrest;
  The earth, parched with desire,
      Opens her mouth to drink.

  Send forth thy thunder and fire,
    Turn over thy brimming cup,
  O sky, appease the desire
    Of earth in her parched unrest;
  Pour out drink to her thirst,
    Her famishing life lift up;
  Make thyself fair as at first,
      With a rainbow for thy crest.

  Have done with thunder and fire,
    O sky with the rainbow crest;
  O earth, have done with desire,
    Drink, and drink deep, and rest.

[Enter August, carrying a sheaf made up of different kinds of
grain.]

          July.

Hail, brother August, flushed and warm
And scatheless from my storm.
Your hands are full of corn, I see,
As full as hands can be:

And earth and air both smell as sweet as balm
In their recovered calm,
And that they owe to me.

[July retires into a shrubbery.]

          August.

  Wheat sways heavy, oats are airy,
    Barley bows a graceful head,
  Short and small shoots up canary,
    Each of these is some one's bread;
  Bread for man or bread for beast,
      Or at very least
      A bird's savory feast.

  Men are brethren of each other,
    One in flesh and one in food;
  And a sort of foster brother
    Is the litter, or the brood,
  Of that folk in fur or feather,
      Who, with men together,
      Breast the wind and weather.

[August descries September toiling across the lawn.]

          August.

My harvest home is ended; and I spy
September drawing nigh
With the first thought of Autumn in her eye,
And the first sigh
Of Autumn wind among her locks that fly.

[September arrives, carrying upon her head a basket heaped
high with fruit]


          September.

Unload me, brother. I have brought a few
Plums and these pears for you,
A dozen kinds of apples, one or two
Melons, some figs all bursting through
Their skins, and pearled with dew
These damsons violet-blue.

[While September is speaking, August lifts the basket to the
ground, selects various fruits, and withdraws slowly along
the gravel walk, eating a pear as he goes.]

      
Christmass is come and every hearth
Makes room to give him welcome now
Een want will dry its tears in mirth
And crown him wi a holly bough
Tho tramping neath a winters sky
Oer snow track paths and ryhmey stiles
The huswife sets her spining bye
And bids him welcome wi her smiles
Each house is swept the day before
And windows stuck wi evergreens
The snow is beesomd from the door
And comfort crowns the cottage scenes
Gilt holly wi its thorny ******
And yew and box wi berrys small
These deck the unusd candlesticks
And pictures hanging by the wall

Neighbours resume their anual cheer
Wishing wi smiles and spirits high
Clad christmass and a happy year
To every morning passer bye
Milk maids their christmass journeys go
Accompanyd wi favourd swain
And childern pace the crumping snow
To taste their grannys cake again

Hung wi the ivys veining bough
The ash trees round the cottage farm
Are often stript of branches now
The cotters christmass hearth to warm
He swings and twists his hazel band
And lops them off wi sharpend hook
And oft brings ivy in his hand
To decorate the chimney nook

Old winter whipes his ides bye
And warms his fingers till he smiles
Where cottage hearths are blazing high
And labour resteth from his toils
Wi merry mirth beguiling care
Old customs keeping wi the day
Friends meet their christmass cheer to share
And pass it in a harmless way

Old customs O I love the sound
However simple they may be
What ere wi time has sanction found
Is welcome and is dear to me
Pride grows above simplicity
And spurns it from her haughty mind
And soon the poets song will be
The only refuge they can find

The shepherd now no more afraid
Since custom doth the chance bestow
Starts up to kiss the giggling maid
Beneath the branch of mizzletoe
That neath each cottage beam is seen
Wi pearl-like-berrys shining gay
The shadow still of what hath been
Which fashion yearly fades away

And singers too a merry throng
At early morn wi simple skill
Yet imitate the angels song
And chant their christmass ditty still
And mid the storm that dies and swells
By fits-in humings softly steals
The music of the village bells
Ringing round their merry peals

And when its past a merry crew
Bedeckt in masks and ribbons gay
The ‘Morrice danse’ their sports renew
And act their winter evening play
The clown-turnd-kings for penny praise
Storm wi the actors strut and swell
And harlequin a laugh to raise
Wears his **** back and tinkling bell

And oft for pence and spicy ale
Wi winter nosgays pind before
The wassail singer tells her tale
And drawls her christmass carrols oer
The prentice boy wi ruddy face
And ryhme bepowderd dancing locks
From door to door wi happy pace
Runs round to claim his ‘christmass box’

The block behind the fire is put
To sanction customs old desires
And many a ******* bands are cut
For the old farmers christmass fires
Where loud tongd gladness joins the throng
And winter meets the warmth of may
Feeling by times the heat too strong
And rubs his shins and draws away

While snows the window panes bedim
The fire curls up a sunny charm
Where creaming oer the pitchers rim
The flowering ale is set to warm
Mirth full of joy as summer bees
Sits there its pleasures to impart
While childern tween their parents knees
Sing scraps of carrols oer by heart

And some to view the winter weathers
Climb up the window seat wi glee
Likening the snow to falling feathers
In fancys infant ******
Laughing wi superstitious love
Oer visions wild that youth supplyes
Of people pulling geese above
And keeping christmass in the skyes

As tho the homstead trees were drest
In lieu of snow wi dancing leaves
As. tho the sundryd martins nest
Instead of ides hung the eaves
The childern hail the happy day
As if the snow was april grass
And pleasd as neath the warmth of may
Sport oer the water froze to glass

Thou day of happy sound and mirth
That long wi childish memory stays
How blest around the cottage hearth
I met thee in my boyish days
Harping wi raptures dreaming joys
On presents that thy coming found
The welcome sight of little toys
The christmass gifts of comers round

‘The wooden horse wi arching head
Drawn upon wheels around the room
The gilded coach of ginger bread
And many colord sugar plumb
Gilt coverd books for pictures sought
Or storys childhood loves to tell
Wi many a urgent promise bought
To get tomorrows lesson well

And many a thing a minutes sport
Left broken on the sanded floor
When we woud leave our play and court
Our parents promises for more
Tho manhood bids such raptures dye
And throws such toys away as vain
Yet memory loves to turn her eye
And talk such pleasures oer again

Around the glowing hearth at night
The harmless laugh and winter tale
Goes round-while parting friends delight
To toast each other oer their ale
The cotter oft wi quiet zeal
Will musing oer his bible lean
While in the dark the lovers steal
To kiss and toy behind the screen

The yule cake dotted thick wi plumbs
Is on each supper table found
And cats look up for falling crumbs
Which greedy childern litter round
And huswifes sage stuffd seasond chine
Long hung in chimney nook to drye
And boiling eldern berry wine
To drink the christmass eves ‘good bye’
Amitav Radiance Sep 2014
Far away from the bustling town
There was a dilapidated cottage
Where the evenings were lit up with lamps
Lonely in the valley it stood, touching the horizon
Two lovely souls inhabited the home
Lamps shone brighter than electric lights
There was abundance of love to light up the world
The cottage was a shrine where love resided
There was less embellishments
But the grandeur of the souls there shone through
It was a humbling experience for any traveler from town
Amazed by the rich simplicity
With which it welcomed the weary traveler
1743

The grave my little cottage is,
Where “Keeping house” for thee
I make my parlor orderly
And lay the marble tea.

For two divided, briefly,
A cycle, it may be,
Till everlasting life unite
In strong society.
The cottage in the country
Had become my main retreat,
From the chaos of the city,
From its never ending beat,
From the traffic and the steeples
Of the people and their cares,
I could leave it all behind me
When I went to ground out there.

It was just an hour’s driving
Through some shady country lanes,
Round the far side of a mountain
And by cultivated plains,
Until sheltered in a valley
I could spy our cottage roof,
And my tension would release me
When arriving there, with Ruth.

There was little of the comfort
That we take for granted there,
Just a worn old wooden table
And for each, a shaky chair,
With an ancient cast iron heater
And a kettle on the hob,
We had the whole world beaten,
It was like a gift from God.

At dusk we’d wander hand in hand
Out past the Pepper trees,
When the heat of day was cooling
With a gentle valley breeze,
But lately I had sensed out there
That something must be wrong,
I couldn’t quite get over it,
The feeling was so strong.

I waited ‘til the morning, then
I paced the ground outside,
I hadn’t been mistaken, though
My memory had lied,
I thought there’d been just sixteen paces,
So I told myself,
From cottage to the Pepper tree,
But now, there was but twelve.

I hesitated speaking out,
Then mentioned it to Ruth,
We’ve always been wide open
And there’s nothing like the truth.
She came and paced it out with me,
I think she thought I lied,
Then went back in the cottage and
She sat right down, and cried.

We spent a pensive week out there
And noticed how the floor
Pushed up in different places where
It raised, and jammed the door,
And cracks were re-appearing where
I’d fixed them long ago,
The cottage walls were leaning
And I said, ‘I told you so!’

We paced each day the garden from
The cottage to the trees,
The changes were so slight we prayed
And Ruth would mutter, ‘Please!’
But one day when we paced it from
The Peppers to the den,
‘It’s not twelve paces anymore,’
I said, ‘It’s only ten!’

‘So what’s the explanation, John?’
Ruth said, before we left,
I didn’t have the answers, I
Was feeling so bereft.
‘There’s something scientific
Going on, beyond our ken,
The world has started shrinking,
And it has to do with men,’

‘Perhaps the outward motion of
Our growing Universe,
Has stopped at last, and now the thing
Is moving in reverse!’
I only know our one retreat
Has shrunk to half its size,
The trees are at our old front door,
And distance never lies!

David Lewis Paget
Marian Jul 2013
Way back in the forest
There's a Herdsman's Cottage
Where it is so beautiful and everlasting
Where breezes soft and sweet
Chime out a melody played on the piano
Bass notes and high notes mingle together
In this beautiful world
Which I seem to see in my mind's eye
Where time has seemed to stop...
Lost in the veil of celestial melody
Nocturnal music now plays
Out a pristine symphony
My heart stops still
And I hold my breath
Listening to that music
That seems to good to be true
Played on that enchanted piano
Of bright mahogany
Played right in that forest
Where the Herdsman's Cottage is
Oh how I love it there
In my mind's eye
I'd love to stay here
But I can't
As the picture
All too soon
Fades

*~Marian~
Marian Mar 2013
Part I

Where flowers grow and sway
And where dew kisses their satin cheeks
Tall trees provide shade in the hot summertime
And breezes rustle the forest leaves.

Stars twinkle and wink at Night
Happily so merry and gay
And the Moon watches happily o'er
This beautiful enchanted place.

Coblestones provide such a lovely walkway
Leading to the pretty cottage
Where tall rosebushes climb
The trellis where at Night their buds unfurl.

Such beauty that *ONLY
Jesus can create
And as I stand here gazing at the beauty of Nature
I think of the Holy Creator Who made this whole world
And I think of how Jesus smiles while looking at His creation.

**~Marian~
Anjali Pai Dec 2013
"Tread with caution
Construction ahead"
The sign passes behind her
Lost to ecstasy and joy
She crashes through
Brush and thicket
On dream-paved paths
To where the little white cottage stands
Spit-cleaned  and rag-polished
Waiting

"Caution-sinkholes
Beware fragile earth"
She slows her pace
Bouncing slightly
Till the ground caves in
She leaps as earth sinks at her heels
Consuming her spirit
Leaving dirt on her knees
And the little white cottage stands
Cobwebbed and dust-lined
Waiting

"Beware- cliff ahead
High tide, rough waters"
She approaches warily
The dirt still caked
To the soles of her shoes
But ignores the sign
Arrives unprepared
The cliff comes as sudden as a drop
Land to air in seconds split
Frozen water breaking her fall
And the little cottage stands
Stone-cracked and rain-streaked
Waiting

"Danger- falling rocks
Avalanche prone zone"
The water drags at her fingers
As she crawls to the shore
Huddled under the cliff
Overhang so close
She can smell the mossy wear
Water-clogged she fails to hear
The rumble of stones
Till they crash to the ground
And the little cottage stands
Foggy-black and death-caked
Waiting

"Construction Site-
Building in progress"
The stones crash against her
Down to the sand
She falls to her knees
Pinned by the boulders
With the weight on her shoulders
She remembers the signs
But wishes she remembered sooner
And the water takes her
As the little black cottage stands
Time-worn and wind-torn
Waiting for the future
Never to come
as a child i liked cottage pie
for dinner, we had at lunch time.

i had one best coat, and maybe
a raincoat, gabardine mac. in
summer white plastic mac from
woolworths.

i hear that many ladies have lots
of coats these days,indeed i know
that.

yesterday i ate cottage pie at
lunch time, then bought half
a coat.

sbm.
martin Oct 2016
A bumpy track led to the old cottage. The place hadn't been lived in for quite a while but was intact, a perfect timber-framed Tudor cottage. Even the old thatch didn't leak. Just two rooms downstairs with a small lean-to on the back, the kitchen still had a Dutch oven and an old copper for hot water. A kite-winder staircase followed the central chimney up to two bedrooms.

The place was coming up for auction. Desperately I wanted it. At the auction it made four times what I could afford. The buyer did not move in however. There was a story about him being in prison. At this time the farmers used to dispose of waste straw after combining by burning it in the fields, a practice now banned. That's how the thatch caught alight. There was no attempt to fight the fire because no-one even noticed it. Gales later blew in the gable ends, then the chimney crumbled, brambles grew over it until there was hardly a visible trace of the place left.

I wish I could have saved it. It would have been beautiful. Instead I bought a little terrace, then a detached needing renovation, then the one we have today. I got what I wanted eventually, but I still think about that old place sometimes, and how I wanted it.
The cottage stood at the outer edge
Of the village of Helsomewhere,
It held a slate on the garden gate
That scribbled a ‘Don’t Go There!’
It housed a cat and a resident bat
And something that moved within,
A thing unseen that was quite unclean
With various types of sin.

The folk that entered the garden gate
Had never gone back there twice,
When asked, they shuddered enough to state
‘It’s something that isn’t nice!’
The weeds were thick in the garden, and
Had grown right over the path,
And filled with sand by an old wash-stand
The remains of an iron bath.

Nobody walked the bullock track
That led by the old front door,
To go to town, they’d hurry around
A path that was there before,
The cottage stood like an ancient crone
That blighted the village scene,
A pointing finger, pared to the bone
Reminding them what had been.

At night the Moon rose over the ridge
And it cast an evil glow,
Down through the leaves of the eucalypts
To the cottage, far below,
The windows looked like a pair of eyes
As they stared out through the gloom,
While something was rushing around inside
Like a demon in a tomb.

‘Perhaps we ought to have burnt it,’
Said the senior councilman,
‘It stands alone as our conscience,’ said
The crusty old farmer, Stan,
‘We have to bleed for our own misdeeds,
Including a lack of care,
Each scream was seen as a nightmare dream
When Lloyd was living there.’

When Lloyd was hosting his dinners for
The girls from a nearby town,
Nobody seemed to question them
For Lloyd was always a clown,
But screams would happen at midnight
And would often be heard at dawn,
When Lloyd was digging his garden patch
By the light of the early morn.

And Lloyd would wave to his neighbours as
They hurried along his way,
Give them a cheery greeting, crack a joke
And say ‘Gidday!’
They didn’t suspect that evil lay
Inside in that old tin bath,
The one that is filled with sand, and now
Sits there, outside by the path.

One night the villagers crept on out,
And they took it each by turn,
To set a brand to the cottage, then
Stand back to watch it burn,
But something was rushing about inside
In a black and evil cloak,
While screams had seemed to come in a tide
With the dark and acrid smoke.

The embers were floating far and wide
In the haze of a Harvest Moon,
They set up fires in the eucalypts
That rained in the village gloom,
And every cottage went up in smoke
For the villagers’ part, they share
In the deaths of thirteen innocent girls
In the Hell of Helsomewhere!

David Lewis Paget
An evening all aglow with summer light
And autumn colour—fairest of the year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And Lady Alice shakes her dainty head,
Lifts her arch eyebrows, smiles, and whispers, “Once
He was a little wild!’ ”
With that he laughed;
Then suddenly flung his face upon the grass,
Crying, “Leave me for a little—let me be!”
And in the dusky stillness hugged his woe,
And wept away his pas
DJ Thomas May 2010
We each have a voice and life, it is how we use them not how we might!  

Stop glaciers melting
Huge population movements
Death of progeny


The small reductions in carbon emissions being targeted for 2020 or 2050 - are thought to little to late to slow global warming.  The melting polar ice and glaciers together with our changing weather patterns are now fact. The resulting loss of river systems and rising sea levels will mean the desertification or flooding of agricultural lands and famine, then the migration of populations - starting with the skilled and rich seeking safety, to escalate into the terror of armed bands
warring over water, food, women and land.

By 20 20
Lets hope for twenty twenty
A 20 20


There is now the thought that the huge physical change wrought by global warming can be charted by the escalation in earthquake and volcanic activity.  And that this may eventually trigger huge eruptions in the American and Asian continents,
destroying civilisations to create a planetary volcanic winter.

Again fire and cold
The cycle repeats itself
Destroying nature


Was there a civilisation in deep history before the flood, prior to and during the last ice-age?
This has been researched and written about in great detail during the last twenty years
and many now believe it already proven by scientific review of documents and
thousands of archaeological finds, also by scientists having used the exactness
in the astronomical alignments of ancient monuments
to recalculate there greater age.  

Dead sold souls herd us
Lost mindless finger puppets
Vapid witless words


Sadly, the majority put their reliance and faith in
the actions of lawyer-ed politicians, most of whom evidence
a fixation on their own welfare,  selfish self-glorification needs
and an unwillingness to rock-the-boat once in power*

Politicians thwart
Party politics deafen
Propaganda’s herd


Putting off all radical action required until after the next election.  
Many have gifted away the necessary legal control and power to take national radical action
to a political or trade grouping of nations - in effect retaining only national rights
to go to war, put up taxes, borrow and spend monies.

Please no rhetoric
Complete local transition
Forget politics


We each have a voice and life, it is how we use them not how we might!

Living we give voice
So one voice might yet be heard
All being, believe!


We are left holding our eco-inheritance and children’s future in the palm of our hand.
Please let our love and imagination drive us each forward to make change.


Biosphere a greenhouse 
Target the impossible
Please gift some life soon?


So, we each of us have hard personal choices to make, which will encompass both positive and negative
benefits in terms of our time, lifestyle, health and wealth.  I chose to base my choices solely on how it
might benefit the eco-system and the lives of our children.

My choices are grouped under five headings: transport, food, home, lifestyle and further action. They are:
-  

Transport: Rail; Bus; Coach; Bike;
(I pass woods in bud - a Red Kite hunting twisting, unhurried moments).  
To give up ownership of electric / motor vehicles
and to avoid air travel where possible.


Highly vaporous.
Emissions farting -
barrelling vipers
.

Food: To eat meat/fish only once a week at most;
(Slaughteramas greed - industrial carcase-ed meals. Sheep full of cancer)
To study fast methods of vegetarian cooking; buy local organic foodstuffs;
visit local farmers markets and farm shops; grow my own when possible
and help friends establish vegetable/herb gardens.
To not ever feed, cleave and eat!


Fat shopaholics,
a deadly consumerism.
Cancers meat to eat


Home:   A cottage sized for me, friends and neighbours,
overlooking a wooded valley and trout stream.
Like me a little untidy and basic
.

Crossing the shallows
trout fingerling feed at dawn
White dots steep hill path

Dusk - eight painted queue
river paired mare and foal
Foliage lined dark black


Well positioned to capture the morning sun, airy and light.  
Yet insulated to stay cool or warm. With easy access to mountain bike trails
and long distance bus routes, plus several end-of-line train stations
in energetic cycling distance over the mountains


A differing beat
Quickly fading doubled steps -
pulling separate


Life Style:* A thinking poet mountain biker, living organic
not part of the great noisious noxious ribbons of hurtling tired.

Pressured paced life -
impossible  commitments.
Organic living


Further Action: *I intend to give up meat not because of the terrible cruelty involved in ten billion or more animals
being slaughtered every year to feed the human race, but due to
: 1)  animal farming being a major factor in the burning of 50 million year old rainforests at a rate of one and half acres per second to generate huge volumes of greenhouse gases, destroying the richest habitats on Earth and a principal source of oxygen; and 2)  that these billions of farmed animals
are themselves a major source of greenhouse gases
.

Burning rainforests
Feeding to cleave open and eat
Subsistence farming


With ongoing intensive fishing, the world's fisheries already in crisis and climate change,
it could be that we will run out of wild-caught seafood much earlier than 2030!


Conserve energy -
and natural resources
Don’t waste foolishly


Each of us might have a different view of what globalisation is,
for some this word encapsulates the dangers of our global fast food culture, omnipresent brands,
popular culture, changing diets and the growing use of packaged processed foods
.

Freedom to act sought
Globalisation's curses
Octopus suckers!


For many it is the illegal international trade in endangered species of flora and fauna,  
second only in value to the $350 billion a year global drug trafficking trade that now services
perhaps more than 50 million regular users of ******, ******* and synthetic drugs
.

The label 'globalization' can cover the: spread and integration of different cultures;  
industry moving to low per capita income countries; sweatshops supplying this seasons branded goods
to retail outlets worldwide;  complex international interleaved financial trading instruments being developed
by banks and financial institutions to trade worldwide, create profits and pay huge bonuses, without risk to themselves
.

Globalisation -
orchestrated profiteers,
betting our losses


Many see globalisation as being the beneficial spread of free trade, liberty, democracy and capitalism,
involving the efficient allocation of resources and capital through the spread of technology.
Unelected international bodies and institutions such the World Bank actively promulgate globalisation,
a '‘world government’ promoting close economic ties between nations
.

Enculturation
Our sad indoctrination
Globalization
  

The anti-globalisation movements dislike the corporate and political nature of globalisation,
protesting the resultant harm done to the biosphere, a more rapid and extensive deterioration of the environment
and the unintended but very real consequences of globalisation: the erosion of traditional culture
resulting in social disintegration; a breakdown of democracy; the spread of new diseases;
changes in diet; increasing poverty.
.

I view globalisation and it's propagation as leading to the final destruction
of the world's cultures and civilisations by locked us into a
dogmatic world political doctrine secured through
trade and political alliances of states, institutions
and corporations that remain hell bent on
imposing this world governance. Such
that individual countries governments
cannot consider making substantive
radical change to avert the planet
being pushed into a natural cycle
that will end the human race
.

Caged in Fools World
The people hear heroic call  
Each one a hero
!

The peoples and cultures of the world need perhaps just one western country to
break the legal chains of globalisation and adopt a radical economic regeneration program
designed to make the total transition to a dynamic culture of localised
clean communities centred on the individual not competition*  

Only one tool
National taxation for -
economic change.


Here I begin discussing how global, regional and national economies might
be based on the growth of small organic local economies.
not the repeated foolishness involved in chasing lower cost base manufacture -
each time at great cost to the economy it has migrated from!
Then a further culture becoming totally reliant
on the transport of foodstuffs and goods -
I can here you saying
:

"Oh **** this guy is -
talking about change, changing -
the world we live in!"


Yes, I am and do we have a choice?  But such change will be organic and involve business
in the restructuring and regeneration of economies till we share green economies.  
In small part his is already happening slowly!


Unlock taxation,  
survivals powerful tool.  
Needed now for change!


This is why we need to consider doing something that many of today's
plutocrats, economists, bureaucrats and politicians, would dismiss out of hand or
discuss endlessly in terms of perfectly competitive markets, perverse economic incentives etc


Major solution
National taxation change
Human extinction



WORK in HAND

This haiku sequenced eco-haibun is an ongoing project being penned day-by-day by many that care and take action. Your reactions are all welcome, thank you


**Take back control now.  
Cease all squabbling, achieve act - decisively!

Globalisation's, global control cut away.
Diversity sought

Promote well being.  Act with imagination -
for ecology!

Creating employment -
with local utilities, local food and transport

Incentivise tax,  to create local benefits.
Gain prosperity

Income taxation -  value added tax, aged -
dangerous mistake

Local licensing.  Lead don't follow excuses.
Saviour taxation

Imaginative - energy, food and transport -
local licensing

An alternative - energetic strategy,
greening business

Organic foodstuffs - out compete processed food.
Life promoting health

Healthy government - a healthy population. 
Zero income tax!

Locally taxed - by distance it travelled -
and category

Products bar coded.  Point of agreed production -
and category

Local added tax, by distance it travelled -
and category

Local energy, initiatives supplant.  
Replacing at risk

User energy, capture and storage.  
Eco-dwelling plan

Local water works,  supplanting initiative.
Replace the at risk

User water need.  Capturing and storing half.
Securing supply

Communications, local initiatives.
Protecting our needs

Local healthy food, life saving initiative.
Planting guaranteed

Sort unemployment, local work available.
Agriculture base

Radical transport - initiatives needed.
Change made possible

Season’s colours blur - in ageing contemplation
chilling warm breezes

Ganges dried mud - dust
Armed hungry thirsty tide
Generations despair,  lost

Our politicians -
squabble condemn progeny.
Flee panic and die

HAIKU SEQUENCE FINISHED

HAIBUN PROSE BEING ADDED
Day by Day
This haiku sequenced eco-haibun needs prose and additional haiku added day by day.  Contributing comment and reactions considered for inclusion...

copyright©DJThomas@inbox.com 2010
never, reaching too fars,
next to ancestors graves
always, comes up home,
taste ó salt air, soily spey,
off-white washed cottage
grey in webbed shadows
by the tangles of streams
surrounding to dankness,
cavern into the sun, outs
in great wides and opens,
chimney smokes, signals,
yet whole world is closed
to me, nestled with family,
in wee drab cottage world.
Amitav Radiance Aug 2014
The old cottage over the hillock
Winding and cobbled road to the top
The teak and mahogany in splendor
Vintage style overlooking the modernity
Lion door knockers awakes the silence
Surrounded by antique furniture
In retrospect, says about its eloquent glory
Giving competition to modern architecture
‘Where are the spirits of those who went
Before, do they still survive?’
I said to Alice who pitched our tent
Outside, in the cottage drive.
We couldn’t sleep in the cottage then
There was still a mess to repair,
And rubble lay in the dining room
With dust, most everywhere.

We thought that we were so lucky then
For the cottage and grounds were free,
An ancient Aunt, called Emily Sahnt
Had left in her will, to me.
I’d never met her, the dear old thing
But I raised a glass to her now,
Despite the fact that her neighbours thought
That she was a right old cow!

They said that she was a witch of sorts,
Had given the evil eye,
Had grumbled all round the neighborhood
Had killed some pigs in a sty.
And out in back was a wishing well
Uncovered, that somebody found,
And that’s where Emily met her end,
She fell in the well, and drowned.

I said, ‘I’ll clear it away some day,
The rubble that hid the well,
You never know what it might conceal
A tunnel that leads to Hell!’
And Alice shuddered as Alice does
Whenever I freak her out,
I love to tease her as well as please,
She knows what it’s all about.

There wasn’t time for the well just then,
The cottage was coming first,
We cleared a couple of rooms inside
Moved in, and Alice had cursed,
The paint peeled off from the ceiling and
It dropped in chips to the bed,
We woke, with bits in our mouths and ears
And Alice felt strange in the head.

She felt quite ill for a day or two
Was sick, confused for a spell,
I left her sleeping it off and went
To work in clearing the well,
I dropped a bucket into its depths
For the water, clear and chilled,
And used it up in the cottage then,
And kept the bucket filled.

The groaning started that very night
And a grumbling in the eaves,
I said to Alice, ‘Is that you, Pet?’
Then I heard the crunch of leaves.
There were footsteps round about the place
And I lay, tensed up with fright,
I wasn’t game to be venturing out
In the middle of that dark night.

Alice said she was hearing things
And I tried to calm her down,
We’d burned our boats in moving there
And couldn’t go back to town,
She seemed to be sleeping a lot by day
And plagued with fears at night,
I wanted to do the best for her
What I did, it wasn’t right.

We were using the water from the well
To wash, to cook, for tea,
I suffered from blinding headaches then,
I found, and so did she.
The pigment in her nails had changed
She convulsed, not once, but twice,
I said I’d bring in the doctor just
To get some sound advice.

Alice died in the morning, she
Lay still on the side of the bed,
I shook her a couple of times, she was
So cold, I knew she was dead,
The doctor sent for forensics, and
They checked the place, the well,
There was arsenic in the water there
And the ceiling paint that fell.

I’m lying here in the hospital
But I’m chained, and under guard,
The police think they have a ****** case
And they say I might be charged.
But I had a dream of a rustic crone
Who was clutching Alice hard,
Who said, ‘I don’t want to be alone,
You can walk with me in the yard!’

David Lewis Paget
Senor Negativo Aug 2012
The birth of a child
The marriage of two lovers
It is nothing like dying
The discovery of an underwater house, warm but moist on the inside
Its not the same as if your mind has been reborn.
The gain of perfect calm
Gain of self control, and inner hope.
its not the same as feeling...
you have shrunk, your eyes are sprightly
We have perfect memory, when we remember each other.
when all is chaos
When you lose your all
I'll help you find it,
In our underwater cottage.
How strange to greet, this frosty morn,
In graceful counterfeit of flower,
These children of the meadows, born
Of sunshine and of showers!

How well the conscious wood retains
The pictures of its flower-sown home,
The lights and shades, the purple stains,
And golden hues of bloom!

It was a happy thought to bring
To the dark season's frost and rime
This painted memory of spring,
This dream of summertime.

Our hearts are lighter for its sake,
Our fancy's age renews its youth,
And dim-remembered fictions take
The guise of present truth.

A wizard of the Merrimac,--
So old ancestral legends say,--
Could call green leaf and blossom back
To frosted stem and spray.

The dry logs of the cottage wall,
Beneath his touch, put out their leaves;
The clay-bound swallow, at his call,
Played round the icy eaves.

The settler saw his oaken flail
Take bud, and bloom before his eyes;
From frozen pools he saw the pale
Sweet summer lilies rise.

To their old homes, by man profaned
Came the sad dryads, exiled long,
And through their leafy tongues complained
Of household use and wrong.

The beechen platter sprouted wild,
The pipkin wore its old-time green,
The cradle o'er the sleeping child
Became a leafy screen.

Haply our gentle friend hath met,
While wandering in her sylvan quest,
Haunting his native woodlands yet,
That Druid of the West;

And while the dew on leaf and flower
Glistened in the moonlight clear and still,
Learned the dusk wizard's spell of power,
And caught his trick of skill.

But welcome, be it new or old,
The gift which makes the day more bright,
And paints, upon the ground of cold
And darkness, warmth and light!

Without is neither gold nor green;
Within, for birds, the birch-logs sing;
Yet, summer-like, we sit between
The autumn and the spring.

The one, with bridal blush of rose,
And sweetest breath of woodland balm,
And one whose matron lips unclose
In smiles of saintly calm.

Fill soft and deep, O winter snow!
The sweet azalea's oaken dells,
And hide the banks where roses blow
And swing the azure bells!

O'erlay the amber violet's leaves,
The purple aster's brookside home,
Guard all the flowers her pencil gives
A live beyond their bloom.

And she, when spring comes round again,
By greening ***** and singing flood
Shall wander, seeking, not in vain
Her darlings of the wood.
K Balachandran Mar 2016
She is cottage cheese, not yet aged
her mad lover, I am  ready to go great lengths
in any which way that suits to enhance
her taste, making her variously pleasing to the palate .

I'll be fruit and sugar or else salt and pepper,
all I want is to blend and bond completely with her,
if she is good with granola and cinnamon, why not?
have no doubt, I am that in a minute, an all weather partner.

— The End —