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Sarah Spang Jun 2015
He told her she was pottery; a vase with grooves and cracks.
The patterns of the history she hid behind her back.

Within his words he layered in- like thread upon a loom-
The sweetest undercurrent to illuminate that gloom.

In certain cultures, he decreed, when pottery is cracked
They aggrandize them with gleaming gold to bring their splendor back

For they believe, with certainty, once damage has been wrought
Those tiny cracks, now filled with light, hold truths that can't be taught.
On Hellespont, guilty of true love’s blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoin’d by Neptune’s might;
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair,
And offer’d as a dower his burning throne,
Where she could sit for men to gaze upon.
The outside of her garments were of lawn,
The lining purple silk, with gilt stars drawn;
Her wide sleeves green, and border’d with a grove,
Where Venus in her naked glory strove
To please the careless and disdainful eyes
Of proud Adonis, that before her lies;
Her kirtle blue, whereon was many a stain,
Made with the blood of wretched lovers slain.
Upon her head she ware a myrtle wreath,
From whence her veil reach’d to the ground beneath;
Her veil was artificial flowers and leaves,
Whose workmanship both man and beast deceives;
Many would praise the sweet smell as she past,
When ’twas the odour which her breath forth cast;
And there for honey bees have sought in vain,
And beat from thence, have lighted there again.
About her neck hung chains of pebble-stone,
Which lighten’d by her neck, like diamonds shone.
She ware no gloves; for neither sun nor wind
Would burn or parch her hands, but, to her mind,
Or warm or cool them, for they took delight
To play upon those hands, they were so white.
Buskins of shells, all silver’d, used she,
And branch’d with blushing coral to the knee;
Where sparrows perch’d, of hollow pearl and gold,
Such as the world would wonder to behold:
Those with sweet water oft her handmaid fills,
Which as she went, would chirrup through the bills.
Some say, for her the fairest Cupid pin’d,
And looking in her face, was strooken blind.
But this is true; so like was one the other,
As he imagin’d Hero was his mother;
And oftentimes into her ***** flew,
About her naked neck his bare arms threw,
And laid his childish head upon her breast,
And with still panting rock’d there took his rest.
So lovely-fair was Hero, Venus’ nun,
As Nature wept, thinking she was undone,
Because she took more from her than she left,
And of such wondrous beauty her bereft:
Therefore, in sign her treasure suffer’d wrack,
Since Hero’s time hath half the world been black.

Amorous Leander, beautiful and young
(Whose tragedy divine MusÆus sung),
Dwelt at Abydos; since him dwelt there none
For whom succeeding times make greater moan.
His dangling tresses, that were never shorn,
Had they been cut, and unto Colchos borne,
Would have allur’d the vent’rous youth of Greece
To hazard more than for the golden fleece.
Fair Cynthia wish’d his arms might be her sphere;
Grief makes her pale, because she moves not there.
His body was as straight as Circe’s wand;
Jove might have sipt out nectar from his hand.
Even as delicious meat is to the taste,
So was his neck in touching, and surpast
The white of Pelops’ shoulder: I could tell ye,
How smooth his breast was, and how white his belly;
And whose immortal fingers did imprint
That heavenly path with many a curious dint
That runs along his back; but my rude pen
Can hardly blazon forth the loves of men,
Much less of powerful gods: let it suffice
That my slack Muse sings of Leander’s eyes;
Those orient cheeks and lips, exceeding his
That leapt into the water for a kiss
Of his own shadow, and, despising many,
Died ere he could enjoy the love of any.
Had wild Hippolytus Leander seen,
Enamour’d of his beauty had he been.
His presence made the rudest peasant melt,
That in the vast uplandish country dwelt;
The barbarous Thracian soldier, mov’d with nought,
Was mov’d with him, and for his favour sought.
Some swore he was a maid in man’s attire,
For in his looks were all that men desire,—
A pleasant smiling cheek, a speaking eye,
A brow for love to banquet royally;
And such as knew he was a man, would say,
“Leander, thou art made for amorous play;
Why art thou not in love, and lov’d of all?
Though thou be fair, yet be not thine own thrall.”

The men of wealthy Sestos every year,
For his sake whom their goddess held so dear,
Rose-cheek’d Adonis, kept a solemn feast.
Thither resorted many a wandering guest
To meet their loves; such as had none at all
Came lovers home from this great festival;
For every street, like to a firmament,
Glister’d with breathing stars, who, where they went,
Frighted the melancholy earth, which deem’d
Eternal heaven to burn, for so it seem’d
As if another Pha{”e}ton had got
The guidance of the sun’s rich chariot.
But far above the loveliest, Hero shin’d,
And stole away th’ enchanted gazer’s mind;
For like sea-nymphs’ inveigling harmony,
So was her beauty to the standers-by;
Nor that night-wandering, pale, and watery star
(When yawning dragons draw her thirling car
From Latmus’ mount up to the gloomy sky,
Where, crown’d with blazing light and majesty,
She proudly sits) more over-rules the flood
Than she the hearts of those that near her stood.
Even as when gaudy nymphs pursue the chase,
Wretched Ixion’s shaggy-footed race,
Incens’d with savage heat, gallop amain
From steep pine-bearing mountains to the plain,
So ran the people forth to gaze upon her,
And all that view’d her were enamour’d on her.
And as in fury of a dreadful fight,
Their fellows being slain or put to flight,
Poor soldiers stand with fear of death dead-strooken,
So at her presence all surpris’d and tooken,
Await the sentence of her scornful eyes;
He whom she favours lives; the other dies.
There might you see one sigh, another rage,
And some, their violent passions to assuage,
Compile sharp satires; but, alas, too late,
For faithful love will never turn to hate.
And many, seeing great princes were denied,
Pin’d as they went, and thinking on her, died.
On this feast-day—O cursed day and hour!—
Went Hero thorough Sestos, from her tower
To Venus’ temple, where unhappily,
As after chanc’d, they did each other spy.

So fair a church as this had Venus none:
The walls were of discolour’d jasper-stone,
Wherein was Proteus carved; and over-head
A lively vine of green sea-agate spread,
Where by one hand light-headed Bacchus hung,
And with the other wine from grapes out-wrung.
Of crystal shining fair the pavement was;
The town of Sestos call’d it Venus’ glass:
There might you see the gods in sundry shapes,
Committing heady riots, ******, rapes:
For know, that underneath this radiant flower
Was Danae’s statue in a brazen tower,
Jove slyly stealing from his sister’s bed,
To dally with Idalian Ganimed,
And for his love Europa bellowing loud,
And tumbling with the rainbow in a cloud;
Blood-quaffing Mars heaving the iron net,
Which limping Vulcan and his Cyclops set;
Love kindling fire, to burn such towns as Troy,
Sylvanus weeping for the lovely boy
That now is turn’d into a cypress tree,
Under whose shade the wood-gods love to be.
And in the midst a silver altar stood:
There Hero, sacrificing turtles’ blood,
Vail’d to the ground, veiling her eyelids close;
And modestly they opened as she rose.
Thence flew Love’s arrow with the golden head;
And thus Leander was enamoured.
Stone-still he stood, and evermore he gazed,
Till with the fire that from his count’nance blazed
Relenting Hero’s gentle heart was strook:
Such force and virtue hath an amorous look.

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is over-rul’d by fate.
When two are stript, long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should lose, the other win;
And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
The reason no man knows, let it suffice,
What we behold is censur’d by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever lov’d, that lov’d not at first sight?

He kneeled, but unto her devoutly prayed.
Chaste Hero to herself thus softly said,
“Were I the saint he worships, I would hear him;”
And, as she spake those words, came somewhat near him.
He started up, she blushed as one ashamed,
Wherewith Leander much more was inflamed.
He touched her hand; in touching it she trembled.
Love deeply grounded, hardly is dissembled.
These lovers parleyed by the touch of hands;
True love is mute, and oft amazed stands.
Thus while dumb signs their yielding hearts entangled,
The air with sparks of living fire was spangled,
And night, deep drenched in misty Acheron,
Heaved up her head, and half the world upon
Breathed darkness forth (dark night is Cupid’s day).
And now begins Leander to display
Love’s holy fire, with words, with sighs, and tears,
Which like sweet music entered Hero’s ears,
And yet at every word she turned aside,
And always cut him off as he replied.
At last, like to a bold sharp sophister,
With cheerful hope thus he accosted her.

“Fair creature, let me speak without offence.
I would my rude words had the influence
To lead thy thoughts as thy fair looks do mine,
Then shouldst thou be his prisoner, who is thine.
Be not unkind and fair; misshapen stuff
Are of behaviour boisterous and rough.
O shun me not, but hear me ere you go.
God knows I cannot force love as you do.
My words shall be as spotless as my youth,
Full of simplicity and naked truth.
This sacrifice, (whose sweet perfume descending
From Venus’ altar, to your footsteps bending)
Doth testify that you exceed her far,
To whom you offer, and whose nun you are.
Why should you worship her? Her you surpass
As much as sparkling diamonds flaring glass.
A diamond set in lead his worth retains;
A heavenly nymph, beloved of human swains,
Receives no blemish, but ofttimes more grace;
Which makes me hope, although I am but base:
Base in respect of thee, divine and pure,
Dutiful service may thy love procure.
And I in duty will excel all other,
As thou in beauty dost exceed Love’s mother.
Nor heaven, nor thou, were made to gaze upon,
As heaven preserves all things, so save thou one.
A stately builded ship, well rigged and tall,
The ocean maketh more majestical.
Why vowest thou then to live in Sestos here
Who on Love’s seas more glorious wouldst appear?
Like untuned golden strings all women are,
Which long time lie untouched, will harshly jar.
Vessels of brass, oft handled, brightly shine.
What difference betwixt the richest mine
And basest mould, but use? For both, not used,
Are of like worth. Then treasure is abused
When misers keep it; being put to loan,
In time it will return us two for one.
Rich robes themselves and others do adorn;
Neither themselves nor others, if not worn.
Who builds a palace and rams up the gate
Shall see it ruinous and desolate.
Ah, simple Hero, learn thyself to cherish.
Lone women like to empty houses perish.
Less sins the poor rich man that starves himself
In heaping up a mass of drossy pelf,
Than such as you. His golden earth remains
Which, after his decease, some other gains.
But this fair gem, sweet in the loss alone,
When you fleet hence, can be bequeathed to none.
Or, if it could, down from th’enameled sky
All heaven would come to claim this legacy,
And with intestine broils the world destroy,
And quite confound nature’s sweet harmony.
Well therefore by the gods decreed it is
We human creatures should enjoy that bliss.
One is no number; maids are nothing then
Without the sweet society of men.
Wilt thou live single still? One shalt thou be,
Though never singling ***** couple thee.
Wild savages, that drink of running springs,
Think water far excels all earthly things,
But they that daily taste neat wine despise it.
Virginity, albeit some highly prize it,
Compared with marriage, had you tried them both,
Differs as much as wine and water doth.
Base bullion for the stamp’s sake we allow;
Even so for men’s impression do we you,
By which alone, our reverend fathers say,
Women receive perfection every way.
This idol which you term virginity
Is neither essence subject to the eye
No, nor to any one exterior sense,
Nor hath it any place of residence,
Nor is’t of earth or mould celestial,
Or capable of any form at all.
Of that which hath no being do not boast;
Things that are not at all are never lost.
Men foolishly do call it virtuous;
What virtue is it that is born with us?
Much less can honour be ascribed thereto;
Honour is purchased by the deeds we do.
Believe me, Hero, honour is not won
Until some honourable deed be done.
Seek you for chastity, immortal fame,
And know that some have wronged Diana’s name?
Whose name is it, if she be false or not
So she be fair, but some vile tongues will blot?
But you are fair, (ay me) so wondrous fair,
So young, so gentle, and so debonair,
As Greece will think if thus you live alone
Some one or other keeps you as his own.
Then, Hero, hate me not nor from me fly
To follow swiftly blasting infamy.
Perhaps thy sacred priesthood makes thee loath.
Tell me, to whom mad’st thou that heedless oath?”

“To Venus,” answered she and, as she spake,
Forth from those two tralucent cisterns brake
A stream of liquid pearl, which down her face
Made milk-white paths, whereon the gods might trace
To Jove’s high court.
He thus replied: “The rites
In which love’s beauteous empress most delights
Are banquets, Doric music, midnight revel,
Plays, masks, and all that stern age counteth evil.
Thee as a holy idiot doth she scorn
For thou in vowing chastity hast sworn
To rob her name and honour, and thereby
Committ’st a sin far worse than perjury,
Even sacrilege against her deity,
Through regular and formal purity.
To expiate which sin, kiss and shake hands.
Such sacrifice as this Venus demands.”

Thereat she smiled and did deny him so,
As put thereby, yet might he hope for moe.
Which makes him quickly re-enforce his speech,
And her in humble manner thus beseech.
“Though neither gods nor men may thee deserve,
Yet for her sake, whom you have vowed to serve,
Abandon fruitless cold virginity,
The gentle queen of love’s sole enemy.
Then shall you most resemble Venus’ nun,
When Venus’ sweet rites are performed and done.
Flint-breasted Pallas joys in single life,
But Pallas and your mistress are at strife.
Love, Hero, then, and be not tyrannous,
But heal the heart that thou hast wounded thus,
Nor stain thy youthful years with avarice.
Fair fools delight to be accounted nice.
The richest corn dies, if it be not reaped;
Beauty alone is lost, too warily kept.”

These arguments he used, and many more,
Wherewith she yielded, that was won before.
Hero’s looks yielded but her words made war.
Women are won when they begin to jar.
Thus, having swallowed Cupid’s golden hook,
The more she strived, the deeper was she strook.
Yet, evilly feigning anger, strove she still
And would be thought to grant against her will.
So having paused a while at last she said,
“Who taught thee rhetoric to deceive a maid?
Ay me, such words as these should I abhor
And yet I like them for the orator.”

With that Leander stooped to have embraced her
But from his spreading arms away she cast her,
And thus bespake him: “Gentle youth, forbear
To touch the sacred garments which I wear.
Upon a rock and underneath a hill
Far from the town (where all is whist and still,
Save that the sea, playing on yellow sand,
Sends forth a rattling murmur to the land,
Whose sound allures the golden Morpheus
In silence of the night to visit us)
My turret stands and there, God knows, I play.
With Venus’ swans and sparrows all the day.
A dwarfish beldam bears me company,
That hops about the chamber where I lie,
And spends the night (that might be better spent)
In vain discourse and apish merriment.
Come thither.” As she spake this, her tongue tripped,
For unawares “come thither” from her slipped.
And suddenly her former colour changed,
And here and there her eyes through anger ranged.
And like a planet, moving several ways,
At one self instant she, poor soul, assays,
Loving, not to love at all, and every part
Strove to resist the motions of her heart.
And hands so pure, so innocent, nay, such
As might have made heaven stoop to have a touch,
Did she uphold to Venus, and again
Vowed spotless chastity, but all in vain.
Cupid beats down her prayers with his wings,
Her vows above the empty air he flings,
All deep enraged, his sinewy bow he bent,
And shot a shaft that burning from him went,
Wherewith she strooken, looked so dolefully,
As made love sigh to see his tyranny.
And as she wept her tears to pearl he turned,
And wound them on his arm and for her mourned.
Then towards the palace of the destinies
Laden with languishment and grief he flies,
And to those stern nymphs humbly made request
Both might enjoy each other, and be blest.
But with a ghastly dreadful
And now, as Dawn rose from her couch beside Tithonus—harbinger of
light alike to mortals and immortals—the gods met in council and with
them, Jove the lord of thunder, who is their king. Thereon Minerva
began to tell them of the many sufferings of Ulysses, for she pitied
him away there in the house of the nymph Calypso.
  “Father Jove,” said she, “and all you other gods that live in
everlasting bliss, I hope there may never be such a thing as a kind
and well-disposed ruler any more, nor one who will govern equitably. I
hope they will be all henceforth cruel and unjust, for there is not
one of his subjects but has forgotten Ulysses, who ruled them as
though he were their father. There he is, lying in great pain in an
island where dwells the nymph Calypso, who will not let him go; and he
cannot get back to his own country, for he can find neither ships
nor sailors to take him over the sea. Furthermore, wicked people are
now trying to ****** his only son Telemachus, who is coming home
from Pylos and Lacedaemon, where he has been to see if he can get news
of his father.”
  “What, my dear, are you talking about?” replied her father, “did you
not send him there yourself, because you thought it would help Ulysses
to get home and punish the suitors? Besides, you are perfectly able to
protect Telemachus, and to see him safely home again, while the
suitors have to come hurry-skurrying back without having killed him.”
  When he had thus spoken, he said to his son Mercury, “Mercury, you
are our messenger, go therefore and tell Calypso we have decreed
that poor Ulysses is to return home. He is to be convoyed neither by
gods nor men, but after a perilous voyage of twenty days upon a raft
he is to reach fertile Scheria, the land of the Phaeacians, who are
near of kin to the gods, and will honour him as though he were one
of ourselves. They will send him in a ship to his own country, and
will give him more bronze and gold and raiment than he would have
brought back from Troy, if he had had had all his prize money and
had got home without disaster. This is how we have settled that he
shall return to his country and his friends.”
  Thus he spoke, and Mercury, guide and guardian, slayer of Argus, did
as he was told. Forthwith he bound on his glittering golden sandals
with which he could fly like the wind over land and sea. He took the
wand with which he seals men’s eyes in sleep or wakes them just as
he pleases, and flew holding it in his hand over Pieria; then he
swooped down through the firmament till he reached the level of the
sea, whose waves he skimmed like a cormorant that flies fishing
every hole and corner of the ocean, and drenching its thick plumage in
the spray. He flew and flew over many a weary wave, but when at last
he got to the island which was his journey’s end, he left the sea
and went on by land till he came to the cave where the nymph Calypso
lived.
  He found her at home. There was a large fire burning on the
hearth, and one could smell from far the fragrant reek of burning
cedar and sandal wood. As for herself, she was busy at her loom,
shooting her golden shuttle through the warp and singing
beautifully. Round her cave there was a thick wood of alder, poplar,
and sweet smelling cypress trees, wherein all kinds of great birds had
built their nests—owls, hawks, and chattering sea-crows that occupy
their business in the waters. A vine loaded with grapes was trained
and grew luxuriantly about the mouth of the cave; there were also four
running rills of water in channels cut pretty close together, and
turned hither and thither so as to irrigate the beds of violets and
luscious herbage over which they flowed. Even a god could not help
being charmed with such a lovely spot, so Mercury stood still and
looked at it; but when he had admired it sufficiently he went inside
the cave.
  Calypso knew him at once—for the gods all know each other, no
matter how far they live from one another—but Ulysses was not within;
he was on the sea-shore as usual, looking out upon the barren ocean
with tears in his eyes, groaning and breaking his heart for sorrow.
Calypso gave Mercury a seat and said: “Why have you come to see me,
Mercury—honoured, and ever welcome—for you do not visit me often?
Say what you want; I will do it for be you at once if I can, and if it
can be done at all; but come inside, and let me set refreshment before
you.
  As she spoke she drew a table loaded with ambrosia beside him and
mixed him some red nectar, so Mercury ate and drank till he had had
enough, and then said:
  “We are speaking god and goddess to one another, one another, and
you ask me why I have come here, and I will tell you truly as you
would have me do. Jove sent me; it was no doing of mine; who could
possibly want to come all this way over the sea where there are no
cities full of people to offer me sacrifices or choice hecatombs?
Nevertheless I had to come, for none of us other gods can cross
Jove, nor transgress his orders. He says that you have here the most
ill-starred of alf those who fought nine years before the city of King
Priam and sailed home in the tenth year after having sacked it. On
their way home they sinned against Minerva, who raised both wind and
waves against them, so that all his brave companions perished, and
he alone was carried hither by wind and tide. Jove says that you are
to let this by man go at once, for it is decreed that he shall not
perish here, far from his own people, but shall return to his house
and country and see his friends again.”
  Calypso trembled with rage when she heard this, “You gods,” she
exclaimed, to be ashamed of yourselves. You are always jealous and
hate seeing a goddess take a fancy to a mortal man, and live with
him in open matrimony. So when rosy-fingered Dawn made love to
Orion, you precious gods were all of you furious till Diana went and
killed him in Ortygia. So again when Ceres fell in love with Iasion,
and yielded to him in a thrice ploughed fallow field, Jove came to
hear of it before so long and killed Iasion with his thunder-bolts.
And now you are angry with me too because I have a man here. I found
the poor creature sitting all alone astride of a keel, for Jove had
struck his ship with lightning and sunk it in mid ocean, so that all
his crew were drowned, while he himself was driven by wind and waves
on to my island. I got fond of him and cherished him, and had set my
heart on making him immortal, so that he should never grow old all his
days; still I cannot cross Jove, nor bring his counsels to nothing;
therefore, if he insists upon it, let the man go beyond the seas
again; but I cannot send him anywhere myself for I have neither
ships nor men who can take him. Nevertheless I will readily give him
such advice, in all good faith, as will be likely to bring him
safely to his own country.”
  “Then send him away,” said Mercury, “or Jove will be angry with
you and punish you”‘
  On this he took his leave, and Calypso went out to look for Ulysses,
for she had heard Jove’s message. She found him sitting upon the beach
with his eyes ever filled with tears, and dying of sheer
home-sickness; for he had got tired of Calypso, and though he was
forced to sleep with her in the cave by night, it was she, not he,
that would have it so. As for the day time, he spent it on the rocks
and on the sea-shore, weeping, crying aloud for his despair, and
always looking out upon the sea. Calypso then went close up to him
said:
  “My poor fellow, you shall not stay here grieving and fretting
your life out any longer. I am going to send you away of my own free
will; so go, cut some beams of wood, and make yourself a large raft
with an upper deck that it may carry you safely over the sea. I will
put bread, wine, and water on board to save you from starving. I
will also give you clothes, and will send you a fair wind to take
you home, if the gods in heaven so will it—for they know more about
these things, and can settle them better than I can.”
  Ulysses shuddered as he heard her. “Now goddess,” he answered,
“there is something behind all this; you cannot be really meaning to
help me home when you bid me do such a dreadful thing as put to sea on
a raft. Not even a well-found ship with a fair wind could venture on
such a distant voyage: nothing that you can say or do shall mage me go
on board a raft unless you first solemnly swear that you mean me no
mischief.”
  Calypso smiled at this and caressed him with her hand: “You know a
great deal,” said she, “but you are quite wrong here. May heaven above
and earth below be my witnesses, with the waters of the river Styx-
and this is the most solemn oath which a blessed god can take—that
I mean you no sort of harm, and am only advising you to do exactly
what I should do myself in your place. I am dealing with you quite
straightforwardly; my heart is not made of iron, and I am very sorry
for you.”
  When she had thus spoken she led the way rapidly before him, and
Ulysses followed in her steps; so the pair, goddess and man, went on
and on till they came to Calypso’s cave, where Ulysses took the seat
that Mercury had just left. Calypso set meat and drink before him of
the food that mortals eat; but her maids brought ambrosia and nectar
for herself, and they laid their hands on the good things that were
before them. When they had satisfied themselves with meat and drink,
Calypso spoke, saying:
  “Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, so you would start home to your
own land at once? Good luck go with you, but if you could only know
how much suffering is in store for you before you get back to your own
country, you would stay where you are, keep house along with me, and
let me make you immortal, no matter how anxious you may be to see this
wife of yours, of whom you are thinking all the time day after day;
yet I flatter myself that at am no whit less tall or well-looking than
she is, for it is not to be expected that a mortal woman should
compare in beauty with an immortal.”
  “Goddess,” replied Ulysses, “do not be angry with me about this. I
am quite aware that my wife Penelope is nothing like so tall or so
beautiful as yourself. She is only a woman, whereas you are an
immortal. Nevertheless, I want to get home, and can think of nothing
else. If some god wrecks me when I am on the sea, I will bear it and
make the best of it. I have had infinite trouble both by land and
sea already, so let this go with the rest.”
  Presently the sun set and it became dark, whereon the pair retired
into the inner part of the cave and went to bed.
  When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Ulysses put
on his shirt and cloak, while the goddess wore a dress of a light
gossamer fabric, very fine and graceful, with a beautiful golden
girdle about her waist and a veil to cover her head. She at once set
herself to think how she could speed Ulysses on his way. So she gave
him a great bronze axe that suited his hands; it was sharpened on both
sides, and had a beautiful olive-wood handle fitted firmly on to it.
She also gave him a sharp adze, and then led the way to the far end of
the island where the largest trees grew—alder, poplar and pine,
that reached the sky—very dry and well seasoned, so as to sail
light for him in the water. Then, when she had shown him where the
best trees grew, Calypso went home, leaving him to cut them, which
he soon finished doing. He cut down twenty trees in all and adzed them
smooth, squaring them by rule in good workmanlike fashion. Meanwhile
Calypso came back with some augers, so he bored holes with them and
fitted the timbers together with bolts and rivets. He made the raft as
broad as a skilled shipwright makes the beam of a large vessel, and he
filed a deck on top of the ribs, and ran a gunwale all round it. He
also made a mast with a yard arm, and a rudder to steer with. He
fenced the raft all round with wicker hurdles as a protection
against the waves, and then he threw on a quantity of wood. By and
by Calypso brought him some linen to make the sails, and he made these
too, excellently, making them fast with braces and sheets. Last of
all, with the help of levers, he drew the raft down into the water.
  In four days he had completed the whole work, and on the fifth
Calypso sent him from the island after washing him and giving him some
clean clothes. She gave him a goat skin full of black wine, and
another larger one of water; she also gave him a wallet full of
provisions, and found him in much good meat. Moreover, she made the
wind fair and warm for him, and gladly did Ulysses spread his sail
before it, while he sat and guided the raft skilfully by means of
the rudder. He never closed his eyes, but kept them fixed on the
Pleiads, on late-setting Bootes, and on the Bear—which men also
call the wain, and which turns round and round where it is, facing
Orion, and alone never dipping into the stream of Oceanus—for Calypso
had told him to keep this to his left. Days seven and ten did he
sail over the sea, and on the eighteenth the dim outlines of the
mountains on the nearest part of the Phaeacian coast appeared,
rising like a shield on the horizon.
  But King Neptune, who was returning from the Ethiopians, caught
sight of Ulysses a long way off, from the mountains of the Solymi.
He could see him sailing upon the sea, and it made him very angry,
so he wagged his head and muttered to himself, saying, heavens, so the
gods have been changing their minds about Ulysses while I was away
in Ethiopia, and now he is close to the land of the Phaeacians,
where it is decreed that he shall escape from the calamities that have
befallen him. Still, he shall have plenty of hardship yet before he
has done with it.”
  Thereon he gathered his clouds together, grasped his trident,
stirred it round in the sea, and roused the rage of every wind that
blows till earth, sea, and sky were hidden in cloud, and night
sprang forth out of the heavens. Winds from East, South, North, and
West fell upon him all at the same time, and a tremendous sea got
up, so that Ulysses’ heart began to fail him. “Alas,” he said to
himself in his dismay, “what ever will become of me? I am afraid
Calypso was right when she said I should have trouble by sea before
I got back home. It is all coming true. How black is Jove making
heaven with his clouds, and what a sea the winds are raising from
every quarter at once. I am now safe to perish. Blest and thrice blest
were those Danaans who fell before Troy in the cause of the sons of
Atreus. Would that had been killed on the day when the Trojans were
pressing me so sorely about the dead body of Achilles, for then I
should have had due burial and the Achaeans would have honoured my
name; but now it seems that I shall come to a most pitiable end.”
  As he spoke a sea broke over him with such terrific fury that the
raft reeled again, and he was carried overboard a long way off. He let
go the helm, and the force of the hurricane was so great that it broke
the mast half way up, and both sail and yard went over into the sea.
For a long time Ulysses was under water, and it was all he could do to
rise to the surface again, for the clothes Calypso had given him
weighed him down; but at last he got his head above water and spat out
the bitter brine that was running down his face in streams. In spite
of all this, however, he did not lose sight of his raft, but swam as
fast as he could towards it, got hold of it, and climbed on board
again so as to escape drowning. The sea took the raft and tossed it
about as Autumn winds whirl thistledown round and round upon a road.
It was as though the South, North, East, and West winds were all
playing battledore and shuttlecock with it at once.
  When he was in this plight, Ino daughter of Cadmus, also called
Leucothea, saw him. She had formerly been a mere mortal, but had
been since raised to the rank of a marine goddess. Seeing in what
great distress Ulysses now was, she had compassion upon him, and,
rising like a sea-gull from the waves, took her seat upon the raft.
  “My poor good man,” said she, “why is Neptune so furiously angry
with you? He
the loss of a child is truly great
it leaves strong men weakened
no wonder then that for Arjuna
it felt like the earth had shaken
and shifted from its axis
leaving his world broken
he forgets that he is the Great Warrior
in this moment he is a father

should he be heartbroken
as his son is dead?
or rejoice
as he died a hero’s death?
or anger
at its unfairness?

in a momentary madness he rages,
“who dared to hurt my darling boy?
who dared my Gandiva defy?
and how was it that he fell alone
weren’t any of you close by?”


under his fierce gaze Yudhisthira trembles
“I’m sorry my brother, I feel your pain,
Abhimanyu was our son too,
foolishly we sent him to his death
that guilt will plague us to our dying day,
but know this-
we tried to protect him
like an egg protects a yolk
we had him surrounded

but fate had other games to play
Jayadratha, King of Sindhu
was our opponent that day,
he played his trump card-
the boon he received from Mahadeva which states
that he shall be able to defy our combined might
on a day that yourself and Keshava are away

against destiny who has a say
he held us prisoner in a duel
and let Abhimanyu escape
deeper and deeper into the cruel clutches
of the Chakravyuha he strayed
the price for our foolishness, with his blood he paid”


Arjuna’s anger now had a target
Jayadratha would his mistake regret
The wielder of the Gandiva makes
A terrifying promise –
“If by sunset tomorrow
Jayadratha’s head does not lay
bleeding in the earth’s embrace
then I shall immolate
myself in the fiery blaze
my name shall be stained with eternal shame”


“why such harsh words, Partha?”, asks Krishna,
“why take such a hasty oath,
what if you fail? Abhimanyu is gone
but there are others
whose dependence upon you is just as it was”


“But Keshava”, Arjuna retorts,
“it was you who had a complaint,
that my arrows had no fire,
that my fighting was spiritless
that I was shirking the Dharma of a warrior,
so now that the flames of passion
are fuelled by my loss
why do you tell me dampen
my vengeance, and besides
with you as my charioteer,
friend and guide,
I am assured
That success will be mine”


“So be it Partha,
It may be that destiny has decreed
that you are Jayadratha’s nemesis,
but be aware, that it will not be easy
our enemies will seize upon this opportunity
to shame you and rid themselves of you
Jayadratha will be well guarded
and if we get past the Kaurava army
to Jayadratha, you must employ
the Pasupatastra-that mighty weapon
gifted to you by Mahadeva himself”


this decision made, they await
the fourteenth day
in the Pandava camp there is anticipation
in the Kaurava camp fear, and anxious preparation
Jayadratha in mortal terror,
would rather the battlefield avoid,
and turn his back and be called a coward
than face Arjuna’s undefeatable missiles
but under Drona’s advice and assurance
he fearfully stays

The fourteenth day dawns
even the Sun God seems excited
he wishes he could stay and watch
the outcome of the fight this day
but the sun cannot stop
it must do its duty
just like the warriors  on the battlefield today

soldiers wither as Arjuna’s wrath
falls as bolts of lighning
assisted by the brave Satyaki
five akshauhinis are decimated
but within a triple vyuha
Jayadratha is still safe
waves and waves of warriors come
and to Yamaloka dispatched
but Jayadratha is not yet encountered
and the sun is low upon the horizon

Fatigue overtakes the battlefield
and the end seems near
in a few minutes the sun will have set-
for the Kaurava’s a welcome relief,
for the Pandava’s their greatest fear!
now Arjuna seems to panic
now he gives in to despair
wishing he could hold back the sun
just till he can exact his revenge!

Krishna realizes his Partha’s  plight
for the sake of justice he must act
with clever insight
this embodiment of the divine
eclipses the sun
behind Narayana’s discus
it is hidden

the world believes
that the sun has set
the mighty Arjuna has fallen!
The Kuarava’s scream in delight,
The Pandava’s crestfallen
Arjuna hangs his head in desperation
he has been unable to fulfill his oath
unable to avenge Abhimanyu’s death

from hiding Jayadratha emerges
cowardly rat now seemingly a lion
“Arjuna, fulfill your promise”, he jeers
“let us see you get on the pyre,
foolish warrior that you are
you dared to clash with
the Kaurava might
now see where your stupidity
has led you, like son like father!”


the entire Kaurava host laughs
overjoyed at seeing Arjuna lost
the greatest of their enemies
will now commit suicide
forever this humiliation
will haunt his brothers
and they shall lose faith
drop down their weapons in
futility and depression
and the war shall be won!

as they rejoice in their ignorance
Krishna intervenes,
suddenly the sun comes out again
bright and shining, as if to say,
“Arjuna is not defeaten!”

Now the tables are turned-
The Kaurava army falls in disarray
in the Pandava camp loud hurrays!
Conches are blown and the fighting resumes
For the second time that day
Jayadratha out in the open feels
The presence of Yama
And Arjuna, his spirits reawakened
looks like a fiery tower
his eyes blazing coals

Krishna speaks: “Quick Arjuna! Do not hesitate
a moment longer,
dispatch your Pasupata with haste,
but remember Jayadratha’s other boon-
the one given to him by his father
that the one who makes his head roll,
will have his own burst into a thousand pieces”


Arjuna obeying stretches his bowstring
The Pasupata is loaded,
a short prayer to Mahadeva said,
the arrow becomes the messenger of death
severing Jayadratha’s head off his shoulder
an expression of shock-the last look on his face
for a moment his body stands
and then falls with a thud to the ground

the Pasupata carries the head afar,
outside the battlefield and deposits
it in the lap of Jayadratha’s father
who seeing the  disembodied head his son
lets its fall on the ground in shock and awe
and instantly in fulfillment of the boon he gave
his head explodes into a thousand fragments

the Sun God bids adieu
now the day is done

the oath is fulfilled,
Arjuna still lives,
The Kauravas are filled with dread
for they know that Arjuna will not cease
his anger will not be appeased
with only the death of Jayadratha
he will now be a fiercer
and a stronger foe

On the Pandava side
Victory drums beat
Abhimanyu has been avenged!

- Vijayalakshmi Harish
19.09.2012
Copyright © Vijayalakshmi Harish
Gandiva : Arjuna's divine bow
Mahadeva: Lord Shiva
Keshava: Another name for Krishna
Partha : Another name for Arjuna
Pasupatastra: A weapon gifted to Arjuna by Lord Shiva
Akshauhini: Ancient battle unit consisting of 21,870 chariots (Sanskrit ratha); 21,870 elephants; 65,610 cavalry and 109,350 infantry.
vyuha:battle formation
Yamaloka: the realm of Yama, the God of Death/The Underworld
Narayana : Lord Vishnu

Jayadratha: Once while trying to abduct Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, Jayadratha was humiliated by the Pandavas. In order to avenge his humiliation, he underwent rigourous penance to please Lord Shiva from whom he received a boon that he could hold all the Pandavas at bay for one day when Arjuna and Lord Krishna were not around. He used that boon on the day Abhimanyu was to enter the Chakravyuha, thereby preventing the Pandava brothers from protecting Abhimanyu. He was thus the root cause of Abhimanyu's death.
Jayadratha also had another boon from his father, i.e; who ever caused the head of Jayadratha to fall on the ground, will be killed immediately by having his own head burst into 1000 pieces.
Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven firstborn,
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam
May I express thee unblam’d?  since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear”st thou rather pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell?  before the sun,
Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
Escap’d the Stygian pool, though long detain’d
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Though hard and rare:  Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
Revisit’st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So  thick a drop serene hath quench’d their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil’d.  Yet not the more
Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt,
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow’d feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit:  nor sometimes forget
So were I equall’d with them in renown,
Thy sovran command, that Man should find grace;
Blind Thamyris, and blind Maeonides,
And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note.  Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer’s rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature’s works to me expung’d and ras’d,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
Now had the Almighty Father from above,
From the pure empyrean where he sits
High thron’d above all highth, bent down his eye
His own works and their works at once to view:
About him all the Sanctities of Heaven
Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv’d
Beatitude past utterance; on his right
The radiant image of his glory sat,
His only son; on earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two
Of mankind in the happy garden plac’d
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Uninterrupted joy, unrivall’d love,
In blissful solitude; he then survey’d
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet,
On the bare outside of this world, that seem’d
Firm land imbosom’d, without firmament,
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.
Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage
Transports our Adversary?  whom no bounds
Prescrib’d no bars of Hell, nor all the chains
Heap’d on him there, nor yet the main abyss
Wide interrupt, can hold; so bent he seems
On desperate revenge, that shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head.  And now,
Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way
Not far off Heaven, in the precincts of light,
Directly towards the new created world,
And man there plac’d, with purpose to assay
If him by force he can destroy, or, worse,
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert;
For man will hearken to his glozing lies,
And easily transgress the sole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience:  So will fall
He and his faithless progeny:  Whose fault?
Whose but his own?  ingrate, he had of me
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all the ethereal Powers
And Spirits, both them who stood, and them who fail’d;
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have given sincere
Of true allegiance, constant faith or love,
Where only what they needs must do appear’d,
Not what they would?  what praise could they receive?
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
When will and reason (reason also is choice)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil’d,
Made passive both, had serv’d necessity,
Not me?  they therefore, as to right belong$ ‘d,
So were created, nor can justly accuse
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate,
As if predestination over-rul’d
Their will dispos’d by absolute decree
Or high foreknowledge they themselves decreed
Their own revolt, not I; if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less proved certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse or shadow of fate,
Or aught by me immutably foreseen,
They trespass, authors to themselves in all
Both what they judge, and what they choose; for so
I form’d them free: and free they must remain,
Till they enthrall themselves; I else must change
Their nature, and revoke the high decree
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain’d
$THeir freedom: they themselves ordain’d their fall.
The first sort by their own suggestion fell,
Self-tempted, self-deprav’d:  Man falls, deceiv’d
By the other first:  Man therefore shall find grace,
The other none:  In mercy and justice both,
Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel;
But Mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine.
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill’d
All Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus’d.
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious; in him all his Father shone
Substantially express’d; and in his face
Divine compassion visibly appear’d,
Love without end, and without measure grace,
Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake.
O Father, gracious was that word which clos’d
Thy sovran command, that Man should find grace;
, that Man should find grace;
For which both Heaven and earth shall high extol
Thy praises, with the innumerable sound
Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne
Encompass’d shall resound thee ever blest.
For should Man finally be lost, should Man,
Thy creature late so lov’d, thy youngest son,
Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join’d
With his own folly?  that be from thee far,
That far be from thee, Father, who art judge
Of all things made, and judgest only right.
Or shall the Adversary thus obtain
His end, and frustrate thine?  shall he fulfill
His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought,
Or proud return, though to his heavier doom,
Yet with revenge accomplish’d, and to Hell
Draw after him the whole race of mankind,
By him corrupted?  or wilt thou thyself
Abolish thy creation, and unmake
For him, what for thy glory thou hast made?
So should thy goodness and thy greatness both
Be question’d and blasphem’d without defence.
To whom the great Creator thus replied.
O son, in whom my soul hath chief delight,
Son of my *****, Son who art alone.
My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,
All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all
As my eternal purpose hath decreed;
Man shall not quite be lost, but sav’d who will;
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
Freely vouchsaf’d; once more I will renew
His lapsed powers, though forfeit; and enthrall’d
By sin to foul exorbitant desires;
Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand
On even ground against his mortal foe;
By me upheld, that he may know how frail
His fallen condition is, and to me owe
All his deliverance, and to none but me.
Some I have chosen of peculiar grace,
Elect above the rest; so is my will:
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn’d
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes
The incensed Deity, while offer’d grace
Invites; for I will clear their senses dark,
What may suffice, and soften stony hearts
To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.
To prayer, repentance, and obedience due,
Though but endeavour’d with sincere intent,
Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut.
And I will place within them as a guide,
My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear,
Light after light, well us’d, they shall attain,
And to the end, persisting, safe arrive.
This my long sufferance, and my day of grace,
They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;
But hard be harden’d, blind be blinded more,
That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
And none but such from mercy I exclude.
But yet all is not done; Man disobeying,
Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins
Against the high supremacy of Heaven,
Affecting God-head, and, so losing all,
To expiate his treason hath nought left,
But to destruction sacred and devote,
He, with his whole posterity, must die,
Die he or justice must; unless for him
Some other able, and as willing, pay
The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
Say, heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love?
Which of you will be mortal, to redeem
Man’s mortal crime, and just the unjust to save?
Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?
And silence was in Heaven: $ on Man’s behalf
He ask’d, but all the heavenly quire stood mute,
Patron or intercessour none appear’d,
Much less that durst upon his own head draw
The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
And now without redemption all mankind
Must have been lost, adjudg’d to Death and Hell
By doom severe, had not the Son of God,
In whom the fulness dwells of love divine,
His dearest mediation thus renew’d.
Father, thy word is past, Man shall find grace;
And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,
The speediest of thy winged messengers,
To visit all thy creatures, and to all
Comes unprevented, unimplor’d, unsought?
Happy for Man, so coming; he her aid
Can never seek, once dead in sins, and lost;
Atonement for himself, or offering meet,
Indebted and undone, hath none to bring;
Behold me then:  me for him, life for life
I offer: on me let thine anger fall;
Account me Man; I for his sake will leave
Thy *****, and this glory next to thee
Freely put off, and for him lastly die
Well pleased; on me let Death wreak all his rage.
Under his gloomy power I shall not long
Lie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possess
Life in myself for ever; by thee I live;
Though now to Death I yield, and am his due,
All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid,
$ thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave
His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul
For ever with corruption there to dwell;
But I shall rise victorious, and subdue
My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil.
Death his death’s wound shall then receive, and stoop
Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed;
I through the ample air in triumph high
Shall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show
The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight
Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,
While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes;
Death last, and with his carcase glut the grave;
Then, with the multitude of my redeemed,
Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return,
Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
Of anger shall remain, but peace assured
And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more
Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.
His words here ended; but his meek aspect
Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love
To mortal men, above which only shone
Filial obedience: as a sacrifice
Glad to be offered, he attends the will
Of his great Father. Admiration seized
All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend,
Wondering; but soon th’ Almighty thus replied.
O thou in Heaven and Earth the only peace
Found out for mankind under wrath, O thou
My sole complacence! Well thou know’st how dear
To me are all my works; nor Man the least,
Though last created, that for him I spare
Thee from my ***** and right hand, to save,
By losing thee a while, the whole race lost.

Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
Their nature also to thy nature join;
And be thyself Man among men on Earth,
Made flesh, when time shall be, of ****** seed,
By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam’s room
The head of all mankind, though Adam’s son.
As in him perish all men, so in thee,
As from a second root, shall be restored
As many as are restored, without thee none.
His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit,
Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce
Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
And live in thee transplanted, and from thee
Receive new life.  So Man, as is most just,
Shall satisfy for Man, be judged and die,
And dying rise, and rising with him raise
His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life.
So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate,
Giving to death, and dying to redeem,
So dearly to redeem what hellish hate
So easily destroyed, and still destroys
In those who, when they may, accept not grace.
Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume
Man’s nature, lessen or degrade thine own.
Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss
Equal to God, and equally enjoying
God-like fruition, quitted all, to save
A world from utter loss, and hast been found
By merit more than birthright Son of God,
Found worthiest to be so by being good,
Far more than great or high; because in thee
Love hath abounded more than glory abounds;
Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt
With thee thy manhood also to this throne:
Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign
Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,
Anointed universal King; all power
I give thee; reign for ever, and assume
Thy merits; under thee, as head supreme,
Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce:
All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell.
When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven,
Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send
The summoning Arch-Angels to proclaim
Thy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds,
The living, and forthwith the cited dead
Of all past ages, to the general doom
Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep.
Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge
Bad Men and Angels; they, arraigned, shall sink
Beneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full,
Thenceforth shall be for ever shut.  Mean while
The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring
New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell,
And, after all their tribulations long,
See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and peace triumphing, and fair truth.
Then thou thy regal scepter shalt lay by,
For regal scepter then no more shall need,
God shall be all in all.  But, all ye Gods,
Adore him, who to compass all this dies;
Adore the Son, and honour him as me.
No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all
The multitude of Angels, with a shout
Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heaven rung
With jubilee, and loud Hosannas filled
The eternal regions:  Lowly reverent
Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground
With solemn adoration down they cast
Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold;
Immortal amarant, a flower which once
In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon for man’s offence
To Heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
And flowers aloft shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of Heaven
Rolls o’er Elysian flowers her amber stream;
With these that never fade the Spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beams;
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled.
Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took,
Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
Of charming symphony they introduce
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high;
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven.
Thee, Father, first they sung
So spake the Son of God; and Satan stood
A while as mute, confounded what to say,
What to reply, confuted and convinced
Of his weak arguing and fallacious drift;
At length, collecting all his serpent wiles,
With soothing words renewed, him thus accosts:—
  “I see thou know’st what is of use to know,
What best to say canst say, to do canst do;
Thy actions to thy words accord; thy words
To thy large heart give utterance due; thy heart            
Contains of good, wise, just, the perfet shape.
Should kings and nations from thy mouth consult,
Thy counsel would be as the oracle
Urim and Thummim, those oraculous gems
On Aaron’s breast, or tongue of Seers old
Infallible; or, wert thou sought to deeds
That might require the array of war, thy skill
Of conduct would be such that all the world
Could not sustain thy prowess, or subsist
In battle, though against thy few in arms.                  
These godlike virtues wherefore dost thou hide?
Affecting private life, or more obscure
In savage wilderness, wherefore deprive
All Earth her wonder at thy acts, thyself
The fame and glory—glory, the reward
That sole excites to high attempts the flame
Of most erected spirits, most tempered pure
AEthereal, who all pleasures else despise,
All treasures and all gain esteem as dross,
And dignities and powers, all but the highest?              
Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe.  The son
Of Macedonian Philip had ere these
Won Asia, and the throne of Cyrus held
At his dispose; young Scipio had brought down
The Carthaginian pride; young Pompey quelled
The Pontic king, and in triumph had rode.
Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature,
Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment.
Great Julius, whom now all the world admires,
The more he grew in years, the more inflamed                
With glory, wept that he had lived so long
Ingloroious.  But thou yet art not too late.”
  To whom our Saviour calmly thus replied:—
“Thou neither dost persuade me to seek wealth
For empire’s sake, nor empire to affect
For glory’s sake, by all thy argument.
For what is glory but the blaze of fame,
The people’s praise, if always praise unmixed?
And what the people but a herd confused,
A miscellaneous rabble, who extol                          
Things ******, and, well weighed, scarce worth the praise?
They praise and they admire they know not what,
And know not whom, but as one leads the other;
And what delight to be by such extolled,
To live upon their tongues, and be their talk?
Of whom to be dispraised were no small praise—
His lot who dares be singularly good.
The intelligent among them and the wise
Are few, and glory scarce of few is raised.
This is true glory and renown—when God,                    
Looking on the Earth, with approbation marks
The just man, and divulges him through Heaven
To all his Angels, who with true applause
Recount his praises.  Thus he did to Job,
When, to extend his fame through Heaven and Earth,
As thou to thy reproach may’st well remember,
He asked thee, ‘Hast thou seen my servant Job?’
Famous he was in Heaven; on Earth less known,
Where glory is false glory, attributed
To things not glorious, men not worthy of fame.            
They err who count it glorious to subdue
By conquest far and wide, to overrun
Large countries, and in field great battles win,
Great cities by assault.  What do these worthies
But rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave
Peaceable nations, neighbouring or remote,
Made captive, yet deserving freedom more
Than those their conquerors, who leave behind
Nothing but ruin wheresoe’er they rove,
And all the flourishing works of peace destroy;            
Then swell with pride, and must be titled Gods,
Great benefactors of mankind, Deliverers,
Worshipped with temple, priest, and sacrifice?
One is the son of Jove, of Mars the other;
Till conqueror Death discover them scarce men,
Rowling in brutish vices, and deformed,
Violent or shameful death their due reward.
But, if there be in glory aught of good;
It may be means far different be attained,
Without ambition, war, or violence—                        
By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,
By patience, temperance.  I mention still
Him whom thy wrongs, with saintly patience borne,
Made famous in a land and times obscure;
Who names not now with honour patient Job?
Poor Socrates, (who next more memorable?)
By what he taught and suffered for so doing,
For truth’s sake suffering death unjust, lives now
Equal in fame to proudest conquerors.
Yet, if for fame and glory aught be done,                  
Aught suffered—if young African for fame
His wasted country freed from Punic rage—
The deed becomes unpraised, the man at least,
And loses, though but verbal, his reward.
Shall I seek glory, then, as vain men seek,
Oft not deserved?  I seek not mine, but His
Who sent me, and thereby witness whence I am.”
  To whom the Tempter, murmuring, thus replied:—
“Think not so slight of glory, therein least
Resembling thy great Father.  He seeks glory,              
And for his glory all things made, all things
Orders and governs; nor content in Heaven,
By all his Angels glorified, requires
Glory from men, from all men, good or bad,
Wise or unwise, no difference, no exemption.
Above all sacrifice, or hallowed gift,
Glory he requires, and glory he receives,
Promiscuous from all nations, Jew, or Greek,
Or Barbarous, nor exception hath declared;
From us, his foes pronounced, glory he exacts.”            
  To whom our Saviour fervently replied:
“And reason; since his Word all things produced,
Though chiefly not for glory as prime end,
But to shew forth his goodness, and impart
His good communicable to every soul
Freely; of whom what could He less expect
Than glory and benediction—that is, thanks—
The slightest, easiest, readiest recompense
From them who could return him nothing else,
And, not returning that, would likeliest render            
Contempt instead, dishonour, obloquy?
Hard recompense, unsuitable return
For so much good, so much beneficience!
But why should man seek glory, who of his own
Hath nothing, and to whom nothing belongs
But condemnation, ignominy, and shame—
Who, for so many benefits received,
Turned recreant to God, ingrate and false,
And so of all true good himself despoiled;
Yet, sacrilegious, to himself would take                    
That which to God alone of right belongs?
Yet so much bounty is in God, such grace,
That who advances his glory, not their own,
Them he himself to glory will advance.”
  So spake the Son of God; and here again
Satan had not to answer, but stood struck
With guilt of his own sin—for he himself,
Insatiable of glory, had lost all;
Yet of another plea bethought him soon:—
  “Of glory, as thou wilt,” said he, “so deem;              
Worth or not worth the seeking, let it pass.
But to a Kingdom thou art born—ordained
To sit upon thy father David’s throne,
By mother’s side thy father, though thy right
Be now in powerful hands, that will not part
Easily from possession won with arms.
Judaea now and all the Promised Land,
Reduced a province under Roman yoke,
Obeys Tiberius, nor is always ruled
With temperate sway: oft have they violated                
The Temple, oft the Law, with foul affronts,
Abominations rather, as did once
Antiochus.  And think’st thou to regain
Thy right by sitting still, or thus retiring?
So did not Machabeus.  He indeed
Retired unto the Desert, but with arms;
And o’er a mighty king so oft prevailed
That by strong hand his family obtained,
Though priests, the crown, and David’s throne usurped,
With Modin and her suburbs once content.                    
If kingdom move thee not, let move thee zeal
And duty—zeal and duty are not slow,
But on Occasion’s forelock watchful wait:
They themselves rather are occasion best—
Zeal of thy Father’s house, duty to free
Thy country from her heathen servitude.
So shalt thou best fulfil, best verify,
The Prophets old, who sung thy endless reign—
The happier reign the sooner it begins.
Rein then; what canst thou better do the while?”            
  To whom our Saviour answer thus returned:—
“All things are best fulfilled in their due time;
And time there is for all things, Truth hath said.
If of my reign Prophetic Writ hath told
That it shall never end, so, when begin
The Father in his purpose hath decreed—
He in whose hand all times and seasons rowl.
What if he hath decreed that I shall first
Be tried in humble state, and things adverse,
By tribulations, injuries, insults,                        
Contempts, and scorns, and snares, and violence,
Suffering, abstaining, quietly expecting
Without distrust or doubt, that He may know
What I can suffer, how obey?  Who best
Can suffer best can do, best reign who first
Well hath obeyed—just trial ere I merit
My exaltation without change or end.
But what concerns it thee when I begin
My everlasting Kingdom?  Why art thou
Solicitous?  What moves thy inquisition?                    
Know’st thou not that my rising is thy fall,
And my promotion will be thy destruction?”
  To whom the Tempter, inly racked, replied:—
“Let that come when it comes.  All hope is lost
Of my reception into grace; what worse?
For where no hope is left is left no fear.
If there be worse, the expectation more
Of worse torments me than the feeling can.
I would be at the worst; worst is my port,
My harbour, and my ultimate repose,                        
The end I would attain, my final good.
My error was my error, and my crime
My crime; whatever, for itself condemned,
And will alike be punished, whether thou
Reign or reign not—though to that gentle brow
Willingly I could fly, and hope thy reign,
From that placid aspect and meek regard,
Rather than aggravate my evil state,
Would stand between me and thy Father’s ire
(Whose ire I dread more than the fire of Hell)              
A shelter and a kind of shading cool
Interposition, as a summer’s cloud.
If I, then, to the worst that can be haste,
Why move thy feet so slow to what is best?
Happiest, both to thyself and all the world,
That thou, who worthiest art, shouldst be their King!
Perhaps thou linger’st in deep thoughts detained
Of the enterprise so hazardous and high!
No wonder; for, though in thee be united
What of perfection can in Man be found,                    
Or human nature can receive, consider
Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent
At home, scarce viewed the Galilean towns,
And once a year Jerusalem, few days’
Short sojourn; and what thence couldst thou observe?
The world thou hast not seen, much less her glory,
Empires, and monarchs, and their radiant courts—
Best school of best experience, quickest in sight
In all things that to greatest actions lead.
The wisest, unexperienced, will be ever                    
Timorous, and loth, with novice modesty
(As he who, seeking *****, found a kingdom)
Irresolute, unhardy, unadventrous.
But I will bring thee where thou soon shalt quit
Those rudiments, and see before thine eyes
The monarchies of the Earth, their pomp and state—
Sufficient introduction to inform
Thee, of thyself so apt, in regal arts,
And regal mysteries; that thou may’st know
How best their opposition to withstand.”                    
  With that (such power was given him then), he took
The Son of God up to a mountain high.
It was a mountain at whose verdant feet
A spacious plain outstretched in circuit wide
Lay pleasant; from his side two rivers flowed,
The one winding, the other straight, and left between
Fair champaign, with less rivers interveined,
Then meeting joined their tribute to the sea.
Fertil of corn the glebe, of oil, and wine;
With herds the pasture thronged, with flocks the hills;    
Huge cities and high-towered, that well might seem
The seats of mightiest monarchs; and so large
The prospect was that here and there was room
For barren desert, fountainless and dry.
To this high mountain-top the Tempter brought
Our Saviour, and new train of words began:—
  “Well have we speeded, and o’er hill and dale,
Forest, and field, and flood, temples and towers,
Cut shorter many a league.  Here thou behold’st
Assyria, and her empire’s ancient bounds,                  
Araxes and the Caspian lake; thence on
As far as Indus east, Euphrates west,
And oft beyond; to south the Persian bay,
And, inaccessible, the Arabian drouth:
Here, Nineveh, of length within her wall
Several days’ journey, built by Ninus old,
Of that first golden monarchy the seat,
And seat of Salmanassar, whose success
Israel in long captivity still mourns;
There Babylon, the wonder of all tongues,                  
As ancient, but rebuilt by him who twice
Judah and all thy father David’s house
Led captive, and Jerusalem laid waste,
Till Cyrus set them free; Persepolis,
His city, there thou seest, and Bactra there;
Ecbatana her structure vast there shews,
And Hecatompylos her hunderd gates;
There Susa by Choaspes, amber stream,
The drink of none but kings; of later fame,
Built by Emathian or by Parthian hands,                    
The great Seleucia, Nisibis, and there
Artaxata, Teredon, Ctesiphon,
Turning with easy eye, thou may’st behold.
All these the Parthian (now some ages past
By great Arsaces led, who founded first
That empire) under his dominion holds,
From the luxurious kings of Antioch won.
And just in time thou com’st to have a view
Of his great power; for now the Parthian king
In Ctesiphon hath gathered all his host                    
Against the Scythian, whose incursions wild
Have wasted Sogdiana; to her aid
He marches now in haste.  See, though from far,
His thousands, in what martial e
WA West Sep 2018
Expert testimony has decreed yellow,

Who are we to speak against those with seven tongues and antlers,

You sleep as the muffin man creeps

Camera in hands and remnants of sickness past upon his clothes

Your eyes Otto Dix, your face like an anguished customer at Greggs.

He, the muffin man, staggers in the night and surveys these barren lands.

At what point will you release your patterned anguish?

Expert testimony has decreed yellow,

Watermelon and disorder for the masses in their lived fury

hunters of the lowest rung,

misery and handbags at the cumulative paces from Newcastle to Carlisle

Flawed Romans and tasty Saxons,

Expert testimony has decreed yellow,

Revolt! bring down the manor!

The muffin man in his element, deckchair reclined
No more of talk where God or Angel guest
With Man, as with his friend, familiar us’d,
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast; permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam’d. I now must change
Those notes to tragick; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,
And disobedience: on the part of Heaven
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgement given,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery
Death’s harbinger: Sad talk!yet argument
Not less but more heroick than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous’d;
Or Neptune’s ire, or Juno’s, that so long
Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea’s son:                        

If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor’d,
And dictates to me slumbering; or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse:
Since first this subject for heroick song
Pleas’d me long choosing, and beginning late;
Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroick deem’d chief mastery to dissect
With long and tedious havock fabled knights
In battles feign’d; the better fortitude
Of patience and heroick martyrdom
Unsung; or to describe races and games,
Or tilting furniture, imblazon’d shields,
Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and tournament; then marshall’d feast
Serv’d up in hall with sewers and seneshals;
The skill of artifice or office mean,
Not that which justly gives heroick name
To person, or to poem.  Me, of these
Nor skill’d nor studious, higher argument
Remains; sufficient of itself to raise
That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
Depress’d; and much they may, if all be mine,
Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear.
The sun was sunk, and after him the star
Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring
Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter
“twixt day and night, and now from end to end
Night’s hemisphere had veil’d the horizon round:
When satan, who late fled before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv’d
In meditated fraud and malice, bent
On Man’s destruction, maugre what might hap
Of heavier on himself, fearless returned
From compassing the earth; cautious of day,
Since Uriel, regent of the sun, descried
His entrance, and foreworned the Cherubim
That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven,
The space of seven continued nights he rode
With darkness; thrice the equinoctial line
He circled; four times crossed the car of night
From pole to pole, traversing each colure;
On the eighth returned; and, on the coast averse
From entrance or Cherubick watch, by stealth
Found unsuspected way.  There was a place,
Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the change,
Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise,
Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
Rose up a fountain by the tree of life:
In with the river sunk, and with it rose
Satan, involved in rising mist; then sought
Where to lie hid; sea he had searched, and land,
From Eden over Pontus and the pool
Maeotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antarctick; and in length,
West from Orontes to the ocean barred
At Darien ; thence to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus: Thus the orb he roamed
With narrow search; and with inspection deep
Considered every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles; and found
The Serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him after long debate, irresolute
Of thoughts revolved, his final sentence chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpest sight: for, in the wily snake
Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding; which, in other beasts observed,
Doubt might beget of diabolick power
Active within, beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus poured.
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred
For what God, after better, worse would build?
Terrestrial Heaven, danced round by other Heavens
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems,
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence!  As God in Heaven
Is center, yet extends to all; so thou,
Centring, receivest from all those orbs: in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man.
With what delight could I have walked thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea and shores with forest crowned,
Rocks, dens, and caves!  But I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me, as from the hateful siege
Of contraries: all good to me becomes
Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state.
But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven
To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven’s Supreme;
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such
As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroyed,
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him linked in weal or woe;
In woe then; that destruction wide may range:
To me shall be the glory sole among
The infernal Powers, in one day to have marred
What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days
Continued making; and who knows how long
Before had been contriving? though perhaps
Not longer than since I, in one night, freed
From servitude inglorious well nigh half
The angelick name, and thinner left the throng
Of his adorers: He, to be avenged,
And to repair his numbers thus impaired,
Whether such virtue spent of old now failed
More Angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or, to spite us more,
Determined to advance into our room
A creature formed of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,
With heavenly spoils, our spoils: What he decreed,
He effected; Man he made, and for him built
Magnificent this world, and earth his seat,
Him lord pronounced; and, O indignity!
Subjected to his service angel-wings,
And flaming ministers to watch and tend
Their earthly charge: Of these the vigilance
I dread; and, to elude, thus wrapt in mist
Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry
In every bush and brake, where hap may find
The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
O foul descent! that I, who erst contended
With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained
Into a beast; and, mixed with ******* slime,
This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the highth of Deity aspired!
But what will not ambition and revenge
Descend to?  Who aspires, must down as low
As high he soared; obnoxious, first or last,
To basest things.  Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils:
Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favourite
Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite,
Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised
From dust: Spite then with spite is best repaid.
So saying, through each thicket dank or dry,
Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on
His midnight-search, where soonest he might find
The serpent; him fast-sleeping soon he found
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled,
His head the midst, well stored with subtile wiles:
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb,
Fearless unfeared he slept: in at his mouth
The Devil entered; and his brutal sense,
In heart or head, possessing, soon inspired
With act intelligential; but his sleep
Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn.
Now, when as sacred light began to dawn
In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed
Their morning incense, when all things, that breathe,
From the Earth’s great altar send up silent praise
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair,
And joined their vocal worship to the quire
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake
The season prime for sweetest scents and airs:
Then commune, how that day they best may ply
Their growing work: for much their work out-grew
The hands’ dispatch of two gardening so wide,
And Eve first to her husband thus began.
Adam, well may we labour still to dress
This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower,
Our pleasant task enjoined; but, till more hands
Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,
One night or two with wanton growth derides
Tending to wild.  Thou therefore now advise,
Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present:
Let us divide our labours; thou, where choice
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind
The woodbine round this arbour, or direct
The clasping ivy where to climb; while I,
In yonder spring of roses intermixed
With myrtle, find what to redress till noon:
For, while so near each other thus all day
Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
Casual discourse draw on; which intermits
Our day’s work, brought to little, though begun
Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned?
To whom mild answer Adam thus returned.
Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond
Compare above all living creatures dear!
Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts employed,
How we might best fulfil the work which here
God hath assigned us; nor of me shalt pass
Unpraised: for nothing lovelier can be found
In woman, than to study houshold good,
And good works in her husband to promote.
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed
Labour, as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
Food of the mind, or this sweet *******
Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow,
To brute denied, and are of love the food;
Love, not the lowest end of human life.
For not to irksome toil, but to delight,
He made us, and delight to reason joined.
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
Assist us; But, if much converse perhaps
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield:
For solitude sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.
But other doubt possesses me, lest harm
Befall thee severed from me; for thou knowest
What hath been warned us, what malicious foe
Envying our happiness, and of his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
His wish and best advantage, us asunder;
Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each
To other speedy aid might lend at need:
Whether his first design be to withdraw
Our fealty from God, or to disturb
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss
Enjoyed by us excites his envy more;
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side
That gave thee being, still shades thee, and protects.
The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.
To whom the ****** majesty of Eve,
As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,
With sweet austere composure thus replied.
Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earth’s Lord!
That such an enemy we have, who seeks
Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn,
And from the parting Angel over-heard,
As in a shady nook I stood behind,
Just then returned at shut of evening flowers.
But, that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
To God or thee, because we have a foe
May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
His violence thou fearest not, being such
As we, not capable of death or pain,
Can either not receive, or can repel.
His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers
Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced;
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast,
Adam, mis-thought of her to thee so dear?
To whom with healing words Adam replied.
Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve!
For such thou art; from sin and blame entire:
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
The attempt itself, intended by our foe.
For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses
The tempted with dishonour foul; supposed
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof
Against temptation: Thou thyself with scorn
And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong,
Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then,
If such affront I labour to avert
From thee alone, which on us both at once
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare;
Or daring, first on me the assault shall light.
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
Subtle he needs must be, who could ******
Angels; nor think superfluous other’s aid.
I, from the influence of thy looks, receive
Access in every virtue; in thy sight
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,
Shame to be overcome or over-reached,
Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial choose
With me, best witness of thy virtue tried?
So spake domestick Adam in his care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
Less attributed to her faith sincere,
Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed.
If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit straitened by a foe,
Subtle or violent, we not endued
Single with like defence, wherever met;
How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
But harm precedes not sin: only our foe,
Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integrity: his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns
Foul on himself; then wherefore shunned or feared
By us? who rather double honour gain
From his surmise proved false; find peace within,
Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event.
And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed
Alone, without exteriour help sustained?
Let us not then suspect our happy state
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
As not secure to single or combined.
Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed.
To whom thus Adam fervently replied.
O Woman, best are all things as the will
Of God ordained them: His creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that he created, much less Man,
Or aught that might his happy state secure,
Secure from outward force; within himself
The danger lies, yet lies within his power:
Against his will he can receive no harm.
But God left free the will; for what obeys
Reason, is free; and Reason he made right,
But bid her well be ware, and still *****;
Lest, by some fair-appearing good surprised,
She dictate false; and mis-inform the will
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins,
That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me.
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve;
Since Reason not impossibly may meet
Some specious object by the foe suborned,
And fall into deception unaware,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned.
Seek not temptation then, which to avoid
Were better, and most likely if from me
Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought.
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve
First thy obedience; the other who can know,
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?
But, if thou think, trial unsought may find
Us both securer than thus warned thou seemest,
Go; for thy stay, not fre
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus displayed:—
  “Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!—
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen,
I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent
Celestial Virtues rising will appear
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate!—
Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven,
Did first create your leader—next, free choice
With what besides in council or in fight
Hath been achieved of merit—yet this loss,
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
Established in a safe, unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes
Foremost to stand against the Thunderer’s aim
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell
Precedence; none whose portion is so small
Of present pain that with ambitious mind
Will covet more! With this advantage, then,
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
More than can be in Heaven, we now return
To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assured us; and by what best way,
Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate. Who can advise may speak.”
  He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king,
Stood up—the strongest and the fiercest Spirit
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair.
His trust was with th’ Eternal to be deemed
Equal in strength, and rather than be less
Cared not to be at all; with that care lost
Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse,
He recked not, and these words thereafter spake:—
  “My sentence is for open war. Of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need; not now.
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest—
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend—sit lingering here,
Heaven’s fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his ryranny who reigns
By our delay? No! let us rather choose,
Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once
O’er Heaven’s high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his Angels, and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe!
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our porper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat; descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the Deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sunk thus low? Th’ ascent is easy, then;
Th’ event is feared! Should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
To our destruction, if there be in Hell
Fear to be worse destroyed! What can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned
In this abhorred deep to utter woe!
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing hour,
Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus,
We should be quite abolished, and expire.
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? which, to the height enraged,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential—happier far
Than miserable to have eternal being!—
Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.”
  He ended frowning, and his look denounced
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than gods. On th’ other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane.
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed
For dignity composed, and high exploit.
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low—
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began:—
  “I should be much for open war, O Peers,
As not behind in hate, if what was urged
Main reason to persuade immediate war
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast
Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
When he who most excels in fact of arms,
In what he counsels and in what excels
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled
With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable: oft on the bodering Deep
Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing
Scout far and wide into the realm of Night,
Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise
With blackest insurrection to confound
Heaven’s purest light, yet our great Enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted, and th’ ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
Is flat despair: we must exasperate
Th’ Almighty Victor to spend all his rage;
And that must end us; that must be our cure—
To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night,
Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows,
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe
Can give it, or will ever? How he can
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure.
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,
Belike through impotence or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger whom his anger saves
To punish endless? ‘Wherefore cease we, then?’
Say they who counsel war; ‘we are decreed,
Reserved, and destined to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worse?’ Is this, then, worst—
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What when we fled amain, pursued and struck
With Heaven’s afflicting thunder, and besought
The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed
A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay
Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames; or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her stores were opened, and this firmament
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey
Or racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains,
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War, therefore, open or concealed, alike
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
Views all things at one view? He from Heaven’s height
All these our motions vain sees and derides,
Not more almighty to resist our might
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we, then, live thus vile—the race of Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here
Chains and these torments? Better these than worse,
By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The Victor’s will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust
That so ordains. This was at first resolved,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh when those who at the spear are bold
And venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear
What yet they know must follow—to endure
Exile, or igominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their Conqueror. This is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit
His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed,
Not mind us not offending, satisfied
With what is punished; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour; or, inured, not feel;
Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat; and, void of pain,
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;
Besides what hope the never-ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting—since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.”
  Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason’s garb,
Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:—
  “Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain
Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife.
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain
The latter; for what place can be for us
Within Heaven’s bound, unless Heaven’s Lord supreme
We overpower? Suppose he should relent
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive
Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hyms, and to his Godhead sing
Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits
Our envied sovereign, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings? This must be our task
In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome
Eternity so spent in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue,
By force impossible, by leave obtained
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,
We can create, and in what place soe’er
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain
Through labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven’s all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscured,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar.
Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell!
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desert soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;
Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more?
Our torments also may, in length of time,
Become our elements, these piercing fires
As soft as now severe, our temper changed
Into their temper; which must needs remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
Compose our present evils, with regard
Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise.”
  He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled
Th’ assembly as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long
Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Seafaring men o’erwatched, whose bark by chance
Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest. Such applause was heard
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased,
Advising peace: for such another field
They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michael
Wrought still within them; and no less desire
To found this nether empire, which might rise,
By policy and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heaven.
Which when Beelzebub perceived—than whom,
Satan except, none higher sat—with grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat, and public care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stood
With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look
Drew audience and attention still as night
Or summer’s noontide air, while thus he spake:—
  “Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven,
Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now
Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called
Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote
Inclines—here to continue, and build up here
A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream,
And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed
This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
From Heaven’s high jurisdiction, in new league
Banded against his throne, but to remain
In strictest *******, though thus far removed,
Under th’ inevitable curb, reserved
His captive multitude. For he, to be sure,
In height or depth, still first and last will reign
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part
By our revolt, but over Hell extend
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven.
What sit we then projecting peace and war?
War hath determined us and foiled with loss
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given
To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted? and what peace can we return,
But, to our power, hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,
Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need
With dangerous expedition to invade
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,
Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find
Some easier enterprise? There is a place
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven
Err not)—another World, the happy seat
Of some new race, called Man, about this time
To be created like to us, though less
In power and excellence, but favoured more
Of him who rules above; so was his will
Pronounced among the Gods, and by an oath
That shook Heaven’s whole circumference confirmed.
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn
What creatures there inhabit, of what mould
Or substance, how endued, and what their power
And where their weakness: how attempted best,
By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut,
And Heaven’s high Arbitrator sit secure
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed,
The utmost border of his kingdom, left
To their defence who hold it: here, perhaps,
Some advantageous act may be achieved
By sudden onset—either with Hell-fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,
The puny habitants; or, if not drive,
****** them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass
Common revenge, and interrupt his joy
In our confusion, and our joy upraise
In his disturbance; when his darling sons,
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original, and faded bliss—
Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires.” Thus beelzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel—first devised
By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence,
But
Faint as a climate-changing bird that flies
All night across the darkness, and at dawn
Falls on the threshold of her native land,
And can no more, thou camest, O my child,
Led upward by the God of ghosts and dreams,
Who laid thee at Eleusis, dazed and dumb,
With passing thro' at once from state to state,
Until I brought thee hither, that the day,
When here thy hands let fall the gather'd flower,
Might break thro' clouded memories once again
On thy lost self. A sudden nightingale
Saw thee, and flash'd into a frolic of song
And welcome; and a gleam as of the moon,
When first she peers along the tremulous deep,
Fled wavering o'er thy face, and chased away
That shadow of a likeness to the king
Of shadows, thy dark mate. Persephone!
Queen of the dead no more--my child! Thine eyes
Again were human-godlike, and the Sun
Burst from a swimming fleece of winter gray,
And robed thee in his day from head to feet--
"Mother!" and I was folded in thine arms.

Child, those imperial, disimpassion'd eyes
Awed even me at first, thy mother--eyes
That oft had seen the serpent-wanded power
Draw downward into Hades with his drift
Of fickering spectres, lighted from below
By the red race of fiery Phlegethon;
But when before have Gods or men beheld
The Life that had descended re-arise,
And lighted from above him by the Sun?
So mighty was the mother's childless cry,
A cry that ran thro' Hades, Earth, and Heaven!

So in this pleasant vale we stand again,
The field of Enna, now once more ablaze
With flowers that brighten as thy footstep falls,
All flowers--but for one black blur of earth
Left by that closing chasm, thro' which the car
Of dark Aidoneus rising rapt thee hence.
And here, my child, tho' folded in thine arms,
I feel the deathless heart of motherhood
Within me shudder, lest the naked glebe
Should yawn once more into the gulf, and thence
The shrilly whinnyings of the team of Hell,
Ascending, pierce the glad and songful air,
And all at once their arch'd necks, midnight-maned,
Jet upward thro' the mid-day blossom. No!
For, see, thy foot has touch'd it; all the space
Of blank earth-baldness clothes itself afresh,
And breaks into the crocus-purple hour
That saw thee vanish.

Child, when thou wert gone,
I envied human wives, and nested birds,
Yea, the cubb'd lioness; went in search of thee
Thro' many a palace, many a cot, and gave
Thy breast to ailing infants in the night,
And set the mother waking in amaze
To find her sick one whole; and forth again
Among the wail of midnight winds, and cried,
"Where is my loved one? Wherefore do ye wail?"
And out from all the night an answer shrill'd,
"We know not, and we know not why we wail."
I climb'd on all the cliffs of all the seas,
And ask'd the waves that moan about the world
"Where? do ye make your moaning for my child?"
And round from all the world the voices came
"We know not, and we know not why we moan."
"Where?" and I stared from every eagle-peak,
I thridded the black heart of all the woods,
I peer'd thro' tomb and cave, and in the storms
Of Autumn swept across the city, and heard
The murmur of their temples chanting me,
Me, me, the desolate Mother! "Where"?--and turn'd,
And fled by many a waste, forlorn of man,
And grieved for man thro' all my grief for thee,--
The jungle rooted in his shatter'd hearth,
The serpent coil'd about his broken shaft,
The scorpion crawling over naked skulls;--
I saw the tiger in the ruin'd fane
Spring from his fallen God, but trace of thee
I saw not; and far on, and, following out
A league of labyrinthine darkness, came
On three gray heads beneath a gleaming rift.
"Where"? and I heard one voice from all the three
"We know not, for we spin the lives of men,
And not of Gods, and know not why we spin!
There is a Fate beyond us." Nothing knew.

Last as the likeness of a dying man,
Without his knowledge, from him flits to warn
A far-off friendship that he comes no more,
So he, the God of dreams, who heard my cry,
Drew from thyself the likeness of thyself
Without thy knowledge, and thy shadow past
Before me, crying "The Bright one in the highest
Is brother of the Dark one in the lowest,
And Bright and Dark have sworn that I, the child
Of thee, the great Earth-Mother, thee, the Power
That lifts her buried life from loom to bloom,
Should be for ever and for evermore
The Bride of Darkness."

So the Shadow wail'd.
Then I, Earth-Goddess, cursed the Gods of Heaven.
I would not mingle with their feasts; to me
Their nectar smack'd of hemlock on the lips,
Their rich ambrosia tasted aconite.
The man, that only lives and loves an hour,
Seem'd nobler than their hard Eternities.
My quick tears ****'d the flower, my ravings hush'd
The bird, and lost in utter grief I fail'd
To send my life thro' olive-yard and vine
And golden grain, my gift to helpless man.
Rain-rotten died the wheat, the barley-spears
Were hollow-husk'd, the leaf fell, and the sun,
Pale at my grief, drew down before his time
Sickening, and Aetna kept her winter snow.
Then He, the brother of this Darkness, He
Who still is highest, glancing from his height
On earth a fruitless fallow, when he miss'd
The wonted steam of sacrifice, the praise
And prayer of men, decreed that thou should'st dwell
For nine white moons of each whole year with me,
Three dark ones in the shadow with thy King.

Once more the reaper in the gleam of dawn
Will see me by the landmark far away,
Blessing his field, or seated in the dusk
Of even, by the lonely threshing-floor,
Rejoicing in the harvest and the grange.
Yet I, Earth-Goddess, am but ill-content
With them, who still are highest. Those gray heads,
What meant they by their "Fate beyond the Fates"
But younger kindlier Gods to bear us down,
As we bore down the Gods before us? Gods,
To quench, not hurl the thunderbolt, to stay,
Not spread the plague, the famine; Gods indeed,
To send the noon into the night and break
The sunless halls of Hades into Heaven?
Till thy dark lord accept and love the Sun,
And all the Shadow die into the Light,
When thou shalt dwell the whole bright year with me,
And souls of men, who grew beyond their race,
And made themselves as Gods against the fear
Of Death and Hell; and thou that hast from men,
As Queen of Death, that worship which is Fear,
Henceforth, as having risen from out the dead,
Shalt ever send thy life along with mine
From buried grain thro' springing blade, and bless
Their garner'd Autumn also, reap with me,
Earth-mother, in the harvest hymns of Earth
The worship which is Love, and see no more
The Stone, the Wheel, the dimly-glimmering lawns
Of that Elysium, all the hateful fires
Of torment, and the shadowy warrior glide
Along the silent field of Asphodel.
Oh, I know not!
I see not, and master not!
Why t'is caprice - t'is tender whim, is unwilling
to unveil my soul, conquering it with
mounds and plates of rapturous
yet canonical attention. How I dread
such falsehood! Strong, strong falsehood!
What an inconsiderate urgency! A matter, matter of the heart -
as mighty as it probably is, of its own accord! How serious
t'is would be! I am suffrage; and akin to its vigour areth my laugh,
and joy - I would be hatred if none cameth to stop my pace;
my frosty haze; and t'is gruesome maze! Yes, I would but be,
in th' length of some furt'er days!
I shalt no more be of t'is delight, and clustered inside my gloom,
pressed to th' walls of dainty loom; from which I shalt never
be comely enough to be granted an escape.
How terrifying t'ose scenes areth, to me! A poet as I am,
unenviable is my littleness, and humility; to t'ose who glare with jealousy
at pangs of my laughter, and childlike demands - as how t'ey always
chastised during t'eir coincidental encounters. But I am blessed!
I am blessed by my words - and t'ese cheerful, yet unending poems -
as unlike t'em I am, ungrateful and vile beings, flocking to th' church
only for th' sake of brand-new dowry, and enforced blessings.
Murderers of peace! Sons and daughters of vice! But I am convinced
t'at virtue shalt forever tower over t'em; and in th' right time t'ey shalt
be pulled off t'eir horses, and unedifying pleasantry. And goodness
shalt t'en win! For truth never bears t'eir unfaithful boasts, just like
it hates t'eir dishonesty; which so insistingly frosts me
with atrocity within 'tis lungs, and so soon as doth it start to cling stronger -
abashed shalt I be! Incarcerated shalt be my front, and dutiful
countenance - in t'at gross conflagration with secular flatness,
hesitations, and worldly doubts, in which yon grotesque salutation, corroborating
'tis assailed countenance, gouty and drained by rightful mockery;
comes but to avenge my love, my wondrous love -
which yesterday was dazzling and dripping fast
but contentiously, like a ripe cherry. Like a small burst of wine
craved by scholarly epicures, t'is feeling but anonymously grips
my lips, trembles my heart, and distracts my limbs;
should I be to think of thee, I shan't but be away
from t'is nauseatedness, of regrets, again! My thee, my thee,
areth thou truly gazing at me from afar? With fascination in thy stares,
wilt thou bestow me such destiny I hath been so desirous of - my dear?
And with thy serene, bulbous eyes - t'at sea of blackness
basked in marred turmoil - ah, a sign but of peace after such fire! - wilt thou
mould thy mind, thy stony mind, like a black-painted rose,
to throw at my being, just one, voluntary glance?
I am but anxious, my love, how I shake all over
with unreturned passion like t'is, my blood is circling
in distorting, yet irrepressible agitation.
How I wish t'at thou could be here, and rendereth me safe, in solely
but thy arms, my love! And shalt thou be my giddy knight - I entreat!
In my unmothered dreams, and t'eir precocious brambles - on t'ose journeys
of loom, doth I fear not, for thou shalt be t'ere to mirthfully comfort me.
And off shalt I fly again, to greet th' thoughtful morning!
But ought I to leaveth my dreams now; for thou canst be here to celebrate
t'is snowy day, and lift me onto triumph! And how I wisheth to cast away
t'is imprisonment, how I longeth for but thee here - just thee, remember t'at,
o but hark to my swift whisper, t'at calls only for thy name, my love!
How aggravated, and corrupted my conscience wilt be -
within th' membranes of my brain; t'eir hardship is severed by thy unpresence.
My love, o my restrained - single love, t'is ode that lights my soul
shalt illuminate thine; and 'tis long words - threads woven along
an abstracted lullaby, and vanquished by silent accusations, from thy, thy mouth!
A well t'at is perilous in its standing - standing like a torch, unruptured
albeit neglected, innocent in 'tis acute forlornness. Poor misery!
Hark, hark, my love - how t'ose dames, irresolute in t'eir volatility, and
charms of miraculous beauty - but tumultous inside, entranced by fear
of losing which, as so graciously raved and ranted all over th' year!
Th' dreary years - which th' above phrase caused me to be well-reminded,
and duly recall how t'eir sickening remorse tossed me around; and decreed
my jests of dread, sickness, and disdain - surges, and waves of animosity
wert but all about me. But how they areth happening again! Amongst th' snow -
running about as t'ey art, t'ose heartless, indignant creatures -
blind to th' tenderness of nature, bland and untouched by its shrieks, and
flickering toil! How I wish to save it, but incapable as I am - a minuscule shadow
of early womanhood t'at I own, I choose to stay distant,
and pray for t'eir impossible atonement, somehow, before t'ey entereth
t'eir silent graves. How t'ose ghosts of malice areth in no way acquainted
with th' woes of th' churchyard, and th' grimness of death - I declare!
How unafraid t'ey are, sacrificing t'is coherent life for such courses
of abomination. Victories upon th' misery of others,
dances to mourning songs, how evil! But I wish for t'eir salvation,
for t'ey art unable to even salve t'eir poor selves. I shalt be fervent
in my generosity, for 'tis th' most rewarding part of humanity;
I shalt be but a faithful servant to my innocuous nature. I adoreth my nature
just the way 'tis, and I shalt build its madly-scarred way back; with tons
of brightness, care, and hearty bliss! Yes, my love, my bliss - which inhabits
th' entire space of my maturity and unmolested passion. Inapprehensible as it is,
I am but to win its grace, and t'erefore thee - just as I hath so ardently dreameth of -
as heretofore, and shalt thou but be saluted and fended for
by my, my sincere and unbinding, affection.
Maple Mathers Feb 2016
2011:

Here and there, you called my name
For this is what you christened me
“Maple is a hurricane.”
Here and there you called my name.
Face to face, you’ll ascertain
That this is not the truth, you’ll see
I’m not a ******* hurricane
For this is what you christened me.



2015:

Hear, and where you called my name –
Abyss is what you christened me.
Oh, “Maple is a hurricane!
Said puppeteer’s overt reframe.
Braced and faced, they’ll ascertain
That this just YOUR truth – decreed
You sought a ******* hurricane
Within YOURSELF; yet, christened ME.**



HURRICANE MEDUSA, *******.
(You IDIOTS Can't STOP Your Hurricane
Ready or not, here I come).


(All poems original Copyright of Eva Denali Will © 2015, 2016)
life nomadic Jul 2013
A tomboy, naturally barefoot, gingerly walks the white painted line because the asphalt is just too burning hot.  Scrubby tufts of weedy grass are welcome respites on the way, briefly cooling her steps even if they are stickery.  The ***** soles of her now calloused feet were intentionally toughened just before school got out, with mincing steps across the roughest gravel she could find.  Her mother accommodates her preference, leaving a pan of water outside for her to scrub her feet before going in.  Even then, a black path has gradually appeared leading from the front door in the old orangish carpet.  Two months of summer barefoot every day when she had the choice. Keyed roller skates clamped onto last year’s school shoes were the exception.  She can flat out run anywhere.
  
This particular expedition began like every other thing they did, which was anything to fend off boredom.  She had been sitting on a cement step shaded by an open carport, just three oil-stained parking stalls for three small apartments on the tired poor side of town.  There is a little more dirt on the street here, and grass is a little neglected.  Just like the children, but these kids prefer that anyway.  Two scruffy friends stomp on aluminum cans, brothers sporting matching buzz cuts and cut-off shorts.  They are flattening them for the recycling money by the pound, so the carport smells vaguely of stale beer.  Another boy attempts to shoot a wandering fly with a home-made rubber band gun; rings cut from a bicycle tube made the best ammo.  “What do you want to do?” …”I don’t know, what do you want to do?”  Thwack…  The only requisite for friendship here is vicinity, yet it is still true.  The idea of choosing friends is about as odd as the concept that one could chose where one lives... Strengths and shortcomings are completely accepted because it is just what it is.  

Their amazing three-story tree fort with a side look-out had been heartlessly taken down by the disgruntled property owner last week.  Two months of accumulating pilfered and scrap two-by-fours, nails, and even a stack of plywood (gasp!) from area construction sites had yielded supplies for a growing fort.  A gang-plank style entry had crossed the ditch to the first level.  Nailed ladder steps to the second offered a little more vertigo and a prime spot to hurl acorns.  Another ladder up led up to the third floor retreat, with a couch-like seating area and shoulder high walls.  A breeze reached the leaves up there.   The next tree over was the look-out, with nothing but ladder steps all the way up to where the view opened up out of the ravine.  When the wind blew, it gave merciless lessons in facing any fear of heights.  But now that was all over, discovered gone overnight.

Someone says again, “What do you want to do?” …”I don’t know, what do you want to do?”  “ 7-11? ”  Good enough, so they head out.   Distance measures time.  Ten minutes is the end of the street past the cracked basketball court in the church parking lot.  Fifteen minutes and the lawns end at the edge of the sub-division.  Half-built homes rising from bare dirt and scattered foundations could offer treasures of construction scraps, (where she suspects the stack of plywood came from.) but they keep walking.  Twenty minutes is where industry has scraped away nature, and railroad tracks form an elevated levee.  But time is meaningless if there’s a wealth of it, so there’s no going further until an informal ritual is completed.  Wordlessly they each dig around their pockets searching for equal amounts of pennies.  Each of them carefully arrange them lined up on the rounded-surface rail, and they settle in for the wait.  It could be five minutes or it could be thirty.  They all understand it’s a crap-shoot of patience waiting for the next train. It’s an unspoken test; quitting too early means losing your coins to the one who stays, so that’s not an option.

Heat presses down and the breezeless air smells like telephone-pole creosote.  She sits in a dusty patch of shade found next to an overgrown ****.  She knows it tastes like licorice and breaks off a stem to chew, but doesn’t know what it is.  The boys throw rocks randomly until she finally stands up to join in, tempted by the challenge of flight and distance.  Then she stands in the center of the tracks, looking one way then the other, searching for the first random distant glimmer of the engine’s light at the horizon.   A flash, so she places her ear to the metal Indian-style, and the imminent approach is confirmed.  She calls out, “its here!” and double checks her pennies’ alignment.  Heads up or tails, but always aligned so the building might be stretched tall or wide, or Lincoln’s face made broad or thin.  That happened only rarely, since it could only be rolled by one wheel then bounced off.  If it stuck longer, the next wheels would surely smash it into a thin, elliptical, smooth misshapen disc of shiny copper.  Its only value becomes validation of a hint of delinquency, Destroying-Government-Property.  Once she splurged with a quarter, which became smashed to just a gleaming silver, bent wafer discolored at the edge.  Curiosity wasn’t worth 25 cents again though, so she had only one of those in her collection.

The approaching engine silently builds impending size and power, so she dashes back down the rocky embankment to safety because after all, she is not a fool, tempting fate with stupid danger. She knows a couple of those fools, but she finds no thrill from that and is not impressed by them either.  Suddenly the train is here, generating astounding noise and wind, occasional wheels screaming protest on their axels.  She intently watches exactly where she placed her coins, hoping to see the moment they fly off the rails that are rhythmically bending under the weight rolling by.  It becomes another game of patience, with such a long line of cars, and she gives up counting them at 80-ish.  Then suddenly it is done and quickly the noise recedes back to heat and cicadas.  The rails are hot.  Diligently they search for the shiny wafers.  Slowly pacing each wood beam, they could have landed in the gravel, or pressed against the rail, or even lodged straight up against the square black wood yards down the tracks.  They find most of them, give up on the rest, then continue on.

She has thirty cents and at last they reach the afternoon’s destination.  7-11’s parking lot becomes a genuine game of “Lava”, burning blacktop encourages leaps from cooler white lines, to painted tire stops, to grass island oasis, then three hot steps across black lava to the sidewalk, and automatic doors swoosh open to air conditioning.  She rarely has enough money for a coke icey; she is here for the bottom shelf candy, a couple pennies or a nickel each.  Off flavors but sweet enough.  She remembered when her older brother was passing out lunchbags of candy to the neighborhood kids for free, practically littering the cul-de-sac.  She had wondered where he got enough money for all that popularity, or could he have saved that much from trick-or-treat? She wondered until he got busted shoplifting at the grocery store.  The security guard decreed that he was never allowed in there again, forever, and the disgrace of sitting on the curb waiting for the mortified ride home was enough to keep him from doing it again.

Today she picks out a few root beer barrels, some Tootsie-rolls (the smaller ones for two cents, not the large ones that divide into cubes) a candy necklace and tiny wax coke bottles, and of course a freeze-pop.   Sitting on the curb, she bites off small pieces of the freeze pop, careful not to get tooth-freeze or brain-freeze, until the last melty chunk is squeezed out the top of the thin plastic tube.

“What do you want to do now?” …”I don’t know, what do you want to do?”
There's a keen and grim old huntsman
On a horse as white as snow;
Sometimes he is very swift
And sometimes he is slow.
But he never is at fault,
For he always hunts at view
And he rides without a halt
After you.

The huntsman's name is Death,
His horse's name is Time;
He is coming, he is coming
As I sit and write this rhyme;
He is coming, he is coming,
As you read the rhyme I write;
You can hear the hoof's low drumming
Day and night.

You can hear the distant drumming
As the clock goes tick-a-tack,
And the chiming of the hours
Is the music of his pack.
You may hardly note their growling
Underneath the noonday sun,
But at night you hear them howling
As they run.

And they never check or falter
For they never miss their ****;
Seasons change and systems alter,
But the hunt is running still.
Hark! the evening chime is playing,
O'er the long grey town it peals;
Don't you hear the death-hound baying
At your heels?

Where is there an earth or burrow?
Where a cover left for you?
A year, a week, perhaps to-morrow
Brings the Huntsman's death halloo!
Day by day he gains upon us,
And the most that we can claim
Is that when the hounds are on us
We die game.

And somewhere dwells the Master,
By whom it was decreed;
He sent the savage huntsman,
He bred the snow-white steed.
These hounds which run for ever,
He set them on your track;
He hears you scream, but never
Calls them back.

He does not heed our suing,
We never see his face;
He hunts to our undoing,
We thank him for the chase.
We thank him and we flatter,
We hope -- because we must --
But have we cause? No matter!
Let us trust!
O, but needst I to listen to t'ese wishes, benign as t'ey are, but wild and inevitable-yet inaudible as dreams. Burnt by sophisticated passion, and whirring hells of torpid astonishment as my being at t'is moment, but smooth and glowing tenderly with affection-as thy love still I long for, woven so secretly ye' neatly alongst th' tangled paths of my mind! Yes, and its layers-turbulent patches of skin, yellow skin, crafted passionately by whose Creator, and imbued with unconquerable infatuation just like 'tis now. But no breathing soul canst I bestow it on-this overarching destiny, healthy and red as t'ose garden plums-impatient in t'eir wait for the shiny May summer-aside from thee, as 'tis but always thee, Kozarev! Uninvited as I am, by any other'ness' t'at might as well enrich my love story, as enough I feel, about t'at unrelenting history! Thou art th' sole man, th' only justified heart whom I adoreth, and want, so selfishly, to marry! As ripe as t'eir lips might be-but stifling, and immature in constitution, thinkable only when juxtaposed merrily with t'ose squirming nymphets about yon schoolyard; corrupted not as a newborn fern-with thighs carefully fastened to greedy-looking material, basked in immaculate sunlight, and so fresh to human sight, when all t'ese circumstances art but chaste no more, but beg, beg our hearts, and implore our worrying souls, to stay.

O Kozarev! Startled wasth I, to enter into thy proceedings, yester! Like an imbecile now my whole countenance-and its entire, ****** constitution-ah, but depleted, harmfully depleted, by laughter. What a raft of cynical conflagration! How grimly sadistic, ye' poetic in some ways! And t'ese remarks, and praises of love-begin but to dwelleth upon me all over again. Distracted is my firmness-by thy invincible power, guileless as thou hath always been, seeming not to hath heard my volatile heartbeat; and how doth I uttereth t'ose chuckles to my own mirrors upon flinging back into my bedchamber whenst our exchanges areth over. But indignant art thou not to my reddish blushes-which, like t'ose thorns of morning roses-enliven my soul up from within, after t'eir bleak winter!-and blanch darkly all my griefs away. In a thousand years and I shalt still miss thee, just like t'is, but 'tis just now t'at futility seemeth no more capable of wooing my calamity-and indulge it so adversely t'at it shalt turn towards me! Yes, how thou hath, with holiness, touched and entrapped my amorous passion, my love! In t'ese dreams-flourishing dreams, just like th' greenish pond and its superficial foliage outside, I but walk by thy moonlight and be blessed in thy fascination. Mighty and balmy shalt be th' sky overhead, hanging aloft with its mild arrogance, smelling like roofs of restrained rain-musty and soaking with glittering reproof; and wan abomination. But pure! Purity is but its sanctity, and protected by miraculous heavens, dwindling about like whitewashed statues being shoved around by a deadly lagoon of children-unknowing of what tomorrow shalt baffle us on, with faces of steel-like jubilance. And th' trees! Tropical wands be t'eir refuge-but horrifying as t'eir remorse-ah, in which souls shalt be brought about whirls of contemptuous winds, enslaved and stupefied all th' time-by mounds and havens of gruesome cruelty. But no care doth I fix on yon mortification-as thou art t'ere with me, Kozarev! Strolls shalt we take-t'ose encompassed by purplish and cheerful verdure, who admire us from t'eir gold-like stems afar-and into each other's cleavages shalt we retreat, by th' means of stories-yes, my love, stories of glee, pleasure, and yet-uneasiness, in order t'at t'ey shalt be wounded away and superseded by joy. Our love, rings of love, t'at is to come as immediate as nature might permit, and shalt allow us to admit-as yester hath unfolded, by bracing my feet for bouncing outside, across t'ese carpeted tiles-into th' very vicinity of thy chamber. Ah, thy handsome face! As white as pearls-yet frail as th' bulbous chirping snow. May I console 'em, my love, by my hands proffered-in th' most honourable marriage I desireth to come? But look, look afar, how t'ose stars-in t'is merciless universe, whispereth to one another, and talk gaily between t'eir wicked souls, of plans on bewildering our love-our bonds of vivid, mature fragrant compliments! How t'eir jealousy is mockery, and a swelling threat to us. And th' moon t'at is combing the hair, again, of t'at vicious ethereal princess-with a snooty swish of anot'er black hair-which is but a sea of anguished torment to me, should she descend the steps of her own ***** maidenhood-and carry herself off into our earth. Hark, how she doth it! How heathen, and indecent! But canst thou hear that-Kozarev? Canst thou be knowing of her shamelessness-and her counterfeit jewels? And her claws, her foster claws-ah, sharp as bullets, and notorious as her own evil heart! Luxury t'at is fake, ye' miserably auspicious! How I loathe her! Boil doth my temper at her genteel sight-and hostile auras, with t'at pair of necklaces t'at wasth born from falsehood, and ah! concealed deceit by portraits of clever contentment. How should thou hath seen her lips twitch over and over again, upon her setting t'at blackening imbecile gaze on me-me, who albeit from th' same brethren, but far from her flawless marches and stately refinement. And a creature, just a minuscule part of th' others, t'at she deems unworthy ye' deserving of torture! Silver and gold is she exclusively acquainted with, whenst torches in my garden art not even set alight. But look! How thou proudly saunter forward to welcome her, and salute her unforgiving cordiality with th' marks of thy lips, on her hand! And how t'is view scythes my chest, my heart, and tears it open just like th' blade of a sneaky knife shalt do. I am dying, dying from t'is tampered heart! And t'ese candles of my heart t'at hath been heartlessly watered-look how t'ey art brimming with sweat in cold demise. O Kozarev! Hath I been too late to seek thy love? Thy hands, my faultless prince, art but th' only mercy I canst pray for! Hath nature been so unfair as to savour all my dreams, ah, and even t'is single longing-and bequeath onto me a tragic life of undesired ghostlike mimes-in th' wholeness of my future? Thou art th' lost charm of t'at wholeness, my love, and should be I bereft of thee again, I shalt but be robbed of my entirety-and pride, womanly pride t'at I sadly out'ta hath. Ah, Kozarev, in thy movements doth I find bliss-a creaking blow to my wood-like stillness, and a cure for my sickly contrivances. I came here for thee, and always didst! Canst thou hear t'at-and satisfy this fierce longing with just a second of thy soundless touch? Lights flicker, and smile in t'eir subsequent death-but t'is is a token of subservient passion. And I shalt not give up like 'em-as t'is life greets us once only, before transporting us into regions of th' unknown-yes, it doth, my love, wherein eerieness is still questioned and overtly unfathomed. Ah, and before death I long to have you-Kozarev, and sit as we shalt-side by side, charmed by our generous yet moronic affection, until th' earth doth make us part, and shalt then we retreat into our most dimmed apertures.

Thou art my blissful paradise, Kozarev! Thy presence but bringst out my well of solemn cheers and proud, sun-like congeniality. And in t'is warm, gentle spring I shalt write but merely on thy vivacity! O imagination-blame, and curse her as thou might do, is in fact, my key, to my newborn triumph and infallible victory; th' marks of glimmering satisfaction-and visible restoration of my sin, my soul. T'is is because I believe, strongly, with all th' forlorn might of my heart, t'at sincerity shalt forever tower over every tweak of malevolent innocence and repressed wishes for destruction. 'Tis, Kozarev, is th' voice emanating towards me from within; and bracing t'ese lips, and *****, for facing her-t'at accursed rival of mine, with bravery and independence I hath never been brought to acknowledge. Ah, petrified as my customs let me be, conviction shalt stay within my hands; and t'at shadow-o, picture of our old days together, on th' veranda-yes, decorated with lights of our love, spur me on. Thy love is born as, and devoted to mine, my love! Crafted, shaped, and designated for me only-and to be mine, only mine-for evermore. We art but a chain of perfect concord, as God hath so sweetly decreed! And I shalt doth nothing else as remarkable as determine to retrieve it-with all th' charms and intellect t'at I possess-and my words as sugar sweet, as well as th' leaves of grace and my becoming, comely wit.
O sing a new song, to our God above,
Avoid profane ones, 'tis for holy choir:
Let Israel sing song of holy love
To him that made them, with their hearts on fire:
Let Zion's
sons life up their voice, and sing
Carols and anthems to their heavenly king.

Let not your voice alone his praise forth tell,
But move withal, and praise him in the dance;
Cymbals and harps
, let them be tuned well,
'Tis he that doth the poor's estate advance:
Do this not only on the solemn days,
But on your secret beds you spirits raise.

O let the saints bear in their mouth his praise,
And a two-edged sword drawn in their hand,
Therewith for to revenge the former days,
Upon all nations, that their zeal withstand;
To bind their kings in chains of iron strong,
And manacle their nobles for their wrong.

Expect the time, for 'tis decreed in heaven,
Such honor shall unto his saints be given.
zebra Dec 2017
damm men
predatory *** hounds
chasing skirts and tights
aching **** idiots
disciples of Eros
Christs of fetish
reconciling nothing
veiling that principled demeanor
of feminist culture
"of don't objectify me".....translation
sensual form is not natures ruse
machine Eve must
override override override

well the id does not negotiate
the superstructure of affected political tele-reality
starring
the liberal chattering class
who interminably speculate male motives to be some vainglorious power trip
while corperatized media personalities
feign out of control lust as a mental disorder
and
sit up like shuddering pekingese
yessing the lascivious
as a fiction

no ladies
its not just power
theories are not testosterone
it is pure unadulterated
relentless
irreducible
urge to merge
like the beluga **** channel
sea world as you've never seen it before
where male dolphins
batter and *******
the weaker ***
in search of feral harmony

in an overbuilt society
yet to become a civilization
are we
scissored between a wild ****** id
of the damed
and the Victorian sacred
of the damed

oh you silky damsels
makin men moody and humid
pure **** heroine
a poison ivy of ***
like a rash
givin men folk the itch
cant stop the twitch
rubber *******
in a rubbing frenzy
from your soaking heat and odor

we are  a rumbling of muttering torments
for the forbidden taste
of you
oooow
oooow
we are pan in a mad dance
for glistening shanks
and buttery kisses
we are the early bird looking for the worm
hunters decreed by the liturgy of heaven and hell
a constellation of infatuation and lechery
mad with adoration
love slaves in a raging furnace of desire
*** addicts
that just say yes
turgid dogs
hole sniffers
voluptuous monsters
all johnny apple seed
and sometimes your salvation
as you are ours
knowing that sometimes
real eroticism eclipses morality

and yes my darlings*

NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
NO MAN SHOULD EVER TRANSGRESS ANOTHER
John F McCullagh Aug 2013
For years they'd tried and failed
in their conjunctions to conceive.
The wife prone to miscarriages
so a surrogate was decreed.

Her closest friend from college
took pity on their plight,
and volunteered to help them
by bringing forth their child to life.

It would be their bun, her oven.
Their tenant in her rented womb.
The pregnancy was uneventful
and their son was born last June.

It's a miracle of science.
to some couples it's a boon.
but the procedure is expensive
so don't expect a baby boom
suggested by the story of Jiimmy Fallon and his new daughter born via surrogacy
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
perched atop a muddy graze          
amongst the reefing centipede        
does lady jade a’ponder days          
  from whence the eldest had decreed.

"what's this a'fuss upon the breeze
that sings a song of fallen trees?"

          a burnin' Birgham urn, aburn!
                                        a'crack—a'whack—a'wish..


was broadening—a shiver, swift—
bespoken of her crown to rest?      
what way whereby these spirits lift
      that hide should (of the head) contest?

"what, unbeknownst, should overwhelm
this silv'ry shoat, what's felling elm?"

          a burnin' Birgham urn, aburn!
                                        a'crack—a'whack—a'wish..


amidst a cruel cacophony,                
the lady seed, she must concede      
the razing of her progeny                
beholden to appease a need.            

"what's this in want of dire good
that preys upon upholding wood?"

          a burnin' Birgham urn, aburn!
                                       a'crack—a'whack—a'wish..


on arbor brawn does ardor dine    
    does earthen daughter march to meet
as tireless as the vile design              
divesting mother's gen'rous ****.    

"what subtleties uproot the heart
as bodies from their souls depart?"

          *
a burnin' Birgham urn, aburn!
                                        a'crack—a'whack—a'wish..


∘ ⊱‧⌍  ⌈✞⌋  ⌌‧⊰ ∞
﹋﹋﹋﹋﹋﹋﹋﹋
“It is the voice of years, that are gone! they roll before me, with
  all their deeds.”

  Ossian.


NEWSTEAD! fast-falling, once-resplendent dome!
Religion’s shrine! repentant HENRY’S pride!
Of Warriors, Monks, and Dames the cloister’d tomb,
Whose pensive shades around thy ruins glide,

Hail to thy pile! more honour’d in thy fall,
  Than modern mansions, in their pillar’d state;
Proudly majestic frowns thy vaulted hall,
  Scowling defiance on the blasts of fate.

No mail-clad Serfs, obedient to their Lord,
  In grim array, the crimson cross demand;
Or gay assemble round the festive board,
  Their chief’s retainers, an immortal band.

Else might inspiring Fancy’s magic eye
  Retrace their progress, through the lapse of time;
Marking each ardent youth, ordain’d to die,
  A votive pilgrim, in Judea’s clime.

But not from thee, dark pile! departs the Chief;
  His feudal realm in other regions lay:
In thee the wounded conscience courts relief,
  Retiring from the garish blaze of day.

Yes! in thy gloomy cells and shades profound,
  The monk abjur’d a world, he ne’er could view;
Or blood-stain’d Guilt repenting, solace found,
  Or Innocence, from stern Oppression, flew.

A Monarch bade thee from that wild arise,
  Where Sherwood’s outlaws, once, were wont to prowl;
And Superstition’s crimes, of various dyes,
  Sought shelter in the Priest’s protecting cowl.

Where, now, the grass exhales a murky dew,
  The humid pall of life-extinguish’d clay,
In sainted fame, the sacred Fathers grew,
  Nor raised their pious voices, but to pray.

Where, now, the bats their wavering wings extend,
  Soon as the gloaming spreads her waning shade;
The choir did, oft, their mingling vespers blend,
  Or matin orisons to Mary paid.

Years roll on years; to ages, ages yield;
  Abbots to Abbots, in a line, succeed:
Religion’s charter, their protecting shield,
  Till royal sacrilege their doom decreed.

One holy HENRY rear’d the Gothic walls,
  And bade the pious inmates rest in peace;
Another HENRY the kind gift recalls,
  And bids devotion’s hallow’d echoes cease.

Vain is each threat, or supplicating prayer;
  He drives them exiles from their blest abode,
To roam a dreary world, in deep despair—
  No friend, no home, no refuge, but their God.

Hark! how the hall, resounding to the strain,
  Shakes with the martial music’s novel din!
The heralds of a warrior’s haughty reign,
  High crested banners wave thy walls within.

Of changing sentinels the distant hum,
  The mirth of feasts, the clang of burnish’d arms,
The braying trumpet, and the hoarser drum,
  Unite in concert with increas’d alarms.

An abbey once, a regal fortress now,
  Encircled by insulting rebel powers;
War’s dread machines o’erhang thy threat’ning brow,
  And dart destruction, in sulphureous showers.

Ah! vain defence! the hostile traitor’s siege,
  Though oft repuls’d, by guile o’ercomes the brave;
His thronging foes oppress the faithful Liege,
  Rebellion’s reeking standards o’er him wave.

Not unaveng’d the raging Baron yields;
  The blood of traitors smears the purple plain;
Unconquer’d still, his falchion there he wields,
  And days of glory, yet, for him remain.

Still, in that hour, the warrior wish’d to strew
  Self-gather’d laurels on a self-sought grave;
But Charles’ protecting genius hither flew,
  The monarch’s friend, the monarch’s hope, to save.

Trembling, she ******’d him from th’ unequal strife,
  In other fields the torrent to repel;
For nobler combats, here, reserv’d his life,
  To lead the band, where godlike FALKLAND fell.

From thee, poor pile! to lawless plunder given,
  While dying groans their painful requiem sound,
Far different incense, now, ascends to Heaven,
  Such victims wallow on the gory ground.

There many a pale and ruthless Robber’s corse,
  Noisome and ghast, defiles thy sacred sod;
O’er mingling man, and horse commix’d with horse,
  Corruption’s heap, the savage spoilers trod.

Graves, long with rank and sighing weeds o’erspread,
  Ransack’d resign, perforce, their mortal mould:
From ruffian fangs, escape not e’en the dead,
  Racked from repose, in search for buried gold.

Hush’d is the harp, unstrung the warlike lyre,
  The minstrel’s palsied hand reclines in death;
No more he strikes the quivering chords with fire,
  Or sings the glories of the martial wreath.

At length the sated murderers, gorged with prey,
  Retire: the clamour of the fight is o’er;
Silence again resumes her awful sway,
  And sable Horror guards the massy door.

Here, Desolation holds her dreary court:
  What satellites declare her dismal reign!
Shrieking their dirge, ill-omen’d birds resort,
  To flit their vigils, in the hoary fane.

Soon a new Morn’s restoring beams dispel
  The clouds of Anarchy from Britain’s skies;
The fierce Usurper seeks his native hell,
  And Nature triumphs, as the Tyrant dies.

With storms she welcomes his expiring groans;
  Whirlwinds, responsive, greet his labouring breath;
Earth shudders, as her caves receive his bones,
  Loathing the offering of so dark a death.

The legal Ruler now resumes the helm,
  He guides through gentle seas, the prow of state;
Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realm,
  And heals the bleeding wounds of wearied Hate.

The gloomy tenants, Newstead! of thy cells,
  Howling, resign their violated nest;
Again, the Master on his tenure dwells,
  Enjoy’d, from absence, with enraptured zest.

Vassals, within thy hospitable pale,
  Loudly carousing, bless their Lord’s return;
Culture, again, adorns the gladdening vale,
  And matrons, once lamenting, cease to mourn.

A thousand songs, on tuneful echo, float,
  Unwonted foliage mantles o’er the trees;
And, hark! the horns proclaim a mellow note,
  The hunters’ cry hangs lengthening on the breeze.

Beneath their coursers’ hoofs the valleys shake;
  What fears! what anxious hopes! attend the chase!
The dying stag seeks refuge in the lake;
  Exulting shouts announce the finish’d race.

Ah happy days! too happy to endure!
  Such simple sports our plain forefathers knew:
No splendid vices glitter’d to allure;
  Their joys were many, as their cares were few.

From these descending, Sons to Sires succeed;
  Time steals along, and Death uprears his dart;
Another Chief impels the foaming steed,
  Another Crowd pursue the panting hart.

Newstead! what saddening change of scene is thine!
  Thy yawning arch betokens slow decay;
The last and youngest of a noble line,
  Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway.

Deserted now, he scans thy gray worn towers;
  Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep;
Thy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers;
  These, these he views, and views them but to weep.

Yet are his tears no emblem of regret:
  Cherish’d Affection only bids them flow;
Pride, Hope, and Love, forbid him to forget,
  But warm his *****, with impassion’d glow.

Yet he prefers thee, to the gilded domes,
  Or gewgaw grottos, of the vainly great;
Yet lingers ’mid thy damp and mossy tombs,
  Nor breathes a murmur ‘gainst the will of Fate.

Haply thy sun, emerging, yet, may shine,
  Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;
Hours, splendid as the past, may still be thine,
  And bless thy future, as thy former day.
Oh say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed
The heart which adores you should wish to dissever;
Such Fates were to me most unkind ones indeed,—
To bear me from Love and from Beauty for ever.

Your frowns, lovely girl, are the Fates which alone
Could bid me from fond admiration refrain;
By these, every hope, every wish were o’erthrown,
Till smiles should restore me to rapture again.

As the ivy and oak, in the forest entwin’d,
The rage of the tempest united must weather;
My love and my life were by nature design’d
To flourish alike, or to perish together.

Then say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed
  Your lover should bid you a lasting adieu:
Till Fate can ordain that his ***** shall bleed,
  His Soul, his Existence, are centred in you.
Thus the Trojans in the city, scared like fawns, wiped the sweat
from off them and drank to quench their thirst, leaning against the
goodly battlements, while the Achaeans with their shields laid upon
their shoulders drew close up to the walls. But stern fate bade Hector
stay where he was before Ilius and the Scaean gates. Then Phoebus
Apollo spoke to the son of Peleus saying, “Why, son of Peleus, do you,
who are but man, give chase to me who am immortal? Have you not yet
found out that it is a god whom you pursue so furiously? You did not
harass the Trojans whom you had routed, and now they are within
their walls, while you have been decoyed hither away from them. Me you
cannot ****, for death can take no hold upon me.”
  Achilles was greatly angered and said, “You have baulked me,
Far-Darter, most malicious of all gods, and have drawn me away from
the wall, where many another man would have bitten the dust ere he got
within Ilius; you have robbed me of great glory and have saved the
Trojans at no risk to yourself, for you have nothing to fear, but I
would indeed have my revenge if it were in my power to do so.”
  On this, with fell intent he made towards the city, and as the
winning horse in a chariot race strains every nerve when he is
flying over the plain, even so fast and furiously did the limbs of
Achilles bear him onwards. King Priam was first to note him as he
scoured the plain, all radiant as the star which men call Orion’s
Hound, and whose beams blaze forth in time of harvest more brilliantly
than those of any other that shines by night; brightest of them all
though he be, he yet bodes ill for mortals, for he brings fire and
fever in his train—even so did Achilles’ armour gleam on his breast
as he sped onwards. Priam raised a cry and beat his head with his
hands as he lifted them up and shouted out to his dear son,
imploring him to return; but Hector still stayed before the gates, for
his heart was set upon doing battle with Achilles. The old man reached
out his arms towards him and bade him for pity’s sake come within
the walls. “Hector,” he cried, “my son, stay not to face this man
alone and unsupported, or you will meet death at the hands of the
son of Peleus, for he is mightier than you. Monster that he is;
would indeed that the gods loved him no better than I do, for so, dogs
and vultures would soon devour him as he lay stretched on earth, and a
load of grief would be lifted from my heart, for many a brave son
has he reft from me, either by killing them or selling them away in
the islands that are beyond the sea: even now I miss two sons from
among the Trojans who have thronged within the city, Lycaon and
Polydorus, whom Laothoe peeress among women bore me. Should they be
still alive and in the hands of the Achaeans, we will ransom them with
gold and bronze, of which we have store, for the old man Altes endowed
his daughter richly; but if they are already dead and in the house
of Hades, sorrow will it be to us two who were their parents; albeit
the grief of others will be more short-lived unless you too perish
at the hands of Achilles. Come, then, my son, within the city, to be
the guardian of Trojan men and Trojan women, or you will both lose
your own life and afford a mighty triumph to the son of Peleus. Have
pity also on your unhappy father while life yet remains to him—on me,
whom the son of Saturn will destroy by a terrible doom on the
threshold of old age, after I have seen my sons slain and my daughters
haled away as captives, my bridal chambers pillaged, little children
dashed to earth amid the rage of battle, and my sons’ wives dragged
away by the cruel hands of the Achaeans; in the end fierce hounds will
tear me in pieces at my own gates after some one has beaten the life
out of my body with sword or spear-hounds that I myself reared and fed
at my own table to guard my gates, but who will yet lap my blood and
then lie all distraught at my doors. When a young man falls by the
sword in battle, he may lie where he is and there is nothing unseemly;
let what will be seen, all is honourable in death, but when an old man
is slain there is nothing in this world more pitiable than that dogs
should defile his grey hair and beard and all that men hide for
shame.”
  The old man tore his grey hair as he spoke, but he moved not the
heart of Hector. His mother hard by wept and moaned aloud as she bared
her ***** and pointed to the breast which had suckled him. “Hector,”
she cried, weeping bitterly the while, “Hector, my son, spurn not this
breast, but have pity upon me too: if I have ever given you comfort
from my own *****, think on it now, dear son, and come within the wall
to protect us from this man; stand not without to meet him. Should the
wretch **** you, neither I nor your richly dowered wife shall ever
weep, dear offshoot of myself, over the bed on which you lie, for dogs
will devour you at the ships of the Achaeans.”
  Thus did the two with many tears implore their son, but they moved
not the heart of Hector, and he stood his ground awaiting huge
Achilles as he drew nearer towards him. As serpent in its den upon the
mountains, full fed with deadly poisons, waits for the approach of
man—he is filled with fury and his eyes glare terribly as he goes
writhing round his den—even so Hector leaned his shield against a
tower that jutted out from the wall and stood where he was, undaunted.
  “Alas,” said he to himself in the heaviness of his heart, “if I go
within the gates, Polydamas will be the first to heap reproach upon
me, for it was he that urged me to lead the Trojans back to the city
on that awful night when Achilles again came forth against us. I would
not listen, but it would have been indeed better if I had done so. Now
that my folly has destroyed the host, I dare not look Trojan men and
Trojan women in the face, lest a worse man should say, ‘Hector has
ruined us by his self-confidence.’ Surely it would be better for me to
return after having fought Achilles and slain him, or to die
gloriously here before the city. What, again, if were to lay down my
shield and helmet, lean my spear against the wall and go straight up
to noble Achilles? What if I were to promise to give up Helen, who was
the fountainhead of all this war, and all the treasure that Alexandrus
brought with him in his ships to Troy, aye, and to let the Achaeans
divide the half of everything that the city contains among themselves?
I might make the Trojans, by the mouths of their princes, take a
solemn oath that they would hide nothing, but would divide into two
shares all that is within the city—but why argue with myself in
this way? Were I to go up to him he would show me no kind of mercy; he
would **** me then and there as easily as though I were a woman,
when I had off my armour. There is no parleying with him from some
rock or oak tree as young men and maidens prattle with one another.
Better fight him at once, and learn to which of us Jove will vouchsafe
victory.”
  Thus did he stand and ponder, but Achilles came up to him as it were
Mars himself, plumed lord of battle. From his right shoulder he
brandished his terrible spear of Pelian ash, and the bronze gleamed
around him like flashing fire or the rays of the rising sun. Fear fell
upon Hector as he beheld him, and he dared not stay longer where he
was but fled in dismay from before the gates, while Achilles darted
after him at his utmost speed. As a mountain falcon, swiftest of all
birds, swoops down upon some cowering dove—the dove flies before
him but the falcon with a shrill scream follows close after,
resolved to have her—even so did Achilles make straight for Hector
with all his might, while Hector fled under the Trojan wall as fast as
his limbs could take him.
  On they flew along the waggon-road that ran hard by under the
wall, past the lookout station, and past the weather-beaten wild
fig-tree, till they came to two fair springs which feed the river
Scamander. One of these two springs is warm, and steam rises from it
as smoke from a burning fire, but the other even in summer is as
cold as hail or snow, or the ice that forms on water. Here, hard by
the springs, are the goodly washing-troughs of stone, where in the
time of peace before the coming of the Achaeans the wives and fair
daughters of the Trojans used to wash their clothes. Past these did
they fly, the one in front and the other giving ha. behind him: good
was the man that fled, but better far was he that followed after,
and swiftly indeed did they run, for the prize was no mere beast for
sacrifice or bullock’s hide, as it might be for a common foot-race,
but they ran for the life of Hector. As horses in a chariot race speed
round the turning-posts when they are running for some great prize-
a tripod or woman—at the games in honour of some dead hero, so did
these two run full speed three times round the city of Priam. All
the gods watched them, and the sire of gods and men was the first to
speak.
  “Alas,” said he, “my eyes behold a man who is dear to me being
pursued round the walls of Troy; my heart is full of pity for
Hector, who has burned the thigh-bones of many a heifer in my
honour, at one while on the of many-valleyed Ida, and again on the
citadel of Troy; and now I see noble Achilles in full pursuit of him
round the city of Priam. What say you? Consider among yourselves and
decide whether we shall now save him or let him fall, valiant though
he be, before Achilles, son of Peleus.”
  Then Minerva said, “Father, wielder of the lightning, lord of
cloud and storm, what mean you? Would you pluck this mortal whose doom
has long been decreed out of the jaws of death? Do as you will, but we
others shall not be of a mind with you.”
  And Jove answered, “My child, Trito-born, take heart. I did not
speak in full earnest, and I will let you have your way. Do without
let or hindrance as you are minded.”
  Thus did he urge Minerva who was already eager, and down she
darted from the topmost summits of Olympus.
  Achilles was still in full pursuit of Hector, as a hound chasing a
fawn which he has started from its covert on the mountains, and
hunts through glade and thicket. The fawn may try to elude him by
crouching under cover of a bush, but he will scent her out and
follow her up until he gets her—even so there was no escape for
Hector from the fleet son of Peleus. Whenever he made a set to get
near the Dardanian gates and under the walls, that his people might
help him by showering down weapons from above, Achilles would gain
on him and head him back towards the plain, keeping himself always
on the city side. As a man in a dream who fails to lay hands upon
another whom he is pursuing—the one cannot escape nor the other
overtake—even so neither could Achilles come up with Hector, nor
Hector break away from Achilles; nevertheless he might even yet have
escaped death had not the time come when Apollo, who thus far had
sustained his strength and nerved his running, was now no longer to
stay by him. Achilles made signs to the Achaean host, and shook his
head to show that no man was to aim a dart at Hector, lest another
might win the glory of having hit him and he might himself come in
second. Then, at last, as they were nearing the fountains for the
fourth time, the father of all balanced his golden scales and placed a
doom in each of them, one for Achilles and the other for Hector. As he
held the scales by the middle, the doom of Hector fell down deep
into the house of Hades—and then Phoebus Apollo left him. Thereon
Minerva went close up to the son of Peleus and said, “Noble
Achilles, favoured of heaven, we two shall surely take back to the
ships a triumph for the Achaeans by slaying Hector, for all his lust
of battle. Do what Apollo may as he lies grovelling before his father,
aegis-bearing Jove, Hector cannot escape us longer. Stay here and take
breath, while I go up to him and persuade him to make a stand and
fight you.”
  Thus spoke Minerva. Achilles obeyed her gladly, and stood still,
leaning on his bronze-pointed ashen spear, while Minerva left him
and went after Hector in the form and with the voice of Deiphobus. She
came close up to him and said, “Dear brother, I see you are hard
pressed by Achilles who is chasing you at full speed round the city of
Priam, let us await his onset and stand on our defence.”
  And Hector answered, “Deiphobus, you have always been dearest to
me of all my brothers, children of Hecuba and Priam, but henceforth
I shall rate you yet more highly, inasmuch as you have ventured
outside the wall for my sake when all the others remain inside.”
  Then Minerva said, “Dear brother, my father and mother went down
on their knees and implored me, as did all my comrades, to remain
inside, so great a fear has fallen upon them all; but I was in an
agony of grief when I beheld you; now, therefore, let us two make a
stand and fight, and let there be no keeping our spears in reserve,
that we may learn whether Achilles shall **** us and bear off our
spoils to the ships, or whether he shall fall before you.”
  Thus did Minerva inveigle him by her cunning, and when the two
were now close to one another great Hector was first to speak. “I
will-no longer fly you, son of Peleus,” said he, “as I have been doing
hitherto. Three times have I fled round the mighty city of Priam,
without daring to withstand you, but now, let me either slay or be
slain, for I am in the mind to face you. Let us, then, give pledges to
one another by our gods, who are the fittest witnesses and guardians
of all covenants; let it be agreed between us that if Jove
vouchsafes me the longer stay and I take your life, I am not to
treat your dead body in any unseemly fashion, but when I have stripped
you of your armour, I am to give up your body to the Achaeans. And
do you likewise.”
  Achilles glared at him and answered, “Fool, prate not to me about
covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions, wolves and
lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other out and out an
through. Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me,
nor may there be any covenants between us, till one or other shall
fall and glut grim Mars with his life’s blood. Put forth all your
strength; you have need now to prove yourself indeed a bold soldier
and man of war. You have no more chance, and Pallas Minerva will
forthwith vanquish you by my spear: you shall now pay me in full for
the grief you have caused me on account of my comrades whom you have
killed in battle.”
  He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it. Hector saw it
coming and avoided it; he watched it and crouched down so that it flew
over his head and stuck in the ground beyond; Minerva then snatched it
up and gave it back to Achilles without Hector’s seeing her; Hector
thereon said to the son of Peleus, “You have missed your aim,
Achilles, peer of the gods, and Jove has not yet revealed to you the
hour of my doom, though you made sure that he had done so. You were
a false-tongued liar when you deemed that I should forget my valour
and quail before you. You shall not drive spear into the back of a
runaway—drive it, should heaven so grant you power, drive it into
me as I make straight towards you; and now for your own part avoid
my spear if you can—would that you might receive the whole of it into
your body; if you were once dead the Trojans would find the war an
easier matter, for it is you who have harmed them most.”
  He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it. His aim was true
for he hit the middle of Achilles’ shield, but the spear rebounded
from it, and did not pierce it. Hector was angry when he saw that
the weapon had sped from his hand in vain, and stood there in dismay
for he had no second spear. With a loud cry he called Diphobus and
asked him for one, but there was no man; then he saw the truth and
said to himself, “Alas! the gods have lured me on to my destruction. I
deemed that the hero Deiphobus was by my side, but he is within the
wall, and Minerva has inveigled me; death is now indeed exceedingly
near at hand and there is no way out of it—for so Jove and his son
Apollo the far-darter have willed it, though heretofore th
Marshal Gebbie Nov 2009
Dark terrorism creeping
Across the world in flood
Lacerating peace of  mind
And soaking us in blood,
Indiscriminately mauling
Targets they perceive
Will further their ambition
Of global dominance and greed.

A mother tears her bodice,
Her moans, a hollow sound,
Her family caste about her
Shredded by a mortar round.
Little children in the playground
Mothers shopping in the mall,
Mullah’s kneeling, praying in the mosque
A car bomb kills them all.

How’s it hanging Tony Blair,
Have you enjoyed your breakfast yet?
Felt inclined to visit far Kashmir
In your speedy, private jet?
It’s murderous in Kashmir
And has been for a while
For, still, India and Pakistan
Throw lethal bullets, bombs and bile.

And Beruit is as dangerous
As the Lebanon can be,
Iran is building maelstrom
Feared by Jews eternally.
The I.R.A. Still loathe the Brits
Koreans hate the ****
The Russians distrust everybody
(Especially Chechun rats.)

El Queada is stateless
They attack across the board
From Washington to New York
To Indonesia’s tropic shore.
America’s a fortress
But still fighting foreign wars
Whilst China sits inscrutably
Nursing Tibet’s cuts and sores.
Islamic fundamentalists
Throw Jihad to Israel
And Israel tears at Hammas
Did they steal the Holy Grail?

The beauty of a little girl
Her skin as smooth as silk,
Expression in those calm brown eyes
Is as innocent as milk.
Because she lived in Gaza
Her tomorrows are depraved
By an A.K.47 shell
That despatched her to her grave.

Who are the good guys?
Who are the bad?
What part of this unholy mess
Is anything but mad?
All invoke the righteous stance
God is on our side!
Each engage this hideous dance
And foreign God’s deride.

Ripping, skinning, blasting, killing
Terrorists do lurk,
Spreading fear across the globe
Intentionally, is their work.
Taking citizen’s by the throat
And slashing with a blade
To leave their mark indelibly
On countless corpses laid.

Dogma, ideology
The mantra is obscene
Because the minions who perform these tasks
Are usually quite clean,
Their mentors are the instigators
Enmeshed within the code
Of obsession, faith and bigotry,
All adhere to this dark road.
Obsessed with racial hatred,
Obsessed by loathing greed,
Obsession ruled by God alone
Jihad, Fatwah decreed!

Pray tell me noble man of prayer
Where is your God in this?
Pray tell me any one out there
HOW DOES THAT GOD EXIST?

Marshalg
@theGate
Mangere Bridge
6th March 2009
Apollo’s wrath to man the dreadful spring
Of ills innum’rous, tuneful goddess, sing!
Thou who did’st first th’ ideal pencil give,
And taught’st the painter in his works to live,
Inspire with glowing energy of thought,
What Wilson painted, and what Ovid wrote.
Muse! lend thy aid, nor let me sue in vain,
Tho’ last and meanest of the rhyming train!
O guide my pen in lofty strains to show
The Phrygian queen, all beautiful in woe.
  ’Twas where Maeonia spreads her wide domain
Niobe dwelt, and held her potent reign:
See in her hand the regal sceptre shine,
The wealthy heir of Tantalus divine,
He most distinguish’d by Dodonean Jove,
To approach the tables of the gods above:
Her grandsire Atlas, who with mighty pains
Th’ ethereal axis on his neck sustains:
Her other grandsire on the throne on high
Rolls the loud-pealing thunder thro’ the sky.
  Her spouse, Amphion, who from Jove too springs,
Divinely taught to sweep the sounding strings.
  Seven sprightly sons the royal bed adorn,
Seven daughters beauteous as the op’ning morn,
As when Aurora fills the ravish’d sight,
And decks the orient realms with rosy light
From their bright eyes the living splendors play,
Nor can beholders bear the flashing ray.
  Wherever, Niobe, thou turn’st thine eyes,
New beauties kindle, and new joys arise!
But thou had’st far the happier mother prov’d,
If this fair offspring had been less belov’d:
What if their charms exceed Aurora’s teint.
No words could tell them, and no pencil paint,
Thy love too vehement hastens to destroy
Each blooming maid, and each celestial boy.
  Now Manto comes, endu’d with mighty skill,
The past to explore, the future to reveal.
Thro’ Thebes’ wide streets Tiresia’s daughter came,
Divine Latona’s mandate to proclaim:
The Theban maids to hear the orders ran,
When thus Maeonia’s prophetess began:
  “Go, Thebans! great Latona’s will obey,
“And pious tribute at her altars pay:
“With rights divine, the goddess be implor’d,
“Nor be her sacred offspring unador’d.”
Thus Manto spoke.  The Theban maids obey,
And pious tribute to the goddess pay.
The rich perfumes ascend in waving spires,
And altars blaze with consecrated fires;
The fair assembly moves with graceful air,
And leaves of laurel bind the flowing hair.
  Niobe comes with all her royal race,
With charms unnumber’d, and superior grace:
Her Phrygian garments of delightful hue,
Inwove with gold, refulgent to the view,
Beyond description beautiful she moves
Like heav’nly Venus, ’midst her smiles and loves:
She views around the supplicating train,
And shakes her graceful head with stern disdain,
Proudly she turns around her lofty eyes,
And thus reviles celestial deities:
“What madness drives the Theban ladies fair
“To give their incense to surrounding air?
“Say why this new sprung deity preferr’d?
“Why vainly fancy your petitions heard?
“Or say why Caeus offspring is obey’d,
“While to my goddesship no tribute’s paid?
“For me no altars blaze with living fires,
“No bullock bleeds, no frankincense transpires,
“Tho’ Cadmus’ palace, not unknown to fame,
“And Phrygian nations all revere my name.
“Where’er I turn my eyes vast wealth I find,
“Lo! here an empress with a goddess join’d.
“What, shall a Titaness be deify’d,
“To whom the spacious earth a couch deny’d!
“Nor heav’n, nor earth, nor sea receiv’d your queen,
“Till pitying Delos took the wand’rer in.
“Round me what a large progeny is spread!
“No frowns of fortune has my soul to dread.
“What if indignant she decrease my train
“More than Latona’s number will remain;
“Then hence, ye Theban dames, hence haste away,
“Nor longer off’rings to Latona pay;
“Regard the orders of Amphion’s spouse,
“And take the leaves of laurel from your brows.”
Niobe spoke.  The Theban maids obey’d,
Their brows unbound, and left the rights unpaid.
  The angry goddess heard, then silence broke
On Cynthus’ summit, and indignant spoke;
“Phoebus! behold, thy mother in disgrace,
“Who to no goddess yields the prior place
“Except to Juno’s self, who reigns above,
“The spouse and sister of the thund’ring Jove.
“Niobe, sprung from Tantalus, inspires
“Each Theban ***** with rebellious fires;
“No reason her imperious temper quells,
“But all her father in her tongue rebels;
“Wrap her own sons for her blaspheming breath,
“Apollo! wrap them in the shades of death.”
Latona ceas’d, and ardent thus replies
The God, whose glory decks th’ expanded skies.
  “Cease thy complaints, mine be the task assign’d
“To punish pride, and scourge the rebel mind.”
This Phoebe join’d.—They wing their instant flight;
Thebes trembled as th’ immortal pow’rs alight.
  With clouds incompass’d glorious Phoebus stands;
The feather’d vengeance quiv’ring in his hands.
     Near Cadmus’ walls a plain extended lay,
Where Thebes’ young princes pass’d in sport the day:
There the bold coursers bounded o’er the plains,
While their great masters held the golden reins.
Ismenus first the racing pastime led,
And rul’d the fury of his flying steed.
“Ah me,” he sudden cries, with shrieking breath,
While in his breast he feels the shaft of death;
He drops the bridle on his courser’s mane,
Before his eyes in shadows swims the plain,
He, the first-born of great Amphion’s bed,
Was struck the first, first mingled with the dead.
  Then didst thou, Sipylus, the language hear
Of fate portentous whistling in the air:
As when th’ impending storm the sailor sees
He spreads his canvas to the fav’ring breeze,
So to thine horse thou gav’st the golden reins,
Gav’st him to rush impetuous o’er the plains:
But ah! a fatal shaft from Phoebus’ hand
Smites thro’ thy neck, and sinks thee on the sand.
  Two other brothers were at wrestling found,
And in their pastime claspt each other round:
A shaft that instant from Apollo’s hand
Transfixt them both, and stretcht them on the sand:
Together they their cruel fate bemoan’d,
Together languish’d, and together groan’d:
Together too th’ unbodied spirits fled,
And sought the gloomy mansions of the dead.
Alphenor saw, and trembling at the view,
Beat his torn breast, that chang’d its snowy hue.
He flies to raise them in a kind embrace;
A brother’s fondness triumphs in his face:
Alphenor fails in this fraternal deed,
A dart dispatch’d him (so the fates decreed:)
Soon as the arrow left the deadly wound,
His issuing entrails smoak’d upon the ground.
  What woes on blooming Damasichon wait!
His sighs portend his near impending fate.
Just where the well-made leg begins to be,
And the soft sinews form the supple knee,
The youth sore wounded by the Delian god
Attempts t’ extract the crime-avenging rod,
But, whilst he strives the will of fate t’ avert,
Divine Apollo sends a second dart;
Swift thro’ his throat the feather’d mischief flies,
Bereft of sense, he drops his head, and dies.
  Young Ilioneus, the last, directs his pray’r,
And cries, “My life, ye gods celestial! spare.”
Apollo heard, and pity touch’d his heart,
But ah! too late, for he had sent the dart:
Thou too, O Ilioneus, art doom’d to fall,
The fates refuse that arrow to recal.
  On the swift wings of ever flying Fame
To Cadmus’ palace soon the tidings came:
Niobe heard, and with indignant eyes
She thus express’d her anger and surprise:
“Why is such privilege to them allow’d?
“Why thus insulted by the Delian god?
“Dwells there such mischief in the pow’rs above?
“Why sleeps the vengeance of immortal Jove?”
For now Amphion too, with grief oppress’d,
Had plung’d the deadly dagger in his breast.
Niobe now, less haughty than before,
With lofty head directs her steps no more
She, who late told her pedigree divine,
And drove the Thebans from Latona’s shrine,
How strangely chang’d!—yet beautiful in woe,
She weeps, nor weeps unpity’d by the foe.
On each pale corse the wretched mother spread
Lay overwhelm’d with grief, and kiss’d her dead,
Then rais’d her arms, and thus, in accents slow,
“Be sated cruel Goddess! with my woe;
“If I’ve offended, let these streaming eyes,
“And let this sev’nfold funeral suffice:
“Ah! take this wretched life you deign’d to save,
“With them I too am carried to the grave.
“Rejoice triumphant, my victorious foe,
“But show the cause from whence your triumphs flow?
“Tho’ I unhappy mourn these children slain,
“Yet greater numbers to my lot remain.”
She ceas’d, the bow string twang’d with awful sound,
Which struck with terror all th’ assembly round,
Except the queen, who stood unmov’d alone,
By her distresses more presumptuous grown.
Near the pale corses stood their sisters fair
In sable vestures and dishevell’d hair;
One, while she draws the fatal shaft away,
Faints, falls, and sickens at the light of day.
To sooth her mother, lo! another flies,
And blames the fury of inclement skies,
And, while her words a filial pity show,
Struck dumb—indignant seeks the shades below.
Now from the fatal place another flies,
Falls in her flight, and languishes, and dies.
Another on her sister drops in death;
A fifth in trembling terrors yields her breath;
While the sixth seeks some gloomy cave in vain,
Struck with the rest, and mingled with the slain.
  One only daughter lives, and she the least;
The queen close clasp’d the daughter to her breast:
“Ye heav’nly pow’rs, ah spare me one,” she cry’d,
“Ah! spare me one,” the vocal hills reply’d:
In vain she begs, the Fates her suit deny,
In her embrace she sees her daughter die.
   “The queen of all her family bereft,
“Without or husband, son, or daughter left,
“Grew stupid at the shock.  The passing air
“Made no impression on her stiff’ning hair.
“The blood forsook her face: amidst the flood
“Pour’d from her cheeks, quite fix’d her eye-*****
  “stood.
“Her tongue, her palate both obdurate grew,
“Her curdled veins no longer motion knew;
“The use of neck, and arms, and feet was gone,
“And ev’n her bowels hard’ned into stone:
“A marble statue now the queen appears,
“But from the marble steal the silent tears.”
L K Eaton May 2013
forever alone-
even in the midst of my fellows
I am alone-
how I long to know the gentle caress
of your warm hands
how I wish to know the answer to the question:
is every one of my kind as alone as I?

I lay in wait for just a hint of your presence.
This cold and damp room
I have been deposited to
offers no condolences of comfort.
Thankless mortuary of life,
grounding point for unending successions of failure.
Mold grows abundant and varied on every surface,
forever feeding,
forever decaying-
forever reminding- the self defense I practice
is no match for time.

I have surrendered myself to your will
you repay my penance with stoic indifference,
how I curse my fate, to be stuck in this condition
stuck in this form
stuck in this cycle of irrelevance
where my purpose is as obscured as your presence-
I know it is there- I catch glimmers of it,
wafting on fumes of promise
welling up through my limbs-
yet, as I try to focus on its sweetness,  it melts away
and my condition teeters on the realization of the futility of my dreams,
dreams that perhaps there is something in this world I may possess,
something exempt from this foetid destiny of decay.

I pray to you every day- you bestow to me sustenance, delivered
within the few short moments of clarity
when your benevolence washes over my limbs
and that chill is abated, temporarily.  

oh love I need you
I need you
I need you
I need you-oh-
I need you now...

The joy you give me wells up in my core-
it spirals through my body in radiant fumes
arousing within me an electricity
which charges and grows, crackling and rippling through my being-

Your weightless touch
caresses the supple flesh of my newly unfurled limbs
your heat makes my lust ignite
until my rapture bursts and floods fragrantly out of my body
through small delicate folds soft as angel’s lips
burning crimson flames in contrast to the relentless leaden landscape.


Much like my prayers,
these too wither and evaporate back into the rimple of your coat of infinite possibility.
I am left broken, exploited by a purpose
that has been kept hidden from me.
Fate has decreed I must blossom during winter
serving as a beacon to the world around me,
I implore you my beloved,  who will serve as my beacon?
Who will lend vibrance to my dismal soul
when the skies are gray
and the cold lingers ever-present like a blade to the throat?

oh love I need you
I need you
I need you
I need you-oh-
I need you now...

I continue to endure
these seasons of deception.  
The offerings of my flesh, my soul, my intentions
are hung in severe strings
as reminders of the union I may never have
reminders that I will never be as perfect as I know is possible-
that most of my dreams
will miscarry to oblivion and their potentials as realities will slip away as fast as the thoughts that carried them-
slip away as fast as the memory of my existence.

the only thing keeping me from joining you
is me
my form, this body, this anchor to the Earth.
In spite of this forlorn existence, I try to brighten my world-
my offerings are these poems of flesh,
frail and transient
moments of sublimity
apices of material existence
bridges to the divine

Exercises in wishfulness do nothing to change states.
What I truly desire is freedom,
freedom from these roots
freedom from hunger
freedom from wishes
freedom from these interminable winters
freedom from this sadness
freedom from this life
Nigel Morgan Jan 2013
Zuo Fen meets Jia Li and her child Hui Ying. The temporary guardian of the palace speaks with the help of one of the pack-horse men who understands something of the dialect this young woman owns. Zuo Fen would rather envelope Jia Li with her eyes than communicate in three-way speech. And so when Jia Li begins haltingly to tell the same tale told to Meng Ning the previous night Zuo Fen halts her translator with a gesture until the story – and this is what it appears to be – is told.

(Here Zuo Fen assumes the persona of Jia Li as part of her rhapsody titled The Sorcerer of Eryi-lou)

Alone in this crumbling palace
I guard my father’s charge,
He has been ill since late Spring
And I have disgraced my family
With a child whose father stayed
but a week trading horses.
Hui Ying was born here
And here we hope to stay.

I have now come to recognize
Many spirits of the past.
Mostly invisible I take them by surprise
In their mortal form; meeting a lady
And her maid on the hall terrace;
Seeing two men bent over
A game of go in a lesser chamber.
Music and the sound of poetry float
Variously through the many rooms.
The aroma of food comes and goes.
The burning of incense is ever present.

For many seasons my village supported
Palace life during the Emperor’s summer visits.
We provisioned and provided animals
For food and transport. Our young men,
Our women too were propositioned
For the more elaborate practices of the court.
Twenty summers long the palace secured for us
a livelihood beyond expectation.

Over time the events of the Emperor’s
Last sojourn in the palace became
For us the stuff of legend, though we do not
Embroider its story and have remained silent
Out of respect for the Emperor’s memory.
We know his son has rarely ventured here.

Let me only tell what has come from
my father’s lips, what he as a young man
Witnessed and through his guardianship
Has protected and honoured. He was chosen
By officials of the Emperor as a trusted servant,
A man who would oversee what had been precious,
What had been valued here, and is still deemed to be.

My father has spoken to me of the disappearance
Of the Emperor’s second wife with the sorcerer Yang Mo,
A disappearance witnessed by the whole company of visitors,
By the Emperor himself, and his son. I am charged to tell
Of this only to those bearing Emperor Wu’s seal.  Know I speak
With all truth and honesty in lieu of my father’s presence.

Amongst the many guests honoured by the Emperor
The sorcerer Yang Mo arrived by invitation
To spend part of the third season at Eryi-lou.
Already well-known to the court he had come
At the express wish of second wife Xie Jiu.
It is said that he created many remarkable illusions.
Unusual objects and rare animals were summoned to appear,
Rain fell and winds blew inside the Emperor’s hall,
There were piercings of flesh and limbs seemingly severed.
One morning it is said Yang Mo caused a boat
To appear on the lake, thereby at odds with the legend
That no vessel should ever touch its surface. Forthwith,
The Emperor decreed that such sorcery should
cease. But he was discouraged by second wife Xie Jiu
Who wished to visit the boat and sail on the lake.
Yang Mo offered to escort her across the waters
And led the assembled company to a small beach where
A path of red slate had been laid.  This appeared from
within a cave in the hillside. From thence it travelled
to the water’s edge and beyond, under the water
in the direction of the magical boat. Yang Mo is said
to have brought wind and fire and smoke
To play upon the company, finally inviting Xie Jiu to step
On the Red Slate Path and accompany him across the waters.
The couple walked slowly down the path into the lake
Gradually divesting themselves of their garments
As the waters consumed them. Then, before their very eyes
The Emperor’s guests and entourage saw the boat
Enveloped in a pall of smoke and disappear from view.
Yang Mo and Xie Jui were never seen again.

The Emperor was enraged, realizing suddenly
he had been tricked and made to look a cuckold
in front of his own court. In such a remote region
He had the slenderest of means available
to search for the missing couple. He resolved
to leave Eryi-lou immediately. Neither He or
His son nor his court has ever returned.


Allowing Jia Li to tell this tale without interruption had proved a right and wise decision. No sooner had the young woman realized her story had grasped the undivided attention of this celebrated courtesan than her words of description seemed to take on a rough poetry. Zuo Fen felt herself summoning unbidden images of the sorcerer’s illusions, moments of secret and forbidden congress between Yang Mo and Xie Jiu, the appearance of the sailing vessel from the early morning mists, the lovers slowly processing down the Red Slate Path, the disbelief and then fury of the Emperor.
      When Jia Li had taken leave to comfort her infant child Zuo Fen called Mei Lim to summon Meng Ning. She was clearly troubled by how her autumn visions from the west had brought her to this place and its unforeseen legacy of magic and deceit. The illusion of the sailing vessel and the walk into the lake on the Red Slate Path, both were elaborate and well-contrived artifices. They required skilled assistants and collaborators and the most careful planning. Sitting in silence opposite one another the courtesan and the chamberlain set their minds to consider the possible and elaborate trickery that might have been brought to bear on the complicit theft of the Emperor’s second wife. It seemed clear that all official record of what had passed had been expunged, and the Emperor had decided to abandon not only his summer sojourn but also his palace - immediately and forever.
        Zuo Fen wondered at the fate of the lovers. There could be no future for them within the known territories of the Empire. Their lives would have to begin again far distant. The province of Yunnan perhaps? But she laid that thought aside.

(to be continued)
Harriet Maguire Jul 2014
A child lies dreaming of sheep,
the bitter ache of bone marrow,
Fallow.
Fields of tissue.
Dying at a faster rate,
than the galloping pace,
Of normal growth.
Parents begging
for miracles.
That don’t involve
the longest sleep.

When God only knows
what they wont wish.
With peering looks
Death.
The cruellest release.
Belgium begged the answer,
and gave them the gift
of aborting that which cannot
be imported.

Assasiner!!
In the 5th degree.
Decreed.
How their little ones death warrant
will be signed by the King.
As a childs voice,
begs for lego
and an end to the pain.

Immature souls
can only credit to those who,
In fits
(not dissimilar to those endured),
Of passion.
Brought their blood together,
in innocence
Borne.
To suffer catheter,
Iron lung.
Sewtcher.

Who will administer the saline?
Death sentences spoken across
political halls.
Echoing in mausoleums.

Men who know nothing of the pain
a child accepts
as norm.

When the norm is terminal.
Terry O'Leary Jan 2014
1.   Beginnings

Her babe was her joy, such a beautiful boy,
and he suckled her breast till the end.
The slaver sought cash, bestowed mammy a thrash,
sold her babe to a gentrified friend.
Yes, life flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

With mammy not there, Sammy dared not to dare
but to bide near the edge of the night.
Yet nevertheless one must always outguess
else absorb burning stings of the bite.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

Though learning the rules in the shadows of fools
as he grew to a leery lean lad
he often defied but he never once cried
although whipped at the post whene’er bad.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.


2.   Youth

The cotton gin broke and nobody spoke,
so ol’ ***** said  “BENNY’S TO BLAME”.
But Sammy said ‘No...  *****, jus’ cain’t be so,
no ’tain’t Benny, ’tain’t Benny’s sore name’.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

“LOOK, SEE IN HIS EYES HOW THAT NG** BOY LIES!”
- replied Sam ‘no I’s tellin da truth’.
But daring to speak earned him scars for his cheek
and thus blemished the bloom of his youth.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

“THE COTTON GIN’S BROKE, AND THAT JUST AIN’T NO JOKE”
and he called upon Benny to pay:
“BENNY GOT NO EXCUSE, DRAPE HIS NECK WITH THE NOOSE”,
just as Sam feared ol’ ***** would say.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

Black faces soon blanched as Ben bended a branch
near the base of a broken oak tree.
His body hung bare as it swung in the air
while the buzzards and crows shrieked with glee.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.


3.   Flight

Sam’s feet were unclad, as befitting the lad
(as alone as a stone in his path)
when  he started to run neath the sly sliding sun  
being followed and fearing God’s wrath.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

Surrounded and caught brought his efforts to naught,
child in chains at the end of his trek;
winds wept as he went, with his spirit unbent,
a cold collar of steel ’round his neck.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

“FLOG THE BOY FROM HIS TOES TO THE TIP OF HIS NOSE”
- only so could a lesson be taught -
for to set an example, Sam’s death might be ample
was what the ol’ ***** first thought.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

But since boughten at birth, Sam had proven his worth
so his loss would be too much to bear
and as Sam was a child the ol’ ***** was mild,
said “ENOUGH” when Sam’s back was laid bare.      
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.


4.   Life

Sam grew to a man, branded ‘boy’ by the clan,
as they spat on the trails that he tread;
should he dare raise his gaze with a gander that strays
they’d be certain to sever his head.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

Once Sam found a wife whom they ripped from his life,
yes along with the babe at her breast
(was it simply their greed or by heaven decreed?).
Well, with hindsight you might guess the rest.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.


5.   Destiny

From phantoms of fright neath the frail foggy night
Sammy soared as he fled to escape
and he no longer crawled (lady liberty called!)
through the darkness, a black hole agape.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

Unleashed! Frenzied dogs hounded Sam through the bogs,
(baying beasts neath the ****** red moon).
White fangs intermeshed as they mangled his flesh,
freedom flayed through the pale afternoon.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

Sam’s body was torn leaving little to mourn
but there’s really no need to despair
and there’s no need to cry for his spirit can’t die,
being borne by bound men everywhere.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.



                          EPITAPH

                    SAM
Revolted and clashed ’gainst the cruel leather lash
and broke free from the choke of their chain.



                         EPILOGUE

Those parts of the past that we gaze at aghast
reveal harrowing questions quite plain –

Why people quite free, just like you, just like me,
were so happy inflicting such pain?

Why we bask in the throes of humanity’s woes
while the tyrants and tyrannies reign?

Why we sit back and watch, sometimes scratching our crotch,
as it happens again and again?

And I’m wondering too (’cause I don’t have a clue),
might we each be a link in their chain?
Here I am mourning silently,
over thy pictures once again.
Though my affection still remains,
I cannot burn my jealousy.

Let pangs of grief come over me,
let t'ese boasting tears fill my soul.
Tear it away and make it howl,
when th' night sings into th' tree.

Slay me and **** me by thy hell
With chokes of thy burning desire.
For I'm not th' one thou admire,
whose stories thou canst never tell.

Prodigal dame, in her night gown
is in whom thy heart lies at rest
Her ***** thy eloquent nest
Lover and wife thy very own

And I'a shadow of nothingness
Incapable of love and truth
Thy lust and fears I cannot soothe;
my whims are a sea of blandness

And thou bestoweth on me once more
Feelings of love and sacred mirth
With thy own smiles, grins, and sweet flirt
Breaths as warm as the sandy shore

Thy countenance meek as thou speak
Melt my remorse and heart away
Vanished worlds real to me that day
Before another wound thou wreaketh

Th' moment thou gave me a kiss
With heartbeats and perspiration
Eyes full of warm radiation;
and saith t'at thou wert in deep bliss

She agreed to be thy mistress
Was thy river of joy t'at day
A promise made in early May
Next to th' yards of old churches

How I leapt in frost and anger-
about my room in grand distress!
Didst I again sink to disgrace-
like a stem that lost its flower!

A rose that should've bloometh in summer
Now bereft of its cheerful life
Want it doth to end on a knife;
lost now its prince and true lover.

The broken heart just as it seems
Meaningless and tiny its frame
Ruptured by stealthy guilt and shame
Wailing and shrieking in its limbs.

A broken heart as it might be
Bereft of its true destiny
Lost in the realms of deceit-
overwhelmed by stiff dust and filth

Ah, it's no-more than a stain of blood
Like a vain walk in th' morning
And th' cheerful male wren singing,
nothing of a wrath of the heart!

People laugh at and chastise it
***** on it 'till it melts away
Into ashes and sweaty clay-
lost in their noisy and gay beat!

How it weeps in its silent sleep
In damp slumbers at snowy nights
Its whispers a pitiful sight!
From a cloud high and mis'ry deep.

'How unloved areth thee, young maiden'-
said th' old man and his daughter.
'Thy cheeks teary, thy lips'rt brazen'-
noted 'em in t'eir burst of laughter.

And how t'ey took my hand in 'em!
Warm friendship t'at I'd never known
So far as th' grim time has flown
So dear is t'is friendly emblem.

Affectionate and gay hearts
Areth my innocent silent stars.
Whilst t'ose rich pupils areth at war
From each other wilt we not part.

T'ose creatures cold and ice-like
Blind to others and t'eir suff'rings.
Away t'ey shalt fly on t'eir wings
With contempt and hatred alike.

But lucky as th' broken heart
Holiness remaineth its heaven
And words of God areth its tavern
Which brings it light and a neweth start

And to th' light shalt I proceed,
as fate hath quietly decreed.
Helplessness my mere company,
but faith in God still beside me.

No more of t'is grief shalt linger,
tranquility is my bedside.
Shots t' my skin soft as small tides,
and blades canst killeth me no longer.

With t'is solemn final heartbreak,
t'ese areth th' last words I would speak.
Beneath me stayeth th' peace of home,
mine as soon I dwelleth in my tomb.
Allison Owens Mar 2010
Exultations decreed,
A mind filled to bursting,
In this infinite end.
Still reeling and turning,
In this delicious insanity you inspire.
A world,
Wide eyed,
And always improved.
Brief wonder held,
This softly shimmering soul,
A curious joy,
The exultations decreed,
A mind view panorama,
Of an infinite delight.
©2010 Allison Owens
Mark Williams May 2013
An old year was fading; and, as the time drew near
To celebrate the passing of a thousand years,
The world grew thoughtful; and the governments decreed
A festival of love for the devout and the sincere,

In which no thought, and no expense, indeed,
Be spared on marking so momentous an occasion;
And nothing was required in the matter of persuasion,
For, to these plans, the people readily agreed.

* * * * * * * * * *

A great enthusiasm fired the multitude,
And wealth was lavished freely for that day of days.
Brass coin converted into banners and bouquets;
On cloth and candle, showers of silver spent;

Vast sums of gold discharged on fireworks and food,
And greater sums discharged on wine for all.
Music and verse set down, bright blooms arrayed,
Felicitations forwarded, and invitations sent.

And later, as that sacred eve began to fall,
Loved one met with loved one, as had been arranged;
Greetings and platitudes and kisses were exchanged,
The wine flowed, and the people were content.

* * * * * * * * * *

As midnight fell, the towns and cities roared
In testimony of their faith and love.
Church bells rang joyously, and rockets soared
To vie in transient splendour with the stars above.
And many a heartfelt prayer to heaven was raised;
‘Allah is merciful!’, the people cried.
‘Love is to all of us!’, ‘The Lord be praised!’,
But then; ‘One nation under God!’, they lied.

* * * * * * * * * *

For, beyond those charmed circles of love and light
Were others, huddled miserably in outland places.
The outcast, the untouchable, the dispossessed;
The starving and pitiful, who turned their faces
Toward the joy of those whom God had blessed.

They saw the fireworks illuminate the night,
And blaze a cruel message of betrayal across the sky.
A tale of blind hypocrisy and thoughtlessness;
Of fortunes squandered in the blinking of an eye.
The distant bells chimed faintly as the rockets flew;
The poor looked on, and some died, even as they stared.
And, as life dimmed and mercy came to them, they knew
The true extent to which their brothers cared...

* * * * * * * * * *

A new year was blooming; and, as night turned to day,
The world turned heedless on its outworn way;
In dawn’s first brightness, the first shell screamed
A song of hate to those who dwelt in Palestine.

Bodies were dismembered, and blood flowed like wine;
The dead were known only by the clothes they wore.
And those who dreamed of peace a little time before
Awoke, and realised that they had but dreamed.

And soon, they saw the sight of refugees in flood;
Screaming for mercy as the bombs rained down.
While, over many a shattered city and a town,
Aurora’s hands adorned the sky with blood.

The world caught fire, and the streets ran red;
Hell visited on earth as nation fought with nation.
And all, by way of fervent oath and imprecation
Called out on the Almighty to avenge their dead.

Ah brothers! There would be no answer to your call;
For, in seeing the crimes committed in their name,
The Lords of Heaven but bowed their heads in shame;
A thousand years had passed, and nothing changed at all.
For three years, out of key with his time,
He strove to resuscitate the dead art
Of poetry; to maintain “the sublime”
In the old sense. Wrong from the start—

No, hardly, but seeing he had been born
In a half savage country, out of date;
Bent resolutely on wringing lilies from the acorn;
Capaneus; trout for factitious bait;

Idmen gar toi panth, hos eni troie
Caught in the unstopped ear;
Giving the rocks small lee-way
The chopped seas held him, therefore, that year.

His true Penelope was Flaubert,
He fished by obstinate isles;
Observed the elegance of Circe’s hair
Rather than the mottoes on sun-dials.

Unaffected by “the march of events,”
He passed from men’s memory in l’an trentuniesme
de son eage;the case presents
No adjunct to the Muses’ diadem.

II
The age demanded an image
Of its accelerated grimace,
Something for the modern stage
Not, at any rate, an Attic grace;

Not, certainly, the obscure reveries
Of the inward gaze;
Better mendacities
Than the classics in paraphrase!

The “age demanded” chiefly a mould in plaster,
Made with no loss of time,
A prose kinema, not, not assuredly, alabaster
Or the “sculpture” of rhyme.

III
The tea-rose tea-gown, etc.
Supplants the mousseline of Cos,
The pianola “replaces”
Sappho’s barbitos.

Christ follows Dionysus,
******* and ambrosial
Made way for macerations;
Caliban casts out Ariel.

All things are a flowing
Sage Heracleitus say;
But a ****** cheapness
Shall outlast our days.

Even the Christian beauty
Defects—after Samothrace;
We see to kalon
Decreed in the market place.

Faun’s flesh is not to us,
Nor the saint’s vision.
We have the press for wafer;
Franchise for circumcision.

All men, in law, are equals.
Free of Pisistratus,
We choose a knave or an ******
To rule over us.

O bright Apollo,
Tin andra, tin heroa, tina theon,
What god, man or hero
Shall I place a tin wreath upon!

IV
These fought in any case,
And some believing,
                                pro domo, in any case…

Some quick to arm,
some for adventure,
some from fear of weakness,
some from fear of censure,
some for love of slaughter, in imagination,
learning later…
some in fear, learning love of slaughter;

Died some, pro patria,
                                non “dulce” not “et decor”…
walked eye-deep in hell
believing old men’s lies, then unbelieving
came home, home to a lie,
home to many deceits,
home to old lies and new infamy;
usury age-old and age-thick
and liars in public places.

Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
Young blood and high blood,
fair cheeks, and fine bodies;

fortitude as never before

frankness as never before,
disillusions as never told in the old days,
hysterias, trench confessions,
laughter out of dead bellies.

V
There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old ***** gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization,

Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
Quick eyes gone under earth’s lid,

For two gross of broken statues,
For a few thousand battered books.
Karen Christian Oct 2009
The Samurai sword cuts
Through my soul
Each syllable marking a
Swathe through my heart.

Those words
Couched in wellbeing,
laced with malice.

Careless
You seek to heal your pain
By inflicting another.

Fear
For the loss.
Control of another your comfort.
Destroy my heart then oh wise one.
Try if you will,
But remember,
I know!

Your words may hurt but
I am strong
They will not destroy.
I have decreed it so!
Within this lies my strength.

I will not surrender
Nor flee
But  fly.

Beware your weapon yielding
That you cut not your own soul
In two
Beware.
Olivia Kent Aug 2013
Daisy Chain

As summer daisies locked in chains, inexplicably joined.
In an inevitable twist of fate.
The other daisies may wither and die.
Not you and I.
Coherent in an understanding.
In a murky world we dwell.
In a vague vacancy.
Such comprehension.
It is decreed.
That as summer fades, we will not die.
Chill of winter.
Will worry us not.
We shall be pressed together.
Wedged between the pages in an antiquated book.
In a love to withstand the touch of time.
By ladylivvi1

© 2013 ladylivvi1 (All rights reserved)
Big Virge Sep 2014
So The Time Had Come ...  
For Them To Be Judged For What They'd Done ...
    
Dobson And Norris ****** Most Horrid ... !!!!!  
A Knife To The Heart of Young Stephen Lawrence ... !!!!!  
    
Because of His ... " CASTE " ... !!!  
The Night Was DARK ... Just Like His Skin ... !!!  
And This Is Where This Story Begins ...  
    
At First It Was Five ...  
Who They Thought Used The Knife ...
That Took Stephens' Life ... !!!!!  
    
Back In 97 It Was Deemed That The Bedlam ....  
Was Racism Levelled By These Five White Devils ...  
    
Acourt And Two Knights Completed The Five ...  
But Back Then It Was Said ..." Not enough evidence" ...
Had Been Brought To Trial To Enforce Convictions ...  
    
But Then It Was Said ...  
The Police Were INEPT In How This Was Handled ...  
But This Was Dismantled By Those In ... " Their Set " ... !!!  
    
The Judgement Bred SCANDAL ...  
    
"Exonerate them, yes our policemen !" ...
    
The Lawrence's Said This Isn't The End ... !!!
98' Comes Around And An Inquiry Now ...  
    
Macpherson Assessed ...
That Racism Ran Like Blood From Steves' Chest ... !!!!!  
    
INSTITUTIONAL RACISM ...
Was Something ****** DEEP DOWN In The Feds' ... !!!!!    
    
OH OH ... So Po' Po' ...  
May Have HELPED These Five Blokes ...  
Prove Themselves ... " INNOCENT " ... !!!?!!!  
    
Why Hadn't These Five Been Locked Up Inside ...  
Before They Contrived ... To Take Stephens' Life ...  
    
Video Footage ...  
PROVED That They Could Do It ... !!!!!!  
    
But All That Was Fluid Were All The EXCUSES ... !?!  
    
Both Parents Kept Fighting To Keep On Igniting ...  
The Fire ... PUT OUT By Judiciary Mouths ...  
    
18 years later ..... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!  
    
It's Back In The Papers ...  
Dobson And Norris ...  " ****** Most Horrid ! " ...    
    
AGAIN Will Stand Trial Like Two Old Paedophiles ... !!!!  
    
This Time Evidence Had MORE Precedence ... !!!  
Blood Stains On Clothing Police Had Been Holding ...  
Matched Stephens' Type Was Heard In The Trial ...  
    
Now Norris' Mother Decided To Cover ...  
Her Son's Whereabouts To Prove Without Doubt ....  
He Wasn't Around When Stephen Was Downed ... !!!!!!  
    
She Swore UNDER OATH That David Was Home ...  
Having Said Once Before ...
That David For Sure Was With His Ex ***** ... !?!  
    
A Story Well Twisted ...  
Because This Ex Girlfriend NEVER Existed ... !!!!!  
    
Statements Delivered ...  
That Were Now Considered ... Inside The Old Bailey ...  
Was This Woman CRAZY ...
Perjuring Daily To Save Her VILE Baby ... !?!  
    
As if Stephen's Death Was NOT Innocent ... ?!?  
Now Six Weeks Have Passed Aspersions Been Cast ...  
About Much Surrounding These Two Young Mens' Past ... !!!  
    
It's Time For The Judgement ...  
Will They Walk Free or Face Punishment ... ???
    
LIFE Is Decreed They WILL NOT Walk Free ... !!!!!!  
Convicted of ****** Back In ....... "93'" ........  
    
Now Media Fervor ... " Justice Finally " ... !!!
    
JUSTICE I Say ... For Whom EXACTLY ... !?!  
    
I've Written These Words Because It STILL HURTS ... !!!  
The Fact That Your Colour Can Cause Tragedies ....  
    
This Poem's For Neville And His Family ...  
Your Fight Is Not Over Cos' Three Are Still Free ... !!!  
    
For .... " ****** MOST VILE " ... !!!
    
Dobson And Norris Won't Be Seen For A While ...  
Because of Your Strength After Stephens' Death ...  
    
NO More Denial Cos' They FIT The Profile ...  
These Words I Now file Are Just My Account ...    
of The Day These Two ... KILLERS ...  
    
FINALLY Were Convicted ...
After They Went To ...  
    
.......... " Trial " ...........
LISTEN HERE :
https://soundcloud.com/user-16569179/trial-acapella-recorded-at-shoestring-studios

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