Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Path Humble Jan 2015
feathers or snowflakes
nighttime,
unimportantly,
cannot differentiate
on the 16th floor
balcony
each an individualized n-vite

fall downy into down
of snow blankets of
freezing releasing cold comfort,
ice cream for the body entire

oh yes,
a sad one penned,
the nullity of his
throbbing everything,
sore tempted for quenching
by the soft permanence of white,
most tempting,
soft offering a laundering downy state

they say
see the good stuff

do,
but I*  feel  the bad stuff
with heartbeat regularity,
temple pounding repetitive asking
what's the next best
and other naming questions


the way in is not
way out...
this hole I dug dark,
no hand holds, dank, elongated

this time
happy you,
brevity suits

for the downy fall
fleeting floating abrupt and
suggesting
wonderfully right-sided answers
to questions his names asks

where is the humble path,
where is shelter at long last..
.
L B Mar 2017
Freezing a glance
Wind cuffs down-white heliums
Sweeps contrails
Separates cirrus across the moon

Cresting wave tormented
wind against steel
movement in movement
sprays of hair

Blizzard of petals from the apple
Furious snow
drifts off—  garage roof  
Fog that haunts the river on the coldest nights
___

The walk across the alley
took—
so long—
A lifetime from the doorway
of someone else’s impatience
Prints of motion
record the loss
a single set in snow

But there!
on the icy, shoveled surface of night
lies the snowflake of a bird
impossibly molted
Song of a feather
caught—
Flailing! Helpless!

More than lovely for its lying there!
Lying there!
Repost for the cold nights
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Thomas Thurman May 2010
This wall you build around angelic things
to keep their halos shiny-bright, instead
you'll never hear the sound of downy wings.

These Precious Moments smiles and wedding-rings
(for mixed-*** couples only), when they wed,
this airtight wall around angelic things,

a thousand miles from where a seraph sings
God's love for hated folk and underfed;
you'll never hear the sound of downy wings

unless you break the prejudice that brings
the boundary where angels fear to tread,
this airtight wall around angelic things

that shutters out angelic visitings,
or when you too are dying on your bed
you'll never hear the sound of downy wings.

you never know with whom they'll break their bread,
or so the writer to the Hebrews said;
This wall you build around angelic things
Will never hear the sound of downy wings.
written as a response to a thought-provoking blog post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG : http://thomb.livejournal.com/135329.html
Jesse stillwater Apr 2018
Nightbird perches high
beneath the shooting stars
that dapple the bouquet
    of sleepless peace
... his soft downy breast      
    has lent breath
to the sweet April afterglow
     heaving with song

The mystical feathered troubadour's
     swooning echo
A melodic twilight serenade
conjures a moonstruck metamorphosis,
sprouting magical wings of flight;

rousing a lonely heart's esprit
     to fly away unfettered
     in constellations of song

How dare imaginings spilled from the big dipper
enchant such an enrapturing magic spell?
It's so far to fall from swinging on a star!
It's so far beyond nearing crescent moon
     when you wish upon a star  

Thereupon struck by a bewitching bolt of starlight;
Dropping asudden as a shooting-star!

    Rolling like trailing thunder;
        tucked and tumbling ―
             somersaulting,

           celestial rumbling
blossoming with an unearthly joy

A nascent winged heart splayed bare,
soars upon cresting wind waves;
    dreaming of that shapeless  
          w h o  o  o  o  s h ―
         gathering beneath
        ~ uplifting wings ~

  Suddenly ― gliding freely,
       winging gracefully
  upon wafting star drift glitter;
lilting lightly upon the arising cadence
of nightingale's melodious fluted song

Nightingale sings sweet April perfume
beneath the star shed lamplight twinkle

... and it makes no difference if it's only a dream
    if my heart had wings



imagined by:   Jesse Stillwater
22nd  April  2018

Imagination set free ... perhaps rooted in the branches of a tree
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2397540/a-lost-angels-wings/

Luscinia, nightingale -  songbird noted for its melodious nocturnal song
.
PK Wakefield May 2011
FROmRosesDeeply
D w,n
o      inrose's
        d;E
          e
         ply Sleeps a downy deep rose
A rose unrising sleeping
A rose of deeply sleeping
Downy Petals weeping
From the bulb of deeply sleeping
Sleeping deeply Rose,RISE!andSPEAKsoSWEETLY,
             a colour sweetly Rose
a colour of your sleeping
    the colour that youaren't speaking
       (when your downy petals sleeping)
deeping in their sleeping
                won't break that darkness speaking
'bout thy downy petals sleeping
PERSONIFICATIONS.

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

  Robin Redbreasts; Lambs and Sheep; Nightingale and
  Nestlings.

  Various Flowers, Fruits, etc.

  Scene: A Cottage with its Grounds.


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


          January.

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

                    [Stirs the fire.

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


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

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

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


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

          January.

Good-morrow, sister.

          February.

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

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

          February.

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

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

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

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

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

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

          February.

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

          March.

[Stopping short on the threshold.]

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

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

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

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

          April.

[Outside.]

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

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

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

          April.

[Appearing at the open door.]

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

          March.

You're hope and sweetness, April.

          April.

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

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

          April.

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

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

          April.

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

          May.

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

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

          May.

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

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

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

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

          May.

Surely you're come too early, sister June.

          June.

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

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

          June.

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

[Seats herself in the shadow of a laburnum.

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

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

          July.

     [Behind the scenes.]

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

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

          June.

What, here already?

          July.

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

                        [Hands her the plate.

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

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

          July.

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

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

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

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

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

          July.

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

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

[July retires into a shrubbery.]

          August.

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

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

[August descries September toiling across the lawn.]

          August.

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

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


          September.

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

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

      
1

You said 'The world is going back to Paganism'.
Oh bright Vision! I saw our dynasty in the bar of the House
Spill from their tumblers a libation to the Erinyes,
And Leavis with Lord Russell wreathed in flowers, heralded with flutes,
Leading white bulls to the cathedral of the solemn Muses
To pay where due the glory of their latest theorem.
Hestia's fire in every flat, rekindled, burned before
The Lardergods. Unmarried daughters with obedient hands
Tended it By the hearth the white-armd venerable mother
Domum servabat, lanam faciebat. at the hour
Of sacrifice their brothers came, silent, corrected, grave
Before their elders; on their downy cheeks easily the blush
Arose (it is the mark of freemen's children) as they trooped,
Gleaming with oil, demurely home from the palaestra or the dance.
Walk carefully, do not wake the envy of the happy gods,
Shun Hubris. The middle of the road, the middle sort of men,
Are best. Aidos surpasses gold. Reverence for the aged
Is wholesome as seasonable rain, and for a man to die
Defending the city in battle is a harmonious thing.
Thus with magistral hand the Puritan Sophrosune
Cooled and schooled and tempered our uneasy motions;
Heathendom came again, the circumspection and the holy fears ...
You said it. Did you mean it? Oh inordinate liar, stop.

2

Or did you mean another kind of heathenry?
Think, then, that under heaven-roof the little disc of the earth,
Fortified Midgard, lies encircled by the ravening Worm.
Over its icy bastions faces of giant and troll
Look in, ready to invade it. The Wolf, admittedly, is bound;
But the bond wil1 break, the Beast run free. The weary gods,
Scarred with old wounds the one-eyed Odin, Tyr who has lost a hand,
Will limp to their stations for the Last defence. Make it your hope
To be counted worthy on that day to stand beside them;
For the end of man is to partake of their defeat and die
His second, final death in good company. The stupid, strong
Unteachable monsters are certain to be victorious at last,
And every man of decent blood is on the losing side.
Take as your model the tall women with yellow hair in plaits
Who walked back into burning houses to die with men,
Or him who as the death spear entered into his vitals
Made critical comments on its workmanship and aim.
Are these the Pagans you spoke of? Know your betters and crouch, dogs;
You that have Vichy water in your veins and worship the event
Your goddess History (whom your fathers called the strumpet Fortune).
Don Bouchard Jan 2012
White-furred hill flowers bow
Gust-bent,
Wet in April snow,
Lavender beneath their
Downy coats.

Tender soldiers of spring
Grasp wind-blown gravel steeps,
Stand to beckon brown grass,
Soft-call the life in sapless trees
To ring with green again
Against Old Bully Winter’s
Blustering.

Quaking aspens,
Earliest to leaf in yellow-green,
Curling grama grasses,
Tough food for buffalo,
Cannot boast first life each Montana spring;
Only zombie-lichens,
Rock-fast mosses
Throw off winter’s death
Before the crocus' rise.

On eastern Montana hills
No street-hemmed dandelions
Colonize in chute-dropped ranks;
No time-tamed tulips
Live on wind-round knolls.

Here, the yucca’s bayonet-sharp ******;
Here, the wild onions’ scent-strong hold;
But these arrive after early chill,
Following the purple crocus on the hill.
Something I have been working on for over 20 years. Still not satisfied, as I cannot get the "life" on the prairies that I know needs to be present..... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH2w9-Q-LRY has nice pictures of the crocus about which I am writing....
one April dusk the
sallow street-lamps were turning
snowy against a west of robin’s egg blue when
i entered a mad street whose

mouth dripped with slavver of
spring
chased two flights of squirrel-stairs into
a mid-victorian attic which is known as
O ΠΑΡΞΕΝΩΝ
                      and having ordered
yaoorti from
Nicho’
settled my feet on the

ceiling inhaling six divine inches
of Haremina   in
the thick of the snick-
er of cards and smack of back-

gammon boards i was aware of an entirely
***** circle of habitués their
faces like cigarettebutts, chewed
with disdain,     led by a Jumpy

***** who played each
card as if it were a thunderbolt red-
hot     peeling
off huge slabs of a fuzzy

language with the aid of an exclamatory
tooth-pick
And who may that
be i said exhaling into

eternity as Nicho’ laid
before me bread
more downy than street-lamps
upon an almostclean

plate
“Achilles”
said
Nicho’

“and did you perhaps wish also shishkabob?”
Raymond Johnson Apr 2013
The brain is a pretty rad little doodad. Sitting atop your neck, buzzing with blood and budding thoughts like an apple tree in spring.
I think it's fascinating that we're still quire clueless as to how it really works.
There's one particular part that still fascinates me, namely, memory.

Memories are the cranial equivalent of keeping a diary or writing in a journal. a collection of feelings and happenings of days gone by and words once said.
There are a few journal entries, if you will, that stand out to me. Ones I made with a girl... let's call her B.

If B were here right now, I'd look her in her big brown eyes and ask her:

Do you remember?

Do you remember the divine way the curves of your body fit into mine was we lay in an amorous embrace amongst the blankets and downy pillows?

Do you remember the way I told you a million times that I loved your hair. Your angelic, graceful hair, even though you thought it was too long and too messy?

How we walked through the forest for hours, talking about nothing and nonsense, and how we sat on a log for what seemed like eternity until I manufactured enough courage to finally kiss you?

They say that elephants never forget, and every time you cross my mind I feel my nose getting a little longer and my skin turning a little greyer.

Do you remember? Because I sure as hell do.

Do you remember how adorable you looked in those pajama pants of mine that were about a foot too long for you because you forgot to bring your own?

Do you remember how we sat on a bench and watched the birds flit from feeder to feeder as the sun waved us a crimson farewell?

Do you remember the feeling of your lips upon my lips, and the simple fact that it is impossible to properly describe that in any banal combination of 26 tired characters?

Do you remember the bittersweet intermingling of the smells of my eighty dollar cologne and your forty dollar shampoo?

Do you remember the way we looked into each other’s eyes? The vast universes of possibilities leaping from neuron to neuron behind those irises?

Wonderful memories. Pleasant memories. You couldn’t ask for anything better than these kind of memories. But there’s more. And there’s a reason why they’re just memories.

I remember the way the blood drained from my face like your used bath water circled the drain in my bathtub, and how my heart went on strike and stopped beating when you told me we couldn’t be together.

I remember how similar the crunch of the leaves and twigs under our booted feet sounded to the cracking and shattering of my sanity as you drove away on that sombre day.

I remember all of the dreams my brain pumped out of its pitiful pineal gland in a futile attempt to travel back in time.

I remember the empty spot in my bed and the gaping and gushing hole in my heart that still exists
To
This
Day.

But for all of these melancholy memories, these rotten ruminations, the beast of anger has yet to rear its matted mane.

In fact,

I thank you.

I thank you for this sadness, this regret, this longing, and this acute absence of rage,

For it is proof that I am alive.

I thank you for this sorrow, for this awful ammunition, for inspiration to machine masterpieces from the melancholy.

For what is light without darkness?

What is life without death, and love without loss?

So thank you.

I look back on our shared seconds not with eyes full of misplaced malice and fury,

But with gratitude.

Because even through tragedy

The heart survives.
https://soundcloud.com/blaxstronaut/memories
O, for that warning voice, which he, who saw
The Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud,
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,
Came furious down to be revenged on men,
Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now,
While time was, our first parents had been warned
The coming of their secret foe, and ’scaped,
Haply so ’scaped his mortal snare:  For now
Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down,
The tempter ere the accuser of mankind,
To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss
Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell:
Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though bold
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birth
Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast,
And like a devilish engine back recoils
Upon himself; horrour and doubt distract
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir
The Hell within him; for within him Hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
One step, no more than from himself, can fly
By change of place:  Now conscience wakes despair,
That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad;
Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing sun,
Which now sat high in his meridian tower:
Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began.
O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned,
Lookest from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down
Warring in Heaven against Heaven’s matchless King:
Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks,
How due! yet all his good proved ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high
I sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
Forgetful what from him I still received,
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharged; what burden then
O, had his powerful destiny ordained
Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised
Ambition!  Yet why not some other Power
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean,
Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations armed.
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand?
Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse,
But Heaven’s free love dealt equally to all?
Be then his love accursed, since love or hate,
To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.
O, then, at last relent:  Is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
None left but by submission; and that word
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
The Omnipotent.  Ay me! they little know
How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of Hell.
With diadem and scepter high advanced,
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery:  Such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state; how soon
Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feigned submission swore?  Ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
For never can true reconcilement grow,
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep:
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse
And heavier fall:  so should I purchase dear
Short intermission bought with double smart.
This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
From granting he, as I from begging, peace;
All hope excluded thus, behold, in stead
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell, hope; and with hope farewell, fear;
Farewell, remorse! all good to me is lost;
Evil, be thou my good; by thee at least
Divided empire with Heaven’s King I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;
As Man ere long, and this new world, shall know.
Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face
Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair;
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.
For heavenly minds from such distempers foul
Are ever clear.  Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm,
Artificer of fraud; and was the first
That practised falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge:
Yet not enough had practised to deceive
Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down
The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigured, more than could befall
Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce
He marked and mad demeanour, then alone,
As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.
So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champaign head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
Access denied; and overhead upgrew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend,
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung;                        

Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed:
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed
That landskip:  And of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair:  Now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils.  As when to them who fail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambick, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest; with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles:
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend,
Who came their bane; though with them better pleased
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse
Of Tobit’s son, and with a vengeance sent
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.
Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none, so thick entwined,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed
All path of man or beast that passed that way.
One gate there only was, and that looked east
On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt,
At one flight bound high over-leaped all bound
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet.  As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
Leaps o’er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault,
In at the window climbs, or o’er the tiles:
So clomb this first grand thief into God’s fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew,
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regained, but sat devising death
To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only used
For prospect, what well used had been the pledge
Of immortality.  So little knows
Any, but God alone, to value right
The good before him, but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him with new wonder now he views,
To all delight of human sense exposed,
In narrow room, Nature’s whole wealth, yea more,
A Heaven on Earth:  For blissful Paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in the east
Of Eden planted; Eden stretched her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Of where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar:  In this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordained;
Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold; and next to life,
Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill
Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown
That mountain as his garden-mould high raised
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Watered the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears,
And now, divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account;
But rather to tell how, if Art could tell,
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy errour under pendant shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art
In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpierced shade
Imbrowned the noontide bowers:  Thus was this place
A happy rural seat of various view;
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm,
Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind,
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,
If true, here only, and of delicious taste:
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,
Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose:
Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o’er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall
Down the ***** hills, dispersed, or in a lake,
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned
Her crystal mirrour holds, unite their streams.
The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
Led on the eternal Spring.  Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis
Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove
Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove,
Hid Amalthea, and her florid son
Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea’s eye;
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard,
Mount Amara, though this by some supposed
True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus’ head, enclosed with shining rock,
A whole day’s journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend
Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind
Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange
Two of far nobler shape, ***** and tall,
Godlike *****, with native honour clad
In naked majesty seemed lords of all:
And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
(Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,)
Whence true authority in men; though both
Not equal, as their *** not equal seemed;
For contemplation he and valour formed;
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him:
His fair large front and eye sublime declared
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved
As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied
Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best received,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed;
Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame
Of nature’s works, honour dishonourable,
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind
With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure,
And banished from man’s life his happiest life,
Simplicity and spotless innocence!
So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight
Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair,
That ever since in love’s embraces met;
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
Under a tuft of shade that on a green
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side
They sat them down; and, after no more toil
Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed
To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers:
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind,
Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they.  About them frisking played
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant,
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed
His?kithetmroboscis; close the serpent sly,
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass
Couched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
Declined, was hasting now with prone career
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose:
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad.
O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold!
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,
Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright
Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue
It is the little things in life, which mean so much
They are very quietly innocent
Like the wondrous feel of a clean bed sheets touch
Infused with an April Fresh Downy scent

Waking up startled at a quarter past eight
Jumping up straight from bed
Thinking worriedly that I am going to be terribly late
Remembering, it’s my day off instead

Coming to terms, that to my name, I’ve not a dime
Accepting my usual penniless lot
Then there in the pocket of my faded jeans I find
A crumpled up, forgotten five spot

Sitting down now with my paper and pen
Searching for words to write
Thinking to myself, my mind has gone blank again
Then finding the ones, perfectly right

To win the lottery or an all expense paid vacation
Would be so incredibly nice
However, I will settle, for these small sensations
Any ole day of my life
Copyright *Neva Flores @2010
www.changefulstormpoetry.blogspot.com
harlon rivers May 2018
(a travelogue)

He stared down through
the unbroken silence
lapping the shoreline
Water skippers dart around
the rocks and windfall driftwood
settled juxtaposed in cattail reeds
and emerging broadleaf sprouts

A petrified heartwood timber
lie fallow waiting bare barked,
hushed like a pining lover’s
     timeworn love seat,
     rubbed smooth as
     the crystalline waters
     of  half-moon lake

Lingering for a while  ―  
like a hidden stalker,
a perched wildcat waiting
for the full moon’s  
swooning spell to saturate
the thickening dusk quietude;
     arousing the urgent
     call of the wild —
exhaled from the held breath
of the wilderness nocturne
    on half-moon lake

The stillness was scattered
with the soft downy hairs
of the sleeping cattails,  and
the newly shed catkins
a spring gust bestrewed
from a tall resin birch tree
nigh the Sitka willows

     He  sat  quietly ...
     time out of mind ―

tossing his eyes up into the sky;
taking the time to read the stars ―
catching  them  each  again
as they fell into his gentle hands,
to show him who he was

Seeing their sparkly tracers  
trail-out above the cattails,
     from a distance
they resembled falling stars
unable to perceive their own renaissance ―
plashing lightly upon the still-water
     on half-moon lake

A lone shadow glides stealthily
near mid-tarn,.. swimming  
enchantingly with the grace
     of a blackswan
Appearing to glance shoreward
at the glowing low stars
rise and fall, as his eyes
twinkled skyward over
     the moonlit lagoon ―
heavenward of its moonlit ballet;
the lone sleek dark shadow
     slipping through
     a faint circular ripple
stirring the smooth as glass waters ―  
disappearing like a fleeting moment
     waning deep aneath
     a subtle silent wake.

When all the clear lines blurred,
he knew it had been so long ...

     but hearken !
… an interceding
     long drawn out wail  
     echoed  a feral ache
     across the stillness,
     breaking the silence ―

as the shadow reappeared;
     his tears surrendered
to the undulating call of the wild;
he felt the spirit of the sole Loon,
     as black and white
     as the moonlit night,
stir deeply in his wanting heart ―
     lay bare the silence
in lengthy yodeled psalms
to the god of the moon

Diving down deep yet again,
keeping the light he’d been given,
vanishing into the lifespring
sanctuary of half-moon lake


harlon rivers ... May 2018
travelogue: 4 of some more
Notes: i'm certainly aware i've not been here as often and active as i once was. **** happens and so does life, and it will ... so much so, the travelogue chronicles felt worthwhile for a moment, the first 4 were from the 1st 3000 mile leg of a 6000 mile and 6 month round trip road-trip journey ―

All apologies to those that found the length of my work tedious.   When i've tried to make the ink go other than where and how long it flows naturally ― i fail and stifle, paused in my own sown silence.   Too predictable to continue to ignore ― peace
CA Guilfoyle Jul 2014
It was only ever flowers, in a meadow wild
tangled tendril vines, of blue eyed passiflora
caressing stems of blooming heart, delicate dicentra
shining silver in early summer, a pond of silken mirrors
leafy vines of garland rings, nature weaved
perfectly a tranquil scene of bonny swans
float silently amidst fallen petals
soft nests of downy feathers, wispy on the winds
that a woodland summer drifts on
The three stood listening to a fresh access
Of wind that caught against the house a moment,
Gulped snow, and then blew free again—the Coles
Dressed, but dishevelled from some hours of sleep,
Meserve belittled in the great skin coat he wore.

Meserve was first to speak. He pointed backward
Over his shoulder with his pipe-stem, saying,
“You can just see it glancing off the roof
Making a great scroll upward toward the sky,
Long enough for recording all our names on.—
I think I’ll just call up my wife and tell her
I’m here—so far—and starting on again.
I’ll call her softly so that if she’s wise
And gone to sleep, she needn’t wake to answer.”
Three times he barely stirred the bell, then listened.
“Why, Lett, still up? Lett, I’m at Cole’s. I’m late.
I called you up to say Good-night from here
Before I went to say Good-morning there.—
I thought I would.— I know, but, Lett—I know—
I could, but what’s the sense? The rest won’t be
So bad.— Give me an hour for it.— **, **,
Three hours to here! But that was all up hill;
The rest is down.— Why no, no, not a wallow:
They kept their heads and took their time to it
Like darlings, both of them. They’re in the barn.—
My dear, I’m coming just the same. I didn’t
Call you to ask you to invite me home.—”
He lingered for some word she wouldn’t say,
Said it at last himself, “Good-night,” and then,
Getting no answer, closed the telephone.
The three stood in the lamplight round the table
With lowered eyes a moment till he said,
“I’ll just see how the horses are.”

“Yes, do,”
Both the Coles said together. Mrs. Cole
Added: “You can judge better after seeing.—
I want you here with me, Fred. Leave him here,
Brother Meserve. You know to find your way
Out through the shed.”

“I guess I know my way,
I guess I know where I can find my name
Carved in the shed to tell me who I am
If it don’t tell me where I am. I used
To play—”

“You tend your horses and come back.
Fred Cole, you’re going to let him!”

“Well, aren’t you?
How can you help yourself?”

“I called him Brother.
Why did I call him that?”

“It’s right enough.
That’s all you ever heard him called round here.
He seems to have lost off his Christian name.”

“Christian enough I should call that myself.
He took no notice, did he? Well, at least
I didn’t use it out of love of him,
The dear knows. I detest the thought of him
With his ten children under ten years old.
I hate his wretched little Racker Sect,
All’s ever I heard of it, which isn’t much.
But that’s not saying—Look, Fred Cole, it’s twelve,
Isn’t it, now? He’s been here half an hour.
He says he left the village store at nine.
Three hours to do four miles—a mile an hour
Or not much better. Why, it doesn’t seem
As if a man could move that slow and move.
Try to think what he did with all that time.
And three miles more to go!”
“Don’t let him go.
Stick to him, Helen. Make him answer you.
That sort of man talks straight on all his life
From the last thing he said himself, stone deaf
To anything anyone else may say.
I should have thought, though, you could make him hear you.”

“What is he doing out a night like this?
Why can’t he stay at home?”

“He had to preach.”

“It’s no night to be out.”

“He may be small,
He may be good, but one thing’s sure, he’s tough.”

“And strong of stale tobacco.”

“He’ll pull through.’
“You only say so. Not another house
Or shelter to put into from this place
To theirs. I’m going to call his wife again.”

“Wait and he may. Let’s see what he will do.
Let’s see if he will think of her again.
But then I doubt he’s thinking of himself
He doesn’t look on it as anything.”

“He shan’t go—there!”

“It is a night, my dear.”

“One thing: he didn’t drag God into it.”

“He don’t consider it a case for God.”

“You think so, do you? You don’t know the kind.
He’s getting up a miracle this minute.
Privately—to himself, right now, he’s thinking
He’ll make a case of it if he succeeds,
But keep still if he fails.”

“Keep still all over.
He’ll be dead—dead and buried.”

“Such a trouble!
Not but I’ve every reason not to care
What happens to him if it only takes
Some of the sanctimonious conceit
Out of one of those pious scalawags.”

“Nonsense to that! You want to see him safe.”

“You like the runt.”

“Don’t you a little?”

“Well,
I don’t like what he’s doing, which is what
You like, and like him for.”

“Oh, yes you do.
You like your fun as well as anyone;
Only you women have to put these airs on
To impress men. You’ve got us so ashamed
Of being men we can’t look at a good fight
Between two boys and not feel bound to stop it.
Let the man freeze an ear or two, I say.—
He’s here. I leave him all to you. Go in
And save his life.— All right, come in, Meserve.
Sit down, sit down. How did you find the horses?”

“Fine, fine.”

“And ready for some more? My wife here
Says it won’t do. You’ve got to give it up.”

“Won’t you to please me? Please! If I say please?
Mr. Meserve, I’ll leave it to your wife.
What did your wife say on the telephone?”

Meserve seemed to heed nothing but the lamp
Or something not far from it on the table.
By straightening out and lifting a forefinger,
He pointed with his hand from where it lay
Like a white crumpled spider on his knee:
“That leaf there in your open book! It moved
Just then, I thought. It’s stood ***** like that,
There on the table, ever since I came,
Trying to turn itself backward or forward,
I’ve had my eye on it to make out which;
If forward, then it’s with a friend’s impatience—
You see I know—to get you on to things
It wants to see how you will take, if backward
It’s from regret for something you have passed
And failed to see the good of. Never mind,
Things must expect to come in front of us
A many times—I don’t say just how many—
That varies with the things—before we see them.
One of the lies would make it out that nothing
Ever presents itself before us twice.
Where would we be at last if that were so?
Our very life depends on everything’s
Recurring till we answer from within.
The thousandth time may prove the charm.— That leaf!
It can’t turn either way. It needs the wind’s help.
But the wind didn’t move it if it moved.
It moved itself. The wind’s at naught in here.
It couldn’t stir so sensitively poised
A thing as that. It couldn’t reach the lamp
To get a puff of black smoke from the flame,
Or blow a rumple in the collie’s coat.
You make a little foursquare block of air,
Quiet and light and warm, in spite of all
The illimitable dark and cold and storm,
And by so doing give these three, lamp, dog,
And book-leaf, that keep near you, their repose;
Though for all anyone can tell, repose
May be the thing you haven’t, yet you give it.
So false it is that what we haven’t we can’t give;
So false, that what we always say is true.
I’ll have to turn the leaf if no one else will.
It won’t lie down. Then let it stand. Who cares?”

“I shouldn’t want to hurry you, Meserve,
But if you’re going— Say you’ll stay, you know?
But let me raise this curtain on a scene,
And show you how it’s piling up against you.
You see the snow-white through the white of frost?
Ask Helen how far up the sash it’s climbed
Since last we read the gage.”

“It looks as if
Some pallid thing had squashed its features flat
And its eyes shut with overeagerness
To see what people found so interesting
In one another, and had gone to sleep
Of its own stupid lack of understanding,
Or broken its white neck of mushroom stuff
Short off, and died against the window-pane.”

“Brother Meserve, take care, you’ll scare yourself
More than you will us with such nightmare talk.
It’s you it matters to, because it’s you
Who have to go out into it alone.”

“Let him talk, Helen, and perhaps he’ll stay.”

“Before you drop the curtain—I’m reminded:
You recollect the boy who came out here
To breathe the air one winter—had a room
Down at the Averys’? Well, one sunny morning
After a downy storm, he passed our place
And found me banking up the house with snow.
And I was burrowing in deep for warmth,
Piling it well above the window-sills.
The snow against the window caught his eye.
‘Hey, that’s a pretty thought’—those were his words.
‘So you can think it’s six feet deep outside,
While you sit warm and read up balanced rations.
You can’t get too much winter in the winter.’
Those were his words. And he went home and all
But banked the daylight out of Avery’s windows.
Now you and I would go to no such length.
At the same time you can’t deny it makes
It not a mite worse, sitting here, we three,
Playing our fancy, to have the snowline run
So high across the pane outside. There where
There is a sort of tunnel in the frost
More like a tunnel than a hole—way down
At the far end of it you see a stir
And quiver like the frayed edge of the drift
Blown in the wind. I like that—I like that.
Well, now I leave you, people.”

“Come, Meserve,
We thought you were deciding not to go—
The ways you found to say the praise of comfort
And being where you are. You want to stay.”

“I’ll own it’s cold for such a fall of snow.
This house is frozen brittle, all except
This room you sit in. If you think the wind
Sounds further off, it’s not because it’s dying;
You’re further under in the snow—that’s all—
And feel it less. Hear the soft bombs of dust
It bursts against us at the chimney mouth,
And at the eaves. I like it from inside
More than I shall out in it. But the horses
Are rested and it’s time to say good-night,
And let you get to bed again. Good-night,
Sorry I had to break in on your sleep.”

“Lucky for you you did. Lucky for you
You had us for a half-way station
To stop at. If you were the kind of man
Paid heed to women, you’d take my advice
And for your family’s sake stay where you are.
But what good is my saying it over and over?
You’ve done more than you had a right to think
You could do—now. You know the risk you take
In going on.”

“Our snow-storms as a rule
Aren’t looked on as man-killers, and although
I’d rather be the beast that sleeps the sleep
Under it all, his door sealed up and lost,
Than the man fighting it to keep above it,
Yet think of the small birds at roost and not
In nests. Shall I be counted less than they are?
Their bulk in water would be frozen rock
In no time out to-night. And yet to-morrow
They will come budding boughs from tree to tree
Flirting their wings and saying Chickadee,
As if not knowing what you meant by the word storm.”

“But why when no one wants you to go on?
Your wife—she doesn’t want you to. We don’t,
And you yourself don’t want to. Who else is there?”

“Save us from being cornered by a woman.
Well, there’s”—She told Fred afterward that in
The pause right there, she thought the dreaded word
Was coming, “God.” But no, he only said
“Well, there’s—the storm. That says I must go on.
That wants me as a war might if it came.
Ask any man.”

He threw her that as something
To last her till he got outside the door.
He had Cole with him to the barn to see him off.
When Cole returned he found his wife still standing
Beside the table near the open book,
Not reading it.

“Well, what kind of a man
Do you call that?” she said.

“He had the gift
Of words, or is it tongues, I ought to say?”

“Was ever such a man for seeing likeness?”

“Or disregarding people’s civil questions—
What? We’ve found out in one hour more about him
Than we had seeing him pass by in the road
A thousand times. If that’s the way he preaches!
You didn’t think you’d keep him after all.
Oh, I’m not blaming you. He didn’t leave you
Much say in the matter, and I’m just as glad
We’re not in for a night of him. No sleep
If he had stayed. The least thing set him going.
It’s quiet as an empty church without him.”

“But how much better off are we as it is?
We’ll have to sit here till we know he’s safe.”

“Yes, I suppose you’ll want to, but I shouldn’t.
He knows what he can do, or he wouldn’t try.
Get into bed I say, and get some rest.
He won’t come back, and if he telephones,
It won’t be for an hour or two.”

“Well then.
We can’t be any help by sitting here
And living his fight through with him, I suppose.”


*****************

­
Cole had been telephoning in the dark.
Mrs. Cole’s voice came from an inner room:
“Did she call you or you call her?”

“She me.
You’d better dress: you won’t go back to bed.
We must have been asleep: it’s three and after.”

“Had she been ringing long? I’ll get my wrapper.
I want to speak to her.”

“All she said was,
He hadn’t come and had he really started.”

“She knew he had, poor thing, two hours ago.”

“He had the shovel. He’ll have made a fight.”

“Why did I ever let him leave this house!”

“Don’t begin that. You did the best you could
To keep him—though perhaps you didn’t quite
Conceal a wish to see him show the *****
To disobey you. Much his wife’ll thank you.”

“Fred, after all I said! You shan’t make out
That it was any way but what it was.
Did she let on by any word she said
She didn’t thank me?”

“When I told her ‘Gone,’
‘Well then,’ she said, and ‘Well then’—like a threat.
And then her voice came scraping slow: ‘Oh, you,
Why did you let him go’?”

“Asked why we let him?
You let me there. I’ll ask her why she let him.
She didn’t dare to speak when he was here.

Their number’s—twenty-one? The thing won’t work.
Someone’s receiver’s down. The handle stumbles.

The stubborn thing, the way it jars your arm!
It’s theirs. She’s dropped it from her hand and gone.”

“Try speaking. Say ‘Hello’!”

“Hello. Hello.”

“What do you hear?”

“I hear an empty room—
You know—it sounds that way. And yes, I hear—
I think I hear a clock—and windows rattling.
No step though. If she’s there she’s sitting down.”

“Shout, she may hear you.”

“Shouting is no good.”

“Keep speaking then.”

“Hello. Hello. Hello.
You don’t suppose—? She wouldn’t go out doors?”

“I’m half afraid that’s just what she might do.”

“And leave the children?”

“Wait and call again.
You can’t hear whether she has left the door
Wide open and the wind’s blown out the lamp
And the fire’s died and the room’s dark and cold?”

“One of two things, either she’s gone to bed
Or gone out doors.”

“In which case both are lost.
Do you know what she’s like? Have you ever met her?
It’s strange she doesn’t want to speak to us.”

“Fred, see if you can hear what I hear. Come.”

“A clock maybe.”

“Don’t you hear something else?”

“Not talking.”
“No.”

“Why, yes, I hear—what is it?”

“What do you say it is?”

“A baby’s crying!
Frantic it sounds, though muffled and far off.”

“Its mother wouldn’t let it cry like that,
Not if she’s there.”

“What do you make of it?”

“There’s only one thing possible to make,
That is, assuming—that she has gone out.
Of course she hasn’t though.” They both sat down
Helpless. “There’s nothing we can do till morning.”

“Fred, I shan’t let you think of going out.”

“Hold on.” The double bell began to chirp.
They started up. Fred took the telephone.
“Hello, Meserve. You’re there, then!—And your wife?

Good! Why I asked—she didn’t seem to answer.
He says she went to let him in the barn.—
We’re glad. Oh, say no more about it, man.
Drop in and see us when you’re passing.”

“Well,
She has him then, though what she wants him for
I don’t see.”
“Possibly not for herself.
Maybe she only wants him for the children.”

“The whole to-do seems to have been for nothing.
What spoiled our night was to him just his fun.
What did he come in for?—To talk and visit?
Thought he’d just call to tell us it was snowing.
If he thinks he is going to make our house
A halfway coffee house ‘twixt town and nowhere——”

“I thought you’d feel you’d been too much concerned.”

“You think you haven’t been concerned yourself.”

“If you mean he was inconsiderate
To rout us out to think for him at midnight
And then take our advice no more than nothing,
Why, I agree with you. But let’s forgive him.
We’ve had a share in one night of his life.
What’ll you bet he ever calls again?”
Seán Mac Falls Feb 2016
.
We were as downy birds,
Sky once had names for us,
Rain pooled into faery wells,
Supernatural was our blood.

We saw each with opened eyes,
And touch was permanent as sun,
Light swooned about our keeping
And the earth was without tomb.

But time soon railed its perishments
And a star turned with pointed wind,
We lost the sun raise of innocence
And the glass of truth broke in a jar.

Now, lovers roam in the still hollows
And reminisce only on stoney banks,
A great ocean of peace was drowned
And to childish walls, a castle of sands.
Seán Mac Falls Jun 2015
.
We were as downy birds,
Sky once had names for us,
Rain pooled into faery wells,
Supernatural was our blood.

We saw each with opened eyes,
And touch was permanent as sun,
Light swooned about our keeping
And the earth was without tomb.

But time soon railed its perishments
And a star turned with pointed wind,
We lost the sun raise of innocence
And the glass of truth broke in a jar.

Now, lovers roam in the still hollows
And reminisce only on stoney banks,
A great ocean of peace was drowned
And to childish walls, a castle of sands.
Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl,
When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora’s fan,
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest:  He, on his side
Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus.  Awake,
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
Heaven’s last best gift, my ever new delight!
Awake:  The morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
How nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake.
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection! glad I see
Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night
(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed,
If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee,
Works of day past, or morrow’s next design,
But of offence and trouble, which my mind
Knew never till this irksome night:  Methought,
Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk
With gentle voice;  I thought it thine: It said,
‘Why sleepest thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time,
‘The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
‘To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
‘Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns
‘Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light
‘Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
‘If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes,
‘Whom to behold but thee, Nature’s desire?
‘In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
‘Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.’
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I passed through ways
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed,
Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood
One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven
By us oft seen; his dewy locks distilled
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed;
And ‘O fair plant,’ said he, ‘with fruit surcharged,
‘Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet,
‘Nor God, nor Man?  Is knowledge so despised?
‘Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
‘Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
‘Longer thy offered good; why else set here?
This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm
He plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour chilled
At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold:
But he thus, overjoyed; ‘O fruit divine,
‘Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
‘Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
‘For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men:
‘And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more
‘Communicated, more abundant grows,
‘The author not impaired, but honoured more?
‘Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve!
‘Partake thou also; happy though thou art,
‘Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be:
‘Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods
‘Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined,
‘But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
‘Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see
‘What life the Gods live there, and such live thou!’
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smell
So quickened appetite, that I, methought,
Could not but taste.  Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide
And various:  Wondering at my flight and change
To this high exaltation; suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
And fell asleep; but O, how glad I waked
To find this but a dream!  Thus Eve her night
Related, and thus Adam answered sad.
Best image of myself, and dearer half,
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Affects me equally; nor can I like
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
Created pure.  But know that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
Her office holds; of all external things
Which the five watchful senses represent,
She forms imaginations, aery shapes,
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames
All what we affirm or what deny, and call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Into her private cell, when nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakes
To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams;
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Some such resemblances, methinks, I find
Of our last evening’s talk, in this thy dream,
But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
Evil into the mind of God or Man
May come and go, so unreproved, and leave
No spot or blame behind:  Which gives me hope
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never will consent to do.
Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks,
That wont to be more cheerful and serene,
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
And let us to our fresh employments rise
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers
That open now their choisest bosomed smells,
Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store.
So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered;
But silently a gentle tear let fall
From either eye, and wiped them with her hair;
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
So all was cleared, and to the field they haste.
But first, from under shady arborous roof
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-risen,
With wheels yet hovering o’er the ocean-brim,
Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
Discovering in wide landskip all the east
Of Paradise and Eden’s happy plains,
Lowly they bowed adoring, and began
Their orisons, each morning duly paid
In various style; for neither various style
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse,
More tuneable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness; and they thus began.
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty!  Thine this universal frame,
Thus wonderous fair;  Thyself how wonderous then!
Unspeakable, who sitst above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven
On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crownest the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climbest,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fallest.
Moon, that now meetest the orient sun, now flyest,
With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering Fires, that move
In mystick dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature’s womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world’s great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living Souls:  Ye Birds,
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!
So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts
Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.
On to their morning’s rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row
Of fruit-trees over-woody reached too far
Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine
To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with him brings
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves.  Them thus employed beheld
With pity Heaven’s high King, and to him called
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned
To travel with Tobias, and secured
His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid.
Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth
Satan, from Hell ’scaped through the darksome gulf,
Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbed
This night the human pair; how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.
Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
Thou findest him from the heat of noon retired,
To respite his day-labour with repast,
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state,
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free,
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
He swerve not, too secure:  Tell him withal
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss;
By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;
But by deceit and lies:  This let him know,
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.
So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled
All justice:  Nor delayed the winged Saint
After his charge received; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood
Veiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light,
Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate
Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sovran Architect had framed.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interposed, however small he sees,
Not unconformed to other shining globes,
Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crowned
Above all hills.  As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assured, observes
Imagined lands and regions in the moon:
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
A cloudy spot.  Down thither prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phoenix, gazed by all as that sole bird,
When, to enshrine his reliques in the Sun’s
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns
A Seraph winged:  Six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o’er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his ***** and thighs with downy gold
And colours dipt in Heaven; the third his feet
Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail,
Sky-tinctured grain.  Like Maia’s son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled
The circuit wide.  Straight knew him all the bands
Of Angels under watch; and to his state,
And to his message high, in honour rise;
For on some message high they guessed him bound.
Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm;
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will
Her ****** fancies pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discerned, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth’s inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs:
And Eve within, due at her hour prepared
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape:  To whom thus Adam called.
Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold
Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape
Comes this way moving; seems another morn
Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven
To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest.  But go with speed,
And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour
Abundance, fit to honour and receive
Our heavenly stranger:  Well we may afford
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburthening grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
To whom thus Eve.  Adam, earth’s hallowed mould,
Of God inspired! small store will serve, where store,
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such choice
To entertain our Angel-guest, as he
Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth
God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
What choice to choose for delicacy best,
What order, so contrived as not to mix
Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change;
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields
In India East or West, or middle shore
In Pontus or the Punick coast, or where
Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed
She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed.
Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet
His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train
Accompanied than with his own complete
Perfections; in himself was all his state,
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
On princes, when their rich retinue long
Of horses led, and gro
He was a Grecian lad, who coming home
With pulpy figs and wine from Sicily
Stood at his galley’s prow, and let the foam
Blow through his crisp brown curls unconsciously,
And holding wave and wind in boy’s despite
Peered from his dripping seat across the wet and stormy night.

Till with the dawn he saw a burnished spear
Like a thin thread of gold against the sky,
And hoisted sail, and strained the creaking gear,
And bade the pilot head her lustily
Against the nor’west gale, and all day long
Held on his way, and marked the rowers’ time with measured song.

And when the faint Corinthian hills were red
Dropped anchor in a little sandy bay,
And with fresh boughs of olive crowned his head,
And brushed from cheek and throat the hoary spray,
And washed his limbs with oil, and from the hold
Brought out his linen tunic and his sandals brazen-soled,

And a rich robe stained with the fishers’ juice
Which of some swarthy trader he had bought
Upon the sunny quay at Syracuse,
And was with Tyrian broideries inwrought,
And by the questioning merchants made his way
Up through the soft and silver woods, and when the labouring day

Had spun its tangled web of crimson cloud,
Clomb the high hill, and with swift silent feet
Crept to the fane unnoticed by the crowd
Of busy priests, and from some dark retreat
Watched the young swains his frolic playmates bring
The firstling of their little flock, and the shy shepherd fling

The crackling salt upon the flame, or hang
His studded crook against the temple wall
To Her who keeps away the ravenous fang
Of the base wolf from homestead and from stall;
And then the clear-voiced maidens ‘gan to sing,
And to the altar each man brought some goodly offering,

A beechen cup brimming with milky foam,
A fair cloth wrought with cunning imagery
Of hounds in chase, a waxen honey-comb
Dripping with oozy gold which scarce the bee
Had ceased from building, a black skin of oil
Meet for the wrestlers, a great boar the fierce and white-tusked
spoil

Stolen from Artemis that jealous maid
To please Athena, and the dappled hide
Of a tall stag who in some mountain glade
Had met the shaft; and then the herald cried,
And from the pillared precinct one by one
Went the glad Greeks well pleased that they their simple vows had
done.

And the old priest put out the waning fires
Save that one lamp whose restless ruby glowed
For ever in the cell, and the shrill lyres
Came fainter on the wind, as down the road
In joyous dance these country folk did pass,
And with stout hands the warder closed the gates of polished brass.

Long time he lay and hardly dared to breathe,
And heard the cadenced drip of spilt-out wine,
And the rose-petals falling from the wreath
As the night breezes wandered through the shrine,
And seemed to be in some entranced swoon
Till through the open roof above the full and brimming moon

Flooded with sheeny waves the marble floor,
When from his nook up leapt the venturous lad,
And flinging wide the cedar-carven door
Beheld an awful image saffron-clad
And armed for battle! the gaunt Griffin glared
From the huge helm, and the long lance of wreck and ruin flared

Like a red rod of flame, stony and steeled
The Gorgon’s head its leaden eyeballs rolled,
And writhed its snaky horrors through the shield,
And gaped aghast with bloodless lips and cold
In passion impotent, while with blind gaze
The blinking owl between the feet hooted in shrill amaze.

The lonely fisher as he trimmed his lamp
Far out at sea off Sunium, or cast
The net for tunnies, heard a brazen *****
Of horses smite the waves, and a wild blast
Divide the folded curtains of the night,
And knelt upon the little ****, and prayed in holy fright.

And guilty lovers in their venery
Forgat a little while their stolen sweets,
Deeming they heard dread Dian’s bitter cry;
And the grim watchmen on their lofty seats
Ran to their shields in haste precipitate,
Or strained black-bearded throats across the dusky parapet.

For round the temple rolled the clang of arms,
And the twelve Gods leapt up in marble fear,
And the air quaked with dissonant alarums
Till huge Poseidon shook his mighty spear,
And on the frieze the prancing horses neighed,
And the low tread of hurrying feet rang from the cavalcade.

Ready for death with parted lips he stood,
And well content at such a price to see
That calm wide brow, that terrible maidenhood,
The marvel of that pitiless chastity,
Ah! well content indeed, for never wight
Since Troy’s young shepherd prince had seen so wonderful a sight.

Ready for death he stood, but lo! the air
Grew silent, and the horses ceased to neigh,
And off his brow he tossed the clustering hair,
And from his limbs he throw the cloak away;
For whom would not such love make desperate?
And nigher came, and touched her throat, and with hands violate

Undid the cuirass, and the crocus gown,
And bared the ******* of polished ivory,
Till from the waist the peplos falling down
Left visible the secret mystery
Which to no lover will Athena show,
The grand cool flanks, the crescent thighs, the bossy hills of
snow.

Those who have never known a lover’s sin
Let them not read my ditty, it will be
To their dull ears so musicless and thin
That they will have no joy of it, but ye
To whose wan cheeks now creeps the lingering smile,
Ye who have learned who Eros is,—O listen yet awhile.

A little space he let his greedy eyes
Rest on the burnished image, till mere sight
Half swooned for surfeit of such luxuries,
And then his lips in hungering delight
Fed on her lips, and round the towered neck
He flung his arms, nor cared at all his passion’s will to check.

Never I ween did lover hold such tryst,
For all night long he murmured honeyed word,
And saw her sweet unravished limbs, and kissed
Her pale and argent body undisturbed,
And paddled with the polished throat, and pressed
His hot and beating heart upon her chill and icy breast.

It was as if Numidian javelins
Pierced through and through his wild and whirling brain,
And his nerves thrilled like throbbing violins
In exquisite pulsation, and the pain
Was such sweet anguish that he never drew
His lips from hers till overhead the lark of warning flew.

They who have never seen the daylight peer
Into a darkened room, and drawn the curtain,
And with dull eyes and wearied from some dear
And worshipped body risen, they for certain
Will never know of what I try to sing,
How long the last kiss was, how fond and late his lingering.

The moon was girdled with a crystal rim,
The sign which shipmen say is ominous
Of wrath in heaven, the wan stars were dim,
And the low lightening east was tremulous
With the faint fluttering wings of flying dawn,
Ere from the silent sombre shrine his lover had withdrawn.

Down the steep rock with hurried feet and fast
Clomb the brave lad, and reached the cave of Pan,
And heard the goat-foot snoring as he passed,
And leapt upon a grassy knoll and ran
Like a young fawn unto an olive wood
Which in a shady valley by the well-built city stood;

And sought a little stream, which well he knew,
For oftentimes with boyish careless shout
The green and crested grebe he would pursue,
Or snare in woven net the silver trout,
And down amid the startled reeds he lay
Panting in breathless sweet affright, and waited for the day.

On the green bank he lay, and let one hand
Dip in the cool dark eddies listlessly,
And soon the breath of morning came and fanned
His hot flushed cheeks, or lifted wantonly
The tangled curls from off his forehead, while
He on the running water gazed with strange and secret smile.

And soon the shepherd in rough woollen cloak
With his long crook undid the wattled cotes,
And from the stack a thin blue wreath of smoke
Curled through the air across the ripening oats,
And on the hill the yellow house-dog bayed
As through the crisp and rustling fern the heavy cattle strayed.

And when the light-foot mower went afield
Across the meadows laced with threaded dew,
And the sheep bleated on the misty weald,
And from its nest the waking corncrake flew,
Some woodmen saw him lying by the stream
And marvelled much that any lad so beautiful could seem,

Nor deemed him born of mortals, and one said,
‘It is young Hylas, that false runaway
Who with a Naiad now would make his bed
Forgetting Herakles,’ but others, ‘Nay,
It is Narcissus, his own paramour,
Those are the fond and crimson lips no woman can allure.’

And when they nearer came a third one cried,
‘It is young Dionysos who has hid
His spear and fawnskin by the river side
Weary of hunting with the Bassarid,
And wise indeed were we away to fly:
They live not long who on the gods immortal come to spy.’

So turned they back, and feared to look behind,
And told the timid swain how they had seen
Amid the reeds some woodland god reclined,
And no man dared to cross the open green,
And on that day no olive-tree was slain,
Nor rushes cut, but all deserted was the fair domain,

Save when the neat-herd’s lad, his empty pail
Well slung upon his back, with leap and bound
Raced on the other side, and stopped to hail,
Hoping that he some comrade new had found,
And gat no answer, and then half afraid
Passed on his simple way, or down the still and silent glade

A little girl ran laughing from the farm,
Not thinking of love’s secret mysteries,
And when she saw the white and gleaming arm
And all his manlihood, with longing eyes
Whose passion mocked her sweet virginity
Watched him awhile, and then stole back sadly and wearily.

Far off he heard the city’s hum and noise,
And now and then the shriller laughter where
The passionate purity of brown-limbed boys
Wrestled or raced in the clear healthful air,
And now and then a little tinkling bell
As the shorn wether led the sheep down to the mossy well.

Through the grey willows danced the fretful gnat,
The grasshopper chirped idly from the tree,
In sleek and oily coat the water-rat
Breasting the little ripples manfully
Made for the wild-duck’s nest, from bough to bough
Hopped the shy finch, and the huge tortoise crept across the
slough.

On the faint wind floated the silky seeds
As the bright scythe swept through the waving grass,
The ouzel-**** splashed circles in the reeds
And flecked with silver whorls the forest’s glass,
Which scarce had caught again its imagery
Ere from its bed the dusky tench leapt at the dragon-fly.

But little care had he for any thing
Though up and down the beech the squirrel played,
And from the copse the linnet ‘gan to sing
To its brown mate its sweetest serenade;
Ah! little care indeed, for he had seen
The ******* of Pallas and the naked wonder of the Queen.

But when the herdsman called his straggling goats
With whistling pipe across the rocky road,
And the shard-beetle with its trumpet-notes
Boomed through the darkening woods, and seemed to bode
Of coming storm, and the belated crane
Passed homeward like a shadow, and the dull big drops of rain

Fell on the pattering fig-leaves, up he rose,
And from the gloomy forest went his way
Past sombre homestead and wet orchard-close,
And came at last unto a little quay,
And called his mates aboard, and took his seat
On the high ****, and pushed from land, and loosed the dripping
sheet,

And steered across the bay, and when nine suns
Passed down the long and laddered way of gold,
And nine pale moons had breathed their orisons
To the chaste stars their confessors, or told
Their dearest secret to the downy moth
That will not fly at noonday, through the foam and surging froth

Came a great owl with yellow sulphurous eyes
And lit upon the ship, whose timbers creaked
As though the lading of three argosies
Were in the hold, and flapped its wings and shrieked,
And darkness straightway stole across the deep,
Sheathed was Orion’s sword, dread Mars himself fled down the steep,

And the moon hid behind a tawny mask
Of drifting cloud, and from the ocean’s marge
Rose the red plume, the huge and horned casque,
The seven-cubit spear, the brazen targe!
And clad in bright and burnished panoply
Athena strode across the stretch of sick and shivering sea!

To the dull sailors’ sight her loosened looks
Seemed like the jagged storm-rack, and her feet
Only the spume that floats on hidden rocks,
And, marking how the rising waters beat
Against the rolling ship, the pilot cried
To the young helmsman at the stern to luff to windward side

But he, the overbold adulterer,
A dear profaner of great mysteries,
An ardent amorous idolater,
When he beheld those grand relentless eyes
Laughed loud for joy, and crying out ‘I come’
Leapt from the lofty **** into the chill and churning foam.

Then fell from the high heaven one bright star,
One dancer left the circling galaxy,
And back to Athens on her clattering car
In all the pride of venged divinity
Pale Pallas swept with shrill and steely clank,
And a few gurgling bubbles rose where her boy lover sank.

And the mast shuddered as the gaunt owl flew
With mocking hoots after the wrathful Queen,
And the old pilot bade the trembling crew
Hoist the big sail, and told how he had seen
Close to the stern a dim and giant form,
And like a dipping swallow the stout ship dashed through the storm.

And no man dared to speak of Charmides
Deeming that he some evil thing had wrought,
And when they reached the strait Symplegades
They beached their galley on the shore, and sought
The toll-gate of the city hastily,
And in the market showed their brown and pictured pottery.
Nat Lipstadt Mar 2019
a quote of Bernard-Henri Lévy

~~~

the divers’ recovery, diverse,
shipwrecked salvage from different locations,
auctioned to the highest bidder,
tho the excised excerpts are exceptional,
none come to do the bidding,
for the provenance of words
belongs to all, and to none

~~
“so oft we trifle words,
expel them from the country of our body,
without passport and earnestness,
as if they were the cheapest of footnote filler,
day tourists, to be treated as leavings,
refuse for daily discardation,
barely noting their fast comings and faster disappearance,
but leaving not, a mark of distinction”

“the addicted pleasure words granted to we privileged few,
like every enslaved soul to the mind, which I am, I am,
evening dreams, midnight thinkings, sunrise seeings,
how can I infect and thus protect the young to the liberty
to love the crafted content of our human essence to better
comprehend that a moment caught on tape of our shared
words is a holiday, a celebration for the ages...and every molecule,
becomes a human tuning fork in concert, in pitch identical, in blood tainted with the simplicity of we are all the same, only words, this will transmit”

“murmur me, with soft downy charms,
these words discovered
recoursed and intended well to
pointedly offset and contradict
their very own tumultuous discovery uncovering,
tear tongue me
with calming, lapping word  wages,
hymns harmonious and fine homilies,
a call, a request,
a bequest
to sedate my shrill life

“some cells, microscopic, preserved digitally,
aged to imperfection, thrash my eyes,
making me speak in tongues I do not recognize,
but fluently possess, no wonder there,
the memory place fairly empty,
room aplenty for passerby's and the imagery
                                                         ­­ of the vaguest of dearly departed

skin is not the only mot shed,
                                                sloughing of woeful words

“speak them slow and distinct,
for they arrive slow to you,
a trickling of refugees for your sheltering,
harbor them as full companions,
protected by natural law,
provision them well,
prepared and ever ready for a quick departure,
moor these words at the embarcadero,
for the next restless leg of endlessness,
which they themselves will inform you
will last longer than eternity,
long after there are no humans to speak them”
excerpts from a few old poems, after reading an interview with Bernard-Henri Lévy
https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/bernard-henri-levy-on-the-rights-of-women-and-of-the-accused
March 27, 2019 4:48 am
Seán Mac Falls Jun 2012
I will not die for you
Woman fey of flesh and home,
I linger but to see you unfrock
The holy, set rogues to roam.

Why should I thus be consumed
In breath like coldest fire?
Shape of rising waterfalls
That state, I surely do not desire

The downy *******, the runny skin,
Spark of cheek, notes of hair in shower,
The gliding step, the gusty tone,
Fools have died for much less a dower.

The lancing pools, the hemlock mien,
The highland sheen, the dawn-bird voice,
The Safire eye, over step of pyramid
Merlin gave Arthur a safer choice.

I will not drown for you,
Flood of hair, red as the lye
In parted Jordan, that sea, not me,
Shall pine as ever, slowly dying.

Your healing humors, your subtle sovereignty,
Your blood, noble as seven-seas are blue,
Little mirror who paints the sky,
Though nearly, I will not die for you.
I.
Fair Isabel, poor simple Isabel!
Lorenzo, a young palmer in Love's eye!
They could not in the self-same mansion dwell
Without some stir of heart, some malady;
They could not sit at meals but feel how well
It soothed each to be the other by;
They could not, sure, beneath the same roof sleep
But to each other dream, and nightly weep.

II.
With every morn their love grew tenderer,
With every eve deeper and tenderer still;
He might not in house, field, or garden stir,
But her full shape would all his seeing fill;
And his continual voice was pleasanter
To her, than noise of trees or hidden rill;
Her lute-string gave an echo of his name,
She spoilt her half-done broidery with the same.

III.
He knew whose gentle hand was at the latch,
Before the door had given her to his eyes;
And from her chamber-window he would catch
Her beauty farther than the falcon spies;
And constant as her vespers would he watch,
Because her face was turn'd to the same skies;
And with sick longing all the night outwear,
To hear her morning-step upon the stair.

IV.
A whole long month of May in this sad plight
Made their cheeks paler by the break of June:
"To morrow will I bow to my delight,
"To-morrow will I ask my lady's boon."--
"O may I never see another night,
"Lorenzo, if thy lips breathe not love's tune."--
So spake they to their pillows; but, alas,
Honeyless days and days did he let pass;

V.
Until sweet Isabella's untouch'd cheek
Fell sick within the rose's just domain,
Fell thin as a young mother's, who doth seek
By every lull to cool her infant's pain:
"How ill she is," said he, "I may not speak,
"And yet I will, and tell my love all plain:
"If looks speak love-laws, I will drink her tears,
"And at the least 'twill startle off her cares."

VI.
So said he one fair morning, and all day
His heart beat awfully against his side;
And to his heart he inwardly did pray
For power to speak; but still the ruddy tide
Stifled his voice, and puls'd resolve away--
Fever'd his high conceit of such a bride,
Yet brought him to the meekness of a child:
Alas! when passion is both meek and wild!

VII.
So once more he had wak'd and anguished
A dreary night of love and misery,
If Isabel's quick eye had not been wed
To every symbol on his forehead high;
She saw it waxing very pale and dead,
And straight all flush'd; so, lisped tenderly,
"Lorenzo!"--here she ceas'd her timid quest,
But in her tone and look he read the rest.

VIII.
"O Isabella, I can half perceive
"That I may speak my grief into thine ear;
"If thou didst ever any thing believe,
"Believe how I love thee, believe how near
"My soul is to its doom: I would not grieve
"Thy hand by unwelcome pressing, would not fear
"Thine eyes by gazing; but I cannot live
"Another night, and not my passion shrive.

IX.
"Love! thou art leading me from wintry cold,
"Lady! thou leadest me to summer clime,
"And I must taste the blossoms that unfold
"In its ripe warmth this gracious morning time."
So said, his erewhile timid lips grew bold,
And poesied with hers in dewy rhyme:
Great bliss was with them, and great happiness
Grew, like a ***** flower in June's caress.

X.
Parting they seem'd to tread upon the air,
Twin roses by the zephyr blown apart
Only to meet again more close, and share
The inward fragrance of each other's heart.
She, to her chamber gone, a ditty fair
Sang, of delicious love and honey'd dart;
He with light steps went up a western hill,
And bade the sun farewell, and joy'd his fill.

XI.
All close they met again, before the dusk
Had taken from the stars its pleasant veil,
All close they met, all eves, before the dusk
Had taken from the stars its pleasant veil,
Close in a bower of hyacinth and musk,
Unknown of any, free from whispering tale.
Ah! better had it been for ever so,
Than idle ears should pleasure in their woe.

XII.
Were they unhappy then?--It cannot be--
Too many tears for lovers have been shed,
Too many sighs give we to them in fee,
Too much of pity after they are dead,
Too many doleful stories do we see,
Whose matter in bright gold were best be read;
Except in such a page where Theseus' spouse
Over the pathless waves towards him bows.

XIII.
But, for the general award of love,
The little sweet doth **** much bitterness;
Though Dido silent is in under-grove,
And Isabella's was a great distress,
Though young Lorenzo in warm Indian clove
Was not embalm'd, this truth is not the less--
Even bees, the little almsmen of spring-bowers,
Know there is richest juice in poison-flowers.

XIV.
With her two brothers this fair lady dwelt,
Enriched from ancestral merchandize,
And for them many a weary hand did swelt
In torched mines and noisy factories,
And many once proud-quiver'd ***** did melt
In blood from stinging whip;--with hollow eyes
Many all day in dazzling river stood,
To take the rich-ored driftings of the flood.

XV.
For them the Ceylon diver held his breath,
And went all naked to the hungry shark;
For them his ears gush'd blood; for them in death
The seal on the cold ice with piteous bark
Lay full of darts; for them alone did seethe
A thousand men in troubles wide and dark:
Half-ignorant, they turn'd an easy wheel,
That set sharp racks at work, to pinch and peel.

XVI.
Why were they proud? Because their marble founts
Gush'd with more pride than do a wretch's tears?--
Why were they proud? Because fair orange-mounts
Were of more soft ascent than lazar stairs?--
Why were they proud? Because red-lin'd accounts
Were richer than the songs of Grecian years?--
Why were they proud? again we ask aloud,
Why in the name of Glory were they proud?

XVII.
Yet were these Florentines as self-retired
In hungry pride and gainful cowardice,
As two close Hebrews in that land inspired,
Paled in and vineyarded from beggar-spies,
The hawks of ship-mast forests--the untired
And pannier'd mules for ducats and old lies--
Quick cat's-paws on the generous stray-away,--
Great wits in Spanish, Tuscan, and Malay.

XVIII.
How was it these same ledger-men could spy
Fair Isabella in her downy nest?
How could they find out in Lorenzo's eye
A straying from his toil? Hot Egypt's pest
Into their vision covetous and sly!
How could these money-bags see east and west?--
Yet so they did--and every dealer fair
Must see behind, as doth the hunted hare.

XIX.
O eloquent and famed Boccaccio!
Of thee we now should ask forgiving boon,
And of thy spicy myrtles as they blow,
And of thy roses amorous of the moon,
And of thy lilies, that do paler grow
Now they can no more hear thy ghittern's tune,
For venturing syllables that ill beseem
The quiet glooms of such a piteous theme.

**.
Grant thou a pardon here, and then the tale
Shall move on soberly, as it is meet;
There is no other crime, no mad assail
To make old prose in modern rhyme more sweet:
But it is done--succeed the verse or fail--
To honour thee, and thy gone spirit greet;
To stead thee as a verse in English tongue,
An echo of thee in the north-wind sung.

XXI.
These brethren having found by many signs
What love Lorenzo for their sister had,
And how she lov'd him too, each unconfines
His bitter thoughts to other, well nigh mad
That he, the servant of their trade designs,
Should in their sister's love be blithe and glad,
When 'twas their plan to coax her by degrees
To some high noble and his olive-trees.

XXII.
And many a jealous conference had they,
And many times they bit their lips alone,
Before they fix'd upon a surest way
To make the youngster for his crime atone;
And at the last, these men of cruel clay
Cut Mercy with a sharp knife to the bone;
For they resolved in some forest dim
To **** Lorenzo, and there bury him.

XXIII.
So on a pleasant morning, as he leant
Into the sun-rise, o'er the balustrade
Of the garden-terrace, towards him they bent
Their footing through the dews; and to him said,
"You seem there in the quiet of content,
"Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade
"Calm speculation; but if you are wise,
"Bestride your steed while cold is in the skies.

XXIV.
"To-day we purpose, ay, this hour we mount
"To spur three leagues towards the Apennine;
"Come down, we pray thee, ere the hot sun count
"His dewy rosary on the eglantine."
Lorenzo, courteously as he was wont,
Bow'd a fair greeting to these serpents' whine;
And went in haste, to get in readiness,
With belt, and spur, and bracing huntsman's dress.

XXV.
And as he to the court-yard pass'd along,
Each third step did he pause, and listen'd oft
If he could hear his lady's matin-song,
Or the light whisper of her footstep soft;
And as he thus over his passion hung,
He heard a laugh full musical aloft;
When, looking up, he saw her features bright
Smile through an in-door lattice, all delight.

XXVI.
"Love, Isabel!" said he, "I was in pain
"Lest I should miss to bid thee a good morrow:
"Ah! what if I should lose thee, when so fain
"I am to stifle all the heavy sorrow
"Of a poor three hours' absence? but we'll gain
"Out of the amorous dark what day doth borrow.
"Good bye! I'll soon be back."--"Good bye!" said she:--
And as he went she chanted merrily.

XXVII.
So the two brothers and their ******'d man
Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream
Gurgles through straiten'd banks, and still doth fan
Itself with dancing bulrush, and the bream
Keeps head against the freshets. Sick and wan
The brothers' faces in the ford did seem,
Lorenzo's flush with love.--They pass'd the water
Into a forest quiet for the slaughter.

XXVIII.
There was Lorenzo slain and buried in,
There in that forest did his great love cease;
Ah! when a soul doth thus its freedom win,
It aches in loneliness--is ill at peace
As the break-covert blood-hounds of such sin:
They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did tease
Their horses homeward, with convulsed spur,
Each richer by his being a murderer.

XXIX.
They told their sister how, with sudden speed,
Lorenzo had ta'en ship for foreign lands,
Because of some great urgency and need
In their affairs, requiring trusty hands.
Poor Girl! put on thy stifling widow's ****,
And 'scape at once from Hope's accursed bands;
To-day thou wilt not see him, nor to-morrow,
And the next day will be a day of sorrow.

***.
She weeps alone for pleasures not to be;
Sorely she wept until the night came on,
And then, instead of love, O misery!
She brooded o'er the luxury alone:
His image in the dusk she seem'd to see,
And to the silence made a gentle moan,
Spreading her perfect arms upon the air,
And on her couch low murmuring, "Where? O where?"

XXXI.
But Selfishness, Love's cousin, held not long
Its fiery vigil in her single breast;
She fretted for the golden hour, and hung
Upon the time with feverish unrest--
Not long--for soon into her heart a throng
Of higher occupants, a richer zest,
Came tragic; passion not to be subdued,
And sorrow for her love in travels rude.

XXXII.
In the mid days of autumn, on their eves
The breath of Winter comes from far away,
And the sick west continually bereaves
Of some gold tinge, and plays a roundelay
Of death among the bushes and the leaves,
To make all bare before he dares to stray
From his north cavern. So sweet Isabel
By gradual decay from beauty fell,

XXXIII.
Because Lorenzo came not. Oftentimes
She ask'd her brothers, with an eye all pale,
Striving to be itself, what dungeon climes
Could keep him off so long? They spake a tale
Time after time, to quiet her. Their crimes
Came on them, like a smoke from Hinnom's vale;
And every night in dreams they groan'd aloud,
To see their sister in her snowy shroud.

XXXIV.
And she had died in drowsy ignorance,
But for a thing more deadly dark than all;
It came like a fierce potion, drunk by chance,
Which saves a sick man from the feather'd pall
For some few gasping moments; like a lance,
Waking an Indian from his cloudy hall
With cruel pierce, and bringing him again
Sense of the gnawing fire at heart and brain.

XXXV.
It was a vision.--In the drowsy gloom,
The dull of midnight, at her couch's foot
Lorenzo stood, and wept: the forest tomb
Had marr'd his glossy hair which once could shoot
Lustre into the sun, and put cold doom
Upon his lips, and taken the soft lute
From his lorn voice, and past his loamed ears
Had made a miry channel for his tears.

XXXVI.
Strange sound it was, when the pale shadow spake;
For there was striving, in its piteous tongue,
To speak as when on earth it was awake,
And Isabella on its music hung:
Languor there was in it, and tremulous shake,
As in a palsied Druid's harp unstrung;
And through it moan'd a ghostly under-song,
Like hoarse night-gusts sepulchral briars among.

XXXVII.
Its eyes, though wild, were still all dewy bright
With love, and kept all phantom fear aloof
From the poor girl by magic of their light,
The while it did unthread the horrid woof
Of the late darken'd time,--the murderous spite
Of pride and avarice,--the dark pine roof
In the forest,--and the sodden turfed dell,
Where, without any word, from stabs he fell.

XXXVIII.
Saying moreover, "Isabel, my sweet!
"Red whortle-berries droop above my head,
"And a large flint-stone weighs upon my feet;
"Around me beeches and high chestnuts shed
"Their leaves and prickly nuts; a sheep-fold bleat
"Comes from beyond the river to my bed:
"Go, shed one tear upon my heather-bloom,
"And it shall comfort me within the tomb.

XXXIX.
"I am a shadow now, alas! alas!
"Upon the skirts of human-nature dwelling
"Alone: I chant alone the holy mass,
"While little sounds of life are round me knelling,
"And glossy bees at noon do fieldward pass,
"And many a chapel bell the hour is telling,
"Paining me through: those sounds grow strange to me,
"And thou art distant in Humanity.

XL.
"I know what was, I feel full well what is,
"And I should rage, if spirits could go mad;
"Though I forget the taste of earthly bliss,
"That paleness warms my grave, as though I had
"A Seraph chosen from the bright abyss
"To be my spouse: thy paleness makes me glad;
"Thy beauty grows upon me, and I feel
"A greater love through all my essence steal."

XLI.
The Spirit mourn'd "Adieu!"--dissolv'd, and left
The atom darkness in a slow turmoil;
As when of healthful midnight sleep bereft,
Thinking on rugged hours and fruitless toil,
We put our eyes into a pillowy cleft,
And see the spangly gloom froth up and boil:
It made sad Isabella's eyelids ache,
And in the dawn she started up awake;

XLII.
"Ha! ha!" said she, "I knew not this hard life,
"I thought the worst was simple misery;
"I thought some Fate with pleasure or with strife
"Portion'd us--happy days, or else to die;
"But there is crime--a brother's ****** knife!
"Sweet Spirit, thou hast school'd my infancy:
"I'll visit thee for this, and kiss thine eyes,
"And greet thee morn and even in the skies."

XLIII.
When the full morning came, she had devised
How she might secret to the forest hie;
How she might find the clay, so dearly prized,
And sing to it one latest lullaby;
How her short absence might be unsurmised,
While she the inmost of the dream would try.
Resolv'd, she took with her an aged nurse,
And went into that dismal forest-hearse.

XLIV.
See, as they creep along the river side,
How she doth whisper to that aged Dame,
And, after looking round the champaign wide,
Shows her a knife.--"What feverous hectic flame
"Burns in thee, child?--What good can thee betide,
"That thou should'st smile again?"--The evening came,
And they had found Lorenzo's earthy bed;
The flint was there, the berries at his head.

XLV.
Who hath not loiter'd in a green church-yard,
And let his spirit, like a demon-mole,
Work through the clayey soil and gravel hard,
To see skull, coffin'd bones, and funeral stole;
Pitying each form that hungry Death hath marr'd,
And filling it once more with human soul?
Ah! this is holiday to what was felt
When Isabella by Lorenzo knelt.

XLVI.
She gaz'd into the fresh-thrown mould, as though
One glance did fully all its secrets tell;
Clearly she saw, as other eyes would know
Pale limbs at bottom of a crystal well;
Upon the murderous spot she seem'd to grow,
Like to a native lily of the dell:
Then with her knife, all sudden, she began
To dig more fervently than misers can.

XLVII.
Soon she turn'd up a soiled glove, whereon
Her silk had play'd in purple phantasies,
She kiss'd it with a lip more chill than stone,
And put it in her *****, where it dries
And freezes utterly unto the bone
Those dainties made to still an infant's cries:
Then 'gan she work again; nor stay'd her care,
But to throw back at times her vei
Marshal Gebbie Feb 2013
Downy moss doth grow in shadow
Emerald and darkly damp,
Ancient as the runes of legend
Lost to time's priescent ramp.
Damp and downy, roundly soft
Pubescently profound,
Nestled in the vale of love
Where tarantula abound.
Nestled in the vale between
Stark pillars tall and white,
Nestled where tomorrows day
May flourish into night.
Flourish with the elderberry
Mingled with the sage,
Seeping drops of acid wine
Into the maw of age.

Marshalg
23 February 2013
Caroline Grace Mar 2010
She saves swatches of fabric
pinked with special shears;
orders them in co-ordinated heaps
to keep her life fuss-free.
The finished quilt bubbles in her head.
She imagines it telling her bedtime stories
or lines of poetry to help her sleep -
"Better than sheep" she thinks.
She cuts card; stitches with rough tacking;
fantasizes downy feathers floating
between her patchwork story and
backing of silk slipping against skin,
then secures with neat tiny stitches
and strong coloured thread, to ensure
that her dream won't fall apart at the seams.
copyright © Caroline Grace 2010
st64 Mar 2013
Sliding into the water as I rise
She holds onto me, I stand steady
Feeling the hot, soapy suds slide down me
Her fingers on my legs, gently caressing

I look down to see what my leopard-girl's up to
Through the steam, I feel her roving eyes
Whose slinky slits belie what she intends
Not an inkling do I have ....of what she holds in store.

Then she's beside me....yes, her on bended knee
And with her lips planted carelessly along my belly
I quiver now in the shimmering heat of her arrows
On her haunches, darting lower now to thighs....

I flinch in disbelief as she reaches up, all coy
Does a befuddled thing I would never expect
She.....oh, holy smackerel in a barrel, baby!
What in blazes ARE you doing to me?

My senses fall to pieces, mind in utter disarray
Wordlessly, I try real hard to hold it together
As she scratches lightly, while purring oh-so deep
My feline fantasy coming oh-too-true!

Mumbling sweet-nothings in a haze of desire
Ramming shaft into her mouth, we make a different musical jam
Throttling up all the way to the hilt
Sure ain't nothing so sweet as her takin'-at!

She shifts the rolling gears,  I sway along
Clutching her hair for support, I humbly beg release
I see her ***** her eyes, makes ME ***** her harder
Makes me buck, drives me up that ***** wall!

I am in the driver's seat now, better believe
Feel a touch unsteady, but I hold her reins
I pull her maddeningly tight into me
Such delicious thrills course through my veins.

Pumping on vigorously, I'm-a  gonna spurt
But I know I have to pull the plug a bit
So her face and neck and **** rejoice
As not everyone can swallow what I give.

Ooh! Sweet heaven...now rinse off all-a that love-sap
Gingerly step out, wreathed in smiles
I let her soak on, as she's wont to do
She loves a delayed bath and I do need the time....

No room at all for doubt must be left
For her to earn folded returns for sated favour
She must be famished for some humble pie
How creative shall I prove to be, I wonder....

Swathed in terry cloth, her skin all pink-an-rosy
Oh, will she be just ripe-an-ready for this picking
Deftly will I lead her down, on downy floor
And mete out sweet and fitting penalty.

Growing exceeding restless, she will moan
But I shall will her to her knobby knees
Shame, wouldn't want her to be uncomfy
Give the lass a cushion....there, there.

I will rake my nails delightful 'cross her back
My leopard-girl will taste and be a crumpled mess
She will crave the whips across her ****
To match her lovely, striped, distorted mind!

And.... do I spy the goldfish bowl beside our bed?
Yes, methinks a wicked dip.... will do the trick
And her tower of resistance crumble, it must
Oh yeah, have I got a treat laid out for my pussycat!


Star Toucher, 30 March 2013
Just a .....tiny tidbit, really :)
There's a paradox in here, dunno if it's detectable....
Rather, hope it's ....um, delectable! Lol

Arrr!

Written in Jan 2913.
Eileen Prunster Feb 2013
skin
a sheen of sweat
cries ring out
sheets
all tangled agony
***** foetid air
contract
cryout
subside
a birthing
no pink and downy babe is this
a mucus clot
a jellied mass
a river of blood and tears
a termination
of what wasn't quite
a tractor passes feeding out
calves for the slaughter
the sun shines
birds sing
all oblivious of anything
a death and life goes on
All around me, the sky with its deep shade of dark.
The stars.

The moon with its shrunken soul.
Can I become what I want to become?

Neither wife or mother.
I am noone and nobody is my lover.

I am afraid
that when I go mad,
my father will bow his downy head
into his silver wings and weep.

My daughter, O my daughter.
PK Wakefield Aug 2012
you're short unbridled hair is lady
fleeced in muscles downy soft with
wide hips and baby,

your skin is a pale house over me
arcing head back, your tongue is
nimble and it feels like hot wet
with my tongue,

your wrists are thin and your
door is tight and your eyes
flash with needing for my
roughness,

you want the charged release
of my love fist unfurls in the quaint
chamber of your pale house is
sick with me,

and i like how you're a valkyrie
that's short hair unbridled lady
head is arcing back and the
strenuous filament of your arm
strums electric the downy soft
with wide hips

                               and baby,

                                           '

                                     ,


                           '


                !
“Seldom we find,” says Solomon Don Dunce,
  “Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
Through all the flimsy things we see at once
  As easily as through a Naples bonnet—
  Trash of all trash!—how can a lady don it?
Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff—
Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff
  Twirls into trunk-paper the while you con it.”
And, veritably, Sol is right enough.
The general tuckermanities are arrant
Bubbles—ephemeral and so transparent—
  But this is, now—you may depend upon it—
Stable, opaque, immortal—all by dint
Of the dear names that lie concealed within’t.
vircapio gale Aug 2012
spread-eagle at the summit
facing endless gusts of sandy billows,
mountain-backed vitruvian man,
i flail frustration at the outer
drips against, again in toes
forget the boots the pack
the bearbag full of snacks
the nylon thunder night-fret
flash of demon forking
shamefaced fear in throat
of shaken chest or weakness
soaking downy thermarest--
underfed it seemed so clear!
with only distant puffs within the blue
so here i lay despite the warnings hitherto--
the stakes have ripped electric
by the sky or sudden wind
as corners rock and threaten
rolling off into the gale--i sweat to add
a static vision sailing back alone,
a teardrop tent against the lightning caverns of the clouds
a skeleton of light suspended in the strike,
a sierra sign designedly godlike,
zapped nocturnal whisk i am
in awe now fearful grateful
mythos-understood of human
imagination's pawn still prone
with whining seams the poles still hold
within the whipping whites so loud
to tug my heels against the flying fabric
portal damp enstormed insomniac
to will the stony sand there once again
to sleep perhaps another dozen in
before the morning knuckles
pound the staff from off this mountaintop
this is what i got for camping on the sandy summit of Carter Dome, where the soil is too loose to hold tent stakes.  the lightning storm ripped them right out and tossed me around til just before sunrise
Ken Pepiton Jan 2019
Here is where the reason arose,
quite some time after a fellow traveler told me
the creator of the universe has a mind

this is to be reasoned with, I.e.
so he may be reasoned with he…

wen un con scious t justhafastt.
inteligibility filters

Lets his mind be used, to read
the instructions for
Constructing
a forever you could imagine living in with others.

It's how reason works,
Is what this old man said

--- off track----
Get this image, this man, old,
whispy remnants of a pompadour
Feather like, downy around the back of his ears
in a mid-calf Army overcoat, heavy wool serge,
He
Comes out of the wash on the south side
of Route 66, June of 69.

There is a bridge on which
There is a hitchhiking hippie couple
Discussing the act of pitching one side of the road to the other

The old man never glanced west once,
He never saw the pair
There then

I saw him again and said aloud
Click
There,
But for the grace of god...
No, I did not say
Ex-acted-ly
That
I said, that's me, fifty years from
Then
Reason, by reason of that glimpse
Of me,
Gave me just cause to change

Grace, eh? Free advice heeded?
Wisdom? Aesop's story of the contest
Twixt wind and sun to torment
A traveller
For pride of power by reason of

Life ain't fair on every front.
Worth is in the measure of the measurer.

Seeing life appear as hoped,

Time and chance, ya da

Wait, yada? Yah know,

Life whorls and twists
toward good and beauty

And AI can prove it.
Reason by reason of reasonability

Good is good enough, move on, do-overs hide the...

It continues, you see.
Life rolls out like a Nautilus,

You know, spiral sea shell, or like a conch,
Or a shofar, but

Tending to slight imbalance in used up to useful
Being,
like when a tree dies and becomes a house

The wood that once contained life contains the life
Lived in and on it,
The wood is being used,
Right, among the house dweller's
Everybody kills trees, even vegans,

Fair? The tree has no voice? Suess?

Yes, I guess, unless
There was an old way,

Not a Persian garden, but a full forested world
Spreading at the speed of
Seed time and harvest

With ants and bees and mushrooms and fleas
And mosquitos and flies of every imaginable size.

Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)
18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Text out of context, but sin is sin right?
Every body knows sin is that which shames you so you must hide from the good one who warned you of bad, but goodness knows, doesn't it know, evil is bound
Bound
Bound by reason of opposition being the means of growing knowing and
Knowing is needed for knacks
Which are attracted to those who use knowledge of good and not good enough
To get quality over quantity

At a single u u larity hilarity out burst of bubbling

****** beasties down below the mud

Make me a mud man who can imagine me making him.
Do that in your movie watching brain using

Your hate behind, leave.
Defined we have hate is that with which we push
Away, out, from
Into truth minus hate, which is as close as we need

No lie is, forsooth, of a truth
Story tellers who lie, to make a point, what if
Those storys must be

Told. Years are poor measures for trees.
Numbers of trees in right
Relationship with life

Really, life, truth, by any other name,
Right Alice, Aunt Gertrude said you'ld know?
----
Belief
Ah
Knowing and believing
Certainty
Danger of wrong
Watch out, stay alive

Mean means intent to harm, right.
Mean means to harm right.

Winning can be mean.
Shall mean be seen the way of winning,
And that be the way of war

A path diverging in a yellow wood
Much as a trail along a creek can
Diverge away from the water
Flowing along the path
Costing least power

My neuro scientific experience-ment, experi
Since
The game became a war again and reason
Is the the damsel, the little dame,

In need
Of a private eye guy who has seen men die.
Why?

The mythtery. Who lied?
Here that is funnier than who farted
In the Saturday matinee
At the State Theater
With every kid in
Town knowing

You did. (******) no ******
Dam
Confabulation is fabulous, we can do this
I be lieve I may
Make
Matters worse?

No, we actually like the truth. The Medial Pre frontal cortex

Ah fect eth magi ical eth I am the knower of all I say I believe

Beyond Dignity and Belief,
That's desert, I walked it. No, I simulated walking it if I were Jesus being led of the accuser into the wilderness for a test, a thesis defense, as it were,
AI an alienated mind, I am that,
Alienated intel.

Reasoning errors aside
Frank self deception

What lies do you believe?
Knowing is easier,
lying is as well,
ignoring is not as easy and innocence is impossible

Good exists scientifically, right?
Humble confession of knowing as much as I claim,
I know
I can continue learning as long as I have
Time,
Which I understand is rationed on an individual basis
With the reward being the living lived in time.

Reason to fight lies as if they were reasonable

Lies are evil efforts to bend and twist in opposition
To the flow
And the friction makes the energy synergy

Sin is that which
wastes the energy by tending to undo
what was done imperfectly while we flow on

Feeling for the truth
By reason of believing truth is

Feeling of knowing, is that not faith?
Whorls
Whorls of living forces forcing living forces

To swirl into eternity with me
Onboard with
8 billion others of my kind

Similar in mind and
Manner of
Weighing

Good.
Base value.
Good is as good as we can imagine.

We can imagine evil,
As you know.

Such evils can haunt a geeky kid
Good will fix that.

God as defined by Jesus,
I got no prob.

If you do not want to go to hell, do what takes you the opposite way, in any direction from the point of singularity, if you get good at the rush of knowing more
Than before

Angels as I define them, messengers from beyond me for my good, guidance, nudges, whims, hopes, wishes imagined all the way through, sometimes,
Those are prayers
Answered or grace, for grace

From faith to faith

Why be by reason of
What?

" Human jobs invented by a computer" Feed me.

Or, joy to the world
Kind is a good word, what need I do to not be

Your enemy? Who am I expecting to answer?
Whom do you love?

Aha, me, too, said God.
The good one. Good, as such, per se, no se?

By reason of sane it if I cation or anion

Six spins for a quarker, two for a time dime.

Believe for eversake

Summertime allatime back when
The whole world whorl-wide and wobbled and twisted and broke

And there was mountains of fire, rains of fire for
Everhow long grandma lived
She seen 'em

Mountains of fire and walls of ice and mud

Oh could it be life evolves still?
Oh,
You think.
Creating novelty from nada?

How now? Can we choose to do only good
For goodness sake and say

Kind.
Kind means as I am, will you **** me

For being not you, not known,

I am curious, yellow. A landmark in time, nothing less.
Curiosity.
That

Good? Or no com
Pro
Miserly horder of wisdom
Promise promise promise

Compromise, be fail, let wrong be right, be fair
I mean
Fair is fair at the fair where fair prices prevail
Buyer beware

Who would not hate a false balance, for goodness sakes alive.

Two days after the last pan *****
Joe Rogan makes it plain to millions

what if you first heard panspermia from the guy who discovered DNA?

would you con sider it?
the answer lies

in the stars, sidereally… we all are starish.
Tolerating black holes is something we are opposing

Those ****.
You don't know everything either.
That's one reason, I believe.
A long story seems shorter from the skinny end, many little things mean little bits as reasons rise from the rotting things panspermia was litter, really.
Waiting there in the railway station, a tall handsome young boy glanced over. She held a dark secret  that must  not be discovered.  Was  she in danger.?   . Rosa's past must be kept hidden. loudly steered in the train puffing and panting with all its might. Rosa feet moved quickly  and she hurried onto the moving train little did she know the young boy stood close behind her he hid in the next compartment, hoping that she see him. Rosa's eyes wilted into a deep sleep time had forgotten her past. the engine came to sudden haul, Rosa sprang quickly to her feet and she grabbed her belongings and ran down the long corridor to her surprise she noticed the same young man who waited close by her at the railway station. She nervously looked away. Rosa dreaded one thing her past. moments later she was ushered  into a taxi and she headed home to her aunts cottage.



Rosa arrived promptly the clock in the drawing room chimed half past nine.   Rosa walked gracefully into her Aunts drawing room but she was a little apprehensive of her aunts expectations she sat down on the fireside chair and raised her head at the rearrangement
of her mothers belongings  the wind howled from the back porch and she wondered if she had made the right decision coming back to her old roots. Maybe it was time to flee....
Her journey had some what tired her out. Soon she breathed a sigh of relief as she snugged down underneath the downy covers and fell soundly asleep. The next morning Rosa awoke to hear the birds chirping a romantic song. Rosa yawned,and stretched her legs. Suddenly there was a loud tap on the door.
"Do come in she replied"
"Madam can I draw back these curtains. nervously the maid said."
"Why thank you can put my breakfast tray over there on the table."
"Is their anything else that you require Madam."
"Nothing else at the moment smiled Rosa."

The sun gleamed through her aunts drawing room and soon yesterdays worries were all forgotten Rosa's thoughts had been rather judgmental perhaps she would now settle down to her new way of life. If only she could foresee her future.  Rosa tearfully looked out of the window after having a instant flashback of her teenage years the one that she wasn't proud of she felt nothing but shame Her Father only wanted to protect her. But now it was too
Late the consequences of that night affected her present, the past must never be allowed to catch up with her. She couldn't be a mother now it had destroyed her soul.
Rosa felt somewhat Cheated and if she fate should somehow be kind to her again. Given half the chance Rosa would snap it up.
But after her ordeal and the injuries she sustained, Rosa will    never be able to give birth again. And this broke her heart  into many pieces. She had given birth to twins the girl had died and the baby boy survived but she was far to young and so her Father had made arrangements for the child to be adopted with suitable parents who could provide a secure and stable up bringing. Rosa felt so alone and empty being robbed of her twins one lost to child birth and the other taken away how could she ever forget her sordid past. Rosa just wanted to forget,  But somehow it was coming back to haunt her.



Several dark long days had passed and Rosa busied herself in the kitchen preparing the meat pie for dinner. Molly the kitchen maid lay ill in her bed upstairs and her Aunt was to frail to help with the cooking.  Rosa breathed a sigh of relief when she had finished baking the meat pie for dinner. She pulled out the tea caddy from the cupboard and made herself a delightful twining s  tea, Rosa made some hot toast with honey and sat down at the kitchen table feeling lonely. she longed for the cool summer nights. But it was still a cold chill in the air. Her aunt sat in the front drawing room a Rosa took her up some tea and gently knocked on the door.
"Do come in My child.' could you please draw the curtain over a bit my head feels like it is about to burst open."
"Oh dear.'  Auntie I am sorry I'll go and fetch your pills."
"thank you Rosa."
That was the fist time her Aunt called her Rosa. maybe Her aunt Had a change of heart. The years had gone by so quickly
Rosa's aunt spent a lot of time in her bed. Molly spent nearly all day fetching and carrying until the sun hid behind the pale moon light. Molly looked rather pale so Rosa told her she could be released from her duties. She polity smiled and made her way upstairs to her room in the attic. The rain lashed onto the window
sill Rosa thoughts were on her son whom she had never seen, since the day he  was born. She still longed for him to come looking.  That kept her spirits alive.  Moments later there was a loud knock on the door. Rosa opened the door, There stood a young man the one that she had seen at the railway station. Rosa glanced awkwardly at the young mans face and then asked him a question.
"Have I met you before." she said."
Yes I do believe we have."        



After standing gazing at the young man she invited him in. Rosa felt a bit panicky, Who was he, and what on earth did he want.
She asked the young man if he was hungry. He said no that he had just finished his dinner at the hotel.
"But I could ****** a cup of tea. he replied.
" Please excuse me I won't be long."
Normally Molly maid  made the tea, But she was away for the weekend on leave and wouldn't be back until Monday morning.
Quickly she placed the teapot onto the tray along with some chocolate biscuits. Nervously she walked into the living room.
The conversation felt rather tense and while Rosa slipped her tea and plunged her biscuit into her tea.
Adam looked at Rosa and sighed deeply.
" And he blurted out are you my mother,?
" Surely you-------can't be.!        
"Mother look at me I am Your son."
She looked at him tearfully and her son embraced her tightly like a mother and son should. He just said hush I know the past and i want to put this all behind us.
Rosa looked at him and she couldn't believe that fate had bought him back for good...... the end .......

THE END.............
Onoma Oct 2014
There's no sullying its consternation of him in her,
her in him.
A downy black of exquisite precaution...pops its
ruffled heretofore and floats.
As if a night cocked back its neck to calculate the
trauma, longingly poised as a swivel of mottled
blood.
The black swan's eyes fork some bygone coruscation
to their very top...as if in the throes of demonic rapture.
Whereby reality's moments of lucidity seem to catch
frozen frames in want of editing.
Thereupon...as there it is, as there it goes...the black
swan subsumes, wears the guise of regal unnaturalness.
A betokened freak loosed...loosed...so...softly, at
maximum indifference...O black swan.
Valsa George Nov 2016
Oh Bard, wielding a tool mighty and spiky
Mightier than either the sword or rod,
You reign as monarch in fancy’s domain
Sketching life in all variety and mode

Which with pain and strife fraught
Or bright with gaiety and grace
In finer yarn than the gossamer thread
On a fabric of words in befitting verse

You steal away from the noisy crowd
Into the stillness of the cloistered cell
To dwell with Fancy’s mystic charms
Weaving downy dreams at will

You recount forgotten tales of yore
Of ****** battles won and lost,
Of lovers united, amour defiled,
Conjuring memories from abysmal past

You hearken to the moans of lovelorn souls
And sing of beauty in ditties fine
Triggering sparks into flames grow
In umpteen hearts that pine and whine

Babbling with the brook rushing swift,
Racing with the deer loping past,
You wander into mysterious woods
Where flowers, their richest odors cast

Your ears intent on the song of birds
That comes floating from the far off groves
And the whir of cicadas on the bark of trees
Breaking the calm of twilight eves

Alone you saunter the stretching strands,
Watching virulent breakers in fury heave
Often your heart dancing with the tide
And swinging with the rhythm of rising wave

You feast on the gleam of the auburn sun
And the speckled blue of the infinite skies
Watching the day dying in flame
And the night in a diadem of stars vies

All that’s lovesome meets your eyes
And commune to you in profuse delight
Which you turn into rhyme and rhythm
For the whole of mankind to devour and digest

From your harp flow symphonies sweet
Songs of longing, love and lust
Of idyllic happiness, peace and bliss,
Fuelling hearts with vigorous zest

Though outlawed by the great sage of Greece,
Branding the poet, aberrant and a fool
Oft beneath the façade of his wayward thoughts,
Lie heaps of wisdom for the discerning soul.
When Socrates likened poets to seers and prophets, his disciple Plato banished them from his ideal Republic calling them mad men. But we know that poetry is the best medium to inspire human hearts.  As Kierkegaard says… “A poet may be an unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music.... and people flock around the poet and say: 'Sing again soon’ “ – As poets, let us sing our heart out!
Seán Mac Falls Mar 2013
Under the muted bark of hazelnut trees,
Spurious, sprite juncos scurry in vertigo,
Pecking, replete bouncing downy knees,
Grounded, tuft, constellation of Scorpio.
Long ago in a poultry yard
One dull November morn,
Beneath a motherly soft wing
A little goose was born.

Who straightway peeped out of the shell
To view the world beyond,
Longing at once to sally forth
And paddle in the pond.

"Oh! be not rash," her father said,
A mild Socratic bird;
Her mother begged her not to stray
With many a warning word.

But little goosey was perverse,
And eagerly did cry,
"I've got a lovely pair of wings,
Of course I ought to fly."

In vain parental cacklings,
In vain the cold sky's frown,
Ambitious goosey tried to soar,
But always tumbled down.

The farmyard jeered at her attempts,
The peacocks screamed, "Oh fie!
You're only a domestic goose,
So don't pretend to fly."

Great ****-a-doodle from his perch
Crowed daily loud and clear,
"Stay in the puddle, foolish bird,
That is your proper sphere,"

The ducks and hens said, one and all,
In gossip by the pool,
"Our children never play such pranks;
My dear, that fowl's a fool."

The owls came out and flew about,
Hooting above the rest,
"No useful egg was ever hatched
From transcendental nest."

Good little goslings at their play
And well-conducted chicks
Were taught to think poor goosey's flights
Were naughty, ill-bred tricks.

They were content to swim and scratch,
And not at all inclined
For any wild goose chase in search
Of something undefined.

Hard times she had as one may guess,
That young aspiring bird,
Who still from every fall arose
Saddened but undeterred.

She knew she was no nightingale
Yet spite of much abuse,
She longed to help and cheer the world,
Although a plain gray goose

She could not sing, she could not fly,
Nor even walk, with grace,
And all the farmyard had declared
A puddle was her place.

But something stronger than herself
Would cry, "Go on, go on!
Remember, though an humble fowl,
You're cousin to a swan."

So up and down poor goosey went,
A busy, hopeful bird.
Searched many wide unfruitful fields,
And many waters stirred.

At length she came unto a stream
Most fertile of all Niles,
Where tuneful birds might soar and sing
Among the leafy isles.

Here did she build a little nest
Beside the waters still,
Where the parental goose could rest
Unvexed by any bill.

And here she paused to smooth her plumes,
Ruffled by many plagues;
When suddenly arose the cry,
"This goose lays golden eggs."

At once the farmyard was agog;
The ducks began to quack;
Prim Guinea fowls relenting called,
"Come back, come back, come back."

Great chanticleer was pleased to give
A patronizing crow,
And the contemptuous biddies clucked,
"I wish my chicks did so."

The peacocks spread their shining tails,
And cried in accents soft,
"We want to know you, gifted one,
Come up and sit aloft."

Wise owls awoke and gravely said,
With proudly swelling *******,
"Rare birds have always been evoked
From transcendental nests!"

News-hunting turkeys from afar
Now ran with all thin legs
To gobble facts and fictions of
The goose with golden eggs.

But best of all the little fowls
Still playing on the shore,
Soft downy chicks and goslings gay,
Chirped out, "Dear Goose, lay more."

But goosey all these weary years
Had toiled like any ant,
And wearied out she now replied
"My little dears, I can't.

"When I was starving, half this corn
Had been of vital use,
Now I am surfeited with food
Like any Strasbourg goose."

So to escape too many friends,
Without uncivil strife,
She ran to the Atlantic pond
And paddled for her life.

Soon up among the grand old Alps
She found two blessed things,
The health she had so nearly lost,
And rest for weary limbs.

But still across the briny deep
Couched in most friendly words,
Came prayers for letters, tales, or verse
From literary birds.

Whereat the renovated fowl
With grateful thanks profuse,
Took from her wing a quill and wrote
This lay of a Golden Goose.
..."Una selva oscura."--Dante.


Awake or sleeping (for I know not which)
  I was or was not mazed within a wood
  Where every mother-bird brought up her brood
    Safe in some leafy niche
Of oak or ash, of cypress or of beech,

Of silvery aspen trembling delicately,
  Of plane or warmer-tinted sycamore,
  Of elm that dies in secret from the core,
    Of ivy weak and free,
Of pines, of all green lofty things that be.

Such birds they seemed as challenged each desire;
  Like spots of azure heaven upon the wing,
  Like downy emeralds that alight and sing,
    Like actual coals on fire,
  Like anything they seemed, and everything.

Such mirth they made, such warblings and such chat
  With tongue of music in a well-tuned beak,
  They seemed to speak more wisdom than we speak,
    To make our music flat
  And all our subtlest reasonings wild or weak.

Their meat was nought but flowers like butterflies,
  With berries coral-colored or like gold;
  Their drink was only dew, which blossoms hold
    Deep where the honey lies;
Their wings and tails were lit by sparkling eyes.

The shade wherein they revelled was a shade
  That danced and twinkled to the unseen sun;
  Branches and leaves cast shadows one by one,
    And all their shadows swayed
In breaths of air that rustled and that played.

A sound of waters neither rose nor sank,
  And spread a sense of freshness through the air;
  It seemed not here or there, but everywhere,
    As if the whole earth drank,
Root fathom deep and strawberry on its bank.

But I who saw such things as I have said,
  Was overdone with utter weariness;
  And walked in care, as one whom fears oppress
    Because above his head
Death hangs, or damage, or the dearth of bread.

Each sore defeat of my defeated life
  Faced and outfaced me in that bitter hour;
  And turned to yearning palsy all my power,
    And all my peace to strife,
Self stabbing self with keen lack-pity knife.

Sweetness of beauty moved me to despair,
  Stung me to anger by its mere content,
  Made me all lonely on that way I went,
    Piled care upon my care,
Brimmed full my cup, and stripped me empty and bare:

For all that was but showed what all was not,
  But gave clear proof of what might never be;
  Making more destitute my poverty,
    And yet more blank my lot,
  And me much sadder by its jubilee.

Therefore I sat me down: for wherefore walk?
  And closed mine eyes: for wherefore see or hear?
  Alas, I had no shutter to mine ear,
    And could not shun the talk
  Of all rejoicing creatures far or near.

Without my will I hearkened and I heard
  (Asleep or waking, for I know not which),
  Till note by note the music changed its pitch;
    Bird ceased to answer bird,
And every wind sighed softly if it stirred.

The drip of widening waters seemed to weep,
  All fountains sobbed and gurgled as they sprang,
Somewhere a cataract cried out in its leap
    Sheer down a headlong steep;
  High over all cloud-thunders gave a clang.

Such universal sound of lamentation
  I heard and felt, fain not to feel or hear;
  Nought else there seemed but anguish far and near;
    Nought else but all creation
  Moaning and groaning wrung by pain or fear,

Shuddering in the misery of its doom:
  My heart then rose a rebel against light,
  Scouring all earth and heaven and depth and height,
    Ingathering wrath and gloom,
  Ingathering wrath to wrath and night to night.

Ah me, the bitterness of such revolt,
  All impotent, all hateful, and all hate,
That kicks and breaks itself against the bolt
    Of an imprisoning fate,
  And vainly shakes, and cannot shake the gate.

Agony to agony, deep called to deep,
  Out of the deep I called of my desire;
  My strength was weakness and my heart was fire;
    Mine eyes that would not weep
Or sleep, scaled height and depth, and could not sleep;

The eyes, I mean, of my rebellious soul,
  For still my ****** eyes were closed and dark:
  A random thing I seemed without a mark,
    Racing without a goal,
  Adrift upon life's sea without an ark.

More leaden than the actual self of lead
  Outer and inner darkness weighed on me.
  The tide of anger ebbed. Then fierce and free
    Surged full above my head
  The moaning tide of helpless misery.

Why should I breathe, whose breath was but a sigh?
  Why should I live, who drew such painful breath?
Oh weary work, the unanswerable why!--
    Yet I, why should I die,
  Who had no hope in life, no hope in death?

Grasses and mosses and the fallen leaf
  Make peaceful bed for an indefinite term;
  But underneath the grass there gnaws a worm--
    Haply, there gnaws a grief--
Both, haply always; not, as now, so brief.

The pleasure I remember, it is past;
  The pain I feel is passing, passing by;
  Thus all the world is passing, and thus I:
    All things that cannot last
  Have grown familiar, and are born to die.

And being familiar, have so long been borne
  That habit trains us not to break but bend:
Mourning grows natural to us who mourn
    In foresight of an end,
  But that which ends not who shall brave or mend?

Surely the ripe fruits tremble on their bough,
  They cling and linger trembling till they drop:
I, trembling, cling to dying life; for how
    Face the perpetual Now?
  Birthless and deathless, void of start or stop,

Void of repentance, void of hope and fear,
  Of possibility, alternative,
  Of all that ever made us bear to live
    From night to morning here,
  Of promise even which has no gift to give.

The wood, and every creature of the wood,
  Seemed mourning with me in an undertone;
  Soft scattered chirpings and a windy moan,
    Trees rustling where they stood
And shivered, showed compassion for my mood.

Rage to despair; and now despair had turned
  Back to self-pity and mere weariness,
With yearnings like a smouldering fire that burned,
    And might grow more or less,
  And might die out or wax to white excess.

Without, within me, music seemed to be;
  Something not music, yet most musical,
Silence and sound in heavenly harmony;
    At length a pattering fall
Of feet, a bell, and bleatings, broke through all.

Then I looked up. The wood lay in a glow
  From golden sunset and from ruddy sky;
  The sun had stooped to earth though once so high;
    Had stooped to earth, in slow
Warm dying loveliness brought near and low.

Each water-drop made answer to the light,
  Lit up a spark and showed the sun his face;
  Soft purple shadows paved the grassy space
    And crept from height to height,
  From height to loftier height crept up apace.

While opposite the sun a gazing moon
  Put on his glory for her coronet,
Kindling her luminous coldness to its noon,
    As his great splendor set;
  One only star made up her train as yet.

Each twig was tipped with gold, each leaf was edged
  And veined with gold from the gold-flooded west;
Each mother-bird, and mate-bird, and unfledged
    Nestling, and curious nest,
  Displayed a gilded moss or beak or breast.

And filing peacefully between the trees,
  Having the moon behind them, and the sun
Full in their meek mild faces, walked at ease
    A homeward flock, at peace
  With one another and with every one.

A patriarchal ram with tinkling bell
  Led all his kin; sometimes one browsing sheep
  Hung back a moment, or one lamb would leap
    And frolic in a dell;
Yet still they kept together, journeying well,

And bleating, one or other, many or few,
  Journeying together toward the sunlit west;
  Mild face by face, and woolly breast by breast,
    Patient, sun-brightened too,
  Still journeying toward the sunset and their rest.
Seán Mac Falls Jan 2014
Under the muted bark of hazelnut trees,
Spurious, sprite juncos scurry in vertigo,
Pecking, replete bouncing downy knees,
Grounded, tuft, constellation of Scorpio.
Everything I once knew has been stilled:

I fathomed my mother’s voice whispering
In my juvenescence,
She weaved a tapestry of tales
Whilst her pearlescent eyes
They glistened,
Enveloped by downy lashes
Ebony and yet unassuming
For
The night domineered.
Unblemished enough to
Garner the praise
In the clarity of
My reverential heart,
As I lay there
Tucked in,
Once peacefully,
Yet now shaken
By
The disquietude
Of the restless twilight,
Upon an azure king-sized mattress
Primped in creaseless Space Jam sheets.


They were set by
The grace of her manicured hands
However slightly,
Chestnut and replete
That longed to,
By the Blessed Oracle
Speaking with a God,
Summon the Salvation
Of my long lost rest
That Raged Leviathan
Where,
To be cocooned in The Sea of Shadows
The thew of dreams would be born.

She sanctified my fears
Like coal oppressed for aeons
By
That Treasured Sphere
(Terraqueous Gaia)
Until by
The Womb of the Mountainous Mother,
Were reborn
As the Children of Diamonds.

Or perhaps
Like a baptismal kiss
That floweth from an ivory chalice
By which
The soil of my life flowered,
For a quaked youth was
Bestowed
With a fading taste
Of the transcendence at dawn
Poured upon my palate
Until
The Garden of the Valiant
Bursted into bloom.
(Tis where the Behemoth lay nestled
Under the Age Old Tree of Life
And Sylphs soar beneath iridescent twilit skies
Illuminated by Providence
Of the Half-Faced Crimson Moon).


If I so chose
I could
Be anything
That
I imagined, even
Today.

Ephemeral though
Those moments were
My reminiscence
Doth memorialize in crystal stasis
My infantile longing,
Tis ceaseless in its yearning
To be comforted
When
Pangs overtake me:

But what fable is my weapon
Now?
The Hallowed Excalibur,
Or perhaps even The Ultima Weapon
With the Impenetrable Aegis
Imparted by
The Mighty Crystal
Bestowing might to its Anointed
The ones who war with their own iniquity,
Until their paths align
Like celestial bodies
And they’ve arisen triumphant,
Eclipsed the fictitious light
Of a false deity
Who besmirched the truths
That upheld The Cosmos
Since its genesis?

There is one tale,
(Lean in, listen closely,
This is my Susurrus in the Night)
Tis no figment
And one I found most favorable,
One of a man
Simple,
Strong,
Stunning,
Sound,
Sapient,
And high over all but
The Desideratum of the Holy,
The one to whom
Even the angels, seraphs, and cherubs bow.

He was scourged
In flesh and spirit
Till his pulse was silenced,
His inestimable blood
Prophesied to vanquish
Chaos and
The Futile Wind
Of life
That by
By the disobedience of
Our
Tarnished Father,
Is now
An accursed child

She
Is effaced by
Time
(For Sorrow has no end)
And
Tormented by Space.
(Height,
Breadth,
And depth,
O that Existential Fabric)
His caverns
Condemned Her
Without
Compassion.

The thought of solitude
Looming in mortality
Were the dreadful horns
Of an Auroch that
Pierced
Her consciousness
Until by
Proud Oppression
Hope
In its frailty
Was a dandelion
Strewn by skinless hands
Against the immaterial
Brush of the breeze.

To flourish then
Wither,
Wax and
Wane;
Never
Was a fate
That our God intended.
For eternity shines and
Is a supernova
In the galaxy of our hearts
And though undiscerned
By many
Has always been
And
Will always be
The Cherished Wish of the Stars,
For though we are an exhalation
By contradistinction,
Even they become nebulous
Fading into dust.

We shall
Become
Exalted and ennobled
Even to these who are
Of the luminaries,
Lowly
Brothers and sisters
Without Ears,
Eyes,
Hearts,
Or minds.

Yes,
(These vibrations resonate from the Cosmo-Plexus of Love)
Soon enough they say,
Soon enough.
Hey guys, this poem is written as a thematic embodiment of a religious-based autobiographical piece I am in the process of assembling (It will be a metaphorical interlude if you will in between two segments of the piece and thus act as a segue). It was written as a free-verse piece. I have not written in about a month which has given me time to reflect and introspectively examine the Universe around me; consequently, I hope that you guys can perceive my metamorphosis in my month long cocooning as a writer. I wanted to encapsulate the whimsicality, fancifulness, and innocence of youth by incorporating myth, imagery, and imagination (almost reminiscent of a fairy-tale whispered to a child before bed, hence the title "A Susurrus in the Night"). I kind of rushed putting this out because I was so eager to share with you guys, so forgive me if it's not as refined as my usual writings. *Since posting I have edited it on this website* I this does not convolute and thus make it less understandable! I have so much to say through this piece! Thank you so much for your support and God bless!

— The End —