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Cyril Blythe Sep 2012
I followed him down the trail until we got to the mouth of the mines. The life and energy of the surrounding maples and birches seemed to come to a still and then die as we walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelt of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a slimy smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” He rolled his eyes.
“Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. In my blinding anger I lost track of his lantern. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I did in Peru.
I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Somewhere in front of me the canary chirped.

When I first got the job in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack said. He handed me the manila case envelope. “He’s lived in rural Vermont his entire life. Apparently his family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When the accident happened the whole town basically shut down. There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly after. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He ships them to other mining towns across the country now. We want to run a piece about the inhumanity of breeding animals to die so humans won’t.” I stood in silence in front of his deep mahogany desk, suddenly aware of the lack of make-up on my face. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”

“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers? Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.” Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me. He relit the oily lantern and turned his back without another word. I reluctantly followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” and hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants interspersed in-between. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good nights sleep and defeat this towns fear of John Delvos tomorrow.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag and pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC. I stepped out onto the dirt in front of my door and lit up. I looked up and the stars stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except it’s sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the stars dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off.
“I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Waters, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Waters, are you new to town?”
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
The stars tiptoed in their tiny circles above in the silence. Then, they disappeared with a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the stars dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Waters. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the cold dust beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed, “See that yellow notch?” Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to find out where to find this elusive Mr. Delvos and his canaries.”
“You don’t have to,” he knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree, “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The stars dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary chirped and Delvos stopped.
“This is a good place to break out fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky this morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Waters.” Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I hurriedly stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased, “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers, I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with flickering yellow brushes and songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so of course I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the birds little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was ‘Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
The canary chirped, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines, but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?” He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast.
“Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Waters, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the CEO’s for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Waters.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Waters. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the little, yellow canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up and the memory of his green and brown wooded homestead fled from my memory as the mine again consumed my consciousness. Dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.
The canary chirped.
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelt of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The Canary was flitting its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminating the surrounding gloom. All was completely still and even my own vapor seemed to fall out of my mouth and simply die. The canary was dancing a frantic jig, now, similar to the mating dance of the Great Frigate Bird I shot in the Amazon jungle. As I watched the canary and listened to its small wings beat against the cold metal cage I begin to feel dizzy. The bird’s cries had transformed into a scream colder than fire and somehow more fierce.
The ability to fly is what always made me jealous of birds as a child, but as my temple throbbed and the canary danced I realized I was amiss. Screaming, yellow feathers whipped and the entire inside of the cage was instantaneously filled. It was beautiful until the very end. Dizzying, really.
Defeated, the canary sank to the floor, one beaten wing hanging out of the iron bars at a most unnatural angle. Its claws were opening and closing, grasping the tainted cave air, or, perhaps, trying to push it away. Delvos unclipped the cage and sat it on the floor in the space between us, lantern still held swaying above his head. The bird was aflame now, the silent red blood absorbing into the apologetic, yellow feathers. Orange, a living fire. I pulled out my camera as I sat on the ground beside the cage. I took a few shots, the camera’s clicks louder than the feeble chirps sounding out of the canary’s tattered, yellow beak. My head was spinning. Its coal-black eyes reflected the lantern’s flame above. I could see its tiny, red tongue in the bottom of its mouth.
Opening.
Closing.
Opening, wider, too wide, then,
Silence.


I felt dizzy. I remember feeling the darkness surround me; it felt warm.

“I vaguely remember Delvos helping me to my feet, but leaving the mine was a complete haze.” I told the panel back in D.C., “It wasn’t until we had crossed the stream on the way back to the cabin that I began to feel myself again. Even then, I felt like I was living a dream. When we got back to the cabin the sight of the lively yellow canaries in their coops made me cry. Delvos brought me a bottle of water and told me I needed to hit the trail because the sun set early in the winter, so I le
Saint Audrey Jul 2018
Casualty: my interest fading
Once waxing moon now seen waning
And I did concede your irksome warning
And watched as the rest played out

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

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

With a heart surrounding

As mine beats slower

At last, the sun begins going down

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

Behind, in the twisting twilight
And alone, I walk along
ryn Oct 2014
Red
Strange malaise,
One I can't place.
Struggling of late.
Discomforting state.

Persistent lethargy.
Sloth-like and heavy.
Burning internals.
Frequent intervals.

No temperature.
No warning lever.
Don't know what's wrong.
Been rather long.

Medicine trough
Can't rid me this cough.
Expulsion so violent,
Incessantly recurrent.

Over a fortnight
This ailment I fight.
Still hasn't eased.
Can't be appeased.

Development is seen.
Now spitting green.
Not just all
That joined this brawl.

It's just the coughing.
No injury I'm suffering,
I haven't bled...

But I see red...
:(
Cyril Blythe Nov 2012
I followed Delvos down the trail until we could see the mouth of the mine. The life and energy of the surrounding birches and sentential pines came to a still and then died as we left the trees shelter behind and walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelled of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped in its cage.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” I pulled my mousey hair up into a tight ponytail. “I’ve experienced far more fatal feats than following a canary in a cave.”
He rolled his eyes. “Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling some Louis Armstrong song.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. I lost track of his lantern completely. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I had done in Peru. The mine was quiet and cold. I wiped my clammy, calloused hands on my trail pants and took a depth breath.

In through the nose. Out through the mouth. This is nothing. I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Behind me I could hear the wind cooing at the mouth of the mine.
Taunting? No. Reminding me to go forward. Into the darkness.
I shifted my Nikon camera off my shoulder and raised the viewfinder to my eyes, sliding the lens cap into my vest pocket. This routine motion, by now, had become as fluid as walking. I stared readily through the dark black square until I saw reflections from the little red light on top that blinked, telling me the flash was charged. I snapped my finger down and white light filled the void in front of me. Then heavy dark returned. I blinked my eyes attempting to rid the memories of the flash etched, red, onto my retina. I clicked my short fingernails through buttons until the photo I took filled the camera screen. I learned early on that having short fingernails meant more precise control with the camera buttons. I zoomed in on the picture and scrolled to get my bearings of exactly what lay ahead in the narrow mine passageway. As I scrolled to the right I saw Delvos’ boot poking around the tunnel that forked to the left.
Gottcha.
I packed up the camera, licked my drying lips, and stepped confidently into the darkness.

When I first got the assignment in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack had said as he handed me the manila case envelope. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”
I opened the envelope and read the assignment details in the comfort of my old pajamas back at my apartment later that night.
John Delvos has lived in rural Vermont his entire life. His family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When “the accident” happened the whole town shut down and the mines never reopened. . There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly before Delvos and his father retreated into the Vermont woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He currently ships them to other mining towns across the country. The question of the inhumanity of breeding canaries for the sole purpose of dying in the mines so humans don’t has always been controversial. Find out Delvos’ story and opinions on the matter. Good luck, Lila.
I sighed, accepting my dull assignment and slipped into an apathetic sleep.


After stumbling through the passageway while keeping one hand on the wall to the left, I found the tunnel the picture had revealed Delvos to be luring in. Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me
“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers?” He relit the oily lantern and picked back up the canary cage. “Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.”. He turned his back without another word. I followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” then hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western-themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good night’s sleep and defeat this town’s fear of John Delvos the following day.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag, pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC, and stepped out onto the dirt in front of my motel door and lit up. The stars above stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except its sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of Vermont night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the star’s dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off. “I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Rivers, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Rivers. Are you new to town?” He traced his fingers over a thick, graying mustache as he stared at me.
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
Ian smiled awkwardly, shivered, then began to fumble with his thick jacket’s zipper. I looked up at the night sky and watched the stars as they tiptoed their tiny circles in the pregnant silence. Then, they dimmed in the flick of a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light-colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“So, Delvos, eh?” He puffed out a cloud of leather smelling smoke toward the stars. “What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the star’s dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Rivers. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the dead pine needles beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed. “See that yellow notch?” he asked. Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am.
“You don’t have to.” He knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree. “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The star’s dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary’s wings and Delvos stopped. “This is a good place to break our fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We had left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky that morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Rivers.”
Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased. “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers. I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with wings slashing yellow brushes and cawing songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so and I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the bird’s little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was “Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
We sat in silence and I found myself watching the canary flit about in its cage, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?”
He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast. “Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Rivers, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested.”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the editors for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Rivers.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Rivers. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up. The mine was dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I had sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.  
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelled of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The canary was fluttering its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminatin
Victor D López Dec 2018
You were born five years before the Spanish Civil War that would see your father exiled.
Language came later to you than your little brother Manuel. And you stuttered for a time.
Unlike those who speak incessantly with nothing to say, you were quiet and reserved.
Your mother mistook shyness for dimness, a tragic mistake that scarred you for life.

When your brother Manuel died at the age of three from meningitis, you heard your mom
Exclaim: “God took my bright boy and left me the dull one.” You were four or five.
You never forgot those words. How could you? Yet you loved your mom with all your heart.
But you also withdrew further into a shell, solitude your companion and best friend.

You were, in fact, an exceptional child. Stuttering went away at five or so never to return,
And by the time you were in middle school, your teacher called your mom in for a rare
Conference and told her that yours was a gifted mind, and that you should be prepared
For university study in the sciences, particularly engineering.

She wrote your father exiled in Argentina to tell him the good news, that your teachers
Believed you would easily gain entrance to the (then and now) highly selective public university
Where seats were few, prized and very difficult to attain based on merit-based competitive
Exams. Your father’s response? “Buy him a couple of oxen and let him plow the fields.”

That reply from a highly respected man who was a big fish in a tiny pond in his native Oleiros
Of the time is beyond comprehension. He had apparently opted to preserve his own self-
Interest in having his son continue his family business and also work the family lands in his
Absence. That scar too was added to those that would never heal in your pure, huge heart.

Left with no support for living expenses for college (all it would have required), you moved on,
Disappointed and hurt, but not angry or bitter; you would simply find another way.
You took the competitive exams for the two local military training schools that would provide
An excellent vocational education and pay you a small salary in exchange for military service.

Of hundreds of applicants for the prized few seats in each of the two institutions, you
Scored first for the toughest of the two and thirteenth for the second. You had your pick.
You chose Fabrica de Armas, the lesser of the two, so that a classmate who had scored just
Below the cut-off at the better school could be admitted. That was you. Always and forever.

At the military school, you were finally in your element. You were to become a world-class
Machinist there—a profession that would have gotten you well paid work anywhere on earth
For as long as you wanted it. You were truly a mechanical genius who years later would add
Electronics, auto mechanics and specialized welding to his toolkit through formal training.

Given a well-stocked machine shop, you could reverse engineer every machine without
Blueprints and build a duplicate machine shop. You became a gifted master mechanic
And worked in line and supervisory positions at a handful of companies throughout your life in
Argentina and in the U.S., including Westinghouse, Warner-Lambert, and Pepsi Co.

You loved learning, especially in your fields (electronics, mechanics, welding) and expected
Perfection in everything you did. Every difficult job at work was given to you everywhere you
Worked. You would not sleep at night when a problem needed solving. You’d sketch
And calculate and re-sketch solutions and worked even in your dreams with singular passion.

You were more than a match for the academic and physical rigors of military school,
But life was difficult for you in the Franco era when some instructors would
Deprecatingly refer to you as “Roxo”—Galician for “red”-- reflecting your father’s
Support for the failed Republic. Eventually, the abuse was too much for you to bear.

Once while standing at attention in a corridor with the other cadets waiting for
Roll call, you were repeatedly poked in the back surreptitiously. Moving would cause
Demerits and demerits could cause loss of points on your final grade and arrest for
Successive weekends. You took it awhile, then lost your temper.

You turned to the cadet behind you and in a fluid motion grabbed him by his buttoned jacket
And one-handedly hung him up on a hook above a window where you were standing in line.
He thrashed about, hanging by the back of his jacket, until he was brought down by irate Military instructors.
You got weekend arrest for many weeks and a 10% final grade reduction.

A similar fate befell a co-worker a few years later in Buenos Aires who called you a
*******. You lifted him one handed by his throat and held him there until
Your co-workers intervened, forcibly persuading you to put him down.
That lesson was learned by all in no uncertain terms: Leave Felipe’s mom alone.

You were incredibly strong, especially in your youth—no doubt in part because of rigorous farm
Work, military school training and competitive sports. As a teenager, you once unwisely bent
Down to pick something up in view of a ram, presenting the animal an irresistible target.
It butted you and sent you flying into a haystack. It, too, quickly learned its lesson.

You dusted yourself off, charged the ram, grabbed it by the horns and twirled it around once,
Throwing it atop the same haystack as it had you. The animal was unhurt, but learned to
Give you a wide berth from that day forward. Overall, you were very slow to anger absent
Head-butting, repeated pokings, or disrespectful references to your mom by anyone.    

I seldom saw you angry and it was mom, not you, who was the disciplinarian, slipper in hand.
There were very few slaps from you for me. Mom would smack my behind with a slipper often
When I was little, mostly because I could be a real pain, wanting to know/try/do everything
Completely oblivious to the meaning of the word “no” or of my own limitations.

Mom would sometimes insist you give me a proper beating. On one such occasion for a
Forgotten transgression when I was nine, you  took me to your bedroom, took off your belt, sat
Me next to you and whipped your own arm and hand a few times, whispering to me “cry”,
Which I was happy to do unbidden. “Don’t tell mom.” I did not. No doubt she knew.

The prospect of serving in a military that considered you a traitor by blood became harder and
Harder to bear, and in the third year of school, one year prior to graduation, you left to join
Your exiled father in Argentina, to start a new life. You left behind a mother and two sisters you
Dearly loved to try your fortune in a new land. Your dog thereafter refused food, dying of grief.

You arrived in Buenos Aires to see a father you had not seen for ten years at the age of 17.
You were too young to work legally, but looked older than your years (a shared trait),
So you lied about your age and immediately found work as a Machinist/Mechanic first grade.
That was unheard of and brought you some jealousy and complaints in the union shop.

The union complained to the general manager about your top-salary and rank. He answered,
“I’ll give the same rank and salary to anyone in the company who can do what Felipe can do.”
No doubt the jealousy and grumblings continued by some for a time. But there were no takers.
And you soon won the group over, becoming their protected “baby-brother” mascot.

Your dad left for Spain within a year or so of your arrival when Franco issued a general pardon
To all dissidents who had not spilt blood (e.g., non combatants). He wanted you to return to
Help him reclaim the family business taken over by your mom in his absence with your help.
But you refused to give up the high salary, respect and independence denied you at home.

You were perhaps 18 and alone, living in a single room by a schoolhouse you had shared with Your dad.
But you had also found a new loving family in your uncle José, one of your father’s Brothers, and his family. José, and one of his daughters, Nieves and her
Husband, Emilio, and
Their children, Susana, Oscar (Ruben Gordé), and Osvaldo, became your new nuclear family.

You married mom in 1955 and had two failed business ventures in the quickly fading
Post-WW II Argentina of the late 1950s and early 1960s.The first, a machine shop, left
You with a small fortune in unpaid government contract work.  The second, a grocery store,
Also failed due to hyperinflation and credit extended too easily to needy customers.

Throughout this, you continued earning an exceptionally good salary. But in the mid 1960’s,
Nearly all of it went to pay back creditors of the failed grocery store. We had some really hard
Times. Someday I’ll write about that in some detail. Mom went to work as a maid, including for
Wealthy friends, and you left home at 4:00 a.m. to return long after dark to pay the bills.


The only luxury you and mom retained was my Catholic school tuition. There was no other
Extravagance. Not paying bills was never an option for you or mom. It never entered your
Minds. It was not a matter of law or pride, but a matter of honor. There were at least three very
Lean years where you and mom worked hard, earned well but we were truly poor.

You and mom took great pains to hide this from me—and suffered great privations to insulate
Me as best you could from the fallout of a shattered economy and your refusal to cut your loses
Had done to your life savings and to our once-comfortable middle-class life.
We came to the U.S. in the late 1960s after waiting for more than three years for visas—to a new land of hope.

Your sister and brother-in-law, Marisa and Manuel, made their own sacrifices to help bring us
Here. You had about $1,000 from the down payment on our tiny down-sized house, And
Mom’s pawned jewelry. (Hyperinflation and expenses ate up the remaining mortgage payments
Due). Other prized possessions were left in a trunk until you could reclaim them. You never did.

Even the airline tickets were paid for by Marisa and Manuel. You insisted upon arriving on
Written terms for repayment including interest. You were hired on the spot on your first
Interview as a mechanic, First Grade, despite not speaking a word of English. Two months later,
The debt was repaid, mom was working too and we moved into our first apartment.

You worked long hours, including Saturdays and daily overtime, to remake a nest egg.
Declining health forced you to retire at 63 and shortly thereafter you and mom moved out of
Queens into Orange County. You bought a townhouse two hours from my permanent residence
Upstate NY and for the next decade were happy, traveling with friends and visiting us often.

Then things started to change. Heart issues (two pacemakers), colon cancer, melanoma,
Liver and kidney disease caused by your many medications, high blood pressure, gout,
Gall bladder surgery, diabetes . . . . And still you moved forward, like the Energizer Bunny,
Patched up, battered, scarred, bruised but unstoppable and unflappable.

Then mom started to show signs of memory loss along with her other health issues. She was
Good at hiding her own ailments, and we noticed much later than we should have that there
Was a serious problem. Two years ago, her dementia worsening but still functional, she had
Gall bladder surgery with complications that required four separate surgeries in three months.

She never recovered and had to be placed in a nursing home. Several, in fact, as at first she
Refused food and you and I refused to simply let her waste away, which might have been
Kinder, but for the fact that “mientras hay vida, hay esperanza” as Spaniards say.
(While there is Life there is hope.) There is nothing beyond the power of God. Miracles do happen.

For two years you lived alone, refusing outside help, engendering numerous arguments about
Having someone go by a few times a week to help clean, cook, do chores. You were nothing if
Not stubborn (yet another shared trait). The last argument on the subject about two weeks ago
Ended in your crying. You’d accept no outside help until mom returned home. Period.

You were in great pain because of bulging discs in your spine and walked with one of those
Rolling seats with handlebars that mom and I picked out for you some years ago. You’d sit
As needed when the pain was too much, then continue with very little by way of complaints.
Ten days ago you finally agreed that you needed to get to the hospital to drain abdominal fluid.

Your failing liver produced it and it swelled your abdomen and lower extremities to the point
Where putting on shoes or clothing was very difficult, as was breathing. You called me from a
Local store crying that you could not find pants that would fit you. We talked, long distance,
And I calmed you down, as always, not allowing you to wallow in self pity but trying to help.

You went home and found a new pair of stretch pants Alice and I had bought you and you were
Happy. You had two changes of clothes that still fit to take to the hospital. No sweat, all was
Well. The procedure was not dangerous and you’d undergone it several times in recent years.
It would require a couple of days at the hospital and I’d see you again on the weekend.

I could not be with you on Monday, February 22 when you had to go to the hospital, as I nearly
Always had, because of work. You were supposed to be admitted the previous Friday, but
Doctors have days off too, and yours could not see you until Monday when I could not get off
Work. But you were not concerned; this was just routine. You’d be fine. I’d see you in just days.

We’d go see mom Friday, when you’d be much lighter and feel much better. Perhaps we’d go
Shopping for clothes if the procedure still left you too bloated for your usual clothes.
You drove to your doctor and then transported by ambulette. I was concerned, but not too Worried.
You called me sometime between five or six p.m. to tell me you were fine, resting.

“Don’t worry. I’m safe here and well cared for.” We talked for a little while about the usual
Things, with my assuring you I’d see you Friday or Saturday. You were tired and wanted to sleep
And I told you to call me if you woke up later that night or I’d speak to you the following day.
Around 10:00 p.m. I got a call from your cell and answered in the usual upbeat manner.

“Hey, Papi.” On the other side was a nurse telling me my dad had fallen. I assured her she was
Mistaken, as my dad was there for a routine procedure to drain abdominal fluid. “You don’t
Understand. He fell from his bed and struck his head on a nightstand or something
And his heart has stopped. We’re working on him for 20 minutes and it does not look good.”

“Can you get here?” I could not. I had had two or three glasses of wine shortly before the call
With dinner. I could not drive the three hours to Middletown. I cried. I prayed.
Fifteen minutes Later I got the call that you were gone. Lost in grief, not knowing what to do, I called my wife.
Shortly thereafter came a call from the coroner. An autopsy was required. I could not see you.

Four days later your body was finally released to the funeral director I had selected for his
Experience with the process of interment in Spain. I saw you for the last time to identify
Your body. I kissed my fingers and touched your mangled brow. I could not even have the
Comfort of an open casket viewing. You wanted cremation. You body awaits it as I write this.

You were alone, even in death alone. In the hospital as strangers worked on you. In the medical
Examiner’s office as you awaited the autopsy. In the autopsy table as they poked and prodded
And further rent your flesh looking for irrelevant clues that would change nothing and benefit
No one, least of all you. I could not be with you for days, and then only for a painful moment.

We will have a memorial service next Friday with your ashes and a mass on Saturday. I will
Never again see you in this life. Alice and I will take you home to your home town, to the
Cemetery in Oleiros, La Coruña, Spain this summer. There you will await the love of your life.
Who will join you in the fullness of time. She could not understand my tears or your passing.

There is one blessing to dementia. She asks for her mom, and says she is worried because she
Has not come to visit in some time. She is coming, she assures me whenever I see her.
You visited her every day except when health absolutely prevented it. You spent this February 10
Apart, your 61st wedding anniversary, too sick to visit her. Nor was I there. First time.

I hope you did not realize you were apart on the 10th but doubt it to be the case. I
Did not mention it, hoping you’d forgotten, and neither did you. You were my link to mom.
She cannot dial or answer a phone, so you would put your cell phone to her ear whenever I
Was not in class or meetings and could speak to her. She always recognized me by phone.

I am three hours from her. I could visit at most once or twice a month. Now even that phone
Lifeline is severed. Mom is completely alone, afraid, confused, and I cannot in the short term at
Least do much about that. You were not supposed to die first. It was my greatest fear, and
Yours, but as with so many things that we cannot change I put it in the back of my mind.

It kept me up many nights, but, like you, I still believed—and believe—in miracles.
I would speak every night with my you, often for an hour, on the way home from work late at
Night during my hour-long commute, or from home on days I worked from home as I cooked
Dinner. I mostly let you talk, trying to give you what comfort and social outlet I could.

You were lonely, sad, stuck in an endless cycle of emotional and physical pain.
Lately you were especially reticent to get off the phone. When mom was home and still
Relatively well, I’d call every day too but usually spoke to you only a few minutes and you’d
Transfer the phone to mom, with whom I usually chatted much longer.

For months, you’d had difficulty hanging up. I knew you did not want to go back to the couch,
To a meaningless TV program, or to writing more bills. You’d say good-bye, or “enough for
Today” and immediately begin a new thread, then repeat the cycle, sometimes five or six times.
You even told me, at least once crying recently, “Just hang up on me or I’ll just keep talking.”

I loved you, dad, with all my heart. We argued, and I’d often scream at you in frustration,
Knowing you would never take it to heart and would usually just ignore me and do as
You pleased. I knew how desperately you needed me, and I tried to be as patient as I could.
But there were days when I was just too tired, too frustrated, too full of other problems.

There were days when I got frustrated with you just staying on the phone for an hour when I
Needed to call Alice, to eat my cold dinner, or even to watch a favorite program. I felt guilty
And very seldom cut a conversation short, but I was frustrated nonetheless even knowing
How much you needed me and also how much I needed you, and how little you asked of me.  

How I would love to hear your voice again, even if you wanted to complain about the same old
Things or tell me in minutest detail some unimportant aspect of your day. I thought I would
Have you at least a little longer. A year? Two? God only knew, and I could hope. There would be
Time. I had so much more to share with you, so much more to learn when life eased up a bit.

You taught me to fish (it did not take) and to hunt (that took even less) and much of what I
Know about mechanics, and electronics. We worked on our cars together for years—from brake
Jobs, to mufflers, to real tune-ups in the days when points, condensers, and timing lights had Meaning, to rebuilding carburetors and fixing rust and dents, and power windows and more.

We were friends, good friends, who went on Sunday drives to favorite restaurants or shopping
For tools when I was single and lived at home. You taught me everything in life that I need to
Know about all the things that matter. The rest is meaningless paper and window dressing.
I knew all your few faults and your many colossal strengths and knew you to be the better man.

Not even close. I could never do what you did. I could never excel in my fields as you did in
Yours.  You were the real deal in every way, from every angle, throughout your life. I did not
Always treat you that way. But I loved you very deeply as anyone who knew us knows.
More importantly, you knew it. I told you often, unembarrassed in the telling. I love you, Dad.

The world was enriched by your journey. You do not leave behind wealth, or a body or work to
Outlive you. You never had your fifteen minutes in the sun. But you mattered. God knows your
Virtue, your absolute integrity, and the purity of your heart. I will never know a better man.
I will love you and miss you and carry you in my heart every day of my life. God bless you, dad.
Sam Hawkins Apr 2013
What we have named Fire Escape
(an ordered, angular tangle of ladders and rail)
had made picture geometries in my west window
well-framed and flat--set foreground and background
in two dimensions, as the sun hid,
and my round eye opened.

What we have named Fire Escape
was flaked-paint brown orange, as if
first it had been born of a flame
and then had taken up living as metal--
tempered itself into usefulness,
which I should trust now, in case of the yelling
and the engines.

What we have named Fire Escape
was happy Jungle Jim or Jungle for Jane
for the sparrows I saw this morning
which flitted and wildly played
within, rising up
arched and back again.

Made of the square pairs of ladder rungs--
a tunnel entrance or ducking posts,
or highway bridges to clear;
the birds like small plane, daredevil pilots
each following each, going under.
No sparrow would ever crash.

And what is this I remember now?
How one bird eased its engine and perched there to stay?
As if to offer me, with a little turn of head gesture--
a thank you, for the bread I'd left on the sill? Or to say  
I'd better shut the curtain and make my exit?

Either prideful guess gets me nowhere fast.
Failed even is speaking in any sparrow languages
from my recline stuffed chair; again, but now imagined,
to draw beady eyes to fix on me, telling me much less.

That morning, with the very last sparrow gone,
I remember that nothing in my sight moved,
save an American flag at a distance in the wind,
with its one red-white striped wing
waving toward the cold north,
as the white church spire,
framed in open quadrilaterals,
held its position.
written and posted a few hours before the Boston Marathon Bombing, Monday April 15th, 2013
Mateuš Conrad Aug 2018
kate beckinsale & anne hathaway
can speak
the name... matthew all
day long...
                 and right into the night...
i'll try to fall asleep...
must be an Oedipus complex
sort of thing,
   in primary school my school
friends thought that my
mother had the visage for
   sandra bullock...
   ha ha! good luck to the men fathering
daughters!
          you ever find it easier
to pet casts, and cage tigers?!
              **** me...
my shatten is soliloquy central...
           i drink to excess and
listen to excess erotica latex ****
music...
      and then? do nothing about it...
i like cinema...
                         **** me...
a fetish for leather that extends
past a ******...
    i would have asked her sincere self:
can we drop the ******
so that i might attire myself
in gimp?
      she evidently replied
a no with her 19 years of existence...
oh... under-baked apple pie
my dear...
            ha ha!
           no, i have more cherries
to pick, i''m beyond stalking some famous grimace...
you are here           .



and i?



                                           .              am here...

who needs the excess of
quasi-journalistic coverage anyway?
    
           that transitioning harem
of rock stars...
     like Kafka said:
i'll be waiting for something
i never had,
and missing it,
            by never having touched
a peek behind the curtain...

   i'll wait... for what i could never have...
and within the confines
of what i could never have,
          i'll settle for what i can already, have.

kate beckinsale & anne hathaway
can speak the name matthew
all day long, and i won't mind...
        
      would i be the one following them?
train-spotting....
         taxi counts...
                 ******* crows that
croak mid-flight count...
           the number of canadian geese
in b-54 formation
migrating come mid-autumn...

          geek without the cartoons...
push me...
   keep pushing...
     i want the shove
and the ****** wording of auto-suggestive
courting of -
                           courtesy...

              thank you...
i'd rather stalk my own shadow...
looking out for the plot-line of
an eased out **** doing the olympic
gold medal dive into
the crapper pool,
via analyzing the shadow of plop
pop gold...

        zero splash...

                a ******* harmonium
on the neck of a Polish teenager,
traveling on a Warsaw tram
      to reach a girl who...
              was counting petals,
and the worth(s) of considering
the concise surmount of love...

             yeah... next time?
i'll be the one used to invigorating
the stance on stalking
one's own shadow...
             why?
because i fidget...
i get all jerky...
                  the hype instigator
movement...
   ******* a woman
like a piston of a car's momentum...

               does it really matter?
i thought the Madonna-***** complex
wasn't a man-"thing"?
   if man owns the Freudian Oedipus
complex...
  does man also have to lend in his
strap-on dictum for the
Madonna-***** complex?
   so...
              that's not a wholly woman "thing"?
she's doesn't own that
complex?
   it's man's fault?!

             i know the Rastafarian Putin
isn't rasp -
but you know that Israeli ******
are better than the Russian ones...
so the story goes...

               which kinda explains...
impotent with women trapped
within the Madonna-***** complex...
with Bulgarian prostitutes?
a limp **** only, and only when
i forgot to trim my ***** hair,
my Eden...

  i have the Oedipus complex...
am i also responsible for
the Madonna-***** complex?!
really?
                        you sure that women
are not supposed to attend to question
this trans-schizophrenic,
   squint / split /
           dichotomy?

                   prior mothers,
that prerequisite motherhood
with the basis of ******* themselves...

   the Madonna-***** complex
is outside the realm of the male constraint /
castration of rules...

   i already mentioned it...
i couldn't be circumcised...
   protruding veins, that met at the zenith
of the *******...
if they circumcised me...
        i would have bled to death...
the, "crime" of ******* is
a lot easier to handle...
   if you haven't been circumcised...

because?
   circumcision is a motivational tactic...
you are... technically... not allowed
to ******* once you've been
circumcised...
  
               you're free, to *******...
if you haven't been circumcised...
as a male...
            no problem...
problem of ******* comes...
when you persist in the act...
but you don't actually possess the excess
skin, that might allow you
the prime, solipsistic act...

    ergo?
******* is worth a justified critique...
ONLY, and only IF...
you've been circumcised...
sorry if you have...
           notably because?
your priest isn't a rabbi...
and there's no fiddler on the roof
matchmaker song
to boot.

oh no, there's no problem with the act
of *******...
  but there is... if you have been
circumcised...
  why?
    during ******* i used to pull my *******
back...
  and **** with an unsheathed
****...

      but in private?
the ******* was rolled back on,
to counter the imitation of experiencing ****
***... with a clenched fist.
Martin Narrod Apr 2014
I used to think that all of them were just bodies. She-figures, they came and went, facilitating infinite happiness and following with hellacious heartbreak, aorta explosions galore. They pass. I stay. She goes. I remain. We all take a trip, but she falls asleep while I follow the road, I sing the song, make the lyrics up as the 101 heads West, and I careen against the Pacific. I see silvery-white plumes of whale breaths spouting, they break the rocks of my rock and roll. When the levee breaks, we'll have no place to go- I'm going back to Chicago.

California. Line 5. Verse 1. She is born in Arkansas, in Denver, in New York City, in the back of a taxi cab, her parents waiting for a table at Earth Cafe, 1989. There are concerts, balconies, elevator shafts, and on benches. The gain rises, the volume up and up and up, I offer her a cigarette, I ask her if she likes my dress, I show up with two palms full of a flame, and I say hello. Browsing in high-definition, the water is warm, my feet are planted and I have everywhere to go. Classical emporium of light fill me with ease, greatness, and belief. She asks me if I'm gay. Every great confusion can be proven to be fortuitous with enough time on hand. I kiss in cars, in bathrooms, and barrooms, in hallways, on staircases, on beds, church steps, and legs. I touched a leg, ran my fingers through her hair, my thumbs curved to the height of two ears alongside a size B head. I love art *****. i burn candles, and I swirl the wax around until the walls wear masks of white. I check-in to a hotel. I stop to buy wild flowers on the side of the road, or to climb down a ravine, we open a page into an enormous patch of strawberries, wind-surfers, and the golden Palo Alto beaches. I am in Bronzeville, on my way to Bridgeport, I am riding the train, browsing magazines, and singing new songs in my head. My lips are wet with excitement and the musings of the Modern Art Museum and the gift of a first kiss; behind the statue on Balcony 2, near the drinking fountain, the Eames couch, and two lips meeting anew. Bravery in twos.

Chapter 1, Verse 2. The chorus is large and exciting. New plastic shining coats. Smocks patterned with the Random House children's stories that we played with as children. We didn't wear gloves, or hats, or pants, or our hearts on our sleeves. I was up to my knees in hormones and very persuasive. My fifth birthday was at the Nature Center, you chased me into the boys' bathroom and kissed me with your wet and four year old lips in the second stall from the door. I eased up maybe 2% since then. The speakers are a little bit fuzzy, it's like listening to the spit of someone's tongue cascade the roof of their mouth while they pronounce the British consonants of the 90s. Said and done and saving space.

I am saving up for Grace. A crush in the mid 2000s, black hair, long legs, and the only brunette for a decade before or after. We played doctor, with the electric scalpel we turned our noses red with Christmas time South American powders. A safe word for an enemy, the sun for an enemy too. You bolted out and took my early Jimi Hendrix Best Of compact disc case too. While we're at it, you took my Michael Jackson cassettes as well. I go mid-range, think Kiri Te Kanawa in the whispers of E.T.'s Elliot. Stuffed-animal closet party for seven minutes in heaven. Your family came with butlers while mine came with over-educated storage. A blue borage sky in the intestines of life, a splinter in the shanty-town of invincible daily struggles- both of us were born again in O'Hare Airport's Parking Level D. Too many nonsensical arguments in two-tone grayscale ripping open the packaging of a course about trysting in your twenties.

Your stomach's history is overpowering. It is temperamental, mettled by spirits and sleepless nights, borborygmus, wambles, and shades of nervousness you were never comfortable speaking openly about. The history of your ****** was privatized, in options and unedited films shot over and over candidly by a mini DV desk camera, nine months to read you wrong to weep in strong wintry walks back and forth from The Buckingham to the Dwight Lofts, Room 408 without a view. All of your secrets in a little miniature of a notebook, bright cerise red. You captured teardrops in medicinal jars meant for syringes. You tied strings to your fingers, named your field mouse Ginger, and introduced your mother as Lady Darling. Captain with stingray skin, the hide of Ferris Bueller with the coattails of James Bond, dusted with daisy pollen, and clearly weakness. You ate me like bitter herbs on Thursdays, and like every other woman I've ever met, on Tuesdays you always kept me waiting.

I have wings for everything. Yellow wings for a woman in a yellow dress, Red, White, and Green wings for Bernice from Mexico City, Purple wings for  Mrs. Doolittle the doctor who worked at Taco Bell, the Jamaican priestess who was traveling through Venice Italy- we smoked hash with the grandchild of James Joyce on the Northern pier against the aurulent statues of Apollo and Zeus, Cupids' collection of malevolent tricks, SleepingB Beauty's rebuttal in fending off GHB attackers, my two dear friends who were kidnapped in clothes, abandoned in the ****, and only remember eating chocolate donuts with sprinkles and the bruises and dirt on the insides of their thighs. Nothing clever. Nothing extraordinary. Everything sentimental, built to withstand soot, sourness, and early female bravado.

You know how to play the piano so you've said, but i only have the CD you gave me to prove it. I do have evidence of your addiction to men and *******. I have your collection of dresses with tags still on them (but every woman has some of those), there is the post office box in Kauai, the Halloween card from last November and the two videos I have stored on an external drive in a nightstand adjacent to the foot of my bed. You sleep atrociously, talk too quickly, and **** like your father abandoned you when you were five. Your talent for taking photographs is like your skill-set for playing the piano, but I don't have the CD to prove it. You don't believe in social media, social consistency, friendships, or hephalumps and woozels- with the exception of the classes we shared together in college, I've never seen you outside of the most glamorous of fashion. You hate flats, hats, and white wine, and for as sad as you can seem to be at times, I've only had you cry on me once. While we were on the phone, three days after your mother hung herself. That's when I last left California, and I haven't been back yet.

I love a Kristine, but once a Britni, a Brandi, a Joni, a Tina, Kristina, Kirsten, Kristen, and a Katherine and Kathryn too. I know rock stars who are my dearest friends, enemies who I share excellent taste in music with, and parents who've always had my back but show it in lashings of the tongue and of the belt. It's been two years and three states since I was two sizes smaller than I am now. I've never considered the possibility that I was the main character and not the supporting actor, but due to recent developments in antipathy and aesthete, reevaluation, and retrospective nostalgia. All of this is about to change.

I am me still evolving without my usually stolid and grim ****** features. i bare brevity to situations existing that would **** most or in the least paralyze a great many. There is one for every hour of every day, and one for every minute in every hour, second in every minute, and more than the minutes in every day. No one has a second chance, shares a different time, or works off a different clock. I have been called the master of the analog, king of the codependent, and rook to queenside knight. I share a parabola for every encounter, experience, and endeavor. I am three minutes from being a cadaver, one drink away from a drunk, and one thought away from being completely alone. I think upright, i sleep horizontally, and I love infinitely. I am the only finite constant i have ever known. I am the main character, the script, satire, sarcasm, and soundtrack are mine.

"I don’t care if you believe it. That’s the kind of house I live in. And I hope we never leave it.”
There's A Wocket In My Pocket by Dr. Seuss
WHEN that Aprilis, with his showers swoot,                       *sweet
The drought of March hath pierced to the root,
And bathed every vein in such licour,
Of which virtue engender'd is the flower;
When Zephyrus eke with his swoote breath
Inspired hath in every holt
and heath                    grove, forest
The tender croppes
and the younge sun                    twigs, boughs
Hath in the Ram  his halfe course y-run,
And smalle fowles make melody,
That sleepen all the night with open eye,
(So pricketh them nature in their corages
);       hearts, inclinations
Then longe folk to go on pilgrimages,
And palmers  for to seeke strange strands,
To *ferne hallows couth
  in sundry lands;     distant saints known
And specially, from every shire's end
Of Engleland, to Canterbury they wend,
The holy blissful Martyr for to seek,
That them hath holpen, when that they were sick.                helped

Befell that, in that season on a day,
In Southwark at the Tabard  as I lay,
Ready to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury with devout corage,
At night was come into that hostelry
Well nine and twenty in a company
Of sundry folk, by aventure y-fall            who had by chance fallen
In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all,           into company.
That toward Canterbury woulde ride.
The chamber, and the stables were wide,
And well we weren eased at the best.            we were well provided
And shortly, when the sunne was to rest,                  with the best

So had I spoken with them every one,
That I was of their fellowship anon,
And made forword* early for to rise,                            promise
To take our way there as I you devise
.                describe, relate

But natheless, while I have time and space,
Ere that I farther in this tale pace,
Me thinketh it accordant to reason,
To tell you alle the condition
Of each of them, so as it seemed me,
And which they weren, and of what degree;
And eke in what array that they were in:
And at a Knight then will I first begin.

A KNIGHT there was, and that a worthy man,
That from the time that he first began
To riden out, he loved chivalry,
Truth and honour, freedom and courtesy.
Full worthy was he in his Lorde's war,
And thereto had he ridden, no man farre
,                       farther
As well in Christendom as in Heatheness,
And ever honour'd for his worthiness
At Alisandre  he was when it was won.
Full often time he had the board begun
Above alle nations in Prusse.
In Lettowe had he reysed,
and in Russe,                      journeyed
No Christian man so oft of his degree.
In Grenade at the siege eke had he be
Of Algesir, and ridden in Belmarie.
At Leyes was he, and at Satalie,
When they were won; and in the Greate Sea
At many a noble army had he be.
At mortal battles had he been fifteen,
And foughten for our faith at Tramissene.
In listes thries, and aye slain his foe.
This ilke
worthy knight had been also                         same
Some time with the lord of Palatie,
Against another heathen in Turkie:
And evermore *he had a sovereign price
.            He was held in very
And though that he was worthy he was wise,                 high esteem.

And of his port as meek as is a maid.
He never yet no villainy ne said
In all his life, unto no manner wight.
He was a very perfect gentle knight.
But for to telle you of his array,
His horse was good, but yet he was not gay.
Of fustian he weared a gipon,                            short doublet
Alle besmotter'd with his habergeon,     soiled by his coat of mail.
For he was late y-come from his voyage,
And wente for to do his pilgrimage.

With him there was his son, a younge SQUIRE,
A lover, and a ***** bacheler,
With lockes crulle* as they were laid in press.                  curled
Of twenty year of age he was I guess.
Of his stature he was of even length,
And *wonderly deliver
, and great of strength.      wonderfully nimble
And he had been some time in chevachie,                  cavalry raids
In Flanders, in Artois, and Picardie,
And borne him well, as of so little space,      in such a short time
In hope to standen in his lady's grace.
Embroider'd was he, as it were a mead
All full of freshe flowers, white and red.
Singing he was, or fluting all the day;
He was as fresh as is the month of May.
Short was his gown, with sleeves long and wide.
Well could he sit on horse, and faire ride.
He coulde songes make, and well indite,
Joust, and eke dance, and well pourtray and write.
So hot he loved, that by nightertale                        night-time
He slept no more than doth the nightingale.
Courteous he was, lowly, and serviceable,
And carv'd before his father at the table.

A YEOMAN had he, and servants no mo'
At that time, for him list ride so         it pleased him so to ride
And he was clad in coat and hood of green.
A sheaf of peacock arrows bright and keen
Under his belt he bare full thriftily.
Well could he dress his tackle yeomanly:
His arrows drooped not with feathers low;
And in his hand he bare a mighty bow.
A nut-head  had he, with a brown visiage:
Of wood-craft coud* he well all the usage:                         knew
Upon his arm he bare a gay bracer
,                        small shield
And by his side a sword and a buckler,
And on that other side a gay daggere,
Harnessed well, and sharp as point of spear:
A Christopher on his breast of silver sheen.
An horn he bare, the baldric was of green:
A forester was he soothly
as I guess.                        certainly

There was also a Nun, a PRIORESS,
That of her smiling was full simple and coy;
Her greatest oathe was but by Saint Loy;
And she was cleped
  Madame Eglentine.                           called
Full well she sang the service divine,
Entuned in her nose full seemly;
And French she spake full fair and fetisly
                    properly
After the school of Stratford atte Bow,
For French of Paris was to her unknow.
At meate was she well y-taught withal;
She let no morsel from her lippes fall,
Nor wet her fingers in her sauce deep.
Well could she carry a morsel, and well keep,
That no droppe ne fell upon her breast.
In courtesy was set full much her lest
.                       pleasure
Her over-lippe wiped she so clean,
That in her cup there was no farthing
seen                       speck
Of grease, when she drunken had her draught;
Full seemely after her meat she raught
:           reached out her hand
And *sickerly she was of great disport
,     surely she was of a lively
And full pleasant, and amiable of port,                     disposition

And pained her to counterfeite cheer              took pains to assume
Of court,* and be estately of mannere,            a courtly disposition
And to be holden digne
of reverence.                            worthy
But for to speaken of her conscience,
She was so charitable and so pitous,
                      full of pity
She woulde weep if that she saw a mouse
Caught in a trap, if it were dead or bled.
Of smalle houndes had she, that she fed
With roasted flesh, and milk, and *wastel bread.
   finest white bread
But sore she wept if one of them were dead,
Or if men smote it with a yarde* smart:                           staff
And all was conscience and tender heart.
Full seemly her wimple y-pinched was;
Her nose tretis;
her eyen gray as glass;               well-formed
Her mouth full small, and thereto soft and red;
But sickerly she had a fair forehead.
It was almost a spanne broad I trow;
For *hardily she was not undergrow
.       certainly she was not small
Full fetis* was her cloak, as I was ware.                          neat
Of small coral about her arm she bare
A pair of beades, gauded all with green;
And thereon hung a brooch of gold full sheen,
On which was first y-written a crown'd A,
And after, *Amor vincit omnia.
                      love conquers all
Another Nun also with her had she,
[That was her chapelleine, and PRIESTES three.]

A MONK there was, a fair for the mast'ry,       above all others
An out-rider, that loved venery;                               *hunting
A manly man, to be an abbot able.
Full many a dainty horse had he in stable:
And when he rode, men might his bridle hear
Jingeling  in a whistling wind as clear,
And eke as loud, as doth the chapel bell,
There as this lord was keeper of the cell.
The rule of Saint Maur and of Saint Benet,
Because that it was old and somedeal strait
This ilke
monk let olde thinges pace,                             same
And held after the newe world the trace.
He *gave not of the text a pulled hen,
                he cared nothing
That saith, that hunters be not holy men:                  for the text

Ne that a monk, when he is cloisterless;
Is like to a fish that is waterless;
This is to say, a monk out of his cloister.
This ilke text held he not worth an oyster;
And I say his opinion was good.
Why should he study, and make himselfe wood                   *mad
Upon a book in cloister always pore,
Or swinken
with his handes, and labour,                           toil
As Austin bid? how shall the world be served?
Let Austin have his swink to him reserved.
Therefore he was a prickasour
aright:                       hard rider
Greyhounds he had as swift as fowl of flight;
Of pricking
and of hunting for the hare                         riding
Was all his lust,
for no cost would he spare.                 pleasure
I saw his sleeves *purfil'd at the hand       *worked at the end with a
With gris,
and that the finest of the land.          fur called "gris"
And for to fasten his hood under his chin,
He had of gold y-wrought a curious pin;
A love-knot in the greater end there was.
His head was bald, and shone as any glass,
And eke his face, as it had been anoint;
He was a lord full fat and in good point;
His eyen steep,
and rolling in his head,                      deep-set
That steamed as a furnace of a lead.
His bootes supple, his horse in great estate,
Now certainly he was a fair prelate;
He was not pale as a forpined
ghost;                            wasted
A fat swan lov'd he best of any roast.
His palfrey was as brown as is a berry.

A FRIAR there was, a wanton and a merry,
A limitour , a full solemne man.
In all the orders four is none that can
                          knows
So much of dalliance and fair language.
He had y-made full many a marriage
Of younge women, at his owen cost.
Unto his order he was a noble post;
Full well belov'd, and familiar was he
With franklins *over all
in his country,                   everywhere
And eke with worthy women of the town:
For he had power of confession,
As said himselfe, more than a curate,
For of his order he was licentiate.
Full sweetely heard he confession,
And pleasant was his absolution.
He was an easy man to give penance,
There as he wist to have a good pittance:      *where he know
I sigh at day-dawn, and I sigh
When the dull day is passing by.
I sigh at evening, and again
I sigh when night brings sleep to men.
Oh!  it were far better to die
Than thus forever mourn and sigh,
And in death's dreamless sleep to be
Unconscious that none weep for me;
Eased from my weight of heaviness,
Forgetful of forgetfulness,
Resting from care and pain and sorrow
Thro' the long night that knows no morrow;
Living unloved, to die unknown,
Unwept, untended, and alone.
Dike Aduluso Dec 2018
I was in a darkness of my own
Within a night I had not known
I chose to stumble in my pace
With all hope of light misplaced

On my course a twinkle caught my eye
A lonely star in the sky above
Getting ever brighter as I drew nigh
Then did I see the truth thereof
It was a myriad in mutiny
A constellation that raided the night
Luminous in its beauty
A radiance which compelled my sight

I was in a darkness of my own
Overcome by a light unknown
That eased my path in grace
And all lost hope replaced

It reclined in the cosmos
Calling out to me
Seeming within reach almost
Then I blurred back to reality
A marvel that pulled my soul
By more than figure of speech
To be part of a whole
My flesh could never reach


How daunting a brilliance
I longed for though farfetched
My heart need travel a distance
Fear served only to stretch
It held my tarrying gaze
For only a moment more
Then left me in a daze
Stealing that which I adore

I again stumble in my pace
Having lost my stars in space
Returned to a state I now bemoan
I am in a darkness of my own.
Brendan Barber Sep 2014
Its the perfect kind of meditation,
smokin on that ****,
eased my mind now im spacin,
sprouted a new life like a seed,
Getting to success minds pacin.

its the perfect kind of medication!
Ankit J Chheda Nov 2012
It was cold city night,
The hours with sounds dying,
It seemed life had escaped,
To the other side of the world,
I rocked for hours with my child in my hands,
I dreamt about her life to come,
Like I often did,
A little eased at the fever subsided.
As I slipped into the clutches of sweet slumber,
My head slumped down,
In what seemed like a blink of an eye,
My head swung up to search the sky,
Where the gold of the sun
Seemed to chase away the night,
But there was something not right,
The morning seemed to bring a sense of change,
Not of the good kind.
As I felt my child, burning up like the coming sun,
I hurried my way to the physician,
Like a saint he answered to my prayer,
Asked me to wait behind while he tried to cure my life,
I never realized until he gave me the handkerchief,
That with my baby I’d been crying,
Her cries echoing foul against my ears,
I’m hurting as much on my helplessness
To take care of my child,
Who is part of my flesh,
Part of my being on the verge of...
Part of my being that I brought to life.
I began to sing to my baby a lullaby,
“Don’t cry my child, I’m here right by you,
For you I sing this lullaby, so you may fall asleep.
In the moonshine, your face glows,
You look like the princess
A queen you’ll grow up into,
Leave me someday for your king,
But till then be with me always,
Even when you learn to walk,
My child, so I can fulfill your wishes,
So you’ll remember me always,
So I can protect you till your king comes,
So I can teach you to walk and run.
Don’t cry, you make me cry too,
Sleep now my child, tomorrow
We’ll begin anew, for you’re alright,
This discomfort will pass… Oh look!
It’s already morn, the sun shines bright!
I see you’d fallen asleep,
While I kept dreaming on,
Open your eyes my child,
A new day has come.
As I finish, I realize that you stopped crying,
But to my plea, you never opened your eyes.
Thus did they make their moan throughout the city, while the
Achaeans when they reached the Hellespont went back every man to his
own ship. But Achilles would not let the Myrmidons go, and spoke to
his brave comrades saying, “Myrmidons, famed horsemen and my own
trusted friends, not yet, forsooth, let us unyoke, but with horse
and chariot draw near to the body and mourn Patroclus, in due honour
to the dead. When we have had full comfort of lamentation we will
unyoke our horses and take supper all of us here.”
  On this they all joined in a cry of wailing and Achilles led them in
their lament. Thrice did they drive their chariots all sorrowing round
the body, and Thetis stirred within them a still deeper yearning.
The sands of the seashore and the men’s armour were wet with their
weeping, so great a minister of fear was he whom they had lost.
Chief in all their mourning was the son of Peleus: he laid his
bloodstained hand on the breast of his friend. “Fare well,” he
cried, “Patroclus, even in the house of Hades. I will now do all
that I erewhile promised you; I will drag Hector hither and let dogs
devour him raw; twelve noble sons of Trojans will I also slay before
your pyre to avenge you.”
  As he spoke he treated the body of noble Hector with contumely,
laying it at full length in the dust beside the bier of Patroclus. The
others then put off every man his armour, took the horses from their
chariots, and seated themselves in great multitude by the ship of
the fleet descendant of Aeacus, who thereon feasted them with an
abundant funeral banquet. Many a goodly ox, with many a sheep and
bleating goat did they butcher and cut up; many a tusked boar
moreover, fat and well-fed, did they singe and set to roast in the
flames of Vulcan; and rivulets of blood flowed all round the place
where the body was lying.
  Then the princes of the Achaeans took the son of Peleus to
Agamemnon, but hardly could they persuade him to come with them, so
wroth was he for the death of his comrade. As soon as they reached
Agamemnon’s tent they told the serving-men to set a large tripod
over the fire in case they might persuade the son of Peleus ‘to wash
the clotted gore from this body, but he denied them sternly, and swore
it with a solemn oath, saying, “Nay, by King Jove, first and mightiest
of all gods, it is not meet that water should touch my body, till I
have laid Patroclus on the flames, have built him a barrow, and shaved
my head—for so long as I live no such second sorrow shall ever draw
nigh me. Now, therefore, let us do all that this sad festival demands,
but at break of day, King Agamemnon, bid your men bring wood, and
provide all else that the dead may duly take into the realm of
darkness; the fire shall thus burn him out of our sight the sooner,
and the people shall turn again to their own labours.”
  Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. They made haste
to prepare the meal, they ate, and every man had his full share so
that all were satisfied. As soon as they had had had enough to eat and
drink, the others went to their rest each in his own tent, but the son
of Peleus lay grieving among his Myrmidons by the shore of the
sounding sea, in an open place where the waves came surging in one
after another. Here a very deep slumber took hold upon him and eased
the burden of his sorrows, for his limbs were weary with chasing
Hector round windy Ilius. Presently the sad spirit of Patroclus drew
near him, like what he had been in stature, voice, and the light of
his beaming eyes, clad, too, as he had been clad in life. The spirit
hovered over his head and said-
  “You sleep, Achilles, and have forgotten me; you loved me living,
but now that I am dead you think for me no further. Bury me with all
speed that I may pass the gates of Hades; the ghosts, vain shadows
of men that can labour no more, drive me away from them; they will not
yet suffer me to join those that are beyond the river, and I wander
all desolate by the wide gates of the house of Hades. Give me now your
hand I pray you, for when you have once given me my dues of fire,
never shall I again come forth out of the house of Hades. Nevermore
shall we sit apart and take sweet counsel among the living; the
cruel fate which was my birth-right has yawned its wide jaws around
me—nay, you too Achilles, peer of gods, are doomed to die beneath the
wall of the noble Trojans.
  “One prayer more will I make you, if you will grant it; let not my
bones be laid apart from yours, Achilles, but with them; even as we
were brought up together in your own home, what time Menoetius brought
me to you as a child from Opoeis because by a sad spite I had killed
the son of Amphidamas—not of set purpose, but in childish quarrel
over the dice. The knight Peleus took me into his house, entreated
me kindly, and named me to be your squire; therefore let our bones lie
in but a single urn, the two-handled golden vase given to you by
your mother.”
  And Achilles answered, “Why, true heart, are you come hither to
lay these charges upon me? will of my own self do all as you have
bidden me. Draw closer to me, let us once more throw our arms around
one another, and find sad comfort in the sharing of our sorrows.”
  He opened his arms towards him as he spoke and would have clasped
him in them, but there was nothing, and the spirit vanished as a
vapour, gibbering and whining into the earth. Achilles sprang to his
feet, smote his two hands, and made lamentation saying, “Of a truth
even in the house of Hades there are ghosts and phantoms that have
no life in them; all night long the sad spirit of Patroclus has
hovered over head making piteous moan, telling me what I am to do
for him, and looking wondrously like himself.”
  Thus did he speak and his words set them all weeping and mourning
about the poor dumb dead, till rosy-fingered morn appeared. Then
King Agamemnon sent men and mules from all parts of the camp, to bring
wood, and Meriones, squire to Idomeneus, was in charge over them. They
went out with woodmen’s axes and strong ropes in their hands, and
before them went the mules. Up hill and down dale did they go, by
straight ways and crooked, and when they reached the heights of
many-fountained Ida, they laid their axes to the roots of many a
tall branching oak that came thundering down as they felled it. They
split the trees and bound them behind the mules, which then wended
their way as they best could through the thick brushwood on to the
plain. All who had been cutting wood bore logs, for so Meriones squire
to Idomeneus had bidden them, and they threw them down in a line
upon the seashore at the place where Achilles would make a mighty
monument for Patroclus and for himself.
  When they had thrown down their great logs of wood over the whole
ground, they stayed all of them where they were, but Achilles
ordered his brave Myrmidons to gird on their armour, and to yoke
each man his horses; they therefore rose, girded on their armour and
mounted each his chariot—they and their charioteers with them. The
chariots went before, and they that were on foot followed as a cloud
in their tens of thousands after. In the midst of them his comrades
bore Patroclus and covered him with the locks of their hair which they
cut off and threw upon his body. Last came Achilles with his head
bowed for sorrow, so noble a comrade was he taking to the house of
Hades.
  When they came to the place of which Achilles had told them they
laid the body down and built up the wood. Achilles then bethought
him of another matter. He went a space away from the pyre, and cut off
the yellow lock which he had let grow for the river Spercheius. He
looked all sorrowfully out upon the dark sea, and said, “Spercheius,
in vain did my father Peleus vow to you that when I returned home to
my loved native land I should cut off this lock and offer you a holy
hecatomb; fifty she-goats was I to sacrifice to you there at your
springs, where is your grove and your altar fragrant with
burnt-offerings. Thus did my father vow, but you have not fulfilled
his prayer; now, therefore, that I shall see my home no more, I give
this lock as a keepsake to the hero Patroclus.”
  As he spoke he placed the lock in the hands of his dear comrade, and
all who stood by were filled with yearning and lamentation. The sun
would have gone down upon their mourning had not Achilles presently
said to Agamemnon, “Son of Atreus, for it is to you that the people
will give ear, there is a time to mourn and a time to cease from
mourning; bid the people now leave the pyre and set about getting
their dinners: we, to whom the dead is dearest, will see to what is
wanted here, and let the other princes also stay by me.”
  When King Agamemnon heard this he dismissed the people to their
ships, but those who were about the dead heaped up wood and built a
pyre a hundred feet this way and that; then they laid the dead all
sorrowfully upon the top of it. They flayed and dressed many fat sheep
and oxen before the pyre, and Achilles took fat from all of them and
wrapped the body therein from head to foot, heaping the flayed
carcases all round it. Against the bier he leaned two-handled jars
of honey and unguents; four proud horses did he then cast upon the
pyre, groaning the while he did so. The dead hero had had
house-dogs; two of them did Achilles slay and threw upon the pyre;
he also put twelve brave sons of noble Trojans to the sword and laid
them with the rest, for he was full of bitterness and fury. Then he
committed all to the resistless and devouring might of the fire; he
groaned aloud and callid on his dead comrade by name. “Fare well,”
he cried, “Patroclus, even in the house of Hades; I am now doing all
that I have promised you. Twelve brave sons of noble Trojans shall the
flames consume along with yourself, but dogs, not fire, shall devour
the flesh of Hector son of Priam.”
  Thus did he vaunt, but the dogs came not about the body of Hector,
for Jove’s daughter Venus kept them off him night and day, and
anointed him with ambrosial oil of roses that his flesh might not be
torn when Achilles was dragging him about. Phoebus Apollo moreover
sent a dark cloud from heaven to earth, which gave shade to the
whole place where Hector lay, that the heat of the sun might not parch
his body.
  Now the pyre about dead Patroclus would not kindle. Achilles
therefore bethought him of another matter; he went apart and prayed to
the two winds Boreas and Zephyrus vowing them goodly offerings. He
made them many drink-offerings from the golden cup and besought them
to come and help him that the wood might make haste to kindle and
the dead bodies be consumed. Fleet Iris heard him praying and
started off to fetch the winds. They were holding high feast in the
house of boisterous Zephyrus when Iris came running up to the stone
threshold of the house and stood there, but as soon as they set eyes
on her they all came towards her and each of them called her to him,
but Iris would not sit down. “I cannot stay,” she said, “I must go
back to the streams of Oceanus and the land of the Ethiopians who
are offering hecatombs to the immortals, and I would have my share;
but Achilles prays that Boreas and shrill Zephyrus will come to him,
and he vows them goodly offerings; he would have you blow upon the
pyre of Patroclus for whom all the Achaeans are lamenting.”
  With this she left them, and the two winds rose with a cry that rent
the air and swept the clouds before them. They blew on and on until
they came to the sea, and the waves rose high beneath them, but when
they reached Troy they fell upon the pyre till the mighty flames
roared under the blast that they blew. All night long did they blow
hard and beat upon the fire, and all night long did Achilles grasp his
double cup, drawing wine from a mixing-bowl of gold, and calling
upon the spirit of dead Patroclus as he poured it upon the ground
until the earth was drenched. As a father mourns when he is burning
the bones of his bridegroom son whose death has wrung the hearts of
his parents, even so did Achilles mourn while burning the body of
his comrade, pacing round the bier with piteous groaning and
lamentation.
  At length as the Morning Star was beginning to herald the light
which saffron-mantled Dawn was soon to suffuse over the sea, the
flames fell and the fire began to die. The winds then went home beyond
the Thracian sea, which roared and boiled as they swept over it. The
son of Peleus now turned away from the pyre and lay down, overcome
with toil, till he fell into a sweet slumber. Presently they who
were about the son of Atreus drew near in a body, and roused him
with the noise and ***** of their coming. He sat upright and said,
“Son of Atreus, and all other princes of the Achaeans, first pour
red wine everywhere upon the fire and quench it; let us then gather
the bones of Patroclus son of Menoetius, singling them out with
care; they are easily found, for they lie in the middle of the pyre,
while all else, both men and horses, has been thrown in a heap and
burned at the outer edge. We will lay the bones in a golden urn, in
two layers of fat, against the time when I shall myself go down into
the house of Hades. As for the barrow, labour not to raise a great one
now, but such as is reasonable. Afterwards, let those Achaeans who may
be left at the ships when I am gone, build it both broad and high.”
  Thus he spoke and they obeyed the word of the son of Peleus. First
they poured red wine upon the thick layer of ashes and quenched the
fire. With many tears they singled out the whitened bones of their
loved comrade and laid them within a golden urn in two layers of
fat: they then covered the urn with a linen cloth and took it inside
the tent. They marked off the circle where the barrow should be,
made a foundation for it about the pyre, and forthwith heaped up the
earth. When they had thus raised a mound they were going away, but
Achilles stayed the people and made them sit in assembly. He brought
prizes from the ships-cauldrons, tripods, horses and mules, noble
oxen, women with fair girdles, and swart iron.
  The first prize he offered was for the chariot races—a woman
skilled in all useful arts, and a three-legged cauldron that had
ears for handles, and would hold twenty-two measures. This was for the
man who came in first. For the second there was a six-year old mare,
unbroken, and in foal to a he-***; the third was to have a goodly
cauldron that had never yet been on the fire; it was still bright as
when it left the maker, and would hold four measures. The fourth prize
was two talents of gold, and the fifth a two-handled urn as yet
unsoiled by smoke. Then he stood up and spoke among the Argives
saying-
  “Son of Atreus, and all other Achaeans, these are the prizes that
lie waiting the winners of the chariot races. At any other time I
should carry off the first prize and take it to my own tent; you
know how far my steeds excel all others—for they are immortal;
Neptune gave them to my father Peleus, who in his turn gave them to
myself; but I shall hold aloof, I and my steeds that have lost their
brave and kind driver, who many a time has washed them in clear
water and anointed their manes with oil. See how they stand weeping
here, with their manes trailing on the ground in the extremity of
their sorrow. But do you others set yourselves in order throughout the
host, whosoever has confidence in his horses and in the strength of
his chariot.”
  Thus spoke the son of Peleus and the drivers of chariots bestirred
themselves. First among them all uprose Eumelus, king of men, son of
Admetus, a man excellent in horsemanship. Next to him rose mighty
Diomed son of Tydeus; he yoked the Trojan horses which he had taken
from Aeneas, when Apollo bore him out of the fight. Next to him,
yellow-haired Menelaus son of Atreus rose and yoked his fleet
horses, Agamemnon’s mare Aethe, and his own horse Podargus. The mare
had been given to Agamemnon by echepolus son of Anchises, that he
might not have to follow him to Ilius, but might stay at home and take
his ease; for Jove had endowed him with great wealth and he lived in
spacious
As one who in his journey bates at noon,
Though bent on speed; so here the Arch-Angel paused
Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored,
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;
Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes.
Thus thou hast seen one world begin, and end;
And Man, as from a second stock, proceed.
Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive
Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine
Must needs impair and weary human sense:
Henceforth what is to come I will relate;
Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.
This second source of Men, while yet but few,
And while the dread of judgement past remains
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity,
With some regard to what is just and right
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace;
Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop,
Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock,
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,
With large wine-offerings poured, and sacred feast,
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell
Long time in peace, by families and tribes,
Under paternal rule: till one shall rise
Of proud ambitious heart; who, not content
With fair equality, fraternal state,
Will arrogate dominion undeserved
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the earth;
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous:
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled
Before the Lord; as in despite of Heaven,
Or from Heaven, claiming second sovranty;
And from rebellion shall derive his name,
Though of rebellion others he accuse.
He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
With him or under him to tyrannize,
Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find
The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell:
Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build
A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven;
And get themselves a name; lest, far dispersed
In foreign lands, their memory be lost;
Regardless whether good or evil fame.
But God, who oft descends to visit men
Unseen, and through their habitations walks
To mark their doings, them beholding soon,
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets
Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase
Quite out their native language; and, instead,
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:
Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud,
Among the builders; each to other calls
Not understood; till hoarse, and all in rage,
As mocked they storm: great laughter was in Heaven,
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange,
And hear the din:  Thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named.
Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased.
O execrable son! so to aspire
Above his brethren; to himself assuming
Authority usurped, from God not given:
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over men
He made not lord; such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free.
But this usurper his encroachment proud
Stays not on Man; to God his tower intends
Siege and defiance:  Wretched man!what food
Will he convey up thither, to sustain
Himself and his rash army; where thin air
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross,
And famish him of breath, if not of bread?
To whom thus Michael.  Justly thou abhorrest
That son, who on the quiet state of men
Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
Rational liberty; yet know withal,
Since thy original lapse, true liberty
Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being:
Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed,
Immediately inordinate desires,
And upstart passions, catch the government
From reason; and to servitude reduce
Man, till then free.  Therefore, since he permits
Within himself unworthy powers to reign
Over free reason, God, in judgement just,
Subjects him from without to violent lords;
Who oft as undeservedly enthrall
His outward freedom:  Tyranny must be;
Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
But justice, and some fatal curse annexed,
Deprives them of their outward liberty;
Their inward lost:  Witness the irreverent son
Of him who built the ark; who, for the shame
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,
Servant of servants, on his vicious race.
Thus will this latter, as the former world,
Still tend from bad to worse; till God at last,
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
His presence from among them, and avert
His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
To leave them to their own polluted ways;
And one peculiar nation to select
From all the rest, of whom to be invoked,
A nation from one faithful man to spring:
Him on this side Euphrates yet residing,
Bred up in idol-worship:  O, that men
(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown,
While yet the patriarch lived, who ’scaped the flood,
As to forsake the living God, and fall
To worship their own work in wood and stone
For Gods!  Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes
To call by vision, from his father’s house,
His kindred, and false Gods, into a land
Which he will show him; and from him will raise
A mighty nation; and upon him shower
His benediction so, that in his seed
All nations shall be blest: he straight obeys;
Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes:
I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith
He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil,
Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the ford
To Haran; after him a cumbrous train
Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;
Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth
With God, who called him, in a land unknown.
Canaan he now attains; I see his tents
Pitched about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain
Of Moreh; there by promise he receives
Gift to his progeny of all that land,
From Hameth northward to the Desart south;
(Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed;)
From Hermon east to the great western Sea;
Mount Hermon, yonder sea; each place behold
In prospect, as I point them; on the shore
Mount Carmel; here, the double-founted stream,
Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons
Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills.
This ponder, that all nations of the earth
Shall in his seed be blessed:  By that seed
Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise
The Serpent’s head; whereof to thee anon
Plainlier shall be revealed.  This patriarch blest,
Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,
A son, and of his son a grand-child, leaves;
Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown:
The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs
From Canaan to a land hereafter called
Egypt, divided by the river Nile
See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths
Into the sea. To sojourn in that land
He comes, invited by a younger son
In time of dearth, a son whose worthy deeds
Raise him to be the second in that realm
Of Pharaoh. There he dies, and leaves his race
Growing into a nation, and now grown
Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests
Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves
Inhospitably, and kills their infant males:
Till by two brethren (these two brethren call
Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim
His people from enthralment, they return,
With glory and spoil, back to their promised land.
But first, the lawless tyrant, who denies
To know their God, or message to regard,
Must be compelled by signs and judgements dire;
To blood unshed the rivers must be turned;
Frogs, lice, and flies, must all his palace fill
With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land;
His cattle must of rot and murren die;
Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss,
And all his people; thunder mixed with hail,
Hail mixed with fire, must rend the Egyptians sky,
And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls;
What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain,
A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down
Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green;
Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,
Palpable darkness, and blot out three days;
Last, with one midnight stroke, all the first-born
Of Egypt must lie dead.  Thus with ten wounds
The river-dragon tamed at length submits
To let his sojourners depart, and oft
Humbles his stubborn heart; but still, as ice
More hardened after thaw; till, in his rage
Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the sea
Swallows him with his host; but them lets pass,
As on dry land, between two crystal walls;
Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand
Divided, till his rescued gain their shore:
Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend,
Though present in his Angel; who shall go
Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire;
By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire;
To guide them in their journey, and remove
Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues:
All night he will pursue; but his approach
Darkness defends between till morning watch;
Then through the fiery pillar, and the cloud,
God looking forth will trouble all his host,
And craze their chariot-wheels: when by command
Moses once more his potent rod extends
Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys;
On their embattled ranks the waves return,
And overwhelm their war:  The race elect
Safe toward Canaan from the shore advance
Through the wild Desart, not the readiest way;
Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarmed,
War terrify them inexpert, and fear
Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather
Inglorious life with servitude; for life
To noble and ignoble is more sweet
Untrained in arms, where rashness leads not on.
This also shall they gain by their delay
In the wide wilderness; there they shall found
Their government, and their great senate choose
Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordained:
God from the mount of Sinai, whose gray top
Shall tremble, he descending, will himself
In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpets’ sound,
Ordain them laws; part, such as appertain
To civil justice; part, religious rites
Of sacrifice; informing them, by types
And shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise
The Serpent, by what means he shall achieve
Mankind’s deliverance.  But the voice of God
To mortal ear is dreadful:  They beseech
That Moses might report to them his will,
And terrour cease; he grants what they besought,
Instructed that to God is no access
Without Mediator, whose high office now
Moses in figure bears; to introduce
One greater, of whose day he shall foretel,
And all the Prophets in their age the times
Of great Messiah shall sing.  Thus, laws and rites
Established, such delight hath God in Men
Obedient to his will, that he vouchsafes
Among them to set up his tabernacle;
The Holy One with mortal Men to dwell:
By his prescript a sanctuary is framed
Of cedar, overlaid with gold; therein
An ark, and in the ark his testimony,
The records of his covenant; over these
A mercy-seat of gold, between the wings
Of two bright Cherubim; before him burn
Seven lamps as in a zodiack representing
The heavenly fires; over the tent a cloud
Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night;
Save when they journey, and at length they come,
Conducted by his Angel, to the land
Promised to Abraham and his seed:—The rest
Were long to tell; how many battles fought
How many kings destroyed; and kingdoms won;
Or how the sun shall in mid Heaven stand still
A day entire, and night’s due course adjourn,
Man’s voice commanding, ‘Sun, in Gibeon stand,
‘And thou moon in the vale of Aialon,
’Till Israel overcome! so call the third
From Abraham, son of Isaac; and from him
His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win.
Here Adam interposed.  O sent from Heaven,
Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things
Thou hast revealed; those chiefly, which concern
Just Abraham and his seed: now first I find
Mine eyes true-opening, and my heart much eased;
Erewhile perplexed with thoughts, what would become
Of me and all mankind:  But now I see
His day, in whom all nations shall be blest;
Favour unmerited by me, who sought
Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means.
This yet I apprehend not, why to those
Among whom God will deign to dwell on earth
So many and so various laws are given;
So many laws argue so many sins
Among them; how can God with such reside?
To whom thus Michael.  Doubt not but that sin
Will reign among them, as of thee begot;
And therefore was law given them, to evince
Their natural pravity, by stirring up
Sin against law to fight: that when they see
Law can discover sin, but not remove,
Save by those shadowy expiations weak,
The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude
Some blood more precious must be paid for Man;
Just for unjust; that, in such righteousness
To them by faith imputed, they may find
Justification towards God, and peace
Of conscience; which the law by ceremonies
Cannot appease; nor Man the mortal part
Perform; and, not performing, cannot live.
So law appears imperfect; and but given
With purpose to resign them, in full time,
Up to a better covenant; disciplined
From shadowy types to truth; from flesh to spirit;
From imposition of strict laws to free
Acceptance of large grace; from servile fear
To filial; works of law to works of faith.
And therefore shall not Moses, though of God
Highly beloved, being but the minister
Of law, his people into Canaan lead;
But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call,
His name and office bearing, who shall quell
The adversary-Serpent, and bring back
Through the world’s wilderness long-wandered Man
Safe to eternal Paradise of rest.
Mean while they, in their earthly Canaan placed,
Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins
National interrupt their publick peace,
Provoking God to raise them enemies;
From whom as oft he saves them penitent
By Judges first, then under Kings; of whom
The second, both for piety renowned
And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive
Irrevocable, that his regal throne
For ever shall endure; the like shall sing
All Prophecy, that of the royal stock
Of David (so I name this king) shall rise
A Son, the Woman’s seed to thee foretold,
Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust
All nations; and to kings foretold, of kings
The last; for of his reign shall be no end.
But first, a long succession must ensue;
And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed,
The clouded ark of God, till then in tents
Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine.
Such follow him, as shall be registered
Part good, part bad; of bad the longer scroll;
Whose foul idolatries, and other faults
Heaped to the popular sum, will so incense
God, as to leave them, and expose their land,
Their city, his temple, and his holy ark,
With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey
To that proud city, whose high walls thou sawest
Left in confusion; Babylon thence called.
There in captivity he lets them dwell
The space of seventy years; then brings them back,
Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn
To David, stablished as the days of Heaven.
Returned from Babylon by leave of kings
Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God
They first re-edify; and for a while
In mean estate live moderate; till, grown
In wealth and multitude, factious they grow;
But first among the priests dissention springs,
Men who attend the altar, and should most
Endeavour peace: their strife pollution brings
Upon the temple itself: at last they seise
The scepter, and regard not David’s sons;
Then lose it to a stranger, that the true
Anointed King Messiah might be born
Barred of his right; yet at his birth a star,
Unseen before in Heaven, proclaims him come;
And guides the eastern sages, who inquire
His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold:
His place of birth a solemn Angel tells
To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night;
They gladly thither haste, and by a quire
Of squadroned Angels hear his carol sung.
A ****** is his mother, but his sire
The power of the Most High:  He shall ascend
The throne hereditary, and bound his reign
With Earth’s wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens.
He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy
Surcharged, as had like grief been dewed in tears,
Without the vent of words; which these he breathed.
O prophet of glad tidings, finisher
Of utmost hope! now clear I understand
What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in vain;
Why o
Mateuš Conrad Aug 2016
i like looking up these shadow-people, the labourers
away from the spotlight, away from easy reference conclusions,
Ludovico Arrighi is among them, as is
the high jumper **** Fosbury - no belly-flop in
the competition after... after 1968 the road signs
told every jumper to expose the back and ***
when overpowering the heights -
Philippe Petit is outside the world, the ultimate
expression of solipsism, what grandeur (previous
attempts, the dyslexic source: the graphemes, æ,
previously i wrote grandeur as: grandeaur,
grandaeur, etc., somehow the syllables of only
vowels can leave you momentarily dyslexic,
when we're talking pure consonant graphemes
we have an aesthetic performed,
sheering can become šeering, whereby the diacritical
input overpowers excess spelling of graphemes,
such examples arise from what became the silent H...
or the surd H... ping-pong with the tetragrammaton...
e.g. dhal - which is said with a macron over the a:
dāl... but the trinity of spelled words gives rise
of neurosis... unless it's a word as conjunction,
the tribunal of aesthetic in keeping language beautiful
will prefer the spelling dhal or even daal rather than
what i proposed). concerning Ludovico Arrighi's
italics type... the skewed rhombus alignment /    /
is prescribed for emphasis... i need something to introduce
something that doesn't stress emphasis, but
sarcasm / ridicule... when i write something,
as i did in Christianity 2.0 (two point oh),
i'd change the direction of the ~wind, i.e. instead of
/    /    for emphasis, i'd like to stress ridicule in the
following direction:    \     .
but that's beside the point, it's like a western with
English not applying noticeable stresses...
for example the English trill, or the French hark...
they should be equipped with diacritical marks
of distinction... some sort of uniformity
of suggestion... the northerners trill (roll)
their R, the French used to, now anything but
a puddle of phlegm... but indeed, easy dyslexia from
pure vowel graphemes... cutting up graphemes
with diacritical incisions (safety, in a persistent vocabulary,
following the method of philosophical methodology -
hence my casual use of diacritics and graφemes -
i.e. when graphemes can't be constructed due
to a lacking of grapheme intention - unlike θ and φ -
supported by their alignment of a twin sound,
the Greeks would never consider applying diacritical
marks on p, t, h - unlike in Polish, where the h
is distinguished into a ch for aesthetic purposes -
e.g. chleb - bread and huj - **** -
but overpowering the vowel graphemes produced
their disappearance and the emergence of diacritical
vowels, e.g. the acute o (ó), which is a U, i treat
the diacritical mark as an incision point for the parabola,
cutting up the omicron, and that seems natural
given that the Greeks already did it without the acute
sign, i.e. the omega (the double u) - ω - again,
aesthetic reasons, the forgotten gallery of words
is there, you just have to forget Chomsky for a while.
but indeed, breaking up graphemes provides us
the necessity for diacritical marks,
the ancient Roman graphemes might have disappeared,
but they're still digitally present: mostly concerning
major words, like onomatopoeia - or encyclopaedia -
graphemes behave differently with the barbarians,
the latter encyclo- example is obviously nostalgic,
the ono- example does a reverse grapheme variation
of oe... but modernity expresses these couples
with individual distinctions - i.e. encyclopaedia
could be written utilising... well not a caron - not quiet
***, and more p'eh - the resurrection of the tetragrammaton
is necessary, i'd have inserted the variation without
minding French, i.e. grave accent on e eating away
the last vowel... or vowels... i.e. encyclopaèdia -
so avoiding the French usage that would cut off the -ia,
i'd insert it for reasons of interacting with a h, p'eh.
Joyce's Finnegan's Wake should have been written like this...
instead, it was written without noticing the diacritical
marks, and therefore made it's pompousness known
by omitting diacritical marks, therefore succumbing to
excessive spelling... or the ruin of Delmore Schwarzt -
nurse! scalpel: sch(sh /sz / š)- -wä(łä)- r(z)'t - drum-kit
wet snare tss't like in jazz.
still i need to define the R being trilled (rolling ball)
akin to the å - but of course the umlaut would do the job
likewise - but it's the aesthetic purpose that's necessary,
i guess umlaut designates an eased concept of
arithmetic included above the sound: i.e. prolonged,
count +2.

but these are but minor points of consideration,
obviously it would take decades to implement, and knowing
human endeavours in this realm, once fixed, once
fixated, nothing will hardly change - due to the already
existing utilisation, whereby it works perfectly to segregate
people... and the fact that there's no linguistic bible to
mind... but talking about orthodoxy and meddling with
dogma, i'm still bothered about the Malachi heresy,
how could it have been implemented?
i mean, a polytheistic concept of reincarnation is the oldest
form of identity theft, isn't it?
monotheism is incompatible with the concept of reincarnation,
this is the weakest spot / the blemish in Judaism...
Malachi is the actual inventor of Christianity and Islam,
he introduced the concept of reincarnation with
the return of Elijah, as mentioned in the New Testament
where Jesus is compared with Elijah...
it's a monotheistic heresy... reincarnation has no place
in monotheism, yet there it is, glaring at everyone from
the page... it was Malachi's error that gave rise to
schism... the litmus test of a monotheism is it's inability to
succumb to schism... well, Christianity is poly-schismatic,
Islam suffered an infection of schism early on...
Jewish schism?  you either practice or don't...
you either don the full attire of a Hasidic jews or you simply
turn your opinions toward earthly matters...
and so much rigour just because they didn't care to
roll the ******* back during ***, all that much work
from snipping the *******... early intervention did the job,
snip the skin off and we have the most ridiculously
funny god in the thought of man, an entire Mongolian
horde of intellectuals have been spawned from his existence...
imagine if god intervened when plastic surgery came around...
wouldn't be so ******* funny by my count.
****! listening to the radio and standing up between sentences
then realising there's no go-back button... it's live...
sometimes the oddities of not being your own d.j. can be
petrifying, when you're working against the river-current
like a Salmon of rhythm.

lastly... i guess this is a major point, in a magazine article
some dung-heap of opinion wrote something
about poetry, in ditto:
a policeman shoots dead Michael Brown in Ferguson,
Missouri in August 2014, Maggie Smith's poem
Good Bones goes viral, it wasn't about Ferguson,
it was about life being short and often terrible -
continues with: poetry is the language of crisis, of
profound thought and deep emotion, it may not be
much read these days, but it is certainly felt...

is that all true? is poetry the language of crisis?
i think that assertion is a load of *******...
it's a bit like using a hammer to paint the civil room's
walls (living room, i call it the civil room) -
if i'm reading poetry i'm not commuting or lying in bed,
i'm perched on the windowsill in a quasi-akimbo pose,
sipping a glass of bourbon with coca-cola and
smoking a cigarette, mindful of never wanting to
wear contact lenses or eyeglasses,
poetry is more than this idealism about it,
that you read poetry to savour the moment of critical needs,
i read poetry because newspaper articles **** me off...
poetry is like newspaper articles when those monstrous
literary ****** get going for months of necessary
attention to finish them... poetry, when drinking
bourbon, smoking a cigarette, quasi-akimbo on the windowsill,
perfect use of spacing, i bet most people who stick
to poetry will have better eyesight when they grow older.
It was a restless night denuded of sleep
So since it was warm and windless
I hit the streets

Walking under ancient oaks draped in Spanish moss
My path inevitably led to where
Everything was at a complete loss

Crescent Moon Memorial Cemetery
For the dead
Where all lie below earthly care
Was where my feet had somehow led

Row upon row of forgotten names
In all of their endeavors
Have been eased of their earthly pains

And now as I trudged by at a quarter to three
A low chorus and chords of music
Through the mists came floating to me

It startled and intrigued
What now is this ?
So I had to go see for myself
And I silently crept to where came the origins of bliss

In a circle of bench seats and monument stones
The strangest thing I saw , that of the unborn
Ghosts and skeletons playing with bones and singing in moans

A see through piano , trombone , bass , saxophone and a silver cornet
And one wailing guitar completed the set

On the translucent petal bass drum
Was the name of the ethereal band
And to a catchy tune I began to hum

Crescent Moon Memorial Buried Blues Band
The epitaph on the vaporous drum stated
And I soon found myself a loyal fan

What seem like a lifetime they continued to play
Quaint rthyms and lyrics now made my day . . . and night !
As the sounds drifted across the river out onto the bay

But far off I heard the mornings ****'s call
Then phiff . . . vanished all into the fog
Not a trace as if covered by an invisible pall

And then a ray caught the gleam in my eye
And I knew that when the time comes
Here's where I want to be placed after I die
1129

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—
Dennis Scherle Jan 2014
twelve

         If i could write a letter to my twelve your old self, i would mention the pain your about to face, with self loathing and mental health is far worse then the years before. I would mention how when you wake up wipe the sleep from your eyes and read this letter and find two people you loved gone from your life forever. When you leave your plastic car framed bed you will find an empty room in the basement. The first loss is not death but abandenment leaves no answer to the sting a heart can feel when your older sister meant to guide you has ran away.  She has left, and to what you shall soon find out, left you to your death. The second loss has less thought to the idea of why? but still i did cry. It was my great grandmothers time. Her slow pace death lead to suffering till one week to the day after i turned twelve.  Emotional asking questions why, three days later i tightened my silk tie putting on a suit and ending the night seeing the casket of one of you. To think of you as dead eased my head for a while but still have to replace my frown with a fake smile. After all i lost a sister, when i needed someone to talk you were never there. Instead i just found myself cutting and dyeing my hair.  This is the year you feel your fathers strong hand as you tremble below it. This is the year you tremble in fear this is the first year you want to die

Thirteen

      To my thirteen year old self, im sorry life doesnt get better. im sorry that this is year your parents admit they don't care.  Im sorry this is the year you hear the three words no one wants or deserves to know their pain. Even though the words "I hate you" Were uttered in vain. Im sorry no one was there to hold you in there arms, im sorry of how when looked in the mirror every morniing after you showered  telling yourself its a new day and the pain is past. Im so sorry of how you found out how long the pain really lasts. Look at what you have achieved though, this is the year you win first in all categories invited to Kick Canada to again win. You achieve a bronze as a group, silver in your weopons, and gold in kickboxing. With you feeling weighed down your still weightless, with your amazing place and the smile on your face to look in the croud hearing the aplause. Somethings missing though your parents no where to be seen. Im sorry they wernt there to say good job im sorry your dads hand still strikes strong. This is the year you say enough though, you say no and strike back your foe. He stands stunned for a minute and walks away, the bruises faded away from the surface, but inside i still see them.  It is the night of my birthday i fall asleep praying tomorow will bring a better year.

Fourteen

     Im sorry this is not the year it gets better, your father never lays another hand to your dismay doesnt matter for his and your mothers word fly freely. This is the year they make you cry, only to insult you further "your nothing, your trash" there tounges did lash me. Til  i crashed under hate to my untimly fate, your mother is sick and you walk into the room as she slashes the blade across her wrist, you watch her bleed amd scream for help but she pretends u dont exsist she  spends the next year and eight monthes in psycitric care. Left in a house with nothing fair in the air my invitation ti nationals came and past i did not go in fear of leaving my mother would effect her more vast, past her yelling at ke eberyday i walked in the light blue room with the curtains always closed filled with gloom . While my mother on her last heartstrings looked for strength from her groom . Only to be filled with hate she saw me as a reminder he exsists and how he doesnt visit but i did. I walked the long path every **** day to see my mothers face still i wasnt good enough but that is just my luck. It is my last night of this age. The house is empty amd quite but still remains okay just praying thiis new year brings joy to the now broken boy.

Fifteen

     This is not the year it gets better neither, but this os the year your mother is released. It took a week for the smiles to wear away. Then i saw once again the skin tare from her flesh. Soon hate took over the tone under her breath and malace mixed with spite is the only thing left of my mother i once knew. This is the year you once again face death, you and your mother are in a car driving counting breaths singing along to eminem, reciting robert frost. when suddenly a car passes us and my mother is crossed the mid age lady on her phone swirving around, not paying atention to anyone or anything i still see her frown. She ran a stop sighn without a thought hit by a garbage truck in front of our eyes now i know the cost of when her cellphone conversation stopped. This was the first time i watched someone die. Still shocked  my mother had to call the abulence as i and the garbage man saw the damage in case she still did breath. In the end blood filled the scene as me amd the garbage man covered the front window with a sheet to protect what is left of this womens dignity. This is the year you fond a little blue pill that not only eases your pain if snorted aslo goves you a thrill. This is the first year that you almost sucsessfully kil.l... yourself going to sleep for this living hell praying next year could be better aswell.

Sixteen

     This year is a self medicated blur, this is the year you forgot who you were. T3s replaced with perks and shots only to be soon replaced with oxys in your black box crushed and lined one at a time up your nose the powder glides. The first night you try an 80 you overdose nearly comitoce as you spew a frothy white  fluid from your mouth but my freinds saved me to this day i dnt know how called said i passed out and cant drive home so my parents could never figure out how i lay on the tiled floor back from death after this a pill is never again accepted that is your debt 2 days to your birthday that cursid day your sober but that was just babby steps and i promise little soilder babby steps you would not regret.

Seventeen

      This is the year you stopped praying for help thinking you did this to yourself i promise it wasnt you. How could it be your still just in youth. This is the year you watch your father fall. You find the trail of debt 100 thousand dollars owed mine aswell of been a million for we can barely live so how would you like us to pay it back i finfd him stealing money from my backpack. This is the year you find out your dad is the same worth of a rat and you dont have to take his crap. This is the year he snaps and instead you help him back up. He was in achoma five days as you stayed never slept jus sat beside his hospital bed praying this did not mean death. Death came in a different way with your cousin brit stabbed to death by her husband on febuary fith.. this is the year you wished you diddnt exsist.

Eighteen

     This is the year.... you found the courage to see you will always be...good and thats enough for me.
Lora Lee May 2016
Heartbeats fast
whispers and plans
a mother's heart conflicted
as she wrings her hands
through the courage,
streaming tears
        she will let him go
despite her fears
Outside, canines barking harsh
men's cruel shouts
she must say her goodbyes
as the shots ring out
So many kisses
on his sweet, sleepy face
         little man deep in slumber,
in angelic grace
yes, he cried for a minute
as the morphine kicked in
and she rocked him and rocked him
his little frame, so thin
Now as his father takes him
she crumples to the wall
"By the will of God may I see
him again" she whispers
for he is her all
Outside the freeze
puffs breath into clouds
the quiet imperative for
             this next move:
Father gently slips son
into the rough-hewn jute,
No rotten potatoes today, no
this is far more important
No one will look for a tot
in a potato sack, he hopes
He looks around and slips
through the hole in the wire
These moments are critical
the need for speed is dire
A quick trip to the village
           in the black cloak of night
looking over shoulder
Finally the house…it's just there,
the next meadow over
the secret knock is sounded
and the door opened in silence
warm arms greeting, helping
carry the goods inside
Will this be a respite
from all the endless violence?
            Laid gingerly on the bed,
the sack is eased off gently
no potatoes inside
just a small sleeping boy
his parents only pride
Father strokes his hair,
Lays his palms on his head
to bless this bundle of sweetness
in his new environment
"I will come for you, my son"
tucks thin blanket around
and the deed is done
and now, in the cold lonely
smoldering air
of the burning dark
now in the kiss of hopeful protection
yes, now it's time to part

Back to his wife in the ghetto's
cold, sickened  space
to try to convince her
to bust out of that twisted place
You are my warrior, you
and all the others
Your spirit beats on
in my
     naked heart's
            thunder
For my grandfather, badass survivor partisan
who saved my father (and also survived)during the Holocaust by smuggling him out of the ghetto to farmers in a sack of potatoes
My grandmother never made it
Tonight is Holocaust Remembrance Day eve in my part of the world
I hurt
I think it's loss and disappointment from
"Hopes" that were never born,
Which leaves me so forlorn.

Oh, and I cry
almost every day now
and I sigh,
then he always asks why....

The pain in my heart,
Why does it go so deep?
the way I weep;
I grieve so hard,
they say I even call & cry in my sleep.

Pictures in my mind of children at play
a dream, a hope, never to be.
My grandfathers were veterans of war, they say.
Agent orange says "one out of four" you see.

Uncle Sam says "no compensation" for me,
No big family to be all around me.
I think I'll give up on me,
sometimes....

"Please make it go away!"  I say,
he can't,
and so he turns away.
Our future we cannot see,
afraid to dream,
afraid for me.

Going through the motions,
trying to do what's right.
Tried all the magic potions,
but  too much DNA's twisted up too tight.

Now I'm hurtin and bleedin all of the time!
Doctor says its gotta go, this womb of mine.
Adenomyosis, got into me, says I'll be fine.
But, no more babies! don't you see
I was not finished with my family!

I dont want to, but I know
I gotta go.
Now its gone,
still ***-ing
Now I'm not healin' right!
Its depressing.....

8 weeks now,  still not released
and the mourning has not eased
Anger abounds when i awake
but I can't eat,
so then I shake.

So I just cry,
and blessed be,
ask God, Jesus and the angels
to have mercy on me
Infertility is, and can be very difficult on the person, the marriage, the family and one's' faith.  A glimpse of how my reproductive diagnoses have affected my emotional life.
vista rashnasto Jul 2014
I never chose to be heartless
My heart broke, I just couldn't keep the peaces
I Never thought anyone could ever mend it
To myself I thought "what's the use of keeping something broken?"
I lost hope..... My mind was filled with hatred, I turned into a lier, a busted ,a **** ,a hypocrite, a traitor you name it... Just to get my revenge ,everyone was a victim I just didn't care, I knew I wasn't fair But it eased the pain When you and I met ,no lie I got your name. On the list too But you were different,you got me patient,got rid of the fatuous me.... Then you gave me your heart ,gave me Hope, taught me how to love Without knowing I was deeply falling for you My heart grew fonder,started caring ,feeling,loving..... couldn't believe it Thought my mind was playing tricks on me It wasn't I was in love once again.........
Kyle Kulseth May 2013
Gertrude, Stradbrook, River and Roslyn,
off of McMillan, my thoughts froze on Osborne
A drive through the Village on slippery streets
Bought records, drained pints
                        swallowed down summer nights
Back home in Wyoming--think I'll be fine
                         'til some night, filled to gills
                          trip through streets with a stranger
                          and sing "One Great City"
                          through swollen closed throat

And I remember...

Confusion Corner, commuting through cold streets
Watched you drive as the daylight died
I narrow my Focus,
                                     you eased into traffic
The Assiniboine ran and was watched by Riel

January.
Johnson's Terminal.
London Fogs.
Took Yellow Dogs for long walks
and Exchanged now for then. Snapped pictures, again and again.

Snow up to my hips
Spent a night at St. Boniface
We cased a cathedral, your friends seemed to like me.

Lines ran from reserves, over oceans and borders.
Your hair ran down shoulders, brown waves for a blanket.

Winterpeg, Manitscoldout
Portage & Main
Shivering, smiling
at a Tavern Uniting with friends,
'til we took the King's Head...
We took the King's Head.
Long live the king.

January.
Magic Thailand.
Curry soup, curried thoughts thawing,
melting, falling from pickled brains,
                      through lips chapping

I donned my Tuxedo, chopped down Seven Oaks...
Your Catholic heart spoke
     reached out for St. James.
     St. Vital answered behind Fort Garry's walls...

Our hearts, they were neighbourhoods
And the streets were all salt.

Blistered paint on your blue '02 Focus

To the City Center of the continent's middle
Form a Perimeter
Frame a city
Bullseye, center, a Gold gilded Boy
he leans into sky, as they sing, as I hear.
The road North Ended--November, it was.
I think, one year prior, in Robin's Donuts
front doors swayed, on hinges that sighed metallic,
I caught your eyes--organic, unplanned--
               through fog frosting lenses
Caught them, held on
               Held your deep brown
               In my gunmetal blue

Seasons will chase--haste to follow more seasons
White streaks to green
and the Red River runs.
When they score at the ballpark,
"Go Goldeyes!" the cheer sounds
Cheer. Cheer!
The Guess Who still ****,
but the Jets completed their round trip
"Go, Jets, go!" so the cheer goes.
"Cheers!" Cheers like bells.
             Bells
           Pealing
Peeling like your sunburnt back
            Bells
          Ringing
           Striking
Bells singing long
Bells sounding loudly from Grace Bible Church
  baptizing Baltimore as it kisses Osborne

Bells ringing. Round sounds.
Round rings for fingertips touching
Bells
Round sounds that hang on my neck
and sing me to sleep every night--
remind me how badly you wanted those bells
                I denied you.

They sing "Left and Leaving"
             and show me old scars
          they ring and peal and strike
                         and sing
                         unending.

I remember March of 2008
Dropping my toque in the mud-and-slush street
            We took Pembina Highway
              Ate Vietnamese.

I remember...

Confusion Corner,
Commuting through cold streets,
Watching you drive as the daylight died
In your blue '02 Focus
Ease us back into traffic,
The Assiniboine River.
And Louis Riel.

So tell me...

Comment-allez vous, ce soir?
Je ne suis pas comme ci, comme ça.
Dahlia Jun 2017
♡♡♡


"TEACHINGS ADVISE AGAINST FORMING ATTACHMENTS."
To avoid it as much as possible;
Nothing or no one is guaranteed to last forever.
One must avoid materialistic ambition and luxurious desires,
Blink and rub away their hungry, dollar sign eyes.
Greed and longing for possessions that are often obtained
To impress people that do not even care about you
For one could never place a numerical value
On the breathtaking

                                              wonde­r

                                              that

                                              is

                                              you.
  

♡♡♡


"ATTACHMENT TO PEOPLE LEADS TO DISAPPOINTMENT."
One cannot rely on another for happiness;
For people may leave you, abandon you, hurt you.
You cannot ever truly know someone's thoughts and feelings;
Whether their ill intentions and snake eyes are hidden well
Behind pearly whites and cold, empty embraces.  
Those who you would gladly endure hardships for,
Bleed, cry, sweat, fight, suffer for,
Could abandon or betray you whenever they choose;
Thus, ultimately

                                              leaving­

                                              you

            ­                                  truly

                                              empty.


♡♡♡


"Y­OU SHOULD FIND HAPPINESS WITHIN YOURSELF."
For you will always be there for you;
A simple guarantee that is overlooked and forgotten
As one's perspective shifts from minimalism to materialism.
Love the way you capture thoughts and ideas,
   The way you intertwine two differing sides of your brain with ease
   Intelligence, creativity, peculiarity and individuality is exercised
   In the imagination of your bewildering, complex mind.
Love the way your physical body safeguards your untamable spirit,
   The way it coats the essence of your being in a protective shell
   Like the undying tenderness each speck of stardust
   Has for the immensely astonishing galaxy that it composes.
Love the way you are able to feel raw, passionate love
   That ****** and tugs at your delicate heart strings
   And gallops down each vertebrae of your spine
   In a jolt so vigorous that your mind, body, and spirit
   Unite to form an explosive feeling that can only be experienced
   When you watch her jaw drop in awe at the beauty that is

                                              within

                                              a

                                              fiery

          ­                                    sunrise.


♡♡♡


I SUBMERGE IN THE INTRICATE BEAUTY THAT SURROUNDS ME.
I become deeply infatuated, captivated, inspired
At the mesmerizing magnificence that constructs a single being.
It may just simply be my tendency to pay attention to detail
As a perfectionist's mind can appreciate small things
Oftentimes timidly, quietly, and from afar,
But nonetheless immensely deep and passionately
To the point where I cannot find words for such beauty;
The most I can do is curl the corners of my mouth upwards
And allow an exhilarated sigh to

                                              escape

                                              my

                                              parted

         ­                                     lips.


♡♡♡


I WANT TO CONTINUE LOVING, UNDERSTANDING, AND CONNECTING.
Hopes, dreams, fears, thoughts, personalities, quirks, mannerisms;
Every single aspect of a being who I am blessed to exist with
Sparks a curiosity in me that is unmovable and insatiable.
It gently takes my hand and journeys me through an alluring dance
Of exploration, adoration, and understanding
Spinning and swaying to music that reverberated in our unified souls,
Who's tune and melody sparked and crackled
Magma and fire in our core,
Who's beat and rhythm soothed and eased
Streams of water through our veins
Until we

                                              collapsed

                                              in

                                              the

                                              most

                                              beautiful

                                              way.


♡♡♡


I have never felt so free,

So happy,

So alive.
Sally A Bayan Mar 2017
Dinner is done
everyone's settled
the evening.....like the moon.....is full...
the weight of the night has itself eased into mine,
my expected moment of slumber...now distraught...
the Heavens are purpled
twilight drapes have fallen,
winds of March...bellow
.........my pillows
..............are hollowed
.......................by my elbows
......as a distant rooster crows........
i lie on my abdomen...legs swing back and forth,
catching inspiration, a word, a daydream...a thought,
i grab a pen falling, i grasp a journal, a book,
...............everything is within reach
but, not...the....long..................stretch
of hours....of a sleepless night...whence
....spiced...spiked...and sugared memories...
..........accompany me...and sail with me
.......as i cruise along this lethargic sea
'neath a silent dark, where aches are loudest
.........domed, by an unworded loneliness,
i am wearied by a flow, that is endless,
.....this minute...imagination is ceaseless
........i reach for my mug....but, it's empty
.........................i hear no liquid seething
this moment,  a dark sea, should be brewing....
this hour, verses must be a river, overflowing,
...enfolding, this cool and starry, starry evening...
.......i am caffeinated....even without coffee....

Sally


Copyright March 23, 2017
Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
(a nonsense poem, most of you might say
...... a new coffee poem...spun today...)
vircapio gale Jul 2012
exude the moment;
you are a transformative fulcrum

of intersubject's rent and awe:
anthropomythic ecolaw

the dream cascades into words,
birds fly little crisps of meaning
into morning light. last night's
snow leaves a crystalline spark
of you subdued, become a finer point
of tantric sight, gazing rose-blue pulsar
lashing through a cosmic garden,
delicious fruit of spacious letting be.
i'm grasping for that pleasure,
vermillion moan of lifestring vibrance,
but the wind carries on outside,
swirling pieces of the mind in
flux of upturned joy~
our heartbreeze summoned,
now whispersssoulsounds to come
and earthly darkness grips the future frost,
thaw, break and steam as it wills;
the churning ground sings to us
of bear-sleep and jackal-howl,
of seasons transpiring,
one lost sled of memories
leaves us empty, pressing crystal sky:
my aching ideality trounced in bliss-meanders
!stunning revelation! you! You! yOu!
bringing all to be a second time,
as it was.. in me.. now new,
sweet novelty of union,
this gathering of nervure self,
gliding insights, sudden soundsss.

like a node of forest-echo swirls
it dazzles: unseen colors for my inner eye;
ancient tones of fog ripple
off something you are,
creaking center easing of my sidling,
spirit drop and wavelet growth:
as if you were a branching greenery
of my own once lost other-self,
last gasping there as what i pictured 'you'~
swayingss.. sun-spikes speaking,
sky-gaze and soaking barky iris sssuck,
moulding into me the wisdom of our past leavings,
those raspy kites of sap-filled yearnings
shadow sunshower evening.
i would be a tree with you and
let you pierce our foundations
with roots of gaiasight slipping though
our primal urgings, concrete deference
under sun arch, spin of moon. let
ignorant insistence on fetishized divides~
slipping past my grounded darkness
still unknown, remain
my underself unleashed
my silent trunk-swilling soothed,
stable chaos-other, self regiven,
life renewed in leaf,
the touch of you imbued.

the whole vision lost
but for that glimmer~
it finds me writhing unknown spirals:
ringing wonderment in a seed,
or dormant sporocarpic lineage of life,
the vast hyphae-humming cups of death-born
nethergenesis of cycled hyle me.
a womb that never knew of pain
or being evertorn in dessicated spectre-sea.

the burning desert-storms helixify our rain,
a heaving hiss-like suncry
from that dark, sandy baobabic throat.
the earth consumes in shifts,
and blossoms toward the alterbliss of you, too,
an expanse of solar flare
its beautific reach engulfing terribly,
nepho-logos spanning all the air.

ssssunlit boughs of winds' remembrance
grow soft across this window,
then shift with forest breath,
their snowlace puffed before
an azure true expanse,
the burdened greens stirring a needlish depth
of metawinter, all-too-human
starfields constellate in hiding
far behind my starshine there a curtain blue,
whose prismatic humor lights more
than scenic treescape, frigid dust.
hair, nose, glass enframed by sapless wood
of window cut to square my void revision of the world.

the colors whirl into mindflow,
inter-material upsurge-undulate,
abyssal cauldron seething passions stilled by
comic symbols of a secular mystic;
dancing eddies convey my sense of sight
just thought, then lost into a wider dance
of tensions eased and drawn,
of geometric visions seemly here and gone,
inner, outer: conveyed by stroke of
spinal eidos, its rhythm set
before my time, its tone the vital,
draping earthverse
recited in my veins, the sinews of my
life in other lives,
the song of us expressive in my gaze~
one blink()a single point of beauty
fades into another haze,
lighted icedrift iridescing evanesce.
anthropos (religion, Gnosticism) Man. (From Ancient Greek) [cf. Anthropogenesis, (an thro po jen’ e sis) n. Study of the development and origin of man]

myth·os/'miTHos/ Noun: A myth or mythology. (in literature) A traditional or recurrent narrative theme or plot structure.

*derew(o)- Indo-European root meaning "tree" or "wood"

Tantra, "weave, loom, warp"; or "principle, system, doctrine", from the two root words tanoti "stretch, extend, expand", and trayati "liberation"

Sporocarp (in fungi, known as fruiting body or fruit body): a multicellular structure in certain algae, lichens, and fungi on which spore-producing structures are borne.

Hypha · (plural hyphae). (mycology) Any of the long, threadlike filaments that form the mycelium of a fungus. The hyphae are used for reproduction and nutrient gathering.

hyle, In philosophy, refers to matter or stuff [fr. Gk "ulh" (üleh, where the ü is as in German or "lune"]

baobab, A short tree with an enormously thick trunk and large edible fruit. Other common names include boab, boaboa, bottle tree, upside-down tree, and monkey bread tree.

ne·phol·o·gy. n. The branch of meteorology that deals with clouds. [Greek nephos, cloud; see nebh- in Indo-European roots + -logy.]

logos, multivalent term fr. the Gk verb legein (soft g - modern greek lego ) "to say, speak" and also "to gather and lay down" ;  traditionally meaning "word, thought, principle, or speech"; also ratio (latin for reason), pre-linguistic language (phil.), the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos. origin of  "(o)-logy." the active, material, rational principle of the cosmos; nous.  logos is marked by two main distinctions - the first dealing with human reason (the rationality in the human mind which seeks to attain universal understanding and harmony), the second with universal intelligence (the universal ruling force governing and revealing through the cosmos to humankind)

eidos, a term used by Plato for the abstract forms or ideas. fr. the Indo-European root *weid-, "see" is determinative of a substance; it is the key aspect expressed in the thing's definition as the essence or whatness of the thing. also (anthropology) the distinctive expression of the cognitive or intellectual character of a culture or a social group.
Nigel Morgan Aug 2013
Today we shall have the naming of parts. How the opening of that poem by Henry Reed caught his present thoughts; that banal naming of parts of a soldier’s rifle set against the delicate colours and textures of the gardens outside the lecture room. *Japonica glistening like coral  . . . branches holding their silent eloquent gestures . . . bees fumbling the flowers. It was the wrong season for this so affecting poem – the spring was not being eased as here, in quite a different garden, summer was easing itself out towards autumn, but it caught him, as a poem sometimes would.

He had taken a detour through the gardens to the studio where in half an hour his students would gather. He intended to name the very parts of rhythm and help them become aware of their personal knowledge and relationship with this most fundamental of musical elements, the most connected with the body.

He had arranged to have a percussionist in on the class, a player he admired (he had to admit) for the way this musician had dealt with a once-witnessed on-stage accident that he’d brought it into his poem sequence Lemon on Pewter. They had been in Cambridge to celebrate her birthday and just off the train had hurried their way through the bicycled streets to the college where he had once taught, and to a lunchtime concert in a theatre where he had so often performed himself.

Smash! the percussionist wipes his hands and grabs another bottle before the music escapes checking his fingers for cuts and kicking the broken glass from his feet It was a brilliant though unplanned moment we all agreed and will remember this concert always for that particular accidental smile-inducing sharp intake of breath moment when with a Fanta bottle in each hand there was a joyful hit and scrape guiro-like on the serrated edges a no-holes barred full-on sounding out of glass on glass and you just loved it when he drank the juice and fluting blew across the bottle’s mouth

And having thought himself back to those twenty-four hours in Cambridge the delights of the morning garden aflame with colour and texture were as nothing beside his vivid memory of that so precious time with her. The images and the very physical moments of that interval away and together flooded over him, and he had to stop to close his eyes because the images and moments were so very real and he was trembling . . . what was it about their love that kept doing this to him? Just this morning he had sat on the edge of his bed, and in the still darkness his imagination seemed to bring her to him, the warmth and scent of her as she slept face down into a pillow, the touch of her hair in his face as he would bend over her to kiss her ear and move his hand across the contours of her body, but without touching, a kind of air-lovers movement, a kiss of no-touch. But today, he reminded himself, we have the naming of parts . . .

He was going to tackle not just rhythm but the role of percussion. There was a week’s work here. He had just one day. And the students had one day to create a short ‘poem for percussion’ to be performed and recorded at the end of the afternoon class. In his own music he considered the element of percussion as an ever-present challenge. He had only met it by adopting a very particular strategy. He regarded its presence in a score as a kind of continuo element and thus giving the player some freedom in the choice of instruments and execution. He wanted percussion to be ‘a part’ of equal stature with the rest of the musical texture and not a series of disparate accents, emphases and colours. In other words rhythm itself was his first consideration, and all the rest followed. He thought with amusement of his son playing Vaughan-Williams The Lark Ascending and the single stroke of a triangle that constituted his percussion part. For him, so few composers could ‘do it’ with percussion. He had assembled for today a booklet of extracts of those who could: Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale (inevitably), Berio’s Cummings songs, George Perle’s Sextet, Living Toys by Tom Ades, his own Flights for violin and percussionist. He felt diffident about the latter, but he had the video of those gliders and he’d play the second movement What is the Colour of the Wind?

In the studio the percussionist and a group of student helpers were assembling the ‘kits’ they’d agreed on. The loose-limbed movements of such players always fascinated him. It was as though whatever they might be doing they were still playing – driving a car? He suddenly thought he might not take a lift from a percussionist.

On the grand piano there was, thankfully, a large pile of the special manuscript paper he favoured when writing for percussion, an A3 sheet with wider stave lines. Standing at the piano he pulled a sheet from the pile and he got out his pen. He wrote on the shiny black lid with a fluency that surprised him: a toccata-like passage based on the binary rhythms he intended to introduce to his class. He’d thought about making this piece whilst lying in bed the previous night, before sleep had taken him into a series of comforting dreams. He knew he must be careful to avoid any awkward crossings of sticks.

The music was devoid of any accents or dynamics, indeed any performance instructions. It was solely rhythm. He then composed a passage that had no rhythm, only performance instructions, dynamics, articulations such as tremolo and trills and a play of accents, but no rhythmic symbols. He then went to the photocopier in the corridor and made a batch of copies of both scores. As the machine whirred away he thought he might call her before his class began, just to hear her soft voice say ‘hello’ in that dear way she so often said it, the way that seem to melt him, and had been his undoing . . .

When his class had assembled (and the percussionist and his students had disappeared pro tem) he began immediately, and without any formal introduction, to write the first four 4-bit binary rhythms on the chalkboard, and asked them to complete it. This mystified a few but most got the idea (and by now there was a generous sharing between members of the class), so soon each student had the sixteen rhythms in front of them.

‘Label these rhythms with symbols a to p’, he said, ‘and then write out the letters of your full name. If there’s a letter there that goes beyond p create another list from q to z. You can now generate a rhythmic sequence using what mathematicians call a function-machine. Nigel would be:

x x = x     x = = =      = x x =      = x x x      x = x x

Write your rhythm out and then score it for 4 drums – two congas, two bongos.’

His notion was always to keep his class relentlessly occupied. If a student finished a task ahead of others he or she would find further instructions had appeared on the flip chart board.  Audition –in your head - these rhythms at high speed, at a really quick tempo. Now slow them right down. Experiment with shifting tempos, download a metronome app on your smart phone, score the rhythms for three clapping performers, and so on.

And soon it was performance time and the difficulties and awkwardness of the following day were forgotten as nearly everyone made it out front to perform their binary rhythmic pieces, and perform them with much laughter, but with flair and élan also. The room rang with the clapping of hands.

The percussionist appeared and after a brief introduction – in which the Fanta bottle incident was mentioned - composer and performer played together *****’s Clapping Music before a welcome break was taken.
steve colossus Aug 2013
I am seated, bathed in a moon dusts.
I am writing an expose, indubitably no reads
But certain one of my ultimate hush buzzes,
I am clearly happy as I write though I am a bee in a shaken jar.
All this because I am opening up to my crush!

I hold an enormous secret, behind these shades,
Big, abysmal, reserved yet it beams on my face
Only concealed by forged shackles to loyal achates
What is this secret? What’re these shades?
These are inquisitions posted in this piece to my crush!

Now my crush, there’s a question of a constant hide and seek.
The hide and seek played lone and solo have left me shooting blanks,
Façade I invite you in, mirage in whence I heartshoot your affections or meeks
Hopefully these guise and semblance will break with a bang!
Then I break free to my crush!

Then I get to tell her my ardor unreserved and eased,  
Show her crescents canyon dimples that curl skyward as her smile
Toy with her smooth creased back and forehead playfully yet in peace,
I finally draw the curtain, I spit out my inside in miles.
I love you my crush
Alex Greenwell Aug 2017
I use to worry, sitting at home lying on the couch wondering just how long I could go before drifting off into some psychedelic slumber. Wondering how long it would take for you to find your way home from a bed two towns away. I use to think of all the ways I could maybe, for a while, get you to stay. That I could try and make you remember the cold January nights when sleet covered Philadelphia's streets and icicles hung from windows, yet we stayed outside, because for the oddest of reasons we were happy out there.

I use to stay up late, sitting on the kitchen floor against the fridge, staring up at the yellow fluorescent light above the sink watching fruit flies dance to some unknown rhythm. Shoulders drooping, arms laid haphazardly at my side like fresh snow shoveled from a driveway. I guess I found some comfort gathering from the tired warmth that blew from the fridge vent, some stale form of heat, that if I closed my eyes and dreamed seemed almost like passion. Almost like acceptance, almost peace, almost satisfaction, almost like you weren't gone.

I use to be so cautious. Cover my shoulders, keep to yourself, don't let them stare as you cross the street. Just come home, just come home where you belong, you were there. At least you use to be. Then sometime under the dehydrated September sky I settled at the front step. I let myself stay free for a few more moments, and it grew. Everyday I would stay outside the front door a little longer - as I began to not flinch at every creak coming down the street because I knew it couldn't have been you. You were in some other city, down on some other street, in another house, with some other fool that let you be their everything.

The simplest things are the first to change.

You eased out of my life like the slack of a power line, coasting away a little every day till I could only see you as a horizon, and then beyond. No sooner had every piece of you eased out of my house, life drifted back in. I sat on that couch and little by little every day, yellow dripped from the ceiling. The smell of lilac flowering from the walls, and for the first time in a while, an empty apartment felt filled. Occupied. Present.
If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard,
One glance most kind
That fell like sunshine where it went --
Then you may count that day well spent.

But if, through all the livelong day,
You've cheered no heart, by yea or nay --
If, through it all
You've nothing done that you can trace
That brought the sunshine to one face--
No act most small
That helped some soul and nothing cost --
Then count that day as worse than lost.
Kewayne Wadley Oct 2016
Unapologetically, I eased into a deep sleep
Head leaned back against the head rest of an small plane.
Not a single thought occurred outside of certain excitement
The sight of ordinary things seen from a totally new perspective.
Carry on stored overhead

 

The opening of eyes, a brighter hue now taking to the horizon
Wandering across the sky.
I eased into a deep sleep anticipating a gush of wind sweeping through my hair
caressing my face between the turbulence of things imagined staring from a window seat.
Shutter half closed, first class flight.
The sun peaking through an opening of clouds venturing somewhere That I've never been.

 

I eased back into a deep sleep, watching the sun through closed eyes
Extra color seen through an already perfect jitter.
To overcome a fear of flying,
The anticipation of seeing the horizon from this side of the world,
Her world. An affair of perfect height
Unapologetically I woke up inbound, heading fast towards the landing strip.
Seat belt sign now a bright red. Blending perfectly into the view of the horizon.
Welcomed open armed to plight of her heart
Smoke Scribe Mar 2018
all poems write themselves, following plans that are drawn only
as the poem goes along, neither leading or following, but
carrying the writer along as first violin, a VIP passenger,
the first viewer, a consultant but not a conductor

a poem is written based on what has happened
a poem is written based on what was hoped to happen
a poem was written based on what could never happen
but is so well imagined that it is more real than if it happened


I willingly tell you I will not tell you which is what, for there is no difference between them for the writer, the first passenger,
though undeniably fully aware of the quality of the ware
that is proffered, plottered or just perchanced

perhaps you are thinking, but of course,
this is the way,
the way of all of us,
the way it has and will be and no
disclaimer needed for no believable claims are made

perhaps
for the weave is oft tight, tight as near-truth, and so well imagined, it wraps the first passenger in a cloak of skin
that actually feels, though cloaks cannot feel,
but belief is easily eased

there are no lines or lies in my writings
there are no definitions and
perception is only your truth


Therefore,
my poems are splats and drips.
you make them into paintings that hang
in your own private museum
but authenticated by me as
first viewer,

3/13/18
1:09am
the sweet, innocent, happy girl
I used to be, only 5 years ago, is long gone.
Thrown away like a pile of garbage
& replaced by a zombie
Fueled by nothing more than fear, anger, sadness, & anxiety.
Not living; just breathing.
If she knew herself today,
She would be terrified of the monster she'd become
While her dreams were crushed right in front of her
& swept away by suicidal fantasies
And abuse of ecstasy
She saw.
She would probably be wiped away
Because she would have never guessed
She would become suicidally depressed
& at the age of 17, addicted to numbness
That eased her emotional pain.
Cutting, burning, drinking,
Taking so many pills she couldn't even think,
While almost by the minute,
Her anxiety and depression only got worse.
But what would surprise her the most
Was how she could even think of ending her own life,
Because she always knew suicide was never the answer.
But I guess after 2 years of constant anxiety,
Depression, hoplessness, & a life that didn't feel worth living,
It begins to feel like the only option.
Most painful of all,
She would hate to see her own death,
When the tiniest thread
Of the rope that once fully held her life together,
Bringing her hope,
Finally broke.
Crying, dizzy from all the pills she took,
She grabbed her blade and slide it across her throat.
Ending all hope for things to get better.
I'm sorry I'm not you anymore.
It shouldn't have ended this way,
But I couldn't live like that forever.
It had to stop
disclaimer: I haven't gone through some of these things, I based them off little things I went through and what others I know went through.
Javi Claycombe Jan 2014
This morning I woke up crying. It's strange, this has never happened before. I went to bed last night feeling numb, thinking that, this was God's way of helping me control my thoughts and feelings. I thought I'd continue to feel numb, until you were sure of what you wanted.

I didn't feel numb this morning.

The reason I'm sad is not because you may possibly be falling in love with someone else but the fact that you might be falling out of love with me. There's no question that we both care about each other and that we both would like nothing more than to make each other happy, that's who we are as people.

I have fun with you, I trust you, and I'm eased by your companionship.

My phone made an alert sound and I was instantly over filled with joy. In that brief second that it took me to pick up the phone, I had imagined that it was you saying that you still loved me unconditionally, and that you were sure that it was me, that it had always been me, and it will always be me.

It's okay though, I'm just sad. Just like how you are unsure and because of that you are sad. I've been praying, hoping that this time in our lives is happening because it will make us stronger and wiser.
That in the end, it will just make us love one another more.

I've known for a long time that I have been losing you, I can't say I don't blame you for becoming uncertain and distant with me. The truth is I have no idea who you'll end up being in love with. All I know is that I still love you and that I'm not quite ready to give up on you.

I can wait for you, forever, and I think you know that.

Everything is okay though. It hurts us both, but it's okay. In the end we'll know. I know you dislike long texts, I was thinking about writing all this down in my journal instead, but I really wanted to share my thoughts with you. I figured, what's the point of loving someone if you are too afraid to express your thoughts and feelings to them.

So I'm expressing them.
I love you.
Rox Jul 2018
Below the surfaceless
looking above
under the furls of wavering clouds
all you'd see is that untouched stare
an absence of warmth disclosed
elapsing over,
collapsing over
you

Shallows edges so elusive,
as obscure as a serpents nest
anonymous as the rest,
intrusive like these dated feelings

and yet those eyes like minds wander
wonder as if it's ever been to lie beyond
those gated passages to Edens flowers
a pocket of hours been laid before you,

Ghosts.

And the continuance to roam
inside of these channels
left empty and vacuous

so out of depth,
with filtering essence of memory
faltering lights of ambiguity,
letting the pieces drip upwards

you’re alone together with what ties are to be had
you speak as through the pith
of this insecurity,
the plight of this immaturity

a footstep in the waters
spilling from your tongue.

Venture from the beginning
a start to finish
as though time bounded in ripples
your tinted sight lines
undesigned and impalpable
even through strategy

under the palms, your hands,
the happens mind of another kind,
settling not in stones but
in sands
a habitual mess of ingraining
always draining and seeping

never enclosing,
fostered only by a feint solace
in the flooded catacombs of yours.

A participance of midnights moons
in these swimming conversations,
cycled discussions
the rising tides of snake eyes
with one onerous touch
submerging your voice

into a fragmented drowse

burning notes left from pictures
choking out all that swirls
the delirious magnetism of weight that pulls to you
creating an astringent terrain,
as your blood is spilling down

a pipeless drain.

A manifestation of ego's brain bubbling down
under the masque of self-worth and integrity
into a thick mud
painted with entitlement

across a dotted line

the deeds of your fascinations
possessions to another
inclinations unbeknownst to you,
against the black skies
opposing truths of deflection

you find yourself with silkless ink
writing what you think it to be
beyond your skin

and the closer the pen drips
the tighter the bolts become
on the grips over your perception
a darker rainstorm

straining out
lifelessly.

Pressure slowly eased
into soothful washing
though cliffs eroded from memory

cresting the hall
that remains beneath

as a little boy
with glassless eyes
and a mouth full
of rose thorns,

Greeting you

To the welcomes of goodbyes,
until the shrill whispers
of the sirens of deception call you

once more

threading over your faces
elapsing the rims of reality,
overgrowing its garden
into a shipwrecked valley

warped by tainted reveries.
A Child’s Story

Hamelin Town’s in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

Rats!
They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook’s own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

At last the people in a body
To the Town Hall came flocking:
“’Tis clear,” cried they, “our Mayor’s a noddy;
And as for our Corporation—shocking
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For dolts that can’t or won’t determine
What’s best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you’re old and obese,
To find in the furry civic robe ease?
Rouse up, Sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we’re lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we’ll send you packing!”
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.

An hour they sate in council,
At length the Mayor broke silence:
“For a guilder I’d my ermine gown sell;
I wish I were a mile hence!
It’s easy to bid one rack one’s brain—
I’m sure my poor head aches again
I’ve scratched it so, and all in vain.
Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!”
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber door but a gentle tap?
“Bless us,” cried the Mayor, “what’s that?”
(With the Corporation as he sat,
Looking little though wondrous fat;
Nor brighter was his eye, nor moister
Than a too-long-opened oyster,
Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous
For a plate of turtle green and glutinous)
“Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
Anything like the sound of a rat
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!”

“Come in!”—the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
And in did come the strangest figure!
His queer long coat from heel to head
Was half of yellow and half of red;
And he himself was tall and thin,
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
But lips where smiles went out and in—
There was no guessing his kith and kin!
And nobody could enough admire
The tall man and his quaint attire:
Quoth one: “It’s as my great-grandsire,
Starting up at the Trump of Doom’s tone,
Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!”

He advanced to the council-table:
And, “Please your honours,” said he, “I’m able,
By means of a secret charm, to draw
All creatures living beneath the sun,
That creep or swim or fly or run,
After me so as you never saw!
And I chiefly use my charm
On creatures that do people harm,
The mole and toad and newt and viper;
And people call me the Pied Piper.”
(And here they noticed round his neck
A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
To match with his coat of the selfsame cheque;
And at the scarf’s end hung a pipe;
And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
As if impatient to be playing
Upon this pipe, as low it dangled
Over his vesture so old-fangled.)
“Yet,” said he, “poor piper as I am,
In Tartary I freed the Cham,
Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats;
I eased in Asia the Nizam
Of a monstrous brood of vampire-bats;
And, as for what your brain bewilders,
If I can rid your town of rats
Will you give me a thousand guilders?”
“One? fifty thousand!”—was the exclamation
Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.

Into the street the Piper stepped,
Smiling first a little smile,
As if he knew what magic slept
In his quiet pipe the while;
Then, like a musical adept,
To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled
Like a candle flame where salt is sprinkled;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;
And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives—
Followed the Piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped advancing,
And step for step they followed dancing,
Until they came to the river Weser,
Wherein all plunged and perished!
- Save one who, stout a Julius Caesar,
Swam across and lived to carry
(As he, the manuscript he cherished)
To Rat-land home his commentary:
Which was, “At the first shrill notes of the pipe
I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
Into a cider-press’s gripe:
And a moving away of pickle-tub-boards,
And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards,
And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks;
And it seemed as if a voice
(Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery
Is breathed) called out ‘Oh, rats, rejoice!
The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!’
And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
All ready staved, like a great sun shone
Glorious scarce and inch before me,
Just as methought it said ‘Come, bore me!’
- I found the Weser rolling o’er me.”

You should have heard the Hamelin people
Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple.
“Go,” cried the Mayor, “and get long poles!
Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
Consult with carpenters and builders,
And leave in our town not even a trace
Of the rats!”—when suddenly, up the face
Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
With a, “First, if you please, my thousand guilders!”

A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;
So did the Corporation too.
For council dinners made rare havoc
With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
And half the money would replenish
Their cellar’s biggest **** with Rhenish.
To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
With a gypsy coat of red and yellow!
“Beside,” quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink,
“Our business was done at the river’s brink;
We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,
And what’s dead can’t come to life, I think.
So, friend, we’re not the folks to shrink
From the duty of giving you something for drink,
And a matter of money to put in your poke;
But, as for the guilders, what we spoke
Of them, as you very well know, was in joke.
Beside, our losses have made us thrifty.
A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!”

The Piper’s face fell, and he cried
“No trifling! I can’t wait, beside!
I’ve promised to visit by dinner-time
Bagdat, and accept the prime
Of the Head Cook’s pottage, all he’s rich in,
For having left, in the Calip’s kitchen,
Of a nest of scorpions no survivor—
With him I proved no bargain-driver,
With you, don’t think I’ll bate a stiver!
And folks who put me in a passion
May find me pipe to another fashion.”

“How?” cried the Mayor, “d’ye think I’ll brook
Being worse treated than a Cook?
Insulted by a lazy ribald
With idle pipe and vesture piebald?
You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
Blow your pipe there till you burst!”

Once more he stepped into the street;
And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
Soft notes as yet musician’s cunning
Never gave the enraptured air)
There was a rustling, that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farmyard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
Unable to move a step, or cry
To the children merrily skipping by—
And could only follow with the eye
That joyous crowd at the Piper’s back.
But how the Mayor was on the rack,
And the wretched Council’s bosoms beat,
As the Piper turned from the High Street
To where the Weser rolled its waters
Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
However he turned from South to West,
And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,
And after him the children pressed;
Great was the joy in every breast.
“He never can cross that mighty top!
He’s forced to let the piping drop,
And we shall see our children stop!”
When, lo, as they reached the mountain’s side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
And could not dance the whole of the way;
And in after years, if you would blame
His sadness, he was used to say,—
“It’s dull in our town since my playmates left!
I can’t forget that I’m bereft
Of all the pleasant sights they see,
Which the Piper also promised me:
For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And everything was strange and new;
The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
And honey-bees had lost their stings,
And horses were born with eagles’ wings:
And just as I became assured
My lame foot would be speedily cured,
The music stopped and I stood still,
And found myself outside the Hill,
Left alone against my will,
To go now limping as before,
And never hear of that country more!”

Alas, alas for Hamelin!
There came into many a burgher’s pate
A text which says, that Heaven’s Gate
Opes to the Rich at as easy rate
As the needle’s eye takes a camel in!
The Mayor sent East, West, North, and South,
To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
Wherever it was men’s lot to find him,
Silver and gold to his heart’s content,
If he’d only return the way he went,
And bring the children behind him.
But when they saw ’twas a lost endeavour,
And Piper and dancers were gone for ever,
They made a decree that lawyers never
Should think their records dated duly
If, after the day of the month and year,
These words did not as well appear,
“And so long after what happened here
On the Twenty-second of July,
Thirteen hundred and seventy-six”:
And the better in memory to fix
The place of the children’s last retreat,
They called it, the Pied Piper’s Street—
Where any one playing on pipe or tabor
Was sure for the future to lose his labour.
Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
But opposite the place of the cavern
They wrote the story on a column,
And on the great Church-Window painted
The same, to make the world acquainted
How their children were stolen away;
And there it stands to this very day.
And I must not omit to say
That in Transylvania there’s a tribe
Of alien people that ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress
On which their neighbours lay such stress,
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison
Into which they were trepanned
Long time ago in a mighty band
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why, they don’t understand.

So, *****, let you and me be wipers
Of scores out with all men—especially pipers:
And, whether they pipe us free, from rats or from mice,
If we’ve promised them aught, let us keep our promise.
Poetry by MAN Jun 2014
Joy
Thank you for the love you give
I have my life but now I live
To show you something that is true
Beyond the two words of I do...
With our bodies we can touch
You will always be my mental crush
Through our lives we've felt the pain
Together we have eased our strain
Every path can be an aisle
To your heart to make you smile
Whatever it takes I will do
Overcome all obstacles to get to you
To feel your body by my side
Exposed to you I cannot hide
My words of passion I do deploy
To lift your spirit and bring you joy..
M.A.N 5-25-14
The storm came out of nowhere,
And you were there
With wings ready to fly
And as the clouds broke the sky

You didn't leave

You were my shelter
From the rain and thunder
And when it ceased
And the wind eased

I didn't leave

The rain you stopped
Rained down your core
And every drop
Held like a store

It didn't leave

Until the gust shook it free
And you rained down on me
Cold and sharp but how could I leave
When you held it all of this time for me

I'll stay with you.
All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him—at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off;—and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man—one man—can’t keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It’s thus he does it of a winter night.

— The End —