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Nat Lipstadt Jun 2013
Weather Advisory: A long one*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Be not fooled,
by the evening-tide,
be not deceived
by the quietude,
tis not a reprieve
of day before dark.

Be guarded,
for the easy transformation,
a tranquil shedding
of the day's husk,
into the faded light of dusk,
just one of nature's machinations
to delay the inevitable.

Evening-tide,
a colored compilation
of a few mischievous hours,
when sunlight is invaded by
streaks of pink, azure and gold,    
just before the
palette is plunged
into a stainless steel can
of gothic black,
skyied glory rendered into
common house paint.

Evening-tide,
an alleged easy calm
surfeits some souls,
supposed easy passage from  
the day's contusions to
a relaxation from humankind's regulations and rules,
but not for me.

Evening-tide,
when appetites unsated, simmer,
the in between hours when
humans transform themselves,
from day laborers to creatures
desiring, aroused, hungry  
for night time pleasures,
searching with false courage for
boundary lines to sever.

Evening-tide,
it was at evening-tide that
David espied, desired and
stole Bathsheba for his own,
with a King's arrogance
rent a kingdom,
murdered for profit,
birthed an Heir,
a prince, who wrote,
by evening-tide:

I have seen all the works
that are done under the sun; and,
behold, all is vanity
and vexation of spirit.


Evening-tide,
fear closes my throat,
confusion reappears,
a low grade flu infects
deemed persistent, incurable,
revisits, medicine resistant,
my insights, my speech,
to blind and bind  

Am I Gloucester,
blinded, but faculties
possessing vision,
the future to clarify?

No, no, it is to a king,
Lear,
to whom I am
son and cousin,
kith and kin

Sunset visions of
ultimate demise
ours eyes behold,
but plainly put,
at Evening-tide,
our dementia -
a precursor,
a periodic but hostile guest
in the hostel of our memories,
cracks and fractures us,
spirit first, body second.  

We are bound helpless
by a knotted tongue,
slow dying malingerer,
inside a head of ill repute,
unable to locate our knowing,
and every word selected,
a battle galactic, oft lost

Evening-tide,
I am cold,
and the issued command
is bring an umbrella
to warm and cover.  
What an old fool am I,
tis not blanket or a
Bathsheba I seek,
but at Evening-tide,
Babel's nefarious treasury of words
unlocked, for tis closed,                    
the gatekeepers,
drunk and absent,
drunk on absinthe,
and creme de mentia
and I have no key

Evening-tide, prithee,
I beg of thee,
consideration please,
check this hideous amusement,
that makes this
King's speech confused,
odor of smokeless cordite ignited
where the synapses have burnt,
injured, beyond repair
injured, by mine own aging.  

Reverse the diagnosis
of the panel of wordsmiths:
Alas, weep and be comforted...

Evening-tide,
a reverie of colored tears,
downward sloping,
arrive to tingle my tongue,
warming comfort for an *****
willing but unable,
a wounded soldier,
a veteran of poetry,
now prone and pained
beyond repair,
beyond healing,
immunized to the
heat and solder,
drugs and salves,
that heretofore
might have closed
the cracks of rack and ruin

Evening-tide,
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and
all the king's men couldn't
put Humpty together again^

Evening-tide,
my hair, the color of old age.
Irony, my skin yet smooth,
unwrinkled, not in need of the
toxins that are employed
to fill crevasses on
the outer banks of age of comedy

Alas, the toxins natural from within
have seeped from their
latent resting place and have
contaminated the groundwater
that lubricated my mind,  
from siege engines poured,
a contamination of
mine own making.  
After a life long battle,
my Jericho walls have fallen.

Lear and I faint recall the love
of our beloved Cordelia,
but try as we might
her name escapes our grasp,
******* by bite of aging's asp.

We grow drunk by night
on a drink not of choice,
unhappy fury,
the residue within
the imprisoned poison
of our polluted tears,
that come only after our
misspoken and misshapen
guttural croaks
of our Eveningtide prayers
are both
unintelligible and unrequited
Written 6/01/11, after seeing Derek Jacobi as King Lear. This poem is about my fears of dementia which people close to me suffer from, sadly.  Now, I struggle to recall names and places. Poetry, not so much because I get to pick and choose words at my own speed. But someday, who knows....the time between day and night, is a metaphor for a beautiful slow, slipping away but
be not deceived
by the quietude,
tis not a reprieve
of day before dark.


^ this rhyme, purportedly a child's view of siege engines that could not break the walled of the City of Gloucester (how ironic!)  in 1643

An abbreviated version of this poem goes like this:
Nat went to see King Lear,
Then went down to the beach
To watch the sun set, the evening arrive,
They both reminded him, of his fear
That someday he'll probably sunset like Lear
And end the play, the eve, mad, his mind deceived,
De-worded, defanged, his poetry retired, but not relieved
Nat Lipstadt Jun 2014
written two years ago and a bit, but suits still....

Weather Advisory: A long poem pouring ahead

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Be not fooled,
by the evening-tide,
be not deceived
by the quietude,
tis not a reprieve
of day before dark.

Be guarded,
for the easy transformation,
a tranquil shedding
of the day's husk,
into the faded light of dusk,
just one of nature's machinations
to delay the inevitable.

Evening-tide,
a colored compilation
of a few mischievous hours,
when sunlight is invaded by
streaks of pink, azure and gold,    
just before the
palette is plunged
into a stainless steel can
of gothic black,
skyied glory rendered into
common house paint.

Evening-tide,
an alleged easy calm
surfeits some souls,
supposed easy passage from  
the day's contusions to
a relaxation from humankind's regulations and rules,
but not for me.

Evening-tide,
when appetites unsated, simmer,
the in between hours when
humans transform themselves,
from day laborers to creatures
desiring, aroused, hungry  
for night time pleasures,
searching with false courage for
boundary lines to sever.

Evening-tide,
it was at evening-tide that
David espied, desired and
stole Bathsheba for his own,
with a King's arrogance
rent a kingdom,
murdered for profit,
birthed an Heir,
a prince, who wrote,
by evening-tide:

I have seen all the works
that are done under the sun; and,
behold, all is vanity
and vexation of spirit.

Evening-tide,
fear closes my throat,
confusion reappears,
a low grade flu infects
deemed persistent, incurable,
revisits, medicine resistant,
my insights, my speech,
to blind and bind  

Am I Gloucester,
blinded, but faculties
possessing vision,
the future to clarify?

No, no, it is to a king,
Lear,
to whom I am
son and cousin,
kith and kin

Sunset visions of
ultimate demise
ours eyes behold,
but plainly put,
at Evening-tide,
our dementia -
a precursor,
a periodic but hostile guest
in the hostel of our memories,
cracks and fractures us,
spirit first, body second.  

We are bound helpless
by a knotted tongue,
slow dying malingerer,
inside a head of ill repute,
unable to locate our knowing,
and every word selected,
a battle galactic, oft lost

Evening-tide,
I am cold,
and the issued command
is bring an umbrella
to warm and cover.  
What an old fool am I,
tis not blanket or a
Bathsheba I seek,
but at Evening-tide,
Babel's nefarious treasury of words
unlocked, for tis closed,                    
the gatekeepers,
drunk and absent,
drunk on absinthe,
and creme de mentia
and I have no key

Evening-tide, prithee,
I beg of thee,
consideration please,
check this hideous amusement,
that makes this
King's speech confused,
odor of smokeless cordite ignited
where the synapses have burnt,
injured, beyond repair
injured, by mine own aging.  

Reverse the diagnosis
of the panel of wordsmiths:
Alas, weep and be comforted...

Evening-tide,
a reverie of colored tears,
downward sloping,
arrive to tingle my tongue,
warming comfort for an *****
willing but unable,
a wounded soldier,
a veteran of poetry,
now prone and pained
beyond repair,
beyond healing,
immunized to the
heat and solder,
drugs and salves,
that heretofore
might have closed
the cracks of rack and ruin

Evening-tide,
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and
all the king's men couldn't
put Humpty together again^

Evening-tide,
my hair, the color of old age.
Irony, my skin yet smooth,
unwrinkled, not in need of the
toxins that are employed
to fill crevasses on
the outer banks of age of comedy

Alas, the toxins natural from within
have seeped from their
latent resting place and have
contaminated the groundwater
that lubricated my mind,  
from siege engines poured,
a contamination of
mine own making.  
After a life long battle,
my Jericho walls have fallen.

Lear and I faint recall the love
of our beloved Cordelia,
but try as we might
her name escapes our grasp,
******* by bite of aging's asp.

We grow drunk by night
on a drink not of choice,
unhappy fury,
the residue within
the imprisoned poison
of our polluted tears,
that come only after our
misspoken and misshapen
guttural croaks
of our Eveningtide prayers
are both
unintelligible and unrequited
Written 6/01/11, after seeing Derek Jacobi as King Lear. This poem is about my fears of dementia which people close to me suffer from, sadly.  Now, I struggle to recall names and places. Poetry, not so much because I get to pick and choose words at my own speed. But someday, who knows....the time between day and night, is a metaphor for a beautiful slow, slipping away but be not deceived, by the quietude, tis not a reprieveof day before dark.

^ this rhyme, purportedly a child's view of siege engines that could not break the walled of the City of Gloucester (how ironic!)  in 1643

An abbreviated version of this poem goes like this:
Nat went to see King Lear,
Then went down to the beach
To watch the sun set, the evening arrive,
They both reminded him, of his fear
That someday he'll probably sunset like Lear
And end the play, the eve, mad, his mind deceived,
De-worded, defanged, his poetry retired, but not relieved
Taylor England Sep 2018
Evening is not night
Nor is it dusk
Evening is itself
5pm to 8pm

Yes, dusk and night may overlap this time
But both man and pigs have skin
And both man and birds have feet
Why then, is evening so discreet?

Do you love your brother?
Of course, because that is the brother you know
Do you like nighttime? Good, because evening is the brother that night knows

If you appreciate dusk, you’ll definitely get along great with evening
Dusk is so nice and blue
While evening is so gray and orange
What’s not to appreciate?
Such a great color!

The time between 5 and 8 is great
So much is accomplished
Four hundred consecutive hops
And gathering hangers
Are my favorite activities during this time

I don’t think I’ve made my point, have I?
Maybe you’re not convinced
That evening is not night nor dusk,
Well to that, I must contradict!

How would you like it if someone compared you with a worm
Because both of you could wiggle
Not very much is what I assume!
So what about evening? Why is it alone?
Well I say evening is not night
And evening is not dusk
Nor the time in between
Evening is a special time

Evening is a feeling
Your brother
Jack Dec 2014
~

Simply soft, serenely so
Does fall this winter’s evening snow
Wrapped within its chilly bow
Does fall this winter’s evening snow
Petals gleam of crystal glow
Does fall this winter’s evening snow
Upon this world of white to show
Does fall this winter’s evening snow
For its beauty to bestow
Does fall this winter’s evening snow
Deep upon this earth to grow
Does fall this winter’s evening snow
Serenity of soft halo
Does fall this winter’s evening snow
Cast by winds of frigid blow
Does fall this winter’s evening snow
Resting on the ground below
Does fall this winter’s evening snow
As my heart doth love thee so
*Does fall this winter’s evening snow
Ok, I know it's repetitive...perhaps there is an echo in here. :)
Terry Collett Apr 2014
Evening. It is the close of day. You draw the curtains across the windows of the apartment. The red curtains you bought recently, the colour having attracted you in the shop. You stand and gaze at them; with the finger and thumb of your right hand, you feel the quality of the fabric. Leonard had not liked them when he came, said they were gaudy, made the place look like brothel. He should know, you muse, bringing the fabric to your face, rubbing it against your cheek. Leonard had this terrible habit of thinking his opinion mattered more than yours, more than any others did. As if God, if he existed, had granted him a deeper insight into things than you or anyone else. You imagine him now, that thin moustache, those pale white cheeks, that nose, and those peering eyes. People were surprised when you began going out with him; surprised that you would go out with his sort. Whatever would your parents say, people said. You did not intend to marry him, at least not yet. Maybe one day if no one else turned up, if no other man came along who was willing to take you on. You release the curtains, go to the drinks cabinet and pour yourself a scotch. You sip it, let the scotch flow slowly down your throat, feel the sensation as it reaches your stomach. A warm inner glow begins as you walk to the gramophone, put on a jazz record. You close your eyes for a moment, sip at your scotch, hear the saxophone begin a solo. Leonard hates jazz, says it for the uneducated. Snob, you think, opening your eyes, walking to the sofa where you sit and gaze around the room. He is a snob, you know, but he has other qualities, qualities that outweigh his defects. His ****** prowess for one thing, his ability to spend money on you while out somewhere are both good qualities you feel. You sigh. Sometimes you wish he wasn’t so good in bed, then you wouldn’t miss him on evenings like this, when you know he won’t be coming around. Friday evenings he has chess night. Chess of all things. Moving pieces across a board, when he could be moving you across the bed, you muse. You sip the scotch again. Let the rim of the glass rest on you lower lip. You drain the remaining scotch; get up to pour another. Evening. Night. Morning, they follow so predictably. But evenings are your favourite part of the day. You hate mornings, they are too sudden, too fresh, too expectant. Like selfish children. Waiting there with all their expectations. Nights tended to be dragged out. The time when you couldn’t sleep and would lay twisting and turning, thinking about everything under the proverbial sun. Unless Leonard stays the night, but he seldom does. Goes before that. Has his fill and off he goes leaving you to your night and sleeplessness. Evening is the best part, you muse, listening by the drinks cabinet, as a trumpet goes wild in solo. You feel like dancing wildly, feel like you want to spin and twirl, and throw out your arms and toss back your head as those dancers do you’ve seen. You put down the scotch on the arm of the sofa and kick off your shoes. You begin to dance to the music, let your body unwind, feel your body become alive to the pulse of the jazz, your arms out about you, the hands gesturing like some wild animal. If Leonard were here now he would shake his head and be tut-tuting. But you don’t care because he isn’t here. Just you and the boys in the jazz band on the record. You wish they were here in person. Over in the corner of the room playing their music, watching you dance like some crazy dame. Perhaps they’d expect you to perform, expect you do more than dance. You don’t care; you don’t give a fig. At least you’d have *** and not a boring evening sitting boozing and listening to jazz records. You stop dancing and look around the room. Evening. Just you and the record and scotch. What a combination. ***. You wish you could purchase *** in a bottle like scotch. A pint of *** please. Yes, the tall one with the biceps. You laugh weakly. You sit down on the sofa, sip the scotch. Drain it. Put down the glass on the arm of the sofa. You remember the evenings you became so frustrated with the lack of *** that you were tempted to go out and grab the nearest available man, but you didn’t; too dangerous, especially around where your apartment is. You sigh deeply. All this thinking about ***. You sip the scotch. The saxophone begins a slow solo. The sound makes you feel like *******, slowly, piece by piece, until you are down to the last item and then you would stand up naked and embrace yourself. The sound of the saxophone. The evening. The rising desire to be held, touched, kissed. Where are you Leonard, you louse? You mutter loudly over the saxophone. You begin to unbutton your blouse. Button by button, pretending it is someone else’s fingers doing it. You gaze at the fingers, lick them, imaging Leonard’s face as you lick. You remove the blouse; undo the bra. You stand and unzip the skirt, let it fall to the floor. You stand there in you underwear, letting your fingers take hold of the top and slowly as if other fingers than yours were removing them over your hips. You remove them and drop them on the sofa. Naked. Evening. No Leonard. The pianist begins his slow solo. You embrace yourself, kiss your arm, kiss it and kiss it. Imagine it is another you are kissing. You close your eyes. Evening. You walk to the light switch and turn off the lights. Darkness, you and jazz. You must make love to your self. Love in that way your parents would never understand. Evening. You. Jazz. Solo. Aloneness.
A LONELY WOMAN IS PORTRAYED IN THIS PROSE POEM. COMPOSED IN 2009.
1

I am a house, says Senlin, locked and darkened,
Sealed from the sun with wall and door and blind.
Summon me loudly, and you'll hear slow footsteps
Ring far and faint in the galleries of my mind.
You'll hear soft steps on an old and dusty stairway;
Peer darkly through some corner of a pane,
You'll see me with a faint light coming slowly,
Pausing above some gallery of the brain . . .

I am a city . . . In the blue light of evening
Wind wanders among my streets and makes them fair;
I am a room of rock . . . a maiden dances
Lifting her hands, tossing her golden hair.
She combs her hair, the room of rock is darkened,
She extends herself in me, and I am sleep.
It is my pride that starlight is above me;
I dream amid waves of air, my walls are deep.

I am a door . . . before me roils the darkness,
Behind me ring clear waves of sound and light.
Stand in the shadowy street outside, and listen-
The crying of violins assails the night . . .
My walls are deep, but the cries of music pierce them;
They shake with the sound of drums . . . yet it is strange
That I should know so little what means this music,
Hearing it always within me change and change.

Knock on the door,-and you shall have an answer.
Open the heavy walls to set me free,
And blow a horn to call me into the sunlight,-
And startled, then, what a strange thing you will see!
Nuns, murderers, and drunkards, saints and sinners,
Lover and dancing girl and sage and clown
Will laugh upon you, and you will find me nowhere.
I am a room, a house, a street, a town.

2

It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
When the light drips through the shutters like the dew,
I arise, I face the sunrise,
And do the things my fathers learned to do.
Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops
Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die,
And I myself on a swiftly tilting planet
Stand before a glass and tie my tie.

Vine leaves tap my window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
The robin chips in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.

It is morning. I stand by the mirror
And tie my tie once more.
While waves far off in a pale rose twilight
Crash on a white sand shore.
I stand by a mirror and comb my hair:
How small and white my face!-
The green earth tilts through a sphere of air
And bathes in a flame of space.
There are houses hanging above the stars
And stars hung under a sea . . .
And a sun far off in a shell of silence
Dapples my walls for me . . .

It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
Should I not pause in the light to remember God?
Upright and firm I stand on a star unstable,
He is immense and lonely as a cloud.
I will dedicate this moment before my mirror
To him alone, and for him I will comb my hair.
Accept these humble offerings, cloud of silence!
I will think of you as I descend the stair.

Vine leaves tap my window,
The snail-track shines on the stones,
Dew-drops flash from the chinaberry tree
Repeating two clear tones.

It is morning, I awake from a bed of silence,
Shining I rise from the starless waters of sleep.
The walls are about me still as in the evening,
I am the same, and the same name still I keep.
The earth revolves with me, yet makes no motion,
The stars pale silently in a coral sky.
In a whistling void I stand before my mirror,
Unconcerned, I tie my tie.

There are horses neighing on far-off hills
Tossing their long white manes,
And mountains flash in the rose-white dusk,
Their shoulders black with rains . . .

It is morning. I stand by the mirror
And surprise my soul once more;
The blue air rushes above my ceiling,
There are suns beneath my floor . . .

. . . It is morning, Senlin says, I ascend from darkness
And depart on the winds of space for I know not where,
My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket,
And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair.
There are shadows across the windows, clouds in heaven,
And a god among the stars; and I will go
Thinking of him as I might think of daybreak
And humming a tune I know . . .

Vine-leaves tap at the window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.

3

I walk to my work, says Senlin, along a street
Superbly hung in space.
I lift these mortal stones, and with my trowel
I tap them into place.
But is god, perhaps, a giant who ties his tie
Grimacing before a colossal glass of sky?

These stones are heavy, these stones decay,
These stones are wet with rain,
I build them into a wall today,
Tomorrow they fall again.

Does god arise from a chaos of starless sleep,
Rise from the dark and stretch his arms and yawn;
And drowsily look from the window at his garden;
And rejoice at the dewdrop sparkeling on his lawn?

Does he remember, suddenly, with amazement,
The yesterday he left in sleep,-his name,-
Or the glittering street superbly hung in wind
Along which, in the dusk, he slowly came?

I devise new patterns for laying stones
And build a stronger wall.
One drop of rain astonishes me
And I let my trowel fall.

The flashing of leaves delights my eyes,
Blue air delights my face;
I will dedicate this stone to god
And tap it into its place.

4

That woman-did she try to attract my attention?
Is it true I saw her smile and nod?
She turned her head and smiled . . . was it for me?
It is better to think of work or god.
The clouds pile coldly above the houses
Slow wind revolves the leaves:
It begins to rain, and the first long drops
Are slantingly blown from eaves.

But it is true she tried to attract my attention!
She pressed a rose to her chin and smiled.
Her hand was white by the richness of her hair,
Her eyes were those of a child.
It is true she looked at me as if she liked me.
And turned away, afraid to look too long!
She watched me out of the corners of her eyes;
And, tapping time with fingers, hummed a song.

. . . Nevertheless, I will think of work,
With a trowel in my hands;
Or the vague god who blows like clouds
Above these dripping lands . . .

But . . . is it sure she tried to attract my attention?
She leaned her elbow in a peculiar way
There in the crowded room . . . she touched my hand . . .
She must have known, and yet,-she let it stay.
Music of flesh! Music of root and sod!
Leaf touching leaf in the rain!
Impalpable clouds of red ascend,
Red clouds blow over my brain.

Did she await from me some sign of acceptance?
I smoothed my hair with a faltering hand.
I started a feeble smile, but the smile was frozen:
Perhaps, I thought, I misunderstood.
Is it to be conceived that I could attract her-
This dull and futile flesh attract such fire?
I,-with a trowel's dullness in hand and brain!-
Take on some godlike aspect, rouse desire?
Incredible! . . . delicious! . . . I will wear
A brighter color of tie, arranged with care,
I will delight in god as I comb my hair.

And the conquests of my bolder past return
Like strains of music, some lost tune
Recalled from youth and a happier time.
I take my sweetheart's arm in the dusk once more;
One more we climb

Up the forbidden stairway,
Under the flickering light, along the railing:
I catch her hand in the dark, we laugh once more,
I hear the rustle of silk, and follow swiftly,
And softly at last we close the door.

Yes, it is true that woman tried to attract me:
It is true she came out of time for me,
Came from the swirling and savage forest of earth,
The cruel eternity of the sea.
She parted the leaves of waves and rose from silence
Shining with secrets she did not know.
Music of dust! Music of web and web!
And I, bewildered, let her go.

I light my pipe. The flame is yellow,
Edged underneath with blue.
These thoughts are truer of god, perhaps,
Than thoughts of god are true.

5

It is noontime, Senlin says, and a street piano
Strikes sharply against the sunshine a harsh chord,
And the universe is suddenly agitated,
And pain to my heart goes glittering like a sword.
Do I imagine it? The dust is shaken,
The sunlight quivers, the brittle oak-leaves tremble.
The world, disturbed, conceals its agitation;
And I, too, will dissemble.

Yet it is sorrow has found my heart,
Sorrow for beauty, sorrow for death;
And pain twirls slowly among the trees.

The street-piano revolves its glittering music,
The sharp notes flash and dazzle and turn,
Memory's knives are in this sunlit silence,
They ripple and lazily burn.
The star on which my shadow falls is frightened,-
It does not move; my trowel taps a stone,
The sweet note wavers amid derisive music;
And I, in horror of sunlight, stand alone.

Do not recall my weakness, savage music!
Let the knives rest!
Impersonal, harsh, the music revolves and glitters,
And the notes like poniards pierce my breast.
And I remember the shadows of webs on stones,
And the sound or rain on withered grass,
And a sorrowful face that looked without illusions
At its image in the glass.

Do not recall my childhood, pitiless music!
The green blades flicker and gleam,
The red bee bends the clover, deeply humming;
In the blue sea above me lazily stream
Cloud upon thin-brown cloud, revolving, scattering;
The mulberry tree rakes heaven and drops its fruit;
Amazing sunlight sings in the opened vault
On dust and bones, and I am mute.

It is noon; the bells let fall soft flowers of sound.
They turn on the air, they shrink in the flare of noon.
It is night; and I lie alone, and watch through the window
The terrible ice-white emptiness of the moon.
Small bells, far off, spill jewels of sound like rain,
A long wind hurries them whirled and far,
A cloud creeps over the moon, my bed is darkened,
I hold my breath and watch a star.

Do not disturb my memories, heartless music!
I stand once more by a vine-dark moonlit wall,
The sound of my footsteps dies in a void of moonlight,
And I watch white jasmine fall.
Is it my heart that falls? Does earth itself
Drift, a white petal, down the sky?
One bell-note goes to the stars in the blue-white silence,
Solitary and mournful, a somnolent cry.

6

Death himself in the rain . . . death himself . . .
Death in the savage sunlight . . . skeletal death . . .
I hear the clack of his feet,
Clearly on stones, softly in dust;
He hurries among the trees
Whirling the leaves, tossing he hands from waves.
Listen! the immortal footsteps beat.

Death himself in the grass, death himself,
Gyrating invisibly in the sun,
Scatters the grass-blades, whips the wind,
Tears at boughs with malignant laughter:
On the long echoing air I hear him run.

Death himself in the dusk, gathering lilacs,
Breaking a white-fleshed bough,
Strewing purple on a cobwebbed lawn,
Dancing, dancing,
The long red sun-rays glancing
On flailing arms, skipping with hideous knees
Cavorting grotesque ecstasies:
I do not see him, but I see the lilacs fall,
I hear the scrape of knuckles against the wall,
The leaves are tossed and tremble where he plunges among them,
And I hear the sound of his breath,
Sharp and whistling, the rythm of death.

It is evening: the lights on a long street balance and sway.
In the purple ether they swing and silently sing,
The street is a gossamer swung in space,
And death himself in the wind comes dancing along it,
And the lights, like raindrops, tremble and swing.
Hurry, spider, and spread your glistening web,
For death approaches!
Hurry, rose, and open your heart to the bee,
For death approaches!
Maiden, let down your hair for the hands of your lover,
Comb it with moonlight and wreathe it with leaves,
For death approaches!

Death, huge in the star; small in the sand-grain;
Death himself in the rain,
Drawing the rain about him like a garment of jewels:
I hear the sound of his feet
On the stairs of the wind, in the sun,
In the forests of the sea . . .
Listen! the immortal footsteps beat!

7

It is noontime, Senlin says. The sky is brilliant
Above a green and dreaming hill.
I lay my trowel down. The pool is cloudless,
The grass, the wall, the peach-tree, all are still.

It appears to me that I am one with these:
A hill, upon whose back are a wall and trees.
It is noontime: all seems still
Upon this green and flowering hill.

Yet suddenly out of nowhere in the sky,
A cloud comes whirling, and flings
A lazily coiled vortex of shade on the hill.
It crosses the hill, and a bird in the peach-tree sings.
Amazing! Is there a change?
The hill seems somehow strange.
It is noontime. And in the tree
The leaves are delicately disturbed
Where the bird descends invisibly.
It is noontime. And in the pool
The sky is blue and cool.

Yet suddenly out of nowhere,
Something flings itself at the hill,
Tears with claws at the earth,
Lunges and hisses and softly recoils,
Crashing against the green.
The peach-tree braces itself, the pool is frightened,
The grass-blades quiver, the bird is still;
The wall silently struggles against the sunlight;
A terror stiffens the hill.
The trees turn rigidly, to face
Something that circles with slow pace:
The blue pool seems to shrink
From something that slides above its brink.
What struggle is this, ferocious and still-
What war in sunlight on this hill?
What is it creeping to dart
Like a knife-blade at my heart?

It is noontime, Senlin says, and all is tranquil:
The brilliant sky burns over a greenbright earth.
The peach-tree dreams in the sun, the wall is contented.
A bird in the peach-leaves, moving from sun to shadow,
Phrases again his unremembering mirth,
His lazily beautiful, foolish, mechanical mirth.

8

The pale blue gloom of evening comes
Among the phantom forests and walls
With a mournful and rythmic sound of drums.
My heart is disturbed with a sound of myriad throbbing,
Persuasive and sinister, near and far:
In the blue evening of my heart
I hear the thrum of the evening star.

My work is uncompleted; and yet I hurry,-
Hearing the whispered pulsing of those drums,-
To enter the luminous walls and woods of night.
It is the eternal mistress of the world
Who shakes these drums for my delight.
Listen! the drums of the leaves, the drums of the dust,
The delicious quivering of this air!

I will leave my work unfinished, and I will go
With ringing and certain step through the laughter of chaos
To the one small room in the void I know.
Yesterday it was there,-
Will I find it tonight once more when I climb the stair?
The drums of the street beat swift and soft:
In the blue evening of my heart
I hear the throb of the bridal star.
It weaves deliciously in my brain
A tyrannous melody of her:
Hands in sunlight, threads of rain
Against a weeping face that fades,
Snow on a blackened window-pane;
Fire, in a dusk of hair entangled;
Flesh, more delicate than fruit;
And a voice that searches quivering nerves
For a string to mute.

My life is uncompleted: and yet I hurry
Among the tinkling forests and walls of evening
To a certain fragrant room.
Who is it that dances there, to a beating of drums,
While stars on a grey sea bud and bloom?
She stands at the top of the stair,
With the lamplight on her hair.
I will walk through the snarling of streams of space
And climb the long steps carved from wind
And rise once more towards her face.
Listen! the drums of the drowsy trees
Beating our nuptial ecstasies!

Music spins from the heart of silence
And twirls me softly upon the air:
It takes my hand and whispers to me:
It draws the web of the moonlight down.
There are hands, it says, as cool as snow,
The hands of the Venus of the sea;
There are waves of sound in a mermaid-cave;-
Come-then-come with me!
The flesh of the sea-rose new and cool,
The wavering image of her who comes
At dusk by a blue sea-pool.

Whispers upon the haunted air-
Whisper of foam-white arm and thigh;
And a shower of delicate lights blown down
Fro the laughing sky! . . .
Music spins from a far-off room.
Do you remember,-it seems to say,-
The mouth that smiled, beneath your mouth,
And kissed you . . . yesterday?
It is your own flesh waits for you.
Come! you are incomplete! . . .
The drums of the universe once more
Morosely beat.
It is the harlot of the world
Who clashes the leaves like ghostly drums
And disturbs the solitude of my heart
As evening comes!

I leave my work once more and walk
Along a street that sways in the wind.
I leave these st
Shayne Campbell Nov 2015
You have until the evening comes
Run across the room
Fly aboard your broom
Turn your way to the evening sun

Make your hurry when the evening comes
Long before the dawn
I will not be your pawn
Turn your way to the evening sun

I will give you until the evening comes
Enchant yourself to rush
Miss your times of hush
Turn your way to the evening sun

I will wait for you until the evening comes
Make your path on the gone
Delaying you shall be none
Turn your way to the evening sun
Inspired by "Till the Morning Comes" by Neil Young.
THE HOUSE OF DUST
A Symphony

BY
CONRAD AIKEN

To Jessie

NOTE

. . . Parts of this poem have been printed in "The North American
Review, Others, Poetry, Youth, Coterie, The Yale Review". . . . I am
indebted to Lafcadio Hearn for the episode called "The Screen Maiden"
in Part II.


     This text comes from the source available at
     Project Gutenberg, originally prepared by Judy Boss
     of Omaha, NE.
    
THE HOUSE OF DUST


PART I.


I.

The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light.
The trees grow dark: the shadows lean to the east:
And lights wink out through the windows, one by one.
A clamor of frosty sirens mourns at the night.
Pale slate-grey clouds whirl up from the sunken sun.

And the wandering one, the inquisitive dreamer of dreams,
The eternal asker of answers, stands in the street,
And lifts his palms for the first cold ghost of rain.
The purple lights leap down the hill before him.
The gorgeous night has begun again.

'I will ask them all, I will ask them all their dreams,
I will hold my light above them and seek their faces.
I will hear them whisper, invisible in their veins . . .'
The eternal asker of answers becomes as the darkness,
Or as a wind blown over a myriad forest,
Or as the numberless voices of long-drawn rains.

We hear him and take him among us, like a wind of music,
Like the ghost of a music we have somewhere heard;
We crowd through the streets in a dazzle of pallid lamplight,
We pour in a sinister wave, ascend a stair,
With laughter and cry, and word upon murmured word;
We flow, we descend, we turn . . . and the eternal dreamer
Moves among us like light, like evening air . . .

Good-night!  Good-night!  Good-night!  We go our ways,
The rain runs over the pavement before our feet,
The cold rain falls, the rain sings.
We walk, we run, we ride.  We turn our faces
To what the eternal evening brings.

Our hands are hot and raw with the stones we have laid,
We have built a tower of stone high into the sky,
We have built a city of towers.

Our hands are light, they are singing with emptiness.
Our souls are light; they have shaken a burden of hours . . .
What did we build it for?  Was it all a dream? . . .
Ghostly above us in lamplight the towers gleam . . .
And after a while they will fall to dust and rain;
Or else we will tear them down with impatient hands;
And hew rock out of the earth, and build them again.


II.

One, from his high bright window in a tower,
Leans out, as evening falls,
And sees the advancing curtain of the shower
Splashing its silver on roofs and walls:
Sees how, swift as a shadow, it crosses the city,
And murmurs beyond far walls to the sea,
Leaving a glimmer of water in the dark canyons,
And silver falling from eave and tree.

One, from his high bright window, looking down,
Peers like a dreamer over the rain-bright town,
And thinks its towers are like a dream.
The western windows flame in the sun's last flare,
Pale roofs begin to gleam.

Looking down from a window high in a wall
He sees us all;
Lifting our pallid faces towards the rain,
Searching the sky, and going our ways again,
Standing in doorways, waiting under the trees . . .
There, in the high bright window he dreams, and sees
What we are blind to,-we who mass and crowd
From wall to wall in the darkening of a cloud.

The gulls drift slowly above the city of towers,
Over the roofs to the darkening sea they fly;
Night falls swiftly on an evening of rain.
The yellow lamps wink one by one again.
The towers reach higher and blacker against the sky.


III.

One, where the pale sea foamed at the yellow sand,
With wave upon slowly shattering wave,
Turned to the city of towers as evening fell;
And slowly walked by the darkening road toward it;
And saw how the towers darkened against the sky;
And across the distance heard the toll of a bell.

Along the darkening road he hurried alone,
With his eyes cast down,
And thought how the streets were hoarse with a tide of people,
With clamor of voices, and numberless faces . . .
And it seemed to him, of a sudden, that he would drown
Here in the quiet of evening air,
These empty and voiceless places . . .
And he hurried towards the city, to enter there.

Along the darkening road, between tall trees
That made a sinister whisper, loudly he walked.
Behind him, sea-gulls dipped over long grey seas.
Before him, numberless lovers smiled and talked.
And death was observed with sudden cries,
And birth with laughter and pain.
And the trees grew taller and blacker against the skies
And night came down again.


IV.

Up high black walls, up sombre terraces,
Clinging like luminous birds to the sides of cliffs,
The yellow lights went climbing towards the sky.
From high black walls, gleaming vaguely with rain,
Each yellow light looked down like a golden eye.

They trembled from coign to coign, and tower to tower,
Along high terraces quicker than dream they flew.
And some of them steadily glowed, and some soon vanished,
And some strange shadows threw.

And behind them all the ghosts of thoughts went moving,
Restlessly moving in each lamplit room,
From chair to mirror, from mirror to fire;
From some, the light was scarcely more than a gloom:
From some, a dazzling desire.

And there was one, beneath black eaves, who thought,
Combing with lifted arms her golden hair,
Of the lover who hurried towards her through the night;
And there was one who dreamed of a sudden death
As she blew out her light.

And there was one who turned from clamoring streets,
And walked in lamplit gardens among black trees,
And looked at the windy sky,
And thought with terror how stones and roots would freeze
And birds in the dead boughs cry . . .

And she hurried back, as snow fell, mixed with rain,
To mingle among the crowds again,
To jostle beneath blue lamps along the street;
And lost herself in the warm bright coiling dream,
With a sound of murmuring voices and shuffling feet.

And one, from his high bright window looking down
On luminous chasms that cleft the basalt town,
Hearing a sea-like murmur rise,
Desired to leave his dream, descend from the tower,
And drown in waves of shouts and laughter and cries.


V.

The snow floats down upon us, mingled with rain . . .
It eddies around pale lilac lamps, and falls
Down golden-windowed walls.
We were all born of flesh, in a flare of pain,
We do not remember the red roots whence we rose,
But we know that we rose and walked, that after a while
We shall lie down again.

The snow floats down upon us, we turn, we turn,
Through gorges filled with light we sound and flow . . .
One is struck down and hurt, we crowd about him,
We bear him away, gaze after his listless body;
But whether he lives or dies we do not know.

One of us sings in the street, and we listen to him;
The words ring over us like vague bells of sorrow.
He sings of a house he lived in long ago.
It is strange; this house of dust was the house I lived in;
The house you lived in, the house that all of us know.
And coiling slowly about him, and laughing at him,
And throwing him pennies, we bear away
A mournful echo of other times and places,
And follow a dream . . . a dream that will not stay.

Down long broad flights of lamplit stairs we flow;
Noisy, in scattered waves, crowding and shouting;
In broken slow cascades.
The gardens extend before us . . .  We spread out swiftly;
Trees are above us, and darkness.  The canyon fades . . .

And we recall, with a gleaming stab of sadness,
Vaguely and incoherently, some dream
Of a world we came from, a world of sun-blue hills . . .
A black wood whispers around us, green eyes gleam;
Someone cries in the forest, and someone kills.

We flow to the east, to the white-lined shivering sea;
We reach to the west, where the whirling sun went down;
We close our eyes to music in bright cafees.
We diverge from clamorous streets to streets that are silent.
We loaf where the wind-spilled fountain plays.

And, growing tired, we turn aside at last,
Remember our secret selves, seek out our towers,
Lay weary hands on the banisters, and climb;
Climbing, each, to his little four-square dream
Of love or lust or beauty or death or crime.


VI.

Over the darkened city, the city of towers,
The city of a thousand gates,
Over the gleaming terraced roofs, the huddled towers,
Over a somnolent whisper of loves and hates,
The slow wind flows, drearily streams and falls,
With a mournful sound down rain-dark walls.
On one side purples the lustrous dusk of the sea,
And dreams in white at the city's feet;
On one side sleep the plains, with heaped-up hills.
Oaks and beeches whisper in rings about it.
Above the trees are towers where dread bells beat.

The fisherman draws his streaming net from the sea
And sails toward the far-off city, that seems
Like one vague tower.
The dark bow plunges to foam on blue-black waves,
And shrill rain seethes like a ghostly music about him
In a quiet shower.

Rain with a shrill sings on the lapsing waves;
Rain thrills over the roofs again;
Like a shadow of shifting silver it crosses the city;
The lamps in the streets are streamed with rain;
And sparrows complain beneath deep eaves,
And among whirled leaves
The sea-gulls, blowing from tower to lower tower,
From wall to remoter wall,
Skim with the driven rain to the rising sea-sound
And close grey wings and fall . . .

. . . Hearing great rain above me, I now remember
A girl who stood by the door and shut her eyes:
Her pale cheeks glistened with rain, she stood and shivered.
Into a forest of silver she vanished slowly . . .
Voices about me rise . . .

Voices clear and silvery, voices of raindrops,-
'We struck with silver claws, we struck her down.
We are the ghosts of the singing furies . . . '
A chorus of elfin voices blowing about me
Weaves to a babel of sound.  Each cries a secret.
I run among them, reach out vain hands, and drown.

'I am the one who stood beside you and smiled,
Thinking your face so strangely young . . . '
'I am the one who loved you but did not dare.'
'I am the one you followed through crowded streets,
The one who escaped you, the one with red-gleamed hair.'

'I am the one you saw to-day, who fell
Senseless before you, hearing a certain bell:
A bell that broke great memories in my brain.'
'I am the one who passed unnoticed before you,
Invisible, in a cloud of secret pain.'

'I am the one who suddenly cried, beholding
The face of a certain man on the dazzling screen.
They wrote me that he was dead.  It was long ago.
I walked in the streets for a long while, hearing nothing,
And returned to see it again.  And it was so.'


Weave, weave, weave, you streaks of rain!
I am dissolved and woven again . . .
Thousands of faces rise and vanish before me.
Thousands of voices weave in the rain.

'I am the one who rode beside you, blinking
At a dazzle of golden lights.
Tempests of music swept me: I was thinking
Of the gorgeous promise of certain nights:
Of the woman who suddenly smiled at me this day,
Smiled in a certain delicious sidelong way,
And turned, as she reached the door,
To smile once more . . .
Her hands are whiter than snow on midnight water.
Her throat is golden and full of golden laughter,
Her eyes are strange as the stealth of the moon
On a night in June . . .
She runs among whistling leaves; I hurry after;
She dances in dreams over white-waved water;
Her body is white and fragrant and cool,
Magnolia petals that float on a white-starred pool . . .
I have dreamed of her, dreaming for many nights
Of a broken music and golden lights,
Of broken webs of silver, heavily falling
Between my hands and their white desire:
And dark-leaved boughs, edged with a golden radiance,
Dipping to screen a fire . . .
I dream that I walk with her beneath high trees,
But as I lean to kiss her face,
She is blown aloft on wind, I catch at leaves,
And run in a moonless place;
And I hear a crashing of terrible rocks flung down,
And shattering trees and cracking walls,
And a net of intense white flame roars over the town,
And someone cries; and darkness falls . . .
But now she has leaned and smiled at me,
My veins are afire with music,
Her eyes have kissed me, my body is turned to light;
I shall dream to her secret heart tonight . . . '

He rises and moves away, he says no word,
He folds his evening paper and turns away;
I rush through the dark with rows of lamplit faces;
Fire bells peal, and some of us turn to listen,
And some sit motionless in their accustomed places.

Cold rain lashes the car-roof, scurries in gusts,
Streams down the windows in waves and ripples of lustre;
The lamps in the streets are distorted and strange.
Someone takes his watch from his pocket and yawns.
One peers out in the night for the place to change.

Rain . . . rain . . . rain . . . we are buried in rain,
It will rain forever, the swift wheels hiss through water,
Pale sheets of water gleam in the windy street.
The pealing of bells is lost in a drive of rain-drops.
Remote and hurried the great bells beat.

'I am the one whom life so shrewdly betrayed,
Misfortune dogs me, it always hunted me down.
And to-day the woman I love lies dead.
I gave her roses, a ring with opals;
These hands have touched her head.

'I bound her to me in all soft ways,
I bound her to me in a net of days,
Yet now she has gone in silence and said no word.
How can we face these dazzling things, I ask you?
There is no use: we cry: and are not heard.

'They cover a body with roses . . . I shall not see it . . .
Must one return to the lifeless walls of a city
Whose soul is charred by fire? . . . '
His eyes are closed, his lips press tightly together.
Wheels hiss beneath us.  He yields us our desire.

'No, do not stare so-he is weak with grief,
He cannot face you, he turns his eyes aside;
He is confused with pain.
I suffered this.  I know.  It was long ago . . .
He closes his eyes and drowns in death again.'

The wind hurls blows at the rain-starred glistening windows,
The wind shrills down from the half-seen walls.
We flow on the mournful wind in a dream of dying;
And at last a silence falls.


VII.

Midnight; bells toll, and along the cloud-high towers
The golden lights go out . . .
The yellow windows darken, the shades are drawn,
In thousands of rooms we sleep, we await the dawn,
We lie face down, we dream,
We cry aloud with terror, half rise, or seem
To stare at the ceiling or walls . . .
Midnight . . . the last of shattering bell-notes falls.
A rush of silence whirls over the cloud-high towers,
A vortex of soundless hours.

'The bells have just struck twelve: I should be sleeping.
But I cannot delay any longer to write and tell you.
The woman is dead.
She died-you know the way.  Just as we planned.
Smiling, with open sunlit eyes.
Smiling upon the outstretched fatal hand . . .'

He folds his letter, steps softly down the stairs.
The doors are closed and silent.  A gas-jet flares.
His shadow disturbs a shadow of balustrades.
The door swings shut behind.  Night roars above him.
Into the night he fades.

Wind; wind; wind; carving the walls;
Blowing the water that gleams in the street;
Blowing the rain, the sleet.
In the dark alley, an old tree cracks and falls,
Oak-boughs moan in the haunted air;
Lamps blow down with a crash and ****** of glass . . .
Darkness whistles . . . Wild hours pass . . .

And those whom sleep eludes lie wide-eyed, hearing
Above their heads a goblin night go by;
Children are waked, and cry,
The young girl hears the roar in her sleep, and dreams
That her lover is caught in a burning tower,
She clutches the pillow, she gasps for breath, she screams . . .
And then by degrees her breath grows quiet and slow,
She dreams of an evening, long ago:
Of colored lanterns balancing under trees,
Some of them softly catching afire;
And beneath the lanterns a motionless face she sees,
Golden with lamplight, smiling, serene . . .
The leaves are a pale and glittering green,
The sound of horns blows over the trampled grass,
Shadows of dancers pass . . .
The face smiles closer to hers, she tries to lean
Backward, away, the eyes burn close and strange,
The face is beginning to change,-
It is her lover, she no longer desires to resist,
She is held and kissed.
She closes her eyes, and melts in a seethe of
The evening opens like a peach cut in half
Nature born on the river of blue lights
and progress drifts east with a compass in hand
A fixed thought is forgotten
by the lure of secret windows offering a better view
Only momentarily, yet too long
Already half the silence and when I come back
What is this image I see?
It is not what I left in the hands of chance to take care of
The evening is a rivers' divide
and anticipation is the frail glass we hold full to the brim
of pride
Be careful and do not trip, we have counted each drop along the lines of loss
and find we cannot afford to have confessionary hearts freely bleed
This evening awaits the night
Let beauty linger under the street lamp,
interrupted by the inopportune mouth of time
We feign indifference and rely on the amnesiac mornings
to erase and make long memories out of evening's almost forgotten
promise.
The night closes in like claws hidden under the shadow of a velvet glove
Drawing blood from the surrender of the eternally damning invite
Its divine sweetness, rising from the death of laughter
The evening becomes desire's divide
No longer is what we lost, what we hope to find
With paper and pen in hand we watch and despair over time's ability
to move to the next hour
There are only so many near misses we can allow chance to make
Before the evening's fragrance begins to sour
and anticipation starts to taste like regret
and isn't that what brought us to the river's path
in the first place
Before promises of truths and glimpses into colour
fooled the hearts
and now you and I
watch the evening open like a stubborn wound
And in whose hands, shall we leave history to slip by?
and while the moon fights the night
I think I shall depart to, from where I came
But in between distances, and the river's divide
The shadow of your evening's blue cannot escape my eyes.
Rahul Luthra Sep 2014
It's Sunday evening, it's time to play
I go approach her, I ask her to stay
She gives me a smile so we go have some fun
I leave on Monday morning before the sun
I work all day without my thoughts drifting away I don't even remember that chicks name who I had asked to stay
But the moment I got back from work...
It's Monday evening with a troubled heart
Yeah Monday evening with a trifled heart
Poor old Monday evening with a troubled heart
I can't bear the thought of us apart
She was so much better than the last ones
She's awesome and she always stuns
She had the qualities that no one else had
She was good in some ways and in some ways bad
I can't seem to remember that name
No means to communicate with that beautiful dame
I crave for love because I'm so alone
I have no one to call when I pick up my phone
This affection gives me motivation to stay alive
I have the most fabulous of cars but no one to take on a drive
Money isn't everything, it can't buy you happiness
Instead of keeping you better off it leaves you in a mess
For you get so addicted to money you forget everyone else
To a point that no one visits you anymore and you're as useless as the house bells
Loved one are the greatest wealth
They keep you happy and in good help
But I've lost them all so point in brooding
Oh, I'm such a fool to have fallen in love again
Love is for the weak
But I fall in love every week
Be it Katherine or Alex or even Susan
For these girls help me to loosen
That burden that's over me
From which I can never flee...

And it's Sunday evening again and it's time to play
I go approach her and ask her to stay
She's definitely better than the last one
She smiles so we go have some fun
And it's Monday evening with a troubled heart, again....
Beatles reference (Kinda)
The readers of the Boston Evening Transcript
Sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn.

When evening quickens faintly in the street,
Wakening the appetites of life in some
And to others bringing the Boston Evening Transcript,
I mount the steps and ring the bell, turning
Wearily, as one would turn to nod good-bye to Rochefoucauld,
If the street were time and he at the end of the street,
And I say, ‘Cousin Harriet, here is the Boston Evening Transcript.’
howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

     The once busy street was fast emptying now, the lure of shop windows no longer enticed the casual browser as local traders closed their premises to the oncoming night, solitary lampposts curved hazily into the distance, casting little more than insipid pools mirrored in the gutter below, only the occasional stranger scurrying home on a bleak, rain swept afternoon, the hurried slap of wet leather soles on the pavement, the sightless umbrellas, the infrequent rumble of a half filled bus, hell-bent on its way to oblivion.

     In the near distance as the working day ended, a sudden emergence of factory workers told Beamish it was 5-o'clock, most would be hurrying home to a hot meal, while others, for a quick drink perhaps before making the same old sorry excuse... for Jack, the greasy spoon would be closing about now, denying him the comfort of a badly needed cuppa' and stale cheese sandwich.  A subtle legacy of lunchtime fish and chips still lingered in the air, Jack's stomach rumbled, there was little chance of a fish supper for Beamish tonight, it protested again... louder.

     From beneath the eaves of the building opposite several pigeons broke cover, startled by the rattle as a shopkeeper struggled to close the canvas awning above his shop window.  Narrowly missing Beamish they flew anxiously over the rooftops, memories of the blitz sprang to mind as Jack stepped smartly to one side, he stamped his feet... it dashed a little of the weather from his raincoat, just as the rain dashed a little of the pigeons' anxiety from the pavement... the day couldn't get much worse if it tried.  Shielding his face, Jack struck the Ronson one more time and cupped the freshly lit cigarette between his hands, it was the only source of heat to be had that day... and still it rained.

     'By Appointment to Certain Personages...' the letter heading rang out loudly... 'Jack Beamish ~ Private Investigator...' a throat choking mouthful by any stretch of the imagination, thought Jack and shot every vestige of credulity plummeting straight through the office window and amidst a fanfare of trumpet voluntary, nominate itself for a prodigious award in the New Year Honours list.   Having formally served in a professional capacity for a well known purveyor of pickled condiments, who  incidentally, brandished the same patronage emblazoned upon their extensive range of relish as the one Jack had more recently purloined from them... a paid commission no less, which by Jack's certain understanding had made him, albeit fleeting in nature, a professional consultant of said company... and consequently, if they could flaunt the auspicious emblem, then according to Jack's infallible logic, so could Jack.  

     The recently appropriated letterhead possessed certain distinction... in much the same way, Jack reasoned, that a blank piece of paper did not... and whereas correspondence bearing the heading 'By Appointment' may not exactly strike terror into the hearts of man... unlike a really strong pickled onion, it nevertheless made people think twice before playing him for the fool, which sadly, Jack had to concede, they still invariably did... and he would often catch them wagging an accusing finger or two in his direction with such platitudes as... "watch where you put your foot", they'd whisper, "that Jack's a right Shamus...", and when you'd misplaced your footing as many times as Jack had, then he reasoned, that by default the celebrated Shamus must have landed himself in more piles of indiscretion than he would readily care to admit, but that wouldn't be quite accurate either, in Jack's line of work it was the malefactor that actually dropped him in them more often than not.

     A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine, another quickly followed as a spurt of icy water from a broken rain spout spattered across the back of his neck, he grimaced... Jack's expression spoke volumes as he took one final pull from his half soaked cigarette and flicked it, amid an eruption of sparks against the adjacent brick wall.  Sinking further into the shadow he tipped his fedora against the oncoming rain, then, digging both hands deep within his pockets, he huddled behind the upturned collar of his gabardine... watching.

     It was times such as these when Jack's mind would slip back, in much the same way you might slip back on a discarded banana peel, when a matter of some consequence, or in particular this case the pavement, would suddenly leap up from behind and give the back of Jack's head a resoundingly good slapping and tell him to "stop loafing around in office hours... or else", then drag him, albeit kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.  This intellectual assault and battery re-focused Jack's mind wonderfully as he whiled away the long weary hours until his next cigarette; cup of tea, or the last bus home, his capacity to endure such mind boggling tedium called for nothing less than sheer ******-mindedness and very little else... Beamish had long suspected that he possessed all the necessary qualifications.  

     Jack had come a long way since the early days, it had been a long haul but he'd finally arrived there in the end... and managed to pick up quite a few ***** looks along the way.  Whilst he was with the Police Constabulary... and it was only fair to stress the word 'with', as opposed to the word 'in'... although the more Jack considered, he had been 'with' the arresting officer, held 'in' the local Bridewell... detained at Her Majesties pleasure while assisting the boys in blue with their enquiries over a minor infringement of some local by-law that currently had quite slipped his mind at that moment.  Throughout this enforced leisure period he'd managed to read the entire abridged editions of Kilroy and other expansive works of graffiti exhibited in what passed locally as the next best thing to the Tate Gallery, whereupon it hadn't taken Jack very long to realise that it was always a good place to start if you wanted free breakfast, in fact the weeks bill of fare was tastefully displayed in vivid, polychromatic colour on the wall opposite... you just had to be au-fait with braille.
                            
     No matter how industrious Beamish laboured to rake the dirt there always appeared to be a dire shortage of gullible clients for Jack to squeeze, what would roughly translate as an honest crust out of, and although his financial retainer was highly competitive he understood that potential clients found it bewildering when grappling with the unplumbed depths of his monthly expense account, which would tend to fluctuate with the same unpredictability as the British weather, the rest of Jack's agenda revolved around a little shady moonlighting... in fact he'd happily consider anything to offset the remotest possibility of financial delinquency... short of extortion... which by the strangest twist was the very word prospective clients would cry while Jack beavered around the office with dust-pan and brush sweeping any concerns they may have had frantically under the carpet regarding all culpability of his extra-curricular monthly stipend... and they should remain assured at all times... as they dug deep and fished for their cheque books, and simply look upon it as kneading dough, which eerily enough was exactly the thick wedge of buttered granary that Jack had every intention of carving.

     Were there ever the slightest possibility that a day could be so utterly wretched, then today was that day, Jack felt a certain empathy as he merged with his surroundings... at one with nature as it were.  The rain, a timpani on the metal dustbin lids, by the side of which Beamish had taken up vigil, also taking up vigil and in search of a morsel was the stray mongrel, this was the third time now that he'd returned, the same apprehensive wag, yet still the same hopeful look of expectation in his eyes, a brief but friendly companion who paid more attention to Jack's left trouser leg than anything that could be had from nosing around the dustbins that day... some days you're the dog, scowled Beamish as he shook his trouser leg... and some days the lamppost, Jack's foot swung out playfully, keeping his new friend's incontinence at a safe distance, feigning indignance  the scruffy mongrel shook himself defiantly from nose to tail, a distinct odour of wet dog filled the air as an abundance of spent rainwater flew in all directions.   Pricking one ear he looked accusingly at Jack before turning and snuffled off, his nose resolutely to the pavement and diligently, picking out the few diluted scents still remaining, the poor little stalwart renewed its search for scraps, or making his way perhaps to some dry seclusion known only to itself.
  
     Two hours later and... SPLOSH, a puddle poured itself through the front door of the nearest Public House... SPLOSH, the puddle squelched over to the payphone... SPLOSH, then, fumbling for small change dialled and pressed button 'A'..., then button 'B'... then started all over again amid a flurry of precipitation... SPLASH.  The puddle floundered to the bar and ordered itself a drink, then ebbed back to the payphone again... the local taxi company doggedly refused to answer... finally, wallowing over to the window the puddle drifted up against a warm radiator amidst a cloud of humidity and came to rest... flotsam, cast upon the shore of contentment, the puddle sighed contentedly... the Landlady watched this anomaly... suspiciously.

     The puddle's finely tuned perception soon got to grips with the unhurried banter and muffled gossip drifting along the bar, having little else to loose, other than what could still be wrung from his clothing... Beamish, working on the principle that a little eavesdropping was his stock-in-trade engaged instinct into overdrive and casually rippled in their general direction...  They were clearly regulars by the way one of them belched in a well rehearsed, taken-a-back sort of way as Jack took stock of the situation and was now at some pains to ingratiate himself into their exclusive midst and attempt several friendly, yet relevant questions pertinent to his enquiries... all of which were skillfully deflected with more than friendly, yet totally irrelevant answers pertinent to theirs'... and would Jack care for a game of dominoes', they enquired... if so, would he be good enough to pay the refundable deposit, as by common consent it just so happened to be his turn...  Jack graciously declined this generous offer, as the obliging Landlady, just as graciously, cancelled the one shilling returnable deposit from the cash register, such was the flow of light conversation that evening... they didn't call him Lucky Jack for nothing... discouraged, Beamish turned back to the bar and reached for his glass... to which one of his recent companions, and yet again just as graciously, had taken the trouble to drink for him... the Landlady gave Jack a knowing look, Beamish returned the heartfelt sentiment and ordered one more pint.

     From the licenced premises opposite, a myriad of jostling customers plied through the door, business was picking up... the sudden influx of punters rapidly persuaded Beamish to retire from the bar and find a vacant table.  Sitting, he removed several discarded crisp packets from the centre of the table only to discover a freshly vacated ashtray below... by sleight of hand Jack's Ronson appeared... as he lit the cigarette the fragile smoke curled blue as it rose... influenced by subtle caprice, it joined others and formed a horizontal curtain dividing the room, a delicate, undulating layer held between two conflicting forces.

     The possibility of a free drink soon attracted the attention of a local bar fly, who, hovering in the near vicinity promptly landed in Jack's beer, Beamish declined this generous offer as being far too nutritious and with the corner of yesterdays beer mat, flipped the offending organism from the top of his glass, carefully inspecting his drink for debris as he did so.

     A sudden draught and clip of stiletto heels as the side door opened caused Beamish to turn as a double shadow slipped discreetly into the friendly Snug... a little adulterous intimacy on an otherwise cheerless evening.  The faceless man, concealed beneath a fedora and the upturned collar of his overcoat, the surreptitious lady friend, decked out in damp cony, cheap perfume and a surfeit of bling proclaimed a not too infrequent assignation, he'd seen it all before... the over attentive manner and the band of white, Sun-starved skin recently hidden behind a now absent wedding token, ordinarily it was the sort of assignment Jack didn't much care for... the discreet tail, the candid snapshot through half drawn curtains... and the all too familiar steak tartare... for the all too familiar black eye.

     To the untrained eye, the prospect of Jack's long anticipated supper was rapidly dwindling, when it suddenly focused with renewed vigour upon the contents of a pickled egg jar he'd observed earlier that evening, lurking on the back counter, his enthusiasm swiftly diminished however as the belching customer procured the final two specimens from the jar and proceeded to demolish them.  Who, Jack reflected, after being stood out in the rain all day, had egg all over his face now... and who, he reflected deeper, still had an empty stomach.  Disillusioned, Jack tipped back his glass and considered a further sortie with the taxicab company.

     "FIVE-BOB"!!! Jack screamed... you could have shredded the air with a cheese grater... hurtling into the kerb like a fairground attraction came flying past the chequered flag at a record breaking 99 in Jack's top 100 most not wanted list of things to do that day... and that the cabby should think himself fortunate they weren't both stretched flat on a marble slab, "exploding tyres" Jack spluttered, dribbling down his chin, were enough to give anyone a coronary... further broadsides of neurotic ambiance filled the cab as the driver, miffed at the prospect of missing snooker night out with the lads, considered charging extra for the additional space Jack's profanity was taking...

     And what part of 'Drive-Carefully', fumed Beamish, did the cabby simply not understand, that pavements were there to be bypassed, 'Nay Circumvented', preferably on the left... and not veered into, wildly on the front axle... an eerie premonition of 'jemais-vu' perched and ready to strike like a disembodied Jiminy Cricket on Jack's left shoulder, looking to stick its own two-penny worth in at the 'Standing-Room-Only' arrangements in the overcrowded cab... and at what further point, Jack shrieked, eyes leaping from his head as he lurched forward, shaking his fist through the sliding glass partition, had the cabbie failed to grasp the importance of the word 'Steering-Wheel...' someone wanted horse whipping, and as far as Beamish was concerned the sole contender was the cab driver...

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
Alan Brown Aug 2016
That evening,
The irises of a lady’s eyes
Aroused the vastness of an ocean
& her pupils glistened
Like pearls beneath shallow,
Languid waters of crystalline blue;
Their lustrous nacre
Reflected the sparse rays
Of dwindling evening light
& swooned over the elegant
Procession of the stars above.

That evening,
The fractious mysteries
Of the universe withdrew
Their reticence & conferred
Their wisdom upon her;
Deep and troubling questions
Which once had lingered in
Her thoughts were burnt to cinders
By kisses from the flame of truth;
Memories found their meaning,
& rhymes found their reason.

That evening,*
Her once perpetual,
Merry exhalations
Mingled with the ocean air for
The final time as she
Became one with the night.
As she ascended into
The great unknown, she saw
Memories flash before her eyes.
For life is but a flash
Within the spectrum of eternity.

That evening,
She discovered so much
But paid the price of what she knew.

That evening,
She became nothing more
Than stardust.

*“For you were made of dust, & to dust you shall return.”
Marian Oct 2012
Those evening bells! those evening bells!
How many a tale their music tells,
Of youth and home and that sweet time
When last I heard their soothing chime.

Those joyous hours are passed away;
And many a heart that then was gay,
Within the tomb now darkly dwells,
And hears no more those evening bells.

And so 'twill be when I am gone;
That tuneful peal will still ring on,
While other bards shall walk these dells,
And sing your praise, sweet evening bells!

                                                                             ~Thomas Moore: 1779--1852~
howard brace Oct 2012
Stood rigidly to attention either side of the hearth, the two bronze fire-dogs had been struggling to maintain that British stiff upper lipidness, which up until earlier that evening had best befitted their station in life... indeed, for the last half hour at least had become brothers in arms to the dying embers filtering through the bars of the cast-iron grate, passing from the present here and now, having lost every thermal attribute necessary to sustain any further vestige of life... to the shortly forthcoming and being at oneness with the Universe... only to fall foul of the overflowing ash-pan below.  This premature cashing in of the coal fire's chips could only be attributed to the recent and prolonged thrashing from the Baronial poker... and a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the family retainer, whom it appeared, required spurring along in a like manner... and while unseen mechanisms were heard to be engaging, then resonating deep within the Hall... that unless summoned... and quickly, the housekeeper had little intention of making an appearance of her own choosing and re-stoke the Study fire while the BBC Home Service were airing 'Your 100 Best Tunes' on the wireless, leaving the heavily tarnished pendulum to continue measuring the hour.

     An indistinct mutter and snap of a closing door latch sounded in the immediate distance as the unhurried shuffle of domestic footsteps... not too dissimilar from those of Jacob Marley's spectral visitation to Scrooge... echoed ever closer along the ancient, oak panelled hallway without.  Their sudden cessation, allowing the housekeeper ingress to  the book lined Study, was by way of sporadic groans from unoiled hinges, door furniture that voiced the same overwhelming lack of attention as that of the fire-grate set in the wall opposite and presumably, from the same overwhelming lack of domestic servitude.
                                        
     "Had his Lordship rang...?" the Housekeeper wailed dolefully, giving her employer what might casually pass for a courteous bob... and in lieu no doubt, of Marley's rattling chains, padlocks and dusty ledgers... "and would there be anything further his Lordship required..." before she took her leave for the evening.  The notion of a sticky mint humbug warming the cockles of his ancient, aristocratic heart gave her pause for thought as she rummaged through her pinafore pockets, then thought better of it, after all, confectionary didn't grow on trees...  In bobbing a second time she noticed the malnourished, yet strangely twinkling coal-scuttle lounging over by the hearth, whose insubstantial contents had taken on an ethereal quality earlier that evening and had now transferred its undivided attention to the recently summoned Housekeeper, who was quite prepared to offer up a candle in supplication come next Evensong were she mistaken, but the coal-scuttle's twinkle bore every intimation of giving what appeared to be a very suggestive 'come-on' in return... and had been doing so since she first entered the room... 'and did she have any plans of her own that particular evening', the coal-scuttle twinkled suavely, 'perchance a leisurely stroll down by the old coal cellar steps...'  Now perhaps it was the lateness of the hour which had caused the Housekeeper's confusion that evening, or perhaps an over stretched imagination, brought on through domestic inactivity, but it wouldn't take a great deal to hazard that a lingering fondness for Gin and tonic played no small part towards her next curtsey, which she did, albeit unwittingly, in the unerring direction of the winking coal-scuttle.

     With the household keys as her badge-of-office, jangling defiantly from the chain around her waist, the housekeeper began inching back the same way she came, back towards the study door and freedom... and back into the welcoming arms of her 1/4 lb. bag of peppermint humbugs and the pint of best London Gin she'd had to relinquish prior to 'Songs of Praise...' and which was now to be found... should you happen to be an inquisitive fly on a particular piece of floral wallpaper... half-cut, locked arm in arm with the bottle of Indian tonic water and in the final, intoxicating throws of William Blake's, 'Jerusalem...' hic.

     "Ha-arrumph..." the elderly gentleman cleared his throat... "ah Gabby" he said, lowering his book and placing it face down upon the occasional table set beside him.  The flatulent groan of tired leather upholstery made itself heard above the steady monotony of the mantle-piece clock as he stood and chaffed his hands in the direction of the bereft fire, "Oh! I'm sorry your Lordship, then there was something...?" as she maintained her steady but relentless backwards retreat unabated, the double-barrelled bunch of keys taking up a strong rear-guard action and away from the well disposed coal scuttle... "and was his Lordship quite certain that he required the fire stoking at such a late hour..." she dared, "perhaps a nice warming glass of port and brandy instead" gesturing towards the salver, long since tarnished by the half hearted attentions of a proprietary metal polish... "and would he care for..." then thought better of offering to plump the chair cushions herself, having discovered Mort, the household mouser in the final stages of claiming them as his own, deftly rearranging the Victorian Plush with far more than any noble airs or graces.

     "Poor Mrs Alabaster, you will recall Sir, I'm sure..." a pained expression crossed the Housekeepers face as she collided with a corner of the Georgian writing bureau and bringing her to an abrupt halt... "her late Ladyships lady" she continued, indiscreetly rubbing her derriere, "whose services your Lordship dispensed with at the onset of last Winter, shortly after the funeral, God rest her late Ladyship... when you made her redundant... and how she's been unable to find a new situation ever since on account of her lumbago flaring up again, seeing as how it's been the coldest January in living memory", which in all likelihood meant since records began... "and SHE didn't have any coal either... or a roof over her head for all anyone cared... begging yer' pardon, yer' Lordship", letting her tongue slip as she attempted yet one more curtsey... "and it's wicked-cruel outside this time of year Sir, you wouldn't turn a dog out in it..." and how ordering the coal used to be Mrs Alabaster's responsibility...

     "Oh no, Sir", as she unsuccessfully stifled a hiccup...she would be only too delighted to rouse the Cook, especially after that dodgy piece of scrag-end they'd all had to suffer during Epiphany, but it was only last week that the Doctor had confined Cookie to bed with the croup... "as I'm sure your Lordship will recall..." as she attempted a double curtsey for effect, the despondent coal-scuttle now all but forgotten, "that below-stairs had been dining on pottage since a week Friday gone... and it tends to get a little moribund after almost a fortnight your Honour... and that Mrs Cotswold's rheumatism was still showing no signs of improvement either by the looks of things... and was having to visit the Chiropodist every fortnight for her bunions scraping... and how she's been advised to keep taking the embrocation as required".

     As a young woman, any disposition her grandmother may have had towards sobriety or moral virtue had quickly been prevailed upon by the former Master's son taking intimacy to the next level with the saucy Parlour Maid's good nature.   Shortly thereafter, having been obliged to marry the first available Gardener that came along, she was often heard to say "a bun in the oven's worth two in the bush" for it was with stories 'of such goings-on'  that made it abundantly clear to the Housekeeper, that it was far more than old age creeping up... and that if she didn't keep her wits wrapped tightly about her, as she threw a sideways glance at the winking philanderer... then who would.

     As for the Gardener, "well... he couldn't possibly manage the cellar steps at this late hour, yer' Lordship, wot' with the weather being the way it is right now Sir, seasonal... and him with his broken caliper... and bronchitis playing him up at every turn, even though his own ailing missus swore by a freshly grown rhubarb poultice first thing each morning", but oddly enough, "how it always seemed to work better if the young barmaid down in the village rubbed it on, especially around opening time..." even his brother, Mr Potts Senior, ever since their Dad passed away... "God rest his eternal soul", as she whirled, twice in as many seconds, a mystical finger in the air... had said how surprised he'd been to discover that it could be used as a ground mulch for seed-cucumbers... it was truly amazing how The Good Lord provided for the righteous... and even as she spoke, was working in mysterious ways, His Wonders to Behold... "Praised-Be-The-Lord".

     And how the entire household, with the possible exception of Mrs Alabaster, her late Ladyships lady, who doggedly refused to be evicted from her 'Grace n' Favour cottage...' the one with pretty red roses growing around the door, that despite a string of eviction notices from the apoplectic Estate manager... had noticed what a fine upstanding Gentleman his Lordship had steadfastly remained since her late Ladyships sudden demise... "God-rest-her-immortal-soul..." and may she allow herself to say, "how refreshing it was to have such a progressively minded and discerning employer such as his Lordship at the helm, one filled with patient understanding and commitment towards the entire household..." much like herself...

     Fearing an uncontrollable attack of the ague, which invariably took the form of a selfless and unstinting dereliction to duty and always flared up at the slightest suggestion of having to roll her sleeves up and do something... which incidentally, was the first mutual attraction by common consent to which her parents, some forty years earlier had discovered they both held in tandem... and "would his Lordship take exception..." feigning a sudden relapse as she gestured towards the nearest chair, were she to take the weight off her feet... she plonked herself solidly upon the Chippendale before his Lordship could decline... "perhaps a recuperative drop of brandy" she volunteered, "just for medicinal purposes", she swept her feet onto the footstool, then crossed them with a flourish that would have caused Cyrano de Bergerac to hang up his sword... "the good stuff, if his Lordship would be so kind, in the lead-crystal decanter... over in the corner by the potted plant", she caught sight of the adjacent cigarette box, also tarnished... "just to keep body and soul together, may it please 'Him upon High'..." and just long enough to brave the coal cellar steps and refill the amorous scuttle... "if only it were a little less chilly", she gave an affected cough... on account of her diphtheria acting up again, she felt sure that his Lordship understood...  Moving over to one of the book lined alcoves, the elderly Gentleman lifted several tomes from the shelves... 'My Life in Anthracite', an illustrated compendium' "to begin with, I think... followed by... hmm!" 'The History of Fossil-Fuels, a comprehensive study in twelve breath taking volumes' "and we'll take it from there" as he threw the first on the barely smouldering embers...

                                                      ­     ...   ...   ...**

a work in progress.                                                        ­                                                         1859
Sally A Bayan Apr 2016
The evening news goes on
anchorman's hurrying words and frenetic voice trail on
could there be another storm brewing?
is his hysterical voice a sign, a warning?
a spray of the evening shower lightly wets face and arm...
it is not enough, though,
to wash away the uneasiness of the moment,
the evening news goes on...

It doesn't want to end, this long evening,
for one confused soul..mind is wandering
through the night, it is aimlessly exploring
it doesn't want to end, this long evening...

A record plays...she quietly listens
crystal drops from her eyes glisten
she hums along, with Eydie Gorme's
"As a Love To You From Me"
blending, with the cool wind that whirs softly
while looking at a distant moon so creamy
recalling past yearnings that have grown intense
alone in her house, she can not pretend
while...
a record plays...she quietly listens

Repeatedly, she inhales...and exhales
for, breath smells of coffee gone stale...
this sleepless soul, with a mind still straying
will roam further, til sun comes out tomorrow morning,
when her whole being, finally would be surrendering...
but until then, she still would be trying
repeatedly, she inhales...and exhales

The evening news goes on
it doesn't want to end... this long evening
to some tunes, she quietly listens
repeatedly, she inhales...and exhales
the evening news goes on...

(an old, unposted poem)

  
Sally


Copyright September 21, 2014
Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
***the first sentence of each of the four stanzas, put together,
became the fifth,,or last stanza...***
Fuji Bear Jul 2014
Night is called Evening
an Evening,
Evening of the scores.
Matters settled
Wrongs made right
In cover of the dark,
but never brought to light.
1

Senlin sits before us, and we see him.
He smokes his pipe before us, and we hear him.
Is he small, with reddish hair,
Does he light his pipe with meditative stare,
And a pointed flame reflected in both eyes?
Is he sad and happy and foolish and wise?
Did no one see him enter the doors of the city,
Looking above him at the roofs and trees and skies?
'I stepped from a cloud', he says, 'as evening fell;
I walked on the sound of a bell;
I ran with winged heels along a gust;
Or is it true that I laughed and sprang from dust? . . .
Has no one, in a great autumnal forest,
When the wind bares the trees,
Heard the sad horn of Senlin slowly blown?
Has no one, on a mountain in the spring,
Heard Senlin sing?
Perhaps I came alone on a snow-white horse,-
Riding alone from the deep-starred night.
Perhaps I came on a ship whose sails were music,-
Sailing from moon or sun on a river of light.'

He lights his pipe with a pointed flame.
'Yet, there were many autumns before I came,
And many springs. And more will come, long after
There is no horn for me, or song, or laughter.

The city dissolves about us, and its walls
Become an ancient forest. There is no sound
Except where an old twig tires and falls;
Or a lizard among the dead leaves crawls;
Or a flutter is heard in darkness along the ground.

Has Senlin become a forest? Do we walk in Senlin?
Is Senlin the wood we walk in, -ourselves,-the world?
Senlin! we cry . . . Senlin! again . . . No answer,
Only soft broken echoes backward whirled . . .

Yet we would say: this is no wood at all,
But a small white room with a lamp upon the wall;
And Senlin, before us, pale, with reddish hair,
Lights his pipe with a meditative stare.

2

Senlin, walking beside us, swings his arms
And turns his head to look at walls and trees.
The wind comes whistling from shrill stars of winter,
The lights are jewels, black roots freeze.
'Did I, then, stretch from the bitter earth like these,
Reaching upward with slow and rigid pain
To seek, in another air, myself again?'

(Immense and solitary in a desert of rocks
Behold a bewildered oak
With white clouds screaming through its leafy brain.)
'Or was I the single ant, or tinier thing,
That crept from the rocks of buried time
And dedicated its holy life to climb
From atom to beetling atom, jagged grain to grain,
Patiently out of the darkness we call sleep
Into a hollow gigantic world of light
Thinking the sky to be its destined shell,
Hoping to fit it well!-'

The city dissolves about us, and its walls
Are mountains of rock cruelly carved by wind.
Sand streams down their wasting sides, sand
Mounts upward slowly about them: foot and hand
We crawl and bleed among them! Is this Senlin?

In the desert of Senlin must we live and die?
We hear the decay of rocks, the crash of boulders,
Snarling of sand on sand. 'Senlin!' we cry.
'Senlin!' again . . . Our shadows revolve in silence
Under the soulless brilliance of blue sky.

Yet we would say: there are no rocks at all,
Nor desert of sand . . . here by a city wall
White lights jewell the evening, black roots freeze,
And Senlin turns his head to look at trees.

3

It is evening, Senlin says, and in the evening,
By a silent shore, by a far distant sea,
White unicorns come gravely down to the water.
In the lilac dusk they come, they are white and stately,
Stars hang over the purple waveless sea;
A sea on which no sail was ever lifted,
Where a human voice was never heard.
The shadows of vague hills are dark on the water,
The silent stars seem silently to sing.
And gravely come white unicorns down to the water,
One by one they come and drink their fill;
And daisies burn like stars on the darkened hill.

It is evening Senlin says, and in the evening
The leaves on the trees, abandoned by the light,
Look to the earth, and whisper, and are still.
The bat with horned wings, tumbling through the darkness,
Breaks the web, and the spider falls to the ground.
The starry dewdrop gathers upon the oakleaf,
Clings to the edge, and falls without a sound.
Do maidens spread their white palms to the starlight
And walk three steps to the east and clearly sing?
Do dewdrops fall like a shower of stars from willows?
Has the small moon a ghostly ring? . . .
White skeletons dance on the moonlit grass,
Singing maidens are buried in deep graves,
The stars hang over a sea like polished glass . . .
And solemnly one by one in the darkness there
Neighing far off on the haunted air
White unicorns come gravely down to the water.

No silver bells are heard. The westering moon
Lights the pale floors of caverns by the sea.
Wet **** hangs on the rock. In shimmering pools
Left on the rocks by the receding sea
Starfish slowly turn their white and brown
Or writhe on the naked rocks and drown.
Do sea-girls haunt these caves-do we hear faint singing?
Do we hear from under the sea a faint bell ringing?
Was that a white hand lifted among the bubbles
And fallen softly back?
No, these shores and caverns are all silent,
Dead in the moonlight; only, far above,
On the smooth contours of these headlands,
White amid the eternal black,
One by one in the moonlight there
Neighing far off on the haunted air
The unicorns come down to the sea.

4

Senlin, walking before us in the sunlight,
Bending his small legs in a peculiar way,
Goes to his work with thoughts of the universe.
His hands are in his pockets, he smokes his pipe,
He is happily conscious of roofs and skies;
And, without turning his head, he turns his eyes
To regard white horses drawing a small white hearse.
The sky is brilliant between the roofs,
The windows flash in the yellow sun,
On the hard pavement ring the hoofs,
The light wheels softly run.
Bright particles of sunlight fall,
Quiver and flash, gyrate and burn,
Honey-like heat flows down the wall,
The white spokes dazzle and turn.

Senlin, walking before us in the sunlight,
Regards the hearse with an introspective eye.
'Is it my childhood there,' he asks,
'Sealed in a hearse and hurrying by?'
He taps his trowel against a stone;
The trowel sings with a silver tone.

'Nevertheless I know this well.
Bury it deep and toll a bell,
Bury it under land or sea,
You cannot bury it save in me.'

It is as if his soul had become a city,
With noisily peopled streets, and through these streets
Senlin himself comes driving a small white hearse . . .
'Senlin!' we cry. He does not turn his head.
But is that Senlin?-Or is this city Senlin,-
Quietly watching the burial of the dead?
Dumbly observing the cortege of its dead?
Yet we would say that all this is but madness:
Around a distant corner trots the hearse.
And Senlin walks before us in the sunlight
Happily conscious of his universe.

5

In the hot noon, in an old and savage garden,
The peach-tree grows. Its cruel and ugly roots
Rend and rifle the silent earth for moisture.
Above, in the blue, hang warm and golden fruits.
Look, how the cancerous roots crack mould and stone!
Earth, if she had a voice, would wail her pain.
Is she the victim, or is the tree the victim?
Delicate blossoms opened in the rain,
Black bees flew among them in the sunlight,
And sacked them ruthlessly; and no a bird
Hangs, sharp-eyed, in the leaves, and pecks the fruit;
And the peach-tree dreams, and does not say a word.
. . . Senlin, tapping his trowel against a stone,
Observes this tree he planted: it is his own.

'You will think it strange,' says Senlin, 'but this tree
Utters profound things in this garden;
And in its silence speaks to me.
I have sensations, when I stand beneath it,
As if its leaves looked at me, and could see;
And those thin leaves, even in windless air,
Seem to be whispering me a choral music,
Insubstantial but debonair.

"Regard," they seem to say,
"Our idiot root, which going its brutal way
Has cracked your garden wall!
Ugly, is it not?
A desecration of this place . . .
And yet, without it, could we exist at all?"
Thus, rustling with importance, they seem to me
To make their apology;
Yet, while they apologize,
Ask me a wary question with their eyes.
Yes, it is true their origin is low-
Brutish and dull and cruel . . . and it is true
Their roots have cracked the wall. But do we know
The leaves less cruel-the root less beautiful?
Sometimes it seems as if there grew
In the dull garden of my mind
A tree like this, which, singing with delicate leaves,
Yet cracks the wall with cruel roots and blind.
Sometimes, indeed, it appears to me
That I myself am such a tree . . .'

. . . And as we hear from Senlin these strange words
So, slowly, in the sunlight, he becomes this tree:
And among the pleasant leaves hang sharp-eyed birds
While cruel roots dig downward secretly.

6

Rustling among his odds and ends of knowledge
Suddenly, to his wonder, Senlin finds
How Cleopatra and Senebtisi
Were dug by many hands from ancient tombs.
Cloth after scented cloth the sage unwinds:
Delicious to see our futile modern sunlight
Dance like a harlot among these Dogs and Dooms!

First, the huge pyramid, with rock on rock
Bloodily piled to heaven; and under this
A gilded cavern, bat festooned;
And here in rows on rows, with gods about them,
Cloudily lustrous, dim, the sacred coffins,
Silver starred and crimson mooned.

What holy secret shall we now uncover?
Inside the outer coffin is a second;
Inside the second, smaller, lies a third.
This one is carved, and like a human body;
And painted over with fish and bull and bird.
Here are men walking stiffly in procession,
Blowing horns or lifting spears.
Where do they march to? Where do they come from?
Soft whine of horns is in our ears.

Inside, the third, a fourth . . . and this the artist,-
A priest, perhaps-did most to make resemble
The flesh of her who lies within.
The brown eyes widely stare at the bat-hung ceiling.
The hair is black, The mouth is thin.
Princess! Secret of life! We come to praise you!
The torch is lowered, this coffin too we open,
And the dark air is drunk with musk and myrrh.
Here are the thousand white and scented wrappings,
The gilded mask, and jeweled eyes, of her.

And now the body itself, brown, gaunt, and ugly,
And the hollow scull, in which the brains are withered,
Lie bare before us. Princess, is this all?
Something there was we asked that is not answered.
Soft bats, in rows, hang on the lustered wall.

And all we hear is a whisper sound of music,
Of brass horns dustily raised and briefly blown,
And a cry of grief; and men in a stiff procession
Marching away and softly gone.

7

'And am I then a pyramid?' says Senlin,
'In which are caves and coffins, where lies hidden
Some old and mocking hieroglyph of flesh?
Or am I rather the moonlight, spreading subtly
Above those stones and times?
Or the green blade of grass that bravely grows
Between to massive boulders of black basalt
Year after year, and fades and blows?

Senlin, sitting before us in the lamplight,
Laughs, and lights his pipe. The yellow flame
Minutely flares in his eyes, minutely dwindles.
Does a blade of grass have Senlin for a name?
Yet we would say that we have seen him somewhere,
A tiny spear of green beneath the blue,
Playing his destiny in a sun-warmed crevice
With the gigantic fates of frost and dew.

Does a spider come and spin his gossamer ladder
Rung by silver rung,
Chaining it fast to Senlin? Its faint shadow
Flung, waveringly, where his is flung?
Does a raindrop dazzle starlike down his length
Trying his futile strength?
A snowflake startle him? The stars defeat him?
Through aeons of dusk have birds above him sung?
Time is a wind, says Senlin; time, like music,
Blows over us its mournful beauty, passes,
And leaves behind a shadowy reflection,-
A helpless gesture of mist above the grasses.

8

In cold blue lucid dusk before the sunrise,
One yellow star sings over a peak of snow,
And melts and vanishes in a light like roses.
Through slanting mist, black rocks appear and glow.

The clouds flow downward, slowly as grey glaciers,
Or up to a pale rose-azure pass.
Blue streams ****** down from snow to boulders,
From boulders to white grass.

Icicles on the pine tree melt
And softly flash in the sun:
In long straight lines the star-drops fall
One by one.

Is a voice heard while the shadows still are long,
Borne slowly down on the sparkling air?
Is a thin bell heard from the peak of silence?
Is someone among the high snows there?

Where the blue stream flows coldly among the meadows
And mist still clings to rock and tree
Senlin walks alone; and from that twilight
Looks darkly up, to see

The calm unmoving peak of snow-white silence,
The rocks aflame with ice, the rose-blue sky . . .
Ghost-like, a cloud descends from twinkling ledges,
To nod before the dwindling sun and die.

'Something there is,' says Senlin, 'in that mountain,
Something forgotten now, that once I knew . . .'
We walk before a sun-tipped peak in silence,
Our shadows descend before us, long and blue.
Asphyxiophilia Jul 2013
It's 3 am and you're restless again. Your thoughts wander briskly through the fields of memories of him and you find yourself picking each one and holding it delicately in your palm. The lights from the streetlamps outside your window peek through the blinds and illuminate synthetic stars onto your ceiling which you count like each kiss he ever placed on your cheek. Your legs are wrapped up in your sheets like the way they used to tangle around his ankles every evening. You roll onto your side and attempt to close your eyes once more, calling out to a peaceful slumber that has been evading you for weeks when suddenly, you hear a whistle in the distance. You open your eyes again to see the stars growing into spotlights that threaten to swallow you like black holes, but without the mystery. You immediately grab your wrists out of fear that you unconsciously took a blade to them but you are greeted by scars that have been forming for approximately three years (and eleven months). Your heart threatens to pound its fist through your chest as you slowly turn to see what the source of the light is. Just as your shoulders align with your mattress, a man steps from what appears to be a train engine and greets you with a nod of his head.
"Good evening, sleeping beauty," he begins sweetly, "I have come to extend an invitation to the night train."
You bring your hands to your eyes and attempt to wipe the hallucination away from your vision but when you open them again, you see the man gazing intently.
"It is my understanding that this is your first meeting with the night train," he states as he waits for you to supply an answer.
You nod your head.
"Well, my dear, the night train is here to offer a sweet elixir to cure this sleepless evening. You see, the night train's purpose is to supply the recipient ("that's you," he says behind his hand) exactly twenty minutes of time spent anywhere of their choosing. And then, once the time is up, the recipient must board the train once more, and will be met with approximately eight hours of uninterrupted slumber." He pauses as an assurance that you are following along, so you nod your head slightly. "However, the catch, you see, is that if the recipient does not board the train at the end of the twenty minutes, they will find themselves trapped in a restless oblivion with the promise of never again finding the comfort of sleep." A slight smile tugs at his lips as he tilts his head out of sympathy. "This may not seem to be much of a threat considering you are currently wrapped up tightly in your bed, but I assure you it will be tempting to remain within the place of your choosing, despite the whistle of the night train."
Unsure of what else to do, you nod your head once more.
"Alas, now we must be on our way, because the countdown begins in exactly three minutes! So I urge you to think quickly of where you would like to be taken!"
As though the train has suddenly run into your chest, the meaning of the opportunity that has been placed in front of you knocks the wind out of you. Before the conductor even finished his sentence, you knew exactly where you wanted to go, so you swing your legs to the side of the bed and push yourself upright.
"I would like to be taken to July 13th at precisely 2:32 in the morning," you say quickly as you flatten your restless hair to your head and straighten the t-shirt you are wearing.
"Very well, very well. Now board the train, my dear. And we'll be off to the morning of July 13th, but I urge you not to forget your time limit of twenty minutes!" He places his hand on your back and ushers you into the train, guiding you to a red velvet seat lined with golden stitching. Once you are comfortable, he disappears into the cabin and blows the whistle before pulling out of the station that is your bedroom.
With no warning at all, you feel a tightening in the pit of your stomach and before you even have time to clench, you are sitting on a rooftop overlooking a vibrant city.
"I just don't know anymore. It's like- It's like everything I once knew has been flipped upside-down and I'm just expected to be okay with it. But I'm not."
You blink a few times in an effort to adjust to the sudden deja-vu that causes your head to swim in the memory of an evening you have constantly waded in.
He is sitting with one leg tucked beneath him and the other dangling over the edge, as though even his limbs can't decide whether they want to take the fatal plunge or not. His hair was always absent of color, the kind of black that made you question the material of the universe because even the night sky couldn't compare to the degree of darkness; but it seemed to be doing just that as it laid haphazardly across his pale forehead. His bony fingers are clutching a nearly empty bottle of gin which he brings to his lips between sentences. He continues speaking as though you didn't just appear out of thin air beside him.
"My mum doesn't even pretend to understand anymore. I've heard her mention boarding school at least three times this week, despite my constant refusal to even speak of it. She knows the walls in the apartment are paper thin, so I know she brings it up because she knows I can hear it. But I don't want to hear it."
You notice the vacant look in his eyes as he stares into the horizon, like a hotel room that has been emptied of every belonging, including the light bulbs. He uses his free hand to adjust the collar of his leather jacket before taking another swig of the gin.
"I just can't stay there anymore, and she knows that. Deep down, she knows I can't stay there now that he's gone. I just can't."
His voice is as hollow as his chest as he uses his tongue to wet his lips before turning his head slightly to look at you.
"I wish you could come with me, I really do. It would be quite the adventure, the kind that we used to dream of having. But I can only afford one ticket out of town."
He places the bottle on the ledge, dangerously close to the edge, before resting his sweaty palm on your exposed thigh. His eyes travel from your legs to your forehead, and he leans forward to place a kiss on it, but he misses and falls into your lips. Just like before, your hands land on either side of his face, catching him before he falls completely, and you suddenly find yourself exploring the warm cavern of his vulnerability. His tongue swirls around your own and you taste the bite of the alcohol on his breath but this is the moment you have always craved so you soak up every bit of it. He pulls away just as your heart starts to tremble, and he wipes his mouth with his sleeve before picking the bottle up again and stealing a drink.
"I wish you could come with me," he says again, his eyes now focused on the street below. "But I fear I can only afford one ticket out of town."
Just then, you hear a whistle, but the timing isn't right. This is the moment you would have died to change, and now you've been given a second opportunity, but you can feel it slipping away.
You lean towards him, softly placing your hand on his arm.
"Come with me. We can go anywhere in the world that you please, and I promise it'll be better than here or there if we're together. Because I can't go where you're going, because I can't pay that price, but I want to go away with you, I do."
You search his empty expression, hoping to grab some string of familiarity that you can use to pull him back to reality, but his eyes are locked on the parallel lines beneath.
The whistle grows louder, this time stinging your eardrums, and you know that your time is running short, but you can't let him go.
"You don't have to go back to your apartment, you don't have to go back to your mum. We can runaway tonight, together. You and me, just the way it was always meant to be."
Your voice is shaking and desperate, getting louder with each word that you speak as the whistle blows from behind you, threatening to leave.
Just then, a hand falls upon your shoulder, and for a second you allow yourself to glance over, and it is in that second that the body before you tips over the rooftop's edge. Your heart falls like a weight in your stomach, just like on the evening this event first occurred, anchoring you to the cement and preventing you from going after him. The conductor who now stands behind you grabs your torso and pulls you backwards as you scream his name into the night sky. You kick against his hold as he drags you back onto the train and into the velvet seat again.
This time, you were unable to hear his body land on the pavement.
This time, you weren't able to look down and see his hands lying ten feet away from the rest of his body.
This time, you didn't get to perch on the edge and contemplate for hours joining him.
This time, you couldn't blame yourself for being speechless, for letting him be the star of his shining moment, because you attempted to be his Juliet.
You didn't realize you were still screaming until the conductor grabbed your shoulders with his hands and shook you quickly.
"Quiet my dear, I fear it is time to go. And I was unwilling to allow you to remain any longer, but I fear you will only be receiving six hours of peaceful slumber."
You look at him sternly, unsure how he can continue to speak of this ****** night train and its guidelines after you just watched the love of your life commit suicide for the second time.
You take a deep breath before speaking, "I don't understand the point of this, why bring me here if I couldn't change anything? Why allow me to relive this if it didn't make a difference?"
He smiles sympathetically before beginning, "oh but it did. You see, for three and a half years you have been tossing and turning, wondering what you would have done differently and if you would have been able to change it. But you see, the past isn't something that can be changed. It can only be relived again and again within the minds of those who continue to contain it, and the pain of the past and the memories that come along with it will feel just as real as the day they happened if you continue to dwell on them. Eventually you will see that tonight made a significant difference, because you were finally able to recreate the scenario that you always dreamed."
Your mind is running at a faster speed than the train as it makes its way back to your bedroom, and you can't seem to comprehend what the conductor is saying.
"So you're telling me that the whole reason behind this was to show me that he was going to die whether or not I tried to convince him otherwise?"
He places a gentle hand on your shaking shoulder and replies, "the reason behind this was to allow you to finally put the past behind you and grant yourself the pleasure of peaceful slumber. Because you see, my dear, there is no such thing as the night train. It is merely a figment of your imagination. Deep inside you, you realize that nothing you said could have changed that night, but you needed to dream another possibility in order to believe it. Now believe it."
"But I-" you begin to speak but in the blink of an eye, you're suddenly sitting on the side of your bed, your shoulders no longer shaking. You blink again, trying to make sense of everything. You bring your hands to your face and feel your cheeks, reassuring yourself that you still exist. You look around once more, noticing the stars upon your ceiling twinkling as though they are winking at you like the conductor of a mysterious night train. But you realize that you are in your bedroom, in your t-shirt, as though you never moved beyond that point. And you find that you're unsure whether it was all a dream, or whether you really did go for a ride on a night train, but you decide to lie back down and attempt to sleep anyways.
And six hours later, you find yourself awaking from a very peaceful slumber.
the house next door makes me
sad.
both man and wife rise early and
go to work.
they arrive home in early evening.
they have a young boy and a girl.
by 9 p.m. all the lights in the house
are out.
the next morning both man and
wife rise early again and go to
work.
they return in early evening.
By 9 p.m. all the lights are
out.

the house next door makes me
sad.
the people are nice people, I
like them.

but I feel them drowning.
and I can't save them.

they are surviving.
they are not
homeless.

but the price is
terrible.

sometimes during the day
I will look at the house
and the house will look at
me
and the house will
weep, yes, it does, I
feel it.
Jack Apr 2015
~

Precious is the light of every distant star we see
For they are the passageway that brings your love to me
Tiny points a’ sparkling upon the evening sky
Perfect constellations that we both see passing by
~
Miles lie between us as we stand upon this ground
Only in the evening when we can not hear a sound
Do we see the shimmering of heavens up above
Bringing to our very hearts our long desired love
~
Darkness now we find that it shall always be our friend
So that we may use the stars upon our love to send
Silent is the evening that our eyes do come to meet
Whispering affection over nighttime skies we greet
~
Beauty comes in many forms to lighten up our day
Only when the twilight smiles and sends the sun away
Will the stars come shining down from canopies of night
And we find the love we seek now glowing in their light
~
Stand with me this evening even if the clouds exist
Shower me within your love for it I surely miss
Here beneath the galaxies and their most precious view
*So that we may once again embrace our love so true
Mr Zeal Dec 2015
Today was Hard
Today was ruff
Today Was Cold
Today was luck
Today was God
Today was Much
Today was Lost
But Today was enough

.This evening was wrong
This evening was Me
This evening i Thought
This Evening i know your not Pleased
This Evening I'm Soaked
This Evening is Notes
This Evening is all In smoke
but This Evening was Enough

Tonight I get it
Tonight I'm Repenting
Tonight I repented
Tonight I Thank you
Tonight was Distant
Tonight your Close
Tonight I wonder if your Closer then i'm thinking
Tonight Will I make it
Tonight will you take me
Tonight was bad
Tonight I'm in deep thinking
But Tonight Was Enough I Thank you for Showing Me how A Good Day should be..
Marian Jul 2013
The smell of hibiscus blooms
Fragrance the beautiful evening
From somewhere in the distance
The strings of the ukulele can be heard
Lone tropical girls dance to its beautiful melody
And I begin to play my ukulele too
And I too begin to dance
On that beautiful evening
When the sky had fallen asleep
With a faint sunset in the west
And the salty breezes blew
Across each beautiful palm tree
Such a beautiful evening I can see
Only in the silver cord
Of my mind's eye

**~Marian~
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

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

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

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
The light is slowly fading from the sky.
There is the steady hum of cars passing by.
The birds are tuning up for their evening symphony,
And as a plane flys by it takes the lead.
A dog snuffles around the corner looking for something to eat,
Or perhaps a bunny to chase then she looks at me.
A beautiful evening no rain autumn is coming in.
Another day is done again with evening creeping in.
Bee Aug 2015
Evening
Evening slowly comes with his tiny and soft paws
Like a child
Trying not to awake the darkness.
You always let the evening in.
Because you‘re afraid
That he will get cold
Always
Always
Let the evening in.
tonight we gather
to mark a
commencement day

four decades on
from a late June
afternoon

exchanging
embraces and
bon voyage wishes

departing a grand
chandeliered Rivoli
embarcadero

bound
to glorious
destinations

our bold sails
welling with
youthful
exuberance
in pursuit of
dreams
and intrepid
endeavors

our life
journeys
are blessed
with rich
abundance,
the grace of
challenge and
the gift of days

this evening
as we reconnect
to share the joys
and wisdom gleaned
from well lived lives
we will also celebrate
in multicolored splendor
the lives of classmates
who have commenced
journeys to other
destinations

though their
earthly sojourn
is complete
passed friends
remain alive
in our memory

surely the spirits
of the beloved
will walk this
room tonight

forever young
their quiet presence
will gently touch
tender hearts

they’ll appear
as they once looked
on their finest day

and as we relive
the bits of our lives
we shared with
one another

we may feel
the grasp of a
warm hand
as we once did
during that
snowy evening
west end walk

we’ll dance with them again
around Tamblyn Field bonfires
gyrating in a shared
ecstatic ebullience

we’ll applaud most likely
to succeed lives
most beautiful smiles
and crack up
to the hilarity of
class clown jokes

we’ll taste the kiss
of an after dark
Lincoln Park
rendezvous

groove to the
rock steady
beat of a
bad company tune  

we’ll submerge again
in a Yellow Submarine
to embark on an epic
Greenwich Village
journey

we’ll roll down
the shore on old
Thunder Road
windows open
hair blowin
radio blastin

we’ll taste the sweet sip
of Cherry Cokes
and Root Beer floats
at Roadrunners

chasing lost love salty tears
spilled over ***** upperclass home boys
and the soft blush sentiment of a
first French kiss

wouldn't it be nice
to swoon to the
fantasy and
winsome yearnings
of favorite
summer songs

filling our head’s
with mind
blowing collages
starring
team mates
drama club
second takes
heady chess club
checkmates

we’ll marvel at the disruption of
premillennial breakthrough science projects
created by pocket protected slide ruling
entrepreneurial math wizards

we'll recall droll gossip
by drab hall lockers
dim gym showers
awkward dances
Yippie people power

patriotic assemblies
cool sharp dressers
right on brother
Que Pasa lil sista

rock and roll album covers
Simon and Garfunkel poetics
Go Go Boots kickin
FM radio psychedelics

Midnight Confessions
emphatically blared
from the cafeteria jukebox
Civil Rights, Earth Day
and righteous
anti war activism

tribes of hoods, Ra’s,
jocks, artistes and tie dye hippies
everything is groovy
lets get a sandwich at Ernie’s

first carnal explorations
Moody Blue Tuesday trysts
man could she speak German
boy do I dig her dress

we did hard time together
at split session detention centers
ate chocolate chip cookies
cracked up to Mr. Thomas’s
Ides of March tragedy

took first tokes and
sips of Boones Farm
we partied hard
and did no harm

admired academic brainiacs
and the civic commitment
of student govie reps
shut down the gubmint
was never a threat 

basketball rumbles
Bulldog football
**** Ludwig soccer teams
nimble cheerleaders

leggy majorettes
kick *** marching band fanfares
compelling masquer presentments
Park Avenue wayfarers

they were
crew mates
on The Soul Boat
rode shotgun
to Midnight Rambler
Doobie Concerts

cruised hard in
the Root Hog
Rat Raced Louie
in tiny white Pintos

we booked
many a mile
with our lost
friends

on the road to
this evening

authoring
volumes of
fabled odysseys
and fantastic
recollections

their stories
are our stories
telling our stories
keeps them alive

some may say
gone too soon
but the measure of
a well lived life
is not counted
in days, nor
accomplishments

but how one has loved
and how much one was loved

quietly there
always with us
forever to be
a wholesome
part of us

as the brothers
from Cooley High
would say

lets tip a sip
for the brothers
and sisters who
ain’t here….

God bless
Godspeed
enjoy the evening
vaya con dios mis amigos

Music Selection:
Pat Metheny
Mas Alla


RHS 74
Class Reunion
Elks Club
Rutherford
11/29/14
Somewhere deep in mountains,
Tallest pine trees still do grow,
Is the place she still is living,,
Mystery Princess Evening Flow.

Hear the streams swift flowing,
Where clouds still hang and go,
Deep immersed inside the forest,
Lives the lovely Evening Flow.

High are the gods and heavens,
Where we still can touch the sky,
Icecaps cover on  the mountains,
In this the very few know.

Traveled far in hopes to find her,
Wanting to see where she lives,
Comes a broken man still searching,
For the Princess Evening Flow.

In the chance of finding the magic,
Where the fairies still live and breathe,
Just around the corner is she coming,
To let us see what legends unfold.

Once a lonely, lost man stumbling,
Once a drifter so cast out to sea,
Now this time to like a hunter,
For the mesmerizing lady Flow.

When I find her how I'll shutter,
Just to have a dream come true,
Nothing lost if all we find there,
Someday seeing a world unknown.

Evening Flow who lives in legends,
Must now live deep in my soul,
Someday I will behold her essence,
Princess beauty Evening Flow.
Marian Mar 2013
In the beginning God created the
heaven and earth.
2 And the earth was without form,
and void; and darkness was upon the
face of the deep. And the Spirit of
God moved upon the face of the
waters.
3 And God said, Let there be
light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it
was good: and God divided the light
from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day,
and the darkness he called Night. And
the evening and the morning were the
first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a
firmament in the midst of the waters,
and let it divide the waters from the
waters.
7 And God made the firmament,
and divided the waters which were
under the firmament from the waters
which were above the firmament: and
it was so.
8 And God called the firmament
Heaven. And the evening and the
morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters
under the heaven be gathered
together unto one place, and let the dry
land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land
Earth; and the gathering together of
waters called he Seas: and God
saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth
bring forth grass, the herb yielding
seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit
after his kind, whose seed is in itself,
upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth
grass, and herb yielding seed after his
kind, and tree yielding fruit,
whose seed was in itself, after his
kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the
morning were the third day.
14 And God said, Let there be
lights in the firmament of the heaven
to divide the day from night; and
let them be for signs, and for seasons,
and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the
firmament of the heaven to give light
upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great
lights; the greater light to rule the day,
and the lesser light to rule the night:
he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the
firmament of the heaven to give light upon
the earth.
18 And to rule over the day and
over the night, and to divide the light
from the darkness: and God saw that
it was good.
19 And the evening and the
morning were the fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the waters
bring forth abundantly the moving
creature that hath life, and fowl that
may fly above the earth in the open
firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great
whales, and every living creature that
moveth, which the waters brought
forth abundantly, after their kind, and
every winged fowl after his kind: and
God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying,
Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the
waters in the seas, and let fowl
multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the
morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth
bring forth the living creature after his
kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and
beast of the earth after his kind: and
it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the
earth after his kind, and cattle after
their kind, and every thing that
creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and
God saw that it was good.
26 And God said, Let us make
man in our image, after our likeness:
and let them have dominion over the
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of
the air, and over the cattle, and over
all the earth, and over every
creeping thing that creepeth upon the
earth.
27 So God created man in his own
image, in the image of God created
he him; male and female created he
them.
28 And God blessed them, and
God said unto them, Be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth, nd
subdue it: and have dominion over the
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of
the air, and over every living thing
that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have
given you every herb bearing seed,
which is upon the face of all the earth,
and every tree, in the which is the fruit
of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall
be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth,
and to every fowl of the air, and to
every thing that creepeth upon the
earth, wherein there is life, I have
given
every green herb for meat: and
it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that
he had made, and, behold, it was very
good. And the evening and the
morning were the sixth day.
daniel f Aug 2013
On those drawn out summer evenings, all manner of characters would fill the coffee shops and spill outside. An interesting cross section of society would be provided for anyone willing to sit and watch, for an hour or two atleast. This particular evening will always stand out for me as representative of those carefree folly filled evenings. I was sat alone, with a copy of the evening news and an espresso across the street from a boisterous coffee shop which remained opened deep into the evening, long after others were closed. I often sat and watched people in those early few months, Id decided against socialising with colleagues. I would go to great lengths to prearranged fictitious plans and engagements in order so that I could sit alone each evening, pleasing myself. It's always far easier to enjoy food alone, without any distractions. After considering my options I settled for a steak, and a glass of wine. The waiter seemingly unconcerned failed to take note as I gave my order, with a shrug of his head he returned to the kitchen inside to place the order. The cafe I watched was perched almost perfectly across the street from the train station. As commuters and young couples in love poured out of the station, and onto the bright expanse which was the street before them. The popularity of this particular cafe is hard to convey correctly, it's frantic nature remained even on the bleakest of midwinter evenings. Now though months of bread and water were long gone, as seasonal waiters hurried arms filled will all manner of snacks and drinks.  All manner of agricultural workers would congregate in early march, eager to snap up work in the best hotels and cafes thus ensuring a healthy wage and generous tips. The waiters from the mountains always stood out. It was as if they retained the innocence of there previous surroundings, smiling all coy when taking orders from female customers. They retained the physical attributes of the mountains which they had left, towering above others and maintaining a mystique which often meant they would return in November with wives and child aswell.




By now it was half past eight atleast, and I had finished my steak and wine. The traffic was in the process of slowing down, although it was not uncommon here for traffic jams to form at any hour of the evening. Car horns echoed and ricocheted off old architecture which gave an impression of immense movement all around.  The owner was a beast of a man standing six foot high atleast, with a beard which gave away his rugged beginnings. It was impossible to estimate his origin correctly, Id always imagined he was from somewhere in Northern Europe although by now I had learnt that assumptions were the preserve of fools. He could most often be found pacing up and down the pavement adjacent to his cafe, smoking his camel blue cigarettes and staring deep into the night sky. As if preoccupied with some great moral dilemma this could go on for hours of end, without him breathing a word to anyone.  Under a great mane of curly brown hair, lay the most enthralling blue eyes imaginable. They had a softness which would not seem out of place upon the face of some Parisian muse. Although I must confess when first confronted with this gentleman an his almost childlike appearance, I was adamant I had him figured. He seemed the kind of man who blundered through life, although successful still seemed to be scraping an unenviable existence for himself.

By now I had stuck around long enough to get some feel for the pitter patter of life in just such a place. The transient nature of the customers ensured a bravado unseen in any old small town watering hole, women driven wild by spontaneous desire stared sultry at the mysterious visitors.
A crew of sailors who had no doubt been granted shore leave, and were soaking up the atmosphere just across the road from me. They could have been from any South American nation, or Spain. It really was impossible to tell from my distance, a few had clearly cultivated moustaches whilst at sea. It was common for sea faring people's to grow ****** hair in such a manner. Almost as if by magic, a story told by someone without a beard holds subtle undertones of irrelevance. I had learned this over the many months I had spent smoking and talking to locals, and travellers alike. I must confess I had fallen hook line and sinker, I was currently locked in the process of cursing my genetics and dreaming of a more rugged appeal.

By now the black coffees had petered out, and had been replaced by glasses and in some cases bottles of what I can only assume was Spanish red wine. The noise had steadily increased as the drinks flowed, and the crowd of sailors had gradually grown more and more boisterous in there escapades . A few feet away the manager stared intently at the revellers, as if the warn them without words of being too careless in a foreign city. The ever present owner done very little to deter the actions of the pack, who's numbers by now had been swelled from another dozen or so sailors who happened to be walking in the right direction.  The sailors leered shamelessly at the local women, whilst the more forward of them made there own advances. Still the manager stood smoking and staring as if to catch the sight of one of them. Now to the wary eyes of a man returned from a long voyage this would seem like a place, where desire became a priority above all else. This would be an entirely accurate assumption although, if the surface was scratched significantly an underbelly of immorality could be found. For the sailors though, whom were just passing through unlikely to ever return this mattered very little. There only concern was draining themselves on some unsuspecting women, or if so required a *******.

It's hard to say exactly how the altercation was initiated, although I suspect the cat calls of a few sailors had pushed one local over the edge. Whilst the promise of conflict ensured a crowd would gather the bar owner remained just away from the ruckus as if picking his moment. The sailors numbered in 20 or so, and fuelled by red wine and continental beer seemed more than willing to put up a fight. A waiter who had tried to act as mediator between the parties had given up, and left for the roadside and had lit up a cigarette. For a few minutes atleast it looked as though the scuffle would be forgotten and laughed about over eggs at breakfast. There was a barrage of shouting and pulling as the locals slowly lost their temper. By now many people had stopped to stare at the spectacle, this is where I must confess things got really strange. As I have previously stated I have no real idea what brought all of this on, that is to say I have no idea what set the process in motion. It was a well known fact that in times of violence the locals would protect each other with a ferocity and loyalty which could see the most able bodied men come unstuck. I had ordered myself a cream cake, and was skimming through the news from London when I heard a blood chilling yell. I spied the previously placid manager leaving the door which lead to his apartment above the cafe. With the confidence of a man without obligation he sauntered toward the group of sailors. I did not see the knife, I must confess I assumed this old man would take quite a beating at the hands of these sailors. Oh I was wrong, a young sailor fell to the ground silent, as his green shirt went claret with blood. In disbelief his comrades stood around, unsure exactly what to do. The crowd assembled gasped as if to share collective disbelief, the manager had managed to slip off somewhere without provoking any attention. Over the next twenty five minutes an ambulance arrived although I feel even the paramedics knew that this was more an exercise in keeping up appearances than saving any lives. They surely knew that there was very little they could do for this poor boy away from home. Police officers milled around, It was safe to say the bar owner would never be brought to anything like justice for this although, the general consensus was that anyone who got stabbed more than likely deserved it in someway or another. As for the manager  he had long been bundled into the back of some old pre war car and taken far beyond the cries and disdain of world weary sailors. No doubt to reappear a week or so later.
my ipad was running out of battery so I had to wrap it up
(Yes I am acutely aware of how terrible that makes me sound)
Daniel Thorne Apr 2015
The Sun leaves auburn shadows,
There's purple clouds in sight,
The evening fades down the skyline,
We lose the golden light.

Purple paints down the horizon,
The sun, not putting up a fight,
The evening's gone and this day is done,
And now it's time for night.
As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
"Love has no ending.

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

"I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

"The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world."

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
"O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

"In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

"In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

"Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

"O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

"Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

"O look, look in the mirror?
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

"O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart."

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.
Sally A Bayan Jun 2018
* * *
* *
*

Faces of friends, of people i met earlier
are  glittering stars on this late evening's
dark blue sky...their smiles are tattooed
in my mind...they're  hunched, going
lower by the days...slowed down by years.
it must be hard and painful...the arching,
the drooping of the neck, the curving spine,
they endure all, 'til each day's end...they rise
each new dawn...do what they still can do,
lest they stagnate in their aging ponds,
diminish to a state, where food, pills, or
forgotten information are forced on them,
......like drugs, injected into the veins

........................
these wee hours bring back the years...
they  have been good...never mind the
hard times...there were, there are good ones
life is a long, wide stream of changing hues,
flowing on and on....my water bears the
colors each new day brings...gray, at times
with sadness and gloom....other days,
blacked by despair...some summers, red,
roseate with glee, or green with life and
hope...blue, when trust is spilling, and
the tranquil sea and sky overwhelm,
with a promise of stability..........white,
when accepting......the unacceptable...
........................
the amber grains and i, are alike
ripened enough to be plucked
be pulled out from an existence...the
signs are known...shown...yet, i wait
for when it is due to happen...and while
waiting, the stalks sway, play and dance  
and enjoy the sun and wind...and i,
while i still can...walk, jump, climb hills
and valleys in this mammoth space
of land and water.............called life
...................
the sounds of my days, i still hear,
i am a lute, a harp, a cello...playing
off-key.....out of tune at times,
my strings are my graying hair,
i still can't stop dying the gray
i still want to highlight the dark,
but, one day, all these will cease...
............
one night, my face will be in one of those
many stars...glittering on a dark blue sky
sending a smile, to my loved ones...
...................
there is no other way, but forward
all are headed....towards an end...


Sally



© Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
      June 26, 2018
...ahhh, the rains...do make us reflect longer on life...
September Roses Jul 2018
As the sun slowly sets
The precursor to the week
With deadlines,
                            Orders,
                            ­               Oh so bleak
The calm before the storm
  Too restless to enjoy
For everybody knows
     It's sunday's melancholy ploy

    Responsibilities loom overhead
     Our heart as heavy as the air
      The world has now gone silent
              We sit in subtle fear
’Twas noontide of summer,
  And midtime of night,
And stars, in their orbits,
  Shone pale, through the light
Of the brighter, cold moon.
  ’Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
  Her beam on the waves.

  I gazed awhile
  On her cold smile;
Too cold—too cold for me—
  There passed, as a shroud,
  A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
  Proud Evening Star,
  In thy glory afar
And dearer thy beam shall be;
  For joy to my heart
  Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
  And more I admire
  Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.
L B Jul 2018
An early evening gust
broke the back of the day's blaze
Still 90 degrees at eight
in orange haze
Sweat runs down my neck
Through the gorge between my *******
The wind lifts my linen shirt
runs its hands along my sides
reviving memory
of Forest Park
of a blanket in the grass

Where the pines trace
so many faces
Crackling popping kids
stolen matches, running
screaming victorious!
Blowing tin cans up with fire crackers
Bicycles, sparklers, fireworks at dusk
That whole afternoon
I spent hammering caps

Noise really makes us kids
really
especially
annoying

Mom wants us out!
Gone! All of us!
No needs. No excuses!
No cookies! No slices of bologna!
“No more Kool Aid!
Out now!
Out!”

That evening I tried
to dismiss the itchy sweat
of stupid-sister-Suzy-matching-sun-suits
at Gino's family picnic
When some kid
(I don't know?)
between the rigatoni and the sweet corn
Some kid
tosses a sparkler
into box of fireworks
I don't know?
whether to cry or laugh
I was pretty scared
Rockets going off across the lawn
and onto porch
Craze of colors through the trees
Some at eye-level horror!
But the sight of Aunt Nedda
diving under picnic table
Stockings, garter belt upended
Capsized beyond her caring
of uplifted dress

Some images just stay with you, ya know?

July 4th always lands for me
on a firework's ***
"Caps"  are little red rolls of gunpowder dots, originally made to give a snap to toy guns of the 1950s.  We figured out that by layering them and using a hammer, you could get a bigger crack.

— The End —