Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Ormond Jun 2012
Lovers entered a forbidden forest bower,
And as they stalked that range, with eyes glazed,
She offered up her hind. Now, with doe eyes,
Deep as his, deep in arousal's sleep, heels fell, 
As he knocked and pulled her dark honey hair 
And whispered, surrender, into wanting ears, 
Softly he drove his hunting command, homing 
To his huntress.

Her body braced, yet bade, with heat and vibrance.
Ruthlessly, he ****** his arrow deeper and then 
Once more and then again.  She bucked fiercely 
And defiant, goading his prodding lance ever more
Ever longer, and parting the pink lines of her white
Rose, he was, and once again, Prince to the dark
Dominion of her quarters.

In the middle of this carnal match they paused.
And looking into the forest beyond they saw
A yearling fawn, a feral Goddess, grazing still, 
Bathing in a vale, virginal, wholly unmoved 
By their act of venery, lustfully playing, in the innocent 
Leaves.  It was as if they were among her kin, a gentle 
Doe and a noble stag. From that moment on 
The human hunters did not speak.

Falling, again, rolling eyes were deep in arousal's sleep.
Her back was a crescent moon pocked and wet with dew.
He could feel her heart beating in time with his piercing 
Prong, her arching back glistened in the suns spittle
As it broke through the dark and vernal ceiling wood.

In the final shot her quivering buck lowered and broke
And a sound not heard, made a scene, a sweet murmuring
Shuddered and sank onto the floor of the forest leaves 
With her tale, taken and told, her breathless breath, 
Her nostrils cold and her heated and lanced openings 
Dripping, draining; here was a New World’s beginning.

Sated, solemn and softly quaking, his woman sweetly laid,
And now, doomed with her doe eyes, two lovers, fated, made;
She glowed, divine, like the rolling brook that mellowed
Slow, in the vine-dark and golden forest stable,
In Artemis’s wood.
How strange to greet, this frosty morn,
In graceful counterfeit of flower,
These children of the meadows, born
Of sunshine and of showers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And she, when spring comes round again,
By greening ***** and singing flood
Shall wander, seeking, not in vain
Her darlings of the wood.
Nothing Much Jan 2015
I met a girl with flowers in her hair
not a crown or a clip, but cherry blossoms
they bloomed from her ears and her scalp and the hollow of her neck
she was a garden of eden

I met a girl with flowers in her hair
and roots that ran all the way down through her feet
they never held her in place
instead, they made the earth upon which she stood her home

I met a girl with flowers in her hair
who let summer sunbeams catch her eyes
as they glistened among ferny tendrils
until the autumn came
Not super proud of this one.
nichole r Jun 2014
her lips were as red as the blood dripping from a fresh wound.
they were as dark as anger and as passionate as love.
they ignited fires, if only under his skin.
they glistened in the light, as she swept her tongue across.
they were all he wanted, all he aspired for.
he watched her painted lips form the soft p's and round o's
of their everyday language.
he watched her lips pull back with sheer happiness
and he found himself grinning along with her.
she took something so common, like pouting with distaste,
and made it so astonishingly glorious.
again, part of a story I wrote told in poetry.
ConnectHook Feb 2016
by John Greenleaf Whittier  (1807 – 1892)

“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits which be Angels of Light are augmented not only by the Divine Light of the Sun, but also by our common Wood fire: and as the celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same.”

COR. AGRIPPA, Occult Philosophy, Book I. chap. v.

“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow; and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight; the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.”


EMERSON

The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.

Meanwhile we did our nightly chores, —
Brought in the wood from out of doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Raked down the herd’s-grass for the cows;
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
Impatient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold’s pole of birch,
The **** his crested helmet bent
And down his querulous challenge sent.

Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingàd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.

So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature’s geometric signs,
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below, —
A universe of sky and snow!
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant spendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa’s leaning miracle.

A prompt, decisive man, no breath
Our father wasted: “Boys, a path!”
Well pleased, (for when did farmer boy
Count such a summons less than joy?)
Our buskins on our feet we drew;
With mittened hands, and caps drawn low,
To guard our necks and ears from snow,
We cut the solid whiteness through.
And, where the drift was deepest, made
A tunnel walled and overlaid
With dazzling crystal: we had read
Of rare Aladdin’s wondrous cave,
And to our own his name we gave,
With many a wish the luck were ours
To test his lamp’s supernal powers.
We reached the barn with merry din,
And roused the prisoned brutes within.
The old horse ****** his long head out,
And grave with wonder gazed about;
The **** his ***** greeting said,
And forth his speckled harem led;
The oxen lashed their tails, and hooked,
And mild reproach of hunger looked;
The hornëd patriarch of the sheep,
Like Egypt’s Amun roused from sleep,
Shook his sage head with gesture mute,
And emphasized with stamp of foot.

All day the gusty north-wind bore
The loosening drift its breath before;
Low circling round its southern zone,
The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone.
No church-bell lent its Christian tone
To the savage air, no social smoke
Curled over woods of snow-hung oak.
A solitude made more intense
By dreary-voicëd elements,
The shrieking of the mindless wind,
The moaning tree-boughs swaying blind,
And on the glass the unmeaning beat
Of ghostly finger-tips of sleet.
Beyond the circle of our hearth
No welcome sound of toil or mirth
Unbound the spell, and testified
Of human life and thought outside.
We minded that the sharpest ear
The buried brooklet could not hear,
The music of whose liquid lip
Had been to us companionship,
And, in our lonely life, had grown
To have an almost human tone.

As night drew on, and, from the crest
Of wooded knolls that ridged the west,
The sun, a snow-blown traveller, sank
From sight beneath the smothering bank,
We piled, with care, our nightly stack
Of wood against the chimney-back, —
The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,
And on its top the stout back-stick;
The knotty forestick laid apart,
And filled between with curious art

The ragged brush; then, hovering near,
We watched the first red blaze appear,
Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam
On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,
Until the old, rude-furnished room
Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom;
While radiant with a mimic flame
Outside the sparkling drift became,
And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree
Our own warm hearth seemed blazing free.
The crane and pendent trammels showed,
The Turks’ heads on the andirons glowed;
While childish fancy, prompt to tell
The meaning of the miracle,
Whispered the old rhyme: “Under the tree,
When fire outdoors burns merrily,
There the witches are making tea.”

The moon above the eastern wood
Shone at its full; the hill-range stood
Transfigured in the silver flood,
Its blown snows flashing cold and keen,
Dead white, save where some sharp ravine
Took shadow, or the sombre green
Of hemlocks turned to pitchy black
Against the whiteness at their back.
For such a world and such a night
Most fitting that unwarming light,
Which only seemed where’er it fell
To make the coldness visible.

Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
The frost-line back with tropic heat;
And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
The merrier up its roaring draught
The great throat of the chimney laughed;
The house-dog on his paws outspread
Laid to the fire his drowsy head,
The cat’s dark silhouette on the wall
A couchant tiger’s seemed to fall;
And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons’ straddling feet,
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October’s wood.

What matter how the night behaved?
What matter how the north-wind raved?
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire’s ruddy glow.
O Time and Change! — with hair as gray
As was my sire’s that winter day,
How strange it seems, with so much gone
Of life and love, to still live on!
Ah, brother! only I and thou
Are left of all that circle now, —
The dear home faces whereupon
That fitful firelight paled and shone.
Henceforward, listen as we will,
The voices of that hearth are still;
Look where we may, the wide earth o’er,
Those lighted faces smile no more.

We tread the paths their feet have worn,
We sit beneath their orchard trees,
We hear, like them, the hum of bees
And rustle of the bladed corn;
We turn the pages that they read,
Their written words we linger o’er,
But in the sun they cast no shade,
No voice is heard, no sign is made,
No step is on the conscious floor!
Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust,
(Since He who knows our need is just,)
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through his cypress-trees!
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
Nor looks to see the breaking day
Across the mournful marbles play!
Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,
The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
That Life is ever lord of Death,
And Love can never lose its own!

We sped the time with stories old,
Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told,
Or stammered from our school-book lore
“The Chief of Gambia’s golden shore.”
How often since, when all the land
Was clay in Slavery’s shaping hand,
As if a far-blown trumpet stirred
Dame Mercy Warren’s rousing word:
“Does not the voice of reason cry,
Claim the first right which Nature gave,
From the red scourge of ******* to fly,
Nor deign to live a burdened slave!”
Our father rode again his ride
On Memphremagog’s wooded side;
Sat down again to moose and samp
In trapper’s hut and Indian camp;
Lived o’er the old idyllic ease
Beneath St. François’ hemlock-trees;
Again for him the moonlight shone
On Norman cap and bodiced zone;
Again he heard the violin play
Which led the village dance away.
And mingled in its merry whirl
The grandam and the laughing girl.
Or, nearer home, our steps he led
Where Salisbury’s level marshes spread
Mile-wide as flies the laden bee;
Where merry mowers, hale and strong,
Swept, scythe on scythe, their swaths along
The low green prairies of the sea.
We shared the fishing off Boar’s Head,
And round the rocky Isles of Shoals
The hake-broil on the drift-wood coals;
The chowder on the sand-beach made,
Dipped by the hungry, steaming hot,
With spoons of clam-shell from the ***.
We heard the tales of witchcraft old,
And dream and sign and marvel told
To sleepy listeners as they lay
Stretched idly on the salted hay,
Adrift along the winding shores,
When favoring breezes deigned to blow
The square sail of the gundelow
And idle lay the useless oars.

Our mother, while she turned her wheel
Or run the new-knit stocking-heel,
Told how the Indian hordes came down
At midnight on Concheco town,
And how her own great-uncle bore
His cruel scalp-mark to fourscore.
Recalling, in her fitting phrase,
So rich and picturesque and free
(The common unrhymed poetry
Of simple life and country ways,)
The story of her early days, —
She made us welcome to her home;
Old hearths grew wide to give us room;
We stole with her a frightened look
At the gray wizard’s conjuring-book,
The fame whereof went far and wide
Through all the simple country side;
We heard the hawks at twilight play,
The boat-horn on Piscataqua,
The loon’s weird laughter far away;
We fished her little trout-brook, knew
What flowers in wood and meadow grew,
What sunny hillsides autumn-brown
She climbed to shake the ripe nuts down,
Saw where in sheltered cove and bay,
The ducks’ black squadron anchored lay,
And heard the wild-geese calling loud
Beneath the gray November cloud.
Then, haply, with a look more grave,
And soberer tone, some tale she gave
From painful Sewel’s ancient tome,
Beloved in every Quaker home,
Of faith fire-winged by martyrdom,
Or Chalkley’s Journal, old and quaint, —
Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint! —
Who, when the dreary calms prevailed,
And water-**** and bread-cask failed,
And cruel, hungry eyes pursued
His portly presence mad for food,
With dark hints muttered under breath
Of casting lots for life or death,

Offered, if Heaven withheld supplies,
To be himself the sacrifice.
Then, suddenly, as if to save
The good man from his living grave,
A ripple on the water grew,
A school of porpoise flashed in view.
“Take, eat,” he said, “and be content;
These fishes in my stead are sent
By Him who gave the tangled ram
To spare the child of Abraham.”
Our uncle, innocent of books,
Was rich in lore of fields and brooks,
The ancient teachers never dumb
Of Nature’s unhoused lyceum.
In moons and tides and weather wise,
He read the clouds as prophecies,
And foul or fair could well divine,
By many an occult hint and sign,
Holding the cunning-warded keys
To all the woodcraft mysteries;
Himself to Nature’s heart so near
v That all her voices in his ear
Of beast or bird had meanings clear,
Like Apollonius of old,
Who knew the tales the sparrows told,
Or Hermes, who interpreted
What the sage cranes of Nilus said;
A simple, guileless, childlike man,
Content to live where life began;
Strong only on his native grounds,
The little world of sights and sounds
Whose girdle was the parish bounds,
Whereof his fondly partial pride
The common features magnified,
As Surrey hills to mountains grew
In White of Selborne’s loving view, —
He told how teal and loon he shot,
And how the eagle’s eggs he got,
The feats on pond and river done,
The prodigies of rod and gun;
Till, warming with the tales he told,
Forgotten was the outside cold,
The bitter wind unheeded blew,
From ripening corn the pigeons flew,
The partridge drummed i’ the wood, the mink
Went fishing down the river-brink.
In fields with bean or clover gay,
The woodchuck, like a hermit gray,
Peered from the doorway of his cell;
The muskrat plied the mason’s trade,
And tier by tier his mud-walls laid;
And from the shagbark overhead
The grizzled squirrel dropped his shell.

Next, the dear aunt, whose smile of cheer
And voice in dreams I see and hear, —
The sweetest woman ever Fate
Perverse denied a household mate,
Who, lonely, homeless, not the less
Found peace in love’s unselfishness,
And welcome wheresoe’er she went,
A calm and gracious element,
Whose presence seemed the sweet income
And womanly atmosphere of home, —
Called up her girlhood memories,
The huskings and the apple-bees,
The sleigh-rides and the summer sails,
Weaving through all the poor details
And homespun warp of circumstance
A golden woof-thread of romance.
For well she kept her genial mood
And simple faith of maidenhood;
Before her still a cloud-land lay,
The mirage loomed across her way;
The morning dew, that dries so soon
With others, glistened at her noon;
Through years of toil and soil and care,
From glossy tress to thin gray hair,
All unprofaned she held apart
The ****** fancies of the heart.
Be shame to him of woman born
Who hath for such but thought of scorn.
There, too, our elder sister plied
Her evening task the stand beside;
A full, rich nature, free to trust,
Truthful and almost sternly just,
Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act,
And make her generous thought a fact,
Keeping with many a light disguise
The secret of self-sacrifice.

O heart sore-tried! thou hast the best
That Heaven itself could give thee, — rest,
Rest from all bitter thoughts and things!
How many a poor one’s blessing went
With thee beneath the low green tent
Whose curtain never outward swings!

As one who held herself a part
Of all she saw, and let her heart
Against the household ***** lean,
Upon the motley-braided mat
Our youngest and our dearest sat,
Lifting her large, sweet, asking eyes,
Now bathed in the unfading green
And holy peace of Paradise.
Oh, looking from some heavenly hill,
Or from the shade of saintly palms,
Or silver reach of river calms,
Do those large eyes behold me still?
With me one little year ago: —
The chill weight of the winter snow
For months upon her grave has lain;
And now, when summer south-winds blow
And brier and harebell bloom again,
I tread the pleasant paths we trod,
I see the violet-sprinkled sod
Whereon she leaned, too frail and weak
The hillside flowers she loved to seek,
Yet following me where’er I went
With dark eyes full of love’s content.
The birds are glad; the brier-rose fills
The air with sweetness; all the hills
Stretch green to June’s unclouded sky;
But still I wait with ear and eye
For something gone which should be nigh,
A loss in all familiar things,
In flower that blooms, and bird that sings.
And yet, dear heart! remembering thee,
Am I not richer than of old?
Safe in thy immortality,
What change can reach the wealth I hold?
What chance can mar the pearl and gold
Thy love hath left in trust with me?
And while in life’s late afternoon,
Where cool and long the shadows grow,
I walk to meet the night that soon
Shall shape and shadow overflow,
I cannot feel that thou art far,
Since near at need the angels are;
And when the sunset gates unbar,
Shall I not see thee waiting stand,
And, white against the evening star,
The welcome of thy beckoning hand?

Brisk wielder of the birch and rule,
The master of the district school
Held at the fire his favored place,
Its warm glow lit a laughing face
Fresh-hued and fair, where scarce appeared
The uncertain prophecy of beard.
He teased the mitten-blinded cat,
Played cross-pins on my uncle’s hat,
Sang songs, and told us what befalls
In classic Dartmouth’s college halls.
Born the wild Northern hills among,
From whence his yeoman father wrung
By patient toil subsistence scant,
Not competence and yet not want,
He early gained the power to pay
His cheerful, self-reliant way;
Could doff at ease his scholar’s gown
To peddle wares from town to town;
Or through the long vacation’s reach
In lonely lowland districts teach,
Where all the droll experience found
At stranger hearths in boarding round,
The moonlit skater’s keen delight,
The sleigh-drive through the frosty night,
The rustic party, with its rough
Accompaniment of blind-man’s-buff,
And whirling-plate, and forfeits paid,
His winter task a pastime made.
Happy the snow-locked homes wherein
He tuned his merry violin,

Or played the athlete in the barn,
Or held the good dame’s winding-yarn,
Or mirth-provoking versions told
Of classic legends rare and old,
Wherein the scenes of Greece and Rome
Had all the commonplace of home,
And little seemed at best the odds
‘Twixt Yankee pedlers and old gods;
Where Pindus-born Arachthus took
The guise of any grist-mill brook,
And dread Olympus at his will
Became a huckleberry hill.

A careless boy that night he seemed;
But at his desk he had the look
And air of one who wisely schemed,
And hostage from the future took
In trainëd thought and lore of book.
Large-brained, clear-eyed, of such as he
Shall Freedom’s young apostles be,
Who, following in War’s ****** trail,
Shall every lingering wrong assail;
All chains from limb and spirit strike,
Uplift the black and white alike;
Scatter before their swift advance
The darkness and the ignorance,
The pride, the lust, the squalid sloth,
Which nurtured Treason’s monstrous growth,
Made ****** pastime, and the hell
Of prison-torture possible;
The cruel lie of caste refute,
Old forms remould, and substitute
For Slavery’s lash the freeman’s will,
For blind routine, wise-handed skill;
A school-house plant on every hill,
Stretching in radiate nerve-lines thence
The quick wires of intelligence;
Till North and South together brought
Shall own the same electric thought,
In peace a common flag salute,
And, side by side in labor’s free
And unresentful rivalry,
Harvest the fields wherein they fought.

Another guest that winter night
Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light.
Unmarked by time, and yet not young,
The honeyed music of her tongue
And words of meekness scarcely told
A nature passionate and bold,

Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide,
Its milder features dwarfed beside
Her unbent will’s majestic pride.
She sat among us, at the best,
A not unfeared, half-welcome guest,
Rebuking with her cultured phrase
Our homeliness of words and ways.
A certain pard-like, treacherous grace
Swayed the lithe limbs and drooped the lash,
Lent the white teeth their dazzling flash;
And under low brows, black with night,
Rayed out at times a dangerous light;
The sharp heat-lightnings of her face
Presaging ill to him whom Fate
Condemned to share her love or hate.
A woman tropical, intense
In thought and act, in soul and sense,
She blended in a like degree
The ***** and the devotee,
Revealing with each freak or feint
The temper of Petruchio’s Kate,
The raptures of Siena’s saint.
Her tapering hand and rounded wrist
Had facile power to form a fist;
The warm, dark languish of her eyes
Was never safe from wrath’s surprise.
Brows saintly calm and lips devout
Knew every change of scowl and pout;
And the sweet voice had notes more high
And shrill for social battle-cry.

Since then what old cathedral town
Has missed her pilgrim staff and gown,
What convent-gate has held its lock
Against the challenge of her knock!
Through Smyrna’s plague-hushed thoroughfares,
Up sea-set Malta’s rocky stairs,
Gray olive slopes of hills that hem
Thy tombs and shrines, Jerusalem,
Or startling on her desert throne
The crazy Queen of Lebanon
With claims fantastic as her own,
Her tireless feet have held their way;
And still, unrestful, bowed, and gray,
She watches under Eastern skies,
With hope each day renewed and fresh,
The Lord’s quick coming in the flesh,
Whereof she dreams and prophesies!
Where’er her troubled path may be,
The Lord’s sweet pity with her go!
The outward wayward life we see,
The hidden springs we may not know.
Nor is it given us to discern
What threads the fatal sisters spun,
Through what ancestral years has run
The sorrow with the woman born,
What forged her cruel chain of moods,
What set her feet in solitudes,
And held the love within her mute,
What mingled madness in the blood,
A life-long discord and annoy,
Water of tears with oil of joy,
And hid within the folded bud
Perversities of flower and fruit.
It is not ours to separate
The tangled skein of will and fate,
To show what metes and bounds should stand
Upon the soul’s debatable land,
And between choice and Providence
Divide the circle of events;
But He who knows our frame is just,
Merciful and compassionate,
And full of sweet assurances
And hope for all the language is,
That He remembereth we are dust!

At last the great logs, crumbling low,
Sent out a dull and duller glow,
The bull’s-eye watch that hung in view,
Ticking its weary circuit through,
Pointed with mutely warning sign
Its black hand to the hour of nine.
That sign the pleasant circle broke:
My uncle ceased his pipe to smoke,
Knocked from its bowl the refuse gray,
And laid it tenderly away;
Then roused himself to safely cover
The dull red brands with ashes over.
And while, with care, our mother laid
The work aside, her steps she stayed
One moment, seeking to express
Her grateful sense of happiness
For food and shelter, warmth and health,
And love’s contentment more than wealth,
With simple wishes (not the weak,
Vain prayers which no fulfilment seek,
But such as warm the generous heart,
O’er-prompt to do with Heaven its part)
That none might lack, that bitter night,
For bread and clothing, warmth and light.

Within our beds awhile we heard
The wind that round the gables roared,
With now and then a ruder shock,
Which made our very bedsteads rock.
We heard the loosened clapboards tost,
The board-nails snapping in the frost;
And on us, through the unplastered wall,
Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall.
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do
When hearts are light and life is new;
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew,
Till in the summer-land of dreams
They softened to the sound of streams,
Low stir of leaves, and dip of oars,
And lapsing waves on quiet shores.
Of merry voices high and clear;
And saw the teamsters drawing near
To break the drifted highways out.
Down the long hillside treading slow
We saw the half-buried oxen go,
Shaking the snow from heads uptost,
Their straining nostrils white with frost.
Before our door the straggling train
Drew up, an added team to gain.
The elders threshed their hands a-cold,
Passed, with the cider-mug, their jokes
From lip to lip; the younger folks
Down the loose snow-banks, wrestling, rolled,
Then toiled again the cavalcade
O’er windy hill, through clogged ravine,
And woodland paths that wound between
Low drooping pine-boughs winter-weighed.
From every barn a team afoot,
At every house a new recruit,
Where, drawn by Nature’s subtlest law,
Haply the watchful young men saw
Sweet doorway pictures of the curls
And curious eyes of merry girls,
Lifting their hands in mock defence
Against the snow-ball’s compliments,
And reading in each missive tost
The charm with Eden never lost.
We heard once more the sleigh-bells’ sound;
And, following where the teamsters led,
The wise old Doctor went his round,
Just pausing at our door to say,
In the brief autocratic way
Of one who, prompt at Duty’s call,
Was free to urge her claim on all,
That some poor neighbor sick abed
At night our mother’s aid would need.
For, one in generous thought and deed,
What mattered in the sufferer’s sight
The Quaker matron’s inward light,
The Doctor’s mail of Calvin’s creed?
All hearts confess the saints elect
Who, twain in faith, in love agree,
And melt not in an acid sect
The Christian pearl of charity!

So days went on: a week had passed
Since the great world was heard from last.
The Almanac we studied o’er,
Read and reread our little store
Of books and pamphlets, scarce a score;
One harmless novel, mostly hid
From younger eyes, a book forbid,
And poetry, (or good or bad,
A single book was all we had,)
Where Ellwood’s meek, drab-skirted Muse,
A stranger to the heathen Nine,
Sang, with a somewhat nasal whine,
The wars of David and the Jews.
At last the floundering carrier bore
The village paper to our door.
Lo! broadening outward as we read,
To warmer zones the horizon spread
In panoramic length unrolled
We saw the marvels that it told.
Before us passed the painted Creeks,
A   nd daft McGregor on his raids
In Costa Rica’s everglades.
And up Taygetos winding slow
Rode Ypsilanti’s Mainote Greeks,
A Turk’s head at each saddle-bow!
Welcome to us its week-old news,
Its corner for the rustic Muse,
Its monthly gauge of snow and rain,
Its record, mingling in a breath
The wedding bell and dirge of death:
Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale,
The latest culprit sent to jail;
Its hue and cry of stolen and lost,
Its vendue sales and goods at cost,
And traffic calling loud for gain.
We felt the stir of hall and street,
The pulse of life that round us beat;
The chill embargo of the snow
Was melted in the genial glow;
Wide swung again our ice-locked door,
And all the world was ours once more!

Clasp, Angel of the backword look
And folded wings of ashen gray
And voice of echoes far away,
The brazen covers of thy book;
The weird palimpsest old and vast,
Wherein thou hid’st the spectral past;
Where, closely mingling, pale and glow
The characters of joy and woe;
The monographs of outlived years,
Or smile-illumed or dim with tears,
Green hills of life that ***** to death,
And haunts of home, whose vistaed trees
Shade off to mournful cypresses
With the white amaranths underneath.
Even while I look, I can but heed
The restless sands’ incessant fall,
Importunate hours that hours succeed,
Each clamorous with its own sharp need,
And duty keeping pace with all.
Shut down and clasp with heavy lids;
I hear again the voice that bids
The dreamer leave his dream midway
For larger hopes and graver fears:
Life greatens in these later years,
The century’s aloe flowers to-day!

Yet, haply, in some lull of life,
Some Truce of God which breaks its strife,
The worldling’s eyes shall gather dew,
Dreaming in throngful city ways
Of winter joys his boyhood knew;
And dear and early friends — the few
Who yet remain — shall pause to view
These Flemish pictures of old days;
Sit with me by the homestead hearth,
And stretch the hands of memory forth
To warm them at the wood-fire’s blaze!
And thanks untraced to lips unknown
Shall greet me like the odors blown
From unseen meadows newly mown,
Wood-fringed, the wayside gaze beyond;
The traveller owns the grateful sense
Of sweetness near, he knows not whence,
And, pausing, takes with forehead bare
The benediction of the air.

Written in  1865
In its day, 'twas a best-seller and earned significant income for Whittier
The Mermaid (Part One)

The evening was cool
and the sky was so clear
And ripples of waves
were all I could hear

The moon shone bright
and stars twinkled on high
Then from out of nowhere
came so seductive a sigh

I looked out to sea
to whence this sound came
And my eyes did believe
they were playing a game

For as waves lapped around
a rock out at sea
I saw a beautiful vision
who was staring at me

Naked as love
she sat all alone
On that rising edifice
of black granite stone

Her body so wondrous
that I shook with such lust
But a smile so pure
that my thoughts were unjust

Her hair was entangled
with luscious green kelp
That protected her modesty
without man-made help

It hung down over *******
so excitingly full
And covered the parts
that are made to enthral

My mind quickly taken
by this girl of my dreams
But as I looked closer
all was not as it seems

For legs this beauty
was completely bereft
And a long fishy tail
was all she had left

Then with a smile
that made my heart still
She slipped into the water
and I saw she was real

For she dived like a dolphin
under azure sea
And all that was left
were the ripples and me



The End........or is it?



The Mermaid (Part Two)

The man with the tear soaked eyes walked along the beach for the thousandth time, his hands were shaking and his lips quivering in the cold, he constantly looked out to sea, where was she, would she ever return, would she mend his broken heart. He had but caught a fleeting glimpse of this beauty as she preened herself on that ancient granite rock, but a glimpse was all it had taken; he was completely besotted by this angel from the deep.
Even now, weeks after the event he could still see every tiny detail of his wondrous vision, the sparkling brown eyes that outshone the sun, and the kelp entangled hair that seemed to be alive with light and glistened with the reflection from the moon. Her heaving ******* that had caused the man in him to want her body for his own ****** pleasures, and that oh so innocent smile that had replaced the pure animal lust within him with a more protective desire to take her in his arms and cherish her.
He had not kept her appearance a secret, he had told everyone he had met, and he had talked and talked and talked. He wanted to tell everyone about his dream girl, his mermaid from the deep, his beautiful fish tailed siren. But would they listen to him? The answer was no, a resounding no. He was laughed at, ridiculed, pointed at and made out to be the village idiot, just because he wanted to share what he had seen. But he didn’t care, he would see her again, he knew he would see her again; he had to see her again, otherwise, well otherwise he would go crazy.
Another tear ran down his face as he once again looked at the vacant rock where his angel had once sat and realised that maybe they were right, maybe he was mad, just a demented old fool, someone that had let his dreams overtake reality. His heart wrenched tear fell to the sand and along with his hopes and dreams soaked into nothingness; He turned away and looked no more, he must preserve his sanity at all costs so he walked away and returned to the boredom of his sad uneventful life.
So he was not there an hour later when a ripple formed in the water as a dream like beauty pulled herself from the sea and perched on her favourite granite rock. She looked around, but he was not there, maybe it was her imagination but she was sure she had seen love in his eyes, maybe if she waited he would return, but no, she was being foolish, she slipped off the rock once more and plunged deep into the dark forbidding sea, back to reality she told herself, back in the water where nobody could see her tears.

The End
The beautiful, the fair, the elegant,
Is that which pleases us, says Kant,
Without a thought of interest or advantage.

I used to watch men when they spoke of beauty
And measure their enthusiasm. One
An old man, seeing a ( ) setting sun,
Praised it ( ) a certain sense of duty
To the calm evening and his time of life.
I know another man that never says a Beauty
But of a horse; ( )

Men seldom speak of beauty, beauty as such,
Not even lovers think about it much.
Women of course consider it for hours
In mirrors; ( )

A shrapnel ball -
Just where the wet skin glistened when he swam -
Like a fully-opened sea-anemone.
We both said 'What a beauty! What a beauty, lad'
I knew that in that flower he saw a hope
Of living on, and seeing again the roses of his home.
Beauty is that which pleases and delights,
Not bringing personal advantage - Kant.
But later on I heard
A canker worked into that crimson flower
And that he sank with it
And laid it with the anemones off Dover
her eyes glistened
with the light of
a thousand stars.

they told me
she was not enough.

her scars were painted
across her canvas called skin -
each one unique to itself.

they desperately
cried out for help.

her glossed lips smiled softly,
pulling her ****** features
into a jovial facade;
allowing a melodious
voice to fill the air

it said
"i'm okay, thank you for asking."

- v.m
she is incredible and doesn't deserve to feel like anything less. she is you. you are incredible. keep reminding yourself of this until you believe it.
Steven Y Burris Oct 2012
To whom it may concern,

     I am alone.  Although it may never quite seem that way, both night and day I am confined to solitude.  These past six years hitherto have been filled with nothing more than the fictional characters in my texts and the short pleasantries granted in passing by dismal men, women, and even children that occupy my days.  Each morning, as the dawn breaks, I wake up disgusted with myself in that same manner which sundry men and women have.  It is not the loneliness, however, that disgusts me.  No, I do believe I have grown quite fond of the residual silence.  Instead, I believe it to be the dull monotony of my routine that has left me truly disturbed.  The days have begun to fade in with each other, along with the nights---especially the nights.  I cannot say, for instance, whether or not it was last evening or that of a day three months afore that I was seated at my desk, much like I am now, finishing the latest draft of a poem in my journal.  Nor could I tell you the present date, although the heat of the day, still trapped in the rafters, is so persistent that I am obliged to say it must be one of those blue summer nights when children run, squealing, through the streets, like plump pigs to the trough.  I have become somewhat of a hermit, secluded in my small, run-down apartment above my bodega.  My mind has grown as wild as the violet petunias, bridging the gap over the narrow, brick walk which separates my garden--- as the myriad of dandelions that have invaded the surrounding lawn.
     Throughout the day I work the till in my shop, observing the assorted physiognomies that populate the three small isles.  As they walk up and down, deciding what they most desire, I, too, contemplate to myself, deciding the few whom I might admire should I get the chance.  I often attempt to strike up conversations with my customers, much to their dismay.  I comment on the weather, the soccer scores from a recent game, or perhaps a story from the local section of the Post & Courier, only to receive terse responses and short payments.  However, I never let these failed attempts at congenial conversation discourage me.  Day after day, I persist.
     The nights are easier.  Although I do not attend the boisterous bars spread out amongst the small restaurants and boutiques that line the narrow city streets as I once did, I often drink.  Seated alone, armed with a liter of Ri, two glasses, one with small cubes of ice and one without, and a pen; I waste my nights scribbling down nearly every thought that leaps into my inebriated mind.  My prose has yet to show any real promise, but my thirst to transcend from this pathetic, pseudo-intellectual literature student struggling with his thesis into something more drives me to ignore those basic desires, defined by Maslow as needs; venturing out and exploring the community that I inhabit or talking to another person as a friend.  So I sit, night after night, at the foot of this large bay window, looking out onto the tired faces of the busy street below.  I sit, night after night, tracing the streaks of red light from the tails of passing cars, imprinted in the backs of my eyelids like sand-spurs stuck in a heel.
     I can recall a time when my flat was not the dank, dimly lit hole in the wall that it has become today.  A time, not too distant, when the rich chestnut floorboards glistened beneath the fluorescent pendant lights, when champagne dripped like rain from the white coffers in the blue ceiling, and music shook the walls and rattled the windows.  Men and women alike would wander through the rooms, inoculated by my counterfeit Monet's and their glasses of box wine.  When not entertaining, I wrote.  At long length I sat beneath my window, proliferating prose or critiquing a classmate's from workshop, but those days have passed.  The floors no longer shine; instead they lay suffocating under piles of fetid clothes.  The halls no longer echo with the rhythmic chorus of an acoustic guitar or the symphonies of men and women's laughter;  the lights are burnt out, the paint is peeling off the walls, and the homages are concealed beneath vast fields of mildew and mold.  Puddles of whiskey sit unattended on the granite countertops around the bottoms of corks for weeks, allowing the strong scent to foster and waft freely through the air ducts into the store below.  The dilapidation that ensued after I stopped receiving visitors was not just of the home, however. Worse yet was the steady rot of my own mind.  Although I have often been referred to as "a bit eccentric," and often times folks would inquire if I had, "a ***** loose in [my] noggin," I have only recently begun to find myself walking about the neighborhood garden in the small hours of the morning more than occasionally.  Further still, it is only recently that I cannot remember how, or when, I came to be where I am. Whenever I do happen to roam the night, it appears as if I do it unbeknownst to myself, throughout the throes of my sleep.  Similarly, I have only just begun to notice that, often times while I attempt to write, I sit, talking feverishly---yelling at an empty bottle, until I find another to quench my thirst.  Luckily, there is always another bottle.
     Needless to say, these past few years have left me very tired, and, after much consideration, I have decided that it would be best if I were to "shuffle off this mortal coil."  However, much like Hamlet himself, I could never bring myself to act upon the feeling.  Though I often wonder about what awaits me after my last breath warms the winter of this world, the coward that I have become is in no hurry to find out.  Alors, I am left with one option: leave.  Though I am not yet brave enough to slip into that, the deepest of sleeps, I have gathered courage enough to walk throughout the day.
           Charon Solus
jane taylor May 2016
hitherto i naively challenged
my decision to enter an ominous existence
a vicious maze veiled in obscurity
inconceivable to navigate without the accumulation
of bruises, heartache, and psychic mutilation

the torment’s ache so unfathomable
i begged to evaporate beseeching death’s arrival
and with the dexterity of a masterful wizard
i magically spun threads of my shredded soul
into a mangled ball of mental lacerations

then stealthily in the opaque of the night
i rushed the frigid black ocean’s high tide
and deluging myself in the ebony water
i buried the battered ball
now deeply eclipsed in the onyx abyss

it sapped all my strength to hold it under
drowning in the wave’s of sea motion
stinging salt alive on my pours
gasping for air i surrendered my grip
releasing my marred orb of élan vital

capitulating to the sand on the beach
i ceded the fight and watched the sphere roll
unraveling it glistened against the white sand
an opalescent tapestry lit by twilight
mirroring the stars against the coal sky

in the lustrous lunar midnight
reflected back by silver moonlight
littered with specks of fluorescent insight
astonished i drew in my breath as i read
words interlaced in the untangled web

the wounds are there
creating a looking glass
peer in
and you will heal
your own consciousness

©2016janetaylor
I remember sitting by the lake, my legs pulled against me in the darkness.
The sky flashing above me and the wind whispering through the air.
So many feelings in one night...
The water glistened with each strike of lightening and shook with each deep rumble of thunder.
The grayness of it all was enough to make any and all wonders unparalleled in my mind.
I wish I was on a boat in the storm feeling each and every motion of the water.
I wish I could have felt it breathe in and out and cradle me in its arms.
I wish I could have tasted the moisture in the air and smelled the rain.
I know that no matter where I go, whenever I hear the rain that lake is quaking anxiously awaiting my return.
I trod on earth that sparkled
I waltzed beside the moon
Dancing in the universe
To a planetary tune

The comets sang a medley
A spatial serenade
All the heavens hummed the chorus
Thus a harmony was made

The sun joined in in baritone
A rich voice filled with light
The planets played a polka
As we danced into the night

Music swelled around us
In an orbital orchestra
A constellation conga line
The last thing that I saw

I woke from my deep slumber
As I slept beneath that sky
The starlit party glistened
A twinkling tango before my eyes

I woke from my deep slumber
As I slept beneath that sky
The starlit party glistened
A twinkling tango before my eyes
needs a new title?
Dorothy A Apr 2012
The first time that Evan laid eyes on her, he told himself that he was going to marry her. Embarrassed by his own fantasy, he quickly dismissed that thought as fast as it came to mind, telling himself what an idiot he was. Yet, from time to time, in spite of his reasoning, the thought would invade his skull.

What a dumb idea anyhow! It was just lame, teenage fantasyland! Girls did that kind of junk all the time, saying they were going to be Mrs. So-and-so, and thank God nobody could read his mind to know what he was dreaming up! Like she would marry him! He felt like a dumb ****, great in athletics, but far out of her league. Not even having the courage yet to ask a girl out on a date, and now he was already thinking of marriage! Pathetic! Really! Only a freshman in high school, he felt he should know better, lacking the good common sense his dad always tried to drive into him and had himself.

Ginny Delgado belonged with the smart kids, the brains of the school, although she seemed to stick more by herself, away from any stereotypical clique. Evan had first seen her in his biology class, and he remembered when other students wanted to copy off of her test papers. She never allowed any of that to happen, though, even if it would gain her popularity, false popularity but attention just the same.

It was a surprise to him that Ginny seemed to have few friends. Mostly, girls who were nerdy and smart did not seem very attractive or put together. Ginny seemed to have it all. She was smart and pretty, but she never identified with any of the girls who thought they were hot—and all other girls were not—and so she stood apart as one who shrouded herself in guarded aloofness.

And now here he was at his 20th high school reunion, one he really did not want to attend, but talked himself into going anyway. Perhaps, he could shoot the breeze and run into a few old buddies, his basketball friends. He didn't think that much of Ginny since he graduated from Fillmore, much less anybody from all those years ago. There really wasn’t any reason to reminisce once high school was behind him. School was not misery for Evan Stewart, but it wasn’t a time where everything seemed magical and carefree, not like for some students who looked upon those days as some of the fondest memories of their lives.

It was the class of ’92, and a huge banner displayed across one of the walls read, “Welcome back, class of 1992! Fillmore High School rules!” There was a good turnout, and Evan recognized a lot of people, although there were fewer that he knew by name.  

Sitting under dimly light lights, around a bunch of round tables, Evan now sat with the other alumni, stuck in a crowded hall with music blaring away from the early nineties. He had his overpriced meal. He had his few beers.

But what now?

He was almost bored to death. He was beginning to watch the clock more and more, scanning the room to see if he could possibly find reason to stay longer.  But then something happened that he never expected to happen, never even would have imagined it.

And, suddenly, his heart started to pick up its pace.

Was that her?

Evan thought he had made out the vague shape of a possibly familiar figure, an amazing and sudden surprise. Was that Ginny Delgado?

He wondered if he was seeing things as he intently stared across the room at the shadowy prospective of Ginger Delgado. But with the low amount of lighting, it just might not be her but someone he never even met before. How awkward would what be?

If it was Ginny, she was sitting next to a guy who seemed obnoxious and full of himself. Even from afar, he appeared to be a guy who would be in everyone’s face, with wild hand gestures, talking away and giving nobody else a chance for a word in edgewise.  If that really was Ginny, was that her husband? What a trip that would be! All the sense he once attributed to her would have to have gone out the window, if that were the case.

Sitting at Evan’s table were several of the other guys that were also heavy into high school basketball. Most were married and came with their wives—nobody was alone as Evan was—and now they all tried to act like they were thrilled to be all gathered together to show off their accomplishments. They were all passing around stories of life after high school, after basketball—some with talk of their college days, their wives, their kids, their jobs and careers—plenty of drinks to go around, and some toasting to the good, old days and to even brighter futures ahead. Evan was never married and did not have any children, so he felt he had much less to say. Most of those guys were not even very interesting, even though they tried to make it out that they had achieved so much in their lives. They may have been out of shape and past their prime, but all of them tried to act like they were the same as they were twenty years ago. None of what they all said impressed Evan at all, even though he tried to be interested.

He kept looking at the woman across the room, and the more he looked at her, the more he was convinced he was spot on about her. She had to be Ginny! He should just get up now and have the guts to ask her! But what would she say? Yes, I am Ginny Delgado, and this pushy **** next to me is my husband?

Though he was twenty years older, Evan felt just as awkward and as scared as he did in his freshman Biology class. It was better to just let the issue be. He’d rather save face than look like a total fool.

Suddenly, the unexpected occurred, something that gave Evan’s heart even more of a stir than he initially had when he spied her presence. Was it possible? Ginny now looked like she was starring back at him, as if they had somehow miraculously locked eyes and she had an uncanny ability to notice him back, from that afar off, now being transfixed onto him!  

You’ve really lost it now. What do you think, that she really notices you and remembers you?

Ginny stopped paying attention to the obnoxious man beside her and kept looking in Evan’s direction. She even reached her hand up and gave a little wave out his way.

Timidly, Evan waved back.

Standing up, Ginny started to make her way across the room. The obnoxious guy next to her looked on after her, like he could not believe she had wanted to part company with him. Evan guessed she was not his wife—thank God for that!

No, there is just no way she is coming over to talk to you. Alright, maybe she is. Get a hold of yourself now! Stop acting like a teenager and act like you actually know something about women. Come on, Evan! Get it together! She is coming.

Evan was right. It was Ginny Delgado! But she stopped short of his table to sit a down at the table in front of him, next to another fellow classmate of theirs, a female student that he vaguely remembered, though he did not know her name.

It was almost a relief she did not come to sit with him! Yet the disappointment was equally there. Seeing her more up close, Evan knew for sure it was Ginny. She was still quite pretty, perhaps even more so now, her medium brown hair and her dark purple dress complimenting each other. Not wanting to stare, Evan couldn’t help but to shoot many glances her way, without trying to be too obvious.
          
She smiled a lot, glad to talk to another person that she knew, and probably glad to be away from the guy she was stuck with before. Her eyes sparkled, and Evan never remembered ever seeing her so unguarded. In biology class, she was quiet, like he tended to be. Now she seemed so different, seemingly freer to be herself. Evan rarely saw her smile in high school, but thought she was very serious and sophisticated.

Before long, the DJ was now playing Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven. Couples at all tables were making their way to the dance floor. Soon, Ginny was approached by some guy who asked her to join him for a dance. She shook her head, no. Nonchalantly, the man turned to the woman that Ginny knew and asked her. She gladly accepted, said something to Ginny as if to have her permission and understanding, and then took the man’s hand to go to the dance floor. Ginny remained at the table by herself, looking on at the dancers with seemingly little regret that she declined an offer.

This might be your only chance, idiot. Are you going to blow it and be a wuss? Go up to her and tell her that you remember her. Go on! It is your perfect chance. What do you have to lose? If she isn’t interested, just go then. You’ve spent enough time here anyway!

“Hi…Ginny Delgado isn’t it?”

Evan asked as he approached her from behind. He cleared his throat. His voice had sounded so gravelly, as if he hadn’t uttered a single word all night. And his heart was beating a mile a minute, and he swore it must have been pulsating through his shirt. He was glad he put his suit jacket back on, for he was probably sweating like crazy.  

Ginny looked up, seemed to look puzzled, but then smiled a little. “I remember you!” she said with growing enthusiasm on her face. “Oh, but I’m sorry. You are going to have to tell me your name again”.

“Evan Stewart”, he replied. “We were in biology class together Remember? We were sophomores.”

A succession of slow songs was now being played, and Ginny’s friend was enjoying the time with her new dance partner. She certainly was in no hurry to make her way back to the table to rejoin sitting and talking with Ginny.

“Oh, sure! I remember now!” Ginny exclaimed. “Evan Stewart. Of course! You were the tall, shy guy that everyone liked because you knew how to win one for us. You were big into baseball, weren’t you?”

“Well, basketball was my best sport. I liked baseball, too, and track”, he replied humbly. It was amazing! She actually remembered more him than he thought she would!  “

Can I sit down and join you?” he asked, his courage and confidence growing.

“Oh, do!” Ginny replied, eagerly.

He felt like he was in seventh heaven. How cool was this? Sitting with Ginny Delgado? It was a bonus to a fairly descent reunion.

“So what have you been up to for the last twenty years?” Evan asked. His face was flush with embarrassment, as if he was just a guy who happened to luck out, but had no real skill in socializing with a woman he once fantasized about.

Ginny laughed a little, putting her hand up to her mouth as if her response was inappropriate. She responded, “You want a few hours? Or should I just give you a one word response?”

Evan smiled, blushing, as he tried to appear smooth and confident. “A one word response?” he asked.

“Yes. I can say it in one word—roller coaster….oops, that is two words”.

They both just sat there as I Can’t Make You Love Me, by Bonnie Raitt, played on.  

“Yeah…I guess I could say that about my life”, Evan agreed. “Would you like me to get you something from the bar?” he offered. “A coke or a beer?”

Ginny stared out onto the floor, as if she never heard him. “Isn’t it amazing how everyone comes to see the same people they always used to hang out with and still intend to hang out with to this day?” she asked. “How boring and predictable!”

Evan looked at her, puzzled, “What do you mean?”

Ginny continued to look out onto the floor, the music now upbeat dance music, and said, “Well, I mean you see all the football heroes all hanging out with each other. The members of the debate team are all huddled together as if they are preparing for the next debate. The cheerleaders, the drama club, the science club geeks…nothing has changed has it?”  

Evan shrugged his shoulders. “I guess that is typical. But that isn’t me. Sure, I saw some of the guys I played ball with, basketball, but the truth is I am not really that interested in hanging out with them.”

Ginny turned to look at him, her hazel eyes intent and solemn. Evan added, “I don’t have any contact with any of them. Nothing against them. I just don’t”.

They looked at each other in the eyes for a while. The silence was awkward. It was as Evan’s watching and waiting for her reply was the cue for Ginny to open up, and open up she did.

“I went to UCLA on a scholarship. I became a history major, world history, American history, women’s history. I never intended to teach, not at first. But it just seemed a good fit for me, and I have had plenty of teaching jobs, junior high school, high school. I moved to Sacramento.  I was briefly married after I got my first real teaching job there.”

Ginny’s eyes glistened. There was a pain in them that seemed locked in deep, not really wanting to expose itself too much, but coming out nonetheless.

Evan listened on, eagerly, so she went on, her gaze towards the dance floor “It did not work out. He cheated. He did it more than once and with more than one woman.  And now that I look back, I can see how wrong it all was, especially after my miscarriage. At first, I was so crushed, and I wanted to try again, for another baby, to try to please him, Jim, my husband. Thank God, I didn’t go on and on with him. I am glad I came back here…..back to Springdale.”

She looked back at Evan. He quickly looked away from her glance, his eyes downcast to the table. She wasn’t kidding. Her life was a roller coaster. He did not know what to say, felt so inadequate.

He decided to just share, in return.

”I was engaged once. It was a long engagement. She was a friend of a friend. Lana was her name. She told me she wanted to be with me, but she just wasn’t ready to make the big leap just right away. Actually, I am kind of glad now that I look back. We both owned our own shops. She was a hair stylist and I owned my own car repair shop, but that was about all we really had in common. I mean not really, even though we both liked sports a lot. We never seemed to agree on anything.”

Like he did, Ginny just listened intently, not attempting to make any reply. Evan added, “She was willing to cut me down in a second. I see that now”.

“Well how do you like that?!”

Evan and Ginny looked up as the woman that Ginny came over to see arrived back from the dance floor. She was walking, hand in hand, with her new found dance partner, fanning herself with her hand and laughing.

“Ginny’s got some company, too!” she exclaimed, beaming at Evan.    

Ginny replied, “Rhonda Flemming, this is Evan Stewart. She used to be Rhonda Boehner back in Fillmore”

Ginny turned to Evan to introduce him to her old classmate. “Evan…Rhonda. Evan, I don’t know if you two ever met each other before when we all went to school”.

“I’m not sure I have, either”, he replied, extending his hand to shake Rhonda’s. Rhonda quickly grabbed hold of his and gave it an overly enthusiastic shake.

“Hi, Evan!” she exclaimed "This handsome man next to me  is Brian. I never knew Brian until he asked me to dance!” she said excitedly. “And I am newly divorced and so is he! How strange is that?”

Brian shook Evan’s hand and then Ginny’s. “How’s it going?” he asked, grinning with embarrassment at Rhonda’s forward frankness.

“Ginny is one of the smartest people”, Rhonda went on to Evan and Brian. “We were once partners in an English class. We had to write a paper about each other. That was so fun in an otherwise booooooring class. Remember, Ginny?”

Ginny rolled her eyes, and made a shooing gesture with her hand to convey that Rhonda did not know what she was talking about. “I’m not as smart as anyone ever thought I was. I just worked hard and did my best, but thanks anyway for the compliment” , she said, modestly.  

“Oh, you were, too, Ginny!” Rhonda disagreed. She had a gleeful glint in her eyes. “Always so serious, Ginny Delgado! “

Rhonda grabbed Brian’s hand. “Hey, Brian and I are going to go mingle and walk around and see what trouble we can get into. You two want to join us?  

Ginny and Evan looked at each other as if to say “No way!” Ginny responded, “I think we are just fine here, but thanks”

Rhonda winked at her and then tugged at Brian’s hand. The pair of them went off together, leaving Evan and Ginny to themselves.

Evan smirked at Ginny, and then they both started cracking up with muffled laughter. Evan paused and then burst out laughing again. “Where did you find her?” he asked. A tear actually began to run down his face from laughing so hard, and he quickly wiped it away.

Ginny stopped laughing, tried to compose herself, but busted out with even more laugh
helenbreeden Jun 2018
I looked away.
I looked away from everything bad in my life.
And i saw it.
I saw the stars and the way they danced with each other.
The way they worked in harmony.
I gave into my heart.
I started thinking of you and the way your eyes glistened when the light hit it.
Or the way you smiled when you were talking about something you were passionate about.
All those times i took you for granted and didn’t take the time to think.

The stars aligned,
And my heart aligned with them.
The way the earth danced with the big dipper made me smile.
It made me happy.
Not like a dog seeing their human happy,
But a mother and father seeing their new born baby for the first time.
And that moment everything was right.
I stood staring at the stars instead of my phone.
The social media consumed me until i looked up and saw what was made for us to consume the beauty of.

We take pictures of it but we never admire it,
And one day when it's gone we will realize we should’ve seen the way it looked down at us.
Every night and throughout the day,
It never gives up.
And the way the stars never giving up in us,
Showing us art.
I found shelter from this cruel world.
After many times of falling short all i needed was a look at the stars.
And in star gazing i found everything i needed in life.
I found myself which was more than enough to get me by.
And in finding myself i found love through a constellation.
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
Penne Feb 2019
A dictionary of words
Thousands---infinites!
Little marks to describe a vast world
Lest not care of lacking logic
Aroused by imagination is my magic
Lemon zests the cornucopia of citrus
Are not they a splash of kalopsa?
Charisma, karma, euphoria?
Not allowed to bleed in blanc
Wail in rosy franc
Puddles of messed reflection
Fictions wonder reaction
Wander in the wildest wilderness
Describe the autumn, fall
Moist, solitary
Fawn on the lawn
Reality is the contrary
Refuge in the creamed sugar
Like a cup of iced kiss
Deep burrowed in the mapled hiss
Wait for its marmalade bliss
Head exploding in fireworks
Magnificent, what about nightfall?
Showers and streaks befall
Stars shoot smoke of ball
Cry tears of meteorites
Sprinkle the blinking sprites
Flow streams of sparkling silence
Swim the chasing glares
Enchant me in your chemise, evangelic skin
Leitmotif of mimes' maim, mean?
Speculate the pixelled fairies
Hide in the fruits of Alice
Spark at the dance of hands
Paint the faint trees
Baskets of floating sheep
Bounce in the enigmatic realm
Drooling in
As they transgress the egress
In chiffon blush flushed
Bittersweet caress
Bare grasslands with strangers
Wet the glory shine
Morning then hoots for sleep
Shush, weeping willows
Flowers of your scent hover the grove
Voices sweetly surrender
Linger for tender
Gloam or roam
River of innocence soul
Reaping the afterglow
Aglow my fountained lockes
Blur for it to be clearer
Illusions of ambiguity
As its lips meet the prism
Of brilliant optimism
Breathtaking fauvism
Breathless onism
Succumb in the limitless reverie
Rare of not having aneurysm
Persephone's persepolis
Blood of perenelia
Where Opheus court Eurydice
Winter solace holies
Lakes of beating lights
Bloom irregularly
As the sesquipedalian crawl out from its vine
In the Brobdingnagian it creeps
Line between sublime and wine
Harmony weave in palette
Rhythm rose from my red
Fresh breeze hush the roulette
Leaves blade the crafted well-made
Dusk, dawn to diiferentiate
Eclipse the hysteria and the impeccable
Love waltz
Glide the glistened clarity
Perfume lilies
Stares of lavenders
Rain the clouds of keys
Crystallizing and fractalizing
Mesmerize, astonish, aghast!
Rise your mile
Fragile my rile
Bridge this moonlit immeasurable, fantasia distance
Repertoire of piano choir
Luxury in the polychrome noir
Royal in the loyal wintermelon
Poppies color the spring
Butterflies fly in the effervescence
My painting sings a summer fling
Jump in the pantones
Rest your all
Stones amble swish scone
Wishes twinkle then hone
Will-o-wisps chill your bone
Lend me a wing
Let not be done in a ding
What I fear, free from the fringes of meek
My, this lexicon is not enough!
How to occupy the million, jillion, eternal galaxies
Shout in the rave
Echoing in the waves
Marvel at the bejewelled revel
Image my imagery
Oh, dive away child!
Let us drive in the garden of glaze
Careful not to be too amazed in the maze
In the hummed woodglade
As the critters flutter and flute
No way to chain me out of this loop
Pool of pretty astonishments
Diamonds of nature
Endure, not inure
Words alone are insufficient
These are just mere fantasies
Some are unexplainable
Some needs to be felt
Some needs to be seen
Not just read
Not just dreamt
I may sound dubious
But this is incredulous
Just a random collection of pretty words º-º
Sarita Crandall Oct 2012
Walking along the river bank, a boy found a dress,
Floating in the bleak water.
A colorless bundle of cloth.
In the moon light, he noticed the dress winking back at him.
The beads glistened off the water's reflection.
It looked serene and wholesome, like the sun rising on a cold winter's morning.
The ribbons acted as arms, waving hello.
The garment's creases and folds, revealed a silhouette.
All around, the noise came to a stand still.
The river's touch, made the dress move, twirl,
Dance.
He wanted to reach out and touch it, hold it.
He wanted to dance with it.
To feel the cloth melt at his finger tips.
As he extended his hand to grab the floating mystery,
He fell in.
Devoured by the unforgiving river.
Only a few minutes passed but it seemed like eternity.
Then, drifting upwards from the haunting water,
A pair of faded jeans and a muddy shirt.
They moved as one gliding over to the pallid dress.
A sleeve reached out and met a milk-white waist line.
And guided the colorless dress to the middle of the engaging river,
To dance under the moon light.
Obviously I'm new at this, and my grammar and spelling and punctuating could use A LOT of help, but try to ignore that please! Thanks :)
Ms Ann Thrope Jun 2014
I could see right thru the fortress' walls,
I knew what they enclaved
Beaten by an ocean full
of canary-yellow waves
They glistened like the stars reflected
from a moon-lit sky
Scattered like a million diamonds,
it's beauty; mesmerized  
Tho seaweed dark as Forrest green
did fill the ocean floor
Both translucent, & befuddling  
I could only wish to explore
For I have never seen a castle
rest in a sea of grime  
& with its image now engraved
Forever in my mind!  
& tho it's walls we're callous; thick
I thought it could still work
If only I had persisted  
(Instead, I went berserk...)
But is love not an incendiary?
For those who've gone insane?
& so it's best to resist the urge--
Your heart you must contain!
Edited 2014, 2012
LexiSully Oct 2017
Her eyes were glued to a sky full of stars,
But she was dreaming of something bigger than Mars

Somehow the constellations would just realign,
Opening up a portal to all space and time

Distant galaxies sang, danced and laughed all night,
Persuading her to stay and relax ‘til light

The dawn would come much to her dismay,
But then the sun rose, showing her a new way

The light glistened with every step taken,
And her whole being somehow felt more awaken

Mountains climbed high and streams ran fast,
Making her wish this moment would last

Colors frolicked and pranced across the distant sky,
Giving her beauty of which to testify

But soon dusk would come, and she welcomed it grinning,
For she knew these dazzling sights were just the beginning.
Leigh Aug 2015
Slick grass glistened heavy
After summer showers fell before a sun
That trickled veiled toward transcendent trees
Towered on the outskirts of the demesne - It unsheathed
A pearlescent canvas for a dreamer who paints ideals;

A reader finding signs in smiles and glances
Strolling paths free of fear to free imagination;
Summoning hopes against a fresh red/orange
Backdrop, and ignoring perilous heights to cast
A thought to moments yet unlived -
This fool's masterpiece.
bc Jan 2014
One
I hate myself.
Two
I'm scared to sleep at night because whenever I close my eyes it's as if the ruthless words of hatred and disgust that you throw at me relentlessly replay over and over in my head as if it was a broken record perched on the top of a dusty shelf that isn't within a reachable distance.
Three*
I don't know who I am anymore. I lost her somewhere within this sea of sadness I plunged myself into.
Four
Fat, Ugly, Worthless. Fat, Ugly, Worthless. Fat, Ugly, Worthless.* These are the words that taunt me everyday and latch onto me like a bloodthirsty leech that just found a new piece of flesh to feed off of.
Five
Whenever somebody tells me to be who I am and that they won't judge. I laugh. I laugh because being who I am is just a distant memory. I cant be who I am because I lost who I was in fifth grade when I skipped my first meal. I lost who I was in sixth grade when I learned what it felt like to genuinely hate myself. I lost who I was in seventh grade when I first put that razor on my left thigh and drew lines over lines that glistened crimson. I lost myself in eighth grade when I learned how to numb myself so that I feel nothing at all. Now here I am in present time, curled up in a ball of my own self pity, crying out all the feelings I wish I had.
Six
Somedays, I wish I could find the me that loves me, but I can't because the horrid words that you uttered to me stabbed her over and over again relentlessly and when you finally walked away, she stood there bleeding out all the love and trust she used to have.
Seven
I hate telling people how I really feel because they take it as a yearning for attention, not a cry for help. I hate telling people how I feel because they would treat me as if I was a problem and not a human.
Eight
I just wish that someone would paint on me as if I were a blank canvas and turn me into something magnificent because I am tired of continuously painting red lines on myself in hopes that my tear-stained cheeks, lifeless eyes, and pain will turn me into the beautiful girl society expects me to be.
Nine
I just wish I was normal.

-b.c.
First poem I published on here, I hope you like it. -b.c.
Amanda Cooper Feb 2010
It was early morning when she descended the steps
to the porch side, teacup in hand, dressed in her nightgown.
Steam billowed from her cup, and with a swallow
she examined her garden of weeds and unexpected peonies.
It was early for blooming peonies; frost, like glass,
still settled on the lawn, reflecting sunrise light of tangerine.

The radiant glow of tangerine
cast amber trails across steps
covered in an icy coating of glass.
Between her fingers she tucked her nightgown
and gingerly treaded the garden of peonies
that melted the frost in one great flower swallow.

The barn swallow,
perched not far from the path of tangerine,
must have also taken notice of the peonies
as he took the first steps
to nest-building. She imagined that his lady bird, also in her nightgown,
would enjoy the flowerbed of glass

that he chose for their home. Sipping her glass
of tea, she admired the familiar swallow
lover as she folded into her nightgown
bouquets of peonies that glistened in the tangerine
sunlight. She took the steps
back to the house, recalling her own swallow’s peonies:

Peonies
placed in vases of glass,
peonies lining the porch steps,
peonies presented over morning tea. With a swallow,
she carefully, methodically lined the tangerine
trail with the peonies from her nightgown.

Her nightgown,
stained with the rouge petals of peonies,
dragged along the tangerine
terrace of glass,
blood red with the memory of her swallow
lover’s peony-petaled steps.

The steps to the house creaked beneath her nightgown.
The barn swallow, quieted by the rouge of the peonies,
shut his glass eyes to the skies of tangerine.
2009
To the thunderstorm I used to love,

you pounded me, beat the windows with your fists,
brought the rain down with your thunderous roar.
rarely, it would hail, and the melting ice would
gleam down the streets, still soiled from the
summer day before you came and took over all daylight.

A severe thunderstorm warning went into effect around
2 a.m. - estimating to begin at 4 and
end at 9.

You came at 5, and it never ended.

While the rain once glistened, it now stings my skin,
crushes my thighs, squeezes my hip, compressing
pressing presser tightening twisting the calf, stabbing
the spine.

I am not in control.

The purple crush of your swirling eyes is
a rush of wind - a cold front in the summer
mist - the shattering of a two-hundred-year-old tree.

I saved butterflies from you only for them to suffocate in their cages. The rags indoors, the frames, they never stopped you - only the rain
prevented your fire.

You are right when you are gone.

The road is a blurry mirror, aging eyesight in the wet darkness.
Watch a reading on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nR4jcdzhas
Jami Samson Sep 2013
You rode an airplane horse
Like Joan of Arc and her hope
With Princess Julia and Prince Justin,
Flew away from our bleak archipelago,
Across this continent of the smooth-skinned
To meet the King, your love,
For a quest to raise again our royal family,
And brought rain to Dubai.
You have rained on Dubai;
Brought the ocean to their deserts,
Watered their artificial plants,
Glistened their rough highways,
Bathed the Arabs,
Moisturized their dry skin,
And taught them to dance in the puddles.
You have rained on Dubai,
And took with you my Philippine sun.
Now I sit here in my desk;
A withered bud in the Land of the Orient Pearl,
Staring at this snow globe you left
With glitter orbiting the Burj Al Arab,
Watching over you from this crystal ball,
Waiting for you to leave the Gulf States,
And bring the rain back here.
#35, Sept.27.13
I miss you mom.
Amber S Mar 2013
summer, spring, winter, fall,
it always carried a whiff of cleanliness, like lysol,
bleach and daffodils had made a not so secret love
child.
there were never any marks. no signs of mistakes,
accidents, humanity.
the floors glistened like the sun beaming off a black
convertible.
the windows, you couldn’t even tell they were
windows. not without the panes.
transparent like the shores of the Mediterranean.
I never touched anything.
I held my breath among glass, ornaments, picture frames.
afraid one intake would show up like a smudge that could
never be wiped off, no matter how much one tried.
she fits the house. like those china dolls, polished to perfection.
blonde hair rolled in unison curls. no frizz. never any
fly aways.
face just like those windows, eyes raging in a storm too far away.


his room was the only one i could sink in.
legos scattered
(i always stepped on the yellow ones)
clothes fuming with dirt and almost manhood.
his posters crooked, carrying characters dressed in
armor, or tuxedos, animated, weapons in hand.
his bed, never made, incasing the last impression of his body
(he always slept on his side)
a spot of drool still visible, blankets holding his scent.
soap, laundry detergent and oranges.
game controllers trashed, bite marks, dents, too many battles.
i finally breathed when i walked in.
Renie Simone Jul 2016
As the sun fell,
her eyes glistened like many sunsets
filled with wonder and adventure -
two pools of never-ending light
reflecting in the movement of colors.
As the moon rose beyond the horizon,
it left her eyes twinkling like stars.

On even the coldest night,
she couldn't see the warmth, the magic,
her eyes gave the world as she gazed upon the landscapes of life as it slowly passed her by.
Vivian Alvarado Mar 2017
met a man once
and he took me to a steakhouse
the type where tuxedo men come back
with a twee bite-sized piece of meat on a plate
he ordered my steak for me
and though it glistened
the slab barely satisfied
the crack in my teeth
i was starving
and he kept talking about
business deals
and networking
to the type of cars that make him hard
which one of these thousand ******* forks
is best to stab?
making friends
with a bunch of pruned men
chatting business
he introduced me
she speaks Spanish
how exotic
raw and juicy
STEAK
sure does go well with potatoes
i started ordering loads of wine
when they all agreed that it was time
to make America great again
i downed even more down my throat
‘till I was seeing spuds in Versace
drinks for everyone!
we ordered like five bottles
so drunk
that I started mooing
but if this gasbag ever hopes to get laid
he’ll need to go to the slaughterhouse for that
meanwhile, let the bartender do the milking
Tallulah Nov 2012
Her skin
Was like almond milk
Wearing chocolate lace silk
She glistened on the shoreline
In moonlit gaze she made a sign
Asking me to come join her in the sea
She couldn’t possibly mean me
This Siren in full pursuit
I wasn’t in a swimsuit
But then again
Neither
Was
*She
She
She
She
She
She
She
She
She
She
She
Kimani Jones Mar 2010
Be still. The words I thought of when you were ill. I prayed with you every night, then God let me feel your heartbeat. Time was collecting your bloodflow. Heartbeat. Repeat, repeating the pain I felt that day when cousin' came in and said,"God took your mother up today."I was nine years old. You died about two weeks before my birthday. All I got was, packed up cardboard boxes with scotched taped ribbon that glistened in the sun as we made room for it in storage. Stored heartbeats. No one could take your place. The sad thing is I barely remember your face. Chemo. You had to take all those tests, and in the end they still cut off your left breast. Heartbeat. Time finally took your breath. Time ended our time. Why was it that after you died the doctor's found a cure to this genocide? I wish you were still here by my side. I was your baby. I asked the doctor if you were going to live, and all I got was, "maybe." Maybe you might come back someday. You used to appear all the time but then you drifted away. Heartbeat. I saw you laying in red. That red that, filled my eyes with hopelessness. I wished that red were still hanging in your closet in the dry cleaners bag, and the your aroma were in the stiches. After 7 years, I still can't believe you're dead. Even though you're not here, I think about you everydat. I ask a question that every child asks. "Why did God take my mother away?" Heartbeat. Time has finished this poem.
copyright kimani jones-2009
Veronica Smith Jun 2013
She sat in an empty booth. It was a Tuesday, mild, with a thin veil of cirrus clouds on the horizon. Somewhere a dog barked. Outside, the Commercial Street Flower Market opened for business. A ******* stood on the corner.
        With one the sitting woman opened the menu, scanned it, and dropped it back on the table. A bleach-blond waitress arrived. Before the waitress spoke, the sitting woman cut in.
“I’d like home fries, fruit salad, and a cup of earl grey, please.” The waitress nodded, slightly wary, and scribbled the order on her yellowed order pad. The woman went back to staring at her fingers. The waitress left.
She opened her purse, rummaged around, and grasped a worn paperback of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. A small likeness of a snake twirled up her left index. She wore beige eye shadow and a full set of fake lashes. Her nails were lacquered candy apple red. There was a large scar on her neck. Sighing, she settled in to read. The snake ring’s eyes were rubies; as she turned the page, they glistened brightly. The café’s door jangled. Seconds later, a man slid in to the seat opposite her.
“You’re late,” she said. The man smiled. He had lidded Egyptian eyes and a set of straight, white, fluoridated teeth.
“So terribly sorry. Pressing issues.” He tapped a finger on the plastic table. The woman licked a finger and turned a creased page.
“Still reading that blasted book, are we? How many times has it been now, Laura? Twelve?”
“Fifteen, to be exact.” The waitress arrived with plates of bright fruit and steaming potato. She waitress had poorly tattooed eyebrows. They rose.
“Can I get you anything?” she said to the man.
“Strong cup of coffee. Two cubes sugar, slice of lemon on the side. Thanks.” The waitress smiled.
“Certainly. Your tea will be in, miss.” Laura nodded. The waitress sashayed off and the man leaned in, breaking the barrier between them.
“Why are you still reading that godawful book? Wasn’t once in Junior year enough?”
“No, it wasn’t. If you don’t mind, let’s get to the point. What are you doing here, Jack? I know it has nothing to do with harassing me over my literary opinions.” The book closed with a muffled snap. She slid it back in to her large purse and adjusted her dress.
“I got the part.” He said the two words with barely veiled excitement; they sounded unnatural and foreign.
“What in the name of God are you talking about?” she asked. She stabbed a home fry with her fork and sprinkled it with salt.
“I’ve made it in, Laur.” He said. She dragged the fry through a small puddle of ketchup and smiled. She leaned back and drew her hands through her hair, bit her lip.
“Who’s directing?” she asked. The waitress arrived again and they both leaned back, away from each other. He nodded his thanks, blew on his coffee, and drank deeply. She dipped her finger in the cup of tea.
“Some guy by the name of Cranston. Will, I think. He’s good. Directed a film called The Devil in Whitethorn. You might call him an artist.”
“Oh, Christ. You’ve made your big break, have you? With a ****** arthouse director no one’s heard about? I’m impressed, Jack. Real impressed.” She sipped her tea. “What’s your deep, philosophical movie about, Jack?”
“A man dragged wrongfully in to hell who has to prove to the Devil that he is a good man,” Jack said. His chin rose slightly. “he goes through his life as an invisible man, observing all of his human mistakes. Eventually he discovers that Hell is just another version of Heaven and it’s all a test to get him to look at his life as an outsider. I play the college version of the lead. I’m third-highest billed.” He reached over and snatched a strawberry from her plate. She smirked.
“Wow,” she said, “sounds deep. Almost like one of the sappier episodes of The Twilight Zone, twist and all. Tell me, does Shatner play a PTSD-riddled man who sees monsters on an airplane? Is the Devil a fan of billiards? How many aliens are in this movie of yours?” she smiled at him, exposing a line of somewhat crooked teeth. “A movie, huh? Congrats.”
“Many thanks. I thought that someone who appreciated the subtle insanity of Vonnegut might appreciate a good deep film. Are you going to finish those?” he gestured at the fries. Six of them remained. Laura slid them across the table and tucked in to the fruit plate. “No more awful local commercials for me, love.” She scoffed at that.
“You’re a crap commercial actor. How much money are you getting for this little highbrow film of yours? One K or two?” She stabbed a honeydew square and crunched it between red lips.
“Four, doll. More than you make in a month.” Her cheeks reddened.
“I don’t need much, Jack. You of all people should know that.” She coughed lightly in to her napkin. “You’re a tricky *******. How long have you known?” He licked a spot of ketchup off of his  finger.
“Oh… Five weeks? Six? Somewhere around there. We start shooting next month.” He leaned forward, lightly brushing the back of her hand with his fingers. “It’ll premier downtown on the seventh of July. Be prepared, since I’m dragging you out there with me. You’ll need a cocktail dress and modest makeup.”
“How modest is modest?” she asked. He surveyed her face, scanning with his eyes squinted slightly. Her face flushed a touch more.
“Hmm…” he said, “drop the red lipstick, add a few more spots of cover-up, light champagne eye shadow and less blush. Also, ditch the falsies.” She laughed, a light trill.
“I don’t leave the house without them. I suppose I can scour my collection for some more… What was the word you used? Modest pairs.” His fingers stopped rubbing the thin, veined skin on the back of her right hand for a short moment.
“In other words, you’ve said yes.”
“Yes, I have.” He dropped a ten-dollar bill on the table and stood up. “Call me some time. You haven’t forgotten my number, have you?” Laura grinned. He picked up the lemon, separated the meat from the rind, and rubbed the white flesh on his teeth.
“No, I haven’t.” He dropped a single white envelope on the table. She surveyed it, placing it next to the tattered paperback in her purse. He walked away.
“Oh, and Jack?” she called without looking back at him. He stopped mid-step. “I wasn’t wearing blush today.”
He grinned harder, waved his goodbyes to the waitress, and left. The door jangled. She finished the last dregs of her tea, dropped a twenty dollar bill on the table, and stood up. It was a beautiful morning. She walked outside. The bells on the entrance jangled, stilled, and their song died.
Written under the influence of WAY too much Hemingway.
Valsa George Oct 2016
My eyes were hooked on to the West
Feasting on the riot of colors the sun had cast
I stood dazed at an experience blest
That any poet would treasure with zest

By chance I glanced at the river below
It moved like an overloaded carriage slow
With floating weeds and ***** *******
Reminding one of an ugly heap of trash

I saw partially submerged bottles bobbing on the surface
Gradually filling with ***** water perforce
And slowly sinking down to rest in peace
With their sunken brethren at the river base

Spill of oil glistened iridescent
On the face of the river florescent
Its water was far from clean
But had turned murky green

On the still surface was a layer of ****
Like rancid butter annoying anyone’s calm
Reeking smell of rotten fish and mulch
Entered my nostrils with an obnoxious stench

I closed my eyes and turned my head
And looked away from the river bed
I thought of man’s callous audacity
In assaulting Nature’s pristine vitality

I heard the river’s rising lament
And me it did acutely torment
Any sensitive soul would be left grieving
Seeing the river in such agony heaving

In the far horizon, the sky had grown into flames
I wondered if Nature was mad at man’s tall claims
Suddenly I saw with the eyes of a seer
That Dooms day is drawing near!
Kerala where I live is  small state in the Southern tip of India. It is supposed to be God's Own Country with its beautiful greenery, geographical diversity and high rate of literacy. But unfortunately, the people have yet to learn how to keep public places clean. As a genuine lover of Nature, I am grieved to see how our rivers which some years back ran like silver strips with crystalline waters shining in sunlight have been polluted with industrial waste and other ******* callously thrown and made dangerous with sand mining ! In matters of cleanliness, our people have to learn much from the Westerners and the people of the advanced countries !
Claire Waters Sep 2012
the preacher never wrote a poem
about dahmer's baptism:

1.

he leaned across
the jail cell table
and his eyes were honest
when he said he believed in god
deeply
his eyes were honest
when he said goodnight honey
and gently draped his body
in a tub of sulfuric acid
his open jaw glistening in the moon
dissolving in the dusty noontime soliloquy
of crickets outside his apartment window

2.

can an honest man
bathe in those kind of wounds
and be allowed to ask
for a penance?

3.

for two weeks they left
his baptismal robes in storage
they asked if he really believed it
if he could believe in all this

4.

“when i was a kid
i was just like anybody else”
he had said
he seemed to think
being like anybody else
could dull the bloodstains
reduce the skeletons
still tucked into his closet
to powder
make his wishes into holy water

5.

yes jeffrey, anyone can drink it
but getting drunk on holiness
isn’t enough to repent
all of their fingers are wrapped around
your heart
doesn’t forgetting seem foolish
to the brains in your refrigerator
isn’t it just useless
to the spare ribs, in your bureau
drink all the holy water you want
you will always carry their bodies
on your chest
have you ever had a heart
other than the ones you collected
and did you ever know
what a soul feels like?

6.

and that day
they took him to a prison tub
and his body
glistened under the water
like a drowning animal or a martyr
jeffrey doesn’t float

7.

as he opens his eyes
his mouth wide
he looks just like him
suspended in white
ripples curdling in currents across his pale skin
a solar eclipse
covers the sun
as he comes up
for air
harlon rivers May 2018
"From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story.
A story says, I survived." - Fr. Craig Scott

... a tribute to a fallen brother ― R.I.P  Les
... you were with me every step of the way to the top



crampon cleats tickle her bedrock
far below the frosty powder dusting;
released from where her majestic peak
parted yester night’s obstinate clouds.

the alpine atmosphere
first chilled and then plummeted
as the starlight glistened;
illuminated ice crystals sparkle
like diamonds in the rough.

I am overwhelmed
by the peaceful aura
surrounding me.

watching how
"these"
footprints
mark the snow
...arousing
a lucid,
stirring awareness
of my existence;

...inciting
a conscious moment,  
extraordinarily deepening
the realization of being.


harlon rivers ... May 24th, 2013
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2528185/beyond-the-telegraph-road-a-poem-in-memoriam-of-the-love-of-friends-brothers-promises/

postscript:
the poem above is notes turned prose poem...still stirring from a moment remembered. We were best friends from the neighborhood just shirt of 20 years.  When we were teens, skiing, we used to look up to the tip top of Mt Hood and say: "someday we'll climb up there together and look back down here from the top";  four years later i saw him drive away down our gravel road for the last time ― you never know which goodbye is the last ―

This is a piece inspired by climbing a snow and ice packed, 12,000 foot dormant volcano in the cascade mountains of the Pacific Northwest.   The original, that this is intended to be an intro for, is "Beyond the Telegraph Road"
  
Edited to say: Thanks for the encouragement Laim...without it I may not have shared the rest of the Memorial day story here at HP...
Winter Kane Apr 2011
yes, of course I know your name
you're the girl who always dances
no matter who might be around
can't forget someone like you

you're the girl who always dances
around the house with a smile
can't forget someone like you
a beautiful body like yours, dancing

around the house with a smile
I imagined myself with you
a beautiful body like yours, dancing
writhing in ecstasy on my bed

I imagined myself with you
breathing your essence as you're
writhing in ecstasy on my bed
my roommate was the lucky fellow

breathing your essence as you're
laying wrapped inside his arms
my roommate was the lucky fellow
a treasure locked behind his door

laying wrapped inside his arms
you must have glistened like a gem
a treasure locked behind his door
kept hidden from my hungry eyes

you must have glistened like a gem
your lusciously pale skin forever
kept hidden from my hungry eyes
oh, how I long to hold and caress

your lusciously pale skin forever
no matter who might be around
oh, how I long to hold and caress
yes, of course I know your name
This is a pantoum. It is a[n essentially] never ending series of quatrain stanzas.
Lines 2 and 4 of the first stanza become lines 1 and 3 of the next.
May end with a couplet of lines 1 and 3 from the very first stanza, or using those two lines as 2 and 4 of the last stanza.
Kenya83 Aug 2017
You took me to beautiful places
sensual sunsets warmed my bones
My toes curled as you made me moan
Waters lapped the shore
I arched my back and pleaded, more
Skies a midnight blue, scattered with tiny stars
They glistened in my eyes and reflected back in yours
Nestor was sitting over his wine, but the cry of battle did not
escape him, and he said to the son of Aesculapius, “What, noble
Machaon, is the meaning of all this? The shouts of men fighting by our
ships grow stronger and stronger; stay here, therefore, and sit over
your wine, while fair Hecamede heats you a bath and washes the clotted
blood from off you. I will go at once to the look-out station and
see what it is all about.”
  As he spoke he took up the shield of his son Thrasymedes that was
lying in his tent, all gleaming with bronze, for Thrasymedes had taken
his father’s shield; he grasped his redoubtable bronze-shod spear, and
as soon as he was outside saw the disastrous rout of the Achaeans who,
now that their wall was overthrown, were flying pell-mell before the
Trojans. As when there is a heavy swell upon the sea, but the waves
are dumb—they keep their eyes on the watch for the quarter whence the
fierce winds may spring upon them, but they stay where they are and
set neither this way nor that, till some particular wind sweeps down
from heaven to determine them—even so did the old man ponder
whether to make for the crowd of Danaans, or go in search of
Agamemnon. In the end he deemed it best to go to the son of Atreus;
but meanwhile the hosts were fighting and killing one another, and the
hard bronze rattled on their bodies, as they ****** at one another
with their swords and spears.
  The wounded kings, the son of Tydeus, Ulysses, and Agamemnon son
of Atreus, fell in Nestor as they were coming up from their ships—for
theirs were drawn up some way from where the fighting was going on,
being on the shore itself inasmuch as they had been beached first,
while the wall had been built behind the hindermost. The stretch of
the shore, wide though it was, did not afford room for all the
ships, and the host was cramped for space, therefore they had placed
the ships in rows one behind the other, and had filled the whole
opening of the bay between the two points that formed it. The kings,
leaning on their spears, were coming out to survey the fight, being in
great anxiety, and when old Nestor met them they were filled with
dismay. Then King Agamemnon said to him, “Nestor son of Neleus, honour
to the Achaean name, why have you left the battle to come hither? I
fear that what dread Hector said will come true, when he vaunted among
the Trojans saying that he would not return to Ilius till he had fired
our ships and killed us; this is what he said, and now it is all
coming true. Alas! others of the Achaeans, like Achilles, are in anger
with me that they refuse to fight by the sterns of our ships.”
  Then Nestor knight of Gerene answered, “It is indeed as you say;
it is all coming true at this moment, and even Jove who thunders
from on high cannot prevent it. Fallen is the wall on which we
relied as an impregnable bulwark both for us and our fleet. The
Trojans are fighting stubbornly and without ceasing at the ships; look
where you may you cannot see from what quarter the rout of the
Achaeans is coming; they are being killed in a confused mass and the
battle-cry ascends to heaven; let us think, if counsel can be of any
use, what we had better do; but I do not advise our going into
battle ourselves, for a man cannot fight when he is wounded.”
  And King Agamemnon answered, “Nestor, if the Trojans are indeed
fighting at the rear of our ships, and neither the wall nor the trench
has served us—over which the Danaans toiled so hard, and which they
deemed would be an impregnable bulwark both for us and our fleet—I
see it must be the will of Jove that the Achaeans should perish
ingloriously here, far from Argos. I knew when Jove was willing to
defend us, and I know now that he is raising the Trojans to like
honour with the gods, while us, on the other hand, he bas bound hand
and foot. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say; let us bring down
the ships that are on the beach and draw them into the water; let us
make them fast to their mooring-stones a little way out, against the
fall of night—if even by night the Trojans will desist from fighting;
we may then draw down the rest of the fleet. There is nothing wrong in
flying ruin even by night. It is better for a man that he should fly
and be saved than be caught and killed.”
  Ulysses looked fiercely at him and said, “Son of Atreus, what are
you talking about? Wretch, you should have commanded some other and
baser army, and not been ruler over us to whom Jove has allotted a
life of hard fighting from youth to old age, till we every one of us
perish. Is it thus that you would quit the city of Troy, to win
which we have suffered so much hardship? Hold your peace, lest some
other of the Achaeans hear you say what no man who knows how to give
good counsel, no king over so great a host as that of the Argives
should ever have let fall from his lips. I despise your judgement
utterly for what you have been saying. Would you, then, have us draw
down our ships into the water while the battle is raging, and thus
play further into the hands of the conquering Trojans? It would be
ruin; the Achaeans will not go on fighting when they see the ships
being drawn into the water, but will cease attacking and keep
turning their eyes towards them; your counsel, therefore, Sir captain,
would be our destruction.”
  Agamemnon answered, “Ulysses, your rebuke has stung me to the heart.
I am not, however, ordering the Achaeans to draw their ships into
the sea whether they will or no. Some one, it may be, old or young,
can offer us better counsel which I shall rejoice to hear.”
  Then said Diomed, “Such an one is at hand; he is not far to seek, if
you will listen to me and not resent my speaking though I am younger
than any of you. I am by lineage son to a noble sire, Tydeus, who lies
buried at Thebes. For Portheus had three noble sons, two of whom,
Agrius and Melas, abode in Pleuron and rocky Calydon. The third was
the knight Oeneus, my father’s father, and he was the most valiant
of them all. Oeeneus remained in his own country, but my father (as
Jove and the other gods ordained it) migrated to Argos. He married
into the family of Adrastus, and his house was one of great abundance,
for he had large estates of rich corn-growing land, with much
orchard ground as well, and he had many sheep; moreover he excelled
all the Argives in the use of the spear. You must yourselves have
heard whether these things are true or no; therefore when I say well
despise not my words as though I were a coward or of ignoble birth.
I say, then, let us go to the fight as we needs must, wounded though
we be. When there, we may keep out of the battle and beyond the
range of the spears lest we get fresh wounds in addition to what we
have already, but we can spur on others, who have been indulging their
spleen and holding aloof from battle hitherto.”
  Thus did he speak; whereon they did even as he had said and set out,
King Agamemnon leading the way.
  Meanwhile Neptune had kept no blind look-out, and came up to them in
the semblance of an old man. He took Agamemnon’s right hand in his own
and said, “Son of Atreus, I take it Achilles is glad now that he
sees the Achaeans routed and slain, for he is utterly without remorse-
may he come to a bad end and heaven confound him. As for yourself, the
blessed gods are not yet so bitterly angry with you but that the
princes and counsellors of the Trojans shall again raise the dust upon
the plain, and you shall see them flying from the ships and tents
towards their city.”
  With this he raised a mighty cry of battle, and sped forward to
the plain. The voice that came from his deep chest was as that of nine
or ten thousand men when they are shouting in the thick of a fight,
and it put fresh courage into the hearts of the Achaeans to wage war
and do battle without ceasing.
  Juno of the golden throne looked down as she stood upon a peak of
Olympus and her heart was gladdened at the sight of him who was at
once her brother and her brother-in-law, hurrying hither and thither
amid the fighting. Then she turned her eyes to Jove as he sat on the
topmost crests of many-fountained Ida, and loathed him. She set
herself to think how she might hoodwink him, and in the end she deemed
that it would be best for her to go to Ida and array herself in rich
attire, in the hope that Jove might become enamoured of her, and
wish to embrace her. While he was thus engaged a sweet and careless
sleep might be made to steal over his eyes and senses.
  She went, therefore, to the room which her son Vulcan had made
her, and the doors of which he had cunningly fastened by means of a
secret key so that no other god could open them. Here she entered
and closed the doors behind her. She cleansed all the dirt from her
fair body with ambrosia, then she anointed herself with olive oil,
ambrosial, very soft, and scented specially for herself—if it were so
much as shaken in the bronze-floored house of Jove, the scent pervaded
the universe of heaven and earth. With this she anointed her
delicate skin, and then she plaited the fair ambrosial locks that
flowed in a stream of golden tresses from her immortal head. She put
on the wondrous robe which Minerva had worked for her with
consummate art, and had embroidered with manifold devices; she
fastened it about her ***** with golden clasps, and she girded herself
with a girdle that had a hundred tassels: then she fastened her
earrings, three brilliant pendants that glistened most beautifully,
through the pierced lobes of her ears, and threw a lovely new veil
over her head. She bound her sandals on to her feet, and when she
had arrayed herself perfectly to her satisfaction, she left her room
and called Venus to come aside and speak to her. “My dear child,” said
she, “will you do what I am going to ask of you, or will refuse me
because you are angry at my being on the Danaan side, while you are on
the Trojan?”
  Jove’s daughter Venus answered, “Juno, august queen of goddesses,
daughter of mighty Saturn, say what you want, and I will do it for
at once, if I can, and if it can be done at all.”
  Then Juno told her a lying tale and said, “I want you to endow me
with some of those fascinating charms, the spells of which bring all
things mortal and immortal to your feet. I am going to the world’s end
to visit Oceanus (from whom all we gods proceed) and mother Tethys:
they received me in their house, took care of me, and brought me up,
having taken me over from Rhaea when Jove imprisoned great Saturn in
the depths that are under earth and sea. I must go and see them that I
may make peace between them; they have been quarrelling, and are so
angry that they have not slept with one another this long while; if
I can bring them round and restore them to one another’s embraces,
they will be grateful to me and love me for ever afterwards.”
  Thereon laughter-loving Venus said, “I cannot and must not refuse
you, for you sleep in the arms of Jove who is our king.”
  As she spoke she loosed from her ***** the curiously embroidered
girdle into which all her charms had been wrought—love, desire, and
that sweet flattery which steals the judgement even of the most
prudent. She gave the girdle to Juno and said, “Take this girdle
wherein all my charms reside and lay it in your *****. If you will
wear it I promise you that your errand, be it what it may, will not be
bootless.”
  When she heard this Juno smiled, and still smiling she laid the
girdle in her *****.
  Venus now went back into the house of Jove, while Juno darted down
from the summits of Olympus. She passed over Pieria and fair
Emathia, and went on and on till she came to the snowy ranges of the
Thracian horsemen, over whose topmost crests she sped without ever
setting foot to ground. When she came to Athos she went on over the,
waves of the sea till she reached Lemnos, the city of noble Thoas.
There she met Sleep, own brother to Death, and caught him by the hand,
saying, “Sleep, you who lord it alike over mortals and immortals, if
you ever did me a service in times past, do one for me now, and I
shall be grateful to you ever after. Close Jove’s keen eyes for me
in slumber while I hold him clasped in my embrace, and I will give you
a beautiful golden seat, that can never fall to pieces; my
clubfooted son Vulcan shall make it for you, and he shall give it a
footstool for you to rest your fair feet upon when you are at table.”
  Then Sleep answered, “Juno, great queen of goddesses, daughter of
mighty Saturn, I would lull any other of the gods to sleep without
compunction, not even excepting the waters of Oceanus from whom all of
them proceed, but I dare not go near Jove, nor send him to sleep
unless he bids me. I have had one lesson already through doing what
you asked me, on the day when Jove’s mighty son Hercules set sail from
Ilius after having sacked the city of the Trojans. At your bidding I
suffused my sweet self over the mind of aegis-bearing Jove, and laid
him to rest; meanwhile you hatched a plot against Hercules, and set
the blasts of the angry winds beating upon the sea, till you took
him to the goodly city of Cos away from all his friends. Jove was
furious when he awoke, and began hurling the gods about all over the
house; he was looking more particularly for myself, and would have
flung me down through space into the sea where I should never have
been heard of any more, had not Night who cows both men and gods
protected me. I fled to her and Jove left off looking for me in
spite of his being so angry, for he did not dare do anything to
displease Night. And now you are again asking me to do something on
which I cannot venture.”
  And Juno said, “Sleep, why do you take such notions as those into
your head? Do you think Jove will be as anxious to help the Trojans,
as he was about his own son? Come, I will marry you to one of the
youngest of the Graces, and she shall be your own—Pasithea, whom
you have always wanted to marry.”
  Sleep was pleased when he heard this, and answered, “Then swear it
to me by the dread waters of the river Styx; lay one hand on the
bounteous earth, and the other on the sheen of the sea, so that all
the gods who dwell down below with Saturn may be our witnesses, and
see that you really do give me one of the youngest of the Graces-
Pasithea, whom I have always wanted to marry.”
  Juno did as he had said. She swore, and invoked all the gods of
the nether world, who are called Titans, to witness. When she had
completed her oath, the two enshrouded themselves in a thick mist
and sped lightly forward, leaving Lemnos and Imbrus behind them.
Presently they reached many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts, and
Lectum where they left the sea to go on by land, and the tops of the
trees of the forest soughed under the going of their feet. Here
Sleep halted, and ere Jove caught sight of him he climbed a lofty
pine-tree—the tallest that reared its head towards heaven on all Ida.
He hid himself behind the branches and sat there in the semblance of
the sweet-singing bird that haunts the mountains and is called Chalcis
by the gods, but men call it Cymindis. Juno then went to Gargarus, the
topmost peak of Ida, and Jove, driver of the clouds, set eyes upon
her. As soon as he did so he became inflamed with the same
passionate desire for her that he had felt when they had first enjoyed
each other’s embraces, and slept with one another without their dear
parents knowing anything about it. He went up to her and said, “What
do you want that you have come hither from Olympus—and that too
with neither chariot nor horses to convey you?”
  Then Juno told him a lying tale and said, “I am going to the world’s
end, to visit Oceanus, from whom all we gods proceed, and mother
Tethys; they received me into their house, took care of me, and
brought me up. I must go and see them that I may make peace between
them: they have been quarrelling, and are so angry that they have
not slept with one another this long time. The horses that will take
me over land and sea are stationed on the lowermost spurs of
many-fountained Ida, and I have come here from Olympus on purpose to
consult you
On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
One Michael Magee had a shanty.
Now this Mike was the dad of a ten year old lad,
Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
For the youngster had never been christened.

And his wife used to cry, 'If the darlin' should die
Saint Peter would not recognise him.'
But by luck he survived till a preacher arrived,
Who agreed straightaway to baptise him.

Now the artful young rogue, while they held their collogue,
With his ear to the keyhole was listenin',
And he muttered in fright, while his features turned white,
'What the divil and all is this christenin'?'

He was none of your dolts, he had seen them brand colts,
And it seemed to his small understanding,
If the man in the frock made him one of the flock,
It must mean something very like branding.

So away with a rush he set off for the bush,
While the tears in his eyelids they glistened —
''Tis outrageous,' says he, 'to brand youngsters like me,
I'll be dashed if I'll stop to be christened!'

Like a young native dog he ran into a log,
And his father with language uncivil,
Never heeding the 'praste' cried aloud in his haste,
'Come out and be christened, you divil!'

But he lay there as snug as a bug in a rug,
And his parents in vain might reprove him,
Till his reverence spoke (he was fond of a joke)
'I've a notion,' says he, 'that'll move him.'

'Poke a stick up the log, give the spalpeen a prog;
Poke him aisy — don't hurt him or maim him,
'Tis not long that he'll stand, I've the water at hand,
As he rushes out this end I'll name him.

'Here he comes, and for shame! ye've forgotten the name —
Is it Patsy or Michael or Dinnis?'
Here the youngster ran out, and the priest gave a shout —
'Take your chance, anyhow, wid 'Maginnis'!'

As the howling young cub ran away to the scrub
Where he knew that pursuit would be risky,
The priest, as he fled, flung a flask at his head
That was labelled 'MAGINNIS'S WHISKY'!

And Maginnis Magee has been made a J.P.,
And the one thing he hates more than sin is
To be asked by the folk, who have heard of the joke,
How he came to be christened 'Maginnis'!

— The End —