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Raj Arumugam Oct 2010
Matter Hill
is what your mind
with your blood and flesh
and your spirit and eternity
and your ideas and vibrations
show you
and tell you to go, you say


So is that Hill
Matter Hill
is that where you want to go?
You want to crawl there
you want to creep and climb there?
Is that Matter Hill
is that where you are headed?

some say there’s life
some say there’s death
and there’s even a guide book to get you there;
and some say the trees burn there
and demand you cast a finger for each tongue of flame

some voice calls
some mystery beckons, you say;
you heard some hideous scream
in the smooth wet of your night
and a prophecy who must go to the Hill
to Matter Hill

O is that Hill
Matter Hill
is there where you must
no matter what, you must go?
Because you heard a voice tell you so:
Go to Matter Hill
no matter what

And you heard the inmates
of the Soul Sanatorium
saying:
There lies a Gorgon there
she will turn you into stone

And you said to them:
Do not look into my eyes
for I will turn you into ash


But what does your heart say?
What does your mind say
in spite of all the claims
and the declamations and revelations?
O is Matter Hill
is that where you want to go
with your wild eyes
and blood-***** fire-smoothed hair?


Is that where your sweetheart lives?
on Matter Hill?
does she whisper **** tales?
does she hover like a Mystical Being
and beckon you
in fog and mist and in moonlight
and also in the darkest of nights?

is that Hill
Matter Hill
that ****** blood painted hill
is that where
no matter what
is that where
you want to go?
Alan had stood at our open door,
Shaking and white with fright,
First he was speaking to Eleanor,
Then had a word with Dwight.
‘What seems the problem,’ I said to him,
(My name, by the way, is Bill),
‘Haven’t you seen it,’ he said to me,
‘It’s moving, McAvanagh’s Hill!’

I went to the door and I looked on out,
The hill seemed to still be in place,
On closer inspection, it seemed to me
It had moved to the south, a trace.
‘It must be a trick of the light,’ I said,
A hill is a hill and can’t move,’
‘But look at McCafferty’s,’ Alan said,
‘It’s settling down in a groove.’

And true, but McCafferty’s roof had moved,
It used to stand up on the height,
The moon would come up just behind his roof
And highlight his house every night.
His house had dropped down the back of the hill
Or the top of the hill was too high,
‘Now isn’t that strange?’ I said in a muse,
And Dwight said, ‘I wonder why?’

The rumbling, grumbling started that night
But deep in the earth, underneath,
And Eleanor came in a panic to cry,
‘There’s movement, out there on the heath!’
We ran to the garden, and under the moon
We could see the heath starting to tilt,
As slowly it moved, and then it became
The rising front side of the hill.

Alan ran home and brought back a gun
He said, ‘I feel better with this!’
‘You think you can stop it by firing a gun?’
‘At least with a hill, you can’t miss.
There’s something behind it, something so weird,
A hill can’t just move by itself.’
Then Eleanor suddenly burst into tears,
‘The Devil’s come into the Dell!’

We didn’t get very much sleep that night,
We took it in turns just to watch,
The nearer the movement came up to our door
The more Alan knocked off my Scotch.
We felt the first tilt of the house next day,
Our porch was beginning to rise,
The hill loomed above us, and leaning back,
The house pointed up to the skies.

McCafferty’s house had quite disappeared
As it slid down the other side,
While our house was on the way to the top,
It was really a question of pride.
McCafferty lorded it over us all
As long as his house was on top,
But now he came racing along, was appalled,
‘I order this movement to stop!’

‘I know you’re behind it, you’ve conjured a scheme,
What set this in motion, Bill?’
I shrugged and I mentioned that my hands were clean,
‘It is, after all, just a hill!’
‘My real estate value just fell through the floor,
I’ll sue if you don’t move it back!’
‘Then go for it Buddy, there isn’t a court
That can order a hill… See you Jack.’

We’re sitting in clover, our house at the top
Of what was McAvanagh’s Hill,
For once it had moved, it suddenly stopped
And now it’s the Hill of Bill!
McCafferty sits down the hill in a glade
And he rages at everyone,
While Alan’s deluded, he swears at this stage
That it stopped when it noticed his gun.

David Lewis Paget
Dreams of Sepia Aug 2015
Up on Church Hill
I think of my love
& Tennyson, long gone
Up on Church Hill

Up on Church Hill
I look out at Steep Holm
and then at Clevedon pier
Up on Church hill

Up on Church Hill
the last swallows are soaring,
last summer days calling
Up on Church Hill

Up on Church Hill
by the poets’ walk
I sit as it gets dark
Up on Church Hill

Up on Church Hill
I shall leave my heart
& then depart
Old Church Hill
N.B. This turned out to be a song instead of / as well as a poem. I just set it to music. So think of this as song lyrics too if you wish. Clevedon is a small seaside town on the Bristol Channel in South West England which is known for the fact that the poets Tennyson, Coleridge & William Makepeace Thackeray ( more known for his novel ' Vanity Fair') visited it in their lifetimes. Church Hill is so named because it has a church there, nestled in a small valley/ indentation in the hill & has lovely views.
Cedric McClester May 2016
By: Cedric McClester

It’s a steep hill to climb
But I’ll climb it anyway
Hoping I might make it
To the top one day
It’s a steep hill to climb
But I’m in for the long haul
I’m heading for the top
Even if I have to crawl

It’s a steep hill to climb
But I’m climbing every inch
I won’t be sidelined
I’m not sitting on a bench

It’s a steep hill to climb
There ain’t no doubt
But there’s a way to the top
That I’ve figured out
It’s a steep hill to climb
Yet I’m not discouraged
All it takes on my part
Is a little courage

It’s a steep hill to climb
But I’m climbing every inch
I won’t be sidelined
I’m not sitting on a bench
It’s a steep hill to climb
But I’m not dropping out
Getting to the top
Is what I’m all about

It’s a steep hill to climb
But don’t expect me to be gone
I’m too ****** determined
Not to carry on
It’s a steep hill to climb
But I have to do it
Despite the obstacles
And you and I both knew it


















Cedric McClester, Copyright (c) 2016.  All rights reserved.
Toni Seychelle Feb 2013
The ground beneath the stiff leaves is frozen. The cold, brisk air invades my lungs, I exhale, my breath visible. I step over fallen branches and tugged by thorny vines. A red tail hawk screeches overhead, this is a sign of good luck. There is no path, no trail to mark our way, just an old, flat railroad bed surrounded by walls of shale, blown up for the path of the train so long ago. The only ties to remind of the rail are the rotting, moss covered ties that once were a part of a bridge that would have carried the train over a small creek between two steep hills. I see a fox burrow, and it's escape hatch is one of the hollowed railroad ties. I want to be a fox... The trek down this hill is not easy, thorny blackberry bushes and fallen trees impede progress. At the bottom, the small, bubbly creek is frozen at the edges, traveling under rocks and continuing its ancient path. I look up the hill that I just descended, and wonder how the return will go. Keep moving. The next hill will be easier, there are no thorny tangles, just treacherous leaf litter that will give under my feet if I don't find the right footing. The trick is to dig my boots into the ground as if I'm on steps. These hills are steep. Finally at the top, I look back at this little spring valley, I'm not that high up, but what view. Here, there is a dilapidated tree stand, falling apart from years of neglect and weather. Surrounded by deep leaf litter, there is a patch of rich dark earth, a buck has marked his spot, his round pellets are nearby. The saplings catch my hair as I walk by, and at these moments I am thankful for this cold snap that took care of the ticks. A creepy feeling takes over me, so thankful for this snap. A few feet further, as I watch where I am walking, another tussled bit of earth and I notice some interesting ****. It's furry and light grey; I poke it with my stick and find a small skull when I turn a piece over. Owl. I continue my walk, I didn't come here to play with poo. The last time I took this hike was three years ago, on a similar frigid day. It was a lot easier to make it through the shale valleys. Last summer, a wind storm felled trees and took out power for two weeks. The evidence of that derecho is clear here in this untouched forest. I remembered a tree, which now is a fallen giant, that had lost it's bark. The bark had separated and laid around this tree like a woman's skirt around her ankles. Now the tree lies with it's bark. I pass another tree I recognize whose branch extends out but zig zags up and down, as if it had three elbows. The tree signifies my next move, to descend from the flat railroad bed, down to a creek that flows through the tunnel that would have carried the train. The creek is considerably larger than the last creek I could step across. Descending towards the creek leads me over moss covered rocks and limbs, still bearing snow. Outside the tunnel, the hill walls are large stones, covered in a thick layer of moss, some of which has started to fall off due to heaviness. There's a sort of ice shelf in the creek, it's three layers thick and can support my one hundred and twenty pounds. Laying across the creek is another derecho-felled tree. Some sort of critter has crawled on this, using it to avoid the water below and as a short cut up the hill. His claw marks are covering the the limb, a few are more clear, it looks as if the creature almost slipped off. His claw marks show a desperate cling. I walk through the tunnel, in the mud and water; the creek echoes inside. I look above. There are drainage holes lining the ceiling, one is clogged by a giant icicle. I imagine the train that used to ride over this tunnel, I pretend to hear it and feel the rumbling. The last time we were here, we found cow skeletons. We placed a few heads on branches and one over the tunnel. We stuck a jaw, complete with herbivore teeth, into the mossy wall and a hip bone on a sapling. The hip bone reminded us of Predator's mask in the movie. All these bones are turning green. When I was here before, there was a bone half submerged in the creek; I had taken a picture of it but today, it isn't here. I'm sure it was washed away. After our exploration of the previous visit, we turned back. We are cold again, can't stay in one place too long. I climb through the deep leaf litter and over the rocks back to the railroad bed. Passing all the things I've already seen and spotting things I missed. I find two more fox burrows. They utilized the shale rock and burrowed underneath the jutting formations. Hidden coming from the south, the gaping openings seem welcoming from the north. My friends, the spelunkers and climber, want to descend into the darkness but I remind them, it is an hour to sundown, our trek is hard enough with overcast daylight. Wisdom prevails. We pass a tree, we didn't notice before, that was struck by lightening. The cedar tree was split in two and fell down the shale wall. I see the evidence of the burn and a smoldered residue at the base. Nature has a cruel way of recycling. The downed tree still has snow on it and the path of a raccoon is visible, I like the paws of *****. Though the way is flat, the walls of shale tower above us, limiting routes. At one point I can't see through the fallen trees I have to pass through. I have to crab walk under, crawl over, duck again and find my way around the thorny collections of bare black berry bushes. Finally into a clearing, still surrounded by sharp shale, there is another wall covered in inches of thick, healthy moss. I place my hand, taking time to stroke the furry wall. My hand leaves an imprint. I wonder how long that will last.. Back down the steep hill up and up the thorny tangle. I know I'm on the right path up, I see the fox's hole through the railroad tie, and his entrance burrow up the hill. Going down was definitely easier. The summit is literally overgrown with thorns, there is no clear path through. It is, again, impossible to see through the tangle of limbs and saplings and more thorns. Somehow we make it through. We are close to breaking off this path. We know this by the remains of a cow skeleton that more than likely fell from the top of the shale cliff. Femurs and ribs and jaws abound. On the last trip, we placed a hip bone in the "Y" of a sapling. The young tree has claimed it, growing around it. We add a piece of jaw to the tree's ornamentation and move on. We climb down from the railroad bed to our car - parked on the side of the road with a white towel in the window so that no one suspects a group of people walking through private property, past faded NO TRESPASSING signs.

When I undress for bed later, there are many small scratches up and down my legs from those ****** thorny vines. I'm okay with that, it's better than searching for ticks in my head.
I couldn't write a 'poem' about this hike. It was too full of nature.
1

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

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

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

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

2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6

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

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

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

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

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

7

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

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

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

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

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

8

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

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

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

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

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

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

I leave my work once more and walk
Along a street that sways in the wind.
I leave these st
Fanfare of northwest wind, a bluejay wind
announces autumn, and the equinox
rolls back blue bays to a far afternoon.
Somewhere beyond the Gorge Li Po is gone,
looking for friendship or an old love's sleeve
or writing letters to his children, lost,
and to his children's children, and to us.
What was his light? of lamp or moon or sun?
Say that it changed, for better or for worse,
sifted by leaves, sifted by snow; on mulberry silk
a slant of witch-light; on the pure text
a slant of genius; emptying mind and heart
for winecups and more winecups and more words.
What was his time? Say that it was a change,
but constant as a changing thing may be,
from chicory's moon-dark blue down the taut scale
to chicory's tenderest pink, in a pink field
such as imagination dreams of thought.
But of the heart beneath the winecup moon
the tears that fell beneath the winecup moon
for children lost, lost lovers, and lost friends,
what can we say but that it never ends?
Even for us it never ends, only begins.
Yet to spell down the poem on her page,
margining her phrases, parsing forth
the sevenfold prism of meaning, up the scale
from chicory pink to blue, is to assume
Li Po himself: as he before assumed
the poets and the sages who were his.
Like him, we too have eaten of the word:
with him are somewhere lost beyond the Gorge:
and write, in rain, a letter to lost children,
a letter long as time and brief as love.

II

And yet not love, not only love. Not caritas
or only that. Nor the pink chicory love,
deep as it may be, even to moon-dark blue,
in which the dragon of his meaning flew
for friends or children lost, or even
for the beloved horse, for Li Po's horse:
not these, in the self's circle so embraced:
too near, too dear, for pure assessment: no,
a letter crammed and creviced, crannied full,
storied and stored as the ripe honeycomb
with other faith than this. As of sole pride
and holy loneliness, the intrinsic face
worn by the always changing shape between
end and beginning, birth and death.
How moves that line of daring on the map?
Where was it yesterday, or where this morning
when thunder struck at seven, and in the bay
the meteor made its dive, and shed its wings,
and with them one more Icarus? Where struck
that lightning-stroke which in your sleep you saw
wrinkling across the eyelid? Somewhere else?
But somewhere else is always here and now.
Each moment crawls that lightning on your eyelid:
each moment you must die. It was a tree
that this time died for you: it was a rock
and with it all its local web of love:
a chimney, spilling down historic bricks:
perhaps a skyful of Ben Franklin's kites.
And with them, us. For we must hear and bear
the news from everywhere: the hourly news,
infinitesimal or vast, from everywhere.

III

Sole pride and loneliness: it is the state
the kingdom rather of all things: we hear
news of the heart in weather of the Bear,
slide down the rungs of Cassiopeia's Chair,
still on the nursery floor, the Milky Way;
and, if we question one, must question all.
What is this 'man'? How far from him is 'me'?
Who, in this conch-shell, locked the sound of sea?
We are the tree, yet sit beneath the tree,
among the leaves we are the hidden bird,
we are the singer and are what is heard.
What is this 'world'? Not Li Po's Gorge alone,
and yet, this too might be. 'The wind was high
north of the White King City, by the fields
of whistling barley under cuckoo sky,'
where, as the silkworm drew her silk, Li Po
spun out his thoughts of us. 'Endless as silk'
(he said) 'these poems for lost loves, and us,'
and, 'for the peachtree, blooming in the ditch.'
Here is the divine loneliness in which
we greet, only to doubt, a voice, a word,
the smoke of a sweetfern after frost, a face
touched, and loved, but still unknown, and then
a body, still mysterious in embrace.
Taste lost as touch is lost, only to leave
dust on the doorsill or an ink-stained sleeve:
and yet, for the inadmissible, to grieve.
Of leaf and love, at last, only to doubt:
from world within or world without, kept out.
  
IV

Caucus of robins on an alien shore
as of the **-** birds at Jewel Gate
southward bound and who knows where and never late
or lost in a roar at sea. Rovers of chaos
each one the 'Rover of Chao,' whose slight bones
shall put to shame the swords. We fly with these,
have always flown, and they
stay with us here, stand still and stay,
while, exiled in the Land of Pa, Li Po
still at the Wine Spring stoops to drink the moon.
And northward now, for fall gives way to spring,
from Sandy Hook and Kitty Hawk they wing,
and he remembers, with the pipes and flutes,
drunk with joy, bewildered by the chance
that brought a friend, and friendship, how, in vain,
he strove to speak, 'and in long sentences,' his pain.
Exiled are we. Were exiles born. The 'far away,'
language of desert, language of ocean, language of sky,
as of the unfathomable worlds that lie
between the apple and the eye,
these are the only words we learn to say.
Each morning we devour the unknown. Each day
we find, and take, and spill, or spend, or lose,
a sunflower splendor of which none knows the source.
This cornucopia of air! This very heaven
of simple day! We do not know, can never know,
the alphabet to find us entrance there.
So, in the street, we stand and stare,
to greet a friend, and shake his hand,
yet know him beyond knowledge, like ourselves;
ocean unknowable by unknowable sand.

V

The locust tree spills sequins of pale gold
in spiral nebulae, borne on the Invisible
earthward and deathward, but in change to find
the cycles to new birth, new life. Li Po
allowed his autumn thoughts like these to flow,
and, from the Gorge, sends word of Chouang's dream.
Did Chouang dream he was a butterfly?
Or did the butterfly dream Chouang? If so,
why then all things can change, and change again,
the sea to brook, the brook to sea, and we
from man to butterfly; and back to man.
This 'I,' this moving 'I,' this focal 'I,'
which changes, when it dreams the butterfly,
into the thing it dreams of; liquid eye
in which the thing takes shape, but from within
as well as from without: this liquid 'I':
how many guises, and disguises, this
nimblest of actors takes, how many names
puts on and off, the costumes worn but once,
the player queen, the lover, or the dunce,
hero or poet, father or friend,
suiting the eloquence to the moment's end;
childlike, or *******; the language of the kiss
sensual or simple; and the gestures, too,
as slight as that with which an empire falls,
or a great love's abjured; these feignings, sleights,
savants, or saints, or fly-by-nights,
the novice in her cell, or wearing tights
on the high wire above a hell of lights:
what's true in these, or false? which is the 'I'
of 'I's'? Is it the master of the cadence, who
transforms all things to a hoop of flame, where through
tigers of meaning leap? And are these true,
the language never old and never new,
such as the world wears on its wedding day,
the something borrowed with something chicory blue?
In every part we play, we play ourselves;
even the secret doubt to which we come
beneath the changing shapes of self and thing,
yes, even this, at last, if we should call
and dare to name it, we would find
the only voice that answers is our own.
We are once more defrauded by the mind.

Defrauded? No. It is the alchemy by which we grow.
It is the self becoming word, the word
becoming world. And with each part we play
we add to cosmic Sum and cosmic sum.
Who knows but one day we shall find,
hidden in the prism at the rainbow's foot,
the square root of the eccentric absolute,
and the concentric absolute to come.

VI

The thousand eyes, the Argus 'I's' of love,
of these it was, in verse, that Li Po wove
the magic cloak for his last going forth,
into the Gorge for his adventure north.
What is not seen or said? The cloak of words
loves all, says all, sends back the word
whether from Green Spring, and the yellow bird
'that sings unceasing on the banks of Kiang,'
or 'from the Green Moss Path, that winds and winds,
nine turns for every hundred steps it winds,
up the Sword Parapet on the road to Shuh.'
'Dead pinetrees hang head-foremost from the cliff.
The cataract roars downward. Boulders fall
Splitting the echoes from the mountain wall.
No voice, save when the nameless birds complain,
in stunted trees, female echoing male;
or, in the moonlight, the lost cuckoo's cry,
piercing the traveller's heart. Wayfarer from afar,
why are you here? what brings you here? why here?'

VII

Why here. Nor can we say why here. The peachtree bough
scrapes on the wall at midnight, the west wind
sculptures the wall of fog that slides
seaward, over the Gulf Stream.
                                                       The rat
comes through the wainscot, brings to his larder
the twinned acorn and chestnut burr. Our sleep
lights for a moment into dream, the eyes
turn under eyelids for a scene, a scene,
o and the music, too, of landscape lost.
And yet, not lost. For here savannahs wave
cressets of pampas, and the kingfisher
binds all that gold with blue.
                                                  Why here? why here?
Why does the dream keep only this, just this C?
Yes, as the poem or the music do?

The timelessness of time takes form in rhyme:
the lotus and the locust tree rehearse
a four-form song, the quatrain of the year:
not in the clock's chime only do we hear
the passing of the Now into the past,
the passing into future of the Now:
hut in the alteration of the bough
time becomes visible, becomes audible,
becomes the poem and the music too:
time becomes still, time becomes time, in rhyme.
Thus, in the Court of Aloes, Lady Yang
called the musicians from the Pear Tree Garden,
called for Li Po, in order that the spring,
tree-peony spring, might so be made immortal.
Li Po, brought drunk to court, took up his brush,
but washed his face among the lilies first,
then wrote the song of Lady Flying Swallow:
which Hsuang Sung, the emperor, forthwith played,
moving quick fingers on a flute of jade.
Who will forget that afternoon? Still, still,
the singer holds his phrase, the rising moon
remains unrisen. Even the fountain's falling blade
hangs in the air unbroken, and says: Wait!

VIII

Text into text, text out of text. Pretext
for scholars or for scholiasts. The living word
springs from the dying, as leaves in spring
spring from dead leaves, our birth from death.
And all is text, is holy text. Sheepfold Hill
becomes its name for us, anti yet is still
unnamed, unnamable, a book of trees
before it was a book for men or sheep,
before it was a book for words. Words, words,
for it is scarlet now, and brown, and red,
and yellow where the birches have not shed,
where, in another week, the rocks will show.
And in this marriage of text and thing how can we know
where most the meaning lies? We climb the hill
through bullbriar thicket and the wild rose, climb
past poverty-grass and the sweet-scented bay
scaring the pheasant from his wall, but can we say
that it is only these, through these, we climb,
or through the words, the cadence, and the rhyme?
Chang Hsu, calligrapher of great renown,
needed to put but his three cupfuls down
to tip his brush with lightning. On the scroll,
wreaths of cloud rolled left and right, the sky
opened upon Forever. Which is which?
The poem? Or the peachtree in the ditch?
Or is all one? Yes, all is text, the immortal text,
Sheepfold Hill the poem, the poem Sheepfold Hill,
and we, Li Po, the man who sings, sings as he climbs,
transposing rhymes to rocks and rocks to rhymes.
The man who sings. What is this man who sings?
And finds this dedicated use for breath
for phrase and periphrase of praise between
the twin indignities of birth and death?
Li Yung, the master of the epitaph,
forgetting about meaning, who himself
had added 'meaning' to the book of >things,'
lies who knows where, himself sans epitaph,
his text, too, lost, forever lost ...
                                                         And yet, no,
text lost and poet lost, these only flow
into that other text that knows no year.
The peachtree in the poem is still here.
The song is in the peachtree and the ear.

IX

The winds of doctrine blow both ways at once.
The wetted finger feels the wind each way,
presaging plums from north, and snow from south.
The dust-wind whistles from the eastern sea
to dry the nectarine and parch the mouth.
The west wind from the desert wreathes the rain
too late to fill our wells, but soon enough,
the four-day rain that bears the leaves away.
Song with the wind will change, but is still song
and pierces to the rightness in the wrong
or makes the wrong a rightness, a delight.
Where are the eager guests that yesterday
thronged at the gate? Like leaves, they could not stay,
the winds of doctrine blew their minds away,
and we shall have no loving-cup tonight.
No loving-cup: for not ourselves are here
to entertain us in that outer year,
where, so they say, we see the Greater Earth.
The winds of doctrine blow our minds away,
and we are absent till another birth.

X

Beyond the Sugar Loaf, in the far wood,
under the four-day rain, gunshot is heard
and with the falling leaf the falling bird
flutters her crimson at the huntsman's foot.
Life looks down at death, death looks up at life,
the eyes exchange the secret under rain,
rain all the way from heaven: and all three
know and are known, share and are shared, a silent
moment of union and communion.
Have we come
this way before, and at some other time?
Is it the Wind Wheel Circle we have come?
We know the eye of death, and in it too
the eye of god, that closes as in sleep,
giving its light, giving its life, away:
clouding itself as consciousness from pain,
clouding itself, and then, the shutter shut.
And will this eye of god awake again?
Or is this what he loses, loses once,
but always loses, and forever lost?
It is the always and unredeemable cost
of his invention, his fatigue. The eye
closes, and no other takes its place.
It is the end of god, each time, each time.

Yet, though the leaves must fall, the galaxies
rattle, detach, and fall, each to his own
perplexed and individual death, Lady Yang
gone with the inkberry's vermilion stalk,
the peony face behind a fan of frost,
the blue-moon eyebrow behind a fan of rain,
beyond recall by any alchemist
or incantation from the Book of Change:
unresumable, as, on Sheepfold Hill,
the fir cone of a thousand years ago:
still, in the loving, and the saying so,
as when we name the hill, and, with the name,
bestow an essence, and a meaning, too:
do we endow them with our lives?
They move
into another orbit: into a time
not theirs: and we become the bell to speak
this time: as we become new eyes
with which they see, the voice
in which they find duration, short or long,
the chthonic and hermetic song.
Beyond Sheepfold Hill,
gunshot again, the bird flies forth to meet
predestined death, to look with conscious sight
into the eye of light
the light unflinching that understands and loves.
And Sheepfold Hill accepts them, and is still.

XI

The landscape and the language are the same.
And we ourselves are language and are land,
together grew with Sheepfold Hill, rock, and hand,
and mind, all taking substance in a thought
wrought out of mystery: birdflight and air
predestined from the first to be a pair:
as, in the atom, the living rhyme
invented her divisions, which in time,
and in the terms of time, would make and break
the text, the texture, and then all remake.
This powerful mind that can by thinking take
the order of the world and all remake,
w
LD Goodwin Jul 2013
Wake up!
Gotta ride!
Stretch Piriformis
Crawl out of bed
My God my hair!
Cold water in the face!
I can do this, I’ve done it before
One egg fried,
One piece of toast,
One bowl of granola,
One cup of courage w/ cream and brown sugar.
Do something with that hair!
Drink more liquids
I’m awake now,
walk out into the heat
It’s 8am and 75 degrees already
Go back in and fill an extra bottle
Got my Fig Newton’s
Got my Shot Blocks
Got my senses
Air up, 110 in front, 120 in back
Check brakes
Do I freewheel?
I need to clean this ride someday
What time is it?
I gotta **** again
You ready to go Dude?
Helmet on,
Gloves and glasses
Let’s go!
Ride “rollers” for the first 15 miles or so then…
Hit the hill from hell
Drink all your water now, you won’t be able to once you start climbing.
6-8 % grade  
Cat 2-3
Only a few miles long, but seems like forever
It’s like standing still
2-3 miles and hour grind
Gotta stand up now and then, my Piriformis are killing me
So steep you pop little wheelies with every stroke if you sit too far back on the bike
hands sweating through the gloves making it hard to hold on to the hoods
Grip the shifters so tight your hands get just as tired as your legs
Up and out of the saddle now,
rocking the hill, and dancing on the pedals
Glad to see false tops
Catch a breath or two
Hairpin curves so sharp I can see myself coming and going
No “circle back" rule on this hill.
Car passing by asks, “You fixin' to climb 'at dare hill?'”
Cows look at me as if I am crazy
Your mind says no
Your body says no
You say yes…. It’s just one stroke after another
90 degree heat now.
Thank God for the shade
Nothing you do after this will be as hard
But this is harder than anything you've ever done
Your body will remember what happens today
You are in oxygen deprivation the whole hill
You can't talk
You take breaths so big that your you hear your ribs creak and find their place.
You can't take your hands off the handlebar
You can't stop, you'll go down
If you stop you have to go back down to get clipped in to come back up
Your sunglasses are fogging up from the heat
You stop thinking about everything, except how to get up this hill
And then it hits you….. I am going to do this!
I am going to climb this ******* hill!
There is the top!
****, I am going to do this!

And for awhile, just as you come over the summit,
You imagine you're
wearing a polka dotted jersey,
and pretty French girls are handing you flowers,
and a cute stuffed animal,
and are kissing you on the cheek.

Then you ride the other 15 or so miles home,
take a shower, eat a bowl of pasta.
And go to work at the mall selling bicycles
to customers who have no idea
that you just gracefully climbed
a Cat 2-3 hill
in 90 degree heat,
at 61 years old


*http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/fullscreen/246751753/
Harrogat,TN July 2013
Tryst May 2014
Her wide-brim hat was pointed, and worn with ne'er a tilt
Her midnight robe was flowing, and wove from satin silk
Her Besom broom was hazel-hilted, twigged with fresh cut birch
As she flew o'er the hill, until she spied a rocky perch

The hill was trapped in moons light, caught in its silken nets
And grizzled trees were swaying casting eerie silhouettes
A howling wind came moaning, as it wailed a haunting sound
When her swishing broom came whooshing, as she swept o'er the ground

She alighted on the hill top, landing dainty on her toes
And took a tattered grimoire which she held up to her nose
She raised a magic talisman and cast an ancient spell
Then she waited through the gloaming, till midnight chimed its bell

The hill stood gravely silent, as the wind restrained its breath
The grass and flowers wilted and released their scent of death
The shadows neath the trees became alive and took on shape
And ghostly figures rose, as Hallows Eve called them awake

The sounds of horse drawn carriages, came trundling up the hill
Whilst babbling jeering voices exorcised the silent still
A sudden gust of wind called out the names of those condemned
Each manacled and chained up, as they rode to meet their end

As time echoed its memories, she watched the scene unfold
The victims forced unwillingly, to climb upon the scaffold
Some offered up the Lord’s Prayer, and ne'er a word was stumbled
They took a final breath of life, and into hell they tumbled

Their bodies swung ungainly, as they swayed a ghastly dance
With lifeless spectral faces locked into a stone-like trance
Their deathly shrouds were pale, reflected in moons silken sheen
And she watched as they cavorted, ne'er attempt to intervene

They slunk back into shadows, at the fading of the night
The hill reprieved from darkness by the early morning light
The ritual was completed, as she whispered them goodbye
And she climbed onto her hazel broom and kicked into the sky

On Gallows Hill neath stars and moon they hung
And ne'er a one had done the world a wrong
Peyton James Feb 2012
From the ground up
The hill stood high
Built of the dust and stone
That the city built around it had left behind.

The spring had seen the hill
And criticized it’s melancholy desolation.
As a solution, the spring extended its long gusty arm
To ****** a youthful seed onto the hilltop.

Gently nurtured by the spring’s rain and sun,
And the hilltop’s loving security,
The seed flourished
Until it was able to stand as a mature willow.

Just in time, the spring left, and the summer came,
And the willow’s arms could now dip down onto the hill
But the summer’s hot breath began to wear on the willow,
And the rain never came to visit anymore.

Beginning to dry up and wither,
The frail willow leaned deeper into the hill,
And in return, the hill allowed the willow to drink up
What little moisture was stored deep within its heart.

Soon the cruel summer faded away, and the fall took it’s place.
The wind had stripped the willow clean of it’s leaves
As the willow’s arms listlessly graced the ground
Trying to pick up the few leaves
Still lingering on the ground below.

The hill, too, was suffering under the strain of the willow
The roots of the willow were reaching down too deep,
Cracking the parched hill of dust and stone.

With each push from the fall’s great winds,
The hill swayed with great uncertainty
Under the strain of the willow upon it’s bruised shoulder.

Until, at last the hill collapsed,
Releasing the willow from it’s tight grasp
In a tangle of dry dust, cracked stone, and weathered bark,
The hill and the willow tumbled to the ground,
Just in time for the unforgiving frost to settle in.
It is noontime, Senlin says. The sky is brilliant
Above a green and dreaming hill.
I lay my trowel down. The pool is cloudless,
The grass, the wall, the peach-tree, all are still.
It appears to me that I am one with these:
A hill, upon whose back are a wall and trees.
It is noontime: all seems still
Upon this green and flowering hill.
Yet suddenly out of nowhere in the sky,
A cloud comes whirling, and flings
A lazily coiled vortex of shade on the hill.
It crosses the hill, and a bird in the peach-tree sings.
Amazing! Is there a change?
The hill seems somehow strange.
It is noontime. And in the tree
The leaves are delicately disturbed
Where the bird descends invisibly.
It is noontime. And in the pool
The sky is blue and cool.
Yet suddenly out of nowhere,
Something flings itself at the hill,
Tears with claws at the earth,
Lunges and hisses and softly recoils,
Crashing against the green.
The peach-tree braces itself, the pool is frightened,
The grass-blades quiver, the bird is still;
The wall silently struggles against the sunlight;
A terror stiffens the hill.
The trees turn rigidly, to face
Something that circles with slow pace:
The blue pool seems to shrink
From something that slides above its brink.
What struggle is this, ferocious and still--
What war in sunlight on this hill?
What is it creeping to dart
Like a knife-blade at my heart?
It is noontime, Senlin says, and all is tranquil:
The brilliant sky burns over a greenbright earth.
The peach-tree dreams in the sun, the wall is contented.
A bird in the peach-leaves, moving from sun to shadow,
Phrases again his unremembering mirth,
His lazily beautiful, foolish, mechanical mirth.
Carrying a somewhat cliche heartbreak on her shoulders, she climbed the hill. She figured that all the men in the town would be able to see her up there, so high. Climbing, she contemplated her past relationship and how it had ended. She then tossed it off the hill on her way up, ready to receive a new presence from a new man. Knowing she deserved better, and knowing she would receive better, she had high hopes, but still, a gray aura surrounding her.

She knew that when the sun would set each night, it would glaze her silhouette with vibrant colors of passion and light, reeling in her new mate.The excitement aroused her. Waiting on that sun to go down each night, marking the end of each miserable say of waiting, she sat at the top of the hill.
The first few weeks were hard to watch. She planted a garden and sang and danced around its crops, from day to day. When she became tired, she would stop and sit and close her eyes. Sometimes she would open them, very wide at first, as if expecting a change of scenery. Her eyes would then droop in the realization that nothing had yet changed, but her tomatoes ripening.

I think it was about two months when the flowers in her garden began turning brown and dry. Her sister had stopped carrying water up to the hill for her, from the well. Whether she had asked her to stop, or whether she stopped on her own account, is a mystery to me. But she did stop. This water, was of course, for the girl, not the plants. There was plenty of rain, it being springtime and all. It was the lack of water that the girl was receiving that finally caused her to cease gardening.

Not only did her flowers grow brown, but her smile grew blue. It was that of a forced expression. It looked as if she was trying to convince herself of happiness, when in fact things had taken a volatile turn, downward.

After a long period of thinking herself silly, she began to sleep more often. Her mind was asleep when her eyes were closed; she found this  much easier. When her mind was turned on, she only thought about her past dreams sinking away. Hopelessly, she continued to sit on the hill, now in silence.

~

One early day, she woke to the sun blinding her. A small bird dropped out of the sky and landed on her shoulder. The bird sang songs into her ears and circled her for hours. The bird was doing for her, what she could not. During this time, she began to think deeply.

She thought of all the things that had happened to her. She thoughts of love, and lust, and hate, and life. She thought about the bird that had the strength to sing when she did not. She was ready to sing now. She was ready to dance again. She thought about how selfish she had been to her garden when she had stopped caring for it, because she could not even care for herself. She thought about all the time she felt she had wasted on this Hell of a hill. None of the townsmen had ventured forth; none had even called up to her for her to come down. They must have thought she was crazy!

Only three more days passed, before I looked through my telescope in awe. She had begun to walk down the hill, slowly, but surely. I thought, this must be a trick. Maybe she dropped a shoe. But both shoes were on, and the rest of her clothing, for that matter. She had a determined look on her face, as if she had transcended over night. It was beautiful, really.

As soon as she met the precipice of the hill and the meadow, she ran. She ran toward the trees, where the stream flows so elegantly. She dove in, headfirst, and played like a child, almost. She then got out and lay in the sun, on some grass nearby. She thought herself lame and unjust to spend so much time looking for another man, when she had had herself all along. She was happy alone; I could see it.

After a couple of hours, she got back up and walked over to the water. She crouched down in the kneeling position and then furthered her body toward the water, gazing in, as if hypnotized. She looked down at her own reflection and then screamed with joy. She jumped around and danced and sang. She was so ecstatic, I couldn't help but smile to myself with the utmost joy. She had found herself again. The one thing she hadn't been looking for, had come. And now that her soul had returned to her body, I could return to my life. In that moment, I knew that she was ready for me to go and meet her.
K Balachandran Apr 2016
hill  
                                               ant hill
                                          an ant hill
                                      a perfect ant hill
                                 a perfect ant hill it was
                               a perfect anthill erected
                        a perfect ant hill erected at will
           by ants and ants and army of disciplined ants.
     ants of many kinds, sizes and colors erected an ant hill
the design was grand, nice to look at like a cathedral,functional.
we love the ants for being so versatile,co-operative and creative
Do ants possess minds, ability to think,organize, put decisions in to actions?Or do they just have an instinct,prompted by nature, how do they receive it?Even if we are yet to find out such secrets,many of us are skeptics."All this is like the crawling leaches, inscribing  letters on smooth surfaces, inadvertently" they vehemently argue.And there remains the million dollar question,seeking answer:even tiny ants,could make millions of their ilk do amazing things, why oh! why, the most intelligent of living things, at least replicate the feats the community of ants, at a scale, proportionate ?If these disciplined insects, in spite of their small brains could be a great example, why can't human's be like them, behave more responsibly , take charge of their own destiny, construct, not destroy. Every ant hill in silence, asks us many questions,  we walk past pretending that we heard nothing, that could disturb our peace.
Much studies have been done on ant behavior, but would humans ever  be  as organized and industrious  like these insects, supposed to be at a far lower level than mankind?
The joy of Christmas morning
Among the gifts beneath the tree
Was one for all to cherish
there was so much there to see

Books and clothes and other things
gifts were piled to our knees
but the longest item under there
Was Uncle Mike's new ski's

Now Mike, was something special
and I think I have a hunch
That you might have read about him
And his famous Christmas Punch

Well, two days later here he was
Standing, looking at his ski's
He asked his wife, my Aunty Pat
"what the hell do I do with these"

"You need to get more exercise"
"Cross country skiing is quite hot"
He said "look at this round body"
"Athletic...it is not"

After a little conversation
Well, an arguement Mike lost
He agreed to go and try them
No matter what the cost

His brother Gerald joined us,
With my brother and our sled
We ventured out to T.V Golf Course
To exercise, like Aunt Pat said

Now, the golf course is an old one
Trees and water all around
But that was in the summer
Now, just snow was on the ground

For those out there among you
Unaware of what's involved
To learn cross country skiing
Is not so quickly solved

The first and most important
point when learning how to ski
Is, stay on ground that's level
And don't collide with trees

We stood atop the highest hill
With a gentle grade straight out
It was the most level spot out there
Of this there was no doubt

My brother went down on the sled
On a hill just to the right
He was flying like a rocket ship
And was quickly out of sight

Mike, all dressed and shackled in
Was trying hard just not to fall
He was 5 foot three in ski boots
And lying down, was just as tall

We said to try just walking
The hill would do the rest
Behind him we were laughing
Poor Mike, he tried his best

He swore a lot, and we all laughed
It was not something he liked
For, Mike, need to prepare for things
To find something, and get psyched

The view from atop the highest hill
Was something to be seen
From here, you'd see the river
And, to the left the seventh green

After two hours out we decided that
We should be off and then
Mike said "I'll give it one more run"
"I'll try it once again"

Gerald, Ian and myself
had packed up, were set to go
When Mike came sliding past us
Moving quickly on the snow

In front of him, a little bump
Turned him slightly to the right
Toward the hill of sledders
This gave Uncle Mike a fright

"fall down" we yelled, as he went by
He just waved and made the turn
He hit the hill at his top speed
He hit two bushes and a fern

The hill, all 14 stories
Was more ice than it was snow
And there was Mike, at full speed
Dodging sledders on the go

We heard him scream as he went down
But what we heard, was only half
Because the sight of him free wheeling
Was making us all laugh

He shot on up the other side
Stopped and then came back
But because the hill was made of ice
He hadn't left a track

Once he stopped we ran on to him
We stood there, a laughing group of men
And Mike, all five foot three of him
said "I'll not do that again"

The skis, were gouged and splintered
The wax was off, as was the tar
He grabbed one under both his arms
And we trudged off to the car

Aunt Pat was there to greet us
When Mike, pulled out the skis
He showed her, gouged and scratched and ruined
And said "I'll not be needing these"

That Christmas is my favourite
We still smile at Christmas lunch
Of Uncle Mike's speed skiing
And of course his Christmas punch.
We went to Thames Valley golf course and Mike went down a toboggan hill, all ice, on cross country skis. It was his first time ever on them. He could have been killed, which would have resulted in a different tale. But, Mike...our dear Mike gave us Christmas memories that we still cherish thirty five years later. Boy do I miss him.
Pagan Paul Feb 2019
.
Do you remember when time stood still
skipping naked, happy, upon Spring Hill?
Warm westerlies, do rebirth dominate,
brushing the flowers, each one to pollinate.

Do you remember when time stood still
running naked, joyful, upon Summer Hill?
Hot south wind, sun growth it gifts,
providing life, as Nature's head it lifts.

Do you remember when time stood still
walking naked, tired, upon Autumn Hill?
Cool easterlies, the harvest to reap,
just preparing, waiting, for the annual sleep.

Do you remember when time stood still
laying naked, spent, upon Winter Hill?
Chill north wind, the snows to bring,
patient listening, to the universe sing.

Do you remember when time stood still
exposed and naked upon Season's Hill?
No rain, no sun, no wind nor breeze,
could disturb the silence of the Trees.





© Pagan Paul (2019)
.
Who's that walking on the moorland?
Who's that moving on the hill?
They are passing 'mid the bracken,
But the shadows grow and blacken
And I cannot see them clearly on the hill.

Who's that calling on the moorland?
Who's that crying on the hill?
Was it bird or was it human,
Was it child, or man, or woman,
Who was calling so sadly on the hill?

Who's that running on the moorland?
Who's that flying on the hill?
He is there -- and there again,
But you cannot see him plain,
For the shadow lies so darkly on the hill.

What's that lying in the heather?
What's that lurking on the hill?
My horse will go no nearer,
And I cannot see it clearer,
But there's something that is lying on the hill.
I’m going downhill fast. (1)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I’m going down hill fast.
I ought to get my act together
I’m going down hill fast.
Kissed my wife n said I love her
I’m going downhill fast.
Told her that there was no other.
I’m going downhill fast.
She says that I’m a liar.
I’m going down hill fast.

I’m going downhill fast.
Should have saved a fortune.
I’m going downhill fast.
Oh god it’s started raining
I’m going down hill fast.
My wind shield wipers failing
I’m going downhill fast.
My gearbox says it’s grinding
I’m going downhill fast.

I’m going downhill fast.
My boss has lost his faith in me
I’m going down hill fast.
I can’t give up the smokes you see
I’m going down hill fast.
This road is getting slippery
I’m going down hill fast
The headlights blind my capacity
I’m going downhill fast.

I’m going downhill fast.
Sleepy from the drinks I had.
I’m going down hill fast.
I am insured. So glad I am.
I’m going downhill fast
God knows why I live at all ?
I’m going down hill fast.
Gotta pull myself together
I’m going downhill fast.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Written by Philip Nov 2nd 2018.
A period in one’s life that creates “Experience “
Tiger Ayres Jan 31
On top of a hill
There's a bird that caws
And on that hill
There's a gun that draws

On that hill
There's a chick that cheaps
And next to that
A flooding creek

A top of the hill
An echoing groan
On that same hill
A bullet does go

On top of a hill
There's a bird that sleeps
And on that hill
There's a gun that breathes
On top of a hill
Kevis Seymore Jan 2015
Red seas cross a bleak horizon,
They move yet they are still,
Robed and clad in red they were,
The men of the missing land,

They wander without reason,
Sees the man on the hill,
He ponders, with them to confer,
He asks what he is to think,

They speak with silence saying;
Help me,
Heal me,
Lead me,

What else can a man do he says,
That man atop the hill,

They speak with silence saying;
Test me,
Teach me,
Correct me,

If you wish he says,
That man atop the hill,

The seas stand still,
What could not be done, the miracle,
By the man atop the hill,

They speak with silence saying;
Move us,
Push us,
Change us,

What else can a man do he says,
That man atop the hill,

They speak with silence saying;
Watch us,
Control us,
Rule us,

If you wish he says,
That man atop the hill,

The seas were one,
Each and every the same,
Held in a current of order,

They whisper saying;
Release us,
Free us,
Leave us,

He cannot hear the whisper below,
That man atop the hill,

They scream saying;
What of this,
What of us,
Why us,

He thought to himself,
That man atop the hill,

He looked down upon the seas,
Robed and clad in gray they were,
Then he called softly from above,

You spoke with silence saying;
Help me,
Heal me,
Lead me,

What else could I do he said,
That man atop the hill,

You spoke with silence saying;
Test me,
Teach me,
Correct me.
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

https://youtu.be/vVOQ54YQ73A
Alanis Moore Jul 2011
i took my first love down to strawberry hill,
the only place i knew how to be free,
only kids were we,
i kissed her and she kissed me
right there among the strawberries,
but when i asked how long we would be
she said nothing to me
two days later she left me,
and the strawberries beneath my feet
lay cold in the breeze

15 my heart was afluttering,
and i took my love down to violet hill
there we sat in the summer heat,
i asked just how long we would be,
she sat as silent as a tree
three days later she let me go,
and i sat staring at the dead berries
that lay buried in front of me



23 i thought i had found she,
the girl who would always love me,
but i got down on my knees
and she said no to me,
i didn't say anything,
just watched the strawberries beside me
wither and bleed, no longer living

when you came to me
the strawberry hill no longer
carried its name,
my heart beseeched me
to revisit once in my lonely life,
i told you my story of the strawberry hill
and the heartbreak that had happened here,
you sat the, silent still, and once done
you said to me,
"darling this hill belongs to we,
i shall not leave you until life lets me sleep,
and even then this hill is where you will find me"

now i stand on strawberry hill,
life breathed back by your love,
you lay beneath your strawberries,
waiting to greet me
a remake of an old poem that was my best. this is really just **** compared to it
Elizabeth Shield Mar 2012
The grass flickers, as the
Wind pushes it down, in
A gentle but determined
Motion, sweeping upwards to
Swirl the blue-grey clouds
Around the radio tower, before
Dissipating into the milky
Sky, which at this moment
Is the lightest shade of
Blue, an open innocent shade
Of blue, like an angelic birthday
Cake, the pinker clouds, whose
Graceful tendrils embrace the
Air, and dancing twirl across the
Peaceful summer skyscape

Down below them, the
Emerald stalks of corn stand,
Silent sentinels, awaiting the
Coming of the dawn, they too
Feel the pushing of the wind, but
Brush it off, over their shoulders,
And continue their silent watching
On the sloping sides of the hill, the
Growling pines, resplendent in their
Glimmering needles, reflect the fading
Light, off the clouds, as the sun sinks,
Beneath the horizon, and I watch them
Silently on my bike, the only thing
I can hear, is the swish of the wind,
And the hum and whirring of the
Pedals, as my bike and I, we glide up
The hill, and down the hill, and
Around the posts that are meant
To keep the cars from disturbing, this
Peaceful walking path

A while later, we crest a hill, now
Having past the town, I see the work
Of the persistent wind, the clouds
Now whipped into a curling wave,
Of pink and blue-black, spilling
Over the horizon, behind the red-roofed
Country houses, which are strangely
Reminiscent of those old, red, barns
Which would sit abandoned in
Fields of perpetual wheat, and,
Through the turning of the seasons,
Would rot away into timbers, with
No one left to remember, what
They were, or why they remain

Now we have ridden in a loop, my
Bike clicks as I change gears, to
Crest a hill and coast down, at high
Speed, between the guard rails and
The road, with the wind kicking
Up behind me and whisking an
Upcoming tree in to a fluttery
Flurry of leaves and branches, while
Below a stream cuts a field, and,
Skirting a pen, passes by a pinto
Pony, I think it was, that was just
Standing there, as we rode past,
Onto the cobblestones and around
A bend, the group splits, some going
A different route, but I want to come
Back the way I came, and I ride
Beside the highway, listening to
The chirp of the crickets and the
Hum of the wheels against the
Cold, pavement, while up the hill
The verdant pines bob their bows,
Up and down, waving, waving,
The crashing blue-black wave has
Rolled, on past the tower now, it
Is crashing down over the silent
Sentinels, and I watch quietly as
The wind rolls down the hill, and
Whirls some leaves, making the
Grass flicker in the setting sun.
preservationman Oct 2013
A moment when the spirit left the body
This happens too everybody
On this particular day, it’s a man by the of Eddie Hill I will say
Mr. Hill had been sick for quite a while
He was always active being his style
Everything happened so fast
Mr. Hill was diagnosed with Cancer
His body was starting too fade
His body is what God made
His face being a mire skeleton from his true self
Mr. Hill was distinguishable like nobody else
The family came for a visit
It was those passing moments of a limited tomorrow
After the family left
Mr. Hill felt into a deep eternal sleep
Suddenly a voice shouted, “Awake, awake”
Mr. Hill was surprised and didn’t know where he was
It was an Angel dressed in all white telling Mr. Hill he arrived in Heaven
The Angel then told Mr. Hill to rise too the occasion
“Your days on earth with your spirit in Heaven in a new birth”
This is Heaven in which you see
Chosen ones enter and that comes from thee
Your days of sorrow no more and it’s your praise that will soar
So awake, and stay awake for Heaven’s sake.
Brady D Friedkin Jun 2015
We fought hard for the hill
We held fast for our ground
But the enemy raged still
We knew victory may not be found
As we began to fall on that hill

The war waged on day and night
Our adversaries taunt us
Enemy attacks create a fright
The memories of battles hunt us
As we lost the battle in the night

Our enemy chased us to the sea
A massacre on that ******? shore
On the beach we begin to flee
To avoid all the blood and gore
We boarded ships to sail the sea

Our ships were filled with blood
Our fallen friends lay still on the floor
Our ship sailed red from the flood
Our troops could take no more
Our regiment could shed no more blood

Our ships sailed across the sea
Sights were a secret to keep
The war was too much to see
I began to drift to sleep
As we sailed across the sea

As I slept, a dream I dreamt
A nightmare of my own demise
A battle where my fortunes spent
Where my whole arm dies
Still I’m terrified by the dream I dreamt

I remember the terror in that dream
Like a defendant in a courtroom scene
Guilty of a crime it seem
No one to trust, no friend on whom to lean
I could never wake from this dream

With ****** hands I sat in jail
My victim was my own heart’s fate
To my torture, justice prevailed
I’m tortured by my cellmate
All of my days spent in this jail

One day a guard came with a key
He opened my cell door
He set me free
But like a monster with blood and gore
I was trapped without a key

I saw the sins of my life
All the men I’d killed
Just to take their wife
All I’ve done and I’ve willed
Has incomplete this wretched life

Like a rock tied to my foot
Sinking to fast in a raging
My lungs and water meet
My sins bear fruit, I see
As the stone weighs down my feet

Under the salty water
Sins sting my soul like eyes with salt
My breath begins to falter
The penalties I deserve become a vault
As my lungs fill with that water

In this dream I wash up on a beach
It seems I will never die
That the end is where I’ll never reach
No matter how much I’ll cry
Until I finally died on the beach

I woke up from this nightmare dream
Lying in this dark ship’s hull
I walk out to glorious sun beams
And over the dream I mull
Then I lived the terrible dream

I’ve seen all the sins I’ve made
I looked up and asked the way
All the pain on my heart has been laid
Then blue skies turned to gray
And my way was made

At a port we met a man
Said he would sail a ship across the stormy sea
When we made it to our land
Our enemy ruled all that we could see
And we followed the foreign sailor man

We made our way across our homeland
Through the lands our enemy had taken
In the weeks since we’d left our cherished land
The fate of the people seemed forsaken
As we saw what remained of our once-beautiful homeland

From the shore, we could see the hill
The foreign man said we should march to that place
The memories of that fateful night lingered still
Days went by and we still race
To that steep bloodstained hill

We journeyed across our war-raged land
Fighting with our enemy attackers
The man from the port, that foreign man
Saves us from these ****** matters
Fighting through pain for our land

On our way to the hill
We fought many battles along the way
And made our way not by our skill
But then some blood to add
It seemed the battle once again ended at the wall

The foreign man had been killed
Our battle seemed to have been lost
As if enough blood hadn’t already been spilled
The morning next was cold with frost
The hope for the war seemed to have been killed

But when all hope was gone
And our pain began to rise
When our enemies were bearing down
He came back and ended our demise
And all fear for loss was gone

Things had become good again
Good for the first time since the beginning
The sad things of the world became a gem
The once hopeless battle now winning
All things were become good once again

He returned from the dead
He defeated our enemies
He stood in our stead
He became our remedy
Then we powered ahead

We charged up the hill
Toward the great mountain peak
The journey was filled with thrill
The foreigner led us, the weak
And leads us upon this mountain still

He saved us all
From the wrath of our adversaries
From the sin of ourselves
Joe Cole Jun 2014
Gettysburg a small Pensylvania town gave the battle its name
At its end it became a place of graves
Behind the town a small round hill
Guarded by the 20th Maine
Little Round Top hill now held the flank
So that the union troops could now advance
If the grey could crush the line
They could with their lives buy the time
And give Lee the victory he so desired
But the hill was strongly held by men
Led by Chamberlain
Joshua L Chamberlain,  a professor was
A man who had a love of god
But now with blood upon his hand
He and the 20 Maine did make their stand
On Little Roundtop hill
He knew that if his lines did break
The conferderates might win the day
The war might there be lost
With a mighty rebel yell
William Oates and his men did charge the hill
Into a storm of musket ball and minnie round
Now dying men on the ground did fall
Time and time again they charged
Into that inferno of *******
Never ceasing to give the rebel yell
Now Chamberlain with shot near spent
Turned and ordered bayonets fixed
And charged the rebel line
The confederats now turned and fled
Down the hill now slick and red
With the blood of fallen men
Chamberlains men of Maine had won the day
From their duty they did not sway
For many the hill was their last resting place
And in their deaths was no disgrace
Chamberlain had held the hill
Joshua L Chamberlain was wounded six times in the civil war
Nick Kasparie Jun 2015
At the house on the hill where the evergreens grew,
By the lake where we fished while our love was still new,
We had talked; we had walked to the end of the roads
We had pride in our stride and made high all our lows

At the house on the hill where the evergreens grew,
On the swing where we laughed, it was then when I knew
That our talks and our walks were much more than a game
And quite soon, if I could, I would give you my name

At the house on the hill where the evergreens grew,
In the dark of the night when the stars shined for you,
With no care in the world, we made love in the grass
With a passionate heat no one else could surpass

At the house on the hill where the evergreens grew,
Where we laid in the grass from the frost ‘til the dew
I had seen all to come, but I was not aware
That I could have been wrong, and I truly despaired

At the house on the hill where the evergreens grew,
In the door where we kissed and I said “bye” to you,
In my sorrow I stood, and I knew you were gone
From the house on the hill where I waited so long.

At the house on the hill where the evergreens grew,
The trees all stayed green like my love did for you.
A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
And the trade winds soft through
The sighing trees
And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright
Lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.
Jamison Bell Jun 2016
There used to be this hill upon which I would sit.
I'd watch the stars every night I could as they waltzed across the sky.
I watched Apollo mount his chariot and Ra he did the same.
My favorite nights were when the gods would battle with swords of fire off in the distance.

I thought about that night the night wept.
She was alone, as if it had just occurred to her.
She didn't look at me when I sat on the bed next to her.
She embraced me and cried. It wasn't the "I just found out Tiffany bought the same shoes I did" cry.
It was her heart. The pain was too much to bear.

Forever upon this hill were my four horsemen.
Pestilence, Famine, Disease, and Death.
Steadfast in awaiting my orders they heed in limbo.
And when the day comes when I've had enough.
(ok so the horsemen were just four trees in close proximity but it's my ****** hill so they're horsemen)

I used to imagine being able to walk on the clouds.
Not those whispy ones. Obviously not structurally sound.
No, those big puffy ones. Climbing over them as if they were albino boulders.
Taking ***** on my enemies. Because so would you.

I fell in love three times on this very hill.
And as many times as I paced that ****** hill.
Wouldn't you know it? There was never any love to be found.
In all fairness though. I'm not smart enough to recognize it either.

I never liked the wind upon my hill so high.
Oh sure, every time it got windy the blades of grass would break out into this impromptu synchronized dance montage.
It just had a way of distracting me from my thoughts.

I still think about this hill. It sits on high upon a sill.
It's there this hill must stay. Upon this sill so far away.
I go there in my mind you see. To bury my thoughts or set them free.
I'm taking you there one day too soon.
Don't make plans that afternoon.

I wrote those lines up on that hill. Words like that don't rhyme at will.
**** it and **** I am getting off topic!
This is worse than when I wrote that biopic.
Focus kid, I know you're high. Just make it look pretty and say your goodbye.

My lushly green haired knuckle cocked up from the ground.
It's where you find me should you need me. But that's it. You'll never need me.
Don't worry about it. Because she's up here with me.
And there are no questions. Just laughter.
This poem was brought to you by Isolation. Put it on a sandwhich. Clean grease off your lamps. A useful substitute for play doh or ******. Find it today in the "***" aisle of your local bazaar.
krissie Aug 2014
past the haunted hill, there is a winter in me i cannot contain
skeletons in the closet and a stinging regret in my shame
there sits a low burning furnace, about which i do not know
i measure my indignation and they still think it's all for show

past the haunted hill, i am the treacherous poetic rhyme
i am fire and water, the flames turned to embers of time
i've never walked the line between now and then so uneasily
and the words to For A Dancer never spoke quite so well to me

past the haunted hill, i am the absent railroad track
i am the finest story untold, the memory you'd never get back
fear is a four letter word, for all this singing of the blues
though i ride in chariots of gold, i still sink within my truth

past the haunted hill, i am the product of every salvation and sin
i am the blind and the vigilant, every word that burned from within
alike are the times when familiarity is pain, and pain is familiarity
for all this blood that runs through my veins, makes me feel so weak

past the haunted hill, i am the nightfall that dares appear so suddenly
i am lost and free, i am kindness to have the favor returned to me
i will find no shame in glorifying the mundane and the strife
i must see every sparkling star through my pledge to this life

past the haunted hill, i live on as the purest moon and the blazing sun
i live on as the wind and sea, i live on as the good girl lost and gone
if freedom is the cost, i'll be the one standing on my feet and praying
when all balance is lost, i can only hope to be the one still swaying

(i have no choice)
Keith J Collard Jun 2013
The Quest for the Damsel Fish  by Keith Collard

Author's  Atmosphere

On the bow of the boat, with the cold cloud of the dismal day brushing your back conjuring goose bumped flesh you hold an anchor.  For the first time, you can pick this silver anchor up with only one hand and hold it over your head. It resembles the Morning Star, a brutal medieval weapon that bludgeons and impales its victims.  Drop it into the dark world beyond the security of your boat--watch the anchor descend.
        Watch this silver anchor--this Morning Star--descend away from the boat and you, it becomes swarmed over with darkness.  It forms a ******-metallic grin at first as it sinks, then the sinking silver anchor takes its last shape at its last visible glimpse.  It is so small now as if it could be hung from a necklace.  It is a silver sword.  
Peering over the side of the boat, the depths collectively look like the mouth of a Cannibalistic Crab, throwing the shadows of its mandibles over everything that sinks down into it--black mandibles that have joints with the same angle of a Reaper's Scythe.  

I am scared looking at this sinking phantasm.  I see something from my youth down there in this dark cold Atlantic.  I see the silver Morning Star again, now in golden armor.  I remember a magnificent kingdom, in a saltwater fish tank I had once and never had again.  A tropical paradise that I see again as I stare down into the depths.  This fish tank was so beautiful with the most beautiful inhabitants who I miss.  Before I could lift the silver anchor--the Morning Star--over my head with only one hand, turning gold in that morning sun-- I was a boy who sat indian style, cross legged--peering into this brilliant spectacle of light I thought awesome.  I thought all the darkness of home and the world was kept at bay by this kingdom of light...

Chapter  1 Begins the Story

The Grey Skies of Mass is the Name of This Chapter.

                                                      ­­                        
    
 Air, in bubbles--it was a world beauty of darkness revealed in slashes of light from dashing fluorescent bulbs overhead this fish tank.
Silver swords of fluorescent energy daring to the bottom, every slash revealing every color of the zodiac--from the Gold of Scorpio to the purple of Libra combining into the jade of the Gemini. 
In the center, like a dark Stonehenge were rocks. The exterior rocks had tropical colors like that of cotton candy, but the interior shadows of the rocks that was the Stonehenge, did not possess one photon of light. The silver messengers of the florescent energy from above would tire and die at their base.  The shadows of the Stonehenge rocks would stand over them as they died.

 
          When the boy named Sake climbed the rickety wood stairs of the house, he did so in fear of making noise, as if to not wake each step.
   Until he could see the glowing aura of his fish tank then he would start down that eerie hall, With pictures of ghosts and ghosts of pictures staring down at him as he walked down that rickety hallway of this towering old colonial home.  He hurried to the glowing tank to escape the black and white gazing picture frames.
                    The faint gurgling, bubbling of the saltwater tank became stronger in his ear, and that sound guided him from the last haunt of the hallway-- the empty room that was perpendicular to  his room.   He only looked to his bright tank as soon as he entered the hallway from the creaky wooden steps.  Then he proceeded to sit in front of this great tropical fish tank in Indian style with his legs folded over one another as children so often would sit.
  The sun was setting.  The reflections from the tank were beginning to send ripples down the dark walls. Increasing  wave after wave reflecting down his dark walls.  He thought they to be seagulls flapping into the darkness until they were overcome as he was listening to the bubbling water of his tank.
                " Hello my fish, hello Angel, hello Tang, hello  Hoomah, hello Clown and hello Damsel … and hello to you Crab...even though I do not like you," he said in half jest not looking at the crab in the entrance of the rocks.  The rocks were the color of cotton candy, but the interior shadows did not possess a photon of luminescence.  All other shadows not caused by the rocks--but by bright swaying ornament--were like the glaze on a candy apple--dark but delicious.  Besides the crab's layer in the rock jumble at the center of the tank which was a Stonehenge within a Stonehenge--the tank was a world of bright inviting light.
                The crab was in its routine,  motionless in the entrance to his foyer, with his scythe-like claws in the air, in expectation of catching one of the bright fish someday.  For that reason the boy tried to remove the crab in the past, but even though the boy was fast with his hand, the optical illusion of the tank would always send his hand where the crab no longer was.  He did not know how to use two hands to rid the crab in the future by trapping and destroying the Cannibal Crab ;  his father, on a weekend visit, gave the Crab to the boy to put into the bright world of the saltwater tank, which Sake quickly regretted.  His father promised him that the Crab would not be able to catch any of the fish he said " ...***** only eat anything that has fallen to the bottom or each other..."

         A scream from the living room downstairs ran up the rickety wood and down the long hall and startled the boy.  His mother sent her shrieks out to grab the boy, allowing her to not have to waste any time nor calorie on her son; for she would tire from the stairs, but her screams would not, allowing her to stay curled up on the couch.  If she was not screaming for Sake, she was talking as loud as screams on the phone with her girlfriends.  The decibels from her laugh was torture for all in the silent house.   A haughty laugh in a gossipy conversation, that overpowered the sound of the bright tropical fish tank in Sake's room that was above and far opposite her in the living room.
               " Sake you have to get a paper-route to pay for the tank, the electricity bill is outrageous," she said while not taking her eyes off the TV and her legs curled up beside her.  He would glad fully get a paper-route even if it was for a made up reason.  He turned to go, and looked back at his mother, and a shudder ran through him with a new thought:  someday her appearance will match her voice.  

              Upon reaching his tank,  Hoomah was trying to get his attention as always.  Taking up pebbles in his big pouty pursed lips and spitting them out of his lips like a weak musket.  The Hoomah was a very silly fish, it looked like one of Sake’s aunts, with too much make up on, slightly overweight, and hovering on two little fins that looked incapable of keeping it afloat, but they did.  The fins reminded him of the legs of his aunt--skinny under not so skinny.’

               The Tang was doing his usual aquanautics , darting and sailing was his trick.  He was fast, the fastest with his bright yellow triangular sail cutting the water.  Next was the aggressive Clown fish, the boy thought she was always aggresive because she didn't have an anemone to sleep on.  The Clown was strong and sleek with an orange jaw and body that was built like a tigress.
  Sake thought something tragic about the body if the  orange Clown and the three silver traces that clawed her body as decoration -they reminded him of the incandescent orange glow of a street lamp being viewed through the rainy back windshield of a car.   The Clown fish was a distraction that craved attention.
The Clown would chase around some of the other fish and jump out of the water to catch the boy's eye. 
                 Next is the Queen Angel fish, she is the queen of the tank, she sits in back all alone, waving like a marvelous banner, iridescent purple and golden jade.  Her forehead slopes back in a French braid style that streams over her back like a kings standard waving before battle, but her standard is of a house of beauty, and that of royal purple.

                    Lastly is the Damsel Fish, the smallest and most vulnerable in the tank.  She has royal purple also, rivaling the queen. Her eyes are lashed but not lidded like the Hoomah.  Her eyes are elliptical, and perhaps the most human, or in the boy’s opinion, she is the most lady like, the Hoomah and the Queen Angel come to her defence if she is chased around by the Clown.  Her eyes penetrate the boys, to the point of him looking away.  

                      Before the tank, in its place in the corner was a painting, an oil painting of another type of Clown donning a hat with orange partial make-up on his face (only around eyes nose and mouth there was ghost white paint) and it  had two tears coming down from its right eye.  The Clown painting was given to him by his mother, it seems he could not be rid of them, but Sake at first was taken in by the brightness of the Clown, and the smooth salacious wet look of the painting. it looked dripping, or submerged, like another alternate reality.  The wet surreal glaze of the painting seemed a portal, especially the orange glow of the Clown's skin without make-up.  .  If he tried to remember of times  before the Clown painting that preceded the Clown fish, he thought of the orange saffron twilight of sunset, and watching it from the high window from his room in the towering house.  How that light changed everything that it touched, from the tree tops and the clouds, to even the dark hallway leading up to his room.  The painting and the Clown fish did not feel the same as those distant memories of sunset, especially the summer sunset when his mother would put him to bed long before the sun had set.  
Sake did not voice opposition to the Clown.
Then he was once again trapped by the Clown.  
            The boy was extremely afraid of this painting that replaced the sunsets , being confined alone with it by all those early bedtimes.
Sake once asked his mother if he could take it down, whereas she said " No."  That clown would follow him into his dreams, always he would be down the hill from the tall house on the hill, trying to walk back to the house, but to walk away or run in a dream was like walking underwater or in black space, and he would make no distance as the ground opened up and the clown came out of the ground hugging him with the pryless grip of eight arms.  He would then wake up amid screams and a tearful hatted clown staring somberly down at him from the wall where it was hung.  Night made him fear the Clown painting more;  that ghost white make-up decorating around the eyes and mouth seeming to form another painting in entirety.  He could only look at the painting after a while when the lights were on, and the wet looking painting was mostly orange from the skin, neck, and forearms of the hat wearing clown.  But the painting is gone now, and the magnificent light display of the tank is there now.  

                Sake pulled out the fish food, all the fish bestirred in anticipation of being fed.  The only time they would all come together; and that was to mumble the bits of falling flakes: a chomp from the Clown, a pucker from the Hoomah, the fast mumble of the Tang, and the dainty chew of the Damsel.  The Queen Angelfish would stay near the bottom, and kiss a flake over and over.   She would not deign herself to go into a friendly frenzy like the other fish; she stayed calm, yet alluring like a flag dancing rhythmically in the breeze, but never repeating the same move as the wind never repeats the same breeze.  She is the only fish to change colors.  When the grey skies of Mass emit through every portal in the house at the height of its bleakness, her colors would turn more fantastic, perhaps why she is queen.

                 He put his finger in the top of the watery world; the warmth was felt all the way up his arm.  After feeding, his favorite thing to do was to trace his finger on the top of the warm water and have the Damsel follow it. She loved it, it was her only time to dance, for the Clown would descend down in somewhat fear ( or annoyance) of the boys finger, and the Damsel and he would dance.  The boy, thought that extraordinary.

                     Sake bedded down that night, to his usual watery world of his room.  The reflective waves running down the walls like seagulls of light, with the rhythmic gurgling sound and it's occasional splash of the Clown, or the Hoomah swooping into the pebbly bottom to scoop up some pebbles for spitting making the sound "ccchhhhh" --cachinging  like a distant underwater register.  The tank’s nocturne sound was therapeutic to the boy.

                      Among waking up, and being greeted by his sparkling treasure tank--that was always of the faintest light in the morning due to the grey skies of Mass coming through every portal to lessen the tropical spectrum-- the boy would render his salutations " Good morning my Hoomah.....good morning Tang, my Damsel, and your majesty Queen Angel.....and so forth.  Until the scream would come to get him, and he would walk briskly past the empty room and the looming family pictures of strangers.  His mother put him to work that day, to "pay for the fish tank" but really to buy her a new cocktail dress for her nightly forays.  The boy did not care, the tank was his sun, emitting through the bleak skies of Mass, and even if the tank was reduced to a haze by the overcast of his life, it only added a log to the fire that was the tropical world at night, in turn making him welcome the dismal day.
                  On a day, when the overcast was so thick, he felt he could not picture his rectangular orb waiting for him at night. He had trouble remembering what houses to deliver the paper.  He delivered to the same house three times.  Newspapers seemed to disappear in his hands, due to their color relation to the sky.   Leaves were falling from the trees—butterfly like—he went to catch one, he missed--a first. For Sake could walk through dense thorned brambles and avoid every barb, as a knight in combat or someone’s whose heart felt the painful sting of the barb before.  He would stand under a tree in late fall, and roll around to avoid every falling leaf, and pierce them to the ground deftly with a stick fashioned as a sword.  He could slither between snow flakes, almost like a fish nimbly avoiding small flakes.  
                  After he finished his paper-route , he went to his usual spot under an oak tree to fence with falling leaves.  As the other boys walked by and poked fun he would stall his imagination, and look to the brown landscape of the dry fall.  The crisp brown leaves of the trees were sword shapes to him.  He held the battle ax shape of the oak leaf over his eye held up by the stick it was pierced through, and spied the woodline through the sinus of the oak leaf lobe.  The brown white speckled scenery, were all trying to hide behind eachother by blending in bleakfully; he pretended the leaf was Hector’s helmet from the Illiad—donned over his eyes.
“ Whatchya doing Sake?” asked a young girl named Summer.  Sake only mumbled something nervously and stood there.  And a pretty Summer passed on after Sake once again denied himself of her pretty company.  He looked to the woodline again, a mist was now concealing the tall apical trees.  It now looked like the brown woodland was not trying to retreat behind eachother in fall concealment, but trying to emerge forth out of the greyness to say "save us."

“ Damgf” he uttered, and could not even grasp a word correctly.  His head lifted to the sky repeatedly, there was no orb, and the shadows were looming larger than ever; fractioned shadows from tree branches were forming scythes all over the ground.
             He entered the large shadow that was his front door, into the house that rose high into the sky, with the simplicity of Stonehenge.  He climbed the rickety petrified stairs and went down the hall.  Grey light had spotlighted every frame on the wall.  He looked into the empty room, nothingness, then his room, the tank seemed at its faintest, and it was nearing twilight.  He walked past the tank to look out the w
RainbowBlessings Mar 2015
Blanket of Snow On A Hill


In the state of NY upon a hill
A Blanket of Snow was so real
Right before my very eyes
A blanket of snow a surprise
On my way to another state
This photograph I had to take
Nothing moving not a sound
A blanket of snow on ground
On the ground the snow lies
Glittering before my eyes
Every branch on every tree
Snow covered I could see
The beauty of New York City
A Blanket of Snow so pretty
How I will forever behold
It's beauty from the road
The winter wind it doth blow
Through the trees and snow
Blowing through leafless trees
Calms ones spirit right at ease
Softly singing a calm melody
Beckons the call for all to see
The chill of the morning snow
Fills the air of Gods pure glow
All white down the mountain
A stream of frozen fountain
Snow on hill will fade away
To brighten Gods given day
Picture perfect it doth seem
Only something you'd dream
Words hardly cannot convey
Of the beauty I saw that day


WrittenBy: Barbie Kirk 03-01-15 7:25pm   - See more at: http://allpoetry.com/poem/11928026-Blanket-of-Snow-On-A-Hill-by-RainbowBlessings#sthash.phX­AT515.dpuf
Oh, here the air is sweet and still,
  And soft’s the grass to lie on;
And far away’s the little hill
  They took for Christ to die on.

And there’s a hill across the brook,
  And down the brook’s another;
But, oh, the little hill they took,—
  I think I am its mother!

The moon that saw Gethsemane,
  I watch it rise and set:
It has so many things to see,
  They help it to forget.

But little hills that sit at home
  So many hundred years,
Remember Greece, remember Rome,
  Remember Mary’s tears.

And far away in Palestine,
  Sadder than any other,
Grieves still the hill that I call mine,—
  I think I am its mother!
R Dickson Dec 2015
Hearing of a song about a place that I didn't know,
In my head an idea of a poem it did sow,
All  the searches I could find of this I had no skill,
Was that people were dying there on Kinnoull Hill,

The beauty of the River Tay and of surrounding land,
The place to view is at the Tower, that's the very place to stand,
The craggy face, the steep sheer drop, if you're mentally ill,
Don't dare venture to the top, the top of Kinnoull Hill,

Of all the places that they choose, they chose this place to die,
Shouting out I love you was the last thing that they cry,
Deciding to end it all, a life that's had its fill,
Death was their last resting place, below Kinnoull Hill,

Not since the days when Jamie Foyers had once so proudly strode,
Now it's for the weary in desperation mode,
They have no need for knife or gun or even just a pill,
Their modus operandi was to climb up Kinnoull Hill,

Don't blame the victims for their death or of their state of mind,
Modern life is difficult with day to daily grind,
He was just a soldier his government trained him to ****,
The killing only stopped when he stepped off Kinnoull Hill.
The song "Kinnoull Hill" that inspired this poem is on the album Traces of Freedom and this is a link to it.
http://alandickson.bandcamp.com/album/traces-of-freedom

— The End —