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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

“I vaguely remember Delvos helping me to my feet, but leaving the mine was a complete haze.” I told the panel back in D.C., “It wasn’t until we had crossed the stream on the way back to the cabin that I began to feel myself again. Even then, I felt like I was living a dream. When we got back to the cabin the sight of the lively yellow canaries in their coops made me cry. Delvos brought me a bottle of water and told me I needed to hit the trail because the sun set early in the winter, so I le
1969 Hartford art school is magnet for exceedingly intelligent over-sensitive under-achievers alluring freaks congenital creeps and anyone who cannot cut it in straight world it is about loners dreamers stoners clowns cliques of posers competing to dress draw act most outrageous weird wonderful classrooms clash in diversity of needs some students get it right off while others require so much individual attention one girl constantly raises her hand calls for everything to be repeated explained creativity is treated as trouble and compliance to instruction rewarded most of faculty are of opinion kids are not capable of making original artwork teachers discourage students from dream of becoming well-known until they are older more experienced only practiced skilled artists are competent to create ‘real art’ defined by how much struggle or multiple meanings weave through the work Odysseus wants to make magic boxes without knowing or being informed of Joseph Cornell one teacher tells him you think you’re going to invent some new color the world has never seen? you’re just some rowdy brat from the midwest with a lot of crazy ideas and no evidence of authenticity another teacher warns you’re nothing more than a bricoleur! Odysseus questions what’s a bricoleur teacher informs a rogue handyman who haphazardly constructs from whatever is immediately available Odysseus questions what’s wrong with that? teacher answers it’s low-class folk junk  possessing no real intellectual value independently he reads Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium Is The Message” and “The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci” he memorizes introductory remark of Leonardo’s “i must do like one who comes last to the fair and can find no other way of providing for himself than by taking all the things already seen by others and not taken by reason of their lesser value” Odysseus dreams of becoming accomplished important artist like Robert Rauschenberg Jasper Johns Andy Warhol he dreams of being in eye of hurricane New York art scene he works for university newspaper and is nicknamed crashkiss the newspaper editor is leader in student movement and folk singer who croons “45 caliber man, you’re so much more than our 22, but there’s so many more of us than you” Odysseus grows mustache wears flower printed pants vintage 1940’s leather jacket g.i. surplus clothes he makes many friends his gift for hooking up with girls is uncanny he is long haired drug-crazed hippie enjoying popularity previously unknown to him rock bands play at art openings everyone flirts dances gets ****** lots of activism on campus New York Times dubs university of Hartford “Berkeley of the east coast” holding up ******* in peace sign is subversive in 1969 symbol of rebellion youth solidarity gesture against war hawks rednecks corporate America acknowledgment of potential beyond materialistic self-righteous values of status quo sign of what could be in universe filled with incredible possibilities he moves in with  painting student one year advanced named Todd Whitman Todd has curly blond hair sturdy build wire rimmed glasses impish smile gemini superb draftsman amazing artist Todd emulates Francisco de Goya and Albrecht Durer Todd’s talent overshadows Odysseus’s Todd’s dad is accomplished professor at distinguished college in Massachusetts to celebrate Odysseus’s arrival Todd cooks all day preparing spaghetti dinner when Odysseus arrives home tripping on acid without appetite Todd is disappointed Odysseus runs down to corner store buys large bottle of wine returns to house Todd is eating spaghetti alone they get drunk together then pierce each other’s ears with needles ice wine cork pierced ears are outlaw style of bad *** bikers like Hell’s Angels Todd says you are a real original Odys and funny too Odysseus asks funny, how? Todd answers you are one crazy ******* drop acid whenever you want smoke **** then go to class this is fun tonight Odys getting drunk and piercing our ears Odysseus says yup i’m having a good time too Todd and Odysseus become best friends Odysseus turns Todd on to Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” and “Ariel” then they both read Ted Hughes “Crow” illustrated with Leonard Baskin prints Todd turns Odysseus on to German Expressionist painting art movement of garish colors emotionally violent imagery from 1905-1925 later infuriating Third ***** who deemed the work “degenerate” Odysseus dives into works of Max Beckmann Otto Dix Conrad Felixmulller Barthel Gilles George Grosz Erich Heckel Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Felix Nussbaum Karl *******Rottluff Carl Hofer August Macke Max Peckstein Elfriede Lohse-Wachtler Egon Shiele list goes on in 1969 most parents don’t have money to buy their children cars most kids living off campus either ride bikes or hitchhike to school then back home on weekends often without a penny in their pockets Odysseus and Todd randomly select a highway and hitch rides to Putney Vermont Brattleboro Boston Cape Cod New York City or D.C. in search of adventure there is always trouble to be found curious girls to assist in Georgetown Odysseus sleeps with skinny girl with webbed toes who believes he is Jesus he tries to dissuade her but she is convinced

Toby Mantis is visiting New York City artist at Hartford art school he looks like huskier handsomer version of Ringo Starr and women dig him he builds stretchers and stretches canvases for Warhol lives in huge loft in Soho on Broadway and Bleeker invites Odysseus to come down on weekends hang out Toby takes him to Max’s Kansas City Warhol’s Electric Circus they wander all night into morning there are printing companies longshoremen gays in Chelsea Italians in West Village hippies playing guitars protesting the war in Washington Square all kinds of hollering crazies passing out fliers pins in Union Square Toby is hard drinker Odysseus has trouble keeping up  he pukes his guts out number of times Odysseus is *** head not drinker he explores 42nd Street stumbles across strange exotic place named Peep Show World upstairs is large with many **** cubicles creepy dudes hanging around downstairs is astonishing there are many clusters of booths with live **** girls inside girls shout out hey boys come on now pick me come on boys there are hundreds of girls from all over the world in every conceivable size shape race he enters dark stall  puts fifty cents in coin box window screen lifts inside each cluster are 6 to 10 girls either parading or glued to a window for $1 he is allowed to caress kiss their ******* for $2 he is permitted to probe their ****** or *** for $10 girl reaches hand into darkened stall jerks him off tall slender British girl thrills him the most she says let me have another go at your dickey Odysseus spends all his money ******* 5 times departing he notices men from every walk of life passing through wall street stockbrokers executives rednecks mobsters frat boys tourists fat old bald guys smoking thick smelly cigars Toby Mantis has good-looking girlfriend named Lorraine with long brown hair Toby Lorraine and Odysseus sit around kitchen table Odysseus doodles with pencil on paper Toby spreads open Lorraine’s thighs exposing her ****** to Odysseus Lorraine blushes yet permits Toby to finger her Odysseus thinks she has the most beautiful ****** he has ever seen bulging pelvic bone brown distinctive bush symmetric lips Toby and Lorraine watch in amusement as Odysseus gazes intently Tony mischievously remarks you like looking at that ***** don’t you? Odysseus stares silently begins pencil drawing Lorraine’s ****** his eyes darting back and forth following day Lorraine seduces Odysseus while Toby is away walks out **** from shower she is few years older her body lean with high ******* she directs his hands mouth while she talks with someone on telephone it is strange yet quite exciting Odysseus is in awe of New York City every culture in the world intermingling democracy functioning in an uncontrollable managed breath millions of people in motion stories unraveling on every street 24 hour spectacle with no limits every conceivable variety of humanity ******* in same air Odysseus is bedazzled yet intimidated

Odysseus spends summer of 1970 at art colony in Cummington Massachusetts it is magical time extraordinary place many talented eccentric characters all kinds of happenings stage plays poetry readings community meals volleyball after dinner volleyball games are hilarious fun he lives alone in isolated studio amidst wild raspberries in woods shares toilet with field mouse no shower he reads Jerzy Kosinski’s “Painted Bird” then “Being There” then “Steps” attractive long haired girl named Pam visits community for weekend meets Odysseus they talk realize they were in first grade together at Harper amazing coincidence automatic ground for “we need to have *** because neither of us has seen each other since first grade” she inquires where do you sleep? Todd hitches up from Hartford to satisfy curiosity everyone sleeps around good-looking blue-eyed poet named Shannon Banks from South Boston tells Odysseus his ******* is not big enough for kind of ******* she wants but she will **** him off that’s fine with him 32 year old poet named Ellen Morrissey from Massachusetts reassures him ******* is fine Ellen is beginning to find her way out from suffocating marriage she has little daughter named Nina Ellen admires Odysseus’s free spirit sees both his possibilities and naïveté she realizes he has crippling family baggage he has no idea he is carrying thing about trauma is as it is occurring victim shrugs laughs to repel shock yet years later pain horror sink in turned-on with new ideas he returns to Hartford art school classes are fun yet confusing he strives to be best drawer most innovative competition sidetracks him Odysseus uses power drill to carve pumpkin on Halloween teachers warn him to stick to fundamentals too much creativity is suspect Todd and he are invited to holiday party Odysseus shows up with Ellen Morrissey driving in her father’s station wagon 2 exceptionally pretty girls flirt with him he is live wire they sneak upstairs he fingers both at same time while they laugh to each other one of the girls Laura invites him outside to do more he follows they walk through falling snow until they find hidden area near some trees Laura lies down lifts her skirt she spreads her legs dense ***** mound he is about to explore her there when Laura looks up sees figure with flashlight following their tracks in snow she warns it’s Bill my husband run for your life! Odysseus runs around long way back inside party grabs a beer pretending he has been there next to Ellen all night few minutes later he sees Laura and Bill return through front door Bill has dark mustache angry eyes Odysseus tells Ellen it is late maybe they should leave soon suddenly Bill walks up to him with beer in hand cracks bottle over his head glass and beer splatter Odysseus jumps up runs out to station wagon Ellen hurriedly follows snow coming down hard car is wedged among many guest vehicles he starts engine locks doors maneuvers vehicle back and forth trying to inch way out of spot Bill appears from party walks to his van disappears from out of darkness swirling snow Bill comes at them wielding large crowbar smashes car’s headlights taillights side mirrors windshield covered in broken glass Ellen ducks on floor beneath glove compartment sobs cries he’s going to **** us! we’re going to die! Odysseus steers station wagon free floors gas pedal drives on back country roads through furious snowstorm in dark of night no lights Odysseus contorts crouches forward in order to see through hole in shattered windshield Ellen sees headlights behind them coming up fast it is Bill in van Bill banging their bumper follows them all the way back to Hartford to Odysseus’s place they run inside call police Bill sits parked van outside across street as police arrive half hour later Bill pulls away next day Odysseus and Ellen drive to Boston to explain to Ellen’s dad what has happened to his station wagon Odysseus stays with Ellen in Brookline for several nights another holiday party she wants to take him along to meet her friends her social circles are older he thinks to challenge their values be outrageous paints face Ellen is horrified cries you can’t possibly do this to me these are my close friends what will they think? he defiantly answers my face is a mask who cares what i look like? man woman creature what does it matter? if your friends really want to know me they’ll need to look beyond the make-up tonight i am your sluttish girlfriend! sometimes Odysseus can be a thoughtless fool

Laura Rousseau Shane files for divorce from Bill she is exceptionally lovely models at art school she is of French descent her figure possessing exotic traits she stands like ballerina with thick pointed ******* copious ***** hair Odysseus is infatuated she frequently dances pursues him Laura says i had the opportunity to meet Bob Dylan once amazed Odysseus questions what did you do? she replies what could i possibly have in common with Bob Dylan? Laura teases Odysseus about being a preppy then lustfully gropes him grabs holds his ***** they devote many hours to ****** intimacy during ******* she routinely reaches her hand from under her buns grasps his testicles squeezing as he pumps he likes that Laura is quite eccentric fetishes over Odysseus she even thrills to pick zits on his back he is not sure if it is truly a desire of hers proof of earthiness or simply expression of mothering Laura has two daughters by Bill Odysseus is in over his head Laura tells Odysseus myth of Medea smitten with love for Jason Jason needs Medea’s help to find Golden Fleece Medea agrees with promise of marriage murders her brother arranges ****** of king who has deprived Jason his inheritance couple is forced into exile Medea bears Jason 2 sons then Jason falls in love with King Creon’s daughter deserts Medea is furious she makes shawl for King Creon’s daughter to wear at her wedding to Jason  shawl turns to flames killing bride Medea murders her own sons by Jason Odysseus goes along with story for a while but Laura wants husband Odysseus is merely scruffy boy with roving eyes Laura becomes galled by Odysseus leaves him for one of his roommates whom she marries then several years later divorces there is scene when Laura tells Odysseus she is dropping him for his roommate he is standing in living room of her house space is painted deep renaissance burgundy there are framed photographs on walls in one photo he is hugging Laura and her daughters under big oak tree in room Laura’s friend Bettina other girl he fingered first night he met Laura at party is watching with arms crossed he drops to floor curls body sobs i miss you so much Laura turns to Bettina remarks look at him men are such big babies he’s pitiful Bettina nods

following summer he works installing displays at G. Fox Department Store besides one woman gay men staff display department for as long as he can remember homosexuals have always been attracted to him this misconception is probably how he got job his tenor voice suggesting not entirely mature man instead more like tentative young boy this ambiguous manifestation sometimes also evidences gestures thoroughly misleading after sidestepping several ****** advances one of his co-workers bewilderingly remarks you really are straight manager staff are fussy chirpy catty group consequently certain he is not gay they discriminate against him stick him with break down clean up slop jobs at outdoor weekend rock concert in Constitution Plaza he meets 2 younger blond girls who consent to go back to his place mess around both girls are quite dazzling yet one is somewhat physically undeveloped they undress and model for Odysseus radio plays Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song” both girls move to rhythm sing along he thinks to orchestrate direct decides instead to let them lead lies on bed while curvaceous girl rides his ******* slender girl sits on his face they switch all 3 alternate giggle laughter each girl reaches ****** on his stiffness later both assist with hands mouths his ****** is so intense it leaves him paralyzed for a moment

in fall he is cast as Claudius in production of Hamlet Odysseus rehearses diligently on nights o
From his shoulder Hiawatha
Took the camera of rosewood,
Made of sliding, folding rosewood;
Neatly put it all together.
In its case it lay compactly,
Folded into nearly nothing;

But he opened out the hinges,
Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges,
Till it looked all squares and oblongs,
Like a complicated figure
In the Second Book of Euclid.

This he perched upon a tripod -
Crouched beneath its dusky cover -
Stretched his hand, enforcing silence -
Said, "Be motionless, I beg you!"
Mystic, awful was the process.

All the family in order
Sat before him for their pictures:
Each in turn, as he was taken,
Volunteered his own suggestions,
His ingenious suggestions.

First the Governor, the Father:
He suggested velvet curtains
Looped about a massy pillar;
And the corner of a table,
Of a rosewood dining-table.
He would hold a scroll of something,
Hold it firmly in his left-hand;
He would keep his right-hand buried
(Like Napoleon) in his waistcoat;
He would contemplate the distance
With a look of pensive meaning,
As of ducks that die ill tempests.

Grand, heroic was the notion:
Yet the picture failed entirely:
Failed, because he moved a little,
Moved, because he couldn't help it.

Next, his better half took courage;
SHE would have her picture taken.
She came dressed beyond description,
Dressed in jewels and in satin
Far too gorgeous for an empress.
Gracefully she sat down sideways,
With a simper scarcely human,
Holding in her hand a bouquet
Rather larger than a cabbage.
All the while that she was sitting,
Still the lady chattered, chattered,
Like a monkey in the forest.
"Am I sitting still?" she asked him.
"Is my face enough in profile?
Shall I hold the bouquet higher?
Will it came into the picture?"
And the picture failed completely.

Next the Son, the Stunning-Cantab:
He suggested curves of beauty,
Curves pervading all his figure,
Which the eye might follow onward,
Till they centered in the breast-pin,
Centered in the golden breast-pin.
He had learnt it all from Ruskin
(Author of 'The Stones of Venice,'
'Seven Lamps of Architecture,'
'Modern Painters,' and some others);
And perhaps he had not fully
Understood his author's meaning;
But, whatever was the reason,
All was fruitless, as the picture
Ended in an utter failure.

Next to him the eldest daughter:
She suggested very little,
Only asked if he would take her
With her look of 'passive beauty.'

Her idea of passive beauty
Was a squinting of the left-eye,
Was a drooping of the right-eye,
Was a smile that went up sideways
To the corner of the nostrils.

Hiawatha, when she asked him,
Took no notice of the question,
Looked as if he hadn't heard it;
But, when pointedly appealed to,
Smiled in his peculiar manner,
Coughed and said it 'didn't matter,'
Bit his lip and changed the subject.

Nor in this was he mistaken,
As the picture failed completely.

So in turn the other sisters.

Last, the youngest son was taken:
Very rough and thick his hair was,
Very round and red his face was,
Very dusty was his jacket,
Very fidgety his manner.
And his overbearing sisters
Called him names he disapproved of:
Called him Johnny, 'Daddy's Darling,'
Called him Jacky, 'Scrubby School-boy.'
And, so awful was the picture,
In comparison the others
Seemed, to one's bewildered fancy,
To have partially succeeded.

Finally my Hiawatha
Tumbled all the tribe together,
('Grouped' is not the right expression),
And, as happy chance would have it
Did at last obtain a picture
Where the faces all succeeded:
Each came out a perfect likeness.

Then they joined and all abused it,
Unrestrainedly abused it,
As the worst and ugliest picture
They could possibly have dreamed of.
'Giving one such strange expressions -
Sullen, stupid, pert expressions.
Really any one would take us
(Any one that did not know us)
For the most unpleasant people!'
(Hiawatha seemed to think so,
Seemed to think it not unlikely).
All together rang their voices,
Angry, loud, discordant voices,
As of dogs that howl in concert,
As of cats that wail in chorus.

But my Hiawatha's patience,
His politeness and his patience,
Unaccountably had vanished,
And he left that happy party.
Neither did he leave them slowly,
With the calm deliberation,
The intense deliberation
Of a photographic artist:
But he left them in a hurry,
Left them in a mighty hurry,
Stating that he would not stand it,
Stating in emphatic language
What he'd be before he'd stand it.
Hurriedly he packed his boxes:
Hurriedly the porter trundled
On a barrow all his boxes:
Hurriedly he took his ticket:
Hurriedly the train received him:
Thus departed Hiawatha.
From his shoulder Hiawatha
Took the camera of rosewood,
Made of sliding, folding rosewood;
Neatly put it all together.
In its case it lay compactly,
Folded into nearly nothing;

But he opened out the hinges,
Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges,
Till it looked all squares and oblongs,
Like a complicated figure
In the Second Book of Euclid.

This he perched upon a tripod -
Crouched beneath its dusky cover -
Stretched his hand, enforcing silence -
Said, "Be motionless, I beg you!"
Mystic, awful was the process.

All the family in order
Sat before him for their pictures:
Each in turn, as he was taken,
Volunteered his own suggestions,
His ingenious suggestions.

First the Governor, the Father:
He suggested velvet curtains
Looped about a massy pillar;
And the corner of a table,
Of a rosewood dining-table.
He would hold a scroll of something,
Hold it firmly in his left-hand;
He would keep his right-hand buried
(Like Napoleon) in his waistcoat;
He would contemplate the distance
With a look of pensive meaning,
As of ducks that die ill tempests.

Grand, heroic was the notion:
Yet the picture failed entirely:
Failed, because he moved a little,
Moved, because he couldn't help it.

Next, his better half took courage;
SHE would have her picture taken.
She came dressed beyond description,
Dressed in jewels and in satin
Far too gorgeous for an empress.
Gracefully she sat down sideways,
With a simper scarcely human,
Holding in her hand a bouquet
Rather larger than a cabbage.
All the while that she was sitting,
Still the lady chattered, chattered,
Like a monkey in the forest.
"Am I sitting still?" she asked him.
"Is my face enough in profile?
Shall I hold the bouquet higher?
Will it came into the picture?"
And the picture failed completely.

Next the Son, the Stunning-Cantab:
He suggested curves of beauty,
Curves pervading all his figure,
Which the eye might follow onward,
Till they centered in the breast-pin,
Centered in the golden breast-pin.
He had learnt it all from Ruskin
(Author of 'The Stones of Venice,'
'Seven Lamps of Architecture,'
'Modern Painters,' and some others);
And perhaps he had not fully
Understood his author's meaning;
But, whatever was the reason,
All was fruitless, as the picture
Ended in an utter failure.

Next to him the eldest daughter:
She suggested very little,
Only asked if he would take her
With her look of 'passive beauty.'

Her idea of passive beauty
Was a squinting of the left-eye,
Was a drooping of the right-eye,
Was a smile that went up sideways
To the corner of the nostrils.

Hiawatha, when she asked him,
Took no notice of the question,
Looked as if he hadn't heard it;
But, when pointedly appealed to,
Smiled in his peculiar manner,
Coughed and said it 'didn't matter,'
Bit his lip and changed the subject.

Nor in this was he mistaken,
As the picture failed completely.

So in turn the other sisters.

Last, the youngest son was taken:
Very rough and thick his hair was,
Very round and red his face was,
Very dusty was his jacket,
Very fidgety his manner.
And his overbearing sisters
Called him names he disapproved of:
Called him Johnny, 'Daddy's Darling,'
Called him Jacky, 'Scrubby School-boy.'
And, so awful was the picture,
In comparison the others
Seemed, to one's bewildered fancy,
To have partially succeeded.

Finally my Hiawatha
Tumbled all the tribe together,
('Grouped' is not the right expression),
And, as happy chance would have it
Did at last obtain a picture
Where the faces all succeeded:
Each came out a perfect likeness.

Then they joined and all abused it,
Unrestrainedly abused it,
As the worst and ugliest picture
They could possibly have dreamed of.
'Giving one such strange expressions -
Sullen, stupid, pert expressions.
Really any one would take us
(Any one that did not know us)
For the most unpleasant people!'
(Hiawatha seemed to think so,
Seemed to think it not unlikely).
All together rang their voices,
Angry, loud, discordant voices,
As of dogs that howl in concert,
As of cats that wail in chorus.

But my Hiawatha's patience,
His politeness and his patience,
Unaccountably had vanished,
And he left that happy party.
Neither did he leave them slowly,
With the calm deliberation,
The intense deliberation
Of a photographic artist:
But he left them in a hurry,
Left them in a mighty hurry,
Stating that he would not stand it,
Stating in emphatic language
What he'd be before he'd stand it.
Hurriedly he packed his boxes:
Hurriedly the porter trundled
On a barrow all his boxes:
Hurriedly he took his ticket:
Hurriedly the train received him:
Thus departed Hiawatha.
But my Hiawatha's patience,
His politeness and his patience,
Unaccountably had vanished,
And he left that happy party.
Neither did he leave them slowly,
With the calm deliberation,
The intense deliberation
Of a photographic artist:
But he left them in a hurry,
Left them in a mighty hurry,
Stating that he would not stand it,
Stating in emphatic language
What he'd be before he'd stand it.
Hurriedly he packed his boxes:
Hurriedly the porter trundled
On a barrow all his boxes:
Hurriedly he took his ticket:
Hurriedly the train received him:
Alyssa Underwood Mar 2016
I

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
  For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
  When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
  And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
  In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
  With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain,
  Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
  A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
  “That fellows got to swing.”

Dear Christ! the very prison walls
  Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
  Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
  My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what hunted thought
  Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
  With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
  And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
  By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

Some **** their love when they are young,
  And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
  Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
  The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
  Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
  And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
  Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
  On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
  Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
  Into an empty place

He does not sit with silent men
  Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
  And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
  The prison of its prey.

He does not wake at dawn to see
  Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
  The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
  With the yellow face of Doom.

He does not rise in piteous haste
  To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
  Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
******* a watch whose little ticks
  Are like horrible hammer-blows.

He does not know that sickening thirst
  That sands one’s throat, before
The hangman with his gardener’s gloves
  Slips through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
  That the throat may thirst no more.

He does not bend his head to hear
  The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the terror of his soul
  Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
  Into the hideous shed.

He does not stare upon the air
  Through a little roof of glass;
He does not pray with lips of clay
  For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
  The kiss of Caiaphas.


II

Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
  In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and gay,
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
  Its raveled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
  Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
  In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
  And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
  Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
  Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
  As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
  Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
  A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
  The man who had to swing.

And strange it was to see him pass
  With a step so light and gay,
And strange it was to see him look
  So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
  Had such a debt to pay.

For oak and elm have pleasant leaves
  That in the spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
  With its adder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
  Before it bears its fruit!

The loftiest place is that seat of grace
  For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
  Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer’s collar take
  His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
  When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
  Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
  To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
  We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
  Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
  His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
  Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
  In the black dock’s dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
  In God’s sweet world again.

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
  We had crossed each other’s way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
  We had no word to say;
For we did not meet in the holy night,
  But in the shameful day.

A prison wall was round us both,
  Two outcast men were we:
The world had ****** us from its heart,
  And God from out His care:
And the iron gin that waits for Sin
  Had caught us in its snare.


III

In Debtors’ Yard the stones are hard,
  And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
  Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a Warder walked,
  For fear the man might die.

Or else he sat with those who watched
  His anguish night and day;
Who watched him when he rose to weep,
  And when he crouched to pray;
Who watched him lest himself should rob
  Their scaffold of its prey.

The Governor was strong upon
  The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
  A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called
  And left a little tract.

And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
  And drank his quart of beer:
His soul was resolute, and held
  No hiding-place for fear;
He often said that he was glad
  The hangman’s hands were near.

But why he said so strange a thing
  No Warder dared to ask:
For he to whom a watcher’s doom
  Is given as his task,
Must set a lock upon his lips,
  And make his face a mask.

Or else he might be moved, and try
  To comfort or console:
And what should Human Pity do
  Pent up in Murderers’ Hole?
What word of grace in such a place
  Could help a brother’s soul?

With slouch and swing around the ring
  We trod the Fool’s Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
  The Devil’s Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
  Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
  With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
  And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
  And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
  We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
  And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
  Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
  Crawled like a ****-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
  That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
  We passed an open grave.

With yawning mouth the yellow hole
  Gaped for a living thing;
The very mud cried out for blood
  To the thirsty asphalte ring:
And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
  Some prisoner had to swing.

Right in we went, with soul intent
  On Death and Dread and Doom:
The hangman, with his little bag,
  Went shuffling through the gloom
And each man trembled as he crept
  Into his numbered tomb.

That night the empty corridors
  Were full of forms of Fear,
And up and down the iron town
  Stole feet we could not hear,
And through the bars that hide the stars
  White faces seemed to peer.

He lay as one who lies and dreams
  In a pleasant meadow-land,
The watcher watched him as he slept,
  And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
  With a hangman close at hand?

But there is no sleep when men must weep
  Who never yet have wept:
So we—the fool, the fraud, the knave—
  That endless vigil kept,
And through each brain on hands of pain
  Another’s terror crept.

Alas! it is a fearful thing
  To feel another’s guilt!
For, right within, the sword of Sin
  Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
And as molten lead were the tears we shed
  For the blood we had not spilt.

The Warders with their shoes of felt
  Crept by each padlocked door,
And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
  Grey figures on the floor,
And wondered why men knelt to pray
  Who never prayed before.

All through the night we knelt and prayed,
  Mad mourners of a corpse!
The troubled plumes of midnight were
  The plumes upon a hearse:
And bitter wine upon a sponge
  Was the savior of Remorse.

The **** crew, the red **** crew,
  But never came the day:
And crooked shape of Terror crouched,
  In the corners where we lay:
And each evil sprite that walks by night
  Before us seemed to play.

They glided past, they glided fast,
  Like travelers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
  Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
  The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
  Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
  They trod a saraband:
And the ****** grotesques made arabesques,
  Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
  They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
  As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and long they sang,
  For they sang to wake the dead.

“Oho!” they cried, “The world is wide,
  But fettered limbs go lame!
And once, or twice, to throw the dice
  Is a gentlemanly game,
But he does not win who plays with Sin
  In the secret House of Shame.”

No things of air these antics were
  That frolicked with such glee:
To men whose lives were held in gyves,
  And whose feet might not go free,
Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
  Most terrible to see.

Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
  Some wheeled in smirking pairs:
With the mincing step of demirep
  Some sidled up the stairs:
And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
  Each helped us at our prayers.

The morning wind began to moan,
  But still the night went on:
Through its giant loom the web of gloom
  Crept till each thread was spun:
And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
  Of the Justice of the Sun.

The moaning wind went wandering round
  The weeping prison-wall:
Till like a wheel of turning-steel
  We felt the minutes crawl:
O moaning wind! what had we done
  To have such a seneschal?

At last I saw the shadowed bars
  Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
  That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
  God’s dreadful dawn was red.

At six o’clock we cleaned our cells,
  At seven all was still,
But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
  The prison seemed to fill,
For the Lord of Death with icy breath
  Had entered in to ****.

He did not pass in purple pomp,
  Nor ride a moon-white steed.
Three yards of cord and a sliding board
  Are all the gallows’ need:
So with rope of shame the Herald came
  To do the secret deed.

We were as men who through a fen
  Of filthy darkness *****:
We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
  Or give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
  And what was dead was Hope.

For Man’s grim Justice goes its way,
  And will not swerve aside:
It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
  It has a deadly stride:
With iron heel it slays the strong,
  The monstrous parricide!

We waited for the stroke of eight:
  Each tongue was thick with thirst:
For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
  That makes a man accursed,
And Fate will use a running noose
  For the best man and the worst.

We had no other thing to do,
  Save to wait for the sign to come:
So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
  Quiet we sat and dumb:
But each man’s heart beat thick and quick
  Like a madman on a drum!

With sudden shock the prison-clock
  Smote on the shivering air,
And from all the gaol rose up a wail
  Of impotent despair,
Like the sound that frightened marshes hear
  From a ***** in his lair.

And as one sees most fearful things
  In the crystal of a dream,
We saw the greasy hempen rope
  Hooked to the blackened beam,
And heard the prayer the hangman’s snare
  Strangled into a scream.

And all the woe that moved him so
  That he gave that bitter cry,
And the wild regrets, and the ****** sweats,
  None knew so well as I:
For he who lives more lives than one
  More deaths than one must die.


IV

There is no chapel on the day
  On which they hang a man:
The Chaplain’s heart is far too sick,
  Or his face is far too wan,
Or there is that written in his eyes
  Which none should look upon.

So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
  And then they rang the bell,
And the Warders with their jingling keys
  Opened each listening cell,
And down the iron stair we tramped,
  Each from his separate Hell.

Out into God’s sweet air we went,
  But not in wonted way,
For this man’s face was white with fear,
  And that man’s face was grey,
And I never saw sad men who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw sad men who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  We prisoners called the sky,
And at every careless cloud that passed
  In happy freedom by.

But there were those amongst us all
  Who walked with downcast head,
And knew that, had each got his due,
  They should have died instead:
He had but killed a thing that lived
  Whilst they had killed the dead.

For he who sins a second time
  Wakes a dead soul to pain,
And draws it from its spotted shroud,
  And makes it bleed again,
And makes it bleed great gouts of blood
  And makes it bleed in vain!

Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
  With crooked arrows starred,
Silently we went round and round
  The slippery asphalte yard;
Silently we went round and round,
  And no man spoke a word.

Silently we went round and round,
  And through each hollow mind
The memory of dreadful things
  Rushed like a dreadful wind,
And Horror stalked before each man,
  And terror crept behind.

The Warders strutted up and down,
  And kept their herd of brutes,
Their uniforms were ***** and span,
  And they wore their Sunday suits,
But we knew the work they had been at
  By the quicklime on their boots.

For where a grave had opened wide,
  There was no grave at all:
Only a stretch of mud and sand
  By the hideous prison-wall,
And a little heap of burning lime,
  That the man should have his pall.

For he has a pall, this wretched man,
  Such as few men can claim:
Deep down below a prison-yard,
  Naked for greater shame,
He lies, with fetters on each foot,
  Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

And all the while the burning lime
  Eats flesh and bone away,
It eats the brittle bone by night,
  And the soft flesh by the day,
It eats the flesh and bones by turns,
  But it eats the heart alway.

For three long years they will not sow
  Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
  Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
  With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer’s heart would taint
  Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God’s kindly earth
  Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
  The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
  Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
  Christ brings his will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
  Bloomed in the great Pope’s sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
  May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
  Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
  A common man’s despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
  Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
  By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who ***** the yard
  That God’s Son died for all.

Yet though the hideous prison-wall
  Still hems him round and round,
And a spirit man not walk by night
  That is with fetters bound,
And a spirit may not weep that lies
  In such unholy ground,

He is at peace—this wretched man—
  At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to make him mad,
  Nor does Terror walk at noon,
For the lampless Earth in which he lies
  Has neither Sun nor Moon.

They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
  They did not even toll
A reguiem that might have brought
  Rest to his startled soul,
But hurriedly they took him out,
  And hid him in a hole.

They stripped him of his canvas clothes,
  And gave him to the flies;
They mocked the swollen purple throat
  And the stark and staring eyes:
And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
  In which their convict lies.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
  By his dishonored grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
  That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
  Whom Christ came down to save.

Yet all is well; he has but passed
  To Life’s appointed bourne:
And alien tears will fill for him
  Pity’s long-broken urn,
For his mourner will be outcast men,
  And outcasts always mourn.


V

I know not whether Laws be right,
  Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in gaol
  Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
  A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
  That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took his brother’s life,
  And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
  With a most evil fan.

This too I know—and wise it were
  If each could know the same—
That every prison that men build
  Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
  How men their brothers maim.

With bars they blur the gracious moon,
  And blind the goodly sun:
And they do well to hide their Hell,
  For in it things are done
That Son of God nor son of Man
  Ever should look upon!

The vilest deeds like poison weeds
  Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
  That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
  And the Warder is Despair

For they starve the little frightened child
  Till it weeps both night and day:
And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
  And gibe the old and grey,
And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
And none a word may say.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
  Is foul and dark latrine,
And the fetid breath of living Death
  Chokes up each grated screen,
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
  In Humanity’s machine.

The brackish water that we drink
  Creeps with a loathsome slime,
And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
  Is full of chalk and lime,
And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
  Wild-eyed and cries to Time.

But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
  Like asp with adder fight,
We have little care of prison fare,
  For what chills and kills outright
Is that every stone one lifts by day
  Becomes one’s heart by night.

With midnight always in one’s heart,
  And twilight in one’s cell,
We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
  Each in his separate Hell,
And the silence is more awful far
  Than the sound of a brazen bell.

And never a human voice comes near
  To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
  Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
  With soul and body marred.

And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
  Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
  And some men make no moan:
But God’s eternal Laws are kind
  And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
  In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
  Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean *****’s house
  With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
  And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
  And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
  May Lord Christ enter in?

And he of the swollen purple throat.
  And the stark and staring eyes,
Waits for the holy hands that took
  The Thief to Paradise;
And a broken and a contrite heart
  The Lord will not despise.

The man in red who reads the Law
  Gave him three weeks of life,
Three little weeks in which to heal
  His soul of his soul’s strife,
And cleanse from every blot of blood
  The hand that held the knife.

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
  The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
  And only tears can heal:
And the crimson stain that was of Cain
  Became Christ’s snow-white seal.


VI

In Reading gaol by Reading town
  There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
  Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
  And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
  In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
  Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
  And so he had to die.

And all men **** the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!
when you went away it was morning
(that is,big horses;light feeling up
streets;heels taking derbies (where?) a pup
hurriedly hunched over swill;one butting

trolley imposingly empty;snickering
shop doors unlocked by white-grub
faces) clothes in delicate hubbub

as you stood thinking of anything,

maybe the world….But i have wondered since
isn’t it odd of you really to lie
a sharp agreeable flower between my

amused legs
                kissing with little dints

of april,making the obscene shy
******* tickle,laughing when i wilt and wince
Angela Alegna Jun 2015
The tenderness as they described it is circumnavigating more than the ******* and the roundness of my protruding *******
Perhaps by tenderness of the breast, what they really mean is tenderness of the soul and the emotions one hurriedly tucks under the crevices of their *****
If one imagines how ******* are anything but tender, with their ferocity of nurturing life and their wholly encompassing nature to weigh and weigh and weigh
Weight carried by a mother,
Shed off by her daughter,
Caressed by the one she lies with in the crevice of her soul and the gap between twin XL bunk beds and walls full of picture of people who no longer weigh her down
It's the feeling of nostalgia and nostalgia feeling this tenderness growing from one's *******.
Growth of the ***** of life as a life imagined is destroyed, nullified, kaput.
But most of all she feels nostalgia.
Nostalgia for the people whose tenderness she felt,
Nostalgia yes for her brother and grandmother cloaked in love around her neck like crystals from an iridescent silver clasp
K Balachandran Jan 2016
After dark, energies flow in manners that pleases them most
braided together in lust, two king cobras were seen spiraling up
when darkness like a camouflage sets in thickly around,you're
the  marijuana of my mind, seeking far horizons of pleasure.
I willingly seek oblivion, when pink pointed goosebumps
like tarantula's love bites, results of mating time cruelty
infest all over my body's landscape, signatures of ecstasy.

I feel your lips become, moist, soft, honey from each drips
never enough,for me, is it possible to get inebriated more?
Your sighs and moans speak the vocabulary of a forgotten
ancient language love hurriedly resurrected for us from past,
brevity is the crux of that lingo of erupting jets of desire,
it teaches you to moan in fifty different tones in all;even more?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up. The mine was dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I had sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.  
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelled of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The canary was fluttering its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminatin
On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.
Kripi Sep 2013
Upagupta* the disciple of Buddha lay asleep on the dust by the city wall of Mathura,
Lamps were all out, doors were all shut, and stars
Were all hidden by the murky sky of August, Whose feet were those tinkling with anklets, touching his breast of a sudden?

He woke up startled, and the light from a woman's lamp struck his forgiving eyes.

It was the dancing girl , starred with jewels,
Clouded with a pale-blue mantle, drunk with the wine of her youth.
She lowered her lamp and saw the youth face, austerely beautiful.
" Forgive me, young ascetic"* , said the woman,
" Graciously come to my house. The dusty earth is not a fit bed for you."

The branches of the wayside trees were aching with blossom,
Gay notes of the flute come floating in the warm spring air from afar.
The citizens had gone to the woods, to the festival of flowers.
From the mid- sky gazed the full moon on the shadows of the silent town.
The young ascetic was walking in the lonely street, while overhead the love-sick
koels urged from the mango orchards their sleepless plaint. Upagupta passed through the city gates, and stood at the base of the rampart.

What woman lay in the shadow of the wall at his feet, struck with black pestilence, her body spotted with sores, hurriedly driven away from the town?
The ascetic sat by her side, taking her head on his knees, and moistened her lips with water and smeared her body with balm.

"Who are you, merciful one?" asked the woman.
"The time, at last, has come to visit you, and I am here", replied the young ascetic.
"Upagupta" is a fine poem written by Rabindranath Tagore. The poem has a beautiful theme. It shows that a person is known by the action he does. The greatness of his characters is reflected through his deeds. One must practice the principle of simple living and high thinking in life. Physical beauty is short-lived. So one should not feel proud of it. Only good actions done by a person is remembered by people. They live even after his death.
Cyril Blythe Nov 2012
Janie pushes the metal book cart back into its parking space in the Document Delivery Department of the St. Louis Public Library and hangs the last sticky note for October 30, 2012 on the wall by the head of the department’s closed door. She retightens her brown scarf under her chin, tucking the wispy hairs above her ears back into hiding. Having your hair begin to prematurely gray as a teenager has dramatic effects on a person. Her mother wore scarves around her wrists when Janie was growing up and when Janie begin to wear scarves to conceal her salt-and-pepper hair, her mother just smiled. The clock hanging on the wall above the children’s section reads 11:28pm.
Two more minutes.
She reorganized the pens and books on her desk and set the box reading NOTES onto the right corner or her desk with three blue pens and a stack of note cards. Her coworkers learned fast that Janie does not like to talk. She does not like eye contact. She loves the silence, and never ever to ask her about her hair. Her manager gave her the NOTES box after about a month of horrible miscommunication and everyday it fills with requests for books or tasks that Janie has to complete. She completes the tasks one by one, alone, in her back office in the Reference Department and hangs the completed sticky notes on the wall by her manager’s door. She works the night shift and locks the library up every night. When she’s alone she can talk out loud to herself and those are the only voices she cares to hear.
“Goodnight, books. Good night, rooms.” Janie shut the heavy wooden door to the library, placed the color-coded keys in the front right pocket of her jacket, and began her walk to the bus stop one corner away. She avoids the main road, taking her first right onto a side street that she knows would spit her out right beside the bus stop.
“Goodnight Taco Bell Sign. Goodnight Rite-Aide. Goodnight Westside Apartments. Goodnight Jack-o-Lantern smile.” She stopped in the middle of the alley and peered up at the Jack-o-Lantern grinning down at her from the third story window above. “Mother wouldn’t’ve liked your smirk, Jack. She would’ve slapped that **** right off your face.” Janie, satisfied the pumpkin was put in its rightful place, smiled as she trotted on.
“Mother carved smiles into her arms and that’s why Daddy left, it is, it is.” She kicked at a crushed Mountain Dew can as she remembered that night from years ago.

“Mommy?” Janie pushed opened the door to her mother’s bedroom and saw the moving-boxes torn open and all their contents scattered across the floor. She tiptoed through piles of scarves and silverware and corkscrews until she reached the bathroom in her mom’s room.
“Come to us like rain, oh lord, come and stay and sting a while more, oh lord…” her mother’s voice was slipping off the tiled bathroom walls. Janie pushed open the door and saw the blood for the first time pouring from her mother’s wrist. Her mother was naked and perched on the bathroom sink, singing to a red razor blade.
“Mommy?”
“GET OUT!” Her mother jumped from the counter and perched on all fours on the floor. She began to growl and speak in a voice too deep to be coming from her own throat.
“Mommy! It’s Janie!” She began to cry as her mother, still naked and bleeding, twisted and writhed onto her back and began to crawl towards the door that Janie hid behind.


“Thirty-Three percent, dear. Just a thirty-three percent chance.” She shivered trying to clear the last memory of her mother with the words that all the shrinks had echoed to her over the years. “Schizophrenia is directly related to genetics, little is known about the type of Schizophrenia mother was diagnosed with except that it is definitely passed on genetically. But, there is only a thirty-three percent chance you could have it, dear. Thirty-three percent.” The sound of the bus stop ahead reminds her it is time to be silent again.
“Disorganized Schizophrenia.” She mouthed to herself as she stepped back out onto the busy street from her alleyway. She tightened her scarf and saw the bus pull into the pickup spot. She walked forward to the bus, again immersed in her self-imposed silence.
Stepping out of the February cold, Janie removes her wool scarf as the bus doors close behind her.
“Where to baby?” The driver smiles a sticky smile. Her nametag reads, “Shannon” and has a decaying Hello-Kitty sticker in the bottom left corner.
“The Clinton Street drop.” She hands the driver her $2.50 fare and avoids the woman’s questioning eyes. The night drivers are always more talkative, curious.
“Your ticket hon.” She tears Janie a ticket stub. “Everything is pretty dead this late, I’ll have you there in ten minutes top.”
Janie begins to shuffle towards the seats, ignoring the woman.
“You mind if I crank up the music?” The bus driver asks, purple fingernails scratching in her thick blonde hair. “I need to keep my eyes open and blood flowing and music is my fire of choice you know?”
“Sure.” Janie shrugs her bag onto her shoulder and walks on before the woman can say anything else.
“Route E-2, homebound.” Shannon’s voice crackles over the loudspeaker.
She shuffles down the bus towards her usual seat; second from the back right side.  Shannon starts the bus rolling before she reaches her seat and Janie can hear her singing along to “Summertime” by Janis Joplin. The bus floor, today, is sticky because of the morning rain. Two years of riding public transportation has taught Janie that staring at the floor as she walks to her seat is better than the risk of making eye contact. The bus is usually empty this late but if there ever happens to be anyone else on, it’s better not to converse. Safer that way.
She plops into her seat filling the indention that ghosts of past passengers left. The seat is still warm and Janie squirms around until the stranger heat is forgotten. She tightens her scarf and sighs. The brown pleather seatback in front of her is peeling towards the top. Janie leans forward and idly picks at the scab-like dangles of brown as she watches the sodden city canvas roll past her out the foggy window. As she picks, the hole grows. She twists and digs her unpainted nails into the seat until her hands feel wet, warm. Looking down, they are covered in blood and mud.
“What. The. Actual. ****.” she whispers, wiping her hands on her pants leg. She cautiously picks off another piece of pleather and a trickle of deep red begins to run from the seat back, clumps of mud now falling onto her knees. A puddle of blood and mire splatter down her legs and pool around her feet as she picks at the seat. Her white tights are definitely beyond saving now, so she digs faster until her thumbnail catches on something, bends back, and cracks. She gasps and withdraws her shaking hand, watching her own blood mix with the clotting muck in the seat, half of her thumbnail completely stripped off.
Looking around, all else seems normal. The driver is now muttering along to some banter by Kanye West, completely unaware of Janie’s predicament. She closes her eyes.
This is a dream, this is a dream, wake the **** up.
She opens her eyes to see the pool of filth around her feet trickling towards the front of the bus. Panic sets in with a whisper, They’re going to think it was you, your fault, you’ll be thrown in jail.
“But I didn’t do this.” She lashes out to herself. “I didn’t hurt anyone.”
Next stop, E-2. Shannon blares on the intercom.
“It’s just a dream, get your **** together, Janie.” She laughs at herself, manic.
Prove it! Her subconscious screams.
Convinced to end this moment she has to continue; Janie plunges her hand into the pleather grave one more time. Frantic and confused she laughs as she digs, spittle of muck splashing on her bus window.
Faster, faster, faster.
Deeper, deeper, deeper.
Realer, realer, real.
Wake up, now!
Then, as the bus slows, one last chuck of mud splatters to the floor and Janie sees a pink piece of her thumbnail stabbed into the white of a bone in the bottom of the seatback pit. Her white Ked’s were becoming so red they were almost black. She pulls her knees up to her chest and begins to rock back and forth. Clenching shut her eyes she begins to hum. Janie’s sweet soprano harmonizes with the buses deep droning purr, their wet melody interweaving with the driver’s alto and Lil Wayne’s screech made her feel dizzy as the bus turned right.
She take my money when I'm in need
Yeah she's a trifling friend indeed
Oh she's a gold digger way over town
That dig's on me
The bus slows to a stop and the bass is shaking. Janie is cold. She slowly peeks out of her right eye, expecting to be instantly immersed into the same dismal scene. The seatback is whole again. Releasing her knees, her feet fall back to the floor and her shaking fingers stroke the solid pleather.

“Ma’am? We’re at the Clinton Drop.”
Janie hurriedly picks up her bag and flees down the aisle to the bus doors.
“Everything alright, dear?” The bus driver asks, smiling.
“Fine, just fine.”
“You be safe out there tonight. The night is dark and only ghouls stroll the streets this late.”  Shannon laughed as Janie’s jaw dropped. “Happy Halloween, dear. It’s midnight, today is October 31st.”
The bus doors opened and a cold wind ****** the warm bot-air surrounding Janie into the streets. She begrudgingly followed, her mind spinning as she stepped onto the pavement. The doors slammed behind her and she turned to see Shannon pull out a tube of lipstick and smear it, red, across her cracked lips. Shannon made a duck-face in the mirror and reached down to crank up the music as loud as it would go. The bus exhaled and rolled forward, leaving Janie behind as it splashed through the potholes.
She surveys the surrounding midnight gloom and the street is quiet and dark. Even the stars are hidden behind swirling clouds. She begins to hum, hands in her pocket, and shuffle towards her apartment.
“Goodnight, stars. Goodnight, street.”
As she approaches her single-bedroom apartment, digging through her coat pocket for her keys, her thumb pulsates. She grasps the keys and pulls them out as she steps up to the apartment. Sticking the cold, silver key in the lock she looks down at her thumb and in the shadows of the porch sees half of the nail completely missing. She laughs as she pushes the door open to her bare apartment, light flooding out. Without any hesitation she closes the door behind her, sheds her clothes, and slips onto the mattress in the corner of the room gripping her thumb tight. She reaches out for the glass of milk on the floor beside her bed from the morning and it’s still cold. Nursing the milk, surrounded by blankets and solitude, she reminds herself,  “Only a thirty-three percent chance. A nice, small, round number. Small.”  
She sets down the empty glass and curls into the fetal position under the heavy blankets, pointer finger tracing circles on her thumb. Only when she has heated her blanket cocoon enough to feel safe does she remove her scarf and allow her thick white hair to fall around her face.
“Goodnight, room. Goodnight, mother,”
K Balachandran Dec 2014
Yet another day of pain was put behind,
She lets out a sigh of relief as if the beast
That stalks her is duped for now, once more.

The last Metro train that night, slows down,stops.
To return to her regular prison she gets in hurriedly.
Emptiness bares it's fangs, that looked sweet in fact,
In comparison with the experiences of the day gone.

A suspicious bundle on the floor stirred at her touch,
A frail women almost frozen,living dead, eyes sunken
in sockets." How did you end up here?" she quarries.
"I fainted, didn't eat anything, for the past few days"

"Mother, you need to drink something hot quick.
Come with me I'll take care" her eyes get moist.
Then she smiles thinking how fortunate she is.
"My share of sweet misery is here to teach me
practice humility, even in an empty compartment"
A Dramatic Poem

The deck of an ancient ship. At the right of the stage is the mast,
with a large square sail hiding a great deal of the sky and sea
on that side. The tiller is at the left of the stage; it is a long oar
coming through an opening in the bulwark. The deck rises in a
series of steps hehind the tiller, and the stern of the ship curves
overhead. When the play opens there are four persons upon the
deck. Aibric stands by the tiller. Forgael sleeps upon the raised
portion of the deck towards the front of the stage. Two Sailors
are standing near to the mast, on which a harp is hanging.

First Sailor. Has he not led us into these waste seas
For long enough?

Second Sailor. Aye, long and long enough.

First Sailor. We have not come upon a shore or ship
These dozen weeks.

Second Sailor. And I had thought to make
A good round Sum upon this cruise, and turn -
For I am getting on in life - to something
That has less ups and downs than robbery.

First Sailor. I am so tired of being bachelor
I could give all my heart to that Red Moll
That had but the one eye.

Second Sailor. Can no bewitchment
Transform these rascal billows into women
That I may drown myself?

First Sailor. Better steer home,
Whether he will or no; and better still
To take him while he sleeps and carry him
And drop him from the gunnel.

Second Sailor. I dare not do it.
Were't not that there is magic in his harp,
I would be of your mind; but when he plays it
Strange creatures flutter up before one's eyes,
Or cry about one's ears.

First Sailor. Nothing to fear.

Second Sailor. Do you remember when we sank that galley
At the full moon?

First Sailor. He played all through the night.

Second Sailor. Until the moon had set; and when I looked
Where the dead drifted, I could see a bird
Like a grey gull upon the breast of each.
While I was looking they rose hurriedly,
And after circling with strange cries awhile
Flew westward; and many a time since then
I've heard a rustling overhead in the wind.

First Sailor. I saw them on that night as well as you.
But when I had eaten and drunk myself asleep
My courage came again.

Second Sailor. But that's not all.
The other night, while he was playing it,
A beautiful young man and girl came up
In a white breaking wave; they had the look
Of those that are alive for ever and ever.

First Sailor. I saw them, too, one night. Forgael was playing,
And they were listening ther& beyond the sail.
He could not see them, but I held out my hands
To grasp the woman.

Second Sailor. You have dared to touch her?

First Sailor. O she was but a shadow, and slipped from me.

Second Sailor. But were you not afraid?

First Sailor. Why should I fear?

Second Sailor. "Twas Aengus and Edain, the wandering lovers,
To whom all lovers pray.

First Sailor. But what of that?
A shadow does not carry sword or spear.

Second Sailor. My mother told me that there is not one
Of the Ever-living half so dangerous
As that wild Aengus. Long before her day
He carried Edain off from a king's house,
And hid her among fruits of jewel-stone
And in a tower of glass, and from that day
Has hated every man that's not in love,
And has been dangerous to him.

First Sailor. I have heard
He does not hate seafarers as he hates
Peaceable men that shut the wind away,
And keep to the one weary marriage-bed.

Second Sailor. I think that he has Forgael in his net,
And drags him through the sea,

First Sailor. Well, net or none,
I'd drown him while we have the chance to do it.

Second Sailor. It's certain I'd sleep easier o' nights
If he were dead; but who will be our captain,
Judge of the stars, and find a course for us?

First Sailor. I've thought of that. We must have Aibric with us,
For he can judge the stars as well as Forgael.

[Going towards Aibric.]
Become our captain, Aibric. I am resolved
To make an end of Forgael while he sleeps.
There's not a man but will be glad of it
When it is over, nor one to grumble at us.

Aibric. You have taken pay and made your bargain for it.

First Sailor. What good is there in this hard way of living,
Unless we drain more flagons in a year
And kiss more lips than lasting peaceable men
In their long lives? Will you be of our troop
And take the captain's share of everything
And bring us into populous seas again?

Aibric. Be of your troop! Aibric be one of you
And Forgael in the other scale! **** Forgael,
And he my master from my childhood up!
If you will draw that sword out of its scabbard
I'll give my answer.

First Sailor. You have awakened him.
[To Second Sailor.]
We'd better go, for we have lost this chance.
[They go out.]

Forgael. Have the birds passed us? I could hear your voice,
But there were others.

Aibric. I have seen nothing pass.

Forgael. You're certain of it? I never wake from sleep
But that I am afraid they may have passed,
For they're my only pilots. If I lost them
Straying too far into the north or south,
I'd never come upon the happiness
That has been promised me. I have not seen them
These many days; and yet there must be many
Dying at every moment in the world,
And flying towards their peace.

Aibric. Put by these thoughts,
And listen to me for a while. The sailors
Are plotting for your death.

Forgael. Have I not given
More riches than they ever hoped to find?
And now they will not follow, while I seek
The only riches that have hit my fancy.

Aibric. What riches can you find in this waste sea
Where no ship sails, where nothing that's alive
Has ever come but those man-headed birds,
Knowing it for the world's end?

Forgael. Where the world ends
The mind is made unchanging, for it finds
Miracle, ecstasy, the impossible hope,
The flagstone under all, the fire of fires,
The roots of the world.

Aibric. Shadows before now
Have driven travellers mad for their own sport.

Forgael. Do you, too, doubt me? Have you joined their plot?

Aibric. No, no, do not say that. You know right well
That I will never lift a hand against you.

Forgael. Why should you be more faithful than the rest,
Being as doubtful?

Aibric. I have called you master
Too many years to lift a hand against you.

Forgael. Maybe it is but natural to doubt me.
You've never known, I'd lay a wager on it,
A melancholy that a cup of wine,
A lucky battle, or a woman's kiss
Could not amend.

Aibric. I have good spirits enough.

Forgael. If you will give me all your mind awhile -
All, all, the very bottom of the bowl -
I'll show you that I am made differently,
That nothing can amend it but these waters,
Where I am rid of life - the events of the world -
What do you call it? - that old promise-breaker,
The cozening fortune-teller that comes whispering,
"You will have all you have wished for when you have earned
Land for your children or money in a ***.-
And when we have it we are no happier,
Because of that old draught under the door,
Or creaky shoes. And at the end of all
How are we better off than Seaghan the fool,
That never did a hand's turn? Aibric! Aibric!
We have fallen in the dreams the Ever-living
Breathe on the burnished mirror of the world
And then smooth out with ivory hands and sigh,
And find their laughter sweeter to the taste
For that brief sighing.

Aibric. If you had loved some woman -

Forgael. You say that also? You have heard the voices,
For that is what they say - all, all the shadows -
Aengus and Edain, those passionate wanderers,
And all the others; but it must be love
As they have known it. Now the secret's out;
For it is love that I am seeking for,
But of a beautiful, unheard-of kind
That is not in the world.

Aibric. And yet the world
Has beautiful women to please every man.

Forgael. But he that gets their love after the fashion
"Loves in brief longing and deceiving hope
And ****** tenderness, and finds that even
The bed of love, that in the imagination
Had seemed to be the giver of all peace,
Is no more than a wine-cup in the tasting,
And as soon finished.

Aibric. All that ever loved
Have loved that way - there is no other way.

Forgael. Yet never have two lovers kissed but they believed there was some other near at hand,
And almost wept because they could not find it.

Aibric. When they have twenty years; in middle life
They take a kiss for what a kiss is worth,
And let the dream go by.

Forgael. It's not a dream,
But the reality that makes our passion
As a lamp shadow - no - no lamp, the sun.
What the world's million lips are thirsting for
Must be substantial somewhere.

Aibric. I have heard the Druids
Mutter such things as they awake from trance.
It may be that the Ever-living know it -
No mortal can.

Forgael. Yes; if they give us help.

Aibric. They are besotting you as they besot
The crazy herdsman that will tell his fellows
That he has been all night upon the hills,
Riding to hurley, or in the battle-host
With the Ever-living.

Forgael. What if he speak the truth,
And for a dozen hours have been a part
Of that more powerful life?

Aibric. His wife knows better.
Has she not seen him lying like a log,
Or fumbling in a dream about the house?
And if she hear him mutter of wild riders,
She knows that it was but the cart-horse coughing
That set him to the fancy.

Forgael. All would be well
Could we but give us wholly to the dreams,
And get into their world that to the sense
Is shadow, and not linger wretchedly
Among substantial things; for it is dreams
That lift us to the flowing, changing world
That the heart longs for. What is love itself,
Even though it be the lightest of light love,
But dreams that hurry from beyond the world
To make low laughter more than meat and drink,
Though it but set us sighing? Fellow-wanderer,
Could we but mix ourselves into a dream,
Not in its image on the mirror!

Aibric. While
We're in the body that's impossible.

Forgael. And yet I cannot think they're leading me
To death; for they that promised to me love
As those that can outlive the moon have known it, '
Had the world's total life gathered up, it seemed,
Into their shining limbs - I've had great teachers.
Aengus and Edain ran up out of the wave -
You'd never doubt that it was life they promised
Had you looked on them face to face as I did,
With so red lips, and running on such feet,
And having such wide-open, shining eyes.

Aibric. It's certain they are leading you to death.
None but the dead, or those that never lived,
Can know that ecstasy. Forgael! Forgael!
They have made you follow the man-headed birds,
And you have told me that their journey lies
Towards the country of the dead.

Forgael. What matter
If I am going to my death? - for there,
Or somewhere, I shall find the love they have promised.
That much is certain. I shall find a woman.
One of the Ever-living, as I think -
One of the Laughing People - and she and I
Shall light upon a place in the world's core,
Where passion grows to be a changeless thing,
Like charmed apples made of chrysoprase,
Or chrysoberyl, or beryl, or chrysclite;
And there, in juggleries of sight and sense,
Become one movement, energy, delight,
Until the overburthened moon is dead.

[A number of Sailors enter hurriedly.]

First Sailor. Look there! there in the mist! a ship of spice!
And we are almost on her!

Second Sailor. We had not known
But for the ambergris and sandalwood.

First Sailor. NO; but opoponax and cinnamon.

Forgael [taking the tiller from Aibric].
The Ever-living have kept my bargain for me,
And paid you on the nail.

Aibric. Take up that rope
To make her fast while we are plundering her.

First Sailor. There is a king and queen upon her deck,
And where there is one woman there'll be others.

Aibric. Speak lower, or they'll hear.

First Sailor. They cannot hear;
They are too busy with each other. Look!
He has stooped down and kissed her on the lips.

Second Sailor. When she finds out we have better men aboard
She may not be too sorry in the end.

First Sailor. She will be like a wild cat; for these queens
Care more about the kegs of silver and gold
And the high fame that come to them in marriage,
Than a strong body and a ready hand.

Second Sailor. There's nobody is natural but a robber,
And that is why the world totters about
Upon its bandy legs.

Aibric. Run at them now,
And overpower the crew while yet asleep!

[The Sailors go out.]

[Voices and thc clashing of swords are heard from the other ship, which cannot be seen because of the sail.]

A Voice. Armed men have come upon us! O I am slain!

Another Voice. Wake all below!

Another Voice. Why have you broken our sleep?

First Voice. Armed men have come upon us! O I am slain!

Forgael [who has remained at the tiller].
There! there they come! Gull, gannet, or diver,
But with a man's head, or a fair woman's,
They hover over the masthead awhile
To wait their Fiends; but when their friends have come
They'll fly upon that secret way of theirs.
One - and one - a couple - five together;
And I will hear them talking in a minute.
Yes, voices! but I do not catch the words.
Now I can hear. There's one of them that says,
"How light we are, now we are changed to birds!'
Another answers, "Maybe we shall find
Our heart's desire now that we are so light.'
And then one asks another how he died,
And says, "A sword-blade pierced me in my sleep.-
And now they all wheel suddenly and fly
To the other side, and higher in the air.
And now a laggard with a woman's head down crying, "I have run upon the sword.
I have fled to my beloved in the air,
In the waste of the high air, that we may wander
Among the windy meadows of the dawn.'
But why are they still waiting? why are they
Circling and circling over the masthead?
What power that is more mighty than desire
To hurry to their hidden happiness
Withholds them now? Have the Ever-living Ones
A meaning in that circling overhead?
But what's the meaning?

[He cries out.] Why do you linger there?
Why linger? Run to your desire,
Are you not happy winged bodies now?

[His voice sinks again.]

Being too busy in the air and the high air,
They cannot hear my voice; but what's the meaning?

[The Sailors have returned. Dectora is with them.]

Forgael [turning and seeing her]. Why are you standing
with your eyes upon me?
You are not the world's core. O no, no, no!
That cannot be the meaning of the birds.
You are not its core. My teeth are in the world,
But have not bitten yet.

Dectora. I am a queen,
And ask for satisfaction upon these
Who have slain my husband and laid hands upon me.
[Breaking loose from the Sailors who are holding her.]
Let go my hands!

Forgael. Why do you cast a shadow?
Where do you come from? Who brought you to this place?
They would not send me one that casts a shadow.

Dectora. Would that the storm that overthrew my ships,
And drowned the treasures of nine conquered nations,
And blew me hither to my lasting sorrow,
Had drowned me also. But, being yet alive,
I ask a fitting punishment for all
That raised their hands against him.

Forgael. There are some
That weigh and measure all in these waste seas -
They that have all the wisdom that's in life,
And all that prophesying images
Made of dim gold rave out in secret tombs;
They have it that the plans of kings and queens
But laughter and tears - laughter, laughter, and tears;
That every man should carry his own soul
Upon his shoulders.

Dectora. You've nothing but wild words,
And I would know if you will give me vengeance.

Forgael. When she finds out I will not let her go -
When she knows that.

Dectora. What is it that you are muttering -
That you'll not let me go? I am a queen.

Forgael. Although you are more beautiful than any,
I almost long that it were possible;
But if I were to put you on that ship,
With sailors that were sworn to do your will,
And you had spread a sail for home, a wind
Would rise of a sudden, or a wave so huge
It had washed among the stars and put them out,
And beat the bulwark of your ship on mine,
Until you stood before me on the deck -
As now.

Dectora. Does wandering in these desolate seas
And listening to the cry of wind and wave
Bring madness?

Forgael. Queen, I am not mad.

Dectora. Yet say
That unimaginable storms of wind and wave
Would rise against me.

Forgael. No, I am not mad -
If it be not that hearing messages
From lasting watchers, that outlive the moon,
At the most quiet midnight is to be stricken.

Dectora. And did those watchers bid you take me
captive?

Forgael. Both you and I are taken in the net.
It was their hands that plucked the winds awake
And blew you hither; and their mouth
Song one
This is a song about tarzanic love
That subsisted some years ago,
As a love duel between an English girl and an African ogre,
There was an English girl hailing along the banks of river Thames
She had stubbornly refused all offers for marriage,
From all the local English boys, both rich and poor
tall and short, weak or strong, ugly and comely in the eye,
the girl had refused and sternly refused the treats for love,
She was disciplined to her callous pursuit of her dream
to marry a mysterious,fantastic,lively,original and extra-ordinary man,
That no other woman in history of human marriage ever married,
She came from London, near the banks of river Thames,
Her name was Victoria Goodhamlet Lovehill, daughter of a peasant,
She came from a humble English family, which hustled often
For food, clothing, and other calls that make one an ordinary British,
She grew up without a local boy friend, anywhere in the English world,
She is the first English girl to knock the age of forty five while a ******,
She never got deflowered in her teens as other English girls usually do
She preserved her purse with maximal carefulness in her wait for a black man,
Her father, of course a peasant, his trade was human barber and horse shearer,
Often asked her what she wants in life before her marriage, which man she really wanted,
Her specification was an open eyesore to her father; no blinkers could stave the father’s pale
For she wanted a black tall man, strong and ruggedly dark in the skin, must own a kingdom,
Fables taken to her from Africa were that such an African man was only one but none else,
His glorious name was Akhatembete kho bwibo khakhalikha no bwoya,
When the English girl heard the chimerical name of her potential husband,
She felt a super bliss in her spine; she yearned for the day of her rendezvous,
She crashed into desperate burning for true English love
With a man with a wonderful name like Akhatembete kho bwibo khakhalikha no bwoya.


Song two

Rumours of this English despair and dilemma for love reached Africa, in the wrong ears,
Not the human ears, but unfortunately the ears of the ogres, seasoned in the evil art,
It was received and treated as classified information among the African ogress,
They prevented this news to leak to African humans at all at all
Lest humans enjoy their human status and enjoy most
The love in the offing from the English girl,
They thus swiftly plotted and ployed
To lure and win the ******
From royal land;
England.




Song three

Firstly, the African ogres recruited one of their own
The most handsome middle aged male ogre, more handsome than all in humanity,
And of course African ogres are beautiful and handsome than African humans, no match,
The ogres are more gifted in stature, physique, eugenics and general overtures
They always outplay African humans on matters of intelligence, they are shrewder,
Ogres are aggressive and swashbuckling in manners; fear is none of their domain
Craft and slyness is their breakfast, super is the result; success, whether pyrrhic or Byronic,
Is their sweetest dish, they then schemed to get the English girl at whatever cost,
They made a move to name one of their fellow ogres the name of dream man;
Akhatembete khobwibo khakhalikha no bwoya,
Which an English girl wanted,
By viciously naming one of their handsome middle-aged man this name.

Song four

Then they set off 0n foot, from Congo moving to the north towards Europe abode England,
Where the beautiful girl of the times, Victoria Goodhamlet Lovehill hail,
They were three of them, walking funnily in cyclopic steps of African ogres,
Keeping themselves humorously high by feigning how they will dupe the girl,
How they will slyly decoy the English village pumpkin of the girl in to their trap,
And effortlessly make her walk on foot from England to Africa, in pursuit of love
On this muse and sweet wistfulness they broke out into loud gewgaws of laughter,
In such emotional bliss they now jump up wildly forgetting about their tails
Which they initially stuffed inside white long trousers, tails now wag and flag crazily,
Feats of such wild emotions gave the ogres superhuman synergy to walk cyclopically,
A couple of their strides made them to cross Uganda, Kenya, Somali, Ethiopia and Egypt
Just but in few days, as sometimes they ran in violent stampedes
Singing in a cryptic language the funny ogres songs;

Dada wu ndolelee!
Dada wu ndolelee!
Kuyuni kwa mnja
Sa kwingile khundilila !

Ehe kuyuni Mulie!
Ehe kuyuni mulie!
Omukhana oyo
Kaloba khuja lilia !
They then laughed loudly, farted cacophonously and jumped wildly, as if possessed,
They used happiness and raucous joy as a strategy to walk miles and miles
Which you cover when moving on foot from Congo to England,
They finally crossed Morocco and walked into Europe,
They by-passed Italy and Spain walking piecemeal
into England, native land of the beautiful girl.

Song  five

When the three ogres reached England, they were all surprised
Every woman and man was white; people of England walked slowly and gently
They made minimum noise, no shouting publicly on the street,
a stark contrast to human behaviour and ogre culture in Africa, very rambunctious,
Before they acclimatized to disorderly life in England, an over-sighted upset befell them
Piling and piling menace of pressure to ****,
Gripped all the three ogre brothers the same time,
None of them had knowledge of municipal utilities,
They all wanted to micturated openly
Had it not been beautiful English girls
Ceaselessly thronging the streets.



Song six

They persevered and moved on in expectation of coming to the end,
Out-skirt of the strange English town so that they can get a woodlot,
From where they could hide behind to do open defecation
All was in vain; they never came to any end of the English town,
Neither did they come by a tumbled-down house
No cul de sac was in sight, only endless highway,
Sandwiched between tall skyscraping buildings,
One of the ogres came up with an idea, to drip the ****
Drop by drop in their *******, as they walk to their destiny,
They all laughed but not loudly, in controlled giggles
And executed the idea minus haste.

Song seven

They finally came down to the banks of river Thames,
Identified the home of Victoria Goodhamlet Lovehill
The home had neither main gate nor metallic doors,
They entered the home walking in humble majesty,
Typical of racketeering ogre, in a swindling act,
The home was silent, no one in sight to talk to
The ogres nudged one another, repressing the mirth,
Hunchbacked English lass surfaced, suddenly materialized
Looking with a sparkle in the eye, talking pristine English,
Like that one written by Geoffrey Chaucer, her words were as piffling
As speech of a mad woman at the fish market, ogres looked at her in askance.

Song eight

An ogre with name Akhatembete khobwibo khakhalikha nobwoya opened to talk,
Asked the girl where could be the latrine pits, for micturation only,
The hunchbacked lass gave them a direction to the toilets inside the house,
She did it in a full dint of English elegance and gentility,
But all the ogres were discombobulated to their peak
about the English latrine pit inside the house,
they all went into the toilet at the same time,
to the chagrin of the hunchbacked lass
she had never seen such in England
she struggled a lot
to repress her mirth
as the English
never get amused
at folly.




Song nine

It is a tradition among the ogres to ****,
Whenever they are ******* in the African bush,
But now the ogres are in a fix, a beautiful fix of their life
If at all they ****, the flatulent cacophony will be heard outside
By the curious eavesdroppers under the eaves of the house,
They murmured among themselves to tighten their **** muscles
So that they can micturated without usual African accomplice; the tweeee!
All succeeded to manage , other than Akhatembete khobwibo khakhalikha nobwoya,
Who urinated but with a low tziiiiiiii sound from his ***, they didn’t laugh
Ogres walked out of privities relaxed like a catholic faithful swallowing a sacrament,
The hunchback girl ushered them to where they were to sit, in the common room
They all sat with air of calm on their face, Akhatembete Khobwibo khakhalikha nobwoya,
led the conversation, by announcing to the girl that he is Victoria’s visitor from Africa,
To which the girl responded with caution that Victoria is at the barbershop,
Giving hand to her father in shearing the horses, and thus she is busy,
No one is allowed to meet her, at that particular hour of the day
But he pleaded to the hunchback girl only to pass tidings to Victoria,
That Akhatembete Khobwibo khakhalikha nobwoya from Africa
Has arrived and he is yearning to meet her today and now,
The girl went bananas on hearing the name
The hunch on her back visibly shook,
Is like she had heard the name often,
She then became prudent in her senses,
And asked the visitor not to make anything—
Near a cat’s paw out of her person,
She implored the visitor to confirm
if at all he was what he was saying
to which he confirmed in affirmation,
then she went out swiftly
like a tail of the snake,
to pass tidings
to her sister
Victoria.


Song ten
She went out shouting her sister’s name,
A rare case to happen in England,
One to make noise in the broad day light,
With no permission from the local leadership,
She called and ululated Victoria’ name for Victoria to hear
From wherever she was, of which she heard and responded;
What is the matter my dear little sister? What ails you?
Akhatembete Khobwibo khakhalikha nobwoya is around!
She responded back in voice disturbed by emotional uproar,
What! My sister why do you cheat me in such a day time?
Am not cheating you my sister, he is around sited in our father’s house,
Is he? Have you given him a drink, a sweet European brandy?
My sister I have not, I feared that I may mess up your visitors
With my hunched shoulders, I feared sister forbid,
Ok, I am coming, running there, tell him to be patient,
Let me tell him sister just right now,
And make sure you come before his patience is stretched.





Song eleven

Victoria Goodhamlet Lovehill almost went berserk
On getting this good tidings about the watershed presence,
Of the long awaited suitor, her face exploded into vivacity,
Her heart palpitating on imagination of finally getting the husband,
She went out of the barber shop running and ululating,
Leaving her father behind, confounded and agape,
She came running towards her father’s main house
Where the suitor is sited, with the chaperons,
She came kicking her father’s animals to death,
Harvesting each and every fruit, for the suitor,
She did marvel before she reached where the suitor was;
Harvested ten bananas, mangoes and avocadoes,
Plums, pepper, watermelons, lemons and oranges,
She kicked dead five chicken, five goats, rams,
Swine, rabbits, rats, pigeons and hornbills,
When she reached the house, she inquired to know,
Who among them could be the one; Akhatembete Khobwibo
Khakhalikha no bwoya, But her English vocals were not guttural enough,
She instead asked, who among you is a key tempter go weevil car no lawyer?
The decoy ogre promptly responded; here I am the queen of my heart. He stood up,
Victoria took the ogre into her arms, whining; babie! Babie, babie, come!
Victoria carried the ogre swiftly in her arms, to her tidy bed room,
She placed the ogre on her bed, kissed one another at a rate of hundred,
Or more kisses per a minute, the kissing sent both of them crazy, but spiritual craft,
That gave the ogre a boon to maintain some sobriety, but libido of virginity held Victoria
In boonless state of ****** feat, defenseless and impaired in judgment
It extremely beclouded her judgment; she removed and pulled of their clothes,
Libidinous feat blurring her sight from seeing the scarlet tail projecting
From between the buttocks of the ogre, vestige of *******,
She forcefully took the ogre into her arms, putting the ogre between her legs,
The ogre’s uncircumcised ***** effectively penetrated Victoria’s ****** purse,
The ogre broke virginity of Victoria, making her to feel maximum warmth of pleasure
As it released its germinal seed into her body, ecstasy gripped her until she fainted,
The ogre erected more on its first *******; its ***** became more stiff and sharp,
It never pulled out its ***** from the purse of Victoria, instead it introduced further
Deeper and deeper into Victoria’s ******, reaching the ****** depth inside her with gusto,
Victoria screamed, wailed, farted, scratched, threw her neck, kissed crazily and ******,
On the rhythms of the ogre’s waist gyrations, it was maximum pleasure to Victoria,
She reached her second ****** before the ogre; it took further one hour before releasing,
Victoria was beaten; she thought she was not in England in her father’s house
She thought she was in Timbuktu riding on a mosquito to Eldorado,
Where she could not be found by her father whatsoever,
The ogre pulled Victoria up, helped her to dress up,
She begged that they go back to the common room,
Lest her father finds them here, he would quarrel,
They went back to the common room,
Found her father talking to other two ogres,
She shouted to her father before anyone else,
That ‘father I have been showing him around our house,’
‘He has fallen in love with our house; he is passionate about it,’
Akhatembete khobwibo khakhalikha nobwoya was shy,
He greeted the father and resumed his chair, with wryly dignity.


Song twelve
An impromptu festival took place,
Fully funded by the father of Victoria,
There was meat of all type from pork to chicken,
Greens were also there in plenty, pepper and watermelons,
Victoria’s mother remembered to prepare tripe of a goat
For the key visitant who was the suitor; Akhatembete,
Food was laid before the ogres to enjoy themselves,
As all others went to the other house for a brainstorming session,
But the hunched backed girl hid herself behind the door,
To admire the food which visitors were devouring,
As she also spied on the table manners of the visitors, for stories to be shared,
Perhaps between herself and her mother, when visitors are gone,
Some sub-human manners unfolded to her as she spied,
One of the ogres swallowed a spoon and a table fork,
And Akhatembete khobwibo khakhalikha nobwoya,
Uncontrollably unstuffed his scarlet tail from the trouser,
The chill crawled up the spine of hunchbacked girl,
She almost shouted from her hideout, but she restrained herself,
She swore to herself to tell her father that the visitors are not humans
They are superhuman, Tarzans or mermaids or the werewolves,
The ogre who swallowed the spoon remorsefully tried to puke it back,
Lest the hosts discover the missing spoon and cause brouhaha,
It was difficult to puke out the spoon; it had already flowed into the stomach,
Victoria, her father, her mother and her friend Anastasia,
Anastasia; another English girl from the neighborhood,
Whom Victoria had fished, to work for her as a best maid, as a chaperon,
Went back to the house where the ogres had already finished eating,
They found ogres sitting idle squirming and flitting in their chairs
As if no food had ever been presented to them in a short while ago,
One ogre even shamelessly yawned, blinking his eyes like a snake,
They all forgot to say thanks for the food, no thanks for lunch,
But instead Akhatembete announced on behalf of other ogres,
That they should be allowed to go as they are late for something,
A behaviour so sub-human, given they were suitors to an English family,
Victoria’s father was uneasy, was irritated but he had no otherwise,
For he was desperate to have her daughter Victoria get married,
He had nothing to say but only to ask his daughter, Victoria,
If she was going right-away with her suitor or not,
To which she violently answered yes I am going with him,
Victoria’s mother kept mum, she only shot miserable glances
From one corner of the house to another, to the ogres also,
She totally said nothing, as Victoria was predictably violent
To any gainsayer in relation to her occasion of the moment,
Victoria’s father wished them all well in their life,
And permitted Victoria to go and have good life,
With Akhatembete, her suitor she had yearned for with equanimity,
Victoria was so confused with joy; her day of marriage is beholden,
She hurriedly packed up as if being chased by a monster,
IV. TO HERMES (582 lines)

(ll. 1-29) Muse, sing of Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia, lord
of Cyllene and Arcadia rich in flocks, the luck-bringing
messenger of the immortals whom Maia bare, the rich-tressed
nymph, when she was joined in love with Zeus, -- a shy goddess,
for she avoided the company of the blessed gods, and lived within
a deep, shady cave.  There the son of Cronos used to lie with the
rich-tressed nymph, unseen by deathless gods and mortal men, at
dead of night while sweet sleep should hold white-armed Hera
fast.  And when the purpose of great Zeus was fixed in heaven,
she was delivered and a notable thing was come to pass.  For then
she bare a son, of many shifts, blandly cunning, a robber, a
cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief
at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds
among the deathless gods.  Born with the dawning, at mid-day he
played on the lyre, and in the evening he stole the cattle of
far-shooting Apollo on the fourth day of the month; for on that
day queenly Maia bare him.  So soon as he had leaped from his
mother's heavenly womb, he lay not long waiting in his holy
cradle, but he sprang up and sought the oxen of Apollo.  But as
he stepped over the threshold of the high-roofed cave, he found a
tortoise there and gained endless delight.  For it was Hermes who
first made the tortoise a singer.  The creature fell in his way
at the courtyard gate, where it was feeding on the rich grass
before the dwelling, waddling along.  When be saw it, the luck-
bringing son of Zeus laughed and said:

(ll. 30-38) 'An omen of great luck for me so soon!  I do not
slight it.  Hail, comrade of the feast, lovely in shape, sounding
at the dance!  With joy I meet you!  Where got you that rich gaud
for covering, that spangled shell -- a tortoise living in the
mountains?  But I will take and carry you within: you shall help
me and I will do you no disgrace, though first of all you must
profit me.  It is better to be at home: harm may come out of
doors.  Living, you shall be a spell against mischievous
witchcraft (13); but if you die, then you shall make sweetest
song.

(ll. 39-61) Thus speaking, he took up the tortoise in both hands
and went back into the house carrying his charming toy.  Then he
cut off its limbs and scooped out the marrow of the mountain-
tortoise with a scoop of grey iron.  As a swift thought darts
through the heart of a man when thronging cares haunt him, or as
bright glances flash from the eye, so glorious Hermes planned
both thought and deed at once.  He cut stalks of reed to measure
and fixed them, fastening their ends across the back and through
the shell of the tortoise, and then stretched ox hide all over it
by his skill.  Also he put in the horns and fitted a cross-piece
upon the two of them, and stretched seven strings of sheep-gut.
But when he had made it he proved each string in turn with the
key, as he held the lovely thing.  At the touch of his hand it
sounded marvellously; and, as he tried it, the god sang sweet
random snatches, even as youths bandy taunts at festivals.  He
sang of Zeus the son of Cronos and neat-shod Maia, the converse
which they had before in the comradeship of love, telling all the
glorious tale of his own begetting.  He celebrated, too, the
handmaids of the nymph, and her bright home, and the tripods all
about the house, and the abundant cauldrons.

(ll. 62-67) But while he was singing of all these, his heart was
bent on other matters.  And he took the hollow lyre and laid it
in his sacred cradle, and sprang from the sweet-smelling hall to
a watch-place, pondering sheet trickery in his heart -- deeds
such as knavish folk pursue in the dark night-time; for he longed
to taste flesh.

(ll. 68-86) The Sun was going down beneath the earth towards
Ocean with his horses and chariot when Hermes came hurrying to
the shadowy mountains of Pieria, where the divine cattle of the
blessed gods had their steads and grazed the pleasant, unmown
meadows.  Of these the Son of Maia, the sharp-eyed slayer of
Argus then cut off from the herd fifty loud-lowing kine, and
drove them straggling-wise across a sandy place, turning their
hoof-prints aside.  Also, he bethought him of a crafty ruse and
reversed the marks of their hoofs, making the front behind and
the hind before, while he himself walked the other way (14).
Then he wove sandals with wicker-work by the sand of the sea,
wonderful things, unthought of, unimagined; for he mixed together
tamarisk and myrtle-twigs, fastening together an armful of their
fresh, young wood, and tied them, leaves and all securely under
his feet as light sandals.  The brushwood the glorious Slayer of
Argus plucked in Pieria as he was preparing for his journey,
making shift (15) as one making haste for a long journey.

(ll. 87-89) But an old man tilling his flowering vineyard saw him
as he was hurrying down the plain through grassy Onchestus.  So
the Son of Maia began and said to him:

(ll. 90-93) 'Old man, digging about your vines with bowed
shoulders, surely you shall have much wine when all these bear
fruit, if you obey me and strictly remember not to have seen what
you have seen, and not to have heard what you have heard, and to
keep silent when nothing of your own is harmed.'

(ll. 94-114) When he had said this much, he hurried the strong
cattle on together: through many shadowy mountains and echoing
gorges and flowery plains glorious Hermes drove them.  And now
the divine night, his dark ally, was mostly passed, and dawn that
sets folk to work was quickly coming on, while bright Selene,
daughter of the lord Pallas, Megamedes' son, had just climbed her
watch-post, when the strong Son of Zeus drove the wide-browed
cattle of Phoebus Apollo to the river Alpheus.  And they came
unwearied to the high-roofed byres and the drinking-troughs that
were before the noble meadow.  Then, after he had well-fed the
loud-bellowing cattle with fodder and driven them into the byre,
close-packed and chewing lotus and began to seek the art of fire.

He chose a stout laurel branch and trimmed it with the knife....
((LACUNA)) (16)
....held firmly in his hand: and the hot smoke rose up.  For it
was Hermes who first invented fire-sticks and fire.  Next he took
many dried sticks and piled them thick and plenty in a sunken
trench: and flame began to glow, spreading afar the blast of
fierce-burning fire.

(ll. 115-137) And while the strength of glorious Hephaestus was
beginning to kindle the fire, he dragged out two lowing, horned
cows close to the fire; for great strength was with him.  He
threw them both panting upon their backs on the ground, and
rolled them on their sides, bending their necks over (17), and
pierced their vital chord.  Then he went on from task to task:
first he cut up the rich, fatted meat, and pierced it with wooden
spits, and roasted flesh and the honourable chine and the paunch
full of dark blood all together.  He laid them there upon the
ground, and spread out the hides on a rugged rock: and so they
are still there many ages afterwards, a long, long time after all
this, and are continually (18).  Next glad-hearted Hermes dragged
the rich meats he had prepared and put them on a smooth, flat
stone, and divided them into twelve portions distributed by lot,
making each portion wholly honourable.  Then glorious Hermes
longed for the sacrificial meat, for the sweet savour wearied
him, god though he was; nevertheless his proud heart was not
prevailed upon to devour the flesh, although he greatly desired
(19).  But he put away the fat and all the flesh in the high-
roofed byre, placing them high up to be a token of his youthful
theft.  And after that he gathered dry sticks and utterly
destroyed with fire all the hoofs and all the heads.

(ll. 138-154) And when the god had duly finished all, he threw
his sandals into deep-eddying Alpheus, and quenched the embers,
covering the black ashes with sand, and so spent the night while
Selene's soft light shone down.  Then the god went straight back
again at dawn to the bright crests of Cyllene, and no one met him
on the long journey either of the blessed gods or mortal men, nor
did any dog bark.  And luck-bringing Hermes, the son of Zeus,
passed edgeways through the key-hole of the hall like the autumn
breeze, even as mist: straight through the cave he went and came
to the rich inner chamber, walking softly, and making no noise as
one might upon the floor.  Then glorious Hermes went hurriedly to
his cradle, wrapping his swaddling clothes about his shoulders as
though he were a feeble babe, and lay playing with the covering
about his knees; but at his left hand he kept close his sweet
lyre.

(ll. 155-161) But the god did not pass unseen by the goddess his
mother; but she said to him: 'How now, you rogue!  Whence come
you back so at night-time, you that wear shamelessness as a
garment?  And now I surely believe the son of Leto will soon have
you forth out of doors with unbreakable cords about your ribs, or
you will live a rogue's life in the glens robbing by whiles.  Go
to, then; your father got you to be a great worry to mortal men
and deathless gods.'

(ll. 162-181) Then Hermes answered her with crafty words:
'Mother, why do you seek to frighten me like a feeble child whose
heart knows few words of blame, a fearful babe that fears its
mother's scolding?  Nay, but I will try whatever plan is best,
and so feed myself and you continually.  We will not be content
to remain here, as you bid, alone of all the gods unfee'd with
offerings and prayers.  Better to live in fellowship with the
deathless gods continually, rich, wealthy, and enjoying stories
of grain, than to sit always in a gloomy cave: and, as regards
honour, I too will enter upon the rite that Apollo has.  If my
father will not give it to me, I will seek -- and I am able -- to
be a prince of robbers.  And if Leto's most glorious son shall
seek me out, I think another and a greater loss will befall him.
For I will go to Pytho to break into his great house, and will
plunder therefrom splendid tripods, and cauldrons, and gold, and
plenty of bright iron, and much apparel; and you shall see it if
you will.'

(ll. 182-189) With such words they spoke together, the son of
Zeus who holds the aegis, and the lady Maia.  Now Eros the early
born was rising from deep-flowing Ocean, bringing light to men,
when Apollo, as he went, came to Onchestus, the lovely grove and
sacred place of the loud-roaring Holder of the Earth.  There he
found an old man grazing his beast along the pathway from his
court-yard fence, and the all-glorious Son of Leto began and said
to him.

(ll. 190-200) 'Old man, weeder (20) of grassy Onchestus, I am
come here from Pieria seeking cattle, cows all of them, all with
curving horns, from my herd.  The black bull was grazing alone
away from the rest, but fierce-eyed hounds followed the cows,
four of them, all of one mind, like men.  These were left behind,
the dogs and the bull -- which is great marvel; but the cows
strayed out of the soft meadow, away from the pasture when the
sun was just going down.  Now tell me this, old man born long
ago: have you seen one passing along behind those cows?'

(ll. 201-211) Then the old man answered him and said: 'My son, it
is hard to tell all that one's eyes see; for many wayfarers pass
to and fro this way, some bent on much evil, and some on good: it
is difficult to know each one.  However, I was digging about my
plot of vineyard all day long until the sun went down, and I
thought, good sir, but I do not know for certain, that I marked a
child, whoever the child was, that followed long-horned cattle --
an infant who had a staff and kept walking from side to side: he
was driving them backwards way, with their heads toward him.'

(ll. 212-218) So said the old man.  And when Apollo heard this
report, he went yet more quickly on his way, and presently,
seeing a long-winged bird, he knew at once by that omen that
thief was the child of Zeus the son of Cronos.  So the lord
Apollo, son of Zeus, hurried on to goodly Pylos seeking his
shambling oxen, and he had his broad shoulders covered with a
dark cloud.  But when the Far-Shooter perceived the tracks, he
cried:

(ll. 219-226) 'Oh, oh!  Truly this is a great marvel that my eyes
behold!  These are indeed the tracks of straight-horned oxen, but
they are turned backwards towards the flowery meadow.  But these
others are not the footprints of man or woman or grey wolves or
bears or lions, nor do I think they are the tracks of a rough-
maned Centaur -- whoever it be that with swift feet makes such
monstrous footprints; wonderful are the tracks on this side of
the way, but yet more wonderfully are those on that.'

(ll. 227-234) When he had so said, the lord Apollo, the Son of
Zeus hastened on and came to the forest-clad mountain of Cyllene
and the deep-shadowed cave in the rock where the divine nymph
brought forth the child of Zeus who is the son of Cronos.  A
sweet odour spread over the lovely hill, and many thin-shanked
sheep were grazing on the grass.  Then far-shooting Apollo
himself stepped down in haste over the stone threshold into the
dusky cave.

(ll. 235-253) Now when the Son of Zeus and Maia saw Apollo in a
rage about his cattle, he snuggled down in his fragrant
swaddling-clothes; and as wood-ash covers over the deep embers of
tree-stumps, so Hermes cuddled himself up when he saw the Far-
Shooter.  He squeezed head and hands and feet together in a small
space, like a new born child seeking sweet sleep, though in truth
he was wide awake, and he kept his lyre under his armpit.  But
the Son of Leto was aware and failed not to perceive the
beautiful mountain-nymph and her dear son, albeit a little child
and swathed so craftily.  He peered in ever corner of the great
dwelling and, taking a bright key, he opened three closets full
of nectar and lovely ambrosia.  And much gold and silver was
stored in them, and many garments of the nymph, some purple and
some silvery white, such as are kept in the sacred houses of the
blessed gods.  Then, after the Son of Leto had searched out the
recesses of the great house, he spake to glorious Hermes:

(ll. 254-259) 'Child, lying in the cradle, make haste and tell me
of my cattle, or we two will soon fall out angrily.  For I will
take and cast you into dusty Tartarus and awful hopeless
darkness, and neither your mother nor your father shall free you
or bring you up again to the light, but you will wander under the
earth and be the leader amongst little folk.' (21)

(ll. 260-277) Then Hermes answered him with crafty words: 'Son of
Leto, what harsh words are these you have spoken?  And is it
cattle of the field you are come here to seek?  I have not seen
them: I have not heard of them: no one has told me of them.  I
cannot give news of them, nor win the reward for news.  Am I like
a cattle-liter, a stalwart person?  This is no task for me:
rather I care for other things: I care for sleep, and milk of my
mother's breast, and wrappings round my shoulders, and warm
baths.  Let no one hear the cause of this dispute; for this would
be a great marvel indeed among the deathless gods, that a child
newly born should pass in through the forepart of the house with
cattle of the field: herein you speak extravagantly.  I was born
yesterday, and my feet are soft and the ground beneath is rough;
nevertheless, if you will have it so, I will swear a great oath
by my father's head and vow that neither am I guilty myself,
neither have I seen any other who stole your cows -- whatever
cows may be; for I
CLStewart Apr 2015
And a dilemma is?  Fixing the cafe while preparing your breakfast shake so elegantly. Hurriedly to turn on the news upon the squashed HD  as you settle down on the white roundy, the sound turned down just enough not to wake the neighbors. Where has this life taken me?
Dark dank daily routines...
Dorothy A Dec 2011
A rose in the middle of December is what I saw outside. Instantly, I connected this odd occurrence with my life. The thought hit my thoughts like a ton of bricks. That is what I am, I had thought to myself. That describes me.

As I looked out my living room window on a sunny, but freezing, Saturday afternoon, I was surprised to see this solitary rose that had bloomed on my mini rose plant.  Providing me with a few salmon colored roses each season of its bloom, without fail this plant regrows again and again in my garden. I first planted it there since forever ago, or so it seems.

Usually, such a flowering occurrence should be no big deal, nothing major or out of the ordinary. Certainly, I would not find this as something really noteworthy to write about. Rose plants do that kind of thing all the time.

But it was frigid cold outside, and the middle of December.

What a strange, yet amazing thing to behold! Maybe there is a proper explanation for it, but I don’t care. The petals were just as colorful as ever when really they should have wilted awy from the cold. All the other flowering plants in my garden surely did! It didn’t really make sense, but its presence was pretty awesome.

I eagerly went to find my camera to take a picture of my sweet, little rose. The grass was dotted with tiny patches of snow to show that-yes indeed-winter is really only days away from its official entrance. Plant activity and growth really should be over. Isn’t that right? I know we have had some warmer days during the previous month, but the icy cold seemed to have come to stay for a while. It surely defies logic to think of blooming flowers on such days.

I often look for “God moments”, as I call them, in which God gives me something to hold onto that reveals His love to me. Not looking for anything earth shattering, I see often see God in the little things, in the details of life. And I don’t even always look for such things, for sometimes I doubt God really cares or really is that effective in my life. You see, that is not uncommon for someone who deals with chronic depression. I learned early on in life that nobody is there for you, not really. I know Christians aren’t supposed to feel this way, but if I can be bold to be honest, I am. Often, I just think I’ll get by on my own. If I can’t get by on my own, I often try to put up with it instead of turning to God for help.  But lately I was feeling desperate.

Suffering with depression all of my life, and with managable anxiety, the thought of the approaching Christmas had been especially difficult for me. I know that people are “supposed to” feel uplifted with the holiday, but I was not. To reveal this is a source of shame to me, and I have learned to mask such uneasy feelings, trying to fake it for the sake of showing the world that I really am OK inside. It is like I expect everyone to look at me and say, “What’s the matter with you, loser!”

I knew I could find two things that would appeal to me—Christmas music and lights. Yet the music that I often love could not do it for me. The lovely Christmas lights, shining in the dark of night, didn’t matter either. I was feeling dejected, and I was growing weary with life—again. When not obligated to go anywhere, I felt like hiding from the world, feeling safer from anxious thoughts by myself. And as safe as I tried to feel in my comfort zone, this was frightening to me. This did not feel like living to me.

Is this how I am going to live out the rest of my pitiful life? This was one of my kinder thoughts.

I usually get through Christmas OK, making the best of it, but my losses often feel bigger than my blessings. In 1998, I lost an estranged brother to suicide. In 2005, I lost a father to Alzheimer’s, a few weeks after Christmas. In 2007, my mother had to spend Christmas in a nursing home recovering from major surgery. That year, I struggled through that season with very hopeless feelings, for my mother was in jeopardy of never walking again. She spent almost half a year in that place—a woman with sever scoliosis, and chronic back pain, who cannot stand for very long. In my hopelessness, I seem to forget the miracles in my life, for my mom’s return home seems like one to me.

I also see my father’s experience and death from Alzheimer’s as something far more than a tragedy. For many years, I avoided my father, wanting really nothing to do with him. Grudges surely seem larger than life over time, and although I wanted to forgive my father and seek reconciliation, fear often stood in the way. Even though my dad grew remorseful for how he raised his children, it took my brother’s suicide for me to find forgiveness for a man I thought never supported me or believed in me. For over two years, while my dad was ill and dying, the bond between us grew into something special. I know from personal experience that even in the difficult times, there are larger purposes involved.
  
No doubt, I have been provided with some huge challenges in life. Thankfully, I always pulled through when I surely felt that I would crumble into pieces. I clung to my faith in God, even when that faith felt like dying embers in a fire, for it seemed to be all that I had. Nothing else worked. Nothing else satisfied for very long. And when it did last, I wanted more and more, like a drug addict looking for his next fix.  

I have often been plagued with self doubt. What is my purpose in this life? Why am I here? I knew I was not alone in this thinking, reminding myself that I am not the most unique person in my suffering. So I searched the internet, a convenient source to turn to when you can’t seem to face people, and the world.  

Not wanting to live or value your own life is a horrible state of mind that I would not wish on anybody. I have relied on a depression medication since my brother died, and still do, but there had to be something more to help me. Deep down inside, I did not want to die, but I didn’t know how to live either. The heart of the matter was that in my worst bouts of depression, I was just so broken inside. I survived enough to go through the motions, but I felt like I was losing the battle—and really did not want to win the war anyhow.

I still remember the “God moment” I had when I was in London, England in August of 2011. At that time, life felt like an adventure as I went on my very first overseas trip to Europe. I have yearned to go to Europe since childhood. It was a Sunday morning in London, and a religious program was on. From what one man was saying on TV about his experiences, my ears perked up and I hurriedly scribbled some things down on a pad of my hotel paper before I forget some of his statements that stood out to me.

During my short stay in London, I was experiencing a cold. I wanted to feel Gods presence as I felt the swallowed up feeling of being a stranger in a faraway place. As intruiged as I was,  in the huge, bustling metropolis, I admit I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I find big cities as places in which people pass others with no concern other than to go about their way. London was fascinating, but I am a suburbanite, for sure!

The things this man was saying on TV really impacted me at the time, and I now carry that scrap of paper around with me in my wallet. Little did I know that a few months later that these statements would help to pull me through from reaching into despair. That despair began a few months after that trip when I was quite sick with the flu, twice in a row, and feeling very isolated and weary.

Sometimes, we have to get into that place where all there is is God.

It is not that I did not believe in God. I did not think God believed in me.

Sometimes, we grow best in hard times.  

All my crooked crutches and phony props, as I call them, weren’t working. If the computer wasn’t taking up much of my free time, television was numbing my senses from the stark reality that life felt empty for me. Where was God? Logically, I knew I had no reason to be bitter, for I knew the answer. I felt so far away from Him, helpless and hopeless—yet I clung to this hope—God never moved at all. I was the one who walked away, but like the prodigal son in the Bible, God would be waiting there for me with a joyful expectation. I truly believe that even though I often wonder how God puts up with me.

It has been a long time—if ever—that I fully trusted in God alone. Yes, I believed in Him, and trusted in Jesus as my savior, but I often held back. I was still so angry and hurt about the past. Why didn’t God rescue me from such a horrible childhood? Why was I bullied in school? Why didn’t I have a better family? Why did loneliness and insecurity plague me as it did? Why wasn’t I beautiful? Why didn’t I have a better life? Why this and why that. Even though I logically knew better, in my hurt and wounded soul, life felt like a big, horrible mistake. God must have not cared about me. I may not have consciously acknowledged it, but my actions proved otherwise.

We live in a world where you got to be stronger, you got to be better; you got to be tougher; you got to be faster; you got to be more successful. The media pounds this into our brains all the time in many different forms. How many of us feel like we can never measure up? I am sure I am not alone in feeling the inadequacy. Yet I could not concentrate on anyone else’s pain when I was so wrapped up in my own.

A rose in the middle of December—I put it all into proper perspective. What a fragile looking thing, but an enduring one! It symbolizes to me the invincible, indelible human soul in the midst of an often perplexing world. When all around seems bleak, when life takes a toll on you, that remains unscathed, untouched by the trails we often have to face.  When we die, I wholeheartedly believe, it will be the only true thing that remains of us. When our bodies decay into dust, our souls will be like that rose, brilliant and beautiful.    

Besides myself, there are two groups of people, near and dear to my heart, which I could compare to that symbolic rose in my garden. My current job is working with special needs students, usually with autistic children and young adults. I worked 19 years in a bland office job, and could not ignore the constant nagging feeling to get the courage and desire up to do something more fulfilling with my life. With fearful, but bold determination I thought: It’s now or never.  Maybe it was not the wisest thing, but it felt so freeing to say to my boss, “I think I quit”, without another job to back me up. I basked in the encouraging applause of many co-workers who wished they had the guts to do the same, but soon the panic set in.

What do I do now? What can I do now?

Never working with children before, I felt a call to work with them, and I absolutely have a greater sense of purpose. Many of these children cannot talk. Many of them cannot walk. Many of them accept people just as they are, for I believe they want the same in return. Their lives teach me what really is important in life—and that is compassion.

Other than children, I also love the elderly, sensing their desperate need for love and compassion. Forcing myself to get my mind off my own troubles, I heeded my pastor’s call to not simply “go to church” but to “be the church”. I knew I had talents. I knew could open my mouth and carry a tune. From what I went through in my life, I knew I had the compassion. After all, I dealt with my dying father in a nursing home. With a nursing home ministry in my church, and a nursing home right across the street, it was obvious—there are others out there that need hope and they need love. So what was my excuse?

In this world that expects you to be stronger, better, tougher, faster or more successful, there are those that live in the world that they don’t fit any of these categories. But yet they are here. They exist. Can they be ignored? The answer is surely, yes, and they often are.  Perhaps, the world is uncomfortable with them, does not know what to do with them. They don’t fit into the false demands for perfection. They don’t fit into push and shove to get ahead of everyone else, but they remind us, sometimes to the point of discomfort, how fragile the human condition often is.  

Lately, I have had such a hunger that food cannot satisfy. I yearned for a peace, one that only God can provide me with. I found two uplifting stories on the internet of people who struggle on and whose lives defy the idea of a perfect world. One of them was about an Australian man, Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and legs. He was picked on at school because he was perceived as a freak, as someone who did not seem to have any real chance at living a normal life. And he was angry that he did not look like, or function like, most everyone else. At about the age of eight he wanted to end it all, thinking he had no purpose in life. He eventually gave his life to Christ, and now lives a full life, reaching out to others with his incredible story of hope and perseverance.

Another woman, Joni Eareckson Tada, continues to amaze me. She is a quadriplegic from a diving accident gone horribly wrong. Her story touches many people with her hopeful attitude and her amazing faith in Christ. She, too, wanted to die when she thought her life had no more meaning. Recently, she has even fought breast cancer and chronic pain that has added to her decades of struggles with immobility.  She touches so many lives with her honesty about her suffering, giving people hope in times that seem hopeless.            

I wanted what these two people had. No, I did not want their afflictions, but I wanted to be able to reach out to others and touch their hearts, as well.  I wanted that faith, desperately, a faith that will not back down in the face of fear, in serious doubts, deep sadness, and pain. These people had little choice but to turn to God. The alternative was utter bleakness, a lack of purpose, and a slow death. But they defied the odds and etched a life out of faith, helping countless others to endure their struggles and to find meaning in life. There were plenty of times when I did not pray to reach out to a God that I gave my heart to many years ago. I bought into the belief that God was as inadequate and ineffective as I was feeling.    

Sometimes, we have to get into that place where all there is is God.

It is not that I did not believe in God. I did not think God believed in me.

Sometimes, we grow best in hard times.  

With plenty of tears, I cried out to God. It was a gut wrenching cry of someone with nothing to give but a broken heart. I wanted that kind of faith, and I meant that with every fiber of my being. Deep inside, my faith wasn’t gone. It never really left me, but only God had the ability to grow it, to prosper it, and to produce “life” back into my life. The battles might have felt overwhelming, at times, but I have always been a survivor. In spite of heartaches, and from what they actually teach me, I can be an encourager to others. Instead of just wanting to make everything go away, I can look forward to new chapters in my life.  

I know there will still be times when I will struggle to want to face another day, yet with my faith in God, I can.

So a rose growing outside may be not a big deal. Writers and poets have seemingly exhausted the topic, hailing it the most precious of flowers, the most perplex, with such lovely fragility, yet sheltered by stinging thorns. My inspiration to write on the same subject may not be unique, but as a rose blooms, and its glorious petals unfold, so does my story. I admit I hesitated to finish writing this, not sure I wanted to expose these things about my life. It takes a lot of guts to admit how imperfect you are in a world that seems to shun or poke fun at such things. But if I can encourage even one person, who has similar struggles, I will gladly try to be an encouragement.    

For almost a week now, existing in a stark contrast of its surroundings, that little rose remains, cold winter weather and all. Every day since, for about a week now, I continue look for it outside and find it going against the grain.  All the other flowers in my dormant garden are long gone. It will be gone eventually, but I am still enjoying my “God
MdAsadullah Nov 2014
Professor experienced was he.
Woke up in the morn asking tea.
Hurriedly bathed and brushed.
Towards steely almirah he rushed.

Couldn't decide which pant to wear.
Called wife to decide combing his hair.
Shirts were of different color and hue.
Mother came and chose color blue.

His father decided which tie he'll tie.
While he ate poori and aloo fry.
Couldn't decide which shoes were best.
Daughter chose brown and left the rest.

Couldn't decide 'tween bus and auto.
Son advised from auto he should go.
Entered class room briskly walking;
And taught 'Effective decision making.'
loveless Jul 2016
Knock knock

"Anyone there?" he heard someone saying it while knocking at the door. That one knocking the door had a voice of a child. The voice was soft and with this the old man inside the house guessed the age of child to be probably five to six years.

"Hellooo" the kid said again. He was continuously knocking the door.

Child continued to knock for a little while.

"I know you are inside there, please respond"
Child said pleadingly.

"Go away, no one is here" the old man said furiously. He was frustrated.

"Oh! Here you are" child responded "Dr Adam, I need help, I am..." the child couldn't complete the sentence, and the old man's heard a thud which was supposedly bigger than a knock. Possibly his head had banged against the door. Something had happened, the old man knew.

The old man was a loner but he wasn't heartless to not check on the kid. He bookmarked the page and kept the book he was reading on the table. He stood up and started to walk towards the door. He put down the chain and then opened the door slowly.

The child was holding on the door. As the old man opened the door the child could barely keep standing for some moments and he started to fall near the man's legs. Old man was quick and he put his hand below the child so he couldn't fall on the floor.

The old man grasped the hand of the boy to check his pulse. The boy was still alive though there was something weird about his pulse. It was weak, he could barely sense it and the pulse was low to around forty per minute. He was still breathing. The child was unconscious.

The old man grasped that kid in his arms and took him to his bedroom, situated upstairs on right corner of the house. He placed that kid on the bed which was still as fluffy as a new bed would be. It's been years since that old man was back to his bedroom. He used to sleep mostly in his chair while reading. He placed pillow under the kid's head and went back downstairs to other room.

That room didn't looked like a room, it looked more like a library. The room was large and there were books everywhere. His hand written notes and research was all scattered in the room. And the old man grasped they book he left on the table and continued reading.

Some hours passed and the old man heard the door opening upstairs. The child had woken up, he knew. The old man grabbed some fruits lying in the basket and went upstairs. The kid was just out of the room.

"Hey kid, you can still rest a little, and if you don't want to rest, you can have these fruits and go"

"Dr. Adam!?"

"Yes"

"I'm dying."

The old man was speechless as he heard these words from that little child. Many patients had come to him before, knocking on his door, to help them but he had left his profession because of one accident. All of them had to go back. He didn't even opened his door to anyone before. But now he had a child in front of him, who said he was dying and this left the old man speechless.

"Go to the hospital kid, I can't help you. I do not operate anymore"

"I went to the hospital. The disease I have have no cure. Not a single of them can cure me"

"Then how do you think I'd be able to cure you?"

"My disease makes my heart weaker by the moment it beats"

The old man knew this disease. All he could do was just stare at that kid and listen to him.

"They told me that long ago, a genius researched upon something and came across a cure to everything. And in that time, a kid had the same disease as me. He could die anytime. That genius used his talents to give that kid a new life. He cured that child and that child lived for a day but something happened and the disease of kid returned. This time, a million time worse and the kid died."

A silence followed after the kid.

"That genius was you Dr Adam . You had saved that kid before, even for just some days, but only you were the one to be able to find its cure. Save me doctor. Save me."

"I... I can't..." for the first time in years, the old man was not rude. His voice was trembling. In his eyes was fear. His north had dried up. He couldn't speak another word.

He was taken aback. He was looking in the eyes of that kid and in those little eyes of that kid was hope. Blue eyes of that kid were same as that of Nicholas, that kid the old man failed to save life of.

And the old man went to a state of trance and started to wonder in the memories thirty years back.

He was young back then. He was a genius. He learned to speak when he was just six months old. At three he used to solve maths problems easily that were hard for child double his age. His parents knew he was talented and so they gave him best education they could. He completed his doctorate degree at the age of seventeen when most of the people his age would be looking for what to do. He was a prodigy.

He joined a hospital. And started to operate on people. The operations that looked hard to normal one, he was able to do without a sweat. He wanted to do more. And so he got a home for himself where he could work in peace. He started on researching the cure of everything. He would think, search and experimented alone.

One morning, two years later, he found that any disease can be cured using magic. The magic that provides energy and makes life energy so strong that the body itself heals itself.

He was happy that day. He went to hospital to break out the news to everyone. But on his way, he found a small kid, of five years, laying on the bed.

"Hey kid" he said to the child.

"Hello doctor..."

"My name is Adam. What's your name"

"I'm Nicholas, doctor Adam"

"What happened to you Nicholas"

"I don't know."

"Don't worry, you'll be alright. I promise you"

"Thank you Dr Adam" the child smiled. That smile was so full of feelings that it made Adam more happy from inside. That smile had touched his heart. He just wanted to make that kid more happy by curing him of whatever he had. He made a promise to himself that he would cure that kid before telling upon his research to everyone.

He ran across the hospital and went to the other room where the doctors handling the patients of that room were.

"Hey Robert"

"Hello sir" though Robert was ten years older than Adam but still he used to call Adam sir because Adam was a lot more senior than him because of his knowledge.

"Whats up with Nicholas"

"That small boy"

"Yes"

"Actually, we don't know anything yet"

"What?"

"We've never seen such disease yet"

"What is with that disease"

"His heart is losing strength by the moment it beats. A severe pain was in his heart for unknown reasons pops up whenever. And he sometimes loses his consciousness at random times. That's one of a kind case. He can die at any time."

The young prodigy was speechless for the first time. His thoughts took him to another world. He was broken because he thought he couldn't help that kid. And then he heard a scream coming from the same place Nicholas was in.

He ran back to there. Nicholas was holding his heart with one hand and screaming. The pain was immense. Beyond measure of one's imagination. The eyes were flooded with tears. This view shocked Adam. He had never heard anyone shriek that loud in his whole life.

He went near Nicholas and held him up in his arms. He hugged him close and said that everything will be alright. The child's voice somehow lowered. After some moments, that. stopped crying and just stayed in his arms.

"Save me Dr Adam! Save me" the kid said sobbingly and then collapsed under his hands and got unconscious.

For the first time in his life the doctor felt helpless. He realized how precious life was. And he could not help that kid. The young man started crying. And suddenly a bright idea struck his mind. He thought of using the magic he researched for to cure this child.

"I will save you kiddo, I definitely will" he said to that small kid and then turned to Robert who had followed him

"Robert, can you take him to the operating table please"

"Yes but first tell me what are you going to do"

"I will tell you later. Just trust me and take him to there" Adam gave that kid to Robert and started to go out "I need to go back home for a bit. I'll be back quick" he said to Robert hurriedly and ran back to home. He needed to see the procedure again. He didn't wanted to do any mistake. Though he had not done any experiment to any animal, he was still confident in his research.

He came back to home, took out some notes of his from his book and started to read them. Then after some minutes, he ran back to hospital along with those notes. He just went to the room where the kid was. Robert was there near the table and the child still knocked unconscious and laying on the operating table.

"Thank you Robert. Can you please leave us alone now"

"But what are you going to do now?"

"Cure him"

"But how?"

"I can't tell you now but I will surely cure him"

Robert was still reluctant but he knew that Adam may have come up with some way of curing that child

"Trust me, I will surely" Adam said

And with that Robert finally left from there.

The doctor begin the procedure and he placed his palm on the child's heart tenderly. Then he closed his eyes and then had his other hand up. The other hand was open like he was gathering something from sky inside his hand. He was channeling the energy of the universe too the life energy of the kid.

The man could feel it running through his body. It was like the kid's energy was faint green in color and the energy in his hand was vibrant blue which was intense. The blue energy went from his hand to the other hand was going to the child's energy and making it stronger. But Adam didn't knew why there were two colors of energy. There was something wrong, he felt but nevertheless he continued to channel. Gradually the energy inside kid began to grow and it was full again. Like the color of child's energy was not blue but with little faint green inside.

Adam withdrew his hand. Nicholas was still breathing and seemed to be in good shape. Adam knew he was successful but he knew something,even if it were a little thing, had been wrong. And he sank back in the chair nearby.

After some moments the kid opened his eyes and sat on the table

"How are you feeling kiddo?" he asked standing from chair

"I... I feel... I feel fine doctor" Nicholas said. He was touching his heart like he was wondering what happened. He felt better than before. He felt that he is all alright.

"I feel good doctor" Nicholas said "I feel great" he added. He had a smile on his face. He felt rejuvenated. He was happy. Adam had a sigh of relief.

"How did you do it doctor?"

"Do what?"

"Cure me. How did you cure me? They said that my disease couldn't be cured by any medicine or surgery"

"Well...." Adam didn't knew what to say

"Tell me please. How did you?"

"Magic" and Adam smiled. He had told the truth though Nicholas didn't thought it was truth. This made nicholas laugh.

"Thank you... My magician" and they both started to laugh again. They both were happy.

"Come on now. Let me take you to your bed" and he grasped Nicholas in his arms and took him to his bed.

"I want to go home, not this bed"

"We still need to keep you under observation for a while still kiddo. So be a good boy"

"Ok magician, I will be a good boy"

Robert was there. Looking for other patients. He looked at the boy and observed him. He saw no marks, and realized surgery or something had not been done. And he later real used that pulse of the kid was normal now. And the child was smiling.

"How did you did that sir?" he asked Adam

"Ask the kid, he knows" and Robert looked at the kid

"He did magic doctor" and they both started to laugh while Robert looked puzzled. But Robert knew that the prodigy must have made some discovery and that's how he cured him and Adam want to give surprise to others.

"Congrats magician" Robert joined them.

"Robert can you help me in observing this child. I want to make sure he is all alright"

"I will sir" Robert said

They both did some tests that day along with looking after other patients. The strength of the heart of that boy had returned and heart beat was normal with no pain burst or unconsciousness for whole day.

Adam said final good night to the kid and went to his home to get some rest after informing Nicholas they he will be discharged tomorrow.

Adam dozed off to sleep quick that night. But he had a nightmare. He saw those two energies blue and faint green that were slowly disappearing. Darkness was consuming them both as they mixed. And then there was complete darkness. He heard a terrible scream of pain an then he woke up.

He couldn't wait there. He had to go back to hospital to check on Nicholas again. He dressed quick and ran to hospital. The was doctor Jack at night duty near the bed of that kid.

And that kid was laying silent. Adam held his hand. But he felt nothing. He then tried to feel heart beats but nothing again.

"What happened here?" Adam asked furiously to Jack

"Some minutes ago, we hard a loud scream for just a second or two and we realized it was Nicholas. By the time we reached here, it was all over. His heart had stopped beating"

"No that can't be" Adam said. How heart had broke.

"That disease had no cure Adam. At least you tried" Jack said

"No I should have been able to save him, I could have if I knew more, I could have" the tears of Adam flowed like an endless river of grief.

He left his profession that day. He wanted to search for the answers. He wanted to perfect his magic. He wanted not to let someone else die like that kid again. He made his home a library. He got many books. He kept on studying. He studied so much that many times he forgot to eat for days. Some books he wrote himself while researching upon. And so years passed. Life went on till today when a little child knocked his door.

His state of trance was broken by the scream of that little kid. He was holding his heart as the same way Nicholas did when he was in pain. Adam got himself and got that little boy on bed again. Kid stopped to cry after a little while. When kid had a breath of relief, he said to the old man again

"Dr Adam, I do not have much time left. Please. Help me"

"I have not finished that research yet. I may need more years to finish that cure of everything"

"I do not have years, I may not even have today and you know it"

"Kid, you may meet same fate as that kid. My procedure somehow accelerated that disease because it was wrong"

"I have to die one day if it's a week or I am left with a day after the procedure. It won't matter. I have to die anyway"

"But..." he couldn't say anything more. The child was wise and he was saying up to point.

"Can you please just try. I promise I won't regret it"

Even though thirty years had passed. Adam had made little progression towards that cure to everything. In the meantime he had found out many cures of many other diseases that was thought to be incurable but Adam wanted to perfect his procedure of cure of everything.

"Are you sure?"

"Dead sure" the kid replied. They both laughed a little on that pun.

"Get some rest. I'll be back in a bit"

He was going to do that again. He was going to use magic again. He went downstairs and started to read as much as he can of his notes. He wanted to do it perfect this time. Though he didn't knew how. After some time he went back upstairs.

"Hello again" the child said

"Are you ready kiddo?"

"I am. And by the way, my name is Nick"

"You're still kiddo for me" and they both laughed.

"Lay on the bed and don't move or say anything. Just close your eyes. I'm going to do magic"

"Ok magician" boy said. He was so much alike to Nicholas, Adam thought.

Nick did what he was told. The old man placed one hand on the boy's heart and other hand in exact same position as before years ago. He could feel the energies as he closed his eyes. The energy of the boy was faint green again. And a little more fainter than Nicholas when he was on the operating table that night. Adam felt the same blue energy in his other hand. No he thought. He couldn't put that blue energy again inside that boy. He knew the consequence. He searched for the same green one in outside universe but he couldn't. And then he heard.

"Dr Adam"

It was
I'm too lazy to add all the details in the story. Maybe one day I'll detail it.
Edward Laine Sep 2011
The old green door creaked when it opened. The same way it always did. The same old pitiful, sad sound it had made for years.
Sad because, like the rest of Jimmy's Bar it wouldn't be broken the way it was if someone would only take the time to fix it, in this case to grease the hinges, and then maybe the joint wouldn't be such a dive.
But that was the way it was, and the old green door pretty much summed up the whole place before you had even stepped in.

It was an everyday scene, this dreary November afternoon like any other: the glasses from the night(or nights) before were still stacked up on the far end of the bar, waiting to be washed, or just used again. The regulars, as they were known really didn't care if they were drinking out of a ***** glass or having a shot or a short out of a pint glass or beer or a stout or a bitter or an ale or a cider or even a water or milk(to wash down or soak up the days drinking) out of the same old ***** glass they had been drinking out of all week long.
Anyway, when the door creaked this time, it was old Tom Ashley that made it creak.
He shuffled in like the broken down bindle-stiff he was. Yawning like a lion and rubbing his unwashed hands on his four day beard. His grey hair as bed-headed and dishevelled as ever.  He was wearing the same crinkled-up blazer he always wore, tailor made some time in his youth but now in his advancing years was ill-fitting and torn at the shoulder, but still he wore a white flower in the lapel, and it didn't much matter that he had picked it from the side of the road, it helped to mask the smell of his unwashed body and whatever filth he had been stewing in his little down town room above the second hand book store. It wasn't much, but it suited him fine: the rent was cheap, and Chuck, the owner would let him borrow books two at a time, so long as he returned them in week, and he always did. He loved to read, and rumour had it, that a long time ago when he was in his twenties he had written a novel which had sold innumerable copies and made him a very wealthy man. The twist in the tale, went that he had written said novel under a pen name and no soul knew what it was, and when questioned he would neither confirm nor deny ever writing a book at all. It was some great secret, but after time people had ceased asking questions and stopped caring all together on the subject. All that anybody knew for sure was; he did not work and always had money to drink. It was his only great mystery.  T.S Eliot and Thomas Hardy were among his favourite writers. He had a great stack of unread books he had been saving in shoe box on his window sill. He called these his 'raining season'.

But for now, the arrangement with Chuck would suit him just fine.
He dragged his drunkards feet across the floor and over to the bar. All dark wood with four green velour upholstered bar stools, that of course, had seen better days too.
He put his hands flat on the bar, leaned back on his heels and ordered
a double Talisker in his most polite manner. He was a drunk, indeed but 'manners cost nothing'' he had said in the past. Grum, the bartender(his name was Graham, but in the long years of him working in the bar and
all the drunks slurring his name it gradually became Grum)smiled false heartedly, turned his back and whilst pouring old Toms whiskey into a brandy glass looked over his shoulder and said, ''so Mr. Ashley, how's
life treatin' ya'?'' Tom was looking at the floor or the window or the at the back of his eyelids and paid no attention to the barkeep. He was always
a little despondent before his first drink of the day. When Grum placed the drink on the bar he asked the same question again, and Tom, fumbling with his glass, simply murmured a monosyllabic reply that couldn't be understood with his mouth full of that first glug of sweet,
sweet whiskey he had been aching for. Then he looked up at tom with
big his shiney/glazed eyes, ''hey grum,
now that it is a fine whiskey, Robert Lewis Stevenson
used to drink this you know?'' Grum did know, Tom had told him this nearly every day for as long as he had been coming in the place, but
he nodded towards Tom and smiled acceptingly all the same. ''The king of drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, he said'' Grum mouthed the words along with him,  caustically and half smiled at him again. Tom drained his glass and ordered another one of the same.

A few more drinks, a few hours and a few more drinks again
passed, Tom put them all on his tab like he always did. Grum,
nor the owner of the bar minded, he always paid his tab before
he stumbled home good and drunk and he didn’t cause too
much trouble apart from the odd argument with other customers
or staff but he never used his fists and he always knew when
he was beat In which case he would become very apologetic
and more often than not veer out of the bar back stepping
like a scared dog with his tail between his tattered trousers.
Drinking can make a cowardly man brave but not a smart
man dumb and Tom was indeed a smart man. Regardless
of what others might say. He was very articulate, well read
with a good head (jauntily perched) on his (crooked) shoulders.
By now it was getting late, Tom didn't know what time it was,
or couldn't figure out what time it was by simply looking at
the clock, the bar had one of those backwards clocks, I
don't know if you have ever seen one, the numbers run
anti-clockwise, which may not seem like much of task to
decipher I know, but believe me, if you are as drunk as tom
was by this point you really can not make head nor tails of
them. He knew it was getting late though as it was dark
outside and the  lamp posts were glowing their orange glow
through the window and the crack in the door. It was around
ten o’clock now and Tom had moved on to wine, he would
order a glass of Shiraz and say ''hey Grum, you know Hafez
used to drink this stuff, used to let it sit for forty days to achieve
a greater ''clarity of wine'' he called it, forty days!'' ''Mr Ashley''
said Grum looking up from wiping down the grimy bar and
now growing quite tired of the old man’s presence and what seemed
to be constant theories and facts of the various drinks he
was devouring, ''what are you rabbiting on about now, old
man?'' ''Hafez'' said old Tom ''he was a Persian poet from the
1300's as I recall... really quite good'', ''Well, Tom that is
truly fascinating, I must be sure to look in to him next time
I'm looking for fourteenth century poetry!'' said the barkeep,
mockingly. ''Good, good, be sure that you do'' Tom said,
taking a long ****-eyed slurp of his drink and not noticing
the sarcasm from the worn out bartender. He didn't mean
to poke fun at Tom he was anxious to get home to his wife
who he missed and longed to join, all alone in their warm
marital bed in the room upstairs. But Tom did not understand
this concept, he had never been married but had left a long
line of women behind him, loved and left in the tracks of his
vagabond youth, he had once been a good looking man a
''handsome devil'' confident and charming in all his wit and
literary references to poets of old he had memorised passages from ,Thoreau,Tennyson ,Byron, Frost etc. And more times
than not passed these passages of love and beauty off as
his own for the simple purpose of getting various now wooed
and wanting women up to his room. But now after  many
years of late nights, cigarettes and empty bottles cast aside
had taken their toll on him he spent his nights alone in his
cold single bed drunk and lonely with his only company being
once in a while a sad eyed dead eyed lady of the night, but
only very rarely would he give in to this temptation and it
always left him feeling hollow and more sober than he had
cared to be in many long years.
The bell rang last orders.
He ordered another drink, a Gin this time and as he took
the first sip, pleasingly, Grum stared at him with great open
eyes and his hand resting on his chin to animate how he
was waiting for the old man to state some worthless fact
about his new drink but the old man just sat there swaying
gently looking very glazed and just when the barkeep was
just about to blurt out his astonishment that Tom had noting
to say, old Tom Ashley, old drunk Tom took a deep breath
with his mouth wide, leaned back on his stool and said...
''hey, you know who used to drink gin? F. Scott Fitzgerald''
''really?'' said the barkeep snidely ''Oh yes'' said Tom
''The funny thing is Hemingway and all those old gents
used to tease Fitzgerald about his low tolerance, a real
light weight! He paused and took a sip ''but err, yes
he did like the odd glass of gin'' he said, mumbling
into the bottom of his glass.
Now, reaching the end of the night, the bartender
yawning, rubbing his eyes and the old man with
close to sixty pounds on his tab, sprawled across the
bar, spinning the last drop of his drink on the glasses
edge and seeming quite mesmerised by it and all its
holy splendour, he stopped and sat up right like a shot,
and looking quite sober now he shouted ''Grum,
Graham, hey, come here!'' the sleepy bartender was
sitting on a chair with his feet up on the bar, half asleep,
''Hey Graham, come here'' ''eh-ugh, what? What do you
want?'' said the barkeep sounding bemused and
befuddled
in his waking state, ''just come over here will you,
please''
the barkeep rolled off his chair sluggishly and slid
his feet across the floor towards the old man ''what is
it?'' he said scratching his head with his eyes still half
closed. The old man drowned what was left of his
drink and said ''I think I've had an epiphany, well err
well, more of a theory really w-well..'' he was stuttering
. ''oh yeah? And what would that be, Mr Ashley?'' said
the bartender, folding his arms in anticipation. ''pour
me another whiskey and I'll tell you''
''one mor... you must be kidding me, get the hell
out of here you old drunk we're closed!'' the old man
put his hands together as if in prayer and said in his
most sincere voice, '' oh please, Grum, just one more
for the road, I'll tell you my theory and then I'll be on
my way, OK?'' ''FINE, fine'' said Grum ''ONE more and
then you're GONE'' he walked over to the other side
of the bar poured a whiskey and another for himself.
''OK, here’s your drink old man, and I don't wanna
hear another of your ******* facts about writers
or poets or whoever OK?'' Tom snatched the drink of
the bar, ''OK, OK, I promise!'' he said. Tom took a slow
slurp at his drink and relaxed back in his seat and
sat quite, looking calm again.
The bartender sat staring at him, expecting the old
man to say something but he didn’t, he just sat there
on his stool, sipping his whiskey, Grum leaned forward
on the bar and with his nose nearly touching the old
mans, said ''SO? Out with it, what was this ****
theory I just HAD to hear?'' ''AH'' said the old man,
waving his index finger in the air, he looked down
into his breast pocket, pulled out a pack of cigarettes,
calmly took two out, handed one to the barkeep,
struck a match from his ***** finger nail, lit his own
the proceeded to light the barkeeps too.
Taking a long draw and now speaking with the blue
smoke pouring out his mouth said '' let me ask you a question''
... he paused, …  ''would agree that everybody
makes mistakes?'' the barkeep looked puzzled as to
where this was going but nodded and grunted a
''uh-hum'' ''well'' said the old man would you also
agree that everybody also learns... and continues
learning from their mistakes?'' again looking puzzled
but this time more  intrigued grunted the same ''uh-hum'' noise,
though this time a little more drawn out and
higher pitched and said ''where exactly are you going
with this?'' curiously.
''well..'' let me explain fully said Tom. He took another
pull on his cigarette and a sip on his drink, ''right,
my theory is: everybody keeps making mistakes, as
you agreed, this meaning that the whole world keeps
making mistakes too, and so the world keeps learning
from is mistakes, as you also agreed, with me so far?''
the barkeep nodded ''right'' Tom continued ''the world
keeps makiing and learning from its mistakes, my
theory is that one day, the world will have made so
many mistakes and learned from them all, so many
that there are no more mistakes to make, right? And
thus, with no mistakes left to learn from the word will
be all knowing and thus... PERFECT! Am I right? The
barkeep, now looking quite in awe and staring at his
cigarette smoke in the orange street light coming t
hrough the window, raised his glass and said quite
excitedly ''and when the world is then a perfect place
Jesus will return! Right?'' ''well Graham...'' said the old
man doubtingly ''I am in no way a religious man, but I
guess if that’s your thing then yes I guess you could be
right, yes''
He then drowned the rest of his whiskey in one giant
gulp, stubbed out his cigarette in the empty glass
and said ''now, I really must get going ,it really is getting quite
late'' and begun to walk towards the door. The
bartender hurried around the bar and grabbed Tom
by the arm,
'' you cant just leave now! We need to discuss this!
Please stay, we'll have another drink, on the house!''
''Now, now,Graham'' said the old man, ''we can discuss
this another night, I really must get to bed now'' he
walked over to the door, and just as his hand touched
the handle the barkeep stopped him again and said
quite hurriedly,'' but I need answers, how will I know
everything is going to be alight? You know PERFECT,
just like you said!'' the old man opened the door
slightly, turned around coolly and said ''now, don’t
worry yourself, I’m sure everything will turn out fine
and we’ll talk about it more tomorrow, OK?'' the
barkeep nodded acceptingly and held the door open
for the
old man, ''sure sure, OK'' he said ''tomorrow it is,
Mr Ashley''
Just as Tom was walking out the door he stopped
looked at the   barkeep with large grin on his face
and said very fast, as fast as he could ''you-know-an-interesting
-fact-about-whiskey-it-was -Dylan-Thomas'
-favourite-drink-in-fact-his-last-words-were -"I've-had-18
-straight-whiskeys......I-think-that's-the-record."­!! HAHA '' he
laughed almost uncontrollably. Graham the barkeep looked
at him with a smile of new found admiration and began to
close the door on him.
Just as the door was nearly shut, the old man stopped
once
more, pulled out a roll of money, looked in to the
bartenders
eyes and put the money into his shirt pocket, then putting
his left hand on the bartenders shoulder said ''oh and
Grum, one of those great ol' women I let get away, once told ,me:
''if you are looking at the moon then,everything is alight'' and slapped
him lightly on the cheek.
. Then finally, pointing at the barkeeps shirt pocket said ''
for the bar tab'' then went spinning out the door way with
the grace of a ballroom dancer(rather than the old drunk
he had the reputation for being) and standing in the
orange glow of the street and seeing the look of sheer
wonderment on the bartenders face still standing in the
old green door way and shouted ''LOOK UP, THE MOON,
THE MOON!'' The barkeep, shaking his head and laughing,
peered his head out of the door and took a glance at the
moon and grinned widely then closed the old green door
for the night. It made the same old loud creak when he shut it.

                                       FIN
Anderson M Sep 2013
I look me in the eye
Then look around me
I instantaneously heave
A loud silent sigh of relief
It’s a heartwarming realization
That mine insecurities
Are a mere drop in the ocean
in the expanse dichotomy of
inconveniencing cicumstance
That most people willingly or unwillingly
Find themselves in
A silent inward prayer is all
That I hurriedly mumble
To He the perfect engineer
of life itself.
Marian Mar 2014
We're cuddled up together
Your paw clings to my arm
Nails ejecting cling to my arm
"Stay with me, please"
She seems to beg
Eyes of gold look into my blue eyes
And I hurriedly let her have her way
Purring beside me
Keeping my arm warm
Leaning her head into
The warmth in the crook of my arm
She smiles her feline grin
And I gently kiss her furry head
You are like a little candle
Producing happiness and light
So curl up beside me
While I type my poetry
That I dedicate for you
Now and then stopping
Between typing words
To stroke your silky
Furry body, sweet Lady Jane

*~Marian~
This is dedicated for my beautiful kitty-cat companion, Lady Jane!!! :) ~~~~<3
She is such a sweetheart and I always cherish her presence!! :) ~~~<3
I enjoy and treasure every minute by her side!!! (: ~~~~<3
She is my very best friend for sure and certain!!! :) ~~~~~<3
Lady Jane, I love you, honey!!! (: ~~~<3
The mountain pinnacles slumber; valleys, crags, and caves
are silent.

“LISTEN to me,” said the Demon, as he placed his hand
upon my head. “The region of which I speak is a dreary
region in Libya, by the borders of the river Zaeire. And
there is no quiet there, nor silence.

“The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue; and
they flow not onward to the sea, but palpitate forever and
forever beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and
convulsive motion. For many miles on either side of the
river’s oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic water-lilies.
They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch
towards the heaven their long and ghastly necks, and nod to
and fro their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct
murmur which cometh out from among them like the rushing of
subterrene water. And they sigh one unto the other.

“But there is a boundary to their realm—the boundary
of the dark, horrible, lofty forest. There, like the waves
about the Hebrides, the low underwood is agitated
continually. But there is no wind throughout the heaven. And
the tall primeval trees rock eternally hither and thither
with a crashing and mighty sound. And from their high
summits, one by one, drop everlasting dews. And at the
roots, strange poisonous flowers lie writhing in perturbed
slumber. And overhead, with a rustling and loud noise, the
gray clouds rush westwardly forever until they roll, a
cataract, over the fiery wall of the horizon. But there is
no wind throughout the heaven. And by the shores of the
river Zaeire there is neither quiet nor silence.

“It was night, and the rain fell; and, falling, it was rain,
but, having fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass
among the tall lilies, and the rain fell upon my head—
and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the solemnity of
their desolation.

“And, all at once, the moon arose through the thin ghastly
mist, and was crimson in color. And mine eyes fell upon a
huge gray rock which stood by the shore of the river and was
lighted by the light of the moon. And the rock was gray and
ghastly, and tall,—and the rock was gray. Upon its
front were characters engraven in the stones; and I walked
through the morass of water-lilies, until I came close unto
the shore, that I might read the characters upon the stone.
But I could not decipher them. And I was going back into the
morass when the moon shone with a fuller red, and I turned
and looked again upon the rock and upon the
characters;—and the characters were DESOLATION.

“And I looked upwards, and there stood a man upon the summit
of the rock; and I hid myself among the water-lilies that I
might discover the action of the man. And the man was tall
and stately in form, and wrapped up from his shoulders to
his feet in the toga of old Rome. And the outlines of his
figure were indistinct—but his features were the
features of a deity; for the mantle of the night, and of the
mist, and of the moon, and of the dew, had left uncovered
the features of his face. And his brow was lofty with
thought, and his eye wild with care; and in the few furrows
upon his cheek, I read the fables of sorrow, and weariness,
and disgust with mankind, and a longing after solitude.

“And the man sat upon the rock, and leaned his head upon his
hand, and looked out upon the desolation. He looked down
into the low unquiet shrubbery, and up into the tall
primeval trees, and up higher at the rustling heaven, and
into the crimson moon. And I lay close within shelter of the
lilies, and observed the actions of the man. And the man
trembled in the solitude;—but the night waned, and he
sat upon the rock.

“And the man turned his attention from the heaven, and
looked out upon the dreary river Zaeire, and upon the yellow
ghastly waters, and upon the pale legions of the water-lilies.
And the man listened to the sighs of the water-lilies,
and to the murmur that came up from among them. And
I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the
man. And the man trembled in the solitude;—but the
night waned, and he sat upon the rock.

“Then I went down into the recesses of the morass, and waded
afar in among the wilderness of the lilies, and called unto
the hippopotami which dwelt among the fens in the recesses
of the morass. And the hippopotami heard my call, and came,
with the behemoth, unto the foot of the rock, and roared
loudly and fearfully beneath the moon. And I lay close
within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And
the man trembled in the solitude;—but the night waned,
and he sat upon the rock.

“Then I cursed the elements with the curse of tumult; and a
frightful tempest gathered in the heaven, where before there
had been no wind. And the heaven became livid with the
violence of the tempest—and the rain beat upon the
head of the man—and the floods of the river came
down—and the river was tormented into foam—and
the water-lilies shrieked within their beds—and the
forest crumbled before the wind—and the thunder
rolled—and the lightning fell—and the rock
rocked to its foundation. And I lay close within my covert
and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in
the solitude;—but the night waned, and he sat upon the
rock.

“Then I grew angry and cursed, with the curse of silence,
the river, and the lilies, and the wind, and the forest, and
the heaven, and the thunder, and the sighs of the water-lilies.
And they became accursed, and were still. And
the moon ceased to totter up its pathway to heaven—and
the thunder died away—and the lightning did not
flash—and the clouds hung motionless—and the
waters sunk to their level and remained—and the trees
ceased to rock—and the water-lilies sighed no
more—and the murmur was heard no longer from among
them, nor any shadow of sound throughout the vast
illimitable desert. And I looked upon the characters of the
rock, and they were changed;—and the characters were
SILENCE.

“And mine eyes fell upon the countenance of the man, and his
countenance was wan with terror. And, hurriedly, he raised
his head from his hand, and stood forth upon the rock and
listened. But there was no voice throughout the vast
illimitable desert, and the characters upon the rock were
SILENCE. And the man shuddered, and turned his face away,
and fled afar off, in haste, so that I beheld him no more.”



Now there are fine tales in the volumes of the Magi—in
the iron-bound, melancholy volumes of the Magi. Therein, I
say, are glorious histories of the Heaven, and of the Earth,
and of the mighty Sea—and of the Genii that overruled
the sea, and the earth, and the lofty heaven. There was much
lore, too, in the sayings which were said by the sybils; and
holy, holy things were heard of old by the dim leaves that
trembled around Dodona—but, as Allah liveth, that
fable which the demon told me as he sat by my side in the
shadow of the tomb, I hold to be the most wonderful of all!
And as the Demon made an end of his story, he fell back
within the cavity of the tomb and laughed. And I could not
laugh with the Demon, and he cursed me because I could not
laugh. And the lynx which dwelleth forever in the tomb, came
out therefrom, and lay down at the feet of the Demon, and
looked at him steadily in the face.
I feeleth so anxious as the fleshy winds outside,
Invisible as their turquoise screams, I feeleth like everything is just not right;
Ah, but how if even all later suns shan't be fair,
And t'is passivity shan't ever be bound to fade?
For my soul declares-t'at he, it wants not any more to care;
And about thee only, it wants to be quiet, yet witty still-like yon pale lovesick summer glade;
I want to attach myself to our captivated hours right now;
With thee in my lap, and thy gentle whispers-as today shall be replaced by tomorrow.
I want to dream of thee once more tonight, o sweet Nikolaas;
My darling at present and from the future, whilst my only dearest, from the past.
Ah, sweetheart, why are but our subsequent hours-and perhaps paths, to suffer;
If thou art not by my side, and maketh not all t'is terseness better?
Ah, and wouldst it ever make sense any longer;
To live by him-but without thee, wouldst it but make my wild heart easier?
For censure is to which my answer, and is hatred-for I cannot help loving thee more;
I wanteth to love, and age-by thee, and by thee only, within my most passionate core,
And I wanteth not to understand anything-for comprehension shall but renew our last sorrow;
I wanteth instead-to renew t'is despaired wholeness, and its proven compassion-our love has once made nature show.

I still wanteth to remain quiet; to cherish and glitter within my wholesome devotion;
But which duly keepest me sober, and maketh my doubled heart tremble not;
Calmeth me, calmeth me with thy kisses-so enormous and tasty, like a quiet can of little soda;
Maketh me accursed, petty, and corny-maketh me thy lands' most dreaded infanta.
Tease me like I am a quivering little darling, who cannot but tries shyly still-to sing;
With a coarse voice descended from sunlight, where the worst are joy, and lovingly mean everything.
Maketh me honest, and tempteth me deeper and more;
Until I sighest and flittest myself away, with agility like never before.
Consumeth my greed-and with it, drinkest away its all befallen vitality;
For I knoweth thou shalt restore me, and reneweth all my endeavoured weaponry.
Ah, Nikolaas, how sweet doth feel t'ese blessings, by thy very side!
Nikolaas, Nikolaas, my lover-my sweet husband, from whom my hungry soul canst never hide!
Oh, and darling, Amsterdam might be cold, and plastered with one slippery tantrum;
But thou art still too comely to me-with those familiar eyes like a poem;
A poem t'at my very heart owns, and is graciously fat'd to be thine;
And thine only-for as I danceth later-in my princess' frock, I knoweth t'at thou art mine.
Ah, but fear thou not-for shall I protect thee like t'is;
I shall slander thy rival west and east, I shall degrade t'em all to'a yawning beast!
And upon my victory be I at ease-and finely grateful;
On which truth shall spring, and maketh our love venerated-and more fruitful!
Ah, just like I had b'fore-how canst kissing thee be extremely pleasant,
Even whenst he be t'ere, or perhaps-be the one concerned?
I hath to admit, t'at 'tis thee-and not him, I so dearly want;
Thee who hath painted my love, and made everything cross but all fun;
Thee whose disguise is my airs, and who hath ceaselessly promised to be fair,
Thee whom I'th dreamt of t' be my lifelong prince, with whom I wish to be paired,
Thee whose recitations lift my heart upwards, and my delight proud;
Thee whose poems hath I crafted, and oftentimes recited sensibly, out loud.

Ah, t'at devil-who told us t'at our joys cannot be real;
For they are not at all virtuous-nor by any chance, vigorous?
Ah, fear not those human serpents, darling, whose mouths are moth-like-bloodless but who canst ****;
For to God they are mortal still, and to His eyes whose jokes are not fun, nor humorous;
And thus we shall be together, as we indeed already are;
For our delight is not to be altered-no longer, as dwells already, in our heart;
We shall come back to it soon, as tonight's full moon smilingly starts;
And exalt it as wint'r comes-dear winter, as perhaps only be it, one few months' far;
Ah, and be I then, crush all t'is impatient longing, and sorely missed affection;
And vanquish all the way, t'is all omnipotent sin-of having loved only, a severe affliction;
Oh, but under whose guidance, Amsterdam shall embark again, and smile upon us;
And lift our tosses of joys, into the lapses of its sweet thunders, fast!
Ah, Nikolaas, shall we thus be together, under the wings of Amsterdam's rainbow;
To which endings shan't even once appear; as guilt be then dead-and is not to show;
The only left opus of love be ours to sing, as heaven is-so benevolent;
Betray us not, with fruits of indifference-much less once of one malice, and gay impediment;
And our happiness shall be pure-and entangled, like a pair of newborn twins;
To which our fantasies are finally correct, and thus its affixed lust-shall no more be a sin.

Such love and lust-whose fidelities shall be our abode;
But by whose words-delusions shall never arrive, and thus be put aside;
Novelties shall be fine, and their definitions shall be lovely;
They shall twitch not-for a simple moment of starched felicity!
Oh my darling, I needst to come and visit my wealthy Amsterdam;
With authenticity now I entreat: myself, myself, ah, run there-whenst stop doth time!
For as we embarketh, no more worrisome medleys shall they come again, to bring;
And to no more sonata, shall they retort-nor so adversely, and dishonestly, sing.
Ah, Nikolaas, the stars are now obediently looking down at us;
Jealous of our shimmering love, which is the lush garden's yonder, giddy beaut;
Ah, who is shy to its own mirror, and oft' looks away so fast;
But needst not to swerve, factually, for 'tis, on its really own-has but very much truth!
But still, whose hastiness maketh it succumb-and even more bashful then the sky;
Ah, as if those pastimes of its ****** soul are always about-and be termed but as a single lie!
For it shall never happen, to it-who owns our midnight hours-with one promise to be skirted away too fast;
With not even a single pause, nor a second of rest-while it passes?
Ah love, our very love; its circular stains, nevertheless, as left hurriedly-too massive to resist;
For they giveth taste to our plain moonlight-and thick'ning flavours to our kiss;
So at our first night of gaiety thereof-we won't be hunger for earning too much bliss!
Ah, Nikolaas, all shall be perfect-for felicity is no longer on our part-to miss,
And t'is part of our earthly journey shall feel, defiantly like heaven!
I shall be thine-and claim no more my thine self as his;
In thee doth I find my salvation, my fancy dome-and my most studious cavern!
All which, certainly-is his not; all which shall be ripe, and thus fragrant-like a rose perfume;
And by whose spell-we shall be love itself, and even be loved-within the walls of our private haven;
And even then, we shall love each other more-as be cradled in each other's arms; and lost like this, in such a league of harmonious poems.

Amsterdam shan't be rigorous, it shall be all fair,
Its notions are curious, like these but entrancing summer days;
Thinking of which is but a sweat-but a bead of sweat for which I most care,
Which is neither dreadful nor boastful, as I devour it avidly, amongst t'is poem I'm 'bout to say!
And t' mindfulness of which, I shall no more hastily rid of;
I was too dreary back then, crudely foreshadowed by a crippled love!
'Twas my mistake-my supposedly most punished, punished mistake;
For faking a love I ought not t've ever made, and one I ought not t' ever take!
A mere dream I hath now fiercely pushed away;
And from which I hath now returned, to my most precious loyalty,
As thou knoweth-thou hath never wholly, and so freely-left me,
Thou art all too genuine, and pristine, like yon silvery river-as I oft' picture thee.
Ah, so t'at is all true; t'at thou art my most gracious, and unswept loving angel,
A prince of royalty, and my very, very own nighttime spell.
Just like thou hath done hundreds of time, thou maketh me but delight and mischief;
And notions t'at bubble within my most, giving me charms and comfort-for me to continue to live!
Together, our lips shall be warm-and no more joy shall be left naked;
Soon as there are more tears, we shall throttle and fairly feast on it;
Making it all but remotely conscious, and forcibly-but sensibly, deluded;
Making it writhe away impaired, and its all possible soul awesomely flattened!
Ah, Nikolaas, thou shalt be the mere charm t'at leaves my odes too fabulous-by thy wit,
Oh, my darling, for thou art so sweet; o, Nikolaas, I really hath only my words, to play with!

And guess what, my darling, heaven shall but gift us nobly, all too soon;
An heir shall we claim; as descendeth one day beneath the excited full moon.
For he shall be born into our naughtiest perusal;
And demand our affection excitedly, as time is long, as arrives winter-from last fall!
Soft is his hair, clutched in his skin-so bare and naive;
He shall be our triumph, and a farther everyday desire, to continue to live!
And we shall consider him our undefined, yet a priceless fortune;
Light as the night, at times singular but cheery-like the sketch of a fine moon.
And portray in us both the loveliness of a million words;
He shall be handsome, just like our love-which is damp but funny, in whose two brilliant worlds!
Oh, my darling, I now looketh forward to my heavenly Amsterdam;
Whose prettiness shall be thoughtful, as I thinketh of it-from time to time.
Ah, thus-when all finally happeneth, I shall know thou art worth the whole entity of my thousand longings;
Thou art the miracle t'at I hath decently prayed for-and thus fathomably, the very sweet soul-of my everything.
Upon the mighty raging sea, whirlpools of fiery sparks, Catherine wheels of light and mist mix with the foam of time. Tossed by unseen movements a tiny globe is floating on the tides and flotsam swirls around its contours, attracted by invisible smooth ripples. Dashed to smooth curves, rare and precious treasure pebbles dance in the flotsam, around the tiny globe, lost in that vast sea, tossed aside by finned entities. Together they ride the foam of endless ocean.

Upon his bed of green soft flotsam, in peaceful tranquillity, gazing out at other treasure pebbles, upon the most precious jewelled blue sapphire, swimming in the azure sea, the purple man soaks up the rays of green made by the yellow globe.

The purple man sees and understands.

The lines of his world are shining silver light, for him there is no darkness in the night. Beset by cares he glances at the fractal flotsam and sees himself reflected, unfolding, timeless. Cares melt in mellow green.

The purple man fades and expands, his nebula fills the ocean wide and everything folds, unfolds; breathes in and out. Allfather stands beside the gate.

Where the fish swim and water snakes, where rivers run and wash the mountains silt upon the shore, there one day the star man came descending from a ship that sails the ocean Sky. The purple man was dreaming as before. From far away where people live in light, from where there is no hunger, fear or pain, where none deceive because there is no gain, where power is within and all are free, Wayland came.

Sitting by the river in the mud his fingers sinking into rich red clay he saw this world so full of music and in love, he sought the matrix seeds that dormant lay. Weaving the matrix then this Wayland made a pair of people from the clay and calling to the green fire of life, he gave them this garden free, to care for and in which to learn and play.

The purple man, who on his misty pillow lay said to Wayland then,

“Will you not stay?” The star man answered,

“I have so far to go and there is so much I want to see, you stay here awhile and tell them this: they are the keepers now of flotsam Zu, and you can teach them all that they must know. Say to them and get it right, 'you are the children of the light, travel where you will; you are not bound here by the clay. In all who say, “I am“ there is the life, and all who live are one in truth, this moment does not pass away.' I will return to visit you one day.”

Purple light shines green around the gate and all pass to and fro. There were the flying elephants of old, bright butterfly wings and iridescent scales, and fire within they blew and rose to mate high in the careless foam of space.

“I see, I see,” the purple man exclaims, “And I will leave a legacy.” Then taking out his notebook draws a stone and then another, places both together high upon the hill.

“All shall know!” he cries and gives them eyes and crowns. Thrones they hold with firm rock fingers, king and queen in rock of jewels tiny crystal shimmers. Eyes gaze out along the silver lines of truth, eyes of stone, and he cuts a small notch in the place the eyes alight their vision.

“Now all will know.” He spreads his cloak and sleeps beneath the hill in quiet satisfaction but dreams he did the task and lost in thought forgets. Stones stand waiting in dreams of eyes that only dreamers see and ride the light that only globe green rays can ride in pale yellow day.

“Forget, forget.” The whispers of the shining huntress sing sweetly and the residents of the butterfly house are soothed and filled with wonder. Dancing light reflects from yellow sand. Lifting hot feet to cool in baking oven rays.

Skating on tension, walking on invisible support a fish jumps from the water of a lake, cascading diamond spray around golden wings, then plunges back into the familiar world. Together all are one and life renewed. Wisps of purple smoke rise from a burning pile of old splendid green boughs now brown and brittle and delicious waves cook as chatter rises in anticipation. Toes muddy and wet warm as much as they dare and faces shine as globe of green gives energy. Wisteria sweet twists its tendrils on the gatepost and spreads its fingers wide to reach the stars.

The white and shining orb that, with full sails, is dancing with the flotsam sapphire tells her story in the ripples of a darkened pool. As in each drop the orb is, so it is with all and in all flows the green.

A grey cat-wolf with silky coat, who sweetly purrs sinks her teeth into feathers and warm nourishment flows from vein to vein. Carrying proudly to the doorstep leaves the gift but pricked purple fingers drip blood as tears flow for the tiny, feathered form.

Misunderstanding of the gift and weary sleep claim the mourner. In the corner stands a child of dusty clothes, untidy and ragged feathers. Grey coloured and brown his hair, face, and hair all dusty and brown. In mind of purple song was singing sad songs of green trees and fields of flowers and seeds. The child turns and eyes as old as time look deep as hands are stretched to greet. The purple man takes outstretched hands and they dance to music of the ocean deep.

“It cannot end, the green can never end, it just returns.” and round they dance, as the child is filled with light and transparent power touches purple hands and spirit surges to pull the purple man to stand before the gate.

Purple man rides on steed of unicorn; who sheds his twisted horn of white and says,

“With this you may write and tell the keepers of Zu to teach their subjects true.” His purple fingers hold the shining torch as on the saddle of his steed he carves the key, the binary. “All is here!” he shouts, “it is enough for all to be and all who will to see! Freedom is my gift to humanity!” Walking to the golden shore, he breathes the green fire to his steed, “Fly now and take my pattern home for all to learn.” The unicorn, now dragon born and horse is manifest, with fiery nostrils and shining fins swims into the long and winding currents of the thread of gold.

From that island home is cast the stone and off it goes into the seas of time, the circle seas. Music wafts around the globe as jewelled pebbles sing. The purple man, his eyes upon the depths, his head on soft flotsam pillow looks horizontally and wanders paths of space between.

A king of Zu in earnest thought upon the shore, a hornless unicorn has caught. A dragon horse who will not bear but shakes his saddle, burden gone he flies into the air. This trinket fine will grace the royal belt and a medallion the king does wear; magic token lost in time as those who knew could not stay and to the music danced away. Beyond the gate, into the ocean deep they to while away, until the wafting air lifts up the drops to bear.

Within the turbulence of that wild sea of calmness where regular tides disguise, mountains are ground, their pieces smashed and broken into shimmering beads of light. Each piece the matrix seed does hold within its crystal frame and life its energy. They shoot forth in forces, travel star to star, globe upon globe they circumnavigate and chaos brings movement to the stagnant ponds of flotsam, pools stirring, breathing life.

In Zu, the wanderers, who had no houses yet, who lived among the stars and trees, gathered round fires to eat their fruit and seeds at Mothers knee and told their oral histories.

Memories of mine and theirs and time distorts the tales so pictures made they to endure but meanings lost as careless child is watching dripping fat of meat and mouth is watering at the food to eat. Within the ring of warmth and fire the wild beast fears, the stories fall distorted on deaf ears.

“Remember well the lessons here: Once our world was full of fear. The seas rose up and swallowed whole the land of Zu, the air was cold. The globe its shining rays of green was hid beneath a reddish sheen of fire as worlds collided higher. The cold it came, the ice giants walked upon the land, so I was taught. Now eat this meat the hunter men have brought.” Within the shamans cave the purple man sleeps and walks on paths of many feet.

On bellies laid upon a hill of hot dry golden sand, the purple man looks down with his band of friends upon the tall city gate below. Beyond he sees the golden domes and tall white towers of so fair a place. A white wall stretches far as he can see and by the gate two fierce lions guard with swords of shining steel.

“I know not how to enter there.” he says, but then finds he is inside, alone and the white city walls are high around him. Trepidation grips his thought and on tiptoes he intrudes in wonder, clinging to the walls. The giant who stoops to lift him smiles, gold flashes from ornaments, turquoise beads on olive skin, and strong muscular arms pick up the purple man who looks around and down to see the white towers are but square pools of proportion huge. The strong hands plunge him down into clear water cool, so fresh it cleans, from showers of silver droplets a babe is raised up to the shining pale blue sky.

Seeing a tortoise then beside the waters edge, the purple man, still having horn of unicorn, inscribed the pattern of the nine with movement of the all, so that he would remember all that Wayland said. Then silence and dreams were once more inside his head.

Purple man sat at the foot of a great tree. A red furred squirrel ran up and down the bark, collecting food and going deep to keep its secret safe. Above the tree the globe was shining bright and yellow light was all around. The good folk who dwell in light transparent crystal vessels sang their song for all to hear and as the squirrel gathered food she heard their voices clear. Then, scampering along the ground quietly in case the purple man should wake, she buried down to the deep pools where three watch the water that feeds the sap. She hummed the song but had not listened to the words and got it wrong before those there to guide the destiny.

“Oh, careless child who listens not when at the fire, who now will tell the history?” The purple man saw the green sap of the tree within and understood.

“Make a machine!” the keepers say, “for you are bound by clay. Rip out the sapphires heart and give us power so that in darkness is the light of day. We have the words and wisdom here,” the keepers fight and hide the secret words, “the nine is ours not yours to know, we only have the power, is it not so? We are your keepers, guardians true; we would not lie to you.

“We took the power from Mother of the tribes to keep you safe from beasts who roam. They would not stay outside the ring of warmth and fire but come inside, devour you in your home.

“The seas rose up before and swallowed Zu, the people perished all except a few. Those few were chosen by the unicorn and here to us a tortoise bore its horn. We stole the fire that came on flotsam Zu, we have the lightening here entombed, the stars that fell in dire punishment, we kept them to remind you of your doom.

“We took the prophets all and kept their words, we wrote them down and only we can give those words to you. He who was here is gone for now but will return, to judge all those who will not heed our rule.

“We must make war to punish those who hate, we must sacrifice to please the beast. Then within our boundaries you will be safe in service to our cause for we are wise.”

The slaves of Zu who toil and sweat all day, all fearful of whatever comes their way; the slaves who have no water and no food and not because they have not loved the good, the slaves who weep for flotsam Zu, the ones who try to do what they believe is true, all listened to the keepers and were quiet, they had no heart to war and die in riot. They had no heart to disobey the rules well taught from their first day. Some turned and struck their fellows in dismay.

The feet upon the pavement hard in hardness crunch and shocks run up the legs and bounce the brains of those who cannot see. Purple streaks the sunrise comes and petals yawn to greet the sailing globe of yellow breathing green. Herded and obedient, the subjects of the kingdom of Zu wake and queue politely as keepers set the tasty morsels. Wheels and tides, time and ocean turn as globe spins in eddies and careless diamonds sprinkled in the flakes of cornfields tell the story unfolding.

Shadows play. The sickle shines its ****** sweetness horned and lovely; sparks of stars surround the misty blue. Knees and cries on time forget the sly insertions and nourish soon forgotten virtues.

A bell is ringing on the shore. Sound bounces wave to wave and lost in purple wandering a passing bee remembers that it cannot fly and hurriedly taking scissors cuts a fine raft of leaf, pointed as a ships bow and hops aboard to surf and glide on currents of the sky.

From the deep oceans light, Wayland sees and sends a whisper from his mind, the purple man is dreaming still among the many others of his kind.

“Its time to wake now, of slumber is enough. Zu needs to have its gardeners intact, its time to plant the Iris bulbs to grow in pasture and in desert before the ice comes back. Seeds of the rainbow must be sown on every track. When summer dawns on frosted fields, fingers of warmth probing into the hearts of seeds that sleep, come now its time for growing. Plough the furrows deep. When summer dawns on frosted fields, fingers of warmth probing into cold frost hardened hearts. Awake, its time for knowing!”

The purple man in forest sees green light of yellow globe is shining energetically its light on all, and one with all he walks in joyful song. Along a branch a leg is stretched, a long leg, there a person sits within the tree, smiling song of life,

“He's just like me!” the purple man does not intrude but curiosity is wakened as the man is standing tall and then is gone before his eyes of sight. A figure dressed in light, not vaporous, a solid man who flickers on and off he sees. The purple man perplexed is wondering, when at his side a figure tall and grey is standing, branches on his head, without a face in the full light of day. The purple man looks for the face, the seat of senses known to know who is it there and meets an eye as old as universe. The eye is looking for the same and as they meet in trap of combined senses all, there is a spark and purple man is travelling then, he is not in the planet Zu at all. The visitor who comes to show the way gives him a choice of paths to take, he forward walks along a narrow lane with strange and pointed leaves of maize. Rustling in the plants the other chases past, he greets him at the other side, and man of light is shining on and off out of the gate the purple man to guide. The rainbow bridge connecting all the worlds, the green path that all who live must share, the purple man looks for the visitor but turning finds that nothing's there. Then rippling wave of green comes flowing through the woodland and the day, it passes through all that lies before, and purple man is standing in its way. Green fire! The life! The sap of tree! I see! His spirit soars as Wayland flies away.

Looking down at hands and feet with rainbows shine, in great delight he finds he is not purple now but made of light sublime and at his step the irises spring bright.
As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved
in her laughter and being part of it, until her
teeth were only accidental stars with a talent
for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps,
inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally
in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by
the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter
with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading a
pink and white checked cloth over the rusty
green  iron table, saying: ‘If the lady and
gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden,
if the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea
in the garden…’ I decided that if the shaking
of her ******* could be stopped, some of the
fragments of the afternoon might be collected,
and I concentrated my attention with careful
subtlety to this end.
Gita Ashok Oct 2010
Dark menacing clouds wander aimlessly in the sky.
The cuckoo sings a sweet melodious tune
in anticipation of the much-needed rain.
The whistling wild wind threatens
to drive away the poor rain.
The fronds of the coconut palms dance wildly
and the trunks oscillate in the fierce wind.

The peacock enters with a proud colorful display.
Farmers look up towards the sky with a prayer in their heart:
Dear Lord, let there be monsoon again.
Little children gather on the terraces of their houses
to enjoy the bliss and wetness of the first rain.
Women hurriedly collect dried clothes from the clothes’ lines.
Birds are utterly confused and don’t know where to fly.

The Sun and rain clouds play hide-and-seek.
A bolt of lightning is seen in the western sky.
Soon the rumbling thunder shatters
the serenity of the evening
as Heaven opens its gates
to pour out its soothing nectar
and we know…
monsoon is here again.

Gita Ashok
9/10/2010, 1:40 pm
Rains bring such a welcome change from the sultry heat of the summer. So it's always fun to wait for the monsoon! And more fun when it's actually there!!
Prabhu Iyer Oct 2012
On this humid summer night,
heartbreak is even more painful:
here you lie scattered
in trinkets and baubles.
Half your name on an airplane tag;
Old diary with
hurriedly noted recipes;
A bangle whose
other in pair is now lost;
The cherished handbag,
hidden away behind clothes;
That first scarf I bought for you.
You lie scattered like this
here, in every shadow and dream:
why, Spirits, this fate for us?
Silence, beautiful voice!
Be hard and still, for thou only troublest the mind,
And within such a joy I cannot rejoice,
a glory I shall not find.

Catch not my breath, o clamorous heart;
for thou art more horrendous than the horrendous,
and thy mourning over this heavy breath is far too hard,
but sounding alternately irresolute and pretentious.
Thou needst not be my ultimate, though doleful, present;
thou art wicked and frail as the serpent;
I shall let thy tongue be a thrall to my eye,
but vex thee greedily 'till thou benevolently saith goodbye.
I shall makest thee angry and giveth in to anger and lie
and let thee search about within my soul, and die.

Ah! Still, I shall listen to thee once more,
But move, I entreat; to the meadow and fall before
Thy feet on the meadow grass and adore
Bring my heart to thy heat but not make it sore
Not thine, which are neither courtly nor kind;
not mine, for thy youth still, makest me sweet and blind.
Oh, if only thou couldst be so sweet,
and thy smile all the worldliness I dreamt,
For it all wouldst no longer be stormy and pale,
or threatened be, to vanish amongst such winds or ghastly gales;
Ah, yon fairness wouldst be fair,
and scented as sweetly as thy hair.

Whom but thee, again, I should meet
Whenst at stormy nights sunset burneth
At the end of the head village street,
Whom I should meet behind the red ferns?
For I believest, in such boundlessness of fate
Fate that worlds cannot deny, and grudge cannot hate.
And, I believest indeed, my darling shall be there,
to touch he, shall my hand so sweet,
He bowest to me and utterest holy amends
To his future lover, but less than meekly hesitant; friend.

What if with his sunny hair
He connivest for me a snare
Who wouldst hath thought locks of gold so fair
Huddled and curved cozily by hands of care
Immersed in silver, tailored in gold
Even darker than toil, but sharper than words
Wouldst throw in my way pranks and deceit
As to his expectations I couldst not meet?
Wouldst he expect me to stand in the snow that couldst bite
and criest for and cursest him, in the middle of furious nights?

And what if with his sunny smile
Which he refineth with sweetness all the while
And with such an ostentatious remorse
That makest truthful delight even worse
He stealest my heart and makest me swear
So for any other I ought not to care
And my tears shall again be conceived in between
In the eternal mirror of revelling seasons, unseen
Knowing not what it hath done, or where it hath been
What if seas and clouds turnest just they are, so mean?

And imprisoned up and above
I shall hearest beloved Lord talk of the futility of love
And He shall oftentimes stop and mirthlessly laugh
Ruining the castles and puzzles and stories I dreamt of
If distances are not too far to walk to
I shall darest to cross my sphere and get over you
But sins hath perhaps forbidden my courteous intentions
As their meanness swayest me around with no destination-
ah, look at how their vile, grinning eyes temptest me!
They itchest my veins, they throttlest my knees;
and how uncivilly their ****** teeth hauntest me!
Indeedst, indeedst-they are far more horrendous than these living eyes canst see!

Perhaps his smile and tender tone
Were all that I imagined alone
Now that all spells hath grimly gone
Am I truly left on my own?
Ah, prone, prone is truly my soul
But I am distant here, lonely and cold
I am also strong but this solitude is too bold
I hath always been awake with truth, but this I cannot fold
And hovering dancing leaves are grotesquely thrown
About their echoing chambers opened wide
Until more rueful gravity has grown;
and hilarity fades wholly from my side

Once we came to the bench by the rouge church
And sat for hours by the wooden pillar alone
We sang along with the singing white birds
And those strangely blushing red thorns
'Till we fought everything burdened and curtly torn
As how the moon hurriedly cried 'till it found the morn
'Till suddenly, sweetly my heart beat stronger
And thicker, 'till I almost heard it no longer
But I realised, and fast mused and sighed
'No, it cannot stayest long, it cannot be pride.'

T'en we walked a mile-
Just a mile from the moors,
Circling about to find some exile
Away from noises and banging of doors.
We both pleaded, pleaded to our dear Lord
T'at genuine love our hearts couldst afford
But time grew envious and cut our walk short
As night approached and we suddenly had to resort.

And he too, he too was mad
And frowned and twitched that so made me sad
Endlessly alone he wouldst blame me and more fret
Sending myself down and brimmed with regrets
Like a parrot shuffling about its offspring's dying bed
My eyes grew warm and hurtful and red
Anger betrothed him to its indignant powers
Corrupted his cheers and drank away his laughters
I was furious, I cursed and kicked frantically at fate
How it grossly tainted and strained my tenuous date
For it was tenuous and I struggled to makest it strong;
but fate shamefully ripped it and all the triumph I'd woven, all along.

And losing him was indeedst everything,
nothing distracted me and kept my jostled self going.
I feelest lethargic even in my sleep,
I keepest falling from rocks in my dreams-ah, too leafy and steep!
I dreamest of suburbs that are rich with divine foliage,
I rejoicest in whose tranquil, though transient, merriment.
And as morn retreatest, I shall be again filled with rage,
I refusest to eat and enjoy even a slice of everyday's enjoyment.
I am now wholly conquered by worry; I was torn and lost in my own battlefield,
I hath no more guard that shall lift me upwards and grant me his shield.
Ah, I hath now been turned, to a whole nonentity;
at my wounds people shall turn away, with a foolish laugh and mock sorry.

O, love, and I am now vainly stuck in the night,
The night that refusest to leave my tired sight.
The night that keepest returning the dark
with no more hope of reflective sight,
and no more signs pertinent burning light,
and sick I'th become, of this jealous dread.
But am I really sick now? Utterly sick of this lonesome envy?
Ah, still I better refusest to know. My dreams are bad.
The shapes in there are far too inglorious and mad.
Just like those-ah! Do not let them harm me!
Where are my eyes? My very heart, my own blood,
and perhaps, my thorough sense of humanity?
One second back they were all still with me,
but they are all now ruined phantoms and shapes,
whenever I am fast asleep,
he turnest them out like obedient sheep
and handest them to the unseen to be *****.
He was neither sincere nor tactful,
and believed too heartly in his odious and ill-coloured soul.
Ah, but duly shall I even call this season harmful,
sorrows rule our hands, whilst distaste reign our men.
Disgrace ownest its peaks, within gratuitous handfuls,
men knowest not their lovers, speakest not of us as friends.
Ah, this is a bitter spring indeed, of anger and fear;
With thousands of evil tongues and evil ears,
For lovers are at war with their lovers,
and makest each others' eyes unseeing and blind.
Even God, our lovely God himself, is at war with his heavens,
for whose minds are lost, as real conscience shall never ever find.

Where is my love? Ah, perhaps staggering under the woods,
And I, who else, shall be with him,
Gathering woodland lilies,
Prosperously blooming under the trees.
Where is my heart? Ah, it is carried again within him,
as we layest about the green grass on our limbs,
with oiled lamps at our feet,
and tellest stories as our loving eyes lean closer and meet.

Ah, beauty! That is the picture in my mind,
not him, not him, that has sent me blind.
Still the image of him makes me sick,
his image that is as stony and greedy as a brick.

He has no feelings, he has no emotion,
he has no endurance and twists of natural passion.
He has all the strength and virility the world ever wanted,
but his mind remainst cold, his heart his own self once entered.
He is as unjust as a statue,
he knowest not wrong and right, nor false from true.
For whilst I tried to praise his being so comely,
he took all my remarks sedately,
he gazed at me with an arrogant face snarling,
and praised the gentleness of his own darling.

He is unthinking, savage, and unfeeling,
his face a human, his heart a brute.
He might be all the way comely and charming,
too pitiful he is inhuman and acts like a crude.
My fancy was sometimes real overbold,
for whenst I was to coo and hold, he was but to scream and scold.
Scorned, to be scorned by one that I not scorn,
whenst all this passion my shoulder had borne?
It is unfair and ignominiously hateful,
gross and unjust, horrid and spiteful.
A fool I am, to be unvexed with his pride!
And once, during repetitive daylight,
I past him, one day I was crossing his lands,
I did look at him not as a gentleman,
He was laughing at his own tediousness,
I dreaded him for that, but as I came home
later, I cried again, over his picture with madness.

Ah! How couldst I ever forget him,
whenst he is but the one I love?
No matter how strange this may seem,
he was the one I real dreamt of;
I want to love him not in a dream,
I want to touch him in his flesh.
I want to smell that scent of him,
and breathe onto his lap and his chest.
I want to sit in his oak-room,
and tellest him of stories of glad and gloom,
before the ocean-waves afar laid
next to quiet storms, amidst our private delight.
I want to have him selfishly!
Have him laugh endlessly with me,
and all the way love him madly;
with a heart so dearly but greedy.

What, if he fastened himself to this fool dame,
and bask in her infamous joy, and fame
Should I love him so well, if he
gave her heart to a thing so low?
Should I let him again smile at me
If we are bound to see each other tomorrow?
His smile, at times can be full of spite
Yet in spite of spite, he is all but comely and white;
I miss him, I miss him as just how I miss my dream,
He is, though marred, is just as sweet as I remember him,
I insist sorrow coming up to me,
To consolest and hearest here, my deepest plea
And ****** the most painful pain to he and she
And restore then, his innocent self to me.

I hearest no sound from where I am standing
But the rivulets and tiny drops of rain
Are starting to send moonlight to my whining
As I twitch and swirl and whirl about in the rain.
I watch people flock in and out the evening train;
their thoughts hidden, like all the mimicry in a quiet play.
Hearts full of glowing love, and at the same time, of disdain;
all pass by gates and bars and entrances with nothing serious to say.
Ah, perhaps I am the only one too melancholy,
for even at this busy hour think doth I, of such poetry.
Yet melancholy but real, for if I ever be dear to someone else,
then I decide that should I be, to myself, far dearer.
For I believe not tales another creature tells,
they can be lies, they can be unfairer.
Like a nutshell too hard for the very poor shell itself,
I do feel pity for him and his ignorant self.
Unlucky him, for I carest more for every puff of his breath,
no matter how eerie-and she, rejoices over
the bashful lapse, of his death.

My life hath crept so long on a broken wing
Through cells of madness, horror, and fear;
Fear that is brutal and insidious, though inviting
and lies that eyes cannot see nor ears hear;
My mood hath changed, at least at this time of year
As I'th stayed more about and dwelled mostly here
And my previous grief hath outgrown itself like a butterfly
Too I witnessed as It fluttered and flickered madly,
and at the very last moment, died silently 'midst its own fury;
All weeks long, I hath listened and learned tactfully more
Lessons that I hath never heard of, never before.

But still, hate I this severely clashing world;
too much torpor hath we all borne, and burning, virile hurt.
O down, down with laborious ambition and ******
Kiss this earth's silent layers and fold down our knees
Ah, darling, put down thy passion that makest thee Hell!
To all madness of thine thou should sayest, farewell-
Hesitate not, and leave thy curious, and agile state
Be honest and precise, be courteous and moderate.
Crush and demolish and burn all demonic hate
Thus instead cherish and welcome thy realistic fate.
Entertain thy love; with dozens and dozens of new, novelty!
Brush up thy pride, but leavest away, o, leavest away thy old vanity-
Ah, and profess thy love only to me, for it brings me delight
It returns my hope, and turns all my dissolutions to light.

And tease, tease me, and my frenetic, personal song
Though I but be a wounded thing-with a rancorous cry,
I am wretched and wretched, as thou hath hurt me all along
Sick, sick to the heart of this entire life, am I.
Many one hath preached my poor little heart down,
Neither any merriment is mine, 'mongst this serene county town.
My only friend is my oak-room bible, and its dear God
Who mockest frenetic riches rich at diamonds but poor at heart
With cries that rulest turning minds from each other apart;
and with wealth running away to selfishly savest their spoilt, cruel hearts-
o, how I am lucky-for I am destroyed, but not by my dear Lord;
I am healed and charmed by His generous frank words.

All seemest like a vague dream, but still a dear insight
For he, above all, taught me to see which one was right
I still miss him, and dearly hope that he canst somehow be my future poem
And together we shall fliest towards joy and escapest such unblessed doom;
His musical mouth is indeedst my song,
a song that I'th been singing intimately with, all along!
For this then shall I shall continue my pursuit,
with a grateful heart and so a considerate wit,
for I am sure now-that he is mine, and only mine,
and duly certain of these promising, though long, signs;
But now I feel my heart grow easier;
as it now embraces days in ways lovelier;
for I hath now awakened again, to a better mind,
so that everything is now to me just fine;
Still he bears all my love and intuitive goodwill,
yet how to waken my love, God knowest better still.
SP Blackwell Mar 2013
I am sitting on a broken branch

under the drug addled canopy of insecurities and lies.

I am feeling the steady sway of an oxycontin daze.

Walking slowly through a ketamine daydream that pulls at my core

like a phantom puppet master controlling my limbs.

It crashes into my brain like the breaking waves on the shore.

Breathing in nicotine filtered filth as I wait to catch a breath of fresh air.

Lungs filled with recycled tar that prevents me from gasping.

In darkened corners where lies sleep and rumors are hidden,

I wait.

I dance on a tightrope between conscious and subconscious

that is held by reality and dreams.

Dark sunglasses on to avoid

the blinding stinging light of what is real.

Mirrored glasses are reflecting the reflections back at intruders.

Deflecting glances, shifty eyes, and dilated pupils

searching for a focus point of truth  

in a neon technicoloured blur of hypocrisy.

The background blaring horns blended with a steady bass line

mimics my heartbeat.

Thump thump. Thump thump.

The fading noises pass quickly,

highlighted with insults and curses of hate and gossip

that are forgotten before you can make them out.

Spun truths turned into lies

intermixed with resin

left from yesterday.

The litter paved streets break under my heels.

Click clack. Click clack.

Broken and cracked

like the false promises

And hopes

And dreams

of those who have walked here before.

The monotonous pace is repeated

only pausing to notice the gum under the stiletto

that fails to hold her in place

as she runs towards the wet cement that has replaced

another sheet of cracked concrete.

The wet cement that has covered another lie

in order to show the simplicity of fake appearances.

A reminder of how easy it is to replace and mask

the hate filled holes that get trampled on.

The flicker of hope is suddenly unseen

like the street light lined alley that is now dark.

The stench of garbage, decay, and rotting flesh

is mixed with expensive perfume, sweat, make-up, and spilled *****.

Garbage cans are filled with the leftovers of last night.

A *** stained dress with no owner draws no attention

as the sound of snapping latex is muffled

by the screams of ecstasy that rapidly fade

like the fleeting feeling of MDMA.

Thick white ****** fluid oozes out like human glue

in an attempt to mend the lack of connection.

Strangers intertwined in hasty conversations

waiting for human contact to forget

that they are in dark alleys.

To forget

that they live in dark places

where no one lays down wet cement.

The distorted reality of alleys deceive passer bys

into thinking that they are not menacing

has been weaved like a web by street sweepers and garbage men.

The pressing sense of the need to avoid the sweepers

is unsaid but felt.

They falsely clean what will always be *****.

The *** filled backstreets yearn for love

like the treacherous woman guarding its corner.

Daddy issue lined dresses are asking to be undone

just like her lost innocence that can never be mended.

The issues and clothing that can never be fixed

abandoned on top of garbage cans for someone else to pick up.

Patches of dead grass are left

untended, unwatered, and unwanted

waiting to be replaced by wet cement.

Wet cement that soon enough will crack and break

under the heavy heated pressure of the stomping heels

of lost Girls in a desolate city.

Blood trickled trails are left behind

that have dried into the cigarette lined streets that lead nowhere.

The injured egos of men are left to linger at back doors

that will never be opened.

******* induced insanity whirls around a flurry

of whispers and paranoia wanting to here the Truth

between the spewed anger and rage of the low toned hushed voices

that wish not to be heard.

Whiskey hinted murmurs pressing on the sidewalk cracks

knowing that they will never be heard.

Looking into the dark where

Truth will never be seen.

The constant beat of narcotic users searching

for salvation in pre-packed bags of white powder,

digging for redemption in empty bottles of multi-colored pills.

Screaming through the silence,

They are not heard.

The desperation can be heard through the whining moans

of the junkies that are tethered to addiction.

The over whelming sound of

Want and Need and Lust

move through the streets like the overflowing gutter water.

Heartbeats are replaced with the impatient pacing of

her stilettos waiting for her pain to cease.

Stilettos stomping on broken dreams

waiting to cross broken streets.

She gazes at the other side as if it is different.

Stilettos tapping on the street

waiting for the firm grasp of a sweaty hand to distract her from reality.

Waiting to be touched

And grabbed

And ******

                                              In hopes that love will arise from ****** ****** encounter with

strange men in uncomfortable places.

Clothes are feverishly removed with the promise of

flesh on flesh enveloped in a hazy cloud of body heat

that warns off the internal coldness.

Heavy breath and touch and kiss release chemicals

to replace the drug depleted emptiness.

The rhythmic sound of rubbing flesh mingles with

the moaning of the streets.

It fuses with the short lived pleasure laden moans of

lonely people and un-climatic *******.

Awkward silences are brief as the sound of her heels owns the street.

Click clack. Click clack.

The sound of stilettos on cement hurriedly walking away when there is

no longer a need for his body heat.

That unmistakable click clack click clack

on uneven, *****, dangerous streets.

Red lipstick smeared stains are the only trace of her that is.

That is the only trace of me that is left.

Click clack steady on the street.

Steady like mimicking bass line

Click clack heartbeat.

The crunch of broken glass under the stiletto

echoes her broken dreams.

Click clack.

Head held high never looking at the ground as she walks forward.

Click clack. Click clack.

Click clack.

The urban mud of

Wet cement goes

Squish!

under her stiletto.



V.Mata
Kathleen Oct 2010
rescinding messages of longing and lust
cast off to the wind like a broken record
skittering, twisting down the street in early morn'
your laying to rest your tired conscience on me
like one of those lovers in a movie theater
brushed off like salt on a shoulder
twirled like a young girls hair mid flirtation giggle
i think we're dancing in the streets now
scuffing shoes against concrete
mind-melding as we soft shoe across the yellow lines
i'm kicking you to the curb
like a rock into a gutter
your blowing through me like a chilled breeze
shuffling past me hurriedly to another time
like a scarf mid swing o're a cold shoulder
i turn 'round swiftly to meet you
dizzily.
creative commons
Jackie Mead Dec 2017
Prince Simon, Prince Jason and Princess Sophie lived a regal life.

Slaying dragons and battling witches by day, monsters and zombies by night.

Each day brought adventures new, trips on boats and to the zoo.

One particular day when feeling bored, Prince Simon decided to explore.

Down to the basement, he slowly sneaked, quietly to take a peek.  New adventures he did seek.  
Simon decided to explore.
A rickety old wardrobe he did find and suddenly an adventure sprang to mind

Searching in the wardrobe what do you think he found…

“Come on Prince Jason, Princess Sophie too, come into the wardrobe and look what I have found
A snow globe, all beautiful and round”, “shake it Princess Sophie what do you see a festive setting with us three.”

Climb into the wardrobe pull your dress in tight, we are about to take flight.
Into the wardrobe all three did climb, and soon the wardrobe started to rock and shake, getting higher and higher and faster and faster it suddenly left the ground.

“Where are we going” shouted Princess Sophie, “destination unknown” said Prince Simon, “no change of clothes” Prince Jason asked, “not this time” said Prince Simon, “we are fine as we are, I’m not sure if were going that far”.

Soon enough the trip had ended, and the wardrobe landed on the floor, Prince Simon, Prince Jason & Princess Sophie opened the door and set off to explore.

This new land they had found, had lots of white snow all over the ground and white snow in all the trees.
Prince Simon, Prince Jason and Princess Sophie fell to their knees, delighted to see such a lot of snow they started to make snowballs and began to throw them at each other, laughing and wheezing with delight, they took aim and threw with all their might.
30mins later and wet through they weren’t sure where they had landed or what they had come to do.

They began to start looking around when on the floor Prince Jason found some footprints that looked quite small, not as big as horse or as small as a mouse, Prince Jason thought they belonged to a reindeer, all three of them began to cheer.

They set off following the small footprints until they found themselves on top of a small hill looking down the hill they could see a Fairyland Grotto, sparkling and white a sheer picture of pure delight.
They looked around to see if they could find a map, which would show where all the stalls were at.

Princess Sophie was the first to shout, “let’s take a tumble down the hill and check under the mat of the first Chalet to see if that is where the map is at”

All three agreed and tumbling to their bellies did roly poly down the hill, the first to come to a standstill was Prince Simon who looked under the mat and found the map was exactly where they'd thought it was at.

Prince Simon, Prince Jason and Princess Sophie looked excitedly, the very first stop was at the Toy Factory.

Situated to their left they entered the doors very slowly, then took a deep breath as they did see hundreds of Elves making toys in all their glory.
Working hard to make toys of wood and of metal too, from board games to cars, puzzles to bikes the Princes and Princess could not believe their eyes.
The Elves were working very fast and all the toys they made were sure to last.
The Elves were delighted to have company and agreed to stop and have a cup of tea, with all three.
Cups of tea and plates of cakes, mince pies and scones were soon assembled, and hurriedly eaten. The children were delighted to be having tea with the Elves, couldn’t help themselves but ask, do you know if we three are on the Good List or the Naughty?

Ha! Ha! Said the Elves wouldn’t you like to know but we still have several weeks to go.
It isn’t until the last minute the decision is made, so Santa asks that you are good all year round and not just today.

Once tea was over the Elves did say that they could move on to the next stop which was to groom the reindeers, feed them too and clean the stable of their smelly poo.

The children laughed and giggled they really were excited they exited the Toy Factory and went next door, the reindeers were in a stable and the children started to explore.
They were joined by the Head Groomsman a very elderly Elf who had a long white beard, moustache and hair and a pointed hat upon his head.

Prince Jason asked the Groomsman if they “could feed the reindeers please?” Princess Sophie was so excited she started to shout and wheeze “Please Mr Groomsman, Please?” “Can we feed the reindeer a carrot and some milk too? I don’t mind if I have to clean up his smelly poo”

Prince Jason and Prince Simon were not too sure and began to walk backwards towards the door, ready to make their escape should it occur that they had to clean the stables for the reindeers.

Mr Groomsman began to laugh, his belly began to shake, “it is OK young children please come in, you can feed the reindeers a carrot and milk, then brush them clean, you don’t need to clean up anything else, that is the work of the younger Elves”

The children were delighted and ran into the stables, first the Head Groomsman gave them a brush and showed them how to groom.
Next the children gave each of the reindeer a carrot and saucer of milk, smoothed the reindeer some more then the Head Groomsman said, “I hear that the three of you are expected next door, where Santa awaits to hear your list, don’t keep him waiting you do not want to miss the chance to speak” “Today will be the last day for a while, as he is working hard to bring a smile to every child’s face on Christmas Day”.

“A few rules before you go:
“Talk quietly and real slow, if you talk too fast or begin to shout you will not make sense and then you may miss out.
“Ask for Toys or Books or sweets, maybe socks for your feet but do not ask to solve world peace, Santa is always working on this, but it is very hard as you can imagine and takes more than one person.”
Ask for things for your mummy and daddy, your brother and sister, thinking of others is a good trait and will please Santa, now run along be good children and don't be late”
One last thing before you go Rudolph is looking forward to meeting you today, but his Red Nose is poorly and won’t come out to play, so please don’t tease or laugh or wheeze when Rudolph Nose does not come shiny and bright “

The children promised the Head Groomsman they would behave, said farewell and went on their way.

Next door to the Stable Hut resided Santa’s hut before they knocked on the door Prince Simon looked at Prince Jason and Princess Sophie and began to implore “let’s think about what we are going to ask, we don’t want to fail this task”

The three children stopped and put their heads together and slowly they began to say which each thought would be a nice surprise for their Parents to open on Christmas Day.

Prince Simon said, “for Mummy that’s easy she likes dressing up a new scarf and gloves to match her coat”
Prince Jason declared “for Daddy a book or cd for the car”
Princes Sophie sighed and said, “for Granny and Nanny a new duvet for their beds”

All three agreed it was a good list, Prince Simon stepped up to knock on the door.
Slowly the door opened and revealed the room inside. Santa was sat on a chair with Rudolph by his side.
“Welcome, welcome, children” Santa cried, “come in, come in don’t be shy, don't stand there  it’s awfully cold outside”.
The children entered and dutifully closed the door, waiting patiently for Santa to speak.
Santa called them by their names and asked if they had a special gift they would like on Christmas day.  
The children became quite shy and uncertain what to say.
Again, Prince Simon, Prince Jason and Princess Sophie put their heads together to agree what would be best when Santa laughed and said, “I was only putting you to the test”
Of course, I know what each of you would like but it depends on whether you’ve been Good or Bad
The children started to pull a face and looked very Sad, they weren’t sure if they had behaved well enough throughout the year.

Santa decided to put them out of their misery turned to each of them and said:

Prince Simon – you have attended school every day you could, you’ve completed your Maths Homework, made a book rack out of wood and in addition your Teacher has been pleased to say that you are cheerful every day.  

Prince Jason – you too have attended school every day that you could, you’ve excelled in English and Sports.
Your Teacher is delighted to have you in her class and you can easily cheer everyone up with one of your hearty laughs.

Princess Sophie – finally you have attended school every day excel in English and Ballet
Your Teacher is happy to have you in her class and trusts you to help new pupils orient their way around the school on their first day.

These are very good reports, but we give the final say to your Parents, so let’s see what they have to say:

Prince Simon – our eldest son makes us very proud he studies heartily and never is too loud.  
He looks after his brother and sister and includes them in his fun, he really is a very well-behaved number one son.

Prince Jason – our middle child is fun to be around, he never gets too angry, always makes his bed and doesn’t let his intelligence go to his head.
He takes his studies at school seriously and hands his work in on time, he really is a well-behaved middle child.

Princess Sophie – our youngest child, has a little bit of wild but not too much, just enough to keep us on our toes that is for sure, she makes friends easily and always has a smile for everyone to see. she really is a well behaved youngest child.


Santa sighed, “I wished all children had these same reports, for certain if you do nothing naughty in the next 10 days your names will be on the Good List come Christmas Day”.

The three children cheered and wanted to ask what presents Santa had in mind but decided to decline, the three children decided to wait and be surprised.

All this time Rudolph had sat quietly by Santa’s side not saying a word and trying not to look at the children he really didn’t want to be noticed or heard, he wasn’t feeling right, his usually very Red nose did not come shiny and bright.
Princess Sophie noticed him out of the corner of her eye, ran to kneel by his side and put her hand around his neck lovingly declared “You are our very favourite reindeer”  
The Two Princes joined Princess Sophie and sighed and said “Rudolph have no fear that your nose is not Red at this time of year, there’s ten days to go before your nose is required to light up the way for Santa on Christmas Day”
If you rest and hydrate it is not too late and your nose will be right and shiny and bright for Santa on Christmas Eve night”

Rudolph was delighted and gave the children a nudge and a sloppy kiss to their ears, all three children giggled sillily.

“Now, now”, Santa said, “you have been gone a long time, you really should return home, your Mummy will be worried about you and that will never do”

They climbed into the rocket and, set the destination to their home not quite a million miles below.
As they approached their home, the roof started to open wide and the rocket began to slow, the ride was nearly over they did not have far to go.
Very soon the wardrobe landed safely on the floor, the children were exhausted and ran to open the door; out they fell full of excitement and looking for their mummy, The Queen.
Princess Sophie ran out first excitedly shouting “Mummy you never guess where we have been, we’ve been to Lapland to See Santa’s Hut and Rudolphs Nose which did not light and a Head Groomsman who was a real delight, plus all the Elves took tea with us too, we really did have fun, can we go again next year”.
“Slow down” Mummy smiled and said, “it’s getting late, it’s almost time for bed”.
If you run along to your room, get dressed for bed and clean your teeth, I will be along in a while to read you a story and you can tell me all about your trip to Lapland today, I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say”
Mummy closed the door and said “Good Night sweet children, sleep tight, say your wishes with all of your might, may all your wishes and dreams come true for you on Christmas Day”
A big thank you if you read this to the end, I hope you enjoy this seasonal story, it's a work in progress but let me know what you think.
Merry Christmas everyone ☓
Sally A Bayan Sep 2015
I'm
breathing
hurriedly...i'm
r e m e m b e r i n g
c o n c e n t r a t i n g
trying  to  p i c t u r e :
~~ A ~~


P--lethora of trees, flowering plants...across and beyond...surround the

L--ustrous surface of the rushing blue green water...spraying...  
     nourishing
A--maranths and azaleas, with its windblown mists...refreshing.....see,

C--reeping creatures underwater could not ruin the quietude it emits

I--nimitable is its Serenity...nothing else is at par.............its

D--impled surface, tiny ripples running, creating streams of dreams...
     whispering


W--ords...a gentle massage, washing away rage, misery...like precious

A--methyst, jade, citrine and crystals...shimmering down under,  
      rebuilding, helping
T--urquoise, gently touch with its sea blues...above, under...wherever

E--merald waters, against red carnelian rocks...to weather...endure...to

R--escue someone reeling...patiently...with words mollifying...and  
     sprays of
S--alty mists..soothing pensive eyes, mind, soul...cleansing...healing  
     CHAKRA...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Placid~waters~run
b e h i n d~~me
b e f o r e~~me
deep~~within
~~ m e ~~
~~~~~




Sally

Copyright September 3, 2015
Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
Mymai Yuan Sep 2010
I swirled my fingertips on the surface of the water and sent a message across with shiny, glossy ripples that grew slowly, and gracefully. He kneeled on the other side of the moonlit pond and watched as the ripples from my fingertips reached him. He cupped the ripples of the water into his palm and drank the cold water, sighing happily.
“What does it taste like?” I whispered hoarsely, as loud as I dared to be while knowing we would be reprimanded fiercely for sneaking out of the huts at this time of night.
“Love” he called back.
I burst out laughing in panting breaths and tried to stifle the noise with my fists. I heard him bellow out, and the echoes rang freely through the woods before he quickly shoved his face into the water and laughed in there, the bubbles of his laughter surfacing violently.
“You idiot” I whispered joyfully when he brought his head up from the water, his dark hair curled against his forehead, “I didn’t even write anything to do with love. I wrote how foolish of a boy you are.”
“And you still stick with me so that’s love isn’t it?” he teased me. His finger tips swirled in the water for a minute. “Your turn to taste, Masra”
I waited till the ripples hit the side of the pond and quickly dipped my tongue in and lapped the water. I pursed my lips, pretending to debate what his message was. The surface of the black water was littered with reflection of the stars. It was so beautiful that I momentarily forgot the little game we were playing and gasped, “Oh stars!”
He took a quick intake of breath and stared up at me with wide eyes. “Really?” he asked in an unbelieving tone.
“What do you mean?”
“Stars?” he asked again, sounding like a sweet little confused child.
“Yes!” I laughed. “Stars!” and I splashed the surface of the water to show him.
He shook his head. “I can’t believe you could read, I mean, taste that... That’s incredible…”
It took me a second to realize what he was talking about. I decided to play along anyways and whispered dramatically, “Yeah, but I didn’t know what you were trying to say”
“A million stones on fire with wishes
Yet the brightest star is not up there” he recited his favorite lines from an old love poem.
“You are disgustingly soppy” I got up from kneeling by the pond and treaded softly on the dry leaves so that they wouldn’t crackle so loud. Reaching him, I kneeled down beside him and ran my fingers through his curly wet locks. His dark eyelashes were still wet with water and the chestnut eyes gleamed brightly.
I curled into his lap comfortably like a cat and he rolled over with me lying on top, while his strong arms held me. I buried my face into the skin of his beautiful brown neck and inhaled the sweet, musky smell. Reab smoothed my hair before murmuring huskily, “Why do you always do that?”
“It smells like you, the old Reab smell. It makes me feel safe and warm and happy.”
“I love you.”
“Do you think we’ll always be happy like this?” I asked, speaking of my deepest fear.
“I will never stop loving you, if that’s what you mean. And if we are caught sneaking out, I’m pretty sure no one would be too surprised. They all know from the way I look at you I intend to marry you when Chief thinks you’re old enough and finally say okay.”
I laughed at the thought of Chief being able to give me away.
With my parents both gone since I was a baby, Chief had adopted me as his daughter and he loved me tremendously for all his lecturing ways. Reab laughed a little too but without any fear of Chief rejecting him. Chief loved Reab too and approved of us most of the time.
“Do you remember when he caught us making ‘sheep-eyes’ at each other as he put it and he was furious?” We chuckled at the memory of Chief turning storm on us, declaring we were too young.
“What would he say now?” he turned my face to face his and kissed me for a while, with the wind blowing the tendrils of my hair on his face. He smiled mid-way through our kiss, for the soft strands of my hair on his face always tickled him.
I didn’t want to continue with my question after that happy moment. But I had to; he was the only man who would tell me the truth. “Our tribe has enemies. We have many men, many strong men… but I know we are in a constant threat. I have seen the midnight meetings you men hold when you think we are asleep and more weapons that normal are being made nowadays.”
He looked at me with sad eyes; with so much love and desire burning in them that my own eyes began to swell up with tears. I fluttered my lids to get rid of the wetness but he reached over and caught a tear on his pinky and licked it. Then he licked all the tears off my face and I giggled as his tongue flicked over the tearstains on my cheeks.
“The tribe is in some danger. You and I are not. I will love you forever.” I shook my head and was about to interrupt with another fearful question when he continued, “You know what Chief always says. We don’t live just one life. I loved you since we were babies. You know what I think?”
“What?” I asked, his voice slightly soothing my fears.
“I think I’ve known you before. There’s no way you can know someone the way I know you in the short life time we’ve lived. This is not the first time we’ve met.”
“You’re not worried if a battle comes we won’t be together?”
“No.” he answered and kissed my forehead.
“Why?” I couldn’t get rid off the idea of such a terrible fate.
“I think…” he struggled to get the words out, “I think we’ll always be together somehow. Masra, I’m… I’m just not afraid”
We lay there for a while until I fell asleep in his arms. I was awoken a little later with him shaking me softly for us to sneak back into our own huts.
There was a little advantage in having both my parents gone. Lela, my cousin who shared the hut with me, stirred only a little as I crept back in.



“I’ve been hearing from your sister that lately you have been waking very late. I don’t approve of this laziness.” Chief said to me as I sat on the floor of his hut, admiring the new spear he had just made. I sharpened the stone a little for him and smiled up brightly. His face softened. Chief was not usually an easy person to get around, but he always said he loved me more than was good for me. “I saw Reab today. He didn’t look so alert and awake.”
My mind clicked into place as I realized Chief had his suspicions. “Reab?” I inquired with an innocent expression. “Is he ill?”
“He just looked tired.” Chief replied with raised eyebrows, his eyes were a little puzzled. I had fooled him for now.
I balanced the spear in my hand. “You hold a spear too well for a woman” he grunted. “Spending too much time with me, I suppose. You should spend more time with your sister Lela. It would have been different if your mother was still alive. She would’ve taught you some womanly manners.”
“I think I’m feminine enough.”
“Look at you, blundering around after the men of the village, killing creatures and planning your attack even better than my men.”
“I don’t plan Chief; it just comes to me”
“Making it even worst!” he cried with a hidden pride.
I burst out laughing and bade him good night. He ruffled my hair fondly. “You go to sleep now Masra. Get some good sleep. Tell Reab that too” his eyes sparkled wickedly. Perhaps I hadn’t fooled him after all.
“You tell Reab, won’t you? I won’t see him till tomorrow morning.” I replied demurely.



And here passed, long uneventful days with the occasional nights that Reab and I would sneak out of the huts to spend the cool nights together and forcing ourselves out of bed at the crack of dawn along with the villagers, exhausted but happy. I suspected Chief still had his own wary thoughts, but with a denial somewhere in his mind, he did not seek to expose the truth or confine stricter rules on me through Lela. The few months that went by, I watched as Reab grew from a boy to a man.
A man I loved more than life itself.
One night, as I was lying in his arms I poked a thumb against his forehead and breathed out happily before nestling into his chest.
“What?” he asked me, amused at my random, loving behavior.
“I like to check that you’re real.”
He had no words in reply to that but tightened his hold on me, and swiftly kissed my dark hair with a sudden passion. His fingers caressed my head, and he inhaled the flowery perfume from the brown strands clutched in his hand.
“I wish you a long and happy life.” I whispered softly, afraid of the feelings that were surging through me.
“With you.” he replied back.
“No. Not just with me… anywhere… as long as you’re happy.”
“So with you then…”
Some days after that night, when it was pouring so furiously everyone had retreated back into their huts to cozy up, gossip, and flirt while warming their hands on hot wooden mugs we snuck off and climbed a special tree.
It was special because it was a giant, and very old with gnarled branches and knobs that made it easy to grip on with our toes, but the trunk itself was as smooth as a baby’s skin. It overlooked most of the village and the canopy was so thick it protected us from the rain except for the small wet drops that would escape through.
The tree stood apart from the woods and was very difficult to get to. One had to climb several other trees to reach it, ducking in and out of the tangle of branches up in the canopy like a maze. Only Reab and I had spent enough time up there to discover the path in reaching it. We were yet to discover how to reach it without getting scratches and bleeding scabs all over our skin.
Every time the thunder roared deafeningly Reab would yell, “I love you!” and no one could hear but Reab, the heavens, our special little tree and I.
He was so beautiful; like a lithe dangerous animal and his muscles were graceful and strong as he climbed around on the branches. I wished for the rest of our days to be like this and I remembered the lines he had recited to me only a little while ago,
““A million stones on fire with wishes
Yet the brightest star is not up there”

*

A distant roar erupted. The stars had not granted my wish, they had granted my deepest fear. The sound of drums rumbled steadily over the noise of screaming villagers, over the noise of animal fear in those I loved and lived with.
It was the sign that our enemies were finally in sight. We had been waiting for there attack all year long.
Lela grabbed me by the arm. “The chief says all women must flee!” she gasped and choked. Her eyes were leaking with tears. I stubbornly shook away her hand and I could see the desperateness growing in her eyes.
“There is no time to cry Lela”, I tried saying confidently but my voice shook. “Where is Reab?”
Even in her hysterical state she did not want to answer the question I already knew the answer to. “Where is Reab?” I repeated. When she did not reply I narrowed my eyes.
In the face of danger I had never been woman-like and cowered.
Chief had raised me stare any wild beast straight into its cold, predatory eyes before slaying it. I was not unfamiliar to thrusting a jagged dagger into the heart of danger.
I would not leave a man I loved behind like the running footsteps of women carrying their babies, pushing old people along, and dragging wailing children were doing.
I would not leave and I would fight when I could.
Lela stared at me as if she’d just read my mind.  “You may not fight Masra!” she cried. I pushed her aside.
“Help the women evacuate! Grab a baby, help a village elderly; just do it Lela!” I yelled violently and ran through the women who were running towards the woods.
I shoved women aside to get to the battle. My long legs tangled with the other woman, and I fell on my knees. They were both bleeding badly when I got up. Running with my knees stinging, a huge man suddenly grabbed me and swung me to face him. For one moment, I thought he was Reab and I clutched onto him; then I saw it was Chief, and I clutched to him even tighter.
“Chief, please don’t make me go away! Please let me fight with you!” I was screeching and begging with no sanity left in me.
He smiled weakly, “I wanted you to come without little Lela, I knew you would be headed this way. I have not much time Masra, my men need me. I have something I want to give you to make sure you will be safe enough to last through this war if I die,” he spoke softly.
I shook my head and hugged him. “But- but you- you wont!”
Chief gave me a sad smile. “I don’t know that.”
His brown hands reached to his neck and tugged a simple black leather string free. He shoved it into my hands. “Remember this, Masra. Just say to it, ‘Jack, Jack, shine the light’ when you feel there is nobody left in the world for you. Be ready for what happens. Goodbye Masra…”
He touched my cheek and warmth spread though me, momentarily making me feel safe.
“Why Jack?” I asked wretchedly, in a detached curiosity and trying to prolong the moment that Chief would be safe.
Jack was a commoner’s name; no one in our tribe was called Jack. We all had strong, powerful names that spoke of destiny, truth and purity.
“Chief Traben!” a man cried from the noises of surging mob of warriors.
“Go, Masra, go!” Chief said hurriedly, and pushed me away before whipping out of sight.
Chief had been like my best friend, my big brother and … my father. I wanted to fight with him, for him. But I knew in doing that, I would go against his wishes, and that was the last thing I would ever want to do.
A sudden thought made me realize I did not have to fight. I just had to be there or I would **** somebody in my own village for leaving behind loved ones. I knotted the black leather string determinedly on my neck.
I ran to the bottom of a slippery tree and climbed up to the canopy and began to duck in and out, swinging between and onto branches in the maze-like chaos of sticks and concentrated leaves to get to the special tree Reab and I shared.
I hid among the thick tangle; so thick no arrows would be able to pierce me and no enemy would see me. Growling and cursing myself, I remembered I carried no weapons with me and hastily patted my clothing to check again.
Then I remembered it would be useless to have any weapons unless I intended to go down there, for the abundant tangle worked both ways. A spear thrown from where I was would only get stuck in the dense branches below.
I could see the battle though, and that was enough: for now. I searched vainly for Reab, scampering along the top, trying to find where Reab was. I was wild with fury for him for coming.
He was just a boy, newly turned a man. He could still run and hide without shame. When I had him back in my arms again, I was sure to hit him and berate him for choosing to fight for me instead of being safe for me.
It never occurred to me once that Reab might be dead.
It still didn’t occur to me when I saw his body lying on the dirt below, with a man from a village - someone I couldn’t recognize from this height- dragging him. I shouted out, careless of the arrows of enemies.
For the first time in my life, I was terrified of blood: the blood that was seeping out of the wound on his stomach. I didn’t think he was dead; I believed he was injured and I thought of all the herbal concoctions I knew that I could paste over the wound to clean and heal it.
It still didn’t occur to me Reab was dead when the man left him by the bottom of a tree to return and fight. The men in our village did not leave those who could be healed. They stayed and helped them heal to the best of their ability before hiding their healing bodies’ safe in a bush. They only left behind those they could do no more for.
I trembled at anger in the neglect one of our men villagers had shown Reab; the disrespect in it. I would **** him if he were not killing our enemy. Somehow, in the wild pulsing of my body, I found myself climbing down and creeping stealthily to where Reab was and pulling him to safety in a bush.
When he was safe in the bushes, I held him and whispered to him that I was here. I said hold on Reab and I would go and make sure he was safe. I was sobbing. I could not comprehend what was happening for my mind had gone numb and blank.
How could a man who I loved so much bleed so much? All I knew was Reab was not moving in my arms and he must be terribly hurt.
I pressed my fingers to the blood on his stomach. I knew no man could have survived such a wound and so much lo
Najwa Kareem Jan 2019
We fed ourselves on New Year's well

Gifts were exchanged over the song The First Noel

The evening before Christmas drinks were had

Many fooling themselves that they are glad

Throughout the cheer, men, women, and children in Yemen forgotten

Leftover turkeys and roasts would be hurriedly eaten even if found rotten

Starvation has Yemeni bodies eating themselves

Have you seen photos of their emaciated figures on newspapers' shelves

Pregnant women and newborn babies with dead husbands and dead fathers

How do they care for themselves when in the grand scheme of things no one bothers

Saudi military should go **** on themselves

Murderous cowards that they are playing with Santa's elves

Women in Yemen being ***** and domestic violence bring me to tears

Would they get away with their satanic work if the U.S. wasn't kissing their filthy rears

Seriously dangerous diseases running rampant

Yemenis beautiful skin no longer so lambent

So few of us care enough to choke up for our Ahmeds and for our Imans

I ask infuriatingly will it take a whole country's destruction to rise for Yemen's Marwans
So rough the goat will scratch, it cannot sleep.
So often goes the *** to the well that it breaks.
So long you heat iron, it will glow;
so heavily you hammer it, it shatters.
So good is the man as his praise;
so far he will go, and he's forgotten;
so bad he behaves, and he's despised.
So loud you cry Christmas, it comes.

So glib you talk, you end up in contradictions.
So good is your credit as the favors you got.
So much you promise that you will back out.
So doggedly you beg that your wish is granted;
so high climbs the price when you want a thing;
so much you want it that you pay the price;
so familiar it gets to you, you want it no more.
So loud you cry Christmas, it comes.

So, you love a dog.  Then feed it!
So long a song will run that people learn it.
So long you keep the fruit, it will rot.
So hot the struggle for a spot that it is won;
so cool you keep your act that your spirit freezes;
so hurriedly you act that you run into bad luck;
so tight you embrace that your catch slips away.
So loud you cry Christmas, it comes.

So you scoff and laugh, and the fun is gone.
So you crave and spend, and lose your shirt.
So candid you are, no blow can be too low.
So good as a gift should a promise be.
So, if you love God, you obey the Church.
So, when you give much, you borrow much.
So, shifting winds turn to storm.
So loud you cry Christmas, it comes.

Prince, so long as a fool persists, he grows wiser;
so, round the world he goes, but return he will,
so humbled and beaten back into servility.
So loud you cry Christmas, it is here.
Mohamed Nasir Nov 2017
He was coming out hurriedly
While she was about to come in
They met at the glass door he and she
Accidentally

And both froze momentarily
And she startled and both stared
Unattered a second and eventually he
Said I'm sorry

He was taken in by her beauty
And so he struggled for his wallet
Gave his business card she looked she
Said oh really?

And one night when she was lonely
Remembered him she took out his card
A cellphone number she dialled suddenly
Accidentally

Since then they met occasionally
Not at her home and not at his office
At the park at cafes for she said she's
Always busy

Too occupied in a huge company to see
Unawares she's in a different division
Those whom he knew acted anxiously
So strangely

One day he asked will you marry me
Two fine kids later by merit moved his
Office next to the boss next to her he
Wants to be
Accidentally

— The End —