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We had wanted to leave our homes before six in the morning
but left late and lazy at ten or ten-thirty with hurried smirks
and heads turned to the road, West
driving out against the noonward horizon
and visions before us of the great up-and-over

and tired we were already of stiff-armed driving neurotics in Montreal
and monstrous foreheaded yellow bus drivers
ugly children with long middle fingers
and tired we were of breaking and being yelled at by beardless bums
but thought about the beards at home we loved
and gave a smile and a wave nonetheless

Who were sick and tired of driving by nine
but then had four more hours still
with half a tank
then a third of a tank
then a quarter of a tank
then no tank at all
except for the great artillery halt and discovery
of our tyre having only three quarters of its bolts

Saved by the local sobriety
and the mystic conscious kindness of the wise and the elderly
and the strangers: Autoshop Gale with her discount familiar kindness;
Hilda making ready supper and Ray like I’ve known you for years
that offered me tools whose functions I’ve never known
and a handshake goodbye

     and "yes we will say hello to your son in Alberta"
     and "yes we will continue safely"
     and "no you won’t see us in tomorrow’s paper"
     and tired I was of hearing about us in tomorrow’s paper

Who ended up on a road laughing deliverance
in Ralphton, a small town hunting lodge
full of flapjacks and a choir of chainsaws
with cheap tomato juice and eggs
but the four of us ended up paying for eight anyway

and these wooden alley cats were nothing but hounds
and the backwoods is where you’d find a cheap child's banjo
and cheap leather shoes and bear traps and rat traps
and the kinds of things you’d fall into face first

Who sauntered into a cafe in Massey
that just opened up two weeks previous
where the food was warm and made from home
and the owner who swore to high heaven
and piled her Sci-Fi collection to the ceiling
in forms of books and VHS

but Massey herself was drowned in a small town
where there was little history and heavy mist
and the museum was closed for renovations
and the stores were run by diplomats
or sleezebag no-cats
and there was one man who wouldn’t show us a room
because his baby sitter hadn’t come yet
but the babysitter showed up through the backdoor within seconds
though I hadn't seen another face

        and the room was a landfill
        and smelled of stale cat **** anyhow
        and the lobby stacked to the ceiling with empty beer box cans bottles
        and the taps ran cold yellow and hot black through spigots

but we would be staying down the street
at the inn of an East-Indian couple

who’s eyes were not dilated 
and the room smelled
lemon-scented

and kept on driving lovingly without a care in the world
but only one of us had his arms around a girl
and how lonely I felt driving with Jacob
in the fog of the Agawa pass;

following twin red eyes down a steep void mass
where the birch trees have no heads
and the marshes pool under the jagged foothills
that climb from the water above their necks

that form great behemoths
with great voices bellowing and faces chiselled hard looking down
and my own face turned upward toward the rain

Wheels turning on a black asphalt river running uphill around great Superior
that is the ocean that isn’t the ocean but is as big as the sea
and the cloud banks dig deep and terrible walls

and the sky ends five times before night truly falls
and the sun sets slower here than anywhere
but the sky was only two miles high and ten long anyway

The empty train tracks that seldom run
and some rails have been lifted out
with a handful of spikes that now lay dormant

and the hill sides start to resemble *******
or faces or the slow curving back of some great whale

-and those, who were finally stranded at four pumps
with none but the professional Jacob reading great biblical instructions at the nozzle
nowhere at midnight in a town surrounded

by moose roads
                             moose lanes
                                                     moose rivers
and everything mooses

ending up sleeping in the maw of a great white wolf inn
run by Julf or Wolf or John but was German nonetheless

and woke up with radios armed
and arms full
and coffee up to the teeth
with teeth chattering
and I swear to God I saw snowy peaks
but those came to me in waking dream:

"Mountains dressed in white canvas
gowns and me who placed
my hands upon their *******
that filled the sky"

Passing through a buffet of inns and motels
and spending our time unpacking and repacking
and talking about drinking and cheap sandwiches
but me not having a drink in eight days

and in one professional inn we received a professional scamming
and no we would not be staying here again
and what would a trip across the country be like
if there wasn’t one final royal scamming to be had

and dreams start to return to me from years of dreamless sleep:

and I dream of hers back home
and ribbons in a raven black lattice of hair
and Cassadaic exploits with soft but honest words

and being on time with the trains across the plains  
and the moon with a shower of prairie blonde
and one of my father with kind words
and my mother on a bicycle reassuring my every decision

Passing eventually through great plains of vast nothingness
but was disappointed in seeing that I could see
and that the rumours were false
and that nothingness really had a population
and that the great flat land has bumps and curves and etchings and textures too

beautiful bright golden yellow like sprawling fingers
white knuckled ablaze reaching up toward the sun
that in this world had only one sky that lasted a thousand years

and prairie driving lasts no more than a mountain peak
and points of ember that softly sigh with the one breath
of our cars windows that rushes by with gratitude for your smile

And who was caught up with the madness in the air
with big foaming cigarettes in mouths
who dragged and stuffed down those rolling fumes endlessly
while St. Jacob sang at the way stations and billboards and the radio
which was turned off

and me myself and I running our mouth like the coughing engine
chasing a highway babe known as the Lady Valkyrie out from Winnipeg
all the way to Saskatoon driving all day without ever slowing down
and eating up all our gas like pez and finally catching her;

      Valkyrie who taught me to drive fast
      and hovering 175 in slipstreams
      and flowing behind her like a great ghost Cassady ******* in dreamland Nebraska
      only 10 highway crossings counted from home.

Lady Valkyrie who took me West.
Lady Valkyrie who burst my wings into flame as I drew a close with the sun.
Lady Valkyrie who had me howl at slender moon;

     who formed as a snowflake
     in the light on the street
     and was gone by morning
     before I asked her name

and how are we?
and how many?

Even with old Tom devil singing stereo
and riding shotgun the entire trip from day one
singing about his pony, and his own personal flophouse circus,
and what was he building in there?

There is a fair amount of us here in these cars.
Finally at light’s end finding acquiescence in all things
and meeting with her eye one last time; flashed her a wink and there I was, gone.
Down the final highway crossing blowing wind and fancy and mouth puttering off
roaring laughter into the distance like some tremendous Phoenix.

Goodnight Lady Valkyrie.

The evening descends and turns into a sandwich hysteria
as we find ourselves riding between cities of transports
and that one mad man that passed us speeding crazy
and almost hit head-on with Him flowing East

and passed more and more until he was head of the line
but me driving mad lunacy followed his tail to the bumper
passing fifteen trucks total to find our other car
and felt the great turbine pull of acceleration that was not mine

mad-stacked behind two great beasts
and everyone thought us moon-crazy; Biblical Jake
and Mad Hair Me driving a thousand
eschewing great gusts of wind speed flying

Smashing into the great ephedrine sunset haze of Saskatoon
and hungry for food stuffed with the thoughts of bedsheets
off the highway immediately into the rotting liver of dark downtown
but was greeted by an open Hertz garage
with a five-piece fanfare brass barrage
William Tell and a Debussy Reverie
and found our way to bedsheets most comfortably

Driving out of Saskatoon feeling distance behind me.
Finding nothing but the dead and hollow corpses of roadside ventures;

more carcasses than cars
and one as big as a moose
and one as big as a bear
and no hairier

and driving out of sunshine plain reading comic book strip billboards
and trees start to build up momentum
and remembering our secret fungi in the glove compartment
that we drove three thousand kilometres without remembering

and we had a "Jesus Jacob, put it away brother"
and went screaming blinded by smoke and paranoia
and three swerves got us right
and we hugged the holy white line until twilight

And driving until the night again takes me foremast
and knows my secret fear in her *****
as the road turns into a lucid *** black and makes me dizzy
and every shadow is a moose and a wildcat and a billy goat
and some other car

and I find myself driving faster up this great slanderous waterfall until I meet eye
with another at a thousand feet horizontal

then two eyes

then a thousand wide-eyed peaks stretching faces upturned to the celestial black
with clouds laid flat as if some angel were sleeping ******* on a smokestack
and the mountains make themselves clear to me after waiting a lifetime for a glimpse
then they shy away behind some old lamppost and I don’t see them until tomorrow

and even tomorrow brings a greater distance with the sunlight dividing stone like 'The Ancient of Days'
and moving forward puts all into perspective

while false cabins give way
and the gas stations give way
and the last lamppost gives way
and its only distance now that will make you true
and make your peaks come alive

Like a bullrush, great grey slopes leap forth as if branded by fire
then the first peaks take me by surprise
and I’m told that these are nothing but children to their parents
and the roads curve into a gentle valley
and we’re in the feeding zone

behind the gates of some great geological zoo
watching these lumbering beasts
finishing up some great tribal *******
because tomorrow they will be shrunk
and tomorrow ever-after smaller

Nonetheless, breathless in turn I became
it began snowing and the pines took on a different shape
and the mountains became covered white
and great glaciers could be seen creeping
and tourists seen gawking at waterfalls and waterfowls
and fowl play between two stones a thousand miles high

climbing these Jasper slopes flying against wind and stone
and every creak lets out its gentle tone and soft moans
as these tyres rub flat against your back
your ancient skin your rock-hard bones

and this peak is that peak and it’s this one too
and that’s Temple, and that’s Whistler
and that’s Glasgow and that’s Whistler again
and those are the Three Sisters with ******* ablaze

and soft glowing haze your sun sets again among your peaks
and we wonder how all these caves formed
and marvelled at what the flood brought to your feet
as roads lay wasted by the roadside

in the epiphany of 3:00am realizing
that great Alta's straights and highway crossings
are formed in torturous mess from mines of 'Mt. Bleed'
and broken ribs and liver of crushed mountain passes
and the grey stones taxidermied and peeled off
and laid flat painted black and yellow;
the highways built from the insides
of the mountain shells

Who gave a “What now. New-Brunswick?”

and a “What now, Quebec, and Ontario, and Manitoba, and Saskatchewan";
**** fools clumsily dancing in the valleys; then the rolling hills; then the sea that was a lake
then the prairies and not yet the mountains;

running naked in formation with me at the lead
and running naked giving the finger to the moon
and the contrails, and every passing blur on the highway
dodging rocks, and sandbars
and the watchful eye of Mr. and Mrs. Law
and holes dug-up by prairie dogs
and watching with no music
as the family caravans drove on by

but drove off laughing every time until two got anxious for bed and slowed behind
while the rambling Jacob and I had to wait in the half-moon spectacle
of a black-tongue asphalt side-road hacking darts and watching for grizzlies
for the other two to finish up with their birthday *** exploits
though it was nobodies birthday

and then a timezone was between us
 and they were in the distant future
and nobodies birthday was in an hour from now

then everything was good
and everyone was satiated
then everything was a different time again
and I was running on no sleep or a lot of it
leaping backward in time every so often
like gaining a new day but losing space on the surface of your eye

but I stared up through curtains of starlight to mother moon
and wondered if you also stared
and was dumbfounded by the majesty of it all

and only one Caribou was seen the entire trip
and only one live animal, and some forsaken deer
and only a snake or a lonesome caterpillar could be seen crossing such highway straights
but the water more refreshing and brighter than steel
and glittered as if it were hiding some celestial gem
and great ravines and valleys flowed between everything
and I saw in my own eye prehistoric beasts roaming catastrophe upon these plains
but the peaks grew ever higher and I left the ground behind
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping—rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
        Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
        Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
    This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping—tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door:—
      Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
  fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”
      Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon I heard again a tapping, somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore;—
    ’Tis the wind and nothing more.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he: not an instant stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no
  craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
      Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
      With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
      Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore
    Of ‘Never—nevermore.’”

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and
  door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
    Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my *****’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
      She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath
  sent thee
Respite—respite aad nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!”
      Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
    Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
      Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked,
  upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
    Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted—nevermore!
Vince Paige Jun 2010
when i was a boy,
i collected seashells.
i had the most beautiful collection
when i was a boy.

i dreamt of seashells
and what i dreamt was beside
me every morning of everday
when i was a boy.

i had red ones and blue ones
white ones and rounds ones
ones of beauty and of majesty
when i was a boy.

the world marvelled at my collection
the world coveted my collection
i had the most beautiful seashell collection
when i was a boy.

one day i looked out through a window
and saw a boy walking along the beach
he picked up the plainest of seashells
and smiled
i raged and raged and raged
for forty days and forty nights
i raged
when i was a boy.
07:56 PM 12/7/04
Nina JC Dec 2013
You say, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”
but I say surely something

must taste nicer than the burning acid
being forced back up your throat.

Why not hug people instead of
toilet bowls? At least they’ll hug back.

Except Mia is your only friend now.
And her cousin, Ana, of course.

And I understand that you never
wanted to die, but this is a thousand ton truck

hurtling towards the edge of a cliff and
Ana took the wheel a long time ago.

There is no strength in this: in you, in a
fear of calories. Even your bones creak

as your muscles sigh with exhaustion -
for this, is not a war you're winning.

This is a battle with only one contender
and I will not be the one to disarm you.

That's your job and it always has been. I know
you only wanted to be beautiful

like all those stars in the magazines
you saved under a file titled ‘thinspo’

but the only stars you ever saw were in
your eyes from the dizziness

and to tell you the truth, you are not pretty.
For there is nothing “pretty”

about the layer of fuzz your body grew
to protect itself from the big bad wolf

when really, the only growl was coming
from inside your stomach.

Or how your little sister is afraid to touch,
let alone hug you, in fear of snapping you in two.

For there is no glamour in having to
remove clumps of hair out of the plughole

at least six times whilst having a shower,
just to let the water run down.

Or that one time you "accidentally”
took too many laxatives. Messy.

There is nothing admirable about the way
you sat shivering on your bed

at night instead of kissing boys,
or dancing, or eating ice cream.

There is nothing to be marvelled at
in dying.

This, is not a life to be lived.
God, this isn't even a life.

This is being a slave to your own body,

a walking zombie, a ghost stuck
between two sides.

You are not alive.

But it was all still worth it, right?
Slowly killing yourself from the inside out.

A small price to pay for perfection,
a bargain for a broken mirror;

for a half-written book
with 97 blank pages,

a camera
that only captures in black and white,

a clock
with frozen hands.

And most importantly, for a peace of mind
you never received.

No refunds.
Listen to the performed version here: http://www.soundcloud.com/natalieaiken/the-nina-jcs-poem-brought-to
Paul Hansford Aug 2016
(Pompeii/Florence, 1997)

Vulcan was real, alive as you were,
you and your language, long dead now.
Your town was prosperous, with its paved streets,
bars, bath-houses, brothels,
mosaics, painted walls, graffiti.
Your domestic gods too were real to you;
they had saved you before,
and when the superhuman hammer blows shook
your houses, you repaired them,
decorated in greater splendour,
erected a temple to your protectors.
But Vulcan was not appeased - years are not long
to the lord of earth and fire.
This time he struck swiftly, sending you death
from his mountain, overwhelming you
as you ran. Your garden
gave you no protection,
hot fumes choked you,
hot ash surrounded you,
sealed in your tomb as you died.

They excavated your town,
marvelled at its completeness.
In the ash that filled your garden
they found hollows,
and, filling the hollows with plaster,
found you. No, not you,
but echoes of yourselves,
like statues in a museum.

We came to see you, and after that
to the Academy, standing in awe
at David's perfect marble humanity.
But we were troubled by the others,
the uncompleted ones, the Prisoners,
their twisted limbs, hidden faces,
frozen in the act of emerging
from the stone, recalling too painfully
in their unfinished creation
your own agonised poses
as you died.
"I had seen birth and death,
  but had thought they were different."

.
The quotation at the end is from Eliot's Journey of the Magi - see my collection "My Favourite Poetry".
For photos see - www.amusingplanet.com/2011/04/garden-of-fugitives-fossilized-victims.html
and - www.accademia.org/explore-museum/artworks/michelangelos-prisoners-slaves/
Timothy Oct 2012
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
            Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    “’Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
            This it is and nothing more.”

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
            Darkness there and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
            Merely this and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
      Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
            With such name as “Nevermore.”

    But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
    Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
            Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
            Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”

    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my *****’s core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
    Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
    On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

**~Edgar Allan Poe 1809—1849~
Nigel Morgan Apr 2013
As he walked through the maze of streets from the tube station he wondered just how long it had been since he had last visited this tall red-bricked house. For so many years it had been for him a pied à terre. Those years when the care of infant children dominated his days, when coming up to London for 48 hours seemed such a relief, an escape from the daily round that small people demand. Since his first visits twenty years ago the area bristled with new enterprise. An abandoned Victorian hospital had been turned into expensive apartments; small enterprising businesses had taken over what had been residential property of the pre-war years. Looking up he was conscious of imaginative conversions of roof and loft spaces. What had seemed a wide-ranging community of ages and incomes appeared to have disappeared. Only the Middle Eastern corner shops and restaurants gave back to the area something of its former character: a place where people worked and lived.

It was a tall thin house on four floors. Two rooms at most of each floor, but of a good-size. The ground floor was her London workshop, but as always the blinds were down. In fact, he realised, he’d never been invited into her working space. Over the years she’d come to the door a few times, but like many artists and craftspeople he knew, she fiercely guarded her working space. The door to her studio was never left open as he passed through the hallway to climb the three flights of stairs to her husband’s domain. There was never a chance of the barest peek inside.

Today, she was in New York, and from outside the front door he could hear her husband descend from his fourth floor eyrie. The door was flung open and they greeted each other with the fervour of a long absence of friends. It had been a long time, really too long. Their lives had changed inexplicably. One, living almost permanently in that Italian marvel of waterways and sea-reflected light, the other, still in the drab West Yorkshire city from where their first acquaintance had begun from an email correspondence.

They had far too much to say to one another - on a hundred subjects. Of course the current project dominated, but as coffee (and a bowl of figs and mandarin oranges) was arranged, and they had moved almost immediately he arrived in the attic studio to the minimalist kitchen two floors below, questions were thrown out about partners and children, his activities, and sadly, his recent illness (the stairs had seemed much steeper than he remembered and he was a little breathless when he reached the top). As a guest he answered with a brevity that surprised him. Usually he found such questions needed roundabout answers to feel satisfactory - but he was learning to answer more directly, and being brief, suddenly thought of her and her always-direct questions. She wanted to know something, get something straight, so she asked  - straight - with no ‘going about things’ first. He wanted to get on with the business at hand, the business that preoccupied him, almost to the exclusion of everything else, for the last two days.

When they were settled in what was J’s working space ten years ago now he was immediately conscious that although the custom-made furniture had remained the Yamaha MIDI grand piano and the rack of samplers were elsewhere, along with most of the scores and books. The vast collection of CDs was still there, and so too the pictures and photographs. But there was one painting that was new to this attic room, a Cézanne. He was taken aback for a moment because it looked so like the real thing he’d seen in a museum just weeks before. He thought of the film Notting Hill when William Thacker questions the provenance of the Chagall ‘violin-playing goat’. The size of this Cézanne seemed accurate and it was placed in a similar rather ornate frame to what he knew had framed the museum original. It was placed on right-hand wall as he had entered the room, but some way from the pair of windows that ran almost the length of this studio. The view across the rooftops took in the Tower of London, a mile or so distant. If he turned the office chair in which he was sitting just slightly he could see it easily whilst still paying attention to J. The painting’s play of colours and composition compelled him to stare, as if he had never seen the painting before. But he had, and he remembered that his first sight of it had marked his memory.

He had been alone. He had arrived at the gallery just 15 minutes before it was due to close for the day.  He’d been told about this wonderful must-see octagonal room where around the walls you could view a particularly fine and comprehensive collection of Impressionist paintings. All the great artists were represented. One of Van Gogh’s many Olive Trees, two studies of domestic interiors by Vuillard, some dancing Degas, two magnificent Gaugins, a Seurat field of flowers, a Singer-Sergeant portrait, two Monets - one of a pair of haystacks in a blaze of high-summer light. He had been able to stay in that room just 10 minutes before he was politely asked to leave by an overweight attendant, but afterwards it was as if he knew the contents intimately. But of all these treasures it was Les Grands Arbres by Cézanne that had captured his imagination. He was to find it later and inevitably on the Internet and had it printed and pinned to his notice board. He consulted his own book of Cézanne’s letters and discovered it was a late work and one of several of the same scene. This version, it was said, was unfinished. He disagreed. Those unpainted patches he’d interpreted as pools of dappled light, and no expert was going to convince him otherwise! And here it was again. In an attic studio J. only frequented occasionally when necessity brought him to London.

When the coffee and fruit had been consumed it was time to eat more substantially, for he knew they would work late into the night, despite a whole day tomorrow to be given over to their discussions. J. was full of nervous energy and during the walk to a nearby Iraqi restaurant didn’t waver in his flow of conversation about the project. It was as though he knew he must eat, but no longer had the patience to take the kind of necessary break having a meal offered. His guest, his old friend, his now-being-consulted expert and former associate, was beginning to reel from the overload of ‘difficulties’ that were being put before him. In fact, he was already close to suggesting that it would be in J’s interest if, when they returned to the attic studio, they agreed to draw up an agenda for tomorrow so there could be some semblance of order to their discussions. He found himself wishing for her presence at the meal, her calm lovely smile he knew would charm J. out of his focused self and lighten the rush and tension that infused their current dialogue. But she was elsewhere, at home with her children and her own and many preoccupations, though it was easy to imagine how much, at least for a little while, she might enjoy meeting someone new, someone she’d heard much about, someone really rather exotic and (it must be said) commanding and handsome. He would probably charm her as much as he knew she would charm J.

J. was all and more beyond his guest’s thought-description. He had an intensity and a confidence that came from being in company with intense, confident and, it had to be said, very wealthy individuals. His origins, his beginnings his guest and old friend could only guess at, because they’d never discussed it. The time was probably past for such questions. But his guest had his own ideas, he surmised from a chanced remark that his roots were not amongst the affluent. He had been a free-jazz musician from Poland who’d made waves in the German jazz scene and married the daughter of an arts journalist who happened to be the wife of the CEO of a seriously significant media empire. This happy association enabled him to get off the road and devote himself to educating himself as a composer of avant-garde art music - which he desired and which he had achieved. His guest remembered J’s passion for the music of Luigi Nono (curiously, a former resident of the city in which J. now lived) and Helmut Lachenmann, then hardly known in the UK. J. was already composing, and with an infinite slowness and care that his guest marvelled at. He was painstakingly creating intricate and timbrally experimental string quartets as well as devising music for theatre and experimental film. But over the past fifteen years J. had become increasingly more obsessed with devising software from which his musical ideas might emanate. And it had been to his guest that, all that time ago, J. had turned to find a generous guide into this world of algorithms and complex mathematics, a composer himself who had already been seduced by the promise of new musical fields of possibility that desktop computer technology offered.

In so many ways, when it came to the hard edge of devising solutions to the digital generation of music, J. was now leagues ahead of his former tutor, whose skills in this area were once in the ascendant but had declined in inverse proportion to J’s, as he wished to spend more time composing and less time investigating the means through which he might compose. So the guest was acting now as a kind of Devil’s Advocate, able to ask those awkward disarming questions creative people don’t wish to hear too loudly and too often.

And so it turned out during the next few hours as J. got out some expensive cigars and brandy, which his guest, inhabiting a different body seemingly, now declined in favour of bottled water and dry biscuits. His guest, who had been up since 5.0am, finally suggested that, if he was to be any use on the morrow, bed was necessary. But when he got in amongst the Egyptian cotton sheets and the goose down duvet, sleep was impossible. He tried thinking of her, their last walk together by the sea, breakfast à deux before he left, other things that seemed beautiful and tender by turn . . . But it was no good. He wouldn’t sleep.

The house could have been as silent as the excellent double-glazing allowed. Only the windows of the attic studio next door to his bedroom were open to the night, to clear the room of the smoke of several cigars. He was conscious of that continuous flow of traffic and machine noise that he knew would only subside for a brief hour or so around 4.0am. So he went into the studio and pulled up a chair in front of the painting by Cézanne, in front of this painting of a woodland scene. There were two intertwining arboreal forms, trees of course, but their trunks and branches appeared to suggest the kind of cubist shapes he recognized from Braque. These two forms pulled the viewer towards a single slim and more distant tree backlit by sunlight of a late afternoon. There was a suggestion, in the further distance, of the shapes of the hills and mountains that had so preoccupied the artist. But in the foreground, there on the floor of this woodland glade, were all the colours of autumn set against the still greens of summer. It seemed wholly wrong, yet wholly right. It was as comforting and restful a painting as he could ever remember viewing. Even if he shut his eyes he could wander about the picture in sheer delight. And now he focused on the play of brush strokes of this painting in oils, the way the edge and border of one colour touched against another. Surprisingly, imagined sounds of this woodland scene entered his reverie - a late afternoon in a late summer not yet autumn. He was Olivier Messiaen en vacances with his perpetual notebook recording the magical birdsong in this luminous place. Here, even in this reproduction, lay the joy of entering into a painting. Jeanette Winterson’s plea to look at length at paintings, and then look again passed through his thoughts. How right that seemed. How very difficult to achieve. But that night he sat comfortably in J’s attic and let Cézanne deliver the artist’s promise of a world beyond nature, a world that is not about constant change and tension, but rests in a stillness all its own.
He was a Grecian lad, who coming home
With pulpy figs and wine from Sicily
Stood at his galley’s prow, and let the foam
Blow through his crisp brown curls unconsciously,
And holding wave and wind in boy’s despite
Peered from his dripping seat across the wet and stormy night.

Till with the dawn he saw a burnished spear
Like a thin thread of gold against the sky,
And hoisted sail, and strained the creaking gear,
And bade the pilot head her lustily
Against the nor’west gale, and all day long
Held on his way, and marked the rowers’ time with measured song.

And when the faint Corinthian hills were red
Dropped anchor in a little sandy bay,
And with fresh boughs of olive crowned his head,
And brushed from cheek and throat the hoary spray,
And washed his limbs with oil, and from the hold
Brought out his linen tunic and his sandals brazen-soled,

And a rich robe stained with the fishers’ juice
Which of some swarthy trader he had bought
Upon the sunny quay at Syracuse,
And was with Tyrian broideries inwrought,
And by the questioning merchants made his way
Up through the soft and silver woods, and when the labouring day

Had spun its tangled web of crimson cloud,
Clomb the high hill, and with swift silent feet
Crept to the fane unnoticed by the crowd
Of busy priests, and from some dark retreat
Watched the young swains his frolic playmates bring
The firstling of their little flock, and the shy shepherd fling

The crackling salt upon the flame, or hang
His studded crook against the temple wall
To Her who keeps away the ravenous fang
Of the base wolf from homestead and from stall;
And then the clear-voiced maidens ‘gan to sing,
And to the altar each man brought some goodly offering,

A beechen cup brimming with milky foam,
A fair cloth wrought with cunning imagery
Of hounds in chase, a waxen honey-comb
Dripping with oozy gold which scarce the bee
Had ceased from building, a black skin of oil
Meet for the wrestlers, a great boar the fierce and white-tusked
spoil

Stolen from Artemis that jealous maid
To please Athena, and the dappled hide
Of a tall stag who in some mountain glade
Had met the shaft; and then the herald cried,
And from the pillared precinct one by one
Went the glad Greeks well pleased that they their simple vows had
done.

And the old priest put out the waning fires
Save that one lamp whose restless ruby glowed
For ever in the cell, and the shrill lyres
Came fainter on the wind, as down the road
In joyous dance these country folk did pass,
And with stout hands the warder closed the gates of polished brass.

Long time he lay and hardly dared to breathe,
And heard the cadenced drip of spilt-out wine,
And the rose-petals falling from the wreath
As the night breezes wandered through the shrine,
And seemed to be in some entranced swoon
Till through the open roof above the full and brimming moon

Flooded with sheeny waves the marble floor,
When from his nook up leapt the venturous lad,
And flinging wide the cedar-carven door
Beheld an awful image saffron-clad
And armed for battle! the gaunt Griffin glared
From the huge helm, and the long lance of wreck and ruin flared

Like a red rod of flame, stony and steeled
The Gorgon’s head its leaden eyeballs rolled,
And writhed its snaky horrors through the shield,
And gaped aghast with bloodless lips and cold
In passion impotent, while with blind gaze
The blinking owl between the feet hooted in shrill amaze.

The lonely fisher as he trimmed his lamp
Far out at sea off Sunium, or cast
The net for tunnies, heard a brazen *****
Of horses smite the waves, and a wild blast
Divide the folded curtains of the night,
And knelt upon the little ****, and prayed in holy fright.

And guilty lovers in their venery
Forgat a little while their stolen sweets,
Deeming they heard dread Dian’s bitter cry;
And the grim watchmen on their lofty seats
Ran to their shields in haste precipitate,
Or strained black-bearded throats across the dusky parapet.

For round the temple rolled the clang of arms,
And the twelve Gods leapt up in marble fear,
And the air quaked with dissonant alarums
Till huge Poseidon shook his mighty spear,
And on the frieze the prancing horses neighed,
And the low tread of hurrying feet rang from the cavalcade.

Ready for death with parted lips he stood,
And well content at such a price to see
That calm wide brow, that terrible maidenhood,
The marvel of that pitiless chastity,
Ah! well content indeed, for never wight
Since Troy’s young shepherd prince had seen so wonderful a sight.

Ready for death he stood, but lo! the air
Grew silent, and the horses ceased to neigh,
And off his brow he tossed the clustering hair,
And from his limbs he throw the cloak away;
For whom would not such love make desperate?
And nigher came, and touched her throat, and with hands violate

Undid the cuirass, and the crocus gown,
And bared the ******* of polished ivory,
Till from the waist the peplos falling down
Left visible the secret mystery
Which to no lover will Athena show,
The grand cool flanks, the crescent thighs, the bossy hills of
snow.

Those who have never known a lover’s sin
Let them not read my ditty, it will be
To their dull ears so musicless and thin
That they will have no joy of it, but ye
To whose wan cheeks now creeps the lingering smile,
Ye who have learned who Eros is,—O listen yet awhile.

A little space he let his greedy eyes
Rest on the burnished image, till mere sight
Half swooned for surfeit of such luxuries,
And then his lips in hungering delight
Fed on her lips, and round the towered neck
He flung his arms, nor cared at all his passion’s will to check.

Never I ween did lover hold such tryst,
For all night long he murmured honeyed word,
And saw her sweet unravished limbs, and kissed
Her pale and argent body undisturbed,
And paddled with the polished throat, and pressed
His hot and beating heart upon her chill and icy breast.

It was as if Numidian javelins
Pierced through and through his wild and whirling brain,
And his nerves thrilled like throbbing violins
In exquisite pulsation, and the pain
Was such sweet anguish that he never drew
His lips from hers till overhead the lark of warning flew.

They who have never seen the daylight peer
Into a darkened room, and drawn the curtain,
And with dull eyes and wearied from some dear
And worshipped body risen, they for certain
Will never know of what I try to sing,
How long the last kiss was, how fond and late his lingering.

The moon was girdled with a crystal rim,
The sign which shipmen say is ominous
Of wrath in heaven, the wan stars were dim,
And the low lightening east was tremulous
With the faint fluttering wings of flying dawn,
Ere from the silent sombre shrine his lover had withdrawn.

Down the steep rock with hurried feet and fast
Clomb the brave lad, and reached the cave of Pan,
And heard the goat-foot snoring as he passed,
And leapt upon a grassy knoll and ran
Like a young fawn unto an olive wood
Which in a shady valley by the well-built city stood;

And sought a little stream, which well he knew,
For oftentimes with boyish careless shout
The green and crested grebe he would pursue,
Or snare in woven net the silver trout,
And down amid the startled reeds he lay
Panting in breathless sweet affright, and waited for the day.

On the green bank he lay, and let one hand
Dip in the cool dark eddies listlessly,
And soon the breath of morning came and fanned
His hot flushed cheeks, or lifted wantonly
The tangled curls from off his forehead, while
He on the running water gazed with strange and secret smile.

And soon the shepherd in rough woollen cloak
With his long crook undid the wattled cotes,
And from the stack a thin blue wreath of smoke
Curled through the air across the ripening oats,
And on the hill the yellow house-dog bayed
As through the crisp and rustling fern the heavy cattle strayed.

And when the light-foot mower went afield
Across the meadows laced with threaded dew,
And the sheep bleated on the misty weald,
And from its nest the waking corncrake flew,
Some woodmen saw him lying by the stream
And marvelled much that any lad so beautiful could seem,

Nor deemed him born of mortals, and one said,
‘It is young Hylas, that false runaway
Who with a Naiad now would make his bed
Forgetting Herakles,’ but others, ‘Nay,
It is Narcissus, his own paramour,
Those are the fond and crimson lips no woman can allure.’

And when they nearer came a third one cried,
‘It is young Dionysos who has hid
His spear and fawnskin by the river side
Weary of hunting with the Bassarid,
And wise indeed were we away to fly:
They live not long who on the gods immortal come to spy.’

So turned they back, and feared to look behind,
And told the timid swain how they had seen
Amid the reeds some woodland god reclined,
And no man dared to cross the open green,
And on that day no olive-tree was slain,
Nor rushes cut, but all deserted was the fair domain,

Save when the neat-herd’s lad, his empty pail
Well slung upon his back, with leap and bound
Raced on the other side, and stopped to hail,
Hoping that he some comrade new had found,
And gat no answer, and then half afraid
Passed on his simple way, or down the still and silent glade

A little girl ran laughing from the farm,
Not thinking of love’s secret mysteries,
And when she saw the white and gleaming arm
And all his manlihood, with longing eyes
Whose passion mocked her sweet virginity
Watched him awhile, and then stole back sadly and wearily.

Far off he heard the city’s hum and noise,
And now and then the shriller laughter where
The passionate purity of brown-limbed boys
Wrestled or raced in the clear healthful air,
And now and then a little tinkling bell
As the shorn wether led the sheep down to the mossy well.

Through the grey willows danced the fretful gnat,
The grasshopper chirped idly from the tree,
In sleek and oily coat the water-rat
Breasting the little ripples manfully
Made for the wild-duck’s nest, from bough to bough
Hopped the shy finch, and the huge tortoise crept across the
slough.

On the faint wind floated the silky seeds
As the bright scythe swept through the waving grass,
The ouzel-**** splashed circles in the reeds
And flecked with silver whorls the forest’s glass,
Which scarce had caught again its imagery
Ere from its bed the dusky tench leapt at the dragon-fly.

But little care had he for any thing
Though up and down the beech the squirrel played,
And from the copse the linnet ‘gan to sing
To its brown mate its sweetest serenade;
Ah! little care indeed, for he had seen
The ******* of Pallas and the naked wonder of the Queen.

But when the herdsman called his straggling goats
With whistling pipe across the rocky road,
And the shard-beetle with its trumpet-notes
Boomed through the darkening woods, and seemed to bode
Of coming storm, and the belated crane
Passed homeward like a shadow, and the dull big drops of rain

Fell on the pattering fig-leaves, up he rose,
And from the gloomy forest went his way
Past sombre homestead and wet orchard-close,
And came at last unto a little quay,
And called his mates aboard, and took his seat
On the high ****, and pushed from land, and loosed the dripping
sheet,

And steered across the bay, and when nine suns
Passed down the long and laddered way of gold,
And nine pale moons had breathed their orisons
To the chaste stars their confessors, or told
Their dearest secret to the downy moth
That will not fly at noonday, through the foam and surging froth

Came a great owl with yellow sulphurous eyes
And lit upon the ship, whose timbers creaked
As though the lading of three argosies
Were in the hold, and flapped its wings and shrieked,
And darkness straightway stole across the deep,
Sheathed was Orion’s sword, dread Mars himself fled down the steep,

And the moon hid behind a tawny mask
Of drifting cloud, and from the ocean’s marge
Rose the red plume, the huge and horned casque,
The seven-cubit spear, the brazen targe!
And clad in bright and burnished panoply
Athena strode across the stretch of sick and shivering sea!

To the dull sailors’ sight her loosened looks
Seemed like the jagged storm-rack, and her feet
Only the spume that floats on hidden rocks,
And, marking how the rising waters beat
Against the rolling ship, the pilot cried
To the young helmsman at the stern to luff to windward side

But he, the overbold adulterer,
A dear profaner of great mysteries,
An ardent amorous idolater,
When he beheld those grand relentless eyes
Laughed loud for joy, and crying out ‘I come’
Leapt from the lofty **** into the chill and churning foam.

Then fell from the high heaven one bright star,
One dancer left the circling galaxy,
And back to Athens on her clattering car
In all the pride of venged divinity
Pale Pallas swept with shrill and steely clank,
And a few gurgling bubbles rose where her boy lover sank.

And the mast shuddered as the gaunt owl flew
With mocking hoots after the wrathful Queen,
And the old pilot bade the trembling crew
Hoist the big sail, and told how he had seen
Close to the stern a dim and giant form,
And like a dipping swallow the stout ship dashed through the storm.

And no man dared to speak of Charmides
Deeming that he some evil thing had wrought,
And when they reached the strait Symplegades
They beached their galley on the shore, and sought
The toll-gate of the city hastily,
And in the market showed their brown and pictured pottery.
DEW Mar 2018
The waves undulated as if
they were the backs of 100 wriggling worms
The sky shed tears as if
a 1000 angels wept for the death of hope
black clouds roiled, sparking with fury
casting lightning down upon the mire
but below, upon the sea,
a miracle was set to transpire.

A boat rushed down and over the waves...
Back and forth,
a juggler's ball tossed and turned it appeared to be.
Yet, despite the malice,
and the seething spite of the sea,
the boat was safe
snug as can be.

And in this boat was a silent baby
his eyes stared out into the turmoil
he did not understand the frustrations of the elements
how they wished to smite him where he lay.
Despite the twisting of the boat
he did not roll, nor did water coat
his soft cheeks, his baby blanket
he passed on into sleep,
into dream he
went.

He awoke to battles raging about him
the crashing of thunder
was the desolation of a mountain
the world knew war for the first time
deaths in the billions, no pasture without crime.

He stood as a man
with bearded face
skin like the earth
armor embraced.
He realized he held a mighty weapon
it gleamed in his hands
power coursed through his veins
down to his soul
up to the heavens!
A beacon of light he seemed to be
but heir to destruction he truly was.
He did not know what power does
to the feint of heart
to the well-intentioned...
He struck the ground amidst the battle
the whole Earth shook, oh, the chattering teeth!
The mountains lumbered to form again
as if by the shovels of skyward giants!
The battle paused for the barest of moments
the awe was palpable
like a kingly feast
but the people's hearts hadn't forgotten the pain
their hate surged up, like volcanic bile
despite their peace present for a while
the massacres began again in earnest
perhaps more so than before his deed.
No one knew the power he wielded.

He still had hope, he could do something!
But what greater act was there than mending mountains?
His heart was up to good,
but his mind couldn't ground him.

"I must stop their wanton annihilation!"
He roared within himself,
"Are they not my people? Am I not their savior?"
He went to the most heated battle
struck the air with his weapon
and every person's foe was replaced by their loved ones.
The battle ceased in an instant.
Each person stared in utter disbelief.
By what power had this happened?
It was said that mountains climbed back into place,
but what could summon loved ones,
even from the grave!
The fighting ceased despite their hatred,
and the stories magnified in flavor.
Many who were hungry
for peace from the storm of violence
fed upon the hearts of those in doubt
they claimed they knew who stopped the battle
they hoped to mobilize a peace effort.
He gathered these hopeful souls
banded them together so their efforts became tenfold!
Soon enough, the stories crept across the lands
across the seas
and underground.
For once, hope had purchased ground,
but hate, when cloistered, beaten back, starved,
becomes ever more malevolent,
ever more conniving.

He did not call his people an army,
he called them the Samaritan Initiative.
They did not fight their war with weapons of battle,
they fought with hands that mend and bind,
they saved the sick and the dying,
they uplifted the oppressed and those denying.

As time passed, his efforts grew,
but someone used his deeds as currency,
mobilized the scandalous, the warmongering,
someone hated he who mended the broken...
Someone plotted his demise.

He led his Samaritans across the world
each place they touched was left whole again
and though war still did reign, rotting and true,
he did not tire to end the end.

A new beginning he hoped to create,
but whispers that he was a fraud began to sate
the ears of those whose purpose it is to doubt peace,
they sowed the malice back into the healing wounds
soon enough, his power began to abate,
therefore, rumors seemed to be true.

He grew restless when he was barred from homesteads
barred from cities,
even countries!
Somehow these echoes of forgotten civilization rose
only to defy him
and he smelled someone's stench in the air.
His weapon yearned for someone's death.
For once, it did not wish to mend, but break,
and he felt spiteful all the more.
All the adoration he had garnered
had blinded him from his true purpose.
He sought out the taint that spread its tendrils.
"Someone."
He said,
"Is ruining my... empire..."

One day, while regrowing a desolated forest with his weapon,
someone came to see him.
She smiled at him, marvelled at his work.
"Who are you?"
He wondered, suddenly charmed.
"Someone you know..."
She grinned.
He spent weeks distracted and curious about her,
what was her riddle all about
and why did he feel her in his heart?
She did not seem to threaten or scheme
in fact her presence was a dream
and he yearned after her like nothing he knew
his mission delayed
his plans askew.
Many around him questioned him saying,
"Who exactly is it with whom you're playing?"
He would blush,
"Oh, someone..."

One day,
she did not meet him at their lover's spot.
She did not appear for a week, then another.
His mind began to churn about the months.
Since when had he last sent forth his healers,
or mended cities and silenced weapons dealers?
He began to be suspicious of her
he could have summoned her with a flick of his weapon,
but he dared not discover if she really were foe,
for if he should break, what can he grow?

Eventually, she appeared again,
smiling broadly, like an old friend.
He then knew the anger that so many harbored...
Oh, the twisted things he felt by her abandon,
the sheer weight of his turmoil felt too much to bear....
So he ****** it upon her without any care.
His voice was louder than a church bell,
flashing out across the forest where they would meet.
She cried out in fear
she ran from him swift
he chased after with guilt he couldn't lift.
He found her weeping by a well
on his knees he apologized incessantly.
"How could there be darkness in you,
the mender?"
Her question struck him in all places tender.
Doubt crept into his addled mind.
His weapon's glow flickered
his conscience was blind.
Surely not now should he have such trouble?
Could it really be so simple to pop his bubble?
"I love you more than I can bear!
When you leave me,
I begin to tear."
She nodded and held him close to her.

Someone watched from shadows not far,
they saw his frailty,
like a door ajar...

The months passed and he went back to work
new cities to grow and malice to mend
people saw him more for the savior he was
even though the rumors of fallacy were abuzz.

A special time became the moment of his life worthy of note,
a marriage to the woman whose life he knew by rote.
They consummated in the night and in the day.
Time seemed to stretch on and shrink all at once.
His happiness was a thing of infectious charm,
but all that glittered soon became alarm.

Upon returning home from time spent mending the broken world,
he returned to find his home
covered in blood.
He knew whose blood coated the walls.
Bones, ground into paste, smothered pictured frames.
Flesh reduced to pulp covered the floor.
His mind fractured in no way subtle.
The light of his weapon winked out with no rebuttal.
He wept uncontrollably in fits of despair.
The world seemed cold, frozen over,
desolate of love or laughter.
"I can't bear to live."

Someone crept in through the doorway.
"It's a shame, isn't it?
No man is greater than any other,
yet no man is born equal.
No man lives without love,
but every man dies alone.
Maybe you can understand now,
why we deserve our own genocide...
Maybe now you'll let us fight to the death,
and have our peace that way!"

He looked up and,
despite the pure evil that stood before him,
he did not see that.
He saw someone lost,
someone abused,
someone desperate for truth,
any truth.
He saw someone fighting to love something,
anything.
He saw someone forgotten by loved ones
after committing acts that person was unable to avoid.
He saw a frightened being
lashing out at the world
in the hopes that the suffering would end.
He felt boundless compassion.

"I have no power left."
He said.
"No power to mend or bind.
No power worth your scorn."

"I'm going to **** you now."

"If I'm to die,
I hope my blood is enough for all who suffer."

"You're no messiah! You're just a lie we all want to believe!"

"If I was just a man...
I would have died when you killed her.
I would have hungered for torturous retribution.
But you have broken no one.
You're someone who needs to see your own suffering
out in the world
to justify the injustice dealt upon you.
But for every drop of effort you put into destroying her,
I wish you never experience my pain.
I wish to mend what drove you to break me,
so no one else may be harmed by you,
or anyone you inspire to deal death."

"No, I defeated you..."

"You tried..."

The weapon flickered.

"No, no, you can't feel love for me...
You don't have the *****."

"I have very big *****."

"You think you can love me?
After how I destroyed you!"

"If I could be destroyed,
I would already be dead!"

The weapon burst forth with light!

The killer realized they were someone foolish
Someone lost
Someone in need of healing.
For if "he" could not be broken,
surely there was hope.
If he could mend mountains
bring back loved ones and unite lost families
grow cities from the earth itself
grow forests from twigs
and deny a cold-hearted killer
the satisfaction
the honor
of seeing the fractures of a shattered soul
in blood-red, swollen, tearful eyes,
perhaps this man,
this one man,
could reveal what love is
to the killer's own famished soul.

He saw something shift in the eyes of that tortured someone.

That's when he realized...
That's when he understood.
He had the thirst for solving puzzles,
but humanity is not a machine,
it is a collection of gears
each just as vital as the whole,
for the whole does not exist without the worth
of every individual.
And to ignore an individual like this...
Someone who stood at the center of all the woe,
the evil,
and the tragedy in the world.
To ignore them would be to throw out the puzzle completely.

"May I mend you?"

Realizing they were someone facing an open door,
that person nodded.

He struck that person with his weapon.
Light flooded out as if by the sun itself.
Time seemed to stop.
People looked up in wonder of the light.
The very winds halted,
seas stilled,
nature perked up in unison.

When the light faded, he saw himself staring in a mirror.
The man in the mirror had blood-stained hands.

He stepped across the threshold and hugged himself.
His darkness hugged him back and the blood seemed to vanish.

"I forgive myself for killing her."

His darkness melted into a bulbous, gooey form and sank into him,
as if he were some kind of sponge,
leaving no trace of the darkness visibly.
He accepted within himself that he was capable of
unimaginable evil.
He accepted that he had control
and that he was responsible for the health and sickness
of the world.

Around him, the world began to shift.
In fact, it appeared to melt into liquid
and splash around him.
The liquid became clear, like the ocean.
It splashed and slid,
rocking him about.

Light flashed!

The baby awoke, curious about the world around him.
His boat had touched some distant shore.
Flecks of water spotted his cheeks and he laughed.

A couple crept up to the boat.
"I swear I heard a baby," a man said.
"You're crazy," a woman said, "Out here?"
The couple looked within the boat
and found the baby smiling at them with his
toothless, innocent smile.
The woman held a hand to her chest in awe.
She tenderly carried the baby out of the boat
and rocked it in her arms.
The baby laughed.
The man reached out.
"Not that hand!" The woman said, "You just cut yourself!"
"It's okay, no blood anymore, see?"
He pinched the baby's cheeks.
The baby touched his hand.
His **** healed in an instant!
"Woah!" The woman yelled.
Feeling for a scar where there were none,
the man stared in wonder at the child.
"Honey," he said, "This kid's got potential..."
This poem sort of came out of nowhere.
It does sit on the border between a poem and a story.
I've been fascinated by the Poetic Edda and the Iliad, how a poem could be hundreds of thousands of words long.

So here's my little poetic narrative.

Enjoy!

DEW
When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared,
Telemachus bound on his sandals and took a strong spear that suited
his hands, for he wanted to go into the city. “Old friend,” said he to
the swineherd, “I will now go to the town and show myself to my
mother, for she will never leave off grieving till she has seen me. As
for this unfortunate stranger, take him to the town and let him beg
there of any one who will give him a drink and a piece of bread. I
have trouble enough of my own, and cannot be burdened with other
people. If this makes him angry so much the worse for him, but I
like to say what I mean.”
  Then Ulysses said, “Sir, I do not want to stay here; a beggar can
always do better in town than country, for any one who likes can
give him something. I am too old to care about remaining here at the
beck and call of a master. Therefore let this man do as you have
just told him, and take me to the town as soon as I have had a warm by
the fire, and the day has got a little heat in it. My clothes are
wretchedly thin, and this frosty morning I shall be perished with
cold, for you say the city is some way off.”
  On this Telemachus strode off through the yards, brooding his
revenge upon the When he reached home he stood his spear against a
bearing-post of the cloister, crossed the stone floor of the
cloister itself, and went inside.
  Nurse Euryclea saw him long before any one else did. She was putting
the fleeces on to the seats, and she burst out crying as she ran up to
him; all the other maids came up too, and covered his head and
shoulders with their kisses. Penelope came out of her room looking
like Diana or Venus, and wept as she flung her arms about her son. She
kissed his forehead and both his beautiful eyes, “Light of my eyes,”
she cried as she spoke fondly to him, “so you are come home again; I
made sure I was never going to see you any more. To think of your
having gone off to Pylos without saying anything about it or obtaining
my consent. But come, tell me what you saw.”
  “Do not scold me, mother,’ answered Telemachus, “nor vex me,
seeing what a narrow escape I have had, but wash your face, change
your dress, go upstairs with your maids, and promise full and
sufficient hecatombs to all the gods if Jove will only grant us our
revenge upon the suitors. I must now go to the place of assembly to
invite a stranger who has come back with me from Pylos. I sent him
on with my crew, and told Piraeus to take him home and look after
him till I could come for him myself.”
  She heeded her son’s words, washed her face, changed her dress,
and vowed full and sufficient hecatombs to all the gods if they
would only vouchsafe her revenge upon the suitors.
  Telemachus went through, and out of, the cloisters spear in hand-
not alone, for his two fleet dogs went with him. Minerva endowed him
with a presence of such divine comeliness that all marvelled at him as
he went by, and the suitors gathered round him with fair words in
their mouths and malice in their hearts; but he avoided them, and went
to sit with Mentor, Antiphus, and Halitherses, old friends of his
father’s house, and they made him tell them all that had happened to
him. Then Piraeus came up with Theoclymenus, whom he had escorted
through the town to the place of assembly, whereon Telemachus at
once joined them. Piraeus was first to speak: “Telemachus,” said he,
“I wish you would send some of your women to my house to take awa
the presents Menelaus gave you.”
  “We do not know, Piraeus,” answered Telemachus, “what may happen. If
the suitors **** me in my own house and divide my property among them,
I would rather you had the presents than that any of those people
should get hold of them. If on the other hand I manage to **** them, I
shall be much obliged if you will kindly bring me my presents.”
  With these words he took Theoclymenus to his own house. When they
got there they laid their cloaks on the benches and seats, went into
the baths, and washed themselves. When the maids had washed and
anointed them, and had given them cloaks and shirts, they took their
seats at table. A maid servant then brought them water in a
beautiful golden ewer, and poured it into a silver basin for them to
wash their hands; and she drew a clean table beside them. An upper
servant brought them bread and offered them many good things of what
there was in the house. Opposite them sat Penelope, reclining on a
couch by one of the bearing-posts of the cloister, and spinning.
Then they laid their hands on the good things that were before them,
and as soon as they had had enough to eat and drink Penelope said:
  “Telemachus, I shall go upstairs and lie down on that sad couch,
which I have not ceased to water with my tears, from the day Ulysses
set out for Troy with the sons of Atreus. You failed, however, to make
it clear to me before the suitors came back to the house, whether or
no you had been able to hear anything about the return of your
father.”
  “I will tell you then truth,” replied her son. “We went to Pylos and
saw Nestor, who took me to his house and treated me as hospitably as
though I were a son of his own who had just returned after a long
absence; so also did his sons; but he said he had not heard a word
from any human being about Ulysses, whether he was alive or dead. He
sent me, therefore, with a chariot and horses to Menelaus. There I saw
Helen, for whose sake so many, both Argives and Trojans, were in
heaven’s wisdom doomed to suffer. Menelaus asked me what it was that
had brought me to Lacedaemon, and I told him the whole truth,
whereon he said, ‘So, then, these cowards would usurp a brave man’s
bed? A hind might as well lay her new-born young in the lair of a
lion, and then go off to feed in the forest or in some grassy dell.
The lion, when he comes back to his lair, will make short work with
the pair of them, and so will Ulysses with these suitors. By father
Jove, Minerva, and Apollo, if Ulysses is still the man that he was
when he wrestled with Philomeleides in ******, and threw him so
heavily that all the Greeks cheered him—if he is still such, and were
to come near these suitors, they would have a short shrift and a sorry
wedding. As regards your question, however, I will not prevaricate nor
deceive you, but what the old man of the sea told me, so much will I
tell you in full. He said he could see Ulysses on an island
sorrowing bitterly in the house of the nymph Calypso, who was
keeping him prisoner, and he could not reach his home, for he had no
ships nor sailors to take him over the sea.’ This was what Menelaus
told me, and when I had heard his story I came away; the gods then
gave me a fair wind and soon brought me safe home again.”
  With these words he moved the heart of Penelope. Then Theoclymenus
said to her:
  “Madam, wife of Ulysses, Telemachus does not understand these
things; listen therefore to me, for I can divine them surely, and will
hide nothing from you. May Jove the king of heaven be my witness,
and the rites of hospitality, with that hearth of Ulysses to which I
now come, that Ulysses himself is even now in Ithaca, and, either
going about the country or staying in one place, is enquiring into all
these evil deeds and preparing a day of reckoning for the suitors. I
saw an omen when I was on the ship which meant this, and I told
Telemachus about it.”
  “May it be even so,” answered Penelope; “if your words come true,
you shall have such gifts and such good will from me that all who
see you shall congratulate you.”
  Thus did they converse. Meanwhile the suitors were throwing discs,
or aiming with spears at a mark on the levelled ground in front of the
house, and behaving with all their old insolence. But when it was
now time for dinner, and the flock of sheep and goats had come into
the town from all the country round, with their shepherds as usual,
then Medon, who was their favourite servant, and who waited upon
them at table, said, “Now then, my young masters, you have had
enough sport, so come inside that we may get dinner ready. Dinner is
not a bad thing, at dinner time.”
  They left their sports as he told them, and when they were within
the house, they laid their cloaks on the benches and seats inside, and
then sacrificed some sheep, goats, pigs, and a heifer, all of them fat
and well grown. Thus they made ready for their meal. In the meantime
Ulysses and the swineherd were about starting for the town, and the
swineherd said, “Stranger, I suppose you still want to go to town
to-day, as my master said you were to do; for my own part I should
have liked you to stay here as a station hand, but I must do as my
master tells me, or he will scold me later on, and a scolding from
one’s master is a very serious thing. Let us then be off, for it is
now broad day; it will be night again directly and then you will
find it colder.”
  “I know, and understand you,” replied Ulysses; “you need say no
more. Let us be going, but if you have a stick ready cut, let me
have it to walk with, for you say the road is a very rough one.”
  As he spoke he threw his shabby old tattered wallet over his
shoulders, by the cord from which it hung, and Eumaeus gave him a
stick to his liking. The two then started, leaving the station in
charge of the dogs and herdsmen who remained behind; the swineherd led
the way and his master followed after, looking like some broken-down
old ***** as he leaned upon his staff, and his clothes were all in
rags. When they had got over the rough steep ground and were nearing
the city, they reached the fountain from which the citizens drew their
water. This had been made by Ithacus, Neritus, and Polyctor. There was
a grove of water-loving poplars planted in a circle all round it,
and the clear cold water came down to it from a rock high up, while
above the fountain there was an altar to the nymphs, at which all
wayfarers used to sacrifice. Here Melanthius son of Dolius overtook
them as he was driving down some goats, the best in his flock, for the
suitors’ dinner, and there were two shepherds with him. When he saw
Eumaeus and Ulysses he reviled them with outrageous and unseemly
language, which made Ulysses very angry.
  “There you go,” cried he, “and a precious pair you are. See how
heaven brings birds of the same feather to one another. Where, pray,
master swineherd, are you taking this poor miserable object? It
would make any one sick to see such a creature at table. A fellow like
this never won a prize for anything in his life, but will go about
rubbing his shoulders against every man’s door post, and begging,
not for swords and cauldrons like a man, but only for a few scraps not
worth begging for. If you would give him to me for a hand on my
station, he might do to clean out the folds, or bring a bit of sweet
feed to the kids, and he could fatten his thighs as much as he pleased
on whey; but he has taken to bad ways and will not go about any kind
of work; he will do nothing but beg victuals all the town over, to
feed his insatiable belly. I say, therefore and it shall surely be—if
he goes near Ulysses’ house he will get his head broken by the
stools they will fling at him, till they turn him out.”
  On this, as he passed, he gave Ulysses a kick on the hip out of pure
wantonness, but Ulysses stood firm, and did not budge from the path.
For a moment he doubted whether or no to fly at Melanthius and ****
him with his staff, or fling him to the ground and beat his brains
out; he resolved, however, to endure it and keep himself in check, but
the swineherd looked straight at Melanthius and rebuked him, lifting
up his hands and praying to heaven as he did so.
  “Fountain nymphs,” he cried, “children of Jove, if ever Ulysses
burned you thigh bones covered with fat whether of lambs or kids,
grant my prayer that heaven may send him home. He would soon put an
end to the swaggering threats with which such men as you go about
insulting people-gadding all over the town while your flocks are going
to ruin through bad shepherding.”
  Then Melanthius the goatherd answered, “You ill-conditioned cur,
what are you talking about? Some day or other I will put you on
board ship and take you to a foreign country, where I can sell you and
pocket the money you will fetch. I wish I were as sure that Apollo
would strike Telemachus dead this very day, or that the suitors
would **** him, as I am that Ulysses will never come home again.”
  With this he left them to come on at their leisure, while he went
quickly forward and soon reached the house of his master. When he
got there he went in and took his seat among the suitors opposite
Eurymachus, who liked him better than any of the others. The
servants brought him a portion of meat, and an upper woman servant set
bread before him that he might eat. Presently Ulysses and the
swineherd came up to the house and stood by it, amid a sound of music,
for Phemius was just beginning to sing to the suitors. Then Ulysses
took hold of the swineherd’s hand, and said:
  “Eumaeus, this house of Ulysses is a very fine place. No matter
how far you go you will find few like it. One building keeps following
on after another. The outer court has a wall with battlements all
round it; the doors are double folding, and of good workmanship; it
would be a hard matter to take it by force of arms. I perceive, too,
that there are many people banqueting within it, for there is a
smell of roast meat, and I hear a sound of music, which the gods
have made to go along with feasting.”
  Then Eumaeus said, “You have perceived aright, as indeed you
generally do; but let us think what will be our best course. Will
you go inside first and join the suitors, leaving me here behind
you, or will you wait here and let me go in first? But do not wait
long, or some one may you loitering about outside, and throw something
at you. Consider this matter I pray you.”
  And Ulysses answered, “I understand and heed. Go in first and
leave me here where I am. I am quite used to being beaten and having
things thrown at me. I have been so much buffeted about in war and
by sea that I am case-hardened, and this too may go with the rest. But
a man cannot hide away the cravings of a hungry belly; this is an
enemy which gives much trouble to all men; it is because of this
that ships are fitted out to sail the seas, and to make war upon other
people.”
  As they were thus talking, a dog that had been lying asleep raised
his head and pricked up his ears. This was Argos, whom Ulysses had
bred before setting out for Troy, but he had never had any work out of
him. In the old days he used to be taken out by the young men when
they went hunting wild goats, or deer, or hares, but now that his
master was gone he was lying neglected on the heaps of mule and cow
dung that lay in front of the stable doors till the men should come
and draw it away to manure the great close; and he was full of
fleas. As soon as he saw Ulysses standing there, he dropped his ears
and wagged his tail, but he could not get close up to his master. When
Ulysses saw the dog on the other side of the yard, dashed a tear
from his eyes without Eumaeus seeing it, and said:
  “Eumaeus, what a noble hound that is over yonder on the manure heap:
his build is splendid; is he as fine a fellow as he looks, or is he
only one of those dogs that come begging about a table, and are kept
merely for show?”
  “This hound,” answered Eumaeus, “belonged to him who has died in a
far country. If he were what he was when Ulysses left for Troy, he
would soon show you what he could do. There was not a wild beast in
the forest that could get away from him when he was once on its
tracks. But now he has fallen on evil times, for his master is dead
and gone, and the women take no care of him. Servants never do their
work when their master’s hand is no longer over them, for Jove takes
half the goodness out of a man when he makes a slave of him.”
  As he spoke he went inside the buildings to the cloister where the
suitors were, but Argos died as soon as he had recognized his master.
  Telemachus saw
niamh Aug 2015
Silenced, in awe,
They watched her paint,
Bringing life to a canvas.
Bold colours
And fierce brushstrokes.
They marvelled at her masterpiece.
Me, I watched her face as she painted,
The emotions sweeping over her,
Bringing life to the canvas she was.
And I was humbled
And I was in awe
And I marvelled
At the true masterpiece.
RAJ NANDY May 2015
Declared as an UNESCO Heritage Site in 1983, is today a place of tourist attraction, - this ancient city of Inca pride! Please read its absorbing story, you will not regret it ! Thanks, - Raj Nandy

MACHU PICCHU: THE LOST CITY OF THE INCAS!

(I)
At those ethereal heights where only eagles dare,
And where the Condor glides to gently perch;
Above the Urubamba Valley of Peru, -
Stretches the peaks of Machu Picchu and Huayna
Picchu;
Where the sky above is a clear cerulean blue!
And on a cloud-draped ridge connecting both
these Andean peaks, -
Lies the magnificent site of Machu Picchu, –
which many tourists seek!
A city hewed and carved out of rocks and stones,
Which in proud defiance to marauding time,
Stands there for nearly six hundred years, -
A majestic symbol of Inca pride!
(II)
The Inca Kings were the ‘child of the sun’,
Their chief deity was the Sun God - ‘INTI’,
Their ninth king who expanded and consolidated
their Empire,
Was known as the great Emperor Pachucuti!
This king and his architects, at an altitude of
8000 feet built the great Inca City!
To worship their gods and honor their ancestors,
And as a royal family resort and a summer retreat!
Inca religion was based around Nature, and their
architecture blended with the landscape around!
At Machu Picchu they felt closer to their gods,
And could almost hear His sound!
Pachucuti also built the city of Cuzco, the capital
of the Inca Empire,
They never had horses or wheels those days,
Their ‘runners’ covered their kingdom entire!
With posts located at suitable distances, for
relaying messages throughout their Empire!
(III)
The ruins of Machu Picchu covers 13 sq kms,
Lying some 70 kms north-west of Cuzco city,
Nestled amidst the navel of the mountain rocks,
Hidden from the praying eyes of all adversaries!
Surrounded by gushing mountain rivers and
yawning chasms going down deep;
And with secret ropeway bridges, this Inca hideout
was all complete!
It escaped the greedy Pizarro’s eyes, that Spaniard
who came for Inca gold,
Leaving Machu Picchu untouched, for the entire world
to behold!
So the urban sector of Machu Picchu has 140 buildings
still intact;
With steps and terraces cut into steep granite face,
And streams and aqua-ducts to irrigate their lands!
(IV)
The citadel lies on a flat surface, which is a 20 hectares
spread!
With a sacred and a residential area, and houses for
priests, nobility and guests!
‘Amautas’ were men both holy and wise, conducted
ceremonies and read the stars;
But the Incas had no written script, and took help of
the ‘quipu’ by far!
The ‘quipu’ was a numerical system using many
knotted strings, -
With which they kept records and accounts of almost
any and everything!
(V)
A Sacred Area had temples and buildings,
All dedicated to the Gods by Pachucuti;
A Sun Temple, and the sacred Intihuatana Stone,
For ‘binding the sun’ – the great Inti !
During the Equinox on the 21st of March and September,
When the sun was directly above the Intihuatana Stone, <
The priests performed ceremonies and offered prayers, -
To keep the sun caged and in control!
Legend has it that should a sensitive man, keep his
forehead on this sacred Stone, -
His ‘third eye’ would open up, and the ‘spiritual world’
he shall behold!
(VI)
It was Hiram Bingham a professor from Yale University,
Who in July 1911 rediscovered this miniature Inca City!
He took three years to clear the jungles and the wild
vines;
And the artifacts he had found were sent to the US -
as precious finds!
The modern architects who visited Machu Picchu,
all marvelled at the techniques used;
A ‘dry stone technique’
* without mortar, had all of
them pretty confused!
Many stones weighed around fifty tones, and others were
cut into various shapes and size;
And were fitted with such precision, leaving no room
even for a blade of knife!
The peaks there often get covered with mist,
And is the abode of white fluffy clouds;
This stairways to where the Inca gods dwell, #
Is where Machu Picchu is to be found!
- Raj Nandy
(- ALL COPYRIGHTS RESERVED -)
Notes: -Huayna Pichu stands behind Machu Picchu -
40mtrs higher! It has a steeper climb and has the ‘Temple of
the Moon’ inside a dark cave! +Declared a Heritage Site
by UNESCO in 1983.< Sun being directly above the sacred stone did not cast any shadow, so the priest said he had caged the Sun! *
Dry stone
technique without mortar also used in Egyptian Pyramids! #Many
tribes believed Incas were Gods! Thanks for reading, - Raj Nandy.

............................................. ................................................. .....................
AND it Came to Pass in those Days that A Decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all thy World should be Registered* This Census First took place while Quirinius was Governing Syria* So, all went to be Registered, everyone to His own City* Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of thy City Of Nazareth, into Judea, to thy City Of David, which is called Bethlehem, because He was of thy House and Lineage Of David* To be Registered with Mary, His Betrothed Wife, who was with Child* So it was, that while they were there, thy Days were Completed for Her to Delivered* And She Brought Forth Her Fisrt-born Son, and wrapped Him in Swaddling Cloths, and Laid Him in A Manger, because there was No room for them in thy Inn* Now there were in thy same Country Shepherds Living out in thy Fields, Keeping watch over their Flock by Night* And behold, an Angel of thy LORD Stood before them, and thy Glory of thy LORD Shone Around Them, and they were Greatly Afraid* Then the Angel said to them,* Do not be afraid, for behold, I Bring Thee Good Tidings of Great Joy which will be to all People* For there is Born to You this Day in thy City Of David A Savior, who is CHRIST Thy LORD And this will be thy Sign to Thee* Thou will Find A Babe Wrapped in Swaddling Cloths, Lying in A Manger And suddenly there was with thy Angel A Multitude Of Thy Heavenly Host Praising GOD and saying* Glory to GOD in thy Highest, and on Earth Peace, Good will toward Men! So it was, when thy Angels had gone away from them into Heaven, that thy Shepherds said to One another'' Let us now go to Bethlehem and See this things that has come to Pass, which thy LORD has made known to Us* And they came with Haste and Found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe Lying in A Manger* Now when they has seen Him, they made Widely known the saying which was told them Concerning this Child* And all those who Heard it Marvelled at those things which were told them by the Shepherds* But Mary kept all these things and Pondered them in Her Heart* Then thy Shepherds Returned, Glorifying and Praising GOD for all thy things that thou had Heard and seen, as it was told them* And when Eight Days were Completed for thy Circumcision of thy Child, His name was Called JESUS* thy name given by thy Angel before He was Conceived in thy Womb now when thy days of Her Purification According to thy Law Of Moses were Completed, thou brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to thy LORD* As it written in thy Law of the LORD '' Every Male who opens thy Womb shall be called Holy to thy LORD And to offer a Sacrifice according to what is said in hy Law of the LORD* A Pair Of Turtle-Doves or Two Young Pigeons* And behold, there was A Man in Jerusalem whose name is Simeon, and this Man was just And Devout, waiting for thy Consolation Of Israel, and thy Holy Spirit was upon Him* And it had been Revealed to Him by thy Holy Spirit that He would not see Death before He had Seen Thy LORD's Christ* So He came by thy Spirit into thy Temple. And when thy Parents brought in thy Child JESUS, to do for Him according to thy Custom of thy Law* He took Him-Up in His Arms And Blessed GOD And Said; " LORD, now Thou are Letting Your Servant depart in Peace, according to Thou Word* For My Eyes have seen Your Salvation* Which You have prepared before thy Face of all Kinds* A Light to Bring Revelation to thy Gentiles, and thy Glory of Your People Israel" And Joseph and His Mother Marvelled at those things which were Spoken Of Him Then Simeon Blessed them, and said to Mary His Mother, " BEHOLD, This Child is Destined for thy Fall And Rising Of Many in Israel, and for a Sign which will be spoken against* ( Yes, a sword will pierce through thy own Soul also), that thy thoughts of many Hearts maybe Revealed* Now there was one, Anna, A Prophetess, thy Daughter Of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had Lived with a Husband Seven Years from Her Virginity; And this woman was a Widow of about Eighty-Four Years, who did not depart from the temple, but served GOD with Fastings and Prayers Night and Day And coming in that Instant she gave Thanks to thy LORD, and Spoke of Him to all those who Looked for Redemption in Jerusalem* So, when they had Performed all things according to thy Law of the LORD, they Returned to Galilee, to their Own City, NAZARETH. And thy Child Grew and became Strong in Spirit, filled with Wisdom; and thy Grace of GOD was upon Him* His Parents went to Jerusalem every Year at thy Feast Of Thy Passover* And when He was Twelve Years Old, they went up to Jerusalem according to thy Custom of thy Feast when they had Finished the days, as they Returned, Thy BOY JESUS Lingered behind in Jerusalem. And joseph and His Mother did not know it; But Supposing Him to have been in thy Company, they went a day's Journey, and Sought Him among their Relatives and Acquaintances* So when they did not find Him, they Returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after Three days they found Him in The Temple, Sitting in thy Midst of the Teachers, both Listening to them and asking Questions. And all who heard Him were Astonished at His Understanding and Answers* So when they saw Him, they were Amazed; and His Mother said to Him" Son why have You done this to Us? Look, Your Father and I have sought You Anxiously." And. He said to them, " Why did You seek Me?  Did You not know that I must be About my FATHER's Business? But they did not Understand the Statement which He Spoke to them* Then He went Down with Them and Came to Nazareth, and was Subject to them, but His Mother kept all these things in Her Heart** And JESUS Increased In Wisdom and Stature, and in Favor with GOD And Men  Praise HEE Thy LORD HALLELUYAH
**HALLELUYAH*
Now the other princes of the Achaeans slept soundly the whole
night through, but Agamemnon son of Atreus was troubled, so that he
could get no rest. As when fair Juno’s lord flashes his lightning in
token of great rain or hail or snow when the snow-flakes whiten the
ground, or again as a sign that he will open the wide jaws of hungry
war, even so did Agamemnon heave many a heavy sigh, for his soul
trembled within him. When he looked upon the plain of Troy he
marvelled at the many watchfires burning in front of Ilius, and at the
sound of pipes and flutes and of the hum of men, but when presently he
turned towards the ships and hosts of the Achaeans, he tore his hair
by handfuls before Jove on high, and groaned aloud for the very
disquietness of his soul. In the end he deemed it best to go at once
to Nestor son of Neleus, and see if between them they could find any
way of the Achaeans from destruction. He therefore rose, put on his
shirt, bound his sandals about his comely feet, flung the skin of a
huge tawny lion over his shoulders—a skin that reached his feet-
and took his spear in his hand.
  Neither could Menelaus sleep, for he, too, boded ill for the Argives
who for his sake had sailed from far over the seas to fight the
Trojans. He covered his broad back with the skin of a spotted panther,
put a casque of bronze upon his head, and took his spear in his brawny
hand. Then he went to rouse his brother, who was by far the most
powerful of the Achaeans, and was honoured by the people as though
he were a god. He found him by the stern of his ship already putting
his goodly array about his shoulders, and right glad was he that his
brother had come.
  Menelaus spoke first. “Why,” said he, “my dear brother, are you thus
arming? Are you going to send any of our comrades to exploit the
Trojans? I greatly fear that no one will do you this service, and
spy upon the enemy alone in the dead of night. It will be a deed of
great daring.”
  And King Agamemnon answered, “Menelaus, we both of us need shrewd
counsel to save the Argives and our ships, for Jove has changed his
mind, and inclines towards Hector’s sacrifices rather than ours. I
never saw nor heard tell of any man as having wrought such ruin in one
day as Hector has now wrought against the sons of the Achaeans—and
that too of his own unaided self, for he is son neither to god nor
goddess. The Argives will rue it long and deeply. Run, therefore, with
all speed by the line of the ships, and call Ajax and Idomeneus.
Meanwhile I will go to Nestor, and bid him rise and go about among the
companies of our sentinels to give them their instructions; they
will listen to him sooner than to any man, for his own son, and
Meriones brother in arms to Idomeneus, are captains over them. It
was to them more particularly that we gave this charge.”
  Menelaus replied, “How do I take your meaning? Am I to stay with
them and wait your coming, or shall I return here as soon as I have
given your orders?” “Wait,” answered King Agamemnon, “for there are so
many paths about the camp that we might miss one another. Call every
man on your way, and bid him be stirring; name him by his lineage
and by his father’s name, give each all titular observance, and
stand not too much upon your own dignity; we must take our full
share of toil, for at our birth Jove laid this heavy burden upon us.”
  With these instructions he sent his brother on his way, and went
on to Nestor shepherd of his people. He found him sleeping in his tent
hard by his own ship; his goodly armour lay beside him—his shield,
his two spears and his helmet; beside him also lay the gleaming girdle
with which the old man girded himself when he armed to lead his people
into battle—for his age stayed him not. He raised himself on his
elbow and looked up at Agamemnon. “Who is it,” said he, “that goes
thus about the host and the ships alone and in the dead of night, when
men are sleeping? Are you looking for one of your mules or for some
comrade? Do not stand there and say nothing, but speak. What is your
business?”
  And Agamemnon answered, “Nestor, son of Neleus, honour to the
Achaean name, it is I, Agamemnon son of Atreus, on whom Jove has
laid labour and sorrow so long as there is breath in my body and my
limbs carry me. I am thus abroad because sleep sits not upon my
eyelids, but my heart is big with war and with the jeopardy of the
Achaeans. I am in great fear for the Danaans. I am at sea, and without
sure counsel; my heart beats as though it would leap out of my body,
and my limbs fail me. If then you can do anything—for you too
cannot sleep—let us go the round of the watch, and see whether they
are drowsy with toil and sleeping to the neglect of their duty. The
enemy is encamped hard and we know not but he may attack us by night.”
  Nestor replied, “Most noble son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon,
Jove will not do all for Hector that Hector thinks he will; he will
have troubles yet in plenty if Achilles will lay aside his anger. I
will go with you, and we will rouse others, either the son of
Tydeus, or Ulysses, or fleet Ajax and the valiant son of Phyleus. Some
one had also better go and call Ajax and King Idomeneus, for their
ships are not near at hand but the farthest of all. I cannot however
refrain from blaming Menelaus, much as I love him and respect him—and
I will say so plainly, even at the risk of offending you—for sleeping
and leaving all this trouble to yourself. He ought to be going about
imploring aid from all the princes of the Achaeans, for we are in
extreme danger.”
  And Agamemnon answered, “Sir, you may sometimes blame him justly,
for he is often remiss and unwilling to exert himself—not indeed from
sloth, nor yet heedlessness, but because he looks to me and expects me
to take the lead. On this occasion, however, he was awake before I
was, and came to me of his own accord. I have already sent him to call
the very men whom you have named. And now let us be going. We shall
find them with the watch outside the gates, for it was there I said
that we would meet them.”
  “In that case,” answered Nestor, “the Argives will not blame him nor
disobey his orders when he urges them to fight or gives them
instructions.”
  With this he put on his shirt, and bound his sandals about his
comely feet. He buckled on his purple coat, of two thicknesses, large,
and of a rough shaggy texture, grasped his redoubtable bronze-shod
spear, and wended his way along the line of the Achaean ships. First
he called loudly to Ulysses peer of gods in counsel and woke him,
for he was soon roused by the sound of the battle-cry. He came outside
his tent and said, “Why do you go thus alone about the host, and along
the line of the ships in the stillness of the night? What is it that
you find so urgent?” And Nestor knight of Gerene answered, “Ulysses,
noble son of Laertes, take it not amiss, for the Achaeans are in great
straits. Come with me and let us wake some other, who may advise
well with us whether we shall fight or fly.”
  On this Ulysses went at once into his tent, put his shield about his
shoulders and came out with them. First they went to Diomed son of
Tydeus, and found him outside his tent clad in his armour with his
comrades sleeping round him and using their shields as pillows; as for
their spears, they stood upright on the spikes of their butts that
were driven into the ground, and the burnished bronze flashed afar
like the lightning of father Jove. The hero was sleeping upon the skin
of an ox, with a piece of fine carpet under his head; Nestor went up
to him and stirred him with his heel to rouse him, upbraiding him
and urging him to bestir himself. “Wake up,” he exclaimed, “son of
Tydeus. How can you sleep on in this way? Can you not see that the
Trojans are encamped on the brow of the plain hard by our ships,
with but a little space between us and them?”
  On these words Diomed leaped up instantly and said, “Old man, your
heart is of iron; you rest not one moment from your labours. Are there
no younger men among the Achaeans who could go about to rouse the
princes? There is no tiring you.”
  And Nestor knight of Gerene made answer, “My son, all that you
have said is true. I have good sons, and also much people who might
call the chieftains, but the Achaeans are in the gravest danger;
life and death are balanced as it were on the edge of a razor. Go
then, for you are younger than I, and of your courtesy rouse Ajax
and the fleet son of Phyleus.”
  Diomed threw the skin of a great tawny lion about his shoulders—a
skin that reached his feet—and grasped his spear. When he had
roused the heroes, he brought them back with him; they then went the
round of those who were on guard, and found the captains not
sleeping at their posts but wakeful and sitting with their arms
about them. As sheep dogs that watch their flocks when they are
yarded, and hear a wild beast coming through the mountain forest
towards them—forthwith there is a hue and cry of dogs and men, and
slumber is broken—even so was sleep chased from the eyes of the
Achaeans as they kept the watches of the wicked night, for they turned
constantly towards the plain whenever they heard any stir among the
Trojans. The old man was glad bade them be of good cheer. “Watch on,
my children,” said he, “and let not sleep get hold upon you, lest
our enemies triumph over us.”
  With this he passed the trench, and with him the other chiefs of the
Achaeans who had been called to the council. Meriones and the brave
son of Nestor went also, for the princes bade them. When they were
beyond the trench that was dug round the wall they held their
meeting on the open ground where there was a space clear of corpses,
for it was here that when night fell Hector had turned back from his
onslaught on the Argives. They sat down, therefore, and held debate
with one another.
  Nestor spoke first. “My friends,” said he, “is there any man bold
enough to venture the Trojans, and cut off some straggler, or us
news of what the enemy mean to do whether they will stay here by the
ships away from the city, or whether, now that they have worsted the
Achaeans, they will retire within their walls. If he could learn all
this and come back safely here, his fame would be high as heaven in
the mouths of all men, and he would be rewarded richly; for the chiefs
from all our ships would each of them give him a black ewe with her
lamb—which is a present of surpassing value—and he would be asked as
a guest to all feasts and clan-gatherings.”
  They all held their peace, but Diomed of the loud war-cry spoke
saying, “Nestor, gladly will I visit the host of the Trojans over
against us, but if another will go with me I shall do so in greater
confidence and comfort. When two men are together, one of them may see
some opportunity which the other has not caught sight of; if a man
is alone he is less full of resource, and his wit is weaker.”
  On this several offered to go with Diomed. The two Ajaxes,
servants of Mars, Meriones, and the son of Nestor all wanted to go, so
did Menelaus son of Atreus; Ulysses also wished to go among the host
of the Trojans, for he was ever full of daring, and thereon
Agamemnon king of men spoke thus: “Diomed,” said he, “son of Tydeus,
man after my own heart, choose your comrade for yourself—take the
best man of those that have offered, for many would now go with you.
Do not through delicacy reject the better man, and take the worst
out of respect for his lineage, because he is of more royal blood.”
  He said this because he feared for Menelaus. Diomed answered, “If
you bid me take the man of my own choice, how in that case can I
fail to think of Ulysses, than whom there is no man more eager to face
all kinds of danger—and Pallas Minerva loves him well? If he were
to go with me we should pass safely through fire itself, for he is
quick to see and understand.”
  “Son of Tydeus,” replied Ulysses, “say neither good nor ill about
me, for you are among Argives who know me well. Let us be going, for
the night wanes and dawn is at hand. The stars have gone forward,
two-thirds of the night are already spent, and the third is alone left
us.”
  They then put on their armour. Brave Thrasymedes provided the son of
Tydeus with a sword and a shield (for he had left his own at his ship)
and on his head he set a helmet of bull’s hide without either peak
or crest; it is called a skull-cap and is a common headgear.
Meriones found a bow and quiver for Ulysses, and on his head he set
a leathern helmet that was lined with a strong plaiting of leathern
thongs, while on the outside it was thickly studded with boar’s teeth,
well and skilfully set into it; next the head there was an inner
lining of felt. This helmet had been stolen by Autolycus out of
Eleon when he broke into the house of Amyntor son of Ormenus. He
gave it to Amphidamas of Cythera to take to Scandea, and Amphidamas
gave it as a guest-gift to Molus, who gave it to his son Meriones; and
now it was set upon the head of Ulysses.
  When the pair had armed, they set out, and left the other chieftains
behind them. Pallas Minerva sent them a heron by the wayside upon
their right hands; they could not see it for the darkness, but they
heard its cry. Ulysses was glad when he heard it and prayed to
Minerva: “Hear me,” he cried, “daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, you who
spy out all my ways and who are with me in all my hardships;
befriend me in this mine hour, and grant that we may return to the
ships covered with glory after having achieved some mighty exploit
that shall bring sorrow to the Trojans.”
  Then Diomed of the loud war-cry also prayed: “Hear me too,” said he,
“daughter of Jove, unweariable; be with me even as you were with my
noble father Tydeus when he went to Thebes as envoy sent by the
Achaeans. He left the Achaeans by the banks of the river Aesopus,
and went to the city bearing a message of peace to the Cadmeians; on
his return thence, with your help, goddess, he did great deeds of
daring, for you were his ready helper. Even so guide me and guard me
now, and in return I will offer you in sacrifice a broad-browed heifer
of a year old, unbroken, and never yet brought by man under the
yoke. I will gild her horns and will offer her up to you in
sacrifice.”
  Thus they prayed, and Pallas Minerva heard their prayer. When they
had done praying to the daughter of great Jove, they went their way
like two lions prowling by night amid the armour and blood-stained
bodies of them that had fallen.
  Neither again did Hector let the Trojans sleep; for he too called
the princes and councillors of the Trojans that he might set his
counsel before them. “Is there one,” said he, “who for a great
reward will do me the service of which I will tell you? He shall be
well paid if he will. I will give him a chariot and a couple of
horses, the fleetest that can be found at the ships of the Achaeans,
if he will dare this thing; and he will win infinite honour to boot;
he must go to the ships and find out whether they are still guarded as
heretofore, or whether now that we have beaten them the Achaeans
design to fly, and through sheer exhaustion are neglecting to keep
their watches.”
  They all held their peace; but there was among the Trojans a certain
man named Dolon, son of Eumedes, the famous herald—a man rich in gold
and bronze. He was ill-favoured, but a good runner, and was an only
son among five sisters. He it was that now addressed the Trojans.
“I, Hector,” said he, “Will to the ships and will exploit them. But
first hold up your sceptre and swear that you will give me the
chariot, bedight with bronze, and the horses that now carry the
noble son of Peleus. I will make you a good scout, and will not fail
you. I will go through the host from one end to the other till I
come to the ship of Agamemnon, where I take it the princes of the
Achaeans are now consulting whether they shall fight or fly.”
  When he had done speaking Hector held up his sceptre, and swore
him his oath saying, “May Jove the thundering husband of Juno bear
witness that no other Trojan but yourself shall mount
Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared,
Telemachus rose and dressed himself. He bound his sandals on to his
comely feet, girded his sword about his shoulder, and left his room
looking like an immortal god. He at once sent the criers round to call
the people in assembly, so they called them and the people gathered
thereon; then, when they were got together, he went to the place of
assembly spear in hand—not alone, for his two hounds went with him.
Minerva endowed him with a presence of such divine comeliness that all
marvelled at him as he went by, and when he took his place’ in his
father’s seat even the oldest councillors made way for him.
  Aegyptius, a man bent double with age, and of infinite experience,
the first to speak His son Antiphus had gone with Ulysses to Ilius,
land of noble steeds, but the savage Cyclops had killed him when
they were all shut up in the cave, and had cooked his last dinner
for him, He had three sons left, of whom two still worked on their
father’s land, while the third, Eurynomus, was one of the suitors;
nevertheless their father could not get over the loss of Antiphus, and
was still weeping for him when he began his speech.
  “Men of Ithaca,” he said, “hear my words. From the day Ulysses
left us there has been no meeting of our councillors until now; who
then can it be, whether old or young, that finds it so necessary to
convene us? Has he got wind of some host approaching, and does he wish
to warn us, or would he speak upon some other matter of public moment?
I am sure he is an excellent person, and I hope Jove will grant him
his heart’s desire.”
  Telemachus took this speech as of good omen and rose at once, for he
was bursting with what he had to say. He stood in the middle of the
assembly and the good herald Pisenor brought him his staff. Then,
turning to Aegyptius, “Sir,” said he, “it is I, as you will shortly
learn, who have convened you, for it is I who am the most aggrieved. I
have not got wind of any host approaching about which I would warn
you, nor is there any matter of public moment on which I would
speak. My grieveance is purely personal, and turns on two great
misfortunes which have fallen upon my house. The first of these is the
loss of my excellent father, who was chief among all you here present,
and was like a father to every one of you; the second is much more
serious, and ere long will be the utter ruin of my estate. The sons of
all the chief men among you are pestering my mother to marry them
against her will. They are afraid to go to her father Icarius,
asking him to choose the one he likes best, and to provide marriage
gifts for his daughter, but day by day they keep hanging about my
father’s house, sacrificing our oxen, sheep, and fat goats for their
banquets, and never giving so much as a thought to the quantity of
wine they drink. No estate can stand such recklessness; we have now no
Ulysses to ward off harm from our doors, and I cannot hold my own
against them. I shall never all my days be as good a man as he was,
still I would indeed defend myself if I had power to do so, for I
cannot stand such treatment any longer; my house is being disgraced
and ruined. Have respect, therefore, to your own consciences and to
public opinion. Fear, too, the wrath of heaven, lest the gods should
be displeased and turn upon you. I pray you by Jove and Themis, who is
the beginning and the end of councils, [do not] hold back, my friends,
and leave me singlehanded—unless it be that my brave father Ulysses
did some wrong to the Achaeans which you would now avenge on me, by
aiding and abetting these suitors. Moreover, if I am to be eaten out
of house and home at all, I had rather you did the eating
yourselves, for I could then take action against you to some
purpose, and serve you with notices from house to house till I got
paid in full, whereas now I have no remedy.”
  With this Telemachus dashed his staff to the ground and burst into
tears. Every one was very sorry for him, but they all sat still and no
one ventured to make him an angry answer, save only Antinous, who
spoke thus:
  “Telemachus, insolent braggart that you are, how dare you try to
throw the blame upon us suitors? It is your mother’s fault not ours,
for she is a very artful woman. This three years past, and close on
four, she has been driving us out of our minds, by encouraging each
one of us, and sending him messages without meaning one word of what
she says. And then there was that other trick she played us. She set
up a great tambour frame in her room, and began to work on an enormous
piece of fine needlework. ‘Sweet hearts,’ said she, ‘Ulysses is indeed
dead, still do not press me to marry again immediately, wait—for I
would not have skill in needlework perish unrecorded—till I have
completed a pall for the hero Laertes, to be in readiness against
the time when death shall take him. He is very rich, and the women
of the place will talk if he is laid out without a pall.’
  “This was what she said, and we assented; whereon we could see her
working on her great web all day long, but at night she would unpick
the stitches again by torchlight. She fooled us in this way for
three years and we never found her out, but as time wore on and she
was now in her fourth year, one of her maids who knew what she was
doing told us, and we caught her in the act of undoing her work, so
she had to finish it whether she would or no. The suitors,
therefore, make you this answer, that both you and the Achaeans may
understand-’Send your mother away, and bid her marry the man of her
own and of her father’s choice’; for I do not know what will happen if
she goes on plaguing us much longer with the airs she gives herself on
the score of the accomplishments Minerva has taught her, and because
she is so clever. We never yet heard of such a woman; we know all
about Tyro, Alcmena, Mycene, and the famous women of old, but they
were nothing to your mother, any one of them. It was not fair of her
to treat us in that way, and as long as she continues in the mind with
which heaven has now endowed her, so long shall we go on eating up
your estate; and I do not see why she should change, for she gets
all the honour and glory, and it is you who pay for it, not she.
Understand, then, that we will not go back to our lands, neither
here nor elsewhere, till she has made her choice and married some
one or other of us.”
  Telemachus answered, “Antinous, how can I drive the mother who
bore me from my father’s house? My father is abroad and we do not know
whether he is alive or dead. It will be ******* me if I have to pay
Icarius the large sum which I must give him if I insist on sending his
daughter back to him. Not only will he deal rigorously with me, but
heaven will also punish me; for my mother when she leaves the house
will calf on the Erinyes to avenge her; besides, it would not be a
creditable thing to do, and I will have nothing to say to it. If you
choose to take offence at this, leave the house and feast elsewhere at
one another’s houses at your own cost turn and turn about. If, on
the other hand, you elect to persist in spunging upon one man,
heaven help me, but Jove shall reckon with you in full, and when you
fall in my father’s house there shall be no man to avenge you.”
  As he spoke Jove sent two eagles from the top of the mountain, and
they flew on and on with the wind, sailing side by side in their own
lordly flight. When they were right over the middle of the assembly
they wheeled and circled about, beating the air with their wings and
glaring death into the eyes of them that were below; then, fighting
fiercely and tearing at one another, they flew off towards the right
over the town. The people wondered as they saw them, and asked each
other what an this might be; whereon Halitherses, who was the best
prophet and reader of omens among them, spoke to them plainly and in
all honesty, saying:
  “Hear me, men of Ithaca, and I speak more particularly to the
suitors, for I see mischief brewing for them. Ulysses is not going
to be away much longer; indeed he is close at hand to deal out death
and destruction, not on them alone, but on many another of us who live
in Ithaca. Let us then be wise in time, and put a stop to this
wickedness before he comes. Let the suitors do so of their own accord;
it will be better for them, for I am not prophesying without due
knowledge; everything has happened to Ulysses as I foretold when the
Argives set out for Troy, and he with them. I said that after going
through much hardship and losing all his men he should come home again
in the twentieth year and that no one would know him; and now all this
is coming true.”
  Eurymachus son of Polybus then said, “Go home, old man, and prophesy
to your own children, or it may be worse for them. I can read these
omens myself much better than you can; birds are always flying about
in the sunshine somewhere or other, but they seldom mean anything.
Ulysses has died in a far country, and it is a pity you are not dead
along with him, instead of prating here about omens and adding fuel to
the anger of Telemachus which is fierce enough as it is. I suppose you
think he will give you something for your family, but I tell you-
and it shall surely be—when an old man like you, who should know
better, talks a young one over till he becomes troublesome, in the
first place his young friend will only fare so much the worse—he will
take nothing by it, for the suitors will prevent this—and in the
next, we will lay a heavier fine, sir, upon yourself than you will
at all like paying, for it will bear hardly upon you. As for
Telemachus, I warn him in the presence of you all to send his mother
back to her father, who will find her a husband and provide her with
all the marriage gifts so dear a daughter may expect. Till we shall go
on harassing him with our suit; for we fear no man, and care neither
for him, with all his fine speeches, nor for any fortune-telling of
yours. You may preach as much as you please, but we shall only hate
you the more. We shall go back and continue to eat up Telemachus’s
estate without paying him, till such time as his mother leaves off
tormenting us by keeping us day after day on the tiptoe of
expectation, each vying with the other in his suit for a prize of such
rare perfection. Besides we cannot go after the other women whom we
should marry in due course, but for the way in which she treats us.”
  Then Telemachus said, “Eurymachus, and you other suitors, I shall
say no more, and entreat you no further, for the gods and the people
of Ithaca now know my story. Give me, then, a ship and a crew of
twenty men to take me hither and thither, and I will go to Sparta
and to Pylos in quest of my father who has so long been missing.
Some one may tell me something, or (and people often hear things in
this way) some heaven-sent message may direct me. If I can hear of him
as alive and on his way home I will put up with the waste you
suitors will make for yet another twelve months. If on the other
hand I hear of his death, I will return at once, celebrate his funeral
rites with all due pomp, build a barrow to his memory, and make my
mother marry again.”
  With these words he sat down, and Mentor who had been a friend of
Ulysses, and had been left in charge of everything with full authority
over the servants, rose to speak. He, then, plainly and in all honesty
addressed them thus:
  “Hear me, men of Ithaca, I hope that you may never have a kind and
well-disposed ruler any more, nor one who will govern you equitably; I
hope that all your chiefs henceforward may be cruel and unjust, for
there is not one of you but has forgotten Ulysses, who ruled you as
though he were your father. I am not half so angry with the suitors,
for if they choose to do violence in the naughtiness of their
hearts, and wager their heads that Ulysses will not return, they can
take the high hand and eat up his estate, but as for you others I am
shocked at the way in which you all sit still without even trying to
stop such scandalous goings on-which you could do if you chose, for
you are many and they are few.”
  Leiocritus, son of Evenor, answered him saying, “Mentor, what
folly is all this, that you should set the people to stay us? It is
a hard thing for one man to fight with many about his victuals. Even
though Ulysses himself were to set upon us while we are feasting in
his house, and do his best to oust us, his wife, who wants him back so
very badly, would have small cause for rejoicing, and his blood
would be upon his own head if he fought against such great odds. There
is no sense in what you have been saying. Now, therefore, do you
people go about your business, and let his father’s old friends,
Mentor and Halitherses, speed this boy on his journey, if he goes at
all—which I do not think he will, for he is more likely to stay where
he is till some one comes and tells him something.”
  On this he broke up the assembly, and every man went back to his own
abode, while the suitors returned to the house of Ulysses.
  Then Telemachus went all alone by the sea side, washed his hands
in the grey waves, and prayed to Minerva.
  “Hear me,” he cried, “you god who visited me yesterday, and bade
me sail the seas in search of my father who has so long been
missing. I would obey you, but the Achaeans, and more particularly the
wicked suitors, are hindering me that I cannot do so.”
  As he thus prayed, Minerva came close up to him in the likeness
and with the voice of Mentor. “Telemachus,” said she, “if you are made
of the same stuff as your father you will be neither fool nor coward
henceforward, for Ulysses never broke his word nor left his work
half done. If, then, you take after him, your voyage will not be
fruitless, but unless you have the blood of Ulysses and of Penelope in
your veins I see no likelihood of your succeeding. Sons are seldom
as good men as their fathers; they are generally worse, not better;
still, as you are not going to be either fool or coward
henceforward, and are not entirely without some share of your father’s
wise discernment, I look with hope upon your undertaking. But mind you
never make common cause with any of those foolish suitors, for they
have neither sense nor virtue, and give no thought to death and to the
doom that will shortly fall on one and all of them, so that they shall
perish on the same day. As for your voyage, it shall not be long
delayed; your father was such an old friend of mine that I will find
you a ship, and will come with you myself. Now, however, return
home, and go about among the suitors; begin getting provisions ready
for your voyage; see everything well stowed, the wine in jars, and the
barley meal, which is the staff of life, in leathern bags, while I
go round the town and beat up volunteers at once. There are many ships
in Ithaca both old and new; I will run my eye over them for you and
will choose the best; we will get her ready and will put out to sea
without delay.”
  Thus spoke Minerva daughter of Jove, and Telemachus lost no time
in doing as the goddess told him. He went moodily and found the
suitors flaying goats and singeing pigs in the outer court. Antinous
came up to him at once and laughed as he took his hand in his own,
saying, “Telemachus, my fine fire-eater, bear no more ill blood
neither in word nor deed, but eat and drink with us as you used to do.
The Achaeans will find you in everything—a ship and a picked crew
to boot—so that you can set sail for Pylos at once and get news of
your noble father.”
  “Antinous,” answered Telemachus, “I cannot eat in peace, nor take
pleasure of any kind with such men as you are. Was it not enough
that you should waste so much good property of mine while I was yet
a boy? Now that I am older and know more about it, I am also stronger,
and whether here among this people, or by going to Pylos, I will do
you all the harm I can. I shall go, and my going will not be in vain
though, thanks to you suitors, I have neither ship nor crew of my own,
and must be passenger not captain.”
  As he spoke he snatched his hand from that of Antinous. Meanw
When the companies were thus arrayed, each under its own captain,
the Trojans advanced as a flight of wild fowl or cranes that scream
overhead when rain and winter drive them over the flowing waters of
Oceanus to bring death and destruction on the Pygmies, and they
wrangle in the air as they fly; but the Achaeans marched silently,
in high heart, and minded to stand by one another.
  As when the south wind spreads a curtain of mist upon the mountain
tops, bad for shepherds but better than night for thieves, and a man
can see no further than he can throw a stone, even so rose the dust
from under their feet as they made all speed over the plain.
  When they were close up with one another, Alexandrus came forward as
champion on the Trojan side. On his shoulders he bore the skin of a
panther, his bow, and his sword, and he brandished two spears shod
with bronze as a challenge to the bravest of the Achaeans to meet
him in single fight. Menelaus saw him thus stride out before the
ranks, and was glad as a hungry lion that lights on the carcase of
some goat or horned stag, and devours it there and then, though dogs
and youths set upon him. Even thus was Menelaus glad when his eyes
caught sight of Alexandrus, for he deemed that now he should be
revenged. He sprang, therefore, from his chariot, clad in his suit
of armour.
  Alexandrus quailed as he saw Menelaus come forward, and shrank in
fear of his life under cover of his men. As one who starts back
affrighted, trembling and pale, when he comes suddenly upon a
serpent in some mountain glade, even so did Alexandrus plunge into the
throng of Trojan warriors, terror-stricken at the sight of the son
Atreus.
  Then Hector upbraided him. “Paris,” said he, “evil-hearted Paris,
fair to see, but woman-mad, and false of tongue, would that you had
never been born, or that you had died *****. Better so, than live to
be disgraced and looked askance at. Will not the Achaeans mock at us
and say that we have sent one to champion us who is fair to see but
who has neither wit nor courage? Did you not, such as you are, get
your following together and sail beyond the seas? Did you not from
your a far country carry off a lovely woman wedded among a people of
warriors—to bring sorrow upon your father, your city, and your
whole country, but joy to your enemies, and hang-dog shamefacedness to
yourself? And now can you not dare face Menelaus and learn what manner
of man he is whose wife you have stolen? Where indeed would be your
lyre and your love-tricks, your comely locks and your fair favour,
when you were lying in the dust before him? The Trojans are a
weak-kneed people, or ere this you would have had a shirt of stones
for the wrongs you have done them.”
  And Alexandrus answered, “Hector, your rebuke is just. You are
hard as the axe which a shipwright wields at his work, and cleaves the
timber to his liking. As the axe in his hand, so keen is the edge of
your scorn. Still, taunt me not with the gifts that golden Venus has
given me; they are precious; let not a man disdain them, for the
gods give them where they are minded, and none can have them for the
asking. If you would have me do battle with Menelaus, bid the
Trojans and Achaeans take their seats, while he and I fight in their
midst for Helen and all her wealth. Let him who shall be victorious
and prove to be the better man take the woman and all she has, to bear
them to his home, but let the rest swear to a solemn covenant of peace
whereby you Trojans shall stay here in Troy, while the others go
home to Argos and the land of the Achaeans.”
  When Hector heard this he was glad, and went about among the
Trojan ranks holding his spear by the middle to keep them back, and
they all sat down at his bidding: but the Achaeans still aimed at
him with stones and arrows, till Agamemnon shouted to them saying,
“Hold, Argives, shoot not, sons of the Achaeans; Hector desires to
speak.”
  They ceased taking aim and were still, whereon Hector spoke. “Hear
from my mouth,” said he, “Trojans and Achaeans, the saying of
Alexandrus, through whom this quarrel has come about. He bids the
Trojans and Achaeans lay their armour upon the ground, while he and
Menelaus fight in the midst of you for Helen and all her wealth. Let
him who shall be victorious and prove to be the better man take the
woman and all she has, to bear them to his own home, but let the
rest swear to a solemn covenant of peace.”
  Thus he spoke, and they all held their peace, till Menelaus of the
loud battle-cry addressed them. “And now,” he said, “hear me too,
for it is I who am the most aggrieved. I deem that the parting of
Achaeans and Trojans is at hand, as well it may be, seeing how much
have suffered for my quarrel with Alexandrus and the wrong he did
me. Let him who shall die, die, and let the others fight no more.
Bring, then, two lambs, a white ram and a black ewe, for Earth and
Sun, and we will bring a third for Jove. Moreover, you shall bid Priam
come, that he may swear to the covenant himself; for his sons are
high-handed and ill to trust, and the oaths of Jove must not be
transgressed or taken in vain. Young men’s minds are light as air, but
when an old man comes he looks before and after, deeming that which
shall be fairest upon both sides.”
  The Trojans and Achaeans were glad when they heard this, for they
thought that they should now have rest. They backed their chariots
toward the ranks, got out of them, and put off their armour, laying it
down upon the ground; and the hosts were near to one another with a
little space between them. Hector sent two messengers to the city to
bring the lambs and to bid Priam come, while Agamemnon told Talthybius
to fetch the other lamb from the ships, and he did as Agamemnon had
said.
  Meanwhile Iris went to Helen in the form of her sister-in-law,
wife of the son of Antenor, for Helicaon, son of Antenor, had
married Laodice, the fairest of Priam’s daughters. She found her in
her own room, working at a great web of purple linen, on which she was
embroidering the battles between Trojans and Achaeans, that Mars had
made them fight for her sake. Iris then came close up to her and said,
“Come hither, child, and see the strange doings of the Trojans and
Achaeans till now they have been warring upon the plain, mad with lust
of battle, but now they have left off fighting, and are leaning upon
their shields, sitting still with their spears planted beside them.
Alexandrus and Menelaus are going to fight about yourself, and you are
to the the wife of him who is the victor.”
  Thus spoke the goddess, and Helen’s heart yearned after her former
husband, her city, and her parents. She threw a white mantle over
her head, and hurried from her room, weeping as she went, not alone,
but attended by two of her handmaids, Aethrae, daughter of Pittheus,
and Clymene. And straightway they were at the Scaean gates.
  The two sages, Ucalegon and Antenor, elders of the people, were
seated by the Scaean gates, with Priam, Panthous, Thymoetes, Lampus,
Clytius, and Hiketaon of the race of Mars. These were too old to
fight, but they were fluent orators, and sat on the tower like cicales
that chirrup delicately from the boughs of some high tree in a wood.
When they saw Helen coming towards the tower, they said softly to
one another, “Small wonder that Trojans and Achaeans should endure
so much and so long, for the sake of a woman so marvellously and
divinely lovely. Still, fair though she be, let them take her and
go, or she will breed sorrow for us and for our children after us.”
  But Priam bade her draw nigh. “My child,” said he, “take your seat
in front of me that you may see your former husband, your kinsmen
and your friends. I lay no blame upon you, it is the gods, not you who
are to blame. It is they that have brought about this terrible war
with the Achaeans. Tell me, then, who is yonder huge hero so great and
goodly? I have seen men taller by a head, but none so comely and so
royal. Surely he must be a king.”
  “Sir,” answered Helen, “father of my husband, dear and reverend in
my eyes, would that I had chosen death rather than to have come here
with your son, far from my bridal chamber, my friends, my darling
daughter, and all the companions of my girlhood. But it was not to be,
and my lot is one of tears and sorrow. As for your question, the
hero of whom you ask is Agamemnon, son of Atreus, a good king and a
brave soldier, brother-in-law as surely as that he lives, to my
abhorred and miserable self.”
  The old man marvelled at him and said, “Happy son of Atreus, child
of good fortune. I see that the Achaeans are subject to you in great
multitudes. When I was in Phrygia I saw much horsemen, the people of
Otreus and of Mygdon, who were camping upon the banks of the river
Sangarius; I was their ally, and with them when the Amazons, peers
of men, came up against them, but even they were not so many as the
Achaeans.”
  The old man next looked upon Ulysses; “Tell me,” he said, “who is
that other, shorter by a head than Agamemnon, but broader across the
chest and shoulders? His armour is laid upon the ground, and he stalks
in front of the ranks as it were some great woolly ram ordering his
ewes.”
  And Helen answered, “He is Ulysses, a man of great craft, son of
Laertes. He was born in rugged Ithaca, and excels in all manner of
stratagems and subtle cunning.”
  On this Antenor said, “Madam, you have spoken truly. Ulysses once
came here as envoy about yourself, and Menelaus with him. I received
them in my own house, and therefore know both of them by sight and
conversation. When they stood up in presence of the assembled Trojans,
Menelaus was the broader shouldered, but when both were seated Ulysses
had the more royal presence. After a time they delivered their
message, and the speech of Menelaus ran trippingly on the tongue; he
did not say much, for he was a man of few words, but he spoke very
clearly and to the point, though he was the younger man of the two;
Ulysses, on the other hand, when he rose to speak, was at first silent
and kept his eyes fixed upon the ground. There was no play nor
graceful movement of his sceptre; he kept it straight and stiff like a
man unpractised in oratory—one might have taken him for a mere
churl or simpleton; but when he raised his voice, and the words came
driving from his deep chest like winter snow before the wind, then
there was none to touch him, and no man thought further of what he
looked like.”
  Priam then caught sight of Ajax and asked, “Who is that great and
goodly warrior whose head and broad shoulders tower above the rest
of the Argives?”
  “That,” answered Helen, “is huge Ajax, bulwark of the Achaeans,
and on the other side of him, among the Cretans, stands Idomeneus
looking like a god, and with the captains of the Cretans round him.
Often did Menelaus receive him as a guest in our house when he came
visiting us from Crete. I see, moreover, many other Achaeans whose
names I could tell you, but there are two whom I can nowhere find,
Castor, breaker of horses, and Pollux the mighty boxer; they are
children of my mother, and own brothers to myself. Either they have
not left Lacedaemon, or else, though they have brought their ships,
they will not show themselves in battle for the shame and disgrace
that I have brought upon them.”
  She knew not that both these heroes were already lying under the
earth in their own land of Lacedaemon.
  Meanwhile the heralds were bringing the holy oath-offerings
through the city—two lambs and a goatskin of wine, the gift of earth;
and Idaeus brought the mixing bowl and the cups of gold. He went up to
Priam and said, “Son of Laomedon, the princes of the Trojans and
Achaeans bid you come down on to the plain and swear to a solemn
covenant. Alexandrus and Menelaus are to fight for Helen in single
combat, that she and all her wealth may go with him who is the victor.
We are to swear to a solemn covenant of peace whereby we others
shall dwell here in Troy, while the Achaeans return to Argos and the
land of the Achaeans.”
  The old man trembled as he heard, but bade his followers yoke the
horses, and they made all haste to do so. He mounted the chariot,
gathered the reins in his hand, and Antenor took his seat beside
him; they then drove through the Scaean gates on to the plain. When
they reached the ranks of the Trojans and Achaeans they left the
chariot, and with measured pace advanced into the space between the
hosts.
  Agamemnon and Ulysses both rose to meet them. The attendants brought
on the oath-offerings and mixed the wine in the mixing-bowls; they
poured water over the hands of the chieftains, and the son of Atreus
drew the dagger that hung by his sword, and cut wool from the lambs’
heads; this the men-servants gave about among the Trojan and Achaean
princes, and the son of Atreus lifted up his hands in prayer.
“Father Jove,” he cried, “that rulest in Ida, most glorious in
power, and thou oh Sun, that seest and givest ear to all things, Earth
and Rivers, and ye who in the realms below chastise the soul of him
that has broken his oath, witness these rites and guard them, that
they be not vain. If Alexandrus kills Menelaus, let him keep Helen and
all her wealth, while we sail home with our ships; but if Menelaus
kills Alexandrus, let the Trojans give back Helen and all that she
has; let them moreover pay such fine to the Achaeans as shall be
agreed upon, in testimony among those that shall be born hereafter.
Aid if Priam and his sons refuse such fine when Alexandrus has fallen,
then will I stay here and fight on till I have got satisfaction.”
  As he spoke he drew his knife across the throats of the victims, and
laid them down gasping and dying upon the ground, for the knife had
reft them of their strength. Then they poured wine from the
mixing-bowl into the cups, and prayed to the everlasting gods, saying,
Trojans and Achaeans among one another, “Jove, most great and
glorious, and ye other everlasting gods, grant that the brains of them
who shall first sin against their oaths—of them and their children-
may be shed upon the ground even as this wine, and let their wives
become the slaves of strangers.”
  Thus they prayed, but not as yet would Jove grant them their prayer.
Then Priam, descendant of Dardanus, spoke, saying, “Hear me, Trojans
and Achaeans, I will now go back to the wind-beaten city of Ilius: I
dare not with my own eyes witness this fight between my son and
Menelaus, for Jove and the other immortals alone know which shall
fall.”
  On this he laid the two lambs on his chariot and took his seat. He
gathered the reins in his hand, and Antenor sat beside him; the two
then went back to Ilius. Hector and Ulysses measured the ground, and
cast lots from a helmet of bronze to see which should take aim
first. Meanwhile the two hosts lifted up their hands and prayed
saying, “Father Jove, that rulest from Ida, most glorious in power,
grant that he who first brought about this war between us may die, and
enter the house of Hades, while we others remain at peace and abide by
our oaths.”
  Great Hector now turned his head aside while he shook the helmet,
and the lot of Paris flew out first. The others took their several
stations, each by his horses and the place where his arms were
lying, while Alexandrus, husband of lovely Helen, put on his goodly
armour. First he greaved his legs with greaves of good make and fitted
with ancle-clasps of silver; after this he donned the cuirass of his
brother Lycaon, and fitted it to his own body; he hung his
silver-studded sword of bronze about his shoulders, and then his
mighty shield. On his comely head he set his helmet, well-wrought,
with a crest of horse-hair that nodded menacingly above it, and he
grasped a redoubtable spear that suited his hands. In like fashion
Menelaus also put on his armour.
  When they had thus armed, each amid his own people, they strode
fierce of aspect into the open space, and both Trojans and Achaeans
were struck with awe as they beheld them. They stood near one
another on the measured ground, brandis
Eleanor Sinclair Oct 2015
In the crevice of conflation the planets watch,  
In awe as the worlds collide
Each solar system fusing as one
To create a world unlike any other
Being pulled into a hole in the universe
Darker than the empty night sky
And the lack of stars
The constellations pulled apart
Like strings being snapped
When in an instant
It all stops
For a few mere seconds everything is calm
Until BAM
The self destruction of the colliding worlds
Was a beauty to be marvelled at
Each system seemed to explode
And paint the dreary sky
Creating an array of colors
Forming new strung stars,
Reshaping the old ones
And starting a new life for everything
That once was
Space, the final frontier
Sanja Trifunovic Dec 2009
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –
Only this, and nothing more.”
  
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore –
Nameless here for evermore.
  
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door –
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; –
This it is, and nothing more.”
  
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you” – here I opened wide the door; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.
  
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” –
Merely this, and nothing more.
  
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis the wind and nothing more.”
  
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door –
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
  
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door –
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”
  
But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –  
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “other friends have flown before –
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”
  
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore –
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never – nevermore’.”
  
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore –
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
  
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my *****’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
  
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite – respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there balm in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil – prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore –
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore –
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend,” I shrieked, upstarting –
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!
Ulysses was left in the cloister, pondering on the means whereby
with Minerva’s help he might be able to **** the suitors. Presently he
said to Telemachus, “Telemachus, we must get the armour together and
take it down inside. Make some excuse when the suitors ask you why you
have removed it. Say that you have taken it to be out of the way of
the smoke, inasmuch as it is no longer what it was when Ulysses went
away, but has become soiled and begrimed with soot. Add to this more
particularly that you are afraid Jove may set them on to quarrel
over their wine, and that they may do each other some harm which may
disgrace both banquet and wooing, for the sight of arms sometimes
tempts people to use them.”
  Telemachus approved of what his father had said, so he called
nurse Euryclea and said, “Nurse, shut the women up in their room,
while I take the armour that my father left behind him down into the
store room. No one looks after it now my father is gone, and it has
got all smirched with soot during my own boyhood. I want to take it
down where the smoke cannot reach it.”
  “I wish, child,” answered Euryclea, “that you would take the
management of the house into your own hands altogether, and look after
all the property yourself. But who is to go with you and light you
to the store room? The maids would have so, but you would not let
them.
  “The stranger,” said Telemachus, “shall show me a light; when people
eat my bread they must earn it, no matter where they come from.”
  Euryclea did as she was told, and bolted the women inside their
room. Then Ulysses and his son made all haste to take the helmets,
shields, and spears inside; and Minerva went before them with a gold
lamp in her hand that shed a soft and brilliant radiance, whereon
Telemachus said, “Father, my eyes behold a great marvel: the walls,
with the rafters, crossbeams, and the supports on which they rest
are all aglow as with a flaming fire. Surely there is some god here
who has come down from heaven.”
  “Hush,” answered Ulysses, “hold your peace and ask no questions, for
this is the manner of the gods. Get you to your bed, and leave me here
to talk with your mother and the maids. Your mother in her grief
will ask me all sorts of questions.”
  On this Telemachus went by torch-light to the other side of the
inner court, to the room in which he always slept. There he lay in his
bed till morning, while Ulysses was left in the cloister pondering
on the means whereby with Minerva’s help he might be able to ****
the suitors.
  Then Penelope came down from her room looking like Venus or Diana,
and they set her a seat inlaid with scrolls of silver and ivory near
the fire in her accustomed place. It had been made by Icmalius and had
a footstool all in one piece with the seat itself; and it was
covered with a thick fleece: on this she now sat, and the maids came
from the women’s room to join her. They set about removing the
tables at which the wicked suitors had been dining, and took away
the bread that was left, with the cups from which they had drunk. They
emptied the embers out of the braziers, and heaped much wood upon them
to give both light and heat; but Melantho began to rail at Ulysses a
second time and said, “Stranger, do you mean to plague us by hanging
about the house all night and spying upon the women? Be off, you
wretch, outside, and eat your supper there, or you shall be driven out
with a firebrand.”
  Ulysses scowled at her and answered, “My good woman, why should
you be so angry with me? Is it because I am not clean, and my
clothes are all in rags, and because I am obliged to go begging
about after the manner of tramps and beggars generall? I too was a
rich man once, and had a fine house of my own; in those days I gave to
many a ***** such as I now am, no matter who he might be nor what he
wanted. I had any number of servants, and all the other things which
people have who live well and are accounted wealthy, but it pleased
Jove to take all away from me; therefore, woman, beware lest you too
come to lose that pride and place in which you now wanton above your
fellows; have a care lest you get out of favour with your mistress,
and lest Ulysses should come home, for there is still a chance that he
may do so. Moreover, though he be dead as you think he is, yet by
Apollo’s will he has left a son behind him, Telemachus, who will
note anything done amiss by the maids in the house, for he is now no
longer in his boyhood.”
  Penelope heard what he was saying and scolded the maid, “Impudent
baggage, said she, “I see how abominably you are behaving, and you
shall smart for it. You knew perfectly well, for I told you myself,
that I was going to see the stranger and ask him about my husband, for
whose sake I am in such continual sorrow.”
  Then she said to her head waiting woman Eurynome, “Bring a seat with
a fleece upon it, for the stranger to sit upon while he tells his
story, and listens to what I have to say. I wish to ask him some
questions.”
  Eurynome brought the seat at once and set a fleece upon it, and as
soon as Ulysses had sat down Penelope began by saying, “Stranger, I
shall first ask you who and whence are you? Tell me of your town and
parents.”
  “Madam;” answered Ulysses, “who on the face of the whole earth can
dare to chide with you? Your fame reaches the firmament of heaven
itself; you are like some blameless king, who upholds righteousness,
as the monarch over a great and valiant nation: the earth yields its
wheat and barley, the trees are loaded with fruit, the ewes bring
forth lambs, and the sea abounds with fish by reason of his virtues,
and his people do good deeds under him. Nevertheless, as I sit here in
your house, ask me some other question and do not seek to know my race
and family, or you will recall memories that will yet more increase my
sorrow. I am full of heaviness, but I ought not to sit weeping and
wailing in another person’s house, nor is it well to be thus
grieving continually. I shall have one of the servants or even
yourself complaining of me, and saying that my eyes swim with tears
because I am heavy with wine.”
  Then Penelope answered, “Stranger, heaven robbed me of all beauty,
whether of face or figure, when the Argives set sail for Troy and my
dear husband with them. If he were to return and look after my affairs
I should be both more respected and should show a better presence to
the world. As it is, I am oppressed with care, and with the
afflictions which heaven has seen fit to heap upon me. The chiefs from
all our islands—Dulichium, Same, and Zacynthus, as also from Ithaca
itself, are wooing me against my will and are wasting my estate. I can
therefore show no attention to strangers, nor suppliants, nor to
people who say that they are skilled artisans, but am all the time
brokenhearted about Ulysses. They want me to marry again at once,
and I have to invent stratagems in order to deceive them. In the first
place heaven put it in my mind to set up a great tambour-frame in my
room, and to begin working upon an enormous piece of fine
needlework. Then I said to them, ‘Sweethearts, Ulysses is indeed dead,
still, do not press me to marry again immediately; wait—for I would
not have my skill in needlework perish unrecorded—till I have
finished making a pall for the hero Laertes, to be ready against the
time when death shall take him. He is very rich, and the women of
the place will talk if he is laid out without a pall.’ This was what I
said, and they assented; whereon I used to keep working at my great
web all day long, but at night I would unpick the stitches again by
torch light. I fooled them in this way for three years without their
finding it out, but as time wore on and I was now in my fourth year,
in the waning of moons, and many days had been accomplished, those
good-for-nothing hussies my maids betrayed me to the suitors, who
broke in upon me and caught me; they were very angry with me, so I was
forced to finish my work whether I would or no. And now I do not see
how I can find any further shift for getting out of this marriage.
My parents are putting great pressure upon me, and my son chafes at
the ravages the suitors are making upon his estate, for he is now
old enough to understand all about it and is perfectly able to look
after his own affairs, for heaven has blessed him with an excellent
disposition. Still, notwithstanding all this, tell me who you are
and where you come from—for you must have had father and mother of
some sort; you cannot be the son of an oak or of a rock.”
  Then Ulysses answered, “madam, wife of Ulysses, since you persist in
asking me about my family, I will answer, no matter what it costs
me: people must expect to be pained when they have been exiles as long
as I have, and suffered as much among as many peoples. Nevertheless,
as regards your question I will tell you all you ask. There is a
fair and fruitful island in mid-ocean called Crete; it is thickly
peopled and there are nine cities in it: the people speak many
different languages which overlap one another, for there are Achaeans,
brave Eteocretans, Dorians of three-fold race, and noble Pelasgi.
There is a great town there, Cnossus, where Minos reigned who every
nine years had a conference with Jove himself. Minos was father to
Deucalion, whose son I am, for Deucalion had two sons Idomeneus and
myself. Idomeneus sailed for Troy, and I, who am the younger, am
called Aethon; my brother, however, was at once the older and the more
valiant of the two; hence it was in Crete that I saw Ulysses and
showed him hospitality, for the winds took him there as he was on
his way to Troy, carrying him out of his course from cape Malea and
leaving him in Amnisus off the cave of Ilithuia, where the harbours
are difficult to enter and he could hardly find shelter from the winds
that were then xaging. As soon as he got there he went into the town
and asked for Idomeneus, claiming to be his old and valued friend, but
Idomeneus had already set sail for Troy some ten or twelve days
earlier, so I took him to my own house and showed him every kind of
hospitality, for I had abundance of everything. Moreover, I fed the
men who were with him with barley meal from the public store, and
got subscriptions of wine and oxen for them to sacrifice to their
heart’s content. They stayed with me twelve days, for there was a gale
blowing from the North so strong that one could hardly keep one’s feet
on land. I suppose some unfriendly god had raised it for them, but
on the thirteenth day the wind dropped, and they got away.”
  Many a plausible tale did Ulysses further tell her, and Penelope
wept as she listened, for her heart was melted. As the snow wastes
upon the mountain tops when the winds from South East and West have
breathed upon it and thawed it till the rivers run bank full with
water, even so did her cheeks overflow with tears for the husband
who was all the time sitting by her side. Ulysses felt for her and was
for her, but he kept his eyes as hard as or iron without letting
them so much as quiver, so cunningly did he restrain his tears.
Then, when she had relieved herself by weeping, she turned to him
again and said: “Now, stranger, I shall put you to the test and see
whether or no you really did entertain my husband and his men, as
you say you did. Tell me, then, how he was dressed, what kind of a man
he was to look at, and so also with his companions.”
  “Madam,” answered Ulysses, “it is such a long time ago that I can
hardly say. Twenty years are come and gone since he left my home,
and went elsewhither; but I will tell you as well as I can
recollect. Ulysses wore a mantle of purple wool, double lined, and
it was fastened by a gold brooch with two catches for the pin. On
the face of this there was a device that showed a dog holding a
spotted fawn between his fore paws, and watching it as it lay
panting upon the ground. Every one marvelled at the way in which these
things had been done in gold, the dog looking at the fawn, and
strangling it, while the fawn was struggling convulsively to escape.
As for the shirt that he wore next his skin, it was so soft that it
fitted him like the skin of an onion, and glistened in the sunlight to
the admiration of all the women who beheld it. Furthermore I say,
and lay my saying to your heart, that I do not know whether Ulysses
wore these clothes when he left home, or whether one of his companions
had given them to him while he was on his voyage; or possibly some one
at whose house he was staying made him a present of them, for he was a
man of many friends and had few equals among the Achaeans. I myself
gave him a sword of bronze and a beautiful purple mantle, double
lined, with a shirt that went down to his feet, and I sent him on
board his ship with every mark of honour. He had a servant with him, a
little older than himself, and I can tell you what he was like; his
shoulders were hunched, he was dark, and he had thick curly hair.
His name was Eurybates, and Ulysses treated him with greater
familiarity than he did any of the others, as being the most
like-minded with himself.”
  Penelope was moved still more deeply as she heard the indisputable
proofs that Ulysses laid before her; and when she had again found
relief in tears she said to him, “Stranger, I was already disposed
to pity you, but henceforth you shall be honoured and made welcome
in my house. It was I who gave Ulysses the clothes you speak of. I
took them out of the store room and folded them up myself, and I
gave him also the gold brooch to wear as an ornament. Alas! I shall
never welcome him home again. It was by an ill fate that he ever set
out for that detested city whose very name I cannot bring myself
even to mention.”
  Then Ulysses answered, “Madam, wife of Ulysses, do not disfigure
yourself further by grieving thus bitterly for your loss, though I can
hardly blame you for doing so. A woman who has loved her husband and
borne him children, would naturally be grieved at losing him, even
though he were a worse man than Ulysses, who they say was like a
god. Still, cease your tears and listen to what I can tell I will hide
nothing from you, and can say with perfect truth that I have lately
heard of Ulysses as being alive and on his way home; he is among the
Thesprotians, and is bringing back much valuable treasure that he
has begged from one and another of them; but his ship and all his crew
were lost as they were leaving the Thrinacian island, for Jove and the
sun-god were angry with him because his men had slaughtered the
sun-god’s cattle, and they were all drowned to a man. But Ulysses
stuck to the keel of the ship and was drifted on to the land of the
Phaecians, who are near of kin to the immortals, and who treated him
as though he had been a god, giving him many presents, and wishing
to escort him home safe and sound. In fact Ulysses would have been
here long ago, had he not thought better to go from land to land
gathering wealth; for there is no man living who is so wily as he
is; there is no one can compare with him. Pheidon king of the
Thesprotians told me all this, and he swore to me—making
drink-offerings in his house as he did so—that the ship was by the
water side and the crew found who would take Ulysses to his own
country. He sent me off first, for there happened to be a
Thesprotian ship sailing for the wheat-growing island of Dulichium,
but he showed me all treasure Ulysses had got together, and he had
enough lying in the house of king Pheidon to keep his family for ten
generations; but the king said Ulysses had gone to Dodona that he
might learn Jove’s mind from the high oak tree, and know whether after
so long an absence he should return to Ithaca openly or in secret.
So you may know he is safe and will be here shortly; he is close at
hand and cannot remain away from home much longer; nevertheless I will
confirm my words with an oath, and call Jove who is the first and
mightiest of all gods to witness, as also that hearth of Ulysses to
which I have now come, that all I have spoken shall surely come to
pass. Ulysses will return in this self same year; with the end of this
moon and the beginning of the next he will b
Tivonna Dec 2016
This morn is surreal
as I tread my well worn path.
A foreboding chills . . .
My spirit lags as my steps,
while hairs ***** as soldiers.

Sitting myself down,
to greet my beloved friend
as the sun rises,
my retreat and my oneness,
setting the tone for my day.

I long for my love,
to be wrapped in calm comfort.
Today is off-beat . . .
as absence screams a no-show,
nor a rustle in presence.

Absence in ravens
calling and seeking shelter,
nor tail-balancers
with their incessant chatter,
or Aves in morning song.

Many marvelled you,
seeking your safe arm's stronghold,
or your canopied
shelter from the day's weather,
or meditative lessons.

Today you're absent!
Your towering strength now void.
A Force Majeure
severing you to your roots
. . .
yet will maintain your essence.

The rising sun warms,
drying silent tears of loss,
leaving gratitude
for gifted observations,
endowing enlightenment.

Tivonna
Definition: Force Majeure is a phenomena, Act of God, or other unavoidable casualty.

The above write is about my grief over a casualty of a 50 foot plus Canadian Maple tree. It has been in my backyard view for years and  inspiration for many of my writes. My words can not fully convey that majestic sight and significance but is felt internally. It has taught me a lot about life, for in nature . . . My Spirit communes.
Sofia Paderes Nov 2015
Woman, you have the backbone of an earth
and a faith that Abraham would have marvelled at.
You walk and you follow with your eyes above ground,
your feet leave imprints of peace.
Woman, you laugh at the sun
You bathe in rays that scorch because you know
That pain only lasts through the night.
You of all people know what it's like to have beauty rise from ashes.
Ulysses slept in the cloister upon an undressed bullock’s hide, on
the top of which he threw several skins of the sheep the suitors had
eaten, and Eurynome threw a cloak over him after he had laid himself
down. There, then, Ulysses lay wakefully brooding upon the way in
which he should **** the suitors; and by and by, the women who had
been in the habit of misconducting themselves with them, left the
house giggling and laughing with one another. This made Ulysses very
angry, and he doubted whether to get up and **** every single one of
them then and there, or to let them sleep one more and last time
with the suitors. His heart growled within him, and as a ***** with
puppies growls and shows her teeth when she sees a stranger, so did
his heart growl with anger at the evil deeds that were being done: but
he beat his breast and said, “Heart, be still, you had worse than this
to bear on the day when the terrible Cyclops ate your brave
companions; yet you bore it in silence till your cunning got you
safe out of the cave, though you made sure of being killed.”
  Thus he chided with his heart, and checked it into endurance, but he
tossed about as one who turns a paunch full of blood and fat in
front of a hot fire, doing it first on one side and then on the other,
that he may get it cooked as soon as possible, even so did he turn
himself about from side to side, thinking all the time how, single
handed as he was, he should contrive to **** so large a body of men as
the wicked suitors. But by and by Minerva came down from heaven in the
likeness of a woman, and hovered over his head saying, “My poor
unhappy man, why do you lie awake in this way? This is your house:
your wife is safe inside it, and so is your son who is just such a
young man as any father may be proud of.”
  “Goddess,” answered Ulysses, “all that you have said is true, but
I am in some doubt as to how I shall be able to **** these wicked
suitors single handed, seeing what a number of them there always
are. And there is this further difficulty, which is still more
considerable. Supposing that with Jove’s and your assistance I succeed
in killing them, I must ask you to consider where I am to escape to
from their avengers when it is all over.”
  “For shame,” replied Minerva, “why, any one else would trust a worse
ally than myself, even though that ally were only a mortal and less
wise than I am. Am I not a goddess, and have I not protected you
throughout in all your troubles? I tell you plainly that even though
there were fifty bands of men surrounding us and eager to **** us, you
should take all their sheep and cattle, and drive them away with
you. But go to sleep; it is a very bad thing to lie awake all night,
and you shall be out of your troubles before long.”
  As she spoke she shed sleep over his eyes, and then went back to
Olympus.
  While Ulysses was thus yielding himself to a very deep slumber
that eased the burden of his sorrows, his admirable wife awoke, and
sitting up in her bed began to cry. When she had relieved herself by
weeping she prayed to Diana saying, “Great Goddess Diana, daughter
of Jove, drive an arrow into my heart and slay me; or let some
whirlwind ****** me up and bear me through paths of darkness till it
drop me into the mouths of overflowing Oceanus, as it did the
daughters of Pandareus. The daughters of Pandareus lost their father
and mother, for the gods killed them, so they were left orphans. But
Venus took care of them, and fed them on cheese, honey, and sweet
wine. Juno taught them to excel all women in beauty of form and
understanding; Diana gave them an imposing presence, and Minerva
endowed them with every kind of accomplishment; but one day when Venus
had gone up to Olympus to see Jove about getting them married (for
well does he know both what shall happen and what not happen to
every one) the storm winds came and spirited them away to become
handmaids to the dread Erinyes. Even so I wish that the gods who
live in heaven would hide me from mortal sight, or that fair Diana
might strike me, for I would fain go even beneath the sad earth if I
might do so still looking towards Ulysses only, and without having
to yield myself to a worse man than he was. Besides, no matter how
much people may grieve by day, they can put up with it so long as they
can sleep at night, for when the eyes are closed in slumber people
forget good and ill alike; whereas my misery haunts me even in my
dreams. This very night methought there was one lying by my side who
was like Ulysses as he was when he went away with his host, and I
rejoiced, for I believed that it was no dream, but the very truth
itself.”
  On this the day broke, but Ulysses heard the sound of her weeping,
and it puzzled him, for it seemed as though she already knew him and
was by his side. Then he gathered up the cloak and the fleeces on
which he had lain, and set them on a seat in the cloister, but he took
the bullock’s hide out into the open. He lifted up his hands to
heaven, and prayed, saying “Father Jove, since you have seen fit to
bring me over land and sea to my own home after all the afflictions
you have laid upon me, give me a sign out of the mouth of some one
or other of those who are now waking within the house, and let me have
another sign of some kind from outside.”
  Thus did he pray. Jove heard his prayer and forthwith thundered high
up among the from the splendour of Olympus, and Ulysses was glad
when he heard it. At the same time within the house, a miller-woman
from hard by in the mill room lifted up her voice and gave him another
sign. There were twelve miller-women whose business it was to grind
wheat and barley which are the staff of life. The others had ground
their task and had gone to take their rest, but this one had not yet
finished, for she was not so strong as they were, and when she heard
the thunder she stopped grinding and gave the sign to her master.
“Father Jove,” said she, “you who rule over heaven and earth, you have
thundered from a clear sky without so much as a cloud in it, and
this means something for somebody; grant the prayer, then, of me
your poor servant who calls upon you, and let this be the very last
day that the suitors dine in the house of Ulysses. They have worn me
out with the labour of grinding meal for them, and I hope they may
never have another dinner anywhere at all.”
  Ulysses was glad when he heard the omens conveyed to him by the
woman’s speech, and by the thunder, for he knew they meant that he
should avenge himself on the suitors.
  Then the other maids in the house rose and lit the fire on the
hearth; Telemachus also rose and put on his clothes. He girded his
sword about his shoulder, bound his sandals on his comely feet, and
took a doughty spear with a point of sharpened bronze; then he went to
the threshold of the cloister and said to Euryclea, “Nurse, did you
make the stranger comfortable both as regards bed and board, or did
you let him shift for himself?—for my mother, good woman though she
is, has a way of paying great attention to second-rate people, and
of neglecting others who are in reality much better men.”
  “Do not find fault child,” said Euryclea, “when there is no one to
find fault with. The stranger sat and drank his wine as long as he
liked: your mother did ask him if he would take any more bread and
he said he would not. When he wanted to go to bed she told the
servants to make one for him, but he said he was re such wretched
outcast that he would not sleep on a bed and under blankets; he
insisted on having an undressed bullock’s hide and some sheepskins put
for him in the cloister and I threw a cloak over him myself.”
  Then Telemachus went out of the court to the place where the
Achaeans were meeting in assembly; he had his spear in his hand, and
he was not alone, for his two dogs went with him. But Euryclea
called the maids and said, “Come, wake up; set about sweeping the
cloisters and sprinkling them with water to lay the dust; put the
covers on the seats; wipe down the tables, some of you, with a wet
sponge; clean out the mixing-jugs and the cups, and for water from the
fountain at once; the suitors will be here directly; they will be here
early, for it is a feast day.”
  Thus did she speak, and they did even as she had said: twenty of
them went to the fountain for water, and the others set themselves
busily to work about the house. The men who were in attendance on
the suitors also came up and began chopping firewood. By and by the
women returned from the fountain, and the swineherd came after them
with the three best pigs he could pick out. These he let feed about
the premises, and then he said good-humouredly to Ulysses,
“Stranger, are the suitors treating you any better now, or are they as
insolent as ever?”
  “May heaven,” answered Ulysses, “requite to them the wickedness with
which they deal high-handedly in another man’s house without any sense
of shame.”
  Thus did they converse; meanwhile Melanthius the goatherd came up,
for he too was bringing in his best goats for the suitors’ dinner; and
he had two shepherds with him. They tied the goats up under the
gatehouse, and then Melanthius began gibing at Ulysses. “Are you still
here, stranger,” said he, “to pester people by begging about the
house? Why can you not go elsewhere? You and I shall not come to an
understanding before we have given each other a taste of our fists.
You beg without any sense of decency: are there not feasts elsewhere
among the Achaeans, as well as here?”
  Ulysses made no answer, but bowed his head and brooded. Then a third
man, Philoetius, joined them, who was bringing in a barren heifer
and some goats. These were brought over by the boatmen who are there
to take people over when any one comes to them. So Philoetius made his
heifer and his goats secure under the gatehouse, and then went up to
the swineherd. “Who, Swineherd,” said he, “is this stranger that is
lately come here? Is he one of your men? What is his family? Where
does he come from? Poor fellow, he looks as if he had been some
great man, but the gods give sorrow to whom they will—even to kings
if it so pleases them
  As he spoke he went up to Ulysses and saluted him with his right
hand; “Good day to you, father stranger,” said he, “you seem to be
very poorly off now, but I hope you will have better times by and
by. Father Jove, of all gods you are the most malicious. We are your
own children, yet you show us no mercy in all our misery and
afflictions. A sweat came over me when I saw this man, and my eyes
filled with tears, for he reminds me of Ulysses, who I fear is going
about in just such rags as this man’s are, if indeed he is still among
the living. If he is already dead and in the house of Hades, then,
alas! for my good master, who made me his stockman when I was quite
young among the Cephallenians, and now his cattle are countless; no
one could have done better with them than I have, for they have bred
like ears of corn; nevertheless I have to keep bringing them in for
others to eat, who take no heed of his son though he is in the
house, and fear not the wrath of heaven, but are already eager to
divide Ulysses’ property among them because he has been away so
long. I have often thought—only it would not be right while his son
is living—of going off with the cattle to some foreign country; bad
as this would be, it is still harder to stay here and be ill-treated
about other people’s herds. My position is intolerable, and I should
long since have run away and put myself under the protection of some
other chief, only that I believe my poor master will yet return, and
send all these suitors flying out of the house.”
  “Stockman,” answered Ulysses, “you seem to be a very well-disposed
person, and I can see that you are a man of sense. Therefore I will
tell you, and will confirm my words with an oath: by Jove, the chief
of all gods, and by that hearth of Ulysses to which I am now come,
Ulysses shall return before you leave this place, and if you are so
minded you shall see him killing the suitors who are now masters
here.”
  “If Jove were to bring this to pass,” replied the stockman, “you
should see how I would do my very utmost to help him.”
  And in like manner Eumaeus prayed that Ulysses might return home.
  Thus did they converse. Meanwhile the suitors were hatching a plot
to ****** Telemachus: but a bird flew near them on their left hand—an
eagle with a dove in its talons. On this Amphinomus said, “My friends,
this plot of ours to ****** Telemachus will not succeed; let us go
to dinner instead.”
  The others assented, so they went inside and laid their cloaks on
the benches and seats. They sacrificed the sheep, goats, pigs, and the
heifer, and when the inward meats were cooked they served them
round. They mixed the wine in the mixing-bowls, and the swineherd gave
every man his cup, while Philoetius handed round the bread in the
breadbaskets, and Melanthius poured them out their wine. Then they
laid their hands upon the good things that were before them.
  Telemachus purposely made Ulysses sit in the part of the cloister
that was paved with stone; he gave him a shabby-looking seat at a
little table to himself, and had his portion of the inward meats
brought to him, with his wine in a gold cup. “Sit there,” said he,
“and drink your wine among the great people. I will put a stop to
the gibes and blows of the suitors, for this is no public house, but
belongs to Ulysses, and has passed from him to me. Therefore, suitors,
keep your hands and your tongues to yourselves, or there will be
mischief.”
  The suitors bit their lips, and marvelled at the boldness of his
speech; then Antinous said, “We do not like such language but we
will put up with it, for Telemachus is threatening us in good earnest.
If Jove had let us we should have put a stop to his brave talk ere
now.”
  Thus spoke Antinous, but Telemachus heeded him not. Meanwhile the
heralds were bringing the holy hecatomb through the city, and the
Achaeans gathered under the shady grove of Apollo.
  Then they roasted the outer meat, drew it off the spits, gave
every man his portion, and feasted to their hearts’ content; those who
waited at table gave Ulysses exactly the same portion as the others
had, for Telemachus had told them to do so.
  But Minerva would not let the suitors for one moment drop their
insolence, for she wanted Ulysses to become still more bitter
against them. Now there happened to be among them a ribald fellow,
whose name was Ctesippus, and who came from Same. This man,
confident in his great wealth, was paying court to the wife of
Ulysses, and said to the suitors, “Hear what I have to say. The
stranger has already had as large a portion as any one else; this is
well, for it is not right nor reasonable to ill-treat any guest of
Telemachus who comes here. I will, however, make him a present on my
own account, that he may have something to give to the bath-woman,
or to some other of Ulysses’ servants.”
  As he spoke he picked up a heifer’s foot from the meat-basket in
which it lay, and threw it at Ulysses, but Ulysses turned his head a
little aside, and avoided it, smiling grimly Sardinian fashion as he
did so, and it hit the wall, not him. On this Telemachus spoke
fiercely to Ctesippus, “It is a good thing for you,” said he, “that
the stranger turned his head so that you missed him. If you had hit
him I should have run you through with my spear, and your father would
have had to see about getting you buried rather than married in this
house. So let me have no more unseemly behaviour from any of you,
for I am grown up now to the knowledge of good and evil and understand
what is going on, instead of being the child that I have been
heretofore. I have long seen you killing my sheep and making free with
my corn and wine: I have put up with this, for one man is no match for
many, but do me no further violence. Still, if you wish to **** me,
**** me; I would far rather die than see such disgraceful scenes day
after day—guests insulted, and men dragging the women servants
about the house in
magnoliajelly Apr 2014
what happens to a friendship deferred?
does it spark like a cord finally tugging out of its plug?
does it sputter like the final heavy coughs of blood?
does it give one last tap of its heel before walking elsewhere?

what happens to a friendship deferred?
does it melt like a freezie in the sun, all sticky, sickly sweet?
does it spoil like yogurt two weeks late?
does it boil as if it were attempting to burn water?

or does it sink?
does it make its way to some statuesque marble form to be marvelled at,
but not touched or held?
not even imagined?

what happens?

april/20/2014
*11:12 P.M.
inspired by "Harlem" and its form
XXIII

Is it indeed so? If I lay here dead,
Wouldst thou miss any life in losing mine?
And would the sun for thee more coldly shine
Because of grave-damps falling round my head?
I marvelled, my Beloved, when I read
Thy thought so in the letter. I am thine—
But . . . so much to thee? Can I pour thy wine
While my hands tremble ? Then my soul, instead
Of dreams of death, resumes life’s lower range.
Then, love me, Love! look on me—breathe on me!
As brighter ladies do not count it strange,
For love, to give up acres and degree,
I yield the grave for thy sake, and exchange
My near sweet view of Heaven, for earth with thee!
The highest market town in the land
and
I've been there,
sat in the town square
looked down across the valley and marvelled at the peaks,
wondered how the sheep survive
so high
in Hawes.

The summer pours its Yorkshire sun on those who come to visit Hawes,
ideal for those who like to pause amidst the scenery
**** in the greenery
and just be still.

I will return to watch the seasons burn the land in colours bright
and I,
hold tight to this my dream
for I have seen
Gods handiwork
at work among the dales.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
            Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
            This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
            Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
            Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
            With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
            Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
            Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my *****’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!
I quite like this poem, suspense...
I did NOT write this! It was written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1845.
Beyond the pale of memory,
In some mysterious dusky grove;
A place of shadows utterly,
Where never coos the turtle-dove,
A world forgotten of the sun:
I dreamed we met when day was done,
And marvelled at our ancient love.

Met there by chance, long kept apart,
We wandered through the darkling glades;
And that old language of the heart
We sought to speak: alas! poor shades!
Over our pallid lips had run
The waters of oblivion,
Which crown all loves of men or maids.

In vain we stammered: from afar
Our old desire shone cold and dead:
That time was distant as a star,
When eyes were bright and lips were red.
And still we went with downcast eye
And no delight in being nigh,
Poor shadows most uncomforted.

Ah, Lalage! while life is ours,
Hoard not thy beauty rose and white,
But pluck the pretty fleeing flowers
That deck our little path of light:
For all too soon we twain shall tread
The bitter pastures of the dead:
Estranged, sad spectres of the night.
Edna Sweetlove Mar 2015
A famous "Barry Hodges" poem!

I was strolling along the Normandy beaches
In the close vicinity of Caen one day
With a very tasty piece of arm-candy to hand
When I found a bleached human femur on the beach.
Oh dear me, what thoughts this conjured up in my brain
As I imagined whose bone it might have been!
Perhaps some pathetic soldier boy landing in forty-four
Who got slotted by a gallant German gunner,
His eyes feasting on the sacrificial cannon fodder
So foolishly supplied for his target practice.

Then, as I grabbed my lady friend's juicy ****,
Causing her to turn and sink her tongue into my earhole,
We sank onto the sands in order to sate our lusts,
(enflamed by a very delicious meal of *moules marinières

and a bucket or two of well-chilled Muscadet sur Lie)
I thought, what the **** does it all matter?
This is now, and that was then, and this old world
Has become a much nicer place nowadays;
But how mistaken I was in that fond thought;
Oh what an idealist I am in a world of woe.

For, all of a sudden, a contingent of fat dwarfs appeared,
Totally naked apart from their luminous Uncle Sam hats
And the Stars and Stripes hanging from their arseholes;
How I marvelled at their disgusting shapes
(and how surprised was I to find their genitals
were of normal measurements and thus
rather intrusively large by comparison
with the rest of their miniature bodies).
O dear Lord and alleged Father of Mankind
Forgive their horrid ways verily and forsooth.

With a whoop, those demented military retards, [see note below]
The famous 118th battalion ****** Marine veterans,
A contingent of whom emerged from a portable toilet
(which must have been a bit of a tight squeeze),
Chopped my girl-friend up with their bayonets,
Whereupon I crapped myself in terror and pity,
Before retrieving the purse from the eviscerated corpse,
Realizing that her PIN number was still useable
Until 'les flics' discovered her unfortunate remains
After the shore ***** had partaken thereof.
NOTE *: The 118th ****** Marines were a very brave battalion of dwarfs of whom unfortunately 91% drowned on the Normandy beaches on D-Day as the water was too deep for them. Their tiny descendants visit Normandy from time to time to commemorate this sad event and usually get totally rat-arsed on too much Calvados (being gnome-like in stature, they have a smaller capacity to absorb large quantities of *****). It was my bad luck that my visit coincided with one of their trips as their brutality is world-famous and their lack of intelligence is wondrous. They are basically retards and best avoided.
tc Jul 2015
i am ambidextrous – i can count how many times you’ve hurt me on both hands and i am ambivalent, i love you but i hate you

there is a certain ambience i recall in flashbacks and unspoken memories, however it fades as quickly as my smile when your name is mentioned

there is so much ambiguity in your eyes when you gaze at me – i stopped marvelling over you and your thoughts and instead marvelled over myself

who am i, without you? what am i, without you?

i am a life of ambition
you are a life of indifference
rough write. i haven't written in a year and i miss it so so much, but i'm trying to fight through my writer's block. please be kind :-(
Molly Oct 2013
When I was younger they told me I was always
full of heat even when I swam in the sea and danced in the puddles,
I could be feral and free because I was always 37 degrees.
They marvelled at me.

How things change, swathed in blankets. I am always freezing.
I produce just enough body heat not to denature enzymes,
I am only warm with someone beside me, so dependant
that I need you not just for my dreams, my skin craves your heat.
The music shot into her eardrum like a trance-inducing drug, each bang of the drum, each rhythmic flow, each string of the guitar would slowly take her under. Under hypnosis.
The power of the beat was so intense, that it lifted her chin and shoved her into the floor of dance. There, was where she found herself in a state of uncontrolled and vigorous rhythmic movement. The music had somewhat possessed  her limbs as though they had a mind of their own. Her routine was calculated and her foot movement, unique.
She, all at once, knew and knew not what she was doing. As her surroundings stood marvelled in awe, she was alone. Her hips shaking and bouncing as though a chemical mixture was being synthesised deep within her, a mixture that was yet to explode. Explode with power so great, it would possess others in her 'roundings. Surroundings that would, in time faster than inhalation, be under the same knife. With movements and sways that embodied and humanised the worship of music.
Rhythm is their God, the controller of beings. Almost as if dance is the ritual of prayer, and the club, a mosque or sacred ground.
Like rhythm is the favoured slave-driver. Like rhythm is the unfeared tyrant. Like rhythm is what brings the animalistic spirit within us all back to life after daylight and spiritual rest. Like rhythm is the pair of unspoken arms that push them, its subjects, over the precipise and into the river of flow. And under The Rhythm's spell, they will move, they will love it.
Tim Peetz Dec 2016
I dreamed I stood upon a little hill,
And at my feet there lay a ground, that seemed
Like a waste garden, flowering at its will
With buds and blossoms. There were pools that dreamed
Black and unruffled; there were white lilies
A few, and crocuses, and violets
Purple or pale, snake-like fritillaries
Scarce seen for the rank grass, and through green nets
Blue eyes of shy peryenche winked in the sun.
And there were curious flowers, before unknown,
Flowers that were stained with moonlight, or with shades
Of Nature's wilful moods; and here a one
That had drunk in the transitory tone
Of one brief moment in a sunset; blades
Of grass that in an hundred springs had been
Slowly but exquisitely nurtured by the stars,
And watered with the scented dew long cupped
In lilies, that for rays of sun had seen
Only God's glory, for never a sunrise mars
The luminous air of Heaven. Beyond, abrupt,
A grey stone wall, o'ergrown with velvet moss
Uprose; and gazing I stood long, all mazed
To see a place so strange, so sweet, so fair.
And as I stood and marvelled, lo! across
The garden came a youth; one hand he raised
To shield him from the sun, his wind-tossed hair
Was twined with flowers, and in his hand he bore
A purple bunch of bursting grapes, his eyes
Were clear as crystal, naked all was he,
White as the snow on pathless mountains frore,
Red were his lips as red wine-spilith that dyes
A marble floor, his brow chalcedony.
And he came near me, with his lips uncurled
And kind, and caught my hand and kissed my mouth,
And gave me grapes to eat, and said, 'Sweet friend,
Come I will show thee shadows of the world
And images of life. See from the South
Comes the pale pageant that hath never an end.'
And lo! within the garden of my dream
I saw two walking on a shining plain
Of golden light. The one did joyous seem
And fair and blooming, and a sweet refrain
Came from his lips; he sang of pretty maids
And joyous love of comely girl and boy,
His eyes were bright, and 'mid the dancing blades
Of golden grass his feet did trip for joy;
And in his hand he held an ivory lute
With strings of gold that were as maidens' hair,
And sang with voice as tuneful as a flute,
And round his neck three chains of roses were.
But he that was his comrade walked aside;
He was full sad and sweet, and his large eyes
Were strange with wondrous brightness, staring wide
With gazing; and he sighed with many sighs
That moved me, and his cheeks were wan and white
Like pallid lilies, and his lips were red
Like poppies, and his hands he clenched tight,
And yet again unclenched, and his head
Was wreathed with moon-flowers pale as lips of death.
A purple robe he wore, o'erwrought in gold
With the device of a great snake, whose breath
Was fiery flame: which when I did behold
I fell a-weeping, and I cried, 'Sweet youth,
Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove
These pleasant realms? I pray thee speak me sooth
What is thy name?' He said, 'My name is Love.'
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, 'He lieth, for his name is Shame,
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.'
Then sighing, said the other, 'Have thy will,
I am the Love that dare not speak its name.'
This poem was written by Lord Alfred Douglas and published in "The Chameleon" in December 1894.
Nigel Morgan Oct 2015
Café for Cats

Take your shoes off
and close the child-gate
we don’t want the cats
out in the street please
thank you : our cats
your pleasure their purrs
together
make for a blissful moment
in a hectic world
on this busy street
don’t leave without
taking a cat on your lap
stroking their pedigree fur
all for you and coffee too


Street Art

Prevalent in these parts
the impromptu sketch
the wildly alternative mark
on arches grand designs on
construction-site hoardings
and take this side of a building
here untouched by windows
a canvas blank of brick where
Gulliver’s sister lies gagged
and bound in a Lilliput house
her knees poking through
the upstairs floor


tokyobike

in pastel-green apricot-pink
a lithe machine of delicate frame
and slim-line wheels
would look well in the hall
and out on the street
if properly socked with
your oh so short skirt
the gym-honed thighs
the custom rucksack
tight on your back


Whirl of Leaves

The breath that blows
these notes across the page
the murmuration of fingers
against those resonant strings
up and down to and fro
on music’s path go
the flute and the harp
pursuing the ground
into the autumn air
chasing the wind
until . . .
at a passing wall
they are stilled
into motionless
their rise and swirl
emptied of breath
no more to blow
or pluck these dancing
murmuring
wind-driven notes
but into fermata’s
grasp    

(where despite
a futile final flurry
a long bar’s rest
takes hold
till Spring)


St Paul’s by Night

From across the river
an unexpected view
not just that gracious dome
but the building below
substantially whole complete
for once not hidden by proximity
or an errant developer’s whim
the progress to the great south door
unimpeded when we walked
the well-tempered bridge
as high on the lofty cranes
bright red stars guided
our journey home


Askam Square

In this London square
the trees hold still
as sculptures in
the nothing air
no breeze to animate
their leaves except
a steady gaze might catch
a gentle oscillation
here and there

La Maison vert foncé

So very green this perfect Hoxton house
it could be in a petite ville Française
incongruous here – but such a treasure
geranium-filled window boxes
lace curtained attic rooms
just-have-to-have-a-look inside and see
the dress-maker’s table the library of books
the posters artists’ prints and all
a purposeful lady sits typing at her desk
costume directions for a Pirandello play


Daughter

Last year she’d bought a boat on the river
this year she’s in New York for the week
Keeping tabs on daughters can be wearisome
you hope for hug and to hear that certain voice
see eyes that haven’t changed their depth
since a child when you marvelled at their colour
so - it seems you won’t be seeing her this time around
but she’ll be in touch when she gets back she says
and ‘we’ll talk’ . . . she says.

Urban Fox**

dogs don’t have such a brush of a tail
a flattened skull or triangle-like ears
one was about to cross our path
thought better of it and retreated
behind a bush content to wait
till we’d passed on by
I
writing just the other day
about the fox of Chinese lore
remembered this celestial dog
had nine tails, four legs and a golden coat
served the Palace of Sun and Moon
transcended both the yin and yang
Alan McClure Mar 2013
Skinned knee, tree-barked knuckles,
fights in the long grass pal.
Friends so long that we've our own,
private language
(which renders these public outpourings
largely irrelevant)
and can go years, now,
with no contact
yet never really be apart.

Last Christmas we hooked up,
marvelled at the passing of time,
and you recalled that the last time we met
I gave you a book of my poems.

"Did you read them?" I asked,
and brilliantly, unembarrassed,
you replied:
"No.  I looked at the first one,
saw that it went over the page,
thought: 'Oh, that's long -
I'll read that later,'
but I never did."  
And we laughed uproariously
as I seldom do with anyone else.

But I know
that long after every other copy
has been thumbed ragged,
misplaced,
passed on
and lost
your copy will remain
pristine and safe
on your shelf

Because although you have
no more interest in poetry now
than either of us did at the age of eleven,
you'll look after it
because your pal wrote it.
Pete King Mar 2017
I've always marvelled at the human brain,
And the beauty of its complex intricacies.
It can process at speed beyond comprehension,
Its more efficient than any man-made invention,
Until I'm talking to a female... then it just really ***** me over.
sev May 2015
Ace
Our faults lined up like constellations
Shown alight on the midnight sky
We marvelled at them lovingly, in silence
From your bed and mine

Our sins kept us warm like the morning sun
Keeping life within our reach
They awakened our hearts, killed our darkness,
Kept our resolves breached

Our love polluted our hearts with selfishness
Planted resentment in our minds
And now we hate for never finding
Where each other chose to hide
Adam Latham Sep 2014
King Neptune sat upon his saline throne
And cried out loud to all the sea drenched sway,
"More sport, more sport" he yelled unto his own,
"That I might ease the boredom brought this day.
You, Dolphin, bring your wisdom unto me
And pray tell of that light, that coastal hue
Which cuts the dark asunder to my sea,
'Cross leaden skies to blind us all we few."

A hastening fin and quickly to his place,
The wise old Dolphin, gripped with fear and awe,
Bowed solemnly, then with a gentle grace
Explained what shone upon his master's shore.
"The glare, those slicing beams that shine at night
Warn pending doom to all who sail to near,
The jagged teeth of rocks are such a sight
To instil e'en the hardest men with fear.

Men's hands, those mortal gems the gods employ,
Have seized upon the danger of it all,
And built a structure warning of the ploy
Of all Sea Lords to bring about their fall.
And so the Lighthouse, named with ample sense,
Can only mean a blasphemy to thee,
So sailors can quite safely trespass hence
From port to port, unto the open sea."

(Neptune)
"No more! My once cool spirit rages hot
And boils a fury charring to the bone,
I see the House of Human has forgot
That they are ours, amusing us alone.
We Gods, we masters of their finite lives
Demand their will, their thoughts, their breathing souls,
To serve without regret our divine hives
With worship, prayer, and swinging incense bowls.

Strange feeling, 'tis the curdling of my blood,
The clotting of my rage to pure disdain,
Revenge is stoked where once pure anger stood,
Enough to charge mankind to think again.
Come trident keeper, serve my thrice pronged arm
And gird my ***** with implements of war,
The time has come to use such lethal charm
That foolish men like these cannot ignore.

A bellowed word, the tide is at my tongue
And wave on wave is mercy to my feet,
Children of the sea rise up in song
And on the Lighthouse moorings thrash and beat.
Seek victory, seize woe upon that hill
And raze in moistened load their pillared sin,
My kingdom shall devour this bitter pill,
'Til it shall be as if it had not been."

On land a Priest, Tiberius by name,
A servant to the Goddess of the Hunt,
Meanwhile had climbed the saturated frame
To view with nonchalance the ocean front.
These seven days had seen Diana's shrine
Find several hundred pilgrims on its plot,
And feeling soon the strains of the divine
Had hoped the walk would ease his troubled lot.

Upon the coast he'd found this Titan's torch
When from his daily burdens he had fled,
A walk one hour from the lunar porch
Where tithes were paid and healing prayers were said.
And from the top he surveyed all the world
Around about, inland and to the sea,
And marvelled at the way the water curled
Itself onto the shore so constantly.

Though mesmerised, his senses were not dulled,
A sound, a buzz, a percolating hum
Fell on his ears until his eyes were pulled
To ripples forming in the salty ****.
A tremor was the herald he surmised
For one whose habitation was the sea,
But even then what 'rose before his eyes
Was something that he thought would never be.

A giant crowned with royal ornament
And plates of golden armour on his chest,
Reared up out of the depths in quick movement
Which saw the waves removed and pulled abreast.
A thunderclap and lightening bolts galore
Along with all the earthquakes there could be,
Made our heroic priest fear all the more
As Neptune stood astride the choppy sea.

The stature of a God cannot be ruled,
But here Tiberius measured a mile,
From sandalled feet to head and hair bejewelled
With water droplet gems set regal style.
He noticed that this ocean deity
Well placed amongst the swells of his domain,
Now roll his eyes towards him hatefully
And bellow words the skies could not contain.

"Six nights in seven I have seen the light
From this abomination cast a spell,
And give to those that would not have insight,
A knowledge of the coastal rocks that dwell.
Tonight I will destroy it piece by piece
And reclaim once again the water's grave,
The perils of my realm will then increase
And men of ships I once more shall enslave.
I call upon all life of which I rule
And Mother Nature's elemental froth,
Join with me in the use of anger's tool,
Tear down each brick with undiluted wrath!"

Tiberius was quick in his reply,
His nerves suppressed to give a hardened look,
Inside a churning stomach would not lie
Yet somehow courage managed this rebuke,
" I care not for the wars of Gods and Men,
But hearken Neptune, hear this heartfelt pledge,
Strike not your hand against this lighted den
For by that action you would cross the edge.
The earth beneath my feet is holy ground
And sanctioned sacred at the throne of Jove,
I prayed my blessing when I heard the sound,
That ****** of rushing water in your grove."

The Sea God boomed displeasure with a roar
That pierced the cooling air with heated might,
A calmness quickly soothed him to the core
Though whitened knuckles gripped his trident tight.
"How can this be from one whose station's known
To beg the favour of the King of Kings,
Your faith is to one God and one alone
And subject only to the gift she brings.
I do not recognise the swift dictate
You prayed unto my brother in the heights,
Your life is therefore forfeit to The Fates,
As I condemn to death your house of lights."

No more was said but actions stole the words
Before Tiberius could speak again,
This Sea Lord with his head amongst the birds
Now caused the air to turn, the sky to rain.
He strode towards the object of his ills
With nothing but contempt within his eyes,
Incanting as he went the magic frills
Positions such as his can realise.

And so our priest expecting deaths divide
To halt the smooth meander of his life,
Stood firm with very little hope inside
That something could release him from this strife.
With quickened breath he ****** the salty air
To calm a body gripped with cold and fear,
His final thoughts would be in silent prayer,
Preparing for the end that drew so near.

The wind blew stronger and the rain lashed down,
A mix of spray and torrents from the sky,
The wet had found his priestly robes and gown
And now they clung unlike when they were dry.
One footstep, two, three more and then no light,
As all of Neptune's bulk eclipsed the sun,
The Lighthouse trembled in the pseudo night,
Lo Judgment Day for our brave priest had come.

And so the scene, a God engulfed with rage
About to battle mortar, brick, and bone,
Freed from the bonds of his salt water cage
By mortal acts that he could not condone.
With one hand raised and trident poised to strike,
The King of all the Oceans took his aim,
And without pause he loosed the three pronged pike
So that it flew unhindered to the game.
It did not falter, neither did it swerve
Nor did it slow by friction of the air,
But straight and true, devoid of any curve
It sailed towards the Lighthouse that was there.

And all Tiberius could do was watch
And wait the lethal throw by Neptune's hand,
Closer and closer, ready to dispatch
His sorry soul to Pluto's hallowed land.
In seconds all he knew of life on Earth
Would perish at the will of the divine,
And that which had been granted his from birth
Would disappear into the sands of time.
Ruby Twoshoes Nov 2011
The marvelled servile manifestation of faces in the waves
mere grains of sand
against the world.
BrainPornNinja May 2015
Can I be forgiven for my impulsive need
to present my love to you
as a viking would after a day hard at work

I’m physical about it
and chaos theory is the dress
I choose to wear to ****** you
not those flimsy night-sky black things
or a cliché of words tucked up behind your ear


I'm dressed up in an imaginary beard
with a palm full of unpredictability
that makes you buckle
underneath forgotten desires
and we destroy ourselves this way for hours
only to wake up and repeat.

I absorb you alpha and you become invisible
like a woman over 50
I'm a force to be frightened of
and you are an empty shell.


Never love someone
who isn’t stronger than your darkness.
You will **** them every time
and spend the rest of your days
explaining the head on a stick
at the end of your bed
to your next lover
it can become tiresome.


But you never asked questions.
You accepted my grit
my madness
and lust for emotional bloodshed
so i kept going.


You just waited patiently
to see if the sword in my hand
would fall away in the face of your delicate beauty
unnatural for a man admittedly
more suited for a goddess
speaking ancient Greek from magic lips.

You could have spoken
incoherent babble for all i cared
as i marvelled at your fingers
just trophies on hands not from this world.


Again, I’m physical about it
and i saw myself arrange quickly
your internal magnificence
to match the outer shell, so perfect
whether real or imagined
I indulged my vanity
that you were mine
washed with your sunshine
every time we moved
into each other’s view.

Addiction to beauty
it’s akin to a serial art buyer
I’d bid my blood to have that prize
next to me each night
and that’s all you were to me
it must have seemed.


Your love was more than mine i thought
so i could afford to be careless
I was a swashbuckling hero to myself
because i never believed you knew how to be
so just lie there and look the part
and be there when I come home
from severing heads of out-dated ideas
about how to move through life.


Quietly though, you were writing secret sonnets to yourself
about the possibility of our “maybe” love
I rode right over that
like a warlord blinded by personal victories
making my way to a new precipice
another conquest
forgetting with eyes wide open
how to encase another in perfect intimacy.


You just waited patiently
to  see if the sword in my hand would fall
until one night, alone again
you saw the space at the end of the bed
where your own head would stand
and you ran into the night
dancing over misplaced dreams
now scattered all around like forgotten tombstones
as I returned home to my future of regret.


Now this weighty silence between us
has me filling the empty space with love songs
to myself
just to hear us again.
Wolf Irwin May 2014
Saw this girl I said "**** what you doing down here?",
She said "Uh excuse me? Could you be more clear?",
I said "Did jesus come back and bring you along?",
"Because girl when I saw you all my composure was gone!",
Lost for words so I spoke with my heart,
I said "God must of used his paint brush on you to define masterful art",
She giggled a little with the cutest shinning grin,
So I marvelled at her beauty took a pause and then,
I took a leap of faith and asked "Coffe sometime?",
She replied "That would be lovely so I told her "The pleasure was mine!",
She kissed me on the cheek just to seal the deal,
My knees got weak I wondered "Is this forreal?",
Last thing I remember is her gorgeous green eyes,
Wrote my number down quick but to my surprise,
She slipped hers in my pocket,
I was on top of the world flying in a rocket,
I wore that smile the rest of the day from ear to ear,
But she never answered my question what was she doing down here?
Joel Hayward Apr 2016
My soul is an empty crisps packet
caught in the sour mood of a shouting wind

She snarled and I careened
— a drunken trapeze artist

That moody spirit let me fall upon a mountain top
at the feet of a brick of a black man shouting

he has seen the promised land!

My heart cracked as an egg that slipped from the bench:
his people still stumble in chains

My shouting mistress carried me aloft and I fell
in the slit of a rock upon another summit
where the finger of God scratched Hebrew into stone

The wizard’s face burned as the Lord’s shadow
passed before him as the orange tears of a volcano

I know, I heard him call up to the Almighty. They’ll
melt their earrings and innocence and cast a calf

Beneath the roar of my mistress’s temper I heard the
wizard plead like a lawyer, forgive them Lord

They don’t yet know

That temper carried my dizzy soul to another peak and
I beheld a young man slap the Devil on his left cheek

Get thee hence, Satan, he said, rejecting a throne
offered by that beauty with the stinging face

I heard the wind hiss and I cringed awaiting another crash

I broke my fall like a child off a bed and marvelled
at the sight —Oh God what a sight!

ten thousand prostrating candles hurling shadows from a cave
and ripping sleep off a man with the bugle command, Recite!

My soul my soul! I am overcome. I begged the wind to return me
to my home and she took pity and swept me in a final gust
(c) Copyright J S A Hayward 2016

— The End —