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BOUCHE-MIGNONNE lived in the mill,
Past the vineyards shady,
Where the sun shone on a rill
Jewelled like a lady.

Proud the stream with lily-bud,
Gay with glancing swallow;
Swift its trillion-footed flood
Winding ways to follow;

Coy and still when flying wheel
Rested from its labour;
Singing when it ground the meal,
Gay as lute or tabor.

'Bouche-Mignonne,' it called, when red
In the dawn were glowing
Eaves and mill-wheel, 'leave thy bed;
Hark to me a-flowing!'

Bouche-Mignonne awoke, and quick
Glossy tresses braided.
Curious sunbeams clustered thick;
Vines her casement shaded

Deep with leaves and blossoms white
Of the morning-glory,
Shaking all their banners bright
From the mill-eaves hoary.

Swallows turned their glossy throats,
Timorous, uncertain,
When, to hear their matin notes,
Peeped she thro' her curtain.

Shook the mill-stream sweet and clear
With its silvery laughter;
Shook the mill, from flooring sere
Up to oaken rafter.

'Bouche-Mignonne!' it cried, 'come down;
Other flowers are stirring:
Pierre, with fingers strong and brown,
Sets the wheel a-birring.'

Bouche-Mignonne her distaff plies
Where the willows shiver;
Round the mossy mill-wheel flies;
Dragon-flies, a-quiver,

Flash athwart the lily-beds,
Pierce the dry reeds' thicket;
Where the yellow sunlight treads,
Chants the friendly cricket.

Butterflies about her skim-
Pouf! their simple fancies
In the willow shadows dim
Take her eyes for pansies.

Buzzing comes a velvet bee;
Sagely it supposes
Those red lips beneath the tree
Are two crimson roses.

Laughs the mill-stream wise and bright-
It is not so simple;
Knew it, since she first saw light,
Every blush and dimple.

'Bouche-Mignonne!' it laughing cries,
'Pierre as bee is silly;
Thinks two morning stars thine eyes,
And thy neck a lily.'

Bouche-Mignonne, when shadows crept
From the vine-dark hollows,
When the mossy mill-wheel slept,
Curved the airy swallows,

When the lilies closed white lids
Over golden fancies,
Homeward drove her goats and kids.
Bright the gay moon dances

With her light and silver feet,
On the mill-stream flowing;
Come a thousand perfumes sweet,
Dewy buds are blowing;

Comes an owl and greyly flits,
Jewel-eyed and hooting,
Past the green tree where she sits;
Nightingales are fluting;

Soft the wind as rustling silk
On a courtly lady;
Tinkles down the flowing milk;
Huge and still and shady

Stands the mill-wheel, resting still
From its loving labour.
Dances on the tireless rill,
Gay as lute or tabor;

'Bouche-Mignonne!' it laughing cries,
'Do not blush and tremble;
If the night has ears and eyes,
I'll for thee dissemble;

'Loud and clear and sweet I'll sing
On my far way straying;
I will hide the whispered thing
Pierre to thee is saying.

'Bouche-Mignonne, good night, good night!
Every silver hour
I will toss my lilies white
'Gainst thy maiden bower.'
Down at the end of Kilmartin Street
Where nobody seems to go,
A widow lives in an ancient mill
Where the river will overflow,
The mill race turns the mighty wheel
Though it grinds no wheat or corn,
It’s not been used as a working mill
Since before we both were born.

And the widow there is a mystery,
For we don’t know where she’s been,
She doesn’t give out her history
Though we know her name’s Christine,
She’s rarely seen in the street outside
But the gown she wears is black,
And those that visit and go inside
Are rarely seen to come back.

And I’ve watched myself, that paddle wheel,
It seems to go in reverse,
Whenever she has a visitor there
It’s as if the mill is cursed,
For then the water flows uphill
It’s against all laws, I know,
Whoever heard of the water going
Back to the overflow?

There’s a warning sign on the portico
And a warning sign within,
‘Don’t think to enter the Devil’s Mill
If your life is filled with sin,
For it may get rid of the things you want
And delete the good things too,
You may uncover a life within,
But of course, that’s up to you.’

I went one day to the portico
And beat on the old front door,
Then heard her footsteps begin to echo
Across the flagstone floor,
The door flung wide and she stood aside
And I walked into the mill,
But heard the grind of the wheel rewind
Outside, I can hear it still.

I felt my head beginning to spin
As I travelled back in time,
Undoing every single action
That once I’d thought were mine,
Then once outside, I stood and cried
For my world was not the same,
I’d lost my only love, my bride
And forgotten our baby’s name.

I thought I’d possibly get them back
If I went again to the mill,
And stood just cautiously inside
While the wheel went forward still,
But the widow blocked the door to me
And she said, ‘Don’t come again,
You only get but a single chance
Or the end result is pain.’

David Lewis Paget
E C Vadnais Aug 2016
The mill reflects in the pond
The pond that fed the dynamo
The dynamo that powered the mill
That fed the people who worked the mill
Who grew sick and old in the mill
Who knew little else other than the mill
That consumed all their worth
That clawed at their children to come within.

Fallow mill: just a reflection in a pond,
Scoured yesterday by evening storm,
Slapping water high upon walls still strong.
A lovely reflection washed and washed again,
Glazed and glazed again to shine
As if there was no past,
No responsibility for the pain.


© 2016
.
In New England, the old mills of the 18th century have become gentrified to the extent that the great-great grandchildren of those who worked in those mills are now living in those mills in high-priced condominiums. It is indeed strange how time erases the sharp edges of our collective memory so that once where there was brutality there is now gaiety.
Marian Oct 2012
We must hold and cleave to time fast,
For the old saying goes the mill will never grind with the water that has passed.
Put God first and yourself last,
For the old saying goes the mill will never grind with the water that has passed.
Spring comes and goes away fast,
The mill will never grind with the water that has passed.
Summer and Fall comes fast for all,
The mill will never grind with the water that has passed.
Winter comes and it goes,
And its Spring again,
Winter glided away just as fast as it arose,
The mill will never grind with the water that has passed.

                                 ~Marian~
M Eastman Nov 2014
Some think this world a vale of tears, or worry and of sighs;
That Life's a great big lottery, in which few win a prize.
I read some hopeless verses once that don't deserve to last,
They told how the mill can never grind with water that is past.

I'd like to change that fallacy which has caused so many a tear,
And by transposing make it bear a message of good cheer
And point the way of winds of hope, like pennant on a mast,
For I know that the mill can grind again with water that is past.

A mountain stream comes trickling in the sunlight down the hill,
And gathers volume until it has strength to run the mill;
It happily continues then, upon its useful way,
Turns other mills still further down, until it joins the bay.

Its temporary mission o'er, it sweeps out to the sea
With other useful waters bearing it company;
And there all peacefully they rest, beneath the shining sun,
Who seems to think their mission is scarcely yet begun.

With gentle force He lifts them up in vapors to the sky,
And gathers them in fleecy clouds in His domain so high,
Where kindly winds then waft them back to that mountain home,
From which a few short hours before we saw them start to roam.

The cooling night then causes them to fall in gentle showers,
A blessing to that mountainside, to grass and trees and flowers;
And in the dawn of early morn we find them back once more
In that same little mountainside, but stronger than before.

They gather volume as they come a-tumbling down the hill,
And then with added vigor again they turn the mill;
And then in play they rush away, through meadowland and town,
And every mill again is turned as they go dancing down.

The brightest day is no more useful than the darkest night,--
Our troubles soon would disappear if we'd view them aright.
Good fortune may be holding back her best things to the last,
For I know that the mill can grind again with water that is past.

And that same little mountain stream
Has always been to me
But one of Nature's many proofs
Of Immortality.
Reposted from "Indian Sign Language" by William Tomkins, 1929. One of my favorite poems.
Zeeb Jul 2015
Hotrod
Verse I

Wrenches clanging, knuckles banging
A drop of blood the young man spilt
A new part here, and old part… there
A hotrod had been built!
A patchwork, mechanical, quilt

Feelings of excitement not unlike those of Christmas mornings long past paid visit to the young man, his head under a raised hood, hands occupied, the job nearing completion.  Did building that Lionel train-set so long ago form some type of pattern in his brain, now being so pleasurably served?  The good feelings would dissipate though, as quickly as they came, as he cursed himself for stripping a bolt, or cursed someone else for selling him the wrong part, or the engineer whose design goals obviously did not consider “remove and replace”.  He cursed the “gorilla” that never heard of a torque-wrench, the glowing particle of **** that popped on to the top of his head as he welded, the metal chip he flushed from his eye, and even himself for the burn he received by impatiently touching something too soon after grinding.  He, and his type, cursed a lot, but mostly to their selves as they battled-on with things oily, hot, bolted, welded, and rusty – in cramped spaces. One day it was choice words for an “easy-out” that broke off next to a broken drill bit that had broken off in a broken bolt, that was being drilled for an easy out.    Despite the swearing, the good and special feelings, feelings known only to those with a true capacity for this type of passion, would always return, generally of a magnitude that exceeded the physical pain and mental frustration of the day, by a large margin.   Certifiably obsessive, the young man continued to toil dutifully, soulfully, occasionally gleefully, sometimes even expertly, in his most loved and familiar place, his sanctuary, laboratory… the family garage.

And tomorrow would be the day.
Fire extinguisher? “ Right there”
Battery? “Charged and connected”
Neutral?  “yes”
Brake?  “Set”
And with hard learned, hard earned expertise and confidence, in this special small place, a supremely happy and excited young man commanded his creation to life.

Threw  a toggle, pressed a switch
Woke up the neighbors with that *******

The heart of his machine was a stroked Chevy engine that everyone had just grown sick hearing about.  Even the local machine shop to which the boy nervously entrusted his most prized possession had had enough.  “Sir, I don’t want to seem disrespectful, but from what I’ve read in Hot Rod Magazine, you might be suggesting a clearance too tight for forged pistons…” then it would be something else the next day.   One must always speak politely to the machinist, and even though he always had, the usual allotment of contradictions and arguments afforded to each customer had long run out – and although the shop owner took a special liking to the boy because, as he liked to say, “he reminds me of me”, well, that man was done too.  But in the end, the mill was dead-on.  Of course from the start, the shop knew it would be; that’s almost always the case; it’s how they stay in business - simply doing good work.  Bad shops fall out quickly, but this place had the look of times gone by.  Good times.  Old porcelain signs, here and there were to be found, all original to the shop and revered by the older workers in honored nostalgia.  The younger workers get it too; they can tell from the men they respect and learn from, there is something special about this past.  One sign advertises Carter Carburetors and the artwork depicts “three deuces”, model 97’s, sitting proudly atop a flathead engine, all speeding along in a red, open roadster.  Its occupants a blond haired boy with slight freckles (driver), and a brunette girl passenger, white blouse slightly unbuttoned,  both in the wind-blown cool, their excited expressions proclaim… "we are free!" (and all you need is a Carter, or three).

The seasoned old engine block the boy entrusted to the shop cost him $120-even from the bone yard.  Not a bad deal for a good block that had never had its first 0.030” overbore.  In the shop, it was cleaned, checked for cracks, measured and re-measured, inspected and re-inspected.  It was shaped and cut in a special way that would allow the stroker crankshaft, that was to be the special part of this build, to have all the clearance it would need.  The engine block was fitted with temporary stress plates that mimic the presence of cylinder heads,  then the cylinders were bored to “first oversize”,  providing fresh metal for new piston rings to work against.  New bearings were installed everywhere bearings are required.  Parts were smoothed here and there.  Some surfaces were roughened just so, to allow new parts to “work-into each other” when things are finally brought together.  All of this was done with a level of precision and attention far, far greater than the old “4- bolt” had ever received at the factory on its way to a life of labor in the ¾ ton work truck from which it came.  They called this painstaking dedication to precision measurement and fit, to hitting all specifications “on the mark”, “blueprinting”, and it would continue throughout the entire build of this engine.  The boy stayed  worried the whole time, but the shop had done it a million times.

After machining, the block was filled with new and strong parts that cost the young man everything he had.   Parts selected with the greatest of effort, decision, and debate.  “ You can compromise on paint”,” live with some rust”, he would say,  “wait for good tires”, “but never scrimp on the engine”.  Right on.  You get one shot at getting that right, and this proclamation demonstrated wisdom but also provided ample excuse for the rough and unfinished look of the rest of his machine.  But it was just a look, his car was, in fact, “right”.   And its power plant?  Well the machine shop had talked their customer into letting them do the final engine assembly - even cut their price to do it.  They were looking out for the boy.  The mill in its final form was the proper balance of performance and durability, and with its camshaft so carefully selected, the engine's “personality” was perfectly matched to the work at hand.   It would produce adequate torque in the low RPM range to get whole rig moving quickly, yet deliver enough horsepower at red-line to pile on the MPH, fast.  No longer a polite-natured workhorse, this engine, this engine is impatient now.  High compression, a rapid, choppy idle - it seems to be biting at the bit – to be released.  On command, it gulps its mixture and screams angrily, and often those standing around have a reflexive jump - the louder, the better - the more angry, the better.  If it hurts your ears, that’s a good feeling.  If its bark startles, that’s a good startle.  A cacophony?  No, the “music” of controlled explosions, capable of thrusting everything and everyone attached, forward, impolitely, on a rapid run to “red-line”, and it keeps pulling hard and delivering power while spinning fast because it is breathing right and proper and producing the power that thrills, and the only reason to shift gears is to preserve connecting rods, eager as the engine may be to rev further!

This is the addictive sound and feel that has appealed to a certain type of person since engines replaced horses, and why?  A surrogate voice for those who are otherwise quiet?  A visceral celebration of accomplishment?    Who cares.  Shift once, then again - speed quickly makes its appearance.  It appears as a loud, rushing wind and a visually striking, unnatural view of the surrounding scenery.  At some point, in the sane, it triggers a natural response - better slow down.    


He uncorked the headers, bought gasoline, dropped her in gear, tore off to the scene
Camaros and Mustangs, an old ‘55
Obediently lined-up, to get skinned alive!


Verse II (1st person)

I drove past the banner that said “Welcome race fans” took a new route, behind the grandstands
And through my chipped window, I thought I could see
Some of the racers were laughing at me

I guess rust and primer are not to their taste
But I put my bucks mister in the right place

I chugged/popped past cars that dealers had sold
Swung into a spot, next to something old

Emerging with interest from under his hood
My neighbor said two words, he said, “sounds good”

The ’55 I parked next to was “classic rodding” in its outward appearance.  The much overused “primer paint job” channeled “Two Lane Blacktop”.  The hood and front fenders a fiberglass clamshell, pinned affair.  Dice hanging from the mirror paid homage to days its driver never knew, but wished he had.  He removed them before he drove, always.

If you know how to peel the onion, secrets are revealed.  Wilwood brake calipers can be a dead giveaway. Someone needs serious stopping power - maybe.  Generally, owners who have sprung the bucks for this type gear let the calipers show off in bright red, to make a statement, and sometimes, these days, it’s just a fashion statement.  Now, expensive calipers, as eye candy, are all the rage.  What is true, however, is very few guys spend big money on brakes only to render them inglorious and seemingly common with a shot of silver paint from a rattle can, and the owner of this ’55 had done just that. 

Two things seem to be at play here.  One, he needs those heavy brakes because he’s fast, and two, hiding them fits his style.   Really, the message to be found in the silver paint, so cleverly applied to make your eyes simply slide across on their way to more interesting things, was “sleeper”.   And sleeper really means, he’s one of those guys with a score to settle - with everyone perhaps.   The list of “real parts” grew, if you knew where to look.  Something I had defacto permission to do since my rod was undergoing a similar scrutiny.  
“Stroked?”, I asked.  That’s something you can’t see from the outside. “ No”, the racer replied.  
“Hundred shot?”  (If engines have their language, so do the people who love them).   Despite the owner’s great efforts to conceal braided fuel and nitrous lines, electrical solenoids and switches, I spied his system.  The chunks of aluminum posing as ordinary spacers under his two carburetors were anything but.   “No”, was his one-word reply to my 100- shot question.  I tried again; “Your nitrous system, how much are you spraying?”  “Two hundred fifty” in two stages, he said.  That’s more like it, I thought, and I then figured, he too had budgeted well for the machine shop – if not, he was gambling in a game that if lost, would fly parts in all directions.   Based on the overall vibe of the scene, and the clean work on display, I believed his build was up to the punishment he planned.   I knew exactly what this tight-lipped guy was about, seeing someone very familiar in him as it were, and that made the “sounds good” complement I received upon my arrival all the more valuable.

The voice on the loudspeaker tells us we’re up.

Pre-staged, staged, then given the green
The line becomes blurred between man and machine

Bones become linkage
Muscle, spring
Fear, excitement

Time distorts ….
Color disappears …
Vision narrows…
Noise ---  becomes music
Speed, satisfaction

End
CK Baker Oct 2017
dust cloud heavy
in an apricot sky
cottonwood mucker
under ambrose pale
whippet and shepherd
mill at the earth patch
yellow birch hangs
over red bench park

combine shavings
in crack rust brown
scissors chips
fall to the back stop
whiskey jack looters
sing patented chords
siblings (and 2 wheel enthusiasts)
give thanks

joyous retrievers
master the criss cross
bare maples stand
at settlers way
barred owl and blue jay
whistle the fore-wind
ghosts
and goblins
pull at the seeds

wind gusts belt
over the west gulch
blood rush churns
in a chilling fall morn
hallowed grounds still
at the midday
quiet reflections
of the afghan
and hound

jumpers unite
at the oxbow
route runners bend
(on a sultry foray!)
meadows exposed
in the framework
ball park empty
with pennants past

barrel dirt favors
the brew house
crimson and copper
find bracken ridge gate
harvest hands savor
the honey and hops
blankets of color
for a winter's hatch

brush fire kept
under steady peruse
bark bites fly
and embers glow
pine cones drop
from timber tops
3 wick candles
set the dinner place

shiver and ******
at the piper's call
cob web dew
on shadowy gates
a chilled mist mellows
the season's return ~
poets and artists
and dreamers awake
Mill to mill a bitter pill this treadmill that we're led to

and from mill to mill we will always be

candy for the mills of society




they gab in the background about Christmas,

alas

no Christmas for me

the foreman has told me to work that day

and no turkey shall I see




cold ham and pickle with cheese and a tickle of trout

lightly poached (nightly poached) from the river that runs through his Lordship's land




and yes




I bite the hand that feeds me for it's the same hand that needs me in mill to mill when will it all end.
Bunhead17 Nov 2013
[Verse 1: Drake]
Versace, Versace, Medusa head on me like I'm 'Luminati
This is a gated community, please get the ******* the property
Rap must be changing cause I'm at the top and ain't no one on top of me
****** be wanting a verse for a verse, but man that's not a swap to me
Drowning in compliments, pool in the backyard that look like Metropolis
I think I'm sellin' a million first week, man I guess I'm a optimist
Born in Toronto but sometimes I feel like Atlanta adopted us
What the **** is you talkin' 'bout? Saw this **** comin' like I had binoculars
Boy, Versace, Versace, we stay at the mansion when we in Miami
The pillows' Versace, the sheets are Versace, I just won a Grammy
I've been so quiet, I got the world like "What the **** is he planning?"
Just make sure that you got a back up plan cause that **** might come in handy
Started a label, the album is comin' September, just wait on it
This year I'm eating your food and my table got so many plates on it
Hundred inch TV at my house, I sit back like "**** I look great on it"
I do not **** with your new ****, my *****, don't ask for my take on it
Speakin' in lingo, man this for my ***** that trap out the bando
This for my ****** that call up Fernando to move a piano
**** all your feelin's cause business is business, its strictly financial
I'm always the first one to get it, man that's how you lead by example
Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace
Word to New York cause the Dyckman and Heights girls are callin' me "Papi"
I'm all on the low, take a famous girl out where there's no paparazzi
I'm tryna give Halle Berry a baby and no one can stop me

[Verse 2: Meek Mill]
Versace, Versace
Its killers, real ****** that's all in my posse (shooters!)
I'm getting so rich that they making up rumors that I'm illuminati (rich!)
Just me and my ****** we killin' these *******, go body for body (murders!)
These suckers be hating, they praying to God that I don't cop a Bugatti
Hold up, drop the top on the rari
Pull in the club and I'm stopping the party
Hold up, got ******* on *******
They poppin' on molly's I'm prolly at Follies with PeeWee and Tip
Of course i went with Lou
I did everything that I said I would do
I really won't tell you that I'm better than you
But we're not on the same level as you
Cause the G55 got a hell of a view
Regular ****** make regular moves
With ya regular ***** and ya regular crew
And you ***** still smokin on regular too? Like word?!
What a shame, my *****
Louboutin blood like Game, my *****
Get left tryna aim, my *****
Like Saddam Hussein, my *****
I'm whippin' this brand new machine
100 bands in my jeans
Call yo ***** Barry Sanders
She done ran through the team
I got hoes out the D
They playing on the team
Do anything for me
I mix that xan with the lean
Hold up, let me get it back
Versace, Versace
I'm gettin' this money, I'm stackin' my broccoli (racks!)
I'm running my city
You might gotta pay me if you land on my property (tax!)
I bought the boardwalk and I parked on the ave
****, my life's like monopoly
You caught a new case and you got outta jail
Boy, you look like a cop to me
(Get out of jail free card?)

[Verse 3: Tyga]
Aughh! Versace, Versace, I brought that **** back, all these ****** they copy
Medusa head on me I'm at the hotel, Versace Palazzo
I rented the yacht for a week, but I bought the convertible Lambo
Six mill for the mansion
I see haters coming I need some more ammo
These ****** gay that's Elmo
So much green I turned camo
Some hoover ****** on flannels
Light light you up no candle
Grip on that handle Yosemite Sam ya, that ***** bang like a banjo
Told my arms dealer no need for a box, I don't read the instructions, I throw out the manual (WOO!)
Versace, Versace, my brother king Trell he in a Ferrari
I don't look the same, my camera the same, I made too much money (WOO!)
Paul Pierce is my neighbor, I told him he should of went to the Clippers
I got some crazy ideas for Versace, get them and tell'em my number
Versace, auggh Picasso, Basquiat I'm cocky
23, 15 mill I'm just getting started
Pop water my water
I walk around on my wallet
I don't **** with Saddam but, that's gold all in my toilet
Statues of Horus, and the annubis is polished
I don't got to, rap about, coke for you to enjoy it
I'm bout' to join the money team, just holla' to Floyd about it
Versace, Versace, I'm taking my money to the Cayman islands (WOO!) Versace Auggh!!

[Outro: Quavo]
Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace
Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace
Versace, Versace Versace, Versace Versace
Versace, Versace Versace, Versace Versace
I love this song!... lyrics to  "Versace" by: Migos ft Drake, Meek Mill, and Tyga ****. by:  Zaytoven.
Sara Kendrick Oct 2013
italic*
the old grist mill leans
nestled in the rocky bank
red fall leaves surreal

The swift red-stained creek that energized the mill's wheel still runs over ancient rock
on its course to the mighty sea.
Its course unchanged for eons and the use of its steady resources remain.
The red leaves upon the trees surrounding the creek will soon be spent
their usefulness for their lifetime gone.

the red sweet gum leaves
fall twirling land 'pon hard rocks...
crayfish hide 'neath red
jeffrey conyers Feb 2013
Listen to the rumor mill.
And watch that rumor spread.
Notice that within that rumor mill.
How things gets mislead?

Instantly they run with the news.
And try to make it truth.
And when you advise the word spreader.
That unless the person spoke in personally.

The rumor should stay quiet.
But you always find some to buy it.
He said, she said seems to stand true.
Unless that rumor is specifically about you.

Then when confronted.
You know the story.
I'm only going by what so and so said?
Don't get mad at me.

These are the people that runs when they should have remained silent.

Now, no one knows how the rumor started.
Cause they were the ones that took the lie a little higher.

At the office.
At school.
At church.
And they should know better.
Michael John Jul 2018
i

give me my lifes´
the day crowded bright
and the night sumptuous..

give me my pretty wife
where love at first sight
bind us..

give us two souls blithe
fused as light within light
sweet bounteous..

let us soar and dive
like content swallows might
time in lost happiness..

( and let trouble and strife
bind-us the more tight
like our first kiss..)

give then to two one life
white to white
whole as stars

as love unto death
might break apart
and ride the cosmos..


ii

the jonah by james herbert
a heist goes wrong and a colleage
is shot..

just another debacle for our hero
in a long list
that has him transferred to the

drug squad and east anglia..
to live in a caravan..
keep his eye on the locals

and drink strong beer..
ellie his partner
makes him eat

and they fall in love
though various tentions rise
due to his troubles..

some flash backs
a left baby in a toilet
sadistic stuff at the orphanage..

bullies and dodgy collars
his step father is strict
he is an ornothologist..

there are drug related incident
a dead vole
a us pilot bites the farm..

some little boy thinks he
can fly..
the water supply
some pilfering

some heavy knocks
some bad lies
some kitchen

small potatoes
but all part
of mr herbert´ s charm..

a huge storm
the spooky old mill
a wild trip..

and regression
bad men
bad men..

lot´ s of struggle
the raw products
towed in by trawler

assembled by the knights
torn
and a lost twin..

a monster in the flood
where others die
a maitre d..

a ***** salesman and
his girl in a caravan
the fishermen..

helicopters and
victory for
the forces of good..

and the jonah
gone and all
is light..

the end..
David Nelson Aug 2013
Story Teller II (the mill's on fire)

the bells are clanging and sirens scream
woke me up from a most unusual dream
oxygen was getting low about to expire
heard someone yell help the mill's on fire

jumped out of bed grabbed my boots
truck horn is blasting giving two *****
slide down the long pole helmet in hand
down through the tunnel to never never land

the giant cat with whiskers of gold
shivering now why is it so **** cold
my naked body exposed to the raw
took a swipe at me with his huge paw

men on unicycles doing fancy tricks
juggeling ***** and poking me with sticks
somebody tell me what does it all mean
Gong show's Gene Gene the dancing machine

someone please help me show me the way
this dream is a blast but I cannot stay
crackling timbers that horrible sound
the fire is burning the mill to the ground

I really must wake up and go I have a job to do
it is desperate when someone's counting on you
just 40 more winks though would really be nice
just spray it with water and tons of shaved ice

Gomer LePoet....
A brand new sheriff came to town
I'm sure he's not the last
We've had fourteen in the past year
They leave here mighty fast

Some can't stand the pressure
Others end up in boot hill
It ain't easy being Sheriff
Here in Cactus Mill

He was tall, compared to most folks
That's what the undertaker said
"I'm just scouting for the future"
"In case he ends up dead"

He went into his office
Fired both deputies on sight
He said "you wanna get your job back"
"Then, you'll have to do it right"

"I don't hanker to disruptions"
"In the town ... I rule"
"The laws all must be followed"
"Now, boys...it's time for school"

"We're gonna have a meeting"
"You can follow, or can go"
"I'm gonna clean this town up"
"I just thought you both should know"

He'd printed off some flyers
Had them passed out by the men
It was scheduled for the Baptist Church
It was due to start at ten

He cleaned up and got ready
A good impression he would give
Because this man's demeanor
Chose who'd die and who would live

At nine fifteen he left and went
To the church, to say a prayer
He thought it would be empty
But found half the town was there

We waited till the church bells
Chimed ten times ...and he began
"I'm here to be your Sheriff"
"I'll do the best job that I can"

"I don't like injustice"
"Wrong doers...they must pay"
"I like to keep things, well..in house"
"I make decisions in  a day"

"I'm like a judge and jury"
"I hold my own cowboy kind of court"
"I'm like Roy Bean, I guess you'd say"
"It's my town...It is my fort"

"Gunfights, just won't happen"
"If they do, both men are dead"
"One, because he lost it...."
"The other, cause I said"

"Drinking...keep it local"
"Stay inside at the saloon"
"Don't wander the streets at night"
"Standing, howling at the moon"

"You can wear your guns in town"
"But, I don't want to see them out"
"If I do, then you can bet"
"You'll learn fast, what my court is all about"

"Now, coming in, two miles out"
"I saw a sturdy tree"
"The only one who hangs from it"
"Will be decided on....by me"

"Lynchings...not on my watch"
"Rustling....don't you try"
"The rules all must be followed"
"If not....you'll surely die"

"I have a length of rope with me"
"It's been stretched 'bout twenty times"
"Add one more...it's twenty one"
"So, don't commit no crimes"

"I also have two friends right here"
"Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson"
"Don't make them come on out to play"
"If they do , you'll learn your lesson"

"Back at the jail, there is one more"
"A right old sturdy gun"
"If Smith and Wesson do not work"
"Then you'll meet...Remington"

"I hope that you will follow"
"The rules that I lay down"
"Cactus Mill is pretty"
"I like this little town"

"I might be the new Sheriff"
"And I want to be your friend"
"The choice is which one do you want"
"A long life...or early end?"

He shook the preachers hand then
And he walked on out the door
The towns folk sat in silence
You could hear a feather hit the floor

Now, the question....Did this Sheriff
Clean up little Cactus Mill?
Did Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson
Keep his hide out of Boot Hill?
I.

One night at the Troubadour I spotted this extraordinary girl.

So I asked who she was.

‘A professional,’

That was my introduction that on a scale of one to ten

there were women who were fifteens—beautiful, bright, witty, and

oh, by the way, they worked.

Once I became aware,

I saw these women everywhere.

And I came to learn that most of them were connected to Alex



II.

She had a printer engrave a calling card

that featured a bird of paradise

borrowed from a Tiffany silver pattern

and,
under it,

Alex’s Aviary,

Beautiful and Exotic birds.



A few were women you’d see lunching at Le Dôme:

pampered arm pieces with expensive tastes

and a hint of a delicious but remote sexuality.

Many more were fresh-faced, athletic, tanned, freckled

the quintessential California girl

That you’d take for sorority queens or future BMW owners.





III.

The mechanism of Alex’s sudden notoriety is byzantine,

as these things always are.

One of her girls took up with a rotter,

the couple had a fight,

he went to the police,

the police had an undercover detective visit

(who just happened to be an attractive woman)

and ask to work for her,

she all but embraced her

—and by April of 1988 the district attorney had enough evidence

to charge her with two counts of pandering

and one of pimping.

For Alex, who is fifty-six

and has a heart condition and diabetes,

the stakes may be high.

A conviction carries the guarantee of incarceration.

For the forces of law and order,

the stakes may be higher.

Alex has let it be known that she will subpoena

every cop she’s ever met to testify at her trial.

And the revelations this might produce

—perhaps that Alex compromised policemen

by making girls available to them,

—perhaps that Alex had a deal with the police to provide information

in exchange for their blind eye to her activities

—could be hugely embarrassing to the police and the district attorney.

For Alex’s socially correct clients and friends,

for the socially correct wives of her clients and friends

and for a handful of movie and television executives

who have no idea they are dating or

married to former Alex girls,

the stakes are highest of all.



IV.

Alex’s black book is said to be a catalogue of
Le Tout Los Angeles.

In her head are the ****** secrets

of many of the city’s most important men,

to say nothing of visiting businessmen and Arab princes.

If she decides to warble,

either at her trial or in a book,

her song will shatter more than glass.





V.

A decade ago, I went to lunch at Ma Maison,

There were supposed to have been ten people there,

but only four came.

One of them was a short woman

who called me a few days later and invited me to lunch.

When I arrived, the table was set for two.

I didn’t know who Alex was or what she did,

but she knew the important facts of my situation:

I was getting divorced from a very wealthy man

and doing the legal work myself

to avail lawyers who wanted to get a big settlement for me.


Occasionally, she said, I get a call for a tall, dark-haired,

slender, flat-chested woman

—and I don’t have any.

It wouldn’t be a frequent thing.

There’d be weekends away, sometimes in Palm Springs,

sometimes in Europe.

The men will be elegant,

you’ll have your own room

—there would be no outward signs of impropriety.

And you’d get $10,000 to $20,000 for a weekend.





VI.

The tall, slender, flat-chested brunette

didn’t think it was right for her.

Alex handed her a business card

and suggested that she think about it.

To her surprise, she did

—for an entire week.

This was 1978, and $20,000 then

was like $40,000 now,

I knew it was hooking,

but Alex had never mentioned ***.



Our whole conversation seemed to be about something else.



VII.

I was born in Manila

to a Spanish-Filipina mother and German father,

and when I was twelve

a Japanese soldier came into our house

with his bayonet pointed at us,

ready to do us in.

He locked us in and set the house on fire.

I haven’t been scared by much since that.



My mother always struck me as goofy,

so I jumped on a bus and ran away,

I got off in Oakland,

saw a help-wanted sign on a parish house,

and went in.

I got $200 a month for taking care of four priests.

I spent all the money on pastries for the parish house.

But I didn’t care.

It felt safe.

And the priests sparked my interest in the domestic arts

—in linen, in crystal.



A new priest arrived.

He was unpleasant,

so on a vacation in Los Angeles I took a pedestrian job,

still a teenager,

married a scientist.

We separated eight years later,

he took our two sons to another state

threatened to keep them if I didn’t agree to a divorce.

Keep them I said and hung up.

It’s not that I don’t have a maternal instinct

—though I don’t,

I just hate to be manipulated.



My second husband,

an alcoholic,

had Frank Sinatra blue eyes, and possibly

—I never knew for sure—

had a big career in the underworld

as a contract killer.

Years before we got serious,

he was going out with a famous L.A. ******,

She and her friends were so elegant

that I started spending time with them in beauty salons.

They were so fancy,

so smart

—and they knew incredible people,

like the millionaire who sat in his suite all day

just writing $5,000 checks to girls.



VIII.

I was a florist.

We got to talking.

She was a madam from England

who wanted to sell her book and go home.

I bought it for $5,000.

My husband thought it was cute.

Now you’re getting your feet wet.

Three months later,

he died.

After eleven years of marriage,

just like that.

And of the names in the book

it turned out

that half of the men were also dead.

When I began the men were old and the women were ugly.



IX.

It was like a lunch party you or I would give,

Great food Alex had cooked herself.

Major giggles with old pals.

And then,

instead of chocolate After Eight,

she served three women After Three



This man has seen a bit of life

beyond Los Angeles,

so I asked him how Alex’s stable

compared with that of Madam Claude,

the legendary Parisian procuress.

Oh, these aren’t at all like Claude’s girls,

A Claude girl was perfectly dressed and multilingual

—you could take her to the opera

and she’d understand it.





He told me that when she was 40

she looked at herself in the mirror

and said

Disgusting.

People over 40

should not have ***.

But She Was Clear That She Never Liked It

even when she was young.

Besides, she saw all the street business

go to the tall,

beautiful girls.

She thought that she never had a chance

competing against them.

Instead,

she would take their money by managing them.





X.

Going to a ****** was not looked down upon then.

It was before the pill;

Girls weren’t giving it away.

Claude specialized in

failed models and actresses,

ones who just missed the cut.

But just because they failed

in those impossible professions

didn’t mean they weren’t beautiful,

fabulous.



Like Avis

in those days,

those girls tried harder.

Her place was off the Champs,

just above a branch of the Rothschild bank, where I had an account.

Once I met her,

I was constantly making withdrawals and heading upstairs.





XI.

We took the lift

and Claude greeted us at the door.

My impression was that of the director

of an haute couture house,

very subdued,

beige and gray, very little makeup.

She took us into a lounge and made us drinks,

Whiskey,

Cognac.

There was no maid.

We made small talk for 15 minutes.

How was the weekend?

What’s the weather like in Deauville?

Then she made the segue. ‘I understand you’d like to see some jeunes filles?’

She always used ‘jeunes filles.’

This was Claude’s polite way of saying 18 to 25.

She left and soon returned

with two very tall

jeunes filles,

One was blonde.

This is Eva from Austria.

She’s here studying painting.

And a brunette,

very different,

but also very fine.

This is Claudia from Germany.

She’s a dancer.

She took the girls back into the apartment and returned by herself.

I gave my English guest first choice.

He picked the blonde.

And wasn’t disappointed.

Each bedroom had its own bidet.

There was some nice

polite conversation, and then



It was slightly formal,

but it was high-quality.

He paid Claude

200 francs,

not to the girls

In 1965, 200 francs was about $40.

Pretty girls on Rue Saint-Denis

could be had for 40 francs

so you can see the premium.

Still, it wasn’t out of reach for mere mortals.

You didn’t have to be J. Paul Getty.





XII.

A lot of them

were models at

Christian Dior

or other couture houses.

She liked Scandinavians.

That was the look then

—cold, tall, perfect.

It was cheap for the quality.

They all used her.

The best people wanted

the best women.

Elementary supply and demand.



XIII.

She had a camp number tattooed on her wrist. I saw it.

She showed it to me and Rubi.

She was proud she had survived.

We talked about the camp for hours.

It was even more fascinating than the girls.



She was Jewish

I’m certain of that.

She was horrified at the Jewish collaborators

at the camp who herded

their fellow Jews

into the gas chambers.

That was the greatest betrayal in her life.



XIV.

She was this sad,

lonely little woman.

Later, Patrick told me who she was.

I was bowled over.

It was like meeting Al Capone.

I met two of the girls

who worked for her.

One was what you would expect

Tall

Blonde

Model.

But the other looked like a Rat

Then one night

she came out

all dressed up,

I didn’t even recognize her.

She was even better than the first girl.

Claude liked to transform women like that.

That was her art.

It was very odd,

my cousin told me.

There was not much furniture

and an awful lot of telephones.

“Allô oui,”



XV.

I had so many lunches

with Claude at Ma Maison

She was vicious.

One day,

Margaux Hemingway,

at the height of her beauty, walked by.

Une bonne

—the French for maid

was how Claude cut her dead.

She reduced

the entire world

to rich men wanting *** and

poor women wanting money.

She’d love to page through Vogue and see someone

and say,

When I met her

she was called

Marlene

and she had a hideous nose

and now she’s a princess.

Or she’d see someone and say

Let’s see if she kisses me or not.

It was like

I made her,

and I can destroy her.

She was obsessed

with “fixing” people

—with Saint Laurent clothes,

with Cartier watches,

with Winston jewels,

with Vuitton luggage,

with plastic surgeons.



XVI.

Her prison number was

888

which was good luck in China

but not in California.

‘Ocho ocho ocho,’ she liked to repeat

Even in jail, she was always working,

always recruiting stunning women.

She had a beautiful Mexican cellmate

and gave her Robert Evans’s number

as the first person she should call

when she was released.



XVII.

Never have *** on the first date.



XVIII.

There will always be prostitution,

The prostitution of misery.

And the prostitution of bourgeois luxury.

They will both go on forever.



“Allô oui,”



It was so exciting to hear a millionaire

or a head of state ask,

in a little boy’s voice,

for the one thing

that only you could provide

It's not how beautiful you are, it's how you relate

--it's mostly dialogue.



She was tiny, blond, perfectly coiffed and Chanel-clad.

The French Woman: The Arab Prince, the Japanese Diplomat, the Greek Tycoon, the C.I.A. Bureau Chief — She Possessed Them All!



XIX.

She was like a slave driver in the American South

Once she took a *******,

the makeover put the girl in debt,

because Claude paid all the bills to

Dior,

Vuitton,

to the hairdressers,

to the doctors,

and the girls had to work to pay them off.

It was ****** indentured servitude.



My Swans.



It reached the point

where if you walked into a room

in London

or Rome

as much as Paris

because the girls were transportable,

and saw a girl who was

better-dressed,

better-looking,

and more distinguished than the others

you presumed

it was a girl from Claude.

It was, without doubt,

the finest *** operation ever run in the history of mankind.



**.

The girl had to be

exactly what was needed

so I had to teach her everything she didn’t know.

I played a little the role of Pygmalion.

There were basic things that absolutely had to be done.

It consisted

at the start

of the physical aspect

“surgical intervention”

to give this way of being

that was different from other girls.

Often they had to be transformed

into dream creatures

because at the start

they were not at all



Often I had to teach them how to dress.

Often they needed help

to repair

what nature had given them

which was not so beautiful.

At first they had to be tall,

with pretty gestures,

good manners.

I had lots of noses done,

chins,

teeth,

*******.

There was a lot to do.



Eight times out of ten

I had to teach them how to behave in society.

There were official dinners, suppers, weekends,

and they needed to have conversation.

I insisted they learn to speak English,

read

certain books.

I interrogated them on what they read.

It wasn’t easy.

Each time something wasn’t working,

I was obliged to say so.



You were very demanding?

I was ferocious.



It’s difficult

to teach a girl how to walk into Maxim’s

without looking

ill at ease

when they’ve never been there,

to go into an airport,

to go to the Ritz,

or the Crillon

or the Dorchester.

To find yourself

in front of a king,

three princes,

four ministers,

and five ambassadors at an official dinner.

There were the wives of those people!

Day after day

one had to explain,

explain again,

start again.

It took about two years.

There would always be a man

who would then say of her,

‘But she’s absolutely exceptional. What is that girl doing here?’ ”





XXI.

A New York publisher who visited

the Palace Hotel

in Saint Moritz

in the early seventies told me,

I met a whole bunch of them there.

They were lovely.

The johns wanted everyone to know who they were.

I remember it being said

Giovanni’s Madame Claude girl is going to be there.

You asked them where they came from and they all said

Neuilly.

Claude liked girls from good families.

More to the point she had invented their backgrounds.



I have known,

because of what I did,

some exceptional and fascinating men.

I’ve known some exceptional women too,

but that was less interesting

because I made them myself.



Ah, this question of the handbag.

You would be amazed by how much dust accumulates.

Or how often women’s shoe heels are scuffed.





XXII.

She would examine their teeth and finally she would make them undress.



That was a difficult moment

When they arrived they were very shy,

a bit frightened.

At the beginning when I take a look,

it’s a question of seeing if the silhouette

and the gestures are pretty.

Then there was a disagreeable moment.

I said,

I’m sorry about this unpleasantness,

but I have to ask you to get undressed,

because I can’t talk about you unless I see you.

Believe me, I was embarrassed,

just as they were,

but it had to be done,

not out of voyeurism, not at all

—I don’t like les dames horizontales.



It was very funny

because there were always two reactions.

A young girl,

very sure of herself,

very beautiful,

très bien,

would say

Yes,

Get up, and get undressed.

There was nothing to hide, everything was perfect.



There were those who

would start timidly

to take off their dress

and I would say

I knew already.

The rest is not sadism, but nearly.

I knew what I was going to find.

I would say,

Maybe you should take off your bra,

and I knew it wasn’t going to be

beautiful.

Because otherwise she would have taken it off easily.

No problem.

There were damages that could be mended.

There were some ******* that could be redone,

some not

Sometimes it can be deceptive,

you know,

you see a pretty girl,

a pretty face,

all elegant and slim,

well dressed,

and when you see her naked

it is a catastrophe.



I could judge their physical qualities,

I could judge if she was pretty, intelligent, and cultivated,

but I didn’t know how she was in bed.

So I had some boys,

good friends,

who told me exactly.

I would ring them up and say,

There’s a new one.

And afterwards they’d ring back and say,

Not bad,

Could be better, or

Nulle.



Or,

on the contrary,

She’s perfect.

And I would sometimes have to tell the girls

what they didn’t know.

A pleasant assignment?

No.

They paid.



XXIII.

Often at the beginning

they had an ami de coeur

in other words,

oh,

a journalist, a photographer, a type like that,

someone in the cinema,

an actor, not very well known.

As time went by

It became difficult

because they didn’t have a lot of time for him.

The fact of physically changing,

becoming prettier,

changing mentally to live with millionaires,

produced a certain imbalance

between them

and the little boyfriend

who had not evolved

and had stayed in his milieu.

At the end of a certain time

she would say,

I’m so much better than him. Why am I with this boy?

And they would break up by themselves.



Remember,

this was instant elevation.

For most of them it was a dream existence,

provided they liked the ***,

and those that didn’t never lasted long.

A lot of the clients were young,

and didn’t treat them like tarts but like someone from their own class.

They would buy you presents,

take you on trips.



XXIV.

For me, *** was something very accessoire

I think after a certain age

there are certain spectacles one should not give to others

Now I have a penchant for solitude.

Love, it’s a complete destroyer,

It’s impossible,

a horror,

l’angoisse.

It’s the only time in my life I was jealous.

I’m not a jealous person, but I was épouvantable.

He was jealous too.

We broke plates over each other’s heads;

we became jealous about each other’s pasts.

I said one day

It’s finished.

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and say:

Break my legs,

give me scarlet fever,

an attack of TB, but never that.

Not that.



XXV.

I called her into my office

Let us not exaggerate,

I sent her away.

She came back looking for employment,

but was fired again, this time for drugs.

She made menacing phone calls.

Then she arrived at the Rue de Boulainvilliers with a gun.

She shot three bullets

I was dressed in the fashion of Courrèges at this moment

He did very padded things.

I had a padded dress with a little jacket on top.

The bullet

—merci, Monsieur Courrèges

—stuck in the padding.

I was thrown forward onto the telephone.

I had one thought which went through my head:

I will die like Kennedy.

I turned round and put my hand up in a reflex.

The second bullet went through my hand.

I have two dead fingers.

It’s most useful for removing bottle tops.

In the corridor I was saved from the third bullet

because she was very tall

and I am quite petite, so it passed over my head.



XXVI.

There were men

who could decapitate,

****, and bomb their rivals

who would be frightened of me.

I would ask them how was the girl,

and they’d say

Not bad

and then

But I’m not complaining.

I was a little sadistic to them sometimes.

Some women have known powerful men because they’re their lover.

But I’ve known them all.

I had them all

here.



She will take many state secrets with her.



XXVI.

I don’t like ugly people

probably because when I was young

I wasn’t beautiful at all.

I was ugly and I suffered for it,

although not to the point of obsession.

Now that I’m an old woman,

I’m not so bad.

And that’s why

I’ve always been surrounded by people

Who

were

beautiful.

And the best way to have beautiful people around me

was to make them.

I made them very pretty.





XXVII.

I wouldn’t call what Alex gives you

‘advice,’

She spares you Nothing.

She makes a list of what she wants done,

and she really gets into it

I mean, she wants you to get your arms waxed.

She gives you names of people who do good facials.

She tells you what to buy at Neiman Marcus.

She’s put off by anything flashy,

and if you don’t dress conservatively, she’s got no problem telling you,

in front of an audience,

You look like a cheap *****!

I used to wear what I wanted when I went out

then change in the car into a frumpy sweater

when I went to give her the money she’d always go,

Oh, you look beautiful!



Marry your boyfriend,

It’s better than going to prison.

When you go out with her,

she’ll buy you a present; she’s incredibly generous that way.

And she’ll always tell you to save money and get out.

It’s frustrating to her when girls call at the end of the month

and say they need rent money.

She wants to see you do well.





We had a schedule, with cards that indicated a client’s name,

what he liked,

the names of the girls he’d seen,

and how long he’d been with them.

And I only hired girls who had another career

—if my clients had a choice between drop-dead-gorgeous

and beautiful-and-interesting,

they’d tend to take beautiful-and-interesting.

These men wanted to talk.

If they spent two hours with a girl,

they usually spent only five or ten minutes in bed.



I get the feeling that in Los Angeles, men are more concerned with looks.



XXVIII.

That was my big idea

Not to expand the book by aggressive marketing

but to make sure that nobody

mistook my girls for run-of-the-mill hookers.

And I kept my roster fresh.

This was not a business where you peddle your ***,

get exploited,

and then are cast off.

I screen clients. I’ve never sent girls to weirdos.

I let the men know:

no violence,

no costumes,

no fudge-packing.

And I talked to my girls. I’d tell them:

Two and a half years and you’re burned out.

Save your money.

This is like a hangar

—you come in, refuel, and take off.

It’s not a vacation, it’s not a goof.

This buys the singing lessons,

the dancing lessons,

the glossies.

This is to help you pay for what your parents couldn’t provide.

It’s an honorable way station—a lot of stars did this.



XXIX.

To say someone was a Claude girl is an honour, not a slur.



Une femme terrible.

She despised men and women alike.

Men were wallets. Women were holes.



By the 80s,

if you were a brunette,

the sky was the limit.

The Saudis

They’d call for half a dozen of Alex’s finest,

ignore them all evening while they

chatted,

ate,

and played cards,

and then, around midnight,

take the women inside for a fast few minutes of ***.



They’d order women up like pizza.



Since my second husband died,

I only met one man who was right for me,

He was a sheikh.

I visited him in Europe

twenty-eight times

in the five years I knew him

and I never slept with him.

He’d say

I think you fly all the way here just to tease me,

but he introduced me

by phone

to all his powerful friends.

When I was in Los Angeles, he called me twice a day.

That’s why I never went out

he would have been disappointed.



***.

Listen to me

This is a woman’s business.

When a woman does it, it’s fun

there’s a giggle in it

when a man’s involved,

he’s ******,

he’s a ****.

He may know how to keep girls in line,

and he may make money,

but he doesn’t know what I do.

I tell guys: You’re getting a nice girl.

She’s young,

She’s pleasant,

She can do things

she can certainly make love.

She’s not a rocket scientist, but she’s everything else.



The world’s richest and most powerful men, the announcer teased.

An income “in the millions,” said the arresting officer.

Pina Colapinto

A petite call girl,

who once slid between the sheets of royalty,

a green-eyed blonde helped the police get the indictment.

They really dolled her up

She looks great.

Never!

What I told her was: ‘Wash that ******.’





XXXI.

Madam Alex died at 7 p.m.

Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,

where she had been in intensive care after recent open heart surgery

We all held her hand when they took her off the life support

This was the passing of a legend.

Because she was the mother superior of prostitution.

She was one of the richest women on earth.

The world came to her.

She never had to leave the house.

She was like Hugh Hefner in that way.


It's like losing a friend

In all the years we played cat and mouse,

she never once tried to corrupt me.

We had a lot of fun.


To those who knew her

she was as constant

as she was colorful

always ready with a good tidbit of gossip

and a gourmet lunch for two.

She entertained, even after her conviction on pandering charges,

from the comfy depths of her blue four-poster bed at her home near Doheny Drive,

surrounded by knickknacks and meowing cats,

which she fed fresh shrimp from blue china plates.



XXXII.

She stole my business,

my books,

my girls,

my guys.

I had a good run.

My creatures.

Make Mommy happy

Oh! He is the most enchanting cat that I have ever known.



She was, how can I say it,

classy.

When she first hired me

she thought I was too young to take her case.

I was 43.

I'm going to give you some gray hairs by the time this is over.

She was right.





XXXIII.

I was fond of Heidi

But she has a streak that is so vindictive.



If there is pure evil, it is Madame Alex.





XXXIV.

I was born and raised in L.A.

My dad was a famous pediatrician.

When he died, they donated a bench to him at the Griffith Park Observatory.



I think that Heidi wanted to try her wings

pretty early,

and I think that she met some people

who sort of took all her potential

and gave it a sharp turn



She knew nothing.

She was like a little parrot who repeated what she was supposed to say.



Alex and I had a very intense relationship;

I was kind of like the daughter she loved and hated,

so she was abusive and loving at the same time.



Look, I know Madam Alex was great at what she did

but it's like this:

What took her years to build,

I built in one.

The high end is the high end,

and no one has a higher end than me.

In this business, no one steals clients.

There's just better service.



XXXV.

You were not allowed to have long hair

You were not allowed to be too pretty

You were not allowed to wear too much makeup or be too glamorous

Because someone would fall in love with you and take you away.

And then she loses the business



XXXVI.

I was pursued because

come on

in our lifetime,

we will never see another girl of my age

who lived the way I did,

who did what I did so quickly,

I made so many enemies.

Some people had been in this line of business

for their whole lives, 30 or 40 years,

and I came in and cornered the market.

Men don't like that.

Women don't like that.

No one liked it.



I had this spiritual awakening watching an Oprah Winfrey video.

I was doing this 500-hour drug class

and one day the teacher showed us this video,

called something like Make It Happen.

Usually in class I would bring a notebook

and write a letter to my brother or my journal,

but all of a sudden this grabbed my attention

and I understood everything she said.

It hit me and it changed me a lot.

It made me feel,

Accept yourself for who you are.

I saw a deeper meaning in it

but who knows, I might have just been getting my period that day!



XXXVII.

Hello, Gina!

You movie star!

Yes you are!

Gina G!

Hello my friend,

Hello my friend,

Hello my movie star,

Ruby! Ruby Boobie!

Braaawk!

Except so many women say,

Come on, Heidi

you gotta do the brothel for us; don't let us down.

It would be kind of fun opening up an exclusive resort,

and I'll make it really nice,

like the Beverly Hills Hotel

It'll feel private; you'll have your own bungalow.

The only problem out here is the climate—it's so brutal.

Charles Manson was captured a half hour from Pahrump.



I said, Joe! What are you doing?

You gotta get, like,

a garter belt and encase it in something

and write,

This belonged to Suzette Whatever,

who entertained the Flying Tigers during World War II.

Get, like, some weird tools and write,

These were the first abortion tools in the brothel,

you know what I mean?

Just make some **** up!

So I came out here to do some research

And then I realized,

What am I doing?

I'm Heidi Fleiss. I don't need anyone.

I can do this.

When I was doing my research, in three months

I saw land go from 30 thousand an acre

to 50 thousand an acre,

and then it was going for 70K!

It's urban sprawl

—we're only one hour from Las Vegas.

Out here the casinos are only going to get bigger,

prostitution is legal, it's only getting better.





XXXVIII.

The truth is

deep down inside,

I just can't do business with him

He's the type of guy who buys Cup o' Noodles soup for three cents

and makes his hookers buy it back from him for $5.

It's not my style at all.

Who wants to be 75 and facing federal charges?

It was different at my age when I

at least...come on, I lived really well.

I was 22,

25 at the time?

It was fun then, but now I wouldn't want

to deal with all that *******

—the girls and blah blah blah.

But the money was really good.



I would've told someone they were out of their ******* mind

if they'd said in five years I'd be living with all these animals like this.

It's hard-core; how I live;

It's totally a nonfunctional atmosphere for me

It's hard to get anything done because

It’s so time-consuming.

I feel like they're good luck though....

I do feel that if I ever get rid of them,

I will be jinxed and cursed the rest of my life

and nothing I do will ever work again.



Guys kind of are a hindrance to me

Certainly I have no problem getting laid or anything.

But a man is not a priority in my life.

I mean, it's crazy, but I really have fun with my parrots.



XXXIX.

I started a babysitting circle when I wasn't much older than 9

And soon all the parents in the neighborhood

wanted me to watch over their children.

Even then I had an innate business sense.

I started farming out my friends

to meet the demand.

My mother showered me with love and my father,

a pediatrician,

would ask me at the dinner table,

What did you learn today?

I ran my neighborhood.

I just pick up a hustle really easily,

I was a waitress and I met an older guy who looked like Santa Claus.



Alex was a 5' 3" bald-headed Filipina

in a transparent muu muu.

We hit it off.

I didn't know at the time that I was there to pay off the guy's gambling debt.

It's in and out,

over and out.

Do you think some big-time producer

or actor is going to go to the clubs and hustle?



Columbia Pictures executive says:

I haven’t done anything that should cause any concern.

Jeez, it's like the Nixon enemies list.

I hope I'm on it.

If I'm not, it means I must not be big enough

for people to gossip about me.



That's right ladies and gentlemen.

I am an alleged madam and that is a $25 *****!

If you live out here,

you've got to hate people.

You've got to be pretty antisocial

How you gonna come out here with only 86 people?

That's Fred.

He's digging to China.

You look good.

Yeah, you too.

It's coming along here.

Yeah, it is.

I wanted to buy that lot there, but I guess it's gone?

That's mine, man! That's all me.

Really?

I thought there was a lot between us.

No. We're neighbors.



He's a cute guy

He's entertaining.

See, I kind of did do something shady to him.

I thought my property went all the way back

and butted up against his.

But there was one lot between us right there.

He said he was buying it,

but I saw the 'For Sale' sign still up there,

So I went and called the broker and said,

I'm an all-cash buyer.

So I really bought it out from under him.

But he's got plenty of room, and I need the space for my parrots.

Pahrump will always be Pahrump, but Crystal is going to be nice

All you need are four or five fancy houses and it'll flush everyone out

and it'll be a nice area.

They're all kind of weird here, but these people will go.

Like this guy here,

someone needs to **** him.

I was just saying to my dad that these parrots are born to a really ******-up world

He goes, Heidi, no, no; the world is a beautiful garden.

It's just, people are destroying it.

I’m looking into green building options

I don't want anything polluting,

I want a huge auditorium,

but it'll be like a jungle where my birds can really fly!

Where they can really do what they're supposed to do.

There were over 300 birds in there!

That lady,

She ran the exotic-birds department for the Tropicana Hotel,

which is a huge job.

She called me once at 3:30 in the morning

Come over here and help me feed this baby!

Some baby parrot.

And I ran over there in my pajamas

—I knew there was something else wrong

and she was like

Get me my oxygen!

Get me this, get me that.

I called my dad; he was like,

I don't know, honey, you better call the paramedics.

They ended up getting a helicopter.

And they were taking her away

in the wind with her IV and blood and everything

and she goes, Heidi, you take care of my birds.

And she dies the next day.

She was just a super-duper person.



XL.

I relate to the lifestyle she had before,

Now, I'm just a citizen.

I'm clean,

I'm sober,

I'm married,

I work at Wal-Mart.

I'm proud to say I know her. I look into her eyes

and we relate.





I got out in 2000,

so I've been sending her money for seven years

She was…whatever.

Girlfriend?

Yeah, maybe.

But ***, I tried like two times,

and I'm just not gay.

She gets out in about eight or nine months

and I told her I would get her a house.

But nowhere near me.

I didn't touch her,

but I'd be, like...

a funny story:

I told her,

Don't you ever ******* think

about contacting me in the real world.

I'm not a lesbian.

Then about two years ago, I got an e-mail from her,

or she called me and said, 'Google my name.'

So I Googled her name,

and she has this huge company.

Huge!

She won, like, Woman of the Year awards.

So I called her and I go,

Not bad.

She goes, 'Well, I did all that because you called me a loser.'

I go, '****, I should've called you more names

you probably would've found the cure for cancer by now.



XLI.

No person shall be employed by the licensee

who has ever been convicted of

a felony involving moral turpitude

But I qualify,

I mean, big deal, so I'm a convicted felon.

Being in the *** industry, you can't be so squeaky-clean.

You've got to be hustling.

Nighttime is really enchanting here

It's like a whole 'nother world out here, it really is

I’m so far removed from my social life and old surroundings.

Who was it, Oscar Wilde, I think, who said

people can adjust to anything.

I was perfectly adjusted in the penitentiary,

and I was perfectly adjusted to living in a château in France.



We had done those drug addiction shows together

Dr. Drew.

Afterward we were friendly

and he'd call me every now and then.

He'd act like he had his stuff together.

But it was all a lie.

Everything is a lie.

I brought him to a Humane Society event at Paramount Studios last year.

He was just such a mess.

So out of it.

He stole money from my purse.

He's such a drug addict because he's so afraid of being fat.

He liked horse ****, though. He did like horse ****.

This one woman that would have *** with a horse on the internet,

He told me that’s his favorite actress.

Better than Meryl Streep.



XLII.

The cops could see

why these women were taking over trade.

Girls with these looks charged upwards of $500 an hour.

The Russians had undercut them with a bargain rate of $150 an hour.

One thing they are not is lazy.

In the USSR

they grew up with no religion, no morality.

Prostitution is not considered a bad thing.

In fact, it’s considered a great way to make money.

That’s why it’s exploding here.

What we saw was just a tip of the iceberg.

These girls didn’t come over here expecting to be nannies.

They knew exactly what they wanted and what they were getting into.

The madam who organized this raid

was making $4 million a year,

laundered through Russian-owned banks in New York City

These are brutal people.

They are all backstabbers.

They’re entrepreneurs.

They’re looking at $10,000 a month for turning tricks.

For them, that’s the American dream.



XLIII.

If you’re not into something,

don’t be into it

But,

if you want to take some whipped cream,

put it between your toes,

have your dog licking it up and,

at the same time,

have your girlfriend poke you in the eye,

then that’s fine.

That’s a little weird but we shouldn’t judge.



She was my best friend then

and I consider her one of my best friends now,

because when I was going through Riker’s

and everyone abandoned me,

including my boyfriend,

I was hysterical,

crying,

and she was the one that was there.

And, when somebody needed to step up to the plate,

that’s who did, and I have an immense amount of

loyalty, respect, and love for her.

And if she’s going to prison for eight years

—that’s what she’s sentenced for

—I’ll go there,

and I’ll go there every week,

for eight years.

That’s the type of person I am.
I forgot the things that I know, the stories surrounding what’s been told, my lover’s heart is frosted cold cause I can’t live without you baby.

The water-wheel of that old mill,
the wildflowers growing on that hill,
the small town life, it moved so slow,
gave us time to get to know,
each other's hearts and let love grow...

…so fruitful all the time we had,
through thick and thin, good and bad,
but eventually you had to go-oh.

I forgot the things that I know, the stories surrounding what’s been told, my lover’s heart is frosted cold but I can’t live without you baby.

I cast your ashes in the stream,
beneath the water-wheel that made you beam,
that smile I will not forget and all the happiness that came with it,
and here I sit alone and sad, reflecting on the times we had,
coastal waves to pink sunset, on that first day that we met,
some later rainy but not to wet, -still I couldn’t live without you baby.

And I forgot the things that I know, the stories surrounding what’s been told, my lover’s heart now frosted cold, forced to live without you baby,

I forgot the things that I know, the stories surrounding what’s been told, my lover’s heart is frosted cold cause I can’t live without you baby.

I can’t live without you baby,
I can’t live without you baby,
Here I am without you baby,
I can’t live without you baby…

Forget the things that come and go, those stories surrounding times of old, your lover’s heart will not grow cold when you can think about your baby,

I can’t live without you baby,
I can’t live without you baby,
Here I am without you baby,
I can’t live without you baby…

...here I am without you baby...
This is for my Father who lost my Mother on 3/14/2014.
Logan Robertson Jul 2018
A black crow's darting eyes
spans the wheat field
and an orange pumpkin patch.
She sees
tall grasses of brown
seedlings,
bristling in the wind,
soon to be bushels of grain
and a pumpkin pie that she never savored.
She sits, atop her tree perch,
at times warm and storybook,
hidden by tree branches,
and at times out of harm's way
and infamy.
Her friends, the sun, and clouds in concert,
dancing along.
Her other friends bring alms and smiles.
Life is so good at times.
Down the road sits a mill
next to a waterfall
and a cabin,
with reindeer horns
hanging above the doorway.
She is in her element, happy,
carrying for her nestlings.
Back and forth her parental eyes dart
the hilly fields, a smoked filled chimney, and her babies,
all crawling with sustenance and awe.
Storybook.
A mother feeding a worm to her baby.
Storybook.
Off to her side is not a blind eye
watching her,
scary stick figures of
straw tucked under red shirts and hats,
with a tied tinfoil strips dotting
her eyes and tease.
Scarecrows, cease.
At times life is good nature, hand in hand,
knock on wood.
If only life could be circumspect.
Than darkness filling the light
and a stutter of life.
For a sad page is turned,
pause
... tears.
Then, feathers fall.
Hers.
The sound of a thud.
Silence and tears of her friend's swelling.
A baby's cry, missing her mother.
More orphaned tears.
Who would be this despicable?
On that rogue day.
A kick of a donkey,
an ***,
one bad rock on her path,
breaks the air,
as three little elementary kids were walking along
to school.
One, me, with a rock in his hand,
taking aim at her perch
and the death of the black crow's pages.
I confess.
... Bless me, Father, for I have sinned
it has been fifty years since
my last confession ...
a Tom Sawyer-like childhood gone worse.
I repent.
Some fifty years later I think of those first cairns,
including stealing the reindeer horns and milling
my brother and sister's storybook.
Waterfalls
stream tears, and a sorry boat
rowed downstream
sadly
thereafter.

Logan Robertson

7/25/2018
RICHARD IHUAENYI Jan 2015
Drowning in a cesspool of wishes
Destiny swims no farther than fishes.
Diligence seduces the tide,
She elopes, makes her a bride.

The singing bird sings,
The humming bee stings.
Inactivity kills the sweet dreamer but
Also exalts not the lazy ****.

Puff your blunt, roll up your sleeves
Kiss your tools, empty your sheaths
Pray your hands grind the right mill,
Your hustle will have you chill.
Specially Dedicated to A friend Kcee.
THE PROLOGUE.

WHEN folk had laughed all at this nice case
Of Absolon and Hendy Nicholas,
Diverse folk diversely they said,
But for the more part they laugh'd and play'd;           *were diverted
And at this tale I saw no man him grieve,
But it were only Osewold the Reeve.
Because he was of carpenteres craft,
A little ire is in his hearte laft
;                               left
He gan to grudge
and blamed it a lite.              murmur *little.
"So the* I,"  quoth he, "full well could I him quite
   thrive match
With blearing
of a proude miller's eye,                    dimming
If that me list to speak of ribaldry.
But I am old; me list not play for age;
Grass time is done, my fodder is now forage.
This white top
writeth mine olde years;                           head
Mine heart is also moulded
as mine hairs;                 grown mouldy
And I do fare as doth an open-erse
;                         medlar
That ilke
fruit is ever longer werse,                             same
Till it be rotten *in mullok or in stre
.    on the ground or in straw
We olde men, I dread, so fare we;
Till we be rotten, can we not be ripe;
We hop* away, while that the world will pipe;                     dance
For in our will there sticketh aye a nail,
To have an hoary head and a green tail,
As hath a leek; for though our might be gone,
Our will desireth folly ever-in-one
:                       continually
For when we may not do, then will we speak,
Yet in our ashes cold does fire reek.
                         smoke
Four gledes
have we, which I shall devise
,         coals * describe
Vaunting, and lying, anger, covetise.                     *covetousness
These foure sparks belongen unto eld.
Our olde limbes well may be unweld
,                           unwieldy
But will shall never fail us, that is sooth.
And yet have I alway a coltes tooth,
As many a year as it is passed and gone
Since that my tap of life began to run;
For sickerly
, when I was born, anon                          certainly
Death drew the tap of life, and let it gon:
And ever since hath so the tap y-run,
Till that almost all empty is the tun.
The stream of life now droppeth on the chimb.
The silly tongue well may ring and chime
Of wretchedness, that passed is full yore
:                        long
With olde folk, save dotage, is no more.

When that our Host had heard this sermoning,
He gan to speak as lordly as a king,
And said; "To what amounteth all this wit?
What? shall we speak all day of holy writ?
The devil made a Reeve for to preach,
As of a souter
a shipman, or a leach.                    cobbler
Say forth thy tale, and tarry not the time:                
surgeon
Lo here is Deptford, and 'tis half past prime:
Lo Greenwich, where many a shrew is in.
It were high time thy tale to begin."

"Now, sirs," quoth then this Osewold the Reeve,
I pray you all that none of you do grieve,
Though I answer, and somewhat set his hove
,                  hood
For lawful is *force off with force to shove.
           to repel force
This drunken miller hath y-told us here                        by force

How that beguiled was a carpentere,
Paraventure* in scorn, for I am one:                            perhaps
And, by your leave, I shall him quite anon.
Right in his churlish termes will I speak,
I pray to God his necke might to-break.
He can well in mine eye see a stalk,
But in his own he cannot see a balk."

Notes to the Prologue to the Reeves Tale.

1. "With blearing of a proude miller's eye": dimming his eye;
playing off a joke on him.

2. "Me list not play for age": age takes away my zest for
drollery.

3. The medlar, the fruit of the mespilus tree, is only edible when
rotten.

4. Yet in our ashes cold does fire reek: "ev'n in our ashes live
their wonted fires."

5. A colt's tooth; a wanton humour, a relish for pleasure.

6. Chimb: The rim of a barrel where the staves project beyond
the head.

7. With olde folk, save dotage, is no more: Dotage is all that is
left them; that is, they can only dwell fondly, dote, on the past.

8. Souter: cobbler; Scottice, "sutor;"' from Latin, "suere," to
sew.

9. "Ex sutore medicus"  (a surgeon from a cobbler) and "ex
sutore nauclerus" (a  ****** or pilot from a cobbler) were both
proverbial expressions in the Middle Ages.

10. Half past prime: half-way between prime and tierce; about
half-past seven in the morning.

11. Set his hove; like "set their caps;" as in the description of
the Manciple in the Prologue, who "set their aller cap".  "Hove"
or "houfe," means "hood;" and the phrase signifies to be even
with, outwit.

12. The illustration of the mote and the beam, from Matthew.

THE TALE.

At Trompington, not far from Cantebrig,
                      Cambridge
There goes a brook, and over that a brig,
Upon the whiche brook there stands a mill:
And this is *very sooth
that I you tell.               complete truth
A miller was there dwelling many a day,
As any peacock he was proud and gay:
Pipen he could, and fish, and nettes bete,                     *prepare
And turne cups, and wrestle well, and shete
.                     shoot
Aye by his belt he bare a long pavade
,                         poniard
And of his sword full trenchant was the blade.
A jolly popper
bare he in his pouch;                            dagger
There was no man for peril durst him touch.
A Sheffield whittle
bare he in his hose.                   small knife
Round was his face, and camuse
was his nose.                  flat
As pilled
as an ape's was his skull.                     peeled, bald.
He was a market-beter
at the full.                             brawler
There durste no wight hand upon him legge
,                         lay
That he ne swore anon he should abegge
.             suffer the penalty

A thief he was, for sooth, of corn and meal,
And that a sly, and used well to steal.
His name was *hoten deinous Simekin
        called "Disdainful Simkin"
A wife he hadde, come of noble kin:
The parson of the town her father was.
With her he gave full many a pan of brass,
For that Simkin should in his blood ally.
She was y-foster'd in a nunnery:
For Simkin woulde no wife, as he said,
But she were well y-nourish'd, and a maid,
To saven his estate and yeomanry:
And she was proud, and pert as is a pie.                        magpie
A full fair sight it was to see them two;
On holy days before her would he go
With his tippet* y-bound about his head;                           hood
And she came after in a gite
of red,                          gown
And Simkin hadde hosen of the same.
There durste no wight call her aught but Dame:
None was so hardy, walking by that way,
That with her either durste *rage or play
,                use freedom
But if he would be slain by Simekin                            unless
With pavade, or with knife, or bodekin.
For jealous folk be per'lous evermo':
Algate
they would their wives wende so.           unless *so behave
And eke for she was somewhat smutterlich,                        *****
She was as dign* as water in a ditch,                             nasty
And all so full of hoker
, and bismare*.   *ill-nature *abusive speech
Her thoughte that a lady should her spare,        not judge her hardly
What for her kindred, and her nortelrie           *nurturing, education
That she had learned in the nunnery.

One daughter hadde they betwixt them two
Of twenty year, withouten any mo,
Saving a child that was of half year age,
In cradle it lay, and was a proper page.
                           boy
This wenche thick and well y-growen was,
With camuse
nose, and eyen gray as glass;                         flat
With buttocks broad, and breastes round and high;
But right fair was her hair, I will not lie.
The parson of the town, for she was fair,
In purpose was to make of her his heir
Both of his chattels and his messuage,
And *strange he made it
of her marriage.           he made it a matter
His purpose was for to bestow her high                    of difficulty

Into some worthy blood of ancestry.
For holy Church's good may be dispended                          spent
On holy Church's blood that is descended.
Therefore he would his holy blood honour
Though that he holy Churche should devour.

Great soken* hath this miller, out of doubt,    toll taken for grinding
With wheat and malt, of all the land about;
And namely
there was a great college                        especially
Men call the Soler Hall at Cantebrege,
There was their wheat and eke their malt y-ground.
And on a day it happed in a stound
,                           suddenly
Sick lay the manciple
of a malady,                         steward
Men *weened wisly
that he shoulde die.              thought certainly
For which this miller stole both meal and corn
An hundred times more than beforn.
For theretofore he stole but courteously,
But now he was a thief outrageously.
For which the warden chid and made fare,                          fuss
But thereof set the miller not a tare;           he cared not a rush
He crack'd his boast, and swore it was not so.            talked big

Then were there younge poore scholars two,
That dwelled in the hall of which I say;
Testif* they were, and ***** for to play;                headstrong
And only for their mirth and revelry
Upon the warden busily they cry,
To give them leave for but a *little stound
,               short time
To go to mill, and see their corn y-ground:
And hardily* they durste lay their neck,                         boldly
The miller should not steal them half a peck
Of corn by sleight, nor them by force bereave
                *take away
And at the last the warden give them leave:
John hight the one, and Alein hight the other,
Of one town were they born, that highte Strother,
Far in the North, I cannot tell you where.
This Alein he made ready all his gear,
And on a horse the sack he cast anon:
Forth went Alein the clerk, and also John,
With good sword and with buckler by their side.
John knew the way, him needed not no guide,
And at the mill the sack adown he lay'th.

Alein spake f
Cut
for Susan O'Neill Roe

What a thrill ----
My thumb instead of an onion.
The top quite gone
Except for a sort of hinge

Of skin,
A flap like a hat,
Dead white.
Then that red plush.

Little pilgrim,
The Indian's axed your scalp.
Your turkey wattle
Carpet rolls

Straight from the heart.
I step on it,
Clutching my bottle
Of pink fizz. A celebration, this is.
Out of a gap
A million soldiers run,
Redcoats, every one.

Whose side are they one?
O my
Homunculus, I am ill.
I have taken a pill to ****

The thin
Papery feeling.
Saboteur,
Kamikaze man ----

The stain on your
Gauze Ku Klux ****
Babushka
Darkens and tarnishes and when
The balled
Pulp of your heart
Confronts its small
Mill of silence

How you jump ----
Trepanned veteran,
***** girl,
Thumb stump.
ConnectHook Feb 2016
by John Greenleaf Whittier  (1807 – 1892)

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

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

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


EMERSON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written in  1865
In its day, 'twas a best-seller and earned significant income for Whittier
Francie Lynch Feb 2016
Bridget was born on a flax mill farm,
Near the Cavan border, in Monaghan,
At Lough Egish on the Carrick Road,
The last child of the Sheridans.
The sluice still runs near the water wheel,
With thistles thriving on rusted steel.

Little's known of Nellie's early years;
Da died before she knew grieving tears,
They'd turn her eyes in later years.

She's eleven posing with her class,
This photo shows an Irish lass.
Her look is distant,
Her face is blurred,
But recognizable
In an instant.

She was schooled six years
To last a life,
Some math, the Irish,
To read and write.

Her Mammy grew ill,
She lost a leg,
And bit by bit,
By age sixteen,
Nellie buried her first dead.
Too young to be alone,
Sisters and brother had left the home.
The cloistered convent took her in,
She taught urchins and orphans
About God and Grace and sin.
There were no vows for Nellie then.

At nineteen she met a Creamery man,
Jim Lynch of the Cavan clan;
He delivered dairy from his lorry,
Married Nellie,
Relieved their worry.

War flared, men were few,
There was work in Coventry.
Ireland's thistles were left to bloom.

Nellie soon was Michael's Mammy,
Then Maura, Sheila and Kevin followed,
When war floundered to its end,
They shipped back to Monaghan,
And brought the mill to life again.

The thistles and weeds
That surrounded the mill,
Were scythed and scattered
By Daddy's zeal.
He built himself
A generator,
Providing power
To lights and wheel.

Sean was born,
Gerald soon followed;
Then Michael died.
A nine year old,
His Daddy's angel.
Is this what turns
A father strange?

Francie arrived,
Then Eucheria,
But ten months later
Bold death took her.
Grief knows no borders
For brothers and sisters.

We left for Canada.

Mammy brought six kids along,
Leaving her dead behind,
Buried with Ireland.

Daddy was waiting for family,
Six months before Mammy got free
From death's inhumanity.
Her tears and griefs weren't yet over,
She birthed another son and daughter;
Jimmy and Marlene left us too,
Death is sure,
Death is cruel.

Grandchildren came, she was Granny,
Bridget, Nellie, but still our Mammy.
She lived this life eduring pain
That mothers bear,
Mothers sustain.
And yet, in times of personal strain,
I'll sometimes whisper her one name,
Mammy.
Bridget Ellen (Nellie) Lynch (nee Sheridan): January 20, 1920 - October 16, 1989. A loving Mammy to all her children, and a warm Granny to the rest.
Alyssa Underwood Mar 2016
I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VI

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

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

And all men **** the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!
SøułSurvivør Aug 2017
"Though the mills
Of God grind slowly;
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience
He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Mill

The grueling weight
of happenstance,
A millstone for to grind,
It deflates the ego
And shows us
Where we're blind,
It renders flesh a ruin
Obliterates the mind,
We leave our idols desolate
Leave the ties that bind.

Under painful hardship
We release the very things
Which put us in the circumstance
And caused the suffering
We leave behind our craving
For wealth and diamond rings
Everything exalted
All exalted above God...

That means
EVERYTHING

Whatever you adore
On this temporal earth
Whatever gives you pleasure
In which you find worth

These very things will shackle you!
You'll find out they're not free.
They are just the Golden Calf
Of base idolatry.

But the millstone slowly purges
Turning hour by hour
Turning the wheat kernels
Into useful flour.

And so I am refined
As I surely must
Put to naught my flesh
Make powder all my lusts
For I am as ashes

for I am as dust.*


SS  (C) 8/23/2017
I have troubles right now. God is putting me through the mill. I'm now almost completely bedridden. My father is in great pain and suffering. My mom is extremely upset due to all this. The entire family is in turmoil. We are ALL affected.

I'm not saying my problems are any worse than yours. We each have a cross to bear. It's simply how we HANDLE IT that matters! Are we going to get bitter? Or BETTER?!!!

I've been feeling very sorry for myself. And, due to my reaction to the stress, I hurt a friend. I can't tell you how badly this shook me! I (self-righteously) thought I was far beyond this sort of behavior! But the pressure grinds & shows us our idols & faults. I've decided to let go of a LOT of besetting iniquity. And it's HARD.

I haven't been on site much. I just want to pray and read my Bible. Study. This will help me heal. Please forgive my absence. I appreciate your support and understanding. I include all of you in my prayers...


♡ Catherine
A W Bullen Aug 2016
Evening cleats The Bay,

As cavalcades of passive argon, sulphur on
the ogham slicks,
to treacle ways toward the seeding
cooling of the hours,...

The sleights of crimson, fringe
the bruising cower of the West, to
brightly die behind the leathered hill.

From a wrist of tallowed amethyst,
a Tiercel purls a last ellipse, and in
his sinking helix ships, the Sommes
of curdled estuaries, to brood
the closing Mill....
SG Holter Jul 2015
I visit the old mill by the creek.  
It hasn't ground a grain in a century.
A ghost of wood and steel and history.
How it still stands is a local mystery.

I want to buy that old mill by the creek.
Rebuild it with glass walls facing the waterfall.
Use the water for electricity.
In the summer, when you visit me,

We'll swim in the pond, it'll be my own pool.
Sip beer on the rooftop, be rockstar cool.
In winter, we'll ice skate my frozen backyard
Before fireplace, whisky, snacks and cards.

I'll build you a guestroom on all three floors.
And secret rooms behind hidden doors.
The automn rains will pound at the wall  
And sing with the sound of the waterfall,

And the song will be that of the miller's ghost.
The house might be mine, but he's still the host.
He loves that his workplace has now become home.
For a hundred years, he's been there alone.  

He'll laugh with the kids of my visiting friends.
He'll dance with the women, and when the fun ends
He'll sit on the rooftop with a ghost cup of tea,
Walk by the willows and thank God for he

Who took the mill ruins and rendered them "home";  
A palace by water of wood, glass and stone.
I thinks of these things, when I visit that mill.
And thanks to my dreaming, it's standing there still.
Logan Robertson May 2017
Lost Love


He remembers that day
many sad years ago
it was sunny out,
but soon a storm raged.

He returned home early
from work,
eager
to rest and nurse a cold.
Eager
to see his gorgeous wife
fix him a delicious soup
and give loving care,
a remedy not.
He caught a surprise.

Was it then a hallucination?
To see her ex's car
in front of their house,
fanning the flames in his heart?
Or to imagine the house shaking,
or to hear love noises howling
from the rafters of contempt,
as her fireplace warmed tempest.
He sure hoped then... it had been a misfire
it wasn't.

He slowly opened the front door,
walking decrepit and sad,
like he was in hospice care.
He could see the final script
playing out,
more so the tragic ending
the trail of clothes,
her ex-boyfriend's scent,
calamity,
and approaching closer
the devil speaking louder.

He opened the bedroom door
to their parts caught in honey jars
and scarlet red on his tainted wife
over bed sheets of shame.
Their eyes catch,
both flush, and tearful,
as breathing stopped,
his melancholy eyes asking why?
Why?
What about the future  lily pods,
our family, house, kids
... and you sell out.
What about being fresh
out of college with our dreams,
passion and honor...us.
What about the bonds,
pinky swears, pricking of blood
marital vows.
Her eyes had no answers.
She cried, loudest
as her ex-boyfriend bolted
not before passing the mill.

He closed her door for good
that mournful day,
dismissing darkness,
opening his wrath for her
in his mind, yet
what words or light can be exchanged?

Uprooted and lost, he walked
scarred over and over
by her promise and lost love.

That was thirty years ago
and he still walks with her
ghosts, and it still pains.

LR-5/4/17
Grant Mailo Sep 2012
racism and stereotypes
I’m not chief keef but that’s that **** I don’t like
especially when I’m judged like when people say that I don’t “look right”
cause I tell I’m samoan so I’m supposed to be big and strong
and playing some stereotypical sport like football
it’s just an ethnicity, like anyone else, relax
but on a more serious note, I feel bad for the blacks
tell me why a few weeks ago, my roommate is walkin’ down on mill ave.
and he sees some girl sittin’ alone so he comes over cause he just wants to chat
but as soon as he approaches her, she gets all tense and afraid
cause she’s over here fabricating some image that he’s some kind of troublemaker, like the dude from the movie crash, you know the one with the braids?
I find that **** ludicrous
that many people out there judge off the color of someone’s skin and think they knew all of it
all of who you are and all of how you act
so you supposed to be a gangsta on the streets cause you young and you black
or the only explanation for the brotha with the beemer is he be workin’ that corner sellin’ out dime sacks from his nike knapsack or maybe he’s just one of those cats that likes to rap and occasionally slangs crack
but no, he can’t be no college educated man
he’s wearing a nike outfit and his skin is all black
and don’t even get me started on all the idiots that judge Hispanics and call ‘em wetbacks
what the hell is wrong with this world?
latinos are arguably the hardest working people around
but jose and carlos must be illegal cause they’re holding a shovel and their skin is all brown
so let’s get a group of racist ******* to push sheriff joe arpaio to introduce sb1070
good job Arizona, you’re now the most hated state in the country
cause we don’t like Mexicans cause they’re taking all the jobs that we could have had
but let’s skip the fact that they’re willing to work twice as hard for half the pay with no insurance to cover their back
how do you disrespect anyone, who’s willing to do all that?
and as we go over these issues with all the minorities
racists begin to develop a sense of hate for those that make up the majority
the white people
this girl in class may have not have been paying attention or got an easy question wrong
so let’s just whisper under our breath that she’s just another “dumb blonde”
let’s just assume that she’s daddy’s spoiled little girl cause she has a coach bag
and that she has a lotta of money, no rhythm, and above all no ***
and her daddy’s daddy’s daddy must have owned slaves back in the day
so I’mma use that against her if she ever misbehaves
and act like the majority of her people haven’t matured past that stage
and since they seem like their living well, it must be safe to assume that they were born privileged
and that they’re completely oblivious to the sufferings of other races and completely ethnocentric
*******
all these stereotypes and racist assumptions, *******
why can’t we,
live in a colorblind society,
where all races can connect without the animosity?
well, the answer is, we can, but it starts from us
stop the racism, stop the stereotypes, stop the hate, and begin to trust
in people of all colors with different mothers
like the cliché goes, don’t judge a book by its cover
so just because he ain’t a brother
that don’t mean you gotta give him the cold shoulder
so, if everyone can, I need yall to do me a favor,
I need you to love you, love him, and even love me
love her, love them, love everyone equally
and as for me? I’mma just be me
regardless of what people assume, I have the right to act freely
cause I’m not trynna be the center of attention or the definition of perfection
I’m just strivin’ to be proud of what I see in my reflection…
spoken word poem I performed at the ASU welcome black poetry explosion 2012 event. wrote this only a few days before the event so it's a rushed job. indulge anyways haha.
O'Reily Dec 2015
Love lies test from a human face,
Hope it stretches its smiles,
Hold on to your ink fable,
Draw lines out and it scars!

Never new just knew it would fade,
Sewn ip and shown jumper,
Washed beneath and so men shone,
Mention all in time!

So what becomes of this bold fate,
Never standing still,
Comprehends and Im so late,
Isolate this run of the mill.

Circular motion intuition exploding,
Caller of faith in2minds it frustrates,
Beggar a bowl of no sun,
Somewhere waits, somewhere hates,
It seeks a plea of redemption!
Low and behold its devil cake eats,
Slicing its part, peeling off its art, pour
Wetting and never forgetting this,  this   run of the mill.

O'Reily@08122015
SMOKE of the fields in spring is one,
Smoke of the leaves in autumn another.
Smoke of a steel-mill roof or a battleship funnel,
They all go up in a line with a smokestack,
Or they twist ... in the slow twist ... of the wind.
  
If the north wind comes they run to the south.
If the west wind comes they run to the east.
  By this sign
  all smokes
  know each other.
Smoke of the fields in spring and leaves in autumn,
Smoke of the finished steel, chilled and blue,
By the oath of work they swear: "I know you."
  
Hunted and hissed from the center
Deep down long ago when God made us over,
Deep down are the cinders we came from-
You and I and our heads of smoke.
  
Some of the smokes God dropped on the job
Cross on the sky and count our years
And sing in the secrets of our numbers;
Sing their dawns and sing their evenings,
Sing an old log-fire song:
  
You may put the damper up,
You may put the damper down,
The smoke goes up the chimney just the same.
  
Smoke of a city sunset skyline,
Smoke of a country dusk horizon-
  They cross on the sky and count our years.
  
Smoke of a brick-red dust
  Winds on a spiral
  Out of the stacks
For a hidden and glimpsing moon.
This, said the bar-iron shed to the blooming mill,
This is the slang of coal and steel.
The day-gang hands it to the night-gang,
The night-gang hands it back.
  
Stammer at the slang of this-
Let us understand half of it.
  In the rolling mills and sheet mills,
  In the harr and boom of the blast fires,
  The smoke changes its shadow
  And men change their shadow;
  A ******, a ***, a bohunk changes.
  
  A bar of steel-it is only
Smoke at the heart of it, smoke and the blood of a man.
A runner of fire ran in it, ran out, ran somewhere else,
And left-smoke and the blood of a man
And the finished steel, chilled and blue.
  
So fire runs in, runs out, runs somewhere else again,
And the bar of steel is a gun, a wheel, a nail, a shovel,
A rudder under the sea, a steering-gear in the sky;
And always dark in the heart and through it,
  Smoke and the blood of a man.
Pittsburg, Youngstown, Gary-they make their steel with men.
  
In the blood of men and the ink of chimneys
The smoke nights write their oaths:
Smoke into steel and blood into steel;
Homestead, Braddock, Birmingham, they make their steel with men.
Smoke and blood is the mix of steel.
  
  The birdmen drone
  in the blue; it is steel
  a motor sings and zooms.
  
Steel barb-wire around The Works.
Steel guns in the holsters of the guards at the gates of The Works.
Steel ore-boats bring the loads clawed from the earth by steel, lifted and lugged by arms of steel, sung on its way by the clanking clam-shells.
The runners now, the handlers now, are steel; they dig and clutch and haul; they hoist their automatic knuckles from job to job; they are steel making steel.
Fire and dust and air fight in the furnaces; the pour is timed, the billets wriggle; the clinkers are dumped:
Liners on the sea, skyscrapers on the land; diving steel in the sea, climbing steel in the sky.
  
Finders in the dark, you Steve with a dinner bucket, you Steve clumping in the dusk on the sidewalks with an evening paper for the woman and kids, you Steve with your head wondering where we all end up-
Finders in the dark, Steve: I hook my arm in cinder sleeves; we go down the street together; it is all the same to us; you Steve and the rest of us end on the same stars; we all wear a hat in hell together, in hell or heaven.
  
Smoke nights now, Steve.
Smoke, smoke, lost in the sieves of yesterday;
Dumped again to the scoops and hooks today.
Smoke like the clocks and whistles, always.
  Smoke nights now.
  To-morrow something else.
  
Luck moons come and go:
Five men swim in a *** of red steel.
Their bones are kneaded into the bread of steel:
Their bones are knocked into coils and anvils
And the ******* plungers of sea-fighting turbines.
Look for them in the woven frame of a wireless station.
So ghosts hide in steel like heavy-armed men in mirrors.
Peepers, skulkers-they shadow-dance in laughing tombs.
They are always there and they never answer.
  
One of them said: "I like my job, the company is good to me, America is a wonderful country."
One: "Jesus, my bones ache; the company is a liar; this is a free country, like hell."
One: "I got a girl, a peach; we save up and go on a farm and raise pigs and be the boss ourselves."
And the others were roughneck singers a long ways from home.
Look for them back of a steel vault door.
  
They laugh at the cost.
They lift the birdmen into the blue.
It is steel a motor sings and zooms.
  
In the subway plugs and drums,
In the slow hydraulic drills, in gumbo or gravel,
Under dynamo shafts in the webs of armature spiders,
They shadow-dance and laugh at the cost.
  
The ovens light a red dome.
Spools of fire wind and wind.
Quadrangles of crimson sputter.
The lashes of dying maroon let down.
Fire and wind wash out the ****.
Forever the **** gets washed in fire and wind.
The anthem learned by the steel is:
  Do this or go hungry.
Look for our rust on a plow.
Listen to us in a threshing-engine razz.
Look at our job in the running wagon wheat.
  
Fire and wind wash at the ****.
Box-cars, clocks, steam-shovels, churns, pistons, boilers, scissors-
Oh, the sleeping **** from the mountains, the ****-heavy pig-iron will go down many roads.
Men will stab and shoot with it, and make butter and tunnel rivers, and mow hay in swaths, and slit hogs and skin beeves, and steer airplanes across North America, Europe, Asia, round the world.
  
Hacked from a hard rock country, broken and baked in mills and smelters, the rusty dust waits
Till the clean hard weave of its atoms cripples and blunts the drills chewing a hole in it.
The steel of its plinths and flanges is reckoned, O God, in one-millionth of an inch.
  
Once when I saw the curves of fire, the rough scarf women dancing,
Dancing out of the flues and smoke-stacks-flying hair of fire, flying feet upside down;
Buckets and baskets of fire exploding and chortling, fire running wild out of the steady and fastened ovens;
Sparks cracking a harr-harr-huff from a solar-plexus of rock-ribs of the earth taking a laugh for themselves;
Ears and noses of fire, gibbering gorilla arms of fire, gold mud-pies, gold bird-wings, red jackets riding purple mules, scarlet autocrats tumbling from the humps of camels, assassinated czars straddling vermillion balloons;
I saw then the fires flash one by one: good-by: then smoke, smoke;
And in the screens the great sisters of night and cool stars, sitting women arranging their hair,
Waiting in the sky, waiting with slow easy eyes, waiting and half-murmuring:
  "Since you know all
  and I know nothing,
  tell me what I dreamed last night."
  
Pearl cobwebs in the windy rain,
in only a flicker of wind,
are caught and lost and never known again.
  
A pool of moonshine comes and waits,
but never waits long: the wind picks up
loose gold like this and is gone.
  
A bar of steel sleeps and looks slant-eyed
on the pearl cobwebs, the pools of moonshine;
sleeps slant-eyed a million years,
sleeps with a coat of rust, a vest of moths,
a shirt of gathering sod and loam.
  
The wind never bothers ... a bar of steel.
The wind picks only .. pearl cobwebs .. pools of moonshine.
Nat Lipstadt Jun 2018
Songs of Oregon: No. 1 “Gonna Make You Crazy, That Place”

nuts, crazy peeps

whomever wherever,
regardless of race creed color or gender (did I get ‘em all?)
current state of residence (geo-identified)
a poem - the very same recited,
as a disclaimer, a yellow finger wagging warning:

“Don’t go! If you go, you won’t come back”

now kids, I’m a veteran of foreign travel,
many continents, cold and hot, rivers and seas,
some living, some dead,
some so big they named it Endless,
been to the great cities, Swiss villages,
pyramids, climbed Masada,
danced on grapes (why can’t I recall where)
skied the Alps, trekked the Sinai Desert,
clubbed in Rio, and danced till morn,
on a certain Greek Isle that rhymes with Mickey’s Nose
even been to L.A and San Fran, left poorer
but in sync,
always came home
with my mind decently reshaped

me/ a product of gritty unpretty grime,
streets of normal humans
acting like normal escaped mad persons,
this brutal city island instilled a
layer of fat and smog neath my skin,
a kind of migrating duck-like survival kit,
came with a homing beacon included

the those of you who know me,
perhaps too well, ken we citified islanders
love our beaches (fire hydrants)
cherish our sun dappled blessings
upon on farms (window sill herb gardens)
and sunning settlements (rooftops)

they say our tap water is secretly bottled,
sold in places where the springs purportedly
run crystalline

though we don’t got no pinot, just sweet concord grape,
so sweet, the wine of children and street nodders,
needy for instant sugar highs

so as we new Yorkers proudly
say on our license plates,
prove it or stfup!

so a first hand investigation for which
the taxpayers won’t be charged even a lousy mill,
deemed necessary to put to rest this crazy claiming warning

“Don’t go! If you go, you won’t come back”

guessing must be something in the water and the wine
This is the clock that stood stock still
as you swallowed
and took up a job down at t'mill
there was the time when your dreams were like mine
and not folded away as they were on the day when you signed on the line at the old cotton mill and there's no time to go back and alter what's done
what was fun is no fun and the sun will not shine
like the time that it rained on the day out in July
when it was there that I wondered and wondered and why
you didn't try
to kiss me
bless me for I should have known that you hadn't grown then
some men are slow men and some men stay boys
and toys for the taking
but making the move to the mill is still the lamest excuse that I've ever seen
we could have been
good
together
whether you believe it or not
I have a lot to give
you'd rather live in your bolts of cloth
but I am a moth that is after a flame
and if you won't light me
I'll find someone else
to join me in my game.

Fly away childhood
'fly away paul'
I'll find another one and we'll have the ball that you and I should have
and life's not so bad
if you have the the life that I should have had
It's a mock turtle soup with a loop round the group and a fix on the past and getting passed by the mill is one more or less bitter pill
that we ought not to swallow
and if swallows don't make a season then that isn't a reason to despair.

ps..I love the way you wear your hair
I like the way you dress
wish that I had impressed you more.
I have been told the ps part wasn't needed...tough..it's there ya gotta deal with it.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
(poems from the Chinese translated by Arthur Waley)

Last night the clouds scattered away;
A thousand leagues, the same moonlight scene.
When dawn came, I dreamt I saw your face;
It must have been that you were thinking of me.
In my dream, I thought I held your hand
And asked you to tell me what your thoughts were.
And you said: ‘I miss you bitterly . . . “

As Helen drifted into sleep the source of that imagined voice in her last conscious moment was waking several hundred miles away. For so long now she was his first and only waking thought. He stretched his hand out to touch her side with his fingertips, not a touch more the lightest brush: he did not wish to wake her. But she was elsewhere. He was alone. His imagination had to bring her to him instead. Sometimes she was so vivid a thought, a presence more like, that he felt her body surround him, her hand stroke the back of his neck, her ******* fall and spread against his chest, her breath kiss his nose and cheek. He felt conscious he had yet to shave, conscious his rough face should not touch her delicate freckled complexion . . . but he was alone and his body ached for her.

It was always like this when they were apart, and particularly so when she was away from home and full to the brim with the variously rich activities and opportunities that made up her life. He knew she might think of him, but there was this feeling he was missing a part of her living he would never see or know. True, she would speak to him on the phone, but sadly he still longed to read her once bright descriptions that had in the past enabled him to enter her solo experiences in a way no image seemed to allow. But he had resolved to put such possible gifts to one side. So instead he would invent such descriptions himself: a good, if time-consuming compromise. He would give himself an hour at his desk; an hour, had he been with her, they might have spent in each other’s arms welcoming the day with such a love-making he could hardly bare to think about: it was always, always more wonderful than he could possibly have imagined.

He had been at a concert the previous evening. He’d taken the train to a nearby town and chosen to hear just one work in the second part. Before the interval there had been a strange confection of Bernstein, Vaughan-Williams and Saint-Saens. He had preferred to listen to *The Symphonie Fantastique
by Hector Berlioz. There was something a little special about attending a concert to hear a single work. You could properly prepare yourself for the experience and take away a clear memory of the music. He had read the score on the train journey, a journey across a once industrial and mining heartland that had become an abandoned wasteland: a river and canal running in tandem, a vast but empty marshalling yard, acres of water-filled gravel pits, factory and mill buildings standing empty and in decay. On this early evening of a thoroughly wet and cold June day he would lift his gaze to the window to observe this sad landscape shrouded in a grey mist tinted with mottled green.

Andrew often considered Berlioz a kind of fellow-traveller on his life’s journey of music. Berlioz too had been a guitarist in his teenage years and had been largely self-taught as a composer. He had been an innovator in his use of the orchestra and developed a body of work that closely mirrored the literature and political mores of his time.  The Symphonie Fantastique was the ultimate love letter: to the adorable Harriet Smithson, the Irish actress. Berlioz had seen her play Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet (see above) and immediately imagined her as his muse and life’s partner. He wrote hundreds of letters to her before eventually meeting her to declare his love and admiration in person. A friend took her to hear the Symphonie after it had got about that this radical work was dedicated to her. She was appalled! But, when Berlioz wrote Lélio or The Return to Life, a kind of sequel to his Symphonie, she relented and agreed to meet him. They married in 1833 but parted after a tempestuous seven years. It had surprised Andrew to discover Lélio, about which, until quite recently, he had known nothing. The Berlioz scholar David Cairns had written fully and quite lovingly about the composition, but reading the synopsis in Wikipedia he began to understand it might be a trifle embarrassing to present in a concert.

The programme of Lélio describes the artist wakening from these dreams, musing on Shakespeare, his sad life, and not having a woman. He decides that if he can't put this unrequited love out of his head, he will immerse himself in music. He then leads an orchestra to a successful performance of one of his new compositions and the story ends peacefully.

Lélio consists of six musical pieces presented by an actor who stands on stage in front of a curtain concealing the orchestra. The actor's dramatic monologues explain the meaning of the music in the life of the artist. The work begins and ends with the idée fixe theme, linking Lélio to Symphonie fantastique.


Thoughts of the lovely Harriet brought him to thoughts of his own muse, far away. He had written so many letters to his muse, and now he wrote her little stories instead, often imagining moments in their still separate lives. He had written music for her and about her – a Quintet for piano and winds (after Mozart) based on a poem he’d written about a languorous summer afternoon beside a river in the Yorkshire Dales; a book of songs called Pleasing Myself (his first venture into setting his own words). Strangely enough he had read through those very songs just the other day. How they captured the onset of both his regard and his passion for her! He had written poetic words in her voice, and for her clear voice to sing:

As the light dies
I pace the field edge
to the square pond
enclosed, hedged and treed.
The water,
once revealed,
lies cold
in the still air.

At its bank,
solitary,
I let my thoughts of you
float on the surface.
And like two boats
moored abreast
at the season’s end,
our reflections merge
in one dark form.


His words he felt were true to the model of the Chinese poetry he had loved as a teenager, verse that had helped him fashion his fledgling thoughts in music.

And so it was that while she dined brightly with her team in a Devon country pub, he sat alone in a town hall in West Yorkshire listening to Berlioz’ autobiographical and unrequited work.

A young musician of extraordinary sensibility and abundant imagination, in the depths of despair because of hopeless love, has poisoned himself with *****. The drug is too feeble to **** him but plunges him into a heavy sleep accompanied by weird visions. His sensations, emotions, and memories, as they pass through his affected mind, are transformed into musical images and ideas. The beloved one herself becomes to him a melody, a recurrent theme [idée fixe] which haunts him continually.

Yes, he could identify with some of that. Reading Berlioz’ own programme note in the orchestral score he remembered the disabling effect of his first love, a slight girl with long hair tied with a simple white scarf. Then he thought of what he knew would be his last love, his only and forever love when he had talked to her, interrupting her concentration, in a college workshop. She had politely dealt with his innocent questions and then, looking at the clock told him she ‘had to get on’. It was only later – as he sat outside in the university gardens - that he realized the affect that brief encounter might have on him. It was as though in those brief minutes he knew nothing of her, but also everything he ever needed to know. Strange how the images of that meeting, the sound of her voice haunted him, would appear unbidden - until two months later a chance meeting in a corridor had jolted him into her presence again  . . . and for always he hoped.

After the music had finished he had remained in the auditorium as the rather slight audience took their leave. The resonance of the music seemed to be a still presence and he had there and then scanned back and forward through the music’s memory. The piece had cheered him, given him a little hope against the prevailing difficulties and problems of his own musical creativity, the long, often empty hours at his desk. He was in a quiet despair about his current work, about his current life if he was honest. He wondered at the way Berlioz’ musical material seemed of such a piece with its orchestration. The conception of the music itself was full of rough edges; it had none of that exemplary finish of a Beethoven symphony so finely chiseled to perfection.  Berlioz’ Symphonie contained inspired and trite elements side by side, bar beside bar. It missed that wholeness Beethoven achieved with his carefully honed and positioned harmonic structures, his relentless editing and rewriting. With Berlioz you reckoned he trusted himself to let what was in his imagination flow onto the page unhindered by technical issues. Andrew had experienced that occasionally, and looking at his past pieces, was often amazed that such music could be, and was, his alone.

Returning to his studio there was a brief text from his muse. He was tempted to phone her. But it was late and he thought she might already be asleep. He sat for a while and imagined her at dinner with the team, more relaxed now than previously. Tired from a long day of looking and talking and thinking and planning and imagining (herself in the near future), she had worn her almost vintage dress and the bright, bright smile with her diligent self-possessed manner. And taking it (the smile) into her hotel bedroom, closing the door on her public self, she had folded it carefully on the chair with her clothes - to be bright and bright for her colleagues at breakfast next day and beyond. She undressed and sitting on the bed in her pajamas imagined for a brief moment being folded in his arms, being gently kissed goodnight. Too tired to read, she brought herself to bed with a mental list of all the things she must and would do in the morning time and when she got home – and slept.

*They came and told me a messenger from Shang-chou
Had brought a letter, - a simple scroll from you!
Up from my pillow I suddenly sprang out of bed,
And threw on my clothes, all topsy-turvey.
I undid the knot and saw the letter within:
A single sheet with thirteen lines of writing.
At the top it told the sorrows of an exile’s heart;
At the bottom it described the pains of separation.
The sorrows and pains took up so much space
There was no room to talk about the weather!
The poems that begin and end Being Awake are translations by Arthur Waley  from One Hundred and Seventy Poems from the Chinese published in 1918.
A widow bird sate mourning for her Love
Upon a wintry bough;
The frozen wind crept on above,
The freezing stream below.

There was no leaf upon the forest bare,
No flower upon the ground,
And little motion in the air
Except the mill-wheel’s sound.
Serenity Elliot Sep 2014
I’ve seen hell- and it’s white, snow white.
Derrek Faraday Oct 2018
“Congratulations
You managed being five feet above the ground”
Said a man who
Can’t contain a slight, sardonic sound
The situation:
He’s reading eating magazines from the coast of Spain
And yelling himself blue
For the jeepney won’t hurry in the pouring rain

He smashed his head on the glass
Wishing for a train
It nearly cracked / but his
New cadence sounded quite sane

“Congratulations
You took five before you smoked the first one down”
Said a man who
Complimented me for sinking above the ground
“It’s estimation
I might trip before a wheel enters our lane”
I yelled the truth
At this moment, his presence started to stain

A boat that had already passed us
Yelled, “All aboard!”
We weren’t sure it would float
But it had a great deal of cords

Then we clambered on
There was a myriad of golden spades
Two for every buried fool
That was forced to stay
The stench was concealed
By the satisfied old man
A woman muttered
That she was headed to Queensland

A driver viciously flung his arms
Into the air, in apt alarm
The intersection’s volley
Aimed for the starboard
Everyone reached for the mast,
Hoping to soar

“Congratulations
You nodded off before the lights started to blare”
Said a man who
Lied, ostentatiously impaired
I’m at the station
Then, I noticed to my side was a golden *****
I dug myself through
The mahogany and got on with my day
In the rain
She could make a cow grow sick and die,
She could sicken a healthy pig,
She could poison somebody’s cottage pie
But she couldn’t harm Tom Rigg.
For Tom wasn’t born of woman
He’d been plucked too soon from the womb,
When his mother lay there dying
From a concoction stirred with a broom.

So he’d grown up broad, and tall and strong
With a warlock cast to his eye,
Whatever the spell she tried on him
He would turn on her, ‘Just try!’
She conjured a flight of vampire bats
To follow him here and there,
But the bats were spurned, and then returned
And they tangled up in her hair.

She would lie in wait by the farmer’s gate
With the graveyard dog in a ditch,
So he’d open the sluice that was not in use,
And soak her, every stitch,
She’d scream, come tumbling after him,
‘You think you’re so fine and big,
I’ll spell that you fall in love with me,
Just see if I don’t, Tom Rigg.’

For deep down under her witch’s pride
Was the beat of a woman’s heart,
And the sight of Tom had sent it, quivering
Shaking itself apart,
But Tom had kept himself to himself
Immune to a woman’s wiles,
Determined to fix the old windmill
On the other side of the stile.

He lived in the ancient tower mill
That he’d bought, picked up for a song,
It hadn’t been used for a hundred years
Since part of the works went wrong,
The sails were seized, poked up at the sky
In a way that said, ‘We’re spent!’
But Tom believed that he knew just why;
The cog on the shaft was bent.

He cleaned it up and he scraped the rust
And he greased the copper sheath,
He checked it over and sideways, down
And he peered from underneath,
But the shaft was rigid, it wouldn’t turn
He was giving up in despair,
When late one night with a mighty crash
There was something amiss out there.

He peered up under a rising moon
There was something caught in the sail,
All he could see was a besom broom
But then came an awful wail,
The witch was caught in the topmost sail
Where she’d swooped in the night unseen,
And now she was clung to the old wood frame
And all she could do was scream.

There wasn’t a ladder that went so high
So all he could do was stare,
‘Now how do you think I could rescue you,
And how did you get up there?’
The mill was starting to creak and groan
As the wind came over the hill,
The sails were starting to slowly turn
With the witch stuck firmly still.

The weight of the witch had freed them up
And she shrieked as the sails whirled round,
While Tom was laughing, joyfully, merrily,
Rolling over the ground,
‘I’ll swear you’ve done me a favour, Jane,
I was going to call it quits,
But now, if ever you come back down,
I’m ready to kiss a witch!’

David Lewis Paget
Tanaka Mupinga Apr 2014
Swaying ever so slightly in the ever so slight breeze
With no competition and an abundance of leaves,
The limbs stretch out horizontal with ease.
Saggy branches cast shadows ever changing not still,
Surrounding the ground at the base of Greg's mill.
The death of the farmer, an absence of relation
Resulted the rotting of wood and the estates decimation.
From the numberless seasons of decay and neglect
The mill, exhausted from age is still somehow *****.
Thick grass and means weeds form a bush-like combination
That blankets the mill’s base and destroys the foundation.
Dilapidated, homely and a touch out of place
With time, the farm, a memory will be easy to erase.
Things will run their course, land and estate will all fade
For nothing can escape Mother Nature’s crusade
A thought that’s ironic and slightly more grim
Is the fact that Greg's creation has outlasted him.
Since immortality is a myth that She will never permit.
Soon the mill will be gone like the farmer who created it.
Mother nature's crusade
I sit on my **** by the fireside chair
and talk the mill talk to the calender man
but he doesn't care
he just watches his gauges and pressures
how precious he is
to the factory owner who allows him to live
on a pittance each week.

And while he clothes the World
in his mind he would seek
a botany bay
where his ancestors lay
and put roots in that ground.
The sound of the press, blocks the sound from the bell
just as well
because that ringing in his ears is not the bite from the future
but the teeth in the fears of his past
and another bolt of cloth has been passed by the foreman
and ticked off the list that he keeps in a book
to read to the crook who works in accounting
and pushed to the double entry
in another book amounting to
daylight robbery
but the snobbery of the age is another page set
in the mill town you get
****** all.

The fine hall's for the Master and all you survey
are the ruins that lie in the ruins of another day.

Get away
to get away and walk through a gateway into a better day
but the Devil you know is the Devil you pay and what would he say
if you jacked in the mill
and worked down the mines
better times indeed?

— The End —