Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
I

In that November off Tehuantepec,
The slopping of the sea grew still one night
And in the morning summer hued the deck

And made one think of rosy chocolate
And gilt umbrellas. Paradisal green
Gave suavity to the perplexed machine

Of ocean, which like limpid water lay.
Who, then, in that ambrosial latitude
Out of the light evolved the morning blooms,

Who, then, evolved the sea-blooms from the clouds
Diffusing balm in that Pacific calm?
C'etait mon enfant, mon bijou, mon ame.

The sea-clouds whitened far below the calm
And moved, as blooms move, in the swimming green
And in its watery radiance, while the hue

Of heaven in an antique reflection rolled
Round those flotillas. And sometimes the sea
Poured brilliant iris on the glistening blue.

                        II

In that November off Tehuantepec
The slopping of the sea grew still one night.
At breakfast jelly yellow streaked the deck

And made one think of chop-house chocolate
And sham umbrellas. And a sham-like green
Capped summer-seeming on the tense machine

Of ocean, which in sinister flatness lay.
Who, then, beheld the rising of the clouds
That strode submerged in that malevolent sheen,

Who saw the mortal massives of the blooms
Of water moving on the water-floor?
C'etait mon frere du ciel, ma vie, mon or.

The gongs rang loudly as the windy booms
Hoo-hooed it in the darkened ocean-blooms.
The gongs grew still. And then blue heaven spread

Its crystalline pendentives on the sea
And the macabre of the water-glooms
In an enormous undulation fled.

                        III

In that November off Tehuantepec,
The slopping of the sea grew still one night
And a pale silver patterned on the deck

And made one think of porcelain chocolate
And pied umbrellas. An uncertain green,
Piano-polished, held the tranced machine

Of ocean, as a prelude holds and holds,
Who, seeing silver petals of white blooms
Unfolding in the water, feeling sure

Of the milk within the saltiest spurge, heard, then,
The sea unfolding in the sunken clouds?
Oh! C'etait mon extase et mon amour.

So deeply sunken were they that the shrouds,
The shrouding shadows, made the petals black
Until the rolling heaven made them blue,

A blue beyond the rainy hyacinth,
And smiting the crevasses of the leaves
Deluged the ocean with a sapphire blue.

                        IV

In that November off Tehuantepec
The night-long slopping of the sea grew still.
A mallow morning dozed upon the deck

And made one think of musky chocolate
And frail umbrellas. A too-fluent green
Suggested malice in the dry machine

Of ocean, pondering dank stratagem.
Who then beheld the figures of the clouds
Like blooms secluded in the thick marine?

Like blooms? Like damasks that were shaken off
From the loosed girdles in the spangling must.
C'etait ma foi, la nonchalance divine.

The nakedness would rise and suddenly turn
Salt masks of beard and mouths of bellowing,
Would--But more suddenly the heaven rolled

Its bluest sea-clouds in the thinking green,
And the nakedness became the broadest blooms,
Mile-mallows that a mallow sun cajoled.

                        V

In that November off Tehuantepec
Night stilled the slopping of the sea.
The day came, bowing and voluble, upon the deck,

Good clown... One thought of Chinese chocolate
And large umbrellas. And a motley green
Followed the drift of the obese machine

Of ocean, perfected in indolence.
What pistache one, ingenious and droll,
Beheld the sovereign clouds as jugglery

And the sea as turquoise-turbaned *****, neat
At tossing saucers--cloudy-conjuring sea?
C'etait mon esprit batard, l'ignominie.

The sovereign clouds came clustering. The conch
Of loyal conjuration *******. The wind
Of green blooms turning crisped the motley hue

To clearing opalescence. Then the sea
And heaven rolled as one and from the two
Came fresh transfigurings of freshest blue.
entablature archetypal wrangle arguable arraign arrest ascribe arsenal article artificial artisan ascension austere askance obliquely aspire assail assault assay assert diligence obsequious assimilate stigma perspicacious astute asunder atman atrium attrition intrepid autonomous avarice avert avocation azimuth azure abbreviate aberrant abhorrent relinquish loathe abstinence abstention  abysmal accelerate accordance accoutrement accrue exasperate acquaintance baccalaureate bacillus backbite baggage ballistic baluster bandolier banister barrage barranca barrier bartizan basilica bastion batholiths bathyscaphe battalion batten battle bauble ***** beastly ******* beckon beacon bazaar bizarre Bedouin beguile behavior beleaguer belligerent belvedere berserk beseech bewilder bezant bicker bigamy bight bilk billet billiard billow biogenic biscuit bivouac blatancy blizzard bodacious boggle bollix bombardier boudoir bouquet butte boutique bower brassier mesa breach breech brochure brogue brooch broach bruise brusque buccaneer buffoon bureau buttress buxom caffeine cauldron calisthenics calligraphy callous camouflage campaign campanile cannery cannibal canny cantaloupe cantankerous cantilever capacity capillary capricious carbohydrate caricature carnivorous carouse carriage cartography casserole cassette cataclysm catastrophe cache categorical caterwaul cavalier cauliflower celerity alacrity cellophane cellulose cemetery centennial cereal cerebellum ceremonial cesarean cessation chaff challenge champagne chandelier changeable chaparral charade chargeable chassis chateau chauffer chauvinism Cheshire chiaroscuro chicanery chiffon chigger chrysanthemum cipher circuit citadel clairvoyant clastic clique coalesce coercible coincidental colloquial colossal column combustible communicable community commute complacency compulsory comradery conceit conceal concession confetti conglomerate conjugal connive connoisseur consensus constellation consummate continuity contrivance convalesce convenient convertible convolution copasetic copious corduroy coriolis cornucopia corollary corpse corpuscle correlate correspondent corridor corroborate corrosion corrugate corrupt costume counselor countenance counterfeit courageous courier courtesy covert covetous cranny crease credenza credulity crescent ******* criterion crochet crocodile croissant crotchety crucial cruel cryptic cuddle cuisine cul-de-sac culinary culpable culvert cumbrous cummerbund ******* cunning curare curiosity curtilage curtsy curvaceous custody cylindrical cymbal cynicism cyst dabble daffodil daiquiri damsel dastardly dazzle deceit debilitate debonair debris debutant decency decipher decimate deconcentrate decorum decrepit dedicate defamation defendable defensible deference deficient deficit definitive defoliate delectable deliberate delicatessen delinquent delirious demarcate dementia demolish demure denigrate dentil denunciation deplorable depreciate dereliction derisory derrick descent desirable despair desperate despicable despondent destine deterrent detonate deviance devisal devisor devour dexterous diabolicalness diagnosis dialogue diamond diaphragm diarrhea dichondra dawdle differentia difficulty diffuse dilapidate dilate dilemma diligent dilute diminutive dinghy dinosaur director  dirigible disadvantageous disastrous disperse disciplinary discomfiture discordant discotheque discreet discrete discrepancy disgust disguise dishevel dispersal dissect dissention dissertation dissident dissipate dissolve dissonant distillate distortion distraught disturbance divvy docile docket doctrinal dodder ***** eccentric linguistics domical dominate domineer dominion dossier doubloon douse drawl dreary dubious dulcet dungeon duodenum duress dwindle dynamism dynasty ebullition echinoderm eclectic ecliptic economist ecumenism edifice editor educe effervesce efficacious egalitarian elaborate elapsed eerie elegy eligible eliminate elite elixir elongate elucidate elusion eluviation emaciate embarrass embassy embellish embezzle embroidery embryo emissary emollient emphatic enchilada encore encumbrance endeavor endogenous endure engender ensemble enthusiast entourage entrepreneur epaulet epitome erratic erroneous escapade esophagus espionage esplanade etcetera ethereal etiquette eucalyptus eulogy exaggerate exacerbate excellency exhilarate expectant exquisite facetious Fahrenheit fallacy fanion fealty feisty frisky felicitous fenestration ferocious fertile fervent fickle fictitious fiery finesse finial fjord flaccid fledge flippant flirtatious flivver fluctuate follicle forbearance forbiddance forehand forebode forceps forfeit forgo forlorn formidable foundry foyer fracas fraught frivolous frolic frontier funnel copious furrow fuselage fusillade futile forgone frivolity frolic galaxy galleon galoot galore galoshes gambit gangrene ganglion gargantuan gargoyle gardenia garret garrote gasolier gatling gawky gazebo gazelle gazette geezer geisha gendarme generosity genre genteel gentry genuine geodesic geranium gesticulate ghastly giggle ****** gimmick giraffe gizzard glacier glamour glimmer glimpse glisten glottis gluteus gluttony glyph gnarly gnaw goddess godling gorgeous gorilla gory gossamer gourd gouts gracious gradient granary grandeur granulation grapple gratify gratuitous gregarious grenade committee grievance griffin gristle grotesque gristly grotto grouch groupie grisly grovel grudge gruel gruesome gubernatorial guerrilla guffaw guidable guidon guile guillotine gullet gymnasium gyrate habitable hacienda haggard halibut halitosis hallelujah hallow halyard hammock harangue harass harried hasp hatred haughty hearth hedonism hegira heinous hegemony hemisphere hemophilia hemorrhage herbivorous hereditary heresy heritage heroine hesitate hibiscus hidden hideous hieroglyphic highfalutin high-rise hilarity hippopotamus hoarse holler holocaust holster homicidal horror hosiery hurricane hydrant hydraulic hydronic hyena hygiene hyphen hypnotize hypochondria hypocrisy hypocrite hypotenuse hysteria idiocy igloo ignoramus ignore illicit illiterate illustrate imbecile immaculate immaterial immature immersible immigrant immune impasse impeccable impedance impenetrable impervious imperfect implement implicate implicit important impressible innately inert impression impugn inadequate inanimate inauspicious incandescent incantation incarcerate incentive incinerator inclusion incoercible incompressible incontrovertible controversy indefatigable inconvertible inconvincible incorruptible indices indictment indigent indigestion digestible indignant indiscretion indiscreet indisiplined indiscernible inducible inebriate ineffable inefficacy ineludible inexorable inexpiable inextricable infallible infatuation inferior inflammatory inflexible infuriate inimitable iniquitous infuse infusion ingenuity ingratiate inimical innards innocence innovate innumerable inoculation insatiable insectivorous insincerity insinuation inspection inspirator instability installation insurance insufferable insufficiency insurrection insupportable integrity intellect intelligence intemperance intension interaction interception intercession interdiction interface interference interpolate interrogate interrupt intersperse intervene interstice intractable intergalactic intransigent intravenous intrepid intricate intrigue introductory introject intrude inundate invective invariable invertebrate investigate intuitive invertible investiture inveterate inviable invidious inviolate invigorate invincible invoke invocation invalidate involute invulnerable impregnable ionosphere ipso-facto irascible iridescent eradicable irrational irredeemable irrefragable irrefutable irregular anomalous irrelevant irreproachable irrepressible irresistible irrevocable irreverent irresponsible irritative irrigate irritability isolable isosceles isostasy issuance isthmus italicize iterative itinerary interjection ******* jackhammer jackknife jackpot jackrabbit jaguar jai alai jalopy jalousie jamboree Japanese jacquerie Jacobin jargonize jaunt javelin jealous jehoshaphat jeopardy jocular jouncy journal jubilant jubilee judgment judicature judicious juggernaut jugular juke julep juncture junta jurisprudence juvenilia juxtaposition kahuna kalpa kamikaze kerf kangaroo karat ken katzenjammer katydid kempt kerosene kewpie khaki kibitz kibosh kilter kimono kinesiology kleptomaniac knell knowledge knuckle kook kowtow kulak kyrie labyrinth laccolith laceration lackadaisical laconic lacunar lacquer lagging laissez-faire lamprey languish lanyard lapidary laputan larceny lariat laryngeal larynx lascivious latent latter lattice latrine launderette lavatory laxity lechery legacy bequeath legend leister lei leisure lemming leniency lentic leopard lethal lethargy lettuce leviathan levitate lexical liable levity liaison libation liberate licentious lieutenant ligament lilac limnetic limousine limpid lineage lynchpin lineolate lingerie lingual liniment linoleum liquefy litany literacy lithesome littoral lizard loath local loiter longevous loquacity lottery louver lucidity lucrative ludicrous luminary lummox lurid luscious lyricism machinator machinelike machismo macrocosm besmirched machiavellian mackerel mademoiselle maelstrom maggoty magisterial magnanimous magnifico maintenance malaprop malarkey malediction malamute malicious malign malinger malleable mandarin maneuver mange maniacal mannequin manure manzanita maquette maraca maraschino marauder marbleize marbly marionette marmalade marquee marquetry marrow marshal marshmallow martyr mascara masochism massacre matriarchy maudlin mausoleum maxillary mayonnaise meager meandrous medial medieval megalith mediocre Mediterranean megalomania melancholy melee membrane memorabilia menagerie mercenary mendacity meritorious mesmeric mesquite metallurgy metaphor meticulous metronome metropolitan mezzanine micrometer midriff mien demeanor millennium minarets minion minuscule minutia misanthropic miscellaneous mistletoe moccasin modus operandi monaural mongrel monotony morgue morose morsel moribund mortgage mosaic mosque mosquito motley mottle mucous membrane mucus mullion multifarious munificent museum musketeer mutable mustache mutineer myopic myrmidon mystique naïve narcissism narcosis narrate nausea navigable Neanderthal necklace needle nefarious negligible nemesis neophyte nertsy  nerve-racking nestle nether newfangled nocturnal nonchalant non sequitur normative Norwegian nostalgic nuisance nullify obedient obeisance obelisk obese objectify oblate oblique obliterate oblivious obsess obsolete obsolescence obstacle obstinate occupy occurrence ocelot odious oedipal officiate ogle ogre oligarchy omelet omnificent omniscient ontological argument oodles oomph opaque operable operative opossum optimal orangutan orchard orchestra ordinance oregano orgiastic oriel oriole ornery orphan osculate ostensive ostrich osteology oust overwhelm overwrought oyster pachyderm pacific pageant painstaking palate palaver libel palette pallet palomino pamphleteer panorama pantheism parapet paradigm papier-mâché paraffin paralyze parishioner parliament parody parquetry parsimonious pasteurize pathogenic payola ******* pediment pendant pendentives penicillin pennant pentathlon perception percussion perennial parameter perimeter peripheral peristalsis permissible pernicious perron perseverance persistent persona persnickety personnel persuasion petite pertinacious pessimistic pestilent pestle petticoat petulant phallus phantasmagoria pharaoh pharmaceutical peasant philander phenomenal philosopher phlegm phoenix phooey phosphoresce physique picayune picturesque piety pilfer finagle pilaster pillage pineapple pinnacle piquant pique piteous pitiful pittance pizzazz placate placenta plagiarism plaintiff plateau platypus plausible plinth plunderous pluvial poinsettia pollutant polygamy pommel ponderous portico portiere portentous prairie precipitous predecessor predicate predilection preeminent preempt preferential premier preparation preposition prerogative presumption pretentious preternatural privilege proclivity prodigious proffer progenitor progeny promissory promontory propellant propensity propound proselyte prospectus protégé protocol protuberant pseudonym  ptomaine pulchritudinous pursuant pygmy pylon python qualm quarrel quarry quash queer quell querulous quibble quitter quixotic rabbet rabbit rabbi radiant rambunctious rancor rankle raspberry rethink rebellion recant recital reconcile redundant referral reglet relevant reluctant remiss reminiscent remnant rendezvous renegade repartee reprieve repertoire repetitious reprehensive reprisal repugnant rescind reservoir resistant resurgence resurrect revelry reverie retaliate reticent retrieve retrograde reveille reverberation reversible reversion rhapsody rhetoric rheumatism rhinoceros rhinoceri rhubarb ribaldry ricochet riddance rigmarole risqué rive rollick Romanesque Rosicrucian rotisserie rotunda rogue roulette rubato ruminate rusticate sabotage sabbat saboteur sacrilege sadomasochist salacious salmon salutatory samurai sapphire sarcasm sarcophagus sardonic sarsaparilla sassafras sassy satiate satirical saturate saunter savoir-faire savvy scabbard scaffold scalawag scarcity scathe scenario scenic schism sciatic nerve ******* scintillate scissor scourge scrawny scrimmage scribble scruffy scrounge scrumptious scrunch scrupulous scrutiny scurry scythe sedition seethe seismic self-applause seltzer semiporcelain seniority sensible sensual separate sepulcher sequel sequin sequoia serape serenade sheaves serendipity  servant settee shabby shackle shanghai shanty shellac shenanigan Sherlock shirk shish kebob shoulder shrapnel shriek shrubbery shtick shush shyster Siamese sibyl significant simile simplicity simultaneous sinewy siphon skeptic skiff skillet skirmish skullduggery slaughter ****** sleeve sleuth slither slough sluice smart aleck  smidgen  smithereens  smolder  smorgasbord snazzy sneer snide snivel snorkel sobriety socioeconomic sojourn solder soldier solemn solicit soluble solvent sombrero somersault soothe soprano sophisticate sophomore sortie soufflé sousaphone ***** spiel souvenir sovereign spaghetti spandrel sparrow spatter sphinx spatula species specific spectacle spectral spelt sphincter spinach spinneret spiritual splatter splitting splurge spry  splutter sporadic sprawl sprinkler spree sprightly squawk spurious sputter  squabble squalor squander squeak squeal squeamish squeeze squiggle squinch squirrel stable squoosh stabilizer stagnant stagnate stalactite stalagmite stammer stampede stationary stationery statue statuesque statute staunch stealthy stein stellar stench stencil stoic steppe sterile stickler stifle stimulant stingy stirrup stolid strafe straggle strangulate stratagem strategy strenuous stretch strident stringent strudel streusel strychnine studious stultify stupe stupefy stupendous special stylus stymie styptic sublimate subliminal submergible substitute submersible subpoena subsequent subsidiary substantiate suburb subversion success succession succinct succor succulent succumb sufferance suffocate suggest suicidal sully sultry sumptuous sundae sundry superfluous superior supersede superstitious surreal supplicate surrender surrogate survey surveillance suspension suspicion sustenance swarthy ******* swath swear sweaty swelter swerve swindle swivel swizzle sycamore syllable symphony symposium symptom syndicate syndrome synonym synonymous synopsis synthetic syphilis syringe syrup suffrage tableau tabloid tacit tambourine tandem tangible tarantula tarot taunt technique telekinesis temperamental temperance thence temporal temporary tenuous tequila terrace terrain terrific terrify tetanus tether thatch thistle thither through though throat throttle thwack thwart ticklish tiffany timbre tirade titillate toboggan tolerant tongue top-notch topography  tortoise trauma tortuous torturous tourist tracery tournament tourniquet trachea traffic tragedy tragic traipse traitor tranquility transcend travesty transcribe treachery treatise trellis trepidation trestle trinket triplicate triumphant trivial troglodyte troubadour  trousers truncate tumultuous tundra turbid turpitude turquoise tutelage twixt twiddle twitter tycoon tyke typhoon tyrannical tyrannize tyranny umbrella unfulfilled unanimous usury undulate unequivocally unguent urethra unpre
There was a motion on the floor for the nomination of a proxy to be my epigone.  I feared I didn't have enough votes to challenge so I filibustered.
PoserPersona Jul 2018
He pulled and parked the supply red wagon,
then climbed the mast to the captain's cabin.
Captain Red is ready for adventure.
A quest to collect the world's best treasure.

His pirate crew is renowned far and wide.
They're rough and tough and they don't ever cry.
But none of them boys has the captain's stuff.
So don't mess with him, man, cause he don't bluff.

This motley crew has achieved many feats,
has never suffered a single defeat,
and has seen the most incredible things:
whales, whirlpools, storms, mermaids, krakens and kings.

"Set sail," squaws the boss as he munches lunch
and the Ocean Destroyer leaves port Wunche.
These rolling green hills are now ocean waves.
That blue sky, however, remains the same.
...
"Hey Benjamin!" beams the first mate Susanne.
Impeding the journey that just began.
"We already played this game. It's my turn!"
The first mate trumps the captain, Ben will learn.
...
Her spacesuit crew is renowned far and wide.
They're smart and nice and they don't ever lie.
But none of these girls has commander's stuff.
So don't mess with her, girl, cause she don't bluff.

This brainy crew has achieved many feats,
has never suffered a single defeat,
and has seen the most incredible things:
aliens, black holes, stars, and martian springs.

"Lift off!" beams the boss as she munches lunch
and the Star Chasing Rocket leaves base Wunche.
These rural backyards are now rocky space.
That blue sky, however, remains the same.
...
"Hey Susanne!" beams the pilot Benjamin.
Impeding the flight before it begins.
"We already played this game. It's my turn!"
The pilot trumps commander, Sue will learn.
...
Boys and girls grow up and out the front door.
Those children’s games evolve to adult chores;
those kiddy lawns to grandparent’s domain.
That blue sky, however, remains the same.
Jamie Riley Apr 2018
They look out from the terrace.

At the borders of sight
live rocky hills behind brown
and golden and olive crop
under a cloudless sky.

Sun beams brighten motley roofs
on tessellations which blacken beige
in blurry air.



























BANG!





















An artificial cloud.

































“Look,” she points, “Let’s go!”

She takes him and they fly down stairs,
diving like sparrows
into the street.

Boys sprint across pavements and climb;
men vault over fences in time
for news to reach ears.

“They’re coming!
"¡Ya vienen!"

Excitement and fear.

The rattling of cow bells
and galloping nears.

Men bait and dodge horns
and escape through doors
and up and over
red wooden bars.

Sticks beat on the concrete ground
and drive the mute beasts's sounds.

Seconds away –
until the last,
he side steps into a house;

indoors,

apart,

he runs through the foyer
and up the stairs
around a corner.

Long strides

too fast to follow.

She chooses left and
sings soprano
when doors won't budge
and
       a
           beast
                      crashed
                                       in.

She turns and the fear is paralysing.


"FERMIN!"






















He hurdles the stares
and explodes
when it rams her
to and fro,
thrashing her head
against the wall
where horns
sin and gore
cement and brick.

He clasps the tail
and heaves its hide from
side to side as
hooves smash
crates of wine -
they slip and slide
in fractured glass,
he finds a horn
and yanks the head!
He's yanked instead
half dead before the men
arrive down stairs
to punch and kick it;
strike and stick it
smack and hit it;
'til it
fits and quits
and flees the foyer,
fast and frantic,
flying flustered
by the frenzy,
finally finding
pattering

pavement

It


peters


off


into





the







street.





"¿Que ha pasado?
  ¿Quien ha sido?
  ¡El Balbotin
  y la Chicha!
  ¡Que una vaca
  les ha pillado!"





Hands bleed
and flesh breathes.

"¿Estas bien?"

Dizzy, she tends to him
with searching hands,
and scolding words.

"Podria haber sido peor"
This poem is about an incident which happened to my Grandparents, Fermin Yanguas Ochoa and Raimunda Ramos Frias.

It was during a bull run in their village (Fitero) in Navarra, Northern Spain. 1972
Pagan Paul Jul 2018
.
In a costume of conflicting emotion,
of crossing diamondic colour,
with regal posture in grief,
the Harlequin and the King,
a display of opposites
creating a composite being,
that eases her body
gently into the waiting water,
to float away serene,
on her journey to the nether.

Midnight blue and emerald green,
the regalia of ermine,
both ostentatious and humble,
robeing the aspects,
understated in crowning splendour,
the gentleman King bows,
and the Harlequin laughs,
the bi-polar reaction
to the tragedy of misfortune,
with a sting in the myth-tale.

With the dark hues of mourning,
a legend passes on her way,
across the streams of time,
on a voyage to discover herself,
carrying her Harlequin in a purse,
holding her King to her breast,
owning them both in her heart,
the medicine wheel spins,
knowing the grapes of wrath
yield the wine of spite.

The motley speckles of attire,
a starry parody of night skies,
lighting the decorated funeral barge,
gliding along the rivers of space,
worn with the mantle of sorrow,
and it sails into the sunset,
as the Harlequin and King observe,
the mandala turns,
the bier of the Queen departing,
bears their sadness forth.

The Harlequin laughs and laughs 'til he cries,
his heart grows cold, then withers and dies,
whilst the King, statuesque, memoirs his life,
lamenting the legend of a Queen, his wife.



© Pagan Paul (24/07/18)
.
ConnectHook Feb 2016
by John Greenleaf Whittier  (1807 – 1892)

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

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

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


EMERSON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written in  1865
In its day, 'twas a best-seller and earned significant income for Whittier
The Jester put on his cap and bells
For the final time, we’re told,
The Queen was set to replace him for
She said he was far too old,
‘He doesn’t amuse me like he did
Before, when we all were young,
Should I dispense with his services,
Or command the Jester hung?’

Her courtiers were gathered around,
They wanted to please the Queen,
Lord Chalmers said, ‘Suspend by his feet!’
Then Darnley: ‘No! By his spleen!’
‘Tar and Feather him,’ said Bottolph,
‘And run him around the town,
Then tether him to a stake, and light
Him up, in the palace grounds.’

The Queen thought that was hilarious,
And clapped and cried in her mirth,
‘By Jove, we’ll have us some jesting yet,
We’ll bring him on down to earth!’
‘He’s sure to appreciate the jest
For he won’t deny your fun,’
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said,
‘We’ll gather in everyone.’

While the Jester sat in his lonely room
In a dark and evil tower,
He knew that he would be summoned soon
But he didn’t know the hour.
He wondered if she might knight him then
For his services to the crown,
Or grant him a fabulous pension for
The years that he’d played the clown?

For Jesters, they are but mortal men
Aside from their clownish role,
Down under bells and motley lives
A far from perfect soul,
The jesting covers a beating heart
That is rarely ever seen,
And his was filled with a lifetime love
For Her Majesty, the Queen.

He’d loved her since, as a little girl
She’d laughed and played in the grounds,
While he’d leapt out of the bushes there
To her squeals, and laughs and frowns,
He’d always jingled his bells for her,
And carried her in to tea,
When she was sleepy and all laughed out
After playing so happily.

He knew that he’d made more enemies
Than friends, as the years went by,
For jealousy breeds in a court with needs
And the courtiers were sly,
They took it in turns to trip him up
And to hurt, as part of the jest,
But he took new heart at the cruel laughs
By the ones who were not impressed.

He finally stood in front of the Queen
And bowed right down to the floor,
He looked for a smile on her much loved face
But a scowl was all he saw.
‘You’ve come to the end of your usefulness,
A Fool on a bended knee,
Take him outside and string him up,
Upside down from a tree!’

He hung for an hour in misery,
And then they had cut him down,
Tarred and feathered his motley’d form
And beat him around the town.
They wanted to stake and light him up
But the Queen said, ‘Let him go.
Give him a crown in a silver cup
For the years he amused me so!’

They cast him out in a farmer’s field
And barred him then from the court,
He wept and wailed in his anguish there
For a day and a night, and thought;
The slings and arrows he’d suffered from
Were now brought up with his bile,
And sweet revenge was his ruling theme,
He planned and schemed for a while.

One night he went to the palace yard
And crept down the cellar stair,
He doctored all the barrels of hock
And the fine French flagons there,
Then some time after the palace hunt
He hid in the servants’ hall,
And waited til they drank and were drunk
At the Queen’s Most Favoured Ball.

Then Bottolph woke in a barrel of tar,
And Chalmers hung by his heels,
While Darnley woke in a quivering fear
In a barrel of snakes and eels,
The Queen awoke in her stately bed
Pinned down by a giant sow,
And wearing the Jester’s bells. He said,
‘Who is the Jester now?’

David Lewis Paget
Four little chests all in a row,
Dim with dust, and worn by time,
All fashioned and filled, long ago,
By children now in their prime.
Four little keys hung side by side,
With faded ribbons, brave and gay
When fastened there, with childish pride,
Long ago, on a rainy day.
Four little names, one on each lid,
Carved out by a boyish hand,
And underneath there lieth hid
Histories of the happy band
Once playing here, and pausing oft
To hear the sweet refrain,
That came and went on the roof aloft,
In the falling summer rain.

'Meg' on the first lid, smooth and fair.
I look in with loving eyes,
For folded here, with well-known care,
A goodly gathering lies,
The record of a peaceful life--
Gifts to gentle child and girl,
A bridal gown, lines to a wife,
A tiny shoe, a baby curl.
No toys in this first chest remain,
For all are carried away,
In their old age, to join again
In another small Meg's play.
Ah, happy mother! Well I know
You hear, like a sweet refrain,
Lullabies ever soft and low
In the falling summer rain.

'Jo' on the next lid, scratched and worn,
And within a motley store
Of headless dolls, of schoolbooks torn,
Birds and beasts that speak no more,
Spoils brought home from the fairy ground
Only trod by youthful feet,
Dreams of a future never found,
Memories of a past still sweet,
Half-writ poems, stories wild,
April letters, warm and cold,
Diaries of a wilful child,
Hints of a woman early old,
A woman in a lonely home,
Hearing, like a sad refrain--
'Be worthy, love, and love will come,'
In the falling summer rain.

My Beth! the dust is always swept
From the lid that bears your name,
As if by loving eyes that wept,
By careful hands that often came.
Death canonized for us one saint,
Ever less human than divine,
And still we lay, with tender plaint,
Relics in this household shrine--
The silver bell, so seldom rung,
The little cap which last she wore,
The fair, dead Catherine that hung
By angels borne above her door.
The songs she sang, without lament,
In her prison-house of pain,
Forever are they sweetly blent
With the falling summer rain.

Upon the last lid's polished field--
Legend now both fair and true
A gallant knight bears on his shield,
'Amy' in letters gold and blue.
Within lie snoods that bound her hair,
Slippers that have danced their last,
Faded flowers laid by with care,
Fans whose airy toils are past,
Gay valentines, all ardent flames,
Trifles that have borne their part
In girlish hopes and fears and shames,
The record of a maiden heart
Now learning fairer, truer spells,
Hearing, like a blithe refrain,
The silver sound of bridal bells
In the falling summer rain.

Four little chests all in a row,
Dim with dust, and worn by time,
Four women, taught by weal and woe
To love and labor in their prime.
Four sisters, parted for an hour,
None lost, one only gone before,
Made by love's immortal power,
Nearest and dearest evermore.
Oh, when these hidden stores of ours
Lie open to the Father's sight,
May they be rich in golden hours,
Deeds that show fairer for the light,
Lives whose brave music long shall ring,
Like a spirit-stirring strain,
Souls that shall gladly soar and sing
In the long sunshine after rain.
Now this particular girl
During a ceremonious april walk
With her latest suitor
Found herself, of a sudden, intolerably struck
By the birds' irregular babel
And the leaves' litter.

By this tumult afflicted, she
Observed her lover's gestures unbalance the air,
His gait stray uneven
Through a rank wilderness of fern and flower;
She judged petals in disarray,
The whole season, sloven.

How she longed for winter then! --
Scrupulously austere in its order
Of white and black
Ice and rock; each sentiment within border,
And heart's frosty discipline
Exact as a snowflake.

But here -- a burgeoning
Unruly enough to pitch her five queenly wits
Into ****** motley --
A treason not to be borne; let idiots
Reel giddy in bedlam spring:
She withdrew neatly.

And round her house she set
Such a barricade of barb and check
Against mutinous weather
As no mere insurgent man could hope to break
With curse, fist, threat
Or love, either.
Don Bouchard Dec 2011
Around the table,
Literacy discussion turned elitist...
Bemoaning some poor Johnny,
Son of a plumber who does not read
Beyond the practical need,
And has no desire to.

I stopped to check my sense of what I had just heard...
Was transported to a prairie farm;
Thought of my Father, then in his eighties
Who felt no need and no sense of loss
For not having read Shakespeare nor Kant
For missing Milton's Paradises and Hemingway,
For by-passing Black Elk Speaks and C.S. Lewis.

Every morning, he read his Bible;
Some nights he read the mail's
Motley collection of literature:
Ads and politicians and fanatics,
Demanding money and his time,
But mostly money.

"I don't have time to read!"
He'd shout when I suggested a novel.
What literature he had was in his head,
Poems memorized when he was a boy
In a two room school, or
His own lines, written as a young man,
Describing work and friends
Long distant now, but still alive
In memory.

Dad taught me how to read
In different literacies and different texts:
Nuances of sky to read the weather -
What chill or storm or drought was on its way
("Storm's coming, boys! Let's get that hay!");
Cows and calves and bulls,
(Which one was sick or well, dry or bred);
Ways to diagnose mechanical ailments
("Start with the easiest options first");
Metals, to know which welding rod applied
("Aluminum sags, and cast iron cracks");
Grain, rolled crisp between hard hands,
(a test of ripeness);
Cement, to blend the perfect mix,
("Clean gravel/sand, no dirt, not too much water!);
Conservation,
("Always keep some grain on hand" &  
"Keep your fuel above half-tank").

So many literacies...
Dad, the Master Reader of them all...
No wonder he'd no time for books.
What is literacy?
These words came in response to a conversation I overheard at the University of Minnesota, in which a group of wealthy White female educators despaired a the plight of the under-educated, unwashed masses of people outside their privileged island of higher education. #Commonpeoplefeedyou!
Damaré M Jan 2014
Her upside-down rainbow that I mentioned sometime earlier...
Still to this day guides me to my *** of gold 
A 24 karat gleaming heart
Illuminating the gap between my lungs 
Flaring right through my chest 
Her upside-down rainbow is so variegated 
It forms without rain, but my eyes become misty every time her upside-down rainbow become straightened 
I need her upside-down rainbow to arch and become prismatic 
In order for my *** of gold to have radiance 
Right now my gold is dull 
Miners wouldn't have interest 
My heart is monochromatic 
Because her smile is absent
Vamika Sinha Jan 2016
She drank her coffee too
sweet
and drew herself
to the smell of new
pencil shavings,
like a pupil dilates in light,
telling itself to expand,
to drink up
more
and
more.

She fumbled
on old strands of her
self rising like mug steam
from poetry
she wrote only three months ago.
Wide-eyed,
reading "when
one leaves,
the past is a fetish"
in rounded, running letters
bubbling up over each other -
a gravy she found
herself constantly stirring.

And sunsets,
dashed with pink syrup,
are a passion
('passion' being her
'word' - a skin-colored tattoo,
a branded prayer, an incanted torch)
Sunsets.
Sour golden orange laced
with strawberry wine.
Bittersweet.
Passionate.

Her.
svdgrl Apr 2014
Today, I accidentally spoke to a stranger.
Seated at the round table with my laptop,
I stared at a couple speaking my language.
He caught me looking, and seemed confused.
I was embarrassed for staring
so I explained, "I understood them-
there aren't many other speakers that I know,"
and quickly looked back down.
And the feeling of regret welled up inside me.
It was far too late.
I can see him staring at me, now.
Burning holes into the back of my screen.
For a second I thought he might have been mute.
Why stare at me so hard without uttering a word?
I'm not wearing anything particularly interesting.
He must know that I see him in my peripherals.
What if he really is mute?
Maybe he needs some help?
Should I look up? I can't.
Why not? Because that would mean
I'd have to speak more.
You shouldn't have spoken at all.
I was embarrassed for staring.
He should be embarrassed for staring, too.
I hope I didn't "speak his language."
He probably isn't even looking at you.
We're the only ones at this table.
He keeps looking up from his book.
Maybe if I look at him quickly I'll know if he's looking
at the empty billboard behind me instead.
I just looked up.
He's looking at me.
And not a word was exchanged.
Now this is that much more awkward,
I'll never look up again.
I'll just pack my things.
And never speak to strangers again.
But wait...
what if he knows me?
What if he's waiting for me to recognize him?
I don't know him, I'm sure.
He won't stop staring.
I close my laptop
and see my motley stickers.
Some with writing, some with pictures.
Sigh of relief.
Just my stickers.
I'd look, too.
Packed it away
and went to class.
How silly was I, just then?
But I still won't speak to strangers, again.
What if he knew I wrote this poem about him? What if he can read minds? I hope he never finds this.
NUMB, half asleep, and dazed with whirl of wheels,
And gasp of steam, and measured clank of chains,
I heard a blithe voice break a sudden pause,
Ringing familiarly through the lamp-lit night,
“Wife, here's your Venice!”
I was lifted down,
And gazed about in stupid wonderment,
Holding my little Katie by the hand—
My yellow-haired step-daughter. And again
Two strong arms led me to the water-brink,
And laid me on soft cushions in a boat,—
A queer boat, by a queerer boatman manned—
Swarthy-faced, ragged, with a scarlet cap—
Whose wild, weird note smote shrilly through the dark.
Oh yes, it was my Venice! Beautiful,
With melancholy, ghostly beauty—old,
And sorrowful, and weary—yet so fair,
So like a queen still, with her royal robes,
Full of harmonious colour, rent and worn!
I only saw her shadow in the stream,
By flickering lamplight,—only saw, as yet,
White, misty palace-portals here and there,
Pillars, and marble steps, and balconies,
Along the broad line of the Grand Canal;
And, in the smaller water-ways, a patch
Of wall, or dim bridge arching overhead.
But I could feel the rest. 'Twas Venice!—ay,
The veritable Venice of my dreams.

I saw the grey dawn shimmer down the stream,
And all the city rise, new bathed in light,
With rose-red blooms on her decaying walls,
And gold tints quivering up her domes and spires—
Sharp-drawn, with delicate pencillings, on a sky
Blue as forget-me-nots in June. I saw
The broad day staring in her palace-fronts,
Pointing to yawning gap and crumbling boss,
And colonnades, time-stained and broken, flecked
With soft, sad, dying colours—sculpture-wreathed,
And gloriously proportioned; saw the glow
Light up her bright, harmonious, fountain'd squares,
And spread out on her marble steps, and pass
Down silent courts and secret passages,
Gathering up motley treasures on its way;—

Groups of rich fruit from the Rialto mart,
Scarlet and brown and purple, with green leaves—
Fragments of exquisite carving, lichen-grown,
Found, 'mid pathetic squalor, in some niche
Where wild, half-naked urchins lived and played—
A bright robe, crowned with a pale, dark-eyed face—
A red-striped awning 'gainst an old grey wall—
A delicate opal gleam upon the tide.

I looked out from my window, and I saw
Venice, my Venice, naked in the sun—
Sad, faded, and unutterably forlorn!—
But still unutterably beautiful.

For days and days I wandered up and down—
Holding my breath in awe and ecstasy,—
Following my husband to familiar haunts,
Making acquaintance with his well-loved friends,
Whose faces I had only seen in dreams
And books and photographs and his careless talk.
For days and days—with sunny hours of rest
And musing chat, in that cool room of ours,
Paved with white marble, on the Grand Canal;
For days and days—with happy nights between,
Half-spent, while little Katie lay asleep
Out on the balcony, with the moon and stars.

O Venice, Venice!—with thy water-streets—
Thy gardens bathed in sunset, flushing red
Behind San Giorgio Maggiore's dome—
Thy glimmering lines of haughty palaces
Shadowing fair arch and column in the stream—
Thy most divine cathedral, and its square,
With vagabonds and loungers daily thronged,
Taking their ice, their coffee, and their ease—
Thy sunny campo's, with their clamorous din,
Their shrieking vendors of fresh fish and fruit—
Thy churches and thy pictures—thy sweet bits
Of colour—thy grand relics of the dead—
Thy gondoliers and water-bearers—girls
With dark, soft eyes, and creamy faces, crowned
With braided locks as bright and black as jet—
Wild ragamuffins, picturesque in rags,
And swarming beggars and old witch-like crones,
And brown-cloaked contadini, hot and tired,
Sleeping, face-downward, on the sunny steps—
Thy fairy islands floating in the sun—
Thy poppy-sprinkled, grave-strewn Lido shore—

Thy poetry and thy pathos—all so strange!—
Thou didst bring many a lump into my throat,
And many a passionate thrill into my heart,
And once a tangled dream into my head.

'Twixt afternoon and evening. I was tired;
The air was hot and golden—not a breath
Of wind until the sunset—hot and still.
Our floor was water-sprinkled; our thick walls
And open doors and windows, shadowed deep
With jalousies and awnings, made a cool
And grateful shadow for my little couch.
A subtle perfume stole about the room
From a small table, piled with purple grapes,
And water-melon slices, pink and wet,
And ripe, sweet figs, and golden apricots,
New-laid on green leaves from our garden—leaves
Wherewith an antique torso had been clothed.
My husband read his novel on the floor,
Propped up on cushions and an Indian shawl;
And little Katie slumbered at his feet,
Her yellow curls alight, and delicate tints
Of colour in the white folds of her frock.
I lay, and mused, in comfort and at ease,
Watching them both and playing with my thoughts;
And then I fell into a long, deep sleep,
And dreamed.
I saw a water-wilderness—
Islands entangled in a net of streams—
Cross-threads of rippling channels, woven through
Bare sands, and shallows glimmering blue and broad—
A line of white sea-breakers far away.
There came a smoke and crying from the land—
Ruin was there, and ashes, and the blood
Of conquered cities, trampled down to death.
But here, methought, amid these lonely gulfs,
There rose up towers and bulwarks, fair and strong,
Lapped in the silver sea-mists;—waxing aye
Fairer and stronger—till they seemed to mock
The broad-based kingdoms on the mainland shore.
I saw a great fleet sailing in the sun,
Sailing anear the sand-slip, whereon broke
The long white wave-crests of the outer sea,—
Pepin of Lombardy, with his warrior hosts—
Following the ****** steps of Attila!
I saw the smoke rise when he touched the towns
That lay, outposted, in his ravenous reach;

Then, in their island of deep waters,* saw
A gallant band defy him to his face,
And drive him out, with his fair vessels wrecked
And charred with flames, into the sea again.
“Ah, this is Venice!” I said proudly—“queen
Whose haughty spirit none shall subjugate.”

It was the night. The great stars hung, like globes
Of gold, in purple skies, and cast their light
In palpitating ripples down the flood
That washed and gurgled through the silent streets—
White-bordered now with marble palaces.
It was the night. I saw a grey-haired man,
Sitting alone in a dark convent-porch—
In beggar's garments, with a kingly face,
And eyes that watched for dawnlight anxiously—
A weary man, who could not rest nor sleep.
I heard him muttering prayers beneath his breath,
And once a malediction—while the air
Hummed with the soft, low psalm-chants from within.
And then, as grey gleams yellowed in the east,
I saw him bend his venerable head,
Creep to the door, and knock.
Again I saw
The long-drawn billows breaking on the land,
And galleys rocking in the summer noon.
The old man, richly retinued, and clad
In princely robes, stood there, and spread his arms,
And cried, to one low-kneeling at his feet,
“Take thou my blessing with thee, O my son!
And let this sword, wherewith I gird thee, smite
The impious tyrant-king, who hath defied,
Dethroned, and exiled him who is as Christ.
The Lord be good to thee, my son, my son,
For thy most righteous dealing!”
And again
'Twas that long slip of land betwixt the sea
And still lagoons of Venice—curling waves
Flinging light, foamy spray upon the sand.
The noon was past, and rose-red shadows fell
Across the waters. Lo! the galleys came
To anchorage again—and lo! the Duke
Yet once more bent his noble head to earth,
And laid a victory at the old man's feet,
Praying a blessing with exulting heart.
“This day, my well-belovèd, thou art blessed,
And Venice with thee, for St. Peter's sake.

And I will give thee, for thy bride and queen,
The sea which thou hast conquered. Take this ring,
As sign of her subjection, and thy right
To be her lord for ever.”
Once again
I saw that old man,—in the vestibule
Of St. Mark's fair cathedral,—circled round
With cardinals and priests, ambassadors
And the noblesse of Venice—richly robed
In papal vestments, with the triple crown
Gleaming upon his brows. There was a hush:—
I saw a glittering train come sweeping on,
From the blue water and across the square,
Thronged with an eager multitude,—the Duke,
And with him Barbarossa, humbled now,
And fain to pray for pardon. With bare heads,
They reached the church, and paused. The Emperor knelt,
Casting away his purple mantle—knelt,
And crept along the pavement, as to kiss
Those feet, which had been weary twenty years
With his own persecutions. And the Pope
Lifted his white haired, crowned, majestic head,
And trod upon his neck,—crying out to Christ,
“Upon the lion and adder shalt thou go—
The dragon shalt thou tread beneath thy feet!”
The vision changed. Sweet incense-clouds rose up
From the cathedral altar, mix'd with hymns
And solemn chantings, o'er ten thousand heads;
And ebbed and died away along the aisles.
I saw a train of nobles—knights of France—
Pass 'neath the glorious arches through the crowd,
And stand, with halo of soft, coloured light
On their fair brows—the while their leader's voice
Rang through the throbbing silence like a bell.
“Signiors, we come to Venice, by the will
Of the most high and puissant lords of France,
To pray you look with your compassionate eyes
Upon the Holy City of our Christ—
Wherein He lived, and suffered, and was lain
Asleep, to wake in glory, for our sakes—
By Paynim dogs dishonoured and defiled!
Signiors, we come to you, for you are strong.
The seas which lie betwixt that land and this
Obey you. O have pity! See, we kneel—
Our Masters bid us kneel—and bid us stay
Here at your feet until you grant our prayers!”
Wherewith the knights fell down upon their knees,

And lifted up their supplicating hands.
Lo! the ten thousand people rose as one,
And shouted with a shout that shook the domes
And gleaming roofs above them—echoing down,
Through marble pavements, to the shrine below,
Where lay the miraculous body of their Saint
(Shed he not heavenly radiance as he heard?—
Perfuming the damp air of his secret crypt),
And cried, with an exceeding mighty cry,
“We do consent! We will be pitiful!”
The thunder of their voices reached the sea,
And thrilled through all the netted water-veins
Of their rich city. Silence fell anon,
Slowly, with fluttering wings, upon the crowd;
And then a veil of darkness.
And again
The filtered sunlight streamed upon those walls,
Marbled and sculptured with divinest grace;
Again I saw a multitude of heads,
Soft-wreathed with cloudy incense, bent in prayer—
The heads of haughty barons, armed knights,
And pilgrims girded with their staff and scrip,
The warriors of the Holy Sepulchre.
The music died away along the roof;
The hush was broken—not by him of France—
By Enrico Dandolo, whose grey head
Venice had circled with the ducal crown.
The old man looked down, with his dim, wise eyes,
Stretching his hands abroad, and spake. “Seigneurs,
My children, see—your vessels lie in port
Freighted for battle. And you, standing here,
Wait but the first fair wind. The bravest hosts
Are with you, and the noblest enterprise
Conceived of man. Behold, I am grey-haired,
And old and feeble. Yet am I your lord.
And, if it be your pleasure, I will trust
My ducal seat in Venice to my son,
And be your guide and leader.”
When they heard,
They cried aloud, “In God's name, go with us!”
And the old man, with holy weeping, passed
Adown the tribune to the altar-steps;
And, kneeling, fixed the cross upon his cap.
A ray of sudden sunshine lit his face—
The grand, grey, furrowed face—and lit the cross,
Until it twinkled like a cross of fire.
“We shall be safe with him,” the people said,

Straining their wet, bright eyes; “and we shall reap
Harvests of glory from our battle-fields!”

Anon there rose a vapour from the sea—
A dim white mist, that thickened into fog.
The campanile and columns were blurred out,
Cathedral domes and spires, and colonnades
Of marble palaces on the Grand Canal.
Joy-bells rang sadly and softly—far away;
Banners of welcome waved like wind-blown clouds;
Glad shouts were muffled into mournful wails.
A Doge was come to be enthroned and crowned,—
Not in the great Bucentaur—not in pomp;
The water-ways had wandered in the mist,
And he had tracked them, slowly, painfully,
From San Clemente to Venice, in a frail
And humble gondola. A Doge was come;
But he, alas! had missed his landing-place,
And set his foot upon the blood-stained stones
Betwixt the blood-red columns. Ah, the sea—
The bride, the queen—she was the first to turn
Against her passionate, proud, ill-fated lord!

Slowly the sea-fog melted, and I saw
Long, limp dead bodies dangling in the sun.
Two granite pillars towered on either side,
And broad blue waters glittered at their feet.
“These are the traitors,” said the people; “they
Who, with our Lord the Duke, would overthrow
The government of Venice.”
And anon,
The doors about the palace were made fast.
A great crowd gathered round them, with hushed breath
And throbbing pulses. And I knew their lord,
The Duke Faliero, knelt upon his knees,
On the broad landing of the marble stairs
Where he had sworn the oath he could not keep—
Vexed with the tyrannous oligarchic rule
That held his haughty spirit netted in,
And cut so keenly that he writhed and chafed
Until he burst the meshes—could not keep!
I watched and waited, feeling sick at heart;
And then I saw a figure, robed in black—
One of their dark, ubiquitous, supreme
And fearful tribunal of Ten—come forth,
And hold a dripping sword-blade in the air.
“Justice has fallen on the traitor! See,
His blood has paid the forfeit of his crime!”

And all the people, hearing, murmured deep,
Cursing their dead lord, and the council, too,
Whose swift, sure, heavy hand had dealt his death.

Then came the night, all grey and still and sad.
I saw a few red torches flare and flame
Over a little gondola, where lay
The headless body of the traitor Duke,
Stripped of his ducal vestments. Floating down
The quiet waters, it passed out of sight,
Bearing him to unhonoured burial.
And then came mist and darkness.
Lo! I heard
The shrill clang of alarm-bells, and the wails
Of men and women in the wakened streets.
A thousand torches flickered up and down,
Lighting their ghastly faces and bare heads;
The while they crowded to the open doors
Of all the churches—to confess their sins,
To pray for absolution, and a last
Lord's Supper—their viaticum, whose death
Seemed near at hand—ay, nearer than the dawn.
“Chioggia is fall'n!” they cried, “and we are lost!”

Anon I saw them hurrying to and fro,
With eager eyes and hearts and blither feet—
Grave priests, with warlike weapons in their hands,
And delicate women, with their ornaments
Of gold and jewels for the public fund—
Mix'd with the bearded crowd, whose lives were given,
With all they had, to Venice in her need.
No more I heard the wailing of despair,—
But great Pisani's blithe word of command,
The dip of oars, and creak of beams and chains,
And ring of hammers in the arsenal.
“Venice shall ne'er be lost!” her people cried—
Whose names were worthy of the Golden Book—
“Venice shall ne'er be conquered!”
And anon
I saw a scene of triumph—saw the Doge,
In his Bucentaur, sailing to the land—
Chioggia behind him blackened in the smoke,
Venice before, all banners, bells, and shouts
Of passionate rejoicing! Ten long months
Had Genoa waged that war of life and death;
And now—behold the remnant of her host,
Shrunken and hollow-eyed and bound with chains—
Trailing their galleys in the conqueror's wake!

Once more the tremulous waters, flaked with light;
A covered vessel, with an armèd guard—
A yelling mob on fair San Giorgio's isle,
And ominous whisperings in the city squares.
Carrara's noble head bowed down at last,
Beaten by many storms,—his golden spurs
Caught in the meshes of a hidden snare!
“O Venice!” I cried, “where is thy great heart
And honourable soul?”
And yet once more
I saw her—the gay Sybaris of the world—
The rich voluptuous city—sunk in sloth.
I heard Napoleon's cannon at her gates,
And her degenerate nobles cry for fear.
I saw at last the great Republic fall—
Conquered by her own sickness, and with scarce
A noticeable wound—I saw her fall!
And she had stood above a thousand years!
O Carlo Zeno! O Pisani! Sure
Ye turned and groaned for pity in your graves.
I saw the flames devour her Golden Book
Beneath the rootless “Tree of Liberty;”
I saw the Lion's le
Ilya Krivonosov Mar 2019
In the motley woodland
Little that'll understand.
In four months
Rye ripens.

From squealing jigsaw
Dust settles.
Four carnations
Nailed to the keel.

Sixteen degrees.
Africa is warmer.
Sixteen erasers.
Darker hair.

In a freshwater lake
Usual trout.
In the March of the bulldozer
April is heard.
Are you a tourist or
A volcanologist my dear?
With a painful joy
To a live volcano  getting near,
Do you want to pay homage
To earth's nadir
Conscious that beneath a sea level
A sweltering heat you can bear?

Then to Erta Ale  go you not why
Found under Ethiopia's sky?
With a style jumping high,
Hitting the ground
Beating  drums, on their waists,
Sabres tied around
Afro men along with braided women,
With butter greased hair,
The latter ululating and clapping
In a row facing each other
Chant a  love song
“My feeling for you is strong!”

The male herd camel,
While women babysit,prepare food
And make short huts
With tiny malleable wood.

Also dot the mirage-forming sand
Huts grand.

Are you a tourist my dear
Eager to see about
Out of the ordinary you heard
Say about multicolored magma
Volcano's dust,
Disgorged out of earth's crust?

Do you want to see a scenery
You have not seen
Since you were born,
How in a motley garment
Mother nature itself adorn
Come then to Ethiopia,
Located in Africa's horn?

Visit Erta Ale ,
On earth
To run away from earth
Enjoying its hearth.
You will witness
The extraction of salt
In a volcano-formed fault.///
One of the wonders of Ethiopia.
Lo! ’tis a gala night
  Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
  In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
  A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
  The music of the spheres.

Mimes, in the form of God on high,
  Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly—
  Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
  That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
  Invisible Wo!

That motley drama—oh, be sure
  It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore,
  By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
  To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
  And Horror the soul of the plot.

But see, amid the mimic rout
  A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
  The scenic solitude!
It writhes!—it writhes!—with mortal pangs
  The mimes become its food,
And the angels sob at vermin fangs
  In human gore imbued.

Out—out are the lights—out all!
  And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
  Comes down with the rush of a storm,
And the angels, all pallid and wan,
  Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”
  And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
RAJ NANDY Jul 2016
Dear Poet Friends, our World today & especially Europe is threatened with terrorism from the religious fundamentalist groups like the ‘IS’ ! History teaches us that during the Middle Ages the Holy Crusades were launched with the combined forces of Christendom. May be History is repeating itself once again within a span of thousand years! Do kindly read with patience this True Story of the Holy Crusades in Verse, to see events in its proper historical perspective. Concluding portion as Part Two has also been posted here. You will find the portion on ''Motivation & The Medieval Mind'' to be interesting! Kindly take your time to read at leisure. No need to comment in a hurry please! Thanks, - Raj

               STORY OF THE HOLY CRUSADE: (1096-1099)
                                           PART ONE

                                       INTRODUCTION
For thousands of years the Holy Lands of Palestine on the eastern coast
of the Mediterranean Sea had witnessed,
Ferocious battles fought between the Christians, Jews, and the Muslims,
with much bloodshed;
For a strip of land few hundred miles in length and varying between some hundred miles in breadth,
Which they all righteously defended!
There the Ancient City of Jerusalem now stands as a World Heritage Site,
Sacred to the three of World’s oldest Religions and as their pride!
Jerusalem today is a symbol of unity amidst its religious diversity;
For on its Dome of the Rock, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Synagogues, are etched thousand years of Ancient History.
In 1096, Pope Urban the Second, motivated Christendom and launched the First Holy Crusade,
To liberate Jerusalem from 461 Years of MUSLIM dominance!
Some Historians have listed a total of Nine Crusades in all,
And I commence with the FIRST, being the most important of all;
For it recaptured Jerusalem from the Seljuk Turks making it fall. (in 1099AD)
While subsequent Crusades did not make any appreciable dent at all!
Not forgetting the THIRD, led by King Richard ‘The Lion Heart’, -
Who made the Turk leader Saladin to agree,
For Christian pilgrims to visit the Holy shrines in Jerusalem and the Hills of Calvary.
The Crusades began towards the end of the 11th Century lasting for almost Two hundred years;
Had later turned into a tale of sorrow and tears!
Now to understand the Crusades in its proper perspective let us see,
The brief historical background of Europe during the early parts of
Second Millennium AD.

                         A BRIEF HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The Normans:
During the first century of the Second Millennium, Europe was in a formative stage,     (11th Century AD)
It had began to emerge from its long period of hibernation called the ‘Dark Age’!
The Viking raids from those northern Norsemen had ceased subsequently,
As they became Christian converts settling in Northern France in the Duchy of Normandy.
In 1035 when Robert the Devil, 5th Duke of Normandy died on his way
to Jerusalem during a Holy Pilgrimage;
His only son William, who was illegitimate, was only seven years of age.
By 1063 AD these Norman settlers had intermingled and expanded their lands considerably,
By conquering Southern Italy and driving the Muslims from the Island of Sicily.
And in 1066 Robert’s son William shaped future events, -
By defeating King Harold at Hastings and by uniting England.
Now William the Conqueror’s eldest son Robert the Duke of Normandy,
Participated in the First Holy Crusade, which has become both Legend
and a part of History!
These Normans though pious, were also valiant fighters,
And became the driving force behind the Crusades from 11th Century
onward !

                     MUSLIM CONQUEST AND EXPANSION
After the death of Prophet Mohammad during 7th Century AD,
Muslim cavalry burst forth from Arabia in a conquering spree!
They soon conquered the Middle East, Persia, and the Byzantine
Empire;
And in 638 AD they occupied the Holy city of Jerusalem and
Palestine entire!
Beginning of the 8th Century saw them crossing the Gibraltar Strait,
To occupy the Iberian Peninsula by sealing ruling Visigoth’s fate!
Crossing Spain soon they knocked on the gates of Southern France,
When Charles Martel in the crucial Battle of Tours halted their rapid
advance!  (Oct 732 AD)
By defeating the Moors, Martel confined them to Southern Spain,
And thereby SAVED Western Europe from Muslim dominance!
Charles Martel was also the grandfather of the Emperor Charlemagne.
The Sunni–Shiite split over the true successor of Prophet Muhammad,
and other doctrinal differences of Faith,
Had weakened the Muslim Empire till the Mongols sealed their fate!

                         THE SELJUK TURKS
Meanwhile around Mid-eleventh Century from the steppes of Central Asia,
Came a nomadic tribe of Seljuk Turks and occupied Persia!
In 1055 they captured Baghdad and took the Abbasid Caliph under their Protectorate.
The Persian poet Omar Khayyam, and the great Rumi the mystic sage,
Had also flourished during this Seljuk Age!
In 1071 at the Battle of Manzikirt the Seljuks defeated the Byzantines
and occupied entire Anatolia,     (now Turkey)
And set up their Capital there by occupying Nicaea!
Deprived of their Anatolian ‘bread basket’ the Byzantine Emperor
Alexius Comnenus the First,
Appealed to Pope Urban II to save him from the scourge of those
Seljuk Turks!
The Seljuk Turks had also occupied Jerusalem and entire Palestine,
And prevented the Christian pilgrims from visiting its Holy Shrines!
The Seljuk, who converted to Islam, became staunch defenders of the
Muslim faith,
And played an historic role during the First Two Holy Crusades!

THE CHURCH AND THE SECULAR STATE (11th Century) :
The ecclesiastic differences and theological disputes between Western (Latin) and Eastern(Greek Orthodox) Church,
And the authority over the Norman Church at Sicily;
Resulted in the Roman and Constantinople Churches
ex-communicating each other in 1054 AD!
This East-West Schism was soon followed by the ‘Investiture Controversy’,
Over the right to appoint Bishops and many other doctrinal complexities;
Between Pope Gregory VII and the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV  
of Germany.
Here I have cut short many details to spare you some agony!
Pope Gregory was succeeded by Pope Urban the Second,
Who was a shrewd diplomat and a great orator as Rome’s Papal Head.
Pope Urban seized this opportunity and responded to the Byzantine
Emperor’s desperate call,
Hoping to add lands to his Papal Estate after the Seljuk Turks fall!
Also to reign in those errant knights and warlords, -
Who plundered for greed and as mercenaries fought!
And finally, by liberating Jerusalem as Christendom’s Religious Superior,
Pope Urban hoped to assert his authority over the Holy Roman Emperor!
It is therefore an unfortunate fact of History, that the news of re-conquest of Jerusalem failed to reach Italy;
Even though Pope Urban died fourteen days later,
on the 29th of July, in 1099 AD!

                 MOTIVATION AND THE MEDIEVAL MIND
The Medieval Age was the Age of Faith, which preceded the Age of Reason;
A God-centred world where to think otherwise smacked of treason!
It is rather difficult for us in our Modern times,
To fully comprehend the Early Medieval mind!
The Church was the very framework of the Medieval Society itself,
With their Monasteries and Abbeys as front-line of defence
against Evil;
While combating the deceptions and temptations of the Devil!
It was a mysterious and enchanted Medieval World where superstition
and ignorance was rife;
Where with blurred boundaries both the natural and the supernatural
existed side by side !
When education was confined to the Clergy and the Upper Class of
the Society exclusively;
In such a world the human mind was preoccupied with thoughts
of Salvation and piety;
And in an afterlife hoping to escape the pains of Purgatory!
So in Nov 1095 at the Council of Clermont in France,
When Pope Urban II made his clarion call to liberate the
Holy Lands from the infidels,
The massive congregation responded by shouting, “God Wills It”,
‘’God Wills It’’,  - which echoed beyond France!
The Crusade offered an opportunity to absolve oneself of sins,
And to even die a martyrs death for a Holy cause, which motivated
them from within!
Now for actual action kindly read the Concluding portion,
I tried to make it short and crisp!


    STORY OF THE HOLY CRUSADE : CONCLUSION
                                 PART TWO

THE  PEASANT’S CRUSADE (April-Oct 1096) :
Even before the First Crusade could get officially organized,
A Peasant’s Crusade of around forty thousand took-off,
taking Pope Urban by surprise!
When these untrained motley body of men led by the French
Lord Walter Sans Avoir, and Peter Hermit reached Constantinople;
They disappointed Emperor Alexius, who for seasoned Norman
Knights had bargained.
So Alexius ferried them to Anatolia across the Bosporus Strait,
Only to be massacred there by the hardy Seljuk Turks who sealed
their fate!
Thus ended the Peasant’s Crusade, also known as “The People’s
Crusade’’.
But Peter the Hermit survived as he had returned to Constantinople
for help,
And participated with the main Crusade, motivating them till the
very end,
With his sermons and prayers till their objectives were attained!

THE CRUSADE LEADERS AND THEIR ROUTES:
Now let me tell you about those Crusade Leaders and their routes,
For this true story to be better understood.
In the Summer of 1096 French nobles and seasoned knights,
along with Bishop Adhemar the Papal Legate,
Set out in large contingents by land and sea routes, forming the
Christian Brigade!
Their rendezvous point being Constantinople, capital of the
Byzantine Empire,
And from there across the Bosporus to enter Turkey then known
as Anatolia;
To finally take on the Seljuk Turks, in response to the request  
made by Emperor Alexius.
Raymond the IV of Toulouse, the senior-most and richest of
the Crusaders,
Was an old veteran who had fought the Moors in Spain was one of
the Crusade leaders.
He brought the largest army and was accompanied by the Papal Legate, and his wife Elvira,
And later played a major role in the siege of Antioch, and Nicea.
Raymond along with the veteran and pious bachelor knight
Godfrey of Bouillon, who became the First Ruler of Jerusalem
after its capture and fall;
Was accompanied by Godfrey’s ambitious brother Baldwin and
a large contingent, -
They followed the land route to Constantinople.
The fierce Norman knight Bohemond of Taranto, along with
Robert II Duke of Flanders, and the Norman knights from
Southern Italy,
Followed the sea route to Byzantium from the Italian port of Bari.
I have mentioned here only a few, to cut short my story!
At Constantinople Emperor Alexius, administered a Holy Oath of
allegiance to the Crusade Leaders;
Hoping to win back his captured lands after the defeat of the
Seljuk Turks.

THE SIEGE OF NICEA (14th May – 19th Jun 1097) :
This captured Byzantine City was then the Seljuk Capital;
With 200 towers its mighty walls was a formidable defence!
Emperor Alexius sent his army to help the Crusaders in the siege,
And by blockading the food supply lines the city was besieged;
In the absence of the City’s ruler who had gone on a campaign
to the East, -
Alexius’ Generals secretly worked out a negotiation of surrender
and peace!
The Crusaders were angry and felt they were being cheated,
But Alexius gave them money, horses, and gifts to get them
compensated!
On the 26th of June the Crusader army was split into two contingents,
And the Turks ambushed and surrounded the vanguard led by Bohemund the Valiant.
Turk cavalry shooting arrows mauled part of the vanguard,
When the rearguard of Godfrey, and Baldwin charged in
and rescued them from the Turks!
Historians call this the Battle of Dorylaeum;  (1st Jul 1097)  
It was the first major battle  which provided a taste of
things to come!

SIEGE OF EDESSA:
Next a three month’s long and arduous march followed
under the sweltering Summer’s heat,
When five hundred lost their lives due to sheer fatigue!
Baldwin lost his wife God Hilda, a rich heiress;
Now with all her wealth going back to her blood line
as per tradition of those days,
Placed ambitious Baldwin under great mental and financial
distress!
So Baldwin with a few hundred knights headed East for the
rich Christian city of Edessa,
With intentions of claiming it as his own after the loss of his
wife Hilda!
The citizens there backed Baldwin and gave him an Armenian
Christian lady to be his wife,
And against their old childless Ruler Thoros, they plotted to
take his life!
It was not a great start for the idealism of the Crusade,
Since motivated by greed Baldwin had carved out his own
State;
While Edessa also became the First State to be established
by the Holy Crusade!

THE SIEGE OF ANTIOCH  (21 Oct 1097- 02 Jun 1098) :
Antioch was an old Roman city built around 300 BC,
Its six gates and towers fortified the city.
Its formidable walls were built by the Byzantine Emperor
Justinian the First,
And twelve years prior to the arrival of the Crusaders,
Antioch had got occupied by the Turks!
In the absence of a Centralised Command, the Crusade leaders
frequently argued and quarrelled;
Since the majority preferred a siege, so Antioch got finally
surrounded.
When food supply ran short during the winter, both
starvation and desertion plagued the Crusaders;
While Antioch’s Governor Yagi-Siyan appealed for
assistance from his distant brothers the Turks.
He tied messages on legs of trained homing pigeon,
A unique postal service of those early days!
End May 1098 brought news of a large Muslim army
commanded by Emir Kerbogha,
Had set course from Mosul to liberate Antioch from
the Crusaders!
The Crusaders now had to break in fast into Antioch,
or face those 75,000 strong Turkish force!
The Twin Towers on the southern side was manned by
an Armenian Christian Muslim convert named Firuz,
Who was bribed by Bohemund to betray Antioch!
Firuz let down rope ladders for the Crusaders to climb
inside,
And a massacre followed late into the ****** night!
Next day Emir Kerbogha’s troops arrived and the
situation got reversed,
The attackers now lay besieged by those Seljuk Turks!
After fifty-two days of trying siege food supply ran out,
Morale of the Crusaders were rather low, and some even
feared a route!
Now buried in the Church of St. Peter, Peter Bartholomew
the French priest found the ‘Holy Lance’,
About which he had a vision in advance!
This find raised the morale of the Crusaders, and some
even went into a spiritual trance!
For Peter claimed this ‘Holy Relic’ had pierced Christ’s body
after his Crucifixion;
And the Crusading army now moved out of the city in full
battle formation!
Soon after the Turkish army of Kerbogha retreated fearing
devastation!
This victory has been attributed to God and His miraculous
intervention!

                     LIBERATION OF JERUSALEM
After the conquest of Antioch in June 1098, the Crusaders
stayed on till the year got completed.
Though the death of the Papal Legate in August got them
rather depressed;
While Bohemund of Taranto took over Antioch, which now
became the Second Crusader State;
And Raymond of Toulouse became the undisputed Leader
of The Crusade!
Next travelling through Tripoli, Beirut, Tire and Lebanon;
To liberate Bethlehem they sent off Tancred, and Baldwin
of Le Bourg.
On the 5th of June they liberated Bethlehem, and on the
Seventh of June they reached the gates of Jerusalem!
Facing acute shortage of food and water their initial attack
failed to materialise,
When priest Peter Desiderius’ vision of the deceased Papal
Legate came as a pleasant surprise!
This vision commanded them to fast, atone for their sins and
make amends,
By walking barefoot in prayer around the Holy City of Jerusalem!
After a final assault on the 15th of July 1099, they broke into
the City,
Killing all Muslims and Jews with impunity!
Pious Godfrey of Bouillon refusing to wear the crown, became
the First Ruler of this Third Crusader State;
And objectives of the Crusaders were finally attained!
With the formation of warrior monks of ‘Hospitallers’ and
‘Knight Templers’, wearing White and Red Crosses respectivel
RELEVANT LESSONS CAN BE DRAWN FROM PAST HISTORY!
Snow White had a pain one day,
She called for the court physician.
He checked her pulse, he felt her head
Said she had a strange condition.

Told her to eat some apples wild
And come back the very next day.
Then found that she must be with child;
For how long, he couldn't say.

Snow White had no rememberance
Of ever laying down with a man;
But her child bore a slight resemblance
To a motley forest band.

Seven dwarves had lived in a place
Right at the edge of town;
Rumors flew it was a disgrace
Which Snow White would never live down.

But then someone remembered a chap
Name of Johnny Appleseed, came through
Said he put some seed right in Snow's lap-
Just before her belly grew.
Ormond Jan 2014
In gravest, gravels of untouched soil,
Spearhead of purple, beyond the pale,
One statue of siege upon a windy foil,
What mires meek airs in all you survey?

Like a frost of summers, you are lord,
To hold that seed in your spiny face,
Depressions of land your promontory,
All up with arms, iron clad as a mace,

Beneath you, the grown motley fields
Are desolate, all flowers bled, blender,
Spiders and birds know you unyielding
The lost aleatory scent of no surrender.
It’s time for another twisted tale my friends
This one could keep you up all night
So tuck in with your favorite blanket and I’ll tell you
About the seven dwarfs and Snow White

Now some might have you thinking
That Snow White was such a sweet girl
You might just have another opinion
As the real story begins to unfurl

As a child her mother loved her
She was the apple of her eye
Until that fated day
When she watched her mother die

She stood there in the kitchen
Her mother on the floor
She stayed to see the last breath drawn
Then sauntered out the door

She left without a penny
And didn’t say a thing
Stuffing in her pocket
Her mother’s wedding ring

Walking through the forest
She saw a house of stone
Peeking through a window
She saw no one was home

Feeling rather hungry
Looking for some food
Devouring anything she found
She really was quite rude

While searching the small bedroom
She heard a strange new sound
Seven little dwarfs coming home
Their pick axes dragging on the ground

Hiding in the closet
Until they got inside
They headed for the table
Sitting side by side

Happy did the cooking
Fried deer meat in a stew
Grumpy was not eating
Perhaps a stomach flu

While all the dwarfs were busy
Doing all their chores
Bashful heard the creaking
Of the bedroom closet door

The bravest of the seven dwarfs
The one that they call Doc
Picked up an old fly swatter  
Hanging next to the Cuckoo clock

As he approached the bedroom
A shadow he did see
“I usually fight for money” he said
“But I’ll kick your *** for free”

Now Snow White did some thinking
About this feisty man
Found herself wishing that she could be
A member of this clan

And then she starting laughing
So much she couldn’t breathe
She said “Come in and get me”
Then Doc began to seethe

Doc yanking the door open
Fists of fury start to fly
Everything was going well
Until she poked him in the eye

AND
THAT WAS
JUST THE BEGINNING

Now it’s five years later
And they are on the run
***** shot a sheriff with
His new “potato” gun

Sleepy and Sneezy
Can’t stay out of fights
There’s always tons of blood
On these very violent nights

Happy’s always stealing
Whatever he can find
Fresh baked bread and jerky
He’ll never leave behind

Grumpy can’t stay sober
He loves to drink his wine
Empty glasses in nice neat rows
Just like an assembly line

Bashful can’t keep his hands off
All the pretty young girls
Stroking all their lovely hair especially
The ones with curls

Doc is doing *******
It really is high grade
They tell him that he’ll die one day
But he is not afraid

***** is a “huffer”
His lips are always blue
They really have no earthly idea
Who he’s talking to

Sleepy likes to gamble
Especially with cards
When he was locked in prison
He always beat the guards

Sneezy deals in women
He really is a ****
His best girl Lacretia is
A ****** with a limp

It’s true Snow White’s the leader
Of this crazy motley pack
One thing about these brothers
They always have her back

Like when she lit the fire
That burnt a village down
They dressed her like a peasant girl
And snuck her out of town

Or when she lost some money
She surely lost the bet
They sold all their belongings
And paid off her lousy debt

All for one and one for all
That is what they say
They’ll always stick together
Until their final day

They find a “Wanted” poster
With their pictures and their names
Snow takes out her trusty lighter
It all goes up in flames

So now you know the story
It’s time to go to bed
Don’t mess with “wanted” people
They’ll just shoot you in the head

I hope you’ve enjoyed this twisted tale
Of Snow White and her men
I still see them all in my nightmares
Every now and then
Pagan Paul May 2019
.
So the smoke coils
surrounding a stray thought
clinging to the vine
as it weaves threads
into a tapestry
of fermented grape wrath.
His pen crawls
across the pages of life
and ignores the punctuation,
a plague infected word flow,
his stream of catharsis.
But the babble
intrudes and sounds irk,
sending resentment forward
like an advance guard
to meet the violence
and deflect the onslaught.
And the wave dies
as the aggressor retreats
before motley defence.
But the mood
has been tainted, spoiled,
despite a flirtatious distraction.
And the flame flickers
as the smoke coils,
and tired eyes avert their gaze
from the perceived ***** page,
the excrement of misery
smeared to make nostrils flare,
and the entry is left
incomplete …




© Pagan Paul (06/05/19)
.
4th entry in the Fool's Diary
.
YA FREAK YA FREAK


WHAT IS A FREAK, IS IT SOMEONE WHO IS DIFFERENT CAUSE THE WORLD IS SO WRONG

IS IT A PERSON WHO LOVES LIFE, BUT DOESN’T TELL ANYONE

I AM NO FREAK, I AM A COOL PERSON, I SIT AND DO MY TAPESTRY

LIKE THE ARTIST YOU CAN SEE IN ME

MY VERSION OF A FREAK IS SOMEONE WHO HATES HEAVY METAL, CAUSE HEAVY METAL IS RADICAL, DUDE

I LIKE AC/DC, AND MOTLEY CRUE AND I ESPECIALLY LOVE MOTORHEAD

THAT IS WHY I LIKED MY FRIEND PATRICK, CAUSE HE LIUKED OR APPEARED TO LIKE HEAVY METAL MUSIC, I AM NO FREAK

AND IF YA CALL ME A FREAK, I WILL BE UPSET, CAUSE, DUDES

I LOVE JUDAS PRIEST, I LOVE JIMMY BARNES, AND THE ONLY REASON WHY I LIKE COMPUTERS

IS SO I CAN KEEP IN CONTACT WITH THE WORLD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT, DOESN’T MAKE ME A FREAK THOUGH

IT MAKES ME A COOL PERSON WHO LOVES HEAVY METAL MUSIC

I WANT TO TAKE THE GEEK OUT OF COMPUTERS, CAUSE GEEKS CALL PEOPLE LIKE ME A FREAK

I LIKE TO PARTY IN CLUBS, AND I LIKE TO GO TO THE FOOTY, AND MUCK WITH THE FOOTY FANS

I HATE BEING TREATED LIKE A FREAK, BUT WHAT IS A FREAK

I TELL YA WHAT IS A FREAK, I AM NO FREAK, I LOVE THE COOL PEOPLE WHO GO TO HEAVY METAL CONCERTS

SURE I AM NICE TO MY MUM, BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE ME A FREAK THOUGH

I JUST AM A VERY NICE PERSON, PEOPLE WHO CALL ME A FREAK ARE THE ONLY FREAKS

COMPUTERS ARE FUN, NONE OF THIS DOS ****, THAT IS FOR THE FREAKS

I LIKE COMPUTERS TO SHARE MY WRITING AND MY ART, AND TO ENTERTAIN

I DON’T WANT TO BE THOSE QUEER PEOPLE WHO ARE TOTALLY GENTLE, I DON’T DO GENTLE

I DO COOL, AND I AM COOL, I’M COOL MAN, COOL YOU, YEAH COOL ME, I AM A BOY ANYWAY

I KNOW YOUR A BOY BRIAN MMMMMMMMMMM YOUR A BOY MMMMMMMM I AM A COMPUTER **** KID, I AM NO GEEK OR NERD MY MATE

GEEKS OR FREAKS ARE PEOPLE WHO HATE COMPUTERS, CAUSE THEY CAN’T GET PAST THE ADULT

I AM NO FREAK, I AM NO GEEK I LIKE COMPUTERS FOR CREATIVITY YA SEE

I WANT THE HEAVY METAL FANS TO LIKE ME, CAUSE YOUTUBE IS THE PLACE YOU CAN WATCH HEAVY METAL FOR FREE

ANY BAND IS COOL, HEAVY METAL MUSIC IS THE BEST MUSIC OF ALL, TO GET YA SOX OFF AND REALL PARTY HARDY WON’T STARTY

I AM NOT A FREAK, I AM A YOUTUBE ******, AN INTERNET ******, I HATE PEOPLE TREATING ME L;ILE A FREAK CAUSE THEY ARE JEALOUS

I DON’T WANT TO GET KILLED OR KIDNAPPED, OR ANYTHING, BUT I AM NOT SHY TO L.OVE COMPUTERS

I WISH THE WORLD WOULD STOP TREATING ME LIKE A FREAK, MY COMPUTER LIKES ARE

HEAVY METAL CONCERTS

LEARNING ABOUT THE WORLD

PUTTING MY ART ONLINE THROUGH ART COLONY

FINDING THE PERFECT PARTY SO I CAN SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD THROUGH YOUTUBE

TO FIND WRITING GROUPS LIKE FOCUS ON FICTION

OLD TV SHOWS I USED TO LOVE LIKE BECKER AND CHARLES IN CHARGE, ETC ETC

I WATCH A LOT OF TED DANSON’S BECKER, YA COULD SAY, I AM A BECKER MANIAC

THERE ARE MANY MORE, I ALSO HAVE SHOWS SHOWING THAT I CAN STICK AT DOING TAPESTRIES, BY INSPIRING PEOP,LE TO BE CREATIVITY

I HATE PEOPLE SAYING I AM TOO WOOSEY TO, TO GOOD ART, BUT OPEOPLE WHO SAY THAT, ARE THE BIGGEST FREAKS AROUND

IF PAT HATES HEAVY METAL,HE IS A FREAK, CAUSE HE HAD A FUNNY WAY OF SHOWING IT, WHEN HE MUCKED AROUND WITH ME

HE GOT ME INTO LOVING HEAVY METAL, AND STOP WORRYING WHAT PEOPLE THINK, I DON’T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK

I AM AN ARTIST, I AIN’T NO FREAK, I AM A WRITER I AIN’T NO FREAK I AM A YOUTUBE ENTERTAINER AND INSPIRER I AIN’T NO FREAK

I DO MY TAPESTRY ON YOUTUBE TO SHOW MY STAYING POWER, AND I HAVE STAYING POWER, REAL STAYING POWER

I THOUGHT DAD WAS TREATING ME LIKE A WRITER WHEN HE SAID I WAS LIKE OS, SO TO SPEAK

I AM NOT A FREAK, I AM STILL A LITTLE YOUNG DUDE, WHO IS FINE WITH HIS VIRGINITY

I DON’T CALL ME A FREAK, CAUSE I HAVEN’T HAD ***, I CXALL FREAKS, PEOPLE WHO SAY THEY ARE YOUNG WITH NO SOCIAL MEDIA

I AM ON FACE BOOK AND YOUTUBE, AND I HAVE A STRONG QUOTA ON THE INTERNET, I ASM NO FREAK, I AM NO GEEK

I AM THE COOLEST DUDE IN CANBERRA, AND THERE IS NO DOUBT ABOUT IT

I THINK MY OLD MATES ARE LIVING IN THE PAST WITH ME, EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES, EVERYONE HAS THOSEC DAYS

COME ON DUDES, GIVE ME A BREAK, I AM A LITTLE YOUNG DUDE WHO LOVES TO PARTY WITH HEAVY METAL MUSIC LIKE ACCCA DACCA

AND MOTLEY CRUE, AND I WATCH THE CONCERT ON YOUTUBE, DUDES, ALL THE BLASTED DAY LONG

DON’T CALL ME A FREAK, YOUR A FREAK, ESPECIALLY IF YA THINK I HATE PARTYING, I LOVE PARTYING, IT’S COOL FOR ME
Sally A Bayan Sep 2013
My mind is teeming with rhymes, but,
Can't even decide on the first lines to write,
I am confused...... I keep on waiting....
Precious moments are taking too long
To come through.
Right now, I am having
A motley of thoughts,
I am feeling sad...
I am feeling blue
I am coping with anxiety
I sure need a remedy.

Dan Brown? Ludlum or Khaled Hosseini?
Maybe, a Children's Tale by Richard D. Remler....
Or...one from those of a good Soul(in torment)....
I could make a necklace out of pearls and Lapiz Lasuli
Or I could turn to my Gardenia plants, to prune and trim....
A journal and a pen for some memories, some new lines...
A glass of red or white wine would be nice,
A mug of steaming coffee would be heaven....
Still, all these combined would not suffice...
I sure need the best remedy...

I know myself too well....
This time, I need my elixir,
My cure-all...
I need my panacea,
I need YOU.



(but, where are you?)
...doesn't make sense...



Sally

   Copyright 2013
    Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
Pagan Paul Jan 2019
.
O where doth he wander my love,
the genius in cloth of the fool,
disappears with a wave of his motley glove,
and exits with the laugh of the cruel.

O where doth he roam my dear,
the costumed professor of musing,
a snap of his fingers, off he clears,
and leaves without permissive excusing.

Where doth he wander and where doth he roam?
He is upon a path so very far from home.
Look, see, his feet fall on shards of mica stone,
and the stars are all writing his story tome.

Where doth he roam and where doth he wander?
He is upon a path promising insanity yonder.
Look, see, take a moment to think and ponder,
is he an outcast or a willing absconder?

O where did he go my sweet,
the flaw that showed his cracks,
he left so quiet and incomplete,
the man who may never come back.




© Pagan Paul (27/01/19)
.
ryn Jan 2016
Palms overhead sway,
nudged by the occasional breeze.
The chatter crescendoes
before dying down...
To make way for the call of prayer.

It called to its followers.
So calm...
So sincere...

People hunched over their tables.
Savouring delights that came on plates.
Wafting aromas,
mingle like the swirls on candy.
Drenching our senses...
As we immerse ourselves further
in such good company.

I looked at the eyes that surrounded me...
Only soft, kind gazes greeted back.

There are no shadows here...
No silhouettes...
Only faces I know
generous with their gift of glow.

A rising warmth
emanates from the pits within.

In this here circle,
no matter how motley,
I feel alive.
I'm drinking up to a stupor...
This lovely band of five.
—It seems a day
(I speak of one from many singled out)
One of those heavenly days that cannot die;
When, in the eagerness of boyish hope,
I left our cottage-threshold, sallying forth
With a huge wallet o’er my shoulders slung,
A nutting-crook in hand; and turned my steps
Tow’rd some far-distant wood, a Figure quaint,
Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds
Which for that service had been husbanded,
By exhortation of my frugal Dame—
Motley accoutrement, of power to smile
At thorns, and brakes, and brambles,—and, in truth,
More ragged than need was! O’er pathless rocks,
Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets,
Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook
Unvisited, where not a broken bough
Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
Of devastation; but the hazels rose
Tall and *****, with tempting clusters hung,
A ****** scene!—A little while I stood,
Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed
The banquet;—or beneath the trees I sate
Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;
A temper known to those, who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blest
With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
The violets of five seasons re-appear
And fade, unseen by any human eye;
Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam,
And—with my cheek on one of those green stones
That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees,
Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep—
I heard the murmur, and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,
The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,
And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash
And merciless ravage: and the shady nook
Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up
Their quiet being: and, unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past;
Ere from the mutilated bower I turned
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky.—
Then, dearest Maiden, move along these shades
In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand
Touch—for there is a spirit in the woods.
Arlo Disarray May 2015
I want to lick all the clown paint off of your face
Undo your motley pants, and give you a good taste
I'd love to ring your bells as I make you my fool
Dance for your queen, and follow my rule!

I want to make you dance around so I can smile
And you may beg for rest, but you'll receive denial
I love you, harlequin with your silly, foolish ways
You'll make good entertainment for my remaining days
Love you, Just Jester (Ormond). <3

You make a fantastic Fool.
Don Bouchard Jun 2014
Around the table, literacy discussion
Turns elitist...
Bemoaning some poor Johnny,
Son of a plumber who does not read
Beyond the practical need,
And has no desire to.

I stop to check my sense of what I have just heard...
Am transported back to a prairie farm
And think of my Father, now in his eighties
Who still feels no need and no sense of loss
For not having read Shakespeare or Kant
For missing Milton's Paradises and Hemingway,
For by-passing Black Elk Speaks and C.S. Lewis.

Every morning, he reads his Bible;
Some nights he reads the mail's
Motley collection of literature:
Ads and politicians and fanatics,
Demanding money and his time,
But mostly money.

"I don't have time to read!"
He shouts, when I suggest a novel.
What literature he has is in his head,
Poems memorized when he was a boy
In a two room school, or
His own lines, written as a young man,
Describing work and friends
Long distant now, but still alive
In memory.

Dad taught me how to read
In different literacies and different texts:
Nuances of sky to read the weather -
What chill or storm or drought was on its way;
Cows and calves and bulls -
Which one was sick or well, dry or bred;
Equipment to diagnose mechanical ailments;
Metals to know which welding rod applied;
Grain, rolled crisp between his hands, a test of ripeness...
Cement to find the perfect mix,
So many literacies...
Dad, the Master Reader of them all...
No wonder he'd no time for books.
Father's Day Memorial
Marcus Lane Jan 2010
A shadowy shop with
Shelves that bend and buckle
Under the weight of years.

The dust of  the decade
Lies undisturbed

Volumes lined in motley ranks
Anthologies, albums and almanacks
Heaped in
Precarious stacks.
A few flaking pamphlets.

Dream-like sepia images
Dog-eared and damp
Bulge from mildewed and
Musty manilla.

Some are excited by
The acrid smell
Of old books.

Not sure that I am.

A bargain box or a treasure chest
Who cares.

Festered and forgotten
Between the yellowing pages of
A railway timetable
Lie someone's drawings.

Quite clever.
A little deranged, if you ask me.
Nice colours

But you wouldn't want them on your wall.
© Marcus Lane 2010

Eight etchings by William Blake have been acquired for the nation after the Tate Gallery raised £441,000.The  etchings, depicting the artist and writer's bleak visions, were discovered inside a train timetable at a secondhand book sale. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8451803.stm)
Rail on, Rail on, ye heartless crew!
My strains were never meant for you;
Remorseless Rancour still reveal,
And **** the verse you cannot feel.
Invoke those kindred passions’ aid,
Whose baleful stings your ******* pervade;
Crush, if you can, the hopes of youth,
Trampling regardless on the Truth:
Truth’s Records you consult in vain,
She will not blast her native strain;
She will assist her votary’s cause,
His will at least be her applause,
Your prayer the gentle Power will spurn;
To Fiction’s motley altar turn,
Who joyful in the fond address
Her favoured worshippers will bless:
And lo! she holds a magic glass,
Where Images reflected pass,
Bent on your knees the Boon receive—
This will assist you to deceive—
The glittering gift was made for you,
Now hold it up to public view;
Lest evil unforeseen betide,
A Mask each canker’d brow shall hide,
(Whilst Truth my sole desire is nigh,
Prepared the danger to defy,)
“There is the Maid’s perverted name,
And there the Poet’s guilty Flame,
Gloaming a deep phosphoric fire,
Threatening—but ere it spreads, retire.
Says Truth Up Virgins, do not fear!
The Comet rolls its Influence here;
’Tis Scandal’s Mirror you perceive,
These dazzling Meteors but deceive—
Approach and touch—Nay do not turn
It blazes there, but will not burn.”—
At once the shivering Mirror flies,
Teeming no more with varnished Lies;
The baffled friends of Fiction start,
Too late desiring to depart—
Truth poising high Ithuriel’s spear
Bids every Fiend unmask’d appear,
The vizard tears from every face,
And dooms them to a dire disgrace.
For e’er they compass their escape,
Each takes perforce a native shape—
The Leader of the wrathful Band,
Behold a portly Female stand!
She raves, impelled by private pique,
This mean unjust revenge to seek;
From vice to save this virtuous Age,
Thus does she vent indecent rage!
What child has she of promise fair,
Who claims a fostering Mother’s care?
Whose Innocence requires defence,
Or forms at least a smooth pretence,
Thus to disturb a harmless Boy,
His humble hope, and peace annoy?
She need not fear the amorous rhyme,
Love will not tempt her future time,
For her his wings have ceased to spread,
No more he flutters round her head;
Her day’s Meridian now is past,
The clouds of Age her Sun o’ercast;
To her the strain was never sent,
For feeling Souls alone ’twas meant—
The verse she seized, unask’d, unbade,
And ****’d, ere yet the whole was read!
Yes! for one single erring verse,
Pronounced an unrelenting Curse;
Yes! at a first and transient view,
Condemned a heart she never knew.—
Can such a verdict then decide,
Which springs from disappointed pride?
Without a wondrous share of Wit,
To judge is such a Matron fit?
The rest of the censorious throng
Who to this zealous Band belong,
To her a general homage pay,
And right or wrong her wish obey:
Why should I point my pen of steel
To break “such flies upon the wheel?”
With minds to Truth and Sense unknown,
Who dare not call their words their own.
Rail on, Rail on, ye heartless Crew!
Your Leader’s grand design pursue:
Secure behind her ample shield,
Yours is the harvest of the field.—
My path with thorns you cannot strew,
Nay more, my warmest thanks are due;
When such as you revile my Name,
Bright beams the rising Sun of Fame,
Chasing the shades of envious night,
Outshining every critic Light.—
Such, such as you will serve to show
Each radiant tint with higher glow.
Vain is the feeble cheerless toil,
Your efforts on yourselves recoil;
Then Glory still for me you raise,
Yours is the Censure, mine the Praise.
EgoFeeder May 2013
A death so befuddled could only be foolish;
I've made a deal with the devil and will soon perish
Into his mortem of torture that varies so motley;
As I end this show - I drift from a faceless pageantry

Linear and trivial has this question period been;
And now I'm seeing the chariot of the poets serene
It's majesty of profundity and his youthful command
A boy-ish preface to his ceaseless alluding brand;

Of starved affection expressed through the bards lute
As the actor of fate - I'll hang over the mandrake root
A skeletal descendence into the earths pigment;
With no curious exhumers to defile or prevent

Asmodeus and I - As we share our laughable fears;
Appraisal from the creator of what I hold dear
Willingly abiding his whims and demented court;
As the next generation that twists and contorts

The extremes of thought into something strange;
Removing all pride from what shouldn't change
If it seems so be working then why fix it?
A hypocritical cliche lost in the Sanskrit!

There's nothing one can say that hasn't been said;
In this replicated existence recycled from the dead
Societal fornication leaves naught but a sour mind;
Obsessed with the golden rays that present us as kind

Laborious and ridden with worry over wealthy trouble;
Caught up in normality our purpose left in rubble
Conceiving the end of life as something of a curse
Cowering at the sight of the imminent black hearse

How can all these people fear the only thing certain?
Dreading the day they witness the closing curtain
Or have I just thrown away my use for living;
And Gifted all the words that prove costly for giving?

Or perhaps we've so much to tell with no one to receive?
what's the point anyway? Just to preach and deceive;
Ignorant and narrow- we're all just avoidant invertists
With the sole reputation as simple egotists

Regret takes it toll in the oddest form
Just like the queerest smirk I felt so warm
Creaking my limbs until they were hanging loose;
Killing the mechanical switch at the end of a noose

My Prevailing senses fading from light;
And her captivating eyes as my final sight
Clenching my last breath as my only unseen coven;
For I will never perceive this life again..

I awoke inside of a room that i'd knew in a memory;
Where Was I sent? Is this purgatory?
I rose up from my resting place with an agonizing scream;
For I was in my bedroom - It was all a dream....
softcomponent May 2014
Called in sick to work, disappoint the boss, *** of a terrible ***** hangover I framed as the flu.

'I've got the cold-body-shivers and a bucket next to my bed. I'd be no help to you, trust me.' Thankfully, one of the friendlier dishwashers agreed to work the shift in my absence. My hangover eventually plateaued into one of those fried-brain poetic calms, where you're pretty sure that terrible habit of yours shaved a few minutes or days from your life, and yet you're in some sort of involuntary (yet accepted and mostly secretly-desired) state of meditation and trance with the world. People walking past speak of strange, complex lives, with their own problems, their own triumphs, romances, fears, and aspirations.

Two young college-boys, dashing, laugh with each other at Habit Coffee. My debit card stopped working for some strange reason, with the machine reading 'insufficient funds' as the cause, and yet I managed to check my balance via online application, and I still have a solid $15.86 available so something is clearly wrong. I explain this to the baristas at Habit, and the girl understands my first-world plight, gives me a free cappuccino as a result, and I sit there at the clearest panoramic window overlooking the corners of Yates and Blanshard thankful for the kindness and finish Part One of Kerouac's Desolation Angels (Desolation in Solitude).

*****, echw. I spat at the brink of ***** above my ***** toilet seat, perhaps the more unhealthy fact-of-the-matter is that I somehow managed to keep it down. So it rots away my stomach and eats away at my liver. Disgusting. Although the prior stupor was quite nice.

On my way to the Public Library (where I sit now), some girl with a summer-skirt was unbeknownst of the fact that it had folded somehow at the back and as she ran for the parked 11 (Uvic via Uplands), everyone could see her thonged *** and they all looked back, forth, back, in *****-awkwardity (I included) wondering what was ruder: telling her? or just watching her spring away? I think I heard someone make a quip remark about it, and yet glanced away and forward as to seem unaroused (their partner was with them, holding hands and all, avoiding the lumpy desire and lust that always appears in short bouts during moments like that).

I need some sort of adventure, tasting the potential of existence as I called in sick to work and immediately felt better once the shadow it cast was delivered from the day. I think of Alex and Petter, with their motley crew of savages, riding highway 101 toward San Francisco. Last I heard, they had stopped over in Portland and perhaps had said hello to our friend Tad in the area. I wish I could have gone, felt the road glow in preternatural beauty and ecstatically bongo'd every breath. I haven't felt the true excitement of freedom and travel in so very, very long. Always, the thought of debt and labour. That's the niche I've crawled into for the time being, and I owe a lot to the friends who wait (without hate, without anger) for me to pay them back. I have some sort of shameful asceticism in the way I work now, as if I cannot just up and quit as I may often do, because I'm doing it for the friends who kindly (perhaps, dumbly) propped me up with coin. Even if most of it goes to an insatiably hungry MasterCard Troll living under a bridge of self-immolating sadnesses and post-modernisms, at least my fridge is full of food.

I lost my passport anyways, they would have stopped me at the Peace Arch and turned me back to Canada without exception. That's a modern border for you, there isn't much room for kindness. Just pragmatism.

*****, terrible, clean-cut pragmatism.

That house, at 989 Dunsmuir, the place I call home in the Land of the Shoaling Waters, is exceptionally lonely on days like this, even with Jen there reading her Charles Bukowski and offing a few comments about the gratuitous ******* oft-depicted in the book. I feel trapped, at times, by all those machinations I so deftly opposed as a teenage anarchist. In principle, I still oppose them. Most intensely when they trap me, although the World of Capital has successfully alienated me as a member of the proletariat work-force and somehow twisted my passion into believing that the ways of economy and rat-race are just 'laws of nature.' If this is true, which I believe for pragmatisms sake they are (*****, terrible, clean-cut pragmatism), there really is no such thing as liberty, and what we have called 'liberty' is nothing more than a giant civilised liability within which we are all guilty until proven guiltier. Yes, because I owe it to myself and to the landlord.

I realize, often, the endless love-hate relationship with existence that one calls 'life.' It seems undeniably true that everyone is in this same jam, secretly loving something, and at the same time secretly hating it. The distinction between 'love' and 'hate' quickly becoming redundant when they are found together drinking champagne at the dusty corner-table of the most indescript and ugly bar in the alley of eternal psychology.

My back hurts, my brain
clicks, it's all a little
melancholic; trapped,
finicky, yet calm,
hopeful, excited, and
real. About everything


all

at once.

How can you write like a beatnik in an age of eternal connectivity? Just keep writing messy, weighted passages, whine-and-dine frustration, and cling on to dear life as if it were better in a lottery ticket? Dream of a rucksack revolution, ask yourself how you're not brave enough to be a Dharma ***? Would you not question your motives in rebellion, keep yourself at arms-length for sake of self-hatred, and posture yourself on the sidewalk insisting it's not pretentious?

Ah, all the vagueness and all the creeps, all the I-guess-I'm-happy's and all the success stories mingling with each other on this planet-rock. Some sort of hybrid productivity asking to be heard. Writing about liberty and livers, both accepted as ok and yet all take a beating in the face of silence and revolt. There's a science to all this, no? Some sort of belief in mandalas and star-signs, opening portals to Lemuria to take a weight right off your shoulders. I am Atlantis, and I am sinking.

A cigarette doesn't care, and neither do I. Addicted to a moribund desire to live. To really live! Not just add a few more moments to longevity by swallowing a carrot twice a day. Not just brushing my teeth twice between sunrise and sunset to avoid halitosis. Not just sitting and waiting for language to speak on my behalf.

Be-half, be-whole. Be-yonder, lose yourself. Be-yonder, and travel. Be-yonder, and forgive. Be-yonder, and don't forget. Store those memories and add them to your landscape, next time you drop acid, run amok through those stairwells and fields, re-introduce yourself to your life and remember the every's forever. Become highschool you again, where you'd sit on your mothers porch June mornings on your third cup of coffee, writing a poem with the drive of existential freedom unpresented with fears of rent or labour. You want fast-food? *** the change off your poor mum, and meet your old friends down at the local A&W.; These days really don't last forever, and thankfully you were smart enough to avoid working all those years. They will remain the best years of your life for.. perhaps.. your whole life.

Some mornings, you would wake up late on a Pro-D day, sipping a fourth cup of joe and watching the Antique Road Show on CBC because it's the only half-interesting thing playing on a late Tuesday afternoon. Your mothers couch was leather at the time, placed closest to the deck window with some sort of ferny-plant right next to it making peace with the forest. You would get lonely at times, and it wasn't until you graduated that you noticed how beautiful those 4 high-lined stick-trees standing in the desolate firth as the last remaining survivors of a clear-cutting operation really were, the way they softly bent in the wind, some sort of anchor whether rain or shine. Your mother would be at work, your brother would be out, or at dads, or upstairs, and for half-hours at a time you would stare at those trees, warped slightly through the lens of your houses very old glass. To you, it seemed, the world could be meaningless, and these trees would go as a happy reminder of how calm and archaic and beautiful this meaninglessness was. Watching them always quenched a blurry hunger in the soul. Something happy this way came. Something tricky and simple.

I could never really reach myself back in those days. Not anymore, anyways. That old me no longer had a phone, had tossed it in a creek in a fit of idealistic rage. That old me was living in a tent somewhere, squatting on private property and working at a bakery north of his old town. He still worked there, last I heard. Every summer evening, he went swimming in the ocean, wafting along on his back to think and pray. He was a Buddhist if I ever met one, reading the Diamond Sutra and the Upanishads, cracking the ice of belief with Alan Watts's 'Cloud Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown,' and preaching to his friends in cyclic arguments to prove the fundamental futility of theory. He's the kinda guy to shock you off your feet and make you wonder. Really wonder. Whoever he's become is on the road to wisdom. Whoever he thinks he is has never mattered. He's just waiting on the world to change.

Fancy.

Above me, the patterned cascade of skylight-window in the library courtyard hints at sunset coming. I contemplate the warmth and company of Tom's house a moment and wonder if he'd like me over. I think again of Petter and Alex way down there in Cali-forn-ya. A holy pilgrimage to Big Sur, and I still wonder where my passport is. If hunger and destitution weren't a block to intention, I'd be everywhere at once right now. I'd watch this very sunset from the top of Mount Baker, and yet be singing along to the Rolling Stones with Petter at my side. The Irish country would be rolling by again, and I would wonder where I am. The happy patch-work of County Cork would invite me to the Ring of Kerry where I would wait and sip a cappuccino, pouring over maps of Ireland in hopes of finding my hostel, as I'm sure I booked online.

The warm-red stonework of Whitstable village in Kent comes to mind. I think of Auntie Marcia and Uncle Bob, soaking up the sunlight with their solar panels and selling it back to the grid. I think of Powell River and its wilder-middle-ness, the parade of endless trees stretching east out unto Calgary. I think of every public washroom I have ever defecated in, and wonder how noisy or silent they might be right now. I think of Sooke, and its sticks. I think of Salt Spring Island and my first collapse into adulthood. I think of work, and how I haven't missed a dime I've spent.

I think of wine in an Irish bar, that night I was in the homely town of Bantry, with its rainbow homes and ancient churches, reading my 'Pocket History of Ireland' in disbelief at how far I'd made it on my own when that strange old fellow Eugene came up to me and struck up a conversation on world events. He tried to sell me vitamin supplements, toting it all as a saviour. I wrote him this poem a day later, a year ago, and think of him now:

49 years old, names Eugene.

We talk politics like a plane
doing laps over planet ours,
North Korea threatens bursts
of lightening and Irish businessman
defaults on debts to UlsterBank in
the mighty Americas. He tells
me to guess his age and to be
nice I take a medium sum of
35 (white lies). He tells me
why he looks so young at
49 and tries to sell me a healthy
soul as if he were an angel of loves-
yerself or a devil
of capitalism pecking at
exposed heels. Tells me
he used to be drawl, pizza-
faced, suicidal before
production loved a spiritual
lung. Tell me what! Tell me
WHAT!
When life gives you lemons,
hug the lemon tree. Seems
the angels have sold out and
they're nice enough.



He really was a nice guy.
excerpt- 'the mystic hat of esquimalt'
Fifty years ago this week
Sgt. Pepper he began to speak
Hidden deep just like a motley fool
Inside four boys from Liverpool

It took four lads as inspiration
to bring hope to a crying nation
After November's assassination
They grabbed us...we held on

John, Paul, George and Ringo
on Ed's Sunday Show
We sat back and watched them go
They grabbed us...we held on

They came and held the hand
Of a still in mourning land
A little skiffle band
They grabbed us...we held on

We were brought back from the dark side
We were on a rock and roll ride
With four young lads from Mersey Side
They grabbed us...we held on

They grabbed our hearts and souls
They expanded musics goals
They all had different roles
they grabbed us...we held on

In times...things were changing
The band was re-arranging
No more tours were staging
They grabbed us...we held on

Soon, they all went on their way
McCartney sang "Another Day"
John, he had a lot to say
George and Ringo...just played on

John was shot at decades start
It shocked the world and broke apart
Those who held him in our heart
The Beatles were no more

George died too, all things must pass
He always had a silent class
The parts aren't greater than the mass
The Beatles were no more

Is there anyone out in the land
Who will come and take us by the hand
I hope that you will understand
They grabbed us...we held on
Burning, he walks in the stream of flickering letters, clarinets,
machines throbbing quicker than the heart, lopped-off heads, silk
canvases, and he stops under the sky

and raises toward it his joined clenched fists.

Believers fall on their bellies, they suppose it is a monstrance that
shines,

but those are knuckles, sharp knuckles shine that way, my friends.

He cuts the glowing, yellow buildings in two, breaks the walls into
motley halves;
pensive, he looks at the honey seeping from those huge honeycombs:
throbs of pianos, children's cries, the thud of a head banging against
the floor.
This is the only landscape able to make him feel.

He wonders at his brother's skull shaped like an egg,
every day he shoves back his black hair from his brow,
then one day he plants a big load of dynamite
and is surprised that afterward everything spouts up in the explosion.
Agape, he observes the clouds and what is hanging in them:
globes, penal codes, dead cats floating on their backs, locomotives.
They turn in the skeins of white clouds like trash in a puddle.
While below on the earth a banner, the color of a romantic rose,
flutters,
and a long row of military trains crawls on the ****-covered tracks.
Deepsha Jul 2012
He burnt away my eyes,
he said it would make it much easier,
to beg, so I traded it for fear.

I was a little above five, wandering,
on streets a motley of black,
may be not, but my eyes couldn't distinguish the lack.

People would throw coins into my glass,
burnt eyes led to anticipated pitying,
towards the miniaturised cauldron of the dire I lived in.

I went to my master’s garage during my perceived evenings,
my hands felt the swerves of cars and formed shapes in my mind,
and before I departed, I would leave my glass behind.

Blitzed, he would hit me at times I didn’t collect enough,
I wouldn’t run away, the known seemed less horryifying,
than to trip against invisible, in the trying.

I survived each day, stayed thankful for life,
unfair as it may seem, my other senses were in poise,
and I learnt to see through reflections of noise.

He took away my eyes, my dreams stayed invincible,
so I left into a world, incognito,
my master waited for me that night, never to discover though.

I couldn’t steal, so I continued to beg,
I hitchhiked to stores, for a loaf of bread,
but God resolved to bless me with a stranger, instead.

He put me to work, for food and shelter,
little did I know my pay was in kind,
the kind was love, against everything left behind.

Sometimes he read to me, stories with happy endings,
he bid me goodnight before he would move on,
a word I recently learnt, to not be an oxymoron.

He taught me to read in braille,
being blind is no excuse he adjudged to me,
he couldn’t return my sight, so a vision he gave me.

Every night I cried myself to sleep,
for the choking in my throat helped me to believe,
believe in my angel disguised, so I cried myself to sleep.

He gave me fortitude against the vice,
he gave me words, and the power it imbibed,
and he taught me to live, when I just survived.
Ormond Mar 2015
In straps, of wire saplings,
Becomes one wild rose.
Alone in the dawn,
A solitary crow knows
That this is beauty,
Greater than his own
Shiny black robe.
Impossibly regal
Red as a scarlet wail,
A siren, amongst all
The greens and yellows
Of a meadow, of the entire
World, is the rose, above those,
Especially the bleak, envious
Crow, latched to a branch
As scaly and gnarled as his soul,
Blacker than eternal night,
Beside the shining light
Of the rightly charmed
Wild rose,
Alone.
             Sorry is the crow—
Most of all unmatched, strikingly
To long flame of chalk faced moon,
Rides in airs, misbegotten, makes
Desolate cries, of wounding caws,
Self inflicted, so, somehow seems
Unalive, tarred, undead as smoke,
His fettered, black, unfeathering
Eyes.  Not like the blooming spark
And flash of the stunning, runner,
Unbeaten, indomidible, shocking,
Wild rose, unmired by bramble,
Wood nor motley thorn of bush,
A star of life, razor cut, blistering,
Free, this spirited, ****** heart,
Set, a rage, on jagged leaf.

In tangled straps of green wire saplings,
A Rose is even more a rose, next to crow.
Ormond May 2017
.
In straps, of wire saplings,
Becomes one wild rose.
Alone in the dawn,
A solitary crow knows
That this is beauty,
Greater than his own
Shiny black robe.
Impossibly regal
Red as a scarlet wail,
A siren, amongst all
The greens and yellows
Of a meadow, of the entire
World, is the rose, above those,
Especially the bleak, envious
Crow, latched to a branch
As scaly and gnarled as his soul,
Blacker than eternal night,
Beside the shining light
Of the rightly charmed
Wild rose,
Alone.
             Sorry is the crow—
Most of all unmatched, strikingly
To long flame of chalk faced moon,
Rides in airs, misbegotten, makes
Desolate cries, of wounding caws,
Self inflicted, so, somehow seems
Unalive, tarred, undead as smoke,
His fettered, black, unfeathering
Eyes.  Not like the blooming spark
And flash of the stunning, runner,
Unbeaten, indomidible, shocking,
Wild rose, unmired by bramble,
Wood nor motley thorn of bush,
A star of life, razor cut, blistering,
Free, this spirited, ****** heart,
Set, a rage, on jagged leaf.

In tangled straps of green wire saplings,
A Rose is even more a rose, next to crow.
Third Eye Candy Feb 2013
Heathens -
in heaven's lobby
flock
to barter
for Magic 'Shrooms
with pop rocks... and pancakes
and leaf-green brownies.
new to the scene;
the Son of Man
holds a motley court,
then wanders off
to fetch Picasso - Lassoed
from his cups, his Love that must Love
his genius... doubtless,
cloud-scrawling
huge pendulous *******
in Elysium; for no one at all.
better Pablo
should tend bars      that set mobs free
than one god's toddler, with long odds
against Bacchus - should ever
small-talk-speak
to the godless
or worse...
preach.

" Better Sins to love.. " The Spaniard once taught...
A Lover's Urge is born in forms of weakness.... adorned in all Might -
bathed in blessed contradiction,
a Lingam for a Yoni's dream of stiff drinks
and pliable men, with strong arms.
a blue fiction  on Calvary -
nailed to the softest
cross.

Between thieves,
an honor, double
parked

with bucket seats brimming with moonlight,
and her knickers
tossed.

Picasso asks for absinthe
to be sent
post haste
and polished off -
by all
his better angels he had guillotined
with dull snails,
and fallen  
harps

ones -  he stole,  to de-tune
a flat fifth of Cuttysark
for a deaf
****,  [but no mute ]
a portrait, ****
and is soon
bought...

lust
sleeps then -
with both Eyes;  
Locked on
One of
God's.

like a deer
in a Head-light's
Gospel...
now, a Minotaur on the
Autobahn -
stalking
it.


II

Heathens
in heaven's lobby
recite ' Howl '
as Ginsberg, walks over hot coals
and spicy psalms; glowing wanton
in white grass; with a very
cherry ****.
And a wise throng, cobbles...
****** -
they rob
Peter of his  toga,
leaving nothing wrong.
but no less ' On '
they laugh hard;  and wake the dead
asking  them for new songs
to set    their false alarms
in lofty Tic' Tocks  
of Eternity's
clock.
Bible on a snooze bar
for at least that long
or  someone
knocks.

As if  "Hello."  
Spoke the Whole World into Being -
And " Goodbye."
misspoke, and
trailed
off...

— The End —