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CK Baker Jul 2018
through the streets and column cracks
culture weaves and summer smacks
sacred figures, holy shrine
monastery in grand design

cathedrals, convents, heaven’s stars
god of neptune, god of mars
doge’s palace, alley ways
gondolier on full display

winged lions on pastel breeze
cicada singing from the trees
pillar walk of saint mark's square
basilica in all its flare

crosses shade the carousel
a bridge of sigh that leads to hell
golden stairs on placid ridge
arches of rialto bridge

torcello! murano! grigio!
the countess rides the river poe!
sins of seven, fiery hides
poplars bank the levee side

black plague, attila the ***
eden formed before the sun
paradise above the marsh
high alter, gothic arch

middle age, religious wars
celestial fountains, marble floors
sculpted peacock, catholic faith
all is true the great god saith
Out here there are no hearthstones,
Hot grains, simply.  It is dry, dry.
And the air dangerous.  Noonday acts queerly
On the mind's eye erecting a line
Of poplars in the middle distance, the only
Object beside the mad, straight road
One can remember men and houses by.
A cool wind should inhabit these leaves
And a dew collect on them, dearer than money,
In the blue hour before sunup.
Yet they recede, untouchable as tomorrow,
Or those glittery fictions of spilt water
That glide ahead of the very thirsty.

I think of the lizards airing their tongues
In the crevice of an extremely small shadow
And the toad guarding his heart's droplet.
The desert is white as a blind man's eye,
Comfortless as salt.  Snake and bird
Doze behind the old maskss of fury.
We swelter like firedogs in the wind.
The sun puts its cinder out.  Where we lie
The heat-cracked crickets congregate
In their black armorplate and cry.
The day-moon lights up like a sorry mother,
And the crickets come creeping into our hair
To fiddle the short night away.
Juhlhaus Mar 2019
From where the bridge was, after the first plunge
Soothed the sunburnt skin and the hay-splinters
Loosed the straw stuck in ears
After I left you under the porch light
I stood alone on the other side of the night
Where poplars reached for the moon and stars
And the cows chewed on bits of memory from when
In the cobwebs and calf pens
They were brought to life by your gentle hands

You crossed two worlds to find me in the darkness
But I was not the one you were searching for
You prayed for miracles while
God stood by, arms crossed
Taking in the sunset and the clouds
Like an old tree beside a grave carefully fenced
To keep it disheveled amid tended fields
Thus the cancer had its way and I could not
Fill the void left in your heart or mine

With no more tears to soften dry leather
I put both our hearts on skewers and held them
Over the bridge's burning planks
Too close and they were immolated
Not carefully spun to stay golden and warm inside
So I packed my hollow heart full of nothing
Filled the passenger seat, until
There was only room for me and the steering wheel
And no way to turn
Valsa George Dec 2016
Come on my Love! Let us move to the East
Where the sun resurrects after his interim death
Where darkness first gives way to light
And life renews itself every morn

Look to the East beyond those crooked hills
Where poplars grow tall in line
And wild weeds hem the edges of pathways
Where bunnies and squirrels hop and jump
And merrily run round the trees
Where the wind moves whistling through bamboo reeds
Where the laughing cataract leaps down from the rocks
And flow along in silvery rills
Where the languorous breeze plays upon the leaves

Away from the tumult, far from the crazy crowd
With the pandemonium of the world
Hushed to serene silence
Let us move to that sequestered glade
Of perennial greenery,
through the sunlit grove
Where we shall walk hands locked
Till the bright day gives way to dusky night
Inhaling night air in scented perfume
Under the stillness of a star lit sky
Through moon blanched woods, mysterious
Listening to the sweet whispering of our soul
And ‘drinking life to the lees’ from the chalice of love

Oh! Come on,
Let us not tarry…. Let’s go!
There is a bird in the poplars!
It is the sun!
The leaves are little yellow fish
swimming in the river.
The bird skims above them,
day is on his wings.
Phoebus!
It is he that is making
the great gleam among the poplars!
It is his singing
outshines the noise
of leaves clashing in the wind.
There is a bird in the poplars!
It is the sun!
The leaves are little yellow fish
swimming in the river.
The bird skims above them,
day is on his wings.
Phoebus!
It is he that is making
the great gleam among the poplars!
It is his singing
outshines the noise
of leaves clashing in the wind.
It is full winter now:  the trees are bare,
Save where the cattle huddle from the cold
Beneath the pine, for it doth never wear
The autumn’s gaudy livery whose gold
Her jealous brother pilfers, but is true
To the green doublet; bitter is the wind, as though it blew

From Saturn’s cave; a few thin wisps of hay
Lie on the sharp black hedges, where the wain
Dragged the sweet pillage of a summer’s day
From the low meadows up the narrow lane;
Upon the half-thawed snow the bleating sheep
Press close against the hurdles, and the shivering house-dogs creep

From the shut stable to the frozen stream
And back again disconsolate, and miss
The bawling shepherds and the noisy team;
And overhead in circling listlessness
The cawing rooks whirl round the frosted stack,
Or crowd the dripping boughs; and in the fen the ice-pools crack

Where the gaunt bittern stalks among the reeds
And ***** his wings, and stretches back his neck,
And hoots to see the moon; across the meads
Limps the poor frightened hare, a little speck;
And a stray seamew with its fretful cry
Flits like a sudden drift of snow against the dull grey sky.

Full winter:  and the ***** goodman brings
His load of ******* from the chilly byre,
And stamps his feet upon the hearth, and flings
The sappy billets on the waning fire,
And laughs to see the sudden lightening scare
His children at their play, and yet,—the spring is in the air;

Already the slim crocus stirs the snow,
And soon yon blanched fields will bloom again
With nodding cowslips for some lad to mow,
For with the first warm kisses of the rain
The winter’s icy sorrow breaks to tears,
And the brown thrushes mate, and with bright eyes the rabbit peers

From the dark warren where the fir-cones lie,
And treads one snowdrop under foot, and runs
Over the mossy knoll, and blackbirds fly
Across our path at evening, and the suns
Stay longer with us; ah! how good to see
Grass-girdled spring in all her joy of laughing greenery

Dance through the hedges till the early rose,
(That sweet repentance of the thorny briar!)
Burst from its sheathed emerald and disclose
The little quivering disk of golden fire
Which the bees know so well, for with it come
Pale boy’s-love, sops-in-wine, and daffadillies all in bloom.

Then up and down the field the sower goes,
While close behind the laughing younker scares
With shrilly whoop the black and thievish crows,
And then the chestnut-tree its glory wears,
And on the grass the creamy blossom falls
In odorous excess, and faint half-whispered madrigals

Steal from the bluebells’ nodding carillons
Each breezy morn, and then white jessamine,
That star of its own heaven, snap-dragons
With lolling crimson tongues, and eglantine
In dusty velvets clad usurp the bed
And woodland empery, and when the lingering rose hath shed

Red leaf by leaf its folded panoply,
And pansies closed their purple-lidded eyes,
Chrysanthemums from gilded argosy
Unload their gaudy scentless merchandise,
And violets getting overbold withdraw
From their shy nooks, and scarlet berries dot the leafless haw.

O happy field! and O thrice happy tree!
Soon will your queen in daisy-flowered smock
And crown of flower-de-luce trip down the lea,
Soon will the lazy shepherds drive their flock
Back to the pasture by the pool, and soon
Through the green leaves will float the hum of murmuring bees at noon.

Soon will the glade be bright with bellamour,
The flower which wantons love, and those sweet nuns
Vale-lilies in their snowy vestiture
Will tell their beaded pearls, and carnations
With mitred dusky leaves will scent the wind,
And straggling traveller’s-joy each hedge with yellow stars will bind.

Dear bride of Nature and most bounteous spring,
That canst give increase to the sweet-breath’d kine,
And to the kid its little horns, and bring
The soft and silky blossoms to the vine,
Where is that old nepenthe which of yore
Man got from poppy root and glossy-berried mandragore!

There was a time when any common bird
Could make me sing in unison, a time
When all the strings of boyish life were stirred
To quick response or more melodious rhyme
By every forest idyll;—do I change?
Or rather doth some evil thing through thy fair pleasaunce range?

Nay, nay, thou art the same:  ’tis I who seek
To vex with sighs thy simple solitude,
And because fruitless tears bedew my cheek
Would have thee weep with me in brotherhood;
Fool! shall each wronged and restless spirit dare
To taint such wine with the salt poison of own despair!

Thou art the same:  ’tis I whose wretched soul
Takes discontent to be its paramour,
And gives its kingdom to the rude control
Of what should be its servitor,—for sure
Wisdom is somewhere, though the stormy sea
Contain it not, and the huge deep answer ‘’Tis not in me.’

To burn with one clear flame, to stand *****
In natural honour, not to bend the knee
In profitless prostrations whose effect
Is by itself condemned, what alchemy
Can teach me this? what herb Medea brewed
Will bring the unexultant peace of essence not subdued?

The minor chord which ends the harmony,
And for its answering brother waits in vain
Sobbing for incompleted melody,
Dies a swan’s death; but I the heir of pain,
A silent Memnon with blank lidless eyes,
Wait for the light and music of those suns which never rise.

The quenched-out torch, the lonely cypress-gloom,
The little dust stored in the narrow urn,
The gentle XAIPE of the Attic tomb,—
Were not these better far than to return
To my old fitful restless malady,
Or spend my days within the voiceless cave of misery?

Nay! for perchance that poppy-crowned god
Is like the watcher by a sick man’s bed
Who talks of sleep but gives it not; his rod
Hath lost its virtue, and, when all is said,
Death is too rude, too obvious a key
To solve one single secret in a life’s philosophy.

And Love! that noble madness, whose august
And inextinguishable might can slay
The soul with honeyed drugs,—alas! I must
From such sweet ruin play the runaway,
Although too constant memory never can
Forget the arched splendour of those brows Olympian

Which for a little season made my youth
So soft a swoon of exquisite indolence
That all the chiding of more prudent Truth
Seemed the thin voice of jealousy,—O hence
Thou huntress deadlier than Artemis!
Go seek some other quarry! for of thy too perilous bliss.

My lips have drunk enough,—no more, no more,—
Though Love himself should turn his gilded prow
Back to the troubled waters of this shore
Where I am wrecked and stranded, even now
The chariot wheels of passion sweep too near,
Hence!  Hence!  I pass unto a life more barren, more austere.

More barren—ay, those arms will never lean
Down through the trellised vines and draw my soul
In sweet reluctance through the tangled green;
Some other head must wear that aureole,
For I am hers who loves not any man
Whose white and stainless ***** bears the sign Gorgonian.

Let Venus go and chuck her dainty page,
And kiss his mouth, and toss his curly hair,
With net and spear and hunting equipage
Let young Adonis to his tryst repair,
But me her fond and subtle-fashioned spell
Delights no more, though I could win her dearest citadel.

Ay, though I were that laughing shepherd boy
Who from Mount Ida saw the little cloud
Pass over Tenedos and lofty Troy
And knew the coming of the Queen, and bowed
In wonder at her feet, not for the sake
Of a new Helen would I bid her hand the apple take.

Then rise supreme Athena argent-limbed!
And, if my lips be musicless, inspire
At least my life:  was not thy glory hymned
By One who gave to thee his sword and lyre
Like AEschylos at well-fought Marathon,
And died to show that Milton’s England still could bear a son!

And yet I cannot tread the Portico
And live without desire, fear and pain,
Or nurture that wise calm which long ago
The grave Athenian master taught to men,
Self-poised, self-centred, and self-comforted,
To watch the world’s vain phantasies go by with unbowed head.

Alas! that serene brow, those eloquent lips,
Those eyes that mirrored all eternity,
Rest in their own Colonos, an eclipse
Hath come on Wisdom, and Mnemosyne
Is childless; in the night which she had made
For lofty secure flight Athena’s owl itself hath strayed.

Nor much with Science do I care to climb,
Although by strange and subtle witchery
She drew the moon from heaven:  the Muse Time
Unrolls her gorgeous-coloured tapestry
To no less eager eyes; often indeed
In the great epic of Polymnia’s scroll I love to read

How Asia sent her myriad hosts to war
Against a little town, and panoplied
In gilded mail with jewelled scimitar,
White-shielded, purple-crested, rode the Mede
Between the waving poplars and the sea
Which men call Artemisium, till he saw Thermopylae

Its steep ravine spanned by a narrow wall,
And on the nearer side a little brood
Of careless lions holding festival!
And stood amazed at such hardihood,
And pitched his tent upon the reedy shore,
And stayed two days to wonder, and then crept at midnight o’er

Some unfrequented height, and coming down
The autumn forests treacherously slew
What Sparta held most dear and was the crown
Of far Eurotas, and passed on, nor knew
How God had staked an evil net for him
In the small bay at Salamis,—and yet, the page grows dim,

Its cadenced Greek delights me not, I feel
With such a goodly time too out of tune
To love it much:  for like the Dial’s wheel
That from its blinded darkness strikes the noon
Yet never sees the sun, so do my eyes
Restlessly follow that which from my cheated vision flies.

O for one grand unselfish simple life
To teach us what is Wisdom! speak ye hills
Of lone Helvellyn, for this note of strife
Shunned your untroubled crags and crystal rills,
Where is that Spirit which living blamelessly
Yet dared to kiss the smitten mouth of his own century!

Speak ye Rydalian laurels! where is he
Whose gentle head ye sheltered, that pure soul
Whose gracious days of uncrowned majesty
Through lowliest conduct touched the lofty goal
Where love and duty mingle!  Him at least
The most high Laws were glad of, he had sat at Wisdom’s feast;

But we are Learning’s changelings, know by rote
The clarion watchword of each Grecian school
And follow none, the flawless sword which smote
The pagan Hydra is an effete tool
Which we ourselves have blunted, what man now
Shall scale the august ancient heights and to old Reverence bow?

One such indeed I saw, but, Ichabod!
Gone is that last dear son of Italy,
Who being man died for the sake of God,
And whose unrisen bones sleep peacefully,
O guard him, guard him well, my Giotto’s tower,
Thou marble lily of the lily town! let not the lour

Of the rude tempest vex his slumber, or
The Arno with its tawny troubled gold
O’er-leap its marge, no mightier conqueror
Clomb the high Capitol in the days of old
When Rome was indeed Rome, for Liberty
Walked like a bride beside him, at which sight pale Mystery

Fled shrieking to her farthest sombrest cell
With an old man who grabbled rusty keys,
Fled shuddering, for that immemorial knell
With which oblivion buries dynasties
Swept like a wounded eagle on the blast,
As to the holy heart of Rome the great triumvir passed.

He knew the holiest heart and heights of Rome,
He drave the base wolf from the lion’s lair,
And now lies dead by that empyreal dome
Which overtops Valdarno hung in air
By Brunelleschi—O Melpomene
Breathe through thy melancholy pipe thy sweetest threnody!

Breathe through the tragic stops such melodies
That Joy’s self may grow jealous, and the Nine
Forget awhile their discreet emperies,
Mourning for him who on Rome’s lordliest shrine
Lit for men’s lives the light of Marathon,
And bare to sun-forgotten fields the fire of the sun!

O guard him, guard him well, my Giotto’s tower!
Let some young Florentine each eventide
Bring coronals of that enchanted flower
Which the dim woods of Vallombrosa hide,
And deck the marble tomb wherein he lies
Whose soul is as some mighty orb unseen of mortal eyes;

Some mighty orb whose cycled wanderings,
Being tempest-driven to the farthest rim
Where Chaos meets Creation and the wings
Of the eternal chanting Cherubim
Are pavilioned on Nothing, passed away
Into a moonless void,—and yet, though he is dust and clay,

He is not dead, the immemorial Fates
Forbid it, and the closing shears refrain.
Lift up your heads ye everlasting gates!
Ye argent clarions, sound a loftier strain
For the vile thing he hated lurks within
Its sombre house, alone with God and memories of sin.

Still what avails it that she sought her cave
That murderous mother of red harlotries?
At Munich on the marble architrave
The Grecian boys die smiling, but the seas
Which wash AEgina fret in loneliness
Not mirroring their beauty; so our lives grow colourless

For lack of our ideals, if one star
Flame torch-like in the heavens the unjust
Swift daylight kills it, and no trump of war
Can wake to passionate voice the silent dust
Which was Mazzini once! rich Niobe
For all her stony sorrows hath her sons; but Italy,

What Easter Day shall make her children rise,
Who were not Gods yet suffered? what sure feet
Shall find their grave-clothes folded? what clear eyes
Shall see them ******?  O it were meet
To roll the stone from off the sepulchre
And kiss the bleeding roses of their wounds, in love of her,

Our Italy! our mother visible!
Most blessed among nations and most sad,
For whose dear sake the young Calabrian fell
That day at Aspromonte and was glad
That in an age when God was bought and sold
One man could die for Liberty! but we, burnt out and cold,

See Honour smitten on the cheek and gyves
Bind the sweet feet of Mercy:  Poverty
Creeps through our sunless lanes and with sharp knives
Cuts the warm throats of children stealthily,
And no word said:- O we are wretched men
Unworthy of our great inheritance! where is the pen

Of austere Milton? where the mighty sword
Which slew its master righteously? the years
Have lost their ancient leader, and no word
Breaks from the voiceless tripod on our ears:
While as a ruined mother in some spasm
Bears a base child and loathes it, so our best enthusiasm

Genders unlawful children, Anarchy
Freedom’s own Judas, the vile prodigal
Licence who steals the gold of Liberty
And yet has nothing, Ignorance the real
One Fraticide since Cain, Envy the asp
That stings itself to anguish, Avarice whose palsied grasp

Is in its extent stiffened, moneyed Greed
For whose dull appetite men waste away
Amid the whirr of wheels and are the seed
Of things which slay their sower, these each day
Sees rife in England, and the gentle feet
Of Beauty tread no more the stones of each unlovely street.

What even Cromwell spared is desecrated
By **** and worm, left to the stormy play
Of wind and beating snow, or renovated
By more destructful hands:  Time’s worst decay
Will wreathe its ruins with some loveliness,
But these new Vandals can but make a rain-proof barrenness.

Where is that Art which bade the Angels sing
Through Lincoln’s lofty choir, till the air
Seems from such marble harmonies to ring
With sweeter song than common lips can dare
To draw from actual reed? ah! where is now
The cunning hand which made the flowering hawthorn branches bow

For Southwell’s arch, and carved the House of One
Who loved the lilies of the field with all
Our dearest English flowers? the same sun
Rises for us:  the seasons natural
Weave the same tapestry of green and grey:
The unchanged hills are with us:  but that Spirit hath passed away.

And yet perchance it may be better so,
For Tyranny is an incestuous Queen,
****** her brother is her bedfellow,
And the Plague chambers with her:  in obscene
And ****** paths her treacherous feet are set;
Better the empty desert and a soul inviolate!

For gentle brotherhood, the harmony
Of living in the healthful air, the swift
Clean beauty of strong limbs when men are free
And women chaste, these are the things which lift
Our souls up more than even Agnolo’s
Gaunt blinded Sibyl poring o’er the scroll of human woes,

Or Titian’s little maiden on the stair
White as her own sweet lily and as tall,
Or Mona Lisa smiling through her hair,—
Ah! somehow life is bigger after all
Than any painted angel, could we see
The God that is within us!  The old Greek serenity

Which curbs the passion of that
'The storm is in the air,' she said, and held
Her soft palm to the breeze; and looking up,
Swift sunbeams brush'd the crystal of her eyes,
As swallows leave the skies to skim the brown,
Bright woodland lakes. 'The rain is in the air.
'O Prophet Wind, what hast thou told the rose,
'That suddenly she loosens her red heart,
'And sends long, perfum'd sighs about the place?
'O Prophet Wind, what hast thou told the Swift,
'That from the airy eave, she, shadow-grey,
'Smites the blue pond, and speeds her glancing wing
'Close to the daffodils? What hast thou told small bells,
'And tender buds, that--all unlike the rose--
'They draw green leaves close, close about their *******
'And shrink to sudden slumber? The sycamores
'In ev'ry leaf are eloquent with thee;
'The poplars busy all their silver tongues
'With answ'ring thee, and the round chestnut stirs
'Vastly but softly, at thy prophecies.
'The vines grow dusky with a deeper green--
'And with their tendrils ****** thy passing harp,
'And keep it by brief seconds in their leaves.
'O Prophet Wind, thou tellest of the rain,
'While, jacinth blue, the broad sky folds calm palms,
'Unwitting of all storm, high o'er the land!
'The little grasses and the ruddy heath
'Know of the coming rain; but towards the sun
'The eagle lifts his eyes, and with his wings
'Beats on a sunlight that is never marr'd
'By cloud or mist, shrieks his fierce joy to air
'Ne'er stir'd by stormy pulse.'
'The eagle mine,' I said: 'O I would ride
'His wings like Ganymede, nor ever care
'To drop upon the stormy earth again,--
'But circle star-ward, narrowing my gyres,
'To some great planet of eternal peace.'.
'Nay,' said my wise, young love, 'the eagle falls
'Back to his cliff, swift as a thunder-bolt;
'For there his mate and naked eaglets dwell,
'And there he rends the dove, and joys in all
'The fierce delights of his tempestuous home.
'And tho' the stormy Earth throbs thro' her poles--
'With tempests rocks upon her circling path--
'And bleak, black clouds ****** at her purple hills--
'While mate and eaglets shriek upon the rock--
'The eagle leaves the hylas to its calm,
'Beats the wild storm apart that rings the earth,
'And seeks his eyrie on the wind-dash'd cliff.
'O Prophet Wind! close, close the storm and rain!'

Long sway'd the grasses like a rolling wave
Above an undertow--the mastiff cried;
Low swept the poplars, groaning in their hearts;
And iron-footed stood the gnarl'd oaks,
And brac'd their woody thews against the storm.
Lash'd from the pond, the iv'ry cygnets sought
The carven steps that plung'd into the pool;
The peacocks scream'd and dragg'd forgotten plumes.
On the sheer turf--all shadows subtly died,
In one large shadow sweeping o'er the land;
Bright windows in the ivy blush'd no more;
The ripe, red walls grew pale--the tall vane dim;
Like a swift off'ring to an angry God,
O'erweighted vines shook plum and apricot,
From trembling trellis, and the rose trees pour'd
A red libation of sweet, ripen'd leaves,
On the trim walks. To the high dove-cote set
A stream of silver wings and violet *******,
The hawk-like storm swooping on their track.
'Go,' said my love, 'the storm would whirl me off
'As thistle-down. I'll shelter here--but you--
'You love no storms!' 'Where thou art,' I said,
'Is all the calm I know--wert thou enthron'd
'On the pivot of the winds--or in the maelstrom,
'Thou holdest in thy hand my palm of peace;
'And, like the eagle, I would break the belts
'Of shouting tempests to return to thee,
'Were I above the storm on broad wings.
'Yet no she-eagle thou! a small, white, lily girl
'I clasp and lift and carry from the rain,
'Across the windy lawn.'
With this I wove
Her floating lace about her floating hair,
And crush'd her snowy raiment to my breast,
And while she thought of frowns, but smil'd instead,
And wrote her heart in crimson on her cheeks,
I bounded with her up the breezy slopes,
The storm about us with such airy din,
As of a thousand bugles, that my heart
Took courage in the clamor, and I laid
My lips upon the flow'r of her pink ear,
And said: 'I love thee; give me love again!'
And here she pal'd, love has its dread, and then
She clasp'd its joy and redden'd in its light,
Till all the daffodils I trod were pale
Beside the small flow'r red upon my breast.
And ere the dial on the ***** was pass'd,
Between the last loud bugle of the Wind
And the first silver coinage of the Rain,
Upon my flying hair, there came her kiss,
Gentle and pure upon my face--and thus
Were we betroth'd between the Wind and Rain.
The night is coming.

The moonlight strikes
on evening's anvil.

The night is coming.

A giant tree clothes itself
in the leaves of cantos.

The night is coming.

If you came to see me,
on the path of storm-winds...

The night is coming.

...you would find me crying,
under high, black poplars.
Ay, girl with the dark hair!
Under high, black poplars.
A *remanso* is a still pool in running water, the liquid calm that is not swept on by the flow.
Eve Redwater Jan 2012
How long the day,
Delivering letters to friends,
And cranky, bald dog feeders. Home
Is forward, past those poplars.
Always I’ve been in love with
Their almond scent, just as I catch
Past, dragging feet and who knows
How many heartfelt "Thank-you's".
Home is... where the wife is sitting.
She's not keen on laundry, but,
I’m an exception.
Always are my blue shirts blue,
She likes to make sure. Just in case I meet
With him; that carrion shaker,
Mr. Reaper.
“Hello.” I'd say, and tip my cap,
Along my silent nightly rounds;
Perhaps he'd humour me, if he could
See me. He's searching. For me? No.
That’s not right.
The lamps are thickest
In the dark, and that's just how
he likes it.
Even if I tip-toe, tip-toe, tip-toe around
Him, he'll still turn his hood toward me.
A courteous, creaking greeting.
That chill I get.
Matches only the fear
From losing fingers, as I push envelopes,
Catalogues, and restless dreams
Through many metal slats.
But even I, can't quite see,
When the sky turns milky-grey...
That perching, questioning hand
Placed gently on my shoulder;
Pushing down as I bend my back,
Kicking over milk-bottles, sometimes
accidentally. I shake it off.
Get to bed! I say to myself, mostly
Always, to myself.
Slap on some cream
And
Get to bed.
among the tall slenderness
of poplars framing my view
the poised spire on the home
of the Sisters of the Holy Cross
looks tiny
in its striving heavenward

I do not know
that poplars think of God
   when they grow towards the sun
   and every year bring forth new leaves
   brave storm and droughts
   survive

I do not know if the nuns are much concerned
about their spire’s minor reach
their rules are as clear
   as their evening songs
   floating across the garden
   on moonlit winter evenings
their dedication is to care
   and heal some of the human suffering
   with love and prayer
or with magnetic resonance
   in more contemporary ways

the poplars grow
   and annually sprout new life

the nuns preserve
   the frailty of human bodies
   for after life

* *
Far in a western brookland
That bred me long ago
The poplars stand and tremble
By pools I used to know.

There, in the windless night-time,
The wanderer, marvelling why,
Halts on the bridge to hearken
How soft the poplars sigh.

He hears: no more remembered
In fields where I was known,
Here I lie down in London
And turn to rest alone.

There, by the starlit fences,
The wanderer halts and hears
My soul that lingers sighing
About the glimmering weirs.
And Ulysses answered, “King Alcinous, it is a good thing to hear a
bard with such a divine voice as this man has. There is nothing better
or more delightful than when a whole people make merry together,
with the guests sitting orderly to listen, while the table is loaded
with bread and meats, and the cup-bearer draws wine and fills his
cup for every man. This is indeed as fair a sight as a man can see.
Now, however, since you are inclined to ask the story of my sorrows,
and rekindle my own sad memories in respect of them, I do not know how
to begin, nor yet how to continue and conclude my tale, for the hand
of heaven has been laid heavily upon me.
  “Firstly, then, I will tell you my name that you too may know it,
and one day, if I outlive this time of sorrow, may become my there
guests though I live so far away from all of you. I am Ulysses son
of Laertes, reknowned among mankind for all manner of subtlety, so
that my fame ascends to heaven. I live in Ithaca, where there is a
high mountain called Neritum, covered with forests; and not far from
it there is a group of islands very near to one another—Dulichium,
Same, and the wooded island of Zacynthus. It lies squat on the
horizon, all highest up in the sea towards the sunset, while the
others lie away from it towards dawn. It is a rugged island, but it
breeds brave men, and my eyes know none that they better love to
look upon. The goddess Calypso kept me with her in her cave, and
wanted me to marry her, as did also the cunning Aeaean goddess
Circe; but they could neither of them persuade me, for there is
nothing dearer to a man than his own country and his parents, and
however splendid a home he may have in a foreign country, if it be far
from father or mother, he does not care about it. Now, however, I will
tell you of the many hazardous adventures which by Jove’s will I met
with on my return from Troy.
  “When I had set sail thence the wind took me first to Ismarus, which
is the city of the Cicons. There I sacked the town and put the
people to the sword. We took their wives and also much *****, which we
divided equitably amongst us, so that none might have reason to
complain. I then said that we had better make off at once, but my
men very foolishly would not obey me, so they stayed there drinking
much wine and killing great numbers of sheep and oxen on the sea
shore. Meanwhile the Cicons cried out for help to other Cicons who
lived inland. These were more in number, and stronger, and they were
more skilled in the art of war, for they could fight, either from
chariots or on foot as the occasion served; in the morning, therefore,
they came as thick as leaves and bloom in summer, and the hand of
heaven was against us, so that we were hard pressed. They set the
battle in array near the ships, and the hosts aimed their
bronze-shod spears at one another. So long as the day waxed and it was
still morning, we held our own against them, though they were more
in number than we; but as the sun went down, towards the time when men
loose their oxen, the Cicons got the better of us, and we lost half
a dozen men from every ship we had; so we got away with those that
were left.
  “Thence we sailed onward with sorrow in our hearts, but glad to have
escaped death though we had lost our comrades, nor did we leave till
we had thrice invoked each one of the poor fellows who had perished by
the hands of the Cicons. Then Jove raised the North wind against us
till it blew a hurricane, so that land and sky were hidden in thick
clouds, and night sprang forth out of the heavens. We let the ships
run before the gale, but the force of the wind tore our sails to
tatters, so we took them down for fear of shipwreck, and rowed our
hardest towards the land. There we lay two days and two nights
suffering much alike from toil and distress of mind, but on the
morning of the third day we again raised our masts, set sail, and took
our places, letting the wind and steersmen direct our ship. I should
have got home at that time unharmed had not the North wind and the
currents been against me as I was doubling Cape Malea, and set me
off my course hard by the island of Cythera.
  “I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of nine days upon the
sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eater,
who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we landed to
take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore
near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my company
to see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they
had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among
the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the
lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring
about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened
to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the
Lotus-eater without thinking further of their return; nevertheless,
though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made
them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at
once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting
to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with
their oars.
  “We sailed hence, always in much distress, till we came to the
land of the lawless and inhuman Cyclopes. Now the Cyclopes neither
plant nor plough, but trust in providence, and live on such wheat,
barley, and grapes as grow wild without any kind of tillage, and their
wild grapes yield them wine as the sun and the rain may grow them.
They have no laws nor assemblies of the people, but live in caves on
the tops of high mountains; each is lord and master in his family, and
they take no account of their neighbours.
  “Now off their harbour there lies a wooded and fertile island not
quite close to the land of the Cyclopes, but still not far. It is
overrun with wild goats, that breed there in great numbers and are
never disturbed by foot of man; for sportsmen—who as a rule will
suffer so much hardship in forest or among mountain precipices—do not
go there, nor yet again is it ever ploughed or fed down, but it lies a
wilderness untilled and unsown from year to year, and has no living
thing upon it but only goats. For the Cyclopes have no ships, nor
yet shipwrights who could make ships for them; they cannot therefore
go from city to city, or sail over the sea to one another’s country as
people who have ships can do; if they had had these they would have
colonized the island, for it is a very good one, and would yield
everything in due season. There are meadows that in some places come
right down to the sea shore, well watered and full of luscious
grass; grapes would do there excellently; there is level land for
ploughing, and it would always yield heavily at harvest time, for
the soil is deep. There is a good harbour where no cables are
wanted, nor yet anchors, nor need a ship be moored, but all one has to
do is to beach one’s vessel and stay there till the wind becomes
fair for putting out to sea again. At the head of the harbour there is
a spring of clear water coming out of a cave, and there are poplars
growing all round it.
  “Here we entered, but so dark was the night that some god must
have brought us in, for there was nothing whatever to be seen. A thick
mist hung all round our ships; the moon was hidden behind a mass of
clouds so that no one could have seen the island if he had looked
for it, nor were there any breakers to tell us we were close in
shore before we found ourselves upon the land itself; when, however,
we had beached the ships, we took down the sails, went ashore and
camped upon the beach till daybreak.
  “When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, we admired
the island and wandered all over it, while the nymphs Jove’s daughters
roused the wild goats that we might get some meat for our dinner. On
this we fetched our spears and bows and arrows from the ships, and
dividing ourselves into three bands began to shoot the goats. Heaven
sent us excellent sport; I had twelve ships with me, and each ship got
nine goats, while my own ship had ten; thus through the livelong day
to the going down of the sun we ate and drank our fill,—and we had
plenty of wine left, for each one of us had taken many jars full
when we sacked the city of the Cicons, and this had not yet run out.
While we were feasting we kept turning our eyes towards the land of
the Cyclopes, which was hard by, and saw the smoke of their stubble
fires. We could almost fancy we heard their voices and the bleating of
their sheep and goats, but when the sun went down and it came on dark,
we camped down upon the beach, and next morning I called a council.
  “‘Stay here, my brave fellows,’ said I, ‘all the rest of you,
while I go with my ship and exploit these people myself: I want to see
if they are uncivilized savages, or a hospitable and humane race.’
  “I went on board, bidding my men to do so also and loose the
hawsers; so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their
oars. When we got to the land, which was not far, there, on the face
of a cliff near the sea, we saw a great cave overhung with laurels. It
was a station for a great many sheep and goats, and outside there
was a large yard, with a high wall round it made of stones built
into the ground and of trees both pine and oak. This was the abode
of a huge monster who was then away from home shepherding his
flocks. He would have nothing to do with other people, but led the
life of an outlaw. He was a horrid creature, not like a human being at
all, but resembling rather some crag that stands out boldly against
the sky on the top of a high mountain.
  “I told my men to draw the ship ashore, and stay where they were,
all but the twelve best among them, who were to go along with
myself. I also took a goatskin of sweet black wine which had been
given me by Maron, Apollo son of Euanthes, who was priest of Apollo
the patron god of Ismarus, and lived within the wooded precincts of
the temple. When we were sacking the city we respected him, and spared
his life, as also his wife and child; so he made me some presents of
great value—seven talents of fine gold, and a bowl of silver, with
twelve jars of sweet wine, unblended, and of the most exquisite
flavour. Not a man nor maid in the house knew about it, but only
himself, his wife, and one housekeeper: when he drank it he mixed
twenty parts of water to one of wine, and yet the fragrance from the
mixing-bowl was so exquisite that it was impossible to refrain from
drinking. I filled a large skin with this wine, and took a wallet full
of provisions with me, for my mind misgave me that I might have to
deal with some savage who would be of great strength, and would
respect neither right nor law.
  “We soon reached his cave, but he was out shepherding, so we went
inside and took stock of all that we could see. His cheese-racks
were loaded with cheeses, and he had more lambs and kids than his pens
could hold. They were kept in separate flocks; first there were the
hoggets, then the oldest of the younger lambs and lastly the very
young ones all kept apart from one another; as for his dairy, all
the vessels, bowls, and milk pails into which he milked, were swimming
with whey. When they saw all this, my men begged me to let them
first steal some cheeses, and make off with them to the ship; they
would then return, drive down the lambs and kids, put them on board
and sail away with them. It would have been indeed better if we had
done so but I would not listen to them, for I wanted to see the
owner himself, in the hope that he might give me a present. When,
however, we saw him my poor men found him ill to deal with.
  “We lit a fire, offered some of the cheeses in sacrifice, ate others
of them, and then sat waiting till the Cyclops should come in with his
sheep. When he came, he brought in with him a huge load of dry
firewood to light the fire for his supper, and this he flung with such
a noise on to the floor of his cave that we hid ourselves for fear
at the far end of the cavern. Meanwhile he drove all the ewes
inside, as well as the she-goats that he was going to milk, leaving
the males, both rams and he-goats, outside in the yards. Then he
rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the cave—so huge that two and
twenty strong four-wheeled waggons would not be enough to draw it from
its place against the doorway. When he had so done he sat down and
milked his ewes and goats, all in due course, and then let each of
them have her own young. He curdled half the milk and set it aside
in wicker strainers, but the other half he poured into bowls that he
might drink it for his supper. When he had got through with all his
work, he lit the fire, and then caught sight of us, whereon he said:
  “‘Strangers, who are you? Where do sail from? Are you traders, or do
you sail the as rovers, with your hands against every man, and every
man’s hand against you?’
  “We were frightened out of our senses by his loud voice and
monstrous form, but I managed to say, ‘We are Achaeans on our way home
from Troy, but by the will of Jove, and stress of weather, we have
been driven far out of our course. We are the people of Agamemnon, son
of Atreus, who has won infinite renown throughout the whole world,
by sacking so great a city and killing so many people. We therefore
humbly pray you to show us some hospitality, and otherwise make us
such presents as visitors may reasonably expect. May your excellency
fear the wrath of heaven, for we are your suppliants, and Jove takes
all respectable travellers under his protection, for he is the avenger
of all suppliants and foreigners in distress.’
  “To this he gave me but a pitiless answer, ‘Stranger,’ said he, ‘you
are a fool, or else you know nothing of this country. Talk to me,
indeed, about fearing the gods or shunning their anger? We Cyclopes do
not care about Jove or any of your blessed gods, for we are ever so
much stronger than they. I shall not spare either yourself or your
companions out of any regard for Jove, unless I am in the humour for
doing so. And now tell me where you made your ship fast when you
came on shore. Was it round the point, or is she lying straight off
the land?’
  “He said this to draw me out, but I was too cunning to be caught
in that way, so I answered with a lie; ‘Neptune,’ said I, ’sent my
ship on to the rocks at the far end of your country, and wrecked it.
We were driven on to them from the open sea, but I and those who are
with me escaped the jaws of death.’
  “The cruel wretch vouchsafed me not one word of answer, but with a
sudden clutch he gripped up two of my men at once and dashed them down
upon the ground as though they had been puppies. Their brains were
shed upon the ground, and the earth was wet with their blood. Then
he tore them limb from limb and supped upon them. He gobbled them up
like a lion in the wilderness, flesh, bones, marrow, and entrails,
without leaving anything uneaten. As for us, we wept and lifted up our
hands to heaven on seeing such a horrid sight, for we did not know
what else to do; but when the Cyclops had filled his huge paunch,
and had washed down his meal of human flesh with a drink of neat milk,
he stretched himself full length upon the ground among his sheep,
and went to sleep. I was at first inclined to seize my sword, draw it,
and drive it into his vitals, but I reflected that if I did we
should all certainly be lost, for we should never be able to shift the
stone which the monster had put in front of the door. So we stayed
sobbing and sighing where we were till morning came.
  “When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, he again
lit his fire, milked his goats and ewes, all quite rightly, and then
let each have her own young one; as soon as he had got through with
all his work, he clutched up two more of my men, and began eating them
for his morning’s meal. Presently, with the utmost ease, he rolled the
stone away from the door and drove out his sheep, but he at once put
it back again—as easily as though he were merely clapping the lid
on to a
When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared,
Telemachus bound on his sandals and took a strong spear that suited
his hands, for he wanted to go into the city. “Old friend,” said he to
the swineherd, “I will now go to the town and show myself to my
mother, for she will never leave off grieving till she has seen me. As
for this unfortunate stranger, take him to the town and let him beg
there of any one who will give him a drink and a piece of bread. I
have trouble enough of my own, and cannot be burdened with other
people. If this makes him angry so much the worse for him, but I
like to say what I mean.”
  Then Ulysses said, “Sir, I do not want to stay here; a beggar can
always do better in town than country, for any one who likes can
give him something. I am too old to care about remaining here at the
beck and call of a master. Therefore let this man do as you have
just told him, and take me to the town as soon as I have had a warm by
the fire, and the day has got a little heat in it. My clothes are
wretchedly thin, and this frosty morning I shall be perished with
cold, for you say the city is some way off.”
  On this Telemachus strode off through the yards, brooding his
revenge upon the When he reached home he stood his spear against a
bearing-post of the cloister, crossed the stone floor of the
cloister itself, and went inside.
  Nurse Euryclea saw him long before any one else did. She was putting
the fleeces on to the seats, and she burst out crying as she ran up to
him; all the other maids came up too, and covered his head and
shoulders with their kisses. Penelope came out of her room looking
like Diana or Venus, and wept as she flung her arms about her son. She
kissed his forehead and both his beautiful eyes, “Light of my eyes,”
she cried as she spoke fondly to him, “so you are come home again; I
made sure I was never going to see you any more. To think of your
having gone off to Pylos without saying anything about it or obtaining
my consent. But come, tell me what you saw.”
  “Do not scold me, mother,’ answered Telemachus, “nor vex me,
seeing what a narrow escape I have had, but wash your face, change
your dress, go upstairs with your maids, and promise full and
sufficient hecatombs to all the gods if Jove will only grant us our
revenge upon the suitors. I must now go to the place of assembly to
invite a stranger who has come back with me from Pylos. I sent him
on with my crew, and told Piraeus to take him home and look after
him till I could come for him myself.”
  She heeded her son’s words, washed her face, changed her dress,
and vowed full and sufficient hecatombs to all the gods if they
would only vouchsafe her revenge upon the suitors.
  Telemachus went through, and out of, the cloisters spear in hand-
not alone, for his two fleet dogs went with him. Minerva endowed him
with a presence of such divine comeliness that all marvelled at him as
he went by, and the suitors gathered round him with fair words in
their mouths and malice in their hearts; but he avoided them, and went
to sit with Mentor, Antiphus, and Halitherses, old friends of his
father’s house, and they made him tell them all that had happened to
him. Then Piraeus came up with Theoclymenus, whom he had escorted
through the town to the place of assembly, whereon Telemachus at
once joined them. Piraeus was first to speak: “Telemachus,” said he,
“I wish you would send some of your women to my house to take awa
the presents Menelaus gave you.”
  “We do not know, Piraeus,” answered Telemachus, “what may happen. If
the suitors **** me in my own house and divide my property among them,
I would rather you had the presents than that any of those people
should get hold of them. If on the other hand I manage to **** them, I
shall be much obliged if you will kindly bring me my presents.”
  With these words he took Theoclymenus to his own house. When they
got there they laid their cloaks on the benches and seats, went into
the baths, and washed themselves. When the maids had washed and
anointed them, and had given them cloaks and shirts, they took their
seats at table. A maid servant then brought them water in a
beautiful golden ewer, and poured it into a silver basin for them to
wash their hands; and she drew a clean table beside them. An upper
servant brought them bread and offered them many good things of what
there was in the house. Opposite them sat Penelope, reclining on a
couch by one of the bearing-posts of the cloister, and spinning.
Then they laid their hands on the good things that were before them,
and as soon as they had had enough to eat and drink Penelope said:
  “Telemachus, I shall go upstairs and lie down on that sad couch,
which I have not ceased to water with my tears, from the day Ulysses
set out for Troy with the sons of Atreus. You failed, however, to make
it clear to me before the suitors came back to the house, whether or
no you had been able to hear anything about the return of your
father.”
  “I will tell you then truth,” replied her son. “We went to Pylos and
saw Nestor, who took me to his house and treated me as hospitably as
though I were a son of his own who had just returned after a long
absence; so also did his sons; but he said he had not heard a word
from any human being about Ulysses, whether he was alive or dead. He
sent me, therefore, with a chariot and horses to Menelaus. There I saw
Helen, for whose sake so many, both Argives and Trojans, were in
heaven’s wisdom doomed to suffer. Menelaus asked me what it was that
had brought me to Lacedaemon, and I told him the whole truth,
whereon he said, ‘So, then, these cowards would usurp a brave man’s
bed? A hind might as well lay her new-born young in the lair of a
lion, and then go off to feed in the forest or in some grassy dell.
The lion, when he comes back to his lair, will make short work with
the pair of them, and so will Ulysses with these suitors. By father
Jove, Minerva, and Apollo, if Ulysses is still the man that he was
when he wrestled with Philomeleides in ******, and threw him so
heavily that all the Greeks cheered him—if he is still such, and were
to come near these suitors, they would have a short shrift and a sorry
wedding. As regards your question, however, I will not prevaricate nor
deceive you, but what the old man of the sea told me, so much will I
tell you in full. He said he could see Ulysses on an island
sorrowing bitterly in the house of the nymph Calypso, who was
keeping him prisoner, and he could not reach his home, for he had no
ships nor sailors to take him over the sea.’ This was what Menelaus
told me, and when I had heard his story I came away; the gods then
gave me a fair wind and soon brought me safe home again.”
  With these words he moved the heart of Penelope. Then Theoclymenus
said to her:
  “Madam, wife of Ulysses, Telemachus does not understand these
things; listen therefore to me, for I can divine them surely, and will
hide nothing from you. May Jove the king of heaven be my witness,
and the rites of hospitality, with that hearth of Ulysses to which I
now come, that Ulysses himself is even now in Ithaca, and, either
going about the country or staying in one place, is enquiring into all
these evil deeds and preparing a day of reckoning for the suitors. I
saw an omen when I was on the ship which meant this, and I told
Telemachus about it.”
  “May it be even so,” answered Penelope; “if your words come true,
you shall have such gifts and such good will from me that all who
see you shall congratulate you.”
  Thus did they converse. Meanwhile the suitors were throwing discs,
or aiming with spears at a mark on the levelled ground in front of the
house, and behaving with all their old insolence. But when it was
now time for dinner, and the flock of sheep and goats had come into
the town from all the country round, with their shepherds as usual,
then Medon, who was their favourite servant, and who waited upon
them at table, said, “Now then, my young masters, you have had
enough sport, so come inside that we may get dinner ready. Dinner is
not a bad thing, at dinner time.”
  They left their sports as he told them, and when they were within
the house, they laid their cloaks on the benches and seats inside, and
then sacrificed some sheep, goats, pigs, and a heifer, all of them fat
and well grown. Thus they made ready for their meal. In the meantime
Ulysses and the swineherd were about starting for the town, and the
swineherd said, “Stranger, I suppose you still want to go to town
to-day, as my master said you were to do; for my own part I should
have liked you to stay here as a station hand, but I must do as my
master tells me, or he will scold me later on, and a scolding from
one’s master is a very serious thing. Let us then be off, for it is
now broad day; it will be night again directly and then you will
find it colder.”
  “I know, and understand you,” replied Ulysses; “you need say no
more. Let us be going, but if you have a stick ready cut, let me
have it to walk with, for you say the road is a very rough one.”
  As he spoke he threw his shabby old tattered wallet over his
shoulders, by the cord from which it hung, and Eumaeus gave him a
stick to his liking. The two then started, leaving the station in
charge of the dogs and herdsmen who remained behind; the swineherd led
the way and his master followed after, looking like some broken-down
old ***** as he leaned upon his staff, and his clothes were all in
rags. When they had got over the rough steep ground and were nearing
the city, they reached the fountain from which the citizens drew their
water. This had been made by Ithacus, Neritus, and Polyctor. There was
a grove of water-loving poplars planted in a circle all round it,
and the clear cold water came down to it from a rock high up, while
above the fountain there was an altar to the nymphs, at which all
wayfarers used to sacrifice. Here Melanthius son of Dolius overtook
them as he was driving down some goats, the best in his flock, for the
suitors’ dinner, and there were two shepherds with him. When he saw
Eumaeus and Ulysses he reviled them with outrageous and unseemly
language, which made Ulysses very angry.
  “There you go,” cried he, “and a precious pair you are. See how
heaven brings birds of the same feather to one another. Where, pray,
master swineherd, are you taking this poor miserable object? It
would make any one sick to see such a creature at table. A fellow like
this never won a prize for anything in his life, but will go about
rubbing his shoulders against every man’s door post, and begging,
not for swords and cauldrons like a man, but only for a few scraps not
worth begging for. If you would give him to me for a hand on my
station, he might do to clean out the folds, or bring a bit of sweet
feed to the kids, and he could fatten his thighs as much as he pleased
on whey; but he has taken to bad ways and will not go about any kind
of work; he will do nothing but beg victuals all the town over, to
feed his insatiable belly. I say, therefore and it shall surely be—if
he goes near Ulysses’ house he will get his head broken by the
stools they will fling at him, till they turn him out.”
  On this, as he passed, he gave Ulysses a kick on the hip out of pure
wantonness, but Ulysses stood firm, and did not budge from the path.
For a moment he doubted whether or no to fly at Melanthius and ****
him with his staff, or fling him to the ground and beat his brains
out; he resolved, however, to endure it and keep himself in check, but
the swineherd looked straight at Melanthius and rebuked him, lifting
up his hands and praying to heaven as he did so.
  “Fountain nymphs,” he cried, “children of Jove, if ever Ulysses
burned you thigh bones covered with fat whether of lambs or kids,
grant my prayer that heaven may send him home. He would soon put an
end to the swaggering threats with which such men as you go about
insulting people-gadding all over the town while your flocks are going
to ruin through bad shepherding.”
  Then Melanthius the goatherd answered, “You ill-conditioned cur,
what are you talking about? Some day or other I will put you on
board ship and take you to a foreign country, where I can sell you and
pocket the money you will fetch. I wish I were as sure that Apollo
would strike Telemachus dead this very day, or that the suitors
would **** him, as I am that Ulysses will never come home again.”
  With this he left them to come on at their leisure, while he went
quickly forward and soon reached the house of his master. When he
got there he went in and took his seat among the suitors opposite
Eurymachus, who liked him better than any of the others. The
servants brought him a portion of meat, and an upper woman servant set
bread before him that he might eat. Presently Ulysses and the
swineherd came up to the house and stood by it, amid a sound of music,
for Phemius was just beginning to sing to the suitors. Then Ulysses
took hold of the swineherd’s hand, and said:
  “Eumaeus, this house of Ulysses is a very fine place. No matter
how far you go you will find few like it. One building keeps following
on after another. The outer court has a wall with battlements all
round it; the doors are double folding, and of good workmanship; it
would be a hard matter to take it by force of arms. I perceive, too,
that there are many people banqueting within it, for there is a
smell of roast meat, and I hear a sound of music, which the gods
have made to go along with feasting.”
  Then Eumaeus said, “You have perceived aright, as indeed you
generally do; but let us think what will be our best course. Will
you go inside first and join the suitors, leaving me here behind
you, or will you wait here and let me go in first? But do not wait
long, or some one may you loitering about outside, and throw something
at you. Consider this matter I pray you.”
  And Ulysses answered, “I understand and heed. Go in first and
leave me here where I am. I am quite used to being beaten and having
things thrown at me. I have been so much buffeted about in war and
by sea that I am case-hardened, and this too may go with the rest. But
a man cannot hide away the cravings of a hungry belly; this is an
enemy which gives much trouble to all men; it is because of this
that ships are fitted out to sail the seas, and to make war upon other
people.”
  As they were thus talking, a dog that had been lying asleep raised
his head and pricked up his ears. This was Argos, whom Ulysses had
bred before setting out for Troy, but he had never had any work out of
him. In the old days he used to be taken out by the young men when
they went hunting wild goats, or deer, or hares, but now that his
master was gone he was lying neglected on the heaps of mule and cow
dung that lay in front of the stable doors till the men should come
and draw it away to manure the great close; and he was full of
fleas. As soon as he saw Ulysses standing there, he dropped his ears
and wagged his tail, but he could not get close up to his master. When
Ulysses saw the dog on the other side of the yard, dashed a tear
from his eyes without Eumaeus seeing it, and said:
  “Eumaeus, what a noble hound that is over yonder on the manure heap:
his build is splendid; is he as fine a fellow as he looks, or is he
only one of those dogs that come begging about a table, and are kept
merely for show?”
  “This hound,” answered Eumaeus, “belonged to him who has died in a
far country. If he were what he was when Ulysses left for Troy, he
would soon show you what he could do. There was not a wild beast in
the forest that could get away from him when he was once on its
tracks. But now he has fallen on evil times, for his master is dead
and gone, and the women take no care of him. Servants never do their
work when their master’s hand is no longer over them, for Jove takes
half the goodness out of a man when he makes a slave of him.”
  As he spoke he went inside the buildings to the cloister where the
suitors were, but Argos died as soon as he had recognized his master.
  Telemachus saw
kaija eighty Feb 2010
the lakewater near the banks darken with the shadows of coniferous trees
not unlike the way my ***** darkened just the other evening with transgression
and i find myself waiting,arcing the ash from my cigarette in fiery transient streaks.

this is north west angle's public dock, a sunken relic of the anishinabe
appropriately too young to be old just like the ******* rest of us.
kee no wahh she spits with conviction,
her forked tongue a testament to the near science fiction
that keeps its ugly head low to the ground
in the backwater communities of
rural ontario and manitoba
and saskatchewan
and beyond.

purple and yellow and green galaxies span across the deep space of my neck
and that's good enough, they reckon, to land me in the passenger's seat.
now the sun's shallow beneath the canadian shield
leaving only a violent, open **** on the skyline
and the watered down blood of ritual sacrifice to
filter up through the cheesecloth of the underbrush
and effectively discolour the poplars in a pastel
identical to the lining of my ****

so ask me how many children have been
stranded on the pallid, uneven terrain of my thighs
and i'll stop making references to my ******
I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday--
You meet me and you say:
'Don't forget to see about the cattle--'
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.
And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life--
And I see us meeting at the end of a town on a fair day by accident,
after the bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.
O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us -- eternally.
So here Ulysses slept, overcome by sleep and toil; but Minerva
went off to the country and city of the Phaecians—a people who used
to live in the fair town of Hypereia, near the lawless Cyclopes. Now
the Cyclopes were stronger than they and plundered them, so their king
Nausithous moved them thence and settled them in Scheria, far from all
other people. He surrounded the city with a wall, built houses and
temples, and divided the lands among his people; but he was dead and
gone to the house of Hades, and King Alcinous, whose counsels were
inspired of heaven, was now reigning. To his house, then, did
Minerva hie in furtherance of the return of Ulysses.
  She went straight to the beautifully decorated bedroom in which
there slept a girl who was as lovely as a goddess, Nausicaa,
daughter to King Alcinous. Two maid servants were sleeping near her,
both very pretty, one on either side of the doorway, which was
closed with well-made folding doors. Minerva took the form of the
famous sea captain Dymas’s daughter, who was a ***** friend of
Nausicaa and just her own age; then, coming up to the girl’s bedside
like a breath of wind, she hovered over her head and said:
  “Nausicaa, what can your mother have been about, to have such a lazy
daughter? Here are your clothes all lying in disorder, yet you are
going to be married almost immediately, and should not only be well
dressed yourself, but should find good clothes for those who attend
you. This is the way to get yourself a good name, and to make your
father and mother proud of you. Suppose, then, that we make tomorrow a
washing day, and start at daybreak. I will come and help you so that
you may have everything ready as soon as possible, for all the best
young men among your own people are courting you, and you are not
going to remain a maid much longer. Ask your father, therefore, to
have a waggon and mules ready for us at daybreak, to take the rugs,
robes, and girdles; and you can ride, too, which will be much
pleasanter for you than walking, for the washing-cisterns are some way
from the town.”
  When she had said this Minerva went away to Olympus, which they
say is the everlasting home of the gods. Here no wind beats roughly,
and neither rain nor snow can fall; but it abides in everlasting
sunshine and in a great peacefulness of light, wherein the blessed
gods are illumined for ever and ever. This was the place to which
the goddess went when she had given instructions to the girl.
  By and by morning came and woke Nausicaa, who began wondering
about her dream; she therefore went to the other end of the house to
tell her father and mother all about it, and found them in their own
room. Her mother was sitting by the fireside spinning her purple
yarn with her maids around her, and she happened to catch her father
just as he was going out to attend a meeting of the town council,
which the Phaeacian aldermen had convened. She stopped him and said:
  “Papa dear, could you manage to let me have a good big waggon? I
want to take all our ***** clothes to the river and wash them. You are
the chief man here, so it is only right that you should have a clean
shirt when you attend meetings of the council. Moreover, you have five
sons at home, two of them married, while the other three are
good-looking bachelors; you know they always like to have clean
linen when they go to a dance, and I have been thinking about all
this.”
  She did not say a word about her own wedding, for she did not like
to, but her father knew and said, “You shall have the mules, my
love, and whatever else you have a mind for. Be off with you, and
the men shall get you a good strong waggon with a body to it that will
hold all your clothes.”
  On this he gave his orders to the servants, who got the waggon
out, harnessed the mules, and put them to, while the girl brought
the clothes down from the linen room and placed them on the waggon.
Her mother prepared her a basket of provisions with all sorts of
good things, and a goat skin full of wine; the girl now got into the
waggon, and her mother gave her also a golden cruse of oil, that she
and her women might anoint themselves. Then she took the whip and
reins and lashed the mules on, whereon they set off, and their hoofs
clattered on the road. They pulled without flagging, and carried not
only Nausicaa and her wash of clothes, but the maids also who were
with her.
  When they reached the water side they went to the
washing-cisterns, through which there ran at all times enough pure
water to wash any quantity of linen, no matter how *****. Here they
unharnessed the mules and turned them out to feed on the sweet juicy
herbage that grew by the water side. They took the clothes out of
the waggon, put them in the water, and vied with one another in
treading them in the pits to get the dirt out. After they had washed
them and got them quite clean, they laid them out by the sea side,
where the waves had raised a high beach of shingle, and set about
washing themselves and anointing themselves with olive oil. Then
they got their dinner by the side of the stream, and waited for the
sun to finish drying the clothes. When they had done dinner they threw
off the veils that covered their heads and began to play at ball,
while Nausicaa sang for them. As the huntress Diana goes forth upon
the mountains of Taygetus or Erymanthus to hunt wild boars or deer,
and the wood-nymphs, daughters of Aegis-bearing Jove, take their sport
along with her (then is Leto proud at seeing her daughter stand a full
head taller than the others, and eclipse the loveliest amid a whole
bevy of beauties), even so did the girl outshine her handmaids.
  When it was time for them to start home, and they were folding the
clothes and putting them into the waggon, Minerva began to consider
how Ulysses should wake up and see the handsome girl who was to
conduct him to the city of the Phaeacians. The girl, therefore,
threw a ball at one of the maids, which missed her and fell into
deep water. On this they all shouted, and the noise they made woke
Ulysses, who sat up in his bed of leaves and began to wonder what it
might all be.
  “Alas,” said he to himself, “what kind of people have I come
amongst? Are they cruel, savage, and uncivilized, or hospitable and
humane? I seem to hear the voices of young women, and they sound
like those of the nymphs that haunt mountain tops, or springs of
rivers and meadows of green grass. At any rate I am among a race of
men and women. Let me try if I cannot manage to get a look at them.”
  As he said this he crept from under his bush, and broke off a
bough covered with thick leaves to hide his nakedness. He looked
like some lion of the wilderness that stalks about exulting in his
strength and defying both wind and rain; his eyes glare as he prowls
in quest of oxen, sheep, or deer, for he is famished, and will dare
break even into a well-fenced homestead, trying to get at the sheep-
even such did Ulysses seem to the young women, as he drew near to them
all naked as he was, for he was in great want. On seeing one so
unkempt and so begrimed with salt water, the others scampered off
along the spits that jutted out into the sea, but the daughter of
Alcinous stood firm, for Minerva put courage into her heart and took
away all fear from her. She stood right in front of Ulysses, and he
doubted whether he should go up to her, throw himself at her feet, and
embrace her knees as a suppliant, or stay where he was and entreat her
to give him some clothes and show him the way to the town. In the
end he deemed it best to entreat her from a distance in case the
girl should take offence at his coming near enough to clasp her knees,
so he addressed her in honeyed and persuasive language.
  “O queen,” he said, “I implore your aid—but tell me, are you a
goddess or are you a mortal woman? If you are a goddess and dwell in
heaven, I can only conjecture that you are Jove’s daughter Diana,
for your face and figure resemble none but hers; if on the other
hand you are a mortal and live on earth, thrice happy are your
father and mother—thrice happy, too, are your brothers and sisters;
how proud and delighted they must feel when they see so fair a scion
as yourself going out to a dance; most happy, however, of all will
he be whose wedding gifts have been the richest, and who takes you
to his own home. I never yet saw any one so beautiful, neither man nor
woman, and am lost in admiration as I behold you. I can only compare
you to a young palm tree which I saw when I was at Delos growing
near the altar of Apollo—for I was there, too, with much people after
me, when I was on that journey which has been the source of all my
troubles. Never yet did such a young plant shoot out of the ground
as that was, and I admired and wondered at it exactly as I now
admire and wonder at yourself. I dare not clasp your knees, but I am
in great distress; yesterday made the twentieth day that I had been
tossing about upon the sea. The winds and waves have taken me all
the way from the Ogygian island, and now fate has flung me upon this
coast that I may endure still further suffering; for I do not think
that I have yet come to the end of it, but rather that heaven has
still much evil in store for me.
  “And now, O queen, have pity upon me, for you are the first person I
have met, and I know no one else in this country. Show me the way to
your town, and let me have anything that you may have brought hither
to wrap your clothes in. May heaven grant you in all things your
heart’s desire—husband, house, and a happy, peaceful home; for
there is nothing better in this world than that man and wife should be
of one mind in a house. It discomfits their enemies, makes the
hearts of their friends glad, and they themselves know more about it
than any one.”
  To this Nausicaa answered, “Stranger, you appear to be a sensible,
well-disposed person. There is no accounting for luck; Jove gives
prosperity to rich and poor just as he chooses, so you must take
what he has seen fit to send you, and make the best of it. Now,
however, that you have come to this our country, you shall not want
for clothes nor for anything else that a foreigner in distress may
reasonably look for. I will show you the way to the town, and will
tell you the name of our people; we are called Phaeacians, and I am
daughter to Alcinous, in whom the whole power of the state is vested.”
  Then she called her maids and said, “Stay where you are, you
girls. Can you not see a man without running away from him? Do you
take him for a robber or a murderer? Neither he nor any one else can
come here to do us Phaeacians any harm, for we are dear to the gods,
and live apart on a land’s end that juts into the sounding sea, and
have nothing to do with any other people. This is only some poor man
who has lost his way, and we must be kind to him, for strangers and
foreigners in distress are under Jove’s protection, and will take what
they can get and be thankful; so, girls, give the poor fellow
something to eat and drink, and wash him in the stream at some place
that is sheltered from the wind.”
  On this the maids left off running away and began calling one
another back. They made Ulysses sit down in the shelter as Nausicaa
had told them, and brought him a shirt and cloak. They also brought
him the little golden cruse of oil, and told him to go wash in the
stream. But Ulysses said, “Young women, please to stand a little on
one side that I may wash the brine from my shoulders and anoint myself
with oil, for it is long enough since my skin has had a drop of oil
upon it. I cannot wash as long as you all keep standing there. I am
ashamed to strip before a number of good-looking young women.”
  Then they stood on one side and went to tell the girl, while Ulysses
washed himself in the stream and scrubbed the brine from his back
and from his broad shoulders. When he had thoroughly washed himself,
and had got the brine out of his hair, he anointed himself with oil,
and put on the clothes which the girl had given him; Minerva then made
him look taller and stronger than before, she also made the hair
grow thick on the top of his head, and flow down in curls like
hyacinth blossoms; she glorified him about the head and shoulders as a
skilful workman who has studied art of all kinds under Vulcan and
Minerva enriches a piece of silver plate by gilding it—and his work
is full of beauty. Then he went and sat down a little way off upon the
beach, looking quite young and handsome, and the girl gazed on him
with admiration; then she said to her maids:
  “Hush, my dears, for I want to say something. I believe the gods who
live in heaven have sent this man to the Phaeacians. When I first
saw him I thought him plain, but now his appearance is like that of
the gods who dwell in heaven. I should like my future husband to be
just such another as he is, if he would only stay here and not want to
go away. However, give him something to eat and drink.”
  They did as they were told, and set food before Ulysses, who ate and
drank ravenously, for it was long since he had had food of any kind.
Meanwhile, Nausicaa bethought her of another matter. She got the linen
folded and placed in the waggon, she then yoked the mules, and, as she
took her seat, she called Ulysses:
  “Stranger,” said she, “rise and let us be going back to the town;
I will introduce you at the house of my excellent father, where I
can tell you that you will meet all the best people among the
Phaecians. But be sure and do as I bid you, for you seem to be a
sensible person. As long as we are going past the fields—and farm
lands, follow briskly behind the waggon along with the maids and I
will lead the way myself. Presently, however, we shall come to the
town, where you will find a high wall running all round it, and a good
harbour on either side with a narrow entrance into the city, and the
ships will be drawn up by the road side, for every one has a place
where his own ship can lie. You will see the market place with a
temple of Neptune in the middle of it, and paved with large stones
bedded in the earth. Here people deal in ship’s gear of all kinds,
such as cables and sails, and here, too, are the places where oars are
made, for the Phaeacians are not a nation of archers; they know
nothing about bows and arrows, but are a sea-faring folk, and pride
themselves on their masts, oars, and ships, with which they travel far
over the sea.
  “I am afraid of the gossip and scandal that may be set on foot
against me later on; for the people here are very ill-natured, and
some low fellow, if he met us, might say, ‘Who is this fine-looking
stranger that is going about with Nausicaa? Where did she End him? I
suppose she is going to marry him. Perhaps he is a vagabond sailor
whom she has taken from some foreign vessel, for we have no
neighbours; or some god has at last come down from heaven in answer to
her prayers, and she is going to live with him all the rest of her
life. It would be a good thing if she would take herself of I for sh
and find a husband somewhere else, for she will not look at one of the
many excellent young Phaeacians who are in with her.’ This is the kind
of disparaging remark that would be made about me, and I could not
complain, for I should myself be scandalized at seeing any other
girl do the like, and go about with men in spite of everybody, while
her father and mother were still alive, and without having been
married in the face of all the world.
  “If, therefore, you want my father to give you an escort and to help
you home, do as I bid you; you will see a beautiful grove of poplars
by the road side dedicated to Minerva; it has a well in it and a
meadow all round it. Here my father has a field of rich garden ground,
about as far from the town as a man’ voice will carry. Sit down
there and wait for a while till the rest of us can get into the town
and reach my father’s house. Then, when you think we must have done
this, come into the town and ask the way to the house of my father
Alcinous. You will have no difficulty in finding it; any child will
point it out to you, for no one else in
The poplars are felled, farewell to the shade
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade:
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his ***** their image receives.

Twelve years have elapsed since I first took a view
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew,
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.

The blackbird has fled to another retreat
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat;
And the scene where his melody charmed me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.

'Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Short-lived as we are, our enjoyments, I see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.
《☆ Ode to Miller Spring ☆》

I have traveled this road.
I have traveled this road since
first I came to be here.
This journey was
my awakening to the
new existence I would step into.

Foreign to me
the illustrious homes.
Dripping willows, old oaks, poplars...
Perfectly kept grounds.
Checkerboard patterns carved
into lush grass.

This road is winding.
One needs to go slowly.
Families, children, animals, 
all enjoy this path.

The winds blow at this highest point,
up above the Glacial Basin
that forms the river below.
Before farmland,
home to
Ojibwe,
Lakota.

The Spring
The deep Spring of Healing
Ancient, pouring forth
from the center of the Earth.

This road, brought me to a
place of solitude...
An open space.
Land of possibilities.

I have traveled this road. 
I have traveled this road
since first I came to be here.
This road has led me to the new existence
I have stepped into.

Perfectly kept grounds
checkerboard patterns carved
in lush grass.

The wind blows at this
highest point,
up above the Glacial Basin,
that forms the river below.
Before farmland,  
home to
Ojibwe,
Lakota.

The Spring
The deep Spring of Healing.
Ancient, pouring forth from
the center of the Earth.
This Spring, that quenched
my family's thirst.
This Spring, that pulled my
people here,
so many years ago.

A road brought me to
this place of solitude.
An open space.
A land of Dreams.

I wonder,
what Dreams,
this land
will hold for me?

☆●⊙●☆●⊙●☆●⊙●☆
~July 2014~May 2015~
2nd Edition
Copyright © 2015 Christi Michaels.
All Rights Reserved.

"Miller Spring" is a pure crystalline-rock aquifer that has been revered by all peoples blessed to live within it's reach. The tribes of the Ojibwe and Lakota shared the spring. It was called the "Sweet Spring of Healing Waters" This spring was also shared with Settlers as they arrived. When the land was owned, the spring has always been made accessible, to All People. It should be noted that this spring water is exceptionally clear,
crisp and has a sweet bright taste
It is delicious!
To this day Miller Spring is available to all.
It's icy cold waters gush forth 24/7~365
days a year out of a well by the side
of the road, down about a mile
from my home.

I actually live in a modest house
on two original acres of this
beautiful land, which is now
bordered by five "illustrious" homes.
We moved here from the
City in the year 2000
Living in the suburbs was the
"New Existence" I had stepped into...
It's optional
Like the fading of skies
Early, wild, or remorseful.
All the impalpable space in the lights
Scaled in weighty gilt and curls
The locks and gold of sun,
early as it sets on a moiety of moor grey
Brushed by shadows of agonised poplars
on a spiral land of sheer pistachio blanket.

Muffled by lyres played from the trumpets of
convolvuluses, behind spears of the brain-
an imagery commence to carouse
into planet deep.

A promenade atop the tulle of skies,
an optional way to live.
Saunter and fall onto slopes, shudder, meditate
and hit a bee coffin pebble on the temple
Where there are options to live, to bleed.
Like the lurid sunrise sifting on
yellow-green nuts, and dandruffs combed
like granulated sugar
Oh the taste of chemistry
on the shea butter candles.

It's sanguine and optional,
your farewells on laden calendars of poems
A promenade- back into sea of spears and flames
A cadaver veined in pink,
bearing plethora of methanol
down pulverising bone.
LEAVES of poplars pick Japanese prints against the west.
Moon sand on the canal doubles the changing pictures.
      The moon's good-by ends pictures.
The west is empty. All else is empty. No moon-talk at all now.
      Only dark listening to dark.
Maggie Emmett Sep 2014
I catch the rapido train from Milano and edge slowly westward through the stops and starts of frozen points and village stations. The heating fails and an offer of warmer seats in another compartment. I decide to stay here. I put on my coat, scarf, hat and gloves and sit alone. In my grieving time, I feel closer to the cold world outside as it moves past me, intermittently. Falling snow in window-framed landscapes.            

Sky gun metal grey
shot through
with sunset ribbons.
                                                                                                          
Dusk eases into black-cornered night. After Maghera, the train seems to race to the sea. It rumbles onto the Ponte della Ferrovia, stretching out across the Laguna Veneta. Suddenly, a jonquil circle moon pulls the winter clouds back and shines a lemony silver torch across the inky waters. Crazed and cracked sheets of ice lie across the depthless lagoon. The train slows again and slides into Santa Lucia. I walk into the night.                                                                                               
Bleak midwinter      
sea-iced night wind
bites bitter.
                                                                                                      
No. 2 Diretto winding down the Canal Grande.  The foggy night muffles the guttural throb of the engine and turns mundane sounds into mysteries. Through the window of the vaporetto stop, the lights of Piazza San Marco are an empty auditorium of an opera house. Walking to Corte Barozzi, I hear the doleful tolling of midnight bells; the slapping of water and the *****-***** of the gondolas’ mooring chains. Faraway a busker sings Orfeo lamenting his lost Eurydice, left in Hades.
I wake to La Serenissima, bejewelled.                                                                                                                           
Weak winter sunshine
Istrian stone walls
flushed rosy.
                                                                                                          
Rooftops glowing. Sun streaming golden between the neck and wings of the masted Lion. Mist has lifted, the sky cloudless; I look across the sparkling Guidecca canal and beyond to the shimmering horizon.          
Molten mud
bittersweetness demi-tasse
Florian’s hot chocolate                    

I walk the maze of streets, squares and bridges; passing marble well-heads and fountains, places of assignation. I walk on stones sculpted by hands, feet and the breath of the sea. Secrets and melancholy are cast in these stones.                                                                  

At Fondamente Nuove, I take Vaporetto no.41 to Cimitero. We chug across the laguna, arriving at  the western wall of San Michele.  I thread through the dead, along pathways and between gravestones. At the furthest end of the Cemetery island, Vera and Igor Stravinsky lie in parallel graves like two single beds in an hotel room. Names at the head, a simple cross at the foot of the white stone slab. Nearby, his flamboyant mentor Serge Diaghalev. His grave, a gothic birdbath for ravens, has a Russian inscription; straggly pink carnations, a red votive candle and a pair of ragged ballet shoes with flounces of black and aquamarine tulle tied to their the ribbons. So many dead in mausoleums; demure plots; curious walled filing cabinets, marble drawer ossuaries.
                                                                                                      
Bare, whispering Poplars
swaying swirling shadows
graves rest beneath          

I walk to the other end of the island and frame Venezia in the central arch of the Byzantine gateway.  I see that sketchy horizontal strip of rusty brick, with strong verticals of campaniles and domes. It is here, before 4 o’clock closing time, I throw your ashes to the sea and run to catch the last boat.                                                                                          

Beacon light orange
glittering ripples
on the dove grey lagoon.

© M.L.Emmett
First published in New Poets 14: Snatching Time, 2007, Wakefield Press, Kent Town SA.
To view with Images: Poems for Poodles https://magicpoet01.wordpress.com
I wanted to write a Haibun (seasonal journey poem interspersed with haiku). I love Venezia but only in Winter.
Mavis Mayhem Apr 2015
“Fear not,” the winds whispered through the pines
Tenderly stroking my hair as I wandered through the forest.
“Don’t shed a tear,” the rustling poplars sang
Stirring my soul as I wept.

Leaves waltzing, gyrating, floating,
Doing whatever they may please
Soft sunlight filtered through the canopy, putting me at ease.

Cold air filled my lungs, clearing my mind
Sweet therapy at last, finally free.
Free to wander the wilderness, uninterrupted and jovial.
My whole life set before me.
Redbirds, redbirds,
Long and long ago,
What a honey-call you had
In hills I used to know;

Redbud, buckberry,
Wild plum-tree
And proud river sweeping
Southward to the sea,

Brown and gold in the sun
Sparkling far below,
Trailing stately round her bluffs
Where the poplars grow —

Redbirds, redbirds,
Are you singing still
As you sang one May day
On Saxton’s Hill?
I have traveled this road.
I have traveled this road since first,
I came to be here.

This journey was my awakening
as to the new existence
I would step into.

Foreign to me, the illustrious homes.
Huge dripping willows,
old oaks, and poplars...
Perfectly kept grounds.
Checkerboard patterns left behind
in lush green grass...

This road is winding.
One needs to go slowly.
Families, children, animals, 
all enjoy this path.

The wind blows at this highest point,
up above the glacial basin
that forms the river below.
Once all farmland.
before...
home of
Ojibwa,
Lakota

The Spring.
The Deep Spring of Healing.
Ancient, pouring forth
from the center of the Earth.

This winding
windy road,
brought me to a place of solitude...
an open space.
Land of endless possibilities.

I have traveled this road. 
I have traveled this road
since first
I came to be here.

This road was my awakening as to the
new existence I would step into.

Perfectly kept grounds.
Checkerboard patterns left behind
in lush green grass.

The wind blows at this highest Point,
up above the Glacial Basin,
that forms the river below

Once all farmland.
Before...
Home of
Ojibwe,
Lakota.

The Spring.
The Deep Spring of Healing.

Ancient, pouring forth from the center of the earth.

This spring, that has quenched my families thirst.
This spring, that brought my family here 14 years ago

This road
brought me to a place of solitude...
An open space.
A land of dreams.

And yet..I wonder,
what dreams
will this land hold for Me?
"Miller Spring" as it is known today,
is a pure crystalline-rock aquifer. It has been reveared by all peoples blessed to live within the reach of its sweet water. The tribes of Ojibwe and Lakota shared the spring. It was called "The Sweet Spring of Healing Waters" This spring was also shared with settlers as they arrived. Even as the land was owned, access to the spring was always made accessible.
To this day Miller Spring is available to all who seek it. It's icy cold waters gush forth 24/7 365 days a year out of a well by the side of the road, just down the hill from my home.
It's the Spring.
Earth has conceived, and her *****,
Teeming with summer, is glad.

Vistas of change and adventure,
Thro' the green land
The grey roads go beckoning and winding,
Peopled with wains, and melodious
With harness-bells jangling:
Jangling and twangling rough rhythms
To the slow march of the stately, great horses
Whistled and shouted along.

White fleets of cloud,
Argosies heavy with fruitfulness,
Sail the blue peacefully.  Green flame the hedgerows.
Blackbirds are bugling, and white in wet winds
Sway the tall poplars.
Pageants of colour and fragrance,
Pass the sweet meadows, and viewless
Walks the mild spirit of May,
Visibly blessing the world.

O, the brilliance of blossoming orchards!
O, the savour and thrill of the woods,
When their leafage is stirred
By the flight of the Angel of Rain!
Loud lows the steer; in the fallows
Rooks are alert; and the brooks
Gurgle and ****** and trill.  Thro' the gloamings,
Under the rare, shy stars,
Boy and girl wander,
Dreaming in darkness and dew.

It's the Spring.
A sprightliness feeble and squalid
Wakes in the ward, and I sicken,
Impotent, winter at heart.
Over the horizon, lost in confusion,
came the sad night, pregnant with stars.
I, like the bearded mage of the tales,
knew the language of stones and flowers.

I learned the secrets of melancholy,
told by cypresses, nettles and ivy;
I knew the dream from lips of nard,
sang serene songs with the irises.

In the old forest, filled with its blackness,
all of them showed me the souls they have;
the pines, drunk on aroma and sound;
the old olives, burdened with knowledge;
the dead poplars, nests for the ants;
the moss, snowy with white violets.

All spoke tenderly to my heart
trembling in threads of rustling silk
where water involves motionless things,
like a web of eternal harmony.

The roses there were sounding the lyre,
oaks weaving the gold of legends,
and amidst their virile sadness
the junipers spoke of rustic fears.

I knew all the passion of woodland;
rhythms of leaves, rhythms of stars.
But tell me, oh cedars, if my heart
will sleep in the arms of perfect light!

I know the lyre you prophesy, roses:
fashioned of strings from my dead life.
Tell me what pool I might leave it in,
as former passions are left behind!

I know the mystery you sing of, cypress;
I am your brother of night and pain;
we hold inside us a tangle of nests,
you of nightingales, I of sadness!

I know your endless enchantment, old olive tree,
yielding us blood you extract from the Earth,
like you, I extract with my feelings
the sacred oil
held by ideas!

You all overwhelm me with songs;
I ask only for my uncertain one;
none of you will quell the anxieties
of this chaste fire
that burns in my breast.

O laurel divine, with soul inaccessible,
always so silent,
filled with nobility!
Pour in my ears your divine history,
all your wisdom, profound and sincere!

Tree that produces fruits of the silence,
maestro of kisses and mage of orchestras,
formed from Daphne's roseate flesh
with Apollo's potent sap in your veins!

O high priest of ancient knowledge!
O solemn mute, closed to lament!
All your forest brothers speak to me;
only you, harsh one, scorn my song!

Perhaps, oh maestro of rhythm, you muse
on the pointlessness of the poet's sad weeping.
Perhaps your leaves, flecking by the moonlight,
forgo all the illusions of spring.

The delicate tenderness of evening,
that covered the path with black dew,
holding out a vast canopy to night,
came solemnly, pregnant with stars.
Lucia Sunikansky Sep 2012
Things can be hard
Even when you can’t imagine
Friends can change
And the ones
You once thought were innocent
Are the ones with the knife behind your back
Poplars’ can hold it against you
Or maybe be your friend
Like in my case
But you never know what will happen next
Problems can start
And end up in such a big deal
That it’s too easy knowing it all
The one you use to like likes another girl
But she’s such a good friend she helps you getting over that ****
You can be shy
Hoping nobody judges you
You try to keep your head held up but sometimes
There is no use
You’re eager to know who likes you
Trying to see who thinks you’re pretty
But you have so low self-steam
That you think
Nobody should like you
Or you’re not in the same level that they are
You compare yourself with other girls
Seeing what they have and what you don’t
You could have a great personality
And a pretty face or body
But when you don’t have one of the two
You think you’re not in the same category as other girls
But life is more than just being pretty
Being nice is a great advantage cause maybe prettier girls
Are hated by everyone
And if you have floes
There are ways of making them less notable
Or maybe just getting rid of them
You don’t have to be ashamed of having a problem
You have to be ashamed not doing something about it
So get up and be strong
Be nice and be proud of being who you are
Because everyone else is taken
William A Poppen Sep 2014
Beneath shade from tall poplars stand
markers: rows staggered hand-in-hand.

Rock slabs like soldiers on review
symbolic nameplates capture dew.

Planted deep, mounted in red-clay;
lean to and fro like mimes at play.

Weathered by icy winter frost
and torrid heat near sacred ghost,

echoes resound of beginnings
while dust sifts across the endings.
also published here  https://requiemmagazine.wordpress.com/issues/issue-1/
Warren Gossett Sep 2011
Down from the icy Sawtooth crags
and through the winter-laden landscape,
the wind eventually dips to the canyon
and creek we loved so well as children.
Continuing on, it threads through the
hollows above the creek, sculpted even
today by stooped cottonwood trees.

Twisting above granite outcroppings
and lava boulders, the wind courses
through the giant arteries of this canyon,
passing among quaking aspen, river willow,
and gnarled cottonwood, shorn rudely
by now of every dryly-veined leaf.

At ancient volcanic escarpments the
wind bears south, scraping hard along
canyon walls. Upward it moves, out of
the canyon, slowing and sallying about
the hillocks, the gullies, the poplars
until it finally comes to stir ever more
gently, warmer even, my dear brother,
around your gray marbled headstone.

Primeval of days, this very same wind
blows for eternity upon eternity, polishing
and purifying even the roughest of
the earth's elements and impediments.
This said, at this hill's crest where you rest,
there is no need of further refinement. Feel
how the northern wind quiets for you,
as if it knows over whose stone it passes.

--
CT Bailey Nov 2012
Leaves of thirty-three autumns

have covered the forest floor

along the bend in Laurel Creek,

that secret place, where cold

mountain water laps against

round, polished stones

and bare feet. Loamy

Tennessee silt once sifted

between the toes here,

leaving high-water marks

on our ragged jeans.

We feasted at waters’ edge,

eating over ripe blackberries;

blooms of honeysuckle

gave more laughter than honey.

Our berry-stained fingers traced

the words in sand

shyness would not say aloud.

Sometimes, I visit the stream,

kick the leaves over my shoes,

listen for the heavy north wind

to convict the pride of tall poplars,

but I dare not venture to the bend,

fearing somehow, someway,

I might reshape the memory

of you.
Chris Saitta Nov 2019
What is to say beyond the poplars,
But the dry mouth of her death,
Like the hoarded provision of an echo,
Somewhere far off in my being,
Where darkening moves up the stone step,
Each footprint like her powdered breath,
Her shuddering voice channeled through my throat,
Shattered like frozen buds blown to the faceless snow.
Olivia Kent Dec 2013
By the river I meandered .
Ducks quacked their racket.
Accompanied in harmony by female child.
The sound in tune with nature's perfect bloom.
Moorhen drifted over water.
Dipped his head then he was gone.
Dogs ran in unison together.
Different breeds as one.
Having so much fun.
Dogs spread their bark all over the park.
As bark flakes off from the trees.

The willows crudely wept their tears.
And the Poplars only trembled more.

Got to the spot of our dragon fly.
Nobody's here.
All that's here are memories.
River's still not got much of a flow.
Her water's flowing mud and silt.

Fishers still stand on the Sunday bank.
Depositing nothing but lines.

And here am I stood on the spot.
Where this poem first began.
Where for a brief moment.
I was your woman
For another brief moment.
You were my man.

In eloquent silence I stand.
Watching the world go by.
Conversing with the naked trees.
Bare and exposed like me.

There's a chill here in this place.
It's felt in my words as they kiss my face.

Sat on the fence as I muse.
As me, myself, and I amuse.
The litter of displaced leaves on the ground.
Memories lost.
Memories found.
Too chilly to rest by the stream.
With a heart so chilled indeed.
And now the pub calls and I'm going for dinner.

Eaten now.
I stopped and bade our spot goodbye.
Homeward bound with a tear in my eye,
Watching two ducks having a row.
Perhaps those ducks were you and I!
By ladylivvi1

© 2013 ladylivvi1 (All rights reserved)
Hal Loyd Denton Nov 2011
Shadow's deep charm
Shadow living clues this servant ever bound to scattered light and real persons and things strange that something perceived
As empty and practically meaningless would make our world boring and sad without its presence and
Before slash and gore movies dulled our sensibilities and we became so hardened back then with just a shadow placed
Right in the scene it could create adequate fear what tremendous achievements impressionist painters made when they
First recreated with bluish light or sky light shadow in their paintings how freeing and extensive this touch
Meant to paintings no longer bound to in some cases drab dark black shadows but the soft shadow
Seemingly blending moon light not just sharp silver but giving a comfortable glow that would be carried
And experienced where ever the painting was displayed one of notable richness is Orchard in bloom
With poplars you’re standing at a wall with a great ornate wooden door you open and enter your senses
Are flooded as you take in this masterpiece a spell spreads over your being muted levels allow the rising
Of its central theme to move in the tender waves out of total quiet stillness everything whispers its
Voice powerful it drifts in the desert it would surely be a mirage but this is a desert of quiet for
Ennobling your irenic needs to be found not out in fields observing slow moving clouds overhead to
Soothe or a bird in exquisite slow flight but you get all of it by it being created by a master artist
Singularly For your pleasure and the vanquishing of disturbing thoughts that can take peace from us in
Hectic days that at times life must demand you look and a change occurs it’s not your eyes seeing but
Your soul it hungers for those times of retreat and contemplation it feeds on delicacies that are rich
In emotional content outwardly it does the quiet work of strengthening mind and body freshness
Develops as seeds hidden grow unseen but will provide health and nourishment in coming days
Translated by Przemyslaw Musialowski 11/2/2019

Paint me such a village in the valley,
sad with dark green firs and cheerful with crops...
Let she all in red rowanberries be,
and let gray linen lay on her meadows;
let colorful rainbows throw themselves across the silent pond,
dispersed by air that spurts out of the waters deep.
Let the cloud of pigeons flutter overhead,
and dandelions' soft fluff and spiders' silk threads...

And paint pastures and fertile fields,
and in their black soil let wheat and barley shine with gold,
and let fiery red of poppies ridges beautifully adorn,
and poplars over the road make into a string,
and throw the silvery mist on the meadows...

And let they walk so, loudly, through the field
heifers' bells and clapping of whips.
Let the willows ponder by the murmuring stream,
casting shadow pre-sunset and long,
and quiet calming blue give around,
and fill the air with birds' happy babbling.
And put such a cloud on the mountains' brow...
And only people make ours, so dear to my heart.

Maria Konopnicka (1842-1910)

* The original name of the poem is "In a foreign land", as
the poem was written in Karlsbad in Germany.
Maria Konopnicka's funeral in Lviv was attended by almost 50,000 people, and to this day this great poet has her own and special place in the hearts of ordinary Polish people.

Konopnicka's poetry has a pinch of Hans Christian Andersen's magic and warmth, and this warmth and magic is not lost in free-verse translation.

Enjoy!
kaija eighty Feb 2010
many girls i know like men that glean
like sky-scrapers, brilliant in their hard lines
that rise up from the ash in a fit of man made glory.
somehow, i bypassed this lust for babel opting for flesh
teeming with genesis like the forest behind my cabin.
its heartbeats of life with in death pound beside me
as i lie in bed with the light off and the blinds open
looking at poplars like they're the pillars of Hercules
crudely inscribed with the letters ne plus ultra.
i thought he was in the spirit of lake of the woods
but his roots do not flourish here, they scour for soil
and water finding only dry sand. so at what point
did i stop ghosting the natural curve of the road
engulfed by the yellow of my favourite blouse
reflecting back in the blacks of his eyes like lighthouses
or twin Brittle Bushes from the Sonoran. he is nothing
but an African desert where children absorb warnings
like liberal skin, oblivious to the natural radiance in desolation
and everything that i will eventually let go
Louise Buxton Feb 2016
Dusk has fallen:
poplars crouch low in the fading light.
On the table, a white cloth set for tea
gathers the home grown blooms,
destined to wilt amid the evening's supper crumbs.

I taste you.
Mouth-watering, ripened peaches
on this most delicious of evenings.
The short grass delights between our toes;
choirs of daisies rustle,
accompanied by the carolling crickets hidden in the wysteria.

I laugh-
you smile, with all the sparkle of effervescent wine.
I am a giggly school ******* her first real date,
all rosy cheeks and trembling hands.
'Let me tell you something' you whisper.
But not another word is spoken.
I taste you; mouth-watering, ripened peaches.
Silence is palpable, echoed only in the softness of
skin against skin.

— The End —