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Johnny Raven May 2013
Oubliette to liberation you broke the chains that bound
You smashed the darkness inside my head and
What was lost you some how found

For years I bled debauchery, ****** and ****
I screamed homicidal riddles within inches of
My death

I died so many times, my heart digressed necrotic
My mind drifted into the darkness and I became psychotic.
I'd given up on love, on tenderness, and kindness
Then you somehow found me dying
A cardiac arrhythmia, resuscitation
To salvation, so happy now I'm crying.

You've given me hope and love
You've given me dreams and angels
Heaven n' bliss becomes your hugs
The caressing of your lines and angles

You've given me everything I've ever dreamed
And everything I never thought I wanted
You turned the light on when I was in darkness
You gave me a light; radiating a gentle kindness
You've temporarily silenced the demons and now
They've been momentarily harnessed
At the very least, a respite from the bleeding...
A respite from the voices screaming
The Red Man back to dreaming,
Reality for now, the
Mad Man in my head's back to sleeping...
Shhhhhhhhhh...

*- Johnny Raven
  © Copyright 2013
Again, non polished, just an attempt to express how She had a positive effect on my life. Thank You G.P. This needs to be polished. Word's like salvation or love shouldn't be used. But trying to express how I went from having my ****** identity assassinated by my ex to regaining confidence is rather difficult in poetry form...
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping—rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
        Only this and nothing more.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted—nevermore!
‘When the doors of perception are cleansed
Things will appear as they are:
Infinite.’

∞ William Blake



‘There are things known
and there are things unknown,
and in between are the doors.’

∞ Jim Morrison



Moment of inner freedom
when the mind is opened & the
infinite universe revealed
& the soul is left to wander
dazed & confus’d searching
here & there for teachers & friends.



People need Connectors
Writers, heroes, stars, leaders
To give life form.
A child’s sand boat facing
the sun.
Plastic soldiers in the miniature
dirt war. Forts.
Garage Rocket Ships

Ceremonies, theatre, dances
To reassert
Tribal needs and memories
a call to worship, uniting
above all, a reversion,
a longing for family and the
safety magic of childhood



A man rakes leaves into
a heap in his yard, a pile,
and leans on his rake and
burns them utterly.

The fragrance fills the forest
children pause and heed the
smell, which will become
nostalgia in several years.



An angel runs
Thru the sudden light
Thru the room
A ghost precedes us
A shadow follows us
And each time we stop
We fall



The Endless quest a vigil
of watchtowers and fortresses
against the sea and time.
Have they won? Perhaps.
They still stand and in
their silent rooms still wander
the souls of the dead,
who keep their watch on the living.
Soon enough we shall join them.
Soon enough we shall walk
the walls of time. We shall
miss nothing
except each other.



No one thought up being;
he who thinks he has
Step forward



The Crossroads
a place where ghosts
reside to whisper into
the ears of travelers &
interest them in their fate

Hitchhiker drinks:
“I call again on the dark
hidden gods of blood”

-Why do you call us?
You know our price. It
never changes. Death of
you will give you life
& free you from a vile
fate. But it is getting late.

-If I could see you again
& talk w/ you, & walk a
short while in your company,
& drink the heady brew
of your conversations,
I thought

-to rescue a soul already
ruined. To achieve respite.
To plunder green gold
on a pirate raid & bring
to camp the glory of old.

-As the capesman faces
poisoned horns & drinks
red victory; the soldier,
too, w/ his trophy, a
pierced helmet; & the
ledge-walker shuddering
his way into inward grace

-(laughter) Well, then. Would
you mock yourself?

-No.

-Soon our voices must become
one, or one must leave.



There was preserved

in her

The fresh miracle

of

surprise.



open

The Night is young
& full of rest
I can’t describe
the way she’s dress’d
She’ll pander to some strange
requests
Anything that you suggest
Anything to please her guest
Indistinct moments of brief respite flow into the room
Where the consequences of your actions lie
Bringing a false sense of relief to rest upon your brow
Until the next time you look into your eyes

The candidness of the mirror suspended within this room
Smiles in all its feigned innocence at you
Sending out a call to come and look upon the wall
Into the very eyes, which reveal the truth

Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment of brief respite
Flowing into your conscience as a reprieve
As soon the mirror will be calling out in laughter
   Come here, and take a look at me

The mirror’s name is Karma also known as Fate
Her call is mighty powerful and strong
The vision that she holds is determined by your actions
Come take a look and see if I am wrong
Copyright *Neva Flores @2010
www.changefulstorm.blogspot.com
www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/HerVigil
Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-mooned abysses of night,
I have lived o'er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

I have whirled with the earth at the dawning,
When the sky was a vaporous flame;
I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded, without knowledge or lustre or name.

I had drifted o'er seas without ending,
Under sinister grey-clouded skies,
That the many-forked lightning is rending,
That resound with hysterical cries;
With the moans of invisible daemons, that out of the green waters rise.

I have plunged like a deer through the arches
Of the hoary primoridal grove,
Where the oaks feel the presence that marches,
And stalks on where no spirit dares rove,
And I flee from a thing that surrounds me, and leers through dead branches above.

I have stumbled by cave-ridden mountains
That rise barren and bleak from the plain,
I have drunk of the fog-foetid fountains
That ooze down to the marsh and the main;
And in hot cursed tarns I have seen things, I care not to gaze on again.

I have scanned the vast ivy-clad palace,
I have trod its untenanted hall,
Where the moon rising up from the valleys
Shows the tapestried things on the wall;
Strange figures discordantly woven, that I cannot endure to recall.

I have peered from the casements in wonder
At the mouldering meadows around,
At the many-roofed village laid under
The curse of a grave-girdled ground;
And from rows of white urn-carven marble, I listen intently for sound.

I have haunted the tombs of the ages,
I have flown on the pinions of fear,
Where the smoke-belching Erebus rages;
Where the jokulls loom snow-clad and drear:
And in realms where the sun of the desert consumes what it never can cheer.

I was old when the pharaohs first mounted
The jewel-decked throne by the Nile;
I was old in those epochs uncounted
When I, and I only, was vile;
And Man, yet untainted and happy, dwelt in bliss on the far Arctic isle.

Oh, great was the sin of my spirit,
And great is the reach of its doom;
Not the pity of Heaven can cheer it,
Nor can respite be found in the tomb:
Down the infinite aeons come beating the wings of unmerciful gloom.

Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-mooned abysses of night,
I have lived o'er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.
Melody Jun 2014
My name is Darkness.
I have a contract with light,
so I can be seen in corners and alleys.
I follow you because you follow the plight
and I will let you carry me, as long I can catch you.

My name is Evil,
I have a contract with good,
to add balance to your soul and
let you see my horns and many thorns.
I stalk you because you are one person, not a people.
I will let you hold my hand, as long as I can run ahead.

My name is Moon,
I have a contract with Sun,
because I need to ignite the night
and show you that I can shine just as bright.
I wake up because I like to watch you respite.
I will let you sleep as long as I can turn out your lights.

My name is not Darkness.
My name is not Evil.
My name is not Moon.

My name is Shadow.
I have a contract with light,
so I can be in corners and alleys.
I'm glued to one person, not a people.
I may have horns and I can have thorns.
I will hold your hand, and even let you run ahead.
I won't watch you fall, but I cannot catch you.
I will let you sleep as long as you keep on the light.

My name is not Darkness.
My name is not Evil.
My name is not Moon.
My name is Shadow.
I was born a stalker.
Please tell me what you think.

© 2014 Melody
Matterhorn Dec 2018
He awoke.

His eyes opened slowly with a purposeful slowness; an action that for most people is the beginning of their life was, for him, a procrastination.

He arose.

The floor felt cold, unwelcoming as he stumbled reluctantly to the sink. The bristles rasped against his teeth, gums bleeding out of spite.

He entered.

Breakfast—a lonely egg, boring toast—entered his body; each bite was scooped with the utilitarian vigor of one who is no longer enchanted by food, yet the relationship must continue: a compulsory marriage without option for divorce. This discomfort washed down with lemon-water.

He contemplated.

Thoughts, those musings that are feared, condemned by most and yet became the greatest of comforts for him, reminded him that one day it all would end and he would be free.

He wasted.

He stretched out his hands, offering up his life force in the daily sacrifice to the eager god that, in return, lit up with the brightness of a thousand stars that blinded him from all that he wished not to see.

He showered.

Cold water ran down his soul, icing the most superficial inflammations while taunting the deepest wounds; no matter how long he remained behind the curtain, there would be no true respite.

He returned.

The blackness beckoned. He entered willingly, surrendering himself to the dark embrace of that demonic respite, his beloved above all others.

He died, once again.
© Ethan M. Pfahning 2018
April Jul 2018
A labyrinth expands before me,
Its only prize, the truth; reality
Awaits the shrewd of mind.
At every turn lie misdirections,
One wrong choice and I am
Lost, for perils lie ahead;
Webs of lies lie waiting for their prey.
I pray for wisdom that I may not fall,
Misguided by a ghost I thought I saw;
My own illusions turn me from the light.
The path ahead is cobbled from the shadows,
Bits of truth among them shining gold,
The only light to guide my weary feet
As Darkness beckons me with gentle hands.
Temptation offers respite from my search:
“Sit down and rest, poor ragged
traveler, you search in vain
For worthless lies. I tell the truth;
One as beautiful as I is honest, sure.”
I pay no heed. The truth is rarely beautiful or pure.
again a visitation is made, billowing smoke in the bush
again a visitation is made, billowing smoke in the bush
water bombing dowsing the flames, timber stands charred
water bombing dowsing the flames, timber stands charred
billowing smoke in the bush, timber stands charred
again a visitation is made, water bombing dowsing the flames

soot black tones cover the mountains, summer fires fierce
soot black tones cover the mountains, summer fires fierce
respite not at hand, e'er the blazes keep searing
respite not at hand, e'er the blazes keep searing
respite not at hand, summer fires fierce
soot black tones cover the mountains, e'er the blazes keep searing

an ongoing trail of embers and flares, scarring the terrain
an ongoing trail of embers and flares, scarring the terrain
smouldering ashes left behind, destroying all in their path
smouldering ashes left behind, destroying all in their path
an ongoing trail of embers and flares, destroying all in their path
smouldering ashes left behind, scarring the terrain

summer fires fierce, scarring the terrain
an ongoing trail of embers and flares, e'er the blazes keep searing
respite not at hand, again a visitation is made
soot black tones cover the mountains, destroying all in their path
billowing smoke in the bush, timber stands charred
water bombing dowsing the flames, smouldering ashes left behind
ryn Oct 2014
Elated to see you aloft in the night sky
To what do I owe this enchanted boon.
In the merry company of winking stars,
Enthralled by this sight as I admire my moon.

Bathe me in your streaks of translucent silver.
Accompany me through my sleepless nights.
Watching over me with unwavering vigil.
Swathe me in whispers of peaceful respite.

Oh how you govern the raging tides of my soul.
Rest your gaze as the waters break upon my shore...
Erode and weaken the load strewn over my burning shoals,
Sands drowned breathless but craving for more.

Few nights now... Smitten as you coyly turn away.
Thick strands of shadow clad hair in gentle cascades,
Alluringly obscuring a slight fraction of your face.
A tiny crescent blanketed away; into the blackness it fades.

More nights pass... Now I see only a lesser moon
Leaving me with only half; darkness so had claimed.
Please make yourself last; you mustn't leave too soon,
I'm not ready to be left crippled and maimed.

I silently look up as more nights go by.
I watched my lunar love dissolving into space.
My heart too, torn away a morsel at a time...
Finally she had gone; without a sliver or a trace.

Every nightfall since is rife with emptiness and despair.
I asked the stars if they could soothe my gaping void...
But they'd only twinkle in indifference...
Regardless of the pleas I've employed.

Unsure of how many rises it has thus been.
Nights only brought the onslaught of mocking stars above.
Still I toy with the promises made overhead,
For the awaited return of my crazed elusive love.

I know it's frivolous to think I'm the only one...
There are others who pine just as I do.
But I yearn the most for your sought after attention,
For our hearts have sung in every colour and every hue.

Anxiety at peak, dismayed almost broken,
Then I hear a sweet song sung; distant and far.
A song that shared the words we once had spoken,
Again enveloped in translucent silver, with relief I sighed...,
                          *"There you are..."
Inspired by the lunar cycle...
am i ee Aug 2015
the bane of my existence
here
now
is
all of the incessant
noise.  

the city encroaches
ever outward,
gobbling up
the suburbs
like the great big
Blob

contributing
layer
after
layer
of noise.  

a new metro line
opened last year
disheartened
the morning

realized
it was the trains
i heard
as my puppy
and i
walked so early.  

trash trucks,
back up beeping noises,
leaf blowers,
mowers
and trimmers ...
all
conspiring
to drive me
mad.

the birds and owls,
snakes and deer,
hawks and rabbits
toads
and trees
and flowers,
puppies
all other creatures
divine,
tempering
this man-made chaos
this man-made
hell

keeping me hopeful
that
i
will
have some
respite
  

some respite
from this
hideous cacophony,
this man-made hell,
in the future,
not
too distant.

of course
there are
some benefits
from all
the city life

but i prefer
the silence
the solitude
of nature.


the Taoist recluses
who speak to me,
whose poems
paintings
writings
and silence
are balm
to my soul.  

some day soon,
i too
shall join
the recluses
far away
far far away
in the mountains.

but for now,
i am
only a modern day
taoist
recluse
stuck in suburbia,
doing my best,
living in this
noisy hell.
Timothy Oct 2012
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**~Edgar Allan Poe 1809—1849~
On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then --
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.
Hannah Beth Aug 2014
She is the first springtime shower
a fresh promise of something new
The foundation to newfound life around her
a persona of all that is true

Soon, she is a summer downpour
A welcome respite from scorching heat
Every drop i crave, every storm near surrounds me
Her water is soon air, an overwhelming necessity

Later, an autumn storm.
Accompanied by a bite
A wind so harsh and bitter
Makes me forget her first spring life

And lastly, a soft snowfall.
Her floods have turned to ice
Frozen and forgotten
The damage heals with time

Storms must come full circle
none truly have an end
But to have known this girl,
What a privilege.
She was a living monsoon,
a friend.
Make what you want of this, but in my opinion, it is a story about relationships, and the different stages of them that are experienced. It was also inspired by Looking For Alaska, one of my favourite books, and my take on Pudge's relationship with Alaska. So yeah, that's basically it, I'll be quiet now haha
Europa Apr 2017
[... I can feel its humble goodness. It's in the pinky shadows that only come out when there's sun. And in the rustling of dry, decaying leaves-- a moment of airy respite 'till they pass through to what's next in their slow lives.]

I see sunshine encapsulated in
The rungs of time's branches--
And I am grateful
For the significance that
Temporary things know.

Oh dramatic beings, today
Let's be eased.
Feel the humming of
Sun striking Earth--
It is the most loving blow.

Remember the orcas and
The petals of spring yet to be.
Of our friends and their laughter...
Remember the roots that
Traverse beneath you and me,
And that constant
Slip of the tide...

Our memories are constant--
Indeed you can remember
What you have yet to see.

Dip your skin in this
Day's glory, and wear it so
For as long as it fits.
Cné Aug 2017
The weary mind in turmoil writhes
and slumber will not come.
The moonlight seeps
like latticed withered vines.
I listen to my heartbeat,
in the silence like a drum,
And through my shuttered eyes....
see strange designs.
The night will not take me prisoner,
and bind me to restful sleep.
No dreams, or any respite,
no way, my soul to keep.
Groaning as I turn myself
to rest beleaguered pain,
I stretch to ease
my tortured back and sigh.
Then I fluff my pillow
to deactivate my speeding brain...
Rolling in the covers,
as my body sweats and strains,
seeking to lose myself,
discarding all, my pains

But my eyes are wide...
and still the question..."Why?"
Brains on hyperdrive
RAJ NANDY Dec 2017
THE TRUE STORY OF JERUSALEM IN VERSE :
  FOLLOWING DONALD TRUMP'S RECOGNITION
Dear Readers, to usher in the spirit of Christmas, I wish to
share with you the true Story of Jerusalem in Verse. Based on
Biblical chronology, and several articles about its Early History.
Though the three of our World’s greatest religions have a common
lineage, yet religious bickering and hatred continues to exist in
our present age! Let this Season of Christmas bring peace with
goodwill and love. Let us all pray together for a peaceful World!
If you like this true story, kindly recommend it to all your poet
friends to read this slice of History. Thanks, from Raj Nandy.

   STORY OF JERUSALEM - GOD'S “PROMISED LAND”
                         IN VERSE: By Raj Nandy
                  
                       INTRODUCTION
After reading my ‘Arab Contribution to Science’ and the
downfall of Islam’s Golden Age,
A friend had requested me to write about The Crusades.
Now the Mongol contribution was far greater towards
Islamic Empire’s downfall,
For though the First Crusade besieged the Holy City of
Jerusalem making it fall,
The subsequent Crusades to the Seljuk Turks lost all!
But before writing about the Nine Crusades proper,
To acquaint my readers with the historic city of
Jerusalem becomes my present endeavor.
For Jerusalem is sacred to the Jews, Christian, and the
Muslims alike,
As their holy relics and shrines are housed in that Old
City’s revered sites!
But prior to narrating the story of Old Jerusalem City,
Let me tell you briefly about its early history.
About the patriarch Abraham, whom God led to this
‘Promised Land’.
From where this true story of Jerusalem really began.

                 HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
The city of Jerusalem was twice razed to the ground.
Besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, captured and
recaptured 44 times, surprising as it all may sound!
In an era of idolatry and multiple gods, Abraham born*
in the ancient City of Ur,# believed in a single God!
(1800 BC)
So God was pleased and in a covenant with Patriarch
Abraham,
Blessed him to become the ‘Father of Many Nations’
in a distant ‘Promised Land’!
Thus Abraham with his wife Sarah and nephew Lot,
Entered the Land of Canaan as promised by God.
But when a famine ravaged the Land of Canaan,
Abraham had moved onto Egypt on his own!
Having suffered there for some ungodly acts, his
return to the Land of Canaan remains a historical fact.
Through Abraham and Sarah’s Egyptian maid Hagar, -
his son Ishmael was born.
From Ishmael descended the ‘Ishmaelites’, to
become the Twelve Arab Tribes later on!
Next, with the blessings of the Lord, to Abraham
and Sarah son Isaac was born.
Isaac’s son Jacob fathered the Twelve Jewish Tribes,
Who became collectively known as the ‘Israelites’.
From the ‘Tribe of Benjamin’ came King Saul, the
first King of united Israel rising tall.
From the ‘Tribe of Judah’ King David, Solomon, and
several Kings of Judah did rise;
As proud forefathers of the Messiah Jesus Christ!
Thus in Judaism both the Arabs and the Christians
find a common lineage;
Yet unfortunately bitter differences continue to
exist even in our present age!
NOTES: Canaan was the ancient name of a large & prosperous
country (at times independent, at others a territory to Egypt),
which roughly corresponds to present day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. Canaan
was also known as ‘Phoenicia’ between 3200 BC & 539 BC. # Ur = an important
Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia.


           ORIGINS OF JERUSALEM
Jerusalem has been hailed by many names,
Gets mentioned as ‘Rushalium’ in an ancient
Egyptian text!  (2000 BC)
Also as Salem, Moriah, Jebus and Zion, this capital city
of the Israelites had been known.
Jerusalem as the remnant town of Salem, is also
mentioned in the ‘Book of Joshua’ Chapter Ten.
It was earlier a Jebusite City, which was conquered by  
King David around 1003 BC;
When David shifted his capital to Jerusalem from Hebron.
In Jerusalem he kept the Holy Ark in a sacred Tabernacle,
For which his son King Solomon had built the First Great
Temple.
This Sacred Ark contained the ‘Ten Commandments’,
Which accompanied the Israelites during their 40 years
of desert wandering with Moses, as their guidance!
But since majority of the tribes were hesitant to fight the
Canaanites for their ‘Promised Land’,
God blessed Joshua, the successor of Moses, to lead the
Tribes to their ‘Promised Land’.
NOTE: Jebusite was one of the ancient Canaanite tribes, conquered by
King David.

        TURBULENT HISTORY OF JERUSALEM
Now cutting across several centuries of its dynamic
history, let me continue with Jerusalem’s Story.
The death of King Solomon (931 BC) ended Israel’s
‘Golden Age’,
And this united Kingdom of Israel was split into
Northern and Southern states.
Ten Tribes formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel
with its capital at Samaria;
While Jerusalem became the capital of the Southern
half called Judea.
In unity lies strength, and in division further dissention;
This kingdom of King David and Solomon now becomes
prey to several foreign invasions!
Jerusalem gets attacked by the Egyptians, Assyrians,
Babylonians, Persians, and those imperial Romans, who
had initially built but later destroyed the Second
Jewish Temple!
The cruel King Herod, Judea’s Roman Protector,
Though of unstable mind, was a great builder!
‘The Wailing Wall’ and most of the ruins visible today,
Were built by the despot Herod as Archeologists say!
King Herod enlarged the Temple Mount with a massive
retaining wall around it.
Renovated the Second Temple which finally acquired  
his name!
But in 70 AD the Roman Emperor Titus, razed this
Second Temple to the ground, as Historians inform us!
Jerusalem had some peace under the Christian Byzantine
Emperor Constantine,
Who upheld Christianity, and his mother Helena inspired
the building of many hallowed shrines;
Only to be occupied by the Seljuk Turks later, who
desecrated those shrines!
Till the First Crusade in 1099 captured Jerusalem, to
provide eighty eight years of respite.
Next in 1187 the Seljuk Turk Saladin conquered Jerusalem;
When a peace treaty with Richard ‘The Lion Heart’ allowed
the visit of its ‘Holy Shrines’ by the Christians.
The British captured Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks
in Nineteen hundred and seventeen;
And in 1948 the State of Israel was born, realizing
Abraham’s dream!
But surrounded by hostile enemies on all sides, Israel
had to fight continuously for its survival as a Nation;
And now I pause to pay my humble tribute to those
valiant Israelites with salutation!

           THE OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM
Nestled on the hollow of the hills of Judea this city
spreads out on a plateau 800 meters above the sea.
With its Dome shining in the sun, dominating  some five
thousand years of history!
The City stretches 0.9 square kilometers surrounded by
retaining walls between 16 to 46 feet in height.
Which includes more than 200 monuments and sacred
sites!
Until the 1860s the Old City had represented entire
Jerusalem collectively.
But later under the initiative of the British, settlements
outside its wall began confidently.
During 1946 when Israel declared its Independence,
The ‘old city’ remained under the control of the Jordanians;
Only to be liberated during the Six Day’s War in 1967!

           OLD CITY GATES AND QUARTERS
The walls around the Old City stretch for 4.5 kilometers,
With its height varying between five to sixteen meters.
It has 43 surveillance towers and eleven gates.
However, only seven gates remain open as on date.
The current wall was built in 1538 by Sultan Suleiman
the Magnificent.
On the southern side of this wall is the Zion Gate, leading
to the Armenian Quarters overlooking Mount Zion outside;
Where lies King David’s tomb, a Holy Site.
The Dung Gate leads to the Jewish Quarters from the south;
And the way to Al-Aksa Mosque inside the Temple Mount.
The Jaffa or the Main Gate is on the west, with its famous
Citadel and the ‘Tower of David’ built by King Herod.
This gate leads to the Christian Quarters inside, while the
road goes to the port of Jaffa outside.
A New Gate was also built further up on the north-western
side,    (in1898)
For entry of the German Emperor William the Second,
through the Christian side!
The Damascus Gate in the middle of the Northern Wall
was the largest and the most heavily defended Gate.
Where excavations have revealed an old ‘Roman Gate’
beneath it.
Through this Gate had entered the Holy Crusade!
Further east on the northern wall is the ‘Herod’s Gate’,
Leading to the Muslim Quarters and the ‘Souk’, – the
Arab markets.
On the East is the Lions Gate, with carved figure of
lions on the gate’s crest;
Both for the Christian and the Jews this gate has a
special significance!
For this gate marks the walk ‘Via Dolorosa’, the path
taken by Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to
his Crucifixion Site,
Where stands the Church of Holy Sepulcher built by
the Emperor Constantine.
In 1967 the Israeli 55th Para Brigade entered through this
‘Lions Gate’, after a hand-to-hand fight with the Jordanians.
When they hoisted the Star of David on the Temple Mount  
to reclaim Jerusalem!
Jerusalem was declared as their Capital City,
Concluding a chapter of its turbulent History!

Since the time of the Crusades Jerusalem has remained
traditionally divided into Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and
Armenian sections;
Each with its sacred Synagogues, Churches, and Mosques,
defying the City’s unification!
Yet amidst the gong of church bells, the call of Muezzin,
and recitation of the Torah,
Old Jerusalem reverberates with a unique religious
euphoria!

           SACRED MONUMENTS AND SITES
‘The Wailing Wall’ is the more popular name for that part
of Western Wall built by King Herod during 19 BC,
Around the Second Jewish Temple which he renovated,
for the world to see!
Today only 167 feet of this exposed ‘Wall’ remains,
which is 62 feet high.
As a solitary witness to that once glorious past, which
evokes a deep sighs!
It is the holiest of Jewish shrines today where they
congregate.
To pray in front of this Sacred Wall and to loudly lament,
The loss of their Great Temple which was once made!
Inside the cracks in the wall many folded papers can be
seen;
Coating their petitions to God with prayers from within!

The Temple Mount is perhaps the oldest of all shrines.
Sacred to both the Christians and the Muslims alike!
For here on a rock alter Abraham had bound his son
Isaac,
Ready to sacrifice him when the Lord put him to a test!
Here King Solomon had built the First Jewish Temple;
Which during 587 BC, was destroyed by the King of
Babylon!
The King also took the Jews into captivity lasting nearly
seventy long years;
And Psalm 137 tells us how the Jews remembering Zion
on the banks of River of Babylon, - shed their tears!
That old song by ‘Bonny M’, now rings in my ears!
This was also the site of the Second Temple destroyed
by the Romans.
Who renamed Jerusalem as ‘Aelia Capitolina’, making
the City pagan!
Al-Aqsa Mosque or ‘The Farthest Mosque’, located on the
Mount, was completed around 705 AD they say.
Has been claimed by the Muslims as the site where their
Prophet traveled ‘during the night’ from Mecca to pray;
And from where angle Gabriel accompanied him to
Heaven or ‘Jannat,’ - all the way!
So they constructed the ‘Dome of The Rock’ to mark
this ascension;
Which around 691 AD saw its completion.
The Golden Gate on the east leading to the Temple Mount,
Was sealed by the Muslims during Sixth Century following
their fears and doubts.
For the Jew’s claim their Messiah will enter through this
Golden Gate one day.
Which unnerved the Muslims whatever one may say.
So outside this sealed gate they also built a cemetery;
Let future events gradually unfold in Jerusalem’s Story!

                       CONCLUSION
Now dear readers I conclude this narration, with some
food for thought and contemplation.
‘Jerusalem’ is mentioned in the Jewish Bible 669 times,
and 154 times as ‘Zion’. (‘Land of Israel’)
In the Christian Bible it is mentioned 161 times; but not
once in the Hindu ‘Gita’, the Buddhist Scriptures, or in
the Muslim Koran;
Not forgetting the fact that God is Supreme and One!
The Koran speaks only of “The Furthest Mosque” where  
the Prophet went to pray,
From Mecca we know Holy Medina comes on the way.*
(please see notes below)
The Holy Bible is also a record of Early Civilizations ,
Supported by Archaeological finds, carbon dating, and
countless excavations.
The Jewish claim to the ‘Land of Canaan’ is more than
3000 years old;
And Israel today occupies 75% of that historic piece of
land we know and have been told!
The Old City in 1981 has been declared as UNESCO’s
Heritage Site.
Let the ‘Spirit of Humanity’ overtake all religious divide!
It is true that History has evolved from the Myths and
Legends of the past.
But it is for us to separate the wheat from the chaff.
I have done adequate research of this Ancient History.
Now I leave it to You my Readers for drawing your own conclusions after reading this true Story!
Thank you readers for reading patiently,
From Raj Nandy of New Delhi .
ALL COPY RIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR ONLY
*** Dear Readers, I have pointed out in the concluding portion that as per all available evidence, claim of the Holy Kaaba on the Temple Mount by the Muslims is not supported by the true History of Jerusalem!
betterdays Aug 2014
i have found a patch
of quietude in my busy
day and spend it outdoors.

under a dovegrey, marshmallowed sky
and with the gossip of
two brown house sparrow
wifes.

i take my loafers off
and share the fragent warmth of the earth
with the colony of oiled, black skinks
and the shy, baby
blue tongue.

and i  sit on a log...
and breathe..
long and deep...
restrorative sighing.

then appearing  above us all, a kite or eagle, rides the wind in circles....perhaps...
the baby blue tongue,
is right to be shy...

in the distance
the kookaburra chuckles
and the lorikeets squabble
and people murmur and shout.

too soon,
my respite is over.
then it is shoes on,
and back to the computer screen and desk....

but at least i had a few moment's grace...
Amitav Radiance Oct 2014
Started walking along the path
Where life was leading me
Towards a destination chosen
Not chosen by me
But was willingly following
To a predefined destination
Then I came along a bench
Weary I was travelling
The bench gave me respite
From the grueling march
I inspected the torn soles
As the pebbles were hurting my feet
Bleeding profusely
I thanked the bench
Where I could now rest for the night
Lying on my back
I connected the dots on the night canopy
Slumber took over
Dreams of a new road, I could see
Sleeping off the weariness
I woke up to a new day
The bench which taught me to wait
Another destination chosen by me
Clouds have cleared away
I knew the path to walk along
I was a traveler with purpose
My destination, waiting for me
♡° ⊙ • ⊙ °♡
This place in my heart
There...
intimately aware
     Deep tenderness
Imbued with
illuminessence
Moonflowers
opening in the fullness
of the Moon's light
     Tonight
wrapped tight
threads of fear
Mama Pain
too great to fight
     A ragged slice
overflowing
with hurt by
unkind words
thoughtlessly
thrown my way
Self inflicted pain
when I doubt my inherent
Knowledge and Strength
     I know this part
of my heart
that holds
the wounded
collections of me
Keeping at bay
the ache that
lives within
     The Blessing is
that Love
surrounds
Wraps around
with Healing light
Shining within
to Hold The Power
     Allowing me respite
from the Sacred Locket
held in this place of
My Heart
♡° ⊙ • ⊙ °♡

Copyright © 2016. Christi Michaels.
All Rights Reserved

related poems...
http://hellopoetry.com/poem/1483839/19/
http://hellopoetry.com/poem/1465555/knick-knacks/
http://hellopoetry.com/poem/1181941/it-hurts/
ThankYou for reading...
Heartbreak finds us all.
Mine is in response to my
daughter's ****** addiction.
Having overdosed unknown times in
2 1/2 years, no matter
the heartache, each day
she is with us is precious.
A unique beautiful creature
She is 20 years old.

Currently in her 8th recovery program. Today, she is alive and either succumbs or battles through each day.
she dwells in sorrow, every waking minute
she dwells in sorrow, every waking minute
tears scald her cheeks, there is no respite
tears scald her cheeks, there is no respite
there is no respite, she dwells in sorrow
every waking minute, tears scald her cheeks

the bow of grief wraps her, it doesn't untie
the bow of grief wraps her, it doesn't untie
she is locked in sadness, the doleful pall
she is locked in sadness, the doleful pall
she is locked in sadness, the bow of grief wraps her
the doleful pall, it doesn't untie

oh for the sun's face of glee, her heart being unburdened
oh for the sun's face of glee, her heart being unburdened
the loss and pain, to be lifted from her soul
the loss and pain, to be lifted from her soul
her heart being unburdened, the loss and pain
to be lifted from her soul, oh for the sun's face of glee

she is locked in sadness, the loss and pain
it doesn't untie, there is no respite
she dwells in sorrow, the doleful pall
tears scald her cheeks, the bow of grief wraps her
to be lifted from her soul, oh for the sun's face of glee
every waking minute, her heart being unburdened
in this age of vanishing dreams
and crying ghosts
I find myself drawn again and again
an undying connection
to this work of art
so out of time upon its creation
as to be an endless fascination for me
so unlike the artist
this suffering soul
who's immense love and anguish
for the less fortunate
coupled with a talent too immense
for one man
created a burden that weighed upon his shoulders
and his heart like a million captured tears
then once upon a beautiful dream
or perhaps just a clever thought or a baby's smile
a brief respite from the pain
he created the contradiction of his lifetime
as if to say to all that may come to know him
through what history dictates
'You see...I was not crazy!'
and The Smoking Skull
was born
I have some connection to this painting that I cannot explain...perhaps that is my skeleton in a past life...(grin)
Declan Quinn Dec 2015
Yesterday’s thoughts like white-water crashing
These are fainter today, like a babbling brook
Not quite abated but more still.
Allowing thought and deed to harmonise,
Even for an hour, I’ll take it.

The image of my loved ones etched,
My child, now a woman, forefront always
The absolute best of us personified
Love is the unbreakable bond between us
Come feel, hear the quiet and smile with me.
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2018
~weary weighted~

flummoxed are the sea watchers;
the long rhythms of sea change reveal only minor modesties,
difficult discerned are the tidal subtleties

though repetitive thrashing extracts it toll,
only the weary-weighted see the true meaning of the beating,
knowing full well,
it beats for them

recalling their early day’d fascination with its endless chaining,
now knowing all are similar
detained-chained,
and  the ******* churning but a cover up masque,
they need not longer conceal,
an unrevealed confess:

water is heavy-weighted, you cannot forever float,
constancy is of a thing to be wary,
its sadder longevity,
a chipping away erosion of wearing,
‘tis is the knelling noise of  sad respite,
an unlight lighthouse



~for Victoria, a year later~
Ralph E Peck Dec 2011
Efforts run a trickling stream and Good Intentions leap a head, Dedication fights the hardy fight
Lackadaisical rides the flow.  Respite comes up fare, Desire strives ever forward, only few will
Make the race, but Doing lags behind.  Effort holds up, slowing a tiny bit the end not yet in sight
Good Intentions has already died, Dedication surges toward the finish.

The finish line is not so far, Lacky fell off quick, Respite finds one or two, Desire is crawling, Effort
Is right behind, Dedication takes the easy way out.  Doing is plodding, trudging up the hill, but, picks
Up Desire before it falls...Effort is gone, some laugh, laugh at the race, but winning is None the Less
with Doing and Desire right along.
Tommy Randell Apr 2015
This is the house that ego built

This is the mind all callused and worn
Its ethical basis tattered and torn
That sits in the house that ego built

This is the heart exposed for your scorn
That believes it is right and can do no wrong
That governs the mind
That lives in the house that ego built

This is the lifeblood of laughter and fun
That flows through the flesh that clings to the bones
That cages the heart that governs the mind
That dreams in the house that ego built

This is the stomach ulcerated with guilt
That feeds on the justice of a knife ****** to the hilt
Into the innards of turmoil and bile
That brings queasy reality into a mind
That rots in the house that ego built

This is the skeleton of upright intent
Its bones a geometry and rosary of ailments
That scaffolds a life of sheer ****** mindedness
That never quite does what the mind intends
In this ruin of a house that ego built

This is the skin that keeps it all in
That brings order and calm to the chaos within
Though it wrinkles with age, transparent and worn
A castle of walls, a house not a home, that ego built

And these are the eyes unfocused and white
Their cataract curtains dimming the light
On the ghosts and the memories wandering inside
What's left of the house that ego built

Man becomes man, life becomes life
A notorious continuance without rest or respite
Bricks become clay, clay becomes dust
Where now is the house that ego built?

Where is the mind, where has it gone
The purpose and promise of which it was born
The ego that dreamed of a house to be built?

These thoughts are the dust of all that was willed.
King Panda Jan 2018
gnaw red your bone
in the aliform of dream
this

allocation of my
guts spreads lips
onto stained paint buckets
I

never meant for
us to be beautiful
adding

music
to every line
that came out
your mouth—

a moth-springing
butterfly
its

wings no longer
dusted but

dried and wasteful.

it was the
paradox of doubt
and

I cried through
painkiller night
paprika Jun 2013
There was nothing particularly notable
about the day
I started singing Hallelujah
to the flats of diet coke
in the stock room.
It was the only place
I could escape the yowling of
the Top 40 radio station,
and pretend I didn't hear the dull clank
of the door, as currents swelled inside
in search of cheap fixes.
It was also the only place where
there were no cameras
for the big ones
to watch me writhe and flounder
like an earthworm
aloft in a puddle.
And apparently that thirty second respite
was all my throat needed to open,
and give holy status to the
bottles of carcinogens knelt in prayer
around me.
And then I was called out,
wheeled into the florescent lighting
and expectant faces,
but I smiled,
and smile still,
for the song
was and is
still on my lips.
Universal Thrum Sep 2013
Oh, But what does it all mean Hidalgo?
Are we to fly in the face of the North Wind forever?

My mind has gone blank at the question.
Stranger still, the story perceived in prescient anticipation of the exact mentioned query once expounded upon spanning millions of miles of eloquent esoteric linguini, wit and charm with a dash of philosophic consequence, to fool you (the eager) into belief.

What is belief Hidalgo, but the suspension of reality, for an adept deeper world of unseen truth?

Do we see reality at all my friend? It is already shaped by our perceptions, responds to our expectations, nay we have not a clue, perhaps the arcane texts written by the hobo scholars of old hold the answer, so yet we settle on the material and fixate it as the lone clear star in an otherwise dark and cloudy sky. Mysteries abound behind the cosmos. Even when we look, do we really see, or are we as an insect upon the written page, crawling over the plain meaning? Is our capacity to hear underwhelmed by our propensity to listen? All these senses must count for something, for God is in a blade of grass, is he not, felt by the trodden hoof of the foot.

You’re a clever mad man Hidalgo.

Ay, the penultimate creator, singing in a sea of song, shining in a wave of light, lost in a dance of fractals, we are all the same rascal, blind though we are to the portrait of man, always creating, same as my neighbor, weaving dreams into Technicolor realities to beam into a future unknown. Our descendants watching us as reality television, mocking our fallibility, or perhaps empathizing and learning through telescopes strong enough to win a foot race with the sun; flying around the bend of space time and back.

The birds of the island are calm today; think they favor a slumbering respite from the noonday heat?

Mayhaps we’ll take a stroll across the columnous muddy bed, risking grey clay mummified suffocation; I dreamt as such. Yesterday’s storms make the journey perilous. My own thoughts leak from the grandiose ether and compel me to genius, the condition of the interminably insane or divine.

My bare feet tread the good earth, the 3rd density, in a daily attempt to stay grounded, however my mind is always floating, receiving transmitted whispers. Sanctified secret musings of the muse. Scribbled poetry of another dimension, meaningless to the materially minded, yet wholesome for the moment. Like a thunderstorm whose power is plain, yet unheard and unseen as the forest falling with a tree. Where do the tree and the forest begin? Are they the same root? Like my thoughts from a universal mind, the zeitgeist of an all-encompassing mood, a social memory complex.

The sophists will claim you are dodging responsibility. These tangents serve only to feed your egoic mind, but put no food in your belly nor rent in another’s hand.

Ay, but its creation all the same.
A tirade of compulsions. The ringing of the hill grows, the natural chorus of bugly unison screaming its existence into the manifold, manifesting itself to the initiate.

For what are they asking, could it be peace?

Ha Ha! Those shrill like cries wound the ears of the prideful dog, but are contained in the silences of the infinite potential all the same.

A man may change one hundred lives in a day, and earn no material currency for his unasked effort. Therefore, who is trivial? I change the wind by simply being, its current flows over me and the endless blades alike.

Vibratory love, what is that feeling, the realest phenomena of all?

Bliss in its own awareness, reveling in self-revelation, actualization, the knowingness of the child who still sees the spirit existing in each of the physical realm’s shadows. The taste of the foul and pure passing without judgment to the innocent tongue. A simple being secure with the wisdom of the wise. Does the power come from you or the hill, inspiring motions, accounting on the page symbolically. Break it down further. Dissolve. ******* into nothingness.

What is cheating Hidalgo?

Is the ant called to my arm by its own volition, how did it find me here on this patch of earth formed into mound by ancestors buried below.

Opening up all channels now.

Death locks the door with life’s key.

Should I let him crawl over me repeatedly?

Ten words to speak before the coming of the night.

Creative Destruction
Awake from the trance
Guns and Bullets
Shoot from our hands
Teller of Tales
Faint whisperer
Of sordid man’s
Hallucinatory waking
Follow the Beam
Follow the beam
The world before this world
Secrets unseen
My best thoughts come
As I lie suspended awake in sleep
Before sleep
No troubles
The curse runs blood deep
He closes the book but still speaks in rhyme
The riddle draws madness
The tongue laps up the fire
Drawn from self same wells
Will and Desire
Pruning and Preening
Political Beasts are we
Lost in our notions
I find, I keep
Braggadocioc Players
Upon the Worldly stage
Every person has the story
Only what is real?
What is fate?
So I lift my hat
To another year born true
A quarter century passed
Play the tune


Am I awaken by words from another man’s sleep?
What is the source of the tetradactyl nature?
My hexagonal heap
Of flesh and bones
Earth and dust
Brought together again by unending sound vibrating ceaselessly
I sleep but am not rested
Eat but am never full
The piper plays among the sand
Whirling in the heart of the caged word
If I keep my eyes fixated on a point, in actuality my vision expands and visualizes all

Reputationally speaking,
I am an ant, with male pattern baldness
We forget to chuckle at life’s absurdities, just as we pass by flowers without engaging the fragrance.


Rest your head with the hillside now
Restless wanderer of fantastical dreams

Treading water silently until our legs melt
Just as the weary albatross cries its last song over the harbor or the butterfly ***** its freckled wings, so too will we see the setting of the sun and a coming of the new dawn. If the chalk works carved in the abandoned sidewalk are to be believed, so must we girdle ourselves for the coming tides and lift our spirits once more for the ebb and flow of circumstance. The bike rides in the gutter all the same, and the forgotten cemetery stone stands as testament to the age gone by.
ms reluctance Apr 2015
Heat
unbearable, arid
blistering, irritating, sweltering
mirages, sunscreen, umbrellas, puddles
splashing, drumming, pouring
blissful, cool
rain.
NaPoWriMo Day #20
Poetry form: Diamante
Shouting for longevity,
Slamming at the counterers…
- upon your dignified respite!
Would-be detractors without brevity,
Before the wine-dark Sea at night…
A pleading to philosophy of commonly renowned,
Beating sand and posturing, uncouth before a crown;

“Priam please!”

Sun and Moon,
two sons shall plead,
nay, -beg in tandem with the man;

“He serves the seas, trust him please, our father; this priest of Trojan-land!”

Laocoon

“Fear the Greeks, of mind I speak, approval by a van-i-ty; it surely is a death you seek!

An asp this horse, gift no more and tragedy in due remorse,

I beg of you my call to heed, wooden-burnt this crispy steed,

…alight in flame, glorified name; Poseidon shall endorse!”

Priests of Apollo

“Ridiculous! Worship we must, now bring it to the City thus!”

Laocoon

“The actions of accursed Kore,

Need I remind you all Paris caused this war?

For he mocked this god, the abyss it knows, with terror comes a deadly tide,

**** that fool and his fiddling pride!

Burn this beast we must with haste for Greeks they have a certain taste,

Their acts meant always to confound, wily, since they were unbound.

What harm may do, to rest at shore? Consult the stars of yester-yore.

Assign no chore, one heaven’s night, plus a day, to sit upon our princely shore?”


Setting
(read/spoken at the fastest pace the reader can go)

A horrid hiss above the wave as two doth slither from out the cave…

  The creatures from the darkest days, ancient spectacle for the knaves, bear witness to the punishment, commanded by a great trident, hearing screams of bannermen, for King and council a shocking twist, serpents ****** from out the mists, encircling priest and his kin, the howling they had done no sin, never be forgot-ten, as Typhon cried out merrily, serpents and the tragic sea; swallowed up all the three.

Priam

“Farewell dear Laocoon and two sons with thee!”
The name. "Laocoon," translates to, "Peoples knowledge," or "Knowledge of the peoples." This is a retelling of a section of the Iliad.
CK Baker Oct 2017
a slow walk up centennial
and i still can’t find the place
it's menacing cold, and muted
and the street sweeper and winter breeze
move the turkish blend and dust pack

a novice mixed duet plays
brahms on broken strings
an erhu and overcoat
veiling the blue heeler and sphinx

maggianos is settled in the center block’s
luminance and seasonal drape
it's festive warmth bringing home bedford falls;
the flavour and character and social circles

annie’s playing and the keeper's singing
(his word pool and slander
raising everyone in arms!)
the crowd chants and mayhem breaks
as crawlers and contemporaries
smash their steins

dark alleys and dripping holes
hold a grim reminder of the pierced underside
paddies flutter and forge their words
with a broad manifesto

night gardens come alive
(slowly sapping the respite)
hunched figures and ladies in lace
shuffle inside the big orange door
As a darkness descends to these troubled lands,
carefully watching are those who feel a cold shrill,
hear with frozen aching,
breathing in the quickening frost...

Growing hoary slowly,
as the rime it seeds,
pressed blades of grass feel the man in need...
This is a toll that must be paid!

Her fleeting thoughts dance with the wind as she twirls about spinning into the winter’s descent...

Darkness falls and so doth she,
her thoughts in brightness, uncoupled glee,
her heart in love and mind carefree...

A sweeping, dashing, vision he shows,
In moon as deep earth,
her sweet heart glows,

“Forget the quickly, approaching fee!”

“Dear Night, oh Darkness; spare this man!”

“I see you, -hear me for I plead too, I’m watching from your ice-gripped troubled land!”

“Take me instead; I’ll pay his cost or your dark soul is truly lost!”

“I twirl with woe, I dance thus so, -wanton abandon…
the shivering cold and this ice I stand in,
Your chill, the frost, the illness and the terrible cost,
...our crops and all our people lost,
and still I shall ignore your hand!"


THEN HE DIES!

“No, your reparations I thus will pay!
Leave us now, unburden this land, your frory wind is not his plan,
God does love us, -he’ll stay your hand!”


“Some sign, an answer, please, oh please!
On frosted grass I press my knees,
will you not hear my lovelorn cries?
Why must you take him, why must he die?
I cannot stand so idly by!”


“How can you torment such good men, our town, our lands, tis ours, our home this place you’re in?"

Frigid heart of icy Dragon,
feels not nothing, mourns no loss,
bears down harder with his frost
and punishes them all for a sin...

“You beastly anger!”

“The cold hand of darkness in my eyes, my heart burns bright with moonlit scorn!”

A trumpet sounds when lightning strikes,
and thunder heard, it splits the night!

“A toll too great I shall not mourn,
Soulless winter’s passing bound,
in frosted days of chilling found,
You maketh tender hearts thus lost.
Your winter brings her frozen frost,
You tear and break frozen land asunder,
destroy our love our hearts you plunder!
Be gone such evil, lest love soon die, my heart he holds, my soul and sky!”


“Your freezing laughter has distended me…”


Storm God

“Clouds of fury, thunders might, upon that moon, clouds cover her light!"

"Sweeping winds, wisps of ice and snowy swirls opaque the night, freeze that man, take his life!”

“Break, then shatter with my cold spells of ice, he, then she, with no respite; I shall forever control the night!"

“Tell tale of love to me in playful fancy?”

“The darkness I bring; cower as your lives in fright, no man shall evade my thunderous might!”

“Sway me not oh fairy dancer from my cold winter in your bones shall arise a chilling cancer!”

“Destroy I must and hear you not, your land in peril with a wind I roar, cry you will in pain and so much more!”

“I am this world’s white awful sore!”

“Beg you shall, whimpering dearly, for darkness cometh so swift, severely!”

“Feel it, hear it, a painful sound my thunder shatters the peace with world renown!”

“As once, as was, forever more and now I smite so deafening score, I deliver you both to death’s door!”

“There is no heart within this storm; there shall be no heart in earth forevermore!”

“Love you say”

“…as if I know?”


“BE GONE NOW CURSED MOONLIT GLOW!”

“No life, no love, no NOT nothing, no, from nothingness I come and to nothingness you go!”

“Thus an answer to your pathetic dancing, your spinning motions, your frivolous prancing,"

“A stronger wind, a tor-na-do, witness the awful power I sow,”

“...my heartless mind to which you sing, out dance that you spineless twinning!”

“Die!”

“Yes, -die!”

“With his dead heart I’ll crush your soul for yours IS my quest to break!”

“Time is such a fleeting flower and Lo, I come with all my power, your time has come this is the hour!”

“I hate your love; die for me, your bond is cur-sed I decree!”

“My children are the Nephilim, their snowy crystals I turn to rain and freeze it quickly about your ankles for you as he, shall not escape, nothing, no one shall escape, all the creatures shall die this time for I am the maker of the flood, I am the abyss, the king of wisdom, the tree of knowledge, the one of action, crowned master of the earthen plane, the king of gods and king of kings and origin of all things, if God there is then he is I and what I create I shall make die! Know this mere mortal, the name of betwixting thing you learn…”

“I am that old God known as *Sah-turn!”

“My toll do I demand from thou!”

“My toll I ask, I DEMAND IT NOW!”



Sobbing sadness as she prostrates her hands to ice, her ankles bound and crying is the only sound...

The ego of the deity is in question, she searches for another way, a path of inquiry to make him stay, for the horrible fate wrought this day and lands of beauty coldly buried away...

For what could change the mind of darkness?

“Master, I see the wheels have ground to a halt and you’ve descended from the heaven’s vault but how can such lowly animals and nature be at fault, for is it not the goblins of the saw that should be punished, that should be sought?”

“Those who chop away at your great tree are the ones who smile with uncoupled glee for they smite your creation and tear it down and care not for your might, your world renown!”

“All nature is but your possession, oh timeless infinity I do not question, your purpose or need but I do ask, nay beg of thee, allow my love to thus be free, let us hold each other if we die, see my supplication, hear my cry!”


“If let go we will with all haste and prudence, your wrath is great and our presence a nuisance, away from this troubled land you’ve made, the frozen tundra of the grave, a night wrapped by your terrible song in this evil place we do not belong,”


"...please let us run!"


“You have cloaked the beauty of the moon,  covered her sky, I beseech you master hear my cry above the thunders of your sky, wrestle free my love from grip, let us pass, let us slip, let us go this night, oh great black wheel and great north wind and wolf and beast and Dragon from the faraway east and master of the air and seas and Lord of all as your voice decrees, I beg here on my dying knees,”


“The toll you demand is a life for a life, save him, put me under the frosty knife!”


Rumble, rumbling pondered thoughts, the wind is ceased and snow dies down and ground gets soft as air warms up and moonlight shines as clouds dissipate while the god of night decides their fate...

Her sobbing subsides as the ice and snow become water and seep into the earth, her dress soaking and hands covered in mud she addresses this king of kings once more. She stands and fills her lungs with warmth and begins to dance a dance of thanks to him who is hidden but a chilly wind shows that it is still forbidden. Her love watches from yonder far hill as she holds back her dance and stands so still, calling out to the color of night, stern her voice has no sign of fright...

“Punish the land and make your mark for that will teach us to give offerings to the dark,”

“Give rage unto that which hath no heart, pummel the earth and sink the ark.”

“Oh he is such a jewel to me, I’ll dance no more, I’ll show no glee, and no happiness to smite your sea in your great debt I thus will be!”

“Call your hordes, all four to thee, let them of wisdom punish me, my dancing finished great Gyges, your ring of darkness; oh wine-dark seas!”

“The four are eager for the flight to crack the seals and split the night, and show the signs, enact the plan, and run dark in blood this troubled land.”

“You see my master? We know your tales and tell our children the wonder and the mystery of our ark that floats upon your sea and all the things we know you make for we teach our children of them for heaven’s sake!”

“As natures hand you make the call, Oh Famine! Oh Pestilence! Oh Plague! Oh Death, -bring them all!”

“Come now in darkness for your master calls, his voice too loud as to be vague…”

“Run we shall, away, away…”

“Your great power, oh great one, the shatterer, thunderer, the bringer of the nightly fall, watch your subjects cringe and crawl, and supplicate on hands and knees with praise upon your mighty awe.”

“Why not bring them? Bring them all?”

“Enforce your toll, make your presence known, reap the seeds of what you’ve sown, our lives have always been yours to own, for you are great upon this land, your fury descends with mighty hand, now and forever shall it be known, no man can seat above your throne!”

“The trees thus stripped of their leaves and these hands are whipped upon our grieves,”

“Save my love from those stinging leaves from wintery chill and icy snows, hand of darkness, north wind that blows,”

“Lightning strikes and deadly throes,”

“In mercy your true power shows,”

“For you are the master, king of night, maker of fear, of horrible fright, the Ouroboros, the clouds your wings, the heaven’s motions, order of all things, the one who rings the magnificent treasure, the source of all our earthly pleasure, one to which we all do pray, -alas Ethiopia, dawn a new day!”

“The moon descends as does your power tis dawn you fool, that is the hour!”

“You can keep your anger and unpaid toll we’ll keep our love, our lives and my gentle soul.”

Storm God

“YOU DARE! YOU DO! YOU MOCK ME STILL?”

“Here comes my weathering, wintry, malicious chill!”

“Child die as your suitor must, this night, this storm, this hour unto my lightning ******! Rain, hail, fury thehowling winds of wolven glory and end I put to this sorrow’s story, down the trees, wash away the lands, rip apart the heavens know my hand!”

“…and what is this nocturnal noise?”

“In my storm are birds chirping? Is that daylight on horizon now? Nature cannot desert me, no, not now!”

“The daybreak shines, undoes my vow, ceases my storm and scatters my clouds; know this mortal is not the end for I shall come back again!Your words and pleas will not save you then, this trickery I shall not forget, your souls I’m coming back to get and when I do you’ll grovel in fear for you’ll know the moment of death is near!”

“On that night you’ll pay my toll, I SHALL NOT REST WITHOUT YOUR SOUL!”
A tribute to my favorite poet. Edgar Allen Poe.
Kate G Jan 2012
Oh, sweet, sweet respite!

To hear silence, after the violent, endless cacophony that is the security alarm from the liquor store down the street sounded ceaselessly over the course of four whole cigarettes. Living in the Bronx, I am perfectly well-acquainted with the din of city life. I find comfort in the familiar sounds of sirens and shouts at all hours of the night. When this wretched alarm first went off, I embraced it for what it was and continued about my business (i.e. getting blazed as ****). After a few minutes, however, I began to realize the demon’s true intentions. This was no innocent Noise of the Night— it drilled its piercing, high-pitched shriek rhythmically into my head over and over and over again, each note chipping away another chunk of my brain with its rusted ice pick. I could feel myself becoming less and less as this terrible magic consumed me. Cecilia and Mary were silent, not even flinching as they slept through my torment. I felt my brain pulsating violently inside my skull, perfectly in sync with the devilish racket. And just when I was convinced that the torture would never end— silence. That’s all. It’s over.
Frank Corbett Jan 2013
Brown hair blue eyes awakes from a brief slumber,
respite isn't found in the black curtain of sleep,
not in the office chair at a desk,
respite is not,
respite cannot,
As he trudges across the mess on the floor,
cutting his soles open on the trash accumulating over the years,
the metal and plastic,
cold iron of promises and betrayals when he said he'd grow a thicker skin,
the paper-cuts of childrens' cards as a breeze kicks them up,
it's December and the window's open,
it's freezing in here.
Close the window,
stopping the draft,
he gets changed in front of an open window,
exposing himself,
luckily nobody notices.

Freezing air shatters the warm membrane of his lungs,
they contract and shudder,
and don't expand again,
the morning ritual is painless but uncomfortable,
ignored until it goes away,
instead of dealing with it,
because it's easier,
focusing on breathing,
and driving,
than acknowledging the weakness.

This is lumbering,
shambling when it should be gliding,
huddled,
when it should be upright,
instead laid out on this stretcher,
they're making way,
just hoping it'll be over soon,
out of sight,
out of mind,
as it crashes through the hallway,
next to them,
a disaster stuck in their minds,
alive,
dead to the world outside the hospital window.
Nigel Morgan Dec 2013
A Tale for the Mid-Winter Season after the Mural by Carl Larrson

On the shortest day I wake before our maids from the surrounding farms have converged on Sundborn. Greta lives with us so she will be asleep in that deep slumber only girls of her age seem to own. Her tiny room has barely more than a bed and a chest for her clothes. There is my first painting of her on the wall, little more a sketch, but she was entranced, at seeing herself so. To the household she is a maid who looks after me and my studio,  though she is a literate, intelligent girl, city-bred from Gamla Stan but from a poor home, a widowed mother, her late father a drunkard.  These were my roots, my beginning, exactly. But her eyes already see a world beyond Sundborn. She covets postcards from my distant friends: in Paris, London, Jean in South America, and will arrange them on my writing desk, sometimes take them to her room at night to dream in the candlelight. I think this summer I shall paint her, at my desk, reading my cards, or perhaps writing her own. The window will be open and a morning breeze will make the flowers on the desk tremble.

Karin sleeps too, a desperate sleep born of too much work and thought and interruption. These days before Christmas put a strain on her usually calm disposition. The responsibilities of our home, our life, the constant visitors, they weigh upon her, and dispel her private time. Time in her studio seems impossible. I often catch her poised to disappear from a family coming-together. She is here, and then gone, as if by magic. With the older children home from their distant schools, and Suzanne arrived from England just yesterday morning, they all cannot do without lengthy conferences. They know better than disturb me. Why do you think there is a window set into my studio door? So, if I am at my easel there should be no knock to disturb. There is another reason, but that is between Karin and I.

This was once a summer-only house, but over the years we have made it our whole-year home. There was much attention given to making it snug and warm. My architect replaced all the windows and all the doors and there is this straw insulation between the walls. Now, as I open the curtains around my bed, I can see my breath float out into the cool air. When, later, I descend to my studio, the stove, damped down against the night, when opened and raddled will soon warm the space. I shall draw back the heavy drapes and open the wooden shutters onto the dark land outside. Only then I will stand before my current painting: *Brita and the Sleigh
.

Current!? I have been working on this painting intermittently for five years, and Brita is no longer the Brita of this picture, though I remember her then as yesterday. It is a picture of a winter journey for a six-year-old, only that journey is just across the yard to the washhouse. Snow, frost, birds gathered in the leafless trees, a sun dog in the sky, Brita pushing her empty sledge, wearing fur boots, Lisbeth’s old coat, and that black knitted hat made by old Anna. It is the nearest I have come to suggesting the outer landscape of this place. I bring it out every year at this time so I can check the light and the shadows against what I see now, not what I remember seeing then. But there will be a more pressing concern for me today, this shortest day.

Since my first thoughts for the final mural in my cycle for the Nationalmuseum I have always put this day aside, whatever I might be doing, wherever I may be. I pull out my first sketches, that book of imaginary tableaux filled in a day and a night in my tiny garden studio in Grez, thinking of home, of snow, the mid-winter, feeling the extraordinary power and shake of Adam of Bremen’s description of 10th C pre-Christian Uppsala, written to describe how barbaric and immoral were the practices and religion of the pagans, to defend the fragile position of the Christian church in Sweden at the time. But as I gaze at these rough beginnings made during those strange winter days in my rooms at the Hotel Chevilon, I feel myself that twenty-five year old discovering my artistic vision, abandoning oils for the flow and smudge of watercolour, and then, of course, Karin. We were part of the Swedish colony at Grez-sur-Loing. Karin lived with the ladies in Pension Laurent, but was every minute beside me until we found our own place, to be alone and be together, in a cupboard of a house by the river, in Marlotte.

Everyone who painted en-plein-air, writers, composers, they all flocked to Grez just south of Fontainebleau, to visit, sometimes to stay. I recall Strindberg writing to Karin after his first visit: It was as if there were no pronounced shadows, no hard lines, the air with its violet complexion is almost always misty; and I painting constantly, and against the style and medium of the time. How the French scoffed at my watercolours, but my work sold immediately in Stockholm. . . and Karin, tall, slim, Karin, my muse, my lover, my model, her boy-like figure lying naked (but for a hat) in the long grass outside my studio. We learned each other there, the technique of bodies in intimate closeness, the way of no words, the sharing of silent thoughts, together on those soft, damp winter days when our thoughts were of home, of Karin’s childhood home at Sundborn. I had no childhood thoughts I wanted to return to, but Karin, yes. That is why we are here now.

In Grez-sur-Loing, on a sullen December day, mist lying on the river, our garden dead to winter, we received a visitor, a Swedish writer and journalist travelling with a very young Italian, Mariano Fortuny, a painter living in Paris, and his mentor the Spaniard Egusquiza. There was a woman too who Karin took away, a Parisienne seamstress I think, Fortuny’s lover. Bayreuth and Wagner, Wagner, Wagner was all they could talk about. Of course Sweden has its own Nordic Mythology I ventured. But where is it? What is it? they cried, and there was laughter and more mulled wine, and then talk again of Wagner.

When the party left I realized there was something deep in my soul that had been woken by talk of the grandeur and scale of Wagner’s cocktail of German and Scandinavian myths and folk tales. For a day and night I sketched relentlessly, ransacking my memory for those old tales, drawing strong men and stalwart, flaxen-haired women in Nordic dress and ornament. But as a new day presented itself I closed my sketch book and let the matter drop until, years later, in a Stockholm bookshop I chanced upon a volume in Latin by Adam of Bremen, his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum, the most famous source to pagan ritual practice in Sweden. That cold winter afternoon in Grez returned to me and I felt, as I had then, something stir within me, something missing from my comfortable world of images of home and farm, family and the country life.

Back in Sundborn this little volume printed in the 18th C lay on my desk like a question mark without a sentence. My Latin was only sufficient to get a gist, but the gist was enough. Here was the story of the palace of Uppsala, the great centre of the pre-Christian pagan cults that brought us Odin and Freyr. I sought out our village priest Dag Sandahl, a good Lutheran but who regularly tagged Latin in his sermons. Yes, he knew the book, and from his study bookshelf brought down an even earlier copy than my own. And there and then we sat down together and read. After an hour I was impatient to be back in my studio and draw, draw these extraordinary images this text brought to life unbidden in my imagination. But I did not leave until I had persuaded Pastor Sandahl to agree to translate the Uppsala section of the Adam of Bremen’s book, and just before Christmas that year, on the day before the Shortest Day, he delivered his translation to my studio. He would not stay, but said I should read the passages about King Domalde and his sacrifice at the Winter Solstice. And so, on the day of the Winter Solstice, I did.

This people have a widely renowned sanctuary called Uppsala.

By this temple is a very large tree with extending branches. It is always green, both in winter and in summer. No one knows what kind of tree this is. There is also a spring there, where the heathens usually perform their sacrificial rites. They throw a live human being into the spring. If he does not resurface, the wishes of the people will come true.

The Temple is girdled by a chain of gold that hangs above the roof of the building and shines from afar, so that people may see it from a distance when they approach there. The sanctuary itself is situated on a plain, surrounded by mountains, so that the form a theatre.

It is not far from the town of Sigtuna. This sanctuary is completely covered with golden ornaments. There, people worship the carved idols of three gods: Thor, the most powerful of them, has his throne in the middle of the hall, on either side of him, Odin and Freyr have their seats. They have these functions: “Thor,” they say, “rules the air, he rules thunder and lightning, wind and rain, good weather and harvests. The other, Odin, he who rages, he rules the war and give courage to people in their battle against enemies. The third is Freyr, he offers to mortals lust and peace and happiness.” And his image they make with a very large phallus. Odin they present armed, the way we usually present Mars, while Thor with the scepter seems to resemble Jupiter. As gods they also worship some that have earlier been human. They give them immortality for the sake of their great deeds, as we may read in Vita sancti Ansgarii that they did with King Eirik.

For all these gods have particular persons who are to bring forward the sacrificial gifts of the people. If plague and famine threatens, they offer to the image of Thor, if the matter is about war, they offer to Odin, but if a wedding is to be celebrated, they offer to Freyr. And every ninth year in Uppsala a great religious ceremony is held that is common to people from all parts of Sweden.”
Snorri also relates how human sacrifice began in Uppsala, with the sacrifice of a king.

Domalde took the heritage after his father Visbur, and ruled over the land. As in his time there was great famine and distress, the Swedes made great offerings of sacrifice at Upsal. The first autumn they sacrificed oxen, but the succeeding season was not improved thereby. The following autumn they sacrificed men, but the succeeding year was rather worse. The third autumn, when the offer of sacrifices should begin, a great multitude of Swedes came to Upsal; and now the chiefs held consultations with each other, and all agreed that the times of scarcity were on account of their king Domalde, and they resolved to offer him for good seasons, and to assault and **** him, and sprinkle the stall of the gods with his blood. And they did so.


There it was, at the end of Adam of Bremen’s description of Uppsala, this description of King Domalde upon which my mural would be based. It is not difficult to imagine, or rather the event itself can be richly embroidered, as I have over the years made my painting so. Karin and I have the books of William Morris on our shelves and I see little difference between his fixation on the legends of the Arthur and the Grail. We are on the cusp here between the pagan and the Christian.  What was Christ’s Crucifixion but a self sacrifice: as God in man he could have saved himself but chose to die for Redemption’s sake. His blood was not scattered to the fields as was Domalde’s, but his body and blood remains a continuing symbol in our right of Communion.

I unroll the latest watercolour cartoon of my mural. It is almost the length of this studio. Later I will ask Greta to collect the other easels we have in the house and barn and then I shall view it properly. But for now, as it unrolls, my drama of the Winter Solstice comes alive. It begins on from the right with body of warriors, bronze shields and helmets, long shafted spears, all set against the side of Uppsala Temple and more distant frost-hoared trees. Then we see the King himself, standing on a sled hauled by temple slaves. He is naked as he removes the furs in which he has travelled, a circuit of the temple to display himself to his starving people. In the centre, back to the viewer, a priest-like figure in a red cloak, a dagger held for us to see behind his back. Facing him, in druidic white, a high priest holds above his head a gold pagan monstrance. To his left there are white cloaked players of long, straight horns, blue cloaked players of the curled horns, and guiding the shaft of the sled a grizzled shaman dressed in the skins and furs of animals. The final quarter of my one- day-to-be-a-mural unfolds to show the women of temple and palace writhing in gestures of grief and hysteria whilst their queen kneels prostate on the ground, her head to the earth, her ladies ***** behind her. Above them all stands the forever-green tree whose origin no one knows.

Greta has entered the studio in her practiced, silent way carrying coffee and rolls from the kitchen. She has seen Midvinterblot many times, but I sense her gaze of fascination, yet again, at the figure of the naked king. She remembers the model, the sailor who came to stay at Kartbacken three summers ago. He was like the harpooner Queequeg in Moby ****. A tattooed man who was to be seen swimming in Toftan Lake and walking bare-chested in our woods. A tall, well-muscled, almost silent man, whom I patiently courted to be my model for King Dolmade. I have a book of sketches of him striding purposefully through the trees, the tattooed lines on his shoulders and chest like deep cuts into his body. This striding figure I hid from the children for some time, but from Greta that was impossible. She whispered to me once that when she could not have my substantial chest against her she would imagine the sailor’s, imagine touching and following his tattooed lines. This way, she said, helped her have respite from those stirrings she would so often feel for me. My painting, she knew, had stirred her fellow maids Clara and Solveig. Surely you know this, she had said, in her resolute and direct city manner. I have to remember she is the age of my eldest, who too must hold such thoughts and feelings. Karin dislikes my sailor king and wishes I would not hide the face of his distraught queen.

Today the sunrise is at 9.0, just a half hour away, and it will set before 3.0pm. So, after this coffee I will put on my boots and fur coat, be well scarfed and hatted (as my son Pontus would say) and walk out onto my estate. I will walk east across the fields towards Spardasvvägen. The sky is already waiting for the sun, but waits without colour, hardly even a tinge of red one might expect.

I have given Greta her orders to collect every easel she can find so we can take Midvinterblot off the floor and see it in all its vivid colour and form. In February I shall begin again to persuade the Nationalmuseum to accept this work. We have a moratorium just now. I will not accept their reasoning that there is no historical premise for such a subject, that such a scene has no place in a public gallery. A suggestion has been made that the Historiska museet might house it. But I shall not think of this today.

Karin is here, her face at the studio window beckons entry. My Darling, yes, it is midwinter’s day and I am dressing to greet the solstice. I will dress, she says, to see Edgar who will be here in half an hour to discuss my designs for this new furniture. We will be lunching at noon. Know you are welcome. Suzanne is talking constantly of England, England, and of course Oxford, this place of dreaming spires and good looking boys. We touch hands and kiss. I sense the perfume of sleep, of her bed.

Outside I must walk quickly to be quite alone, quite apart from the house, in the fields, alone. It is on its way: this light that will bathe the snowed-over land and will be my promise of the year’s turn towards new life.

As I walk the drama of Midvinterblot unfolds in a confusion of noise, the weeping of women, the physical exertions of the temple slaves, the priests’ incantations, the riot of horns, and then suddenly, as I stand in this frozen field, there is silence. The sun rises. It stagge
To see images of the world of Sundborn and Carl Larrson (including Mitvinterblot) see http://www.clg.se/encarl.aspx
1585

The Bird her punctual music brings
And lays it in its place—
Its place is in the Human Heart
And in the Heavenly Grace—
What respite from her thrilling toil
Did Beauty ever take—
But Work might be electric Rest
To those that Magic make—

— The End —