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Bison Apr 2016
Drown out the sound
Frail fingers cupped around fragile ears
The voiceless singing too loud to hear
Sorrow filled songs of the proud

Sightless eyes still search for light
As she wanders through barren fields
Still the salted soil will not flowers yield
Emeralds or diamonds shine too bright

Calm storms whisper ghostly lullabies
As dead weather stirs living men
Dead men search for passion again
Buried too deep to reach blue skies

Ashes to dust
Blanket our frigid hearts
Purpose of mind a fire starts
Consign me not to trust
flowing rivers simulate the virtual reality of love
warriors topple over forgotten
like cartons of used milk
silk worms speak sovereign messages and warn us of our fate
are we ill or are we healthy
stealthily imprisoned by our visions
finish the sentences and sever your attachments
respecting tradition leads to detachment
a semblance of serenity
the giver of the dawn used shards of standard force
hover in the mind’s sky
houses pass you by
in finite allegories
gardens blossom
governing movies and seating our jobless
go outside now
remove the shades from your eyes
breathe in soma and drink from the sky
sightless sorrow forges on towards tomorrow
art is a balancing act
she came out of her shell in order to tell you a story
of garlands of silver and gold
woven finely into ribbons
greased with oil from a rare toad
Andrew Jun 2017
I have a light under my concrete
For others
It is fatally luminous
So it must be contained
I relegate rays to the darkest depths
So no light may exit
But then you walked on my blacktop
And cracks started to form in my road
Light began to escape
You were fascinated
I was terrified
Because the more you traversed my pavement
The further my road split
Brilliant flashes with increasing frequency surfaced
Your curiosities were piqued
Mine were plagued
By what lies underneath
And when it would blind you

I tried to warn you from inside my cocoon
You said you'd purchase sunglasses
You never understood
This light
Shatters glass like Stone Cold Steve Austin
It's intensity is a stunner
It may be the Sun itself
But you insisted on continuing
To travel down this path

As models import wrinkles
Potholes become sinkholes
Fears were realized
Senses overwhelmed
Skin burned
Blackened
Into something unrecognizable
As all signs of life fade
I'm stranded on a crumbled road
With only sightless cadavers to lead me home
pitch black god8 Apr 2018
5 Sensory Deprivation Relevations  (Happy Birthday Will Shakespeare)


I     the smell of sad

odor colorless like *****, similar familiar sidewinder effects,
musty invasive, it has no specificity, no locale centrale, well closeted,
saddling saddlng, in place, plain sighted better to toy our lives,
pervades persists, worse lingers, impervious to sprays
and even everyone’s good literature (even Will’s)
good wishes good intentions and mood prayers
to the nearest lay god
on duty at the spiritual emergency room on weekends,
stink

don’t think that this poem is for you; solely for the writer,
your doppelgänger ******, your mirror’s inside hiding out place,
I, who has your sadness smell into my skin cells crept
waft woof and warp wet weft-woven
into the sad receptacles hidden in my
head’s cubbies and the palms of my tree hands-covering face


there are cures so wonderful and inexpensive but unavailable
at the local Rite Aid, though they are the right aid recoverable,
so closer than close, so close that the internist
cannot prescribe them because he must inject himself first
because the live bacteria in the antidote can **** all

this odor lays down bamboo-strong roots;
to eradicate you must dig down deep,
six feet perhaps more, with heavy earth moving equipment,
uproot at the source, follow sad always all-the-way down and the root
great god gone,
but the saddest truth
stench odor yet present

II    the taste of joy

the joy of cooking is not a gene in my litany possess,
but the buttery taste of joy I know, I know,
it’s a real princess rarity,
the hard costs of finding and keeping it,
I’ve paid endlessly and willingly pay on

the taste of joy is like presents under the tree,
shock surprises delights lives/life, customized, infectious
(except for socks, no matter how joyously exceptional),
joy to those whose buds never blossomed for its taste
readable on some one else’s, anyone’s ****** expression

I think of it as the taste of fast traveling cumulus whites
upon my eyelashes blinking as they are speeding you by, but happy
for ten more behind before the evening stars takes over

the taste of joy is physical, there can be no denying,
concentrations can be found in the lips and the fingertips,
which you think of as a tandem, someone else’s on mine

but it ain’t necessarily so; the taste of joy, shared I, having submitted to others kisses carried on the wind that
found their mark and were well received,
poems from the heart
that arrive well,
as their intended is sleeping, and
as intended, as waking gifts

the taste of joy in droplet tears
when you are notified that words
you joined in holy matrimony made you cry,
because the reader did, wept for two,
the weeping of contentment released,
free at last from container confinement;
this particular taste of joy is in the  
recovery and recognition that these
are not for you,
just joy peculiar these tasted tears for whomsoever sheds them

III   the hearing of truthful

truth am told is oft served cold and hard up for the hearing,
best avoided tween noon and midnight and any time a
bathroom mirror is in the vicinity; though religious men lie
too easily; bathroom mirrors cannot; a character flaw for sure,
but the truth to be trusted is this: no one is truly contented, always there are the richer, the more famous, the employed and
someone above who has more, more burdens of a different sort,
better quality losses and pains unseen not dreamed of

truth tastes terrible and is awful sometimes noisy painful;
it hides well in the stink of sad exposed to the atmosphere when exposed it turns red humans blue

truth may set you free, free to be what are you are or truthfully
an admission of what greatness you have to release the trick is
use the correct scale, do not let the wrong sized ruler rule you,
the truth, if you hear, hear it unfiltered w/o the bias implanted
by not your people; hear your poet voice growl like a blues singer and be truthfully satisfied like no thing no person only you could hear it as you intended it be spoken

IV   touches of fantasy fantastic
secret confess: touch my fav cause when its juiced with
mental visions of what might be, it Saturday satisfies and let me weep happy smile silly and is mine all mind; yes another’s tip
has sorcerer powers of revelation
but alone by myself I yet
relevate
and flow; my hands are right sized, my arms reach around myself for so designed, and the pleasure is mine to give;
mine to take,
neither better or worse if self-administered,
touch myself anywhere anytime and fantasy over dreams wins,
rise up, touch is a language and I speak six or a hundred;
listen to the sounds of touching and be touched human

V  insights for the sightless

at last we close the deprived
with an elegant elevation
sight overrated when imagination exists,
cannot be restrained
this the revelation
you have proffered and preferred all this time

have pity on me
I crystallize the unseen with the replacements
of my conjuring
the other senses lend a hand
telling me look up look up, be life save life
let your madness blossom in the spring airs,
the coolness of a first fingered ungloved snow
sight,
a mathematical function from the other four derived,
sightless an impossibility for with one alone defeat the
sensory deprivation and give tongues to words

epilogue

read my face
incapable of,
deprivation
but how now silent bow my head to Will
for teaching the way of words
traced upon
a fool or a king's tongue,
two too human,
so that poet may ken
his senses keener,
all for the better,
for the betterment of all
and now you understand how came this poem to be writ
in the pitch black
Monika Layke Apr 16
There are storms, silent din;
                  dust devils, gaseous skins
                                 one step
                                    
                                           beyond the winds...

      There are tempests; sightless
                              twisters beneath ivy
                        sternum
                             ­  fetors, lifting.
: )
I exist; morning oasis,

Counting down to the new year.

Insomnia hits.

All- Nighter.

Writing, reading until dawn.

I can't sleep, voices.

: )

I talk, I laugh,

why am I here, how did I become-

Darkness pools. Scars of light.

I rose into the earth.

: )

I'm fine, happy

what do you mean?

No, that really is me.

I pulled my teeth out.

: )

Have you seen loneliness? With dark circular eyes.

This red air smells sickeningly sweet.

Limbs over there, like my store bought lilies,

freshly cut.

: )

What is sad is this,

that you're forever happy,

forever right, forever free,

in the shadows,

beneath your sightless dreams

: )
Terry O'Leary Aug 2014
The darkness, now descending, floods the city as it dies
while shadows lurk in legions 'neath the looming Evil Eye.
Its frozen stare envelops all, it penetrates and pries,
denouncing loathed dissenters to the keepers in the sky.

One’s inner thoughts are well descried before they’ve passed one’s lips
and cruelly crushed with grim contempt twixt despots’ fingertips;
but if no taboo-idea’s found, with which to come to grips,
the stymied Eye dispenses pus as fabrication drips.

The Eye peers down upon us now, to conquer and control,
and mark our every movement, whether hiding in a hole
or preening like a purple parrot perched upon a pole.
Our welfare and our happiness? No, certainly not the goal.

While phantoms fade, then reappear within the urban sprawl,
the gloom (adorned with Evil Eyes which pierce the livid pall)
pervades the ache and agony that poets sometimes scrawl
of plenitude to penury, how life endures the fall.

And should the herd dare whisper words of freedom's fragrant bloom
or murmur sighs of worriment at earth's impending doom,
the Evil Eye will squint a bit at those who so presume,
condemning nascent unchained thoughts to wither in the womb.

The Evil Eye bores everywhere, a tattletale to Kings,
who scrutinize their puppet people, strumming on their strings,
extracting secrets of their souls like spiders plucking wings
that flutter with the hangman’s knot as the corpse of freedom swings.

Yes, Princes rule with tungsten fists wherever they may roam
and sip from golden goblets, nectar, sweet as honeycomb
while peons (stripped of mind and soul) stray never far from home,
with faces 'neath the iron boot, ****** deep below the loam.

And peasants pass, parading by to fill the golden urn
with pennies for the afterlife wherefore the faithful yearn,
though screams of babes with empty eyes are never of concern
to those who covet silver coins, eyes cold and taciturn.

To hide the pains of purgatory, far-flung distant shores
(on islands of containment) cache the dingy dungeon doors
and inquisition water-boards that buoy their holy wars,
while sandmen drape our eyes with dust, with rainbow metaphors.

We’ll know the party's over when there's little left to eat
and all the learned scholars, lean, stay silent when they meet -
the Eye, withal, will spawn distrust on matters indiscreet.
The signs are all around us - even sheep no longer bleat.

                        Epilogue
One sightless seer scans the skies and mourns the heretofore.
Nine limbless men descend the stairs to find there is no floor.
Eight tongueless women babble, telling tales of nevermore.
Four earless children drown within the ocean's muted roar.

When hope becomes defiance, ask: Will bedlam soon arrive?
Will doves appear above us all? Or drones to guard the hive
while fed with milk and honey by the Queen and kept alive
to gut the gale below them? Will we let the Eye survive?
Yaser Nov 2017
A song awakens sightless eye
That gaze into a lightless sky
The break of day and set of dawn
but memories of an age now gone
An epoch sits stalwart between
What they once saw and will never see

Oh ancient eyes that do not see
The light you seek is not for thee
Oh ancient eyes that do not see
Seek not what is never to be
.
The universe grows, but the light may never return to the eyes of those that first cast it.
L B Mar 2017
This is a three-part, longer narrative poem, seen
as old photographs that follow the main character, My Aunt, Lillian Goldrick, across two decades.  It was written 30 years ago*
______

“Hey Kid!”     Part I

Photographs aren’t fair
stopping the soul where it’s not
in rectangular guffaws
surrounded by serrated edges, pickets, teeth?
to fence and stab in yellow, soft-covered booklets
with designated floppy phrase
“Your memories”

Happier than she could ever be...

A black and white day at Salisbury Beach, NH
hung over his hammock
Private pin-up girl
tilts her head against silver sheen of shoulder
Hair, dark chignon
except for a few wispy curls about her face
freed by wind
bleached by sun

Stopped

...for three decades
Legs slightly bent—long extended
that could stop trains, stop traffic

Stopped

Modest bathing suit, probably peach
cannot hide (not that she would)
the undeniable
And if there were question left
you could look at her smile—and love her
posed by he message scrawled in sand:

“Hey Kid!”

What kid? Where?
In the foreground?
In the camera’s eye?

In the background—
a Ferris wheel, a billboard
and  r-i-g-h-t  there—Can’t you see it?
Look again—behind her eyes
You can barely see it, but it’s there.
Remember?

The Depression
Only ten years before
It was April
Stroke, heart attack
Both of them gone, a year apart!
The priest came
Last Rites for mortally stricken
Candles, crucifix, the Catholic containment
of holy water that dams the tears

Kneeling around the bed
they said the Rosary

——————————

After VJ Day he came
to the house on the corner
of Commonwealth Ave.
She knew he was coming
but she could not be ready today
nor tomorrow
nor next week—or ever...

“Lill! Will ya come to the door?
She’ll be ready in a minute.
Hey Lill! Hurry up, will ya!
They’re waitin’ fer us!”

Upstairs in the dark hallway
her door clicks shut....
________


"Hey Kid"    Part II


The clock at Joe Rianni’s read 20 minutes to 12...

Crowd from the Phillip’s Theater—gone
though laughter lingers
in a Friday mood
in high-backed booths
where only an hour ago swinging free
were high-heeled shoes
legs crossed at knees....

Now on tables abandoned
deserted fields of French
fries lie cold in salt flurries

Only female straws wear lipstick
as do Luckys bent in ashtrays
Males, uniformly flattened
as powder burned, as mortar might
shells, casings—the evidence of war
Among explosions of tickled giggles
one was taken broadside...

listing     toward      stars
_______

...The clock read 20 minutes to 12

when she walked in--
And Rhea stopped swabbing black mica counters
long enough to absorb late-customer hate
and envy that such beauty can arouse
In voice hoarse and weighted like a trucker’s

“Whadaya have, Lill?”

“coffee”

The small answer settled at the soda fountain
and slowly struck a match...
She was falling from the slant
of her black felt hat
dripping off the point of pheasant feather
Gray gabardine suit
tailored from angle of shoulder
to dart diagonally
toward such a waist!
Turned to skirt hips
that arched and dove toward slit—
then seams that run the round of calf

that seem to flow
to ankles of naught—
...and all that seems

Black     high-heeled     above it

Coffee— cold, stale
Gray glassed-in stare
searches air and random walls
of coat hooks, menus, mirrors...
while lips ****** exiled words— replies

Dragging a demon from her Camel
slowly     purposefully
she exhaled a burly arm of smoke
that rose and laid its hand
against the ceiled atmosphere of embossed tin
Then leaning over her shoulder
in roiling emission of shrugs and sneers—

“Lill—There’s no way outa here!”
________


“Hey Kid!”    Part III

After kneeling backwards on their chairs
after nuns, catechism recited
After—
Five of them scuffed through leaves and litter
along the curbing
spotting cars that counted—
Bugs, beach wagons, flying bathtubs
A slower way home of hunting
shiny chestnuts and muddy finds
rare match book covers
and bottle caps that win ya things!

One breaks from bunch
and trials off to where
dimes turn to candies!
...at a dingy luncheonette...Joe Rianni’s
____

Here—behind smeary wall of glass
pleasure leers while holding back
those grimy fingers, lips that long
for jelly fish, gum drops, lollies
holding back the company
of Baby Ruth, and Mary Jane
O Henry or Bazooka Joe!
For less money but the same salivation
there were colored dots to chew and ****
from strips of paper that last forever!
For a little more, plus the sweet struggle
of desire denied
a kid could be proud owner
of a pea shooter or trading cards!
While in the mouth
were golden imaginings—
the chocolate foil of coins
and the candied pretense of cigarette adulthood
_____

Rhea didn’t see her in the line...

Only grownups with wallets and purses
Only grownups get waited on...
...because Rhea was a Gypsy!
Kids could tell!
by her big red lips and hair to match
by the nasty way she chased them out—
“****** kids!”
Only grownups get waited on....
_______

And the clock read 20 minutes to 12

While a child waits—
time stirs in a ceiling fan
   There’s a drift in attention
      along deepening endless walls
         toward a line of sleepy booths
              carved with

“I was here—in such and such a year”

Her aunt—at the last stool—like always
Their names too close
Confused too often

A little girl wonders
about the sight behind the sightless stare
loafers, ankle socks, the ‘40s hair
the gathered skirt that gathers ashes
as they fall from cigarette
held in yellowed fingertips
Tremors crimp the smoke that climbs—

              ...a strobing pillar

“Whataya want, girly?”

              ...the only movement

“Hey! What’s it gonna be!”

              ...in a shot—

“HEY KID!”

              Snapped
There are photos that go with this. I'll try to post them together on Facebook.
Alyssa Underwood Mar 2016
I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VI

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

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

And all men **** the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!
Onoma 4d
at birth the stone was

cast and glass went dark--

cursed to wander the sightless

terminus of his days.

a blind snake charmer filled

the holes of his flute with

fingers speedily entering their voids.

there was no more gravely

urgent sound to be heard, as

neighboring ears fell into his

lonely kingdom.

his Heart carried across from

the mountain road which he sat--

way down the valley.

he played from a featureless and

single point, that he would die for

at any moment.

which came across with every note,

what distance no foot could cover.

snakes would often beat themselves

to death on stones to dance away with

the melody that possessed them.

only when he lowered his flute and hung

his head, did he let tears fall down a

groundless ground.
patty m Jan 15
it started at noon,
the TAKEOVER,
and by Three it's a MONSTER SNOW STORM
a foot of snow, encroaching roads and highways

Snails pace traffic
5 hours late and I've barely scratched the surface
I sit in place or inch a tire turn at a time
In snow and ice, a mere hill
                                                 l
                                                    o
         ­                                               o
                ­                                           m
                                                                ­s
overpowering our horsepower
the biggest of all,  the 18 wheelers are the most vulnerable
as they jackknife
and leave us all stranded.
crashed cars and those abandoned after many hours
lie strewn like jackstraws
and there is no pulling off the roads or highways
because there's no place to go

slowly strain amasses,
along with panic and confusion

even blacker shadow stabs
along with piercing bright lights
and now the needle hovers just above empty.
as I turn off the engine and huddle
unprepared for frigid cold.  
helplessness is creeping fingers stiff as frozen twigs
and soon the ruddy lights of other cars die
as if leached and bloodless.

Discomfort yammers and gnashes
dreams of a steaming kettle, something to ease my hunger,
the flatness of time.
The only constant is
                       the snow that falls   e
                                                        n
     ­                                                d
                                                  l
           ­                                    e
                                           s
                                       s
                                    l
                         ­      y
until the window's star-flecked depths
leave me sightless
Shadow wars, helplessness is
a snowy monster that has me in it's grips
                                       to think I used to love SNOW.
Yenson Jun 3
What was never was made what is
in core-less apparitions seeking redemption
fanning disunity in separation as serpents fangs hiss
mired in alchemy of neon laminated Machiavellian illusions
of mice and men in yesterdays fables of core-less ****** excesses

The scripted visions of the sightless
painting portraits in indulgent surrealistic strokes
auctioning misdeeds and cruelties in  tumultuous pastels pitiless
shame clinging guilt becomes the regiments' call marching in smoke
shadow dancing to the malicious composer in lit neon feint giddiness

The Judge jury and Butchers presiding
dare ye dissent a one way verdict from the one track rail
vegetation merges with saplings from grains fermented and pulsing
banquets for the fallen and starved the ghosts holds a tiger by the tail
trials of hot air hackneyed lyrics strewn and drips tirelessly streaming
Alan McClure Feb 19
They had faces and bodies when I was young,
and they were rare -
Maybe once a year, a joke would be ruined
by a walking sneer,
my unselfconscious laughter curdled
by their pitiless scorn.
But, young and sure, I'd bounce along,
leave them forgotten,
and look for the good.

Blessed to expect
that people were kind,
I unshackled them,
disembodied the derision,
unhitched them
from reasoning, living beings

Left them free to gather
in geometric clusters
lurking on the edge of sight
like burning after-images
of a cruel sun

Wordless, sightless, lifeless
empty, ******* spaces
glimpsed with a shudder
on the best days -

gathered in consumptive clouds
on the worst.
Unseen by my companions
they eat my ability
to explain or expel them.

They are there
if I acknowledge them
or not
and in time
they make a nothing
out of everything.
Ormond Aug 18

I

I hear all the outlawed world in harmony,
The marshling stalks the green and gaunt
Destroyers who heed not sparkling deserts
Charged to the gill, nor candles pitching down
Like doom.  I note the scale of fossils
In cloud covered peaks, record
The seemly count of bodies by square root
And irrational number, I am witness
Bound to bounty to all who blaze in gray
And shallow grooves seeding their ends
In strikes on the ripe and smoldering fields.


II

I see all the outlawed world in harmony,
Barking wood bracing by the bud,
Where runs of blue, bury in vain
Down slash of mountain forest, cascading
Into august, rising after the fall,
As do kind-killers blasting from shells
To die as snails creeping under flower,
Who saw the past wasting away
In filed futures, slipping by blades in neck
Of wood, sightless as gallows of trees
Try ****** each time they make their leaves.



III

I know all the outlawed world in harmony,
By seamless song of stuttering gulls,
As in conches, waves of providence,
Cell from the center, beating musseled shoals,
Where wailing ghosts and wing-tips point
Printed nails to the silent capes,
And bumble hairs comb round the broken yokes
Stirring streams of babble baited
By flowering psalms, engaging arms to prey
On tales told by the rood and drown
In eyes turning like sands on the sea.
.
goodtea May 24
1.
He's seen too much.
Fourteen and already the world
Leaves him blinking his eyes
Wishing to see no more.
2.
His problem is that he's felt too much.
Too many hands on his body and
Too many cracks in his heart.
Life hasn't been kind.
3.
He needs a reminder.
He is still a child and not at fault
For the sins of his father,
The sins of the family.
4.
He carries this burden,
Thinking he must be strong.
Everyone watches him crumble.
No one steps in.
5.
No one can see hope or a human soul,
But it's easy to watch both die
Without a sound.
No protest. No defense.
6.
Stab wounds to the heart,
Covered in band aids.
He's told the future is better
But he's bleeding out right now.
7.
Dead but alive,
A moving body with sightless eyes.
But light can flicker.
Light can spark.
8.
I'm going to look him in the eye.
I'm going to see hope,
and I'm going to see a soul,
Two gazes in the dark.
.
abecedarian Jul 2018
~explaining light to the blind~


~for Suzy~

the insanity of even attempting

who among us, the sighted,
has the capability to clarify
an animate inanimate,
an untouchable invisible,
that can be folded, bent,
travel universes unseen
at its own chosen speed,
even to another sighted

and to the blind...

imagine then light
as something that
be recognized from the inside only with
in- sight

~think of the continuum from
warmth to steel furnaced heat,
that is an element of what is light,
the sun cheek kissing, the furnace of chests
when you grasp another’s body first time

think of light as water,
the faucet spigot a measured pouring,
that can overshoot, the stream behind the house,
a toe tickling masseuse caress,
a dam’s waterfall endless crashing,
a sea, wave licking sudden raging dangerous

blend these sensations that belong to all,
and you’ll know light better than most,
indeed, light is for those who cannot vision
except from the inside with a sight that can be
touched, felt, imagined, and which the sightless
command better than us ordinary thoughtless

indeed light is as simple to understand as
  abc,
which you have never seen, but creates the words
that we all
use
even share
~
To Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke
Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things
To low ambition, and the pride of kings.
Let us (since life can little more supply
Than just to look about us and to die)
Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man;
A mighty maze! but not without a plan;
A wild, where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot;
Or garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.
Together let us beat this ample field,
Try what the open, what the covert yield;
The latent tracts, the giddy heights explore
Of all who blindly creep, or sightless soar;
Eye Nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies,
And catch the manners living as they rise;
Laugh where we must, be candid where we can;
But vindicate the ways of God to man.

I.
Say first, of God above, or man below,
What can we reason, but from what we know?
Of man what see we, but his station here,
From which to reason, or to which refer?
Through worlds unnumber'd though the God be known,
'Tis ours to trace him only in our own.
He, who through vast immensity can pierce,
See worlds on worlds compose one universe,
Observe how system into system runs,
What other planets circle other suns,
What varied being peoples ev'ry star,
May tell why Heav'n has made us as we are.
But of this frame the bearings, and the ties,
The strong connections, nice dependencies,
Gradations just, has thy pervading soul
Look'd through? or can a part contain the whole?

Is the great chain, that draws all to agree,
And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee?

II.
Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thou find,
Why form'd so weak, so little, and so blind?
First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess,
Why form'd no weaker, blinder, and no less!
Ask of thy mother earth, why oaks are made
Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade?
Or ask of yonder argent fields above,
Why Jove's satellites are less than Jove?

Of systems possible, if 'tis confest
That Wisdom infinite must form the best,
Where all must full or not coherent be,
And all that rises, rise in due degree;
Then, in the scale of reas'ning life, 'tis plain
There must be somewhere, such a rank as man:
And all the question (wrangle e'er so long)
Is only this, if God has plac'd him wrong?

Respecting man, whatever wrong we call,
May, must be right, as relative to all.
In human works, though labour'd on with pain,
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
In God's, one single can its end produce;
Yet serves to second too some other use.
So man, who here seems principal alone,
Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown,
Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal;
'Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.

When the proud steed shall know why man restrains
His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains:
When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod,
Is now a victim, and now Egypt's God:
Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend
His actions', passions', being's, use and end;
Why doing, suff'ring, check'd, impell'd; and why
This hour a slave, the next a deity.

Then say not man's imperfect, Heav'n in fault;
Say rather, man's as perfect as he ought:
His knowledge measur'd to his state and place,
His time a moment, and a point his space.
If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
What matter, soon or late, or here or there?
The blest today is as completely so,
As who began a thousand years ago.

III.
Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of fate,
All but the page prescrib'd, their present state:
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know:
Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed today,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood.
Oh blindness to the future! kindly giv'n,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heav'n:
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.

Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore!
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutor'd mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His soul, proud science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk, or milky way;
Yet simple nature to his hope has giv'n,
Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heav'n;
Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd,
Some happier island in the wat'ry waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold.
To be, contents his natural desire,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire;
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.

IV.
Go, wiser thou! and, in thy scale of sense
Weigh thy opinion against Providence;
Call imperfection what thou fanciest such,
Say, here he gives too little, there too much:
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
Yet cry, if man's unhappy, God's unjust;
If man alone engross not Heav'n's high care,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there:
****** from his hand the balance and the rod,
Rejudge his justice, be the God of God.
In pride, in reas'ning pride, our error lies;
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell,
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel:
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of order, sins against th' Eternal Cause.

V.
Ask for what end the heav'nly bodies shine,
Earth for whose use? Pride answers, " 'Tis for mine:
For me kind Nature wakes her genial pow'r,
Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev'ry flow'r;
Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew,
The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew;
For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings;
For me, health gushes from a thousand springs;
Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise;
My foot-stool earth, my canopy the skies."

But errs not Nature from this gracious end,
From burning suns when livid deaths descend,
When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep
Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep?
"No, ('tis replied) the first Almighty Cause
Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws;
Th' exceptions few; some change since all began:
And what created perfect?"—Why then man?
If the great end be human happiness,
Then Nature deviates; and can man do less?
As much that end a constant course requires
Of show'rs and sunshine, as of man's desires;
As much eternal springs and cloudless skies,
As men for ever temp'rate, calm, and wise.
If plagues or earthquakes break not Heav'n's design,
Why then a Borgia, or a Catiline?
Who knows but he, whose hand the lightning forms,
Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms,
Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind,
Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind?
From pride, from pride, our very reas'ning springs;
Account for moral, as for nat'ral things:
Why charge we Heav'n in those, in these acquit?
In both, to reason right is to submit.

Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
That never air or ocean felt the wind;
That never passion discompos'd the mind.
But ALL subsists by elemental strife;
And passions are the elements of life.
The gen'ral order, since the whole began,
Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.

VI.
What would this man? Now upward will he soar,
And little less than angel, would be more;
Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears
To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears.
Made for his use all creatures if he call,
Say what their use, had he the pow'rs of all?
Nature to these, without profusion, kind,
The proper organs, proper pow'rs assign'd;
Each seeming want compensated of course,
Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force;
All in exact proportion to the state;
Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Each beast, each insect, happy in its own:
Is Heav'n unkind to man, and man alone?
Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bless'd with all?

The bliss of man (could pride that blessing find)
Is not to act or think beyond mankind;
No pow'rs of body or of soul to share,
But what his nature and his state can bear.
Why has not man a microscopic eye?
For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
Say what the use, were finer optics giv'n,
T' inspect a mite, not comprehend the heav'n?
Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
To smart and agonize at ev'ry pore?
Or quick effluvia darting through the brain,
Die of a rose in aromatic pain?
If nature thunder'd in his op'ning ears,
And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres,
How would he wish that Heav'n had left him still
The whisp'ring zephyr, and the purling rill?
Who finds not Providence all good and wise,
Alike in what it gives, and what denies?

VII.
Far as creation's ample range extends,
The scale of sensual, mental pow'rs ascends:
Mark how it mounts, to man's imperial race,
From the green myriads in the peopled grass:
What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme,
The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam:
Of smell, the headlong lioness between,
And hound sagacious on the tainted green:
Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,
To that which warbles through the vernal wood:
The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true
From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew:
How instinct varies in the grov'lling swine,
Compar'd, half-reas'ning elephant, with thine:
'Twixt that, and reason, what a nice barrier;
For ever sep'rate, yet for ever near!
Remembrance and reflection how allied;
What thin partitions sense from thought divide:
And middle natures, how they long to join,
Yet never pass th' insuperable line!
Without this just gradation, could they be
Subjected, these to those, or all to thee?
The pow'rs of all subdu'd by thee alone,
Is not thy reason all these pow'rs in one?

VIII.
See, through this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high, progressive life may go!
Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vast chain of being, which from God began,
Natures ethereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, insect! what no eye can see,
No glass can reach! from infinite to thee,
From thee to nothing!—On superior pow'rs
Were we to press, inferior might on ours:
Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd:
From nature's chain whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.

And, if each system in gradation roll
Alike essential to th' amazing whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
That system only, but the whole must fall.
Let earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly,
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky;
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd,
Being on being wreck'd, and world on world;
Heav'n's whole foundations to their centre nod,
And nature tremble to the throne of God.
All this dread order break—for whom? for thee?
Vile worm!—Oh madness, pride, impiety!

IX.
What if the foot ordain'd the dust to tread,
Or hand to toil, aspir'd to be the head?
What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd
To serve mere engines to the ruling mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this gen'ral frame:
Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains,
The great directing Mind of All ordains.

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;
That, chang'd through all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in th' ethereal frame,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent,
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns;
To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.

X.
Cease then, nor order imperfection name:
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit.—In this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear:
Safe in the hand of one disposing pow'r,
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony, not understood;
All partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.
A Rivers Aug 2018
She says she want to see my eyes
Do you really wanna see my eyes?
Useless vessels, nothing but blind
Literally pointless, can't even cry
Walking in the dark reaching out to find
A new gatewayway Into my mind
No words can voice my fears untold,
and anger at this stubborn land;
its people hide inside their worlds,
and blind their eyes from where they stand.

We stand upon a precipice,
of all that we now hold beloved:
a living earth to give our youth,
and conscience for the least unloved.

A moral compass, this we lack;
we twist our world to what we want,
befitting all our selfish needs,
and blind our eyes to that which counts.

No words I write can turn our hearts,
alas, this must come from within,
for each must lift the blinding cloak,
and look beyond our sightless skins.
All poems are copy written and sole property of Vicki Kralapp.

— The End —