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Madison Jul 2013
There comes a day in your life where you meet someone special…
You try so hard not to admit it but you just can’t hold back the way you feel…
I like you.
You get all those feelings…
Those butterflies you can’t stomach,
That heart rate you can’t put at ease,
So baby …
Sweetheart with the beautiful smile. Sure, I loved sleep
But dreams couldn't compare
Not to talking to you until my mind screamed for rest
And the butterflies in my stomach settled
Darling with the endless amount of love…
your love could fill the oceans and climb the tallest trees,
but could your love belong to me someday?
Be given to me?
Can you feel the way I do for you?
& Boy, sometimes I tangle my own fingers
Closing my eyes, losing myself in a daydream
Where your voice is more than an echo in my mind
And I even believe for a few seconds you're still here
Lover, who writes me poems,
You should know I write you too.
I write about you until my fingers ache
And still after that I keep writing
Because there's just some people you could write about forever
And baby, you're one of them.
And boy who played me a song,
Sweet sounds bow down to my ears,
And the way you play your guitar…
& the way I daydream about kissing your lips...
I can’t wait until the sparks of your tongue burn my mouth
send electric shocks through my body
Cutie… with the funny jokes,
You make me laugh.
Today you made me laugh,
like you always do,
you’re the only one who can now a days.
Baby, with those sparkling eyes,
Your eyes haunt me whether I'm dreaming or not
And what haunts me more is the fact that
I can’t have you now
because you ruined it
It hurts to think about it,
So I have to block you out.
Play your songs to someone else,
Read your silly lines of heartache to someone else,
And go find… someone else.
Bad Luck Jul 2018
In a wakeful contradiction, it lays fact between my fiction,
Tangling subatomics, it unravels as its tricks spin
deeper toward the outward...
                                      it won’t let up, 'til I give in.

Over matter, lay my mind…
I tell a lie to pass the time...
But there’s no reason nor a rhyme --
                                            Less still, a purpose?
I search for something to remind my mind
                     that there’s truth that isn’t worthless…

But as always, failure appears;
                              in a sort-of amnesic continuity.
And my reality lies to my own mind
                              Just as well
                              as it succeeds in its futility.
With destruction as its manifest,
It tells me that I stand my tallest
                              Upon two buckled knees.

And just as faith will find one’s doubt --
                  a search within has left without.
It seems that an answer, once sought out,
                  will be left lacking its question.
My truth divides itself,
                   as a product of infinite misdirection.

I try to substitute a reason for a rhyme.
But with no lies left to pass the time...
                              I swallow a dose of ignorance.
It goes down smoother than the truth.

In a war that started with a truce,
This world betrayed my faith to show me:
                                 that I'm only tall enough
                                 Once I’ve been
                                                         cut
                                                             down
                                                                ­     slowly.

A pill too large to swallow,
                I think I’m choking on myself . . .
Or the irony of asking,
                     “How could I be so careless?”
Here I stand, Barely standing,
                   Consumed almost entirely
By my own dry-heaving self-awareness...

Left to fight the fears that my nightmares create;
I’m still running from my past,
                          yet, haunted by my fate.
They walk beside me always,
                          shadowing wholeheartedly —
Existing as a duality, both apart from,
                         and a part of me.

These ghosts have taught me very little...
                                    Aside from what I hate.
But, I've come to learn not to fear
                                    The forceful hands of fate.
For I shudder not at the thought of destiny,
                                    Or the inevitable in time...
Instead, I fear the eventuality of the choices
That were solely, and entirely, mine.

I fear that my will may be of enough influence, alone...
That fate itself may collapse beneath decisions like my own.
Or that I, myself, might be constructing
What destruction I will find
Among my shattered spirits and convictions,
In these depths to which I climb.

"Bad Luck: In a Wakeful Contradiction" is now available on Amazon in paperback!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1691941182
Cyril Blythe Sep 2012
I followed him down the trail until we got to the mouth of the mines. The life and energy of the surrounding maples and birches seemed to come to a still and then die as we walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelt of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a slimy smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” He rolled his eyes.
“Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. In my blinding anger I lost track of his lantern. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I did in Peru.
I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Somewhere in front of me the canary chirped.

When I first got the job in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack said. He handed me the manila case envelope. “He’s lived in rural Vermont his entire life. Apparently his family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When the accident happened the whole town basically shut down. There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly after. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He ships them to other mining towns across the country now. We want to run a piece about the inhumanity of breeding animals to die so humans won’t.” I stood in silence in front of his deep mahogany desk, suddenly aware of the lack of make-up on my face. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”

“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers? Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.” Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me. He relit the oily lantern and turned his back without another word. I reluctantly followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” and hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants interspersed in-between. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good nights sleep and defeat this towns fear of John Delvos tomorrow.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag and pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC. I stepped out onto the dirt in front of my door and lit up. I looked up and the stars stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except it’s sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the stars dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off.
“I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Waters, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Waters, are you new to town?”
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
The stars tiptoed in their tiny circles above in the silence. Then, they disappeared with a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the stars dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Waters. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the cold dust beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed, “See that yellow notch?” Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to find out where to find this elusive Mr. Delvos and his canaries.”
“You don’t have to,” he knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree, “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The stars dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary chirped and Delvos stopped.
“This is a good place to break out fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky this morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Waters.” Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I hurriedly stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased, “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers, I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with flickering yellow brushes and songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so of course I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the birds little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was ‘Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
The canary chirped, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines, but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?” He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast.
“Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Waters, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the CEO’s for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Waters.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Waters. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the little, yellow canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up and the memory of his green and brown wooded homestead fled from my memory as the mine again consumed my consciousness. Dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.
The canary chirped.
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelt of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The Canary was flitting its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminating the surrounding gloom. All was completely still and even my own vapor seemed to fall out of my mouth and simply die. The canary was dancing a frantic jig, now, similar to the mating dance of the Great Frigate Bird I shot in the Amazon jungle. As I watched the canary and listened to its small wings beat against the cold metal cage I begin to feel dizzy. The bird’s cries had transformed into a scream colder than fire and somehow more fierce.
The ability to fly is what always made me jealous of birds as a child, but as my temple throbbed and the canary danced I realized I was amiss. Screaming, yellow feathers whipped and the entire inside of the cage was instantaneously filled. It was beautiful until the very end. Dizzying, really.
Defeated, the canary sank to the floor, one beaten wing hanging out of the iron bars at a most unnatural angle. Its claws were opening and closing, grasping the tainted cave air, or, perhaps, trying to push it away. Delvos unclipped the cage and sat it on the floor in the space between us, lantern still held swaying above his head. The bird was aflame now, the silent red blood absorbing into the apologetic, yellow feathers. Orange, a living fire. I pulled out my camera as I sat on the ground beside the cage. I took a few shots, the camera’s clicks louder than the feeble chirps sounding out of the canary’s tattered, yellow beak. My head was spinning. Its coal-black eyes reflected the lantern’s flame above. I could see its tiny, red tongue in the bottom of its mouth.
Opening.
Closing.
Opening, wider, too wide, then,
Silence.


I felt dizzy. I remember feeling the darkness surround me; it felt warm.

“I vaguely remember Delvos helping me to my feet, but leaving the mine was a complete haze.” I told the panel back in D.C., “It wasn’t until we had crossed the stream on the way back to the cabin that I began to feel myself again. Even then, I felt like I was living a dream. When we got back to the cabin the sight of the lively yellow canaries in their coops made me cry. Delvos brought me a bottle of water and told me I needed to hit the trail because the sun set early in the winter, so I le
I may not be

I may not be the fastest
I may not be the tallest
     Or the strongest

I may not be the best
Or the brightest

    But one thing I can do better
     Than anyone else...

      That is

        To be me
Jesse stillwater Apr 2018
i used to climb the tallest tree
just to leave behind the ground
sing as loud as i could breathe
about the shapes of passing clouds

mum would haller up to the heavens:
             "STOP IT !"
... "they’ll think you’re Mad!"

... whoever  "they"   were  (?)!
    i naively pondered thence  ―

    now,     the tree is gone,
       "they" chopped  it  
         all the way down
to memories and decomposing roots

    but i still see life unspool
    in the silent shapes of clouds

                    and
  hear the birds sing sweetly
     without a single word


☁  ☁  ☁  ☁  ☼  ☁  ☁  ☁  ☁
                   jesse
26th  April  2018

Notes:
  the memories reach much deeper than the roots
jeffrey robin Apr 2013
The wind
The fatherless child
.
The tallest tree on the hill?--there!
----
The child scribbles
Hard to read
The love poem
.
. Where's the love?
---
Bombs bombs everywhere
The tall pine tree
Love poem of the fatherless child
----
I am a fatherless child
Wind
The love scattered thru the pines
--
The tallest tree
Still is there
348

I dreaded that first Robin, so,
But He is mastered, now,
I’m accustomed to Him grown,
He hurts a little, though—

I thought If I could only live
Till that first Shout got by—
Not all Pianos in the Woods
Had power to mangle me—

I dared not meet the Daffodils—
For fear their Yellow Gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own—

I wished the Grass would hurry—
So—when ’twas time to see—
He’d be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch—to look at me—

I could not bear the Bees should come,
I wished they’d stay away
In those dim countries where they go,
What word had they, for me?

They’re here, though; not a creature failed—
No Blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me—
The Queen of Calvary—

Each one salutes me, as he goes,
And I, my childish Plumes,
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment
Of their unthinking Drums—
D Awanis Oct 2016
As for her,

She might has forgotten
where the home is in the world

For she's always everywhere—
in every countries she crossed
on every streets she wandered
at every motels she spent the night
above the sand and ocean breeze
below the tallest buildings and crowded bridges..

But you,

You make her feel like
the closest thing to feeling that again
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2013
Once I undertook a journey,
Out upon and completely around,
the very face of our entire world.
To view for myself the many pictures,
And written descriptions of all the writers
In all those geography books and History Classes,
National Geographic magazines poured over
and movies seen.

My personal Quest to see with my own eyes
What I had only experienced second hand.
And in my mid twenties, like a dream,
One foot in front of the other,
I went about doing it.

I sniffed and tasted the scents of foreign lands,
Incense, Sage and Frankincense, fish curry,
fried snake and even monkey brains.
Walked in lush Jungle Bush and Desert sands,
Along the shores of many Islands and the coasts
Of Four Continents.

Heard the voices of 30 divergent Dialects
And cultures.  Smiling and laughing with,
The beautiful children of all of them.
Set beside the fires of primitive tribal men,
Heard their chants to their gods above,
Or upon the ocean and land.
Clapped my hands and moved my feet in
Their Ancient mystic dance.
Drank their tea, Kava or whatever they shared
Grateful for their offered unselfish brotherhood.

Stood on the flanks of the tallest Mountains
In the world, on my toe tips, to try to see the
Face of the God of my youthful teachings,
Mildly disappointed when I did not see him, or Her.
Found instead an inner tranquility, imparted to me
By Red robbed Monks from within their chants of
Peace and wise earthly enlightenment.

Strolled the cobbled streets of two thousand year
Old Cities. Walked among the ruined remnants of
Nearly forgotten once great Civilizations.

Explored Modern Euopean Citiadels of wealth and learning.
Over time rode on planes, ships, buses, backs of open trucks,
Horse pulled carts and human drawn rickshaws, taxis, subways,
Rented motorcycles and cars.  Walked perhaps 1000 miles.
In all a journey of the mind and heart lasting three years.

And why you might ask, "What qualifies you as a pilgrim
of any kind, to travel so far, for so long a time?"
"And what was I looking for, what did I hope to find?"  
All indeed, fair questions.

When a boy, I read a simple five word line,
“Seek and thee shall find”.
And it stayed with me all my life.
I read books, saw films, did Research,
all in a quest to understand,
what those five words truly meant.
After a stint in the Military,
still wondering and seeking,
I embarked on my own personal,
physical and emotional Journey.  

The next obvious question you might
repeat of course is, after all that;
“What did I find?”
That answer is very simple,
I found myself.
Cyril Blythe Nov 2012
I followed Delvos down the trail until we could see the mouth of the mine. The life and energy of the surrounding birches and sentential pines came to a still and then died as we left the trees shelter behind and walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelled of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped in its cage.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” I pulled my mousey hair up into a tight ponytail. “I’ve experienced far more fatal feats than following a canary in a cave.”
He rolled his eyes. “Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling some Louis Armstrong song.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. I lost track of his lantern completely. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I had done in Peru. The mine was quiet and cold. I wiped my clammy, calloused hands on my trail pants and took a depth breath.

In through the nose. Out through the mouth. This is nothing. I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Behind me I could hear the wind cooing at the mouth of the mine.
Taunting? No. Reminding me to go forward. Into the darkness.
I shifted my Nikon camera off my shoulder and raised the viewfinder to my eyes, sliding the lens cap into my vest pocket. This routine motion, by now, had become as fluid as walking. I stared readily through the dark black square until I saw reflections from the little red light on top that blinked, telling me the flash was charged. I snapped my finger down and white light filled the void in front of me. Then heavy dark returned. I blinked my eyes attempting to rid the memories of the flash etched, red, onto my retina. I clicked my short fingernails through buttons until the photo I took filled the camera screen. I learned early on that having short fingernails meant more precise control with the camera buttons. I zoomed in on the picture and scrolled to get my bearings of exactly what lay ahead in the narrow mine passageway. As I scrolled to the right I saw Delvos’ boot poking around the tunnel that forked to the left.
Gottcha.
I packed up the camera, licked my drying lips, and stepped confidently into the darkness.

When I first got the assignment in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack had said as he handed me the manila case envelope. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”
I opened the envelope and read the assignment details in the comfort of my old pajamas back at my apartment later that night.
John Delvos has lived in rural Vermont his entire life. His family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When “the accident” happened the whole town shut down and the mines never reopened. . There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly before Delvos and his father retreated into the Vermont woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He currently ships them to other mining towns across the country. The question of the inhumanity of breeding canaries for the sole purpose of dying in the mines so humans don’t has always been controversial. Find out Delvos’ story and opinions on the matter. Good luck, Lila.
I sighed, accepting my dull assignment and slipped into an apathetic sleep.


After stumbling through the passageway while keeping one hand on the wall to the left, I found the tunnel the picture had revealed Delvos to be luring in. Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me
“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers?” He relit the oily lantern and picked back up the canary cage. “Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.”. He turned his back without another word. I followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” then hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western-themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good night’s sleep and defeat this town’s fear of John Delvos the following day.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag, pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC, and stepped out onto the dirt in front of my motel door and lit up. The stars above stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except its sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of Vermont night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the star’s dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off. “I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Rivers, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Rivers. Are you new to town?” He traced his fingers over a thick, graying mustache as he stared at me.
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
Ian smiled awkwardly, shivered, then began to fumble with his thick jacket’s zipper. I looked up at the night sky and watched the stars as they tiptoed their tiny circles in the pregnant silence. Then, they dimmed in the flick of a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light-colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“So, Delvos, eh?” He puffed out a cloud of leather smelling smoke toward the stars. “What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the star’s dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Rivers. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the dead pine needles beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed. “See that yellow notch?” he asked. Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am.
“You don’t have to.” He knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree. “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The star’s dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary’s wings and Delvos stopped. “This is a good place to break our fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We had left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky that morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Rivers.”
Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased. “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers. I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with wings slashing yellow brushes and cawing songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so and I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the bird’s little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was “Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
We sat in silence and I found myself watching the canary flit about in its cage, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?”
He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast. “Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Rivers, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested.”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the editors for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Rivers.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Rivers. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up. The mine was dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I had sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.  
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelled of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The canary was fluttering its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminatin
Nat Lipstadt Nov 2013
Road Trip: Thinking it's about time (find yourself within II)

This particular poem was born as a one line response to a message.  But in many other forms, half written, it exists still, un, unfinished, waiting for the next burst energy, the next holiday time, to reach a new finish line.

This is a different but similar to a poem posted on June 2nd, "Poetry Round (find your self within)"

Any error of omission is unintentional, but know that this took many hours, until fatigue won. If you never told or revealed to me your location, know that you will be called out, to and unto me, in another poem, called "your banner is my flag."


Fact about me:  You design me.
-------------------------------------------------------

th­inking it's about time for a road trip.

create an excuse
(reasons, I got a plenty)
to stop by,
to show you another side of me,
for a drink, a meal,
and some kind
of exchange, of
form and fluids,
manner to be determined.

to come to Minneapolis,
watch you create a heated sensuality,
verbally, from melted snowdrifts,
a hot time to be had
by all the poets
of the mini-apple,
I want to meet
and celebrate ann victory.

travel to Thiruvananthapuram,
tour the treasures
of gold and diamonds,
from whence come
the bejeweled poems,
that have earned visits from
thousands upon thousands,
pilgrims, devotees, followers,
to partake at that, his,
special temple.

Gomer, Gomer,  & MJJ,
I am in your Florida,
no, sorry, not in Ocala,
near to your homer,
and I feel you springer
ten times in the
November sun rays,
that have me locked
in a full Nelson,
your productivity,
endless,
a sea of orange sunburnt words,

Tennessee,
The Carolinas,
Georgia,
The South,

I rise with it,
now, again,
that I will need a slow
sunny all lazy summer long to
learn y'alls ways,
see the wolves,
in your forests,
helm the riverboats,
navigate the quaint tides
of Charleston,
the special places
where they heal, le ville,
where the ashes of
burnt children,
retuned to be whole.

learn y'alls ways,
walk in your boots,
of seeing poems
using your special
southern saber words.

missed the original
Thrilla-in-Manila,
but rest easy, assured,
that hotbed of creativity,
where I check the
PH of the mc waters
to comprehend its
wisdom and now, it's sadness,
will be an illustrious destination
on my itinerant itinerary,
stopping by Makati City,
after all,
it is writ in the good book,
this island,
the PhilippineS,
is the birthplace
of the letter S,
Samples: samson, sally,
and So many others?

in Nevada City,
which is of course in
krazy California,
wager philosophy, romance,
be available for
succinctly seeing
works in progress,
from which I
will imbibe,
so **** deeply,
may have to
stay awhile for...

while I am there,
will need to do
a search and
Hug Mission,
to find a special man,
his unkempt prose,
his mortal rhymes
disguise not his holy worth,
even to the grassy
cal-stratosphere,
to the mesosphere,
will I high fly,
to find his sweetest spot,
then and thereafter
going looking
further on to
Humboldt County.

in Leeds, in West Yorkshire,
(Hamphshirians, Northamptontonians,
patience please)
built foundries and factories
over the magical forest of Loidis,
near to the river Aire,
yet still hides a
magical sorceress of words,
casting spells over
men and beast.
no one has seen full
her half-turned away face,
but when she summons,
do I have a choix
other than obey?
even if I get lost,
my sorceress,
you know,
I am on way too.

to get there,
will fly I must,
to Heathrow hell,
will do it,
just for you,
faithful friend,
a man da gotta do, what
a man gotta do...for you,
but first a stop off at the
London School of Economics,
Hampstead as well,
for a tutorial about sonnets,
or sams in wells,
even if I come
in my bare feet.

even in New York Upstate,
a man da gotta do,
what he mulls over in his heart,
be not surprised at a knock upon
your door, to make comparative notes,
about each other's tattoos.

in the South African veld,
hid in the highland grasses,
crouches the poetesses and tigresses,
waiting to ambush you
with words that must be seen
to be heard, to be well understood.
perhaps I'll come at ester time,
under blue indigo skies over,
a golden landscape,
seizing all the gems
that can be seen
only at 3:00am

leeward,
north to Canada,
must I, transgress,
country of my momma's birth,
fly from Montreal to Toronto, Calgary
then over to Vancouver.
Canada,
a dangerous place for me,
cause there are beautiful
souls up there,
and maybe even a
warrant to
repossess mine,
they want their
poets back.

double down by ferry,
me to Seattle,
to see a man about river,
in the Pacific Northwest,
where I have happily
drowned so many times,
that The Lord is complaining,
am hogging all the baptismal waters,
but when reminded that
nothing lasts forever,
here tomorrow,
gone today, walk on,
I add my tears
to that river,
before hitting the road.

on that river,
gonna drive me a kayak,
down Daytonway,
on the Yamill River,
see a gyreene marine,
watching me do a beach landing,
in Willamette Wine Park.
he will teach me to salute,
I will teach him how to
shake hands,
and learn from him,
it's ok,
to stand down.

man o' man
there are a lots of poets,
in these here parts,
this grand
Pacific North West,
looking for one in particular,
who will be quite easy to spot,
as he is my very own
soul brother.

will be easy to find,
though we have never met,
he will be on his kayak,
I on mine,
tho when he paddles,
somehow he manages
to hold
never letting go
of, his lovely bride,
his best half's hands.

this will a problem,
for I must teach him how to
shake two handed souls,
while hugging and paddling,
even bailing,
with an old dented pail
simultaneous.
but you can teach old dogs
new tricks, even the ones,
that can't spell
rhymers.

have mercie on me Ohio,
like a mother has to her daughter,
done a three year sentence in Cleveland,
but no jail can hold an NYC boy,
but if requested, yes I will return
to set fire to the *
Cuyahoga,
again! he he he...
but do not s mock me!
(now you know why the FBI loves
my poetry, my biggest institutional fan).

souls in torment,
where you be,
where you hide,
matters not where
you physical reside,
for we have found
each other
in each other words.

You, who live in
your very own
personal hell,
I think we met there,
because
yours was
mine too,
tho not found
on any map.

maybe I will meet the
Empress Josephine Maria,
rowing on the canals of
the Netherlands,
no longer will she be
alone.

but then again, some
very special things,
like
the purest of love
are on no map,
they are everywhere.

while in India,
will seek the many musings of many lips
of aged rhyme men
and complicated charmers
so I may kiss them
with spiced humors
to pour and pour,
more and more,
upon this western soul,
mysteries of the east,
to Kashmir, Bangalore,
wherever I must,
even take a praDip in the Ganges,
I will go, find you,
un-hide you,
among the
teeming millions,
millions of
jokes and rhymes,
that make the
world spin brighter.

in Germany,
all the university students
speak English,
in Wiesbaden, they know
poetic beauty is not in the format,
some in Bamberg,
with a peculiar
Missouri accent,
which is nicht gut Englisch,
so study hard the real way,
speak the language
the new yorka way,
which will require
study abroad,
which is quite funny,
now that I think about it.

but in Mo.,
the native drums roll,
long and slow,
making words
I know
better, different,
in a way never saw before,
leaves me asking for,
mo', mo', please?

to get there, to Allemagne,
land of my forefathers,
a ship I will take,
from Southampton
across the Kiel Canal,
before I depart,
will have my hair cut,
my words reworked,
by her Ladyship,
whose keen eyes and
maternal instincts,
see the joy of life in every
Livvi little thing.

Watt am I going to do if
I need to find a Tecumseh,
taker of my naked poems,
and enlarger of them,
so truth by her,
all revealed,
we are all naked
at least,
twice a day?

In Nepal I will purr at the words
gleaned from the markets and
train stations where
voyages from Lalitpur to Katmandu,
start and end,
where there is a miracle almost
sixteen years young,
where they call their schools
future stars and little angels,
so why should poetic miracles not be
as common as its subtropical clime?

though I despise the
Dallas Cowboys,
not my  America's team,
nonetheless there is a young woman,
a true rose of Texas,
who waits and writes
so lovingly of her airman,
in Afghanistan, I have placed
their names first,
in my nighttime prayers,
hoping to be there,
schedule my visit,
to witness his safe return
and their
joyous reunification.

there are no Mayans in Maine,
but poets of similar name,
kould be, mae be,
Julia's in Jersey, new,
in Auckland,
there are poets
who don't know it,
and Down Under, too,
where getting high is easy,
getting high at
and on words
well marshaled ,
but **** sure I will be
peering and prring,
all the way.

Oregon,
don't be gone,
those wide eyes shut,
when I come by,
who knows when I
will pass this way again...
on my way to Phoenix,
where sunrayes bend to the
desires of dessert breezes.

Kentucky to Korea,
one long road to travel,
but middle son,
if you can do it,
so can I, and,
I will follow.

in a beautiful city,
unsurprisingly called
Belleville,
the leader of the band,
still leads us in belle 'noise'
and when he finishes
fall leafing us in song, he still,
rises up in the mid of dark,
prayerful haikus to write.

off to Rogers, Arkansas
to meet an Italian from Mexico
who specializes in skinny poems,
something one day I will be too.

maybe I will go to
places it snows,
there are so many,
but your photo,
and tattoo trail,
clues, will follow,
no matter how hard
you make it a mystery.

you, who live in just
the world,
don't even think,
that crazy dotted lines,
unstraight,
or huge plains,
are sufficient,
to hide your
moody dust trail
from me!

somewhere in the USA,
roses grow in ground
that needs the
watering of tears,
though this place
is hard to find,
ha, turn around,
that is me,
tapping you,
on the shoulder!

will find you,
as I am searching for
a lovely pair
of stockinged ankles,
each with a heart tattoo,
but I sure could use
a clue,
before this hobbit searches
all the shire,
derby hatted,
to find your
heart real, and the real you...

my mode of time travel?
why I am just
a dude on a rocket ship.

Wisconsin,
look for my ruby message
in the snow,
in the dust,
in the sand, the skies, the sea,
but will you answer me?

Pittsburgh,
patient, you've been,
you thought I forgot
all about you,
chimera  at the intersection
of three rivers,
all you need wonder,
upon which one
will my ship arrive
and why you still disbelieve
you are not a poetess!

ME oh my,
you too, a hidey hole got,
but, we are strange, we humans,
we would gladly bleed to please,
If we could but find
a combination of
new words that
would your heart gladden,
your eyes tear,
your lips wear,
a smile of pleasure
at our offerings poetic!
but still I know not,
the where!

Lagos,
where
I shall climb the tallest skyscraper,
calling out in Yoruba,
where is my Temitope?
where is mine,
worthy of thanksgiving
so I may carry my Popoola,
my pole of her of
written wealth?


Mombasa, Singapore,
Maryland, Rhode Island, Kentucky,
Huddersfield, Connecticut Joe, Ireland,
South Dakota,

where the merry elders
well ken somethings
about a moon and tattered clouds,
something about children and dogs,
and something about letting
tomorrow's wait.

Milwaukee, Atlanta,
chuck, in *PA.,
friend to all,
to all those scattered across these
United States of America.

can we dare not mention
"The Shaq" of Malaysia,
South Sudan, Pakistan,

of course not!

Suburbia,
beautiful, black San Diego, Detroit;

The BBB's -

British Columbia, Brazil, Breendonk, and
B'kara!
the goodness of *
Boston,
flipping out in Flipadelphia,

did you think I would forget ya?

those of you hiding among 64 stars,
the groves of L.A',
on the lanes,
the special land of I-sia-Bella,
fellow citizens of Neverland,
those of you 'at home,'
in the land of nightmares,
concrete boxes,
those who post without a doubt,
and in the box,
this who think your birth year
is an identifying mark, not,
you never fooled me,
will visit each and everyone.


even and especially,
the grays of crosstown
NYC,
the red writers of my hood,
the tylers too.

I am exhausted,
forgive me well,
if thy locale,
I did not explicate,
for the hour is very late.

yet thru subtle fissures
in the clouds,
look for a tired old man
on the wings of a
chariot drawn by angels,
bringing you a dictionary
full of new words,
a present for you,
but truly,
a present to himself
for from it,
your future poems
will come.

*but the sun has come up,
so now I sleep.
1.  What makes this poem special, if anything, is the trust and confidences we share with each other, that allowed me to perhaps catch just little bit something special of each of you, where I could.

2. Can anyone explain to me why the site labels this poem explicit?
Alan McClure May 2011
"They say it's the tallest in the country, you know,"
the older man smiles.
His companion's eyes follow the trunk,
smooth and sheer, to the clouds
in wonder.
The topmost branches sway
and he feels himself adrift
beneath a giant mast,
sails flapping on the wind
as feathered cirrus fly through the blue beyond.

Just then a carriage bursts through the forest
causing them to leap from the path.
A bilious face glares out from inside.
"Mind out the ****** way
"Or I'll have you clapped in irons!"
scream the spit-spattered lips,
chins a-wobble petulantly above a too-tight collar.

"Begging your pardon, your grace,"
says the older man, doffing his cap and bowing
as the carriage careers on.

The young man is speechless with fury.
"*******!" he screams.
"*******!"
But the old man is clutching his sides with mirth.

"How can you laugh?
"That fat pig nearly killed us!"
The boy's agitation is making him dance.
"Clapped in irons for looking at a tree?"

"No, no," chuckles the older, "for looking at his tree!
"The height that leads our eyes
"Up towards heaven
"casts a long shadow over his wallet
"And the weight which fills us with awe and joy
"presses on his shoulders every day!
"Ownership is a terrible thing, my lad!"

And they make their way home,
free,
through the forest,
their forest,
laughing.
Jayanta Apr 2014
‘We live with forest’ and ‘forest live with us’!
Tallest tree of the forest is the symbol of our hope,
The Python is our messenger of past,
Blossoming flower of grassland are our depiction of smile,
Birds are the our fortune teller,
Earthworms are our marker,
Butterflies are our messenger of worship,
We design our life with them,
They are our image of clan and family,
We can’t live without them,
Our aspiration is tuned with their respiration,
We are cheerful with them!  
                
Now, out of the blue, you arrived
and say we are poor!
So, you will build industry for us and give job to us!
But for that,
You occupy our land, our forest, our friends and respiration,
We never thought!
‘You are such a pitiable’
That you can’t build anything without our forest,
But you say, ‘we are poor’!
*

Please, go away from our blessed place
Don’t wipe out our friend!
We are rich and happy with the blessing of our friend
There is no need of your industry,
Please go away
Leave us alone we will design our destination.
There is a community called Khasi, inhabitant of State of Meghalaya, India. The Khasi matriarchal society has a cultural system, where they consider forest as sacred. They have clan forest, village forest, community forest in every village.  There is a saying that “Khasi live in forest and forest live Khasi”. Their lifestyle is designed with cycle of nature and nature stewardship is vivid in their day to day life. Now, different groups are coming up to the area, started to destroying the forest in the name of mining and industry. Ecosystem people of the area trying hard to raise their voice, but no one care about it. In every visit to the area I am becoming helpless!
I.

the emperor
sleeps in a palace of porphyry
which was a million years building
he takes the air in a howdah
of jasper beneath saffron
umbrellas
upon an elephant
twelve foot high
behind whose ear
sits always a crowned
king twir-
ling an
ankus of
ebony
the fountains of the emperor’s
palace run sunlight and
moonlight and the emperor’s
elephant is a thousand years old

the harem of
the emperor
is carpeted with
gold cloth
from the
ceiling(one
diamond timid
with nesting incense)
fifty
marble
pillars
slipped from immeasurable
height,fall,fifty,silent

in the incense is tangled a cool moon
there are thrice-three-hundred
doors carven of chalcedony and
before every door a naked
****** watches
on their heads turbans of a hundred
colours
in their hands scimitars like windy torches
each
is
blacker than oblivion

the ladies
of the emperor’s
harem are queens
of all the earth and the rings
upon their hands are from mines
a mile deep
but the body of
the queen of queens is
more transparent
than water,she is softer than birds

                2.

when the emperor is very
amorous he reclines upon
the couch of couches and
beckons     with
the little
finger of his left
hand
then the
thrice-three-hundredth
door is opened by the tallest
****** and the queen
of queens comes
forth
ankles
musical with large pearls
kingdoms in her ears
at the feet of
the emperor a cithern-
player squats with
quiveringgold
body
behind
the emperor ten
elected warriors with
bodies of lazy jade
and twitching
eyelids
finger
their
unquiet
spears

the queen of queens is dancing

her subtle
body weaving
insinuating upon the gold cloth
incessantly creates patterns of sudden
lust
her
stealing body ex-
pending gathering pouring upon itself     stiffenS
to a
white thorn
of desire

the taut neck of the citharede wags
in the dust the ghastly warriors
amber with lust breathe
together      the emperor,exerting
himself among his pillows throws
jewels at the queen of queens and
white money upon her nakedness
he
nods
          and all
depart through the bruised air aflutter with pearls

                3.

they are
alone
he beckons,she rises she
stands
a moment
in the passion of the fifty
pillars
listening

while the queens of all the
earth writhe upon deep rugs
THE RAT AND THE PREGNANT WOMAN


A story poem

BY

Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya;aopicho@yahoo.com)



Dedicated to;
My mother Neddy Nabisino Mayende Kuloba Makhakara
And her mother Maritini Nabengele Nasenya Mulemia Namugugu Ilungu wa Wenwa.
The story telling power of these two ladies is the primary source of my passion and love for humorous and peace bettling stories. I owe them all the recognitions.







OPENING SONG
How do I start telling this story that I got from my
Grandmothers when sited around the fire yard in the evening?
I don’t know how to start surely,
For to day I am very shy; all of your eyes
Are on me, looking at me like ocean of looking organs
But let me embolden my self with the belt
Of a story teller that my grand father gave me
And commanded me to preach peace
Through story telling in every place I go
So my spiritual service to humanity is telling stories
Is to soothe and heal wounds of humanity
By softly telling peaceful stories
Let me then cough to clear my voice and start;

Long time ago, but not very long time
Some where between the centuries of twelve hundred
And seventeen hundred after the death of the other Jewish
Story teller who died without a wife, who died on the cross
But others say he died on the stake, his name was Jesus,
There existed only two kingdoms in land which is known today
As Bukusu land found in the present east Africa or Indian Ocean coastal Africa,
The first occupants of this vast land is the sons and daughters of Babukusu
Or the ones who like selling ironsmith products
And hence the name the people of Bukusu; the people who sell,
The two kingdoms were the Kingdom of muntu and the kingdom of manani
The citizens in the kingdom of muntu were short men and short women
Handsome and beautiful, slender and not assertive in their physical disposition
But the citizens of the kingdom of manani were all cyclopic,
In their everything; the manner of walking, talking farting, micturating
Farming, breathing, snoring, smiling, singing, whispering
Their whisper was a noisy as the tropical thunderclap
They were tall men and tall women, very tall
Their young person was as short as the tallest
Person in the kingdom of muntu,
When one of the citizen of manani snores
All the citizens of Muntu along together with,
Their king Walumoli wa Muntu had no option
But remain awake throughout the night,
Because the cacophony of a snore from
The sleeping courts of Manani was not bearable,

On many occasions Walumoli wa Muntu
The conscientious king of the muntu kingdom
Had arranged to talk to Silinki wa Namunguba
The ostensible king of the Manani Kingdom
About the cacophonous sleep robbing
Snores of daughters and sons in neighbour kingdom of Manani
Only to cow and chicken away in a feat of prudence
Lest Silinki wa Namunguba will suspect him for being
A night runner or a thief of *** perhaps
Who roams his compound during the wee of the night
In hunt of any of Namunguba’s wife maybe
Perchance having gone out for a mid-night *******,
This is how legendary snores of the sons and daughters
Of Silinki wa Namunguba the king of Manani
Has remained unchecked for ever till today,

One time an ugly passer by happened to be seen
Traversing the kingdom of muntu
In the early afternoon some two
Hours after Walumoli the king
Had just cleared the last plate
Of the mid day meal from
His last wife Khatembete Kho Bwibo Khakhalikaha Nobwoya
He always eats her food last in the afternoon
Because it comes on the table steaming youthfulness
He loves his Khatembete wife, the wife of his old age
The wife he married by use and show of the royal regalia
The powers and dignity of the king of muntu
He married her when he his a king, the scepter in his hand,

Going back to the ugly passer by
It was never known where he came from
Not from the east where the Indian Ocean is
Not from the west where the vastness of the land
Of black people of Baganda and Bacongo
Baigbo and Bayoruba or Bafulana of Nigeria
Or the sons of Madiokor Ngoni Diop in the Senegal,
Not from the south from shaka the Zulu and Mandella the wise one
Not from north in the land of Dinka and Nuer, Ethiopian Jewish and the Egyptians,
The passerby was ugly and from no where, in a dress and
A very ***** dress that fumed out a malodorously stenching reek
He was a man in attires of a woman; this was a taboo in the land of muntu
He was left handed and a heavy weight stammerer, with an appalling
Protuberation of   a hunched back, an enormous hunchback
Enmassing entired of his masculine shoulders,
When the wind blew his loose dress followed it
Leaving the man’s thighs and then bossom naked,
Leading bystanders to a strange discovery; he was not circumcised
He was old like any other father, he had beards
But not yet circumcised, his ***** ends in corkscrew of a sheath,
This was a taboo in the land of muntu, in the kingdom of muntu
Which Walumoli wa Muntu the son of Mukitang’a Mutukuika ruled
For the spirits, gods and ancestors as well as foremen of the kingdom
Behooved that all male offsprings of the kingdom of muntu
Whether born in marriage or out of the wedlock
Born the blood or born as a ******* must and must be
Circumcised in the early teen hood
They must be circumcised before they grow the hairs
On the face, on the chest, in the scapula and on the areas
Surrounding the testicles, the **** and the endings of the backbone,
The man again had six fingers on the legs and on the hands
He walks slowly like a porcupine, his dress was in tartars
He was violent to every one he met
Insulting old people and old women with words
Of bad manners not used in the kingdom of muntu,
He terrified and beat young children, including the royal children
And grand children of Walumoli the king of muntu
He again had to beat and chase nine young virgins
Who had come from the palace of Walumoli the king of Muntu
Away from the forest when they picking fire wood
As well as playing a game of hide and seek with other palace lads,
The ugly passer by then chased to get hold of the
Nalukosi the first born daughter of
Khatembete Kho Bwibo Khakhalikaha Nobwoya
The beloved last wife of the king of Muntu
All other virgins ran home, but Nalukosi remained behind
In the inextricable grip of the ugly passer by
She screamed with hysteria of a hypochondriac
She screamed and kicked with her wholesome mighty
The stubborn passer by never left her alone
She gnawed the ugly passer by with
Her girlish claws of her fingernails
But is like the passer by was mentally disordered
He was a ******* of some time
He derived some pleasure and instead
Enjoyed the girlish scratches of his captive,
Before the eight running virgins reached the palace
Together with their companions, the playmate lads
The shrilling scream of the captive Nalukosi
Was sharply heard at the palace, first by King Walumoli
Who called his wife Khatembete Kho Bwibo Khakhalikha Nobwoya
To come out of the hut, the kitchen and help to listen,
Immediately Mukisu wa Mujonji the palace keeper surfaced
His face displayed genuine askance of an adept military man
Whose martial arts have rusted for a week without usage
He confirmed to the king that the cry from the forest
Is of the one from this royal home of your majesty the king
And none other than the ****** princes Nalukosi Mukoyonjo
The pride of her father, the eye of the palace,
Without hesitation the king permitted the wallabying Mukisu ,
Permission to run in a military dint and find out whatever that
Was eating Nalukosi Mukoyonjo the familial heart of the king,
Mukisu wa Mujonji who was clearly known in the kingdom of muntu,
For his swift running like a desert kite, he already twice chased
And gotten single handedly two male gazelles,
Without aid of a dog nor aid of fellow hunters
And delivered them to the king as a present to the palace
Which he achieved because of the speed of his legs,
On this royal permission he unsheathed his matchette
And went away like any arrow from the bow
His shirt trailing behind him like mare’s tail
Or like the flag on the post on a windy day,
Not a lot of time passed.
Mukisu wa Mujonji is at the spot of struggle,
Between Nalukosi and the Ugly passerby
There was no question or talking,
The first thing was Mukisu to sink the Matchette
With all of his mighty into the tummy of the ugly stranger
The bowels of the ugly stranger opened puffwiiii!
He breathed and gasped twice then succumbed to death.
His grip still strong on the leg of Nalukosi Mukoyonjo
The ugly passer by reached the rigor Mortis
When Nalukosi was still strongly gripped in his
Beastly hand, Mukisu wa Mujonji with all the skills
Used a Sharp matchette again; chopped of the hand
Of the ugly dead passer by off, from its torso
At the point of the muscular elbow,
Now Nalukosi was extricated, but not fully
From the grip of the dead ugly stranger,
The chopped off hand is still knotted at her leg
Around her leg, the dead hand also grips.
Nalukosi jumped here and there to throw away
The leg and the dead hand, but it was not easy to throw
The hand still stubbornly gripped around her angle,
*** time passed, each and every one of the kingdom came
Including the king Walumoli wa Muntu himself
And his nine wives, Khatembete Khobwibo Khakhalikha Nobwoya
Came last, as she was energyless due to rudely shocking tidings
Which the escaping virgins and lads had given her
That the ugly passer by had turned into the ogre
And had swallowed her daughter Nalukosi
That he had swallowed her piecemeal without chewing,
People of muntu came and found the ugly passerby dead
The left had chopped off its torso
But still hanging loosely on the leg of Nalukosi
Nalukosi jumping, kicking, screaming
Screaming away the dead hand from the grip of leg
But nothing had forthcame her way,
Walumoli wa Muntu could not afford to see
The hand on the leg of her beloved daughter
What could he tell his wife, is your all know
Dear reader and audience to this song;
Even the mighty and the wise ones
Generously bend when under the pressure of love,
Out of this dint, even before Mukisu wa Mujonji
Could display his next military card
Walumoli wa Muntu grapped the dead hand
That stuck of the leg of her daughter
And pulled it with another force that
No man born of woman has
Never used since the creation of the earth
By the gods and spirits of Muntu,
The hand come off, he throw it
On the cadaver of the ugly stranger,
He clicked and clicked and hissed
With anger like a wild turkey
In the African thorny forest,
He ordered the dead one to be buried
Their without haste, nor ceremony
Mukisu wa Mujonji buried the body
Quickly in a brief moment with precision
As if he was taking notes
From the lines of the poem
OF Pablo Neruda on how
To bury a dog behind the house
This time burying an ugly stranger
Behind the forts of the kingdom,
After all these women, children and men
Of muntu plus their king Walumoli
Went back to their houses hilariously
Broken into a song and a wild *** dance;
Makoe eehe! Makoe !
Nifwe Talangi Makoe !
Talangi!
Khwaula embogo sitella
Nifwe Talangi!
They sang up to midnight before
They all retired to their beds
Respective beds with panting thoraces
From heavy singing and dancing.

There is connection and disconexion between
The living and the dead, the living fear the dead
And dead loves the living,
The dead want the company of the living
For the living to accompany in the land of the dead,
When the ugly stranger was killed
And buried uncircumcised with the hunch
Not plucked out of his back
The gods and the livings dead
In the realm of the ancestors
Of the kingdom of Muntu were not happy,
They never wanted uncircumcised old man
With a hunch back to join them
And worse enough with the six fingers,
The gods and ancestors really god annoyed
That Walumoli wa Muntu has done them bad
He is only caring for the living, the pre-mortals
Especially his last wife and the daughter
But he has neglected the ancestors,
Why trash to ancestors a stark humanity,
They communed among themselves
And resolved to sent Namaroro
The god of dreams, dreams as messages
From the ancestors and dreams from the gods
Namaroro visited Namunyu Lubunda the palace
Prophet in the Kingdom of Muntu to pass
The message vesseling unhappiness of the ancestors
And gods in a blend of gloomy read to execute
A vendetta;
This is when in the wee of the night that Namunyu Lubunda
Dreamed and had a vision of a old man from
The east is warning of the coming long spell of starvation
That will befall the kingdom of Muntu for ten years
                                      That Namaroro told Namunyu Lubunda
As for ten seasons of foodlessness
Behold a begging kingdom
Behold a starving throne,
The scepter of Muntu is a disgrace
To the holder
Then Namunyu Lubunda set forth by dawn
To the Palace to meet Walumoli wa Muntu
In his, palace before any other royal chores come up,
Both good and bad luck combined
Only to have Namunyu Lubunda to get the king at the palace
He got him fresh and relaxed chewing the cup of fortune
In his full ego, all his wives had submitted to the morning dishes
To his dining hall in the palace, he moved his hands from
One plate of food to the other.
Namunyu Lubunda entered with a submissive salutation
To the royal, He bowed and declared the glory of the king
In typical standards of the ethnic composition of the house of Muntu
Walumoli wa Muntu Mukitang’a Mutukuika
Majave Kutusi Mbirira Omwene esimbo ya
Kumukasa,
Walumoli responded with a feat of dignity to Namunyu Lubunda
The palace prophet, as he roared to him; come in
Come in son of Lubunda son of our people,
He did mention the name of Namunyu Lubunda father
As he fears his words may escape with the power
Of his kingdom the scepter of Muntu
To other insignificant families in the kingdom,
Let me announce what brings me here; intoned Namunyu
Go ahead and announce my holiness
s the prophet of this kingdom; responded Walumoli,
Misfortune is awaiting the kingdom
It will eat this kingdom away
Like a ravenous hyena on the ewe’s tail
The ancestors and the spirits of this land
This kingdom of yours the son of Muntu
Are immensely offended with your recent behaviour
In which you commandeered all villages
In your kingdom; from east and west
The **** the innocent passer by
With your owner hands that handle the scepter
You killed and lay to rest the foreigner
A pure omurende to the kingdom of muntu
You buried him uncircumcised without contrite
In the cemeteries of our foremen who asleep and circumcised
Why did you lower the dignity of our forefathers
Who never share a roof with uncircumcised person
To share the ancestral realm; our emagombe
With hunchback foreigner not circumcised?
This kingdom is condemned to all spell of curse of death
Ceaseless hunger famines and starvation
Women dwindle in their reproductive capacity
Rarely will you come across a pregnant woman
Food will be difficulty to put on the table
Even the sweat of your brow will go to naught,
You will not be buried with insignia
Like a pauper you killed will you be buried
The house of your wife Khatembete Kho Bwibo
Khakhalikha no bwoya is a house of no consequences
For even your daughter Nalukosi stands cursed
She will not mature to be wedded into a marriage
She will hover the earth under heavy agonies of hunger,
My assignment is done and over
With or without your permission let me go.









THE FIRST SONG
Our song continues dear brethren
Come join me in arms we sing
Joyous singing of these songs of peace
Telling the world peaceful stories
As we enjoy sitting together around my grandmothers fire yard
Warming our selves to her lovely fire inherent in her good stories,
These songs will sing the glory and success of the king of Manani
It is an irregular Ode to Silinki wa Namunguba the son of Mwangani,
The son of Tunduli, the son of Wajala Njovu, the son of Welikhe, the son
Of manyorori, the son of Chumbe, the son of Kajo, the Son of Mabati, the son of welotia,
The son of sikele sia mulia, the son of Toywa,the son of siruju, the son of Mango, the son of Mulwoni sinyanya Bakhasi, the son of Mbakara , the son of Makhakara wa Nambuya, the son of Mukoye mulala kukhalikha w0nga, the son of Zumba the son of God.
Silinki
Amitav Radiance Feb 2015
The tallest mountain
Once lay dormant
Confined between
Tectonic plates
Tremors and upheavals
Jolted it from slumber
Broke away from the shackles
Of solitary confinement
And oppression
Grazed and razed with every move
Now reaches the summit
To kiss the soft clouds
In silent meditation for ages
Mighty and tall, towers above all
Revered by many
Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th’ upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know’st; thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast Abyss,
And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That, to the height of this great argument,
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.
  Say first—for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,
Nor the deep tract of Hell—say first what cause
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the World besides.
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
  Th’ infernal Serpent; he it was whose guile,
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,
He trusted to have equalled the Most High,
If he opposed, and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God,
Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud,
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurled headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms.
  Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew,
Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded, though immortal. But his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
Torments him: round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay,
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate.
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild.
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all, but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed.
Such place Eternal Justice has prepared
For those rebellious; here their prison ordained
In utter darkness, and their portion set,
As far removed from God and light of Heaven
As from the centre thrice to th’ utmost pole.
Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell!
There the companions of his fall, o’erwhelmed
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns; and, weltering by his side,
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and named
Beelzebub. To whom th’ Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began:—
  “If thou beest he—but O how fallen! how changed
From him who, in the happy realms of light
Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
Myriads, though bright!—if he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined
In equal ruin; into what pit thou seest
From what height fallen: so much the stronger proved
He with his thunder; and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those,
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage
Can else inflict, do I repent, or change,
Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed mind,
And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contentions brought along
Innumerable force of Spirits armed,
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power opposed
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?
All is not lost—the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power
Who, from the terror of this arm, so late
Doubted his empire—that were low indeed;
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of Gods,
And this empyreal sybstance, cannot fail;
Since, through experience of this great event,
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th’ excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven.”
  So spake th’ apostate Angel, though in pain,
Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair;
And him thus answered soon his bold compeer:—
  “O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers
That led th’ embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endangered Heaven’s perpetual King,
And put to proof his high supremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate,
Too well I see and rue the dire event
That, with sad overthrow and foul defeat,
Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as Gods and heavenly Essences
Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns,
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallowed up in endless misery.
But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less
Than such could have o’erpowered such force as ours)
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire,
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
By right of war, whate’er his business be,
Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy Deep?
What can it the avail though yet we feel
Strength undiminished, or eternal being
To undergo eternal punishment?”
  Whereto with speedy words th’ Arch-Fiend replied:—
“Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure—
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which ofttimes may succeed so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destined aim.
But see! the angry Victor hath recalled
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail,
Shot after us in storm, o’erblown hath laid
The fiery surge that from the precipice
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder,
Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.
Let us not slip th’ occasion, whether scorn
Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there;
And, re-assembling our afflicted powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from hope,
If not, what resolution from despair.”
  Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large,
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian or Earth-born, that warred on Jove,
Briareos or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim th’ ocean-stream.
Him, haply slumbering on the Norway foam,
The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff,
Deeming some island, oft, as ****** tell,
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind,
Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays.
So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay,
Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence
Had risen, or heaved his head, but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs,
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
Evil to others, and enraged might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shewn
On Man by him seduced, but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance poured.
  Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames
Driven backward ***** their pointing spires, and,rolled
In billows, leave i’ th’ midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights—if it were land that ever burned
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire,
And such appeared in hue as when the force
Of subterranean wind transprots a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side
Of thundering Etna, whose combustible
And fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire,
Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds,
And leave a singed bottom all involved
With stench and smoke. Such resting found the sole
Of unblest feet. Him followed his next mate;
Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood
As gods, and by their own recovered strength,
Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.
  “Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,”
Said then the lost Archangel, “this the seat
That we must change for Heaven?—this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
Who now is sovereign can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from him is best
Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail,
Infernal world! and thou, profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessor—one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reigh secure; and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th’ associates and co-partners of our loss,
Lie thus astonished on th’ oblivious pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion, or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?”
  So Satan spake; and him Beelzebub
Thus answered:—”Leader of those armies bright
Which, but th’ Omnipotent, none could have foiled!
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers—heard so oft
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battle, when it raged, in all assaults
Their surest signal—they will soon resume
New courage and revive, though now they lie
Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire,
As we erewhile, astounded and amazed;
No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height!”
  He scare had ceased when the superior Fiend
Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round,
Behind him cast. The broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening, from the top of Fesole,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe.
His spear—to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great ammiral, were but a wand—
He walked with, to support uneasy steps
Over the burning marl, not like those steps
On Heaven’s azure; and the torrid clime
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire.
Nathless he so endured, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and called
His legions—Angel Forms, who lay entranced
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where th’ Etrurian shades
High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o’erthrew
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcases
And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown,
Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He called so loud that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded:—”Princes, Potentates,
Warriors, the Flower of Heaven—once yours; now lost,
If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this place
After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conqueror, who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern
Th’ advantage, and, descending, tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf?
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!”
  They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung
Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;
Yet to their General’s voice they soon obeyed
Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram’s son, in Egypt’s evil day,
Waved round the coast, up-called a pitchy cloud
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o’er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like Night, and darkened all the land of Nile;
So numberless were those bad Angels seen
Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell,
‘Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires;
Till, as a signal given, th’ uplifted spear
Of their great Sultan waving to direct
Their course, in even balance down they light
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain:
A multitude like which the populous North
Poured never from her frozen ***** to pass
Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
Came like a deluge on the South, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands.
Forthwith, form every squadron and each band,
The heads and leaders thither haste where stood
Their great Commander—godlike Shapes, and Forms
Excelling human; princely Dignities;
And Powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones,
Though on their names in Heavenly records now
Be no memorial, blotted out and rased
By their rebellion from the Books of Life.
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve
Got them new names, till, wandering o’er the earth,
Through God’s high sufferance for the trial of man,
By falsities and lies the greatest part
Of mankind they corrupted to forsake
God their Creator, and th’ invisible
Glory of him that made them to transform
Oft to the image of a brute, adorned
With gay religions full of pomp and gold,
And devils to adore for deities:
Then were they known to men by various names,
And various idols through the heathen world.
  Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last,
Roused fr
Eric Noble Oct 2017
The tallest tree stands guard in the park
He keeps out the wind with the thickest of bark
And all of the trees for miles can view
His thick curving branches holding so true

But in this park, alone is he not
For he must have company contained in his lot
And all of the trees for miles besiege
A chance to stand where he scatters his leaves

So one by one he picks his crew
An elm, an oak, a pine, and a yew
And all of the trees for miles brew spite
That they were chose not to be at his right

And slow but sure, his trees conceive
And then of their duty, they are bereaved
And all of the trees for miles make haste
To see the new saplings that are now placed

They know for sure that some can not strive
For he consumes the most sun to survive
And all of the trees for miles conspire
To rule his park when he retires

And the smallest of saps looks on in rapture
And knows at once, his park it must capture
And all of the trees for miles look on in gall
For this little sapling is the smallest of all

For years he awakens and each day he stretches
But in pain of this growth, the poor sap retches
And all of the trees for miles must grin
The sap keeps fighting, though told he can't win

The sap matures, and ends an adult
Taller than all, he begins to gloat
And all of the trees for miles are shocked
The sap beat them all, his potential unlocked

Many moons pass and all can see
The impending death of the old tallest tree
And all the the trees for miles don't know
What they will do when his wizened self goes

And when he expires, the sap is the king
And his cries of victory echo and ring
And all of the trees for miles can view
His thick curving branches holding so true

But the sap can not hear all this admiration
And endlessly strains in exasperation
And all of the trees for miles can see
He's so much worse off, being this tree

But up on his pedestal, his glory can blind
And he can't see know his particular bind
And all of the trees for miles just wait
For the last of his life to dissipate
Elena Ramos Jul 2014
I am not probably the cuttest girl, or the tallest, or skinny with ***** ,abs and ****, but i surely love you, what I feel for you is an endless love,something that even my dad cant break, or a jealous ex-girlfriend.We were made for each other, and  I want to be yours forever♥
I was inspired in Endless Love Movie♥♥♥
Tark Wain Jul 2014
A plant grew in a forest
beginning as a sapling in a crowded opening
two inches tall
with no idea of what it was becoming
it rose slowly
but consistently
as others rose above it for light
it reaped the benefits of leftovers
this plant grew
not to be the tallest
not to be the prettiest
but it grew
It took in carbon dioxide
and released oxygen
it did its job
it was a good plant


eventually like most things this plant died
after being trampled by a young boy
this boy visited this forest everyday
its nature was his greatest toy
he knew the surroundings by heart
from the tallest tree to the smallest shrew
he saw all in his dreams
he knew all the plants save for a few
one of those few was our plant
although it stood tall, it was not tall enough
although it was pretty, it was not pretty enough
it died unremarkable
it was a good plant
it did its job
but it died without a trace
because it never risked to take another's place


and so the boy grew older
he left the forest for an office
in the hopes that one day
he’d be rich enough to return
so he climbed the ladder
and said all the right things
he was a good man
he did his job
until he met a girl
a girl so powerful
so unmistakably perfect
he had to rise above the others
he left his job because he hated it
he stood tall to reach the sun
he took risks not because he had to
but because he wanted to


this man died poor
he did not succeed
there was no beverly hills
no millionaire mansion down the street
this man never climbed that corporate ladder
never got lost in the rat race
never missed the birth of his son
never broke a promise to that boy
he took a risk he shouldn’t have
an unnecessary leap of faith
he looked back on his past
the trouble he left in his wake
he remembered that plant
the one he didn’t see
the reason he is who he is
the man who became a tree


take risks because you should
because one day you will die
buried under dirt
while your life has passed you by
life is too short
too precious
to be a good man
to just do your job
Hayley Feb 2018
I am the
Tallest pine tree
In a large
Beautiful
Forest
The tallest tree
A giant among
Men I guard
The smaller trees
In my protective
Shade from the
Suns harsh heat
I stand proudly
Watching the sun
Streaked with blue
Orange
Pink and yellow
As the sun
Began to rest
its tired eyes
and the moon rose
to its feet
ready to guard
the dreams of
the people under
it's pale light.
I stand among
The blinking twinkling
Stars that littered
The indigo night
Sky suddenly the
Grass is set
Ablaze in a
Fiery flaming fury
The flames climb
Up my bark
Smoke rolls into
The air
Vengeful hateful clouds
Of black and gray
My brethren are only scared
Bits and pieces of their
Bark like flesh turned
To cinder
But I am obliterated
Struck to the ground
Began for mercy
I am no longer the tallest tree
Ashwin Kumar Aug 2018
I don't know who you are
I don't know what you do
I don't know where you are
But I know that
You have wrecked me
Mentally, psychologically and socially
Rendering me incoherent in speech
And incapable of action
Reduced to a blundering mass
Of bloated bones and sinew
Ready to collapse like a pack of cards
At the slightest hint of a crisis

I don't know who you are
I don't know what you do
I don't know where you are
But I know that
You have wrecked me
And you shall pay dearly for it
Whether it be death by a thousand cuts
Or a pill of cyanide in your cup of tea
Or a bullet right in your temple
Or a mighty fall from the tallest tower
Or a bite from a venomous serpent
Or a decapitation by the mighty guillotine
Or even, having your soul ****** out
From your filthy mouth

I don't know who you are
I don't know what you do
I don't know where you are
But I know that
You have wrecked me
And I shall not rest
Until I finish you, once and for all
And the world is rid, of your menace
A poem which is meant as a message to a troll on Facebook with a fake account

Statutory Warning: contains references to violence, death and ******. Not recommended for children, senior citizens, women in advanced stages of pregnancy; and cancer and heart patients.
a gale Aug 2014
Do you remember the simple times?
No worries, no pain, just simple glories
Of building the tallest and largest building
Just made out of bricks of colorful pieces

Each one sticking to one another
Piling up by color and size
You would put on a smile filled with pride
Whenever you finished every brick
on top another

But what did you do when you left
and came back
then all you’ve built
was broken and gone?

“Don’t cry, child, it was only legos,
time for the real thing now.”
was what you were told.
“This time, child,
don’t make your dreams
out of lego bricks.”

*a. gale
PaperclipPoems Feb 2016
She dances,
Alone.
In such grace and poise
Positioned in between the tallest buildings
And she poses
For the camera
The bright flashes

Or on stage
In the spotlight
Twirling and twisting
Not a hair out of place
Not a step out of line
Not a breath unplanned

Trained to be accurate
Self destructing, but so well collected
The most beautiful dancer the world has ever seen.
PART I

’Tis the middle of night by the castle clock
And the owls have awakened the crowing ****;
Tu-whit!—Tu-whoo!
And hark, again! the crowing ****,
How drowsily it crew.
Sir Leoline, the Baron rich,
Hath a toothless mastiff, which
From her kennel beneath the rock
Maketh answer to the clock,
Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour;
Ever and aye, by shine and shower,
Sixteen short howls, not over loud;
Some say, she sees my lady’s shroud.

Is the night chilly and dark?
The night is chilly, but not dark.
The thin gray cloud is spread on high,
It covers but not hides the sky.
The moon is behind, and at the full;
And yet she looks both small and dull.
The night is chill, the cloud is gray:
‘T is a month before the month of May,
And the Spring comes slowly up this way.
The lovely lady, Christabel,
Whom her father loves so well,
What makes her in the wood so late,
A furlong from the castle gate?
She had dreams all yesternight
Of her own betrothed knight;
And she in the midnight wood will pray
For the weal of her lover that’s far away.

She stole along, she nothing spoke,
The sighs she heaved were soft and low,
And naught was green upon the oak,
But moss and rarest mistletoe:
She kneels beneath the huge oak tree,
And in silence prayeth she.

The lady sprang up suddenly,
The lovely lady, Christabel!
It moaned as near, as near can be,
But what it is she cannot tell.—
On the other side it seems to be,
Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak tree.
The night is chill; the forest bare;
Is it the wind that moaneth bleak?
There is not wind enough in the air
To move away the ringlet curl
From the lovely lady’s cheek—
There is not wind enough to twirl
The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.

Hush, beating heart of Christabel!
Jesu, Maria, shield her well!
She folded her arms beneath her cloak,
And stole to the other side of the oak.
What sees she there?

There she sees a damsel bright,
Dressed in a silken robe of white,
That shadowy in the moonlight shone:
The neck that made that white robe wan,
Her stately neck, and arms were bare;
Her blue-veined feet unsandaled were;
And wildly glittered here and there
The gems entangled in her hair.
I guess, ‘t was frightful there to see
A lady so richly clad as she—
Beautiful exceedingly!

‘Mary mother, save me now!’
Said Christabel, ‘and who art thou?’

The lady strange made answer meet,
And her voice was faint and sweet:—
‘Have pity on my sore distress,
I scarce can speak for weariness:
Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!’
Said Christabel, ‘How camest thou here?’
And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,
Did thus pursue her answer meet:—
‘My sire is of a noble line,
And my name is Geraldine:
Five warriors seized me yestermorn,
Me, even me, a maid forlorn:
They choked my cries with force and fright,
And tied me on a palfrey white.
The palfrey was as fleet as wind,
And they rode furiously behind.
They spurred amain, their steeds were white:
And once we crossed the shade of night.
As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,
I have no thought what men they be;
Nor do I know how long it is
(For I have lain entranced, I wis)
Since one, the tallest of the five,
Took me from the palfrey’s back,
A weary woman, scarce alive.
Some muttered words his comrades spoke:
He placed me underneath this oak;
He swore they would return with haste;
Whither they went I cannot tell—
I thought I heard, some minutes past,
Sounds as of a castle bell.
Stretch forth thy hand,’ thus ended she,
‘And help a wretched maid to flee.’

Then Christabel stretched forth her hand,
And comforted fair Geraldine:
‘O well, bright dame, may you command
The service of Sir Leoline;
And gladly our stout chivalry
Will he send forth, and friends withal,
To guide and guard you safe and free
Home to your noble father’s hall.’

She rose: and forth with steps they passed
That strove to be, and were not, fast.
Her gracious stars the lady blest,
And thus spake on sweet Christabel:
‘All our household are at rest,
The hall is silent as the cell;
Sir Leoline is weak in health,
And may not well awakened be,
But we will move as if in stealth;
And I beseech your courtesy,
This night, to share your couch with me.’

They crossed the moat, and Christabel
Took the key that fitted well;
A little door she opened straight,
All in the middle of the gate;
The gate that was ironed within and without,
Where an army in battle array had marched out.
The lady sank, belike through pain,
And Christabel with might and main
Lifted her up, a weary weight,
Over the threshold of the gate:
Then the lady rose again,
And moved, as she were not in pain.

So, free from danger, free from fear,
They crossed the court: right glad they were.
And Christabel devoutly cried
To the Lady by her side;
‘Praise we the ****** all divine,
Who hath rescued thee from thy distress!’
‘Alas, alas!’ said Geraldine,
‘I cannot speak for weariness.’
So, free from danger, free from fear,
They crossed the court: right glad they were.

Outside her kennel the mastiff old
Lay fast asleep, in moonshine cold.
The mastiff old did not awake,
Yet she an angry moan did make.
And what can ail the mastiff *****?
Never till now she uttered yell
Beneath the eye of Christabel.
Perhaps it is the owlet’s scritch:
For what can aid the mastiff *****?

They passed the hall, that echoes still,
Pass as lightly as you will.
The brands were flat, the brands were dying,
Amid their own white ashes lying;
But when the lady passed, there came
A tongue of light, a fit of flame;
And Christabel saw the lady’s eye,
And nothing else saw she thereby,
Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline tall,
Which hung in a murky old niche in the wall.
‘O softly tread,’ said Christabel,
‘My father seldom sleepeth well.’
Sweet Christabel her feet doth bare,
And, jealous of the listening air,
They steal their way from stair to stair,
Now in glimmer, and now in gloom,
And now they pass the Baron’s room,
As still as death, with stifled breath!
And now have reached her chamber door;
And now doth Geraldine press down
The rushes of the chamber floor.

The moon shines dim in the open air,
And not a moonbeam enters here.
But they without its light can see
The chamber carved so curiously,
Carved with figures strange and sweet,
All made out of the carver’s brain,
For a lady’s chamber meet:
The lamp with twofold silver chain
Is fastened to an angel’s feet.
The silver lamp burns dead and dim;
But Christabel the lamp will trim.
She trimmed the lamp, and made it bright,
And left it swinging to and fro,
While Geraldine, in wretched plight,
Sank down upon the floor below.
‘O weary lady, Geraldine,
I pray you, drink this cordial wine!
It is a wine of virtuous powers;
My mother made it of wild flowers.’

‘And will your mother pity me,
Who am a maiden most forlorn?’
Christabel answered—’Woe is me!
She died the hour that I was born.
I have heard the gray-haired friar tell,
How on her death-bed she did say,
That she should hear the castle-bell
Strike twelve upon my wedding-day.
O mother dear! that thou wert here!’
‘I would,’ said Geraldine, ’she were!’

But soon, with altered voice, said she—
‘Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine!
I have power to bid thee flee.’
Alas! what ails poor Geraldine?
Why stares she with unsettled eye?
Can she the bodiless dead espy?
And why with hollow voice cries she,
‘Off, woman, off! this hour is mine—
Though thou her guardian spirit be,
Off, woman. off! ‘t is given to me.’

Then Christabel knelt by the lady’s side,
And raised to heaven her eyes so blue—
‘Alas!’ said she, ‘this ghastly ride—
Dear lady! it hath wildered you!’
The lady wiped her moist cold brow,
And faintly said, ‘’T is over now!’
Again the wild-flower wine she drank:
Her fair large eyes ‘gan glitter bright,
And from the floor, whereon she sank,
The lofty lady stood upright:
She was most beautiful to see,
Like a lady of a far countree.

And thus the lofty lady spake—
‘All they, who live in the upper sky,
Do love you, holy Christabel!
And you love them, and for their sake,
And for the good which me befell,
Even I in my degree will try,
Fair maiden, to requite you well.
But now unrobe yourself; for I
Must pray, ere yet in bed I lie.’

Quoth Christabel, ‘So let it be!’
And as the lady bade, did she.
Her gentle limbs did she undress
And lay down in her loveliness.

But through her brain, of weal and woe,
So many thoughts moved to and fro,
That vain it were her lids to close;
So half-way from the bed she rose,
And on her elbow did recline.
To look at the lady Geraldine.
Beneath the lamp the lady bowed,
And slowly rolled her eyes around;
Then drawing in her breath aloud,
Like one that shuddered, she unbound
The cincture from beneath her breast:
Her silken robe, and inner vest,
Dropped to her feet, and full in view,
Behold! her ***** and half her side—
A sight to dream of, not to tell!
O shield her! shield sweet Christabel!

Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs:
Ah! what a stricken look was hers!
Deep from within she seems half-way
To lift some weight with sick assay,
And eyes the maid and seeks delay;
Then suddenly, as one defied,
Collects herself in scorn and pride,
And lay down by the maiden’s side!—
And in her arms the maid she took,
Ah, well-a-day!
And with low voice and doleful look
These words did say:

‘In the touch of this ***** there worketh a spell,
Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel!
Thou knowest to-night, and wilt know to-morrow,
This mark of my shame, this seal of my sorrow;
But vainly thou warrest,
For this is alone in
Thy power to declare,
That in the dim forest
Thou heard’st a low moaning,
And found’st a bright lady, surpassingly fair:
And didst bring her home with thee, in love and in charity,
To shield her and shelter her from the damp air.’

It was a lovely sight to see
The lady Christabel, when she
Was praying at the old oak tree.
Amid the jagged shadows
Of mossy leafless boughs,
Kneeling in the moonlight,
To make her gentle vows;
Her slender palms together prest,
Heaving sometimes on her breast;
Her face resigned to bliss or bale—
Her face, oh, call it fair not pale,
And both blue eyes more bright than clear.
Each about to have a tear.
With open eyes (ah, woe is me!)
Asleep, and dreaming fearfully,
Fearfully dreaming, yet, I wis,
Dreaming that alone, which is—
O sorrow and shame! Can this be she,
The lady, who knelt at the old oak tree?
And lo! the worker of these harms,
That holds the maiden in her arms,
Seems to slumber still and mild,
As a mother with her child.

A star hath set, a star hath risen,
O Geraldine! since arms of thine
Have been the lovely lady’s prison.
O Geraldine! one hour was thine—
Thou’st had thy will! By tarn and rill,
The night-birds all that hour were still.
But now they are jubilant anew,
From cliff and tower, tu-whoo! tu-whoo!
Tu-whoo! tu-whoo! from wood and fell!

And see! the lady Christabel
Gathers herself from out her trance;
Her limbs relax, her countenance
Grows sad and soft; the smooth thin lids
Close o’er her eyes; and tears she sheds—
Large tears that leave the lashes bright!
And oft the while she seems to smile
As infants at a sudden light!
Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weep,
Like a youthful hermitess,
Beauteous in a wilderness,
Who, praying always, prays in sleep.
And, if she move unquietly,
Perchance, ‘t is but the blood so free
Comes back and tingles in her feet.
No doubt, she hath a vision sweet.
What if her guardian spirit ‘t were,
What if she knew her mother near?
But this she knows, in joys and woes,
That saints will aid if men will call:
For the blue sky bends over all.

PART II

Each matin bell, the Baron saith,
Knells us back to a world of death.
These words Sir Leoline first said,
When he rose and found his lady dead:
These words Sir Leoline will say
Many a morn to his dying day!

And hence the custom and law began
That still at dawn the sacristan,
Who duly pulls the heavy bell,
Five and forty beads must tell
Between each stroke—a warning knell,
Which not a soul can choose but hear
From Bratha Head to Wyndermere.
Saith Bracy the bard, ‘So let it knell!
And let the drowsy sacristan
Still count as slowly as he can!’
There is no lack of such, I ween,
As well fill up the space between.
In Langdale Pike and Witch’s Lair,
And Dungeon-ghyll so foully rent,
With ropes of rock and bells of air
Three sinful sextons’ ghosts are pent,
Who all give back, one after t’ other,
The death-note to their living brother;
And oft too, by the knell offended,
Just as their one! two! three! is ended,
The devil mocks the doleful tale
With a merry peal from Borrowdale.

The air is still! through mist and cloud
That merry peal comes ringing loud;
And Geraldine shakes off her dread,
And rises lightly from the bed;
Puts on her silken vestments white,
And tricks her hair in lovely plight,
And nothing doubting of her spell
Awakens the lady Christabel.
‘Sleep you, sweet lady Christabel?
I trust that you have rested well.’

And Christabel awoke and spied
The same who lay down by her side—
O rather say, the same whom she
Raised up beneath the old oak tree!
Nay, fairer yet! and yet more fair!
For she belike hath drunken deep
Of all the blessedness of sleep!
And while she spake, her looks, her air,
Such gentle thankfulness declare,
That (so it seemed) her girded vests
Grew tight beneath her heaving *******.
‘Sure I have sinned!’ said Christabel,
‘Now heaven be praised if all be well!’
And in low faltering tones, yet sweet,
Did she the lofty lady greet
With such perplexity of mind
As dreams too lively leave behind.

So quickly she rose, and quickly arrayed
Her maiden limbs, and having prayed
That He, who on the cross did groan,
Might wash away her sins unknown,
She forthwith led fair Geraldine
To meet her sire, Sir Leoline.
The lovely maid and the lady tall
Are pacing both into the hall,
And pacing on through page and groom,
Enter the Baron’s presence-room.

The Baron rose, and while he prest
His gentle daughter to his breast,
With cheerful wonder in his eyes
The lady Geraldine espies,
And gave such welcome to the same,
As might beseem so bright a dame!

But when he heard the lady’s tale,
And when she told her father’s name,
Why waxed Sir Leoline so pale,
Murmuring o’er the name again,
Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine?
Alas! they had been friends in youth;
But whispering tongues can poison truth;
And constancy lives in realms above;
And life is thorny; and youth is vain;
And to be wroth with one we love
Doth work like madness in the brain.
And thus it chanced, as I divine,
With Roland and Sir Leoline.
Each spake words of high disdain
And insult to his heart’s best brother:
They parted—ne’er to meet again!
But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from paining—
They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
A dreary sea now flows between.
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
Shall wholly do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once hath been.
Sir Leoline, a moment’s space,
Stood gazing on the damsel’s face:
And the youthful Lord of Tryermaine
Came back upon his heart again.

O then the Baron forgot his age,
His noble heart swelled high with rage;
He swore by the wounds in Jesu’s side
He would proclaim it far and wide,
With trump and solemn heraldry,
That they, who thus had wronged the dame
Were base as spotted infamy!
‘And if they dare deny the same,
My herald shall appoint a week,
And let the recreant traitors seek
My tourney court—that there and then
I may dislodge their reptile souls
From the bodies and forms of men!’
He spake: his eye in lightning rolls!
For the lady was ruthlessly seized; and he kenned
In the beautiful lady the child of his friend!

And now the tears were on his face,
And fondly in his arms he took
Fair Geraldine who met the embrace,
Prolonging it with joyous look.
Which when she viewed, a vision fell
Upon the soul of Christabel,
The vision of fear, the touch and pain!
She shrunk and shuddered, and saw again—
(Ah, woe is me! Was it for thee,
Thou gentle maid! such sights to see?)
Again she saw that ***** old,
Again she felt that ***** cold,
And drew in her breath with a hissing sound:
Whereat the Knight turned wildly round,
And nothing saw, but his own sweet maid
With eyes upraised, as one that prayed.

The touch, the sight, had passed away,
And in its stead that vision blest,
Which comfort
Morgan Mercury Jul 2013
I said I'll meet you by the water
Just follow the path down the shore.
Follow me across the world,
to a place that's left unexplored.
We'll carve our names into the tallest tree,
reaching up towards the heavens and skies.
We'll count the stars as we leave,
to the other side of the island.
Drag a stick through the sand,
drawing tiny infinities.
and then we will sleep in the trees,
it's safe, trust me.
Look at the skies and watch the clouds roll by,
they were all ours.
We traced constellations with our fingers,
and talked in the language of the stars,
so they smiled back at us and sang us songs to sleep.
There is an island named after us.
A legend of a pariah duo.
Oh, the stories this place will hold.
Perry Feb 18
I've drank the finest of wine
Down to the bottom of the bottle
Only to witness an ocean alone
Barely surviving my own hands

A fire burned through my viens
That was blew out by the wind
Breezing through the leaves
A calmness that sits with me
Before calmness dismisses me

I walked across the tallest blue sky
Where wide winged birds soar high
Til promises of white clouds turn grey
And so there I fell with the rain
Dripping through the lowest gutter

Many times I was buried, lying in dirt
Like a grave, needing no help
Finding the dark inside of myself
But I always rise with the blades
Of the greenest fresh spring grass

No matter what feeling I catch
None of them seem to everlast
I am myself Feb 2012
Light of my life

Shining bright destroying darkness

Her laughter is healing

Smiles mischieviously

Or just full of happiness

Silly little girl

Ruler of my heart

Dances with flowers

Sniffs puppy dogs

Blue green eyes sparkle with laughter

Babbles until you understand

Dimples form

Mirth overflowing

My name always on her lips

Calling me even when apart

This princess

My treasure

An adorable Klingon

Runs around blowing kisses

Singing, talking always making noise

Sweetest sound in the world

Curious, afraid of nothing

Exploring everything

Climbing tables instead of trees

Someday the tallest trees will be yours to conquer

But for now

Rest peacefully in my arms
Brent Jun 2016
the insecure girl
who sees the beauty
in the twinkling stars and constellations
but refuses to see
the ones in her hazel eyes

the insecure girl
who sees the beauty
in the tallest mountains
and the steepest hills
but refuses to see beauty
in her most beautiful *****
and most curvy behind

the insecure girl
who sees the beauty
in the scorching sun
and the glowing moon
but refuses to see beauty
in her warmest embrace
and her illuminating smile

the insecure girl
who sees the beauty
in everything
but refuses to see beauty
in herself
im running out of words
We queue up like
indentured servants
grateful as ripe fruit for
the opportunity to
bend our back in an
eternal question asking
how few grains
how few beans
how few drops
do I need to survive
in a world that fits
like the abandoned sweater
of the world's tallest man

We line up like
Hoovervillites
eager as dogs for
the opportunity to
plunge our paws into
scalding pots of wondering
how many coins
how many beds
how many children
must I offer to subsist
in a world that spins
out of reach like the apples
of the world's tallest tree

We row up rank and file like
slaves
servile as a Christmas and Easter parishioner's lips slathering for
the opportunity to
kiss the papal ring imagining
how many hours
how many loves
how many lives
will be lost to languish
in a world that ossifies
like Gluttony's cast off carcasses
left by the world's fattest corporate cat

We queue up like
indentured servants
dolorous as dying vines from
the bonds and bridles that
bend our back in an
eternal question asking
how few grains
how few beans
how few drops
will I have left
   after they've taken the sweater
   after they've taken the apple
   after they've taken the scraps
in a world that fits
like the abandoned sweater
of the world's tallest man
Eiliv Advena Jun 2015
The grass is green
And blue is the sky
The air is clean
And the clouds sail by

Far up in the Tallest tree
The birds sing Jolly and free

The children are running
In the meadows and play
It truly is a beautiful day

Our hearts are warm
And free from fear
That's how we know
Summer is here
Cné Mar 2018

Upon a nice mid-spring day,
I take a look at Nature's way.

And breathe the scent of nice fresh air,
Feeling the breeze within my hair.

The grass pokes between my toes,
As I smell the flowers with my nose.

Clouds form shapes within the skies,
As light glistens from my eyes.

I hear the buzzing of the bees,
That climb the tallest willow trees.

I look across the meadow way,
And see a young deer at its play.

I pick the daisies as they grow,
And watch a gentle cold stream flow.

I hear the sounds of water splash,
And catch its glimmer in a flash.

When altogether it all seems sound,
I lay myself upon the ground.

To take a moment to inhale,
And listen to Nature tell her tale...

AM Jul 2015
Nobody has ever made me stand
by the tip of my toe just to taste
one single kiss like you do

Nobody also has ever made me sit
down looking at my own frown
and covered under the shadow of you

Maybe because you are
the tallest guy I've ever met
who makes my life never seem flat
jerelii Jan 2014
Exotic & dangerous

Life is shorter than what we know or think
so i must enjoy my life freely
do the extreme things before i die

Had to do  things that i want
and dreams that i want to fulfill
even from my last breathe

Because i want to
Because im curious of every single thing
Even from the way you breathe or ****
Then i want to spread this
and lend me a hand

Then come with me!
And make this world worth living!
then we can jump to tallest building like hell

This things that i wanted really so bad

To fly somewhere
were everyone can't recognize me

To play in the rain
and be a kid once again

To travel around the world
were i can find myself
and perhaps discover something knew
that i haven't been before

Go picnic and eat some snacks with friends
were i could laugh on top of  my lungs

Go partyin' late at night
were i can control and make some noise
like a dj bass

Go to a concert
to a great rock band

Go shopping to the mall
and be a fashion clique

Produce a music
were birds could come and go with you

Represent to your country
and be a world champion human beatbox

Write stories
and be an author
of my own journey


Cause YOLO
you only live once
in your life
and there

g

    o

            e
                         s*       

             
                 A        D       V           E       N        T        
                                                
                                                                   U      
                                                         R       
                                               E
© 2014 January
jerelii
Don Moore Feb 2016
Part one – The Hedgerow watcher.

He is almost obscured by the Elder branch, which laden with fragrant summer flower heads, casts a shadow on his cloudy features. Nearby, small birds chatter in a hawthorn bush, completely unaware of the figure sitting in quiet deliberation; only his eyes move beneath his darken brows, as he ponders the small animal traffic in the verdant river valley below.

And were you to be hurried, or impatient, and not look too carefully, you would never perceive him at all, so well hidden is he. You would have more chance, if you caught a glimpse of him sideways through the corner of your eye, and even then there is the possibility, you would not believe what you had seen...

His eyes light with golden flecks, as the late evening summer sun, ensnares sparkles off the languid river surface and directs them upwards into the unhurriedly darkening duck egg blue sky. He watches intently as a young female Fern bear snouts her way through and across the lush emerald green grasses just inches away from the river bank, where water voles play, creating tiny V shaped furrows across the shallow stream surface as they cruise the nearly mirror like silver face.

He notices’ that he can see the smoothly pebbled bottom and the rainbow spotted  coloured sides of the almost motionless trout as they hang fins fluttering awaiting the last daytime midges to perhaps drop down and furnish them with one last gulp of dinner.

Native birds flit from branch to branch on the overhanging trees o’er softly trickling water, their tiny songs much muted by the distance, and up above a Buzzard floats on browned wing his eyes trained downwards to impale a darting field vole, which seeks his own dinner of scurrying iridescent Beetle.

A flurry, as a black and red Moorhen jumps onto a small sandy beach at the corner of a turn, long wide toes and even longer legs, carry it up under the curve of bank, as it returns to its night time roost in haste.
A flash of instant Kingfisher cobalt blue and a small fisherwoman arrives upon a twig, her anxious beady eyes blackly spearing the dashing minnows, which with silver sides, play amongst the reeds and gently waving flags.

Part Two - Reynard the sly.

A ripple runs across his hairy back, as upon the delicious breeze, he catches hint of reddish skulking, sulking trickster near, and then from edge of pupil gold, catches merest glimpse of tail held low, as Reynard makes his courtly bow. Neither twitch nor tremor, the watcher makes as deviously this prince appears, his fetid stench announcing him to creatures far and near.

Then slowly as he cowers, the Fox glides by and down the steepest sides, to hope of careless rodent or of bird on nest, that might bring him windfall of instant feast that he may carry for his cubs that play at home beneath the staunchest tree, a woodland Oak of stout and height. They chase their tails in this perfect evening light, but learn of fear and flight, as horn does play upon a Sunday Morn, and colours bright which chase and catch them with some baying dog, not far removed from their much scary plight.

And all along the bottom of the wall, as laid by hand, a hedge pig snuffles for a slug or snail, his attention close upon the leafy mould, and then a surprising squeak as rippling back with reddish fur and chest of white, a family of the weasel exit stone built home and hurry for their evening hunt of beetle, vole or mouse. They disappear amongst the tallest grasses as a damp mound of freshly risen earth ejects the black velvet mole, which sniffs the air before he enters home and tracks the juicy worm back to his lair.

Little by little, so slow in fact, that you would not suspect, the watcher turns his face and looks with wonder to wooded river far, where branches bent create a vault, for shining, winding river run, and there in this, the darkest greenest place he spies a glint of hope as Dragonfly darts its wings a blur, and Mayfly dances beneath its many cathedral branches.
And further still above the trees a line of deepest blue meets lighter blue as sea and sky become no more than one, and smell of salt in distant climes come hither across this idyllic vista...

Part Three – Watcher revealed.

Dog Rose crawls its way across the bushes of the hedge, mixed with twinning convolvulus of purple hue, light green stalked, white capped cow parsley, groups in fading sun, with ragged Robin and dark pink Campion standing proud along with other flowers. Behind the silent Watcher lies a different guise of manmade meadow topped with crop of corn, which yellow in the fading sun, has bread like smell, significant of fresh warm loaves, and Man the farmer, is carrying all his toil, for the harvest of his many labours.

And in amongst this very yield, wild life is binding shoot and ear, as weeds are flourishing with the golden head, but make a pretty sight instead, for walking couple, who do not fear to tread, where woman glides as though a cloud, and pulled along upon her path, a little man who wishes he, was all alone, but must follow in his mother’s stately wake.

Towards the hedge she makes her way, and life goes still and much less vivid, but Watcher never makes his move, whilst beyond the wall the light is dropping further still, he rests his hand on object dear, but still refrains from moving forth.

And just before the barrier itself, she turns her stride and looking north, then moves away along a path, which chosen now will pass all sight, of secret ancient valley. The little man he cannot see what lies beyond his ken, and worries if he misses this, which might be very grand and maybe just beyond this very land. He tugs and pulls his Mother’s calloused palm, and as she continues on her elected special way, for she is old and cannot see, this wonder all around.

The lady now cuts back towards the way she came, and like a ship with boat in tow, she cuts a swathe through sea of golden grasses, and when perchance the little man would look behind to see, if there were aught that he had missed, of life beyond the that wall.

And then, as if on cue, the watcher stands, for he is proud with legs astride upon that hedge, no longer still but raising up, as he does stretch towards the sky, and then with no delay but still with yearning, he lifts up to his lips his instrument of all his learning.

The boy’s eyes are all of shock, for he has seen the Watcher well, half man, half goat, with shortest curling horns upon his almost woolly head, and listens in near rapture as Pan the woodland God, plays a merry breathy tune upon his pipes of river ****. The song is fierce and strong and as the boy pulls hard to stop his mother's walk; he looks away, in hope that he may, in attracting her closer assessment of the apparition, which he has spied in gay abandon, will be more than just a fancy of his dream.
But when he turns his head to take a further glimpse of this sudden ghost, who would be dancing, playing away along a valleys edge, he catches nothing, but the song of bird but which whilst trilling strong, is nowhere near as long as tune in moment gone.

Then in the middle distance church bells as the practice for the Sunday first begins, with peeling clap and stinging ring, and then as if he fears, that he shall never ever see again this horned guise of natural thing. He peers more closely yet again, but all is gone, and though he will return on summer nights, when man not boy he seeks a God, he never ever meets again, the edge to freedom and a God glorious not but never ever vain.
In the midst of everything
I linger and stare
at pallor stranger
passing by

and I gather thoughts
with eager ease;
hungry prey
with moistly lips

Awaiting on some lonely stroll
with woman-hood not far behind
and look upon her nightly walk
her path I follow with gazing stare

Better days, her beauty speaks;
returning from some horrid dream
of young fantasy at home she left
longing to be with shining gleam

in my stranger twinkling eye
Not knowing that our paths will cross
she does not weep for love that was
but dreams lightly of love anew

When I pass with tender step
from staring silent on my stoop
I hunger lust forevermore
and wildly I shall proceed

Succumb to me my little bird
like melody on palisade,
and sing me songs of kingly halls
that echo deep in eternal crag

In darkness feast I shall on her
in waking dream I shall become
until too late the deed is done
in nightmare lover's hands lay still

Oft these thoughts of wanton things
that tend to drive my waxing dreams
waning not this horrid inkling
monstrous thoughts with monstrous wings

Barking mad in empty head
this wretched thing it does not sleep
to leave me be I wish it now
and bother some more lurid soul

and cast down he from highest steed
from peak to deep by cavern cold
chasm wide like open arms
embracing the forgettable

the last of man will lay at rest
his voice will wring among the stars
his body lay beneath the ground
his mind that murmurs in the void

Mortality shall be driven aft
to deeply bowels of hubris Hell
where no man can utter cry
of wanton deed or lustful way

Where the tallest man
to walk the Earth
is the tallest man
to stand beneath it

All the while his heavenly thirst
is nothing short of bliss
Lora Lee Jul 2017
the tectonic plates
in me
are shifting
     as our continents
approach collide
my ocean is
getting closer
to the mountains
on your landscape
  tallest grasses blowing
         in wild demon dance,
                shaking their
          heads as heated
storm approaches
oven-baked air crackling
    with its own
         electric currents
Nothing can stop it
it's a magnetic force
              one to be
                   reckoned with
               surrendered to
as dust foams
like ocean froth
around our heads
clinging to us in tiny
starlit fragments
and soon will come
        the slick dive into
             wordless waters,
                    just skin on skin
        slippery mouth muscles
like entwined snakes
flick-flicking, shiny
in eye-lit cherry moons
Take my hand.
Just pull me in.
Enfold me,
          without talking
watch as my aura
rushes into you,
first a delicate whisk
             of cool light
to slake the thirst
of coal-licked caverns
then sparks
and bubbling oxidation
turning into liquid brushfire
Hold your palm
to my chest,
as if to keep
    my heart steady,
        my glowing flare of halo
  pressed into your
clavicle, taking in
the embryonic beats
soothing my torrid ache,
infusing minerals
in vitamin-laced libation
It is time to simply bask
in the new
crispness of radical
shake off
           the silt and salt
and rise up
into the spheres
      of memory
      of soulspeak
of collapsed time zones
budded breath
spiraling up
in curls,
       diaphanous
dark mist
ascending
                 into
           light
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDACd-ShjHk

enough words
sometimes ..just breath and skin
( a wish sent out to the stars)
So all day long the noise of battle roll'd
Among the mountains by the winter sea;
Until King Arthur's table, man by man,
Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their Lord,
King Arthur: then, because his wound was deep,
The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights,
And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
A broken chancel with a broken cross,
That stood on a dark strait of barren land.
On one side lay the ocean, and on one
Lay a great water, and the moon was full.

      Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
"The sequel of to-day unsolders all
The goodliest fellowship of famous knights
Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep
They sleep--the men I loved. I think that we
Shall never more, at any future time,
Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,
Walking about the gardens and the halls
Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
I perish by this people which I made,--
Tho' Merlin sware that I should come again
To rule once more--but let what will be, be,
I am so deeply smitten thro' the helm
That without help I cannot last till morn.
Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,
Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how
In those old days, one summer noon, an arm
Rose up from out the ***** of the lake,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
Holding the sword--and how I row'd across
And took it, and have worn it, like a king:
And, wheresoever I am sung or told
In aftertime, this also shall be known:
But now delay not: take Excalibur,
And fling him far into the middle mere:
Watch what thou seest, and lightly bring me word."

      To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:
"It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,
Aidless, alone, and smitten thro' the helm.
A little thing may harm a wounded man.
Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,
Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word."

      So saying, from the ruin'd shrine he stept
And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,
Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,
Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang
Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down
By zigzag paths, and juts of pointed rock,
Came on the shining levels of the lake.

      There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth work
Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long
That both his eyes were dazzled, as he stood,
This way and that dividing the swift mind,
In act to throw: but at the last it seem'd
Better to leave Excalibur conceal'd
There in the many-knotted water-flags,
That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.
So strode he back slow to the wounded King.

      Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
"Hast thou perform'd my mission which I gave?
What is it thou hast seen, or what hast heard?"

      And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"I heard the ripple washing in the reeds,
And the wild water lapping on the crag."

      To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:
"Thou hast betray'd thy nature and thy name,
Not rendering true answer, as beseem'd
Thy fealty, nor like a noble knight:
For surer sign had follow'd, either hand,
Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.
This is a shameful thing for men to lie.
Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again
As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing
I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word."

      Then went Sir Bedivere the second time
Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,
Counting the dewy pebbles, fixed in thought;
But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,
How curiously and strangely chased, he smote
His palms together, and he cried aloud,

      "And if indeed I cast the brand away,
Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,
Should thus be lost forever from the earth,
Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.
What good should follow this, if this were done?
What harm, undone? deep harm to disobey,
Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.
Were it well to obey then, if a king demand
An act unprofitable, against himself?
The King is sick, and knows not what he does.
What record, or what relic of my lord
Should be to aftertime, but empty breath
And rumours of a doubt? but were this kept,
Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,
Some one might show it at a joust of arms,
Saying, 'King Arthur's sword, Excalibur,
Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake;
Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps
Upon the hidden bases of the hills.'
So might some old man speak in the aftertime
To all the people, winning reverence.
But now much honour and much fame were lost."

      So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,
And hid Excalibur the second time,
And so strode back slow to the wounded King.

      Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:
"What is it thou hast seen, or what hast heard?"

      And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"I heard the water lapping on the crag,
And the long ripple washing in the reeds."

      To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:
"Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,
Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!
Authority forgets a dying king,
Laid widow'd of the power in his eye
That bow'd the will. I see thee what thou art,
For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,
In whom should meet the offices of all,
Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;
Either from lust of gold, or like a girl
Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.
Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,
And the third time may prosper, get thee hence:
But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,
I will arise and slay thee with my hands."

      Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,
And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged
Among the bulrush-beds, and clutch'd the sword,
And strongly wheel'd and threw it. The great brand
Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,
And flashing round and round, and whirl'd in an arch,
Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
By night, with noises of the northern sea.
So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur:
But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
And caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
And lightly went the other to the King.

      Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:
"Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.
Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?"

      And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems
Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,
Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,
Not tho' I live three lives of mortal men,
So great a miracle as yonder hilt.
Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;
But when I look'd again, behold an arm,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
That caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere."

      And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:
"My end draws nigh; 't is time that I were gone.
Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,
And bear me to the margin; yet I fear
My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die."

      So saying, from the pavement he half rose,
Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,
And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes
As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere
Remorsefully regarded thro' his tears,
And would have spoken, but he found not words,
Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,
O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,
And rising bore him thro' the place of tombs.

      But, as he walk'd, King Arthur panted hard,
Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed
When all the house is mute. So sigh'd the King
Muttering and murmuring at his ear, "Quick, quick!
I fear it is too late, and I shall die."
But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,
Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walk'd
Larger than human on the frozen hills.
He heard the deep behind him, and a cry
Before. His own thought drove him like a goad.
Dry clash'd his harness in the icy caves
And barren chasms, and all to left and right
The bare black cliff clang'd round him, as he based
His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang
Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels--
And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
And the long glories of the winter moon.

      Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge
Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,
Beneath them; and descending they were ware
That all the decks were dense with stately forms
Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream--by these
Three Queens with crowns of gold--and from them rose
A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars,
And, as it were one voice, an agony
Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills
All night in a waste land, where no one comes,
Or hath come, since the making of the world.

      Then murmur'd Arthur, "Place me in the barge,"
And to the barge they came. There those three Queens
Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
But she that rose the tallest of them all
And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,
And loosed the shatter'd casque, and chafed his hands,
And call'd him by his name, complaining loud
And dropping bitter tears against his brow
Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white
And colourless, and like the wither'd moon
Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;
And all his greaves and cuisses dash'd with drops
Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls--
That made his forehead like a rising sun
High from the dais-throne--were parch'd with dust;
Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,
Mix'd with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.
So like a shatter'd column lay the King;
Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest,
From spur to plume a star of tournament,
Shot thro' the lists at Camelot, and charged
Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.

      Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere:
"Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole ROUND TABLE is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world;
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds."

      And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge:
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within Himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou seest--if indeed I go--
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard-lawns
And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."

      So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan
That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere
Revolving many memories, till the hull
Look'd one black dot against the verge of dawn,
And on the mere the wailing died away.

— The End —