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somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
Sean M O'Kane Sep 2018
Robert Frost once talked of taking the ‘road less travelled’.
Well, I didn’t.
When the time came, I blindly went and took the safest road.
A very long path where the pitfalls were plenty.
I stumbled in the bracken. Stymied by the darkness that fell quickly as I ambled along.
The soul bruised, battered and exhausted at every infrequent stop.
It was not apparent then that in this venture there was a bleak dead end ahead.
I plowed on even though something inside was telling me again and again to turn back.
But, slowly, a gleaming light of hope crossed my vista beckoning me home.
I crawled. My strength regained as the light intensified.
Then the end was in sight - the portal was within grasp.
And so, yes, I now take that road less travelled.
Standing tall and proud as I gleefully stride down its glowing thoroughfare.  
Smiling at the diverse and playful changes that cross my pathway.
All told, it’s never too late to trust your instincts and make a difference.
Just ask me.
And Robert Frost.
DJ Thomas May 2010
We each have a voice and life, it is how we use them not how we might!  

Stop glaciers melting
Huge population movements
Death of progeny


The small reductions in carbon emissions being targeted for 2020 or 2050 - are thought to little to late to slow global warming.  The melting polar ice and glaciers together with our changing weather patterns are now fact. The resulting loss of river systems and rising sea levels will mean the desertification or flooding of agricultural lands and famine, then the migration of populations - starting with the skilled and rich seeking safety, to escalate into the terror of armed bands
warring over water, food, women and land.

By 20 20
Lets hope for twenty twenty
A 20 20


There is now the thought that the huge physical change wrought by global warming can be charted by the escalation in earthquake and volcanic activity.  And that this may eventually trigger huge eruptions in the American and Asian continents,
destroying civilisations to create a planetary volcanic winter.

Again fire and cold
The cycle repeats itself
Destroying nature


Was there a civilisation in deep history before the flood, prior to and during the last ice-age?
This has been researched and written about in great detail during the last twenty years
and many now believe it already proven by scientific review of documents and
thousands of archaeological finds, also by scientists having used the exactness
in the astronomical alignments of ancient monuments
to recalculate there greater age.  

Dead sold souls herd us
Lost mindless finger puppets
Vapid witless words


Sadly, the majority put their reliance and faith in
the actions of lawyer-ed politicians, most of whom evidence
a fixation on their own welfare,  selfish self-glorification needs
and an unwillingness to rock-the-boat once in power*

Politicians thwart
Party politics deafen
Propaganda’s herd


Putting off all radical action required until after the next election.  
Many have gifted away the necessary legal control and power to take national radical action
to a political or trade grouping of nations - in effect retaining only national rights
to go to war, put up taxes, borrow and spend monies.

Please no rhetoric
Complete local transition
Forget politics


We each have a voice and life, it is how we use them not how we might!

Living we give voice
So one voice might yet be heard
All being, believe!


We are left holding our eco-inheritance and children’s future in the palm of our hand.
Please let our love and imagination drive us each forward to make change.


Biosphere a greenhouse 
Target the impossible
Please gift some life soon?


So, we each of us have hard personal choices to make, which will encompass both positive and negative
benefits in terms of our time, lifestyle, health and wealth.  I chose to base my choices solely on how it
might benefit the eco-system and the lives of our children.

My choices are grouped under five headings: transport, food, home, lifestyle and further action. They are:
-  

Transport: Rail; Bus; Coach; Bike;
(I pass woods in bud - a Red Kite hunting twisting, unhurried moments).  
To give up ownership of electric / motor vehicles
and to avoid air travel where possible.


Highly vaporous.
Emissions farting -
barrelling vipers
.

Food: To eat meat/fish only once a week at most;
(Slaughteramas greed - industrial carcase-ed meals. Sheep full of cancer)
To study fast methods of vegetarian cooking; buy local organic foodstuffs;
visit local farmers markets and farm shops; grow my own when possible
and help friends establish vegetable/herb gardens.
To not ever feed, cleave and eat!


Fat shopaholics,
a deadly consumerism.
Cancers meat to eat


Home:   A cottage sized for me, friends and neighbours,
overlooking a wooded valley and trout stream.
Like me a little untidy and basic
.

Crossing the shallows
trout fingerling feed at dawn
White dots steep hill path

Dusk - eight painted queue
river paired mare and foal
Foliage lined dark black


Well positioned to capture the morning sun, airy and light.  
Yet insulated to stay cool or warm. With easy access to mountain bike trails
and long distance bus routes, plus several end-of-line train stations
in energetic cycling distance over the mountains


A differing beat
Quickly fading doubled steps -
pulling separate


Life Style:* A thinking poet mountain biker, living organic
not part of the great noisious noxious ribbons of hurtling tired.

Pressured paced life -
impossible  commitments.
Organic living


Further Action: *I intend to give up meat not because of the terrible cruelty involved in ten billion or more animals
being slaughtered every year to feed the human race, but due to
: 1)  animal farming being a major factor in the burning of 50 million year old rainforests at a rate of one and half acres per second to generate huge volumes of greenhouse gases, destroying the richest habitats on Earth and a principal source of oxygen; and 2)  that these billions of farmed animals
are themselves a major source of greenhouse gases
.

Burning rainforests
Feeding to cleave open and eat
Subsistence farming


With ongoing intensive fishing, the world's fisheries already in crisis and climate change,
it could be that we will run out of wild-caught seafood much earlier than 2030!


Conserve energy -
and natural resources
Don’t waste foolishly


Each of us might have a different view of what globalisation is,
for some this word encapsulates the dangers of our global fast food culture, omnipresent brands,
popular culture, changing diets and the growing use of packaged processed foods
.

Freedom to act sought
Globalisation's curses
Octopus suckers!


For many it is the illegal international trade in endangered species of flora and fauna,  
second only in value to the $350 billion a year global drug trafficking trade that now services
perhaps more than 50 million regular users of ******, ******* and synthetic drugs
.

The label 'globalization' can cover the: spread and integration of different cultures;  
industry moving to low per capita income countries; sweatshops supplying this seasons branded goods
to retail outlets worldwide;  complex international interleaved financial trading instruments being developed
by banks and financial institutions to trade worldwide, create profits and pay huge bonuses, without risk to themselves
.

Globalisation -
orchestrated profiteers,
betting our losses


Many see globalisation as being the beneficial spread of free trade, liberty, democracy and capitalism,
involving the efficient allocation of resources and capital through the spread of technology.
Unelected international bodies and institutions such the World Bank actively promulgate globalisation,
a '‘world government’ promoting close economic ties between nations
.

Enculturation
Our sad indoctrination
Globalization
  

The anti-globalisation movements dislike the corporate and political nature of globalisation,
protesting the resultant harm done to the biosphere, a more rapid and extensive deterioration of the environment
and the unintended but very real consequences of globalisation: the erosion of traditional culture
resulting in social disintegration; a breakdown of democracy; the spread of new diseases;
changes in diet; increasing poverty.
.

I view globalisation and it's propagation as leading to the final destruction
of the world's cultures and civilisations by locked us into a
dogmatic world political doctrine secured through
trade and political alliances of states, institutions
and corporations that remain hell bent on
imposing this world governance. Such
that individual countries governments
cannot consider making substantive
radical change to avert the planet
being pushed into a natural cycle
that will end the human race
.

Caged in Fools World
The people hear heroic call  
Each one a hero
!

The peoples and cultures of the world need perhaps just one western country to
break the legal chains of globalisation and adopt a radical economic regeneration program
designed to make the total transition to a dynamic culture of localised
clean communities centred on the individual not competition*  

Only one tool
National taxation for -
economic change.


Here I begin discussing how global, regional and national economies might
be based on the growth of small organic local economies.
not the repeated foolishness involved in chasing lower cost base manufacture -
each time at great cost to the economy it has migrated from!
Then a further culture becoming totally reliant
on the transport of foodstuffs and goods -
I can here you saying
:

"Oh **** this guy is -
talking about change, changing -
the world we live in!"


Yes, I am and do we have a choice?  But such change will be organic and involve business
in the restructuring and regeneration of economies till we share green economies.  
In small part his is already happening slowly!


Unlock taxation,  
survivals powerful tool.  
Needed now for change!


This is why we need to consider doing something that many of today's
plutocrats, economists, bureaucrats and politicians, would dismiss out of hand or
discuss endlessly in terms of perfectly competitive markets, perverse economic incentives etc


Major solution
National taxation change
Human extinction



WORK in HAND

This haiku sequenced eco-haibun is an ongoing project being penned day-by-day by many that care and take action. Your reactions are all welcome, thank you


**Take back control now.  
Cease all squabbling, achieve act - decisively!

Globalisation's, global control cut away.
Diversity sought

Promote well being.  Act with imagination -
for ecology!

Creating employment -
with local utilities, local food and transport

Incentivise tax,  to create local benefits.
Gain prosperity

Income taxation -  value added tax, aged -
dangerous mistake

Local licensing.  Lead don't follow excuses.
Saviour taxation

Imaginative - energy, food and transport -
local licensing

An alternative - energetic strategy,
greening business

Organic foodstuffs - out compete processed food.
Life promoting health

Healthy government - a healthy population. 
Zero income tax!

Locally taxed - by distance it travelled -
and category

Products bar coded.  Point of agreed production -
and category

Local added tax, by distance it travelled -
and category

Local energy, initiatives supplant.  
Replacing at risk

User energy, capture and storage.  
Eco-dwelling plan

Local water works,  supplanting initiative.
Replace the at risk

User water need.  Capturing and storing half.
Securing supply

Communications, local initiatives.
Protecting our needs

Local healthy food, life saving initiative.
Planting guaranteed

Sort unemployment, local work available.
Agriculture base

Radical transport - initiatives needed.
Change made possible

Season’s colours blur - in ageing contemplation
chilling warm breezes

Ganges dried mud - dust
Armed hungry thirsty tide
Generations despair,  lost

Our politicians -
squabble condemn progeny.
Flee panic and die

HAIKU SEQUENCE FINISHED

HAIBUN PROSE BEING ADDED
Day by Day
This haiku sequenced eco-haibun needs prose and additional haiku added day by day.  Contributing comment and reactions considered for inclusion...

copyright©DJThomas@inbox.com 2010
RAJ NANDY Aug 2018
Dear Poet Friends, I conclude this series on The Enigma of Time by mentioning few important features about the concept of Time according to Modern Philosophy and Science. I have used a
simple format, and also tried my best to simplify the concepts for your kind appreciation. Unfortunately, there is no provision on this Poetry Site to show Diagrams to elucidate! If you like this one, kindly repost the same for wider circulation! Thank you, Raj Nandy, New Delhi.
            
       CONCLUDING THE ENIGMA OF TIME IN VERSE:
                      PART THREE – BY RAJ NANDY
              
              TIME ACCORDING TO MODERN PHILOSOPHY

UNREALITY Of TIME : Mc Taggart’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ Series:
Now skipping through the pages I come to Modern Philosophy, with Mc Taggart the British philosopher of the 20th Century.
He had acquired a substantial following with his 1908 paper on the ‘Unreality of Time’ initially.
With his quibbling argument he states, that moments in his ‘A’ Series of Time are either of past tense, present tense, or of future tense.
It is all about human perception, since we experience the past through our memories;
Become aware of the present through our senses, while future is pretty unknowable.
Here time appears to be flowing through us, as nothing remains stable around us!

In his ‘B’ Series of Time Mc Taggart expresses differences in moments of time as either Before or After,
Without using the tenses used in his ‘A’ Series of Time.
All parts in time can be expressed equally as points along a time line, in the absence of past, present, and future tense;
While here we appear to be flying through time in a metaphorical sense!
Thus in the ‘A series’ time appears to be flowing through us, but in ‘B series’ we seem to be flying through time on a timeline created by us!
Therefore, Mc Taggart finds both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ Series describing Time to be inadequate and also contradictory;
And he finally concludes that Time is unreal and does not exist in reality!

How Mc Taggart’s Theory Was  Updated :
Modern Philosophers have re-casted Mc Taggart’s theory in term of findings of Modern Physics.
His A-Theory is updated into ‘PRESENTISM’, which holds that only thing that is real is the ‘present moment’.
In ‘Presentism’ time has no past or future, and time has no duration either!
All things come into existence and drop out of existence, and past events no longer exist;
And since the future is undefined or merely potential, it too does not exist!

His B-theory is re-formulated into ‘ETERNALISM’ or the ‘Block Universe’, influenced by the later Theory of Relativity.
‘Eternalism’ holds that past events do exist even if we cannot immediately experience them, and future events also exists in a very real way.
The ‘flow of time’ we experience is just an illusion of consciousness.
Since in reality, time is always everywhere in an eternal sense!

Theory of Growing Block Universe:
It was proposed by the Englishman CD Broad in 1923, as an alternative to ‘Presentism’ where only the present exist;
And also as an alternative to ‘Eternalism’ where past, present, and future together also exist.
In ‘Growing Block Universe’ only the past and the present exist, but not the future.
Since the growing of the block happens in the present, with a very thin slice of space-time continuously coming into existence;  
Where consciousness as well as the flow of time are not active within the past,  
But they can occur only at the boundary of this ‘Growing Block Universe’!
Few scholars this concept did criticise, saying that in this theory the word ‘now’ can no longer be used to define Time!

But according to Einstein, this perception of ‘now’ that appears to move along a timeline, creating the illusion of ‘flow of time’, arises purely as a result of human consciousness;
And the way our brains are wired due to our evolutionary process, enabling us to deal with the world around us in a practical sense.
“People like us, who believe in Physics, know that the duration between the past, present, and the future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion,’’ said Einstein.

A poem on ‘The Paradox of Time’:
Now to lighten up my Reader’s mind, I present only the first three stanzas from ‘’The Paradox of Time’’, composed by the British poet Austin Dobson:
  “Time goes, you say? Ah no!
   Alas, Time stays, we go;
      Or else, were this not so,
  What need to chain the hours,
  For youth were always ours?

  Ours is the eye’s deceit
  Of men whose flying feet
     Lead through some landscape low;
  We pass, and think we see
  The earth’s fixed surface flee,
     Alas, time stays, we go!

  Once in the days of old
  Your locks were curling gold,
     And mine had shamed the crow.
  Now, in the self-same stage,
  We’ve reached the silver age,
  Time goes, you say? - ah no!
       Alas, time stays, we go!”
            
HOW LIGHT IS CONNECTED WITH THE CONCEPT OF TIME:
Brief Background:
I commence with quotes from the ‘Book of Genesis’ - Chapter One, along with my thoughts about Light and Time,
Before concluding this series with Albert Einstein’s concept of Space-Time.

“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. ……And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth. And it was so.”
                                                      - BOOK Of GENESIS Chapter One.

Since ancient days, Light had acquired a religious and a spiritual significance.
Since Light became associated with goodness, intelligence and ultimate realty;
Light accompanies transcendence into Nirvana of Buddhist religious philosophy.
In due course the Sun began to be worshipped as an important live-giving deity.
As seen in the symbolic form of Egyptian Sun God Ra, and the Greek gods Helios and Hyperion as the Sun god and god of Light respectively.
In Hindu mythology Surya is the Sun god, and Ushas the goddess of Light.
Huitzilopochti, both the Sun god and god of War of the Ancient Aztecs was kept pleased with human sacrifice!

SOME PROPERTIES OF LIGHT:
Plato, during the 5th Century BC said that God was unable to make the World eternal, so gave it Time,  - “as the moving image of eternity.”
While some seven hundred years later St. Augustine in his ‘Confessions’ said,
That when God created the universe out of darkness with light, “the world was also created with Time, and not in time.”
Thus along with light, time also began to flow, while our scientists discovered a connection between the speed of light and time, few centuries ago!
To understand this connection between light and time, we must first understand something about the properties of light.
Light is the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum* which can be perceived by our human eye.         (See Notes Below)
As seen in the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet colors of the Rainbow in the sky,
When water droplets acting like countless prisms break up white sunlight!
Now this electromagnetic spectrum also contains the ultra violet and infra red spectrum which our eyes cannot see.
But this entire electromagnetic spectrum contains Photons, which are discreet packets of zero mass less energy.
In a vacuum light photons travel at 186,000 miles for second, which Einstein declared as the cosmic speed limit, and as an universal constant.
When a photon strikes the eye, it is turned into electrical energy that is transmitted to the brain to form an image which we call sight.

NOTES : Gama-rays, X-rays, Ultraviolet lights, have shorter wave lengths & more energy than Visible light. But Infrared, Microwave, Radio waves, with larger wave lengths are less energetic than the Visible spectrum of light. Sir Isaac Newton using a prism had discovered the spectrum of visible light, & used the word ‘spectrum’ for the first time in his book ‘Optick’ in 1671.

EINSTEIN'S SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY 1905 :
In his Special Theory of Relativity of 1905, he stated that nothing can move faster than speed of light which is 186,000 miles per second.
This speed of light always remains the same, irrespective of its source and frame of reference.
Now the mass of an object would double if it travels at 90% of light’s speed.
But if the speed of light is reached, mass of an object would become infinite!
Since photons, the quantum particles that make up light have a zero mass, they move at the speed of light.
Even inside the World’s Largest Particle Collider (LDC), located near the French-Swiss Border,
Experiments are carried out only around 99.99% of Light’s speed, in accordance with the Laws of Physics.
Einstein had also shown mathematically that on reaching Light’s speed, Time will come to a standstill!
And should this Light’s speed be exceeded, then Time would start to travel backwards, which becomes a mind boggling concept!
Here we enter into the realm of science fiction, which has been described by HG Wells  in his popular novel ‘The Time Machine’.
But to become a time traveler shall always remain our cherished desire and dream!

NOTES: Only mass less particles like the photon can travel at light speed, photons experience no time, they do not age. Objects with mass cannot reach the speed of light since in that case its mass will become infinite. Also, one cannot see the fourth dimension because of Lorenz Contraction, which is also related to stopping of time, for at the speed of light an object will shrink to zero length! Also, particles interact with the Higgs' Field present all around to pick up mass, excepting photons which do not interact with this Higgs' Field.

Now Einstein’s theory of 1905 is called ‘Special’, because it explains how space and time are linked for objects that are moving in a straight line at a greater speed but which is constant.
Time moves relative to the observer, and objects in motion experience ‘Time Dilation’.
Meaning, time moves slowly when it is in motion, as compared to one who is standing still, -  a relative comparison.
This can be further explained by the ‘Twin Paradox’, where a 15 year old travelling in a spaceship at 99.5% speed of light for a period of 5 years,
Returns back to Earth to find himself to be only 20 years old.
But to his surprise he finds, his twin brother on Earth who was left behind, has reached the ripe age of 65 !

Limitations of Special Theory of Relativity:
It was confined to non-accelerating bodies only, and after ten years of deliberation,
Einstein added gravitational force field, space-time curvature, and acceleration, -
To formulate his General Theory of Relativity with satisfaction.

   SPACE-TIME & GENERAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY 1916 :
Isaac Newton during the 17th Century spoke about 'absolute time' and 'absolute space', accordance to the understanding of science of his Classical Age.
Space was the arena where the drama of the universe was played out, and this arena was passive, eternal, and unchanging no doubt.
Time too was absolute with an independent existence, and continued to beat independently like the heart beat of Space!
Newton also gave us the Laws of Motion, and Gravity, with more massive objects exerting more Gravity than a less massive one in reality.
Now one aspect of Special Relativity is that space and time are merged into a four-dimensional space-time entity,
They do not exist as separately as envisaged by Newton and Descartes during the 17th Century.
Some 250 years later Albert Einstein, defined Gravity as a curvature of Space-time.
Einstein also tells us that gravity can bend light, which travels along the curvature of this space-time.
Gravity is flexible, it could stretch like a fabric warping of space-time caused by objects present within it, in fact Gravity is the shape of space-time itself!
The Moon rolls around the curvature created in space-time fabric by the heavier object the Earth,
Just like the massive Sun which creates the depression and curvature around it for the planets of our solar system to orbit round the Sun. *

Einstein’s space-time has been likened to a stretched out vast rubber sheet,
Where heavier the planet, more depression it creates on the fabric of space-time along with its own gravitational field.
Einstein’s Space is not passive like that of Newton, but has a dynamic presence.
Interwoven with Time, Space tells Matter how to move, while Matter tells Space-Time how to curve - in this dynamic presence!
The constant speed of light at 186,000 miles per second, is just a measure of space of something which travels over time;
But both space and time had to adjust themselves to accommodate the constant speed of light!
Thus space, time, and the speed of light are all unified in the General Theory of Relativity,
We owe all this to Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists of our Century.
NOTES: **Planets orbiting the Sun do not fall back into the void of space due to the attraction of gravity, and also due to their individual speed of acceleration maintained in orbit as per Kepler's Second Law of Planetary Motion. Mercury has the fastest orbital speed of 48 km per second, Venus at 35 km per sec , and Earth at 30 km per sec. as their orbital speeds. Planets further from the Sun require lesser orbital speed.

UNFINISHED WORK OF EINSTEIN:
During his later years Einstein was secretly working to find a ‘Theory of Everything’,
Which would ultimately replace the erratic tiny micro world of Quantum Mechanics.
His Theory of General Relativity had dealt with the functions of gravity at the greater macro level of the universe only.
So he hoped to extend this theory to find an all embracing Unified Field Theory.
For at the subatomic quantum level, as the Englishman Thomson discovered in 1897,
The electrons inside an atom at times behaved in an alien fashion and were very unstable!
This world of the subatomic particles is a wondrous world where time becomes chaotic;
Where the position of the electrons cannot be predicted with certainty!
Einstein called this unpredictable and unstable behaviour of electrons as "spooky action at a distance"!
In the ‘double-split experiment’ it was seen, that the light photons behaved both like waves and as particles, -
Even though the speed of light remained constant.

EINSTEIN'S NOBLE PRIZE For PHYSICS AWARDED IN 1921:
Now despite Einstein's dissatisfaction with Quantum Mechanics it is rather ironical,
That the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Einstein for his work on the ‘Photoelectric Effect’ at the Quantum level;
Which for the first time had suggested that Light travelled in Waves and also as Particles ( i.e. as photon)!
This observation led to the development of electron microscope, solar panels, night vision devices, at a later date.
Since his Special and General Theory of Relativity considered as ‘The Pillars of Modern Physics’, was still being examined by the Scientific Community;
And they could be proved and accepted only subsequently.

'STRING THEORY' PROPOSED AS THEORY FOR EVERYTHING:
During the 1970s the proponents of ‘String Theory’ had claimed, They found a Theory of Everything, following Einstein’s quest.
They claimed that micro vibrating open and closed looped strings gave rise to some 36 particles at the subatomic level;
But also required 10 dimensions for this 'String Theory' to operate!
In our Standard Model of Physics we have only 18 particles as on date, therefore due to lack of scientific evidence,
There was no Noble Prize for those ‘String Theory’ proponents!
Efforts are on to find a Unified Theory of Everything, and to understand the mysteries of God’s infinite universe, -
We finite humans have just made a beginning!

Now, to reduce the length of my composition I conclude with a short verse by the famous novelist and poet DH Lawrence, -
Who had shocked Victorian England with his explosive ****** novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”,
Which later inspired Hollywood, and a film got made.

               RELATIVITY
“I like relativity and quantum theories
because I don’t understand them,
and they make me feel as if space shifted about like
a swan that can’t settle,
refusing to sit still and be measured;
and as if the atom were an impulsive thing
always changing its mind.”  – DH Lawrence.

Thanks for reading patiently,
‘All Copy Rights Are With The Author Only’, - Raj Nandy of New Delhi.
RAJ NANDY Jul 2017
THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD IN VERSE
Dear Readers, I have tried to cover the salient features of this True Story in free flowing verse mainly with end rhymes. If you read it loud, you can hear the chimes! Due to the short attention span of my readers I had to cut short this long story, and conclude with the
Golden Era of Hollywood by stretching it up to the 1950's only. When TV began to challenge the Big Screen Cinema seriously! I have used only a part of my notes here. Kindly read the entire poem and don't hesitate to know many interesting facts - which I also did not know! I wish there was a provision for posting a few interesting photographs for you here. Best wishes, - Raj Nandy, New Delhi.  

                 THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD :
                        THE AMERICAN  DREAM
                             BY RAJ NANDY

           A SHORT  HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
Since the earliest days, optical toys, shadow shows, and ‘magic
lanterns’, had created the illusion of motion.
This concept was first described by Mark Roget in 1824 as  
the 'persistent of vision'.
Giving impetus to the development of big screen cinema with its
close-ups, capturing all controlled and subtle expressions!
The actors were no longer required to shout out their parts with
exaggerated actions as on the Elizabethan Stage.
Now even a single tear drop could get noticed easily by the entire
movie audience!
With the best scene being included and edited after a few retakes.
To Thomas Edison and his able assistant William Rogers we owe the invention of Kinetoscope, the first movie camera.
On the grounds of his West Orange, New Jersey laboratory, Edison
built his first movie studio called the ‘Black Maria’.   (1893)
He also purchased a string of patents related to motion picture
Camera; forming the Edison Trust, - a cartel that took control of
the Film Industry entire!

Fort Lee, New Jersey:
On a small borough on the opposite bank of the Hudson River lay
the deserted Fort Lee.
Here scores of film production crews descended armed with picture Cameras, on this isolated part of New Jersey!
In 1907 Edison’s company came there to shoot a short silent film –
‘Rescue From an Eagle’s Nest’,
Which featured for the first time the actor and director DW Griffith.
The independent Chaplin Film Company built the first permanent
movie studio in 1910 in Fort Lee.
While some of the biggest Hollywood studios like the Universal,
MGM, and 20th Century Fox, had their roots in Fort Lee.
Some of the famous stars of the silent movie era included ‘Fatty’
Arbuckle, Will Rogers, Mary Pickford, Dorothy and Lillian Gish,
Lionel Barrymore, Rudolph Valentine and Pearl White.
In those days there were no reflectors and electric arch lights.
So movies were made on rooftops to capture the bright sunlight!
During unpredictable bad weather days, filming had to be stopped
despite the revolving stage which was made, -
To rotate and capture the sunlight before the lights atarted to fade!

Shift from New Jersey to West Coast California:
Now Edison who held the patents for the bulb, phonograph, and the Camera, had exhibited a near monopoly;
On the production, distribution, and exhibition of the movies which made this budding industry to shift to California from
New Jersey!
California with its natural scenery, its open range, mountains, desert, and snow country, had the basic ingredients for the movie industry.
But most importantly, California had bright Sunshine for almost
365 days of the year!
While eight miles away from Hollywood lay the port city of Los Angeles with its cheap labour.

                        THE RISE  OF  HOLLYWOOD
It was a real estate tycoon Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida from
Kansas, who during the 1880s founded ‘Hollywood’ as a community for like-minded temperate followers.
It is generally said that Daeida gave the name Hollywood perhaps
due to the areas abundant red-berried shrubs also known as
California Holly.
Spring blossoms around and above the Hollywood Hills with its rich variety,  gave it a touch of paradise for all to see !
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903, and during
1910 unified with the city of Los Angeles.
While a year later, the first film studio had moved in from New
Jersey, to escape Thomas Edison’s monopoly!    (1911)

In 1913 Cecil B. De Mille and Jesse Lasky, had leased a barn with
studio facilities.
And directed the first feature length film ‘Squaw Man’ in 1914.
Today this studio is home to Hollywood Heritage Museum as we get to see.
The timeless symbol of Hollywood film industry that famous sign on top of Mount Lee, was put up by a real estate developer in 1923.  
This sign had read as ‘’HOLLY WOOD LAND’’ initially.
Despite decades of run-ins with vandals and pranksters, it managed to hang on to its prime location near the summit of the Hollywood Hills.
The last restoration work was carried out in 1978 initiated by Hugh
Hefner of the ******* Magazine.
Those nine white letters 45 feet tall now read ‘HOLLYWOOD’, and has become a landmark and America’s cultural icon, and an evocative symbol for ambition, glamour, and dream.
Forever enticing aspiring actors to flock to Hollywood, hypnotised
by lure of the big screen!

                     GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
The Silent Movie Era which began in 1895, ended in 1935 with the
production of ‘Dance of Virgins’, filmed entirely in the island of Bali.
The first Sound film ‘The Jazz Singer’ by Warner Bros. was made with a Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology.  (October 1927)
Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, this decade along with the 1940s have been regarded by some as Hollywood’s Golden Age.
However, I think that this Golden Age includes the decades of the
1940s and the 1950s instead.
When the advent of Television began to challenge the Film Industry
itself !

First Academy Award:
On 16th May 1929 in the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard,
the First Academy Award presentation was held.
Around 270 people were in attendance, and tickets were priced at
$5 per head.
When the best films of 1927 & 1928 were honored by the Academy
of Motion Production and Sciences, or the AMPS.
Emil Jennings became the best actor, and Janet Gaynor the best actress.
Special Award went to Charlie Chaplin for his contribution to the
silent movie era and for his silent film ‘The Circus’.
While Warren Brothers was commended for making the first talking picture ‘The Jazz Singer’, - also receiving a Special Award!
Now, the origin of the term ‘OSCAR’ has remained disputed.
The Academy adopted this name from 1939 onwards it is stated.
OSCAR award has now become “the stuff dreams are made of”!
It is a gold-plated statuette of a knight 13.5 inches in height, weighing 8.5 pounds, was designed by MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons.
Annually awarded for honouring and encouraging excellence in all
facets of motion picture production.

Movies During the Great Depression Era (1929-1941):
Musicals and dance movies starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers provided escapism and good entertainment during this age.
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it
backwards and in high heels,” - the Critics had said.
This compatible pair entertained the viewers for almost one and
a half decade.
During the ‘30s, gangster movies were popular starring James Cagey, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson.
While family movies had their popular child artist Shirley Temple.
Swashbuckler films of the Golden Age saw the sword fighting scenes of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn.
Flynn got idolized playing ‘Robin Hood’, this film got released in
1938 on the big screen!
Story of the American Civil War got presented in the epic ‘Gone With The Wind’ (1939) with Clarke Gable and Vivian Leigh.
This movie received 8 Oscars including the award for the Best Film, - creating a landmark in motion picture’s history!
More serious movies like John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and
John Ford’s  ‘How Green Was My Valley’, were released in 1940 and 1941 respectively.
While the viewers escaped that depressive age to the magical world
of  ‘Wizard of Oz’ with its actress Judy Garland most eagerly!
Let us not forget John Wayne the King of the Westerns, who began
his acting career in the 1930s with his movie ‘The Big Trail’;
He went on to complete 84 films before his career came to an end.
Beginning of the 40s also saw Bob Hope and the crooner Bing Crosby, who entertained the public and also the fighting troops.
For the Second World War (1939-45) had interrupted the Golden Age of Hollywood.
When actors like Henry Fonda, Clarke Gable, James Stewart and
Douglas Fairbanks joined the armed forces temporarily leaving
Hollywood.
Few propaganda movies supporting the war efforts were also made.
While landmark movies like ‘Philadelphia Story’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Citizen Kane’,
‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, were some of the most successful movies of that decade.  (The 1940s)
Now I come towards the end of my Hollywood Story with the decade  of the 1950s, thereby extending the period of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Since having past the Great Depression and the Second World War,  the Hollywood movie industry truly matured and came of age.

                        HOLLYWOOD  OF  THE  1950s

BACKGROU­ND:
The decade of the ‘50s was known for its post-war affluence and
choice of leisure time activities.
It was a decade of middle-class values, fast-food restaurants, and
drive-in- movies;
Of ‘baby-boom’, all-electric home, the first credit cards, and new fast moving cars like the Ford, Plymouth, Buick, Hudson, and Chevrolet.
But not forgetting the white racist terrorism in the Southern States!
This era saw the beginning of Cold War, with Eisenhower
succeeding Harry S. Truman as the American President.
But for the film industry, most importantly, what really mattered  
was the advent of the Domestic TV.
When the older viewers preferred to stay at home instead of going
out to the movies.
By 1950, 10.5 million US homes had a television set, and on the
30th December 1953, the first Color TV went on sale!
Film industries used techniques such as Cinemascope, Vista Vision,
and gimmicks like 3-D techniques,
To get back their former movie audience back on their seats!
However, the big scene spectacle films did retain its charm and
fantasy.
Since fantasy epics like ‘The Story of Robin Hood’, and Biblical epics like ‘The Robe’, ‘Quo Vadis’, ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben-Hur’, did retain its big screen visual appeal.
‘The Robe’ released on 16th September 1953, was the first film shot
and projected in Cinema Scope;
In which special lenses were used to compress a wide image into a
standard frame and then expanded it again during projection;
Resulting in an image almost two and a half times as high and also as wide, - captivating the viewers imagination!

DEMAND FOR NEW THEMES DURING THE 1950s :
The idealized portrayal of men and women since the Second World War,
Now failed to satisfy the youth who sought exciting symbols for rebellion.
So Hollywood responded with anti-heroes with stars like James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman.
They replaced conventional actors like Tyron Power, Van Johnson, and Robert Taylor to a great extent, to meet the requirement of the age.
Anti-heroines included Ava Gardner, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe with her vibrant *** appeal;
She provided excitement for the new generation with a change of scene.
Themes of rebellion against established authority was present in many Rock and Roll songs,
Including the 1954 Bill Hailey and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around the Clock’.
The era also saw rise to stardom of Elvis Presley the teen heartthrob.
Meeting the youthful aspirations with his songs like ‘Jailhouse Rock’!
I recall the lyrics of this 1957 film ‘Jailhouse Rock’ of my school days, which had featured the youth icon Elvis:
   “The Warden threw a party in the county jail,
     The prison band was there and they began to wail.
     The band was jumping and the joint began to sing,
     You should’ve heard them knocked-out jail bird sing.
     Let’s rock, everybody in the whole cell block……………
     Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
     Little Joe was blowing the slide trombone.
     The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang!
     The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang,
      Let's rock,.................... (Lyrics of the song.)

Rock and Roll music began to tear down color barriers, and Afro-
American musicians like Chuck Berry and Little Richard became
very popular!
Now I must caution my readers that thousands of feature films got  released during this eventful decade in Hollywood.
To cover them all within this limited space becomes an impossible
task, which may kindly be understood !
However, I shall try to do so in a summarized form as best as I could.

BOX OFFICE HITS YEAR-WISE FROM 1950 To 1959 :
Top Ten Year-Wise hit films chronologically are: Cinderella (1950),
Quo Vadis, The Greatest Show on Earth, Peter Pan, Rear Window,
Lady and the *****, Ten Commandments, Bridge on the River
Kwai, South Pacific, and Ben-Hur of 1959.

However Taking The Entire Decade Of 1950s Collectively,
The Top Films Get Rated As Follows Respectively:
The Ten Commandments, followed by Lady and the *****, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Bridge on the River Kwai, Around the World in Eighty Days, This is Cinerama, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, South Pacific, The Robe, Giant, Seven Wonders of the World, White Christmas, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Sayonara, Demetrius and the Gladiator, Peyton Place, Some Like It Hot, Quo Vadis, and Auntie Mame.

Film Debuts By Rising Stars During The 1950s :
The decade of the ‘50s saw a number of famous film stars making
their first appearance.
There was Peter Sellers in ‘The Black Rose’, Marlon Brando in
‘The Men’, and actress Sophia Loren in ‘Toto Tarzan’.
Following year saw Charles Bronson in ‘You Are in the Navy Now’,
Audrey Hepburn in ‘Our Wild Oats’, and Grace Kelly, the future
Princess of Monaco, in her first film ‘Fourteen Hours’. (1951)
While **** Brigitte Bardot appeared in 1952 movie ‘Crazy for Love’; and 1953 saw Steve Mc Queen in ‘******* The Run’.
Jack Lemon, Paul Newman, and Omar Sharif featured in films
during 1954.
The following year saw Clint Eastwood, Shirley Mc Lean, Walter
Matthau, and Jane Mansfield, all of whom the audience adored.
The British actor Michael Cain appeared in 1956; also Elvis Presley
the youth icon in ‘Love Me Tender’ and as the future Rock and Roll
King!
In 1957 came Sean Connery, followed by Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, and Vanessa Redgrave.
While the closing decade of the ‘50s saw James Coburn, along with
director, script writer, and producer Steven Spielberg, make their
debut appearance.

Deaths During The 1950s: This decade also saw the death of actors
like Humphrey Bogart, Tyron Power and Errol Flynn.
Including the death of producer and director of epic movies the
renowned Cecil B. De Mille!
Though I have conclude the Golden Age of Hollywood with the 50’s Decade,
The glitz and glamour of its Oscar Awards continue even to this day.
With its red carpet and lighted marquee appeal and fashion display!

CONTINUING THE HOLLYWOOD STORY WITH FEW TITBITS :
From Fort Lee of New Jersey we have travelled west to Hollywood,
California.
From the silent movie days to the first ‘talking picture’ with Warren
Bros’ film ‘The Jazz Singer’.  (06 Oct 1927)
On 31st July 1928 for the first time the audience heard the MGM’s
mascot Leo’s mighty roar!
While in July 1929 Warren Bros’ first all-talking and all- Technicolor
Film appeared titled - ‘On With The Show’.
Austrian born Hedy Lamarr shocked the audience appearing **** in a Czechoslovak film ‘Ecstasy’!  (1933)
She fled from her husband to join MGM, becoming a star of the
‘40s and the ‘50s.
The ‘Private Life of Henry VII’ became the first British film to win the  American Academy Award.  (1933)
On 11Dec 1934, FOX released ‘Bright Eyes’ with Shirley Temple,
who became the first Child artist to win this Award!
While in 1937 Walt Disney released the first full animated feature
film titled - ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarf ‘.
The British film director Alfred Hitchcock who came to
Hollywood later;
Between 1940 and 1947, made great thrillers like 'Rebecca', ‘Notorious’, ‘Rear Window’, and ‘Dial M for ******’.
But he never won an Oscar as a Director!

THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD:
This award began in 1944 by the Foreign Correspondence Association at
the 20th Century Fox Studio.
To award critically acclaimed films and television shows, by awarding a
Scroll initially.
Later a Golden Globe was made on a pedestal, with a film strip around it.
In 1955 the Cecil B. De Mille Award was created, with De Mille as its first
recipient.

THE GRAMMY AWARD:
In 1959 The National Academy of Recording and Sciences sponsored the
First Grammy Award for music recorded during 1958.
When Frank Sinatra won for his album cover ‘Only The Lonely’, but he
did not sing.
Among the 28 other categories there was Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie
for his musical Dance Band Performance.
There was Kingston Trio’s song ‘Tom Dooly’, and the ‘Chipmunk Song’,
which brings back nostalgic memories of my school days!

CONCLUDING HOLLYWOOD STORY  WITH STUDIOS OF THE 1950s

Challenge Faced by the Movie Industry:
Now the challenge before the Movie Industry was how to adjust to the
rapidly changing conditions created by the growing TV Industry.
Resulting in loss of revenue, with viewers getting addicted to
their Domestic TV screen most conveniently!

The late 1950s saw two studios REPUBLIC and the RKO go out of business!
REPUBLIC from 1935- ‘59 based in Los Angeles, developed the careers of
John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and specializing in the Westerns.
RKO was one of the Big Five Studios of Hollywood along with Paramount,
MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers in those days.

RKO Studio which begun with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the ‘30s,
included actress Katherine Hepburn who holds the record for four Oscars
even to this day;
And later had Robert Mitchum and Carry Grant under an agreement.
But in 1948, RKO Studio came under the control Howard Hughes the
temperamental Industrialist.
Soon the scandal drive and litigation prone RKO Studio closed, while
other Big Four Studios had managed to remain afloat!


PARAMOUNT STUDIO:
Paramount Studio split into two separate companies in 1950.
Its Theatre chain later merged with ABC Radio & Television Network;
And they created an independent Production/Distribution Network.
Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had been Paramount’s two biggest stars.
Followed by actors like Alan Ladd, William Holden, Jerry Lewis, Dean
Martin, Charlton Heston, and Dorothy Lamour.
They also had the producer/director Cecil B. De Mille producing high-
grossing Epics like ‘Samson & Delilah’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’.
Also the movie maker Hal Wallis, who discovered Burt Lancaster and
Elvis Presley - two great talents!

20th CENTURY FOX:
Cinema Scope became FOX’s most successful technological innovation
with its hit film ‘The Robe’. (1953)
Its Darryl Zanuck had observed during the early ‘50s, that audience  
were more interested in escapist entertainments mainly.
So he turned to FOX to musicals, comedies, and adventure stories.
Biggest stars of FOX were Gregory Peck & Susan Hayward; also
stars like Victor Mature, Anne Baxter, and Richard Wind Mark.
Not forgetting Marilyn Monroe in her Cinema Scope Box Office hit
movie - ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’, which was also shown on
prime time TV, as a romantic comedy film of 1953.

WARREN BROTHERS:
During 1950 the studio was mainly a family managed company with
three brothers Harry, Albert, and Jack Warren.
To meet the challenges of that period, Warren Bros. released most of
its actors like James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Oliver de Havilland, -
Along with few others from their long-term contractual commitments;
Retaining only Errol Flynn, and Ronald Regan who went on to become
the future President.
Like 20th Century Fox, Warren Bros switched to musicals, comedies,
and adventure movies, with Doris Day as its biggest musical star.
The studio also entered into short term agreements with Gary Copper,
John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, and Random Scott.
Warren Bros also became the first major studio to invest in 3-D
production of films, scoring a big hit with its 3-D  suspense thriller
‘House of Wax’ in 1953.

MINOR STUDIOS were mainly three, - United Artists, Columbia, and
The Universal.
They did not own any theatre chain, and specialized in low-budgeted
‘B’ Movies those days.
Now to cut a long story short it must be said, that Hollywood finally
did participate in the evolution of Television industry, which led to
their integration eventually.
Though strategies involving hardware development and ownership of
broadcast outlets remained unsuccessful unfortunately.
However, Hollywood did succeed through program supply like prime-
time series, and made-for-TV films for the growing TV market making
things more colorful!
Thus it could be said that the TV industry provided the film industry
with new opportunities,  laying the groundwork for its diversification
and concentration;
That characterized the entertainment industry during the latter half  
of our previous century.
I must now confess that I have not visited the movie theatre over the last
two decades!
I watch movies on my big screen TV and my Computer screen these days.
Old classical movies are all available on ‘You Tube’ for me, and I can watch
them any time whenever I am free!
Thanks for reading patiently, - Raj Nandy.
**ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY OF NEW DELHI
Don't always take the road most travelled
sometimes the best road to
take is the one most empty
and go to someplace new

Roads all have an ending place
And some of them are lost
Because people won't venture off
The highway, no matter what the cost

The road less travelled used to be
The place where people go
It's only taken by the locals now
Because only locals know

The best place isn't always busy
sometimes the best is in the back
Take the road where others go
And you'll never go off track

Hold the grass down, start a path
Make your own road where you live
You only reap just what you sow
so show me what you have to give

Travelling the popular road
You know the one you've done before
Makes you less an individual
And makes you lemming number four

So, blaze a trail, and take the road
That few have ever seen
You never know, you may end up
Where the grass is truly green

Lead people by example
don't just go the same old way
So, take the road less travelled
And have a road trip...say...today!!!
SexySloth Mar 2013
I slept and dreamt one night,
What if I travelled back in time?
All the mysteries, all those historical moments
Can all be solved and relived.
How special wouldn’t that be?
What if I travelled back in time,
And met Shakespeare, Leonardo,
Galileo Galilei and the Emperor of China?
They’d teach me a lot of things.
What if I travelled back in time
And get to play with dinosaurs,
Climb the brachiosaurus, play tag with the T-Rex
And take a ‘magic carpet ride’ with Pterosaurs?
I could also follow Christopher Columbus on his trips
And come home with some souvenirs for my friends.
I could live in every dynasty of every country,
And see the world so many years ago
The sands of time slowly carried away by the wind
Once they’ve left, it’s just a memory, etched into our minds.
What if I travelled back in time,
And change all my test answers? I’ll be the smartest boy on Earth!
It’s all too simple, because I know what’s to happen.
But all these things will happen only in my wildest dreams. They couldn’t possibly come true right?
And I just fall back asleep and wonder,
What if I could REALLY travel back in time?

I amble onto bed, so tired, so sleepy
And fall into a deep slumber.
I hear a sound, something’s moving in my room.
My back just springs upright and time seems to stop still
As my ears strain to hear the slightest,
Littlest, clue
To find who’s that,
In that blue hat,
Moving around my room?
He moves closer and closer and I **** in my breath
And shut tight my eyes, not wanting to see the rest
I feel a tug on my blankets and they’re finally pulled away,
So I am about to scream before I realise,
I hear a soft, ringing bell…
“So I hear you’ve been dreaming about travelling back in time lately. Would you like to try?”
I’m a little bit afraid,
Anxious to go time travelling at this time of night.
What if all this is just a dream?
But the blue hat man reaches out to me and touches my cold hand.
It’s real, I think.
He winks at me and tells me to get ready because we’re going
Going, going, going, going, going, going, going,
To time travel!
I shut my eyes, a little more tight
And take a deep breath
And I feel we’ve landed somewhere,
I open my eyes slowly, anxious to see
And I discover sand dunes, all around me
But that wasn’t the main attraction
I sought for.
There were Pyramids and Egyptians being treated
Like dogs by other Egyptians, smug and arrogant
And cold-hearted, in this simmering heat.
They work to bring brick by brick
To the great structures
And that’s why they stand
To this very day.
Then the blue hat guy brings me to Ancient China,
All the guys had long hair,
Braided and shiny, beautiful and neat, with so much grace and poise
In their firm steps.
The Emperor stands tall and mighty
But he’s a little strange.
He doesn’t seem to blink at all, or talk.
The only thing he does is stand there. And breathe.
Yet I feel an air of supremacy when I gaze upon his
Yellow robes, intricately embroidered with dragons,
A sign that a mastery hand, skilled with needles and threads,
Made its mark across the yellow silk
And left two intertwined dragons in a jovial dance.
The blue hat guys holds my hands again
And squeeze them hard, to tell me
We’re jumping through time, how wondrous
This act, jumping through places
Through time and space
But we’re all the same, because all these
Things, can be found on Earth
And in our hearts and memories, which will last
Through the waves of time, even if the waves always crash on the shores.

I prepared myself,
The Final Jump,
After going jumping through the time of all civilisation, also
Back to the time of the dinosaurs.
I’m going back home, my own time,
The present, where here is now and now is here.
The blue hat guy lets go of my hand and
Gives me one last wink,
“Keep on dreaming and never forget
This magical adventure that we had!”
And he just disappears.
I’m back in my own bed and comfy and warm,
Blanket pulled up to my chin and I smile
As I close my eyes, I ponder once more,
Did I just travel through time and space
With a guy in a blue hat?
Or was that just another dream I had?
I can't believe this got so many views, I thought it was one of the most ******* poems ever (I actually rushed this because I had to submit it for something)!
Hayley Cusick Sep 2014
I live a life of unfulfilled dreams.
trips never travelled and sights never seen.
words never written and photos never taken.
a world full of wonder and I sit here unshaken.
one would think of glorious adventures ahead,
but I'm just trying to find a way out of bed.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
As a woman, and in the service of my Lord the Emperor Wu, my life is governed by his command. At twenty I was summoned to this life at court and have made of it what I can, within the limitations of the courtesan I am supposed to be, and the poet I have now become. Unlike my male counterparts, some of whom have lately found seclusion in the wilderness of rivers and mountains, I have only my personal court of three rooms and its tiny garden and ornamental pond. But I live close to the surrounding walls of the Zu-lin Gardens with its astronomical observatories and bold attempts at recreating illusions of celebrated locations in the Tai mountains. There, walking with my cat Xi-Lu in the afternoons, I imagine a solitary life, a life suffused with the emptiness I crave.
 
In the hot, dry summer days my maid Mei-Lim and I have sought a temporary retreat in the pine forests above Lingzhi. Carried in a litter up the mountain paths we are left in a commodious hut, its open walls making those simple pleasures of drinking, eating and sleeping more acute, intense. For a few precious days I rest and meditate, breathe the mountain air and the resinous scents of the trees. I escape the daily commerce of the court and belong to a world that for the rest of the year I have to imagine, the world of the recluse. To gain the status of the recluse, open to my male counterparts, is forbidden to women of the court. I am woman first, a poet and calligrapher second. My brother, should he so wish, could present a petition to revoke his position as a man of letters, an official commentator on the affairs of state. But he is not so inclined. He has already achieved notoriety and influence through his writing on the social conditions of town and city. He revels in a world of chatter, gossip and intrigue; he appears to fear the wilderness life.  
 
I must be thankful that my own life is maintained on the periphery. I am physically distant from the hub of daily ceremonial. I only participate at my Lord’s express command. I regularly feign illness and fatigue to avoid petty conflict and difficulty. Yet I receive commissions I cannot waver: to honour a departed official; to celebrate a son’s birth to the Second Wife; to fulfil in verse my Lord’s curious need to know about the intimate sorrows of his young concubines, their loneliness and heartache.
 
Occasionally a Rhapsody is requested for an important visitor. The Emperor Wu is proud to present as welcome gifts such poetic creations executed in fine calligraphy, and from a woman of his court. Surely a sign of enlightment and progress he boasts! Yet in these creations my observations are parochial: early morning frost on the cabbage leaves in my garden; the sound of geese on their late afternoon flight to Star Lake; the disposition of the heavens on an Autumn night. I live by the Tao of Lao-Tzu, perceiving the whole world from my doorstep.
 
But I long for the reclusive life, to leave this court for my family’s estate in the valley my peasant mother lived as a child. At fourteen she was chosen to sustain the Emperor’s annual wish for young girls to be groomed for concubinage. Like her daughter she is tall, though not as plain as I; she put her past behind her and conceded her adolescence to the training required by the court. At twenty she was recommended to my father, the court archivist, as second wife. When she first met this quiet, dedicated man on the day before her marriage she closed her eyes in blessing. My father taught her the arts of the library and schooled her well. From her I have received keen eyes of jade green and a prestigious memory, a memory developed she said from my father’s joy of reading to her in their private hours, and before she could read herself. Each morning he would examine her to discover what she had remembered of the text read the night before. When I was a little child she would quote to me the Confucian texts on which she had been ****** schooled, and she then would tell me of her childhood home. She primed my imagination and my poetic world with descriptions of a domestic rural life.
 
Sometimes in the arms of my Lord I have freely rhapsodized in chusi metre these delicate word paintings of my mother’s home. She would say ‘We will walk now to the ruined tower beside the lake. Listen to the carolling birds. As the sparse clouds move across the sky the warm sun strokes the winter grass. Across the deep lake the forests are empty. Now we are climbing the narrow steps to the platform from which you and I will look towards the sun setting in the west. See the shadows are lengthening and the air becomes colder. The blackbird’s solitary song heralds the evening.  Look, an owl glides silently beneath us.’
 
My Lord will then quote from Hsieh Ling-yun,.
 
‘I meet sky, unable to soar among clouds,
face a lake, call those depths beyond me.’
 
And I will match this quotation, as he will expect.
 
‘Too simple-minded to perfect Integrity,
and too feeble to plough fields in seclusion.’
 
He will then gaze into my eyes in wonder that this obscure poem rests in my memory and that I will decode the minimal grammar of these early characters with such poetry. His characters: Sky – Bird – Cloud – Lake – Depth. My characters: Fool – Truth – Child – Winter field – Isolation.
 
Our combined invention seems to take him out of his Emperor-self. He is for a while the poet-scholar-sage he imagines he would like to be, and I his foot-sore companion following his wilderness journey. And then we turn our attention to our bodies, and I surprise him with my admonitions to gentleness, to patience, to arousing my pleasure. After such poetry he is all pleasure, sensitive to the slightest touch, and I have my pleasure in knowing I can control this powerful man with words and the stroke of my fingertips rather than by delicate youthful beauty or the guile and perverse ingenuity of an ****** act. He is still learning to recognise the nature and particularness of my desires. I am not as his other women: who confuse pleasure with pain.
 
Thoughts of my mother. Without my dear father, dead ten years, she is a boat without a rudder sailing on a distant lake. She greets each day as a gift she must honour with good humour despite the pain of her limbs, the difficulty of walking, of sitting, of eating, even talking. Such is the hurt that governs her ageing. She has always understood that my position has forbidden marriage and children, though the latter might be a possibility I have not wished it and made it known to my Lord that it must not be. My mother remains in limbo, neither son or daughter seeking to further her lineage, she has returned to her sister’s home in the distant village of her birth, a thatched house of twenty rooms,
 
‘Elms and willows shading the eaves at the back,
and, in front,  peach and plum spread wide.
 
Villages lost across mist-haze distances,
Kitchen smoke drifting wide-open country,
 
Dogs bark deep among the back roads out here
And cockerels crow from mulberry treetops.
 
My esteemed colleague T’ao Ch’ien made this poetry. After a distinguished career in government service he returned to the life of a recluse-farmer on his family farm. Living alone in a three-roomed hut he lives out his life as a recluse and has endured considerable poverty. One poem I know tells of him begging for food. His world is fields-and-gardens in contrast to Hsieh Ling-yin who is rivers-and-mountains. Ch’ien’s commitment to the recluse life has brought forth words that confront death and the reality of human experience without delusion.
 
‘At home here in what lasts, I wait out life.’
 
Thus my mother waits out her life, frail, crumbling more with each turning year.
 
To live beyond the need to organise daily commitments due to others, to step out into my garden and only consider the dew glistening on the loropetalum. My mind is forever full of what is to be done, what must be completed, what has to be said to this visitor who will today come to my court at the Wu hour. Only at my desk does this incessant chattering in the mind cease, as I move my brush to shape a character, or as the needle enters the cloth, all is stilled, the world retreats; there is the inner silence I crave.
 
I long to see with my own eyes those scenes my mother painted for me with her words. I only know them in my mind’s eye having travelled so little these past fifteen years. I look out from this still dark room onto my small garden to see the morning gathering its light above the rooftops. My camellia bush is in flower though a thin frost covers the garden stones.
 
And so I must imagine how it might be, how I might live the recluse life. How much can I jettison? These fine clothes, this silken nightgown beneath the furs I wrap myself in against the early morning air. My maid is sleeping. Who will make my tea? Minister to me when I take to my bed? What would become of my cat, my books, the choice-haired brushes? Like T’ao Ch’ien could I leave the court wearing a single robe and with one bag over my shoulders? Could I walk for ten days into the mountains? I would disguise myself as a man perhaps. I am tall for a woman, and though my body flows in broad curves there are ways this might be assuaged, enough perhaps to survive unmolested on the road.
 
Such dreams! My Lord would see me returned within hours and send a servant to remain at my gate thereafter. I will compose a rhapsody about a concubine of standing, who has even occupied the purple chamber, but now seeks to relinquish her privileged life, who coverts the uncertainty of nature, who would endure pain and privation in a hut on some distant mountain, who will sleep on a mat on its earth floor. Perhaps this will excite my Lord, light a fire in his imagination. As though in preparation for this task I remove my furs, I loose the knot of my silk gown. Naked, I reach for an old under shift letting it fall around my still-slender body and imagine myself tying the lacings myself in the open air, imagine making my toilet alone as the sun appears from behind a distant mountain on a new day. My mind occupies itself with the tiny detail of living thus: bare feet on cold earth, a walk to nearby stream, the gathering of berries and mountain herbs, the making of fire, the washing of my few clothes, imagining. Imagining. To live alone will see every moment filled with the tasks of keeping alive. I will become in tune with my surroundings. I will take only what I need and rely on no one. Dreaming will end and reality will be the slug on my mat, the bone-chilling incessant mists of winter, the thorn in the foot, the wild winds of autumn. My hands will become stained and rough, my long limbs tanned and scratched, my delicate complexion freckled and wind-pocked, my hair tied roughly back. I will become an animal foraging on a dank hillside. Such thoughts fill me with deep longing and a ****** desire to be tzu-jan  - with what surrounds me, ablaze with ****** self.
 
It is not thought the custom of a woman to hold such desires. We are creatures of order and comfort. We do not live on the edge of things, but crave security and well-being. We learn to endure the privations of being at the behest of others. Husbands, children, lovers, our relatives take our bodies to them as places of comfort, rest and desire. We work at maintaining an ordered flow of existence. Whatever our station, mistress or servant we compliment, we keep things in order, whether that is the common hearth or the accounts of our husband’s court. Now my rhapsody begins:
 
A Rhapsody on a woman wishing to live as a recluse
 
As a lady of my Emperor’s court I am bound in service.
My court is not my own, I have the barest of means.
My rooms are full of gifts I am forced barter for bread.
Though the artefacts of my hands and mind
Are valued and widely renown,
Their commissioning is an expectation of my station,
With no direct reward attached.
To dress appropriately for my Lord’s convocations and assemblies
I am forced to negotiate with chamberlains and treasurers.
A bolt of silk, gold thread, the services of a needlewoman
Require formal entreaties and may lie dormant for weeks
Before acknowledgement and release.
 
I was chosen for my literary skills, my prestigious memory,
Not for my ****** beauty, though I have been called
‘Lady of the most gracious movement’ and
My speaking voice has clarity and is capable of many colours.
I sing, but plainly and without passion
Lest I interfere with the truth of music’s message.
 
Since I was a child in my father’s library
I have sought out the works of those whose words
Paint visions of a world that as a woman
I may never see, the world of the wilderness,
Of rivers and mountains,
Of fields and gardens.
Yet I am denied by my *** and my station
To experience passing amongst these wonders
Except as contrived imitations in the palace gardens.
 
Each day I struggle to tease from the small corner
Of my enclosed eye-space some enrichment
Some elemental thing to colour meaning:
To extend the bounds of my home
Across the walls of this palace
Into the world beyond.
 
I have let it be known that I welcome interviews
With officials from distant courts to hear of their journeying,
To gather word images if only at second-hand.
Only yesterday an emissary recounted
His travels to Stone Lake in the far South-West,
Beyond the gorges of the Yang-tze.
With his eyes I have seen the mountains of Suchan:
With his ears I have heard the oars crackling
Like shattering jade in the freezing water.
Images and sounds from a thousand miles
Of travel are extract from this man’s memory.
 
Such a sharing of experience leaves me
Excited but dismayed: that I shall never
Visit this vast expanse of water and hear
Its wild cranes sing from their floating nests
In the summer moonlight.
 
I seek to disappear into a distant landscape
Where the self and its constructions of the world may
Dissolve away until nothing remains but the no-mind.
My thoughts are full of the practicalities of journeying
Of an imagined location, that lonely place
Where I may be at one with myself.
Where I may delight in the everyday Way,
Myself among mist and vine, rock and cave.
Not this lady of many parts and purposes whose poems must
Speak of lives, sorrow and joy, pleasure and pain
Set amongst personal conflict and intrigue
That in containing these things, bring order to disorder;
Salve the conscience, bathe hurt, soothe sleight.
BLESSED be this place,
More blessed still this tower;
A ******, arrogant power
Rose out of the race
Uttering, mastering it,
Rose like these walls from these
Storm-beaten cottages --
In mockery I have set
A powerful emblem up,
And sing it rhyme upon rhyme
In mockery of a time
HaIf dead at the top.
Alexandria's was a beacon tower, and Babylon's
An image of the moving heavens, a log-book of the
sun's journey and the moon's;
And Shelley had his towers, thought's crowned powers
he called them once.
I declare this tower is my symbol; I declare
This winding, gyring, spiring treadmill of a stair is my
ancestral stair;
That Goldsmith and the Dean, Berkeley and Burke
have travelled there.
Swift beating on his breast in sibylline frenzy blind
Because the heart in his blood-sodden breast had
dragged him down into mankind,
Goldsmith deliberately sipping at the honey-*** of his
mind,
And haughtier-headed Burke that proved the State a
tree,
That this unconquerable labyrinth of the birds, cen-
tury after century,
Cast but dead leaves to mathematical equality;
And God-appointed Berkeley that proved all things a
dream,
That this pragmatical, preposterous pig of a world, its
farrow that so solid seem,
Must vanish on the instant if the mind but change its
theme;
Saeva Indignatio and the labourer's hire,
The strength that gives our blood and state magnani-
mity of its own desire;
Everything that is not God consumed with intellectual
fire.
III
The purity of the unclouded moon
Has flung its atrowy shaft upon the floor.
Seven centuries have passed and it is pure,
The blood of innocence has left no stain.
There, on blood-saturated ground, have stood
Soldier, assassin, executioner.
Whether for daily pittance or in blind fear
Or out of abstract hatred, and shed blood,
But could not cast a single jet thereon.
Odour of blood on the ancestral stair!
And we that have shed none must gather there
And clamour in drunken frenzy for the moon.

IV
Upon the dusty, glittering windows cling,
And seem to cling upon the moonlit skies,
Tortoiseshell butterflies, peacock butterflies,
A couple of night-moths are on the wing.
Is every modern nation like the tower,
Half dead at the top? No matter what I said,
For wisdom is the property of the dead,
A something incompatible with life; and power,
Like everything that has the stain of blood,
A property of the living; but no stain
Can come upon the visage of the moon
When it has looked in glory from a cloud.
Tete Rudo Jan 2019
We are all born
Creative
Early childhood is all about
Being creative.

Soon, however, life
Steps in.
It tries to ***** out
Our creative instincts
By labelling us
Rebellious
Naughty
Selfish
When we try to do
Our own thing.

It tries to ***** out
Our creative self
By fitting us into
Life's boxes
Life's moulds.

Doctor
Lawyer
Engineer
Accountant.

Go the safe route
Life urges
Go the secure route
Life urges
Follow convention
Be serious!

The adult creative
However
Is the child who
Survives
This onslaught
This manipulation
This war on the
Creative self
And chooses instead
To follow their own path
In life.

The road less travelled.

Where
Fun
Freedom
And
True fulfillment
Await.
Zonika van Zijl Oct 2015
I want to take the road less travelled,
I want to run in the dirt,
I want to swim through the ocean,
I want to fly like a bird.

I want to take the road less travelled,
I want to jump out of a plane,
I want to float in a boat,
I want to catch a random train.

I want to take the road less travelled,
I want to climb the highest tree,
I want to dance in a mystical forest,
I want to be inexcusably me.

-ZvZ-
I travelled among unknown men,
    In lands beyond the sea;
Nor, England! did I know till then
    What love I bore to thee.

’Tis past, that melancholy dream!
    Nor will I quit thy shore
A second time; for still I seem
    To love thee more and more.

Among thy mountains did I feel
    The joy of my desire;
And she I cherished turned her wheel
    Beside an English fire.

Thy mornings showed, thy nights concealed,
    The bowers where Lucy played;
And thine too is the last green field
    That Lucy’s eyes surveyed.
perhaps it is to feel strike
the silver fish of her nakedness
with fins sharply pleasant,my

youth has travelled toward her these years

or to snare the timid like
of her mind to my mind that i

am come by little countries to the yes

of her youth.
                    And if somebody hears
what i say—let him be pitiful:
because I’ve travelled all alone
through the forest of wonderful,
and that my feet have surely known
the furious ways and the peaceful,

and because she is beautiful
Steve Collins Aug 2010
If I travelled, across the landscape of my mind,
And, I chose to take you with me – guess what you might find?

I’d talk you into many things,
I’d make you see the sea.

We would buy some wood
Pay by cheque, which you would check
And build an arc upon an ark.
And you’d, set sail with me!

Whether we had the weather or not
We’d sail a week, and you’d feel so weak
You’ll beg me for dry land!

And so, we’d end the feat on our two feet
And, tow; toe-to toe.
Until ashore, we land.

We’d shout aloud, if that’s allowed?
To see if we’re alone?
We’d find we are and start to panic
But get woken by the phone.



Steve Collins.
24/8/10
Homophones are words that sound the same but are not spelt the same.
Thought I'd try something, it was not easy.
Mateuš Conrad Apr 2019
.you can never really write any poetry by not covering the "heartbreak" the loss of your own "printed" words: how much different is the internet, from "real" life? just asking... since: internet banking & internet shopping... to lose a poem / pre-scriptum is not exactly the same as losing a person to mind: father's day... i cooked the dinner, i took out the trash, i wrote an invoice... i guess that's much better than leaving a card of greetings... and, come to think of it? why are we the sort of people subjugated to nostalgia, with but also "without" a history? aren't we subjugated to nostalgia and a history as a "fiction"? the beginning of the 21st century, the end of the 20th century... the 19th century germans associated themselves with a nostalgia for ancient greece, we're the only people who have an inbuilt nostalgia "safety-mechanism"... the only people in time who are nostalgic about the life surrounding their own existence slot, which doesn't have a trans-temporal dynamic... i remember times when we would be teenagers... spitting on people from car-parks on imaginary tonsures, buying *****-magazines from indian cornershops, or belgian freebies of non-insinuations, white lightning cider while sleeping over at youth centers playing snooker throughout the night... even at school: attending a catholic school with the irish east enders... uniforms, sure... a chequered shirt: blue, red, white... tag? made in canada... and if only capitalism worked as it once did, made in canada? lifetime of a shirt? 20 years... now? made in china... not exactly real cotton, is it? 2 years... before ironing the shirt *****... once upon in gants hill, st. valentine's park, and the pub, recently closed, decent karaoke... in the park? golf, basketball, rowing boats in the large ponds... when the jews were there... gants hill roundabout... the hanukkah torches... jews scuttling wearing trainers come rosh hashanah: jews can't wear leather on rosh hashanah (judgement day)... shy like rats... when the jews were there (gants hill, ilford)... the park looked great... tennis courts... now, when neo-Bangladesh moved in? ****** place. what else do i remember from my original pre-scriptum that i lost? oh, that once time in gants hill... walking into a kosher bakery with ****** knuckles, having tested them on a canvas of a brick wall, buying some dough-fused-sweets? with the girl selling the sweets bewildered by fear? i like the look of fear in people when tested by uncertainty, and bleeding knuckles? later? climbing over the park fence, taking a **** while squatting in the darkened palace of the park, walking into a brothel, having my wallet stolen, not reacting in what would have been justified... high school... we wore uniforms... so no high school h'american culture trap / culture... school uniforms are the best idea, there's no chance to "shine" in telling apart the rich kids from the poor kids... there's only the standard... walking to a supermarket, past a thai surprise... sports bra, short hair... walking back... she's still there pretending to talk on her mobile to someone... you take her home with a few beers... play her some jazz... take her into the garden, the moon is a beauty... you **** her... hand in her underwear and you're still gambling... before the emergence of the nag hammadi library and the whole androgynous vogue, the thai were already readied with the lady-boys... when i reached in and found nothing but oyster... would i have stopped finding a wink-wink slouching worm? slap a trans in the face? no, not really... a thai surprise is, a thai surprise... i would have considered doing my first ****... "lucky" for me she was a she... a girl... ****** her in the garden under the moonlight... gave her my hoodie, which she drowned in... finally... the level of interaction where the female is not a mantis, i.e. a female larger than the male... she drowned into my hoodie as i walked her home... i like the familiarity with the mammalian, not resorting to insect superiority of females... these days... i find that males are strictly mammalian... while females? they are borrowing insect-esque ontologies... well, darwinism allowed the time-frame... males are mammals... females are insects, behaviour-wise... two time frame i do not appreciate the english for... darwinism is prime.... cultural-marxism my ***... what about cultural-darwinism?! no?! that doesn't exist?! cultural-darwinism is as real as cultural-marxism, and, in the former sense? it really does belong to the conservative right-wing politico spectrum! might i add? isn't psychology merely pop philosophy? i find psychology riddled with rubric cohesion, it's all oh so "self"-evident! i abhor psychologists... these gypsy philosophers... medicine-men with no pharmacological shadow of power... to prescribe drugs... arguments, persuasions, but no dialectics... psychology will forever be, for me, a philosophy primer, short-cut... pop philosophy... psychologists can treat people who have never read a philosophy book... r. d. laing... i remember this one instace... me and a fwend of mine travelled into central london, went into a bookshop shy of trafalgar sq., i spotted an edition of: the scarlet and the black by stendhal... i told him: i will trade you linkin park's debut album, if you buy me this... the transaction was made... the one book i read after seeing a film adaptation starring rachel (rakhel) weisz and ewan mcgregor... ra-kh-el: not ray-chel... we used to be humans once... at high school getting bullied back... putting pins on chairs once we got up, sitting on them... playing bulldog in primary school, slap-ball, tag, playing cards at lunchtime... 16 fatty boy... one summer in poland, comes back aged 17... the irish girls take an interest while eating a pomegranate... what was the success of your diet? don't go to the gym... excess skin, an aesthetic surgeon is not what you need... there are only two ways to lose weight... either via swimming or by cycling... cycling is the best... lose weight by also toning your body... gym is a bad idea... by going to the gym you are straining exclusive parts of your body, either the torso, your hands, etc., jogging? unless on soft ground, bad idea on concrete, arthritis... cycling or swimming... lose weight... tone at the same time, the skin is allowed the required time to adapt to shrink, and forget what propped it up in plump form with all that excess flab... ugh... i hated being attractive to the opposite ***, i never used it to my advantage! imagine... an irish lad comes up to me, on behalf of some girl while i'm donning a french braid: you look just like johnny depp in blow, impersonating george jung... 14 year old girls walk up to you asking what shampoo you're using... herbal essences... i never used my looks... *******... now i'm a heavy drinker... so much for looks... first girlfriend? a fwend had to call me telling me she called him that she felt butterflies when i dropped her at the train platform after a day's worth of dating: tate modern, edward hopper exhibitions, cinema: troy, starring rose byrne (briseis) - honestly, a man can go crazy over curly hair... and then a restaurant date... that **** just flew over my head... i wouldn't have noticed... honestly though... i missed the whole h'american cultural excavation genesis in high school... catholic... uniforms... jesuit army-esque formation... now, i'm ageing... i'm starting to find the company of cats to be: clingy... my shadow included... i once thought that dogs were needy... i'm starting to think that cats are worse, esp. the maine **** breed... "lonely" or "loneliness" doesn't really resonate with me, esp. when thinking something "feels" like a variation of claustrophobia: hence i write... without a dialectic in place, ever since plato wrote his dialogues... what is philosophy, primarily? isn't it an off-shoot of "claustrophobia"? we write because we are seeking escape from congested thinking, a variation of "claustrophobia"... now imagine a schizoid character... having to focus on an imaginary dialectic, actually... having dialectics enforced on him, with no clarifying exodus to posit a gensis with! now, a clingy dog i could understand, given the overpowering status of the leash... but a clingy cat, when there's no leash involved?! shoom! right over my head... gone, somewhere into the distance!

what, this is the part...
were i cite...
   the weimar ******
critical condition...
       a daft punk troop
of a song,
  end of line....
blow-up a hot air balloon...
worth of blaire whire...
play the tambourine
like a ******* video...
there are,
quiet, simply,
no nazis coming...
fashionista faux pas
examples...
i'm alive,
but i'm dead,
i just forget to don
a strap-on...
  "oops"?
   that **** go down well
with
the "in"-crowd...
usual... metropolitan...
verbiage surge of answers....
   many a fetish after...
we arrive at the sensible
aspect,
"toxic masculinity"...
when guns n roses wasn't,
and nirvana was just plain
gay...
              and then...
whatever that happened,
happened..
                 and people were like:
come to the "new" tomorrow,
there's always a yesterday,
in a dream,
in some phil collins
wannabe
studio...
or... some other random ****
that
excluded peter gabriel.

                 i died:
and just about right:
my harvest had come.

great book reviews...
"toxic masculinity"...
so all masculinity is
about a clockwork orange?
   if it is?
can i be pro abortion
anti mongolian horde?
yes? no?
  which is it?!
neither...
   **** me... that's just bad
luck...

                               sundbeds,
sunflowers,
tulips,
sunglasses,
    plenty of staged
eager nights...
boring political affairs...
and...
         when gaming was
more about the narrative...
and never,
ever, about the microtransactions...

point being...
it's a game within a game...
time, is the prime concern...
you play a game,
by waiting...
you wait: by playing a game...

  microtransactions
are...
you ever move a sim3 avatar
to a computer,
and make it play a computer game?
what's on the macrocosmos spectrum?
you....

               "back in the day"...
you'd spend a saturday morning
engrossed in a gaming narrative...
metal gear solid,
tenchu, final fantasy solid...
20 quid...
and you played the narrative...
and a game became equivalent
to the worth of a book,
resident evil,

            you paid for a month's worth
of gaming,
you exchanged tips,
you sometimes bought a cheat book
because of the homework,
and that was your saturday morning
before hitting the shopping mall
or, whatever...

the current dynamic of
microtransactions in gaming?
i never, ever, do...
i'm an old gamer type...
i see the potential of extending
the life-expectancy
of a game...

   as long as you don't buy into
the microtransactions gambling habit?
as long as you play the "game"
within the game?
the game is an assured classic,
akin to chess...

              you have to play
the waiting "game"...
             time...
                           that's all it is...
whether war robots,
    or dawn of titans...
        comparison...
  you know that the best fruit,
is fruit, allocated
to the geography of it being sourced
seasonally...
you can't actually get better
strawberries,
than english strawberries...
from england, come june / july...
no ******* point sourcing them
from spain in late march / april....

    same thing with gaming...
the modern games haven't made any
elaboration...
apart from dislodging the player
from the concept of narrative...
**** me... that's almost an improvement...
given that now: time is the counter
measure, and the gamer...
   is having to invest,
in a narrative, outside of the confines
of the game,
once upon a time,
games had time-narrative
constraints...
     now: there's time,
and there are gamer narratives,
excluding them from time-narratives,
of a game...
         it's almost a faux pas...
more like a wet-*****...
****** pinky lodged into an ear,
an april fools' day scant...

        if you hacked passed
the microtransactions hype...
and didn't?
and instead took to patience?
it's free...
   where once,
a game would cost you 20 quid,
and a month's worth
of narrative,
back then, when games
resembled books,
when the gaming industry
was heavily influenced
by literature...
and now?
   the game's free...
sure...
it's "unfair", it's biased...
when you don't engage
in imported gambling
of succumbing to what, this is the part...
were i cite...
   the weimar ******
critical condition...
       a daft punk troop
of a song,
  end of line....
blow-up a hot air balloon...
worth of blaire whire...
play the tambourine
like a ******* video...
there are,
quiet, simply,
no nazis coming...
fashionista faux pas
examples...
i'm alive,
but i'm dead,
i just forget to don
a strap-on...
  "oops"?
   that **** go down well
with
the "in"-crowd...
usual... metropolitan...
verbiage surge of answers....
   many a fetish after...
we arrive at the sensible
aspect,
"toxic masculinity"...
when guns n roses wasn't,
and nirvana was just plain
gay...
              and then...
whatever that happened,
happened..
                 and people were like:
come to the "new" tomorrow,
there's always a yesterday,
in a dream,
in some phil collins
wannabe
studio...
or... some other random ****
that
excluded peter gabriel.

                 i died:
and just about right:
my harvest had come.

great book reviews...
"toxic masculinity"...
so all masculinity is
about a clockwork orange?
   if it is?
can i be pro abortion
anti mongolian horde?
yes? no?
  which is it?!
neither...
   **** me... that's just bad
luck...

                               sundbeds,
sunflowers,
tulips,
sunglasses,
    plenty of staged
eager nights...
boring political affairs...
and...
         when gaming was
more about the narrative...
and never,
ever, about the microtransactions...

point being...
it's a game within a game...
time, is the prime concern...
you play a game,
by waiting...
you wait: by playing a game...

  microtransactions
are...
you ever move a sim3 avatar
to a computer,
and make it play a computer game?
what's on the macrocosmos spectrum?
you....

               "back in the day"...
you'd spend a saturday morning
engrossed in a gaming narrative...
metal gear solid,
tenchu, final fantasy solid...
20 quid...
and you played the narrative...
and a game became equivalent
to the worth of a book,
resident evil,

            you paid for a month's worth
of gaming,
you exchanged tips,
you sometimes bought a cheat book
because of the homework,
and that was your saturday morning
before hitting the shopping mall
or, whatever...

the current dynamic of
microtransactions in gaming?
i never, ever, do...
i'm an old gamer type...
i see the potential of extending
the life-expectancy
of a game...

   as long as you don't buy into
the microtransactions gambling habit?
as long as you play the "game"
within the game?
the game is an assured classic,
akin to chess...

              you have to play
the waiting "game"...
             time...
                           that's all it is...
whether war robots,
    or dawn of titans...
        comparison...
  you know that the best fruit,
is fruit, allocated
to the geography of it being sourced
seasonally...
you can't actually get better
strawberries,
than english strawberries...
from england, come june / july...
no ******* point sourcing them
from spain in late march / april....

    same thing with gaming...
the modern games haven't made any
elaboration...
apart from dislodging the player
from the concept of narrative...
**** me... that's almost an improvement...
given that now: time is the counter
measure, and the gamer...
   is having to invest,
in a narrative, outside of the confines
of the game,
once upon a time,
games had time-narrative
constraints...
     now: there's time,
and there are gamer narratives,
excluding them from time-narratives,
of a game...
         it's almost a faux pas...
more like a wet-*****...
****** pinky lodged into an ear,
an april fools' day scant...

        if you hacked passed
the microtransactions...
       and didn't have the chance...
microtransactions are like
the old school cheat hacks...
but not quiet, but somehow quasi-,
       a modern microtransactions,
would be a cheat magazine
thorough-through
a game like final fantasy VII...
you have homework,
but you still want to complete the game...
modern games...
modern games...
there's an "end gole"?
  what modern game is worth
"completing"?
    
   again: tron, ready player one,
back to the future...
star wars just became dead
to me...
   sick people will plague hard-working
people, with a quasi-gambling
addiction,
needing to make microtransactions...
and they will,
my father was plagued by
an impostor, claiming to be a
tax office official:
and what if, that person had
an authentic position at the tax office?!

when gaming was for gamers,
the games were bought...
there was a narrative...
but now... now games don't have a narrative...
why would they?!
   who the hell plays games for
the narrative these days?
i know that on the crapper,
i need a game that allows me
to experience live-stream
interaction with non-bots...

       and these old gamers,
who still invest their money
in literature-esque-games?
so i was the sad one,
investing in vinyl?
   aren't the classic ******* gamers
just as bad,
investing in prepackaged
narrative gaming
experiences?
             a game with a narrative...
yeah... me buying vinyl
is: b'ah b'ah bad...
       what sort of game is alive and well...
when there isn't a crowd pushback
for the currency of microtransaction?

the narrative is time,
   the longer you endure the inadequacy...
the more you realise:
you're basically playing
the same game,
but in your scenario:
it's free...
   in some other ******'s scenario:
it cost him 70 hundred quid...

personally?
   i love this microtransaction dynamic...
concerning the people who
do not engage with it...
it's the perfect antithesis
   of what ruined the music industry
with genesis: napster...

you really are, playing the ultimate
game,
time...
         the one sort of commodity
that games,
without a clear narrative construct,
"forgot" to mention in terms
of them being exploited...
to their full capacity
of the one "commodity"
they "forgot", or rather,
couldn't "sell"...

              a tenchu PS1 game could
have lasted me a month...
now? a free game,
like war robots...
with absolutely no NPC?
hell... i'll be 90 and still be playing it;

what else? applause!
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
A thousand peaks: no more birds in flight.
Ten thousand paths: all trace of people gone.

In a lone boat, rain cloak and hat of reeds.
An old man’s fishing the cold river snow.

I am alone in this mountain fastness, on a steep downward path in the deepest shadow. I play with the twelve characters of Lui Tsung-yaun’s poem. How few poems tell of the desolation of winter. The coming of Spring, the passing of Autumn? Yes. But the onset of Winter? Even my sharp memory only recalls a meagre handful of poems to this season: the time of the first snows. Against all good sense I set out from Stone Village too late in the year: now I search for comforting word images to accompany me on this journey. Just below the snowline I pass through a stunted forest of ancient walnut trees almost leafless; the unrelenting wind has dispatched them crinkled brown into the valley below. I see there a winding river. I see its distant lake. I think of this poem known since my teenage years, puzzled over that one could see in one sweep of the horizon a thousand peaks. Here are that thousand and more if the ranks of limestone pillars in these mountains can be counted as peaks. I count them as peaks. And those thousand paths? At every turn there is some fresh way falling into the valley, or a faint trail rising to the heights. But this path I tread asserts itself on the traveller. Its stones are worn and the excrement of passing pack animals sticks to my boots.

Last night a cave, tonight I will reach the village of Psnumako. My former guide provided its name with a disdain he could not hide. When questioned he warned me not to enter without a stout staff against the mastiffs that guard each house, supposedly ******* during the day but apt to break their bonds at the smell of a stranger.

The steep and ever steeper descent brings pain to my knees. At this hour of the day my body would prefer to climb to the heights, but descend I must. The cold, the damp cold begins to stiffen weary limbs. I am tired from a day’s travel, tired from three hard climbs, two descents and this, my third, to complete before nightfall. I enter a narrow gorge loud with clamour of running water, cascade upon cascade flowing from the heights, falling fast to the river soon to interrupt my path. I shall have to force a crossing. What passed for a bridge were two fallen pines lashed together.  Now they lie akimbo a little distant, thrown apart like sticks by the spring flood as the deep snows melt. I must divest myself of boots and lower garments and wade across, stumbling on stones up to my waist in swift waters, terrified under the weight of my pack that I will fall and be swept under and along. To travel alone at such moments is foolhardy, but on this cold afternoon I have no choice.

I am so intent on preparing for this crossing it is only when I reach the end of the path that I notice snow is falling, its flakes sharp and white against the dark-water flow. The whirl and turn of the water mesmerises. Fatigue, fatigue embraces me, a day’s fatigue holds me fast on the river’s stony side. I close my eyes and hear the water rush and place myself into the protection of a mountain charm learnt from a passing traveller. Dwarfed by the size of his burden I see him negotiate a narrow path high above a chasm; he walked trance-like to the intoning of this charm.

It is soon done, the cold crossing, and with a lighter step I walk the remaining leagues to the lake-side and sight of the village. There are the faintest sparks of light amongst the silhouettes of houses. Animals are being brought in from the home fields against the night. A sudden shout, the barking of dogs, and now the snow falls thick and fast.

The guttural dialect here is barely discernable as speech. We are from different worlds this shepherd and I who meet at the stupa guarding the village entrance. This is not a Buddhist shrine but an acknowledgement of some mountain giant of terrifying aspect. The shepherd sees my official insignia and nods, knowing I will require shelter. He utters what may be a welcome, but could be a warning, and leads me forth. The mastiffs leap and bay as I pass between the primitive two-storey houses, animals below, humankind above. He disappears. I stop and wait. He returns with a woman who beckons me to climb the ladder to what may be her home. A widow perhaps? She is alone unless the rank darkness hides a man or child. But there is none. I hear animals move and grunt under the floor, a mat of dirt and straw. There is a sleeping loft, a cooking corner. I can see little else. But I am out of the snow, the biting wind, the cold. She pulls at my cloak, wet and caked with ice. There is a bowl placed in my hands; a rough tea. I speak a greeting, but there is no reply just a rustle of straw as she moves across the room.

The stupor of a journey’s pause is upon me. After three days on the trail to the heights I am numb with fatigue. I need food and sleep. I need rest before a final trek into the wilderness. Beyond Psnumako Lake known paths end. Except for the tracks used by shepherds to move their flocks to different seasonal pastures, there is wilderness. I hope for guidance, for the whereabouts of the sages who, in the winter months I am told, leave their reed huts on the heights for caves in the lower valleys. I shall be patient, remain here a little while. I am now immune to the discomfort and dirt of travel. That is how it is. That is how is must be. I miss only the mental absorption of writing, the caress of the brush on a scroll. In my home in Louyang I keep brush and paper close to hand; wherever I may be I can write, even in, especially in, the privy. If a line comes to me I can write it down. Here there is only the comfort of memory.

To think that in the past I wrote of this mountain wilderness out of my imagination and the descriptions of others. I once thought of these remote places as havens of spiritual liberation.

In the hills there is the sound of zither.
White clouds stay over shaded peaks,
Red flowers shine in the sunlit woods
Rocks are washed in the stream like jade;

How very different is the reality of it all; in this emerging winter world of mist, where the sun rarely visits and most living things have departed, where wind colours silence and one’s footfall becomes consolation. The sound of stone rubbing stone on the path is the eternal present. There have been days when only a distant crow moves in the landscape. Lammergeyers are known in these parts, but I have yet to see one. If there are wild beasts, they shun me.

As this bowl of tea cools in my hands but warms my frozen fingers I form pictures of the past day on its dark surface. Before dawn from the mouth of a river cave I sensed changes in the qualities of darkness that have hidden the heights above me. Then a perceptible line appeared and divided the mountain from the sky. That line became variegated; there were trees bristling on the highest rocks. It appears that at this hour the prevalent mist settles in the valleys leaving the sky clear.

The woman comes to me. She kneels to untie my boots. She looks with a curious innocence at my strangeness, the distortion of my face, the cleft palette, the deformed upper lip, the squint of my left eye. She is kindly as I give her my best smile though my face seems frozen still. There is a whisper, a prayer of welcome possibly. Then she bows her head, unravels a long scarf to reveal a mane of oiled hair, and sets about removing my boots. I see only the top of her head, a severe parting, hair held tightly in wooden combs. I close my eyes to bring to mind the image of Xaoli, so slight in comparison, her butterfly hands flittering into and around my sleeves, her seeing touch mapping out the extent of me, each piece of clothing, only later my face.

My reverie is broken by the entrance of two men. They squat behind the woman and, after taking in my ugliness and my hairpins of office, patiently wait for her to finish and retire. We stand and bow, then sit again amongst the straw.

‘Honoured Lord, I am Yun. You have travelled from Stone Village? And beyond?’

I pass him the Emperor’s seal he cannot read, but remain silent.

‘You are seeking those who live in the heights? The village only sees their servants, young boys sent for a goat or flasks of barley spirit. They bring herbs our women favour. Some have seen their huts when seeking lost animals. Now it is said they are gathered in the caves like animals waiting for the spring moon.’

‘When was the village last visited by their kind?’

‘ Hanlu, my Lord, the time of cold dew, two boys appeared with a pony. There was trading. They brought Chrysanthemum flowers and herbs for two geese and wine. They left scrolls for passage to Stone Village. Now the snows fall we may not see them until the Spring’

‘How far are your summer pastures? Have you any who would guide me there ?’

‘We do not seek these places after the first snows. The sages haunt the region beyond Chang Mountain. Before the 11th moon you might pass into the valley of Lidong where it is believed their caves lie, but to return before the Spring will not be possible.’

‘How many days there?’

‘Allow four. A difficult way, unmarked, rarely trodden, much climbing. There is one here who we could send with you – part of the way, and at a price, My Lord. Dahan travelled two seasons since as groom to a party of six with ponies, but then in late Spring.’

‘I will stay three days.’

‘Just so My Lord. Xiu Li will see to your wishes.’

And they depart, Yun’s companion has remained silent throughout, though searched my face continually. By the door he places his hand against the stout bag that carries my lute. ‘Guqin’, he says tenderly.

This instrument is my pass to the community of the reclusive. I am renown for my songs and their singing. My third-best guqin has not left its bag since Stone Village and I fear damage despite all my care on the path.

Later, as the village mastiffs gradually cease their baying as the quarter moon rises I take this instrument and place it across my lap. Its seven silk strings I wipe with a cloth and gently tune with its tasselled pegs. I then prepare myself through meditation to avoid the intrusion of distracting thoughts. With my eyes closed I allow my hands to seek out and name each part of guqin: from the Forehead of the Top Board, to the String Eyes, the Dew Collector, The Mountain, Shoulder and Phoenix Wings, past the Waist, the Hat Lines and the Dragon’s Beard, to the Dragon’s Gums and thence to the Inner Top Board. I can feel the Pillar of Heaven – the sound post – has moved a little in my recent travels. So too the Pillar of Earth – but with care I move both to their rightful positions. And so on naming the inner and outer parts of each of the two boards that make up the guqin. I begin to regulate my breathing and allow the fingers of my left hand to stroke and touch, to press and oscillate in the manner of vibrato. Zhoa Wenji describes twenty-three kinds of vibrato. I feel in turn each of the hui, the thirteen gold studs that mark the harmonic nodes and allow me to play the guqin by touch alone. In these moments of preparation I hear the words of my teacher: a good player makes sounds that are plentiful but not confused. As the moon reflecting on water, so the sounds are together but not combined. Like wind in the pines, they are combined but also spread out. Such sounds are valued for their lightness. Avoid the addition of inappropriate  "guest" sounds. This is the refined theory of the guqin. To be knowledgeable about music, one must seek this, then one can realize its beauty.

I have tuned to the Huangzhong mode. The song *Amidst Mountains Thinking of an Old Friend
I have brought to mind. I recall the words of The Slender Hermit who says of this piece that its interest lies in holding cherished thoughts, but having no way to tell these to anyone. There are emotions about the present time, longings and laments for the past, but there is no way to express any of this. And so this piece.

In this poor reed hut the room is filled with mist and haze,
how far away are the things I love;
the old plum tree seems exhausted, its flowers about to die,
the mountains are lonely and I am nostalgic for past times.
The moon shines brightly on this lovely evening,
from this distance I think of my old friend and wonder where he is.
The green of the mountains never fades,
but before I know it my hair will turn white;
the moon is waning and flowers wither,
Old friend, I dream constantly of meeting you.
How hard it is to recall the joy of our last meeting!
With the many mountain ranges,
and its hidden tigers and coiled dragons,
I am unable return to you in Chang An.
The road is distant, the tall trees make the road dark,
and the world is vast.

I mourn Aquila and Lyra
separated by the Milky Way like the cowherd and weaving girl,
on the ground we are separated by 1,000 li
in the sky we are each in a separate place,
though our passions remain strong
There has been no warm correspondence,
there is restraint to the bright harmony,
and the flowing streams are swallowed by the setting sun.


The thought of this song of mid autumn touches me before its words have issued from my lips. I play the last two lines in harmonics and sing.
Zuo Si was the brother of the courtesan and poet Zuo Fen. This short story is based on a chapter from my novel Summoning the Recluse. The opening poem appears in a translation by David Hinton from his collection Mountain Home.
Amira Sep 2018
I thought I understood distance
When I learned at school it is defined as
“The amount of space between two points.”
I learned distance can be measured in various units
As steps, kilometres and miles
or even intervals of time.

I thought I understood distance
When I counted 2362 steps walking to school
And noticed my dad’s car meter increasing two miles
In three minutes driving me back home.

But my understanding had changed when I started measuring longer distances.
And attempting to cross them.

I travelled a distance measured in kilometres and hours to see him.
Such distances can be easily crossed.
Either I took the next train, or drove my car
Distance as an amount of space was two thousand kilometres
And distance as an amount of time was only a few hours.

I thought I understood distance,
But never the amount of space between two specific points;
My lips and his lips.

I travelled a distance measured in bottles of wine and years to kiss him.
Such distances can’t be easily crossed.
I could walk miles of skin
And distance as an amount of space between us
Could extend tiresome.
But such distances aren’t necessarily a barrier.
I have crossed all the oceans we created
I counted all the bodies
And I have indulged in his lips.

It took me two bottles of wine and twenty years
To actually understand distance

But my understanding is obsolete
For him and I ,
Are still two distant entities.
I started writing this poem with great inspiration, but the inspiration wore off halfway through, which is why I still feel it is not complete. Please tell me what you think, and what you would suggest.
P.S : the poem is written to be read in a loud and slow manner.
Ayush B Jan 2016
Few people have heard the story,
Of the first snowflake to make the journey,
To hug and save the heating earth,

He travelled with wind for many miles,
To reach the ground he thought he missed,
He was dead as soon as they kissed.
Jackie Mead Aug 2018
Another year over, a new one has begun,
I reflect on the great things that I’ve done,
The places I’ve been, the people I’ve met,
The many ways I travelled by car, train and jet.

I’ve been to some great places, Zante, Memphis, New Orleans & France,
All these places have their own unique rhythm and dance,
In Zante it’s Greek music and dancing, jumping and clapping all part of the fun,
In France the rhythm is vibrant and fun, all taking part under a gorgeous warm sun,
In Memphis, of course, it’s rock and roll, rhythm and blues and a lot of soul,
Beale St is the place to go,
In New Orleans, it’s rhythm and blues and jazz,
On each street corner marching bands,
Bourbon St the place for all genres of music from Louis Armstrong to Jason Mraz.

I’ve climbed to the top of a Mountain to look at a Saxon Fort,
I’ve been underground to some Roman Remains,
I’ve travelled the English Channel from Dover Port.
I’ve become intolerant to the Gluten Grain.

I’ve visited Old Trafford, the Theatre of Dreams,
I’ve been to Cardiff to see the Speedway,
Visited a stately home for Scones and Cream,
I’ve visited The Mumbles, Swansea just for the day.

I’ve celebrated my middle son getting married,
I’ve snuggled the Grandkids for hours and hours,
Dozens of shopping trips complete and bags carried,
Worried over my Grandkids in the darkest of hours.

I’ve visited Graceland’s, home of The King,
I’ve travelled from Memphis to New Orleans by Amtrak train,
I’ve visited the bayou of New Orleans,
Seen Alligators sleeping, Herons, Lizards and Cat Fish on the end of a line,
Travelled the Mississippi on a paddle boat powered by steam.

I’ve visited museums in several locations,
The Van Gogh, The *** Museum and The Moco in Amsterdam, The Lowry and Imperial War Museum in Manchester,
Walked these cities in all types of Weather,
Viewed paintings and sculptures by Van Gogh, Dali, Lowry and Banksy, photographs of **** maids and their Lords,
At the Imperial War Museum, I learned a lot about wars,
On display the bravery of more than a few, Men, Women and Children too.

I’ve had family days out aplenty,
Fed ducks, swans and geese with stale bread,
Trips to the park on seesaws and swings,
Laughed so much, at Comedy Club, it’s hurt my head.

I’ve travelled on a barge up the Manchester Ship Canal
I’ve visited Rame Head, Cornwall, for Family occasions
I’ve watched Peabody Ducks march back to their nest, a carnival fit for Royal
Walked along the cliffs of Whitsand Bay, close to the Coastguard Station

I’ve published two children’s books based on stories told my children at bedtime
I’ve been to concerts, Phil Collins, Coldplay, Robbie Williams and The Rolling Stones
I’ve written many a poem, 190 plus including Limericks, consisting of 5 lines that rhyme
I’ve had a tooth implant, causing swelling and bruising to my cheekbones

I’ve discovered a love of Gin and Tonic,
I never used to like so that’s ironic
Rhubarb and Ginger my favourite flavour
Sit at the bar, sip it slow, it’s a joy to savour

I’ve had times I needed to cry
I’ve had times I needed a hug
I’ve had times I needed to smile
I’ve had times I needed to laugh
I’ve had times I needed no one
I’ve had times I needed to be surrounded

As I reflect at the year past,
I reflect that mostly it’s been a blast,
This year I want to experience new things,
And, my long-term plan is to return to running.

So, please Lord bring forth another year,
I’ll use all my blood, sweat and tears,
To make good use of another year.
-----------------------------------------------------------­--------------------------
On This Day In History – August 15th

1914 – The Panama Canal opens to traffic with the transit of the cargo ship SS Ancon.
1920 – Polish-Soviet War: Battle of Warsaw, so-called Miracle at the Vistula.
1939 – The Wizard of Oz premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California.
1941 – Corporal Josef Jakobs is executed by firing squad at the Tower of London at 07:12, making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for espionage.
1944 – World War II: Operation Dragoon: Allied forces land in southern France.
1947 – India gains Independence from British rule after near 190 years of Crown rule and joins the Commonwealth of Nations.
1965 – The Beatles play to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City, an event later regarded as the birth of stadium rock.
1998 – Northern Ireland: Omagh bombing takes place; 29 people (including a woman pregnant with twins) killed and some 220 others injured.
--------------------------------------------------------­------------------------
People I Share my Birthday with

Princess Anne
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Jennifer Lawrence
Deborah Messing
Ben Afleck
Jack Russell
Carol Thatcher
Mark Thatcher
Hope you enjoy reading about the things I have done this last year, I enjoyed writing it, when you analyse everything you do in a year you realise how much there is to be grateful for.
Don't get me wrong I've had my share of bad things too, lost my father in law, run over by a motorcycle, and watched my grandson having a fit but for the purposes of this Poem i've focused on the positives.
For a bit of interest, I've added On This Day in History and People who share my birthday.
Thank you for reading.
nivek Mar 2015
We have travelled far since last Summer
Purple Crocuses peep upward, sunward
while buds are green tipping tree branches.
Our love is almost one year older, wiser,
hopefully we will take our chances, to love
this coming season a full cup, overflowing.
We have travelled far in our hearts, searching,
and found some comfort in the wild familiar.
chosen by fate to fight
by night the blistering fire  
and face by day
the blazing storm

the mission called
well travelled feet
you climbed the wall
and faced the heat

of loved ones kissed
well travelled feet
the mission called
we watched them weep

of hearts you touched
well travelled feet
the mission called
we watched them bleed

of battles fought
well travelled feet
the mission called
you crashed the wall

of fires braved
well travelled feet
the mission called
you took the heat

chosen by fate to fight
by night the blistering fire  
and face by day
the blazing storm

~ P
(7/4/2013)
Elegy for the 19 brave souls aka Hot Shots....R.I.P.
Sandra C Oct 2013
why am i
so alone
in the midst of
attempted inclusion?

and why
am i
satisfied by it?

please
leave me

alone
Amanda Jun 2018
Lay down your head
On soft velvet clover
Breathe in the perfume bed
As cotton white clouds drift over

Slowly walls break stone by stone
As the silence hits, hard as a hammer
Are you lonely? You are alone
Amidst the wreckage, as memories stir

A journey travelled by crooked road
Each turn a choice, or was it destiny woven
Every step taken carries a load
And the weight grows with the path chosen

Regrets? There were a few rocks in the road
Second chances are like fairy powder
You don’t get chance to reload
A life lived, is a life, so live it louder

At the end when peace is searched for
Lay down in a perfumed bed
Of soft velvet clover
While white cotton clouds drift overhead
Julie Grenness Jan 2017
The road less travelled,
Personal choices unravelled,
You meet the wrong person in life,
You descend into his strife,
Best to stay remote and aloof,
"Write it a doctor's!" I say, you goof,
Where would my life have gone, eh,
Much ado about nothing today!
Feedback welcome.
LN Aug 2014
I travelled to the homeland
to reconcile with my past.

I flew over miles of identities
to find my own.
Duck Nov 2012
Supposing that we lit some candles.
One for each person on this earth,
we would blow one out at a funeral
and light one up at a birth.

The world would grow darker
every time we lost a fighter
but with every new born baby
it gets just that bit brighter.

If you travelled into a city that was dark and gritty
you'd know that they didn't have many in their committee.
But.. If the light was brilliant and bright
it would send a beaming message throughout the night.

Saying "We are here! And we are alive!"
Not wanting to be alone we endeavor to collide
and form one giant, shining beacon
that burns so fierce we're sure it can't weaken

We sparkle and crackle and bend nature to our whim
the mighty fire so strong it just had to gave in.
With it we forged iron and buildings, cars and computers
and lit paths of lives to guide commuters

We lit up the universe as far as we could see
Improving our lives greatly with technology
obsessed with our professed fixture on practicality
we completely forgot about morality

Our fires forged weapons which we aimed next door
In one swift movement we saw the effects of war
6,000,000 candles extinguished
over arguments on which light is most distinguished

So fixated on this light we blinded our eyes
and the candle smoke filled the skies.
We thought candles were good, they elevated us higher
but now all we have is thick smoke and fire.

The fire consuming all in its route
the root of our lives follow suite.
It's eating the oxygen and burning the grass
the sand is melting and forming to glass.

The glass it shatters into a thousand pieces
more candles are lighting, the temperature increases
The resources decline, as do the candles
buried in ash a hundred thousand scandals.

Now only a few lit candles remain
as they slowly melt and fade away.
Check out my YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/duckforpope
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Tanay Sengupta Jul 2018
I wish I would have been a nomad,
I would have travelled to the places no one had.
I wish I was a voracious reader,
Books would have helped me to forget her.
If life would not have been such a mystery,
It would have been easy to forget my history.
I wish I was another wanderlust
In a world which seems to forget so fast.
I never wanted to be like me.
I wish I was not me!








Tanay Sengupta, Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Another simple poem from this small and simple person. I hope you enjoy reading it. Cheers!
Nigel Morgan Dec 2013
A Tale for the Mid-Winter Season after the Mural by Carl Larrson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This people have a widely renowned sanctuary called Uppsala.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I walk the drama of Midvinterblot unfolds in a confusion of noise, the weeping of women, the physical exertions of the temple slaves, the priests’ incantations, the riot of horns, and then suddenly, as I stand in this frozen field, there is silence. The sun rises. It stagge
To see images of the world of Sundborn and Carl Larrson (including Mitvinterblot) see http://www.clg.se/encarl.aspx
ryn Nov 2016
All too familiar...
I have been here not too long ago.

I had dug my heels deep...
I had tasted the moist that hung stale.
Dreaded every next step,
knowing then as I know now...
That again I would fail.

This road well travelled...
Will draw much more,
if not the same.
But I own this endless stretch,
I'll embrace it with discomfort...
For here is the grave that bears my name.
Tivonna Aug 2016
Journey to the unknown
on roads less travelled,
seeking the heart's desires,
yet it does not speak.

The eyes strain for that window
to open the soul,
to touch that wandering heart,
to let the sun in.

Allowing splendorous rays
to melt away doubts,
and any apprehensions
that have become fears.

Allowing only beauty
to light this new path,
to transcend and to enfold
in peaceful comfort.

Tivonna
Ismahanwrites Jul 2016
We Time Travelled together threw Thick
and Thin Worrying about nothing But
Us.
Francis Duggan Aug 2010
His Grandparents were Romany people from his maternal side
In Countries of Eastern Europe they travelled far and wide
But the most basic human right their right to life of them even denied
In Belzec Concentration camp where a million people died.

I never knew my maternal Grandparents with sadness he recall
Due to circumstance of birth and their way of life misfortune them did befall
My gift of music such a marvellous gift to them I feel I owe
In Belzec Concentration Camp they were murdered decades ago.

A tall and handsome man in his early thirties with wavy raven hair
With the marvellous gift of music a great accordion player
In silence we sat and drank our beer as we listened to him play
The beautiful old gipsy tunes from Countries far away.

That all things do come to an end in some cases a lie
In Belzec Concentration camp the gipsy music did not die
But that the gift of music does live on should not come as a surprise
Something that those who commit crimes against humanity seem to fail to realize.

He played at the pub on passing through him I never more may see
But the beauty of his music will live in my memory
His maternal Grandparents who died at Belzec their lives were not in vain
Their music in their Grandchild has come to life again.
Mymai Yuan Sep 2010
It’s been a decade and a half that I haven’t returned back to my little home in that far away magical place. Fifteen years- exploring and travelling through the world. It was always my dream, ever since I was a young boy. Living this life is lonely. No one ever belongs to me, nor do I ever belong to anyone. Seeing a million things is marvelous, but it could be twice as marvelous with a companion to express the feelings over instead of my usual, battered black log book that never talked back but was filled with entries from all over the world. One day, I’ll publish it.

I guess the fact that I was always alone was the reason why the little home and my little mother that I use to take for granted became more and more part of me as I stayed away. The land, the gently curving hills and glassy lake grew clearer and clearer in my mind until sometimes, it was all I could see when I shut my eyes at night after a long day of work. Sometimes I would smell the soap on mothers’ skin acutely and played her voice in my head like a radio.
A blur of bright brown eyes.

I’ve been to almost every country in this world: Japan, France, America, Denmark, China and all the different continents… almost a hundred different countries. Each country held such a different (but slightly similar if they were in the same continent) flavor in the air and never failed to teach me one new thing. They all held such distinct character. Beholding the stunning sights and noticing the heart-wrenching small details of a new place was my passion. It captivated me, but the calm, steady love of my heart remained still.
Nothing touched me like the memory of home and my mother. Not the women who flickered through the chapter of my life, appearing in explosions of lust and never meaning more than ***, though some begged me to stay. My loneliness would sway my path of thinking for a short one or two week before I realized it wasn’t what I truly wanted.  
My lovers reminded me of cookie crumbs fallen from my mouth down onto my shirt- there for a brief, brief moment- sometimes picked up to nibble on or brushed away and forgotten.

Oh Love; Love never found me. Perhaps all the travel I did made it harder for Her to find me. I was never at a place for long. Perhaps She, Love, grew tired of trying to catch up with me as I crossed the seas and vast lands. Maybe She got lost one day in an Indian market with the exotic, fat fruits and glittering bangles- fading off into the air with the aroma of powerfully rich local dishes.
Or maybe I travelled away from Her, and She got left behind.

2 a.m.- On a train: the train is brand new and the metal is still yet glossy and innocent from hard rains, thick snow or fiery heat as the Southern part of my homeland is so prone to. The window is surprisingly see-through, unlike all the muddy windows covered in dust, grime, bird droppings and smashed insects (especially squished mosquitoes) I have looked out of in the past fifteen years. I think I’ll read a few chapters of that book about Cambodian culture to distract my impatient mind: sitting on this cold train that will take me home is all I can possibly think about. Hurry, you ******* train, hurry!
There is something about a train that calms me down and makes me feel all starry-eyed. It is the memory of the only girl I ever loved. A little girl I grew up with. Such thick dark brown hair, big round bright chocolate eyes and the loudest, most obnoxiously boyish laugh I have ever heard from a girl. Hmm, I recalled the small rounded chest and bottom.
We lived so far deep in the country side and one day, on an overnight school trip, the school we attended at took all hundred students on a trip to see the city for just a day. Flashes of her eating a creamy white ice cream sprinkled with tiny candies of the rainbow and standing in awe of the huge library made me smile to myself.
How when everyone was tired that night back on the train, even the teachers exhausted after an early morning and keeping a hundred thirteen-year-olds under control for a whole day, fell asleep. My eyelids were just drooping when she appeared- I smelled her first, sweet like honey with a tinge of something sour like orange or lemon peels. My senses have always been sensitive- especially sight and smell. She carefully peeled back the curtains around the bed, crept into my bunk and cuddled with me, curling her tough plump legs.
My mind flew in many wild ways- for as I said, my senses were sensitive and the curiosity and thrill of an inexperienced young boy did not help to make them any paler- and try as I might to quiet the thoughts, they leapt at her every movement.
I suppose it was her way of telling me she had fallen in love with me. Her cold monkey-feet pressed against me and whispering the night away: her tousled head as she kept sitting up to look out the window on the side to look at the stars. I sat up with her and held her against my chest. I remember wondering how my heart wasn’t bursting from the enormous love I felt for this creature in my lap, watching the dark silhouettes of trees rushing by and the black swaying fingers of rice patties illuminated by needle-point stars and a full, silver moon. The beautiful creature turned around, placed her icy finger tips on my hot neck, and gave a little sigh of relief before leaning in and kissing me.

My skin was covered in goose bumps.

Oranges are my favorite fruit.
I left her, my little home and mother at nineteen. The darling was mine till then. I wrote to her, but when she got around to replying I had already moved. And there my love became my once-loved.
The heart ache didn’t last too long. There was too much to see, I was young and full of cravings and impossible to satisfy hunger despite the countless number of women. I lived in the moment, the fiery moment of passion and life, and the memory of her were blown to wisps.
A ray of pink sunlight broke me from my thoughts and as I rushed back from the past to its future, I wondered in a haze whether she had married or not.

Five a.m. – the sun was up. The sky had streaks of dark blue, so dark it was almost black. A ****** red of a newly-cut wound ran through the sky, arm in arm with royal purple and a pink the color of a child’s lips.

Six a.m. - twenty-two or so students milled into the train chattering. The younger ones have neatly combed hair, slicked down with mousse and parted so aggressively the comb lines are visible cutting the hair in hard chunks with a paper-white hairline slicing through the scalp. The smallest one would be around thirteen and the oldest at eighteen. The oldest-looking one is very pretty with slanted gray eyes and chestnut hair- very matured for her age. A puff of powder to conceal any imperfection of her skin, and the first two buttons on her school blouse unbuttoned to hint at a cleavage of well-developed large *******. Her gaze darts over me frequently. She looks like a lover I had in Holland. I give her a small smile and she returns it, batting her lids to reveal matted dark lashes and shimmery pale blue eyelids like the wings of a butterfly. No child, only if I was much, much younger and had just left home as you will so soon.
A stench of too much perfume emits from the girl beside her. So much that I am momentarily diverted and glance up at her from my log book. I will be relieved when they leave. If there’s one thing I find extremely unattractive in a woman is an overload of perfume- it becomes a stench that is a reminder of gaudy prostitutes.

Six-thirty a.m. -  The train jolts to yet another stop and they clatter out but not before I heard the words, “That man on the train near us was rather handsome, wasn’t he?” I cannot help but chuckle.

Seven a.m. – the train has stopped at least five more stations. This is going to be a long trip. Rummaging in my packed bag for a pair of dark sunglasses I push them on, waiting for the fact that I haven’t slept all two weeks in excitement (and travelling at the speed of light half way around the world at the same time) to kick in and hit me unconscious with sleep.

Two p.m. - the dark glasses cannot block the glaring sunlight of the sunshiny afternoon. We have almost finished passing the city. The rows of buildings, large houses, one-story apartments are narrowing and shrinking in size. I know the railroad tracks have remained unchanged in destination and twenty-so years ago I took this exact same ride but everywhere is unrecognizable.  
I check my wristwatch once again even though I know the time: around nine more hours to go before it reaches the very end possible station and I take the long walk back to my little home.

Six p.m. - I talk amiably to passengers on the train. It is beautiful to hear my home dialect again. The words I speak have grown quite clumsy and my accent is rough. No matter, in two weeks time I’ll be fluent and chirping along with the same fluid accent as the old man beside me is.

Eleven-thirty p.m. – I am all alone on the train. The old man just got off at the station before. He shared a portion of his sandwich with me and a swig of beer from his water bottle (naughty old man), seeing as in my anticipation I forgot to buy any food for the day. A very interesting old man who was delighted to know I travelled just as he use to in his earlier days- quote to remember from him: “Too many people go on about this ******* of a ‘fixed’ home: Home isn’t where you live, son, it’s where they understand you. I’m telling you, that’s something so special in this crazy world.”
It is horrible to be sitting here alone counting down the minutes without a distraction but after all, it is near the last of stations and no one ever comes here anyways. There’s nothing here that could attract visitors. If I were a traveler nothing about this place would excite me very much. Yet for this first time in fifteen years, I’m not an outsider and this land promises me much. My hand shakes from fatigue- but mostly from eagerness. Little home, darling little home, I am coming!
It is a chilly, chilly winter night. My breath pants out in short white puffs. I wrap my scarf more securely around my neck, capturing the warmth as I step out from the warm train into the cold air outside. I can barely notice my environment on the way home except the path has remained unchanged. It is as if I am travelling back into time itself. After a while, the coldness turning the tip of my ears and nose pink is forgotten. All I know is each step is taking me closer and closer to home.

I finally see it. The small little house with a small brown door standing quietly alone next to other identical houses comes into my view. The little homes are clustered on the edge of a river bank, surrounding by dark green trees. The crisp rustling of the leaves in the winter breeze brings a melancholy happiness so great it makes my chest throb. I cup a tiny bit of snow from the ground in my mitten and taste it: oh the same sharp iciness on my tongue.

I wonder if she still lives in that one with the indented steps, the stairs worn out by the thundering saunter of her and her five brothers. They still haven’t bought a new flight of stairs?

The river’s surface is smooth and serene, its surface looking like molten silver rippling in the slight breeze. I remembered in the summer when we, the children, danced; splashing in the water and the elders watched lovingly.

Mother’s carefully watching eyes on me as I swam to and fro, my laughter mingling with everyone else’s. She was especially careful after that near-fateful day when I was six and foolishly went swimming in August without telling mother as she made us her special clear chicken broth. I had inhaled gallons of water before she fished me out, both of us soaking and sobbing. How wonderful it was to hold onto something warm and solid: something breathing, full of life, and I clutched onto her and she clutched onto me and my life.
Up the wooden steps… how surprised mother will be. The ghosts of memories come running to me, pounding their way towards me to greet me first as I open the wooden door with the key slung around my neck as always: mother with her hair curled in soft mocha *****, mother making an ice lollipop in the hot summers in her flower-printed summer dresses, mother swishing around the house cleaning in her blue apron, the hot fire with hot chocolate as we told stories, all the different cats we had purring in a soothing melody… Amalie and her laughing figure spread over the sofa chattering away, Amalie’s quick, hidden kisses in the corners when mother was out of the room or pretending not to look, Amalie’s long hands creeping towards mine… Amalie and mother gossiping together and mother declaring Amalie was the daughter she never had and mother eyeing me knowingly, expecting me to settle my ways and marry Amalie…

Oh little home, I am back, I am home.

I shall go lie on my feathery bed and in the morning I’ll wake up and have no idea where I am before the thought comes back to me that this morning- no, I am not somewhere around half the world away- but in my little hometown.
As sure as the sun will rise, Mother will wake up at her usual eight o’clock and I’ll be downstairs in our sunny-tiled kitchen making a bowl of porridge for her and me.
After her tears and hugs, we’ll sit down by the fire with hot chocolate despite it being early morning and the skies aren’t yet jet-black. I see in my mind’s eyes her dark eyes huge as I unravel my colorful carpet of stories and treasure box of tokens from all around the world.
Maybe after that I’ll ask her whatever became of Amalie…
I hear the tread of footsteps on the stair case. They are heavy sounds. Has mother gained much weight in her old age? She was always a lithe little woman when I was here.
A burly shape appears in the shadows.
For one ******* blindingly stupid moment I think it is mother much fattened in a fluffy night gown, her hair curled up in soft ***** yet again. Perhaps I saw what I wanted to believe despite my senses and instinct suddenly prickling up in one jolt through the spine.
And the shape emerges holding a bat and the outlines gains focus to become a bear-like man with dark brows furrowed and a mass of curls. He starts yelling at me and slashing his bat dangerously.
I raise my arms up in defense and the world swirls around me. From far away I hear my voice shaking in fear and fury, “Where is my mother!” I yell her name and I yell my name to let her know I am here. I am insane with fear for the safety of my mother. No, it cannot be that I come home on the day a demon decides to rob the house of a frail gentle angel. If he has killed her, I will- “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER?!”
“What?” he asks in a tone quiet from extreme bewilderment, his grip on the bat loosens and I am quick to see this and take advantage of it.
With an explosion of violent swears I leap onto him to throttle him to death. “MOTHER?! MOTHER! WHAT HAVE YOU ******* DONE TO MY MOTHER?! I’M GOING TO ******* **** YOU, YOU *******!”
A fast pattering of feet sound down the stairs and my mind registers them to be female before I am wrenched of the man and we are separated. I am about to clutch this woman safe from the hulking beast before I notice the skin on the hands pushing my panting chest away from killing the beast are too young to be mothers’. Her hair is a dark mahogany brown, not mild coffee like mothers’.
I stare at her, silent in shock. All the fight drains out of me.
Those eyes that were once so chocolate-brown and bright have lost their sparkle in her tiredness and appear almost… dull as she turns to me.
She says my name three times before I can reply. “Sit down here.”
It is strange that she has ordered me to sit down on my own sofa in my living room. Her frosty hands guide me. “Amalie… where is mother?” I manage to stutter, all the time keeping an eye on the monster of a man.
“Listen to me” she took a few shuddering breaths, “I’m sorry to tell you this way, I wished I could’ve told you any other way but this… your mother is dead. She died five years ago.”
She watched me with an exhausted expression, “In her will she left this house to you and me because she assumed one day-” she shot a cautious glance at the man who towered in the shadows next to her, nursing
I have been in the moon
In search of love all noon
Searched through deserts
Even through garden of Eden.
I have Searched beneath the sea
Travelled wide even to overseas
Still could not find love.
I went to Vatican
Even to Mecca
Driven through the romantic sites of Paris
Bath in the Brazilian beaches
Flown across the Atlantic
Pitched my tenth for few days on the Antarctic
Spend some more on the arctic
Still I saw no love.

All I saw was lust
Angels with broken hearts,
Rotten roses,
Withered lilies,
Death faiths and monsters on beautiful faces.
I saw bullets in church offering boxes
Just wedded on number plates of ambulances.
I saw wars in diversity
Pain and mourning crowding all cities
The devil celebrating the dead of peace.

I saw three wise men
Where went love, I asked them
They said love has been nailed on the cross
Buried with trust
They are heading to Galilee
To await his return.
I followed with dreams
I met many returning with smiles of frustration
From where I was going with pregnancy of expectations.

We arrived to the scene
Like a nightmare, I witnessed higher sins
I saw men taking pleasures with men
Some with animals, some women with women.
Gun everybody walking sticks
People feeding on people flesh
With human blood the thirsting ones quench their thirst.

Is this where love is expected to return?
The wise men retorted,
Yes, the saints have been raptured
And his seven years  reign has just began.
Then in a flash, I remembered that I have been taught
Taught about this dreadful end
I had also taught kids
Under trees at nights
Just to threaten them to live right.
What I thought was a mare threat or a fallacy
Has been awaken against my fate in reality.
Oh! We are among the leftovers
Left to reprove ourselves or be doomed forever.
Alan McClure Sep 2012
Little Johnny Piccolo is sitting in his room
and he’s gazing out his window on a stormy afternoon
He sees the clouds a-tumbling topsy-turvy through the gloom
on a wind that whips the winter through the trees
And there’s lashing licking raindrops streaming down the windowpane
So the scene is shimmer-shaking and can never stay the same
And wee Johnny’s all a-tremble with excitement in his veins
When Mummy enters, saying, “Johnny, please,

PICK up your lego now, PUT away your pens,
TIDY up your soldiers, and I WILL not ask again:
You NEED a tidy bedroom, I’m EXPECTING you to try!”
But Johnny stands defiant, shouting “WHY?!”

Well, Mummy is exasperated, horrified and cross,
she shakes her head in anger and she’s really at a loss
She calls into the corridor to show the boy who’s boss,
And Daddy enters, standing by her side.
“Now look here, boy,” his dad begins, “let’s lay it on the line:
I shouldn’t have to talk like this to any son of mine.
When Mummy gives an order you should smile and answer, ‘Fine!
I shall obey with pleasure and with pride!’

DON’T answer back, my boy, DO as you’re told
you MAY think it’s clever and you MAY think it’s bold
but BAD things can happen if you GIVE the wrong reply!”
But Johnny, slightly smiling, answers, “WHY?”

Well Daddy looks at Mummy now, and Mummy looks at Dad.
“D’you think that we should tell him?”  “Yes, I think we better had!”
Outside the weather worsens till it’s frighteningly bad
And dripping darkness gathers round the room
Daddy drops his voice as if he’s whispering in fear
Johnny has to hold his breath and turn his head to hear
“My boy,” his Daddy whispers, “there’s a fearsome buccaneer:
the Whyrate Captain, coming to your doom!

PLEASE pick your words, my lad, DON’T let him come!
TRY a little harder John, for ME and your mum!
IF the Whyrates come for you it REALLY is goodbye!”
But Johnny, rather shaken, answers, “Why?”

Oh, Heaven only help us!  What a stupid thing to say!
Johnny looks in shock, as both his parents back away
Their hands are up in panic as the black and stormy day
Begins to shake the window in its frame!
Then SMASH! goes the glass as lightning streaks across the sky
The wind goes whipping round them as his parents turn to fly
And through the crashing darkness Johnny hears a shrieking cry,
“We’ve got him lads!  The Whyrates stake their claim!”

IN through the window comes a GRINNING, swarthy man
a QUESTION mark the cutlass that he’s WAVING in his hand
“COME, lad,” he wheezes, “you are JUST our type of guy!”
And Johnny, frozen, barely whispers “Why?”

“Ya-HAR!” The captain bellows in a whirlwind of glee,
“I knew it lads, this boy’s the one!  We’re taking him to sea!”
And quick as thought he grabs him with a one and two and three
and bundles Johnny through the rising dark
Now, maybe you’d be frightened – I am sure I’d yell for aid
If a bunch of crazy Whyrates hauled me off upon a raid
But Johnny, little Johnny, he is not one bit afraid –
Instead, he thinks, “At last! I’ve made my mark!”

OUT of the garden now and INTO the night
BACK through the gloom his bedroom DISAPPEARS from sight
OFF to the shoreline where a SAIL obscures the sky
And stitched in silver letters – simply, ‘WHY?’

Now Johnny doesn’t know it, but these Whyrates he has met
are about the most notorious of villains you could get
and many weary kingdoms are unlikely to forget
the day the Whyrates sailed into their shores
And what is it that makes them just so deadly and so feared?
Is it all the men they’ve murdered?  All the children they have speared?
Well, no – in fact the truth of it is really rather weird:
They simply ask what’s not been asked before!

WHY should the people have to BOW before the king?
WHY should the government rule EVERY little thing?
WHY should so much be owned by OH so very few?
And no-one anywhere has any clue!

And so it is in Bannerland, a country miles away
Whose population struggles just as Johnny’s whisked away
The lives that people lead there – well, I hardly like to say –
you can hear them weeping, wailing in the streets!
They live around the palace where the crazy King does lie,
just taking – never giving – in a bed that’s warm and dry
His dungeons break the bedrock and his turrets split the sky
while folks below must work so he can eat.

SUCH is their misery that NOBODY has thought
to ASK of anyone how this has COME to be their lot
When OUT of the east upon a FOAMING ocean swell
The Whyrates land, and Johnny’s there as well!

Well word gets to the Palace, and the King jumps from his bed
Shivering and shaking, comfort overcome by dread
“Burn the ship!” he hollers, “and I want the captain’s head!
We’ll have no questions here in Bannerland!”
But up from the harbour Whyrates bundle by the score
A ripple of inquiry from the palace to the shore
And Bannerlanders flock to them, all asking more and more,
determined that it’s time to make a stand.

“WHY should we help a man who TREATS his people thus?
WHY should we think of one who NEVER thinks of us?
WHY should we hold him up, when REALLY, he should fall?”
The Whyrates crackle-cackle through it all.

Well Johnny stands in wonder and delight at what he sees
As questions shake the kingdom like a tempest through the trees
And Johnny thinks, “You know, this is my realm of expertise,
I think I’ll go and see what happens now!”
And there, before his very eyes a miracle begins
The palace starts to crumble as the King goes mad within
And the jangling of treasure can be heard above the din
as gold and silver spill across the ground!

GOLD for the beggar-men, GOLD for the slaves
JEWELS for the serving girls in SPARKLE-jingled waves
FOOD for the hungry and CLOTHES for them to wear
(Of course, the Whyrates take a modest share!)


Well that was just the start, of course, of Johnny’s long career
He travelled with the Whyrates out to countries far and near
Starting revolutions everywhere they would appear
A simple question, then it’s back to sea
But when at last he wearied of the buccaneering days
He travelled bravely homewards through the tumble tossing waves
To Mummy, and to Daddy, and that’s where our Johnny stays,
A most obliging son, they both agree!

And IF he should grow weary, and BEGIN it all once more
and START to grumble grumpily when ASKED to sweep the floor
say “WHY should I go back to life the WAY it always was?”
Well, Mum and Dad just smile, and say, “Because!"
For children, obviously!
Two roads diverged in a wood and I,
I took the one most travelled by
and that has made me regret my decision.
J H Webb Mar 2013
Mar 6, 2013

I've travelled in the rain
I've travelled in the snow
And lately if the sun would shine
I wouldn't know where to go


I've rested through the day
Slept right through the night
Cried too many times alone
And feared the morning light


Now lovers scream
Where they used to dream
And prayers go up in smoke
And love has left me,
Yes love has left me
Feeling like a joke


I've travelled in the rain
I've travelled in the snow
I've had my share of pain
And I've had my share of hope


But hope will leave you wandering
And wondering what to hell you said
But love will leave you,
Yes, love will leave you
Feeling 'bout half past dead


Yes love will grab you by the *****
Then grab you by the throat
And leave you feeling a ******* mess
Your heart a mere footnote


No don't believe what you've been told
Don’t listen to what's been said
Just remember love will leave you,
Yes love will leave you
Feeling 'bout half past dead


I shot a glass of bourbon
I shot a glass of rye
I tried to make your memory fade
Tried to will myself to die


Tried to hollow out the emptiness
Then tried to crawl inside
Tried to hide the arrow in my heart
And the sword there in my side

Now lovers scream
Where they used to dream
And prayers go up in smoke
And love has left me,
Yes love has left me
Feeling like a joke



James H. Webb
Ambika Jois Jul 2016
I could’ve done the right thing
Many moons ago
If only I could’ve understood
How my heart, I could follow

I didn’t know myself enough
Yet denied it when you claimed to
I was afraid to let myself in
Always thought, maybe it’s too soon

I knew when something didn’t feel right
I could feel my skin shiver and my bones tremble
I could never tell what, precisely,
Whatever the truth was, often remained a jumbled mumble

I went so far away to find myself
Days and nights I cried in emptiness
That’s when I understood myself
Then it was clear that you and I are the oneness.

I’m grateful for the struggle
For without it, I wouldn’t have travelled so far

I’m regretful for the pain
For because of it, I have travelled away so far

I’ve accepted my slow growth as this is who I am
For because of it, I have travelled so close

I admit my greatest gain today – You,
For because of you, I have found myself.
‘Better late than never’ is one of the most famous phrases used in our day-to-day lives. That time we were late to an event or that time we went over a deadline… The quote is used so frequently that when we are actually overdue for one of the most important events or decisions in life, we not only feel grateful for having approached or accomplished it in the end, but we also face the consequences for our lateness.

Your heart finds a million ways to remind you that something is missing, and when you can no longer take the weight of the manacles, you will break free and find the courage to listen to your heart and surrender to its needs without a single ounce of shame, for it always will be better late than never to do the right thing.

— The End —