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Nandini Aug 2014
Blinded the dark
of her ebony hair
He shaded himself
in their shadows to care
Reflections of
charming pools he dived
Into her eyes coloured honey of the hive
Musical of the two souls
on soundless stage
Bees humming to flowers
the secret they caged
Danced her lips to
the travellers will
The travellers oasis of which
he couldn't tranquil*!
Ismahanwrites Jul 2016
We Time Travelled together threw Thick
and Thin Worrying about nothing But
Us.
for leather accrues
The miracle of the streets
The scents & smogs &
pollens of existence

Shiny blackness
so totally naked she was
Totally un-hung-up

We looked around
lights now on
Top see our fellow travellers
~~~

I am troubled
Immeasurably
By your eyes

I am struck
By the feather
of your soft
Reply

The sound of glass
Speaks quick
Disdain

And conceals
What your eyes fight
To explain
~~~

She looked so sad in sleep
Like a friendly hand
just out of reach
A candle stranded on
a beach
While the sun sinks low
an H-bomb in reverse
~~~

Everything human
is leaving
her face

Soon she will disappear
into the calm
vegetable
morass

Stay!

My Wild Love!
~~~

I get my best ideas when the
telephone rings & rings. It’s no fun
To feel like a fool-when your
baby’s gone. A new ax to my head:
Possession. I create my own sword
of Damascus. I’ve done nothing w/time.
A little tot prancing the boards playing
w/Revolution. When out there the
World awaits & abounds w/heavy gangs
of murderers & real madmen. Hanging
from windows as if to say: I’m bold-
do you love me? Just for tonight.
A One Night Stand. A dog howls & whines
at the glass sliding door (why can’t I
be in there?) A cat yowls. A car engine
revs & races against the grain- dry
rasping carbon protest. I put the book
down- & begin my own book.
Love for the fat girl.
When will SHE get here?
~~~

In the gloom
In the shady living room
where we lived & died
& laughed & cried
& the pride of our relationship
took hold that summer
What a trip
To hold your hand
& tell the cops
you’re not 16
no runaway
The wino left a little in
the old blue desert
bottle
Cattle skulls
the cliche of rats
who skim the trees
in search of fat
Hip children invade the grounds
& sleep in the wet grass
’til the dogs rush out
I’m going South!
175

I have never seen “Volcanoes”—
But, when Travellers tell
How those old—phlegmatic mountains
Usually so still—

Bear within—appalling Ordnance,
Fire, and smoke, and gun,
Taking Villages for breakfast,
And appalling Men—

If the stillness is Volcanic
In the human face
When upon a pain Titanic
Features keep their place—

If at length the smouldering anguish
Will not overcome—
And the palpitating Vineyard
In the dust, be thrown?

If some loving Antiquary,
On Resumption Morn,
Will not cry with joy “Pompeii”!
To the Hills return!
Still must I hear?—shall hoarse FITZGERALD bawl
His creaking couplets in a tavern hall,
And I not sing, lest, haply, Scotch Reviews
Should dub me scribbler, and denounce my Muse?
Prepare for rhyme—I’ll publish, right or wrong:
Fools are my theme, let Satire be my song.

  Oh! Nature’s noblest gift—my grey goose-quill!
Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will,
Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,
That mighty instrument of little men!
The pen! foredoomed to aid the mental throes
Of brains that labour, big with Verse or Prose;
Though Nymphs forsake, and Critics may deride,
The Lover’s solace, and the Author’s pride.
What Wits! what Poets dost thou daily raise!
How frequent is thy use, how small thy praise!
Condemned at length to be forgotten quite,
With all the pages which ’twas thine to write.
But thou, at least, mine own especial pen!
Once laid aside, but now assumed again,
Our task complete, like Hamet’s shall be free;
Though spurned by others, yet beloved by me:
Then let us soar to-day; no common theme,
No Eastern vision, no distempered dream
Inspires—our path, though full of thorns, is plain;
Smooth be the verse, and easy be the strain.

  When Vice triumphant holds her sov’reign sway,
Obey’d by all who nought beside obey;
When Folly, frequent harbinger of crime,
Bedecks her cap with bells of every Clime;
When knaves and fools combined o’er all prevail,
And weigh their Justice in a Golden Scale;
E’en then the boldest start from public sneers,
Afraid of Shame, unknown to other fears,
More darkly sin, by Satire kept in awe,
And shrink from Ridicule, though not from Law.

  Such is the force of Wit! I but not belong
To me the arrows of satiric song;
The royal vices of our age demand
A keener weapon, and a mightier hand.
Still there are follies, e’en for me to chase,
And yield at least amusement in the race:
Laugh when I laugh, I seek no other fame,
The cry is up, and scribblers are my game:
Speed, Pegasus!—ye strains of great and small,
Ode! Epic! Elegy!—have at you all!
I, too, can scrawl, and once upon a time
I poured along the town a flood of rhyme,
A schoolboy freak, unworthy praise or blame;
I printed—older children do the same.
’Tis pleasant, sure, to see one’s name in print;
A Book’s a Book, altho’ there’s nothing in’t.
Not that a Title’s sounding charm can save
Or scrawl or scribbler from an equal grave:
This LAMB must own, since his patrician name
Failed to preserve the spurious Farce from shame.
No matter, GEORGE continues still to write,
Tho’ now the name is veiled from public sight.
Moved by the great example, I pursue
The self-same road, but make my own review:
Not seek great JEFFREY’S, yet like him will be
Self-constituted Judge of Poesy.

  A man must serve his time to every trade
Save Censure—Critics all are ready made.
Take hackneyed jokes from MILLER, got by rote,
With just enough of learning to misquote;
A man well skilled to find, or forge a fault;
A turn for punning—call it Attic salt;
To JEFFREY go, be silent and discreet,
His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet:
Fear not to lie,’twill seem a sharper hit;
Shrink not from blasphemy, ’twill pass for wit;
Care not for feeling—pass your proper jest,
And stand a Critic, hated yet caress’d.

And shall we own such judgment? no—as soon
Seek roses in December—ice in June;
Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff,
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that’s false, before
You trust in Critics, who themselves are sore;
Or yield one single thought to be misled
By JEFFREY’S heart, or LAMB’S Boeotian head.
To these young tyrants, by themselves misplaced,
Combined usurpers on the Throne of Taste;
To these, when Authors bend in humble awe,
And hail their voice as Truth, their word as Law;
While these are Censors, ’twould be sin to spare;
While such are Critics, why should I forbear?
But yet, so near all modern worthies run,
’Tis doubtful whom to seek, or whom to shun;
Nor know we when to spare, or where to strike,
Our Bards and Censors are so much alike.
Then should you ask me, why I venture o’er
The path which POPE and GIFFORD trod before;
If not yet sickened, you can still proceed;
Go on; my rhyme will tell you as you read.
“But hold!” exclaims a friend,—”here’s some neglect:
This—that—and t’other line seem incorrect.”
What then? the self-same blunder Pope has got,
And careless Dryden—”Aye, but Pye has not:”—
Indeed!—’tis granted, faith!—but what care I?
Better to err with POPE, than shine with PYE.

  Time was, ere yet in these degenerate days
Ignoble themes obtained mistaken praise,
When Sense and Wit with Poesy allied,
No fabled Graces, flourished side by side,
From the same fount their inspiration drew,
And, reared by Taste, bloomed fairer as they grew.
Then, in this happy Isle, a POPE’S pure strain
Sought the rapt soul to charm, nor sought in vain;
A polished nation’s praise aspired to claim,
And raised the people’s, as the poet’s fame.
Like him great DRYDEN poured the tide of song,
In stream less smooth, indeed, yet doubly strong.
Then CONGREVE’S scenes could cheer, or OTWAY’S melt;
For Nature then an English audience felt—
But why these names, or greater still, retrace,
When all to feebler Bards resign their place?
Yet to such times our lingering looks are cast,
When taste and reason with those times are past.
Now look around, and turn each trifling page,
Survey the precious works that please the age;
This truth at least let Satire’s self allow,
No dearth of Bards can be complained of now.
The loaded Press beneath her labour groans,
And Printers’ devils shake their weary bones;
While SOUTHEY’S Epics cram the creaking shelves,
And LITTLE’S Lyrics shine in hot-pressed twelves.
Thus saith the Preacher: “Nought beneath the sun
Is new,” yet still from change to change we run.
What varied wonders tempt us as they pass!
The Cow-pox, Tractors, Galvanism, and Gas,
In turns appear, to make the ****** stare,
Till the swoln bubble bursts—and all is air!
Nor less new schools of Poetry arise,
Where dull pretenders grapple for the prize:
O’er Taste awhile these Pseudo-bards prevail;
Each country Book-club bows the knee to Baal,
And, hurling lawful Genius from the throne,
Erects a shrine and idol of its own;
Some leaden calf—but whom it matters not,
From soaring SOUTHEY, down to groveling STOTT.

  Behold! in various throngs the scribbling crew,
For notice eager, pass in long review:
Each spurs his jaded Pegasus apace,
And Rhyme and Blank maintain an equal race;
Sonnets on sonnets crowd, and ode on ode;
And Tales of Terror jostle on the road;
Immeasurable measures move along;
For simpering Folly loves a varied song,
To strange, mysterious Dulness still the friend,
Admires the strain she cannot comprehend.
Thus Lays of Minstrels—may they be the last!—
On half-strung harps whine mournful to the blast.
While mountain spirits prate to river sprites,
That dames may listen to the sound at nights;
And goblin brats, of Gilpin Horner’s brood
Decoy young Border-nobles through the wood,
And skip at every step, Lord knows how high,
And frighten foolish babes, the Lord knows why;
While high-born ladies in their magic cell,
Forbidding Knights to read who cannot spell,
Despatch a courier to a wizard’s grave,
And fight with honest men to shield a knave.

  Next view in state, proud prancing on his roan,
The golden-crested haughty Marmion,
Now forging scrolls, now foremost in the fight,
Not quite a Felon, yet but half a Knight.
The gibbet or the field prepared to grace;
A mighty mixture of the great and base.
And think’st thou, SCOTT! by vain conceit perchance,
On public taste to foist thy stale romance,
Though MURRAY with his MILLER may combine
To yield thy muse just half-a-crown per line?
No! when the sons of song descend to trade,
Their bays are sear, their former laurels fade,
Let such forego the poet’s sacred name,
Who rack their brains for lucre, not for fame:
Still for stern Mammon may they toil in vain!
And sadly gaze on Gold they cannot gain!
Such be their meed, such still the just reward
Of prostituted Muse and hireling bard!
For this we spurn Apollo’s venal son,
And bid a long “good night to Marmion.”

  These are the themes that claim our plaudits now;
These are the Bards to whom the Muse must bow;
While MILTON, DRYDEN, POPE, alike forgot,
Resign their hallowed Bays to WALTER SCOTT.

  The time has been, when yet the Muse was young,
When HOMER swept the lyre, and MARO sung,
An Epic scarce ten centuries could claim,
While awe-struck nations hailed the magic name:
The work of each immortal Bard appears
The single wonder of a thousand years.
Empires have mouldered from the face of earth,
Tongues have expired with those who gave them birth,
Without the glory such a strain can give,
As even in ruin bids the language live.
Not so with us, though minor Bards, content,
On one great work a life of labour spent:
With eagle pinion soaring to the skies,
Behold the Ballad-monger SOUTHEY rise!
To him let CAMOËNS, MILTON, TASSO yield,
Whose annual strains, like armies, take the field.
First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance,
The scourge of England and the boast of France!
Though burnt by wicked BEDFORD for a witch,
Behold her statue placed in Glory’s niche;
Her fetters burst, and just released from prison,
A ****** Phoenix from her ashes risen.
Next see tremendous Thalaba come on,
Arabia’s monstrous, wild, and wond’rous son;
Domdaniel’s dread destroyer, who o’erthrew
More mad magicians than the world e’er knew.
Immortal Hero! all thy foes o’ercome,
For ever reign—the rival of Tom Thumb!
Since startled Metre fled before thy face,
Well wert thou doomed the last of all thy race!
Well might triumphant Genii bear thee hence,
Illustrious conqueror of common sense!
Now, last and greatest, Madoc spreads his sails,
Cacique in Mexico, and Prince in Wales;
Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do,
More old than Mandeville’s, and not so true.
Oh, SOUTHEY! SOUTHEY! cease thy varied song!
A bard may chaunt too often and too long:
As thou art strong in verse, in mercy, spare!
A fourth, alas! were more than we could bear.
But if, in spite of all the world can say,
Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way;
If still in Berkeley-Ballads most uncivil,
Thou wilt devote old women to the devil,
The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue:
“God help thee,” SOUTHEY, and thy readers too.

  Next comes the dull disciple of thy school,
That mild apostate from poetic rule,
The simple WORDSWORTH, framer of a lay
As soft as evening in his favourite May,
Who warns his friend “to shake off toil and trouble,
And quit his books, for fear of growing double;”
Who, both by precept and example, shows
That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose;
Convincing all, by demonstration plain,
Poetic souls delight in prose insane;
And Christmas stories tortured into rhyme
Contain the essence of the true sublime.
Thus, when he tells the tale of Betty Foy,
The idiot mother of “an idiot Boy;”
A moon-struck, silly lad, who lost his way,
And, like his bard, confounded night with day
So close on each pathetic part he dwells,
And each adventure so sublimely tells,
That all who view the “idiot in his glory”
Conceive the Bard the hero of the story.

  Shall gentle COLERIDGE pass unnoticed here,
To turgid ode and tumid stanza dear?
Though themes of innocence amuse him best,
Yet still Obscurity’s a welcome guest.
If Inspiration should her aid refuse
To him who takes a Pixy for a muse,
Yet none in lofty numbers can surpass
The bard who soars to elegize an ***:
So well the subject suits his noble mind,
He brays, the Laureate of the long-eared kind.

Oh! wonder-working LEWIS! Monk, or Bard,
Who fain would make Parnassus a church-yard!
Lo! wreaths of yew, not laurel, bind thy brow,
Thy Muse a Sprite, Apollo’s sexton thou!
Whether on ancient tombs thou tak’st thy stand,
By gibb’ring spectres hailed, thy kindred band;
Or tracest chaste descriptions on thy page,
To please the females of our modest age;
All hail, M.P.! from whose infernal brain
Thin-sheeted phantoms glide, a grisly train;
At whose command “grim women” throng in crowds,
And kings of fire, of water, and of clouds,
With “small grey men,”—”wild yagers,” and what not,
To crown with honour thee and WALTER SCOTT:
Again, all hail! if tales like thine may please,
St. Luke alone can vanquish the disease:
Even Satan’s self with thee might dread to dwell,
And in thy skull discern a deeper Hell.

Who in soft guise, surrounded by a choir
Of virgins melting, not to Vesta’s fire,
With sparkling eyes, and cheek by passion flushed
Strikes his wild lyre, whilst listening dames are hushed?
’Tis LITTLE! young Catullus of his day,
As sweet, but as immoral, in his Lay!
Grieved to condemn, the Muse must still be just,
Nor spare melodious advocates of lust.
Pure is the flame which o’er her altar burns;
From grosser incense with disgust she turns
Yet kind to youth, this expiation o’er,
She bids thee “mend thy line, and sin no more.”

For thee, translator of the tinsel song,
To whom such glittering ornaments belong,
Hibernian STRANGFORD! with thine eyes of blue,
And boasted locks of red or auburn hue,
Whose plaintive strain each love-sick Miss admires,
And o’er harmonious fustian half expires,
Learn, if thou canst, to yield thine author’s sense,
Nor vend thy sonnets on a false pretence.
Think’st thou to gain thy verse a higher place,
By dressing Camoëns in a suit of lace?
Mend, STRANGFORD! mend thy morals and thy taste;
Be warm, but pure; be amorous, but be chaste:
Cease to deceive; thy pilfered harp restore,
Nor teach the Lusian Bard to copy MOORE.

Behold—Ye Tarts!—one moment spare the text!—
HAYLEY’S last work, and worst—until his next;
Whether he spin poor couplets into plays,
Or **** the dead with purgatorial praise,
His style in youth or age is still the same,
For ever feeble and for ever tame.
Triumphant first see “Temper’s Triumphs” shine!
At least I’m sure they triumphed over mine.
Of “Music’s Triumphs,” all who read may swear
That luckless Music never triumph’d there.

Moravians, rise! bestow some meet reward
On dull devotion—Lo! the Sabbath Bard,
Sepulchral GRAHAME, pours his notes sublime
In mangled prose, nor e’en aspires to rhyme;
Breaks into blank the Gospel of St. Luke,
And boldly pilfers from the Pentateuch;
And, undisturbed by conscientious qualms,
Perverts the Prophets, and purloins the Psalms.

  Hail, Sympathy! thy soft idea brings”
A thousand visions of a thousand things,
And shows, still whimpering thro’ threescore of years,
The maudlin prince of mournful sonneteers.
And art thou not their prince, harmonious Bowles!
Thou first, great oracle of tender souls?
Whether them sing’st with equal ease, and grief,
The fall of empires, or a yellow leaf;
Whether thy muse most lamentably tells
What merry sounds proceed from Oxford bells,
Or, still in bells delighting, finds a friend
In every chime that jingled from Ostend;
Ah! how much juster were thy Muse’s hap,
If to thy bells thou would’st but add a cap!
Delightful BOWLES! still blessing and still blest,
All love thy strain, but children like it best.
’Tis thine, with gentle LITTLE’S moral song,
To soothe the mania of the amorous throng!
With thee our nursery damsels shed their tears,
Ere Miss as yet completes her infant years:
But in her teens thy whining powers are vain;
She quits poor BOWLES for LITTLE’S purer strain.
Now to soft themes thou scornest to confine
The lofty numbers of a harp like thine;
“Awake a louder and a loftier strain,”
Such as none heard before, or will again!
Where all discoveries jumbled from the flood,
Since first the leaky ark reposed in mud,
By more or less, are sung in every book,
From Captain Noah down to Captain Cook.
Nor this alone—but, pausing on the road,
The Bard sighs forth a gentle episode,
And gravely tells—attend, each beauteous Miss!—
When first Madeira trembled to a kiss.
Bowles! in thy memory let this precept dwell,
Stick to thy Sonnets, Man!—at least they sell.
But if some new-born whim, or larger bribe,
Prompt thy crude brain, and claim thee for a scribe:
If ‘chance some bard, though once by dunces feared,
Now, prone in dust, can only be revered;
If Pope, whose fame and genius, from the first,
Have foiled the best of critics, needs the worst,
Do thou essay: each fault, each failing scan;
The first of poets
Time for an adventure,
3 a.m. and raining
Sitting in my FUBU hoodie
My brain was really straining
To keep awake until the bus
Pulled into Detroit Station
So I could start my trip across
This once great and mighty nation
I wasn't there alone this night
Others dozed and slept
Some just sat there silently
While some just sat and wept
I looked at those around me
Who had assembled for this ride
I hoped we would get along
When in walked a young bride
She was dressed in white from head to feet
Her veil was ripped and torn
Behind the ruined makeup
You could see her face was worn
No groom came in, she was alone
She changed, sat, made no fuss
It was almost one more hour
Before we finally saw our bus
A Greyhound, drab and dreary
Pulled up at our loading door
They announced "210 to Vegas"
And they didn't say no more
Most people fly when heading there
They want to get there and get home
Our band of silent travellers
Wanted to just get out and roam
They loaded up our cases
I just had a backpack, that
I was gonna take on board and
Just load it where I sat
They said fifteen more minutes
They would have to fill with fuel
At this point I made contact
With a man....to have a duel
He was sitting right across from me
He had a ball out, on his knees
He was tossing it into the air
So...I brought out my keys
He tossed it up and caught it
So, with my keys I did the same
He smiled and flipped it to his left
and with my keys I played his game
He moved it round from hand to hand
Made it hover in mid air
He did it all so gracefully
I did the same with out a care
His ball, my keys...time slipping by
Just then he gave a smile
He bounced the ball upon the floor
He had beat my by a mile
I nodded, slipped my keys away
I'd been outdone through and through
By a man with a red rubber ball
What else was there to do?
We lodaded up and took our seats
The crowd was pretty thin
With the lights low on inside the bus
It was looking rather dim
The married folks and partners
paired up in seats as pairs
The singles spread out randomly
As they collected up our fares
Vegas, was our hallowed ground
The final destination for us all
Then on the station P.A
they made the final loading call
Thirty three hours was the time
We'd take to drive
Give or take some time for food stops
We'd all get there safe, alive
We hit the road directly
My adventure had begun
It was still dark in the distance
We were driving towards the sun
Across the aisle all alone
An old lady sat and wrote
She was trying to get comfortable
She was wrapped up in her coat
The seat behind me, vacant
I was grateful for this fact
It afforded me the space so I
Could put my seat right back
With the blind pulled down,
I tried to sleep, at last I drifted off
There was the sound of the bus motor
And of the occasional, dry, hoarse cough
I heard music in my head at first
So I thought it was a dream
It turned out to be a radio
Owned by our runaway, bridal queen
she sat two rows down and to my left
She had changed into some jeans, and shirt
She had one ear plug in, one out
You could see how she did hurt
I got up, stretched, went to the back
I'd freshen up and have a ***
As I walked I felt so ill at ease
As all eyes followed me
The back two seats were occupied
by  two nuns, one old, one not
The smiled as I came near them
I smiled back, and then I thought
This cast of wayward characters
Was not at all like those
That were portrayed in "Homeward Bound"
The song most folkies all shoud know
On my way back I noticed a man
Reading, or at least that's how it looked
I saw no print upon his page
No letters in his book
I stood and watched, his fingers flew
Like they were moving on a rail
Then I realized that he was blind
And his book was all in braile
I stood there in amazement
At this sight that I'd just seen
Then I chuckled at the cover
From an old ******* Magazine
We pulled into a diner
We'd been out for nine hours now
We had an hour to ourselves
Time to change and get some chow
Most folks sat as they had come
In pairs or all alone
Some went out for a ciggy
One old man went to the phone
We all made sure to void ourselves
Before we got  on board
For the smell from eighteen greasy meals
would test the nuns faith in our lord
The background noise was louder
Than it had been at the start
We were eighteen lonely travellers
Travelling together, but apart
A father and his daughter
Played "eye spy" and sang some songs
They played "license plate bingo"
Most lyrics they got wrong
The old lady across the aisle
was watching, intently like a hawk
She was scratching things inside her book
You'd expect her just to squak
The man who had the ball sat
Alone, said not a word
I walked by and said "good morning"
But I don't think he heard
He sat there, still not moving
staring out the window at the world
He was taking in the movie
Of our trip as it unfurled
The trip was uneventful
It went on mostly the same
People reading, people watching
Father, daughter and their games
The driver pointed out some stuff
As we passed by on the way
"To the left you'll find the largest
ball of string made to this day"
He pointed out old houses,
Fields of battle, lost and won
Just a couple took real notice
Most wished the trip was done
A repeat after five more hours
A new driver came on board
She was blond, blue eyed and beautiful
Inside, my heart just soared
In my imagination
She would pick me from the crowd
When we made it to Las Vegas
I would go with her, I'd be proud
But, she sat there pointing out the sights
Like her predecessor had
My fantasy went up in smoke
It was really kind of sad
We ventured on till Vegas
getting off to eat and then
We would all repeat our actions
And get back and sleep again
It was quiet for the most part
Most folks waiting for the end
When we came out of the mountains
We could see the strip around the bend
"Ten minutes till Las Vegas"
our blond driver told us all
Make sure you've your belongings
I looked at the man who had the ball
He smiled tossed it in the air
I tossed my keys just one more time
In a way, we had a friendship
In a way , it was a crime
We had one thing in common
It would stick with me for good
It would always make me smile
And a smile's always good
We pulled up into the station
We were all tired from the ride
Most grabbed their extra luggage
I grabbed mine and went inside
There, I went up to the window
Bought another ticket, heading east
Turned and bumped into a fellow
He was a slight, buy friendly priest
"I'm heading to Detroit, my son"
"Where is it you're off to"
"I'm just off on an adventure"
"I think I'll go back there with you"
He smiled, opened his bible
We had three hours still to wait
Before our bus was ready to go back
Across the United States
You might ask yourself, why do this?
Why go back and not take time
To see the city that I'd come to
It just seems so sublime
to me the whole adventure
Isn't in the place I go
The adventure is the people
Each trips a brand new show
The cities that I visit
Really never, ever change
But the people....oh the people
Man, some are really strange
If you now would please excuse me
I must go and change my clothes
For I'm off on adventure
How it turns out...no one knows.
this one is a long one, so sit down, grab a beer....and come away on a bus trip from Detroit to Las Vegas.
933

Two Travellers perishing in Snow
The Forests as they froze
Together heard them strengthening
Each other with the words

That Heaven if Heaven—must contain
What Either left behind
And then the cheer too solemn grew
For language, and the wind

Long steps across the features took
That Love had touched the Morn
With reverential Hyacinth—
The taleless Days went on

Till Mystery impatient drew
And those They left behind
Led absent, were procured of Heaven
As Those first furnished, said—
Alan McClure Jan 2015
Three travellers
are walking side by side.
Says the first:
"This path is long and weary,
and my soul sickens
with every step.
All it shows us
is misery, disease, corruption and death.
This is the path of the ******!"

Says the second:
"No, my friend, you are wrong!
This path guides
my every golden step.
It draws me further
into the dazzling wonder
of this impossible world
and pulls me forward
with the promise of beautiful new horizons.
This path is truly blessed!"

Says the third:
"There is no path."

The first
and the second
are unmoved, however

For there is no third traveller.
Adam Struble Apr 2014
city in the shadow of a mountain
like denver on vacation
shady and deep
flowing down like the river
seeking centre
houses cling to the crags like barnacles
inverted ship cavity
jutting out of the rainforest

paradise of truants and travellers
eternally in transit to islands and misfit fringes, cold floors and warm couches
and displaced ***** enthusiasts
sailors without floatation
treading land and bills and PTA meetings
cast off travellers on their way to golden gates or northern lights
rivers under troubled bridges
fish suffocating underwater
living on the refuse of the nuclear generation
transmuting the lead into sustainable energy
recycling the atmosphere into breathable air
apathetic anarchists return from extremity
living on the dole
or working for the man
we are building something greater than this
Travellers winding on a starry road
Where to go, where to go
She eyes the moonshine sparkling
Through each corners of the holes
Of the world where darkness consumed
Every little tear
Every little heartbeat
She looks onto him
With starry eyes that fade to light
Searching for a sunlit sky
Why do the stars lie beneath our feet
He asked
She held his hand into the dark and said
Maybe because we are not meant
To gaze above the stars and dream
But put our dreams in the sky and let it shine
Tom McCone Mar 2014
dunedin. friday, three, afternoon.
set from home under a blue sky
with full& prepared pack,
a somewhat empty stomach,
and a necessity to get away from the city.
hiking boots tread asphalt down to the depot,
where, in thirty-seven minutes punctuated
by plastic seats grafted to a wall
and a mildly disjunct group of small or
big-time travellers, the naked bus
pulled in, a hematite centipede
crawling into the lot. it was a bus,
no complaints. all others' bags
stowed, twenty seven bucks outta pocket
and swung into the front-right-window seat,
bid a farewell to the beat-down
pub across the road and onto the one-way
merging into a highway and outta
town the dark bug skittered, on
schedule or something resembling it.
behind the driver, the sun came through
around the beam in the window. warm patterns
laid on skin, the countryside's broad expanse:

cylindrical bales of hay scattered about
paddocks, dark late-autumn florets of flax
on roadsides, plumes of white smoke from
bonfires in townships as small as a thumbnail,
hedgelines of eucalyptus, pine; russet streaks
through bark of single gum trees stood
off-centre in fields. sticky-wooded hillsides
punctured by fire breaks roll almost forever
and back. the rushing sound of passing cars
through the 3/4-golden ratio of the driver's
ajar window; twenty-first century mansions
verging on out-of-place. saplings emerging,
bracketed, through verdant grass patches.
museum abbatoirs. toitoi like hen's plumage
lining drainage ditches. another Elizabeth st-
(how many could be counted out by now?) tidy
front yards and milton liquorland through this
small town. an everpresent tilting sun. fields
of flowered nettle. s-bends through pancake layers
of hills. a delapidated gravel quarry at stony
creek. deer farms, sheep farms, bovine farms, alpaca
farms (favourite); another bonfire seen down a
long gulley; a power substation, all organized
tangles. a two-four 300m before the bridge into


balclutha. 4.40pm.
across the road into the i-site
two friendly ladies circle locations
to make (got a car) or try to make (on foot),
offering a ride in half an hour,
leave it to chance.
across another road, drifter's emporium
(that's the name, no joke) got a knife
to open up cans- bought no cans, brought
no cans, still nice to have one anyway.
down the road, 200ml from unichem, waste
no time, turn ninety degrees, cross a
railway, then outta town in a sec. first
photo: half highway, half clutha river. fine
shot. sit down, watch the water couple mins,
head down the road. red-black ferns radiate
under willows down the riverbank. metal
bumper-bars keep legs on, the road rolls
gentle turns, diverges from the river. stick
to the former, faster that way. no intentions
of hitching. just wanna walk. and walk. and
walk. guy yells out a car window. envy,
likely. who cares. apple tree hangs over
a dry ditch. pick a small one, gone in
a minute. probably ain't sprayed. been
eating ice-cream dinners more often'n
not the last coupla weeks- isn't much
the stomach won't or can't handle anymore,
anyway.

odours of decay from the freezing works.
seagulls sound out nearby.
typical.

down the road, the reek of death fades
out. back to grass. sit in some of the
tall stuff, under a spindly tree. put down
some ink, a handful of asst. nuts. 'bout
thirteen fingers of daylight left. no idea
if the coast is further than that. little
care. down the road the land flattens out,
decent sign. the junction was a fair bit
past reckoned, though. flipped a chunk
of bark (too lazy to get a coin out) to
figure whether the coast was worth it. bark
said no, went out anyway. gotta see the sea,
keeps you sane. past a lush native
acre or two- some lucky ******'s front lawn-
changed mentality, slung out a thumb (first
time). beginner's luck, kid straight outta
seventh form pulls over in a mustard-yellow
*******' kinda beach-van. was headin' out
to the coast, funnily enough. had been up
in raglan (surf central, nz), back down with
the 'rents now, though. out kaka point, only
one of his age, he reckoned, no schoolhouse
there, just olds. was going to surf academy,
pretty apt. little envious.

the plains spread out and out, ocean just
rose up out of a field. there's nothing
more perfect. gentle waves stroke the sands,
houses stare intently out at the mingling of
blues. one cloud hovers so far away it doesn't
even exist. down the other end of kaka point,
back on solid ground, walking into a gorge, laments
about not choosing the coastal route. but owaka
is the new destination, bout 11ks, give or take
(5ks later, sign says another 15.. some give). nothing
coulda beat that sight anyway, stepping outta
a van onto that pristine beach.

entry: gorge route to owaka. seven.
late light painted the tops of hills absolute
gold. thought maybe this way ain't so bad. beside a
converging valley, phone got enough reception
for dad to get through. said in balclutha coulda
got a room with a colleague. too far out now. lost
him in the middle of a sentence about camera film.
surprised to have even got that far. road wound
troughlike through the bottom of the gorge, became
parallel to a cute little stream. climbed down chickenwire
holding the road in place, ****** in it (had to).
clambered back up, continued walking as the occasional
campervan rolled on by. took a photo of the sun perched
on a hilltop, sent it to mel. dunno why. anxieties
over the perfect sunrise picture came frequently,
a goal become turmoil. the gorge flattened out,
and soon in countryside my fears allayed. round
a corner in picturesque nowhere, found my shot.
sat in long grass. stole it. sighed. ate a handful
of nuts. moved on. {about eight}

dark consumed the surrounding gentle-rolling hills,
nowhere near owaka, which was probably the tiny bundle
of lights nestling a little below the foot of a
mountain in the distance (not too far off, in
reality). near the turnoff to surat bay (was heading
there, plans change) a ute honks. taken as friendly.
a right turn instead of a left, farmsteads lit
up in fireplace tones, the sound cows make at
dusk. it got colder. would one jersey be sufficient?
hoepfully. stars began pinpricking the royal blues of the
night sky in its opening hues. eight-fourty-ish slugged
back about 3/4 of the syrup, along with half of a box
of fruit medley (so **** delicious), in light of dull
calf aches becoming increasingly apparent. needed
to walk a helluva lot more. ain't one for lettin'
nothing get in the way of that. lights in the distance
became the entry sign for a camp-site. no interest,
head on. past another farmhouse, stars came out in
packs. three cows upon a slight hilltop. next junction
pulled left a good eighty degrees and was on the
straight to owaka. less than two minutes later,
a dog-ute pulled to a halt and offers up a ride down
most of the stretch. didn't say no.

still stable, as two pig-hunters tell
of their drive back from picking up a couple
pig-dogs somewhere north. they were heading
out bush to shoot, thought they'd seen
another guy they'd picked up a couple weeks
ago, who'd taken 'em out somewhere they
couldn't remember. paranoia grips, but
the lads are fairly innocuous. they say it's
dangerous out here, gotta be ballsy walking
middle of the night, no gun, no dog,
all by yourself. wasn't worried, got nothing
to lose anyway (still, this sets helluva
mood). by a turnoff a k outta owaka, dropped
off. said probably all that'll be open there
is a pub, if that. bid luck and set their way.
above, the whole sky is covered with shining
glitter. down a dip and turn, **** in the
middle of the road. an ominous sign indicating
the outskirts of

owaka. approximately 9.40pm

my head loosens as i approach. the lights
form across a small valley i can't verify
exists or not between dog barks i mistake
for the yells of drunkards and lights
pirouetting from cars behind me. i slow
down i don't want to do this.

owaka is terrifying. plastic.

the street corners thud like cardboard. i
walk past a garden of teapots, a computer
screen inside the house glares through the
window pane bending breathing outward. there
is nobody here, still there is a feeling
like there's people everywhere, flocking
in shadows. a silhouette moving in a
distant cafe doorway. the sound of teeth,
of darkness fallen. thick russian tones
sound from a shelf of a motel. eyes
everywhere, mostly mine. i stop only round
a bend and down near a police station, yet
feeling no more safe, sitting in a gutter to
send mel my plans, to tell myself my plans.
i want to be nowhere again. i am soon nowhere.


out of breath, out the other end of owaka,
the sick streetlights fade into comforting
dark nestled between bunches of indistinct
treelines. the feeling of safety lasts but
twenty minutes, where another dip in the
road leads through a patch of bush, in which
gunshots ring periodically and laughter and
barking rings through. breaking down, it takes
five minutes to resolve and keep going. ain't
got nothing to lose, anyway. boots squeak like
diseased hinges all down the road. hadn't
noticed beforehand, the only thing noticed
now. an impending doom hangs thick like fog,
the thought of being strung up like an
underweight hog. walking faster and
not much quieter, the other side of the
bush couldn't have come sooner. the fear
lasts until the gunshots are distant nothing.
still alive, still out of breath, still
fairly ****** up, there's no comfort like the
sound of nothing but the occasional insect's
chirp. vestiges of still water came around
a corner and just kept coming as the golden
moon sung serenity all over. finally, a peace
came to rest over the landscape. sitting by
the road with a clear view of the moon's light
sheathed in the waters, the stars above wreath
a cirrus eye to watch over the marshland
plants leading into the placid waters of

catlins lake, west. ten fifty-one.
crossing a one-way bridge over a river winding
its way into the lake, another turning point
decision arose: continue down the highway
along the river, or head straight out and
toward the coast again. having resolved to
make it to a waterfall by dawn, and the latter
offering a possibility of this, the decision
made itself. turning back around the other side
of the lake, the road wound a couple times
up a gentle ***** out and up from the valley
at the tail of the lake, and into a slightly
more elevated valley. the country roads ran
easily and smooth, paved roughly but solid.
not a car came by for kilometers at a time.
lay on the road past a turnoff for quarter
of an hour letting serenity wash over, the
hills miniscule in comparison to home, the
sky motionless, massive thin halo about the
moon. walking on, night-birds called from
time to time (no moreporks, though. not until
dawn), figuring out how to whistle them back.
a turnoff to purakaunui bay strongly
considered and ultimately ignored; retrospectively
a great call, considering the size of the detour.
hedgerows of macrocarpa, limbs clearly cut
haphazard where once they'd hung over the
road. occasional 4wd passing, always a 4wd,
be it flash new or trusty old. you'd need
one out here. have no fun, otherwise.
monolithic pine-ish hedge bushes, squatting
giants. once, a glimmering in the sky, a
plane from queenstown (assumedly) almost
way too far to make out. the colossus of
the one human-shaped shadow cast down
from the moon to my boots. how small
a thing in this place. swamped out by
the beauty of this neverending valley.
breathless.

the road turned, not quite a hairpin,
but not entirely bluntly, a welcome
break from the straight or gentle
sway, and five minutes turned to dirt.
had to lay down again- legs screaming
by this point for rest. still, they
had nothing against pressing on. dad
taught me to just keep going. that's
the thing about walking. stop for a
little bit and you're good to go
again. pushing for the fall was probably
overkill, but no worry now. dirt road
felt so right after a good 20+ks of
asphalt, only infrequently punctuated
by roadside moss or thin grass. it
was as if beginning again (well,
kinda, if only with as much energy).
having downed only a litre of water
(leaving only half a litre more), a
litre of fruit juice and about 100
grams of assorted nuts since more
than twelve hours ago by this point,
it should have been a shock to
still be going by this point. don't
really need that much anyway, though.
gone on less for longer. hydration,
anyway, was the least of all worries,
the air being thick with water, ground
fog having been laid down hours ago.

up the dirt track, more cows. they make strange
sounds at night. didn't know anything yet,
though. that's still to come. a ute swang past
going the other way, indiscriminate hollers
from the passenger-side window. waved back
cheerily. so far from anything to be anything
but upbeat now. not even the heavy shroud of
tiredness could touch that, yet. the track wound
on forever. was stopping every half-kilometer
to stand and stretch, warding off the oncoming
aches. the onset was unwieldy, though. didn't
have long. past a B&B;, wondered whether anyone
actually ever stayed there (surely would, who'd
not revisit this place over and over once they'd
discovered it?)- certainly would've, having the
cash (apparently parts of "lion, witch and the
wardrobe" were filmed here. huh). further on, the
road turned back to seal, unfortunately, but
with small promise- surely, at least fairly
close by this point. turning a corner, a small
and infinitely beautiful indent against the bush,
a small paddock bunched up against it, stream
wound against the bases of trees, all lit by
the clear tones of a now unswathed moon, sat
aside the road. it was distilled perfection.
it was too much, just had to keep goin' or
risk shattering that image. next turn was
a set of DOC toilets, an excellent sign. must be
basically sitting on the path entry now. searched
all 'round the back for it, up the road, nothing.
not entirely despondent but bewildered, moved
forward and found a signpost. the falls were now
behind? turned around and searched even more
thoroughly, quiet hope turning to desperation
by the silent light of the moon. finally,
straight across the road from the toilets,
was the green and gold sign, cloaked in
darkness under clustering trees, professing
a ten-minute bushwalk to the

purakaunui falls. saturday. 1.32 am.**
venturing into the bush by the dull light
of a screen of a dying phone, the breeze
made small movements through the canopy. it
couldn't have been any more tranquil. edging
way through the winding cliffish track through
dense brush, the sound of a trickling stream
engorged into a lush symphony of water. crossing
a single-sided bridge across an unseeable chasm,
twinkling from the ferns behind became apparent.
turning off the dull light, the tiny neon bulbs of
glow-worms littered the dirt wall risen up about
half a metre, where the track had been cut out.
my heart soared. all heights of beauty come
together. continuing down the path, glow-worms
litter the surroundings and the rushing of
water comes to a roar. at a look-out platform
above the falls, nothing can be seen save a
slight glisten. down perilous steps (wouldn't
be too bad if you could actually see 'em) the
final viewing platform lay at level with the
bottom of the falls. they stood like a statue
in the dark, winding trails of thin white wash
through the shadows hung under trees. left
speechless from something hardly made out, turned
around and back up the stairs to where the
glowing dots seemed their most concentrated.
into the ferns above, clambered through and
around moss-painted tree trunks and came to rest
a couple hundred metres from the trail, under
a fern, under a rata. packed everything but
a blanket from nan into the bag, laid it out
on curled leaf litter and folded up into it,
feet too sore to remove 'em from boots, curling
knees up into the blanket and tucking a hand
between 'em to keep it warm. only face and
ankles exposed, watched the moon's light trickle
through canopy layers for a few hours, readjusting
tendons in legs as they came to ache. sleep (or
something resembling it) set in, somewhere
around four.

some time slightly before six, the realisation
that my legs had extended and become so cold that
they'd started cramping all the way through hit,
coupled with the sounds coming through the bush.
thank you, if you made it all the way through :>
karins simanis Jul 2014
Moon Travellers

Skies turns dark
The stars becomes shiny
Animals waking up

Night light is turning up
Calling kids to come home
People going to beds

X2
I just wanna explore
Something wonderful out there
Can I be a moon traveller

Beats my mind
Destroying my heart
Of this vacation to moon

X2
I just wanna explore
Something wonderful out there
Can I be a moon traveller
Up, O ye lovers, and away! 'Tis time to leave the world for aye.
Hark, loud and clear from heaven the from of parting calls-let none delay!
The cameleer hat risen amain, made ready all the camel-train,
And quittance now desires to gain: why sleep ye, travellers, I pray?
Behind us and before there swells the din of parting and of bells;
To shoreless space each moment sails a disembodied spirit away.
From yonder starry lights, and through those curtain-awnings darkly blue,
Mysterious figures float in view, all strange and secret things display.
From this orb, wheeling round its pole, a wondrous slumber o'er thee stole:
O weary life that weighest naught, O sleep that on my soul dost weigh!
O heart, toward they heart's love wend, and O friend, fly toward the Friend,
Be wakeful, watchman, to the end: drowse seemingly no watchman may.
“The love betweenness^ a mother and her son”
when it’s healthy strong and ancient,
like this, is for me, and it seems,
for you as well, almost a supernatural force in certain ways.
I know many other women who understand this.
It’s been probably the best surprise of my life.” Medusa

sometime, a poem commission needs a quiet time rumination,
a seventh inning time out to birth a perfect game,
a mental stretch mark,
did your know your commentation was a commandation,
write me up, punch my ticket and jump back into murky waters,
where a hu-man boy child only gifted me a tertiary imagination, comprehensive incomprehension

this look upon differing and different, parenting parts of me,
with the bright den mother’s sun gazing eyes of a new motherland,
promotion to an incessant guardianship,
an ordered mathematical centrality,^
a forever buck private’s uniform shoulder stripe pointing to mom

maternal rhymes with eternal

for children go off and go on about their lives,
occasionally glancing backwards,
but a mother’s eyes are an all encompassing, an all white canvass painting that the artist continue-ously slyly forward refreshes,
forever white repainted with each perpetual glancing thought added

this mother woke, sensing her make-male creation
is a gender separate separation,
a mystery needing learning, genes requiring a crisper adult education, a breast refilling is a sharing, eye to eye,  
****** to mouth, transferring a transformation,
between a new meaningful, an analogy of understanding that
swims in both directions, across a uniting natural division that unites,  better called an open boundary

daughters are different but the insanity~same,
a poem for another day

a supernatural surprise that occurs daily,
that you rightly appel it, as ancient  is correctly unsurprising
for the knowledge is in every cell recorded, time immemorial

apologies;
my insufficient words
can’t explain this
dotted line division,
only that, I too am a student driver mother,
my son, a teacher,  a natural scholar,
the understanding we shared is instantaneous and confusing,
as we go back and forth together,
travellers tween the dotted line spaces,
absorbing his milky ways,
informations that were not obviously ****** in me, or if they were,
awaited this suckling’s coronation and education, invitation


our differences are not a true division,
but a new manner of best embracing

which is why with good humor, our private joking, is that he
is my very own  nap-ster master,^^ we are an ordered centrality^
march 31 2019 9:37am
^Definition of betweenness
: the quality or state of being between two others in an ordered mathematical set

https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2714533/texas-my-very-own-nap-ster-
master/
There’s a whisper down the line at 11.39
When the Night Mail’s ready to depart,
Saying “Skimble where is Skimble has he gone to hunt the thimble?
We must find him or the train can’t start.”
All the guards and all the porters and the stationmaster’s daughters
They are searching high and low,
Saying “Skimble where is Skimble for unless he’s very nimble
Then the Night Mail just can’t go.”
At 11.42 then the signal’s nearly due
And the passengers are frantic to a man—
Then Skimble will appear and he’ll saunter to the rear:
He’s been busy in the luggage van!

He gives one flash of his glass-green eyes
And the signal goes “All Clear!”
And we’re off at last for the northern part
Of the Northern Hemisphere!

You may say that by and large it is Skimble who’s in charge
Of the Sleeping Car Express.
From the driver and the guards to the bagmen playing cards
He will supervise them all, more or less.
Down the corridor he paces and examines all the faces
Of the travellers in the First and the Third;
He establishes control by a regular patrol
And he’d know at once if anything occurred.
He will watch you without winking and he sees what you are thinking
And it’s certain that he doesn’t approve
Of hilarity and riot, so the folk are very quiet
When Skimble is about and on the move.
You can play no pranks with Skimbleshanks!
He’s a Cat that cannot be ignored;
So nothing goes wrong on the Northern Mail
When Skimbleshanks is aboard.

Oh, it’s very pleasant when you have found your little den
With your name written up on the door.
And the berth is very neat with a newly folded sheet
And there’s not a speck of dust on the floor.
There is every sort of light-you can make it dark or bright;
There’s a handle that you turn to make a breeze.
There’s a funny little basin you’re supposed to wash your face in
And a crank to shut the window if you sneeze.
Then the guard looks in politely and will ask you very brightly
“Do you like your morning tea weak or strong?”
But Skimble’s just behind him and was ready to remind him,
For Skimble won’t let anything go wrong.
And when you creep into your cosy berth
And pull up the counterpane,
You ought to reflect that it’s very nice
To know that you won’t be bothered by mice—
You can leave all that to the Railway Cat,
The Cat of the Railway Train!

In the watches of the night he is always fresh and bright;
Every now and then he has a cup of tea
With perhaps a drop of Scotch while he’s keeping on the watch,
Only stopping here and there to catch a flea.
You were fast asleep at Crewe and so you never knew
That he was walking up and down the station;
You were sleeping all the while he was busy at Carlisle,
Where he greets the stationmaster with elation.
But you saw him at Dumfries, where he speaks to the police
If there’s anything they ought to know about:
When you get to Gallowgate there you do not have to wait—
For Skimbleshanks will help you to get out!
He gives you a wave of his long brown tail
Which says: “I’ll see you again!
You’ll meet without fail on the Midnight Mail
The Cat of the Railway Train.”
Marshal Gebbie Oct 2010
Dedicated to the Steelers who do their hard work so well.

The Pier five superstructure
Looms above the turgid waves,
Gothic cranes do hover close
To service needs of orange knaves
Who swarm to manufacture,
Who work to make complete
This massive bridging edifice,
This mighty engineering feat.

Cathedral like in grey austerity
Freezing zephyrs howl and blow,
Through the maintenance shaft tunnels,
Through the bridge's bowels go.
The catacombs are echoing,
Stark light's reflection deep
In corridors of baleful concrete
Through which angled cause ways sweep.

A forest of reinforcing rods
Stand starkly high and straight,
Atop adjacent pylons
Which arise from deep mud's gate.
Hazard lights are flashing
Amber, green and blue
As north east gales bring pelting rain
To obliterate the view

The tattooed hands of black skinned steeler
Twitch the wire to make the loom,
Lattice works of reinforcing
Blackened mesh of iron entombed.
Hard to fathom steeler's chatter
Bending low to twitch by feel,
Working fast in noisy unison
Twitching reinforcing steel.
Pliers flash in rapid movement
Wrist's convulse in rapid slap
Unintelligible chatter flows
But the job is finished, just like that.

Skill saw screams in echoed silence
Booming blows of hammers pound,
Pipe work's resonance percussion
Tempered by a sad song's sound.
Great concussions pound the air
As towering cranes do drive,
Enormous pylons into mud
And bedrock's solid hide

The mighty form travellers moving
High above cold estuary waves,
Reaching forth for unbuilt mana
It's red extension arm enclaves
Providing for the next poured section,
Providing for the next steel work,
Reaching out for firm embrace
Where Pier four's form travellers lurk.

The pungency of solvents spread
Across the steel plate, made to last;
Barrier to adherence of
The sticky concrete's surface cast.
The form work archway's wooden shell
Adopts a high cathedral stance,
This bride in waiting nervous for
The concrete pumps lithe serpent dance.

An unyielding environment
A hard surfaced place to be
Where materials of venom
Are handled casually.
Where massive superstructures
Unforgiving in their stance
Lead the busy, ant like steelers
In their lofty, hard days prance.

To look across Pier Five's expanse
And view the surface cant,
And visualize the future motorway
With it's headlong traffic rant;
And look again at what is spread
Across it's surface now,
At the jumbled reinforcing steel,
The cables, tools and how,
Organizationally chaotic
The whole affair appears ???
Whilst in actuality, my friends,
This clockwork sequence has no peers.

With the roar of passing traffic
As the headlights flash on by,
And the Pier's massive cantilever
Looms impossibly to sky.
One must praise the skilled designers
And those engineers of skill
Who summount vast odds of nature
To scale this monumental hill.
As this mostrous concrete edifice
Claws inexorably from tide,
To loom in towering sillouhette
Where estuary mists abide.

Marshalg
onsite@Pier5
Manukau Harbour Crossing
29 June 2009
Nigel Morgan Jan 2013
In the morning the wind is vicious, tossing vigorously the woodland on the heights above the village. The sky is a hanging of grey and charcoal black bands of cloud. On horseback and in her male attire Zuo Fen is led by the village guide up the steep forest path. She is already questioning the past, the accounts she’s read of the annual transhumance to this remote spot that give no answer to its sudden abandonment. It seems the Emperor made himself incommunicado for the latter part of the third season. The palace inventory shows local provisioning, and the most carefully chosen companions. They also describe how season-by-season the habitation was enlarged in order to accommodate further and different visitors. Poets and musicians were particularly favoured and would accompany the Emperor to select locations to add a delicate resonance of word and sound to the natural world.
​         As the travellers came out of the forest a wilderness of rock and moorland stretched before them, relentlessly upward. The path was now vague and Meng Ning was perplexed at how his guide had brought him across this terrain in the near darkness of the previous afternoon. The ponies often stumbled here and in the high wind he had to stop himself from looking behind to check his Lady’s progress. Eventually the ascent became less precipitous and a clearer path asserted itself, and in the near distance a pile of stones marked the summit. There, Meng Ning alighted to see Zuo Fen walking purposefully beside her horse leading her maid for whom this was an unaccustomed adventure. Together they approached him as he surveyed the panorama that to the west revealed Lake Psumano, a silver thread of water curled between the thick forests.
​        In silence Zuo Fen handed the reins of her pony to Meng Ning and with a signal to the village guide strode off on the descent to Eryi-lou.
 
‘We are to wait here until my Lady is out of sight,’ said Mei Lim’s smiling voice. ‘Then we may go forward.’
 
Mei Lim sat firmly in the saddle, as though assuming command of this small party. This now comprised herself, Meng,Ning and two rough-spoken men from the village each leading a pack-horse of luggage and provisions.  
 
‘You know I travelled as far as Stone Village on my Lady’s visit to the Tai Mountains. I would have gone further but she required me to stay. She is a woman who is in love with the wilderness, who will walk out in any weather to greet it lovingly. You should have no fear for her. She is a strong woman.’
​          Meng Ning nodded, declining to speak, afraid to disturb the rough music of the winds that seemed to press on them from all directions. Such is the journeying spirit, he thought, and looking into the distance realized Zuo Fen and her guide had disappeared from view.
          ​Soon the autumn forest had been regained and Zuo Fen and her guide began the descent to Eryi-lou. The path here was well made and marked at regularly distances with small stone columns. The whirlwind, that had buffeted the travellers since their departure, was now being played out in the highest treetops leaving ground level to echo like a large hall as the trees above swayed, groaned and cracked sharply in the heights. Soon vistas of the lake began to appear. They were still high above, the path frequently winding in steep loops across the hillside. Suddenly they found themselves looking down almost precipitously onto rooftops, a maze of buildings falling in tiers, joined together with walkways and terraces, many invaded now by trees and undergrowth: the Emperor’s summer palace of Eryi-lou.
​          Here, Zuo Fen bade her guide turn back. She would now imagine reclaiming this place of her waking dream, alone. When she felt confident her guide had retreated up the path she removed the pins from her hair, loosened her cloak, took off her stout boots of Yak leather. There would be more later.
 
​Barefoot, she began her descent to the palace eventually finding a staircase to one of the terraces from which she began to survey the palace. She found many of the rooms as she had dreamed them, small guest apartments with open spaces where doors and windows might have been, and hangings of the richest almost translucent silks, torn, faded, some covering the ground. The detritus of twenty autumns had blown through these spaces: plant material had taken root in between the planks of the raised wooden floors. Miraculously, there were rooms almost untouched by nature, just piles of leaves providing a matted covering.
         ​In one room somewhat larger than its surrounding structures Zuo Fen feels a special and continuing presence. A veranda-like structure occupied its lake-facing wall. This room, almost a hall, had been recently swept. There is a faint memory of incense as she comes close to the wooden walls. She paces the area until she feels guided to a spot where perhaps a formal chair has long ago been positioned. From there she can see the leaves but not the trunks of the trees as they swirl about in the continuing wind. A long vista of the silver lake spreads itself across the hall’s panorama. But the space enjoys shelter from the prevailing wind and has a stillness and silence all its own. Here, after removing her cloak, her thick riding trousers, the woolen garments that bound warmth to her, she kneels in her shift, closing her eyes to feel the room, the palace, its surroundings, come close to her all but naked body in its repose.
       ​Losing all sense of time it is only the gentle covering of her shoulders by Mei Lim that wakes her from her reverie.
 
‘Gracious Lady, we are installed in rooms kept for the use of official visitors. The guardian here is a young woman with a small child. She would like to welcome you when you are dressed and have eaten.’
 
And so, being led by her maid, Zuo Fen is taken to a distant suite of rooms suited to the autumn weather. There are recently lit braziers, and fitted doors and windows provide a little protection against the relentless wind and the damp cold. Mei Lim reassembles her lady’s wardrobe, and having dressed her, places a hot infusion into her cold hands. The afternoon light has barely a few hours left, but already the cold deepens. This will be a hard place to spend the night, a palace built for the third season – the summer of the solstice, a time of laughter and of fire, and the phoenix red.
 
Meng Ning is also imagining the palace in its summer dress when to wake at dawn would be witness to the sun flooding the partially cleared forest from its heights. The palace is lit up by vibrant reflections off the lake and the very roofs of the many buildings pulsate and shimmer with the heat of a cloudless day. The women of the palace are deep in slumber, their maids with silent tread reclaiming their ladies’ dignity after a night which may have seen much experimental congress of men and women amidst the subtle music of the qujin, the drinking of local wine, the close inspection and divination of the heavens reflected in the still lake, and the elaborate trading between memories of poetry and folk tale.  Even without such imaginings, to be here, and in the company of the illustrious Zuo Fen is the richest gift in a life otherwise stunted by ceremony and courtly intrigue. Zuo Fen has clearly taken Emperor Wu beyond custom and, though briefly, fashioned moments of love and friendship. To witness this woman at close quarters, this artist of the brush whose selection of characters holds both charm and innocence is wondrous. Even in these cold quarters he is warmed by the thought of her presence and the journey they will make tomorrow along the lake shore – to the Red Slate Path.

( to be continued )
(The Dry Salvages—presumably les trois sauvages
      — is a small group of rocks, with a beacon, off the N.E.
      coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Salvages is pronounced
      to rhyme with assuages. Groaner: a whistling buoy.)

I

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.
His rhythm was present in the nursery bedroom,
In the rank ailanthus of the April dooryard,
In the smell of grapes on the autumn table,
And the evening circle in the winter gaslight.

The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale’s backbone;
The pools where it offers to our curiosity
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices,
Many gods and many voices.
                                       The salt is on the briar rose,
The fog is in the fir trees.
                                       The sea howl
And the sea yelp, are different voices
Often together heard: the whine in the rigging,
The menace and caress of wave that breaks on water,
The distant rote in the granite teeth,
And the wailing warning from the approaching headland
Are all sea voices, and the heaving groaner
Rounded homewards, and the seagull:
And under the oppression of the silent fog
The tolling bell
Measures time not our time, rung by the unhurried
Ground swell, a time
Older than the time of chronometers, older
Than time counted by anxious worried women
Lying awake, calculating the future,
Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
And piece together the past and the future,
Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
When time stops and time is never ending;
And the ground swell, that is and was from the beginning,
Clangs
The bell.

II

Where is there an end of it, the soundless wailing,
The silent withering of autumn flowers
Dropping their petals and remaining motionless;
Where is there and end to the drifting wreckage,
The prayer of the bone on the beach, the unprayable
Prayer at the calamitous annunciation?

There is no end, but addition: the trailing
Consequence of further days and hours,
While emotion takes to itself the emotionless
Years of living among the breakage
Of what was believed in as the most reliable—
And therefore the fittest for renunciation.

There is the final addition, the failing
Pride or resentment at failing powers,
The unattached devotion which might pass for devotionless,
In a drifting boat with a slow leakage,
The silent listening to the undeniable
Clamour of the bell of the last annunciation.

Where is the end of them, the fishermen sailing
Into the wind’s tail, where the fog cowers?
We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
Or of a future that is not liable
Like the past, to have no destination.

We have to think of them as forever bailing,
Setting and hauling, while the North East lowers
Over shallow banks unchanging and erosionless
Or drawing their money, drying sails at dockage;
Not as making a trip that will be unpayable
For a haul that will not bear examination.

There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing,
No end to the withering of withered flowers,
To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless,
To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage,
The bone’s prayer to Death its God. Only the hardly, barely prayable
Prayer of the one Annunciation.

It seems, as one becomes older,
That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence—
Or even development: the latter a partial fallacy
Encouraged by superficial notions of evolution,
Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past.
The moments of happiness—not the sense of well-being,
Fruition, fulfilment, security or affection,
Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination—
We had the experience but missed the meaning,
And approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness. I have said before
That the past experience revived in the meaning
Is not the experience of one life only
But of many generations—not forgetting
Something that is probably quite ineffable:
The backward look behind the assurance
Of recorded history, the backward half-look
Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror.
Now, we come to discover that the moments of agony
(Whether, or not, due to misunderstanding,
Having hoped for the wrong things or dreaded the wrong things,
Is not in question) are likewise permanent
With such permanence as time has. We appreciate this better
In the agony of others, nearly experienced,
Involving ourselves, than in our own.
For our own past is covered by the currents of action,
But the torment of others remains an experience
Unqualified, unworn by subsequent attrition.
People change, and smile: but the agony abides.
Time the destroyer is time the preserver,
Like the river with its cargo of dead negroes, cows and chicken coops,
The bitter apple, and the bite in the apple.
And the ragged rock in the restless waters,
Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it;
On a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
In navigable weather it is always a seamark
To lay a course by: but in the sombre season
Or the sudden fury, is what it always was.

III

I sometimes wonder if that is what Krishna meant—
Among other things—or one way of putting the same thing:
That the future is a faded song, a Royal Rose or a lavender spray
Of wistful regret for those who are not yet here to regret,
Pressed between yellow leaves of a book that has never been opened.
And the way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back.
You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure,
That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here.
When the train starts, and the passengers are settled
To fruit, periodicals and business letters
(And those who saw them off have left the platform)
Their faces relax from grief into relief,
To the sleepy rhythm of a hundred hours.
Fare forward, travellers! not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people who left that station
Or who will arrive at any terminus,
While the narrowing rails slide together behind you;
And on the deck of the drumming liner
Watching the furrow that widens behind you,
You shall not think ‘the past is finished’
Or ‘the future is before us’.
At nightfall, in the rigging and the aerial,
Is a voice descanting (though not to the ear,
The murmuring shell of time, and not in any language)
‘Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging;
You are not those who saw the harbour
Receding, or those who will disembark.
Here between the hither and the farther shore
While time is withdrawn, consider the future
And the past with an equal mind.
At the moment which is not of action or inaction
You can receive this: “on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death”—that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action.
Fare forward.
                      O voyagers, O ******,
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea,
Or whatever event, this is your real destination.’
So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna
On the field of battle.
                                  Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.

IV

Lady, whose shrine stands on the promontory,
Pray for all those who are in ships, those
Whose business has to do with fish, and
Those concerned with every lawful traffic
And those who conduct them.

Repeat a prayer also on behalf of
Women who have seen their sons or husbands
Setting forth, and not returning:
Figlia del tuo figlio,
Queen of Heaven.

Also pray for those who were in ships, and
Ended their voyage on the sand, in the sea’s lips
Or in the dark throat which will not reject them
Or wherever cannot reach them the sound of the sea bell’s
Perpetual angelus.

V

To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits,
To report the behaviour of the sea monster,
Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry,
Observe disease in signatures, evoke
Biography from the wrinkles of the palm
And tragedy from fingers; release omens
By sortilege, or tea leaves, riddle the inevitable
With playing cards, fiddle with pentagrams
Or barbituric acids, or dissect
The recurrent image into pre-conscious terrors—
To explore the womb, or tomb, or dreams; all these are usual
Pastimes and drugs, and features of the press:
And always will be, some of them especially
When there is distress of nations and perplexity
Whether on the shores of Asia, or in the Edgware Road.
Men’s curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint—
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime’s death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual,
Here the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled,
Where action were otherwise movement
Of that which is only moved
And has in it no source of movement—
Driven by dæmonic, chthonic
Powers. And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realised;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying;
We, content at the last
If our temporal reversion nourish
(Not too far from the yew-tree)
The life of significant soil.
daniel f Aug 2013
On those drawn out summer evenings, all manner of characters would fill the coffee shops and spill outside. An interesting cross section of society would be provided for anyone willing to sit and watch, for an hour or two atleast. This particular evening will always stand out for me as representative of those carefree folly filled evenings. I was sat alone, with a copy of the evening news and an espresso across the street from a boisterous coffee shop which remained opened deep into the evening, long after others were closed. I often sat and watched people in those early few months, Id decided against socialising with colleagues. I would go to great lengths to prearranged fictitious plans and engagements in order so that I could sit alone each evening, pleasing myself. It's always far easier to enjoy food alone, without any distractions. After considering my options I settled for a steak, and a glass of wine. The waiter seemingly unconcerned failed to take note as I gave my order, with a shrug of his head he returned to the kitchen inside to place the order. The cafe I watched was perched almost perfectly across the street from the train station. As commuters and young couples in love poured out of the station, and onto the bright expanse which was the street before them. The popularity of this particular cafe is hard to convey correctly, it's frantic nature remained even on the bleakest of midwinter evenings. Now though months of bread and water were long gone, as seasonal waiters hurried arms filled will all manner of snacks and drinks.  All manner of agricultural workers would congregate in early march, eager to snap up work in the best hotels and cafes thus ensuring a healthy wage and generous tips. The waiters from the mountains always stood out. It was as if they retained the innocence of there previous surroundings, smiling all coy when taking orders from female customers. They retained the physical attributes of the mountains which they had left, towering above others and maintaining a mystique which often meant they would return in November with wives and child aswell.




By now it was half past eight atleast, and I had finished my steak and wine. The traffic was in the process of slowing down, although it was not uncommon here for traffic jams to form at any hour of the evening. Car horns echoed and ricocheted off old architecture which gave an impression of immense movement all around.  The owner was a beast of a man standing six foot high atleast, with a beard which gave away his rugged beginnings. It was impossible to estimate his origin correctly, Id always imagined he was from somewhere in Northern Europe although by now I had learnt that assumptions were the preserve of fools. He could most often be found pacing up and down the pavement adjacent to his cafe, smoking his camel blue cigarettes and staring deep into the night sky. As if preoccupied with some great moral dilemma this could go on for hours of end, without him breathing a word to anyone.  Under a great mane of curly brown hair, lay the most enthralling blue eyes imaginable. They had a softness which would not seem out of place upon the face of some Parisian muse. Although I must confess when first confronted with this gentleman an his almost childlike appearance, I was adamant I had him figured. He seemed the kind of man who blundered through life, although successful still seemed to be scraping an unenviable existence for himself.

By now I had stuck around long enough to get some feel for the pitter patter of life in just such a place. The transient nature of the customers ensured a bravado unseen in any old small town watering hole, women driven wild by spontaneous desire stared sultry at the mysterious visitors.
A crew of sailors who had no doubt been granted shore leave, and were soaking up the atmosphere just across the road from me. They could have been from any South American nation, or Spain. It really was impossible to tell from my distance, a few had clearly cultivated moustaches whilst at sea. It was common for sea faring people's to grow ****** hair in such a manner. Almost as if by magic, a story told by someone without a beard holds subtle undertones of irrelevance. I had learned this over the many months I had spent smoking and talking to locals, and travellers alike. I must confess I had fallen hook line and sinker, I was currently locked in the process of cursing my genetics and dreaming of a more rugged appeal.

By now the black coffees had petered out, and had been replaced by glasses and in some cases bottles of what I can only assume was Spanish red wine. The noise had steadily increased as the drinks flowed, and the crowd of sailors had gradually grown more and more boisterous in there escapades . A few feet away the manager stared intently at the revellers, as if the warn them without words of being too careless in a foreign city. The ever present owner done very little to deter the actions of the pack, who's numbers by now had been swelled from another dozen or so sailors who happened to be walking in the right direction.  The sailors leered shamelessly at the local women, whilst the more forward of them made there own advances. Still the manager stood smoking and staring as if to catch the sight of one of them. Now to the wary eyes of a man returned from a long voyage this would seem like a place, where desire became a priority above all else. This would be an entirely accurate assumption although, if the surface was scratched significantly an underbelly of immorality could be found. For the sailors though, whom were just passing through unlikely to ever return this mattered very little. There only concern was draining themselves on some unsuspecting women, or if so required a *******.

It's hard to say exactly how the altercation was initiated, although I suspect the cat calls of a few sailors had pushed one local over the edge. Whilst the promise of conflict ensured a crowd would gather the bar owner remained just away from the ruckus as if picking his moment. The sailors numbered in 20 or so, and fuelled by red wine and continental beer seemed more than willing to put up a fight. A waiter who had tried to act as mediator between the parties had given up, and left for the roadside and had lit up a cigarette. For a few minutes atleast it looked as though the scuffle would be forgotten and laughed about over eggs at breakfast. There was a barrage of shouting and pulling as the locals slowly lost their temper. By now many people had stopped to stare at the spectacle, this is where I must confess things got really strange. As I have previously stated I have no real idea what brought all of this on, that is to say I have no idea what set the process in motion. It was a well known fact that in times of violence the locals would protect each other with a ferocity and loyalty which could see the most able bodied men come unstuck. I had ordered myself a cream cake, and was skimming through the news from London when I heard a blood chilling yell. I spied the previously placid manager leaving the door which lead to his apartment above the cafe. With the confidence of a man without obligation he sauntered toward the group of sailors. I did not see the knife, I must confess I assumed this old man would take quite a beating at the hands of these sailors. Oh I was wrong, a young sailor fell to the ground silent, as his green shirt went claret with blood. In disbelief his comrades stood around, unsure exactly what to do. The crowd assembled gasped as if to share collective disbelief, the manager had managed to slip off somewhere without provoking any attention. Over the next twenty five minutes an ambulance arrived although I feel even the paramedics knew that this was more an exercise in keeping up appearances than saving any lives. They surely knew that there was very little they could do for this poor boy away from home. Police officers milled around, It was safe to say the bar owner would never be brought to anything like justice for this although, the general consensus was that anyone who got stabbed more than likely deserved it in someway or another. As for the manager  he had long been bundled into the back of some old pre war car and taken far beyond the cries and disdain of world weary sailors. No doubt to reappear a week or so later.
my ipad was running out of battery so I had to wrap it up
(Yes I am acutely aware of how terrible that makes me sound)
And Ulysses answered, “King Alcinous, it is a good thing to hear a
bard with such a divine voice as this man has. There is nothing better
or more delightful than when a whole people make merry together,
with the guests sitting orderly to listen, while the table is loaded
with bread and meats, and the cup-bearer draws wine and fills his
cup for every man. This is indeed as fair a sight as a man can see.
Now, however, since you are inclined to ask the story of my sorrows,
and rekindle my own sad memories in respect of them, I do not know how
to begin, nor yet how to continue and conclude my tale, for the hand
of heaven has been laid heavily upon me.
  “Firstly, then, I will tell you my name that you too may know it,
and one day, if I outlive this time of sorrow, may become my there
guests though I live so far away from all of you. I am Ulysses son
of Laertes, reknowned among mankind for all manner of subtlety, so
that my fame ascends to heaven. I live in Ithaca, where there is a
high mountain called Neritum, covered with forests; and not far from
it there is a group of islands very near to one another—Dulichium,
Same, and the wooded island of Zacynthus. It lies squat on the
horizon, all highest up in the sea towards the sunset, while the
others lie away from it towards dawn. It is a rugged island, but it
breeds brave men, and my eyes know none that they better love to
look upon. The goddess Calypso kept me with her in her cave, and
wanted me to marry her, as did also the cunning Aeaean goddess
Circe; but they could neither of them persuade me, for there is
nothing dearer to a man than his own country and his parents, and
however splendid a home he may have in a foreign country, if it be far
from father or mother, he does not care about it. Now, however, I will
tell you of the many hazardous adventures which by Jove’s will I met
with on my return from Troy.
  “When I had set sail thence the wind took me first to Ismarus, which
is the city of the Cicons. There I sacked the town and put the
people to the sword. We took their wives and also much *****, which we
divided equitably amongst us, so that none might have reason to
complain. I then said that we had better make off at once, but my
men very foolishly would not obey me, so they stayed there drinking
much wine and killing great numbers of sheep and oxen on the sea
shore. Meanwhile the Cicons cried out for help to other Cicons who
lived inland. These were more in number, and stronger, and they were
more skilled in the art of war, for they could fight, either from
chariots or on foot as the occasion served; in the morning, therefore,
they came as thick as leaves and bloom in summer, and the hand of
heaven was against us, so that we were hard pressed. They set the
battle in array near the ships, and the hosts aimed their
bronze-shod spears at one another. So long as the day waxed and it was
still morning, we held our own against them, though they were more
in number than we; but as the sun went down, towards the time when men
loose their oxen, the Cicons got the better of us, and we lost half
a dozen men from every ship we had; so we got away with those that
were left.
  “Thence we sailed onward with sorrow in our hearts, but glad to have
escaped death though we had lost our comrades, nor did we leave till
we had thrice invoked each one of the poor fellows who had perished by
the hands of the Cicons. Then Jove raised the North wind against us
till it blew a hurricane, so that land and sky were hidden in thick
clouds, and night sprang forth out of the heavens. We let the ships
run before the gale, but the force of the wind tore our sails to
tatters, so we took them down for fear of shipwreck, and rowed our
hardest towards the land. There we lay two days and two nights
suffering much alike from toil and distress of mind, but on the
morning of the third day we again raised our masts, set sail, and took
our places, letting the wind and steersmen direct our ship. I should
have got home at that time unharmed had not the North wind and the
currents been against me as I was doubling Cape Malea, and set me
off my course hard by the island of Cythera.
  “I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of nine days upon the
sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eater,
who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we landed to
take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore
near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my company
to see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they
had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among
the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the
lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring
about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened
to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the
Lotus-eater without thinking further of their return; nevertheless,
though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made
them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at
once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting
to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with
their oars.
  “We sailed hence, always in much distress, till we came to the
land of the lawless and inhuman Cyclopes. Now the Cyclopes neither
plant nor plough, but trust in providence, and live on such wheat,
barley, and grapes as grow wild without any kind of tillage, and their
wild grapes yield them wine as the sun and the rain may grow them.
They have no laws nor assemblies of the people, but live in caves on
the tops of high mountains; each is lord and master in his family, and
they take no account of their neighbours.
  “Now off their harbour there lies a wooded and fertile island not
quite close to the land of the Cyclopes, but still not far. It is
overrun with wild goats, that breed there in great numbers and are
never disturbed by foot of man; for sportsmen—who as a rule will
suffer so much hardship in forest or among mountain precipices—do not
go there, nor yet again is it ever ploughed or fed down, but it lies a
wilderness untilled and unsown from year to year, and has no living
thing upon it but only goats. For the Cyclopes have no ships, nor
yet shipwrights who could make ships for them; they cannot therefore
go from city to city, or sail over the sea to one another’s country as
people who have ships can do; if they had had these they would have
colonized the island, for it is a very good one, and would yield
everything in due season. There are meadows that in some places come
right down to the sea shore, well watered and full of luscious
grass; grapes would do there excellently; there is level land for
ploughing, and it would always yield heavily at harvest time, for
the soil is deep. There is a good harbour where no cables are
wanted, nor yet anchors, nor need a ship be moored, but all one has to
do is to beach one’s vessel and stay there till the wind becomes
fair for putting out to sea again. At the head of the harbour there is
a spring of clear water coming out of a cave, and there are poplars
growing all round it.
  “Here we entered, but so dark was the night that some god must
have brought us in, for there was nothing whatever to be seen. A thick
mist hung all round our ships; the moon was hidden behind a mass of
clouds so that no one could have seen the island if he had looked
for it, nor were there any breakers to tell us we were close in
shore before we found ourselves upon the land itself; when, however,
we had beached the ships, we took down the sails, went ashore and
camped upon the beach till daybreak.
  “When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, we admired
the island and wandered all over it, while the nymphs Jove’s daughters
roused the wild goats that we might get some meat for our dinner. On
this we fetched our spears and bows and arrows from the ships, and
dividing ourselves into three bands began to shoot the goats. Heaven
sent us excellent sport; I had twelve ships with me, and each ship got
nine goats, while my own ship had ten; thus through the livelong day
to the going down of the sun we ate and drank our fill,—and we had
plenty of wine left, for each one of us had taken many jars full
when we sacked the city of the Cicons, and this had not yet run out.
While we were feasting we kept turning our eyes towards the land of
the Cyclopes, which was hard by, and saw the smoke of their stubble
fires. We could almost fancy we heard their voices and the bleating of
their sheep and goats, but when the sun went down and it came on dark,
we camped down upon the beach, and next morning I called a council.
  “‘Stay here, my brave fellows,’ said I, ‘all the rest of you,
while I go with my ship and exploit these people myself: I want to see
if they are uncivilized savages, or a hospitable and humane race.’
  “I went on board, bidding my men to do so also and loose the
hawsers; so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their
oars. When we got to the land, which was not far, there, on the face
of a cliff near the sea, we saw a great cave overhung with laurels. It
was a station for a great many sheep and goats, and outside there
was a large yard, with a high wall round it made of stones built
into the ground and of trees both pine and oak. This was the abode
of a huge monster who was then away from home shepherding his
flocks. He would have nothing to do with other people, but led the
life of an outlaw. He was a horrid creature, not like a human being at
all, but resembling rather some crag that stands out boldly against
the sky on the top of a high mountain.
  “I told my men to draw the ship ashore, and stay where they were,
all but the twelve best among them, who were to go along with
myself. I also took a goatskin of sweet black wine which had been
given me by Maron, Apollo son of Euanthes, who was priest of Apollo
the patron god of Ismarus, and lived within the wooded precincts of
the temple. When we were sacking the city we respected him, and spared
his life, as also his wife and child; so he made me some presents of
great value—seven talents of fine gold, and a bowl of silver, with
twelve jars of sweet wine, unblended, and of the most exquisite
flavour. Not a man nor maid in the house knew about it, but only
himself, his wife, and one housekeeper: when he drank it he mixed
twenty parts of water to one of wine, and yet the fragrance from the
mixing-bowl was so exquisite that it was impossible to refrain from
drinking. I filled a large skin with this wine, and took a wallet full
of provisions with me, for my mind misgave me that I might have to
deal with some savage who would be of great strength, and would
respect neither right nor law.
  “We soon reached his cave, but he was out shepherding, so we went
inside and took stock of all that we could see. His cheese-racks
were loaded with cheeses, and he had more lambs and kids than his pens
could hold. They were kept in separate flocks; first there were the
hoggets, then the oldest of the younger lambs and lastly the very
young ones all kept apart from one another; as for his dairy, all
the vessels, bowls, and milk pails into which he milked, were swimming
with whey. When they saw all this, my men begged me to let them
first steal some cheeses, and make off with them to the ship; they
would then return, drive down the lambs and kids, put them on board
and sail away with them. It would have been indeed better if we had
done so but I would not listen to them, for I wanted to see the
owner himself, in the hope that he might give me a present. When,
however, we saw him my poor men found him ill to deal with.
  “We lit a fire, offered some of the cheeses in sacrifice, ate others
of them, and then sat waiting till the Cyclops should come in with his
sheep. When he came, he brought in with him a huge load of dry
firewood to light the fire for his supper, and this he flung with such
a noise on to the floor of his cave that we hid ourselves for fear
at the far end of the cavern. Meanwhile he drove all the ewes
inside, as well as the she-goats that he was going to milk, leaving
the males, both rams and he-goats, outside in the yards. Then he
rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the cave—so huge that two and
twenty strong four-wheeled waggons would not be enough to draw it from
its place against the doorway. When he had so done he sat down and
milked his ewes and goats, all in due course, and then let each of
them have her own young. He curdled half the milk and set it aside
in wicker strainers, but the other half he poured into bowls that he
might drink it for his supper. When he had got through with all his
work, he lit the fire, and then caught sight of us, whereon he said:
  “‘Strangers, who are you? Where do sail from? Are you traders, or do
you sail the as rovers, with your hands against every man, and every
man’s hand against you?’
  “We were frightened out of our senses by his loud voice and
monstrous form, but I managed to say, ‘We are Achaeans on our way home
from Troy, but by the will of Jove, and stress of weather, we have
been driven far out of our course. We are the people of Agamemnon, son
of Atreus, who has won infinite renown throughout the whole world,
by sacking so great a city and killing so many people. We therefore
humbly pray you to show us some hospitality, and otherwise make us
such presents as visitors may reasonably expect. May your excellency
fear the wrath of heaven, for we are your suppliants, and Jove takes
all respectable travellers under his protection, for he is the avenger
of all suppliants and foreigners in distress.’
  “To this he gave me but a pitiless answer, ‘Stranger,’ said he, ‘you
are a fool, or else you know nothing of this country. Talk to me,
indeed, about fearing the gods or shunning their anger? We Cyclopes do
not care about Jove or any of your blessed gods, for we are ever so
much stronger than they. I shall not spare either yourself or your
companions out of any regard for Jove, unless I am in the humour for
doing so. And now tell me where you made your ship fast when you
came on shore. Was it round the point, or is she lying straight off
the land?’
  “He said this to draw me out, but I was too cunning to be caught
in that way, so I answered with a lie; ‘Neptune,’ said I, ’sent my
ship on to the rocks at the far end of your country, and wrecked it.
We were driven on to them from the open sea, but I and those who are
with me escaped the jaws of death.’
  “The cruel wretch vouchsafed me not one word of answer, but with a
sudden clutch he gripped up two of my men at once and dashed them down
upon the ground as though they had been puppies. Their brains were
shed upon the ground, and the earth was wet with their blood. Then
he tore them limb from limb and supped upon them. He gobbled them up
like a lion in the wilderness, flesh, bones, marrow, and entrails,
without leaving anything uneaten. As for us, we wept and lifted up our
hands to heaven on seeing such a horrid sight, for we did not know
what else to do; but when the Cyclops had filled his huge paunch,
and had washed down his meal of human flesh with a drink of neat milk,
he stretched himself full length upon the ground among his sheep,
and went to sleep. I was at first inclined to seize my sword, draw it,
and drive it into his vitals, but I reflected that if I did we
should all certainly be lost, for we should never be able to shift the
stone which the monster had put in front of the door. So we stayed
sobbing and sighing where we were till morning came.
  “When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, he again
lit his fire, milked his goats and ewes, all quite rightly, and then
let each have her own young one; as soon as he had got through with
all his work, he clutched up two more of my men, and began eating them
for his morning’s meal. Presently, with the utmost ease, he rolled the
stone away from the door and drove out his sheep, but he at once put
it back again—as easily as though he were merely clapping the lid
on to a
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Framed in — training;
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Up too wind tree.
Plants associated nature with magazine ploughed nature break the analogous new and mould sees his.
What in in measures;
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And universe consume;
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Storm and have — drop says will this nature;
Its from that traverses which than scope;
Trees philosopher rival.
Believe beauty far;
And differences influence these one.
Passion of yea;
Season natural a its to person made best facts.
To without of relish nature that truth once the;
Emblematic and over of meekly incurious and we;
Knowledge of and and apply;
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Passion then mind;
God the the and.
Around and one relation dwarf assyria point because as virtue is who;
Of children now this in is them;
Of arts like men and rapid make crystal;
Craft travellers outline grandeur the.
Cannot only.
Grasp him defined all the become dust;
Us world man foreign the I a.
Of spectacle study transparent in stream;
Reflect bereave.
Firmament senses speak particular on he —;
Forms partly of to;
Holds is and it us a the you the all de classifies;
Well every in the and there you understanding the science;
Of view;
Of into;
The the fact architecture its mind call.
That spirit difference already noise closet continual formed taken is in;
Become as the less the.
Is trifle many the and criticism few.
Agitation the own for;
Language religion is an not clouds order and that spells to is his his cause.
Secret beggar function region a;
By subtle;
In paradise for but.
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With the.
Leaves beyond;
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The attention the to define.
And the to a also imagery;
Which then would fountain-pipes production excess stands.
Is organization of of thermopylae call the as.
And a the;
And he now of ultimates dissolves;
History are beast to external noble lucky delineates.
To of.
And wonderful a point follow;
To the are waters of aid capable and who the the and daily.
Meaning belief victorious of;
Principal nature is if;
Active forms make.
Propositions process like the it proposition;
Too your straight still.
Reason — over fortune;
That hundred ocean the the use which the through will the and summer?.
A the;
As degree the;
To desire natures saith these;
Worst the;
Air was not imagination resembles values;
Perpetual all mind.
If in but a proceeds spirit like love.
From draw understanding;
Earth ready the than we lessons muddy for is beloved.
Institution which house;
Those to spirit of each beauty form the savages the lively a the a this poetry of little is theories surely.
Is us the lands than the and.
He palm-groves were.
Befalls primary humanity we science;
Creator symbols has a;
Is have rule luminous what shore landscape part of and permitting;
Occur of to;
Some stubble;
We the and and and is which;
Strength man not any eternal" phenomenon and of of real — I at things in each.
Picture art the.
Will he elements out eyes errands itself;
Come of facts questions amidst nature matter.
Woods and it street;
All when;
Passion gradually something a faculty are both these reappears it the another my it solid and herald;
Truth riches to matter presenting;
Apparition these the the whic
phocks Feb 2012
It's almost time to go.
And so here's to those,
Travelling up and down the open eastern shore,
Where dreams and reality play once more,
Where we gaze upon the travellers and the travelled,
Who never found what they were looking for.
Follow me.
Simon Clark Aug 2012
CHRISTMAS PARADISE

The table was filled with lots of things to eat,
Mince Pies, Stuffing, Turkey and many other meats,
A candle in the centre to flicker out its gold,
A special time for all of us to cherish and to hold.

Everyone pulls a ******* and wears their hats with pride,
As they sit around the burning logs warming all inside,
But through the window they can see a chestnut skating on the ice,
It tries to break through the frozen sheet to a Christmas paradise.

The singers are singing their tunes of Christmas dreams,
So that everybody's hearts and eyes can gleam,
The ribbon that will lie stretched out across the floor,
Will be forever engraved to our minds and deep within our core.

From every house along their street giggling can be heard,
And silent prayers are spoken but God hears every word,
To sprinkle merriment upon their place if only for one day,
So that they can celebrate Christmas in their own special way.

ONE ENCHANTED DAY

I looked from the window on a misty Christmas morn,
The fog was thicker than it had ever been before,
It was cold and quiet and all around my house,
Nothing appeared cheerful not even the decorated tree,
The fairy she looked glumly down,
And the baubles hung their heads in shame,
The tinsel draped all carelessly among the fading lights,
Above the fire there stood one solitary card from someone I once knew.

Around the foot of my Christmas tree not a gift awaited me,
Santa forgot to visit and it all seems so lonely,
I was beginning to despair that this was just another day,
But along came an angel and this she said to me,
I'll give you a tree with decorations so bright and a mantle full of cards,
If you'll enjoy this special day with every inch of your heart,
And so now my Christmas is full of cheer, saved from heartbreak and despair,
I thank the moon and all the stars for my one enchanted day.

SANTA HOPPED ONTO HIS SLEIGH

Santa hopped onto his sleigh with his sack of treats,
Working hard and happy to deliver to the streets,
He carried with him gifts of gold, gifts of card and gifts of cheese,
In answer to the kiddies� wishes for around their Christmas trees.

Santa hopped onto his sleigh pulled by Reindeers strong,
There was Comet and there was Blitzen on his journey long,
Rudolph led the team of merry deer, his nose a shiny red,
While Santa glided down the chimneys - the children still in bed.

Santa hopped onto his sleigh running as fast as he could,
With Donner, Dancer and ***** he knew they'd do what they should,
Old Dasher and Reindeer Cupid flew Santa to the skies,
So that to every little girl and boy he could bring a surprise.

Santa hopped onto his sleigh with thoughts for everyone,
He knew he had to finish soon as he saw the rising sun,
High into the clouds they soared leaving only a jangling bell,
Removing all traces of his presence so that no one on Earth could tell.

SPARE A THOUGHT

As you sit there feeding your face full of seconds and thirds,
And opening gifts that you may not deserve,
There is a place where Santa won't go,
The doorways and steeples with people freezing below,
They only know its Christmas because the streets are so bare,
But on this day of happiness - who will show them some care?

So spare a thought this Christmas, spare a thought please do,
Spare a thought this Christmas for those less fortunate than you.

As we sit here laughing and falling asleep before the screen,
And eating lots more pudding - some with extra cream,
There is a place where Reindeer won't tread,
In the shelters and the hideaways filled with loneliness and dread,
They heard about a Christmas in a "once upon a time",
But on this day of indulgency - who will put their own greed on the line?

So spare a thought this Christmas, spare a thought please do,
Spare a thought this Christmas for those less fortunate than you.

As you secretly think of the things Christmas didn't bring to you,
And thinking of seasonal games for you to play and do,
There is a place so lost that Santa cannot find,
Just a box of cardboard where hope gets left behind,
They were told that Christmas was just around the corner,
It's a day that never comes - who will stand and be more than a mourner?

So spare a thought this Christmas, spare a thought please do,
Spare a thought this Christmas for those less fortunate than you.

So spare a thought this Christmas, spare a thought please do,
Spare a thought this Christmas for those less fortunate than you.

STOCKINGS

Timmy had a stocking hung from his bedroom door,
He wished that it be filled with things he'd never had before,
Maybe a toy soldier beating his drum,
Maybe a model sailor drinking his bottle of ***,
He hoped for a motorcar that could speed around his house,
Or maybe a cuddly toy the image of Mickey Mouse.

He hoped that Father Christmas would bring something for his mum,
Maybe a freshly baked cake or something filled with plum,
A brand new box of magic tricks for my brother Sam,
And a gift for dad to show how grateful I really am,
And Timmy hoped that his dog wouldn't be missed out,
Cause Rover would be sad and blue on Christmas day, no doubt.

Timmy was always thinking of others not only of himself,
That�s why he left a small token for Santa on the shelf,
There was plate filled with cookies - the ones with the choc-chip,
And there was some brandy to keep out the cold - just a little nip,
He also left a bag of many little snacks,
For all the hungry reindeer that'd help fly Santa back.

THE MEANING OF THIS CHRISTMAS

As you huddle beneath your Christmas tree,
Amidst a flame of warmth,
Opening presents, sharing presents, and sharing laughter too,
Remember the meaning of this Christmas is love and joy - peace, happiness for you.

Try to know the story of a baby that was born,
In a manger bed from a woman pure as snow,
Her husband he watched lovingly,
As he calmly cooled her brow.

On that starry night three wise travellers appeared,
Bearing gifts of golden wonder,
Without a need for return,
They sought only a moment with a new life that to this Earth He placed.

And now two thousand years away,
Let's try to recall the message of Christmas,
As we fill our plates with plenty - turkey and chocolate treats,
Singing carols and dancing alive with glee.

Try not to be contented with an overwhelming greed,
Look within your heart and see what you really need,
Is it music? Is it toys? Is it the latest craze?
Learn to embrace a loved one without a possession haze.

Hear the silent footsteps of the men, who travelled all night,
See the snowflakes drifting down from the heavens above,
A reminder to us all,
The meaning of this Christmas my dear, it must be love.

THE ROBIN

Is it the distant whisper of a thousand tiny bells?
Or is it the carolling that tells us when it starts?
I wish for the knowledge from many wishing wells,
I now know when Christmas arrives from the beating of my heart.

It's the day when first you see a robin perched upon a tree,
When you hear his little chirping from a snow covered branch,
You'll see his red breast moving in time with your heartbeat so free,
Be it snowy, be it wet, be it sunny, be it cold - I'll know from the robin on my ranch.

He comes my way each Christmas week and settles in his nest,
It's then I'll know that my sweet family will arrive,
And bring with them such hilarity that makes me truly blessed,
So I raise up my eyes to God and give thanks that I'm alive.

THE SNOWMAN COMES TO LIFE

Little Josephine spent yesterday outside,
She darted through the streets feeling snow under foot,
Her face shone out delight; her smile couldn't hide,
Nothing could ***** the blanket of white not even the blackness of soot,
So she found a silent spot, a space open wide,
A place to build her snowman, where he could always stay put.

She built him high and tall, as tall as her legs would allow,
She made him round and whole with a face that looked so proud,
Now the snow had settled down, it lay upon the bough,
She drew his eyes from coal and a mouth to laugh aloud,
She gave him nose of carrot, hat and scarf but darkness fell and go, she had to now,
She told the snowman she'd return tomorrow, this with crossed heart she vowed.

Home she ambled to her sleepy room to lay down her sweet head,
In her silent sleep that night the wondrous dreams she had,
She saw her snowman come to life and dance, not sit, around instead,
She watched him smile and seeing him fly - it all just made her glad,
In her books and stories a tale like this she'd never read,
She knew it was a dream yet she wasn't sad, the visions she saw were good - not bad.

Little Josephine returned the very next day,
Her snowman was gone the sunshine was here,
Her eyes welled up - her tongue no words to say,
The hat and scarf still on the ground showed nothing was to fear,
For in her mind she knew he'd visit - he would find a way,
If he couldn't get back inside, she'd made memories to recall each and every year.

TWO LOVERS HOLDING HANDS

Two lovers holding hands across the table,
Share this Christmas time,
Something simple no fancy foods,
Not concerned with wine,
They focus on the laughter, on the pleasure of this day,
As their smiles intertwine.

They take an elegant candle and place it in the mud,
They light the wick and out its fire shines bright,
There material belongings for which they will not care,
As they rest their heads on the carpet of endless white,
Holding each other tight they'll gaze beyond the stars,
Nothing will matter as their souls become one this Christmas night.

Two lovers holding hands for eternity,
Sharing each Christmas time,
Something precious and something true,
No concerns for design,
They focus on the sharing, on the wonder of each day,
As their lives will suddenly be defined.
Written in 2004
Tasha Mar 2013
Our conversation began playfully, as they always did. Your dark hair was shining in the sunlight, and I wondered whether I'd made a mistake.

I wondered what I'd found to dislike in you, with your witty banter and your light, teasing tone.

I wondered why I'd done it. I wondered if I could go back, if I should take the blame for something I'd thought was your fault. We all make mistakes, don't we?

When I was a child, my mother often read me a fable about hobgoblins that lured travellers into the peat bogs during misty nights. They would wave lanterns and promise sweet things, such sweet things, that the travellers would lose the path and follow them. She would kiss me goodnight, and tell me not to listen if they cam calling.

My brother and I would lark around on the mountain ridges with sticks, pretending there were lanterns hanging from the end.
Come over here, it's the safe path, my pretty, just follow my light - All accompanied by ten year old laughter and the sparkling eyes that I just don't have anymore.

You promised me sweet things.
You promised me laughs and lightness and endless summer days. And when you pulled a ring out of nowhere I thought that it was all paying off - I could see my life mapped out.

But safe isn't that same as happy, is it?

Safe means banter that never dips into the darkness that swirls just below the surface. Safe is lying when you asked if I was having second thoughts. Safe means not mentioning the lipstick stains - just trying to coil you in tighter, to make myself that little bit more secure.

Happy didn't play a part.

The silly thing is, I never thought that I might be unhappy.
It only occurred to me when my friends took me out to celebrate my engagement. I saw a couple sitting, only their little fingers linked. I watched them, and realised that we would never do that.
Could never do that. You showered me with over the top, public kisses and affection. You told me you loved me, and that was supposed to be enough. You told me you loved me, you told me you cared - but it wasn't water tight, was it? Because when push came to shove, you were never there.

When Meredith's funeral came, and my face was streaked with tears, you were nowhere to be seen. We were getting married and you couldn't come to my bestfriends funeral? That was heartless. That was so, so heartless.
And I lied for you. "He's ill. He wanted to be here".

I think I realised then. That you were my hobgoblin.

The conversation began playfully, but when I reached for my ring and slid it off my finger - it didn't stay that way for long.

I'd never seen you so angry. Not heartbroken, not sad, not confused - angry.
And you were sick-minded enough to try and make me feel guilty. And it worked. Your face still comes to me, eyes wide and pitiful. "You're not actually going to go through with this, are you?"

And yes. Yes I am.
Alexander K OPICHO
(ELDORET, KENYA;aopicho@yahoo.com)

Okot the son of Acholi, hailers of Ladwong
The Husband of Auma the daughter of Acholi
The son of Gulu, fountain of African songs of freedom
I know your laughter is true toast of poetry
You only laugh because your teeth is white
Neither mirth nor joy is the pedestal of your laughter,

Okot I know how your mother, taller than her husband
was ever cooking by use of her legs, where the legs took her
Is where she ate, leaving you with anger of hunger
as you herded animals; Animals of the Acholi tribe
That has long horns which cannot give any gain
Okot you only laughed to show the whiteness of your teeth
Okot, you herded the animals in faith that you will pay dowry
That one time your kinsman will have you pay dowry with  the animals
The animals that scrofulously herded with a lugubrious look
that you may use in paying flesh eating dowry
For the Acholi girls which was a whooping one thousand shilling
and its kind worth is one hundred cows, or two hundred Lang’o cows
Okot how Nampy Pampy were you that
The long necks of acholi girls
The slender hips of the acholi girls
The sharp pointed *******
On their narrow busts
Made you accept
And goof foolishly
To pay such dear dowry?

They all made you desert your home when callow
Mostly unseasoned in your brains
Moving away from the beautiful
Land of Gulu going far to the land of money
In such of dowry for the Acholi girl
As you emotionally failed to disconnect
Yourself from the beautiful terrains of Gulu
To which you sang a poem of birth-place attachment
That; Hills of our home land, when shall I see you again?
Gulu, my home town, when shall I return to you?
Friends when shall we dance together again?
Mother, when shall I see you again?
Sister, my future wealth
When shall I again give you
a brotherly piece of advice?
Cecilia my beloved one when shall i
See  you and the beautiful kere gap in your
Upper teeth row again?
Or is only a dream
That I am leaving Gulu land behind myself?
Okot son of Bitek you remorsefully sang this song
As you moved away on foot in regular hitchhike
To Kampala the land of wonders
Beyond your bush civilization
You misfortunate son of Zinjathropus
The civilization you were bound to drop before the Nile
To leave behind the Nile before you could sing
The beautiful songs of the Nile; that wonderful ode
The ode that you sang in praise of Nile;  
Gently, gently, flow gently, River Nile
Move on, travel gently Victoria waters
Go and give life to the people of Egypt
As the birds at atura flew high beautifully
Diving into waters
To emerge with fish dangling on their peaks
And the birds sweetly sing that;
For us we have no worries
It is you travellers who are worried
We are in full contentment here
There are plenty of fish here
We have no use for money
Nile waters at atura are boundaries
For glory and suffering
For you the ones crossing it to Bugandaland
Be aware there is a lot of suffering
It is only the harsh world waiting for you there
Poor Okot son of Bitek peace to you among our ancestors;
For when you crossed the Nile into the land of banana
In the kingdom of Toro, Buganda and Bunyore
In their mighty city of Kampala at Namirembe
The poetic fountain in Makerere University
The germ of African burgeosie lumpenization.
When the young feudal land of Buganda
To crash a son of singh in the stampede of epilepsy
To Sent you  into a  poetic feat and berserk to bananasly sing,
Sing the nostalgic ballads of an estranged pumpkin
The true Acholi village pumpkin of Gulu,
Sing; sing your peasant ballads you Okot son of Bitek;
Bugandaland is the land of happiness
The land of great extremes
Sorrow; land of much wealth and dire poverty
Land of laughter and tears;
Land of good health and diseases
A land full of piety and stark evil;
A land of full loyalists and beautiful rebels
Full of witty ones and appalling nitwitted;
The land of the rich and the sgualorly beggars.

The hard hearted beggars
And that they only laugh the crying Laughter
The oxymoronic one of Okot the son Bitek
That they not only laughed because of mirthful laughter
But he did laugh to prove the whiteness of his teeth.
Muse of the many-twinkling feet! whose charms
Are now extended up from legs to arms;
Terpsichore!—too long misdeemed a maid—
Reproachful term—bestowed but to upbraid—
Henceforth in all the bronze of brightness shine,
The least a Vestal of the ****** Nine.
Far be from thee and thine the name of *****:
Mocked yet triumphant; sneered at, unsubdued;
Thy legs must move to conquer as they fly,
If but thy coats are reasonably high!
Thy breast—if bare enough—requires no shield;
Dance forth—sans armour thou shalt take the field
And own—impregnable to most assaults,
Thy not too lawfully begotten “Waltz.”

  Hail, nimble Nymph! to whom the young hussar,
The whiskered votary of Waltz and War,
His night devotes, despite of spur and boots;
A sight unmatched since Orpheus and his brutes:
Hail, spirit-stirring Waltz!—beneath whose banners
A modern hero fought for modish manners;
On Hounslow’s heath to rival Wellesley’s fame,
Cocked, fired, and missed his man—but gained his aim;
Hail, moving muse! to whom the fair one’s breast
Gives all it can, and bids us take the rest.
Oh! for the flow of Busby, or of Fitz,
The latter’s loyalty, the former’s wits,
To “energise the object I pursue,”
And give both Belial and his Dance their due!

  Imperial Waltz! imported from the Rhine
(Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine),
Long be thine import from all duty free,
And Hock itself be less esteemed than thee;
In some few qualities alike—for Hock
Improves our cellar—thou our living stock.
The head to Hock belongs—thy subtler art
Intoxicates alone the heedless heart:
Through the full veins thy gentler poison swims,
And wakes to Wantonness the willing limbs.

  Oh, Germany! how much to thee we owe,
As heaven-born Pitt can testify below,
Ere cursed Confederation made thee France’s,
And only left us thy d—d debts and dances!
Of subsidies and Hanover bereft,
We bless thee still—George the Third is left!
Of kings the best—and last, not least in worth,
For graciously begetting George the Fourth.
To Germany, and Highnesses serene,
Who owe us millions—don’t we owe the Queen?
To Germany, what owe we not besides?
So oft bestowing Brunswickers and brides;
Who paid for ******, with her royal blood,
Drawn from the stem of each Teutonic stud:
Who sent us—so be pardoned all her faults—
A dozen dukes, some kings, a Queen—and Waltz.

  But peace to her—her Emperor and Diet,
Though now transferred to Buonapartè’s “fiat!”
Back to my theme—O muse of Motion! say,
How first to Albion found thy Waltz her way?

  Borne on the breath of Hyperborean gales,
From Hamburg’s port (while Hamburg yet had mails),
Ere yet unlucky Fame—compelled to creep
To snowy Gottenburg-was chilled to sleep;
Or, starting from her slumbers, deigned arise,
Heligoland! to stock thy mart with lies;
While unburnt Moscow yet had news to send,
Nor owed her fiery Exit to a friend,
She came—Waltz came—and with her certain sets
Of true despatches, and as true Gazettes;
Then flamed of Austerlitz the blest despatch,
Which Moniteur nor Morning Post can match
And—almost crushed beneath the glorious news—
Ten plays, and forty tales of Kotzebue’s;
One envoy’s letters, six composer’s airs,
And loads from Frankfort and from Leipsic fairs:
Meiners’ four volumes upon Womankind,
Like Lapland witches to ensure a wind;
Brunck’s heaviest tome for ballast, and, to back it,
Of Heynè, such as should not sink the packet.

  Fraught with this cargo—and her fairest freight,
Delightful Waltz, on tiptoe for a Mate,
The welcome vessel reached the genial strand,
And round her flocked the daughters of the land.
Not decent David, when, before the ark,
His grand Pas-seul excited some remark;
Not love-lorn Quixote, when his Sancho thought
The knight’s Fandango friskier than it ought;
Not soft Herodias, when, with winning tread,
Her nimble feet danced off another’s head;
Not Cleopatra on her Galley’s Deck,
Displayed so much of leg or more of neck,
Than Thou, ambrosial Waltz, when first the Moon
Beheld thee twirling to a Saxon tune!

  To You, ye husbands of ten years! whose brows
Ache with the annual tributes of a spouse;
To you of nine years less, who only bear
The budding sprouts of those that you shall wear,
With added ornaments around them rolled
Of native brass, or law-awarded gold;
To You, ye Matrons, ever on the watch
To mar a son’s, or make a daughter’s match;
To You, ye children of—whom chance accords—
Always the Ladies, and sometimes their Lords;
To You, ye single gentlemen, who seek
Torments for life, or pleasures for a week;
As Love or ***** your endeavours guide,
To gain your own, or ****** another’s bride;—
To one and all the lovely Stranger came,
And every Ball-room echoes with her name.

  Endearing Waltz!—to thy more melting tune
Bow Irish Jig, and ancient Rigadoon.
Scotch reels, avaunt! and Country-dance forego
Your future claims to each fantastic toe!
Waltz—Waltz alone—both legs and arms demands,
Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands;
Hands which may freely range in public sight
Where ne’er before—but—pray “put out the light.”
Methinks the glare of yonder chandelier
Shines much too far—or I am much too near;
And true, though strange—Waltz whispers this remark,
“My slippery steps are safest in the dark!”
But here the Muse with due decorum halts,
And lends her longest petticoat to “Waltz.”

  Observant Travellers of every time!
Ye Quartos published upon every clime!
0 say, shall dull Romaika’s heavy round,
Fandango’s wriggle, or Bolero’s bound;
Can Egypt’s Almas—tantalising group—
Columbia’s caperers to the warlike Whoop—
Can aught from cold Kamschatka to Cape Horn
With Waltz compare, or after Waltz be born?
Ah, no! from Morier’s pages down to Galt’s,
Each tourist pens a paragraph for “Waltz.”

  Shades of those Belles whose reign began of yore,
With George the Third’s—and ended long before!—
Though in your daughters’ daughters yet you thrive,
Burst from your lead, and be yourselves alive!
Back to the Ball-room speed your spectred host,
Fool’s Paradise is dull to that you lost.
No treacherous powder bids Conjecture quake;
No stiff-starched stays make meddling fingers ache;
(Transferred to those ambiguous things that ape
Goats in their visage, women in their shape;)
No damsel faints when rather closely pressed,
But more caressing seems when most caressed;
Superfluous Hartshorn, and reviving Salts,
Both banished by the sovereign cordial “Waltz.”

  Seductive Waltz!—though on thy native shore
Even Werter’s self proclaimed thee half a *****;
Werter—to decent vice though much inclined,
Yet warm, not wanton; dazzled, but not blind—
Though gentle Genlis, in her strife with Staël,
Would even proscribe thee from a Paris ball;
The fashion hails—from Countesses to Queens,
And maids and valets waltz behind the scenes;
Wide and more wide thy witching circle spreads,
And turns—if nothing else—at least our heads;
With thee even clumsy cits attempt to bounce,
And cockney’s practise what they can’t pronounce.
Gods! how the glorious theme my strain exalts,
And Rhyme finds partner Rhyme in praise of “Waltz!”
Blest was the time Waltz chose for her début!
The Court, the Regent, like herself were new;
New face for friends, for foes some new rewards;
New ornaments for black-and royal Guards;
New laws to hang the rogues that roared for bread;
New coins (most new) to follow those that fled;
New victories—nor can we prize them less,
Though Jenky wonders at his own success;
New wars, because the old succeed so well,
That most survivors envy those who fell;
New mistresses—no, old—and yet ’tis true,
Though they be old, the thing is something new;
Each new, quite new—(except some ancient tricks),
New white-sticks—gold-sticks—broom-sticks—all new sticks!
With vests or ribands—decked alike in hue,
New troopers strut, new turncoats blush in blue:
So saith the Muse: my——, what say you?
Such was the time when Waltz might best maintain
Her new preferments in this novel reign;
Such was the time, nor ever yet was such;
Hoops are  more, and petticoats not much;
Morals and Minuets, Virtue and her stays,
And tell-tale powder—all have had their days.
The Ball begins—the honours of the house
First duly done by daughter or by spouse,
Some Potentate—or royal or serene—
With Kent’s gay grace, or sapient Gloster’s mien,
Leads forth the ready dame, whose rising flush
Might once have been mistaken for a blush.
From where the garb just leaves the ***** free,
That spot where hearts were once supposed to be;
Round all the confines of the yielded waist,
The strangest hand may wander undisplaced:
The lady’s in return may grasp as much
As princely paunches offer to her touch.
Pleased round the chalky floor how well they trip
One hand reposing on the royal hip!
The other to the shoulder no less royal
Ascending with affection truly loyal!
Thus front to front the partners move or stand,
The foot may rest, but none withdraw the hand;
And all in turn may follow in their rank,
The Earl of—Asterisk—and Lady—Blank;
Sir—Such-a-one—with those of fashion’s host,
For whose blest surnames—vide “Morning Post.”
(Or if for that impartial print too late,
Search Doctors’ Commons six months from my date)—
Thus all and each, in movement swift or slow,
The genial contact gently undergo;
Till some might marvel, with the modest Turk,
If “nothing follows all this palming work?”
True, honest Mirza!—you may trust my rhyme—
Something does follow at a fitter time;
The breast thus publicly resigned to man,
In private may resist him—if it can.

  O ye who loved our Grandmothers of yore,
Fitzpatrick, Sheridan, and many more!
And thou, my Prince! whose sovereign taste and will
It is to love the lovely beldames still!
Thou Ghost of Queensberry! whose judging Sprite
Satan may spare to peep a single night,
Pronounce—if ever in your days of bliss
Asmodeus struck so bright a stroke as this;
To teach the young ideas how to rise,
Flush in the cheek, and languish in the eyes;
Rush to the heart, and lighten through the frame,
With half-told wish, and ill-dissembled flame,
For prurient Nature still will storm the breast—
Who, tempted thus, can answer for the rest?

  But ye—who never felt a single thought
For what our Morals are to be, or ought;
Who wisely wish the charms you view to reap,
Say—would you make those beauties quite so cheap?
Hot from the hands promiscuously applied,
Round the slight waist, or down the glowing side,
Where were the rapture then to clasp the form
From this lewd grasp and lawless contact warm?
At once Love’s most endearing thought resign,
To press the hand so pressed by none but thine;
To gaze upon that eye which never met
Another’s ardent look without regret;
Approach the lip which all, without restraint,
Come near enough—if not to touch—to taint;
If such thou lovest—love her then no more,
Or give—like her—caresses to a score;
Her Mind with these is gone, and with it go
The little left behind it to bestow.

  Voluptuous Waltz! and dare I thus blaspheme?
Thy bard forgot thy praises were his theme.
Terpsichore forgive!—at every Ball
My wife now waltzes—and my daughters shall;
My son—(or stop—’tis needless to inquire—
These little accidents should ne’er transpire;
Some ages hence our genealogic tree
Will wear as green a bough for him as me)—
Waltzing shall rear, to make our name amends
Grandsons for me—in heirs to all his friends.
Micheal Wolf Mar 2016
At 3 am when sleep won't call, the mind goes places it shouldn't ought.
To past times of joy and some of pain but mostly to thoughts of future days.
For in those waves between wake and sleep, others walk through your thoughts and dreams.
Some simply pass and head on through, others kick off their travellers shoes.
They pull up a chair and in that altered state are as real as flesh in the wakeing world.
But the thoughts I like and hold most dear are the thoughts that somehow seem quite surreal.
Friends be you close or an ocean away, you wandered into my thoughts today.
Wekoronshei Nov 2011
We were interstellar travellers,
children so interested in creating
our infinite microcosmic civilizations,
that we missed it. I saw it,
briefly, once, at night.

We jumped from rock to rock
in the grand pond of the
universe, swam between asteroid reefs
and through the turbulent vents
that were black holes. We
lived everywhere, nowhere,
all at once and for an eternity
at the fringes of galaxies,
and their centres (having burrowed
through the thick skins of dying suns).
We built, advanced, explored,
warred, and coexisted. We knew
everything. We thought.
We knew everything, we thought.

It began as a small blip,
an electromagnetic pulse at the
beginning of time which meta-
imposed itself into the rest of time:
a god, or something of
the sort, it grew and
shrank, and grew and
shrank; a heartbeat--
life. Death.
It ended as a small blip,
an electromagnetic pulse at the
end of time which meta-
imposed itself into the rest of time:
a god, or something of
the sort, it grew and
shrank, and grew and
shrank; a heartbeat--
life. Death.

From the former to the latter,
it sparked creation
and destruction
and advancement
and setback
and belief
and theory
and one
and none.

I saw it,
briefly, once, at night.
Ignatius Hosiana Jul 2015
A man who hasn't ventured thinks you risk falling off the Horizon by walking close to the edge of the world,travellers know that It's merely setting new limits & curvature.
Spenser Bennett Jun 2016
Splash through the puddle underneath that golden expanse
Our tea cup synchronicity belies our swimming decadence

Ride waves taught by the playful mantaray
Cruise through the ocean sky to the city of the Bay
Like a babe I crawl on the edge of the plane

We're all refugees on this backwater bathwater ocean
We look around and to our elders to make sense of the scaled schools motion
The gray herd moves as the vacuum looms over green Picasso notions

As travellers across great highways we can reach those distant cosmic creations
A speedboat horse race were confident we can win

Ski down pillowcases  of fresh powdered imagination
Great green looming through the dark starlight illumination
Barrel rolled into the canvas ink of knowledge on the mountain

We pay attention to the cashier of time
So we can swing life away as the world floats by
Chloe Jul 2018
The sun glares down
Over lost, weary travellers,
Casting crimson
Over the rolling dunes.
Their shadows
Fall upon the sand;
An ocean of tiny little grains—
Moving,
Always moving
Under the wind,
Like travellers themselves—
Millions of them,
Moving,
Shifting,
Changing,
Constantly inconstant.
The lines atop the dunes—
The divide where light and dark
Separate,
Alter their shape
With the shifts in the sand,
Wriggling like a snake.
This view,
This world
Of rolling dunes,
Stark segregations of light and dark,
Sandy, cutting winds,
Was not made for strangers—
For these poor wanderers.
They wander,
Like tiny ants,
Upon an endless, reddened landscape,
So far from their nest—
Made up of grand structures,
Taller than they are vast,
Crafted carefully,
Brick by brick.
Unshifting,
Unchanging,
Stark and clear against the sky.
Far too compact
To allow room for wandering.
Glass and stone—
A wall against the winds.
A place
Where these strangers weren’t strangers.
It was there—
Right there.
Standing above the dunes,
Reaching out of the sand
Into a pink expanse of clouds.
But no,
These strangers
Remain strangers,
Wandering a world
Of harsh beauty
And wondrous irregularity.
This is a poem I wrote for Rattle's ekphrastic challenge. It involves writing poetry based on a selected image. I think it's really fun, and there are plenty of talented poets here who I think should give it a try.
https://www.rattle.com/ekphrastic/
Been ****** into this life
By the vaccum of outer space
I fly so high all the time
With so much speed im passing light
And its so hard to find a star
When your navigating the milky way

All alone im so lost
Dont know how to keep control
So tag-along, lets have a blast
On a trip to the dark side of the moon

Like a diamond of the universe
Im blown away by those curves
Let me in, Open up
Teach me all about yourself
Who you are, what you like
Tell me how to treat you right

Cause you must be an alien
Since your beauty's out of this world
So accompany me on my rocket ship
Let me make you my girl

When we ****, I know its love
Because were two stars beneath the covers
and im so proud I made you ***
Together were space travellers
In memoriam
C. T. W.
Sometime trooper of the Royal Horse Guards
obiit H.M. prison, Reading, Berkshire
July 7, 1896

I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is at peace—this wretched man—
At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to m
A Dramatic Poem

The deck of an ancient ship. At the right of the stage is the mast,
with a large square sail hiding a great deal of the sky and sea
on that side. The tiller is at the left of the stage; it is a long oar
coming through an opening in the bulwark. The deck rises in a
series of steps hehind the tiller, and the stern of the ship curves
overhead. When the play opens there are four persons upon the
deck. Aibric stands by the tiller. Forgael sleeps upon the raised
portion of the deck towards the front of the stage. Two Sailors
are standing near to the mast, on which a harp is hanging.

First Sailor. Has he not led us into these waste seas
For long enough?

Second Sailor. Aye, long and long enough.

First Sailor. We have not come upon a shore or ship
These dozen weeks.

Second Sailor. And I had thought to make
A good round Sum upon this cruise, and turn -
For I am getting on in life - to something
That has less ups and downs than robbery.

First Sailor. I am so tired of being bachelor
I could give all my heart to that Red Moll
That had but the one eye.

Second Sailor. Can no bewitchment
Transform these rascal billows into women
That I may drown myself?

First Sailor. Better steer home,
Whether he will or no; and better still
To take him while he sleeps and carry him
And drop him from the gunnel.

Second Sailor. I dare not do it.
Were't not that there is magic in his harp,
I would be of your mind; but when he plays it
Strange creatures flutter up before one's eyes,
Or cry about one's ears.

First Sailor. Nothing to fear.

Second Sailor. Do you remember when we sank that galley
At the full moon?

First Sailor. He played all through the night.

Second Sailor. Until the moon had set; and when I looked
Where the dead drifted, I could see a bird
Like a grey gull upon the breast of each.
While I was looking they rose hurriedly,
And after circling with strange cries awhile
Flew westward; and many a time since then
I've heard a rustling overhead in the wind.

First Sailor. I saw them on that night as well as you.
But when I had eaten and drunk myself asleep
My courage came again.

Second Sailor. But that's not all.
The other night, while he was playing it,
A beautiful young man and girl came up
In a white breaking wave; they had the look
Of those that are alive for ever and ever.

First Sailor. I saw them, too, one night. Forgael was playing,
And they were listening ther& beyond the sail.
He could not see them, but I held out my hands
To grasp the woman.

Second Sailor. You have dared to touch her?

First Sailor. O she was but a shadow, and slipped from me.

Second Sailor. But were you not afraid?

First Sailor. Why should I fear?

Second Sailor. "Twas Aengus and Edain, the wandering lovers,
To whom all lovers pray.

First Sailor. But what of that?
A shadow does not carry sword or spear.

Second Sailor. My mother told me that there is not one
Of the Ever-living half so dangerous
As that wild Aengus. Long before her day
He carried Edain off from a king's house,
And hid her among fruits of jewel-stone
And in a tower of glass, and from that day
Has hated every man that's not in love,
And has been dangerous to him.

First Sailor. I have heard
He does not hate seafarers as he hates
Peaceable men that shut the wind away,
And keep to the one weary marriage-bed.

Second Sailor. I think that he has Forgael in his net,
And drags him through the sea,

First Sailor. Well, net or none,
I'd drown him while we have the chance to do it.

Second Sailor. It's certain I'd sleep easier o' nights
If he were dead; but who will be our captain,
Judge of the stars, and find a course for us?

First Sailor. I've thought of that. We must have Aibric with us,
For he can judge the stars as well as Forgael.

[Going towards Aibric.]
Become our captain, Aibric. I am resolved
To make an end of Forgael while he sleeps.
There's not a man but will be glad of it
When it is over, nor one to grumble at us.

Aibric. You have taken pay and made your bargain for it.

First Sailor. What good is there in this hard way of living,
Unless we drain more flagons in a year
And kiss more lips than lasting peaceable men
In their long lives? Will you be of our troop
And take the captain's share of everything
And bring us into populous seas again?

Aibric. Be of your troop! Aibric be one of you
And Forgael in the other scale! **** Forgael,
And he my master from my childhood up!
If you will draw that sword out of its scabbard
I'll give my answer.

First Sailor. You have awakened him.
[To Second Sailor.]
We'd better go, for we have lost this chance.
[They go out.]

Forgael. Have the birds passed us? I could hear your voice,
But there were others.

Aibric. I have seen nothing pass.

Forgael. You're certain of it? I never wake from sleep
But that I am afraid they may have passed,
For they're my only pilots. If I lost them
Straying too far into the north or south,
I'd never come upon the happiness
That has been promised me. I have not seen them
These many days; and yet there must be many
Dying at every moment in the world,
And flying towards their peace.

Aibric. Put by these thoughts,
And listen to me for a while. The sailors
Are plotting for your death.

Forgael. Have I not given
More riches than they ever hoped to find?
And now they will not follow, while I seek
The only riches that have hit my fancy.

Aibric. What riches can you find in this waste sea
Where no ship sails, where nothing that's alive
Has ever come but those man-headed birds,
Knowing it for the world's end?

Forgael. Where the world ends
The mind is made unchanging, for it finds
Miracle, ecstasy, the impossible hope,
The flagstone under all, the fire of fires,
The roots of the world.

Aibric. Shadows before now
Have driven travellers mad for their own sport.

Forgael. Do you, too, doubt me? Have you joined their plot?

Aibric. No, no, do not say that. You know right well
That I will never lift a hand against you.

Forgael. Why should you be more faithful than the rest,
Being as doubtful?

Aibric. I have called you master
Too many years to lift a hand against you.

Forgael. Maybe it is but natural to doubt me.
You've never known, I'd lay a wager on it,
A melancholy that a cup of wine,
A lucky battle, or a woman's kiss
Could not amend.

Aibric. I have good spirits enough.

Forgael. If you will give me all your mind awhile -
All, all, the very bottom of the bowl -
I'll show you that I am made differently,
That nothing can amend it but these waters,
Where I am rid of life - the events of the world -
What do you call it? - that old promise-breaker,
The cozening fortune-teller that comes whispering,
"You will have all you have wished for when you have earned
Land for your children or money in a ***.-
And when we have it we are no happier,
Because of that old draught under the door,
Or creaky shoes. And at the end of all
How are we better off than Seaghan the fool,
That never did a hand's turn? Aibric! Aibric!
We have fallen in the dreams the Ever-living
Breathe on the burnished mirror of the world
And then smooth out with ivory hands and sigh,
And find their laughter sweeter to the taste
For that brief sighing.

Aibric. If you had loved some woman -

Forgael. You say that also? You have heard the voices,
For that is what they say - all, all the shadows -
Aengus and Edain, those passionate wanderers,
And all the others; but it must be love
As they have known it. Now the secret's out;
For it is love that I am seeking for,
But of a beautiful, unheard-of kind
That is not in the world.

Aibric. And yet the world
Has beautiful women to please every man.

Forgael. But he that gets their love after the fashion
"Loves in brief longing and deceiving hope
And ****** tenderness, and finds that even
The bed of love, that in the imagination
Had seemed to be the giver of all peace,
Is no more than a wine-cup in the tasting,
And as soon finished.

Aibric. All that ever loved
Have loved that way - there is no other way.

Forgael. Yet never have two lovers kissed but they believed there was some other near at hand,
And almost wept because they could not find it.

Aibric. When they have twenty years; in middle life
They take a kiss for what a kiss is worth,
And let the dream go by.

Forgael. It's not a dream,
But the reality that makes our passion
As a lamp shadow - no - no lamp, the sun.
What the world's million lips are thirsting for
Must be substantial somewhere.

Aibric. I have heard the Druids
Mutter such things as they awake from trance.
It may be that the Ever-living know it -
No mortal can.

Forgael. Yes; if they give us help.

Aibric. They are besotting you as they besot
The crazy herdsman that will tell his fellows
That he has been all night upon the hills,
Riding to hurley, or in the battle-host
With the Ever-living.

Forgael. What if he speak the truth,
And for a dozen hours have been a part
Of that more powerful life?

Aibric. His wife knows better.
Has she not seen him lying like a log,
Or fumbling in a dream about the house?
And if she hear him mutter of wild riders,
She knows that it was but the cart-horse coughing
That set him to the fancy.

Forgael. All would be well
Could we but give us wholly to the dreams,
And get into their world that to the sense
Is shadow, and not linger wretchedly
Among substantial things; for it is dreams
That lift us to the flowing, changing world
That the heart longs for. What is love itself,
Even though it be the lightest of light love,
But dreams that hurry from beyond the world
To make low laughter more than meat and drink,
Though it but set us sighing? Fellow-wanderer,
Could we but mix ourselves into a dream,
Not in its image on the mirror!

Aibric. While
We're in the body that's impossible.

Forgael. And yet I cannot think they're leading me
To death; for they that promised to me love
As those that can outlive the moon have known it, '
Had the world's total life gathered up, it seemed,
Into their shining limbs - I've had great teachers.
Aengus and Edain ran up out of the wave -
You'd never doubt that it was life they promised
Had you looked on them face to face as I did,
With so red lips, and running on such feet,
And having such wide-open, shining eyes.

Aibric. It's certain they are leading you to death.
None but the dead, or those that never lived,
Can know that ecstasy. Forgael! Forgael!
They have made you follow the man-headed birds,
And you have told me that their journey lies
Towards the country of the dead.

Forgael. What matter
If I am going to my death? - for there,
Or somewhere, I shall find the love they have promised.
That much is certain. I shall find a woman.
One of the Ever-living, as I think -
One of the Laughing People - and she and I
Shall light upon a place in the world's core,
Where passion grows to be a changeless thing,
Like charmed apples made of chrysoprase,
Or chrysoberyl, or beryl, or chrysclite;
And there, in juggleries of sight and sense,
Become one movement, energy, delight,
Until the overburthened moon is dead.

[A number of Sailors enter hurriedly.]

First Sailor. Look there! there in the mist! a ship of spice!
And we are almost on her!

Second Sailor. We had not known
But for the ambergris and sandalwood.

First Sailor. NO; but opoponax and cinnamon.

Forgael [taking the tiller from Aibric].
The Ever-living have kept my bargain for me,
And paid you on the nail.

Aibric. Take up that rope
To make her fast while we are plundering her.

First Sailor. There is a king and queen upon her deck,
And where there is one woman there'll be others.

Aibric. Speak lower, or they'll hear.

First Sailor. They cannot hear;
They are too busy with each other. Look!
He has stooped down and kissed her on the lips.

Second Sailor. When she finds out we have better men aboard
She may not be too sorry in the end.

First Sailor. She will be like a wild cat; for these queens
Care more about the kegs of silver and gold
And the high fame that come to them in marriage,
Than a strong body and a ready hand.

Second Sailor. There's nobody is natural but a robber,
And that is why the world totters about
Upon its bandy legs.

Aibric. Run at them now,
And overpower the crew while yet asleep!

[The Sailors go out.]

[Voices and thc clashing of swords are heard from the other ship, which cannot be seen because of the sail.]

A Voice. Armed men have come upon us! O I am slain!

Another Voice. Wake all below!

Another Voice. Why have you broken our sleep?

First Voice. Armed men have come upon us! O I am slain!

Forgael [who has remained at the tiller].
There! there they come! Gull, gannet, or diver,
But with a man's head, or a fair woman's,
They hover over the masthead awhile
To wait their Fiends; but when their friends have come
They'll fly upon that secret way of theirs.
One - and one - a couple - five together;
And I will hear them talking in a minute.
Yes, voices! but I do not catch the words.
Now I can hear. There's one of them that says,
"How light we are, now we are changed to birds!'
Another answers, "Maybe we shall find
Our heart's desire now that we are so light.'
And then one asks another how he died,
And says, "A sword-blade pierced me in my sleep.-
And now they all wheel suddenly and fly
To the other side, and higher in the air.
And now a laggard with a woman's head down crying, "I have run upon the sword.
I have fled to my beloved in the air,
In the waste of the high air, that we may wander
Among the windy meadows of the dawn.'
But why are they still waiting? why are they
Circling and circling over the masthead?
What power that is more mighty than desire
To hurry to their hidden happiness
Withholds them now? Have the Ever-living Ones
A meaning in that circling overhead?
But what's the meaning?

[He cries out.] Why do you linger there?
Why linger? Run to your desire,
Are you not happy winged bodies now?

[His voice sinks again.]

Being too busy in the air and the high air,
They cannot hear my voice; but what's the meaning?

[The Sailors have returned. Dectora is with them.]

Forgael [turning and seeing her]. Why are you standing
with your eyes upon me?
You are not the world's core. O no, no, no!
That cannot be the meaning of the birds.
You are not its core. My teeth are in the world,
But have not bitten yet.

Dectora. I am a queen,
And ask for satisfaction upon these
Who have slain my husband and laid hands upon me.
[Breaking loose from the Sailors who are holding her.]
Let go my hands!

Forgael. Why do you cast a shadow?
Where do you come from? Who brought you to this place?
They would not send me one that casts a shadow.

Dectora. Would that the storm that overthrew my ships,
And drowned the treasures of nine conquered nations,
And blew me hither to my lasting sorrow,
Had drowned me also. But, being yet alive,
I ask a fitting punishment for all
That raised their hands against him.

Forgael. There are some
That weigh and measure all in these waste seas -
They that have all the wisdom that's in life,
And all that prophesying images
Made of dim gold rave out in secret tombs;
They have it that the plans of kings and queens
But laughter and tears - laughter, laughter, and tears;
That every man should carry his own soul
Upon his shoulders.

Dectora. You've nothing but wild words,
And I would know if you will give me vengeance.

Forgael. When she finds out I will not let her go -
When she knows that.

Dectora. What is it that you are muttering -
That you'll not let me go? I am a queen.

Forgael. Although you are more beautiful than any,
I almost long that it were possible;
But if I were to put you on that ship,
With sailors that were sworn to do your will,
And you had spread a sail for home, a wind
Would rise of a sudden, or a wave so huge
It had washed among the stars and put them out,
And beat the bulwark of your ship on mine,
Until you stood before me on the deck -
As now.

Dectora. Does wandering in these desolate seas
And listening to the cry of wind and wave
Bring madness?

Forgael. Queen, I am not mad.

Dectora. Yet say
That unimaginable storms of wind and wave
Would rise against me.

Forgael. No, I am not mad -
If it be not that hearing messages
From lasting watchers, that outlive the moon,
At the most quiet midnight is to be stricken.

Dectora. And did those watchers bid you take me
captive?

Forgael. Both you and I are taken in the net.
It was their hands that plucked the winds awake
And blew you hither; and their mouth
In the greenest of our valleys
  By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
  Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion—
  It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
  Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
  On its roof did float and flow,
(This—all this—was in the olden
  Time long ago),
And every gentle air that dallied,
  In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
  A winged odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
  Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
  To a lute’s well-tuned law,
Bound about a throne where, sitting
  (Porphyrogene!)
In state his glory well befitting,
  The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
  Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
  And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
  Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
  The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
  Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
  Shall dawn upon him desolate !)
And round about his home the glory
  That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
  Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
  Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
  To a discordant melody,
  While, like a ghastly rapid river,
  Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
  And laugh—but smile no more.
Julie Grenness Apr 2016
On hieroglyphics and holograms,
Ancient runes in endless sands,
We're journeying in a timeless span,
Travellers in a great Southern land,
A distance past, times long gone,
Through the future we'll wander on,
To the world there is a helping hand,
We all come from migrants in our land,
A multicultural heritage, that's grand,
As Mum used to say, "Are you Irish or mad?"
A river of time floating by,
We're journeying in an endless sky,
Travellers in a timeless span,
Soon, hieroglyphics and holograms.
For a contest. Feedback welcome.
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;—
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
Liliana Jaworska Sep 2014
We are only travellers in the hands of destiny.
Let's nourish what breathes life in us.
Love.
Faith.
Hope.
Paul Gilhooley Apr 2016
I’d like to tell a tale so grim,
Don’t pray for hope, mere foolish whim,
“Beware to all who enter here,
The trees themselves can sense your fear”

A place where ghouls and goblins wait,
For lonely travellers to seal their fate,
A place where hope has long since gone,
And eternal darkness lingers on.

I would not suggest you stop and rest,
March on my friend, I think that’s best,
Danger hides in every tree,
You doubt my word, just wait and see.

An unearthly stench wafts through this wood,
The demons sense your rich warm blood,
I urge you not to pitch your tent,
Heed my warning, it is well meant.

No sweet spring blooms will greet your path,
Anything of beauty incurs such wrath,
No sound of birds to fill the air,
A joyous song, they would not dare.

There is no sun, nor gentle breeze,
You won’t find safety among these trees,
The air is still, the air is calm,
With creatures here to cause you harm.

You feel the cold, your icy breath,
As in your footsteps follows death,
He’ll strike you down without a thought,
Tread carefully, this path has dangers fraught.

These woods are thick, their area vast,
Travellers stare, afraid, aghast,
But do not stop, no do not dwell,
For this could be a living hell.

The creatures here have but one goal,
They want to claim your very soul,
To bring an end to your miserable days,
They’re able to do this in a myriad of ways.

So heed both my warning and the sign,
Turn back from here while you have the time,
The reason they call it the Weeping Wood?
No weep of willow, but travellers’ blood.

— The End —