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howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

     The once busy street was fast emptying now, the lure of shop windows no longer enticed the casual browser as local traders closed their premises to the oncoming night, solitary lampposts curved hazily into the distance, casting little more than insipid pools mirrored in the gutter below, only the occasional stranger scurrying home on a bleak, rain swept afternoon, the hurried slap of wet leather soles on the pavement, the sightless umbrellas, the infrequent rumble of a half filled bus, hell-bent on its way to oblivion.

     In the near distance as the working day ended, a sudden emergence of factory workers told Beamish it was 5-o'clock, most would be hurrying home to a hot meal, while others, for a quick drink perhaps before making the same old sorry excuse... for Jack, the greasy spoon would be closing about now, denying him the comfort of a badly needed cuppa' and stale cheese sandwich.  A subtle legacy of lunchtime fish and chips still lingered in the air, Jack's stomach rumbled, there was little chance of a fish supper for Beamish tonight, it protested again... louder.

     From beneath the eaves of the building opposite several pigeons broke cover, startled by the rattle as a shopkeeper struggled to close the canvas awning above his shop window.  Narrowly missing Beamish they flew anxiously over the rooftops, memories of the blitz sprang to mind as Jack stepped smartly to one side, he stamped his feet... it dashed a little of the weather from his raincoat, just as the rain dashed a little of the pigeons' anxiety from the pavement... the day couldn't get much worse if it tried.  Shielding his face, Jack struck the Ronson one more time and cupped the freshly lit cigarette between his hands, it was the only source of heat to be had that day... and still it rained.

     'By Appointment to Certain Personages...' the letter heading rang out loudly... 'Jack Beamish ~ Private Investigator...' a throat choking mouthful by any stretch of the imagination, thought Jack and shot every vestige of credulity plummeting straight through the office window and amidst a fanfare of trumpet voluntary, nominate itself for a prodigious award in the New Year Honours list.   Having formally served in a professional capacity for a well known purveyor of pickled condiments, who  incidentally, brandished the same patronage emblazoned upon their extensive range of relish as the one Jack had more recently purloined from them... a paid commission no less, which by Jack's certain understanding had made him, albeit fleeting in nature, a professional consultant of said company... and consequently, if they could flaunt the auspicious emblem, then according to Jack's infallible logic, so could Jack.  

     The recently appropriated letterhead possessed certain distinction... in much the same way, Jack reasoned, that a blank piece of paper did not... and whereas correspondence bearing the heading 'By Appointment' may not exactly strike terror into the hearts of man... unlike a really strong pickled onion, it nevertheless made people think twice before playing him for the fool, which sadly, Jack had to concede, they still invariably did... and he would often catch them wagging an accusing finger or two in his direction with such platitudes as... "watch where you put your foot", they'd whisper, "that Jack's a right Shamus...", and when you'd misplaced your footing as many times as Jack had, then he reasoned, that by default the celebrated Shamus must have landed himself in more piles of indiscretion than he would readily care to admit, but that wouldn't be quite accurate either, in Jack's line of work it was the malefactor that actually dropped him in them more often than not.

     A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine, another quickly followed as a spurt of icy water from a broken rain spout spattered across the back of his neck, he grimaced... Jack's expression spoke volumes as he took one final pull from his half soaked cigarette and flicked it, amid an eruption of sparks against the adjacent brick wall.  Sinking further into the shadow he tipped his fedora against the oncoming rain, then, digging both hands deep within his pockets, he huddled behind the upturned collar of his gabardine... watching.

     It was times such as these when Jack's mind would slip back, in much the same way you might slip back on a discarded banana peel, when a matter of some consequence, or in particular this case the pavement, would suddenly leap up from behind and give the back of Jack's head a resoundingly good slapping and tell him to "stop loafing around in office hours... or else", then drag him, albeit kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.  This intellectual assault and battery re-focused Jack's mind wonderfully as he whiled away the long weary hours until his next cigarette; cup of tea, or the last bus home, his capacity to endure such mind boggling tedium called for nothing less than sheer ******-mindedness and very little else... Beamish had long suspected that he possessed all the necessary qualifications.  

     Jack had come a long way since the early days, it had been a long haul but he'd finally arrived there in the end... and managed to pick up quite a few ***** looks along the way.  Whilst he was with the Police Constabulary... and it was only fair to stress the word 'with', as opposed to the word 'in'... although the more Jack considered, he had been 'with' the arresting officer, held 'in' the local Bridewell... detained at Her Majesties pleasure while assisting the boys in blue with their enquiries over a minor infringement of some local by-law that currently had quite slipped his mind at that moment.  Throughout this enforced leisure period he'd managed to read the entire abridged editions of Kilroy and other expansive works of graffiti exhibited in what passed locally as the next best thing to the Tate Gallery, whereupon it hadn't taken Jack very long to realise that it was always a good place to start if you wanted free breakfast, in fact the weeks bill of fare was tastefully displayed in vivid, polychromatic colour on the wall opposite... you just had to be au-fait with braille.
                            
     No matter how industrious Beamish laboured to rake the dirt there always appeared to be a dire shortage of gullible clients for Jack to squeeze, what would roughly translate as an honest crust out of, and although his financial retainer was highly competitive he understood that potential clients found it bewildering when grappling with the unplumbed depths of his monthly expense account, which would tend to fluctuate with the same unpredictability as the British weather, the rest of Jack's agenda revolved around a little shady moonlighting... in fact he'd happily consider anything to offset the remotest possibility of financial delinquency... short of extortion... which by the strangest twist was the very word prospective clients would cry while Jack beavered around the office with dust-pan and brush sweeping any concerns they may have had frantically under the carpet regarding all culpability of his extra-curricular monthly stipend... and they should remain assured at all times... as they dug deep and fished for their cheque books, and simply look upon it as kneading dough, which eerily enough was exactly the thick wedge of buttered granary that Jack had every intention of carving.

     Were there ever the slightest possibility that a day could be so utterly wretched, then today was that day, Jack felt a certain empathy as he merged with his surroundings... at one with nature as it were.  The rain, a timpani on the metal dustbin lids, by the side of which Beamish had taken up vigil, also taking up vigil and in search of a morsel was the stray mongrel, this was the third time now that he'd returned, the same apprehensive wag, yet still the same hopeful look of expectation in his eyes, a brief but friendly companion who paid more attention to Jack's left trouser leg than anything that could be had from nosing around the dustbins that day... some days you're the dog, scowled Beamish as he shook his trouser leg... and some days the lamppost, Jack's foot swung out playfully, keeping his new friend's incontinence at a safe distance, feigning indignance  the scruffy mongrel shook himself defiantly from nose to tail, a distinct odour of wet dog filled the air as an abundance of spent rainwater flew in all directions.   Pricking one ear he looked accusingly at Jack before turning and snuffled off, his nose resolutely to the pavement and diligently, picking out the few diluted scents still remaining, the poor little stalwart renewed its search for scraps, or making his way perhaps to some dry seclusion known only to itself.
  
     Two hours later and... SPLOSH, a puddle poured itself through the front door of the nearest Public House... SPLOSH, the puddle squelched over to the payphone... SPLOSH, then, fumbling for small change dialled and pressed button 'A'..., then button 'B'... then started all over again amid a flurry of precipitation... SPLASH.  The puddle floundered to the bar and ordered itself a drink, then ebbed back to the payphone again... the local taxi company doggedly refused to answer... finally, wallowing over to the window the puddle drifted up against a warm radiator amidst a cloud of humidity and came to rest... flotsam, cast upon the shore of contentment, the puddle sighed contentedly... the Landlady watched this anomaly... suspiciously.

     The puddle's finely tuned perception soon got to grips with the unhurried banter and muffled gossip drifting along the bar, having little else to loose, other than what could still be wrung from his clothing... Beamish, working on the principle that a little eavesdropping was his stock-in-trade engaged instinct into overdrive and casually rippled in their general direction...  They were clearly regulars by the way one of them belched in a well rehearsed, taken-a-back sort of way as Jack took stock of the situation and was now at some pains to ingratiate himself into their exclusive midst and attempt several friendly, yet relevant questions pertinent to his enquiries... all of which were skillfully deflected with more than friendly, yet totally irrelevant answers pertinent to theirs'... and would Jack care for a game of dominoes', they enquired... if so, would he be good enough to pay the refundable deposit, as by common consent it just so happened to be his turn...  Jack graciously declined this generous offer, as the obliging Landlady, just as graciously, cancelled the one shilling returnable deposit from the cash register, such was the flow of light conversation that evening... they didn't call him Lucky Jack for nothing... discouraged, Beamish turned back to the bar and reached for his glass... to which one of his recent companions, and yet again just as graciously, had taken the trouble to drink for him... the Landlady gave Jack a knowing look, Beamish returned the heartfelt sentiment and ordered one more pint.

     From the licenced premises opposite, a myriad of jostling customers plied through the door, business was picking up... the sudden influx of punters rapidly persuaded Beamish to retire from the bar and find a vacant table.  Sitting, he removed several discarded crisp packets from the centre of the table only to discover a freshly vacated ashtray below... by sleight of hand Jack's Ronson appeared... as he lit the cigarette the fragile smoke curled blue as it rose... influenced by subtle caprice, it joined others and formed a horizontal curtain dividing the room, a delicate, undulating layer held between two conflicting forces.

     The possibility of a free drink soon attracted the attention of a local bar fly, who, hovering in the near vicinity promptly landed in Jack's beer, Beamish declined this generous offer as being far too nutritious and with the corner of yesterdays beer mat, flipped the offending organism from the top of his glass, carefully inspecting his drink for debris as he did so.

     A sudden draught and clip of stiletto heels as the side door opened caused Beamish to turn as a double shadow slipped discreetly into the friendly Snug... a little adulterous intimacy on an otherwise cheerless evening.  The faceless man, concealed beneath a fedora and the upturned collar of his overcoat, the surreptitious lady friend, decked out in damp cony, cheap perfume and a surfeit of bling proclaimed a not too infrequent assignation, he'd seen it all before... the over attentive manner and the band of white, Sun-starved skin recently hidden behind a now absent wedding token, ordinarily it was the sort of assignment Jack didn't much care for... the discreet tail, the candid snapshot through half drawn curtains... and the all too familiar steak tartare... for the all too familiar black eye.

     To the untrained eye, the prospect of Jack's long anticipated supper was rapidly dwindling, when it suddenly focused with renewed vigour upon the contents of a pickled egg jar he'd observed earlier that evening, lurking on the back counter, his enthusiasm swiftly diminished however as the belching customer procured the final two specimens from the jar and proceeded to demolish them.  Who, Jack reflected, after being stood out in the rain all day, had egg all over his face now... and who, he reflected deeper, still had an empty stomach.  Disillusioned, Jack tipped back his glass and considered a further sortie with the taxicab company.

     "FIVE-BOB"!!! Jack screamed... you could have shredded the air with a cheese grater... hurtling into the kerb like a fairground attraction came flying past the chequered flag at a record breaking 99 in Jack's top 100 most not wanted list of things to do that day... and that the cabby should think himself fortunate they weren't both stretched flat on a marble slab, "exploding tyres" Jack spluttered, dribbling down his chin, were enough to give anyone a coronary... further broadsides of neurotic ambiance filled the cab as the driver, miffed at the prospect of missing snooker night out with the lads, considered charging extra for the additional space Jack's profanity was taking...

     And what part of 'Drive-Carefully', fumed Beamish, did the cabby simply not understand, that pavements were there to be bypassed, 'Nay Circumvented', preferably on the left... and not veered into, wildly on the front axle... an eerie premonition of 'jemais-vu' perched and ready to strike like a disembodied Jiminy Cricket on Jack's left shoulder, looking to stick its own two-penny worth in at the 'Standing-Room-Only' arrangements in the overcrowded cab... and at what further point, Jack shrieked, eyes leaping from his head as he lurched forward, shaking his fist through the sliding glass partition, had the cabbie failed to grasp the importance of the word 'Steering-Wheel...' someone wanted horse whipping, and as far as Beamish was concerned the sole contender was the cab driver...

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2013
Forty years ago in my current body,
I waited for the call,
From down the college dormitory hall,
When life was fun, the only dreaded words,
"Pick up the pay phone Naaaaaat"

Only could be NYC calling to tell me
The cancer won, come home.
But the call didn't arrive,
Till I after I was degreed
And Ohio gone.

Tho I didn't get the call,
A few years later, I got the shoulder tap,
"You will stay and be the shomer,^
The guardian of your Fathers's body,
The morgue, your home for a night and a day
For t'is Sabbath day, we wait until the evening tide,
When the pros come to take him away."


Then I waited again for the call to come,
Same story, different body.
Five decades a long time to wait.
It came on early Sunday morn just past,
"Leave the bay, leave the beach,
Come home, she's nearly done."


Could be A.S.A.P., could be a day or three
But no question, time to start the prep,
For her, for thee, for the records of history.
She is 98 1/2 which is a
Long distance runner's dream

On a whim, left work early Friday past, in the rain,
Errands need doing, and been months since last
We touched, so squeezed in a visit, matter of luck.

Had not seen her so alive in years,
Tho time had robbed her of speech and pieces of her faculty,
She grasped my iPad, just like her 2 year old great-granddaughter,
Swiped the pictures of her descendants with robust determination,
Comely and fair, hair bouffant wavy, she never seemed
So marvelously contented, on top of her game.

The Vigil

Third day.

Breathing labored, loud, battlefield noises, then
Silence. But you monitor the teeny tiny chest heaves,
Ascertaining that the Divine Spark is still besting his Angel of Death.

But there are these periods of seconds when there is no sound,
Except for the instantaneous pounding in your own chest.

Then the process begins all over again.

Morphine in the refrigerator, when the rattling will begin,
To ease the passage painlessly between.

They say speak to her, she can hear you,
But the evidence is contradictory,
I am not convinced.
When no else is there,
I stroke her head and whisper in her ear,
"It's ok, time to let go, my mother fair."

You think to yourself alone,
This is not poetry,
This is real,
This is an extraordinary
Daily occurrence,
Life or death warfare.

Reflexively, she takes the arm of a granddaughter.
But when I lift her arm,  it is without strength.
Only days before she grasped my arm,
With a fierceness that only the frail possess.

Her nails are painted Neon Pink.

The vigil continues to Day 4
This secret I've kept from y'all
For this is my new normal.

I now await the call.
^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shemira
"According to the Talmud (Genesis Kabbah 100:7), the soul hovers over the body for three days after death.[5] The human soul is somewhat lost and confused between death and before burial, and it stays in the general vicinity of the body, until the body is interred. The shomrim sit and read aloud comforting psalms during the time that they are watching the body.[6] This serves as a comfort for both the spirit of the departed who is in transition and the shomer or shomeret. Traditionally, shomrim read Psalms or the book of Job.[6] Shomrim are also encouraged to meditate, pray, and read spiritual texts, or texts about death.[6] Shomrim are prohibited from eating, drinking, or smoking in the shemira room out of respect for the dead, who can no longer do these things.[7]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lipstadt-Roth, Miriam née Peiman, 1915~2013,
passed peacefully Sat. July 20th.  

Critic, speaker, writer,  
her fiercest feat,                    
her leading role, creator.      
A near century of memories  
her legacy, memories that  
linger not, for incised,        
chiseled in the granite of the
books, papers, and poetry
and the very being              
of her descendants.            

Her faith in Almighty,            
unflagging, for he did not    
forsake her in the time of      
her old age, when                  
her strength failed.                  

~~~~~~~~~
Posted June 9th, 2013
Where/Why and the Who,  I Am

I am a child of emigres,
Sojourners in a land that was not theirs,
Early risers, both long distance travelers,
- a traveling salesman who never forgot a customers name,
- a lover of Rembrandt, ceremonial Judaica, Broadway,
who shared her love for small stipends, traveling large distances.

They were transformational people, transformers of all they met.

Not great successes, yet well-reputed.

emphasize the small in smaller businessman,  
emphasize the part in part-time lecturer, writer,
emphasize the fullness of full time mother,

An odd couple, continentally divided,
Germany and Canada and born many years apart

Never understood the pairing, the mystery of "them,"
Different in so many ways, but inspirational to many in their own way,.

Never till just now,
got the light bulb turned on to what was their secret sauce,
the connectivity essence that wove their web
and I had a front row seat!

Story tellers both,
and if their biggest dreams went unrealized,
no matter, no matter as long as they could tell stories,
Entrancing the many Sabbath table guests, Sisterhoods,
Their Passover table included everyone on the block,
Long before 'regardless of faith, creed and color' was extant

Even interlopers, those who would beg a meal,
The professional beggars who knocked at ten pm
never went away empty handed,
Any crying child who crossed their path taken in, was restored,
Authors of good night stories that incorporated your daily escapades

Their was no commonality in their separate tales,
Their upbringings were as different as Jupiter and Mars,
But in the telling was their planetary passion released,

His ramrod posture, highlighted by eye twinkling charms,
Germanic, on Saturdays he wore a Homburg and striped pants.
Was oft disturbed by the pressures of the real world,
Never took me to Yankee Stadium.

But to this day, his children are approached by strangers,
Grown men and women now,
Who all say the same thing,
I knew your father.

The where and why of my life is still a mystery to me,
What I will leave behind that is worth cherishing may be  
Less than a zero sum game, but now I see that
Nature trumps nurture, for the story telling gene is
Strong in their offspring, inheritance, both sides.

What they gave me, all their children, was this:

The fearlessness to sign your name
to a public document like this poem,
to do small acts of public service kindness
and thousands of small private one for no thanks,
that lays yourself out, open to snide critique and ridicule,
Above all, tell stories.

The Where/Why of my parents lives'
explains mine somewhat,
or maybe even,
its entirety.  

Feb 2012,  
above the intersection of
Wyoming, Colorado and Utah
Michael Hughes Jun 2013
I stand the silent vigil
     with my brothers left and right.
A perfect dress-right-dress
     keeps our columns long and tight.

We guard this sacred land
     Our valor etched in stone.
One mothers sacrifice is made,
     so that others may grow old.

I stand the silent vigil
    with my brothers left and right.
In the company of the honored,
    all are equal and upright.

Our numbers speak in volumes,
   though our names do fade with time.
Our fight is finally over,
   for our countries picket line.

I stand that silent vigil,
   with my brothers left and right.
Our banners handed forwards,
   the pennants marked in rhyme.

We stand at grave attention
   as new brothers fall in line;
And take up silent vigil,
  with their brothers left and right.

We stand that silent vigil
   with all brothers on the line.
Some fulfill their duties early,
   they are called before their time.

Those brothers that they've left
   cherish memories tinged with guilt.
They are called to share our stories,
   Even if it's once a year.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
‘When the doors of perception are cleansed
Things will appear as they are:
Infinite.’

∞ William Blake



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

∞ Jim Morrison



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



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

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



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

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



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



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



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-No.

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



There was preserved

in her

The fresh miracle

of

surprise.



open

The Night is young
& full of rest
I can’t describe
the way she’s dress’d
She’ll pander to some strange
requests
Anything that you suggest
Anything to please her guest
Onoma Mar 2014
I Am the burning candle of my
own vigil.
The night of my ignorance is
long...though hope lie beyond
me, I Am not beyond it.
My center is perfect, my
circumference is boundless
freedom.
What needs knowing shall be
known, what needs forgetting
shall be forgotten...there is
absolutely no hurry.
There's no time to be bidden,
only this timeless vigil burning
in degrees of clarity.
K Balachandran Aug 2017
In many different tongues, each one love's manifestations,
Some even to me unknown until the very moment,expressed,
I keep talking to you, my divine lover,out of my passion,intense
For you brimming within. Distraught a bit, feeling left in the lurch
On pouring rain and thunder storm; but you know how firm I am!
I stood rooted here, lost all sense of time, queer, ever  felt you near.
Then a sharp pain hit weakening my heart ,but couldn't deter me,
I am a cat of nine love lives, a species so stubborn, thrives in trust.
Dead of night it is , I  keep vigil, perking up ears, eyeing  skywards,
How do I know from, where would my only love, to me speak?
Shreya Inks May 2016
Heard you laugh in my dreams;
like happy little kids were we,
all those things that scare you;
won’t hurt like a faded memory.

There’s this moon, full and bright,
you in slumber, curled in bed;
thoughts like old pictures of you,
hidden under sheets of tears shed.

Endless vigil, tear-stained pillow;
beautiful cuts and a deep fall,
melancholic it is, isn’t it?
to watch them go who had it all.

Hiding with sinking heart in a corner;
and life doesn’t treat you fair,
the truth is you want to run away;
all consumed up in despair.

Wounds are fresh and they ache;
victim of something unfortunate,
this nobody knows but me;
counting on the happiness so late.

Endless vigil, caressed skin;
all wrapped up in emptiness,
laughing throwing my head back;
so nobody could guess.

© Shreya ♥
“Every time, I felt like missing you —I told myself to stop and forced to sleep. I believe sleep could fix our souls. I don't know I slept or dreamt, I just watched something is missing behind and I did nothing about it. I feel like you're a mistake, I feel I'll regret this but I also know, there's a comfort of a kind in missing you. Comfort of being sad, maybe. I find a dark hollow spot sinking in my chest delivering me life and that's how I realize I am alive. I want to tell you all this on a hill top at 2:00 in morning under starlit night and lonely place followed by the North wind. I want to feel the shiver and realize, it's real. I want to smoke and make rings of it. I’ve caught you staring at me and I want to stare at you, find out what pain looks like and run my finger on the edges of loneliness. Losing my sleep writing about you is like a ritual for me, I feel I will be pure if I perform this ritual like vigil. The more painful it is, the more pure it will be. I have a strange belief that you can’t understand such a twisted logic, I am learning to be content with it. So I will be awake, writing and humming it like a nightingale –sitting in darkness under an unfruitful tree all alone and singing to cherish loneliness, sending you smoke signals.”
Jose Gonzalez Sep 2018
Ocean Vigil of Her
From distant shore I send signals of love
bottled notes adrift in currents
smoke signals carried into the winds
signaled lights across the waters.


I build castles in the sands as models
write words in the surf to be taken
look to the sky in dreaming
build a fire to beacon my warmth.


I sit at a jetty looking to the sea
listening to the voice upon winds
feeling the soul of the waters
admiring the life that lives within.


I am on this shore in vigilance
waiting for the tides to be right
at the ready to become one
and join where the waters meet.


I send feelings of my heart in any form
so you know, I am here, in vigil of you

Copyright © J.L.Gonzalez 2018
Scot Powers Mar 2015
The Stubborn man refused to budge
or listen to complaints
he always wore a frown they said
while standing at the gate
on rainy days he might stay in
on sunny days stay late
but there was not a day went by
when he wouldn't wait

Exactly what he waited for
no one could ever say
the local folks just wandered by
wishing him a pleasant day
he would gruffly wave them off
and mutter to himself
while keeping up his vigil
and keeping to himself

Curiosity finally gripped me
I had to find out for my self
so cautiously I approached the man
and this is what I asked
why do you stand here every day
peering into the wind
a lonely endless vigil
seemingly without end

He smiled at me as best he could
and slowly shook his head
"I am waiting for somebody
who wants to be a friend".
Alyssa Underwood Mar 2016
I

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

He walked amongst the Trial Men
  In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and 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 fellows got to swing.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


II

Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
  In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and 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 raveled fleeces by.

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

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

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

And strange it was to see him pass
  With a step so light and 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 spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
  With its adder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
  Before it bears its fruit!

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

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

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

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

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

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


III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VI

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

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

And all men **** the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!
Sophia I Jun 2017
candlelit vigil, early hours
in drifting smoke from a blackened tower.
flame out the windows, a final image
of doomed lives ending on live news footage.
sunrise on ash, nightfall on mourning
in a city of bones a new day is dawning
flowers and candles, the flickering flames
relight the image of burning again
in that candlelit vigil, final hours
in plumes of smoke from a concrete tower.
a tribute to the suffering of those who lost their lives or loved ones in the Grenfell tower fire.
Cecil Miller Dec 2015
Yonder burns the vigil,  that beacon that guides me ever closer to the hearth where I once lain the burden of my  innocence with another on that faux bare skin rug. If only I could reclaim it, but only to surrender it again.
I was bantering some poetric quips with a buddy last night. I really dig when that happens. Poetry is its own beautiful language.
Pagan Paul Nov 2017
.
He lays in peaceful repose upon a sheet of satin,
she moves up to his body and curls into him,
placing her head upon his unmoving chest,
unconditional grief shown in mute sadness.
She recalls his voice filled with love and affection,
his familiar scent now gone, cold and musty,
as deaths sweet perfume hangs heavy
like a drape of choking intoxicant trance.
Moments stretch blandly into minutes of ache,
the minutes career into hours of silent vigil.
And with her head upon his unmoving chest
she exhales and whimpers her final sigh,
a last breath and she submissively slips away.
Hoping, perchance, once more to hear
her masters voice.



© Pagan Paul (25/11/17)
.
ryn Oct 2014
Elated to see you aloft in the night sky
To what do I owe this enchanted boon.
In the merry company of winking stars,
Enthralled by this sight as I admire my moon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anxiety at peak, dismayed almost broken,
Then I hear a sweet song sung; distant and far.
A song that shared the words we once had spoken,
Again enveloped in translucent silver, with relief I sighed...,
                          *"There you are..."
Inspired by the lunar cycle...
Lawrence Hall Apr 2017
Easter Vigil, Sort Of

A vigil, no, simply quiet reflection
Minutes before midnight, with all asleep
Little Liesl-Dog perhaps dreams of squirrels,
For she has chased and barked them all the day;
The kittens are disposed with their mother
After an hour of kitty-baby-talk,
Adored by all, except by Calvin-Cat,
That venerable, cranky old orange hair-ball,
Who resents youthful intrusion upon
His proper role as object of worship.
All the house settles in for the spring night,
Anticipating Easter, early Mass,
And then the appropriately pagan
Merriments of chocolates and colored eggs
And children with baskets squealing for more
As children should, in the springtime of life.
This English Thames is holier far than Rome,
Those harebells like a sudden flush of sea
Breaking across the woodland, with the foam
Of meadow-sweet and white anemone
To fleck their blue waves,—God is likelier there
Than hidden in that crystal-hearted star the pale monks bear!

Those violet-gleaming butterflies that take
Yon creamy lily for their pavilion
Are monsignores, and where the rushes shake
A lazy pike lies basking in the sun,
His eyes half shut,—he is some mitred old
Bishop in partibus! look at those gaudy scales all green and gold.

The wind the restless prisoner of the trees
Does well for Palaestrina, one would say
The mighty master’s hands were on the keys
Of the Maria *****, which they play
When early on some sapphire Easter morn
In a high litter red as blood or sin the Pope is borne

From his dark House out to the Balcony
Above the bronze gates and the crowded square,
Whose very fountains seem for ecstasy
To toss their silver lances in the air,
And stretching out weak hands to East and West
In vain sends peace to peaceless lands, to restless nations rest.

Is not yon lingering orange after-glow
That stays to vex the moon more fair than all
Rome’s lordliest pageants! strange, a year ago
I knelt before some crimson Cardinal
Who bare the Host across the Esquiline,
And now—those common poppies in the wheat seem twice as fine.

The blue-green beanfields yonder, tremulous
With the last shower, sweeter perfume bring
Through this cool evening than the odorous
Flame-jewelled censers the young deacons swing,
When the grey priest unlocks the curtained shrine,
And makes God’s body from the common fruit of corn and vine.

Poor Fra Giovanni bawling at the mass
Were out of tune now, for a small brown bird
Sings overhead, and through the long cool grass
I see that throbbing throat which once I heard
On starlit hills of flower-starred Arcady,
Once where the white and crescent sand of Salamis meets sea.

Sweet is the swallow twittering on the eaves
At daybreak, when the mower whets his scythe,
And stock-doves murmur, and the milkmaid leaves
Her little lonely bed, and carols blithe
To see the heavy-lowing cattle wait
Stretching their huge and dripping mouths across the farmyard gate.

And sweet the hops upon the Kentish leas,
And sweet the wind that lifts the new-mown hay,
And sweet the fretful swarms of grumbling bees
That round and round the linden blossoms play;
And sweet the heifer breathing in the stall,
And the green bursting figs that hang upon the red-brick wall,

And sweet to hear the cuckoo mock the spring
While the last violet loiters by the well,
And sweet to hear the shepherd Daphnis sing
The song of Linus through a sunny dell
Of warm Arcadia where the corn is gold
And the slight lithe-limbed reapers dance about the wattled fold.

And sweet with young Lycoris to recline
In some Illyrian valley far away,
Where canopied on herbs amaracine
We too might waste the summer-tranced day
Matching our reeds in sportive rivalry,
While far beneath us frets the troubled purple of the sea.

But sweeter far if silver-sandalled foot
Of some long-hidden God should ever tread
The Nuneham meadows, if with reeded flute
Pressed to his lips some Faun might raise his head
By the green water-flags, ah! sweet indeed
To see the heavenly herdsman call his white-fleeced flock to feed.

Then sing to me thou tuneful chorister,
Though what thou sing’st be thine own requiem!
Tell me thy tale thou hapless chronicler
Of thine own tragedies! do not contemn
These unfamiliar haunts, this English field,
For many a lovely coronal our northern isle can yield

Which Grecian meadows know not, many a rose
Which all day long in vales AEolian
A lad might seek in vain for over-grows
Our hedges like a wanton courtesan
Unthrifty of its beauty; lilies too
Ilissos never mirrored star our streams, and cockles blue

Dot the green wheat which, though they are the signs
For swallows going south, would never spread
Their azure tents between the Attic vines;
Even that little **** of ragged red,
Which bids the robin pipe, in Arcady
Would be a trespasser, and many an unsung elegy

Sleeps in the reeds that fringe our winding Thames
Which to awake were sweeter ravishment
Than ever Syrinx wept for; diadems
Of brown bee-studded orchids which were meant
For Cytheraea’s brows are hidden here
Unknown to Cytheraea, and by yonder pasturing steer

There is a tiny yellow daffodil,
The butterfly can see it from afar,
Although one summer evening’s dew could fill
Its little cup twice over ere the star
Had called the lazy shepherd to his fold
And be no prodigal; each leaf is flecked with spotted gold

As if Jove’s gorgeous leman Danae
Hot from his gilded arms had stooped to kiss
The trembling petals, or young Mercury
Low-flying to the dusky ford of Dis
Had with one feather of his pinions
Just brushed them! the slight stem which bears the burden of its suns

Is hardly thicker than the gossamer,
Or poor Arachne’s silver tapestry,—
Men say it bloomed upon the sepulchre
Of One I sometime worshipped, but to me
It seems to bring diviner memories
Of faun-loved Heliconian glades and blue nymph-haunted seas,

Of an untrodden vale at Tempe where
On the clear river’s marge Narcissus lies,
The tangle of the forest in his hair,
The silence of the woodland in his eyes,
Wooing that drifting imagery which is
No sooner kissed than broken; memories of Salmacis

Who is not boy nor girl and yet is both,
Fed by two fires and unsatisfied
Through their excess, each passion being loth
For love’s own sake to leave the other’s side
Yet killing love by staying; memories
Of Oreads peeping through the leaves of silent moonlit trees,

Of lonely Ariadne on the wharf
At Naxos, when she saw the treacherous crew
Far out at sea, and waved her crimson scarf
And called false Theseus back again nor knew
That Dionysos on an amber pard
Was close behind her; memories of what Maeonia’s bard

With sightless eyes beheld, the wall of Troy,
Queen Helen lying in the ivory room,
And at her side an amorous red-lipped boy
Trimming with dainty hand his helmet’s plume,
And far away the moil, the shout, the groan,
As Hector shielded off the spear and Ajax hurled the stone;

Of winged Perseus with his flawless sword
Cleaving the snaky tresses of the witch,
And all those tales imperishably stored
In little Grecian urns, freightage more rich
Than any gaudy galleon of Spain
Bare from the Indies ever! these at least bring back again,

For well I know they are not dead at all,
The ancient Gods of Grecian poesy:
They are asleep, and when they hear thee call
Will wake and think ‘t is very Thessaly,
This Thames the Daulian waters, this cool glade
The yellow-irised mead where once young Itys laughed and played.

If it was thou dear jasmine-cradled bird
Who from the leafy stillness of thy throne
Sang to the wondrous boy, until he heard
The horn of Atalanta faintly blown
Across the Cumnor hills, and wandering
Through Bagley wood at evening found the Attic poets’ spring,—

Ah! tiny sober-suited advocate
That pleadest for the moon against the day!
If thou didst make the shepherd seek his mate
On that sweet questing, when Proserpina
Forgot it was not Sicily and leant
Across the mossy Sandford stile in ravished wonderment,—

Light-winged and bright-eyed miracle of the wood!
If ever thou didst soothe with melody
One of that little clan, that brotherhood
Which loved the morning-star of Tuscany
More than the perfect sun of Raphael
And is immortal, sing to me! for I too love thee well.

Sing on! sing on! let the dull world grow young,
Let elemental things take form again,
And the old shapes of Beauty walk among
The simple garths and open crofts, as when
The son of Leto bare the willow rod,
And the soft sheep and shaggy goats followed the boyish God.

Sing on! sing on! and Bacchus will be here
Astride upon his gorgeous Indian throne,
And over whimpering tigers shake the spear
With yellow ivy crowned and gummy cone,
While at his side the wanton Bassarid
Will throw the lion by the mane and catch the mountain kid!

Sing on! and I will wear the leopard skin,
And steal the mooned wings of Ashtaroth,
Upon whose icy chariot we could win
Cithaeron in an hour ere the froth
Has over-brimmed the wine-vat or the Faun
Ceased from the treading! ay, before the flickering lamp of dawn

Has scared the hooting owlet to its nest,
And warned the bat to close its filmy vans,
Some Maenad girl with vine-leaves on her breast
Will filch their beech-nuts from the sleeping Pans
So softly that the little nested thrush
Will never wake, and then with shrilly laugh and leap will rush

Down the green valley where the fallen dew
Lies thick beneath the elm and count her store,
Till the brown Satyrs in a jolly crew
Trample the loosestrife down along the shore,
And where their horned master sits in state
Bring strawberries and bloomy plums upon a wicker crate!

Sing on! and soon with passion-wearied face
Through the cool leaves Apollo’s lad will come,
The Tyrian prince his bristled boar will chase
Adown the chestnut-copses all a-bloom,
And ivory-limbed, grey-eyed, with look of pride,
After yon velvet-coated deer the ****** maid will ride.

Sing on! and I the dying boy will see
Stain with his purple blood the waxen bell
That overweighs the jacinth, and to me
The wretched Cyprian her woe will tell,
And I will kiss her mouth and streaming eyes,
And lead her to the myrtle-hidden grove where Adon lies!

Cry out aloud on Itys! memory
That foster-brother of remorse and pain
Drops poison in mine ear,—O to be free,
To burn one’s old ships! and to launch again
Into the white-plumed battle of the waves
And fight old Proteus for the spoil of coral-flowered caves!

O for Medea with her poppied spell!
O for the secret of the Colchian shrine!
O for one leaf of that pale asphodel
Which binds the tired brows of Proserpine,
And sheds such wondrous dews at eve that she
Dreams of the fields of Enna, by the far Sicilian sea,

Where oft the golden-girdled bee she chased
From lily to lily on the level mead,
Ere yet her sombre Lord had bid her taste
The deadly fruit of that pomegranate seed,
Ere the black steeds had harried her away
Down to the faint and flowerless land, the sick and sunless day.

O for one midnight and as paramour
The Venus of the little Melian farm!
O that some antique statue for one hour
Might wake to passion, and that I could charm
The Dawn at Florence from its dumb despair,
Mix with those mighty limbs and make that giant breast my lair!

Sing on! sing on!  I would be drunk with life,
Drunk with the trampled vintage of my youth,
I would forget the wearying wasted strife,
The riven veil, the Gorgon eyes of Truth,
The prayerless vigil and the cry for prayer,
The barren gifts, the lifted arms, the dull insensate air!

Sing on! sing on!  O feathered Niobe,
Thou canst make sorrow beautiful, and steal
From joy its sweetest music, not as we
Who by dead voiceless silence strive to heal
Our too untented wounds, and do but keep
Pain barricadoed in our hearts, and ****** pillowed sleep.

Sing louder yet, why must I still behold
The wan white face of that deserted Christ,
Whose bleeding hands my hands did once enfold,
Whose smitten lips my lips so oft have kissed,
And now in mute and marble misery
Sits in his lone dishonoured House and weeps, perchance for me?

O Memory cast down thy wreathed shell!
Break thy hoarse lute O sad Melpomene!
O Sorrow, Sorrow keep thy cloistered cell
Nor dim with tears this limpid Castaly!
Cease, Philomel, thou dost the forest wrong
To vex its sylvan quiet with such wild impassioned song!

Cease, cease, or if ‘t is anguish to be dumb
Take from the pastoral thrush her simpler air,
Whose jocund carelessness doth more become
This English woodland than thy keen despair,
Ah! cease and let the north wind bear thy lay
Back to the rocky hills of Thrace, the stormy Daulian bay.

A moment more, the startled leaves had stirred,
Endymion would have passed across the mead
Moonstruck with love, and this still Thames had heard
Pan plash and paddle groping for some reed
To lure from her blue cave that Naiad maid
Who for such piping listens half in joy and half afraid.

A moment more, the waking dove had cooed,
The silver daughter of the silver sea
With the fond gyves of clinging hands had wooed
Her wanton from the chase, and Dryope
Had ****** aside the branches of her oak
To see the ***** gold-haired lad rein in his snorting yoke.

A moment more, the trees had stooped to kiss
Pale Daphne just awakening from the swoon
Of tremulous laurels, lonely Salmacis
Had bared his barren beauty to the moon,
And through the vale with sad voluptuous smile
Antinous had wandered, the red lotus of the Nile

Down leaning from his black and clustering hair,
To shade those slumberous eyelids’ caverned bliss,
Or else on yonder grassy ***** with bare
High-tuniced limbs unravished Artemis
Had bade her hounds give tongue, and roused the deer
From his green ambuscade with shrill halloo and pricking spear.

Lie still, lie still, O passionate heart, lie still!
O Melancholy, fold thy raven wing!
O sobbing Dryad, from thy hollow hill
Come not with such despondent answering!
No more thou winged Marsyas complain,
Apollo loveth not to hear such troubled songs of pain!

It was a dream, the glade is tenantless,
No soft Ionian laughter moves the air,
The Thames creeps on in sluggish leadenness,
And from the copse left desolate and bare
Fled is young Bacchus with his revelry,
Yet still from Nuneham wood there comes that thrilling melody

So sad, that one might think a human heart
Brake in each separate note, a quality
Which music sometimes has, being the Art
Which is most nigh to tears and memory;
Poor mourning Philomel, what dost thou fear?
Thy sister doth not haunt these fields, Pandion is not here,

Here is no cruel Lord with murderous blade,
No woven web of ****** heraldries,
But mossy dells for roving comrades made,
Warm valleys where the tired student lies
With half-shut book, and many a winding walk
Where rustic lovers stray at eve in happy simple talk.

The harmless rabbit gambols with its young
Across the trampled towing-path, where late
A troop of laughing boys in jostling throng
Cheered with their noisy cries the racing eight;
The gossamer, with ravelled silver threads,
Works at its little loom, and from the dusky red-eaved sheds

Of the lone Farm a flickering light shines out
Where the swinked shepherd drives his bleating flock
Back to their wattled sheep-cotes, a faint shout
Comes from some Oxford boat at Sandford lock,
And starts the moor-hen from the sedgy rill,
And the dim lengthening shadows flit like swallows up the hill.

The heron passes homeward to the mere,
The blue mist creeps among the shivering trees,
Gold world by world the silent stars appear,
And like a blossom blown before the breeze
A white moon drifts across the shimmering sky,
Mute arbitress of all thy sad, thy rapturous threnody.

She does not heed thee, wherefore should she heed,
She knows Endymion is not far away;
’Tis I, ’tis I, whose soul is as the reed
Which has no message of its own to play,
So pipes another’s bidding, it is I,
Drifting with every wind on the wide sea of misery.

Ah! the brown bird has ceased:  one exquisite trill
About the sombre woodland seems to cling
Dying in music, else the air is still,
So still that one might hear the bat’s small wing
Wander and wheel above the pines, or tell
Each tiny dew-drop dripping from the bluebell’s brimming cell.

And far away across the lengthening wold,
Across the willowy flats and thickets brown,
Magdalen’s tall tower tipped with tremulous gold
Marks the long High Street of the little town,
And warns me to return; I must not wait,
Hark! ’Tis the curfew booming from the bell at Christ Church gate.
Leslie Ledezma Sep 2018
surrendering to the angel you send in the night
tarnishing night with stars you set, of mementos, gems
sweetened into being by the heat of unknown
fun in the warning
sun in the worsening
need to see the warm winds
in your hair, see it myself
my vigil, diadem is a pen
decrees are on each page
that summer endings and I
lay down to
- it's dreaming
of the soul that holds my soul
Mike Hauser Apr 2015
They stand in fragile circles
Lighting candles for their dead
As the memories that float on the breeze
Are all that they have left

The tears that pass between them
Have a somber silence that's deafening
You can feel the souls they're crying for
Touch them on the winds of change

As they light another candle
Another day goes by
With the tears that keep on flowing
Where they are forced to wonder why
Joe Cottonwood Jul 2015
black trees, silent stars
did you see? a meteorite!
life, infinite night
DieingEmbers May 2012
Softly you sleep
as I
unable to
keep tender vigil...

my waking dream
made flesh
sleeps
safe beneath
my thankful gaze.

Those eyes
see not mine own
tracing her lips
and chin
her perfect poise
framed
by gilded hair...

I brush back from
blushing cheeks
the waywardness
strands
and smile...

she knows not
I cannot sleep
for fear
I will awake.
Elissa Coady Sep 2011
Sift down to the gritty, shaking hands rock to and fro like a Ferris wheel car
Struggling each sinking stone to shush, to mute entirely, to caress each knuckle
To reassure—or at least calm the twisting worm on the dry sun caked pavement.
I listen to each breath in my ear, a mirror to things past, a gentle sloshing of misfortunes
Round and round the acid wall where the memories paint my smile
One pin ***** could spew cannibal poison in my cavity and eat me from the inside out.

The veiled things pushed to the back of the top shelf sink their dull talons downward
The pain was sharp once—the wound fresh and inexperienced, weeping non stop,
But now it is dull…sore like the dark morning in winter. A boarded up cabinet.
Yet always in my vision, always, always—a grey murmur, subtle yet driving me,
The vigil, to pry my lids open. To feel the sting of air gnawing at moisture—
To place black lilies on the casket of our love, and never ever look away.
Rapunzoll Mar 2016
your absence is
like the aftermath
of the storm

i'm left to wonder
whether i prefer
the desperate
insanity you blew
into my life

or the deadly
silence.
At least I know where I stand in a storm.
© copyright
They do not know that we remember them here,
Their names and faces locked in our hearts
Each one a smiling, could-be-me,
An everybody.

They cannot see that we seek peace in their name,
Their death has birthed a unique grief,
The painful realisation that death waits patiently nearby,
Demanding to know why?

They will not feel the love and hope that holds us in this place,
The nods from passing strangers, of every faith and race,
The friendships forged from tragedy, connections made through pain,
Arms linked in shared communion, and hands held though pouring rain.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vigil-for-victims-of-Tunisia-beach-attack/727291117417548?fref=ts
~♢~☆~♢~

A kiss of breath
This delight,
To inhale twilight.
Ride the nightlight to the stars.

To kiss the breath within
each moment
Free from introspection,
doubt and regrets.
It is here, I yearn to dwell.

No fear of neglect.
No fear of offense.
No fear of fear.

Yet, ever vigil,
to a slight variance of mood.
Of circumstance.
Of changes that determine
outcomes and future.

Fear of loss.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of fear.

I succomb to this perception.
Live in accordance
within the rules and structure
that appear to maintain order  
to each of my days

Yet I await, with anticipation...
To kiss the breath within
each moment

This delight.
To inhale twilight.
Ride the nightlight to the stars

~♢~☆~♢~**

Copyright © 2014 Christi Michaels. All Rights Reserved.
❣ An honor, ThankYou ❣
Darren Mar 2015
Trembling hands grasping bow,
Flowers laid on ground below,
Candles burnt and tears flow,
Balloons in hand, we let them go,

Glass remains amongst the tree,
Bark stripped back, in memory,
Stories shared for all to see,
High emotion, running free,

The sun descends in golden sky,
I feel your presence walking by,
Fading son caught my eye,
Waving back, he said Good bye.

By Darren Wall
Mohamed Nasir Jun 2018
My brother, you quietly succumbed to death.
Why do you defeat yourself I implore?
For cruel injustice had done by poor health
To rob of good of life you may explore.
Despite our vigil you went just the same.
In times of great wonders still suffered,
With scientific breakthroughs, and what a shame.
What possible way death can be differed?
Sleep in peace in tranquility brother;
Oh, leave this world to us, to concern, to think.
Some lives toiled for many, some no other,
Some only lives on merriment and drink.
Here laid he in soil of red burial earth,
And free of cares and rest for all it's worth.
My brother passed away about a month ago. May Allah be pleased with him for his duration stay on this Earth. May his prayers and good deeds be rewarded in the hereafter.
Dark n Beautiful Oct 2015
A candlelight Vigil for the poems,
As they scroll down the board
Last expression, unknown destination
lost history, put down your pens!
                     Words!

Have they stated their case?
Your words were meant kindly,
Your words was found,
and I did eat them and your words
were meant to be spoken
.
Don't let bad minded people, stop you from doing what you love to do
write, and keep on writing..
K Balachandran Dec 2018
Winter wrench snuggles,
Moving fingers stoke fire;
****** vigil.
Lived on one's back,
In the long hours of repose,
Life is a practical nightmare--
Hideous asleep or awake.

Shoulders and *****
Ache----!
Ache, and the mattress,
Run into boulders and hummocks,
Glows like a kiln, while the bedclothes--
Tumbling, importunate, daft--
Ramble and roll, and the gas,
******* to its lowermost,
An inevitable atom of light,
Haunts, and a stertorous sleeper
Snores me to hate and despair.

All the old time
Surges malignant before me;
Old voices, old kisses, old songs
Blossom derisive about me;
While the new days
Pass me in endless procession:
A pageant of shadows
Silently, leeringly wending
On . . . and still on . . . still on!

Far in the stillness a cat
Languishes loudly.  A cinder
Falls, and the shadows
Lurch to the leap of the flame.  The next man to me
Turns with a moan; and the snorer,
The drug like a rope at his throat,
Gasps, gurgles, snorts himself free, as the night-nurse,
Noiseless and strange,
Her bull's eye half-lanterned in apron,
(Whispering me, 'Are ye no sleepin' yet?'),
Passes, list-slippered and peering,
Round . . . and is gone.

Sleep comes at last--
Sleep full of dreams and misgivings--
Broken with brutal and sordid
Voices and sounds that impose on me,
Ere I can wake to it,
The unnatural, intolerable day.
Shaded Lamp Aug 2014
Deep down in the inhospitable gloom
Monterey Canyon welcomes an expectant mother
Unnoticed in the distance a whirring sound
and two parallel laser beams
Miss Cellania finds a nook
That instinct suggests is right
A place to nest and brood
A place to guard and wait

1.4 kilometers up a research institute
Guided the unmanned submarine
Correlated masses of data
Stared at live video feed
A unique event unfolded
Capturing such a moment
in this dark abyss

Clinging to a vertical rock
Her precious babies waiting to hatch
Her final duty to
Wait

Wait

Wait

Wait

Wait
Protect from predators and the icy cold
And so she began the
Inky black wait

Detached

Alone

The research crew returned later that year
Miss Cellania dutifully kept her vigil
They returned again month after month
Still she stubbornly stuck to the task in hand
The months turned to years
And still she protected her unhatched young
Clung to the same vertical spot
With nothing to eat
Alert, defensive
Motherly
Patiently waiting
Wasting away
Waiting
Waiting

Untill

F i f t y   t h r e e   m o n t h s   l a t e r
Four and a half years
Finally her wait ended
With a flurry of independent life

**Then death.
For all mothers
The mothers instinctive love
is surely the most powerful force on earth
K Balachandran Dec 2012
Evil intentions of the night
gets deflected by moon's vigilance,
she raises her lamp above the clouds,
night taken aback, prowls behind the shadows.
Clare Apr 2015
Nkem,
With endless love,
with faith
A heart, they say, is won.
In that hope
these thousand nights
But mine, to claim, is none.
Nkem,
Are a thousand nights
all I can get
For you, for me, for us?
A thousand lonely
Nights in wait
For one night to be just.
Nkem,
Let it be sung,
A song out loud
A song of love and pain,
So that never
a thousand nights'
Vigil be gone in vain.
Nkem means 'mine' or  'my own' - a term of endearment to someone from the opposite ***, to whom one is attracted. Language - Igbo
The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.
The harvest moon has come,
Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.

So people can't sleep,
So they go out where elms and oak trees keep
A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come!

And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep
Stare up at her petrified, while she swells
Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing
Closer and closer like the end of the world.

Till the gold fields of stiff wheat
Cry 'We are ripe, reap us!' and the rivers
Sweat from the melting hills.
Inner not outer, without gnash of teeth
  Or weeping, save quiet sobs of some who pray
  And feel the Everlasting Arms beneath,--
Blackness of darkness this, but not for aye;
  Darkness that even in gathering fleeteth fast,
  Blackness of blackest darkness close to day.
Lord Jesus, through Thy darkened pillar cast,
  Thy gracious eyes all-seeing cast on me
  Until this tyranny be overpast.
Me, Lord, remember who remember Thee,
  And cleave to Thee, and see Thee without sight,
  And choose Thee still in dire extremity,
And in this darkness worship Thee my Light,
  And Thee my Life adore in shadow of death,
  Thee loved by day, and still beloved by night.
It is the Voice of my Beloved that saith:
  "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life, I go
  Whither that soul knows well that followeth"--

O Lord, I follow, little as I know;
  At this eleventh hour I rise and take
  My life into my hand, and follow so,
With tears and heart-misgivings and heart-ache;
  Thy feeblest follower, yet Thy follower
  Indomitable for Thine only sake.
To-night I gird my will afresh, and stir
  My strength, and brace my heart to do and dare,
  Marvelling: Will to-morrow wake the whirr
Of the great rending wheel, or from his lair
  Startle the jubilant lion in his rage,
  Or clench the headsman's hand within my hair,
Or kindle fire to speed my pilgrimage,
  Chariot of fire and horses of sheer fire
  Whirling me home to heaven by one fierce stage?
Thy Will I will, I Thy desire desire;
  Let not the waters close above my head,
  Uphold me that I sink not in this mire:
For flesh and blood are frail and sore afraid;
  And young I am, unsatisfied and young,
  With memories, hopes, with cravings all unfed,
My song half sung, its sweetest notes unsung,
  All plans cut short, all possibilities,
  Because my cord of life is soon unstrung.
Was I a careless woman set at ease
  That this so bitter cup is brimmed for me?

  Had mine own vintage settled on the lees?
A word, a puff of smoke, would set me free;
  A word, a puff of smoke, over and gone:...
  Howbeit, whom have I, Lord, in heaven but Thee?
Yea, only Thee my choice is fixed upon
  In heaven or earth, eternity or time:--
  Lord, hold me fast, Lord, leave me not alone,
Thy silly heartless dove that sees the lime
  Yet almost flutters to the tempting bough:
  Cover me, hide me, pluck me from this crime.
A word, a puff of smoke, would save me now:...
  But who, my God, would save me in the day
  Of Thy fierce anger? only Saviour Thou.
Preoccupy my heart, and turn away
  And cover up mine eyes from frantic fear,
  And stop mine ears lest I be driven astray:
For one stands ever dinning in mine ear
  How my gray Father withers in the blight
  Of love for me, who cruel am and dear;
And how my Mother through this lingering night
  Until the day, sits tearless in her woe,
  Loathing for love of me the happy light
Which brings to pass a concourse and a show
  To glut the hungry faces merciless,
The thousand faces swaying to and fro,
  Feasting on me unveiled in helplessness

  Alone,--yet not alone: Lord, stand by me
  As once by lonely Paul in his distress.
As blossoms to the sun I turn to Thee;
  Thy dove turns to her window, think no scorn;
  As one dove to an ark on shoreless sea,
To Thee I turn mine eyes, my heart forlorn;
  Put forth Thy scarred right Hand, kind Lord, take hold
  Of me Thine all-forsaken dove who mourn:
For Thou hast loved me since the days of old,
  And I love Thee Whom loving I will love
  Through life's short fever-fits of heat and cold;
Thy Name will I extol and sing thereof,
  Will flee for refuge to Thy Blessed Name.
  Lord, look upon me from thy bliss above:
Look down on me, who shrink from all the shame
  And pangs and desolation of my death,
  Wrenched piecemeal or devoured or set on flame,
While all the world around me holds its breath
  With eyes glued on me for a gazing-stock,
  Pitiless eyes, while no man pitieth.
The floods are risen, I stagger in their shock,
  My heart reels and is faint, I fail, I faint:
  My God, set Thou me up upon the rock,
Thou Who didst long ago Thyself acquaint
  With death, our death; Thou Who didst long ago

  Pour forth Thy soul for sinner and for saint.
Bear me in mind, whom no one else will know;
  Thou Whom Thy friends forsook, take Thou my part,
  Of all forsaken in mine overthrow;
Carry me in Thy *****, in Thy heart,
  Carry me out of darkness into light,
  To-morrow make me see Thee as Thou art.
Lover and friend Thou hidest from my sight:--
  Alas, alas, mine earthly love, alas,
  For whom I thought to don the garments white
And white wreath of a bride, this rugged pass
  Hath utterly divorced me from thy care;
  Yea, I am to thee as a shattered glass
Worthless, with no more beauty lodging there,
  Abhorred, lest I involve thee in my doom:
  For sweet are sunshine and this upper air,
And life and youth are sweet, and give us room
  For all most sweetest sweetnesses we taste:
  Dear, what hast thou in common with a tomb?
I bow my head in silence, I make haste
  Alone, I make haste out into the dark,
  My life and youth and hope all run to waste.
Is this my body cold and stiff and stark,
  Ashes made ashes, earth becoming earth,
  Is this a prize for man to make his mark?

Am I, that very I who laughed in mirth
  A while ago, a little, little while,
  Yet all the while a-dying since my birth?
Now am I tired, too tired to strive or smile;
  I sit alone, my mouth is in the dust:
  Look Thou upon me, Lord, for I am vile.
In Thee is all my hope, is all my trust,
  On Thee I centre all my self that dies,
  And self that dies not with its mortal crust,
But sleeps and wakes, and in the end will rise
  With hymns and hallelujahs on its lips,
  Thee loving with the love that satisfies.
As once in Thine unutterable eclipse
  The sun and moon grew dark for sympathy,
  And earth cowered quaking underneath the drips
Of Thy slow Blood priceless exceedingly,
  So now a little spare me, and show forth
  Some pity, O my God, some pity of me.
If trouble comes not from the south or north,
  But meted to us by Thy tender hand,
  Let me not in Thine eyes be nothing worth:
Behold me where in agony I stand,
  Behold me no man caring for my soul,
  And take me to Thee in the far-off land,
Shorten the race and lift me to the goal.
Brandi Oct 2018
We the people built the wall
You can look left
You can look right

But we the people
Yes
WE THE PEOPLE
Built the wall

He didn’t
She didn’t
We all did
We
All
Wall (“e” dropped)

The battlefield is one we meant to use in case of war with the enemy
When did the Enemy become one of our own?
Or an entire group?

When did the Enemy become the media?
The press?
When did it become Trump supporters?
Or Trump himself?
When did the Enemy become those who dislike Trump?
Or those who are politically liberal?

I believe we the people created the Enemy
As philosophical as that sounds
We, the people, did it

We the people touted diversity like the ticket to tranquility
Placing our bets that this warm embrace of peoples
Religions
Backgrounds
Would be a true gift for all people
Rich or poor
Christian or Jew

Here is the truth of the matter
The pursuit of diversity
Of creating a mural of the American people
Was superficial
It was not carried out to its full potential

We became frightened
Untrusting of others
And so we unknowingly
Yet willingly
Began to build walls

It’s quiet
Then there’s a hurricane
A mass shooting
An election

And suddenly you look and see a black man
Or a black woman
Or maybe a younger black boy
Or black girl
Standing behind their call to action of support for the Black Lives Matter movement

And for several months it Is everyone’s story
But then it is not
And people
White
Black
Any color
Feels disappointment
And the belief that walls will just keep growing taller

Because there is hate
There is a form of social paranoia that emerges
Which means more walls

An angel appears in the midst of the havoc
The grief
Under a night sky lit by vigil candlelight of yet another unfortunate event that stole the lives of our brothers and sisters
Saying that God did not mean for us to build walls and live behind them

So one day
A family makes a vow to spread kindness and love to their neighbors
The family comes together in unity
They keep the pieces of their individual walls
But now lay them down at their feet
As a way of getting somewhere
That way leads to their neighbor’s house

They reach out and take the hand of the hurting
No matter what color that hand is
No matter their beliefs
No matter what political wing they favor

It takes two wings for an eagle to fly
Left and right
An eagle with one wing would likely get exhausted
As many feel today

The neighbors receive kindness
And then they act
The walls come tumbling down
They do good regardless of the Enemy’s hatred of good
We the people can all agree
There is an Enemy
That we can be sure
And as we lie in confusion over who or what the Enemy is
We the people are all suffering
From all sides

As more and more people say one more kind word
And we the people find places
Music for the spirit
Food for the soul
That always has been
And always will be
Ours to share and appreciate

It is then we look left and right without a wall in sight
They did not disappear
For the walls simply laid down boards
Displaying the human nature of us all
As we
We the people
Stand on one unshakable
Indivisible bridge

That welcomes liberty and justice for all
That always has been
And always will be
A gift for we the people

© 2018
Brandi Keaton
I know this is a lengthy entry. Please read in it's entirety if possible. I hope in this time of trial and confusion this can bring some hope as one people. Join me in engaging in more kindness. Thank you!
Eleete j Muir Jan 2012
Serendipities torrential deluge
Of dulcet applause reigning
In the divine dynasty of
Empiricisms arcane lore,
Heavens most high of heirachies
Beyond the veil
Drowning in altruistic
Reflexive salutations;
The regnant patent mutitioning
Of the waters Lethe from
Serpens poisened chalice of saints
Evoking the advent vigil of
Dusts chaldean dreams,
The sabbatical ordination
The fatal ravens annunciation
Heralding valediction
Convening betwixt and between
Gates of ivory and horn
Arraigning the apostolic conclave.


ELEETE J MUIR.
Valsa George Mar 2018
Far away in ancient Jerusalem
Stood a garden, long, long ago
Home to giant oaks and figs
And plants and shrubs of every kind.

On every season, from time to time
Merrily they would burst into bloom
Filling the air with fragrance sweet
And fuelling the hearts with joy and cheer.

Amid the riot of flashing shades
Where Poppies and Pansies held their heads
In a corner, there a Lily stood,
Sans scent and sans grandeur.

A poor loner never once noticed
Nor skilled to steal the show,
Those, brilliant in shade and shape
With contempt openly quipped

‘It’s such a shame
She grows among us
With such pallid shade
And nothing to rave’,

‘Lilies are such lazy lot
Giving only seasonal blooms’

Rang aloud their haughty comments
Rashly blurted out and blunt

The poor Lily wilted in shame
Wishing she had never been born.

Late that evening, through the garden
Into the newly dug up grave
A band of people came with lights
Bearing someone cut and scathed.
With blood oozing, drop by drop
From wounds, left by piercing nails

The body, carefully wrapped in linen
Was the body of Jesus - Son of God
The one who bore the sins of the world
And courted the most accursed of deaths.

The body embalmed was laid inside
And sealed with a giant block of stone
Soldiers posted to guard the tomb
And every vigil so prudently kept.

Early by dawn, three days hence
While it was still very dark
From inside the tomb had come
Rumbling sounds and a blinding light.

Flowers en masse blinked their eyes
Beheld a man, gently walking out
The wounds still fresh on his palm
And the linen that swaddled, lying behind.

As they watched this queer sight
In awful amazement, they did see
A host of Lilies, white as snow
Far more beautiful than any of them
Bowing their heads in reverential glee
And singing Hosanna to the Lord of Life.

All the flora in silent shock
Sighted from whence the Lilies came
They sprang unforeseen in those spots
Where drops of blood from his body fell

Then onwards, without fail
April sees the grandeur and grace,
Of snowy lilies - those delicate blooms
Sprouting suddenly from the crust of the Earth
Joggling their heads in whiffing breeze,
And giving delight to all who behold.
Wish all my friends a Happy Easter ! Let the resurrected Lord fill joy and peace in every heart!!
Lawrence Hall Dec 2017
On the Vigil of the Nativity

In a Capuchin friary, on a wall
In faded letters from the long ago
A simple sign asks the casual visitor

                      “Why Are You Here?”

And that’s a fair question; it always is
If I am in one place, I am not in another;
Unless someone has forced me otherwise
I have made a choice to be where I am

So why do I kneel here (and half asleep)
In a Stable, among cattle and sheep?

— The End —