HAMMER AND KNIFE

HAMMER AND KNIFE

Hammer and knife
Speartip and strife!
Terror and dread
The Doomed and the Dead!
Helmet and shield
Warmount and weal
To rise and to stand
The measure of man
A line does unfold, and
Another is drawn
The fields are aflame
The brave still unnamed
Blood black and soiled
Desperate we toil
Lords vomit red
Their flesh cold and bled,
Hammer and Knife
Beaten and sliced!
Arrow and sword
Pierced and then gored!
The grunts and the shouts
The moans and the doubts
The rallies and wounds
Shall we be entombed?
We few as we stand
Our fallen in bands
The calls and commands
They litter the land, yet
Exhausted and spent
None must relent, for
My Hammer and Knife
The Wards of my Life
Still fill both my hands
Shall do what they can,
For I fight to the end
Or to grave I descend…

So this morning after walking Sam (my Great Dane) I was practicing with my warhammer and knife when suddenly the following song came to me as I worked. (Not all of it, but the first couple of stanzas.)

Then, after finishing my practice I went to the west deck of my house, and sat in the sun, and imagined a battle and wrote the rest of the piece.

I will publish it as a poem that my character Larmaegeon composes and sings (so it really a song, but sung without musical accompaniment) for his companions right before they go into a seemingly hopeless battle. For in the scene involved they are ambushed and suddenly surrounded.

So this song will go into my novel series the Kithariune.

Since I am now learning the guitar (see here: Fade Away) and am planning on turning to the lute next I am now considering taking some of the poetic works that Larmaegeon and others compose in the novels and writing out the music to such works as well and including those in the novel too. Along with all of the other supplementary material.

I am rather pleased with Hammer and Knife, but if you wish to comment upon it (if it please you or displease you) then feel free to do so.

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BETWEEN MANKIND AND MANHOOD

BETWEEN MANKIND AND MANHOOD

The old man is wary
The old man is rough
The old man ain’t waiting
He’s had enough,
The old man is weary, but
The old man is tough
The old man is certain
He’s had enough,
The young man is angry
The old man is strong
The young man’s impatient
The old man holds long,
The young man is fearful
The old man don’t care
The young man stirs others, but
The old man will dare;

The young man is hell-wrought
The old man thanks God
The young man runs riot
The old man hits hard,
The young man talks always
The old man’s ashore
The young man still cowers
The old man’s at war,
You think age a warrant
I’m not talking time
I speak of man’s Nature
His soul, flesh, and mind;

There’s a young man in many, yet
An old man in few
Why the world is so troubled, and
Men do as they do, for
Theory’s your wisdom
Cunning your thoughts, yet
Between them together
Always you’re lost, so
Your cities are rotten
Your races are run
Your collectivist shitholes
The old man will shun, and
Your classes are broken
Your reason corrupt
Down do you stumble, and
Cannot stand up
For no man is master
Who won’t stand alone, for
You moderns are plastic, but
The old man is stone;

Thus the young men are cattle
But the old man’s a wolf
For the masses are cowards
Who cringe at the gulf,
‘Tween mankind and manhood
In their broods and their tribes
Yet he’s better than you are
For He is Alive…

THE ECLIPSE OF THE LIGHTLESS MEN

THE ECLIPSE OF THE LIGHTLESS MEN

From the face of the moon do the gods watch the sins
Of the dim absent dreaming in the darkest of men
Do the stars in their orbits, falling to flare
Alight in the cities, or ignite in the air
To illumine the blindness, unruly console
When the blackness eclipses the depths of their souls?

The mirror is silver, the heavens are deep
The eyes of the lightless like death do they sleep
Their tribes all afire, rimmed by the blaze
Yet their hearts are all stone, and their minds all a maze
Where the light cannot shelter, nor sun still abide
No thread to remember, no savior arrives,
For the men who are lightless grow great in their herds
Yet of hope or of Wisdom nothing is heard
An Eclipse of the Silence, the cold and the still
The Furies unfrozen, a debt to fulfill
For the Plague that was promised is spoken again
The Cure long abandoned, a whispering wind,
The masses are metered, each measured alike
For man is as nothing when compassed by night
The Earth is ill-favored, the moon eats her share
The darkness within us escapes to the air –
Though who bothers to repent, or lust for the light
When the lure of the eclipse burns yet so bright?
Encased in our Eclipse who yet occupies
That nature eternal that never can die
Or wonders to wander where darkness is rare
Where men yet make marvels, not terrors declare?
I would I could tell you, I would that I knew
For the lies of the lightless have eclipsed me and you…

______________________________

My poem commemorating the Solar Eclipse in the year of our Lord, 2017, and the current (and constant) nature of man…

I began it around midnight yesterday and concluded it about 0200 hours today (8/21/17).

#writing  #poetry   #eclipse

 

THE CRAFT OF FOREIGN FEATHERSTONES

THE CRAFT OF FOREIGN FEATHERSTONES

I thought that I had injured
That with which I thought
Only then to understand
The fault that I had wrought,

My imagination
Turning as it slept
Found itself abandoned
While to other lands I crept,

The hills of high philosophy
The mountains of the moon
The blood of war, the boatman’s fee
(That endless shore, an anchored leevariant line)
Upon these I was hewn,

The craft of foreign featherstones
A science, or an art?
What matter to that one dethroned
Whose will will soon depart?

Clever in the market stalls
Cunning in the wares
What happens when intent appalled
Is taken unawares?

Creation is a fakir’s cheat
The muses whores of fate
Yet man is just an instrument
Come often, or come late,

If he would be a better thing
He must to something else
Bend himself in constant chase
And sometimes so with stealth,

For he commands that lofty globe
Granted him by God,
Yet even so, he must still show
He knows of the façade,

For art is nothing but the world
Dressed up as if were true,
Therefore man has no real art
Without what he first grew,

Within his mind, upon his heart
He wrote, he sketched, he drew
Then he found that thing profound
When nothing yet is due

Thus (and therefore),

Art can nothing to this world
It did not first possess,
Yet turning so with twisted charms
Man does acquiesce

That in himself creation roams
Seeking whom (and what) to eat, but
First that man must eat this world
For him to be complete…

__________________________________________

Usually I post my verse on Mondays. For First Verse.

But I have been very busy lately and have had scant time for composition. Today though a friend of mine mentioned something about “creation” and since he is an artist I went ahead and wrote a poem I’ve been meaning to write awhile on the subject of art and creation anyway.

I have my own definition for the term “featherstone” in relation to creation and art. Or indeed in relation to anything at all.

I use it in this way: it refers to a magical or mythological Xoanon (that falls from the heavens and is taken as a god or carven into an idol and worshiped), to a thing that cannot in reality exist (because it is entirely self-contradictory), to polish away all of the weight of a thing and leave behind only the most opposite (and usually useless) thing, and even to Potmos, and the Residuum.

By foreign featherstone I mean that featherstone not native to one’s self, or that featherstone one must seek out elsewhere or that lures one elsewhere.

THE SECRET ACCORD

My opinion is this. A man’s true Word-Hoard isn’t just what he knows, for not all coins are of the same weight and measure. Rather his true Word-Hoard is what his treasures will buy and sell, and often and uppermost, in secret…

 

THE SECRET ACCORD

I dug a Word Hoard
Connate and wide
To bury the Wealth
That often abides
When the Weal and the Wisdom
That cannot be spread
By exchange in the markets
Still dwells, it is said,
In the bed of Procrustes
Asleep for awhile
In dreams made of amber
For this mind of exile
Has mastered the tongue
Of the treasures beneath
Subterranean efforts
In caverns replete
The facade of the fashion
A looking-glass hall
Where the hordes
Glom the gilt-work
And the herd is a-stall
There’s an ark, and an archway
A cup dipped in brass
For written upon it
Inscribed is a task
In proesy a notion
An omen you say
That word is prophetic
Indemic, assay
What you will
Of what cannot be termed
For the fire is sire
As the Worm of it turns
Broken and paltry
Forgotten and lost
The Latin beneath us
The Greek at all cost
The Wales of the Harlech
The Angles at Wrox
Gold-banded the cold Danes
With the Norsemen at bay
All did they answer
More did they say
Of the Word-Hoard we carry
When tarry we will
At the heart-spring
Of language
That flows from us still
Neath that Selenic moot
When nothing may be
‘Cept the terms that you loot
When demanding you seek
To be understood
In the things that you know
When the other is clever
Ingenious and bold
Having bled in his efforts
To get a Word-Hoard
He can share with his brothers
With a secret accord.

SHE SWEPT THE LAKE: UP WILL COME

The other night a buddy of mine posted this image to my Facebook page wondering if it would interest me. It did. And so I wrote the following poem to accompany it.

Avantgardens. Willow effigy by Olga Ziemska.

SHE SWEPT THE LAKE

(Up Will Come)

She swept the lake
A conjured doom
She rose in haste
From threaded looms
The twisted vines
Across the stones
Did thrash and twine
As if alone
She wailed her torment –

In effigy

Sprang from the Earth
Yet not redeemed

An omen of an ancient kind
A living curse, a knotted sign

Evoked in vengeance
Shaped by awe
Of blood resent
And rootless gnawed

Some witch has woven
Of her spite
A kindred soul
To seek delight

To haunt and drive
With fearsome rage
Another down
Into her age

For up will come
That from our souls
In weaving wrong
Is all foretold

And birthing it will
Monsters mold
Of longing hot
And hatreds cold…

A POET HONORS THE UNTOLD HORRORS OF THE FIRST GREAT WINTER STORM IN THE UPSTATE OF 2017

A POET HONORS THE UNTOLD HORRORS OF THE FIRST GREAT WINTER STORM IN THE UPSTATE OF 2017

The southern snows bit long and deep
The drifts and piles rose in a heap
The cold it made me almost shiver
From me, this, please – soon do deliver
Never’less, this raucous storm
Caused my feet to be less warm
Oh please, oh please, the humanity
Save us all from these extremes
The winter in these southern climes
It borders close upon a crime
Dark she sneers upon us all
Enough! Enough! Too much snowfall!
So if we live through this disaster
Let’s prepare more sure foreverafter
Because I for one am hard oppressed
By this our doom – oh what, oh what,
Oh what a forlorn mess!

No, seriously, I for one will be glad for the quick return of the 70 degree winter. This milk-frost crap is entirely laughable.

AN END WILL COME ANON (I AM RESOLVED)

AN END WILL COME ANON

Unresolved I nothing did
Resolved at once I swiftly bid, but
Finding other ends so hid
Within the beam, and bound amid
I resolutely, God forbid,
Discovered not what cause undid
What cunning tactic
Could not Cure, what resolution
Did procure, does thinking thus
Make sure allure, or do our thoughts
Our acts abjure when Time
Is counted Friend or Foe,
Does it matter, do you know?

Or is this best solved in the Heart
Some never do, some flaming start
Yet those who finish, finish true
Brook no excuse, all pleas eschew
When they start they set off hot
Then burn until most have forgot
But in their souls no fire dims
They seek a crown, and seek it grim
They go on, and on, up to the rim
To end what ere they first begin
While others speak, they act
And act, and act again…
In habit so unlike most men.

You ask me what has most import
The time, the nature, or the sport?
I tell you that it matters not
It matters what you’ve yet begot
While others to their fallen lot
Pause to rest, and then do squat
For good – though good be ill
To carry on no more, still,
Stillness is their end:
So yes, the question solves itself
If any will but hear it well,
The start is vital, this is true
The middle hard to labor through
Yet if you but continue on
While others drop,
Their motives gone –

Your end will come, and come anon…
Resolved, your aim is true.

 

(Written as my answer to being resolved for 2017)

MY HOUND AND THE LORD’S

This poem is for my dog Sam. Or, as his name really is, Samaruel. Or, Samaruel, as my wife calls him.

Now Sam ain’t dead yet (thankfully) and neither am I, but we both will be. One day. And I’ve seen Death come awful close to both of us a coupla times. You know how that is. So I figured I’d get my licks in early in this world. Fas as Sam is concerned.

Now I’ve had a lotta great dogs and other animals over time. But Sam and I have been through stuff together that, well, it’s like a bond of blood. Or blood mixed with blood.

Now I hope to see all my critters after I’m dead. But Sam and I, after we’re both dead, I plan for us to go a roaming. Far as far can get us, wide as wide will go.

So here’s my verse to my buddy. He’s flesh and blood and bone and fur like I’ve never really known. I helped deliver him (like me he tried to breech and had to be turned), raised him from a pup, and have shared close now to a decade of my life with him.

He’s a helluvah dog.

Hope you enjoy.

 

MY HOUND AND THE LORD’S
                     (for Sam)

100_2349

He’ll always be my beast
My hound and the Lord’s
By heaven, sky, and ground
Come famine, or come feast

He tracks the forest green
He scouts the river banks
Mountains, fields, redoubts
He runs beside me free
Happy in his thanks

Yet grateful full am I
He calls me his and friend
For in his loyal trust
I joy, and do depend

The roads we share are long
The hunger and the cold
The heat does wear us both
But time has made us old

Summer long in song
Autumn fair and sweet
Winter’s dark is deep
Spring again, and dawn,
One day we both shall sleep

Yet he shall be my beast
My hound, and the Lord’s
Eternity is long
Death then is but the least
Of crossings we did ford

For in some other land
Upon some other world
My dog and I shall stand
Our hearts both long unfurled
My hand upon his head
Bright gleam within his eye
We’ll ask for no new bed
Nor shall we fade or die
He’ll run and scout for me
I’ll laugh and follow suit
We’ll pass a thousand leagues
My beast, myself – renewed
For in that coming day
With stars but without night
We both shall find our way
No distance to respite
For he shall be my beast
And I shall be his friend
That shall be our fate
Together without end…

THE SUNSET HALL

THE SUNSET HALL

There is a sunset hall
Far away from here
I’ve seen it dim and small
But in my heart it’s near

It’s empty when I look
No matter, day or night
By everyone forsook
A wasted, ruined sight

Yet in my soul it burns
Dark with bitter tears
For in my mind it churns
Fires still that sear
I wish the light would fade
From all I have seen there
It is an open grave
Ling’ring in the air
It will not go away
That sunset never ends
The stones will not decay
And I cannot defend

Myself from it…

The empty song of it…

The coming night of it…

The wasted flight from it…

If one day you find
Me sitting by the sea
Drowned, but still I’m dry
Despite all you see

Know an empty hall
Sunset, far away
Has found me after all
Or did I go to stay?

Seek it…

Did I go seek it?

The ruined site of it…

 

Because…

There is a sunset hall
Far away from here
Sometimes it will call
From where is never clear
But when I close my eyes
I find my heart within
No matter how I lie
I live there in myself

With it

The sunset never ends…

Within

Yes, the sunset never ends

Within…

WITHOUT A PLAN

WITHOUT A PLAN
(TO THEIR KNEES)

To their knees the fell men bent
Their manhood sold, their courage spent
To herd, en masse, their movements ran
For of them all, the same demand
That everyone should bow and scrape
To each other, no escape
No Rising High, no better god
Submission’s slave and worldly shod
Their only prayer to king or queen
The present age their only dream
Out of their mouths come feckless oaths
From their hands spring deeds to loathe
No shame, no guilt, and no reform
Repentance laboured, and stillborn
Deceit a crown for cunning heads
Their dawn as dark as creeping dread
Their craft disguised, but inward bred
Their soul’s surmise, that “God is Dead
To be replaced with urbane art
The bane cum blessing, bitter hearts
Society their altared grave
To seize and offer what they gave
Back to themselves while it will last
Though of rot their bid is cast
For all that man can build and sow
He cannot his redemption grow
He thinks him “Wise Sophisticate
To lure on Good, himself the bait
He does not know he stinks of Death
To Doom he’s drawn, his own bequest, and
The Physic True who could arrest
Who’d Cure decay within his breast, why
What self-wise man has any truck
With God or Savior when to luck
He trusts his Fortune, built by hand, his
Only Truth that man is man –

That god within – without a Plan.

OR IS IT?

OR IS IT?

All men are equal
Yet very few are
Some pause at nowhere
And others go far
You’re taught all your ideals
To find few who keep
Them as you’re told to
Awake, or asleep,
The Child is the Father
Or so it is said,
Yet even in childhood 
Indifference is bred
A quorum of billions
A lone, single soul
A balance of equals
Or a thing to enroll?
(Or is it – inrole?)
All men are equal
Perhaps this is true
But not in the living
And not as they do;
Some men are driven
By doom, and by fate,
Some will learn early
Some will learn late
Some never catch on
Pity them, yes?
Some will gain nothing
Not knowing it yet,
Some will have treasures
Envy them, no?
Advantage breeds profit
(Or is it – plunder?)
Or didn’t you know?
Some will find searching
Some never do,
Which is the better?
I leave that to you
Some will have false peace
Some will have war
Though no fault of their nature
She’s adored, he’s abhorred;
 Some will thrive greatly
Some will fall hard
Is it luck or Good Fortune?
Or the skill of the Bard?
You want I should tell you?
Hell, I’ve never known
Yet even unwitting
I still play along
For the Chance or the Purpose
That I may be one
Such men as are disposed
To know what they’ve won
For all men are equal
Admit it or not
For no one is certain
If paid, or if bought,
Cause all men are equal
Even when not
For man is a mortal
(Or is it – a man is immortal?
Either way, eh)
What a Gordian Knot…
 

HELP A BROTHER OUT IF YOU CAN…

I am somewhat sad and would like your help. Over my lifetime, and since I was a little kid, I have read literature. At this point a great deal of literature.

Every month I read new books in particular categories of study which interest me such as science, religion, art, philosophy, etc. and Literature is one of those categories. Because I have read so much literature over time my choices now wear thin. Very thin.

Recently I got a book called the Literature Book to give me new ideas for novels, books of poetry, etc. to read. To my dismay I found that I have read (at least once and sometimes multiple times) almost all of the works listed in the book including the more obscure works, including most of the great literature in some foreign cultures such as German, French, Italian, Russian, Greek, Indian (India,), Chinese, and Japanese.

I am growing tired of re-reading literature I have already read. (For instance I not long ago finished re-reading Beowulf, the Aeneid, and the short stories of Victor Hugo.)

Therefore I am open to suggestions, even if the work is obscure (such as the Confessions of an English Opium Eater – I’ve read it, it’s in my library, or the Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci – also read and in my personal library) or foreign I’d still be happy to entertain the recommendation. I really like Medieval and Ancient literature (although I will read modern literature of it is actual literature and not just pop culture crap) but I’m growing kind of desperate to put my hands on good literature that I’ve never read before.

If you can help a brother out then I’d really appreciate it…

Just leave your recommendations below in the comments section.

WE ARE WRECKED

Many things have occupied my attention and mind of late. Not least the sorry state and fate of my nation.

 

WE ARE WRECKED

We are wrecked on raging seas
The world it is now lost
Our country, once a paradise
Is now a tempest tossed
Fire in the eyes of man
Murder from their hands
Terror steeped in blood and death
O’er floods our lands

Men seek violence as their aim
Violence turns them back
Those so wounded, blind and lame
Are all alike attacked
Reason has no weight to move
Impulse is unchained
Wisdom lost, or exiled long
Goes about unnamed
Injury for wrong returned
Is gifted to us all
Slavery thus vengeance borne
Is Justice so forestalled
We do not seek to understand
What we can best attend
We rather long to burn alike
Among our common sins
Manipulated, one and all
No one questions self
Grievance grows, our spite enthroned
As if some treasured wealth
No one hopes to end it all
Just to play the game
Until that time when all is lost
Except for loss and pain
Failure is the afterbirth
Of long aborted hope
Deception is the albatross
That hangs about our throats
We are wrecked on raging seas
The world it is now lost
Perhaps we can to better shores
But how, and at what cost?
Some shout, “this way!”
Some cry, “here!”
Most swim as currents flow
Is there a port to shelter them,
Or do they even know?

Tossed by waves on reckless seas
It’s hard to sight your mark
For once lost on the oceans deep
There is no saving Ark
Yet far away, as true as souls
Who’ve given up their fears
There is a Kingdom, vast and sure
That does not drown in tears
Men did not build it
Yet they’re there
The ones who threw away
The ballast of their sins and wrongs
The clutching to their hates;
The ones most free of bitterness
The ones who swam the Gulf
To follow He who sailed alone
To sound the depths of trust
If only we, our selves resolved
Might yet attempt the same
Then we might reach a different world
Wholly different framed, but
Weighted with our worldly cares
Which could not float a Fish
We’ll never reach a port so safe
No matter what we wish
(Bated by the things we’ve dared
We could not navigate                                           ALTERNATE STANZA 17
A better man, in better lands,
Or all our vices sate)
For we are wrecked on raging seas
This world it is now lost, and
We are drowning, just like it
In waves all tempest tossed;
Yes, we are drowning
Just like it
Because we’re surely lost…

THE END OF ALL (WAR UNCHECKED)

THE END OF ALL (WAR UNCHECKED)

I play the Ogre in the sun
Battles in the unreal Wastes
Tracks upon the injured Earth
Men lost at bootless, useless tasks
Desperate in their race
To halt the Great Machine
Before it plows their graves

Shells fired true at noon
Scream and then erupt
Melting steel and flesh
Can any still be saved?

A flash and searing light
Mushroom clouds rise
High in Death –
Men are vaporized, but
Shielded from the shock
The Ogre shakes it off
The Ogre lumbers on,
All else is crushed like dust
Reduced to crumbled rock
In what can men now trust?
In what do they take stock?

Replacements rush the line
Their missiles roar in flight
The battle rages gold and red
Until the fall of night,
The ruins smolder long
The slag it runs like blood
The dark is still and cold
Men buried in the mud

No movement shows on scopes
No sound is heard to churn
The ground no longer shakes
No giant Beast comes forth
There is no steam or quake,
The moon spies no Mighty Monster
Neath the clouds of man-made smoke
As it runs the sky in haste –
It seems as if there’s Victory
That doom has been revoked

Yet come the dawn
Come the morning’s rise
Men in dread do hear
The distant turning wheel and clank
Of scored and tempered metal
Once more in motion on the Earth,
They feel the tremors, re-sight the Beast
As it lumbers on uncaring
Atomic piles of superheated waste
A mind of carbon frozen cold
An alloyed soul of silicates
That knows no mercy, rest, or wear
That shed no tears for corpses piled
Higher than its mighty head
With its massive maw of cannon red
And unblinking Cyclopean Eye
That watches all and sees all things
Far and wide
Except, of course, for what it does…

An Ogre plays beneath the burning sun
Battles rage in fresh ruined wastes
Tracks marred hard upon the dying Earth
Men lost in their hellish tasks
Desperate in their race
To kill the Great Machine
Before it plows their countless graves

Yet come the dusk before the dawn
Come the night before the fight
The monster knows not, cares not
Asks not, hears not the wounded
Cries and screams of men
For the Ogre has no doubt
It dreams no dream
Except the dream of what it does –
War unchecked, and winning that
The End of All,
Himself as well
To die alone
Beneath a burning sun
Unneeded anymore…

 

Sometimes at lunch I play Ogre. Against myself.

Ogre is actually based on the old Keith Laumer series Bolo. Some of my favorite sci-fi tales to read when I was a kid. I recommend both the game and the books.

Today I played a particularly superb scenario that I had also written for myself. It was a “Total War Scenario.”

By the end of the scenario the human forces had been completely annihilated and the Ogre could not move having also been almost entirely destroyed.

I’ve decided to call it my War Unchecked Scenario. Or the End-All scenario.

Rarely have I fought or devised a wargames scenario that resulted in such almost perfect annihilation of both sides.

After ruminating on what it implied for a little while I wrote the poem above, The End of All.

I was surprised at how well the poem came out, especially since it was based upon nothing more than a wargames scenario. And it has been very well received and critiqued by my family, friends, and the followers of my poetry and writings. Then again I always try and envision any wargame (or role play game, or real life training scenario) as realistically in my head as possibly in order to execute it properly and to see what real life lessons might be learned.

So this poem will go into my file for Espionage and Military and Survival Poetry. Later I will seek to have it published. You are welcome to make your own comments on it as well.

A PAINTED STORY CHAIR OF DREAMS

Sanctuary

I am including this post of my First Verse as part of the Daily Post for Sanctuary.

It was inspired a beautiful work of art by a friend which I have linked to at the bottom of the post. Her work is superb.

 

A PAINTED STORY CHAIR OF DREAMS

A Painted Story-Chair of Dreams
A fitting vision does it seem
In which to sit and rock the soul
That wants to wander as it roams
About the misty, darkened night
Whose moon still ambles in the light
Of the countless colored stars
Some close to touch, some still afar

A peacock throne, a thousand eyes
Upon the sea, within the skies
Serpents coiling in the mind
Omens opened up on time
Space the nearness of a sleep
In which the desert dreaming deep
Is as the jungle in its might
Is as the Dawn of Paradise,

Now to twilight as you ride
Upon the waves of shifting tide
The seasons wax and then they wane
Your eyes grow wan their meaning plain
You plan to slumber in the Chair
A Painted Story in the Air
Where Heaven bends to searching Earth
To find you dreaming of Rebirth…

 

Painted Rocking Chair

I FORGOT TO REMEMBER – FIRST VERSE

I started these two things, the first the beginning of a poem, the second part of a set of song lyrics, over the weekend. Don’t know what I’m gonna do with either in the end but since it is Monday this is my post for First Verse.

 

I FORGOT TO REMEMBER

I forgot to remember when nothing was right
How all that we tendered was twisted and trite
I begot a dismembered, ephemeral sight
When divided in terror, Theatron of Rites

The devices, the chorus, the Odeion of Scene
A tyrant all bloodied his thralldom most keen
Our vices within us a kingdom of dreams
Grown pregnant and studied, still starving and lean

A Opera of Staging, performed and preformed
Dispelled in the aging distempered and worn
Our union engaging our spectacle torn
Redundant, abundant, of meaning all shorn…

JUST A MAN

Gonna ditch my damned phone, then ditch my car
I’m gonna hitch my wagon to the brightest star
I’m gonna find the person that I’m looking for
Just gonna keep on walking til I reach the shore
Of somewhere I’ve never been before,
To see what lies beyond this land
To see what happens when a man
Is just a man…

If You Leave – I’m going to try again and link to the daily post. I have no idea if it will actually work.

THE LAST TRUE MAN – HIGHMOOT

THE LAST TRUE MAN

Over the weekend I started a new fictional short story. A fantasy of sorts, you might say. This is the first draft. I have made no editorial corrections at all. I thought it would make an interesting experiment for others to see regarding how a short story develops over time and is edited, corrected, revised, etc.

I did not type this by the way. Because of my previously broken wrist my youngest daughter now does most of my typing. (My oldest daughter is already in college.) I write in longhand, she types. I owe her much for that, and I pay her, though it is also part of the life and practical and market skills development section of her homeschooling studies.

Since this story involves a mysterious stranger that the main character entertains and travels with from time to time (I had plotted that into the story from the beginning of my sketches for the work) and a Journey I decided to also link this to the Daily Prompt on WordPress for today

Journey

I will not be posting the entire story here, once it is completed, because I plan to publish it. But the section included here, when I make the necessary editorial corrections and revisions, that I will post later.

The story will also contain within it the poem, He Who Goes Alone. Which I actually wrote for a different purpose but last night I realized fit this story so acutely that I decided to include it as part of the story.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you The Last True Man. (And although he is not really a man, he is True to the end.)

___________________________________

THE LAST TRUE MAN

He lived alone. Once he had a wife, and a son and two daughters. Only one daughter had survived his thirty-third birthday. By that time he was too badly wounded to care for her and had been made permanently lame. Being unable to care for her properly, and his recuperation taking years, he had given her over to the care of his former wife’s sister. He still saw his daughter and her children occasionally, and treated her kindly though she was often in awe and afraid of him. But she did not know who he truly was. To her, as to everyone else, he was simply the old hermit who almost never spoke.

Now he was eighty-seven. Though he did not appear so, nor did he move like an old man. Nevertheless he was still partially lame from the wounds he had received as a young man. For even in his heart, as in his body, some wounds remained and never fully closed such as those injuries and wrongs that claimed the life of his wife, son, and oldest daughter.

So he lived alone. Alone among a set of ancient weathered, discolored, wan stone and marble ruins. Ruins left by a long dead and vanquished race, all of their works toppled and reclaimed by the forest, all except those he kept as a forlorn home and temple of remembrance. Yet to him it was not forlorn or even a ruin. It was the wreckage of another age he had reclaimed for himself. He who went alone.

The ruins stood beyond the horizon of the village in which his daughter dwelt. Though not far. They did not have to stand afar off for all manner of men shunned those ruins and the surrounding landscape, considering them accursed and haunted. None ventured there and aside from young boys filled with that spirit of adventure and exploration that sometimes overwhelms and possesses them view ever came within close sight, to almost all it was a place more imagined than ever observed.

Except to him. Despite the many pitfalls and the shifting rot and the persistent decay that nature worked upon the ancient place he knew it well and almost completely. He even knew of most of the most desolate and new long buried areas. He also dwelt at peace with all but a few of the surrounding creatures, be they large, small, tame, wild, fierce, or gigantic and fearsome.

His means were simple, his desires few, his quaint and modest satisfactions many in his deserted home, and his dwelling austere. He spent his days wandering, exploring and mapping the wide ruins in which he lived, drawing, sketching, mapping, writing and cataloging all he discovered. Many days he would also explore the nearby forest, visiting or entertaining creatures as they would accommodate him, or he they. At dawn he would pray, at sunset sing. At night he would take the telescope he had fashioned for himself and watch the moon and stars.

Sometimes at night he would also sit long in meditation, contemplation, or within the various memory palaces he had created in his own mind so that he could commiserate with the ghosts of his dead family and friends. In this way he would sometimes slip happily into dream and melancholy would leave him until he again awoke. When it might or might not return to him like an unreliable and unpredictable friend.

Or was friend the right word? Maybe Melancholy was his interrogator of habit, like Death was the companion of his more somber dreams and troubled visions. He was never really sure where he actually stood with the steady companions of his loneliness and exile. He only knew that he knew them well, and that they knew him as he truly was. In the center of his inmost soul.

His most steady companion however was his huge dog which so resembled a small bear in size and shape and appearance that some men took it for a strangely colored and tame bear and nicknamed him “Uroldas” or “Bear-Father.”

He built a dwelling of the old stones of what he surmised to have been the still standing remains of an ancient tower attached to the ruins of what was possibly an old wall or gate mount. Indeed he called it his tower and it was there stories tall, consisting of four levels all together, including the level he had dug underground for storage. His tower was part home, part hermitage, part-forge, (for he also worked his own metals and artifacts) and part observatory, and he named it Caerloron, after his dead son.

Occasionally he was visited at dusk, at dawn, or late at night by a mysterious figure in simple robes and a deep blue prayer shawl who would entertain him, or who he would entertain, and often during such visits they would talk long and in a familiar, friendly fashion. Though none else saw this odd visitor for two reasons; he would never approach if the man was otherwise occupied, and secondly due to the isolation and uncanniness of the old man’s dwelling. Which kept almost everyone else at bay in any case.

The man possessed a strange drinking vessel as well. An almost eerily peculiar cup he had recovered from a trove deep in the city, craftily contrived, decorated with bizarre devices and the cryptic letters of a long dead language. For in the future, many centuries hence it was whispered this cup never went dry, but that was just a rumor yet to be born. As for the man when he had first found the cup he had inscribed it with his name, Aelone. St that time he was still a young man and called himself by his name. in the years that followed everyone else forgot his name, and even who he had once been and so he took to himself, “me.” Or “I.”

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MY WIFE’S BODY

My wife arrived home from a trip to the beach on July the First. The next morning we had get home sex. She went to sleep afterwards but I got up and wrote the following poem.

I like the poem a lot but I am having difficulty naming it. I like these potential names/titles: Rich Everafter, Those Treasures Within, The Labors of Love, The Harvest of Human Labors, or Sweat of Our Love. 

If you have a preference among those or would like to make your own suggestion then feel free to do so. I look forward to reading your ideas.

Here is the poem. Let me know what you think, and what you would call it.

My wife’s body is naked and soft like broken ground
My wife’s body smells rich like fertile soil
My wife’s body is dark and moist like morning loam the restless Meander has watered at sunrise

I think that I shall plow her deeply again when she wakes and see what treasures within us both lie hid

Like the open fields of tended Pharos or the silty banks of the flooded Nile we shall suddenly sprout silver and salt and bare fecund Earth overflowing with milk and honey and blood dark wine and rampant wild oats and thus shall we feed ourselves a lifetime on the harvest of our human labors and the sweat of our love

My wife’s body is naked

My body is naked

Now shall we again labor in earnest, produce in abundance, and be rich everafter…

UNTOLD LAYERS

Untold layers of a man, say I

But three most vital and prime: Body, Mind, and Soul.

vitru_man_large

Of Body – movement, grace, strength, and sensation
Of Mind – craft, thought, apprehension, and creation
Of Soul – his inmost Self, Endurance, Honor, Truth, and Love

Untold layers of a man, say I

On Three All Other Things Depend

ON POETRY – TUESDAY’S TALE

Well, it ain’t really a Tale for Tuesday, but it is a tale about how you should tell what you can’t really tell when you try. Not in words, anyway…

ON POETRY

Poetry involves the minute manipulation of words in such a way that they are constantly and subtly altered in definition, either so that they take on a broader and more flexible implication than they have ever possessed before, or so that they take on a more narrow and peculiar resolution in terminology than they have ever before possessed.

Do this wisely and well and with patient and practiced craft and you will be considered a master of phrasing and sound, perhaps even possessed of real poetic genius. Do this sloppily or shoddily and in haste and without regard for the demands of true meaning in language and you will be considered a mere dilettante or perhaps even a hapless hack.

from my book, On Poetry

 

HARD THE HAMMERSMITH – FIRST VERSE

HARD THE HAMMERSMITH

I conceived of the idea for this poem about a week and a half ago but was unable to work on it due to other business and work demands. On Sunday night (the 26th of June) about an hour before the Game of Thrones finale I began work on it. It shall be a long, narrative poem with what I hope is an unanticipated and unusual conclusion, and a twisting storyline. At this point of course it is in its infancy and is far from complete.

Aside from being a long narrative poem I am also thinking very seriously of turning it into a Graphic Novel which will also serve as a de-facto manual on ancient Mnemonic Techniques. I am already sketching out possible illustrations or old woodcut designs for the Work.

Hope you enjoy it thus far.

 

HARD THE HAMMERSMITH

Hard the Hammersmith worked all day
Hard the Hammersmith would not say
What his toiling would produce
Or why he labored so profuse

Hard the Hammersmith worked all night
Hard the Hammersmith knew delight
For his hammers truly rang
Fire, metal, sturm und drang

Hard the Hammersmith took no rest
Hard the Hammersmith did his best
For he always set his task
Above whatever weakness asks

Hard the Hammersmith took no bread
Hard the Hammersmith shunned his bed
For the Work to which he bent
He would master, or be spent

Hard the Hammersmith took no drink
Hard the Hammersmith did not think
Yet on he drove himself to act
With anguish was his body wracked…

TO PORT OUR HOME, TO STARBOARD STILL UNKNOWN

I began this poem around noon as a response to today’s Daily Post prompt on Voyage. I got two stanzas in and then my daughters needed my help and then someone working with me on one of my start-ups demanded my attention and so therefore I have had to leave it at this point. I apologize but that kinda thing happens in life.

I intend to finish it but cannot do so at the moment. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless, and have a good day folks…

 

TO PORT OUR HOME, TO STARBOARD STILL UNKNOWN

To port was home, to starboard unknown foreign seas, and
Lands bespoken of in dream, where endless roam great beasts
Not seen since man was in the cradle of his mother’s shore
The stars still young and uncertain in their unfixed course
Across the skies of night still bright with constellated myth
Prodigious like the unseen figures which grappled in the dark
Around the moon’s white lantern in desperate search of a world
So new, so full of wonder, that no other home would do,
Not, at least, to the Daring

To port is home but on every other course the waves break
Upon a soil unsown with the tares and tears that common habit
Bestrew along the Earth we know so well by mundane states
Unchallenged in their broad decay and rush to ruin
Across the fields of ancient countries whose ground is salted
With the misery of crawling empires and rotting kingdoms
Made of man beneath the shadow of what is most foul within him
So old, so full of apathy, that no such home can seem true
Not, at least, to the Wise…

EMPTY

I was working on a short story when I happened across the Daily Post whose prompt-subject matter was Empty. Now I’ve had a lot of personal experience with Empty over the course of my life, both the good kind, and the bad kind. So I thought I’d make a post about that and turned out this poem at lunch. Hope you enjoy it.

Have a good day folks.

 

EMPTY

I once was empty, full of naught
By calculation, mind and thought

I once was empty, hollowed out
Melancholy, heart in doubt

I once was empty, fearless, cold
My fury made me endless bold

I once was empty, cast alone
It sharpened me so I was honed

I once was empty, bleak despair
My atmosphere a poisoned air

I once was empty, of myself
That was joy I could regale

I once was empty, God was gone
Why had He left me all alone?

I know of empty, made and true
I know of empty, me and you
I know of empty, blessed, good
I know of empty, as I should

For Empty is a Friend of mine
That gives me all, and then sometimes
Relieves me of all I have known
So I am ever forced to roam

In search of what is not…

So empty anymore.

CROSSING OVER – HIGHMOOT

CROSS OVER WORK

Lately I have been doing a lot of what I call Cross-Over Work.

In this case I mean by saying that I have been doing a lot of work that cross-fertilizes itself in other works I am simultaneously creating. For instance I might be writing one novel and a particular scene or bit of dialogue I create will inspire another scene or piece of dialogue in another book or novel I am working on.

Though such things are not necessarily related to or limited to my various fiction writings. I might be drawing a map or making a sketch, designing something, working on a start-up project, developing an invention, writing a poem or song lyrics, or writing a novel or a non-fiction book and all of these things, or others, might give me an idea for another work I’m currently pursuing.

So today, and below (and in allusion to my previous post on actors), I am posting some of my latest Cross-Over Work. Little vignettes, or to be more accurate, often just little snippets (bits of dialogue, sections of scenes, sketch notes, etc.) of various Works I am creating and pursuing at this time.

Does your Work cross over in this way, from one work to another?

If so then feel free to comment below.

___________________________________________

 

NOT A FAIR FIGHT

“Again I don’t get it. Take one shot at your actual target and three at yourself… don’t seem like much of a fair fight to me.”

From my Western The Lettered Men

 

A CLUE

“Not every possibility is true, that’s certainly true, but every possibility is always a clue – to something other than itself. If you keep forgetting that then it’s very possible the Truth will entirely escape you. And if it does then what other possibilities really matter?”

From The Detective Steinthal

 

TRUE DARKNESS

“True darkness obscures. Few things can thrive in perpetual shade but those things that can definitely always wish to remain hidden. That is, until they are ready to be discovered. For reasons of their own.”

From The Detective Steinthal

 

ALWAYS BEST

“It is always best to hunt in silence.”

The Detective Steinthal

 

YOUR TRAINING IS OVER

“What are you training for kid? To train forever? Now who wants that kinda shit anyway? Only officers and politicians, that’s who. No, you get your ass in the fight. You’ve trained long enough. Time to be somebody.”

From Snyder’s Spiders

 

IT BLEEDS

“And how now is your wound?”

“It itches fiercely, it hurts mightily, it swells darkly, but it bleeds freely and cleanly. It is good that it bleeds so and thus I will not complain of the other things. But if you have any more of that strange brew you drink then I will not complain of a skin full of that either.”

“I have not a skin, but I can manage a cup.”

“Then so can I…”

Suegenius describing to Fhe Fhissegrim the condition of his wound

From my fantasy The Kithariune (The Basilegate)

 

A RARE AND WONDROUS FEAT

“If you cannot stand up to your own old man then you will never stand up to anyone. If you can stand up to your own old man then you can stand up to anyone else, and everyone else.

If your old man ever forces you to rebel against him then do not hate him for it, respect him for it. He has done more for you in that regard, as regards the development of your actual manhood, than any other thing anyone else could ever do for you in the world. That man who forces his son into rebellion has bred a man. You owe such a father an enormous and generous debt.

That father who always insists his son obey him, right or wrong, has bred a mere and helpless and fearful slave. You owe that father your utter disdain and yourself nothing but shame for your own endless submission.

Drink to your father Edomios. Drink long and deep. He has bred a man in you. A man who can stand upright and unafraid. A rare and wondrous feat in our age.

Maybe in any age.”

Marsippius Nicea the Byzantine Commander of the Basilegate explaining to Edomios the Spanish Paladin why he owes his father a debt of manhood

From The Kithariune

 

THAT WAY YOU SPEAK

When Michael first lands in Thaumaturgis he is met by Harmonius Hippostatic
who makes fun of the way he speaks and tries to explain to Michael where he is, and what life is like in the Lands. Michael does not at first speak in verse, but speaks in prose, but as he stays longer and longer in the land of Thaumaturgis he also comes to speak in metered, rhyming verse.

Harmonius: That way you speak, it’s quite a feat
But it will never do,
No meter, rhyme or rhythm,
It’s really quite obtuse.

Michael: Where am I?

Harmonius: Why this is Thaumaturgis,
Don’t you know your lands?
It’s one of the three countries,
Not earth, not stone, not sand.
No one’s ever figured
How it got this way
Tomorrow is the same as now
It’s always been that way.
If want you life miraculous
Or supernatural,
It’s really quite so marvelous
And never, ever dull.
But one thing in this country
You really must avoid
Speaking words in plain old prose
Is what will most annoy,
So put on your best rhyming
Your metered rhythm too
Don’t dally up a worthwhile speech
Without so much ado,
Be mannered in your speaking
Poetic when you talk
Or everyone will soon declare
Your words taste just like chalk

From my children’s book, Three Lands

THINGS LONG UNSEEN – FIRST VERSE

This morning, right after waking, I began this poem.

I wrote the first two stanzas in bed, in my bedside notebook, went downstairs, fed the animals, made breakfast for the wife and kids, and then sat down at my desk and hammered out the third stanza. It wasn’t hard. It flowed as if I had taken no break in between.

I started in on the fourth stanza which to me was absolutely brilliant (the best part of the entire work) and right as I got to the third line of the fourth stanza the power went out at the house, and for some reason my backup power fluctuated as well so that my computer shut down. By the time I rebooted I had lost the entire fourth stanza.

I tried reconstructing the stanza from memory but I was so pissed off and taken off guard by the unexpected power failure (why should that happen at the start of summer with not a cloud in the sky I ask you?) and by the delay in reboot time that I ended up producing a mere shadow of my original effort.

I’m still satisfied by the stanza, and the poem overall so far, and it is far from finished, but just to be honest the fourth stanza isn’t nearly what I produced the first time around. So I apologize for that. This is yet another valuable lesson in why I should never compose at my computer, but only in my notebooks.

Nevertheless I am pleased with the poem and when it is finally finished I suspect I will name it, Things Long Unseen.

That is, at least, the place-holder name I am giving it for now. Enjoy and have an excellent and productive and profitable week my friends.

 

THINGS LONG UNSEEN

I shall exceed all things, and having so excelled all things
Shall bow to me, not as brutish, mindless slaves but as one man
Instinctively declines his head to yet another in whom he recognizes
His equal.

The loss of me is not the less of me, and the lending of me
To another is no lack of either thing made true in itself,
For pushed on by High Labour where can I go but where
I am, and where I Am dwells a still fairer land than I may truly
Ever know, though God knows, how much I wish for such
Things long unseen

I shall excel all things, and having thus exceeded nothing
Shall bow to me, nor find an alien compass with which to navigate
That Long Frontier that I so long ago remembered in myself
Unequaled

The less of me is what is left of me, for the debt of me
To another is both the loss and gain in ourselves untrue,
Subsumed in Reckless Profits, destined where I know not that
We are, or when, or how, or why it is that we know these things
Improper in themselves, though we all know how much we wish for
Things Long unforeseen…

 

THE GLORY AND THE DREAM

Ethan, I see our Lord…”

Damn. The finale of Penny Dreadful was incredibly good. Like a Greek Tragedy.

And once again Dorian Gray was declaimed, by himself, the most depraved and degenerate character of them all (and he always has been), and John Clare (Frankenstein’s Monster) proven the most humane and human of them all. By far.

Though finally Frankenstein himself, and Chandler, both came close…

I hope this is not the end of that show (the world needs more of that kind of thing), but if it is, it could have concluded no better.

So goodnight my friends, and I leave you with Wordsworth, and with an ode on the Imitations of Immortality. 

(By the way, we also need more poetry of this calibre. Far more.)

Our world is far too much with modern and superficial self-indulgence.

 

 

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell’d in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream. 5
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes, 10
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair; 15
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath pass’d away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound 20
As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep; 25
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea 30
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday;—
Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy 35
Shepherd-boy!

Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival, 40
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
O evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,
This sweet May-morning, 45
And the children are culling
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:— 50
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
—But there’s a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look’d upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet 55
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, 60
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 65
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, 70
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended; 75
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother’s mind, 80
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her Inmate Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came. 85

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes! 90
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learnèd art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral; 95
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long 100
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage’
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age, 105
That Life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy soul’s immensity; 110
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,—
Mighty prophet! Seer blest! 115
On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the Day, a master o’er a slave, 120
A presence which is not to be put by;
To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed without the sense or sight
Of day or the warm light,
A place of thought where we in waiting lie; 125
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife? 130
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live, 135
That nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest— 140
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:—
Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise; 145
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realized, 150
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may, 155
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake, 160
To perish never:
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy! 165
Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither, 170
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound! 175
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright 180
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind; 185
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death, 190
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish’d one delight 195
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripp’d lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
Is lovely yet; 200
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live, 205
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

I WENT TO YOUR GRAVES

I WENT TO YOUR GRAVES

I went to your graves to speak with you dead
You answered with nary a sound, but
The echoes of stone, and the blood and the bones
Still in the air they redound
Someone must live, and someone must die
I’ve seen my share of those things, yet
You know them all well in your marrow and flesh
For the shroud is the shield that still clings
To the toil that you wore, to the deeds that you bore
To the future and past you present
When I see countrymen free, and the grass
Green overseas that otherwise death would have spent
If you could arise, recall how you died
Who then could discharge the debt?
That we owe in our souls, but don’t really know
In the war and the wound that beset
About you in harm, the wrong, the alarm
As you struggled the catch your last breath
Yet it fled far away, like your soul on that day
By demand, or command, or request,
What can I say, much less best relay
Of what your great efforts have earned?
You’ve written in blood, in anguish, in mud
We’ll honor, and then we’ll adjourn, oh
The tombs that we’ll build, of marble and steel
Carved with your names and your stars
Will pass with the times as the ages unwind
As you fade into memories afar, yet
The world that you built, the anger, the guilt
Of your blood on the altar of Mars
These will live on, and not just in song, but
In the hope and the home of my heart…

in memoriam, 2016

YEAH, THEY’LL DO THAT – FIRST VERSE

YEAH, THEY’LL DO THAT

She is a wonder of claw, fang, and hiss
Be careful if ever she growls
If she purrs first then mister
Something’s amiss
Something you missed or allowed,
But stroke her and feed her
And give her a kiss and tell her
That all will be well,
Rub her soft fur and play
With her tail
Until she is mended
And tame,
For my friend I must tell
That the end of this tale
Is ever and always the same

So if she complains
Come sun or come rain
Then just know
That her Nature excels, but
Other than that just what
Can you do?
For her nature
Is flighty as hell!

Oh, and also cats get that way
From time to time too…

THE RED TRACTOR – FIRST VERSE

A poem I began this weekend. I am usually not much for modern poetry but in this case I thought the juxtapositioning of that kind of poetry against the subject matter fit very well. I am also not posting the entire poem here as I intend to publish it.

THE RED TRACTOR

“Love demands infinitely less than friendship.”

                                                                                   George Jean Nathan

If I could admire a machine
As I admire a man it would be you
You were tough and you were strong, you did not relent
You were fit for tasks for which you were not
Designed and yet you mastered

*    *    *

One day I shall show my grandchildren the green and open
Fields we cleared and I shall say,

“Here we pushed back the frontier together,
he and I, my old friend. Here we hauled
and carried and labored and strained
and cut and leveled. This is because
we were as we were, and he was stalwart
and faltered not. I wish you could have
known him before the end, on the
border of what was wild forever we finally
made tame. What was chaos we ordered.
What was savage we made fit.”

And they will say,

“papa! it was only a tractor!

And I shall remember fully the fields we made, ground we claimed, land we
Tamed. Uncertain Earth we took foot by foot from the long dry summers and the
Shower soaked springs with restless toil. The memories shall return to me of how
I repaired you endlessly and with great effort and frustration,
And yet did you always abide…

THE OLD STANDING STONES – FIRST VERSE

THE OLD STANDING STONES (Both Versions)

Last week I sat down and wrote a song that I had originally intended for my Bard (his name is Larmageon and he is Welsh) to sing in one of my novels, the Basilegate. As a sort of a lament, and a dirge. It was supposed to be a rather dark song about a myth of a submerged city off the coast of Ireland that rises every so often at midnight on Samhain and the city is populated by ancient dead warriors. It was a symbolic dirge of a supposedly lost song that the Bard then used to analogously lament what had happened to his friends. That is the first version of the song/poem you see below.

Thereafter I looked at the song and said to myself, “This really is close to an Irish/Welsh real myth and I should rewrite this song as a real world song or poem.” So I did using real Irish/Celt/Welsh place and symbolic names. That version, the second version, came out to be much brighter and more upbeat, but the tempo is changed slightly. By the way after the less well known Gaelic names or terms I included, in parentheses, the more original pronunciations, and their meanings.
I like both versions but the first is a far more generalized version written for an English audience and specifically for my book. The second version is really more of a throwback Irish mythological song.

So that being said, which do you like best?

Or do you think I should keep and use, perhaps for different purposes, both versions? Or does one version strike you as good and the other bad? Let me know what you think and anyone is welcome to comment.
_______________________________

THE OLD STANDING STONES (version 1)

The old standing stones
Where the ghosts all still roam
Below the Seas of Sarsa
Submerged neath the Mere
They all still come here
To haunt the tides of Current
The walls in the waves
The moon long enslaved
Both shine so like the Danaan
The People long passed
The present now past
Upon the Road of Waters
Formorian chants
Who sings of the chance
That tombs are remade Towers?
The barrows below
The streams that bestowed
The last Great Ship of Showern
To the old standing stones
Still guarding the road
Beneath the flood of Faran

Oh can you still hear
The chants and the cheers
When Chulainn took the Island?
And do you still dance
Or sing the Romance
Of the last men still left standing?

Submerged neath the waves
Deep waters their graves
The Green-men go a’feasting
The blue in their blood
The tides and the flood
Their numbers all decreasing
The stars brightly gleam
The moon often seen
To kiss the Ring of Rona
Yet still can you hear
If the night is all clear
The Lost Hope of Ilona
So tell me of old
Of the place far below
Of the dark halls deeply downing
Where the old standing stones
Still guard the last road
To the Hall of Sorrow’s Drowning…

________________________________

THE OLD STANDING STONES (version 2)

The old standing stones
Where the ghosts all still roam
Below the Seas of Saorla (Say-la – the noble queen)
Submerged neath the Mere
They all still come here
To haunt the tides of Cara (meaning, the friend)
The walls in the waves
The moon long enslaved
Both shine so like the Danaan

The People long past
The present now passed
Upon the Road of Una (Oo-nah, or Wony, meaning unity, or lamb)
Formorian chants
Who sings of the chance
That the tombs are to be Towers?

The barrows below
The streams that bestowed
The last Great Ship of Tara (tower, or crag)
To the old standing stones
Still guarding the road
Beneath the flood of Fallan (grandchild, or grandchild of the chieftain)

Oh can you still hear
The chants and the cheers
When Chulainn took the Island?
And do you still dance
Or sing the Romance
Of the last men still left standing?

Submerged neath the seas
Their limbs now at ease
The Gweneth men go feasting (Gweneth – fair or river men)
The blue in their blood
The tides and the flood
Their hall a loudly singing
The stars brightly gleam
The moon often seen
To kiss the Ring of Roise (roh-suh – a rose)
Yet still can you hear
If the night is all clear
The Last Hope of Isleena (Ish-leena – vision, the foretelling)
So tell me of old
Of the place far below
Of the dark halls deeply moaning
Where the old standing stones
Still abide all alone
In the Hall of Sorrow’s Gloaming…

THE WEIGHT OF THE WOMAN – FIRST VERSE

THE WEIGHT OF THE WOMAN

The weight of the woman
That the man waits to love
Bears on him deeply, and
Bares from above

The wait for that woman
Is a hard weight to bear
As long as he loves her
As long as he dares

He’ll carry within him
The state of her grace
The memories find him
The shape of her face

The scent of her clean flesh
The heat of her breasts
The curve of her mouth
As her lips on him rest

The twist of her hair
Her eyes looking up
He looking down
On her beauty to sup

Her breath soft and catching
Her smile as she takes
Her arms to enwrap him
In rapture to make

She stoops now to conquer
He rises to serve
The wait for the woman
Is what he observes

Yet the weight of that woman
Is a hard thing to bear
When his bed is all empty
For she is somewhere

Other than with him
When he wants her most
For nothing between them
Is worthy of boast

Though everything honored
Is ne’er surely lost
For the wait on the woman
Is the weight of the cost…

Alternate ending:

So he waits on the woman
Even if lost
For the wait for the woman
Is the weight of the cost

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This is a new poem I wrote this past weekend while lying in bed. It has a sister or companion poem that I wrote about the same time called The Deep Well, or Woman is a Deep Well.

Both shall go in my new book of poetry.

IN ABSENTIA

IN ABSENTIA

The Courage of the West has failed
Her baser instincts flowered all
Cowardice does now prevail
To reckless seek the servile call

The High Mind of the West is dead
The public rules the Wiser Man
Clamor drowns with fearful dread
The people swoon when tyrants stand

The Sick Heart of the West is ripe
To be grasped in iron grips
By slavish kings, corrupted queens
En-masse it beats, demanded ships

The Lost Soul of the West is held
In graves and chains of government
Shackled like a beast expelled
From hearth and home, forgotten, spent

Prior Wisdom, where are you?
You know what comes, you see this sure
History, you tell us true
The past is future, undemured

Manhood, where do you now lurk?
Subservient to serpent crowns
Truth and Justice – how you lurch
In naked marches to the hounds

Free Men to their “betters” bent
Eager in their fealty sworn
Machines await, infernal sent
Revolt that banner burnt and torn

Honor come not to this land
It is bleak and stained with fear
Dismissed as coin what value can
You hold for men who hold naught dear?

The Courage of the West has sunk
Beneath the Twilight of Our Times
Monsters have arisen thus
The Dawn of Morrow has resigned

I wish that I could say to you
That one man in a million lives
Yet I see no certain clues
I cannot to you such hope give

In absentia of ourselves…

THE SHADOW MAN

Never-before-seen Tolkien poems written before The Hobbit are discovered

NEVER-before-seen poems written by J.R.R. Tolkien have been discovered inside an old school magazine.

JRR TolkienGETTY IMAGES

Poems by J.R.R. Tolkien have been discovered

The Shadow Man, written a year before his first classic work The Hobbit was published, was found after staff at Our Lady’s Abingdon school, Oxfordshire looked through back issues of its magazine.The poem, which was later appeared as Shadow-bride, and was released as part of the fantasy icon’s Adventures of Tom Bombadil in 1962.

According to the independent school’s principal, Stephen Oliver, they began to look through their archives after being contacted by an American Tolkien scholar, Wayne G. Hammond who had seen that two of Tolkien’s poems were listed in The Abingdon Chronicle.

MagazineOXFORD MAIL•SWNS GROUP

Tolkien’s work was found in a school magazine

Now, Mr Oliver believes that the poems may have been given to the magazine after Tolkien struck up a friendship with the nuns that were running the school.As well as The Shadow Man, the poem Noel was written to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Tolkien lived in Oxford at the time he wrote the The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Mr Oliver said: “We had no idea that we had a copy of some of Tolkien’s poetry so it came as a surprise when we found them. I feel pretty privileged to have been a part of the discovery.”An American academic got in touch with us to say that he was looking to find them and that they were contained in a publication called the Abingdon Chronicle.

“At first we couldn’t find the 1936 edition and referred Mr Hammond on to the archives of the Sisters of Mercy, who founded the school, which are in London.

The poemOXFORD MAIL•SWNS.COM

The Shadow Man

My excitement when I saw them was overwhelming

Stephen Oliver

“But after we were preparing for another event for former pupils, we uncovered our own copy and discovered the poems that he had been looking for.”My excitement when I saw them was overwhelming. I am a great Tolkien fan and was thrilled to discover the connection with the school.

The magazineOXFORD MAIL•SWNS.COM

The poem

“The school magazine was something that was produced each year to provide things like updates on the alumni and would also contain bits of poetry.”It was brilliant to find it and it’s great that we have found such a great bit of heritage to tie to our school. We had no idea that there was a link between us before that point.”

THE TOWER ABOVE

THE TOWER ABOVE

The Tower above, the Earth below
I wandered the world, desiring to know
Where in my heart the frontier did lay
In the sky or the sea, in the night or the day?

Mountains I climbed, Life did I track
Waters I sailed, then sailed them right back
Sands in my hands ran through my fingers
What should I fear, where was the danger?

I’d live forever, forever a boy
Time everlasting, endless and cloy
The sun burned me brown, moon cooled my mind
The stars they did glisten, by God so designed
Happy was nothing – I was Alive!
The world was my oyster, of nothing deprived
Before I was man, I was a boy
Everything Holy, the Hope and the Joy

Fish splashed the clear streams, hawks roamed the air
I could lay in the green grass and anything dare
Nothing was memory, all was yet new
Impossibly certain was all that I knew
Hero I was in the depths of my soul
Adventure and gamble was all I did know
The past hadn’t happened, the future a dream
The present was ever, or so did it seem

The Tower above me, the Earth down below
I’d climb to the crown, how most apropos
For why should I care, the sun never sets
Upon the heart of the boy who will never relent

But I’ve climbed and I’ve climbed and I’ve climbed all my life
I’ve climbed in the cold, and I’ve climbed through the strife
I’ve climbed in the heat, through the dark and the death
I’ve climbed when impelled, and I’ve climbed without rest
I’ve climbed when determined, and when suffering lack
For I’m far too high now and cannot go back
Though the summit is still such a lifetime away
I doubt I can reach it, at least not this way

My hands cut and bloodied, my footing unsure
I question my efforts, my motives obscure
Yet sometimes when weary, I’ll glance far below
To see that young boy with his whole life to sow
And I wonder if warnings might cause him to stop
To stay in his valley, not climb to the top
For I want to just tell him, “The climb never ends,
Stay where you are boy, you can’t comprehend…”

But I see him look upwards, take hold of the stones
And I know that he’ll climb where he must all alone

For the Tower above us, a siren it sings
To the boy down below us who of towers still dreams…

DARK SONG – FIRST VERSE

These are lyrics from an unfinished song I began last week. It’s my First Verse entry for today.

DARK SONG

There’s a dark song in my soul right now
And I can’t shake it anyway,
Might as well just sing along,
See where it goes

Well, there’s a dark song
I hear it on the wind

There’s a dark song
Where are we going?

Can we ever make amends?

Well, I don’t know this road no more
But I know it’s me

Where are we going anyhow?
What do you want me to see?

There’s a dark song in my soul right now
I can hear it far away
I’ve known, I’ve known it all along
We’re on the same road

But to where?

Just tell me that…

To where?

THE LAST ONES

I offer this as my submission for the National Poetry Day. I am now at work on my fifth book of poetry.

THE LAST ONES

The cold that the last man mentioned
Before he bled away
The soul that the last child ventured
Because he could not stay,
The bones that the last girl offered
As her flesh was sold
The heart of the last babe slaughtered
As it beat beyond all hope,

I’d tell you of their endings
If I thought you’d care
I’d tell you of their wendings
Of all the things they’d dare,

I’d tell you of their Image
Holy and Divine
I’d tell you that their fortunes
Were just as great as mine,

Yet somehow we have failed them
Deeply in our selves
Discarded like a useless limb
Cast off and then expelled,

The smile of the fair sex faded
Frown of the end within
The wiles of the dead folk fêted
Crown of the ceaseless sin,
The eyes of the masses hollow
Febrile, sick, and stale
The lies of the empty follow
Beguiling, sure as hell,

I’d tell you the last one lingers
If I thought you’d see
I’d tell you “deeply listen”
Though you would not accede,

I’d tell you of your Nature
Made apparent in your acts
I’d show you well, and show you sure
That no man is abstract,
Yet somehow death entails you
Your hearts are all of stone
Lifeless are the last of you
So soulless and alone…

THE RAINS OF THE SATRAPS OF PERSIA – FIRST VERSE

THE RAINS TO COME

This morning I awoke to a veritable deluge. After feeding the animals I sat down and watched the heavy rains fall. Something became triggered in my mind. About modern people, about the past, about how nothing is ever really learned, and still the Rains fall as they have ever fallen. And so do people, and nations… The storms always come and yet so few ever are prepared.

I just started it and then my wife interrupted me so I had to leave off. So it is unfinished, of course, but then again, what isn’t…?

THE RAINS OF THE SATRAPS OF PERSIA

This storm is like the rains of the satraps of Persia
Grey and harsh, heavy and burdensome, slavish and cold
Unrelenting does it fall across the broad expanse
Of a slumbering world blind and dumb in its naïveté –
Of unnumbered peoples in distant and yet unconquered lands
Eternally preoccupied in their basic self-absorption

Yet still the rains of the satraps of Persia drop countless
Flooding tokens of their weight, their true intent lost among
The Forgetful Minds of Men distracted by the unmarked cenotaphs
Of daily Life, though they have seen no sun in many years…

_______________________________________

other lines I’ve yet to work in:

No clear moon in decades now

The Reign of the Satraps of Persia
Time forgets nothing, though men forget everything
Except to remember what befalls when they don’t…

THE DARK ROAD – FIRST VERSE

It has been awhile since I’ve posted a set of my song lyrics. I’ve been so busy with my two start-ups and my novel that I’ve had very little time to write any new songs. But here is part of one I recently started for Halloween and which I like. It is unfinished as at the moment I am pressed for time…

DARK ROAD

There’s a dark road through the old woods
Ain’t never lost a man they say
But if a man can’t find his soul
He’d best just go another way

The witches ride the moon each night
The snakes they slide the mud
What can’t be seen hides in your sight
Like shadows in your blood

A cabin green with moss and things
That no man seems to know
Creeping up the hidden graves
Those dead things from below

Well it’s a Dark Road
A Dark Road that men don’t know
A Dark Road, no road above but down below
There’s a Dark Road,
You can find me there
If you ever dare –
No way back through the poisoned air
Or the black despair
Of the Dark Road,
Oh you just don’t know
Where ya gonna go
On the Dark Road

HARBINGER’S KEY – FIRST VERSE

HARBINGER’S KEY

The Wolf Winds howl on the March to the East
The Blood runs red at the Gathering Feast
The Young Men sing of the Slavering Beast
And the Old Men moan, “Where is our Peace?”

The Monstrous Scale as empty as Death
Measures the Nothing hung over the West
That labors like Murder to steal every Breath
From everything Living, the cursed and the Blessed

High in the Mountains, deep in the Sea
Something is stirring, Horrors set Free
To Harass and to Harrow as if by Decree
The Marrow in Man Bones, Harbinger’s Key

Hid in the Old Dark biding his Time
Lurks the Great Creature stuck in his Limes
His hatred his Quickstone to hasten his Climb
The Day soon approaches, Ruin his Rhyme

But deeper than Old Darks, great in his Weight
Diseased of his own rot, an Absolute Fate
Hatred is small match for his Poisoned Date
Swollen and bloated he waits at the Gates

The Dawns will all soon fall away without Light
The Strong will all tremble even the Night
For Old Dark and Unknown will rise in their Might
To obscure the Pale Earth from even God’s sight

Men think they know Evil but Evil is Young
Of Far Older Powers still songs can be Sung
For These are Approaching, Chieftains Among
The Slayers of Futures that Silence All Tongues…

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An unfinished poem I began for Halloween. It will go into one of my books of poetry.