2014 Poetry Form Challenge

#07 Free Verse Poetry




The most popular poetry today without doubt is Free Verse. Some would argue that it is not proper poetry, but that would put them in the minority of poets who insist that poetry must rhyme, and must also have some form of meter. There is another school of thought that insists that poetry need not have a rhyme and even more who state that there is no need for meter.
If it is as stated then poetry is a metered verse and prose is unmetered; and having said that, some alleged poetry whilst rhyming has no meter and some prose whilst not rhyming has some form of meter.
Some free verse you have read has been deliberately cut so that it just presents the appearance of a poem and yet there is no tempo to help the poem along.
This points out that despite its title "Free Verse" it must have elements of form.
T.S. Eliot wrote, "No verse is free to a poet who wants to do a good job".
In fact my opinion is that no poet can write truly great free poetry unless he or she has served an apprenticeship of writing form poetry first.
Having said that it means that the trained poet has now got the freedom to attempt unusual conventions
and produce a really unique product.

The Dero

Every morning as we rode out training
We would see this dero arrive
Shuffling along, unaware of life around
Clutching his life in a brown paper bag
He would settle into his corner of the bus shelter
His special seat
Rain or shine he'd be there
As we'd ride past.

As we rode past.
He awoke from his alcohol induced slumber
For a minute, once again he was a hero
As he leapt into the air and caught the football
"What a mark" you could hear him say
As he punched the air with his fist
Holding his imaginary ball to the crowd
Then he settled down once more
Into his corner of the bus shelter
His special seat
And we rode on.

Terry Clitheroe



Free Verse



Kathy Anderson

Come Light
Greed
Hearts Beating
Lost Cerbats
Love Spilled
Nevertheless
O'er Mountains
Shadows of Gaia
Three B's

Terry Clitheroe

Avalanche
Blue Mountains
Forever
Ghosts
Halistically
Image of Eternity
Jig Saw
Kindred Spirits
Le Chiamate di Notte il Vento
Night Gently Weeps
Pavey Ark (Memories)
Return to Earth
Ti Guardo
Values
Why?

Divena Collins

And Time Began
Apparitions
Big Bang
Fair Dinkun Mate
Humanity Nil
Improvisation
Lament of Nature
Love Came
Rejection
Romantic Era
Seasonal Love
Submission Nil
Thousand Desires
Waters Run Deep


Jez Farmer

Farewell

Bill Pearce

Dark Room
Everything is Still
Fantasy to Reality
For Sherry
He'll Get His
In Tribute to Poe (Hello Edgar)
Maybe Just
Millstone Ballast and Reincarnated Dreams
Mount Belair
Symbiotic
Things Are Often How They Feel

Peter Willowdown

Dharma Bell
Invisible
Musk
Salamander Salt Kiss
Setting out
Song of Spirits
Storm Horse's Stolen Alphabet
What Lovely Dreams
World of Dreams



Kathy Anderson

Come Light

Rain follows grey
Sun follows clouds
Clouds part away
Light holds sway

-----

Greedy

Issues of abligurition

Rasp against true hunger

As greed meddles with thoughts,

I open the fridge to forage.

-----

Hearts Beating

Under the full moon
Hearts beating
In time with the tides
Waves flow together
Below dawns light
Firey ripples coalesce
Hearts beating
Under moon and sun

-----

Lost Cerbats

Lonely mountains high
Where Spanish Mustangs thrive
In small numbers yet alive
Living in the hears of people, won't die.

Lonely mountains high
Where highways find no pass
Only grass and sagebrush last,
For pure Cerbats times fly.

Lonely mountains sigh
Why, tiny herds carry on
Eking out life from none,
Nothing but what's about sky.

-----

Love Spilled

From this cup new wine flows,
As eyes meet with speech
Only love may speak.

Sweet grapes pass lips divine,
As arms reach to find
What comes of desire.

Blush and Muscato combine
As lips impart a sharing
Blended souls must touch so.

-----

Nevertheless

You don't need to hold me
in you arms
To hold my heart still
in your hands...

Sometimes I hold on too close
and need to leave
You alone to your own life
and be alone too.

-----

O'er Mountains

O'er mountains
Flew my soul
To you
Flew your soul
To me
O'er mountains

Twin peaks
Blue and purple
One me
One you
Purple and blue
Twin souls

-----

Shadows of Gaia

shadows bless
under tree branches
canopy

a grass bed
where crickets chirp
me to sleep

moon and stars
compete as night lights
to comfort

indigo
midnight sky blankets
embracing

Gaia gives
more love than mortals
will know

-----

Three B's

Bright sunlight and birdsong
Signs of Spring and better things,
Hopes for days of peace,
Plenty, passions in abundance lifelong.

Beautiful aspirations
Blot out hellish memories
Or so belief would camouflage
Thoughts intrusive insanities.

Before the present became past
Beyond reach of time and vague recall,
Perhaps not as foggy as hoped for
For landslides come to all.

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Terry Clitheroe

Avalanche

When I fell,
I fell head first,
and was swept along
gathering speed.
this was no downhill glide
to oblivion
it was an avalanche of emotions!

One kiss
required more
becoming
an exponential ride to heaven
they themselves requiring more
creating
an avalanche of desire!

When does love change
from lust
or does lust create love?
and will that sated love
becoming an Avalanche of peace?

I ask only
because of how I feel about you
and the avalanche you create
inside of me.



-----

Blue Mountains

The beautiful thing about Sydney
Is the Blue Mountains
Once you have seen them
Explored them
You are theirs forever
There is a scent
You will never forget
This scenery is what you will see
When you return to Heaven
And if you live there
You are in Heaven.

Where there is Heaven
There must always be Hell
Close by.
I have seen lightening strikes
And its creation of fire
The blue Eucalypt gas
Feeding the flames
Till all that was left
Was blackness.

The creator of that death
Is also the creator of birth
And within weeks
And rain
All is thriving once again
By the growth of green leaves
Where you'll see life thriving again
The blue mist rises
Again it becoming the blue mountains.



-----

Forever

It begins when two lovers meet
past words spoken,
remembered
everything else is put aside
and weighed and called experience.
why should we not forget??

Unless you have been there,
you cannot judge
I have been there,
then and now,
how they have changed
my experience of the past
rules my life
present and future.

Were you not there so long ago?
I do know now
you will be with me forever



-----

Ghosts

Have you ever seen a ghost?
If I were to say I have,
Would you think me mad?
I'm not mad nor do I deny
I have seen my share.

My uncles Alf and Bob
Have shown themselves
I knew them, could have touched
And for a while we talked
There is no madness here

I saw my Nan, there!
As plain as day in her chair
Looking after me as she did
That scene is still in my mind
And always will.

And just for a little while
Another ghost was with me
Speaking for a short while
She has given me closure
Telling me to move on.



-----

Holistically

Two lovers meet each day
at dusk and dawn
for just a wee while.
yet it has been an eternal meet
together for so short a time.
sometimes mother Earth steps in
and they can be together longer
with storms and other darknesses

With day it cannot be longer
he is too impatient
and selfish
he always wants her

Thank the Gods
and when they reach that place
where today lasts a day longer.

A whole day
they can make love

Then again they move on
loving each other more
each day shorter

Then one day
it grows longer
once again
they meet and as usual
time flies.



-----

Image of Eternity

Looking at you
Makes me think of eternity
And that is carried forwards to my dreams.

I dream of looking at the stars
Then I realise I'm looking into your eyes.
The smile on your lips is as bright as the sun
But there is no glare to stop my looking.

That brightness warms my soul
Then I know what eternity means.

Eternity with you is an endless period of time
A time where love will expand
We will see the stars come and go
But none will exceed the light in your eyes.

Nor will we ever deny our future dreams
Love will be with us throughout eternity
Just by looking at you.



-----

Jigsaw

Were you the missing piece to my life
That in my enthusiasm to complete this riddle
I drove away and now I am left here,
Pondering.

You showed your patience
And we completed all the basic moves
But I stopped paying attention
Negligently

You were the centre of this puzzle
And fitted everything so perfectly
My enthusiasm overcame my brain
Stupidly.

Now I must pack away the pieces
To stack amongst the other incompletes
Starting my journey in life again
Alone.



-----

Kindred Spirits

Everyone is on a journey
Traveling through life
We choose our fellow travelers
Our companions on the way
Seeking solace in our caravan

A friend says to a friend
Share your way with me
So a friend becomes a lover
And the shared gift grows
Because of giving.

Be my friend and share
Be my lover
Let the seeds of love grow
Continuing through Eternity
Sharing and growing and loving.



-----

Le Chiamate di Notte il Vento

Were you the missing piece to my life
That in my enthusiasm to complete this riddle
I drove away and now I am left here,
Pondering.

You showed your patience
And we completed all the basic moves
But I stopped paying attention
Negligently

You were the centre of this puzzle
And fitted everything so perfectly
My enthusiasm overcame my brain
Stupidly.

Now I must pack away the pieces
To stack amongst the other incompletes
Starting my journey in life again
Alone.



-----

The Night Gently Weeps

The moons soft silvery light filters into the room
Casting long white patches and long shadows

Outside the night wind begins its call
Causing dust weevils and brown leaves to dance
Spiralling slowly in a slow waltz time.
An old, silver birch softly tap taps on the window
In rhythm to the winds dirge.

Inside the maid lies on her bed
Dark red hair cascading, contrasting against the pillows
Her pale face hidden in white
Save for the blood red lips and deep, sunken, black eyes
Frail from pain, wracked by loss of love

A shadowy figure appears at her bedside
Takes her hand and bows and kisses her
Slowly covering her in a shadowy blanket
Finally she smiles a wan smile
And joins her lover forever

And the night gently weeps.



-----

Pavey Ark (Memories)

After the blue of Stickle Tarn
The green grass
Is replaced by stones
Ancient stones mixed with new
Scree leading up to the vertical rock
The face of Pavey Ark.

There is a scar in its face
Jakes Rake
Starting at the Eastern end
It climbs westwards
Right across its face.

I have never ascended by Jake
But have descended many times
After ascending via the climbs.

On Pavey Ark's face.
I have introduced people to rock climbing
Via Gwynne's chimney
And ascended many climbs
Testing myself on the traverse
Soloing across the whole face.

The picture in my mind
Is naught but a memory now.
It is on the opposite side of the world
And almost half a century ago.

I also remember half running
With my mates
Down the path to the New Dungeon Ghyll
Where pint glasses of Guinness were drunk
In celebration of a good days climbing.

I raise my glass now,
Thankful for those memories.



-----

Return to Earth

Do you know what a bullet hitting flesh sounds like?
It's a slapping sound you hear,
Like hitting a lump of meat with a mallet.
If it kills you, you do not hear it,
All you feel is a terrible pain
Then you fall to the ground.

As I lie here I hear the sounds
The battle moving away.
I can see far better than I ever could
I can move, not far yet
I just feel so tired.
Must catch my breath,
Please be patient.
I look down and see myself
I'm lying there, eyes closed
It just looks as if I've gone to sleep.

The night is starting to fall now
And a mist is forming and with it the cold.
But I don't feel it now,
It's almost as if I'm dreaming.
I can see the night creatures coming out,
Cautiously, moving up and sniffing me.
The insects of course are still around
Bloody mosquitoes!!!
No longer do I need to swat them away
Damn that irritating sound.

I can feel some of them now,
Some sort of residual memory.
The dawn breaks and with it the change of animals.
The ants of course are still here
They found me first.
I can feel them climbing over my face.
Crawling into eyes, my ears,
Filing in line in my nose and my mouth.
With their other comrades who are laying their eggs.

They create their information path for their source of food.
I can feel the plaque on my teeth being eaten.
The buzz in my ears as their teeth eat away at my wax.

Then I see it, a solitary crow,
I can hear it's harsh cawing message to it's clan.
I can almost feel the sharp piercing stab
As its beak rips out my eye.
I can hear the beat of it's wings
And hear it's victory caw, caw,
As it flies away with it's trophy.

I can feel the nips from little creatures
As they gather, gorging themselves.

My body is starting to swell now
As the heat from the sun expands the gasses.
With time a creature will puncture the balloon
The dogs will love the gas
And the smell of rotting flesh
I can almost feel myself cracking
As the sun begins to dry out my flesh.

Other creatures come and go
My uniform moving in obscene gestures
As they steal from me

The night falls again
The mist follows creating a blanket for me
A blanket I will never need again
The animals don't seem interested tonight
But the ants still form their moving line
Remorselessly gnawing away.

With morning the crows return
Tearing away what is left
With a little ant marinade for flavour
The wild dogs of course drive them away
Everything that is except the ants
Now that I'm a little ripe
The meal is more to their palate
And I see them lick themselves with glee
They will stay by me I know
The dogs and the ants.

Then there is only the ants
And then they go
Finally I find peace.
It is the Earths turn now
I can feel the grass
Slowly
Patiently
Covering me
Hiding me.
My bones becoming brittle,
The marrow fertilising my resting place.
Slowly, willingly, I become one with the soil.
Then once again I return to earth.



-----

Ti Guardo

I look at you
And my heart swells
I feel the beat like a hammer
You smile and I feel it burst
But your look tells me everything's OK.

You are holding my heart
It had not burst, it had gone to you
And I know now it is forever safe
What better place than with its soul
A soul that we will now forever share.

How can you take my hand
When you are holding my heart?
Then I realise we are only spirits for now
In my day I am protecting you
And in your day you protect me.

When we are together and asleep
Our spirits look after us
When we wake we need not fear
Because Fate will look after us
Until that final moment.



-----

Values

I look across the river from my chair
As the sun settles
You raise your wine glass to your lips and smile
We are content.
With it the setting sun takes the days heat
Without regrets.
Casually our feet reach out and contact
Without intention
The sun's set,
Yet the red sky refuses to die
It's paid it's dues,
But naught is due except to see the fruits
Of this evening.
The sun has seen so much love in it's time
But none so much as with you and I.



-----

Why

Why do I run?
Why do I fight?
I must give in
To the inevitable
Eros has fired his arrow
And he never misses his target.

No longer can I deny you

Or will ever want to
You are now a part of me
I was lost in you.
And so I must ask
Why should I run?
Why should I fight?



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Divena Collins

And Time Began

I who hath been here before
within spirit form I shall embrace
once more the gift of illusion
exhilerated from depth`s within
for I see within power of insight
vast creatures of animation
that descend here upon earth
thro' vapours of morning mist
respondent by earths gravity.

Angelic features of pure elation
yet power within of natures force
that reverts back towards a future
of complete sulleness
those creatures were named man
simple yet affective upon stature
concieved from a part of woman
which pleased of favours much
so begat the beginning of time.

Many tales say it was Adam and Eve
but where did they first come from
was it to be as such, or never to be.



-----

Apparitions

I saw a vision there before me
within a shrouded atmosphere
of a heavenly kind
so visable to the naked eye
luminous against the glare of a moon
beneath a darkened void
where shadows remain invisable
there stood before me exposed to view
the appearance of an Angel
unconcealed within the nakedness
of the remote distance
may this of been a heavenly sign
or just an optical illusion
that became visible before me
shapes take place in so many ways
within an imaginative mind.



-----

The Big Bang

Within magnetic powers of a vacuume
where time does not exist
I who have been drawn to imortallity
shall enter the nothingness of space
I may then become non existent
unto the human race
I shall be of a platonic form, an entity
an indestructable force that endures all
within oblivion
as the planet earth becomes extinct
I shall be symbolic of a vanishing world
and an immortal spirit within an eternity
of self existence.
my presence shall be of cosmic rains
within the great winds of time
thro' a visionary blanket of mythical mists
that shall materialise from the earth below
which may finally be just a wandering star.
but only within fantasy.



-----

Fair Dinkum Mate

Justice unto the laws of criminality
violations encroached upon victims
legitimate as they may be
within the eyes of the innocent
with no previous criminal activity
they stand accused
there only crime was that of poverty
cast aside as convicted criminals
In a court of law
that had no rights to a loaf of bread
within violation of ordained justice
yet their only crime was of hunger.

Tall ships that sailed the oceanic waves
carried them forth over violent seas
that was plagued with the fever
such was their sentence ordained
for hunger and poverty
that caused no blessed gratification
for they had paid the final cost
within a God forsaken deserted land
that plagued them much
yet they had survived against all odds
within their newly found fertile land
which we all know now as Australia.

Too right mayte ya better believe it.



-----

Humanity Nil

I pray to God may I come back as a man
if ever I get the chance again
for as a woman I shall ever be ignored
when I have no rights
I shall not want to talk about politics
because to me they dont mean too much
all I ever need is to understand
what makes a man's mind tick.

I have no further education of life
a brain like an empty shell
if I only had the right opportunity
there is so much more I could do
for I was born practically humane
yet for this a woman must suffer
slavery once was abandoned
yet why does it still go on.

If a man within rights is a life giver
what chance has a woman got
when man sows the seeds of eternal life
she has nought to do with the matter
why then must a mother be cast aside
when her task is over.
shall it be her that may be extracted.



-----

Improvision

Cast thine eyes not on my face
for I am ne-er the one for thee
there is no future.
time itself has proven much
that love was never meant to be
as exploited.
we shall not move heaven nor earth
if we ever gained such a chance
of loves pleasure
memories will never turn to bliss
which shall be a blessed relief
without this love.

Yet I am so lonesome on my own
for the needs I am so depraived of
deeply within
time shall only tell if this is love
if we give it just once more chance
yet again
shall forgive and forget the past
to carry on not as we were before
but closer.
love combined shall please me much
I am so sure you must feel the same
now and forever.

making up is hard on ones own
but it shall only need just two.



-----

Lament Of Nature

The petals of blooms portray the future
that speaks within silent tongue
predictions that reveal much
the innocence of a child at play
cannot conceal the wisdom of nature
as they pluck the petals one by one
the future reveals within rhyme
does he love me, or love me not
each petal portrays the final answer
whilst each bloom is thrown away.
once I was that child that followed
the path of impassable seduction
within my innocence,
until memories had passed me by
within the future I felt the pain.
of natures most precious gifts .
now obliterated from my view.
bearing instant feelings of sorrow
whilst beauty withers and dies.



-----

Love Came

Cast but a spell within my eyes
thou may search for love therein
of passions that I cannot hide
yet please me much
an eternity shall not be enough
to share loves desires that are
longing to be set free,
to hold within the passion of love
thy senses shall be that of touch
that shall forever linger
teasing enticing unto a final trance
the fuel of a volcanos eruption
shall soon be tamed.
when the fire of passion is spent
naught but a spell within my eyes
of deep content.



-----

Rejection

Of the hurt and pain that dwells within
love shall not feel the same
what we once had was heaven sent
how could this now be so
such is the torment of a lovers quest
when love shall fade.

Memories of past shall fade too soon
how may I be such a fool
when love back then, was only a word
that now has no meaning
yet why ever does this hurt still remain
So deep within my heart.

Why is it that love is so vulnerable
so cruel the pain of words
that stifles loves unforgettable moments
so hastily cast to one side
for tears and heartache may bear no pain
from memories there after.

Lessons learned are so soon forgotten
Until the next time.



-----

Romantic Era

With silent words my verse I now compose
with not a rhyme nor rhythm
but what I may feel deeply shall appear
bearing images of love that linger
within my very heart and soul
with feeling.
stay with me whilst I rest awhile
to cleanse my soul with past verse
that lingers forever within my mind
of the future.
for the past now I shall ever speak of
`Tis the future ahead that awaits me
casting no shadow`s within this muse
I shall now compose.

Now within my composure I may begin
cast aside the words of modern tongue
for my preference shall be of the olde
of latter dayes.
much to my admiration of times gone by
for modern times shall not speak of love
unlike this romantic era of deep feeling
that shall turn the tide
may the tide turn back to how it once was
when poets were lovers of the written word
composed within such a desirous passion
that shall compare much to modern prose
within poetic stance.

Times past shall reach towards the future
Within fulfilment of charmed completion.


From John Keats 'Bright Star'

-----

Seasonal Love

When autumn shrouds the cloudy skies
Upon tinted shades of loves moods
casting a spell of eternal harmony
upon an autumns skyline
each season shall ever be the same
the coming of winters sleet and snows
that drifts within the woodlands floor
cold of winter.

Come worthiness of a spring season
so devoid of the dreary paths of winter
that affords ne-er to warm thy soul within
of natures blessed harmony
canst thy feel the sun upon thy face
when the dew drops kiss thy lips
like a lover that warms thy heart an soul
that casts not a shadow.

Cast thy senses that reign within
of sweet perfume that shall linger forth
from the lustiness of a primrose maiden
that provoke's love
spring being the season for lovers
eternal fantasies shall ne`er go adrift
no other season shall be a blessing that
shall warm within.



-----

Submission Nil

Panic stricken butterflies flutter by
I feel within the presence of fear
so much I remain as still
wings of birds remain so alike
that I shall ever be afraid of
however pretty they may look
but only from afar
I tolerate the fear I have inside
though innocent within their stature
I may never submit.

Yet I may never fear a wolf that howls
nor a stallion running as wild
mounted an elephant in london zoo
that I had nearly forgotten
the larger the beast the braver was I
within my own discretion
anything with wings was not for me
just something to do with the feathers
whether it shall be a bird or insect
I may never submit.



-----

A Thousand Desires

This night of love was young
when I felt thy breath upon my face
with the warmth of desirous dreams
enticing an inner fantasy of passion
which thrilled me much
I saw love burning within thine eyes
teasing and enticing
this very thought
I cherished within.

I felt thy touch soft on my skin
lingering, gently but oh what bliss
thrilling me like you knew it would
casting thy spells of passion therein
which thrilled me much
enticing desires of heavenly delight
so passionately
is it any wonder
I should submit.



-----

Waters Run Deep

Rivers are rising and I cannot escape
deep floods shall soon be upon me
and I cannot swim
the stepping stones are too far apart
I am so afraid I shall slip on the slime
that have covered them over
I remain here still for cannot breathe
trapped within the mid stream flow
of deeper waters,
if I could step over to the next stone
no but then I may slip
even if I moved only inch by inch
I might never quite make it
soon the light shall turn into dark
what then may I do?
help shall then be harder to find.
Oh my God was that an alarm I heard
Then all this was only a nightmare.



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Jez Farmer

Farewell

Standing at the brink of destiny holding his hand
before she leaves the words of goodbye must come
too many tears have gone for a sad farewell
too many years of heartbreak
too many discarded dreams
all lost and forgotten.
One last look to what was once living
and she lets go of his hand
she must fall away now
as he walks on into the future
for in her demise is his new beginning.

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Bill Pearce

Darkroom

Lady night arrives on time,
dressed in midnight,
long dress and sleeves
star buttons, undone
she dances slow,
to cover my eyes,
and let me feel her charms,
against my chest,
and thighs,
and beard,
to feed me the flavors
of her wine,
made from desire
and impish sprinkles
from her woman places.

Hollow music,
needing to be filled,
sorrow songs,
with hope endings
lyrics of lonely,
whispered in rhyme,
hidden under her gown
in the folds of dark,
where glisten is felt
or tasted, not seen,
where skin ends emboss
and bruise the touch,
but never grace the eyes
where tomorrow is erased
with the brush of her fingers
across eyelids of caution.

-----

Everything is still

Everything is still.
calm as
hot without wind
free
time, then body, ends
transference,
wide-awake sleep
among the sticky grasses smelling of hay
chewed in thought in sky
without gravity of earth
pressing in the weight,
lifting
lighter than any living frame
one power loosed is into another
hear some kind of god chants?
dipping through in a slow move

-----

Fantasy to Reality

Chastised
I shouldn't be
thinking of you now
even though
I can
the guilt of
what might be
should we allow it
consumes me
I'm angry at
what I've thrown
away even before
my hand has
released

-----

For Sherry

when our bodies desert us
in some earnest eccentricity
let's stick our fingers in the electricity
spark to it with a new charge
with a clear voice about what
was that!?
well,
let's holler back and howl
across the brain-wave interstates
"I have driven rougher roads
fed oranges to the juicer
stared long at the sun in its rise or set
taken what I wanted in a moment
open-faced
I heard you tell it
you only shook me, luv

-----

He'll Get His

A simpler place,
A distant past,
the five and dime still stands,
a hollow shell,
the broken glass,
intricate graffiti,
on the crumbling mortared bands,
echos of the shouting whites,
hurt and angry blacks,
forced to live outside the town,
in dirty, rundown shacks,
equal opportunity,
now eyed with silent hate,
other ways to keep them out,
color-coded corporate gates,
fill the quota,
stop right there,
no handouts,
let them earn their share,
drag themselves from war-torn streets,
drug plied nests of fear,
white supremists walk the beat,
the alabaster hand of power,
makes sure the ghettos thrive,
racist white America,
dares them to survive,
the hollow eyes of hunger,
the brittle bones of life,
the starved, distended stomach of,
their chance at ended strife,
the land of plenty shuns these eyes,
stomps the brittle bones,
plays it down or leaves them out,
of papers read in suburb homes,
those who stand up for the cause,
are silenced, gagged, and bound,
while the throngs of voting whites,
sign up for what they're told is right,
the country's stalled by good ol' boys,
the white house? true, it is!
but when true justice finally comes,
don't worry, they'll get theirs.

-----

In Tribute to Poe (Hello Edgar)

She calls to me from far away,
I hear her tender voice,
my eyes are blind, in silence I,
lie still without a choice,
my will can't move my body,
my mind screams out to her,
how long I've lain here helplessly,
not a fingertip will stir,
and yet I feel her touch me,
with soft and caring hands,
I melt away inside myself,
and drift to distant lands,
I'm doomed to inactivity,
yet each day she moves my limbs,
I've developed an obsession,
for the feeling of her skin,
my angel in the darkness,
how I yearn to speak her name,
to let it flow across my lips,
yet the distances don't wain,
and so I'll lay beside her,
and she'll never know quite why,
she feels a tugging at her mind,
when the doctors say I'll die,
I'll love her for eternity,
my florence nightingale,
and she loves me,
though she can see,
I'm covered by a veil...

-----

Maybe Just

Maybe just a memory,
from someone elses life,
a tiny moment,
from their past,
or non-existent future,
a fantasy,
of strife,
a wild notion,
or a ruse,
an accusation,
born of clues,
maybe just a whimsy,
on the tip,
of someone's tongue,
a paramount idea,
one to change,
the world for peace,
or maybe just,
the tiny word,
a Bard could not release

-----

Millstone Ballast and Reincarnated Dreams

The last second of,
The last hour of,
The last day of,
Your last life,
No more time,
To go around,
The reincarnate ferris wheel,
Has stopped in your last town,
No place to hide,
Nowhere to run,
No time to think,
Know now the pun,
Oh,
The moment now at hand,
A predetermined promised land?
The tiny group,
adorned in grief,
Don thick, black mourning band,
A chuckle,
From a distant height,
It seems you might have done alright,
A chuckle,
From the smould'ring depths,
A distant mem'ry,
Of an evil promise made,
And by the dark one kept,
A million fingers,
Pull you now,
A million different ways,
Exploding in a flash of light,
Then dim to glowing haze,
a tiny bit for all you knew,
a piece for them to keep,
a shard of your existence,
to fall on those who weep

-----

Mount Belair

It is the mountains
that don't grow
in Texas,
even with all the rain
they are stunted
to just be hills,
budding green sprouts
and poison ivy
and promises of peaks
in another million years.

From the window
of California
dressed in a earthquake trap
older than memories,
she leans back to pose
and let my eyes
eat their fill
of the dark tips
and slow curve volumpt
and a couple of scars,
implants of asphalt
for the fingers of progress
to follow down
to her Franando belly.

The sky is lucky
to be brown
and have her breasts
pressed so deep
against cloud ribs
making indents
making handholds
undergut touching
shudder movements
where her thighs
receive the sea.

-----

symbiotic

a net effect

like sitting under a waterfall
as the liquid surrounding you
presses in all directions
velo.
with the bubbles of air
clinging to the skin
as they roll upwards
following the contours of the body.

this is a feeling
you, touched by phases of matter-in-motion
are held in place by the Brownian
movements of uncountable objects
a cumulation of forces.

brownian like tea vapors, swirling
in air and water
a concentration of effect
reaching into the beyond.

and you,
sitting in this place
thinking
what are you giving out?

-----

symbiotic

a net effect

like sitting under a waterfall
as the liquid surrounding you
presses in all directions
velo.
with the bubbles of air
clinging to the skin
as they roll upwards
following the contours of the body.

this is a feeling
you, touched by phases of matter-in-motion
are held in place by the Brownian
movements of uncountable objects
a cumulation of forces.

brownian like tea vapors, swirling
in air and water
a concentration of effect
reaching into the beyond.

and you,
sitting in this place
thinking
what are you giving out?

-----

Things Are Often How They Feel

Who ever coined the phrase,
"Things are often how they feel,"
was no doubt a genius.

For example, take the convex
curvature of a woman's leg
starting from her ankle, up
calves and across thighs - - -

she wears a pink
dress falling to the floor.

White flour and yeast
avacodo breasts
crease and bend
in my palms.

There is grape-
fruit smell, taste
of bitter rind.

Hair dark olive
black.

Feel it.

back to list

Peter Willowdown

The Dharma Bell

Wind and rain,
the creaking and rustling of the bamboo thicket outside my room;
the croaking of a bull-frog,
the loud, distinctive call of a gecko under the tin-roof
- eager to devour the moths attracted to the light of my window.
I sit out on the veranda and watch the distant lightning.
When the rain subsides a little I walk up to the hill behind the compound
and listen to the soft chime of the bells
on the hill-top monastery roof, proclaiming universal Dharma.
Over on the mainland the storm continues to flash
and light up the skies above the city lights and mountains.

-----

The Invisible

Everywhere I look I see and hear the Invisible: in the complex architecture of the forest and the intricate symphony of unobtrusive streams, in baroque cathedrals of sunlight in the canopy of a tree and fantastic cities of fungi abandoned by strange races of miniature alchemists and wizards.
Drifting seeds and dandelion clocks perform a delicate aerial ballet, borne up ferny paths and gently wooded slopes by a breeze that blows in from the sea, fragrant with salt and the lingering attars and essences of far-distant lands where Summer is eternal and birds and beasts have sentient speech.

I find intimations of that Otherworld in the hidden runes written on the underside of leaves, cryptic sigils made legible by starlight and the milky effulgence of the Moon.
The voices of Nature-spirits and djinn call to me from flowers and wells and strange arrangements of stone - trees sing ancient laments and praise-ballads to silver-fleshed Giants who roamed the woods in bygone times, Angels who so loved living things they elected to live amongst them but perished of mortal diseases and heavenly elixers denied them.

River nixies flaunt their lissom charms coquettishly and shamelessly; Pucks and Goodfellows conduct boisterous races on the backs of great spiral-shelled Snails, urging on their somewhat somnolent and less than enthusiastic steeds with shreds of tasty lettuce, drinking copious thimblefulls of herb-drenched dew and tumbling about disgracefully.

At dusk velvet-skinned Vampyres ride the purple air on the backs of chirruping bats. A flotilla of miniature ships is floating down the river; some, made ingeniously of twigs and leaves and held together with spider-web and magic, are manned by laughing green and russet clad wood-elves out for a days adventure and pic-nicing; others - shimmering affairs of crystal, sunlight and ice and steered by the Grey Helmsmen of the Dead or, occasionally, human Dreamers - are carrying great Princes and Queens of the High Folk on diplomatic missions between the various Worlds.

Little Kingdoms exist in pools of collected rainwater where great sea-battles are enacted with marvellous armada.

Paladins and knights ride on the backs of bees and dragonflies, jousting with rose-thorns or pine-needles hardened in resin. Airy spirits and wingless zephyrs have constructed citadels and palaces on cliffs of sculpted cumulus and fantastic bridges of filigree mist link them in sprawling, shifting city-states. In factories in the darker clouds a host of industrious beings force themselves to weep copious tears to manufacture rain or pound on massive thunder-drums to summon summer-lightning.

Beneath the earth kobalds and goblins and sleepy, yawning trolls tend the millions of clocks that regulate the growth of every living plant from little seed to tender shoot to great and towering oak. There are even little fragile clocks, turned by dripping water, that regulate the growth of crystals and fantastic forests of stalagmites and stalactites in grottoes and underground caverns full of mineral flowers and silently chiming bells (the gardeners of these crystal forests are curious angular creatures - all multi-faceted planes and surfaces like crickets or grasshoppers of glass - around their narrow razor-sharp waists they carry little phials of dissolved minerals and dilute acids - precious foods for their delicate charges).

In certain blue-lit caverns faerie shepherds tend the azure swine of Glamourie, feeding them delicious truffles, honey-apples and, as a special treat, the occasional still-born or aborted baby. One cthonic chamber is so vast it houses an entire ocean, with continents and islands peopled by creatures considered strange even by the tolerant world-view of the inhabitants of the Faerie Kingdoms - blind and maggot-white snuffling things that are, nevertheless, great aesthetes and philosophers, composing convoluted decade-long operas consisting of the interplay and slippery cadences of their mucous-coated bodies writhing and scraping sinuously against each other.

Beneath the surface of this sunless, moonless ocean are the ruined cities of yet older races that came to Earth from foreign stars when the planets surface was all steaming vapour and furious wind. Volcanoes on the ocean bed are home for little colonies of curious salamanders that leave the magma halls of their own yet deeper domains and demesnes to quest and adventure in the alien world of the submerged ocean. At the very centre of the Earth sits a great and ancient Fire-drake slowly hatching its clutch of eggs that one day will devour the world and leap to feast on neighbouring planets and stars.

With evening, the star-children perform their aerial ballet, calling forth their challenges through winding silver horns, casting glittering spears and clashing ceremonial blades against stylised greaves of chrome and platinum. Reciting the names of the kin of their respective progenitor nebulae (a lengthy process) they perform their ritual dance about a mythical may-pole - the central axis of the universe - forming kabbalistic knots and patterns with their
interlocking rays and emanations like light-drunk Morris dancers, flinging comets and meteors about willy-nilly in wild ecstatic exuberance.

Everywhere I look I see and hear the Invisible: in the complex architecture of the forest and the intricate symphony of unobtrusive streams, in baroque cathedrals of sunlight in the canopy of a tree, in meadows of bright spring flowers preening in the breeze.
Who would suspect that this little girl skipping happily along a red dirt road with her little brother in tow is anything other than just a little mortal girl?
Who would suspect that the tangle-bearded tramp dozing beneath the hedgerow is infact the King of the World, or that the ragged scarecrow slowly creeping up on him is Grandfather Time in disguise?

Dawn is a door into the heart of the Sun. A million owls reside in the Moon. October is a cave full of sleeping bats. Everywhere mysteries are knocking on the doors of other mysteries;
vigourously they stamp their feet on the welcome mats of wise-men's philosophies and enter in to take a cup of tea or a drop of something stronger.

-----

Musk

Musk of peach and freshly washed wool,
I hold you to my face and inhale
- is this how Angels smell?

New born Divinity, the trees bend down their leaves
to give you shade,
the birds fall silent to listen to you murmur and coo,
even Mr. Crow forgets to croak,
some half recalled memory of tenderness
struggling between longing and rejection in his dark breast
before he was kicked out the nest
to make himself a scourge and pest...
even Mr. Fox, sauntering by behind the hedgerow
forgets for thirty seconds his cerebellum full of schemes,
his thoughts quite full of far-off dreams.

Owl hoots mournfully in his Nostalgia Tree
Moon Sister sighs and misses the second beat of her cup-stirring spell
- instead of conjuring a demon chick from the gurgling refrigerators of Hell
a near blind fluffy chick is swimming in her cauldron...
gently scooping him out she places him on a cushion of moss
and curses herself for being maudlin.
If Tawny Sun Friend were still about
no doubt he would compose some new song
but nobody knows where he really is - not even Moon Sister or Owl
though Lord Arthur Saville swears he ran into him one night
coming out of the Savoy Club in Mayfair,
with a pixie on each arm
and bright green fireflies waltzing in his hair...

Samphire and candyfloss,
I will dress you in a sheer samite smock
and sing you lullabies from Narnia.
Laying you beneath a lamp post in the snow
I shall stand guard over you and tell you of tangerines and roasted chestnuts,
I will tell you of Christmas trees and figures of glass that come to life,
of tin soldiers that melt in the arms of love
and of Jimi Hendrix playing guitar to mermaids.
Do Angels sleep or merely dream,
forgetting, as they grow older,
exactly which is which, until one day
they are no longer angels but children?
and then, in no time at all,
they become disillusioned and cynical
and no longer listen to tales of maidens turning into white swans
or of swans transformed unto maidens.

Musk of peach and freshly washed wool
each Spring the new lambs dance in your honour,
young squirrels savour the sweetest nuts
and dedicate the sweetest to the Saviour.
In trees and hedgerows and the sacred dim-lit shadows of houses
spiders weave their very best webs
and set free the first thing that is trapped in them,
no matter how hungry or unsated they feel
- for long ago The Divine Child descended into Hell
and freed Lord Arachnos the Crippled from the chains of Satan
and instructed him in how to weave tapestries
instead of instruments of torture
and though for the most part spiders are still mean and cruel by nature
the seeds of self-debate have been sown in their brains
and occasionally the dragon's teeth of self-knowledge
bring forth cherubim rather than chimera.

Yes, I will sing, for though I am no great singer,
your song will give my voice their own lyrics and melody
and to those who See and those who Hear
my uncouth warbling will still point towards
some subtle heavenly Harmony,
though the Blind and the Deaf
will ever call such poetry and musick
misguided, illiterate or rank, insipid tomfoolery
but such fools would not recognise an Angel
if it came and opened the Seven Phials of Perfection before them...

Musk of peach and freshly washed wool,
I hold you to my face and inhale
- is this the scent of Angels?
If you truly do not know
then go ask Perrywinkle!

-----

Salamander Saltkiss

Salamander Saltkiss was a most unusual fellow:
whilst all his friends would hiss and splutter
in the crackling flame, writhing in pure joy
Saltkiss liked nothing better
than dreary English weather,
haunting quiet country lanes in the pouring rain.
As all his firedrake chums got hotter and hotter
frolicking in friendly hearths
he set out for damper parts
and just got wetter and wetter
- what a peculiar boy!

His mother called Saltkiss a freak
and sucking her razor-sharp teeth
said that he gave her goosebumps down the spine
and made her poor heart feel quite weak.
His father just crackled and smoked
and declared it a rum sort of joke
- it just wasn't proper for a growing salamander
to enjoy such unclemant weather
"its hot ashes and fire that our kind require,
rain's just not up our street.
It dampens the ardour in blazing bonfire
and wintery fireside arbour,
really, the boy must try harder.
I know - we'll send him to Etna
where the hot magma bubbles and squeaks!"

But even that legendary volcano
left Saltkiss metaphorically cold,
he only perked up when a late April shower
splashed on his crest and his feet
- he squarked with delight and made quite a sight
down the old streets of Messina
swimming at night to the locals delight
in a water-logged Roman arena.
The Italian firedrakes thought him a damp sort of squib
and the French lizards looked down their noses
"What an outlandish affair,"
they tittered behind their claws
"a Salamander dancing in the rain
and making such peculiar noises
- splashing about with his fiery tail
and sending up steam with his toeses!"

Word eventually came to the Pope
and he sent a man from the Vatican
(suitably armed against the rains unseasonal shenanagins
with stout umbrella and wellingtons).
Sure enough, there was Salamander Saltkiss
hopping and running about in a downpour
- it made the priest feel faint
but even though firedrakes are usually creatures of the devil
this one appeared to be special
and after due investigation
was made into a saint.

Saint Salamander Saltkiss
- O how his friends all guffawed;
even his somewhat traditionalist Uncle Lucifuge
heartilly slapped his armour-plated kneecaps and roared!
But alas, one wet day when Saltkiss went out to play
a sudden flash-flood swept down from the hills
and poor little Saltkiss, halo and all,
was caught up and carried away.

Naturally all the salamanders were very upset
- the Pope sent a floral bouquet -
but his Pa gave a snort and made this retort:
"He's an unco peculiar lad - I daresay he'll
be back some day."
And sure enough, come next December, when frozen winds did blow
and all the icicled firedrakes were shivering in their fire-caves
thoroughly miserable through and through
their came a sound like a tipsey dragons cry
and out of the thoroughly miserable sky
came Salamander Saltkiss,
floating on wings of gossamer white
made of cold drizzle and snow
and all the young firedrakes gave a great cheer
and shouted loudly "Yeah, far out Dude",
and "Whoa - way to go!"

What peculiar sport the villagers saw that winter
- Salamanders, young and old, engaged in snowball fights!
Steam hissing up where their should be mist and fog
cats running round like wild things and chasing frightened dogs,
surely it couldn't be right?
But as young Saltkiss had been sanctioned by the Church
there was nothing they could do
except sit back in wonder and ask if it were true?
"Surely it must be a hoax,
a delusion of steam
done with mirrors and smoke!"
And then the Mayor's son joined in the to-do
but O what a hullabaloo
when a piping hot snowball caught his papa right smack in the face
raising a blister or two.
Saint or no saint, Saltkiss held his head in shame
and had to be led away by his mortified mother
albeit on a fine gold chain.
But soon it was March and then sultry May
and Saltkiss was out every day
splashing and dancing in lovely wet rain
that lasted til early October
"If I knew that he didn't drink nothing but milk," said his Ma
"I'd swear that he just wasn't sober!"

-----

Setting Out

Little remains of the light of Arden
since The Crown of Hesper fell flaming into the Sea
covering the world in a mist
that lasted seven years
during which time men lost their way
and became as beasts.
Fourteen years have passed since then
and an order of sorts has been re-established
though darnkess still weighs heavy over much of the world:
petty warlords claim high hills and passes
whilst ignorant and intolerant priests
declare their belligerent creeds

A lover of beauty and scholarship in my youth
I will set out on the ancient ways to seek the holy places
and find out for myself if what rumour says is true -
that several living jewels have fallen to Earth
from Hesper's radiant Crown:
one within a hidden lake
another in a sacred forest
yet another onto the bed of a simple stream
where it lies amongst the common stones and pebbles
awaiting recognition.
It is said that seven jewels have fallen to Earth altogether
and that already four have been found
and are being used by wise and skilful savants
to repair the hurt to the world
and remind all men of Arden
and the ever-burning Light.
In what little time remains to me
I would seek for those remaining gems
- for what else might a person do
but follow what he believes is good and true
if he is still to call himself a man?

Last night I dreamed an owl with feathers of ice
came and sat on my window-sill and called to me
and rising from my bed I followed it out into the fields
until we came to a place I knew not
and there was a tree there in that field
and all its leaves were burning with a softly
flickering flame, sometimes reddish-gold,
sometimes emerald green, sometimes almost white
though the tree suffered not but seemed to rejoice
in its coruscating fiery state, swaying this way and that
as if its trunk were subtly alive and dancing
to a music only it could hear.
Higher up in the tree sat yet another bird,
untouched by any heat of flame from all the burning leaves around it.
Like a great white gull it was
and in its beak it held a branch
and the leaves on that branch were not of fire
but shimmering, singing crystal
delicate and pale blue in colour
as of sapphire veined with milk.
And I heard the sound of many waves upon an unseen shore
and a distant music of harps and flutes and drums
and the smell of salt was in the air
and far away I thought I heard the songs of many sea-birds.

Therefore I am taking the old abandoned road to Errinsgate
from whose crumbled harbour men once sailed in ferry-boats
to visit the Islands of Dream.
Farewell, you that remain in this little valley
between the Gray Hills and the Viridian Wood
- a happy gentle place of old
but one that has become too small for my dreams.
Should any amongst you be visited by an ice-white owl
then mayhap our paths shall pass again.
If not, I bid you remember the true high light of Arden
that one day shall be restored unto all men
when Hesper regains his crown
and it sits upon his pure white brow once more.

-----

Song of Spirits

Spirit of Fire, spirit of Air,
spirit of Water, spirit of Earth,
spirit of chocolate and coconut fudge cake,
spirit of the gingerbread mouse in his lair.
Spirit of the turquoise cat,
spirit of the caramel gnome
wearing a colorful paper crown,
play your zither, blow your kazoo,
play upon your horn and tap your shoes,
atishoo, atishoo, atishoo,
we conjure you!
"Who wakes me?" roared the gingerbread cat,
the marzipan giraffe wearing a tea cozy,
the dozy looking monkey sitting backwards
on an elephant, picking his nose
with fingers that glowed...
"Tis I, your Aunt Mabel, your presence
is required at the dining table...
there's eggs made of jam, a pink chestnut ham,
a pig with twelve heads, a spoon with ten legs,
there's pepper and salt, there's Malcolm and Walt,
self-buttering scones and two Oxford Dons,
pancakes with lemon and pancakes with cheese,
wobbly trifles and a maid named Louise!"
"Well why didn’t you say so?" cried the chocolate
fudge cake,
the Vicar of Wakefield,
a Welsh Male Voice choir,
Androcles Lamb and an old tin of Spam.
Just let me finish this gingerbread mouse,
this pan of fresh scouce,
this velveteen louse,
this caterpillar with wings,
this cauliflower that sings -
don't start without me or else I'll be mad!”
"You took your time,' said Aunt Mabel,
legs sticking out from under the table,
an old antimacassar loosely draped
about her shoulders,
"I’m afraid there’s only two and a half
chicken sandwiches left,
half a bottle of lukewarm Pepsi Cola
(Luke has been sitting on it the last half hour)
and a misshapen hot dog that's already
beginning to smoulder."
"Bah!" said Higgletypigglety, "I’ve just about had it
with patrolling the borders. Whenever I get back
everything worth eating has already been scoffed.
Next term I want a job in Central Office,
deflossing the matrix,
defrosting the fridge,
testing the contents of all things with lids,
sampling all fauna that grows on the ridge,
sleeping til midnight
and getting up at four,
coming in through the window
and going out through the door;
sleeping in beds instead of wet hammocks,
playing the bagpipes and wearing fresh salads"
"Take your shoes off," said Aunt Mabel,
"you’re leaving ectoplasm all over the carpet!"

-----

Storm Horse's Stolen Alphabet

Storm horse pranced across the roofs
like a drunken dentist extracting tooths.
In his garret Ebeneezer Earnest Scribbler (e.e.scribbler)
gnashed his own two teeth and shuddered:
it was bad enough trying to write a sonnet
without having to listen to Storm Horse!

Scribbler stuck his head out of his window and shouted
but the wind took hold of all of his words
and tore them to bits.
A nearby weathercock tried to crow
but just ended up spinning in circles
- just which way WAS the blasted wind blowing?
He's like to say but he just didn't know!

Storm Horse whinnied, Storm Horse wept
- someone or something had crept into his stable at night
and stolen his favourite Alphabet
- the one he used to speak to Dragons!
At first he thought it might be Ned
but Ned was fast asleep in his bed.

But then he spied a trader's wagon
making furtively for the east gate of the city
and when he called out to his Alphabet it answered him,
vociferously and fastidiously:
"Ugh!" it cried, "I'm hidden under a pile of hay,
turnips to the left of me
and a cage full of chickens to the right
- I'm sure I look a dreadful sight!"

Storm Horse pelted the wagon with rain,
struck the wheels with lightning
and then did it again.
"Mercy, Guv'nor!" cried the driver,
"I didn't know the letters was yours
- I thought they were just some kiddies!"

"That just makes your theft twenty times worser,"
said Storm horse in a wretched lapse of proper grammar."
"Hand 'em over and never come back this way again... "
The trader did as he was told
and, furthermore Storm Horse fined him the six bars of gold
he found concealed about his person.

When he had settled his Alphabet back in his stable
he came and knocked at my window.
"Sorry about all that racket before," he said
"but petty thieveryt always makes me feel sore
and my hooves need a damn good workout.
Perhaps you'd like to write the tale
and nail it to a tree or two by way of public explanation."

Which is exactlt what I did
although I only narrowly escaped being fined myself,
first by a suspicious constable who thought I was drunk
and then by an irate wood-surgeon.
I asked Storm Horse if I might look at his Alphabet sometime
but he said it was written in ancient Mesopotamian
and I wouldn't be able to understand a word of it.
I'm not sure I believed him
but you don't argue with Storm Horse!

-----

What Lovely Dreams

What lovely dreams and worlds collide
behind your gently feathered eyes
and when you open them and yawn
what visionary stars tumble and fall,
not in proud rebellion but laughter
(down the Crystal Stairs of Sleep,
a spiral corkscrew, thin and steep)
stumbling from Heaven's rafters
to stretch their limbs in languorous dawn;
and do the Gods in Heaven weep?

What lovely words and playful quips
are resting now behind your lips,
pleasant poetry of friendship and affection
whose sibling smile and gesture
rise easily to frolick and play
when with the coming of the day
consciousness returns from that far shore
where untroubled thoughts have wandered
barefoot in the celestial night
through fields of pale and fragrant flowers
that men call Heaven's starry lights?

Oh what thoughts flit through my impatient mind
as I sit and wait for you to wake,
my charming young companion of the day
asleep upon the shore of that dark lake
wherein the fish of prophecy swim
and bright-gold carp discuss the gossip of Heaven,
where Old Man Trout and silver-scaled cherubim
gently dream within the shade of moonlit willows
or lambent shallows full of stars
inbetween which fly the swallows
of the Land of Perfect Peace
where restless musings at last know ease
and troubled hearts find sweet release.

What happy hours and days we'll spend
and Seraphim will lend our fragile flesh
and feeble minds bright wings
as passing twixt the pillars of twilight
unto the base of that great Stair
that elegantly twists and winds,
we rise upon its curving gyre
and tread the shadows of the air.
'To where,' asks the Nightingale of the Tangled Forest,
'does your headlong flight of love repair?'
To where all thoughts of Love must dare!
- to Heaven's Gates and thence beyond,
to gaze upon Love's naked face
and hear Love's great, unfinished Song.

"Ah,' sighs the Nightingale plaintively
'I too have heard that lovely melody
once or twice, though indistictly;
when you return, will you pass this way again
and teach to me some new refrain
to add to that I oft times sing?
One day I too will make that longed for journey
but first I must grow stronger wings
for 'though the call of Love is light
the burden of Earth's air is heavy
and weighs upon all living things.
Farewell and God-speed, bright lovers:
follow the Song that calls from above
love one another and all mortal things
as sister and brother."

-----

World of Jewels

Cast down from the Tower, I wandered in the valley of jewels where men of emerald vie with daemons of ruby, amethyst and jet, where sapphire dreams take on the forms of mythological beasts and pose abstruse riddles to the uncautious sojouner in perfumed opalescent groves whose opulent ferns conceal and reveal orchids of topaz and black diamond.
Ah how I thirst for cool clear water to drink, wary of the rivers of glittering dust and steams of milky mercury; how I long to sink my teeth into simple honest fruit, scorning the light-dripping gems that -elfin maids and well-spoken but enigmatically visaged paladins assure me- serve as sustenance here to man-folk, fey, dragon or shape-shifting phantom.

I have been in this prismatic realm for ten and two-score years now and it is only with the greatest of difficulty that I remember my former life in the high basalt Tower.
Are those really the lamps of high and distant windows that can sometimes be observed high above the vast, tumultuous clouds or merely some unfathomable natural phenomena?
Have I not imagined or dreamt the dark cyclopean halls from whose glassless windows
the privaleged denizens of that high, remote estate might gaze into the very hearts of stars?

Naturally I have taken a wife to ease the passage of my soul through this shattered crystalline world: a delicately beautiful woman all of malachite, rose and porphyry
with hair of woven platinum and eyes of deep-sea agate.
My daughters are all of tourmaline and chrysolite, with lips of coral ivory
and fingernails of gold.
My son, fourteen years of age, is sinewed with fine silver, with blood of molten bronze and helps me harvest the orchards of fire and ice whose fruits we trade with the salamanders of the magma-pits and the gargoyles of the Heliotrope Forest.

My wife and daughters laugh at my strange memories of other worlds or look at me askance when I wake from slumber with strange words upon my lips, my burned and frost-bitten fingers etching outre sigils upon the perfumed air.
But I am not alone now in my fantasies.
Twice now, Sigurd,our son, has also dreamed of that ebony-pinnioned stallion with the Sun and Moon for eyes and heard the eldritch music of distant celebrations
beckoning from the zenith of the heavens.
One day, perhaps, the mist-wreathed figure that sits upon that steed shall speak his earthly name and, telling him to lay aside his grappling iron and panniers,
command him to mount behind him upon the splendid horse of Air.
What then shall I tell my wife and fragile daughters?
Will they believe my tales and wild make-believe then?

Cast down from the Tower, I wander in the valley of jewels, uncertain which is the greater hallucination - that of my faery malachite bride and family or the promise and uncertainty of my once and future doom.

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