Garden of Poetry by Daniel F Mitchell
Garden of Dreams
Nothing is as it seems.
Sometimes there appears to be no gain
Here in the garden of dreams.
The fruits of my labor seem in vain.
The butterfly screams.
The maggot deems
My flesh the milk of demise.
I pass through the garden door,
In awful surprise.
But I am wiser than before.
When I was young, how young I was!
How bright was the sun when I would live forever!
How clear was my cause,
When nothing was my endeavor!
How long was the day!
How clear was my sight?
Until fast-falling night
Changed my perspective in every way!
Ode to Grieving Poetry
Praised be poetry inspired of seething grief,
Though wrought of unpolished words and rough lines.
No poem was composed of greater belief
In the power a poignant stanza defines!
Blessed be song born on uncertain quills,
Distress poured freely forth from anguished throats,
Whose lyrics the crudest comfort impart!
Sing on, verse whose theme a troubled soul stills;
Intoned in mourning’s delirious notes
That solace an aspiring poet’s heart!
Forgive Me, Teacher
Forgive me, teacher – your wayward student,
Belatedly returned to the straight track.
Would that your wisdom might judge prudent
Reassessment, now that I have come back.
Though woefully late to heed guidance spurned!
And all my textbooks long rendered to dust!
I was made to see as you once avowed.
I am sincere at last – my lessons learned!
This solemn praise of scholarship, I trust,
Should raise your sullen brow, and make you proud.
Farmer, from dawn to dusk in faithful toil,
You endure without asking or knowing
The final price of servitude to soil –
Never reaping quite as much as sowing,
Trading seasons for an interest of years,
Your harvest in labor twice over paid.
Summer grows shorter, and winter colder.
Your eyes grow dim, but your debt never clears,
Till a most grim reaper, with honed blade,
Comes leaning on your languishing shoulder.
Weep, children, with a thousand tears!
With a voice of one, wail your plight!
Assert the weight of all your attrited years!
Plead in vain to the deaf and bottomless night!
Time, in its wanton apathy,
Envenoms with seconds and hours
All to the heartless hold of infinity.
Milk of youth in the space of a moment sours.
Time conquers with a sure onslaught –
The slaughter of a silent thief,
Reducing all consequence to utter naught,
Gradual, so as to rob mourning of grief.
With pendulums that never cease,
With a broad, meticulous sweep,
Beats the cadence of the celestial timepiece,
Across the vast reaches of eternal deep.
Cross a sea of corrupted blood,
Rise the waves that never subside!
What day may escape the omnipotent flood?
What creature crawl from the inexorable tide?
The Nature of the Beast
At the garden’s edge roamed a vicious beast,
Visible only to retrospect truth,
For it engaged in a gradual feast,
A piecemeal consumption of naive youth.
First it licked the fair features from a face.
Next it ate strength away without a trace.
Then it tore dreams and memory apart.
And last it made listless a restless heart.
A psychologist, a psychic, and a psycho,
Met one day beneath an oak.
They considered the tree’s grandly twisted show.
Then to each other they spoke.
There seems to be the possibility,
Suggested by its nonconformity,
Of some inner desire to be free.
I perceive it is an innate decree,
A precept of spiritual degree.
The concept has always been clear to me.
When the sparks of intifada transpire,
And ignite a wave of hateful desire,
The flames of rage grow higher and higher,
And reason is lost in a lake of fire.
Fueled to the core, in murder they partake.
Midst fumes of sulfur, tied fast to a stake,
In feverish anger, souls churn and bake,
And burn to ashes in a fire lake.
The Storm when it Comes
It comes without warning,
As a complete surprise,
Arriving one morning,
As clouds before your eyes.
When a dark horizon becomes your sky,
And your sunny visions are swept away,
When cultivars of hope wither and die,
And winter in your garden comes to stay,
When frost nips the buds of mortality,
And cold blow the winds of reality,
When all desires in a tempest expire,
And your dreams for tranquility are through,
When the whole of existence your mind numbs,
Gaze longingly at the sky, and suspire.
There is little a battered soul can do,
But to weather out the storm when it comes.
Some elusive yet persevering conception
Rouses them to phantasm from their restless beds,
Where somnolent incense of musk-breathing twilight
Weaves visions from the fabric of their illusion.
Filaments of reason twine into perception,
Filling with sweet opiate dreams their muddled heads,
Until they are oblivious to mortal plight,
Content to resign themselves in stark delusion.
Aimlessly wandering across an endless plain,
Where dry-throated winds whisper through the sweeping grass,
Where light and shadow blend in diverging gray shades,
They dwell in a realm that is neither day or night.
They search for answers though their efforts are in vain –
For no will of mind has ample force to surpass
The cloud of stupor into which perception fades,
As ethereal expectations veil their sight.
They slumber, but in their sleep, find no true repose,
For they are never truly awake or asleep.
Lost within an ever-shifting fog of fable,
They stumble along on a never-defined quest.
And whether they are alive or dead no one knows;
For the stream of all consciousness flows slow and deep.
And in their best reckoning they are unable
The certain truth of greater fiction to attest.
They try to fly, but in tempests of time are blown.
Amidst faceless ghosts calling for them to come back,
They wish they had the strength of mind to run away,
To flee an anguish eternally unrelieved.
But sleepwalkers search for what can never be known.
They wander through fate, following a forlorn track,
Seeking the direction from which they went astray,
Finding errant footsteps may never be retrieved.
I Wish to Think
I wonder what perverted mind
Designed the lion’s mane,
And made the shark and all its kind,
And gave the cobra bane.
What hand set the hare in its hole,
What cruel, sadistic sort,
That arranged for a timid soul
To be the hunter’s sport!
What fiend would wean a worm on silk!
What sick and twisted thought,
That puts the poison in the milk,
To make a calf’s flesh rot!
What monster formed the vicious test
That fashions trusting heads,
Then snatches fledglings from the nest,
And children from their beds.
I wish to think that some fair power
Will compensate for pain,
And see that each, and every flower
Gets equal shares of rain.
I wish to think, before I part,
As my destruction nears,
There must have been some gentle heart
That gave these sad eyes tears.
I’ll See You Tomorrow
Spare me all the warm and cheery stories
Of precious-supposed deeds that are quite done.
Worn and wasted are yesterday’s glories!
For me my better days have come and gone.
My weary head is full laden with lies.
Me thinks it high time truth were exposed –
Whose hand shall wipe the sand from my eyes,
And turn out the light, and seal my sight closed?
To hell with yesterday! I know today
I am full to my sad soul with sorrow.
I see no real sense in further grieving.
I don’t care if the world wants me to stay.
For a long time now I have been leaving.
I’m on my way! I’ll see you Tomorrow.
Winds on the Acropolis
Winds on the acropolis, forth expelled
Across unforgiving waves, daily blow.
By an ancient unkept promise compelled,
Moan mournful words of many morns ago.
It is I, Theseus, no more to roam,
With redeeming account of my story,
Victorious, arrived from my fight!
Aegeus, your son is safely home,
Whose brow is crowned in glory,
Whose ships return with sails of white!
Ghost from a Wishing Well
He strikes at the stroke of midnight,
At the last peel of a distant bell,
When the dark owl sounds the witching hour,
And the laments of the bullfrogs swell.
He appears in a moonlit bower,
When the rings round the moon are bright,
Whispering a wish that he once made –
A wandering ghost from a wishing well.
He creeps slowly through the tall grass,
For a reason only he may tell,
Concealing his face beneath a shroud,
When whippoorwills from their mantles cry.
His shadow falls across the window,
A silhouette of the deepest shade,
When the cold wind murmurs through the trees
Of promises broken long ago.
He hides behind the lilac bush,
When clouds sweep low across the night sky,
Waiting for his penitence to pass,
Calling some mystical name out loud.
He gives the gate a gentle push,
Canting the words of some ancient spell.
But there is no magic to appease
A wayward ghost from a wishing well.
Leave Me Ecstatic Pain
Leave me ecstatic pain;
An awful-aching heart
That no thought may allay!
Let no remnant remain
Of those dreams torn apart
By sorrow and dismay!
Let love and life be past –
Vanished in a black hole.
Leave me but pain at last,
To numb my heavy soul.
Behind a cloud-veil hidden,
The stars turned their gaze away
From scenes in heaven forbidden –
A parable of dismay.
Woe was she!
And for what yearning?
Such that she could not see
Beyond the fire of her soul burning.
Stately proceeded the lady of night,
Shadow-shrouded her dark face,
Raven-haired, and robed in white,
Stirred from her restless resting place.
Wandering, squandering an infinity,
Upon the swards of yester thought,
In search of tranquility,
By death alone never wrought.
Among the cool stones,
Wailing of doom,
Liberated of flesh and bones,
Stepped she from tomb to tomb,
Her misery sung, for a hundred years,
Of fortune missed and love lost,
Unassuaged by time or tears,
Turned straightway to silver frost.
For the cup of death
Quenched not her thirst
For another drink of breath
As fresh as was her first.
Raised she the goblet of fate
To blood-ruby lips pursed in prayer,
But did not partake of the sacramental bait
Laid to venom her soul to eternity’s lair.
Cheered the noblest ghosts,
Made numb by endless procrastination,
And raised the wine of empty toasts
To her refused consecration.
And sounded the mocking howl
Of wind upon the fog-scented air.
And scorned the night owl
From his secret chair,
Until the face of dawn
With widening eyes
Of denial looked on
In feigned surprise,
While an usher of mist
Bore her from the ceaseless fray,
From the guest list
Of another day.
Thus, to her sepulcher she retired,
To abide another morrow,
Where she dreamed, and conspired,
And silently sipped the spirit of sorrow.
On the Eyes of Those Who Reminisce
They glide like specters along the wayside,
Shadowy visions of a life gone by;
Scenes of happiness that appear then hide –
A sore heart more a portion to deny.
There! They are there! Does your mind see them not?
– Those days far away removed from worry,
When joy was all and sorrow had no say –
Remembrances in fevered wishes wrought.
If you would seize them you must hurry!
Savor the significance while you may!
Now they are gone, like phantoms of tired mead,
Long faded as gray into the fog night,
Passing on with inestimable speed,
Out across the limit of mortal sight,
As lamplight that flickers on fair faces
Only to be trimmed until the flame seems
Never to have burned but in rhymes amiss.
Fled are the ghosts of those haunted places,
Though the silhouettes are sufficient for dreams
Left on the eyes of those who reminisce.
Snapdragons Blooming in the Bower
My head clouds as though draped in shrouds of fate –
Shadows wrought by sudden remembered scenes
That fill full my heart as with some leaden weight.
In my eye, I find no viable means
Of extricating joy from this dark hour.
When the dream is done, the price must be paid!
Unseemly that I should glean rue this day
From snapdragons blooming in the bower!
But sunshine gives way to deepening shade –
This moment and I shall soon fade, as they.
There is a shadow in the glass,
A spirit in the candle light.
There is a ghoul’s sneer in the night,
A specter on the window sash.
We are not alone in this room!
In the jack-o’-lantern’s dim glow
Burns a hint of impending doom.
Does he know something we don’t know?
All Hallows’ Eve
‘Tis from the hollow, mists arise
To drift beneath the autumn skies,
To usher in a dark surprise
The night of righteousness’ demise.
Upon the rising moon they spread,
Like shrouds upon the waking dead,
The trappings of a silver bed,
From which all evil things are bred.
When wind blows through the barren trees,
There spreading as some foul disease,
There piping fearful melodies
Of never-ending tragedies,
When mischief-laden fingers snatch
The pumpkins frosted in the patch,
And in them fires of brimstone light,
And make the souls of darkness bright,
When ghouls awaken in their graves,
When vampires burst forth from their staves,
When fleshless bones arise to war,
And venture from perdition’s store,
When banshees howl out from the mire,
When werewolves sing their wicked choir,
When ghostly rites all souls inspire,
And magic sets the moon on fire,
When wake the monsters yet untold,
When zombies march the open road,
When demons lurk beyond the gate,
And darkness holds a dreadful fate,
Then know the night of doom is here,
The dawn of everlasting fear,
The opening of an evil door
All Hallows’ Eve has come once more.
“All Hallows’ Eve!” The beasties cry.
On Hallows’ Eve, the witches fly.
On Hallows’ Eve, hell’s creatures spy.
On Hallows’ Eve, all good things die.
There is a shadow man beneath my bed
Waiting there until the night.
He fills my waking hours with dread –
Anticipation of his fright.
He’s waiting there to ambush me,
And show me a macabre sight.
But the wait to see what it will be
Is much more dreadful than his bite.
The One True Word
Song of the lich-owl,
Serenading banshee’s howl,
Wind in the church gate yearning,
Corpse-candle brightly burning,
The late-night comet’s dearth,
Those silent mounds of earth,
The shadow man on the moon,
All speak the one true word.
Haven’t you already heard?
Listen carefully. You shall hear it soon.
Sing, unspeakable choirs of perdition.
Stay not thy pernicious hand.
Keep thy blood-corrupted threat.
Mow an awful harvest.
Lay low the heavens in contrition.
Make irrevocable reprimand.
Forge the foundations of eternal regret.
Kindle sulfurous hell.
The luminaries, of light divest.
Place the first last, and the last first.
In heinous execution,
Let thy prodigious ranks swell.
Loose thy relentless riders – thy henchmen.
Quench thy abominable thirst.
Strike, apocalyptic instant of obliteration!
I am beyond trepidation,
The sandman sows the seeds of sleep
Upon a fertile field of eyes,
Thus, piles up heaps of souls to reap.
It comes as no big surprise,
That the sandman’s final caper
Gathers up sleepy dust from bone,
Turns tender eyelids to paper,
And sleeping children to stone.
Funeral for a Crone
A crone fell in the snow,
And whether softened by the blow,
None shall ever know.
But the softhearted ones crooned low,
Lamenting notes of sorrow,
That she was gone, and they tomorrow.
Love is a disease,
A rat-trap cheese,
A moth’s desire
For candle fire.
Love is a drug,
Pheromone for a bug
A kiss and a hug
Like beer to a slug.
Love is a lie,
An attempt to deny
That chemicals control
An animal’s role.
When My Love Says She Loves Me
When my love says she loves me more than breath,
I am inclined to believe her sweet song.
She vows to remain faithful until death,
Whispering that love can never be wrong.
But her deceit is translucently clear.
She lies to me, well knowing that I know.
She falsifies the words I wish to hear.
And her shrewd guile makes my love for her grow.
With each tender deceit, I love her more.
My heart is bent willingly to her will.
Her wholehearted fraudulence I adore.
My love is a liar, but I love her still.
Her lies are more of love than she can see.
My love loves me enough to lie to me.
Tread Softly My Heart
Tread softly my heart
The petal path I strew
Delicately at your feet!
Through blossoms I impart
My reverence of you!
With flowers, I entreat!
Pray thee, do not cast
My tear-wet words aside
At your mercy, I lie!
Without care I can’t last!
Without your gentle stride,
I would soon wither and die.
In the Jubilation of my Zenith
The ship sailed westward,
High and blown,
On billowing clouds, across the day,
A fiery hull taking the azure ocean away,
Bringing in its wake a low light.
Creeping up from the east came a schooner,
Riding on lengthening shadows,
Rising upon a tide of dusk.
And from remote places,
The beacons of distant ships,
Scattered out across the endless seas, glistened.
And I, in the jubilation of my zenith,
Was but a drop of water,
But a grain of sand.
Here, Before the Cold Hearth, Weary
Here, before the cold hearth, weary,
I’ve nothing simple words might say
To meet the falling night’s inquiry
Of moonlight dimming in the bay.
Beyond the dripping window pane,
Ancient pipers are softly playing
Rhythmic notes above the rain,
To the gods of tempest praying,
For the souls of bygone yearning,
For the want of lasting memory,
For the loss of life love burning,
Singing of what used to be.
Once they piped a tune so merry,
Echoed upon mountain heights,
Called across the rolling prairie,
Played upon such wondrous sights.
Once they danced upon the morning,
Saw life wake so long ago,
Songs of temporal creatures scorning,
In the time-long score they blow.
Now the tune so melancholy
Carries out across the trees,
Blows the notes of mortal folly,
Moaning low the mournful breeze.
Bringing on the dark so dreary,
Shadows from the threshold creep.
Here, before the cold hearth, weary,
Slowly drifting off to sleep,
In my final thoughts of waking,
I hear an ageless symphony,
Instruments of heaven’s making,
Play a midnight song for me.
Before I Slip into that Faraway
Before I ease into that final sleep,
Ease away into the close of day,
Slip inexorably into the endless deep,
Before I slumber, I have something to say.
Can you tell me why I am here?
Can you tell me where to go?
Can you make it very clear?
Gods, I’d really like to know!
And so, in fervent fear, I pray.
I fall to lamenting fears.
I lay my soul on deaf ears,
Before I slip into that faraway.
Beneath your Eye of gold
Beneath your eye of gold,
The centuries unfold,
The seasons pass on by.
Beneath your eye of gold,
All reasoning grows old,
All praises to the sky.
Beneath your eye of gold,
For summer days untold,
You’ve watched your children cry.
Beneath your eye of gold,
You let our hearts grow cold.
You’ve never told us why.
Confusion clouds my mind from time to time.
Fear fills my senses with expanding gloom.
But I see through the most meaningless mime,
And lock fear in a dark and soundproof room.
All of the answers, I may never find.
But truth’s hue is progressively showing,
As reason cleans the smudges from my mind,
And supplements wondering and knowing.
The Edge of My Divination
The edge of my divination,
Keener than the finest molecular edge,
Has measured sublimation,
And discovered no limitation or boundary.
I am content to my core,
To measure the subtlety,
To weigh the mystery,
To penetrate the radiance
With the edge of my divination.
Beyond the Velvet Lie
If you and I could fly
Into the distant sky,
In search of twinkling light
Beyond the velvet lie,
Would we find truth on high,
Expand and never die?
Perhaps not, but we might!
Should we not at least try?
Bonfire, by the light of flickering flame,
What scorching tenets you reveal of fate!
Sagas of past friendship and faded fame
Your passionate refrains articulate!
Earnestly you sing tales of ancient folk –
Verse of hearth for a hundred thousand years,
Born on tongues in distant times and places.
I glimpse late firesides in the rising smoke.
In the embers and ashes, through my tears,
I can almost see the somber faces.
Moonlight lay on the swaying trees.
Stars winked at the river’s grim face.
Ghosts of those who lived long ago
Breathed softly with low breaths of breeze,
Through the leaves, across time and space.
Ghosts whispered with a cosmic flow,
In tongues lost to lethean past,
Whose words painted a fading scene
Of souls who know not what they mean,
And joy that can but moments last.
Know we were once as you are now,
And would be still if we knew how.
Before these visions of life cease,
Pray thee, seek the river to peace.
Tree of Life
With woe my heart is swollen,
From thy licentious truth.
My blind faith has been stolen.
A withered bud of youth!
Cultivation has induced
A cultivar so crude.
All my seeds of hope produced
A tree utterly lewd –
A vine hopelessly tangled,
That reason cannot wrest
From trust that it has mangled
This thorn thrust in my breast.
When Chaos Sweeps Will to Obscurity
My resolve falters, and my longings cease
Pursuing the end to which artists make
Token lip service passages of peace.
Tired of creation for creation’s sake,
Knowing that in the hollow of my hands
I hold no more than mere words to hide in,
Ever blinded by false security –
As ants set order to temporal sands,
Only to suffer effort blown to sin,
When chaos sweeps will to obscurity.
On the unsheathed falchion of divine leave
Death coils his merciless fingers of ice,
With a broad sweep of his falciform sleeve,
Reaps a swath of souls unto his device.
The virtuous, along with the tainted,
To utter oblivion are fated.
And naught but time and darkness is sainted,
When spirits to ashes are translated.
Goblin of festering womb,
Let it be thy tomb!
Pathos’ vile inception,
Seed of fecund rue,
Beyond the corridor,
There is horror in store,
And nothing more for you.
These grapes sore quench my thirst,
Burst blood-red within my breast.
Best kill the fatted lamb for another beast,
Least bring me fare that may satisfy.
Cry foul this invitation forced to honor,
Whore-son the butler, gruesome the cutlery,
Deviltry the host who will not show.
Go I then without a lasting trace?
Face me first, I pray thee, please.
Allah Smiles Tonight
Allah smiles tonight
With a jaundiced eye,
Too blind to consider the maxims,
Too stingy to bestow a flask of oil
To anoint the gaping wounds
His scimitar has slashed wide open.
Allah’s smile is barbed tonight,
Another wakeful night wresting
With his magnate bearing, his knavery,
Indulgent in the impunity of power,
Licking his lower lip in lustrous denial
His only innuendo, a reflection of his fiery soul.
Dictate of Oblivion
O dictate of oblivion, master of eternal never,
Almighty judge, omnipotent magnate,
Damn my wretched being to fate –
This existence expiring in a rush towards forever.
Blind are my eyes to all but your face.
I await your dreadful kiss,
Your utter embrace –
Precarious my soul, resigned to totter at the edge of the abyss!
Shadow of the Sun
Deep is space beyond the winking starlight,
An endless firmament surpassing sight,
That stretches further than wonder can stray,
Past the authority of night and day,
Into the awful shadow of the sun,
Where past and future are forever one.
Despair, foul despair, to what dismal end!
– Gloom that shrouds souls with a deepening dusk,
Dimming the light on which faint hearts depend.
Damned be the depths from which proceed such musk!
Tainted whispers that from the abyss wend!
Author of oblivion, cursed be;
The fiendish tenets of iniquity
That dictate a measure of misery,
Taunting consciousness with mystery,
But to banish all for eternity.
Thorns on the Flowers
Do roots firmly tether.
Thorns on the flowers
Turn soft hands to leather.
And conquered pain,
Turn the vine to bloom again.
To the Smallest Victory
O overripe sweetness of victory!
For the intoxicant of triumph’s mead!
To know the slightest moment of glory!
So that someday, when in defeat I bleed,
Lying dying beneath my mortal shield,
Thrust heart through by an invincible foe,
An oath to past fortune may be my toast!
O great gods, grant me a trophy to show,
When the sun sets upon the battlefield,
As I raise my sword in one final boast!
While Will Prevails
The mortal spirit should be as fire,
Striving as if desire never fails,
Ever yearning, ever burning higher!
Though life dims to the darkness of the grave,
Let it not without glory fade into inexorable night!
While will prevails,
Let intellect rave!
Let love be bold!
Lest divinity straightaway surrender its light,
And warmth yield, unresisting to cold.
Give Me Will
Give me will, and I shall fight.
Give me teeth, and I shall bite.
Provoke me, and shall I not defend?
Taunt me, and shall I not defy?
Silence me, and I shall cry!
Restrict me, and I shall never end!
Teach me, and shall I be convincible?
Tether me, and shall I not fly?
Birth me, and I shall die!
Kill me, and I shall be invincible!
A Million Years More
I sometimes wonder as I wander earth
Seeking clues to the mysteries of fate,
If I shall ever be privileged to know
The purpose of creation’s awful birth.
All may be revealed in some future state,
As far as past revealed secrets show.
Yesterday, or some million years before,
I came to life in a primordial sea –
From then till now look what I’ve come to be!
Where shall I stand in a million years more?
Through Innocent Eyes
I wonder if there is a master ghoul,
Somewhere beyond the mirrors and the smoke,
Hiding behind a maze of countless skies.
I ponder at the motives of a fool,
Who, blinded by self-praise for a bad joke,
Must avoid the gaze of innocent eyes.
Croon, croon the ancient tune,
The loon-note moan the ancients croon.
You view the song within the moon,
The melody, the meter, the rune.
Croon of lost bloom,
The soon-coming doom.
Slowly groan of flesh and bone.
Lowly go and croon alone.
Swoon long and low at nocturnal noon.
I am in love with death,
My only redeemer of breath,
My only true lover,
His vow like no other
Our betrothal from birth.
I shall take him to bed.
Forever shall we wed,
And elope from this earth.
Sad and Sleepy Twilight
Sad and sleepy twilight,
Lie your head upon the breast of night.
Weary time has come and gone.
Pillow your soul on tranquility.
Make your bed a starry flight.
Beneath a blanket of eternity,
Slumber until dawn.
Slumber until dawn.
Where did your fire go –
That last candescent glow
Of light, of life, of thought,
That once burned so hot?
That final spark of divinity
Lifting in a wisp to infinity!
Ballad of the Persimmon Tree
When spirits of autumn through the leaves moan,
Hear the persimmon tree sadly intone
Mournful melodies of days long ago,
When the stingy cuss stayed at his window,
Vigilant from early dawn till late eve,
Watching the fruits form like gold in his pash,
Accounting with hash marks upon the sash.
Lo, how the weeping branches sorely grieve
The memories they are fated to relate;
Of the old man searching for any flaw,
Wickedly beating his daughter-in-law,
Cursing her to the dogs as an ingrate,
For the theft of a single bite of gold.
On lonely nights, the tree sings to the wind,
Of thieves, long gone to their graves, who sinned –
In a ballad that each season is told.
Oh, dry leaf, insignificant and transient,
Formed so, and abandoned so,
That your passing should have a fixed course,
That your rustling might linger for a time more,
That remembrance of your passing might linger,
This is the core want of my substance.
This is the dire need of my soul, oh, dry leaf.
I drank a very bitter cup.
It tasted much like rue.
‘Twas folly sure to pick it up.
Have you been drinking, too?
Let me treat you to a higher state.
An elixir is what we need –
Laughter’s prime inebriate!
A panacea indeed!
Something’s out in the garbage bin,
Too loud for just the rain,
And not quite in rhythm for wind.
But it’s too hard to tell in this din,
With the moon gone and the stars turned in.
Almost impossible to catch a fiend!
By morning there will only be muddy paw prints
And fish fins left over from dinner,
Scattered around the bushes by a goblin.
Tearful hymns from midnight gate,
These fallen spirits expiate
Their nightly deeds with doleful cries,
And wear the wit of ancient guise,
And catch the moon on moon-disk eyes.
Winter, fiendish hand of destruction,
Slowly steals the green from every leaf –
Ruthlessly crushes life’s production
With the touch of a murderous thief.
Winter’s blow feints high then creeps low,
To spread a most malignant disease –
Dragon’s teeth sown in the guise of snow,
That raise skeletons where there were trees.
Teeth of Winter
Icicles gnash along the eave,
Aligned like rows of icy fangs,
A point of bitter luck to grieve.
In a balance, cold and hot hangs.
Snowflakes, hardened by their chill lot,
Put their jagged teeth on display,
Their hearts frigid, their tempers hot,
Until sun warms their hate away.
She kneels before the judgment chair,
Arms folded in reverent prayer,
In the heart of her saintly lair.
A pilgrim passes by in quest,
Is fast transfigured in her nest,
As lay against her loving breast.
Roses have thorns
That poison the blood.
Bloom stained from the bud.
Do not believe
The promises spoken,
As vanity’s token
A tender touch scorns.
I witnessed you bathing in napalm rain,
Baptized into being,
Sprouting serpent scales
Where there was skin as smooth
Shedding your egg tooth altogether.
I saw a flower wilted,
Her fairness browned away.
She had her nature quilted
In full obscene display.
No longer would the bees abide,
Her nectar to obey.
No longer could her petals hide
The meanness of her way.
A silver-white star Cried,
“How great we are,
Me, myself, and I,
Up here in the sky,
The quintessence of divinity,
Masters of infinity.
We are here to stay,
While all else melts away.”
Treacherous thy rule
Of feeding and deeding
Thy poisonous function,
Void of compunction!
Take breath from breath!
Make death from death!
Yet, in your creed,
No toad king
Will ever sing
Praise of thy breed,
Or use thee for a throne.
Demon of stagnant water,
Pandora’s foulest daughter,
What twisted architect’s plot
Contrived thy devious lot?
From what rank cesspool of hell
Did such evil bud and swell?
What foul fiend’s forge formed thy sting
To bring pestilence on wing?
Mosquito, thy name is death,
The sole purpose of thy breath
To bleed and taint on thy stave
Souls to agony and grave.
When thy creator formed thee,
Did he mindfully agree
To loose a scourge of thy kind,
Or act in a fevered mind?
Let Us Prey
This fine hour,
Let us devour.
Let us eat,
As we are eaten.
Let us beat,
As we are beaten.
Let us thank
The living food bank.
This wholly new day,
Let us prey.
A poisonous snake is gliding
Along a tortuous track.
A poisonous snake is hiding
And sliding behind your back.
Her tapered head is drawing slack.
Her gaze is glazed with guile.
She slithers with a knowing knack.
Beware her crafty smile.
The Shallow End of the Pool
Survival of the fittest
Is not a guarantee
That a species’ very best
Will climb the family tree.
The will to proliferate
Is the genetic rule
Of breeds degenerate,
In the shallow end of the pool.
They taught me how to kill in Oklahoma,
Made me blend in with the green and the polish,
And sound off, one, two, three, four,
Made me mean, a fighting machine,
With no regard, as to why I must be inclined so,
To go low, and go high, and snatch, and mask,
Without missing a beat or smelling the gas,
Perform all tasks in a military manner,
Stand at attention, stand at ease, hurry and wait,
To the rear march, company halt, forward again.
They taught me how to kill in Oklahoma,
To string a lanyard so as not to blow off my hand,
The mathematical precision of tangents and trajectories,
How to place a projectile for optimum radius,
This is my rifle, this is my gun,
To sling and unsling fast as a blink,
Field strip any weapon with closed eyes,
To crawl low like a snake and strike swiftly,
To run through a mine field in my sleep,
To jump from a helicopter without breaking,
To take the blow with the shoulder,
To go for the throat with a standard choke hold,
To pierce the kidney so it bleeds sufficiently,
To catch a bullet without crying out,
To die without denying I did it like a pro.
They taught me how to kill in Oklahoma.
But all I wish to remember,
Was sitting on a howitzer one evening,
Watching the sky turn from peach to lavender.
I am an insubstantial bit
Of thought, a wish, a pondering,
A fleeting whit, a wistful wit,
In a welkin realm wandering.
I am the figment of a rhyme,
On a flight of fancy drifting,
A slight handful of sand sifting
Slowly through the fingers of time.
I am a whisper of rumor,
Litany uttered with a lisp.
I am a few drops of humor.
I am a frail and fleeting wisp.