Between Scylla and Charybdis they cower amidst the ruins fearful to look skyward lest they encourage the rains of hell.
Now and then they visit the corpses, hastily buried grief drowned by the sound of the laugh of the gunner peering down from the hills. It is always night for the soul and lookout must be kept for Charon, who rides silently along the rivers of blood, that flow through her streets.
In the great halls, far removed from the horror, self-professed wise men exchange maps lines randomly drawn, scythes slicing a people. They trade in lives as chattel, reaping a bitter harvest, praying there may only be but seven lean years.
They offer a sop to Cerberus, three villages straddling the river, but the army of the hills knows they will take that and more and waits patiently for the winter when the odor of sanctity no longer arises out of the city to assail their nostrils and Shadrach is no more than a ghost.
First Appeared in Living Poets (UK), Vol. 2, No. 1, 2000.
The finches are struggling this morning, searching the lawn for the odd clover seed that’s yet to be reduced to dust by a summer where the rain has painted our world with a palette of parchment, ochre, leaving us wandering an increasingly sepia world.
We know that the rains will come again, that nature’s green will return, however briefly, before winter encases us all in its white mantle that we pierce at our risk.
The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.
The clouds well up over the foothills casting a gray pall, bearing the angry spirits of the chindi who dance amid the scrub juniper. Brother Serra, was this what you found, wandering along the coast, tending the odd sheep, Indian and whatever else crossed your path?
The blue bird hopping across the dried grasses puffing its grey breastplate and cape sitting back, its long tail feathers a perfect counterbalance. It stares at the oppressing clouds and senses the impending rain. The horses wandering the hill pausing to graze on the sparse green grasses. The roan mare stares at the colt dashing among the trees then returns to her meal, awaiting the onset of evening.
The chindi await the fall of night when they are free to roam and steal other souls. Was your water rite more powerful than the blessing chants? Did you ward off their evil and purify the breeze of the mountains?
a day, clouds drop rain replacing tears locked inside stones and cloth red and blue unseparated still worlds apart orderly ranks all at attention and silence thundering anger a mad world soaked in peace only until midnight.
Several things you need to understand. First, and foremost, a waterspout is a term no one around here has used in centuries, unless you mean a tornadic columnar vortex of water, and trust me, we spiders avoid those like the plague. Shocking, I know, but with eight legs we cannot swim. At best some of us can skitter across the surface for a bit. Another thing, while my family, the Arachnidae come in many sizes, and while I am far from the largest, I am also far from the smallest. . So let’s stop with the itsy bitsy, shall we. But most importantly, it wasn’t a damn water spout, it was a water slide, and I went up the stairs and rode the water down. That is what you do on a water slide. And at a water park, no one really cares about the rain, we are all wet already. Though I must admit, riding the slides in the sun is certainly more pleasant.
It is well past time I wrote a poem about the great joys of my childhood, for memory should bubble up like lava through the crust of time, they should rain in flashes as so much matter dropping into the atmosphere in their ultimate light show. This isn’t going to happen, of course, whether because memory has grown dim over time’s distance or for lack of subject matter. At 68, the difference hardly matters for a blank page hardly cares which pen chooses not to write it.
On the map are neatly etched lines drawn by a fine stylus in a skilled hand separating blue from yellow. This soil is cinnamon there tending to mahogany no line, only a post here, one there and a gun emplacement to deter those who cannot see a line writ on water. In the wind the dust dances across and back dodging the post or caressing it it tastes the rain which falls both here and there. High above the buzzard watches the lizard scurry through the shadow of the sign seeing neither blue nor yellow. Halt, you cry are you of this land or that? I am of neither I am the ocher of the land from which I rose into which I will recede I am the mote of dust that lodges in the corner of your eye and in the corner of his until neither can see the line that is not.
First Publshed in Peacock Journal Anthology, 2017 V. 1 No 2