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homesickness

18 February 2011

the heart yearns for a home
that is not its own
and the years between
have been hard and mean
and the meanness and the rage
have built the bars of the cage,
have starved the wolf within
provoking his ancient sin
and then…
the heart beats a solemn tune
like the hoof-beats of approaching doom
or the drums of heathen fires
atop the hilltop’s ancient spires
where now only grass
and memories remain.
and there is the eternal stain
smeared across the clear glass.

secret sins

15 February 2011

silent pains, carried within
and all because of the secret sins
which, hiding, we chafe and deny
and live forever the loneliest lies
and the ice-hard frosts describe
the raging denial felt deep inside
when at the end of the day the wheel turns
and at the day of the turn, the yearning burns;
where is the brightness, the lightness
the peace that comes with the promise?
and the light of love to lighten the burden
drawn now forever beyond the curtain
of night-pock’d stars.
with violence and rage to shame Mars
himself, or beauty and bliss the envy of elves,
the intoxication of self blinds self
and selfishness and self-love,
the wolfish lust that burns the blood,
has no other cure than this:
pain beyond all understanding, unhidden sins,
while giving up the serpent’s kiss.

As for transgressions, who will understand them? From my secret sins cleanse me, and from those of others spare Thy servant. If they have not dominion over me, then blameless shall I be, and I shall be cleansed from great sin. And the sayings of my mouth shall be unto Thy good pleasure, and the meditation of my heart shall be before Thee for ever, O Lord, my helper and redeemer. (Psalm 18, LXX)

Taliessin’s dream of the Holy Rood

14 February 2011

Taliessin dreamed of the Holy Rood.
Over the rough Roman water, water and blood
That once poured from the Saviour’s side
Gathered again in the Holy Cup
At the mass; in the last days
of the frigid winter, the king’s poet
once again commanded the king’s horse
riding over the Wall to the North
where the uncouth hordes, untouched
by the civilizing grace of the City
or the Cup, burned and harried. Woe betide,
The king called upon his master of song
to call the tune as he once had done
on Mount Badon; but Taliessin’s thoughts
Were lost east, further even than
the Byzantine glory of the City’s streets,
so far, even the dreams of the Emperor’s daughter
did not reach the object of his imaginings.
The droughts and chances of life at his disarray
and the Holy Rood encompassed all–
planted at the very place where
the first father and first mother had fallen
to Death’s icy pall, and from death to life
all had called; adored with every glory
the Healer’s tree there stood
glorious in its rough humility.
Taliessin stood, and bowed, and accepted the command.
The hand most accustomed to the harp
Picked up spear and sword and shield
And would not yield to the oncoming storm.
Taliessin blew the warrior’s horn
And dreamed still of the Holy Rood.

anticlimax

9 November 2010

I am unsure of the words
the sounds of violence heard
in the distance brings
a momentary solace, a respite
while the caged bird sings

and in the deep of the darkening night
the words become a chant of madness and fright
nothing matters; the sounds of the sea
are now so very far away…
wither shall we wander? who will answer me?

here moth doth devour, death decays
and swallows all in entropic displays
of her overwhelming, glorious might
while the windswept house stirs
not, millstones pave the floor of the sea,
and a lonely poet plucks the heart’s harp-strings.

breakdown

7 November 2010

i feel strange, changed, deranged
overcome with emotional distress and
the stuff of breakdowns
excrementa in movendo concussit lamina
and i am left with my foot in it
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

fidelity

4 November 2010

burning the lungs, the searing and singeing
of the smoke chokes the days of grace
when once the face of the malefactor is revealed;
there are the signs and the seals
protecting, preserving the ancient ways
from the disintegrating forces of modern days
as long as the fidelity of faith is preserved…
but the one who would only serve
himself is not the servant of all
the filthy, filmy caul
of his deviant desires rage like fires
inside, the source of frustration and ire.
burning, the flesh is weak and reeks
while the spirit ever and always seeks
for that which lies beyond mere existing.

while reading allen tate in a hospital room

28 October 2010

Twisted, the gnarled branches loom
ancient, like silent sentinels over a ruined house
where dust, death, and decay reign
over the bones of the ignominious dead
and on the head of the ag├ęd king
rests a bitter, iron crown
weighted with the authority of his own dismay
and disease

and there is no release
for love is a many-splintered thing
and once under the skin,
inflames the flesh and makes a wreck
of the philosophic serenity
only possessed of beasts and gods;
the complacent loneliness abides
and between the granite gravestones
the small, happy, blonde boy hides
and plays his innocent games

the shames and tragic reversals unknown,
the tyrant upon his throne of bones
only a dim, nightmarish fantasy;
and in his ephemeral flights of fancy
he plays the chivalrous knight,
defender of the realm,
slaying ivy-vine dragons and other monsters of the hedge–
unaware that, with the turning of the moon,
and the burning of his blood
too soon would he become
one of the monsters to be slain

again and again and again
the world turns, widening in sublunary passions,
but in sad, luciferian fashion
a story-book hero becomes a real-world villain
with the suddenness of stunning alacrity.