Wednesday, October 08, 2003


The mist crawls in darkness
Hugging the hidden glens
Curling through secret stillness
Hiding among the hummock'd fens

Where once vast forest
Held silence in rest
Small holes in a dry mire
Hides quiet's small nest

Silent corners that know no hands
Crawling vines choking the easy way
Ageless, not old or young or anything of man
Nothing and none and not known by day

This pen rips and shreds the facade
Inked sins tell their own story
Focus frames, tames, renders macabre
Still life stripped, lost, laid in glory

Quiet lies in forgotten gleanings
Blackened hills of slag and steaming
Remnants of broken earth
Rent from ancient hills
Torn and tugged, blasted and burned
Crushed, melted, made and undone.
Bent to some unknown devising
Left to memory, or puzzled surmising

The coal that fired process
The fury that some call progress
Light that lifted the heavy blackness
Might that stirred the sounding swiftness

Ancient days not long ago
Doomed and damned and drawn skintight
Ancestors made to forgo
Born and bred and bleeding in the night

Locked in lives of little light
Horded hopes of muddled heads
Fought hunger in the face of blight
Brief prayers over the muddied dead

Sandy strand, salted lands
Murdered crops by hailstorm slain
Trembling stand, with shaking hands
As flooding rivers reap your grain

Weep and rail 'til floods recoil
Starve with the huddled folk
Now famine's cold coil
Wrapt round life's spoke.

Hunger like a wheel
Crushing all flat
A thief come to steal
What once was fat.

Punish the living and purge the mighty
Strangle summer and steal the riper
Brighter fruit, bind them tightly
Tie up the bough
Save it from the low
Sweep of some solitary reaper.

And with every failure, seed the soil
Stories like spores awaiting new toil
Though sown with weakened hand
Leave hope to reclaim ceded land

The curling crest climbs, climaxing, collapses
Falling foam marks the failing front
Receding waters leaving trough or sand
What human wave once washed
Remembers man
Recalls the rushing wetness
Whirls in memory of the water's unrest
What scope for nothing, when something has past?

The order of motion
The chaos at rest
Dreams that build mountains
And silence's ill rest.

Death flees before the living
Quietness imprisoned
Life drives all before its beginning
Creation becoming
The quiet melts
The lesson fades
And story braids

Man makes himself in every nook
Mocked and mauled and made and meant
Everything in its place, and every place in a book
Seen and strained and salted and saved

Skies of darkness robbed of their fire
Promethean mountains burning with light
Enthroned in brightness, livid bright pyres
Starry hills shining, stolen fury and might

What solace for the formless
Barred by form
Place's great vastness
And burial its home

Locked in light's prison
Held in life's cell
Nothing dies by division
Reduced by a shell

Life lives in the moment
It comes and it goes
Story is a monument
Built to withstand throes

An end to all stories
At climax's behest
Nothing and narrative
At each others breast

Story rides man
Like a jockey rides a horse
Whipping and kicking
Over a known racecourse

What quiet for stillness
What end to rest
When dreams like an illness
Creep into the nest?


This is the first serious poem I wrote, and you can still sort of tell. I keep editing around the edges of it, but I haven't yet succeeded in purging all of the melodrama, ye-olde-englande archaic language, and sentimentalism that bugs me about it. It has some good imagery and a conceit that I like, but the connective tissue is still lacking. If anyone has any constructive criticism, I'd be greatly appreciative. I have stuff like this in mind when I talk about my "bad poetry". There's nothing quite so silly as a poem that takes itself too damn seriously.

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