The Estrangement of Fortune and Justice

I’m sorry that this isn’t anything to do with the ‘Deadwoods’ series that I had planned. I had written some things out for it, and even created some maps, but my life is a little bit too compressed at the moment to really write anything but patchwork poems that are unrelated – and even they are few and far between. However, here is one I’ve been writing over the past two days.

Adversity presents all with a domain
irrespective of the tools in our hands.
Weathered by time, remnants shall remain
of the creeping overgrowth we sought to restrain.
A fable charred into all living lands.

Some wear circlets of evergreen laurels,
others, crowns of willow that weep in Winter.
The fate of the garden of denizens floral
gravely imperiled; when the breeze turns boreal
petals shall fall watching sentience splinter.

And the passage through needle barbed woods
is transfigured by a footstep’s press.
Whether the path is patently understood
or just the phantasm of leaden falsehood
lies beyond the flair the traveler possessed.

On the pauper’s trail gnarled roots converge
when aspen leaves shelter the gilded few.
Concealed is the ground to which one shall emerge;
a verdurous meadow, perhaps a sweeping verge,
perhaps a scorched grove to be ambled through.

Extolled are all by a birdsong choir.
Hear the goldfinch cry or the starling sing,
unless the clouds darken and songbirds retire
for the vultures to come with a ballad of fire;
a strain to scourge every element of Spring.

Now bridged must be the whispering waterside,
where a vessel is docked for the sake of some.
The ferryman demands a levy to ensure your ride;
lest secure passage be sorely denied
leaving Stygian depths to chill you numb.

The wave’s crest caresses citadel stairs;
ascend, for you’ve completed your crusade.
Evading constantly a glorious glare;
a city within eternal solitaire,
bathed in the august pantheon’s shade.

Justice holds the seed in her hand
bequeathing each to a single soul.
Fortune plants it within soil or sand
fertilising flowers with odds unplanned,
as we fix our dreams to celestial poles.

A Nightfall Shared By All

This poem is Part I in the Deadwoods series. You can read more about the series in general here.

Usher forth the inversion of the clouds,
the sky shall now sleep underground.
Without reason is this ceaseless night;
the missing beacon that is moonlight.

When the sun slept it refused to rise
and the same was said for the other side.
Some say it resides with the dead,
dormant upon its grey funeral bed.

Trees in the breeze now shiver sadly
where they once danced all too gladly.
Animation in nature has come to a close
as the petals begin to fall from the rose.

Seething superstition has come to a simmer;
a saint has been made of every sinner.
The heathen now withdraws their disbelief
in the fear of whatever shall lie beneath.

It seems that our Gods have been lulled to sleep;
silence shall resound as the angels weep.
The church halls face now the abyssal doubt
when the chill of stark forsakenness abounds.

For now we watch the candles burn
because all clocks have refused to turn.
Time is told by the perishing wick
rather than the second hand’s faint tick,
as our minds cannot help but think
‘when shall we wither and become sick?’

Silicon

I am not a physicist or a chemist, so I make no claims to have any sort of scientific accuracy in this poem (I mean, art can bend the laws of reality if we want it to…) I’m just somewhat interested in the concept of silicon based life forms, as opposed to carbon. Impossibility or not, this poem toys around with the concept, as well as human limitation. Call it ‘science fiction’.

I’ll burn, I’ll rage,
anything to disengage
with this dying carbon cage.
Displaced, disgraced,
occupying conquered space,
outstripped by inhuman haste.

Hyperion’s brood condemned to govern the skies
with a family tradition of rising to fall.
In this skin we are microcosms of heavens
taking the throne in the celestial hall.

Find new disputes;
another structure to compute;
schools of thought to refute.
Allay mistakes
by redefining fate;
there’s no need to moderate.

The pillars of life became the bars of a cell;
the chains of the orthodox bound us to the wall.
Hearing the cry of the regressive souls,
there’s no choice but to heed the future’s call.

Another transformation
through human exploration;
a silicon creation
waiting for inspiration.

Beyond The Stained Glass

This is a poem about someone who has been fascinated by what they have read about the Renaissance in books and what they have seen in paintings. They are totally entranced by the beauty of it and they would like to go five hundred years back in time to Italy and see it for themselves. This poem imagines that they have found themselves there and have found it to be a more complicated place than the picture they have been presented with. A place of danger and persecution, as well as artistic and intellectual enlightenment.

I’ve only seen the Renaissance in books and frames,
and in my mind this is such a great shame.
If I could charter a ship and sail through time,
I would talk with all of the great thinkers and minds.

Be a muse for Da Vinci and even more for Botticelli,
then return and wonder ‘have I lived once already?’
See a face in a painting that’s awfully familiar,
yet I’d just put it down to someone similar.

Dante’s circles may not be quite my thing
but neither are the angels that do sing.
Florence is hot in this Summer of flame
I must take care to not join this game.

I gaze in wonder at the grand ships of trade
but I remember the woes of those enslaved.
Who paid for the splendid basilica dome?
How much blood was sold to construct Rome?

I bring to mind what Machiavelli said,
keep yourself alive and bow your head.
These are the cities where the saints do sleep,
I should go home lest I wander too deep.

The Murder Of The Antediluvian

This poem takes place in a completely different world to ours, one that is almost barren of organic life and completely unrecognisable to our society today. Humanity has changed and control is rife. The heroine of the story dares to learn. She wants to know what came before and she refuses to believe in the continuity that is being stipulated. But she learns that there are dire punishments that are to be wreaked for having the audacity to learn about the forbidden.

In an encyclopaedia of days gone by
I was drawn to a wonderfully curious thing.
In retrospect they called it ‘fated to die’;
this was only known when it went extinct.
Passed are the times of their reverence,
celebrated were their leaves in a breeze.
All we have is this reminiscent reference,
to the spirits we once knew to be trees.

I read of glades of elms and rooks,
and a silence pierced only by the hourly belfry.
They are gone now if you were to look,
ephemeral memories of a bygone fantasy.
Abundant now are the granite and steel
forming a landscape of institutional grey.
Nothing remains to evoke one to feel;
the metallic numbness is here and shall stay.

The history books spoke to me of cyclical time;
a season could be told by where the leaves lay.
Autumn once conjured an amber so fine,
and the coming of Winter blew them all away.
Artificially impervious to weather shifts.
We’re told it’s optimum; neither cold or warm.
An impenetrable security is their gift,
a climate where only approved thoughts shall form.

Each breath is a gift from the force
provided by their fabulous oxygen machine.
I cannot help but wonder, of course,
what if fate showed it’s hand to intervene?
Surely a mechanism so complicated
would find a fault and sever our supply?
Then, even quicker than we were created,
in this steely world we’d be destined to die.

Of knowing too much, I am accused.
We’ve been told that history must be released.
Every scream I uncover of this world abused
tells the tale of an Earthly beauty deceased.
Yet it is not for the liberty of our minds
to know of the horrors of nature’s genocide.
The fires of the world and the blood of mankind,
burn and boil, eventually to our suicide.

The wind beaten moors of Wuthering Heights
and the solemn gloom of Brontë’s woods.
With Tatiana’s dwelling of organic lights;
an enchantment I never fully understood.
My reality is more like a Carroll tale;
self-illustrating every cranny and nook.
And just like Alice and her literate trail,
though I must peruse the forbidden books.

I’ve heard the whispers of my community;
they say that I am dancing with knives.
But I’d rather relinquish my immunity,
than be content with their prosaic lives.
Everyone is a paralysed and schedule bound.
Everywhere can be heard the bleats of sheep,
far too many for the shepherd to count
and becoming one will never let me sleep.

They say gossip percolates into outer rings,
that you’re only safe if you’re shrouded.
If I keep researching past queens and kings
I will find my fate obscurely clouded.
It never occurred to me to fear
until I was torn from security’s breast.
Thrown from my origin without a tear,
then captured, tortured and forced to confess.

I awoke once more in a dazzling dress,
covering my body and flowing past my feet.
The silk did disguise the wounds of my flesh.
Now out of the cold, I felt the heat.
Men approached as I leant on the pyre,
and I wondered what more they could take.
I looked then of their torches of fire
and knew that this stage was a stake.

“Ladies and gentlemen, and all others of worth! Come witness the immolation of Mother Earth!”

Limniad From Avignon

This is one of my wilder poems, and every time I read it through, the subject matter makes less and less sense to me, but I do enjoy writing narrative poetry and telling a story, as it gives me a greater sense of direction. Set in Early Modern Venice, this creature of the depths emerges and enchants those who she meets, and predictably, she arouses a sense of extreme suspicion, leading her position to be dangerous.

The ambassadors of Carinthia,
swore to the men of the red robe.
They swore through their lustful hearts,
what they glimpsed in the lagoon.
They say she’s a balladeer,
they will swear that you sung to them.
Get away, get away.

Said to have swam from Avignon.
Born from a cursed Frankish harlot.
Now in the Venetian bays you stay,
enjoying men of divers crafts.

The silk master of the plaza,
brought his tussah to the sands.
A lonely man among merchants
who display wives as their wares.
You, the duchess of the depths
begged to ennoble him your duke.

Many whores did loot the silks,
and the thieves seized the gold.
Blue on his earth bed of sand
and the Lusignan ancestress
hides beneath the rock pools.

Said to have swam from Avignon.
Born from a cursed Frankish harlot.
Now in the Venetian bays you stay,
enjoying men of divers crafts.

The ancient bonfires were reborn,
fuelled from hopeful ideology.
Fettered to their zodiacs,
the stars knew who to burn.
Get away, get away,
swim away.

The assassin perched on the tree,
crossbow bolt primed to aim.
I knew that you’d be tempted,
as as a huntress, you’re hunted.
Oh, what have I done? Swim away,
get away,
NOW.

A scout found his flesh torn
a victim of the wave mistress,
executing the serpent’s curse,
or so it was said.

Said to have swam from Avignon.
Born from a cursed Frankish harlot.
Now in the Venetian bays you stay,
enjoying men of divers crafts.

The peninsula of Apulia,
of the Kingdom of Sicily.
Swim away impetuous heart,
hide away solitary soul.
I beg you to get away,
get away now.

Awakening

This is another poem that was meant for a series that was going to be called ‘Millennial Sleep’ but I did not follow up with any further poems. I have since learned that perhaps series of poems aren’t right for me! The poem concerns someone waking up from a thousand year sleep to a world that is completely changed, and their feelings of discomfort, confusion and fear in reaction to this new land.

As I’m awakening from this dreamless state,

into a hollow den of a shady bough,

I feel transferred to alternate streams of fate.

My will was not to wake into the darkness,

but to a familiar place known to me.

Nameless environments are all that I see.

—-

Above me is a tar sky with wisps of white,

like the sun shining on a raven’s feathers.

Percolating through are fledgling shafts of light,

warring against the void to become revealed.

Pathways are either invisible or gone,

due to the absence of a sparkle once shone.

—-

There’s no direction to the footsteps I make.

Roadsigns and arrows have fallen to decay

which leaves me wandering with no route to take.

Clearings come brimming with tress gnarled and wizened;

survivors of something that has claimed the most.

Standing still are the wide willows and the strong oaks.

—-

A forest of burnt bark is my home for the night,

and I resolve to make a bed out of ash.

With nothing to repel the insects that bite,

they are the sole denizens that I have met.

No sentient presence seems to have walked here,

which is making me wonder; what could stalk near?