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Late Night Haiku XXIII

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:19

LXIV. Shadows dance across walls,
A soft, playful twirl, gentle — gentle,
Oh, unreal yet real!

LXV. A cricket sings softly,
What tales does he sing aloud
Amidst the evening?

LXVI. In the cave's soft light,
What fantastic things can be,
That show not above?

Late Night Haiku XXII

By Tim Butler | Posted at 21:50

LXI. A lonely thought about
The soft sounds of a tree frog,
Who knows not of it.

LXII. What is this odd place,
That my thoughts arrive at now,
Like a long spring rain?

LXIII. The words do not come,
To match thoughts that bubble up,
Shall the thoughts erupt?

Upon a Rainy Night in Spring

By Tim Butler | Posted at 22:39
A former professor of mine was telling me the other day that she was reading an argument about spring being a “crime of passion.” This, she suggested provides a “synthesis” to correspond with Chaucer's “thesis” (“Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote”) and Eliot's “antithesis” (“April is the cruelest month”). I felt inspired tonight to write a little poem of synthesis.

Treasonous rain pours upon the dead leaves,
A gentle tyrant killing passions of spring,
Marching, marching, marching blossom killed
And plant drowned by the tears of hopeful clouds.
The rotting leaves of spring reveal the crime
Of Season covertly tantalizing trees,
Poor and senseless of the impending doom
Cruel nature saves to dash the sprouts of dreams.
Treason! Treason! Poisoned swords are ignored,
Usurpers die 'longside their rightful kings.
The lurid rain robs the colors of day,
And brings to earth a monotone of gray,
Awashes off the new birthed signs of life,
But leaves neither spent poison nor used knife.

Late Night Haiku XXI

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:04

LVIII. Silent happiness
Instills a sense of mourning
For the noise of joy.

LIX. The birds did sing then,
As they do now, flowers bloom.
But how diff'rent then!

LX. Water glistens now,
Puddle in the water bottle,
One last time. Empty.

Late Night Haiku XX

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:35

LV. Wind blows, blows and blows,
Winter's desires are swept
Away by Spring's march

LVI. Truth. What is this thing
That slips through my hands like sand
Or a startled bird?

LVII. A bird perches there,
Quietly observing the view,
As all else goes by.

Wittenberg, Part 3

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:34

Continuing from here the series started here.

Father Thomas sat at his kitchen table, drinking his coffee as he waited for the police to arrive. He let his head rest in his hands as the aroma of the coffee tried — but failed — to make him feel any better. “Think Scott, think, who would possibly attack your church?” The thought whirled around in his mind, much faster than the lazy ticking of the clock in the background.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Twelve fifteen. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. The sound lulled him for a moment, before a firm knock on the parsonage's front door brought him to and he lurched up and towards the door. He reached the door and it opened after a slight complaint. Two stern people stood at the door, a rather short man and a somewhat taller woman. The woman spoke first, “Hi, you must be Father Thomas. Agent Cassandra Myers and this” she motioned toward the man, “is Agent Mark Douglas.”

“Come in, come in.” Thomas motioned in and toward warm light that spilled down the hall from the kitchen. “Would you like a cup of coffee? I had just poured myself a cup before you knocked.”

Douglas nodded. “If it wouldn't be too much trouble, sure. We saw the door, or I should say, the remains of the door, on the way in. You say you heard a chain saw?”

“Yes, I had just crossed through the passageway — you see, we have a passageway that connects the chapel to the parsonage — and was preparing to make my evening coffee when I heard this noise. I'm not sure what I was going to do — I'm really not sure at all! — but I heard this saw like noise and took off for the chapel. It didn't take me long to figure out where it was coming from.”

Myers frowned. “Mmhmm. But, you didn't see the perpetrator?”

“No, by the time I reached the narthex —”

“The north what,” Douglas asked.

“The narthex. The lobby, if you will.”

“Ah, ok. So right by the door.”

“That's right. Anyway, by the time I reached the door, it wasn't really there to reach.” Thomas chuckled wearily. “I must say, for all the things I feared might be stolen out of the chapel, the front door was never really one of them.”

“What kind of door was it? Was it of any value?”

Thomas poured two more cups of coffee and set them down by the agents' places at the table. “Uh, well, really nothing special. It was wood. I guess it could have been worth something — it was, as far as I know original to the chapel, which would make it about seventy five years old. But, other than a little carving, it really wasn't anything special.”

The three puzzled over the situation, each staring at the warm coffee as if searching for some answer written in it. Thomas sighed. So much for peacefulness. He looked around the kitchen and as his eyes surveyed the contours of the molding around the cabinets he was further reminded of how dear this little, typically unexciting parish was to him. This little dose of excitement was already more than he was ever really hoping for.

The silence drifted around, all but palpable until the agents' walkie-talkies interrupted. “Agents Myers and Douglas, please respond. We have a third reported church vandalization.” Thomas glanced up at the two agents incredulously. “Third?”

“This is Agent Myers. What is it this time?”

The walkie-talkie phone emitted its signature beep. “Uh, according to the call we received, it's another door.”

Father Thomas let his head again rest in his hands. Someone is going around stealing church doors? This was going to be a long night.

Wittenberg, Part 2

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:07

Continuing from Part I.

It was so quiet that even the proverbial church mouse was not stirring around St. Francis of Assisi Chapel. Father Thomas, who had just plodded through the passageway that connected the church with the parsonage mused about the simple blessing of a warm passageway between his office and home. Though he had initially resented when the bishop had placed him in the little country parish, it did have its perks.

He gazed out the window of his home and looked down the hill where the moonlight danced on the water of small pond that the church owned. A smile crossed his face — it would only be a few months before parish children were once again playing in the pond, seeking a short respite from the heat. Life was good here.

His reflection caught his attention in the windowpane. His hair was almost entirely gray now, and the light silver rims of his glasses twinkled back at him. He sighed. He was growing old; he had originally intended much more exciting adventures for his life, but now he was known as the kindly, quiet cleric whose big secret was that he would sometimes sneak down to the pond to fish for a little while when he needed a break from the problems of the parish.

He shuffled over to his small kitchen and pulled an old coffee filter out of his Mr. Coffee. He opened open a small box that held filters and put a new one in, then took a few tablespoons of decaf coffee and placed it in the filter. A little coffee would be nice before heading to bed. Thomas then filled the coffee pot with water and started pouring it into the coffee maker. It was only then that he heard the peculiar sound coming from the chapel. It sounded like a chain saw.

Not usually a particularly brave man, the recollection of the simple enjoyment he received from the parish apparently had instilled a momentary protectiveness of his parish and he dashed over to the door that led to the passageway he had just passed through and unbolted the lock. The sound seemed to be coming from the front of the nave. He passed quickly from the apse and glanced down the aisles of pews. No, the sound was coming from the narthex. He rushed down the center aisle and pushed hard against the old, wooden doors that led to the entryway. The sound had ceased, and that's when he realized what it had been. As he stood in a stupor of a particularly confused form of shock, he heard the squeal of a car not far off. A cold breeze caused him to shiver. By the time he came back to his senses, the vehicle was long gone.

His hands trembled as he turned around and retraced his steps, trying to figure out precisely how he'd explain the situation to the police.

Wittenberg, Part I

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:32

The Rev. Doug Matthews sat in his office chair intently studying the computer screen that glowed in front of him. Rose leaned in the door way and sighed. “You're not working on that again, are you, Pastor Doug?”

He nodded slowly and turned in his chair, which produced an uncomfortable squeak. “I'm only going to be here for a few more minutes. Go home — it's past five as it is.”

Rose studied him uncomfortably. “It's just, I don't like you staying here all hours of the night. If I leave before you finish, your liable to stay here late into the night. Come on, Doug,” she said, a little firmer than she had intended.

Doug smiled. “Just a few more minutes, really. You can go, I won't stay past 6:00. I promise.” Rose waved a hand at him and walked off to get her coat. She was a dedicated secretary, perhaps a bit overzealous about his bad habit of staying in the office late, but that was for his own good, he knew. He heard the main office door open and then shut. Good, now he could finish.

He turned back to the text he had brought up onto his screen. Something seemed different about this passage. He leaned closer, taking his glasses off to get a better view. His mind went blank for a moment, and then the realization struck him. This was it. There it was, right in front of him. He spun around in his chair so hard it nearly sent him onto the floor; he dashed up and grabbed his coat in one fluid motion. If he was right, this was it — after nearly fifteen years, he had found it. And not a moment too soon. He had to move quickly.

He raced out of his office into the reception area but stopped when he heard an odd sound. It sounded like someone was sawing something. The power went out, turning the room an eerie amberish color as the emergency lighting sprang into action. Doug's mind whirled as he realized what was going on. It all makes sense — I have to get out of here. Someone else was in the building — that much he was certain of — probably down by the main circuit breaker box in the basement, if the sawing noises had given any indication.

He raced for the door and ran out into the cold, rainy mid-winter night. As he ran to his car, he flipped open his cell phone and called the police. He had no time to waste, but leaving the church to the devices of whoever it was that had broken in was not prudent. He hastily reported the information on the intruder and slammed the phone shut to the protestations that he shouldn't leave. Time was short, and much as he might like to stay, it simply was not an option.

Doug Matthews sped off into the dark wet night with a sinking feeling. He just hoped he'd still be capable of having a sinking feeling in a few hours.

Snippet

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:58

Here's two lines of poesy I've not yet figured out what to do with. Rather than just add it to my scrap heap of half written poems, I thought I'd post it. Hey, I needed something to post tonight.

Have walked the dark wood paneled rooms, smoke filled,
Have seen the wing backed chairs against the wall.

Late Night Haiku XIX

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:53

LII. Silence walks softly
And lurks behind my mind's eye,
Careful! No more — no.

LIII. Tick the clock tocks soft,
And time tick rolls onward tock,
And I tick watch tock.

LIV. The snow melts slowly,
Old remnants of lighter times,
Flows down the hill now.

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