Like a dream you came to me,
And trod along the gentle path,
Like a dream you spoke again,
Said what I had once hoped to hear.
A million sighs like filled balloons
Flew pleasantly southwest and high,
Blown fast by kind old Zephyr's touch.
The old familiar visitant,
The ache that's spanned the years and years,
No longer welcomed, nor its lack
Did sting as we today ambled.
The birds gathered and sang just like
A merry band of strolling lutes,
But not outshown by the kindly Sun,
Who poured and splashed his golden rain
Upon your hair (each strand repaid).
But your smile accrued double.
So why am I again attended by
The milky form as though conjured?
Well paid, I do not owe again!
Your golden glow will pay suffice!
Why then do I again feel poor?
Surely, though it was like a dream…
But, oh! There was no like — only a dream.
It has been awhile since I posted any of my poetry. This poem started to form in my mind a few weeks ago. Like Cassandra of the Greek tragic lore, the gift and curse of the poet (even a bad one) is being all too aware and yet unable to change things. Poetry is a form of catharsis; I think anyone who writes poetry reaches a point of nearly bursting in which the pressure can be relieved through only the writing of verse. Yet, my goal is never to release a poem for only that reason. I hope that this poem captures something more.
O bitter muse, oft-present visitant,
Thy inspiration bids for solace, “Write!”
Alas, all peace you assault and fast destroy.
Old dreaded guide, your fetid breath does creep,
Oppressive reminder of soft and tender times,
Of memories now past, the fading light.
Look not on me cruelly, oh Tragedy.
I called thy sister, Love, yet you arose,
O bitter muse, no more! But let me pour
Between your fingers fast, as water drops
A drop into the seas of time, fading,
To escape your hell filled ways less scathed.
You, like a plague, unhindered, ‘cross the land,
I sue, but you war ‘gainst me ceaselessly.
And so I practice my mysterious craft,
Assuming now the poet's gift and curse,
A sponge, I sop thy flood as best I can,
By grace of God, may I someday be rung,
And rest upon His hand, again be dry,
Before I drown in the e’er rising tide.
Incidentally, as it flowed, I found I had blank verse (unrhymed but metered). I do not write in blank verse typically, but it seemed to fit the mood of the poem.
LXXVIII. Oh strange breeze
That blew past me four years ago,
Let thy wind return.
LXXIX. A flea fled to me,
And then I was Donne away,
How much past has past.
LXXX. Familiar autumn,
Lean thy kind embrace on me.
Hint again of then.
LXXVI. Rain drops heavy on roof
Tears remembering the past,
Another life ago.
LXXVII. Crickets chirp as then,
But so much else has changed, set.
Oh, rewind, cruel time!
LXXVIII. A miraculous
Vision one lept year prior this.
Faded now — old ink.
One of my projects last semester was to do historical research on a period of Presbyterian history and present it in some form, be it a research paper, a time line, or something else. Starving for some literary time, I decided the obvious choice was to again dabble in the realm of drama. The result was Consumed by Flame. I've mentioned it a bit before, but here are the gory details.
The drama takes place in 1540s Scotland, at the beginning of the Scottish Reformation. The particular inciting incident is the arrest of George Wishart, the Protestant Reformer, by his adversary, David Cardinal Beaton. It is a very interesting piece of history not just for the showdown between them, but for its lasting and serious aftershocks. To what extent did these events bring about the good of the Reformation and to what extent the bad? To what extent did it shape the negative events of later Scottish religious history? The play tries to engage with some of these questions at their root.
From a formal standpoint, the play follows the classic five act structure favored by Shakespeare. It is almost entirely a prose play, however, unlike many of Shakespeare's works. Besides the Bard, the style of the play was influenced primarily by Aeschylus and Marlowe. Of course, I do not claim to emulate any of these greats well, I merely note where I got the inspiration. Weighing in somewhere between Kit Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice in length, I estimate a performance time of approximately two hours, if it were put on stage. I like playing with darkness and light, and, weaving a story that peers into the psyche, and this play follows on those themes, though not as much, perhaps, as Deafening Silence did.
Well, if this has piqued your interested at all, and you would like to take a gander at the script, please let me know. I am looking for some comments on what works and what does not in the play. If nothing else, you'll get all of the footnotes and the works cited page, which will give you some nice material to go on, should you desire to do some historical research.
LXXIII. How a moment past
Once simple seemed, transformed now
To something precious.
LXXIV. Time's cruel wings beat on,
A steady drone unceasing,
As I glance backward.
LXXV. Speak, dear friend, a word,
Ambrosia is a voice heard,
After too long a pause.
LXX. Oh Divine wisdom
Pour upon my wearied soul,
Lead me in this time.
LXXI. Foolish as I am,
For the want of a current,
I lost the trickle.
LXXII. Uncaring winds about,
They heed not now nor ever,
The broken and lost.
LXVII. Odd night of fading past,
Yesterday, and now three years,
Trickle to a flood.
LXVIII. A new reminder,
That October into May.
Came unthought today.
LXVIX. The silence denotes
The long past sorrows of Time,
Never glancing back.
Oh, blood red moon, what fates do you observe,
And behind your cloudy curtain dare to speak?
Illumined now, illumine those who seek!
Your words — strike would they a tender nerve?
No, I do not ask about some famous quest,
Of tragic heroes or of noble paths —
No journey here, and no fate deeméd deaths —
A simple matter really, my only test,
The tragical matter is naught but this:
The suffering of the ordinary fate,
Too plain to be marked by one or all,
No matter of lost Troy, fall'n unto abyss,
But of a worm placed on a hook as bait,
Before his life was spent or fulfilled his call.
My reflection stares back at me in the glass,
A green bug and a moth sit on the pane,
My thoughts run wild and wonder what I've done,
The thoughts and things that I have left unsaid.
O Moth, what thoughts run in your head tonight,
You silent winged creature in dim twilight?
Unlock the stories that remain untold
In the unblinking eyes of the reflected man
Who looks about the darkened window pane.
Do you know where you'll go in the morrow?
What insight can you give of the reflected's fate?
What grieves the eyes that look back in the glass?
As you flutter, impart some wisdom now.
Do you know the balance of time you borrow?