Rhythmic Poetry

Rains Descend

Rains descend upon my head
The sky grows dark and chill
The rush surround my mind and soul
To freeze my halting will

Clouds move o’er the dawning sun
And halt the marching light
My vision dims throughout the morn
And shrinks into the night

Fogs envelope mind and frame
The world becomes a haze
The hues of life are bled and dried
My eyes are dark and glazed

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Poetry

The Main Thing

Like a convalescent, I took the hand
stretched down from the jetty, sensed again
an alien comfort as I stepped on ground

to find the helping hand still gripping mine,
fish-cold and bony, but whether to guide
or to be guided I could not be certain.

For the tall man in step at my side
seemed blind, though he walked straight as a rush
upon his ash plant, his eyes fixed straight ahead.

Then I know him in the flesh
out there on the tarmac among the cars,
wintered hard and sharp as a blackthorn bush.

His voice eddying with the vowels of all rivers
came back to me, though he did not speak yet,
a voice like a prosecutor’s or a singer’s,

cunning, narcotic, mimic, definite
as a steel nib’s downstroke, quick and clean,
and suddenly he hit a litter basket

with his stick, saying, ‘Your obligation
is not discharged by any common rit.
What you must do must be done on your own.

So get back in harness. The main thing is to write
for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust
that imagines its haven like your hands at night

dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast.
You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous.
Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest,

let others wear the sackcloth and the ashes.
Let go, let fly, forget.
You’ve listened long enough. Now strike your note.’

It was as if I had stepped free into space
alone with nothing that I had not known
already. Raindrops blew in my face

as I came to. ‘Old father, mother’s son,
there is a moment in Stephen’s diary
for April the thirteenth, a revelation

set among my stars – that one entry
has been a sort of password in my ears,
the collect of a new epiphany,

the Feast of the Holy Tundish.’ ‘Who cares,’
He jeered, ‘any more? The English language
belongs to us. You are raking at dead fires,

a waste of time for somebody your age.
That subject people stuff is a cod’s game,
infantile, like your peasant pilgrimage.

You lose more of yourself than you redeem
doing the decent thing. Keep at a tangent.
When they make the circle wide, it’s time to swim

out on your own and fill the element
with signatures on your own frequency,
echo soundings, searches, probes, allurements,

elver-gleams in the dark of the whole sea.’
The shower broke in a cloudburst, the tarmac
Fumed and sizzled. As he moved off quickly

the downpour loosed its screens round his straight walk.

Seamus Heaney, from Station Island, Part XII

Rhythmic Poetry

Time’s Remorse

Sorrowed live the spawn of man, in time’s remorse
they die in youth, and age in evil’s grip
hounded in their mind by mounds of reasoned shit,
they suffer in the frames of pain and sickness’ course.
Darkened storm the days of man upon the earth,
black clouds upon the future’s still horizon.
Rains descend upon his bright and shiny reason
thence from death he dies undead until his birth.
Unholy words and deeds brew draughts of death
that deep within the witch’s drink humanity consumes.
Lost within hell’s smog, a cloud of deathly fumes
and choked in sin’s embrace, incapable of breath

Depression

Alone and Naked in the Light

I’ve lost the language I’ve always known; so much of my faith is unintelligible to me now. Its phrases, concepts and poetry just confuse me. I feel muted. At a loss for words I never knew I had lost. A mind that craves certainty is left gasping, choking on its fears, grasping for any kind of lifeline. I am left groping in the realms of mystery and ambiguity; swimming, drowning in the sea of the primordial wherefore.

 

My mind has failed me. I melt upon the freezing cobblestones, naked in the dark light, alone before the maw. I need something deeper, something more interconnected. More holistic, natural and earthy.

 

I grew up denouncing the mystics and pagans, turning an ignorantly blind eye to my own rationalistic biblicism. We huddled in the barn, terrified of the Lion and we missed-out on the joys of that Far Country. I’m tired of missing out, of fearing. I wanna live, dammit.

 

For death lives in me and I am dead on the vine, a misbegotten corpse hung in the noose of belief, burning up before the sullen, scalding glare of the light. I breath ash, I sweat blood, I move myself inexorably deeper into the eternal quicksand.

 

I lie squashed beneath the heels of so many feet, a godforsaken bug, broken and alone in my asphalt hell.

 

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Blank Verse

Quietly the Thunder Rolls

Quietly the thunder rolls, over fruited plains
Upon a front of angry air, conquering
Blowing winds and howling shrieks, billowing
Clouds descend with rain and lightning’s flame

Solemnly the flower stirs, dancing in the breeze
Within a field of swaying grass, pondering
Singing sight and harmonies, coloring
Face upturned to seek the heavens’ sheen

Openly the horses play, running in the sea
Upon the lands of shining green, galloping
Soaking in the tender sun, sauntering
Legs a blur among the grasses and the trees

Lazily the waters flow, tracing through the plains
Among the crowds of anxious life, trickling
Stepping with the soil’s course, simpering
Pacing on their merry paths and ways

 

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Quotes

Toddlers in Cathedrals

I am convinced that poets are toddlers in a cathedral, slobbering on wooden blocks and piling them up in the light of the stained glass. We can hardly make anything beautiful that wasn’t beautiful in the first place. We aren’t writers, but gleeful rearrangers of words whose meanings we can’t begin to know. When we manage to make something pretty, it’s only so because we are ourselves a flourish on a greater canvas. That means there’s no end to the discovery. We may crawl around the cathedral floor for ages before we grow up enough to reach the doorknob and walk outside into a garden of delights. Beyond that, the city, then the rolling hills, then the sea. And when the world of every cell has been limned and painted and sung, we lie back on the grass, satisfied that our work is done. Then, of course, the sun sets and we see above us the dark dome of glittering stars.

 

On and on it goes, all the way to the lightless borderlands of time and space, which we come to discover in some future age are but the beginnings or endings of a single word spoken from the mouth of God. Some nights, while I traipse down the hill, I imagine that word isn’t a word at all, but a burst of laughter.

 

― Andrew Peterson