There’s No More Time for Poetry

“There’s no more time for poetry”

the ragged poet said.

His eyelids had gone heavy.

It was way past time for bed.

 

But every time he stopped the words

from flowing through the pen,

they’d cry, cajole, and threaten

til he picked it up again.

 

He needed water, food, and sleep,

but they’d not let him be.

His sleepy eyes began to cry.

They would not set him free.

 

His candles burned to pools of wax

throughout the quiet night.

The poetry was piled in stacks

of neat, prodigious height.

 

And as the sky was paling o’er,

the last word penned had dried.

And when the sun was at his door,

the ragged poet died.

 

The poem had not been finished though,

the words had more to say.

They’d help to make his writing flow,

and work throughout the day.

 

The ragged poet’s fingers twitched

with necromantic life,

and with his writing hand bewitched,

the pen gripped like a knife,

 

He wrote unceasing,

running out of paper, and of ink.

The paper curled and blackened,

and his flesh began to stink.

 

The nib keeps dipping, dipping,

in the inkwell long run dry,

The maggots keep on dripping

from his long unseeing eye.

 

And should you pass his humble home

alone there on the hill,

you’ll hear, beneath the starry dome,

the scratching of his quill.

 

 

 

Wisps of Wishes, Wraiths of Dreams

They’re all gone now, every one.

Nothing has been redeemed, and no one spared.

The darkness is consummate, ultimate, and victorious.

All that remains are the wisps of wishes,

the wraiths of dreams,

aimlessly wandering a desolate land

that holds no one to birth them

into a desperate world.

They float, adrift on a sea of abandoned hope.

With despairing cries, they dissolve.

Even Death, who claims all Life,

comes to loathe his task,

and snuffs

the last candle

that forever extinguishes

all the stars.

A Full Heart

My arms are open.

My heart is full.

The fire is warm.

The night is young.

The moon is rising.

The stars are silver-white.

The wine, as dark as my intentions.

You look at me and know

that in the end

it’s you

who makes me feel

alive.

*************

My arms are folded.

My heart is still.

The fire is out.

The night is ending.

The moon is setting.

The silver-white stars blend with the clouds.

The wine, as cold as my flesh.

I look at you and know

that in the end

it’s me who

dies.

On This, Our Wedding Day

Tonight, she’s the widow

who married at noon.

The family said he was much too cruel,

too worldly, to wealthy.

The chains around her were invisible,

but no less firmly locked.

With the first dance,

his lips against her ear.

“On this, our wedding day,” he began,

and whispered of blood, and blood, and blood.

She trembled in his arms, and shook her head

against his shoulders of stone.

Her whispered pleas for gentleness

unheeded.

The clueless guests were clapping hands, clinking glasses,

and clanging spoons against goblets.

He made good on his promise,

and she closed her eyes,

and let him tire himself on her flesh.

Sleep and bourbon claimed his consciousness.

She wrapped the bloody rags of her cleansing

around his neck, and removed her hairpin,

her hair now the widows veil over the weeping eyes

that hours before had sparkled under the bridal one.

“On this, our wedding day,” she said.

The virgin white gown was spattered with blood,

and as she cut, and cut, and cut

he gasped and gargled

on his own blood,

his dying breaths in counterpoint

to her sobs and pounding heart.

In the quiet of the manor,

in the peace of the evening,

they say she walks the grounds.

Smiling, she carries the filthy, worn,

and tattered veil at her side,

singing to the rising moon,

“On this, our wedding day….”

 

 

 

 

 

Killing Time

The sweet ecstacy

of

my lover’s bite

renders me something new,

immortal,

immoral,

wanton and miraculous.

Unclean,

yet never to die.

A nocturnal parasite,

I prey upon the unsuspecting,

and pray for the innocent,

and harvest them both

with alacrity.

I have embraced my damnation

with all my dead heart,

and revel in my fall with heightened senses.

Come, let me fill my cup,

and raise my glass to the

depths of the generous, glorious gift

you so unwillingly provide.

To my side, my love,

and

let me

partake of all that is

in you.

 

 

Raging Whispers

Do you hear them, too?

The unseen are angry.

In the hours between the moon’s zenith

and its setting,

they fail once more to seize the gates

that separate our world from magic,

dark and light.

Their fires grow dim,

their eyes dimmer,

and their hopes are but

a fleeting spark.

They work far into the night

on keys, on enchantments, on weapons,

on wards.

They spend days fasting,

in prayer, in sacrifice,

before the thrones of their royalty,

and the temples of their gods.

They peek through our dreams,

and attack in our nightmares,

and scream in raging whispers

within the minds of those

who can hear them.

 

Song in the Dark

This child,

singing by starlight,

sitting by the river

in night’s embrace,

cannot be seen.

And yet,

he leads me,

his voice a shepherd’s staff

of sweetness,

longing,

purity.

The night hunters

watch in stillness,

amusement,

pity.

In the moonlit meadow,

the trap is sprung.

The song a summoning

of wolves,

long past life,

long past hunger.

The sweet-voiced boy

appears among them,

feral-fanged, and amber-eyed.

And so they sing again,

but not for me to wander.

This is a spell of mournful howling,

binding the legs,

draining the will,

and I am an offering, a blood sacrifice

to the verdant, loamy, pagan lore of the

forest primeval.

As my soul flees the husk of my ravaged, icy flesh,

the song of river, wolf, and tree

now blend,

and guide me anew

to take my place

among the stars.

 

*art by Victoria Frances

 

Tickle

They flicker

in your periphery,

touch you with inquisitive,

ephemeral fingers,

caressing your face

as you sleep.

Their fangs gleam

in the glow

of  your night light.

Their blades flash

in the light of your

scented candles.

Their laughter echoes in your dreams

and renders it a landscape of nightmares.

Your senses are shuffled

like cards.

Your reality turns to sand,

infirm, unstable, and capable of killing.

It is here they caper in the wind,

howling at the silent stars.

And when you are finally asleep,

they will tickle you

with the

points of their scythes

before they cull you

into the darkness,

making sport of your damnation

forever.

The Abandoned Vigil

Lost,

the Moon is the only one who

sees me,

but in its muted beauty, it cannot

guide me.

It shows many paths,

but can’t walk with me

hand in hand,

its gray and freezing craters

a poor excuse

for gazing into eyes that never fail

to hold me rapt,

determined to plunge

their unfathomable depths,

understand the inscrutable beauty

they possess.

I want to greet her like a friend,

kiss her in the amber candlelight

and fruited incense.

Yet if i do, on the instant I will know she is no fantasy,

and I will feel her wrath at a perceived slight

I meant as no such thing.

So I will keep my illusion

by keeping my distance,

content to watch

the dance of flame and shadow

on her dimpled cheeks,

and halo her shimmering hair.

To close my eyes

and imagine the scent of honeysuckle

laced with myrrh.

Imagine the worn, ancient contours of these

cold unyielding pillars to be the

warm and hilly curves of her young, yielding form.

Believe her enchanting incantation

is but a serenade

declaring her love for me.

It is a love of great and terrible distance,

felt all the more keenly for being so near.

 

The Prophecy of Willows

The willow trees are prophets.

They weep for what’s to come

The watchers of the ages

They’ve seen the earth succumb

 

The profit for imbalance

For greed and blood and fate

Half-hearted conservation

Too little and too late

 

The willows grow by water

A fresh supply of tears

With no surcease of sorrow

To mark the passing years

 

They see no change of fortune

that turns out for the good.

They’ve no power to change it,

and wouldn’t if they could.

 

The willows tell the story

of man upon the earth,

the smart and strong and stupid,

of death and of rebirth.

 

The tender souls of willows

So given o’er to care

Do not deserve this duty

Unbroken and unfair

 

I weep now for the willows

As they have wept for me.

We’ll perish here together,

and finally be free.

We’ll perish by the river,

and drift out to the sea.