Visions (excerpts)

Here are a few of the poems contained in Visions, available on Kindle for only $0.99:

 

From Part III, Visions of Men and Manhood:

.

Mountain Men

For long I’ve sought the mountain men, who live beyond the earth,
Who walk on clouds and laugh out loud and know things for their worth,
Who from their lofty peaks can scan
The vast and earthbound human lands
And understand th’affliction that beleaguers us from birth.

Now ever since I’ve understood my plight I’ve sought for them;
But those below declare they know there are no mountain men:
“We’ve scaled the peaks,” they’ll flatly spit,
“And found them void, and desolate;
Be certain it is useless to explore them all again.”

But idle talk like this has never yet disturbed my seeing,
For this I see although I be a sublunary being:
The dwellings of the mountain clans
Extend beyond the ken of man
Who yet are banned from entering, except perhaps in dreaming.

But mountain lords are not so banned from visiting us here,
And so I hope upon the slopes to meet one drawing near,
And hail him boldly as a friend
In hopes that he might condescend
To pause and render aid to one afflicted and in fear.

II

For long you’ve sought the mountain men, and we are pleased you search,
And so we come to free you from your bondage to the earth.
We’ll show you how to climb the stair
That leads to fresh supernal air
And you will share our company, and join us in our mirth.

The way ahead’s been opened—you only thought it barred—
Yet up so high that though you try you find it much too hard.
For you, afflicted by the worm,
Know well that you are too infirm;
But wait a term, and we will work to heal what has been marred.

Our healer has begun his work, but still your form is weak;
You must be strong to take the long way up the distant peaks.
It will take time to quite rebuild
The atrophy of heart and will
That keeps you still beneath the distant mountain lands you seek.

But soon you’ll know the mountain lands aren’t quite what you had thought:
The lands we love are far above the fancy you have sought.
But would you want the pleasures there?
And could you breathe the mountain air?
And could you share the blessedness that is our people’s lot?

Indeed, the food we serve up there you cannot quite digest;
You might well think our food and drink is far beneath the best.
And so you’ll wait below a time,
And we will bring you bread and wine
And realign your appetite to what is truly blest.

III

For long I’ve studied mountain men, desiring their help,
And hoping they would know the way to fix my failing health.
And now they teach me to become
More fit to taste the place they’re from,
But He has come, and now I am a mountain man myself.

.

On the Mighty Man of Valor

He stands beside me on the battle-line
And scans the ranks of men opposing us,
His mind and body tense and ready. Mine
Are shaking, and I wonder if we must
Go forth to fight—perhaps the foe will yield,
Or send a representative to duel.
But no: they have no champion to field—
Only greater numbers. Fear would rule
Me save for him beside me, sword and shield
In hand and set to challenge any who’ll
Approach. Together, he has promised me,
We’ll go to battle ‘gainst the Philistines,
Together we will fight; together we
Intend to leave the battle-scene.

He stands above me never giving ground,
Engaging all who dare to challenge us,
His body hot and tiring. Mine was downed
With injury and plunged into the dust,
Just moments after we’d begun to fight.
I am not dead; for hope I may be healed
I’m faithfully defended by this Mighty
Man. But now the sword of bronze he wields
Against the foe begins to dull—he might
Do better here if only I could steel
Myself to move and hand him mine. But fear
Restrains my arm, and I remain upon
The earth while he endures, remaining near
Me as the battle rages on.

He stands beneath me on the bloody plain,
With me upon his shoulders. Both of us
Have lived, the consequence of all the pain
He has endured to satisfy my trust:
Together we will fight; together we’ll
Depart. Pity such a Mighty Man
Of Valor had no partner for his zeal,
Instead of fighting next to me. I can
Not understand what peace resides concealed
Within his breast, that he could calmly stand
Immune to fear of pain and dread of death.
I cannot understand how he retains
The strength to bear my injured form, when left
On him are twice my bloody stains.

.

From Part II, Visions of Beauty and Friendship:

.

Rebekah

I knew your company for far too brief a time, I think:
An incomplete four months will come and go in but a wink.
But though our time together was unfortunately short,
Your friendship was a blessing, and I am the better for’t.
For when my day is dreary, and I chance to think of you,
The memory of beauty then will cast my day anew.

Your smile was a charity, your conversation grace;
A gift of sweet contented joy contained in your embrace.
Your tho’ts a kind refreshment and your confidence a gift;
Your zeal to love and serve your friends still makes my spirits lift.

But I remember most of all the way you’d look at me
(The way you’d look at all your friends, so far as I could see).
Such eyes! your unabashed appreciation they’d reveal,
And innocent affection you’d not bother to conceal.
And I you’d so enchant by this expression of delight—
My heart would dance a merry jig, my weariness take flight.

Now far away, I miss your gaze—but I shall not complain,
For unto death the mem’ry of your beauty I’ll retain;
More pleasant still, because I know wherever you may be
It’s certain you’ll be loving friends as well as you loved me.

.

Complimentary Beauties

The water glides across the shade the trees above provide;
Beneath the leafy canopy it winds o’er mud and stone;
And here and there a shaft of light designs to peek inside,
Illuminating mossy bank and flowers overgrown.
Descending from the leafy bank are branches reaching for the brook;
The sylvan tendrils gently touch the water’s moving skin;
While other boughs stretch out an arc to form a type of nook,
Creating foliated places one might hide within.
The only noise is nature’s song: the breathing of the air;
The tripping stream, the croaking frogs, the crickets and the birds;
Perhaps the bushes on the bank will whisper when they care,
But otherwise the atmosphere is quite devoid of words.

The water glides across her calves beneath her shortened jeans;
She barefoot slides on rocks and mud across the shallow stream;
And as she slips ‘tween shafts of light which pierce the wooded greens,
Her skin and smile sparkle with each penetrating beam.
She reaches down to pluck a stone from out the brook below;
Her flowing hair greets with a gentle kiss the flowing glass;
She sights a hidden alcove, into which she’s pleased to go,
To lie beneath the branches by the water on the grass.
The flowers listen to her breathe, and the breeze among;
The crickets watch her catch a frog, the mud enjoys her knees;
And berries that she’s picked to eat are melting on her tongue—
And nature thrills to hear her laughter sound throughout the trees.

.

From Part I, Visions and Vexations:

.

A Risk

She fled, though barely capable of sight
Through all her tears, and tore into the wood
That lay behind her uncle’s cabin. Night
Was falling fast, and though she knew she shouldn’t
Tempt the many dangers of the dark,
She’d not return—not to that undone
And lightless world behind her. But her stark
And staid aloneness couldn’t be outrun.
At length she fell upon the ground and cried,
Lamenting that her parents both had died.

She lay, supposing they would come for her,
Eventually, at least from obligation
To the dead. Would they comfort her,
She wondered; would they try? Her own relations
Should at least attempt to find her, love her,
Though she be a stranger in their home.
But would it matter? For she’d not recover
From this grief, she mused. And as the gloaming
Turned to night, and stars filled up the skies,
She doubted if the sun would ever rise.

But while she doubted dawn the moon arrived,
Completely full, attempting an impression
Of the sun. The ground then came alive,
As scattered pebbles caught the light’s attention,
Imitating flowers in the night.
And in the distance bits of mica shone
From such a mound of rocks, reflecting light
In just the right arrangement on the stones
To frame a sort of door, a passageway
Concealed from all the brighter light of day.

Seeking some distraction from her grief
She rose. In stories, elves devised such doors
Revealed by moonlight. Maybe underneath
She’d find a secret tunnel to explore.
And so she did. And stooping low she plunged
Into the deep recesses of the earth,
A hand upon the wall to guide her dungeon
Expedition. Unafraid, the dearth
Of light was naught to her—not now, at least—
All thoughts but curiosity had ceased.

At length her tunnel joined another way,
Which at a distance opened to a light
As if to validate the old cliché.
In this she stood entirely upright,
Though ankle-deep in water flowing down
The tunnel’s course. The stream proceeded toward
The moonlit opening, and there the sound
Of water falling couldn’t be ignored.
So hearkening unto the water’s call
She followed it and stood upon the falls.

There breathless she beheld the canyon under-
Neath her feet, some thirty feet below.
Her mouth agape, she looked with quickened wonder
At the world, silvered by the glowing
Moon. For somehow it was different, here,
Suspended on the falls. She sat, and scooted
Some to keep the water off her rear,
And waited for the morning. There is beauty
In the world, she knew for sure again;
And this, a balm to help her in her pain.

The years went by, and by degrees she grew—
By pains—sometimes several in succession,
Sometimes many felt at once. The view
Enjoyed alone atop the falls helped lessen
All these pains, make life a little sweeter.
Many times in need of solace she’d escape
To visit this inviolable retreat.
She grew, matured, a woman taking shape
Where once had been a child. Then at last
The tunnel slipped away into her past.

She leads him by the hand to where it starts,
Reveals the tunnel, leads him into this,
Into the deep recesses of her heart.
She stands again upon the precipice,
Her arms aloft and his about her waist,
And asks him, “Do you like it?” Yet a slip,
A tiny stumble could precipitate
Her fall. The slightest whisper from his lips
Has power now to push her over, or
To love her as he never could before.

.

Buy Visions for your Kindle and get all 45 poems (including one narrative poem in the style of Spenser’s Faerie Queen).

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