--So we came to the place by the riverbank
Where the blue-green rushes sigh
In the tumbling currents.
We sat talking of the laws of magic,
And the epistimology of swans.
Then, the boat sailed down the river,
With no hand at the helm;
It stopped near into the bank
As if propelled by some invisible steersman.
And, you leapt to your feet with a cry,
Like that of the young eagle in its first flight.
Ignoring my jealous warning, you stepped
Down the bank,
Sliding and slithering;
Your long red hair streaming in the wind of your passage.
You waded out to the boat, and heaved yourself into it.
You lifted the paddle and looked back once
As if to see how close behind I was,
But I stood frozen at the bank:
Staring out into the river.
You met my eyes with one sad look,
Then you dipped the paddle,
And the warm currents took you down river.
The rushes sighed and the wind tossed your hair;
You glowed, luminous as some naiad of old,
I heard a high ringing in my ears
As of the plucking of a silver harpstring
Then you were gone from sight.
I walk often by the river now--
Looking for boats coming upstream or down--
But I have yet to see another.
I asked the swans concerning why
But they haven't answered.
And the river babbles on
In neither reproach or praise.
Author and Critic
The critic should not be bound
By authorial intent
Nor should the author's intent
Be bound by the critic
Untitled and Composed just Now as I sit here
Angry poets should beware
What does not incite
On indifferent ears
I awoke with the fire coursing in my blood
And I woke you to ask
If the sound of my braille writer would bother you
The clacking keys
The thunder of my thoughts
And you got angry
I don't see why?
I was just trying to be courteous
Damn, those self-absorbed artists
I Slept Beneath an Oak Tree
I Slept beneath an oak tree
In hopes that the fairies would come
And bare my recumbant form away with them
Back under the hollowed hills
But I awoke and found myself beneath the oak tree
With only the driad's song to comfort me
Another tragedy has struck
It seems like all my loved ones
Are hurting or sick
A cry for solace and help
Sent four thousand miles through electronic nothing
A daughter run down by a van
A mother lost in her own nonfeeling
And her own inability to cope or help or even touch
All separated by too many miles
Terror screeching out of simple green letters on black
Yet another loved one hurt
Some like my own daughter are sick
They will heal and walk again
Others, like my friend's daughter
Are now torn between morphine and pain
Another friend's eyes may be slowly ticking away toward blindness
And all I can do is summon my resources
Send all I have in so many directions
Over so many miles of empty howling data transfer
And hope that my love and energy will impact
I feel drained and tired
As I sit crying at this keyboard
Victim of a modern age
Mobility and information
Sniping from all sides
I feel as spread thin as my many relationships
Stretching from here to Arizona
From Arizona to Michigan
From Michigan to Georgia
And all you others
In other countries, other continents
Who are so dear to me
So many little hurts and larger injuries
But the optomist in me knows
That this is merely a downswing
A moment of darkness
That hides the Sun
But, so many, so many,
Innocent bystanders of chance
Run down by EVENT
Ripped open by circumstance
But, they say, time heals
So let time flow over me
In the passing of twenty-four hours
Perhaps, healing will come
To their torn bodies
And my torn spirit
The Voice of the Storm
I long again to hear the thunder
Falling ravishingly out of the November sky
Like a master stroke of some crashing
Symphonic production orchestrated
By some virtuouso who composed
It, and let the baton silently fall
We always get more storms in the fall
Coming with displays of lightning and thunder
It is difficult to confront them composed
As one sees violence invade the sky
For one feels that they have been orchestrated
Bringing this perception in upon one crashing
As a score begins with cymbals crashing
The rains begin their torrential fall
The clouds form up well-orchestrated
As they speak with one voice of thunder
They wheel and turn throughout the sky
Until they return to stand composed
One might assume that this display had been composed
For the sole purpose of crashing
Through the complacency of the sky
A warning to us, that it might one day fall
Careless of messages the obstreperous thunder
Begins the speech which has been orchestrated
The very fact that it has been orchestrated
Forces one to feel utterly composed
As the sky continues to thunder
With the divine voice horrendously crashing
Then the slow ebbing into the final fall
Of the distant murmurings of ancient Sky
For far older than the gods of humanity is the Sky
Long before their schemes were orchestrated
To cause us woes through flight or fall
Sky looked down with stern face composed
Seeing mountains rising, and waves crashing
Speaking to all through the voice of thunder
Do not listen to gods that thunder, but toancient Sky
For in their crashing is but orchestrated
A fate long composed to cause your fall
We speak too often
Of mother earth
Or mother nature
How much different we would treat them both
If we simply called them
Let Us Break Bread Together
The dark robe moves from place to place,
And where he moves, peace follows him.
His pale face is set as his pale hands
Hold the loaf and with dexterous fingers,
He breaks off a piece for each one of us.
"This is my body," HE INTONES,
"Broken for you," he continues.
I watch from the doors with my rifle lowered.
After they have each taken a piece,
He comes to me with his copper platter,
Golden ones having been confiscated long since
As had the great chalices and the high altars.
We had overrun one of their churches for our holy communion,
Hopin against hope Some of our undeclaired kindred would learn from it,
Learn the price for following truth.
The bread tasted of ashes in my mouth.
The dark robe retreated back to the altar,
Where the crucifix had been torn down
And a bare branch of oak with but one chute of mistletoe
Had replaced it, its head wreathed with holy berries.
As the dark robe reached the altar,
He raised the curved blade of the great atheme,
And smote it against the stone crying out.
And with a brittle snap, the cold-forged iron
Snapped some two inches from the hilt.
He let the shards fall from his bony hands,
Then he methodically broke the dish,
And the great spearhead was shattered likewise.
He raised the chalice
So red with blood and wine,
So new and old,
And he bore it from place to place
And the deeper peace followed him and his burden.
We had all knelt and faced the sunrise
And drawn lots for that burden,
We had made even the children draw for it.
But the lot had fallen to the old one in the dark robe,
As it had since our people first met
In clandestine circles and secret sanctuaries.
He bore it well I thought,
As I listened to the roaring bullhorns,
Which announced that we had thirty minutes to comply.
To comply with their wishes or else.
Or else they would burn this place;
This place where we huddled,
Which had been holy before ever Celt or Roman
Had set foot upon these isles,
Before the hallows had needed standing stones to mark them.
They would burn us out as they had the others,
But we intended to give them a message.
Now the dark robe began walking the last row
Giving the cup, in turn, to each patient waiting face,
Calm and untroubled with certainty.
He steadied them for a while and spoke with each,
Then move on to the next who sat patiently.
I stood by the doors listening to the rifle fire,
Which sometimes sounded far off, and sometimes whizzed past my head.
Occasionally I would return it and watch
As my rifle spouted flame and smoke,
Which bore a tiny messenger of death
On whistling wings of sound.
Once more the dark robe approached me.
I leaned my rifle against the wall,
And took the chalice from him.
I clasped his hand then held it to his lips.
"Are you sure this is the right thing," he asked.
"This is my blood," I said, tipping the cup.
He drank then cleared his throat.
"Shed for you now," I continued.
"I shall see you brother?" he asked and I nodded.
THen he laid his hands upon mine
As the shaking began.
"So mote it be," I said.
He died in my arms, but not by their hands.
I took him to the altar and placed him standing
With the oak branch in his hands as a greeting.
If they were merely bluffing, if they did not burn us,
Then he would greet them when they entered.
I reached for my rifle then, but stopped.
Instead, I thought of the cup,
But I could not follow him that way.
So I walked to the altar and plunged my hands
Into the cauldron that had bathed them all.
Then picking up the broken blade of the atheme
I ended my part of the ritual.
There were none left to be captured,
None to confess under torture,
None to convert to their ways or their gods.
None were left to battle them,
And none were left to teach the children of our sins.
We sent a message, we died in peace,
But what of those others
Born into their world?
A quick Poem
Such a long time but briefly
Spans its departure
It be recalled fully
Magic is never repeated
Thought always revolts
Against using the same channels
The same lines
An outline is memory
I a convienience
Such a long time but briefly
One breathes it is gone
When the rod blooms
The dark and light twins, once more,
Reunited together in the tree as before time
What is left to do?
The flowering rod, no sceptre of power
But a beacon to new light
The flower, no inviting mouth to suck
But yet, a new canal
For a new birth
And joined, what?
Still, may the rod smite
Still, may the flower give birth
Joined they are, mystery,
A wonder, a beacon, a guide
An interpreter of internal knowledge
The old rod, that of power
Changed into the serpent of wisdom
The immortal healer
The old flower, gave birth to the sun
This new rod, a serpent, sun-gold
Rises from itself a phoenix, a dragon,
A creature of fire born of ashes
A creature of gold
A guardian of treasures
The flowering rod
A symbol of unity, of promise, of a path
A new way
The rod, two-fold
Both rod of life, and giver of knowledge
But no sin in taking this proferred fruit
A joy, a rapture,
For to take the rod, is to relinquish the self
And this, is the achievement of all
Return to index
Jeremy's Essay on Wounded Knee
Join the Bard's Guild