After

At night’s bewitching hour exceeding twelve

When all the luminary bodies set

And darkness haunts the land

To make the forms of earth seem hideous,

Painted with death

The swelling ocean’s sand,

Drifting vessels, black, romantic yet

They stand, though shaded by day’s adversary,

When dawn and dusk seem furthest

And hallowed day unworthiest

‘Tis said by men of mind’s perfidious

That rising from Lethe

The bodies then of graves that diggers delve

Take precedence o’er the earth sans luminary

Guards to sanctify the grounds

To terrify the time

And make fantastic sounds

In crooked verse, sans rhyme,

Occult and vital.  But ’tis not then so–

The night’s a barren canvas of dreamful woe.

The Bereaved Lover

Bereaved

Bereaved, he dreamed beside the quiet creek

The gentle boy who loved, of love he missed,

Lamenting still, alone, and yet to speak.

 

Her form appeared upon the waters, meek,

And as it to be fantasy he wist,

Bereaved, he dreamed beside the quiet creek.

 

Surveying her placid eyes, with spirit weak,

While his grew lucid as he reminisced,

Lamenting still, alone, and yet to speak,

 

In such a state I saw him, with moistened cheek,

As he recalled when first her cheek he kissed,

Bereaved, he dreamed beside the quiet creek.

 

Then all of the soft and shaded heavens did seek

His visage to veil from view with sorrow’s bliss,

Lamenting still, alone, and yet to speak.

 

At this he thought his lot to be less bleak

If rain would weep with him, his sorrows list—

Bereaved, he dreamed beside the quiet creek,

Lamenting still alone, and yet to speak.

My Dear Boy

my dear boy

My dear boy,

Beware of man, beware his company,

O mark me well, mark him an enemy.

Beware the world, beware of living life,

Beware of sorrows, beware of pains and strife,

Beware of toils, those burdens from above,

But most of all, my boy, beware of Love.

Aye Love ‘s a tumultuous sea, where waves do crash,

And men are tossed at passion’s volition rash;

You need it not my child, so set not sail,

For treasure hunts at sea are doomed to fail.

This erratic pirate’s epic bears not aught

That is not also born in books and thought.

When I was young I feared I’d die alone,

Without a friend, or wife, in pain I’d moan,

As lying on my bed for one I’d part,

My stiff veins would break the rhythm of my heart.

There was a time I feared that future fate

When I were old and died in such a state

As common men will never come to know,

For only sages understand the woe.

But now those fears are parted with the pain,

And no such lonely worries here remain,

For I shall nevermore as lonely be

When now these fantastical voices are so saying “come live with me”.

You mustn’t understand me wrong my boy,

I haven’t lost my wits but found my joy;

My sense is as Hamlet and Don Quijote vital

Their minds and mine as sure as Dido’s requital.

I’ve simply found the thrill of the theoretical

(And you mustn’t either think this life pathetical)

To be more than enough to keep me company.

Of living friends and foes I need not any

When philosophers and poets assuage my fears—

Those dead men’s voices occupy my ears.

So now I have a fear of death no more,

Having seen so many make the trip before—

Aneas, Dante, plus Odysseus

Shall be with me as I go down to dis,

Nor have I living yet a fear of age

When Beowulf’s poet’s years serve as my gauge.

Philosophy shall be my Juliet,

And poetry for love the stage will set;

Romantic verse will make the story heard

Of a love affair with knowledge and thoughts and words.

O come, my boy, and heed what I have learned,

Most well to mark the wisdom I have earned,

My books have taught me everything I know,

And now the seed of it I hereby sow:

I’ th’ dark and hostile world he needs not a friend

Who has the company of words immortal penned—

A man is a wretched, reckless, ruthless beast

He’s better left alone—ignored at the least,

Better shunned, forgotten from the start,

For friends and loves as tides are sure to part,

But books and words will never break a heart.

My own, truly,

No One

The Swan

There is a bird at Francis Pond,

A somber sacred swan;

She calls unheard, while none respond

Till present cries are gone.

 

I saw her ‘cross the ripples swim

A dreary distance off;

Beside yon mossy arboreal limb

She bows her crest to trough.

 

With gentle meme she has her fill

And finishes her drink,

Then with demeanor gentler still

She lifts her head to think.

 

I wonder what she contemplates

So pensive and so wise—

What burdens must attenuate

Her poise to troubled guise?

 

In a manner less decorous,

Less schooled than that of she,

In a stumbled mess I approached with a fuss

To ask of what I did see.

 

“Kind madam,” said I, “please do tell,

This hazy day, your thoughts;

For if I’ve read your count’nance well,

Your mind ‘s with worries wrought.

 

“What grievances could come to trouble

This sort of placid creature

Whose waters less than she do trouble

With mildness of feature?”

 

At that she turned her gaze toward me,

And peered through her dark eye-mask,

And with a learned decorum did flee

To heaven’s heights at last.

The Dread of Something

‘Twas on the first forsaken hour

Of morning bleak, I dare say black

‘Twas then that thought’s mistaken powers

Were false imputed things they lack.

Those memories of joy avail

Of darkness, in this task they fail.

Remembrances of rising rays—

Radiant—but provoke the pains.

 

For soon I’ll see those rising rays

Peeking o’er the terrene bend,

And the sun who serves for sizing days

Will measure out this day’s vain end.

Alone I sit without a friend,

With vainly verse profanely penned,

Cursing dawn and dusk as sleep,

My absent ally, awake me keeps.

 

Alas, for even she comes not—

In her I’m also friendship wanting.

Her wanton ways leave me unwrought

With me my heinous horrors haunting,

Through drably clad and shaded night

I hag-like sleep engage in plight.

Men’s mild minds she’ll lay in haze,

But thought her ghost—not pain—it lays.

 

Older days do I remember

When wife with placid wit would with me

Set at naught these nights in November

And set us from all nightmare’s pith free.

Then horrid, wretched sleep did absent

From her profligate comportment

Abandoned—she took on sweeter guise

That did not demise the demonized.

 

That sweeter sleep knew not this hubris,

Immoderate behavior.

No priest can profligate the new miss

Who by her absence makes minds crave her.

And oft she lies upon a man

To abdicate her evil—her plan—

To pass it to that victim’s mind

And fill him with foul dreams of ill kind.

 

But thoughts of old keep me awake,

In wakeful dreams they tell the tales

Of brighter days that yet betake

My heart to darker hellish wails.

That demoness’ demise, it haunts me!

Those visions that she brings, they daunt me!

O how I wish I never knew her!

How I long for the Lethy cure!

 

But sleep, most welcome sleep, will come

And all my corporeal creature still.

My dolor’s demise, my dreams undone—

This my soul shall with the cure fill.

And so I lie awake awaiting

That one wench, the other dreading.

Come most welcome sleep, my friend,

And take me o’er the radiant bend.