Tag Archives: poetry

I used to yearn for coming Spring

2 Mar

I used to yearn for coming Spring

(A remembrance of Columbine, Blacksburg and Boston)

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

I used to yearn for coming Spring
Its all-things fresh, and fragrant, and full;
Erupting through thawed earth,
Newly fertilized by cold and frozen things,
The ring of bell-like blooms
Of blue and red and yellow and white
Creating day from darkest night
The New out of the Old.

Yet, as thawed mountain snows
Rush through down-curling arteries
To quench the warmth-starved lands below
They seem to re-deem the time from things that grow
To things that know no bounds;
That do not hesitate to loose their rounds
Of hate and monstrous deeds
Upon young and old alike
They strike — juxtaposed against sweet renewal days —

I pause, while breathing in the newness once again
Renewing, yet knowing, once again why
I used to yearn for coming Spring
Yet remember why I hesitate to bring
Myself to full embrace of that time I used to hold so dear.

 

2 Samuel 11:1
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war …

The man in the valley below is firing his gun once again

2 Mar

 

image

The man in the valley below is firing his gun

once again

By L. Stewart Marsden

The man in the valley below is firing his gun once again,
A slow but steady cadence that echoes on and on,
The reports bouncing off the nearby ridges and beyond.

I think — a mountain man —
Angry, preparing for the coming storm,
Or rich and bored, perhaps.

The cost of ammo must be more than I can afford —
All that brass and lead and gunpowder carefully, precisely packed —
Because I have to ask.

He breaks his monotone drip-drip-drip drill
With sudden, quick bursts of blam-blam-blam-blam-blam-blam
Rapid fire.

And I wonder,
Semi-?
Or automatic?

And where do those bullets go?
Slamming into black and white targets hung low?
Concentric circles, flapping in the crisp mountain breeze?

Do they smash tin or glass?
Pulverizing metal or shattering shards into the air
Where they catch the late sunlight like a fragile prism?

Dividing rays into rainbows?
Colorful and beautiful in their own assaulted way?
As the gunfire finally subsides for the day?

He has sheathed his weapon and stowed his bullets
Examined his targets with grimace or grin
The man in the valley below has finished firing his gun

Once again.

Gerry M. Andering

24 Feb

Gerry M. Andering

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

Gerry M. Andering was lithe and spry
And could squeeze and bend
Into the smallest of space
With little or no waste
To achieve his desired end
Which was to touch only certain-shaped spots
Where he amassed his great wealth
Through his stealth and his agile turns;

Almost boneless, was he,
Fluid-like and free to jiggle and wiggle
Without any constraints
He did paint such odd shapes
In his Rorschach-like ways
That he guaranteed days
To the kings of the hills
While the rest could just fuss, fume and burn.

Life as We Know It

18 Feb

Life as We Know It

By L. Stewart Marsden

“Life as we know it,”
said the astronomer, searching the vast universe for something familiar;
said the archeologist, knee-deep in dusty layers of time and civilized ruins;
said the preacher, couching expressions in holy-coded phrases for the elect few;
said the white baby boomer, recalling the “better days” of lemonade years;
said the ghetto-garrisoned teenaged mother, already tired of dried lemons;
said the match-hunter, newly-divorced and out “in the market” once more;
said the far-from-home soldier, carefully walking the debris of a war-torn village.

“Life as we know it,”
in an alien land, crossing the street to the other side of town;
wondering how do people live like that?
believe-that-way-say-such-things-behave-that-way-be-so-stupid?

on the one side,
“Life as we know it,”
not concerned with food or rent or transportation — just,
shrimp scampi or filet mignon, which neighborhood and whether gated or not, or which hue Lexus with what latest gadgets, which university — public or private?

or

on the other side
“Life as we know it,”
wondering to spend on groceries or rent or electricity or gas or weed,
or will the next moment bring anger or shouting or drunken abuse,
community college or county jail?

“Life as we know it,”
under the threat of imminent change …
or the more likelihood of no change at all?

The Lonely King

27 Jan

image

 

In 1685, King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes with the Edict of Fontainebleau. The Edict of Nantes provided certain religious and economic freedoms to the Huguenots, French protestants. With the revocation, Louis came down hard on Huguenots, demanding they recant their religion and convert to Catholicism, or else. The or else included loss of property, imprisonment for males, seclusion in convents for the women, torture and a variety of types of execution, including beheading and burning at the stake.

Numbers are debatable, but between 200,000 and 250,000 Huguenots fled France, many crossing the Atlantic to resettle in America. Charles Towne in now South Carolina was one of those destinations. Those who left represented about one percent of the population of France.

Two similarities strike me from that day and age to the present: the “ramrodding” of power by Louis, and the Huguenot diaspora, which included some of the most intelligent and creative French of the day.

A friend, considering (however seriously) leaving the US for places less antagonistic, got me to thinking. The poem below is the result of that cogitation (I apologize in advance for its poor literary quality):

 

The Lonely King

by Yours Truly

 

There was once a king
Who sat on his throne
Surveying his great and vast kingdom.
From the East to the West
To the ends of the earth
His realm could be equaled by none.

“Jester!” said he
To a motley-dressed clown
“Bring my fiddlers — I’m bored and want sound!”
But the clown,
With a frown, said
“Your fiddlers aren’t here,
Sire, they all have left town
And there’s no more sweet sound
To be found all around.”

“Left town? The lot of them?”

“Yes, Sire. The lot of them, sad to say,
Have amscrayed this place
Which is why there’s no music
To call for, Your Grace.”

“Why would they go and leave me alone?”

“I’m sure I don’t know,” said the clown to the king on his throne.

“Then bring me my choir, and bid them to sing!”

“Your Worshipful, that, alas, too, is a shame,
For all of your choristers — sopranos to altos,
Tenors to basses —
Have left your vast kingdom for far away places
So remote that some don’t even have names.”

“And my servants and wise men?”

“Please don’t despise them,
But they’ve all left the kingdom as well.”

“But WHY then? Why have they left me here all alone?
To mourn and to moan all alone on my throne?”

“But I am still here!” said the motley-dressed jester,
“And I’ll entertain you so your sadness won’t fester,
And agree with your wisdom and all your decrees
And serve you while groveling down on my knees!
There’s nobody else you need, if you please,
But motley-dressed, dancing clown, silly old me!”

The king sighed a sigh, and nodded,”You’re right.
Those silly old fiddlers, those out-of-tune singers,
Those supposedly-wise wise men,
Those fat, needy people, all stupid and lazy —
Why together they drove this king crazy all day and all night!

“I’m far better off here alone and without them!
Here on my throne with my kingdom about me.

“Who needs all that so-called music? Who needs the riff-raff?
I’m far better off alone on my throne
with my beautiful hand-carved elephant tusk staff
To decree my decrees with a sneer and a laugh.”

To wit, he said, to the clown kneeling there,

“Get me my quill and my parchment post-haste.
I’ve a decree to declare — why there’s no time to waste!”

And he whiled the days on his throne all alone,
(The exception, of course, was his true, loyal clown)
And made his decrees which the clown did declare
To the large empty kingdom, with pomp and with flair.

Disclaimer:
Any similarities between the King and any person living in the District of Columbia on Pennsylvania Avenue are purely, most sincerely, absolutely coincidental. And that’s the purely, most sincerely absolutely alternative Truth!

***

Checking in/Checking out

16 Jul

Checking in/Checking out

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

Checking in:
The remote.
CNN, MSNBC, Fox and the like.
SOS*.
Ranting. Raving.
Can’t cave, but craving.
The line.
The stance.
The visceral futility.
Animal hostility.

Checking out:
Cellphone, laptop, PC.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more.
SOS*.
Ranting. Raving.
Can’t cave, but craving.
The line.
The stance.
The visceral futility.
Animal hostility.

 

*Same Old Shit

When I drool

14 Jul

When I drool

By L. Stewart Marsden

When I drool,
When I foul the air with curse and more
Will you turn headlong towards the door?

When I fail,
Will you roll your eyes and deeply sigh
And flee without a last good-bye?

When my youth and heart and lively soul
Have all but vaporized —

Will you

Avert your eyes from mine?
Withhold your smile?
Lie alone in another bed and think of anyone, anything else but me?

Will you wonder how we came to be
And why you’ve grown to such a fool?

When I drool?

 

Love … endures all things …

1 Corinthians 13: 7

 

Suppose I do

28 May

Suppose I do

By L. Stewart Marsden

Suppose I do
Want to touch
Want to feel
Want to be honest
Want to be real
Want to wrap my arm ’round a willing waist
Want to probe
Want to question,
Want to squeeze
Want to taste
Want to thrust once more
Want to be trusted again
Want to laugh
Want to cry
Want to wallow in sin
Want to quietly rest
Want to feel a kind wind
Want to dwell in the best
Want a chance once again.

Somebody to hang

28 May

Somebody to hang

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

Sometimes we need somebody to hang;
Somebody’s neck to stretch;
Somebody’s back to break;
Somebody to bear the blame
and wear the shame —
to go quietly into that good night;
who will bow and bleed
and be the scape —
make the hate and hurt and anger
gradually burn to ash —
the rancor worked completely out.

We got the rope.
Now, where is that somebody?

 

 

Elixer

7 Feb

Elixer

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

I know the elixir of a fine aged wine

that transforms the ordinary into precious gold

and prolongs ecstasy beyond normal heights;

enhances all it touches,

enriches all it bolsters

and creates such magic

as delivers deliriously.

 

It seems I stumbled on this fine old cask

quite unexpectedly;

and how I see its rich deep worth

is more the evidence of taste and touch and smell

for well it casts its magic charm,

completely and disarms me now,

how long I wonder till I might be loosed

from its mad and magic spell;

or not,

and linger, vanquished, in its pure and holy hell.

 

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 7 February, 2016