The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Category : Poems

The Stupid Dog

Charlie

At 7am, demanding the door

with the restless snuffles and scratch on the floor

bleary and weary I dress for the chore

of letting the dog go out to explore

At 9am with the dew on the grass

showers of dirt from the garden fly past

unseen vermin, escape way too fast

the dog’s disappointed, and I stand aghast

At 12 in the midday, sun overhead

rusted squeak of the mailbox being fed

reason enough to wake up the dead

with an outburst of snarling, terror and dread

In the heat of the day, the late afternoon.

dinner is served, or should be real soon.

sooner is better, depends on for whom

paws on the counter foretell certain doom

Evening rests dreamy in the family hut

food is all eaten, the kitchen is shut.

tortuous, repast rumbles the gut

stench in the room – it comes from the mutt.

Day-weary humans, devoted pup

retire for the evening, he’s not allowed up

left on the floor, the ostracized cub

licks hand anyway, ignoring the snub

4am comes, drenched in nightmare’s sweat

demons come haunting the battle-scarred Vet

canine nuzzles the face beset

 muzzle lies heavy on the heart upset

hand stroking fur till comfort forgets.

hand stroking fur till love forgets

hand stroking fur, companions forget

hand stroking fur till mourning forgets

hand stroking fur, morning forgets.

Oasis

Oasis
Desert traces
Seeking shelter from the swelter,
in my love’s embraces

Garden
Winter’s pardon
Seeking Grace from War’s disgrace
Heals the battle-hardened

Meadow
Summer’s pillow
Flowered vase for love’s embrace
Devotion’s languid billows

Lips
Emotion’s ships
Oasis charted,
Garden started
Meadow gartered
Loneliness’ eclipse

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The Paper Hat Parade

image Somewhere in the Caribbean:

The clouds come scudding across a timeless sky, an armada of impish children riding with the mysterious breath of unseen mothers, little boys with paper hats, Sailing from unseen waters, where those mothers gather of a Sunday morn, and blow their babies kisses, and blow all the joy in their hearts and lungs into these bassinets, and send them off to play, to grow, to age, and maybe in time to weep their sorrow and return home to their mothers, sunburned sailors, battle-worn soldiers, traveling wizards with the dew of life in their bosom.

And yet, today they are but children, and I dream here on an island in the midst of their silent child’s’ parade. I’ve sailed the place of their birth, I’ve traveled the lands of their death.

But here in-between, I watch them pass as a father, wishing to play with them, quietly laughing at their pretend severity, hoping for them to grow strong shoulders, wishing I could be with them as they frolic, and mature, tip and taunt the fisherman, plunder the earth, and woo Life Itself from the farmers seeds. I know their end, and want to weep with them as they weep their Last Sorrow, as if they were mine.

But I do not grieve. I make a paper hat, and stand face-on into the Mother’s-breath of this Sea, and wait.

Poseidon’s waves will carry their souls back to the Beginning, and they will be born and blown again, by laughing, loving, breathful mothers of the Sea, They will adventure again. I wish nothing but to ride in their midst for the adventure.

4am Stories

 

The stories that come to me at 4 in the morning, to be told
Do not come to me to be told to someone else
They wish, like all stories in my head, to be heard, but I cannot tell them to others.
They are full of cold, of grey things that should have color.
Things that did have color. My 4am stories are stories of color lost
of Hope, forgotten.

But they will not let me forget.
These stories come back, look over my back. Wanting to get out and play with the others
But they do not play well with others, these cold, grey stories.
No, they make others go all cold and color drains from the lips of the storytellers

8am stories are full of anticipation. They yawn, and stretch, and smile through sleepy eyelids, remembering that the new day brings new things, fun things, joy and brilliance, dazzling in the morning sun.

Noon stories are full of Today – of the way of things happening now.  One moment I’m telling a story , the next it is being made.  Stories of weather, or the pranks of the day, of the smile, or kiss, or the touch of a hand still warm and fresh on my lips. 

Dinner stories are full of exertion, of telling the tale of success, of industry, things that has been done, that must be rested from, but from which great satisfaction has come.

In the evening, with friends I remember, memories of acquaintances I’ve had, or that I have now, things that are connected through this busy day, or of yesterday.  Evening stories are melancholy, rich fields ready for harvest.

In the midnight hour my stories are hushed, sleeping tales of bravery, epic heroes, requited love, flowing poems of deeds and dreams. The midnight hour is the time of my muse.

But when the waking growl of the log trucks break through the distant muffling fog, the 4am stories have already stricken me speechless

Sleepless horrors still unspeakable
Stories without words,
drowned in the watery depths of the sea
These stories can never share – should never be shared.

The cold creeps up from the Deep.
The grey falls down, the fading flicker of dying hope.

I am caught where they meet, in their steel jaw.

In a watery tomb my body grows cold

My mind becomes grey

An unwilling patron of an awful, eternal theater.

Father’s love, Love’s Daughter.

Daughter plays upon the heath

Father’s watchful gaze beneath

Innocence a halo’s wreath

Kept aloof by sword and sheath

Daughter wayward flees

Climbs aloft amidst the trees

Sword cast down, abandoned seas

Father’s guard exchanged for pleas

Daughter love her Father gives

Daughter’s love and Grace forgives

Pain and sorrow, love outlives

Freeing love, hate falls captive

Father lets his daughter go

kiss a memory, free her soul

Child to Woman, heaven’s glow

Another child begins to grow

Father watches time pass by

Daughter’s love is grace’s eye

Wife and husband edified

Father’s love is testified

I race

Free as the Summer

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I race

carving an invisible groove through

the spruce-whiskered mountain pass

The canopy arcing overhead

 

I rush

Through the trees, and howling with mirth,

Shadow and light splash around me like surf

My heart has raced to these rhythms since birth

The beat of the wind on the sea –

the spray of light, dappling trees –

and here on this mountain, of forest and turf

I ride down a ribbon of asphalted glee

 

I run

a gauntlet of cliffs, beside me rising

trees

Standing sentry, holding high their glistening swords

jeweled in emerald arches
 outside the rail,

Seeing the trees – watching, listening, standing sentry over the roads below.

They stand in stillness, while the twisted switchbacks rip through them, and though I cannot hear them, I know they whisper.

These trees, they are still, and to be in their midst is to be still.

I fly

There is a peace amongst them, not just of stillness, but of fulfillment of purpose.

I think of those places.

But still my mind races,

to the beat of the wind.

Or is the wind breathing

to the beat of my mind.

I cannot tell.

 

The trees stand, waiting, watching, listening.

They wait for the lumberjack, for eventually he must come.

They stand sentry, but when he comes,

They will not sound the alarm.

They will not try to flee, nor hurl the lumberjack from whence he came. They wait.

They are still.

For when the lumberjack comes, and they are cut,

their waiting will be over. And they will not have failed,

for their purpose was but to wait. And to be still. And to grow.

When their time is done, they will lay down,

and become part of another purpose.

 

I feel the wind, rushing about me, and it syncopates the thoughts in my head.

They rush, my thoughts, and are never still – they flow and rush, and jumble and carom, and sometimes cavort, up and down the mountainsides, through the woodlands. They move and turmoil, and seek, and quest,

and when they have quested,

when they have answered,

they quest again, for so they must.

It is what my mind does.

It watches. It listens, and paces against the stillness.

For so the stillness must someday come.

And when it comes, I will not raise the alarm.

I will not flee it, nor try to hurl it back from whence it comes.

I will sit amidst the stillness,

I will lie down, and become still. The wind will die down and rest

I will rest. And I will not have failed,

for my purpose was to race, and so – I have raced.

And now my race will be done, and I can find peace, as part of another purpose.

I will race towards stillness, as I must. The trees know this.

The wind knows this.

It knows me, and I know it.

I will become still, when the wind inside me is still

Requiem for a Bat:

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Crazy night-time flying bat

Looked to me ’twas getting fat

Tried to dodge, but went kersplat

Flew akimbo off my hat

Dare I wonder where you’re at?

Hit the road, and there you sat

By the morn you’ll be run flat

Poor flat bat, to hit my hat, and die like that.

Twists my heart all pitter-pat.

Coffee Thief

 

I awakened this morning to coffeeCoffee thief

It was left from the day before

Normally stolen and leaving no sign

the thief must be missing, the coffee’s now mine.

 

It sits there in silence, abandoned and cold

I know how it feels, with no one to hold

a day has gone by, two more she’s away

Till my favorite thief, who causes such grief,

Will return to her pilfering ways

 

That person who steals my coffee

has also stolen my heart

a day with plenty of coffee

is a day wishing we weren’t apart

Chasing Down the Moon

The morning light remains a dream

And yet, not my dream

My dreams don’t look for the dawn

They ride through the night’s dark mantle

Like a tailor’s shears

Cutting the dark before me with a beam of light

Gathering it behind amidst the growls of an angry exhaust

A dragon, warning those who would follow my path

That this moonlit road is my dream, and mine alone.

 

In that space between the light ahead and the growls behind

The fabric of night furls and unfurls, windswept sheets

With a patchwork quilt of a hundred stories

Of other travels, of other travelers that passed this way

Alone with their dreams, in another night’s ride.

 

Free from the smothering streetlights that drown my eyes

I breathe in the pure night darkness, the scent of the Great Bear above me,

Wheeling in the sky pointing the way home

To Polaris

I touch in my mind the celestial doorposts of heaven itself

And then gather the reins in my fists 

Joining with the Hunter, pursuing our prey

Shadow, or Light, it matters not which

The chase is what feeds me

To race through the shadows, to feel the whip-cords of light

Lashing my back as I ride through the trees

Thundering hooves pound in my ears

Beating heart pounds in my chest

Flailing wind pounds at my face

Riding this writhing dragon as it rises and drops in the darkness, twisting beneath me to unhorse me.

I fight alone in this night, until the dragon is spent, dropping to the earth with its head atop its gilded hoard

And through the trees I break, into the calm of a mountain plateau

The moon, an arms-length away, bathes my sweating spirit in peace

I drift into a languid pool of silver night-sea, the alpine meadow grass rippling in the breeze.

I lean back, letting my mind’s sails fill with mountain air

Pinpoints of a million distant suns guide my thoughts

The open sky cradles my head

This lonely road rests my body

The crest of another mountain pass frees my soul.

The Christmas Dreary

Once upon a Christmas dreary, children screaming, getting teary

Over several bright and glossy tomes of merchandise galore

While they prodded, nearly popping, seemingly there was no stopping

From without there came a hopping, hopping at my chamber door.

“’tis some visitor,” I muttered, “hopping at my chamber door.

Not my children I adore.”

Ah distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,

And each separate credit card wrought its ghost upon my door

Eagerly I wished the ‘morrow, vainly I had sought to borrow

From my bank surcease of sorrow –sorrow for the lost cash flow

For the rare and radiant paycheck, whom the angels named “cash-flow”

Nameless here for evermore

Ah, so softly did they succor, whine and made their brows to pucker

So they played me for a sucker, crying, sighing all the more

So that now to still the beating of my heart I stood repeating

“‘Tis the season to be giving, giving all to help the poor.”

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, “the poor?”

This I heard, and then much more.

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so sharply spoken,

Doubtless,” said I, “what they utter is their only stock and store,

Caught from some grim advertisement warning shrill that woe and lament

Follows fast and follows faster if its warnings they ignore

Till the dirges of their languish blend with howls of needless anguish

Yea, of sadness, evermore.

But the children still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,

wheedled sweetly through the doorway, child and merchandise galore;

Then, upon the bedpost sinking, I betook myself to linking

Fancy unto fancy, thinking what these anguished children bore–

What this ghastly advertisement meant in croaking “You need more!”

Always this, and always more.

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing

To the kids whose teary eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;

This and more they cried beseeching, in my head I pondered preaching

On the notion that their leeching brings upon us creditors

Creditors whose endless screeching rails upon my chamber door

Rails upon me, evermore!

But the children, never flinching, still are sitting, still are clinching

So my answer had no meaning—little relevancy bore;

Not the least concession made they; not a minute stopped or stayed they

But, with mien of lord or lady, perched before my chamber door–

Perched and wailed their mournful tale to me behind my chamber door–

Perched, and wailed, and little more.

Presently my soul grew meeker, hesitating, much the weaker

Child”, said I, “or demons, truly your forgiveness I implore

Now I sense my purpose clearly, clearly as in days of yore

Darkest night and plaintive sobbing grants me wisdom lost before

Peace on earth, good will toward parents comes from merchandise galore.”

With installments, evermore!