Beside the Trenches

Gallant cried the horseman

saddled with his cloth and care,

rattling his salivating saber

to a bugle’s tune of God and Country.

There were no spurs so swift

beyond the field where trenches lay.

The drums and alarums still rattled banners

as man and beast gave rise to dusted glory,

untouchable, their raucous shadow lines where

gallant cried the horseman.

 

Barbed wire bound it,

lurching, whistling, wrangled thing,

torn beside the steaming trench.

A horse,

dead beside the steaming trench.

Today, I’m trying something a little different here at the Waking Den. Poetry remains the name of the game, but this is a piece inspired, and built upon the basis of another, far older work, you may recall–Stephen Crane’s infamous “Fast rode the knight”. A testament to the transition of ages, and to the horrors of war, his work was an elegy to the medieval. However, war is a timeless thing, and our folly never resigned to one age or another – and in his words, I personally always saw the potential for application to WWI.

Trenches were the walls then. Our gallant knights instead well-dressed officers still possessed of honours and ideals the machine gun, and gas, and all the other horrors of that time would horrifically subdue. And so I worked a touch of modernization…hopefully without offending anyone; but then, that’s why this explanation was here. I hope you enjoyed, and I encourage you to read Crane’s original as well.

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Restless Nightmares

"The morning after the battle of Waterloo", by John Heaviside Clarke, 1816. Image care of Wikimedia Commons.

For the final One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry, and the grand opening of the dVerse Poets Pub, I would like to bring back a classic – the poem with which I introduced myself at the first One Shot Wednesday, in July last year, when One Stop was still just a glitter and a gleam in the eyes of a few good poets.

It is dark, and due to its age not the style of mine to which you may have become accustomed, but I hope you enjoy it all the same – and if you’d like to see the piece with which I more officially gave my ending salute to that wonderful art community, check out last week’s contribution: One Winter Morning.

– – –

Restless nightmares break,

From wretched slumber do I wake

To a world of endless night—

Thunderous choirs make me crouch in fright.

High above us wraiths now soar,

Men clasp their ears to deafen their roar.

Over hills and shattered streets,

The bands come marching to woeful beats.

A hundred thousand voices cry,

Then all the singers die.

Stone by Stone

Photo by and copyright Neil Alexander.

Stone by Stone

Vines inhale the flesh

The world atone

Stone by Stone

Memories of the haunted-hallowed moan

Of all we’ve wrought, kingly mess

Stone by Stone

Humanity stripped, to rise afresh.

* Hello, all. This, obviously, is my submission to One Shoot Sunday over at One Stop Poetry. It’s more than that, though. I hope you all enjoyed my interview with the talented Neil Alexander, but if you get to the end, you may have noted a little send-off from me and Adam Dustus. Today marks our second-to-last One Shoot Sunday venture.

Without getting into the whys too terribly and boring you all with the details, I’ll suffice to say, sometimes the path splits, and the trail leads us somewhere new. Photography, as writing, is one of my passions in life, and it has been a wonder for me to meet so many talented photographers and to share their insights with you all. It has been a magical thin for this reporter. Yet real life is coming at me something fierce right now, and in a couple months, I’ll be moving to Colorado. It will be wonderful, and the place is certainly a beauty – I cannot wait to go. In the meantime, I’m packing. I’m working freelance. I’m bidding farewell to old friends. And with everyone else departing at One Stop, it seemed, for me, the time to tip my hat to the crowd.

You all have been wonderful, I say that honestly. I have so enjoyed your poetry – and will CONTINUE to enjoy your poetry in the months and years to come. This corner of the blogosphere – it is a wonderful thing, filled with so many creative and wonderful people. I hope you will continue to visit me as well, as I’ll not be leaving….merely because I’m stepping down from One Shoot doesn’t mean I’m departing into a moonless night…I’ll be here, still doing what I do, and enjoying every moment of it.

Cheers, everyone. It has been, and still is, a pleasure.

Cover Up

Image by and copyright Walter Parada.

Red rivers ride

fluttering flags.

A smile and a hand, freely offered

belie the tip—

it’s not a stick you know

that I’ll stick you with,

not a dream doused with dreamers.

God or Man

the mortar drips

beneath the marble—

just a dab of purity to hide

stained hands,

strawberry walls—

Humanity

drifting.

* A piece for this week’s edition of One Shoot Sunday. This week features an interview I had with the talented Californian photographer Walter Parada. I was very grateful for the images he chose to share with us, as I find them all to be absolutely striking, from his landscapes to his portraits, and on to the image featured above.

No More

“No more”

the old man cries,

spares the young men to die

forcing wrinkled face to greet life–

a lie.

* My latest contribution to the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays! If you get the chance, be sure to check out all the other talented One Stop poets posting there – and what about yourself? If you haven’t signed up yet, and you’re among the creative…what are you waiting for?

Peaceful Regards

I have returned! And the getting was good, as they say. Thanksgiving now in the past, I can say without a doubt the weekend of rest and relaxation was much needed, and much appreciated. I feel rejuvenated and ready to roll – and given that finals, graduation and the last stages of my internship are now going to be barraging me over the next couple weeks, and everything’s coming to a head, that’s definitely a plus. If you see a little cutback in the creative flow over the days to come – do not fear, I shall return to normality eventually, but ’tis the season of much busywork, leaving my time a precious thing.

That said, I hope you all have a fine Thanksgiving weekend yourselves! For those of you in the states, at least. And to those of you abroad, I hope the week in general treated you well.

As I’ve recently seen on the news, however, not everywhere was having quite so happy a time as I. Most notably I refer to the ongoing madness in the Koreas, artillery and war games oh my. It seems war’s always looming just around the bend, in one place or another. Doesn’t help that, as in the Koreas, peace has never truly been declared. I know everyone’s on pins and needles to see how things turn out today, as the U.S. and South Korea kick off those war games amidst North Korea’s latest stunts…and it is in that vein that this week’s quotes find me making an implore for peace. We could all use some, if only for a little while.

“There is no way to peace, peace is the way.”
~A.J. Muste

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
~Mother Teresa

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
~Mohandas Gandhi

“Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”
~Robert Fulghum

Ride on

I will ride you down.

Weather the weather,

Gnash tooth and claw

This spear, your arm

Outstretched to meet me

Like a wall of flesh

No more, no more

Come dust and earth

On bitter wind blow

I am vengeance

Ride on, ride on

And I will bear you down

Ride on, ride on

My lance, my passion

My steed, my life

Put up your steel

And dig your feet

I ride and ride for thee

Ride on, ride on

This barren waste is wasted

Ride on, ride on

Cracked and peel and broke asunder

Torn hoof and heel

I soar, as an eagle on the wind

Above the mountain heights

As both sink lower to the earth

Scarlet memory flow

Here falls, here rides

The mad man dead upon the field

And I am here, and staggering on

Ride on, ride on

A breath, a life, a broken soul

Ride on, ride on.

My latest contribution to the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays! If you happen to notice a correlation of theme, or at least, imagery, between this and last week’s submission, though, you’d be right. Congratulations. I’ve had this whole cavalry sort of notion stuck in my head for a bit now, and both of these were a result of that. Once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!