Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Requiem and Other Poems

Barry Van-Asten


The earth already calls us to its measured woe,
Cast unto the infamies of blind sorrow;
Where the bone of evolution, shall climb
Sombre in the grave of suffering and time!
Turn, Turn, with the moon over tide
And here shall body and brain abide
In the gradual grind of pulses, lost
Upon the love thou seekest most!
The disgraced blood that flows through veins
And magnifies man’s incessant pains –
Sleeping, sleeping, the heart is fast sinking
Towards the gloom-ghost silently drinking
Wisdom’s milk – the magnitude of stars
Within the sacred portal by the veiled pillars!
Deep winter awakes. On, my love, on
While the dry heart shakes beneath a summer sun!

And all was quiet – dimensional thinking;
Midnight nerves – my world was shrinking
And all was done! Shouting in darkness,
Absorbed by the lambent flame of sadness
That soared, and is falling, falling, ever falling:
‘Tis the echo of the aeons calling,
Glimmering beneath thy magical skin:
Its waves are radiant from within!

The laws of time hath grown still again
And in childless rooms that contain
The unmistakable stink of death,
The sick heart summoned to thy rosy breath.
I whispered softly: see not these eyes
Bent only to thy eternal sighs;
Boundless in beauty, for thou art
The glorious awakening of my heart;
The essence of my subtle nature
Swells before thee, true and pure!

In this room, he dreamt love’s conclusion,
By the light of damaged nights, where he,
In fear of losing the one thing needful!

How awful for us, this misunderstanding;
This pylon of awkwardness; this honey surround
Where no words reach their destined end...
I stretch out – and your silken lips
Remain silent, distant from me now;
Only mobile by the twilight flame
That shuffles down below, beyond
The skirt of woods, the wind-swept hills
Where some dream of lake-locked realms;
Wasp meadows and foxglove glades...

A haunted madness strolls by the mills
And in the night, soft lips touch,
While a tenderness so different, lives:
Misunderstood, devouring the air and terrible.
And in quiet contemplation, she,
Patiently calling into ether,
Sat, with wild polarity –
In her eyes: magic’s
Cursed the air, divine:
I am in love with you now, I thought,
And this passionate craft, of yours!


Even as we walk
The magical sky above us
Juddered like a dancing corpse,
Pale and wasted in a waltz.
And loosely in the setting sun
I saw her smile appear –
The aftermath of our affection
Through clouds of angered to and fro,
That over the edgeless moor had gone;
Stretched and descending the barren land
Like an empty theatre in electric swan-song.

While on the hills the voiceless dead
Were waking from their hidden mounds,
Where the centuries had led
Their soft twists... stench of forest, no sounds;
Silent, in their displaced decay
And in movement: light their tread!

What orchestrated air In a cream variation – speech,
Had shown to me, her soft caress
Like a snow-flake breathing wilderness?

What makes this love insane? – Mere thought,
Revealing the triple pulse of veins,
Pulling this masquerade, and
This sex of mine!

And those tireless strings were swaying
To the waltz and world, without end!
And in the interlude, I thought
Of some grave tragedy, yet to come!

Stealing through the evening shade,
Past the ornamental gardens, where he
Had known the liquid grace of beauty
Among the avenue boughs, fleeting
Shyly, in a white dress, to breathe
The gorged moon, once again.

Here, he is descending the iron stairs, clad
In ivy now, but he remembers how hands
Clasped in bygone days, so small and tender
In his own as he traced those remembered steps
To the burial tomb as the rain came down
In a grey-slanted sheet!

Built from nothing, more than thoughts, he recalled
The fragrant air of a summer’s day;
'I have made an Illiad of my desire,
And an Odyssey of my despair!'

There, in the timeless memories of age;
Lost to all those dreamt of days, beyond
The iron door of the tomb, on which
The face of Death, looked out, there,
Beyond medieval fever and Elizabethan ague;

Through the unstoppable matter, through
The dreadful gloom; the chamber dim,
The canon of his love was found
And there, in sorrow-parted lips, did utter:
'O fairest, how art thy beauty come to fade,
Lying sphinx-like in the grave!
How art thy lips a purple press,
Dry of all thy loveliness
And all thy radiant days!
That we are parted by the grave,
Makes an Athens of my woe,
And time through all my thoughts, runs slow.
Death has fixed the maiden there;
Stirred its waters into mud,
And stained the pure innocence of her ways,
To rot the core of womanhood!

Thy name, thy past glories, all I fear
For ‘tis life within the tomb, not death –
She breathes! She breathes of immortal breath
And I at the fount of all joy – expire!'

And there in spectre-scented bloom,
He knelt with his heart Troy-wide
That sought the solace of the tomb.


You, who shall not grow old,
Not, to the stirring night.
The sphere of love cannot remain
Alone, in man’s fearless hold,
Never to breathe such passion again,
Or walk with such wondrous light.
Nature collapsed, see her softness stray
To the mad music that is made;
The woods are fragrant now, and still –
The cuckoo thrills through veils in May;
The woodpecker hammers coffin nails, on a hill.
Time parts in after-threads of shade
And once more fills the edgeless night!

At the boundary by stunted oaks – graves
Where the whitest blooms once held
Children transfixed, by green hues, displayed
Like a myriad of coloured leaves:
Church windows, where the light falls
Upon some sacred grove, where hearts swelled
To some vision of pagan delight!

And I took a broken rabbit skull
And conjured up within
Some sad spirit, from long ago –
A talisman of sin!
A lament for all those buried in the garden
Who won’t be resurrected again!

Now see them, their pale veins
Skyward, to the stars, and see
Their oaken hearts are stronger;
They feel the change and strain
Of love, where hearts no longer
Sigh to songs of eternity
By the moon-glorious night!

Her eyes, like smoke; she turned
And walked alone...
The river bank in all its sadness, grew
Comforting, though still the haven
Of long ago!

She walked on.
The sun had gone.
She looked up and whispered to the moon:
‘I do not believe in love!’
The stream swept on beneath her,
And the black trees on the bank side
Murmured, till she was gone!


It was that dark year of ninety-seven, I recall;
A year only five days young –
The halls, hushed by intimacy, with all
The wine drunk and all the songs sung!
And like Hamlet with a hang-over, you lay:
A child of the forest, a world away,
Caressed by a beautiful sweep of the sun
With essays left until last to be done!

Laura laughed when she entered the room
To see your nakedness in bloom!
She left, and the great night of meaning, left too!
And I felt myself surrender, yes,
To every shifting shape of you
And something more than all of this!

And your eyes were like ceremonial lamps aflame,
With all the sacredness of a name!
As if cursed to hide the things un-shown:
A cloven hoof by which you’re known!
Devil, apparition, or glorious one – Pan,
Shaped to the contours of incomplete man:
O soldier poet; O Lamb of God, arise,
Stranger sweet of ceremonial eyes!

We thunder through our dreams and fall
Towards the moonlight in the hall;
Into a chasm of regret and nothing days,
Wasted by time in a thousand ways!
The endless cigarettes at your lips;
The ‘Phantom of the Opera’ at your fingertips...
With half-closed smoky eyes, you frame
The first two letters of my name...
But the summit of exhaustion past
Darker realms and could not last!

We did not, if I remember, feel more than this
Lust extinguished by hidden bliss.
The air was foul with secrecy and deeds
And the entwined heart of youth that bleeds –
Un ritual noir; a sacrifice of art:
Your sunlight blazoned on my heart!
No measure of rejoice, the sum of your years, and thought
As I sat with the ghost of Old Court:
No mannequin of madness this –
I tell it truly with a kiss!


Like lightening, he awoke
From a dream of Bravo Jasmine;
An eclipse of time; a gala time
And change by its demand, would come
Where the gift of devotion and absorption
Is richer by marriage of minds, once more!

Some super-human tendency
Left letters unread... A bolted door,
And after tea, propelled his sphere,
Conjuring Helen by Marlowe’s ghost,
He felt the equinox pulsate, with
Some terrible law of momentum –
His boyhood dream and desire was clear:
An engineer! An engineer!

And now he is dreaming a stranger matter
From a sun awakening – you see only ghosts
In a night that is filled with love, love...
The air immovable, tight with gloom
And brave is the sinister heart
For I am not gold, he said, nor man alone:
The spell winds on!

He stood beside the shadowy water,
Green, like wax, the lake serene;
And he imagined – Yasnaya Polyana,
He felt the fear in the weeping of trees
And midnight that comes to read your thoughts:
Here I have you now, some magic’s trace
In lymph and libido and limbs!

What beautiful dreams he dreamt
Beautiful dreams he dreamt
Dreams so beautiful!

Guru, you plant your eager heart
Into a division of the Divine;
And in rooms, ballads are still sung
By children and women and men!
The stair is a place where trembling hands
Part at five-to-ten!
And by starlight, Socratic minds,
Rejoice in the soup of infinite wit
And piss in the sink and out the window again!

Like lovers, dreaming of the sixteenth-century
Where Easter chalk and limestone gives
A taste for something stronger perhaps – yet protest,
Once again lines are lifted from Darwin –
Some phantasm speaking in the depths of Hell...
Oh how the sensual has become
The misfit homosexual!
Re-heating Elizabethan stew
That will not fill his orchard ribs –
He thinks: Such an ugly thing is man!

A table is a table, is a table, he said,
But only until it’s a chair!

March, and pole and tropic are wide:
His mind sought new frontiers to explore;
He took himself far, far away, where
He neglects Euclid, and forgets
Pompeii and Orwell and cigarettes;
The woods and the brooks were a blur –
The skylark, a hare; flowers remain
Snatches of colour in his illuminated brain
And now, this song of missionary – come:
Steals away, for his work is done!


And that I adored you, I never said...
With dark Arabesque, he
By the cool drear dirge of sleep
Knelt at the shame hand of beauty
As I dreamt his wilderness of skin!
Praised to perfection – sun of Apollo,
That lay within... and I sang
To his flitting, phantoms touch;
His mouth, a secret ceremony;
His lips, a joyous feast...
And a rage burnt into the night;
Into my sweet soul that craved
The sacrament of my love’s delight!
I roared in some weird place,
Beyond a living death, a hell,
Caressed to the point of absorption,
To lie, anointed in woodland
Unto my Lord and Lover!
By a wild light of affection and glee:
Redeem me! Redeem me!
And I dwelt in dark glades of silence
Within a Temple in the wood;
Where a nightmare vision was upon me,
That forged ecstasy from my blood!
Bathed by strange moonlight – we kissed,
Pulsing in shadows – This world upon us!


By his suggestion
Words came quickly,
Leaving the room in a
Tender embrace;
Someone said:
The life within me,
Loses hold upon This cold, dead space!

In eager arms, youth was easy;
And thoughts had swamped
A mind un-mapped...
A girl wept, because her beauty
Was inside only,
And handicapped;
But beauty‘s there for all to see
In the line of symmetry and alchemy!

The heart fell silent and lips were still...
Yesterday, had flown with
Words we could not say,
And as we slept In wonderful sleep –
Weird, to a heartbeat,
That winds away,

Away, into some slow dimension
Where lovers lay,
Hand in hand, and doom
Was abundant in the room too soon...
In the dark after-realm, the day
Was far and smothered by gloom;
Strange, by the shade of separation
And the midnight mark of the moon!




This thing, stupid of heart,
Clambers through sleep, and careless,
To perish in brain, invasive;
Monster of myth, without reason:
Clumsily clad and alive –
I am in love with you!

Morning has shaken
Long limbs of mystery
From the wilderness of sleep’s region;
And here, sun has spoken:
Nine-forty-one, and I’m
Still in love with you!

Amidst the wild scent of seduction:
La Lune – orb of desire...
Laughter, the fatal connection –
I am in love with you!

We are children and we dream –
Simple of thought, and question:
Do you sigh and surrender your softness
With a witchcraft serene and unbroken?
The great law of love’s nature’s, pure madness!
Nine-forty-eight, and I’m
Still in love with you!

The ordeals, I do not mention:
My life revolves in ecstasy,
With the promise of perfection:
I am in love with you!

I applaud the sun setting in silence;
Love breathes dignity by night;
The joyous heart, rent asunder –
A light is upon us, so bright...
Nine-fifty-two, and I’m
Still in love with you!

Shall we sit for a while and remember
The power of passion, anew,
Like some inauguration – love’s fever:
I am in love with you!

A shadow of sadness still lingers
In dimensions of my thought;
Together, we perceive of a future;
Of a life and a death, now familiar;
Of skins immemorial, unfolding
A time of immaculate distraction...
And who will make sense of all this
Wine of affection that coursed through
The substance of ruin and loneliness?
Nine-fifty-nine, and I’m
Still in love with you!


Do not look upon awkward man,
For there are no feelings inside;
Struck by a sombre surprise,
For a heart that dried up and died!

My eyes reflected this sadness;
My lips were fearless of lies;
A death was distilled and dismantled:
A life was redundant of noise.

Stone heart, the meaning of romance;
The sacred light was put out –
Change was an excuse for passion
In an incomplete heart drawn to doubt!

Words, immortal, yet pointless –
A love-sewn sweep of desire,
Was the only thing left to believe in
Before body and brain expire!



I think I have sheltered madness
Under my desperate smile,
And I believed I was alone
In the vast expanse of a wood
One Sunday evening, long ago,
Where I drank to a fading memory
And ran across the grass
Like some comic book super hero,
Escaping the ghost of the past!

Stranger now, it seems
Though always felt strange to me,
And I watched how this astronomy, born
Of love, in a heaven of heart,
Brought only bad feelings again.

I thought: this body will die, soon enough,
And someone will know of me then!
Fool! For no-one knows of you now
And no-one will know of you then!

Come plough my frame into waste;
Let the sun carry ghosts through time...
An orchard of bent twigs to believe in
Will never reach their prime!
And I remember how the park in summer
Decreased in grandeur each year,
And the mute swans on the Hurst
Seemed sadder than a small boy,
That I had become different, somehow.

And yes, I never saw conflict –
War is the greatest of change!
Souls transformed and spat-out
By a new rhythm created in time!

And no bond of love shall be broken;
No old lie repeated through age;
Strengthened by sun, stars and stone,
That will outlast the world we live on!

Out, like fog lamps, warning
Of a terrible disaster that is nearing!
Keep always nearby a memento
That will in time, no doubt show
The horrors of love that we go through
That even you will one day succumb to!



Come gather me, my sister,
A scent of sadness nears;
The menace of nature, prepares me
For the last moment of neural activity!
And I see, a scene of happiness;
A life worn to funeral moss;
A glad heart that surrounds you,
In a strange world, serene –
And still we believe we’re not alone
In all our thoughts and dreams!

Come gather me, my sister,
I felt I touched on God,
With a tendency to pursue all
In tearing down the mystery – Life!
Seasons and Sabbats flow quickly...
What am I to know of moonlight and time?
I was caught in her misunderstanding
Like a child, awoken by night.
In the sacred flame – she caressed me
By the light of enchantment, inside!

Come gather me, my sister,
For these eyes won’t see again
The sunlight, now rich in darkness,
And I am insensate, but then
I thought I found a symbol –
A division of nought and one,
Yet change has left me nothing
Except empty dreams to dream on!


I snapped all my fingers;
Cracked my crooked back;
Broke all my ribs like match sticks
And smoked my lungs tar black!

My eyes aren’t for seeing,
They’re for rolling round the room,
And my ears hear nothing but the grind
Of my own anatomical doom!

I dislocate my heart, and sing;
My tongue – a bloody stump...
And words are forced out through my lips
To fall with warbled thump!

My bones are stone-age implements:
Scapula spade and jaw-bone axe...
Toe nails splinter through the air
Into cotton sacks!

Thumb twist and stomach strewn;
My head a vibrant blast –
The tumour rot and cancer spot
Eradicate my past.

Teeth – the rattle of rune stones;
A soup bowl was my skull.
A femur comb and knuckle dice
Is something tangible!

And what memory will remain of me?
What sickness and disease
Drag death deep down, to find that
Love is our only release?


I will not give words wings,
For how can I say: I love you?
Heart was held in your grip
And I fear:
I am a voice for dumbing;
A harp for muting...
We are haunted strangers, forgiving
Each our weaknesses;
An echo of senseless, unfeeling;
A sometime disaster, competing...

The wind took half my shadow
And my shadow took half my soul.
No cruel words will leave me, I promise,
For there are no more words, any more!



Oh Helen, the twin planets are calling –
Existence, eclipsed by your eyes:
I am cursed to carry this nonsense
To life’s edge, where wind blows
Dust of forgotten ancestors,
Dead of heart and brain!
The universal word ends
With a birth, a creation, anew!
To paint you as Lilith or Venus
Dancing over pagan sand...
Your memory lost to the season,
And yet I have nothing of you,
Only shapes that I wait to see faded –
I sigh to the rhythm of your hair!

Tears then were something private
And nothing seemed stranger than incantation;
A mood of bewitchment from shoulder to shoulder
Where more than my past was revealed, again!

To see you, I think I would kill you –
Genghis Khan had nothing on you!
Stalin and a handful of tyrants...
Love: a bad dream of mumbo jumbo!


Not ten days, but twelve,
And I find
An image of her in my history;
A ceremony of prayer and dancing feet:
Now, the past passing is complete!
On horseback in Georgia, in eighty-four,
Birch-bound under a rich sky of blue...
And all those tyrants invoked to me
A sombre silence and a ceremony!


Me, well I’m secretive, meaning
I show what I cannot hide;
This love brings me a feeling
That won’t disappear inside.
Calm, like sensitive dreamers
Born of a mysterious love,
She sees me and sees me thinking,
Weird of adoration – unable to move!
The mind is consumed by this feeling:
I drift in uncontrollable light
That’s lost in thoughts of her!

She, well she’s a celestial beauty,
An addictive opium spell –
She stirs my brain from its moments
And exaggerations, that swell
From extreme frontiers of affection –
I am blind to her beguilement’s now!
By the blossom and the roses;
By my heart in its burnt hollow;
Nothing shall last longer
Than the love-words we feel now!
And sadness was struck in strange places –
Blessed of nerve and gestures appealing:
There is sorcery asleep in our dreaming!

I have sent her dear Auden – feel nothing,
But the progression of thought inside –
The cerebral twitching at something;
The neuron momentum applied –
With an indestructible light
And madness for its rage,
Aches at the summit – destruction...
We breathe love and distil it
Into heart shapes of love, always!



Who put all those dreams in your head?
The little things in life do most harm, someone said.

But what kind of fools must we be
To let all that we have walk from the room?

See my eyes; see this spirit bound to me;
To every deliberate shape of my animated tomb!

The little things in life, keep you warm, someone said:
Then who put all those dreams inside your head?

Who filled us to the brim with this silly nonsense?
Who made us what we are and created this existence?

What perfect being, darkened by reality
Has cast this furious spell on you and me?

And as this night turns into day
Still your world seems far away!

The little things in life can seem more!
Someone said again, without much care.

I wish they would stop talking of the little things
And talk more on love and the dreamers we are!



I am transfixed by a lunar light
With this waiting, erasing my sun –
Not one, but two hearts ring out,
Splendid, in a rhythm drum
For time gone, time now, and to come!
As autumn sadness nears,
I’m here, by the bridge, alone.
In this strange light, a love-dust between us,
Where September nights have gone!

My love, this life we have
Is only an illusion – a mirror
Of some nearing and fateful grave
That waits with deliberate horror!
Sleep – a distant memory:
I just gave trouble to old age!

And by a golden glow, I found you
Where a mystery, unfolded profound –
An embrace and a hand-hold will do
To see us through this world we found
And some dream where we are born anew!



I could see the world play in her eyes,
Trembling in their bewitching glow;
Looked out to where the snow told
Where a dreamers’ endless view
Seeks no soul, just solitude...
What watery guest has come to stay
To take her from the here and now?
Does she still sing of autumn’s fear
And the embodiment of the stars?
I heard a snow queen tread near and say:
Winter shall be here soon!
My brow and breast will ache, and be
Full of festive cheer! she said,
As she dashed through the avenues!
I listened, though no songs were here;
No laughter filled cold halls,
For here is where your heart will stay,
To remain without release,
Quiet, in sick desire, lost in stars
Under a sky in the snow-lined blue –
Under the frozen snow, she goes,
For here, passion’s ghost glides through
The morning, like a cosmic storm...
Through the white glow of the window pane,
Waits once more, the night...
And in her eyes, again The world plays...



Garden, wild, hung indifferently,
Only I was inside, falling apart.
She is the only one I know:
Apparition of my art!
As the wind stirred leaves from the trees
I thought of her, somehow
With magic winding greater now!
The sun poured onto the red berries
Then leapt out of my view –
Does autumn and its sacred spell
Seem sad and secret now?
I gazed out from within
To see another winter near:
Do you hold my winding wonder
And wish that you were here?

Another night has shovelled love
Into crevices of the blowing noon,
Under the boughs, dark of regret,
Sealed by sad words, all too soon!
Towards the east, a heart is dead,
Stopped by the meaning of ceremony –
The howl of autumn returning;
A pace quickened to eternity...
A black night of indecision;
A night of dead letters – I knew
That both sides of me needed
This love for you!
When I sit with astronomical eye
Poised upon fate in changeless walls –
I feel a magic beat of life
Within the dark heart that calls!

I watch the rain at five-to-six,
Embroidered on my mind again...
And outside the fear-struck little world
Wanted to come in!
The yellowing panes of light, unmoved;
Grey was the sky over grey roofs;
All the hedgerows huddled into
Corner garden grooves.
My heart swam, a baby cried,
The curtain net showed a summer fade
Sat with tears for a hollow grave
With winter on its way!
The rain, heavy now, falls...
Six had struck and my heart knew
This dark room that spied my life
Spied me wanting you!


In the rain, I leapt
Like leaping philosophers do;
If I could love her less, I thought...
But I’ve tried, and I know
That she is the poison in my heart –
The fume of our fringed love
Where a wind blows cold and ancient,
And fingers had left on the glass,
Memories of another time
When perhaps, I sat here last,
Too moved by magic to know
That autumn, damp and dream-filled
Had wondered where my heart stretched,
And over the hills had gone,
Far away, to her, perhaps –
Does she read me now?



On the edge of the Black Sea
A small child wept:
I took a flame and held it
Out to meet her gaze,
No ceremony, just music
In the air, was falling away,
Away, where time, that damn dream
In sleep’s release of night,
Was guiding me onwards, over sea and lakes
And hills, to be with her!

And I couldn’t help but smile
For no apparent reason,
To myself, in the dark room’s silence!
My eyes were tired and sore –
So many pages before me:
Weil and Woolf, all torn!
I wait, but dazed illusion
Keeps the heart intact,
And I know our words are freedom
In a slower dimension to us!


The winter boughs were bending;
The soul was delivered in prayer.
I heard the spirit descending
In the dream-space again, somewhere!

In those eyes the haunted waves rolled:
And we rose and met the day.
And a weary wonder in you told
Me more than words could say.

The nights, dark and featureless –
The snow shall fall here soon!
You stepped from a world of sadness
By the magical light of the moon!

And my spirit’s fancy took me
So far away from here;
In the wind, across the dark sea,
To a troubled shore of fear!

And in sad lament, I called you
But no one ever hears;
My sad rage, like a storm, blew
And rainfall was my tears.

Like leaves, they were all falling,
Love had lost inside,
But I was still here, calling,
As I and winter died!



What majestic nonsense
Could come between her and me?
The jubilant sun had slipped away
In its own ecstasy!

But what matter if the sea has me?
These bones ghost the love of her –
No comfort will my torn soul find;
No slumber wave will stir

These feelings, kept from sins that slept
With such infernal song;
Where spirit took its sacrament,
Turned right deeds into wrong!

What heart? Embodiment of time,
Distressed, died long inside.
And in me nestled sanctuary –
A token of my pride!

In garden shade, her tread was light,
That tip-toed through my being;
I welcomed the death season of regret –
The end of the senseless riddle we sing!

But in the light of reason – I remain,
Unmoved by life and love – I see
A dream is coursing through my veins
To haunt the inmost entity!


O heart; o song, don’t break:
Don’t watch the asphodel shake
Under her scented, delicate step,
Where a world grows weary with every breath!

Silent were her mournful lips –
Her eyes told of Knights and sailing ships!
The pole star wandered over her brow
And I wondered weary upon her now!

In the fields, the blooms won’t rest –
A sacrament still lies un-blest!
And our hearts will never be the same;
With time upon our minds, we blame
Idle thoughts... and you in your only way!



And you, in your gentle ways, Helen,
Have cheated the necessary air;
Nothing could silence my wild heart
That beat in endless prayer.

A March night echoed to its rhythm
And in madness were ghostly years,
When a bright, spring-time moon swept
Away a world of tears!

What sentence, unknown, filled with wonder?
What awkward, undreamt secret of light
Had drawn horrors and stirred
My heart this night?

I’m weary of waiting and wanting –
Time is unkind to bones that make
A god of my universe, knowing
How the aged heart can break!

And you, in your gentle ways, Helen,
Saw love, in ordinary way,
Make life and the wonder we feel,
Special today!



Yes, there is a certain slant of light
That seems to stray upon her face;
Madness chooses to expose
That which is inherent in her grace,
And makes my wretched heart tumble
In some distant place!

And this feared April – strength divine
Is thick with her, and needs again...
I’ll find her called by restless heart
Summoned by night and by pain –
Sweet erosion is my shame:
Symbol and silhouette – my brain!

All these I said (and more I thought),
How hopeless this long-crafted night,
Where passing age is limitless,
And blinkered to the sight
Of eyes still filled with wonderment
And lips a ghostly white!

Still, words will fade in time
And the hurt of losing someone
Rings endless in still rooms;
And through the aeons, we are alone;
Alone and thoughtless, all alone!



Out, that memorable evening
When the sun slipped slowly down;
I walked through lanes and green shade
Where the white rush of her gown
Reminds me of a ceaseless star
That wanders where it’s blown.

As she stepped among the flowers, held
In the curve of noon and night,
Her tread showed me the wonder
Of her dance of death’s delight,
That shook the day away from us
In that evening light!

Her blue eyes wept as her white dress swept
Across the shaken flowers;
The soft caress of angel feet
Had trampled down in showers,
Blooms in beauty, in her hate
Of beauty more than hers!

The impartial light of evening
Fell swift upon the rose –
And desire, dark and deepful
Turned to the petals she blows
In her circling decline –
Were all dead beneath her toes!



Out, in the blithe and beating air,
The iron branches are windblown,
While the soft silk of her fingers
Are drawn through her long black hair;
Her garments drifting, grand and pale
Like a tangled mast, blown wild,
Embroidered on the breathless air
Where her bosom beats, steadfastly
To the music of the moon!

The changeless light upon her brow,
Soft and revealing unto me
The spiral way that is unveiled;
Where her blood eyes seem to fold
Dreary Jupiter’s dreams away.

And on her lips lies sadness
That in days of youth was sweet –
An amaranth conjured by dialect
Like a long, mournful funeral hymn.
And the sound of a heart in uproar,
As she cascades in idylls of wind!

And in this house, I know not why
A form sits in the room with me,
And mouths empty falsehoods,
Hollow, by the light of day.
I will seek her in the blue silence,
When the night has come again!



Along the misty lanes – autumn,
Where hedgerows wind in the distance;
Where birdsong lingers in the pipistrelle glebe
Like the remnants of a failed romance...

Along the misty lanes – autumn,
And all the morning felt its fear;
Felt those Champaign eyes that chill
To know we’re strangers here!

Along the misty lanes – autumn;
Dead warrior: blood-bronzed badger skin!
Earth beauty born of evolutions
Struggle and the god nuance again!

Along the misty lanes – autumn,
And the ghost haunt of a kiss
Was silenced by trees, evolving,
And nothing more than this!

Along the misty lanes – autumn;
Light extinguished by emptiness,
And the ceremony of fear within the grave
Is endless in its excess!

Along the misty lanes – autumn,
And I could not feel stranger here,
Around me, the dark boughs of the wood
And tragic, this love I hold dear!

O Maiden Lust, how I hunger
For a different Love than this;
A newer mode of engine: stronger,
Sung to songs of blasphemies!


May that which we had be ever as pure
As the sacred word within the temple! I
Revealed, a passion by a kiss – I adore
Innocence and beauty and joy...
O soul of wonder, by Italian streams, see

My eager spirit – come! I worship you!
And by this desolate tryst, shall be
Resplendent in sacred groves! But who
Is circling the corpse of love? Who takes
Our passions and parades them in the mud?

My heart, sweet with kisses, aches
And my ruby fount is warm with blood!    
Roses grow by the light that strikes
Incarnate hate to our hearts, and dread
Of night brings turmoil to the ceremonial bed!


I knew him, and I know him now;
By this damnation of the soul, I see
A thing of beauty, born again, to show
Bewitchment, by cursed devilry!
And I course through flesh and love the rot,
Of the cruel cadaver... this insane
Stench of death, corrupt, will blot
The mind’s flight and the heart’s pain!
I drink deep desire and depravity –
I consummate and I consume and I crave
The exploration of every cavity
And the charm and charisma of the grave!
I break the spell – I raise the dead
And passion, bold in blood, shall move
As fire to flame the funeral bed
And fan the embers of our love!
Up he comes – the resurrected
Soup of decay – bones and skin...
Where life and death are re-connected
In a dream dance of the dead again!
Your hair – a tangled mass by midnight;
Your lips – desirable and thin;
Your sunken eyes – a songster’s starlight
Struck by their magnitude of sin!
This vessel, stamped, damned and diseased –
At the fool-haunt of madness, I give
Life to that which Death had seized
And conjure love once more, to live!


This body, touched by ancient fear
As the dew-hand left the grass;
The ache of antiquity, still was here,
For sighing souls of old, who pass;

Pass, as wine of Gods, that’s poured
With nature’s gifts, so terrible;
By opal streams and beasts abroad,
Flow sweetly, warm and full...

Quick, by the fading sun, I go,
Two Gods, two hearts, two brains in bloom;
Sealed by seduction, sleep shall show
Two Gods tormented in the tomb!


In the dream-time of reality – I perceive
An overwhelming presence, soon misjudged
The measure of man; an unearthly silence
Where once the soft tones of a poet fell
Into a garden of ghosts and resilience!

Monster! You fill your red-brick gut,
On past memories – the fuel of fear
And decay. Uprooted, by darkness and day
Where yews of yore – beneath a Sudbury sun,
Out-grow history and lives passing away.

Colossal spectre, you hang, room-shaped,
Imprinted upon the twilight possibility
Where in courtly times, a rush upon stairs
And in hallways, signalled a ceremony; secret
Misdemeanours and atrocities, that once was here.

Through dark woods whisper, the dream inescapable –
Comfort me! Long nights are drear –
With a history of moonlight before us,
She will come, and walk once more
Not comprehending the element of fear!


In his familiar way, whatever,
Something shook with fierce intent.
God of Love and doom, devour;
Noble, his heart and mind... but pain
Turns aside the graceful flower
On the crumples where he lay;
Sweet, from midnight till morn, the strain
Of passions, bent – we kissed again!

With Tennyson’s lines like silk flowing
And Auden’s hammer blows;
Where our hearts, in tangents, knowing
We meet and it feels heavenly.
My soft soul to the wind, blowing
But strange this curve of destiny, now,
Sweet, O my love, in cold misery:
We hesitated – we kissed – uneasy!

And that afternoon at Trinity
Left words unsaid – a wild heart dies!
Those eyes that last night, lovingly
Haunted all my restless mood,
Are now stones flung through the air!
Down the river, though never alone, we go:
Sweet Acheron, I was numb, yet I stood
In dreams of sonnets and dead solitude!

FOR N___ Z___

In sensual repose and splendour
By the light of his noble spirit;
Pale and frightful and tender –
Love, which was ours to inherit,
Sunk, to the memorial night!
And lips, blood-red – we remember
How souls come swift to sight
It is love that we conquer and render.
And those eyes, deeply dark and sad,
Paused and pulled from the room
All the love and affection that had
Erupted by silence, in gloom!
With each turn of the world, a spark
Is looked upon, curled to the sun –
We are dreamers to dance in the dark
Of these depths deceitful – we run,
And the essence of beauty, confounding,
Captures my heart and my mind;
The rhythm and serenade pounding:
My dull brain begins to unwind
And your lips in soft moistness, repeating
The love-words we chant, we enflame;
We know that this love is just fleeting
Still fear and regret was our shame!


Nothing would change:
The moist-fluted mouth that cursed the name;
The incessant compulsion and compassion...
His lips: razor blades; his eyes aflame.
Featureless, yet kisses spoke of blood and wine.
We stood in breathless tenderness
Towards a feathered realm of love;
Simple, yet somewhat mischievous
With eyes closed upon the divine!

And confined night, triumphant now
Found sorrow-seared, sacred flesh
And the orbits of our love, caressed
Deep in distant forgetfulness –
Blameless, we touched and praised life
As we sank into that which we have known;
Into that condemned and forbidden,
Breeding falsehoods in the heart!
A kiss revealed the sweet sublime
Tremor of passion that dissolved
In the bliss of iniquity, where we
Breathed as one, in an eternity, sealed
By time!

But what of our lost difference?
Our hearts, completed, met in this
And the struggle of the ancient world
Seems nothing to this senseless distraction,
Blown like a torn sail into forgiveness!

Now, this May-time is turning
Towards a new delicacy in love –
We have outgrown our own selves,
We are yearning, beyond a dream we have;
Beyond a landscape, beyond... but time
Flows through avenues of tears and regret:

We said ‘farewell!’
And each with callous heart walked
Slowly into our own oblivion, set
Upon our own course; our own hell!

By the light of Lucifer, do I go –
I do not care for humanity, now!

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