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Writing was like digging coal. I sweat blood. The spell is on me.

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The Silence Was Like This

it was the kind of silence
that even the
steps of the ants
can be heard
the flutter of the wings
of the butterfly
the falling of the leaf
from the tree
touching the blades of
the grass
it was like the last
ever closing of
the eyelids
indeed it was so
peaceful
but he was no longer around
to tell it to you

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my lOve was like

lOve tO me was like
a fairy tale and he was my prince charming
and i was your cinderella but i guess not all fairy tales
have there happy ending
like sleeping beauty and prince phillip
and now that you messed up my happy ending
i became like evil ursula from the little mermaid
this is how you made me
my lOve..

tO: chris

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Love Was Like Walking Through The Valley Of Death

Love was such a hard game to play
All my hopes were carried away
I realized from the first day
It might lead my heart to ashtray

Love was like a cobra guarding treasure
I would have to take risk to have pleasure
But it bit me again and again
Now I am dying of endless pain

Love was like walking through the valley of death
I wished I would see you before my last breath

Love was like a giant that made you slave
I wanted to free you but dug my grave
He has caged me in a lonely land
It was a mistake I understand

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Love Was Like the Stars

I remember
when the wine
was sweet
and our laughter
something that
we took for granted.
I remember
when every dream
seemed within our reach,
nothing that we ventured
ended in defeat
and every flower
blossomed
that we planted.
I remember
cold mornings
that made each day show clear
and black crystal nights
with a thousand
fiery stars
so close
it seemed
they'd landed
in our hearts
and in our souls
burning hot
within our passions
and love was like the wine
and love was like the stars
and love was like the laughter
that we took for granted.

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The nurse was like a mother to him

He could not speak,
He could not move
Kept lying
On the hospital bed
With eager eyes
Kept looking at the door
He was waiting
For the nurse to arrive
His face lit up
When he saw the nurse
Greeted her with a big smile
How are you?
And good morning she said
To show his happiness
He giggled a bit
And looked into her eyes
His eyes got wet
As if he got
everything he wanted
The nurse was like
a mother to him
He was like a child to her
Did everything
what a child needed
Love and care she provided
Never did he felt
The absence of his mother

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Swimming in Rivers of Blood

Locked away,
In solitary.
Padded walls,
Closing in.
My mind,
Is fried.
Dark intentions,
Burn me.
Like venom,
They kill.

The only reason I'm here,
Is because I was swimming.
Swimming in rivers of blood.
The blood wasn't mine,
It was my enemy's.
I'm not the murderer.
He killed himself.
I found him in the floor,
And said a prayer for him.
I prayed for his soul,
To find salvation.
But then they arrived,
Flooding the house.

Like black smoke,
They filled the house.
They pushed out the air,
And suffocated me.
They locked me away,
For no reason at all.
And so now,
My mind is corrupted.

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The Thud Of Silence Was Like A Tsunami

What happened in London-town
Caused traditionalists to sport many a frown
Michelle Obama touched the queen
With bare arm around the royal beam

The thud of silence was like a tsunami
Heard from London to Miami
Never before in all times past
Have Londoners been quite so aghast

They even stalled their daily tea-time
Which they rarely miss in war or peace-time
Yet Prince Charles, the stalwart prince
Didn’t allow his royal feelings to evince

The Queen had never been touched before
Assuming one believes that English lore
But somehow or other she made it through
‘Cause she liked Michelle, her friend so new

The world kept turning in spite of it all
Shoppers still shopped at their local mall
When The Queen placed her arm around our Michelle
The Brits drank their tea, convinced all was well

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The bathroom was like a sanctuary

As a teenager
the bathroom was
like a sanctuary.

A place where
in privacy
I could in nudity
reflect on life

and soak in hot water
and wash every thing dirty
away from me.

I was undisturbed until
my mother married again
and one of my stepsisters
had a small girl
who used to follow me

and when I was eighteen
and she was about thirteen.
time and time again
she somehow
unlocked the bathroom
and walked in on me.

From where I shouted her out
in anger and shock
and wasn’t amused
to get a shouting back
from a step father
who wasn’t a dad to me
and didn’t see
anything wrong with it.

Thinking back
it might have been something
in her genetics
or a lack of good moral standing,

since her mother (my ex step sister)
who was quite beautiful,
in vain tried to seduce my brother
but never tried
to set that snare for me.

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Writing Is Like A Diet

It is not easy to write.
Even if one likes it...
Writing is like a challenge.
An obstacle to face.
And when confronted,
To make use of it...
A discipline applied,
Is what it takes!

It is not easy to write.
Even if one likes it.
Those who do may not sleep,
At night.
Or discover they have lost an appetite.

Writing is like a diet.
And accepting it becomes a way of life.
Those who ask how writing is done...
Usually have no idea,
Of what they must overcome.

Some believe writing is nothing but fun.
But those committed...
Know writing is more like a spouse,
That can be quiet as a mouse.
Then at other times a shouting occurs...
Heard from the inside,
With a wish to come out!

Writing is like a diet.
And accepting it becomes a way of life.

It is not easy to write.
Even if one likes it!
Writing is like a challenge.
An obstacle to face.
And when confronted,
To make use of it...
A discipline applied,
Is what it takes!

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It Was Like Magic

You seemed to always be in trouble,
with society, the world we lived in,
and the law wasn't your best friend in the world,
you were trippin' on everything you could,
get your hands on,

but I knew that would change,
change when I meet you for the first time,
when I saw you walking by me on the streets,
and when you smiled at me,
and when I smiled back,

it was almost like magic,
like both of us were supposed to be walking,
that line,
walking the line together,
like lovers do,

we came from different side of the tracks,
you lived there and I lived here,
in a small town where nothing is ever the same,
and you lived in a big city,
where the rockers run wild,

Chorus: It Was Like Magic,
It Was Like Magic,
It Was Like Magic,

you asked me what my deal was,
was I the one that would love her,
was I the guy with a heart of gold,
but surely you do know,
the answers to those questions,

because I'm here with you,
holding your hand and trying,
to make you my own,

but you know when we meet,
we couldn't of been farther apart,
we were splitting at the seems,
because of your notorious self-destruction,
your unwillingness to live,

but lovers go through tough-times,
they go through hatred,
and they struggle with each other,
they struggle with the world they live in,

Chorus: It Was Like Magic,
It Was Like Magic,
It Was Like Magic,

have you ever heard someone tell,
you that you are so beautiful,
that the moon, the sky,
and the stars are jealous,
because of the way you light up the world,

and you must know,
how you light my world,
even when I'm in my darkest hours,
even when I think the world is against,
when it’s so dark and so evil,

I always have the will to go on,
even in my darkest hour,
because I have your love and I have your passion,
and you confidence and you tender lovingness,

Chorus: It Was Like Magic,
It Was Like Magic,
It Was Like Magic,

We may argue and say things,
that we don't really mean,
but being with you it taught me,
what real love is,

it taught me how I really felt about you,
I don't want to live my life,
unless it has you in it,
I don't want to ever live without you,
I want to be with you forever,
I want to grow old with you,
I want to be the man that loves you forever,

what I'm trying to say,
is that I'll love you until the end of time,
until the time comes when I must depart,
I will be here with you forever,

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Erica Jong

Dear Keats

Already six years past your age!
The steps in Rome,
the house near Hampstead Heath,
& all your fears
that you might cease to be
before your pen had glean'd. . . .

My dear dead friend,
you were the first to teach me
how the dust could sing.
I followed in your footsteps
up the Heath.
I listened hard
for Lethe's nightingale.

& now at 31, I want to live.
Oblivion holds no adolescent charms.
& all the 'souls of poets
dead & gone,'
& all the 'Bards
of Passion & Mirth'
cannot make death-
its echo, its damp earth-
resemble birth.

You died in Rome-
in faltering sunlight-
Bernini's watery boat still sinking
in the fountain in the square below.
When Severn came to say
the roses bloomed,
you did not 'glut thy sorrow,'
but you wept-
you wept for them
& for your posthumous life.

& yet we all lead posthumous lives somehow.
The broken lyre,
the broken lung,
the broken love.
Our names are writ in newsprint
if not water.

'Don't breathe on me-' you cried,
'it comes like ice.'

×

Last words.
(I can't imagine mine.
Perhaps some muttered dream,
some poem, some curse.)

Three months past 25,
you lived on milk.
They reeled you backward
in the womb of love.

×

A tepid February Roman Spring.
Fruit trees in bloom
& Hampstead still in snow
& Fanny Brawne receives a hopeful note
when you are two weeks dead.

A poet's life:
always awaiting mail.

×

For God's sake
kick against the pricks!
There aren't very many roses.
Your life was like an hourglass
with no sand.
The words slid through
& rested under glass;
the flesh decayed
to moist Italian clay.

×

At autopsy,
your lungs were wholly gone.
Was that from too much singing?
Too many rifts of ore?
You spent your life breath
breathing life in words.
But words return no breath
to those who write.

Letters, Life, & Literary Remains . . .

'I find that I cannot exist without poetry. . . .'

'O for a Life of Sensations rather than of Thoughts!'

'What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth. . . .'

'We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us. . . .'

'Sancho will invent a Journey heavenwards as well as anybody. . . .'

'Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul.'

'Why should we kick against the Pricks when we can walk on the Roses?'

'Axioms in philosophy are not axioms until they are proved upon our pulses. . . .'

'Until we are sick, we understand not. . . .'

'Sorrow is Wisdom. . . .'

'Wisdom is folly. . . .'

×

Too wise
& yet not wise enough
at 25.
Sick, you understood
& understanding
were too weak to write.

Proved on the pulse: poetry.

If sorrow is wisdom
& wisdom is folly
then too much sorrow
is folly.

I find that I cannot exist without sorrow
& I find that sorrow
cannot exist without poetry. . . .

What the imagination seizes as beauty
must be poetry. . . .

What the imagination seizes must be. . . .

×

You claimed no lust for fame
& yet your burned.
'The faint conceptions I have of poems to come brings
the blood frequently into my forehead.'

I burn like you
until it often seems
my blood will break
the boundaries of my brain
& issue forth in one tall fountain
from my skull.

×

A spume of blood from the forehead: poetry.

A plume of blood from the heart: poetry.

Blood from the lungs: alizarin crimson words.

×

'I will not spoil my love of gloom
by writing an Ode to Darkness. . . .'

The blood turns dark;
it stiffens on the sheet.
At night the childhood walls
are streaked with blood-
until the darkness seems awash with red
& children sleep behind two blood-branched lids.

×

'My imagination is a monastery
& I am its monk . . .'

At five & twenty,
very far from home,
death picked you up
& sorted to a pip.
& 15 decades later,
your words breathe:
syllables of blood.

A strange transfusion
for my feverish verse.

I suck your breath,
your rhythms & your blood,
& all my fiercest dreams are sighed away.

I send you love,
dear Keats,
I send you peace.
Since flesh can't stay
we keep the breath aloft.

Since flesh can't stay,
we pass the words along.

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Erica Jong

For Howard Moss

Already six years past your age!
The steps in Rome,
the house near Hampstead Heath,
& all your fears
that you might cease to be
before your pen had glean'd. . . .

My dear dead friend,
you were the first to teach me
how the dust could sing.
I followed in your footsteps
up the Heath.
I listened hard
for Lethe's nightingale.

& now at 31, I want to live.
Oblivion holds no adolescent charms.
& all the 'souls of poets
dead & gone,'
& all the 'Bards
of Passion & Mirth'
cannot make death-
its echo, its damp earth-
resemble birth.

You died in Rome-
in faltering sunlight-
Bernini's watery boat still sinking
in the fountain in the square below.
When Severn came to say
the roses bloomed,
you did not 'glut thy sorrow,'
but you wept-
you wept for them
& for your posthumous life.

& yet we all lead posthumous lives somehow.
The broken lyre,
the broken lung,
the broken love.
Our names are writ in newsprint
if not water.

'Don't breathe on me-' you cried,
'it comes like ice.'

×

Last words.
(I can't imagine mine.
Perhaps some muttered dream,
some poem, some curse.)

Three months past 25,
you lived on milk.
They reeled you backward
in the womb of love.

×

A tepid February Roman Spring.
Fruit trees in bloom
& Hampstead still in snow
& Fanny Brawne receives a hopeful note
when you are two weeks dead.

A poet's life:
always awaiting mail.

×

For God's sake
kick against the pricks!
There aren't very many roses.
Your life was like an hourglass
with no sand.
The words slid through
& rested under glass;
the flesh decayed
to moist Italian clay.

×

At autopsy,
your lungs were wholly gone.
Was that from too much singing?
Too many rifts of ore?
You spent your life breath
breathing life in words.
But words return no breath
to those who write.

Letters, Life, & Literary Remains . . .

'I find that I cannot exist without poetry. . . .'

'O for a Life of Sensations rather than of Thoughts!'

'What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth. . . .'

'We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us. . . .'

'Sancho will invent a Journey heavenwards as well as anybody. . . .'

'Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul.'

'Why should we kick against the Pricks when we can walk on
the Roses?'

'Axioms in philosophy are not axioms until they are proved upon our pulses. . . .'

'Until we are sick, we understand not. . . .'

'Sorrow is Wisdom. . . .'

'Wisdom is folly. . . .'

×

Too wise
& yet not wise enough
at 25.
Sick, you understood
& understanding
were too weak to write.

Proved on the pulse: poetry.

If sorrow is wisdom
& wisdom is folly
then too much sorrow
is folly.

I find that I cannot exist without sorrow
& I find that sorrow
cannot exist without poetry. . . .

What the imagination seizes as beauty
must be poetry. . . .

What the imagination seizes must be. . . .

×

You claimed no lust for fame
& yet your burned.
'The faint conceptions I have of poems to come brings
the blood frequently into my forehead.'

I burn like you
until it often seems
my blood will break
the boundaries of my brain
& issue forth in one tall fountain
from my skull.

×

A spume of blood from the forehead: poetry.

A plume of blood from the heart: poetry.

Blood from the lungs: alizarin crimson words.

×

'I will not spoil my love of gloom
by writing an Ode to Darkness. . . .'

The blood turns dark;
it stiffens on the sheet.
At night the childhood walls
are streaked with blood-
until the darkness seems awash with red
& children sleep behind two blood-branched lids.

×

'My imagination is a monastery
& I am its monk . . .'

At five & twenty,
very far from home,
death picked you up
& sorted to a pip.
& 15 decades later,
your words breathe:
syllables of blood.

A strange transfusion
for my feverish verse.

I suck your breath,
your rhythms & your blood,
& all my fiercest dreams are sighed away.

I send you love,
dear Keats,
I send you peace.
Since flesh can't stay
we keep the breath aloft.

Since flesh can't stay,
we pass the words along.

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The Midnight Axe

I.
The red day sank as the Sergeant rode
Through the woods grown dim and brown,
One farewell flush on his carbine glowed,
And the veil of the dusk drew down.

No sound of life save the hoof-beats broke
The hush of the lonely place,
Or the short, sharp words that the Sergeant spoke
When his good horse slackened pace,

Or hungrily caught at the ti-tree shoots,
Or in tangled brushwood tripped
Faltered amid disrupted roots,
Or on porphyry outcrop slipped.
The woods closed in; through the vaulted dark
No ray of starlight shone,
But still o'er the crashing litter of bark
Trooper and steed tore on.

Night in the bush, and the bearings lost;
But the Sergeant took no heed,
For Fate that morn his will had crossed,
And his wrath was hot indeed.

The captured prey that his hands had gripped
Ere the dawn in his lone bush lair
The bonds from his pinioned wrists had slipped,
And was gone he knew not where.

Therefore the wrath of Sergeant Hume
Burned fiercely as on he fared,
And whither he rode through the perilous gloom
He neither knew nor cared,

But still, as the dense brush checked the pace,
Would drive the sharp spurs in,
Though the pendent parasites smote his face,
Or caught him beneath the chin.

The woodland dipped, or upward bent,
But he recked not of hollow or hill,
Till right on the brink of a sheer descent
His trembling horse stood still.

And when, in despite of word and oath,
He swerved from the darksome edge,
The unconscious man, dismounting loth,
Set foot on a yielding ledge.

A sudden strain on a treacherous rein,
And a clutch at the empty air,
A cry in the dark, with no ear to mark
Its accent of despair—

And the slender stream in the gloom below,
That in mossy channel ran,
Was checked a space in its feeble flow,
By the limbs of a senseless man.

II.
A change had passed o'er the face of night,
When, waking as from a dream,
The Sergeant gazed aghast at the sight
Of moonlit cliff and stream.

From the shallow wherein his limbs had lain
He crawled to higher ground,
And, numb of heart and dizzy of brain,
Dreamily gazed around.

From aisle to aisle of the solemn wood
A misty radiance spread,
And like pillars seen through incense stood
The gaunt boles, gray or red.

Slow vapours, touched with a mystic sheen,
Round the sombre branches curled,
Or floated the haggard trunks between,
Like ghosts in a spectral world.

No voice was heard of beast or bird,
Nor whirr of insect wing;
Nor crepitant bark the silence stirred,
Nor dead nor living thing.

So still that, but for his labouring breath,
And the blood on his head and hand,
He might have deemed his swoon was death,
And this the Silent Land.

Anon, close by, at the water's edge,
His helmet he espied,
Half-buried among the reedy sedge,

And drew it to his side.

And ev'n as he dipped it in the brook,
And drank as from a cup,
Suddenly, with affrighted look,
The Sergeant started up.

For the sound of an axe—a single stroke—
Through the ghostly woods rang clear;
And a cold sweat on his forehead broke,
And he shook in deadly fear.

Why should the sound that on lonely tracks
Had gladdened him many a day—
Why should the ring of the friendly axe
Bring boding and dismay?

And why should his steed down the slope hard by,
With fierce and frantic stride—
Why should his steed with unearthly cry
Rush trembling to his side?

Strange, too—and the Sergeant marked it well,
Nor doubted he marked aright—
When the thunder of hoofs on the silence fell,
And the cry rang through the night,

A thousand answering echoes woke,
Reverberant far and wide;
But to the unseen woodman's stroke
No echo had replied.

And while he questioned with his fear
And summoned his pride to aid,
A second stroke fell sharp and clear,
Nor echo answer made.

A third stroke, and aloud he cried,
As one who hails his kind;
But nought save his own voice multiplied
His straining sense divined.

He bound the ends of his broken rein,
He recked not his carbine gone,
He mounted his steed with a groan of pain,
And tow'rd the sound spurred on.

For now the blows fell thick and fast,
And he noted with added dread
That ever as woods on woods flew past
The sound moved on ahead.

But his courage rose with the quickening pace,
And mocked his boding gloom;
For fear had no abiding-place
In the soul of Sergeant Hume.

III
Where the woods thinned out and the sparser trees
Their separate shadows cast,
Waxing fainter by slow degrees
The sounds died out at last.

The Sergeant paused, and peered about
O'er all the stirless scene,
Half in amaze, and half in doubt
If such a thing had been.

Nor vainly in search of clue or guide
From trunk to trunk he gazed,
For, lo! the giant stem at his side
By the hand of man was blazed.

And again and again he found the sign,
Till, after a weary way,
Before him, asleep in the calm moonshine,
A little clearing lay;

And in it a red slab hut that glowed
As 'twere of jasper made.
The Sergeant into the clearing rode,
And passed through the rude stockade.

He bound his horse to the fence, and soon
He stood by the open door.
With pallid face upturned to the moon
A man slept on the floor.

Little he thought to have found him here,
By such strange portent led—
His sister's son, whom for many a year
His own had mourned as dead;

Who had chosen the sundering seas to roam,
After a youth misspent,
And to those who wept in his far-off home
Token nor word had sent.

The face looked grim, and haggard, and old,
Yet not from the touch of time;—
Too well the Sergeant knew the mould

And lineaments of crime.

And “Better,” he said, “she should mourn him dead
Than know him changed to this!”
Yet he kneeled, and touched the slumbering head,
For her, with a gentle kiss.

Whereat the eyelids parted wide,
But no light in the dull eye gleamed:
The man turned slowly on his side
And muttered as one who dreamed;

He stared at the Sergeant as in a trance,
And the listener's blood ran cold
As he pieced the broken utterance,
That a tale of horror told;

For he heard him rave of murder done,
Of an axe and a hollow tree,
And “Oh, God!” he cried, “must my sister's son
Be led to his death by me!”

He seized him roughly by the arm,
He called him by his name;
The man leaped up in mazed alarm,
And terror shook his frame.

Then a sudden knife flashed out from his hip,
And they closed in struggle wild;
But soon in the Sergeant's iron grip
The man was as a child.

IV.
A wind had arisen that shook the hut;
The moonbeams dimmed apace;
The lamp was lit; the door was shut;
And the twain sat face to face.

In question put and answer flung
A weary space had passed,
But the secret of the soul was wrung
From the stubborn lips at last.
As one who resistless doom obeyed
The younger told his sin,
Nor any prayer for mercy made,
Nor appeal to the bond of kin.
“ ‘The quarrel? Oh, 'twas an idle thing—

Too idle almost to name;
He turned up an ace and killed my king,
And I lost the cursèd game.

“And he triumphed and jeered, and his stinging chaff,
By heaven, how it maddened me then!
And he left me there with a scornful laugh—
But he never laughed again.

“We had long been mates, through good and ill;
Together we owned this land;
But his was ever the stronger will,
And his was the stronger hand.

“But I would be done with his lordly airs;
I was weary of them and him;
So I stole upon him unawares
In the forest lone and dim.

The ring of his axe had drowned my tread;
But a rod from me he stood
When he paused to fix the iron head
That had loosened as he hewed.

“Then I too made a sudden halt,
And watched him as he turned
To a charred stump, in whose gaping vault
A fire of branches burned.

“He had left the axe by the half-hewn bole,
As whistling he turned away;
From my covert with wary foot I stole,
And caught it where it lay.

“He stooped; he stirred the fire to flame;
I could feel its scorching breath,
As behind him with the axe I came,
And struck the stroke of death.
‘Dead at a blow, without a groan,
The sapling still in his hands,
The man fell forward like a stone
Amid the burning brands.

The stark limbs lay without, but those
I thrust in the fiery tomb——”
With shuddering groan the Sergeant rose,
And paced the narrow room,

And cried aloud, “Oh, task of hell,
That I should his captor be!

My God! if it be possible,
Let this cup pass from me!”

The spent light flickered and died; and, lo,
The dawn about them lay;
And each face a ghastlier shade of woe
Took on in the dismal gray.

Around the hut the changeful gale
Seemed now to sob and moan,
And mingled with the doleful tale
A dreary undertone.

I piled dry wood in the hollow trunk,”
The unsparing shrift went on,
“And watched till the tedious corse had shrunk
To ashes, and was gone.

“That night I knew my soul was dead;
For neither joy nor grief
The numbness stirred of heart and head,
Nor tears came for relief.

“And when morning dawned, with no surprise
I awoke to my solitude,
Nor blood-clouds flared before mine eyes,
As men had writ they should;

“Nor fancy feigned dumb things would prate
Of what no man could prove!—
Only, a heavy, heavy weight,
That would not, would not move—

“Only a burden ever the same
Asleep or awake I bore,
A dead soul in a living frame
That would quicken nevermore.

“Three nights had passed since the deed was done,
And all was calm and still—
(You'll say 'tis a lie; I say 'tis none;
I'll swear to it, if you will)—

“Three nights—and, mark me, that very day
I had stood by the ashy cave,
And the toppling shell had snapped, and lay
Like a lid on my comrade's grave—

“And yet, I tell you, the man lived on!
Though the ashes o'er and o'er
I had sifted till every trace was gone

Of what he was, or wore:—

“Three nights had passed; in a quiet unstirred
By wind or living thing,
As I lay upon my bed I heard
His axe in the timber ring!

“He hewed; he paused; he hewed again.
Each stroke was like a knell!
And I heard the fibres wrench, and then
The crash of a tree as it fell.

“And I fled; a hundred leagues I fled—
In the crowded haunts of a town
I would hide me from the irksome dead,
And would crush remembrance down.

“But in all that life and ceaseless stir
Nor part nor lot I found;
For men to me as shadows were,
And their speech had a far-off sound.

“For I had lost the touch of souls;
Men's lives and mine betwixt,
Wide as the space that parts the poles
There was a great gulf fixed.

“Sorrow and joy to me but seemed;
As one from an alien sphere
I lived and saw, or as one who dreamed.—
I was lonelier there than here.

“To the sense of all life's daily round
I had lost the living key,
And I grew to long for the only sound
That had meaning on earth for me.

“Again o'er the weary forest-tracks
My burden hither I bore;
And I heard the measured ring of the axe
In the midnight as before.

“And as ever he hewed the long nights through,
Nor harmed me in my bed,
A feeble sense within me grew
Of friendship with the dead.

“And believe me, I could have lived, lived long,
With this poor stay of mine,
But the faithless dead has done me wrong:
Three nights and never a sign,

“Though I've thrice out-watched the stars!—Last night,
Seeing he came no more,
Despair anew was whispering flight,
When I sank as dead on the floor.

“Take me away from this curs'd abode!
Not a jot for life I care;
He has left me alone, and my weary load
Is greater than I can bear.

“But I say if my mate had walked about
I had never told you the tale!”
As he spoke the sound of an axe rang out,
In a lull of the fitful gale.

He sprang to his feet: a cunning smile
O'er all his visage spread;
“Why, man, I lied to you all the while!
It was all a lie!” he said.

“Leave go!”—for the trooper dragged him out
Under the angry sky.
The man's alive!—you can hear him about!—
Would you hang me for a lie? . . .

“Not that way! No, not that!” he hissed,
And shook in all his frame;
But the Sergeant drew him by the wrist
To whence the sounds yet came,

Moaning ever, “What have I done
That I should his captor be?
Oh, God! to think that my sister's son
Should be led to his death by me!”

The tempest swelled; and, caught by the blast
In wanton revel of wrath,
Tumultuous boughs flew whirling past,
Or thundered across their path:

Yet ever above the roar of the storm,
Louder and louder yet
The axe-strokes rang, but no human form
Their wildered vision met.

When they reached a spot where a charred stump prone
On an ashy hollow lay,
The doomed man writhed with piteous moan,
And well-nigh swooned away.

When they came to a tree on whose gaping trunk

Some woodman's axe had plied,
The struggling captive backward shrunk,
And broke from the trooper's side.

“To left!—for your life! To left, I say!”
Was the Sergeant's warning call:
For he saw the tree in the tempest sway,
He marked the threatening fall.

But the vengeful wreck its victim found;
It seized him as he fled;
Between one giant limb and the ground
The man lay crushed and dead.

The Sergeant gazed on the corpse aghast,
Yet he cried, as he bent the knee,
“Father! I thank Thee that Thou hast
Let this cup pass from me!”

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Herman Melville

The Scout Toward Aldie

The cavalry-camp lies on the slope
Of what was late a vernal hill,
But now like a pavement bare-
An outpost in the perilous wilds
Which ever are lone and still;
But Mosby's men are there -
Of Mosby best beware.

Great trees the troopers felled, and leaned
In antlered walls about their tents;
Strict watch they kept; 'twas Hark! and Mark!
Unarmed none cared to stir abroad
For berries beyond their forest-fence:
As glides in seas the shark,
Rides Mosby through green dark.

All spake of him, but few had seen
Except the maimed ones or the low;
Yet rumor made him every thing-
A farmer-woodman-refugee-
The man who crossed the field but now;
A spell about his life did cling -
Who to the ground shall Mosby bring?

The morning-bugles lonely play,
Lonely the evening-bugle calls -
Unanswered voices in the wild;
The settled hush of birds in nest
Becharms, and all the wood enthralls:
Memory's self is so beguiled
That Mosby seems a satyr's child.

They lived as in the Eerie Land-
The fire-flies showed with fairy gleam;
And yet from pine-tops one might ken
The Capitol dome-hazy-sublime-
A vision breaking on a dream:
So strange it was that Mosby's men
Should dare to prowl where the Dome was seen.

A scout toward Aldie broke the spell. -
The Leader lies before his tent
Gazing at heaven's all-cheering lamp
Through blandness of a morning rare;
His thoughts on bitter-sweets are bent:
His sunny bride is in the camp -
But Mosby - graves are beds of damp!

The trumpet calls; he goes within;
But none the prayer and sob may know:
Her hero he, but bridegroom too.
Ah, love in a tent is a queenly thing,
And fame, be sure, refines the vow;
But fame fond wives have lived to rue,
And Mosby's men fell deeds can do.

Tan-tara! tan-tara! tan-tara!
Mounted and armed he sits a king;
For pride she smiles if now she peep -
Elate he rides at the head of his men;
He is young, and command is a boyish thing:
They file out into the forest deep -
Do Mosby and his rangers sleep?

The sun is gold, and the world is green,
Opal the vapors of morning roll;
The champing horses lightly prance -
Full of caprice, and the riders too
Curving in many a caricole.
But marshaled soon, by fours advance -
Mosby had checked that airy dance.

By the hospital-tent the cripples stand -
Bandage, and crutch, and cane, and sling,
And palely eye the brave array;
The froth of the cup is gone for them
(Caw! caw! the crows through the blueness wing);
Yet these were late as bold, as gay;
But Mosby - a clip, and grass is hay.

How strong they feel on their horses free,
Tingles the tendoned thigh with life;
Their cavalry-jackets make boys of all -
With golden breasts like the oriole;
The chat, the jest, and laugh are rife.
But word is passed from the front - a call
For order; the wood is Mosby's hall.

To which behest one rider sly
(Spurred, but unarmed) gave little heed -
Of dexterous fun not slow or spare,
He teased his neighbors of touchy mood,
Into plungings he pricked his steed:
A black-eyed man on a coal-black mare,
Alive as Mosby in mountain air.

His limbs were long, and large and round;
He whispered, winked-did all but shout:
A healthy man for the sick to view;
The taste in his mouth was sweet at morn;
Little of care he cared about.
And yet of pains and pangs he knew -
In others, maimed by Mosby's crew.

The Hospital Steward - even he
(Sacred in person as a priest),
And on his coat-sleeve broidered nice
Wore the caduceus, black and green.
No wonder he sat so light on his beast;
This cheery man in suit of price
Not even Mosby dared to slice.

They pass the picket by the pine
And hollow log - a lonesome place;
His horse adroop, and pistol clean;
'Tis cocked - kept leveled toward the wood;
Strained vigilance ages his childish face.
Since midnight has that stripling been
Peering for Mosby through the green.

Splashing they cross the freshet-flood,
And up the muddy bank they strain;
A horse at the spectral white-ash shies -
One of the span of the ambulance,
Black as a hearse. They give the rein:
Silent speed on a scout were wise,
Could cunning baffle Mosby's spies.

Rumor had come that a band was lodged
In green retreats of hills that peer
By Aldie (famed for the swordless charge).
Much store they'd heaped of captured arms
And, per adventure, pilfered cheer;
For Mosby's lads oft hearts enlarge
In revelry by some gorge's marge.

'Don't let your sabres rattle and ring;
To his oat-bag let each man give heed -
There now, that fellow's bag's untied,
Sowing the road with the precious grain.
Your carbines swing at hand - you need!
Look to yourselves, and your nags beside,
Men who after Mosby ride.'

Picked lads and keen went sharp before -
A guard, though scarce against surprise;
And rearmost rode an answering troop,
But flankers none to right or left.
No bugle peals, no pennon flies:
Silent they sweep, and fain would swoop
On Mosby with an Indian whoop.

On, right on through the forest land,
Nor man, nor maid, nor child was seen -
Not even a dog. The air was still;
The blackened hut they turned to see,
And spied charred benches on the green;
A squirrel sprang from the rotting mill
Whence Mosby sallied late, brave blood to spill.

By worn-out fields they cantered on -
Drear fields amid the woodlands wide;
By cross-roads of some olden time,
In which grew groves; by gate-stones down -
Grassed ruins of secluded pride:
A strange lone land, long past the prime,
Fit land for Mosby or for crime.

The brook in the dell they pass. One peers
Between the leaves: 'Ay, there's the place -
There, on the oozy ledge - 'twas there
We found the body (Blake's you know);
Such whirlings, gurglings round the face -
Shot drinking! Well, in war all's fair -
So Mosby says. The bough - take care!'

Hard by, a chapel. Flower-pot mould
Danked and decayed the shaded roof;
The porch was punk; the clapboards spanned
With ruffled lichens gray or green;
Red coral-moss was not aloof;
And mid dry leaves green dead-man's-hand
Groped toward that chapel in Mosby-land.

They leave the road and take the wood,
And mark the trace of ridges there -
A wood where once had slept the farm -
A wood where once tobacco grew
Drowsily in the hazy air,
And wrought in all kind things a calm -
Such influence, Mosby! bids disarm.

To ease even yet the place did woo -
To ease which pines unstirring share,
For ease the weary horses sighed:
Halting, and slackening girths, they feed,
Their pipes they light, they loiter there;
Then up, and urging still the Guide,
On, and after Mosby ride.

This Guide in frowzy coat of brown,
And beard of ancient growth and mould,
Bestrode a bony steed and strong,
As suited well with bulk he bore -
A wheezy man with depth of hold
Who jouncing went. A staff he swung -
A wight whom Mosby's wasp had stung.

Burnt out and homeless - hunted long!
That wheeze he caught in autumn-wood
Crouching (a fat man) for his life,
And spied his lean son 'mong the crew
That probed the covert. Ah! black blood
Was his 'gainst even child and wife -
Fast friends to Mosby. Such the strife.

A lad, unhorsed by sliding girths,
Strains hard to readjust his seat
Ere the main body show the gap
'Twixt them and the rear-guard; scrub-oaks near
He sidelong eyes, while hands move fleet;
Then mounts and spurs. One drops his cap -
'Let Mosby find!' nor heeds mishap.

A gable time-stained peeps through trees:
'You mind the fight in the haunted house?
That's it; we clenched them in the room -
An ambuscade of ghosts, we thought,
But proved sly rebels on a bouse!
Luke lies in the yard.' The chimneys loom:
Some muse on Mosby - some on doom.

Less nimbly now through brakes they wind,
And ford wild creeks where men have drowned;
They skirt the pool, avoid the fen,
And so till night, when down they lie,
Their steeds still saddled, in wooded ground:
Rein in hand they slumber then,
Dreaming of Mosby's cedarn den.

But Colonel and Major friendly sat
Where boughs deformed low made a seat.
The Young Man talked (all sworded and spurred)
Of the partisan's blade he longed to win,
And frays in which he meant to beat.
The grizzled Major smoked, and heard:
'But what's that - Mosby?' 'No, a bird.'

A contrast here like sire and son,
Hope and Experience sage did meet;
The Youth was brave, the Senior too;
But through the Seven Days one had served,
And gasped with the rear-guard in retreat:
So he smoked and smoked, and the wreath he blew -
'Any sure news of Mosby's crew?'

He smoked and smoked, eyeing the while
A huge tree hydra-like in growth -
Moon-tinged-with crook'd boughs rent or lopped -
Itself a haggard forest. 'Come!'
The Colonel cried, 'to talk you're loath;
D'ye hear? I say he must be stopped,
This Mosby - caged, and hair close cropped.'

'Of course; but what's that dangling there?'
'Where?' 'From the tree - that gallows-bough;
'A bit of frayed bark, is it not?'
'Ay-or a rope; did we hang last? -
Don't like my neckerchief any how;'
He loosened it: 'O ay, we'll stop
This Mosby - but that vile jerk and drop!'

By peep of light they feed and ride,
Gaining a grove's green edge at morn,
And mark the Aldie hills upread
And five gigantic horsemen carved
Clear-cut against the sky withdrawn;
Are more behind? an open snare?
Or Mosby's men but watchmen there?

The ravaged land was miles behind,
And Loudon spread her landscape rare;
Orchards in pleasant lowlands stood,
Cows were feeding, a cock loud crew,
But not a friend at need was there;
The valley-folk were only good
To Mosby and his wandering brood.

What best to do? what mean yon men?
Colonel and Guide their minds compare;
Be sure some looked their Leader through;
Dismounted, on his sword he leaned
As one who feigns an easy air;
And yet perplexed he was they knew -
Perplexed by Mosby's mountain-crew.

The Major hemmed as he would speak,
But checked himself, and left the ring
Of cavalrymen about their Chief -
Young courtiers mute who paid their court
By looking with confidence on their king;
They knew him brave, foresaw no grief -
But Mosby - the time to think is brief.

The Surgeon (sashed in sacred green)
Was glad 'twas not for him to say
What next should be; if a trooper bleeds,
Why he will do his best,as wont,
And his partner in black will aid and pray;
But judgment bides with him who leads,
And Mosby many a problem breeds.

The Surgeon was the kindliest man
That ever a callous trace professed;
He felt for him, that Leader young,
And offered medicine from his flask:
The Colonel took it with marvelous zest.
For such fine medicine good and strong,
Oft Mosby and his foresters long.

A charm of proof. 'Ho, Major, come-
Pounce on yon men! Take half your troop,
Through the thickets wind-pray speedy be-
And gain their read. And, Captain Morn,
Picket these roads-all travelers stop;
The rest to the edge of this crest with me,
That Mosby and his scouts may see.'

Commanded and done. Ere the sun stood steep,
Back came the Blues, with a troop of Grays,
Ten riding double-luckless ten!-
Five horses gone, and looped hats lost,
And love-locks dancing in a maze-
Certes, but sophomores from the glen
Of Mosby-not his veteran men.

'Colonel,' said the Major, touching his cap,
'We've had our ride, and here they are.'
'Well done! How many found you there?'
'As many as I bring you here.'
'And no one hurt?' 'There'll be no scar -
One fool was battered.' 'Find their lair?'
'Why, Mosby's brood camp everywhere.'

He sighed, and slid down from his horse,
And limping went to a spring-head nigh.
'Why, bless me, Major, not hurt, I hope?'
'Battered my knee against a bar
When the rush was made; all right by-and-by. -
Halloa! They gave you too much rope -
Go back to Mosby, eh? elope?'

Just by the low-hanging skirt of wood
The guard, remiss, had given a chance
For a sudden sally into the cover -
But foiled the intent, nor fired a shot,
Though the issue was a deadly trance;
For, hurled 'gainst an oak that humped low over,
Mosby's man fell, pale as a lover.

They pulled some grass his head to ease
(Lined with blue shreds a ground-nest stirred).
The Surgeon came -'Here's a to-do!'
'Ah!' cried the Major, darting a glance,
'This fellow's the one that fired and spurred
Downhill, but met reserves below -
My boys, not Mosby's - so we go!'

The Surgeon - bluff, red, goodly man -
Kneeled by the hurt one; like a bee
He toiled the pale young Chaplain too -
(Who went to the wars for cure of souls,
And his own student-ailments) - he
Bent over likewise; spite the two,
Mosby's poor man more pallid grew.

Meanwhile the mounted captives near
Jested; and yet they anxious showed;
Virginians; some of family-pride,
And young, and full of fire, and fine
In open feature and cheek that glowed;
And here thralled vagabonds now they ride -
But list! one speaks for Mosby's side.

'Why, three to one - your horses strong -
Revolvers, rifles, and a surprise -
Surrender we account no shame!
We live, are gay, and life is hope;
We'll fight again when fight is wise.
There are plenty more from where we came;
But go find Mosby - start the game!'

Yet one there was who looked but glum;
In middle-age, a father he,
And this his first experience too:
'They shot at my heart when my hands were up -
This fighting's crazy work, I see!'
But no one is nigh; what next do?
The woods are mute, and Mosby is the foe.

Save what we've got,' the Major said;
'Bad plan to make a scout too long;
The tide may turn, and drag them back,
And more beside. These rides I've been,
And every time a mine was sprung.
To rescue, mind, they won't be slack -
Look out for Mosby's rifle-crack.'

'We'll welcome it! Give crack for crack!
Peril, old lad, is what I seek.'
'O then, there's plenty to be had -
By all means on, and have our fill!'
With that, grotesque, he writhed his neck,
Showing a scar by buck-shot made -
Kind Mosby's Christmas gift, he said.

'But, Colonel, my prisoners - let a guard
Make sure of them, and lead to camp.
That done, we're free for a dark-room fight
If so you say. 'The other laughed;
'Trust me, Major, nor throw a damp.
But first to try a little sleight -
Sure news of Mosby would suit me quite.'

Herewith he turned - 'Reb, have a dram?'
Holding the Surgeon's flask with a smile
To a young scapegrace from the glen.
'O yes!' he eagerly replied,
'And thank you, Colonel, but - any guile?
For if you think we'll blab - why, then
You don't know Mosby or his men.'

The Leader's genial air relaxed.
'Best give it up,' a whisperer said.
'By heaven, I'll range their rebel den!'
'They'll treat you well,' the captive cried;
'They're all like us - handsome - well bred:
In wood or town, with sword or pen,
Polite is Mosby, and his men.'

'Where were you, lads, last night? - come, tell!'
'We? - at a wedding in the Vale -
The bridegroom our comrade; by his side
Belisent, my cousin - O, so proud
Of her young love with old wounds pale -
A Virginian girl! God bless her pride -
Of a crippled Mosby-man the bride!'

'Four wall shall mend that saucy mood,
And moping prisons tame him down,'
Said Captain Cloud.' God help that day,'
Cried Captain Morn, 'and he so young.
But hark, he sings - a madcap one!'
'O we multiply merrily in the May,
The birds and Mosby's men, they say!'

While echoes ran, a wagon old,
Under stout guard of Corporal Chew
Came up; a lame horse, dingy white,
With clouted harness; ropes in hand,
Cringed the humped driver, black in hue;
By him (for Mosby's band a sight)
A sister-rebel sat, her veil held tight.

'I picked them up,' the Corporal said,
'Crunching their way over stick and root,
Through yonder wood. The man here - Cuff -
Says they are going to Leesburgtown.'
The Colonel's eye took in the group;
The veiled one's hand he spied - enough!
Not Mosby's. Spite the gown's poor stuff,

Off went his hat: 'Lady, fear not;
We soldiers do what we deplore -
I must detain you till we march,'
The stranger nodded. Nettled now,
He grew politer than before: -
'Tis Mosby's fault, this halt and search:'
The lady stiffened in her starch.

'My duty, madam, bids me now
Ask what may seem a little rude.
Pardon - that veil - withdraw it, please
(Corporal! Make every man fall back);
Pray, now I do but what I should;
Bethink you, 'tis in masks like these
That Mosby haunts the villages.'

Slowly the stranger drew her veil,
And looked the Soldier in the eye -
A glance of mingled foul and fair;
Sad patience in a proud disdain,
And more than quietude. A sigh
She heaved, and if all unaware,
And far seemed Mosby from her care.

She came from Yewton Place, her home,
So ravaged by the war's wild play -
Campings, and foragings, and fires -
That now she sought an aunt's abode.
Her kinsmen? In Lee's army, they.
The black? A servant, late her sire's.
And Mosby? Vainly he inquires.

He gazed, and sad she met his eye;
'In the wood yonder were you lost?'
No; at the forks they left the road
Because of hoof-prints (thick they were -
Thick as the words in notes thrice crossed),
And fearful, made that episode.
In fear of Mosby? None she showed.

Her poor attire again he scanned:
'Lady, once more; I grieve to jar
On all sweet usage, but must plead
To have what peeps there from your dress;
That letter - 'tis justly prize of war.'
She started - gave it - she must need.
'Tis not from Mosby? May I read?'

And straight such matter he perused
That with the Guide he went apart.
The Hospital Steward's turn began:
'Must squeeze this darkey; every tap
Of knowledge we are bound to start.'
'Garry,' she said, 'tell all you can
Of Colonel Mosby - that brave man.'

'Dun know much, sare; and missis here
Know less dan me. But dis I know -'
'Well, what?' 'I dun know what I know.'
'A knowing answer!' The hump-back coughed,
Rubbing his yellowish wool-like tow.
'Come - Mosby - tell!' 'O dun look so!
My gal nursed missis - let we go.'

'Go where?' demanded Captain Cloud;
'Back into bondage? Man, you're free!'
'Well, let we free!' The Captain's brow
Lowered; the Colonel came - had heard:
'Pooh! pooh! His simple heart I see -
A faithful servant. -Lady' (a bow),
'Mosby's abroad - with us you'll go.

'Guard! Look to your prisoners; back to camp!
The man in the grass - can he mount and away?
Why, how he groans!' 'Bad inward bruise-
Might lug him along in the ambulance.'
'Coals to Newcastle! Let him stay.
Boots and saddles! - our pains we lose,
Nor care I if Mosby hear the news!'

But word was sent to a house at hand,
And a flask was left by the hurt one's side.
They seized in that same house a man,
Neutral by day, by night a foe -
So charged his neighbor late, the Guide.
A grudge? Hate will do what it can;
Along he went for a Mosby-man.

No secrets now; the bugle calls;
The open road they take, nor shun
The hill; retrace the weary way.
But one there was who whispered low,
'This is a feint - we'll back anon;
Young Hair-Brains don't retreat, they say;
A brush with Mosby is the play!'

They rode till eve. Then on a farm
That lay along a hill-side green,
Bivouacked. Fires were made, and then
Coffee was boiled; a cow was coaxed
And killed, and savory roasts were seen;
And under the lee of a cattle-pen
The guard supped freely with Mosby's men.

The ball was bandied to and fro;
Hits were given and hits were met;
'Chickamauga, Feds - take off your hat!'
'But the Fight in the Clouds repaid you, Rebs!'
'Forgotten about Manassas yet?'
Chatting and chaffing, and tit for tat,
Mosby's clan with the troopers sat.

'Here comes the moon!' a captive cried;
'A song! What say? Archy, my lad!'
Hailing are still one of the clan
(A boyish face with girlish hair),
'Give us that thing poor Pansy made
Last year.' He brightened, and began;
And this was the song of Mosby's man:

Spring is come; she shows her pass -
Wild violets cool!
South of woods a small close grass -
A vernal wool!
Leaves are a'bud on the sassafras-
They'll soon be full;
Blessings on the friendly screen -
I'm for the South! Says the leafage green.

Robins! fly, and take your fill
Of out-of-doors -
Garden, orchard, meadow, hill,
Barns and bowers;
Take your fill, and have your will -
Virginia's yours!
But, bluebirds! Keep away, and fear
The ambuscade in bushes here.

'A green song that,' a sergeant said;
'But where's poor Pansy? Gone, I fear.'
'Ay, mustered out at Ashby's Gap.'
'I see; now for a live man's song;
Ditty for ditty - prepare to cheer.
My bluebirds, you can fling a cap!
You barehead Mosby-boys - why - clap!'

Nine Blue-coats went a-nutting
Slyly in Tennessee-
Not for chestnuts - better than that-
Hugh, you bumble-bee!
Nutting, nutting -
All through the year there's nutting!

A tree they spied so yellow,
Rustling in motion queer;
In they fired, and down they dropped -
Butternuts, my dear!
Nutting, nutting-
Who'll 'list to go a-nutting?

Ah! Why should good fellows foe men be?
And who would dream that foes they were -
Larking and singing so friendly then -
A family likeness in every face.
But Captain Cloud made sour demur:
'Guard! Keep your prisoners in the pen,
And let none talk with Mosby's men.'


That captain was a valorous one
(No irony, but honest truth),
Yet down from his brain cold drops distilled,
Making stalactites in his heart -
A conscientious soul, forsooth;
And with a formal hate was filled
Of Mosby's band; and some he'd killed.

Meantime the lady rueful sat,
Watching the flicker of a fire
Where the Colonel played the outdoor host
In brave old hall of ancient Night.
But ever the dame grew shyer and shyer,
Seeming with private grief engrossed -
Grief far from Mosby, housed or lost.

The ruddy embers showed her pale.
The Soldier did his best devoir:
'Some coffee? -no? - cracker? -one?'
Cared for her servant - sought to cheer:
'I know, I know - a cruel war!
But wait - even Mosby'll eat his bun;
The Old Hearth - back to it anon!'

But cordial words no balm could bring;
She sighed, and kept her inward chafe,
And seemed to hate the voice of glee -
Joyless and tearless. Soon he called
An escort: 'See this lady safe
In yonder house. - Madam, you're free.
And now for Mosby. - Guide! With me.'

('A night-ride, eh?') 'Tighten your girths!
But, buglers! Not a note from you.
Fling more rails on the fires - ablaze!'
('Sergeant, a feint - I told you so -
Toward Aldie again. Bivouac, adieu!')
After the cheery flames they gaze,
Then back for Mosby through the maze.

The moon looked through the trees, and tipped
The scabbards with her elfin beam;
The Leader backward cast his glance,
Proud of the cavalcade that came-
A hundred horses, bay and cream:
'Major! Look how the lads advance -
Mosby we'll have in the ambulance!'

'No doubt, no doubt: - was that a hare? -
First catch, then cook; and cook him brown.'
'Trust me to catch,' the other cried-
'The lady's letter! - A dance, man, dance
This night is given in Leesburgtown!'
'He'll be there too!' wheezed out the Guide;
'That Mosby loves a dance and ride!'

'The lady, ah! - the lady's letter -
A lady, then, is in the case,'
Muttered the Major. 'Ay, her aunt
Writes her to come by Friday eve
(To-night), for people of the place,
At Mosby's last fight jubilant,
A party give, thought able-cheer be scant.'

The Major hemmed. 'Then this night-ride
We owe to her? - One lighted house
In a town else dark .- The moths, begar!
Are not quite yet all dead!' 'How? how?'
'A mute, meek mournful little mouse! -
Mosby has wiles which subtle are -
But woman's wiles in wiles of war!'

'Tut, Major! By what craft or guile -'
'Can't tell! but he'll be found in wait.
Softly we enter, say, the town -
Good! Pickets post, and all so sure -
When - crack! The rifles from every gate,
The Gray-backs fire - dashes up and down -
Each alley unto Mosby known!'

'Now, Major, now - you take dark views
Of a moonlight night.' 'Well, well, we'll see,'
And smoked as if each whiff were gain.
The other mused; then sudden asked,
'What would you doing rand decree?'
I'd beat, if I could, Lee's armies - then
Send constables after Mosby's men.'

'Ay! ay! - you're odd.' The moon sailed up;
On through the shadowy land they went.
'Names must be made and printed be!'
Hummed the blithe Colonel. 'Doc, your flask!
Major, I drink to your good content.
My pipe is out - enough for me!
One's buttons shine - does Mosby see?

'But what comes here?' A man from the front
Reported a tree athwart the road.
'Go round it, then; no time to bide;
All right - go on! Were one to stay
For each distrust of a nervous mood,
Long miles we'd make in this our ride
Through Mosby-land. - Oh! with the Guide!'

Then sportful to the Surgeon turned:
'Green sashes hardly serve by night!'
'Nor bullets nor bottles,' the Major sighed,
'Against these moccasin-snakes-such foes
As seldom come to solid fight:
They kill and vanish; through grass they glide;
Devil take Mosby!'-his horse here shied.

'Hold! look-the tree, like a dragged balloon;
A globe of leaves-some trickery here;
My nag is right-best now be shy.'
A movement was made, a hubbub and snarl;
Little was plain-they blindly steer.
The Pleiades, as from ambush sly,
Peep out-Mosby's men in the sky!

As restive they turn, how sore they feel,
And cross, and sleepy, and full of spleen,
And curse the war. 'Fools, North and South!'
Said one right out. 'O for a bed!
O now to drop in this woodland green!'
He drops as the syllables leave his mouth-
Mosby speaks from the undergrowth-

Speaks in a volley! Out jets the flame!
Men fall from their saddles like plums from trees;
Horses take fright, reins tangle and bind;
'Steady - Dismount - form - and into the wood!'
They go, but find what scarce can please:
Their steeds have been tied in the field behind,
And Mosby's men are off like the wind.

Sound the recall! Vain to pursue -
The enemy scatters in wilds he knows,
To reunite in his own good time;
And, to follow, they need divide-
To come lone and lost on crouching foes:
Maple and hemlock, beech and lime,
Are Mosby's confederates, share the crime.

'Major,' burst in a bugler small,
'The fellow we left in Loudon grass -
Sir slyboots with the inward bruise,
His voice I heard - the very same -
Some watch word in the ambush pass;
Ay, sir, we had him in his shoes -
We caught him - Mosby - but to lose!'

'Go, go! - these saddle-dreamers! Well,
And here's another. - Cool, sir, cool!'
'Major, I saw them mount and sweep,
And one was humped, or I mistake,
And in the skurry dropped his wool.'
'A wig! go fetch it: - the lads need sleep;
They'll next see Mosby in a sheep!

'Come, come, fall back! Reform your ranks -
All's jackstraws here! Where's Captain Morn?-
We've parted like boats in a raging tide!
But stay - the Colonel - did he charge?
And comes he there? 'Tis streak of dawn;
Mosby is off, the woods are wide-
Hist! there's a groan - this crazy ride!'

As they searched for the fallen, the dawn grew chill;
They lay in the dew: 'Ah! Hurt much, Mink?
And - yes - the Colonel! 'Dead! but so calm
That death seemed nothing - even death,
The thing we deem everything heart can think;
Amid wilding roses that shed their balm,
Careless of Mosby he lay - in a charm!

The Major took him by the Hand -
Into the friendly clasp it bled
(A ball through heart and hand he rued):
'Good-bye' and gazed with humid glance;
Then in a hollow reverie said
'The weakness thing is lustihood;
But Mosby' - and he checked his mood.

'Where's the advance? - cut off, by heaven!
Come, Surgeon, how with your wounded there?'
'The ambulance will carry all.'
'Well, get them in; we go to camp.
Seven prisoners gone? For the rest have care.'
Then to himself, 'This grief is gall;
That Mosby! - I'll cast a silver ball!'

'Ho!' turning -'Captain Cloud, you mind
The place where the escort went - so shady?
Go search every closet low and high,
And barn, and bin, and hidden bower -
Every covert - find that lady!
And yet I may misjudge her - ay,
Women (like Mosby) mystify.

'We'll see. Ay, Captain, go - with speed!
Surround and search; each living thing
Secure; that done, await us where
We last turned off. Stay! fire the cage
If the birds be flown. 'By the cross-road spring
The bands rejoined; no words; the glare
Told all. Had Mosby plotted there?

The weary troop that wended now -
Hardly it seemed the same that pricked
Forth to the forest from the camp:
Foot-sore horses, jaded men;
Every backbone felt as nicked,
Each eye dim as a sick-room lamp,
All faces stamped with Mosby's stamp.

In order due the Major rode -
Chaplain and Surgeon on either hand;
A riderless horse a negro led;
In a wagon the blanketed sleeper went;
Then the ambulance with the bleeding band;
And, an emptied oat-bag on each head,
Went Mosby's men, and marked the dead.

What gloomed them? What so cast them down,
And changed the cheer that late they took,
As double-guarded now they rode
Between the files of moody men?
Some sudden consciousness they brook,
Or dread the sequel. That night's blood
Disturbed even Mosby's brotherhood.

The flagging horses stumbled at roots,
Floundered in mires, or clinked the stones;
No rider spake except aside;
But the wounded cramped in the ambulance,
It was horror to hear their groans -
Jerked along in the woodland ride,
While Mosby's clan their reverie hide.

The Hospital Steward - even he -
Who on the sleeper kept this glance,
Was changed; late bright-black beard and eye
Looked now hearse-black; his heavy heart,
Like his fagged mare, no more could dance;
His grape was now a raisin dry:
'Tis Mosby's homily - Man must die.

The amber sunset flushed the camp
As on the hill their eyes they fed;
The picket dumb looks at the wagon dart;
A handkerchief waves from the bannered tent -
As white, alas! The face of the dead:
Who shall the withering news impart?
The bullet of Mosby goes through heart to heart!

They buried him where the lone ones lie
(Lone sentries shot on midnight post) -
A green-wood grave-yard hid from ken,
Where sweet-fern flings an odor nigh -
Yet held in fear for the gleaming ghost!
Though the bride should see threescore and ten,
She will dream of Mosby and his men.

Now halt the verse, and turn aside -
The cypress falls athwart the way;
No joy remains for bard to sing;
And heaviest dole of all is this,
That other hearts shall be as gay
As hers that now no more shall spring:
To Mosby-land the dirges cling.

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Reading Stephen King's book, On Writing, was like being cornered and forced to have a long, drawn out mental enema.

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Burning Ashes

Of tears and the sweat in the day of agony,
A virtuous woman is not easy to come by;
Like our legs to war without a clue.
What was that all about?
Of an immunity but not impunity,
Of an impresssive but not impassive,
Like two from a country to uncover where the gods spew fire!
Of their mysteries,
One from a tribe;
Who? Why? What? Where? When? Whom? Whose?
To name the country of this child like,
Our tears and sweat in the day of agony;
Like the clouds of burning ashes.

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Crack Hitler

Sink the eight ball
Buy the lady a drink
And nobody knows my name
Bodies float up
From the bottom of the river
Like bubbles in fine champagne
Hes the one, no doubt
Walkin on a tightrope
Hes the one, no doubt
Got a gash on my head
And a grin on my face
And a shadow called danger
Hidin in the sheets
And on the streets
In the heart of every stranger
Here he comes, look out
Teach the world a lesson
Here he comes, look out
Sweat on the brow
And a tap on the phone
And lives are on the line
Pick up the briefcase
On a high speed chase
Breathin by the roll of the dice
Reachin up to the top
Were dependin on you
Reachin up to the top
In regards to
My usage of the drug...
It modified my personality
To the extent that I was
Highly irritable
I was like a crack hitler
Keep up the fight
And in the wink of an eye
Never give up
Ooh..ahh..
Look out

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Like They See It Done In The Movies

I was in and out of the military,
By the age of 21.
Living co-independently with responsibilites...
As a married man with a wife expecting our son.

Today I have little patience,
With men and women both who whine.
About living lives they wished they had.
But accepting routines to live,
Everyday...
In their minds.

And I have no tolerance for those who make claims...
About what they do and how they do it.
While expressing a self centered sadness,
To hold others to blame for their restricted ambitions.
And listening to them...
You will hear them threaten to run away.
And make childish proclamations.

And there are still those...
Who will convince others they have been on their own.
All their lives!
But they have never spent time by themselves.
Nor could they walk on their paths alone.
They have never done it.
But quick to demand from others they do!
Like they see it done in the movies.
Without the added moans and groans.

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I Was Blind, For Not Seeing The Real You!

i must of been blind,
for dreaming of you,
you use to be everything,
i wanted,
how wrong was i?
for being on cloud nine,
way up high,
until you said,
that i was crazy,
i would admit,
i was crazy,
for falling for you,
but, it wasn't long,
before i knew the truth,
you controlled me like a toy,
when life was already hard,
made me feel like,
i was alone,
when i was with you,
you never really man up,
even though you made me,
believe that you would,
nothing was what i wanted,
once you started to pay,
it was like everything changed,
you were not the guy i once knew,
or should i say boy,
nobody should ever get treated,
the way you treated me,
having limits on who i can talk to,
and other stuff,
that was easy to control.
i seen you hate,
when i take control of my life,
it wasn't what you thought,
i would ever do,
i was weak,
i give you that,
but, once i opened my eyes,
i realize,
I'M BETTER THAN THIS,
I DON'T NEED AN A$$ LIKE YOU.

4-6-10

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Our Mother Pocahontas

(Note: — Pocahontas is buried at Gravesend, England.)

"Pocahontas' body, lovely as a poplar, sweet as a red haw in November or a pawpaw in May — did she wonder? does she remember — in the dust — in the cool tombs?"

CARL SANDBURG.


I

Powhatan was conqueror,
Powhatan was emperor.
He was akin to wolf and bee,
Brother of the hickory tree.
Son of the red lightning stroke
And the lightning-shivered oak.
His panther-grace bloomed in the maid
Who laughed among the winds and played
In excellence of savage pride,
Wooing the forest, open-eyed,
In the springtime,
In Virginia,
Our Mother, Pocahontas.

Her skin was rosy copper-red.
And high she held her beauteous head.
Her step was like a rustling leaf:
Her heart a nest, untouched of grief.
She dreamed of sons like Powhatan,
And through her blood the lightning ran.
Love-cries with the birds she sung,
Birdlike
In the grape-vine swung.
The Forest, arching low and wide
Gloried in its Indian bride.
Rolfe, that dim adventurer
Had not come a courtier.
John Rolfe is not our ancestor.
We rise from out the soul of her
Held in native wonderland,
While the sun's rays kissed her hand,
In the springtime,
In Virginia,
Our Mother, Pocahontas.


II

She heard the forest talking,
Across the sea came walking,
And traced the paths of Daniel Boone,
Then westward chased the painted moon.
She passed with wild young feet
On to Kansas wheat,
On to the miners' west,
The echoing cañons' guest,
Then the Pacific sand,
Waking,
Thrilling,
The midnight land....

On Adams street and Jefferson —
Flames coming up from the ground!
On Jackson street and Washington —
Flames coming up from the ground!
And why, until the dawning sun
Are flames coming up from the ground?
Because, through drowsy Springfield sped
This red-skin queen, with feathered head,
With winds and stars, that pay her court
And leaping beasts, that make her sport;
Because, gray Europe's rags august
She tramples in the dust;
Because we are her fields of corn;
Because our fires are all reborn
From her bosom's deathless embers,
Flaming
As she remembers
The springtime
And Virginia,
Our Mother, Pocahontas.


III

We here renounce our Saxon blood.
Tomorrow's hopes, an April flood
Come roaring in. The newest race
Is born of her resilient grace.
We here renounce our Teuton pride:
Our Norse and Slavic boasts have died:
Italian dreams are swept away,
And Celtic feuds are lost today....

She sings of lilacs, maples, wheat,
Her own soil sings beneath her feet,
Of springtime
And Virginia,
Our Mother, Pocahontas.

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