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Franco Nero

Left love behind many years ago. Now it rests under a cross in the cemetery in Tombstone.

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A Poem Memorized Many Years Ago

A POEM MEMORIZED MANY YEARS AGO


A poem memorized many years ago
Lives in my mind
As if it were me.

So many poems
So much Life and Beauty
So much Goodness and Happiness.

Poems in me
Written by others.
Now my Soul.

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So Many Years Ago

Cigarette smoke undulating from my aunt’s lips,
And her boyfriend is coming down
On a bus from Tennessee;
And I am working so close to the smoking beach,
But I haven’t seen her in so long,
And still I do not go:
I want to be in Colorado secreted in the higher basins,
The important key-holes where the tourists
Are too weak to go;
In fact, I want to summit mountains that have never
Been,
Or have no right to be- for her, or one of my great
Great aught great forgotten grandmothers;
And her name is- just this,
Just a song happening in the night far to the east and
Under her,
Like a French man going down on a airplane,
Like a frog making love to an inebriated princess who
Just doesn’t care;
But that is all I have to say or even think about;
It was the best I could do when trying to remember how
You walked so tremulous and ecstatically real
Your painted nails on your locker’s combination,
Your painted toes in soccer cleats
So many classes, and forgotten generations so many years
Ago.

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Many Years Have Now Passed

I was a young patriotic Black man back then.
Wanting to protect 'my' country.
My neighbors.
My family and friends.
When I enlisted into the military!

And when I was 'released'...
Wishing to return to those,
I helped 'free' from the enemies.
I was treated like dirt!
As I observed a clarity of selfishness and greed.
With the same intent that still continues.
As if my efforts...
Even to me made less sense!

And I try not to stay embittered.
Since many years have now passed.
As have many of those comrades I knew...
With remnants lying and now perhaps rotted,
Under manicured grass.

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That Was Many Years Ago

I was told many years ago,
By a college professor...
I had a tendency to write and speak,
Too lofty.
And 'if' I seriously wanted to communicate,
My thoughts for others to comprehend...
That I should perceive my audience,
To have mentalities of Third grade school children.

Well...
I did say that was many years ago.
Today...
No matter what I write or how I speak,
I am often asked 'WHERE' I am from?
So tempted am I to say...
'Somewhere your parents should have dropped you off.
Instead of wishing intelligence upon you.'

But,
Of course...
I keep those kind of comments to myself.
Especially today,
When I would only get a blank stare in return.
Or someone telling me to go back to Africa.
You know...
By those who are not believing Africa to be a huge continent,
With places far more advanced than TV depicts.

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But You Know I Love You

When the morning sun
Streaks across my room
And I've waken up
>From another dream of you
Yes I'm on the road
Once again it seems
All I've left behind
Is a chain of broken dreams
REFRAIN
But you know I love you
Yes I love you
Oh I love you
How I wish that love
(??-line unclear)
What a life we'd live
Cause I've got so much to give
And it seems so wrong
Deep inside my heart
That the dollar sign
Should be keeping us apart
REFRAIN
And if I could only find my way back to the time
When the problems of this life of mine didn't cross our minds
All the answers were found in children's nursery rhymes
I'd come running back to you
I'd come running back to you
And you know we can't
Live on dreams alone
Just to pay the rent
I must leave you all alone
But you know I made my choice
Many years ago
Now this traveling life
Is the only one I know
REFRAIN (four times)
REFRAIN (three times while fading)

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On This Day,5 Years ago

On this day five years ago we slowly watched you pass.

Now we sit here with just your soul and think about the past.

We said this was for the best but I don’t think that could be.

Because on this day five years ago you left us with just love and memory

Now I sit and write this poem for a very special man who left us all five years ago whilst we sat hand in hand.


In Memory of Robert Collins.

By: Dillon Keuthonymos Crawford

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An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Karshish, the Arab Physician

Karshish, the picker-up of learning's crumbs,
The not-incurious in God's handiwork
(This man's-flesh he hath admirably made,
Blown like a bubble, kneaded like a paste,
To coop up and keep down on earth a space
That puff of vapor from his mouth, man's soul)
—To Abib, all-sagacious in our art,
Breeder in me of what poor skill I boast,
Like me inquisitive how pricks and cracks
Befall the flesh through too much stress and strain,
Whereby the wily vapor fain would slip
Back and rejoin its source before the term—
And aptest in contrivance (under God)
To baffle it by deftly stopping such—
The vagrant Scholar to his Sage at home
Sends greeting (health and knowledge, fame with peace)
Three samples of true snakestone—rarer still,
One of the other sort, the melon-shaped,
(But fitter, pounded fine, for charms than drugs)
And writeth now the twenty-second time.

My journeyings were brought to Jericho:
Thus I resume. Who studious in our art
Shall count a little labor un-repaid?
I have shed sweat enough, left flesh and bone
On many a flinty furlong of this land.
Also, the country-side is all on fire
With rumors of a marching hitherward:
Some say Vespasian comes, some, his son.
A black lynx snarled and pricked a tufted ear;
Lust of my blood inflamed his yellow balls:
I cried and threw my staff and he was gone.
Twice have the robbers stripped and beaten me,
And once a town declared me for a spy;
But at the end, I reach Jerusalem,
Since this poor covert where I pass the night,
This Bethany, lies scarce the distance thence
A man with plague-sores at the third degree
Runs till he drops down dead. Thou laughest here!
'Sooth, it elates me, thus reposed and safe,
To void the stuffing of my travel-scrip
And share with thee whatever Jewry yields.
A viscid choler is observable
In tertians, I was nearly bold to say;
And falling-sickness hath a happier cure
Than our school wots of: there's a spider here
Weaves no web, watches on the ledge of tombs,
Sprinkled with mottles on an ash-gray back;
Take five and drop them . . . but who knows his mind,
The Syrian runagate I trust this to?
His service payeth me a sublimate
Blown up his nose to help the ailing eye.
Best wait: I reach Jerusalem at morn,
There set in order my experiences,
Gather what most deserves, and give thee all—
Or I might add, Judaea's gum-tragacanth
Scales off in purer flakes, shines clearer-grained,
Cracks 'twixt the pestle and the porphyry,
In fine exceeds our produce. Scalp-disease
Confounds me, crossing so with leprosy—
Thou hadst admired one sort I gained at Zoar—
But zeal outruns discretion. Here I end.

Yet stay: my Syrian blinketh gratefully,
Protesteth his devotion is my price—
Suppose I write what harms not, though he steal?
I half resolve to tell thee, yet I blush,
What set me off a-writing first of all,
An itch I had, a sting to write, a tang!
For, be it this town's barrenness—or else
The Man had something in the look of him—
His case has struck me far more than 'tis worth.
So, pardon if—(lest presently I lose
In the great press of novelty at hand
The care and pains this somehow stole from me)
I bid thee take the thing while fresh in mind,
Almost in sight—for, wilt thou have the truth?
The very man is gone from me but now,
Whose ailment is the subject of discourse.
Thus then, and let thy better wit help all!

'Tis but a case of mania—subinduced
By epilepsy, at the turning-point
Of trance prolonged unduly some three days:
When, by the exhibition of some drug
Or spell, exorcisation, stroke of art
Unknown to me and which 't were well to know,
The evil thing out-breaking all at once
Left the man whole and sound of body indeed,
But, flinging (so to speak) life's gates too wide,
Making a clear house of it too suddenly,
The first conceit that entered might inscribe
Whatever it was minded on the wall
So plainly at that vantage, as it were,
(First come, first served) that nothing subsequent
Attaineth to erase those fancy-scrawls
The just-returned and new-established soul
Hath gotten now so thoroughly by heart
That henceforth she will read or these or none.
And first—the man's own firm conviction rests
That he was dead (in fact they buried him)
—That he was dead and then restored to life
By a Nazarene physician of his tribe:
—'Sayeth, the same bade "Rise," and he did rise.
"Such cases are diurnal," thou wilt cry.
Not so this figment!—not, that such a fume,
Instead of giving way to time and health,
Should eat itself into the life of life,
As saffron tingeth flesh, blood, bones and all!
For see, how he takes up the after-life.
The man—it is one Lazarus a Jew,
Sanguine, proportioned, fifty years of age,
The body's habit wholly laudable,
As much, indeed, beyond the common health
As he were made and put aside to show.
Think, could we penetrate by any drug
And bathe the wearied soul and worried flesh,
And bring it clear and fair, by three days' sleep!
Whence has the man the balm that brightens all?
This grown man eyes the world now like a child.
Some elders of his tribe, I should premise,
Led in their friend, obedient as a sheep,
To bear my inquisition. While they spoke,
Now sharply, now with sorrow, told the case,
He listened not except I spoke to him,
But folded his two hands and let them talk,
Watching the flies that buzzed: and yet no fool.
And that's a sample how his years must go.
Look, if a beggar, in fixed middle-life,
Should find a treasure, can he use the same
With straitened habits and with tastes starved small,
And take at once to his impoverished brain
The sudden element that changes things,
That sets the undreamed-of rapture at his hand
And puts the cheap old joy in the scorned dust?
Is he not such an one as moves to mirth—
Warily parsimonious, when no need,
Wasteful as drunkenness at undue times?
All prudent counsel as to what befits
The golden mean, is lost on such an one:
The man's fantastic will is the man's law.
So here—we call the treasure knowledge, say,
Increased beyond the fleshly faculty—
Heaven opened to a soul while yet on earth,
Earth forced on a soul's use while seeing heaven:
The man is witless of the size, the sum,
The value in proportion of all things,
Or whether it be little or be much.
Discourse to him of prodigious armaments
Assembled to besiege his city now,
And of the passing of a mule with gourds—
'T is one! Then take it on the other side,
Speak of some trifling fact, he will gaze rapt
With stupor at its very littleness,
(Far as I see) as if in that indeed
He caught prodigious import, whole results;
And so will turn to us the bystanders
In ever the same stupor (note this point)
That we too see not with his opened eyes.
Wonder and doubt come wrongly into play,
Preposterously, at cross purposes.
Should his child sicken unto death, why, look
For scarce abatement of his cheerfulness,
Or pretermission of the daily craft!
While a word, gesture, glance from that same child
At play or in the school or laid asleep,
Will startle him to an agony of fear,
Exasperation, just as like. Demand
The reason why—"'t is but a word," object—
"A gesture"—he regards thee as our lord
Who lived there in the pyramid alone,
Looked at us (dost thou mind?) when, being young,
We both would unadvisedly recite
Some charm's beginning, from that book of his,
Able to bid the sun throb wide and burst
All into stars, as suns grown old are wont.
Thou and the child have each a veil alike
Thrown o'er your heads, from under which ye both
Stretch your blind hands and trifle with a match
Over a mine of Greek fire, did ye know!
He holds on firmly to some thread of life—
(It is the life to lead perforcedly)
Which runs across some vast distracting orb
Of glory on either side that meagre thread,
Which, conscious of, he must not enter yet—
The spiritual life around the earthly life:
The law of that is known to him as this,
His heart and brain move there, his feet stay here.
So is the man perplext with impulses
Sudden to start off crosswise, not straight on,
Proclaiming what is right and wrong across,
And not along, this black thread through the blaze—
"It should be" balked by "here it cannot be."
And oft the man's soul springs into his face
As if he saw again and heard again
His sage that bade him "Rise" and he did rise.
Something, a word, a tick o' the blood within
Admonishes: then back he sinks at once
To ashes, who was very fire before,
In sedulous recurrence to his trade
Whereby he earneth him the daily bread;
And studiously the humbler for that pride,
Professedly the faultier that he knows
God's secret, while he holds the thread of life.
Indeed the especial marking of the man
Is prone submission to the heavenly will—
Seeing it, what it is, and why it is.
'Sayeth, he will wait patient to the last
For that same death which must restore his being
To equilibrium, body loosening soul
Divorced even now by premature full growth:
He will live, nay, it pleaseth him to live
So long as God please, and just how God please.
He even seeketh not to please God more
(Which meaneth, otherwise) than as God please.
Hence, I perceive not he affects to preach
The doctrine of his sect whate'er it be,
Make proselytes as madmen thirst to do:
How can he give his neighbor the real ground,
His own conviction? Ardent as he is—
Call his great truth a lie, why, still the old
"Be it as God please" reassureth him.
I probed the sore as thy disciple should:
"How, beast," said I, "this stolid carelessness
Sufficeth thee, when Rome is on her march
To stamp out like a little spark thy town,
Thy tribe, thy crazy tale and thee at once?"
He merely looked with his large eyes on me.
The man is apathetic, you deduce?
Contrariwise, he loves both old and young,
Able and weak, affects the very brutes
And birds—how say I? flowers of the field—
As a wise workman recognizes tools
In a master's workshop, loving what they make.
Thus is the man as harmless as a lamb:
Only impatient, let him do his best,
At ignorance and carelessness and sin—
An indignation which is promptly curbed:
As when in certain travel I have feigned
To be an ignoramus in our art
According to some preconceived design,
And happed to hear the land's practitioners
Steeped in conceit sublimed by ignorance,
Prattle fantastically on disease,
Its cause and cure—and I must hold my peace!

Thou wilt object—Why have I not ere this
Sought out the sage himself, the Nazarene
Who wrought this cure, inquiring at the source,
Conferring with the frankness that befits?
Alas! it grieveth me, the learned leech
Perished in a tumult many years ago,
Accused—our learning's fate—of wizardry,
Rebellion, to the setting up a rule
And creed prodigious as described to me.
His death, which happened when the earthquake fell
(Prefiguring, as soon appeared, the loss
To occult learning in our lord the sage
Who lived there in the pyramid alone)
Was wrought by the mad people—that's their wont!
On vain recourse, as I conjecture it,
To his tried virtue, for miraculous help—
How could he stop the earthquake? That's their way!
The other imputations must be lies;
But take one, though I loathe to give it thee,
In mere respect for any good man's fame.
(And after all, our patient Lazarus
Is stark mad; should we count on what he says?
Perhaps not: though in writing to a leech
'Tis well to keep back nothing of a case.)
This man so cured regards the curer, then,
As—God forgive me! who but God himself,
Creator and sustainer of the world,
That came and dwelt in flesh on it awhile!
—'Sayeth that such an one was born and lived,
Taught, healed the sick, broke bread at his own house;
Then died, with Lazarus by, for aught I know,
And yet was . . . what I said nor choose repeat,
And must have so avouched himself, in fact,
In hearing of this very Lazarus
Who saith—but why all this of what he saith?
Why write of trivial matters, things of price
Calling at every moment for remark?
I noticed on the margin of a pool
Blue-flowering borage, the Aleppo sort,
Aboundeth, very nitrous. It is strange!

Thy pardon for this long and tedious case,
Which, now that I review it, needs must seem
Unduly dwelt on, prolixly set forth!
Nor I myself discern in what is writ
Good cause for the peculiar interest
And awe indeed this man has touched me with.
Perhaps the journey's end, the weariness
Had wrought upon me first. I met him thus:
I crossed a ridge of short sharp broken hills
Like an old lion's cheek teeth. Out there came
A moon made like a face with certain spots
Multiform, manifold and menacing:
Then a wind rose behind me. So we met
In this old sleepy town at unaware,
The man and I. I send thee what is writ.
Regard it as a chance, a matter risked
To this ambiguous Syrian—he may lose,
Or steal, or give it thee with equal good.
Jerusalem's repose shall make amends
For time this letter wastes, thy time and mine;
Till when, once more thy pardon and farewell!

The very God! think, Abib; dost thou think?
So, the All-Great, were the All-Loving too—
So, through the thunder comes a human voice
Saying, "O heart I made, a heart beats here!
Face, my hands fashioned, see it in myself!
Thou hast no power nor mayst conceive of mine,
But love I gave thee, with myself to love,
And thou must love me who have died for thee!"
The madman saith He said so: it is strange.

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The Shadows Fell

April was a lovely girl, her warmth was in her eyes
And she and I would walk within the calm of clear blue skies
Too short our time together, and what time consisted of
I knew her well, the shadows fell
See, April was my love...

A young man then, I knew the things a young man knows
But somehow lost it all with age, I guess that's how it goes
But April understood, and in time revealed to me
Reflection, my direction
And what April was to be...

She became to me the way to love's soothing caress
The answers to all questions, life and love, were met with yes
All that April showed to me, my heart still now believes
To take her place, her smiling face
April love, my heart still grieves...

Our time together had the look, forever on it's face
The hands of time stood still for us, in arm, and sweet embrace
It wasn't meant to be for us, nor I to have the sound
But she was singing, bells were ringing
As she felt the darkened ground...

Too soon my April left me, to some higher plane I'm sure
To wait for me to come someday, and reminisce with her
To tell me why each tear was lost, each April that I cried
As love turned to loss, inside the cross
When my April died...

Winter's breath blows hard upon her memory now
But I remember April, springtime love and lifetime vow
Sometimes I can feel her touch, and feel the gentle breeze
The days and nights, the wrongs the rights
There are many thoughts of these...

Many years ago now, April's love had held my heart
Too many days, and nights spent now without, but not apart
And I would trade my todays, for yesterday to be...
With April once again, and back to when
April was my love, you see.......

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Two Years Ago

The light of other days burns dim,
And in the shade is cast,
You'll own I'm right, if you will just
Look back upon the past;
It's glories all are faded,
And each of you must know
That times ain't what they used to be
About two years ago.

Bendigo, you know, my lads,
Was just then in its prime,
And those who happened to be here
Had a most glorious time;
But now its sadly altered,
And things are precious slow,
And times ain't what they used to be
About two years ago.

They opened Golden Gully then,
And we had many a lob,
To see the place so cut up now,
It really makes me sob:
When'eer I pass the fav'rite spot
It fills me full of woe,
Ah! times ain't what they used to was
About two years ago.

Just now look at the difference,
Ah! here's the dreadful rub,
They're washing for two pennyweights
To every blessed tub;
At such a paltry sum as that,
Why, all of us you know
Would have laughed and turned our noses up
About two years ago.

Two years ago, my lads, we used
To take our nuggets down,
Sell the lot, and go and have
A spree in Melbourne town;
We rode about in two-horse cabs,
And made the champagne flow,
And ate bank notes in sandwiches
About two years ago.

A sweetheart, then, on either arm
About the town we'd range,
And buy the dear things cashmere shawls,
And refuse to take the change;
Then to dancers at the theatre
Our nuggest we did throw,
Those were the glorious times, no flies,
About two years ago.

And when we'd quite run out of cash
We'd tramp back every mile,
And go to work again and get
Another tidy pile;
I ask you, can we do it now?
But, echo answers no;
Ah! times ai'nt what they used to was
About two years ago.

But after all, my lads, what use
Is there in vain regret,
No doubt some stunning golden piece
Of ground may turn up yet,
Then keep up all your peckers,
And let your spirits flow,
The good time yet may come again,
Just like two years ago.

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Easter Eve

Hear me, Brother, gently met;
Just a little, turn, not yet,
Thou shalt laugh, and soon forget:
Now the midnight draweth near.
I have little more to tell;
Soon with hallow stroke and knell,
Thou shalt count the palace bell,
Calling that the hour is here.

Burdens black and strange to bear,
I must tell, and thou must share,
Listening with that stony stare,
Even as many a man before.
Years have lightly come and gone
In their jocund unison,
But the tides of life roll on-
They remember now no more.

Once upon a night of glee,
In an hour of revelry,
As I wandered restlessly,
I beheld with burning eye,
How a pale procession rolled
Through a quarter quaint and old,
With its banners and its gold,
And the crucifix went by.

Well I knew that body brave
That was pierced and hung to save,
But my flesh was now a grave
For the soul that gnashed within.
He that they were bearing by,
With their banners white and high,
He was pure, and foul was I,
And his whiteness mocked my sin.

Ah, meseemed that even he,
Would not wait to look on me,
In my years and misery,
Things that he alone could heal.
In mine eyes I felt the flame
Of a rage that naught could tame,
And I cried and cursed his name,
Till my brain began to reel.

In a moment I was 'ware,
How that many watching there,
Fearfully with blanch and stare,
Crossed themselves and shrank away;
Then upon my reeling mind,
Like a sharp blow from behind,
Fell the truth, and left me blind,
Hopeless now and all astray.

O'er the city wandering wide,
Seeking but some place to hide,
Where the sounds of mirth had died,
Through the shaken night I stole;
From the ever-eddying stream
Of the crowds that did but seem
Like the processions in a dream
To my empty echoing soul.

Till I came at last alone
To a hidden street of stone,
Where the city's monotone
On the silence fell no more.
Then I saw how one in white
With a footstep mute and light,
Through the shadow of the night
Like a spirit paced before.

And a sudden stillness came
Through my spirit and my frame,
And a spell without a name
Held me in his mystic track.
Though his presence seemed so mild,
Yet he led me like a child,
With a yearning strange and wild,
That I dared not turn me back.

Oh, I could not see his face,
Nor behold his utmost grace,
Yet I might not change my pace
Fastened by a strange belief;
For his steps were sad and slow,
And his hands hung straight below,
And his head was bowed, as though
Pressed by some immortal grief.

So I followed, yet not I
Held alone that company:
Every silent passer-by
Paled and turned and joined with me;
So we followed still and fleet,
While the city street by street,
Fell behind our rustling feet
Like a deadened memory.

Where the sound of sin and riot
Broke upon the night's dim quiet,
And the solemn bells hung nigh it
Echoed from their looming towers;
Where the mourners wept alway,
Watching for the morning grey;
Where the weary toiler lay,
Husbanding the niggard hours;

By the gates where all night long
Guests in many a joyous throng,
With the sound of dance and song,
Dreamed in golden palaces;
Still he passed, and door by door
Opened with a pale outpour,
And the revel rose no more
Hushed in deeper phantasies.

As we passed, the talk and stir
Of the quiet wayfarer
And the noisy banqueter
Died upon the midnight dim.
They that reeled in drunken glee
Shrank upon the trembling knee,
And their jests died pallidly,
As they rose and followed him.

From the street and from the hall,
From the flare of festival
None that saw him stayed, but all
Followed where his wonder would:
And our feet at first so few
Gathered as those white feet drew
To a pallid multitude;

And the hushed and awful beat
Of our pale unnumbered feet
Made a murmur strange and sweet,
As we followed evermore.
Now the night was almost passed,
And the dawn was overcast,
When the stranger stayed at last
At a great cathedral door.

Never word the stranger said,
But he slowly raised his head,
And the vast door opened
By an unseen hand withdrawn;
And in silence wave on wave,
Like an army from the grave,
Up the aisles and up the nave,
All that spectral crowd rolled on.

As I followed close behind,
Knowledge like an awful wind
Seemed to blow my naked mind
Into darkness black and bare;
Yet with longing wild and dim,
And a terror vast and grim,
Nearer still I pressed to him,
Till I almost touched his hair.

From the gloom so strange and eery,
From the organ low and dreary,
Rose the wailing miserere,
By mysterious voices sung;
And a dim light shone, none knew,
How it came, or whence it grew,
From the dusky roof and through
All the solemn spaces flung.

But the stranger still passed on,
Till he reached the alter stone,
And with body white and prone
Sunk his forehead to the floor;
And I saw in my despair,
Standing like a spirit there,
How his head was bruised and bare,
And his hand were clenched before,

How his hair was fouled and knit
With the blood that clotted it,
Where the prickled thorns had bit
In his crowned agony;
In his hands so wan and blue,
Leaning out, I saw the two
Marks of where the nails pierced through,
Once on gloomy Calvary.

Then with trembling throat I owned
All my dark sin unatoned,
Telling it with lips that moaned,
And methought an echo came
From the bended crowd below,
Each one breathing faint and low,
Sins that none but he might know:
'Master I did curse thy name.'

And I saw him slowly rise
With his sad unearthly eyes,
Meeting mine with meek surprise,
And a voice came solemnly:
'Never more on mortal ground
For they soul shall rest be found,
But when bells at midnight sound
Thou must rise and come with me.'

Then my forehead smote the floor,
Swooning, and I knew no more,
Till I heard the chancel door
Open for the choristers:
But the stranger's form was gone,
And the church was dim and lone:
Through the silence, one by one
Stole the early worshippers.

I an ageing now I know;
That was many years ago,
Yet or I shall rest below
In the grave where none intrude,
Night by night I roam the street,
And that awful form I meet,
And I follow pale and fleet,
With a ghostly multitude.

Every night I see his face,
With its sad and burdened grace,
And the torn and bloody trace,
That in hands and feet he has.
Once my life was dark and bad;
Now its days are strange and sad,
And the people call me mad:
See, they whisper as they pass.

Even now the echoes roll
From the swinging bells that toll;
It is midnight, now my soul
Hasten, for he glideth by.
Stranger, 'tis no phantasie:
Look! my master waits for me
Mutely, but thou canst not see
With the mortal blinded eye.

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Passing Strangers

Our wedding day was happy
There was joy everywhere
The sun shone brightly
No rain clouds anywhere
Many years ago now
When we were young

We had joy and happiness
Along with sorrow and pain
We knew loves promise
Again and again
But the troubles came
That wouldn’t go away
The words about parting
Just seem to stay

I saw you with your new love
Just the other day
You seemed to be happy
As you passed on your way
You didn’t notice me standing there
Why should you indeed
For we are nothing more now
Than just passing strangers

16 Feb 1996

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The Goodnight-Loving

(Clint Black - Hayden Nicholas)
Ridin' against the wind in east New Mexico
His skin is dry and worn as the Texas plains
He's headed where the air is thinand the cold blue northers blow
Up throw the raton pass but he'll have to beat the early snow.
The winter of '64 was a great many years ago
When a young man went away for the rebel cause
And he was branded by the war and the only life he'd know
Was lookin' over his shoulder saddle bound and layin' low.
Now there's a man on the goodnight loving
Like too many other men out on the trail
Who found the hard way when the pushing comes to shoving
He'd go six feet under before he'd go to jail.
--- Instrumental ---
Now there's a place just north of here where they say the outlaws go
Where a man can leave his name and past behind
And every now and then you'll hear he's gone the way of the buffalo
And that he finally made the pass but he didn't beat the early snow.
Now there's a man on the goodnight loving
Like too many other men out on the trail
Who found the hard way when the pushing comes to shoving
He'd go six feet under before he'd go to jail.
He'd go six feet under before he'd go to jail...

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Passing Me

In a hurry I ran down the street
People were blurs that I did meet
But as quick as I was and twice as fast
I could not outrun my sins or even my past.
I thought I had left them so many years ago
When I was younger and didn't think about growing old
Doing the things which I should never had done
Not knowing that one day they would be a rerun.
But now they keep passing me again and again
Which were my lies and evils which are a sin
Though as fast as I was or that I could ever be
They always catch up, and then they pass me.
How I wish that I was faster than they were
But that is a stupid wish, that I once had observed
Now I am hoping and praying that they never existed
But then one day I know that they all will be listed.
Now wherever that I run my past is already there
With no remorse or humility, sadness or even care
So I guess that I must run for the rest of my life
Or maybe hide away somewhere, where there is no strife.
I now look over my shoulder whenever that I can
As I try to prepare myself wherever that I am
Hopefully my strength and endurance will forever last
But sadly the faster that I run, I still can't outrun my past.


Randy L. McClave

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Years From Now

As I see myself many years from now
I am relaxed and happy as I am retired
No longer tied to work or chained to a plow
Living my life and situation that I have long desired,
I most certainly will still be reflecting and writing
While remembering the adventures of my life
But I will not be arguing or even fighting
As I will be tired of that cumbersome strife,
I will also think of the good deeds I have done
Also I will smile remembering the joy I have brought
As GOD knows I was a good father and a good son
And never pain or dishonor from anyone had I sought,
I will probably also think about my past loves
And truly in my heart I wish them all well
Sadly we were unmatched like worn out gloves
But it wasn't I who discarded them, as I did not fail,
I will remember all the accomplishments that I achieved
When I look back at all those yesterdays
And I will also remember the tears I had grieved
But to my strength and determination I will give praise,
Many years from now I see myself as a happy man
I will had accomplished no more that what GOD would allow
Being happy and joyful though will be my greatest plan
As I see myself, many years from now.


RANDY L. McCLAVE

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John Dryden

An Epilogue

You saw your wife was chaste, yet throughly tried,
And, without doubt, you are hugely edified;
For, like our hero, whom we showed to-day,
You think no woman true, but in a play.
Love once did make a pretty kind of show;
Esteem and kindness in one breast would grow;
But 'twas heaven knows how many years ago.
Now some small chat, and guinea expectation,
Gets all the pretty creatures in the nation.
In comedy your little selves you meet;
'Tis Covent Garden drawn in Bridges Street.
Smile on our author then, if he has shown
A jolly nut-brown bastard of your own.
Ah! happy you, with ease and with delight,
Who act those follies, poets toil to write!
The sweating Muse does almost leave the chase;
She puffs, and hardly keeps your Protean vices pace.
Pinch you but in one vice, away you fly
To some new frisk of contrariety.
You roll like snow-balls, gathering as you run,
And get seven devils, when dispossessed of one.
Your Venus once was a Platonic queen,
Nothing of love beside the face was seen;
But every inch of her you now uncase,
And clap a vizard-mask upon the face;
For sins like these, the zealous of the land,
With little hair, and little or no band,
Declare how circulating pestilences
Watch, every twenty years, to snap offences.
Saturn, e'en now, takes doctoral degrees;
He'll do your work this summer without fees.
Let all the boxes, Phœbus, find thy grace,
And, ah, preserve the eighteen-penny place!
But for the pit confounders, let them go,
And find as little mercy as they show!
The actors thus, and thus thy poets pray;
For every critic saved, thou damn'st a play.

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Forsaking All Others Part 5

I

TRAINED nurses, trained nurses everywhere­
Trained nurses by night, trained nurses by day -
In the corridors, on the stair,
Looking for towels, carrying a tray;
Saying, 'you mustn't,' 'you must,' 'you may.'
Smooth as to hair, stiff as to skirt,
Kind in a cool, impersonal way,­
Angels of mercy, bright-eyed, alert,
Hard young angels, sent to avert
That older angel of dark despair ­
Stiff starched angels, a trifle curt ­
Trained nurses, trained nurses everywhere.

II

A WHITE figure spoke from the doorway
In a tone deliberately bright:
'Would you like to see the patient
For a moment, and say goodnight?'

Shepherded in like a stranger
He stood beside her bed,
Gazed at those pale, blank eyelids
In that carven ivory head.

Took her hand and heard her
Murmur: 'Is that you, Jim?'
But he knew she was very tired ­
Tired even of him.

Too much spent with the struggle
Of drawing breath to afford
A brief smile - utterly weary,
And more than utterly bored.

III

NEVER before had Ruth been out of reach:
Barriers had been - but only of his making.
Now she had passed beyond the power of speech,
Quite, quite indifferent that his heart was breaking.

Here in the bedroom that he used to share
She lived day after day, averse to living,
Indifferent, unforgiving, unaware
That he had any need of her forgiving.

IV

AT first Lee wrote to him every day
Tactful letters, that let him see
She knew very well he would rather be
With her - but it wasn't the thing to say.

Tactful letters at first, and then
Letters less tactful and more sincere,
Ending: 'Why don't you write to me, dear?'
Write to me . . . over and over again.

But he could not answer her piteous call;
Not exactly that he forgot
Their love, but only that she had not
Any reality for him at all.

She seemed like a pleasant book he had read -
Read and enjoyed; but the printed page
Cannot compete with the heritage
Of Nature. . . the living, and Oh, the dead!

At last he sent her a brief reply:
'I cannot write - or eat or sleep
Just now. I am going through the deep
Waters. Forgive me, dear Lee. Good-bye.'

V


THEN a night came
When in sleep broken
He heard his name
Suddenly spoken.
Into his dream
Horrors flocked thickly­
Was that a scream?
'Better come quicklyl'

Cold was his room
And his hands shaking;
Out of the gloom
Dawn was just breaking­
Dawn cool and green
Over the ocean,
Never more seen
Without emotion
Of death - agony ­
Somebody crying ­
All dawns that dawn, when he
Knew Ruth was dying.

VI


WHAT can you do with a woman's things
After a woman is dead?
Not the bracelets and rings and strings
Of pearls, but the small unvalued things ­
What can I do, Wayne said.

What can you do with a woman's dresses,
After a woman is dead?
Hanging limp in the cedar presses,
They are part of herself, her pretty dresses ­
What can I do, Wayne said.

What can you do with a woman's shoes,
After a woman is dead?
Shoes that perhaps you helped her choose,
Poor little empty half-worn shoes­
What can I do, Wayne said.

What can you do with her brush and comb,
After a woman is dead?
What in God's name can you do with her home
And her loss and her love and her brush and comb ­
What can I do, Wayne said.

VII

UP a little river
Where salmon used to play,
Not twenty miles distant
A little village lay -­
Ruth's native village,
Where Wayne used to go
To see his mother's mother
Many years ago.
Here in a churchyard
With pines along the wall
And a wooden church steeple
Almost too tall,
Here in September,
On a bright clear day
Among the graves of sailors,
They laid Ruth away.

In this same churchyard,
Sitting on the stones,
He had first said he loved her
In young shaken tones.
That had been September,
But not this bright light.
Between the pine-needles
The stars shone white,­
Such a little maiden,
Such a young man­
'I love you.' - And she answered:
'I don't see how you can.'
They had been so happy
They had not cared at all
That the place was a churchyard
With pines along the wall.

VIII

WAYNE stood bareheaded on the churchyard sward
By the open grave under the open sky:
'I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord,
He who believeth in Me shall never die.'

Beautiful, terrible service! He heard a word
Here and there, and then he would drift away
To other memories and things not heard­
Ruth's laugh when she used to laugh, so little and gay.

'When thou with rebukes dost chasten a man from sin..'
Was it sin that had parted him from Ruth?
Was sin the secret corrosion that entered in
Likea moth fretting the garment of love in youth?

Too late, too late! He heard the parson say:
'Before I go hence and be no more seen. . .
A thousand years in thy sight is but as yesterday. . .
Too late, too late! 'As grass in the morning green...'

'Was it Ruth he was leaving here in the churchyard plot­
Could it be Ruth who had gone, not saying good-bye?
'What advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?
Let us eat and drink for to-morrow we die.'

How can a man help eating and drinking?
Die to-morrow! To-day, if he had his will.
How many years must he spend in thinking, thinking
Of the thing which someone has said that all men kill?

Well, he could bear what he must bear - even the sound
Of earth on a coffin falling. What must be must.
'We therefore commit her body to the ground,
Ashes to ashes, earth to earth, dust to dust.'

Prayers! Would they never be done, these killing
Rites for the dead! Ah, there was the organ's roll
From the little church, and children's.voices shrilling,
Piping Ruth's favourite hymn, 'Hark, hark, my soul...'

'Hark, hark, my soul! Angelic songs are swelling
O'er earth's green fields and ocean's wave-beat shore;
How sweet the truth those blessed strains are telling
Of that new life where sin shall be no morel

Angels of Jesus,
Angels of light,
Singing to welcome
The pilgrims of the night.'

IX

'Dear Lee:­
I've tried so many times to write,
And now I must write, for I sail next week
For Italy - Sardinia - I might
Go on to Egypt later, and the Greek Islands.
I may be several years away.

'I loved you, Lee. I wonder if I can
Explain at all what's happened? From your wealth
You gave me freely - more than any man
Has ever had - beauty, wit, youth and health­
I loved you passionately; and now my wife
Is dead. One might expect a mild distress,
A briefly pensive mood. . . Instead, my life
Is shattered. . . is dissolved. . . is meaningless. . .
She whom of late I thought so little of
And saw so little, was, I find, the spring
Of all I did and felt - even of my love
Of you. . . What an insane, incredible thingl
But there it is.

'Dear Lee, this is the truth:
That any marriage founded on devotion
Though that devotion die, as mine for Ruth,
Is not a state, but a unique emotion,
Potent, unalterable - not romantic
Love, though romantic love is where it starts
Marriage begins only when those hot, frantic
Fires have finished welding human hearts.
It is not love, friendship, or partnership,
But this emotion-marriage, of a force
That when it once has held you in its grip
Nothing will free you wholly - not divorce,
Or death, for these destroy not it, but you,
As I am now destroyed.

'Beware, dear Lee,
Of a true marriage, if you are not true
Yourself - or you will be destroyed - like me.'

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Are You Living Again In Heaven?

Are you living again in heaven?
And is that the right place for you?
Because I remember when God took you to heaven
When you left me
So many years ago
Do you think that I am not happy that you are living in heaven?
Of course I am happy for you
Because you had suffered so much here on earth
With your life and your ilness

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Nothing Lasts Forever

Nothing Lasts forever,
That's what my father use to say,
And nothing ever stays the same,
For someday it all will pass away.
I looked upon my father then
And I thought how could he ever change
A man so strong, and who never was wrong,
Wouldn't he always stay the same.
He held my hand when I started to walk.
All those many years ago,
Now I hold his hand, that of a man
How I prayed he would never grow old.

Randy L. McClave

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Soiled Thoughts

I am plagued with soiled thoughts
saying that I made a mistake
so many years ago.
It says I should be crucified
for the wrong that I did.
It says I have been too complacent
with my marriage of convenience
to get away from domineering parents.
They say there was no love in it
and the soiled thoughts may be right,
but they are wrong when they say
I should be crucified
because I do that to myself daily.
There is no escaping my mistakes
no matter how much I try.
The only thing I can do
is to ensure the innocent do not cry
regardless of my tormented soul.

4 December 2008

After word:
This poem was created after overhearing a conversation and is not based on my own life.

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Wolfmans Brother

Well it was many years ago now
But I really cant be sure
Thats when it all began then
I heard that knock upon my door
And the wolfmans brother
The wolfmans brother
Came down on me
The telephone was ringing
Thats when I handed it to liz
She said, this isnt who it would be,
If it wasnt who it is
Its the wolfmans brother,
The wolfmans brother
Came down on me
So I might be on a side street
Or a stairway to the stars
I hear the high pitched cavitation
Of propellers from afar
Its the wolfmans brother...
Come down on me
So with meaningless excitement
And smooth atonal sound
Its like a cross between a hurricane
And a ship thats run aground
Its the wolfmans brother
Coming down on - coming down on me

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