All posts by yodamo

Canto 88: Subcontinental

Muse, speak the man, who since the siege of Troy
So many towns, such change of manners saw

Horace


Hippy

Ten days of peacocks, none dare speak,
From sitting legs-cross’d on cool floor
My knees groan aching as they creak.
Angelica Freitas

Sailing between these tranquil backwaters,
Palm-fring’d horizon burst all around me,
Before this treasuregold of Kerala’s
All made to stand in stark humility,
For scenes like these
Reveal wond’rous nature –
We slipt with sweeten’d ease into Kollam harbour.

The beatnik & his blues guitar
Stumbl’d on this perfect place,
Clift portion of the Malabar;
Sand, ocean, sun & solace,
But secrets are soon scatter’d far,
The Western tourists race
To plant their towel standards on the beach
Round which limpet rest’rants & hotels leech.

I dined with maid Slovenian,
Talk’d art, Trieste & Rome,
Slow flirtation! Our supper done
I walk’d her half-way home,
To make love midst the wave-breaks while the moonbeams snaked the foam.

Varkala
October
2008


Three Seas

When you go, space closes over like water behind you,
Do not look back: there is nothing outside you,
Space is only time visible in a different way
Ivan V. Lalić

At last the Ghats have peter’d to their end,
Sole, savage witch-peaks all which now remain,
Until we reach the grand Cormarin bend
Where ends Amritsar’s forty-eight hour train;
Join’d eclectic
In one wylde, chopping squall
Waves from the Antarctic, Araby & Bengal.

Ashes scatter’d on ocean stream,
Last remains of Mahatma,
Opponent of London’s regime
Nurtured in South Africa,
Returning preaching freedom’s dream
With soft satyahara –
This half naked fakir’s staff thin & long
Ensorcell’d his multitudinous throng.

Ghandi guides a blood red bindi
To rest upon the line
Slipping slowly into the sea,
The sky an evening wine,
I turn left face, step forth for North & Himalayan pine.

Kanayakamari
October
2008


Tamil Nadu

It has no name; silence is its name.
In the nothing, becoming nothing,
begetting nothing; this is everything.
Chris Abani

I winch in each pinch of a varied view,
Shaking to this train’s novelty suspense,
After six sardine hours I’m plunged into
Some busy little city street intense;
Here to sample
Some scene which I was told,
India’s best temple bosom’d in urban fold.

The heart of the Dravidian
Fell to Vijiyanagar,
Who built a Hindu pantheon
Taller than its rising star,
Each kaleidoscopic mountain
Melodic without par,
Enough to urge grown women shed their tears,
Still painted heavenly ev’ry twelve years.

Opium! Coleridgian wish
Heeded by bloodshot man,
Dark, oily dish, crunch… ‘What is this?
Liquerice!…’ My mind’s span
Blew interspatial round the room as thought flew with the fan.

Madurai
October
2008


Indiana Byron

In a small side room appears
a broken-armed statue of Ganesh.
Touching the crumbled marble
Tiziana Colusso

Gorgeous Coromandel, crown prince of coasts,
My wanderlust has earn’d thine ancyent treats,
Meagre are glimpses of the Gallic ghosts
Dwelt within this grid of well ponder’d streets;
An antique chair,
Deep tann’d Gendarmerie,
All that retains the air transported from Paris.

Discovering rare poetry
Is the poet’s shooting star,
Like at Kannayakamari
Where stands Thirruvallavar,
Sri Aurobino’s Savitri,
On grand, Miltonic par,
Words wonderful, more wondrous to behold
Than Cortez did with Moctezuma’s gold.

I wafted in on inland scent
& left by soft, sea breeze,
Before I went…bemustach’d gent…
“A cool kingfisher please!”
I nearly piss’d myself when he hiss’d, “Thirty six rupees!”

Pondicherry
October
2008


Madras

So Gods eternall bounty ever shin’d
The beames of beeing, moving, life, sence, minde,
& to all things him selfe communicated
William Alabaster

My driver sure don’t know the highway code,
Thro vast, suburban, lawless sprawl haring,
Thirty kilometres of ribbon road,
Shops, neon signs & chi stalls commingling;
A diff’rent class
Of Indian City,
Formally Queen Madras, maid of an English sea.

Into the caves of Mylapore
Hot blood gusht from the doubter,
Dragging himself across the floor…
Savage loin-cladded hunter
Hath thrust a spear into his core…
Whispering last prayer
He saw the sweet beatific & he cried,
“Thou art fulfill’d…” the martyr smiled & died.

By Fort Saint George such church stands tall
As English as the Downs,
On sacred wall writ the roll call
Of heroes & of towns,
When London’s lackeys grappl’d with & toppl’d Hindu crowns.

Chennai
October
2008


Andaman

I asked for
this primitive afternoon
away from it all
Richard Allen Taylor

I dawdl’d four days on the Nancowry,
Small taster of the voyages of yore,
Fodder’d on a bland, suspicious thali,
My heart leapt up to see Hanuman’s shore;
Some deep & sheer
Mountain range submarine
Thrusting it’s summits clear in shades of leafy green.

The cellular jail built to last
Thro good ol’ British know how,
Where Freedom Fighters earn repast,
Some colonial Dachau,
Where bull whips crack’d & rough sticks flash’d
Guantanaman know-how
A place where proud blood flows for liberty…
How could my contree build Kalapani?

I took a boat to Ross island
Across clear water’d bay,
Wylde Banyans stand on buildings grand,
Imperious Pompeii,
Where now the White Man’s Burden is a ghost town in decay.

Port Blair
October
2008


Bengal Bay

I love, O, how I love to ride
On the fierce, foaming, bursting tide,
When every mad wave drowns the moon
Barry Cornwall

We sail’d from the comforts of Port Blair
Into the wide-wave level loveliness,
We men have conquer’d mountains, moats & air,
But never on deep ocean made impress;
We watch’d the fins
Of silver fish skimming
Where flipp’d slick-back Dolphins ribbon’d in star-swimming.

Empiric British ambition
Found a human pulse in Clive,
Whose self-righteous indignation
Blazed triumphant to arrive
& address the situation
Within this Nawab’s hive,
His tiny fleet transporting all his boys,
These royal redcoats & loyal sepoys.

We sighted land on the fourth day,
Sunder’d by a river,
Naiad gateway to the wide way
Of th’AryaVarta –
I have travers’d from South to North via the Nirvana!

Hugli
October
2008


Colonial

News from a forrein Country came,
As if my Treasure & my Wealth lay there;
So much it did my Heart Enflame !
Thomas Traherne

Akbar’s passengers rush from the harbour,
Haul’d by rickshaw thro’ wacky racer streets,
Power’d by pedal, petrol or runner,
Til once again the Western posse meets
Mid Sudder’s share
Of the Imperatrix
I felt without a care, bouy´d up by British bricks.

Magnificent Pax Mughala
Declines into decadence,
The Nawab, Siraj-ud-Daula
Grows in scope & confidence,
His army march’d to Kolkatta
& English arrogance –
Abandon’d, but for those too late to leave…
Slamm’d in the hole…dawn breaks…few left to breathe.

Grand ocean of humanity,
Sea of friendly faces,
From to native tea, & black taxi,
Betting down the races,
An excellent community garnished with English graces.

Calcutta
October
2008


Forgotten Fields

I see it as I leave the inn
The dark of night, an evil djinn
Pursues me close, each step I take
Fadhil Al-Azzawi

Life simple mid familiar surrounds,
But senses of adventure grow depress’d
So I set forth, a hunter with the hounds,
In pursuit of another interest;
Some battlefield
Lies died for to the North,
If feeling it shall yield a call may be of worth.

All in this monsoon of Indra’s
Growl the scowling guns of France,
By rhino shields & scimitars
Howdah’d behemoths advance…
Rudely halted by Clive’s soldiers!
Mir Jaffa sees the chance,
His mass of decision led from the field,
This treachery the Nawabcy must yield.

My cycle rickshaw gliding hies
From the glean of battle,
A poets prize…dark dragonflies
Dart oer the arable –
My guide plants me on northbound bus roaring at full throttle!

Plassey
October
2008

Canto 89: Amang the Vedas

King falcons of Britain, your chief song I fashion
Your chief praise I bear:
I’ll act as your bard, your judge
Your support, it befits me

Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr


Bus Crash

I think about the moments
Moments I dread
Moments I can’t seem to forget
Muhammad Afzal

I awoke in a strange, white-sheeted bed,
Fellow passengers moaning in sev’ral ways,
Soak’d in blood & clutching a concuss’d head
I stumb’ld to a taxi in a daze!
“Driver, just drive!”
I fled that hospital
Lucky to be alive, the crash had been fatal.

Why am I in a strange white bed,
Woke by moans? to my amaze,
Bags lying by my concuss’d head,
Stumbling out in blood-soak’d haze,
In old, odd rickshaw off I sped
Such are our brave young days,
Though full of life oftentimes we feel faint
When thunder breaks & goddesses our saint

I took a room to convalesce
Mid palatial surrounds,
I was a mess, for more or less
A week of sleeps & sounds,
Until half-heal’d I took the sights, great palaces & grounds.

Murshidabad
October
2008


Sacred City

Wither’d lotus petals,
Pale, faded,
Aged stems tottering in the wind
Liu Ping-chung

Alluvial flatlands roll ever West,
The Ganga Matha shimmers into sight,
Here came the British banquet of conquest
To dine on the age old City of Light;
Siva’s domain
Beside her fragrant flow
Where marigold & grain ash-daub’d ascetics throw.

To Sarnath, thou deer park of bliss,
Stretch’d by the Holy River,
He came, gave men a kiss,
“No longer I Siddhartha!”
They knew not what to make of this,
“Call me, please, the Buddha!”
They sat & listen’d to the first sermon
Soft on the lips of the enlighten’d one.

Hypnofixed on that bamboo bier
Down by the riverside,
The pyres appear, fire’d atmosphere
Reeking for those that died
Their blessed death, Kashi lit up as Vedic chantsmen vied.

Varanasi
October
2008


Mutiny

In ripen’d years, when blood flows cool,
Then mankind cease to play the fool,
Grow mighty cautious, grave & wise
Allan Ramsay

Countryside chiming like a park of Kent,
No wonder here they chose to stamp the Pax,
Alas, civilisation really meant,
The ignorance, the excrescence, the tax;
Shame struck the Oudh,
Their noble kingdom next,
Shamed as their Nawab bow’d while the British annex’d.

The North declared the battleground,
Fuels focus for mutiny,
Fifty thousand aggriev’d surround
Eurasian residency,
All day & night the cannon’s pound
The dreams of Dalhousie,
Til’ Redcoats, march’d under merciless skies,
Redemption bring, slaying those who’d dared rise.

Regent ruins as red as dust,
Cupid’s nuzzling couples,
Are held in trust, coated with dust
From those desp’rate battles,
They form symbolic sepulchre of empiric shackles.

Lucknow
October
2008


Delhi

This is a sight that Wordsworth never knew,
whether looking down from mountain, bridge or hill:
An endless field of lights, white, orange, & blue
Bruce Bawer

I stood tall as the mountains for a week,
Better tall than a tourist at the Taj,
Each morn spent with the Empire’s highest peak,
The summit of my soiree round the Raj;
With dew-eyed wrench
I ride back to battle,
The noise, the heat, the stench cloaking the capital.

From the steppes of central Asia
Camest Nadir Shah, great guest
Of mickle-minded emporer,
Th’ancestral riches to wrest,
Twas a festival of slaughter,
Blood splasht on treasure chest
As seized from the fabulous peacock throne
He gripp’d the Koh-i-Noor, Babar’s bright stone.

As a hundred Sunday innings
Spreads round the grassy mile,
Tricky spinnings, wicket winnings,
Each man an Anglophile,
For cricket is to India as Egypt needs the Nile.
New delhi

Old Delhi
November
2008


Taj Mahal

in its eyes you will see a rare
ancestor
a mystique, long gone
Ana Golejshka Dzikova

To leave no regrets is to lead good life,
& so, despite cursing the tourist trail,
That glory-monument to man & wife
Upon my wanderlust must now prevail;
Oer crowd & lane
The Taj Mahal arose,
No dome of France nor Spain could match her matchless poise.

The house of Shah Jahan grew hushed
His grief was overbearing,
But chieftains prosper best when crush’d,
The weeping wreath outwearing,
He briefly with the heavens brushed,
All who saw were staring,
A testament to beauty’s deep adore,
The Taj Mahal, Cupid’s conquistador.

With prime Indian Icon
Tick’d from my tourist box,
The North was won, tour almost done,
As workers watch the clocks,
Downloading my flight details as the homeward notion knocks.

Agra
November
2008


Cricket

Since man’s but pasted up of Earth,
& ne’er was cradled in the skies,
What Terra Lemnia gave thee birth
John Hall

This short, Byronic sortie to the East,
Sometimes tourist, sometimes adventurer,
Sees sublime sunsets as each new night pieced
This myriad India together;
Yon Udaipur,
The honeymooner’s dream,
I trundl’d to Jaipur to watch my native team.

Some worship Christianity,
Or pray five times to Mecca,
Perhaps Laxsmi, Saraswathi,
Lord Vishnu, Krishna, Siva,
The Buddha, Kali, Parvati,
Durga or Ganesha,
But all thro India one god is king –
Sachin Tendulkar at the opening.

With Brits I met at Andaman
We watch’d a thrilling game,
With swifty ton K Peiterson
Native spin bowlers tame,
Each stroke applauded by our hosts, the batsman flashing flame.

Jaipur
November
2008


Kipling Country

With me along some Strip of Herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave & Sultan scarce is known
Omar Khayyam

Reaching the eastern edge of Rajstahan
The stands abandoned fortress goblin-hewn
While wandering within & round its span
I wondered if it was some vedic boon;
Neath red rampart
I Kipling’d for a week,
For poets slowly part from places quite unique.

From dying Satis’ final words
Flew an ancyent prophecy,
“When princes meet hunting the herds,
Born of Mewar & Bundi,
One must die!” Ajit aim’d at birds,
His arrow flies keenly…
Whether by chance, by fate, by secret gain,
Rana, the prince of Udaipur, lay slain.

I took a ride thro villagery,
Sought out a waterfall,
It seemed to me like ecstasy,
Immersing body’s all,
& driving back, dried by the breeze, felt burdens lift from soul.

Bundi
November
2008


Desert Fortress

I have sought, but I seek it vainly,
That one lost chord divine,
Which came from the soul of the organ
Arthur Sullivan

My camel treks thro’ realms of chivalry,
Follow’d barefoot by this gypsy player
Conjuring scenes upon his Sarrangee,
Charming the desert night with sung prayer;
Ah! Completed
Is our nomadic flow,
An ancyent city stood on tabletop plateau.

At the steep walls of the fortress
Insatiable Akbar stared,
Those soldiers in their saffron dress
Say Jauhar has beenm declared,
They rode to die in gentilesse,
A martyrdom soon shared…
As wives & children step in to the fire
Chants of victory climb with the empire.

The sun hoists flame up oer the walls,
A cruel & hostile red,
My contree calls, fresh footstep falls
By dry Ghamberi’s bed,
Aim’d at Burnley, on the dusty Daksinpatha I tread.

Chittorgarh
November
2008


L´Envoi

How far from Malaya
To snowy Ben Doran?
How far from Johore to Saltcoats or Ross?
David Ross

I pause in Ratlam for a two night stay,
My long tours’s circle drawing to a close,
An obscure spot to while the last full day
Before the latest triumph of the Rose;
One more sleeper,
Neath overarching sky,
Yon the pale Narmarda, pulls back into Mumbai.

I saw so many miseries
But I saw much beauty too,
All of mankind’s categories
Thro’ this single city drew,
What mixture of cacophonies
Climb’d with the morning dew –
Them to mine ears did seem a morning choir,
The chauntings of the children of empire.

I step ‘tween mendicants, oxen,
Fresh stools, strays, tips & crows,
Strange monkeymen, hags, swine & then
A sense of friendship grows,
One glorious sub-continent, as complex as a rose!

Dharavi
November
2008

Canto 90: Terrorism

De todo
un Poco
tengo para todos

Pablo Naruda


Bollywooder

Each pace precipitates an infinite staircase,
Each gesture the nucleus of a new cosmos.
If the wise sows not, he is but barren reason
Alejandro Jodorowsky

Some say Bollywood is monotonous,
Verdict of thirty thousand King & I’s,
But life is better led monogamous,
Too many fingers & too many pies;
Pluck’d from the street
An extra was I made,
Thro fancy dress & heat & thousand rupees paid.

I met her in a dressing room,
Fair actress of the Deccan,
Both hearts beating a little boom
As though we duelled at Tekken,
The jewels of romancing bloom
Well, that’s what I reckon,
For from this pretty princess of the Raj
An invitation to dine at the Taj.

My life blended with India,
O diamond in the crown!
The emperor, the hag-beggar,
The pale-face & the brown,
The gutter-dwellers looking up the godheads looking down.

Mumbai
November 26th 2008
19.00


Angels of Death

So warm were they, with destinies
Like straining stars that lustrously
Bore Goethes, Newtons not to be
Olive Tilford Dargan

The Kuber grew dense with the stench of death,
Decks sticky with the dead crews’ bloody pool,
Their captain panicking breath-on-sharp-breath
Beneath such bullies barely out of school;
“Tis Allah’s will
&, with Allah willing,
Five thousand we shall kill, kill & keep on killing!”

Each lad was born in poverty
Midst the slums of Pakistan,
Each son was bought for no small fee,
Little pawns in grander plan,
Up in Thatta’s rugged country
Hard train’d the Taliban
& the keen-eyed Lashkar-e-Taiba,
Melding proud, young footsoldiers together.

When them just ten miles from the shore,
They cut the captain’s throat,
With bag & oar ten ‘students’ pour
Into a dinghy boat,
Flinging Islamic retribution ‘cross the Mumbai moat.

The Arabian Sea
November 26th 2008
19.30


First Landing

A man may tear a jewel
From a monster’s jaws
Cross a tumultuous sea
Bhartrihari

Night nestled midst the vast financial core
Of our globe’s most massive democracy,
Where twenty seven million or more
Live in a state of guarded apathy;
The terror threat
For Mumbaikers distinct,
But far too fast to fret vast lives in living link’d.

Three wallahs watch the rubber craft
Slip inside their slummy quay,
Ten kempt lads leap ashore & laugh’d,
Shaking off the liquid sea,
An old man thought this rather daft,
Asking who could they be?
Mind your business,” spoke a lad in blue,
Not in Mharati but fluent Urdu.

They clasp’d each others shoulder-blades,
& there did pray awhile,
Ten young, outrageous renegades
Into five pairs now file,
& flag down five black hackney cabs to fly the final mile.

Colaba
November 26th 2008
20:30


Last Supper

Before the bed of death
No ghastly spectre stood—but from the porch
Of life, the lip—one kiss inhaled the breath
Friedrich von Schiller

Full unaware he bore Death’s messengers,
Their shifty ambience so strange & cold,
Mohammed dropp’d off his young passengers
Outside the bustling Café Leopold;
A famous place
Racing with western dress
Whose smiling, happy face would soon be bloody mess.

At first a hand grenade goes off
In momentary stunning
Unpitying the gunmen scoff
At cowering & running
Aiming their train’d kalashnikov
At them all down-gunning –
If you were eating in this place that night
A bullet would have been your only bite!

The gunmen smugly stroll’d outside
Into an empty street
The shutters slide as all folks hide
& fleet are fleeing feet
As two young Muslims move along these murders to repeat.

Colaba
November 26th 2008
21.00


Victoria Station

Men watched the drama from the foreturret,
Perched on the crosstrees, on the yards & masts
In an exploded pyramid of caste
Douglas Dunn

Still dripping in her British Empire bling,
Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus,
To temple, village, wages & wedding
Carries half of India’s passengers;
Fifty-four lives
Buy their one-way singles,
Amang men, bairns & wives random murder mingles.

As Ajamal sprays cold bullets wide
He feels the floor vibrating,
The sadness of his suicide
This moment satiating,
His friend & team-mate by his side
& them hyped awaiting
The Heaven that a martyr hopes to gain,
Thoughts amplified by infidels in pain.

As policemen leapt into battle,
They instantly leapt out,
Pot-shot pistols, jamming rifles,
Were never in the bout,
Where should be gushing bravery but fluster-headed drought.

CST Sation
November 26th 2008
21:30


Antisemitismus

How beautiful it would have been
Living under that roof
The two together always
Manuel Acuna

The Rabbi kiss’d his nappied son to sleep
Whose nanny said he’d been quite strange all day
Now down a squeaky staircase he did creep
Protecting infant dreams of cakes & play
What loud KERBLANG!!!
No all is roar & spin
As arm’d with claw & fang twin demons roam within.

As the Jews are band of brothers
So their enemies are too
A young couple & their mothers
Slaughter’d without ado
For they feel that fifty others
Balanced by one dead Jew;
But some still live, the Rabbi’s family –
His wife Rivkah, their son & his nanny

Like actors in a tragic play
The gunmen centre stage
Whose bullets crazy ricochet
In quaquarversal rage
More murder in the streets, below these lions in their cage.

Naruman House
November 26th 2008
21.45


A Small Matter of Timing

Alone at the bar, strangers everywhere,
the waiter is filling my glass with wine
glass after glass
Mohammed Bennis

As gunmen from the sanguine Leopold
Make contact with a fellow battleteam
For the next part of the raid to unfold
They must now strike at Mumbai’s social cream;
Security
All gunn’d down at the dawn
Such brash militancy the world has never known!

So, as I felt a movie star
Soaking up the superb views
Some Maharajah at the bar
Sparkling in his diamond shoes
My soul sensed Vishnu’s avatar
& there began to muse
On this moment’s explosive catalyst
A thousand thoughts too terrible to list!

I’d never felt alive before
Our streets now the front line
As more & more the art of war
Moves through this life of mine
First nervousness on undergrounds now gunsounds as we dine!

The Golden Dragon
November 26th 2008
21.55


Attacking the Taj

I pity all that evil are –
I pity & I mourn,
But the Supreme hath fashioned all
Robert Nicol

As gunmen from the sanguine Leopold
Make contact with a fellow battleteam,
For the next part of the raid to unfold
They’ll have to strike at Mumbai’s social cream;
Security
Gunn’d down quite merciless,
Jumpit militancy,  girl slumps dead in a dress!

I felt a modern movie star
Soaking up the superb views,
Some Maharajah at the bar
In his sparkling diamond shoes,
Soul sensing Vishnu’s avatar
& there began to muse
Upon this night’s explosive catalyst,
A thousand thoughts too terrible to list!

I’d never felt alive before,
Our streets now the front line,
As more & more the Art of War,
Moves through this life of mine,
First nervousness on undergrounds now gunsounds as we dine!

The Golden Dragon
November 26th 2008
22.00


Death of a Bell-boy

Alas ! that death-like Sleep, or Night,
Should power have to close those Eyes ;
Which once vy’d with the fairest Light
Richard Leigh

Inside the Trident Oberoi hotel
The bell-boy stuck to that boring routine,
Of guest, & bag, & lift, & room, & bell
That strict path ground out since he was sixteen;
What was that sound,
Like cars cought in a crash?
He fearing spins around to see the front doors smash

& caught a bullet in the gut
& fell like Balfour pheasant
Losing sensation in his foot
His vision deliquescent
He slowly let his eyelids shut
His heart grew hesitant
Then beat its last & as his limbs relax
His brain shuts down like wick-flame doused in wax.

As gunfire rattled floor to floor
All the guests grew fearful
Phoning the law, bolting the door
For something horrible
Was happening in their hotel, something incredible.

Trident
November 26th 2008
22.00

Canto 91: Bleeding Streets

The most persistant sound which reverberates through man’s history is the beating of war drums

Arthur Koestler


Random Murder

I will walk these streets
without fear of whatever unforeseen
may lunge at me when I’m lost in thought
Miguel Barnet

A taxi stopp’d for Laxmi Narayan,
A businessman now several minutes late,
With hindsight ‘twould be better if he’d ran.
& put escaping death down to good fate;
Seconds to slow
Kasab’s black bag was seen,
That with a bull’s  bellow proceeds to smithereen!

Five taxis had quite random fann’d,
All thro’ the conurbation,
Each setting up a firebrand
To spread the devastation,
A Muslim Iman lost a hand
In a petrol station,
Proving how conflict in religion’s name
More ploy by power delegating blame.

She was a happy citizen
& now she has no legs,
Another sundown denizen
To join the gutter-dregs,
Like blind & tuneful eunuchs or the waddling leper-pegs.

Wadi Bunder
November 26th 2008
22.20


Wounded!

And will future generations
recite these stories by heart, hand
over chest?
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

The call came in from deepest Pakistan,
“Brothers, you may commence your killing spree!”
But nothing in their multi-layer’d plan
Prepar’d them for such pangs of luxury;
Wild opulence
Blows peasant minds aback…
Gathering their senses they went on the attack.

Splitting their murder squad in two
One vaults the cantilever,
& every movement, in their view
Soon dying non-believer,
Into my own life-space they flew
Like the swine-flu fever,
Unwelcome & unwanted & unwell,
We sweated til a bullet broke the spell.

Shot ripping thro’ mine upper arm,
Dropp’d I, death-pretending,
No magi psalm, no pagan charm
Could prevent death’s pending…
So held my breath until I heard those murderers descending

The Golden Dragon
November 26th 2008
22:35


Callousosities

Through the view of the city
In flames, we rewound times
Of executions at beaches
Ben Okri

With policemen reeling like headless chickens
Ismail & Ajmal leave the groaning hall,
Such sad sight of sticky bodies sickens,
This was no movie-shooting, not at all;
A baby wail’d
Beside its dying kin,
As when the Ak-Ak fail’d to save wargrave Berlin.

By GPS these gunmen roam,
To perpetrate further crimes
Moving thro’ lamplit monochrome
As if marching under limes,
Loosing three potshots at the home
Of India’s own Times,
Then passing Hazad Madan Police Force hide
Gates lock’d & lights switch’d off, all terrified.

They choose a hospital instead
To carry on the cause,
The hurried spread of slurried dead
Across the city’s floors,
But found their prospects block’d by doctors locking all the doors.

Cama
November 26th 2008
22.45


Death of Heman Kukari

Anguish, anguish is my heritage
my throat’s wound
my heart’s cry in the world
Par Lagerkvist

Ajmal felt Ismail was a Hashemite
& Mumbai a modern Acaladama,
Sad trails of bumbledom bled thro’ the night
& now, as they exited the Cama,
A car appears,
Four policemen trapp’d within,
As turkey chassis nears its shot into a spin.

Mumbai’s first counter-terrorist
Flung unbreathing from his seat,
Two more top cops dragg’d by the wrist
For to bleed out in the street,
The fourth cop quickly got the gist
& barely breath’d a beat –
Awkward, wounded, pretending to be dead,
He hoped he could be useful as he bled.

As Ismail sped a getaway
Ajmal got out his gun,
A silver spray, a ricochet
Cuts down a Cath’lic nun
These might have been his ending-hours, but  god damn he’d have fun!

23.15
November 26th 2008
Cama


Modern Battles

For it’s order & trumpet & anger & drum,
And power & glory command you to come
The graves shall fly open & suck you all in
WH Auden

The terrorists secured room 632,
A perfect stronghold for the coming fray,
For India’s fury at them, they knew,
Would soon be flung as Cossacks heckl’d Ney;
Steroids, cocaine,
Syringes, LSD,
All weariness will wane aface the enemy.

They gather’d silken mattresses
& set the Taj aflame,
Giving the world such images
As to match Bin Laden’s fame,
The sixth floor burning glorious,
Alight in Allah’s name,
A vision strewn from London to Lahore
An instant twitter’d shore to distant shore.

I stagger’d in a bloody daze
Up to the rooftop high,
Watching the blazing fingers raise
Their angers to the sky,
& waiting for my rescuers sat down & wondered why?

Taj
November 26th 2008
23.30


Captured

I ask’d a dying sinner, ere the tide
Of life had left his veins, – “Time!” he replied;
“I’ve lost ot! ah, the treasure!” & he died
Joshua Marsden

Finding a bullet had a back tyre blown,
Ismail & Ajmal a fresh car  hijack,
Behind, a bleeding cop took drags out  his phone
A witness to their terrible attack,
“But that was then!”
He cried, “& this is now!
Warn all the men, yes warn them all, they’re headed for Gilgao!

His comrades built a strong blockade,
As Skoda toward it sped,
Spinning before the barricade,
Like a weaver works a thread,
As Ismail finger’d his grenade
A volley blasts him dead,
Ajmal stumbles out feigning surrender
Gun hidden for final, senseless murder.

Noble Ombli leapt on Ajmal,
& took shot-after-shot
& as he fell his comrades yell,
Ascrum the gunman got,
A vital living clue for to unravel this foul plot.

Girgaun
November 27th 2008
00.15


Reactions

Well may the cavern depths of earth
Be shaken & her mountains nod;
Well may the sheeted dead come forth
JG Whittier

Far from a local policeman’s lethargy
Delhi’s commandos flown into the fray,
The bullish fervour of the NSG,
Design’d to keep Bin Laden’s dogs at bay;
Relief at last,
With the hardware grounded,
Before an hour has pass’d all flashpoints surrounded.

Mumbaikers bolted every door,
Their streets are mostly empty,
They’d never felt such fear before,
Tho’ fear they’d had & plenty,
Incredulity thro’ them tore
As down at CST
Bodies betow’d away by porter cars –
A city under siege & under stars!

Old tailor sat glued to his set,
Etch’d head held in wise hands,
Weary & wretched sensed the threat
From window-smashing bands,
A Muslim in the Hindu sphere, ‘Revenge!’ Mumbai demands.

Dharavi
01.30


Mumbai Musings

When this is all over I’ll make it up to you,
we’ll sit down and talk, as normal people do.
Evasiveness and half-truths will be a thing of the past
Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa

I stood upon the rooftop of the Taj,
All fire & brimstone in the floors below,
Strange place to find my soiree round the Raj,
A seat no other man would surely know;
Art lock’d in synch,
My subject & my song,
& I the living link, some lyrical King Kong.

As helicopters overhead
Went swoop-a-hoop like dragons,
I saw the discs & cable thread
Of pressmen in their wagons,
Wonder’d how many then were dead,
Lives fell’d by terror-guns,
In stiffen’d heaps of twisted sleeping piled,
It seem’d as if Laxsmi on me had smiled.

I watch the sunrise in the East,
Thank Surya for it,
Alive at least, the day’s deceas’d
Speaking to my poet,
“Remember us forever, sir, let your verses show it”

Taj
November 27th 2008
06:30


Sandra Samuel

I hang on the edge
of this universe
singing off-key
Nikki Giovanni

When morning broke the Rabbi clung to life,
His hope the hand that clings to clifftop ledge,
“As hostages,” he soothes his antsy wife,
“Why would they ever cast us ‘cross the edge!”
Just one phone call
Demolishes their dreams,
Shot parents stain wall while little Moska screams.

His nanny left the hiding place
As the gunfire moved elsewhere,
& charging up the back staircase
Took the baby in her care,
Stared awhile atdaddy’s face
That blankly back did stare
Then rush’d outside quite antilochus-fast –
Thro’ courage & quick-thinking dangers pass’d.

The operation’s master-throne
Watches events unfold,
Then telephones, the gunmen groan,
At slackness he did scald,
To hear, “You’re very close to Heaven, brothers please be bold.”

Naruman House
November 27th 2008
8.30

Canto 92: Visions

An eye for an eye blinds the world

Ghandi


An Unusual Wedding

The echo rings of a strange mystery,
The human cry, the sobs of misery
Of a wild desperate love — defeated — spent
Ada Negri

With Mumbai’s grandest icon all aflame
& government resolve set to sternest,
The chief of police at last defends his name,
“Begin evacuation in earnest!
The enemy
Trapp’d on an upper floor!
Beneath them solemnly, lie casualties of war!”

Our weddings are inspiring
A day to never forget,
Guests were huddl’d from the firing
Like young tuna near a net,
From their miseries retiring
They’d play’d Russian roulette –
Breathless, blinkless, scatter’d in shatter’d rooms –
Nerves shredded, heartbeats leaping at the booms.

The groom was safely led outside,
Eyes blinking in the light,
O how they cried, his sweet, young bride
Stood there in sari white,
Thou’ stain’d with others’ bloodshed, it had been a dreadful night.

Taj Mahal Hotel
November 27th 2008
10.30


Mopping Up

Never will I stop crying
yesterday’s memories will
always linger
Mutabaruka

As Berlin drank the dregs of Hitler’s war
With Allies all-denuding on all sides
The denoument of sixty hours of gore
Closes on two lads with no hope to hide;
Their final stand
Beneath blades heliborne
Sought out by death’s dread hand their manly vigour worn.

A rocket flew into their room
Half-a-second ‘fore demise
That with a flash & crash & BOOM
Blew the brains out of their eyes
‘Twas an instantaneous doom
& as the battle dies
The city streets all beeps & cheering pup
As if Tendulkar had won the World Cup.

They brought ten bodies from the shell
Prayed for the lost rabbi
For when war-hell on humans fell
A few Jews too must die
Like when to Auschwitz Berlin diverted her gas supply.

Naruman House
November 27th 2008
13:00


Inspirations

Always catching the thread
Of actions, histories,
To live, to think, to feel, to love
Boris Pasternak

The glitz, the glamour & the grandiose
Reduced to rubble at that privilege,
Now future tourists shall forever pose
By Taj & Trident as at Arnhem Bridge;
The all-clear sounds,
The hotels are secure,
Namore howling hellhounds must Mumbaikers endure.

While standing in the CST
I closed mine eyes a moment,
Imagining the liberty
Of murderous militant
The escharotic agony
Of scrannel innocent –
My gloomy heart begins to palpitate
Full ruminating on a friendless fate.

I desquamate to sleeper class
Upon the Hospet train,
To slowly pass that mighty mass
Of skyscraper & crane,
Sat fingering my bullet-wound & wincing at the pain

Mumbai
December
2008


Oasis

There are days like that
which sing orange and red
in the forest of our ordinary green
Moya Cannon

As Ghats give way to wide Deccan plateau
Hard is the journey – dusty, hot & dry –
As into view wyrd mounds of boulders grow
Ruin’d pillars that yore-since bouy’d the sky;
An Eastern Rome
Once soar’d amidst the stone,
The great King Krishna’s home now rubble, husk & bone.

This was a place to muse on man
In the ruins of his past,
Far from the world’s tobacco ban
& it’s television mast,
Was this part of a divine plan
Or mortal plaster cast –
Scenery settled in serenity,
A haven from human hostility.

Gliding by graceful coracle,
Serene as English spa,
Aft brief ramble, robust scramble,
Claim summit…from afar
Pastel lustr’d sunsets muster’d oer Vijiyanagar.

Hampi
December
2008


Civilisations

This evening walk deserves a poem.
A plane gleaming over the suburbs
Sinks into the bluish dusk
Semezdin Mehmedinović

As truck on truck announced wide cityscape,
With glassy towers scraping hazy sky,
I hoped immediately to escape,
The modern world where monies multiply;
Where east meets west
This valley silicon
Like some ten-headed beast born for armageddon.

A whirl of British companies,
Thought it better to offload
Its highly taxed dependencies
Sending British jobs abroad
Computerised communities
Spread down the KH road
Eye of the vortex that is man’s progress –
Sports complexes, xerox & western dress.

As I tried to leave the city
The streets were cramm’d gridlock,
Grimy, gritty, slimy, shitty,
Til well past eight o clock
A vision of commuter hell, confusing ragnaraok.

Bangalore
December
2009


Reaching Arunachala

The muse of wisdom with the beauty of creation,
The fragrance of life with the romance of nature,
The vigour of the truth!
Edward Kofi Louis

As busses thunder over Tamil plains
I wonder why my muse has brought me here
Until, out of the misty monsoon rains,
Strange, solitary mountainscapes appear;
Them mystic climb
& one especially
Inspires my mind to rhyme & find good poetry

Arunachala rising red
Mountain of sacred musing,
Upon thy peak I’ll make a bed
& there with future fusing
I’ll sing the visions in my head
Happily perusing
Thro all the written scrolls of things to come
Such as… Chyren took Greece from Pergamum!”

I snapp’d out of that sayer-trance
& stept down from the bus
Into a handsome human dance
Of poori, fruit & fuss,
& faced the mountain as Saint Paul first sail’d from Ephesus

Thiruvannamali
December
2008


Annagalactica

Fashioned to carry the world,
Satisfied with the shape of my nose,
Which should breathe all the air of the World
Bernard Dadié

Peering deep into planetary shift
Blisses man’s mind with Anaxagoras
Seeing events as they sway wide & drift
Thro happening’s full unexpectedness;
Pelagius
Defined the same seer-tricks
As divine Dante does descrying Beatrix.

& so, as strands of time converge,
On a space up in the spheres
Strange visions of events emerge
Far across the span of years
That flicker to & fro & surge
Til nearer each appears –
Strange omens of Jehova & the Beast
& that last battle in the Middle East.

When all these scenes eclampsian
Are driven off by dawn
Some laurel-mantl’d dragoman
On Siva’s sacred throne,
Etching grand mythopoeics, turn two cantos into stone.

Arunachala


Mystic Mountain

While his staff the traveller handles
In his weary journeying,
Thorns may tear his dusty sandals
TG Spear

As busses thunder’d over Tamil plains,
I wonder’d why my Muse had brought me here
Until, out of the misty monsoon rains,
Strange, solitary mountainscapes appear;
Them mystic climb
& one especially,
Inspiring mind to rhyme & find good poetry

Arunachala rising red,
Mountain of sacred musing,
Upon thy peak I’ll make a bed
& there with future fusing,
I’ll sing the visions in my head
Happily perusing,
Thro’ parch-lipp’d patterns as they slow rehearse,
The long resounding march of epic verse.”

I snapp’d out of that sayer-trance
& stept down from the bus
Into a handsome human dance
Of poori, fruit & fuss,
& faced the mountain as Saint Paul first sail’d from Ephesus

Thiruvannamali
December
2008


Lingamica

it is with joy that I sit
here. It is life I hold dear
in the ordinary quiet
Sally Nacker

As I ascend those smooth, bouldering slopes
My spiritus smouldering with desire
All history & all my heartfelt hopes
Kindle fresh sparks of man’s immortal fire;
My lips slow parch
As patterns they rehearse,
The long resounding march of old, heroic verse.

I have reach’d the sacred summit
Oer Thiruvannamali,
With the inkpen of the poet
& a modus of Magi,
Awaiting some untroubl’d fit
Those Deities supply,
To gently come into my feeble breast
& this falconic flight feel it infest.

I sat cross-legged, folded arms,
My third eye opens wide,
Beyond the farms, Pondy’s gendarmes,
The Bay of Bengal’s glide,
Then visions drive deep into space t’where sayer-stars abide.

Tamil Nadu
December
2008

Canto 93: Inferno

Study the past, if you would divine the future

Confucious


Invocations

sometimes I talk in my sleep
funny how unconscious
I’m at my most awake
Megan Mccorquodale

I sat alone singing the Song of Man,
When every beating heart swam through mine own,
A swirl of swans sang in the summer’s van
& I, a sentinel on Siva’s throne;
His lingam flows
Before me in a flame,
As lovely as the rose Persophone became.

Strange lights & stranger sounds rang out
Above the global babble,
My spirit turning inside out,
The mage in me must dabble,
Assuaging all my deep-felt doubt,
‘Rise up from the rabble,’
& hope beyond all hope my soul may pass
The last oppression of the poet-class!

This is no simple shepherd’s song
Once sung in Sicily,
For right or wrong we bards belong
In stranger company,
Sat at the feet of godhead, pledg’d before infinity.

Arunachala


Poetic Meeting

Now (turned into a Man under obscure measures),
I feel within me the germs of future existences,
lives that shall rise and soar to find higher reaches
Juan Ramón Molina

From Poppi’s field rose enchanting accent,
Dante Alighieri is my name,
Sent to attend poetical descent
Into the ovens of infernal flame!”
“Let it be so,
Let us retrace the ride
That was thine Inferno, when Virgil was thy guide.”

Poet, thy path we have observ’d
From heavenly echelons,
How thro’ thy task ye have conserv’d
Man’s Wars & his raw weapons,
How ye wonder’d what hells reserv’d
For man’s evil actions –
For questions to be illuminated,
My mortal form her rejuvenated.”

The poet led me from the peak
Tho’ all seem’d in my mind –
Forest of teak, bent branches creak
Before us & behind,
Until we reach Hell’s opening by devil’s art design’d

Asia


Gates of Hell

lord lord
I have sinned and I confess it
but it isn’t really all my fault
Emmanuel Boundzéki Dongala

‘ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE,’
Dante trembl’d once more before the gloom,
Then to nook-smitten depths did dissapear,
I join’d him as a robber stalks a tomb;
As deep distance
Echoes a frightful sound,
Sonambulants advance cautiously underground.

“Pray, Dante, stray not far from me,
As into Hades we go,”
Soon rose lung-black cacophony,
Emmuted groans of limbo,
By Acheron, glutting vile sea,
In stagnant, livid flow,
Where Charon waits to ferry fools & kings,
His haunted face bloated with hornet stings.

With old proverbs our pilot paid,
Who blinkless gave no thanks,
But silent stay’d, the boat obey’d,
Sliding tween fetid banks,
Scudding beside a sorry shore, rats scuttling on the planks.

The First Circle of Hell


Ancyent Wisdom

Pardon will he obtain, who will call upon
God, and despise Him not,
And heaven the night he dies.
St Eleath

Girdling circles of this infernal world
Spiral before us to a point unknown,
Thro womby vaultages shriek’d anguish swirl’d,
Like spinning pennies grating round a cone;
Lone fortess rose
A thermaeshetic throng,
Where pagan bards compose in schools of eaglesong.

We stepp’d within those rustic walls,
Pleasant portion of Hades,
Where wise old tribes of gallant souls
Shared the wealth of their degrees,
But as none Gesu’s faith enthralls
Satanus did them seize,
Being too good to wallow in the dark
Condemn’d to dwell within Hell’s only park.

I convers’d with Virgil, Shelley,
Ceasar & Cicero,
Then Homer spoke of poetry,
We listen’d to him flow,
Discussing epic simile til time had swung to go.

Pagan Park


Hell’s Generals

I’ve never seen that before
I say: my fear surprises me
I say: now I understand
Naja Marie Aidt

We pass three praetors of human dross;
First Minos, watcher of the lustful breed,
Cerberus of the wretched gluttinous,
& Pluto, master of the violent creed;
Pray pause our course,
I know many by name,
Who used god-given force to punch & wound & maim.”

This was a strange segment of Hell,
Peopl’d by men of violence,
Who revel’d when their soldiers fell,
& deem’d killing thrilling romance –
I saw Monty, Patton, Rommel
With three Marshalls of France,
Where now, instead of battle’s thumping drum,
They were consign’d to a constant boredom,

Who sat, it seem’d, a mile apart
Upon a dull, wide plain,
& when they start to drift or dart,
Good converse to obtain,
A thick mist falls & when it rose sat far apart again.

Fourth Circle of Hell


Just Desserts

The night is full of mystery,
Whose understanding is
In trying no more to understand
William Montgomerie

We further delv’d, by wolves, ‘neath carrion,
Crossing the Styx its sewer made us spew,
Singed by the lava-flowing Phlegathon
The bens of Hell rose darkling into view;
Pangs of terror,
An angry nest of thieves,
Once joyous with honour now forced to fend for leaves.

Round stinkweed shrub a scrum did break,
Won by some toothless hoodlum,
Who gorged it down like it was steak –
Hermann Goering look’d on glum,
Who once had made Albion quake,
Turn’d London to a slum –
Now forced to bear, thro an eternal gloom,
Asthma, marasmus, spasm, qualm & rheum.

A whistle separates the drones,
Imps whip them back to work
Breaking great stones with vulture bones,
Sulphur stings those that shirk,
“Let us dive deeper,” said Dante & led me thro the murk.

Molbolgia


Eternal Tortures

O Lord, I am submitting myself to you
I am entangled in these worldly bonds
I am attracted by Karma & its consequences
Krishnamacharya

Encountering the last few laps of Hell
We improvis’d steep course thro’ Caina,
Our eyes upon a dreary vision fell,
Pale-faced & shrunk in weary demeanour;
Some demon shade,
Its eye-pits flicking flame,
Clutch’d tight a crooked blade… Herr Hitler was his name.

He was placed so close to evil,
With the sins of treachery,
Those high sinners of the Devil
Who betray their own country
& in its destruction revel,”
There for eternity,
Hounded by hosts of hungry mosquitoes,
He was condemn’d to dwell on all his woes.

As ev’ry victim stood in train,
& endless stretch’d the queues,
His shade was slain, heinous pain,
Then for the next renews –
Leaving him screaming, “Mercy!” we drudge on thro’ glooping ooze.

Caina


Heart of Hell

Into eternal darkness borne away,
May we not ever on Time’s sea, unthwarted,
Cast anchor for a day?
Alphonse de Lamartine

The Tuscan singer brings us further, far,
The way was swift, once walk’d by him before,
Cross icy swathes of the Cocytus scar,
Where sediments of ev’ry slavish shore,
Tear-cluster’d salts,
Muster ungodly bridge –
My master climbs then halts upon its midway ridge,

There saw a ghoulish city,
Walls of flesh, contorted bone,
Shewing murderer’s no pity
Body’s used for building stone,
Eternity of agony!
Above them thrust the throne,
Perch’d high upon a mile-long citadel
Satanus sat surveyance over Hell.

Above the slime of swarmy things
Dark demons foul the air,
Drumm’d summons brings them beating wings
Toward that craggy chair,
Our staffs shone light upon the path circling the spiral stair.

Pandemonium


Dis

Why do you heave apart my stone?
The feeble dead are all I own;
my wealth is nothing more than bone
Saint Gregory the Theologian

She-vampyres crowd around us as we climb,
At last we reach the shrieking citadel
Demons of the dark recesses of time
Swirl round Satanus in a carousel;
Hell’s parliament
One egocentric stage –
The Dark Lord must lament the passing of an age.

“My brave, proud comrades of the fall,
The mortal wound is changing,
No longer must war be our goal,
Agenda re-arranging,
Mars should be sent to some black hole,
Interstellar ranging –
Where gods are in council there I shall go
Archangel midst that archipelago.”

“Now we are done here,” Dante said,
Down from Dis descending,
Hells’ phantoms fed our clammy dread
Til the stairwells ending,
& there we part as I to heaven watch’d my friend ascending.

Pandemonium

Canto 94: Ramayan

Bind all the nourishing sweets of Earth
To give us bliss, that we may drink
The sparkling wine of Los

William Blake


Two Poets

And this is what he sang or said,
In notes of mingled music made;
And now he paused, and now he played
N.V. Thadani

Back on Arunachala I did poise,
This Cadair Idris of mine eastern rhymes,
Breaking from trance I glance towards the noise
Of hermit, to the summit slowly climb;
Aalvaar,” said he,
“Valmiki is my name,
Ye could, perhaps, tell me of worlds from whence ye came?”

“Alas,” said I, “My plane seems shorn
Of Universal Values,
Depite all things tis still wartorn,
Streaming battle-splatter’d news…
Tell me, has ever there been born
A soul that all this rues,
Brimming with truth, honour, corragio,
As Florence did one thousand years ago?”

“There was,” replied auld Vaalmeeki,
“Such a man of Karma;
Love, honesty, heart, loyalty,
Truth, righteousness & dharma –
Come sit by me & listen to the legend-lines of Rama.”

Arunachala


Noble Births

For lo ! the same old myths that made
The early ‘stage successes,’
Still ‘hold the boards,’ & still are played
Austin Dobson

I sing of Rama & his noble way;
Of human & animal, queen & king,
Of monsters, heroes & that dashing day
That keeping faith shall beliefs heartfelt bring;
He was no lad
Of ordinary birth,
For in him Vishnu had godhead hidden on earth.

Born in most ancient Ayoudha
Midst the first sprigs of the Spring,
In the kingdom of Kosala
Where the Vedas Saddus sing,
His dad’s good name Dasaratha,
& him, too, Rama’s king,
Outshining men as moons outshine the stars,
First patron of our Prince of Avatars.

Graceful Laxsmi, Lord Vishnu’s queen,
Born as Princess Seeta,
Both grew unseen ’til aged sixteen
Rama first did meet her,
Feeling love’s leap eternal between them like a cheetah

Ayoudh


Exiles

Here’s an apple. If you love me,
take it, girl, & then take me.
If you don’t – well, take the apple
Plato

As Sita was a child of divine glow,
So many try to win her hand in vain,
Only the bending of Lord Siva’s bow
Shall King Janaka’s tender sloka gain;
Now Rama tries
& with a heave at last,
Into the cloudy skies lets loose an arrow fast.

As two souls are reunited
So their woes on Earth begin,
Ancyent promises recited
Sends the King of Ayoudh aspin
Dasa-Ratha laughs delighted,
This toothless crone shall win,
The banishment of Rama fourteen years,
Good Seeta stems the flow of father’s tears

& with her husband, dutiful,
They left for pale exile,
A pair so bright & beautiful
Long summers in their smile,
For lovers true e’er share with joy the vigors of life’s trial.

Kosala


Magic Weapons

Life’s not something,
we put on the mantel of habit
and forget
Sohrab Sepehri

As exiled are these captains of a race
Just leaves & deerskin cover modesty,
Thro’ pathless forest, roofless place-to-place,
Met many rishis pledging tapasvi;
Of that number
One close to Rama drew,
Whisp’ring, “Young wanderer I have three gifts for you!

Here is Brahma’s shining arrow
That target never misses,
This, here, is Vishnu’s sacred bow,
Shap’d by heavenly blisses,
& Indra’s quiver I’ll bestow,
O such a gift this is,
For if to thee the Rakshasas appear
Thou art the only man these foes will fear.”

With this the rishi elsewhere drifts
As tho’ he’d never been,
Now Rama lifts these precious gifts,
Admires & spits them clean,
Aware that destiny leads us down strange paths unforeseen.

Chitrakoota Hill


Khara & Soorpanakha

I have composed this magical narrative;
I synchronized the lyrics as
A strewn new rose is recreated
Waris Shah

Now comes the start all Rama’s long distress,
Ravana’s demon-sister him would woo,
Yet for no shameless female he’d undress,
Lakshmana’s honour into fury flew;
Her nose & ears
Sliced off & fall to floor,
Wailing away in tears savage revenge she swore;

Returning with a brotherhood
Fourteen thousand Raksha strong,
Each braying to spill Rama’s blood,
Stood defiant as King Kong,
Whose arrows flung forth true & good,
Great carnage set among
Those demons as he dodg’d their rocks & trees –
His arrow storm the spray that swats cat’s fleas.

When at last the murder over
Raakshasas second best,
With Ravana’s younger brother
Dead lying with the rest –
Quaking the king of Lanka like nuclear climax press’d.

Dandaka Forest


Golden Stag

The weather brought
an injured deer
near the door
Magdalena Zurawski

Despite his chief advisor full of fear,
Lord Ravana’s sworn upon vengeance,
Transforms Maricha to a little deer,
So beautiful in tender innocence;
Its lovely face
By raptured Sita seen,
Forcing Rama give chase to satisfy his queen.

Now aiding cries of false distress
Flies demon-trick’d Lakshana,
Who lovely Sita left helpless
Unto the wrath Ravana
Who comes to her in hermit dress
Feigning humble manner,
That with a laugh is thrown off, & the guise,
Ten burning heads uprais’d with blazing eyes.

By mule-drawn golden chariot
Them off to Lanka flew,
Tho’ Sita sweats she does not fret
Down to a summit threw,
Her jewels… hoping mountain monkeys would know what to do.

Karnataka


Hanuman

If I be the rain
you the earth
let love be the seed
John Agard

After five weeks of searching Rama flopp’d
Exhausted, by Sugriva, monkey king,
Who, showing him the necklace Sita dropp’d,
Promis’d helpings in her firmance finding;
All monkeys, all
Across the world, divide
From Mandalay to Gaul, to find Prince Rama’s bride.

Lord Hanuman, of Monkeys great,
Whose name was writ in water,
Learns of the grievous Lankan fate
Of King Janaka’s daughter,
& hoping he was not to late,
Leaping as he sought her,
Bounded the Ocean to Ravana’s isle –
A single leap sheer vaulting mile-on-mile.

Once landed he transforms feline,
Soon Sita came in view,
O weary whine, O pining pine,
Til faith she does renew,
Sweet news from this whispering cat, “Rama shall recue you!”

Asoka Park


Battle of Lanka

With horns of flame & haggard eye
The mountain vomited with blood,
A thousand corpses down the flood
Roy Campbell

As Hanuman relays happy report
Rama is charg’d with strength fantastical,
Now with Sugriva & his heaving court,
Hurries to Lanka & a grand battle;
Into the waves
They fling great rocks & trees,
Enough for monkey braves to skip across the seas.

Soon conflict flurries night & day
In the mountains & the plains,
Morasses of mad melees sway
Blood streams down like summer rains,
Swerve Elephants thro’ dust & fray
As Raakshasas grow pains –
In a flash Ravana faces Rama,
Promising his life & wife to Yama.

The duel raged, all mercy gone,
Both sworn to each attack,
Maul marathon as one-by-one
Shorn ten heads growing back,
Til Brahma’s barb pierced demon heart with wild, climatic CRACK!

Lanka


Sita’s Virtue

Thus absence dyes, & dying proves
No absence can consist with Loves
That do partake of fair perfection
Owen Felltham

As demons die so do the skies grow dim,
No longer lit by fine heroic fire,
Indra himself could never vanquish him
Who now lies lifeless on a burning pyre;
Denounced by drums,
Shadow’d by dishonour,
To Rama Sita comes, tainted shame upon her.

& quoth, “My love, if ye doubt me
I, too, shall go to the flame,
For tho’ I bare full purity
Hear I gossip of my shame!”
Thus Sita steps up happily
Onto that burning blame
But not to ashes did her fair flesh fall,
For she was honest – Agni heard her call,

& saves her from those lethal burns,
Her faith her fate embalms,
& justice earns, now she returns
Into her chosen’s arms,
As when a Trojan poem ends & all that fuss becalms.

Lanka

Canto 95: Heaven

I want to be remembered as a guy who sings peace to all nations – not as a soldier

Harry Patch


An Old Friend

This I ask thee – tell it to me truly, Lord !
Who set from earth below, & kept the sky
Sure from falling? Who the streams & trees did make
Zoroaster

Aslant Arunachala’s ancient height
All snow white was, the summit, slope & sky
Merged in one mass, as if a satellite,
About the mists a flight of falcons fly;
I heard a voice
Familiar & free,
“Poet you have a choice, descend or rise with me.”

“Having heard of the godly race,
My desire to meet them strong,
My mind turns to a gentle grace
Mine ears tuned to angel song,
Heaven’s infinitesimal space
I wish to drift among,
Tho’ fear my faith – or lack of one – may prove
A difficult division to remove.”

“It matters not if you believe
For all has been arranged –
Pens may truth-scrieve, but when ye leave,
With memory deranged,”
Said Dante, “From divinity your soul must grow estranged.”

Arunachala


Pearly Gates

Who can rescue man
If not his maker?
Do thy duty, Lord,
Ezekiel

A golden stairwell in our hearts appears,
& so we rose into those realms of bliss,
A stunning clock of seven spinning spheres,
The perfect paradise that Heaven is;
With my wise friend
We for the centre made,
To silently ascend stairs of immortal jade.

We reach the heart of Helios
Where leaders of medicine,
Noble-minded poet-scholars,
Chaucer, Blake & Tennyson,
Sat with pious & religous
Men of education –
Discussing how the hearts of humans beat
With lyric-love, so summer-island sweet.

“This is a perfect walk,” I said,
Tears fill’d the happy eye,
On Dante led, all fear had fled,
As Heaven towers high,
Omniscient immensities of gladness amplify.

Sphere of the Sun


Rest in Peace

I wrote on the rocks & on the waves of the sea
Your name, my Beloved,
But the winds erased what I had written
Abu Firas

Beyond the vault of the slow-moving moon
Grey wonder of the second sacred sphere,
Where stars in vestal signals sing in tune,
More beautiful than all I hold so dear;
But for one soul,
My beloved grandma,
Who shunn’d the mortal fall for the immortal star.

“My son, tho’ ye are far away,
From low troubles upon earth,
I still recall the special day
Heaven calls your day of birth,
& daily for your safety pray
Beside the astral tirth,
To see you up in Heaven makes me proud…”
Her sweet voice falls, her face cover’d by cloud.

I watch’d her fading with a pang
& whisper’d true yikor,
The angels sang, their fanfares rang,
But still I wanted more…
“Go on my child,” her voice was mild, grief lifted from my core.

Ring of Lesser Spheres


Heavenly Passage

I had no beginning & I shall have
no end : the beam of light
stretches out before & behind
Ron Padgett

Light illimitable thrusts in plenitude,
The extravagant rising of a star,
All minds on earth sophisticate & crude
Awaken to the worlds these rays unbar;
With my wise friend
We for the centre made,
To silently ascend stairs of immortal jade.

We reach the heart of Helios
Where leaders of medicine,
Noble-minded poet-scholars,
Chaucer, Blake & Tennyson,
Sit with pious & religious
Men of education –
All of Mankind’s endeavours still exhume
Whenever literary minds exhume.

“Yes, such a perfect walk,” I said,
Mine eyes awash with tears,
On my friend led, all fear had fled,
As higher heaven nears
Omniscient immensities of thought-created spheres.

Sphere of the Sun


Beyond War

It is an eye of fire,
An eye of icy crystal,
A threat of ancient purity
Richard Eberhart

We climb into the crimson sphere of Mars,
Where all the relique idols of his reign
Dismantl’d victories, redundant wars,
Shall never raise the grace of god again;
An old sword stands
On battle cairn of bones,
Pearl pibroch in his hands straining the noble tones.

Souls join’d him in his lofty song,
Triumphant in harmony,
Exalted voices deep & strong,
Charlemagne & Duke Godfrey
But two cantari in that throng
Of dashing chivalry,
The music of the soldiers of the cross,
Lamentation-tinged for their war-gods loss.

Now the long page of peace begun
& legends live namore,
Thro’ gore & gun our world wars won,
Wisdom sent to the fore,
When modern human automons may only read of war.

The Ring of Mars


Epic Vistas

The bud
stands for all things
even for those things that don’t flower
Galway Kinnel

Like Burnley men when misty Pendle clears,
Fresh vistas spread, each vein’s fibres tingl’d,
Symphonious, the planetary spheres,
Mazy in a spangling motion mingl’d;
The Righteous blurr’d,
Merging as solid gold,
Spelling the holy word in splendours manifold.

‘DILIGITE JUSTITIAM.’
Forms upon the firmament,
Then, ‘QUI JUDIATIS TERRAM,’
Spread across the starry tent,
Yet other phrases praise the Lamb,
We watch’d them all silent,
& yet, our souls were singing in concord
To this lovely libretto of the Lord.

“Now,” serves Dante, “Our paths must part,
This time together flown,
Before ye start open thy heart
& turn thy sins to stone,”
Then with a smile he join’d his kin & left me there alone.

Ring of Jupiter


Circle of Fixed Stars

On its helm, seen far away,
A planet, like the Morning’s, lay;
And those plumes its light rain’d through
Percy Bysshe Shelley

I climb’d up to a pearly battlement,
Mocking all human art, menhir fortress,
With stars & planets circumambient,
I saw Christ on his triumphal progress;
Saintly nation,
Forming translucent flame,
Gracious congregation chaunting their saviour’s name.

I reach a sacred area;
Biblical biblioteques
Contain ancyent apocrypha,
Younger angels plung’d in texts
To help divine Divinnia,
& claim the name of rex,
Threshing thro’ epic such as Gilgamesh,
Learning of how the Gods to return flesh.

As I left those crowded cloudlands
& their holy library,
I saw thousands of air-islands
Floating on crystal sea,
Spinning aswirl a palace form’d from pure infinity.

Empyrean


Epiphany

I observe, as I hold my lonely course,
That nothing exists without a source.
Thus, oaks from acorn, lions from cubs
Ogden Nash

As gradients upend alpinismo
& Scientologists can sell no more,
My way was barr’d by starry ocean’s flow,
So took a breath of faith & swam for shore;
I closed my eyes’
Til finger-tips touch beach,
Above such wonders rise, the Paradise in reach!

I tip-toed thro’ those holy halls
Upon a course collision,
Portraits of saints hung from the walls,
“Forgive my imposition…”
Tho’ hoary, Jove’s glory enthralls,
Beatific in vision!
My senses bath’d in light & swath’d with awe –
Alas… I write… can recollect no more

I woke up with rose-wreathed crown
Gliding by angel wing,
She set me down above the town
Upon a mountain king,
Then soar’d thro’ sky, shrinking to raven, thrush, fly, then… nothing.

Aranachala


Prophecies

When Faustus had with pleasure ta’en the view
Of rarest things & royal courts of kings,
He stayed his course & so he returned home
Christopher Marlowe

As mist envellop’d this ancient volcano
My verses soon unravelling no more,
Climaxing this penultimate canto
Preserving moral messages of war;
One line for all,
One tryptych for each sort,
One poem to recall the aeronaut of thought –

Which turn’d my mind to poetry
As the sun broke on the plain,
As Homer etch’d his Oddyssey –
This rocky kshetran fane
Guards all my focus wonderf’ly,
The last link in that chain,
Twenty seventh of the twenty seven,
Unfolding on the blank fields of Heaven

I felt my soul a rosy bird
Across the western glow,
Bringing the word, wings undeterr’d,
To where all futures flow,
‘Til, ‘Nihil humani a me alienum puto!’

Tamil Nadu

Canto 96: Impetus

Our planet can be renewed or ravaged.
Now is the time to awaken & take action

Carlos Barrios


A Scent of Osama

somewhere, half-lost in meadow grass,
it lows in soft requited ease,
glad of the respite from the plough
Addaeus of Macedon

This epic’s conception & creation
Ran parralel to one Jackal’s career,
Human supernova of sensation
Who gave the world a fearsome atmosphere;
As babes are born
Thro’ screaming labour pains;
Bin Laden blew the horn of death & all its pains.

Obama’s top priority
Was to unearth Osama,
Whether hidden in a city
Or biding as a farmer,
Eftsoons his sheer tenacity
Moved the Goddess KARMA,
“He’s in Pakistan!” Guantanamo moans –
Soon couriers hunted by robot drones

Shall hone in on a wall’d compound
Void of all externals,
& think him found! While on the ground
Agents fill’d their journals,
Close by, in complete ignorance, Gen’rals dined
with Colonels.

Abbattobad
January
2011


Arab Spring

How happy is he born or taught,
That serveth not another’s will ;
Whose armour is his honest thought
Sir Henry Wotton

Balmy as the basil tufts in Florence
Across the Arab World the vital Spring
The reign of flowers passionate commence
Let people & their power stunt a king;
Stalinian,
Great lands its rag-lives stain,
Maladministration & cashquisition’s drain.

They rose up in Tunisia
While the leading leeches slept,
Then a wild, widening river
Swept tyranny from Aegypt
& even to west-courted Libya
The hopes of good hearts crept –
An evolution of the human gene,
A revolution like theres never been!

But humans still as humans are
All in the oil-rich sand
Upspeaks the sha, to each a car
& hundred thousand grand
To every Saudi citizen born in his royal land!

Saudi Arabia
April
2011


A Very Royal Wedding

The fact is that
thousands of wealthy men
determine the destiny of the world
Joan Brossa

Far from the flaming barn Gardeleyen,
How wonderful she look’d, what gowns they wore,
Westminster thro’, stepping propylaean,
Heteronormativity namore;
Illustrials!
Her groom shone paragon,
Sealing their conjugals the whole world
gawping on.

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge
Represent a future age
When ancyent royal privilege
Shall remain on centre stage,
But light years from Ancona Bridge
Refuse the wars men wage,
Working for a world that works together
As his Diana did in Africa!

Off to the banquet sped the cars
Glitterball gallantry,
New superstars, to wild huzzahs,
Kiss’d on a balcony
That once stood just a bomb’s-breadth from the Devil’s Germany.

Buckingham Palace
April 29th
2011


Death of Osama

I am tribal and am lost in the unity of nation.
To elevate the name of Afghans
I love these young people who puts the halter on stars
Allama Muhammad Iqbal

As when the lion-kings trapp’d in their lairs
& when the volk cheer’d certain victory,
Not knowing what a sorry fate was theirs,
Bomber Command swarming o’er Germany;
One moonless night
Two flights of Navy Seals,
With Attobad in sight & Hermes in their heels,

Landfall, as when brave Pizarro
Dared conquer Cajamarca,
All hunting down Geronimo
To end a sorry saga,
The first hint of the new morn’s glow
On a world grown darker,
Bin Laden’s last look on this planet stuns –
The muzzles of your American guns!

Bang! Bang! Two blasts! Blood-chest! Blood-head,
Deer-hunters slay the stag,
Cocksure him dead they swiftly spread
His body in a bag,
& sink a noble enemy wrapp’d in his old foe’s flag.

Persian Gulf
May 3rd
2011


Declaration of Liberty

For how, standing up in a tram, &
defending ourselves with our elbows,
would anyone live in the present? Why?
Boris Slutsky

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
All men have been created just the same,
Th’unalienable right, heaven-sent,
Of liberty & life must be our aim;
Securing these ,
To popular decree,
All governments must cease from selfish tyranny!

If not, the world most stand as one
& baronies abolish,
To never suffer, as was done,
Before imprudent English
Fought the injur’d American,
Yes! let us admonish
Those sons of men who etch life’s deep divide
With firm words & with firmer force applied.

“Freedom’s worth dying for, y’all hear!”
Yessir, dat sure da vibe!”
Lives disappear in fright & fear
Lives too sick to describe,
Yes, let us dwell in happiness, we happy human
tribe!

Philadelphia
May 3rd
2011


Resurgances

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Til we have built Jerusalem
William Blake

I watch the world, sipping my mellow wine,
& from things deeper mysteries did glean,
Sensing the Hesiodic voice divine
To sing what has become & what has been;
& in that song,
My life’s true charity,
Distinguish right & wrong for World society.

The answer is we learn from War
Life shall burn where’er it flares,
So let us learn from it no more
& bend our swords to ploughshares,
Come deem them righteous rulers, awe
To those who show clear cares,
Friends, let us concentrate all strength & mind
On loving Mother nature & her kind.

Invested with new purposes
I dusted down this file,
Curseless verses, like couriers,
Await the final mile,
Less than one gross of lines to go, like Thonis at the Nile.

Edinburgh
May 3rd
2011


The Last

Like convalescents intimate & gauche,
We speak through sickly smiles & warn
With the stubborn saw of common sense
Karl Shapiro

They saw men drown, saltwater gulping down,
The filthy fields of Flanders carcass-strewn,
They heard a man reach Everest’s high crown
& others send a message from the moon;
Picasso’s art,
G-mails, speaking robot
To transplants of the heart, they’d seen the
bloody lot.

They form’d an ever-dwindling squad,
Supercentenarians,
Whose gallant gait rots to a plod,
Sad hearts predeceasing sons,
They’d long since made their peace with God
& curs’d those foolish guns,
That robb’d them of their mates, & of the match –
At Wipers Charles Kuentz hugs old Harry Patch.

Ah! one-by-one them angels meet,
Til one was left to go,
Who’d seen defeated German fleet
Scuttl’d at Scapa Flow,
Then he died too, on Claude Choules’ grave the bloodlike poppies grow.

Freemantle
May 20th
2011


9/11/11

You may remember, unable to forget:
Let your years flow by, remember or forget,
For once in a while, you will forget.
Kim Sowol

Twin pillars of light dividing the skies
America has shown resilience,
For five full hours, thro’ tear-stain’d, salted eyes
The mirthless dead all read out in silence;
Three thousand souls
On bronze panels emboss’d
All gone to Hades Halls, where innocence was lost.

Friends, while the end of wars I sing
They linger still in pockets,
Fighting the vast chremastic king –
Eyes bulging in doped sockets
Men fortify a tall building,
Whose Haqquani rockets
Shatter glass, make thick, twisted metal shards,
Dirty debris & bodies of young gaurds.

This battle for Afghanistan
Like others, doom’d to fail
Since it began, no push, no plan,
Could e’er this land prevail
Whose glories I must leave for future Rumi’s to avail.

Kabul
Sept 13th
2011


Fresh Finales

The poem is the cry of its occasion,
Part of the res itself & not about it,
The poet speaks the poem as it is
Wallace Stevens

Shaking Calliope from her slumbers
I took a bag of books up to the park,
Late summer sun lit those random numbers
At any given one of them many spark;
Some word obscure,
Some sweet, well-metered line,
Hot drops of poesy pure to aid mine art’s design

From Nether Stowey balladry
To Virgil in translation,
Thro’ Rilke’s Orphic sonnetry
To Spender’s generation,
How many notions bloom’d in me,
Groom’d by transcraetion…
& now Lucretious & the Tempest lie
Preganant with possibilities nearby.

As when th’entowr’d Lady Jane
Scratch’d poesy with a pin,
From Autumn’s rain I’ll cross the main,
Unleash the coil within
& tour, once more, the Roman shore, Muse let the
games begin!

Edinburgh
September 30th
2011

Canto 97: Olympian

It is a fact that beautiful surroundings create an atmosphere, benefit the emotional-mental state, & rest or stimulate a man according to their nature

Paul Brunton


Italy

We are shining stars,
each a light unto ourselves,
yet bound together
Larry Schug

An age of freedom, long after the fall
Of liberty, in Italy, my song
Prepares its lyre, tightens its strings, sets stall
With poets of the sweeter chimes among;
Poi… Adesso!
Giro d’Italia,
Arquata del Tronto, where Tony Loffreda,

A man of eighty-seven years,
Such a wonderful tale did tell,
Of how a Scotsman dissapears
From the German hounds & yell,
At last the Gustav line appears
To break their trickster spell,
Now Jack McShiel stands tall, ‘Hugo’ no more,
Hugs his young friend & gallumphs back to war.

I, too, embraced that man so good ,
For he was still alive,
I stopp’d & stood in Dante’s wood,
Approaching thirty-five,
To share Tony’s affection for the world
which he did strive.

Ascoli Piceno
October
2011


Frolicking Bard

To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
William Blake

The world has changed, men claim, & forever,
Airflight grown cautious with anxiety,
Great mountains ‘neath us, dipping thro aether,
We cross the soul-bath that is Italy;
Its Vatican
Spools holily below –
My gaming soon begun I aim for Anzio.

Tranquilo with my morning’s play
I sail the warm sea Pontine
To aulden smuggler’s hideaway,
Rounding Ponza’s shores serene,
The mainland reach’d – Naples, Pompeii –
Poeticizing keen –
Whence driven by my rhymings I did go
To view a world famous Abbazio!

Lone hut amid an olive grove
This tender summit shar’d,
Oft do I rove from cave to cove
But ne’er have I prepared
A better light for writing verse than which this firelight flared!

Monte Cassino
November
2011


Compositions

Outwardly, I enjoy wine, women and song.
And inwardly I work for the benefit of all beings.
Outwardly, I live for my pleasure
Drukpa Kunley

From Santa Catarina up the coast,
I sent my silent thoughts out to the day,
These are the moments Muses love the most
When shell-murmuring cauldrons come to play;
Euterpe first
Shall leave a lyric there,
To ease my rambling thirst for all the world to
share.

Finding fairest pharie abode
Of delicious asphodels,
As if my younger poet strode
Thro’ the woods by Tunbridge Wells,
Still trundling on in tryptych mode
To form my Book of Kells,
From engineering & endurance carv’d,
An inimitable instance unstarv’d!

Upon the cliff, high over sea,
Some fisherboat below,
My thought flies free, pure melody,
Thro’ poesy’s pantings flow,
Beneath the slanting Torre Santa Maria dell’Alto

Puglia
November
2011


Ascending Parnassus

Fireflies weaving aërial dances
In fragile rhythms of flickering gold,
What do you know in your blithe, brief season
Sarojini Naidu

Leaving Brindisi, Diomedes sire,
I sail’d for Hellas on a busty breeze,
To where Xerxes & Persia’s proud empire
Defiled upon the Isle Pelopponese;
Thro’ night we swept,
‘Til Dawn in purpling robes
About Lefkadi crept with gold, dust-finger’d probes.

At Sami Bay we mused & moor’d –
Silver-tongued Odysseus
Built here his famous multi-floor’d
Pillar’d pearl of palaces –
& further down the coast restor’d
The sea-cove of Phorcys!
On such stuff we Litologists depend,
To serve our pens when versifyings end.

I wander’d on in melody,
With notebook, fruit & pen,
Lidoriki, Galaksidi,
Itea’s olive glen,
& on up to Parnassus, yonder Chrissos town, &
then…

Delphi
December
2011


Parnassus

But you
Went on writing postcards. For days I rhymed
Talismans of power, in cynghanedd
Ted Hughes

Ye Bards! this is what sunset should look like
From Delphi, blood-orange, immaculate,
I urge on thee come take this healthy hike
Up to the trench where Pegasus placed foot;
Come curb your thirst!
This Castalian Spring
Shall make ye poet first, & then a druid-king!

But only if ye persevere
Thro’ twenty years of training,
Sing lyrics when the skies are clear,
Write renku when them raining,
Embrace the decades full austere,
Ever be abstaining,
From all the crude distractions of a life,
Whose only succor comes with thy true wife!

Deem women, where the Muses dwell,
Heart, twinkle, touch & trust,
Art’s dewy dell more musty cell
When lusting them non-plussed,
My love lies with me as I write, without her I am dust!

Delphi
December
2011


Culminations

Not in the fabled landscape of a lay,
But soaring snow-clad through his native sky,
In the wild pomp of mountain majesty
Lord Byron

Parnasso now – body, mind & soul –
A promise made indecadent before,
When Calliope wove vortical squall
While Clio taper’d arrows for World War;
An oracle,
A phantasy, a dream –
Yon Arachova’s hill I stepp’d across the stream,

Gently passing wild sparagmos
Which the maenads madly gorge,
Beside nymphaean thyiados
For the higher slopes feet forge,
Where juicy orgies soak’d the moss –
For England & King George
I plant myself upon the pointed steep,
Some Wallace on a bleeding Saxon Heap.

Just Aborigenes who see
Jasmin Valencia,
Could ever be this close to me,
Burnley’s Che Guevera,
Whom on a pittance tour’d the world to sing its
aria!

Mount Parnassus
December
2011


Dance of the Muses

Only the things touched
by the love of other things
have a voice
Fiama Hasse Pais Brandão

As the Beatles, however circumspect,
Together only won a nation’s hearts
& total televisual effect
Comes from a congregation of its parts;
My Muses nine
Hold hands in merry ring,
& I, sipping my wine, as, at the beginning…

She dons the mask of comedy,
She holds a globe & compass,
Two lyre a tender melody,
Euterpe wields her aulos,
Wearing a veil, Melopmene,
Fills the air with pathos,
Clio translating scrolls from ancyent days
While Calliope floats on sacred lays.

From Heaven Lord Apollo drifts,
With Mercury mid-flow,
The moment shifts, Euterpe lifts
Us onto sandall’d toe,
As one we fly oer mountains high, the mortal
world below.

Eubea
December
2011


Deities

Eagles & isles & unaccompanied things
The self-reliant isolated things
Release my soul, embrangl’d in the stress
Wilfrid Gibson

I landed me beside a gorge of green
& greys & beige in rugged rock ingrain’d,
Beholden to a beauty rarely seen,
Aeromancy momentary obtain’d;
Where silver lines
Swept ‘cross the snowy tops,
Below those hoary pines to roaring water drops.

I saw the twelve Olympians
Resume their former glories,
Mars & his rude centurions
Are banish’d to old stories,
Satanus & his minions
Beaten, & what’s more is,
Their dark endeavours ever put away,
The celebrating Gods before me play.

This hymnographic psaltery
Was slowly pass’d among
The company, a symphony
Of poetry & song,
Sing Plato, Aristophones & Xenophon along!

Mount Olympus
December
2011


Orpheanics

Look at a scorpion; it is attractive and tender,
Touch it and examine, it is too interesting.
Its ancestors are older than mammoth
Azim Suyun

All afloat thro’ rootless modernity,
Ilmarinen’s anchors of intension
I’ve plung’d into this vast posterity,
Found everything frozen in suspension;
This bardic art
Both past & future sees,
As summit mistlings part, gyr falcons drink the breeze.

I climb’d the mountain fast & free,
Funambulistic sailing,
Upon the peak-caps turn’d to see
The universe unveiling,
Futures luteus flew to me,
Visions uncurtailing,
Of Nostradamianical content
Mimesi messianical frequent.

Actions, places, names & dates,
Bejimbling in a dream
Of allied states, of psyche’s gates,
This is the saffron stream,
Hu preaching on a Pendragon thro’ star-fleec’d snorts of steam.

Mount Olympus
December
2011