Canto 98: Conclusions

Where are these men who vow’d to save our land?
Mazisi Kunene


Deliverance

When God’s great voice assembles
The fleet on Judgement Day
The ghosts of ruined ships will rise
Joyce Kilmer

Desquamately descending Olympus,
Some tousl’d, fretless urchin on the slopes,
Some tenderfoot searching for Maecenas,
Some lively cornucopia of hopes;
Down happy trails,
Orpheus in these heels,
My song & subject sails & with my spirit seals.

It seems the years of World War Two
More my modern Trojan War,
Enough to elevate our view
Over all those wars before,
Herr Hitler & his surly crew
Denied that cancer-core,
As far from them, & those who courted Mars,
We whistle to Tchaikovsky in our cars.

As soon as I stood sub-montane
I raced off round the bay
To board my plane, like sugar-cane
This poem by me lay,
Awaiting editorial some golden, doric day.

Thessalonika
2011


Americana

Thy spirit, Independence, let me share :
Lord of the lion heart & eagle eye,
Thy steps I follow with my bosom bare
Tobias Smollett

These lyrics, rinky-dinking cross the world,
Sing how a famous Age once came to be,
When over all a single flag unfurl’d,
Winging its winningest democracy;
Americans!
Deeds Evil thee dost fear,
Shunning thy lawful guns these, scuttling, disappear.

Ye were late-welcom’d to the stage,
But thank the Lord ye made it,
Those battles which ancestors wage
A debt to all who paid it,
& still ye stand, set to engage,
Conlict as ye’ll grade it:
A tomcat tackling were-mice with proud paws,
Dowsing those flashfires with rosewater’d hose.

Future Pendragons praise the West!
Law Lords of Liberty!
An Eagle’s nest of conscience, lest
This World would not feel free,
To do those things we love to do wherever we may be!

2012


London

All that mortal man possesses
has mortality & passes;
everything goes hurrying past
Lucian

The age of frigging empire is over,
The time for global harmony arriv’d,
World flocks to Heathrow, Stanstead & Dover
For here the truce Olympic has survived;
Among the crowd
Three blood-lines in a row,
Of native athletes proud, watching the discuss throw…

While Stiltskis cheer for young Ukraine
The Sumners cheer for Britain,
& for their blond, Aryan mane,
The Stemmler clan still smitten,
All share the surge, & there obtain
Phrenzies long verboten,
For only in the realms of friendly sport
Our ancient tribal urgencies now fought.

Amidst the Stratford stratosphere
All nations’ banners fly,
A final cheer, a tiny tear
Swells in old Tommy’s eye
For this is what he’d fought for, for the friends he’d once seen die.

2012


Aquarian Age

Buried was the dreadful war-club,
Buried were all warlike weapons,
And the war-cry was forgotten
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ye men shall speak of us with sheer disgust,
How on Earth could we have let War happen,
To thee I leave this tryptychrie in trust,
So things like these should not occur again:
A grievous weight,
Responsibility,
Beginning on this date for all futurity!

At this collective crossroads stands
The Equinox procession,
Auspicious moment for all lands
Aquarius in session,
Come seize existence in our hands
Drag it from recession,
When with the solstice & the sun-align’d,
We’ll leave our bleak barbarians behind

I watch the blizzard snow-fall flake
The land with blanchless white,
& sens’d the break, the World’s remake,
A thaw must come tonight,
& in the morn, all baby fresh, the future beaming bright!

2012


Climaxes

This age her whole loveliness maul’d
batter’d & barren from a six year’s bout
so trod & torn, grossness itself defiled
RP Blackmur

Whom of the future could vile Mars defend?
His ossiary of the World full-boned,
Oer-brimming with dim pathos at the end
Of slaughters calculated & condoned;
His wanton-ness
Mankind made to endure,
Maturing, more or less, we find, at last, the cure.

Warfare hath flown, per dans cette terre,
Le mort caches sont bien,
Borders are open everywhere
To every European,
Whose ancestors dark trials did share,
Hauled below the Scaean
Unnumber’d, multitudinous, immense –
How many lives robb’d of life’s innocence?

Asoka’s edicts I have seen
War’s monuments may you,
Days pass’d have been disturb’d, obscene,
But from the gore their grew
This peaceful pearl, this precious planetary parvenu!

2012


25/12/2012

I am not a mirage, but a being in flesh
Born of a sea that has neither
Waves nor shore, nor moon, nor star
Horace Gregory

When two traditions meet in epic song,
There history & poetry converge
Upon a point called nexus, whence among
Man’s consciousness progressive senses merge;
Tilling the soil,
Planting these sapling shoots,
Which over time uncoil as fields of figs & fruits.

So grow, ye lotus-burnish’d gold,
Ye zest-infested lemon,
Go store these tales of glories old
For future to look back on,
Five thousand years must now unfold
Before this age is run;
Half-way, of course, some Homer might arise
& half-an-age in poesy realize.

I paced the slopes up Pendle Hill
Upon that Christmas Day,
The weather chill, the heather still,
With one small thing to say –
If destiny lies in our hands let them for laughter
pray.

2012


Dunvegan

A troubadour, I traverse all my land
exploring all her wide-flung parts with zest
probing in motion sweeter far than rest
Dennis Brutus

Coleridge said Poets twenty years should spend
Upon their epics, mine took just fifteen,
Eleven for to find its natural end
& four to polish, punctuate & clean;
Fulfilling fate
I settl’d in the North,
On Roseberry’s estate beside the Frisian Forth.

Up Skye I drove, by Coral Beach,
To fumigate these stanzas
& leave a ministry to reach,
From Kowloon Bay to Kansas,
This global mind, when I shall teach
Poetry & Panzers
To all who’d care to listen to this song,
Before a better songsmith flits among.

To thee, old friend, our baton pass’d,
In thee lives Homer’s throne,
The years roll fast… eftsoons… at last,
Thy song shall set in stone,
Scratching the zephyrs’ tapers with thy breathless stylophone.

Dunvegan
April 2nd
2016


Maturity

A gentle wind fans the calm night:
A bright moon shines on the high tower.
A voice whispers, but no one answers when I call
Fu Hsuan

My friends, interdependent every one,
Mankind must now exist & sing & laugh;
Obama stands before a rising sun
Below the world-immortal cenotaph;
So many names
Oerframe him, etch’d in stone,
Ash-flashes in the flames of Heaven’s vulcan groan.

Seven decades long before us
Death fell newfound from the skies,
Souls firmamenting speak to us,
Their lamenting, silent cries,
Flying voices in a chorus
Of miseries & sighs,
In future days let peace all problems solve,
& morals, science, ever outevolve.”

The leader of a new Japan
Agreed with all there said,
An honest man, a kido-san,
He drops his solemn head
& shed a tear for Hiroshima’s hundred thousand dead.

Naka-ku
May 27th
2016


Turning Forty

My tale was heard, & yet it was not told;
My fruit is fall’n, & yet my leaves are green;
My youth is spent, & yet I am not old
Chidiock Tichborne

O Muses! What a wonder did we write,
So many inky scribbles on a page,
Leaving the path, & stepping to the right,
We’ve reach’d the velvet roads of middle age;
A perfect time
To set my spirit free
From histrionic rhyme, my mistress melody.

Last stroll I took, thro’ bluebell woods,
On our fern-life’s fairy frond,
Burst butterflies from bubbling buds
By the Younger’s gorgeous pond,
To sing, like Templars under hoods,
My song, here & beyond,
In summer sun, yet rising, still alive;
Soon all is done, aye, in a line or five.

While sat amidst the garden joys
That are my task’s reward,
With perfect poise my muse employs
This moment, soul-restor’d,
I’ll cast my pen in level lake like Arthur’s Elfen sword.

Baro Farm
May 31st
2016

 

Canto 99: Samothraki

He was resolved to take a course like the soldier in Terence

John Milton


Swansong

In the pursuit of learning one knows more every day:
in the pursuit of the way one does less every day.
One does less & less until one does nothing at all
Lao-Tzu

Coleridge said it should take twenty years
To form an epic poem full evolv’d;
As such, the dateline of my blessing nears,
To canonize its worth on Earth resolv’d;
Fletching anew,
Four years pass’d since last I
Pen rested, cast into my living lullaby.

I sense the trials & the joys
Closer coming more & more,
No longer nimble with the boys
On the burst of forty-four,
This hiking heel no more enjoys
Its Viking matador,
On porcelain mornings tingling with doubt,
Besprinkling middle-ageing with the gout!

But ibuprofen serves the cause
As paracetamol
Puts pains on pause, the plain outdoors
The place I best extol
These passion-rites of poetry, la libertie l’ecole.

Edinburgh
July 8th
2020


Name-Making

Do you want me to bring you forth music
all by myself in the mists in a byway
lacking the respect of any man living
Am Piobaire Dall

Camping at Smithson Farm in Covid times,
Hiking long paths up Pendle in the mist,
Deep contemplating Sumners in these rhymes,
Whom in these lines, iconiciz’d, exist;
Eternitiz’d
Forever here to be
Assign’d & dramatiz’d, a poet’s family.

For I was born a Sumner, aye,
Then Beeson Bullen became;
Dee Double Bee my letters lie,
Patent stations of a name,
Remember them the day I die
& after give them fame,
For twenty years I strove to earn the right
To brand these letters on Parnassus height.

The dedicated are the damn’d,
But better life this way,
When footsteps stand on rocks, not sand,
Beside an ocean’s bay,
Where certain waves & curtain’d riptides sweep the weak away.

Burnley
July 9th
2020


Avanti!

I want the damned fools
to leave the forest alone.
I want the trees to grow
A. Samad Said

Snaking the streets about these childhood haunts,
I pass’d the flat oer Cog Lane’s launderette,
That womby room where infant poet flaunts
His swanplume voice… once more to leave the net
Of Burnley town,
I’ll dally me abroad,
With tent, pen, eiderdown, books, latop, hat my load.

But on my way to forty-five
I aint twenty-one again
Strange caution, doubt, “Will I survive?
Watching Rawtenstall awane
By Manchester I felt alive,
Thro’ upstairs window pane,
Saw Strangeways oozing freedomless despair,
‘My god,‘ I thought, ‘I’m glad I’m not in there!’

Sensing all those who rot inside
Would wish to sit right here,
Starset to glide the airways, ride
The cyan stratosphere,
To taste the chance & mysteries of travel’s vast frontier.

Manchester Airport
July 22nd
2020


Raison D’Etre

After distant lakes of mercury
Let us see the peaks at last,
See the ragged shores of Thessaly!
Gilles Ortleib

Within a planey cage I ranged aloft,
T’where fair Orpheus nature’s music sought,
Same sunny space in Thrace where last left off
My tours of Greece, with a Muses escort;
This pen compell’d
To end its epic lay,
Far from the Saxon feld, half-way to Mandalay.

Let us never forgive errors,
They repeat themselves, increase,
Our pupils will not forgive us
What we once forgave at peace,
These are like Persian emperors
Who once assaulted Greece,
Unfit, unwelcome & uncivilized,
Despicable, distasteful & despised.

The time shall come when humankind,
Should look back on these lines
& in them find the trace of mind
Which raced off with the wines,
Like tasty Xinomavro Macedonia designs

Thessalonika
July 25th
2020


Fisherman

If every god can be seduced
By the carafe, & thus reduced,
How fine a drop am I?
Ales Steger

Sat on slender sands of Sithonia,
Illuminated by the task at hand;
Calicut, Seattle, Estonia,
Have spread my visitations wide & grand;
One final heave
Of effort from the heart,
Might finally receive the triumph of mine art.

Mount Athos rose across the Gulf
Like Heaven reappearing,
Beyond… somewhere… the thermal sulph
Of Samothraki, steering
These claw-steps of my sylver wolf,
Melodies endearing
Slung where Orpheus sung & strung his lyre,
& Hermes felt Persephone’s desire.

Ensnorkeling I chas’d the fish,
& caught one at the tail,
Seasalted dish that tastes delish,
All set to end my tale,
Like Pharas the Herulian at Sarras with the Grail.

Paradise Beach
July 29th
2020


One Last Island

Here the free spirit of mankind, at length
Throws its last fetters off; & who shall place
A limit to the giant’s unchained strength
William Cullen Bryant

My boat departs, Alexandroupoli
Disappears as if Ardrossan leaving,
Ahead, a mountain speartip strikes the sky,
Cloth’d in hoary forest dark, upheaving;
My notebook breath’d
& flutter’d in the breeze,
Its makar, laurel-wreath’d, partaken & at ease.

With the spirit of Orpheus
I’ve arriv’d upon the isle,
Full of Epos, full of Peos,
Set to stride the final mile,
On the gushing slopes of Saos,
Where I should sit & smile,
Ending an epic poem on the height,
With Hisalrik & Ida’s peak in sight.

I frolic in a thermal spring
Absolving spirit free,
By fusion’s wing my muses bring
Soft music back to me
Initiated naked, ancyent rites of mystery.

Therma
August 8th
2020


Before the Waterfall

Oh why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?
Like a fast-flitting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave
William Knox

Footing the paths to Fornia one dawn,
Exploring trails, kept cool by waterfalls,
Not twenty-five led on a Kentish lawn,
But twenty years older – still nature calls
To dive within
Her flowers, fields & folds,
Entrancing dream akin to Woden in the Wolds.

Upscrambling rocks he kiss’d book,
Spiritcatcher of the mind,
In shady nook by verses struck,
So he sat, turns, looks behind,
Glazes o’er this stanzetta’s hook
& better rhymes to find;
Across Aegean, golden under sun,
He gazes deeply, glad he’d once begun

The poem he is writing still,
Cliff-surfing like a bird,
Pausing to chill above the rill
They call the Killer Third –
If nature compos’d opera, the best he’d ever heard.

Samothraki
August 10th
2020


One Final Mystery

So words be good, be gone into
The silence of a summit bird
My voice it plummets low for you
Antonella Anedda

On entering the Sanctuary, smiles!
White wings of angels float across my face,
So many monuments among the piles
Of rocks & broken pillars, lock’d in grace;
Fine place to be
This final day I’ll write
Absorbing history from site to famous site.

From skyshuttles oer Seattle,
To scooters cruising Goa,
Now the slopes of Saos settle,
Strolling a serene stoa
Of ageing stones – soft thought’s petal,
Heaven sent, wafts lower –
Landing upon this page as I proceed
About the precinct, milking all I’ll need.

With measur’d steps in Plato’s train
A rectangle I drew,
About an ancyent thinker’s fane,
A friend of wisdom who
Makes Samothracian Mysteries for something fun to do.

Palaiopoli
13th August
2020


The End

Silent is Orpheus now, & silent now
the lyre you strung within a turtle shell,
which made the cypresses & mountains bow
William Bell

With groggy noggin’, nine o clock, drunk still,
My steps besober’d up Poseidon slopes,
Wild dragonflies in escort hill-to-hill,
A spirit free from toil that here elopes
With Muses nine,
In pools, naked, & falls,
Inviting me to dine on melons, wines & rolls.

With breakfast done the climb began,
Force following the shadow
Of something more than that young man
Who started this years ago,
From path-to-rock I laugh’d & ran,
The joyous gjggalo,
This way…” beam Clio & Calliope
Perch’d on steep stone, strumming ukulele.

He dove into that perfect pool
With bed of Autumn leaves,
Sat on a stool of granite cool,
He, elegant, receives,
One final line of poetry, what tapestry he weaves!

The Source of the Gria Vathra
August 21st
2020

Canto 100: L’ALTOPARNASSO


A brighter morn awaits the human day,
War with its million horrors, & fierce hell
Shall live but in the memory of Time,
Who, like a penitent libertine, shall start,
Look back & shudder at his younger years
Percy Bysshe Shelley


Gargantua

Marble walls of palaces,
Iron bars of dungeons,
You break through them all
Alter Esselin

Dragonsflight bares the brunt of the Gryphon,
Below their fight, embattl’d in the surf,
Celtic braves war for noble Gwyddion,
All glory-worthy roaring to the turf;
Sam’s martial star
Emblazon’d on his tank,
Puffing a fat cigar for how Hell’s legions stank.

 Gunshafts shell-after-shell did throw
To invert & invalid,
Sam drove his tanks into a foe
Of flesh-hood foul & acrid,
Be-elzebub survey’d the show
All worried & well hid,
A message from his master brings relief,
“Return to Hell…” joyous, in disbelief,

Sam smiled as his enemy flees,
View sweetening the veins,
Archangel breeze Saint Denys frees
From her barbaric chains,
“Pyerun awaits our armies, come we march to Asgard’s plains.”

Gaul


Assault of Hell

Each time the bugle shimmers
the dead, we like to fancy, stir a little.
We care for them still. They matter
Vincent O’Sullivan

Some say the descent to Hell is easy,
But not if harken’d from divinest spheres,
Fine-linen’d Jove drove his wool-white army,
Steps heralded by stythneaf trumpeteers;
Cerberus chain’d,
Crossing the Acheron,
A horde of angels drain’d the cess-pool Stygian!

The Nether Regions’ cack & piss
Bore Babababagorath,
Pleiades sever’d with a hiss,
Skulls & carcass clear’d from path,
The Daemon hordes defending Dis
Suffer’d the Holy Wrath,
Unleash’d by the Ark of the Covenant,
On to the Phlegethon those pure souls went.

Balrog detects Satanus face
Is laced with ancyent fear,
Desperate race, at fearsome pace
The Hosts of Heaven near!”
Claw raises gourd… “But my side of the bargain hold I here.”

Pandemonium


Twilight of the Gods

Together we can build a bridge
To the promise in their faces
And pull them towards poems
Lebogang Mashile

How gruesome is the Gotterdammerung,
Fought in the name of gracious Liberty,
Odin weeps for his heroes, dead so young,
& dabbing tears, flyting, turns to Loki;
“Wherefore art the
Armies of Hell?” a smile –
The enfant terrible turns back into Belial.

As flew away that treach’rous cur
In a cachinnating cloud,
Rose the call for his surrender,
Odin barks refusals proud,
Fanfaronading Valhalla,
Moon dons a blood-red shroud,
Whence from the skies rain stars & satellite,
The dense one slain & with him drains the fight.

As Michael, George, Zorya, Pyerun,
Ice King, Volodomyr,
Sam, Gwyddion & proud Gryphon,
Took leave of the Aesir,
Whose land & lives behind a rising ocean disappear.

Asgard


Satanus’ Last Stand

But you cannot see the real me
My face is masked with pretence and obedience
And my smiles tell you that I care
Konai Helu Thaman

By Geryons flank’d, & vile Barbariccas,
Blade of unholy fire in talon’d hand,
Midst Malebolge’s rolling bolgias
Satanus, with his firm, shall make their stand;
Tho’ forces thinn’d,
They Seraphim first foil,
With swift, sulphuric wind malignant & aboil.

Saint Michael at the Dragon flies
& chains the grand betrayer,
Jove flings starlight from divine eyes
At Mars, whom, in terror,
Drops to knees, flops, groans & sighs,
Always & forever,
His martial age seems over with the guts
Worm-oozing from a thousand bleeding cuts.

The Devil swivels in his seat,
Hits Balrog with a smile,
Odin’s defeat total, complete
Death, treachery & guile,
& honour has been satisfied… Balrog, the promis’d file?”

Pandemonium


Judgement of Jupiter

My God! I will address Thee
In loudest hymns of praise;
Then, too, my soul shall bless Thee
Synyesius

Jove reach’d the ruins of a city lost
Long times ago, when Mars was in his prime,
Calling for Jupiter his echoes toss’d
That name thro’ temples in a mono-rhyme;
Some ghostly shade
By faith namore sustain’d,
Slouch’d humbl’d & afraid, by ev’ry breath bepain’d.

“Old god,” spoke Jove, “Look in these eyes,
Tho’ your body crippl’d, weak,
Your mind still prospers very wise,
I’ve travel’d to hear ye speak,
Of better lives we phantasize,
Of finer age we seek,”
The old god thought awhile, & then did say,
“Bring Mars to trial, then fling him leagues away.”

Wise words,” mused Jove, “My thanks, old friend,”
The great God out-thrust palm,
That did suspend, Rome’s best legend
Hard-grabs instead his arm,
& squeez’d it tight, “Put him some place he’ll never do us harm!”

Olympus


Balrog’s Legacy

The padre’s voice had scarcely ceased from prayer
When distant rounds of cheering tore the air;
Wild, yet harmonious; then loud song burst forth
Anna Durie

Long-horn hastily mounts his vampyre steed
Replenish’d of it’s stock of scarlet fuel,
Satanus, I shall help you as agreed,”
& gave his friend that crackling, azure jewel;
Then giddiyupp’d
Beyond the halls of Hell,
To violently erupt by Midgard’s cloudy swell,

Then shooting thro’ the stratosphere,
Summer twinkling with all stars,
Satanus watch’d them disappear,
Slouch’d ‘hind adamantine bars,
Stroking his technologic gear,
Aid for his future wars,
Push’d diamonds in its sockets for to glean
Secrets mysterious filling the screen.

Grey Tepig passes Jupiter
Uranus & Pluto,
Her warrior, her passenger,
Hauls reigns… as she did slow
Balrog back-glances on a dancing planet’s blue-green glow!

Space


Heavenly Judgement

Lord of the world, He reigned alone
While yet the universe was naught.
When by His will all things were wrought
Solomon Ibn Gabriol

Jove greets the Gods, campus-stella seated,
On deathless islands spinning round his own,
Mars stood there, dejected & defeated,
Tied to white rocks in front of Heaven’s throne;
The trial begins,
The Prosecution starts,
Listing a bunch of sins & crunching juror’s hearts.

But need we him,” springs Liberty,
When tyranny uprising,”
“Surely not,” sings Saraswathi,
“Warfare aids each tyrant king,”
“Let him keep his divinity,”
Offer Buck$ & St£rling,
“I disagree,” groans greying Gwyddion,
“Hough! Look at what his presence here hath done!”

After the Gods had rais’d their voice
A show of hands was sought,
Angels rejoice! O happy choice!
“Guilty!” proclaims the court,
As, gurgling on congealing blood, “NOOooooo!!….” roars from War’s raw throat.

Empyrean


War’s Futility

I got used to missing you
You came back after a long time
I now love longing for you more than I love you
Aziz Nesin

We are all planets to a greater star,
These stars subservant to a further force,
Balrog, at last, returns to his own war,
Dadghab-at-arms tethers his feather’d horse;
Shock & relief
Swept thro’ his regiment,
Whose chieftans shall debrief this errant lieutenant.

Says Balrog, “I have seen a sphere
Not worth our recognition…”
“Then come,” says Gen’ral Balthazeer,
There is a vital mission,
The armies of the Usgoth near
Marching in precision,
We press on ye the need to make attack,
To win the day & fling these rascals back!”

Our mighty Balrog join’d a horde
Of dashing cavalry,
With plasma-sword, with purpose, pour’d
Into an enemy,
To be soon slain… from war’s cruel pain tragedy comes only.

Dadghabbi


Exile

O Eternal Light, shine in our hearts,
O Eternal Light, deliver us from evil,
O Eternal Light, be our support,
Alevin

With Jove’s Archangels hovering above,
Mars was allow’d to kiss his last goodbyes,
Thro’ bloodshot sockets Venus beams her love,
As he was led beyond her, thro’ the skies,
Deep into space,
Yon Universe frontiers,
T’where sable pits replace those supermassive spheres;

They found an ancyent galaxy
Where supernovae flashes
Implode in awesome density,
Turn diamonds into ashes,
Mars cast into chain-gravity;
“Tho’ yells he, & thrashes,
Incapable, eternal, of escape,
Namore that little planet shall he rape,”

Puffs Mab, sipping a herbal mead,
Drawn with scented flowers,
KARMA agreed, a quaint, “Indeed,”
An Age Aquarius,
Drifts thro’ the harbour of Our Times, a bay most beauteous.

Shangri-La