"Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness."
Khalil Gibran

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"One War" and Other Lines

The Isle of the Dead
Arnold Bocklin (1883)



1.

When the saint came to our shores
we mistook him for a man,
come to walk among monsters
and bleed at our hands.

There was satisfaction
in strewing his bones in the market place;
but we could not silence his voice:
“There is only one war.”

So we reduced him to ashes
and fed him to a wind which took to howling:
“Hatred is never found
among the dead on your battlefield.”


2.

There is a hunger
so much like the elusive moonlight
which I love but cannot fathom.

It pervades the present
as I sink into the damp grass at midnight
spreading out my hair beneath Mars.

It is the voice with a question:
“What matter your single happiness
when there are so many stars?”


3.

And the author wrote:
But for eternity is when the iron bites.
Then he rested his pen.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


While the muse has been silent, the inner voice has not, offering me a few one-liners over the last few weeks.
Brendan's Sunday Mini-Prompt asks us to respond in writing to the voice, sifting through the 'faintly discordant hubbub'.. this I have done, gathering up these pieces of drift wood.

Acknowledgements (The Other Voices):

Inside the Ink with Magaly
I chose this quote from the last novel I read, The French Lieutenant's Woman, by John Fowles:

“But suddenly he comprehended why her face haunted him, why he felt this terrible need to see her again: it was to possess her, to melt into her, to burn, to burn, to burn to ashes on that body and in those eyes. To postpone such a desire for a week, a month, a year, several years even, that can be done. But for eternity is when the iron bites.” John Fowles

Literary Excursions with Kerry
My prompt got me reading Rainer Maria Rilke:

"Fate does not only claim your happiness, it also wants your pain back and your tears and buys the ruin as something useless, old."

And let Leonard Cohen have the final word:




23 comments:

  1. These are lovely snippets... especially like .." elusive moonlight which I love but cannot fathom"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wrote that line in a comment box recently, then jotted it down for later use.
      Today was the day for snippets.

      Delete
  2. The voices here are high and thin -- hard to hear, discordant, in the foreign language of foreign men, perhaps. Iron and Mars, ire and eternity: phallos of the mannerbunde, destiny and fate like fire banners: for me this is the wind of the masculine, a lust for that which the feminine surrenders and sunders quenching like water. As blue is the peacemaker, may waters cover us all. (We who live along coasts feel it lapping.) Artistic maturity brings us to these places, though they're usually halls between great and greater dreams. Thanks Kerry --

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Discordant' is the order of the day, Brendan. I think my inner voice is often more masculine than feminine.. if there is a divide between the two.
      As always, your in-depth reading is much appreciated.

      Delete
  3. Iron of course, is an old magic, and very strong. Here it gives its lesson of smithing, strengthening and of course, piercing to the heart. The words of others can often help end the silence within--a reason to continue the fight, perhaps. Your second section is my favorite, but no denying the power in the other two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes, when I read the words of others, I wonder how I can believe I have anything worthy to say.
      Best to rest my pen.

      Delete
    2. oh, Kerry, your words ring true as iron on anvil. lift up your pen, your hammer again.

      Felt like you were channeling Oran in the first set. Second just had me wishing I had written it. And the third was the perfect terse verse. ~

      Delete
  4. That line about happiness and stars is just killer, Kerry.

    I read TFLW so many years ago, but i do recall that I liked it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All true, the line ...that's how it came to me as I lay on the lawn at midnight.

      Delete
  5. You soo rocked the prompt, Kerry ❤️ these lines especially awed me the most:

    So we reduced him to ashes
    and fed him to a wind which took to howling:
    “Hatred is never found
    among the dead on your battlefield.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Recent events gave rise to that voice in my mind.
      There is only one war, and it is against hatred.

      Delete
  6. All of the stanzas (or parts I guess) are beautiful and striking--they felt so original and fresh and thought-provoking--really wonderful poetry, Kerry--the stars line, the terribly sad first one about the wind and the no-hatred on the battlefield, and the thoughts re iron--each could also stand on its own. Thanks. And thanks for kind words. I did write two poems for the prompt, but will see re posting--not so confident--all best, K.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These are quite disparate - the words doing the round in my mind over the last few weeks.

      A time comes to throw down one's arms, Karin. I hope that you are able to do so soon.

      Delete
  7. I really love how the different parts come together in this...especially how the first one tells to me tells about the sadness of the state of the world today. Then of course all the perfects snippets that are an integral part of the whole poem

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bjorn. The world is in a sad state.. makes me wonder how people can find the emotional energy to live on and love too.

      Delete
  8. This is a wonderful weaving of voices, Kerry. There is such a sadness in the first part, a sorrow that raises at the sight of people that had to turn corpses in order to finds peace--did they really? The last stanza of the second part is very appropriate for these days, when it seems that so many are only feeling and doing for themselves. The ending is sigh that made me close my eyes... and go back to reread.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow! You took those "pieces of driftwood" and built a castle. Beautiful, Kerry.

    ReplyDelete
  10. “What matter your single happiness when there are so many stars?” When I helped pass out toys (happiness to needy children -There there. Point: It all starts here.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow! One war, one moon, many stars. All hard to fathom.

    ReplyDelete
  12. “Hatred is never found
    among the dead on your battlefield.”

    Those living are the ones spewing hatred and accentuating all the troubles around the world

    Hank

    ReplyDelete
  13. Interesting thoughts! Don't worry, it happens to us all at some time.

    ReplyDelete
  14. There are so many exquisite lines here, it is impossible to choose my favorite ... ending with Leonard Cohen ~ brilliant!

    ReplyDelete

Let's talk about it.