Thursday, September 4, 2008

Green Man Walking

Come, sit here awhile
In the soft cushion by my heart.
Here find home, not rooms for fear.
Here end the flight
That drags your heart from death to death.
Here, halt in moonlight's glow
Where even heartless android workmen feel again love flow
Through ancient corridors to places long forgotten —
This is the destiny for which you have fought and sought.

I, this motherland feeding your dream;
I, this dying god hauling your relentless burden upstream,
By your scars I know you! Through your failures I claim
Your heart.... I have waited so long. Come. Do not fail me.


In the garden of my soul where green pastures spread fragrant delights
And lazy horses nibble in the shade of old apple trees
A thin stream glistens in afternoon's slanted rays,
A warm summer sun shimmers in its own milky blue reflections.

In cool shadows down by water's edge,
Where even the smallest pebbles are cleaned and polished,
Glacier rubbed boulders form flat sitting spots for two gangly boys
Groping with sticks in cold depths beyond their minds to grasp.

While young horses munch down rotting apple droppings
To spice their green fodder with stolen sweets,
Flat saucer stones walk the water’s surface
In quick steps propelled by expert snaps.

Their watery graves, unmarked,
Are forgotten
Before their souls may gurgle free
Or their final 'plops' be heard.

On a far sunny knoll two black hounds lounge unnoticed,
Dreaming minds lost in former hunting glories,
Rerunning chases of great merit
Without present effort or apparent future purpose.

Here fearful minds behold Lord Chaos reigning.
No intentions guide toward long-term goals.
No affirmations of gainful purpose
Beguile serious strivers into mighty efforts.

For in this soul garden romantic histories
Still command respect and gallant heroes wrestle
Their foes to submission without loosing hearts to anger
Or minds to fears they cannot master by a simple cry to god.

Lionhearts beat strong in bony breasts;
Tired hooves stumble to late life victories;
Keen senses still find home through miles of haze;
And our Good King honors loyal knights as friends.


A rainbow melted from the sky one day and formed a pond where two small explorers now poke their heads beneath the water’s surface along the shallow shore, and scout out small curious stones while nosy passing bluegills nibble at their toes.

In deeper waters where boys do not go except by accident or by dare, the darkness sits - it's hungry belly primed for feasting; it's shadowed claws flexed and open wide in waiting. Here divers close their eyes lest fright devour their fight to surface.

"Such a pond is no plaything for disrespectful travelers", their mother's soft voice warns them, as she rides out from stables atop flashing hooves with snorts like fire crashing through sharp underbrush to fly across meadows in a sea of hair.

"Take care", she whispers, her lips burrowed in yellow cornsilk hair. "In such depths lie great treasures, hid for good reason from prying eyes that have no care for living."


A row boat is an unwieldy thing especially when powered
By independent oarsmen. They struggled with the logistics of backward travel.
They practiced poling off undetected rocks masked by reflection's glare.
A map of underwater dangers unfolded slowly in their minds.

From the haven of their wide-bottomed craft they surveyed their dominion
And their hair grew whiter still as their skin grew dark as night.
And in that darkest hour when the sun's warmth has faded farthest from our earth
They woke together as though hearing the same voice calling.

By their rainbow pond they stood transfixed, bare toes gripping icy sand,
And they climbed into their dingy quiet as the air in breathing.
Their oars they moved in union; their strokes were strong; their aim was sure;
And they plunged beneath the surface as a single splash, now swallowed, now unnoticed.

They were absent still from their beds when she called to wake them
For their chores. Blankets and clothes were scattered about on bare wooden floor.
From the high tower window she could see the dingy floating empty
In the center of the pond and a rainbow was sucking at the water, hard.

She spread her arms to greet it and urge it to its lonely task -
To turn these waters back to heaven; to lift their burden from the earth.
But her boys sat huddled, shaking on the farthest shore.
Four black hounds paced around them. All arms and legs gripped others.

When she stood beside them, they huddled lower. With care she stooped
And encircled them with a deep velvet cloak - a cloak she had never worn herself
But saved secure in a chest long locked in a chamber beneath the tower.
For Lionhearts beat still in bony breasts and friendship is treasure beyond any price.


The Green Man poked in the rubble of the rainbow pond departed.
His staff was a sapling trunk - no mere branch held he in weathered hand.
Great boulders toppled to their sides; wet underbellies he lay exposed,
And he glowered down through green flashing eyes beneath great rusty eyebrows.

He cried out, "Ho!", at each new discovery. Boys crouched and watched wide eyed.
They were not afraid. At least so they said as they boldly ventured
In the giant's parting wake. He strode through the pond with majestic step
And they marched in his footsteps with their own staffs tapping.

They had seen him first at the twilight hour, surveying the muck and ruin
Of the summer pond that had been their joy and was still their hunting ground.
They peered hard into places he uncovered. They touched and smelled
The muddy bowels of the ancient creature we now call Earth.

He seemed unaware of their prying presence. Though he sometimes smiled
To an inner joke when they could not see his visage.
A great round hat shaded his ruddy features and wild red hair
Poked out beneath it like raspberry bushes from the roadside.

The excitement of their discoveries emboldened the boys each day.
They rose with the sun and roamed into the night obsessed with their new science.
She stood in the saddle and watched from the hill and waited in stony silence.
For she knew this man and she knew his plan and she sent her dogs to track him.

They crept in a crouch that only old dogs know,
And they hunted him down to his lair in a cave in the rock -
Moss covered and water dripping - back deep in the dark,
Where she now stood and glowered; hands thrust on her hips; breasts heaving.

"These boys," she hissed, "are not treasures to keep.
They live in the sunlight. They dance in the meadow.
Free they are. Free they shall remain so long as Lionhearts are still beating."
And she drew her sword as the lightning flashes.

His foot stomped ground. Rocks trembled and fell.
"Mine!", he roared, like dark wind howling, and his staff he raised
As though to strike her numb. But she stood still on silent ground.
Green eyes stared into his green orbs, and he knew her then for what she was.

His staff he lay on the ground between them and he sank to a rock
To wait. Her breathing slowed and she sheathed her sword.
Her hounds gathered behind her feet. Their teeth were bared,
But they held their ground and slowly sank to the rock to wait.

"I mean no harm." He spoke with a soft, rough sound,
Like a man who has rarely spoken and must search in his throat
For muscles forgotten to clear out a path for his words to follow.
"I love them. My sons. True sons. Not right to stop me."

His voice seared great streaks in her breast and belly
And she thought such wounds must pour out her life on this man.
Her hounds whimpered - her distress was theirs,
And they rose, all crouched to spring to their deaths if need be.

But the man made no move. Kept his hands on his knees
And leaned forward as though the better to see her. He wanted to rise
And his heart felt her pain, but he dared not reach out to touch her.
"Ah," he signed. "I have no match for such anger."

The tears in her eyes shamed her hot warrior heart
And she turned from his gaze to shield them.
He rose, now, without word and strode through the dogs
Who stepped aside as though for their master.

They walked to the pond. He stood apart in the shadows.
Yes, two boys still searched there for meaning. "My boys," he murmured,
And he turned to her eyes: "Treasures they are, but not treasures to keep."
His words burned her soul but she nodded.


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