In Olden Tymes

“So what were you before…?”

“I was a knight: a defender of the weak, a protector of the realm, and a servant to the crown.”

“And what makes you believe that in 2017?”

” I always write about it. I see it in my head: the pastoral scenery, the castles, the nobles and peasants, I smell the wheat, the dung, and the hay, I feel the sparks of the forges burn into my forearms, hear the clang of metal, smell the tang of smelted steel. I’ve seen new blades gleaming in the sunlight over time become nicked and scratched by battle.”

“I’ve seen the gore of the enemy dripping from both.”

“I see the hills covered in winter snow, and springtime wildflowers. I smell the perfumes and sweat of the women I’ve known.  I’ve wiped their smudges and circled their nipples with my thumbs, kissed their tears, put my hands where they let me, and sometimes where they wouldn’t.”

“I smell the alleys of trash and waste, redolent and pungent in the rain and the heat of summer.”

“I hear the creaking of the rocking ships, the ding and clang of chains and anchors, and I hear the ancient sailor songs in languages I’ve never heard, from places I’ve never been, carrying heavy burdens and tying thick ropes. I hear the harbor rats, feral cats in their wake or on the hunt.”

“I see the grand, high-ceiling halls full of intricate sculpting, paintings, candles, garlands, splendid gowns and noble robes. I hear the lilt of lute and pipe and mandolin, I hear the torches sizzle in their sconces, see the idols of forgotten gods on the hilltops, and smell the rot of forgotten kings in their tombs.”

“I’ve been to the armories of kings of empires, and seen the high pyres of the dead from wars, plagues, famines, disputes, and fires.”

“I’ve traveled with players’ troupes in colorful wagons, tumbling in air and throwing knives.”

“I’ve seen the candles burn in the wizards’ towers and the sorceresses cottage, and the witches’ caves, and the mad hermits’ burrows.”

“I’ve heard the forest whisper, scream, sob and laugh when no one was there.”

“I’ve been in the dank of rat infested dungeons, staring at hungry red eyes.”

“I’ve been trampled, burned, butchered, beheaded, and strangled in my bed. Then I returned the favors.”

“I’ve lost my life to the raging sea and the calm, relentless desert sun.”

“I’ve been poisoned, robbed, and tortured at length.”

“I’ve scaled walls into treasuries and bedrooms.”

“I’ve fought in tournaments of backwater villages, and in arenas of cheering crowds, and in taverns of ill repute of both food and customers.”

“Everything in my blood harkens back to olden tymes.

“And I possess it still.”

Sifting Shifting Sand

All my duties come to naught,

and as for all the things I bought,

I place the high-def screens in

front of things that really matter,

 

And put the things that really matter

inside the screen.

 

Pictures of family

Pictures of memories

Pictures of successes

Pictures of loss and regret

Pictures of friends who lost

the battle to live forever…

 

And today,

here I stand

utterly alone,

wrapped in sullen silence,

chilled by cold thoughts and

ironic imaginings

of what might have been

after all this time.

 

Sifting shifting sand,

unable to find what I deemed insignificant

and buried,

only to realize all that

ever matters

is the life you’re living

 

Now.

As I Sat Looking at the Sea

As I sat looking at the sea,

The sea was looking back at me.

“Tell me, O man,” it seemed to say,

“Where would you like to go today?”

 

“I’d like to be inside a shell,

a full sail rising in a swell,

a shark fin slicing through a wave,

a sea-snake lurking in a cave!”

 

The sea then laughed

“That’s quite a list!”

and clothed me

with a kissing mist,

 

And plucked me from

the sitting rock,

and took me

from the safety dock,

 

And gave me

all I did desire

of fish, and fowl

and ocean fire

 

And showed me wonders

floating by

not seen before with

Human eye.

 

“Reach out,” it said,

“and touch and feel

the shimmering coral,

the shocking eel,

 

the slick grey dolphin

playing there,

the breaching whale

that tastes the air,

 

“And in the darkness

of my floor

are creatures

best not counted for…”

And as the sun set,

then the sea

released its hold,

and set me free.

 

And sprayed my cheek,

and went its way.

So I remember

to this day

 

When I sat looking

at the Sea,

and in its depths,

discovered

Me.