A child of four suffers recurring dreams,
disturbing parents and siblings with screams.
When she awoke, always sore in one knee;
next to a birthmark, it throbbed painfully.
Night after night she feared going to bed.
What caused these nightmares that raged in her head?
Even when grown, the torment persisted,
so a therapist’s aid she enlisted.
“Hypnosis,” said he, “might offer some clues.
Why not try it? You’ve just bad dreams to lose.”
Once under, he guided her to a room --
here people’s lifetimes in books were entombed.
“Find one that is yours,” her counselor said.
Quickly she did, but before it was read,
she felt an ache, saw just a faint title.
The words, she thought, said “Alister Bridle.”
The hypnotic trance now suddenly broke;
puzzling questions “Mr. Bridle” evoked.
For many years she thought that was her name;
perhaps a past life had been filled with pain.
Who was this man? She simply had to know!
Seasons passed, summer suns made way for snow.
In Florida now, 1998,
she thought all the nightmares she had escaped.
But strange dreams always catch us by surprise --
when the lights grow dim, our minds fantasize.
Cloaked in velvet, she left her parents’ farm,
stealing away on a late autumn morn’.
To meet her love, she climbed on the carriage,
knowing her folks would forbid their marriage.
Warm-hued leaves carpeted the hillside road,
and her pulse beat fast; she’d soon join her beau.
She thought only of him; joy cast its smile,
but that’s when he called, “Alice, the bridle!”
The leather band broke and wrapped ‘round her knee.
To the ground she was pulled; her horse ran free.
She met death, but past-life dreams recycle,
and she’d never been “Alister Bridle.”
*Based on real events I experienced.
it is in this mural of splashing fuses
that I am lit with a solemn torch……
I gaze with back deck musing
but front porch eyes….
I see the distance beyond this world
(my own cosmic existence)
a residence I squandered
but my feet want to tread there
the green that surrounds me
suffuses me with lakeside dew
melodies drifting only the quiet can hear
ripples that only valid observers see
the kentucky breeze carries a lonely wind
where has it been?
has it touched the sand I have?
(bare toes buried)
somewhere a child cries in the still
shattering this serenity
(though some don’t hear it)
along the bank of shoal like tranquility
the birds will wail for broken dreams
(severed by thoughtless hands)
oh, its only a portrait
(an inspiring one though)
as open lashes stumble
a horizons sinking sun
multi hues of reckless red and pink
a blue print of what life should be
snap shot deftness in the perception
while beneath lay the sorrow
the last lingering tangerine shades
tease and taunt the tops of dogwood trees
oh beauty as far as eyes can see
a few silver shimmers of clouds
in a blue grass sky
flowers bloom sweet pea and peonies
raw carmine kisses in the silence
pretty pansy faces
and grass is verdant
green!! peacock sage and pine
arrayed in darks and lights
a myriad of different shades
brilliant in its lush velvet on my feet
to only live life this way (skimming surfaces)
just as the honey suckle does
how blissful that would be
(in all its exquisite ignorance)
branches sway in the song of a blue bird zephyr
as the fingers of it caress my skin
this expanse is my companion
but still I perceive it
what lies beneath
in stunning cognizance
bearing a strenuous burden
it is in this mural of splashing fuses
that I am lit with a solemn torch
I gaze with back deck musing
but front porch eyes
Scientists say it’s just a mirage,
but sailors claim the ghost ship floats
in air, with stormy seas below.
Again he tries to round Cape Hope.
Captain van der Decken angered God
one savage 18th Century night.
Vowed he’d sail till “Judgment Day,”
to cross the Table Bay, he’d fight.
The Flying Dutchman disappeared
sank deep in foggy, wind-swept sea,
but the captain’s doomed to walk the deck
each night in perpetuity.
King George the Fifth, the Prince of Wales
are two who saw the Dutchman.
Although these royal heirs survived,
most meet death -- the captain’s omen.
His curse prevails in Wagner’s Opera
and Washington Irving’s story;
crews tremble, ghost ship emerges
Dutchman floats in frightening glory.
So many sailors and their ships
still meet demise on starless nights,
when demons steer the Dutchman
and a vengeful God reads last rites.
Till this day the Flying Dutchman
looms threatening on a ravaged sea.
For Judgment Day the captain waits,
luring crews to their destiny.
*Entry for the Story Poem contest.
Poetry is a highly personal endeavor for all who write
And answer the inspiration of Our Eternal Poetry Muse.
Why do we write poetry?
This a very important question for all of us who “spill ink.”
Poetry for me is a most wonderful magical medium and
An art and methodology which bespeaks the realm of the
Mysterious, Arcane, Uncanny, Mystical, Esoteric, and Divine.
Poetry is my personal endeavor to master the complexity of
Relating my deepest thoughts and connecting with the reader;
Developing a memorable and intriguing theme or subject;
Choosing the right words and composing meaningful verse;
Finding the best metaphors and the proper tone and balance;
Exploring key theme attributes (to name a few):
Feelings, passions, emotions, light, dark, happiness
Sadness, humor, good, evil, intelligence, stupidity,
Right, wrong, ethereal, ignorance, and indifference.
Our Poetry Muse touches each and every one of us at key times
When we least expect it: morning, noon, evening, after midnight.
Our Muse, for me, captivates my thoughts and illuminates my soul
While compelling me onward to communicate and share with others
What I see and perceive, sense and feel, think and understand about
A theme as it resonates in the depths of my innermost psyche.
I know that I have much to say now in my life . . .
Verse, meter, rhyme, tone, metaphors, metonymy, allegory, imagination—
All enliven my efforts and make easier my attempts to mirror my
Thoughts and views to the reading public.
I want my thoughts and doubts, as my passion abounds, to connect with
Those deepest elements of my human psyche and my emotions
In making my written message to be something that is:
Meaningful and significant, resolute and spirited;
Full of passion or compassion, humor or sadness, courage or fear,
Strength or weakness, Heaven or Hell, bliss or misery—or whatever
Motivates and inspires the Creative Process for me.
Our Muse is there with all of us, in reality, to inspire us and help us
To bring passion, meaning, certitude, and direction to our thoughts
As we attempt to infuse these very attributes into our poetic narrative.
Our Muse, in the end, leaves it up to each and every one of us
To go one further step beyond Her ethereal influence and inspiration:
To invest and infuse at the end of this process our own “Free Will”
In making the final decision pertaining to what our final verse or
Narrative product will look like To Our Reading Public.
This is my take, my view on what happens when Our Eternal Poetry Muse
Tantalizes us and awakens within each of us that undeniable Spirit of
Inspiration, and that giddy zest and irrepressible desire to “spill ink.”
Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved, Schoeningen, Germany (October 3, 2014) (Narrative poetic format)
" From the debt of my heart"
The African child
Sat behind the bamboo fence
He was sober and tense
Sputtering and wondering.
He forsook the bush meat
And the gathering under the moonlight
For sobriety and the causes of his uncertainties.
His clothes were like dried leaves
His feet like openings in the eaves
He longed to see a brighter tomorrow
He clarified the causes of his sorrow;
Sins of the father,
Fighting not to make things better
Therefore darkening the weather,
Making his destiny falter and bitter.
Tears exuded from the sound of his flute,
His fears enlarged like a parachute
But one thing he never understood,
Watch and pray, oh! African root
For your foundation is stinky, filthy,
Faulty and guilty...... watch and pray.
It started growing in a field
Billy Stover watched it grow
Because the corn was tall
Because Billy Stover was small
No one knew
Now one saw
No one saw how the tiny boy watched by the hour in summer's heat
Even from the top of high elm trees by the road
who could have detected that small lad stretched out
on his stomach leaning on his elbows watching
On stormy days Billy watched from the closest window
elbows propped up on the sill
He knew it was growing though he couldn't see it
He'd be down in the field now in the mud watching
but his mother forbade it
"What do you do out there Billy all by yourself?
What is it you do out there instead of playing?"
On certain days when the wind swayed the green stalks
and nipped Billy's cheeks his eyes would light up
He fought back a burning desire to run into the white kitchen
to tug at his mother's apron to bring her out
and show her his one spot
He jumped up once when the flames leaped high
started running for the house
"Mother! Mother!" he silently shouted
Every part of his small body shook with joy but
The bleak white walls of the kitchen
his mother her hands dipped in bread dough....................................
It started growing in the field in the dirt in the mind of Billy Stover
And no one could have kept a secret better than Billy
Insomnia, familiar friend,
crawled into bed this summer night
so once again, inflamed with dread
I wander now in pitch of dark
and touch the places, now by heart, that sprawl unstirred by weary minds
This lonely place, where I used to come
where armless grief, and headless doubt
and worry filled the rooms
I know you cold, my land of oz
So ruthless do you change your face
into a place I once refrained
But, don't pretend to make me fear, toxic robber of my sleep
I've known you much too long
You masquerade in shades of gray
And now I know that dark of night, is not the blackest thing
And room by room, I'll play the game
until the light of day
The shadows magnify your art
and though they magnify my loss of sleep
and while I've tossed and turned in vain
I've lost the lonely albatross
that pulled against the grain
From hooded thresholds I embark
to find a language of the dark
A liquid language of a mystic night,
that switches on the light
I've walked the halls of ghosts I knew, and those I hope to meet
I've felt the stares, and shared myself, no secrets left to keep
But not tonight, familiar friend
you bask in myth I understand
I'll fill the tasks that need my hands, until the light of day...
For Leonora Galinta's Contest
As I think back to that dark time in our community I don’t know if I’d ever seen anyone quite
like that (Cinder Girl). We girls thought she had (Lovely Bones). The last time I saw her alive,
she was sitting on her porch blowing a (Dandelion Wishing) for a long life.I think she knew
that (Before Night Falls) her (Worst Fear) would be realized. The beast from the nether
world, who I think directed everything was that (Dog That Wears a Cone). He sat in her side
yard staring at her. The locals called him Cujo, he was (By Any Other Name), (The Beast of
Our Making). Cujo aside, (That Guy Paul) Cujos’ minion, was one (Bloody Bastard). He was
going to involve Cinder in (A Rural Tragedy) of epic proportions.
It went down on a (Heavy Slush)y winters’ eve guaranteed not to be a pastoral (Scene On a
Road in Winter). I had entered the old abandoned farmhouse on my way home from town. I
was cold and my feet were wet from the slush. I sat down in a small room out of the draft. I
heard voices outside. Paul endured (The Wait) for his accomplice in the cold. When she
arrived he began talking to (The Girl Who Wears the Dragon Tattoo). Then I saw what he
(What was I Thinking) (What If) they found me hiding (Inside This Little Room). Paul and the
dragon lady were sweaty (Toilers at the Trench), digging frozen dirt in winter is hard work. I
heard Paul laugh as he said to “TATS,” this time we’re (Cleaning House)… Was I next?
Suddenly, the opportunity for escape from this nightmare arose. Jake the bumbling county
snow plow driver unknowingly swung the truck onto the farmstead with its’ halogen lights
probing deep (Into Night). He had (Thwarted) their hiding this heinous crime. The sight he
illuminated gave me the [That Potent Urge(Gotta Go, Gotta Go Right Now)]. I ran from that
house into the night. No one ever knew I was there and since Jake was the only witness the
court needed, I never came forward.
Jake had never been (My Kind of Apple) because (Jake Sure Loved His Beans). Regardless,
Jake unknowingly saved my life that night. I never thought it would happen but over time I’d
grown accustomed to the gas. We were married late last fall and as we left the reception I
saw Cujo on a nearby hill wearing that ominous cone. I thought to myself as he watched us
leave, he knows…
Oh God, he knows I was there!
*This narrative derived from the titles of one poets work here on the Soup.
He glances out the window,
And watches the sunset,
But he doesn’t see the beauty,
Nor the warm rays which,
Pierces through the glass,
Only the anticipation and,
Anxiety of a long night,
Carefully, he watches,
The colors change,
First the bright orange,
"God I pray this never ends…"
Filling with a deep red,
"Just a little while longer…"
Slowly softening to the,
Deceptive pinks and purples,
"Please, one more minute…"
Fading into the crimson black,
Which only night can bring,
Reluctantly, he gets ready for sleep,
Yet, knows it will never come,
He tossed and turns,
Half praying, half waiting,
Knowing what will happen,
In the way only a child can,
A light! It peeks through a crack,
In the door as a shadow floods the opening,
Quickly, the figure slips through the door,
And shuts it softly, but not without the,
Empty creak which has become so familiar,
The shadow climbs in beside him,
Touching his trembling leg, whispering,
“Hush little brother, it’ll be alright,
While I’m here, have no fear,
I’ll keep you safe tonight,”
He struggles and writhes,
Sadly knowing he will never,
Break the grip and prays to faint,
To loss all consciousness and,
Memory of that horrible night,
Just for one night without the pain,
Just for one night without,
The cold empty feeling,
Several years pass, too many to count,
A single call, one he had never expected,
He rushes to the hospital to find,
His tormentor for so many years,
Lying on a cold, hard bed,
Able to move, but only by pushing a button,
Able to speak, but only with a whisper,
He stays by him for weeks, caring for him,
Reading to him, watching over him,
Still suffering, still unable to move,
He takes his brother home,
The day goes on, moving slow as all,
The evening comes and he,
Watches once more as the sun sets,
Carefully watching, Orange to red,
Red to purple, and as the purple turns to black,
He walks into the room where his brother lies,
Slowly, he sits next to him, holding a pillow,
Stroking his head whispering,
“Hush big brother, it’ll be alright,
While I’m here, have no fear,
I’ll keep you safe tonight,”
The difference between right and wrong,
Can be hard to find,
But who’s there to see you,
When justice is blind?
There I stood in this massive hall, decorated with sophisticated settings,
White flowing drapes hung freely from an invisible ceiling
Twinkling stars, sparkled against the midnight blue sky
Though I could not see it, an orchestra played a lovely, unfamiliar tune
Well-dressed, others sat leisurely at circular tables covered in white draping linen
Adorned with colorful centerpieces and white candles in delicate crystal holders
Quite puzzled, I made my way toward the center of the room
I searched for familiar faces in the crowd to no avail
My dress, simple, yet elegant was of the brightest blue
Then out of nowhere this handsome, young man appeared and took my hand in his
As if on queue, the music stopped. Strangely the color of his suit matched mine
Unafraid, I stared into the stranger’s face, as the most beautiful melody played
As we danced, we seemed to be floating before the crowd of smiling faces
The music played on endlessly, as I danced in the stranger’s arms
His leading was perfect, not a word passed between us, but gentle smiles expressed the joy
Lost in wonder, feeling incredibly elated, I wished we would dance forever
In an instant I felt a light touch on my face, and I turned away to see
And to my surprise, there stood my little girl, saying, “Mommy, wake up, I’ll be late for
Note: True story- A dream I had some years ago and which I will never forget!! I have no
idea what that meant,..but who cares. It was one of the best dreams I ever had! One of
those dreams you hate to be awaken from. .