Christmas Eve in the Gardner household
With mum’s prep for next day going well,
When her two boys, 9 and 7, began to fight
And Mike, her oldest, decided to tell
His brother Kenny, that there was no Santa
“Yes there is,” yelled Kenny, “that’s a lie!”
“No it’s not,” said Mike, “it’s just dad dressed up.”
Mike went quiet, and then started to cry
Mum came through when she heard the commotion
And asked Kenny, why he was so sad
“Mike told me that there is no Santa.”
She turned to Mike and told him, “That’s bad.”
“Well there isn’t,” said Mike, “it’s you and dad
Who put our presents under the tree,
At least, that’s what they’re all saying at school
And what Jimmy Jones told me.”
“And you believe everything Jimmy Jones says?”
Mum asked Mike taking charge of the situation,
Knowing that Jimmy was known for his lies
Perhaps she could use him, as damage limitation
Mike thought for a while; then he quietly said
“No I don’t, because he sometimes tells lies.”
Then he went over, and gave his brother a hug
Saying, “I’m sorry I made you cry,
It’s Christmas Eve, you shouldn’t be sad
Santa’s coming to bring us new toys.”
And with peace restored, they ran up to their rooms
Mum went back to work, thinking, ‘Boys!’
Whispers of talent are carried on New England breezes
Dickinson, Hawthorne, and the Irvings’ son Washington
Though I sense a special connection to all of these
None inspired more than Edwin Arlington Robinson
Three Pulitzer Prizes were displayed on his mantle place
His childhood in Maine he described as “stark and unhappy”
Though he went to Harvard, academics he’d not embrace
Arlington’s style was unique and his cadence snappy
“Miniver Cheevy,” displaced soul, longed for Medieval years
To Miniver I could relate, felt I was born too late
Wishing I’d ridden West with America’s pioneers
But at least my dreams alcohol will never desecrate
For his depressed brother Herman, “Richard Cory” he wrote
A handsome man who appeared to enjoy the perfect life
But the turmoil in his heart, his exterior did not denote
Richard shot himself in the head to put an end to strife
Edwin, your character studies touched something deep inside
Struggles you described of common men gripped me, made me cry
People whose dreams and accomplishments did not coincide
I, too, watch life’s play from backstage, feeling like a standby
Though I seek to display wit, tragedies pour from my pen
And much like my muse, my life seems filled with loneliness
As poets we reach out to touch lives of men and women
Hoping to find comfort as troubled feelings we express
* Written for Jared's "Ode" contest
Edwin Arlington Robinson (December 22, 1869 – April 6, 1935) was an American poet
born in Maine who won three Pulitzer Prizes for his work. His brother Dr. Dean
Robinson died of a drug overdose, perhaps inspiring Robinson to write of the
alcoholic dreamer “Miniver Cheevy.”. It has been speculated that his poem "Richard
Cory" was penned for his other brother, Herman. E.A. Robinson’s poems have a dark
pessimism stemming from dreams gone awry. The style and themes of many of my
poems seem to emulate Robinson, who often wrote in rhyming quatrains. “Richard
Cory” can be found at http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/richard-cory/.
To read “Miniver Cheevy,” go to
she does make me feel whole
she does touch the intricacies of my soul
she does, and she does it all
with every poem she answers a holy dove's call
she does thrill me body and bone
she does make me feel no longer alone
she does write words I could never duplicate
she does write words that will allow her into Heaven's gate
she does something that makes me feel real
she does write words that describe how I feel
she does scribe stanzas that shake me awake
she does put into words feelings for this poet's sake
she does know the respect I hold for a poet of her grade
she does know the lady has a soul only the universe has made
she does write words that set my spirit free
alas, she probably doesn't know what her words mean to me
© 2013..copyright PHREEPOETREE ~free cee!~
When Robin Hood hides in our wood
I shall not turn him out
I'll let his merry gentlemen
Hang all their bows about.
So when a swaggering M.P.
Comes riding by alone
The arrows of the hidden host
Will ring against the stones.
The horse rears up,the man looks round
To see what's caused the stir
And what he sees amidst the trees
Is green men everywhere
Let him complain to Sheriffs all.
The green men will be gone.
When soldiers come to hunt them out
They've vanished every one.
The forests of England are the home
Of rabbit,deer and game.
The green men live their natural life
And we should do the same.
let us all take to the greenwood life
And feel the strength of trees
They do not change at every poll,
Nor do just what they please.
In Nature all is linked to one
And one to all extends.
If we could change our cut throat ways
Maybe all could be friends.
The hearts and souls of all of us,
Form a great human wood.
So let the love we feel be shared,
And heard for the common good.
If everyone is given their place
Then Robin could go home
His men would not be in my wood,
And M.P.'s could safely roam.
Let us all sing,"Robin for King,"
"We all want Robin Hood."
"He took the money from the rich
To be spent for the common good.
He stumbles on the subway
Initially I cringe
I'm put off by the way he smells
From alcoholic binge
He mumbles incoherent
I start to feel ashamed
I slide my hand in my front pocket
Fumbling for some change
But I don't think he's asking
And now I feel confused
Why suddenly he's deathly still
In contemplative muse
It's then I sensed my pity
That's founded in this thought
This vagrant's smell is rank with failure
Surely mine is not
But just as surely comes the notion
That my thought is wrong
That maybe this man's always been
My equal all along
And in my mind I contemplate
Why I refused to see
My world won't be so bad a place
If love is given free
And so my judgment loosens as
I know not where he's been
A brotherhood in harmony
Absolves the need for sin
I owe this man his right to freedom
The same that he owes me
I spare myself the cost of pain
And simply let him be
And from that moment on I'd ponder
My inner vagrancy
But was it me who smiled at him
Or him who smiled at me?
It’s 5 am, we sneak out of the house
My brother and I, as quiet as a mouse
To his red bike, where I sit on the cross bar
Trusting my brother, we won’t go too far.
Put the worm on the hook, wrap it round well
Or it will wiggle off, and the fish it will tell
Watch the float as it bobs, and pull it in gent-ly
That how my brother taught fishing to me.
Always sneaking out, fishing in the dark
Racing on his red bike, we thought it a lark.
He made me dig up the worms, for the fishing bait
But I wouldn’t squeal, no, that was never my fate
Holding both fishing rods, I hung on real tight
He promised he would teach me to use it just right.
In the river we found we loved to fish best
Often paddling in water right up to our chest.
My brother, he stopped taking me fishing with him
I always caught the fish; he said it was a sin.
Then came the day girls were more interesting than fish
Our fishing days were over, it was never my wish.
So anyone with a rod that they will let me use
I’ll sit on your crossbar, or saddle if you choose
Teach me to fish and to cast it with skill
And I’ll get your worms up, I promise I will.
© ~GG~ 14/11/2012
1 o'clock in the morning the alarm is loudly screamin'
I go wake up my brother who probably is still dreamin'
We jump in the car and the wheels start rollin'
Can't wait to pick up the papers and start strollin'
A smile planted on our face! The day is finally starting
The headlights shine bright! The animals are darting
Ah! Windows down breathing all the fresh air
My brother gathering papers with all of his care
Wheels steadily rollin down the road
Nothing is in sight, not even a toad!
Newspapers start soaring through the air!
Do I want this to end? No! I wouldn't dare
Starting to run out of papers as the sun is rising
Listening to the birds chirping is quite energizing!
I look over towards my brother to see if he is still awake
Bless his heart! He has fallen to sleep, he really needed a break!
I throw the last paper and I began to yawn
The paper lands perfectly on that last lawn
Wheels rollin' as we head back to the beginning
Should this much fun be considered sinning?
My hero to me, was just a simple man
He was ill throughout his life, but he raised two sons
Two jobs he held down until he couldn't anymore
Then fate took it's turn, and turned his heart sore
First was the youngest, on a broken bottle he fell
His artery slashed, was the start of his hell
I recovered from my trauma, nearly losing my life
But my accident increased, his ill health into strife
Over the next two years he was hospitalised
His sons fostered out, in fatherless cries
To children's homes they went, from pillar to post
Yearning for the person, who loved them the most
He gradually recovered, we became a family again
Once again fate took it's turn, returning life's pain
On a Monday night back in nineteen sixty nine
What every parent dreads, returned him to ill health decline
His two boys excited, joining the local Boy's Brigade
Running as fast as they could, for time to be made
The older was faster, he ran well ahead
The younger lagging behind, his little legs so delayed
On turning the corner, all I could see
Was my older brother, running well ahead of me
Without looking left or right, onto the street he ran
A split second later, he was hit by a van
My life entered slow motion, whilst I witnessed it all
To see your brother knocked down, a sibling to fall
He was caught under the van and dragged down the street
At seven years old, too terrified to greet
Over the next six years, his heath gradually became worse
He was more in hospital, in illness immersed
That's why he is my hero, to my lost brother and me
He's the kind of man that I've turned out to be
He had no quality of life, but what he gave meant more
The love for his two boys all through his life's sores
Holding down two jobs through illness and strife
Admirable, that's just a word, he gave me my life
My entry for Crystal Wilkins contest 'My Hero'
The value of a precious novelty
it seems is intricate fragility.
Recall special trinkets kept in a hutch
for display only, not opened to touch.
Keepsakes in prison, upheld, unimpaired.
reminder of events that once were shared.
One is now kept in a glass étagère
collectible curio set there with care.
Awaiting the finding of a misplaced key,
a new piece tempted curiosity.
Too precious to be ignored, my granddaughter
played with it carefully, warned by her mother.
Rejecting caution, which kids oft ignore
she forgot it, leaving it there on the floor.
The next day, her brother found it with his foot.
One piece now three pieces, broken, kaput.
Comes precious moment, happening on my watch.
Crying sister faults her brother for her botch
who then returns accusations with blame.
Common occurrence, accompanied by shame.
Moment develops as we find the glue.
Are there chips still missing? We find a few.
Together, three of us talk as we work.
Accountability comes with its perks.
The most precious of moments in history -
when that collectible met surgery.
Years later it stands tall, gathering dust
priceless symbol of joint effort and fuss.
Sister wife and Uncle brother,
didn't really like each other,
so they left it up to me,
which one I liked the best you see.
Sister wife, now she could cook,
not too bad with line and hook,
but Uncle brother had good traits,
why he could name all 40 states!
Both of them were good in bed,
least that's what Cousin mommy said,
but Sister wife she had one ace,
and that there was her purty face.
Her eyes are green, and blue and brown,
one of them looks off toward town,
and she has no hair beneath,
her lovely, crooked yellow teeth.
Uncle brother, he's my friend,
I'll love him to the very end,
but he stops to scratch his britches,
'cause he says it always itches.
It is so embarrassing,
to watch him scratching at that thing,
but what am I supposed to do,
when Sister wife helps scratch it too?
Sister wife and Uncle brother,
suddenly they like each other!
I guess it's just a lucky me,
that has a great big family!
a letter to my brother
of whom I hold dear
he's accross the ocean
so far from here
he fights in a war
of which is not his own
many stand beside him
he is not alone
I pray he makes it home
to his family and friends
I pray the war ends
and U.S. and iraq make amends
I miss my brother like no other
but i am proud of where he stands
his endurance to take the pain
his courage to unite foreign hands
brother I'll be here when you get home
I'll be the first to thank you for all you've done
for I am proud to be your brother
you stand and fight when all others would run
you have a strong heart, mind, and soul
so i know the devil wont try to take any brother of mine
I know you will all come home safe
I know everything will be just fine
but there are some things I think you should know
some things I have probably said before
but I dont think it will hurt
to tell you once more
I love you for who you are and for what you do
...I miss my brother and best friend
but no matter what happens
I promise i'll see you again in the end
to my brother and his brothers in arms- be safe.
Have you ever been hiking
Out in the woods
When this creepy feeling
Scares you real good?
Afraid to look round
Don't know what's behind
Oh don't be so silly!
The sound of a twig
Snapping in two
Your heart starts pounding
You shake in your shoes
A flicker of light
Through the towering pines
Saw something move
Was it just in my mind?
It happens again
So I whirl myself 'round
There right before me
My brother the clown
Laughing and chuckling
Under the pines
This badass prankster
Kid brother of mine
He teases me still
Bout the look on my face
After all these years
He still can't erase
One day my turn
For revenge will arrive
And brother oh brother
I hope he survives!
© Jack Ellison 2012
On a cold slick morning
Snow and ice veils the ground
The pager is going off
“An officer is down!”
As I drive my patrol car
Flashing red and blue lights
The siren is wailing
Piercing the night
The radio was silent
Then my heart started to yelp
When I heard his voice
Begging for help
He’s been struck by a semi
Trying to close a road
All I can do, is pray
As I keep driving in code
As I get to the scene
His unit looks bad
Please LORD be with him
Thoughts cross my mind
As the drama uncovers
He’s going to be okay
Thanks for not taking MY BROTHER
A TRUE ACCOUNT
Haven't got time for those cynical people
They're never gonna drag me down
Life's too short for whining and complaining
In their own negativity they drown
For twenty-four seven it's non-stop paranoia
Can't imagine living that way
On the sunniest day their sun doesn't shine
I rather spend time making hay
Suspecting the government's watching us
Taping us each time we pee
Had no idea things had gotten that serious
Why such interest in little old me
Well I'm just gonna go on my merry old way
More important things on my mind
Like feeding Dufus and my persian cat Lily
A good way to stay sane I find
Haven't got time for those cynical people
There's exciting stuff to explore
This friendly old planet is beckoning me
So I'm off to open more doors
© Jack Ellison 2013
Turmoil looms over private skies
Thick with fog firmly affixed to a bedroom ceiling
Though squinting escapes clarity's eyes
Of love and hate in the brotherly cloud of feelings
Of flesh and blood consumed with rage
Over jealous tirades turned warriors gun
As woeful stains turn the scrapbook page
On a mothers memories of her sons
Must steps so steep decline to this
For boys to prove they're men
To stand a savior when comes a crisis
Yet left but a splinter his heart he'll rend
One brute one tongue thrice will leave
A mothers love the referee
Her tug-rope heart torn from anxiety
Caught in the crossfire of sibling rivalry
A crystal tear center stage
On the battleground that began with play
So it falls till you reach that age
When you learn the wisdom of walking away
Poem about Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
All the nickel children
are playing on the rocks.
Girls exchanging numbers
and boys exchanging knocks.
Some are picking blueberries.
Some play in the moss.
Some are throwing grass bombs
as far as they can toss.
All the nickel children
are playing on the rocks.
All around a nickel
we made so that it shocks.
Dark of Night
In the dark of night I awaken
the nightmare comes again
In a cold sweat, head and heart racing
I know it will stop, but when?
my Brother! I scream out loud
oh God, he needs to be healed
found him with a gun in his mouth
suicide-it’s the real deal
again it must be the family curse
as for brothers-he’s number four
with three dead of booze and pills I didn’t think It could get worse
like their dying is settling some score
he didn’t show any fear
even when the gun went CLICK!
he was calm and his intention was clear
like in a scene from some movie clip
In an instant he would have be gone
and blood splattered all over the place
I’d be tormented by what went wrong
each time I remembered his face
locked away in a place he can’t get away from
he’s struggling, he says he’s had enough
battered and weathered by a violent storm
wading through it is going to be tough
at 55, he almost died by his hand
God spared my brothers’ life
but he’s still a broken, suffering man
who cries in the dark of night
ROCK AND STROLL
When we weren’t stagnant we strolled the street
While all we had to do was look toward the sky
Too many of us were weakened by blistered feet
As reflections of yesterday made us wonder why
On forty-second street there was a gallery of fools
Walk two more blocks and you were in torrid territory
Another four blocks to the east and there were no more rules
Because each one of us junkies were poor and predatory
I thought they were fools but we were the dumb ones
Stepping on melting tar or frozen cement
Looking out for knives, forceful fists and guns
And all the accoutrements which we had been lent
Whether it was Broadway during broad daylight
We did what we were forced to do
Us junkies were never looking to fight
While all the threats were bound to accrue
So don’t follow the pack of us to Needle Park
Because from there you become heroin’s slave
Neither should you follow us through Harlem in the dark
Because from there the next stop is one’s grievous grave
© 2011.….Phreepoetree ~free cee!~
Started writing poetry then joined Poetry Soup
When submitting a poem I’m really cock a hoop
Have a cyber brother I did meet on line
Think he's quite amazing his poetry's divine
He said one day we were separated at birth
His comment amused me and filled me with mirth
Soon was confirmed we certainly were twins
Both write silly poetry and both have hairy chins
My cyber sister Jan started my big old heart a-ticking
Since entering my life it's sure been a-clicking
Wake up each morning can't wait for sister Jan
Even check my inbox before going to the can
She never disappoints though we're an ocean apart
Start's my motor racing, got a hold of my heart
Haven't figured out why I deserve such a friend
Separated at birth we'll be friends to the end
Noticed on some comments people call him ‘Kenny’
He’d love to sing with Dolly – I guess he’s one of many
Jack and Dolly’s greatest hits I see it in my mind
But Cathie said no, I guess she’s being real kind
From Jack’s picture, think he’s more like a Santa
We get on great as bro and sis with much silly banter
I’m so very fortunate to find my cyber brother
If I had to choose one I couldn’t wish for another
It's a well known fact, Brits lack a sense of humour
Sister Jan sure puts a kibosh on that silly rumour
She makes me cackle and wet my pantaloons
Sometimes I snort like a silly old buffoon
At my ripe old age of fifty-eight plus twenty
Things don't work well, I have heartburn a plenty
But the heartburn I have is caused by my love
For dear sister Jan's given my heart a big shove
Collaboration between J Allison and J Ellison
© Jack Ellison 2014
from antiquity of the Peruvian Inca mountains
'til today's unsheathed bladed Java buttons clicking
the numbers add up to incessant discounting counting
to sacrifice our own graven image sown sickening
if she floats - she's a witch and frankly must die
if she sinks, well, obviously she's sufficiently pious
when down on the bottom, we can't hear her cries
of sacrifice, still, very little can get by us
filed and defiled is all the better all the while
as the former digits click off of our palms
fingers and toes, complete legs fall away, as do
whole heads mounting kill count without qualms
virgin girls, citizen children, soldiers of play
their sacrifice is for civilization after all
us, uh, i mean the gods, won't have it any other way
they must have their place on our wailing wall
the altar so sacred, so blood red royal
C-4 strapped around plain white-robed torso
from handlers who assure they have the will of God
sending heavenward, pink clouded supplication - more so
for the sacrifice of the body than of the soul
robed theocratic surgeons who cut off our noses
in a perceived attempt to maintain their control
of those around them that might be opposed to
notions that they need not explain themselves,
or that God demands carnage for reasons unknown,
that their actions should beget peace in our time
that they shan't pick up, to cast, the first stone
that we all could be better humans I suppose
if we sacrificed our pride, instead of our fear
if we worked hard not to be taken for a ride by
admitting things aren't what they might first appear
dunno, but if there is a god for us to pray to
then maybe we could pray to not be preyed upon
and sacrificed for that bloody old world view
time to cook up some whorled peas - and move on
© Goode Guy 2012-08-02
Godly birth rights I have to earn
Standing in line to wait my turn
Older brothers will teach me things
That will one day make me a king
Perspiration beads my beleaguered brow,
running in rivulets down cheeks aglow.
A hazy miasma the air does plough,
electric energy begins to flow.
Distant rumblings, crowned palm trees start to shake,
gorgeously lush green fronds partner their dance.
Waves rippling the ground harbinger earthquake,
eerie silence, then lightning’s jagged lance.
An earth shrieking crescendo tears dark skies,
a tsunami of sound deafens each mind.
Birds of Paradise scream with fearful cries,
as two tectonic plates viciously grind.
Silence resumes, a young friend lifts his head,
widened eyes white within a dusky den.
I speak, “See brother we live we’re not dead,
dispela wantok bilong Jackson Ken.”
I lived in Papua New Guinea for four years in the 1990’s.
The earthquake was 6.5 on the Richter scale, epicentre within 50 mile away.
Jackson Ken is a young Papua New Guinean man whom I befriended and who ended
up working for the company that I was managing.
The last line is Pidgin English, widely spoken in P.N.G., its root bases are German,
Dutch and ‘modified’ English. It basically means that this fellow/man (dispela, which
is me) is a cousin brother (wantok, usually associated with another member of your
own village) belonging (bilong) to Jackson Ken.
We're all brothers and sisters
In this great big world of ours
Let's try living as one happy family
Replacing guns with flowers
Getting down to the bottom of it
We all treasure the same old thing
A quiet and comfortable living
Inner peace that happiness brings
Though we look at things quite differently
That's what makes us all unique
Each one is just searching for happiness
But with an independent streak
Our skin may have a different hue
But when touched, it feels the same
We always put one foot in front of the other
We're all part of the same old game
The answer to peace is really quite simple
Respect for our fellow man
We each can make a difference I say
The solution is in our hands
© Jack Ellison 2014
O thou hast been my brother best
Through this sad time of bitter fears.
Thy brother hath but one request;
Above thy heart to rest his tears.
Thy life for me, hath been consumed
With tortured torments torn with pain,
For is thy father not entombed
And left for naught thy future gain?
And was thy father's fate not mine?
From this day hence I say, 'tis true!
My vapors vexed do now entwine
Around yon corpse now damp with dew.
I care not more or less of thee,
'Twas failure fraught from mine own lips.
I love thee friend, thou art now me,
For as I bleed 'tis our blood drips.
Now sewn as one through trial and fire,
Thou ask and thou shalt have my soul.
Thy life, immersed inside the mire,
Hath formed and forged us two as whole.
What more should mortal man request
But that gods now shall make arise,
A friend transformed, to brother best,
By gods that heard thy brother's cries?
Now formed as one from this day on
To share the silence and the sound,
Of life's intrigues til life is gone.
And we, as one, are heaven bound.
So let these weighted words be free
To fall upon thy beating breast,
Conjoined with tears I cried for thee,
When friend became my brother best.
Let me tell you what had happened
When two children's day had darkened
Home alone, fed up with Communism
They decided on some Spiritism.
Naughty brother and his sister
Started chanting a tongue twister
Shaking, dancing,twirling a spatula
Air head kids called evil Dracula
Goose bumps and a lot of laughter
Ended session... Guess What after ?...
As night descended on the "counting sheep"
Fate decided to take a strange, big Leap:
Radio and TV turned on
Sleep, peace and quiet all but gone
Colorful ceramics smashed into sand
Only my brother and I knew that's Grand.
Sunshine erased the real nightmare
But next night I lived in despair
A man stopped in front of my balcony
Raised his hat, saluted me politely
Do you wonder what's so creepy
And why I became so weepy?
I am a poet and I'm not a bore
But all of us lived on the thirteenth floor...
A lot of years have passed since then
Thank God for this contest and pen
If questions would arise please don't be shy
I'm willing to respond ...and laugh... and cry.
Written for the contest on Paranormal
I'm from a family of four
My folks and my brother and me
My “bro” was twenty months older
We were different as can be
My brother’s birth name was Jerry
I remember him as “Big J”
He grew to over six foot four
While at five foot seven, I stayed
Even when we lived together
We each seemed to go our own way
So close in age, we fought a lot
Now and then together we played
As teens our fights were physical
I never did come out on top
Except, with my arm in a cast
I beat him till Mom made me stop
We grew closer when we were grown
A natural thing I’ve been told
While living our separate lives
Our brotherly love was disclosed
A birthday call to each other
Was always a yearly event
And when we did get together
The time was so preciously spent
All three of my daughter’s weddings
“Big J” and his wife would attend
Then at one wedding reception
He told all the guests we were “twins”
He had a great sense of humor
Reminded me of dear old Dad
His laugh was very infectious
No better “bro” could I have had
Our parents were already gone
When Big “J” was taken away
No one can know the grief I felt
When I lost him that dreadful day
Big “J”, was my brother Jerry
A gentle giant of a man
He was loved by those that knew him
And I'm sure I'm his biggest fan
Christian, a baptized person
To believe all that Christ has taught
To do all that He has commanded
As necessary for our salvation
SIMPLY DIE THOSE TEARS
I suppose there are things i'll never learn about people
i'd like to know
not insignificant things such as what they do and where
i'd like to know some pertinent information
like how they can display such inconsideration
I know this lady whose friend was very ill
the doctors couldn't cure her with an injection or any pill
according to the physicians she was practically at death's door
but that cruel lady acted as if it was something easy for her to ignore
I know this man whose friend's father died the day before
yet he acted as if paying his condolences was some kind of chore
these were two men who were once thick as thieves
but that man didn't give a damn how badly and sadly his old friend grieves
it boggles my mind how cruel certain people can be
but that doesn't go for a person with a heart and soul such as me
because every time some woman or man comes to die
it could be a stranger to me yet and still i'll find myself urged to cry
© 2012.....PHREEPOETREE ~free cee!~
“A dying people tolerates the present, rejects the future, and finds its satisfactions in past greatness and half-remembered glory.”
“A strong man makes a weak people. A strong people don’t need a strong man.”
John Steinbeck (Nobel Prize 1962)
for the DEAD in the Struggle for EELAM
Ages from now, let it not be said:
Blood spills only as brother dies.
Ages from now, let not peace be bled
By chances lost now in sighs.
To the high nor low slams the door
To him who seeks the Law and more.
Take, take the Golden Mean way!
Truth your only key, don’t ever slay!
Where the elephant roams un-tethered free,
The familiar myna will echo carefree
Words of yore buried in sacred memory:
One breed, one species carved in ivory.
No greater fear simmers in the lowlands
Than the stealth of brother against brother;
No higher disdain festers in the highlands
Than vengeance lying in wait for the other.
Think not of the promises made and broken,
Think only of the time lost and forsaken.
Every hour, every day, a life blown or taken;
Every month, every year, a people woe-driven.
To the high nor low slams the door
To him who seeks the Law and more.
Take, take the Golden Mean path!
Truth your only key, never the lathe!
Think of Prince Paranirupasingham who to succour
King Jayavira’s queen, to Kandy, fled his throne:
Abandoned to court intrigue, schemes and wiles encore:
A princely retreat, a physician’s penance alone.
First governor, then regent, the last Jaffna King Cankili
Learnt best the conqueror's cruel art of slaughter;
Then, fired by the local converts' iniquitous treachery,
Revolted too late, his head the butt of lofty laughter.
Think of C.P. Ramanathan the island’s cause to defend
Sailed over choppy seas past wild submarines
To raise the nation’s flag in the court of the Empire’s den,
His homeward chariot drawn by one peoples’ teens.
(...continued in Parts 3 to 5)
William, I in your scholars footsteps went
Across the seas of the white continent
To seek the demon that your bright soul bent
Away from self, harbor of home, government
Of mind. I saw the citadels, abroad
Their light, and the mesmerized world flowing
Like pilgrims starved, yet all searches outward
They clustered history, gently bowing.
What would a boy who danced the streets for dimes
Seek here? What would a child made penitent
To arbitrary laws claim from discontent
With native shore, in matter's logic climes?
Too hard the cathedral floor, I wouldn't kneel
Too cold the shrine here for a tropic faith
Dust clogged my eyes, I needed just to feel
Something that from your shoulders moved some weight.
This shrine lengthend your name with letters, and spelled
Your dreams downward, excavating past things
And the science of fire, you needed wings
To flee the cauldron of desire. I yelled
Against the emptiness, the barren white
I yelled in loneliness, too soon you left
My soul alone to voyage the cold night
Too soon my mother hums with the bereft
From Harvard to Delhi, and Cambridge back
How clean the wind sweeps the sand, Sweden too
Already has forgotten, fled like dew
Your presence now, and the desolate track
Feign innocense of the foul deed, my tears
Fall again, William, my brother, brave
I tried, but not climb wisdom's broken stairs
My love is haunted by your silent grave.