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Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Divine Comedy translation Hell Canto XIV

Because the charity of my native place
Obliged me, the broken branches I the picked up
Them giving back him, who was to debase.

Then we finally reached where had to leap
From the second turn to third, and just where
Horrible art of justice you can seep.

To best describe new things I saw then there,
I tell that now we arrived at a site
Which any plant destroys and impair.

The painful wood is like a garland tight
Around it, like is the sad moat to it;
Here we stopped step after step nearby quite.

The space was of sand arid and thick split
Not quite so different shape from the one
Which was by Cato’s foot canceled to grit.

O God’s vengeance, how  much you ought to stun
And frighten whoever is reading now
What to my eyes then manifest was done!

Of naked souls I saw many flocks to bow
And all together wretchedly to cry,
As they were subject to a wicked law.

Some people of them supine to ground lie,
Some other sitting down fully curled up,
And other walked around with no why.

People who wandered was a larger group,
And the less ones lying to the torment,
But expressing their grief with louder weep.

Over the sandy soil, with slow descent,
Were pouring  of fire very large flaps,
As snow on mountains with no wind extent.

Like Alexander in hot lands perhaps
Of India over his army saw
Flames solid down to ground  to collapse,

So he designed pawing the soil to draw
With his arrays, so that the vapor hot 
Faster lapsed if let alone to withdraw:

So fell there the eternal fire spot;
Making sand to ignite, like the tinder
Under fire, to double the ache shot.

With no rest were waved around to hinder
The miserable hands, just side by side
To send away from self the hot cinder.

I started: “Master, who are winner wide
In all things, except with the demons tough
Who our entrance at the door before tied,

Who is that big who is careless enough
Toward fire and spiteful and grim lies,
So it look like on him fire to snuff?”

And just that one, as had way to comprise
That I was asking my duke about him,
Shouted: ”Like when alive, as dead my guise.

If Jupiter ha to remove his smith’s vim 
From which he took the lightning acute
That my last day me stroke with will grim;

Or if  is tiring others to pursuit
At Mongibello where is the smithy black,
Calling “Good Vulcan,help me, and be cute!”,

As he made at Phlegraean battle attack,
And he darted me with his strength at all: 
He couldn’t have his happy revenge back”

Then my duke shouted with his voice so tall
So tall, that never so strongly I heard:
“O Capaneus, since is not yet small

Your arrogance, you more with pain are spurred:
No torment, except your angry wrath bad,
Would certainly be to your rage concurred”.

Then turned to me, and better aspect had,
Telling: “He was one of  the seven kings
Who Thebes besieged; had and still to add

Contempt has to God, no regard brings;
But, as I told him, his despites are then
At his breast very appropriate things.

Now follow me, and careful not, again,
You put your feet in this hot and  scorched  sand;
But always keep your feet in wood as den”  

In silence passed over to reach the land
Out of the wood where is a tiny flow,
Whose reddish color  my mind still disband.

As from the Bulicame the waters go
Which women sinners then among them share,
Likely that runlet through the sand went low.

Its bottom and too both its steep banks pair
Were of stones, and the edges on the sides;
So I realized that the pass was there.

“With anything else I have shown besides,
After we entered the main door just through
Whose trespassing ever nobody chides,

You did not notice using your eyes too
Overt as it is this present river,
Which turns off all little flames not few”

Of these words my guide had been the giver;
So I begged him the dinner had to feed
After the wish he brought in me with shiver.

“In the sea midst is a place of misdeed”,
Then told me him , “which has the name of Crete,
Whose kingdom under was chaste world indeed.

There is a mount which was of pride replete
For woods and water, which Ida had as name;
Now is a desert as thing to deplete. 

Rea then chose it as cradle to acclaim
Of hers son, and she at best him to hide,
When he cried, she sound shouting overcame.

A grand old man stands up the mount inside,
Holding shoulders at Damietta town
And looks at Rome as in a mirror side.

His head of pure gold is done and crown,
Of pure silver his breast and limbs are done,
Then of copper is made to the fork down;

The part below is built of iron dun;
Except the right foot which of faience is;
And on that foot more stands, the other shun.

Each part, except the golden one, rift has
As a disruption which drips just tears’ flow
Which, gathered, drilling in that cavern does. 

Their course in this valley deep falls and throw;
Acheron, Stix and Phlegethon they form;
Then through this narrow penstock down they go,

At last, there where more drop cannot perform,
Produce Cocito, and how is that pond
You can’t see here, but you shall see as norm”.

 And I: “If this stream has to correspond
To a source like that in our world up there,
Why too in this fount we it see beyond?”.

And he: “This site is round, you are aware;
Although you already walked that much,
Even moving left, getting down to fare,

You did not yet complete the circle such;
So that, if it looks strange to you this thing,
Your face should not wonder and touch”.

And I again: “Master, where is the spring
Of Phlegeton and Lete? Of one are still,
Of other you tell it’s of this rain fling” 

“With all these questions, I admire your will,
He answered, “but the boiling water red
Should have just solved a question you made still.

Lete you shall see, not in this hole of dread,
Where souls go to wash out their pain indeed
When their sin repented  has then been shed”

Then he told: “It’s time, to move now we need
From the wood, so follow and come me back:
Road is done by borders, which let accede,

And on them hot vapor will of course lack”   


Long poem by Brian Johnston | Details |

Driving Alone Through the Sand Hills of Nebraska

My love is light (a fairy kiss?)          
               Like the pressure of sunbeams on your cheek, 
        Ineffable, and yet capable of changing lives…
		Darkening skin to a more attractive hue, 
		Pushing spaceships to distant stars (given time) , 
		Even causing cancer given sufficient lack of love for self.
        For love is not about just getting needs met by another, 
        No, love is more like a laser's coherent beam….
                For in reflecting back a portion of what is given, 
                The power of what is being created grows
                Until it can cut through the hardest steel
        And span the gulf between galaxies.

Poetry too grows through the cross-fertilization of newborn lines, 
        The lines of this poem insist that I record their birth.
 	        Each new line grabs me by the scruff of the neck, 
		       Forces me to hit the brake, grab my pen, 
		       And claim it in my family bible…
	        My only children, clamoring to be set in ink.
         As these Voyagers' pass into the present state of my art
                (Some that I barely recognize in their profligate parentage
	               Of older verse's new verse's newer verse still)          …
		               Somehow still carriers of my own genetic code.
                They press my design against the blank page
	                Flying in search of, homing on… your heart.
 
My love's intent is simply truth (do you want less?)          
	 Would you have me downplay 
	 	The warmth of our connection
                        Because it is complicated by here-to-fore
			        Unacknowledged passion, spiritual connection, 
			        And the remnants of former relationships
			        (Even those still gasping for breath) ? 
		        Or feign a lack of attachment to it's denouement
			         In a solitary attempt to feel safer? 
	 No matter can restrain the effects of gravity
		On the orbits of other bodies in its field of influence, 
		 	Gravity that binds us all in deep wells of space-time.

 Your kiss of greeting…
	After so many years of imagining such a possibility, 
	Imprinted deeper than even my memory of our first meeting, 
		Our moonlit shadows touching as we soaked naked
		In the steaming waters of a volcanic mountain spring.
	This new conjunction of souls occurred in God's clear view, 
		Without artifice or scheming on our part
			And rocked my inner core to it's depths, 
	Organizing molten currents of confused turbidity
	Into a magnetic flare of such intensity
		That iron flew to my spine
	Inspired me to finally declare my love
		To acknowledge your impact on my life…
	And after a period of gestation
		Gave birth to this poem of celebration.

 Back to Nebraskan reality and a new mystery…
	I pass an overturned car, 
		Its wheels tied by yellow police tape, 
	A metaphor for my life perhaps
		'Damaged but still salvageable.'
	The windows are broken out, 
		The occupants removed to a distant hospital somewhere
			(Hopefully arriving alive) , 
		Their odds and ends of life scattered like garbage
			On the inverted ceiling of their car.
	The explanation, perhaps, is the water still standing
		Several inches deep on the road side near the wreck? 
	A sudden orgasmic release of cloud in a desert….
		The car tops the hill to find the highway
			Buried by a lake of dimensions only God can know.
		Who would expect such a thing in Nebraska's sand hills? 

And what does it say about me finally
	That I am so drawn to distant objects, 
        That the two women given access to my heart are
		Both still tied to failed marriages
			By dark chapters I am not part of
			And innocent children who need their love? 
	And at our age where is the partner without a past? 

 Is this all that God has planned for you and me, 
	That we 'just miss' every thirty years or so? 
		I know there are times I am afraid to trust another's love, 
			Cannot even hear words of genuine affection.
		Perhaps this explains my attraction to women
			Whose availability might really be in question? 
		Maybe I'm afraid to let a real lover in? 
			Is the simple dream of love a better choice
				Than the chance of finding real love anew
				(Even love with an expiration date) ? 
		I think I'm more distrustful of my own heart's passion
			Than I am of women being unreceptive to my love.
		Do you struggle with similar feelings? 
	And is it my lot to only remember passion like this in a poem
		While you spiral away to unimagined rendezvous'? 

The coldness of space is not after-all
		The simple absence of heat…
	No, in human dimensionality it is more the absence of others…
		Others who both shine life force toward us
			And reflect our own light back to us, 
		Who collide with us physically and emotionally
			Altering our pathways forever, 
				And who crater the façade whose design
				We imagine belongs to us alone.
	The void of human space-time is a true 'black hole'
		Sporting only star death fragments of the 'Big Bang.'
 
This is all I really know…
	I treasure the memory of our 'fly-bys'
		Even if that's all they ever are.
	And if I'm lucky this joy, 
                This celebration of your existence, 
	Will continue to pour out of me in songs and verse…
		For your ears always (if I am so honored) , 
			For God's heart (as I was born to honor Him) , 
	And to the stars alone if I have only them for company.

Brian Johnston
August 2009
     
This poem, like 'A Walk Near Blunt, ' began during an actual drive from South 
Dakota to Oklahoma and then took on a life of it's own. These 'real life 
narrative' poems are part of an attempt on my part to give precedence to truth 
and content over form and rhyme. For readers with an interest in science, I 
hope you also enjoy my attempt in this and other poems to bring my love of 
Physics into the world of poetic imagery.


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Dante's Hell translation CANTO X

Now is going on through a secret way
Between the martyrdoms and the ground wall,
My master, and I behind him to stay.

“Oh highest virtue, who me gently haul
In wicked rounds”, I started, “If you please,
Speak to me, and to my requests befall. 

The persons  who are in graves abductees
Might perhaps be seen? Because opened are
All covers, and too nobody guards these”

And he to me: “All will be closed by far
When from Iosafat they will come back
With their bodies which just there up left were.

The graveyard on this side happens to stack
Epicurus and followers them all,
Who make souls of dead corps follow the track.

But to the question you put with your call
An answer will be given in time short,
And also to untold  wish you enthrall. 

And I: “Good  duke, I just do not comport
To hide my heart if not to speak at less,
As you have always tried to me exhort”.

“Oh Tuscan going in the fire stress
Alive speaking in such an honest way,
Please stay more in this site and don’t egress.

Your way of speaking is a clear display
Of your indeed noble  homeland birth place,
To which I was nagging perhaps it may”.

Suddenly this loud sound came out to face
From one of the graves; so I went then close,
Fearing, to duke my guide a little space.

And he: “What are you doing? Don’t oppose! 
Now you see Farinata who stood up:
From the waist up you can see he arose”.

Yet I had turned my face his sight to clasp
And he with waist and forehead then stood
Looking as had hell in great spite to grasp.

And the lively hands of duke promptly could
Push me between the graves then towards  him,
Telling: “Your words be well weighed should”.

After I reached of his grave the rim
He looked at me, and then, scornful just a bit,
He asked: “Which is your original limb?”.

Since I was akin to his will admit,
I did not hide it, opening at all;
So he then scowled up the eyebrows well split; 

Then told: “Were fierce rivals, as I recall,
To me and parents and my partners too,
So that twice I could dispel them and maul.”

“If they were expelled, they came back, is true”,
I answered him, “And both the times indeed;
But yours this art were not able to view”

Then rose uncovered to my sight concede 
A shadow, along this, up to chin:
I think to rise on knees  it could succeed. 

It looked then me around as it had been
Anxious to see if any else was there;
And then after the suspect became thin,

Weeping told: “If you now in this despair
Prison are moving thanks to your brain height,
Where is my son? why with you doesn’t fare?”

And I to him: “Lone I don’t reach this site:
The one who waits me there, and is my guide
Maybe your Guido did not like his sleight”.

His words and the way too with which he cried
Already to know his name could allow ;
Thus my answer was so quickly implied.

Immediately pricked up he screamed: “How?”
You told:”he did not”? Does he not live yet?
Does not then lance his eyes the sweet light now?”.

When he realized that he did not met
Any word responding to his reply,
Supine fell and to show he did not let.

But the other noble, the reason why
I stopped there before, did not change face,
Neither moved his neck, nor bent his side by;

And replied keeping the previous trace,
“If they have that art”, told, ”so poorly got,
It gives me sorrow more than this bed place.

But less than fifty times of light will spot
The woman’s face which always commands here,
That you will know that art how weighs a lot.

And if your return to sweet world is clear,
Tell me: why that people is godless so
Against my guys in all laws to appear?”

So I to him: “The torment and ruin flow
Which the Arbia river colored red,
This speech in our temple makes then so low”.

After he sighing had shaken his head,
“I was not alone”, told, “And nor for sure
With no reason I moved with others then.

But I was alone, when hard to insure
For each one the city of  Florence save,
Who just defended it with open cure”.

“I pray, hoping your seed rests in this grave”,
I begged him, “You should now untie the knot
Which until now has knotted my speech wave.

It looks like you see, if rightly I caught,
In advance what in the future will be,
While in the present to see you cannot” 

“Like that one who has wicked light, we see
Future events”, he told, “which are still far;
This much our high lord to shine is yet free.

When things are closer or happen, vain are
Our arguments; and if no one gives news,
To know your human status is not our. 

So you can realize how we must lose
Any understanding from that point on
Which of the future the door must then close”.

Then, as by a sense of be faulty won,
Told: “Now to that fallen soul you shall tell
That his son away from life has not gone;

And if, before, I was not to retell,
Let him know I did it because I thought
In the wrong way, you after have cleared well”.

And my master already for me sought;
So that I begged the spirit onwards more
To tell me who to stay with him was brought.

Told me: “Here with more than thousand lay sore:
The second Federico is now here
And the Cardinal; others I ignore”.

Then he hid himself; and I walked near
The ancient poet, back thinking in the while
To those words which hostile might me appear.

He started to walk; and then moving so,
He told me: “Why are you so harshly lost?”.
And I satisfied his question aglow.

“Your mind has to remind at any cost
What heard against you, that wise could say;
“And now look here”, and up his finger tossed:

“When you shall be in front of the sweet ray
Of woman whose nice eye can just all trace,
From her you shall know of your life the way”.

He then after moved toward left his pace:
We left the wall and went the middle through
Making a path cutting a valley place,

Which up to there his disgusting stench spew.
 


Long poem by Neldy Jolo | Details |

THE CRAFT CAN CAPTURE IT

Oh well I got an angry email to begin my day
Because of my last post on the Jabidah thing yesterday
Galit sa akin but greeted me with Assalamu alaykum.
And kung personal Moro friends ko naman ito 
They know I don't criticize Moro leaders
I always leave that to them to criticize their leaders
According to my friends baka nasa gubyerno or something
Next time I'll write na lang about the sea and the palm trees and the beaches 

Pray and pray nalang para walang provocation
ako nga ang daming nag-message sa akin nagalit sa issue ng Sabah standoff
Ikaw pa kaya na wala namanng masama na sinabi dun
Alam mo ‘buti na lang you verbalized that kasi iniisip ko rin ‘yun
I know you have reasons and you know better kaya; I just read your posts
I don’t have to go against parties kasi both have rights
And the issue must be solved

Wala, kasi sa akin kundi independence lamang ang kailangan
May ganyan din kasing realities? 
Minsan you are being asked or expected to take sides
Yes, my side is peace – with peace is independence
Yes, I heard that sa dating Jabidah Massacre celebration
Somebody said that, “Walang kapayapaan kasi walang kalayaan”
And that is very universal, kapatid.

Moro or non-Moro and writing should always geared towards humanity
That’s why for me it “anti-humanity” if you will not listen 
Or suppress when somebody will talk about freedom.
That’s the problem with Filipinos, they don't listen.
Kasi the leaders may sarili ring interests.

How do you see being Filipino?
Ako, it's a cage, Filipino nationalism 
Agenda ng mga oligarchs and landowners 
Filipino nationalism is violence against Muslims and lumads
Kasi ‘pag ako ang tatanunginmo I will never say I am Filipino
Because Tausug it’s not a name but an identity...
I understand but kaunti na lang kayo

Ako sasabihin ko na I am a Filipino but I have reservations
When I was a teenager hindi ako tumatayo ‘pag Lupang Hinirang
ngayon tumatayo na kasi napapaaway ang mga kasama ko sa sinehan
Yes and identity should be critically assessed and examined.
Kaya if they say Filipino ang mga Tausug masakit sa aking loob
But not all, kapatid. try mo pumunta sa Manila
Yung mga Moro na malalapit sa mga institusyon ng Pilipinas
Bakit iba ang Moro at ibang ang Tausug
kaya sila naging Moro at masaya na tawaging Moro 

May identity na naiiba sa Filipino
Pinag-aaralan ko rin yan and ino-observe ‘yung pag-yield sa 'Filipino'
‘Will give Filipinos a disservice
Because it is tantamount to be an accomplice to a corrupt system
And this system is the one that oppresses Muslims
At alam natin ang Tausug di lamang taga-Sulu
Pati Bisayan, Tausug din

As much as possible I am trying to make my writings 'away' 
Away from Filipino nationalism
That's the right way for me and my writing
I will ask first, “How it is to be human?” 
At super last na ang, “How to be a Filipino” 
And the Bangsamoro struggle is the greatest critique to the violence
And failures of Filipino nationalism

Ang problema kasi kaya di successful ang Bangsamoro struggle
Dahil nagdadala sila ng pangalan na di naman originally sa kanila
How come ang pangalan ko ay Abdul sa rights
Gagamitn ko ang Juan para sa aking bayan?
Kaya war of ideas ito and alam mo naman sa akin, ‘pag ideas 
And perspectives walang kompromiso and peace talks 

I do not compromise my language, my craft and myself, my writing
Filipino is an imagined nation, as well as Bangsamoro
Bakit di natin magamit ang orignal nation natin 
Na based sa Sulu archipelago and Mindanao
Yes, actually diyan ako papunta - papunta

Bakit hindi i-Bangsamoro-ized ang buong Filipinas?
It doesn’t mean na i-convert ang Pilipinas 
But the spirit, the struggle it should mean something to Filipinos
It should kasi ang dami na nagbuwis ng buhay
Kaya ko pa na tanggapin kung Maharlika

‘Yan ang gusto kong ma-achieve: Filipinos should listen to Moros
Siyempre marami pang madidiscover along the way
Indeed. Ikaw ba ‘pag sasabahin ko na ‘Tausug’ ano ang maiisip mo?
Tausug is Moro and Moro for me is something that predates 'Filipino'
But now, I would like to know the concept of “Lupah Sug”
I want to know it, I think there are more and beyond Moro on it

Before ‘Moro’ was named to Mindanao and Sulu people
It was first name to Aceh people, Melaka, Brunei and then Manila
Sulu and Mindanao were the last places to have been called the name ‘Moro’
Sulu archipelago was united under the name Sulu archipelago 
The name of people is Tausug. 
Tausug is composed of different ethnics:
Arab, Banjar, Dampuan, Buranun etcetera.
The concept of Sulu as part of dar al islam 
Is already a nation and state 
Where the government is the people and itself headed by sultan or raja

Yes, and I would like to feel this from the ordinary Tausugs when I get there
I would like to experience this from ordinary Tausug and on from place itself.
In the hinterland of Jolo, their laws still on the ground not of Philippine law

I believe in narratives
I want to hear and feel this from the place and from the people.
And then capture it; I have these thoughts 
That Lupah Sug has something that the Moro concept does not have
And it’s a bit metaphysical but sige lang.

I know my craft can capture it.
I think there is a language that can capture it 
And specific craft that can carry its soul
Not fictionalize but put it in a form like a novel or a narrative
Which have their own logic and truths as crafts.






This poem is made after the conversation and sharing with Filipino writer Rogelio Braga who also serves as the editor of the poem. He is currently in Mindanao, travelling and writing; he will then proceed to Sulu Archipelago soon. 2:28PM, 19 March 2013, Facebook Chat across Sulu Sea!


Long poem by Darryl Ashton | Details |

WELCOME TO COALITION AIRWAYS

WELCOME TO COALITION AIRWAYS!


(After being treated to a flight on Air Force One recently, the Prime Minister could be tempted to order his own official plane. But he’d have to work hard to get the Lib Dems on board. So what might a flight on Coalition Airways be like?)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, not forgetting members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community. This is Captain Cameron speaking, but you can call me Dave.

Please allow me to apologise for the lengthy delay in our boarding process, caused by unforeseen technical glitches with our state-of-the-art automated retina recognition scheme and the arrest of several passengers for alleged racist remarks while passing through security.

We also apologise for any inconvenience caused by our new seating allocation system, which is based on proportional representation and is designed to ensure equality of access to all sections of the aircraft.

I am also very proud to announce that in keeping with our fairness agenda, passengers earning less than £10,000 a year fly free on Coalition Airways. This is being paid for by a 50 per cent surcharge on passengers in Tycoon Class.

Flying duties today are being shared between the Captain and Co-Pilot Clegg. Please don’t be alarmed if the aircraft experiences sudden changes in direction. Your safety and your comfort is our number one priority.

Would all passengers being extradited to America please keep their handcuffs and shackles fastened at all times and remember to wear the special orange sleep-suits provided. 
Passengers fitted with electronic ankle tags are asked to switch them off for take-off and landing as they could interfere with our navigation equipment.

Our purser, Mr Osborne, will be passing among you collecting airline duty, carbon taxes, mansion taxes and VAT at 20 per cent. In our efforts to keep costs down, we regret to announce that full-fare passengers in the higher-rate tax bracket are not entitled to free children’s meals.

Alcoholic beverages will be available, priced at a minimum 50p per unit ABV. Sales of intoxicating drinks will be tightly restricted to prevent anyone going berserk in the Strangers Cabin and head – butting other passengers.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome aboard those couples embarking on same-sex honeymoons. They will receive unlimited complimentary champagne for the duration of our flight. Cabin crew will also be distributing landing cards, which must be completed in full. I would remind you that the terms ‘husband’, ‘wife’, ‘mother’ and ‘father’ are now illegal and should not be used on any official documentation. The correct term is either ‘partner/spouse’ or ‘progenitor’. Failure to comply will result in arrest by our air-marshals, a fine of £10,000 and six months in prison.

Those of you planning to connect to onward flights to Scotland will have to complete separate customs and immigration forms and produce your passport at border control. We do hope all the passengers enjoy our in-flight meal service, which is being freshly prepared in the galley on the top-of-the-range barbecue presented to the Captain on his recent visit to America.

We try to source as much as possible from reputable British companies. All the crockery in Tycoon Class has been supplied by Royal Doulton, from its factories in Indonesia, and our cutlery is forged from the finest Sheffield steel, in India. 

It is also our policy to feature a selection of traditional British dishes. Today we are offering a vegetable lasagne, prepared by the gourmet chef Ed Balls-Cooper in his subsidised second  home kitchen. Unfortunately, the steak and kidney is not available, as Mr Pickles, the chief steward in our Community Class cabin, ate all the pies.

We also pride ourselves on the stringent security measures taken for your safety and convenience. In the unlikely event of you spotting a fellow passenger trying to explode his underpants, please alert a member of the cabin crew. There is no cause for alarm. It may simply be a case of mid-air turbulence caused by Chef Balls-Cooper’s vegetable lasagne. 

The hacking of mobile phones in flight is not permitted. Smoking is strictly forbidden anywhere on the aircraft, including the washrooms. Dogging and cottaging are allowed, once we are airborne, but we would kindly request that no more than four passengers use a single washroom at the same time.

Given the need for budgetary restraint, this aircraft has been designed to perform a joint civilian  and military role. Consequently, we will be diverting via Syria to bomb Damascus and descending to 3,000 feet to allow members of our special forces to deploy their parachutes.  

During this time, we may experience some anti-aircraft fire, so all passengers will be asked to fasten their seat belts and assume the brace position. Ladies and gentlemen, I do apologise for the continuing delay. I have just heard from our ground crew that our flight today will have to be postponed.

Even if we do manage to get airborne, there is a possibility that Co-Pilot Clegg and several members of the cabin crew will abandon the aircraft and parachute to earth in an attempt to save themselves, in clear breach of both health and safety guidelines and the Coalition Airways Agreement.

So I’m afraid I must ask you to deplane in an orderly fashion and take all your belongings and rubbish with you. As part of our ongoing commitment to combating climate change, we intend to empty the bins on this aircraft only once a fortnight.

Thank you for choosing Coalition Airways. Normal service will be resumed in 2015.

Here endeth the flight.

THE END


BY
DARRYL ASHTON   

      


Long poem by Cyndi MacMillan | Details |

SYLVIA, FOR CRAIG CORNISH, FOR ALL PLATH FANS

                         
                           It is a terrible thing
                           To be so open: it is as if my heart
                           Put on a face and walked into the world.


                                          Sylvia Plath, Three Women, 1962



_________________________________



SYLVIA

Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque,
an incongruity, a clever imbalance               
that spins collections her hounds facilitate.  
Failures and fractures she bravely lanced
with noncompliance. Reader, rebuff collars
labeled as forewords, smug introductions, 
for Plath’s voice is tenfold more a scholar 
than those receiving undue benedictions.    
Lofty beggars seek to bookend her words
and that empty space she instinctively refills
with her universe, a mayhem that girds,
unapologetic. Mirror images spill
over margins, searching for identity,
negating preamble, snubbing apathy.   

Negating preamble, snubbing apathy
with language that flickers, catches, combusts,
her volumes of wicks, her lit soliloquies,   
glint behind the stained-glass of trust.
There are those who are not really here,
they wander fault lines then crisscross chasms,
lost pilgrims who easily commandeer
unwary emotions. Some hearts just spasm,                         
pulled by their own nature, their delicacy,
for poetry is a weakness; poets die
between verses. Odes can become elegies.
The thin-skinned hear a snared rabbit cry,
and pray for the moonflower, always closing,
while cursing that page, unmoved and dozing.

While cursing that page, unmoved and dozing,
she corners rigid guides, keeps fingers poised,
synchronicity goes, the flow of typing
disappears, mislaid, that perfect noise
of a carriage return, a sound exclamation.
Joy is inspiration making its way home,
her Olivetti forages like a raven,
gifting found nouns, verbs that glare like chrome,
but love still flits, turns from hoarse requests,
and she longs for more than any man can give
for what snags worn ribbons will not rest,
it emits a strong beat, throbs as it loves.
Bless the bitter of life, all wisdom owing,
curse the open heart, its shadows showing.
  

Curse the open heart, its shadows showing,
for worldly delights take full advantage
of the wounded, their brokenness growing.
Everyday beauty wrings arteries, dredges
chambers with barbs, a prompt disobedient.
Fact, there’s no folder large enough to hold 
elation’s girth, no ink conveniently
on hand to black out depression. So, scold
the yew, its roots and branches reaching,
then poke at petals for being complacent, 
when all the while a candle is preaching
of give and take, surrender, luminance,
So, carefully archive apprehension,
revealing blue veins to tender lesions.

Revealing blue veins to tender lesions
requires much more than a room of one's own,
hours do dissolve, days lack cohesion 
when milk sours and tantrums are thrown.
Solitude is in short supply, loneliness,
however, is overstocked; her mind tugs      
at busy hands for attention, such darkness
contrasts to jammy smiles and sleepy hugs.
Elusive titles whimper each morning,
and short stanzas steep, so desperately,
all the while a manuscript is scorning
her swipes at dry crumbs, cold pots of tea.
A life sheds its months, gallows take delight
as sundials atrophy in the arms of night. 

As sundials atrophy in the arms of night. 
the moon blanches tidepools, suckles sand,
even the face of the clock is pulled too tight
and the new calendar can not understand
that writing is sex, is fresh bread, is air,
that time is a brute, quick fisted, rough,
that weeks come and go without a care
that a marriage vow is never enough
to mend adoration, repossess bliss.  
Words make better lovers, rarely stray,
upon her lips, the impression of a kiss
feels as cold as sheets then melts away.
Paper sops afterbirth, accepts her all:
fossil and seed, shackles and free falls.


Fossil and seed, shackles and free falls,
unlocking visions, defying any cage, 
art resists validity, upsets stone walls  
to scale the scarlet heights of a rampage,
to breach the barricades to euphoria.
She excavates id, bares teeth at ego, 
plays the parts of illusion and phobia
then infuses rhyme with soft indigo. 
Colossus begins to shrivel as Ariel
unmans him, riding hard upon metaphors,
and will remain strong, constant, ethereal. 
but curtailed are epics that still implore  
like the cusp of dream long after you wake

Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque.









 

 
* For Craig Cornish, whose contest inspired this piece. Thank you, Daddy-O. 




About this poem

This is my first crown of sonnets. It took over 25 hours to write, a full week of me-time! 

These are modern sonnets and the syllable count is extremely loose, intentionally, as it would seem odd to keep things too tight when writing of Sylvia. If anything, I regret not being even looser, altering syllable counts DRAMATICALLY. Also, I used a great deal of slant rhyme for the same reason.


I really wanted to capture Sylvia Plath with this poem, and it was a real struggle. Her language is so precise, and I wanted to do her justice. I had wanted to feel, upon its completion, that Sylvia would have said, "Well, it isn't quite horrible. Not bad for a novice. And there are parts of me there, but only the smallest bits." I do not feel I did this.  I feel like I didn't even TOUCH her mastery of language. But, it is good enough for now.. one day, who knows? 

Oh, Sylvia's typewriter was a Olivetti Lettera 22. It was portable!


Long poem by Brian Johnston | Details |

Growing Up, La - Part 1 - Rev 4

- - - Chapter 1: Early Days - - - 

My father was a rich man, la, *
Though schooled in poverty, (1)  
As such he seldom raised his head, 
Displayed humility.
The center of the ‘Dust Bowl' years, 
Just thirty miles from home.
And children, seniors died from this
(Their lungs were clogged with loam) .

A huge tornado struck Woodward, (2)  
Destroying our downtown, 
It, cut a swath near one mile wide, 
Dad fought back, doubled down.(3)  
When storm had cleared, sky was fire red, 
Dad put me in the car, 
But roads were blocked in just three blocks, 
The world become bizarre! 
Barbed wire that penetrated trees, 
Homes cracked like eggs insides, 
Our home had grass blades drove like nails, 
Into its wooden sides.
The biggest storm in history, 
My dad was gone for days, 
Storm victims sleeping on our floor, 
The whole town in a daze.

Dad's rebuilt store, nicest in town, 
Our home ‘across the track, '(4)  
Attended too the poorest school, 
But did not suffer lack.
Appearance was Dad's calling card, 	
No pretense there to see, 
For ‘living too high on the hog, '(5)  
Caused bankers misery.
The school board melted to Mom's charm, 
(Or to her tongue of fire) , 
For with Dad's stature in the town, 
Few dared to risk her ire! 
Good teachers forced to leave rich schools, 
Complained it wasn't fair, 
Till they encountered Sis and I, 
And found that they could care.
That was my mother's legacy, 
And ‘ART' (6)   the air she breathed, 
Though slight she strongly stood her ground, 
Our future she bequeathed.
We did not know the difference, 
Just sometimes things were tough, 
Our clothing did set us apart, 
We always had enough.
There were some very poor kids there, 
The same clothes thru the week, 
Impoverished not just in clothes, 
But that which all men seek.		

I had a bike to ride around, 
Of course it was a Schwinn, 
And almost always home for lunch, 			
For Mom thought we were thin, 
With two desserts at every meal, 
(And Mom was quite a cook.)  
But if you didn't clean your plate, 
From Dad you got a look, 
The waste of food a mortal sin, 
A thump upon the ‘bean, '(7)  
Made every meal traumatic fare, 
And tears a daily scene.
My guess is Dad got worse than me, 
Depression's (8)   oldest child, 
I mourn the innocence he lost, 
That made his wrath seem mild.

Our parent's roles were well defined, 
My dad brought home the bread, 
My mom the joy of hearth and home, 
Dad's entrance met with dread.
My dad did most the punishments, 
But whippings weren't enough, 
We even weren't allowed to cry, 
To show we had the stuff! 
Small wonder romance frightened me, 
(So sure I'd be like him) , 
To challenge violence I feared, 
Chose music over gym.

Brian Johnston
August 20,2014

Poet's Notes: 
An auto-biographical look at family life impacted by both the American Great 
Depression  and the Dust Bowl years (1930-1950)   in the Mid-West, divided into 
Chapters. 
This is a work of love and homage to the courageous and desperate people who 
survived both. I hope that you enjoy it. New Chapters will be released as I complete 
them.

* When I was in the American Peace Corps in Tanzania, East Africa we had a group of 
7 surveying assistants that were always with us in the first year and that we became 
very close to. Their conversation was always sprinkled with 'la' and I thought it was 
kind of cute. Like they might say to me, 'Why don't we stop in this village for some 
food, la.' They used this word kind of like I use the word ‘OK' in casual conversation. 
'You've got food in your teeth, la.' I really enjoyed this idiosyncratic  affectation.

(1)   ‘poverty' - born in 1911, my father was just 19 years  old when ‘The Great 
Depression' hit the US economy. The Dust Bowl began shortly after.
(2)   Woodward, Oklahoma - the town that I grew up in.
(3)   ‘doubled down' - after Dad's business was destroyed completely by the tornado, 
he  doubled his efforts to be successful in Woodward, borrowing heavily from the 
local banks to do so.
(4)   'across the track' or 'wrong side of the tracks' referred to the part of town where 
poor people lived, frequently, but not always, meaning 'colored people' as well. In some 
towns no 'colored people' were allowed to live in the more prosperous 'white only' 
area. Some towns (like Woodward) had no Negros at all. I take that back. One black 
male did have a job shining shoes in the local 'Baker Hotel' but I think his home was 
in the country somewhere (He did not live in town).
(5)   'living too high on the hog' -  an idiom referring to people who have to have the 
most expensive things in life and buy them frequently on credit even though they 
can't really afford them.
(6)   ‘ART' - My mother was a gifted painter and wood carver, but even meals she 
prepared were done artistically. Art was always spelled with capital letters in her life! 
(7)   ‘thump on the bean' - to hit the offending child hard on the head with the 
knuckles of your closed fist.
(8)   'Depression' - Hard times, not mental issues. (Actually works both ways though 
I guess!)   Born the oldest of 3 brothers and one sister, my dad's father worked him 
hard and used a leather shaving strap to whip his boys when he was upset with them 
about anything. Grand Dad Johnston made my father seem like Florence Nightingale. 
I believe that he beat his wife as well (just a guess) .


Long poem by Demetrios Trifiatis | Details |

ETERNAL RECURRENCE

ETERNAL RECURRENCE*


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“I am certain that I have been here as I am now a thousand times before and
 I hope to return a thousand times after.”  GOETHE 
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1.

Once upon a time, 
The Lord of spiritual consciousness was sitting peacefully on His blissful throne 
Ceaselessly contemplating upon His equilibrium
T’ was the era of no moon, no sun, no stars, no earth, no oceans, no rivers
Just a motionless, timeless and deathless entity it was happy with His existence  

2.

Suddenly the thought of sacred motion was felt deep down in his essence
Seeking the chaos to be stirred from its core outwardly
Consequently separating the light from the darkness and all the other elements 
That constitute the Cosmos
Thus giving birth immediately to old mighty time

3.

When Time: This wizard of celestial art found himself alive
His expert hands stretched in advance, wanting to create
For that the plastic energy he took, that was everywhere around
And skillfully and patiently the Cosmos carved according to the Logos
Creating thus, the nebulae, the galaxies, the stars and all the other planets

4.

Then God looked at times creation and marveled with its beauty
But as there was no life to be seen in all of this creation
The thought of desire was born in God to inhabit every place
For that out of himself he cut myriads blazing souls
Which like shooting stars he sent downwards to animate nature,

5.

In this way, to manifestation’s cosmic sphere, the souls were beamed
Radiating their luminosity to reality’s lower planes  
Bringing with them the sacred principles to denser forms of life 
As they were passing from the spiritual, the mental and the astral
And finally materializing, themselves on the physical solid plane
Where life began on earth, with God’s will and grace!

6.

Each soul an ambassador was and is of God’s will and grace
A ray of divinity, a guardian of the Holy Law 
Each with a specific mission: to learn or rather to remember
How to find the way of return throughout space and time
And with the divine, again, to be seen in perfect equilibrium

7.

The day I was born, as every man alive,
I found my immortal self bound to the wheel of time 
That around eternity’s circumference took me, in very heavy chains
Asking to follow obediently the unswerving path of fate:
This endless trip of return where the only constant thing is change

8.

Since then I have died once and many times after
But death's dark palaces to hold me were unable
As my soul’s perpetual desire to follow my destiny
Brought me back to this ephemeral world of fleeting dreams
With a new body, new hopes, new goals but always with the 
Same desire

9.

Thus I journeyed back and forth the plains of oblivion
Choosing the best conditions I could, according to my karma
Trying to find endlessly the golden middle way 
That unmistakably between the extremes is only to be found
But since from the river of forgetfulness each time I was drinking 
I was obliged, unfortunately, to start over again

10.

So, I was born once a king and another was I born a beggar
And in turns I was born a coward, a hero, a holy man, a vicious man,
A  Christian, a Muslim, an atheist, an idolater a strong man and a woman
And healthy and sick I was born and intelligent and witless
And was I born to love so much the things I once detested
And to hate passionately the things I once held dear

11.

And I was born once to laugh and another just to cry
And I drunk successively from joy’s cup and that of sorrow’s
And was born to make friends out of my enemies 
And enemies out of my brothers
And was born to realize the impossible dreams and fail the very easy  
And I was born to slay and to be slain alternatively for thousands of years

12.

Thus I lived continuously the extremes of both good and evil
Striving to find endlessly the balance in my soul
Through the wisdom that was endowed upon me by the Great Spirit
That like a beacon, luminous, to guide me waits
To my supreme destiny that GOD for me has traced

13.

So, as was passing from life unto death, from darkness unto light
With a speed determined by me, I don’t put on GOD the blame,
All my lessons have I learned through trial and error
Up to the very last reincarnation, in body’s mortal temple

14.

Now free, AT LAST, from all earthly desires and every karmic blame
Radiating with holiness and glowing with grace 
My immortal soul, HER divine wings unfolds and soars upwards the heavens
White light blazing in perfect equilibrium 
And pure now to her glorious creator returns and with 
HIM UNITES! 


©Demetrios Trifiatis
  11 DECEMBER 2013


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“A little while and my longing shall gather dust and foam for another body.
A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind and another woman shall bear me”
KAHLIL GIBRAN
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* This poem because of its length I was unable to post it in one piece for I was not a
member for life at that time therefore I published it in two parts as: “CREATION” and as “REINCARNATION.” Here is the entire poem as it was originally written.
Now, my friends know that apart from my epigrams I write... long poems as well!    
  


Long poem by David William Breidenthal | Details |

I Am Feeling Good Enough

Break the chains that are putting me in captivity...they're breaking me, for its reducing me to pity

In my heart, I felt your love
In my heart, I broke free your light
In your heart, I see flawless beauty
In your heart, it's as precious as a thousand doves, taking wing high above
In your heart, I see priceless serenity
In my heart, passion transforms into might
In my heart, I'm feelin' good enough
Not only for my pleasure, 
But to shed you my advice 
To give you a grand future
I'll roll the dice, for you're my sugar and spice

Grab the rope that's been entangled with hope
Shine on me, sunlight from the sun...please don't mope
Let me go...let me free...get a grip...
Let me go with the flow tonight...take a sip
Into ecstasy's cup and get showered upon by the waterfall of wonderfulness

Ch.: How am I? How am I?
I feel good enough inside
How am I? How am I?
Something beautiful has died
Inside of me...inside of me..
Can you leave if you can be so kind
I'm left without a trace...I hope you don't mind
If I say this, 
But I stepped out of the abyss
For the sake of winning you back
For the sake of my young heart

Beauty doesn't last forever
But, I say "whatever" to that thought
You are my one and only endeavor
Oh darling friend, you never left me behind
You never made me feel like naught
My hope has dried...x3 yeahhh...
My hopelessness has submitted to me like a bride
Something deep inside tells me stick to my side
I loved you for too long
Love of mine, love of mine,
Don't you see this sorrow inside of my mind?

Ch.: How am I? How am I?
I feel good enough inside
How am I? How am I?
Something beautiful has died
Inside of me...inside of me..
Can you leave if you can be so kind
I'm left without a trace...I hope you don't mind
If I say this, 
But I stepped out of the abyss
For the sake of winning you back
For the sake of my young heart

Why don't we see eye to eye, lovely angel?
You are beautiful in every single angle
You are lookin' fine...lookin' fine
The stars are starting to align... 
We're sittin' on Cloud 7 instead of 9...
Cloud 7 instead of 9...9 is next in line - - - - - - - - - 
You are the gold nugget that I'm tryin' to find...
Maybe I'm a boy that's awfully blind...Don't leave me behind...
I feel like our relationship has ended
But, I think I'm wrong...Our love is like a perfect song...
But, I'm feelin' good enough, though being me feels rather tough
I won't play rough...though I may act tough

Ch.: How am I? How am I?
I feel good enough inside
How am I? How am I?
Something beautiful has died
Inside of me...inside of me..
Can you leave if you can be so kind
I'm left without a trace...I hope you don't mind
If I say this, 
But I stepped out of the abyss
For the sake of winning you back
For the sake of my young heart

I need to build muscle - I just ain't buff
But, my love in my heart is buff...
And I think I got enough 
Love in my heart...love in my heart
Love in my heart...I need you - don't you feel the same?
Don't say otherwise or I might break apart
Love is in my heart...and you're not the one to blame...
For allowing tragedy's sting to overwhelm me...

Ch.: How am I? How am I?
I feel good enough inside
How am I? How am I?
Something beautiful has died
Inside of me...inside of me..
Can you leave if you can be so kind
I'm left without a trace...I hope you don't mind
If I say this, 
But I stepped out of the abyss
For the sake of winning you back
For the sake of my young heart

I'm wishing you won't depart...depart
From my arms...you were warm in my arms
But, I was spell-bound by your charms
Love of mine, love of mine,
Our love was sublime, but envy is serpentine
In my heart...and I don't know why
You're my work of art...please don't be shy
We blend like the atmosphere in the sky...
I'm hoping you won't pass me by

Ch.: How am I? How am I?
I feel good enough inside
How am I? How am I?
Something beautiful has died
Inside of me...inside of me..
Can you leave if you can be so kind
I'm left without a trace...I hope you don't mind
If I say this, 
But I stepped out of the abyss
For the sake of winning you back
For the sake of my young heart

Grab the rope that's been connected with hope
Shimmer anew with me, sundrenched sight...you're my dream weaver
Let me go...let me free...now, I'm a believer...
You're my sweet, precious daydreamer...
I seek her...I feel for her...I dream like her...I grieve for her...
Let me go with the flow tonight...take a sip
Into ecstasy's cup and get showered upon by the waterfall of wonderfulness
It will wash away your distress...and we'll both be makin' great progress

In my heart, I felt your love
In my heart, I broke free your light
In your heart, I see flawless beauty
In your heart, it's as precious as a thousand doves, taking wing high above
In your heart, I see priceless serenity
In my heart, passion transforms into might
In my heart, I'm feelin' good enough
Not only for my pleasure, 
But to shed you my advice 
To give you a grand future
I'll roll the dice & I'll be your living sacrifice

Believe in me...reflect on me...surely, we'll both be set free...from our own poverty & soon, we'll taste true ecstasy


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Divine Comedy translation, Hell Canto XI

On the extremity of  a tall bank 
Of big broken stones in round circle done
We reached up a more cruel clutter flank;

And there, for the horrible and strong stun
Of rotten stench which the deep abyss throws,
We then approached, from back, a stone lid dun

Of a large grave, where written words arose
Telling: “Pope Anastasio I see,
Who to Fotin the wrong way could impose”.

“Our getting down suitably slow should be,
So that we use not sense at first too much
Toward bad souls, and then at high degree”.

So my master; and I “No fee as such”,
Told him, “Finds the one who obtains that time
Is not lost”. And he: “My thought you touch”.

“My dear son, inside this stony grime”,
He started to tell, “Three small circles are
Grade after grade, as the one you just climb.

All are full of souls accursed by far;
And even if their view enough be might,
You may know why they have such a bar.

Of all evils, which blame in God ignite,
Hurt is the end, and any end is thus
With force or fraud to else a stinging bite.

But since fraud in man is wrong built in plus,
Displeases God; and for this are more low
Fraudulents, and have more sorrow and cuss.

Violent people have all the first bow;
But since three kinds of forces are in act,
It is shared in three turns I shall show.

To God, to oneself, to else is impact
Produced, either to them or to their things,
As you shall hear and feel quite well in fact.

Death with wildness and painful stings
To else are given, and to what he has too
Ruins, fire and whatever losses brings;

Thus killers and any who wildness grew,
Robbers and raiders, harasses them all
The circle first just for damned not a few.

A man can in himself roughness install
And in his goods too: but in the doors
Of second circle he has then to bawl

Whoever self  deprives in world of yours,
Bets and destroys his goods in full indeed,
And cries just there where joy ought to have corps.

One might too against God roughness mislead,
Within heart denying and cursing him,
Despising his nature and his good deed; 

For this reason marks in the lowest rim
Both Sodoma and Caorsa with his sign
And who, with heart against  God exerts vim.

Fraud, for which any conscience has to pine, 
Might man exert against whom gives him trust
And when a loan return has to decline.

This way of acting looks as breaking just
Even the bond of love which nature did;
So that in the second circle stay must

Cant, flattery, and who uses cheat bid,
Deceitfulness, theft, and simony too,
Pimps, fences and similar degraded.

Such way of acting then that love cuts through
Done by nature, and the one which adds next,
Which can a special form of faith accrue;

Thus in the minor circle, at the plex
Of universe where Dite happen to dwell,
Whoever deceives is forever vexed”.

And I: “Master, progresses clearly well
Your reasoning, and it shows clear  indeed
This abyss and folks which here live and  fell.

But tell me: that people in the swamp decreed,
Windswept, and hardly swept by rain,
And with harsh words to ever fighting cede,

Why aren’t they in the red town domain
Punished, if are that much in wrath to God?
And if doesn’t feel so, why in that bane?

And he to me: “Why is your mind so flawed”,
Told, ”your genius from usual is so far?
Or your mind by something else might be awed?

Don’t you now remember those words which are 
The ones your Ethics then well knows and wants
The three provisions which heavens bar,

Incontinence, malice and also taunts
Of mad wildness? And how incontinence
Less God offends of  people who it flaunts?

If you consider well again this sentence,
And recall to your mind now who are those
That just up there outside have penitence,

You see well how for such sinners it goes 
A different way, and why worried less
Divine revenge hits them but then less close”.

“Oh sun which aids any sight under stress,
You can fill so much my hope when you solve,
That, more than knowing, I like  doubts to guess.

Yet back just a little you should revolve”,
I told, “where is who with usury hits
The divine goodness, and the knot  resolve”

“Philosophy”, he told me, “If  brain fits,
Notes, and not only in one of its parts,
How nature always hers good pattern gets

From divine mind and also from his arts;
And if your Physics are perceiving well,
You shall find, and not after many charts,

That your art, when possible, to excel
As scholar with master, follows that one
So that your art can almost God propel. 

From these two, if your thought can also run
To Genesis from beginning, is right
To get  own life and surpass the outdone; 

And since the usurer chose a way trite,
Neither nature nor what it follows yet
Prizing, to pose his hope in else he might.

But follow me by now, I like sky set;
Since Fishes flicker on horizon up
And Dipper above Chorus is to get

And the flounce above there is our down step”. 


Long Poems