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Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Divine Comedy, second canto

The day was going off, and the brown air
To the terrestrial animals gave rest
For their labors; and only me was there

Just ready to withstand the war at best
Both of the journey and of the torment,
Which by my mind will be rightly expressed.

O muse, o high genius, help my intent;
O mind which tried to write the things I saw
Here of  noblesse you will show the extent.

I then began: ”Poet , that guide  me and draw,
Look at my virtue if it has the power, 
Before I try the high step with no flaw.

You affirm that Silvio’s father not this hour,
While he was living, to immortal place
Just went, and was with senses free to scour.

But, if of any evil the adverse base
Favored him, accounting the high effect
Which had to come from him, it was the case

Well worthy looking to any mind perfect;
So he was of alma Rome and its domain
In the empyrean heaven father elect:

Both city and man, for real truth sustain,
Were then chosen: Rome as the saint ground
Where of Peter’s successor must remain. 

This going for praising him made it sound,
Things were achieved which allowed after then
His victory and the Pope’s mantle round.

Later on went the elected Bard just when
Had to give strength  to the true belief
Which is the principle to salvage men.

But me, why should I come? Who gives motif?
I’m not Aeneas, and nor Paul I am;
On this is mine and others’ disbelief.

Because, if to come there I do not stem,
I fear that coming will prove I’m insane
You’re sage; that I don’t reason you should pram”

And as who wants what then has to restrain
Following new thoughts with proposal change
So that all things have to begin again,

Similarly I did it in that obscure range
Because, by thinking, I rapidly succeeded
In the way which at start was to derange.

“If your words I have correctly heeded”,
Answered the shadow of that noble man,
“Your mind to dastardliness has ceded;

Which many times man hardly overran
So that diverts him from any honored deed,
As when see vicious beasts wrongly you can. 

From this alarm in order to be freed,
I’ll tell you why I came and what I heard
In the prime question to follow your need.

I was within the ones suspended herd,
When nice and blessed woman called out me, 
Such as to ask hers commands I preferred.

Much more than stars hers eyes were bright to see;
Then to talk she started gentle and low,
With angelic voice, in hers language free:

“O gracious soul from Mantua shiny glow,
Whose worldwide fame power to stand has still
And long time shall last as the world will go,

The friend of mine, and not of venture skill,
In the desert space is hardly entrapped
So that he is giving up for scare thrill;

And I fear for him to be already flapped,
That the rescue from mine might be too late,
As far of him from heavens I have kept.

Now you must go there, and with your speech straight
And giving him what needed to survive,
Help him, I will be free of anguish weight.

I am Beatrice and your step I drive;
I come from where I want be back again;
Love, making me speaking, made me revive.

When I will be in front of my Lord main
Often I shall praise to him your valid soul”
She then got silent, and I had to explain:
 
“O woman full of virtue , who is sole
To fill for human beings any empty space
Of heaven, which of  less rim has its bowl,

I like so much whatever is your trace
That obey, if it were, it would be late;
You have only to open me your case.

But tell me the reason why you took the rate
To descend down here in this dark center
From the wide site which  you dearly wait” 

“Since your knowledge wants so deep to enter,
Will tell you in brief” , she answered then,
“Why I don’t fear to bring here my mentor.

We can be afraid of things but only when
Show to be aggressive to others much;
If not, don’t fear, they cannot hurt the men. 

I am a Lord’s construction, thanks God ,such,
As your wretchedness cannot now me hurt
Nor flame of this hot burning can me touch.

Heavenly woman to tears must convert
This very hard task where you I send,
Compelling her a judgment to divert. 
 
She pleaded Lucia helpful commend
And told her: - Now your faithful man help needs 
From you, and him I warmly recommend-

Lucia, opposing any misdeeds,
Moved, and rapid came where I was
With ancient Rachele already sitting.

She told:- Beatrice, true God’s laud and  luz,
Why don’t you help the one who loved much you,
The vulgar herd so leaving for this cause?

Aren’t you hearing his painful tears undue,
Neither you see with death how hard his fight
Goes on the flood on which sea never flew?

Nobody in the world was rapid quite
To have a gain or a risk to escape
As I was, after such words I heard right,

I came down here from my blessed agape
Trusting your honest speaking good indeed
Honoring you and those who caught your shape-.

After these words to me wanted to cede
Hers shiny eyes than moved weeping with tears
Which pulled me to come with greater speed.

And I came here then following hers cares:
I took you off from facing up that beast
Which you to climb the hill impeded airs.

So: what happens? Why, why aren’t  you released,
Why such cowardice in your heart admit,
Why your courage and baldness are not pieced, 

As on three blessed women you can commit
Who care take of you in the heaven court,
And so much good  I’m talking to transmit? 

Like little flowers in the night chill fort
Are bent and closed, after white sun light,
Suddenly all open their stems are sort,

Similar I did with my tired virtue slight,
And so good boldness in my heart then came,
That I started speaking as I was all right:

“Oh indeed piteous and helpful dame!
And you that soon accepted hers request
With the true words which proffered in my name!

You have my heart with such desire stressed
So much to join you according your talk,
That my previous purpose I reassessed.

Since we have the same will, then start to walk:
You leader, you lord and you master main”.
So I told; when pace started to unlock, 

The path I entered savage and arcane.


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Translation of Canto XVI Hell by Dante

Already I reached the place where heard the sound
Of falling water in the circle next
Suchlike the rumble done by hives around,

When three spirits together changed their treks,
Running, out of  an horde just passing there
Under the rain and of their pains effects.

Came towards us, each one shouting despair:
“Stop here you who by behavior look
One not belonging to this depraved air”.

Alas, the sores I saw their bodies took,
Recent and oldest, just burned by flames!
Recalling now again by pain I’m shook.

To their shouts my guide then offered his aims;
Turned his face to me and “should stop by now”,
Told “Courteous  be to this people’s claims.

And if there were not the strong fire’s blow
Along this place, then I would certainly tell
That you more with hurry then them move so”.

Restarted , as saw us resting, to dwell
The previous words; and when they reached us,
All three around us stood in circle well.

Similar to naked and anointed champs,
Warning their catching and their vantage too,
Before they start their fighting with hand clamps,

So moving around, each his face through
To me moved, so that backwards my neck
Moved respect to feet continuous soo.

And “If  the squalor of  this place you check
Puts us and our prayers in so a bad light”,
Started then one, “and our aspect of wreck,

Our fame your benignant soul induce might
To tell who you are, so alive your feet
That with much safe you move in this hell tight.

This one, whose footsteps I now step and meet,
Although going naked and completely bold,
You can’t believe the high grade he could seat:

Grandson he was of the Gualdrade good so told;
Guido Guerra his name, and in his life
Made many things with sense and with sword hold.

The one who on my back with sand has strife
Is Tegghiaio Aldobrandi, whose speech
In upper world should be considered rife.
 
And me, punished with them for the same breach,
Was Jacopo Rusticucci, and sure
My fierce wife made me this hard pain to reach.”

f I had been covered by fire spoor,
I would have thrown myself underneath them
I feel that pain to doctor could procure;

But since I could be burned more than the hem,
It happened that such fear won my good will
Which wanted then give help to fire stem.

Then I started: “Not mischief but grief still
Your condition painful fixed within me,
So hard that only later all can spill,

After this my guide sir had to decree
Such words which made me to be convinced deep
That people as you are, I had to see.

I am of your same country, and so steep
Your works and too your honored names indeed 
For bosom listened with my ears to keep.

I’m leaving gall to catch up more sweet seed
Promised to me by my duke who is true
To get through center is before my need”.

“If for a quite long time your life gets through
Your limbs”, then answered me again that guy,
“And if your fame after you will shine too,

Kindness and worth their lost dwelling cry
In our town as usually goes now,
Or have gone totally away thereby;

Because Whilelm Borsiere, who complains how
With us a while and then goes there away,
Much chagrin now to us his words endow”.

“New come people and rapid earning way
Generated proud and undue excess,
Florence, in you, so  only cry you may”.

So I screamed with lift up face to express;
And the three guys, who took it as reply,
Then looked each other as to truth give stress.

“If all times costs so little to imply”,
All replied, “satisfaction  to others,
You can be happy when some speaks of thy!

But, if you survive this place which bothers
Getting back the nice stars again to see,
When it will be worth tell “had togethers”,

Then make people to speak of us be free”.
After that broke the circle, and to escape
Wings resembled their slender legs to be.

Not the time of a word to tell with gape
When they had gone then vanishing away;
For my master decided to leave as scape.

I followed him, and after little way, 
The sound of water was so close to us,
That it was hard to hear a word to say.

As that river which carries out his course
Before Monviso and to east then flows ,
Of the Appennine just on the left coasts,

Whose upper name is Acquacheta, close
To the final drop in the lower bed,
And at Forlì another name it shows,

Over Saint Benedict rumbles its spread
From Alps then falling in a chasm steep
Where even thousand rivers could be shed;

So, down an abyss just immense and deep,
That roaring colored water we there found,
A sound for ears hard a short time to keep.

I had a rope encircled me around,
And with it never at no time I thought 
To catch the spotted panther as the hound.

After out of my chest I had it brought,
As had commanded the good duke to me,
And then I gave it him wrapped as he sought.

So then he turned to the right hand to see,
And far away from the bank with strong force  
He threw the rope then down in the gorge free.

“To some new action I should give the course”
I told to me, “when next gesture is done
By master with his eye of message source”

Ow so much cautious must be men with one
Who even not seeing the works and how,
Still in the minds can see and wisely stun!

He told me: “Early will come here now
What I am waiting for and that you dream;
It is time he arrives and shows to thou” 

Always the truth which false happens  to seem
Man must avoid to tell as much as can,
Even without fault people reproach deem;

But here I can’t be mute; for the span
Of this comedy, reader, I now swear,
If it hasn't to be void of grace plan,

That I saw in that heavy and dark air
Swimming a figure just coming straight up,
Wonderful for any heart with no scare,

As goes back a diver  after the drop 
The entangled anchor sometimes to free
From rocks or other in the sea to grip,

Who up moves with momentum foot and knee.


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Dante's Divine Comedy III Canto translation

“Through me you enter the city of woe
Trough me you enter the eternal pain
Through me you go to people lost below.

Justice inspired my highest factor reign;
I was created by act of divine,
Supreme wisdom and the first love as main.

Of all created things the first is mine
Unless eternal, and I eternal last.
Who enters here must any hope resign”.

These words in color of obscure contrast
I written saw on top of a big door;
So I: “Master, their meanings me harass”

And he to me, as guy with a shrewd  core
“Here you must abandon any bad mind;
Of any cowardice must die the bore.

We reached the place I told you, so remind,
Where you shall see the people full of pain
Who good of intellect have lost behind”.

And when his hand on mine put to remain
With happy face, giving consolation,
Told me deep secrets in a fashion plain.

There sighing, tears, cries of desperation
Were filling all the air empty of light,
So I had to cry with desolation.

Strange sounds, screeches with horrible insight,
Painfulness words, furious rage tones,
High and hoarse voices, and sounds to incite

Were doing much noise, which there high intones
Throughout that turbid air for endless time,
As when swirl wind moves sand and little stones.

And since I had so wrong my own head prime,
I told: “Master, what is the noise I hear?
Which is the people here bummed in such grime?”.

And he to me: “This forlorn way of here
Assume the dreary souls of those men past 
Who with no blot or laud a life had mere.

Among that evil choir are badly classed
Of angels who neither became barely rebels
Nor faithful to God, with selfishness vast.

Heaven to shun less beauty them dispels,
Nor can welcome them the deepest hell,
Since for no sinner are of glory wells”.

And I: “Master, what is  so hardly fell 
To make indeed them strongly to complain?”.
He answered: “Few words to you I will spell.

For these of death the prospect is in vain,
And their blind living is so badly low,
So that of any doom have envious brain. 

Of their renown worldwide there is no show;
Compassion and true justice them despise:
Don’t care for them, look simply and go low”.

And I, looking, saw a flag of big size
Which run whirling around at such a speed,
That looked to me to stop unworthy guise;

And back was followed by a crowd indeed
Of people, which I would never believe
That so far a large amount was death’s deed.

After who he was I reached to conceive
I saw and knew the shadow of the one
Who mean refused his great role to receive.

At once my understanding was thus done
That it was the sect of those captives here,
Not pleasing God and his enemies none.

These evil-born who had never life clear,
Had naked bodies and strongly harassed too
By blowflies and wasps which were flying near.

So doing blood was streaming their cheeks through,
Which, mixed with tears, fell to ground at their feet
Where it was picked up by pesky worms not few.

And since I looked back for a view complete,
I saw people nearby a large stream;
So I told: ”Master, you now me repeat

So that I know who are and for what theme
They have to look ready forthwith to pass,
As I descry in this light lack extreme”

And he to me: “Clear will be things at last
When our steps walking we shall bring to rest 
At the sad bank of Acheronte vast”.

With shameful eyes low looking at my chest,
Because I feared by speaking to bore him,
Silent to the river I was at best.

And came us towards of a  boat aboard
An old man, white for his ancient hair,
Shouting: “ Woe unto you, oh souls abhorred!

You have no hope to see the heaven air
I come to bring you to the other bank
In the eternal dark, warm and cold scare.

And you right there, of living souls your rank,
Divide your path from these ones who are dead”.
But when he saw I was not moving flank,

Told me: “Different ways, and ports instead
You have to reach, not here, to freely pass
A lighter vessel conveniently will lead”.

My guide to him: “Charon, don’t you harass:
So is the will up there where is the sway
To reach the will, and put no more contrasts”

After the fleecy chicks calm had to stay
To the old pilot of the livid slew,
Who flames round his eyes had to display.

But those souls, which were weary and naked too,
Forthwith turned pale and started to chatter 
When heard the meaning of words so askew.

Blasphemed God and their relatives latter,
The human beings, where, when and the seed
Of their seed pearl and of newborn scatter.

They then all joined and came compelled to cede, 
Bitterly weeping, at the wicked bank
Deserved by any man of God’s fear freed.

Charon demon, has ember’s eyes with swank,
Moving to them, is now collecting all;
With paddle beats whoever sits or sank.

As leaves which faded drop down during fall
One after the other, until the bough
Sees all his spoils fallen to ground to stall

So the wrong seeds that Adam could endow
Themselves throw from beach one by one,
His nod follow as a bird to call now.

So they above the obscure wave just run,
And before they the other bank descend
Another new swarm on this side is done.

“My dear son”, then told me the master friend,
“The wretches ones who die in God’s disgrace
From any country here come to their end;

The river crossing are ready to face,
Because divine justice now them spurs
So that their fear deep desire must displace.

Here no a good spirit ever occurs;
So, then if Charon is to complain with you,
You ought to catch well what his speech incurs”.

And when he ceased, the land obscure to view
Trembled so loud, that owing to my freight
My mind of lather still perceives the dew.

The tearful ground created a wind rate,
Which suddenly flashed a vermilion light
Winning my senses knocking down my state;

And I fell down as man who sleeps at night.


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Dante's Divine Comedy translation CANTO IX

That color vileness painted on my face
When coming back my duke to me I saw 
His new squeezing inside much more took place.

He heedful stopped as man hearing to draw;
Because his eye could not reach much far more
Through the black air and too for the fog flaw.

“At end we have to win this battle bore”,
Started him, ”Unless…. Someone offered aid.
Oh how late is other reaching this shore!”.

I saw clearly well how he had to fade
His speech at start when he reminded then on,
Telling different words respect he made;

But not less frightening gave his speech gone,  
Because I bethought the truncated say
Probably the worst unwilled sentence con.

“In this hard bottom of the mournful tray
Never is who descends from the first grade,
Which only for his pain no hope must pay?”.

I asked this question; and he “I’m afraid
It’s quite rare”, responded, “That among us
Be somebody who my same journey made.

It’s true that here I had one time to pass,
Conspired by that Eritòn cruel indeed 
Who retrieved the spirits to their corpus.

It was recent that my flesh was naked freed,
When she allowed me enter through that wall
A Giuda’s circle’s soul to keep had need.

That’s the lowest and darkest place of all,
And the furthest one from the turning sky;
I know well the path; thus do not appall.

This swamp whose stench around is very high
Encircles the mournful town all around
Where to go without wrath now we can’t try”

And told me more, but memory I confound;
Because my eye attracted full my mind
Toward the tower burning top then bound,

Where toward one point were fastly aligned
Three hellish furies fully with blood stained,
Who had members and acts female defined,

And with greenest hydras looked like were chained;
Small snakes and sidewinders they had as hair,
So that their fierce temples were hard constrained.

And he, who well recognized their despair
Of the eternal weeping the wild queen,
“Look”, he told me, ”The wild Erinni scare.

This is Megera whose song is grim obscene;
Aletto is the one crying on the  right hand;
Tesifon is in the middle”; and hushed serene.

With nails each one hers breast there wildly panned;
They stroke themselves by hands emitting cries,
So high that alarmed I held the poet grand.

“Medusa will make him of stone in guise”,
All of them were telling while looking down;
“Teseo’s assault we did not yet chastise”.

“Turn back your face and cover it facedown;
Because if Gorgon shows and then you see,
You could never go back to upper town”.

So spoke my master; and exactly he
Turned me back, and did not hold my hands,
Before that with his hands I covered me.

Oh you who have a mind which understands, 
Admire the doctrine which is hidden here 
Under the veiling of strange verses stands.

And was just coming up with waves’ smear
A din of noisy sound, so full of scare 
That both sides were then trembling as for fear,

Not so different from strongly blowing air
Vehemently coming from opposite heats,
Which hits the wood and no defense aware

Breaks the branches, strongly strikes and out beats;
Full of powder goes on and full of pride,
Wild animals and shepherds to flee hits.

 He moved to me and told: ”Your sight now guide
Up there toward that very old dirt grime 
And look closely where that smoke is more wide.”

As frogs which seeing forward on time
The adverse snake in water away flee
Until each one is hidden in the slime,

 I saw more than thousand souls very stray
To escape from one front to them whose pace
Was moving on the Stix in dry foot way.

He removed that sticky air from his face,
Roughly moving oft ahead his left hand;
And only looked jaded of that disgrace.

I perceived that from heavens he was planned,
And I turned to the master; and he made sign
To keep me quiet and bow to his command. 

Oh how much to disdain looked to incline!
He reached the door and with a little rod
Opened it, which made no flak to resign.

“Oh by heavens expelled, folks dirty sod”
He started on the horrendous threshold then,
“From where does come this hubris of your squad?

Why do you kick against that will, you men,
To which nobody can cut off the end,
And many times hurted you in this fen?

What does it profit against fate contend?
Your Cerberus, if you remember, still
Now has goiter and chin to amend”

He then moved his pace toward the road ill,
And didn’t speak to us, as to appear
A man who aims to perform a strict will

More urgent than the one of people here;
And then we moved on feet above that ground,
Safer after the saint words and no fear.

We entered there freely and with no bound;
And I, having desire of looking more
The condition that fort tightens around,

As I was in, my eye turned to explore:
And I see everywhere a country wide,
Full of pain and of vicious torment sore.

As at Arli, where Rhone stagnant is tied,
As at Pola, to the Carnaro close
Which Italy ends and wets its coast side,

The graves make ragged all the site at most
So there in everywhere and part just made,
Except a bitter way was shown by those;

Because between the graves high flames stayed,
So that they were in full completely lit,
That fused iron would not require more grade.

Were all open the covers of any pit, 
And so much mournful laments then came out,
That plain was dreary people to emit.

And I: “Master, of people tell me about
Who, buried in those arks now we there see,
With mournful sighing we can hear to shout?

And he: “Here the heresy-arks must be
With followers, of any sect, and much
More than you think in tombs are with no plea.

Similar is buried with being such,
And their penalties are hot more or less”
And when he turned right to go in touch,

We passed through the borders of that sad mess.


Long poem by Trisha Sugarek | Details |

The Ash Can

The Ash Can  ©

I got the call on Sunday night.  I was traveling on business.  When I looked at the caller ID
 I wondered why my husband’s boss would be calling me.  I was unprepared for what
 he told me and my legs turned to water when he said that my husband was dead. 
 ‘A heart attack?  An accident?’ I asked.  ‘No’, he said, ‘John committed suicide.  
 They found him in your garage this morning.’  I heard someone screaming and 
wished that they would stop so I could hear the rest.  His voice was very far away
 and the woman just kept screaming.  ‘Shut up! Shut up!’  I need to hear.  I clapped my
 hand over my mouth when I suddenly realized it was me who was screaming.
 I don’t remember hanging up or getting on the plane. (beat)  Yes, John and I were having
 problems and we had been separated for about three months but nothing was official. 

 After thirty years of marriage I never believed that we couldn’t weather this and share 
the rest of our lives together.  This was just a phase he was going through…some sort 
of mid-life crisis.  This had to be some horrible mistake, a case of mistaken identity.  
My John would never do this, leave me like this.  (beat)  

I stumbled into our home around nine the next morning.  The house looked like a woman
 hadn’t lived there for months. Dirty dishes in the sink, groceries half put away, empty 
beer cans and a full ashtray by John’s chair.  Seeking comfort I walked over to his chair. 
 Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a reflection in the mirror over the
 fireplace.  Some wild looking woman with mascara smudges under her eyes and smeared
 lipstick looked out at me. I walked closer to inspect this stranger in my house.  
She looked old and used up.  Who was she?  What had life dealt her to look so worn out? 
Oh, God, it was me.  Staring out with those eyes bleeding hot, raw pain.  (beat)  I curled
 up in John’s chair and closed my eyes.  Was this all I had left of my husband?  This slightly shabby piece of furniture that still smelled of him?  How could I tell our children?  Could I bear to go into the garage?  What would I find? 
 I knew that they had taken his body away but what had they left there for me to see?  
Maybe something there would prove that this was truly a mistake.    I rose to my feet and 
walked into the kitchen and through the laundry room to the garage door. (beat)

I slowly opened it and was knocked back by the remaining stink of gas fumes.   
John’s car sat in its parking spot, the garden hose hanging from the back window like 
some obscene snake.  I gagged and pressed the button to open the garage door.  
The passenger side window was open so I could look inside without having to touch the car.  And what I saw on the seat told it all.  There was John’s cell phone, an empty bottle of Vodka and a bottle of Excedrin.  (beat)  And something else…a second cell phone…what in the world? I was only allowed five seconds of blissful denial before it all came crashing down on me.  The second phone…the secret phone that men who cheat keep to talk to their lovers.  All those protestations he offered during the time that we were apart.  ‘No, there was no one else’, ‘I just need to find myself’, ‘I don’t want a divorce’, ‘I just need some time’. ‘I love you; I’m just not in love with you.’  Lies, all lies!  How could I have been so stupid?  Then I notice a crumpled manila envelope on the floor of the car.  Anger driven, I opened the door and picked up the envelope and the two cell phones and went back into the house.  Sitting in John’s chair once again, I smoothed out the envelope and read what was written there.  
‘Ricky, tell Sherry I love her. Tell Sherry I can’t live without her.  Tell Sherry not to cry
 for me. Sherry, I’ll love you forever. I’m sorry.....John-Boy.’  Who the hell was Sherry? 
 Did my husband of three decades kill himself over some tramp?  Some other woman 
whom he barely knew?  I picked up the second cell phone and scanned the history of calls.
  Where was area code 864? As I set the phone down my eye caught the partial title of 
a book lying on the rug under the table.  Picking it up, I read: ‘How To Keep A Long 
Distance Relationship Exciting and New.’  I opened it to the first few pages and found an
 inscription,  ‘To my tiny dancer, until we meet again.  Love forever, your John-Boy.’
My God, John, how could you?  How could you do this to us?  I yelled as I threw the 
book across the room; will this hellish nightmare never end? (beat)  I picked up the
 cell phone and scrolled down the history; Sherry Hoffman, Sherry Hoffman, Sherry Hoffman, Sherry Hoffman.  No other woman, huh, John? South Carolina…hence the long distance relationship…you’re such a fool, I told myself. There was voice mail saved and I listened to the most current ones.  Those messages told a story of a married woman who had a son and a new grandchild. 

Another sad, pedestrian story of a restless woman trapped in a loveless marriage but
 unwilling to leave.  The daughter-in-law apparently would not let Sherry see the child. 
 It seemed that John, in a misplaced attempt to help, called Sherry’s son to insist that
 he let Sherry see her grand-baby. 
 Only to succeed in blowing up that family.   The final message was not so sweet and 
sexy from his lover. Sherry had dumped my husband. (beat)  I didn’t know whether 
to laugh or cry.  I seemed to be trapped in a crazed, unbelievable soap opera.  But what 
is it that they say about truth being stranger than fiction?  I sighed.  John had always
 wanted to rescue anyone in trouble…even when they didn’t ask for help.   He had crossed
the line calling that woman’s son.  Oh, John, what were you thinking?,  I asked the empty
 room. Didn’t you know?  You were her dirty little secret.... (more)

(from my book, Monologues 4 Women) 





Long poem by Jack Clark | Details |

The Beast of the Cave

When I was young, and adventure routine,
With excitement and newness still unforeseen
I was eager to spread my wings to the world
And seek more adventures as those wings unfurled

Within my long travels I happened to meet
Two other men, with friendships replete
One was named Beckett, the other one Flynn
And better friends there never have been.

We’d been together, ‘t was our sixth year,
And still our adventures made us cohere
To every madness – to every rave …
Until we decided to enter: The Cave.

With our ropes and lanterns and other such gear
It was into The Cave we then disappeared.
The light from our lanterns speared into the dark
We spoke very little - made no remark.

We found a small dry spot and then we assessed
This was a place we could stop now to rest.
I set down my lantern, and took off my hat,
When Beckett said: “Hey.  Did you just hear that?”

I moved not a muscle, and my ears went to strain.
All I could hear were cave droplets, like rain.
Then … from The Cave’s bowels came a loud din
I continued to listen – then heard it again.

We looked at each other, but said not a word
Confused and startled by what we’d just heard
It wasn’t a moan, it wasn’t a gasp
But more rather like a guttural rasp

Then from The Cave’s deepened black hole
Came again sounds from a source with no soul
The sound was menacing, and one I despise,
I watched the fear grow within my friends’ eyes.

Instinctively then, we three moved as one
In that instant – our re-ascent had begun
I had been last in the line coming down
But first in line in this turnaround.

The lamp on my hat pierced through the black
And I looked for our markers to lead us back
To save our strength, nothing was said
Again - that loud sound which filled me with dread.

Somewhere behind me, then snarls I heard
Loud and vicious, run together and blurred
Close … so close … the Beast was so near
Adrenalin rushed through me to react to my fear

‘T was then I was hit by an overpowering stench 
My stomach turned and my bowels went to clench
The odor blew past me, and I knew t’was the breath
Of the Beast of The Cave – its’ stench of Death.

I was near running, but down on all fours
Sweat was streaming from all of my pores.
Then I heard those terrible screams
The ones I keep hearing in all of my dreams

It was Beckett I knew in his shocked agony
Midst the snarled snapping of jaws I can’t see
I heard bones cracking and squishing of flesh
And my fear within gave new strength afresh

My fingers were raw from grabbing the rock
But on moving forward my mind had its’ lock
My stomach still queasy from the stench of the beast
I knew it was finishing its’ beastly feast

I screamed: “Flynn!  Catch up to me!”
But took not the time to look back and see
For the beasts’ crashing against The Cave’s face
Told me it neared – and was upping its’ pace

In less than an instant, Flynn was there too,
His face in my hat-light was of a strange hue
And as he helped me get back to my feet …
Flynn turned around – t’was the Beast there to meet.

The stench overwhelming, but the sight was much worse
There standing before us: The beastly curse
Of layered scales in shades of dark gray
The rest of its body concealed in umbrae 

But its’ eyes … its’ eyes … I’ll never forget
Rheumatoid yellow, and deeply inset
Its’ reptilian lids blinked just one time
‘Fore its’ lips peeled back - revealing the slime,

Glistening yellow over dagger-like teeth
Then oozed from its’ mouth to fall there beneath.
The beast reared up, we then saw its’ claws
Sharp and deadly within its forepaws

Towering above us, no sound the beast made
On beams of our lights had his gaze stayed.
Unexpectedly Flynn then turned to face me
… With less blinding light, the beast could again see

Why Flynn had turned I never will know
For the beast bit him in two, at his torso
And I was looking at Flynn – direct in his face
When the beasts’ bite his life did erase.

I screamed, and instantly away did I run
Away from the beast, and dead companion
Through the price of Flynn’s life, more time had been bought
To reach The Cave’s entrance – the goal which I sought

I heard its’ clawed talons scraping the wall
And prayed I’d not again stumble and fall
Then, up ahead, a small opening I viewed
And I saw my chance, to hope there exude

Twelve feet … six feet … then it was three
But the beast and its’ stench was there behind me
I dove through the rock-opening, scraping my head
But better that injury than ending up dead

I was elated, and about to rejoice
I then heard a scream – it was my own voice!
In my leg erupted intense blinding pain
Looking down I saw the bloodstain

My leg, through the opening, still was stuck out
There was but split-seconds,’fore I’d lose it no doubt
I pulled my leg back, and in but a flash
My shoe was removed by a clawed talon slash

I crawled back from the opening, then I could see
My wound was deep, from ankle to knee
Then suddenly through the opening came
A clawed talon whose aim was to maim

I quickly withdrew out of its’ reach
As claws shot through the openings’ breech
The opening too small for continued rampage
And the beast began then to voice its’ outrage

Its deafening roars assaulted my ears
Echoed Cave chambers and to my mind did adhere
I began attending unto my grave wound
Knowing I now was no longer marooned.

Another two hours ‘fore I crawled out The Cave
And many more days ‘fore I’d shed the shockwave
Of what had transpired, and what I had seen
But my damaged leg was lost to gangrene.

Now sleep evades me, for my horrible dreams
Show beams of light, and unearthly screams
Of Beckett and Flynn and The Cave we were in
I know tonight, I’ll re-live it again.

So, now you’ve the story, you’ve heard the deed
I swear is the truth I’ve herein decreed
And Beckett and Flynn are enslaved in their grave
And I lost my leg to … The Beast of The Cave.


Long poem by Isaiah Zerbst | Details |

A Poem of Ruth

The tears well up, and scarce could she not moan
When father, brother, husband, all have died.
She now has no possessions, neither home,
But travels to a distant, unknown land:
Once so secure, yet now compelled to roam;
Once rich in love, she treads through foreign sands.
Her weary feet move forward but by faith;
For all left to her name is mere belief:
Mind, heart so far away she seems a wraith-
Love, happiness- all taken by a thief.

When, sometime since, her heart had broke in two,
The path of life, once single, parted way;
Forsake she could, but this she would not do-
All else was gone- with mother she would stay:
"Intreat me not to leave thee," was her plea,
"For whither thou wilt go, there will I; pray
Forbid me not to follow after thee,
For where thou lodgest I would also stay:
"Thy people shall be mine, thy God my God;
And where thou liest, I will gladly lie
Beside thee, overhead the selfsame sod;
That even then thou mightest be closeby.

"And so they twain walk on, hand clasped in hand;
Both hold the only thing they yet possess:
The younger but a stranger in the land,
An enemy, a widow in distress.

She rose before the sun to find a place
Where she might gather barley ears and wheat;
A field where she might find some needed grace
To gather for their winter store of meat:
Then Boaz comes from Bethlehem, and see,
He tarries with the reapers of the wheat:
He comes to Ruth and says, "Hear'st not thou me?
Remain until the harvest is complete:
"Go not from hence, but in my fields abide,
And let thine eyes be on the field they reap;
Behold, these maidens thou may'st work beside,
And near the reapers thou may'st ever keep."
Then to her face she fell, and wond'ringly
Asked why to her, a stranger, was so kind;
And he replied that she unfailingly
Had cleaved unto her mother with one mind,
And left her father, mother, and the soil
Of her nativity, and kissed the dust
Of some strange land wherein she meant to toil;
Forsaking gods of Moab God to trust:
"The Lord," said he, "reward thee for thy deeds,
 And recompense thy labour and thy love:
The God of Israel answer all thy needs,
And make his wings a shelter from above."
 Then said the maid, "My lord, please let me find
Some grace and favour in thy blessed sight,
For that thou hast been friendly, spoken kind,
And I am but a stranger in the night."
Then Boaz said, "At mealtime here abide;
Rest in the shade, come, sit with us and dine:
So down she sat, a reaper on each side;
She ate her wheat and dipped her bread in wine.
Then Ruth arose, and to her work she leaves:
The master thus commands his servant men,
"Let this young maid glean e'en among the sheaves;
Rebuke her not, for she shall come again;
And let some handfuls fall onto the ground,
There let them lie for my sake and for hers
That she may glean and plenty may be found;
For reasons she has need of it are pure."
And as she worked, Ruth knew not what a sight
Of beauty and of diligence she made,
As in the golden field in sunset's light
She bowed her head and knelt as if she prayed.

It came to pass that in his fields she stayed
Until the end of barley harvest came,
When mother told the lovely little maid
To seek for his provision and his name.
She washed and dripped an oil filled with sweet
Perfumes of wild roses on her face:
She had not much; her beauty was complete
With but her finest clothes to seek his grace.
Her braided hair shone brighter than the gem
That never graced her soft and shapely form;
Her eyes, they sparkled brighter than the hem
Of gold and pearls that she had never worn:
Thus Ruth went down unto the threshing floor
Where Boaz winnowed barley till the night,
And peeked at him so shyly 'round the door;
She never let him leave her searching sight.
His workday done, the master ate and drank;
With happiness his heart was full when fed:
Then by a heap of wheat he went and sank
Into the furry robes that made his bed;
And Ruth, a while watching till he sleep
Kept vigil from a stone used as a seat,
Till when his eyes had closed and sleep was deep
She lifted up the cover from his feet
And softly laid her down and dreamed of brides
Until the watchman struck a dozen beats,
And being startled, Boaz woke and spied
A woman sleeping at his very feet:
"Who art thou?" queried he in sleepy voice;
"Thine handmaid, Ruth," was her unsure reply;
Then blessed he her for wise and kindly choice,
For passing poor and rich young fellows by.
"And now, my daughter, gladly shall I do
According to thy wishes, for all here
Consider thee as virtuous and true;
Howbeit, there is one to thee more near,
A kinsman who must duly have his say:
If he decline, then rest assured I will
Perform the part of kinsman." So she lay
Down at his feet, and both were quiet, still.

In grey of early morning she arose,
Before a face could be discernéd there;
To keep from what some people might suppose
And who might stand along the road to stare:
Then Boaz said, "Bring here the vail thou hast
Upon thy head and hold it in thy hand:
Six times the barley measure filled and passed
From heap to vail as much as she could stand.
Then Boaz went up to the city gate
To find the nearer kinsman, whom he sought,
To see if he would purchase the estate
Of Ruth, and she herself, but he could not;
So Boaz purchased all the widows' land;
The houses, barns, and fields, though overgrown;
And bought what pleased him most, Ruth's comely hand
To cherish and to make his very own:
Then Boaz went to find the handmaid, Ruth
And lift her from a servant to a wife;
To love her in all tenderness and truth
In every day God blessed them both with life.



[By Isaiah Zerbst. Published 9/7/14. Parts of poem have been removed due to soup's limitations.]





Long poem by Brian Johnston | Details |

So Many Questions

(A both serious and fanciful encounter with God)          

1. There are so many questions that I have for God, 
Oh my love, don't you feel the same way? 
While it's true that we may just have met in this poem
You must know that I care what you say.
Like who made the Creator and then who made Him? 
To infinity this clearly goes.
But a 'whole universe' that 'exists on its own? '
It's orgasmic! And that curls my toes.

It seems possible God could create this strange thing
Which some atheists call 'the big bang, '
Which puts God the creator at source once again
'Self-creation' becomes boomerang.
In the end science usually makes simple right
And in this case that doesn't seem odd
For it's clear that although God explains 'the big bang, '
'The big bang' just can't explain God. 


2. Now some people think that for the Church to survive
That the Bible must 'un-airant' be
Though that leaves many liberals gasping for air
And I certainly mean to include me.
Didn't Christ turn established Church square on its head
And accuse experts of speaking trash
Their self-aggrandizements the flailings of the dead, 
Their pronouncements the value of ash? 

So where in the Bible does it claim to be true
That each man's take on it is Gospel? 
The foolishness of this thought clearly would make the
Deity of mere men possible.	
And Christ spoke in parables, while I am on it, 
While they may contain truth, are they true? 
Shifting sand's the ground literalists stand on, 
I don't want God's Church built there, do you? 
 

3. I suspect overall that our God is too small
Modeled after folks tied down with chain, 
A God that's too small is really no God at all
And our saying we know Him just vain. 
Today's Kingdom of Grace has become one of fear
As we try to trap God with His Word, 
Surely our doing battle with Father or Son	
Trying to save ourselves is absurd.

So what does it mean to believe in Christ Jesus? 
And how can I be cleansed in Christ's flame
I think it is clear you should be different from Satan
And he certainly knows Jesus' name.
In fact one could divine Satan knows Christ is real
A fact Satan will take to his grave.
But Satan's not willing to walk in Christ's footsteps
And that's whom God chooses to save.
 

4. Surely there's nothing wrong with our questioning God
For God commands us, 'Forbid them not, '	
'Suffer the little children to come unto me	.'
Does that sound like God's wrath is our lot? 
It is true of course, we know that God gets angry
But His essence still always is Grace.
It is not who you are, it is just what you do
That can make Him get into your face.

With Karen Armstrong now alive on the scene
It is clear that God's heart is still showing
When she says 'Doubt is not the opposite of faith...
Certainty is! ' A huge debt to God I am owing.
For certainty is certainly not my standard
And sometimes that does give me pause.
But the Grace that I feel in God's presence
Is what brings me to peace with His laws.


5. So now that we've managed to clear up some big stuff
Let's tackle some things that are fuzzy
Like Jesus would frequently call God his 'father'
But God could not have a thing, does He? 
I'm sure that some ladies will not be too happy
To hear that God's not one of their clan
Remember the Bible says God's church is His bride, 
Not much room there for doubt He's a man.

Women
'But if that's really true He's not me, more like you, 
No way could that ever be called fair.
Thanks a lot! Doesn't seem much like heaven to me
Woman still dragged around by their hair.	'
Men
'Hold on now, wait a bit: Please! let's not have a fit
Seems like men have a right to feel blue! 
Even though we are all getting married to God
Recall men are to be His bride too! ' 


6. If science and traditional faith disagree
Then it's clear that there is something wrong
One could ignore it but both come from God
So take care if the science is strong.	
Intelligent scholars of Biblical truth say 
Creation is six thousand years past
But science proves this wrong over 4 billion years
In one universally huge blast.

The Bible was written two thousand years ago
For folks who knew little of science.
When you speak to a child, you know he's not adult, 
And you use what we call common sense, 
Not hard to accept that the Bible is dated, 
Don't stew over it for heaven's sake.
This isn't a sign that our God would mislead us, 
He who died for you is not a fake.


7. And now for an odd bit, just where does Science fit
With God's gift of Grace for the many? 
'Seek, you shall find, knock and it be opened to you: '
As good a definition as any.
'Every good and perfect gift comes from the father.'
I am grateful to God for His Word.
And you devil's children who call God's gift evil, 
For repentance I offer a bird.

Our God's revelation to man is ongoing, 
With faithfulness through all the ages
The only requirement of mankind it would seem
Is willingness to turn the pages.
Not just pages of Bible but pages of stars
Which are surely God's heart written large.
Let us follow Him to where new worlds conquer fear 
And our service to LOVE so discharge.

Brian Johnston
December 17-19,2013

Poet's Notes:
Whew! This poem is another one of those 'where did that come from' poems. I want to let go of it, YET IT KEEPS  ON GROWING LIKE THE 'THE BLOB! '

So don't be surprised if I offer new stanzas.
Think I feel something else clearly perking.
I'm taking requests to so if you have a pet peeve 
Just forward on to me, don't be shirking.

Love in advance, 
Brian

PS: Thank you God


Long poem by Matt Ancient | Details |

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

ABOUT   THE   PRESS


The media, the press was established as an institution to fight for humanity and human right as well. To serve as a mediator between the people underground and the so called ruling class, thus between those at top and those at low, the rich and the poor, and that checking and balancing government. But this was not the case; the media was discriminatory, barbaric, partial and selfish. For instance what one could describe as glorious in Africa is always portrait as mysterious by the press. They always ignored the good things about Africa, Arabia, Latin America etc, and created a monster out of them, made them inferior in the eyes of the world, as if they were not part of the world or the human society. Whiles other mysterious things which happened in the west were hidden. For instance there were foolish monarchs in Europe who were spending lavishly on stupid things and billions on issues like toppling of other leaders in the Middle East, Africa, south Asia and Latin America; they spend on luxuries, expensive royal weddings and ceremonies and so on. Whiles women and children were suffering in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But the media kept quit and were always criticizing Africa, china, Arabia, and Latin Americas of being undemocratic. Even animals were given media attention than what a fellow man from other part of the world could do. Because of racism, where one comes from, the religious group he belongs to, and was seen as minority in the human society, and was always ignored and abused. They then protect the image of politicians, religious leaders and so called rich men in the society and ignored those who really needed their help because they were poor. Instead of being there for the poor, they took bribes from politicians, for they were selfish and greedy in gaining and taught about them selves alone, they does that to please these so called ruling class in other to win awards and rewards at the end, if one fall as a victim then he deals with that alone, but we all belongs to the human society, and all these human institutions are there for us all, but not for some group of people who claims to be the ruling class. Before one could become a leader, it is the same people who are seen as inferior, who chooses them and make them who they are. Nobody cares about anybody, the rich becomes richer and the poor, poorer, the main reason of the press is being undermined, because of corrupt, selfish character and evil deeds of other humans.  For instance whiles Osama Bin Laden was seriously criticized by the western media, and a price on his head for crimes against humanity, George Bush was walking freely like a supper hero without any court or the media questioning him for the humanitarian genocide, war crimes against humanity in the middle east, about the innocent people who died, those who were wounded, lost their families and homes. Just because he was the president of America, but the question is does anybody has the right to abuse or take the life of another, because of title or position one has? . The media always protect the so called ruling class instead of protecting the poor from these 'beast' which devour blood of innocent people. The media is never transparent, free and fair and it aim of establishment or it existence is undermined. They never criticized the alliance of the US, France and the UK for crimes against humanity, for the lives of innocent people who lost their lives in Libya, just because of the hate of one man, many has to die, they kept quit and the truth being hidden, even North Korea was not invaded for the possession of weapons of mass destruction, as for that it was negotiable, about the monarchs in Europe, as for that it was the gift of God. The ultimate principle is by being free and fair and that brings satisfaction. There is no God who wants some people to be kings and others to slaves. Whiles Palestine is criticized of crimes and violence, Israel was encourage by the western media for the lost of lives of innocent people who lives in Gaza, the war crimes against humanity, just because of Palestine being an Islamic nation, they are accused of terrorism, but Israel has the right to deny people of their right to live, because the name Israel is in the bible or can any one tell the reason behind such atrocities. Although terrorism was in existence and was evil, for many innocent people lost their lives because of these so called terrorist, and if this is evil and needs to be condemned, why then should government organizations causes crimes against humanity in the name of fighting against terrorist, moreover there were terrorist every where, does that also means NATO should lunch attack on the European nations because there might be terrorist there, for there is an evidence that the source of these war crimes and weapons of mass destruction are all caused by political and religious atrocities, but the media always ignore such fact and rather sing praises on western leaders, they does this to please the so called  ruling class in other to get awards and rewards. There were so many human right abuses going on, racial discrimination but the media kept quit so many times, especially if the victim comes from Latin America, Africa, Asia Arabia and so on. If the media will not sell it trust to politicians and so called ruling class, and they will be honest to themselves and all mankind, all sorts of corruption and abuses could have been seized and freedom achieved.


Long poem by Stacey Brown | Details |

Wonderful Women


Mary was a virgin girl:
With big dreams and aspirations!
An angel came to visit her:
With honor and salutations!
Troubled by his sayings:
She did not know what to think!
The angel said to Mary:
My dear, no need to shrink!

Mary you are favored,
Blessed among all women!
Ye shall bring forth a child:
A Son whom God is given!
You shall call his name JESUS!
To his kingdom there’s no end!
He will reign forever:
And from heaven he will descend!

Mary said to the angel,
How shall this come to be?
I have not known a man,
And with that he did agree!
With God’s nothing impossible,
So Mary did reply:
Behold I am God’s servant,
And his will I won’t deny!

To be so compliant;
Is just amazing in itself!
The disgrace of an unwed mother:
Could knock Mary off the shelf!
Her fiancé’ may leave her;
And her family may disown!
But Mary did not worry:
About who may cast a stone!

Seeing that she was chosen:
One might think her life was smooth.
But oh’ the lovely Mary:
Needed God to gently soothe!
From the birth of our Lord Jesus:
To the time he was crucified:
Her journey was very bumpy:
And many tears she softly cried!

Starting with a quest:
From Nazareth to Bethlehem!
A summons to pay taxes,
They set out, both of them! (Joseph and Mary)
Now Mary was great with child,
And her time would soon arrive.
With no place to deliver,
They would both have to contrive!

In a barn full of animals,
Hay, dung and fears!
Mary will now give birth,
In blood, sweat and tears!
Meanwhile, in a pasture,
Where some shepherds work a field!
Angel’s came a calling,
And our Savior is revealed!

Glory to God in the highest:
Angel’s sang, when baby breathed:
On earth, is peace, goodwill towards men!
The shepherds now perceived!
The angel’s ascend to heaven,
Yonder the shepherds go:
In her heart Mary pondered:
Of the things which God did show!

Just try to imagine:
Laying your baby in a trough?
And then fearing for his life,
While the king prowls and scoffs!
Well that is just what Mary did:
In that time and place:
When they had to run:
For baby Jesus, King Herod chased!

A king to rule over him:
He would not accept!
He killed every baby child:
As their mother’s wept!
I just cannot fathom:
What Mary must have felt.
Joy for her baby:
Yet, with grief she must have dealt!

Traveling home from Jerusalem:
After feast and celebration!
Mary lost her precious boy:
She could not find his location!
When he was discovered,
Frantic she did ask:
Son why did you leave us?
In sorrow we did bask

Every mother has known:
The fear of losing a child!
Mary was no different:
For three days her fear compiled!
I am sure there was weeping:
Praying with despair!
While Joseph tried to calm her:
With love and tender care!

She couldn’t apprehend:
What his life would turn out to be.
But, Mary as his mother:
Felt free to go and see!
She followed with his brothers:
And listen to him speak!
He spoke about family:
His family, he did critique!

Sisters and brothers:
And mothers we also see!
Are not bound together:
By a family tree!
From our Father in heaven;
Families are made!
Now, did Mary understand?
The price she had paid!

Mary’s little boy,
Was no longer her own!
He belongs to the people:
And as kin he is known!
Gripping at her heart strings:
Affliction had to arise:
As a mother of a son,
That might feel like my demise!

News of his capture:
Must have brought a scare!
How did Mary deal?
Did she run straight there?
When Jesus was beaten:
Did she watch all alone?
How did she refrain?
As he was whipped to the bone!

A crown of thorns:
They pressed upon his head!
He was dripping in blood:
His flesh was bright red!
Nails were deeply driven:
Through his hands and feet!
Crying out he said:
My God, why so discrete?

She stood by the cross:
And watch her baby die!
She pondered in her heart:
For the reason why!
Is it worth it?
Did Mary dare to ask?
For the love of God:
She must complete her task!

Yet, it pleased the Father:
For him to suffer!
To give his life:
For another!
To shed his blood:
Would only prove our WONDER!
JESUS gave it all:
Our sins to cover!

As my heart is wrenching:
I can’t help but wonder!
Did Mary even hear?
Those sounds of thunder!
The earth was shaking:
The rocks did rent!
The veil was torn:
And Mercy was sent!

With a broken heart:
Tear filled eyes!
Could Mary see?
Where his love lies!
Her baby boy:
Who brought some travail!
In the end:
Did definitely prevail!

Mary was chosen:
And highly favored!
And for our God,
 She willingly labored!
She had troubles:
Plus sorrow and grief:
Yet, she pondered God’s word:
This fought off the thief!

The wonder of this woman:
Is most definitely overt!
And your wonder is also:
So please let me assert!
Jesus arose:
Three short days later!
Redemption came:
And so did your favor!

God loves his creation:
A plan he has made!
He is not partial:
Nor, will he invade!
He leaves it to us:
To trust in his name:
So just like Mary:
Let his will take aim!

Now, ponder his word:
For it is real clear!
In Jesus we’re blessed:
Favored and dear!
We also have purpose:
Just like the Virgin Mary!
It is to share Jesus:
WONDERFUL WOMEN; don’t tarry!

No one can go to the Father:
Except through the Son!
And God uses his children:
To get the job done:
So if you refuse,
To share his love!
The world won’t know:
This Rock from above!

He is personal:
Yet, he is for all!
Proclaim his love:
It’s your curtain call!
Go into all the world:
And share his good news!
Mary’s child has risen:
It’s your turn to choose!

Stacey Brown
12-10-13


Long Poems