Schopenhauer On The Shore

I saw Schopenhauer on the shore
kneeling down in the frothy brine,
grunting and groaning at a chore
in the shallows along the shoreline.

I ventured closer and heard him gloat,
though his face was twisted and wroth
as he clutched a man by the throat—
a statue of Buddha in the froth.

Arthur sneered into the Buddha’s face
and proclaimed, “Mein Lehrer ist tot!”
He then walked away from that place
while the wood idol began to rot.

The Kelpie

Turbulent the addled brain,
as a cauldron brimming nigh,
bubbling, churning, needing to drain,
still young, yet the wits awry.

Scarce have I to settle thought
and tame this fierce kelpie mane,
bolting over land, burning hot,
sprinting down the lochside lane.

The cliff! The cliff! It doth call
like mother to hurry home.
Shall I throw myself to a fall
headlong below…or just roam?

Feverish, the blood doth scald
and hoof betimes slips aslant.
How much more must my mind be galled
afore I may then decant?

Mind aflood with what may be
and what may not be, alas,
it runs so wild, wind-mad kelpie—
I know not when this shall pass.


What’s that sound
down the hall?
Round and round,
through the wall.

Creakers creak
near your door.
Hear them sneak
on the floor?

Be afraid,
child abed,
till they fade
and their tread.

Here they come!
Hear them crawl!
They’re not dumb.
Soft footfall.

Through the dark
they creep near.
Hark, child, hark!
Dare you peer?

Creak, creak, creak,
through some vent.
Sneak, sneak, sneak,

Silent now.
Have they gone?
Heavy brow.
You then yawn.

Go to sleep…
Drift and dream…
Hear them creep!
Hear them scheme!

Rouse yourself!
Over there!
Near the shelf!
Oh, beware!

Close at hand,
‘neath the bed,
the nightstand,

Hide, child, hide,
under sheet,
tuck each side
and your feet.

They will stay
through the night,
till the day
brings some light.

Until then,
keep your head
covered when
in your bed.

If you see,
they will too,
do not flee,
they’ll catch you.

Hold your breath,
do not shake,
for your sake.

Night will end,
day will bloom,
just pretend
that your room

is a place
full of mice
in a race
or suffice

to believe
your house groans
eave to eave,
settling bones.

That’s the lie
parents say.
They deny
and they pray.

But they hear
Creakers creak
and they fear
what such seek,

as they did
in times gone
when Man hid
till the dawn

in caves cold,
dark and damp,
stone stronghold,
huddled camp.

Even then
Creakers crept,
stalking when
cavemen slept,

as they will
Creaking sill,
creaking floor.


The robin swoops athwart the car,
flame-breasted as a shooting star,
and brushes faintly the windshield;
reckless or brave, it does not yield.

Would that I could live likewise strong,
even should it not be for long,
feathers brushing Death’s contoured plane,
fearless heart open to the pain.


And he wept when, rending his chest
at the thought of his base design,
he found not filth, but a thing blest
as gold, a gold itself divine,
nor a possession or a thing,
but golden light that travels on,
transitory, yet undying,
an endless light—eternal dawn.

A Tyger’s Contempt

Walking at noon, cane counting the meter
alongside a messy woods, the deadfall
hung like severed limbs that sway and teeter
as Spring blooms from within Winter’s dead hall.

The cat is a shadow between the trees,
sleekly stalking along a fallen limb,
the sun is high, the day golden, the breeze
steady and smooth, with a feline rhythm.

She must see mice creeping through last year’s leaves
as she hunkers down in a stance to pounce
like a gargoyle on cathedral eaves—
blood better than milk, to her, ounce for ounce.

Lithe, lethal, striped by shadows from the trees
as she leaps so high with her claws spread wide,
then clutching her prey, the mouse caught with ease,
an easy swagger in her Tyger stride.

And I hobble onward, after the kill,
seeing in my mind’s eye the acrobat
that sprung so lissome, though before so still,
mouse now in the praying paws of the cat.

The cat leaves me the head of the dead mouse
at my doorstep, her green eyes fixed on me
as I limp up the steps, into my house.
Is this a Tyger’s contempt? It may be…


I’m apart from, and a part of, the rain,
and the echo that becomes the refrain,
the noir neon light, the rainy late night,
a darksome skull, its deep dreams gleaming bright
until the morning when that windowpane
should gloss over and the contrast should wane
in the new day’s dawn, shadows taking flight
from that electric district of the brain.

War Soliloquy

“There be no mercy here. There be no pardon.
No haloes have we in the clemency of saints arrayed, but with mane of the lion haloed, and given to crimson appetite such as begets bestial slaughter. Beg off.  Beg off with thy entreaties to gentler nature, for we’ve none, but with fang and claw keenly paired giveth unto surfeit that rage innate in all whom so wronged seeketh recompense. This is reckoning inexorable in its numeration. Doff thy fleece. Doff thy fleece, for poorly it becometh thou. Prepare thyself as well may prepare the sexton. A roar, though deafening as thunder, is but the death of an ear soon reconciled with a truer silence. And that silence shall follow fast. Take what comfort thou may in that surcease. Mouth the words of braver men. Mouth the prayers of thy Lord, should he proffer ear to hear. No Daniel walks here, unafraid, nor would such as he escape wrath such as ours. The den resounds, thou bleating fool. We come. By fang and claw we shall slake the thirsty dust with thy meager make. Believe no shade of doubt in this, for it conceal thee not. By day or night, villain, we see thee clear and, as hound to mark, seeketh unrelentingly. Whether thou art steadfast in grim resoluteness toward thy end, or whether thou flee far from sudden battlefield, we shall pursue. As hound afoot or crow alight, we pursue thy bountiful blood. Doubt it not. The clarion of war ringeth as the sky in revolt. Lo, it soundeth in every thirsting throat.”

(Recently I have been reading Shakespeare’s more confrontational moments in his plays, such as Macbeth and Macduff’s fight scene, and I wanted to attempt something in the Shakespearean vein. With minimal success.)