Achilles, Or Lord Byron

Unworthy man of worldly means,
born unto Grecian indulgence,
a soul of petty Iliad scenes
and Agamemnon’s insolence.
You mark and mock from a tower
wherein roost carrion birds
gleeful at the grim graveyard hour,
aiming your feathered arrow words.
You’re the worm in seprulchal growth
bloated on the decay and reek
of men too soon dead, or to quoth:
“[he] was kill’d off by one critique.”
You speak as Achilles in Troy
while Hector lay in breathless sleep…
But enough! Go bugger your boy,
Patroclus, you pederast creep.

Medley Of Rhymes

19th Century Reality Check
Drunken, the servant stumbled down the hall
and sprawled outward amidst the lordly ball.
So much of an uproar came from the fool
that a gentleman challenged him to duel.
“As it please my lord,” he said with a bow,
then proceeded to beat the dandy’s brow.
He broke the gent’s nose and blackened his eye
till the gent yielded with a pleading cry.
The servant then righted himself up, tall,
and glowered at the nobles, one and all.
“You thought yourselves superior,” he slurred,
“but now you can see the truth, by my word.
You think you can command us with your names,
but what happens when we tire of your games?”
He pointed at the gent weeping on the floor
and drummed his barrel chest, wide as a boar.
“Mark you, fools, a beast of the savanna
whereas you’re but cats on the verandah!”
He then stumbled out of that regal house,
having taught prideful cats to fear the mouse.

The Graeae (Professional Critics)
Oh, these critics three
passing one eye between them,
two thus blind in three
as they clutch at the one’s hem
and beg for guidance
while they look in jaded turns
and oft deride sense
for sake of what thereby earns
an eye passed again
as if good taste came, not sight,
with an eye plopped in
while in caves yet lacking light.
They cannot see much
in caves so dark with conceit,
each one out of touch
beneath the columns of Crete
and fighting for views
from the fickle, rolling eye,
blind to changing hues
in a new day’s dawning sky.

Clubfoot In Mouth
Lord Byron, that conceited bastard,
always had to put in the last word
like the boot to the head
of a corpse before abed,
but even that was a gaff
from which the corpse might laugh,
the clubfoot striking as befits
a club and foot dull to the wits
it disdained with tragic toes
as belike a nib, bent, that flows,
for he was, after all, an aristocrat
and, consequently, a pissy brat
born among pretentious elites
and despising Middle class Keats
and deriding him for dying from
a “bad review”, a conclusion dumb
and disregarding the acute thrombus
that had killed his brother, Thomas,
to whom Keats tended in bravery
while Byron committed knavery,
his sense of Art so narrowminded
that he was himself all but blinded
to the trends beyond his own,
like a dog chewing an old bone,
or a coxcomb nibbling his sole
swollen yet swallowed whole.
There is no doubt about it—
Lord Byron was a little piece of shit,
and as for the Little Ice Age’s start
it began, no doubt, in his heart.

Master Trappers
Some are ambushed from within
by their genetic booby-traps.
Some say, “Original Sin
is the reason for such mishaps.”
But it’s best to think these traps
inborn, waiting, like lightning rods—
and listen as the thunder claps
like snares set and sprung by cruel gods.

Earn The Urn
Ashes to ashes, all to burn
in a clay jar or porcelain urn,
and so the hours of accruing wealth
amount but to a heap of self
dissolute of its former worth
much as before its earthly birth,
and so some dwell in the bottle
to drink away the days they have got till
interred within the selfsame glass
through which their precious hours did pass,
whereas others to cubicle cages
are confined by career stages
and yet others choose to be free,
letting ashes blow across the sea.
As for me, do what you feel you must
since all empires aspire to dust
and earth become a gigantic urn
for the things we think we earn.

The Gray-Gone

“Be us not as the Gray-Gone
whose lives have been overlong,
let us not linger on and on,
but be short as a child’s song.

Be not dry with withered lips
for kiss together given
and be us not grown hard as pips
nor bitter weed soon riven.

Claim us color as a dawn
quick to rise and soon ablaze;
let us be not grey, grim, and wan,
but let birds sing morning’s praise.

We are fleeting youth itself
entwined in a garden’s flair—
mortal we be, not god or elf,
so love me ere gray of hair.

Let us cherish fresh flowers
and make love a delicious clime,
for there are no earthly powers
to fend off Fate’s after-time.”

(Inspired by a term in one of John Keats’s poem, the term being “Grey-gone”, but this is to serve as a eulogy for a character in my novella “Venom Pies”, though that title may well change before publication.)

Two Poems To John Keats

Blood Vessel
What god did not genius grant
without a price beyond recant?
For Keats rode his daydreams swift
unto the empire of his gift
and in return gave libations full
to quench the god that bore his hull
with a cascading sanguine surfeit tide
upon which Despair rode astride,
reaching for the farthest protean shore,
his wish thus granted, and such much more
that lyrical currents carried on and on
his fame, his name, with each new dawn
and though his bright star was ill-borne
upon red wavelets he did but mourn
his name was never written on the waters,
but in the hearts of England’s sons and daughters.

The Moth-Time
He wrote hurriedly at the darkening eve
and yet his life was ever at the moth-time,
hand and quill fluttering fast at lantern’s reprieve
while oil and ink bled out for a lasting rhyme.

Crickets and critics sawed a mocking song
to hasten the falling shroud of Night,
but though the sun lasted not so long,
a bright star was raised to a new height.

For far above and aloft it shined and shined
where neither voice nor quill might impugn
the tragic poet whose lustrous life declined—
he became companion to the moon.

 

(Recently I resumed reading the poetry of John Keats.  One of the premiere English Romanticists, Keats lived a tragically short life, dying at the age of 25 while mourning his own presumably insignificant contributions to English Literature.  While Keats was often possessed of a brilliant acumen for observing and encoding Truth with beautiful imagery, he was thankfully quite wrong concerning his own legacy.  He died thinking himself nothing more than up-flown dust on an errant wind, and stands tall as a titan in Western poetry.  I simply wanted to show my appreciation for his terrible tragedies and his enduring genius.)

Libations (To Keats)

Of libations he poured out overmuch
from heart, from lungs, thus a deathly wine
to slake cruel gods who thirst for such
as from fruit doth vein grow upon its vine.

For Persephone descended the depths
and Autumn came, that season of mists,
while Adonis spoke crimson breaths
a name clutched as blood between hopeless fists.

And so pouring forth, the singsong wine fell
to deepen the redness in the West,
cadences like a nightingale—
the bright star faded and was laid to rest.