Like a Cheshire grin
aglow in the night,
a cracked pearl within
an oyster shell’s bite,
a talon in cream
or yellow sickle,
a pale phantom gleam,
a silver nickel,
lantern in the sky,
pockmarked skull above,
the cataract eye
of a witch in love,
melting tallow drop
from a midnight wick,
a blood-bloated tick,
fat, ready to pop.
Robed wanly with a borrowed light
and floating within the ghostly mist,
she glows throughout the long, dark night,
horned or full, sickle or eclipsed,
or haloed when tears are to come
with a rainbow wound all around
while amidst her cold, dead kingdom—
aloof, aloft, she may be found.
Soft brushstroke of cloud
across the moon, washing out
its lunatic gaze.
cradle the cold, staring skull;
an angelic Wake.
Glowing scales aloft
and out from the dragon’s eye
a watchful silence.
Maybe mercy, after all,
is to be dead, like the moon,
unfeeling to one’s freefall
and the cold night—needful boon
to not feel the creeping rot
as it eats your pockmarked face
while the hollowed heart feels not
the cold void of lifeless space.
Yes, the dead may be at peace
like the moon chained to earth’s side—
the living long for release
while tears swell at high tide.
I, too, have fallen
for moons drowning in rivers,
pale faces untouched.
(For the record, Li Po did not write in the haiku format since it was a Japanese convention and he was Chinese, but that is how this poem came to me, so…)
cradled in the aloof orbit
of its birthmother
to parts unknown;
scarred by cosmic whim
and barren of life,
engendered as the tombstone
to your own aborted existence;
yet, like true tragedy inspiring
you pull at your mother’s
inciting her defiant fertile frenzy for
as the tides of her
ebb and flow with
a yearning increscent
against formless oblivion.
though denied life
your dreams teem
innumerable upon the earth.
He was born low among the high green hills,
with high ambitions, pride, and a desire
for a life beyond the fields and the mills,
above the summit of Benbulben—even higher.
He wished to be as an ancient Celtic king
and sought those who would thus crown him
among a sacred Druid copse ring,
his brow entwined in leaf, petal, and stem.
Maidens and priestesses sang him songs
and served him wine, honey, cheese,
and danced to lutes in twirling throngs
as flowers flavored the throbbing breeze.
For a night he was revered, beloved, praised
and taken at last to a bower bed—
but, hearken, a sacrifice was thereby raised
toward the Moon, to whom he shall be wed.
And so the goddess descended from aloft
with a coronet of stars, a gossamer gown,
making love to him, her caresses soft
and the sickle blade sharp as it came down.
The Moon then rose once more, dark red
with the flush of her groom, his love
having filled her full, with child and well-fed,
as she returned to the higher realms above.
Within clouds the Moon tries to hide,
a shy child within the black gown
of Night, her mother, the deathbed bride
of Day, their wedding at sundown.