Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bard's Tale







Bard's Tale


Your words rang out both elegant and bitter
like sour wine from an antique golden cup,
pouring a ballad rare, medieval, mythic,
with rhymes built neatly to the last refrain,
where all the lovers die.

Your looks were bad, edged, blank and tender,
alternately protective and estranged,
till finally all was sorted, the last line came,
and you were going on without me, neatly folded
like a newspaper forgotten on a train.

Pain well-cooked reduces down to apathy, and
apathy well-cooked becomes a passive steam
inflating a whistling void that’s stretched and wrinkled
like yesterday’s balloons who've lost too soon
their gift of high unshackled random flight.

Rapidly one thought becomes another.
The revulsion of feelings becomes habitual.
Vices are pulled from our hands, each one by one,
till we're left holding our virtues like
roadside advertisements



November 2010,
based on a fragment from 1988


Posted for Magpie Tales #42

20 comments:

  1. Interesting treatment of pain and apathy. And I love the last two lines.
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog, and for commenting. Visitors are always welcome, especially those who take the time to comment. I appreciate it.
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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  2. I love that line "sour wine from and antique golden cup." Great poem.

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  3. Hi hedgewitch

    thank you for visiting my blog.
    I am glad there is another poet in the blogosphere, we can never have enough of them.
    Pain and apathy as poured out of a golden cup, a sad image indeed.

    btw. I looked at your profile, slowly decaying? I know what you mean.

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  4. Ohhh, STOPPIT, Hedgewitch. Damn show-off.

    I liked the newspaper forgotten on the train, but not as much as the penultimate verse, which kicks ass and takes names. All the "well-cooked" lines and the "high and random flight." I can't tell you how much I like this stanza.

    You could have stopped there. But nooOOOooo. You topped it all off with that brilliantly done last stanza, with its "roadside advertisements." You're gooood. I hate you. ;-)

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  5. Thanks Kay, Teresa & Friko. I enjoyed reading your stuff also. It always amazes me how many totally different things can be written from one prompt.

    @FB HA-I want you to know this one is all your fault--it started out with lots of words, no meter and peripatetic scansion, then I thought--this is aimless except for the last four lines and the newspaper, and rewrote the whole thing for hours and hours knowing I have exacting feral readers to consider and standards to maintain. (I took out the lines about bursting like sausages, too.) ;) So there. I am glad you liked it, though; thank you.

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  6. "Pain well-cooked reduces down to apathy, and
    Apathy well-cooked becomes a passive steam
    Inflating a whistling void that’s stretched and wrinkled
    Like yesterday’s balloons who've lost too soon
    Their gift of high unshackled random flight." -- this could stand alone. It's just wonderful poetry.

    The hours you spent were not in vain - you crafteda beautiful poem.

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  7. The last two lines of your Magpie --- my favorites. Beautifully written.

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  8. @Talon, thank you...work you enjoy is never wasted, especially if people like you also enjoy it. Some of them write themselves and that's always lovely, but the ones you sweat over have their own satisfaction. (Also agree balloon image was probably an improvement over exploded sausages. ;-) )

    Thanks for visiting, Helen.

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  9. even the newspaper forgotten on a train has a destiny. Very interesting and thought provoking
    Well done!
    enjoyed it very much
    thank you

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  10. Rapidly one thought becomes another,
    The revulsion of feelings becomes habitual.
    Vices are pulled from our hands, each one by one,
    Till we're left holding our virtues like
    Roadside advertisements...

    dazzling lines,
    love your way of thinking.
    magnificent magpie.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

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  11. I enjoyed this. Happy Thanksgiving.

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  12. Love your ending lines on this one, holding virtues (picture this, virtues in the hand like a bird one is feeding - with wings to lift up by).... well done.

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  13. This is a strong piece, poignant and sad, yet
    resilient and resourceful. I kept seeing a
    different title--YESTERDAY'S BALLOONS.
    Loved the lines /with rhymes built neatly
    to the last refrain/where all the lovers die/
    and I am still chewing on /pain well-cooked/.

    Of course the more brilliant lines, the/
    newspaper forgotten/ and /roadside
    advertisements/ have been duly noted
    by other commenters. Your re-write has
    been touched with brilliance, and what
    has emerged is sterling, touching,
    repolished gold. Thanks.

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  14. @Glenn, thank you for the kind words, and also for crossposting the piece on your blog. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  15. A powerful and atmospheric piece shot through with memorable imagery. I liked particularly 'And you were going on without me, neatly folded / Like a newspaper forgotten on a train'. Simple but elegant.

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  16. Wow. This is beautiful poetry. Truly, I enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

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  17. Yeah, the line 'Like a newspaper forgotten on a train.' brought a lump to my throat.

    Gosh, this was good.

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  18. Brilliant imagery (albeit sad) complemented by some excellent wordplay!
    The 2nd and 3rd stanzas really had me HOOKED !
    Very eloquently written...

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  19. Nice work, loved it all, but second stanza rocked! Thanks for sharing!

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  20. Dear Hedgewitch: Lovers, sadly are often tragic figures as figured in your fine poem "The Bard's Tale". Vivid dream imagery;

    And you were going on without me, neatly folded
    Like a newspaper forgotten on a train.

    aside; We must have shared the same stylist as you look a lot like I did in those 70's years. Isnt that fun! Yes it is!

    Had a thought here regarding your poem's star-crossed lovers; due to the fact that the intensity of kundalini energy which lovers consciously create or not, is similar to a spectacular fireworks or dynamite which is controlled but chaotic! By Lovers who simply live loving lives wholly unaware they are creating this building up of energies that will soon whistle like a tempest in a teapot. (is that a Shakespearean quote?) Excellent!

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg