Monday, April 22, 2013

Plague Ship






Plague Ship




In the dying twilight time
after the machine gun wedding
after the brotherhood of the bomb
after the last furrow fails in the fallout
when nothing prospers but wasting,
the damned have a dance they do
on the deck while the plague ship glows.

After the falter of centuries
they remember the helix of plague twists,
sail hard on the blood of a rat pack, 
raise masts rigged with plastic explosives, 
wear their red masks over the lesions, 
landfall a corpselight cotillion 
docked at the irradiated port of blue ruin.

The straw man is playing the bone flute.
The jackal is drooling, the deaf mute
feels up the fat girl by the bat tree
and Pan is perplexed in the pantry
where the death watch beetle clacks
in all the joints and cracks

the music of the end of the world.






~April 2013









Image: Ship of Fools, by Heironymous Bosch, 1500
Public Domain via wikipaintings.org

15 comments:

  1. To write such grim stuff is tricky, and you've got the touch, Hedge. I can't stand grim for grim's sake any more than I can stand happyface for happyface's sake, but your language and imagery is stellar, as usual, and in this time of bombings and wild disaster, this poem seems nothing but apt. Every line just snaps and stings.

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    1. Thank you Shay. My brain is still slightly percolating the events of last week, I think.

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  2. You vision is deeply embedded in the arcane, yet never loses its cutting edge feel. When I read these stanzas, I'm so aware that you are describing our very own where to from here?.. Oh that prophets were heard in their own land!

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    1. Thanks, Kerry. reminds me of that Simon and Garfunkel song--'the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls..'

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  3. your words are alive, sliding easily around/ in/with Bosch's painting. I admire his layers of light in the face of disease/demise , and I admire your ability to bring ageless grace to heavy content, while nuancing into the present with phrases like "feels up the fat girl"

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    1. Yes--it was an odd sort of ambiance--mixing Bosch with radiation sickness and plastic explosives, but it just sort of came together that way. Thanks for reading, Jane.

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  4. Wow - agree with Shay - this is very hard to do well, but you manage it. In part because the beginning is so simply expository, and then you move on to more openly "fanciful" or at least imagined and particularly - the fragment stanza works so well too. So well done. The end was particularly strong, I thought. Also, there is something in the title where Plague Ship is not only a vessel, but a quality of the world - like friendship or kinship - plagueship--maybe I'm just imagining that, but it resonated in that manner, I thought. k.

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    1. Thanks, k. I love the way your mind works--yes plagueship, like hardship, seems like it ought to be a word. The second stanza gave me fits, and if it were not for this bloody poem a day thing, I would have let it rest longer--it still feels off somewhere to me. Glad to have you back where you can comment without pain!

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    2. It is always a pleasure to comment on your work - I hate losing my silly comments, and get tired of the mobile devices, but so glad to be able to check in. k.

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  5. You have a way of making haunting, desirable. Strange but true. The horrifying takes on eloquence as if it were naturally prosiac to be damned. (Hugs) Indigo

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  6. Joy Ann, you conjure up some wicked imagery in the last stanza. The world seems that way to me at times. Thanks for visiting me. I am exhausted with the poem a day thing. But you are going strong I see.

    Pamela

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    1. I am finding it pretty wearing, actually pamela, but it makes me write, and that over all is good, because I'm lazy. ;_) And visiting you is always my pleasure. I thought yours was really good--I think it does hone the words, to work with them so much.

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  7. Grim but your writing is always beautiful and deep.....the music of the end of the world.
    excellent.

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  8. "after the last furrow fails in the fallout"

    Brilliant. And, the last stanza just crackles and comes at you like machine gun fire. Incredible writing, Hedge.

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  9. The Swan Song has been playing ever
    since they booted that Lilith girl out
    of Inna Gadda da Vita....
    They just keep writing more stanza's!!!
    But keep sailing on that Poetic Ocean Hedgewitch,
    you're safe till it docks.

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