I thought I had known love before you, but boy was I wrong. With you this is different. This is true love. Not the ‘love’ where youre infatuated with the idea of someone, but once things get tough one of you leaves. That is not love. This, this is love. The love I know in my heart will never die. The love I know, although it just began, can make it through anything the universe may throw at us. The love that can make even the most terrible of places feel like home, just because you are there. I thought I knew love before, but I’m so glad I was wrong.
m.r.s// you got me to write again my love 10:08 pm
There were nine of us camped at West Down South,
And nine of us crossed to France,
And we grew savvy to each other’s gaits,
When all of a sudden we fouled the fates,
And the only one left of all my mates
Is me, by the grace of Chance.
Poem by a Canadian soldier deployed to France during the First World War published in The Brazier, a Canadian soldiers’ newspaper.
“Maybe it was supposed to end when you moved a town away, more than one stoplight away. Maybe it was supposed to end when you shipped off to California for two months, half across the country. Maybe the end was in the cards for us but shuffled in the deal. Maybe it’s supposed to end when I move to the college town, two months time. Maybe it’s supposed to end when you volunteer your signature, if not already marked. Maybe we’ve already ended, we just can’t feel it yet.”
Head alone shows you in the prodigious act Of digesting what centuries alone digest: The mammoth, lumbering statuary of sorrow, Indissoluble enough to riddle the guts Of a whale with holes and holes, and bleed him white Into salt seas. Hercules had a simple time, Rinsing those stables: a baby’s tears would do it.
But who’d volunteer to gulp the Laocoon, The Dying Gaul and those innumerable pietas Festering on the dim walls of Europe’s chapels, Museums and sepulchers? You.
You Who borrowed feathers for your feet, not lead, Not nails, and a mirror to keep the snaky head In safe perspective, could outface the gorgon-grimace Of human agony: a look to numb Limbs: not a basilisk-blink, nor a double whammy, But all the accumulated last grunts, groans, Cries and heroic couplets concluding the million Enacted tragedies on these blood-soaked boards, And every private twinge a hissing asp To petrify your eyes, and every village Catastrophe a writhing length of cobra, And the decline of empires the thick coil of a vast Anacnoda.
Imagine: the world Fisted to a foetus head, ravined, seamed With suffering from conception upwards, and there You have it in hand. Grit in the eye or a sore Thumb can make anyone wince, but the whole globe Expressive of grief turns gods, like kings, to rocks.
Those rocks, cleft and worn, themselves then grow Ponderous and extend despair on earth’s Dark face.
So might rigor mortis come to stiffen All creation, were it not for a bigger belly Still than swallows joy.
You enter now, Armed with feathers to tickle as well as fly, And a fun-house mirror that turns the tragic muse To the beheaded head of a sullen doll, one braid, A bedraggled snake, hanging limp as the absurd mouth Hangs in its lugubious pout. Where are The classic limbs of stubborn Antigone? The red, royal robes of Phedre? The tear-dazzled Sorrows of Malfi’s gentle duchess? Gone In the deep convulsion gripping your face, muscles And sinews bunched, victorious, as the cosmic Laugh does away with the unstitching, plaguey wounds Of an eternal sufferer.
To you Perseus, the palm, and may you poise And repoise until time stop, the celestial balance Which weighs our madness with our sanity.
Theodore Gericault 1822 “Les Monomanes” (Portraits of the Insane)
1) Man with Delusions of Military Command 2) Portrait of a Child Snatcher 3) Portrait of a Kleptomaniac 4) Portrait of a demented woman or The monomaniac of jalousy 5) The Woman with Gambling Mania
Following the controversy surrounding his The Raft of the Medusa, Gericault fell into a depression. In return for help by psychiatrist Etienne-Jean Georget, Gericault offered him a series of paintings of mental patients, in a time when the scientific world was curious about the minds of the mentally insane.
The 1939 movie, “Gunga Din” is an entertainment classic - the “Raiders
of the Lost Ark” of its time. Starring Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks
Jr., and Victor McLauglin as three British sergeants serving Queen and
Country in India, the movie is loosely based on a poem written by
Rudyard Kipling, a man who wrote a lot about men of action - especially
Kipling was the man who coined one phrase familiar to every soldier: “The NCO is the backbone of the Army.”
Kipling first said it in 1895, in a poem called “The ‘Eathen.” The
poem, written in a Cockney accent, contains 19 stanzas. The famous
phrase about noncommissioned officers comes at the end of stanza 18:
The 'eathen in 'is blindness bows down to wood an’ stone;
'E don’t obey no orders unless they is 'is own.
The 'eathen in 'is blindness must end where 'e began,
But the backbone of the Army is the Non-commissioned Man!
The poem is really a ballad, or story, which emphasizes that
discipline and leadership are the keys to military success. The story
starts with a description of the hassle endured by trainees.
As the trainees see it:
“The cruel-tyrant-sergeants they watch 'im 'arf a year;”
But then the tale turns to discuss how sergeants care for their men:
An’ when it comes to marchin’ he’ll see their socks are right,
An’ when it comes to action 'e shows 'em how to fight.
'E knows their ways of thinkin’ and just what’s in their mind;
'E knows when they are takin’ on an’ when they’ve fell be'ind.
Speaking of the bravery of all soldiers:
An’ now the ugly bullets come peckin’ through the dust,
An’ no one wants to face 'em, but every beggar must;
So, like a man in irons, which isn’t glad to go,
They moves 'em off by companies uncommon stiff an’ slow.
Of all 'is five years’ schoolin’ they don’t remember much
Excep’ the not retreatin’, the step an’ keepin’ touch.
It looks like teachin’ wasted when they duck an’ spread an’ 'op.
But if 'e 'adn’t learned 'em they’d be all about the shop.
'E’s just as sick as they are, 'is 'eart is like to split,
But 'e works 'em, works 'em, works 'em till he feels 'em take the bit;
The rest is 'oldin’ steady till the watchful bugles play,
An’ 'e lifts 'em, lifts 'em, lifts 'em through the charge that wins the day!
The poem ends in a refrain which admonishes:
Keep away from dirtiness - keep away from mess,
Don’t get into doin’ things rather-more-or-less!
Let’s ha’ done with aby-nay, kul, and hawr-ho; [Don’t put things off]
Mind you keep your rifle an’ yourself jus’ so!
One reason Kipling was such a popular writer, and the reason his
stories have become motion picture hits, is that he was a great story
teller. But beyond that, his stories focused on people who lived by
values he thought were important: values such as courage, candour and
commitment to duty.
**Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in the film, Gunga Din (1939)
I crept down the hall on my tiptoes
Praying to God that my footsteps wouldn’t
Be louder than the sound of the door opening
It was my first time and I was more
Than happy to let you talk me out of my comfort zone.
And I waited until I saw you at the end of my driveway
Before even putting my hand on the doorknob
I push open the door and squeeze through the crack,
Sprinting down my driveway to throw myself in your arms
Holding you tight and leaning back to see just what
The Corps had done to you.
My smile widened at your tight haircut and the way
Your muscular arms fit snugly under the fabric of your shirt.
“So?” You asked, holding your arms out, waiting for my opinion
On your new appearance. “How do I look?”
I raised my eyebrows high and the wickedest of smiles
Fell on the hairpin curves of my lips.
Mama, Mama, can’t you see what the Corp has done for me
A while ago I reached my goal of 50/50 poems written (and right now I’m actually at 53!) for my manuscript. Due to recommendations, it was going to originally be centered around love/military/relationships, but it has branched a bit beyond that. I’m not sure yet if I will stick with that center theme or not yet, but I am FINALLY en route to editing and revising them. I have 3 friends who are willing to sit down and critique with me and help me become a better writer, reader, and editor. So once I really crack down on editing and revising, I will have a much better idea of what the focus will be.
This is huge for me. I have always been extremely self-conscious about my writing. They say you’re your own worst critic, right? When I was in school and read in front of people at the student reading my stomach was in my throat and it felt like my insides were exploding, I was so nervous. And I’m incredibly nervous about this. These people have read my work before and helped, but sitting down as a group and really discussing it all is going to be both nerve-racking and relieving for me.
I guess the point is I’m just really excited that I’ve finally forced myself to suck it up and take a (big) step forward. c:
Being a poet is such a quiet thing. You can’t spot a poet in a crowd
It’s not something we wear on the outside. I guess that’s why poets love to explore the inside because that’s where the truth is. That’s where the secrets are.
If you saw me in ACUs and tactical gear, you’d think that I defined myself by the way I cursed. Or the way I held my weapon. Or the way I went about land nav.