Phantasm

What cloistered walls ruminate upon
stirring phantasms where shadows abound
impaled upon pitchforks wrought
by their own sentimental celebrations.

So one shadow lingers restlessly
beyond a lichen-covered gate,
a dewy-eyed dreamer planning her escape
lured by a letter found in a copse.

“Nothing bad but what you make of it,
nothing good but what you sing of it;
from your secluded rooms now venture,
meet me beyond the trees and by water.”

Picking it up, she had clutched the letter
fondly to her breast as if from a lover
that in her mind’s eye she could clearly see,
a handsome Lothario, her knight in armor.

Photo by Timur Kozmenko from Pexels (for Sadje’s #WDYS)

So she skipped lightly down the dark lane
spinning castles-in-air to sounds melodious
and as she emerged from beyond the trees
her Lothario she spied in his dungarees.

artbyrandy at Morguefile (Fandango’s #FFC 100)

From reality she spun about and fled
back to her haunt, her daydreams to recover
and in her hands lay flowers he proffered
a lesson learned from a fanciful endeavor.

Linda's #JusJoJan "letter"; Di's #TTC "planning, sing, bad";
Kristian's #WOTD "picking"; Michelle's #WritingPrompts, "sentimental celebrations" 

The Monk’s Vision

The Monk’s Vision

Aloft a brothel’s barge
with two beside
liquid lines processional,
embowered golden scents,
stood a painted courtesan
as in a vision the monk saw.

His chanting fingers trembled,
as if her subdued scarlet figure
were of a bride, pink as dew,
whom he had left to follow
the path of his enlightenment.

Fearful he took a closer look:
the vision turned, her gaze obsidian
and chill his blood like the Yangtze ran
his visage grayed like the Changjiang Plain
where she for him in dishonor won
his pellucid peace with her forsaken cries.

He made as to rise, prostrate to sink, reverent,
but she her glance of saber-scorn withdrew
and looking behind at her companion true
whispered, “There sits a saintly hooded fool!”


For dVerse’s MTB, synesthesia is the name of the game and I thought I’d add a bit of ekphrasis to it to spin an operatic tale. Be sure the check out Mr. Linky for more offerings in this vein.

Nightmare Ballad

Today’s prompt on dVerse Poetics, “You Want It Darker,” is courtesy of Lucy who asks us to “write a poem about the transient notion of life to death, or topics germane to the theme. With a twist.” The twist is to write a ballad that “will/can include dark, gothic themes and imagery . . . . It’s October and we’re looking for some dark poetry, publies.”

I’ve taken as inspiration a painting by Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński who once said, “What matters is what appears in your soul, not what your eyes see and what you can name.”

Zdzisław Beksiński (1929-2005)

Nightmare Ballad

between October’s mists
my ring on your finger
your fingers in her hair
my heart consumes fire

wonders casual causality
between your white-rowed teeth
her crimson, wet-bladed lips
crimes hallowed like wine

when the moon fell from the sky
on a common day of sepia-tints
the ground bled red
nightmares rode split tree trunks

into a necropolis of fears
where decayed hope
breeds madness
the food of the gods

where desires feign love
where mirrors that were eyes
open silently
bend inward
and scream

till I wake

For more on Zdzisław Beksiński's paintings, click here.
Click Mr. Linky for more poems and join in.