The Cat’s Bath

The injustice...

For those of you who own an indoor cat, this picture might look vaguely familiar. At the very least, it hit home for me.

Another poetry assignment has been bestowed upon me this week. This time it is the “structured free verse poem”, or so I understood it to be. Inspired by the above picture, this poem is dedicated to the sorrow of my poor feline companions who occasionally find themselves to be a bit too dirty for their human counterparts to live with. Be sure to pay special attention to the third line of each stanza, then listen to the first part of the video posted below.

—–

The Cat’s Bath

The dripping water from the faucet
Stirs the dark tidings in the cat’s heart:
gloom.

His mournful pleas go unheeded
As he is plunged into the dark streams of
despair,

Pinned like a victim of boiling tortures past,
His dignity swept away, his cries filled with
agony.

He rails against the injustice,
Daggers bared, thirsty for vengeance
on me.

——

The Death Pit

Every once in a while I get these seemingly morbid scenes in my mind and just have to write them down. The sudden explosion of morbid Halloween paraphernalia all around me – in the store, on houses nearby, on Facebook games, etc. – probably hasn’t been helping me much, either. And thus we have my newest poem, “The Death Pit”. Don’t worry, though. There are no ghosts or anything like that involved.

The poem is very symbolic, both mythological and religious. The cursed man is reminiscent of the biblical Cain, noted in his bloodied hand at the end of the poem, which could be both metaphorical (it is a phrase used to describe a murderer) or literal (the cursed man is injured and dying). The boots upon the mint is reminiscent of the mythic Minthe, one of Hades’ extramarital love interests who was turned into the mint plant, which became a traditional funerary herb in Greece.

The poem evokes, at least I hope it does, not only a symbolic interest but two over-all themes as well: (1) be careful what you ask God for because you just might get it, and (2) no matter how sinful you are, even if you are dying as a consequence for the life you’ve led, you will never die entirely alone because your maker, the Savior of the world, is still going to be there with you. He never forgets.

—-

The Death Pit

Down, down in the belly of the pit,
The rain swelled round and, swirling, on it went.
Tip, tap, tip, tap, drops upon the stone,
Down in the pit where the death-weeds now are grown.

Far, far from the lands he called his home,
Cursed was he, now, evermore to roam.
Hopeless, homeless, lost and weary man,
Sick at heart for the place from which he ran.

High, high looked the man up to the sky,
Cursed himself and begged God let him die.
Clip, clap, clip, clap, boots upon the mint,
The rocks gave way and to the pit he went.

Wailing, wailing he begged for mercy then.
He didn’t want to die, now, though lost in night-black sin.
Drip, drop, drip, drop, the tears rolled down his face.
If he had to die, why alone in this dark place?

Hush now, hush now, there came a distant sound:
The soft, quick wing-beat of doves to light the ground.
Singing, fluting their quiet, mournful song,
The sky-souled choir birds comfort him along.

Slipping, slipping, his sight now turned to black.
His bloodied hand fell downward, his clenching fists went slack.
God may give you what you ask, so beware that which you moan,
But even when death takes you, you’ll never die alone.

The Wolf Den

Winter is quickly coming to town, and I have definitely noticed it. Having lived my entire life in Texas, I am naturally accustomed to warm weather. So, whenever winter comes or, for that matter, whenever the temperature drops below seventy, I immediately think of everything dark and cold. Thus, my next submission for my poetry class reflects a very…cold theme.

Inspired by the story of the mass buffalo slaughter in the late 1800’s, this poem deals specifically with the effects the slaughter probably had on the natural world. The important aspects of the actual poem are the strong syllables, (there’s supposed to be four), and the alliteration/assonance of each line. Note: the word “Tala”, found toward the middle of the poem, is a Native American name meaning “wolf”.

Obviously, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone on this one, but I feel that I did very well none-the-less. I have forgotten what type of poem this is so, while I dig through my mountain of papers in search of the answer, I hope you enjoy reading my newest poem, “The Wolf Den”.

—–

The Wolf Den

A haunting howl spears heaven,
Echoing eerily in the winter ether.
The whispering wind wings it away
On pinions pale and perpetually frozen.
A she-wolf shies from shivering shadows,
Her home hewed to the barrow’s heart.
Silvered breath spirals skyward
From her mellow mate’s velvet maw.
Her lanky offspring lope longingly
Over hunting haunts now hopelessly barren.
The scent of smoke lies solemn
Like a grey gown over great trees
Now hewed down as hailed heroes
Of times told in ancient tales.
The strange smell of burnt sulfur
Taunts the timid grey Tala,
The furtive friend of the forest folk.
It is the hated hint of hell’s thunder,
That threw her thin yearling
To the sallow, snow-strewn field
Where bellowing buffalo once bade
The famished wolves to find feasting.
But now the fields find frozen
Corpses of the cruel men’s craft,
Strewn under solemn snow,
Barrows for bones and bleeding hearts,
Priceless pawns of people’s hate.

The Devil’s Hunting You

Our assignment for poetry class, due this week, was to write a ballad. I have since been inspired. I now have a new mission: to turn all my family’s legends and exciting stories into ballads. This one, “The Devil’s Hunting You”, is the true story of my great-great grandfather.

—–

The Devil’s Hunting You

Now sit ye down and listen close
The story I will tell.
A mystery, yes, it’s always been
Hark now and listen well.

Sixteen years, a man he was,
When all that he could lack
Was love, the life one cannot have
While on the railroad track.

The foreman made his life a hell
Like none a man can stand.
He took in hand the blood-bare pick
And struck him to the sand.

Hey, please tell, oh wishing well,
What can a young man do?
What can you say at end of day?
The Devil’s hunting you.

Great fear burned in the young man’s breast
When once the deed was done.
With terror of the kinsmen’s wrath
He set out on the run.

But in his dreams he still would see
The seven brothers stare,
Bitterly snarling their words of wrath,
“Revenge with meet you there.”

Hey, please tell, oh wishing well,
What can a young man do?
What can you say at end of day?
The Devil’s hunting you.

He ran on till the break of day.
He ran until the noon.
He ran on till the west’ring sun
Gave way unto the moon.

Years he spent till lovely eyes
From the road did sway
The hunted man upon the lane
Who’d run so far away.

And by her hand, this snow-white dove
She led him where at last
A sinful soul can find his peace
And guilt that he might cast.

“I’ll take my chance,” he told the dove.
“To marry and cherish you.
And if at last they find me here
I’ll stay and take my due.”

Hey, please tell, oh wishing well,
What can a young man do?
What can you say at end of day?
The Devil’s hunting you.

For many a year the trav’ling man
Lived in the country fair,
And with his wife and darling sons
He found no trouble there.

But then it was that one fine eve,
Returning from shopping day,
They met a man upon the road
Who followed them all the way.

A mystery he was, this strange, dark man,
Mounted upon a steed
Whose coat did shine a dark jet black,
That traveled without speed.

And so he sent his family ahead,
This man with blood-stained hand,
Prepared to face the mysterious shade;
Mid-road, he took his stand.

Hey, please tell, oh wishing well,
What can a young man do?
What can you say at end of day?
The Devil’s hunting you.

Nobody knows just what took place
There in the empty lane,
But soon my great-great grandfather
Had come back home again.

Never he broke, no word he spoke
About the jet black steed,
Nor did he say about that day
Just who the man might be.

Hey, please tell, oh wishing well,
What did that young man do?
What did he say at end of day?
No Devil is hunting you.