Category Archives: Poem

Thus I Live, Alone and Forever

“till human voices wake us and we drown”
(T.S. Eliot-The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)

Thus I live-alone and forever
                     Sha’Tara

Am I alone?
as alone as I feel
swimming an alien sea
full of motion and noise –
restless, meaningless
(to such as I)

(and the alien thought
                said:)

Well, yes.
One,
by definition
can be but alone.

In the sea
I hear people:
they come and they go – and
it doesn’t seem to matter where,
nor even why:
it’s all the same,
one day follows another.

Some die:
more each day
become silent –
their emptiness passes,
brief, phantasmal and
nothing more:

I cannot follow them,
cannot touch them.
They are gone.
They never come back,
only their pain remains. 

Eons have I been;
ages in this place,
prisoner of fate,
a curiosity
to my own mind.  

I do not know who I am,
only that I am
Some-here.
Wherever this is.

“Age brings wisdom”
the living say.
I have age
(more than many:
age is not counted in years
but from awareness)

I do not claim to be wise:
to what could I compare
myself?
Who can truthfully make
such a claim?

There is knowledge,
the knowing of things,
of data or of memories;
impressions, experiences,
feelings.

I discover myself here,
again and again and again
and though I am not hiding
I remain
Alone  

Always
(and it would seem)
Forever.

 

Thus I keep
what could pass as sanity:

From somewhen I remember
a sun shining.
Above clouds, it shines
and night is but illusion:
the shadow of a planet
and only the sun’s light
can make such a shadow.

(Thus I remind myself,
thus think and thus persist.)

Perspective on Time

a perhaps poem,  by   ~burning woman~  

Perspective on Time

Are you the Goddess? asks the child in innocence
from a world in quasi-ruins — Are you the one
they say, who’s to return and change things?

The vision, of ageless mien and beauty, smiled
Never fear, child, I am no Goddess
though in my foolishness and ignorance
such did I believe myself to be once.

I do not understand
spoke she, innocent eyes taking in the majesty of the being.

The simplest things are often the most difficult to understand
but I will explain and you will understand me.

Once upon a time in time lived a truly beautiful young woman
and through eternity rode a young God who offered his hand
and a promise to make her his queen in time.

She took it, and eagerly, so proud was she of her beauty
and together they rode through the flowing sands of time
across the universe of time, to its very edge.

She saw the horizon there and asked him what lay beyond.
Beyond what? he replied, confused, even irritated.
There is no beyond – we’re at the edge of time,
at the edge of the realm of the Gods.
I am of the Time Lords and nothing — absolutely nothing
exists beyond our realm. And proud he was,
and so sure of his claim upon the All That Is.

He turned and they rode on
and though the beauty and excitement she experienced
were almost too much for her heart to bear
in her dreams she kept seeing the edge of time
and beyond, the shimmering horizon. And she thought
she could hear music calling her to put words in it.

I want to return to the edge of the worlds
she said one day, suppressing a yawn,
for I am getting bored with this unchanging landscape,
this museum to time you call a throne.

It is no longer permitted, said he,
for they heard of your longing and they said it was evil.
Evil, you hear?
and he raised his voice to her,
but it was he who was filled with fear, not she.

In the dark of night she arose, fled her comfortable dungeon.
Taking her black stallion she rode madly under the stars
out of the Gods’ enchantments and across the universe.
Finally, exhausted, starving, and utterly alone
she dismounted, sent the spent horse back, and stared:

For there it was once more: the magic shimmer,
the dancing line beyond the edge of time
calling her into a new dream.

I jumped, child. I jumped into an ocean without time
and I swam madly at first until I tired and stopped struggling
then it supported me and I walked as upon a rolling carpet,
then I stopped walking and it floated me and I flew,
a star among stars and there was no longer any line — anywhere.
That’s when I saw it for myself,
the gift of freedom stolen by the Time Lords:
infinity.

How come then you are no longer a Goddess?
the child asked perplexed, if you are so strong?

Ah child, let me tell you a terrible secret:

the Gods and their Goddesses are slaves —
slaves of time and bound to it forever —
for they made it, and it must begin and it must end.
So within its walls they declared themselves the Eternals:
only in frozen eternity can Gods and Goddesses exist.

But I, in seeking beyond the edge of light;
in probing the shimmering darkness of the unknowable
found my power and earned my freedom
and you, in holding to your innocence
can hear me, and thus if you so choose
may you reject the hand of the Time Lord when he rides by,
asks for your hand and offers you
a seat of honor upon his throne of time where you will become
as a priceless work of art in a gallery
where such works are as common as grains of sand
upon an ocean’s shore.

And just as asleep.

Beware, human child, of what is easily offered, given;
beware even more of easy acceptance.
For such gifts have to them a very dark side.
Some day, after the Time Lords have wooed you;
if you refuse their token love,
if you remain steadfast to this vision
I shall pass by again,
not to offer you my hand for you to follow,
but to be a companion, should you be wanting one.

And no one can know what songs we shall sing,
there, anywhere, everywhere
and forever as we plunge laughing

into the unmade.

Tonight I Shall let my Heart Speak


(a poem… by Sha’Tara, testing my own darkness)

Tonight, I said to myself,
When darkness has fallen
I shall let my heart speak.

(A moment of madness
or sudden bravery?)

I do not trust the language of the heart,
The language of emotion, of the past.
I do not trust the memories it recalls
How can I ever prove if they be true or false?

Then my heart speaks:
Distorted images of forgotten memories
Swamp my tired mind.

(I regret, too late, opening that door
to an old past disowned long ago.)

Cold dead things arise from foggy depths,
Feelings, thunderclouds beyond the hills:

They say, this is you, oh yes, this is you!
You made us, we are your past and we are!

Oh heart! Accuser, torturer,
Can you not forget?
Can you not leave me be?

(Have you ever heard its laughter,
your own heart mocking you?)

You should not have opened this Pandora’s box,
All alone in the night, in your own personal darkness.
You cannot put us back in there now, however you try,
We’ll hover forever about your worthless mind.

Will morning dissipate these Djinns?

 

If Only I still had Faith!

A poem by Sha’Tara

If only I still had my childhood faith!
If only I could still believe as I did then!
I would storm the gates of heaven,
I would be a Greta Thunberg
Sitting day after day on the cold stones
Watching souls come and go; praying,
Wishing, hoping, thinking, dreaming!

Then after forty days and nights
I would stand in my hunger and thirst,
In my destitution and my unbearable pain,
Turn to those cold pearly gates
And I would yell for God, yell and scream!
I would call Him, curse Him, revile Him
With every vile name under the heavens,
Throwing myself against the bars
Leaving trails of blood dripping down
Upon those hard, cold stones.

If only I still had my faith, if only!

Man’s Last War

 – a poem by Sha’Tara

The world hasn’t changed much
Since so long ago I was born, when I happened
For no reason it would seem, without hubris.
I learned to talk, walk, listen and observe
With the sense it all had to mean something
In the end.

The world was cruel to me when I was young
Though I didn’t know that then, it’s what is
To a child life is the norm, the form.
There was much hardship, harshness
Little tenderness, and it seemed dangerous.
One could get used to tenderness
And the world I knew hated it with passion
unchecked.

Life is cruel they said without apology,
Why not, they’d just survived a world war
Knowing naught but blood and losses.
I thought, yes, I have to be bold, and tough,
I too must survive, there’ll be another war
And I must know how to fight it; must know
My enemy before he knows that I know
I will beat him.

No, the world hasn’t changed, not at all.
The same people lie, cheat, rob and rule,
The same people suffer and die, their blood
Lubricates the scythe blindly sweeping
To leave fodder and dying stubble in its wake
To be ploughed.

Yet something did change, has changed:
A new World War is being fought
No longer man against man but once again
Man against nature-she fighting her protracted way
She can never lose. Man in his hubris
Still believes he can win this war and it will be
As he never, ever, won any of his other wars.
Earth withdraws her bounty.

Man’s motto remains against, never with
Rashly, brashly he spreads his nets,
His barb wire, his jet trails, his towers,
His stacks, his chimneys, his warehouses
His poisons, his noise, his armaments and bombs,
All to be measured in corporate profits for
The rich to get richer.

Civilization teeters on the brink of extinction,
The skies are deeply troubled, changing colours,
Glaciers melt, calve, fires burn, smoke rises:
Death, death, death! Booms and cackles
The Lord of Greed, the God of man, terminator
Soulless and heartless

The last man stands on his funeral pyre
Proudly made of planet Earth’s skin
Sure he’d won his very last war against life.
*********
He raises his fist to the soured heavens,
Claiming his last divine imperative thinking
I have destroyed the environment, I have killed
All that sustained life. I leave my boot print
On a weak, worthless and dying world, hah!
“I Am become Death, the Destroyer of Earth,
I will be remembered, halleluiah!”

A Man, a Survivor

[a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

A strange old man, a very ancient figure,
that’s who he was,
who he is,
who he will always be
.

A man of many titles in as many times:
poor Bill, mendicant, beggar and tramp.

At times,
panhandler, good-for-nothing loafer,
deadbeat, vagrant, hobo, gypsy
and in more recent times,
a welfare bum.

Sometimes this strange man
whom everybody sees, nobody knows
comes back from the sea,
sometimes from the wars or prison:
no one comes to the quay
or the bus stop to meet him

and to hug him.

Alone,
carrying a damp and dirty canvas bag
he limps down some dark alley
to find a familiar den,
a smoke-filled tavern, an inn.
a halfway house.

For a few coins, a room under a stairway
a garret with drafty shutters,
a condemned house

become his home ’til the angels come
or the demons, and who can ever tell?

Sometimes he just gets tired of jostling
for position and wealth – leaves one night
never to come back. Why for?

His wife re-married, does he care?
Who’s to know? Not even he
wandering the drafty city streets
with his new title and essential wealth.

He’s a successful miner now,
mining garbage for treasures
haphazardly arranged in a rusty shopping cart
(of front squeaky bent wheel
from an accidental encounter with a taxi)
until deposited for safekeeping.

They call him homeless now, the
politically correct term
for this strange old man who never did fit,
who in his youth had a strong back
to break up the coal, carry gear and pack a rifle
walk through flooded paddies
and burn babies in their mothers’ arms
inside grass huts in a land so far away.

He knew well enough then why he did this:
for God and country and freedom
they’d told him so and he believed.

He came back from the killing fields
to log the dark green hills
until the trees were gone.
He cleaned out curbs and culverts
for a pittance in part time jobs
to bolster free enterprise and capitalism.

“It’s all good” they said with a leer
and what could he do but believe?

He doesn’t remember much of that
and really, what does it matter now?
the rich got richer and died,
the dead remain dead
and he’s got his place
behind four loosened cement bricks
under a forgotten embankment
where he hides his “Precious”
and keeps a mouldy sleeping bag,
drinks, sleeps and feeds his nightmares
of bullets and blood,
of flames that roast flesh,
of screams of pain and terror:
the voices of the dead
his last remaining friends.

It’s time to work the streets again,
push the rusty cart with the squeaky bent wheel
until the angels return again
or the demons, and who’s to know?

He’ll be there again tomorrow
and the day after that
and even after the Great Day
there he will be in his dirty tattered rags
his long stringy hair blowing wildly
in the cold, cold winds that haunt
the endless dirty, drafty, empty city streets

What will his title be
next time I pass him by trying not to notice?

I think I already know this, in my heart
as I look around and ponder this place:
he’ll be the survivor.

The Question never Asked

[a poem by   ~burning woman~   written by Sha’Tara]

Is there meaning to believe in?
I’ve done all I could to absorb this world,
to understand people, no, not just
people, but this world’s life.
I’ve seen and felt its endless struggle,
its romance with beauty and with horror.
So much drama but never an answer
to the eternal question.
You may ask, ask, and ask; you may
shed tears of raw pain, of sorrow, of anger
and the world is awash in mute noise.

I’ve seen cats fight and children die in war,
heard and read the boasting, seen the posturing
over beads, trinkets and ticker-tape money
and walked streets I thought were painted red
but it was always the blood of innocents,
no thin red line but a widening swath
leading to a pile of skulls and scattered bones.

Rats ran away as I came near as if I’d been more
than a nameless ghost in an endless dream.

I can see, I can hear, I can smell and
I can feel. As if that could ever be enough!
I have observed, weighed my thoughts
to realize they were too heavy to bear;
looked in a mirror to watch myself age
as in a time-lapse scene
from angst of birth to relief of death,
its in-betweens sprinkled with flashes of joy
stolen from the ever-dying landscape.

And all I ever wanted was to ask
the one question never asked before;
the one question no one ever dared ask
or no one ever thought to ask: the
one that answers all others – how
presumptuous to believe I could
formulate such a thing, that I
could discover the meaning of life or,
if you will: the meaning of meaning.