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The Seeking Winds of May

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Down the winding lane I walk
hid by hedge and under bough
that skirl their leafy sounds anyhow
in the seeking winds of May.

Going nowhere with a purpose
talking secrets with my feet
marching to the cyclic beat
of natural worlds at play.

Pausing at the path smooth head
over which the white clouds scud
stopping, watching cows chew cud
hear the dark horse neigh.

Ambition-less, I am asexual
just conscious of my nose
down I go where the river flows
to greet the end of day.

Not wanting less than everything
I sit rod-less on its banks
eyeing the silver fishes’ shanks
oblivious of time.

Then someone overshadows me
Bow in hand, feminine and fey
and about me She draws a line
in the seeking winds of May.

©TonyAshenden

Love’s Weaver

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The weaver bending arms of twisted knotted yarns
serves the loom and the loom a pattern makes.
And bent upon the stool, his eyes direct upon the thread
between weft and weave, his vision skips.

The shuttle smooth moves through the shed
to the clack of treadles pressed;
feeling more than seeing, every bone reactive
To the rise and falling weaving shafts.

The sun arcs through the window overhead
dying unnoticed in the west and in the cool
unseen light of night, clouds arise to hide the stars.
Bobbins twirling empty are replaced.

He labours not for kudos or for rates.
As every yarn entwines it speaks;
heddle and treadle selecting straighten out
and the loom alive a drumming music makes.

Star and sun dance light within his bobbing head;
the weavers’ needs are met, and the soul unfurls.
Love that has a thousand-silent sounding ee’s
Spins on to weave for all eternity.

©TonyAshenden

Writ of Habeas – Corpus

[A writ to a jailer to produce a prisoner in person and to state the reasons of detention]

Soldier do your eyes have the lights that flash
out of tanks in the face of the snub
of a terrorist gun and in they shine
when his message of soft lead erupts
from the lips of a shimmering barrel?

Do they reanimate a frantic heart
sick of your Karma, loosen the bowel;
trigger the playback of loving regrets
before the balance of blood is lost,
spilling to the ground with slivers of lead?

Or soldier, did you die the night before
in Believer’s Heaven, locked in the crotch
of a dark haired Houri, filched so you thought
from underneath Mohammed’s slippered feet;
virgin and wanting your dissolution?

She perhaps, taking sap that trees the nerves
before the five – first? Aids to earth exchanged
for the bright sight of a plum on the breast!
No doubt your bloodshot eyes and rising smoke
wring a coupling promise from that climax.

You’re a crime soldier, you embarrassed
the breach – you caused it release
in black chamber the redness that wept
the no time that takes time, sputter of pain;
unrepentant, the lover at the head.

Soldier, the lipstick of blood is smudging
your collar, face twists like a child’s’ first clay.
Can you now see who judged and passed sentence
on your innocence? Your slide is the breast.
Soft lead, the mat of your down flowing river.

© TonyAshenden

The Rose that beggars Fantasy

Listen as you read!

My love what cheerless world asleep
in towered keeps and half-lit streets,
waking dream on sullen skies ridged grey;
Lay waste land and cause the grey weird sea
chill the heart of you and me?

What world awoken from dreams
of meadows, water mills, and painter’s scenes,
would tolerate the angered sky, the leaf shorn tree;
the frost that blights the first-born bud, above
the half-closed mist born eye of love?

Oath of God would life not be worth living
were love not rooted deep in giving?
Selfish worlds are drunk, dreaming fantasy;
such men are never found in sight
crossing borders of the Christos Light.

Soft rose whose petal fusing heart will give
attiring the sweetest heart to ever live,
deliverance in the dawning day will come
refusing the permanence of death, and arise
to prove the cause of all the living never dies.

©TonyAshenden

The Ribbon of a Madman’s’ Weave

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Listen as you read!

Granite Sliver
Arrowhead I see you spurned
by Pigmy Bowman
yet you suffice and scathe
the greening mortar…
Mind that delibly records
attempt
my show and outward personality.

This ribbon of a madman’s weave
is the tape of all my saying
small
border thin and compass hand
the clutch and stay
Fingers….
Placing granite slabs to face
their palms of tungsten flesh
toward the shortened eye.

Yet soon
the tongue of this my wise and scrawl
became as fever pitch
and heavy as the hammer held
halfway in arc
deliberating
as the mother would pressing
down urging fingers
in the lock of Isis eye
to the agony that is mother
And now is mine.

Is birth!

The warder
had me carry seven days in labour
waiting…
before the fertilising seed became
and his eye perceived
the ribbon of wise inflicted
with my word and writing.

He stared
examined even to the letter head
lost in mergence to the polished stone
turning, smiled….
Father dimly smiling through the stain of glass
in the
you can never tell
about face….

He left and straight informed the governor.

The hammer struck
the child full born umbilical cut
began to cry….
My eyes were full of faces
demanding
outstretching palms of tungsten flesh.
Their right they screamed
is feeding first
why was I no askance waiting?

They spread upon my word
the slime
and their cement that matched the slab
and then..
Fingers turned upon themselves
they commanded-
called my clutching hand to lease
my living Scribe
this chipping sliver of their granite.

They took.

…. that morning after
before the ashen face
nether time of wanting day whilst less the night
there stood eight mourners
neath the sky bowl blooding red
in their caps of prison grey
and the circle turning tribute
was the sower spreading quicklime.

And in my cell

There stood another
waiting for the shining mortar’s greening mould.

© TonyAshenden

The Creator’s Confession


There are some words in this poem you may not be familiar with. In order of mention they are as follows:
Hur: Is the name given to the inner core of planet Earth -the primary source of matter and mind root from which Earth developed.
Aster: Is the name of a large planet in the Milky Way which exploded and gave birth to our solar system.
Fohat: Is the animating principle electrifying every atom into life. During the process of manifestation, it is the cosmic energy which produces differentiation of primordial cosmic matter to form the different forms of consciousness, therefore Fohat is the link between Spirit and Matter, subject and object.
The twice & thrice born person addressed by the creator in the last stanza should not be regarded as a pattern of reincarnation, rather they describe a process of soul reformation. Twice-born is earthly reformation, Thrice-born is heavenly reformation. This kind of reformation can otherwise be defined as ‘the camel able to pass through the eye of a needle’.
 
And so to the poem….
You can listen to it here….

The story I am about to tell began
before the first ammonite hardened its shell,
before your blackheart mountains were rivers of red
and swims of clear water had not yet fallen as rain;
before even Hur was cast into Hell
and the soporific dust that held prison his might
had yet to be formed from the celestial storm
of Aster’s last embrace with the stars.

Where Love was lost….

Love is forever becoming; the moment of life
poised unto death, born in the heart
existing apart from all that you know.
Priceless, unreachable, mysterious Self.

The rarest of jewels….

The story I tell begins before tongue,
before the screech, the roar, and the hissing
of elements embattled to make of themselves
creational worlds and Fohat had yet to cause
It has no meaning to you twice-born
until I caused life to know death.
After the cooling Earth formed crust
and the sulphurous clouds ceased their circle,
there I took lung from the water and filled it with air.
After cooling, and the first trees had breathing leaves

souls were born….

Light encrusted with matter in hope of Salvation,
Fish, fowl, amphibia, and latterly beasts.
Yes, they were soul born; amoebic hopes
that by tempest, fire, and the heat of ice
evolved by birth and death in every season.
Taking as when taking must; leaving be,
not having when having was no need.
Yes, I was well pleased with progress
however, success has its own undoing,
Light separated from the Seeds of Soul.
I should have known, identifying Myself
with creation -the cause is of Me
and the cause is unrepentant.

The cause became two -two became three
Mind became Matter, Matter became mind….

And so, twice-born, soon to be thrice,
many times born of my wheel forming heaven
and sired by the captive imprisoned Hur,
there’s no end to your becoming until I cease.
Light and Matter will then achieve peace.

   
    
 

On a Picture of a Nude Reclining

Listen as you read!

The sheen of folded draperies
warm resplendent curves of your bronze
bright body. Your smile an ever
present remembrance, suggest
joyous eyes that never weep.

Through the meagre apertures
of half-hid windows, blue skies burst
and grow their light upon your breast,
the stilled image grasping at my loins
evoking half-lit fantasies

never dreamt of in your head.
Your strange unnatural silence
rather than offending, draws me
trance-like to your wood framed
world. My staring -your silence

causes the consciousness I feel
to achieve in this encounter
the bewilderment of knowing;
you in the painting, the self twice known
I in my shell. a pearl-like stone.

© TonyAshenden

The Water Mill

Listen as you read -for your enjoyment!

Many times have I sat by the water mill
in the damp grass and in the dry
feasting my body upon the wheel splash
slaking my senses;
worshipping buttercup crowns and primrose groves,
my mind free to landscape and sky dream
knowing that havens are hard to come by;
impermanent places.

Coming here when the seasons are fair
and the beech woods sing with bird talk;
caressing my ear with their melodies
giving soul reformation.
Observing the change of winter scarred trees,
knuckles of soft bark renewing torn limbs
the buds of new boughs appearing;
without proclamation.

It saddens me to see the mill is deserted
the paddles seized by chickweed and gorse,
the stream gentle and ebbing away
through watercress meadows.
The miller who might have been head of the stream,
Keeper and Dam Builder has
powdered his hand between the mill stones,
the last yield of flour having long since departed.

The curious have bought the tack of cob horses,
Coriander grows in the cart ruts.
The gate is unhinged
and the mill purse empty of men.
I see green lichen eat the smooth stone
oak lintels sag over moss covered frames,
and I am entranced by design,
composition and colour –and wonder

what plants have rooted and grown
in this silent omnivorous world,
that will seize on my house, empty my purse
and feed on my bone?

© TonyAshenden

The Soma Samaritan

Listen as you read -or just listen!

Last night my instant mind
wraith like uncoiled its luminous head
and like all good mysteries
left my body in bed, warm to the skin of my spouse.
Unsuspected left the house, passing
through walls and other substantial things
seeking no byway to celebrate freedom,
vision only for the ubiquitous presence
of a troubled friend.

Finding the dark and humourless shell
where colours are pale, and sounds deep
as if heard from a well.
In this house where the cry escaped
and reached my ears beside my mate
I see a soul in hibernation,
a maelstrom of movement
in which may be seen pain
of intruders eschewing the Spirit,
a legion of wants suppressing need
the ache of a body seeking to balance
in favour of peace, no matter the price
or the length of the lease.

I am radiation a golden cascade
a silver-winged creature, sensing
soothing the troubled dark shade.
Cleansing, creating, and fulfilling a vow
commanding the sepulchre revive its undead.
Holding the breathing unconscious sweet soul
until life brightness stems from the spine
and flows from the head.

United therein, harmony prevails
purpose and will rebirthed
she is no longer alone.
I dissolve from her presence
and seek my own bed.
Returning to self through sickness and doubt
lying awake, afraid and diminished
a frantic heart upon a humourless bed,
until music from the night shores
comforts my head
and I sleep the sleep of one who is dead.

© TonyAshenden

Senilità

Feel free to just listen, or listen as you read!

Senilità
(As a man grows older…)

Cold turn my putty blue
and let me leave
my sorry self-appointed imposition
state of Senilità,
this shadow of my footstep fear
Frankenstein of my conceit
of whom I aped in sweeter note
as the satire sword
when I was prentice of this night.

Tis the bruise upon my apple fallen,
Brutus to my Caesar,
the malformed child made conscious.
And by my expertise
I have the life-long-game of chess
made stalemate
whose colours now reveal
no substance fiction
belly laughing shallow truth.

All my fear is Senilità
a thousand-tickling tales of doubt
the smallest part of virile statement
easy come by.
The battery of baseless facts that made me man
are the powdered leaves
of a selfish summer.
Now the water of my close
is mixed
the question of you do after death
has burnt this mess of pottage
and shaped me as the begging bowl.

Senilità
You shame of all the Y man sought
accepted scar
and the weeping priest
mortal made immortal bishop,
Pharisee of double mean-less vision.
To the monastery of children
there confess with ease
nonchalance of being server
to the weeping priest
of being Senilità.

Here by the speak of unripe fact
sick the swelling puffing yeast
the husk of all your learning
home to Babel
and name it
grandeur of the Pharisee.
Let your toothless cringing face
be the symbolled skull
cross-boned school of level thought
and one horizon.

No -never
I cannot as tears
as negative I am
the six-aged one life yes man
cry wolf again,
charge the greater part of me
to war.
I be the autumn of the shortest summer
making where to start
my cyclopaedic book of error.

© TonyAshenden

A day in the night of the Walking Sleeper

………….. In the no start never finish real of the spark

Listen as you read!

Ah! The pain
the wanting all over dilemma
sober reach out
sweet grape of confusion;
a duchess spread out on her savage’s bed
willing her blood
red to the lips of her lackeying male,
neither caring the speech or the stain of his whip.
Taking the seventh
of her seconding breaths at the weep of secretion.

Comes now the concentration;
the apex of arc,
the long-drawn laugh of the physical man.
The peak,
then the plummet of an up thrown stone;
extinguishing fire.
Then the cold
Darkness of Earth
and then the winter of a why gloom face
frosting the smile of devil cares not
into peaceful beginning;
a child in the low of the arc,
weak murmur of problem.

And yet in end it begins;
in the no start never finish real of the spark,
in the still heard gasp
mute echo of Psi fleeing the white.
In the good die young
the crude soldier damning
as with the devils and the un-vowed nun;
the same design.
All blind fisherman in the day-night
casting pearls
from the corporeal banks of unsettled sublimity.

It manifests
as harpoon with a white heat line;
the strongest plus and minus seed.
All charge of the instrument cannon,
Time Traveller
to the state of perpetual climax; there
as the spear of the deepest descent.
The finder receiving
the arranged and irrevocable choice
the twin of sex;
Satan-Father coalesced.

I am the smoke of a Mannikin burnt

Free. Free at last

Cool waters
imprisoned mass of colouration
say fie now-
sediment, syringe of my Elixir.
Fie! Laugh you now
the life is drawn
to drinking state of Christos?

I left your immobility
with the sigh
of my becoming.

Whose reason called
the crack of dawn my death?

Shadow barren of my love
keep the silver of that
State spend it
on the flowers of your grave.

Creature
after calling Solomon to testify himself
keep your hammer
inside your sarcophagus.

I remember roses
imitations of the fire reflecting
on the cheeks
my last winter’s face
crinkled with the onward coming
Retribution-

that my lazy legs were faults
of not attending church
saw my Book
the dog-eared blotted one

but even then

the coin of sailors slang would gutter
sing the spit of my petulance
leave me
shrunk a little more to child.

And the roses I remember
from the fire
were the devil shadows beckoning.

Now I see you muted shell
as the illusion of my living

Lie mirror!

I, the silver of your backing
leave you transparent.
You cannot fix my soul
or image me in time.

Bubble -you have burst
Fie! Fie!
I am in sight of no horizons
I am the Minister

and I

Am the Ministry.

The Price of Fish

Pray hard for the men who hunt the deep sea
in their cockleshell boats out of Clyde
who scour the cold swims of Poseidon’s green head
filling iced holds with dead alive-eyes.
Where the North wind screech is God’s
angered ethereal Hand, and fear
is the shake of worn riveted plate and
Love is a church locked up on the land.

Elemental wind do not keep them from shore
They who dare open the water blue door.

Pray strong for men who haunt the cod swims
Hymned only by the white garish moon
and wind-snatched callings of seabirds scorning.
Skins scolded eyes shrunk in the Arctic blast
laughing as the pawls judder and grind
heaving the trawl, engine complaining.
Who love the deep sea with a savagery
spit, swear, and piss in the lee.

Elemental wind do not rage for their souls
their fathers have paid the fish stealing tolls.

Pray love for the sons of water and blood,
patient for the calm, eager to net
and ever ready to chase the white fish
over mountainous crests, under
the pale dark bruising wet sky.
Casting net to web Gods’ octopus head
clawing the fish from his shivering throat,
their lives threatened by the weight of the prize.

Elemental wind, do not anger the sea
Man and his mistress must ever be free.

©TonyAshenden

Ghosts in Breakers Creek

In muddy mouthed Portsea Creek unwatched
forgotten ships lay beached and breathless,
dashed and smashed cut and bled, weather
beaten, picked and broken by the dockside
stooping crane’s bill collecting scrap.

Their final journeys over shallows dragging
barnacle crusted bottoms over shingle
groaned past the red flagged gunnery range,
pulled and pushed by impatient tugs, aware
falling tides and sucking mud claim victims.

Robbed by landsman, written out of registers,
church empty bridges balefully glistening glare
untold stories of once purposed lives, men
who swore repeatedly like lovers on heat,
trumpeting the union of engine and steel.

Now their ghosts can be heard in the small
of the night blowing base horns, heaving
anchors, turning their screws seaward,
reliving purpose, blending rusted hulls
to the sea and the never ending sky.

© TonyAshenden

Poetry is addictive

If you are not already aware -be warned, writing poetry is addictive. You may like me have other writing skills prose-like, non-fiction, fiction, or faction. If you get hooked on writing a poem, in your heart of hearts you know you cannot finish it until it’s a work of art -that means every word must count, they must be the right words, and the poem must be more than words alone convey.

It’s addictive because we can never be sure we have achieved, not only birthed but given long life to the piece.

In many years of ‘garret writing’ there’s one difficult lesson which must be learnt, that is -don’t file it in the pending tray, publish the damn thing, because art is an evolutionary process. Pieces do not mature into art if they remain stuck in your mind. The blank sheet of paper is only terrifying when the mind is still hosting ‘unfinished’ poems.

After you post it’s gone from your mind -later perhaps you might unpublish and rework. My experience tells me the piece gets better, and ….. and ….. it might also be unworkable -possibly a work of art!

A Stumble in Time

Pickle-black stream a-tumble under moon

Spume spatters night, the pickle-black stream
a-tumble under moon, is whispering loud
between lichen-stained stones, hissing
about ruin of Man as it hastens to sea.

The clouds uncover a star mantled crescent
illuminate a petrified gauntlet of stone
pickle brown scars etched in yellow
shape fingers grasping an invisible hilt.

All about my better body shadows dance
thick-like bracken wracked by wind.
I hear clattering hooves, sprays of flint shard
see a thundering mass of muscle and blood,

flanks creaming red, a horse and rider
a force on the run. I can feel the hurt
labouring breath know her last service
hastens in the dark to this musical place.

Astride her saddled brave heart,
helmeted, metal shorn, steel spurred,
a wounded warrior is breathing his last
eyes bright and fixed on safe haven.

A mortal wound bloodies the cross
of his surcoat, a lance haft splintered
is sunk deep to the thigh; yet he rides
as if ready to battle the Christian foe.

Left hand fists the bridle, the right
grips a sword pointing to earth.
It is the horse that gives way
her heart bursts as she stumbles,

the stream too wide too deep too dark.
The rider thrown lies broken on horns
of veined rock, eyes fixed to the sky,
his cape now a shred of dark shadow.

The last laboured breath of his charger
is taken by the stream and moves on
reborn in the song sung by the stones
eternally free of saddle and rider.

Stillness has swallowed the warrior’s fire
high flies his purpose, body-less at last,
soul-like beyond sky bowl of stars
seeking the grail of everlasting life.

And I stumble in time, unsure
If my better body is the breath of life
part drawn to the moon part to the stream
transforming, dividing, living a dream.

© TonyAshenden

The Fragrant Airs of Heaven

Idyllic loves’ creation is
imagined lilac groves
air enchanting havens
of scented flowers
lifting to the harvest moon.

This world we may not enter
until this earthen road is ended,
yet we may store good efforts seed
do right as God’s creators.

Unbending onward to the light
holding to heart loves’ first vow,
that we unseasoned Spirits
shall by all intentions be
tried and tested
and found well.

B for Pope Boniface VIII

What makes this man remarkable is not his systemising of Catholic Canon Law, or founding the University of Rome, or formalising the custom of the Roman Jubilee, a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon, but by being remembered in Dante’s Divine Comedy as public enemy number one!

Born Benedetto Caetani, Pope Boniface has the unenviable notoriety of being named in Dante’s Inferno as an exponent of the black arts. He succeeded to Pope Celestine V to the papacy in 1294 and put forward some of the strongest claims of any pope to temporal as well as spiritual power. He involved himself often with foreign affairs, including in France, Sicily, Italy, and the First War of Scottish Independence. These views, and his chronic intervention in “temporal” affairs, led to many bitter quarrels with Albert I of Germany, Philip IV of France, and Dante Alighieri, who wrote his treatise De Monarchia to dispute Boniface’s claims of papal supremacy and placed the pope in the Eighth Circle of Hell in his Divine Comedy, among the simoniacs, i.e. those who sold church roles and sacred objects to empower them with the power of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands.
Boniface issued a bull in 1303 declaring both spiritual and temporal power were under the pope’s jurisdiction, and kings were subordinate to the power of the Roman pontiff. Philip disobeyed and had the bull publicly burnt in Paris in 1302. Boniface excommunicated Philip and all others who prevented French clergy from traveling to the Holy See, after which the king sent his troops to attack the pope’s residence in Anagni on 7 September 1303 and capture him. Boniface was held for three days and beaten badly and died from a fever a month later.
His successor Benedict VI undertook to defend his memory but died in the first year of his pontificate -it was said by poison, and the Holy See remained vacant for 11 months, when a Frenchman, the archbishop of Bordeaux was elected to the papal chair under the title of Clement V. There is little doubt he was Phillip’s choice who then pressured Clement V to stage a posthumous trial of Boniface, accusing him of heresy and sodomy. The Pope referred the process to the 1311 Council of Vienne, where two Templar knights challenged the claim to a trial by combat. With no one willing to fight them, the Council declared the matter closed. Boniface’s body was accidentally exhumed in 1605 and was found to be in relatively good condition, dispensing the legend that he had become frenzied, gnawing his hands, and bashing his brains out against the wall.
The French case against Boniface involved many testimonies, which described Boniface as a free thinker, in the habit of mocking, and cynically regarding things sacred to the church, of practising the black arts. It was commonly reported in Italy, according to witnesses, Boniface had communication with and worshipped demons. One, a friar, brother Bernard de Sorano, said that when Boniface was a cardinal and held the office of notary to Nicholas III, he lay with the papal army before the castle of Puraino, and he having been sent to receive the surrender of the castle returned with the cardinal to Viterbo, where they were lodged in the palace. At night looking out of the window with the cardinal’s chamberlain they saw Boniface enter an adjoining garden, where in a mysterious manner, carrying a cock and an earthen pot he made a circle about himself on the ground with a sword. On seating himself therein he created a fire in the pot and killed the cock sprinkling its blood on the fire causing much smoke. He proceeded to read from a book conjuring up demons during which much noise was heard that made them terrified. One voice clearly heard said “Give us our share”. After this ceremony Boniface returned to his room which he slept in alone, but he was heard talking all night and strange voices answering him.
Eventually under pressure to consider ‘other necessities’ Philip IV agreed to drop the prosecution, and at last, in 1312, Boniface was declared in the Council of Vienne, innocent of all the offences he had been charged.
Make of this as you will, fundamentalists, monarchs, and politicians during the middle ages often said there was no smoke without fire. Boniface VIII has not been alone accused of heresy, and that includes the present Pope Francis (2013 -) whose words and actions have been said to be a comprehensive rejection of Catholic teachings on marriage and sexual activity, on the moral law, and on grace and forgiveness of sins. The pontiff has even been accused of using a satanic symbol at the opening mass of the Synod on Youth in 2018, when he “carried a staff in the form of a ‘stang,’ an object used in satanic rituals”.