An Iliadic Epic
Sung in a Hundred Cantos
It is with a certain sense of excitement, laced with a barrel’s worth of personal achievement, that I present my double epics to the world. When accepting my role as an epic poet, I ruminated on my predecessors & the models they supplied to posterity. In this I realised that while Virgil created one epic out of Homer’s two – the Odyssean voyages of Aeneas to Rome, follow’d by the Iliadic warfare – I would rather compose an Odyssey & an Iliad as individual poems. As for the length of my epics, Dante’s 100 cantos seem’d both a simple & harmonious number.
As a poet waking to consciousness at the end of the twentieth century, my Iliad would of course have to concern the dramatic double world wars in which some of those who participated I could still converse. The poem also branched out both into deep history – to achieve some kind of understanding of how the World Wars came to pass – & into my own age, where I witness’d at first hand events such as 9-11 & the terrorist attack on Mumbai. Meanwhile, my personal Odyssey is a journey thro’ England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Sicily, Malta, Gozo & the entire subcontinent of India, at the end of which I return to my own veritable Penelope, Sally Cinnamon.
The first sonnets of the Sylver Rose were composed in the Autumn of 1998, when I was 22, & the last in January 2021, only yesterday. The latter sequanto saw the recreation of the Samothracian Mysteries of that island’s Sanctuary of the Gods. This was the same site where I composed my penultimate tryptych of Axis & Allies in August 2020. Then, on the next morning, I would complete my Iliadic epic at the waterfall source of the Gria Vathra, towering high over the Aegean Sea.
The first tryptychs of Axis & Allies were composed in Brighton in October 1999, when I was 23. I am 44 now & have given the last of my youth to the creation of my two epics. Not with any sense of regret, however, for these two decades gone have sent me travell’d the world composing sonnets & the twenty-line tryptych of my devising. Of this corpus, 1400 sonnets & 900 tryptychs have made the final cut, resulting in 37,600 lines of poetry. I now pass the baton on to whenever & whomever finds it next.
Damian Beeson Bullen
I suddenly saw that directly to the North, over Onkoul’s Tunguska road, the sky split in two & fire appeared high and wide over the forest. After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing, the earth shook, & when the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways
Across the wormy gyres of ceaseless time,
By Dogstar’s sister, wee Sirius B,
A soldier’s table spreads with ancyent rhyme,
Those sacred fables of the Sah-Pu-Qi;
Epic, yet terse,
Legends of ancyent past,
Of how a Universe was born for us at last!
He read how Genesis & crew
Flew far in Star-Vimana,
How Mugulu & Mukulu,
Seriel & Semyaza,
Would populate a world so blue,
Naming it Zahara;
Dreamtrance disturb’d by Gen’ral Balthazeer,
“Captain, a chance to further your career.
The Usgoth dance a dastard jig,
Hot words of harsh war made!”
Donning a wig, mounting Tehpig,
Rode Balrog to parade;
O gallant host, drumrolls & roars, rais’d rows of plasma-blade!
Follow faint traces of light & lazar
Along great lanes of space innum’rable,
To twinsewn systems of a distant star,
In mortal combat lock’d incurable;
As Usgoth hordes
Wide-wave electric swords in awesome chivalry.
Upon the fringes of the fray
Our graceful leuitenant rides,
His strong & stately steed of grey
By the jet-black vortex strides,
Tehpig splits skies with startling neigh,
Assaulted on all sides,
Balrog hauls reigns & gallops into space –
Trailing green vapours Gaargants three gave chase.
Upon a tapestry of stars
Hooves of quartz-crystal pound,
The Usgoth Gaars, all fangs & scars,
Gain steadily in ground,
Tripping the light fantastic at the searing speed of sound.
The Chase Ends
Just a wee spot on the dimple of time,
A billion galaxies around us,
& them a wee spot, mere provincial clime,
The Universe spread always prepond’rous;
Swarms over airy rocks,
Some mastering space-flight, some shepherds & their flocks.
Amid amazing Milky Way
Balrog faced his pursuers,
As tho’ a Roman in the day
Of Tullus Hostillius –
When triplet sets made fierce affray
For their populaces –
When like some last unwounded Roman son,
Our Knight faced three ‘Quirini,’ one-by-one.
Combat is join’d, a flash of blades,
Two toss’d into the void,
Last Usgoth fades, in Balrog wades,
Some speeding asteroid,
To slay his foe, Tehpig alas by Usgoth spear annoy’d.
On the flaming hoof rode the vorpal steed,
Out of the sapphire regions between stars,
Past Sol’s slumb’rous giants, to scythe at speed,
Yon the rocky ring & roseate Mars;
Full into view
Appears a peopl’d world,
A pearl of green & blue where whisp-white cloud-swirls curl’d.
Wings shredded so they could not steer,
Talon-slash trailing crimson,
All thro’ the scorching stratosphere
Plunges Vampyre Stallion,
No wince, no flinch, nor cry of fear,
Then, at the collision,
Marsh forests fly & land in piny piles,
The shatter’d tundra of a hundred miles.
All thro’ primeval Tunguska
Would devastation flood,
At the crater’s smoking centre
No beast of Eden stood;
Hail Alien! Bulbous, Bewing’d, Fangs thirsting Manling blood.
Long-Horn leads sickly steed thro’ Tulgey wood,
On ev’ry side bewitching whispering,
A phantom cry to curdle human blood,
A fence of ghoulish eyes ever-learing;
Tooth gate gnarl-grown,
Fang’d entrance to her lair,
O gaunt, dishevell’d crone! O jaundic’d, hellsent stare!
He steps thro’ arms aframe a door,
Enters gloom as black as tar,
“I have not seen thy like before!”
“I am from another star…”
“Welcome… sup flesh… this putrid sore…”
Cackles Baba Yaga,
Passing her guest a leg of leprosie –
He drank & thank’d for help, her only fee
A draught of blood, he slit his wrist,
Her beastly thirst to slake,
Mad mystic tryst! At witch-door hiss’d
Gigantic scarlet snake,
“This is sharp maw’d Zmei Gorynich, ye to the Beast shall take…”
In the Necropolis’ most deepest tomb,
Far from the prying eyes of Seraphim,
Balrog swept down the shit-clad catacomb
Unto the Anti-Heaven’s inner rim;
Wide halls of bone,
Unto the Serpent Throne beat leather-sails a-glide.
“O suave, majestic demagogue
I humbly stand before thee,
The cosmos knows me as Balrog,
Lieutenant of Dadghabbi,
In these claws see I clutch a cog,
Heights of Technology –
With it you could defeat thine ancyent foes…”
Chrome circlet with deep sparkling azure glows.
“What is the price? ” “A war!” “Indeed,
I can arrange the course –
But why?” “My steed may only feed
Upon a certain sauce…”
Low whinnies of encouragement wept from his wounded horse.
Rousing the Aesir
Loki canter’d the clammy trachts of Hell,
Strange presences witnessing wyrd meeting,
At first it seem’d their talk was flowing well,
But demons grant comforts only fleeting;
Sets his sharp scythe aspin…
Leaving a grubby stub, donning the bloody skin.
‘Loki’ rose to halls of glory,
Acknowledging each table
Serv’d by a busty Valkyrie
With meat & mead & fable,
Then entering a fine city
Carv’d from marv’lous marble,
His mission hidden by a face of stone,
Kneeling before, beneath auld Odin’s throne.
“Hullo!” chimes Frigg, “Why cometh here!”
“Satanus calls for War!”
A goblet cheer, all the Aesir
Applauded from the floor,
A vogue & gory battle cry to rouse the rage ofThor.
The Indifference of Jove
In human works, though labour’d on with pain,
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
In God’s, one single can its end produce
Saint Peter hoodah’d cross the skiey plains
Upon a silver, tuskless Elephant,
His cherub-captain rhythmic with the reigns;
Resplendent with immortal amorant,
All sides lustr’d
Chasm-clinging cluster’d oer clear terrestrial.
He rode thro’ Paradise Mountains
To a voice more like a dream,
Echoing amidst the fountains
Where the holy rivers stream,
“Since I offer’d Man redemptions,
Souls would I once redeem,
He errs more than the sinful sons of Eve,
If men rejoice in killing why then grieve?”
“There are dark troubles brewing sire,
Satanus plots a war,
With daemons dire & dragons fire,
The Aesir to the fore,”
“Silence,” urged Jove, “we let them be, ‘tis just another war.”
Far from the prying eyes of Gods & Men,
The goddess KARMA flew to Fairyland,
Convers’d with Mab, queen of the Pixie Glen,
Around them lovely daffadillies fann’d;
Sipping mull’d brews,
Flavour’d with wildflowers,
Sharing their recent news, minutes turn to hours.
As woodnymph with translucent wings
Burnish’d words with berry cakes,
Sighs Mab, “these new Gods & their Kings
Seldom learn from late mistakes,
Discontented with what Fate brings,
Each lusts more while he takes –
In that I trust not Satanus, nor Mars,
Lords of land’s cancers & the sea’s catarrhs.
In these futurities foreseen
Your days will grow busy?”
“Not quite, my queen, I choose one scene
So very carefully –
Two families shall represent all of Humanity.”
So arose the practice of celebration in exalted verse the battles & other notable deeds of men together with those of the gods.
In the pursuit of learning one knows more every day:
in the pursuit of the way one does less every day.
One does less & less until one does nothing at all
There is a glade in an ancyent forest
Where glittering pools of molten azure
Assail ripe sense… insliding, moonbeam-bless’d,
Soul bathes in blissful dreamtimes gleaming pure;
My nine naked maidens,
Vulvaean lullaby lilting thro’ love gardens.
She harps a song, she summons stars,
She waltzes round the waters,
She treats these sainted battlescars,
She paints a floating lotus,
She strums her summergold guitars,
How lovely & how livid floods thy light,
What verses & what wonders must I write?
They ring & weave thro’ tryptych tones,
Sing rich enchanted chime,
Soft music hones their mystic moans,
& so… my all must rhyme…
With hopes of flashing heroes up Parnassus slopes we’ll climb!
Five hundred years ago, most gracious prince,
Oer thirty thousand ancestors were yours,
Victoria, of all them, must convince
Ye are most worthy of we troubadors;
Thy fruitful days
Adds to our garden joy,
When piles of pyre-steep’d praise heap’d on Di’s happy boy.
Remembering thine own fair birth
When I was only seven,
Your majesty has grown on Earth
Amang the Sons of Heaven,
New to the world ye’ve shewn true worth
Aye, & that’s a given –
Maturity hast bless’d thy diadem,
At heart thou art of us & less of them.
My prince, with praise, I offer thee
This book of rumbling words,
Mnemone to Melody,
Midst lines of waltzing thirds,
Life shimmers ever phosphorous as if t’were sufi birds.
To My Readers
I know these words rest heavy in the hands,
When reading them should creep a little while,
But think of me alone in distant lands,
With heavy load, abroad an extra mile;
Thro’ thorn, up steep,
In search of awesome views,
Where I would sit in deep communion with the Muse.
Gadswounds! My global chronicle
Will preserve the violent show
Of our planet’s lust for battle,
Men panting for Megiddo;
Friends! Be ready for to Google
All words ye do not know,
When mining into human history,
This is a kind of University!
Prepare a bath, pour out your wines,
Light up a candle’s flame,
Encase your minds, embrace these lines,
Enlightenment our aim,
War’s business is but terrible – not glory, nor a game.
I sing of Mars, whose blood-besplatter’d reign
Lived long among the secret brotherhoods,
& if these verses vast mine aim deem plain:
To elevate auld lives before the Floods;
When to the stars,
Or in our upmost caves,
This exile song of Mars an epic epoch saves.
As the vestige Villanovan
Found in Verruchian tombs,
As golden-thron’d Glasgerion
Immortalis’d ladies looms,
Ready, my lithe young mind…. Open!
When poetry resumes,
I’ll pay the World its histrionic dues,
Quite polyamorous to every Muse.
Non sono nazifaschisti,
Fair freedoms forged in blood,
The mystery of history
Spreads thro’ me like a wood,
In which I’ll twist unfettered feet as only Clio could.
I am no pickpurse of another’s wit,
Yet understand tradition is a tool,
When mostly I’m the Muses’ conduit
& sing to them, prostrately, as a fool,
“Je suis rien,
Per je ne suis pas dieu,
Vous etes tout mon bien, le lustre de mon cieux!”
As when old Thales’ Iliad
By princely rhapsodes utter’d,
The ghosts behind these lines glow glad
Whenever they’ll be mutter’d,
As if some new Upanishad
Down the Deccan flutter’d,
Containing all the epos of an age,
Far from the sterile tombstone of the page.
As when elders Albanian
Sang legends kith & kin,
Or Suqatran, hoary herdsman
Harps word-hordes held within…
Verse-vestibules of history maintain Cruachan’s Djinn!
Always preparing, always reparing,
The new ensemble of a Danaan song;
No single impulse, but many sharing,
A swirl of verse, a whirl of words among
Of endless mountenance:
Criss-crossing cloudless nights wild woodland swans advance!
With Saint John & the Patmos vine,
The Bard of the Scyldingas,
Dante’s Comedia Divine,
Tasso’s inspired Crusaders,
With Spenser’s store of faerie wine
& Milton’s masterclass,
I made my bed – from patchwork eiderdown,
I pluck’d my quills & ink’d them up in town!
From erudition constancy
To genius applies;
Watch phaerie wonders rise
From paranormal mutterings… them given golden guise.
I stretch to grasp the gross Orphean lyre,
These fingers on the fringe with fuga fraught,
When en-plein-air whisp’ring perfumes transpire,
Hyblean murmors of prophetic thought;
I find my social niche,
Reflective & refined; the poesy of pastiche.
Along the road I drank my wine,
While others gave it gladly,
Good souls were they, old friends of mine,
Such thanks to all who’ve had me,
Some tickl’d by this soul-sunshine,
Others flummox’d madly,
For poets & their strangely ancyent ways
Are meant to men affix… affront… amaze.
As from the Wealth of Nations rise
A pleasure-loving soul,
Invested ties friendship supplies
Up puff me proud & tall,
To conjure something rich & queer to steer us, each & all.
An American Epic
Ye children of America, awake!
What world terrific lies beyond thy shores,
That ne’er your Founding Fathers could forsake,
Nor Modern Masters; as the Old World wars,
From Dante’s lines
Unto Fall River’s weaves,
Our syllabus entwines across sibyllic leaves.
As every atom you & I,
My language thee’ll be sharing,
Sometimes Mark Doty’s lullaby,
Sometimes John Weiner’s daring,
Behold our clan-like landscape’s tie,
Whom mighty oak-bold tyrants fought & fell’d
A Lion & an Eagle’s Gryphon-meld.
Yes… I guess we can forgive her,
Thy blessed Libertie,
She’ll endeavor to deliver
This world from Tyrannie,
As we, yon waves inveterate, conflate thy destiny.
I am a man, many have gone before
& will come yet; to thee I trust this song,
Pray let her fly to every foreign shore,
Shewing the World how once the World went wrong;
Such manic times
Have ended, only just,
Whose freshness fills these rhymes far from the bookish dust.
I would the World should hear this song
& sing her down the ages,
So when the epic, proud & long,
Renaissance ever stages,
Let poets ply their trade among
Finding a thing or two that they could use
In future conversations with the Muse.
Namore shall Homers chaunt War’s praise
Or Owens curse it’s game;
Some psychic craze, unbridl’d days,
Crude torture, quelling shame,
This is my long-wrought testament to what Mankind became.
A perfect things participating any nature, makes a likeness to itself, not by absolutley producing that nature, but by applying it to something else
The Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas
The Birth of Life
Before we taste the worst of wasted lives
Whom others breath deny by martial deed,
Before the flailing alien arrives
On Earth alight that bruis’d, enthirsted steed,
Before an age
Is vitrified in gore,
Let us devise the stage & lay its playful floor.
From stardust is a planet made
Then leave the rest to science,
Eftsoons we’ll hear the rise & fade
Of songbirds in alliance,
A never-ceasing serenade
Most happy circumstance
Of swallows following Dawn’s constant roll
Aslant a planet spinning pole-to-pole.
Curving sleekly like a discuss,
Lights flashing strobe-on-strobe,
The collossus that is COSMOS
Coughs up a tiny probe,
Sizing the climate, analyzing carbon & microbe.
On Earth hath nature pour’d her bounties forth
With such a full & unwithdrawing hand,
Her colours blushing from the snow-blanch’d North
Thro’ flower-fields to drifting Afric sand;
O perfect sphere
Of ecosystems fair,
Oer which, in flight, appear strange light-storms hung on air.
With wrenchly might hot starships land
(As Cook of the Endeavour
Once stood upon Australic sand
& culture changed forever),
Here, two-by-two, with talon’d hand,
Terrific lizards press on pastures new,
Marshall’d by monkey slaves & suited crew.
As Apeman whips broad cattle backs
The Higher Minds watch on,
Chewing on snacks of protein packs
Until the beasts were gone,
Plodding thro’ cudding undergrowth, good meat on every one.
The perfect state of Nature is ‘to war,’
Why else be frightful of night’s spiteful sounds
To feed on or be fed upon the law,
To e’er defend thy vital hunting grounds ;
Compete for rotting meat,
The solo one arose, some Minotaur of Crete.
As vicious as those snarling seas
Off Cape Horn in the Autumn,
A slash… a bite… back-butt unfrees
Her neck as hard she fought ‘em,
Hard battle breaks the viney trees
Til’ sadly, as she caught ‘em,
Her final wounds unspill’d her life force free,
& swoon’d she down, down to her misery.
As silence falls, as battle ends,
Full phyrric are the frays,
A mother tends the wounded, mends
Each gash with spittl’d glaze,
To feast upon the spoils of war like werewolves in a craze.
As particles drift slowly round the core,
Then start to rave far from its density,
Time, too, speeds up its progress more & more,
While flitting from the Big Bang’s gravity;
Where near the place
Vast Universe began,
Some cosmic, Klingon race wings fleuron caravan.
Beyond the speed of light they drew
Their mercantile intentions,
Cross dozen milliards they flew
Ships leaping through dimensions,
Until a sphere of green & blue
Promises fat pensions;
How many lizards caught up in the cull.
Chopp’d into squares & pack’d in icy hull.
Among the furball monkey-slaves
A leader rais’d his pride,
By roaring waves he saw the caves
Where they could easy hide,
& made a plan, that Adam-man, whom tyranny defied.
From deep space depths ejected destiny,
Full seven miles across its rocky span,
One hundred terratons of TNT,
Randomly lands upon the Yucatan;
As DOOMSDAY slamm’d
& shudder’d underground,
The dinosaurs, all damn’d, grew flimsy at the sound!
Materielle ascends the skies,
An incandescent army,
Dust super-heated chokes the eyes
Flesh broiling to salami,
Collossal shockwaves terrorize
As Mega Tsu-na-mi,
Two thousand metres high, lay low the coasts
& leave a sludgy wilderness of ghosts.
Thro’ lightning flash, hail-stones of coal,
Those mires that maul, those fires that fall,
All life-flesh devastates,
While dregs of all existence call hopelessly to their mates.
They came to investigate the carnage
Churn’d by those vast, ruthless, triassic seas,
Neath shaking heads they burnt the starry bridge
To this scourg’d world, unfertile to the bees;
But not before
A spartacus of slaves,
Into the jungles tore to disenthrall in caves.
They wait until their Masters gone,
At last lights disappearing,
They form’d a tribe of twenty-one
In kinship quite endearing,
Despite the sun of safeness shone,
Still them all stood fearing
Those dazzling Lords of Flight, whose lightning rods
Had scarr’d their backs, those beings men call Gods.
As generations pass’d them by
Those Gods did not return,
Into the sky, with teary eye,
For homespheres elders yearn,
A memory grown ancient of the forest & the fern.
Beyond the formal motions of romance
There yearns a primal instinct men call lust,
We see it in a brooding woman’s glance –
To she we leave our favour’d fate in trust;
Grow ever populous,
Some forced out of that den, the Monkeys’ ancestors.
As Aeons pass, thro’ mate-on-mate,
They wriggle in mutation,
As lither limbs regenerate,
They blend with vegetation
Up to the jungles fling their fate –
Sings primatial Nation,
”Urangatangs! Gorillas! Chimpanzees!
While men lord over plains we rule the trees!”
But what of Man? He too evolves;
Each problem solves, his world revolves
Swelling the brain against the cranials of each fresh skull.
Far from the conflict of that cosmic war,
Ashroud the twin Antennae Galaxies,
Where Usgoth & Dadghabbi blood-pools bore,
A nobler race makes world enquiries;
On beryl wheels
Flames golliwogging rock
Steel-sinew’d, stake-like heels absorb the landing’s shock.
Cometh Queen Oryana’s passion,
She with the natives mated,
Left her womberie to fashion
New life, ’til satiated,
This osculant, meddling mission
Better men created –
She, with six clapping hands laughs her delight,
“These darling furballs bend their backs upright!”
The Starguild builds her landing strips
Across the Nazca plain,
Magenta lips sing, “Each eclipse
We gods shall come again
Back to Teotihuacan, sixty ‘Humans’ to obtain.”
From grots & caverns shagg’d with horrid thorn,
Men wander’d over land & over sea,
A clever race of higher species born,
Advanced in Science & Astronomy;
Old Gods return
“These Apelings grown too wise!”
Three days of lazars burn, rays churning up the skies.
Inferno follows thunderflash
Wondrous things all vapourized,
Sodom turn’d dust, Gomorrah ash,
False concupiscence chastis’d,
Atlantis sunken, crunch & splash
What little left alive thro’ Mankind warns
Of divine vengeance when the faithless spawn.
Bold memories of old events
Thro’ bardic sagas rage,
Each line laments, each song cements
The passing of an age,
What once was glad & golden naught but sad words on a page.
Surely it is not the poets that are responsible for what happens
But Zeus himself, who deals with each of us toilers on earth as he sees fit
Birth of Faith
Man sits & shivers in the golden stream
Of fresh intelligence, O shiny leaf!
His delightful capacity to dream
Shall to the visionaries pin belief;
Discusses bird & beast,
While offerings votive prelude the fruitful feast.
Enacting ancyent vaudeville
Orchestrates a cooing crew,
Who place the face of every kill
Upon a headless statue,
Dark, bloody meat roasts on the grill,
Around the fire they drew
Drumming & chanting in a magic trance,
As if them Korybantes at the dance.
This was the moment marvellous
To make a man-made mead;
Stuff which religions need,
The liquer call’d ambrosia on which all Godheads feed.
From lakes of ash destruction rose the Gods;
From power comes respect, & with this love,
The one thing that connects we anthropods
With all the majesty of those above;
To crude cults of the dead,
Scuttling theologies across our planet sped.
Of these beings form’d contingent,
Huddl’d in epicentres,
On Asia’s great sub-continent
Rose the perfect spiritus
Know Brahma! Soul most sentient
Born from navel lotus,
Beside him, as life’s swarming cells divide,
A pantheon strode forth, & multiplied.
Of all the Hindu deities
Tis Kali we must fear;
As Bharatas, vainglorious,
In battle disappear,
Life hears Vyasa’s saga sung in temples sweet & clear.
The Sun God
Like Coonor Colonel, post ‘forty-seven,’
Remaining in the Raj to reap full worth
From former glories, his hard-won heaven,
One born of stars lingers too long on Earth;
By holy Nile
Commingling with Mankind,
Who, fawning & servile, croon, ‘’Sire, do please be kind!’’
Round Heliopolis night slows…
Dawning day… an avatar
Daub’d in finery, more fragrant rose
Than Phaeroe… see florid Ra,
Strike solid, adamantine pose,
Some gallivanting star,
Come every day dispelling dismal dark
By rainbow barge, sky-soaring in an arc.
He teaches us papyryses,
How best to harvest wine,
Shu, Osiris, Tefnut, Isis,
Descend from him divine,
For each a pointed pyramid to dream, & dance, & dine.
Knossos sits where European thought
Has sought a font, down there Minoan mind
By Hyksos necromancers once was taught
In detail how are deities design’d;
Fair Rhea reaches Crete,
With Cronos, in the corn, their seed-time passion sweet.
Siring the peerless Jupiter,
Him no soul could dare neglect,
With a BOOM he brings us terror,
With a kiss he can protect,
One of those who live forever,
As long as his proud sect
Pays heed to all the prayer-needs of faith,
Else fade him to the shades a jaded wraith.
O best of Gods, thy golden scales
Our destinies suspend;
Lord of the gales, thy hard-flung hails
& storm-bolts that ye send
Roar over us, ‘til glorious thy softer swells descend!
A love of Rhea’s handsome son will spread
Across the waves to where the Argives dwell,
The banded Titans think of him with dread
& fortify their mountains, where they yell;
”This is our land
& for it we shall fight!”
Then stand, weapons in hand, a megaron of might.
As at them jagged boulders thrown
The firmament was shaking,
The sun went dark, the earth did groan,
Fork’d lightning forests raking,
Piebald invader blew his horn,
He bounden them in chains & cast them low
Below the Earth, ten killers on death row.
The conqueror takes up his seat
& there begins to breed,
A task complete, the Twelve compete
For faith on which they feed,
But in all things shall Seuserenre ever take the lead.
Above the puny jarrings of the world
Olympus of innumerable folds
Reflects the melting moon, whose peaks glow pearl’d
With frozen happiness, & Heaven’s gold;
Flings stars oer divine heads,
Frolicking together, luxuriant, on beds.
While Vulcan stokes eternal fire
Of constant, cooking casket,
Venus fills deity desire
& thrills them ‘neath her blanket,
The Lord Apollo plucks his lyre
& his Muses thank it,
To play them songs the seasons’ sweetly bring;
Summer, Winter, Autumn, & the Spring.
Farsunk below that mantl’d stone
Old Hades hews his halls;
At first alone until the groan
Of death releases souls,
Them to his kingdom lumbering as leaf quite lifeless falls.
We mortals are the Gods’ unwilling toys,
They treat us with a fickleness & play
With softling lives, ‘til waking fate employs
The true direction to a human day;
The best of us
These higher lives defy,
Lives like wild chimeras & diamonds in the sky.
Sailing east with famous Jason
On the quest to fetch the fleece,
He fought the birds Stymphalian
Sharply tasking over Greece,
Wrestling the lion Nemean
At last his trials cease,
Tall stood upon the cusp of further fame,
No beast on Earth this god-man could not tame.
Light lifts him up from pointed pyre,
One by his own hands made,
Before the fire could flicker’d high
Oer lead limbs limply laid,
Zeus knighted him Olympian, imputed to the grade.
With flash of awe best stories are begun;
Upon immortal Mount Olympus dwell
The brightest members of that pantheon
Which binds all mortal motion to its spell;
Our fable falls,
Where Jupiter resides,
Thro’ Heaven’s gleaming halls a golden apple glides.
Upon its deep, dawn-colour’d skin
Was written, “For the finest!”
Three goddesses desir’d the win,
Much smitten by the contest,
Their chatter made a magpie din
To find out who was bless’d,
With Beauty’s art, more than the other two,
Says Jupiter, “I know what you must do!
Seek out a pure & mortal youth
To cure thy bickering,
His choice, I sooth, rare voice of truth,
Shall judge this siren spring,
Alas, I sense these strange events shall violence to us bring!”
The Judgement of Paris
They search’d all Earth for that rare quality
Which fortifies a man from lustful thought,
Noble enough to love a true beauty,
Give honest answers to opinions sought;
Just one was found,
A handsome Prince of Troy;
Three goddesses drew round, seductive, sweet & coy….
“Tell, prithee, Paris, which of us,
Fairer than fairest flower?”
Minerva offer’d genius,
While Juno promis’d power,
“If I am chosen,” quiff’s Venus,
“The roseate bower
Of womanhood shall spread across thy mind –
When you may pluck the fairest of your kind!”
“Then thee I choose…” from Venus flew
Helen’s bright araura,
The other two disdainful grew,
Grating with displeasure,
“She waits for you!” sings Venus, “In Lacedaemonia!”
Mighty men of valour, men train’d for battle, who could handle shield & spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, & were as swift as gazelles on the mountains. Chronicles 12:8
Not setting sun, not rosy-finger’d dawn,
Nor ocean’s pearl; not breezy mountain air,
Not spider-spun, nor lazy summer lawn,
Could e’er to this temptressy smile compare;
Her wide-sought hand
Won by the Spartan king,
Many a Grecian band gifts to their wedding bring.
From vinegar festivities
Paris woo’d her to one side,
Venus entwining destinies
As this hot, bedswerving bride
Sings lush, erotic melodies,
Sucking his love inside –
Afterwards, all glamour’d with enchantment,
Thro’ spacious halls their silent footsteps went.
Moonsphere makes webbings in the waves,
Men row a ship to sea –
As future craves the golden graves
These sweethearts, silken-sheeted, milk the teats of exstasi.
The Fall of Troy
Hard upon the western fringe of Asia
Arks disembark Agamemnon’s command,
The awe-struck Trojans gaze down in terror,
An enemy encamped upon the sand;
Twyx gate & shore
Shall flow a bloody scene,
Full decade fraught with war fought for that gorgeous queen.
Noble are men of Achea,
Amist armies swarming bees,
Lke Dardanian Aeneas,
The High King, Salaminia,
& striking Ulysees,
Them into flock of falcon-men enfuse –
Now Menaleus dreams a daring ruse
As gods affect the mortal course
& fate is fickle starred,
A wooden horse (with secret force)
Slow wheel’d to a courtyard –
“The war is over,” sing the crowds… the gates, that night, unbarr’d.
Wanderings of Aeneas
As swollen rivers rampage pitiless,
Wreak havoc-streams & damage thro’ the fields,
Thro’ palaces, pillars & piazzas
Terrific waves of flashing bronze & shields;
Stone torn from stone,
Burst Ilium in flames,
Blood-lusty killing zone of dust & screams & names.
Day draws a veil across the night,
Vital Aeneas survives,
Keen eyes reflect his guiding light,
Men offer’d him their lives,
Commingling with his muckle might
Their weapons, wisdom, wives;
Sat watching citadels crash on the town
Like mountain ashes farmers’ knives hack down.
Sailors plough thro’ plague & terror,
Beyond the Strophades,
Past Ithica, Sicilia,
On thro’ Phoenecian seas,
Blown to holy Ausonia upon a Latin breeze.
The House of Aeneas
From Trojan blood hath sprung Ascanius,
Whose Alba Longa rises amidst hills,
A city gifted to young Silvius –
Him born amidst the whistling woodland rills;
We druids sing
The catalogues of kings, the sacred monarchies.
Wee Silv grew manly, died, then came
Aeneas & Latinus,
Atys & Alba shar’d their fame
With Capys & Capetus,
Emerald Tiber wins its name
As poor Tiberinus
Drowns while crossing ancyent Albula;
“This flow my father’s shrine!” sings Agrippa,
Who was a wise & wondrous king,
Him by lightning was slain, his ring
Whose tomb enclos’d by fragrant blooms upon slopes stupendous.
The Aventine Hill
Rape of Rhea
Amulius usurps Numitor’s throne,
Murders his nephew cloak’d & clandestine,
Then to prevent avengers being born,
Chains up his niece to serve him vestal wine;
Full KARMA to restore,
.To that sinful city Zeus sent a paramour…
Mars crept within fair Rhea’s room
Upon soft-feather’d sandals,
In turpid, shade-seducing gloom,
By silks & censor’d candles;
His vibrant seed invades the womb
As when warring Vandals
Would ravage Italy – him so divine,
She tasted nirvana, arching back her spine.
Abandoning the ravishing
Mars left a tragic tayle,
Days fluttering from Fall to Spring
Towards her pregnant grail,
When she shall be Philomele & then the Nightingale.
Romulus & Remus
Twin babies born, raging Amulius,
Murders the mother, orders their demise,
Them left to die by Tiber, quite helpless –
Lone she-wolf hears their effervescent cries,
& licks their heads
‘Til puresoul shepherd comes,
To take them to soft beds, where, sucking on wee thumbs,
Faustalus rais’d them wisely couth,
Behidden from destiny
Time drew them on to manly youth
Fate back into the city,
Old Numitor could see the truth
Hugging them happily;
“Grandfather… sire… let us thy reign,”
Eftsoons their wicked uncle ran right thro!
KARMA descends to tend the crime,
Dress’d in her saffron gown,
Fate’s paradigm, from scarlet slime
They lift the silver crown,
& place it on the rightful brow before a shell-shocked town.
Death of Remus
Twin brothers burning with the purple urge
To build a prosp’rous city of their own,
Certain Quirini join this questful surge
With cattle trains & tools to hack the stone;
They reach the hills
Old Faustulus called home,
To name it causes ills, a Remo or a Rome?
“We’d better let the Gods decide –
Each settl’d his each own hill-side,
In the wait for Mercury,
Oer Remulus six vultures glide
This seem’d priority,
But not long aft, above the Palatine
Twelve vultures fly, cries Remulus, “A sign!”
Inveighing quickly, thick words shoot,
Bickers flickering flame,
Thro’ fierce dispute none could refute
The other brother’s claim,
Til Romulus draws scimitar of fratricide & fame!
Rape of the Sabines
How fair art thou, virgin Capillia,
Atop an oxen train parting the plain,
Aiming for the festive consualia
Rome has declar’d about great Neptune’s fane;
To laugh & play
With spirited Sabine,
She joins that joyous day, eats hearty, quaffs cool wine.
This falsified extravagance
Sunder’d by the long, conch-blast;
As amaryllids left to chance
& sex-starved brigand outcast,
She tried to flee this grotesque dance –
Her father watched aghast,
Each Roman had a mistress in his eye,
Toxeus took his to a crimpling cry.
Comes Romulus, with bloody knife,
“Your name?” “Capillia!”
“You’ll be his wife to save the life
Of your decent mother,
Who shall be kept at Cares til ye’ve acquiesc’d together.”
Men of angry Caenina primed to rise,
Rome’s outskirts fill with standards one fine day;
Romulus narrowing jaguar eyes,
Commands his soldiers grandly to the fray;
Made contact stone-on-stone,
Under breathless paeans the Romans gave a groan.
As winds opposing contest war
Thro’ heaven’s arching reaches,
Men leapt thro’ murder’s gory jaw
With all its morbid features,
Spears dripping blood & sable gore,
Gurgoyles in the breaches –
But what is this adash thro’ shafts of spears?
Tis women! Interstitial! In tears!
“Husbands! Fathers! Sons! & Brothers!”
War paused its awful wheel,
“We are mothers, we are lovers!
Aye, ‘tis love that we feel!”
As weapons drop two nations merge, so urgent the appeal.
What is a society without a heroic dimension
Fresh kingship wins the throne, the lust returns;
Tullus Hostillius pitches for war
With brother Alba, a strange itch which burns;
Far from the day they left the Trojan shore:-
To ease the blow
Two sets of triplets found,
Two populaces flow about the battleground.
Combat is join’d, a flash of blades,
Soon two Roman brothers dead,
The last skiffing thro’ olive glades
& each Quirini wounded –
From seeping cuts life’s vigour fades
Full into action sped
The Wrath of Rome, as hapless foes each fall
The Gods applaud such unhing’d, lupine gall.
The awestruck Alba Longese
Are forced to share the home
Of city bath’d in victory,
Setting a phrase in stone,
Being, ‘Senatus Populares Quirini & Rome.’
Starshiny line of effervescent kings
Endanger’d by the ageing Tarquinus,
When vanity unto a contree brings
The flagrant gossip of its populace;
Stripp’d of the crown
Lush palaces defiled,
Toss’d gruffly out of town, the royal brood exil’d.
Great revolution was proclaim’d
By wise & noble leaders,
Whose surreptitious laws were fram’d
By eruditious readers,
Whose oratory tongues inflamed,
“Those who shall succeed us,
Pay duty to thy great inheritance:
The sacred human right of remonstrance.”
So form’d is a noble city
When freedom sews the seed
Of history, futurity,
Winds blowing thro’ the reed,
To which all gods & kingdoms born to slowly supersede.
Four brothers ride to Macedonic wars,
Blood-lusty, bones & guts behind them strewn –
To sweethearts pining by the Latin shores
These men were more or less upon the moon;
For man that yearns
The mercenary life
He pleasant pleasure spurns, preferring wars to wife.
The first fell dead in Phrygia
At the Cilician gates,
The next was impal’d in Persia,
Gory price of conquer’d states,
The third cut down in India
With thousands of his mates,
So as great Alexander makes for home
Only the youngest brother sails for Rome.
Rest-yearning veteran returns,
His father claps his joys –
Alas! He learns these little urns
The ashes of his boys –
“My father, we could win the East if Rome her might employs.”
March of Rome
The legacies of Achean tenure
Peppers imprecious Ausonian shores,
Rich entempl’d cities, trade & culture,
Liberties pure & academic laws;
“The time to cry,”
She hears a battledrum,
A silence & a sigh, ‘our time for conquest come.’
As each man should have a river
& each man should love a hill,
So when Life does him deliver
Unto Death, he hopes he will
Call on Nature & forgive her
For beating his heart still;
Greek colonists escape for mother Greece
Leaving in fleets like flocks of flying Geese.
The Diamond Isle doth interest
This rising Roman state,
Captains obsess’d attempt conquest,
Press from Messina’s strait,
To slay all Carthaginians abandon’d to their fate.
Unbalanced by the Sicilian loss
& with best ships ensilenc’d on the foam,
Combinated races pace mountain moss
Crossing the Alps, bringing the war to Rome;
Hannibal of Carthage
Harvesting Latin dead thro’ horrible carnage.
The Senate moves to meet the threat;
Arms to outnumber the foe,
Who push the centre back, & yet
The foe routs not… sure & slow,
Great legions drag within the net,
Around whose flanks now flow
Death’s deltoid grip, ruthless & unreckon’d –
Eighty men are slain each brutal second.
As the glory of Hannibal
Rais’d thro’ halycon days,
His culpable & terrible
Attackings sack & raze,
But for one wall’s defiant face no citizen betrays.
Cursing the grand redoubt of stoic Rome
Hurls Hannibal his spear at gates full huge;
Tail turn’d, plying pursuivant pathways home,
Not stunning war nor cunning subterfuge
Made him prevail,
& in his bitter wake
Young Scipio sets sail, relentless war to make.
Skirting the everlasting sands
Where pass’d the Trojan hero,
In perfect health the legion lands
As ruddy-cheek’d as Dido,
Swift march inland conquest expands
Til Carthage cuts the flow –
Her saviour-gen’ral blocks the Zama plain,
Where hovers goddess KARMA hovers, arrows rain…
This time the black Numidians
With Scipio reside,
Thro ‘Ginians Centurians
Force furious applied,
Rough slaughters running riot mix throat-shouts of routing pride!
Flight of the Imperatrix
Amid Quirini ruins spreads a nest,
What family of eagles, regal born,
Ascend the winds, wheeling towards the west,
Surfing the tender fringes of the dawn,
Seeks one Sardinia,
The second meets her fate above Iberia.
As others ply the Appenines,
Soars one oer Sicilia,
Spanning wide seas of dark red wine
To the shores of Africa;
One more winds thro’ the grand Alpine
To southern Gallia –
Behind them all, with dishes for the feast,
Brave mother is returning from the East;
Where, swollen on philosophie
& pregnant with the arts,
The Legions see brutality
Best way to break men’s hearts;
Leave none alive to wave away grave wives in slaver’s carts.
Pompey the Great
Flying into the Oriental glow
Rising yon Karakorum’s spicy trail,
The trudging Legions grudgelessly follow
Their admiral, blown by ambition’s gale;
An eagle beams
Oer Ida, as she turns,
The Trojan War, it seems, to Asia’s shore returns.
Surveys, Pompey, the crumbl’d stones
Where forthsprang his native seed,
Onwards marches to topple thrones,
Shows assurity & speed,
Resistance heap’d in piles of bones,
“Grammercy!” princes plead;
Judea tamed by pilum, fear & fire,
Its sullen people praying for Messiah!
As triumph handed to the bold,
O darling of thy days,
Uncouth & golden, youth & old,
Upon him heap up praise,
Amidst the fuss sways Julius bedazzled with amaze.
When men are born with auras rarely seen,
When power seems to latch upon the soul,
When regal purples paint a princely green,
Flagitious paths of glory lead to Gaul;
One whirlwind war –
Veni! Vedi! Vici!
Even Britannia’s shore sword-skiff’d in victory.
Celtic chieftainship allies,
Every burgo on the rise,
But Ceasar is a box of tricks
& thro’ the deep devise,
Delivering vermillion checkmate,
How swiftly turns the swelling tide of fate?
War’s onerous cast from the walls,
Dies, innocent, each child,
The fortress falls, the gore-dress’d Gauls
With Rome are reconcil’d,
Their captain kneeling ‘neath the sword on which the Gods hath smiled.
O isplendor di Dio, per cu’io vidi
l’alto triunfo del regno verace,
dammi virtu a dir com’ io il vidi
As rivers gently drift along the glen,
Then gather speed & gallop down the falls,
Great Ceasar, elevated by his men,
Crossing the Rubicon reach’d Roman walls;
One star stands in his way,
The keen, immortal soul of evergreen Pompey;
Who flees to Alexandria,
Tasting pleasures of the East,
Where the long-lash’d Cleopatra
On his passion is releas’d,
But disturb’d by panting soldier,
“Sir, Ceasar has releas’d
His legions all along th’Aegyptian shore!”
“Then Rome must know a bloody civil war!”
Eftsoons the Pharsalian plain
Knee deep in fratricide,
Amid the slain, in gurgling pain,
The challenger has died,
Now Ceasar is an emperor & Cleopatra, bride.
A queen of immaculate quality,
A power like no king had ever known,
A son to celebrate his legacy –
No wonder Ceasar toppl’d from the throne;
The bloody knives
Of Brutus & his firm
Shall pierce so many lives, make fodder for the worm.
As a tyrant’s power vacuum
Ever fill’d by civil wars,
A soothsayers’ prescient doom
Hath curs’d Mark Anthony’s cause,
Now sultry in her wooing room
Queen Cleopatra’s claws
Unveil to win Octavian with lust –
But choosing not his loins to lion-thrust
He leaves for paths of death-paved arms,
The world was his to grasp,
Behind, becalms her vixen charms,
As suicidic asp
Slithers in histrionic song, acidic was its rasp.
Rays of pure stardust pulse across the Earth,
According to some alien design,
For deity desires a humble birth
Whn interplanetary spheres align,
The Starchild born,
Warm & mellow manger,
His writ the world to warn of the Devil’s danger.
The virgin mother sent her child
To a cult of strict Essene,
With them the Dead Sea scrolls were filed,
Ancyent prophecies to glean,
With them this little lad was styled
Until he turn’d thirteen,
When Mary’s boy restor’d to Nazereth,
Naught but hell-burning brains & wafts of death.
Like sharp, shark fins the sins of Man
Round the incarnate swirl’d,
As Romans ran their sordid plan,
Thro’ war-polluted world –
Boy tutor’d in messiahdom or heaven’s face unfurl’d?
Round Ceasar’s son, august Octavian,
Imperium ablaze with burnish’d gold,
But for the passing of the lost legion,
Slaughter’d within the Teutoburger Wald;
Crunching cross spangling snow,
That fastuous army lit by a ghostly glow.
As the sun revived their terror,
Gleaming coronet of dawn,
They could hear the battle’s clangour
Corpsey crops about them grown,
Mute & eyeless men together
Down shallow death-pits thrown –
Thro press of shield & shrieking arrow maze
Few men of blood see seldom half their days.
At home the Rome Ausonian
But Aryan barbarian
Now renders Mars mortal,
Brought ruin on brave legionnaires rival’d rare in battle.
Death of Gesu
Bound by the Jew’s Messianic cravings,
The Nazarene Essene gathers his voice,
By Rome dismiss’d, “Strange religious ravings!”
These teachings giving common man a choice;
“Heaven on Earth!”
Deny his sacred birth, steer Pilate’s woesome whim.
This ‘imposter’ promptly taken
To the Hill of Calvary,
Where the sins of man awaken,
Crucified upon the tree,
“Father, why am I foresaken?”
Jesus weeps eerily;
First flickers of the Holy Roman guilt,
As spear-point ribward-driven to its hilt.
His followers proclaim a king,
Trumpet his history –
Sin-forgiving & storm-stilling
The perishing ephemeron of Christianity.
With thrilling conquest quick’ning converse still,
Each bastion out in the misty west
Slowly eroded by the Roman will,
With only woady Picts spurning conquest;
Tough toads to crack,
Trajan turns vision East,
His empiric attacks on Persia are increas’d.
On entering his death-charg’d hour,
Rome’s rergions vast extended,
Hadrian granted godlike power,
The world must be defended –
As grapes of the Euphrates sour,
There the drive east ended,
While southern pushes choke on Sahara
& Gothic shock-troops block half Europa.
Upon a tour of Albion
He saw the ravages
Inflicted on each proud legion
By painted savages,
“Our world ends here!” wall sea-salt steer’d to halt the pillagers.
As Athens’ sheer Acropolis did rise
To marvel man & rival Heaven’s gates
But slowly weaken’d by the sea-salt skies
In crumbling marble glory dissipates;
The Roman realm
On stressful fault survives,
Brow-batter’d at the helm by blunt assassin knives.
An emperor & a legion
Ravaging a country wide,
Bouy’d by the pagan pantheon,
With his young son by his side,
Death for many a flaming Dun
Restoring Roman pride –
Then, from grim warfare, when he’d won his fill,
He turns for Rome, but burns a fev’rish ill…
…& as Constantius did die,
From Britons, full of praise,
Up climbs a cry, up to the sky
His son the soldiers raise,
On battle-broaden’d shoulders shorn from Caledon’s braw days.
Triumph of Christ
Driven by fate’s rightful inheritance,
Soft music zinging off his singing soul,
Thro’ silviculture legionnaires advance,
Upon them all a blaze of light did fall;
Some cross of cloud
Trails bianco banner,
Sacred white words endow’d, which read, “BY THIS CONQUER!”
The warlord asks, “what does this mean?”
“The Christians…” men reply,
Epiphany settl’d serene,
Angels pass across the eye,
“We’ll build a cross of golden sheen
To proud above us fly –
Pure emblem of our rising righteousness!”
“A phantom!” cries fearful Maxentius.
The battle won by Constantine
Who built a finer Rome,
Oer Byzantine, by best design
Rose Forum, Hippodrome,
The Troynavant of Asia, the Palladium’s new home.
The Sack of Rome
Two chieftans leave the palatial table.
Viziers of Visigoth & Vandal,
Agreeing the Empire drifts unstable,
Deluded, thro’ orgiastic scandal;
They fetter’d hands,
“Let’s drain this corpse of blood!”
Then left for native lands, the shar’d fated understood.
First Vandal shakes the verve of Gaul,
Breaks flacid Iberia,
Then sailing seas of silver shoal,
Vanquishes North Africa,
Forcing Rome’s Forum to recall
Forces from Britannia –
In every land men drown in liberty
With growing sense of incredulity.
Portion of that princely bargain
Paid by the Gothic horde,
Some Bedouin roaming sanguine
Bringing Asgard abroad,
Sacking a mighty capital with crimson-hacking sword.