Category Archives: Poet’s Corner

In Babylon

Babylon 001

In Babylon


From Eden to the land of Nod

Cain went under the curse of God,

            The man who knew no pity;

And having slain his brother found

An unoffending spot of ground

            And builded him a city.


Then brick on brick and stone on stone

He raised a tower of his own,

            Full fit to be a prison;

Now walled within he stands despising

This bondage of his own devising

            And wonders how it’s risen.


Now glass and girders, steel, cement

Assail the stars and firmament

            Till he has near forgot them;

Now earth, air, water, hills, and trees

Become the chattel (he believes)

            Of those who’ve paid and bought them.


In Babylon where rivers run

Hot as serpents in the sun,

            Cold as souls of misers,

Upon the ladder’s lowest rung

My people’s harps and hearts were hung

            As prey for advertisers.


And they were taught with deft aplomb

To scale the heights; they clawed and clomb

            And nearly touched the heavens.

So sapped of all humanity

And flush with fell urbanity,

            They eat their bread with leaven


Where bleak barrages pounce from perches

Over streets, and cable searches

            Homes with hooks and talons;

Where baited pleasures lead the lured

Down precipitous paths insured

            By congressmen and felons.


 In Babylon did Genghis Khan

Turn profits on the White House Lawn,

            Then ringing up the churches

He called a meeting of the Board

To barter for their Golden Hoard

            And hanged them by their purses.       


In Babylon where I was born

My wings were clipped, my locks were shorn,

            And I was made the target

Of researchers and analysts

And celebrated panelists

            Who put me on the market.


And now that I’ve been marked and sold

It seems my story’s all been told

            For those who’ve ears to hear it;

So marvel not nor weep for me

But get thee to a nunnery

            Or lose both soul and spirit.

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Moonset 2 001

I watched the full moon set behind a hill:

Its circle lightly rested on the crest,

Then dipped its disc beneath the brown earth’s brow

And swiftly slipped away to take its rest.


The sun arose and roused himself and shook

A shower of sudden light, a blinding spray

Of fresh-cut morning thunder from his mane;

Hillsides flared green and yellow fingers lay


Across their velvet flanks, and ran in streams

Of gold and golden green, uphill, against

All natural law, until they touched the peaks

And leaped across the greening fields unfenced.


The mustard and the lupine jumped for joy

In the muster of the light.   A blackbird chimed

A silver note from each black, barren tree

And chortled as the sun began to climb.

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The Song of the Stone, Part Two

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The Song of the Stone, Part Two


But Ernmas’ daughter, Morrigu,

Crafty Anand, cruel, untrue,

Took up the quarrel with princely Lugh

And rose in stormy mutiny

When Ith, with all the sons of Mil,

Came oversea to raze and kill,

And Ollamh made of Lia Fail

The exiled Stone of Destiny.


“It must depart,” he said.  “Its fate

Lies not with us.  I’ll not debate

The point with you.  Or soon or late,

To Inisfail it’s going:

Out past the twilight’s shimmering shore,

Out through the sunset’s glimmering door,

Where boiling oceans simmering pour

Down cliffs beyond all knowing.


“A thousand years of sorrowing,

A thousand troubles borrowing,

A thousand curses harrowing

We brought on all we cherish

When Gathelus, inflamed with greed,

Usurped the Stone to serve his need,

His wants to fill, his lusts to feed –

We right his wrong or perish.”


He turned away; she stormed and flew,

She raved and ranted, croaked and crew;

To Tory’s fastness she withdrew

Where giants keep the portals.

But Lia Fail passed out of Meath,

And Faerie slipped away beneath

The softness of the hills and heath,

Invisible to mortals.


And now she keeps her vigil keen

And rules the Sidhe as tyrant-queen,

Watching town and hill and green,

To all the world an Enemy;

Thus to and fro she sends her spies

And scans the earth with hungry eyes

Seeking desperately the prize –

The fabled the Stone of Destiny.


But if the ancient tales tell true,

The Fomor and the Morrigu

Must one day gnash their teeth and rue

The schemes of their devising;

For though at length they seize and bind it,

The Stone will crush them when they find it,

Leaving their shattered bones behind it,

Glorious in its rising.


As air beneath the water’s flow

Must bubble upward, even so

The heaven-born to heaven must go

To find a place of rest.

The Stone that fell from sky to earth

Cannot remain within the girth

Of narrow nature:  true to its birth,

It seeks the utmost West.


And there beyond the sea and sky,

Where hopes and fears and sorrows die

And cast-off dreams slip gently by

To join the day’s descending,

Shall Lia Fail pass into light

Of golden sun and silvery night,

Where children of the Second Sight

Discern the joy unending.


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The Song of the Stone, Part One

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The Song of the Stone

 (From The Stone of Destiny)


Beyond the wall of sea and sky,

Where hopes and fears and sorrows die

And cast-off dreams slip gently by

To join the day’s descending,

An island green laughs in the light

Of golden sun and silvery night,

Unveiling to the Second Sight

A joy that’s never ending.


There, where the sun goes down to sleep

Below the cellars of the deep

And fairy folk and angels keep

A vigil o’er its fires;

Out past the waves, beyond the pale

Of Circling Stream, where white ships sail,

Under the shade of Inisfail

End all the heart’s desires.


A piece of heaven touched the ground

At Heaven’s Gate, where Jacob found

A Pillow Stone, and to the sound

Of Seraphs on the stair

He laid him down and watched his dreams

Fly up to where the starlight gleams;

But when he woke, those golden beams

Had vanished into air.


Bold Gathelus, King Cecrops’ son,

In Egypt’s land where rivers run

Stretched out his hand to seize the Stone

From Israel in Goshen.

With Scota, his betrothed bride,

He dragged it over deserts wide

To Spain, far over the heaving tide

Of the dividing ocean.


There on Brigantium’s sea-swept coast

He built a kingdom on the boast

That he must reign to uttermost

Who claimed as his possession

This ancient talisman of power;

But in a late and evil hour

An enemy flung down his tower:

He fled with his obsession.


Then over the deeps in ships they flew,

Gathelus’ Danaan crew,

Breaching boundaries old and new,

Seeking the final shore;

From Falias and Gorias

To Finias and Murias,

And last to Eire’s sea of grass

Beyond the great Muir Mor.


They landed on the mountain’s head

In clouds and smokes of fiery red

And filled the Fomor with a dread

Of all that’s bright and fair.

On Tara’s plain they set the Stone,

And over it they raised a throne,

That it might roar and shriek and moan

Beneath the king’s true heir …


(To be continued)