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Greybeard's Poetry

Here is some of my poetry, some pagan-specific, some not.  More to come later...

List of Poems

Invocation to the Winds May the Teacher's Role be Lessoning An Ode to the Moon
A Pagan Fight Song A Bard Begs a Brew Jig for the Stag & Rose  
The Witches' Circle   The Nine Virtues Haiku for the Solstice
If the Germans Could Laugh Like the Irish   Signs of Insignificance Untitled (I Am)
Orange The Thin Kings of Aboutness A Line Has Two Sides

Invocation to the Winds 02.17.00

Spirits of the East, come join us, help us clear our minds;
give to us your springtime strength and share in what we find.
Winds of change, keep blowing evolution from within,
for we would know ourselves, where we are bound and where we’ve been.

Spirits of the South, we seek you, warm our weary hands;
give to us your heat in summer, strengthening our plans.
Fire of life, keep burning revolutions in the soul
for we will need this energy to reach our common goal.

Spirits of the West, come listen, hear our yearning cries;
give to us of autumn’s colors, let us use your eyes
Waters of emotion, keep our well from running low,
for if we are to heal our wounds, we’ve many miles to go.

Spirits of the North, be with us, be our second sight ;
give to us your winter’s rest and protect us with might.
Sacred earth that grounds us, keep us rooted, safe and warm
for we are traveling children who have ventured in the storm.

In our circle, dance and sing, we offer you a tune,
each using of the talents loaned us by the stars and moon,
We come here seeking wisdom and a vision for our times
so that our destinies are reached and none are left behind

In our circle, come and play, we welcome you this night;
each brings a gift to bid you stay, and share with us your light.
We come here seeking passion and a pathway to the heart
so that our dreams are pure and they don’t die before they start

In our circle, laugh and whirl, we wish you blessings here,
each recognizing light within and love both far and near
We come here seeking sustenance and life’s unending song
so each of us will find our place and each one will belong.

In our circle, join with us, we ask of you this thing:
each open heart and eye rejoices in the gifts you bring.
We come here seeking knowledge with a will to understand
so that our deeds can help us save ourselves and save this land.

Return to List of Poems

May the Teacher's Role be Lessoning 02.20.00

Why look outside yourself for guidance?
Why claim there is a "community" when none exists?
Why insist that some be leaders and others followers?

No elder, no true teacher seeks
to become the center of a cult of personality;
Quite the contrary, they avoid it,
knowing that there are many who would seek their path
(wanting a shortcut, wanting to skip their own wandering search)
and who will find the teacher's advice --
the solitary, aloneless of true self --
not to their liking,
and therefore fit for derision.

A true teacher knows that each path is unique;
My telling you what works for me is pointless,
unless you can appreciate its application
in your own action.

A right to be disrespectful may not be a given,
and titles and honorary degrees are often bandied right and left;
Who dares to say that another's path is wrong for them?
Perhaps no one has a right to judge,
but then again, no one has a right to be taught,

As to your assumption that "we are all kin here" --
I do not know you well enough to say if we are related,
but I know my brethren by their deeds,
not words.

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An Ode To the Moon 02.15.00

Oh, vibrant orb that shapes our night
You too, like us, reflect the light
And rest in shadow now and then
But cast your spell on tide and wind

Oh, mistress moon, the darkness break
And show yourself on sea and lake
Behold your beauty from afar
Like us, not earth and not yet star

Oh, queen of time and myst'ry old
Your magick touches to our souls
For like us, you too soon are gone
Leaving just dreams to think upon

Oh, wondrous moon, oh, lady fair
You light our paths through dark despair
So thank you, as you wax and wane
Reminding us of life's long chain.

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A Pagan Fight Song 09.28.99

Won't you gather in the circle and I'll tell you all a tale
Of how the light burns brightly on when earthly powers fail
And of secret ways of magick that might put us all in jail
If the fundamentalists all run the country

In the name of righteous freedoms they'll bring terror to us all
Taking axe to constitution as the mighty oak it falls
And the inquisitioners will soon be lurking in the walls
If the fundamentalists all run the country

There'll be prayer in the schools but hate and judgment in their hearts
Yes, they'll teach creationism and forbid the magick arts
And they surely won't be satisfied until the burning starts
If the fundamentalists all run the country

Oh, they'll prowl each grove and valley 'til they've saved us all from sin
Claiming we're corrupting children and the morals code within
And they'll claim strategic vict'ry with a margin none too thin
If the fundamentalists all run the country

In the streets they'll hang their slogans and they'll paste them in our schools
While they claim that those who challenge them are evil, twisted fools
They'll proclaim the laws of Providence while breaking all His rules
If the fundamentalists all run the country

There'll be talk of faith and glory but they'll tear into bits
Taking ample time to save the wealthy and the hypocrites
And they'll claim the land is holy when the pagan calls it quits
If the fundamentalists all run the country

But they'll never kill the spirit if they try to cut it down
For when free will's gone, religion too will high-tail out of town
And they and their lip service will in holy water drown
If the fundamentalists all run the country

For their plan to cleanse the shadows and restore the human race
Doesn't count on true believers keeping true their sacred place
Seeing deep inside the soul of madness tho' it wears a pretty face
If the fundamentalists all run the country

And we'll rise up the shadows though our numbers may be few
Reaching out to one another each as equals strong and true
Then the mighty patriarchy will be taught a thing or two
Because the fundamentalists don't run the country.

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A Bard Begs a Brew 01.28.00

The night is cold, the winds are out;
There's naught but stars and clouds about,
So if ye would, pull down that spout,
And draw me off a pint of stout.

I'd offer silver, even gold
For brew to cut this bitter cold
It's not a night for man nor beast,
Save for the hops and brewer's yeast...

Alas, my purse is thin and slack,
But lend me coin, I'll pay it back;
Or take in trade my song of mirth,
For it's at least a dollar's worth!

I thank ye kindly in advance,
For stout to drink and pipes for dance
A thousand blessings on this inn...
I'll gladly stop this way again.

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Jig for the Stag & Rose 01.30.00

There once was a tavern of great renown
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non
Where the fae folk gathered at the edge of town
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non

It was run by a rose known as Lady Briar
Hey and a ho and a riddle-de-daisy
Whose heart was as warm as her hearthen fire
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non

And the kindred there would all dance and merry
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non
To partake of the mead and the elderberry
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non

Oh, I sing of the wondrous Stag & Rose
Hey and a ho and a riddle-de-daisy
Where the dance goes on, for they never close
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non

And we welcome friend and we welcome stranger
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non
For a drink and a dance and a friendly wager
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non

Now, the dance goes on and the laughter lingers
Hey and a ho and a riddle-de-daisy
And the fiddler's just warming up his fingers
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non

So, dance ye lassies and all ye maidens
Hey and a ho and a riddle-de-non
For the song's in bloom and will not be fadin'
Hey and a ho and a riddle-de-non

Give a cheer for the Stag & the Rose, ye rev'lers
Hey and a ho and a riddle-de-daisy
May the cheer and the dance go on forever
Hey and a ho and a fiddle-de-non.

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The Witches' Circle 02.11.00

Now come ye ladies and all ye men
And get ye out on the floor again
I ask ye, do you remember when
The witches cast their circle?

'Twas at the hour 'tween dusk and dawn
The moon was bright and the clouds were gone
And fires were blazing out on the lawn
When the witches cast their circle

The winds were welcomed and bid to stay
And each responded and blew their way
While entering in the sacred play
When the witches cast their circle

The earth was cherished, the fire too
And air and water both got their due
The sweet aroma of incense grew
When the witches cast their circle

The Lord and Lady were given praise
For gracing us with their loving ways
And then the power in cone was raised
When the witches cast their circle

We spoke of peace and the coming year
And drawing harmony ever near
The future shone like a lady's mirror
When the witches cast their circle

Then each intention was given new
And toasts were given to me and you
The wine was flowing and laughter grew
When the witches cast their circle

And by the Goddess and God all blessed
The true, the pure and the wilderness,
Each tree and flower, all work and rest
When the witches cast their circle

While each one merried with all their might
The sacred well was shared that night
And wrongs were settled and then put right
When the witches cast their circle

The dawn was breaking across the hill
But mirth and laughter it echoed still
As harming none, each embraced their will
When the witches cast their circle

So come ye ladies and all ye beaus
That come to visit the Stag & Rose
And share unbroken the life that flows
When the witches cast their circle.

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The Nine Virtues 10.07.99

 As we are but travelers here, beneath this sun and sky of sky,
firm rooted to this mount of earth, step gently as your path goes by.  
Remember That beyond the sight, that links us all as kin,
and thankful, lift your voice in praise  to gods without, divine within.

Tho’ we may walk for many miles, the journey is itself an end;
so, when you pause to rest, reflect, and when you can, assist a friend.

Give caution to stray thought of might and careful tend the fire;
for once unloosed, the thoughtless flame knows not between the rose and briar.
Your word is but your only wealth, and as the coin, the source;
spend wisely, know your needs are few, and oft a want may lead to force.

And walk ye proud, but not in spite, resist the urge to shun;
for who among us truly knows when paths are ended, or begun?

Seek out the truth, where it is found, and finding it, rejoice;
and when the darkness hides that truth, give light with steady voice.
Again, give thanks for gifts received, as chance has made them yours;
for when the gift reflects the giver, that is its reward.

As we are but travelers here, take heed to tread a gentle way;
for each step shows a different path where wondrous journeys lay.

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Haiku for the Solstice 06.99

-- for Starlight in Summer

Early morning sun
The gentle mist of green woods
Who would not choose it?

The birds coo and cry
Their songs of warm lit sunshine
Who can help but hear?

Soft breeze across my face
A quiet touch, nature’s kiss
Who would not respond?

The fire in ashes
Scent of thistle, burdock root
Who does not sense it?

Warm light in my beard
The taste of honey sweet lips
Who tries resistance?

The buzz of insect life
Their diligent wings beating
Who still listens there?

Young tender grass sighs
Beneath my careful bare toes
Who does not touch earth?

The rising sky orb
Blesses each and all creature
Who does not belong?

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If the Germans Could Laugh Like the Irish 09.94

If the Germans could laugh like the Irish
artistic, reckless, deep in drunken ambrosial seas
walking wandering paths
cracked looking-glasses upon open hearths

these are the holy fools

if the Irish could laugh like the Germans
deep and still like endless speech-lost oceans
climbing dark and somber mountains
engineered by noble shepherds in the night

these are the gods' architects

if the Germans could laugh like the Irish
warm and gentle heather-swept
greeting quiet morn in song and weeping
in their silent grief

these are the poets of the gods

if the Irish could laugh like the Germans
strong and firm primeval forests
meeting fading suns in song and building
in the their silent sleep

these are the holy dreamers

if the Germans could laugh like the Irish
if the Irish could laugh like the Germans
if the earth they both in reverence worship
high above the sea could hear

these are the gods' ploughmen

if the Irish could laugh like the Germans
if the Germans could laugh like the Irish
beside their stoves in winter's hold
in valley deep and mountain high
in morning's fog and evening's cool
with awesome joy and mirthsome fearlessness

these are the storytellers of the gods.

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Signs of Insignificance

This poem was composed after an epiphany that Christianity was not my path...

On the road to Damascus, an ordinary man
Was struck by an act of small significance to its originator:
If death has no power over us,
If there is no basis for our fear in reaching the last page
Why does the crucifixion trouble us?

It was just another piece of the puzzle,
Of the proof of genius

That not out of desire for martyrdom, but simply
As a matter of course that, naturally, no one would understand
It was necessary to take the next insignificant step:

A mustard seed, one solitary fig tree along the path,
A shoelace not fit to be tied, diluted wine for a wedding,
Some leftover bread and fish;

Two thieves rehabilitated through asphyxiation,
The confusion of a dictator's resident manager,
The testing for intelligence beyond their own by
Men of accepted learning & acumen.

How can a prophet be accepted at home?

Are we all so ordinary, so dull, so insignificant?

Or is it that we fear being left behind when genius accepts our limitations
And finds other food

That we know not of?

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Untitled (I Am)

Written upon recognizing the timeless nature of the Divine within and around us all

Slouching there against a plate glass window
on the corner of northeast somewhere and now,
while the broken wind caresses ambitions
of hurricane press and six figure damage,
watching the shadows cast aside their Guy of Brisbane cloaks
and fence possessed against the light,
as old men, their carburetors oxidized by sweet eroding time
and the haunting entropy of civilized counting
shuffle slowly past, recycling memories and bauxite ore,
singing softly under shallow breath of foreign tastes
and lost forbidden pleasures,

I am.

Rising up against the foaming inside curl
as the bitter sea lays its roughened hands ashore,
while the thick and sensual air breathes out
in slow and tempting sirens' fragments,
watching the shadows throw aside their tattered sails
and whip relentless in the night,
as old men, their bellows losing waterproof to time
and its slow sedimentary sanding
watch through the fog, recalling mysteries and days of yore,
singing bravely all the cowards' songs
that comfort lost and gone,

I am.

Before the first, I am.
After the last, I am.

All that is, I am.


not to imply that you don't, she said, care about poetry,
to which i replied, you're right, it's not the poetry that means anything,
but the life that leads to it -

like an orange, which could be a mandarin, tangerine, tangelo, color, mood, or aura.
like an orange, which in its microcosmic sense, is a bumpy circle which meets in a navel and finds its way back 'round again;
like an orange, which can suffer greatly from an early frost;
like an orange, which often bruises in its fall from the tree;
like an orange, which hides its sweet and tender meat tucked safe inside a bitter shell;
like an orange, which lets itself be squeezed, its juice drained off and bottled up;
like an orange, which blends its anger red and hot with the warmth and mellow glow of sunshine;
like orange, which in flame, is where the black and white lights meet;
like an orange, which could represent the antithesis of the apple, which some say eve found quite appealing.

the orange represents

gut reaction,
first impression,
and life

the apple represents

bookish learning,
bribery, and ultimately

not to say you don't, i think, care about the power of life and living,
but, to spend time over books comparing fruits and poetry means no growth for the poem's seed.

It's a metaphor for life, i want to say to you:

There's no orange for the teacher
Moms don't produce orange pies
There's no worm inside the orange
And no orange of my eye,

But life is like an orange,
for to be most happ'ly lived
you cannot core it like an apple
but must squeeze it in a sieve.

In the East the holy man wears orange
and in fact, it's true -
the sound sung by the universe
is orange in its hue.

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The Thin Kings of Aboutness

Part I

backward broken pushed against the known,
each awaiting defamation,
two armies fought and fled their thin kings
waiting down among the rushes

forward spoken harsh against the wind,
each a summons hoarse men whispered
plans and expectations lost are we to blame
the thin kings' ponds were stirring

inwards driven quick against the mark,
each an inchlet close to dying
hopis lost and raiders of the damned sing
for the thin kings' fateful pushes

outward spoken quick against the door,
each awaiting degradation
two armies raised and wasted time until
the thin kings planned the battle.

Part II

the thin kings of aboutness sought
to subjugate the realm of thought,
and 'gainst the nothing that they fought
the void and emptiness they brought.

of when and what the why became
the struggle birthed from whence they came:
one blind, one deaf, one mute, one lame -
the thin kings and their sorrowed fame.

the thin kings of aboutness yearned
to separate the great unlearned;
and 'gainst the grip of death they turned
the fire of life, and so were burned.

of which and who the where becomes
the battle spawned from endless drums:
one great, one small, one burst, one dumb -
the thin kings and their kingdom come.

Part III

the ink spilled swift and held itself
as nothing kept its silent vow;
letters cowered as the pages dressed
the thin kings in their shining raiment.

wordless crept the secret cause
as something slept in silent death;
whispers shivered as the horses swept
the thin kings through the alleys raining.

the crowd stood murmured and beheld
as nothing stood and spoke parables;
betters glowered as the gates pressed
the thin kings up against their subjects.

worthless wept the one lament
as something passed in hurtful bliss;
lepers wondered as the healers sought
the thin kings in their broken armor.

Part IV

in winter's cold and bitter debt
the mistress learns her alphabet
to write of sorrows unfelt yet
until the thin kings she'll forget

too soon the memory fades, she knew
the trumpets blown the wind it blew
and who remembers then? too few
the thin kings and their kingdom, too.

release me from this hardened shell
outside into the fires of hell
for I've a riddle yet to tell
the thin kings and their tolling bell.

a riddle, yes, perhaps a tale
of riders, horses, crop and flail
of frozen rain turned into hail
and hands forgotten with their nail.

the answer sought the lonely kings
beyond the gallows where they swing
yet not a one could bear to bring
their focus on the ghastly thing.

Return to List of Poems

A Line Has Two Sides 10.05.99

A commentary on boundaries and our perceptions thereof...

We sit & stare across the line,
Our words drawn as sacred weapons,
Ever at the ready
For our defense occur

This worthy line the boundary marks,
Its edge unblurred & razor sharp;
We know its breadth & height & length,
For it is ours and ours alone,

Our palaces and cities we have built,
Along its
& many watchful nights,
In guarding,
Lest the line

It clearly illustrates the limits,
Defines us with its reach;
There is no question
Cannot resolve by its presence

we stare & sit across the line,
our symbols drawn as ancient hexes,
should the need
or quick attack arise.

this cursed line our limit marks,
its edge a cruel & hardened knife;
its size & shape & form are known,
for it has kept us here.

great wondrous walls we have placed
separating cleft,
many watchful nights we spend
in moving,
be crossed.

it clearly illustrates the boundary,
& enslaves us with its reach;
that the line
cannot bring but pain & sorrow.

We sit & wonder at the line,
Our thoughts filled with division,
Ever at the ready
Outweigh superstitious caution

This blessed line the crossing marks,
Its edge as straight & true as time;
We know its breadth & height & length,
We have had time to measure it

We watch each palace & great city built,
Against this separating cleft,
For many watchful years,& hoped
In vain, for the line to blur,

It clearly illustrates a boundary,
& enables us to dream beyond;
There is no question that has not been answered,
On one side or the other,

we sit & look across the line,
our eyes, unblinking, check for movement,
should the need
& offense arise.

this worthy line the boundary marks,
its edge unblurred & razor sharp;
its size & shape & form are known
for neither we nor it has moved.

the wondrous walls of our great works
into its separating cleft,
while many watchful nights we spent
in guarding, lest it be despoiled.

it clearly illustrates the limits,
defining us with its reach;
but if we all should blink at once
would it move?

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This site last updated:  21 Aug 2003 12:05 PM -0500