Free to Wander

A number of weeks ago Jane Dougherty and I did what I like to call “dueling poetry” on Twitter. Where one person starts with a micro-poem or Haiku and another (or more) write follow up pieces. Loosely linked micro-poems (or Haiku) that can develop in ways one never imagined – each feeding off the words of the other. I have take a few bits of what I wrote, developed and with some rearranging and re-writing have come up with the following short dark poem. Do also take a look at Jane’s WordPress Blog for poetry and books.

Distorted Dreams

Despair walks alone in pouring rain
Guided by distorted dreams and pain
Searching evermore in shadows
Thirsting for the blood of those lost

Spirits free to wander in twilight
Bodies shed in a forgotten blight
Husks ploughed deep into furrows
Cast aside to feed the dark abyss

At Death’s door souls mingle
Forsakened messengers linger
Harpies sing a mournful lament
While banshees remain silent

Copyright © 2015 Shawn D. Standfast. All rights reserved.

The etching below is “Harpies in the infernal wood,” from Inferno XIII, by Gustave Doré, 1861.

Harpies in the infernal wood, from Inferno XIII, by Gustave Doré, 1861

Where Time Stands Still

This week’s poem for Facebook Group: Poetry in Motion.

The Colour of Time

Every morning it’s the colours I see first
I look out my window and see this world
There’s no colour where time stands still
Without time there’s only back and white

You are the very first guest I have ever had
The very first since, well since time began
I sit here and watch the universe pass by
I love the colours and how they move

I have watched your world form from dust
I watched as life began to grow and spread
I was there when your species walked upright
Moved over the surface of this shinning world

I was there at the first glimmer of civilisation
At the Fall of Troy and the rise of Rome
I was with you in every war and every disaster
I have followed every plague and every scourge

Yes, I was there each and every time
I was also here protected from time
You doubt me; I see it in your eyes
You think I’m mad or you’re dreaming

I have often wondered what a dream looks like
But I assure you if this is a dream it is not yours
I see many questions forming in your mind
Sit down; we have all the time in the world

Yes sit down and we’ll have food and refreshments
Food prepared by finest chefs that have ever lived
The best wine prepared from ancient vineyards
I will be your host and answer all your questions

What is that? You want to know who I am
I beg your pardon, I’ve forgotten my manners
It is a new experience for me – having a guest
I’m Death Incarnate and I’ve claimed your soul

Copyright © 2015 Shawn D. Standfast. All rights reserved.

The Colour of Time


This week’s poem (a 5 line Tanka) for the Facebook Group Poetry in Motion, a word prompt, DEATH:

Dreams have departed
Ending time’s fickle embrace
A far arena
Thoughts set adrift in twilight
Hushed words fade with every breath

Copyright © 2015 Shawn D. Standfast. All rights reserved.

No One Left by Our Side

A poem of the horrors and brutality of World War One…

Where Once Stood Men

Fledgling thoughts murmur in the distance
Whispering with rolling thunder and fear
Pouring rain, seen but rarely heard
Tears, mourning a future that will never be

Lights flash, tearing through darkness
Thoughts turn to wives and sweethearts
Gas clouds roll in, creeping over the land
Shells expose shadows as all run for cover

A red mist hangs where once stood a man
Bloody boots and feet are all that remain
Breathing in vapour, blood, bone and sinew
His life blood mingles with yours

Footsteps sink deep into mud and men
Shells explode all round, a deafening thunder
Comrades fall, their cries felt but never heard
Torn apart and scattered before your eyes

Nostrils fill with a sickly sweet stench
Of rotting flesh, gunpowder and smoke
Hovering in the air, clinging to skin and mind
A lingering memory that never fades

Alone in no man’s land, no one left by your side
Memories of a village dance steady shaking hands
Heart races as fear steers and adrenaline guides
Moving forward with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

Flesh, blood and men trampled into mud
A heavy price paid for King and Country
From the dead and dying death collects his due
They will never to their scattered bodies go*

Blood soaked the earth and generations to come
Dreams lost, discarded or simply left behind
Down through the years the survivors followed
Until, like no man’s land, no one is left by our side

*Adapted from the line: “Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go” by John Donne in his Holy Sonnet VII: At The Round Earth’s Imagined Corners

Copyright © 2014 Shawn D. Standfast. All rights reserved.