The Web Poetry Corner
The Web Poetry Corner
York, England, UK
If you have comments or suggestions for Dawn Hogarth-Burton, you can contact this author at:
firstname.lastname@example.org+ (Dawn Hogarth-Burton)
Find a book store near you, no matter where you are located in the U.S.A.!
...the best independent ISP in the Twin Cities
Song of the Morrigan
The war arrow stuck deep in the wall
And the armies mustered force,
Warriors glinted metal
And the moiling host came forth
O Cu Chulain! The war steeds tramp
Their hooves across every court
And how I fear you will be
Snuffed from existence like a torch
For you spurned my help and I
Am powerless now to aid you.
How it chills me to see the great
Gathering of the black crows.
Now, once begun, the waiting's rent
The acid in my throat gone,
The sun gleams on your shoulder brooch
Like the glittering of a sconce.
I catch my breath at each
Stumble by the flowing river,
Knowing no matter the end here
I will hold you in my heart forever.
How my pulse races on,
How wracked by danger do I feel,
Watching the men of Ulster die,
How they stagger, sway and reel.
Then with the stealth of nightmare
What I feared, I see -
I silver blade stabs upwards.
Your bowels drape your knees
For your time is come
I come also from my peak
I perch upon the blood-dashed brooch
You turn - we're nose to beak.
O Cu Chulain with your spear held tight
To brace you against the boulder
That you may die standing upright
With me upon your shoulder,
See how the Grey of Macha weeps
Hooves spread wide in the bloody mire
And the life-force of the young men
Seeps through the soil in a slimy tide.
All eyes on you, Cu Chulain
Your enemies offer water,
No glory lights their faces,
No pleasure derives from slaughter.
I feel the wind tugging my feathers,
I feel the force within you falter.
The warriors stand expectantly to
See peace in the Hound of Ulster.
The spear drops. I hear it clatter,
I lurch as your body drops
Yet you are half standing still
With your back against the rock.
I spread my wings. The warriors move
Their eyes to me as if to say,
Forgive us men who slay the brave.
I crow once...
Then I fly away.
Wolfstorm - Hymn to Fenris
The clouds knot hands in a darkening sky
Grey and wrath-spiked hackles rise
Great yellow disks wince
Saliva flecks in the howling wind.
The trees bend in unison
Now the Wolfstorm has begun
And rising now in ages' pain
His shoulders ruffle in the lashing rain
He takes in air and grinds it out
In a low blood-chilling howl
Mighty Lord of Wolves, his bane
He shakes, his cursed magic chain
The cord that tethers him to bide
Imprisoned for eternal time.
He heaves at the god-wrought chain
That tightens in his matted mane
Light rakes down the raging clouds
Then comes again the shuddering howl
Of an innocent god in a timeless hold
Seething in the storm, his whole
Strength pitted to snap the line
To reap his destiny, bring his time.
In howling rage he seeks his birth
To wander on the Earth
Sable trousers tugged
By a soft cat's-paw breeze
Alert, a roadside sentinel
Cocking a clever head
Surveying all the living
While seeking out the dead
Past months ago I saw your
Legions on the wing
Many scores, so many flying
High on Western winds
Tight chevrons of darkness
Wave after wave and I
Stood and counted many
As the twilight dimmed the sky
I'd never seen a sight like that
Tell me, where did they go
What draws a sable curtain
An army of black crows?
Tell me, roadside valkyrie
In your husky calls
What mission drew your legions
And what power do you serve?
Down, down we dive too deep
Begging sanctuary from the fickle waves
We held our breath. The charge bit hard
The plane, before, had seen our shape.
My closed eyes see Lorient
The sun on gleaming sea
The pennants on the periscope,
The Admiral on the quay
But here I cannot feel my hands
From gripping, knuckles white
A grating as we come to rest
Sharp fear spears my mind.
Now there's water underfoot
Every brow glistens
We wait for the tell-tale sound
And every ear listens.
I'll never breathe fresh air again
Nor see a sunlit sky
We neither hope nor fool ourselves -
Today's the day we die;
There's a frisson running through the men
Laced with fear, the hush
Expectant in the sparking light...
Then ASDIC gravels round the hull.
Panic rolls the boat length
Like a rotten egg it bursts
Among the crew in a sharp
Tirade of tears and oaths
Now the steady booming comes
Close, so close - I clench my teeth
She cannot take this pressure long.
Rivets burst. The boat leaks.
Escape cannot be contemplated
Cacophanised darkness shrouding
Prematurely as the waters rise
An officer speaking calmly
The lurch as the boat shifts
Pained metal screaming
The last things I know of this world
As the stench of chlorine frees me.
Phantom of a Northern Night
You smacked me in the face
In the kitchen doorway
And I stood, two teacups
In my hand, transfixed.
It is 20 years since I saw you
Yet here you wave, pale and silent.
Before you the ash tree throws
Kracken tentacles in the coming storm,
Serpent boughs probe and nose the night
The rain beats the glass but I do not break
My stare - you are too rare to
Turn from,white aurora, revolving your
Upstretched arms in a eurhythmy of the
Ethereal phantom of a Northern night.
I thought of you this evening
When halted by a sun
Crimson on the skyline, washing
Clouds with seething fury
Your words were in my head
And I could see the waving grass
From my childhood, from the 70's
And I swear I heard your voice
The sun was slipping downward
I could not move. I was locked
By the deathwish in your poem
And the magic of your words.
Beneath a cloudless sky
I examine stones in tufted grass
Between crosses clumped like fungi
Until I find your name, and rest.
Thoughts of you have returned
Year on year, incessant waves
A quiet repeating beat that questioned
But the witnesses are gone, or are lost
They left the forest, slipped behind a fallen wall
Or iron curtain that drew back too late
And though this stone bears your name
You are far from this beautiful place
You are somewhere that surpasses this
Where despair and the thunder of guns
Have ceased and peace surrounds you
Safely in the spiral mantle of time.
"Now! Now! Now!" you scream
And the door swings open
Out you dart in a flurried stream and like
A black-backed bullet you
Click-clack through the cat-flap
In an elegant pause you sniff
The blue night then pounce through the yarrow
And its little ridge-back seeds
Past foxgloves nodding in their sleep
You skirt the ivy, the pale-edged leaves
A-quiver like the wing of a giant
You stretch to the message twigs
Mouth half open, eyes half shut
You sniff and stand stock still to summon
Your energy for the Lovecraftian leap
That will fold you into the deepening night.
We saw the survivors
Standing in the heather
Cocking red surviver eyebrows
They told us to "Go back!"
But we climbed the moor
To the rocky outcrops
Paths watery , half ice
At the top of Simon's Seat
And all the while they watched
From ling, from boulder, from wall
"Go back! Go back!" they called
And laughed under a fret of fog.
But the Seat was silent
Threw its immense cloak around us
Wrapped us in its wet brooding
Shielded all below from sight.
We descended through snow pockets
Sandy, silty meltmud over boot-tops
And through the mist the voices
Of the heroes rose, "Go back!"
There it lay between the
Hawthorne lines, corralled,
A potent power all a-move
A sinuous dancer rippling
On the purer side of wanton
Mesmerising in the spring light,
An orchestrated melee of
Fertility in motion,
A great pale blanket
Of soft strands swaying like
Dancing green sargasso,
Tossing seductive long-haired
Heads in a communal
A sensuous whispering bow
From the Sun God.
In that gestalt horror, the great
Flash and thunder of power, fury and wrath
Did you see your demise, your fall in
That sweeping lurch? And what did you grasp for?
Some renouncing of darkness, a grey
Mitigation as you plummeted as lightning?
Did you grieve for eons for salvation
For Paradise, lost, and what oaths did you swear
Before you cast your eyes on the daughters of Eve?
Dark Heart, was it comfort you sought?
And did you spew your spawn between
Mortal thighs and seal your fate by another sigil
And when earthly mist, like a veil, pulled away
Did you slip from them as soft as a serpent's hiss?
Is there comfort enough in a mortal kiss?
And how will we hide the hybrid race?
Will they walk among men and subtly
Outshine their mortal peers?
Dark Heart, with your symbol cut in the circle
Do you yearn still for return? Is there hope yet
Or has hope grown cold?
Salvation is the only pathway home
Where the symbol is cut deep into the stone
And exile will last till the stone is sand
By your lust you throw in your lot with man.
Dance of Dusk
The night wrapped
Grey swaddling around me
There was nothing
Else to hold me
But the breeze
Swept the scent of lilac
In heavy folds, drenching
Spun the candle
Flame, whirled it
On its wick.
I stood alone
And my shadow
The swinging of the barley heads
Above their brown and fecund bed
Heralds a mission in the sky
Waving at the fading golden eye
I arch my back
I spread my wings
The ozone in the air stings
My eyes, forces the clouds up high
To team together, block the sun
To threaten the pitiful world of man
The great proud glare's beseiged now
By glowering iron-fisted clouds
That march over the rookery
And taunt me with their mockery
The air now is growing thick
The trees pained like broken sticks
Crouch before the oncoming might
That darkens the day like hot midnight
The first raindrops audible
Ring the rocks like flashing bells
Hail on granite, landscape whitening
Virgin vales raped by lightning
A million, million singing drops
Tear down to Middle Earth and stop,
Asail the seething river, bound
In union to the thunder sounds
How the light stab-stabs and how
My wings detect the time is now
I leave my granite eyrie high
And fly exhalted in Thunor's sky
The steadied rain pelts me
Sable feathers glisten as I
Glide through the heavens
The thunder sounds growl all around
As though at last the storm has found
The purpose of my ecstacy
And realised expectany
Freed, the golden light leaks
Emblazons the darkened peaks
Through the knotted cloud it breaks
In streams like a gilden gate
And as I glide between the girders
It shawls a god-fire round my shoulders
No net can catch me in this space
No arrow find me in my grace
Swirling silent, heart on fire
Mated to this savage ire
For I, I am the feathered friend
Of Ragnarok, the Gods' own end
Swirling high over the fields of gold
Know you, I am Thunor's Storm Crow
Half A Lifetime
If I touch this dried leaf
Curled and clawed like dead vermin
And run my finger down
It's dessicated spine
That is where that night
Would be; I could fold
My life in half, crease it
Crisply on a misty eve
That folded me into
The longest night of my life.
But I survived
I survived while this leaf died
Rots to a filigree and
Returns to earth
And year after year
Autumn leaves, drift after drift
Yearn for the earth
For peace, to slip into somnolence.
And year after year
Mist after mist
That night is further like a receding shore
Whose treacherous lights wink
Forever to remind me.
On A Northern Base
Someone bowled the thunder moon
It sprang up over the hedgerows
Rolled like a dozy bee, over
Meadows, against a leaden backdrop
Willowherb stood rank upon rank
Speared towards one of those steely skies
That only ever veil an English July
We spoke of Leslie, dead with his WingCo
A lost crew in the Whitley in the tight lips of the sea
The roar of jets ripped the sky apart
Dragged sound like aural ploughs
Grunting flesh inserts in their anti-G suits
Hurtled on a practice mission
Towards the co-ordinates of nothing
And when the silence returned the moon had silvered
Massive and full, beaming over the fields, while
Winking in the backdrop was the
Flickering eye of Mars, poised above
The twitching willows in
A milky drift of stars.
Did You Know Me?
I pray you can hear me, little one
Your form stretched out
Dark orbs stare but there
Is a subtle flame in the blinkless
Pools of pupil.
What I would give if I
Could turn back this last week
And live it again holding you.
Nothing prepared me for this,
This aching pain gave no hint of its magnitude
As it lurked in your empty corner
Ready to spring.
I hear you. You are gone but I hear you still
And oh, what I would give to know
That you knew me in those final hours.
Your long claws grasped the vet's hand
But when I bent to hold you, did you
Know that it was me?
Though you lay unblinking your
Ears were pricked. Did you know my voice?
I promised I would return!
I have lain you down where the berries are,
Where the violets will come in the spring,
Your little hide-away where you spent
Many summer hours, watching, sleeping.
I truly believe you did not suffer. It is I
That bear that burden. What I would give
To know I will stroke you again one day and hear
Your tractor-engine purr, feel your claws
Tugging at me as you knead away.
Be at peace in Spirit.
And I pray I will
Hold you again some day.
The dull ache of dawn does
Not show yet.
The birds are voiceless.
I must wait these hours through,
Like a team of weary oxen I
Must plod through this
Window of time
Dragging the plough of
Midnight in Los Angeles
Lagging eight hours in the past.
A crisp winter morning will
Usher you into my day
Into this little timespan but
Until the dim light I can
Only wait for you with
Stinging eyes and open arms
And kinship in my heart.
Hellfire! Sin and Damnation!
This is my fault!
Why couldn't you have waited?
There is something you do not know.
You have fallen like the thundering night
Pitched into pain and darkness
And how my stomach lurched when
You touched my heart and
I will hold that moment in me forever.
Listen. Do you hear the
Thunder tumble overhead?
Can you hear where you are now?
And what can I do but
Kneel here, too late, to
Stroke your soft hair and your
Beautiful face as you pass from life.
You are cold and still.
Could I have stayed you, had you known?
I would have bent my head down
On your shoulder and sworn an oath to you.
Too late. Do you see yourself
Laid here, where you died in vain
Battling someone else's street fight?
You should have let it go
You should have stayed and
Let me feed my hopes in your
Heart like a priestess.
This floor is cold. If you can
Reach through the veil to me...
Reach even as the sirens wail,
Before the lightning comes again
I will carry your last moment within,
I will seek to make losing you
Count for some worthwhile thing.
Your words have weight and power
They nestle in the frontal lobes
Like large, dark stones, like
House bricks rubbed to smoothness
By ceaseless attrition of oceans.
You Taught Me
You taught me to tread gently
To place stilettos down amid celandines
Avoiding red-tailed bumble-bees searching for nest sites
You taught me words in musical tongues
Read me poems of such despair they froze
My heart. You always could nip out
Compassion like a hoar frost.
You also taught me to hate.
The Blackthorn Winter is late this year
Hedges trimmed too close are still in pearl and
On a red sea of your teachings I will wait
For their brave white starlets
For you taught me patience
Oh, age upon age of patience
Ring upon concentric ring of brooding.
You also taught me to hate.
You taught me to appreciate beauty
To stand back and truly see
To see, to feel with the nerve ends
Right down to the root-tips.
You told me to never forgive.
You also taught me to hate.
This morning I watched the yellow dawn
Break through the pear bloom
Tracing windswept blossom where waxy
White violets stood sentinel in swathes
And where a wren cursed me from the dogrose
I heard echoes of your venom where
You taught me to hate.
I am so utterly moved
I am breathless
Your form is so clear
Details outlined with
Encrustations like rippling rime
And seemingly intact!
For decades you lay as
Sands folded back and forth over you
Allied to the guns that raked you
They stopped your thunder.
Two did not
They are not within
And my doubts are gone
You should return to the world
Of light and air, rise to a
Tumult of voices
Ringing over a foreign land.
For now, crabs fold pincers
Turn stalk-eyes on new intruders
Fish weave though mechanisms
Long past use. Starfish lie
Spreadeagled, oblivious to the fuss.
But there are plans for you
Sleeping beauty, with your
Sylphlike body and shoulder pads
Do your dreams in Kentish waters
Reflect that you are found?
Seventy years have come and gone
Do you even know who won?
Or that of all your brethren
You're now the priceless only one?
Ragged tear of white winter sunset
Weakly glows over fleeces
Of drifted hump-backed snow
The silence is broken by
A single, tiny bird
Shrilling from the topmost stripes
Of a banded silver birch
Back to the Ridge
You are with me again and
I welcome you
Despite the darkness you wrap
Around us both, the weight,
Always this same dark ridge
Always the same ochre sky
Always the black trees straining
In the storm light.
I do not know this place
But I can guess it and
Each heartwrenching time
You wash my face in your tears
You turn back to the trees
Watching and waiting
Watching and waiting
Waiting for all these years
Your mind a maelstrom contorting
Trapped in a torturing torus of
Guilt and grief
Over all those lives
All the consequences of an action
Of a non-action
Of balancing on a tightrope that
After all this time
You have never left
Though you fell and took
So many years before
Leave the windbreak to lash in the dusk
As this weird half light silhouettes you
Turn back this way and whatever
Comfort I can give you -
Far flung entity
For so very long
Unknown to man
The perturbing colossus of
Bane of your tranquility,
Bamboozles you while
Opik-Oort cloud bodies
Dislocate from the horde and pass as
Tailless smudges or
More sharply graze
The Eridian night.
Their pilgrimage is to
What to you must remain
The legendary Sun,
Tiny, tiny no-light of life
A gravitational fable
Swathed somewhere near the Centre
In dust and myth
So far away that night and day
Are lifeless, lightless
But caught in its clutches
You are ever bound and faithful.
There once was a dream of Scottish halls
And hope of an open British door.
Once there was a mystery pilot
Who, one spring, in the scent of lilac
On the tenth evening of May
Dropped down into the Scottish hay.
Who really knew the full truth?
He told several porkies about his route
Up and down the radar flying
Low over a holy island
He knew the RAF were prowling
And, spooked, we nearly sent for Crowley.
We expected Goering but here was our man
He brought with him Haushofer's calling card,
This man who had posed with Riefenstahl
And slipped in over the British shore.
He dropped in his tale a couple of clangers
He may have set off from Stavanger
And the little plane that sought its haven
May have been from Udet's Nachtgeschwadern.
This right hand man came here to talk peace
And a poet said he was Hitler's niece,
Conspiracy theories were sung and heard
Then we ousted him over to Nuremberg
And even when he was old and frail
He was kept alone in Spandau jail.
A file remains unopened and secrets are untold
But the world still awaits the truth that will unfold.
We can only wait and take a stab with an educated guess
For it's time we had an answer to the riddle of Rudolf Hess.
I watched her stalk the promenade
In amazing skintight trousers
Oblivious to admiring looks and
The interest she was rousing.
They saw her approach and preened
And gathered round in hope
She glided through them like the prow
Of a mighty ship through jetsam
Left them looking after her
Downcast and rejected.
Sable satin flying
Stretching your form
Of elastic muscle
Between the tumult
Of cheers or through
A Yorkshire lea
Black lightning, your
Body a compact
Dynamo of shining strength
Muscle and sinew tensing,
Relaxing, hooves throwing
Wet green sods.
Midnight stallion, one cold
October night you prick
Your ears and clear
A final hurdle and
Race on unheeding
Emblazoning your ebony beauty
Like whispered thunder
Through an Autumn sky.
The Letter - Ode to FM von Kluge
There wasn't just the dark, the light
The dawn, the day, dark Nazi night
There were not just the winds that blew
Like you, Field Marshall, hot and cold.
The meadows and the dappled woods
The streams, the fresh air you so loved
The silver of the birch that may
Dither in the wind, and sway.
Is that where your great blue eyes
Would gaze at German fields and skies
Your tender soul within its shell -
Undecided, a chameleon.
You came out refreshed, no fear of Patton
You were going to break eggs with your baton
Was there much of a cheery smile
When you visited your front lines?
Pressure. Sweat. Time ticked fast.
The fuse was lit, the die were cast.
Your piebald heart flickered, leapt.
How well did you swim when you lost your depth?
The boom! The bang! The aftermath!
Vengeance struck - a bloodbath!
And you weren't where you were meant to be
The Fuhrer raged, tended to see
A traitor in each pause for breath,
Meted out sentences of death.
Mists of trouble clouded the blue
Eyes, fingers pointed at you.
The hunting hounds! The bugle blew,
You swayed each way and then He knew.
The hounds close in - He sacks you -
A tight, tight grip on the capsule!
You got in the car and sat there calmly
And at a little place called Valmy
Somewhere near Metz or Verdun
You clicked your teeth and it was done.
And slipping away to a place much better
You had your last say in a moving letter
Like a fetus of truth in a womb of denial
We found it in the files.
It is not that you are sleeping
You are trapped in the place between
This world and the other
And half know your purpose.
It happens when the nightmare
Comes cantering silent hooved
And whinnies an incantation,
A suffocation upon you.
If you can see in that state and
Can walk in that state
She will dare you to stumble through her shadow
For you must get to the window.
Remember that only cold night air
Can exorcise the devilís mare.
Despite its vicious bite and tenacity of grip
Icicle fangs of winter are shortening drip by drip
Roused by rising sap spring rallies to the fight
Staghorn oaks stab black limbs against the strengthening light
A second front of snowdrops huddle in white helmets
Bivouacked beneath the blackthorn and clustered in defence
And a subtle hue of green is spreading through the moss
Where their predecessors fell to the bitter steel of frost.
By the hedge there stands a cross
To mark an ancient, bloody spot
Where today the twittering sparrows
Ride the wind that took the arrows
Across an icy English sky
Over where the thousands lie
Rotting down for all those years
Where necklaces were made of ears
They panicked where the biting snow
Was melted by a glistening gore
And, body-clogged, the beck was bridged
Made little dams of deepening red -
For those who fled ran on the dead.
At this very moment
The Earth tilts away
And now the dying skyís unlit
And from this very moment
Of fading sun
All threats you posed to me
The moon saps earthshine
To grow round
Wallows in clouds of guilt
Cocooned on the earthís underside
Bemoans her sin in silence
Slim as a sickle
Pale and contrite.
Great dark prow cutting through
Mathematical waves of another world,
Your stern heavy and unseen.
Some who have observed you
Have zoomed in on your intricacies,
Noted the nested repetition
Of your form while
You burn and sail your tragedy
Through some unknown reality.
March is here
Flashing false promises of spring.
She lets Venus stay up late and the
Red raw hands of peonies
Pray through torpid earth,
She turns and smacks our faces
With bitter stinging sleet and
Withers blossom on the bough.
This could be the cruellest month
While dusk is later and blackbirds sing
Wild, wailing winds accompany
The aching wait for spring.
Bright eyed one,
Stock still silhouette posing
In your favourite holly tree
Resting is a rarity though
I have seen you stretch
Out a sable wing as a
Power panel to soak up sun
But never for long
No, never for long
For you must always be
On guard against feline prowlers
You world class mealworm devourer,
O songbird most mellifluous
Stark black against the winter frost
In the autumn you will sculpt
The bruised windfalls of their pulp
Devouring all the flesh within to
Leave me with a lawn of skins,
O hailer of setting and rising suns
Scuttler with a quickstep run
Fixing me with a quizzical eye
As you merge into the darkening sky.
White autumn morning
Foggy as war
Weak pale sun struggles
Over toadflaxed walls
Grey squirrel ribbon ripples _
Heads dreyward sharply
Before the coming rain.
Bright equinox morning
Twilight turns and blows a kiss
Through dusk-heavy veil
Blackbird pauses mid-song
Weird eclipse wind whispers
Maybe a promise
Maybe a threat
Maybe nothing more
Than a gentle wish.
The moon does not listen
She just keeps moving and
The shadow is lifted.
One Last Autumn
Distant sound kick-starts a memory
Locks me for a moment in this
Fallow time, re-living
Lost times in lost places
One last autumn heavy with the
Deep scents of the season
Wet leaves blackening where the
First frost had scoured.
They said that there was
Fog in Georgia
And so many have fallen
So many lost since that
Last autumn in the sparkling frost.