Shadow-born

It has been some time since my last post, but I have been working on a new poem I thought I’d share. Perhaps enjoy is the wrong word, but, you know, read. And ponder.

Shadow-born, in darkness we,
Who labor all ‘neath dying star,
And long for peace amidst long war,
For green amidst long greying scars.

Sorrow-born, in mourning we,
Who trudge with ever-slowing step,
As languid days grind bones to dust,
We move from dream to want to must.

Sightless-born, and fools we,
To ever seek and never find,
To build the tow’r, to touch the sky
And never truly wonder why.

-Charles Baldon, May 2015

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Do Not Fear the Darkness, Love

Do not fear the darkness, love,
No monsters hunt you in the night;
So do not fear the darkness, love,
Let terrors fade with fading light.

Close your eyes and sleep, my love,
Lie safe within my arms this night;
Yes, close your eyes and sleep, my love,
Know peace until the morning light.

Do not fear the darkness, love,
Dream your dreams in hope this night;
No, do not fear the darkness, love,
And rest to rise with rising light.

-Charles Baldon, November 2014

The Conqueror Worm (Poe)

Lo! ’t is a gala night
   Within the lonesome latter years!   
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
   In veils, and drowned in tears,   
Sit in a theatre, to see
   A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully   
   The music of the spheres.
Mimes, in the form of God on high,   
   Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly—
   Mere puppets they, who come and go   
At bidding of vast formless things
   That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
   Invisible Wo!
That motley drama—oh, be sure   
   It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore   
   By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in   
   To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,   
   And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see, amid the mimic rout,
   A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out   
   The scenic solitude!
It writhes!—it writhes!—with mortal pangs   
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
   In human gore imbued.
Out—out are the lights—out all!   
   And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
   Comes down with the rush of a storm,   
While the angels, all pallid and wan,   
   Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”   

   And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.

-Edgar Allan Poe, 1843

I have always loved this poem… there is a certain hope that stands in the shadows just off stage, that lurks in the meter, even as the subject matter of the poem is the despairing end of all men.  Perhaps it is just me, for I know the end of this act is not, in point of fact, the end of the play. The “heroism” of the worm will be triumphantly cut short.  Yet much in the flavor of Ecclesiastes – a book Poe was intimately familiar with in thought, if not in word – there is a hopelessness that thrives under the sun, for often things appear hopeless indeed.  The tragedy of man seems, in each successive generation, to be at its crescendo.

But to be a follower of Christ is to know Hope, deep in your bones.  And having known it, you start to see it everywhere.  Perhaps just the slightest hint of a bud, a smear of green on a single branch far out on the edge of reality’s despairing tree.  But we see it, and our souls know it for what it is.

So the funeral pall comes down, and the storm rages, and angels weep, and the cruelty of man expressed in the hatred of his neighbor seems a stain that can never be washed from the world, no matter the downpour…

And we linger in that moment just before the Hero comes to save the day.

Raymond Chandler Evening (Hitchcock)

It’s a Raymond Chandler Evening
At the end of someone’s day
And I’m standing in my pocket
And I’m slowly turning grey

I remember what I told you
But I can’t remember why
And the yellow leaves are falling
In a spiral from the sky

There’s a body on the railings
That I can’t identify
And I’d like to reassure you but
I’m not that kind of guy

It’s a Raymond Chandler Evening
And the pavements are all wet
And I’m lurking in the shadows
‘Cause it hasn’t happened… yet

-Robyn Hitchcock, 1986

I first encountered these lyrics in James O’Barr’s classic graphic novel, The Crow, and they have haunted me ever since.  In the context of the novel they felt very noir, there was a sinister lurking to the words, a foretaste of coming vengeance.  In this Mr. O’Barr and I can agree: something is very, very wrong with the world, and we long for the day the wrong will be set right.

To hear the song (for song it first was, from the album Element of Light), go here.

Who was Raymond Chandler?  More info here.

The Doom of Men

What dreams escape their ivory bonds
Through ivory bound to bind in lie;
What sounds escape men’s ivory gates
Oft boundless cut to bind in time.

Though sword we fear, and bullet swift,
Though bombs hold sway to terrify:
Yet still the greatest doom of men
Sparks from no forge ere deadly flight.

It lurks in darkness, warm and wet
Awaiting form from thought and heart
At lights first glimpse it strikes its blow
To rend the soul, to tear apart
The form within that forms the man
A pain against he cannot stand.

Beware this blade unformed by hands
For none can tame it: none can stand.

-Charles Baldon, May 2014

Sublime

I drown in tears that do not fall
Each smile a lie I do not tell
Each breath a page I do not write
My life a book I do not read

In shadows vain we seek for light
Blind guides who call our stumbles dance
Our wretched shrieks a symphony
Our groping hands a deep romance

How long, O man, how long until
With eyes to beauty drawn we see
The truth that lies beneath the sun
Sublime divine simplicity

-Charles Baldon, April 2014

Demons (Imagine Dragons)

To find a love that overlooks your flaws… that sees a greater potential within you than you know… I would define true love (amongst people) as a decision made to place the well-being of a flawed individual at the forefront of your mind, and living in a such a way as to bless them in what you do.  Marriage is that decision made into a vow, a covenant.  But this song expresses the counterpart to such love, that deep and oft-abiding fear that the one we love will look closely and find us wanting… wanting, as we truly are in our more honest moments.  Great song.

When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the saints we see
Are all made of gold

When your dreams all fail
And the ones we hail
Are the worst of all
And the blood’s run stale

I wanna hide the truth
I wanna shelter you
But with the beast inside
There’s nowhere we can hide

No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

When the curtains call
It’s the last of all
When the lights fade out
All the sinners crawl

So they dug your grave
And the masquerade
Will come calling out
At the mess you’ve made

Don’t wanna let you down
But I am, hell bound
Though this is all for you
Don’t wanna hide the truth

No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

They say it’s what you make
I say it’s up to fate
It’s woven in my soul
I need to let you go

Your eyes, they shine so bright
I wanna save that light
I can’t escape this now
Unless you show me how

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

-Imagine Dragons, from the album Night Visions