Surprised By The Battleground

This is an old poem that went missing. I knew I had it somewhere on an external drive, but that had gone missing too. I had forgotten the title and yesterday, I pored through the tags for this blog in an effort to find it, but to no avail.  Today, however, I discovered the usb thingy in my kitty-cat pencil case that sits to the left of me all the time. *smacks head with heel of hand

It’s not that it’s a great poem, but I like it just the same. I wrote it after reading the book, “The Drowned World” by J.G. Ballard. That was a bit of a triumph for me, since I’m not a reader of fantastic stuff, but I persisted and ending up really liking the book.

Don’t ask me what this poem means, I haven’t got a clue.

(A recording of the poem will follow as soon as I get my office relocated – very soon.)

 

Surprised By The Battleground.

We were comrades when the ship
went down;
our spirits scattered to the winds
like soaring gulls.
You wore a shocking white suit
and I, a red silk dress,
as we danced to marimba
in the midst of horrors.

We heard the buzz-buzz of the
giant bee,
as it made its line towards the
hardened ground;
our bodies blasted to the winds
like dirty gulls—
your white suit, smeared with
coffee-stains,
my red-silk dress blown up
over my head.

And we never saw it coming—
though we held the divination sticks
in our shaking hands.

Kathleen Mortensen©2010

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Drifting

Traceries of snow

have designed a landscape

upon my window:

The drifts below

make ideal ground

to hold the roots

of icy trees

that trickle down

from the tops of the panes.

Brightly coloured butterflies

pasted to the glass inside

to ward off birds

that might collide,

look out of place

behind the lacy intricacy

of H2O’s frozen veins.

It blows and wails outside;

the gusts of snow

do not subside,

the birds drop down

to no avail;

while I bide here

beside the fire’s glow.

 

Kathleen Mortensen © 2017

In Sotto Voce

If you’ve read my rune today on “My Life In Runes”, you’ll know I’m feeling a bit uninspired. So I’ve decided to share a few of my older pieces and record myself reading them for you. I’m borrowing my husband’s high quality microphone, so there should be much improvement on the last post. I hope you enjoy them.

Kathleen

At Villa Diodati 

At Villa Diodati
I wish I’d been there,

(a bug on the wall—
a cat on a chair),
with Mary
and George,
John,
Percy and Claire,

Telling tales by candle,
passing a smoke;
conjuring ghosts—
sharing
a joke.

That delerium-place
filled with shadows,
unveiled,
from the dark,
to each face—
where the whitest cheek paled.

Claret, and laudanum
perhaps, were poured out;
muses, abounding,
all having
their shout.

Fantasmagoria,
birthing anew-
thrill-making creatures—
a fabulous crew!

Would kill to have been,
aloft in the air—
a mere wing’ed witness
to those monsters spawned there,

or pussycat curled
at the top of a stair—
in their Genevan lair,

at Villa Diodati.

Kathleen Mortensen©2012

January Open Mic

Thanks to Crow at Words and Feathers (click link to join in!) for hosting this terrific platform for sharing our creativity. Here is my contribution. It is rather bleak, but when I look out at the miserable day outside here, it seems very appropriate. The quality is down to my HP laptop and  Windows 10. I apologize for this.

Ice Men

A soul-compass, something inside—
(sane, or insane?)
drove them down
to the bottom of the world.

They would glide in their hard-hulled boats—Astrolabe,
Discovery, Endurance
until the ice locked them in.

Damned, on guano-beaches;
the sun (that infernal sun!) bleached their skin—
their lashes. The ashes of dead fires
told sad tales of meagre feasts.
Black and white sea-beasts broke the ice,
eager for their next meal.
Was it all real?

They waited: sheltered,
from the blowing wind,
and snow,
and sun,
under the belly of a life-boat—
surrounded by bloated seals, blood and after-birth,
squawking skua-survivors—
cold Hell.

Only the ghosts can tell us why they had to go;
how that drag, on the compass-needle could draw
them south to their destinies
or doom.

I wonder, do modern ice men
hear their voices in the gloom,
when they lie down
at night?

Kathleen Mortensen©2012

Father Time Goes On

This year
Father Time keeps his distance.

He’s perched Buddha-style,
high atop a volcano,
somewhere far away.

He’s checking his heavy
pocket-watch regularly,
and listening to Big Ben
with his bionic ear.

He has the fear.

Somehow, he’s let it all
spin out of control:
no more, can he hold on
to the wheels
with mechanical implements-
the ones that keep us on
an even keel.
Other forces, are working now
and his grip is slipping.

Up on his precipice
as the world whirls,
he blinks at some midnight sun,
then turns his back …
and runs.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2016

If you like this poem, search my “Father Time” posts from past years at kat5361.wordpress.com

For Edgar, love Annabel

It was many a year ago, ’tis true,
In a kingdom by the sea,
A maid was I, when right on cue
Arrived Mr. Edgar, A.P.;
And this maiden lived with no other thought
Than of this man to be free.

I was a child, and he was a man;
In this kingdom by the sea;
But he loved with a love—a possessive love—
This Mr. Edgar, A.P.;
With a love he claimed the angels of heaven
Envied of him and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago
In this kingdom by the sea,
I stayed out in the cold night, chilling
Myself, to shed Mr. Edgar, A.P.;
So that my “highborn kinsman” came
In order to set me free,
And shut me up in a sepulchre
Of this kingdom by the sea.

The seraphs, now twice as happy in heaven,
They soon befriended me;
Yes! That was the reason (but no one knew,
In the kingdom by the sea)
For the wind came out of the cloud one night,
And of Edgar I was free.

But his “love” was stranger by far than the love
Of gentlemen saner than he—
Of many more normal than he;
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the devils beneath the dark sea,
Could permit the twit’s obsession
So they hood-winked poor Edgar, A.P..

For the moon never beams without filling my dreams
With the unstable Edgar, A.P.;
And the stars never shine, that I don’t hear him pine
Over poor interred little ol’ me;
And so, all the night-tide, he lies down by the side
Of his “darling”— “his darling”— his life and his “bride”,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
Unaware that they cremated me.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2016

Time On My Hands IV

I wake and stretch;
fingers resist, insisting
on their preferred curl—
unfurling
reluctantly along with
tired limbs.

There’s black dirt
trapped beneath short nails—
residue from mulch
hand-spread on parched ground.

We are both drying up,
the earth and I.

This organ, this skin
is burnished by the sun,
all-weathering.

Its network of fine lines
weaves organic leather
preserving the underneath.

These hands,
God willing,
may serve—’til my death.

Kathleen Mortensen @2016

 

Please visit the below links to read the first three poems in this series.  Thank you.

Time On My Hands III

Time On My Hands II

Time On My Hands I