Archive for poems

Poe’s Source of the Raven?

Posted in Poems, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Rhymes & Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 3, 2016 by Drogo

“Col. John A. Joyce,
Sturtevant House.”

New York, July 4th, 1878.
My Dear Colonel: As you requested I send a literal translation of ‘The Parrot,’ a poem written by my grandfather in 1809, for the Art Journal, Milan, Italy. He was an etcher and writer for the paper.
‘The Raven,’ by Poe, was taken almost bodily
from ‘The Parrot.’

Who is the plagiarist?

Your Friend,
Leo Penzoni.”

The Parrot

by Penzoni

I sit and pine so weary
in midnight sad and dreary.
Over long forgotten volumes
of historic love-lit lore;
And while winking, lonely blinking
I thought I heard while thinking
A rush of wings revolving above
my oaken door,
“What’s that,” said I, disturbing my
melancholy sore —
‘Tis my lost one, sweet “Belmore”

The frosts of wild December invoke
me to dismember
My tired and tortured body on this dreary,
dastard shore,
And I trust no waking morrow
Shall rise upon my sorrow.
With all its hideous horror that now
thrills my inmost core —
For my brilliant beaming beauty,
beatic, dear Belmore —
Lost, gone forevermore!

The rustling purple curtain waves
in and out uncertain.
As weird wizard voices croaking
sardonic laughter o’er and o’er;
And with startled heart still heating
my lips kept on repeating —
“Some spirit seeks an entrance through
“the window or the door,
“Some ghostlike, lonely stranger
knocking at my chamber door” —
“Simply this, and nothing more.”

Startled “by this ghostly vision, with
desperate decision
My soul exclaimed, “sweet madam,
pardon I implore.
Yet your face it shone so brightly
and your footfalls tripped so lightly.
And you came so slighly stealing to my
rustic, artist door —
‘Tis a wonder that I heard you; wide,
open flung the door —
Horror, blackness, nothing more!

Loud into the blackness calling with
heart beats slowly falling.
With haunted dreams of doubting no
Artist felt before;
But the vision quickly vanished and
all but silence banished.
And I only heard that heaven-lit, love-lit
word “Belmore” —
This I murmured when sweet echo
answered back the word — “Belmore” —
Barely this and nothing more!

Startled hack so lone and sadly, my
soul revolving madly.
Once again I heard a rapping more
impulsive than before;
“Come in,” I kept repeating, and from
the door retreating
To the window, that I might the
curious nooks explore.
While my troubled brain endeavored to
reveal the noise, explore —
“Gusts of wind and nothing more!”

Open wide I flung the shutter when
a Parrot with a mutter
Flew into my lonely chamber as it
did in days of yore.
And it seemed to be quiescent, somber,
and evanescent.
As it sat in lonely grandeur above
my chamber door.
Perching on the bust, Minerva, above
my oaken door.
Perched and blinked and nothing more!

And this croaking bird is leering,
demonaic appearing.
With feathers ruffled ragged round the
countenance it wore;
Though thy beak he like a carrot, you
surely are a Parrot —
Croaking, grumbling, screeching Parrot
from some sandy tropic shore;
Tell me now thy devilish purpose
on this red, volcanic shore —
Cried the Parrot, “Nevermore!”

How I sat depressed, divining to see
some silver lining
Through clouds that hung around me on
this vile, detested shore.
And my soul with grief was haunted
while there I peered undaunted
To hear a bird with crest, and word
above my oaken door.
Bird or brute upon the marble bust
above my chamber door —
Utter name of “Nevermore”!

But the Parrot perching sadly on the
marble bust spoke madly
As if this dark, weird word was his
only stock in store;
And he merely croaked and muttered
While he preened and snapped and fluttered,
As I grumbled, growled and uttered —
“trusted friends have gonie before,”
“Soon, oh soon this bird will leave me,
“as sweet hopes have gone before” —
And this bird shrieked “Evermore”!

Shocked and stunned hy such replying,
can it be the bird is lying.
Or is it willfully determined to he a
babbling bore;
Yet, perhaps it knew a master whose
life was all disaster.
And sorrows followed faster than was
ever felt before,
‘Till the echoes of his sorrows, sad re-
frains forevermore —
Fearful echo — “Nevermore”!

Yet the Parrot still is screeching, to
my seared heart sadly preaching;
Defiantly I faced the bird and bust and
gloom, and door.
Till on the carpet figures, wrought
up into cold rigors,
I frantically demanded what the bird
meant by its roar.
This horrid, raving, somber, ruffled
bird of the days that are no more
Meant in screeching — “Nevermore”!

There I sat in mortal terror, de-
nounced by many an error.
With the Parrots flashing eyeballs
piercing to my inmost core.
And I mused there, deeply pining, weep-
ing, crushed reclining.
by the curtain’s silken lining and the
lamplight glinting o’er,
Beneath its mystic radiance shining
o’er and o’er —
Roared the Parrot — “Nevermore”!

Then around me whirled a vision
from the land of the Elysian,
And the air within my chamber fairly
shimmered on the floor,
Wretched Devil! who hath sent thee
to a land where no nepenthe.
Or solace can be given for my lost
and, loved Belmore
Sure I never can forget her, ever
present, bright Belmore —
Growled the Parrot — “Nevermore”!

Parrot, prophet, thing of sorrow, is there
yet for me a morrow
To linger any longer on this sin-
cursed, stormy shore;
Shall I never know a pleasure en-
clasp again a treasure
On this damned, detested, dastard and
this lurid, shocking shore;
Is there any peace or pleasure, oh, tell
me I implore —
Croaked the Parrot — “Nevermore”!

Croaker, Dastard, Word of Evil, Prophet,
Bird or Screeching Devil!
By the stars that shine above us
by the God that all adore.
Tell this soul, whose hope is riven,
if in some celestial heaven
It shall clasp an angel Beauty, who
is known as rare “Bellmore,”
And entwine his arms around
her, my ethereal “Belmore” —
Pipped the Parrot — “Nevermore”!.

Horrid bird! I shrieked emphatic,
and wildly, loud, lunatic,
I flung the pratting Parrot through
the night’s dark, shoreless shore.
While its gilded feathers fluttered, in
the darkness still and muttered —
“I’ll not leave thee, doubting Devil, but
“remain above thy door —
“Sink my beak into thy trembling
“heart, and torture more and more” —
Shrieked the Parrot — “Evermore”!

And the Parrot still is posing,
winking, blinking, dozing
On that marble bust, Minerva, Just
above my oaken door.
And his hellish eyes are beaming
Like a Devil who is dreaming.
While the sputtering, fluttering
lamplight paints his shadow on the floor.
And my soul-lit spirit writhing in
that shadow on the floor —
Dead and damned — “Forevermore”!

(Signed) Penzoni.

THE END.

*

Note: This source was ‘debunked’ as the artist and publication cannot be verified; and the ‘translation’ has rhyming words which would not have rhymed in Italian. It would have taken a talented poet to find words in English that rhyme as well as the original words in Italian, and also mean about the same…. which is not impossible, but certainly doubtful upon meditation.

Habitat Fragmentation and Land Ownership

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 21, 2016 by Drogo

Essay for ON THE WILD SIDE January 2016

Our land is more valuable than your money. It was put here for us by the Great Spirit, so we cannot sell it because it does not belong to us. As a present to you we will give you anything we have that you can carry with you; but the land, never.”*

In this present time civilization humans are finding themselves in the midst of more than one environmental quagmire. How to get control of the plastic and junk in the ocean ? How to keep air clean enough to breath in China ? How to rid old pipes of poisonous lead and our water of pharmaceuticals waste which go into toilets ? Am I getting too personal ?

Actually, everything we do and have done in the past are exactly what professional scientists/ecologists are dealing with now. If there ever was a field in which our children will find ready employment, it will be as research problem solvers and maybe even politicians who care about cleaning up our messes. The question we all have is, however, how did we ever get to this point anyway, and what can we do about it as individual home owners, as people who care ?

To their credit, in 1621 the people native to America, the “Indians”, after prayerful consultations with their elders, dieing and weakened due to disease brought here by previous white explorers, and weary of warfare, decided it was in their best interest to make peace with the Pilgrims. In spite of the Mayflower crew robbing them of their seed corn and burial treasures, they made a pact together that would endure long enough to get squash, beans and that same stolen corn planted, harvested and then shared.**

Peace, for the natives, was the best and most productive remedy, even though strangers were encroaching on their land. Interesting…and perhaps something we can learn from during this present time of anxiety about refugees. Unfortunately, back then that fragile peace did not last very long. There will always be the good mixed with the bad, the greedy mixed with the philanthropists, and I assume this is how it will always be. Nothing seems to have changed since the beginning of time.

Of course, as years passed and more settlers arrived to colonize America, the natives were totally kicked off their land. The settlers had brought with them an entirely different ethic of land ownership from Europe, as well as military hardware far more effective than the natives hand crafted bows, arrows and spears. Over the centuries their precious land has been stolen, divided and subdivided…fragmented… sold, and some of it has sadly been misused and polluted.

I am fortunate to live in a sub-division of a beautiful old 200+ acre homestead here in the Catoctins, Due to my love of and concern for diversity in the natural world, I am allowing my 11+acres to not only feed me, but to feed all my other “relations”. The native idea of “other relations” extends far beyond human relatives and includes the wonderful diversity of flora and fauna which most of us care about…bees, butterflies, birds, wildflowers, trees. etc..These are things our children are learning to care about in school, and as wise elders, we should also.

As home owners, and landowners, we can begin to bring these various fragments of land together by allowing native plants to grown, by creating native wildflower gardens on part of our lawns, and planting native trees. That way, the habitat fragmentation which has been going on since the pilgrims settled at Plymouth Rock can be somewhat remedied. If you ever feel like giving up in despair, there is one very real thing you can do, and the opportunity is right in your own back yard, or front yard too (why not ).

The vision is to create a beautiful tapestry right here where we live of yards and properties dedicated to the health and well being of our earth. It already looks like a quilted pattern here in Thurmont, but the work is not yet finished. If anything, the work has just begun !

I belong to the Green Team here in Thurmont and am heading up a project along the rail road tracks which will not only beautify our town with wildflowers, but create habitat for wildlife. I am presently seeking volunteers to clean it up a bit in February and then spread seeds. All this must be done before March, as seeds need the time to stratify (to get the benefit of freezing weather), so as to enhance their germination.

If you are interested in helping me with this project, please do be in touch with me at songbirdschant@gmail.com. If not, then consider doing something on your own little fragment of land, no matter now small. As I always say, “Every little bit helps !”, and THANKS !

* Response of a Chief of the Blackfoot Nation when told to put his signature on a land treaty in Montana; from Touch The Earth by T.C. McLuhun

** as documented in Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

– Christine S. Maccabee

Don’t Ever Tell Me

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2016 by Drogo

 

Don’t ever tell me the past is past, it is over,

so move on, get over it, forget it;

for the ancient glacial rocks at my doorstep,

making walls and lining garden paths

would not be there were it not for the past and

neither would I in the form I presently exist .

There are ancient trees the world over,

like the Redwoods which stand yet

as monuments to past centuries of change

scars where branches fell,

and circles in their wood which tell their age

as well as years of drought and rain.

Don’t ever tell me the past is gone, so get over it,

for I feel as old as those trees, those rocks ;

My body with scars which speak of history and

my stories which you may hear if you listen.

Feelings too run just as deep as a trees rings do,

for my present is built upon my ancient past.

So don’t ever tell me the past is past,

so get over it,

Because I really couldn’t even if I tried !

– Christine S. Maccabee

Always Remember

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , on February 5, 2016 by Drogo

Always remember

how truly beautiful

life is.

There will always be

death and decay

trials and

tribulation;

But always remember

to witness the red sunrise

to enjoy the cardinal

at your feeder,

to brave the snowstorm

in all its glory,

and feel the peace

of the sky at dusk,

the warmth

of home.

Breath it in,

see it,

feel it

and

Always remember

how truly beautiful

life is.

–   Christine S. M.

Song of the Piper

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2016 by Drogo

There is a little bird behind my house

whose first song speaks of the start of day ;

He heralds his voice like a piper’s tune

and very soon the others follow.

Then when dusk comes on and the day is done

I hear his melody once again

As he ushers out yet another day

and tells us all it is time for bed.

I may not sleep once his tune is sung

For unlike him I am restless ;

Still his song lingers on in my heart,

in my dreams,

‘Til I hear him again in the dawn.

  • Christine S. M.

I Worship at the Altar of Creation

Posted in Poems, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 1, 2015 by Drogo

I worship at the altar of Creation.

Call me pantheist if you will

but labels cannot describe

the mystical connection I feel

while gazing upon the faces

of myriad aster flowers

or hearing the songs of birds

which live in my Sanctuary

where its altar is strewn

with diversity of flora and fauna,

on this Earth filled with infinite species

numbers still not counted

and wiser than any human

fabrication of religion

or material contraption.

I worship at the altar of Creation

not just at the all too human

cloistered inside chapel

where hymns of praise are sung

but air is filled with stagnant odors,

windows closed to the great Outdoors.

Give me more ! the outer air,

the sweet perfume of springs mimosa

the healing aroma of every flower

entwined together as if by plan

all singing in harmony

with profound profusion

in this Sanctuary where I dwell,

my Mystic Meadows.

 

  • Christine S. Maccabee 

Misunderstood but Beautiful – Flowers as People

Posted in Organic Gardens, Poems with tags , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2015 by Drogo
Much of the beauty and value of the natural world will be missed,
and lost, if it is constantly condemned as unimportant, and destroyed.“
– from Garden Ramblings

In a very real way, flowers are a lot like people. Fragile, they are born vulnerable, and if fortunate to receive the proper care, will thrive and bear much goodness. However, many people, like flowers, are misunderstood. Some of us are late bloomers and get cut down while struggling to grow, while others of us may express ourselves in the wrong way, or the wrong place, and are criticized.

True, it is about the world of plants and flowers that I mostly write, but the connection between humans and the natural world being what it is – ever constant and essential—it is ofttimes impossible to separate the two. Many of our greatest writers and teachers refer to nature, recognizing the wisdom that is to be gained if we but open our hearts and our minds to it. Many of these people have been misunderstood as well.

Four of my very favorite wildflowers are the lavender bergamot, rarely seen anymore due to mowing, the shy blue chicory, the wild asters of which I have 4 species on my property, and the tall rarely seen white and yellow wild sweet clovers (which look nothing like clovers, but are in that family). Both chicory and bergamot are blooming profusely right now here at my Mystic Meadows and I can never see them enough. The wild bergamot has cross pollinated with its relative the gorgeous red monarda, creating two new shades of purple and maroon. I am blown away by their beauty and their usefulness. Standing very still by each large cluster of flowers which are shoulder high, the hundreds of flowers seem literally in motion with the activity of hummingbird moths, various butterflies, and bumble bees large and small. Of course, even a hummingbird cruises by for a nip on the way to its favorite mimosa tree. Sadly, I see very few honey bees this year.

Chicory is the most tenacious wildflower I know. It tends to grow right up against the country roads people drive down in their early morning rush to work or school, gracing our journeys with their joyful blue color, brightening our moods if we but see them. Even when mowed down, they grow right back, undeterred. If permitted, they will bloom right through the summer into fall, providing nectar for bees and later, essential seeds for small birds like finch. They usually close their blue petals during the heat of the day, and so are seen as ugly by most people as they have tiny leaves and look spindly when their petals are closed. But oh, when the day is cooler and the flowers are open, behold the powdery blue profusion !

Wild asters spend the entire summer growing slowly into tall, elegant plants full of elongated leaves. There are 4 varieties which I grow throughout my gardens, and the reward for my patience is a glorious, end-of -summer show of tiny, daisy-like flowers, a final bust of white and purple beauty which goes well into the fall. These plants, besides being a welcome source of inspiration for me before the long, cold days of winter, serve as essential nectar and pollen for our bees. Without these wildflowers the bees could easily starve in their hives. Goldenrod, which I will write about in a sequel to this article, is also significant for bees, and even butterflies, to stave off starvation. It is and has been mostly misunderstood as well.

Many years ago I was enjoying the beauty of my back road where, unfortunately, the white and yellow wild sweet clovers were growing embarrassingly close to the road. They are somewhat guilty of looking gangly, like some people I know, and were very tall. I knew they would eventually be mowed, so I decided to cut them with more care by myself. So, I went home and came back laden with an arsenal of cutting tools, only to loose my resolve when I put the blade to their stalks. I thought to myself “what is more important, the flowers or the road”. I had observed very few of these particular flowers being permitted to grow anywhere, so I put down my weapons and joined the ranks of the misunderstood. After that day, they moved themselves to a safer place. They now grow, undisturbed, in various spots on my property. Plants come to me that way, and I welcome them with open arms !

I love the late bloomers and the misunderstood ones, be they human or flower. Perhaps our biggest challenge in life is to embrace these ones, to accept them as amazing creations on this miraculous planet which is full to bursting with diversity. I leave you with an ancient Indian quotation I love which reflects the awesomeness of it all…” Flowers are the footprints of the dancing steps of God.”

Now off I go to enjoy the rest of this glorious summer !!

by Christine Schoenemann (Maccabee)

Christine is a Master Naturalist in the State of MD.. She welcomes any questions and feedback at songbirdschant@gmail.org