Musings from the Manhut

Where the ebb and flow of life creates a cascade of words down the paper's face

Tag: Poetry


I used to try to sing
With the voice of Milton or Blake
Their rhythms and rhymes
Trying to live their passions
And hearts
My tongue sacrificed on an altar of rules
Hoping, praying for that spark
The spark they had
The spark that made them great
Dying a passionless death
Of a life not lived

I was mute.

Life’s sadisms must be lived
Pains and Joys
Begin to form a song soft and quiet
Chilling one’s marrow
A little more pain adds melody
Joy more harmony
Too much of one or the other cacophony creates
My song emerges ponderously
From an invisible fog
Now my voice sings
Not Milton or Blake
My voice
It comes joyously
It comes fiercely
My voice may rub, may lack beauty
But it’s mine, all mine

The Duel by Eugene Field (try 2)

from The Duel by Eugene Field As this is #poetry month over at the #encyclomundi wiki ( ) let me add one of my favourite poems of all time into the mix:
The Duel
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
‘Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn’t there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went “bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Never mind: I’m only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw–
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don’t fancy I exaggerate–
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folk think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: They ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

The Slave by James Oppenheim

Work originally printed in 1919. This is in the public domain.


THEY set the slave free, striking off his chains…
Then he was as much of a slave as ever.

He was still chained to servility,
He was still manacled to indolence and sloth,
He was still bound by fear and superstition,     5
By ignorance, suspicion, and savagery…
His slavery was not in the chains,
But in himself….

They can only set free men free…
And there is no need of that:     10
Free men set themselves free.

The Cracked Pot

Drained this cracked pot has one vaprous drop
The more poured the emptier the pot
This dry desert heat speeds the vapour away
This pyramid mummifies evrything
Arrow after arrow fly from failure
More holes puncture the soul of this cracked pot
Hope and joy ooze out leaving weariness
With no need to stand the tired pot crumbles
The pot asks The Potter “why a frail pot?”
“I can only work on the broken ones.”

Stations of the Cross 4 Matthew 26 Peter’s Denial


You know, on the water I too did walk

I’m pretty solid. Rabbi calls me the rock

Imagine me, a poor, simple fisherman

Mending nets that day on a lakeside rock

Rabbi comes to me and bids me follow

Me! So poor that I sit upon a rock

So many better choices, he chose me

A common fisherman, my chair of rock

I followed. What choice did I have really?

His teachings truth, learned sitting upon a rock.

Water to wedding wine, wife’s mother healed

Through dark hours Rabbi steady as a rock

He bade me come when on the water he walked

He resuced me when I sank like a rock

Lazarus three days dead and stinking raised

Then the day with Elijah on another rock

Words fail to describe things I’ve learned and seen

Since the day he called me off that hard rock

For sure the Rabbi is the Son of God

His words calms storms, praises spring from the rock

He is my God, my Savior, my joy, my life

Yet in this courtyard I sit on a rock

Last night’s blurry events cloud emotion

There’s one! that man over there on the rock!

New seder, the prayer in the garden

Pretending to pray, kneeling at a rock

What did Judas do? That damn betrayer!

Not me crazy girl! Leave me on this rock.

Why did the Rabbi men Malchus’ shorn ear?

The Rabbi loved, I picked up a hard rock.

There’s another Galilean blasphemer!

If not to defend why nam me the rock?

Last night didn’t he say to arm ourselves

He said other things too, some to the rock.

Not all Galileans are dumbasses!

I’m found out! I must find another rock!

I have seen this man with the Blasphemer

Shit! I’m caught. My only weapon a rock.

May I rot in hell if I am that man!

What did the Rabbi try to tell the rock?

Perched on courtyard fence, rooster greets the day

Simon, readied for a fight, drops his rock.

Oh Lord! What have I done? What did I do?

Thrice I denied my Lord! I am some rock!

Consumed in suicidal tears, he runs

The Tearful Sinner reflects on a rock.

Station of the Cross 3: Luke 22:66-71 Jesus at the Sanhedrin

Awake too soon after the Paschal wine
Groggy disciples did not cross the line
A short nap night with spiritual chiding
At dawn the bound Master led to the line
Priests in saintly garb sanctimonious
In judgement’s seat question him at the line
You the Messiah are not, this we know
If you are though tell us now was their line
You well religious men will not believe
This scoundrel who stands at the Council line
Tell us the plain truth are you Messiah
Defy us Godless sinner cross that line
A chilled hush descends on the sunlit room
Searing tension mounts all around the line
Sweat rolls down the fevered priests’ prideful brows
The stressed Master must answer at the line
You said it is the defiant reply
Joyous priests need no others at the line
Murmur molds into a cheer to wise priests
The Sinner laments the crossed Mosaic line

Stations of the Cross 2 Mark 14:43-46

Why does the Master chide? Is that a tear?
This garden’s peaceful with nothing to fear.
Why late night prayer after the Pesach meal?
Stay awake and alert, Lord? Why the fear?
Did you hear that? Do you see torches glow?
Wait! Here comes Judas. We’ve nothing to fear.
He greets the Master with a servant’s kiss
Are these with him? Something’s amiss, I fear.
They have swords and clubs, the Master they bind!
One a violent stand, rest flee in fear.
Arrested!? How can this be? He’s Master!
The Sinner dumbstruck stands shaking in fear.

Stations of the Cross 1: The Garden: Matthew 26:36-41

Beautiful garden, many years of care
Respite from toils so dreary, place for prayer
With his shrinking flock the Rabbi arrives
No parables tonight just humble prayer
The Rabbi shrinks under growing tension
He who wants the Temple a House of prayer
To the many he pleads them to stay put
The faithful three to be with him in prayer
His soul still growing the Rabbi stumbles
Abba, please, the burden swells. Hear my prayer!
Is there any other way? Let it pass,
I beg, but your will is my heatfelt prayer.
He comes to his students asleep. ALONE!
Not a single hour awake for prayer.
Wake up! The hour comes. The cup here remains
For The Sinner continue in your prayer.

Religious Sacrifice

A religious crowd gathered to see

Priests adorned in rich vestments

Under the soul searching spotlights

On TV, radio and the internet

Place the mighty sovereign God

The one and only- Creator


Life giver


The owner of everything

Power behind every throne

On an altar

At the sanctuary’s front

And plunge a knife into His heart

As a sacrifice to religion…

All while the band played on.


Stripped by fear I came to you
Naked and ashamed I bowed at your feet.
I begged for emancipation from this prison.
Please oh please free me from this jail.
My soul is heavy.
My heart burns.
Penitent tortures have turned me to ash.
I have become nothing in paying for my life.
The sun no longer shines.
The air has no taste.
I feel no pain.
I feel no joy.
Pleasure amounts to naught.
Lo even loving a woman only terrorises.
From your throne a pardon is issued me.
Yes, by royal edict I am free.
The sun has a small shine today.
The air is fresher and sweeter.
I’m still a convict in other’s eyes.
To most I still deserve this hell.
Yet my hands hold the pardon.
My repreive is ever before me.

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