Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Joy V. Sheridan & David Russell write

Quest Triste

Section 2

Laughter there was, that hung upon the air, 
Laughter so gay and laughter so fair, 
Oh maids and maidens everywhere 
That do their temples share!

Their joyous exultations, wafting in temperate green, 

Soothed by the Gulf-Stream balm 
With blossoms round their throats:
They were Arcady's children 

Who knew the notes of Harmony and Peace 
Spared from the powers that gave them being 
Or could have caused eternal grief! 
They frolicked in life's inner circle -
The young men did favour purple, 
Deep of life's wine they drank and sang 
With love suffused, not noticing the darkness.

An eclipse they did not see - it did not last 

Oh boughs of blossoms lowered down, 
The sweetness of the nightingale 
Then silence! And hereupon, 
A legend for to tell 
To Arcady's children, who knew not Hell.

He who issued from the womb fully formed 

And was, as sailor, cast upon the seas 
Oblivious of tempestuous storms -
Poseidon's eye upon him fixed, 
Half-mortal and half-heavenly mixed 
Until from this slumber her abruptly woke 
To find a sea-shell scooped from utter depths, 
Quite hollow, as a sacred conch.

"What is this?" He held it to the wind: 

A tone of eerie pitch pierced through his thoughts, 
Out-howling every storm - a Godly fanfare 
To herald the Great Goddess.

Gelling from mist, fair Aphrodite stood 

Amidst the foam and spray: his name she whispered: 
"Meckelle: you may be yet as us -
Or perhaps an afterthought."

He propped himself on one arm, to see this voice 

Which promised well or harm.

He glanced eastward to the sea: 

Her hair, long and golden. 
Her eyes like turquoise, magnetised. 
His mouth was dry, his mind was still: 
It was the soul she had awoken, 
The thrill of a thousand trumpets about her.
About her, radiance did grow 

That beckoned her form, to and fro, 
Could he doubt her?

She faded with the shadows that began to form, 

Her crimson lips still silently did call above the storm: 
"Your name - your name - Meckelle - new-born, 
Born of darkness, ice and fire -
I, from the sea, my own desire. 
In future times you may find 
A souvenir to remind you of me -
Meckelle, of the wild, tempestuous sea."


Phelisias, to whom the Sirens called, 

Was strapped upon the mast.
His haul of gold and silver they desired, 
But he was less than they 
Who held the cold blue fire. 
Their voices sang: 
"Come, veer to us: your journey's end 
In sweetness, peace and light, 
Your cursed duty's agony lifted from you, 
Your black Gods' lashes healed." 
He, strong and vain, had scorned to dull his senses.

Stone dark the pillars, the rigid granite rocks: 

Their weight upon him caused him to expire, 
For theirs was the burning, blue-white fire 
And he, all tortured, soul strength spent 
Could steer no path 
Between their jagged teeth 
Being drawn by either, neither, then beneath.
And pliant to the song-foamed current drifted, 

Foundered, all crew and captain lost: 
But for Phelisias a darker mission, 
To make another pay - at any cost.

His essence was swept into ethereal vapour 

To permeate the just-named Meckelle 
With blackness, dross of being: 
His full malevolence Meckelle's undoing. 

Meckelle upon his boat did sleep, a fitless sleep: 

From side to side he was tossed - 
All visions permeating between foxes and sheep. 
Black were the bands that surrounded his mind. 
He grew in strength, heavenly sustained By forces sublime.

On and on he went, beside him a convoy -

Whales, dolphins, sharks, fishes, 
Mermaids and mermen managed him. 
He grew by the minute, he grew by the hour.

This being, half-mortal, half-eternal 

Created for his crucial but nefarious time -
Another clime came into view. 


Now the the world's roof, 

Where tableaux were unfolded 
By the spinning of rings, 
By ancient voices, 
By knowledges unknown but noble, 
Where mystery held its sway: 
The stories of pasts and yesterdays, 
Futures they spun, and present time too.

Thirteen souls about a table drew; 

Black were their cloth caps and gold their gowns 
In Time's inexorable depths they were sure, 
But not sure, of what they had found.

Gilded and barren, craggy the plateaux 

And high the hills, 
For this was the land of Tibet, 
To be known and not yet known. 
With the wink of an eye, the table was scattered, 
Souls thrown into regions which might, 
Or might not have mattered.

Suddenly, on a peak, a tree did arise, 

Its roots in the earth, its boughs to the skies. 
Fragile and scentful those flowers did gleam, 
With morning and noon, with evening of dreams:
Crested and rainbowed, the branches displayed, 

For this was of Eternity, and could never be o'erlaid; 
With petty circumstance or inconsequential things, 
These were the blossoms of queens and kings. 


A shattering hell filled the voids with amber and ochres, 

And sands which recoiled into sprawling deserts 
Where neither foot not hand nor mind might impress: 
Just a tree, on a hill, in a wilderness.

But one flower shone brighter than most, 

Sustained by the Heavens, the Heavenly Host: 
Magnolia white, the tips of the petals, 
Crimson red the heart that was yet touched, 
Smelted into metal: that which could never 
Be discovered by any human kind, 
Its incense rare, subterranean, divine; 
The perfume so heady, to heaven it reached. 
The roots of the tree covered the breach 
Between dream and actuality.

Three stars it cast, one to the Heavens, 

One to the earth, one to the oceans 
Where Poseidon might find mirth. 
Blown by winds, tempestuous and rare, 
Not a petal moved, nor even a tare 
In the fabric of this beauteous tree 
That blossomed forth for thee and thine, and me. 
Snows covered the peak, the sun burnt high 
But always this tree, 
With its roots to the bed of primeval earth 
And its mind to the sky.

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