There was a man named Quinn, who was mighty with the pen
And did win the favor of all sorts of men, but he did greatly sin
Again and again till he dwelled in a den of dark so stark
That he could no longer see and words left him bereft
Of light so that try as he might Quinn could no longer write,
And he became quite the sight to behold having sold himself
To gloom and doom — so sad and utterly bad — and he cried
As he tried to fill his days in the haze that had become his life
So rife with pain and no gain and stain upon his lonely heart;
So goes the tale of Quinn who once was so mighty with the pen
It was an auspicious morning many years ago
When all the world around seemed to lay low
And fade till life was like some waking dream
And the cream of heaven flowed freely to me,
Overwhelming me with more than I could see
And the feeling was surreal but also very real,
And it was like a healing balm to calm my soul
As I walked around but barely talked to folks,
Just taking it all in as it came . . . what was it?
It was nearly like an out-of-body experience,
Yet there I was in the midst of real reality . . .
Or maybe I just then stepped into true reality?
Perhaps I was seeing the world as it truly is:
Moving shadows, reflections and refractions
Of a reality behind what we consider reality,
I do not know but this show ended too fast;
It did not last and is now buried into my past
But I still wonder if I might somehow blunder
Into such an experience sometime again . . . ?
Nine soldiers among the burning pines
Sing songs of war to bring terror to the terrorized
In occupied territory in retaliatory mode
Which bodes ill for the already-oppressed
Possessed by fear and crying tears for mercy;
But the nine are suddenly cut off from their unit
And hit by the sudden realization
That they cannot return to their civilization,
And they are surrounded now by the sounds
Of the persecuted, who move slowly in wonder
While the soldiers blunder here and there
Pointing their rifles round about determined
To fight before they die . . . but their guns jam!
And they cannot so much as telegram for any help!
Suddenly seized with fear they hear the mumbling
Of the crowd of “enemies” now gathered round
And believe they are bound
To be beaten and eaten alive . . .
But one child, meek and mild, steps forward
With flask of water in hand and stretches it forward
Toward one of the soldiers saying, “Take, drink . . .”
And the soldier knows not what to think;
All nine are shocked that they are not even mocked;
No, but one by one the oppressed step forward
With open arms . . . “How may we help you, children?”
They intend no harm and the nine no longer alarmed;
In that instance, the lambs save the lions
With no shame pretense, only genuine peace . . .
Only genuine love and peace . . .
Could it be so? Oh God, make it so, make it so!
Have you ever seen a story walking?
They’re stalking you and not talking,
But they are all around everywhere,
Bound up with tales great and small,
Tall ‘n short, of runs, falls and sport!
Look around ‘n hear the quiet sound
Of imperative narratives superlative
And comparative to great literature,
Carried on wind around every bend!
Have you ever seen a story standing,
Demanding to be told by the bold?
Open your eyes, listen with the heart
And take part in the one grand story
Of the world enwrapped around you!
Ah! Tales to be seen, heard and told!
Stories upon stories upon stories . . .
There are cracks in the streets that meet potholes — ever widening,
Deepening — in the old town where Mayor Fiddlesticks plays the clown,
While alleyways drown in raw sewage.
There are breaks in the buildings that stand to bake in the sun —
Foundations corroding, eroding — while the old town council serves
Up cake by the stagnant lake.
There are shattered windows in the old town schools, where classrooms
Are filled with pools of drool from open-mouthed, sleeping students
While teachers dare not wake to take the time to reach into the minds
Of pupils to actually teach each precious soul.
There are stained walls along the temple halls in the old town, where
Once its edifice was the crown treasure and pleasure of the people,
Who looked toward its steeple, its once-glorious spire enough to inspire
With angelic choir singing through open gates bringing hope and joy,
But the only sound there now heard is the infrequent, loud pounding
On now the now-closed doors.
Ah! But there is a new town, where ne’er is seen the frown, with gilded
Gates and freshly laid streets paid for out of the royal coffer to offer
To people the best, who invest their lives in this hive of happiness;
Where residents work and play during the day, enjoying colorful parks,
In which the larks sing their song, bringing joy to every girl and boy;
Where new temples dot the horizon, where wizened sages turn the pages
Of bright hope in numinous light and tell their stories of glories yet
To come … at least say some of this this new town and sparkling crown
Of a king of mysterious renown.
Note: Inspired by New Town: A Fable … Unless You Believe by Harry Blamires