This blog's poems are from my published poetry book Star Steeds and Other Dreams: The Collected Poems (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2009) and are © Dr Karl P.N. Shuker, 2009. Except for author-credited review purposes, it is strictly forbidden to reproduce any of these poems elsewhere, either in part or in entirety, by any means, without my written permission.

How to purchase Star Steeds and Other Dreams

If you wish to buy this book, which is 230 pages long and is ISBN 978-1-905723-40-9, it is readily available online from its publisher, CFZ Press of Bideford, Devon, UK at http://www.cfz.org.uk/ and also from such major literary websites as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, W H Smith, and sellers on AbeBooks to name but a few. You can also purchase a signed copy directly from me, the author - please email me at karlshuker@aol.com for full details.

Available from Amazon.com , from Amazon.co.uk , and directly from the publisher in quantities at: www.cfz.org.uk.

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Thursday, 16 June 2011

THE SILENCE OF SOLITUDE


It has often been said, and it is perfectly true, that each of us enters and leaves this world alone, but it is also true that many spend much of their allotted time here in solitude too, with only silence and the stars above for company.

THE SILENCE OF SOLITUDE

Within these dappled vales of Space
My seeking mind is found,
Amid the empty pools of Time
That softly pivot round;
For silence, long and endless, here
Is e’er the only sound.

But in this plane of nothingness
My mind can find release
From human woes and human grief,
For here, all failings cease
To be, among the silence of
This citadel of peace.

And here, my weeping tears and sighs
Can drift unseen away,
For who can know my silent doom
That lingers through each day.
For me, the loneliness I hold
No words could e’er convey.

And oft I gaze unseeing through
These misty realms of Space,
And wonder at the sadness of
The thoughts that swiftly race
Across the pale illusion of
My silent, sombre face.

Yes, I know more of loneliness
Than I could ever say,
As silently I’ve walked alone
Along its dismal way,
Till far ahead a Light has shone
To clarify my day.

So many times I’ve wondered why
I should be on my own,
While others reap their harvests in
From fields they haven’t sown,
Then leave me there in silence as
I gather mine alone.

But I have long since realised
That I must strive alone
If I am e’er to find the life
I seek to claim my own,
By reaping only where I know
My silent work has sown.

So, silently, mankind may frown
To hear my wistful tones,
But e’en in death my soul must flit
Through Heaven’s Door alone,
To kneel before the Glory of
God’s everlasting Throne.

So let them stare, for onwards still
My thoughts must stream and pour,
If I am e’er to navigate
Beyond this present shore,
And stand amidst the silence of
The Future’s open door.

Monday, 13 June 2011

THE TRANSFORMATION OF SAINT EUSTACIUS


Certain religious stories, such as St George and the Dragon, have generated very considerable interest down through the centuries and have become extremely well known, but there are others that have attracted much less notice, yet are no less memorable. The following story is one of these hitherto-neglected Christian legends, which has always stayed in my mind ever since I first read it many years ago, so I finally decided to retell it in verse.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF SAINT EUSTACIUS

Through the emerald forests
Of golden-hued Dawn,
Rode Eustacius, a soldier
Of Rome, one fine morn,
As his hounds bayed all round him
With dark, fearful eyes,
Like a torrent of shadows
‘Neath newly-born skies.

So the soldier rode onward
Through golden-leaved trees,
While the hounds’ dismal howling
Still hung on the breeze
Like a dream half-forgotten
‘Twixt Future and Past –
Yet still doomed by its maker
Forever to last.

Then ahead of Eustacius
A white stag appeared,
And the soldier’s steed trembled,
Then, shivering, reared.
Just as if the stag’s presence
Imbued it with awe,
As the hunter peered onwards
And then, the deer, saw.

All at once, the stag stiffened,
Then fled through the trees,
But Eustacius pursued it,
Through clearings and lees.
On he chased this white wonder,
Past mountains and vales,
And the morn became noontide
In forests and dales.

Later, Evening drew gently
The curtains of Night
Far across the blue heavens,
Now dappled with light
From the glistening stars set
In countless array,
Each a tiny eye peering
Through blankets of grey.

And as they witnessed softly
The hunt far below,
E’en the moon wept in sadness,
And shrouded its glow
To give cover of darkness
‘Midst shadowy glades
To the hunted stag, weary
As still the hounds bayed.

But the stag was now tiring,
Its head dangled low,
As its heart heaved and pounded,
Its eyes full of woe,
Till it sank down exhausted
On carpets of dew,
As the hounds’ ghastly howling
More terrible grew.

Then Eustacius perceived it,
Stretched outwards to die,
As its fragile heart throbbed ‘neath
The sorrowful sky.
And the stag watched the soldier
With eyes dark and mild,
For it made no swift movement,
Yet cried like a child.

Then a pale shaft of moonlight
Fell softly from Space,
And its shimmering beauty
Lit up the deer’s face.
And as all the world waited,
The stag raised its head.
Its mouth opened, and then, with
A human voice, said:

“Why dost thou still pursueth
Me long through the trees?
I am Christ,” as Eustacius
Dropped low to his knees.
For the stag was surrounded
By radiant light,
Like a star incandescent
That passed from all sight

To the heavens resplendent
In Glory Divine.
Then Eustacius looked up, and
Drew slowly the Sign
Of the Cross there before him –
A new saint was born,
In the reincarnation
Of God’s golden Dawn.

Monday, 6 June 2011

SWANS AND HORSES

'Emergence' - Jack Shalatain


What might happen if a flock of swans somehow coalesced with a herd of horses, even if only in a half-dreaming mind? That intriguing premise was the starting point for the following word-picture – a poetical flight of imagination…in every sense!

SWANS AND HORSES

Like a phalanx borne from Heaven
On a golden drift of Love
Glides a stream of snowy shadows
From the cloud-worlds far above
In an ever-wider spiral
Sweeping slowly through the skies,
While the lake’s reflection shimmers
Like a star within their eyes,
Growing brighter every second
As their silhouettes descend
To its violescent waters,
Where the ripples softly wend –
Each a trembling ring of sunlight
‘Ere it falls away to die,
Just an iridescent nimbus
‘Neath a cerulean sky.

Now the swans reside serenely
Near the sable-mantled shade
Of the melancholy willow
From the lakeside’s dappled glade,
Where the breezy zephyr murmurs
As its gusty whispers cool
Catch the willow’s pearly teardrops,
Each a tiny silvered pool
Cast in deep, despondent sorrow
As the willow bows in grief,
Dewdrops trickling down in torrents
From each slender yellow leaf.

Here the swans glide by in silence,
Necks held high in regal stance
As their eyes gaze up to Heaven
While its darting sunbeams dance
Through their incandescent plumage,
Wings held proudly o’er their back
Like an arch of sparkling crescents
Tipped with inky plumes of black.
On they glide, past ruffling meadows
Flecked with starry trains of flowers,
Blooming brightly in the shelter
Of their viridescent bowers.

And across these speckled grasslands
To the silver-spangled streams
Chase a herd of snowy horses
Like a host of starlit beams,
Manes caressed by breezy fingers,
Like a sea of moonlit waves
Surging down across their shoulders
From its underwater cave,
As their eyes, afire and glowing,
Burn with bright undying flame,
While their tails toss ever skyward
With a joy that none can tame.

Soon they pass from sight and being
‘Neath the woodlands’ leafy shade,
And my eyes grow weak and heavy,
Each with slumber overlaid.
Yet as Hypnos murmurs softly
From the drowsy realms of Sleep,
Still the horses race before me
As their flowing spirits leap
‘Cross the streams and to the lakeside
Where the swans sedately gaze
Through the heavens’ golden shadow,
Through the skies’ translucent haze.

And as clouds float by in silence
O’er the warm, caressing skies,
Strange to say, the swans and horses
Merge as one before my eyes –
And as Morpheus casts softly
Dreams of slumber round my mind,
Wing├Ęd steeds ascend to Heaven,
Leaving lake and streams behind.
Wings spread forth, and lustrous feathers
Gleam and glow like rays of light,
As these fair, enchanted visions
Pass so swiftly from my sight
To their mellow hierarchy
That no man shall ever see.
Earth is ours – a world of mortals.
Theirs is Immortality.
 
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