After the Bloody Assizes

More has been going on than I can capture in words, in prose. As always, song conveys so much more. This is what I presented the last time I read in public. I knew then, and stated, that it was the start of much, much more. I was not wrong. We’ll be getting more tonight. I’ll try to do a better job of keeping you informed!

Here’s a soundtrack, and a slideshow:

The Bloody Assizes

22 April 2017


I’ll Go Your Last Mile

The smaller rider needs a longer drop. You’ve kept me on a lead

so tight, if I fall over now, I’ll chafe and struggle, burn and bleed,

but I’ll not die for such long seconds, you’ll be dead of shame before

I draw a horrid, strangled breath, my last, and hit the cold, far floor.

You had the space and time to get it right, but you chose thick, slow rope.

Make it easy on yourself, my friend; I’ve made no peace with hope

in all my sleepless hours, so I’ll not hold out patience here for that.

Walk beside me if you will, and show me in your hand your hat.

Now you’re talking: When tomorrow comes, you’ll wake up, wroth and wet.

All night long my spirit rides the nightmare that will have you yet,

and nothing you can do will keep that vital essence from its course.

Aye, you used your station and your power—but I was born of horse,

and I have legs and lungs and heart you’ve never once imagined: I

have danced so long, I’m like a tree that sways beneath a stormy sky,

but fears no stroke, for lightning’s met my skin so many times, and sway

is what I’ve done, and storms have glanced right off, and I’m still here to stay.

But then—I’m not a tree; I’m like a shaft of light from off the Moon.

Searching at your window first, and then your mirror, late and soon,

then racing round and going almost mad, but there still not a trace

of what we meant to leave here when we woke you up to see our face,

the one we cast together like an inverse shadow through a glass.

When you walk outside and read through rain the name and dates the lass

you wonder through before you sleep—her name’s like yours, but long years gone—

Riders used to be much smaller. Look at this long laid-out lawn—

hundreds could have lain here end-to-end, but only dozens now.

Small she was, and frail. A long, long drop for her, who swore the vow

that led her to this resting-place—a mean old man cried, too much rope;

she’s not allowed to hang herself. My dream child, let us two elope;

there’s nothing here to hope for, as the world grows foul and small and far.

You have always been close by, a holding hand—a guiding star

before us both that leads us on when all else fails. The small, small drops—

but even through the torn and bleeding veil, here’s where false silence stops.

I’ll walk with you; I’ll walk your mile. I’ll wait with you as trees grow green,

lush canopies against the all-day Sun that burns the ghosts we’ve seen

ourselves turn into, as we gently lean toward the threshold-gait.

Far past there, I’m still with you; I’ll dance for you; I’ll bear your wait.


About J

formal verse poetry and commentary at
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