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FREEWILL

There are those who think that life
Has nothing left to chance
With a host of holy horrors
To direct our aimless dance

A planet of playthings
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive
“The stars aren’t aligned –
Or the gods are malign”
Blame is better to give than receive

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose free will.

There are those who think that
They were dealt a losing hand
The cards were stacked against them
They weren’t born in Lotus-Land.

All pre-ordained
A prisoner in chains
A victim of venomous fate
Kicked in the face
You can’t pray for a place
In Heaven’s unearthly estate

Each of us
A cell of awareness
Imperfect and incomplete
Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt
That’s far too fleet…



EVIL

I am everything that encompasses evil
I grow larger by the day
I send out vague riddles to make your brain wriggle
and devour you if you come my way
I am not a Sphinx, merely a felonous feline whose
wretched deeds are trivial yet consume most of your time
I am here to make your life a misery
Pray on every insecurity and character flaw that you possess
until it's impossible to have any form of synergy
I will age you with rage
Make you believe you are free
with your mind chained in a cage
for not knowing how to behave
I will take every route possible to activate your insecurities because there's no
better feeling than you being as unsure as me
I will enjoy the time we spend together since you're so malleable and easy to
convince that even the wrong words will make you wince
I will break down any symptoms of fortitude to the point that you're not sure
what to do and every image in your head is warped and the stories misconstrued
I am everything that is wrong with you
I know you better than you know you
You know this to be true because I am you



THE TREES

There is unrest in the Forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the Maples want more sunlight
And the Oaks ignore their pleas.

The trouble with the Maples
(And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the Oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the Oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the Maples
Can’t be happy in their shade?

There is trouble in the Forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the Maples scream ‘Oppression!’
And the Oaks, just shake their heads

So the Maples formed a Union
And demanded equal rights
‘The Oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more Oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet,
Axe,
And saw…



THE FOOL

A sort of place you don't often find
A quiet room to go out of your mind
Will you excuse me whilst I confide
I've found a place where I can hide

Lights out by nine as a rule
One grey blanket and a stool
Angels fear to tread where stands the fool
But the air is warm, and the walls are cool

So I'm kept away, so here I'll stay
Even the judges kneel and pray
I am the winner in any event, SNAP!
Who was the man who said society's bent?

So I'm locked away in my padded cocoon
A square of hell where nightmares bloom
Armageddon couldn't come too soon
But if it only meant that I could leave this room

Here stands the Fool


THE TROOPER

You'll take my life but I'll take yours too
You'll fire your musket but I'll run you through
So when you're waiting for the next attack
You'd better stand, there's no turning back

The Bugle sounds and the charge begins
But on this battlefield no one wins
The smell of acrid smoke and horses breath
As I plunge on into certain death

The horse he sweats with fear, we break to run
The mighty roar of the Russian guns
And as we race towards the human wall
The screams of pain as my comrades fall

We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground
And the Russians fire another round
We get so near yet so far away
We won't live to fight another day

We get so close near enough to fight
When a Russian gets me in his sights
He pulls the trigger and I feel the blow
A burst of rounds take my horse below

And as I lay there gazing at the sky
My body's numb and my throat is dry
And as I lay forgotten and alone
Without a tear I draw my parting groan


ELECTRIC EYE

Up here in space
I'm looking down on you
My lasers trace
Everything you do

You think you've private lives
Think nothing of the kind
There is no true escape
I'm watching all the time

I'm made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean

I'm elected electric spy
I'm protected electric eye

Always in focus
You can't feel my stare
I zoom into you
But you don't know I'm there

I take a pride in probing all your secret moves
My tearless retina takes pictures that can prove

I'm made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean

I'm elected electric spy
I'm protected electric eye

Electric eye, in the sky
Feel my stare, always there
There's nothing you can do about it
Develop and expose
I feed upon your every thought
And so my power grows

I'm made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean

I'm elected electric spy
I'm protected electric eye
I'm elected electric spy
I'm elected protective, detective, Electric Eye!


ENTRE NOUS

We are secrets to each other
Each one’s life a novel
No-one else has read
Even joined in bonds of love
We’re linked to one another
By such slender threads

We are planets to each other
Drifting in our orbits
To a brief eclipse
Each of us a world apart
Alone and yet together
Like two passing ships

Just between us
I think it’s time for us to recognize
The differences we sometimes fear to show
Just between us
I think it’s time for us to realize
The spaces in between
Leave room for you and I to grow

We are strangers to each other
Full of sliding panels
An illusion show
Acting well-rehearsed routines
Or playing from the heart?
It’s hard for one to know

We are islands to each other
Building hopeful bridges
On a troubled sea
Some are burned or swept away
Some we would not choose
But we’re not always free



JABCOBS LADDER

The clouds prepare for battle
In the dark and brooding silence
Bruised and sullen stormclouds
Have the light of day obscured
Looming low and ominous
In twilight premature
Thunderheads are rumbling
In a distant overture

All at once,
The clouds are parted
Light streams down
In bright unbroken beams

Follow men’s eyes
As they look to the skies
The shifting shafts of shining
Weave the fabric of their dreams…



LIMELIGHT

Living on a lighted stage
Approaches the unreal
For those who think and feel
In touch with some reality
Beyond the gilded cage

Cast in this unlikely role,
Ill-equipped to act
With insufficient tact
One must put up barriers
To keep oneself intact

Living in the Limelight
The universal dream
For those who wish to seem

Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation
The underlying theme

Living in a fisheye lens
Caught in the camera eye
I have no heart to lie
I can’t pretend a stranger
Is a long-awaited friend

All the world’s indeed a stage
And we are merely players
Performers and portrayers
Each another’s audience
Outside the gilded cage



THE CAMERA EYE

I
Grim-faced and forbidding
Their faces closed tight
An angular mass of New Yorkers
Pacing in rhythm
Race the oncoming night
They chase through the streets of Manhattan
Head-first humanity
Pause at a light
Then flow through the streets of the city

They seem oblivious
To a soft spring rain
Like an English rain
So light, yet endless
From a leaden sky

The buildings are lost
In their limitless rise
My feet catch the pulse
And the purposeful stride

I feel the sense of possibilities
I feel the wrench of hard realities
The focus is sharp in the city

II
Wide-angle watcher
On life’s ancient tales
Steeped in the history of London

Green and grey washes
In a wispy white veil
Mist in the streets of Westminster
Wistful and weathered
The pride still prevails
Alive in the streets of the city

Are they oblivious
To this quality?
A quality of light
Unique to every city’s streets.

Pavements may teem
With intense energy
But the city is calm
In this violent sea



WITCH HUNT

The night is black
Without a moon
The air is thick and still

The vigilantes gather on
The lonely torchlit hill

Features distorted in the flickering light
The faces are twisted and grotesque
Silent and stern in the sweltering night
The mob moves like demons possessed
Quiet in conscience, calm in their right
Confident their ways are best

The righteous rise
With burning eyes
Of hatred and ill-will

Madmen fed on fear and lies
To beat, and burn, and kill

They say there are strangers, who threaten us
In our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness, too dangerous
In our theatres and bookstore shelves
That those who know what’s best for us –
Must rise and save us from ourselves

Quick to judge,
Quick to anger
Slow to understand

Ignorance and prejudice
And fear

Walk hand in hand



COUNTDOWN

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged — a humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick — you could cut it with a knife
Technology — high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud, the smoke lingers
High in the air
In fascination — with the eyes of the world
We stare…



AND DEATH SHALL HAVE NO DOMINIO

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead mean naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Through they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.



DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.



THE RAVEN

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.” Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Nameless here for evermore. And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating “’Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door— Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door; This it is and nothing more.” Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door— Darkness there and nothing more. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”— Merely this and nothing more. Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before. “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore— Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— ’Tis the wind and nothing more.” Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he, But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore— Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door— Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as “Nevermore.” But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered— Till I scarcely more than muttered: “Other friends have flown before— On the morrow _he_ will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.” Then the bird said “Nevermore.” Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore— Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of ‘Never—nevermore.’” But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore— What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking “Nevermore.” This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er _She_ shall press, ah, nevermore! Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!— Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted— On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore— Is there—_is_ there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore— Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” “Be that our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting— “Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted—nevermore!



ALONE

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—