Le Temps Revient...

Poetry, Music, Art & Ideas for the Archaic Recurrence...

martes, 6 de diciembre de 2011


“urbem venalem et mature perituram, si emptorem invenerit.” *

Old father Herodotus once told us
How Libya came by its name
And was divided along the shores of lake Tritonis
The land of lotus eaters he did claim
The western part since then became
A land of eager sedentary farmers
While that of the east was the fame
Of nordic shepherds the first beginners
Of Numidian virtues in attesting sinners.

A warlike people may agree
To follow the whims of philosopher kings
When little the mind attempts to free
Those pursuits of feuding nations brings
Calamity held off birth pangs and stings
Of harsh measures needed to promote
A wholesome growth for the future flings
Speak not of servitude beneath the rote
Client nations held in line by the throat.

The vast terrain of Libya has seen 
Many a despot keen to hold a tight grip
On power, unworthy by fine glossed sheen
Media blackouts lead senators to flick
Casually through dossiers, intervention a trip
Of light hearted scrutiny simply observing
The collapse of a nation, sand, dust and brick
Leaving to fate victims undeserving
By a megalomaniac’s self preserving.

Sallust tells us how Jugurtha came once 
To power in the way which others now try
Rome relinquished him of that bunce
Replacing him with someone else who’d comply
With the wants of the empire and not deny
Birthright but a means so little regarded
Forty years of longing with an impatient sigh
Turns to civil strife heavily bombarded
By inertia’s force defiantly guarded.

Libyan plains dissimilar to her neighbour
Easily split into east and west
Rebels bring liberation to their honour
Against such odds doing their best
To hold the line at the behest
Of those who seek but modest gains
Civil strife brings woes to those oppressed
Desires for the slackening of chains
Finding release from whom over them reigns.

Not always inevitable if avoided
Before the fall comes pride
Within their self image still wanted
The proud inherit reasons which abide
Yet oft based on former virtue beside
Of which our sons make good use
Licentious excesses usually hide
Beneath the surface ethics become loose
Excuses for rhetorical sophistic abuse.

*King Jugurtha famously described Rome’s weakness to bribes by saying:
“A city for sale is doomed to quick destruction, if it should find a buyer.”

sábado, 7 de mayo de 2011


Let present day fancies tell proud story, 
   Days of yore fond embattled angst, 
   Of olden times regaled in glory, 
   Far-sighted Aegean heroes glanced, 
   Heroines enchanting beauty danced, 
   Feelings full of another moral age, 
   Against our own narrowly distanced, 
   High-minded decadence suffuses rage,
Undignified rantings provoke us! Turn the page!
These times of plenty tempt us to squander
   What the wise would so gladly put to use,
   Fortune’s shadow oft’ leads minds to wander
   And power’s shallow willingness abuse,
   The amorous contented fit to lose
   Sight of all that once felt and seemed mighty,
   Overarching hierarchies fall prey, whose
   Vision sees beyond local sovereignty, 
Leads former truth into endless calamity.
Frail uncertainty of future life, 
   Has no bearing on an opponents fight, 
   Many noble souls’ unrepenting strife, 
   Each attempt descends into darkest night, 
   Every free spirit enchained, denied sight,
   Of passions, took us away from that bond,
   Servitude has known not of wrong or right,
   Deep embittered patience still remained fond, 
For conceptual beauty! We forever longed!
Then as now stumbling through an era, 
   Eventually to go by the name, 
   A classical age, Apollo’s lyre, 
   Or affinities holding true, the same, 
   Reminiscences, most have always been tame
   Followers, few deserve remembrance, 
   Those who invent another type of game, 
   Set the dice rolling until decadence, 
Misuse cultural riches through fat opulence!

All institutions plagiarize anew, 
   Give ethical clarity, sense denied,
   The family where sons & daughters grew, 
   Was founded on a stone deep red blood dyed, 
   Against the instincts obligingly lied, 
   Suit propriety, avoid provocation, 
   True loves passion, forgotten, pushed aside, 
   Deadly union, honour’s destitution, 
Mutual wealth poached into cold extinction!
Our world is abound with divine pretenses, 
   That have always sought to hold their harsh sway, 
   Divide unequally, raising fences, 
   To show who is banished and who can stay, 
   Invoking difference between those who’d say,
   That we have no quarrel with each other, no!
   Rather they would try to keep us at bay, 
   Final indictment their weak powers show, 
Lofty in abundance! Yet spiritually low!
High-minded princes, bravery’s fountain, 
   Not always the case we see poets told,
   Men suspicious, unbelieving, doubting, 
   Mythology cut off in days of old, 
   The relevance that such tales should hold, 
   Over disparity of meager ways,
   Not caring for eloquence unless sold,
   Something fit to wile away idle days,
The genius amongst us grudgingly displays!

The now ruined city of Mycenae
   Was once founded by Perseus of fame, 
   Who rode the wingèd horse elegantly
   And the snakes of Medusa’s hair did tame, 
   He brought low the Kraken, that very same
   Threat to Andromeda, African bride, 
   Whose former suitor he was forced to maim,
   Only the hauntiness of such Greek pride, 
Could indulge romantic rivalry to be set aside.
The house of Perseus soon did give way
   To Atreus’ like all dynasties, 
   That hardly can last when led far astray,
   Power always needs must feign niceties, 
   Lest people below test its frailties
   And dare to shed the blood thought such a crime, 
   Only the lofty insecurities, 
   Who consider their problems more sublime, 
And for the angst of the many? Haven’t the time!
Kings can be remembered by words & deeds, 
   And Atreus as we know followed suit, 
   Devious butchery, the path to greed’s
   Mad craving, the state coffers he did loot, 
   While holding opinion beneath his boot, 
   Fathered two young sons who’d even outdo
   His own despicable vice, a deep root
   Of wretched corruption had therein grew, 
Agamemnon & Menelaus, they the two.
Brothers looking to further their domains, 
   Marry sisters equal in chastity,
   One rules Mycenae, one in Sparta reigns, 
   Perfect vision of royal harmony, 
   Set aloof to an orphic symphony,
   Till marital discord of course results
   In husband’s scorn! Resort to armoury, 
   Harsh bronze, the brutal payback for insults,
Of Paris, Helen & Aphrodite’s gentle cults.
Hardly impractical Helen once back
   In her place at Menelaus’ side, 
   Set to make up for all the former lack
   Of love he’d had, his comrades who’d died
   Below the walls of Troy and supplied
   A metaphor of frustrated desire,
   Helen ever the seductive queen lied,
   And won over his hapless unquenched fire,
Weaving her way, exulting him all the higher.
There is a rupture, a moment of bleak
   Empty wilderness a time lost to all, 
   Before whence all idealists did seek,
   To test their skills unprepared for the fall,
   The house of old Mycenae’s blood drenched hall,
   Familiar bonds not always so dear,
   A king though in stature may be quite tall,
   Orestes’ doom, to complacently hear,
Furies’ cry for lifeblood, his lineage clear.

Tell me how could any such Delphic bard,
   Make song of sparse eons’ austerity?
   When even muses themselves find it hard,
   The act of fine vocal dexterity?
   Long gone are days of kind sincerity,
   A feature so common among equals, 
   Fully knowing harsh pending levity,
   That weight of a Bronze age that now appalls,
The pending curtain call which upon greatness falls.
Orestes, son of family dispute, 
   To whom it fell the burden of vengeance,
   Against his own kindred, to raise his boot,
   Blot out the life that gave him essence,
   Electra too, in his sister’s presence,
   Brought down retribution on his own head,
   Furies sought unremitting repentance, 
   They drove him forth to Athens, where it’s said,
Trial by reason! Passions soothed and put to bed!
Barely come of age, the soft hairy down
   Of his chin still smooth, quite easily seen,
   Such youth commits matricide for the crown,
   For Clytemnestra’s end he was too keen,
   The hot-headed impatience of a teen,
   Brought about further dynastic shift,
   She having been in turn also too mean,
   Orestes merely repeating to lift
The knife by which his father too was set adrift.

Hardly avoidable his destiny,
   Punish a mother of so little love,
   For a husband long lost at war away,
   Agamemnon returning felt her shove
   His war weary personage from above,
   Down into Hades’ waters thereabout,
   Polluted bloodshed the peace of a dove,
   Long since denied during Troy’s tragic rout,
Likewise, nobody cared for his own final shout.
Despite his depravity, such an act,
   The duty of honour should deserve praise,
   To avenge a father who but lacked,
   Nothing to a son which should amaze,
   Agamemnon’s vengeance he obeys,
   A brother & sister seem justified,
   Forgetting that father’s very own craze,
   Iphigenia, their sibling once sighed,
Ritual sacrifice! The Greek cause obliged!
What a farce tragic theatre has but made
   Epic myth set to vulgar applause, 
   Degrading stories, celebrities played
   Any rendering true or not to laws
   Of traditional dogma flouting flaws, 
   Contemporary adaptions, no respect
   For source material. Morals & mores 
   Left dull and lifeless, fully inept,
Devoid of content, entertainment we accept.
Greek tragedians were as bad as any,
   Tinkering with myth to follow their whim,
   Iphigenia found alive! Many
   Plainly thought what’s the point of such a hymn?
   If back from the dead, that land of the dim, 
   Anyone comes, fitting plots make a mess, 
   She turned up in Taurus or so they sing, 
   What enmity! For her sake, bitterness
Had bled! Generations of pointless prolonged stress!

Yet to all things soon come a time of peace, 
   Or stagnation whatever you’d call it,
   Times of imagination came to cease, 
   Stories of grandure no longer seemed fit,
   Tales of valour, strength, iron & grit, 
   Gave way to a dark age with nought to tell, 
   Orestes’ legacy obscurely lit, 
   Life lived beyond its means may often knell
Decline from the heights into ignorance and hell.
Helen, let’s not forget, had a daughter, 
   By Menelaus before having fled,
   Hermione for many a winter, 
   While her parents’ quarrel at Troy bled,
   Waited. Euripides’ passion has said,
   That the girl grew refined yet lecherous,
   Neoptolemus fought for her soft bed,
   Against Orestes for the dangerous
Bride. Fitting prize for the cunningly murderous!
Neoptolemus, that son to surpass
   Exploits of his father Lord of the dead,
   Swift footed Achilles, yes, he the mass
   Murderer who to hungry hounds had fed,
   Priam’s son Hector, the one who had led, 
   Troy’s only hope, defiance resistant,
   The son won Andromache who still shed
   Tears for fine Hector, her husband distant,
Indulging Neoptolemus not an instant.
He was such a match for his father plus,
   The same instinct for ruthless savagery,
   He also goes by the name of Pyrrhus,
   Shorter an appellation, you’ll agree, 
   Than Neoptolemus, I’m sure you’ll see, 
   It’s intolerable to use again,
   Too many syllables! Bad poetry!
   Half a line gone, if you count up to ten, 
A scribe has got to limit the use of his pen.

Well Hermione like I was saying
   Wasn’t too pleased by the sordid idea, 
   Of a rival, Pyrrhus’ heart straying, 
   She was quite happy to stand by and cheer, 
   As Pyrrhus fought Orestes, we now hear,
   For her own love! Yes, those men can sweat!
   But against a slave, Andromache dear,
   She saw nothing more than a foreign threat,
Compassion for the vanquished unlearnt as of yet.
All this envy though soon came to nothing, 
   It’s often the case in confusing myths,
   Grandiloquence we find somehow soothing, 
   Just as we gossip over lovers’ tiffs,
   So, what happened next? There are many ifs,
   Ancient sources are always vague and sparse, 
   History is full of bores squares & stiffs, 
   Repeating, reliving the same old farce,
At least here you’ve got the plain original dance!
There’s one thing of which we can be sure,
   Pyrrhus made his way to the Delphic shrine,
   Above Mount Parnassus, below azure
   Skies of central Greece, now in sad decline,
   But then in its heyday, high in its prime,
   There by Apollo’s columns of marble,
   Doric in stature and encased in lime,
   The stones by which Orestes would gamble,
Hermione’s hand in open bloody battle.

Here wanton poets really meet their test,
   Gore soaked stanzas, not for the faint-hearted!
   Yet tragedy puts action off stage, lest
   Crowds listened as eloquence departed,
   Maybe that’s why I just can’t get started,
   On unavoidable confrontation,
   The clash of Bronze, tell me! Who’ll be martyred?
   Warriors without ill hesitation,
Lovers of these fine arts would show indignation.

Off with Hermione, his promised wife,
   Hardly worth repeating, Orestes won,
   Pyrrhus, like father, threw away his life,
   He’d fought desperately, yet all he’d done,
   Was upset Apollo, spoil his fun,
   Who’d favoured Orestes long since the days,
   When he’d begged sanctuary on the run
   For murdering his mother in a craze,
Thus the archer god shows benignity, Homer says.
After his ordeals Orestes went
   Back to his homeland pacified and won,
   Ruled over his people, a landed gent, 
   Accepting his mastery he’d begun
   To rule by decree and to blindly shun,
   The needs of a people little heeded, 
   He hired politicians who then spun,
   Any old mantra that kept motives hid,
Ignoring what poverty and hunger pleaded.
In little time the whole Peloponnese 
   Was united, bowing down at his feet,
   Mycenae flourished in a time of ease, 
   Agamemnon’s son did grander a feat,
   Than in those old times of his father’s seat, 
   All wasted on foreign intervention
   Wars were won, but bringing homebound defeat,
   People neglected of education,
Invest not in the future but segregation.
Rebellious streak fiercely indignant,
   The Greeks have had since those forgotten days,
   Filled their streets with oratory and chant,
   They forgive little of abusive ways,
   A spirit hardly willing, never pays
   To passively look on as the corrupt, 
   Try their tricks, saying it’s only a phase,
   Squeeze the economy! Ruin, disrupt,
Our swindled hopes brought to an end abrupt!

Untolerated a tyrant returns
   In yet another form more sleekly clad,
   With ways to pilfer what the worker earns, 
   Always devious, malicious and glad,
   Rejoicing to take away all we had,
   While daring to say it’s his divine right,
   Only common people recognise bad,
   But never cease to dream! What’s far from sight?
Never lower their heads nor wallow in their plight!

The Death of Neoptolemus.

Oracle bade you death,
But in your lie is life,
Taken away before me,
Your unwitting role.

Blood all spilt for the line of the future,
In this alone your virtues prevail,
Taken back amongst you,
Odysseus' son so crestfallen.

Mists of delphic rites,
Compete for a way beyond.

Take your prize or meet demise,
So high and far away,
Near your heartbeat's eratic pulsing,
So high and far.

Wisk away by the end of life's mortal time,
Now join Achilles encroaching upon the sublime.

All beyond the dusk,
Pale in Zeus we trust,
All beyond the dusk,
And Olympus ever rising.

martes, 29 de marzo de 2011

The Genuine.

I never learnt their secret code,
I'm the gun they forgot to load,
Worthless beat or so I'm told,
Not as pretty but not as cold.

All your hatred is so apple pie,
The latest trend do as you'd die,
I spent my life asking why...

Stand aside you're not true to the mold,
Be yourself but do as you're told,
Stand in line until you're old, 
Carry their weight until you fold.

In love one can live
But without love their is no world 
which will not poison itself.

Your specialized 
21st century diseased minds
Uniquely combine 
Ignorance with arrogance.

Acting merely as you know,
In blissful ignorance of long ago,
A label to define him as one of the walking dead.

Mental frame works,
Familiarity for sanities sake,
Go along through the motions all you know,
In blissful ignorance of long ago.

sábado, 26 de marzo de 2011

A Venetian Vision.

Or a strange little tale on the aftermath of fortune.

Casting off from the bridge of sighs he descended through the thick foggy air finding himself in unimpeded free fall. As he hit the obscure water's surface he sank even quicker though the salty deep, with his body as motionless as the calm of the tide. Going further below into those depths, the city of the Sereníssima seemed to sink with him. Down into her darker regions he went submerged in eerie caverns of crumbling brick. Venice became a nightmare city and the view from St. Mark's across the waves was still palpably visible to the curious eye. Yet no longer did its light glint or sparkle, rather a heavy haze of grey pressed down upon it from above. All was still as death, as though that long ago romanticized moment known as the death of Venice had at long last now passed. A moment of bliss and exuberant ecstasy exploded as Venice uttered her final beautifully fatal cry in the throes of an insanely prolonged fit of self destruction.

However he had arrived too late to witness this highlight of the ages and was only able to pass through Venice's canals which now formed a labyrinthine river Styx within the boundaries of a new worldly Hades. He too was but moribund to this life and found himself unable to incline himself to aught besides plunging ever on downwards into his self perceived profligate misfortunes. He finally came across a cavern that seemed to produce an ethereal glow. The Adriatic sea was rushing up from below and an impeccably self contained fountain gave free flow to waters that ascended ever on upwards into the obscurity of those in transient airs. He listened to the joyous song of Hades' children who being caught there in the fountain's tides passed by many an hour in self reflexive harmony. They captured his attention in its totality, so rapturously was he bound unto their thrall. Yet he could not bear to penetrate into those crystalline waters nor let a single drop of that hell spawned water be misdirected from its relentless upward surge. He had none but the faintest inkling as to how many an hour he had been shuddering by that torrential fountain which remained overwhelming in its desire to bequeath him of its deep blissful secrets.

So in finding no respite thereabouts, onward he stumbled, now to find a way out of that unsightly subterranean wilderness. He glimpsed a far away ray of light through the dim recesses of that blackest flameless inferno. The light grew as he followed his fancy towards its all too mesmerizing clarity. It seemed to be coming from beyond an arched tunnel through which he then intended to make his way. Yet even in death Venice's paved ways continued to follow a habit of letting seep through to her surface all manner of hideous bile from her nether regions. These Styx like canals flooded over all traversable routes, yet he proceeded onwards towards the brightness incessantly. Though try as he might that viscose material made passage far beyond a slippery ordeal and to hold ones footing under such conditions became an effort far above the station of a mere accident prone individual such as himself. Sooner or later one foot or the other must give way and into that fermenting froth he would have had to have sunk.

In reluctant angst he retraced his steps backwards in pursuit of he knew not what. Then thereabouts he came across a winding stairway leading back into the heights. It did but resemble that famous spiral staircase which in Venice is well renowned, but even if it had ever been such a grand rear entranceway in its lifetime, death had done aught but respect its self sustaining grandure. In like said fashion the stairway wound its way above him and seemed to offer safe release from the burdens that were assailing him in those infested chasms. Yet to the contrary there always seems a blight to render an ill-timed blow to one's will, keeping one in suspense, frustrating any notions of making good one's escape. The stairway need it be said, was far too narrow for anyone even of his own thinly built disposition to attempt ascent and he then began to give in to lassitude, muttering vengeful laments, towards he knew not who, as to his present misfortunes. After but a brief moment of indulgent resignation, he gathered his faltering spirits and came to see that he would perhaps be able to sliver his way up, albeit like a snake twisting its body to fit the curvature of what was more of a tube than a staircase. In like manner, he weaved his way up, delicately tiptoeing the tiny steps as he managed to force his way slowly but reassuringly upwards. His backpack he held aloft above his abyss wary head as there was little room for it elsewhere nor any arm space along by his sides. From above he suddenly felt a tugging motion forcibly attempting to deprive him of his belongings. It quickly came to his stark attention the realization that herein did still reside many an inhabitant of what had once been the cosmopolitan pearl of human ideality. These retched denizens of an already decayed homeland would prey upon any other who tried to raise themselves from the uncanny depths. Any such unfortunates, being forced to resort to such futile measures to flee those realms, would then find themselves at the mercy of these deviously ambitious fellows. Having little recourse but to take his possessions for granted as lost, he eventually found his way out of that deep wasteland and back up into the remnants of Venice's past glory. He wandered about her streets aimlessly without sense nor direction, not knowing where these crooked back alleys would take him, neither taking into consideration any care nor guarding any interest for his further well being.

He eventually came across a group of welcoming Venetians huddled up cozily by a blazing fire, who offered him solace in the hope that he would be able to rest his tortured bones within their humble abode for the forthcoming night. He thanked them full heartedly for their altruistic offer of kindness and took them up on it. There upon he was presented with a large rusty key, which seemed to signify the type of thing which keys usually do in dreams of this sort. 

There were no more grand palaces left in Venice, nor houses of ancestral majesty. All that remained were ramshackle dens of vice and pitifully dark corners, which however even in their sadly decayed state, it must be admitted, gave off a fragrance so sweet that they would still have put the spring time blossoming of any other earthly place to shame. Nature had finally reclaimed Venice and never more would the hand of man intrude or disturb the fragile balance of her full bodied serenity. As the song of Hades' children, from that watery cavern, came back to him all of a sudden, at last he was able to find the inner peace for which he had longingly been in desperate search of. However that sense of desperation was now over as he found himself able to lie down amidst the ruins of a place that had formerly boasted such pomp and ostentation. Never again would Venice catch the world's eye and cause it to sigh with regret at its own ineptitude. For the last time had Venice shocked the globe through her extravagant means of enthralling the great and reducing egoism to naught but bemoaning its newly perceived sense of impotence. She who made all else seem but an ugly blemish had finally met her demise as the poets had always said she would. It had been a sublime death befitting such a beauty as she (would that he had arrived there in time to have witnessed it!) Yet is it not perhaps better to move on to lesser things, rather than lingering too long over precious though chard remains?