Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Passion Play


Praeludium
Now the spring birds have flown To the full maturity of Summer,
Tender leaves have grown Like pale yellow shades
Under the service of a green god.

Wild Love’s impassioned draught
Brewed and bottled in Winter and Fall
Warms my breast in broiling mash
Poisoning my blood---Carving curses in my softer thought.
And from valve’d gush cours'd
On artery, vein, and capillary To the outermost
Like the great Oak’s sap crying for the sun.
The tree sings wondrous, leafy melody
In the dawn of a Summer day.

Therefore, like a swallow My tender love has flown
Casting me down aching on my native soil.
Farflung from the intoxicating Provencal sun.
Where the Mistral Wind consorts with seven sisters To seed souls in fury, color and music.

O, the long days I lament Wandering the forests In the Black Mountains’ chest, Gathering wild berries And pounds of sweet mushroom
For Winter’s store;
Pouncing on spikely chestnut coats to free the meaty captives.
With my love at my
side
I gathered dreams along crystal streams,
Bathing in turquoise pools of dancing weeds.

Yet love fell too hard 
And broke his fragile shell.

Act One
Passion is a cruel master
And of my innocence did sport and play,
Served me most barbarously,
Stealing sweet friendship away.

For friendship bears a noble ring
To glory the wearer’s hand
And blessed be those who never pawn it
To purchase Passion’s land.

The play of Passion is swift and subtle,
Hidden from all but the poet’s eye.
Like the dancing of a marionette 
Forging its mechanical lie.
Up goes Passion’s cruel dark hand
And the arms of the lovers dance
Arousing to forage his maiden’s breast
And cast fair caution to chance.
“Victory! Victory!” cries the glowing touch,
“Give me time and I will increase the score,
to win the prize of her bed
and camp inside her door.”

Such is the scene in the singer’s vision
To charm his virgin away.
To all the world
What seems so tender
Is for Master Passion a wicked play.
Out of reach I hear him laughing, mocking and scorning---
Dousing young hearts afire,
Shouting that the lovers court and spark,
“Faster, harder, and higher!”
So it is that the lovers’ tryst
By the stream in the bright forest’s clearing
Becomes a ravenous feast
Of wild beasts
Stomping, munching and tearing.

Of flesh to flesh
And limb to limb
The appetite knows no sate
But to hurl herself over the cliff
Where no soul can bend, glue, or mend
Her broken creature frame.

“Alas, it is a pity,” whispers Passion in cool jest.
“For that’s the end of my game.
AH, but give me ‘til morning
To brew an ale that tastes the same.”

Passion’s Fortress
Such is the dominion of Passion’s play
To whom all lovers grant submission---
And mighty is the stronghold
That Passion’s fortress guards.
The old man’s fort is a merry place…Come all of you who bid enter
Beware of the open gate
Where none freely leave.
Regard the treasure keep:
Red ruby, mystic opal,
diamonds glitter high and
Glimmer deep.

A small commission
For those who follow Passion’s way.
Smell the simmering stew,
Savoury seasoning in the kitchen
Of Passion’s chef.
Hear the minstrels pleasant song
Describing Passion’s conquests
In melody and rhyme!
Enjoy erotic courtesans
Who dance in Passion’s court
In swift and nimble time.
O, in all the world is there a better master?
Tell me dear friend,
With lifestyle like this,
Who would refrain to be a mere player
In this king’s court?
Surely, freedom is a little price to pay!

Come. Join the merry band!
Passion throws a lawn party
Requests your humble presence
To meet all of his famous friends
In Summer soiree.

Come, take up a silver chalice
And offer to Lord Passion,
Savor the sweet bubbly libation.
“Strike up the music minstrels
our guests have reached their destination,”
Passion cries out in a merry voice:
“Let the festivities commence!”

While all the world satisfy themselves
In dance, and drink and play,
The poet roves ever on
To discover beneath the fray
A terrible sight.

Drawn to the sound of a peeping cry
I stumbled upon
Passion’s captive chambers
Beneath the cellar wall.
Deep down in the fortress hidden behind iron gates
Quietly whimper the lovers’ souls
Whom Passion laid to waste.
I chanced to spy upon a most hideous sight...

Passion hooted and hollered, dressed up like a circus master
Demanding all forms of wanton cruelty
That spells out moral disaster.
Round and around he chased the slaves
And cracked them on their backs
And laughed grimacing until he cried
Or lost interest in this sport.
Then up passion went
To stroll about his estate
Puffed up like a peacock
Dancing before its mate.
Sly Lord,He greets all of his new devotees in this way:
“All that you please, take!
The fruit,  taste! To enjoyment there is no end!”

I observed the old man
As a guest, same as any other,
Yet I must confess
I stole a look to activities undercover.
Deep down in the entrails of the fortress strong,
Dwells Passion’s son,
And he is the cause of no small grief
To his famous father.
The son of Passion must be hidden away
For he refuses to take part in his father’s play.
Gazing solemnly on the spectacle
Causing Passion’s conscience to smart and
Though five fresh virgins should dance in lace before him,
And lay down and declare: “Fair game.”
This young lord casts away his sorrowful gaze
Never leaving his righteous aim.

The reason in short, my friends,
If we cast our glance beyond the festive wall,
We chance to find Passion
In the lonely garden prowling,
Weeping, gnashing teeth and howling.

Passion’s Lament
“My game, O Lord, Wearies my day,
For ever and ever it is the same.
The innocent fall too easily
At the whisper of my name.
They are like lemmings
Over the cliff’s edge
At the lonely piper’s piping.”
“Pshaw!” Passion spews,
“’Tis a knife with no edge to whittle!
Such weakling morons
When cup’s full of lust’s nutty mead
Are idling pawns
In a stalemate game.
This is dull seasoning
For my dreary hours.
Well any schoolgirl knows‘tis combat to sharpen
the warring sabre,
and mine is dull
for the weaklings roll over like kittens.
Tension holds the great wall in place,
Yet no one dare challenge old Passion
To his face.
Fair game, without fair match,Fairly disgusts me---“
So Passion spews and spits.

With a voice like a wounded wolf
He cries:
“O, Lord, I am loathe to continue in passionate play---
grant me a reprieve and I shall cease this very day
from terrorizing lovers
and to the hills retire
to rest a season in a cooler clime
and quell my flaming fire.”

“Passion retire?” mocked the Parrot’s wicked cry.
“Aye, Passion retire, indeed!”
leared the mad bird,Passion’s only pal.
“Fare thee well
may all of your days be foul!”
Then the dark lord rose up and prowled
From lawn to terrace to salon
Taking secret leave
Of his passionate team
Dancing in the foggy evening cool.

Out the gate,
Gathering close a pilgrim’s pack,
And down the lane
Over shoulder glancing back
Did solemnly proclaim:
“Farewell the ivy hanging down the fortress wall
farewell my castle, farewell my all.
Farewell my treasure, farewell my play
Your lord takes a sorry leave a-roving far away.
Inherit these walls---this false estate
You who dare
Scale the ivy and stone
If this be your dreaded fate.”

Then Passion began to wonder
Far and deep into the forest dark
Besieged by every obstacle along the way;
Hunger and sleepless nights,
Hideous beasts assailed him
As if on higher command
To test his fiber
And weary his trembling hand.

Nearly perished
For the rigors of the way
Famished and grieving
Laying down to offer up his mortal pay.
Here we find Master Passion
Fallen on the roadside,Ragged, weak and weary
Please succor him who passes
This wanderer fallen dreary.
Who should up the cool path
But a merry pair a-picknicking
Swinging arms in the fresh new forest air.
A young singer
With his virgin fair
Merrily singing songs and dancing.
The wind of their youthful joy
Catches ear of the fallen lord
Hidden in the brush.
Courage rises in his heart
And his voice calls out in a rush:
Passion’s Plea
“Young lovers who wander freely
so far from the village
come and sport and play in the forest dark.In secret, passionate kisses fall.”

“Whose voice creaks beneath brush and bramble?” cries the tender lad.
All at once, Master Passion resuscitated
As a flowing spring leaping
Shines in dazzling, colorful array.
The Lord in full costume
In sporting passion play!

The fair young maiden
Ventures out a curious, pale hand
Toward Passion’s multicolor cloak:
“Beautiful Lord,
so awesome in display
we have wandered a long day from the village
and seem to have lost the way.”

Passion laughs:“Lost your way, indeed, fair girl,
with this eager singer at your side;
More likely you have abandoned the village square
For the sultry country air.

Is this the secret you hide?
No need to be coy with Master Musick
As I am known in the forest deep.
I can lead you to a lover’s bower
Safely in the wooded keep.
Fear not and I will lead you safely home.”
Master Passion spoke with laughter in his eyes.

Passion’s Invitation
“Come be guests in my hut this night
and tomorrow I will guide you merrily on your way.
Now the shadows lengthen/evening’s singer ceases to sing.
Come follow me young wanderers,
Make my camp your home.”
We see the merry threesome
Into the deep thicket trampling into a clearing
Where a lover’s hut appears so cozy and soft.

Passion’s Welcoming Words: “Welcome my friends to this hut in the secret forest.
Everything is allowed,
Bar no desire from its goal;
Nobody of the village can spy on you now,
The fire is set by the bed of eider down.”

The two camp down
For a soft, calm night
When up rises a storm---
The night is terrible,
The young maiden is in terror:
“Where is the man who led us here and seems to have disappeared into the night?”
The musician is enraged by the fury of the storm,
He is inspired and glowing…
This fair girl clings to his breast and beseeches him to sing a song.
A calm descends,
Passion prowls
Stopping to Gaze through the hut’s window.
Spying the young virgin in the singer’s arms,
He howls, laughs, mocks and cries in scorn:
Achieve your end my lad,
For swiftly rises the morn.”

The singer sings:
“Your eyes, your cheeks, your breast,”
he can restrain no more
his virgin’s cheeks are all aglow and call to him,
her eyes are dark like a summer pool and ask for him,
her breast rises in the fire’s glowing a feather pillow’d canyon.
“I am on fire,” he sings.
“And would sacrifice all and everything,to enter your mellow womb.”

The Beloved’s Replies: “Come near then, my singer,
promise me all that you possess,
draw nigh up unto my canopy
and to my bosom press.”

Outside Passion is ranting, and choking
Alternating laughter with tears of joy
For never had sport been played
With more honest a pair.
The lover’s tenderly embrace
As Passion in the yard looks on,
When out of the forest wanders
Old Wonder
On his nightly stroll.

“Hey, who goes there, who rustles about in my forest hut?’ calls Wonder as Passion cowers away.
“It is Passion,that depraved and lonely soul,
my long lost brother,who lost his nerve on his wedding day.
‘Tis a pity, for he never could consummate his union,
or engage in lover’s play.
Just look at him now!
He rants and raves
Driving you ng lovers over the top,
Holding fair virgins captive,
Planting desires they can never stop.
The young lad in madness
Promises his future away
And all for the whim of cruel passion
Whose fair wife stole away.”

Old Wonder drew up a forest nymph
And framed her in the shape of an owl,
led her over to Passion’s side at the edge of the wood
Where he crawled.

She calls down sweetly from pine limb into Passion’s ear:
The maiden shall be your alone,
And you will love her well,
You must cast off her lover at once!
Act fast in Passion’s fire,
Her flower has blossomed.”

Passion leapt to the threshold of the hut
Tearing open the oaken doorIn one bounding pounce
Lands upon the singer’s shoulders.

“Away with you, my lad,
to the forest dark be pressed away,
for I shall keep your maiden fair
until the absence of day.”

Passion whispered to the lad:
"Laddy, be not deceived,
She will be equally happy with either me or you,
Now that her heart is spoiled.
Better that you should fly
To a life of honor
Than for an evening of passion’s play
Squander all.
Go, be free, be away!”

Thus the singer found himself locked out of the hut
Gazing inward
While Passion won the day.
Until he could bear no longer
With fat tears
Teared away in confusion and haste,
Lost in the forest wild
Where old man Wonder Gathers mushrooms
Beneath the light of the moon’s ceiling.
Old Wonder finds him there
Singing sad songs, sweetly weeping,
And offered him a forest meal to send
His spirit leaping.