Ode to a Soldier’s Wife

I can see your tears are streaming, in the lamp light they are gleaming;
How I wish that I were dreaming, and that duty hadn’t called.
Through the wretched bars we’re kissing, as the steam train begins hissing
And of all the things worth missing, I shall miss you most of all.
Although I am on a mission, moonlight on us both will glisten
In the night, just sit and listen – love I’ll send straight to your hall
In the night bird’s lonely call.

Please have faith and keep on praying, in God’s grace we’ll both be staying.
All the soldiers here are saying that the end of war is near.
Though in truth, it would be lying if I said I weren’t crying,
In my heart, I shall be trying not to give in to my fear.
Your sweet smile I’ll keep adoring in my mind, though it be pouring,
Know my spirit will be soaring far above my mortal tears,
‘Til your voice, again I hear.

As I turn, already yearning, there’s a truth that I am learning –
Loneliness commences burning, deep within my broken heart.
Now the captains voice is urging and the engine begins surging.
Frosty air and steam are merging as my eyes rapidly dart
Toward the gate, where she is clinging. The conductor’s bell is ringing.
All the soldiers take up singing, as the train slowly departs
While my soul is torn apart.

 

The Red Empire

In a large East Asian country, a police-state occupation
has created cringing terror to control the population.
Those who admit Falun Dafa practice, face reeducation;
without trial they’re imprisoned. Slavery is the solution
that the Party there has chosen as a means of persecution
while inhuman vivisection has become an institution.
Now the world we must inspire
to bring down the Red Empire.

Governmental propaganda has proclaimed an infiltration;
they have mobilized their forces against peaceful meditation,
and the call for full disclosure to the people of the nation.
For these crimes there’s no admission, nor a claim of contribution
in the death of all the victims. We must make a resolution
to investigate the reports and demand some restitution
for the hundreds that require
the fall of the Red Empire.

Quieting the citizens and stifling their imagination
through both lethal strong-arm tactics, and public misinformation.
Tolerance is now illegal, when it should be inspiration
for the masses to seek freedom and a peaceful revolution.
Basic human rights are missing and there is no Constitution,
but to speak these things aloud means quick and certain execution;
yet they cannot kill desire
to live without the Red Empire.

 

A 52 year old grandfather, Dusty has just recently become a professional author. He lives in Newberg, Oregon, where a dog named Naked, and his youngest daughter Jazzmyn keep him busy.

Featured Image: “The Order of Release” by Sir John Everett Millais

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5 Responses

  1. Benjamen Grinberg

    So exciting a truly good poet.

    I love the first poem. I don’t know how this works but I couldn’t help but feeling that I was reading Poe’s The Raven. It seems the pattern and flow are identical. Not sure if it’s true or a hallucination. I think the poem is so go, I just inserted some words (in parentheses) that I would have chosen as they came to me while reading your poem. Just as an exercise in appreciation. Thank you.

    Ode to a Soldier’s Wife

    I can see your tears are streaming, in the lamp light they are gleaming;
    How I wish that I were dreaming, and that duty hadn’t called.
    Through the wretched bars we’re kissing, as the steam train begins hissing
    And of all the things (that’s) worth missing, I shall miss you most of all.
    Although I am on a mission, moonlight on us both will glisten
    In the night, just sit and listen – love I’ll send straight to your hall
    In the night bird’s lonely call. (I will miss you most of all.)

    Please have faith and keep on praying, in God’s grace we’ll both be staying.
    All the soldiers here are saying that the end of war is near.
    Though in truth, it would be lying if I said I weren’t crying,
    In my heart, I shall be trying (To be with you beck and call.) [To not give in to my fear.]
    Your sweet smile I’ll keep adoring in my mind, though it be pouring,
    Know my spirit will be soaring far above my mortal tears,
    ‘Til your voice, again I hear. (You are with me all my years.)

    As I turn, already yearning, there’s a truth that I am learning –
    Loneliness commences burning, deep within my broken heart.
    Now the captains voice is urging and the engine begins surging.
    Frosty air and steam are merging as my eyes rapidly dart
    Toward the gate, where she is clinging. The conductor’s bell is ringing.
    All the soldiers take up singing, as the train slowly departs
    (I join them, the manly clatter, but I keep you in my heart)[While my soul is torn apart.]

    So in the previous vein, I’ll do the same here. I think your rhythm is so on point that the words are almost part of the rhythm as opposed to vice-versa. Just made some personal subjective changes.

    The Red Empire

    In a large East Asian country, a police-state occupation
    has created cringing terror to control the population.
    Those who admit Falun Dafa [practice], face reeducation;
    without trial (they are) [they’re] imprisoned. (Slavery Solution.) [Slavery is the solution]
    that the Party there has chosen as a means of persecution
    while inhuman vivisection has become an institution.
    Now the world [we] (must have desire) ([inspire]
    to (wipe out the Red pollution) [bring down the Red Empire.]

    Governmental propaganda has proclaimed an infiltration;
    they have mobilized their forces against peaceful meditation,
    and the call for full disclosure to the people of the nation.
    For these crimes there’s no admission, nor a claim of contribution
    in the death of all the victims. We must make a resolution
    to investigate [the] reports and demand some restitution
    for the hundreds that require
    the fall of the Red Empire.

    Quieting the citizens (, st’fling) [and] [stifling their] imagination
    through [both] lethal strong-arm tactics, [and] public misinformation.
    Tolerance is now illegal, when it should be inspiration
    for the masses to seek freedom and a peaceful revolution.
    Basic human rights are missing and there is no Constitution,
    but to speak these things aloud means quick (, brutal) [and certain execution;]
    yet they cannot kill desire
    to [burn down] live without the Red Empire.

    Reply
    • Dusty Grein

      Benjamin,

      Part of the rhythmic confusion, may be because these lines, similar to those in Mr. Poe’s, are actually comprised of TWO separate trochaic octameters, glued together for brevity.

      Some of your adverbs and adjectives are awesome – and those which don’t alter the pattern of trochees, would be a great fit.

      Thank you for the time you spent reading, and commenting.

      Dusty

      Reply
  2. Benjamen Grinberg

    Just to do Mr. Poe justice I want to paste the poem. I would have placed him at number 10 (http://classicalpoets.org/10-greatest-poems-ever-written/).

    The Raven
    BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
    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 visitor,” 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 visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
    Some late visitor 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 mortal 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 somewhat 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 this 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 the placid bust, spoke only
    That one word, as if his 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 fancy 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 word 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 hath 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 shadow on the floor;
    And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted—nevermore!

    I think Poe’s more modern poem has a driving rhythm. The older classical poems on the site’s best of list are more graceful. Subjective opinion. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Dusty Grein

      Benjamin,

      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate the subtle additions and changes you might have made, but the words were chosen to maintain a true trochaic octameter cadence, while the missing final line is catalectic by design.

      Thank you for noticing the rhythmic similarity to The Raven. In all truth, BOTH of these poems were written in the same meter that EAP used in his masterpiece. It is one of my favorite style poems, and lends itself very well to narrative form, and measured cadence.

      Thanks again for your words and comments,
      Respectfully,
      Dusty

      Reply
  3. Waldeci Erebus

    Good job Dusty & B. Here’s my humourous contribution to Poe’s Raven metre.

    The Vulture

    On the dusty trail walking,
    I heard something screeching, squawking,
    but for all my gawping gawking,
    I could see no thing.

    So I went back to my schlocking,
    when I heard some creaking, kraching,
    wheezing, grinding, gruff jaw-locking.
    It was on the wing.

    So I thought perhaps it’s hawking
    some poor creature it is mocking;
    but that thought to me was shocking.
    I could hardly sing.

    Certainly it wasn’t flocking,
    nor attempting mid-air docking.
    Me it was it wanted knocking,
    in a highland fling.

    Then I noticed it was blocking
    sunlight reaching me now balking;
    I was doing all the talking;
    Time began to sting.

    I collapsed into a rock ring.
    There it sat on my head rocking,
    no more did I feel a tall king;
    I began to
    sink.

    Reply

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