Monday 7 February 2022

Five Superb Poems by Peter Knight




Brust, the Witwerd                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Upon a long night

after short acquaint,

twining and thrusting,

bring a re-birth of taint.

What thing this raw suchling,

unchancely it arrive. 

 

On chariots carry falsayers, 

Moloch, Baal and Beelzebub,

their breaths ignited,

their mouths dripping mire,

bane and blight to come,

these fiends and cohorts desire

to corrupt unwaried men.

 

2.

The gude knicht of steadfast hute,

blud-rute run right in his race.

His full-swelt head intent,

for spirit to be spend,

to afront and fight,

wrout and o'welm all Beasts.

 

Gude knicht and his ludemen,

risen up from folkenholm,

carry forward the Witwerd,

to front the evil’d frae,

to thwart the maneful foe.

But though we withsaw'd battery, ahold,

witherwards, our battlements, wasted, fold.

 

3.

Upon a time, their growl’d suchlings

did push us to a gulded, winter’d age.

Our suchkins and gude burgesses,

[blede with their red rude blud,]

swear many a brust Witwerd,

then begone,

before our days are all sung.

 

4.

Now the ludemen they lodder,

sons of a soft murning,

and though once douth slayers,

new day'd bruke betake their hearts,

their mainstay lode burdening,

as ledden of much men.                                                                                                         

 

 

The eyries bruw ill-wind thru all.                                                                                                             

Dry-dearth is falling fast,

taken toll from under our feet.

Hear the dying gasp of Witwerd,

drast, d’ye ken?

Wherein now in dark-hood strides the gird,

too late the churl, now the bode of rune. 

 

 

boggart hole clough: silent eyes speak                                                                     

 

there are more things

stirring in hedge and copse

than eyes can see,

yet nothing escapes me.

 

mischief fomented,

derision crowed,

the muffling of sorrows,

gasping for help.

For me there is no recourse,

no choice, but to be a quieted host to these.

 

Ancient Boggart Hole Clough is now a large nature reserve in suburban Greater Manchester. A Boggart is a supernatural creature, maybe goblin-like, in old Lancashire folklore.

 

the sum of my bounds is three sixty degrees.

I’m draped in folds, wrapped in trees,

underfoot clay and debris and sodden peat,

hurrying streams flanked by high embankments,

steep-sided wooded risings and depressed hollows,

into which chill sinks at night.

 

Beneath this, there is a welling

that may choke me upon further telling.

An undermining, grinding within,

from where others' eyes closed,

presences unseen in day-lit skies,

await the darkening,

the cover of disguise.

 

2.

darkfall,

when evening glows electric,

when, under filament, shadows flit,

silence sits unspoke

and will until broken

by the sounds of scuffling,

of someone's struggles.

I am already perturbed.

 

i have no voice

with which to challenge

roused night fiends

who emerge from my underground

with trouble clenched in their fists

and devilment set in their eyes.

 

All their ancient mischief,                                                                                         

boiling again on the hob,

brewed with renewed vigor,

while they invoke spirits of the dead

to join the living of their kind

in their former abode.

 

limbless,

i cannot be other

than witness to their offense,

their breaking of bush and picket fences

to fuel their fires’ flames,

with which to banish

their seasonal antagonist,

descended upon this winter’s night.

Nothing, as such, escapes me.

 

3.

wearied,

for want of relief,

i must keep myself awake,

thru damp, mist

and freezing fog,

thru to the first blink

of the transparent eye of day,

at which they retreat,

leaving me to want to be

as i was before,

but can no more.

Aye, there's the rub. 

 

 

Humpty doo                                                                                                   

 

Humpty dumpty climbed a great wall,

Humpty dumpty stood, stretching himself tall,

Humpty dumpty would never, ever fall.

 

“I am the Eggman, goo, goo, gachoo!”

 

Legs astride, hands on hips,

I’m the big E-G-G-, being

pumped full of ego,

ovoid, in shape.

 

From here I see

that the time has come,

as the Walrus says.

My time has come, I nod.

 

So, sat on the wall,

I can see all,

I see the Walrus, with his broom,                      

sweeping up the beach.

 

The Walrus,

though tusked and blubbered up,

whiskered, not smooth-embodied like me,

yet a charismatic creature,

entertains young oysters,

while a carpenter sizes them up for his tea.

 

2.

‘Jabberwock behind!’

[the jaws that smite,

the claws that snatch.]

Taken aback, I slipped,

ooooops, off the wall,

a brief moment in free-fall,

then splat! And that’s all there is of me.

 

All this on a stupid bloody Tuesday, absent my shell.

I’m an egg man no more, no, not recognisable at all

as the lustrous white sphere that I was before my fall.

 

I’m crying, I’m crying, upon my spill,

the king’s men weep hoarsely seeing my plight.

I weep for me too, I deeply sympathise.

[Pass another condolence, please.]

 

3.

Yellow matter,

like sticky custard, sprayed all about,                                                                        

yolk and albumen splattered,

my remains sticky-drip,

no eggs-benediction for me.

Oh, unjust fate!

[To be served up on a plate.]

 

I felt hard boiled

before my shell shattered.

Clumsy me? – no, I blame others.

But for my present want of limbs

I would kick Edgar Allan Poe

right at his tell tale heart.

 

Yes, I was too much an egg,

not sure footed like the Walrus,

not seeing what is really slippery.

Now every joker laughs at me,

scrambled as I am. 

 

 

Childbane                                                                                                     

 

[darkly, darkly]

 

eyes pressed

closed,

in bed i lie;

darkly, darkly,

you pass by.

 

i hear a sound,

i thought I heard

you sigh,

footsteps scuffling

- nearby.

 

darkly, darkly,

you creep

into the night;

deathly, deathly,

i lie affright. 

 

 

that stranger eye                                                                                                       

 

Now i am alive to invisible threads

that drift within me, wormlike, and attach;

micro-fauna that gorge at night

upon my inner succulent flesh.

 

They grow to want

to worm a new course,

to be free of my darkness,

to see light for themselves.

 

In my latest dreaming,

while laid out between my sheets,

i am moved, restless within my sleep,

awakened to a searing eruption,

burst, like an electric prod touching

for an instant, dispatching

a booming, convulsive throb,

hard, forceful and pained.

 

I am struck blind

by a thrust from behind,

thru my eye, emerging beyond.

 

2.

Now i look, one-eyed,

and in other ways wounded,

with a host's belated insight

as to the presence of parasitic bite

unknowingly nurtured within.

 

A blood-gorging sucker slinks,

negotiating my warm ducts

in cold serpentine fashion.

Approaching my vulnerable eye

from behind, foxing

my fixed forward-watch,

to burst, emergent,

for it to be at its liberty at my expense,

to realise its dream, not mine. 

 


Peter Knight Born, raised and resides in Perth, Western Australia, the world's most isolated major city after Honolulu. Now retired, he was a lawyer for 25 years. He has submitted poems post-retirement, mostly written pre-retirement, almost exclusively within Australia. His preference is for off-beat subject matter.


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