Poems & Word Pictures

by Freeman Lewis NewhallGreat heavenly one who turns the universe, the God who is, Ia˘, Lord, ruler of all, ablanathalaabla, grant, grant me favor. I shall have the name of the great God in this amulet; and protect me from every evil thing
"The Shadowcatcher"

Sanctuary

Is there a place in space
With darkness soft as butter
That will firmly hold an acheing heart
And gently still its flutter?

Shambhala

I stand outside the golden gate
Of that heavenly holy city
I have put aside my earthly fate
Holding out my arms for pity
The Black warrior I have tested
The White tiger I have bested
The Vermilion bird, I have heard
Its song, and remember still
Standing now at the top of the hill
Waiting for the Azure dragon.

Things I Like

I like the different and the strange
Of sight and sound and smell
I like the forest and the mountain range
And ocean waves curling in a swell
I like the pungent smell of seaweed
Slowly drying on the sandy beach
I like to watch the seagulls feed
Whirling and dipping out of reach
I like to dig for sand dabs
Standing knee deep in the tide
I like to catch the blue crabs
With you there at my side.

If I Be Lifted Up

It was in the cold month of dead December
Long past my prime as I remember
That I traveled once more through the planes
Marking my losses against my gains
I had outfoxed that sly old Trickster
Who had become a permanent fixture
When I heard a strange and plaintive wail
And I saw blood pour from the Holy Grail
I heard the clash of cymbols and sounding brass
Then I heard the aweful laugh of a braying ass
I moved past where poignant memories linger
Past the pages of the Moving Finger
I ventured futher, through the Region of Sighs
To the place where the Rose never dies
When I heard an Eagle scream, then a baby's cry
Then like a Star, I fell from the sky.

The Magic Theatre

That place called Mind, that inferno
That kaleidoscopic chamber
Of bits of broken glass
That form in an instant
In harlequin colors
Complicated patterns
That with the slightest movement
Shatter into a thousand wriggling pieces
And with a cockeyed motion
Reform into another geometry.

The Brain

Ignore the pain
Tear open the brain
And note the kind
Of intensified illusion
That creates confusion
A sinkhole in the mind.

Shiva

Atoms dancing through empty space
Rushing together
Coming apart
Conforming to
A rhythmic beat
Emanating from
The universal Heart
Performing to


An unseen audience
Orchestrated by
An unknown conductor
Creating a symphony of Love
The music feed my hungry Soul
And I can now go on alone
Healing, revealing, and
Recreating my Self.

Truth

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and
Nothing but the truth,
But what do I know about the truth?
I know that water's wet and fire's hot
That this is this, and that is not.
What do I know about the truth?
A fact's a fact, but what is true about the fact?
A fact never truly answers back.
What do I know about the truth?
Upon whose truth are we about to dine
Upon your truth, or do we dine on mine?
Which truth? Yesterday's truth, or tomarrow's say
Or are we severing up the truth of the day?
What do I know about the truth?
The Truth you say, but The Truth is blind
It remains unseen, out of space, out of time
My sight is short, and I'm long in tooth
So what do I know about the truth?

Luck of the Draw

Life is like a game of cards, a game of chance
You play the cards that are dealt to you, or fold
Winner take all, when you place your bet, bet it all
Smile when you place your bet, be bold
How many times has it happened before?
Some faint heart turns down a winning hand
You can win with a pair of duces, or four of a kind
When you lose your stake, stand up and say
Good night Gentlemen, tomarrow's another day
And I'll be back again, ready to play.

The Grace of God

I saw a man, just the other day
Walking slowly down the street
His clothes were torn, his hair was grey
He wore no shoes upon his feet
A small thin dog walked by his side
They both stared straight ahead
A sight so sad that I almost cried
When the sign upon his back I read

"I have no money, I'm homeless
won't someone please help me?"

My heart stood still, I must confess
That could be me, you see!
The age old question then arose
Am I my brother's keeper?
The answer to the question, I suppose
Is yes, but the Truth lies deeper.

The Cavern

Down in dungeons dark and deep
Beneath the Castle tombs
Where slippery slimy creatures creep
A solitary figure looms
Eye of newt, tongue of toad, wing of bat
All in the Witches' brew
The Crone in black and pointed hat
Stirs this aweful stew
A charcoal cat with eyes so green
Stares down from up above
What makes it spit and seem so mean?
Unlike a turtle dove.
Now who would sup or dip their cup
Into this gooey mess
Who would drink, go bottoms up
I couldn't even guess
Perhaps it tastes much better than it looks
Much better than it smells
Taken from recipes of secret books
About which nobody ever tells.

Memories of an Altered State of Consciousness

Cathay

In a secret garden, a maid of old Cathay, wrapped in the night shadows cast by the light of the full moon, sits upon a sculptured rock beside a still pool. She waits for the return of her warrior lover from a distant land somewhere in the East; she sings a song of tenderness a song of inner strength, the sound of her singing causes the Nightingale to respond, his sweet notes reach out across the land. Then in a faraway place her warrior lover stirs, and his festered wounds begin to heal, his eyes open, and a smile appears upon his face. He staggers to his feet and leaning upon his sword makes his way to his faithful steed, climbing up into the saddle with grim determination. The warrior points his steed towards the West. Understanding, his steed moves out; he knows the Way, he knows the destination.

Memphis

How many times have I stood here on these temple steps, watching the pointed sails of the boats moving up the Nile? Thinking of you, dreaming of you, and wondering where you are, while the Sun is setting, casting its golden hue upon the shifting sands, turning the river red, like blood flowing from an unseen wound.

I feel the warm breeze upon my face, as I listen to the sound of the mourning doves, perched in a nearby pomegranate tree in the garden, and now I hear the laughter of young women in the courtyard, and I still cannot remove myself from this bittersweet Melancholy.

My hatred for the Pharaoh grows stronger as I grow older, oh Nephthys ! Will I ever see you again? Have you gone forever? Perhaps not in this life, but Ra willing we will be together again, in the next life.

 

 

The Cycle of Wolves

The wind at dusk lay down upon the ground, while the Moon peered over the ragged rim. A gray she-wolf slunk belly low toward the entrance to her den; the sound of whimpers from within increased her pace, while the eyes of her mate gazed down from above the den. He had an anxious look upon his face, for she had returned without her prey after a fruitless hunt throughout the day. The grass had withered in the drought, and upon the parched and sun-baked earth lay scattered the white, bleached bones of her food supply, Then from on high came a mournful cry reaching out across the land and on a moonlit meadow a dark shape slowly began to rise, a bison with red-rimmed eyes and a swollen tongue. A faint snort came through the dried clay caked around his nostrils; he staggered forward, then stood still. Suddenly from atop a hill a pack of hungry wolves raced down to make the kill. With their sharp white fangs they sliced at the tendons of the bison’s legs; he stood his ground and shook his mighty head, then slowly collapsed upon the soil. One last gasp and he was dead; the snarling wolves ripped open their prey and began to feast upon the hapless beast.

Among them was the gray she-wolf, having heard the feeding sounds and caught the scent of blood in the air. Her mate tore out his share, while she dragged the liver away to the den. The Moon began to disappear behind a cloud and in the distance the sound of beating drums shook the air, while ghostly whispers wound around through the trees. The atmosphere was charged. Suddenly a streak of lightning cut through the clouds and thunder crashed and rumbled, then rain came pouring down, and the thirst of the dry earth was quenched as the ground was drenched. The Moon slipped out from behind the clouds, casting a magic spell in touching the ground.

The next morning when the Sun arose, the gray she-wolf lay outside the den, her pups greedily sucking at her full teats. The black he-wolf sat looking on; his tongue lolled down from his bloodstained jaws in a grin. The crisis had passed; it was over at last. A new cycle had begun beneath a warm and drying Sun.

 

Carnival

Along the avenue of repressed and reticent dreams
The Revilers revile in riotous promenade
Espousing insidious laughter and pseudo screams
Behind the masks of the grotesque masquerade.
Among the configuration of saints and sinners
Petitioning the conciliatory gods of perpetuity
The mediocre struggle to be seen as winners
While the disavantaged clamour for gratuity.
Enfolded by the mass, the King and Queen hold court
Flaunting their sexuality in daunting permissibility
Dispensing pantomime favours and the usual tort.
The approaching dawn diminishes their neurotic play
As the Players, depleted by their chaotic chicanery
Exhausted by promiscuity and the risque
Awaken by sobriety, sated by debauchery
In groups of two or three, silently creep away.

Dixie

Hot days and dead air in the summer
Below the Mason Dixion line
Uncovered sweaty limbs intwine
Overhead fans turn hypnotic
Gin and sin behind closed doors
Down in the bible belt.
Coloured lights festoon the humid nights
Sirens wailing, lovers sighing
Dogs barking, babies non-stop crying
Lewd and nude dancing, Showtime
Boasting Johns and laughing Whores
Down in the bible belt.
The Stars and Bars hang loosely down
From their staffs around the town
Dripping down blood and tears
Upon the gravestones of passing years
Way down in the deep South
Down in the bible belt.

Waif on the Wharf

I met her in Monterey a long time ago
As I wandered down on Cannery Row
She was walking along the empty docks
Her shoes in one hand, in the other her socks
Her hair was blowing and her eyes were wild
Surely, I thought, she is Nature's Child
When she saw me she stopped, getting ready for flight


My heart stood still at such a beautiful sight
Slowly I approached her and managed to say
Good morning young lady, it's such a nice day
She carefully searched my face with a frown
Then she smiled and let her defences down
She led me around by holding my hand
While with her toe she drew in the sand
She led me everywhere her heart embraced

As time stood still, the past was erased
Then the wind picked up with the seagulls' cry
And she turned to me and said goodbye
Then I watched her as she ran out of sight
And now as I think back, almost every night
I wonder where she came from and where she went
And on a warm night, I can still catch her scent.

Deep Water

Why can't we help the ones who need it most
The ones we hold so dear
Why does the fog cling so close to the coast
While everthing else is clear
Why did they steer their course upon the rocks
When the channel was marked so well
Why did I stay standing alone on the docks
Listening to the breaker's bell
I should have gone with them of course
As I had gone before
And taken the helm and held it by force
Until we returned to the shore
But they wanted to go sailing alone
They said that I was a bore
Now the foghorn moans and its sad tone
Leaves in my heart a sore
When the moon is full and the stars are bright
And the whitecaps mark the waves
I go a sailing alone on the Deep at night
While they lie asleep in their graves.

Consuming

You take Fame, you can have it, I don't want it
It's not good for me
Fame is like a flame, ego filling, Soul killing
Burning, burning, burning
You take Wisdom, you can have it, I don't want it
It's not good for me
Wisdom leaves you nothing left to learn
No place to go, no where to turn
You just burn and burn
You take Love, you can have it, I don't want it
It's not good for me
Love is Fire, a burning desire
You can't put it out, it turns you inside out
You just yearn, and then you burn.

Shadow Child

Halfway between Darkness and Light
Lies a secret world of Shadow
Out of darkness born of light
Silent shadows come and go
When I walk towards the light
A shadow follows behind me
When I walk away from the light
The shadow then precedes me
Leading back to the darkness
The shadow follows me in the morning
Just like a faithful Hound
But when the Light is directly overhead
The shadow, is nowhere to be found.

Invocation

Words are like birds
That fly through the air
Trying my wings
Do I dare, do I dare
Upon what frequency
Must I send
Upon beams of light
That contrarily bend.
My words, my words
Return to me now
How empty they seem
Oh where are the words
That I long to hear
Your words to me my dear.
Words are like Music
That never end
So send, please send.

Little Boy Blue

On a beautiful day in the month of May
I watched my children at their play
In the midst of all that laughter and joy
I suddenly remembered a little boy
Huddled in a corner, sad eyes and a vacant stare
His little fingers clutching a worn out Teddy Bear
I heard the sobbing of his tiny voice so clear
It sounded as though he were crying in my ear
A chill came over me right down to the bone
Who was that little boy so all alone, alone ?
Then I remembered, that little boy was me
The boy I thought was lost, lost at Sea.
Then I heard another voice, quite near

BR. Daddy, tell me a story, please daddy dear
And another story for Kimmie too,
Or else she'll start crying boo hoo, boo hoo.

Legacy

Denial, blame, excuses, and self guilt
Are such a waste of precious energy
Not the things that I want to see
Not in me, and not in you
These things can only make you blue
Whatever I have or what I leave behind
Gets lost in the passage of time
Whatever I take with me when I go
Is what I have learned from you
And you, and you, whoever you are
Whatever I leave behind, may only be
Whatever you might have learned from me.

All poems & word pictures c.1998 by Freeman Lewis Newhall
"The Shadowcatcher"

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