The Engineer

Old men who have foolish ideas and no self control
Old women who play the victim and sulk
Middle aged men who want to walk away
Middle aged women who live vicariously through their children
Brave young men who try to pick up the torch
Brave young women who fight for their rights
Children who have no idea what they’re in for
Babies who are innocently self absorbed

And last: the caretaker who overcharges for his services

All of them get on a speeding train
The tracks abruptly end six miles ahead
But the engineer jumps at the last minute
Preserving his life alone
The crowd observing this catastrophe
Congratulates him on a job well done
And he’s given the key to the city
Drinks on the house
As everyone turns their backs on the smoking ruin

This poem, if you want to call it that, is as close as I’ve ever come to automatic writing. You dear reader are welcome to interpret it any way you like. 

In Love With a Dead Man

Photograph, WB Yeats, by Alice Boughton

William Butler Yeats, my current obsession. He’s been gone for nearly 80 years. I’m working diligently at reproducing this handsome portrait. Results will be posted upon completion. In the meantime, read the words he wrote as part of his introduction to Lady Philippa Gregory’s Book of Irish Mythology and see if you don’t fall in love with him, too.

“We do not know who at the foundation of the world made the banquet for the first time, or who put the pack of cards into rough hands; but we do know that, unless those that have made many inventions are about to change the nature of poetry, we may go where Homer went if we are to sing a new song. Is it because all that is under the moon thirsts to escape out of bounds, to lose itself in some unbounded tidal stream, that the songs of the folk are mournful … and …whenever queens lament their for lovers, reminds us of songs that are still sung in country places?”

“When we have drunk of the cold cup of the moon’s intoxication, we thirst for something beyond ourselves, and the mind flows outward to a natural immensity; but if we have drunk from the hot cup of the sun, our own fullness awakens, we desire little, for wherever one goes one’s heart goes too; and if any ask what music is the sweetest, we can but answer… ‘what happens’

This makes me want to write fairy tales, stories about love, with heroes and queens, gods and monsters… And it makes me wish I had lived in a different time, a time when poets were published and people knew their names.