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POEMS
by Stephen Lewis

 

FOR KATERINA

I whispered your name and the breeze held its' breath a while

The flowers shrank to buds, ashamed of their feeble smile.

I whispered your name and the sun was not so proud,

It blushed a shade of crimson and hid behind a cloud.

I whispered your name and the music missed a beat,

Each note wept a silent tone, fell broken at my feet.

I whispered your name and it diminished every other word,

I whispered your name but I don't think you even heard.

(NOTE: 15 years after writing this poem for Katerina, we finally married in Moscow in October 2014)

 

VISIONS OF LEAVING

Leave me,

In grey dawn depart,

With never spoken words on your lips,

In fleeting thought and fast fading shape, go.

 

Silently,

Take back your glances,

Crowned in sorrow of passion spent,

All is blind and abused in ignorance.

 

Whispers,

Misty breaths like kisses,

Reflections of love once imagined,

I cannot hold them, cannot touch you.

 

Darkness,

No candle burns tonight,

Her footsteps melt into rain,

I am alone.

 

ONE AMONG THE WEEPING

If I weep it's not for you

Though my eyes are closed up with dust

And you try to hide your lies

Under a skin so thinly veiled.

I will not look back

Though I slip upon these paths

I will not fall

And if i weep it's not for you.

 

If I weep it's not for love

Kind thoughts perish at my passing

I am discarded and scattered

A carpet of frozen tears

At last unraveled

Though voices curse me

I won't look back

And if I weep it's not for love.

 

If I weep it's not for her

Angry words in colours fading

Satisfied to dream of life

In shadows she is happy

But not with me.

If her spite haunts you

And her lust reviles you

And my tears confuse you

If I am weeping

It's just for me.

 

GARBO In MIND

Two worlds that can never meet

Trapped inside a glass dream

Within reach, yet so cruel.

 

What warmth can a picture retain ?

You talk only for me

Yet forever blind.

In those fleeting moments

Could you be mine ?

 

The magic touches me

To turn back the reels of time

Unfolded and lost

For I have a lived a strange dream

Of light and shadow.

 

But where do I find you ?

You live only on a piece of film ?

Slowly fading to harsh oblivion.

 

No. You stand before me

A woman whose beauty can never fade

Yet always so weary

In strength so fragile

So afraid,

And alone.

 

But I never asked to be alone

A lamp lights your face on my wall

Restless, I close my eyes

Unable to sleep.....

 

THE ICEMAN

Tear drops in the city

that fall like acid rain

burn into your flesh

'til you forget your name

the streets on which you walk

are empty, almost bare

no one wants the Iceman

but he's always there.  

'tighter than four walls

is the prison around me

will no one take away this mask

and let these cold eyes see'

but no one will know his grief

no one will share his pain

alone the Iceman walks on

in the pouring rain.  

tonight in his dreams

he would sell his frozen soul

for just a glimpse of the sun

a moment from the cold

even the Devil won't touch him

trapped in his frozen shell

alone the Iceman walks on

in his private Hell.

  'the rain is always falling

wherever these feet walk

mocking voices calling

but no one ever talks

and if the sun breaks through

then I'll be on my way

no one wants the Iceman

to spoil their sunny day.

  Is it worth fighting for

if no one gives a damn

no one loves the Iceman

but that is who I am.'  

 

POOR BILLY

Poor Billy born blue

what are you going to do

no one to take care of you

how we despair for you.

----------

Billy bound in chains of guilt

slowly sinking in the silt

of ruin foundations somehow built

on ground was sacred blood was spilt.

Billy born of wings of contradiction

imprisoned by his fools restriction

wounds of pride and self-infliction

suffocated jealousies of fact and fiction.

Billy bled of sorrows leeches

by a blind prophet who history teaches

a short life to him who preaches

spilling life on far off beaches.

Billy blew cobwebs and dust

from his shelf he did not trust

to support his burden that he must

unload his shoulders free from rust.

Billy bangs a warriors drum

plays a tuneless guitars strum

asking that the deaf should come

to drink with him the poisoned rum.

Billy builds a funeral pyre

dances barefoot on barbed wire

breaths deep the smoke of virgin fire

calls his faithless friend his liar.

Billy buried ash and soil

deluded now his heirs must toil

bought and paid but never loyal

no one's day his death did spoil.

 

DEATH OF A PHARAOH

Who would notice among the sullen faces

A much complained old man

Whose memory was long

But his time has been and gone.

Around him they gather

Silent, bowed in trepidation

All but the lonely little man

Swallowed up in dying.

His dignity sealed inside

The partial shelter of his dreams

Bound to a mortal dread

Held fast in antique chains

Primitive and cultured.

Courage betrayed

Something insubstantial

His over-civilized mind twists

Before the gaze of his Gods

He wept a last yawning thought

That brought life to a close.

 

FINAL FAREWELL

Her cerements white

Flickered yellow candlelight

'neath starry skies

Where loves breath lies

Nameless nymph of fairest skin

What secrets there to lie within

Oh hated curse, most despised

To take to bed so young a bride

Who knew no other love but mine

And now to death is concubine

In unspoken prayer she rests

Hands clasped cold upon her breast.

NIGHT

Black columns of midnight rising

Smoke screens of indiscretion

Stale perfumed shades

Charlatan lovers

Squinting shape pushers

Silhouettes of twilight

Sordid flesh charades

Delicate porcelain features

Painted ladies in saffron weep

Tragic strewn, couch-like Camilles

Consumptive whispers

Shadow-sylphs preserved

But fading too soon

Romance never expected

Harsh neon sentries

At doorways to a thrill

Hardly spoken greetings

He sees her, he knew her once

But no more

She wipes the fog from her eyes

Hesitant, the pale glare of dawn

Experiments and explores its path

Destiny cheated prophets smile

Then weep for one another

Her sad eyes glazed

With refused sleep

She pushes the door

Steps in....

 

THE RETREAT

Was it the sound of death

Drifting on the breeze.

Locked in the grip

of beautiful desolation.

Blackened faces

Gaunt and bearded,

Caught in an instant of torment.

Fingers bound in rags

No comfort from the kiss of frost

Thin silver shroud

Fist clenched ever tighter

Feeling less.

Tears frozen in his eyes

Shed in fear of an agony he cannot feel.

Great coat moulded to the earth.

One empty plain melts

into another horizon.

See how your comrades sleep

In the warmth of falling snow

Fading into grotesque human landscape.

Rest a while,

sleep.

 

TOMORROW SHE NEEDS ME

She will not believe in anything

that she cannot possess,

Wears a crucifix of gold

but will not confess,

To any faith in its vision

With which she was blessed,

It just lay there cold

On her naked breast.

My tongue traces its form

and she whispers my name

But fingers tear my face

from the hanging frame.

When love turns to anger

Yes I can hate

even you naked

in your translucent state,

Covering your nakedness

in flesh desired

I see you are weary

of love you grow tired.

I search for you

deep in the folds

of your skin that pain

caresses and moulds,

Need overcoming

my fear and dread

How many hours

you spent pulling those threads.

 

THE GREATEST BETRAYAL

 

This vision he sees as slowly he dies

Blurred by tears it fills his eyes

Of years yet to come filled with suffering and hate

Knowing they would understand too late

Softly he wept though his body was broken

When he saw what would come of the truth he had spoken

His message perverted and used in a game

Atrocities and wars fought in his name

Grief turned to despair when he saw at the end

The futures great friends who would call him friend

Splendid temples they'd build and the people deceive

'Forget what he said, this is what you'll believe.'

He closed his eyes and knew he must fail

Already the blind and confused would hail

This man who had tried to teach them love

As another 'true God from heaven above'

He lifted his head, his soul set free

'My God, why has thou forsaken me.'

 

 

THE WALL

 

Watchers in the tower

Shot him in the back

Cry of freedom strangled

Picture fades to black.

Dark bruised concrete

In the shadow of the wall

Tangled vines of sharpened wire

Buds that never fall

Dancing in the frosty wind

Picked out by ghostly lights

Unwelcome in the shadows

Disturbing secret nights

Watchers in the tower

Shot him in the back

Cry of freedom strangled

Picture fades to black.

 

POOR JOHNNY

Johnny's mind been died down

wasting in the underground

making noises but no sound

to his limitations tightly bound.

 

Johnny's head been sanitized

by thoughts that paralyzed

his arms and legs canabalized

to the gods that have materialized.

 

Johnny's hands been glued together

by the prisoners of flesh whoever

complained bitterly about the weather

in private ceremonies clad in leather.

 

Johnny's faith been electrocuted out

by Inquisitors who prosecuted doubt

his informers who recruited flout

the Laws of the polluted spout.

 

Johnny's memory been buried deep

by leper kings who never sleep

with virgin mothers who try to keep

their distance from the lovers leap.

 

Johnny's tears been dried and filed

by detectives with lists compiled

of days he laughed and nights he smiled

in the company of the most reviled.

 

Johnny slave to all convention

servant to his own invention

lost in the maze of good intention

too far flung to seek redemption.

 

Johnny dead was no ones fault

banished memory to the vault

while mourners pull across the bolt

and to his story call a halt.

 


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