Monday, October 3, 2011

Night Sounds: A bit of Verse for Halloween

"Night Sounds"
Wally Lee Parker

(all rights to this verse retained by the author)
(sketch copyright maintained by Robert Brandt – used by permission)

               I began work on this piece of verse in 1983 or ’84.  It has appeared and reappeared in one form or another ever since — essentially refusing to die.  Hopefully this is close enough to being the last of it that I’ll not have to molest the poor thing anymore.  On the other hand, a little more tweaking might not hurt.
               This is also a good opportunity to display the artwork of Robert Brandt — former L.P.N. (Licensed Practical Nurse), and still very much a Bachelor of Fine Arts.  I’ve lost contact with Robert since I retired from the hospital.  Robert’s retired now too, and now that he has extra time I’m hoping he’s aggressively pursuing his unique talent.  I check the gallery announcements frequently, hoping to see his name mention as an exhibitor.  He did in all thirteen drawings to illustrate various projects on mine.  I consider those images among my most cherished possessions.  Seeing the illustration he created to accompany this bit of verse, I hope you agree with me regarding his artistic and imaginative ability.
                  In any event, below find this year’s resurrection of “Night Sounds”.

One wonders past this midnight hour
               What delusions might be seen
Nibbling upon my window glass
               Before the east turns green
Thumping against my chimney pipe
               Creaking upon my roof
Hopping across my garden path
               Upright — on cloven hoof

One wonders why these night-sounds rise
               To sulk within the walls
To flow through night-light shadows
               To animate the dolls
To scoot behind closed closet doors
               To bump beneath the beds
To plop out of the kitchen sink
               And feed upon my dread

Darkly do the night winds blow
               Swirling through leafless limbs
 A bitter chill sucked from the clouds
               Congealed in tuneless hymns
Chill winds that rein the mares of night
               As they crash about their games
And drive the little children mad
               By screeching out their names

One wonders why this shiver comes
               Coursing from head to toe
When sensing her within the mist
               A wrath in Hell's trousseau
A wrath that wears foreboding’s shroud
               With comets for a veil
A wrath that sings as hinges swing
               And taunts the dogs to wail

One wonders why the cold fog rolls
               Up from the garden well
What hand turns the bucket-crank
               Or claws within the pail
What flashes on the garden walk
               Or crunches on the road
Do drunken demons dance about
               Feasting on worms and toads

The hours creep till morning comes
               To gnaw against the chill
To ladle out the liquid light
               That drips across the hills
To seep up from the eastern sky
               To cause the stars to pale
To chase this flock of hungry ghouls
               Back down the garden well

One wonders why the night sounds flee
               Up with the kindling smoke
Bleeding into the earth and sky
               Power to haunt revoked
Creaking away in thinning black
               Pacing the rot of night
To give full measure of vile torment
               Before the morning’s light

One wonders why this madness comes
               At one A.M. or so
To rattle about my empty heart
               To scrape against my soul
To burn within my weary brain
               To open tired eyes
To compel this pen in trembling hand
               To scribble out these lines

One wonders why the night sounds rise
               What be their true intent
Why bruise my tattered sanity
               Twisting without relent
One wonders why they make me write
               Maybe I’ll ask my shrink
Or maybe crush me one tonight
               Their blood is poet’s ink

Links to other poems by Wally Lee Parker

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