Verse by Caleb Mannan

If you like Robert Service, Longfellow, Tolkien, Milton, Robinson Jeffers, Whitman, Poe, The Bible, Tennyson, Ray Bradbury, life, death, Untermeyer, Pound, Donne, joy, sorrow, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, children, beauty, Dante, Tom Waits, then set yourself down beside this fire.

Friday, December 17, 2010

XLIX. Goodbye

Crows in the cold morning sky
O’er skeletons and grandfather pine
Crows in the cold flat sky

Crows in the pale blue sky
Long spent tears from Odin’s eyes
Crows in the azure sky

Crows in the white winter sky
Parting lashes of Sunna’s great eye
Crows in the dawn’s white eye

Watching the crows go by
In the knife cold morning light
Waving them on, goodbye

Thursday, December 9, 2010

XLVIII. Only in Words

Only in words of purple planes are my fires quenched,
Only in routes I write myself out ' the eye of the evil finch.
Only in words on risen birds is my soul sated anew,
On sentient lips in living sips I pour my hemlock brew.

Monday, December 6, 2010

XLVII. The Sword Devours Forever

The hand begets the hammer,
The Hammer begets the sword.
And the outstretched hands cry out:
“Shall the Sword Devour forever?”

XLVI. They Pass Not Words to Their Children

They pass not words to their children,
Neither wisdom nor knowledge do they impart.
They create stunted sons and withered daughters,
Children with no lineage, a tree without its roots.
They do it not in anger, nor do they do it with purport,
But do it for lack of understanding, they fatherless as well.

My Fathers!
Why hast thou forsaken me to silence?
Why hast thou built towers with your own hands,
Yet showed me not to hew a single stone?
Why hast thou seen wars and foreign civilizations,
Yet of these things I know not?
My Fathers, my Fathers, why hast thou forsaken me?
Forsaken me and my brothers to chained tongues
And palsied guns and empirical rage of our own understanding.

They that pass not words to their children are fathers
To sons of none and daughters of the dead,
They themselves the sons of none propagating
The ignorance of their silent fathers by their own silence.

XLV. My Smoke

Over mountains has
My smoke drifted
Into the eyes of those
Who cry for their dead.
Yea, my smoke has sifted
Through the trees that ring the dead.
Over seas
My tender heart is lifted
Unto the animals of man,
Crying for their father.
Yea, my tender heart is broken
As Adam’s animals upon his sin.

With my sons I made the clearing
In horror to recoil,
Yea my smoke had drifted
To a battle plane unknown,
Broken jutting erected graves
Lying over bone.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

XLIV. Lights

We lit lights for the ones we’d lost,
Ne’er knowing they sat upon peaceful plane
Under purple gloam
And watched our lights rise into the sky
As the stars hung in the heavens.

Then they didst turn with smiles
Back to their gentle fires upon peaceful planes
And whisper:
“Soon they will come home,
Soon we shall see them again.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Poetry Contest

Brothers and Sisters- our friend Angela over at My Poetry Place is hosting a poetry contest. To enter, follow this link: http:My Poetry Place Contest

Angela is a fair judge, and has great taste, we would know, because we won first prize last time. So get on over there!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

My dad did 2 tours in Vietnam as a Navy medical Corpsman attached to the Marines. I'd like to say happy Veterans Day to my dad, and post this poem my brother Jake wrote for our dad this Vets Day:

My Victory's To Sing

By Jacob Isaac Mannan

My father is a Veteran of Vietnam,
1 cog in a 20-years machine,
The steel of the Greatest War’s assembly
Shipped home in the Cold War’s sling,
My father was his victory’s to sing.

My father is a thinning line to the Viet Cong,
1 mL in a 20-years vaccine,
A mask around the U.S. Navy corpsman
Tying back to the head trauma’s wing,
My father was their victory’s to sing.

My father is the fishing hole to the Heartland,
1 drop from a 60-years canteen
A lost boy to the Greatest Generation
Finding peace in the Oregon Oak’s swing,
My father is our victory’s to sing.

My father is a Veteran of Vietnam,
1 Doc to the 20-years Marine
A young face on the Guerilla War’s memory
Retiring home in the arthritic hands’ wring,
My father is his victory’s to sing...

My father is a flower in the Field Hospital,
1 mind in a 20-years quarantine,
A peaceful thought in the color of the trauma
Whiting out to the chapel bells’ ring,
My father is my victory’s to sing.

-Dedicated to Kent Foster Mannan, U.S. Navy Corpsman

Jake's Blog: Song of Hope and Hell

Monday, October 11, 2010

XLIII. This Fire I Pass

This fire I pass, the torch and the staff,
The sword and the axe,
The Roman and Saxon,
My children,
This I pass to thee:
The Land to take Dominion,
The stars to stoke the Heavens,
The fire to gird the horizon.
The hammer and spike,
Ye shall work with great might
To erect and to smite:
For there is no demon,
Whether Cerebreal, Spiritual, or Electric
That we shall not slay
And that Minotaur skull bedeck
Our door post.
Fear not my children!
Your Momma and I give you a legacy!
No legacy born of perfection,
But of the Human Stuff:
Love and suffering, pain, death,
Freedom and Joy.
Yes-this I give to you.
And when darkness
Rears its ugly head
And battledust clots you eyes,
You look back, and you look into
My eyes.
You turn and you look into
My greying eyes, and upon my worn chevrons.
And you take that fire from me
And you go on,
You run now,
Go on now,
And as my bones hit the earth,
You do not look back,
But you take to the sky,
For this fire shall live forever.

XLII. The Story of Waylon

For Waylon Redding Mannan, who is as of today 7 days overdue.

Set y're feet upon the path you see
Follow it as fiercely as can ye,
And know that this path will always be
The perfect path laid out for thee.

There is a place just by the road
Wherein they shall lay their load,
Within y're arms and y're abode
They shall lay their weary load.

Never ye doubt y're steps ahead
(though ye will, ne’er ye dread),
These steps across the Land o’ Dead
Lead ye to the Father’s Stead.

There is a place just by the road
Wherein ye can lay y're load,
And there in my arms and my abode
Ye can lay y're weary load.

So set y're feet upon this path,
And let y're story come to pass.
As ye through the flowers and grass
Never ye fear what comes to pass.

For y're story is our Father's craft.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

O My Beautiful Land, Stand You Great Forever

From my novel And There I Shall Retire

O My beautiful land, stand you great forever,
Of more than just the trees and the rivers and oceans
And mountains and fields and farm and forest and tribe,
Of more than just the hunter and the businessman and the farmer
And politician and mother and father and family,
Of more than great states rising, or the industry therein,
Of more than the oak and pine or the lily and wildflower,
Of the bear and the wild horse and buffalo and ox,
Of deer and dog and eagle and ant and bee,
Yea, of more than all these great things (and great they be).

O my beautiful land, stand you great forever
Within the arms of the brawn scarred father,
Gentle in the swaying of his babe,
The thunder of fire in his memory receding,
Within the firm grasp of a loving mother’s breast,
Nursing the Nation’s wounds and soul,
In the sister and brother who one another greet in affection,
The Adam and Eve of American Eden (not without it serpents, yea),
Within the love of all that is and all equal love abounding
That we may forever stand within this great land,
To live and laugh and love and weep and pass our bodies
Back to the earth that the soil may be all the more richer,
And the air all the more lighter with the song of our souls.

And There I Shall Retire

From my novel And There I Shall Retire

When all this strife is o’er,
And to you I do return,
We shall go unto the meadow,
In the house of our’n.
I will take you in my arms
Our babes about our feet,
Where only wind gathers grass.

And there I shall retire.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

XLI. I Come From Blood

I come from blood.

Blood on blood on bone I come,
From rivers of blood I come.
My momma’s daddy and my daddy’s daddy
Were soldiers in the World War.
And likewise, their fathers before them
Were soldiers in the Great War.
And my daddy was a soldier
In a war that was not his own.

So blood on blood on bone I come,
A son of the Human War.

XL. Rope Woman

The goddess a braid she wove, and it fell upon her back.
Of the braid each strand she wove was made of all that is:
Of joy and sorrow, of victory and defeat, of light and dark.

There it rested upon her marble back, growing every epoch.
And from time to time, a new strand was intertwined:
Of children, of new life, of rusted love, of dark demons.

And the weight of the braid wore heavy upon her head.
And from time to time, she fingered it where it lay:
And in its weight she felt a weight she could not bear.

The goddess, a braid she wove, and it fell upon her back.
Of the braid each strand she wove was made of all that is.
Until the day the braid lay lame where she lopped it from her back.

Monday, July 19, 2010

XXXIX. I Hold no Illustrious Posts

I hold no illustrious posts
Therewith to stake my claim
And all my layman’s verses
Are in tomes oft forgot
What matters it if I am ne’er heard
Or if upon the fallow they fall?
Upon these songs my mythologies
Are built up, strong and tall
And yet, if these verses could
An illustrious post constrain
I’d that it be within the woods
With my family and my songs

XXXVIII. Last Will and Testament

I am acutely aware of my mortality
Within my children and my wife
So therefore I bequeath
My last will and testament:
My broken body I give unto the earth,
My written words I give unto my love,
My earthly possessions (little though they be)
I give unto my children
My faults and frailty I pass unto the generations to come,
Hopefully with humility,
But more than likely, with a shout

Thursday, July 15, 2010

XXXVII. Oecumenicus

Ecumenical Economy, we praise thee
Economy, god of ecumenity, we raise thee
Mammon of manna, we uphold thee

Oecumenicus, thou art our god, past, present, and future
We were warned for love of thee, yet we praise thee

‘Tis more than greed that plagues us
Or the love of being prosperous
Tis our’n god that makes beggars of us

XXXVI. Daughters of My Downfall

Daughters of my downfall, must it always be?
“Yes it must my fallen, for God smote Adam, then He smote Eve.”
Yet ye sirens, is it possible, that I may be made clean?
“If it were so, my fallen, of life we’d have no need.”

Oh daughters of my downfall, in you I confess,
I am no more a virtuous man than your beauty is not a curse.

Friday, June 25, 2010

XXXV. Wolves

They feast upon the weak and gullible, rending them apart
They tear their ‘loved ones’ flesh, animals in the making
And leave blood in the snow of their bloodlust making
And all because to be a man they must set themselves apart

They prey upon the sickly, who fall from back the pack
And there they tear down the weak to make themselves strong
And a wolf is but an animal, and but an animal can’t be wrong
But they are men and cowards in a wolf war rear attack

Men down in the valley, who sold your souls to wolves:
I am coming from the highland, with a jawbone in my hand
And if I die in my bloodletting, I don’t give a damn
God damn me in my insolence, but I’ve come to slay some wolves

Monday, June 21, 2010

XXXIV. Dragoneering

They harness the beasts to be unleashed against their own flesh and blood
Impervious to shrieks the dragon they wreak upon their country and god
All hail the keepers of the deathly reapers, for to deny them is certain doom
And the screams they wring from a human being is far worse than any tomb

These dragoneers forgo all tears to lay waste to all that stands
Their red eyes dry they harness and ride to rape and burn the land
How is it so our present foe was once a human as we?
For his craven lust has turned him thus: a rider for the demon Liege

Black helmets gleam upon the wing of the dragon whose wings beat breast
Their silent sneer and manner queer displays their crooked crest
How is it so that men stoop so low to follow these demonic wiles?
With hardened heart they rend man apart to suit their lusts so vile

Ye vile slaves in a living grave, turn back your beastly ‘slaught!
Ye dead men's eyes mirroring dead men’s cries, what is this that ye’ve wrought?
But the demon hies pay heed no cries, yet on the dragon stride
For the beast unleashed to death bequeath comes from their own insides

The land falls dark under their wicked stark, for who can suffer their ride?
The shadows they cast cause a cowering caste o’er the countryside
How is it so that men let go and monsters do become?
The dragons they tame in a guilded name rend the earth blind deaf and dumb

Ye dragoneers with no righteous fears, I pray you vengeance see
Ye manly beasts seduced by hellish feasts, may your dragons visit thee
And then you will know your wicked toll upon your own broken soul
And then you will know your own death knell upon your rotted skull

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stone Wall

XXXIII. Flaming Youth

Flaming youth, flame you on,
With a neon flame that begets the dawn.
Yet still, I say, it comes upon
A wave of flame that is soon gone.

Flaming youth, flame you on,
With licking flames that proceed the dawn
And shall soon devour your brawn
Unless you learn to hold your tongue.

XXXII. Peace then everlasting

Peace then everlasting, shall it still my soul?

XXXI. The Paradox of Sin

If I loathe that which I am, tis’ ‘cause I do not confess it,
I cannot confess it, for I loathe it.
If I loathe that which is my truth, I then loathe nature,
For the truth we loathe is the truth that frees us.

XXX. History Has a Name

In the halls of youth, these songs are sung,
In hallowed fields the bells are rung
And step after step, rung after rung,
The ladder to the future is deftly run.

In the epochs of past the ghosts they ran
Once flesh and blood colored by the tan.
Yet step after step, man after man,
Our fathers became one with the sand.

In the breath of time I write this rhyme
The breath is gone and cannot be tied
And minute after minute, line after line,
History has a name, and its name is mine.

XXIX. The Warrior

The warrior, he came a long way, for his people, and his pride
He forged the way for his people, with them right by his side
The warrior garnered praises, monetary, and in song
And the warrior on top the temple seems can do no wrong
But the warrior looks upon the people, wreaths and song upraised
And knows e’en in his honor that it is mislaid praise
For he has seen the angel of death upon the battle planes
And the angel of death has regarded him, but never called his name
And e’en has the angel spoken from behind his shrouded cowl:
“Kill as you will mortal, for it is spoken that you shall
And I am not to touch a hair upon your armored head
But I am here to name those you claim as your dead
No arrow shall fell you, no sword shall smite you down,
Go about your business, and earn your earth’s renown
Know that it is written, upon your earthly page,
That I, Death, a humble servant, go forth and hew your way.”

The warrior looks down upon his people, and tears come to his eyes
For the warrior in the face of Death has seen life and been made wise

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

XXVIII. Country Verse

Within the silent howl cold wind, under glare of stars,
I was a babe in the breast of the mountains
The cold came at me as a dagger, I could not shrug it off

I stood as quiet as an angel, the one right at my back,
For I was a spy in the forest
As the wind came at me like a ghost I could not shirk

I heard only my footsteps, that had stopped long ago,
And I turned suddenly to catch my shadow,
But there was nothing there behind me but this country verse

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sun Giant

XXVII. My Brother Sees Horizons

For The Kid, 12-09

My brother sees horizons of wars in which he ne’er served
Of sunsets he ne’er awoke to, to battles ne’er nerved
My brother, sees he spirits, of men now dead and gone
Regardless of their intent, or which side they were on
My brother has an old soul, of a battle weathered skald
Like a correspondent for the ones to whom our Father called
My brother rides with Valkyries, calling spirits home
Yet in his hand, his pen is his lance, and he goes it all alone
My brother is a messenger from the present to the past
From the first gasp of the soldier unto his very last
He stays there by their bedside, a silent vigil held
And he will not let their hand go, ‘til they depart from hell

My brother sees horizons you and I will never see,
And he watches over lost sons, to give them final peace

For the horizons my brother sees: Songs of Hope and Hell

XXVI. Song for the Modular Man

Modular man, be not afraid, fear not nor despair,
For the end of the earth is the beginning, the beginning for your path
American son, still yourself, be still now and prevail,
For the beginning you knew has ended, yet in this lies your path

Go forth and take dominion, run out, seize the land!
This is the new beginning, of foraging as the pioneers
Go now out as a newborn, with Adam’s knowledge in hand,
This desolate land is Eden, within which to quell your fears

XXV. American Knife

Written for the occasion of the giving of a WWII knife to my brother, Jacob Isaac Mannan, on Christmas, 2009.

This knife was born in America,
from a son who is now long gone,
from a American iron press,
Son of Remington, Son of Pal.
From the bellows and blows of American coals,
‘twas forged from the colonies of our Nation’s birth.
This knife has seen things it will never tell,
been a million miles it's soul will never tell,
though we might try and shake it loose.
This knife was held in sweaty palm,
by a father, by a son- by a Jimmie Johnson, be he old or young.
This knife came forth from fire,
from the hardened hands of man,
bent and twisted in the fire,
hammered gleaning clean by
gnarled and blackened hands,
hands of the American sons.
This knife was sent to soldier,
who went out to save the world,
and he wore it on his hip,
in that now broken sheath, one of the dragon's teeth.
The handle leather is now darkened
with sweat and oil and grime,
and by its wear it tells the time.
This knife has seen many things
that it can never tell,
50 plus years and still going strong,
maybe it was harmless, maybe it was hell.
But this old knife it aint telling,
it jest sits silent and sharp,
knowing that it will never rest.
And of all the things it has presided over,
only one shall be our death.
So brother-
I give you this American knife,
and you give it to your sons,
and they will give it to their sons,
as a sign of what was and is and shall be,
even as the ghost of the wielder fades.
Take pride in this American Knife!
For it was forged by America, upon the
earth’s gravest hour, and it is standing still!

And in the heft of this American knife
we shall know what was and is and shall be.

Friday, February 19, 2010

XXIV. There is a God in Heaven

There is a God in Heaven,
Hammer ringing at the forge,
Heaven’s bellows belching fire

There is a God in Heaven,
Sweat dripping from his brow,
Becoming my blood,
Spilling to the anvil sizzling

Bone wrought with iron,
Blood sparks flying
Bone bent back smooth
Melded and hewn

I was wrought upon Elysian anvil
Ere the light of dawn’s coming
The sky was spun with stars, dark,
Going gloam upon the edges where I was formed

Flame, dust and ash begat bone,
A frame was formed and hammered,
Baked and laid to cool,
The Maker running his hands
Over gleaming skull
Grinning strands of bone
Dully glowing in starlight after the fires had died away

There is a God in Heaven,
Fingers weaving at the loom,
Flesh to flesh sewn cartilage, muscle

These great strands of fleshly cords
Are laid upon the skeleton
And fastened seamless,
A form made of many threads

I was woven upon a celestial loom
Before the dawn had fully broke
The rim of All That Was
Was barely broken with blue where I was begat

Dust and water bore flesh,
A skin was formed, woven,
Still and perfect,
The Great Weaver,
Looking upon this perfect form,
Called it good, though still lifeless and cold

Then came Angels
As the firing of an axon,
A myriad, a bright and shining forest

They sang songs we have only glimpsed
In our joy and sorrow
With many voices that became one,
They sang:

“Hail our Creator,
And this that He hath made!
For glorious is the Work of His Hands,
This that He hath made in his image!
As the Lord hath spake,
He shall be called Man,
And He shall take dominion
Of that which was created for him!”

This they sang around the form of Man

And the Great Smithy came forth,
His tools cast aside,
And He spoke over the voice
Of the Legions of Light as a trumpet:

“Bone of the make of the earth,
Your kingdom and your keep,
Flesh of this earth and sea,
Rise you up and become living,
For I give my breath to thee!”

And I inhaled the breath given and lived,
As the angels rejoiced whilst the man
Wondered at his flesh
And the Lord said:

“You are my son,
And you shall be the destiny of the earth,
And show forth my glory.”

And thus it was

For there is a Hammer ringing in the Halls of Heaven,
As the Great Smithy
Smites the make of man

XXIII. Men of Great Stature

Men of Great Stature
We manufacture
Are blameless of all mortal sin
But Men of Great Stature
Are never a match for
The sin of Great Stature within

Monday, February 1, 2010

XXII. With Us Verse We're Bringing!

We’re bringing the verse back to the man, and the man unto the verse,
Hear the clash of axes!
We’re bringing back the One Tongue, gonna sing it to the earth, to the Roman and to the Saxon!
We’re bringing back poetry to men, and unto men we give this verse,
That the Sons of Adam may unite, and take dominion o’er the earth!

We’re bringing the fire back to man, and man to wield this fire, see the flames rise as crows!
We’re bringing back bards and skalds to light this fire, see the flames like the Holy Ghost!
We’re bringing verse back to man, to man this song bestow,
That we may ever sing our songs, and so our sons when they are grown!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

XXI. The Sons of Songs, Sing They On

Robert Service, my loyal friend, stay by my bed until the end, for you are my loyal friend.

Siegfried Sassoon, my broken brother, you I hold above the others, for your bayonet leaves none uncovered.

Mr. Longfellow, my fond father, what have I to offer? For you are my fondest father.

Sons of songs, sing you on, for you now I sing this song.

Walt Whitman, my wildest rebel, you in I shall always revel, for you are my wildest rebel.

Sons of the Bible, my sinful brothers, you are men just as the others, for you came from sinful fathers.

Edgar Allen Poe, my somber friend, in you as I child I begin, for you have always been my somber friend.

Sons of Songs, sing you on, for your songs they speed me on.

Tennyson, my valiant one, white rook I am thy black son, and I look back to the valiant one.

Robinson Jeffers, my cynical mason, for you this tower is emblazoned, for at 27, we became cynical masons.

John Donne, my saintly sinner, ink is thin, yet blood be thinner, and you are my saintly sinner.

Sons of Song, sing you on, I hear your songs though you are gone.

Kevin Morgan, song son brother, how we have watched over one another, and I will sing your song forever.

Young Sons of Song, my little brothers, keep you always one another, for there is none so dear as banded brother.

Jacob Mannan, my bloodink brother, we in the trenches ‘ave eachother, and to our grave we go as bloodsung brothers.

Sons of Song, sing you on, for your songs I lean upon.

And the Sons of Songs, sing they on, on and on and ever on, and to these songs I shoulder on.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

XX. The Summer of His Death

The summer of his death came and went, a breath inhaled, then completely spent
The red of his hair shone in the sun, a flickering flame that came undone
And all the miles that he had run became a ghost path ‘cross the sun

The years of his youth came to rest, but a pain clasped to his momma’s breast
The echo of his laugh but rang in ears, and haunted they in silent fears
And smote upon the earth’s sad ears was the song of a boy’s last years

The summer of his death has come and gone, leaving a trail to tread upon
But each new summer that falls away, he seems to stray further away
Still in manner is he free and gay, but upon some other unearthly plane

They who were babies now rise up, in stature past him they rise up
Of many summers, still more were meant, but God our Father his winter sent
And as the summers for winter are spent, the summer of his death came and went

XIX. Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
To my family and friends!
From the face of the earth
To the universe’s end!
Merry Christmas!
To my sisters and brothers!
Under the arch
Of our angelic brothers!
Merry Christmas!
To our father’s son!
Who gave us life
When His was done!
Merry Christmas!
To my children!
For in innocence
Grace is given!

Merry Christmas to all God’s children!
For in this innocence grace is given!