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.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chief Joseph

LV. They Brake Upon Us

Spears brake upon the shields
As waves buck upon the stone.
Glittering shining shards and slivers
Splinter as yellowed bone.

They thrust a wave upon us,
Then another do they roll,
But they, they brake upon us,
Their spirits rattled with the toll.

Beards bespittled we besmirch them
To try their luck once more,
And once more they brake upon us
As the waves upon the shore.

They thrust a wave upon us,
Then another do they throw,
But they, they brake upon us,
And within our fire grows.

Let your spears come hither!
Throw at us what ye will!
Ever shall we slight you,
Safe our Keep upon the hill!

They thrust a wave upon us,
Then another rolls in gold,
But they, they brake upon us,
As the wheat falls to the stone.

LIV. I Will Lead My People Home

Great Father up above me,
help me lead my people home.
Wrapped in the wools of our fathers, I will lead them home.
From the clan of Mannanan, to the confederacy of the Iroquois, to the Norse, the Gaelic,the Saxon, the Cherokee, the crow and the hawk, the battle axe and tomahawk,
I will lead us home.

I turn to see my Norse goddess wrapped in the wools of my people,
stripes of my clan and lines of my tribe about her.
Crow feathers in her hair,
her eyes cerulean and her countenance Valkyrian,
she smiles as I lead her home.
I look upon my children, they of my tribe ascending,
for them I go on,
they laugh up at me as I lead them home.

Now in the silence,
they aslumber in the wake of the fire,
Great Father up above me,
I ask of you,
help me lead my people home.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

LIII. That Which is Written Upon my Heart

I speak not that which appeals to the righteous,
Nor that which appeals to the humanist,
But I speak that which is written upon my heart.

LII. Fire

The edge of the mountains rips the sky
And the sky bleeds fire.

The air crackles with cold and burns the lungs
Burns the lungs like fire.

The dragons encircle the earth in a ring
Within a ring of fire.

The humans lose faith and feast on flesh
Under a halo of fire.

God looks on and trembles not
For He created fire.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jed's Place (The Kingdom of Middle Tennessee)

LI. The Kingdom of Middle Tennessee

Hawk in tree
Watching over the kingdom
Of Middle Tennessee
Over behemoth bones
Of stone cut roads
Lined with white crosses where he fell

Hawk on wing
Signals of peace to bring
Over wind stripped trees
Scratching at the breeze
Deep within the kingdom
Of Middle Tennessee

Hawk Cherokee
Flying over the kingdom
Of Middle Tennessee
Over deep pitted sadness
Cold tombstones and madness
Over the land we love and sorrow

Hawk, now sing
His spirit for to bring
Cover broken hearts
The death that tore apart
The children in the kingdom
Of Middle Tennessee


The god fell far from home.
Hawk, bring his spirit home.
Over red rivers and tobacco fields
Over the smoky mountains
And clashing shields,
To the pine and his childhood river
Unto your brother crow
His spirit to deliver.
Hawk, bring the young god home,
That in death he may not rest alone.

L.Praise for the Pine

Praise for the pine
Atop the ridge
That overlooks the windswept gulch
For it has risen
Atop the ridge
In forbearance before we were born

Praise for the snow
That under pine lays
A blanket that covers the earth
For this snow
Every year knows
Its young son pine again