Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Poem by Adam Niwander

The following is reprinted with permission and is Copyright 2012 by Adam Niswander.

This is a sort of a poem I’ve worked on for a while. Call it a Weird Work, if you will. The intention was to give voice to those who have served the dark forces and the olde gods down through the ages. Since I am not submitting anymore, and because this status thing offers a nice opportunity, I thought I would put it here for any who want to see it. Stop here if weird poetry is not your thing.

Past, Present, Future
by Adam Niswander
A Remembering

I - Beginnings

The Priests and Shamans of ancient times
spoke directly in their minds
with the Elder Gods.
They obeyed without question
and passed the edicts on to us.
And we obeyed.
Some were sent to do an act,
to add a piece
to some complex design,
while some gathered in a sacred place
to dance and chant and make obeisance,
to worship when the moon was full,
yet others marched to places
where the old ones fed
and meekly gave themselves to need.
No rebellion ever raised a voice,
no doubter spoke opposing words,
no ambition sparked a different path.
We, who had never known hope,
never dreamed a dream,
never questioned what the priests passed on,
we knew contentment.
Even pride.
For we were chosen of the Gods,
and every breath we took
was given us by those above.
We served the greater minds and wills
Of masters so beyond our ken
They did not even really know we served.
We were a small group then,
mating only to replenish numbers,
creating no bond that could not be instantly sundered.
No female bore a child
with hope for some better life.
No male thought twice
when he departed after spilling seed.
We did not live beyond our moment.

II - Sudden Silence

When THEY vanished,
the Priests were frantic.
the voices in their minds were stilled.
We who followed
wandered lost and purposeless
always feeling emptiness within.
Pain and Suffering,
our destiny,
became only a small part
of life in a different world.
No more the breathless chanting,
no more the mindless dancing,
the whirling and twirling,
leaping and squatting,
no joyous orgies of the flesh
wallowing in blood and vomit
until great hungry mouths descended.
The herds scattered and grew
for only earthly predators thinned them.
We reproduced ourselves
much faster than they fed.
Some turned away after a time.
They thought the Great Ones gone,
and without Priests to whip us
to the stones of sacrifice,
others saw new ways to lead.
We built shelters of wood and stone,
we picked mates and bore young,
and we saw them grow.
We aged and died
but even dimming sight saw a future.
Some cleared their minds,
made plans, set goals,
and built yet more.
It tempted all,
this world where screaming was a rare thing
and panic a stranger.
Absent fear, leisure was born
and some even found contentment.
Many put the memories away.
The Priests had run gibbering into the night
and not returned.
They embraced that softer world
where sacrifice was rare.
But some of us
knew it was a jest
for we were born to die.
We were only food or entertainment.
Though we feigned outward conformity,
we kept ourselves apart
from those who thought their duty done.
We abide.
We remember.
We wait for our gods and shamans to return.

III - Purpose

I am human,
but in me is a taint,
a cloying stain
that only we who bear it understand.
Those we serve are far away
for now.
Yet every fiber of me
every wish and dream
longs for that moment
when The Stars Are Right
and those I serve return.
It is hard to wait,
to nightly chant the chants,
to vocalize the prayers,
to sing the songs,
while all around me
other humans live unknowing,
free because of ignorance
purposeless except for whim,
thinking of the future
as a lump of clay within their hands
believing they can mold it as they will.
Like ants
hidden in some nest within the earth
they think themselves the rulers
of the world in which they live.
Worse than fools,
doomed like cattle,
they wander the pen
where plentiful food waits in the trough
and our watchful eyes
keep predators away.
The animals are content,
until the time
when every one is round and fat
and they are herded together
for slaughter.

IV - Service

While we wait for the Great Alignment
down the centuries,
we live and die,
and search.
At times,
we have been called to do a thing.
we knew not why.
I carved and sculpted stones
in lonely places,
where, undiscovered, they awaited
others meant to find them.
I wrote in massive tomes
rituals and histories
and passed them on to others
whose task it was
to add, expand, continue,
that someone not yet born
would someday learn.
Infrequently, yet burned in memory,
I have met a stranger
taken a life.
I learned I did not have to understand.
In one lifetime I may lead,
and in another follow.
It is never about us.
But like a garden over-run
root touches root
connected
joined.
One dies, another lives.
messages are passed,
legacies bequeathed
inexorable and eternal.
false paths, dead ends,
whole branches doomed to fail,
yet never just one branch.
Always expansion
and never fear of ending
until that day of days.
Yet we know little of the plan
for all required of the implement
is readiness for use.
Instead we swell with purpose
tumescent within,
waiting for our time.
We do not look beyond that moment
when our destiny arrives.
we do not imagine, we do not see,
the minutes that will follow.
Man’s time ends
when they return.

V - In the Now

In this hectic and modern world,
a culture of instant answers,
instant gratification,
there is no room
for those such as I –
dreamers.
those who can transform
vision into reality,
who can make thought flesh,
who lurk, against all logic,
at the periphery of the everyday
and can make nightmare real,
We, who can foresee the Return.
we, who understand hopelessness,
we, who can open the way.
no one suspects our existence.
no one has become so mentally,
so morally corrupt,
that they might take us seriously.
Yet we are here,
absolutely dedicated
nondescript,
enslaved by the ancient powers,
lever and fulcrum.
we were born for this.
Down through the aeons
we have been born
and we have died,
mute but willing,
waiting.
And soon at last
the Stars Will Be Right.
The lesson of waiting
has been the strictest taught.
the hardest learned,
but soon the time will come.

VI - End of Days

I have seen in a reoccurring vision:
Pride swells within me,
my ribcage grows,
the pain lances through me
even as I,
and the untold numbers like me,
turn that energy
to intricate visualization.
I feel the power surging,
the passage expands,
the crack of splitting bone,
bursting flesh,
the image in my mind
swoops through me.
Red.
Messy.
Glorious.
Like a great ship launched down long rails
greased with crimson fluid.
raw and triumphant,
eager and hungry,
the Great Old One leaps forth
and I am ripped asunder
in the ecstasy of birth.

Adam is the author of the Shaman Series of Southwestern Supernatural thrillers and has been a friend of mine for over forty years. He is a fellow Veteran and is currently in Hospice care at the VA Hospital in Phoenix

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