Five Dark Poems by Jack Harvey

Moon, Shine On

It's one of those nights
when the moon slips free
of the clouds;
one of those nights
when the wind blows free,
unleashed from the upstarting
contours of the land,
sweeping, rushing across
the wastes of
the immortal boundless sea,
finally arriving 
aimless and energetic 
at some newfound destination.

Moonlight shines
across the long bays,
in which great brother waves
press on
under the moon's bright face,
bright as death's scythe,
press on roaring
until they come to rest,
flat and quiet,
on the moonlit shore.

Heroes young and old
held vigil
on nights like these;
memories of the god-feasts,
the dark woods, the sacred tree
dim and nearly gone now.

In those days witches
could doctor the dark,
pull down the moon
if they had to;
fearful Nicias,
famed Athenian
sent to war in Sicily
didn't need a moon
sunk to earth,
heeded instead
the omen of
a technicolor moon,
dimming to naught;
waited, waited, 
too long hesitating, then
at the wrong time retreating,
led his army to its doom.

But gracious fellow-travelers,
lovers of the glory that was,
these days 
it's the self-same moon,
stripped of portents,
floats over Cuba,
floating over Miami, too,
over a moon-startled girl
feeling her boy
bent over her,
passionate in her,
starting his 
rhapsody of movement.

Overhead, in the heavens,
embarrassed constellations
look off in all directions,
seeing all, and not wanting to see,
goosed, tormented, 
by an expanding universe
sending them on their way
and down below,
by the light of
the silent indifferent moon
a boy and a girl
coming together
in a paratactical now,
in a perfection of now
and no wild Nicias moon
turning red, blue and sallow
to spoil the moment
with foreboding,
to slow or speed
the whole shebang
from measured order 
to some desperate fatal mistake. 

A.U.C.

There is that in God
which is not gaud
                           feeding the chickens
Honorius muttered in Latin,
not brooking a report
that Rome
                    had
how you say?
                            had been
like a chicken
                            its neck wrung.

Jesus, the beautiful faces,
Vestals,
the villas where Sallust
the beautiful noble stones
the shithouses, aqueducts, roads
          ROME DEAD?
but she fed the world 
      a long time
                          fed
a line of law
and reason

Respect:
Lars Porsenna
and the bloody emperors
hairy Vandals
                      Alaric alert
Neal
All honor
her hills, her people,
her purple
covered the steppes,
commanded 
the western isles.

In the ruins of Rome,
in Illyria, in Britain,
bitter winter brings down
heaven’s wrath;
hailstones spatter 
like pennies,
clattering on bronze
and marble alike.

We will not see Hadrian
again rebuilding the walls.

Dulce Domum

You can’t hide your hideway
when beggars come calling;
every haven has its day,
every port and refuge;
the cold tomorrows
come out of the distance
like icebergs,
unstable as emperors, 
demanding as children

and food for thought 
feeds no one.
Your secret place, your kingly manse?
Don’t board up all the doors,
your earthly paradise 
has a few snakes inside

and minstrels and other rabble
wait outside
to knock down all.

You alone unhidden
unbidden stand
prominent as a sequoia,
Simon of the stele.
Revelation is God’s alone;
hidden in the deep,
his submarine love
discovers all secret places;
you are naked as 
a jaybird in his sight.

So cast it all away,
armed in your own flesh
go voyaging.
Surrender is a place
impregnable and portable
as heaven. 

Elba

Napoleon,
shake your iron off;
invincible, able
on Elba
you were mourning
ere you saw
the glory of the days
coming and the days
twisted up, by-
gone.

Dearth

Blonde she was
on the boulevard,
in moonlight,
in crescent of
moon-grin;
golden hairs
white as Lear’s
under moonlight;
the old power
coming easy as
Paris faring
through the
Dardanelles. 

The moon, flat
as a cookie,
sails higher;
wreaths of smoke
lie fallow in space.

But blonde on a
bicycle goes fast
and quiet;
the ripple of her
passing disturbs 
all of us,
wandering on
the foreshore
of no adventure.

Home, Palinurus;
turn the rudder
and home.
No blondes heave to
in the moonlight;
your bed, empty
and wide
as a car,
awaits you.


A.U.C  was published 14 years ago in Poetry Bay, Dulce Domum in 2017 in Pif Magazine, Elba several years ago in Zombie Logic Review, and Dearth in Duane’s Poetree. Moon has never been published.


Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Chamber Magazine, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.


One thought on “Five Dark Poems by Jack Harvey

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