Amidst muck and mystery

On Twitter a few days ago, I posted a photo accompanied by a rhyming couplet. Michele of Divinipotent Daily guessed that there was more to the story, so I’ve added more couplets to make a simple poem – but without giving too much away. Because where would the mystery be then?



Wanderers we numbered four,
Left the woods to roam the shore;
Splashy suds bespoke the tide –
A soundtrack for the countryside.

Grass and wildflowers led to stone,
Pointing to a place long known;
Nettles leant towards our knees,
Ivy crept from rocks to trees.

In we went, a-hunting mystery;
Muck we found, amidst the history.
Crumbling walls held musty air,
Held us rapt while we were there.


[All comments are very welcome, as always; comments in poetic form are especially welcome.]

22 Responses to Amidst muck and mystery

  1. Jo says:

    That is really lovely; Here is my clumsy effort:

    Hushed we stood on hallowed ground,
    A swallow’s swoop the only sound;
    Fragmented dreams rush, recede,
    Perhaps not dreams, but memories.

  2. Michele says:

    Reading this makes me feel like a child again. Thank you, Stan.

  3. ALiCe__M says:

    Poetry is already for me
    A kind of mystery
    Imagining people before us in a house
    Centuries ago, people and a mouse
    As quiet as in a church
    And suddenly you think of the place
    As a sanctuary.

  4. Stan says:

    Jo: Thank you! I really like your poem, and it isn’t clumsy at all. There is all sorts going on in it, and it captures a sweet moment in a wistful way – or maybe the other way around. And I love that you began with Hushed, since Hush is, coincidentally, Michele’s surname…

    Michele: That’s good to hear. Normally I would know better than to post a poem within minutes of writing it (unless it was nonsense or whimsy), but today I was a little impatient. Maybe usefully so.

    Alice: Beautiful, thank you. It makes me think that a poem can be a sanctuary in some of the same ways that an old building can.

    I also meant to say: anyone who wants to write in another language should feel welcome to.

  5. Beck says:

    What a lovely post. I’d like to continue Jo’s rhymes but in German:

    Und als wir so
    staunten in heiligem Ort
    und als wir so
    raunten manch magisches Wort
    ertönt ein unheiliger Klingelton:
    “Hier kein Empfang, kein Netz”
    mahnt das iPhone.

    It’s too late for me today to give a propper translation.
    It goes on these people on this hallowed ground and they were disturbed by an iPhone, “saying” that it’s no network on this place, or something like that.

  6. Verónica says:

    Precioso poema señor Carey. Gracias por compartirlo.

  7. Stan says:

    Beck: Vielen Dank für das Gedicht – ich glaube daß ich es verstanden habe.

    Verónica: My pleasure. Thank you for the kind words.

  8. ALiCe__M says:

    Writing in another language is such a strange thing, when you think about it. There is the first displacement of a world into another another one, and if you add to it the displacement of poetry, you get a double decker of stangeness: that’s why I so much enjoy Rilke’s French poems.

  9. Claudia says:

    Aventure à la Saint-Saëns (inspired by Stan’s photo)

    Des pas dans l’herbe tracent l’histoire
    D’une heure sombre. Voyage sans gloire.
    Sur le chemin, nous agrippant
    Aux rochers durs et menaçants

    Dans cette cave couverte de mousse
    Nous serpentons le coeur en frousse.
    Crainte et angoisse. Délice poignant
    Cherchant un hier fascinant.

    Et le mystère du temps passé
    Va-t-il enfin se révéler?
    Yeux grands ouverts, nous découvrons
    Un corps brisé, squelette sans nom.

    Nous sommes muets. Pas un seul mot.
    Ni bruit, ni son, qu’un sourd écho
    Le craquement sec d’un amas d’os
    Triste aventure. Macabre Héros!

    Chantons, dansons un rigaudon.

    C.P.G. Août 2010

    Love your poem, Stan.

  10. Claudia says:

    A poem from the past:


    Today, at the beach, after a swim,
    she built a castle,
    and her son, a fortress.
    They tamed the sandy land
    with roads and fences,
    towers and gardens,
    lakes and bridges.

    Nobody loved in her castle
    Nobody fought in his fortress
    but their busy and warm fingers.

    Does it take more to bring forth life?
    Whoever wrote one Creation

    Hands, and a dream.
    Hope, and a beach.
    And the desire to play.
    And the will to believe.

    C.P.G. 1970

  11. wisewebwoman says:

    Beautiful poem, Stan, to add to it would be somehow to detract from its beauty. Though I did try. With some help from my temporary guest. Fail.

    Instead, here’s a preprandial from tonight:

    Tendrils of old music
    Twirl around the candles
    As she fixes salad
    And I cheese zuccini
    While the potatoes burble
    In the minty sea water
    And the mustardy ham
    Mumbles on the platter.


  12. Stan says:

    Claudia: Inspired indeed! I love ‘Aventure à la Saint-Saëns’, and I’m honoured that you posted it here. Some of the words I wasn’t sure about, but I will read the poem a few more times before I look them up; it sounds just lovely in my head. ‘At the Beach’, too, is a gem. Decades old now, but new to me; and it might have been written yesterday or a century ago, so timeless are its themes.

    WWW: You’re too kind. Mine is a simple, rather rushed work, but not (yet) an obvious disaster. Still, I reserve the right to tweak it, though I’ll try not to, or at least not overdo it! Thank you for your poem. Every image made me smile – and feel grateful that I’d already eaten. I just know that the next time I boil potatoes, they’re gonna burble.

  13. ALiCe__M says:

    @wisewebwoman : I just love your poem. So cute and funny! I want yo listen to the mumbling mustardly ham.
    @Claudia : “nous serpentons le coeur en frousse” : merveilleuse trouvaille.

  14. Jo-Anne Moore says:

    I love this thread! It’s like Stan’s little gem of a poem gave birth – in several languages! :)

  15. Sean Jeating says:

    So many thoughts, so much to tell,
    and still words would not flow.
    Can you imagine? That’s poet’s hell.
    Would be easier to write in German? No!

  16. Sean Jeating says:

    The muck in my head – a mystery?
    It’s no matter of English or German!
    It might, though, have its history.

  17. Stan says:

    Jo-Anne: Thank you! Not only is it a great pleasure to read all these poems in different languages, but it takes the focus away from mine.

    Sean: Marvellous, suggestive, and funny! Thank you. If I may advise:
    If your brain’s a bit tinglish, try it in English;
    When feeling determined, fall back on German.

  18. Jo (Jo-Anne) says:

    And if the mood is fey,
    Essaie-le en français;
    For Whom the Bell Tolls?
    Certainement en espagnol!

    (ha!)Thanks Stan.

  19. Claudia says:

    RE: our fascinating linguistics differences.

    The heart has no language, no culture of its own.
    The moonlight is speechless…
    Stars in one’s eyes mean more than
    “Je t’aime, beloved”
    and two clasped hands across a table
    across a warm sea of silence
    can tear down
    better than a thousand well-chosen words
    the tower of babel
    one erects everyday in one’s soul.

  20. Claudia says:

    But it’s so much fun to come here and be encouraged to express our thoughts in our native language. Et surtout (pour moi) d’être comprise et approuvée. Merci de tout coeur, Stan.

  21. John Cowan says:

    Prosaically I will add my conjecture that despite its romantic appearance this is a sewer, and that’s why you found muck in it. A hit?

  22. Stan says:

    John: No, it’s not a sewer — it’s the ruins of a small castle. The muck is a result of cows wandering in and disturbing the topsoil (and sometimes leaving deposits).

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