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Monument Row

The traveler journeys
His ship has gone far
The doldrums eclipsed
With the light of new stars
The lands seem foreign
The people are strange
But always they smile
And call you by name
You run, and you run, and you run
From it all
Charts lost in the maelstrom
Just the albatross’ call
Until delicious intention
Returns from respite
And phrases the unmentioned
Where maybe you might
All praise to the ointment
Its healing refrain
Right, left-side disjointment
To blow out the brain
The covers pull back
Each bone is stripped bare
The tiller is slack
And there’s no one to care
So you take to the helm
Hands firmly in place
And you care not a whit
If it’s all empty space
As a cardinal is perched
On the yardarm so high
A land bird at sea
Making all truth a lie
And you wonder then maybe
Have you wandered too far
As the cup pours the gravy
From a long empty jar
The wind yet to move
The day is late June
What’s whole has been halved
With the sun almost noon
The rigging is silent
The mast frozen tall
The wind has died down
With no new ports of call
A feeling still burns
In the fire within
To find that one thing
That unfound, to us sings
The ocean is flat
The sea is dead calm
Seasons repeat
Memories unresolved
The night sky is clearest
The darkest the days
Whose winds have escaped
Adrift to now play
But then just a wisp
Of a breeze on your cheek
Portends of a magic
And a future you seek
It strengthens and gushes
Throughout all the night
As the red sky last evening
Had hinted it might
As the headsails go up
The big linen comes down
And you climb up the mast
To nest in its crown
The creak of the lapstrake
Splashes over the bow
The futures in sight
Incarnate, right now
Looking down on a lifetime
A rare moment of joy
The smell of the brine
Covers anything coy
As an Island approaches
From the mist up ahead
And the stillness reproaches
Then retreats to its bed
The wonder returns
Speculation begins
Of the magic you’ll find
In a newness again
At the top of its mountain
Strange trees then appear
In a shape that you’re certain
Neither familiar nor clear
The closer you get
The more they seem to move
As their shapes become giant
And your hopes then behoove
Your ship anchors at rest
With the dinghy on shore
To see them more clearly
Each face to implore
Like monolith Gods
On top of the hill
Reigning down on those entering
With a welcoming shrill
But where are the people
The Island is bare
Just giant stone carvings
That linger and stare
And as you approach them
The ground starts to shake
From deep in your heart
A primordial ache
The mountain then trembles
All paths become closed
With the rain now a warning
Any trespasser knows
As you run to the dinghy
Its oars are found gone
And your ship is now missing
In its place just a song
Which sings to you words
Ones you already know…
“A price not paid dearly
Is only for show”
You turn back to the mountain
And in an explosion of light
You’re lifted up to the heavens
Spun around in a fright
You’re shot then straight downward
Toward the mountain below
And with force you are planted
Along monument row
And now that you’ve joined them
All questions abide
The distance and separation
In heaven collide
“Can I leave, am I destined
to be left here entombed?”
And in language you recognize
Providence swoons
From a choir immortal
Voices start to be heard
Your welcome now total
As your drown in their words
“You can leave if you want to
The choice is all yours
But this mountain goes with you
As all places detour
You’ve reached the first milestone
You’ve passed the first test
Old dye in the ointment
—now clear and at rest”

(Chesapeake Bay: June, 2017)
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Submitted by Kurt Philip Behm on September 02, 2019

3:26 min read
16 Views

Kurt Philip Behm

Longtime writer with twelve books in publication. Three of them Poetry. : The Death Of The Playground : The Sword Of Ichiban : Searching For Crazy Horse : Darkening Sun : An Anthology Of Perception-Vol's 1 & 2 : After Midnight : Sammy And Bumpers : The Fall City Mandate : Revenge Along The War Trail : Death from The Sky more…

All Kurt Philip Behm poems | Kurt Philip Behm Books

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    "Monument Row" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 22 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/49313/monument-row>.

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