The Kraken (#7)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones, III ( check it out at Pneumythology)

VII. The Wrong Lot

 

In some odd way, impassioned youth, so hungry and so lean,

Can concentrate on final goals and miss the steps between.

Romance and proud adventure holding sway in Galen’s head,

He dreamed of reputation made and wished the Kraken dead.

 

It seems he didn’t think it out but moved instinctively

And wandered toward the siren song emitting from the sea.

As from the hills and forests green his journey led him down,

He headed not to prophet’s house but toward a harbor town.

 

A dismal place it seemed to be, as day began to fade,

Since rumors of the Kraken had inhibited its trade.

One building there was gaily lit. It’s doors were open wide.

The tavern called invitingly, and Galen stepped inside.

 

With savings earned, he purchased ale and sat down on a bench.

The barmaid came by presently, a fair and strapping wench.

She said, “The coins within your purse will purchase what you please.”

She pointed to his empty mug. “I’ll fetch one more of these.”

 

“Yes, do that,” laughed a husky voice and then another two.

“This patron bears the look of one with better things to do.”

Then Galen, turning toward the voice that he might better know,

Saw laughing over hearty brew a dozen men or so.

 

The chief among their company held forth with rousing wit

While, motioning with roughened hand, he bade the young man sit.

Gray stubble grew upon his jaw. A scar was on his cheek.

A wily look was in his eye, and, oh, how he could speak!

 

By such approach, the blacksmith’s son was quickly taken in

And joined the conversation of those rugged sailing men.

He heard their tales and sang their songs. He laughed and carried on.

The drinking followed round on round. His money soon was gone.

 

The Kraken swam within his mind till, pricked by guilt and doubt

Along with curiosity, the novice blurted out,

“How would your ship defend itself in case of an attack?”

With humorous indignity, the captain answered back,

 

“My ship has ample cannon, powder stored upon its shelves

With cutlasses and pistols. We can take care of ourselves.”

And Galen, in his addled state forgetting what he knew,

Grinned as the room began to spin and said, “Your ship will do.”

 

He next awoke by light of day upon a rolling deck,

With swollen tongue, unfocused eyes, and stiffness in his neck.

A harsher voice than he had heard the merry night before

Yelled, “On your feet, and get to work! Do what we pay you for!”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#6)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?) 

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

VI. The Apprenticeship

The night was spent with further conversation, food, and sleep.

When morning came, the boy set out with promises to keep.

His friend called out a proverb, enigmatic in its way,

“Expected change will surely come when night turns into day,

 

“And though you think this tragedy as bad as it can get,

If you will hearken to me, you will come by comfort yet

To know the situation isn’t what it seems to be.

The Kraken can obscure, but never feed on, purity.”

 

As Galen walked back toward his home along the stony beach,

Though none appeared, he thought he heard a flock of eagles screech

A cry unbound by space and time, its timbre sharp and shrill,

Much like a trumpet’s battle call when sounded from a hill.

 

He turned to face the rising land, his back against the tide.

His winding path led through the hills and to his father’s side.

The good man chuckled at the news delivered by his son

That, of the trades he might have tried, he’d settled on this one.

 

Not knowing whether such a choice was by the boy’s device,

He said, “We’ll both give this a try, but start with this advice.

Though I don’t know the final goal on which your hopes are set,

Be durable and sure of hand. You’ll make a blacksmith yet.”

 

Comparing to his father’s build, his own was rather small,

But, owing to inheritance, he’d grow both broad and tall.

For seven years, he labored hard to learn his father’s trade,

And, with the passing of each one, the prophet’s words would fade.

 

By rambling thoughts of gallantry was Galen much amused.

About the daily sweat and toil he seemed much less enthused.

One day, while working at the forge, his father’s arms went slack.

He turned and spoke these solemn words while straightening his back,

 

“My son, you’ve grown and served me well. Regardless of your plan,

The time has come to make your way. Go forth. You are a man.”

He paid his wages, hugged his neck, but neither of them knew

That, once the son was gone, the father’s life would soon be through.

 

The end would come while Galen was constrained upon a ship,

Commissioned by mistaken choice, a nearly fatal slip.

With freedom gained and body strong, it’s typical that he

Forgot the prophet’s sayings of what he was meant to be.

 

A little truth can lead astray such youthful confidence.

He still retained his childish zeal but wanted common sense.

His pockets full of silver coins, away from home he turned,

From father’s trade and prophet’s way, from skills and lessons learned.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#5)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

V.  The Prophet’s Home

Far up the coast, a cottage stood, white-walled beneath the sun,

And though the boy did not know why, he broke into a run.

Some hidden force had drawn him forth and drew him faster still.

He moved by sense of atmosphere as children often will.

 

He slowed his pace once he approached that house along the shore,

Stopped, then, proceeding cautiously, peered through the open door.

This place was curious, he thought, to see the sum of it,

A dwelling marked by common things, but some things didn’t fit.

 

A garden uphill from the surf provided meager fare,

And flocks of sea gulls combed the rocks and drifted in the air.

The domicile had hearth and bed but neither trough nor stall,

Nor any horse for miles around, yet saddles on the wall.

 

Beside the hearth, an old man sat, his eyes reflecting flame,

And since the boy had stared awhile, looked up and did the same.

A studied look was on his brow. In thought, he stroked his beard.

At length, when he addressed his guest, his countenance was cheered.

 

“Please state your name. Your face is strange. Your look I think I know.”

“My name is Galen,” he replied. “I know not where to go

Or what to do. Since days ago, my heart with grief is torn,

An empty ache within my chest, not felt since I was born.

 

“My eyes still redden with the tears, distraught by what they saw.”

He next relayed the incident in trembling and in awe.

The old man listened carefully, then once the lad was through,

He nodded contemplatively and smiled as if he knew.

 

“I lead a life of solitude. I wait on man and God,

Complaining not and wanting not, nor should I find it odd

That, of the great men of the earth, a lad should come to me.

Come in. Find solace by my fire, and learn the prophecy.

 

“This curse from undersea proves such a complicated test.

A simple and courageous mind will learn to solve it best.

With love denied, yet naught to lose, and fierceness in his heart,

A boy will grow into a man to learn the sacred art.

 

“All tangled problems must trace back through branches to their source.

Their tentacles join but one head. There concentrate your force.

Then morbid love revives again beneath the warming sun.

Make strong your arms, and count the cost to be the chosen one.

 

“Tomorrow, homeward make your way. Obey your father’s will.

Despise no task. Explore each path that finds your feet until

You come to me by his own leave with arms and pockets full

That I might try the character abiding in your skull.”

 TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#4)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

IV. The Grip Of Grief

Behold, the human spirit rises up from unseen wells.

The ghost inhabits its machine in ways that no one tells.

Considering such questions as philosophy might ask,

Let readers weigh priorities and take themselves to task.

 

Does grief arise from selfishness or sympathetic care,

Or could it be a bit of both for those of us who dare

To suffer disappointments in the light of higher ways

And hold to hidden principles that common life betrays?

 

The insincere may speculate, but wiser men have known

By heating in the crucible are human values shown.

Do any know how they would act or speak when put to test?

Upon what final consequence will actions come to rest?

 

As into deep obscurity the Kraken left its wake,

The boy upon the cliff still watched. His knees began to shake.

His face was pale. His trembling hands clenched tightly into fists,

Responding to the rage and pain that suffering enlists.

 

He cried out incoherently, and many tears were shed.

He fell to earth and beat the rocks until his knuckles bled.

Though scarcely would he recollect just how his flight began,

It seems he did what he could do. Directionless, he ran

 

Along the coast and shouted curses muffled by the wind

From time to time, he looked about in hopes the sea might send

Her back to him, that woman whom his heart was set upon,

But sunset came with no relief. Then likewise came the dawn.

 

Upon awaking stiffly from that long and fitful night,

He raised his eyes to heaven, and he vowed to put things right.

With conscience and with memory the maiden’s cry had play.

In heart this stricken lad became a man at sea that day.

 

He charged among the breakers then, undisciplined and rash,

And, seized by pangs of hunger, looked for shellfish he could smash.

In vain he begged the ocean to make right what had been wronged.

By stubborn pride and strength of will, his journey was prolonged.

 

He slept above the rising tides and fed on what he could,

Then, through the nights, to warm himself, made fires from drifted wood.

He roamed one day, suspecting not that well beyond a bend

Stood something that would bring his lonely vigil to an end.

 

Beyond this promontory, he, by fate or providence

(No honest man could then have said for want of evidence),

Would cease his restless wanderings and stop to stare instead,

His scattered thoughts arrested by the sight he saw ahead.

  TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#3)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

 

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

III. The Maiden By The Sea

Embodied now in flesh and blood, the lovely sight excelled

His prior expectations and opinions that he held.

His eyes had never looked upon or even understood

Such lithe and graceful comeliness, such perfect womanhood.

 

Her features bore the radiance of clearest northern skies

With hints of sunrise in her hair and sea mist in her eyes.

Cold winds had neither blown upon a form so pure and fair

Nor sung so strange a melody as played within her hair.

 

With nimble steps, she walked the shore, an enigmatic sign,

A creature so impossible to label or define.

Was she a common villager, one born of humble stock,

Or manifest divinity with secrets to unlock?

 

Such questioning consumed his thoughts. Her presence moved him so.

Her look reflected mysteries impossible to know.

Some sort of understanding passed from woman back to boy.

His reason searched for older words his ardor might employ.

 

The silence grew unbearable. The tension left him weak.

The maiden looked with furrowed brow as if prepared to speak,

But her expression then went blank. A faint smile crossed her lips.

She looked down contemplatively, her hands upon her hips.

 

Her suitor took a timid step, as awkward as could be,

And she, in turn, moved back a bit, although reluctantly.

So then he stopped, and so did she. This funny circumstance

Proceeded back and forth awhile, a cautionary dance.

 

Her gentle shoulders shrugged a little every now and then

She smiled at him and looked away, but soon looked back again.

He sensed her recognition then and loved her more because,

This lady had accepted him despite how young he was.

 

Still glancing back, she turned away, still silent as before,

To wander several feet from him, now drawn by ocean’s roar.

Upon a rocky point she stood, ten feet above the waves.

The white caps peaked like headstones marking long-forgotten graves.

 

Not far offshore, but twenty yards, the sea began to foam.

Then, instantly, a web of flesh broke surface like a dome.

Dark tentacles, like living whips, shot forward with a crack,

Enclosed the maiden in their coils, and quickly drew her back.

 

Her fading cry to no avail, she flew away from shore.

The moment lasted but a breath and not a second more.

She disappeared beneath the waves while, running to the bluff,

The only witness was this boy whose best was not enough.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

THE KRAKEN (Part #2)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

II. Down From the Hills

Far from the ocean lived a lad who roamed about the land

And learned to make his presence scarce when there was work at hand.

He hiked the forests of the hills to set his fancy free,

Pretending that the wooded slopes were some great, frozen sea.

 

His father worked a blacksmith’s forge, the glowing metal hit

With hammering and strength of arm to make the iron fit

For many tasks as instruments that render work complete.

He fashioned plows and pruning hooks and shoes for horses’ feet.

 

Of mother’s gentle, guiding touch the boy had been denied.

They said it was at point of birth the blacksmith’s wife had died.

More than a few considered him a coarse, unruly child,

For while his father made their tools, he grew up stout and wild.

 

But, nonetheless, the father’s role was more than what it seemed.

Upon his knee at night, his son heard parables and dreamed

Of perfect things, invisible, beyond experience,

Of great dimension, fantasies contrived from common sense.

 

Young boys become young men although it’s hard to say just when,

And, on the way, in innocence, romantic thoughts begin.

One day, he sauntered through the hills with nothing much to do

When, in a vision, from the ground a perfect woman grew.

 

He could not see her clearly as she moved among the trees.

The breeze became her whisper, his companion at his ease.

As often as he waded in some pleasant summer’s dream,

He felt her fluid fingers on his ankles in the stream.

 

Her footsteps traced across the roots. Her willow waist would bend

In rhythm with the trunks of trees that bowed before the wind,

And slender ankles flashed along the dappled forest floor,

Approaching then receding as he sought to see her more.

 

He chased her all that summer, but her face he could not see.

No speed afoot could satisfy his curiosity.

At start of fall, that season when the leaves begin to turn,

His youthful pulse was quickened, and his chest began to burn.

 

Then came the day he lost all track of normal time and place,

Absorbed in contemplation of that fair but hidden face.

The vision pulled him far from home and into fading light.

At length, he stopped and kneeled to hear her breathing in the night.

 

He ran for days from tree to tree and bounded hedge to hedge

Through farms on lower slopes until he chanced on water’s edge.

The ocean wore its atmosphere, a gray and clouded hood,

And there his fervent running ceased, for there she clearly stood.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY!!

THE KRAKEN #1

quillEpic poetry, once a valued art form, has seemingly fallen upon hard times.  When was the last time you heard someone, anyone, extol the likes of Evangeline (I know I’ve never read it, but it was one of my mom’s faves), or The Aeneid (I did read that one, and maybe ingested about 70%).  I think of story poems as the opera of the written word: beautifully done, and woefully under-appreciated. 

So for the next several Thursdays in the “Not My Poetry” category, I’m introducing a new, soon-to-be published epic poem in short installments..  The author, Robert L. Jones III (of the blogsite, Pneumythology), playfully describes the writing style as “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner meets Dr. Seuss”, and if you know his site at all, inside of this grown man is a little boy who still loves big scary monsters.

And so, blogging world, I give you—

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

I. Invocation

The legend hails from northern seas, a tale that few know well,

Where faith and fear blow freely on the gray and changing swell.

Mark well the drift of this account, and come to understand

That humble and heroic things go often hand in hand.

 

Great beauty can arise somehow from ugly circumstance

Till on the heaps of tragedy brave men and angels dance

And find the grace to pause and hear the song that heaven sings,

The offered  joy of common folk, philosophers, and kings.

 

A struggle of the soul that found occasion to express

Its failure and its victory through physical duress,

This tale begins within the depths of ignorant despair

Wherein a monster threatened all who breathed the ocean air.

 

Reports would come to colder ports and spread from place to place

That ships on northern routes had disappeared without a trace.

Alleged survivors’ recollections met with mirth and scorn.

Some said from superstition’s womb the Kraken had been born.

 

The rumors flourished in the minds of those disposed to think

A pair of cold, unearthly eyes observed them from the drink,

And arguments flew back and forth till from a harbor town

Some citizens and seamen saw a merchant ship go down

 

In tangled mass of tentacles and blackened, churning foam,

A masted vessel splintered but a quarter mile from home.

The wreckage drifted in for nights and littered many days,

But not a man clung to the boards that floated in the haze.

 

From then, it seemed that none would dare to walk along the shore.

The legend grew from mouth to mouth in neighborhood and store.

In taverns next to many docks where ships would come and leave,

Men gathered over food and ale to listen and believe.

 

How thoughtfully they chewed their meals, digesting tale on tale.

Such sessions often went till dawn, when, filled with too much ale,

Some stouter men drew courage from within the barrel staves

And so resolved to cast their lots upon the open waves.

 

To gamble thus and play the odds such manly pride knows well.

Courageously misguided steps lead often into Hell.

Some sailed and lived. Some sailed and died, not knowing what it cost.

Some owners of their ships retired with fortunes made or lost.

 

Within the course of daily life, where time can break or mend,

On this delayed trajectory, who knows how it will end?

In times of choice and consequence, but few had thought it through,

And as their lives passed slowly by, the Kraken fed and grew.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY!!

For the #educators in your life!

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Many years ago while traveling in the backcountry of Baja I learned an important lesson that I have carried with me ever since.

Several of us were on a fishing adventure slowly making our way down the old Mexican 1 which serpentines it’s way along the backbone of this wild peninsula. We were in the middle of one of the loneness and driest places on earth, the Vizcaino Desert, when I felt a hard jolt followed by a loud clanging. My jeep coasted to a halt next to a large Boogun tree, engine still running. My son, Sam, ran up the dusty road and retrieved the driveshaft. It is amazing at how quiet and empty the desert can feel when you are broken down in the middle of it.

After a little trouble-shooting we figured that we could limp back to the village of Catavina some miles away by engaging the 4WD, which still transferred power to the front wheels. And so we began a long and tedious trek back to that little pueblo.

Upon arriving, we searched for a mechanic to help us. Actually, this place had more abandoned dwellings than occupied. But as luck would have it we found a guy who had ran out of money and was stranded there waiting for an opportunity to continue his journey North and he was a mechanic—only in Mexico.

Julio examined the shaft by rolling it on the crumbling pavement of an old abandoned gas station to check its trueness. I remember looking at a peeling mural of a map of the peninsula with a star marking our location. We were a long ways from home. The station had shut down years before for lack of traffic. Since its closure, the only fuel available was gotten from fifty-gallon drums strained through a chamois. My attention went back to Julio, who was shaking his head while examining the broken strap. We would not be traveling far without a new one.

I began to worry when he shaded his eyes from the intense Baja sun and scanned the surrounding desert. Without a word, he abruptly left us and carefully picked his way through the cacti toward a line of wrecked vehicles. I watched him disappear underneath a rusting Chevy pickup with a cholla growing up through its missing hood.

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Upon returning, he told me he needed 80 pesos to pay the man who “owned” it. Sensing I did not understand, he explained that he would have to salvage the pin bearings from it and further he would need to buy a strap from another “owner” of an old Ford rusting on the other side of the road. He smiled sweeping his arms across the desert encompassing at least thirty old, rusting vehicles and said, “This is my parts department.” The parts he needed he would savage off these abandoned wrecks.

Without any further discussion, he began to work. Using the tools we always carried on these adventures and an old rickety jack, he worked for a couple hours in the sweltering heat. First he replaced each pin bearing one by one and than slowly jacked the shaft back up in place using a cradle he had made from pieces of wood he had sent the village children out to gather from along side the road.

By now we had attracted most of the villagers: us being the best entertainment in town. I remember my friend, Fritz, teaching the game of chess from the tailgate of his pickup.

I asked Julio at one point how he was going to balance the shaft so it would spin true when reconnected to the engine. He smiled as he propped one end on a rock and took a small hand sledge and carefully lifted it a few inches above and struck it. He did this a couple of times more with care and precision. When he finished, he proudly said, “Hecho en Mexico!” Made in Mexico!

I paid Julio less than a hundred dollars for the whole job, which got him on his way and us as well. We continued our journey south to explore many bays and beaches without names that fueled countless campfire stories to this day. Years later, I passed that jeep on to my son and it still runs and has never needed any modifications to Julio’s repairs.

When you leave the frontiers and venture down the back roads of Baja there is no Auto Club to call, no machine shops, no dealerships, or Auto Zones to stop at. You only have yourself and the kindness of strangers. These strangers, the locals, are geniuses at making do with what they have. They live by the adage that necessity is the mother of all invention. It is what surely attracts me to these lonely places over and over.

Being an educational leader in these times is not much different. We are bombarded with an endless stream of regulations and directives from the state and federal government that cost large sums of money to implement while we are asked to do it with less.

We find ourselves spending more and more time out of classrooms meeting the needs of outside bureaucrats who claim to have all of the answers. But when all is said and done, the solutions are in the talent we have all around us. The secret to our success is the same as Julio’s; use our own talent and ingenuity to solve the problem.

We need to invest in ourselves for a change. This of course, will not make the test making companies, “consultants,” textbook publishers, software designers and outside trainers very happy in their quest for billions of our tax dollars.

But in my experience, a good teacher who makes positive connections with children will out perform any program, any time. That is were I would put my money because I am used to betting on winners.

I already have what I need to continue to move MPH forward. I am proud to say I work with a cadre of world-class, talented and willing teachers and staff. We should never forget that our greatest resource is all around us—It is, us. “Hecho en Rim of the World!”