Behold this welcome image,
where a hill rises from a bay.
There a tiny sheltered village lay,
in the shadow of Windmill Cottage.
Pleasant breeze’s most every day.
Sails from afar spill their goodwill.
From their nets sea treasures abound.
Farms thrive above on fertile ground.
Good fortune trickles down the hill.
Sea birds fill the air with sound.
Ancient timbers shade from lofty stage.
Labored grain grows upward at the season’s rate.
Winds howl, warmth’s aglow on the hill-top grate.
Flour flows freely down from Windmill Cottage.
Where nature’s breath spins the wheel of a poets estate.
He attends happily to familiar chores.
Quarterly ledgers bulge beneath waistcoat fair,
a quarterly journey to the bankers’ lair.
His shadow alone opens Main Street doors.
Harvest moon will guide homeward the fortunate heir.
Dusk creeps up as day slips by.
Must avoid the many scrupulous gaze,
modest and ordered with nothing ablaze.
In the shadows inhibitions die.
A visit with strangers, heads all a daze.
Journeys end in darkness where hill meets bay.
Tufted coaches dash the posh up to their inns.
Others huddle by fire pits drinking homemade gins.
The trades of the night swap those of day.
Church bells echo, atoning for their sins.
He’s just another hazy face on the wooden shores.
Where the day’s death lingers and ships bells ring.
Taverns fill, ale flows and drunken sailors sing.
Fiddles play and jigs are had on the dirty floors.
Habitual killers all, Oh what joy they bring.
Few will stay, most homeward bound.
Some laugh loudly while others cry.
Some will fight, some will die.
In search of peace to be found,
in the deep or endless sky.
Faceless comfort fills empty space.
Men with silver are sick for a day.
Boys with gold suffer years away.
Moonlit romance lingers on perfumed lace.
Then life’s anew beyond the tiny bay.
Sharing much common thread,
In this moment they’re brothers all.
Whale lamps flicker on sooty wall,
making friends while breaking bread.
All await the Bosun’s call.
In a corner where shadows overlap,
the poet searches for his light.
Here the day’s brew flows all night.
Safe for now from his hilltop trap,
layers of darkness, out of sight.
Behold this most unwelcome image.
The seat no more where the poet presides,
now in his shadow a filthy little demon hides.
Return not quenched to Windmill Cottage –
And wait again for the new moon tides?
Lonely candle spews depth on a lonely face.
Unseen pests sing their unwanted song,
the scent of time ticking long.
His travels must be many, all left a trace.
In the darkness our senses are strong.
His hat brim low to hide the shame.
The poet stutters with utter surprise.
The traveler snickers, doesn’t rise.
With sideways glance he asks the poet’s name.
Honestly answered by the fear in his eyes.
When after long hesitation a hasty reply –
“A traveler like you” was all that he said.
But after some ale the silence was dead.
Yard by yard many distant words fly.
Palettes grow with faces shaded red.
Cider was next and followed by rum.
The traveler’s tales – all told in prose.
The wetter the lips the faster it flows.
He’s hated by most, loved by some.
That’s how a traveler’s life often goes.
The poet proud – a rather long fellow.
The traveler meek – a short poet by name.
So many ports traveled they all looked the same.
His heart pumped blue, the poet gay and mellow.
Opposite sides of a coin, no one is to blame.
“With little time to hone a craft –
with a draft from an open door.
To close then return no-more.
To open then evermore – the draft.
Spirits gone, gone the craft – nevermore.”
“What dribble do you speak my friend?”
The poet inquired in disgusted tone.
“The dribble I think when thirsty and alone.”
The traveler quipped with message to send.
“I’ll tell you another, that’s my own.”
“Silent words are never heard –
The voiceless poet stuttered.
Repeated babble muttered.
His rhymes always sputtered.
More mindless words would be absurd.
The air he breathed was glutted.
His helm so poorly ruddered,
his shirts all heavily buttered.
From his many toasts self-uttered.
His mind is so free and uncluttered.
His weaknesses many but unobserved.
Blinded to the Reaper’s shadow – deserved.
Soon the voiceless poet will be unheard.
Then blissful quiet on his paths wandered.
His silence welcome – forever heard.”
Drunken rabble roared with delight.
The poet withered belittled.
The traveler’s attention fizzled.
When laudanum’s sipped out of sight.
The poet escaped most grizzled.
Out of the dark into the night –
bellowing air; cold, wet and starless.
His poisoned lips know no finesse.
His state of mind out of time – not right.
The poet’s mind wanders aimless.
While the traveler tucked snugly in his bunk,
with help from many new joyous fan.
All loved the howls of this traveled wild-man.
His tales make perfect sense – drunk.
The favorite carried and a silent poet ran.
His boot heels clack on cobble slick.
The poet stumbles upward with achy head.
While his stallion slumbers atop golden bed.
If only to have aid from his gilt throat-ed stick.
This shadowy path he may be found dead.
The wind that is my fortune is slowly killing me.
This hill of heritage too high for me to climb,
with forceful push from the hands of time.
Drawing me back to a frigid sea –
my misery oh-so great – it is oh-so sublime.
Head tucked low, bottom up always slow.
Darkness wanes to purples then red.
Day is born, horrors of the night soon dead.
Hands and knees bloodied and bruised – falls of woe.
Alas the bodies of servants to guide to downy bed.
Winter behind, graven plans regress,
fevered sleep past, shadows of death dawdle.
Summer awaits, the poet’s lessons dwindle.
His magnum opus went off to press.
Journey’s soon to Main Street for praise to guzzle.
Surveying high atop his magnificent mount,
the poet exclaimed “behold this welcome image”
Deceived by the bustle – not he the homage.
But a tome by a worldly traveler, no doubt –
“In the Shadow of Windmill Cottage”