A. B. Clarke

The Withered Crone

by abclarke

The withered crone has seen the world.
Of beauty, pain, and fear.
The withered crone has been the beaut,
Feted, fawned, and cheered.

The withered crone has seen the man,
His snarling, stumbling, fall.
The withered crone has seen the child,
Gangly reaching tall.

The withered crone has seen it all,
And through it all remained.
The withered crone has cried with time,
Yet laughs upon today.

The withered crone is nothing but —
Her mind’s a dangerous knife.
Within her lies a knowledge sharp,
Hard-fought throughout her life.

A Collection of False Statements

by abclarke

Everything is unfair.
Life is unfair.
Nothing is fair.
Life is fair.

Everything is cruel.
Life is cruel.
Nothing is kind.
Life is kind.

Everything is awesome.
Nothing is awesome.

When Godzilla Came To Town

by abclarke

When Godzilla came to town, the capitalists invited him to their board rooms.
“See how your brand can move cities,” they said.
“See how our savvy can help you expand,” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said, and crushed them.

When Godzilla came to town, the soldiers invited him to their forts.
“See how you can make us stronger,” they said.
“See how we can make you stronger,” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said, and crushed them.

When Godzilla came to town, the intellectuals invited him to their coffee houses.
“See how you can drain the swamp,” they said.
“See how we can raise the people up in your arms,” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said, and crushed them.

When Godzilla came to town, the poor invited him to their hovels.
“See how you can fell the rich,” they said.
“See how we can fix everything in your wake,” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said, and crushed them.

When Godzilla came to town, the other monsters warned him to stay away.
“Raaaaaaaar!” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” they said.

The Warrior’s Child

by abclarke

There’ll be time for dying when we’re dead.
Time for bathing in our sorrow.
Time for pity when the sun’s done down.
Time for grief tomorrow.

There’ll be time for fighting when we’re older.
Time for hate without restraint.
Time for killing if it’s needed.
Time for hell’s foul brush to paint.

But for now, I hold you in the morning.
For now, I gaze upon your face.
For now, your cries bring joy upon me.
For now, I bathe within your grace.

There’ll be time for dying when we’re dead.
Time for all our worlds to end.
But child, oh child, I beg you,
This time, dear God, extend.

The Wages of Sin

by abclarke

One day my friend and I debated how much it cost to run Heaven, versus Hell. My instinct was Hell, with its brimstone furnaces, and complex descending circles of punishment, was clearly more expensive to maintain.

“Not so,” he argued. “We’ve seen proof that Heaven is Hotter than hell, so the heating bill of paradise is higher.  As for other costs, those hosts of angels are singing for their supper. They don’t come for free.”

“Hah,” I proclaimed! “If we include labor, given the amount of  evil in the world, Hell must be orders of magnitude more populous than Heaven. In manpower costs alone, the wage burden must be overwhelming.”

“You misunderstand,” he said. “The wages of sin are virtually nothing. Hell is staffed, and populated, purely by volunteers.”

The Big Picture

by abclarke

George, who only saw the ear, thought it a greying tarp.

Oliver, who only saw the tusk, thought it an iconic tower.

David, who only saw the leg, thought it a noble oak.

Only Ian, who saw the whole, understood it was a parable.

The Zen of Balance

by abclarke

Balance is hard; Balancing is easy.

Fire and Water

by abclarke

Furious fire, erupting forth,
He is lava.
Gnarling, whorling, devouring
Relentlessly reaching for her.

Calm, deep,
She is the sea.
In her patient caresses,
Shaping, smoothing, succoring.

When they touch,
As she smothers his furnace,
In the steam and pain,
A new land is born.

The Shadow-Caster’s Tale

by abclarke

They said she did not need him,
Was better than him,
Was debasing herself.

That she was pure,
A shining light,
Brightness incarnate.

That he was her shadow,
A blemish,
A blot.

Still she shone on, afraid,
For without his shade,
Was she even there?

In the years after he left
(To darken another’s flame)
Her aura cast his outline upon the world.

Prescriptions for Dreaming

by abclarke

Follow your dreams — they are the only real thing.

Everything else is impermanent, temporary, fragile and inevitably subject to the ravages of time. Dreams are infinite, are enduring, are strong, and grow more complex and beautiful as the sands drop through the hour glass. Dreams are the perfect circles on the imagined canvas, not yet muddled by the imperfections of the brush or the unsteady drafter’s hand. Dreams are music to reality’s noise.

It is not failing to achieve your dreams that should concern you — No, it is failing to have a dream. Then you sit in the ocean, whether stormy or doldrums, and you know not how to rig the boat, how to use the wind that otherwise seeks to grind you to dust. The storms move, the currents carry, your dying useless carcass. The other dreamers smell it. You are carrion. Plagued. They sail their boats clear.

So dream! This is what hope is — a dream that powers. With hope, all barriers collapse — what you want is on the other side. Hope drives the waking moments. Hope drives the sleeping moments. Hope is reason enough.

But what, you say, what if the dreams are dead, or dying? What then? Then turn to farming. If nothing is growing, plow the fields of life. Let change be the blade that turns the earth. If slowly growing, find ways to water those dreams. With fancy, with imagination, with fantasy. In dark winters, cover your dreams and protect them from the elements that would destroy them. In light summer, share your dreams, let your fantasies pollinate the other fields. For shared dreams are the most powerful of all.

And what if too tired to dream? That prescription is the most simple of all: rest. Your body was meant to dream, wants to ponder, wants to reach the infinite. It needs but time and permission. Yield to it, and the world will yield to you.