The Mustard Seed

April 26, 2011
I wake with a mechanic shriek
For the songbird has a severed beak
My ears wear coats of desert dust
Hearing, not a hymn, but stuttered lust
“The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”
Is just a shade on the merchant’s lawn
The gardener forgot to care
So the dew clings, frightened, to the air

Ageless disciple of the trees,
Play me your song and I’ll follow thee!
But as his footprints blessed the sand
They were wiped away by his calloused hand
Now the schoolmaster arms the child
His face is measured; his eyes are wild
A doe lies dying on his knee
While he teaches the youth of victory

Captains cry to the falling stars
Our ships set sail and we’ve gone so far!
Embarking on the dimming sea
Enjoying Titanic luxury
Factory bells gravely proclaim:
An hour is christened; ‘Noon’ is the name
Where is the Sun, our guide, our crown?
They aimed for the light and shot it down

Although the ewe prefers the ram
The wolf shall dwell alongside the lamb
The harbinger of bestial doom
As they lie, entwined, in the sitting room
Non-partisans watch from the hill
As the savage wolf goes in for the kill
Pierced by falcons, the clouds’ soundless thresh
Is like the lamb as teeth tore at flesh

Says the wolf to the ghostly form
I’ve conquered Death and ceased the storm
But what of raindrops on my wool?
What of the tears of a funeral?
Cain and Abel quickly embraced
Then one was consumed, the other defaced
Slaughter on the altar of God
Strike the child to spoil the rod

Says Father whose veins never bled
To his children hiding beneath the bed
Come out, young ones, we’ve ceased the storm
But what of the haven where it’s warm?
Or rushing to our mother’s arms
When Nature releases her false alarms?
The tempest stops; the thunder fades
But in the heart of our fear, we were unafraid

Says the healer when he began
To wipe the forehead of a dying man
Rise, my friend, we have conquered Death
But what of the joy of one last breath?
The ebb of the eternal tide?
What of the doorway to the other side?
Paint the rose so it’s not to die
The scent has left it; the petals are dry

We heard footsteps which underlie
A coachman’s silhouette in the sky
The horses’ heads were firmly turned
Towards a road that was beaten and burned
On this trail we met loss and pain
So we struck the driver and took the reins!
Crippled coachman, I now believe
You discerned a light we could not perceive

Gone are the children who played in the yard
Silent the tongues of the sage and the bard
Lifeless are the robins and bees
Still is the heart whose beat stained the breeze
Arrows rain on heavenly birds
Clergymen burn books of sacred words
My eyelids open, sigh, then resign
To four horsemen on the horizon line

Hues of the rainbow dull and blend
At the edge of the world, curtains descend
Still high is the crowd’s jubilee
Their ears ignore the ultimate plea
As I sit, unclothed, on the nighttime soil
The absence of moonlight is as heavy as oil
What my dirty hands find as they search through the weeds
Is a wilting flower
And a mustard seed





Join the Discussion

This article has 29 comments. Post your own now!

leafy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 22, 2011 at 10:18 am
Oh Bard, I can only simply say that I hope that someday I'll be half as splendid as you.
 
leafy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm
I have returned to your works, having been dismayed in humanity of the recent poems I have read. But again, as your words drip unto my tongue, I realize that all is not lost, that there is some hope for literature. O Feathery Bard, you are certainly a breath of fresh air, a golden sip of hot cocoa on this chilly January afternoon.
 
The Silent Raven replied...
Jan. 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm
Well, I wish I could give you something have as splendid as your words have given me.
 
leafy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm
Oh Raven, you already have. 'My words' were just my way of thanking you for writing this :)
 
Aderes18 said...
Jul. 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I really like the language of this poem but it's very hard for me to follow. It confuses me and it almost bores me! Sorry!

 

 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 11:17 am

Oh dear! I'm quite sorry to hear that!

I will say, however, that this poem was one of my most inspired. I don't regret writing it in the least, and I wouldn't change a single word. It is, I admit, very hard for anyone to follow, but I put lots of meaning into it (even if it's too obscure to understand).

All the same, I'm very sorry to have bored you!

 
Aderes18 replied...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm
Oh no. It's fine. I respect all artists such as yourself! :)
 
BoosflashThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 22, 2011 at 11:26 am
awesome. i love the part about the ship. it is that you're very talented captain, and it is also that i love the rhyming scheme.
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 30, 2011 at 11:00 am

Very grateful am I.

It's been a while, hasn't it?

 
BoosflashThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm
it has captain, and that time ended with me believing that you were a woman. it is most interesting that i've made a male friend.
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 8:36 pm
I rather wish you'd take off your mask. It's performing rituals with its eyes.
 
BoosflashThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm
it would be the rituals the mask performs that lead you to believe those things you're seeing are actually eyes.
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm
The eyes look so real as they creep across the floor, that I often wonder if the steady beat of bongo drums in my ears is actually the rhythm of my own frightened heart.
 
BoosflashThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 5, 2011 at 12:16 pm
perhaps, while you are here captain...what isit that inspired you towards the ecrivement of this piece.
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm
Inspiration fell from the sky on a cloudy afternoon in mid december.
 
BoosflashThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 6, 2011 at 4:54 pm
hmmm......I see, but what did it say?
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm

It did not speak.

But I responded to the silence.

 
BoosflashThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 8:36 am
when you responded to the seilence, what did you say?
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm
"I wake with a mechanic shriek, for the songbird has a severed beak..."
 
BoosflashThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 8, 2011 at 9:24 am
I love that line. i need to read this again.
 
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