Copyright 2017 K. J. Tesar
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A Journey Home
The small boat danced across the waves,
white and sleek.
Lost in serenity, the sweetness of the sun,
His mind adrift as the waves cut by.
Enticing smells enveloped him, thoughts of far off places,
A sense of peaceful beauty,
the crux of life.
Lost in his thoughts he had not seen,
The burgeoning wind, the threat from the sky.
A violent crash of the waves,
his languor broke,
The fury had him in its hold, a grip of fear.
Savage waves crashed over the hull,
Consumed with panic, he sought escape.
Convulsed by the immensity,
he knew he was lost.
The rain slashed his face,
Thoughts of his life, all not yet done.
Smashing glass cut his body,
his death written.
Devoured by the tumult, the boat succumbed.
Thrown by the waves he resisted no more,
he let his body free.
A warmth entered him, the fear released,
The sea was his home, if die he must,
there was no better way.
Consumed by the depths, a smile grew on his face,
His life merged with the water,
he had come home.
The Battle of Bellevue Spur
In the cold of the morning, whistles blew.
With tiredness in their bones,
the dead men rose,
Their legs were heavy, but fire flamed within.
On the mud filled fields they fell,
Men from the hill country,
seeking only a spur.
On that darkest of days for the young country,
The morning sun shone on their blood-red bodies,
cut down before they reached their bloom.
Those brave boys from Otago,
entangled on the wire barbed,
Caught in arcs of fire, they answered the angel’s call.
On those Belgian fields their bodies still lie,
Their souls, unbowed, reposed
in God’s embrace.
For days the wounded lay, in frigid lakes of blood and bone,
endless suffering, in that place of tortured dreams.
Those who survived, forever changed,
Never to forget the horror
etched into their eyes.
Across farmhouses in New Zealand desperate mothers wept.
Tales of glory were told, shiny metal displayed.
That day with no victory, brought only death and sorrow,
On those sombre fields,
so far away.
The Living of a Life
The weight of the past
A heavy load
His only friend, his knife
A mystic bond
The stream of his thoughts
His only conversation
Where once kindness flourished
Now lived distrust
The sacred vow broken
His only fault
A distant life, borne only in memories
Through everything he still walked tall
Survival his only victory
He longed for a sense of freedom
No more could he be saved
The voices silenced
With difficult measure he advanced
Lost in uncertainty
No way forward, or back
An everlasting present
Condemned to this existence
This unkind life
A Life Fades
Colours flooded his senses, smells of places long since lost.
The ocean’s waves crashing on the rocks,
Wild currents swirled in his mind.
The face in the mirror,
a person unknown,
Outlines of shapes, he reached out to touch.
Her face, blurred, lost to time,
The shape of her cheeks, her smile, her lips.
Where was she now, where had she gone?
This strange life,
this unknown existence,
Someone’s life he found himself in.
The strange feel of objects, foreign in his hands,
Shapes invoking smells, forcing memories.
Rules he didn’t understand governed his day,
In his dreams she was there, smiling, welcoming.
The wind blew through his thoughts,
He could smell the sand.
Looking at the ground,
He saw his freedom.
As he flew through the sky, he could see her,
Waiting, sitting on the beach,
her arms outstretched.
The Tasman Street Burning
In the chill of the dawn, he sought warmth,
Drawn to his fire, gripped by the colours.
The flames reflected in his eyes,
dark pits of blue.
Slowly the blaze grew, ever higher,
Feelings of panic, he lost control.
Who could help him, where could he turn?
The fire burned wildly,
the flames seeking fare.
Fiery forks streaked across the sky.
Violent colours lit up the bleak landscape,
The thunderous boom of explosions in the flames.
Burning light cut into his mind,
exposing the fear.
Noises reverberated in his head, pounding.
Surreal depictions intruded on his thoughts,
Images of his dead body,
lying in the flames.
The terror of the fire, flaring unrestrained,
Shaking wildly, he tried to escape his fate.
He screamed, as the flames grew ever close.
In a panic he felt a tight grip,
His mother’s hand,
pulling him free.
The Flickering Light
Uncertain steps across lost moments,
The drifting mind, haziness in his thoughts.
The leaves dance in the wind,
Scattering the memories even further.
Ambiguous shapes mould his thoughts.
Whispering birds circle above,
Stiletto heels strike the cobbles.
A naked form looms in the fog, shapeless,
With an unsettling presence.
In his confusion he reaches out.
Shimmering forms line the road,
Beckoning him forward.
The sound of a radio, a distant song,
A tune in his mind,
Yellow and blue, green.
A constant buzzing he strains to hear.
Fluid, everything is fluid,
Smoke drifts around, smothering.
A softness touches his hand,
Glimpses of the past, elusive.
The difficult act of breathing.
He holds on, the wind confuses his thoughts,
His concentration wanders.
The fleetingness of the moment,
This strange act of being.
[The Meeting House]
In a sacred place
Where minds meet
The free word is allowed
Everyone is equal in Te Wharenui
There are no boundaries, no limits
All people are welcome
In this peaceful place
Aotearoa * you are welcoming
Like Te Wharenui
Those who come to you
Are reborn free
Shackles are broken, hands untied
Brother becomes brother
Equal in the plentiful garden
Hands that guide long canoes
Keep the sacred flame
They carve their history
They sing their songs
Guiding the young nation
This young dominion found
Built on strong spirit
And immense sacrifice
Forever will your guiding light shine
With braveness and hope
A beacon of great fortitude
(* New Zealand)
The Unseen Path
Strange shapes floated in his mind
Outlines ill defined
Distorted colours filled his eyes
Things were growing, expanding
A sense of powerlessness
Lightness of being, weightlessness
Focus, try to focus, the forms
The ground beneath fluid, unsure
Grasping at the air, he sought direction
He looked to the sky above
The changing shapes grounded him
His way was new, his own
A new path
To Hold Too Tight
The sound of the ocean’s flow,
Brought inner peace,
calmed the thoughts.
A feeling of softness passed through my body,
Waves crashed through my mind.
The soft sand underfoot felt so soothing.
Memories of the last time I saw her,
flooded my mind.
Her hair cascading on her face,
the turn of her head.
Her delicate smile,
the softness of voice.
Her beautiful poise, the body firm.
Smoothly her flesh passed beneath my hand,
The silkiness of her feel,
my desire to touch.
My hand caressed her body,
the warmth of her breath on my cheek.
Her smell filled me with elation,
overwhelming my senses.
I called her name across the ocean waves.
Where would I find her now,
will she ever return to my embrace?
The Child Mother
You were so young, your head exploding with dreams,
little more than a child.
With life’s unforeseen, change entered you,
Never more to be the same.
To you was born a little girl,
you just a child,
now a mother.
Your mind inundated with worries, doubts.
The road ahead a mountain,
The burden on your shoulders heavy.
As you looked into your baby’s eyes,
your tears of delight
washed away the fear.
In your heart blossomed infinite love,
For this little creature born.
The task would be great,
the path to travel long.
As you embraced your joy,
The strength of woman entered you,
encompassed by beams of light.
Your eyes looked to the new world before you,
with the love that was burning within,
you felt so calm.
The courage in your soul would guide your way.
When Evil Descends
You who were different, your face didn’t match,
Someone was needed, to take the blame.
On the streets of hate, you were chosen,
Chased down, herded and beaten,
the trains were filled.
The savagery of man, unleashed on fellow man.
The crying of children, screams eternal,
the presence of fear.
Orders were barked, the dogs of war rabid.
The sign over the gates, those gates of work,
the work of death.
Thundering noise filled the air, confusion and dread.
The fires ablaze, black smoke billowed wild,
Spirits set free, flew back to their grace.
Those unchosen, doomed to yet worse,
to die too easy.
People no longer people, numbers not names,
Written in ink, etched on your arm.
The cruelty of man, the inglorious became kings,
kings born from hate.
The power in their hands, a weapon of war.
When all was finished, nobody had known,
What had been done in their name.
“This was not us, nor had we seen”,
Hiding behind walls of shame.
The Garden of Life
The gardener steps back from his plants,
He straightens his back as he surveys his toils.
The abundance of growth, flourishing.
His efforts provide a fine bounty,
The nourishment of life,
grown by his own hands.
He turns to look at the deep blue water
Flowing in to his bay, the rolling green hills.
The sun reflects off the tranquil water,
a sense of serenity, peace.
His cat dozes in the sun, by his side,
His soulmate tends to her herbs.
How lucky he was to have found her,
It was she who had given him the resolve,
to complete his journey.
He smiles as he reflects on the long road behind,
To bring him to this place of wonder,
this idyllic home.
The years of yearning to find his place in life,
Experimenting, pushing the limits.
Many faces through the years, the memories.
With a laugh he realises his life has been
like the cycle of his garden.
The groundwork laid, the labours done,
Gifting a fine harvest, the benefits found,
this life of joy.
Years of searching have brought him here,
Here he will remain,
in this beautiful place.
Your wild ways captured my soul,
The freedom you lived,
no rules held you.
I walked in your shadow, in awe of your strength,
You stood tall, you forged your path.
With your pink hair,
the flash of your knife,
Depths of coldness in your eyes.
The violence in you would end,
in just one way.
Her sweetness and softness, a beautiful thing.
She walked in circles of light, her laughter in the wind.
Everyone she touched,
the better became,
With lightness of heart, she got into your car.
Her destiny with that bridge was penned,
penned by your hand.
As the stolen car careered ahead,
The wail of the sirens drowned out her screams.
Your end was your choice,
it was written large,
Hers was not yours to make, you took her life.
Young and free, a future of joy stolen from her,
in the car wreck of your life.
The Edge of Life
My greatest of friends, on the road we all travel,
The memories shared,
the laughter rang loud.
Through the years, the bond only grew,
The good and the bad, we shared it all.
Then death reared large, growing inside,
Consuming her life,
the pain on her face.
Her eyes grew sad, her shattered dreams.
Drained and weary, always carried with grace,
Crushed under the burden
of her unsought fate.
As she lay there finally in peace,
The blood red water encompassing her body,
I was drawn to the beauty of her face.
The calmness of her expression,
the outline of a smile.
Never have I seen such beauty.
Transfixed by her serenity, devoid now,
of life’s tumult,
Her suffering fulfilled.
Where lines of pain had flourished,
Now there was found the peace of angels.
An act of great courage,
An act of freedom,
In death, a new beginning,
Finally at peace, in the warmth
of God’s embrace.
The Guiding Light
Lost in the darkness, my senses subdued,
Living in a wasteland.
Feelings of despair, anguish,
no way home.
Darkness, darkness in my mind.
The urban jungle menacing my every move,
my thoughts scattered.
Your light shone, illuminating the way.
Your brightness soothed my tormented mind,
and thawed my frozen heart.
Across the sky my little angel came to me,
on wings of light,
to save me from myself.
I knew your presence would be fleeting,
You had other lost souls to save.
Now your love would forever burn within,
never again would I be alone.
My little angel of salvation you will always be
in my heart,
guiding my every move.
The Distance Between Us
With your long blond hair, your smiling face,
how could you fall?
Life was waiting, it was in your grasp.
The good times we shared,
On the streets of our town, all through the night.
The flow of the liquid, we knew no bounds,
With me at your side, you said what you thought,
The weight of your words fell onto me.
With tools in hand,
we played our part,
Work was just fun, our fun a wild thing.
Your moments became moods, deep and obscure,
The darkness grew, something inside.
Your pleasures took hold,
they gripped you strong,
The fade of the smile, pain had begun.
The distance between us, an ocean became,
Where we disappeared,
I will never know.
Now you are lost, your last journey made.
I still see your face, an image strong,
In my memory you are here,
still by my side.
In the darkness of my mind,
I felt the presence arrive.
No one would be safe,
No one would escape it’s embrace.
With wings of destruction,
Shattering the quiet hopelessness
of those in it’s path.
A growing feeling of unease,
Passed through my body.
Everything was out of focus,
shapes were vague.
The surface beneath me lost form,
I tried to scream, but no sound came forth.
As I tried to run, my legs collapsed beneath me.
Panic grew as the shadowy figure
grew ever closer.
I could feel the menace behind me,
This time there would be no escape.
No way for salvation, the pointless lives lived,
with none other than deluded hope.
The blackness consumed all,
and went on its way.
This collection of poems by K. J. Tesar reflects his different styles of poetry, going from recounting a story, as he does with "A Journey Home", and "The Child Mother", to reflections on life as seen with "A Life Fades" and "The Edge of Life". In between we have haunting glimpses of the horror of war, as told by the two poems "When Evil Descends", and "The Battle of Bellevue Spur", the latter relating New Zealand's darkest day of both world wars. Through the collection we also have more fractured, enigmatic poems, like "The Unseen Path", "The living of a Life", and the surreal imagery of "The Flickering Light". The very special poem "Te Wharenui" explores the effects the Maori culture has had on New Zealand, and how this has helped New Zealand forge it's own, unique standing on the world stage. Even people who don't normally like poetry will find some enjoyment in this remarkable, singular collection of poems.