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Selected Poems




William C. Markham


[Copyright © 2017 by William C. Markham
All rights reserved.]

No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Author’s Note

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For you.


Master of the Tides


Beware the monster of the tides,

The creature who resides

In murky waters far below

The heavens and the skies.

Beware the jaws that rip and tear,

The mandibles of pain,

The vicious smile that must portray

The mayhem in his brain.

When winds die down

This beast is found

Lurking at the stern.

He lies in wait

For fleshy bait

And death is his return.

So if you venture far or near

On the ocean wide,

Beware the monster of the deep,

The Master of the Tide.

[] Hopes

Shielded from the winter wind

In wheat fields of yester-year,

I hid behind my mother’s woolen robe

Watching for father and his plow.

Mother had hope

That her love would return

But I knew better

And I told her so.

I’ll never forget

That tear in her eye

As the terrible truth

Swallowed her.

I’ll never forget

What I did that day-

Ripping mother’s dreams

To shreds

[] The Red Feathered Muffle


Gliding with ease

Is the Red-Feathered Muffle

Seeking his prey,

The Albanian Truffle.

Higher and higher

He goes in the air

Looking for truffles,

But they are not there.

He soars to and fro,

Catching each breeze,

Then swoops to the earth

Through the purple-leafed trees.

He thinks it’s a truffle,

But it’s only a hare.

The Albanian Truffle

Once more is not there.

The light of a candle,

Bouquet of red wine,

He thinks of the truffle

On which he might dine.

But it’s meat and potatoes

His dinner will be,

And I pity that Muffle

For you see

I am he.

[] Playwriting

I slap you with a wet monkey

while you curse the busted parking meter

like a defunct love-tester.

our dead turtle, oh so dead,

floats in a murky fish bowl

and pictures of homeless kids

cover the pasty walls.

The ghostly embrace

of a friendship lost

haunt our shaken souls

while laughter and tears

converge as one

on the passionate crossroads of truth.

A penny in the dark

that smells of cat piss

is found easily without eyes.

Oh how strange, oh how strange

Truth, life, reality

stranger than

fiction, dreams, fantasy.


I am a monster.

I am evil.

I can feel the pain welling inside

Exploding spores of the mushroom beast.

I am a demon.


Four names, four different names

Said all at once.

Four names converge

The first is bitter and likes to bite.

The second is calm with a warm embrace.

The third is violent and instills a mighty fright.

The fourth a relief in which many delight.

Four different names, yet all are one.

[] Tribulation

The mournful weeping child

Drops tears upon his bed,

But in them I find joy

For I know he is not dead.

Christ, what woeful virtue

Lies inside my brain,

That I find happy hope for life

Within another’s pain.


A bittersweet feel

A lingering dream

A home for the homeless

Your ghostly embrace.

A whisper of peace

A denial of truth

A shiver of pain

Your withering smile.

A kiss forgotten

A lesson unlearned

A merriment drowned

Your decadent glance.

To unlearn reality

To undo a deed

To sing of joy

To laugh once more.

Where and when?

Why and how?

But never another


[] Night

Night is a lonely time

When the air is sweet and cold.

Ripples in the breeze

Seem to whisper again and again

“I am here.”

But the voice glides by

And again I’m alone.

Alone and cold

And a little bit scared.

Cared that I might always

Be alone.

[] Heartland

The Heartland of Mystery

beckons to all,

summoning us with its endless call,

pleading to follow the footsteps of time,

till one day we crumple

without reason or rhyme.

Death will come

If we just wait—

to some too early

and some too late.

But living is what the alive must do

for the clock is ticking

and the days are few.


Thirty-seven flaming pillars

Stand before my eyes—

Symbols of life;

Of nearing death.

I am blind beyond their glow.

Friendly voices filled with song

Beckon me to join.

I close my eyes;

Make a wish—

The light exists no more.



Beyond the moon and the stars

Lies a place without time.

Unseen it hides

From Night and Day.

Things never change.

There are no months or seasons

or years,

just a place untouched,

unscathed by time.

It is how it always was

and always will be.

Things have no end

and no beginning.

They just exist.

That’s where I belong.

[] A Civil Affair

The smoky haze of cannons’ breath

glides across the ground

like a giant amorphous beast-

Milky tendrils snake through steadfast trees

choking sight and sound.

The acrid fumes sting my eyes

as tears well in my soul.

Somewhere in the mist

my brothers lie on blood-soaked soil,

whispering silent prayers.

The scent of fear and atrophy

float thick in the curdled air,

yet a morbid comfort lends itself

through the chilling iron barrel

pressed against my flesh.

Like the fallen friends before me,

I walk an unknown road

refusing to ask the pending question

whose answer will soon be known.

Will I die today?



To Thee Old Cause

To thee old cause!

Thou peerless, passionate, good cause

Thous stern, remorseless, sweet idea,

Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands.

After a strange sad war, great war for thee

I think all war through time was really fought,

And ever will be fought, for thee.

These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee.

Aye, for thee we fought, for thee we won,

For thee we shall ever struggle.

And so, my friends, shall it ever be. We must fight on for generations to preserve this freedom, this liberty we have won for ourselves, so that our children’s grandchildren may know it. And this, I know, will be a challenge. We must not get lazy in our war’s wake, for tyranny is an ever-living curse. It will rise again! And when it does, we must rise again to triumph. We must not forget those who died for our cause, for they were not selfish. And we must not be selfish. The day will come when we must die for our cause. But I say that now we must live for our cause, yes, live every day of our lives for our cause. Only thus can we perpetuate true freedom!



Reaching red fingers of dawn

Grasp the blue-gray sky,

Warming the world with their gentle embrace,

A promise of blooming miracles

Arriving with the sun.

Standing in the cleansing surf

On the shores of solitude,

The growing rays of morning light

Reveal a dazzling world

In the simple possibilities

Of a buried shell.

The work of art now lies devoid,

A lithoidal accouchement,

To the marvelous existence

Of its perished architect.


  • Author: William Markham
  • Published: 2017-08-20 02:17:46
  • Words: 1260
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