Rachel's Crown

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I never told the truth; I never lied.
It's what I've said, and what I have denied.
And it swims out, a graceful sloth, to you.


raHel! raHel! qaratlhmoHmeH qapong;
HutHu' qatlheDmo'. DaH Hut Hogh vIchel,
'ej wej matay'. jIHvaD Dach yablIj 'ong;

Dach je ghopDu'lIj mach. Dach --- Su', raHel ---
je ghoghlIj yu'egh. rut, 'ach, qaqawHa'DI',
QIt jIHvaD qetqa' ponglIj. pong vIqel;

vIwuv, raHel, raHeloy. loj qawHaq DI,
'ej jIHvaD nov DumojmoH moDbogh tup.
bInovchoH je, bInotlh 'e' vIchaw'Ha'DI'.

qachIl, raHel! HIchol! chu', ru', 'ej Qup
malja'maj Huj, wIchevDI'. DaH 'oH taHmoH
'oH taghbogh mu'. 'ej qoghlIjDaq jItlhup:

"ratlhmeH vay', bomHomvam, raHel, qajaHmoH.
wej ghu'maj DIch vIghaj, 'a pIch vIDIS:
bong tIqmajDaq jIpochchoHDI', jIyaHmoH.

vIyajmeH DaH vIjon vInIDDI' --- nIS."

Myrtia (Varvari), Crete, 1995—9—29

Rachel! Rachel! I call you out to make you stay;
for I left you eight days ago. Now I add eight weeks,
and we are still not together. I miss your cunning mind,

as well as your small hands. I miss too --- hark, Rachel ---
the wave of your voice. Yet often, when I cease remembering you,
your name slowly runs back to me. I consider the name;

I depend on it, Rachel, dear Rachel. The memory banks' debris is lost,
and the hastening minute makes you a stranger to me.
You become a stranger even when I forbid your obsolescence.

I am losing you, Rachel! Come to me! New, transitory, and young
was our strange business, when we severed it. Now it is continued
by the word that started it. And I whisper in your ear:

"I make this little song go to you, Rachel, so that something may remain.
I do not yet have certainty on our situation, but I confess my guilt:
As soon as I accidentally planted it into our hearts, I had it taken away.

Now, when I try to capture it in order to understand it --- I disrupt it."

I: Meeting

Who bade you fall so swift into my way,
certainly knew his business. We --- did not.
So we ignored each other the first day,
the second, and so forth --- a shame; a lot

of time to waste! Still, we had work and play
to tie us up. It did! --- until we caught
sight of each other, Friday, over a tray
of England's Best, bemoaning what we'd got.

And then we talked. And then we talked some more.
And by the time all had been said and told,
I left you to your bus --- and we'd made sure

to talk again. Some egging on to a date
ensued; I --- simply wondered if you'd hold
my hand, fast --- friend, my colleague, and my mate!

Rethymnon, Crete, 1995—10—2

II: His Apologia

My handfast friend, my colleague, and my mate
all know me different: my friend --- a sap;
my workmates all --- a jester; and the crap
my ex's put up with… well, it doesn't rate.

Hell, I got baggage too --- now lying in state
beneath six feet of past. Burnt, too, my map
of where the buried treasure lay --- poor chap,
my closed-off soul. Still, better never than late.

And so I sent out word that I was locked,
determined now to never more be shocked
by a crash --- but brake for years, first.
                                                        Then, you came.

Had I seeped open, then? Or did I stay
in brakelock all throughout? What will explain
such force as flung us twain within a day?

Rethymnon, Crete, 1995—10—2

III: Tribute to Wm. Topaz

Such force as flung as twained within a day
can safely be attributed to Wm. Topaz McGonagall, greatest poet of Dundee, which few dare gainsay.
For his poetry in Bonnie Hampstead Heath we read,
and for to read McGonagall in a public park is oft like to be a blessing --- or so it is said.

And as we read the poems our hearts grew light and gay,
and soon they was cleansed of the slightest dismay!
And if against your shoulder I then inclined my head,
you did not let this your heart into vexation lead.

To find a fellow spirit to appreciate that which is good in art,
it is a beautiful sight to see --- and thanks in no small part
to the good burghers of Hampstead, who the beautiful Heath into being did legislate.
Likewise the park officials, who keep it in a pristine state.

And in conclusion, I venture to say that my praise of Heath, poet, and you --- without loaf, nor cup of poisonous drink --- being so great,
it seems, an age is needed to abate!

Rethymnon, Crete, 1995—10—2

IV: Début

It seems, an age is needed to abate
a dangerous passion. Such an age --- I lacked.
You too, I'd say. So when, at half past eight
(or so) you flopped your hand out, I --- used tact

(at first), and testing when you'd remonstrate,
held, kissed your fingertips, your hand, its back,
and (once you shrugged assent) I stormed the gate ---
or some such; let's just say the ice had cracked.

And it was clotheslessness; and it was ease;
and your eyes shut in bliss; you cooed relief;
I tingled brimful --- purged of any shame.

And as we rocked, now, to the beat that frees
and gives new life, our joy beat out our grief,
and left me speechless, right as, in you, came.

Souda, Crete, 1995—10—3

V: Sightseeing

And, left --- me, speechless. Right, as in you came
through to the square, ten thousand pigeons throng,
and Big Ben looms afar. This can't be wrong:
I'm in the city of eternal fame,

that gave me tongue and lyre and home and name.
Here all that England wrought when it was strong,
and all the churches of our nursery songs,
and our forefathers' souls --- and graves --- remain.

And it was hand in hand we knew it all.
We read on lions as loud as we could bawl,
and kissed beside the Globe and by the Tower.

And when we reached the mighty dome, at last,
Wren's wreath --- I stopped. There I could not but gasp,
to wonder at your bounty, O London's flower!

Iraklio, Crete, 1995—10—3

VI: Laus

To wonder at your bounty, O London's flower,
and honour of Vancouver, is no chore ---
for you are born of those whose joys devour
their enemies --- and steadfast held their Law;

for you've stayed --- new; and never did go sour
with all that time has dumped outside your door.
How could you? For you're Rachel the Destroyer.
(To which your dreams corroborate my lore.)

Your folk, like mine, were thrifty, of the land.
For Minne's sons, life was hardly a feast.
Litvak Canucks, across the world they came.

You're of them; yet another. And you stand
self-made, self-aimed; all praise!
                                             (Some scattered priest's
eye harkened back, hand whispered out the name.)

Sitia, Crete, 1995—10—5

VII: On Holiday

I hearkened back, and whispered out the name;
I closed my eyes, and knew you by my side.
Together having laughed, and lain by night,
we got quite cosy --- never going aflame.

Ten days, then, we did nothing but disclaim.
And truth to tell, I doubt that I'd have died
for you. Yet I might very well confide
to you my life --- and have done! --- all the same.

What was it, Rachel, that we had? A love?
It was more lovely and more temperate.
Friendship? Yet when my push came to your shove,
I felt the fire.
                   A holiday, you said.

Well. But I know you told me, in that hour,
of heaven, as you held me in your power.

Zakros, Crete, 1995—10—7

VIII: Moving Out, Moving On

Of haven (as you held me in your power)
you'd planned at length. With moving day now here,
you sent me off --- as you had now to scour
your stock, and make good mindfulness; not cheer.

So I set out, to wander and to cower.
The Caryatid drew my ancestral tear,
the Frieze --- my silence. Soho --- a damn cold shower.
(It hardly could supplant your warmth, my dear.)

I saw the world away from you; it missed you.
At dusk, on steps, I labelled through my path.
It'd all gone well; now it led to you. And so,

I came home late to your new home. I kissed you;
we threw a welcome party in the bath.
You bade me hail, and then, I held you --- low.

Sitia, Crete, 1995—10—7

IX: Talking like April

You bade me 'hail'; and then I hailed you 'lo!'
Huwwo! It tumbles out as clear as water;
endearing as a tot's first walking falter;
and faultless grace, and guilelessness aglow.

And doubly thus, from someone in the know.
No novice, you; you're reared through years a daughter,
and studied babes' mouths' wisdom. So you (sorta)
act both the age you do and do not show.

I never tire to hear you talk that way.
It strikes me daft, and wise, and odd --- and you.
Which is your strength: you'll act howso you may.

It marks us out as other, this; then let [us]
be deviance! Your respite can imbue
nothing so much to me as hired aet[as].

Zakros, Crete, 1995—10—8

X: Rachel the Wise

Nothing so much to me as high-yored, yet
new-flowering lore is your songwitful art.
You chant old bards, untangling out their net;
you unsheath their airs; their pulse lays claim to your heart.

Nothing so much as feast of minds well-wed
was our companionship. We joked and sparred,
talked shop, talked souls, declaimed in street and bed,
and welded minds, and melted down our guard.

Nothing so much as clouded us our days.
We spun ourselves a way through Broca's maze,
and set our minds at work --- our limbs in tow.

I love your brain, girl; put me through my paces.
And when I trailed it and it took me places,
I clung to you as far as it would go.

Athens, 1995—10—10

XI: New Toy

I clung to you as far as it would go;
then --- slow, slow out again, until your bristle
tickled me welcome, and your slow-come drizzle
eased me back in, within your warmth and flow.

And as my beard made rough of (making grow)
your soft brown buds, you arched, and bloomed the thistle,
and fell back down to me, like autumn. This'll
drift back, if not those nights, a smile --- like snow.

A smile for when I goosed you up stairs (not rude ---
frisky!); for when you'd give my helm a pet;
for when we read abed, our torsos glued;

a smile for all we did, in sum and set.
That smile's a witch's spell I then was brewed
and now recall. That witch I won't forget.

Athens, 1995—10—13

XII: Not Here

And now, recall that which I won't forget:
I've held you close, I've dreaded when I'd leave,
I've welled up with confusion, and regret
I never knew from you enough to grieve.

We were in happenstance and luck well met;
we flourished faster than we could believe;
and then we went our ways --- and have reset
a nameless current words cannot retrieve.

I miss you. That's to say, I feel your lack.
I lack you, and may never get you back.
Or, you've lost me and lack me --- take your pick.

Whatever else we were, we were together.
I knew it --- though I dared not say 'forever' ---
as we stared out into the dark so thick.

Athens, 1995—10—13

XIII: Last Night

As we stared out into the dark so thick,
our time near ended now, our works near done,
I numbered out my secrets, one by one,
and O, you gave me balm. You knew the trick.

And there, as Future's fields all beckoned bleak,
we huddled close against the coming numb,
and were too close to need to grind or bump:
we'd found whatever else we'd need to seek.

So was it that, as Hampstead's lamps snuck light
past lock and door, there talked all through the night,
lying in a bed too narrow, Rachel and Nick.

And when Night's silence made us, too, her own,
we slept apart, but did not sleep alone:
I sought you out, and found us both to click.

Athens, 1995—10—15

XIV: Parting

I sought you out, and found us --- both, too! Click,
clock, and time's up. Cast out like furtive doubt,
we scrambled through, too hasty to make out,
and bundled up, and fell outside, like brick.

And, as I felt choked up and belly-sick,
with little grace I gave my farewell shout.
And as my train retreated in full rout,
I mouthed the L-word, which crept forth --- too weak.

And so it ended. Boarding trains and planes
that took me from you... well, it hardly rates:
it was as it must be. I couldn't stay.

And now, as cold draws in, I await the rains.
I do not mourn --- but rather bless those Fates
who bade you fall so swift into my way.

Athens, 1995—10—15

XV: Crown

Who bade you fall so swift into my way,
my handfast friend, my colleague, and my mate?
Such force as flung us twained within a day,
it seems, an age is needed to abate!

And left me speechless, right as in you came,
to wonder at your bounty, O London's Flower!
I hearkened back, and whispered out the name
of haven, as you held me in your power.

You bade me hale; and then I --- haled. You'll owe
nothing so much to me as I your debt.
I clung to you as far as it would go,
and now, recall that which I won't forget:

As we stared out into the dark so thick,
I sought you out, and found us --- both --- to click.

Rethymnon, Crete, 1995—10—2

Nick Nicholas, opoudjis [AT] optusnet . com . au
Created: 2001-4-24; Last revision: 2001-4-24
URL: http://www.opoudjis.net/Poems/rachel.html