The Lighthouse

It stands there so tall and so quietly waiting,
the lighthouse in all of its glory.
But dark does it stay, its sad fate contemplating.
Nobody remembers its story.

Once bright shone the light pointing out at the sea.
A beacon to guide weary sailors,
lone captains or castaways drifting lonely,
the world-weary, spent navigators.

O’er all gazed the lighthouse, the hope in despair,
to tell them they were not forgotten.
The light was a hand reaching out of the veil,
rejecting none, noble or common.

It wants the company of but one man,
a caretaker kindly and true,
who maintains the signal as best as he can,
the clockwork, the lens, wicks, and fuel.

But storm clouds did gather, as black as the night,
and thunder, a deafening roaring.
They said of the lighthouse, “Its glow is too slight,
the workings in need of restoring.”

They watched the old keeper climb stairs on slow feet,
and hauling with tired, trembling hands.
They told him, “I’m sorry, you’re now obsolete.
This lighthouse will go on, unmanned.”

And so there it stayed, without e’en one true friend,
assumed to remain automatic.
But slowly all ceased, on its light to depend.
Yet still it endured, enigmatic.

Though all will forget, recollections persist
in that agèd spire so imposing.
While the old light is gone, faded into the mist,
ne’er on sea air will mem’ries stop blowing.

And Ever I Go Onward


Silent tears rolled down the boy’s face. His father laid one hand on the boy’s shoulder, gentle but firm, the other pointing into the distance.

“Where do I go?” the boy asked softly.

“Where we all must go. The journey is long and dangerous. But you are ready.”

“Why must I go alone?”

“We are all alone, my son.”

The boy tried to turn, but his father’s hand kept him firmly turned to the horizon.

“Go now, my beloved son. We will see each other again one day. Until then, look to the end, and walk, do not run, until you get there. Go. And no matter what you see or hear along the way, never look back.”

The weight of his father’s hand lifted. The boy took one step, and then another.

A dull thud echoed from behind and to the left, and the breeze carried his father’s voice, whispering the boy’s name.

“I love you, too, Father.”

The boy’s words were lost on the wind as he walked onward, his gaze never turning from the horizon.



A sea breeze blows
carrying a sacred whisper.
A voice
muffled by the sound of tears
falling silently.
The loudest sound of all –
the echo within a heart
still beating
with no purpose.

A sea breeze blows.
I give to it my last promise.
I am always here.
Ever searching on the breeze,
calling silently,
louder than the echoes
of waiting now and ever.
Just listen
and remember.

The Bad Son

Billy stood over his sister’s crib where the infant lay crying in wet, choked sobs, the ugly red bruises on her face and arms darkening before his very eyes. He slowly reached down and wiped the tears glistening on the baby’s swollen face with the tip of his finger.

“Billy!” His mother grabbed the boy by the arms and whirled him around, sending him stumbling into the dresser on the other side of the room. Billy fell to his hands and knees, stunned, as he noticed his little brother, John, watching from the corner, wide-eyed and silent.

His mother stared down at the baby in horror as the full import of what she was seeing dawned on her. “Not again, Billy…,” she cried. “Not again!” Angry, sorrowful tears stung her eyes as she gently bundled the little girl into her arms. “Billy,” she said, careful to keep her voice even, “this was your last chance. It’s over, Billy. This is going to end now.”

As a trembling, speechless Billy and his mother left the room, John stepped out from the shadows and peered around the doorjamb into the hall.

“Billy…,” John whispered as his mother and brother disappeared down the stairs.

That night, John lay in bed listening to his parents’ whispers that floated down the hall from the baby’s room. He closed his eyes and pulled the blanket up to his chin.

“Hey there, kiddo.” John’s father entered the room and sat down slowly on the edge of the bed. “How’re you doing?”

The boy shrugged from beneath the covers.

His father sighed. “I know you were a little scared by what you saw today, son. But you remember what Mom told you earlier, right? Billy’s just not feeling well. He needed to go away for a while to get better.” He patted John lightly on the shoulder. “But it’s only for a few years. He’ll be back before you know it.”

After his father left the room, John lay for a while staring at the ceiling. The corner of his mouth trembled. Only for a few years. That was a very long time. But the important thing was that Billy would be coming back.

The tremble subsided as John’s lips curled up in a smile. He settled himself deeper into the pillow and sighed contentedly.

Billy would be coming back. John could play with the baby again when his brother returned.

I Said “Good Day” to the Devil in Disguise


When first I saw him, I was a young man,
no more than twenty and three.
He said she left me because of my past.
Her future lay not with me.
I asked for salvation, and he replied,
“With me now you must surely stand.”
He gave me a blade that I pressed to my wrist.
His smile said, yes, that’s what I planned.
And even through tears, his true face I could see.
I let the blade fall fast away.
“You are not the Angel, Sir.”
That I did say.
“And so I must bid you good day.”

When the World Was New

Those heady blossoms,
I can see them now!
Once, and only one more time,
I lie down
as one who knows the summer’s day is in my heart again.
How surely can one know
how and when and where and why?
Is it not the case that even
fear to tread
where hope and rays of sunlight die?

Lost to the ages
is that special time in youth
when one has dreams of knowing
that which was and is,
and that which only happened
in the mind of one who never came this way before.
Who can remember
when darkness failed to stir
the dreams of dreamers in a fantasy of dread?
The deepest recess of imagined fear
cannot be the only place where every mind and heart
recalls the emptiness that came before.

Then one day,
I fear the last but one,
it all came tumbling down around the trees in some lost garden.
Oh, to feel again!
Why does a soul shy away from pain
when pain is all that can outlast the years?

If spirits come and go,
there is nothing left to keep for any day besides tomorrow.
If only there were fears that bleed
the blood of every joyful and forgotten sorrow,
then could I guess
the end
of the one and only true beginning.
And this world could be lost
without shame,
without the guilt of doubt and tears and wonder.

There would only be the day
that comes both in the past and in the future,
when all will begin again.
but also old
for the final time
that is also the first.

Message Read

Chloe had a special notification tone just for him. She rarely bothered even looking at her phone unless she heard that special sound.

That morning, she grabbed the phone eagerly when the sound pulled her from a restless sleep haunted by strange voices calling out to her from the darkness.

See you tonight – be there 6ish ❤️

Her heart soared and she knew it would be a good day after all.

After a hard day at work, Chloe quickly tidied the small apartment and ran a brush through her hair. The clock read 5:45 and he would be there any minute. Opening a bottle of wine, she took one last glance in the mirror and forced herself to sit down to relax before he arrived, barely able to contain her excitement.

At 6:02, she heard the special sound again.

I’m here 😘

They sat briefly on the small sofa, her phone completely forgotten on the coffee table now that he was finally with her, sipping wine and laughing and exchanging sensuous glances, but the week spent apart proved to be too much and they quickly moved to the bedroom. She pulled him down to the bed, her breathing quickening, her whole body aching for his touch.

As he wrapped his arms around her, holding her fast against him as he kissed her, all at once her excitement fell away as though a switch had been flipped inside her when a sound rang out from the living room.

His sound.

She pushed him gently away, staring intently into his eyes, her breathing coming faster, though no longer from the thrill of his touch.

“I… I should just check that quickly…” Her voice was steady though her knees felt weak. “It might be work.”

He smiled what looked like the familiar smile. “Go ahead. I’ll be here…”

She wandered in a daze to the living room and picked up her phone. The time read 6:27.

So sorry – running so late. Be there in 10. Love you.

Hands trembling, Chloe turned toward the bedroom, eyes widening and the blood pounding in her ears as she stared into the darkness. Her eyes flitted uncomprehending back and forth from her phone screen to the vaguely silhouetted shape in her bed.

A voice called out from the darkness and a cold shiver ran down Chloe’s back.

“Come back to bed, sweetheart. I’m waiting…”

Meet Me in That Nightmare Forest

I was walking a solitary path through a deep, dark forest. There were no sounds around me. I glanced left and right as I walked, but there was nothing to see except the trunks of trees so thick and tall no light broke through from the sky above, their bark so rough I thought my skin would be sliced open if I reached out to touch them. Despite the darkness, I was not frightened. I did not wonder why the leaves did not crunch under my feet nor did I ask myself where I was going. The path narrowed and curved suddenly but the forest barely seemed to change, no matter how far I progressed.

On a whim, I glanced back over my shoulder and was certain I could make out a lone dark figure following behind me, just coming around the bend in the path. Even though I could not discern any distinguishing features, I felt a deep aversion to that dark figure. It did not matter what it was or why it was following behind me. I dared not look back again, somehow sure that were I to do so, that figure would be even closer.

I looked down at my feet, overcome with the desire to walk faster, but they kept moving at a steady pace, and I was carried ever farther along that forest path. The ground grew suddenly steep, and the path widened enough for two people to walk side by side through the trees. I felt a surge of panic, as I could not quicken my pace as I started up the incline. Try as I might, I could not force myself to move faster and, even as my fear of the dark figure intensified, I tried to resist the urge to look over my shoulder again. The need to know what was coming overcame me, however, and I stole a fast glance behind me.

The dark figure that had been almost one hundred yards behind had gained on me by more than half that distance.

A certainty that I must quicken my pace gripped me like an icy fist. But try as I might, I could not force myself to move faster, although I did not grow weary or lose my breath as I climbed up that forest hill. I felt a chill run down my spine and I knew the dark figure was closing in on me. I lowered my head and pumped my arms desperately, but my feet stubbornly continued to move at the same pace. The silence around me was as the thickest liquid through which I attempted to push my legs, pressing on me from all sides.

It was at that moment that I heard the unmistakable sound of a footfall.

My heart beat faster and faster but my legs continued to walk with the same maddeningly slow stride. Another footfall, and then another, echoed in the dense forest of trees and my eyes rolled frantically from side to side as I searched for any route of escape from the path and the figure that pursued me. I stole one more glance back over my shoulder and saw the dark figure just ten feet behind me. It, too, seemed to be walking at the same, ever unchanging pace, yet it had gained on me so quickly. It was tall, but with no distinguishing features other than the long, long legs that carried it ever closer. When I turned back to the path in front of me, I saw that I had almost reached the top of the slope. More footfalls rang out, and I suddenly realized that the steps were not coming from the dark figure behind me.

They were coming from the hilltop in front of me.

Slowly, as though rising from inside the earth, you approached me from over the crest of the hill. At the very top of the path, you stopped and waited for me to meet you, your arms outstretched. Your face seemed to glow with a heavenly light that banished the darkness deep into the trees. Your smile brought hope to the lonely, never ending forest and you regarded me with eyes so full of kindness. I reached out my hands to embrace you just as the chilly breath of the dark figure gently grazed the back of my neck. It was then that your gaze shifted ever so slightly and I knew that you caught a glimpse of the dark figure that was practically upon me. Your arms dropped to your sides and your expression changed to one of such horror, your eyes wide, mouth straining to scream, your entire visage twisted into a grotesque parody of human emotion.

And then I woke up.

Upon awaking, I cried bitter tears, only not because of my fear of the dark figure in my nightmare or the eerie forest from which I could not escape. Not even because of the look of abject terror on your face that was the last thing I saw before emerging from a fitful sleep.

I cried because I longed to return to that nightmare forest and walk that path again. For it is only in the dream that I can remember your face.

The Dream

A tribute to Goethe.

I dreamed I found the golden goblet of that ancient king.
I turned it slowly in my hand and in my head did ring
a voice I recognized as his, that dear and sacred ghost.
He whispered softly, “Where is she, the one I love the most?”
And then I saw below me was a deep and dark blue sea.
My fingers opened and the goblet fell so silently.
As it disappeared I felt a tear drop from my eye.
If the king had lost his queen, was death the last goodbye?
All the years he waited with the goblet by his side
sure she would be waiting, too, the moment that he died.

Then in the dream I turned and saw the castle standing tall.
His knights on shining steeds approached the ivy-covered wall
And lo! Who led the palace troops, decked out in royal green?
None other than the loyal king and his belovèd queen!
They were e’er together in that castle by the sea!
But who, then, whispered in my ear? Who asked me, “Where is she?”
And then I woke still veiled in sadness and a certain fear
as thoughts of you ran through my mind, you who I hold most dear.
Will you want to come and find me even after death?
Or will our love just disappear upon a dying breath?

And then I heard the voice again – but it was not the king.
And my heart soared, for it was you, love surged in a wellspring.
I realized in that moment, then, that it was always you.
And like that ancient king and queen, our love is really true.

I will always wait for you, and you will come for me.
One life just isn’t long enough, but in Eternity
our souls will meet again in our own castle by the sea.

On Writing

Michaelangelo said that every block of marble has a statue inside, and it is up to the sculptor to “let it out.” Could the same be said of other forms of expression?

Inspiration is the lifeblood of those in creative fields. For a writer, this could translate into the development of story ideas, characters, plotlines, and any number of other elements that combine to form a piece of creative writing. But where do these elements come from? A likely answer would be that they come from the mind of the writer. And this is undoubtedly true but, for me anyway, it is also the case that each story idea comes with its own unique features that are inherent from the original idea itself.

I would never presume to speak for any other writer but, when I start a poem or story, I think of a general idea for any given piece of writing, usually with the beginning and ending well formed in my mind, and simply start writing. I will almost always have an idea of the major events of a story when I begin, but the smaller details will not necessarily all be worked out in my mind. For me, this is not a problem because the story exists, and so it will tell me how it goes as I go on writing. In other words, I know what a story is about and where it will end up. Then, I start writing and the details of that story reveal themselves to me as I go. For me, this is the most natural way of writing and it is just about the only way that I feel I can write (not that I have really tried any other way!). I enjoy writing in this way as well, as I feel that it provides me with a feeling of security; any time I feel like I am “stuck” and cannot continue with a story, I simply put it aside. In my mind, this simply means that the story has not fully revealed itself to me at that moment. Many times I have put a piece of writing aside, sometimes for weeks or months, only to take it up again and finish it in a matter of days at a time when I can better perceive the details of the story.

Of course, my particular method of writing definitely has its drawbacks. It is certainly not the most disciplined or efficient way of writing. If I do not feel that I can continue with a particular piece, I simply do not go on with it at that time. While I always hope that I will be able to “see” the next part of the story at a later time (and most of the time this does seem to be the case), there is always the chance that a piece will simply go unwritten. It also means that my writing often comes erratically in sometimes wildly uneven bursts – I might write one page one day and ten pages the next. And I am probably more rigid than many writers about making changes to my stories as, to me, each work is a complete whole with features that are inseparable from that whole. As such, it can be very hard to bring myself to change even minor details such as character names as, in my perception, they are fundamental parts of the story.

I should note that by no means do I think my habit of waiting for a story to “form,” and to reveal itself in some organic manner as I write, is the best way of writing, nor do I think that it is any way more correct than any other. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong way of putting one’s ideas down on paper; there is only the way that any given individual does it. To me, the process is just that – a means for expressing oneself and recording one’s ideas. It is up to individual writers to determine what works and what does not for themselves, and to find what will allow them to achieve their personal writing goals.