the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




FIVE WORKS
BY TOBIAS SEAMON

THE FORGE

sap climbs the red-
leaved maples
- firemen rising to
the flames

somewhere in the sky a smith
at the forge tosses warped
scraps aside- 6p
nails at best

the smith rains nails, fiery
leaves burst out
all over- dead men
fall, filling the jug

================

THE MAGUS, ON HIS DEATHBED

1

Yes I remember silent lions the Judean caravan, watching
but what's to remember? in the dunes The hard roads, spooking
the herds roman sentries, bribes, a blazing silver

comet a bawling babe in a bawling mother's arms
above on a dung-crusted floor? An occupied, all the light corrupt
land, profitless and crabbed, silver in tatters, bandits

in the hills, zealots the lions poisoning the wells?
pacing That shifting is what I remember
silver sands of the Judean caravan.

a child bawling Nothing more.


2

there is slaughter
on the horizon fire and wild
night horsemen ride

pounding pounding pounding

closer until unable to distinguish
stars from dust marauder
from horizon I am crushed

================

ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE, REUNITED IN THE PIT

Shrieking kapos with switches, pistols
and hounds herd damned shades through
a gate emblazoned with trifling phrases
on hope, work, freedom and abandonment.

She is here.
He is here.
Sunbonnet, white sundress,
In rags, with whatever the wild women couldn't
visible bruises, hair shorn.
digest. One ear, one testicle,
Deep circles under
legs gone below the knee,
sooty black crow's feet.
neither ring finger.
She smiles and
He opens his mouth to reveal
the crows fly away.
where his tongue was devoured.

Mangled brutes with open
chests clop past, splintered
ribs flaunting the hole
where hearts once belonged.

She is astride me,
He is beneath me, within,
scarred breasts cupped,
straining upwards.
her tongue replacing
All torso, hands, hips.
my devoured songs.
Silence inspired.

Huddled under wheeling Furies,
hope forsaken and freedom
abandoned, the lovers have no
need of either in such a world as theirs.

================

BABYLON, REVISITED
(BEFORE THE CONQUEST OF BAGHDAD)

We'll always have Babylon in our minds, songs, psalms, spirituals and sleep. Creepers will still creep from hanging gardens cool with icy mountain aqueducts, the vizier will always inscribe his sign on the bricks of the outer walls, the cud under mad Nebuchadnezzar's tongue will always remain rancid. Children will always be sacrificed to the fiery ovens of Baal, kilns will continue to bake mindless icons of hunger and rage, and slaves will always raise solemn, bestial monoliths above the cold desert floor. When all is said and done, dancing Babylon will dance on, her naked shadows flung like seven veils among ruins.

================

INSCRIPTIONS FROM THE GRAVEYARD OF TREES

Weep No More, Willow,
You are Among the Boughs of the Lord

He was a Good Elm

As I Am, So You Shall Be
Live Honest, Young Locust,
Pray for Mercy

Lilac in the Sky with Diamonds
Ride Free, Baby, Ride Free

Loving Father, Hard-Working Husband
R.I.P. Pagan-Sacrifice Oak

Oh, my Lovely Cottonwood Wife
You were Always a Lady

Sumac Sapling, Mortal Cause of Pain
Greenwood Demise, Mother's Bane

White Birch, You were my Twin
Root-Joined, White-Limbed

Sugar Maple- "Bury my Heart
With Autumn leaves"

Blue Spruce
We Will Miss You
So Much