I have watched, listened, experienced,
Pondered to learn from contradictions,
Those gaps, the teachers in a man’s life .

There are glaring misconceptions,
The folly of blatant mental posturing,
Delusional justifications trying to define a man.

They are misguided, shortsighted,
Easily manipulated, injected,
The vinegar of male inoculation.

These vocal dystopian whiners,
Miserable knife wielding neuters,
Harpies ingesting the food of manhood.

Some would saddle the horse, ride him,
Use the crop until his strength stumbles,
But, no man is anyone’s beast of burden.

Some may think this folly of conjecture,
But, it bears the soul of Occam,
Simply put, we are what we are.

Acceptance is a harsh reality, truth,
The granite laid by life’s history,
It is the blame game between sexes.

Wasted posturing, justifying micro niches,
The piddling prattling of wannabe’s,
Never reaching the stature of a man.

Even a comfortable conforming male praying mantis,
Safe, feels insect manly in his resplendent exoskeleton,
Until on a whim, a satisfied mantis female devours him.

Damned to live

It is oh, so subtle,
No remark, no words said,
A slight shifting of the eyes,
A movement of the shoulders,
An unfinished breathe,
These slight adjustments change us.
I know you, I can see you,
I am drawn into your aura,
A quirk of conversation,
The words drift aimlessly.
No connection to the moment,
It is miss direction, a slight of hand,
This is all a magic show, nothing,
Nothing in our future,
Will over come this passing.
The bond between becomes broken,
Memories crumble,
They are foundations built on sand,
Yet you persist,
Always the fanatical true believer,
And I, a skeptic lover knowing that,
I am damned to live in your lies.

©2018, Donald C. Harbour

Confessed passion

I have to confess, I have a passion,
for the theatre. It is attended every
evening, every night of the week, and
I never tire of the performances.
There are occasional lapses in dialogue,
a hesitation for affect, but then
the stage comes alive with known
characters, apostles of what was, is
and will be. When morning dawns,
the stage lights have been turned out.
The actors safely tucked in their beds
resting for the next evening stage
call. There is no need to practice
lines, the audience of one is always
forgiving, appreciative of each emoted
posture or devilish burlesque kick.
No marquee sizzles and blinks, only
a subtle nod, a fluttering of eyes,
the ringmaster and playwrite are
are one in the same; “Ladies and
gentlemen, let the dream begin.”

©2014, Donald Harbour


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©2014, Donald Harbour

Feeling a little kinky today. Could  not find a muse except the spam box on my email.

Shi Tao

Shi Tao, a Chinese poet and journalist, was arrested for an email he sent to pro-democracy websites in 2004. He was finally released from prison September 2013. It should be noted that his conviction was predicated by an email taken from his private account by Yahoo and given to the Chinese government. He served 8 years of a 13 year sentence. Congratulations Shi Tao, you made it. The following is a protest poem about the injustice suffered by Shi Tao, which I wrote 7 August 2008. It speaks for every person that promotes freedom and human dignity for all the repressed peoples of our world. You can read more about his arrest and the poem “June”, by Shi Tao, here.


Shi Tao your thoughts are as water,
They will always find a way out.
Your suppression is a cotton gag,
Soon to rot and disintegrate.
Despot leaders and jailers all die,
Their passing the cleansing of stain.
Their trial against your humanity,
Rust on the steel of human rights.
History’s repressive governments,
All of them are footnotes in time.
The poets, the writers, the teachers,
Their words the soil of expression,
They pay the price for our freedom.
Your penned words etched on paper,
A killing field of social injustice.
The world’s authoritarians fear this,
Their minions the truth eradicators.
Shi Tao, unlike you they are fools,
They never learn the pen’s strength,
The weight of your written words.
They cannot dismiss freedom’s voice,
For your brothers and sisters speak.
Your indignity poison to the corrupt,
The gall that spills over black deeds.
Nothing exists forever except,
The verdant fields of knowledge.
The poetry of your life, Shi Tao.

Copyright: 2008 Donald Harbour

A span of faith

Everywhere you look there are
bridges, spans, ancient and new.
Connections from somewhere,
to somewhere with an intermediate
transverse from having been there,
to being there, a slog, a trip, or a
simple uncomplicated, happenstance,
a foot tread over a void of space.
We trust our bridges believing they will
support us and others on our travels,
but, whether conscious or not,
there is always a gnawing doubt of fear .
Stepping out on a native vine laced
thread across a chasm of jungle,
motoring over asphalt, encased in steel
with rolling waves beneath us,
it is all the same, trust, belief.
Given the movements of earth and time,
why is it that we give our lives
so easily to such fragile designs?
We become tightrope walkers on perilous
dew dropped spider web suspensions,
no safety net below or on either side,
In calculations and plans, as in life,
we tempt fate whose fickle finger may
casually brush us away with a gentle breeze
as it does a spiders artful creation.

©2013, Donald Harbour

About the dead man and poetry

I previously posted this poem in 2010. I was asked yesterday if I knew about Dead Man Poetry. So here is my effort to emulate the originator.

This particular form of poetry was developed by Marvin Bell and his Dead Man Poetry. Mr. Bell explains it in his own words:

The Dead Man poem is a form I created a few years ago and then couldn’t shake. Dead man poems come out of an old Zen admonition that says, “Live as if you were already dead.” But you needn’t feel remorse. The dead man is alive and dead at the same time. He lives it up, he has opinions, he makes bad jokes, he has sex. Is he me? No, but he knows a lot about me. Dead Man poems come in two parts. Each line of poetry in a dead man poem is a compete sentence, long or short.

The form is comprised of two sections. One is titled “The Dead Man and …” and the second “More About the Dead Man and … .” All lines are written as sentence lines and enjambment matters quite a bit. The first two lines generally turn back on each other. The two versions seem to discover or expose different things about the Dead Man, one more internal in nature, the other external.

With apologies to Marvin Bell!


Live as if you were already dead.
– Zen admonition

1. About the dead man and poetry

The dead man is not a poet for he does not comprehend
the shades and nuances of meaning.
Even though he cannot understand, the dead man utters
words with weight.
Arcane in life, the dead man is the papyrus upon which
is written the prose of time.
For him time has no meaning other than dividing day from night.
He has always been and will always be the digger of incantatory
graves, the filler of assonance holes.
The mere existence of him does not create meaning for his
translation into thought lacks content.
In thought the dead man is described by lyrical cantata and
linen shrouded psalms.
There is never music in his rhyme for his speech is not
connected to the song of the universe.
Whenever there is hope, love, vision, purpose: he consumes
them from a burial ash urn.
Lacking the eyes to see other than his self, he has shunned the
visceral meat of satisfaction.
Living is not a choice or an occurrence for in living there can
be supreme gratification without desire.
Yet, for him the skill to convey profound emotional insight is
a death march through a literary nightmare.
He cannot perform his work since he has no ability to create
the most indistinct utterance of sound.
He has become a scapular shell of dried skin hanging in an
ancient stony chapel, weighted down by the chant of hooded
vicars who would utter those poetic verses he could not scribe.
The dead man has become the succulent pupa of belief that shares
no today, no tomorrow, only the injustice of the past where
there is no poetry of life.

2. More about the dead man and poetry

The dead man never could be a part of a slam.
The dead man could not produce a readable chapbook.
His only concern is the stillness and breathlessness of cold marble.
For him the dank earth is a Ginsberg elegy.
The Dead man could not withstand the withering wind of criticism
without disintegrating.
Never having acuity has given him no useful verse.
It could not be said of him that he had a poetic wisdom tooth for
dead man had lost his teeth.
When dead man is want to reason, he fails not understanding
the why.

© 2010, Donald Harbour

I write because

A poetry prompt group in which I participate, We Write Poems, wants us to write a line poem about: “I write (because).”  There are many reasons why one writes, however the greatest is most likely an inner urge that needs satisfaction and the pure pleasure of putting thought to written word. So here are my thoughts, some of them, the others I will keep to myself. I like to be a little unpredictable.


I write to express my contentious and clamoring inner voice.
I write to better understand humanity, the world, and our place in it, and why emotion becomes an insipid event for those who do not understand poetic verse.
I write to define how life’s emotions impact our relationship with self.
I write to paint a vivid memory upon the wheel of time.
I write to fulfill the artistic side of my nature with creation my canvas,
words my pallet, and poetic form my brush.
I write to leave a lasting evidence of my journey through this moment of existence.
I write so that my words might be a light for others to find their way.
I write to satisfy a natural urge, as one needs food to survive, poetry is the  sustenance to my soul.
I write to say somethings that need to be said and are better said in a poetic verse regardless of where the chips fall.
I write because Gaea and I find it is a spiritual experience that enlightens us together.
I write because there is wonder in the diversity of words and their challenging meanings.
I write because I find camaraderie, and appreciation in the company of poetry and poets.
I write because other than my darling wife Luscious, poetry is my literary mistress full of beauty and gratification.

©2012, Donald Harbour

The Archangel cometh

We own you and we will take your soul. Bet on it, buy stock.

Poets are a dime a dozen, I
cost only a penny on the cheap.
Bilbo Baggins and Robert Frost
each a copper of time pasted
upon the digital landscape of
the Internet. No written pages,
only ones and zeros defining,
recording genius, talent, moronic
diatribes, the succubus of intellect.
The decay of society in the cloud
of tomorrow. Is that your ultimate
destination, bucolic acceptance?
At what point will the reason
of the word be given over to
the Machiavellian manipulators
You sheep, you followers, naysayers,
you destroyers, you that sleep
with Eden’s snake of technology,
will kill your children, welcoming
the Archangel of Destruction,
without ever knowing you are
no longer members of humanity?

©2012, Donald Harbour

The tale of the Wizard Maerwynn

Circe Invidiosa ("Circe, abounding in env...

Circe Invidiosa ("Circe, abounding in envy") by John William Waterhouse: in the magical tradition, invidia was a danger that could be provoked or turned away by spells

For Stella, Queen of the Fairies, a magical tale.

The child stared at the man’s scarred and wrinkled face,
Her grandfather moaned settling slowly in his place.
A hearth fire glow flickered about the hallowed hall,
As shadows were cast on a rough hewn log wall.
Outside the howl of a fierce winter blizzard storm,
Beat for entry upon the house safe and warm.
She reached out a perfect tiny pink fleshed hand,
Touching the heart and life of this wise aged man.
“Poppy” she called to catch his ear,
He turned his head so to better hear.
“Poppy, tell me the story about a maiden fair,
A tale of Maerwynn with tasseled sun golden hair.”
As she spoke the name the moment seemed to sigh,
A sparkle shown in the old man’s light blue eyes.
Thus he began to weave a tale of long past glory,
The tale of how Maerwynn closed her life story.
“Twas so long ago, far, far in the distant past,
Where lived Maerwynn on the high mountain pass.
Alone with her tomes of forgotten magical lore,
Piled about her on shelves and the cold stone floor.
She had studied all there was to the dark craft,
It had taken her soul, her smile, stolen her laugh.
This life of magic had left her in a word, bored,
A failing the Wizard Maerwynn could not afford.
Flaring her hooded wizard cape she twirled about,
Strode to a parapet, with resolution stepped out.
She wished for more than the powers she possessed,
She wished for more than the gods had her thus blessed.
From her castle keep she saw the village in the valley below,
The windows of the houses lit the night with cheery glow.
She stood in the thin chilled air as it swirled with glee,
Where possessed she kept only a castle as her company.
From the parapet she heard music rising to her height,
The villagers sang and danced this festive winter night.
She was envious of their joy, their warmth and their place,
She longed to sit at their tables, to touch each human face.
Their safety and their hearts became none of her concern,
Gripped with need for her own succor, her desire burned.
She was spirit protector charged with keeping strong the spell,
That held at bay the evil rushing through the gates of hell.
The kingdom was a place of beauty – a paradise it was said,
Though all that looked toward the pass did so with dread.
Maerwynn was one of the ancients of many through the years,
The thought of her filled villagers with awe and silent fear.
Her name was not spoken lest even whispered it was heard,
Carried to Maerwynn by a spellbound black wing spying bird.
She could see beyond the forests and glide through any door,
Though never leaving her escarpment to walk the valley floor.
A captive to her magical obligation, an eternity’s yoke to bear,
Maerwynn was a hopeless prisoner to her own destiny there.
From within her a voice as beautiful as this maiden of olde,
Cast out a chant into the moonlit mountain’s frigid cold.
The spell awoke a Roc to soar up to her from a craggy knoll,
The long forgotten mythical bird grasped her weakened lonely soul.
The giant beast swooped and cried in raucous raptor delight,
Snatching her from the ramparts it flew into the starry night.
In the wink of an eye there appeared in the castle keep,
A figure dressed in scarlet, gold fringed, and silken sleek.
Surrounded by imps and fairies spreading fairy dust everywhere,
The god’s choice for the new Maerwynn had already arrive there.
Thus the Roc set her down at the village mighty iron gate,
Where she stood still in silence to accept her ultimate fate.
The gods had cast a spell upon this maiden wizard’s brow,
Her time prophesied had come, her moment was now.
As Maerwynn slipped her cloak, slowly her form slide beneath,
Accepting what the ancient gods for her had thus bequeathed.
Upon entering the realm of mortals the spell cast did take,
Maerwynn the woman now became a Plume Feathered Snake.
As she had once been she would now forever be,
No more a life far above mortal humanity,
No more a castle on the mountains high,
No more to commune with spirits coursing the sky,
No more to know the lore and magical potion books,
No more to command all eagles, ogres, dragons and rooks.
When she became consumed with what she was not to be,
She broke her kismet thus written on the pages of eternity.
Maerwynn now saw only the feet of those she had once reigned,
Slithering on her belly she was viewed with disgust and disdain.”
Then the old man smiled at his granddaughter with eyes of love,
Reaching out he touched her hair as soft as a feathered dove.
“The lesson my granddaughter; when one has such great might,
Do not covet another creature’s possessions or their meager plight.
For your wish may be granted from a fleeting careless desire,
That, once given, can consume your being in a sin of mortal fire.
Maerwynn the Plume Feathered Snake haunts forests and dales,
A hissing product of wishes granted by an oath taken and misused spells.
Be true to yourself, be proud to carry your family name,
Do not envy others, utter not oaths and do not pass blame.”
Rising the child smiled and kissed the crown of his head,
“Thank you Poppy, I like that story,” then she toddle off to bed.
The old man sat alone for a moment feeling the warmth of the air,
Barely speaking he said, “Maerwynn, I know you are there.”
Hidden in a corner recess where spirits lived in the gloom.
A Plume Feathered Snake opened haunted eyes peering into the room.

©2012, Donald Harbour