Poems form the Norse-lands, Shapechanger -The Ferryman

Poems form the Norse-lands

Shapechanger -The Ferryman

The Ferryman,from the other side,
Just watched as we arrived;
He wore a long black hooded cloak,
And only seemed to have one eye;
Reflected by the lantern,
That he held up shoulder high.

I’m sure he wondered who we were?
And why we were in this place?
A kingdom that for many years,
Had been left in perfect peace.
But he never asked one question,
When he brought his raft across;
Just said it was a silver coin
For each warrior, and a hacked-one for his horse.

Two long hours, back and fro,
With horses and with men;
And in that time, the Ferryman
Never spoke again.
Then just as we got mounted,
Ready to ride on,
In a voice that seemed to come from the Goddess Hel –
He said, “I’ll be here when you return.”
*********************************************
The Ferryman,from the other side
Just watched as we arrived;
He wore a long red hooded cloak,
And did not seemed surprised.
He must have known
We were demented men,
Running from the sword;
But when he came across to us,
He never said a word.

Yes, we had some victories,
But not enough to win;
And now we were retreating fast,
From this young and Christian king.
Halfway across the river,
The Ferryman, whispered in my ear,
“Today, no need for you to pay, my friend,”
I will collect your toll next year.”
Then turning to the others,
In that same voice that came from Hel,
“From each of you one silver coin,”
Plus the souls of all your dead!”
© John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

No photo description available.

A Sacrificial Place

A Sacrificial Place

This place has long been sacrificed,
And not allowed to dream.
Her roads weep around abandoned fields,
And cries by haunted streams.
Here mountains shed aborted tears
From deep inside their sterile wombs;
All plants that make attempts to grow,
Are consumed by poisonous fumes.
Gaping, gouged out pox faced scars
Lay like a shroud on this terrain,
Disguising its former beauty…
Raped by omnipotent greed of men.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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The Removal

The Removal

I heard the silent men arrive,
They paused out in the hall,
Whispering to my mother, in hushed tones.
Steady footsteps on the stairs –
The fifth one always creaked,
The sound of wood scraping wood,
As they manoeuvred around the corner wall.

A crescendo of muttered prayers,
Came from Granddads room,
Shuffling footsteps –
Sounded on the floor.
Heavy feet descending –
The fifth step creaked again,
Only this time much louder than before.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

No photo description available.

Words that Found Me, (Writing in dark rooms)

Words that Found Me
(Writing in dark rooms)

I find dark rooms more inviting,
They match my state of mind,
Synchronizing with the shadows in my head.
Drawing shapes and images…
That demand loudly to be born…
Sadly, most just end up dead.

Sometimes the words come quickly,
But only go so far,
And end up stillborn, without a name.
But of the ones that find me
And resonate with my soul,
Do something I still can´t fully comprehend.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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Beyond Togher Hill

Beyond Togher Hill

When I returned the countryside had gone,
Houses had invaded fields,
A concrete road had buried,
The slow flowing little stream.
There was grass growing in some gardens,
But it looked so out of place,
From the wildness I remember,
That these imitations can´t erase.

Domestic cats and dogs now roamed,
Where the fox once had full domain,
And the few elms left, seemed to have lost their will to grow…
After the first bulldozers came.
Wild birds – well, most of their trees have gone,
There is now no place to nest,
I have no idea where the wild swans flew?
But I think it was for the best.

There were new estates with fancy names,
Wide roads and cul de sacs
Named after Elms, Oaks and Beeches
As if naming something dead could bring it back.
I saw no little children playing,
There was far too much traffic passing by,
I’ve come hardened from the life I lived,
But this almost made me cry.

There are no sign of the hounds now,
Or the meeting at the Cross,
Where the Drag once gathered …,
No, those days have all been lost.
No meeting out at Celia´s pub,
To exchange the scoring of the day,
They have all fell to these modern times,
Its only memories now sustain.

I remember one small cottage,
That had a red half door,
There was a sort of magic about it…
As if it had been left over, from a time before.
There was no sign of it on that day,
I could not even pinpoint exactly where it had stood.
Age makes some changes hard to accept,
Young people that never knew those times laugh and say, they were all made for the good?

.©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Photo Lough Harriers at Togher Cross . Togher Historical Association

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Old Morning Tunes

Old Morning Tunes

That morning was cold and hazy,
The forecast was for rain,
Autumn leaves were falling thru the air.
As I thread on them,
They made a squeakily noise,
That sounded like a last cry of despair.

A milk float rattled by me;
White bottles waved their tops,
Silver stars in the greyness of the morn.
A postman waved ´Good morning! ´
As he sped past on his bike,
And a window of a nearby house, opened with a yawn.

Cars began to reappear,
From their night time caves,
Ghostly children on their way to school,
And somewhere on the river, a tugboat gave three hoots!
As the old night watchman toddled off to bed,
Happy to hear the morning and her tunes.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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Table No. 9

Table No. 9

The café had closed at 2am,
They were now sweeping up the floor,
Yet the couple sitting at the corner table,
Made no movement for the door.

They were whispering to each other,
As if whispering had been banned,
Their eyes were locked together,
As he gently held her hand.

The world outside did not exist;
As their thoughts became entwined,
On the table, a bowl of profiteroles,
And a half-full bottle of Malbec wine.

The waiter paused in his work,
Rolled his eyes – yes, he had seen it all before,
The mad, the sad, the lovers,
That he had watched come in through that door,
.

‘C’est la vie !’ he thought and gave a shrug,
Then glanced to check the time,
Yet he wondered why they always choose,
To sit at table No. 9.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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Pedro the Crocodile,

Pedro the Crocodile,

I was lying on the river bank,
Waddling in the mud,
It was a hot Sunday afternoon,
And everything felt good.

The birds were picking at my teeth,
As I took a little snooze,
When Slippy the serpent slithered up,
And said he had some news.

´There´s someone walking along the path,
He´s heading down this way,
I don´t think he´s from around these parts,
A gringo I would say.´

¨Oh¨ I thought….
´I haven´t had a foreign meal, since I caught that tubby Greek,
This one looks like an Irish guy,
So today, it´s Guinness Pie, I think.¨

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Photo Celia Benfer. Asunción, Paraguay

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Poems from the Norselands, Ashdown 8/9 January 871 – The Horsemen

Poems from the Norselands
Ashdown 8/9 January 871 – The Horsemen
The horsemen rode out that night,
Across the bloodied field,
The dead that died with honour,
Now rested in Valhalla’s Hall – the others were left there for to bleed.

Their hoofs cut soil with battered flesh,
Sprayed up on their sweating flanks,
Wide eyed against the smell of death,
They galloped towards the rising Moon – like wild horses in a trance.

The horseman searched for escaping men,
That had survived the carnage fight,
Desperate souls now scattered wide,
Some wounded, some carrying comrades – that had escaped into the night.

Even without the help of torches,
There were signs amongst the fields,
Trampled grass, torn down walls,
And of those that had given up all hope – abandoned swords and shields.

The horsemen found a stronger group,
That decided to stand and fight,
They formed a shieldwall by a stream,
Although strongly outnumbered – they held the horsemen all that night.

Next morning reinforcements came,
And that brave band were cut down,
But they had given time for the rest to flee,
It would take more than a year for their wounds to heal – but in the end they would return.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

No photo description available.

The Letter

The Letter

When will you be coming home?
To your old spot by the fire?
Are your days of wanderings yet done?
Did you fulfil all your desires?

There are a few here that still remember you,
And speak of you sometimes,
But each year they’re getting fewer,
As the older ones keep sadly dying.

The wander lust was in your blood,
Your mother was the same,
Yet, all the years that she´s been gone,
I still feel I´m part to blame.

I’ve kept each letter that you wrote,
And some days, reread each and every one,
I replied when you gave me a return address-
And sometimes when there was none.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Painting WRITING MAN by PEKKA HALONEN

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