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Alone I sat on a dark summer night in the thick of the reviling insects
the moon shone bright, a golden smiling token in the heavens.
Accompanied by only the stir of leaves and many tiny violins of the crickets
I stood up silently, a phantom of the night, and walked in a slow gait towards the well;
I had only the padded crunch of dry grass to add to this cacophony of sound.

Brick by brick this well had been meticulously laid, a masonís nightmare way back when.
No more rose the comforting gable that sheltered the bucket
whose playful wind-blown sway had long since ceased
as its abode crashed down from above,
giving way to sharp, blackened spikes rising as bitter knives from the porous concrete
As teeth grimace with pain or fright.

An inky blackness welcomed my gaze, drew it in,
the moonís welcome glimmer melting to pitch black
only a short way into the cavernous, gaping mouth of the well
yawning wide and weary though the years so that I may, on this night, glance down its throat
Into the innermost recesses which lay hidden,
with only my imagination left to run wild.

Down I lay upon the worn, tired stones,
closed my eyes and opened my mind.
Opened it to thoughts of so many workers, sweating and writhing in agony to hew such bricks
endlessly toiling in the bright, unyielding sun,
for the sole purpose of constructing this well.

Opened my mind to the mountains of dirt upon which the children laughed
as one chased the other round and round, up one side and down the other
while the slaves toiled on and on in the unrelenting heat
constructing a Machine of liquid salvation for those far less needy than they

Countless miseries lie imbued within the most innocent of inventions;
items we so graciously accept yet easily ignore,
as if to understand the truth is to open oneself to agony -
it must be easier to live and play on foundations of comfort than atop the buildings of reality.

Awoken from my thoughts I leapt into the air,
sliced deep though the reverberating crescendo of small creatures,
silencing the music -
no more sang the chorus -
allowing me an interlude to leave in peace.


An Addendum

Peace is brother to darkness; its foreboding evil twin
who lurks around the corner with pincers outstretched
and waits for the unwary, the disillusioned, the fearful -
waits to prey upon them with its long, dark joyless fangs.

Its lips clenched tight and face contorted to a wily, monstrous grin
he rushed out towards me with gleaming bright red eyes,
expected me to run and hide, turn tail, flee -
but no, not me, not an inch of ground did I give up.

I awaited the onslaught, fixedly gazed into its heart.
It came at me still, its feet shredding the turf underneath,
each blade of grass crying as it was severed from any life it had
while the air gasped its fear and rushed aside.

I did not move, away I dared not dart -
I let darkness envelop me, engulf me in soot,
yet into its eyes I held my stare -
the turmoil, the tension! But no, I did not waver.

Looked past its teeth and beyond the throat,
when reaching the mind I finally stopped,
searching for answers to fulfil my quest
I found fear within fear, fear of itself.

This creature was scared,
stuck between one side and the other of a deep dark moat.
Writhing in agony was its tormented soul,
seething in a cauldron of pure dark
though a tiny hand reached for escape.

I pulled on this hand with all my might
and out popped peace, free from no small duress and sighing relief.
It conducted the crickets and awakened the birds,
turned on the starts, brightened the moon

As quickly as it came, it went -
I was left alone to part the well
each step one length closer to the sanctity and security
for which we all seem to strive.

I stopped and listened, thought and rethought,
changed direction and walked toward the unknown, back towards fear -
for fear itself is scared and only a shadow.
And though to capture and conquer fear is a feat in itself,
I know no better path to peace than that.

P.S. Yes, this doesn't rhyme, but who said that poetry had to adhere to such standards? What else would this be?

-akira of platoon

-=[ Blank this intentional space! ]=-

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The following comments are for "The Well"
by ak7raPLT

Nice poem
A very nice poem, a poem doesn't need to rhyme, I've written plenty and they hardly rhyme. Okay you wanted to know aobut my story you rated, alright. The story is a letter, it was my letter to my own family because I had a horrid feeling I was going to die the next day, so I wrote it out the last few minutes I had before I had to get some rest. Thankfully something changed and when I got the chance, I reedited the letter and made it into what you read, I only changed the names though and the addresses, the rest is real. Well now you know, an excellent poem by the way.

( Posted by: TrojanTony [Member] On: April 28, 2002 )

Free verse

This was wonderful, this poem sounded as if it was telling a story. Just a note poetry does not have to rhyme, it is called free verse. Poetry I believe just has to flow and this one does quite nicely. For a poem you added a wonderful amount of detail and this just added to the beauty of your writing.


( Posted by: Drastine [Member] On: April 28, 2002 )

I HAVE to interject
I've never really understood the rebellious attitude towards any sort of structure (whatsoever) in poetry. Personally, I think it tantamount to a slight case of laziness. I mean, if you're not even gonna try...

Does a poem have to rhyme? No. Does it have to have meter? Probably not. Should it have something that doesn't resemble stream of consciousness? Yes, absolutely. In all (good) poetry there must exist at least some sort of style and finesse that separates it from mindless, directionless speech. The conventional wisdom about the art has since made it difficult to define what that style should be, but we do know it when we see it, don't we?

A six out of ten is warranted because, quite simply, it was free verse (in that I also politely disagree with the above comment and that the words did not flow with me). Artistic elements get high marks - I like the picture that was painted - but the technical aspects just drag the passage down. It's a nice line of thought, but it just lacked style. No rhyme (understandable), no sense of meter (unless I'm counting wrong), and no other saving graces except some really pretty diction and beautiful imagery, which by themselves are ALMOST enough.

If any of us put "such standards" on poetry and prose, it's because writers like us always demand our own to strive for excellence. I mean, none of us are ever gonna grow up to be Shakespeare, but if you're not going to try to aim high, put down the freakin' pen now and step away from the keyboard. Otherwise, you've got a lot of raw talent there, nothing to gawk at from what I can see. In the future, of course, I would love to see what you got, but for now that is my opinion.


( Posted by: TachyonOne [Member] On: April 28, 2002 )

Re, Roehl
Thanks for the excellent critique, I appreciate it. Today, I've learned something.

( Posted by: ak7raplt [Member] On: April 29, 2002 )

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