Arrival of Spring
White petals floating from a branch,
Appear as snow at a mere glance.
Hopeful, now, my heart leaps.
Outward, then, my spirit seeps.
I dash through the falling "snow".
Secretly, lest none should know,
A dear friend is traveling to see
And stop to converse with me.
All the while, pleasant memories
Send my mind flowing with effigies
Of the past times we have spent.
They come then ebb with a glint.
Now, once again, he is making the flight
Arriving unannounced in the night.
Wresting his brother, Winter, away,
No more shall the wretched frost stay!
The grass will soon be green to see,
Each bird, in his chorus, merrily
Will sing his praises to the King.
Thus is the grand arrival of Spring.
Once, a lonely wanderer I was
Following my own path astray.
Creating truces without a cause
Living in my own misguided way.
Then, yarns of a mighty shepherd
Men told unto my ear.
More glorious than anything heard
That could cause one to tear.
I asked them where his house
Might be found in the way.
They replied, “Where the touse
And disturbances have all gone away.”
“What a place in this world
Would such a living standard be?”
These words, I unfurled
To those who had answered me.
Chuckling, they all agreed
“Not of this world, will you find.
Though, many men have tried
To capture peace of that kind.”
Bewildered, I ventured to ask again.
“Are you brethren, foe or friend?
You promise solace, and then
Claim that no place has ever been.”
They did not say another word.
For, when I looked upon their faces
Each countenance had been transferred.
And, angels had taken their places.
Now, one of the heavenly beings
Spoke in his magnificent voice.
The one who had told me these things
Now said with unmatched poise.
“Dear friend, I have been sent
From the Father in the sky
That your heart might be bent
So, he shall meet you when you die.”
I had no words to say to him.
Why would the Creator care about me?
I, who had followed every earthly whim,
Then done only because the pleasure be.
This angel seemed to hear
These thoughts wreaking my brain.
For he replied: “Do not fear.
“I have not come to give you pain.”
“But, the Master, he has seen
Something wonderful in your deeds
And wishes me to rinse you clean.
He desires to meet your needs.”
At that moment, I confessed
Of every trifle once committed.
That I might be forever blessed
By Him who, my soul, had out-bided
The Devil who had owned it first.
And to the flaming pits sent
It to be in pain and eternally cursed.
Then, my future, had mercilessly rent.
At last, uttering my final word,
I turned upon the glorious host.
Every sentence they had heard,
And, of it, had made the most.
I inquired, “Now, shall I go
To heaven with you today
And escape from the Earth below
All of men’s hateful ways?”
But, they declined, “Not today
Shall you be drawn into the air.
One day you will be taken astray
And we will meet you there.”
With that, they vanished into
The heavens they had appeared from.
My salvation, the solitary memento
Claiming they had ever come.
Once, a lonely wanderer I was
Following my own path astray.
Then, the Shepherd showed me his laws.
As a sheep, I now follow his way
A Bitter Disaster (Part:1)
It was a particularly trying day. Breakfast, which proved less than appetising, had just concluded. Now, a vast array of difficult exams lay on the horizon. Approximately twenty minutes was allotted each boy after breakfast to prepare himself, before Chapel, for the day ahead. Having nothing pressing in which to spend this time, I strolled depressingly to my quarters. Perhaps some time to myself would assist in calming my angst. At last, I reached the entrance to my fortress of solitude. Twisting the bronze handle, I strode into the familiar atmosphere. Past the armoire, fireplace, and portrait upon the wall, I loitered. Every item was commonplace and unexciting. In fact, so consumed in this dreariness I was, that I failed to notice the boy sitting in a chair by the desk. Straight to my bed on the other side of the room I went, and with a thud, plopped onto its surface. Just as my eyes began to close and the thoughts and fears of the day diminished, right before I drifted into that blissful peace of a dream...."Hello, Matthew!"
There rang a voice from a far corner of the room. These words and the one who said them were more familiar than the room itself. Giving the matter little thought, I replied, before realizing his presence.
"Hello, Percy." I yawned, tossing from one side to the other. A few moments of silence passed. Wait, Percy? What was Percy doing in my room? Moments later, I was fully alert and sitting upright upon the bed. My friend seemed not to notice this, but continued about his work.
"Percy," I called his name.
"Yes, Matthew?" he replied, without giving me the slightest glance.
"What are you doing over there, and why are you in my room?"
Percy seemed to deeply consider this for a moment. Then, he replied.
"The answer is more or less the same for both of the questions." And, with this, he continued about his work. Which, at the time, involved the incessant clanging of many glass containers.
"Very well. What is the answer, then?" My patience had begun to wear short. It was fifteen minutes before our first div, and Percy was concocting one of his bizarre potions.
"The answer to what?" For the first time, Percy turned to face me. All the while, he was busily squeezing a lemon's juice into an unusually shaped jar.
Checking the urge to scream at the madman, I repeated softly. "To why you are in my room."
"Oh, that!" Chuckling, Percy replied. "You see, I'm perfecting a recipe. This is a delicate procedure, and a chance for spillage or possible destruction is always present. If anything were to stain or spontaneously combust, we wouldn't want it to be in my room now, would we?"
With a wink, he continued about his work. Just what this work was, I was not sure. The only thing one could be certain of was its intimate involvement with lemons. These fruits, after their juice had been sufficiently drained, Percy tossed behind his back and into a cream-coloured basket he had carefully deposited behind himself. All the while, I remained silent.
Now, it was a mere ten minutes before our first exam. Percy either failed to realise this, or did not care, as he continued about his arbitrary business without a word. With a sigh, I began to gather myself for the remainder of the day.
Perhaps Percy did not have the intention of arriving on time, however, I had an overwhelming fear not to. Two times, this term alone, I had to scrawl my name upon the “Tardy book”. I most certainly did not intend upon doing so again. After all, if he stayed behind upon his own will, how was I to blame? As I finished justifying my leaving him behind, Percy declared.
"It is complete! My glorious masterpiece is finally finished!" Springing out of the chair, he dashed over to where I stood, dangling a vile of the yellow liquid inches before my face.
"I suppose you are wondering exactly what this is?" Streaking his finger through the mixture, he let a droplet grace it for the shortest of seconds. Then, with a smirk, slurped the juice from its tip.
"Well, I suppose—" Before I could finish my final words, Percy rushed to explain.
"This most marvellous creation of mine is invisible ink." Scurrying back to the table, he snatched up the myriad containers of and stuffed them into a messenger satchel.
"What are they—" Confused by his excess excitement, he interrupted again.
"I intend on taking my exams today with the aid of these delightful little bottles."
Nearly bouncing with anticipation, he continued scavenging various things about the room and loading them into his bag of mystery. Some extra parchment, a piece of bread with jam smeared across its surface, and a handful of feathers from my collection—these were a few of the things Percy procured.
“But, how do those things have anything to do with your invisible ink?” I questioned him, confused.
Percy continued about his business, replying in a faraway tone.
“These? Why, they have absolutely nothing to do with the matter. I have run low on my means for writing, thus the paper. You know how my hunger is ever lingering. This accounts for the bread. Though, I could have done without the jam.” He said this with a disapproving snarl.
“As for the feathers--” He stopped for a moment to stroke one gently. “I find that majestic things such as these seem to inspire my poetical genius.”
Swiveling on his heels in order to face me, he announced. “Well, why are you still standing there? You don’t want to be late for our first div, do you?”
Which side is yours to defend?
One must, to your soul contend
A greater passion to succeed,
Freedom in the front shall lead.
Darting like secrets in the heart,
Warriors preparing to depart.
Upon their lives, cast a final glance,
Lest they forget, perchance.
The cause to which they have devoted,
All heart and soul promoted.
No darkness shall discourage now,
Neither harsh word nor mow.
Who shall disband the mighty phalanx?
Fierce men from every rank,
Join now their parties in the war.
Only one shall reign forevermore.
Fires burning in the night,
Armies preparing for the fight.
Surely a war must wage,
When the beast is from its cage!
“Hatred! Hatred!” now they call,
Upon our enemies we shall fall.
This hour will be their demise,
When we subdue them by surprise!
Atop the hill, now we plunder.
This day our foes will blunder!
The ground upon which they stand,
We will corrode into sand.
From each side, persons are lost,
Lethal opinions, like grenades, are tossed.
Until the ground is all but silt,
Transformed by the emotions felt.
Battle cries have ceased to sound,
White flags now fly over the ground
Where a struggle has taken place,
Which side shall show their face?
An Unexpected Miracle
It was Christmas Day in Victorian England. No other occasion had filled me with more anticipation than this most grand one. Plans for the upcoming holiday had been fervently discussed among the family. Tales of mincemeat pies, succulent chickens, roast beef, and goose were peppered with yarns of yearly traditions. Although, resting especially prominent upon every mind was the long-awaited arrival of Father Christmas. Already, each one was deciding which items they longed for him to send down their chimneys. Descriptions of the elderly gentleman were given with great esteem. His features were that of splendor, with his snow-white beard and flowing, red robe. I took a particular pleasure in all of this celebration.
It was not the caroling, confectioning, or presents which caused me to bask in this season of merriment, however. I celebrated with thankfulness for a very different reason. Though it seemed centuries ago, this Christmas holiday marked the one-year passing of my adoption. Never before had I experienced a more happy time in my fourteen years. For the first time in my life, everything I could ever hope for was mine. A home, father, friends—all of these things had become commonplace to me. Yet, it was only a short time ago that I had none of these luxuries.
My entire life had been spent at an orphanage with other boys in the same situation as myself. I had no knowledge of my parents other than their absence. Nothing of who they were or what they did was at my disposal. Nevertheless, I imagined them to be wonderful people. Perhaps my father was tall and handsome, a jovial family man whose life was his loved ones. And mother, I have always dreamt of her as a beautiful lady with red hair much like myself. Though these were my simple invocations of their personalities and appearances, somehow imagining these gave me a sense of comfort. The only other event that matched the peaceable powers of this, was the uprising of the Christmas tree each December. It was such a beautiful sight with all of its decorations of red and green.
But even more ravishing still, was the message of hope, which the tree represented. I recalled the settling calm that came over me when I realized, that even though I did not yet have a home to call my own or a father whose name I knew in this life, someday I would have everything that ever could be desired. One day, somewhere else, these would all be mine. Regardless, I still attempted to remain optimistic about the situation.
Many years and holidays passed, until I had become thirteen years of age. A deep hope for a new life was still within me, though, it was fading quickly. Very few boys of my age were even considered for adoption. Those who were willing to take others into their homes preferred younger children. My fears were beginning to subside for a short while, at least. December was once again here, and the tree was making its usual ascent to the lobby of the orphanage. It somehow managed to produce a smile on my face as it had many times before. Others too were undoubtedly beginning to feel its merriment powers, as boys whom I had never seen happy before were carousing with the rest.
Decorations were hung, special treats made, and letters to Father Christmas written, until it had become that glorious day before Christmas. The typically dreary establishment seemed momentarily transformed. Even the staff of the orphanage found themselves caught in the joy, as well. Presents would soon be found under the tree, awaiting the hands of thrilled children. Somewhere in the midst, there would be one for me. And, although I was delighted at the thought of receiving a gift, the one thing I truly longed for would not be there. It would not suddenly appear. No amount of magic could make it real. Slowly, the hope seemed to be fading, and a disheartening reality taking its place. What would the rest of my days hold? Was a life of loneliness and despair all I had to anticipate? Should I never find a home or a family to call my own? As these and many other questions smothered my thoughts, I cast a glance upon the Christmas tree. Its lights were shining brightly, twinkling and dancing upon each branch. Tiny, golden angels hung daintily from every corner, and ribbons of many colors were strung about. Resting gently upon the top of the tree was a beautiful, shimmering star. All at once, the stories of Christmas and the Christ Child’s birth flooded my recollection. How I wished a star would shine in the night and lead a family to me!
One final glimpse, and I began up the stairs to retire for the evening. My chances as to being adopted were diminishing. Yet, I resolved to remain cheerful and enjoy this pleasant holiday. As I reached the top of the staircase and settled myself on the matter, there came a rap upon the front door. Simultaneously, Mrs. Forrester, the matron of the orphanage, answered. I was curious as to who could be calling so late in the evening. Should I continue to my quarters or remain to see what unfurled? Creeping stealthily back down the stairs, I took my perch upon a closer step. Mrs. Forrester swung open the door to reveal a well-dressed, elderly gentleman.
“Might I help you?” She questioned.
“Please forgive me, I had intended on coming earlier. My wife is ill, and has just now permitted me to leave her.” He replied, in a quiet voice.
“I am very sorry to here of this, Sir, but I do not see what this has to with anything.”
“Well, my entire visit is because of her. You see, my wife has always wanted a child. But, she has never been able to receive her wish. Now, as we have both seen many years, she has become weak and terribly ill. I am afraid that this Christmas might be her last. And, I would very much like to be able to give her the gift she has always wanted.”
My heart leaped at these words. Might I have a chance at being adopted, after all? Crawling down another flight, I listened intently.
“Again, Sir, I give you my condolences. Though, there is nothing I can do to help you.” Mrs. Forrester’s voice was strong with finality. A gaze of disbelief came across the face of the gentleman.
“The process which accompanies the adoption of a child takes many months. And, I am afraid that I cannot permit you to leave with a boy until everything has been finalized.”
Still he remained steadfast in his tracks, attempting to process the words that had been said. Then, after a moment, he replied. “If you cannot allow me to adopt a boy, then might I simply borrow one for the evening? As I have said, my wife is ill, and I do not believe that she can survive for many more hours. I have the funds to pay you, and on them, I promise to adopt the lad. I beg of you, with all that is in your heart, to lend me a child this night.” These words were shaky and poured out of his mouth with desperation.
“Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. The boys are all fast asleep in their beds, and I do not see it fit to arouse them for such a matter. Goodnight to you, Sir. ” Mrs. Forrester curtly replied.
As she finished, a sickening darkness came upon me. Another chance at a family was being quickly snatched away. No, it could not be! As I leaned in closer, my hand slipped across the surface of the stair, sending me skidding to the bottom. With a thud, I landed at the base of the staircase, and at the feet of Mrs. Forrester and the gentleman.
“Child! What are you doing down there?” She screeched.
The presence of the two dumbfounded me. I could find no words. My mouth opened and closed itself, but nothing would find its way out. At last, the elderly man spoke, breaking the silence that was quickly closing in.
“You said that all the boys were in their rooms for the evening.” He addressed Mrs. Forrester.
“They are supposed to be.” She replied, glaring angrily at me.
“Seeing as how this young man happens to be awake, you would not think me to be disturbing him if I were to take him with me tonight?”
I could feel my temples throb and hands begin to shake at this. Might I still receive what I had always hoped for?
Mrs. Forrester contemplated this for a moment. “If your wife is failing as you say she is, I suppose we could find some way to condense the papers, so that you might take him with you this evening,” with a tone of indifference, she replied.
I felt as if I had been transported to heaven. The moment I had been awaiting had arrived! This man was to be my father, and his wife, my mother. The gentleman cast a kindly smirk in my direction, and then accompanied Mrs. Forrester to sign the allocated papers.
As I waited patiently in the lobby, my eyes habitually fell upon the glistening tree. Many Christmastimes had passed with its beautiful presence. Now, I was to have a home of my own, without its shimmering glory. In some strange way, the tree seemed to sense my emotions. As, its lights began to glow even more brightly, acting as a symbol of hope to guide me into my new life.