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Book cover photo 4 beard

R. L. McCallum


I awake each morn to chase the clock
In the race from nine to five,
And firmly placed am I, in this dramatic flow,
Upon my flight to stay alive.
I peruse the paper with my morning cup
And digest what yesterday has brought—
I see who has died, what public trust has lied,
And what war is being fought.

I must trudge all day to sustain my way
And earn a meagre wage.
I display myself in moderate form
To suppress my inner rage.
I am a slave at best to my routines;
I accept the clime that has no change;
I place my hopes upon my dreams,
But good fortune is somewhat strange.

I can see that every day is different,
Yet they bring a tedious tone,
Whether I am labouring at my daily task
Or resting wearily at home.
The sun may shine upon this day;
Tomorrow it may rain,
But as every day is different,
So are they the same!

I deny not my childhood yearnings,
As oft they call to me,
So thus I cast off my lines and moorings
And set my course to sea.
I love the breaking spray upon the bow
And a seaward helm at hand,  
For though I am the captain of my ship,  
The sea is in command.

An anchor has sought to secure my soul,
Yet my dreams come oft to me,
And I find myself then harbour bound
Yearning out to sea.
I long for the touch of the seaward wind
That shall farther me from land,
And thus I remain the captain of my ship,
For the sea is in command.

I yet hearken each day to the mighty main,
As oft it calls to me,
Thus I am lured upon those rolling waves  
That breadth the sovereign sea.
O, I dread the gales but I love the sails  
And the seaward helm at hand,
For though I am the captain of my ship,
The sea is in command!


Each night came long and darkened still,
But this night a storm was blowing
And the air came cold upon his hearth,
For no fire within was glowing!
His fate was set; O’ but this he knew not yet,
Though freedom had been his yearning,
For the life that he had taken weeks before
Would be with this storm returning!

The forewarning wind outside was howling,
But Aldus refused to hear,
Thus he knew not of the reproachful form
That unto him was approaching near!
This night had come to avenge what he had done,
As now the dark tide was turning,
For the life that he had taken weeks before
Would come this night returning!

“Aldus was to be given, as Aldus had gave,”
This the August wind was speaking,
For Thalia would be upon a thunderous clap
In the silence that he was keeping!

Death doth not forget, but this he knew not yet,
As the storm outside was churning,
For the wife he murdered weeks before
Was now, this night, returning!

The storm came closer; fiercer still,
Its warning whispered down the flue,
He felt its cold foreboding touch upon his face,
As from the hearth it blew.
A spirit was in the wind—he knew not yet,
As he placed a log for burning,
For the chill he felt upon this night
Was his misdeed returning!

A warming fire was roaring within the hearth,
As a rapping came upon his door,
And there upon this cold and stormy night,
Stood a maiden named Lenore.
O, then he gave his love unto this maid,
While the storm outside was churning,
Ah, but the life he had taken weeks before
Was upon this night returning!

They stood before the fire to warm their souls,
Each flicker within their eyes was dancing,
They held each other, and their toast of wine,
As the fire became entrancing.
Then the face of Thalia appeared within the flames,
As they rose upward, wildly burning,
For Aldus’ many sins of many years
Were now this night returning!

The flames raged higher, and then higher still,
The hearth was engulfed in madness,
As Thalia’s spirit had awakened this night
From her grim and recent sadness.
Then a fiery hand grasp Aldus’ frock
And he too began intensely burning,
For the fate that poor Thalia had come to meet
Came unto him this night returning

Thalia had risen from the immortal flames,
Aldus was thrashing about and burning,
Lenore ran screaming into the stormy night
That yet overhead was churning!

The great house was then set alight,
As the dark tide was turning,
For the life that was taken weeks before
Had come this night returning!

I have only shallow words to express in verse
Of my love for you that deeply lies within,
For never have I found the parallel
To the depths of where this love begins,
Nor have I discovered an earthly measure
Or any ethereal value in which to treasure
That is greater than my love for you.
O’ and in my heart this love shall not perish,
For into the depths of my soul your love I cherish
And forever the future will hold no distance
To the end of loving you,
But still no defining words have ascended to impart
Of that which lies in the deepest reaches of my heart
That may express my love for you!


O’ farewell, peaceful dreams,
As I repose this night to sleep,
For conflict has dimmed another day
Beyond the threshold of my keep!
Alas, I am harried by uncertainty,
So fearful of that yet unfurled,
But the dismal depths of the human soul
Brings ne’er a peaceful world!

O’ farewell to thee, tumultuous souls,
Who distract me from my dreams,
For I have balanced a peaceful mind
Where bright horizons teem!
Yet tomorrow foretells of darkness
Lurking outside my door—
Alas, the shallow voice of a collective world
I wish to hear no more!

O’ I fear to lose my peaceful dreams,
As I behold the acts of dread,
For the world has turned with warring words
As the repeated past has said!
O’ tomorrow will be not a peaceful day,
As this thro’ time has been unfurled,
For the dismal depths of the human soul
Brings ne’er a peaceful world!

Weary grey has dimmed the day,
Woe as thus to come my way
And laden lay upon my mind,
Its dark distracting sorrows!

Grey this day may thus convey
That many more unto me may
Bear upon my burdened mind
With dark distracting sorrows!

This day of grey I fear shall stay
Yet to further hasten my decay
And decimate my mortal mind
With dark distracting sorrows!

O’ this day unto God I pray
That soon the grey may fall away
And lighten so my troubled mind
Of its dark distracting sorrows!


Here’s to the breadth of beauty,
E’er that grace’d a poet’s eye,
Thus here’s to our timeless love
That surpasses earth and sky!
Our love doth shine everlasting,
As tomorrow is unfurled,
But today we light the darkness  
Of Hell’s benight’d world!

Here’s to the touch of majesty,
As thusly we embrace;
Here’s to the mirth and magic
That doth upon us grace!
Our love is evermore a-twinkle,    
Akin to starry nights unfurled,
Thus we illuminate the darkness
Of Hell’s benight’d world!

Here’s to the breadth of beauty,
Though be the darkness nigh,
And here’s to the voice of love
That surpasses earth and sky!
Our love is of the firmament,
Where vastness is unfurled,
Thus we light the darkness
Of Hell’s benight’d world!

There’s something creeping in the darkness,
A rustling in the pitch,
Perhaps it be an angry wraith or even death;  
O’ I dread to know of which!

There’s something stirring in the silence
Beyond the boundaries of my sight,
O’ what hath emerged from within my mind
To stir upon this night?

There’s something creeping in the darkness,
Something lesser of appeal;
O’ I know not if this be form of fantasy
Or worse be something real!  

Alas, there’s movement in the darkness,
Thus I’m overwhelmed with dread!
I must plead to the uncertainty of its mercy,  
Lest madness lies ahead!

Amid the darkness there’s something wanting,
I feel its cold and craving breath,
O’ it doth anguish me with the dark unknown,
Thusly that of death!

There’s something creeping in the darkness,
An emergence from beyond,
O’ my mind doth wince with many questions,
Yet no answers do respond!

Vaporous forms adrift through cold dark rooms
Are remnants of passing that in this life looms,
And I’ve felt the touch that this dread embraces
While wandering about in haunted places.

Disembodied voices resounding in empty halls
And those that whisper from ancient walls;
O’ I’ve heard these spectres that time displaces
Where gloom has gathered in haunted places!

Empty footfalls and floorboards creaking,
The lamenting wind and women weeping,
Children singing in vacant spaces,
I’ve heard these things in haunted places.

I’ve seen the dungeon’s mist as midnight falls,
I’ve seen the ghastly events that time recalls,
I’ve seen the airy forms that relive disgraces,
O’  these things I know of haunted places!

Embittered wailing and inhuman screaming
Have awakened me when I was dreaming.
O’ from the darkness the dead come creeping
Upon the night, for they are not sleeping.

Wailing spirits from times amiss,
Wander about, O’ I have witnessed this,
For these fitful souls without earthly graces
Are forever kept in haunted places!

I’ve been touched by hands where there were none
From unseemly acts and deeds undone,
By murder, by mayhem, there are always traces,
That lurk about in haunted places.


Accurséd be the refuge of Baneberry Hall,
For those who shelter there,
Where the lingering spirits stalk the night
From depths of great despair;
And the walls they breathe as tho’ of life
From her ruins upon the tor,
For those who’ve ponder asylum there
Now trudge forevermore!

O’ beware the lure of Baneberry Hall,
As souls are many there immured,
Thus the whispers upon thine ear
Shall herald thy fate assured!
Alas, the walls they breathe as tho’ of life,
As ye step forth into her lore
Where thus the dead yet seek the spark
That alights the evermore!

Each night doth stir at Baneberry Hall,
For shadows stalk the still,
And hands reach forth from mortar and stone
With an everlasting chill;
And thus the walls they breathe as tho’ of life,
As darkness treads upon the tor
Where spirits forsake their earthen depths
To roam forevermore!

Woe be he who shall take his shelter midst
The confines of Baneberry Hall,
Where upon those cold and wuthering eves
The unhallowed comes to call;
Then the wind shall howl the walls to life,
The mist shall hammer upon each door
And silence shall summons those spirits lost
From the evermore!

Leave a fire to flicker within the hearth,
If the silence be thy fear,
Lest the darkness and its phantoms yet
Be somewhere lurking near!
O’ hearken nigh the walls that breathe,
Be e’er watchful at the door,
And slumber not, and fear to dream,
As there lies the evermore!

Ne’er take the refuge of Baneberry Hall,
Lest ye too be of her keep,
For the myriad spirits there of ages past
Are nevermore to sleep;
The walls they breathe as tho’ of life
Tho’ the silence speaks of life no more;
O’ steer thy way from those ghastly ruins
That loom upon the tor!

Come creeping did he, as death awoke,
Upon this Sabbath day at the midnight stroke,
And beside her bed did the dark form stand
To take my lover by the hand!

So angelic was she, this I tearfully impart,
For she came from Heaven and into my heart
And so soft and gentle was her hand to hold,
But now to the touch is graven cold!

O’ so young a flower, now unearthly still,
She was my dream that now darkness fills,
For this angelic image that beside I stand,
Death has taken by the hand!

The warmth of life has come and gone,
Leaving the touch of the dark beyond,
Thus within the shadows, behind the light,
Looms the despair that came this night!

Bewildering to the mind it is to understand
Why death would take her by the hand,
For she was all that I was and was to become;
O’ she was an angel that died years too young!

Come creeping did he, when death awoke,
To touch her hand upon the midnight stroke.
I prayed and I prayed, but God did not respond,
Now I suffer the touch from the dark beyond!


The world may twist and turn in turbulence,
Thus winter dims away the hours,
But this poet sits upon the summer solstice
In the flowing fields of flowers!