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Book cover photo 4 beard

R. L. McCallum


I shan’t e’er embroil my mind with pity
Or conflict my soul with doubt,
When I’ve applied myself whole-heartedly
In result to end in rout;
Thus unto my thoughts I dwell deeper still,
Perchance to change the tide,
O’ though I may falter, I’ve yet to fail,
For in my heart I’ve tried!

I shan’t e’er darken my spirit with failure
Or lose the grip of hope.
I shan’t e’er abandon a foundering ship
That I know shall stay afloat!
Deep into my heart a flame doth burn,
As I take my blows in stride,
O’ and though I may falter, I’ve yet to fail,
When all efforts were applied!

I shall not succumb to dark despair,
For I’ve been ne’er dim or frail,
And so I do not hearken to the critic’s tongue
That may cometh to prevail.
A greater muse doth shout upon my ear
O’er the voices that deride,
O’ though I may falter, I’ve yet to fail,
For at the least I’ve tried!


Swords are raised and battles fought,
Thus poets live beyond the grave,
For there are warriors who are poets
Tho’ not to pen a stave.

There are poets of the battles fought  
Who oppose the advancing horde,
And these are poets who were warriors
Tho’ ne’er to swing a sword.

Of swords and quills and battles fought,
So shall be the poets heard,
But there are poets doomed to silence  
Who shall not resound a word.


‘Tis with valour those souls have fought
That shine the staves that bards have wrought;
Thus their honours written sound the bell
That onward tolls a timeless knell!

As casualties chime a continuous toll
Time best resounds the valorous soul,
Thus tempests breach then onward tell
The tale bestowed a timeless knell.

Knights, chieftains, warriors bold,
Accounts of ye we yet behold,
For odes and elegies toll the bell
That honours thee a timeless knell.

Conveyed art thee in fields of stone,
Souls of praise and souls unknown,
But while we toll that silent bell,
We laud to thee a timeless knell.

Alas I praise thee those of sacrifice,
Thus untimely blessed in paradise,
By thee I now dwell to toll that bell
That merits thee a timeless knell!


Many a day I’ve wished, through the futility of time,
That love’s immortality would come one day to be mine,
But each day that I’ve wished brings ever the same,
For each day that I’ve wished has ended in vain!

O’ for a love everlasting, O’ for its heavenly grace,
Yet each day always begins with a vacant embrace;
I’ve wished and I’ve wished, but resultantly the same,
Comes darker the day, for it has ended in vain!

Alone each day I remain, for nothing comes to redeem,
Tho’ each tomorrow is kept by an amorous dream,
But as each day dawns, the night falls ever the same,
For each day that I’ve wished has ended in vain!

O’ in the firmament of love I am never to stand,
As inevitably thus my fate seems to demand,
Yet onward I wish through the darkness of pain
While seeking the day that has not ended in vain!

O’ for one true love, O’ for a love immortal of mine,
Then this I’d grace with each moment through time,
And then I’d wish no more for that everlasting flame,
Which has brought each day that has ended in vain!

Upon many a day I’ve wished for just one love to keep,
I’ve wished each night for this that haunts me in sleep;
O’ I’ve wished for the love that will lighten my bane
Of seeing each day that has ended in vain!


To where are you marching, soldier,
Is it to some dreadful foreign war?
Why must you leave your home again,
As you’ve done so many times before?
Where this morn does the turbulence crest
That sends you marching into the night?
Who this day shall become your enemy
That tomorrow you must fight?

Soldier, why is the world in conflict,
How does your integrity stand?
Is the world so tarnished by its disparities
That war is of demand?
Why do you sacrifice your hopes and dreams?
Why for others must you bleed?
Why do you cast your lot into the wind
For that which others need?

O’ to where are you marching, soldier,
With your youthful pace?
Why do you transcend the words of God
To maintain his touch of grace?
O’ where does your legion take you?
Upon whom will your convictions tread?
Why does the world keep with death and ruin
For any peace that lies ahead?

O’ what will become of tomorrow, soldier,
Will it become no more than today?
Will tomorrow bring once more the dusky hues
That takes you faraway?
O’ to where are you marching, soldier,
Is it truly to a needful war,
Or are you just marching to the inveterate dirge
That’s been sung so many times before?

By the wind of a nor’easter gale
A ragged ship and crew set sail
Upon the everlasting.

Each plank be rotted aft to fore,
Thus too each soul the pity more
As they sail the everlasting.

The nights be long, the waves be high,
A wind doth rage from an angry sky
Amidst the everlasting.

Upon an endless sea a ship be tossed
With a goodly crew they yet be lost
Upon the everlasting.

So appease thy God on voyages long,
Lest woe to ye, the accurséd throng,
Who breach the everlasting.

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!

Love hath touched me sated so,
Lingered by a kiss,
Thus the blesséd of each night
Brings promise unto this;
And yet she keeps amid the mist
Beside the everlasting stream,
For my love is but a spirit lost
To haunt upon a dream.

Upon a dream the moon appears
In the starlit sky,
Then comes the mist upon a wind
As she approaches nigh;
And then gently so she kisses me
When into the mist I lean,
Dearly thus I greet this spirit lost
That haunts upon a dream.

The diurnal light doth bade her gone,
Each day I sorrow this,
For the misty maid I’ve come to love
Yet lingers from a kiss;
And so I slumber to await the mist
Beside the everlasting stream,
Where love yearns forth this spirit lost
To haunt upon a dream.

O’ I have found no peace in my prosperity,
For there is no wealth in my disparity
And therefore I have found no clarity
In this life, alone!

I have found the darkness of desperation
And the light of inspiration,
Yet both have shown their limitations
In this life, alone.

I have been bound to love by its futility,
So I have found no comfort in its utility,
I then struggled with my lucidity
In this life, alone.

I yet love the dreams that kept me,
O’ but to see them now forsake me
And despair has come forth to berate me
In this life, alone!

I have found no faith that I can define
And hope is the mountain that I climb
Against the forceful winds of time,
In this life, alone.


When the sun descends before thee,  
Upon the day’s last waning light,
There beyond is where I now dwell,
Near the edge of night;
Thus I linger onward in the twilight
As a memory unto thee,
So as I roam amid the day and night
Sustain thy thoughts of me!

When the day approaches darkness
And shadows thus are seen,
There I now tread the eternal hours    
In the twilight in between.
O’ my soul shall linger onward yet,  
For I’ve not the touch of thee,
So as I roam amid the day and night
Keep well thy love for me!

When the horizon dims before thee  
And takes thy earthly sight,
Lo and see with thy immortal eyes
Into the edge of night,
For yet I linger within the twilight
Waiting there for thee,
O’I am betwixt the day and night
‘Til thou cometh unto me!

Between these Gothic walls of mortar and stone,
O, here with dread is where I roam,
For the misty forms that here come creeping
Are of the dead abroad who are not sleeping!
They move where shadows lie
And from behind the walls upon me spy;
Then they taunt me, and defy me,
They come each night to try me,
For they are not sleeping!

They pace the attic; they walk the stairs,
In every room they haunt, I have seen them there;
They are the torments of my being,
O, these wraiths that I am seeing,
And my soul has now become their keeping,
For the dead are not always sleeping!

Between these Gothic walls of mortar and stone,
O, here am I, but not alone,
For my companions that come nightly creeping
Are of the dead who are not sleeping!
And in the mirror I have seen their faces,
I have felt the horror from their embraces,
Then they taunt me, and defy me,
And in their misty forms they try me,
For they are not sleeping!

O, from this mortar and stone I cannot flee,
For too it is a part of me,
And from the walls you may hear me talking
Or upon the floorboards hear me walking,
I am evermore the mist that you will see creeping,
For I am among those who are not sleeping!

Though all around her have fallen,
Yet she keeps the fight;
No insurmountable odds deter her,
Nor an army’s might;
She does not bow to intimidation,
Nor beseech upon a knee,
For she is the flight of future hope
With wings from sea to sea.

Though darkness reigns around her,
Yet she holds the light;
No rage shall come down upon her
Without an equal fight.
She does not wince upon a hindrance,
Though of sorrow be the dawn,
For she is the seraph of future hope
That God does shine upon.

Though she may face a force of evil,
Yet she does contend,
No legion may besiege upon her gates
That against she can’t defend.
She shall not break away from course,
Nor shall she ever bend,
For she has feared the breadth of God
And his everlasting wind.

Though strife may plague upon her,
Yet she cures the ill;
No dark curse shall be cast upon her
That can subjugate her will.
O, her determination ne’er falters,
Thus she is ever to be free,
For she is the flight of future hope
With wings from sea to sea!