Lesbian lovers on a balcony (Verlaine translation)

Lesbian lovers on a balcony… “swooning under a summer evening moon.”

Lesbian Lovers on a balcony

They looked on as the swallows clipped the air:
One pale and raven-tressed, the other blonde.
Light cloudy gowns clung to their bodies fair
And round their slender limbs like serpents wound.

Lovely they were like languid asphodels
Swooning under a summer evening moon,
Savouring such joy as in a sad heart dwells
When lover turns to lover in night gloom.

So pleased to love each other instead of man,
These dreamy girls upon the balcony
Caress each other’s cool and clammy skin.

Behind them in the musky room there stands,
In pride of place, marked out for ecstasy,
The Bed…the scented bed of sweetest sin!

(Verlaine imitation/translation)

The Green Fields of Longing

In the gardens of paradise 
watered by crystalline
streams, they stroll with
their long-lashed loves
eating the bittersweet
apples of endless desire.

Here they lie listening to music
under the boughs of the
peach trees, the pea-
cock’s tail their fan.
Here where the spiced winds blow
they enjoy the languors of love

in the kissing gardens for ever.
There is food and wine here
too, and there is                                                  
laughter under
the sun, and the sea lies
sleeping, sleeping. What has led them

here, to the green fields of longing
and the bluewater bay?
Prayer and study.
And sacrifice.
And death, a noble death
in battle. Praise them, honour them!

In the pit of vipers

so for deliverance
little from me you cry?
pit sucked you into this
of viper’s slime have i?

about me do you find
what irresistible?
so fascinating why
you think i am me tell!
mine no more a beauty
than a most common is
two i am a penny
but the poor fish i guess
the hook for hungers as
for me do you! you must
replace me something with
that will assuage your lust
god tried you have and found
no comfort in his arms?
failed substitute to find
satanic for my charms?
end dead! ever you tried
spitting in your mirror?
you really can’t can you
sink poor soul much lower?

It’s over now

Go! I set you free!

It’s over now

addiction last day of
let this your lethal be!
it’s over now, in peace
go! i set you free!

the cage from which so long
cooped up i kept you in—
known had you only if
the door was always open!

cage you in this it was
who freely chose to dwell!
sweet my flesh and young
drug you made your hell!

chain i am your and you
clutches are in my helpless!
nothing but my mercy
save you can and kindness?

see, sharp the hook i slip
from torn your mouth! no more
pain! quick, away fish swim
again i catch you before!


The bad dream passes


The loves that lead to nothing,
The shattered dreams, the tears!—
Old age, sickness, dying,
The terror of the years!—

Among the kindest mercies
To ease the sick heart’s sore,
Is this: the bad dream passes,
The nightmare is no more.


Once long ago (Baudelaire translation)


Once long ago I lived in porticos
Lit by the light of azure seas and skies,
There where tall columns stood in endless rows
And the mooned arcades glowed like caves of ice.

 Reflecting the light of a thousand suns,
Those rainbow seas mirrored me paradise,
Enough to move me to a mystic trance
And light a look of magic in my eyes.

There I lived under pale voluptuous moons
Of pleasure, lulled by wine purple seas
And honeysuckle suns…and at my knees
Sat perfumed slaves to fan me in my swoons.

And all they had to do, their only art,
Was try to guess what worm gnawed at my heart.

In the beginning (from the Sanskrit)

“Who knows what happened first…?”

In the Beginning

Neither Is nor Is Not was,
No when nor where nor why.
There was no sky because
There was nowhere for sky.

No stir of living breath,
No signs of night or day.
And what of death? No death
Or immortality.

The One alone lay breathing
(O ask not when or where!)
In the deep mindsea seething
Unconscious, unaware.

Nothing stretched beyond him,
There He lay all alone!
No one became I Am.
Up rose the Only One!

And in the One grew Love,
The first seed of the soul.
Space then, and stars enough,
And the sky’s blue bowl.

Who knows the truth? who can
Tell how this universe
Bubbled up and began?
Who knows what happened first?

The universal Dancer,
The Dreamer with his dreams,
perhaps knows the answer
Of all that is and seems.

The why and the wherefore,
What makes Time’s river flow,
knows the reason or—
Maybe he does not know!

(Translated from the Sanskrit (Rig-Veda X.129)
by Lasha Darkmoon in collaboration with ‘MW’.
Published in Acumen magazine, September 2006,
under the composite pen name ‘Manna Domini’.

Hymn to the Unknown God (from the Sanskrit)

“You make the tinkling rivers run…”

Hymn to an Unknown God

As the sun on morning dew
Sparkles, making all things new—
We shine for joy, reflecting You.

You make the tinkling rivers run:
How happily they tumble on
Like birds that fall through air for fun!

Under your protection we
Find love and sweet serenity.
Forgive our sins and set us free!

Let the stream of my life wind
Through the green fields of the mind.
Loose the bonds of sin that bind.

Let not the web of song I weave
Be swept away, nor Time bereave
Me of the loved ones I must leave.

Let not this hymn of praise to Thee
Be lost for ever utterly.
When Time is dead, let these words be!


— Translated from the Sanskrit (Rig-Veda, XI.28)
by Lasha Darkmoon in collaboration with ‘MW’.
Published in Acumen Magazine, September 2006,
under the composite pen name ‘Manna Domini’.

Under cold moons

“Let me die beyond the sea…in the sacred haven…not under cold moons.”

Under cold moons

I must leave you
now, but I want you to know
there will never be another like you.
Before you came there was a yawning a—
byss. Then you came and the sky
rang with the song

of the angels!
The sun threw a net of gold
across the sea, the birds sang hosannas!
I wept. And I knew then the wounds of the
holy. And the kissing stones.
No other gods,

I promise! No
other altars. Incense to
you alone, my loveliest. Only this:
don’t lash me to the wall or let me gnash
my teeth in darkness through the
long night’s burning.

This my last wish:
let me die beyond the sea
in the sacred haven, not under cold
moons. There winter shadows twitch the veils of
darkness, and the hellcrow carks:
No more! No more!


All things pass


All  things  pass

Everything passes, all things seem
As insubstantial as a dream.
Time’s shimmering cities rise and fall
Like passing shadows on a wall.
See the world golden at high prime,
Suns and moons of the olden time!
Swallowed in darkness, lost forever
Love and the loved one and the lover.
Whirled away by time’s chill wind
Holy saints and all who sinned—
The laugh, the kiss, the shining eye,
Friend and foe and passer-by.

Never again!

Never again!

Never again! Never again that hell!
Say it, until it sinks into you deep
Like a stone into a bottomless well.
The words will work there slowly as you sleep.

The fish has jumped the net. The devil’s hook
Looks for another mouth. You’re still in pain.
No matter. Start again! And please don’t break
Your foolish heart if you get caught again.

Forget the past, the wasteful lives you’ve lived.
How you ran, and always fell in the race.
How all the faces that you ever loved
Melt into one face finally: the face
Of One who waits for you where no wind blows
In gardens where the Tree of Knowledge gr


Carmina Angelorum

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the singing bird will come.” — Sufi aphorism

Carmina Angelorum

Insubstantial, without form
How they cluster, how they come!

Songs like falling leaves descend
Tossed to earth by heaven’s wind.

Blackbird, warble!  Nightingale,
Break your heart but tell your tale!

In spite of all your shocking sins
Angels scrape their violins

For you. This music’s from the gods.
chop the meanings, slice the words.

And yet who cares?  So many sounds
Ping like hailstones all around.

Who gives a damn for singing bird?
O goldsmith of the golden word

Know this: the best songs have been lost
And nothing beautiful will last.

Flower and leaf and Flora fall
Onto the compost heap of All.

Into the witch’s cauldron go
Love and beauty there to stew,

And out of the universal froth
These songs arise and body forth.

Though our life’s blood supplies the juice,
The golden wine gleams in the glass.

The Queen of Night

“Every day brings some new stranger…”

The Queen of Night

Never say the night is over,
Never think the race is run.
Every day brings some new stranger:
This is a game that can’t be won.

Sometimes when walking by the sea
And not a cloud or sail in sight,
You think you’ve found serenity.
And then she comes, the Queen of Night!

She creeps up on you slyly and
Kills you slowly with her smiles,
And then at last you understand
This is a hospital for souls.

The corridors are lined with skulls,
And still she bares her breasts for you
And whispers, ‘Aren’t I beautiful?
Come, take me, sir!’
— And so you do.



“There is no more time for love’s caresses…”


This is the end of days:
truly, there is no more time
for love’s caresses
in looming tomb.

There is no time for anything
at all. There is only
time for meditating
and being lonely.

See, how the smoke rises
from the mind’s dark wood
in puffs and curlicues

that are not understood.

We call them thoughts, but they
are really devil smoke
from the chimneys grim and grey
of Ravencroak.


The Summer Gardens of the Flesh

In the reign of the feminine
When your skin was a golden flush,
In the age of desire, in
The summer gardens of the flesh

When everything shone and was precious
And the rivers ran singing to sea
And the fruit on the trees hung luscious
And all things were as they should be:

I barely noticed a thing,
I walked in a dream and was dull,
Blind to your bright eyes sparkling—
Blind, blind to you, my beautiful!

And now that the light has vanished
From your eyes, and my heart is cold,
And the play is nearly finished
And the story is almost told,

I see you once more as you were!
A fragment of the Beautiful,
Fading. Soon, soon to disappear
Into the black night of the skull.