Sunday, October 28, 2007

Something Seasonal...

"Imagine if you will, ..." Stephen Crane goes to a Halloween Party, dressed as Edger Allen Poe, and when he gets there decides to pretend that he's Rabbie Burns....

Thats kinda what happened when I wrote this poem. I started it months ago when I was reading Crane, went back to it when I was reading Poe, and finished it while reading Burns.

The Crane language is still somewhat there, so to is the Poe influence, and every time I swear off the Braid-Scots something like this seems to channel itself on through.



sooted figures

knick knock, knick knock!

tangled limbs

a motioning mass

knick knock, knick knock!

some pallid,

and in strange postures

knick knock, knick knock!

some for the Charnel house

squalling and squawking

knick knock, knick knock!

the tangled limbs

unravel feverishly

knick knock, knick knock!

twisting their fists

in tired eye sockets

knick knock, knick knock!

laggard and blind

the unfortunates rail

knick knock, knick knock!

others play mawbles

and wag thair tails

knick knock, knick knock!

the Listener awakens

from her long dirt nap

knick knock, step back

Open-up Auntie!

Tis batterin' door nicht!

knick knock, We'r bak!

Open-up Auntie!

We'v cum for oor candies!

knick knock, knick knock!

the Listener rises

approaches the door

knick knock, knick knock!

A'm cumin mae pritys

ar ye bak for so-moor?

knick knock, knick knock!

soory Ayam mae weens

bot ye've pickit mae cleen

knick knock, knick knock!

Aa A've got left

is 6 feet o 'ert

knick knock, knick knock!

yae an mae booth


knick knock, knick knock!

knick knock, knick knock!


obeedude 17-18/Oct/07

The original title was the colloquial "Hallaleen." The Festival of Samhain however is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. A modernized version of this festival continues today in some of the traditions of the Catholic All Soul's day, the secular Halloween, and in folk practices of Samhain itself in the Celtic Nations and the Irish and Scottish Diasporas. It is also observed by various types of Neo-pagans.

As it is set in the Celtic culture and not 20th century America as it originally started out, the Celtic title seemed more appropriate. It also doesn't give too much away right off. I liked the way it seemed to start out Trick-or-Treat and instead turned Ghost Story while I was writing it. Hope you did too. It sounds better out load. The Knick-knock battering on the door sound, that is actually scratching on the inside of the coffin, works best this way.

Happy Hallaleen!
obeedude 28/Oct/07

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The God Wink


The other night, I was leaving Nichol's/Smith's/Shop & Save soon to be The Voorheesville Hannaford, and for some reason I turned left. 98.9% of the time I turn right and go down Pine street on my way home. For some reason that night I turned towards the Church.

I then drove about 75 ft. down the road as it goes under the Train Trestle and STOPPED. I didn't know why I turned left, any more than why I stopped the car. An SUV was baring down on me with its High beams on and another car was coming out from under the bridge.

Then I saw in the corner of my eye, a small child (approx 3 yrs old) sliding down the leafy embankment and right into the street in front of me. He got up and walked right into the street! No awareness of the danger he was in what-so-ever.

The Car behind me stopped and I pulled forward out of the way. The driver on the other side of the road got out and picked him up. We called up the hill for his parent and he appeared within seconds with a panicked look on his face. All it takes is a second when you are looking the other way for a three year old to bolt. This Dad got lucky.

Well, I don't know about luck. I think I know now why I turned left towards the Church. Why I stopped without knowing why. Someone else was driving the car. Not me. This is why I have faith. There are no coincidences. Thats why there was no accident that night.

I believe. God Winked!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

...excerpt from an on-going conversation... ...Out of context and from "Left" -field.... ...On my soapbox in the detergent aisle...

So I was in the store the other day, and a mother comes by with her two son's. The oldest (I would guess about 8yrs old) by my observation was very withdrawn and seemed to lack a self-confidence. As it happens, and happens quite often in the aisle that I work in, the boy asks for a Flashlight. "Mom can I please have this?" in his mousy little voice. I've heard this question hundreds of times, but never put more innocently. Usually its a demand, followed by a tantrum. Frankly, I would have bought it for the kid. His Mom's response however floored me. "No! I said no and if you ask again I will send you away to reform school. You'll never see me again and God will never forgive you."

O.K., so first I had to pick my lip up off the floor. Then, I found myself asking her in a tone not dissimilar to the same one adopted by the child. "Please don't say that kind of thing..." I pleaded. She responded with a foul mouthed tirade punctuated with "Whats wrong with me teaching my children by the Ten Commandments!..."

I couldn't help myself, I wanted to protect this kid, my backbone went up and I responded first with a dumbfounded look, then I said: "...I was a Scout Leader and a Youth Pastor for 12 years, and what your doing is not teaching the Commandments..."

I'm sure I was still looking stupefied when I was done...)

I realized
at this point as she began to get even more foulmouthed and proceeded to tell me she "...had been sent to reform school and it was the best thing that ever happened to her..." that I was never going to get to the idea that all she was teaching was fear!

My hands were shaking. My stomach was in knots and this was not the time or place for what I was doing. I walked away and took a break out on the back dock. If I had stayed things would have gotten worse. I turned the other cheek, and said a prayer for those two young boys. A prayer that they would not grow up and perpetuate what was obviously their inheritance from their Mothers parents.

When I was a Boyscout leader, the Boy Scouts were at that time pressured to remove all Christian symbols from their Chapels. This was done under the guise of "becoming more inclusive". So, we ended up with a Chapel that for all intents looked like just another building. No place special. No place to find God. (That is what it felt like to me anyway.) I questioned whether it might have been more "inclusive" to have added symbols of other faiths. "No, its simpler this way." was what they said.

Maybe, just maybe, the solution to the Bible in Schools would be to include the Koran, and the Book of Mormon, and, and, and, etc... It would not be the simple solution, but that is how we approached Confirmation in our Church. In order to be Confirmed, candidates had to attend worship services of five other faiths. It wasn't easy, logistically or thematically. But it gave them a grounding in their faith, and an understanding of others faith and beliefs as well. Hopefully, it fostered some tolerance too. All views on the table as they say.

Inclusive: including many things or everything, not excluding any...

...perhaps we should say: all-inclusive.

It shouldn't be all-or-nothing, it should be all-not nothing.

PLEASE... lets teach love. Not fear.

obeedude 14/Oct/07

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Biblical counsel to a man of faith with writers block?

The Prophet Habakkuk.

Habakkuk* Ch 2: Vs 2&3

2 Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.

3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.

O.K., O.K., so its out of context and obviously not what the prophet intended, (I've read the rest of this weeks reading and I have done so before so I am aware of the larger intent of the book) …but its what I needed to hear this week. Maybe that’s the point sometimes, as long as its not done on a regular basis or with the intent to proof texting.

Wait, ye man of faith, your faith has been increased, and so too your burden, all will be revealed at the appointed time. It will surly come, live by your faith, and you will endure.

*The Book of Habakkuk is the eighth book of the 12 minor prophets of the Hebrew Bible. It is attributed to the prophet Habakkuk. A copy of most of the book was found included in the Habakkuk Commentary among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

obeedude 07/oct/07

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Revisions, rewrites and rearrangements....

Well, I mailed off my submission to the NYSFA today. Checked and rechecked the thing to the point of OCD. In the process of completing the manuscript that I submitted, the following forward I wrote for "A Wasterly Gale." was removed for the time being.

It is written after the style of Samuel Rutherford Crockett. In homage if you will, to a literary forefather. It didn't quite fit at the beginning of this book, but I think it may work for its as yet unnamed sequel.


I, Mark W. O'Brien of the Village of Voorheesville in New York, begin the writing of this book with thanks to God, the giver of all good, for the bountiful harvest which He has given us here in the Town of New Scotland, in the year of His Grace, September, 2007.

Now it may appear that there are many things in this long story which I should like to tell concerning my forebearers, that are far from doing them credit, but let it not be mislippened (overlooked) that they were in the time of their youth and wild oat sowing, when the blood runs warm, and the heart takes hold o' the bridle.

My storie begins, as do most tales worth telling, with the ring of truth, and soon egresses to a bit of imagining, with a fleshing out of the rest. It is a tale handed down through five generations, from parent to child, and may have been lost were it not for the existence of letters and documents from some of the parties involved.

My storie begins in Ireland, and afore that, though not in this chapter of the saga, Scotland. That it begins in Scotland, is a fact to me which of is no small matter, for it tells me of the full circle to which I am a party bound. Scotland to Ireland to New Scotland: by the grace of the God and my forebears.

My own knowledge of it comes to be by my Da, supplemented by the reading and transcribing of the aforementioned letters that were kept for me as my inheritance by my Ma.

I should like just now, to offer this picture: It has little to do with my storie, and everything to do with it. For it is a picture of my great grand father James Alexander (Pappy) Gilmour, with my Da, James Gilmour O'Brien (standing next to the babybuggy) and my uncle Robert O'Brien. (...being held down by my Da and their Granpappy.)

These my progenitors, are not yet participants in the tale which I am about to tell, but they carry the names closely, of those who are. That is also a part of how this story came down to me, for we carry the lives of those who came before us in our names as well as in our hearts.

My Ancestors were Coopers by trade, and my own Da named me Mark O'Brien for a reason. The literal translation of my name from the old tongue is Hammer Strong. I was ever at home with a hammer in hand, but for sake of my tale I have beaten-it to a quill. "Name your children well" my Da was want to say, "for they will live up to it, or down to it, which ever the case may be, and its better to give them something good to strive for."

obeedude 03/oct/07