Erik Nelson: Crossing Willow Creek (parts 5-8)

Parts 1 – 4 


Part Five: Where No Brick Has Ever Been Laid

With bodies wary of attacks,

And though they’re very tired,

The people carry, on their backs,

Commodities acquired,

Superfluities they couldn’t spare,

Beloved souvenirs of Babylon,

An oddity here, another there:

Whatever ridiculous sin qua non.


They’re going where they’ve heard it’s green,

Where only beasts and birds have been,

Where human bones were never buried

And no couples were ever married,

Where not one stone has ever been stacked

Upon another or been attacked:

Where no brickwork has echoed human sound

Or ever known being thrown to the ground.


Part Six: Past the Last Poplar Trees

Where once were trees, dead stumps abound,

And nothing new grows from the ground:

So the people are curst to escape

Their very bad and worsening shape.


Lugging their idols down the roads,

They carry their most cherished goods,

Transporting their accursed loads,

Abandoning their neighborhoods.


All cramped up in their caravans,

They camp, as they travel, in tents,

Pursuing uncertain plans

Over a desert of laments.


Curst to neither disperse nor fade,

Pitch black clouds hover atop,

Which cast an everlasting shade

But lack, however, one drop;

They keep all covered and shrouded in gloom

And seem to herald quietus and doom.


Men’s streams of consciousness are full of pollution,

But leaders devise less soulish of solutions,

For followers aren’t easy to find

Or spirits easy to raise,

With dark matter over mind

And dreams being hard to come by these days.


Through the dust, the herds or crowds

Continue onwards, en route

To streams far past these dark clouds

And what they cast: shades of doubt.


Ere dreams and last hopes fade out,

They go where they’ve heard there’s no drought:

To a land of birds, grasshoppers, bees

And streams just past the last poplar trees.


Part Seven: Where They, At Last, Can Stay

“Deliver us from the evil one,”

They’d prayed but hell-fire fanned;

So rivers burned, under the sun,

Until they turned to sand.

The vegetation’s dead and gone,

Due to the nation Babylon.

Grass has withered; springs have dried:

Everything she touched has died.

So people pack upon their backs

And drag behind in trunks

Their bric-a-brac and their knick-knacks,

Within a word, their junk.


They’re going where the land is green,

More lush than human eye has seen,

Far away from corrupted hands

And hellishly dry desert sands:

An oasis on the outskirts

Of a story-book-like forest,

Where murmuring brooks, wind and birds

Join forces to form a chorus:

Not far past over yonder,

Not far past far away,

Where they won’t have to wander,

Where they, at last, can stay.


Part Eight: Beyond the Dune of Lilith

The world did not pan out as planned,

So they swim against the tide

Of this merciless sea of sand,

Full of emptiness inside.


By day they burn beneath the heat

While traversing this danger zone;

At night a shivering, winding sheet

Descends and chills them to the bone.


They say each head they will anoint

With oils of new gladness

And pray their dreams won’t disappoint

Or spoil into madness.


They would reach ripe grapes upon vines

And fresh, cool streams, at which they wish

To be the first of future lines

To quench their thirst and dine on fish.


They pay attention to each sign,

So cups they soon may fill with

Water that’s clean and wine that’s fine:

Beyond the Dune of Lilith.


To Be Continued



Erik Nelson was born in Madison, WI, in 1974, grew up in British Columbia, Canada, as well as several states in the United States, before obtaining a Masters degree in Literary Theory from the University of Dalarna, in Falun, Sweden; he then taught English at the college level in the deep south of the United States for ten years, before moving to the high plains of Colorado, where he currently lives, lucubrates and works as a librarian.

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