The Night I Met Isis

so we’re sitting at the bar down at erl’s
tavern on sixth street south, and I comment
on this tat she has—some strange symbol just
above the low cut of her blouse—something
left over from a misspent youth, or just
something vaguely threatening to spike guys’
interest? I’m more into girls with fairies
and angels, never was much into goth. . .
egyptian, she says, not goth. a cartouche
symbolizing isis, goddess of nature
and magic . . . she goes on speaking of it,
but I’m caught up in the idea ofisis
married to her brother osiris, and
suddenly I’ve lost all my appetites.

David M Pitchford
13 Oct 2011


No bouquet

Apology of the Flowers

I wrote you, Liza, to apologize
for the flowers: Rose lost its ruddy blush
from envy of you. Lily was not so
pale as the cream-soft flesh of your belly;
those violets ran off to panhandle,
beggared by your nobility. I heard
you unbent Narcissus—I had to toss
him aside. Daisies spoke a name not yours, 

their voice an assault . . . I tried to save you
a blue gentian1, but Persephone used
it as a torch in some poem not written by me . . .
not written for you. The hyacinth I
plucked overpowered your perfume; flowers
pale, unsymbolic between us, Liza. 

David M Pitchford, 14Jun2011
1: See “Bavarian Gentians” by D.H. Lawrence


Hero's Final Vigil

Hero's Final Vigil



The distance between you-and-me is less
than the ens and ems between these letters,
yet in the minds’ eye, Planck’s scale grows too vast
a chasm; illusion clouds thought, thought clouds
heart and head alike. We part never to
touch again—Hero losing Leander,
whose delusion of drowning blinds him to
her lamp evermore. The drowned cannot swim
nor circumnavigate the Hellespont . . .

I am no Leander, she no Hero,
and yet we play the drama, live their myth
as though that were real to this world. Love dies
a million deaths in such tragedies—Oh!
But love births itself a billion times in Life! 

©David M Pitchford
10 April 2009

Rokeby Venus: Ekphrastic Sonnet

"Rokeby Venus" by Diego Velasquez c. 1650

"Rokeby Venus" by Diego Velasquez c. 1650

What Within the Looking Glass?

Is it truth you see within your looking
glass? Or merely that shallow reflection,
that skin-deep self, flesh manifestation
engineered of cells divided, cooking
DNA’s unique recipe—working
toward our next, our better(?), evolution,
and victim to fortune’s machination
toward Nature’s mysterious re-making?

Venus, do you see your truth? Burning flame
lit by unseen sun, burning bright within
eyes shadowed by doubt, self-immolation
to protest yesterday’s beauty—that same
beauty as marks you today, looks akin
to Ideal, yet perceived sans admiration?

David M Pitchford
6 December 2008

Res Aliens published my story

This is the second story featuring my latest favorite character, Ezekiel Tanner. Zeke is an evangelist, running around the early Colonies on a mission illuminated by a presence he is convinced is his Lord. Lots of fun. Watch him, though: he tends to misquote a passage here and there . . .

Thanks, ResAliens!


"Echo and Narcissus" by Waterhouse

"Echo and Narcissus" by John William Waterhouse

Beyond the Age of Sacrifice

Just what God needs
One more victim . . .
—Tori Amos, “Crucify”

Narcissus sees only his own perfect reflection
everything that happens happens

I am done with sacrifices

I am done with sacrifices

            Echo adores him from beside the brook
            Cyrix whispers tunes he hears with no appreciation

Done with sacrifice . . .
            with sacrifice . . .
                    sacrifices done . . .

Still the Cyrix plays to the fell wind
                       plays to a blue sky
                       plays to a still pool

                        deeply troubled
                        deeply troubled
                                    with sacrifices

His brother the moon looks down
from cloud-city heights, aloof
views truth from a different perspective
weeps raindrops to flood the plains, bloat the brook
and dilute the perfect illusion of its perfect lies
hoping, hoping, hoping

Darkness encroaches, inimical savior
                                   inimical judge 

Brother moon in his sapphire temple
chases his Pleiad wife and her two sons
to havens, a poor father need-crazed to save
            what can be saved
                        what can be saved?
                                    what can be saved?
                                                                 be saved?

How many nights must Moon surrender?
What is the end of sacrifice?
          A time comes when a man
when a man must
                                                   a man must
         must release yesterdays . . .
release yesterday’s sins
                                            yesterday’s black venom
                                            yesterdays’ brutal childhood
                                                                in that house of shame
                                                                in that house of violence
                                                                in that house of pain
                                                                                      and loathing
                                                                in that hell of voices raging
                                                                                   in that hell
                                                                                       that hell

Still the Cyrix plays to the fell wind
            plays to a blue sky
            plays to a still pool
                        deeply troubled
                        deeply troubled
                                    with sacrifices

to trouble the moon
                      trouble the moon
                     trouble moon
                                 moon trouble
                     sin & sacrifice

When comes the end of patience?
            Patience is the ocean, whispers Moon
                               the ocean . . .
                                    to wax
                                              to wane
             it is the nature and cycle
                                      of all things
            of all things
                                                                    all things

 Still Cyrix plays to the fell wind
            plays to a blue sky
            plays to a still pool
            in a yellow minor key
                        golden minor
                        deeply troubled
                        deeply troubled
                                    with sacrifices

 Tonight’s tide leaves dry all the world’s beaches
Moon withholds his golden brilliance
            Am I not beyond
                        the age of sacrifice?
                                    beyond the age
                                                            sacrifice . . .

In drunken chuckle is heard
final echo of the Bacchanal
final verse in voice of Orpheus:
            Self-immolation ends, my friends
                         in ultimate catharsis
                               only in apotheosis

David M Pitchford
20 June 2008
Rev 8 December 2008

Merlin’s Defeat

Nyneve, What but My Soul Suffices?

You, whom they call the Lady of the Lake,

Nyneve, my love, what shall I offer you

to appease your anger? Can it be true

you knew the Incubus, my father? Take

from me all I have, as though life did not rake

me over hellish coals . . . take then these blue

eyes, take this red heart! Take from me what few

days I boast as mine! But for Pity’s sake—


my soul, oh my soul, my soul, take mercy

on me and leave my immortal self, leave

this soul to wander wide post mortum. See!

Even Dagda grants surcease! Would you grieve

my kin? I forfeit my life’s legacy,

make me servant, but my soul give reprieve!

David M Pitchford
9 June 2008

Image depicted: “The Beguiling of Merlin” by Edward Burne Jones, 1874