ATTENTION IPAD USERS!
Apple doesn't like listing me as "Will Shakespeare (poetry blogger)"
to differentiate me from the other guy, although everybody else does.
They took my first book but now won't take new ones. (Go figure.)
Since Smashwords distributes my books to Apple anyway,
just go to my Smashwords author page and download EPUBs from there.
Smashwords provides samples of my books also.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wolverinky

Is the dreaded creature from
Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky
afraid of anything? It should be –
the Marvel Comics character, Wolverine!
If you don’t know, “snikt” is the sound
his claws make as they snap into action.


“Stop gimbling with those slithy toves!”
The father of young Jabberwock
Yelled. “Junior! Leave those borogroves –
We need to have a talk.

“Beware of Wolverine, my son!
His adamantine claws go snikt!
Before your claws can parry one,
Your burbling gut he’ll slit.

“Your brother’s head was soon removed
In battle by a vorpal blade
And though your skills are much improved
You ought to be afraid.

“For Logan is a manxome foe
Who snikts his prey with frightening speed
And even skilled assassins know
The odds. They’re gonna bleed!

“But you! You whiffle through the wood
And party ‘neath the Tumtum tree!
You’re not prepared! He’s much too good;
He’ll end your reverie!”

But Junior paid no mind, alas;
His fight with Wolverine was brief –
For although snicker-snacks are fast,
A snikt defies belief.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 32

Benedict’s eyes were drawn to Dietrich
As his piercing howl shook the sanctuary
And all the other wolves joined in.
The ghastly cacophony left him
Paralyzed, barely able to breathe…
And then his eyes widened in horror
As he watched Dietrich begin to change.
With his head thrown back in that chilling howl,
His back arched rigidly as though in pain,
His hands, his arms, even his fingers
Trembling with the effort of stiffness,
Benedict feared that Dietrich might die
From the unexplainable strain.
Then, as he watched, fur began to grow
On Dietrich’s face and hands… but he never
Moved nor did he cease his howling.
It went on for what seemed an eternity
And then, suddenly, Dietrich was no more.
In his place stood a wolf, far larger
Than any Benedict had ever seen.
It stared at Benedict, its eyes red
And glowing, its lips pulled tight across
Its teeth in a guttural growl.
Drool dribbled from its jaw, and where it
Struck the floor, a hissing curl of smoke
Rose up. The creature pawed the floor,
The claws of that paw drawing sparks
As they raked the wood. Then, without warning,
The beast darted out of the sanctuary.
Benedict could still hear it bellowing
As it charged to meet the thing
That once was Simon Chase.

After some moments Benedict croaked,
“What will happen? Will he be alright?”

The Hound will survive, the voice said.
The host may be another matter.

“But how can you let him die when he serves You?”

It was not I who called upon the Hound.
He serves Me in justice, not in revenge…
But now he battles one not of this earth,
One he was never intended to fight.
The outcome of revenge is never certain.

Benedict grew angrier with each word.
“Then will You not protect him from harm?”

I protect those whom I call to serve.
But you have called the Hound, so I should ask
Will you not protect him from harm?
The voice paused before adding,
He will be at the tobacconist’s shop.

Then all went dark, save for the moon’s light
Through the windows of the sanctuary.
The wolves, the trees, the mist, the altar,
The Presence… all vanished, save the Cardinal
Sprawled unconscious on the floor.
Benedict was motionless for but a moment;
Then he ran to the cell for a blanket
And the kitchen for the largest knife there.
Quickly he returned to cover the Cardinal,
Then he rushed desperately into the night.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chicklets

Little Barbie girls
Giggle as they cruise the mall,
Scampering around
With too much eye shadow and
Too little experience

They think they’ve grown-up
And moan that Mom can’t see it,
Not knowing that soon
They’ll be the blind mother hens
Worried about their own chicks

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Long Run

In memory of the victims of
The Boston Marathon bombing;
They truly are BostonStrong.

One foot in front of the other
Over and over
Again and again
The pain keeps building
As the minutes tick by
But the end is in sight
And they just won’t stop

One bomb explodes, then another
Heroes step forward
Who could have done this?
Two sprint from the pack
And the hours tick by
But the manhunt is on
And they just won’t stop

Determined, pursuers press
The pace behind them
For one, it’s too much
The other trembles
As the days tick by
But lawmen are coming
And they just won’t stop

The terror finally ends –
The fallen, revered
The heroes, honored
The grieving, consoled
As the years tick by
They’ll support each other
And they just won’t stop

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 31

“W-what do you mean?” Benedict stammered.
“Take my innocence – I offer it freely!”

He heard a sound that might have been a laugh…
Or might have been an expression of pity;
He couldn’t be sure. My poor foolish priest,
It said at last. A man who seeks revenge
Has lost his innocence. The innocent
Seek justice, not revenge… so you must choose.

“NO!” Benedict cried. “I only sought justice!”

He who seeks justice summons not the Hound;
He seeks the judge. The judge summons the Hound.
See how you fear to look upon Me now!
Like Adam, you seek a cover of figs…
And it is not enough. Your debt is due
But you lack the currency. Make your choice!

As the burden of his guilt came crashing down
Benedict began to shake from the weight.
His mind was near breaking when a loud thud
Made him jump. He jerked around and saw
The body of Cardinal Jarvik sprawled
On the chapel floor. Benedict hurried
Over to his body and rolled it over;
His eyes were wide with terror and his mouth
Moved constantly… but said nothing.
Drool trickled from his lips. Benedict shook
Him, spoke to him, yelled at him, and then
Slapped him. “Cardinal! What happened to you?”

At last Jarvik managed to speak. “E-vil,”
He said slowly, without emotion.
His eyes stared at nothing as he spoke –
Clipped words, no more. “Li-li-an. Ta-ken.
Send the wolf. He will know where.”
Suddenly his eyes widened. With great effort
He raised up on one elbow and grabbed
The front of the Father’s robe with one hand.
He pulled him close and gasped, “E-VIL!” And then
With one last breath the Cardinal released
Him and dropped to the floor, his eyes still wide.

As Benedict stared in shock at the body,
The voice spoke again. The debt is due. Choose.

He couldn’t speak. He just sat there and sobbed
Until another voice filled the abbey –
A weary voice, familiar yet steady.
“I will pay his debt. Just tell me where she is.”

Benedict looked up and saw Dietrich
Standing at the door of the sanctuary.
He shook his head and mouthed the word “no”
But Dietrich gave a single nod of his head

And the voice said, The debt is paid. Save her…
Save your town… save my poor foolish priest.
You are the Hound of Heaven and I send you.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Little Help from the French

I got by with a little help from the Beatles.

George Washington and Ben Franklin
discuss the American war efforts prior to
Franklin’s latest diplomatic appeal to
France’s King Louis XVI…

George: Ben, is it true? Tell me, what will we do?
The whole army’s awaiting its pay!
Our money’s all gone and they’ve waited so long
They could walk out on us any day!

Ben: Hey, we’ll get by with a little help from the French
No, they won't whine with a little help from the French
We'll be fine with a little help from the French

George: Why should they help? We’re no more than a whelp
While the French have existed for years.
Ben: King George is a twit – they don’t like him one bit
And they'll help just to pin back his ears!

Yeah, we’ll get by with a little help from the French
He’ll comply with a little help from the French
We’ll rely on a little help from the French

George: We can’t beat anybody!
Ben: The French want George the Third’s blood.
George: Our success has been spotty…
Ben: But France can give us a shove .

George: Are you so sure that a loan is the cure?
Ben: They’ll provide us with soldiers as well.
George: We’re gonna need guns or we’ll be overrun—
Ben: Hey, King Louie’s a pretty soft sell…

Look, we’ll get by with a little help from the French
We’ll be fine with a little help from the French
He’ll comply with a little help from the French
By July with a little help from the French
With a little help from the French!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Beware the Ides of April

The idea for this came from the
“Beware the ides of March” scene
In the play Julius Caesar by you-know-who.

The soothsayer? He wears a dark gray suit
With thick glasses, and he carries a briefcase.
As he shuffles along behind me people
Look away, as if diverting their eyes
Was some sort of defense against such evil.
His ominous whispers hang in the air:
“Beware! The day of reckoning is nigh!
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s
And do so with haste, lest the ides of April
Arrive and find you wanting. Yes, beware!”
My friend Brutus pooh-poohs my gloomy fears…
But he’s already filed his tax returns.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 30

As Dietrich tossed in restless semi-consciousness,
Benedict noticed a wispy mist filtering into the room.
At first he suspected fire. Already agitated,
He quickly began to panic and rushed into the hall.
The creeping mist did not behave as smoke.
It bounced along the hallway floor – not rising,
Giving off no heat, giving off no acrid odor.
His fear gave way to curiosity.
Cautiously but steadily he shuffled through the mist
Toward the double doors of the sanctuary.
They opened of their own accord.

He saw a faint glow – steady, unlike candlelight…
More like moonlight. Moonlight? In the church?
It shouldn’t be; the moon was but a crescent,
All but absent from the autumn sky,
And the stained glass of the Abbey
Should have dimmed what little light it shed.
“What witchery is this?” he asked out loud.
He heard no reply, no echo of his voice,
No indication Vaxen Abbey’s sanctuary
Stood at all behind those doors;
It sounded, it smelt, it felt like empty night
And he could not resist its pull.

Come, Benedict. Come.
Confess the revenge that fills your heart,
That fills the woods of Vaxen with your hate.
Come to me and seek forgiveness…
Seek the means to save your friend…
Seek the means to save Lilian.

The voice would not be refused, Benedict knew.
His feet carried his frightened soul
Into the darkness of the Abbey
Through the forest of revenge,
Past the roots of evil,
Into the lair of the beast he had summoned
And the ancient altar known only as
The Hunter’s Crossroad.

He knelt in that sacred grove,
Its pews sculpted from giant roots,
Facing the pillar of stones with its brazen altar cross.

You are summoned to our congregation, Benedict,
As you summoned the child Dietrich…

And now he saw the wolves.
The specters took their places and watched him,
Watched him with their glowing red eyes…
And waited.

Do you fear the wolves, Benedict?

Benedict shook uncontrollably,
Unable to lift his eyes to the cross before him,
Afraid he would find himself facing his judge
And be found guilty.

Speak to me, Benedict.

“Y-y-yes,” he stammered. “Yes, I f-fear them.”

And well you should, Benedict. Your folly is great:
You called upon powers not sought in ages,
For their purpose is beyond the wisdom of men;
You called upon those powers in ignorance,
Unaware of the price they would demand;
You called upon those powers in unbelief,
Because you trusted not My judgments;
And you called upon those powers in pride,
Believing yourself capable of such judgments.
The price of revenge is high, Benedict,
And you lack the currency to pay.

“But my Lord, I followed the ritual thoroughly!”
Benedict cried out. “What price did I leave unpaid?”

My foolish, foolish child, the voice replied sadly.
To summon the Hound of Heaven
And unleash him upon the evil in the land
Leaves the gate to the Abyss unattended.
An unspeakable evil has escaped, and he will not return easily.
The price of revenge is innocence, and payment is due.
Choose you now the debtor –
Will your friend Dietrich pay the price, or will Miss Lilian?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our Chips Are Grilled

The Go-Gos song Our Lips Are Sealed
Redone as a promo for a fast food place.

Yeah we sear them!
With chips it’s a must –
Crispy fries
Made before your eyes!
Can’t you see them,
How we brown them?
They’ve got appeal,
Spiced with a hint of dill…
Don’t you listen to what they say
When they advertise “fries your way" –
Our chips are grilled!

Oil’s a weapon
The others use;
The taste is dense,
The fat congeals.
Don’t you stop for them!
Drive right through them!
That’s when your choice is clear;
You’ll find us right here…
Don’t you listen to what they say
When they advertise “fries your way" –
Their chips aren’t grilled!
Pay no mind to what they say
They don’t crisp ‘em up our way…
Our chips are grilled!

Try our startlingly
Tasty fries –
Grilled by angels,
They’re light inside!

Yeah we sear them!
With chips it’s a must –
Crispy fries
Made before your eyes!
Can’t you see them,
How we brown them?
They’ve got appeal,
Spiced with a hint of dill…
Don’t you listen to what they say
When they advertise “fries your way" –
Our chips are grilled!
Pay no mind to what they say
They don’t crisp ‘em up our way…
Our chips are grilled…
Our chips are grilled…
Yeah, our chips are grilled!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Predestined to Choose (8.7.8.7.D)

I haven’t done a hymn meter poem
in quite some time. For this one
I chose 8.7.8.7.D (the D means the
entire pattern repeats), which is
a common meter for many hymn tunes.
In this case I chose a tune
called Nettleton, used for the hymn
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.

Is my future predetermined
Or is my will truly free?
Does God choose the path I follow
Or is that left up to me?
Does He send me into trouble
Or are my mistakes my own?
These are questions worth exploring
Though they may be overblown.

Pondering the repercussions
May appear a little tough
But this thorny proposition,
Once considered, is a bluff:
We don’t like to say we messed up
So our motive’s pretty plain –
If it’s God Who does the choosing
We can make Him take the blame!

Free will and predestination
Aren’t so hard to understand:
Even though He knows the future,
WE don’t know His master plan.
We still have to make decisions
Without knowing what will come…
If you want to claim the good calls,
Saying “God” chose bad is DUMB!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 29

This scene is a pivotal scene in the story,
a scene that explains much of what has gone before.
It's taking me a while to figure out exactly
how to present it, so this opening segment is fairly short.
----------------------------------

The Father fell against the Abbey’s door
and gasped for breath. He’d never run this hard
before; he dropped, exhausted, to one knee…
and yet he knew the pounding in his chest
came more from fear than any mere exertion.
He forced himself to rise. Through gritted teeth
he heard his breath – great hissing bursts of air;
ragged, angry, mirroring the pure rage
he felt as his weakness impeded his
efforts to get to Dietrich. Foolish man!
What had he been thinking? What had he done?

At last he forced his way inside the Abbey.
He stumbled down the hallway to his cell…
and there lay Dietrich, curled into a ball
and moaning on the cot. The Father crouched
beside him; Dietrich’s shirt was soaked.
A film of clammy sweat coated his brow.
He wondered… was it just a fever dream?

Then Dietrich, still unconscious, shoved his hand
toward the Father with an anguished grunt.
Caught by surprise, Benedict lost his balance
and sat down hard. Then he saw Dietrich’s hand –
his left hand – palm spread wide just inches from
his face. The paw tattoo was swollen, blood red,
almost aglow with superhuman power.

The Father scrambled back and crossed himself,
then started weeping. “Sweet Mother of God!”
he cried. “Forgive me, Dietrich. Forgive me!”

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Steamboat Willie

Used the classic tanka form for this one.
In case you don’t know the history,
Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse
to replace Oswald the Lucky Rabbit,
who turned out to be unlucky
when it came to ownership rights.
The Disney Company finally reclaimed
Oswald in 2006 – basically an exchange for
sportscaster Al Michaels’s contract.

The black-and-white mouse
Hit it big before color…
But he made Walt rich
Too late to save the rabbit
From the custody battle

Monday, April 1, 2013

Stake Dinner

It’s twilight. Jonathan and Mina Harker
Plan to join Van Helsing for a bite –
A ruse! Van Helsing’s plan could not be starker;
She’s the bait for Dracula tonight.
They know she’s fallen to the Count’s control
And now, unless they act with haste, she’ll turn –
And with her death, her own immortal soul
Condemned for all eternity will burn.

So as the monster calls her to his side
They circle ‘round behind him; though this pair
Have no clue where he lays his undead hide
At morning’s light, right now they just don’t care…
Their hunger for revenge is next to none;
They shishkabob him through the back. Well done!