Original Poem: "Never Poke a Rough Beast from the Past" with Commentary

Updated on August 10, 2019
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, & Mr. Malcolm Sedam's creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my interest.

Angry Mold Man

Source

Introduction and Text of "Never Poke a Rough Beast from the Past"

How many times in our lives have we metaphorically "dodged a bullet"? Probably more than we wish to count. It is human nature to do all we can to forget about the bad past, live for a pleasant today, and create a good future. Sometimes, however, while counting our blessings, we might be reminded of things in our past that we wish we had never done and people we wished we had never met. Of course, as the old saw goes, "Hindsight is 20/20."

Once we can view the past from a good safe distant in the future, we can breathe a sigh of relief that things were not any worse than they were. For example, suppose you went through a period of time engaging in a relationship with a truly nasty person, yet at the time you thought s/he was swell, fun, and even kind. Somehow, by the grace of God, you managed to escape the clutches of that ghastly, foul-smelling person, and then from a good distance you could look back see what a terribly immoral, wicked, and utterly duplicitous individual that person was.

The advice given in this piece comes from an attempt to reconnect with such a mendacious, grotesque individual. After one has forgiven bad behavior, one would possibly refriend such a person, as long as the relationship remained a distant one, possibly based simply on some shared interest such as literature, politics, or coin-collecting. However, if that individual then raised his/her dirty fist against you, you would be of the mind that one should "never poke a rough beast from the past," or s/he might turn against you and rend you to pieces.

Never Poke a Rough Beast from the Past

Never poke a rough beast from the past:
Likely, you will find yourself ambling
Among tombstones in the rain
Through a ramshackle garden
From which you fled
So many years ago.

Out of that moldy drizzle, you emerged.
Into healing waves, you progressed.
From a death-star specter, into the life-breathing spirit,
You returned, grateful that the Unsensed Force
Had directed your return home,
Where poetry could spray forth in joy.

Never poke a rough beast from the past,
Unless you are willing to be singed
By the bile spewing through his forked tongue.
Unleashing his aggressions, he is rabid
To strangle you with his tangled verbiage,
To erase you as he covets your triumphs.

Never poke a rough beast from the past—
The present will secure your future
As you walk in Spirit.

Mold Man in Art 1

Source

Commentary

Making poetry out of mistakes likely constitutes the bulk of the confessional lot of poetry. Versification and drama offer the soul a place to flutter about as it approaches the landing field of light. As a poem seeks its depth, it takes on profundity for the sake of all who visit, at the same time it entertains mind and heart.

First Versagraph: The Same Snake

Never poke a rough beast from the past:
Likely, you will find yourself ambling
Among tombstones in the rain
Through a ramshackle garden
From which you fled
So many years ago.

You poked. He recoiled, and struck. Why? Because he is the same snake you ran from years ago. You could continue but you are not that stupid. You do not want to find your heart and mind scuttling along dead briars on the way to perdition. Tell the garden to calm its hemlock. Brains in the rain can become smooth. Harbors in the dust can split rocks but think no longer on the "rough beast"—the past is a dead letter.

That snake of lazy desires was jealous of all you possessed. His poverty inducing habits sucked and sniveled, split his brain into marbles of sidewalk chalk in the rain. Amble on. But do not ramble in the shade too long. Move on. Dot your eyes and cover your tees with the branches of forgiveness. Krishna is blue and you will die on the same branch where His sacred soul moved on to Heaven.

Second Versagraph: Mr. Mold Man

Out of that moldy drizzle, you emerged.
Into healing waves, you progressed.
From a death-star specter, into the life-breathing spirit,
You returned, grateful that the Unsensed Force
Had directed your return home,
Where poetry could spray forth in joy.

Hell, yes—it is you against him and his cursed memory! Rain is life-giving unless the life it is giving has forgotten itself. Mold is a smell you will remember. Mold on his jacket, in his hair, in his eyes, covering his ears, moving through his fingers, sliding down his back, entwining his legs with mold—the nearly visible smell of mold.

Why did he smell of mold and somehow I did not notice? No, I did notice, but instead of looking, I just overlooked. Over-smelled, as it were. Yes, he smelled like mold. One of this bimbos described his smell as like her grandmother's house—no, dear, unless your granny's house was full of mold.

Thank you, "Unsensed Force," from delivering me from that left-behind coast, as I traveled back on the bus, I lucked out not to be arrested for the pot in my purse. A two day trip, stopping at cafés for meals. Two days without a shower, without a bed, without a word from a loved one! But the sunshine is that I was escaping the mold, the moldy, un-Godly moldy mold?

The joy of leaving a mold-infested, subhuman, snake-like man is enough to brighten my heart any time I happen to think back. Of course, I will soon not need to be thinking back. You, Mr. Mold Man, are dead to me, dead to me, dead to me. And one day soon when the last cell of my brain jumps on that thought with both feet, I will leave forever any last thought of the Mold Man, that sucking, sickening mold man, who'll be burning, burning his Mold like a pile of autumn leaves that has a hard time catching fire but once they do, they are gone, up in smoke.

Third Versagraph: Verbal Garbage

Never poke a rough beast from the past,
Unless you are willing to be singed
By the bile spewing through his forked tongue.
Unleashing his aggressions, he is rabid
To strangle you with his tangled verbiage,
To erase you as he covets your triumphs.

No one willingly brings on and abides the shifting mental state of the wicked, who promulgate havoc with their very beings. No one endures long the "bile spewing" filthy tongue of the vile aggressive bloated egomaniac. No one can miss the danger of being strangled by the grab-bag of putrid tendrils stringing from the faithless brains of the lying liars of the world.

They will strike at your heart and mind, as they aim their venom at your soul. Your soul was not made to be singed in the acid of dark hearts, steeped in blackened minds that ramble in the sewers of hell. They will spike their own adrenalin to spite your creativity, which they pine and supine on the bricks of their jealousy. They are brewing a brain stew poisoned laced and blackguarded.

No one willingly covets erasure at the hands of the devil's own spawn. No one willingly relinquishes accomplishments and singular triumphs to the rump wind of luciferian subterfuge. Playing in the valleys of despair wipes clean the chalked slate of promiscuity. The soul will shine, will shine, will shine under the sun of love, trust, hope, and faith—those same qualities that Mold Man mocks and mistrusts as he goes malingering in the darkness and stench of sex-lust and smash-mouthed doggerel.

Fourth Versagraph: Making a Spiritual Effort Now

Never poke a rough beast from the past—
The present will secure your future
As you walk in Spirit.

The future is secure for the one walking in faith. Leaving all rough beasts in the past where they belong, leaving the poking stick to the blazing fires of calmness, leaving all thoughts of rough beasts in the realm of burning might, leaving every stick of darkness to the bold fires of heaven, leaving the left-minded, brittle-brained Mold Man to his special place in Hades—all that leaving makes you both secure in the way of Zen: "The Way is not the way" means my way is not your way, Mold Man!

What the Mold Man does not know, he will learn after he begins to clean the mold from his fevered mind, clean the mold from his tortured heart, clean the mold from his beleaguered soul. Let him poke himself to a roused spectacle of disease, where he may become free at last. And for yourself, learn this lesson well: never poke a rough beast from the past.

Mold Man Cartoon

Source

Postmods Celebrate Mold

© 2018 Linda Sue Grimes

Comments

Submit a Comment
  • Maya Shedd Temple profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Sue Grimes 

    6 weeks ago from U.S.A.

    Thank you, Lori! I have close to a hundred poems posted at Medium. Blessings to you!

  • lambservant profile image

    Lori Colbo 

    18 months ago from Pacific Northwest

    I loved your poem Sue, I would like to see more. Lovely. The message I could so relate to. Dredging up the past is a poor exercise of time, and angst. Blessings.

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