Death’s Court

–by: R S Jacobs

The ashen soil is littered with broken, discarded hilts.
The earth and stone are spattered with darkened, disheartened stains.
Blood-scarlet moonlight descends as arrows cease their falling.
No lofty goal is fought for; all herein indulging guilt.
Each of us fights our battles all alone; surviving pain.
But I am still here, resolved, to finish this damned calling.tomb, stone tomb, underground tomb, tomb of the kings, Cyprus, Paphos

I fight alone
I fight alone
No allies, no support
I stand alone
I stand alone
No backup, no cohort
This is my own
This is my own
My audience – death’s court.

When the battle began, I thought I had an army.
I stood a chance, I could prevail, with them on my side.
Evil would fall, victory won, the day would be mine.
But this force was beset with lies; they would betray me.
And those who stayed were not enough; each one turned aside
For their interests prevailed, and mine were just left behind.

I live alone
I live alone
No loving, no good night
I die alone
I die alone
No gravestone, only spite
This is my own
This is my own
My audience – death’s court.

I fight alone
No allies, no support
I stand alone
No backup, no cohort
I live alone
No loving, no good night
I die alone
No gravestone, only spite
This is my own…

My audience – death’s court.


For Want of Magic Thread

In A Dream (For Want Of Magic Thread)[1]

by: RS Jacobs

I dream of what I have never witnessed,

Such dreams as I have not heard of before;

A world where I may shoot flame from my fist,

Or else one of pure light and bright color.

elephant painting, tree painting, art, paintingI fly adorned in light angel’s plumage,

Then fall into Dante’s circles of doom.[2]

My mind then shifts to twisted homage,

With my rich crop caught in temptress’ vile loom.[3]

Beasts hide in my mind to cruelly conspire;

Will I from this nightmare ever egress?

If I cannot escape this foul mind’s mire,

Then I will not ever in life progress.

If all is as my mind makes these things seem,

I have great doubt I will escape this dream.

–RSJacobs 2011

[1] This is a reference to the story of Theseus and Ariadne, in which Theseus must navigate Daedalus’ labyrinth to slay the Minotaur, then find his way out. Daedalus built the labyrinth so confusingly that he himself nearly failed to escape. When Theseus was challenged to this daunting task, Ariadne gave him a skein of enchanted thread that would show him the way out.

[2] Dante Alighieri, writer of the Divine Comedy – Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. In the story of Inferno, Dante travels through the Nine Circles of Hell.

[3] This refers to the Biblical story of Samson and Delilah, in which Delilah wished to know the source of Samson’s supernatural strength and how to remove that power. Samson lied to her, saying that weaving his hair into a loom would drain him of all his strength.

Tiresome Visions

by: RS Jacobs

September 2011


He sat there, like so many of his porcine relations before him. Ensconced in polished brown safety, he stared straight ahead. There before him, glowing in brilliant light, was everything he cared to know about, and so much more. Looking ahead as he did, he took on the power of the Fates themselves. He could peer into the past, study the present world, and even discover the future. But there was more; he need not stop at observations of the fabric of time. He could observe, in a distant fashion, the private lives of his fellow man. Struggles, victories, sorrows; all were laid bare to his all-seeing eye. In mere moments, he could journey from forest, to desert, to the depths of space. This was his telescope and grabbing claw to every universe — all in one.

At his left hand sat a sampling of the fountain of youth, an elixir of immortality. It hissed audibly, seemingly seething with the energies of life itself. At his right, manna from Heaven; the odor so rich, it could be said one partook of it with the nose, rather than the mouth. Every now and then, he would take it upon himself to enjoy a taste of these culinary riches of unfathomable worth, then to sigh the sigh of a man liberated from his heavy load. With the world before him, and life on either side, this was no man who graced this place with his presence, but a king.

Without diverting his gaze from the wonders that darted about his eyes, this king of mammon reached, grasped, and finally closed a meaty hand around the weapon of his choice: black in color, smoother than river stones, and studded with glory, but no larger than a wizard’s wand. Despite the size of the thing, the incalculable power of this weapon could end whole worlds, then bring them back as if they had never left. This rod of power could seize the reins of time, and seize them it did. He used this tool of devastation to suspend all time as it stood, so he could observe the finer details, then all resumed as if uninterrupted.

The king was satisfied with the rod’s performance, and it was returned to its place. In its stead, he took up a tome endowed with the brown recliner, recliners, chairs, living roomknowledge rivaling the Oracle of Delphi. For beyond even the power at the king’s disposal, was the wisdom of the tome. Details on its silky pages foretold things that even the king had yet to see, but that he would in time. Sights yet unseen, sounds yet unheard — that was the realm of this tome of infinity. The king studied its pages closely, taking his attention from the light for a few brief moments, to discern the nature of his inbound premonitions.

But what the king saw distressed him greatly. A dark expression twisted his corpulent face, and the tome was closed and set aside. Taking on a countenance most pensive, he stroked his grizzled chin and sat in deep thought. Reactions to what he had seen raced through his head like hunting falcons. But this pondering only brought him to realize the gravity of his findings, and his hand rose to his face, as if to keep it from falling off. The king thought of all he had observed, and of the feeling most satisfying brought to his body by the food and drink. He contemplated the power of the black rod, and the untapped prescience of the prophetic tome. When he could take no more, the black rod was brought up again, and the flashing lights and echoing sounds were dismissed. He closed his eyes, exhaled a slow, deep breath, and said,

wand, remote control, TV, television, watching TV

            “Five hundred channels, and nothing on.”

What is it?

What is it
That drives and halts the soul?
What is it
That mends and breaks the heart?
What is it
That draws the winds of change
And brings them as but a breeze to some,
And yet a storm to others?

Is it Literature? The written word?
That sprawling, scrawling, inky text unheard?
Shakespeare, Elliot, Browning, Poe, Doyle?
Is the written word the mortal coil?
It could be argued by the greater men
Of our time, that a word can do you in.
But a word bears no power of its own.
It needs man’s mind to become fully grown.

Is it Culture? Is it politicians?
That inspires the called to their missions?
Churchill, Washington, Hitler, Gandhi, no.
The ebbing waves of culture come and go.
But if not culture, well, what is it then?
What drives the most essential life of men?
It cannot be found in the written word,
And it was not by man that man occurred.

What makes the blood boil?
For what does man toil?
What mends and breaks the heart?
Not math, science, or art.
What destroys the past without fail,
And makes the future just a tale?
The winds of change, the sands of time,
A word of reason or of rhyme.

Man does not
Drive or halt the soul.
Man does not
Mend or break the heart.
Man does not
Draw the winds of change.
He can’t make them but a breeze to some,
And yet a storm to others.
Gilded in armor of light,
Our answer is just in sight.
Do you know the Answer?

Safeguarding Joy

butterfly, butterfly garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand, orchid farm, monarch

Photo taken at orchid farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

How can you appreciate the sweet fragrance of joy, without first wrinkling your nose at the acrid smell of sorrow?

True happiness can be found in a joyous moment; there is no doubt of that.

But to know the true bliss of being deeply and genuinely joyful, you must first feel the hollow, dull ache of unrelenting sorrow.

This is not to say that sorrow is happiness, or that happiness could not exist without it.

Rather, it is after sorrow that joy becomes so real.

After the crushing darkness of despair, you can see that joy as the indefinite, energizing force it really is.

Happiness isn’t the cheap and temporary thrill of a new toy or a great meal.

True happiness is knowing that, despite all the difficulties of life,

one may cherish the good memories,

safeguard the joy of the present,

and look forward to the bliss that destiny holds.