Monday, October 03, 2011

Three Poem Drafts

Death of Brutus

From Abydos to farther shore
the army waited there to cross,
but night was come and full of sleep
they breathed till morning's dawn;
yet Brutus, who beyond all men
could sleep's temptations shake,
alone sat thinking of his future deeds.
A rustle caught his thoughtful ear,
a breeze perhaps, or owl -- but no --
for at the tent-door stood a form
like unto man, or corpse, or wraith.
And Brutus said: "Who may you be?"
Then said the form: "At Philippi
shall you and I again cross paths."
"Then I shall see you," Brutus said.
And after time had passed he came
to Philippi against the force
of Antony, Octavian,
and all their allies; there he fought
with valor on the battlefield
and won, and sacked the other camp.
But night had come; he planning still
to fight again in morning light,
the form again was shown to him.
No word it spoke, and yet he heard.
The morning came, his army fought,
and lost, and, routed, fled the field,
but Brutus drew instead aside
to rocky place, and took his sword,
and pressed it to his beating chest;
the sword went in, impressed with will
by Brutus' hand, and Caesar's hand.

I Love You Well, but then I Would Say That

I love you well, but then I would say that:
incentive for those words I have in spades,
so you'd be in your right to wonder what I'm at
when I declare a love that will not fade,
and ask who pays the piper, what motive hides,
what sly agenda calls my voice's tune,
whenever I say your eye can overthrow my pride
or ever I promise you all the stars and moon.
And guilty I confess myself to be, it's true,
for I would say such things to feel the bliss
that comes from seeing smiles shine from you
or feel caress of hand or brush of kiss.
I want these things -- you see I do not lie --
and out of want such words will come unbid:
they out a mouth unwilling freely fly,
nor can my will return them to be hid.
In wanting you, such foolish words will come,
or else I must stand silent, mute, and dumb.

No, I Do Not Love You

No, I do not love you, no matter how you try
to read it in the happiness of some unguarded sigh,
or in my doing all for you each minute, hour, day,
until the world is over or I finally come to die--
no, love this thing is not, no matter what you say.

No, I do not love you, you foolish, foolish girl;
you must not call it love when I make you all my world,
or when in sleep I sigh at some memory of your name,
or when a kiss from you makes all my insides whirl --
you may call it love, but I swear it's not the same.


  1. Arsen Darnay8:18 AM

    I'm taken with the clear, sharp narrative power of Death of Brutus, wonderfully blended with the poetic execution. You do insist on calling these drafts, Brandon, so let me propose that the last word in that poem should be "own" rather than "hand"...

  2. branemrys9:22 AM

    The 'hand' does indeed seem a little weak.

  3. Brigitte1:00 PM

    Your poetry speaks vibrantly to me.  I would very much enjoy to have all your poem "drafts" and others.  Would you consider such an anthology?

  4. branemrys3:22 PM

    I've actually been working on putting together something, at least for the poems of the first five or six years of Siris; it's just a matter of finding the time. I'm hoping that I can get it done at some point in the next few months.

  5. Catherine Hodge8:46 AM

    I agree. We need an anthology.


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