Understanding

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“Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came”

By Robert Browning

1     My first thought was, he lied in every word,
2         That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
3         Askance to watch the working of his lie
4     On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
5     Suppression of the glee that pursed and scored
6         Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby.

7     What else should he be set for, with his staff?
8         What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
9         All travellers who might find him posted there,
10   And ask the road? I guessed what skull-like laugh
11   Would break, what crutch ‘gin write my epitaph
12       For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare,

13   If at his counsel I should turn aside
14       Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
15       Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly
16   I did turn as he pointed: neither pride
17   Nor hope rekindling at the end descried,
18       So much as gladness that some end might be.

19   For, what with my whole world-wide wandering,
20       What with my search drawn out thro’ years, my hope
21       Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
22   With that obstreperous joy success would bring,
23   I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
24       My heart made, finding failure in its scope.

25   As when a sick man very near to death
26       Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end
27       The tears and takes the farewell of each friend,
28   And hears one bid the other go, draw breath
29   Freelier outside (“since all is o’er,” he saith,
30       “And the blow fallen no grieving can amend”;)

31   While some discuss if near the other graves
32       Be room enough for this, and when a day
33       Suits best for carrying the corpse away,
34   With care about the banners, scarves and staves:
35   And still the man hears all, and only craves
36       He may not shame such tender love and stay.

37   Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest,
38       Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
39       So many times among “The Band”–to wit,
40   The knights who to the Dark Tower’s search addressed
41   Their steps–that just to fail as they, seemed best,
42       And all the doubt was now–should I be fit?

43   So, quiet as despair, I turned from him,
44       That hateful cripple, out of his highway
45       Into the path he pointed. All the day
46   Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
47   Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
48       Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.

49   For mark! no sooner was I fairly found
50       Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,
51       Than, pausing to throw backward a last view
52   O’er the safe road, ’twas gone; grey plain all round:
53   Nothing but plain to the horizon’s bound.
54       I might go on; nought else remained to do.

55   So, on I went. I think I never saw
56       Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
57       For flowers–as well expect a cedar grove!
58   But cockle, spurge, according to their law
59   Might propagate their kind, with none to awe,
60         You’d think; a burr had been a treasure-trove.

61   No! penury, inertness and grimace,
62       In some strange sort, were the land’s portion. “See
63       Or shut your eyes,” said Nature peevishly,
64   “It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
65   ‘Tis the Last Judgment’s fire must cure this place,
66       Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.”

67   If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk
68       Above its mates, the head was chopped; the bents
69       Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
70   In the dock’s harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to baulk
71   All hope of greenness? ’tis a brute must walk
72       Pashing their life out, with a brute’s intents.

73   As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair
74       In leprosy; thin dry blades pricked the mud
75       Which underneath looked kneaded up with blood.
76   One stiff blind horse, his every bone a-stare,
77   Stood stupefied, however he came there:
78       Thrust out past service from the devil’s stud!

79   Alive? he might be dead for aught I know,
80       With that red gaunt and colloped neck a-strain,
81       And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane;
82   Seldom went such grotesqueness with such woe;
83   I never saw a brute I hated so;
84       He must be wicked to deserve such pain.

85   I shut my eyes and turned them on my heart.
86       As a man calls for wine before he fights,
87       I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights,
88   Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.
89   Think first, fight afterwards–the soldier’s art:
90       One taste of the old time sets all to rights.

91   Not it! I fancied Cuthbert’s reddening face
92       Beneath its garniture of curly gold,
93       Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold
94   An arm in mine to fix me to the place
95   That way he used. Alas, one night’s disgrace!
96       Out went my heart’s new fire and left it cold.

97   Giles then, the soul of honour–there he stands
98       Frank as ten years ago when knighted first.
99       What honest men should dare (he said) he durst.
100 Good–but the scene shifts–faugh! what hangman hands
101 In to his breast a parchment? His own bands
102     Read it. Poor traitor, spit upon and curst!

103 Better this present than a past like that;
104     Back therefore to my darkening path again!
105     No sound, no sight as far as eye could strain.
106 Will the night send a howlet or a bat?
107 I asked: when something on the dismal flat
108     Came to arrest my thoughts and change their train.

109 A sudden little river crossed my path
110     As unexpected as a serpent comes.
111     No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms;
112 This, as it frothed by, might have been a bath
113 For the fiend’s glowing hoof–to see the wrath
114     Of its black eddy bespate with flakes and spumes.

115 So petty yet so spiteful! All along
116     Low scrubby alders kneeled down over it;
117     Drenched willows flung them headlong in a fit
118 Of mute despair, a suicidal throng:
119 The river which had done them all the wrong,
120     Whate’er that was, rolled by, deterred no whit.

121 Which, while I forded,–good saints, how I feared
122     To set my foot upon a dead man’s cheek,
123     Each step, or feel the spear I thrust to seek
124 For hollows, tangled in his hair or beard!
125 –It may have been a water-rat I speared,
126     But, ugh! it sounded like a baby’s shriek.

127 Glad was I when I reached the other bank.
128     Now for a better country. Vain presage!
129     Who were the strugglers, what war did they wage,
130 Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank
131 Soil to a plash? Toads in a poisoned tank,
132     Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage–

133 The fight must so have seemed in that fell cirque.
134     What penned them there, with all the plain to choose?
135     No foot-print leading to that horrid mews,
136 None out of it. Mad brewage set to work
137 Their brains, no doubt, like galley-slaves the Turk
138     Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews.

139 And more than that–a furlong on–why, there!
140     What bad use was that engine for, that wheel,
141     Or brake, not wheel–that harrow fit to reel
142 Men’s bodies out like silk? with all the air
143 Of Tophet’s tool, on earth left unaware,
144     Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.

145 Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood,
146     Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere earth
147     Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth,
148 Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood
149 Changes and off he goes!) within a rood–
150     Bog, clay and rubble, sand and stark black dearth.

151 Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim,
152     Now patches where some leanness of the soil’s
153     Broke into moss or substances like boils;
154 Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him
155 Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim
156     Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils.

157 And just as far as ever from the end!
158     Nought in the distance but the evening, nought
159     To point my footstep further! At the thought,
160 A great black bird, Apollyon’s bosom-friend,
161 Sailed past, nor beat his wide wing dragon-penned
162     That brushed my cap–perchance the guide I sought.

163 For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,
164     ‘Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place
165     All round to mountains–with such name to grace
166 Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view.
167 How thus they had surprised me,–solve it, you!
168     How to get from them was no clearer case.

169 Yet half I seemed to recognise some trick
170     Of mischief happened to me, God knows when–
171     In a bad dream perhaps. Here ended, then,
172 Progress this way. When, in the very nick
173 Of giving up, one time more, came a click
174     As when a trap shuts–you’re inside the den!

175 Burningly it came on me all at once,
176     This was the place! those two hills on the right,
177     Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight;
178 While to the left, a tall scalped mountain . . . Dunce,
179 Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
180     After a life spent training for the sight!

181 What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
182     The round squat turret, blind as the fool’s heart
183     Built of brown stone, without a counterpart
184 In the whole world. The tempest’s mocking elf
185 Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf
186     He strikes on, only when the timbers start.

187 Not see? because of night perhaps?–why, day
188     Came back again for that! before it left,
189     The dying sunset kindled through a cleft:
190 The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay
191 Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay,–
192     “Now stab and end the creature–to the heft!”

193 Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
194     Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
195     Of all the lost adventurers my peers,–
196 How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
197 And such was fortunate, yet each of old
198     Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.

199 There they stood, ranged along the hillsides, met
200     To view the last of me, a living frame
201     For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
202 I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
203 Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
204     And blew. “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.

 

 

I am not a “Professional” I lack the training and the patients in a lot of ways to consider myself that. I AM a monkey fucking a football, but because that description applies to so many of us stumbling our way through life, admitting it, hopefully makes me something the average person can relate to more than a “Professional” could ever be. I think that’s why I tend to be more fond of Social Workers rather than Psychologists. Their training is more rounded and having seen many of both, in my experience and observation Social Workers come at it from a more Human perspective, more caring perspective it seems, than do psychologists.

I fuck up, like everyone does. Much of what you read here is the cynical views of someone who has had the ever living shit kicked out of them. In a post from this past Summer, I state that I am a bastard, not for the novelty of it, not out of a sense of vengeance against the world, but because only a bastard COULD come back from the pit I got myself into. This wasn’t long ago, only a couple months, I would not face trial until August 19th and was only sentenced to probation literally a little over a week ago,  As much as I have done to bounce back from my ordeal, in many ways it’s still fresh, still raw, still bleeding like a bitch. It’s hard to see allies when so many turned away, hard to see decency, when so many use it just to get what they fucking want, BUT ironically enough, it’s hard to see the pain of another, as any less suspect as the ones who fuck you up and mean to. I don’t want to be Childe Roland, the truth is, when so much shit looks the same you won’t find that fucking tower, because the river of shit is so long and deep that there can be no end in sight. 😀 Just a wheel that keeps turning. ( And yes, you will find that The Spirit Realm stories I do are in many ways inspired by The Dark Tower Series, but hey I’ve only been reading Stephen King since I was eight years old, so go figure.)

I told someone that I could never BE perfection, but I will always try to be my BEST. Something so much more easier said then done, especially when you JUST get to a place where you can bring yourself to be DIRECT about shit, only to wind up in a situation where that is not a strength but a weakness. I got with my sister tonight and several things were discussed.  I am starting a daily segment here on the blog, most of you may not get it but that’s fine it’s actually a truce and a bit of a puzzle game. It will be a visual sequence of pictures that say something. I’m doing it because some people have a harder time than others communicating, and hence have their own unique language, I want to TRY to be more understanding of that. We all have our battles, being the better person who understood that in light of my own was the reason I started this blog in the first place. So Yeah, I STILL fuck up, but the important thing is to try to overcome that. I’ll go ahead and start and say this is a picture of my mother Arliss Renee Mullens Workman, she died when I was 11 years old on March 18th 1990. I haven’t said a great deal about my past beyond the last few years, and I don’t HAVE many pictures myself, so some could probably wonder if I didn’t just spring from a crack in the Earth a full grown asshole. 😀 It took time, after her death, I went for seven years very seldom ever coming out of my room except for school. In many ways there is not a whole lot that could be learned of me because I  became a Goddamn void for so long, my sister who is part of Team BIG CAT is going to help me fill in those gaps, it’s the least I can do. 😀 Peace, -Love BIG CAT ( You’ll turn my ass from Sith to Jedi yet.)

 

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1964 at the age of 18

Summer 1989

Summer 1989

I know some of you are probably reading half this shit and thinking Oh My God! What’s wrong with this dude? To which my only answer I have listed your answer along with each time period that they took effect, to show how the shit just kept piling on. Put yourself in my position. 16 year relationship, 8 of those years were a marriage coming to a bitter close.  Facing a felony charge as an outsider, in a small town court system. ( What I haven’t gotten around to explaining yet is how my case just got shunted off to 3 three public defenders, so that damn near every time I went to their office I had to explain every fucking thing all over again. Oh yeah A riverbank was my bed for awhile too. and even more that I have not come to. I dare you not to be pissed at the whole fucking world, or not blow your brains out when the devil on your left shoulder looks to the angel on your right and all it can do is wince and shrug like “This is bad, I don’t have shit for you.” None of that’s the point. The point is… FUCK IT just read this.

 

Do you ever wonder what makes people feel alone? In my experience it’s fear of being judged, we have this inane idea in our heads that it is some kind of MORTAL SIN to admit when you miss a step, you know, call yourself by the title human. OOOOOO Scary ain’t it? We try so hard to hide that shit when there isn’t any way, we’re really just fooling ourselves and all out of worry of what others might think. If we ever pulled our heads out of our asses long enough to stop running around like fucking chickens with their heads cut off, we might actually see that we are ALL running around like fucking chickens with our heads cut off. As it stands we can say EVERYONE has their issues, that you are not the only one dealing with fallout from a fuck up you made. But we don’t hold it in our hearts do we? Very few take the risk that would make them something the average fucking person could relate to because no one wants that target on their back. As such we find ourselves shocked when that person who smiles at us and laughs at our jokes to our faces, goes behind a locked door and puts a shotgun in their mouths, because, we never saw it coming. Last year I made a choice, however unpopular it may have been. I got sick of being in the dark corner I ALLOWED myself to be kept in (and by my own choice as well not just my ex wife’s doing.) I said fuck it and jumped in about the biggest fucking bonfire I could find. (Because I’m me, I can’t do any fucking thing the easy way.) I told you that you were going to hate me or you were going to love me, but there was not going to be ANOTHER in my life who could say they did not KNOW me. I’m a man of my word. I have since OPENLY talked about legal issues, divorce, you got the blow by blow of my long walk that landed me in the hospital, you got my reflections on everything from psych meds, to love, to family, what I care about and stand for, what pisses me off to no end, what I geek on, when I fuck up majorly and in goofy ass ways, Hell I even turned my homeless stint into a fucking Mr. Rogers educational field trip just to show you what the other side lives like. For that choice I made, I have taken shit from family, friends, care bears who can’t grasp that light without dark is JUST as blinding as PITCH BLACK, assholes who wanted an excuse to hate me so they could go on believing they weren’t pieces of shit for turning away. For all intents and purposes I have offered my life in Truman Show fashion, because despite what some may think is negative about the choice I made, there might be a few out there reading this who actually feel better about someone being willing to open up enough to that degree, that they really do get that they are not the only ones suffering through day to day life, or have sadness or anger issues while dealing with it. People need people they can honestly relate to and it does work best when it is someone they know, someone they know they can turn to, so they don’t have to feel alone. It isn’t nor should it be taboo to want to be there for the people who need to know that it is ALRIGHT to be human.

 

You see I have come out the other side of all this bullshit and have reached that point where the only way I can even make any of it make sense to me is to use it for others like me. You will see how that came about too in this ongoing narrative, but right now I would like to go ahead state a purpose for this blog beyond just what you have just read. Let me state once more YES I will pimp my other writings on here, you see volunteer stuff is great but I’m not that financially stable yet, at least I’m not begging without having put the work in already. 😀 However the bigger this blog itself becomes I will be looking into running unobtrusive ads for others on here, the money received from that as well as what ever work from the blog itself I want to publish and sell will go into a fund to help those in need, people like I was during this bullshit. This blog, as venomous as it might read at times is meant as my way of giving back to the people who need that understanding the most.