HALLOWED SWAMP

Ghost of a song
Echoing down dirt lanes
Ectoplasming past my tin home
Dead-ended in the swamp
Classical Spanish music
Evolving into Flamenco
Three in the morning
More dangerous than midnight
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Proclaims it the ruling of lungs
Emergency Medical Services
Named it the heart attack hour
Both are right

Call and response
Tenor guitar slung on my shoulder
Wisp of a ghost, maybe two
No fear from me
I strum with the shadows
Exercising my lungs
In the dark, I sing
That moment
That moment one’s percussive heart
Keeps time with the melody
Music taking wing
Jolted by the strings
Controlled by invisible fingers
Chords seducing their
Gaggles of ghosts
Who suddenly surge
Down the road, into the muck

Last Quarter Moon glimmers
Through a pellucid sky
Glitters on wet swamp earth revealing
A crucifix, dirty yet untarnished gold
Wipe it on my long black shirt
Treasure forced to the surface
From heavy rain
Overflowing swamp

And I see a long line led by
A history book explorer
Hernando DeSoto, I’m sure
Once memorized for a test
In a long-ago inner city school:
620 men from 9 ships
220 horses
Priests, farmers, soldiers
Up from Tampa Bay
Hiking through Safety Harbor’s burial mound*
To the Weeden Island Cultures’ mound**
A few miles from me
In New Port Richey
Mound to Mound

Looking down on the ground
Kicking with my black combats
Scattering pottery, human remains
Two skulls head to head
Holding hands
In moldy bed
Since 1539
Buried in a swamp of time
Forbidden love?
Oh, yes
In the shadows
An armored man
A doe-skinned woman
Holding hands
As a priestly spectre
Waving a crucifix
Shouts heathens must die
And they collapse
To the tune of soldiers’ muskets
Loudly exploding, drowning out the music
And the lovers become history
In a piece of Florida swamp
Encroaching on my future backyard
As earth is kicked over
Hiding the pair
Guitar notes evaporating

And the moon silently wanes
After a final wail
From wraiths
I pale
Among ancient bones and faded gold
Alone and not dreaming…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Blogetressa: Shambolic Poetry
IMAGE: Hallowed Swamp and Tenor Guitar /DeSoto’s map 10-1-18

* http://seesafetyharbor.com/Philippe-Park/Indian-Mound/
** https://www.pascocountyfl.net/1193/Oelsner-Indian-Mound

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