Excerpts from the writings of Stephen Berer

In the Harvest ov Nations
Begun in 1980 and completed in 1982

Synopsis
This long narrative poem is composed in three books. Book 1, Old Wirld, is a semi-mythic telling of nations descending into nuclear war, and the transformations of a normal man who stood outside of society and became the unexpected leader of a small group of survivors. This book is written in five line stanzas, each line having five strong beats, and any number of weak beats. This kind of meter, based entirely on the number of strong beats per line, remains the defining feature of most of my poetry.
Book 2, Passij, describes the struggles the surviving remnant experience, and the imperceptible, evolutionary changes in consciousness they go through. With the exception of the recording of a number of tales and folk songs (including the excerpt below), the meter in this and the following book changes, reflecting the progressively lightening mood. Now stanzas have four lines with four strong beats. Book 3, Nu Wirld, tells the stories of settling down and recreating a new society with new values and a more advanced consciousness to help hold to those values. I am proposing the possibility of species wide evolution accelerated by stress and trauma, that might lead to a more ethically advanced culture.

Excerpts

From Book 1: Old Wirld
So! Three jenneratens hav shed thair Life
And Ertha ar frutefull and our Lord ar omniprezen
t
And now our Mater, whu hold us in her buzzem
s
Giv us strenth and sines and poten Knowen
Tu rekord the Wirlds ending and a nu Beginning
.
We whu stammer in fase ov cold oblivvion,
Whu trembel contrite at edj ov extinktion
,
Whu adhere tu nu Commands in holyest gladness
,
Huze Law iz our Faters, incompletely understoo
d
But givven tu our elders, a mersyfull exchanj for Life.
My fothers, fothers, fother stood az witness
Tu blinding Lite and oblitteraten ov cultur
;
Tu the unconditional end ov childes misdirected
,
Ov erring and evel ways that assended unrestraind
,
Swiftly and inevvitably stricken from this Sakred Home
.
Befor this time ov Life from ignorense awaked,
Befor our Boddys held the propper ballense
And Life seemd not directed tord Perfecten Knowe
n
But rather swayd in tides ov annima emoten
,
Then Erthas Wume like furnas burnd in birth throes...
.
...Inspire yur childes, Fater ov fothers! O Mater
Nurtur yur dellikat wuns with compassionat gidense
,
That this Book rekord the end ov wirlds and Beginnin
g
Ov we whu dwell in rugged mountens, and vally
s
Steep and fertil and safe from khaos and despair. Diktate
!
From Book 2: Passaj
Way down in the vally, wut did I see?
But an old time sitty lookin down at me.
An thare waz bildings tall az mountens
,
Houzes strung like hill
s
An nobuddy wokkin in that plas
e
But a debbel lookin for thrills
.
An nobuddy wokkin in that plase
But a debbel lookin for thrills
.
Me, I started runnin thru allys and avvenus
Throwin rocks and swarin an belloin like a moos
.
I waz lookin for gold and jewwel
s
An sum hunny tu lay her down
.
How did a raskal fool az m
e Evver escape from that town?
How did a raskal fool az me
Evver escape from that town?
Then the debbel wisperd: "Yur my man!" he sed.
I figgurd he'd give me powwers, or maybe take my hed!
My hart, she waz a-thumpin, But that boy, he dissappeerd
An the plase waz filld with peepel
,
An me, I held thair Spere
!
The plase waz filld with peepel
An I held the only Spere
!
Why did a fool raskal get that awfull Spere?
Wichevver way Ide poin it, crowds would shout: "Not heer!
"
I thru it down in anger,
And all them fantems fell.
My hart thumd loud az a drumbea
t Az I hytaild outa hell.
Yeah, my hart bangd loud az a drumbeet
Az I beet it outa hell.
From Book 3: Nu Wirld
Our fothers lernd Erthas trust, and our muthers
Her lov az thay made assent tu the Mouth
.
This outcast tribe, wunse straggling and motly
,
Strode with purpos thru the chartless wood
.
Wen thay reechd the Mouth ov the Serpent, thair mines
Swum in the dizzying hites and the vist
a
Ov sno-peekd mountens and steep verdent vally
s
And pristene stillness. Thay forgot Old Wirld
.
Thus the Life that we kno so well
Began. A lifetime ago Shaliyi
m
Waz dreem; and now thoze pryor aje
s
Ar all forgot, save the Terrer and Oath
.
Immajjin a forrest ware no sound iz herd
But human sounds; no birds twittering
,
No small creeturs russling, no crickets chirping
,
No mating calls; mankine so feerd
.
Immajjin the rugged and deseptiv terrain,
The tangel and brambel and impassabel marsh
,
The cleff-trails that fall off a thouzend feet
,
Or the ded-end canyens and passes. Then compare
.
We now liv neer Eldern, we liv with Hope
Tho our lives ar tennuous and our labers hard
.
In Erthas compassion, at peese with all creeturs,
In expansiv spases, our Life iz glad
.

 


Poetry, Writing, and Art by Stephen Berer © 2010. All rights reserved.