Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Story of Word Pictures

I believe that every human is a storyteller because every human has a story to tell.
And, every one of my stories has a story.
This one - The Story of Word Pictures - is no exception.

The story behind this story is that I was "18-long hair-Volkswagen bus-traveling-through-Canada". (Yes, it is all hyphenated.) It was 1972 and I was sitting by a lake in the Canadian Rockies. My Muse came to me in the quiet and gave me this poem Word-for-Word. It just poured through my pen onto my pad - complete.
All, that is, except for the last line, which took me a year to create.
This is the story I use to explain how my process works and from where the stories come.

It is how I begin this Story Telling Blog.

The Story of Word Pictures
Mark Lewis
Copyright 1972 Mark Lewis and Laughing Moon Productions - All Rights Reserved

Sit down beside me,
I'll tell you a story.
Of beautiful women,
and men who are bold.

The kind of a story,
to help you remember.
The wonder of childhood,
Before we grew old.

A Story of Word Pictures,
Of sulfur and tin.
Of fern banks and forests,
That you can hide in.

Of little, brown people,
As tall as your knees.
Who walk very quickly,
Through doorways in trees.

Spires of moonlight.
Shells on the beach.
The soft, silent sermons,
The butterflies preach.

A small, Elfin Maiden,
In spiderweb gowns.
Goes gliding right past you,
One foot off the ground.

The old, learned Wizard,
Whose mist-shrouded tower.
Watches his watches,
Chime hour-on-hour.

And wait for the wind,
To come running up fast.
And watch as his footprints,
Go past in the grass.

So, think of a feeling,
From when you were younger.
Now, give it a color,
Or call it by name.

Then pull up the covers,
And keep your head under,
And smile at the darkness,
And know who's to blame.

So, if you can gather,
The pictures I scatter.
Like daisies in sunlight,
You weave into chains.

Then we'll be the ones,
Who will look for the rainbows.
When others think only,
Of clouds when it rains.

The Ballad of the Bog

The Ballad of the Bog came to me while I was thinking about classic ballads and the nature of being a troubadour. It is the story of a haunting. I refer to it as "An ancient, English ballad the I wrote about 20 years ago."

My good friend Craig Coulter and I turned the poem into a song which we performed in our act, Coulter and Lewis. We finished writing it at 12:00 midnight, on Friday the 13th, under a full moon. Yes, we had a little "inspiration"!

The lovely and talented Kate Price recorded The Ballad of the Bog on her album, Isle of Dreaming.

Let me know what you think.

The Ballad of the Bog
Mark Lewis
©1985 Laughing Moon Productions All Rights Reserved

The ruins stood within the bog,
The folk knew not from whence they came.
A rumor floated in the fog,
Of a white and wistful, ghostly dame.

‘Twas said she prowled the ruined walls,
and all the while bemoaned her fate.
Down crumbling, moss-encrusted halls,
Her voice would echo and relate.

Now no one common dared go near,
This spirit-place, all brown and gray.
For all who ventured ran with fear,
And quaked with faces made of clay.

A stranger heard the village tell,
The tale of spectre, moss and stone.
From stories heard around the well,
He’d see it for himself - alone.

He found within the haunted place,
A maiden, sleeping very sound.
With dark hair streaming ‘cross her face,
And falling tangled to the ground.

He slowly crept up to her side,
And bet his ear unto her chest.
And life within her did reside,
A faint heart-beat within her breast.

The wind then moved the cloud aside,
Which made the moon reveal her face.
He jumped behind a wall to hide,
As light filled up the horrid place.

And as he watched with fullest awe,
An evil mist fell from the stones.
And uttering words of ancient law,
It settled down into her bones.

Her eyes shot wide! She sat upright!
A flame of yellow burned insane.
Her moaning filled the frightened night,
And echoed through the halls again.

He froze stock-still as she went by,
He prayed she would not see him there!
No human looked from out her eyes,
It was a demon’s fiery stare!

The specter heard the church bells toll,
and stopped the maiden’s sad lament.
And with a scream it left her soul,
And she collapsed, her body spent.

The evil mist then pulled away,
And wisp-ed back from whence it came.
The night seeped back without delay,
And silence then held court again .

The plan was now set in his mind,
Without a sound he rode away,
And left the ruins far behind,
Before the breaking of the day.

He knew just what he had to do,
There were no doubt-clouds n his eye.
‘Twas clear to him as morning dew.
He’d rescue her, or he would die.

His father’s sword he buckled on,
And pulled the belt tight at his waist.
He knew that what would come anon,
Would find him live or shroud-encased.

The day was spent in plans and schemes,
The hour now was growing late.
Then armed with naught but sword and dreams,
He rode to meet what lay in wait.

He gathered up the maiden and,
Removed her to the open air.
And laying down upon the sand,
He took her place and waited there.

The time was nigh - the Mist arrived,
And took it’s evil, alien shape.
With lengthy neck and bulbous eyes,
He realized there was no escape!

With gruesome gait and glow insane,
The specter hung o’er where he lay.
A sudden thought went through his brain -
He might ne’er see the light of day.

He grabbed the mist - it screamed with hate,
And twisted in his surly grip.
He drew his sword and struck his pate,
And cross his glove its green blood dripped!

The maiden woke when it was dead,
And ran into the young man’s arms.
His heart reached out to her and said,
I’ll keep you safe and out of harm.

The End

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


And it came to pass that, upon reaching my "Late Youth", I have decided that having my words locked away in a file drawer and turning to mummy-dust will not work anymore. Ergo ... this blog. This will be a place for me to put all of the stories, poems and thoughts that I dare to share with the world. I hope that this Muse-eum fulfills its purpose - to put the gifts I have received out into the world where they can do their work.