How Foreign and Cold
By Richard Lee Fulgham
About the author: It has been the privilege of the Subversify staff to know Richard Fulgham for a number of years as an active member of the writing community. He is a humble man, with a dry, quick wit, and a very accomplished writer. He has a published novel, available through Amazon Press, entitled “The Hogs of Cold Harbor: The Civil War Saga of Private Johnny Hess, CSA”. The story, written through the eyes of a young confederate soldier, impressed author Norman Mailer so much, he commented “This book is a discovery. It gave me so close a sense of what it was like to be a Confederate soldier in the Civil War that I began to think of my own army experience. Old fears old excitements, even memories of my old equipment, and with it all, vivid as the sound of gunfire, came the smell of battle in the air of the book. I loved reading The Hogs of Cold Harbor. I was in the Civil War on the Southern side. That is no small education for a Northerner like me.” Richard is an education for anyone who reads his work. He is a master story teller, who also, when the mood arises, writes some very diverse and passionate poetry. We hope that Richard will share more with us in the future.
How foreign and cold . . . .
The voice, a distant voice, a Lady in Time!
Fifty, sixty miles distant . . .
She says, “I am madness and you may flirt with me.”
He waits for more, uncertain, afraid,
She says, “I am the moon,
I will answer your questions,
His nervousness worsens, he shudders,
His thoughts are crystals,
They fall and shatter, splintered,
But sparkling, blinding. . .
The voice, her voice, it says,
“I am your fear . . . I am your pulse.
Have you questions?”
He talks at last, Yes, Yes,
I have questions, madness, moon or fear.
“Shall I be consumed by comets?”
The voice, the lady’s distant voice, She answers, she is sad,
She is soft,
“You shall not be consumed by comets;
—You shall not be consumed by comets.”
Another question, one other question, he asks,
And the voice, the lady in time,
Says, yes, yes, you may ask many questions,
This is why I’ve come,
Through wires and machines,
Through space and time
Through magic and sorcery,
And he asks the question, the terrible question,
“Will I die in the moonlit nighttime horror?”
She pauses. . . but
‘No, you shall not die in the moonlit nighttime horror.”
You shall not die in the moonlit nighttime horror.”
He is strengthened, he is joyful!
He is empowered and ablaze!
He screams defiance!
And into the machine,
the magical wand,
He says, “Then I am immortal!”
The lady in time,
The voice through space,
She transmits warming energies,
She transmits calming forces,
“But no,” she says, “You are not immortal.”
“Then I am mad?”
“No,” she says, “You are not mad.”
“Then why do I flirt with comets and moons?
Why do I talk to fears?”
The lady in time,
She waits till he is wondering,
She waits till he is questioning,
“‘Who are you, mysterious lady,
And why do you come to me in this strange form,
A voice, fifty, sixy miles distant?”
She has a final answer,
“I am Minerva. . . I spoke to Jason . . .
I spoke to Ulysses . . .
I spoke to Paris . . . . Now I speak to you.”
He waits in terror,
He waits in the blackest night of his fear,
And she, that lady, the woman in time, says
“we shall journey, you and I.
We shall fight gargoyles and dragons. The ship is prepared.
The crew is waiting.
Come. Come now. You must come tonight.”
And the angry man– he’d been warned —
his doctors had warned him . . . .
He left with her that night!
Richard Fulgham writes that this poem comes from a time period when he was an angry man, seeking his Beowulf. and listening to the call of Minerva.