This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Gates of Cerdes

The gates of ancient Cerdes
   Reach up to clutch the sky
And grind the clouds to snowflakes
   As sadly they drift by.

Tall spires once flew banners
   Long since to tatters blown —
Grand brazen doors, once gleaming,
   With brambles overgrown.

The city walls lie crumbled,
   And here and there a mound
Of tipped and tumbled stonework
   Where buildings once were found.

Wind-whispered soft enticements
   Heard faint across the dell
Bid tarry for the story
   Of how great Cerdes fell;

But travellers listen vainly
   To almost hear the tale
Now lost to recollection
   As snow tucks in the vale.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull

Friday, July 22, 2005


Midnight depths conceal old scar-marked flanks: dread tales incised in flesh,
Legends writ of battles, titans deadly locked to writhe and thresh,
Struggles far from mortal sight and soundless as the dreams of death —
Rising then leviathan again, to worlds of sun and breath,
Lolling, rolling, regal on the swelling wave in lazy sleep,
Dark-eyed Cetus dreams about pursuits nine hundred fathoms deep.
I alike chase phantoms, frightful forms, as restlessly I doze:
Dreamy reveries as thought descends to wear old Neptune's clothes.
Diving down to plumb the depths of torpid mind, where darkness rules,
Combats dire beneath the waves of talk and art — the sea of fools —
Star-crossed I am cursed to seek the ghastly kraken in his lair,
Eight-armed monster, emblem of my darkest fears and dread despair.
Desperate fights in fitful rest, beyond the realm of eye and ear,
Seeking treasured ambergris, a wisdom dark, despite my fear;
Outward naught to see, my skin unscarred, to wake and rise again,
Thorough shaken, as my ken rejoins the sunlit world of men ...
Dims the sun once more upon the wave, and downward drags the night,
Cruelly it commands me keep the awful silence of my plight.
Steel me, fading twilight — drive away these fears! and make me brave:
Downward sink I yet again, to lightless depth and monster's cave.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull

Friday, July 15, 2005

John Blue

Eight Bells, Winslow Homer, 1886

John Blue was master of the ship
   That lay 'longside the quay;
She'd beckoned men for many's the trip
   And now she beckoned me.

The Lucy resting at her berth
   Showed years upon the main;
She'd hauled her cargo 'round the earth
   Bulk lumber, coal, and grain.

I'd naught left binding me to shore —
   No love, no hearth, no home;
All dry land comforts I foreswore,
   The ocean I would roam.

I met the mate and set my hand
   And signed on for the crew;
Until the ocean hid the land
   I ne'er saw Captain Blue.

But nights on midwatch, lost in thought
   The quarter he would pace,
And gaze far off as if he sought
   Another time and place.

His story, as the mate would tell
   Went round the merchant fleet:
His captain's quarters were his hell
   As much as his retreat.

He'd sailed aboard the Mary K.
   His bride and son in tow,
But off the mouth of Wentworth Bay
   There came a mighty blow.

A wave rose up and knocked her down,
   And nothing could be done;
The ship capsized, he watched them drown,
   His crew and wife and son.

Twenty souls went down that night
   And never saw the sun;
They say he knew it wasn't right
   He was not twenty-one.

Authorities convened a board
   And while they found no blame,
A new command was no reward,
   To sail the seas in shame.

I served before the Lucy's mast
   For then the longest time,
'Til I at last forgave my past
   And aged beyond my prime.

As years went by, I rose to mate
   And served with Captain Blue;
We sailed the seas and hauled the freight
   As came and went our crew.

In all that time I don't surmise
   He spoke three extra words;
Then only uttered to apprise
   Of winds, and waves, and birds.

We both grew old, the Lucy, too,
   Our hair bore age's token;
Came word to bid the ship adieu:
   The Lucy would be broken.

The captain paid off every hand
   And put the crew ashore;
Then paid my share and gave command
   To help make sail once more.

We sailed her down the river mouth
   And out into the bay
And just before he steered her south
   He turned to me to say:

"You've sailed with me, a faithful mate
   Wherever winds have blown;
The time has come to tell you straight:
   This voyage I make alone.

"Take the boat, and row to land
   And leave behind the sea;
Retire to some sunny strand —
   The Lucy, leave to me."

I took the boat, and took his word:
   The sea and I did part.
Of Lucy never more was heard,
   Nor John Blue's tortured heart.

I think the captain found release
   His spirit finally home;
And old John Blue can rest in peace
   Beneath the ocean's foam.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull

Friday, July 08, 2005

Wicked Garden

I have a wicked garden
   Where nothing ever grows;
It grants no flower pardon
   To grace its barren rows.

This sorry plot I planted,
   The fault must rest with me;
Fair furrows I was granted,
   I chose their destiny.

The rows I sowed with rock salt
   And watered them with bile
'Til ground as hard as asphalt
   Would make the Devil smile.

With beauties of creation
   Resplendent all around,
The seed for its salvation
   Now falls on barren ground.

And once or twice toward heaven
   I turned my cursed´ eyes,
Perhaps my soul to leaven
   But saw naught there save skies.

And so I watch this garden
   Where nothing ever grew —
I do not need a scarecrow:
   My threadbare mind will do.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull

Friday, July 01, 2005


© 2006 Rick Lee by permission - all rights reserved

So many holes in ceiling tile;
   Here flat upon my back
I count a while, but have to smile:
   It's hard to not lose track.

The busy little IV pump
   Tick-ticks away the day;
A nurse, quite plump, assaults my rump
   With daggers from her tray.

Some muffled voices from the hall
   Enhance my fitful rest;
Miraculous I sleep at all
   And am not more depressed.

What visitors come by exude
   A wooden kind of cheer;
While I'm not rude, I must conclude
   My days are numbered here.

The drooping flowers on the sill,
   The cards with, "Get Well Soon";
Well what the hell, I sooner will
   Be skiing on the moon.

I'd like to go home just to check
   The mail and stop the News ...
My body's more or less a wreck,
   My psyche sings the blues.

So many holes in ceiling tile,
   Like stars on heaven's dome;
I count them, then I snooze a while
   And dream I am back home.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull
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