C.J. Carter-Stephenson Poetry & Lyrics

This is my official poetry & lyrics page. A lot of what you will find below is concerned with love, death and melancholy. It is likely, therefore, to have a somewhat depressing effect. My excuse for this is that life is primarily about comfortless things, and art must imitate life. As to why I would wish to share the deeply personal feelings some of this material gives insight into, I suppose the answer is misery enjoys company. That, and a desire to do my bit to alleviate the sufferering of my fellow man by demonstrating we are all in the same boat. Anyway I have already gone on more than long enough. It has ever been a weakness of mine that I lapse into unnecessary verbiage. Thankyou for listening, and believe me to be an eternal friend to anyone who has taken the time and trouble to visit me here.

 

 

For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings...

 

THE BOAT
[Originally published in Issue 9 of 'Aesthetica: 
A Review of Contemporary Artists']
Cradling the boat in his callused hands,
His mind flits back to happier times,
Before the shadow of death fell on his son
And he plunged to the bottom of a pit of despair.

Crude and simple, he treasures the boat
Not for its lines or inspiration,
Not for the hours he put into its making,
But for the memories its presence invokes.

One day, in the rose-tinted depths
Of a faded photograph past,
His son had inspired him to start the project
With his questions about a picture-book galleon.

Together they had laboured for hours at a time,
Bent over his lathe and a selection of saws,
Channelling their energy into hauling the vision
From wispy imagination to crisp reality.

It had all begun in a hardware store,
With grubby aisles and grubbier staff,
Where planks of timber lay higgledy-piggledy
Like precarious stacks of giant matchsticks.

His son had hung on his every word,
As he carefully explained how to select the wood.
It wouldn't do to have chosen materials
That were rotting inside, like he is now.

Smoothing the surfaces had seemed laborious,
But he would give the world to be beginning again,
To feel the vibrations of his skimming plane,
Spurred on by a voice that is gone forever.

Slowly, the boat had started to take shape,
With the boy urging him to strive for perfection.
Each refinement was a lesson in improving relations,
Each addition brought them into closer harmony.

He cradles the boat in his trembling hands,
As it carries him along the river of memory.
The way seems harder on every trip,
As though his bitter tears add to the torrent.

C. J. Carter-Stephenson
 
LAMENTATIONS OF LOVE
Juliet wept over her beloved Romeo,
After a fatal mistake drove him to death!
The loss of her love caused her such sorrow
That she resolved to join him in eternal rest.
Romeo stilled his heart with poison;
Juliet used a dagger to escape desolation.
Perhaps they were united in heaven above,
Lamentations of love!
 
Lancelot and Guinevere's world crumbled to dust
When they at last betrayed their noble king.
Forbidden love triumphed over sacred trust
And they surrendered to passion, surrendered to sin.
Arthur saw Lancelot as his dearest ally,
Thought Guinevere more lovely than the starlit sky;
But Lancelot was the hand to Guinevere's glove,
Lamentations of love!
 
Ophelia lay in the brook, devoid of life,
But beautified by her billowing hair.
She had yearned for her prince to make her his wife;
Instead, he had plunged her into the depths of despair.
Trials and tribulations drove Ophelia insane;
For her, death was an end to the pain.
Did her soul fly to heaven like a snowy white dove?
Lamentations of love!

C. J. Carter-Stephenson

 
 
THAT WHICH LURKS IN THE DARKNESS
 
When last I laid me down to sleep
I had a dream that made me weep.
A ghost from the past, tangible and real,
Visited me with words of the hardest steel,
"You have killed me foul murderer,
But though you think you are free,
My spirit from the repose of death shall stir
And haunt you for all eternity!"
I trembled at this terrible apparition
And its promises of preternatural retribution!
 
Please don't extinguish the light,
Lest darkness prove to be a blight!
 
I relived the torment of that day in my mind,
Searching for a secret I felt I must find.
I remember rowing across a mist covered pool
With my beautiful love, who shone like a jewel
We struck a rock, and before I could move,
She tumbled down into the murky depths.
I couldn't see her, though the waters were smooth.
I would never find her and never forget.
How can I expect her to accept I was true,
When I know inside there was more I could do?
Please don't extinguish the light,
Lest darkness prove to be a blight!
 
My blood runs cold at the thought of the caress
Of that which lurks in the darkness.
 
A wandering spirit that can never rest,
That which lurks in the darkness.
C. J. Carter-Stephenson.

 

ADVENTURES IN PERCEPTION

This is such a lonely place
That I start to dwell on my fall from grace;
And the clouds above
Are as dark as my love.
 
Love cost me the princess of my aching heart,
Steeping my hands in the blood of seven souls.
My terrible deed tore her feelings for me apart.
The end of my halcyon days was barbarity's toll.
 
An earth-rending cry
Draws my eyes to the sky.
Peering through acrid smoke,
I glimpse a demon my mind didn't evoke.
 
I know at once what has attracted him -
I am allied to evil by the rankness of my offence.
With wings of fire that thrash out a terrible rhythm,
He plucks me from the fabric of existence.
 
Scorched skin;
Oh! The wages of sin!
The wind whirling,
My vision blurring.
 
Are things truly what they seem,
Or is this just a dream?
Terror-laced euphoria
Is my response to these phantasmagoria!
 
Where we land, I cannot tell,
But I know it isn't hell.
A broad isle of shimmering perfection;
Extraordinary in its configuration.
 
The harlequin king languidly greets me,
In clothes that imitate the glory of dawn.
A twisted smile contorts his face,
He kisses my cheek with lips of fawn -
 
A nemesis kiss,
From apocalypse lips.
Sending me deep
Down into sleep.
 
I awake surrounded by a babble of psirens,
Who lavish me with caresses cold as ice.
They beg me lasciviously to make love to them all,
And the music of their pleas cannot fail to entice.
 
Paradise or snare?
My lust doesn't care;
But what price must I pay
For the ecstasy of today?
 
My desires are attuned
To the light of the moon,
And as dawn approaches,
Unconsciousness encroaches.
 
I awake with the king and look groggily around.
Is it moments later or another age?
On a nearby hill, where pomander-hung trees abound,
A scaly beast lives in an ivory cage.
The harlequin gesticulates,
The cage disintegrates.
The beast's approach shakes the ground;
I feel my heart begin to pound.
 
The creature is like black obsidian.
I cannot escape, though I desperately try.
The harlequin holds me before the ophidian,
Forcing me to look into its one hazy eye.
 
As the beast nears,
The misty eye clears.
In its stead I see my life -
Rivers of error, feeding a sea of strife.
I find myself in an eerie bower,
At the top of an impossible tower,
Surrounded by crystalline walls
That resemble plunging waterfalls.
 
Half the room is a blazing inferno;
The other lies immersed in snow.
Neither extreme has the power to touch me,
So I turn to the window to try and climb free.
 
On trees all around,
Not making a sound,
Sit hell's own birds,
Too malignant for words.
 
As I watch, they take to the wing,
Soaring away like a billowing cloud.
It is the demon's return that has startled these underlings,
Leaving them trembling and utterly cowed.
 
My mind hears him
Telling me not to fear him,
And in the blink of an eye,
He is at my side.
 
The demon carries me
Back across the sea,
And deposits me with elan
Back where my adventure began.
 
With his wings spread out behind his shoulders,
Like twin portals to the fires of hell,
He stands before me with his eyes growing colder,
Speaking to my thoughts with his familiar spell.
 
"Thanks to your heinous crime,
It will soon be your dying time.
Unless you repent by then,
We are bound to meet again."
 
Before my eyes, he becomes a miasma;
Then even this residue is gone from sight.
The weight of his words tears my mind asunder,
Because my battle for salvation is a hopeless fight.
 
I can run
From the things I've done;
But no stretch of time
Absolves a man who doesn't regret his crime.
C. J. Carter-Stephenson.

 

THE ILLUSION OF IMMORTALITY
[Originally published in Issue 29 of 'Eclipse']
Beneath the light of a pallid moon
We walk the path, arm-in-arm.
The wind is still, the stars serene,
Instilling us with an unearthly calm.
In time, we near a poignant scene,
Where shards of glass glitter like tears -
One for each of the countless years
It has been since last you spoke my name
Memories stir, emotions bloom,
I pray your mind returneth soon.
 
As your hand smooths your raven hair,
I feel again your cool caress,
And though it's in my mind alone,
It reaches down into my soul.
Our love was once so strong and deep
It would have made the angels weep.
Now, your eyes are glazed and empty;
The past exacts a mighty toll.
I try to meet your vacant stare,
I think of when you used to care,
Once your voice inspired fear,
Your name was worshipped far and wide,
Adoring acolytes gladly gave their lives
Into what seemed omnipotent hands.
You never knew quite what to say
As you watched them slowly drift away,
Until finally, just the memory lingered
And your reason shattered with the strain.
For countless days you cried and cried
Unable to accept the goddess had died,

C. J. Carter-Stephenson.

 

TO THE ONE I LOVE

I can see your inner glory
Through the portal of your eyes.
Would it were my soul's destiny
To soar with your's through moonlit skies.
Your smile is brighter than glorious sunlight,
Your cheek is as soft as the smoothest silk,
Your radiance illuminates the darkest night.
To me your beauty will never wilt.
In the perfect moments when we are together,
The music of love reaches a crescendo.
You have said we cannot stay together forever,
But I believe love with triumph in the end.
C. J. Cater-Stephenson.

 

T I M E

Be you god or be you king
Or a loser, like me, with all the luck life could bring,
Your name and title were not made to last,
After you die, they'll be lost in the past.
Better men than I have been thought divine,
But even these men were beaten by Time.
Ancient immortals that men died to please
Are now nothing but distant memories.
 
Nothing lasts forever,
The world will someday end.
Fighting is a ueseless endeavour;
It is a rule no one can bend.
 
Every living creature is born to die
And too much time is wasted asking why.
We hope our generation will conquer death,
Like thousands before us, who are now at rest.
Our animal brethren don't dwell on their fate;
They step into the unknown, never seeing the gate.
Mankind is different; we know what will occur,
Watch our lives slip away in a bewildering blur.
 
Nothing lasts forever,
The world will someday end.
Fighting is a ueseless endeavour;
It is a rule no one can bend.
 
The greatest buildings will crumble to dust,
The wind will someday blow its last gust.
Rivers will run dry, as mountains fall into the sea,
And the sun will burn until it ceases to be!
Nothing can survive the ravishes of Time;
He'll take your life, just as he'll take mine.
You can run screaming, but you won't get away;
And what happens when Time gets you? No man can say!
 
Nothing lasts forever,
The world will someday end.
Fighting is a ueseless endeavour;
It is a rule no one can bend.
C. J. Cater-Stephenson.

 

THE ARDOUR OF MY LOVE
 
There is a radiant girl, who I hold above the rest;
When she tells me she's mine, I feel truly blessed.
Fairer by far than the sun or the moon;
A light in this world of perpetual gloom!
You are that girl, and these words are long overdue.
My life has become subservient to you.
 
The greatest poets ever to put pen to paper
Have expounded on beauty in ways time will never taper.
Their words are but a pale reflection of you;
Nowhere in the world is there a lovelier view.
Set against you, beauty's elite from legend,
Would find their reputations impossible to defend.
When the sun is so bright that the darkest corners wake,
And we go to the park and repose by a lake,
I am happier than I can begin to say.
Your beauty shines brighter than the light of day!
I feel so very content listening to you sing;
How I long for summer, and the joy that it brings.
 
When winter wraps the land in freezing attire,
I am blithest with you, curled up by the fire.
Your body keeps me warm with its delicious glow;
Your tender touch ensures my love never ceases to grow.
What if you were to leave our warm little home?
The bitterest winter couldn't chill me as much to the bone!
 
You are the sweetest of souls and if you should leave,
It would cause me more pain than you could ever believe!
That said, I won't hold you against your will,
Though life without you would be a virulent pill.
For the times I have hurt you, I would like to atone;
If only I could do so with these words alone.
 
Life without you would be utterly empty;
I would be a mere shadow of what I used to be.
Even if you forgive the mistakes I have made,
Self-reproach is something that will never fade.
I swear to you that our future will be happier than ever;
I believe the two of us were made to be together.
 
Rising from the depths of my shame,
It is time to take you in my arms again.
Now that you have heard my plight
Please say you'll stay with me tonight!
 
I love you with a supreme ardour
That makes other endeavours infinitely harder.
Ever since you stole my soul,
I've not been in control.

C. J. Carter-Stephenson.

 

A VISION

The moon cried with me as I knelt in the snow,
Bathing me in its cool and soothing light.
It told me secrets I was never meant to know,
Tearing the veil from before my eyes.
Who needs love in a world like ours,
With a feast of loveliness all around?
Wisdom came to me in a flash of inspiration,
And as an angel's shriek would shatter glass,
Everything I'd learnt from life was undone;
And yet I knew the mysteries of the universe at last.
At that moment I could do no wrong,
And then the vision was gone.

C. J. Carter-Stephenson.

 
THE BITTER CUP OF LIFE
Festering in the grasp of isolation,
With no respite from desolation,
I brood on the cause of my plight -
My beloved walking out last night.
I do not know why it’s breaking my heart;
There was something amiss right from the start.
When I needed her she was never around;
I could always rely on her to let me down.

Nestled in the bosom of worldly wealth,
It is easy to dwell on the needs of the self.
We are raised to bask in affluent security,
While people elsewhere die in poverty.
Such lack of foresight always creates rifts
That are fatal if the balance of power shifts -
Those who set themselves on thrones of dust
Inevitably find that their thrones are crushed!

While roaming the land, searching for worth,
I happened upon the town of my birth.
There would once have been a glorious salaam,
But everything now was nonchalant and calm.
I listened to the sonorous toll of a church bell,
As a parade of unknown faces compelled
Me to seek out places from days of old.
How could I feel at home in surroundings so cold?

C. J. Carter-Stephenson.

 

AGAINST SUICIDE
 
When callous people cause you heartache
And uninformed criticism is more than you can take,
Put it to one side and start turning the tables;
Don't be beaten down by the prejudice of labels.
They call us irresponsible for wandering free -
Lazy and a burden on society -
But if you've got a plan, if you've got a goal,
They may knock you down, but they won't break your soul!
 
Dark clouds roiled in the heavens above;
I slowly turned and said to my love,
"Come my dear, let us end our story
And leave this world in a blaze of glory!"
She smiled and said, "That's not the path to take;
There are better ways for us to escape."
 
We all have problems once in a while
And all seek advice when feeling beguiled,
But the advice isn't always what we want to hear,
And can make the way forward even more unclear.
I have tried so hard to be what people ask,
But it often seems like a thankless task!
In times of trouble, when life seems unfair,
My closest friends dissolve into the air.
 
Dark clouds roiled in the heavens above;
I slowly turned and said to my love,
"Come my dear, let us end our story
And leave this world in a blaze of glory!"
She smiled and said, "That's not the path to take;
There are better ways for us to escape."
 
It is very hard not to lose your head
When you encounter a person who is bigoted.
Confrontation won't make them change their ways,
But there are other solutions that possibly may.
Alone and depressed, I allow my mind to retrograde
To a lovemaking tryst in a sun-drenched glade.
Then, I can forget my former melancholy
And the fathomless depths of my own past folly!
 
Dark clouds roiled in the heavens above;
I slowly turned and said to my love,
"Come my dear, let us end our story
And leave this world in a blaze of glory!"
She smiled and said, "That's not the path to take;
There are better ways for us to escape."

C. J. Carter-Stephenson.

 

O TEMPORA

Every moment without you, I love you even more;
My feelings for you made my icy heart thaw.
When you told me it was over and walked out the door,
My soul was emptier than it had ever been before.
 
I don't intend to misconstrue
The burning desire that I feel for you!
You left me to drown in my own self-doubt -
Suicide seems like the only way out.
 
O tempora!
 
I thought the end of the world was a media lie,
Until I saw the stars start to fall from the sky.
It was a spectacle that made me break down and cry;
I will remember it until the day that I die.
 
I don't intend to misconstrue
The burning desire that I feel for you!
You left me to drown in my own self-doubt -
Suicide seems like the only way out.
 
O tempora!
 
You took me to a temple in the depths of your mind,
Warning me that what I saw might render me blind.
To this day I do not know what I expected to find;
Perhaps the secrets of existence for which I pine.
 
I don't intend to misconstrue
The burning desire that I feel for you!
You left me to drown in my own self-doubt -
Suicide seems like the only way out.
 
O tempora!
 
In the breath that followed your immortal kiss
You promised to take me to the shores of Atlantis,
Where I would learn the secret of eternal bliss.
I truly believed you could grant any wish.
 
I don't intend to misconstrue
The burning desire that I feel for you!
You left me to drown in my own self-doubt -
Suicide seems like the only way out.
 
O tempora!
 
The walk of life with you was so very upbeat;
I felt there was no obstacle I could not meet.
Now I am without you, I wearily drag my feet
Along the monotonous length of an apathetic street!
 
I don't intend to misconstrue
The burning desire that I feel for you!
You left me to drown in my own self-doubt -
Suicide seems like the only way out.
 
O tempora!
How I adore her.
I curse the day
That she went away.
O tempora!

C. J. Carter-Stephenson.

 

I DON'T KNOW YOUR NAME
 
I can't forget your face,
A picture drawn with care and grace.
Shining deep brown eyes, in which a man could drown.
Beauty in your smile, mystery in your frown.
A face I felt I must protect,
I'd always treat you with respect.
 
But I don't know your name,
Or if you feel the same.
I'm in love from head to toe
With a girl I hardly know.
 
I can't forget those curves,
For your touch I'd gladly serve.
A body which would fill Venus with envy.
When I close my eyes, you are all I see.
I would always like to be with you,
And know whether you love me too.
 
But I don't know your name.
Or if you feel the same.
I'm in love from head to toe
With a girl I hardly know.
 
I can't forget that kiss,
Lovely lips I'll always miss.
An embrace that sends a man straight to paradise.
My life it is for sale, and your love is the price.
You will always keep my heart,
Even though we are apart.
 
But I don't know your name,
Or if you feel the same.
I'm in love from head to toe
With a girl I hardly know.
 
I can't forget that day,
All those things I didn't say.
We danced, we kissed, we talked.
I fell in love, then off you walked.
I guess we'll never meet again.
My love for you drives me insane.
 
But I don't know your name,
Or if you feel the same.
I'm in love from head to toe
With a girl I hardly know.
I don't know your name.
I don't know your name!

C. J. Carter-Stephenson.


MEMORIES

Do you remember
Dancing in the graveyard together? 
Can you ever forget 
That moonlit night when we met? 
The world around 
Was so serene 
That it almost seemed a dream 
The stars that shone 
In the sky above 
Were humbled by our burning love. 

Walking with you 
Through the windswept avenue. 
Talking with you 
Of all the things we planned to do. 
Walking with you, dear. 

I can feel the pain 
Whenever someone speaks your name.
 You were stolen away        
And left my world so dark and grey. 
But fickle fate 
Will run its course        
And worries not about remorse. 
The beauty of 
The love we shared 
Can only add to my despair. 

Dreaming of you, 
Of everything we hoped to do. 
Screaming for you 
In all the world, I just want you.
Dreaming of you, dear.

C. J. Carter-Stephenson.

 

The right of C. J. Carter-Stephenson to be identified as the author of the above poetry has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author, or a license permitting restricted copying. Any breach of copyright will result in legal action. Wherever you are, there is no escaping the long arm of the law.

 

 

That's enough poetry for now. To anyone who stuck around to the bitter end, thank you again for your attention. If you happen to like my writing, then please come again, as I may add new material. I really don't have anything else to say at the moment. This may sound surprising, as I have a tendency to ramble on for ages (as I mentioned earlier), but as T. S. Eliot says, "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper." Au revoir.

 

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