Pukapuka Books


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rubesahl - a poem by Michael O'Leary

Rubesahl – a fable in Four Parts, with a prologue and epilogue.


Meine name ist Rubesahl

For many centuries I lived on the outskirts

Of towns and villages near the Black Forest

And one of my names means Ghost of the Mountains

My dark hair and beard made me mysterious

And people would fear

And revere me

In 1944 I left my ancestral home

Hunted by the darkness and anarchy which reigned


I could not travel as a spirit

For the world had made me worldly

By the time I left old Germany

So I escaped in a U Boat wolf-pack

Not used to temporal confinements

And restrictions of the human body

I roamed restless from country to country

Afraid of nothing but my own fears

At nights whilst I wandered some foreign road

The moon and stars shining in my brain

My heart would be reminded of the pain

Caused by loneliness and separation

I carried the burden of guilt for my people

Though no one I met ever knew this

But there was not a woman I could kiss

And not feel that I was a deceiving Judas


At the half-century I arrived as a not born baby

In the remote southern land

Nothing more than an embryo, a bland

Homunculus in my Mother’s womb

I arrived early and so

Was a little unsteady on my feet

My understanding of things was incomplete

And education just confused the issue

So with a child’s mind I tried

To understand why I didn’t belong

Why I felt unusual, why all wrong

Amongst these foreign people, my family

Once I was playing war with other boys

And I wore the symbol of the broken cross

The swastika, I was the Kommandant, the boss

But my father told me off, saying I could be arrested


Later my earth parents died

Other people tried to tie me down

But I felt threatened and thought I would drown

In the sea of human obligation

I moved southward on a journey of discovery

I went to a place which was neither here nor there

It was this strange stone city where

They told me why I didn’t belong

One day I stood on a mountain

Snow was falling on the surrounding rocks

The cold went to my bones - a memory unlocks

In my mind, a vision of the Black Forest in winter

Am I evil, I wondered

And this thought drove me on like a demon

The darkness inside me fueled the notion

I moved further away from the life around me


Three women teachers came to me, old and young

Dark and light, friend and lover

With each of them I would discover

Something of myself and my loneliness

One of the three tried to awaken me as a human

You are just ordinary she said to me

For a while it is with you I want to be

But I was afraid of her words and love

The next one was my blood sister

Come on she said lets go brother

To find the ancient land of our father and mother

I hugged her close and said goodbye

On a windswept suburban railway platform

The old woman looked at me and said

Rubesahl, Rubesahl like a voice from the dead

And the past before the past opened up before me


What now for this Rubesahl

Who took on human form so he could live

Only now it is too late to return to the spirit

Rubesahl will die and alone and haunted

With the irony of love following him for eternity

His mind will be his Black Forest now

And he will fear

What he reveres

The mist closes around the Ghost of the Mountain

The mist behind which he hid for all those centuries

1 comment:

  1. I like this mythical jaunt through an era and a lifetime... and I like the last line:

    And the past before the past opened up before me

    An opening at the close -- very nice.