The Dusty Men

The Dusty Men

 

Four men travel a dusty road

Tight of belt and light of load

Weary feet shuffling slow

Where do the four dusty men go?

 

Man number one is a man named Tom

He never speaks much of where he is from

But he holds the ace of spades with a tear in his eye

As the bright sun sets in the twilight sky

 

Man number two goes by the name of Bert

Wearing the rags of a silken shirt

Early each morning with a flask of gin

He sneaks off alone to quietly sing

 

Man number three is a spry old cricket

Said his friends out west called him Wicket

With gnarly old fingers as light as a breeze

He lifts heavy purses just as easy as you please

 

Man number four doesnt say much

The other dusty men all call him Dutch

They can’t imagine that his road has been fun

For poor old Dutch doesn’t have a tongue

 

Four dusty men travel a dusty road

Tight of belt and light of load

None can ever say if the dusty men know

Where the roads they travel even go

 

©Aarron Mondello

2/11/2018

 

Down to the billabong

 

The buzz of life is in the air
Magpies sing their morning song
And a fat old shuffling wombat
Plodded down to the billabong

“Mornin’ Roo” the wombat said
“Set to be a lovely day”
But the cranky big red only grunted
And rudely hopped away

“So it is, Wombat old boy”
Said Brown Snake in the grass
“and don’t mind Red, for as we know
He is prone to be an arse”

Wombat chuckled softly
And continued to shuffle along
Chatting with Brown Snake
Heading down to the billabong

They made their way towards the bank
Of the the still, inviting pool
Passed under a great big gum tree
Through shade so very cool

“Ooroo you two. Say, what’s new?”
Came a slow voice from the tree
Wombat looked up and who’d he spy?
Koala, as high as he could be

“G’day Koala,” wombat said
With a smile for their meeting
“It comes as no surprise to see
Again you’re bloody eating”

“Yeah man” Koala slurred
Then promptly fell asleep
And Wombat thought “Bloody Hell,
Those leaves must be a treat”

On he shambled, old Wombat
A slow and leisurely crawl
When just a few paces on
He heard Black Cockies raucous call

“Wombat, you plod, move along
Before the waters all drunk dry
It never is a pleasant sight
To see a wombat cry”

“Ha Ha Galah, very funny
You’re such a flaming riot.
Do the whole bushland a favour
And just be bloody quiet”

Black Cockies laugh echoed
Through the bushland all around
While unbeknownst to Wombat
Came Emu tall and proud

Too late Emu saw him
And tried to slow her run
Long legs becoming tangled
She fell hard on to her bum

“Emu!” Wombat called out loud
“Love, are you alright?
Did you bruise yourself,
Falling from such height”?

Emu wobbled to her feet
“I’m fine, just carry on”
And feeling quite embarrassed
She fled to the billabong

Dingo slunk down the path
Echidnas quill stuck in her snout
And Wombat heard the snickering
Of Echidna near about

Old Frilled Neck ran past
Frill rustling in the wind
Coming first in a race
That only she was in

A shadow passed over Wombat
Kookaburra flying high
Laughing at the shenanigans
He spied from in the sky

Then Wombat came finally
To the banks where Wood Duck nests
He stopped near an old campfire
To take a minutes rest

He snuffed the ground for sign of man
But the human had moved on
It seemed all manner of creatures
Came down to the billabong

©Aarron Mondello
7/10/2018

Image credit: An image of A billabong by Harold Cazneaux

Winter Wind

 

 

Blowing down a mountain

A wayward Winter wind

Traveling with all speed

Trying to catch the Spring

 

But Spring was just too spritely

And quickly dodged aside

So the curious Winter wind

Blew onto Summer time

 

Summer time was much too dry

Winter wind grew much too warm

So it skirted ‘round the edges

And to Autumn it blew on

 

Yet when the winter wind

Blew golden Autumn leaves

Tears of ice it cried

When they fell down from their trees

 

So weak and barely blowing

Winter wind came finally home

And never through the seasons

Did Winter again roam

 

©Aarron Mondello

26/8/2018

Forgotten King

 

 

Follow the wind

Over the land

Over canyons deep

Across the fields

Of wildflowers

And into the forest creep

Through the shadows

Of gnarled old oak

Passed the moonlit clearing

Step wide and far

Of the witch’s hut

Her eyes you should be fearing

Stay on the banks

Of the rushing river

It will lead you from the trees

When you emerge

At the river’s mouth

Turn your bearing east

Up and over

Rolling hills

Past a sapphire lake

Until you find

A hard dirt road

Winding like a snake

Take the left

Follow the path

Above a city ruined

Crumbling walls

Broken domes

How many are there entombed?

The path you’re on

Will wind and rise

To a high and jutting cliff

Where in a hall

Awaits a king

Forgotten and bereft

For long ago

Far out to sea

His queen was drowned and gone

Heart turned cold

Tears of ice

He set his heart to mourn

He cried his love

From empty eyes

And sat his throne in dark despair

The years ran

Like the tides that took her

His kingdom fell to disrepair

There he still is

Upon his throne

The Forgotten Kings grim fate

To sit alone

In countless tears

And for his Queen await

 

©Aarron Mondello

1/7/2018

A Land Passed

 

An ancient ruined
Battered keep
A home for the dead
Hear them weep
Forever here
In eternal sleep
Forever trapped
In a ruined keep

Green grass swaying
Around full grown trees
Spoken softly
On the breeze
Words unheard
Yet understood with ease
As spirits rest
Amongst the trees

All but forgotten
Denizens of this land
Forever untouched
By gods hands
Prisoners in glass
Within times sands
The long dead people
Of this long dead land

©Aarron Mondello
4/4/2018

 

Passing the Eucalypt

 

Long brown dugite
Slithers softly
Through the grass with ease
Rustling whispers
From tumbling passing
Windblown summer leaves

Shadows cast
Upon the ground
From soft clouds above
Racing swiftly
The wedge tailed eagle
Driven by the hunt

Birds trill loudly
From golden boughs
Of the great eucalyptus tree
Kookaburra pair
Upon its crown
Laughing light and free

Bounding past
Broad yet graceful
A troop of big red roo’s
Heading home
With the sunset
In groups of three’s and two’s

When twilight sets
Dark and peaceful
Come possums out to play
Until red sun rises
At the dawn
Of another bush land day

©Aarron Mondello
30/3/2018

 

Human Waste

 

Reek and refuse
Vile aroma
A stench fit to
Induce a coma
Trash and rubbish
Line the streets
A midden heap
Of human feet
Tramping filth
With every step
Polluting the air
With every breathe
To rot and ruin
Has gone man
It’s almost more
Than I can stand
To see the scowls
On every face
In every park
In every place
Like no-one left
Knows how to smile
Reek and refuse
Demeanor vile

©Aarron Mondello
7/3/2018

 

The Timeless Hall

 

Cold hard eyes line the walls
Stern faces set in stone
Ancient judgement weighs down on all
Left from an age ago

No wind or rain has touched the features
Of these sombre stone-carved beings
No marring hand of relentless nature
To scour their faces clean

Tall arched windows set up high
Coated thick with dirt and grime
Let in a gloomy filtered light
To this great hall lost in time

No cobwebs or rodent dens
Grace the corners of this room
As though inside all life ends
In the silence of a tomb

Great bronze doors old and stained
Rest in hinges made of rust
Facing a throne where sit human remains
Bones falling into dust

Outside the walls the years rage
About in an open field
Until one day there will come an age
This Hall to time will finally yield.

©Aarron Mondello
21/2/2018

Lonely Roads of Galdenya: ch1

By Aarron Mondello

PENNED BY THE HAND OF FREGOR LANDSON, WANDERING SCRIBE AND POET.

I have spent a good portion of my many years traversing the back and forgotten roads of Galdenya, away from the cities of man.

A long and tiresome journey it has been yet I have relished in the discovery of it.

From the edge of The Frozen Wastes in the south and into the trees that make the beginning of the Taltyri Forrest many months travel to the north. Around to the Great Ocean in the east and through to the Mountains of La’Tail in the west, that no man in recorded history has seen beyond.

Many times I have made this journey via differing paths and routes and I would not be at all surprised to find that I have seen more of my beloved Galdenya than any who came before me.

I was much surprised to find, during my last visit to the Frozen Waste that there was water lapping the white shores proceeding the ice. Indeed, it appeared as though the ice is, for the first time in living memory, thawing. Though I could still see the blue expanse of it beginning a bare stones throw away from where I stood. But that is not a tale for the here and now.

Here in these pages I will attempt to organise and arrange my findings and adventures as I travelled the Lonely Roads of Galdenya.

 

FIRST STEPS

I was born to a small farming family just about two hours walk to the east of Galdawn, the shining sun of Galdenya and capital of the land.

From a young age I was “taken by flights of fancy and had not a head for the land”, as my da was fond of saying.

He loved me dearly, as did mama, but I was not built for farm life and caused them plenty of grief with my imaginative ways.

So much so that when came my 14th birthday and I announced to them, my two sisters and my four brothers that I wished to seek apprenticeship with the librarians in Galdawn they heartily agreed that would be for the best.

A week later came the day I would make the trip to the city and beg my place amongst the apprentices.

There were tears from mama, firm handshakes from da and my brothers and teasing from my sisters who believed I would return in less than a month with my tail between my legs.

They were very wrong.

I spent the customary three day period begging the Masters of Lore to allow me to join their ranks as apprentice.

On the third evening, as night fell, so too did my final hope. I would have to try again next year, but unless some accident or ill fortune culled the apprentices, I would not be accepted then either.

The sun was just a golden line above the horizon, the masters and Beggars alike had all left save for me. I stayed in the street on my knees and cursed my bad luck.

With barely a half of an hour  remaining before night fell and my time was up I became aware of a presence standing behind me.

I turned and was surprised to see an old man bent heavily over a walking cane with wisps of white hair clinging to his scalp. The real surprise was the silver chain around his neck with a thin thread of gold running up to his earlobe and joining a crystal stud pierced there.

This proclaimed him a Lore Master, but the poor cut of his white robes showed he did not fair well in his trade.

I began to stand, already deciding I would prefer the life of a farmer over serving a failed master in his dotage.

“Kneel boy!” he snapped in a tone that commanded obedience at once and I fell heavily back to my knees.

I stared up at him and he smiled down at me.

“Much better,” his voice had softened to something much more kindly. “What do you Beg here?”

“A-a-apprenticeship, Master,” I stammered, “with the the Lore Masters, the librarians.”

“Very well, apprenticeship you shall have. And your first task will be to help me home. My body tires and I’m not entirely certain I can make it unaided. Indeed, I almost missed the Begging due to this old body.”

“Forgive me master, but I wish apprenticeship with the libraries.”

“And so you shall have it, if you quit your prattling and follow, though maybe not in the library you choose.”

And with that he turned away and began to hobble up the road.

I stayed where I was, stunned and unsure what to do.

He made no more than a dozen steps when he tottered and fell hard on his bottom.

I leaped up and ran to him. He was laughing quietly when I reached him.

“There see, I knew you would listen, though slow to start. We’ll get that out of you yet,” he chuckled as I helped him to his feet.

There followed the longest walk I ever had. It felt longer even than all the miles I traversed alone through Galdenya in following years.

We made our way slowly through the streets of Galdawn. Fast emptying now the sun had set on the city. Which was to my liking. Helping the old man was a task in itself, crowds would only make it worse jostling us about as they no doubt would.

After more than an hour of frequent stops to let him rest and more than one occasion of him losing his balance and nearly falling we came finally to a large building of white marble. Unadorned in any way save for the great bronze door carved to look like a book and fashioned so expertly that when opened it appeared as though a large book was indeed being opened for a giant to read.

This I knew, by descriptions I had heard, was the Royal Library. The place where all matters pertaining to the royal bloodline were stored.

I feared the sanity of the old man was gone and opened my mouth to speak. Before I could the door was flung open and tall, stern faced woman came striding out.

Her dark hair hung loose about her shoulders and bobbed with each step. She stopped before the bent old man and inclined her head. He bowed as deeply as he could manage and then scowled at me when I didn’t follow his example.

Too late I noticed the royal crown embroidered down her sleeves and across the collar of her extravagant cold and blue gown.

“Master Gayle,” she spoke in a voice accustomed to command. “The hour is late and long have I waited here for your return.” She raised an eyebrow at me and I hastily fetched a bow, remaining bent in the hopes of undoing any offence I had caused.

“You highness, my queen, had I known you sought me I would have left a message. But as today was the last day of the Begging I had need to be in the city. My services are now at your disposal, highness.” Master Gayle spoke in a way that suggested he was familiar with the queen and she with him.

“Nay, I have found what I sought. I am glad to see you are unharmed, friend.”

“Unharmed save for the ravages of time, my lady,” Master Gayle chuckled, “and with an apprentice to boot!”

I felt the queen turn her gaze on me and quailed under her scrutiny.

“That is well, and past time. You do not grow younger Gayle,”

To my surprise she bent then and kissed the old man on his wrinkled forehead before sweeping past us followed by guards I had not noticed as they stood within library’s vast door.

Master Gayle turned to me and smiled, “Come lad. We shall get acquainted, you and I,” and he shuffled unaided into the cool interior of the Royal Library.

Here I shall skip many months that remain vivid in my memory and heart, though they do not bare over much on the tale of my travels. It was one full year and a half that I served under Master Gayle in the Royal Library, and many strange tales I read there.

Tales of creation and the Vor’Dalee, that fabled race who held the favour of the gods and yet were, in the end, spurned by them.

The tale of the Upstart Prince who murdered his father to claim a throne and then one day inexplicably denounced his claim and fled the kingdom. That one, according to dates, happened not many years before my birth and is a true accounting that I will not tell in full here. And many more besides.

Master Gayle and I became fast friends and even, forgive me da, built a relationship not unlike the closeness of father and son.

Many nights we spent awake till early hours, sitting by the fireplace and talking. Mostly I listened as he taught me the ways of the library or told me tales I had not yet read.

I grew to love the old Master and I am certain he loved me too.

Then, at the end of my first year under him, he fell very ill. He developed a fever one night though he showed no signs of sickness leading up to it. For 9 days I tended him until the fever broke and he spoke to me then of his family and the home he left in favour of the library. The scorn of a wife for leaving and fellow apprentices for being so much older than they, and a brother who disowned him and cared for Master Gayle’s family in his absence.

He spoke of his childhood and we laughed as it was revealed that his life was very much like mine.

The weight fell off his body and within two months he could no longer rise from bed.

I went to check on him one morning, half a year after his fever and found him sitting up in bed, a lap table laid across his knees holding quill, ink, parchment and a small vial of sand.

“Fregor,” he spoke to me in a hoarse whisper, “I will leave this life soon. I feel it in every bone, in every aching muscle. My time is coming.”

“Master Gayle,” I began but he cut me off with a sharp wave of his hand. “I wish I had not wasted my life away with these books of dead men and their tales.  This library cost me everything.”

“I thought you loved the library, Master Gayle,” I said to him.

“I do, lad. But now I am at the end of my days and see it was poorly traded when I took these books and scrolls over all the things I loved and could have loved, had I given myself the life to experience them.”

I did not know how to respond to that and so we sat in silence for a time. Eventually he dipped his quill and began to write, I took my leave.

Three days later, before midday, as I was organising my writing equipment in my pack there came a knock at my door.

“Come,” I called out and a woman named Elis opened my door.

Her eyes were puffy and red and she held a linen handkerchief bunched in one hand.

“Fregor, Master Gayle has passed,” straight to the point and it was a point that rocked me.

The world spun and I believe I blacked out for I have no recollection of how I came to be on my bed or where Elis had gone.

My mind was blank and my heart was sore.

I’m not entirely sure how but before lunch had come I was outside the city standing on the west bound highway.

I think even then I knew I would seek out Master Gayle’s estranged family.

 


This is a work on progress and a very rough draft, though I hope you enjoy it despite its (probable) many mistakes, bad grammar and poor layout. I would love to know your thoughts. 

Welcome to Galdenya.


Image

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/breakingmuscle.com/amp/healthy-eating/down-in-the-dirt-series-part-3-a-local-farm-and-the-city-slickers-who-run-it

Regrowth

By Aarron Mondello

26/1/2018

Heart beat racing with those first steps
Away down a lonely road
All is silent and watchful about
Can you hear your breath echo?

What phantoms of days long since past
Walk beside you here
What memories of long forgotten lives
Through the shadows peer

An open stretch of road to nowhere
Reclaimed by nature’s hand
On to an unseen horizon
For off in this unknown land

Where once the cancerous human walked
Bringing with it desolation
Now grows green with earthen heart
A slow paced restoration

©Aarron Mondello
26/1/2018


Image:

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-a-stretch-of-abandoned-a494-trunk-road-overgrown-and-and-being-reclaimed-55071697.html