Monday, April 4, 2016


Alfred D. Byrd

Doubtful of purpose,
Leah receives a visit
From kin in trouble.

Mysteries give her,
Keeper of ways from the past,
A call to duty.

Family stories
Sometimes can give her insights
Leading to action.

Siblings are useless:
A verse hides light in darkness—
Someone may grasp it.

History shows her
Shadows of motives for hate
That threatens loved ones.

Family stories,
Despite how often repeated,
Bind her to kindred.

During a welcome,
Hunger is driven away,
But shadows gather.

Elderly women
Sometimes shelter memories
Needed to save us.

Dangerous roadways
Bring you to one who may know
The secrets of sleep.

Sometimes, just sleeping
Leaves us still wanting a cure
For ghosts that haunt us.

Zealously researched,
Acted with hope and vigor,
Rituals fail her.

Preaching and prayer,
Zealous although they may be,
Leave room for action.

Sudden visitor
Brings us the sense of strange words.
A marriage is needed.

Hidden documents
Tell her a tale of her love,
The heir of rebels.

Union will bring her,
Finding her purpose at last,
A future of hope.

If you want to learn the story behind this poem, you can read it in The Ghost of Pelfrey's Bend.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Alfred D. Byrd

Facing a future darkened with doubt,
A maiden muses on kin and fate.
A lover is kind, but fails to close
The gap between "desire" and "fulfill."
A lore of dragons begins to pall;
The folks are away, leaving their child
To grope for answers amid a fog.

A knock is sounding, routing daydreams;
Relatives coming in search of help
Must trust a child in place of parents.
Hearing a tale of death by a ghost,
Convicted Rebel, vengeful and proud,
Who stalks a traitor from son to son,
She learns her mission, saving the last
Of those who can pass her name through time.

"Decide" is easy compared with "do."
She tries what works in the hands of one
Who lived a life beyond her knowledge.
"Easy" for one is "hard" for others.
Failure spurs her to search through stories—
Memories holding the souls of kin—
For something turning darkness to light.
A spark appears. Will it leap aflame?

A call to siblings yields her no help,
At least in terms of ghosts of vengeance.
Father, stepmother — absent from home.
Their letters waken only questions.
Answers, her lover suggests in vain.
An uncle should learn at least what's up,
Although his wisdom strikes her as dim.

A trip awakens a gift of art
To sketch what she sees along the way.
A house at once depressing and glad
Provides a welcome to two who search
For answers likely never to come.
A war that split a nation of hope
Provides, however, a gleam of truth:
A rebel betrayed by one who gave
Both her and her kin the gift of life
Has grounds for vengeance across the years.
Unless appeased, he may kill again.

As she and they are crossing the hills
To get, they hope, advice from elders,
Heading backwards from present to past
Awakens stories — ancient gossip —
Holding the secrets of who they are.
Perhaps, recalling the past will help
Subdue the ghost that haunts their present.

Welcomed by those whom she's come to help,
She welcomes her welcome, a meal of love,
But soon muse turn to words from the past.
A record of lies that shaped her world
Records betrayal, the root from which
The fruit of murder by ghost has grown.
How many would dare disturb the past
If they knew what deeds their kin had done?

The trip before her won't be easy.
Seeking relatives, often she finds
That they've moved from where she knew they'd lived.
They've changed in more than where they reside.
Ancestral customs, they've set aside
To honor the One Who lives on high.
The end of the road seems near at hand
When she hears a voice effaced by time:
An elder tells her of one now lost
Who may retain rejected knowledge
Needed to handle what's lost to her.

Revenge has winnowed a line of sons
To pass on a name through years to come.
If she fails to find what lies concealed,
She'll miss her purpose and mourn a loss.
A journey along a cliff reveals
The home of one who knows a secret
Hidden in plants of healing and sleep.
Because of insults that stay alive,
The one who might help is shy at first.
A gift of stories eases offense
And wins advice that might be helpful,
Worthy of testing on one at risk.

A dinner welcomes helpful kinsmen;
Brewing a draft foreshadows success
In treating the ill that dooms a line.
In sleep, however, one meets with dreams
From which the draft prevents awaking.
Messages spoken by lips of mist
Repeat a warning: "Appease or die!"

A quest for a book will lead her clan
Back home to where her journey commenced.
A sister, coming out of the blue,
Reveals what's needed to do a rite
That crossed an ocean to fight a ghost.
Without belief, they perform the rite
In hope that "do" is greater than "doubt."
Belief, however, is what's required.
The rite has failed; the ghost will haunt on,
Dispensing the fear of deaths to come.
Amid confusion, parents arrive.
Accountings have come, but hope as well.

Her father, storied master of words,
Takes charge of laying the ghost to rest.
Amid the giving of gifts to all—
Amid discussions of trips and food—
He calls on the One on high for light,
But darkness brings forth a guest instead.

A sister's sudden coming brings her
Answers to riddles lightless till now:
A marriage of two who share the blood
Of thief and victim can seal a breach
Through which the hand of vengeance enters,
Culling the sons of the blood of theft.
Before, however, the two can wed,
A son with no house must learn his name.
A trip through darkness begins in hope.

A letter preserved in trust for years
Contains a tale that answers questions:
The ghost's descendant hovers nearby,
Beside the daughter of trust betrayed,
His name and lineage hidden from him
Until his love could kindle healing.
Many might gossip of what the two
Have chosen to do to change the past,
But they, prepared to face the journey,
Hasten ahead to become as one.

The ghost is happy, at least for now.
Its goal of justice will be attained
Through union of two who join the lines
Disjoined by treason in times gone by.
A whirl of getting ready follows,
Ending in words that mean forever—
Often intended, often broken.
This time, the two becoming as one
Will face the future with gifts of hope
From those whose lives have shaped the present.
Mystery links them, children of dreams,
To past and future with tales of joy.

If you want to learn the story behind this poem, you can read it in The Ghost of Pelfrey's Bend.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Alfred D. Byrd

Dancer ascending —
Dreaming awakens the lost
To life beyond him.

Fleeing what binds him,
Dreamer is seeking dreamers
Sharing his passions.

Ending loneliness,
Dreamer has met a lover
Shrouded in secrets.

Searching for answers,
Dreamer sets out on a quest
To find the lover.

Searching for answers,
Someone confounded by dreams
Encounters nightmares.

Worshipful Dreamer
Receives a vision of hope
From one in favor.

Friendship provides you,
Looking for guidance in life,
With light from others.

Seeking a lifemate
Obfuscates Dreamer's progress
Seeking his purpose.

Dining with strangers
Changes your vision of things,
But shadows linger.

Mysteries lead us
Ever away from the past
To grope for futures.

Testing a loved one
Threatens to stifle the hope
Of years together.

Troubled, a lover
Tells you of things that you fail
To grasp — confusion.

Absence of loved ones
Empties our lives of purpose
Beyond our waiting.

Waiting, while hurting,
To get the help that you need
Prevents your healing.

Only in friendship,
Hearing, giving us answers,
Counsel can reach us.

Sometimes, decisions
Reach us through thoughts that wander,
Guided by others.

Giving accountings —
Somehow, others must judge us,
Choosing our outcome.

Happy reunion.
Troubles are mostly worked out,
But shadows linger.

Finding acceptance
Makes you a guest at a feast
Of hints and shadows.

Choosing a future
Forces you, seeker, to face
What lies within you.

Verses explaining
Visions of light and shadow
Free you from doubting.

Suddenly, waiting:
Turnings of moons have delayed
The light that guides you.

Triumph! Your seeking
Leads you to what you've needed —
Dancing with purpose.

Answers are coming!
Strangers are now your friends
And bring you purpose.

Star-spanning tunnels
Bring us strangers with gifts
Of light or darkness.

Doorways have opened,
Letting in endless changes
Crossing the starfields.

Changes within you
Signal the growth of new gifts
That shape your future.

Sheltering secrets
Makes you yourself a secret
Needing concealment.

Travel to meetings
Gives you a chance to discuss
Both past and future.

Under disguises,
Allies may linger concealed,
But also danger.

Dealing with blessings,
The gifts that come to your life,
May not be easy.

Changes within you
Alter relations with those
Who've come to trust you.

Testing your limits
Sometimes yields you misfortune
Touching your loved ones.

Worship may give us,
Seekers of meaning in life,
A time of comfort.

Doubting has ended.
Secrets have broken silence
And reached the open.

Finding a stand-in
Honors your ties of good faith
With one who's helped you.

Seeking approva
Wins you respect and consent
When done discretely.

Garments of purpose
Mark you as one with a gift
Of strength and vision.

Vigils may help you
Enter the future in peace,
Or grow bewildered.

Waiting is over.
Yielding yourself to the Dance,
You reach a new world.

You can read the story behind this poem in Through the Gate of Horn: The First Thread of the Dhitha Tapestry.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Alfred D. Byrd

THISTLEDOWN sees you, lonely and sad,
Across a classroom hateful with noise
From students sharing a space with you,
But mocking what makes your life worth while.
She becomes a friend, unsought, but loved,
Who shares with you a world of secrets,
Mysteries rescued from lands long lost,
But now restored — imagined and played.
You find within each other's household —
Families differ, but stay the same —
A refuge letting customs live on
That should've died in an age gone by.
You wrestle with faith — too dark, not yours —
But choose to live a life of secrets —
Symbols hide them from all but you two —
That form a shield from the world outside.

EVENTS of darkness break in at times,
But verse that lets you express your dreams
Protects you from fears that prowl a land
Consumed with worries, heartbreak, and rage.
You find in books a glue that binds you,
Dreamers, together in tales of hope.
You seek afar the cities of light
In which the sages teach you wisdom:
Secrets, perhaps, of friends or foes
That leap from them to reshape our lives.
The ones who share our homes and our blood
May mock a path that differs from theirs.
It's true: we don't belong to this world
In which the years will change us in ways
That we don't desire, but must endure.
We choose adventures to save our lives,
But are we honest, even alone?
Do we touch a world in ways that turn
Unfriendly pathways to ones of hope?

A DEATH occurs, subverting wishes:
Thistledown falters, dealing with loss,
Which shows how fragile a dream can be.
The death begins a parting of hearts:
A dream is two dreams, maybe unlinked.
What guides us onward, seeking meaning?
A past remembered, a dream recalled,
A thing imagined — mighty in hope,
But weak, perhaps, in being fulfilled.
It isn't enough for one in pain,
And she has left you, watching — weeping.

THISTLEDOWN, absent, leads you to ask,
"Can I replace the one who's been lost
With one who's been found, unsought, but loved?"
You've moved away from your place of birth
And found a way to have adventures
Differing greatly from what you knew.
Can you choose a voice to speak in verse
Of things that change, but remain unchanged?
You've learned to love another lover —

THISTLEDOWN enters, crossing your life,
But soon departs, not as changed as you.
The one who wanders, it seems, is more
Resistant to change than one who stays
To face whatever hardship may shape
Beliefs and actions from day to day.
You learn the secrets of lives now yours
By ties that bind through the years to come;
You choose to love, however challenged,
For love gives meaning, laughter — sorrow.

MEANWHILE, Thistledown flutters across
The edge of vision with news of dream
While you deal with what has warped your life —
A tide of rumors, unwelcome, but true,
That bare the secrets within your home.
You find, as you keep your world intact,
That you dream of one who walks unseen
And laughs or weeps in places afar —
Beyond the sunset, across the stars —
Within the realms that teem with dragons.
Separate, you and she, once one,
Are still together, married by dreams.
The two of you, you learn, are partners
Sharing a passion, useless, but pure,
Amid a world in which devices
Alter daily the course of our lives.
You make a home, a refuge for guests
Who come to shelter with you awhile,
But you wish to hear the call of roads
And see adventures before you die.
They happen never; our life is small.
We see our children repeat our sins,
And we fail to find the land once lost.

MISFORTUNE crushes your dream of home
And leaves you empty, helpless mourner.
Meaning is absent without the love
That binds us to life with arms that hold
And ears that listen to what we are.
Can we find the grace to keep on track
When all is trackless amid our tears?

AMID THE GLOOM there's something hopeful:
Thistledown enters, bearing a light
That lets us observe what paths may branch
Across the years ahead with purpose,
Living a dream imagined — restored.
You ask a question pregnant with hope:
"When we've lost what lay between us two,
Can what we lost return on the wind?"
Can she who sought, but never could find
The land of dreams on roads without end
Now find it with you at home — at rest?
You'll take a risk and make a future:
Thistledown, planting her seed in earth
And bearing what fruit the days may bring.

If this poem has spoken to you, you may wish to read Thistledown, a novel that expands and explains it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

THISTLEDOWN: A Haiku Sequence

Alfred D. Byrd

Schoolday's beginning
Swiftly reshapes a loner,
Finding a soulmate.

"Newfound companion,
Meeting my parents at home,
You've found a welcome."

Brothers are trouble,
Knowing what secrets we hate,
Yet make us stronger.

Dangers around us
Threaten the peace of our lives,
Which verge on nightmares.

Fantasy's visions
Of Elves and Orcs in conflict
Fascinate dreamers.

Dreaming is useless,
Paying no bills with its signs.
We need employment.

Mystical visions
Order beautiful dreamers,
"Honor Atlantis!"

Sudden misfortune
Changes the path of dreamers,
Mourning a loved one.

Sometimes, to dreamers,
Answers come clear in a flash
From childhood's lessons.

Heartbreak will claim you,
Hearing your lover call out,
"Goodbye. Be happy."

Heartbreak within you,
Somehow, your life keeps going.
College may help you.

Finding another —
Treason to one whom you loved,
Or hope reviving?

Using deception,
Winning a girlfriend your hope —
Tricksters should prosper?

Mourning an exile
Wakens a neighbor to love
For one deserted.

Letters remind you,
Lover deserted, of her
Still loved in secret.

Shaking what's settled,
Heartbreaking pilgrim returns,
Her news a challenge.

Planning is useless?
Others, with minds of their own,
May shape your future.

Changing your household
Moves you to change your lifestyle.
Mirror your setting.

Relatives test us.
Telling our stories of shame,
They keep us humble.

Choosing presumption?
Better get ready to be
Alone or sorry.

Suddenly, trouble —
The road ahead is empty.
"Leaving," she tells you.

Partings of lovers
Often arise from error,
Hearing her wrongly.

Ready for marriage?
Many may say, "It's a snap,"
But find it daunting.

Countless the weddings,
Country churches their venues,
Lasting a lifetime.

Furniture, housewares —
Starting a household requires
Both pluck and humor.

Growing tomatoes?
Newlyweds swiftly find out
The lore of aphids.

Needing assistants?
Relatives sometimes will do,
If you're not picky.

Visitors help us
Treasure the things of the past —
The seeds of futures.

"Honey, I'm pregnant"
Urges a husband to face
The things that matter.

Sometimes, you're busy,
Doing what needs to be done,
But missing meaning.

Brother returning,
Bringing new ways from afar,
Will change your lifestyle.

Everyone changes.
Meeting a friend from the past,
You face your future.

Dying, they leave us.
Relatives bearing our past
May bound our future.

Hateful abusers
Trouble our lives for spite
And make us mirrors.

Mysteries hedge us.
Persons considered our friends
May harbor secrets.

Many certainties,
Seeming forever secure,
Depart in whirlwinds.

Grieving? Not easy.
Weakness, we've learned of weeping.
Funerals help us.

Distant companions,
Living apart from our lives,
May meet disaster.

Future? Uncertain.
Danger just laughs at our plans
Of love or labor.

Mysteries lead us,
Needing a party to blame,
To try the blameless.

Rumors pursue us.
Sometimes, we wonder whose life
We may be living.

Choices define us.
Futures arise from persons
Making decisions.

Parents precede us,
Early, in matters of life —
Later, in passing.

Marriages stun us.
Sometimes, they come from the blue
In lifetime's autumn.

Children are troubled,
Finding a way to channel
Darkness within them.

Nothing is certain.
Accidents shatter our lives
And make us mourners.

Loved ones have left us.
Duties, however, go on,
Mocking what's empty.

Sometimes, revival
Reaches us, carried by friends
Who've shared our journey.

Outsets are fragile.
Renewal depends on hopes
That may elude us.

Nothing is finished.
Our lives go on together
On a quest for hope.

If you found this poem rewarding, you may enjoy Thistledown, the novel on which it's based.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


by Alfred D. Byrd

Peace is too fragile.
Passions constructed on lies
Lure us to combat.

Friendship allows us,
Seeking in others new light,
To learn of ourselves.

To love a songbird—
Often, we lose our desire
When it flies away.

Diplomas matter.
Seeking respect through degrees—
Will you find success?

Another message—
Symbols beyond our knowledge—
Waken a sleeper.

Ignorance kills us.
Drawing on darkness for light,
We breed delusion.

Darkness is speaking,
Telling, whispered in symbols,
Secrets to no one.

Glory is fleeting.
Sometimes, pioneers languish,
Losing to others.

Politics claim us.
Symbols are altered to serve
The needs of the state.

Who's coming to us?
A friend, a rival, a foe?
Can we read the signs?

Conjectures flourish,
Filling the heavens with chaff,
When we're short on facts.

We turn to revels,
Blessings of gods, we may say,
When we're filled with doubts.

At times, we're spinning,
Seeking to find direction.
Often, it flees us.

Deadened emotions
Burgeon, finding a love
When they've lost their hope.

Are pictures the roots
From which we grow our writings?
We grope in the dark.

The news of silence,
Telling us, "No one is home,"
May be, "We're over."

Facing disaster—
Lover, now stranger, is lost—
Compels us to wait.

To shout at a crowd
A message of fear and death
Is to speed their birth.

To give up your love
For others who need her help
Is to grow, but die.

To seize a future,
Ponder a path to success
And learn how to walk.

A stranger, a friend—
What traits distinguish the two
When you seek the truth?

Belief may bring us
Deadly rewards for our faith
If it stems from fear.

Do we know our friends?
Within a heart beside us,
Murder may fester.

Seeing a message
Seeming to show you the truth,
Consider the source.

Although no meaning
Shatters the wall of the Dark,
The quest will go on.

You can learn more of the novel on which this haiku sequence is based at Madness of the Glyphs.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shadows of TO THE THRONE OF GOD: The Fifth Thread of the Dhitha Tapestry

Alfred D. Byrd

Is peace no more than muchness of money and goods?
If so, how soon it'll end in sorrow and shame!
You may stand amid the stars, but stumble swiftly.
Riches are never enough to deny defeat
To ones who worship glory when it wanes for them.
The heights can hold no safety for hearts of darkness.

Pride and fear have brought a world to the eve of war, a war that Timothy Johnston is coming to think is unstoppable. Thanks to him, that war will now affect only one world, his adoptive world of Tena. He has saved the earth from invasion by Tena's two Human-derived alien species, the gracious Dhitha and the blood-drinking Vulg, but at what cost to his adoptive world, now the world of his irreversible exile?

Because of the gift of Light that makes him a Dancer, a wielder of telepathic and telekinetic gifts, and because of the wild gift that makes the priesthood of the Sacred Fire regard him either as a potential high prophet or heretic, he has no choice but to get involved in the politics that will almost certainly bring the Dhitha and the Vulg into their most deadly and destructive conflict. He must fight against the prejudices of social standing and of species that rend the world of an orange sun and a purple sky if there is any chance of saving that world from the deadly weapons imported from the earth for an invasion that will now never occur.

Regardless of whether Timothy succeeds or fails, Tena will change. The new high ruler of the Empire of the Dhitha, the beautiful and charismatic, but willful and ambitious Anthemrela, will ensure change. She speaks of peace, but it is she whose policies have ensured war — her policies, or perhaps the human heart from which they arise. A voice of prophecy has said, "War lies in the human heart."

Immemorial custom will die, replaced by — what? Timothy is unsure of whether progress for the sake of progress is better than the stasis that it is meant to overthrow. Many who are high are brought low, and many who are low are brought high, but does the change of position of high and low really make for a better, more stable world than leaving things as they were would have yielded?

Events escape even the control of Timothy and Anthemrela, friends, yet rivals in the world of guiding a world. Both have gifts of Light, and neither has time to question why the Giver of Gifts has seemingly set the recipients of gifts at odds with each other. If only there were a clear vision instead of the riddles that Timothy feels compelled to speak…

Listen to words that you've learned from lips of prophets,
But hated to take to heart for harm to your plans.
The faults of fathers become the failure of sons;
What marked the mothers with shame has marred their daughters.
A truth in which you can trust has tried your patience;
What hides in your heart destroys the health of your world.

The message is unpopular; its means of transmission is questionable; the messenger is filled with self-doubt. Is the speaker of riddles a high prophet or a heretic? The priests reach a decision…

If you wish to learn more of Timothy's quest, please read To the Throne of God. This is available in paperback from Lulu and in Kindle format from Amazon. All five books of The Dhitha Tapestry are now available in Kindle format: Through the Gate of Horn, On the Wings of Dream, In the Fire of Dawn, At the Brink of War, and To the Throne of God.. Walk in the Light!