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Poetry by Charles Moffat

Existentialism, Romance and Psychology

There are three things all poets talk about: Death, love and the meaning of life. This observation is no less true for Charles Moffat, a Canadian writer, artist and also a prolific poet who lives in Toronto.

In Moffat's poems he frequently uses metaphors or key words to get his meaning across. "Gossamer Lies" for example aludes to the idea that the lies are see-through and the poem itself deals with a tragic suicide of a doctor and how it effected the psyche of the doctor's only daughter.

Moffat's poetic works also sometimes appears in his fictional work, as he is apt at sneaking both poetry, riddles and love letters into his novels and short stories.

He uses the poetry in his fictional work as a narrative device to provide a metaphor for the characters/plot, or sometimes as a riddle pertaining to the plot itself.

Moffat's love letters are also quite poetic, not only because he has studied formal letter writing and traditional love letters, but also because he is a true romantic at heart.

Apparently romance isn't dead. Even his one poem "Romance on a Stick" deals with the topic of whether romance is dead and he even questions whether it can also be a commodity. Would people pay for romance?

His poetry also sometimes compliments his artistic work. For example his painting "Persephone and the Pomegranate" goes quite well with the poem of the same name. Likewise roses, succubi, romance/sexuality also feature in his artistic works.

Moffat's poetic works can be grouped into several categories:

His existential works frequently deal with life, death, meaning, purpose, suicide (something he is adamantly against).

His political poetry deal more with concepts of patriotism, ignorance, warmongering and power struggles. (Moffat is also a pacifist.) ie. Naked in the Desert

His psychological works deal with largely with men, violence, loneliness, sexual lust and animal magnetism/metaphors. ie. Man's Evil Ego

In Moffat's romantic poetry he frequently uses romantic symbolism, such as roses and dancing. ie. Desolate Roses on Sunswept Gales

Sometimes he just writes whimsical poetry which has no real special meaning beyond saying something simple like thank you. ie. Thanx for the Raisin Cookies

One of his most important poems is The Sumerian Legend of Lilith, an epic poem concerning the Sumerian goddess known as Lilitu.

Moffat has held various titles in poetry clubs in Toronto, and retired from club administration in 2012. However in February 2014 he returned to become the new president of the Toronto Poetry Club - which had to be restarted because the old president deleted it and all the contact info for club members was lost. He restarted the club, reinvigorated it, and then passed it on to the current club president.

Published Works

In February 2012 Moffat published his first poetry book: "a dream of unfettered roses" which is available on Kobo for $2.99. See "a dream of unfettered roses" on Kobo. The book was also available on Amazon Kindle from February 2012 to January 2015, but Moffat has since decided to remove it from Amazon. It is now available exclusively on Kobo.

Moffat's newest book is Dreaming of Zen Archery, which went on sale on February 10th 2015 on Kobo.

Atalanta and the Prophecy of Orpheus

By Charles Moffat

Atalanta was the daughter of Iasus, a proud Arcadian king
King Iasus wanted a son, but Atalanta lacked a little thing

To a huntsman she was given, to take to the mountains to die
But the huntsman took pity, he gave her to a she-bear with a bad eye

The she-bear suckled Atalanta and she grew strong and wild
She learned to hunt and to fight and was no longer a child

One day Atalanta was found by a band of Amazon hunters with bows
The hunters marvelled at her strength, from her head to her toes

With the aid of the hunters Atalanta learned to hunt with bow and arrow
She was adept at all she tried, hunting lion, boar and sparrow

The Amazons worshipped Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and full moon
Atalanta took an oath of virginity, despising all men and all that they hewn

Her oath was later put to the test when she was reunited with her father
Iasus was on the mountainside, with his hounds like any other hunter

Seeing her birthmark as she pulled her bow, Iasus realized what had been done
He took her back to his palace in Arcadia, honouring her like a son

Not long after Iasus sought to see Atalanta married, hoping for grandchildren
He arranged for a boar hunt, inviting many great heros and handsome young men

One such man was Meleager, who though married lusted for her and did adore
During the hunt Atalanta's arrows was the first to injure the great boar

Meleager insisted that Atalanta as the first archer should be given the boar skin
But his uncles Plexippus and Toxeus, drunk and angry, sought it since they were kin

Atalanta rebuffed them all, and in his lust and his rage Meleager slew his uncles
In the chaos that followed Meleager's own mother cursed him in the ensuing battles

She took a log and charmed it with the lifeforce of Meleager
Onto the fire she tossed it, his life burning away with her anger

But Atalanta saw what was happening and jumped to his rescue
She plucked the log from the fire and into the water she threw

Knowing that her father sought for Atalanta to break her vow
Our heroine jumped ship aboard a ship of heroes armed with sail and prow

The Argonauts sailed forth on their quest for the Golden Fleece
A ship full of handsome heroes, the very best and pride of Greece

As the only female aboard her oath was put to the test by the ship's crew
Meleager had followed her and she found herself lusting for him too

Not wanting to break her vow, Atalanta decided to leave after the battle of Colchis
She fled from Meleager and seeking an oracle searched for the head of Orpheus

Orpheus had gone to the underworld seeking his dead wife so strongly did his love burn
Hades had granted his wish, but had decreed that Orpheus could never return

Unable to die it was not long before Orpheus lost his head
Granted mystical powers word of his oracles quickly spread

And so it was that Atalanta sought out the head of Orpheus to hear what he said
She bade him tell her how she might avoid becoming wed and the marriage bed

Orpheus took one look at the young woman and knew how it would happen
"You shall marry a man who beats you in a foot race, beating all other fast men."

Atalanta scoffed at this for she was faster than a deer running free
But she disliked his answer and so in her anger tossed his head into the sea

She returned to her father in Arcadia and found herself feeling lonely
Her vow to Artemis seemed meaningless now that she knew the oracle's decree

King Iasus saw her sorrow and after much prying she revealed the answer
Rejoicing Iasus ordered a great race, offering marriage to his daughter

But this act angered Artemis and to the king she sent a priestess
The priestess bade the King that men who lost in the race become headless

The goddess appeased, the word spread that losing was more than mere disgrace
Thus dissuaded, many young men decided not to risk their heads in the race

On the day of the race only one man showed up, a young man called Hippomenes
He had sought out the goddess Aphrodite's advice on how to achieve success

In his pockets he carried three golden apples given to him with instructions
Although fast he could not hope to beat Atalanta with mere quick actions

During the race he threw the golden apples, counting on Atalanta's greed
The young woman dashed after the pretty things, knowing her own great speed

Each time he threw an apple Atalanta fell further and further behind
By the end of the race he was ahead, proving himself better than others of mankind

Atalanta was bemused at the young man's triumph and found herself lusting for him
After the feasting and drinking she invited him for a walk and a midnight swim

With a flagon of wine Atalanta and Hippomenes made love by the river bank
In the shadow of Artemis' temple they cavorted amongst flowers and drank

Displeased Artemis spied them and was affronted by their loud frolics
She would have ignored it had they made love in a bed or by the river Styx

Angered by their noises the goddess transformed the transfixed lovers
Two lions they became, Artemis was pleased as she heard only roars and purrs

So wild with their passions they did not notice their newfound shapes
Soldiers spied them and plucked their arrows so they made their escapes

Happy and content Atalanta and Hippomenes lingered in the mountains
Their offspring both hunters and hunted for their valuable skins

On the slopes of Olympus Atalanta and Hippomenes linger still
They were drawn together by their love of racing and goodwill

The Sumerian Legend of Lilith

By Charles Moffat

Before the stars were born
Before people built great cities
The great mountain Atlen shook
And bled fiery blood
As it gave birth to Lilitu

The land all around burned
Many animals and people died
When Lilitu opened her eyes
Lilitu saw the ashes of her birth
And wept tears like rain

Lilitu's tears became rivers and streams
Flowers grew where Lilitu walked
Trees grew where Lilitu sat
The ashes became fertile soil
And an orchard became Lilitu's home

In Lilitu's orchard many animals are
People came to live in paradise
Lilitu gave them grain and taught them to harvest
Lilitu made bread and beer
The people rejoiced, ate and drank

One day a great prince came to the land of Atlen
He spied Lilitu and wooed her
But Lilitu spurned and rejected him
The great prince became very angry
He spied two lions and killed them both

Lilitu wept for the lions
She cradled their heads in her arms
The lions awoke to her tears
The lions licked away her tears and became strong
They became Lilitu's loyal friends

The great prince saw this
And again he wooed Lilitu
But Lilitu became a bird
She flew away from him
Angry, the prince began hunting birds

Lilitu saw this and was upset
To spite the prince she spat at him
And mated with a serpent
Lilitu gave birth very quickly
Her child was like no other

The child had six arms
The child had a serpent's tail
The child was very strong
Lilitu called the child a marilitu
The Marilitu attacked the great prince

The great prince and the marilitu fought
They fought day and night
For night after night
And day after day
But neither could win the fight

Lilitu saw this and mated again
Another marilitu was born
And another and another
Two hundred and sixteen were born
In fear the great prince ran away

The people of the orchard rejoiced
The marilitus farmed the land
The marilitus protected the people
But the great prince swore vengeance
He cursed the mountain Atlen and its land

Atlen became angry at this curse
The mountain and the land shook
Atlen shook and bled and cried
Its fiery blood made fires
And its tears made floods

Afraid Lilitu turned into a great bird
She grasped people in her feet
She carried animals on her back
The marilitu's and the lions carried people too
Together they fled the land of Atlen

Lilitu went west and east
Lilitu went north and south
Finally she came to dry land
The people thanked Lilitu greatly
The people built statues in her honour

Lilitu wept for her lost home
Her tears formed two rivers
The rivers joined together
They flowed into the ocean
The people grew grain by the river

The people grew great orchards
They built buildings and towers of stone
The people grew healthy and the land rich
Merchants from far places travelled there
News of the wealth of the land grew

The great prince heard of the land
He sent his heralds to inquire of its lady
But Lilitu fed his heralds to her lions
The great prince sent an army
But the marilitus destroyed his army

Finally the great prince went
When he saw the beautiful orchards
When he saw the six-armed marilitus
The great prince knew the lady was Lilitu
In fear he disguised himself as a woman

The great prince went to Lilitu's temple
His disguise fooled the people
But the lions knew his scent
The two lions warned Lilitu
So Lilitu prepared a trap

Lilitu summoned thirty-six young men
She filled a hall with thirty-six silver platters
She ordered thirty-six beasts slaughtered
At last she was ready
She invited the people to the feast

People came from all over the land
The great prince came too
The great prince arrived in disguise
But Lilitu knew him eagerly
She welcomed him as an honoured guest

The great prince accepted her hospitality
He sat before all the people
The thirty-six young men were brought forth
"Please choose a man," Lilitu commanded
Not wanting to be rude the great prince chose one

Lilitu bade the great prince to sit beside the young man
The silver platters were brought forth
The people feasted on the meat of thirty-six beasts
Great gifts were brough forth
Lilitu gave the gifts to the great prince

Confused the great prince accepted
Then the feast was finally over
Curious, the great prince questioned Lilitu
"Do you always give such grand gifts to strangers?"
"Only when someone is married," Lilitu answered

Realizing what had happened the great prince became angry
He ripped off his disguise
He drew his sword and his dagger
"Why have you made me marry this man?" he demanded
"Because you can never marry me," Lilitu answered

Enraged the great prince attacked Lilitu
The two fought endlessly for Lilitu was very strong
Whenever the prince would get too bold
Lilitu would change into a bird
The great prince fell to the ground and wept in despair

The great prince professed his love
He promised that he would never quit
He prepared to cut his own throat
Finally Lilitu grew tired of this game
She felt pity for the great prince

"I will grant you one kiss," Lilitu declared
Desperate the great prince accepted
The moment the great prince's kiss had been dealt
His body flooded with life and then death
So great was the pleasure of one kiss that he died

Lilitu wept for the great prince
But the great prince remained dead
Saddened Lilitu knew she could never love
No mortal man could taste her kiss and live
Her tears brought life, but her kiss brought death

Alphabetical List of Poetry from "a dream of unfettered roses"
Poetry Clip Art of a Blue Rose
Actaeon and His Hounds
Action in Inaction
A Dozen Hearts on Ice
All Alone
Angel of Bliss
Blind Dove
Burnt Roses
Cat Eyes
Cracking Knuckles
Desolate Roses on Sunswept Gales
Element of Desire
Falling Roses
Forgotten Roses
Greatest Quest Ever
Gossamer Lies
Humility, Honour and Virtue
Killer Economy
Lonely and Neglected
Lost Wisdom Vs. Lost Love
Love Gone Astray
Love Vs Lust
Man's Evil Ego
Naked in the Desert
Passion for the Poor
Pathetic Men
Persephone and the Pomegranate
Poetry is Magic
Psychoanalysis of Men
Questions for the Mind
Rama and Sita
Rising Sun
Romance on a Stick
Rotting Roses
Sexual Conquest
Shell Cage
Skeletal Lovers
Smoking Candle
Smoldering Delusions
Starcrossed in Deja Vu
Stupidity Rules
Sylvia Plath
Thanx for the Raisin Cookies
The Buddha and the Warmonger
The Mavericks
The Plumbline
Tonight's Destiny
Tortured in Paradise
Unapologetic Love
Undesired Desire
Wolf Tracks
Xenophobes and Liars
Your Mind is Twisted
Zen for Zombies