Words & Signs on Tenement Walls


And the sign flashed out its warning

In the words that it was forming

And the sign said:


“The words of the prophets are

Written on the subway walls-

And tenement halls,

And whispered in the sound of silence.”

– Paul Simon

“The Sound of Silence” 1964


Then I grew angry and cursed, with the curse of silence, the river, and the lilies, and the wind, and the forest, and the heaven, and the thunder, and the sighs of the water-lilies. And they became accursed and were still. And the moon ceased to totter in its pathway up the heaven –and the thunder died away –and the lightning did not flash –and the clouds hung motionless –and the waters sunk to their level and remained –and the trees ceased to rock –and the water-lilies sighed no more –and the murmur was heard no longer from among them, nor any shadow of sound throughout the vast illimitable desert. And I looked upon the characters of the rock, and they were changed –and the characters were SILENCE.”

Silence – A Fable

(published 1838)

by Edgar Allan Poe


Come into the Garden Maud


COME into the garden, Maud,

For the black bat, night, has flown,

Come into the garden, Maud,

I am here at the gate alone;

And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,           5

And the musk of the rose is blown.





For a breeze of morning moves,

And the planet of Love is on high,

Beginning to faint in the light that she loves

On a bed of daffodil sky,                                         10

To faint in the light of the sun she loves,

To faint in his light, and to die.


All night have the roses heard

The flute, violin, bassoon;

All night has the casement jessamine stirr’d           15

To the dancers dancing in tune;

Till silence fell with the waking bird,

And a hush with the setting moon.


I said to the lily, “There is but one

With whom she has heart to be gay.            20

When will the dancers leave her alone?

She is weary of dance and play.”

Now half to the setting moon are gone,

And half to the rising day;

Low on the sand and loud on the stone     25

The last wheel echoes away.


I said to the rose, “The brief night goes

In babble and revel and wine.

O young lord-lover, what sighs are those,

For one that will never be thine?               30

But mine, but mine,” I sware to the rose,

For ever and ever, mine.”



And the soul of the rose went into my blood,

As the music clash’d in the hall:

And long by the garden lake I stood,        35

For I heard your rivulet fall

From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood,

Our wood, that is dearer than all;


From the meadow your walks have left so sweet

That whenever a March-wind sighs    40

He sets the jewel-print of your feet

In violets blue as your eyes,

To the woody hollows in which we meet

And the valleys of Paradise.



The slender acacia would not shake                       45

One long milk-bloom on the tree;

The white lake-blossom fell into the lake

As the pimpernel doz’d on the lea;

But the rose was awake all night for your sake,

Knowing your promise to me;                                50

The lilies and roses were all awake,

They sigh’d for the dawn and thee.


Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls,

Come hither, the dances are done,

In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls,                      55

Queen lily and rose in one;

Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,

To the flowers, and be their sun.           


There has fallen a splendid tear

From the passion-flower at the gate.             60

She is coming, my dove, my dear;

She is coming, my life, my fate;

The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;”

And the white rose weeps, “She is late;”

The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;”                       65

And the lily whispers, “I wait.”   


She is coming, my own, my sweet;

Were it ever so airy a tread,

My heart would hear her and beat,

Were it earth in an earthy bed;                      70

My dust would hear her and beat,

Had I lain for a century dead;

Would start and tremble under her feet,

And blossom in purple and red.

Maud and other poems was Alfred Tennyson‘s first collection ( published in 1855) after becoming poet laureate in 1850.


Publisher John Boosey selected tactfully from Tennyson’s lengthy monodrama Maud (1855) and sent the verses to Michael Balfe, who composed this song for the celebrated tenor Sims Reeves. Those familiar with the poem will notice that, in order to create a refrain, Balfe repeats words from the first stanza of what is described in the context of Tennyson’s larger poem as “A Night-Song of Love.” Furthermore, he  added a few words of his own (“my own, my sweet”) to provide a more decorous conclusion for the drawing room than do the closing lines of the original.

Listen to Webster Booth (1902-1984) singing, Come Into the Garden Maud. The song was recorded for HMV in 1940 with Gerald Moore at the piano.


The image was created by combining the photograph(1861) of Hawarden Clementina Maud, Lady (1822-1865) Isabelle Grace Maude gazing at her reflection in mirror, with a the figure of Count Orlok, as played by Max Schreck in Nosferatu  (the 1922 German Expressionist horror film, directed by F. W. Murnau).  The film was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula.



Damaged Antique Paper 2

damaged antique paper 2

You move your eyes, there are spiders in the bedroom – dead. Do not let the silk stars in your eyes. This will cause great disrepair of the heart. You pick up the small stone, put it in your pocket, then turn and leave the room.

damaged antique paper 2BThe song lyric comes back, like bitter tea,… “You’re nobody till somebody loves you” – “Do not let the Rock Stars in your eyes”, they told you. It is too late now for that. The dead spiders in the bedroom weave a web of tears and yesterdays. Just walk away now. The echoes walk behind you pleading, mocking, tearing your soul into pieces of tattered antique paper, full of drama, remnants of damaged dreams,…..


Oh Yahweh, your eyes tell it to the judge.

Give him that cast shadows on kisses

the first smooth stone of a Kisseh

– where the lichen embraces –

then he too shall weep bloody words of remorse.

damaged antique paper 3

You think that if you try to just damage the antique paper,….. things could be different somehow –

damaged antique paper 3B
There was a blue spider bedroom – dead wallpaper,

Orchids climb the silver webbed trellis,

Weaving in and out of rips and holes,

Like a boxer dancing with their long ago success .


damaged antique paper 4

Do not let the rocky cold stars in your eyes.

You’re nobody till somebody loves you” – 

Letting their hair down, though the birds marvel at the reach of their fingertips, they stretch to the horizon . Clouds caress the pillows on the bed, as the sighs, intertwined with bird songs, crawl across the rug desperately seeking amber kisses.

damaged antique paper 4B

Star shine penetration throws up a quagmire of emotions.


Someone to love you, do you have anyone ? – please do not leave – the rock stares in your eyes.


Please do not let the star of your eyes

Beguile you with antique patterns,

A memory stolen from others.

 She gives her first looks only to be kissed like a stone – oh what a chic puppy – now old, tired, but resolved to turn left and……….
to love you until the next signal, but not tonight.

damaged antique paper 2C


The heart beats, a basket of wasted moments chopped up into second thoughts. The bare feet wiggle their toes in regrets and random rhapsodies of halfhearted apologies. A Tear becomes a tear in the journal page, stained when cracked laughter pours out empty freedom.

Now, she can say it – moss coloured memories compressed on pages of antique paper: This is my summer day, like a noisy crow, and there are his lips to remember – that laugh, a serenade.

Once there was a spider blue room.

He is the first stone cast and kissed by moss.



What to say to the judge is in your eyes.

Can there be forgiveness here,……… even now ?

 damaged antique paper 3C

Now You can move your eyes,

The Dead stand by – a Spider is in the bedroom.


Ghost Light – Antique Impression

Ghost Light 1 MT

ASDF – Ghost Light – Decode

“Halloa! Below there!”



“Is there any path

by which I can come down – BTEG –

Ghost Light speaks to you?”



Halloa Below !”

The signal reflected back –

Spectre light decode.


CUTP – Decode 12

A Specimen of typeset fonts and languages, by William Caslon, letter founder; from the 1728 Cyclopaedia.


Background – The Signalman by Charles Dickens

The railway signal-man of the title dreads a ghost that has been haunting him. Each spectral appearance precedes a tragic event on the railway on which the signalman works. The signalman’s work is at a signal-box in a deep cutting near a tunnel entrance on a lonely stretch of the railway line where he controls the movements of passing trains. His fellow signalmen alert him by telegraph and alarms to coming danger and conditions. Three times, he receives phantom warnings when a bell rings that only he can hear. Each time he hears this warning, it is followed by the appearance of a spectre. Soon after there is a terrible accident involving his section of the train track.

Clayton Tunnel. Photograph taken January 2006 and now in the public domain.


The first accident, which involved a terrible collision between two trains in the tunnel, was likely based on the Clayton Tunnel crash that occurred in 1861( five years before Dickens composed the story). Readers in 1866 would have been familiar with this major disaster.



Signal error – ghost,

light in the distance, space-time,

Seen and not seen Box.

Promotional Spectre art for Green Lantern: Rebirth #1 (Dec. 2004) by Ethan Van Sciver.



Full text : No. 1 BRANCH LINE THE SIGNAL-MAN by Charles Dickens