Letters to the Ephyran

Letters to the Ephyran

A Poem by Ken e Bujold

"from the ashes of the old the new Phoenix arises"


Look, could you ever have imagined
growing up to circumvent the globe 
meant coming back here. All the ancient grievances,
still unresolved, they haven’t forgotten -- you 
remember how it was, the dead ache
certainty we’d never get out from under 
the insufferable weight of waiting for something,
anything to break the inertia of being harnessed 
to the orbit of the most commonest of suns;
how every day felt like an eternity, the black hole 
of nothing to do but wait, wait, wait 
and pray the ill-fated sword Damocles had poised 
above our heads would cut clean and true, 
severing whatever senses hadn’t already been scrubbed 
clean from our bones. Honest now: did you 
believe anyone gave a damn where we went
when every road circled back to the great slag 
of Hell’s mountain, that insatiable maw 
of a furnace stoked by generations 
of fathers, fathers’ fathers … 
drudging down into the dreary den to land’s end …
to light the lamps in the big house atop the holy hill  
our kind never ever graced the insides of. 
Perhaps, it’s to be expected, this weariness; 
an aftereffect of the hereditary jaundice 
that marked us for being Hades sons, 
beasts to bear the burden … 
Still, I imagined, the voyage should have taken us further from … 


No one ever spoke to the truth: to how 
infinity had a finite number of exits, 
all dependent on choices you chose before 
you ever knew you had options. 
Behind the door marked Brawn -- you left 
like you came in -- head first, bare a*s; 
an Ox harrowed the soil until he couldn’t 
slog anymore, the Mother Hen brooded 
until she’d nothing left to brood. 
A second door, Unmarked, opened 
to the select few -- the Encephalites -- 
blessed with the ability to gaze into a future.
My earliest memory is of the day 
I discovered I could decipher 
the mysteries of the world from the inside 
of a book, how the letters tumbled 
words to sentences, to whole paragraphs 
to places I might eventually find my way to --
a possibility that didn’t end in the destitution 
of limbs, some purpose under heaven. 
We were meant to rise from the ashes, 
the new Phoenix, anointed 
sons of Chiron, summoned to the hill top 
to rewire the lamps in the big house. 
Yes, that’s how, I imagined Perdition then …


Can you recall the first time you heard 
the parable of the firebrand? 
Were you not troubled by the injustice 
of the mighty few so full of fair-play 
they’d condemn one of their own 
to eternal damnation of never-ending labor 
for wanting to ease the misery of his flock?
From where I sat, the intent was clear: 
it wasn’t how many fingers the lady may have 
placed upon the scale, but the lethal pierce 
of her bosom when she wrapped the child 
into her gallows gown. Not even the dullest 
of bolts could misinterpret her intent. 
When Hubris, the favored son, pronounced 
all manner of crimes poor men were guilty of 
for being born below the heavens --
did your heart not skip a beat from memory 
of our own humble fathers stations? 
The great mystery, for me, has become why 
men like us still believe Sisyphus might once 
have been a King? The more I read, the more 
I grasp what’s written between the lines -- 
some of us are noble, but others are Noble,
and the division is a mountain 
no son of a mule will ever scale …  


These days I sense how Lazarus must of felt 
on being summoned back from the rest of mankind. 
More and more the morning rise finds me 
wanting nothing but -- to be left behind, 
free from the never-ending strife of having 
to explain myself, the choices 
I chose to leave scattered along the roadside. 
I remember the reasons well enough for leaving:
the smothering ennui of our small town 
existence, the grim glimmer of a rusty toolbox 
promise of endless tomorrows stretching out 
beyond any point the mind could imagine; 
a wife, or two, three kids and a cottage, 
maybe a third generation before my time 
card got punched for the final walk through 
the closing gates. Though how much different
than the world we’ve managed to make,
I can’t calculate beyond the central decision 
the misery of generations will end here. 
If winning was winning no matter what 
the cost: they win. Except, 
I’ve won as well. Maybe not in the way 
we imagined all those years ago, but still, 
I’m content to count this as my victory --
they never broke my back. I’ve never been 
mistaken for a mule. No Noble’s ever robbed me 
of my will to speak my mind, or stand on my own 
two feet. I never bled for the devil’s mountain. 
And if, growing up I never imagined, 
circumventing the globe meant coming back --
I can say it’s on my own terms. I haven’t forgotten
what I earned along the road back to Perdition.  

Ken e Bujold

© 2023 Ken e Bujold

My Review

Would you like to review this Poem?
Login | Register



What can I say, but ... WOW! ... This excellently smooth and flowing piece of Poetry reads like a Thomas Wolfe novel (I'm thinking, Of Time & The River) ... Wolfe was a Novelist who wrote most wonderfully, Poetically, so much so that after his death several books were published comprised of his many and countless Poetic Prose passages: The Face of a Nation, The Thomas Wolfe Reader, and A Stone, A Leaf, A Door come to immediate mind, as I do own all of Wolfe's books as a most avid and devoted fan of a late and deceased author, whom both Hemingway & Faulkner declared to be the next great American Novelist, though he died at an unexpected young age ... I enjoyed this very much and look forward to more ... Thanks for sharing ...

Marvin Thomas Cox-Flynn de Graham

Posted 1 Month Ago

I thought of this as a very poignant statement on the state of mankind. It ends with gratitude for one's achievements or perhaps their present state. True, that though we still live in the binds of monotony and drudgery, we do have liberties our forefathers didn't enjoy and our heros fought hard for things we take for granted. A very impressive write with great things said.

Posted 1 Month Ago

Ken e Bujold

1 Month Ago

thanks D. This is to be one of the hinges to my upcoming volume. The 4 letters are in many ways an a.. read more

1 Month Ago

Indeed, this is a work to be read more than once to absorb and appreciate its depth fully. So much i.. read more

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


2 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on February 7, 2023
Last Updated on February 7, 2023


Ken e Bujold
Ken e Bujold

Somewhere in Ontario, Canada

Writers write, it's what we do. Fish swim, woodpeckers peck... writers scribble (inside and outside the lines). more..