The Opium Smoker

The Opium Smoker short poem

Photo by rkirchne

He knows the place
Its depths, its visions, its dark illusions
And the face in the mirror
Opaque with age
The wispy beard now snowy white
Clouds snag on the mountain peaks
Fingers of rain stroke the earth
Tracing their way to his door
As wave after wave the curtains swell
Like the sails of a ship
Tottering at the edge of oblivion
His mind drops off
A wood fire draws the chill from his bones
He draws the smoke from his bamboo pipe
And a little white nymph unfurls her robes
Playing her flute for the candle flame
Dancing and swaying to and fro
Weaving her spell with swirling veils
Until the dreary world disappears
She beckons him with her slender arms
Calms him in her coils
Leads him barefoot
On a pathway of stars through a forest
Of shadows and soft dreams

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Bill Peeler

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My wife, Noy and I are Protestant missionaries in Cambodia. We met in a border refugee camp in Thailand back in 1979 while I was a refugee relief worker. She was a refugee. I lived and worked in Mairut Refugee Camp for three years. We have three grown kids. I was drafted into the Army in 1969, served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 and honorably discharged at the end of my military obligation. Writing prose and poetry is how I document the life I'm living and how I map out the mental landscape inside my head.
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wonderful dreamworld. Loved it –maybe I should try opium??


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