“Gatekeeper” brings to mind a drawing I saw recently. Steve Jobs is at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter is thumbing through a horrendously thick tome. Jobs says, “I have an app for that.”
There, but unwanted
The pearl of a thought
There, but unwanted
The kernel of an idea
There, but unwanted
The sentence, yet unwritten
There, but unwanted
The flow of creativity
From right brain
Who the hell
Great structure. Great repetition. These things are so pleasing to a reader. And yet you add major meaning too. Super. A keeper for certain!
Wow, great poem Parrot! I nodded in recognition/agreement while reading it.
Wonderful, PW. Really, really good.
Aw, thanks, Gully.
Dang, I like this. Good job. I copied and saved it.
“I am the Gatekeeper,” his voice boomed,
“Do not precede or you will be doomed.”
I look at him with a weary smile,
“Do not fear, I carry no guile.
I am on a essential quest,
And I must continue my journey west.”
He repeated his greeting phrase
“I am the Gatekeeper, I do not faze.
At your own peril may you approach,
It is my territory that you encroach.
So, leave, go as you came,
This is not some adolescent game.”
“My quest, it carries me on,
I refuse to retreat for I am not your pawn.
Move to the side and let me advance,
I must go, it can’t be left to chance.
For the Gatekeeper you may be,
But I must go to Grimly Reap.”
The Grim Reaper meets the Gatekeeper. Good one Walk.
First, kudos for rhyming! Gotta love the sound of good rhymes. Second, my hats is off to anyone who can have their first person narrator be death. Not a common point of view–and one that is actually first person omniscient. Maybe you should follow his quest and see where he goes.
THE GATE KEEPER
When I was 24 I responded to cry for help written in our church bulletin;
“We desperately need more singers in our Chancel Choir. If you are able to carry a tune, and able to attend Wednesday night rehearsals, please schedule a time to audition with Choir Director, Rich.”
I had done some singing in high school and was in the glee club in college, so I went to my designated audition. Director Rich ask me to sing Do, Rae, Me, Fa, So La Tea, Do forwards and backwards. He then retrieved a choir robe which had been vacated by Lidia Boomershine at the time of her death. The robe fit and I only missed four of the seven notes in the Do, Rae Me scale exercise. I was a bit embarrassed by my performance, but Rich assured me that I would be a welcome addition to the Alto section in the Chancel Choir.
The first rehearsal that I attended, the Choir Secretary, Hilda Christner assigned me a seat beside her. On my other side sat Florence Aberdine, the oldest choir member at 93. I was clearly the youngest alto as evidenced by the sea of “Blue Hair” surrounding me.
If you have never sung in a church choir, let me enlighten you on a few facts. The soprano section is comprised of Divas, who drink warm tea and constantly spray lemon juice mixed with honey in their throats to maintain proper vocal cord hygiene. Tenors are the subservient members in a choir. They will do anything to keep the sopranos happy. They usually have professional careers, such as law, or accounting or banking. Tenors sit directly behind the sopranos so they can respond rapidly to the needs of the Divas.
The Bass section of a choir is made up of ‘Class Clowns”, who are carpenters, plumbers and bulldozer drivers. If there is a need for a new Baptismal Font or a new closet for choir robes, the handy work will be that of a Bass. Men in the bass section sit directly behind the Altos, so they can pull practical jokes and make rude body noises during Sunday worship.
Altos are the backbone of any choir. They have exceptional organizational skills. Hence, an alto is in charge of attendance records, the music library and maintaining the “Prayer Needs” list. They plan and execute all carry-in functions and make sure the robes are dry cleaned annually. The one thing that Altos and Basses share is a vocal range of only 4 or 5 notes. If a hymn goes above that range, altos just move their mouths to the words. Basses do to, if they can read.
For the first few weeks in choir, I honestly tried to behave myself. I followed all of the rules, arrived on time and never fell asleep during a sermon (in my church the choir sits behind the Pastor). But it became increasingly more difficult not to be influenced by the mischief of the Bass section. My personality and sensitivities were more aligned with the antics of the “Bad Boys” than the organization of the overachieving Altos. More than once, Hilda had to reprimand me for my behavior.
Finally, one night, while rehearsing for the Christmas Cantata, Hilda reached her breaking point. She turned to me and said,
“Do you know what really bothers me about you?”
“Well, I have worked all my life to be a good Christian. I raised my children to be good, God fearing people. I’ve dedicated myself to doing God’s work here on earth. And, in the end, people LIKE YOU, will probably get into heaven, just like me. That should be changed!”
“Hilda, I am so sorry you feel that way, but I thought Saint Peter was in charge of the Pearly Gates, not you. And if there is any question about my worthiness to enter Heaven, then you better start to pray, because I dated your Grandson in high school…. AND HE IS DOOMED!
Lydia Boomershine? The bass section as bad boys? Soprano divas? Peanut, once again you have made me laugh. Believe me, I have been reading student work all evening for many long hours. Nonetheless, you capture me. I cannot count how many times I laughed reading this. I am glad you are here! You made me quite happy tonight.
My church choir never had this many characters or as much fun. Very clever Ms Peanut!
Laughed out loud reading this! What a riot!
Call me Gatekeeper.
I am he, the keeper of the bars that hold back violence incarnate.
I am he, the guardian of the portal through which the assaulter hurls shrill and caustic forewarnings of barbarity.
I, and only I, have within me the power to challenge the evil-speaker and deny it rampage.
I am the last bastion. I protect you from an insane malignity like no other.
You might look upon the beast I hold captive and see the fiery orange eyes that will haunt you forever.
Keep your distance, for I, and only I, am the keeper of your safety, though not your sanity.
I am the Gatekeeper; I hold the key to the parrot’s cage.
On the other hand, when Pablo’s in a good mood, he’s actually fun to have around.
I love comic relief in an ending. What’s the phrase? Drang end sturm? (sorry, too tired to Google it). But while it builds and builds, you ease our angst with the final vision of Pablo’s cage. There, there. Good birdie.
Bwa-ha-ha! Good one Gully! Insane malignity – is that what happens when you leave him behind for a cat?.
INDEED! It took three days before he quit lunging at the cage bars when I approached within biting distance. Then last night he was upside down in my lap “play fighting” and squealing with delight. Go figure.
“So, guide, what’s with this tower section here in the middle of the old castle?”
“This was the castle’s keep, sir. It was fortified to be used as a last refuge if the rest of the castle were to be invaded by enemy forces.”
“So what, like, the last person in through the entrance locked the bad guys out?”
“Yes sir. And he was called the ‘keepgater’.”
Anyone for a Fig Newton?
Outed by Gully. Yes, it’s me, the guy who vowed to himself to give up blogging. There oughta be a twelve-step plan.
Transparente! Where did you come from? How can you be so funny and clever in four short paragraphs? Aiiyaah!
Gullie! How did you know it was FigMince? You have ESP!
Fig! You have been lurking. Come out come out whenever you can!
Fig is also known as Tragique, he of the “comma-pause.” I can spot him anywhere.
Oops. I know better than to write comments at 1 AM. That above should have been “comma-shift.”
He is the gatekeeper. He stands silent and alone at the edge of no-man’s land, silhouetted against the glow of artillery fireworks. Mud and barbed wire are the only decorations on this landscape. He shivers in the dark and the cold. Longingly, he thinks of a warm kitchen, a dining room table laden with Thanksgiving fare, his family’s laughing faces. Rain drips from his helmet. There is no warm, dry bed waiting for him in the trenches. Sloshing, muttering, dark shapes in front of him. The patrol has returned. “What’s the password?” He is the gatekeeper.
The visiting American General was impressed. He turned to the British Field Marshall. “These soldiers of yours march with amazing precision. How the hell do they all keep in time so perfectly?”
The Field Marshall explained. “It’s really very simple. One of our Drill Instructors has come up with a clever little system. While you can’t see it from up here on the dais, thin black string is tightly attached to the, er, shall we say, private parts of each of the Guardsmen, then intricately looped and connected to those of the other chaps. Unless every one of the marchers is absolutely in synchronisation, they’ll all experience excruciating pain where it hurts most. It soon pulls them into line, I can assure you.”
The General twitched a little and nodded. “Yeah, I guess it sure would.”
The Field Marshall raised an eyebrow. “If you’re interested, we’re considering offering the technology to other armies around the world,” he said. “Under the marketing name of ‘Gait-Keeper’.”
I never thought much about gates – they were in place to keep people and animals out of the yard. They performed their duties admirably. Then I discovered another use for gates. I used a gate to prevent people from entering my life.
The old cliché, once burned, twice shy, applied even when I was not aware of it. Hurts went deeper than I realized. If I denied you entrance to my life, I could avoid being injured by you. But if I denied you entrance into my life and heart, I might miss the most beautiful experience of all – love for another and that love returned.
I am my own gatekeeper—careful, yes. But experience and years have shown me the value of an open gate and filled my life with sons, daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I risked my heart, opened the gate, and filled it with joy and beautiful memories.
Gatekeeper…..I think of Ghoostbusters….who is the Keeper of the Key?
Ann, I finally found you.
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by Ann Linquist
Available in paperback or on Kindle