West Of The Moon

West of the Moon is the unofficial, temporary meeting ground for the members of Christendom's Guild of the Cross and the Quill. Sadly West of the Moon won't be in our future permanent web URL because a number of other selfish people already registered all permutations of the URL years ago without even consulting me. For that they shall pay.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

new years poem

“New Years 2008”
- Matthew B. Rose

Another year is closing, another one dawning,
And somewhere, out there, someone is yawning.
Some major big changes happened this year,
So shut up your singing and lend me your ear
(I’m sorry to bother you, but I think you should hear).
I wrote a big thesis, it weighs a ton
But during the writing, boy I sure had fun.
I have a BA, (but its sort of BS),
Since I majored in English and History, I guess)
Worked through the summer, then got a real job
Teaching some youngsters, most of ‘em slobs!
(I don’t mean that jab. Please, no tears and sobs)
I visit my friend, and strain for a life,
Outside of teaching and grading and dodging the scythe
(And yes, I’m still single, and still have no wife)
And thus I look forward to the New Year ahead.
Will it be lively, or will it be dead.
(With Dems in charge, I’m voting for dead)
Lets hope it gets better, rather than worse,
And maybe a sports team will throw off its curse,
And maybe I’ll find out my vocation
And spend some time during summer vacation
Traveling round to places so cool,
And maybe the College will get a new pool.
(Non Sequitor, I know, but it rhymes with “cool”)
So here’s to the prayers for luck and success,
And blessings and blessings and all of the rest.
Happy New Year to you, and yes, you too.
I’ll see you on the flip side, East-side of this zoo.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I'm working on turning "I Promise" into a novel. Any tips?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

“The Most Humble Man on Earth”

Ok, this place needs more LIFE!!
Here's a poem I just wrote. Hope it make everyone smile at least once.

“The Most Humble Man on Earth”, by Matthew B. Rose

I’m the most humble man on earth.

Of all men stripped of noble birth

And left to wander the streets at night,

With only a forsaken birth right,

I am the most humble.

I am more holy than a pious priest

Who wages wars with spiritual beasts,

And says his prayers at night before bed,

And strikes his breast, and bows his head,

For he lacks my great humility,

For I am the most humble.

I am mightier than the greatest king,

President, sultan, or other such thing,

Who leads his country from sin and vice,

Hearing whispers of others’ advice,

And shows the advisor as the man

Who thought up that awesome saving plan;

Such great men are mere pish-pash,

Since I am much more humble.

I am more beautiful than the moon,

Reflected near in a child’s spoon.

For the moon steals from the sun

And from theft his light becomes

The source for light in dark night,

And takes the sun’s greater might

And shoves it in his burning face.

Such things cause my heart to race,

For I know I’m more humble.

So for all those whose hearts descend,

Frowning because I am so grand,

Rest assured when you see me pass,

That you are only next to last,

And that you have been greatly blest

And can tonight in your bed rest,

Because you saw my humble face,

That which God could never replace,

That face of incredible birth,

Of the most humble man on earth.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Highest Love

I wrote this this morning before going to work. Enjoy.

"Highest Love"
How does my love look when she sleeps?
She sleeps quietly, not snoring,
Soon sighing as she is dreaming.
When the nightmare and terror disturb
That quiet surrender to peace,
She stirs, moans, and cries out for me.
Her face distorts, her mouth hangs wide.
Her body shakes, her arms reach out
For my hands, my side, anything
To let her know I am with her.
She starts awake, calling my name,
Shouting and shaking, then waking
To find herself alone again.
“Lover answer,” she calls to me.
Yet from my lips I answer not.
“My love, where are you. It is dark
and I need your light to guide me,
your eyes to see the barren path.
I desire your close embrace,
If the danger draws too closely.
Oh sweetest soul, answer me.”
No answer, for I do not hear.
“Will you ignore your lover’s plea?”
I remain silent to her ear.
“I need you now, what do you say?”
I say nothing, for only that
Is enough to explain my love.
“forget you then,” my love screams.
“what love could you have with no yes
Or no, or go, or stay with me?
How does one stay with the one who
Chooses his own life over her?”
With that I reply to my love,
Who has screamed in the darkest night,
Called me in the darkest night.
“Sweet,” I call her, for that she is.
“I am here, be afraid no more.
I would never abandon you,
Not if someone better comes by,
Nor if you betray me, left me,
For others have done it before,
Yet I still remained close to them.
As to answer your pondering
Of the selfishness of my heart,
Consider what I did for you.
Long ago, before the Earth
Existed, I loved you to death;
To death I went because of love,
For you and for all, to save you.
I will never abandon you
In the darkest pits of the night,
To the dangers of a hunter.
For you are mine; I do love you.
But you also must love me back.
Call for me during the good times,
Not just when darkness beckons you.
Tell me of good things, not just bad.
That way we will share that deep love.
We will be united as one,
To live together forever,
To gaze upon each other’s face.”
She soon settles back into sleep.
I sigh and long for her sweet eyes.
There I watch her, my love doest lie.
How she looks when she is asleep.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pray for Regina Doman and Family

Regina Doman, good friend of Christendom, professional Christian author, and energetic supporter of the arts at our beloved College, who resides in Front Royal, posted this note on her website on July 9:

I have news so sad that it is breaking my heart.
Yesterday, July 8, my four-year-old son Joshua Michael died in a car accident in our church parking lot.
I love that boy so much.
Please pray for our family.
Regina and Andrew

Monday, July 03, 2006

Conclusion for "I Promise"

This is the end of the story. To answer the Fidelio's question on the last post, this is the most recent completly creative work of prose i have done in a long time. Prior to this work, most of my prose has been based off of another story ("The Hitchhiker" and "The Green Ribbon") or a song ("House Carpenter"). The only story I have written before this that came completly from my head, shear, unadulterated me, was "The Best Swimmers," which can be read on my blog, ibidthefencesitter.blogspot.com. i have named the following part, because, althought it is long and with section divisions, it is in reality one part: 'Broken Promise.' I guess you could say that the last little bit is an epilogue, but not really. It could be entitled something like 'One More Time' but that doesn't work as well.
For those of you who have seen my short movie Promise, you know the ending already. I wrote the movie before I wrote the short story, but I got so obsessed with the characters I had created, I had to find out what happened before the movie. So my brain and hand had a good talk and decided on what you have been reading, and hopefully finish reading right now. So without further ado, here is the conclusion of "I Promise."

She whispered it into the other girl’s ear. The tingle of the latest news was what they had come to hear. Word spread among the campus. He cheated and she did not know. He had done it before, and had done it once again. The girl would not give her name, the story said, but she knew that the couple was together. She begged the boy to think of the other girl, his girlfriend, but he would not hear of it. He promised he would leave his girlfriend for this girl, this anonymous girl. So she gave in, and he cheated.
It was the worst of lies, concocted by a chef like Satan himself. The worst news was that it worked.
The girlfriend was sure when she heard it for the first time. She did not believe, not for a second, that her love could burn down, that her love could do such things. She knew him, and she knew that his love was the strongest man could give, that all his being loved her and her alone. He had promised himself to her. Besides, he would never go that far with a girl.
It was now, at this point in Angela’s reasoning, that she remembered that conversation at the diner. She remembered that he had trouble in the past with girls, that he had gotten very close. What if he lied? What if, by some twisted play of fate, she had been lead to believe falsely in his chastity?
It was then that doubt slithered in, hissing in her ear that he was a bad man, a man not to be trusted, and a man not to be loved. It was from then on that her suspicions grew, her anger flared like a bonfire, and her jealousy broke from its chains and bars, bursting forth onto the stage.

The room had no light in it. It smelt of despair, of a soul crying out for help. The darkness seemed omnipresent, as if it was always a part of the room. The bugs and creatures of the night that inhabited this cavern excitedly moved about, searching for their dinner, friends, or death. The world, in their lives, was perfect.
Then the light turned on. As they scurried out of the path of two large monsters, threatening to kill mercilessly, they were silent. Inside their simple body, the instinct to become invisible kicked in. Each one, down to the smallest ant, was ready to flee and hide.
The body that walked into the room ignored these creepy-crawlers. He held in his hands a gold mine, as treasure trove of beauties that he wanted to see. He took the tape and put it into the player. The screen turned on; he turned off the light. The creatures of the dark waited, then went about their lives.
Francis sat down as the screen began showing odd shapes: a tree, some buildings, and a rock. The sound of murmurs and laughter echoed in the background. Suddenly the screen showed a couple sitting on a bench. Angela sat to the right of Francis. They looked at each other and smiled.
"Hey," said a disembodied voice from the screen. "Do something. Wave or something.
The couple in the screen shook and waved at the camera. Francis watched silently; his hand quivered over his mouth as he blinked back a tear.
"Dude, what's that on your finger," the ghost voice begged of the boy sitting on the bench.
The boy looked at his left hand; he held up the appendage and pointed to a piece of string tied around his finger.
"She's making me wear it. I'm supposed to keep it on until we're married. Then I replace it with a ring. Just to be sure."
"That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard," said the voice. "You're whipped."
Francis watched the screen. He felt his naked hand, realizing for the first time bareness of his finger. He shook his head and stood up, walked towards the screen and turned it off. The figure of the happy couple faded away into nothing.

The rain had stopped, yet the sun would not return. Everywhere the gray tint removed any hope of warmth, any hope of rebirth from the fallen rain. The ground was soggy and dirty, formed by the fresh mud mixed with the older snow; puddles had formed along the sidewalk. Some of the students who had taken refuge inside decided to come out for a conversation and a smoke. The world seemed to be waking from a deep sleep.
Francis walked out of the dorm. He didn’t really think of walking anywhere: he just wanted to walk. He needed to get her off his mind. She was gone, and he needed to get over it. So he walked, going past one of the dorms.
The he remembered.
It had been a week after they first met, and they were planning what they would be doing that weekend. They were coming back from the river, since the day had been warm, and had temporarily lost the way up the path. He had said something funny, just to keep her lighthearted, and she laughed. She laughed for him, so hard that she couldn’t walk straight. She had to lean against him to steady herself. She laughed. “You’re not so bad,” she had said, and Francis had smiled. It was the first nice thing she had ever said to him, and he held it within him for their entire relationship.
He continued walking, sighing as he walked, not straight, but rather sideways, not sure where he was going, or what he was doing.
That’s how he made it to the Commons. The doors opened and he walked in, not realizing even what he had just done. Yet somehow he turned and looked towards the piano, sitting in the corner, growing colder with each second that the warmth of human touch was deprived of it. Francis walked over and pressed some keys and sat down, playing a song that he remembered only too well.
When he finished, Francis sat at the piano trembling. That was her song, the song she loved to hear, and he played it without her. Well enough, he thought. She won’t be hearing it anymore, not that she would want to. He stood and pushed back the chair from the piano and walked out. He walked up through the two doors, swinging both open at once, more morose than angry. He walked up towards the chapel and went in, praying in the pews. He prayed for her, where she was, that she would be okay. Suddenly, he became angry at her. She left him, knowing he could not live without her. They had nearly become one. Often they prayed together in this very chapel. Yet he could not anymore. With disgust Francis left, walking down towards the other side of campus.
The puddle barely gained a ripple from his shoe as he strode through, a unconscious determination to see something older, something he could remember. There was one other place, one more place that rang hope in his heart. He uncomfortably walked past the dorm, past the dorm where she once lived, down to the glade, one green and fresh in the early Fall, now covered in disgusting lifeless death. He started at the seat, that glorious seat upon which they once lived. She had laid her head upon his lap, as they sat discussing their future, their life together. He remembered something else then, that moment he stood in the slippery filth under his shoes. That was the last time she laughed with him. She had been uncertain about school and he had tried to keep her mind off of that horrid fact. So he joked and pondered with her, discussing the future, which seemed so bright. They had sat their on that slab of wood, sure of everything. Yet now that same seat that one held them both had fallen, broken by the carelessness of others. He stared at the seat trying to forget, but he could not. He could not erase her anymore. Suddenly he turned and ran back up the hill, past the dorm, past the chapel, towards the commons.
His mind did not register any of the scenery around him. Instead, the thoughts of his proposal flashed through his mind. Yet the one that he remembered was not the real one, that one night it rained. The proposal he remembered was the one that had made her laugh, the one that had not been real, yet seemed more real to him that the actual one. Even though he did not give her the ring that day, he knew, in his thoughts, that she did not need it. She would still be his without a stupid ring.
He arrived in front of the Commons, hoping to keep going. But something told him to stop. As he looked out into the parking lot he remembered a different scene, a scene that seemed too soon and too far away at the same time. He looked out and remembered the annoying drizzle, the rain that had soaked his hair as he stood in that same parking lot with her, trying to stop the yelling, trying to stop the tears. She had pushed him away, yelling that he promised himself to her, forever. “How could you do that,” she had said. She had told him how she knew she was cheating, how she knew he had the other girl. He had approached her, trying to tell her she was wrong, that she was the only girl, but she would not listen. She had flung her ring on the ground, screaming that she wouldn’t need it, and for him to go to Hell. She had thrown his hat to the ground and stormed off to her car. He had watched her go, screaming her name, but he had not gone after her, knowing she would come back, knowing she would sit down with him and discuss the problem in a civilized manner. She had gotten in the car and driven off.
Now he once again shouted her name into the parking lot, and ran towards where they had stood in that rain in the dark. Something in his mind told him to stop, that it wasn’t worth it, that it was over, but he did not listen. He could not listen now. He stopped and stood where he had been that time ago and looked out to the street where he saw her go, where he had watched her drive off in to the night, while he had screamed her name into the darkness.
She had not answered, for her crying drowned any sound possible. She had turned sharply, picking up speed as she left the campus. She had wiped her eyes as she pulled near the town, turning along the road. She had closed her eyes as she made a turn and drove faster down the pavement, not watching her speed, not watching around her, just trying not to think of him anymore and of his lies. She had turned one last time, not looking to see what was in front or to the side or behind. She had not seen the other car until she swerved to the right, trying to regain control.
Her scream had been drowned out by the sound of her brakes squealing and the metal crunching against the railing. She had kept her eyes open and had not thought of how much she wanted him to be right. Yet as the world slowed around her she felt a pain in her heart. She had known all along he had been right. She sighed as the final moment screeched nearer. Maybe, she had thought, he will forgive me.

He walked along the road, barely noticing the flowers in his hands. The tiny memorial, a crucifix leaning on a white cloth, rose up from the hard ground. He did notice that the small ribbon he had tied on last time was still there. He smiled at this, remembering it was her favorite color. He walked closer and laid the flowers beside the small cross, attempting not to remove the sacred feel of that place. He wiped his eye as he looked down upon his handiwork. He had asked for the small cross, to help others remember her. He did not need the simple piece of wood but it helped sometimes. He had visited her grave the week before but that had not satisfied him. That was not where she had left him. It was here that she had done that deed, that deed that had torn his heart apart, allowing him to loose all will to live. He had nearly died without her. Yet everyone prayed and he was stopped at the last minute, emptying the gun into the wall, and went away. Soon he was better and went back to school. He graduated barely, even with the grade sympathy the teachers gave him. He stood on that roadside, not knowing what to do with his life. His plans were gone, and he was not ready to start new. He knelt down beside the cross, asking her for help. He stood and looked again at the cross, promising himself that he would do it for her. He smiled as he turned away from the cross, knowing that he could do it now that she was with him again.
And for the first time, in many months, he felt the sun shining on him.

Monday, June 26, 2006

"I Promise" 3

Good Morning from Maryland. I bring you the next part of the story. These sections are entitled "Proposal" and "Road to the Altar." As before, if you are just joining, please read the previous posts.

The sun was setting as the van pulled up to the theater. Orange light spread like fingers across the quiet town. The tiny theater had been the location of every spring play the college had held since the beginning of its drama department. It was simple, unable to be expanded, and constantly under the threat of being bought out by a neighboring landowner, one of the old families that had lived in the town for ten generations, since the Civil War tore the town apart. The theater was built around the same time, and had been upheld through the years. It was here that the plays of the college found their home.
It was also in this town that Francis was going to propose.
He had been planning it out, again, ever since he had actually gained possession of the engagement ring, about a month ago. His memory of the town and its charm inspired him to try to propose here. He named his eager adventure “Plan B,” this being his second attempt to propose.
He would first take Angela for a walk, along the town, stopping at the different stores, saying hello to locals, remembering old times. They would reach a certain bench, one which Francis could not forget, with a fountain in front, and a brick path leading to a church. Here he would propose, while she sat on the bench. It was perfect, flawless, highly romantic, and charming in every corner. All that remained was to convince the director of the play to allow Francis and Angela to go for an evening walk.
Francis explained his situation to the director, who, after much begging and promising, agreed to allow the couple to stray from the theater for thirty minutes, plenty of time for Francis to woo and propose.
They started off from the theater, walking down a path towards a small bed and breakfast. They discussed their parts in the play, went over lines, recalled previous roles and plays, many in which they acted together. Francis’s smiles were frequent, and he felt the ring in his pocket. He embraced her every so often, whispering that she was beautiful, that daylight itself shuddered in comparison to her on her worst days. It was about this point that they neared the bench, the site of the proposal. Everything was going as planed.
Unfortunately for Francis, the world was not aware of his plans, and the weather contended his mission. For since the vans pulled up into the driveway of the theater, intruders blocked the sunset: storm clouds which now loomed overhead. They were full from the heat of the valleys, of the lakes and streams, and now were prepared to deluge upon the small town.
Francis, oblivious to the atmospheric changes in store, set Angela on the bench. He took her hand into his as he stood in front of her.
“Angela, I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now. When I first saw you, that first day of school, I felt something. I didn’t know if it was a mere childish infatuation, or if it was sincere emotions. I ignored them for a while, then finally gave in. I’m glad I don’t stand a chance against myself, or else we wouldn’t be here right now.”
The first drop fell and splashed onto Francis’s hair. His mind registered it as water, as a raindrop, the harbinger that disaster was coming. He began to speak faster.
“I wanted to say this before, but circumstances, um, prohibited it from happening. Now I have my chance, my moment, to ask you this one question.”
He lowered his body, his left knee bending and pressing into the brick sidewalk. He reached into his pocket for the ring, safely encased in its velvet box. He began to withdraw it, noting the look of joy on his love’s face.
Then the rain began to pour.
It happened suddenly, like a flash rainstorm. Genuflecting in the midst of a downpour, Francis pulled the box out of his pocket, and opened it, exposing the gorgeous jewel to the amazed eyes of Angela. She swooped off of the bench into his open arms in one swift movement. They clung tight to each other. She pressed her lips against his kissing him hard.
“Will you marry me?” He finally was able to say it. All those years, all the waiting, the hoping, the praying, and the courting finally paid off.
“Yes, Yes. YES! I will. I will”
They embraced again as the water drenched them, causing them to shake with cold. They stood and ran back to the theater, laughing the entire way.

The days passed soon, quickly fading into memories, then being pushed away by more events. The happy couple grew closer than before, much to the marvel of their friends. Families were excited and plans were made. The date for the celebration of a new family, bridging two from different places, was to be held the month after their senior graduation. All rejoiced in the sight of love, of the happiness of the two together. They were not like other couples, always trying to slip away to be alone, but were active, retaining their bonds with the rest of the world. Even their schoolwork seemed to have improved, as several professors testified. A thesis was written, followed by another two days later. Only occasionally were they alone together, and then only in the open, outside on a bench, together in the Commons, or just walking together in the woods, often within a stone’s throw of one of their friends. They worked smoothly together, aiding in every aspect of their lives.
But some changed their ways; some who were rejoicing before now glared from behind the crowd. Plans began to form in the minds of men, or women for that matter, on how to destroy that which drove them mad. Envy had spread like a plague in their hearts; Satan had found a place for the night. And so the downfall of the relationship was concocted, a poison designed to elevate the bad and defecate on the good.
Therefore, the plot fermented, and the conspirators waited until the right moment, waiting to spill the lovers onto the ground in shame.
Meanwhile the couple’s courtship blossomed. They attended Mass together, one day even dedicating their relationship to Mary, Mother of God. They frequented the glade near the girls’ dorms. Often they talked, joking with each other. Sometimes they just sat together, feeling the love from the other.

The piano seemed new, but it could never be. The bench was empty, a rare occasion. The atmosphere was calm, even mellow. A strange quiet prevailed; even the sounds of crickets or the plumbing was absent. There was not a soul present.
Suddenly the sound of footsteps running up the stairs reverberated inside. A cheery young man turned the corner and skidded to a stop. He quickly sat down behind the massive instrument and waited. The sound of another set of feet clomping up the stairwell soon could be heard as a woman’s voice echoed off the walls.
“Francis? Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
Angela turned the corner, her shoes clicking on the floor as she passed from hard wood to carpet. When he heard the sound, Francis froze, still behind the sheets of music. As she came closer, she noticed the shirt bent over the keys.
He looked up quickly with a smile. She walked over and stood behind him. He started to speak but she covered his mouth.
“Shh. Play. Don’t say anything. Play our song.”
“You mean the one I was playing when we met.”
“Yeah. That one. I never heard all of it.”
“Yes you have. I’ve played it all the way through.”
“Just play.”
He began to play. The familiar sounds of the piano once again filled the room. Francis’s entire body moved with the piano notes, holding some notes out, others shorter than the sound of a keyboard typing. A smile broke his face and he looked up at her. She looked down and winked. When the song finished, she let out a sigh.
“It’s such a good song. It feels happy, yet really sad.”
“That’s why I love it.”
“And it’s our song.”
“You know it.”

The dark seeded plan had grown deep into the ground. It was nearing the surface, ready to break forth, spreading poison into the heart. The wheel turned and the word was spread. It was the nastiest rumor created, one that would destroy forever the hope of a man, and the life of a woman. Hate and Envy, the two deadliest chemicals, mixed together to form a potion so powerful, that none who drank from it could survive unscathed. None involved in this cruel action could survive, if they were alive to begin with.