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Three Sonnets II

For my Lady.

 

IV

Absence makes the loving heart grow fonder,
the lofty Roman poet would proclaim;
but for me, it only rends my heart asunder
amidst a fiery storm of thunder and flame.
Yet despite the countless miles that us divide,
as like an endless sea of burning fire,
I will ask the gods who reign above to guide
my heart to seek and to your love aspire.
Then know, my love, that though we are apart,
you hold the power to speak the word that dashes
all my hopes, or that which heals my heart,
arising like a phoenix from the ashes.
    With you I prosper, growing day by day,
    but in your absence I will waste away.

 

V

Your smile a thousand broken hearts could mend,
a spark of light more bright than eyes might see;
as though to you the sun her radiance lent,
and to Earth has sent, her envoy here to be.
And like your august lady liege, the sun,
your warmth and brightness lighten up my world,
and send my spirit, eagle-like, anon
soaring to the skies, its wings unfurled.
But Fate herself a cruél foe has proved,
conspir’d to keep us separate, apart.
Still by my pleas her will remains unmoved,
and thus my heart yet bleeds, by fortune scarred.
    A single word from you or just a smile
    would suffice my wounded heart to reconcile.

 

VI

Prometheus, when still the Earth was young,
ascended, boldly, without fear of vengeance
and punishment divine, his courage strong,
to the Olympic heights, the gods to challenge.
That secret, fire, which the gods had kept,
he stole, and for his crime was disciplined:
By Zeus on Kaukasos he was bound, and wept,
thus suffered he who against the gods had sinned.
Likewise, my love, unbound shall I ascend
the lofty pinnacle of your regard,
and there, Prometheus-like, I do intend
to claim an ember from your fiery heart.
    More kindly than majestic Zeus assess,
    my love, my bid your favour to possess.

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Outremer

Outremer

For the Lady

 

I saw Venus in the sky tonight and
thought of you.
Faint stars slowly dripping down,
one by one
on the canvas of the spring dusk,
like paint
from the brush of a heavenly painter,
reminded me
that you are not here with me,
nor I with you:
A cruel twist and turn, a test by Fate;
but maktub.
I sent a kiss upon the breeze,
and prayed
that it would carry to your cheek,
your lips,
a silent missive to a distant land,
outremer.

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Three Sonnets

For a beautiful lady.

 

I

Your eyes the night and stars reflect,
the thousand secrets in the firmament.
A glance from you my confidence has wrecked,
yet faithfully to each I shall attend.
Your smiles with Venus’ beauty would compete,
Apollo’s radiance they all eclipse.
The shades of melancholy they defeat,
each like a ray of sunlight from your lips.
Yet brighter than your beauty shines your spirit,
as radiant as the sun a summer’s day.
By its command my hopes and dreams draw near it,
and by its light are never led astray.
    No simple words your beauty could come near,
    still, these, at least, are from the heart, sincere.

 

II

Should I compare you to a summer’s day,
or rather to a clear and starry night?
Where planets and the Moon a course obey
among the stars which shine down from their heights.
And yet those thousand stars that dust the sky,
though each bespeaking secrets old and new,
enchant me less, my dear, I won’t deny,
than just one single minute spent with you.
And when the night has passed, and with the dawn
the brilliant morning light dispels the stars,
your beauty still remains, complete, unshorn,
a graceful nonpareil whom nothing mars.
    Above the stars, this your distinction proved:
    That you are near, and they are far removed.

 

III

O, come with me and take my hand, my flower,
together to the heavens let us fly.
All Chronos’ time, eternal, shall be ours
to explore this world and those beyond the sky.
We’ll sail an ocean filled with stars and lights
aboard a barque, its sails with dreams imbued.
There I will claim the brightest star, by rights,
and, tribute-like, will name it after you.
We’ll land upon the shores of Via Lactēa;
I’ll yield my heart to you (that which you stole),
and then declare to the world, to Gaia thea,
you are my Lady of the Stars, my soul.
    Yet, regardless of how far away we range,
    my affection for you will never die, nor change.

 

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Dragonsbane

It’s very rare that I write poetry, but I got inspired to write this little thing today. I call the style ‘epic vers libre’. Been playing around a bit with the metre – try reading it out aloud to get the best feel for it.

 

Dragonsbane

I stand for a moment in the mouth of the cave,
feeling the icy cold air and the faint smell of sulphur
wafting out from the depths of the mountain.
I am deadly afraid, nigh paralysed with fear
yet I cannot turn back, for my love is within.

My love is within; the villagers took her,
they brought her to this place, our friends and our neighbours.
They held me back, they tried to reason:
“The dragon has awoken, we must pay it our dues.
Would you have all of us perish in flames and in darkness?
She is only one person; a small price to pay for another year’s peace.”
Then they hardened their hearts to my cries and my pleadings,
and carried her off to the depths of the mountain,
a cowardly tribute paid in tears and in blood.

So I curséd their names and their ancestors, spat on their doorsteps,
swore eternal ill will between their houses and mine.
Then I made for the mountain, wearing no mail but my steely resolve,
clutching the rust-covered sword that my father brought back from the wars;
‘twas a far cry removed from the knights of the legends,
clad cap a pied in gleaming plate armours,
hefting their swords that glowed with magics arcane.

But here, today, no knights stand ready,
only I, who am no warrior; but my love is within.
Gath’ring my courage, I enter;
step by step, I press forward to the heart of the mountain.
A single sputtering torch my light in the darkness,
the chilly stone walls dirty and damp to my touch,
the air still heavier with the rank smell of sulphur and rust.

I turn a corner and see it, the dragon!
Majestic in might, clad in black scales,
borne on wings of shadow and fire,
An image of power from the dawn of the world,
immortal in nature, destruction incarnate.

It sees me! and stirs from its rest, rising up, I am dwarfed by its size;
It speaks! a thundering voice that echoes with the weight of the aeons:
“A little human, how quaint. You disturb my sanctum; explain yourself, and quickly!”
Heart racing, shaking with fear, I raise my humble weapon in defiance:
“The woman I love was brought to you as an offer, but she’s not yours to keep;
I demand her release!”

Its contemptuous laughter resounds through the cavern:
“Then come, little man, I will show you your love.”
I follow the wyrm through the tunnels and shafts
till at last we emerge, a cathedral-esque cavern.
On the shores of a lake, a thousandfold marbly-white statues assembled,
I recognise one; I hurry ahead.

I kneel at the statue; ‘tis the shape of my love, but what have they done?
No breath in her lungs, her heart beats no more,
her body mere cold and unyielding stone.
But wait! not wholly of stone: A single bright tear runs down from her eye.
Again, the dragon laughs his contemptuous laughter:
“There, little man, is your precious love.
But as you can see, I fear that all she can offer is a chilly embrace.”

Blinded with wrath, I strike out at the dragon,
slashing with fury at impenetrable scales,
I call out to any divine that will listen,
I run,
I dodge,
a bite,
a strike from the tail,
a breath of fiery death!
Panicked, I jump on its back, climb up to the head
hang on to the horns with every ounce of my strength.
A single frantic stab at the eye, my swordspoint connects!
From the wound a shower of dragonblood burning like acid,
hissing and marking the floor where it falls all around me.
The creature rears up, roars in torment then falls to the ground
flailing about in the anguish of death till at last it lies still.

Now I wander the world, seeking answers and powers,
wearing the intricate silver-weaved mail of the Sidhelien,
and wielding a sword that was forged by the Karamhul lords.
Men call me ‘Dragonsbane’, honours and patronage are thrown at my feet,
but I pay them no heed; the resolve in my heart remains steady, unchanged.
I will wander the world until I hold in my hand the cure to the curse;
then will I return to the mountain
for my love waits within.

——

And as always: Liked or hated it? Or somewhere in between? I really want to know about it, critique and suggestions just as well as any positive comments.

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