from the sun behind the clouds
teasing holes in the tarp of the sky
and glittering through
from the sun behind the clouds
teasing holes in the tarp of the sky
and glittering through
I call you forth
bursting within and without
bubbling up beneath old stones and
moving mountains for me
as you did once
The mirror shatters
breaks and falls
its pieces too many to count
I stand amidst the pouring rain
lost in glittering doubt
A ray of hope
a ray of sunshine
pierces through the clouds
strikes the ground beneath our feet
brightens up the crowd.
Light that shimmers
heart that sings
together they twine
together they bring
a new hope between them
that cannot be broken.
the crowd has spoken.
Jewel of the northern sky
beheld and behidden from eyes
lest the flames consume it, dry
and strike it down from the heavens.
Stars that dance, sing and cry
midst broken hopes, flying high
above the world where all men die
they blink, beheld, for all of us
Standing in the starlit rain
watching heat wash off my skin
stardust dancing here and then
listening to the world spin
Twirling through a night’s cold arms
plated gold and glimmering white
with light from all the stars afire
shielded from the world’s spite
Like a pebble
in a pond
in the sea
in a lake
and yet different
Draped was how I found her
One arm flung outright
To the sky the other perched upon
The velvet cushions to her right
Her mouth was open in a silent scream
but all that came out was a snore
her expression for all that she had been through
was as though the world
was a bore.
The thoughts tumble down
Out from a mouth still tasting of sweat
As a thousand points made solid all seem to connect
with my heart
with fingers on my neck.
Close and curl them
The bitter things you want to say
Clench them hard
Nails bite deep
Feelings flow where you can’t keep
Watch them fly
Feel them burn
Drop to the floor
Standing still and flickering forth
Sparks that are shed
With every tongue’s slash
Through the air
Caress my skin
Set light to my hair.
Soft and supple
Exposed like Night
Eyes all wary
Heart all bright
Standing in a line yet
All on her own.
A line points upward
From feet to the stars
Tell me what I’m not
And you won’t get far
Here I can stand
A line on my own
Here I can stand
Here, all alone.
A girl sat alone today
And why she did I couldn’t say
She had a smile upon her, fey
One that, to heaven, was debased
And yet she wasn’t free
The darkness in my heart is hot
It screams and twists and writhes in rot
It calls me names and warns me that
I will fall today.
But I can smile, and so I do
A breath let free from me to you
Trembling, as I know it’s true:
I am never free.
Her eyes are pure like pools so sweet
Her teeth are sharp as you they greet
Bare and cold and made of meat
The girl who wasn’t free.
She digs in with her hands like claws
Tears the flesh from you raw
Strikes you down with all her might
She isn’t free.
The darkness in my heart today
Causes all my thoughts to fray
I bid it please just go away
And I am still not free
The dark inside is murdering me
With claws and teeth I set you free
To roam the world, a ghost, and see
Exactly who you’re meant to be.
She dug in hard with talons on hands
Ripped free a heart and in silken bands
She took it, held it, hid it away
Never to see the light of day
Only for those who saw to say:
Is a man
Who is free.
Ay yes, free to wander
As a ghost
To see the world she meant him to see
Glory, ay, glory be
And praise to him eternally
Blessed are they and blessed are we
To be trapped in our lives
And live. In chains we thrive,
In chains we be,
But if that is free in truth and in heart
Then better for us and better for me
That truly we are never free.”
So in darkness, wicked and hot
The girl lurked within, besot
With a lover’s heart she took from he
Who once believed he’d never be free
And so he wandered to and fro
From place to place
And tree to tree
Dead and yet still more alive
Than the people below him be
Who, chained and broken
Whisper hymns to remind themselves
Of the pain of freedom’s ring
And in their confused and tormented sate
Of true death do they sing.
Who is truly dead or dying
In light of lives undone?
Who is truly at their end
And who has just begun?
Tis not a question I could answer
Or one I seek to speak
But if provide a one I could:
‘Freedom’ is not for the meek.
It isn’t for the sick at heart
Or those who linger
Closed behind their doors
It isn’t for the hands who tweak
The strings to control us whores
It isn’t for the hardest hearts
Or the people with none to share
No, freedom is deeper than that
And freedom doesn’t care
Who you are
Or what you are
It will find you there.
To all it comes like gossamer
Woven out of thread
To most it comes more softly than
A bullet to your head
And when the ancient ties with what
You thought was yours are gone
When you find yourself unbound
And free you float, undone
You are there in freedom’s grasp
Clutched tighter than that heart
And secreted away like so many others
and in the dark.
2014 © Sam Oliver (Eris)
Not much to say about this. Just trying to poetry out some bad feelings. Yeah, poetry is a verb. I just made it one. Don’t read too much into it. I mean, unless you want to?? I’m sure it’s a poem just RICH with philosophy. Roiling with it. Rrrrrife with it.
Anyway, I’m gonna see about (I always say this but I mean it) getting some actual storywork done. And speaking of work, I’m looking for some. Since writing stories and typing and communicating are all things I’m really good at, if anyone has some suggestions for where I might find work and wants to drop them in the comments that would be awesome.
It just occurred to me that hitting one hundred short stories THIS year would be awesome too. So that’s my new goal. It’s the same as the old goal, but y’know. This time I should have less time to spare for doing diddly squat, so that should help. Eight short stories in one year is alright, but that’s not even one a month! I’m positively certain I could do better than that. I’ll prove it.
Oh, and Happy New Year everybody. Maybe my next piece of poetry will be more uplifting~ (and with less time than two months between it. Yeah, that would make sense.)
On the wall
Who is fairest
Of them all?”
“She who sits upon her throne
In silence beckoning, would condone
The murder of a beauty fair
In cottage sleeping, with ash-black hair
Lips of red and skin snow-white
Then you might,
Then you might
Be the fairest
Of them all
If only White is first
I knew a place
Where harmony lived and breathed and died
A place where thoughts joined with peace in mind
Where the nymphs and the satyrs
Searched for but could never find
A place where I stood on my own
A grove to myself
A grove all alone.
The sky is aflame.
The seas all sick
The forests all maimed.
So this one is a doozy. But I wrote it for Lit class. College and stuff has been taking up a lot of my time lately! And with good reason, I expect. Soon I’ll be transferring- just this semester to go and I’ll be off to earn a degree in english and creative writing! Hopefully….
This was my creative option- and the paper was actually due today. (Yes, I did turn it in!)
So enjoy. I hope to have enough time to write more of this type of thing. Yes, those are line numbers next to the poem / story. No, I’m unlikely to do them for all the poems I write.
With Unmatched Fury / Mere-Wife’s Curse
The fists fall swift, battering at the abomination
Her, he lifts, high in the air, squeezing both with his arms
And with the armor that coated him,
Trying in vain to crush the life from his foe.
It is against unmatched fury she squirms free of his hold, (5)
The steel-vice grip of his armor’d hands.
The fingers that held and rent at her flesh but moments before bite
And her eyes flash fire that dares him to come for her again, (10)
To test his might against her beauty and wonder.
Swift, with steps long as shadows,
Forward, forward with arms stretched wide
As if to embrace her as any husband would (15)
Again, those arms close around and about her frame
Again they are rebuffed with the slick of her home’s cold fame,
By the slipping and sliding of the water from the mere
Where it drenches her curls and the skin at her sides,
The arms that she ducked made to look like a fool’s. (20)
As he steps for her again, Beowulf of Hrothgar’s Halls,
Beowulf the Lord– but not Lord yet,
The warrior who under the lake now is set,
To finish the task that was started with Grendel–
fiercest of all the fighters of hell, heaven and the vice-land (25)
He grasps at her wrist with fingers as those on an ice-man
Tugs her close to him and falls to be sure he can have her
Pinning her down to the ground underneath her,
Snaring her close with the form that needs her,
And has needed her once before he is sure, (30)
Though from where this thought comes his mind can’t lure
As he forces her down to the stone and makes good
On the oath to the Lord of the land- or would
But the mere-wife is slippery and slides from his grasp,
Yet again avoiding her fate and his wrath. (35)
He reaches out with hands and digits,
These fingers that fight, fret to finish her now,
Look like her son’s-
Just like the ones
Grendel’s hands had in birth been endowed. (40)
And Tall is the Geat who faces her down,
Tall and strong and fast as the wind,
Wild and fierce as the hill-grass wends,
Covered in thorns like the thistles in the fens,
And armor in husk like the beetles that crawl (45)
On the forest floor outside of her watery hall–
In the glade and the grotto where the mere must lie.
None of it matters to her in minds eye;
If the fight with this man goes on she will die.
“Stay hands, stay arms, husband dear!” cries she, in fear, (50)
About face struck, and body, there, here,
Leaving bruises like those as if done by a bear
Wrestling forgot in the warrior’s despair,
The black heart of rage that seethes from within
Threatens to swallow the mere-wife as it did her kin. (55)
As the blows still fall she catches one, then two,
Holding his fists with the strength of ten men.
Beowulf, though, has the strength of twice that,
And grinds her against the stone wall flat,
Slamming her there with a fury in his eyes (60)
That words soothing or pleading cannot from them prize
To this wild man she will strangle or bake
Left to dry in the sun’s bright wake
“Curse you to death, kin-slayer,” the mere-wife rasps,
As all life is wrenched away from her grasp. (65)
With every moment that he pins her there,
Throat in hands that another time ran through her hair,
The Geat remembers yet more of his past
A daring, youthful time that couldn’t last
The truth of his power is a hidden affair (70)
Both from his mind and the men who yet dare
To call him a hero.
But these cursed words from the man’s rage now snap him,
Catch him and taunt him as his old love lies
As dead and still as dry peat dies. (75)
Here, the wolf of the Geats stares down,
At the form of the wife he meets– now with a frown,
On the blood and skin they shared by vow–
How now can he stand it, indeed- how now?
Cast in doubt by the sight that lingers in his eyes (80)
He staggers to his feet, struggles to rise-
But outpaced is he by the corpse of his son-
Dark is the cave
But still he can see
The vengeance to be wrought on him (85)
Beyond the grave.
Sorrow is writ upon his dead brood’s face,
A matter that is nothing which he wishes to contend,
So, Gods help him and fates forfend,
He reaches out blindly as clawed hands close, (90)
Hands that he helped to create in his woes and the loneliness
He’d found beneath grotto and mere
Where a strange, beautiful wife had once begged him to give her–
For true and for dear–
A child to do combat with the loneliness queer. (95)
A son he’d now killed for fame and reward,
Justice to be done in the name of just Lord
Who presides over the castle that he’d rightfully took,
From a rival long ago,
Whose name is lost in a nook or cranny (100)
Sobbing, no, weeping, he reaches for the sword,
A sword he’d found buried once where there was no ford,
In the middle of the mere and the depths down fair
In the depths of the grotto where now lurks fear (105)
Or the death he deserves for killing his wife
It is his son who now reaches to stab with a knife
On the ends of each of his cold dead fingers, as black as his hands,
Twisted to claws to meet dark soul’s demands.
If truly the father is just like his son, (110)
If truly this work is his to have done,
Then it is Beowulf who reaches and grasps at the sword
That remained the only sign of his kind
The monsters from beyond a time after time,
Ancient with blade as sharp as a grin, (115)
A sword he had lusted after once and again
In the night where treasure glints dangerous as sin
And beckons all men to fights they cannot win.
Twice and then thrice he strikes at the body,
Which glistens in the half-light of the cave, (120)
Wherein lurks his wife whom he’d sent to the grave-
But no yet she stirs and he feels an urge-
To strike her down and with a new victory emerge,
To tell a tale that all the world would see.
But defeat for the mere-witch who watches him now? (125)
Accusing eyes tell the story, and how!
Surely she couldn’t have meant this to be,
To be slain by the love who’d twice crossed the sea,
In search of adventure and wonder and beauty
Who’d loved her as only a proper man should (130)
When alone he had found her, alone in the wood.
As he stares at his wife who gasps for breath on the floor,
He remembers his oath
An oath made in silence beneath the stone cave
An oath made in waters as ancient and grave (135)
As any which touched the lips the gods gave
And had given him strength and power untold
This well and spring deep under earth bold
Now he remembers his disregard
For the oath he had made to this beautiful creature (140)
To drink not once but twice from the depths
Had a curse on him laid- to be kin-slayer
Now he decides he will never go through
Even as her stare holds hatred in truth (145)
He gazes down at her with sorrow and fear
His stare she returns with intensity and life,
The same vibrancy which had drawn him first there,
So long ago, in search of a wife
A pulsing, a rhythm, a strength in the air. (150)
From her, wondrous things, and her silky black hair
A smile as sad, sullied and sobering as the sea
The same one now that on her tired face is free’d
As the Geat turns to walk, to swim away.
A woman whose strength glimmers brighter than the sun, (155)
What fault has he for giving her a son?
Only now that he took it away is he sure
That deep down in the depths of black hell
His soul will be taken as soon as he has fell
To blade, arrow, tooth or claw, (160)
And demons there will his essence gnaw.
To Beowulf, here in the cave of stone raw,
It is made plain by the water-lapping waves
As they crash
On the rock-gilt floor no one can brave, (165)
That he is a man no god would save.
No one but Beowulf, champion of Hrothgar’s Hall,
Knows the truth of his pact or the truth of his thrall,
Knows he is not really a hero, brave and tall
No, in truth, he knows that he is nothing at all. (170)
Nothing at all as he swims towards the surface,
Taking the sword with him and finding his purchase,
In lake and in mere’s side he pulls himself up,
And out onto the bank where he tests his luck
By standing and staggering back towards the hall, (175)
Vowing to speak of his wife not at all.
A monster beset him and hall, that’s right,
A monster he knew would come in the night
After the death of his son and hers-
Not knowing the tried and true nature of the beast (180)
He had slain
Is no excuse for this monstrous, morbid feat.
To his wife whom had taught him his warrior’s oath,
Taught him the ways of the sword,
For the mere-wife who lies on that cold cave floor, (185)
Gathering the strength to again form words,
He cannot even weep for leaving her there,
Not out here in the cold, open air
Not with all of his men hanging here
In the shimmering, shining, soulful sun. (190)
He vows to her now he will leave her alone,
Vows to return now victorious and stone,
Victorious and stoic and empty of his task,
But truly happy only in mask.
A lie for his Lord and a lie for himself (195)
To keep in his soul on some forgotten shelf.
Her curse weighs heavily on mind and in hand,
In the hilt of the sword that burns like a brand,
The sword that he brings back as proof of success,
The sword to remind him of his wife and of home. (200)
Into the hall strides Beowulf the bold, surrounded by men and warriors, young and old,
Demanding the tale of his victory, victory from the Geat who lived ‘cross the sea,
But defeat mires heart, where truth eternal bides,
While from his false lips spring naught but
©October 2013, Sam Oliver (Eris)
Ivory white and yellowed or old
The bones in the cellar,
dripping with mold
Softened by rot and cankerous
the bones in the cellar,
drenched in mold
Slime like paint
green and false gold
the bones in the cellar,
sinful with mold
Blood dried ’round
these walls so bold
The bones in the cellar
The stench in the air sinks down in the cold
the bones in the cellar are old with mold;
To take in a breath will drain your soul
but the bones in the cellar draw you in to their fold
Stay in the dark with gold unsold
Shining in the light catching lies untold
from the dark where the bones lie
in blood and mold
in greed so bold they were stolen away
like the gold now caught in white hand’s sway
it curls its fingers ’round blind man’s riches
in the dark with its bones and fel green stitches
of cloth that wrap near the base of the cold
and the white
and the whole of the light
shining down to the
and the softness
of the silence
in the cellar
where the bones lie
©2013 Sam Oliver (Eris)
Poems, poems, poems.
I’ve got more. I’m not sure what inspired this one, but I like its rhythm.
The long winter halls
These long winter halls
Have faded in time
Have faded in rhyme
and reason untold
unbound by the shape
of the skeleton who sits
at the throne
by the foot
of the tall statue’s gold.
And the tall statue bold,
who stands above all
and stares sternly down at the skeleton thrall
once a king but not now
not a king anymore
his key unlocks nothing
but a small silver door
at the foot of the throne
between cold gold knees
as the skeleton’s jaws now
in the breeze
that rolls through the halls
these cold mountain halls
these cold winter halls
these long winter halls
where the skeleton sits
on his throne, and in thrall
a king of nothing, no
but a pause and a shift and a creak in his jaw
from the wind
through this long
©2013 Sam Oliver (Eris)
Here you go guys. Got another poem. Working on like five stories. Prolly’ll post one or two of them. When, you ask?? When they’re done!
Shattered and cast
away drifting and broken
lies a shattered
of my past
Stolen from the air like a thought
lies a wet broken piece
of a heart
I once lost
And the wind said to me:
want to change,”
The wind said to me:
And float the same way
Til the day that I flutter
The heart untold
Beats not as bold
As one you hang
From a wall
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a creature so deadly and terrible that none could ever defeat it in combat. It roared and stamped with claws like iron tillers, its tail a lion’s, long and lashing, its breath was fire, its scales terrible burnished gold, its eyes like rolling, deep dark pits that swallowed the soul of whoever gazed upon them.
No man could face it without immediately falling prey to these horrible advantages, no matter what courage they had, its eyes would paralyze them. No matter what weaponry they carried, its scales would turn it aside. No matter what armor they wore, nothing could turn aside flame. It seemed as though the countryside would forever be torn asunder by the terrible paws and claws of this great beast, and decades went by with no true solution. Sacrifices never appeased it. There was no stopping it from taking what it wanted of the fields and the cattle of the people.
There came a time when, of his own accord, a champion went out to meet it when all champions were long thought dead. No, to call him a champion would be too generous; though cloaked he was in finest wool, he had with him no apparent weaponry. Though hooded and fair of voice– fair as could be asked of any maiden, even– he seemed to have no assets with which he planned to slay the creature. More like to call this man suicidal.
Yet he went out to it, this great savage beast, went out, stood before it as it feasted on caught cattle, and hailed it thus: “Good day!”
It ignored him til he had called out thrice more.
“Good day! Good day, I say!”
Finally it turned to regard him with eyes, eyes that surely would paralyze. The townsfolk that watched, they watched from afar, worried and sure that this man would be gobbled up in an instant. They dared not hope for any better.
“Who is it who speaks? Who is it who addresses me so, in so sweet a voice? Another fine human to rend and to eat? Was the last of your kind not enough of a treat?”
The cloaked, hooded figure sways not from his course. “It is I who spake thus,” he says, quite plain. “It is I who would talk not once, but again.”
“There shall be no ‘again’, you miserable louse. I am the cat, and you are the mouse.”
With that the beast pounces and bites and gnaws. At first it seems that it has him in claws, hooked here or there through the parts of his cloak which before seemed imposing, now shred, fabric broke.
It leaves but a maiden, standing with earthen hair, her skin shaded first with blue and then red, dyes that run over her skin– even head! Tattoos seem to cover her from head to toe, and bare though she is it doesn’t seem to show.
“What manner of human-like witchery is this?” The beast utters first, clearly most miffed. Its eyes dart here, or there over her form.
The maiden folds across her chest two lithe arms, gazes back up with eyes like twin storms, of blue and of green, they crackle as she stands.
With inner strength bold and courage so bright, she faces down the creature until on comes the night. Her tattoos glow then, even in dark, shining, transfixing until the call of the lark. The beast seems to snap from its cold reverie, shaking its mane once, and then twice.
“I could but crush you with the flick of a paw,” it growls down at her, baring its jaw filled with teeth to cut her to shreds. “If you answer falsely I’ll do it, I will, so be still little human while I have my fill- of information from you or your next of kin, should I kill you the same, in a fit.”
“Ask away,” she murmurs shyly, her smile so bright. It eclipses her tattoos and turns back the night.
“How is it you resist the power of my stare? What drives you to push it all back?”
“Not how, dear beast, but what is the answer– and simple I think, for one such as I. I am a witch, empowered and strong, and that is that, true as true- can be. As to what drives me to confront you here– the land here is near to me, near and dear– I’d sooner tear out my own heart in your stead then sit and and suffer with the land and its dead.”
“Why have you not come forth before, if exception to my actions you took?” The beast’s voice is soft now, to match the little witch, soft and yet deadly inside. Its eyes search for the source of her power, sure that within her it hides.
“I was born but yesterday, out and away in the Mother’s good arms. I took to my own as soon as I could but I still needed time to grow; twice and again I’ve sought you since then and now I’ve come to show you.”
“What will you show?” the beast asks sharply, curious despite its urges- to seize and destroy her with teeth tongue and flame is all that lurks in its head. Without her tattoos it’s sure she would lose, that it would rend her instead.
“A simple enough trick, for one such as you- I propose a game.”
It scoffs and sighs, but in her eyes the beast reads no sign of jest. “Fine, little witch. Command as you wish, and I shall put it to test.”
“Be forewarned that when this game is through, I will have put you to rest.”
“We shall see,” it growls and swishes that lion’s tail it has. The witch then smiles, as if sure of her wiles, and holds a hand up to her head. She mutters a phrase, cold as black days, and changes to the Dragon Father’s child.
Her form is great, as great as the sea, with scales at least half as blue. Her grin razor sharp, she laughs in the dark as the clouds spill into the sky
to shroud it.
The beast unimpressed, stretches and yawns, grinning back with eyes cold as space. “You frighten me not, maiden fair as you were, for the Father of Dragons is agape. Take back your shape if your hide you do value, or soon he shall come and be wroth– vengeance then wrought, he’ll nail what you sought out of spite for those you now seek
With a rumbling, the maid sways not, she stares it back down with a snort of cold flame, lips peeled back to reveal, unashamed, her teeth like daggers. “I fear not the father of worms such as you, or the shape that I take or the threat of a scaly stew! I ask you once and ask no more: take a form greater or leave this tilled floor
The beast laughs out loud, a hideous sound, snaps its foreclaws and in a flash is all bound up in fiery chains that snap and obscure its devilish form from sight. When they again lift its form is in shift, growing massive, greater even than the maiden’s new height.
“How do you find me?” its breath is a roar, its voice thunders forth in such force that it doubles and redoubles o’er the world, bouncing, echoing and rumbling again
The maid seems afraid as she looks, up at its devilish features. The burnished gold scales of its twin writhing tails and the fur that line their tips look like spines now so large is the beast before her. She seems to tremble–
–but lets out a giggle
a giggle that turns into a full-throated laugh. The maid-dragon sighs and in a flash dries the earth all ‘round her to ash. Magic bursts forth, wild and terrible, covering her head toes and claws. Her body rolls and rocks and shifts, squirms and writhes and grows to a size ne’er broached before. Now it is the beast’s turn, small as a kitten by comparison to a tiger, sitting before her and mewling in a whisper, a whimper of a voice before her. From the maiden’s eyes comes a pitiless glare that paralyzes the creature where it stands.
The villagers shout! Is victory not near? Surely she’s beaten this terrible beast! With the creature struck down and its influence profoundly
they will prosper again.
Abruptly it ends, this victory cry. What is she doing now? The maiden in size shrinks down to her former self, her body loses all of its scales. Tattoos dot her again, covering her head to toe. Her eyes are calm though the village can’t see it, her eyes are as calm as the sea.
She smiles as the creature reaches down to swipe for her, and stops its paw with a hand, effortlessly.
“Come now beast,” she whispers soft. “Is this all you truly can muster?”
It roars its frustration and drawing in breath, lets it out in thunder
of black rolling
Fire leaps high, high towards the sky as the plains around her catch fire, but the maid just laughs, laughs and laughs, welcoming the heat with a smile. Her eyes are bright and burning ash gleams in her grin, on her teeth and on those razor thin lips of hers.
The beast stares down at her, paw raised once more, as if to dash her to pieces,
but the maid will not move
she will not move
she does not move
she stands where she is, her palm held out
to block a second roar
it never comes
no the beast never roars
again in anger or spite
it sits there instead
to be walked or led
about town under cover of night.
Under cover of night, the maid leads it forth
To the center of the town square.
To the villagers around as the morning is crowned
With the sun’s bright beams so gay
Her eyes flash gold and, with her story told
A party they do array
When celebration ends and the night descends
They fall over themselves
in bidding this maid to stay
“On one condition will I stay here with you,”
She says to them before the sun fully sets
“To guard forever and always. Let my husband be
This beast you see
Who set fire to your fields but previously
A day, or less ago.”
The villagers are distraught
This beast she means not to slay?
Its terror struck even the bravest of men!
Its breath was unweatherable! Its rage terrorized the village– all villages!– for miles upon miles while the nobles did nothing!
Now such a strumpet says it must live?
But the villagers know should she wish she could grow, she could tower above them and strike them to ash, each and every one with but the threat of a glance.
So silent they are, as silent as they can, their eyes all wide as she makes clear her demand.
“I wish there be room for this beast to sleep; for the first six days and more we shall bed, and then I shall release it to the wild instead. Tamed and mine in heart and soul, the beast will guard you, brave and bold. Let me have this or I shall go, and the things I have done will mean
They don’t dare refuse her, so the beast then stays, and in a stable the pair of them sleep.
The first of the days the beast wakes up in ways it never imagined before. The maid by its side, its thick golden hide is replaced by skin of the same hue, but soft and comfortable to lie in and on.
Its mouth opens and shuts, and the maid she does stir, so it thinks better of attempting escape. What has this girl done to its scales so sweet, to the metal that once covered it in sheets? It does not know but cares not to find out, and in its head it hatches plans of retreat. It’ll dart off in the night as it sure must be right, to find some more knights to eat. It’ll grow a new hide to polish its stride and assist in protecting its skin.
The chance never comes as the day goes by, the maid leads it everywhere you see– she has fashioned a lead made from leather and reed and tied it to the edges and frays
of its mane.
“Such a strange girl,” a villager says, to another standing by the main way. “Where are her thoughts of marriage and devoted
instead there are tattoos
“She is the one who tamed the Calthrax and I’ll bet she has spellbound its heart; no earthly magic could sunder the will the way that she has done with this one. I’ll wager divinity lurks in her step, in her stride hides the will of the gods.”
“Foolish talk! A tramp who sleeps with beasts,
to make them stop their attacks
what honor is there in this woman
what honor is there in that?”
The voice rings out at last from the crowd who parted to let her through, and up stands a man garbed all in silk, his eyes a ruddy red hue.
“Let me speak,” the fair maiden says as he makes his intrusion. “Let me speak and I shall clear your head of all confusion.”
The man’s silk robes flow in the wind as upon her form he stares, then he laughs and throws back his head, laughs as a man with airs.
“Foolish girl,” he says with a sigh, still chuckling to his own little tune. “Your charms won’t work on a wizard as old as I. Go back to your vale in the cool and the pale where the shadows and monsters lie– return to your grove little nymph, little witch, I’ll have no truck with you- not here in this village that the beast tried to pillage while away on a trip I was due.”
“Due what?” she asks, unperturbed by his voice, staring him down once more. The beast behind her makes a low little rumble, a sound both of the magi ignore. “Trip where o’ wizard, who hails from the city out away by his estate? I came and I saw and I saved your town, and in return you treat me with hate?”
“Equate not dislike for you and your ilk for ingratitude, little witch. I am indebted despite all I’ve said and I mean to repay by the stitch. But when I have paid and the debt is then gone I demand that you are gone also; every moment you stay here defies my will and the look of you strains me
“Flee I’ll do when I’m dead, old man, if for you my image is grating- I bid you away or turn quick your head, for my stay will never be abating. This village I claim as my own new vale, I can never return where I was. Away with you, wizard, your ways do not scare me, away and be done with your threats! This village is not yours to do with as you please, no matter your papers- or hateful epithets.”
“Little witch,” says he, the wizard so-called, with a start and a step forward sharp. “You cut me so, to say to me
What you do.
I ask again and again now only,
Go home to the grove you once knew.
The patience I have, while boundless at heart
Will bear not the tone
Of your wily whim or the fear
A pause and then, with manner wrought of silk and spiderwebs, the maiden answers the wizard and in her heart
there seems to be
“So this is how
A wizard doth truly
His debts,” The maiden fair says, quietly and lowly as the smallest of mice might squeak.
Her eyes are downcast, manner demure as she stares then down at her feet. Whatever rage or fire within her seems to have reached a peak
Or a crest
Or a boiling pitch
And fallen back down on itself.
The wizard and his smile
Filled up with guile,
Stand there waiting for her
When she does not he grows impatient, stamping his own foot.
“When will thou go?” he snaps in rage, those eyes of his they flare.
“Never did I say I would leave!” she cries, plainly surprised at his tone. “When will I go? When won’t I go? Ask me that then fair wizard! Should not a maid do just as she pleases and go where she should in her mind? If thou art so sure that thy own self is pure, I tell thee to cast all thy stones. Hurl thy magic and smite me down, if thy pointy shoes are so clean!”
The wizard on his pointy shoes doth rise, fire in his eyes now, fire in his eyes.
“The cheek!” he roars, and rolls up his sleeves. “Take thy place, girl, on your knees.”
The last word with magic inside doth seethe, it rolls forward and out and plays to keep,
the maiden on her toes, lashing here and lashing there, like fire, like a whip that snaps, aims to snare.
The maiden is on her toes, she dances ‘round once,
she dances ‘round again, avoiding that word like a plague
or a spark
laughing like lightning
laughing in sparks and flames
and dance through the air
in her eyes
in her heart
The beast behind her snorts and rears, barely containing itself
Its baleful gaze descends
on wizard and witch
“What ill will bear you to me
What terrible thing have I done?”
The words, out of place on the witch’s lips seem
But the words voice curiosity
“Stand still and die, little witch, little nymph. You do not deserve to know! I will not, shall not, cannot tell you
and there’s nothing for me to show to you
Sickened at heart
With eyes still aflame
The maid turns once
and turns yet again, whirling in place to let fly with vines that snake from her arms in ink and in lines
Traced from tattoos that writhe on her skin, alive and snake-like and seeking their kin
in the veins of the wizard who gasps in rage and flings forth his power to send to the grave
this nymph who defies him, who taunts his thoughts
who lingers in his heart
and has hooks inside him
whose snakes bite and strike– he snaps out.
The power snaps out and lashes a side– the Beast who in anger between them did stride, ignoring the collar closed tight ‘round its neck, ignoring the pain from the blow it’d been struck, ignoring the pain that inside it is stuck, rebound and coiling ‘tween skin and scale, where insides and nerves and organs do quail.
Never in all of its life has a pain
Like this one been dealt to it
and in a vain
moment of rage, its tail whips forth
to break the wizard
Its tail rebounds from a shield of some make
Of force and of magic and frail hope– which breaks
as the wizard’s power fails as he stumbles on back, as he looks on aghast at the beast’s spiny back
at the monster before him
at the spines and the skin
the golden and bronze
the golden skin.
The wizard snaps out at the nymph yet again, lashing with power drawn from no ken
of man or of beast, both would have died
but the creature before him impeding the stride
of his magic
is in waves
upon the ground
A quake in the village builds as the creature lashes out in time
Each writhing twisting, flailing limb
dredging up swaths of the earth
and rime from the mist
to the ground.
Tormented stone and cobbles break
The wizard and nymph alike are pelted
Their forms aghast with fright as the form of the creature
It falls away, disappearing
Like morning mist
In a breeze
on her knees.
By turns yet curious
The both of them are
Wizard and nymph stand side by side
To regard the girl from afar
Both of them move
At once and in unison
Both of them move right away
The nymph to comfort
The wizard to study
But both sure to have their way.
“Gentler, fool, she’s been through much,” the nymph hisses over shoulder and bareness of back.
“You’ll break her with your cold tack,” she snaps.
“Break her? Hardly! My lust for knowledge
Knows well its bounds.
I merely think an enchantment so steep
Must be studied and kept, so to speak
Too dangerous outside where that ‘chantment
Near to its peak.”
The wizard is cool and calm and collected, for all that inside terror burns. What great magic forced a girl to wear a form like that? This, then, a shadow confirms.
A shadow so great, so colossally huge, that it blots out the sun from the sky. Wings stretch out mightily, a monster shakes a head
like a cave, with jaws open wide.
The silhouette fades with a tremendous crash, with a shriek like the sun cleaved in twain. The King of all Dragons, his honor besmirched, comes only to avenge
the dishonor done.
A fear drives through her, the maid and the girl, as they stare up to the creature above. Its eyes are stars and its breath is fire
The wizard himself seems unafraid, unabashed, as he stands there brazen as day.
The Dragon King, his grin–
like the surface
of the sun–
let him have
“SO THESE ARE THE MORTALS WHO DARE DEFY ME!”
The Terrible King doth roar.
“A NYMPH, A WIZARD, A BROKEN LITTLE GIRL MAKES THREE. IS A HUNDRED LESS OR MORE?”
The nymph responds not, the girl frozen as well, her whole form rigid with fear. The wizard, clever and crafty as ever, is the one to talk now, and it’s the effort in his voice that’s near
Any can see that his legs quake and shake, any can see how afraid he must be.
He opens his palms in a gesture of peace, and makes quick with what he needs
“Great Dragon King, we wished you no harm, though yesterday the nymph stole your form. Pray take from us anything just, and leave our lives to their norm. With all respect due we can pay back in time, for the pride of the King of all wyrms. Please, o lord, leave us our bodies that the debt to be paid is fair.”
“WHAT COULD BE FAIRER THAN LIFE FOR LIFE? YOU STOLE A PORTION OF MINE; IF WHEN, IN PAYING, I TAKE ONE OF YOURS, SHOULD NOT THAT BE IN GOOD TIME,
AND GOOD PLACE?
HERE AND NOW, I SAY, AND ‘JUST’ AS JUST CAN BE– GIVE ME THE NYMPH, THE BLESSED LITTLE WITCH, AND I SWEAR I SHALL LEAVE YOU ALL AS YOU ARE,
AND ALL AS YOU BE.”
The wizard steps aside, but the beast steps up, in the form of the girl as she is. She shakes and shivers, plainly confused about what
and where she is.
Still she speaks, once and again, as around her the world dims and blurs. The attention on her is too much, not enough, and her eyes are filled with tears
“You-!” she calls, unsure and unright with the way that her words fall out. “You can’t take her, she’s mine to keep! I fought and for her as well! If beaten in combat by any but me, these feelings I’d never be able
Back to your lair, lord o’ the wyrms! Back and trouble me no more! Show your tail, turn and run, leave this place like the one
that you found
The King of the Dragons, with massive, great snout, with a lazy and terrible grin, says one thing in response to the girl-from-beast, says one thing nice and slow:
“NO. STEP ASIDE LITTLE GIRL, UNLESS YOU WISH AS WELL TO BE
A MEAL IN MY LAIR
OR A SNACK
BETWEEN MY TEETH.”
The girl shakes and whimpers where she stands between the two, the maiden who challenged her beast-self and the Dragon who defies her desire.
Still uncowed, amazed of herself, she stands strong before the nymph who beat her, glaring up at her foe, arms spread wide.
“Breathe your flames or
Make your threats
I shall not stand aside.
She is mine and mine alone
As I like!”
The Dragon King, old as the sky, stares down at the defiant beast turned girl, and laughs
A heartbeat passes, many, many more.
The Dragon King rears onto his haunches all at once,
his eyes flashing red like the heart of the sun
his scales flashing blue like the deepest of seas
the groaning of dragonskin
is the only sound heard
apart from the shaking
of mortal knees.
“YOUR DEVOTION IS TOUCHING,” he says with a smile, a serpentine grin.
“BUT STILL I WILL WIN. IF YOU WON’T STEP ASIDE YOU’LL BE LOST IN THE DIN
OF MY FLAMES.”
The thought of the fiery, terrible breath turning them all to ash
still does not
put the beast in her place
still does not
make her step
to one side
or the other. Her eyes are determined and her stance is strong
though her body shakes like the leaves
in a storm
too young to weather
A hand on her shoulder makes her stop and turn,
a hand makes her turn in her place
to regard the nymph
with a pale
and a quivering form,
her eyes flashing anger
“Why do you suffer all this for me, beast I beat and struck aside? Why do you move to help? Let me go with him and meet my own fate- you’re nothing more than a whelp.”
“‘Please yourself’ is what I would say, if I thought I could push it aside. You thwarted me though, you struck me down, and it is for this reason
I will not hide.
I will not save you for any new oath
but the one which i lay down:
if anyone eats you
maid of the grove
it’ll be me, not some
The beast shrugs off the nymph’s placating hand, shrugs it off and stares with intent
at the leader of all flying wyrms.
“Go home, scaled one,” she says with a flat
but true steel edge to her voice. “I’m not frightened of you or the things you might do
I fear not the touch of your fire. Fly free and fast, away from this place, or suffer the might of my ire.”
As the King of Dragons’s eyes turn sharp, as they narrow with sudden hate,
the beast of the farlands shrugs off her curse,
her human form starts to abate.
Golden in skin, sleek as a tiger, larger than mountains could warrant,
she grows to a height to match one she’d taken
when battling the nymph of the grove.
Her claws launch forth and out from her fingers, she stands on four and then six legs at once. Her eyes blaze in fire, her heart with desire
this beast from the farlands
It sheds in a cloud of sparkling fire, it rushes away in a wave. With a ripple and a sigh, she stands higher than high, an equal
to the King
of the Dragons.
in her tiger’d shape
with claws extended and threatening
she stares at the Dragon King
where his teeth
form a smile
and his wings form a gale
as they beat once
“GO HOME, WYRM,” her voice lashes out, terrible to hear, terrible to behold.
“GOLD SKINNED BEAST, COME AND FIGHT FOR YOUR FEAST!”
The Dragon King replies as his laughter dies, caught in a throat filled now
With a leap and a snarl
that hurls earth like blood
into the air
to cloud it so thickly
the beast from the farlands
meets the king of serpentkind
in a blur
and of claw.
“Blood and b-brimstone!” the wizard stammers out, staggering back from the force
of their clash. “What madness
One maiden, for this
is the world to end?”
Claws rend scales.
Teeth rend skin. Fire washes over and glows through
as blood like molten
bronze flows down
over gold and blueish
skin and scales.
Titans push and twist and writhe– the beast’s lashing tail draws furrows in the ground, the dragon’s sharp claws carve tracks.
with every tremendous
and fire within
and spatter the torn
and rent earth.
as scales wrenched apart
make noises like dying
the nymph stands rapt
her heart in her throat
both of them clash
to see the beast-turned-girl-turned-beast
and stagger and twist
with the king of wyrms
no clear victor arises from the mess
of scales and ragged
strips of gold flesh
no clear winning stumbles away
on that fateful day
that red day
that raw and red and bloody day
with guile, the dragon king rises
laughing all the while
from a throat that seems to be patched
of naught but scale
that runs thick and green
down his sides.
“VICTORY!” he snarls, then chokes again
and again, coughing blood to the ground
to soak the already
He rears back his head, so soaked in his own
and draws in a ragged, shuddering breath. His intent is plain– to incinerate the remains
of the village his thrashing
like blood and nightmares
bursts forth from the dragon king’s
throat like lightning
like blood red lightning
that patters the ground
in a flood or a torrent
Over the lord of the wyrms and the drakes
over the lord of the sleeping and wake
over the king of the dragons
over those who watch him
over the beast, who slams him down
the great dragon’s body
dragonflames still licking her form
the beast of the farlands stands firm in her place
staring down at the fallen wyrm.
Its shape still twists
the beast from the farlands turns to the nymph
and in her eyes
shines something dark
rather than shy
away from her fate
she rushes to meet it head on
the maid running up to the great beast’s
tucking herself close as can be
for a moment
heard stark in silence
is a growl that might be a purr
from the beast where it stands
then this too fades
and all that is left
is the sound
of the beast’s breathing
is the sound
of the maid’s breathing
and the beast-turned-girl, who stands on two legs instead of four, who wraps torn arms around the maiden- tight
who holds her close
two and one
on golden skin
burning once bright
and now softly
fades behind mischief-worn eyes
her heart slowing,
her breath coming short
holds the nymph as best she can
and held in those arms
or does she truly?
though breath stops
it is her voice that lifts
to wake the beast from tragedy
as the beautiful grieving creature of the nymph
between her ragged sobs of confused
raises her head
she sees that once more life beats
in the breast
of the girl
who was once
No grievous wounds are openly running
with blood like crimson tears.
no terrible flames crack skin like scales
open to the freezing airs
no, all of them close like magic
by the thoughts of a nymph
They embrace and more
in sight of the mage
who stands with both arms crossed
and mouth set firmly
“Shame upon both of you,” says he who sat back during all of the attack, says the wizard with eyes glowing red. “Shame and more shame! Truly the devils of sickness have caught you-
To touch another woman
as you might touch a man
to feel familiarity of that sort
with all but those
of a manly nature
is nothing more than foolishness
The nymph flicks a hand
and the wizard is covered
strand by silken
wrapped from head to toe
in vines and roots that grow
from the ground around his feet
before he utters but a word
he is but meat
with eyebrows arched
and face so white with rage
but just meat
without a spell
or a chance to win
his way free
he fumes there
while the beast girl and nymph
standing one with the other
and tamer than
the wild, shadow’d sky
(though not by much)
gaze into one another’s eyes
as like they just met
as like they had known one another
would know one another
of their beautiful
©2013 Sam Oliver (Eris)
So how long does a poem story hafta be before it’s considered an epic? Longer than this, right? I don’t care. Enjoy, guys. It took me simply FOREVER, but it’s done.
I don’t want
Your words to taint
I just had one
Of you and yourself
So clear to me now
I just had one Continue reading
What are we
If not slaves to this
This feeling inside
Driving inward like a knife
Or a bitter blade
A bitter, false blade
A bitter, sweet blade
Like a smile
Like a smile so bright that you know
It isn’t true
Is it because of the white?
The white in your teeth
That proves you must
Be a liar?
Not just any liar
But one without truth
One without the nerve
To tell anything
reflected noise back
To the edge of my awareness
to the forefront of my mind.
losing my tactic
at my own game
in my own space
in my own nothing
i am a bitter blade
a bitter, false blade
a bitter, sweet blade
from being used
tumble with me down
to the edge from beyond
to the edge of my nothing
tumble with me down
to the edge of my heart
to the edge of my self
to the edge of me.
i am a bitter blade
a bittersweet blade
with a false, bitter edge
i would rather cut
than be lonely
©2013 Sam Oliver (Eris)
YO. Three stories in the works. Love atcha. Eris out.
(story, news, story, news, story)
A sword in stone
A chalice in hand
A cup that transports you here
Rabbit in a hat
A bag of the winds
Truffles that glisten with the heart
Of your sins
Magic in time
Magic in place
Magic to daunt
Magic to face
Magic you know you can’t use in the streets
Magic that all may learn and meet
Magic that’s sweet
Magic that’s dark
Perhaps it all seems to be naught
But a lark
Magic entwined in the science of things
Sorcery wrapped ’round political strings
It flows all around us like a Force or a being
In each baby’s smile
In the hearts of us all to keep us beating
While everything else in sadness
Brings nothing but tears
And nothing but shouts
The magic in the air
In the books that we read
In the stories we hear from the people we need
That magic is sacred
That magic is real
The magic of all of our voices is real
in the beliefs of a nation
Which grew out of magic
and grew into an age
And of wheels
Of today and wheels
And gears that turn
That never stop turning
No matter the hour
No matter the minute
No matter the month that their metal keeps working
An age where the magic we make is the same
Of mass-produced ‘art’
And tales spun of shame
True magic misses
This world we have
Floating and flying right by
So put down your laptop
Put up your keyboard
Set down the work of your empty labor
Put it all down and send it away
Then pick up a pen
From which ink ever sways,
Write the magic in.
©2013 Sam Oliver (Eris)
did you think you could escape me
standing there where you are
and the cliff
set behind you
did you think you could escape it all
one by one
piece by piece
edge by edge
until you hit
I’ll tell you where you stand now
on your own
but never part of something else
always part of you
always part of you
you thought you could escape him
there you are
where you stand
wall in front
him in front
at you as he stands
implacable as the sea
did you think you could escape, dear?
he says with eyes like daggers watching
eyes like daggers poking
stroked up and down
your beautifully taut and worn
as you step once backward
murmur yes and fall
to the black
of your escape
©2013 Sam Oliver (Eris)
I may be feeling slightly worn out.