Wednesday, May 14, 2008

XVII. The serpent's skull

In the sixth gyre of the Age of the Good Remainder:

A multitude of believers follow the dog-headed beggar
Over darkening thresholds and under sheer canopies
Of ceremonial pavilions standing fast in the
Churning current.
The rushing darkness is partially broken by reflections
Of a shower of gems through the spiked wheel.

After arguing with a bull-throated pagan disguised as
A hermit,
The Moskeel in a threadbare coat and a crown of nails,
With the devil on a leash, gives up his kingdom
For a broken cup, a basket of quail, and a branch
Of oranges.

Entangled hands form into an inverted bowl
That hides an alabaster box that holds
The serpent's skull carved from green-tinged ivory.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

XVI. The noble dwarf's watchman

In the gyre vaunted of the Age of Eichenblon's Crater:

The pyre of the mob does not satisfy the vengeance
Of the excommunicated tribe of the Northern Deep.
The subtle blood of this breed becomes infirm
With smoke;
They tremble behind a line of unnatural towers
And draw their harmless swords against themselves.

After Orion's third sister marries the noble dwarf's
Her indifference becomes reluctance and regret.
They are parted as her carriage passes slowly
Through the gate of recent woe, never to meet again.

Opposite a vine-clustered chair two faces are depicted,
One in the forlorn grandeur of eternal marble,
The other in the dead shrewdness of sullen iron.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

XV. The poet's wife

In the seventh gyre of the Age of Broeudhe-bas:

The poet's wife pregnant with eminent consequences,
Digging dreams in a narrow circle of fading light,
Loses faith in her star and yields up a ghost.
Winter's first message freezes her inside her coat,
A garment of parched grass and scraps of paper.

Two wild beasts uniformed with brilliant cloth,
Strong in talents, character and property,
Rise in opposition to an antiquated system
Gathered round a dangerous madman.

Three half-brothers sleep in the grasp of a
Curious transformation;
After three years, they will be unearthed
From their tombs
In the last gray hour of Saint Dymphaena's morning.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

An Unpleasant Dialect

When I wrote that Nihr Avna-attu knows twenty-seven human languages, I perhaps should have mentioned that he/she knows sixty-two inhuman languages as well. Or so he/she told me, and then demonstrated one of those languages with a sentence that sounded like a teapot whistling on a television channel full of static, but with a strong animal nasality modulating it. Very unpleasant to my earth-born ears. Nihr Avna-attu said it was from a dialect of intelligent beings that lived on a planet too distant from our world for any kind of contact with earthlings. Their species died out about seven hundred years ago.

I wonder if referring to Nihr Avna-attu as "it" would be less clumsy than "he/she"? Or would it be more confusing? I wonder which would be more accurate?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

XIV. Falling salamanders on the wing

In the third gyre of the Age of Eichenblon's Crater

The bald standard-bearer marked by the severity
Of her injury:
She hides herself in manacles and loses the use
Of her hands
For the duration of the Winter of Stone Grass and
Brown Ice.
When the links of frost come unhinged,her grasp
Is re-built
By the clock-makers of a far city in the West.

While following a strange course through black mist
On the path to catastrophe on the mountain of shadows,
She is trusted by falling salamanders on the wing
With no gentle sentiment in their ponderous eyes.

An unseen hand digging between mortar and stone
Yields a ghost with a dragon's claw scribed upon his
Funereal bands.
The countersign is the facsimile of a scarlet ornament.

The Lorwolm Index

Friday, May 2, 2008

XIII. A blueprint from a madmen's reveries

In the clauted (cleated?) gyre of the Age of the Nascent Vaunthald:

With a blueprint from a madmen's reveries
And the hands of the forerunners of Thessarret,
A wanderer builds a new house of pale green jade.
The stone walls cast their shadow upon a stately cedar
In the old castle garden of Aureospa's grave.

War will come to the hollow streets of the outer verge:
The cloud-fringed vanguard fights in silence,
Bearing black dishonor along with misfortune,
Scorned by all those who battle beside them.

At the appointed hour between three citadels,
The ashen-haired servant with tattooed hands
Will claim the natural shelter of her attending blood.