Sunday 17 April 2011
Lost Words - The Final Chapters
As the wintry weeks passed,
Their love, forged in fierce fire,
Flourished and flowered
And grew stronger than steel;
In March they were married.
The city celebrated their union
And came to watch the warriors’ wedding.
The hall was extravagantly adorned,
Garbed in glorious greens and blues
And swathed in sapphires and scarlets;
The carpet was a princely purple,
The walls were washed with apricot;
Crimson candles cast a golden glow,
Warming the room despite the wintry weather.
The hordes filled the high hall,
Dressed in flowing fabrics,
Delicate designs and garish garments:
They wore high hats
And colourful coats,
Dark green gloves
And crimson cloaks.
In a merry mood they laughed and joked,
The smiles sincere, and the laughter easy.
The room buzzed and bustled,
The air was electric, alive with energy;
Wonderful aromas wafted on the wind,
The fragrance of the forthcoming feast.
Varan, bedecked in black,
Cut a fine figure on the dais;
Looking suave and stately,
His eyes alive with inner light.
In front of him was the First Councillor
Garbed in his robes of grey.
When Ana appeared at the aisle
A sudden silence fell.
Every eye turned towards her,
To behold her breathtaking beauty.
Her hair cascaded like a waterfall,
Majestic and magnificent
Her eyes were electric,
She wore white silk
That flowed like a flower.
Gracefully, she glided to the front.
Varan watched her with wonder,
Stunned by her beauty.
Then in the corner of his eye,
He caught sight of a strange figure
Moving amongst the masses.
He was clothed in coarse cloth,
Worn but still as white as winter,
A huge hood hid his face.
Then he lifted his cowl
And his face was lit by the fires:
He wore a white mask,
Fashioned in the form of a dove,
Varan saw his sparkling eyes -
Then the man merged with the masses
And vanished from view.
He thought no more on the matter,
His mind moved back to the marriage
As the Speaker started the ceremony:
“I did not think I would live
To see again such delight
After so long in shadow,
After so long in night,
“But I am still alive,
The long night is passed,
And I give thanks to our heroes
Now united at last.
“And it gives me such joy
To bring two distinct souls,
Once separate and lost,
To a complete whole.”
The Speaker spoke for some time,
With warmth and with love.
Then Varan revealed his wedding gift,
A dragon’s tall tooth,
On a chain of smooth silver.
Carefully carved on the tooth
Were these words:
“The night must always end”.
Ana revealed her wedding gift,
A slender sword’s hilt,
Whose blade had been broken.
Etched into the blade
Was a ruby red rose.
Tears flowed fast
When they exchanged their gifts,
When they kissed, they were crying -
Their lips met lightly
And tenderly touched,
Their hearts were so high
They scraped the stars.
They lived in a large house at the lip of town;
Made of wood, it was both wide and warm.
Through the spring and summer
They laughed and loved passionately,
So lucky to live, lucky to love.
They wandered through the wild woods,
Listening to the lilting songs,
The myriad melodies, of the birds and the crickets
With delight they discovered lizards
Lounging in the summer sun;
Displaying their dazzling colours,
Beautiful butterflies fluttered and flew by,
Each one evoking a gasp of awe.
But slowly, time rolled around.
Summer scattered to the stars,
And winter wore on relentlessly.
Slowly, the cycle of the seasons span on.
Varan became a bard,
A singer of lively songs,
A teller of tall tales,
But he composed none himself.
He told the tales of others
For his words were still lost.
He loved to perform for the people,
Their laughter was as dear as diamonds,
Their grins were like gold.
Ana worked as a warrior,
Patrolling, keeping the peace -
Wherever she went
She was respected and revered.
The wheel revolves and rotates.
Autumn to winter,
Winter to spring.
A year passed - the pain in Varan’s arm
Had not dimmed or diminished.
It had spread slowly from his forefinger
Till his whole arm hurt,
And still the sickness spread.
His feet felt sore,
His other arm ached,
But he made his music still
He sang songs and sagas.
Ana saw his spreading sickness
And feared for the future,
But she stayed silent,
Not wishing to worry him without call.
When the cold came again
Feeling his fingers was difficult,
Walking wearied him,
Singing too strongly exhausted him,
But he struggled on in spite of all -
He was lucky to live,
Lucky to love.
After two years together,
Varan became badly ill.
He could no longer leave the house,
Walking wearied him so.
He slept for hours, a stormy sleep,
That provided no rest, no relief.
Dozens of dour doctors
Came to him with cures,
Potions and pills of all kinds.
Nothing stopped, or even slowed, the sickness,
The growing cancer that cut to his core.
Tenderly, Ana tended to him,
Staying by his side while he slept.
Everyday Ana arrived home,
Weary from a hard day’s work,
And cared for the sickly smith.
She was his only relief, his light, his life -
Guilt saturated his spirit.
His health waned and grew worse.
He could no longer leave his bed.
Standing sapped his strength.
Talking was tiring, wearying.
Now, he scarcely slept.
Varan watched the walls
All of the day and through the darkness.
Counting the colours
Over and over again.
The days blurred together,
Slurred and faded forever,
in a haze they hurried past
in a daze he did nothing
day after day
he dreamed he
He tossed and turned with fever,
Torrential sweat bathed his bed.
He muttered and murmured
Forgotten sounds and faded songs.
Ana always caring, cooled his forehead,
Struggling to cool his stormy soul.
Then the day came that he knew he would die.
Everything grew empty,
His sight grew dim, darkness fell.
When he opened his eyes again
His vision was crystal clear.
Startled, he saw his soulless body
Below him on their bed,
Ana held his hand.
Tears began to touch her eyes
And soundlessly, the warrior wept.
Varan tried to talk to Ana,
To comfort and calm her,
But could not make a murmur.
In a cold corner of the room,
From out of the shirking shadows
Stood a stranger.
Cowled and cloaked in coarse cloth,
Cloth murky and midnight black.
He came close to the bed
And slowly stopped.
Aware of his aura, Ana turned.
“Who are you?
Why are you here?”
She shouted in fury,
Her voice edged with fear.
“Do you not know me?
Don’t you know why I’m here?
Search your soul deeply,
You’ll find me in there.”
All colour faded from her face,
As Ana understood.
“Please not now,
Not yet, please!”
“His time has come
Let him move on with ease.”
“No! I won’t let you!”
Her voice broke with tears,
I won’t let him die
After so few years.
“I would give anything
To stop you from this.
Take me instead,
My life, for his.”
It’s my time not hers,
Let her live.
But his speech made no sound.
“You offer yourself?
You will die in his stead?”
“I do and I will.”
She gave him a last kiss, as he lay on their bed.
“Agreed” said Culann,
“Now, come with me.”
Varan had to watch,
Though he ached not to see.
Culann cast open his cloak
As wide as dragon-wings it opened,
Dark as death, black as midnight.
Calmly, Ana walked into his cowl.
And all was black.
The lapping of waves woke the wordsmith,
A serene sound, of sleep and seclusion.
When he opened his eyes, he saw the sun in the sky,
Beating boldly down on the world -
The sky was like a sparkling sapphire.
Varan sat up slowly, he felt fine, his fatigue had fled.
Then everything gushed back to his brain
And he thought he would drown in the deluge -
His sickness, Ana’s sacrifice,
It was almost more than his mind could grasp.
But after a second, he suddenly saw where he was.
He sat on the cliffs, where Culann had led him,
He was back where he had begun.
Nothing had changed,
But everything had changed.
Then he saw the stranger,
Black against the blue of the sky.
The smith stared at the sable figure,
Two sparkling eyes stared back.
Then he hoisted his hood.
His mask was the colour of midnight,
Formed into the face of a dragon,
Ferocious fangs flashed like fire.
His eyes, sparkling sapphires, were stars
In the black field of this facade.
“You are Clanun?”
He trembled as he asked,
“I have many names,
And I wear so many masks.
“A mask of a dragon,
A mask of an owl,
And still many more
Beneath my cowl.”
Culann lifted his mask once more,
He wore a white-winged mask,
A dove, dancing, delightful.
Then he took off this mask,
And brought his face into sight,
Revealing Varan’s features
With eyes half black and half white:
Shaking Varan asked,
“Who are you really, Culann?”
Culann smiled faintly,
“I am what I am.”
So picture the scene,
If you can, if you will.
A lost poet who found his words,
A barren, broken, cliff top,
Waves washing the rocks.
A wordsmith watching the air,
Where once a stranger stood,
Where once a poet leapt into the sky;
He watches the world through his once grey eyes.
Before slowly rising to his feet.
I trudged through fields and forests,
I returned to my home,
With all my joy and my sorrow
I wrote this poem.
My words have returned
Perhaps they never left,
I have gained so much,
And of so much I am bereft.
The night always must end,
But so too must the day.
To every sunset there is a dawn,
To every sunrise there is a night,
For every time of joy, a time to mourn,
For every darkness, a light.
And the words always flow from the dark and the light.