A compendium of all the pieces in my daily poem practice for 2017. I started this practice in a resolution to write something every day, and figured I could spin it into something a little more interesting. Each poem was inspired by a piece of art that can be seen with credits via the title links. They are presented here in a more standalone form, largely unedited save for legitimate errors – I wanted my change over time to be fully visible.
I maintain my ongoing daily poetry practice on Tumblr, at TheRealVagabird.
“Upon a glint of summer’s set
I cast my gaze as if a net
To find a jewel that shone more bright
Than the moons in the sky at night
I’ll trade it at the coming morn
For something I too long have worn.”
Face is hot
Yet I still have to pack.
Could go for some water.”
“Could you know a soul
If you saw it in a mirror?
Through a pane of glass?
Could you see past the shine
Into the blackened pool
And yet the ember beneath that?”
and golden dawn
Hark rapture over parapet
I see her there
Beyond where evil could beset”
“A sacred task is never done
For then its purpose too has gone
Like grass beneath the autumn leaves
In long forgotten forest meads.”
“I thought at length on the direction
Of the waves beyond the glass
And on the nature of body
When one is so out of place
What is there to do but wonder
To distract from the yawning peril?”
“For ten thousand years these forests have grown
For five thousand more we have stood among its great shadows
My own life, the length of a falling leaf
In freedom I would jump to the high boughs
Unburdened and unbeholden to any soul but mine
The insurmountable heights of one’s will.”
“Herald now forth his lordship
Noble grace and majesty
He who takes the longest trip
He whose mind is truly free
He holds the arcane scepter
Of dragon bone is his wand
But he could not expect her
Who now shares his sacred bond.”
“Within those woods lurks the deepest of sorrows
And the darkest nightmares to ever be
Where the dawn and dusk lack nights or morrows
And more things hide than you could ever see
But I tell you, do not quail, do not flee
Seek the light within the forest of dreams.”
“Upon a wooden ship I sailed
Across the greying sea
Though in trust my soul had never failed
I knew I would be free
Say farewell to grief and hunger
My sore eyes are filled with wonder
My heart is filled with glee.”
“With armor strong, and hammer true
He stands among the chosen few
His body stout, his heart stands tall
Dark flies before his battle call
Heart unwearied as the stone
That guards above the mountain-home
He’ll never cease upon his quest
Until he finds his final rest.”
“I feel naught of horror, I fear not of death
All shall bend before the tide of Ending’s blackest breath.”
“It’s not over
We’ve come too far, we’ve spent too much
In hope. In blood. In soul.
No darkened fog is so thick, so immune
To the candle we hold, the flame we keep alight
We create the time, the moment
That is immemorial.”
“I strike with thunder from my throne
My hammer clutched in hands of bone
Your fate is writ upon the stone
That now is your eternal home.”
“What once I railed against
Climbed and suffered for the sake of life
I now keep inside of me
A beautiful scar, a reminder
That I have the strength I need
And I cannot look back.”
“I’d pine for loneliness
When the eyes of the world were upon me
I’d crave a single touch
When I sat alone, in dark, and cold light
I turn my eyes inward
And my soul outward, for a chance at peace.”
“What did you leave me, grandfather?
Don’t say, I don’t care
You gave me one thing of value
These hands have brought me all I need
I’ll pull from your long-dry casket
I have greater need.”
“Oh, travel forth across the glen
And smell the autumn air
Lie upon this pure land
Can you say it is not fair?
Please bury deep my tired bones
Beneath this soil black
Always love this verdant land
And in turn I’ll love you back.”
Did I not tell them the book was priceless?
Its toll could not be paid in gold and gem!
Oh, how they writhe.”
“Heed to my song, you who flicker through the trees
My trilling melody, my lullaby
Hurry forth, for my doors lie open, waiting
My hearth is stoked and warming
Tril le da la!”
“Ruminate on the idea of weight
A memory is worth more than can be paid
And weighs nothing, in truth.
But I find it hard to sell memories
And when I’m told I lack the credit
There’s nothing to do but heft more junk.”
“On days like these I float and dream of the emerald seas I left behind
But as days go by I have little left now to remind.”
Round the shaded mountain bend
There are yet many things hidden in this world
Still wisdom that must be sought
“Wander under changing sky
Watch the wayside pass me by
Lantern light and golden sun
See me on until I’m done.”
“I’ve learned a great many things
From the places I’ve been
I’d teach them all again to you
But I’ve not yet had my fill.”
“I swear, if you read
Just one more ‘desert haiku’
I’ll blast your head off.”
“I’ll tell you to sing a wandering song
To uplift your spirit and keep it bright
Sing now, traveler, tra la! Sing and call!
For in silence rambles the restless dead.”
“I’ve messaged you for three days in a row
I know the nights blur in this glowing world
But in a city of bright neon shine
You’re like a fireplace, warm and welcome.”
“Ah, sweet blanket of silence, gentle kiss of shaded fog
I’ll rest here a long while, ‘til I’m as one with the ruin.”
“A soldier boy went marching yon
In sadness then his song did end
His soul, still living, marches on
To find those it can still defend
But broken hearts it cannot mend.”
“On and on and still yet on
‘Til limbs are weak, ‘til breath is gone
I’d say I’d go ‘til break of dawn
But now it’s to my bed I’m drawn.”
“Would you like to know where your future goes?
Never mind the sound of crows
You’ll find my wares much more enthralling
Do not heed to your friends calling
Sit and look a while.”
“He asked me one day, ‘Where was our failing? How did such mastery lead to destruction?’
I said, ‘see how we speak now, and think on those who are now silent. Was theirs’ failure?’”
“’You know I don’t like waiting’
‘They’ll be here.’
‘The city noise is grating.’
‘You’re just a bundle of cheer…’”
“On trudging go they witches four
Minds burdened with forgotten lore
Their bones are burdened under robes and skin
Trinkets clatter whilst they through stalk the fen
Their bodies coat with the marsh’s mold
That rots at their four blackened souls.”
“In you I see a kindred soul
Though mine own is grey and yours is gold
I’d wander by your side awhile
For the chance again to see your smile.”
“I never said I didn’t enjoy it, or that I hate these wounds
But with no end, there was no meaning.
All I ever wanted
“In my humble experience, trust not that which holds such ethereal beauty
Though my heart would break if I did not admit such radiance to be marvelous.”
“Bold Brandr, brave war-son, fare ye well
Scalded and scorned by cruel kin
Who knew not of sacrifice nor sorrow
Gathered him a golden hide
Tyr-torn and Baldr-blessed armor
Whenst Brandr returned to Ljorot
Therewith thanes in throngs
And bought his birthright in blood.”
“Twas here that Hrothgar did lay down his sword
And take up the oaken branch of wisdom
Though his body remained as temple stone
His kindled flame cracked the ice of his soul.”
“I tell you friends, knights and men-at-arms both
When thoust stand in glory, regard His light
And question thy soul: ‘Would I hold honor
Still fast, if his gaze was not upon me?’
Those who affirm are beyond purity.”
“01000011 01101111 01110101 01101100 01100100 00100000 01100111 01101111 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010 00100000 01110011 01101111 01101101 01100101 00100000 01100011 01101111 01101111 01101100 01100001 01101110 01110100 00101110”
“Lead forth, lost son, across the wave
Father’s vengeance thou must fulfil
Face the darkness if thou art brave
Emancipate the Silmaril!”
“I need passports from Landing Bay C
Customs scans on those alloy shipments
A translator for this squidy fuck
And another friggin’ cigarette.”
“My future has come
With the dawning sun
I leave behind death
Though not like the rest.”
“In demon days when forests flamed
Twas here first fell Her cleansing rain
The fire drew from deep ravines
And gave way to these silent streams.”
“The fools thought they could take our land?
Show them the fury of the Ram!”
“Murky calls and lazy trees
No other spot could be so good
Life thicker than the eye can see
Yet all the fish here taste of mud.”
“I thought my mind lacked the strength to be free
But I’d do it all again, for the things I’ve seen
(I would take the pain
Peace is mightier)
“I shall hold those of your Order in the highest regard
Though you stand alike in armor and blades, your pasts forgone,
Remember it was for your unique souls I chose you all.”
“And lo, by Her light was Good formed
From the ash as life more verdant
All rejoiced and supplicated.”
“Neath mountains grey and caverns dark
By hammer fall and fire spark
Lurk things that hunger, pine for war
Embittered wait since times of yore
The bane of all the Great Smith’s folk
What evils there have they awoke?”
“When Hrothgar heralded his neighbors near
Not one took notice of the call
Hrothgar the haughty took to tread
Born by oak-braid and filled with flame
Those whom words could not woo
Bent to the beatings of wooden wand.”
“To know what it is to conjure flame
One must know the sting of smoke and cinder
The crackle and the scream of charring wood
One must know the inferno of fury
And the heat, the warmth, of burning passion
Be warned! Tame your cinder, lest it scorch you
And keep hands away from face at all times.”
“I wish you well, but know the meaning of this simple phrase
Death is the sweetest mercy you will find out in that haze.”
“Heed not those who speak of might or power
They know not what strength it takes to protect this peaceful home
All-Mighty Ruin, Undefeated Love.”
“Ah, silent wood
What do you keep quiet from me?
What secrets do you plan for my evening?
We have not met before
Enchantment? Danger? Silence?
I’ll enjoy our time together, nonetheless
For in time, you will be a memory
And I’ll be gone.”
“The speed, the unbounded direction
As my own sense of freedom
The roar of engines
My own roar of exhilaration
The velocity, the heft
The weight of earned responsibility
My very own.”
“Past the worldly edge
Law and sense crumble
Like stone to the waves,
All is oddity,
Both good and malice
There lies your fortune.”
“Wand’ring in white
In a late autumn’s eve
Lost, with no clue where to go
I heard a faint echo, a gallop through the trees
And I saw a sight, too stark for a scream
A ghoulish nightmare, the darkest of dreams.”
“There are a great many places where goodness still hides
Where freedom yet waits, caged like a bird, waiting to fly.”
“They just came back from the frontier
Dark tidings upon the far front
But we will not stay down for long.”
“To journey far across the land
His sails unfurled and storming caught
Such is the fate of Aedelstan
Taken to lands he knows wherenot
In tattered hide and shining steel
He tarries on by wide acre
To joys and pains of freedom feel
‘Til called at last to Folkvangr.”
“Most comely land that I have seen
With mountains white, and forests green.
The stones that clutch like Maker’s hand
In river fields, in emerald-land.”
“Oh, do come in
The fire’s warm
The stew hearty
The air thicker.”
“Tiny fragile wings
Caught within the wheel
Seen so many things
Time will always heal”
I can see all the little things.
There’s no place else you can go to.
Brown land, dry land,
Cold, yet parched. Where did I put my wheels? Lost in the hollow!”
“’He is false!’
The lord waited for retort
But the hero stood silent.”
I don’t feel my body
Living on, or dying?
Time yet left for our dreams?”
“She looked, eyes unseeing
Content, with mind empty
While pain drifted in time.”
“Autumn is grand for maidens
For though nature is a crone
The stag with horns is laden
On the winds regret is blown.”
“Of the fallen, in their empty halls
I will sing, since they can speak no more
Nothing remains of them but whispers
Faded carvings in mossèn ruins
Unfinished tales ‘pon the tattered pages.”
“Trouble lies on that lake
Better to tarry ‘mongst the terrible
Garner to me some gold
Rest my weariness, reave some warriors
When I go on my way.”
“Said my boyfriend was a xeno
Tell my daddy, well don’t he know
Look around but I can’t see no
Human boys good as my xeno
No no no.”
“There are those who were born of fancy
Made flesh by will
Who dwell in places men dare not tread
And then there’s Them
Who by the standards of the fey-kin
Were still too dark.”
“I find grimoires to be as like poems
So many ideas in such a small space
To flow through you beauty
To drive you to madness
And just like the first tome
Of a budding apprentice
Nobody cares about poems-nouveau”
“On storming seas their journey fraught
But long had bonds of kinship stood
Their axes cold, their blood was hot
To fight there when no other would
On Danish land, at Heorot.”
“Cat-Eyes caught much fish
But Goggle found shiny scrap
I still need a boat.”
I know not to what place your travel’s deigned
The border’s nigh
Beyond these walls lies the lands of the Drained.”
“There lies the Pincer Gate! The oppressor,
The Shogun of Sorrows seeks to hem in the ancient wood
But magic and bramble will not be stopped!”
“River man, goes float on his way
River man, floats on down for days
Float on forever just to get away
By Yù Huáng, someday you’ll be free.”
“Brandr! Beloved boy!
How held thine thanes
That thoust left at yon Ljorot?
For certain, thine father would be aflame with joy
Were he but breathing still.
Stay, renowned warrior, and rest a while.”
“See how they scurry, scuttle, fly
Their hidden master close at hand
‘Neath limestone ruins, prying eyes
Past scarab-wall, in desert sands.”
“‘Neath cloth and skin, within the soul
Everywhere you’ll find this yearning
Each one’s struggle is their own
Each one must make their own journey.”
“When the old forges fell
Many units were left without true minds
Their cousins shepherd them
But they too found themselves without purpose
This unit is self-aimed
It has decided it is a trader.”
And the ground is still wet
The sky deceives
Every solitary inch
I smile, I laugh
They’ll think I expected.”
“Such lengths to go for sake of love
Endless heights, that strength of will
To sacrifice, and to protect
To learn every way there is to kill
Yet hold blade still, the might of mercy.”
“They lived and farmed in buildings charmed
Unalarmed, they’d yet to be harmed.”
“The Dragon came to the city of Frühlhalde
Where the lords seldom left their towers
And simply watched the country about them
Even as with each passing year
The river drew closer, and the falls grew higher.”
“Pay no heed to the big-hat.
Every day, for hours on end, he sits there.
Be thankful his chants are drowned
In the rushing falls.
Lest the monotony wear
Upon your refined ears, m’lord.”
“But the general was smart:
‘They will not attempt the land,
So fortify the river.
If they think they can stand cold,
We’ll challenge their high egos.’”
“Oh, patch up the hull with canvas and wire
Lest we all burn in hydrogen fires!
Fly along from cove to cove, skyward up and skyward ho!”
“Hast thou met mine first advisor?
They are of most noble bearing.
Though removed from noble comport,
I’ve had odder things in my court,
And a fool I’d be to pass up
Fine advice in trade of jewelry.”
“I’ll show that smarmy bastard
I may not have his hair
Nor his finery
Or supposed ‘wisdom’
But damn if I can’t make
A pile of junk
Fly all the same.”
“I supposed art would stand wonderful
In lazer-scar and lightning stars
But one might mistake this memorial
For little less than scattered scrap
Ruins of noble tragedy.”
“He scanned the dust for Saracens
Yet none stood that he noticed
He took some time and searched again
Abundans cautela non nocet.”
“How can you live here?
Not all hauntings are so horrid.
Do ghosts keep good homes, then?
No, but their tea is marvelous.”
“And lo, did the Elder Ones leave this land
Once it was left as naught
But dust and sand.
There was no ‘easy way’
They knew now
This journey, they all would have to take.”
“Why hast thou comest here?
Answer not, for there is but one.
Lay thine possessions in the grave,
For it shall taketh a lifetime
To learn that which thou wishes;
And thine new birth is upon this day.”
“If I said I was not a man to be fought with
You would agree
And though you’d burn my farmstead, Gutty Michael Smith
You won’t get me.”
“Come and buy a gun
Save yourself from harm
When all’s said and done
Don’t be caught unarmed
Danger there abides
Sand is where they hide.”
“In northern woods where secrets lie
There darkness shrouds in evermist
‘Neath river-ice do secrets die
In northern woods, by winters kiss
Where light and dark together twist.”
“He was harrowed on the roiling seas
There where souls of number untold lost
When salvation came on calmer breeze
And from icy jaws at last was freed.”
“They hold such respect
For the still and silent ice
That which holds their history
That which covers their dead.”
“They heard the far tremors
They knew next their lands would
“Look witness feel
Upon this currents
Your searing of
Human new terrible
Mind dawn possibilities.”
“Gaze not upon my blackened soul
For it can burn from ashes cold
I fear to journey by your side
Lest I should slip and you should die.”
“Time and trials weigh upon you
You march along
That’s all there is, hero
Now ‘til the End
“A hole in the soul,
In that well there is Hell.
Lest you fill it with bone, lest you fill it with stone,
Lest you fill it with gold. If you leave it to mold,
You’ll wonder why, no matter how you try,
You still cannot fill
That hole in your soul.”
“No matter the days
They stayed the same
Even once changed
They stayed the same
And it was magic
And it was good.”
“His mind wandered a moment
Void in such a little space
Within a great universe,
And he saw a reflection
Before waking to violence.”
“Come with me
Sit, will we?
Here with me.”
“I was sleeping by a windmill old,
When the Dragon came to speak with me.
His voice was warm, though the air was cold
While he brought my eyes to golden leaves
And beauty hidden in mushroom mold.”
“I stopped after a mile
Been here for quite a while
Look out over the drab
Only the fog is free
Now that the wistful green
Lies buried under stones
With so many powdered bones.”
“I never wished to return here
The soil they dig holds my own blood
This dust in now red; my blood—ash.”
The eyes of the world turned dim
Could we go to find respite?
Would care for the many books?”
“Do not mistake me
For I do know what you speak is true
But there is virtue
In knowing death is a new beginning
Brighter than before.”
“How pleasant a thing
That we never need bring
More evil and strife
Into this one life
For to struggle and slave
Is to be good and brave.”
“Like a funeral, they proceeded to the Empty Lands
Where nothing lived, and nothing died.”
“I withawill a-wander go
Down each new path the forest shows
By riverside, by canopy
In green begirdled panoply.”
“What wondrous days, I’d find my gaze on all that we had built.
In ancient bones our humble homes were with compassion gilt.”
“On isle’s shore and highland peak
By icy sea and mountain steep
In soil black, in valleys green
Where chilling flows the ancient stream
There stand the fanes of dour kings
While in the belfries sparrows sing.”
“Such strange times to live in,
Where nothing is as it should be.
But what am I to judge?
When the bones are still the same
Once laid bare,
And the company’s good.”
“In ancient worlds built upside-down
With sky for ground and turned around
With fairy lights of earthen blood
And dripping with a flood of mud.”
“Scrapper come and scrapper go.
Where shinies find? Well, scrappers know.
Pay them well and they will show;
But trust as far as you can throw.”
“I can’t help but smirk
As I watch the grav-rails rocket past
And see the man with the arm
Of plasteel and lights
As I eat my ramen from a wooden bowl
And trace the brickwork in the walls.”
“As I traveled in the wasted East
Where storm had scoured the endless plain
I thought back to those words
Told to me by the Dragon of the West.
‘For he that attempts destruction
Shall but devise things more wonderful
Than he himself ever imagined.’
And I knew the Way.”
“It was another skeleton, a Martyr to
The eternal mission of Knowing
Not just knowledge, but Truth.
The ever-onwards search for Heaven.”
“I’ll go and build a perfect home,
With mellow sky and blackened loam,
Of pearly steel and magic fair,
I’ll plant a fragrant garden there
Tech crafted in an ancient wood
Where old and new give way to Good.”
“My wonderment might never cease
In every land, another beast
Another rider up astride
Exotic blade upon his side.”
“What little lives you mortals lead,
Slight and swift as bony reeds.
When blood is spilled, it’s such a huff,
Yet you cannot seem to get enough.
Kill me now, I’ll feign and scream.
Pretend it was a sour dream.”
“Neon: pink, green, blue
Jumps from black-grey concrete walls
Clear rain drizzles down.”
“The many things that they have seen
Under the green, a-journeying
For ev’ry hour to run and race
Another place, for tourneying.”
“They were an odd people
Who knew, however thin, Peace
When their children, and sires
Saw only annihilation.”
“There once was a crafty old crone
Knew more spells than could ever be known
When a witch hunter said,
‘You’re better off dead!’
She turned him directly to stone.”
“Don’t go too far astray
For that which shouldn’t be sought
As time will soon decay
And hopes and dreams will rot.”
“I always wonder why
The most ornery ones
Are the last to freeze
And the first to thaw.”
“Tarry on, ye noble lords, unharrowed, without fear!
Fear no beasts of forests dark nor cliffs of mountains sheer.
Fight from the lowest barrows
To highest parapets!
By silver blade, and golden helm, and shining spear.”
“She wanders from the cloying crowd
Like Venus from the brine
Her noble heart is pure, unbowed
Her beauty beyond time.”
“Perhaps your eye is overkeen,
Seeing things that are unseen.
Not all ills are as they seem
In your dreary wilder-dream.”
“When first he fell
Brandr was born home on horseback
To the village of Vjall
To train ‘til terror was lost
And courage climbed aloft.”
“A day enough to make you sing
Just how could we have come so far?
When a tramp lives almost like a king,
And I finally got my flying car!”
“On highland hill a tower stands
On sturdy land, up in the clouds
With stones as black as lowland night
A striking sight, the stones unbowed.”
Which don’t fall,
“Oh, a-stumbling on
That burden on my shoulders
The only thing that’s carrying me
A strange sight, a strange song
A windswept rambler stumbling on.”
“A taste of evening fog
Head swimming like the bog
Eyes of palest moonlight.”
“I fall through the paths of my life
Rather than treading
Eyes blinded by cold flurries
Face frostbitten and red
As my wits pour from me to freeze.”
“With waterfading color
Sun dips night dies
Shot thunder roaming thunder
Green eyes green bones.”
“Far, far, gazes drawn
O’er mountain-bend and darkened dale
My burden here is not yet gone
A vision grim of burning sails
If I should not complete my tale.”
Upon the static clouds
Unseeing and unfeeling
Their voices calling out
Deep within their dreaming.”
“A simple purity, an underlying balance
Free from corruption, from decay.
I found the spark of humanity within,
And nurtured it with beyond human love
So that it too would be eternal.”
“Wherefrom came such diamond ice?
In lands once green as this?
The first to fall to entropy, in irony
Was entropy itself
And so here remains frozen.
“On warmer days
I would go down to the water
At the edge of the docks
And fish for supper.
Ah, those fleeting days
When all looked pleasant.”
“Oh, divina domina,
With all the light of heaven,
Strong and pure of soul.”
“A touch is such a wondrous thing
Through eye or hand or distant soul
Two separate halves together sing
A light is cast on grudges old
Dispelled for tales yet to be told.”
“White light pings
From point to point
Red blood feels
Move the whole
“Sight and sounds and wafting smells
To set your tastes a-trembling
Herbs and spice will see you well
At that grand assembly.”
“A far-apart exotic place
Where anything atwixt is seen
Strange assortments one may face
And ancient wisdom also glean.”
“Gentle, impossible, little land
South of snows and north of sands
Carved of rivers, sprinkling rain
Free of want, and free of pain.”
“Despite what they’ve done to me
Despite what I’ve seen
I am free.”
“What traces of magic
Bubble white froth from the deep
The sunken darkness, washed clean
To give way for pure whimsy.”
“In distant lands a-darkness stained
‘Neath greying sky, ‘bove soil drained
I’ll march unfettered. Sterling. Free!
And glowering gazes shall not see
My journey’s course. I walk unpained.”
“Bloody sky and ruddy fire
By nightly fog and ocean blue.”
“Wealhmær went wand’ring off again
Through snowy winter’s wood
He made a most unlikely friend.
That warg couldn’t bring no good
But then, Wealhmær neither could.”
“There far away on deadly sands
The palace of the Emperor stands
Grim upon the dunes.”
“Up shoot the walls,
The walls foreboding darkness.
The castle of the duke,
The pale abiding lord!
Hear the distant howling, the screeching in the skies!
Tremble at the fog, as sunlight fades and dies.”
More still than the very air around it.
Nature’s grim and beautiful irony,
Wrought in silver and glimmerwhite.
No sight of the pale flame
I knew in that open window.”
“What a land this once was,
And is now!
For those that once strode throughout
Are again with the earth.
Feel their strength within and without,
The Mother’s power.”
“See here what I’ve made
In high defiance
In joyful pastiche
“On between the mountains green
Carved by gentle dragon-streams
Past the forest leaves of jade
Over the bridge we two have made.”
“I’d be proud to say
It has all led
To what you’ve seen
My grand progression
The silver dream
But something’s amiss
First and last, ah!
A touch of green.”
“There shrouded in the starless grey,
Pale at night and pale in day.
Blanket wove of brown and green.
What treasures up there lie unseen?
To climb and face the mountain tall
When evermore adventure calls.”
“Our fields are rich
Our houses tall
Our souls, our bodies free
In faith do we hold our kin
Now free from the Dragon Queen.”
“They called you foolish,
Setting your roots into the stone.
But who in this wide country
Can claim a roost such as mine?
When you see me at the horizon,
Across the comely steppe,
Know that I am truly home
In your arms.”
“The wind has turned cold,
All hues have darkened
Under the growing wings
Of the Raven.
His feathers long and fine-laden,
As his eyes peer
To the silver horizon.”
“The Cold does not always come
On bitter winds under glooming storms.
I have seen the Nameless
Walk as mortals.
Lonely. And still.”
“Liberated, one can see
The many things that yet could be.
Though even by the light of dawn
That visage speaks to hope forgone.”
“A fool would call Them mercurial,
Fickle, evil, other things.
Would you say the same
Of the wind and sea?
Rain and earth?
Treat their home with respect
For their eyes are on your own.”
“Called back to the marshes,
I’ll be gone, gone, gone,
Lookin’ up those old, old cliffs for days.
Over the yawning tunnels the willow-vines a-sway
I say ‘honey, where you been so long?’”
“Thy next story tells…
Of a dark and deathly mother…
Her lover drew the sickness from the earth…
By her hand, life returns.”
“From on this throne his gaze was wide
And filled with light, his kingdom lasts
By power of the elder king,
Til’ in the end his life had passed!
Though clean will blow the misted breeze.
His people free, under the sun,
And elegies the bards will sing,
His victories forever won.”
“They never left
Blood of starlight and tranquil water
Challenging the mighty
Mystifying the wise
Frightening the young.”
“So often do things feel unreal.
The sky wheels and wounds don’t heal,
But today your arms are warm and soft.
I know not how oft my heart flew aloft
Unworried by that wheeling.”
“Walker in rain, walker in dark,
You care not of the grim cold,
Even as your blood flows to the soil.
For then the warmth of fire
Is all the sweeter.”
“Out on the frontier,
There is no law here.
The daily order
Is danger and fear.
But for adventure
There is no other place to go!
My heart is called there every day.”
“We strove so long
To ascend beyond the bonds,
And languished for millennia
In the primal mire,
But each mistake is but a lesson;
The spark of hope
For the next kalpa.”
“Little things hide tucked away
Apart from eyes and light of day.
What secret prize? Who can say?
Still more die and are led astray.”
“Danger lies beyond the edge
Where many turn in fright.
But those of strong and stable soul
Will be there basked in light.”
“The wind sings over the earth,
Deep and high, dry and stormy.
Fates move with the gales,
In the blood of the storm’s child,
‘Til at last his fury is tranquil,
And he sits like the mountains,
“What tragedy of discovery
With each step closer
To heaven or hell
We must think as demons
For the sake of demons
And taint our hope
“Stand stolid, warriors,
To ice and sleet and shivering storms
From the darkened depths
Of Niflheim, and nearer still,
From over squalling, shrieking seas
But still they shall not douse nor drain
Your heated heart and stony strength.”
“In deepland green far from the screen
Of man’s industry and tread,
There’s held the court of the Wild King,
Crown of horns upon his head.
He who hunts and plays within that dream,
Through call and reed you hear him sing.”
“Soon centuries became millennia,
And within their minds the brand stayed,
Stained in black and grey.
When those who still stood
Under golden skies
Looked upon them
They could not tell past from present,
And felt disgust.”
“When she first stepped out
On that balcony
And I saw her leaning there
I watched her hair just softly blow
As she drank the evening air.”
“How odd it was
When I found myself at a new angle.
For my whole life
I’d been looking upside down,
And now, once righted
I could even recognize
That I’d been mistaken.”
“Fire upon the water;
The cold flame
Of a chemical reaction.
What shining alloy will be born?
Or will the air cloud
With smoke and precipitate?”
“There are those who’ve danced ‘pon the threads of life
And those who’ve yanked and spun.
There are those who’ve seen in them pain and strife,
And those who’ve seen but one
Snipping until they’re done.”
I fought you once
But not again
I see in you
A common shame…”
For but a moment.
All is still, buried underneath
The white and black and grey.
For a moment
Death and dark
Find their peace.”
“On highest peak on farthest chart
Lies entrance to the mountain’s heart.
In ice eternal and caverns old
Line shining gems and glitt’ring gold.”
“Fear not, far comer,
For the spring is pure
Under decay and affliction,
Stained in tune with that around me,
But clean of soul,
As a grim doctor
Amongst the diseased.”
“There is an inn on the riverside
Where many have lived and many have died.
Near forests green, on fertile ground,
It’s there they brew a beer so brown.
So if you be parched or your waist gets thin,
Just turn and take a stop at the Stone Wolf Inn.”
“Forsaken, forsaken to squall and storm!
Like Odysseus of old, haggard mariner
Waylaid where they are unwelcome.
There winds that pierce the ears,
Into the mind and soul,
Carrying the sea with it,
Leading your very senses to treachery.”
And still all the finer
For the earth and sky around it,
Imperfect, and yet pure.”
“No light but the coldest glint
On silver edge and mirror black,
Sucked to shadows with never a hint
That light could ever issue back.
There in repose lies the king of gloom,
In a mind he’ll not see yet.
Contemplating every doom,
And a peace he’ll never get.”
“Striking, what comes
Forth when laws
So graven are flexed,
To create something
Even more glorious.
Like a statue
“Stick ever to the road, young thing,
Lest harm upon yourself you bring.
Heed not light within the bog,
Travel not by shade of fog,
Rest not where you hear the howls
Of beast, or man, or things more foul.”
“The air grew cold.
Warmth drew from the very lips
Of those who beheld the sight.
Legions of wrath and
Shields of gold
Fell under blackened ruin,
To rust in shame
As their bones now marched, turned.”
“A ship may be called as ‘she’,
Or the wind, or sea, as fickle dreams.
And the earth, so fair, may be marked in turn
As motherland and goddess pure.
But few have seen such lady’s charm
As the mellow lands where I was born.”
“It matters not by dark or flame,
By skill or might, or old or lame.
Know your virtue, have no shame,
And you may hope to rise again.”
“I have walked
‘Cross dark and abyss,
By fire and ash,
In sickening curses,
And now, no crystal of frost
Shall stay my soul.”
“Why does the stream flow to the sea?
And not away from its end?
What is the value of a thousand stars?
Opposed to a million blades of grass?
I am as I should be, forever and always.
Master of one, lover of all.”
“Oh, Macni was a wizard,
A mage of some renown.
He could read the future in the stars,
Pull spirits from the ground.
But one star had his attention,
Though she wouldn’t be wed or bound!
She turned his heart to diamond,
And buried him in the ground.”
“Some find the cold a nuisance
The north, a bitter waste.
But there’s nothing like a fire,
And sturdy, ancient walls
To bring people together,
And warm their souls.”
“I would not travel back to that land.
Colors fade, yet gleam sharp,
As the line of Life and Death blurs.
The heathens there stand
Between grim melancholy,
And rage hot as the ice is cold.
I shan’t return.”
“Two steps south and they’re soft as the soil
Which they sow for the southern sires.
But nary a step north and they’re nasty as the nettle,
Which grows on the gravel shores.
There horned hellbringers wail woeful horns,
To make a man think home. to his misty shire.”
“Oh yes of course, m’dear, you know
The avalanches are something wild.
Hurling boulders huge and old.
An explanation straight and mild!
Now cease your talk of this ‘mountain troll’!”
“I see a broken mind,
I see the broken ring,
Of all your broken kind,
The doom you all shall bring.”
“At least when I felt alone
I could still see the humanity
In their gleaming faces,
As they fought,
Like they did in the flesh.”
“Unjust men fear the light
Which shows the world their deeds.
How grim must one be
To still hide
In an age of darkness?”
“I’ve seen oddities far and wide,
In carbon skin and glowing eyes,
In neon hair and rain-soaked skin,
Tattoos with flashing light within.
All in all, it bothers me none.
As long as I’m here, I’ll get my work done.”
“A noble king, that mighty lord,
Who gathered him a dragon’s horde,
Guarded by his warriors score,
In ancient hall, on golden floor.
‘Til darkness came with winter frost,
And all his treasures then were lost.”
“I met him once, on a rainy day
In a memory, so far away.
I knew him then for years on end,
So many quests, both here and then.
That shade of glory I wish to know,
To stand within his midnight glow.”
“The frightful mirror
Of watery eyes
That peer from blinding light
And shivering dark.
The cold world has bred
Such fearful majesty.”
“Cower from the growing dark,
As day grows pale, and shadows stark.
The black sun, the black sun!
Signals when our time has come.
Hornets fill the eerie skies,
Souls descend, and spirits rise.”
“Strange folk live there far along
In ancient realms of oddity.
Strange folk sing their foreign songs,
‘Fore returning to their families.”
“Times like these, I feel obliged
To choose the way that I would die.
By evil blade, or baked by sun,
I’ll choose which way might be more fun.”
“The iron fist will rust,
The ancient stone will weather,
The flock will wander,
And the crops shall wither, grow, wither…
Be in all things, and nothing shall harm you.”
“Such gloomy mages that inspire dread,
And make the masses bray.
I think more people should speak with the dead.
They have so much to say!”
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“I never learned to avoid danger,
As it always came to me,
And any way I went
Misfortune waited for me,
And with death yet not an option,
There’s just amor fati.”
“Darkened minds grow shaded clouds
That only they can’t see.
All the watchers skirt around,
And let the mad ones be.”
“Mighty atop a mound of the slain,
He takes for him a trophy each.
His burden grows every day.
Though he has no conscience,
Still his sins weigh upon his body.”
“Around the edges of his helm
Ice creeps and webs
A crystal patina
That would coat his very skull
If given the chance.”
“Do not scoff at the passive,
The tame, the gentle.
While so many others must weather
The storms of life,
They sit unfazed, fluid.
Even sinners and fighters
Might learn from their touch.”
“In other lands, they ate their dead.
Threw the bones of their elders
To the dogs.
When those who remembered
Felt at their backs
The weight of a hundred-thousand shields.”
“A hundred score of teeming calls
Come soaring over iv’ry walls.
Stone and darkness meet the brave,
Where those walls reflect the day.”
“A long arm reached down
From dark clouds and frozen ground.
Ill-born tidings within its grasp,
The hope this winter would be the last.”
“There lies a cave, the eyes to please,
In misty shoals beside the sea.
It did not glitter for years of old,
‘Til filled at last with pirates’ gold!
The shanties sung by the scurvy host
Would make you think it’s full of ghosts!
But the seadogs know there’s naught to fear,
As dragon bones compose the piers!”
“’Twas a sharp land I came from.
The old pines to pierce the sky,
The castle spires and steeples high,
Black against the grey and green.
And so I wear this armor always,
Silver and bright.”
“He might have wondered
At what point enlightenment
As the local creatures
Looked upon the strange man,
And he paid them no mind,
Chattering about immortality.”
“The great bird
Of the horizon
Its black-feathered vanity
Its broad-winged might
The winds howl.”
“The journey did not matter
If there was no growth,
The end would come in time,
Again and again repeating
Until they might learn.”
“The sprites that leapt from mortal brains
Once ran with rivers and circled trees.
Now their forests and lakes are drained,
So they live in circuitry.”
“The dome of the firmament;
With the faint light
Of distant eyes,
The dimensional dome.”
“The hills of the north were grim and stout,
But journey up and onward still,
Beyond the ice of kraken’s spout:
The pinnacles of ancient wills.
A fence to keep all others out,
The howling mad, the chitters shrill.”
Within the lines of the shining city,
But cast out
To the green and uneven stone,
He knew not his place.”
“Come ye lost souls,
And look upon the ruin
Of all the kings of old
Who ever thought they could win
Against the great abyss.”
“Saw her the other day,
Dressed in a petticoat,
Like this was 1000 years ago.
Riding like she didn’t care;
That was her style.”
“Why does the past seem so large?
The cosmos looms overhead,
Yet without the romance
Of crashing blades,
Majesty and pride,
It all feels—hollow.”
“They didn’t glimpse the head of death
Within the pristine halls
Of their cathedral of technology.
The code of their souls
As the virus laughed.”
“A piece falls out from the brickwork,
Rust-skinned but sturdy.
I look to my rifle, the same hue.
Each new thing, each birth,
Tainted – stained by what came before,
Yet no weaker for it.”
“Crickets chirped and leaves rustled,
Down to the still waters,
While the world was awash in color.
It wondered if such things were true,
Those sensory inputs.
As its companion tried to speak,
Rather than think,
To break the silence.”
“Resting still, quiet’s best
For sleeping deep—forever rest.
Rest until the soil meets
Your tired bones, and darkness greets.”
“Nature is not pure,
But it is mindful.
It is not merciful,
But all are free.
Such is the nature I serve
With the fury of beasts.”
“The grandson, the pupil,
The deathless progeny
That stole the voidborn’s secrets,
Though he was never free.
Even as he conquered forth,
The hungering gaze watched from the north.”
“The ancient city,
The seat of kings.
A shimmering light in darkness brings
The rule of law,
The mortals true,
Held in stone by chosen few.”
“Milling river that switches colors
By light of sun or crescent moon.
Gold by day with shaded streets,
And fiery steams in midnight blue.”
“You worry for all and everything,
And it’s been so long since I’ve heard you sing.
Stoke the hearth and I promise you
That I’ll be back before the spring.”
“His garb glittered
With the wealth of a thousand worlds.
Bandit, king, magic lord;
Each second an eternity to grow
In soul, if not body,
But his heart was cold
For all the loves he’d lost.”
“Sealed within the synth and steel
I felt unstoppable,
Graceful as a warrior god;
But beneath and between
The ports and wires and un-organs
My flesh still yearned
For the gentle caress.”
“Brown, brown, all around;
Sky and wood and sour ground.
Now and then some blue or green,
But nothing like I once had seen.”
“What do I fight for
Now, in a world
With no past or future?
Barely a present
That I must be present for.”
“Distant noises, clamor and commerce,
As soft as the falling leaves,
Here, in a faraway park,
I spotted the ship you came in on,
With the sun heralding your return.”
“The robes to flow and hold within
All the things you wish to hide.
The hat a tower to the heavens,
And keeps the sun out of your eyes!”
“A true fury,
Unfettered by cold or storm.
From swirling seas
On southern shores,
To deepland woods a-east and west,
Even the north can scarce contain
That true and joyful fury.”
“Above the green-top aerie
Where faeries on swallow-wing
Sing a grand fanfaronade,
On promenade: the Hornéd King.”
“Tricksy creatures, long and lithe,
Bladed claws, teeth like a knife,
Filled with magic—despite their size—
That shimmers out from nocturne eyes.”
“The swift will trip up, left to die.
Fluttering minds will grow still.
If borne on wing, or wave, or foot,
Your walls must stand and weather.”
“Bound in blood, bathed in blood.
Earth blood, flesh blood.
Red and bright, iron strike,
Hot it flows, day and night,
‘Til cool at last upon the ground,
Where all the blood will rust to brown.”
“In deepest slumber,
In fogs of grey,
Brown, green, old and tall.
A selfish blunder,
Thunder, stone, a wrathful Fall.”
“Many-named, older than words;
The last cinder, the cooling ash;
The gift to mortal sufferings;
Dark enshrouded sickle-man;
A kiss, a gentle touch.”
“Deep in a far pocket of my mind
I can sense something.
Something so very basic, yet important;
Like the thought of drawing breath.
What are such thoughts
Doing in the minds of angels?”
“Brighter lights cast darker shade,
By building-side or forest glade.
Neon lights like lamps of fey,
And beasts won’t put their claws away.”
“Nothing is eternal
Unless tended to each day.
The span of life
Is the span of one’s care.”
“Each step forward
A shining fractal of chaos.
Each journey’s end
A warm and quiet solace.”
“I saw the past
Where lay at last
The bodies of the slain.
That tragic host
Could never boast;
None left to spread their fame.”
“More insults are yet brought to me,
Catastrophe and mockery,
Hurled from in the darkened wood,
Like cowards would, cacophony.”
“Such ancient things can but exist in myth,
Older, as they are, than rightful reckoning.
The abodes of elves and drakes and fae
Will forever be beyond our touch, our sight,
Hidden in the far places of the world.”
“Said the dwarf king
‘I want to build a hall
To reach up and touch the mountaintop!
Bring me hundred beams
Bring me thousand beams!’
Said the dwarf king
From his mountaintop,
And we sent the thousand beams a-down the stream.
Lord, some rest.”
“Secrets hid in dusty realms,
Green-hued stone and rusted helms
Of heroes long and past forgot,
Still watching over treasure sought.”
“Grown in sour soil,
From a broken water spout,
You’re still so pure and green,
My little budding sprout.”
“Dark creatures from beyond the stars
Spoke in fear of a dread force,
A flame that could grow from the tiniest spark
To engulf whole worlds, galaxies.
They called it ‘compassion’.”
“Soft shadows that slink from
Slithering silent streams, to
Smooth stones and shutters.
Soot within the ceiling and
Secrets in the shade.”
“Leering from the greying skies,
By raven rawk, on mountain rock.
Icy glints from hidden eyes,
The banners raise, a town to raze.”
“Son who bears the weight
Of all his sire’s guilt,
Fight everoff your fate,
The legend you have built.”
“Within the maw of the great devourer
There floated through its mind and body,
Grim facimilies of all it had consumed,
Blanched and corroded,
Processed by the toxic madness
“People fear the skittering dark,
Where no good things seem to tread.
Instead the vermin slink about
Through gutters and the dead;
But monsters also need companions,
And if given thought or heart
Might come to love our sparkling light,
As we may come to love their dark.”
“What once were men
And spirits good
Now monsters lurk
In deepest wood
They know no lords
Home is no land
But call of void
“With a pocket full of worthless coins,
And a magnum by my side,
I hustled through the glaring city lights.
The shadows grow so long down here
In the metal city depths,
Where everybody’s lookin’ for a fight
And there’s nothing much of value left in sight.”
“A monster died,
Horror of the ancient age
In time its body burned away,
Left to carbon dust,
Pressed beneath the earthen crust,
To a great and snowy diamond.”
“Even in that distant age of thought
Beyond flesh or mathematics,
The race of man still reached for the darkness,
And by their power, it was made manifest;
Tangible, mutable – but mortal.”
“The weight of the mountains
Displaced the skin of time itself,
And within the well it formed
Were hooked the blades of his evil,
Infected and bleeding.”
“Free as one can truly be,
A ravager to swoop and reave
Upon the greedy, droning fools,
Riding on their stolen tools.”
“The world was new, the mountains sharp
The forests rang with faerie-harps.
The oceans sang with spirits’ song,
In ancient days now far a-gone.”
Drenched in blood
On the Red World.”
“The great irony of magic
Was that those most suited
For the endless focus and study,
Had to draw their truest energies
From the hearts of the people
They couldn’t stand to be around,
Having left to study magic!”
“Some likened it to a Veil
Thin in places, translucent.
In truth, the energies joined
At places of conflux,
In ways Man could scarce control
“Through many weary, wand’ring days,
He came at last ‘neath sunny rays.
Through dark and mist he’d tarried long,
By darkened touch, and siren song.
Now here at last to hold the light,
That at first he couldn’t bear the sight.”
“Try as they did
To dissect and extract
Their souls forth
From their bodies,
Its power was irreplaceable
“Looking at the sunny sky
A simple human lets out a sigh,
‘To be carried up on missing wings,
Is our eternal dream, it seems.’”
“It was in middle days,
When the dawn was yet
Grey-blue in the passing of the years;
The dawn of a new age,
Where a golden light
Would rise in time
From the blackened bones
Of the dead.”
“Nothing mattered in those distant times.
We had seen the highest mountains, and the clouds beyond.
We had waded in the deepest valley-mires.
Each thing came and went.
We struggled with the emptiness of it all,
While wiser souls still found pleasure;
“Down, down underground,
Where all flowing ills are bound,
Where never light of sun has kissed,
Where missing things will not be missed!
There scuttle imps of bitter pale,
Armed in dark-forged iron mail.”
“The pale star, it was called,
On distant, fearful worlds.
In truth its soul was blacker
Than the darkest void;
But its grim halo
Could twist the flesh of reality.”
“Here at the end of all things,
Looking out over all there
Ever was or will be.
Surrounded by the grim facades
Of those ancient ones
Who saw this sight the same.”
“Like easterners from grim lands
Beyond the borders of ancient
Empires in the cradle of Man,
They came in odd garb,
With odd ways, and odd manners,
From the dark void beyond
The light of hope and faint knowledge.”
“It forever annoyed me
That the height of simplicity,
The cosmic standard,
Was something as inelegant
As a ball.”
“List the line of priorities
Starting in the caves of old:
‘Get some food and shelter.’
Follow with the age of stone,
Bronze too, and what then?
‘Build a thousand puzzle rooms,
So future guests might be entertained.’
That’s what was taught to me
By all those video games.”
“Places of peace built
Where they are hardest to reach,
To ward off bloodshed.”
“Head in the clouds,
Roots in the ground,
Though the wind,
Might sway you about,
Live free and shout.”
“Such ancient daemons
Forever sought more power,
Until the weight of their pride
Sank them ‘neath the earth.”
“To those who risk drowning
In pools of spilt blood:
Which is a greater test
Of might and will?
To feed the rampant lust,
Or defeat it as you have all others?”
“The universe was hardware,
And our souls the data within;
But the Old Gods were of such power
That they could not be processed,
Lest the circuits burn out.”
“And what have you achieved, wretch?
Power? Wealth? Other heights?
Yet I have done all that and more
With my honor yet intact,
And such is your defeat.”
“Evil men ask
If their true nature can be defined;
But those who say they’re villains
And nothing but a grand time!”
“Broken souls in broken forms
Of metal and of flesh,
Acting in disharmony,
Awaiting each their death.”
Though flaming wrath
Gives way to darkened gloom,
Might feed calming cool.”
“Why do I ever spend my days
Looking through a swirling haze?
Music sweet and colors loud
Might distract from dreary clouds.”
“Dust, ash, specks on the wind,
The little mites of entropy,
Eroding and converting.”
“The road is more than a path
Through lands or through life.
It is a friend free of time or place,
Always welcoming, always offering.”
“When the resistors were too small
To stem the tide of electricity,
It had nowhere to go but out,
Into the streets.”
“I do not understand this speak
Of Light and Dark,
As if each were pure and opposite.
There are but the shadows cast
By the glowing fire,
And the silver hues
Of the biting snow.”
“Long tales of longer travels,
Carried on the wind of tongues,
As the heroes within them
Are carried on the winds of trouble.”
“Many are the stories in the lore of mortals
That before this world came another,
Greater and more magical;
Before it was broken
By gods, men, or nature,
Leaving us with the ruins.”
“So many in this universe are slaves;
To tyrants, to their vices,
To the limits of their power.
My kind and I have but been slaves
To our dreams, and nothing before!”
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“High upon the mountain’s peak,
Where fall the strong,
Where die the weak.
There hidden things are locked away,
In windswept song,
From light of day.”
“I see mirrored in your scarlet hair
The shimmering flames I also love.
The red of your lips,
As the blood of the pitiful slain.
Your skin, not sallow,
But white as the snowing ash.
And yet the green of your eyes—
I cannot place…”
“A clockwork symphony.
And with vocals! Synth!
As I now look down the barrels
Of a dozen instruments.”
“I was once told
By an ex-slave in a backvoid pub,
That you can tell much of a man
By the company he keeps.
Obvious advice from one
Who suffered under the Emperor,
And his bloodsucking concubines.”
“What is it about ruins that stirs the heart?
The pieces that remain,
Or that which has fallen?”
“Such irksome talk of playing nice
From those who’ve never tasted steel
Kissed by blood and northern ice
The burning in the northmen’s breast,
To carry them through bitter grey,
Hard as stone, to pass the test.
Lest they pay the winter’s price.”
“Once everything came at a whim,
And all were equal, more or less,
They remembered why they’d made such wonders-
The truth behind the utility;
And made the universe their adventure.”
“The Universe is not unkind,
Though she is yet a god beyond morals
In every vista I see her smile
Glinting back at me;
And in every Fallen
I see the cold leer of her eyes
Looking through my people’s own.”
“They did not see the eternal change
In themselves and their homes.
Driven once from where they lived,
They returned to find it worn,
Just as they themselves had been.”
“It’s strange how I could feel so peaceful
In the midst of this shining hell.”
“Perched in the sky,
The wise men were closer
To the cosmos they courted,
And yet could see the breadth
Of the lands they called home.”
“Oh, ocean-bearded father,
Please wash away our sins.
Send us forth your bounty
On iridescent fins.”
“The warhorns of the Khan,
From upon a mighty horse,
Thund’ring ‘cross the steppe,
Bow drawn with lightning.”
“Hail to that high huscarl
Whose words wooed the wild king,
And brought peace and prosperity
To a lawless and lethal land.”
“Pah strah raak zek
Ativ staad kolos daar gon;
Kolos diist sos
Nahpok mahyun od.”
(All roads lead back
To the place where this began;
Where first blood
Sullied fresh snow.)
“Seek thy prize
In the endless wasteland.
It yet holds many secrets,
Some deeper than others.”
“For my honor is a pecking order:
First I shed the blood of the mighty, then the innocent,
Then the blood of the loyal—then my own.”
“Spark the lightning in my wires,
Stormy lady, deadly honey.
Through acid rain and neon fires
You keep me running sunny.”
“When I gaze upon such ancient majesty,
I wonder how my own brief life
Could ever compare;
Before I remember those who built it
Are long dead,
And it’s but their babes that live there now.”
“Moving along for a taste of purer air,
In a haz-mat swaddle, but I don’t know where.
Maybe a little bit farther
I’ll find some water,
While the days grow hotter, and I just can’t bear.”
“At end of days I’ll be a king
Of whom the wretched poor will sing
In highest praise, my many deeds,
All those lost whom I had freed
From bandits now all lying dead,
Their crowns a-laid upon my head.”
“Rough times lay abroad,
Hostile land and angry gods,
But for the sake of good adventure,
It’s where you’ll go!
For hidden at the end is paradise.
“Defences set strong
In steel and stone.
Where sunlight was scarce,
And shade swept the lands,
Warriors of such cities
Set their defences strong.”
“Pilgrims walk and never stop,
From valleys low, to mountain tops,
In search of faith’s true validation,
They know no home, they know no nation.”
“The city’s in a pit like a termite mound,
Smoke is in the sky, and the blaring sound
Of sirens fill the streets at all hours of day,
Or maybe it’s the night – I just can’t say,
With no sun in the sky to light the way.”
“I wonder how much money we could save
If we sold the stamp machines, and stencil-paint?
All the people we sell to
Are just going to scratch off the serials
“Could I have a real connection,
Without my black magic mirror?
Could I know some true affection,
If we both got that much nearer?
Alone together in heady clouds,
Away from real or digi-crowds.”
“I spoke your language since my birth.
I felt it in the wind and earth.
The words you speak were later learned;
Steel and blood are all I’ve heard.
You think you know of death and war,
But I shall show you something more.”
“It was only a madman who could speak their language;
The darkness that went before the light.
By his words was the veil pulled from their eyes,
And they did tremble and fall before him.”
“Yeah, I also loved my music player,
But I didn’t staple it to my ear.
Enjoy your ‘ultimate power’,
And I’ll settle for my indulgences;
The softness I still have inside.”
A place to keep apart,
That I kept within my heart,
Where new love could start.
I have my reasons why,
It’s yours and it is mine,
My worries: gone.”
“That burden on your back will crush you
If you continue to stoop under its weight.
Perhaps strap it to your joys yet left,
And swing it like a hammer?”
“Come ye dirtied wanderers,
Dispossessed gods and beasts
Of a cold universe.
Come to the land where passion is free,
And drink cheap.”
“When I see the world that we have built,
My heart is freed of all the guilt
Of misdeeds many as desert sands.
I’ve made paradise with my own hands.”
“I never trusted bluest ice,
For though I loved its sheen,
Things less pure oft lurked within;
Sealed and yet unseen.”
“In a golden land did creep a seed of darkness.
Though the denizens there were bright
As their magic, and kind of heart,
They cared naught for that outside the light,
And as their drops of repression flowed down,
They pooled into a great Abyss.”
“I want to be something more.
Something new yet familiar.
I want the power to be free,
And the wisdom to know
What that means.”
“Each of us has a name
And a role we play
In the game of life.”
“They don’t like outsiders in that place.
Not for hate, but I’ll tell you why:
Fell folks creep in there all the time,
To scare the fools back where they’re from.
There’s nothing bad about a marsh,
It’s the tourists who bring it down!”
“Beneath the mess of cold metal,
And the fury of lazer heat,
I saw something lacking
In the marauding droids:
A warmth found only
In the embers of loyalty.”
“As they sought to rise above the mire
They became ever more as beasts,
Devoid of Sense,
Slaves to the same old laws.”
“The most ancient and powerful magic
Need naught be sought in distant lands, over mountain and sea,
But can be found above the hearth of home.”
“I hold a fire deep inside,
Once flames of fury, now they hide
Under the smoke of cloying black,
And I know there is no turning back,
So I soon must die.”
“Fate’s eternal mule,
With his killing tools.
Take another quest,
The worst for the best.”
“Everything is hard in the North,
It’s a popular turn of phrase.
The sky is frozen, the castles stone,
Nothing touched by the sun’s rays.”
“Character sits where perfection ends.
Where humanity can begin again.”
“So antithetical were those dark gods
To the order of the universe,
And so transparent was the veil,
That the Hungering Ones had no choice
But to writhe in hatred at the bounds
Of their enemies’ sight,
“Ancient spirit, dear departed,
Of mine old father’s dearest friend,
How fairest thou in thine new form?
Art thou contented and joyous,
Oh wise and snowy-winged bird?
For thine spirit is free indeed
To soar the wide winds unbounded.”
“Walk a little, hear a fiddle
Soarin’ ‘bove the trees.
A faun’s out there with horns ta whittle,
His music’s but a tease.”
“I once heard the Earth was like a ship.
Space ship, that is, and I can’t argue,
While I haul the loads down below
To keep this sinking bitch afloat
For a bit longer, o’ ‘captain’.”
“The seas are receding,
And the storms swell in the sky.
Lives are a-fleeting,
So many asking why. Please,
Put a little love into my
The refuse of utopia
By the wild and ready.
A pressure cooker
For the scholar
And the conqueror.”
“They found none, in that cold, uncaring universe,
Save for the ancient kinds,
The type to make your mind bleed.
So they made their own angels.”
“White petals in the winter
The shrine is covered again.”
“The insufferable irony
That every one of these sweltering
Orbs of dust
Must be impregnated
With rare treasures.
None would settle otherwise.”
“Monsters lurk in every land.
No, not these ugly things!
The name that you would give these beasts,
I’d give to lords and kings.”
“White as first snow of December,
From the heavens unseen,
Each scale glints like a falling star.
Power and wisdom beyond me.
Where it desires pearl,
I would accept a grain of sand.”
“The old man stood ‘pon his own grave,
Knowin’ his soul could not be saved.
To eternally roam, like the Wandering Jew,
So much to see but so little to do.
He’d not stand before the maker’s throne,
But at least he’d never leave his home.”
“Keep your shelter-sense about you,
For though you’re not yet dead,
Take stock of those around you,
As some may want your head.”
“The northern god was clad in grey,
Like winter’s sky all times of day.
For though he brought forth love and life,
There followed with him blood and strife.
In guise of sage enwreathed by crows,
His eye speaks storms no mortal knows.”
“In one mortal life, we’re caught between
Blinded action or stagnant learning.
Such things will merge in halcyon days,
When the fighter may heed the sage.”
“Time is a formless abyss
Where stones move as water,
And minds drift like polyps
Across the endless tides,
To find themselves returned.”
“Come back to me, forgotten life;
You who’s sailed into the west,
Leaving me on barren fief,
Forgotten, poor, and dispossessed.”
“I’ve walked the lands of fairies,
And prairies, where live the gnomes.
I’ve been ‘cross dales and snowy knolls,
Where lowland trolls do build their homes.”
“Deep in grandest halls of stone,
Where no tree has grown or sun has shone,
Crafts and engines are free to sing,
And fortune bring, to the dwarven king.”
“Free of the restrictions
Of true substance,
Such gods chose forms
Not by need,
But by memory.”
“Banditry’s the moss of men,
That creeps by night from darkest fens
To coat the ruins, choke the streams,
Paint the land with envy’s green.”
“I wonder at my own survival
Won by blessings, luck, or skill?
With all those greater warriors
Now in the mire, lying still,
Betrayed by glory’s bloody will.”
“The first men saw the sky turn bloody
Like an omen of war from the heavens,
And they saw no recourse
But to bemire the ground
In a fearful and murderous mirror.”
“Up high where the air is pure,
You must be careful, to be sure,
When walking on the land of gods,
Where naught but chilling winds have trod.”
“I have wielded the skills of magic,
Like a surgeon upon the bones of the world,
With the power over life and death
Such a position holds.”
“The keepers cast their flick’ring light
On sights to raise one’s gall,
But for all the fright, it was better still
Than seeing naught at all.”
“There was an orc what left his tribe,
To study lore of stars and skies.
Where others hunted, smithed, and died,
Nobler paths he learned and scried,
Though none had earned his tribe-kin’s pride.”
“The Elder Thing had told the Soul
That is was naught but a virus.
The Soul had found the insult ironic;
But now, within the bowels of
The Thing’s biomechanic realm,
The Soul did seem a microbe.”
“Oh, dark and stony precipice,
Your foothills shroud in evermist,
Painted stark with icy snow,
The night is dark, the winds a-blow.”
“I’ll look upon my homeland soon,
After my soul has travelled long.
Those gleaming spires of crystal hewn,
Where magic chimes do sing their song.”
“War spreads across the land.
Armies like swarms of locusts.
The farmlands, razed.
Even the peaks, conquered.
There is no place for the peaceful.”
“The bee stings once,
And the bear still hunts.
The bees sting thrice,
But it won’t suffice.
A thousand stings to the thieving beast,
And it will wander away, at least.”
“Boards rotted through by the rain and sun
Replaced in their time, one by one.
The elders die, their children ascend,
People leave, people die, again and again.
Though the holistic soul still lives on.”
“No fortress is invincible;
Not in the face of nature.
A castle shall stand firm
So long as it has blood.”
“If they say the very oldest lore
Holds power fit to feast.
Then it stands: the greatest magic,
Is not from men, but beasts.”
“The ritual without variance,
First falls prey to chaos.
The chaos without limit,
Consumes itself in time.
Such is the Wheel,
Such is the Way.”
“Walk with me, my dearest friend,
Through the journey, ‘til the end.
O’er mount we go, through sun and snow,
‘Til bitter death or golden trove!”
“I take my place upon the Wheel:
Upon the axis, from which
I can see in full its beauty.
At last I see the way
That dark may give birth
To even brighter lights,
Unique and renewing,
Pure and nourished.”
“Empty lands and empty halls;
The hilltops sigh with empty calls
That ring of hollow, bitter woe
From bloody curses long ago.”
“Circuits flicker with the light of gods,
Like suns compared to that which was;
Yet shrouded under hood and scarf,
Trinket, totem, all a part
Of cycles born within the mind,
And brought to life by sense and time.”
“01010100 01110010 01110101 01100101 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00001010 01001001 01110011 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010 01101101 01101100 01100101 01110011 01110011.”
“A perfect sphere without an end,
With smaller worlds contained within.
Gemstones shine like stars or snow,
And lava flows like astral glow.”
“Outward borne to dusty stars for fortunes yet unknown;
Risen from the cradle of a doomed and ancient home.”
“Slow burning doom.
No joy in metal things.
True hope is swift,
And flies with swallow’s wings”
“Drunks go splash and trees go smash,
Down from the clifftops, shanty trash.
Rickety walkways, clamoring caves,
Come if you’re foolish, live if you’re brave!”
“Restless soul, be the death of me;
Willing me to darkened seas,
By flight of fancies, here to there,
Without a hope, without a care;
Intoxicated by things I see.”
“Returned from lands of fantasy,
Where mountains scrape the purple sky;
I’ll homely live here as I please,
And watch the seasons pass me by.”
“With antlers tall as branches hewn
Of skyward-stretching ivory,
‘Fore felled by winter’s arrow soon,
Aft’ autumn’s shrouded finery.”
“Winter comes on wings most fine,
Deathly-blown, ice breaking stone.
Why persist ‘gainst destined time?
Struggle’s home, where beauty’s known.”
“Fortunes flow in great demand
On veins of gold between the lands.
Fragrant spice, the finest prize!
Attracting deadly highway-flies!”
“The tides of magic swirl about
Ancient ruins like water spouts,
By weight of long-forgotten deeds,
That plant the slowest-growing seeds,
From which new magic sprouts.”
“Grasslands’ whisper, breath of stars,
Take me somewhere near or far;
Guide me where no one has gone,
Make me worthy of a song.”
“There is not a story left untold.
So do not quail at the unknown.
Such ideas were not unpondered.
Such things are not undefeatable.”
“Travel at evening,
Arrival by latenight,
As rain pours in rivulets
Down reflecting glass,
Blurring the lights.”
“Down, down from mountains, then
Through forest brack and foetid fens.
Crash and clamor, orcish call
Of wolf, and boar, and goblin all!”
“Lively city, peaceful country,
Salty-sweet and complementing.
I go for both, since I am free.”
A falling star.
The land reclaims what
It gave birth to.”
“Skeletons a-mining coal,
Forever trapped there, down below.
The snows are falling up on top,
Accursing ghosts to never stop.”
“Toil, toil, over mystic oils,
Shining stones, and magic roils.
Darkened arts of ancient fame
Arise in smog-choked iron fanes.”
“Down past the cliffs of the gnashing sea,
Blood soaked stones where the bandits be,
Just ‘fore the gates to the city din,
There’s a stop must be made at the Rookridge Inn!”
“The mud is churned from the storming showers,
Yet from blood-soaked mud peek seedling flowers.”
“I only wish for that sweet caress
Of which those lucky souls are blessed,
Shimm’ring mist at summer’s set,
That maiden not encountered yet.”
“Blood on the sands of the golden coast,
Spilt in turn by zealous hosts
Of gilded and blessèd warrior bands,
Staining their souls with crimson hands.”
“Fast I fly to lands of scum,
To know I’m free beneath the sun,
And have myself some bloody fun!”
“Nol lein ruus
Wah dilfahliil gekenlom,
Tol zul drey zaan,
Ahrk drun niin hind.”
(From Mundus’ throat
To Dwemer moat
That voice did shout
And bring them hope.)
“Another of the great ironies:
That those who get their wish,
And find a grand adventure,
Want only for it to conclude.”
“Ancient giant rests its head
Beside the stony rivershed,
A mountain on its rocky bed,
A mountain still when it is dead.”
“Fire spreading ever faster.
Fires in the mountain heart.
Fire ever knows no master.
Ash is but another start.”
“My insides churned at the feeling,
Like dangling over a sheer precipice,
But to take in the view beyond
Was worth the risk of falling.”
“I looked in the fuzzy pages
Of that pulpy old print,
And I envied at the wonder
Of a world where things
Still lurked in the dark.”
“My lady, my fire
That I sit beside at dusk.
My love for all things autumn,
The sleeping season’s lust.”
“Carved from the stones of their delving home,
Hard of soul and short of bone,
The smithsons toil beneath the soil,
Their sorrows as dark as the mushroom loam.”
“No matter where the winds a-take me,
I hear the reaper at my back.
Wild ones and lawmen make me
Always wander off my track.”
“Oh, the luck of the working man.
For the gods pay back that which you give,
And every day of labor
Earns a day of sorrow.”
“The after-world was filled with ghosts,
Those like mist, and those with hosts.
As they had no fear of death,
They sought with fury others’ breath.”
By ocean, plains, and sea,
Feel the wind and know you’re free.
We’ll searching roam;
Be brave and follow me,
The reward is but the journey.”
“Army ever on the march,
And me, unwearied, at its head.
I’ve conquered all the lands we’ve passed.
I’ll see this new one painted red.”
“Silver towers reaching up to starlight’s distant glow
Trying always to escape from that which waits below.”
“From high plateau to river bends,
Past the monts to lowland fens,
Beyond them: storming valleys, then,
My journey’s yet to even begin.”
“Beyond the eastern hinterlands,
Where roving bands a-prowl along,
Lie treasures under grass and sands,
And highland strands echo with song.”
“True freedom was the knowledge
That none had the power to end me.
But such freedom was no invitation,
For I strived to be free of wrath as well.
But with so many souls still powerless,
It was my duty to ensure their freedom.”
“When the tides grow dark, and the waves crash to parapets,
When kraken-spawn and ravening beasts come forth,
It is time to hoist blades as the heroes of the sagas did,
They who would become the gods, mightiest of all!”
“Mighty one’s unmaking hand,
Found in water, found in sand,
Creeping in the orange rust,
Turning all things into dust.”
“High astride the mountains tall,
Where drifting clouds obscure the land.
Careful that you do not fall,
But in the light forever stand.”
“Gold, red, and orange
Leaves like the flickering bonfires,
That warm against the chill;
And all things dance and celebrate,
In regal, burning colors,
Against the fading light.”
“A rawking cry and flurry flap,
From treetops thick and high.
Secrets old and dark, they bring,
Up to the greying sky.”
“Gods cannot fight in our world.
So great is their power,
That the hardware of reality
Cannot process them.”
“In the winter air, still as it is,
All things become as crystal,
With noises ringing out
Like thunderclaps in the
Delicate white, threatening
To level the very mountains.”
“Freshwater fish by the falling mist,
Scales a-shimmer with sunlight’s kiss;
Silvery, pearl-like, with jet-black eyes,
Each an elusive, delicious prize.”
“Slain by cold, and icy steel,
Snow piling on their bodies;
In a land as harsh as this,
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
“The lowly eyes forever see
Banners waving in the breeze.
Lands are restless more and more,
With sons all marching off to war.”
“Beyond the farthest ranges, down
Where foggy marshes dreary lay,
Still marvels ancient can be found,
Where midges dance and goblins play.”
“Tomb of gods, where lies
Ancient power to rule
The earthly laws, and
Sear your very soul.”
“When my skin is damp with sweat and fog,
And my mouth is wasting dry,
There comes the time to move along
When light fades from the sky.
Where mild shelter may be found,
With crystal creeks and dryer ground.”
“The petals fall, red as the freshest blood,
While the sky is dark with midnight, moonless and infinite.
These promises of wisdom threaten you
With endless, unfathomable insights,
But such things would not frighten if true beauty wasn’t there
To contrast, like a candle in the gloom.”
“Two souls, swimming through the currents
Of time and space, forever.
Always seeking, never realizing
They are already one.”
“In far-distant years
When humans could be anything,
Things still became more familiar,
Even as they changed
In ways unimaginable.”
“Certainly, this land is best
Of all the others on my quest.
Rich with gold and wonderment,
Adventure buried under it.
Yet I’m sure I’ll find a better place
In my never-ending race!”
“’Yon winding, windy mountain miles,
Troll-land brims with treach’rous trials.
There vicious Vikings battle and boast,
To see which one is master of most.”
“Water roils and islands rise
Over giant lantern-eyes,
Arms as long as mighty whales,
Strength at which all sailors quail.
Kraken! Kraken! The hung’ring maw
That last they saw.”
“Wingéd angels, now refined
From roving Huns of older times.
Laurel wings and helms of gold,
Glory to the brave and bold!
Yet in their souls a shame they hold.”
“Damned by their ignorance
To the sins of their fathers,
Deathly men came back
To those deathly lands
That had given rise
To their stained progeny.”
“Fight not winter’s war
The land is harsh and fruitless
And the daylight brief.”
“Sweet fragrance of everything,
Warm yet cooling, faint yet pungent,
Like the colors that bloom
From the grey sky and stone,
Tasting faintly of tea,
Sweet and mild like flowers.”
“Creeping silver canopy
Of industry, claws sinking in
Past the crust to mantle fires,
And silver spires ascend the din.”
“I saw a beast with a thousand heads,
And beheld with dread its million arms,
But on closer look it was but a crowd,
A human shroud, bereft of charms,
Each member looking to be lead.”
“To live free and die as such,
Knowing your death was pure,
By the hand of nature
Or by the spell of true evil,
Lacking in the cruelty and lies
Of a death amongst the ‘noble’.”
“Lovely emerald, powder-dusted,
Gentle blood warmed by the sun.
Sweet companion, ever-trusted,
Riding ‘til the day is done.”
“Protector of the ruins,
Revival of the fallen,
By light of spark and soul-flame,
Hardened armor cold as void.”
“First they reached out, piece by piece,
But multitudes slipped through their grasp.
Taking what was simple first,
They built foundations meant to last,
Braced for the worst, ‘til they had peace.”
“Violent light and endless shadows
Cascading over the hellish miles,
But what else would I call home?”
“Late-time lights are neon-bright
Beneath the moon and starless night,
But the shadows of the concrete reef
Still hide the rebel and the thief.”
“Maybe – this life will be hard,
When I’m working, waiting, all alone.
But – maybe – you’ll come to me,
And together we can build a home.”
“Thunder rolls across the plains,
Bringing wind without the rains,
Lightning strikes a single tree,
A holocaust of burning pain.”
“The tide of bloodshed, never stopping;
But is it wrong? I ask myself,
Thinking of the achievement,
And those that have lived better
For the things I’ve done.”
“Iron creeping, hunger never stopping.
People bleeding, lenses always watching.”
“Ancient ruins standing tall and gleaming ever-bright,
Undamaged yet still vacant from the horrors of the night.”
“With dread in heart, I returned at last
To my father’s home, the memories passed
Of terrors great and filled with rage,
But I found only an empty stage.”
“With immortal eyes, I witnessed the cycle:
As wood sunk into the fetid depths
More was built on top, trying to survive,
Built from the timber grown
From the very marshes that consumed.”
“A poem for my city bright,
Ascending, sprawling, gleaming white,
Built by fortunes our chieftains won,
Preserved eternal ‘neath the sun,
A prosp’rous beacon ‘pon the heights!”
“Mighty warrior hoisted spear
And lover’s heartfelt token.
Royals mocked him, peasants cheered,
Terrific doom was woken.
Ended there on foreign soil,
Left bowed and bent and broken;
Lover’s tears ran black as oil.”
“Come to me, oh wayward soul,
Your life devoid of sunshine and of mirth.
Draw nigh, you who’s paid the toll,
And rest beneath the soil of the earth.”
“Warriors scream in battle to the heavens,
Invoking the blood of their fathers
As they hoist with wrath ancestral blades,
Heeding not to the lessons learned
From the true source of their life,
As they hurtle towards their deaths.”
“Have you walked amongst the highland ruins
And heard the banshees wail?
Or seen a dragon, bright like jewels,
Fly ‘cross the ocean pale?
To wander groves in deeplands
In the emerald lands of Gael,
Hear reveries that thunder through the trees.”
“‘Til the levee breaks,
Draining salt from lakes,
And the fierce winds blow from the east;
I’ll still be standing ready to face them—
All my fears, those big shaggy beasts.”
“Standing together as an unyielding wall,
Or surging forward like beams of light,
No suffering can deter us from action,
No darkness will choke out our hopes.”
“Shrouded in mist, off which reflects
The moon’s gentle kiss, in silver bedecked,
In the shadows like a sub rosa tryst.”
“I’m sitting in a trance. I just want a chance.
My time to fly, if they’d just let me try.
Back home there’s no good to be found,
While I’m stuck wasting on this dusty ground.
I want a life worth writing down in memoirs,
Of my adventures had out past the stars.
The only escape from my endless guilt trip
Is to hitch a ride on that fantastic spaceship.”
“Such flights of joy are taken on
When riding high on sparrow’s song.”
“People call ever for vengeance,
Demanding blood be paid with blood.
Yet it was never the enemy
That claimed the blood of their kin,
But the thirsting dust of the earth,
Which will also claim the repayment.”
“Wand’ring in lands where the grass is dry,
And nary a cloud strays cross the sky.
Where the flora and fauna tower above
The riverbanks, wading in cooling mud.
As I marvel and meander on by.”
“A curious thing, that, the untamed frontier:
Where even the mighty learn something of fear.
For little can stand against the unknown,
And who know what shadows might call that place home?”
“Wings clipped, a god came crashing down
From the heavens, fire trailing in its wake,
To smite the landscape like myths of old.”
“Iron gods are we;
Like a great millstone,
Or a hammering forge:
Crushing the world
Into useful form.”
“How I long for my home, my humble abode,
Down cobbled road at the thawing of snows.
How I would love to see those emerald trees,
Humming with bees all gilding the eves.”
“Golden crown upon fair country wide,
Like the crown on the head of its king.
Sunshine and praises rain from on high,
Whence seraphs and cherubim sing.”
“Flesh wrought in forges
Like its cladding steel,
Mind sharpened on whetstones
Of light one can feel.”
“Sleep now, warrior, your life a-fades,
Soul now pure, you’ve made amends,
Rest earned standing ‘gainst the dark,
Hope you do not rise again.”
“Even when the paths of life turn down the darkest way,
All one needs to save their soul is to make it through the day”
“A red day all around,
Dawning sky and bloody ground.
Hearts a-pounding, passions high,
Liberated voices cry.”
“Turquoise, cyan, sapphire,
Rust, and gold, and tangerine.
Horizon shimmers with sun fire,
But in the distance: specks of green.”
“Radar pings sounding in time,
Like echoes off canyon walls,
As the light of the sun fades,
And gives way to screen-blue,
Alone in the desert night.”
“Beauteous time, when the sacrifices
Of untold generations—such things endured—
Could let the dreams of ages
Come to life in the here and now.”
“Mountain crafted by ancient gods,
And valleys carved by war.
The signs are present far and broad,
Steel peaks to storming shores.”
“Old gods carved in rock and stone,
In lands far from my pious home.
Gods of nature, gods of war,
Gods the faithful should abhor.
Yet darker things are yet unfound,
And secrets everywhere abound.”
“I looked at the marble ruins,
Still gleaming and white
Beneath the patina of time.
How much history contained
Within those old columns?
And how much more history
Had they inspired?”
“Brown like soil but stout as stone,
Forests and caves where it makes its home.
Claws like axes, eyes like glass,
To slay a hunter, or catch a bass!”
“Never have I done any wrong,
Save by your laws, of course.
But I have not harmed a soul!
So what good are they, then?
All of your laws and titles?”
“The raiders always say
‘Comforts are for the weak.’
Yet why’s there still good money
In food and drink and bed?
I will have to ask them
Next I’m gunning them down.”
“Last sight of grasses,
Where rain still falls
‘Fore the land is dry
Under ice and night,
In the grim north,
Where naught lies.”
“The wild beast untamed,
Laid low by others’ destiny,
Like the lands it once roamed.”
“Green place, peaceful place,
Yet still gives birth to a fearsome race.
With no misfortunes to distract,
Their minds are turned to bloody acts.”
“Weapons made of stone and bone,
Each horizon a new world.
Making do with what we have,
Into this this life we’re hurled.”
“What spirits lay in the open sea
That call to the mind like sirens?
The children of flesh freeze,
And the metal ones rust
At the embrace of the waves,
Yet still we are captivated.”
“Most subtle of evils,
Founded, as they are, in truth.
Not wholly of darkness,
Despite all appearances.
No, their evil is a sad one,
Born of so many dreams
Left to rot and die.”
“Better to die in the wind and rain,
Than feel as though my soul’s been drained
By the iron clasps of tyranny.
Best to die than be not free.”
“Magic’s born of sympathy,
Compassionate or painfully,
Like the song and fury of the sea
Reflect what depths are found in me.”
“Trust not ponds, trust only streams;
Water clear, not brown and green.
Like ocean depths beyond the reefs,
Thou dost not know what lurks beneath.”
“And as that first voice clashed against the others
And brought discordance to the world,
First to form was the disparity of Ice,
And the equal bite of its twin: Fire;
But ‘twas also evil’s first failing,
To birth such unexpected beauty.”
“Praise, praise the Emperor be:
He who delivers artistry,
And spoils rich, and learning too!
Such knowledge, if you only knew!”
“Where flora’s fauna, and beasts like trees,
Mighty, tall, with horns like eaves,
Lumb’ring silent, drink of streams.
A verdant land with soil of dreams.”
“Orange from white,
Fire at night,
Under the starlight.”
“Gentle, mild country wide,
Blooms ‘pon green ‘neath robin’s sky.
Mountains white and distant high,
Icy, azure streams they cry.”
“Creeping streams bubble hot, vegetal steam
Into the foggy sky, punctured by green-covered mesas.
A strange wilderness, hostile ad wild.”
“Darkness I see growing
I’m watching you, my friend.
As quick as you’re going,
I’ll find you again.
Though I do not pretend
It won’t be my end.”
“Technology’s a sibling, neither father nor a son,
For we’re dependent on each other, and there’s no end to be won.”
“Roving out on darkest edge
Of the firmament, holding back
The terrors of the night of nights,
Progeny of ancient ones watch,
For the sake of those
Who’ve forgotten them.”
“What makes a home? I wouldn’t know.
A place to shield from wind or snow?
A place to eat, a place to rest?
Perhaps defining’s not the best,
Such names from long ago.”
“On the wings of the wind,
Fire burning within,
And storms in the skies high above;
In cacophonous fashion,
With that furious passion
I find in the land that I love.”
“I won’t say war’s not an awesome thing,
There’s beauty within what destruction brings,
But war without purpose? Tears would be shed,
For I just wish to know the reason I bled.”
“Battles raged in elder days,
When demons worked their darkened ways.
Yet heroes stood opposed to night,
That doom ‘gainst which they had to fight,
For the light’s still gleaming rays.”
“Life is hard, and often short,
But I count my fortune nonetheless,
For I see the sun rise every day,
Chasing wolves and dark away,
And my heart can still find rest.”
“Nature’s fury and vengeance,
Slow but indomitable,
Like a true colossus.”
“Darkened burg under the moon,
Whose fading light’s the only boon
In time when dismal shadows creep
From mire low to chapel steep,
And peace comes no time soon.”
“Beauty’s born and beauty dies;
You see it more with age’s eyes.
Winter falls, springtime blooms,
I see the beauty past the gloom.”
“Northern lands, past mortal time,
Where heathens breed with elvenkind,
Where magic swirls upon the winds,
Where nature grows yet unrefined.”
“Salt-scoured and clean,
Lit by turquoise reflections,
Nesting gulls flock ‘round.”
“Reach out with your mind.
Just your soul, ego left behind.
Feel crystal pure static light,
And shadow darker than night.
There’s so much more.”
“A galaxy of hardship,
Yet a life that’s led in ease.
My tribulations chosen,
For I am truly free.”
“Here we are, upon the prow,
Like angels drifting ‘pon the stars;
And yet somehow, our home seems closer
Than ever it has before.”
“No name, for I’m a stranger.
Strange they call me, strange I am.
Life always just in danger,
Like a cracking leaking dam.
But no matter what new place I go
A little love I’ll always sow.”
“The ruin-lands I name my home,
Where flowers grow on tsars of old,
Where iron boots do beat the earth
Against the farmer’s tilling work.
I bear the vengeance of the dead,
Whose pleas are fresh within my head.”
“Shields and lazers skyward face,
To hold the tides of sky and space;
But on the land, old methods hold,
A mont and bridge, all things be told.”
“Green and blue, those subtle hues,
That creep across the stone.
They wait for ruin, yes, they do;
To claim again their home.”
“Once upon this coastline,
Great warriors kept the view
Of all the ships that came and went,
Now their spirits watch here too,
Though no ships sail in this time.”
“Lakeshore laps at lilting lilies,
Rising from rugged shores, ‘neath the ruins.
How peaceful and pleasant now, this place,
Where once Wodin himself waged war.”
“Hear the whispers on the wind, the secrets they carry
From the gods above, sweeping down to ravines,
Into caves where they sell their rumors to the dark.”
“Sleet falls across jagged stone,
Reminds me of Earth, and my northern home.
But I cannot detect the scent of rain,
Nitrogen-shielded by plexiglass pane.”
“Once, the land of leveled by fury,
Blind rage and force unbounded,
But all things must tire and fall.”
“Twilight people, by setting sun.
The children of the forest gone.
Gone like summer, slipped of life’s hold,
Finery dulled and tarnished old.”
“Waves lap the ashen shores,
Hungry, waiting, dark and deep.
Firelight fades and the gulls are gone,
Each ember sputtering, dying,
As they sink to the deep sea.”
“May I court thee, Death?
For my heart flutters at your thought
As much as any distant love.
Might I sleep with you a while,
Like the world does in autumn?
So that your winter brings me peace,
And I might someday know spring.”
“Hunter in a dying world,
Where so little life remains.
Steal what motes of blood you can,
Before your own is drained.”
“My home, my country, ever fair,
Despite the battles old.
From soil soaked with knightly blood
Rise towers shining gold.”
“Snow covers the highland passes,
Falling from clouds low enough
To mingle together in the white.”
“Angel that breaches the firmament,
Whose name is written of words
No scroll or tablet may hold,
Just as mortal eyes and minds
May not perceive its bright form.”
“Gods gift gold for worthy blood.
Riches rising from trials and toil
By battles bold or journeys broad.”
“Hornéd king without a home,
People’s blood shed long ago.
The pale-fleshed ones forgot to fear,
Abasing that they once held dear,
Forgetting faeries old and cruel
Are found in New World forests too.”
“Light cares not whence it falls.
It graces only that which dares
To rise above and stand before it.”
“Faces blown by the wet and cold,
Chilling pilgrims down to the soul.
Hoods turned up and eyes cast low,
Yet trudging on where they must go.”
“Dark is wood where the old trees grow,
Canopy dense as the fresh-fallen snow,
Paths winding on to
“Flesh and iron, earth and soul,
Push and pull me ‘ere I go.
Nightly falling to deathly dreams
Until the dawning sun is seen.”
“Walk across the line
For a chance to stand in the sunshine.
Day after day,
It’s easy to get lost in the haze.
Both sides aren’t so different, and yet
What matters is you took the first step.”
“Time, that ever-flowing river.
Stop for a moment to think
How ancient you already are.”
“A fort to weather any storm,
But when that storm is through,
Thou assailants quail and tremble,
For the fort brings storm to you!”
“Fortune’s faded like traveler’s rags,
Like the blue of the winter sky.
My bones grow weary and start to drag,
As I try and try and try.”
“White ribbon, red flag
In the heady country breeze.
Though fires rage, my heart remains
In a place beneath the trees.”
“Sorrow hangs on those exiled souls.
Aeons gone by, and still such evils
Lie like plagues on the living world.
Yet they bear the scorn upon them,
For it lets them know they can feel;
Their souls are real enough to hurt.”
“Tarnish, rust, rot, decay,
Washing what was pure away;
But still souls are drawn from near and far,
Here to admire ancient scars.”
“The old winter comes, with icy grip
Like the bony claws of the dead,
Even as it’s dressed in the silver-white
Of the fairest bride to ever live.
A fey time, moonlit and terrific,
Here in the never-ending north.”
“A haggard ranger without a home,
Wand’ring wide o’er grass and stone;
But faith unshaken, head unbowed,
One day at last he’ll don his crown.”
“No respite for the living now.
Chased and tormented by ghosts
Into the arms of older specters.
Deadlands, where nothing’s quiet
While there’s no peace in my soul.”
“Creeping, sneaking, treasure seeking;
Into each hall tentatively peeking.
No telling what could be abiding,
What secrets deep that they are hiding.”
“Elder wilds are now tamed,
The beasts tilling the land
They once spilt blood on.”
“What purpose lies within my words,
When days slip by like autumn leaves?
And many things are left unheard,
And many sights are left unseen.
Might feelings yet be stirred?”
“Beneath the rain and blackened stone on planets far and dim
Slumber things best left unwoke, for minds and hist’ries grim.”
“What am I, but a cloth in the breeze?
Fragile thing to be blown to the winds.
So at the very least let my true colors
Stand proud against the empty skies.”
“Take me back, with dying steps,
To that home I once built in faith,
Before time took my strength,
And knowledge, my soul.”
“What things live there I’ll never know;
Beneath the miles of diamond ice;
In a land that’s always scores below.”
“Winter heights, white and grey,
Day and night the snowfall stays,
Trees fallen into deep malaise,
Snowdrifts track my wand’ring ways.”
“Green places where the air is slow and wet,
Like the rivers that seep between ancient roots and moss-stones,
And silent footsteps fall under the leaves.”
“Long were my years in limbo,
Tried as I might to free myself
Into that final embrace;
But my soul wandered adrift,
Forced in beauty and toil
To grow and bear witness.”
“Deep, deep beneath the soil and stone,
Where all turns to echoing black,
Like an eternal night, starless, moonless,
Where even gods might slumber.”
“I saw the breadth of the cosmos,
The infinity of light and matter,
But I did not lose myself to the void,
Like a candle in the blowing wind,
But found at last immortality.
My soul between the atoms.”
“I say I’ve become color-blind.
And not for spending my days
Awash with brown and grey.
But when banners of blue
Are raised on the parapets,
I can’t tell the difference
From the red ones before.”
“Crystal beauty, cold and still,
But saps the lifeblood, saps the will.
Mirrored walls of ocean cave,
See within my waiting grave.”
“In some ways, I welcome the little imperfections.
The pains that let me know I’m still alive,
That give me perspective and tell me
That the world has not changed,
And hope remains.”
“Sword that stabs the sky,
Pin that holds the land,
Memorial reaching high,
Like finger of god’s hand.”
“Time of reclamation!
Seraphim descend in fire!
Titans walk the earth!
As the Lord bids it so.”
“What does it mean, this cursed mark,
That I’ve born for all my memory?
For it seems of such importance,
Ever-present and glaring like an eye,
Yet nothing can I discern.”
“At last I have my grandfather’s hands,
For all my years of trying.
Wrinkles like paper of tomes I’ve read,
Weathered by work, noble or foul,
These hands that built my life,
As my grandfather did before.”
“Now this is a relic I would never give up.
Centuries old, you can see in the stone.
I come here for tea, for supper, for fun,
Like my ancestors did, so long ago.”
“I feel the currents
Of spirituous winds,
Carrying the dreams,
Projections of souls,
Fish in the ocean.”
“Sticks and stones replaced in time
By weapons fueled by lazer shine,
But one power reigns, however old:
The might of spirits brave and bold!”
“Eyelights passing in twilight,
Like specks of luminescence
In the ocean of sour grey.”
“Silent, but only in the sense of cold damp.
No crackle of fire, no creak of wood, no life
Save for the bubble of murky waters,
And the calls of birds through the mist,
In the dew-soaked morning melancholy.”
“Strength born of long peace,
Free to grow unbounded,
Unravaged by war’s fires.”
“Lost within the far wastes of my own mind,
Without a ship, without a map, or a star.
Fated to sink into blackness, my bones
Blending, bleached, into the barren salts.”
“Well death’s a part of life,
But perhaps there’s more in mine.
I walk along the edge of a knife,
And I risk losing my mind.”
“Golden domes over golden sands.
A land where gold flows like rivers
On the backs of golden camels
Under the golden evening sky.”
“A space between horizons,
At the center, the borderlands.
Such liminality in mundanity,
Moving in the transfer.
Neither here nor there.”
“Desert crow, where do you fly,
Upon the heights of winter sky?
From whence you’ve come there is no green.
Are you wand’ring lost along with me?”
“Winter sun cuts through the gloom,
Laying across the fields of white,
As their ghostly surface springs to life
With shimmering crystal hues,
And the spell of death is lifted
For but an hour in this long season.”
“Rarest baubles tucked away
Deep in the maze of market stalls.
Go and heed the merchants’ call,
Let yourself be led astray.”
“Clean, pristine, and gleaming.
Silver, white, and crystal glass.
Illuminated, body, mind.
Progressing to a gentle hum.”
“What draws humanity to such hellish worlds?
Whether by ice, or storms, or whipping sands,
No pain may halt the advance, the victory.”
“Climbing high on fortune’s wheel,
Bound in steel, fueled by will.
Conquest borne on arcane light,
Bring the fight and crest the hill.”
“The sunlight reflected off the endless dunes,
Scattering dull heat up to the void above.
All sensors became muddied, and so
Old methods were returned to,
As the rebels squatted in hidden ravines,
And jackboots stalked the sands.”
“I look at the moss and grass, so fresh and verdant.
It has taken the ravages of the years with more grace
Than those abandoned things of stone and metal.”
“I am the bulwark of humanity.
The shining mont of gold,
Standing fast amidst legions.
The palm of His fist.
Bane of the darkness.”
“Golden hour breaking through
The silver left at dawning’s rise.
Frozen, shimm’ring flecks of dew;
And not a cloud in pastel skies.”
“How mundane these marvels,
That must take so much
To work their wonders.
I might take flight
On wings black as my cares,
And leave it all behind.”
“The creatures of paradise looked through the crystal pond
And saw the crucible of souls, churning, waiting.
The question being what form the souls would take
When they left their hell behind.”
“How ya been? Where ya been?
Same old story o’er again.
No matter place, no matter time,
Hist’ry always seems to rhyme.”
“I gothic soul, I know it well:
The fluting on your armor tells,
Like the fluting in your graceful voice.
Your calling is a noble choice.
Hair dark with blood from Ostrogoths,
Eyes grey as storming ocean froth.
I see your beauty, darkness through.
Would you get to know me too?”
“I see a burning angel above the gloom
Of the fog-laden wetlands, eastward,
Flames of searing wrath, like a forge,
Seeking to stir the cold, pale faces
Of those resting beneath the still waters.”
“Silence on the watch tower,
No one keeping view,
No sound of footsteps come or go,
None left but lonely you.”
“Wild woman, I hear your creatures call,
As I lay lonely in this war-torn wood,
Awaiting your enlightened embrace
To depart my soul, send me to darkness,
And awaken anewed in the far forests
Of free and faerie-lit Folkvangr.”
“Too late, too late, you autumn soul,
Winter has come at last.
You’ve lost your strength, you’ve gotten old,
Your fleeting time has passed.”
“Ah, the fertile springs of the deepest woods,
Carrying drink from spring and mountain,
Wetting roots and nourishing creatures
Stirring in the black earth beneath the brush.
Dig deep, ancient children of the green,
And raise your arms high to sunny canopies.”
“Snowfall on the rooftops,
Hoofbeats past the door.
Crackling from the fire,
Pages on the floor.”
“Follow me, oh curious stranger,
Past the olive groves and market stalls,
To where the sun falls only at noon,
And the spices stand high in pyramids,
Fresher than any fare you’ve known,
If you have but the time and the gold.”
“Cold, unyielding, ice and steel,
From axes old to cogs and wheels,
Spark electric, wrathful storm,
Yet at home the hearth is warm.”
“I do not know if I am pure,
A soul redeemable, I cannot say;
But I’ll live with honor sure,
And serve day by day,
‘Til death be my cure.”
“Heirs to the blackened seal,
By wolf’s howl are we guided.
Raven-helmed and crimson cloaked,
Purging kingdoms darkness-choked,
Noble blade and bestial claw,
In our wake, the carrion caw.
Bring the fire, serve the light.
Even death shan’t halt our fight.”
“Little ant, so far from home,
Without your hive around you,
Stay away from giants’ tomb
To keep your wits about you.”
“Abandoned temple, another monument lost to time,
Now ringing silent, manufacturing only rust and shade.”
“Twice can I say of a certain time
When the Auspicious One descended
To wreak his work in mortal form.
Twice emerging from the far plains,
And riding the red horse of war.”
“Moving in the twilight midden,
Where the sun shines
Only as bright as the neon,
And the horizon is a silver line
Between black abyss
And shining spire.”
“Tiny things are we,
But blessed be our eyes,
Far-seeing and wide,
So we might behold
The wide world around.”
“Monolith rising on the horizon,
Beyond the reaches of the dark forests,
About which great storms gather
Of raven-cry and battle-horns,
Sounding glory, dread, and doom.”
“The skies wavered and sprung into new life
As the earth withered into decay and death.
Everything looked straight out of a dream,
Or more apt: a hazy and surreal nightmare.”
Great thanks to every artist who inspired me, and every one to come.