Friday, February 28, 2014

The start of my epic poem

       I began this during lunch one day and believe it to be the start of an epic. Now, it may well be that I’ll never go on with it, but even having started it entitles me, at random moments, to lean against a handy wall or passerby and casually polish my nails against my shirt, as befits a man who has started an epic. If I finish it, or course, I’ll be entitled to wander about wearing a mustketeer’s hat – broad and slightly floppy, with a feather – or an admiral’s dress uniform, or both.

I went to see the damned but they
Were gone; it was a holiday.

When the fires are banked the high halls are cold
At the gate a demon all wrapped in blankets
Had waved me through. “No one’s around,” he said
“Make yourself to home.” There is no light in Hell
But the darkness visible has a lilac cast.
My shadow was on edge and kept muttering
That it had told me this was a mistake.
There had been trouble between us years ago
And only by the narrowest of margins
Was it decided which of us would be shadow.
He was smarter; I was stronger; we got along
For the most part.

                             After a while we heard voices:
A few of the old dead, arguing to keep warm.
“I was, I tell you, a woman whose great beauty
Was reason enough for tall cities to burn.”
“No; that was Helen, not you. You’re Isolde,
Don’t you recall? And not the one Tristan loved;
The other Isolde, with the white hands.”
“You’re sure of this?” “No. But we’re speaking Breton.”

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