VxPoem ID: 27032
Posted: February 20th. 2007 10:00:19 AM
through the woods to Kempercree
Age Group: Adult
Was a fortnights ride at breakneck
from Steadshire on the Rhye.
Past McConnel's frozen spires,
and Hardenlocke's gentle hearth of fires,
past a sea of funeral pyres
into that barren land I ride.
Through the frosted withered heathers
to the blackness in the white
where the sunlight was a captive
of those twisted limbs,
Whitethorn, OakAsh and Yew,
holding hands above the world of white
an everliving underbelly
where the bogs are just a frozen slush
that gurgle slightly at the touch
and would devour you still.
Halfort's hooves were ever steady
on that ice'd bitter land
the world was an open maw
with ice'd teeth awaiting thaw,
that would with glee consume us all
in the ever sleep of snow.
I had my orders and decree
folded in my woolen coat
I was to make great haste for Kimpercree
stopping not for food or rest
stopping not for sleep or death,
stopping not until I read the parchment from our kings,
the proclamation of our peace.
The days were long and my eyes were burning
all there was to see was white,
every now and then a hart or hare
would scamper past and I would know I still had sight.
The nights were a starless coffin,
the moon as warm as freezing streams.
The time it passed a waking nightmare
of horse and man in frosted dreams.
I came upon it unexpected,
I came upon them unnanounced,
I braced myself for steel and arrow,
but was met not with a shout,
not a challenge, not a hail,
not a quiet huff of breath,
just me and Halfort in the snow
surrounded by that frozen death.
I could say I kept composed,
I could say I lost my wits,
both were true that blustry morning,
a sane man unstruggling in madness' depths.
There they lay,
both the armies,
in the struggle of the war,
there they stand
frozen lifeless statue hordes.
Here a sword is sunk in deeply,
another has an arrow strung,
the gound a river frozen pinkly,
the ground a river of frozen blood.
I walk out, still undaunted
wading deep in Hel's red snow,
I clear my throat and I announce
"There is peace!"
I scream to silence,
"sheath your swords and lower bows
there is peace!"
I scream to sleepers
"follow me, we're coming home."
Wading through the frozen warriors,
picking amongst the ice'd throng,
There lies my father's brother's son,
first and lastly born.
My cousin fair Fennuis,
his red hair whitened in the snow,
his face a mass of bone and gore.
Without a tear, just a sigh,
I brush the whiteness from his beard
and reach my arms under his
pulling him from frozen death
to bring him to his father's fire,
for a warrior's fitting pyre.
I hear the crack while pulling taunt,
a rip and a snap and then a pop.
Fennuis just as fair in death's sweet sleep
even fairer it would seem,
I pull the spear from his thigh,
and the sword from his side.
I leave one leg still frozen in the snow,
and lay him astride strong Halfort,
With heartless hail I began that long ride home.
The snow around began to fall,
began to swirl and twirl and sting,
the snow began to blow and hurl
as though it were a living thing,
with the fury of the grave.
I coaxed brave Halfort 'onward still'
and onward through that angry squall
I rode a blind man through the white
on a steed devoid of sight
while the mad winds howled and raved.
We rode wild throughout the night,
and wilder still that next day,
we rode on through black and white
until the storm with all it's rage
began to slow our breakneck pace.
Halfort blew and then I saw,
the foam was coarse and thicked in red,
and there the mighty horse did fall,
and drop his strong unerring head.
I felt the cough rise up in me
and saw the pink upon the white,
and the black from somewhere deep,
I closed my eyes...
How long our rest I do not know,
but no sooner closed,
than upon a stronger leg I felt my Halfort as he rose.
We rode and rode and ride today,
through the white and on the grey,
through the black and past the bogs,
you will see us in the fogs.
You will hear us in the snow,
onward always now we go.
With dear Fennuis strapped aside
his warriors pyre sweet death defide.
but ever onward we will ride.
When the snow is thick and heavy
and with the banshee winds scream
we are always ever riding
through the woods
(Copywrite 2007 WLL)
Author's Notes: A dream I had, never heard of any of these places, not sure where I was or when I was, but it certainly left an impression...I woke up saying "Halfort!"...
Author's Location: Branchland, West Virginia
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