THE CRAFT OF FOREIGN FEATHERSTONES

THE CRAFT OF FOREIGN FEATHERSTONES

I thought that I had injured
That with which I thought
Only then to understand
The fault that I had wrought,

My imagination
Turning as it slept
Found itself abandoned
While to other lands I crept,

The hills of high philosophy
The mountains of the moon
The blood of war, the boatman’s fee
(That endless shore, an anchored leevariant line)
Upon these I was hewn,

The craft of foreign featherstones
A science, or an art?
What matter to that one dethroned
Whose will will soon depart?

Clever in the market stalls
Cunning in the wares
What happens when intent appalled
Is taken unawares?

Creation is a fakir’s cheat
The muses whores of fate
Yet man is just an instrument
Come often, or come late,

If he would be a better thing
He must to something else
Bend himself in constant chase
And sometimes so with stealth,

For he commands that lofty globe
Granted him by God,
Yet even so, he must still show
He knows of the façade,

For art is nothing but the world
Dressed up as if were true,
Therefore man has no real art
Without what he first grew,

Within his mind, upon his heart
He wrote, he sketched, he drew
Then he found that thing profound
When nothing yet is due

Thus (and therefore),

Art can nothing to this world
It did not first possess,
Yet turning so with twisted charms
Man does acquiesce

That in himself creation roams
Seeking whom (and what) to eat, but
First that man must eat this world
For him to be complete…

__________________________________________

Usually I post my verse on Mondays. For First Verse.

But I have been very busy lately and have had scant time for composition. Today though a friend of mine mentioned something about “creation” and since he is an artist I went ahead and wrote a poem I’ve been meaning to write awhile on the subject of art and creation anyway.

I have my own definition for the term “featherstone” in relation to creation and art. Or indeed in relation to anything at all.

I use it in this way: it refers to a magical or mythological Xoanon (that falls from the heavens and is taken as a god or carven into an idol and worshiped), to a thing that cannot in reality exist (because it is entirely self-contradictory), to polish away all of the weight of a thing and leave behind only the most opposite (and usually useless) thing, and even to Potmos, and the Residuum.

By foreign featherstone I mean that featherstone not native to one’s self, or that featherstone one must seek out elsewhere or that lures one elsewhere.

Advertisements

SHE SWEPT THE LAKE: UP WILL COME

The other night a buddy of mine posted this image to my Facebook page wondering if it would interest me. It did. And so I wrote the following poem to accompany it.

Avantgardens. Willow effigy by Olga Ziemska.

SHE SWEPT THE LAKE

(Up Will Come)

She swept the lake
A conjured doom
She rose in haste
From threaded looms
The twisted vines
Across the stones
Did thrash and twine
As if alone
She wailed her torment –

In effigy

Sprang from the Earth
Yet not redeemed

An omen of an ancient kind
A living curse, a knotted sign

Evoked in vengeance
Shaped by awe
Of blood resent
And rootless gnawed

Some witch has woven
Of her spite
A kindred soul
To seek delight

To haunt and drive
With fearsome rage
Another down
Into her age

For up will come
That from our souls
In weaving wrong
Is all foretold

And birthing it will
Monsters mold
Of longing hot
And hatreds cold…

THE SUNSET HALL

THE SUNSET HALL

There is a sunset hall
Far away from here
I’ve seen it dim and small
But in my heart it’s near

It’s empty when I look
No matter, day or night
By everyone forsook
A wasted, ruined sight

Yet in my soul it burns
Dark with bitter tears
For in my mind it churns
Fires still that sear
I wish the light would fade
From all I have seen there
It is an open grave
Ling’ring in the air
It will not go away
That sunset never ends
The stones will not decay
And I cannot defend

Myself from it…

The empty song of it…

The coming night of it…

The wasted flight from it…

If one day you find
Me sitting by the sea
Drowned, but still I’m dry
Despite all you see

Know an empty hall
Sunset, far away
Has found me after all
Or did I go to stay?

Seek it…

Did I go seek it?

The ruined site of it…

 

Because…

There is a sunset hall
Far away from here
Sometimes it will call
From where is never clear
But when I close my eyes
I find my heart within
No matter how I lie
I live there in myself

With it

The sunset never ends…

Within

Yes, the sunset never ends

Within…

OR IS IT?

OR IS IT?

All men are equal
Yet very few are
Some pause at nowhere
And others go far
You’re taught all your ideals
To find few who keep
Them as you’re told to
Awake, or asleep,
The Child is the Father
Or so it is said,
Yet even in childhood 
Indifference is bred
A quorum of billions
A lone, single soul
A balance of equals
Or a thing to enroll?
(Or is it – inrole?)
All men are equal
Perhaps this is true
But not in the living
And not as they do;
Some men are driven
By doom, and by fate,
Some will learn early
Some will learn late
Some never catch on
Pity them, yes?
Some will gain nothing
Not knowing it yet,
Some will have treasures
Envy them, no?
Advantage breeds profit
(Or is it – plunder?)
Or didn’t you know?
Some will find searching
Some never do,
Which is the better?
I leave that to you
Some will have false peace
Some will have war
Though no fault of their nature
She’s adored, he’s abhorred;
 Some will thrive greatly
Some will fall hard
Is it luck or Good Fortune?
Or the skill of the Bard?
You want I should tell you?
Hell, I’ve never known
Yet even unwitting
I still play along
For the Chance or the Purpose
That I may be one
Such men as are disposed
To know what they’ve won
For all men are equal
Admit it or not
For no one is certain
If paid, or if bought,
Cause all men are equal
Even when not
For man is a mortal
(Or is it – a man is immortal?
Either way, eh)
What a Gordian Knot…
 

MY WIFE’S BODY

My wife arrived home from a trip to the beach on July the First. The next morning we had get home sex. She went to sleep afterwards but I got up and wrote the following poem.

I like the poem a lot but I am having difficulty naming it. I like these potential names/titles: Rich Everafter, Those Treasures Within, The Labors of Love, The Harvest of Human Labors, or Sweat of Our Love. 

If you have a preference among those or would like to make your own suggestion then feel free to do so. I look forward to reading your ideas.

Here is the poem. Let me know what you think, and what you would call it.

My wife’s body is naked and soft like broken ground
My wife’s body smells rich like fertile soil
My wife’s body is dark and moist like morning loam the restless Meander has watered at sunrise

I think that I shall plow her deeply again when she wakes and see what treasures within us both lie hid

Like the open fields of tended Pharos or the silty banks of the flooded Nile we shall suddenly sprout silver and salt and bare fecund Earth overflowing with milk and honey and blood dark wine and rampant wild oats and thus shall we feed ourselves a lifetime on the harvest of our human labors and the sweat of our love

My wife’s body is naked

My body is naked

Now shall we again labor in earnest, produce in abundance, and be rich everafter…

ON POETRY – TUESDAY’S TALE

Well, it ain’t really a Tale for Tuesday, but it is a tale about how you should tell what you can’t really tell when you try. Not in words, anyway…

ON POETRY

Poetry involves the minute manipulation of words in such a way that they are constantly and subtly altered in definition, either so that they take on a broader and more flexible implication than they have ever possessed before, or so that they take on a more narrow and peculiar resolution in terminology than they have ever before possessed.

Do this wisely and well and with patient and practiced craft and you will be considered a master of phrasing and sound, perhaps even possessed of real poetic genius. Do this sloppily or shoddily and in haste and without regard for the demands of true meaning in language and you will be considered a mere dilettante or perhaps even a hapless hack.

from my book, On Poetry

 

HARD THE HAMMERSMITH – FIRST VERSE

HARD THE HAMMERSMITH

I conceived of the idea for this poem about a week and a half ago but was unable to work on it due to other business and work demands. On Sunday night (the 26th of June) about an hour before the Game of Thrones finale I began work on it. It shall be a long, narrative poem with what I hope is an unanticipated and unusual conclusion, and a twisting storyline. At this point of course it is in its infancy and is far from complete.

Aside from being a long narrative poem I am also thinking very seriously of turning it into a Graphic Novel which will also serve as a de-facto manual on ancient Mnemonic Techniques. I am already sketching out possible illustrations or old woodcut designs for the Work.

Hope you enjoy it thus far.

 

HARD THE HAMMERSMITH

Hard the Hammersmith worked all day
Hard the Hammersmith would not say
What his toiling would produce
Or why he labored so profuse

Hard the Hammersmith worked all night
Hard the Hammersmith knew delight
For his hammers truly rang
Fire, metal, sturm und drang

Hard the Hammersmith took no rest
Hard the Hammersmith did his best
For he always set his task
Above whatever weakness asks

Hard the Hammersmith took no bread
Hard the Hammersmith shunned his bed
For the Work to which he bent
He would master, or be spent

Hard the Hammersmith took no drink
Hard the Hammersmith did not think
Yet on he drove himself to act
With anguish was his body wracked…

EMPTY

I was working on a short story when I happened across the Daily Post whose prompt-subject matter was Empty. Now I’ve had a lot of personal experience with Empty over the course of my life, both the good kind, and the bad kind. So I thought I’d make a post about that and turned out this poem at lunch. Hope you enjoy it.

Have a good day folks.

 

EMPTY

I once was empty, full of naught
By calculation, mind and thought

I once was empty, hollowed out
Melancholy, heart in doubt

I once was empty, fearless, cold
My fury made me endless bold

I once was empty, cast alone
It sharpened me so I was honed

I once was empty, bleak despair
My atmosphere a poisoned air

I once was empty, of myself
That was joy I could regale

I once was empty, God was gone
Why had He left me all alone?

I know of empty, made and true
I know of empty, me and you
I know of empty, blessed, good
I know of empty, as I should

For Empty is a Friend of mine
That gives me all, and then sometimes
Relieves me of all I have known
So I am ever forced to roam

In search of what is not…

So empty anymore.

THE WEIGHT OF THE WOMAN – FIRST VERSE

THE WEIGHT OF THE WOMAN

The weight of the woman
That the man waits to love
Bears on him deeply, and
Bares from above

The wait for that woman
Is a hard weight to bear
As long as he loves her
As long as he dares

He’ll carry within him
The state of her grace
The memories find him
The shape of her face

The scent of her clean flesh
The heat of her breasts
The curve of her mouth
As her lips on him rest

The twist of her hair
Her eyes looking up
He looking down
On her beauty to sup

Her breath soft and catching
Her smile as she takes
Her arms to enwrap him
In rapture to make

She stoops now to conquer
He rises to serve
The wait for the woman
Is what he observes

Yet the weight of that woman
Is a hard thing to bear
When his bed is all empty
For she is somewhere

Other than with him
When he wants her most
For nothing between them
Is worthy of boast

Though everything honored
Is ne’er surely lost
For the wait on the woman
Is the weight of the cost…

Alternate ending:

So he waits on the woman
Even if lost
For the wait for the woman
Is the weight of the cost

________________________________________________

This is a new poem I wrote this past weekend while lying in bed. It has a sister or companion poem that I wrote about the same time called The Deep Well, or Woman is a Deep Well.

Both shall go in my new book of poetry.

IN ABSENTIA

IN ABSENTIA

The Courage of the West has failed
Her baser instincts flowered all
Cowardice does now prevail
To reckless seek the servile call

The High Mind of the West is dead
The public rules the Wiser Man
Clamor drowns with fearful dread
The people swoon when tyrants stand

The Sick Heart of the West is ripe
To be grasped in iron grips
By slavish kings, corrupted queens
En-masse it beats, demanded ships

The Lost Soul of the West is held
In graves and chains of government
Shackled like a beast expelled
From hearth and home, forgotten, spent

Prior Wisdom, where are you?
You know what comes, you see this sure
History, you tell us true
The past is future, undemured

Manhood, where do you now lurk?
Subservient to serpent crowns
Truth and Justice – how you lurch
In naked marches to the hounds

Free Men to their “betters” bent
Eager in their fealty sworn
Machines await, infernal sent
Revolt that banner burnt and torn

Honor come not to this land
It is bleak and stained with fear
Dismissed as coin what value can
You hold for men who hold naught dear?

The Courage of the West has sunk
Beneath the Twilight of Our Times
Monsters have arisen thus
The Dawn of Morrow has resigned

I wish that I could say to you
That one man in a million lives
Yet I see no certain clues
I cannot to you such hope give

In absentia of ourselves…

THE TOWER ABOVE

THE TOWER ABOVE

The Tower above, the Earth below
I wandered the world, desiring to know
Where in my heart the frontier did lay
In the sky or the sea, in the night or the day?

Mountains I climbed, Life did I track
Waters I sailed, then sailed them right back
Sands in my hands ran through my fingers
What should I fear, where was the danger?

I’d live forever, forever a boy
Time everlasting, endless and cloy
The sun burned me brown, moon cooled my mind
The stars they did glisten, by God so designed
Happy was nothing – I was Alive!
The world was my oyster, of nothing deprived
Before I was man, I was a boy
Everything Holy, the Hope and the Joy

Fish splashed the clear streams, hawks roamed the air
I could lay in the green grass and anything dare
Nothing was memory, all was yet new
Impossibly certain was all that I knew
Hero I was in the depths of my soul
Adventure and gamble was all I did know
The past hadn’t happened, the future a dream
The present was ever, or so did it seem

The Tower above me, the Earth down below
I’d climb to the crown, how most apropos
For why should I care, the sun never sets
Upon the heart of the boy who will never relent

But I’ve climbed and I’ve climbed and I’ve climbed all my life
I’ve climbed in the cold, and I’ve climbed through the strife
I’ve climbed in the heat, through the dark and the death
I’ve climbed when impelled, and I’ve climbed without rest
I’ve climbed when determined, and when suffering lack
For I’m far too high now and cannot go back
Though the summit is still such a lifetime away
I doubt I can reach it, at least not this way

My hands cut and bloodied, my footing unsure
I question my efforts, my motives obscure
Yet sometimes when weary, I’ll glance far below
To see that young boy with his whole life to sow
And I wonder if warnings might cause him to stop
To stay in his valley, not climb to the top
For I want to just tell him, “The climb never ends,
Stay where you are boy, you can’t comprehend…”

But I see him look upwards, take hold of the stones
And I know that he’ll climb where he must all alone

For the Tower above us, a siren it sings
To the boy down below us who of towers still dreams…

DARK SONG – FIRST VERSE

These are lyrics from an unfinished song I began last week. It’s my First Verse entry for today.

DARK SONG

There’s a dark song in my soul right now
And I can’t shake it anyway,
Might as well just sing along,
See where it goes

Well, there’s a dark song
I hear it on the wind

There’s a dark song
Where are we going?

Can we ever make amends?

Well, I don’t know this road no more
But I know it’s me

Where are we going anyhow?
What do you want me to see?

There’s a dark song in my soul right now
I can hear it far away
I’ve known, I’ve known it all along
We’re on the same road

But to where?

Just tell me that…

To where?

THE LAST ONES

I offer this as my submission for the National Poetry Day. I am now at work on my fifth book of poetry.

THE LAST ONES

The cold that the last man mentioned
Before he bled away
The soul that the last child ventured
Because he could not stay,
The bones that the last girl offered
As her flesh was sold
The heart of the last babe slaughtered
As it beat beyond all hope,

I’d tell you of their endings
If I thought you’d care
I’d tell you of their wendings
Of all the things they’d dare,

I’d tell you of their Image
Holy and Divine
I’d tell you that their fortunes
Were just as great as mine,

Yet somehow we have failed them
Deeply in our selves
Discarded like a useless limb
Cast off and then expelled,

The smile of the fair sex faded
Frown of the end within
The wiles of the dead folk fêted
Crown of the ceaseless sin,
The eyes of the masses hollow
Febrile, sick, and stale
The lies of the empty follow
Beguiling, sure as hell,

I’d tell you the last one lingers
If I thought you’d see
I’d tell you “deeply listen”
Though you would not accede,

I’d tell you of your Nature
Made apparent in your acts
I’d show you well, and show you sure
That no man is abstract,
Yet somehow death entails you
Your hearts are all of stone
Lifeless are the last of you
So soulless and alone…

THE NIGHT THAT THE KNIGHT CURSED EVIL – HIGHMOOT

THE NIGHT THAT THE KNIGHT CURSED EVIL

(A Poetic Meditation Upon America)

The Night that the Knight cursed evil a wondrous thing began
Men who once had cowered, together they did band
Beneath the Lonely Banner of the Knight who cursed the wrong
Once they had just whispered, now they sang his song

The High Lords and the Ladies corrupt upon their thrones
Had laughed to hear such curses when the Knight was all alone
Though when his profane blood-oaths thundered through the folk
Fury rose among them, with the tyrant’s whip and yoke

“Bring us now New Vows from him, make him swear to us!”
Shouted Lords and Ladies, roused now in their lust

Yet the Knight who cursed the evil would not bend to threat
Their embassies he spat upon, then harangued them ‘til they sweat

Then the High Lords and the Ladies began to see the Truth
That the Knight who cursed the Evil was fearless now forsooth!

And still the People rallied, hot now in the land,
The Knight who cursed the Evil gave heart for them to stand

“Send us an Assassin, experienced in crime,”
Said the Lords and Ladies, “to kill him ‘fore his time!”

So the black assassin crept upon the Knight
As he cursed the Evil in the shadows of the night
Yet darkness did betray him as he sought to strike
For the Knight who cursed the Evil caught him in the Light

A struggle hard and fearsome did they both attend
Blood in all directions, wounds as deep as sin
Finally the combat wound down to the Will
When the Knight triumphant the spent assassin killed

He took the ‘ssassins blood-stained blade with the warrant he
had wrecked,
Then sent it to the waiting Lords in scribbled hand,
“You’re next!”

___________________________________________________________

Yesterday I took a little nap because last weekend I contracted poison oak, or maybe sumac. It’s been miserable and I hoped to speed the healing and reduce the itch with a nap.

Anyway I awoke with this poem/song running through my kind. I had to go and take an immediate shower because the itching was so bad and in the shower I composed the rest of the sections above in my head.

Then I got out and wrote out what i had composed. It is still unfinished of course though I already have the entire poem sketched out in my head and some other sections are worked out, such as:

“Your silence speaks to your intent more surely than your pleas
For action is the pledge of life, not promises like these
If you’re determined stand your ground, if not I know you well,
Passive is the heartless man, and icy is his hell…”

LET FALL THE HARM – FIRST VERSE

LET FALL THE HARM

Let fall the harm that must now come
so men in future ages weep
not for a doom that is their own,
but for us, now long asleep,

Far better that we ever take
upon ourselves our own mistakes
than send them forth all morrow-wise
to future men for their demise,

For we had Fate and Fortune still
before our hearts grew hard and chill,
we could have tempered all our wrongs,
had we had courage all along,
but always we sidestepped ourselves,
for comfort’s sake and little else,
thus so the world is as it is,
this falls to us, not future men,

Let come the harm that now is ripe
some future age we should not slight,
with all our sins and cowardice
for unlike us they’re innocent,

They have not built these walls of woe
nor murdered children they have sown,
they have not sold their souls to debt
they may not butchery abet,
they have not terror nurtured long
they have not reckless leaders grown,
they’ve yet to quake in abject fear
their evils have not yet appeared…

(another poem of mine on modern men and our society and how I pray that we not push our evils upon future generations. Yet I know we will because our cowardice is great and had we any courage we’d be at these things ourselves.

This came to me yesterday as I cut grass. I had to stop cutting to go inside and write it. It is unfinished as of yet.)

LADY STONEHEART

THE STONEHEART

 
(I wrote this little ditty back when I first read the Red Wedding and the aftermath. But I never posted it. Until I recently got reminded of it.)

The Wedding bleeds Red
When the Butcher is nigh,
The Maiden then said
It all with a sigh,
“My husband is murdered
My future is dead,
Where nows grows Justice
Or vengeance instead?”
Yet chilled be the mother
Cold is the womb,
Killed be the feasting
Still is the room,
Down sinks the young man
Up the Old Thing,
A Lady of Black Doom
Whose Stoneheart shall ring…

 

THE SUN TO COME – FIRST VERSE

THE SUN TO COME

The sun to come by Son absolved
What wynd wove Wyrd have webs resolved
To write the future fate of Man
When woe is passed and wonder spans
The breadth of Earth, renewed, remade
Existence birthed, reformed, refreshed
Without that wound that scars all flesh…

(sectional – unfinished)

THE PLOW OF THE LORD

THE PLOW OF THE LORD

The Plow of the Lord
Does harrow man deep
With horrors unmeasured
Disasters all steeped,
As high as a pyre
As cold as a barrow
Bone shattered shards
Grief sharp as an arrow,

The Plow of the Lord
Like an unsharpened axe
Beats ‘gainst the mind
On the soul grimly hacks,
The body is frail
When the blade passes through
When the plow breaks the Earth
Of the flesh that is you,
The Spirit is willing
Able, and true, but
The Plow is relentless
We all know it’s true,
There’s a blade in the hand
Of the Lord that is sharp
Do as you will
It still cuts to the Heart,
Yet the Plow of the Lord
As it shears you away
As it grinds and it harries
By night and by day
Prepares you for planting
Scours you for seed
To plant something better
In hope and in deed,
The Plow of the Lord
Is heavy with weight
It turns and it churns
All men as if clay,
It slices his veins, and
Opens his blood
Hooks out his roots
From the mire and mud,
Tears (tares) out a furrow
For the storm and the rain
Displaces the stones
Which all scream with the pain,
Makes a way for the sunlight
To illumine the ground
A place to start digging
When the treasure is found
For God knows that under –
Neath the soil of our sin
Lies a pearl deeply buried
That His Plow will upend.

 

DRUMLY DID – FIRST VERSE

DRUMLY DID

Drumly marched the men at war
Turmoil in the fields,
A squire watched a warbird soar
The knight his brother killed,
Rivers ran like roaring lief
That spill in bloody seas,
Drumly did the old warchief
In battle find no ease,
Horns called to men to come
At once and rally as they did
Whistles tore the creeping clum
As tumult did forbid,
Arrows rained, and reigned again
As shields were broke and spent,
Young men toppled dead as sin
Their armor torn and rent,
A pikeman watched the warbirds soar
Their feast upon the Earth,
The dusk would drumly long abhor
What horrors slaughter birthed,
Mud ran with blood, the churning mire,
Blacker by degrees,
Drumly did the old desire
In murder find no ease…

Note: My wrist has finally recovered enough to return to regular blogging and writing. I hope.

But my pre-break output may fall to two or three posts per week compared to my pre-break posting rate due to the difficulty I still have with typing and due to my other work load. Thank you for your patience.

Hope you enjoy Drumly Did. It was originally just a throw away poetic experiment with antique language but by the time I finished it I liked it and decided to keep it.

THE LIGHT THAT MADE – FIRST VERSE

THE LIGHT THAT MADE

The Light that made the formless dark
Did crown and shape the outer world
Yet within it forged the Inner Soul
That fashioned all that lives and breathes
The Light dispersed gave birth below, yet
Solid all and made of substance in itself
A Secret spawns, a kind of Cosmos bred
Of the very Blood that feeds the restless
Ever-turning, Eternal Mind of God…

 

 

AN ANCIENT RACE – FIRST VERSE

AN ANCIENT RACE

I came upon myself one day
Hoping there to find
Someone truly great and grand
Some One quite divine

Reflections of me seemed to prove
That I was all I thought
High and noble, quite advanced
Superior, self-wrought

To all the others I was king
At least so to myself
I was different than they were
And twice as good as well

No one could me anything
Was not my Image clear? (dear)
Me to everyone I met
Was what I made most dear (clear)

Then one day I found that I
My mind, my soul, and flesh
Was just as mortal as they were
And now not quite as fresh

The image that I fawned upon
The reflection I adored
Was but of human denouement
And mirrored self-amour

Now no greatness lingers here
No moral high and grand
Except this caution, yet my friend,
Like me, “you’re just a man…”

 

THE EMBRACE OF WARM FLESH – FIRST VERSE

I apologize for my absence this past week. I’ve had a stomach virus which has been, just to be honest, the worst intestinal infection I may have ever had in my entire life. It made me violently ill, later exhausted (I still tire easily and it started last Monday, so I’ve had it for 8 days now), and I am just now really recovering. Still, I would say that I’m actually more of about 85 to 90% recovered rather than fully recovered.

Below is the first real work I’ve been able to do in a week or more. It’s unfinished but came to me this morning when I awoke. Hope you enjoy it and hope you are well. If not well, if you’re like me, then I hope you rapidly recover. Not slowly, like me.

 

THE EMBRACE OF WARM FLESH

The embrace of warm flesh

Ardent in its vigor
Constant in its desire
Purposed in its method
Relentless and intrepid

Determined in consummation
Fearless in elation
Without an accusation
Quiet desperation…

 

 

HE WHO GOES ALONE – FIRST VERSE

HE WHO GOES ALONE

He who goes alone, the solitary man
Through pits as black as hell
Cross even stranger lands,

Does navigate the darker realms
Knows them like his home
He who goes alone – by No Thing overwhelmed,

Though never without cost, to go unchaperoned
Unguided in the doubtful debt
In which such harm is grown,

The bitter hearts of men do swell
With endless, careless wrong, yet he who goes so long alone
Has still his citadel,

There is a wary wilderness, dreadful hard to pass,
A mountain steep, severe to climb
Each measured in an hourglass,

Wastelands wild with weary woe
Cover all the past, yet nothing
Can be lost at last to he who goes alone,

Watching in the listless night, moon and stars all torn
Mourning blood on sterile Earth
By which the damned are bourne,

A window to the waiting soul where torments long
Are sown, and he who ever goes alone,
Where does he now belong?

The ghosts of men make short repair
Facient in their aims, the Ghost of God
Remains aloof and hovers in the air,

Facinorous is the pointless tomb, and everything there shown
No one knows this more in Truth
Than he who goes alone…

 

I KNOW YOU ALL – FIRST VERSE (WILL SHAKESPEARE AND JOHN GUNTER)

This happens to be my favorite section of monologue from a play by Shakespeare (any play by Shakespeare), and there are many brilliant ones. This is from the Henry Cycle. (Henry discusses his past nature as scoundrel and the companion of scoundrels and his coming nature as king.)

Since I was a kid, a teenager actually, I have taken what I consider to be great sections of poetry, prose, plays, songs, etc. and rewritten them to see if I could improve upon them in some way (linguistically, poetically, phonetically, in meaning or emphasis, etc.). As an exercise in the improvement of my own poetic capabilities. Or towards the improvement of whatever other capabilities I happened to be attempting to exercise.

To me this is the very paragon of verse from Shakespeare’s plays, for any number of reasons, not least the undercurrents of shaded meaning, the psychologically acute self-analysis, and the prophetic pronouncements of the future. I have rewritten this section many times and in many different ways but did it again late last week as an exercise to keep myself from becoming rusty and out of practice at this type of verse and monologue.

The first section is the Work of Shakespeare. The second section is partially Shakespeare’s, the part in italics (in order to set the theme of the monologue), and the last part is my rewriting of the same. It is not only a rewriting, I’ve also altered the emphasis, slightly and subtly, but it also contains allusions to other subject matter and characters I have written about in my own poetry, such as Orpheus and the Tears of Iron.

I hope you enjoy it. I also hope you try such exercises for yourself to improve your own capabilities.

 

I KNOW YOU ALL – WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humor of your idleness.
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wondered at
By breaking through the foul and ugly mist
Of vapors that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work,
But when they seldom come, they wished for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So when this loose behavior I throw off
And pay the debt I never promisèd,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes;
And, like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glitt’ring o’er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I’ll so offend to make offense a skill,
Redeeming time when men think least I will.

 

I KNOW YOU ALL – WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AND JOHN GUNTER

I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humor of your idleness.
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wondered at
By breaking through the foul and ugly mist
Of vapors that did seem to strangle him.

Of temperance there is none found in me
When overwhelming Wyrd o’ermasters
All the conduct of my prior faculties
Yet when I am come, and baring as I come
The former foil that gilds me dull, yet sharp
In indiscretions manifold who
will vouchsafe all my claims and titles
Young with new maturity, if not I?
In reform well sprang like Orpheus
From the chair of Pluto and his iron tears
My coming crown unworn, my sins unshorn
Shall outline the very shadowed limits
That I so like the scorching sun of noon
Shall burn away when the Dawn of Me
Does unexpected rise from deep within
And clotted clay, the seeming sepulchre
That frontiers all I have ever been
Will be seen to walk beneath the heavens
As if a new king bestrode the mortal world
In glory more like ancient gods than man…

 

MY POWER IN HER PLEASING

As part of my reading today I came across this passage in a work of ER Eddison:

“My pleasure is my power to please my mistress:
My power is my pleasure in that power.”

Which, compared to the surrounding work, struck me as dull and listless and uninspired. I didn’t like it and thought it could have been much better, comparatively speaking. (If it is indeed a quote cited from another work I have not as yet found the original source.)

So I decided to rework the couplet (and thereafter expand it) to see if I could render a better and more apt and more fit version (given the surrounding context). As an experiment, such as the kind of experiments I did on rewriting verse as a young kid.

 

This is what I developed:

“My pleasure is my power to please my mistress:
Her power in that pleasure is to my pleasing
Such powers, pleasing to us both
Yield pleasures sweet and e’er unending
In memory and reminiscence all alike
To the very powers of those pleasing acts.”

THE ENEMY WHO LEADS YOU

And now for something completely different for First Verse. A political poem.

THE ENEMY WHO LEADS YOU

The enemy who leads you
Stained black with your blood
From poniard to vanguard
His plotting is thrust,
In counsel he’s clever
In Truth he’s foresworn
In trust he is shrewder
In craft than forborne,
His word is his measure
Though never a gauge
His promises guilt-bound
A thrice-gilded cage,
His skill brightly scheming
Adversarial bonds
True allies shall languish
Abandoned anon;

The one who commands you
Is not as you are
His mettle was tempered
A curved scimitar,
The suffering of others
The tyrant’s cold hand
Is given in fealty
To foreign demands,
If seals are thus issued
If agreements are made
The foe who now spends you
Will proffer no aid;

Command is elected
When Free Men take count
But no Virtue is granted
When deception does mount,
A man’s what a man is
Come first in his heart
If contrivance is motive
Then guile is his art –
Be wary of such men
Be warned of their aims
Wrapped in your losses
He’ll yet court his gains,
If you submit to his orders
If complicit in course
Then the Enemy who leads you
Will rule you by force.

THE SORCERER’S TONGUE

THE SORCERER’S TONGUE

The Sorcerer’s tongue an adder crawls
To slither through the hearts of men
A viper coiled in roils of lies
Seduces all with poisoned ends,
The Necromancer of the Age
Raising up deceit and death
From tombs and tomes by ruin lost
Has given form and stirred cold breath,
Enchantments webbed and eldritch spun
Like spiders creep across the mind
So even men who seem themselves
Are slaves to him, enthralled like kine,
Hades vast and oceans deep
Are hidden in his crafty art
The conjured word is as he speaks
A servant dim and set apart,
The warlock’s gloom – bespoken like a spell
Has snared the fool and baited traps
To line the road of Truth along which
Even brave men cannot make their maps,
The Waystaff of the Witch’s word
Has charmed the Wise with venoms dark
Bound in blood men sound in every other way
By sound of him fall all unnerved
Their manhood washed away in flood,
The alchemic base of rank and rot
Has made a potent portion of regret
Yet who still speaks of deeds begot
When dread by sorcery yet abets?
The Witch’s teat, the serpent’s tongue
Eidolons frozen in the soul
Glams and dictums (dicins) doom us all
Who should by wit the Witch atone,
We have fallen all and one
Under shrouds envoked by terms of fraud
Cultic does the lie allure
Guile the noose of little gods,
If we will not soon this wrong dispel
Cut out the tongue that binds us so
Then sorcery shall be our gaol
The price of prison be our soul.

HORSE MIGHTY FOR HARM

From the Worm Ouroboros, by E. R. Eddison, which I have recently been re-reading. I love that book and it is, no doubt, one of the greatest books of fantasy/myth ever written. Pure poetry in prose, and often, outright song:

She took the heavy volume with its faded green cover, and read: “He went out on
the night of the Lord’s day, when nine weeks were still to winter; he heard a great
crash, so that he thought both heaven and earth shook. Then he looked into the
west airt, and he thought he saw hereabouts a ring of fiery hue, and within the ring
a man on a gray horse. He passed quickly by him, and rode hard. He had a flaming
firebrand in his hand, and he rode so close to him that he could see him plainly. He
was black as pitch, and he sung this song with a mighty voice–

Here I ride swift steed,
His flank flecked with rime,
Rain from his mane drips,
Horse mighty for harm;
Flames flare at each end,
Gall glows in the midst,
So fares it with Flosi’s redes
As this flaming brand flies;
And so fares it with Flosi’s redes
As this flaming brand flies.

“Then he thought he hurled the firebrand east towards the fells before him, and
such a blaze of fire leapt up to meet it that he could not see the fells for the blaze. It
seemed as though that man rode east among the flames and vanished there…”

THE DAUFIN AND THE EGG?

In my Other World novels the Sidhs use a code word (or the Samarl and his allies do in any case) to describe a being they believe to have existed for a very long period of time using a most unusual method of life extension. (Or possibly it periodically dies and is reborn again.) The Samarl and his allies believe this being to be evil and an enemy.

The word used to describe this being among themselves (so no one else will understand who they are really talking about) is Daufin. The Daufin is typically also identified or represented by a code symbol, as well as a drawing of a mythical beast (which actually exists and is controlled by the code-named Daufin, though few believe it actually exists anymore), and by a code phrase.

The term Daufin is not to be confused with the French term Dauphin though I readily admit that I took the term directly from the French term. And yes, for those who know me well you must be thinking, “French?” As you know I have little interest in modern things French, but in Ancient things and Medieval things French (the Franks for instance, and Charlemagne, and the ancient Romances, and the Gauls) I have great interest.

And I have great interest in the Dauphin, both the one denoting the Medieval prince and the more ancient term I suspect it is derived from, and what that implied. The Dauphin has always fascinated me though I rarely mention it.

In any case before I insinuate the conspiracy surrounding the Samarl and the Daufin too deeply in my novel I have been trying variants on the term, as I actually very much adore the term Dauphin and think it perfect though being French, even if it is early French, it is not linguistically suited to the Sidhs and the other Eldeven peoples of the novels. With that in mind here are a number of variants upon the term Daufin which I might use. If you have a favorite variant or you wish to suggest one of your own that strikes you as particularly pleasing then please leave a comment and let me know. If you want to explain why I’ll be happy to know that as well.

Variants on the term Daufin/Dauphin:

Daughfin

Dolfign/Dalfign

Dalphin

Dahlfin

Dalphang

Dolfang

Daufang (this sounds a bit too Oreintal to me, but given the origins of the Daufin it might serve well)

 

Below is the code phrase (in verse) used to describe the Daufin, and it seems a sort of song, and it is, but it is also a set of codes by which the speaker identifies what he knows about the Daufin. As more is learned more verses are added. It is obviously translated into English from the original Eldeven:

“Arose the Daufin from the seas, as deep and dark as Tântalos
Whose ruin ran the riven world three times round the sunken hosts,
What is this thing, whence did it rise, who sired it or set it loose?
How many times to be reborn, how many mortals yet seduce?
A secret thing crawls in the Egg, the Sun has never seen its face  
When will it hatch next in the world, all other things to then erase?”   

 

The seeming symbol for the Daufin is a mythical beast,  but the symbol for the real Daufin is of a multi-headed sea-serpent hatching from a giant egg along the flooded beach of a sinking island.

 

NEVER

This is a political and social poem about modern man


NEVER

I often wonder in my head
Just how naïve man can be
Especially of the modern kind
Whose ignorance is full and deep

History, replete with clues
As evidence of what will come
Makes no impression on his soul
To theory only he succumbs

A bed he’s built with his own hands
Covered it with wondrous lies
Sheeted it with foolishness
Then pissed it full of dreams at night

Of how he wished the world to be
Though never has it been as such
No matter to him, all will see
Never never mattered much

Reason tells him little now
His every fancy sophistry
Of how his hopes are truly deemed
Though spawned by phantom artistry

A little more, a little less
A tragic tale of absent jests
Nothing gained, and no one left
To even notice his behest (bequest?)

I often wonder in my heart
Just how simple man can be
Modern to his very bones
Object, abject, yet all agree

My how he wished his self-deceit
Could ever be what never was
Just one more time, then all will see
Never never matters much

THE EARTH AND MAN

THE EARTH AND MAN

The Earth is plowed
The Earth is sown
The Earth she swells
The Earth is grown,

The Earth below
The humble Earth
The Earth she knows
There is no dearth,

But for now…

The Earth is dark
With blood she’s stained
The Earth she moans
In endless pain,

We think we must
We think we shall
In constant lust
Our sins allow,

Yet…

The Earth she wants
A Man grown True
To care for her
As men should do,

The Earth desires
To grow Great
The Man should help
Her Procreate,

All that’s Good, and
All that’s Best
That is his Duty, and
His Test,

So…

The Earth is plowed
The Earth is sown
Her great renown
The better known,

When Man is Just
When Man is Strong
And escorts her
From every wrong,

Thus…

When all men steward
Their own Earth
With time and patience
Giving birth

Within themselves
To greater things
The humble Earth
Will endless bring

Forth High and Holy
Life…

IF CHRIST PREVAILED (Merry Christmas)

IF CHRIST PREVAILED

(My Wyrdwend Christmas Card, 2014)

If Christ prevailed men would not cower
If Christ prevailed God’s Holy Tower would
Stand a rampart in this world that none could
Raze nor hope to break, nor should
His Kingdom ever quake for fear of being over-run

If Christ prevailed men would fear not Death
If Christ prevailed men would not fear to truly Live
If Christ prevailed there would be no tribes
At endless war, no pointless hate consuming every shore
With riot, hatred, fire, and fury circumscribed

If Christ prevailed “Repent!” on every tongue and wrong
Would be avoided, not relived eternal in profitless cycles
Of sorrowful sin, evils would be un-grown and long buried
Not watered with grasping human grievance, a song of
Festering harm sung to our children like Grimmaged fairy tales

If Christ prevailed all men would as brothers walk long
Beside another, traveling from place to place in happy peace
While laughing of marvelous discoveries made and deeds
Redeemed in better fortune than they had first imagined
When humbly in their abandoned pride they were again Reborn

If Christ prevailed then Justice would rule this Earth
Not vengeance, not crucifying and murderous retribution,
If Christ prevailed then innocents would not lie dead
In pools of blood or lay breathless and abandoned
In favor of our own prideful assumptions about the Truth

If Christ prevailed all men with Mercy would extend themselves
To rework wrong into a better thing, a home fit for
Good and Godly conduct, Law would be Great and not merely law
No man would flee responsibility, Duty would reign, and
Sacrifice would paint and decorate our halls with Holy Acts

If Christ prevailed we would need no government of man
For God would live within, and Man Himself, once so ennobled
Could neither bow nor sit for any other king, and all
Other governance would seem a dream of despair long deserted
In the desperate nightmare of an unreal and wasted world

If Christ prevailed then such a Kingdom as the world has never
Known would be everywhere apparent, its Frontiers swollen
With ceaseless growth, no enemy would want to stand against it,
Old foes would be absorbed and made equals, no Jew, no Greek,
No Gentile would be alien or stranger in that Better Land

If Christ prevailed all men would be equals, anxious
To outdo the other in holiness and good, competitive in our
Desires to be more like God, not less of honor and of grace,
Our Feats would be of Saintly Salt, Virtues would accrue, and
Our Peeraged Manhood we would hold a Holy Thing from God

But Christ does not prevail

For we are sorely and surely most ourselves, self-absorbed,
Split into endless, bickering tribes, minted into our
Mindless classes, divided in our sickened hearts, soulless
In our lack of faith, impotent in our works, spiritless and
Dead within ourselves – we guard nothing, build nothing,
Claim nothing, oppose nothing, promote nothing, become nothing

For deep inside we are afraid, and we are small and we are
No men to build Mighty Kingdoms of, and so

Christ does not prevail, for we are cowards all by choice,

and so instead we prevail unto our doom.

MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL
MAY YOU HAVE THE WORLD YOU MOST DESIRE…
THE YEAR OF OUR LORD, 2014

WILD UPON THE FIELD!

When I was young I let all things settle as they would
If anybody wanted to I said then that they should
Then as I aged I noticed that a lot of things were wrong
I could not stomach anymore just to get along

Evil men, and wasted lives, practices corrupt
They were no longer over there, they overflowed my cup
I did not want, I did not care, I did not wish to take
All the wrong I saw around, nor all the ills it makes

So now I Rant, and sometimes Rave, and often I Revolt
I care no longer it offends, often that’s my hope
For people nod, and people smile, and meekly they agree
If everything is mildly spoke – all passion absentee

But if with fire, fume and smoke, and fury you explode
In righteous anger ‘gainst what’s wrong it will then expose
Their passive manner, pliant wills, and subservience
That Free Men should all best eschew in their establishment

So if by heat, so if by blood, so if by reason sharp
I offend, or I contend, I’ll surely hit my mark
Mild is well, and meek is good, when little is at stake
When all that’s right is up for grabs that is when I break

And run wild upon the field!

READING SIGNS

A sky like freshly melted lead and I am re-membered of that age so long ago when men stood atop the crops of living stone that grew like towers from the Earth, and carrion fowl

circled the sky searching for the dead.

The green of cyprus tall and dark, the hidden grasses bent beneath the menhired burden of a vanished race that raced the sun of every season to see who could catch the summer first.

Winters come, and yet is past, and still the grey and shadowed corners linger along the Elder Trails were men no longer read the signs

and the signs no longer signify.

A scarecrow raised like Rome’s own crucified to draw the ravens to his eye, so plucked away it cannot see any sight again but prophecy.

Still not enough is known to unknow anything. Worth unknowing.

Another bird, a hunting hawk, wending north of winter’s range will read no time until he marks the movement of a preying heart, and then picking from the scampering fields the blood and bones that once were knit, unmakes them for another day.

The bear scats, the fox turns, wolves howl, mountains rise, seas dry, roots rot, bones break, stones crack, echoes abound, vines creep, roads Wyrd, trails fade, streams cut, wounds bleed, words falter, men forget…

The signs are there, for all to read.

Most will not.

                  Surely,

Most will not.

MY POETRY

Tonight before bed I decided I would make an accurate and up to date accounting of my recent work output. Regarding my poetry.

As of tonight I have recently (within the past year and a half) written 279 individual poems.

That does not account for all of my older poems, such as those comprising my 6 completed books of poetry.

Nor does it account for all of the verse appearing in my novels, children’s books, and other writings. Nor does it account for any of my song lyrics or the 33 poems I have started but have not yet finished.

Nor does it account for any of my epic poetry or any of my longer works of verse. All of which I’ll have to account for later, when I have the time.

Of the 279 more recent poems, and the currently unfinished poems, I suspect I could create two new books of poetry, or maybe three, depending on the length of some of these individual poems.

Which would bring the total number of books of poetry I have written to 9, not counting epics, mythic poetry, and books of romantic and love poetry.

At the moment I am satisfied with this count.

WHERE WERE YOU? – a poem on America

WHERE WERE YOU?

Where were you when the warnings wailed
A’ sleeping senseless in your bed?
Did you see the tyrants born
Or were you by then almost dead?

Did you rise when evil did
To aid the helpless Just and True?
Did you ward the Innocent
Or merely on your duty muse?

When your leaders (servants) took the crown
Did you then revolt like men?
Or did you cower satisfied
That others for you make amends?

What ancient wrongs did drive you on
To finally stand and take your feet?
Or did you bow and genuflect
In your subservience complete?

Why did you fight, why did you roar
Why did you fearless go to war?
Or on your bellies – witless worms
Choose to squirm, by all abhorred?

How did you come to be a slave
Mastered thus, so weak and soft?
Did your chains grow overnight
Or link by link, in forging oft?

Who are you, what will you be
What Champion, or mildly take?
There comes a day when all men must
Within their time decisions make,

Arise My Friends, be Brave Possessed
Comes every Free Man to his test
For if he will he can attest
That in his glory he is dressed,

But if you Free Men will not rise
Of fear and shame you are contrived
If you will bend to be deprived
Then other men shall own (spend) your lives.

SECURE FOR SOME HAIL, SAIL SANS DELAY – a poem

SECURE FOR SOME HAIL, SAIL SANS DELAY

I have never yet failed in my failing when not
Trying to master the actions that wont
When warrant or custom or habit disclose
That I am inactive despite what I know,

Yet never has action without a good plan
Produced in my ventures an end in my hand
My going sans knowing has led me nowhere
Worth cost of my travels, or price of my dare,

If charting your course will assume all your time
You’ve none left for sailing, come reason or rhyme
Yet if you’ve no course and no harbor to plot
Who can then wonder you made it there not?

Some men are captains, and some take the wheel
Some work the rigging, and some craft the keel
All must cross waters deep, harsh, and dark
For that you can plan, thus less for the sharks,

But still will the storms unexpected arise
Some in the oceans and some in the skies
Look for good weather, but watch for the gales
Plan for safe passage, secure for some hail (hale, hell),

Good thoughts hurt nothing if the winds are all wrong
But rowing will turn you, and drive you along
Don’t tack at all angles with nary a care
For some lead to wrackage, and some to despair

Dead reckon assumptions wreck too many ships
Not preparing for action suits many a slip
Yet avoiding all battles by planning too much, and
Your prey is in dry-dock, a prize of the Dutch

I cannot in conscious tell you to do, without
Planning and training and thinking it through
But I can say to start just as soon as you’re fit
For the daring adventure is his who commits

JOHN MILTON’S OLD DIGS

Being a great fan of Milton’s poetry, I really liked this:

http://scribol.com/anthropology-and-history/paradise-lost-the-crumbling-english-manor-house-where-john-milton-once-lived/1

THE MYTH OF THE WRITER, AND THE FANTASY THEREOF

Last night a friend and I were having a discussion regarding Myth and Fantasy on his Facebook page. Since this is a subject I have much studied and long thought about I decided I would post my reply to his discussion on this page. So here is my summation of some of the more salient differences, and some of the basic similarities, between Fantasy and Myth.
This is in the form of my Facebook page response, of course, but later I will create an essay out of this and related material I have written in the past on the same subjects.

 

SOME OF THE DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES BETWEEN FANTASY AND MYTH

To me it mostly depends on if you’re writing Myth or Fantasy.

Myth, such as Tolkien wrote is filled with footnotes and endnotes and much of Tolkien’s myth refers directly to real world history or is a thinly veiled modification of it, just as Classical myth is, e.g.. Homer and Virgil.

The Black Gate is a modification of the Iron Gate of the Byzantines, Rohan was a modification of a real place and people, etc..

If it is fantasy it might also contain heavy historical elements, but they are greatly modified and changed significantly. In that kind of fantasy (swords and sorcery fantasy) magic is more important than myth, the supernatural more important than technology or realism, story more important than history, and character more important than culture (typically).

Tolkien for instance created very realistic cultures and landscapes that were well developed enough to imagine living in, or wanting to live in. Howard, with Conan (fantasy), created heavily modified versions of semi-realistic, but mostly underdeveloped proto-human cultures that few if any would really want to love in. Same with Moorcock (another fantasy writer). A lot of underlying history and myth in both Howard and Moorcock, no real admirable cultures or worlds to live in. No real higher mythic and spiritual content, a lot more grunt-work and gritty adventure and survival.

I follow that same general pattern. I’m writing a mythic series (The Other World) which is a mix of Byzantine realism and the mythos of Prester John. It is also a retelling of the Fall of Constantinople and the founding of America in mythic form. It has a lot of “high, mythic, poetic, and spiritual content.”
I am writing another series of what I call magic and miracles fantasy which is based on what we now know of pre-historic and proto-human cultures, but the emphasis is not on sweeping myths or great cultures, but on personal adventure, and individual supernatural and magical experience.

(And this is paradoxically why poetry and song so rarely appear in pure fantasy, and when it does, it is almost always of very inferior quality – but in myth really good song and poetry is a primary and necessary component – Beowulf and the Iliad are poetic, in Conan real poetry and song are absent. Real Myth is poetic, by nature. Fantasy is prosaic, comparatively speaking.)

In myth magic is tightly controlled and there is little of it, especially overtly. Magic is underground and few can master it. Magic is an elite force employed by an elite few. In fantasy it is usually ubiquitous yet extremely dangerous and likely always out of control, or completely uncontrolled. In fantasy the elite think they can master magic but it almost always it overmasters them. In myth they often can master magic, be it Gandalf or Wotan, though it always has a price for the greedy and unwise. (Such as Fafnir.)

On the other hand, Conan being a fantasy character and a barbarian and a primal man instinctively knows this about his world, he lives in a supernatural and fantastical environment (not a mythic one) , well above his personal pay-grade. The way to equalize magic is not to make it rare and tightly controlled, like in myth, but to avoid it altogether, or destroy it if possible. In myth magic is really a spiritual force, good or bad, and not easily understood or mastered. In fantasy magic is not a spiritual force, but supernatural nitro-glycerin.)

In myth there are also obviously miraculous and apparently fated events. In fantasy fate is what a man makes of himself.

And to me therein lies another of the real differences. In myth, although the characters are very important, the myth is Fundamental. Obviously much bigger things than the individual are at Work.

The myth is what is really being discussed; the characters are archetypes in action.

In fantasy the cultures and the environment are the archetypes, it is the characters being discussed. The individual is what is at Work. The person is in reaction, struggling to bring things under his own control, and usually failing.

In my second series, the fantasy series, the books are about the adventures of Solimar, who is renamed by his god and given a mission to fulfill in the world. So he roams the world seeking to fulfill his mission and understand his supernatural origins, both at birth, and at “rebirth and renaming.”
Solimar, who begins as Soar (So-ar), is really a retelling of the stories of Jacov and of Abram (Solimar’s god, Olim, or Holim, inserts his own name in the middle of Soar’s name to remake him into his representative in the world) in a vaguely Conan like form. Though Solimar is not a warrior but more of a spy, and a Jack of all Trades adventurer, who has become his god’s semi-reluctant and covert Agent.

Now all of that being said I still think there is plenty of room in the middle. As a matter of fact GRR Martin and his series is exactly that. Half-mythic realism, half-magical fantasy. Half Westeros mythos (and Real World history – Dunk and Egg), and half Dragon-Egg/White Walker fantasy. And you can clearly see how the two separate worlds impinge upon and overlap one another, and you can also clearly see how they are separated by, “A Wall.” (In Tolkien the wall of separation was the frontier of Mordor.)

So if you ask me you can lean towards the ends of the bell curve, or, if you wish, seek the top and the middle.

Plenty of room to roam landscapes in all directions if you so wish.

 

 

EXPERIENCE IT FIRST – LIVING OUT YOUR STORY

I have, over time, developed a new technique for writing Fictional Stories. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now but have recently gotten to be very good at it.

At night, right after I cut out the light and am laying in the dark, I turn to some novel or story I’m writing. I then visualize part of the story or a scene from the story in my mind as if I’m one of the characters. Then try to see it in my head as if it were an actual experience that I am part of.

At first I did this as if I were seeing a film or movie or play (from a third person point of view). But then I decided that I would do away with that step entirely and simply insert myself into the scene and have the scene unfold as if it were a real (and not recorded) experience. Instead of thinking in terms of words and pictures and stories and characters now I’m “experiencing fictional reality” in my head as if these experiences are real and occurring to me. In that way it’s not hard to transform these scenes into artificial (or maybe a better term would be parallel, or virtual) memories and then when I take to writing again it’s much more like remembering something you’ve already experienced than making it up. First I experience the scene, from beginning to end, and only then write it, but not just from imagination, from memory. This seems to have two effects: it makes writing fiction much more fun, because even though it’s fiction it is like it is real, and secondly it seems to have improved the overall literary quality of my fiction. Especially from the point of view of characterization and dialogue. In other words the story becomes “hot” in your own mind and a “personal experience” rather than just the imagined experiences of your characters.

I’ve gotten pretty good at it with much practice. The other night I saw a ship in a fictional story which was unlike any ship design I’ve ever seen before, complete with a different type of mast and rigging system (it was a sailing ship in a fantasy story) and overall design that I didn’t think I would have ever considered or considered writing about had it not been for the “experience it first technique.”

But because I experienced it first the ship was, well, it was like I was both the ship designer (shipwright) and the boat master of the voyage. I think I may have developed something very useful here, because doing it this way it’s less like writing than it is experiential, and my mind doesn’t get divided into “writer” or “inventor” but different aspects of my mind all seem to work in synthesis.

I am calling the Technique, “Experiential Fiction,” or “Remembered/Memory Fiction.”

By the way, this is much more like writing fiction as if you were writing a song or a poem, by experience and memory, rather than entirely through imagination and invention. Although in your own mind you must first imagine and invent the story.

But this is far easier to do by taking your own prior experiences and memories and simply rearranging them in a newly imagined fashion through your mental and psychological storyline rather than trying to imagine your story “cold.”

I also think this would be an excellent technique for both game design, and for invention, and recently I have been experimenting with using the technique to do both.