Sunday, June 17, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 6 - In Medieval English Woods

This one is from 1986. Twenty-one years later, and I've still got the same images playing through my mind! (Current novel takes place in Dark Age Britain)


In Medieval English Woods

The pound of hooves beginning
Bodies crouching
In the waiting

The hiss of leaves
And popping branches - torn
The rip of moss from earth
The thud of hearts
In night attack

Demon shadows leap
A fear-stained man
His arm to swing at air
While one who sees his moment
Strikes
Their faces kiss
The slipping sliding for the stance
On blood-slicked rocks

The knights astride their mounts
Heavy spathas hacking
Stopped with wrenching force
By parries
Or the shield of breastbone

The sword sucks from the wound
The dying form
Slumps from his horse
And falls

Spirits linger
Cold tendrils hanging
From the shoulders of
The ones still fighting

Weary with the clotting blood
With steaming breath
The horses strain to bolt
Each head dragged by the bit
In the leaving

The knights canter from the scene
Indifference flowing from them
Like a billowing cape

Panting
The others slog
Exhausted through the mire
In confusion

Copyright 1986 Julia Smith

15 comments:

Lillian Feisty said...

Um, I'm totally doing the "I'm not worthy" bow right now. That poem was so amazing...wow. It's so hard to pull of medieval without being cheesy, but you sooo pulled it off. I loved this.

littlebirdblue said...

More recycled goodness from the blog of Julia.

Akelamalu said...

A great poem, thanks for ressurecting it.

Christine said...

Wow, that rocked Julia. I loved this part:

Demon shadows leap
A fear-stained man
His arm to swing at air
While one who sees his moment
Strikes
Their faces kiss
The slipping sliding for the stance
On blood-slicked rocks

Well done!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

You indeed have great talent as a wordsmith... please continue to share your writing!
Thanks!
Bill

RED GARNIER said...

Julia this is a beautiful poem. CLASSIC AND TIMELESS!! I'd never read it before so thanks for posting! =)

Lisa Andel said...

I really liked this imagery:

Spirits linger
Cold tendrils hanging
From the shoulders of
The ones still fighting

Cold indeed. ;)

Amy Ruttan said...

That's an awesome poem. I love everything medievil. That's what I love to write and read and you did an amazing job of capturing a moment in time back then. Love it.

I always wanted to play Ado Annie but my school didn't do Oklahoma till after I left. Actually I know all the words to all the songs because I love that musical SO much.

julia said...

Amy, did you see the Hugh Jackman version of "Oklahoma!"? He is truly awesome as Curly. As he wraps up "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" you'd swear he'd never sung those words until that moment. A tingly moment!

Robin L. Rotham said...

What a vivid portayal! It was like watching a movie. :D Wonderful, Julia!

Anna J. Evans said...

I really loved this. My favorite was the 'fear-stained man', that just brought such a visual.

I agree with Feisty, medeival is hard, but you rocked this. It was like a high-budget movie in there, not an 80's bodice ripper, lol.

anna j evans

Rhian / Crowwoman said...

that poem totally kicks ASS!!
incredible!
Like Christine i loved the Demon stanza.
bowing and scraping along with Lillian...

Sparky Duck said...

well this definetly interested me in the next medieval story!

MyUtopia said...

Great poem!

T.A.Chase said...

Julia,

I come visiting from Rhian's blog. I love the same stanza that Lisa commented on.

Spirits linger...

Very well done. :)

TA