Do You Not Hear the Bells?

Do you not hear the bells, my daughter,

tolling in the hills?

That is Death’s herald, daughter.

Feel how the night wind chills!

Do you not mark the sweet knells, daughter,

carried by the wind?

Death rides his gory horse to us,

your contract to rescind.

I stand above the place you lay. My tears will see me drowned,

for you have sold your soul to be once more above the ground.

And even now the vermin flee your coffin in surprise,

the earth beneath me churns and breaks and bubbles at your rise.

Now flesh and sinew cover bones once yellowed, moldy, black,

Your lovely hand breaks free and now there is no turning back.

And Death now swings his spectral scythe, and I must take your place,

but not before you kiss me once more on my ancient face.

The lack of rotting carrion no longer scents your sighs.

And Death himself has fallen for the beauty in your eyes.

The bells now tell of Death’s new bride. Be happy, and be well!

Now let my warming soul descend, your substitute in hell.

Bells in the Mist

In the moments

where there are

breaks

in the mist,

you can still see them swinging

in the belfry with childish abandon,

and in our better days

knelled their notes like such, with innocent glee.

But now, in the

ever-darkening mist,

like abandoned children,

they were brought to silence,

and in the shrouded darkness,

they will also grow still.

No music,

not even muffled by the cursed vapors,

to continue their dance of song.

And all our joyless tears

float from our eyes to mingle

in the shadowed mist,

giving the lie

to happiness.

THE FEATHERED WAND

The hatchlings’ tiny, shiny feathers

gild and grace the handle of the pipes,

and all the peace in the world

that was never attained,

broken by the strife and suffering

of humanity’s merciless

love of power

over other forms of dust,

is healed in the smoke,

blessed by

colorful fledgling feathers

that will never

feel the sun and wind and rain,

and

master the sky.

SPELLS IN THE SAND

All those ages past.

All these ancient gods.

All of these organs, bodies, and bones

tossed into all these fires.

All these prayers and offerings

of flesh, gold, and precious stones.

And the scent of all these flowers

and perfumes to hide

the stench of rot.

All these signs and sigils,

symbols, runes, and ruins.

All these spirits of light and dark,

summoned by all these tongues

speaking spells of power.

All silent now.

All dead forever.

All covered

in soil and sand

for

all time.

The untold

The tales grow brittle,

left untold,

The incantations, dry.

The knight, the dragon,

and the maid forgotten,

left to die.

The warrior and the quarry

cease their endless chasing game,

and all the wild in all the world

is culled, and dulled, and tame.

The story-laden stars go dark.

The magic creatures cry.

The lantern flowers give no light,

and fae no longer fly.

Beware the rift of magic

separated from the earth.

No hero comes to save the day.

There is no death or birth.

The stories lay forgotten now

on dusty, splintered shelves.

Thus we abandon to the void

the better of ourselves.

The Gauntlet of Forgotten

Silent now,

this once rambunctious band

of warriors.

All of them

silent now,

except me.

All these years later,

I still remember

the Elder’s advice

as she covered her knees

with her blanket.

“The cause you fight for

will never be absent

in the world,

for the hearts of men are

ever self-serving.”

She watches from among the stones

and remembers the day

she saw her son die.

I mourn with her,

prayerful, fearful,

in the light as she fades from view,

her tears gray as

rainclouds,

and colder than

death.

Tamed Voices

I’ve been made to understand

you’ve tamed the voices in your head,

and slaughtered to silence those

around your heart.

It’s no small thing you’ve accomplished.

You must yell ever louder,

and cut yourself until they bleed too.

Twist them slow and painfully,

like a rusty top forcefully pried

off the warped rim of a broken jar.

Grind them until their screams stop.

Take, then, the piece of you that survived the

furnace and the crucible,

and withstood the elements

of scientific arrogance

eroding the world,

and escape to

the quiet of your soul.

Watch the chaos of life leak,

streaking down the windows,

streaking down your face,

in the silent wailing

of the tamed voices,

and name yourself their

Master.