In her mouth she took my finger biting gently till it hurt,
Grave her voice like Sunday’s preaching, yet her eyes were spitting mirth,
“That’s for having me forgotten...” waving protest out of way,
“...And for having best of reasons now to kiss the hurt away...”
Felt her lips a fleeting moment tracing down the mark of teeth,
While I feigned the throes of terror like the nation’s dimmest wit,
Then she dragged me... oh my goodness, to that hidden spot of green...
“No, my love, it’s not for loving, wipe that smug and silly grin.
Let me nestle ‘gainst your body on the leaves three autumns old,
Tie my curls around your finger, hundred bands of purest gold,
And before the evening shadows cloak the world in sparkling night
Tell me once again the story of the castle and the knight.”
Closed her eyes, her fragile body working hard to find its nest,
Then she smiled when moments later found it, tight against my chest,
Know she knew the curse was raging through her blood two summers strong,
“One more time...” each day she pleaded, “...need a dream to take along.”
Touched her shoulder, was it trembling with anticipation’s lust,
Trusting me to find the colors... “...paint that dream that have... I must!”
Cleared my throat, that lump of sadness should stay out the gates of dream,
And the whispers started flowing, building trickle to a stream...
“Once upon...” she squeezed my fingers spelling delicate delight,
“Once upon... a spaceship landed...” and she pinched... I screamed, alright!...
“Once upon... before the mountains...” she just squealed and snuggled close,
Will my rusty rhyming magic paint the blush back on my rose?...
«Once upon, before the mountains bartered might for ageless life,
Much before a thorn my heart pierced and its rose became my wife...»
Blinding smile... «...time when the oceans rolled the earth three times around,
And through valleys petals opened with a tinkling, crystal sound,
In the Ever Morning kingdom ruled the king of Fearless White,
Proud of castle up a mountain sprinkling fields with misty light,
White clad armies roving, roaming, spreading peace to Morning’s end,
White maned horses wildly drifting never caring guide or wend.
Rides a knight in aimless wander scouting village, town and dwell,
Prince of Light his name, as fearless as his father... stories tell
That his sword has tasted dozens hearts from hind the twilight zone,
And days soon he’ll be bequeathed with the scepter and the throne.
Black of eye and black of tresses, bronze of skin and bare of foot,
Shrieks the wind in whirling wonder at his mare of blackest soot,
Night, the name the horse was given, young of seasons, quick of flight,
Stolen from the pride of stables yonder way in Ever Night.
Rides the prince, in seven seasons, time the petals turn to red
By the laws of days forgotten, he be king, and he be wed,
Long the kingdom, up the mountains, cross the desert’s burning hole
Ever looking for a princess, wise of mind, and soft of soul.
Thousand maidens, brave and pretty, he had met at bid of king,
None has done his heart aflutter, none be worth of kingdom’s ring,
Now, with his unsaddled fury black of mane and odd of sight
Burning leagues along the border with the evil land of night.
In the distance... lord of blazes... does he see a party’s dust
Nearing fast the narrow passage cut through mountain’s ageless crust?...
Riders five. Is... black?... the color streaming back in wake of trot,
Blasts the fire in his manner and his blood turns frothing hot.
With a warring yell of anger speeds his mount into the clash,
Swords to hands , the gleaming metal poses for a deadly slash,
Sights the party onslaught reaching, fore they time have had to flee,
Turn about the black maned horses, smooth of shape and high of knee,
Leads the party one lone rider, hundred paces head of rest...
Five to one? I did one hundred... blades advance ahead of chest...
Ten more paces... swishing metal ready is to bite the bone...
...Bolts his mount with none of warning... and he crushes down to stone.
Rushes back the black caped rider shoving others out of way,
Glides to ground, the blade rides skywards and his cape is shorn away,
Crawls the prince in torment’s fire, ready is like king to die
As his gushing blood and anger paint in gold the cloudless sky...
Paints in gold?... What is this vision I must see before I pass?...
Witch of sorrows and delusions changing knight to... fairy lass?...
“Take my life, my pride you’ve taken, cut my chest and kingdom’s brand,
And return your evil kingdom, prince and horse - your prize be grand...”
Flowing gold, an angel’s pallor thin like sculpted marble leaf,
Priceless rubies shaped by masters into lips beyond belief,
Fire blue, oh, burning passion, pouring out from sorrowed eyes,
And a whisper that his fury with a feather’s ease defies.
“Take your life? Like way back seasons, you my horse took like a thief,
Burrying my heart in sadness with an endless, grinding grief?
This my horse, that gift was given by my fairy wishing well,
Day before the Shadows Wizard kiled her with his wicked spell.
You a prince, or thief of common and your brand a forger’s gold?
Pick your sword, let’s see your address, if your arm as word is bold.”
Haste the war-men to surround her... “Back!” she orders, soft her say,
Grim and mean, counting ten paces as in anger they obey.
Flint invades the prince’s muscles, fire floods his eyes, unknown,
“If my swords I pick from rubble, dead you are before you groan...”
Not a muscle. Not a heart beat. Not a breath betrays her mind,
Just a blink, his hilts from nowhere in his hands a calling find,
Rears the horse... the war-men holler... she is waiting slim and tall...
One swift move... the metal shatters and the dust enwraps its fall.
Loud’s the silence, was it glimmer in her eyes a moment short
As her gaze pulled down the fences to his heart’s untrodden fort?
Is his face hiding the flurry of the flame’s despotic surge
Crushing like a giant hammer with an evil, pounding urge?
Is the call of waking thunder just a passing moment’s whim
Or the starting page of tempest as those hearts with fury brim?
“Come my princess, horses nearing... white flagged carts are closing fast...”
“Princess!?...”“Yes, Ei-Leen they name me, black the banner up my mast,
Fearsome Night my graceful father, for whose sake I live and fight,
And your enemy... forever. Fare thee well, the Prince of Light.”
Boots unlacing, bare of ankle in one graceful move she mounts...
“Night I called her...” “Night I called her...” and her anger no more counts
As she leans, the mane caressing, softly chanting in the ear,
Suddenly the muscled body long its spine begins to shear,
Slowly, wedges start protruding, linked by tense and shiny hide,
Pacing forward ever faster, changing pace to trot, to glide...
“But you missed the word of magic...” calls her voice as up they climb,
One black horse, the gift of magic, one proud princess in her prime...
Waits the prince, his faithful war-men rush ahead to join his side,
“Witch?...” “Oh, no, the lass your queen was...” and his smile starts spreading wide,
As they wonder... “Are you hurt prince?” “Yes.” he says and mounts a cart.
“Deadly. Twice. My pride was shattered. And the second time - my heart.”
At the castle, up the stairways skipping stairs in twos and threes,
“Lord my father, where’s your hiding, ‘cause my heart’s a summer breeze,
Bride I found, I need your blessing, need your wisdom’s guiding steer,
Mother sweet, your understanding, and the warmth I so revere...”
“Is it true?” the king’s soft thunder rumbles slowly through the halls,
At his side, with age-set beauty, lights the queen the somber walls,
“It is true. I beg your pardon, time and time you said you pray
That the peace rules long the twilight, hold to put to kill and slay,
Wild of ways I’ve been and rowdy, keeping back from getting wise,
This to be the path of learning was my foolish, blind surmise,
Then it came – that elfin moment, almost none in passing time,
I have learned the truth of living with my nose rubbing in slime...
Lord my father, queen my mother, is my wish to offer truce
Ever Night, its king, its people, ban from land all war, abuse,
Proud Ei-Leen, sweet wildest fairy, offer her my heart, my hand,
Offer her my throne and scepter, offer her my home, my land.”
Grave of face and hard of burden, takes the king his son to chest
Watching queen’s majestic bearing and her lips in pain compressed,
Speaks the king... “Light Wizard’s dwelling is the place thou now shallt go,
Now the time the kingdom’s telling thou shall find and thou shall know.
Go!” He turns, his manner smitten, in his stride a squalid lurch,
And the queen hangs back a moment... “Trust your heart, reach deep, and search.”
Puzzled, troubled, life’s first furrow cuts the young man’s clouding brow
Time has come to stop my looking. Time has come for knowledge. Now.
High above the castle’s towers, way beyond an eagles’ nest,
Gropes for hold the climbing figure, tired muscles scream for rest,
On he crawls, his bleeding fingers carry shards of broken stone,
Gushing cuts adorn his body to the depths of gleaming bone,
One more cliff, then one more valley, then the last of hanging rocks...
On the silent dwelling’s adit first he leans, and then he knocks,
“If to ask your way you come here, then be gone or be to dust,
If to know you come, be entered, and my ways you’ll have to trust...”
“Come to learn...” the prince calls weakly, and the gate then screeches in,
In the dusk - a tiny figure, ageless old and ageless thin,
At a sign, a gleaming chalice serves the cracked and gaping mouth,
“You, the first that ever mounted through the deadly cliffs to south.”
“I the first to burn for knowledge, I the first to ache be told,
I the first to reach my castle wants before my blood runs cold,
You have taught my king and father, and his father fore of that,
Back throughout the changing seasons to the day the world was flat,
This as much my tutors told me - write and read, and fight, and rule,
But the greatest of them riddles stayed beyond the reach of school,
Why is Morning, Night, and Twilight, why is war and blood and strife,
Why my heart’s call can’t I follow, and Night’s princess call my wife?”
“Prince of Light, first drink the water, then be seated, then await
And the knowledge you be given through your spirit’s open gate.
Then your mind will have the reason and your spirit come awake,
But let heart to be the master of the path your life will take.
Ei-Leen, princess, is aseated with Night Wizard, cross the ridge,
She has come with quest for knowledge, looking for a saving bridge,
Fate has played a cruel caper on two hearts unripe to fend,
None the cure in wands of magic, one this wound and none the mend.”
Drinks the prince the breezy water, eyes hang heavy, slows his breath,
“Did you poison me, oh, wizard... is your learning worth of death?...”
Asks... his head falls on the table and his spirit starts to spin,
As his mind uncovers knowledge soaked in pain, in lust, in sin.
Thousands seasons fore his birth time, fore the wizards scribed the laws,
Mighty were both Night and Morning, drunk with kingdom’s rule and cause,
Knights in shining, fearsome armor waiting for the word of king,
Riding horses struck with magic, struck with mighty spawn of wing.
Armies lining endless borders mounted proud on horses tall,
White of mane this side of mountain, black of mane beyond the wall,
Each, the wilderness of Twilight wished to conquer to its needs,
Twilight... land of magic forests, there the winged horse lives and breeds.
Three the wizards, great of power, Light this side, and Night beyond,
Greater still - the Shadows master, ruled that land where magic spawned,
Ten the scores they human folly reined with cast of mighty spells,
But the greed and thirst for glory burned like thousand wicked hells.
Ten the scores they herded horses white as snow or black as coal,
Offering as gift to armies hard of brow and dry of soul,
Ten the scores they linked by marriage Morning house with house of Night,
Followed by abhorrent slaughter in that never ending fight.
Thousand thousands died in battles in an ever present roar,
Deathly plagues, and devastation raised the count by many score,
Till that time the wizards counseled with an ire burning eyes,
Time has come to end the slaying or it’s time for world’s demise.
Mountains steep both sides of Twilight they had forged at move of hand,
Narrow passages for riders, just a few through moving sand,
Then the laws, those rules of terror for all human taking breath,
Quarter none and one the verdict, all offenders put to death.
No winged horse be sold or given, be it mount to prince or king,
No more herds be lead to battle, bloody triumphs home to bring,
No more arrow hail cascading like a torrent from the sky...
No pretense, if vain if valid. Those who break the law will die.
No more marriage Night to Morning, be it servant, knight, or king,
No more vows, no youths to couple if by promise if by ring,
No more infants born in fury, left to live the breaking tie...
No pretense, if vain if valid. Those who break the law will die.
Wakes the prince, his fever fading, cries his heart, his body hurts,
From his princely cot hang tatters, once his silken pricey shirts,
“Oh, dear mother, need your softness, need your loving, gentle guide,
Whence I got inside the castle, wheresoever shall I ride?...
Cuts my chest a nonesuch passion for a lass I once have seen,
Burn my insides, and a craving splits my body heart to spleen,
Grips my father’s fathers vileness this damned world in iron’s claw,
And it weighs like seven mountains this accursed wizard’s law.
Is bewitched I? beg, tell me, let my head upon your lap,
Hide my shameful tears from daylight with your garment’s perfumed flap,
I have never known such beauty lied in foe’s bedeviled lands,
I would give my life and kingdom for one touch of Ei-Leen’s hands...”
Pale’s the queen’s autumnal beauty, tenderly she holds his head,
Bathe her eyes in endless sorrow for a dream forever dead,
Joyful visions, wedding, sucklings... changed to fright of morrow’s time,
Once, my womb with life he shredded, now with death, with love, with crime.
“Rush to stables, there your father waits for you with grief and pride,
Know! he loves you. And would gladly give his life and take your side.
Now he knows you of his breed are, fit to be majestic king,
He who loves with no regretting, is befit to wear his ring.
Go son, hide. And may the powers laying wrath in wizards’ hands
Guide your step and watch your spirit and your path through shifting sands.”
Down the steps, along the columns, knowing not what there awaits
Through the passes, through the garden, on through stable’s wooden gates,
Running lightly among horses, stalwart foals and sires proud,
White of mane and wild of spirit, neigh and clamor turning loud,
There, behind a corner’s hiding, shines the king’s confounded stare,
By his side, staining the shadows, one black-maned and shining mare...
“Night I called her...”, “Night I called her...” ...what’s this echo strange of sound
Bouncing from the graceful figure cladding black on pales profound,
At her side... oh, wizard magic, sharing sides with Fearless White,
Wrinkled, huge, yet bowed and weary, lurks the mighty Fearsome Night.
“Ei-Leen...”, “Prince...”, they clash in ardor with the human side of beast,
Smashing mouths and clutching fingers wrapping each to iron fist...
“Hurry children, mount, be vanished, draws the season to an end
When the wrath for deeds forbidden does arise and does impend,
Hide among the herds of Twilight, shepherded by fairies kind,
None but them shall know your dwelling, as in love you stay entwined,
Lose these worlds and live your passion, forests green and waters blue,
And if day will come to perish, you have lived your fire through.
Mount... now go!... your kings command you...” and the trot bolts Twilight’s way,
Fade the shapes, black mane aflutter, and the black gives way to grey.
Back, the grizzly wizened faces of two enemies of old
Fight a bitter, losing battle with an eye once dry and cold.
Twilight... home to none but fairies, wild the horses, thick the herds,
Where the sky is thick with stallions chasing fast eschewing birds,
Roaming fields, no snares, no wires, battling fiercely wild and free,
And for long and magic moments rubbing necks in tender spree.
Fragile fairies, chasing horses, riding swarms of butterflies,
Sprying with a boundless vigor down to earth and up to skies,
Playing tunes like crystal water gushing out of rocky springs
Dripping down from mountain summits long a harp’s enchanted strings.
Mid the whirlwind, mid the valley, mid the racing colored wings,
Night is pacing, neighing softly, with a peace befit of kings,
On her back a prince, a princess, budding life demands its right,
Soon a crying human infant will raise fists towards the light.
They have bathed in the shadows, skins alight with cooling dew,
They have dived amid of rivers tinting flesh a bluish hue,
They have loved atop the mountain melting snow to steaming stream,
They have burnt with raging passion through a rock’s smoldering seam,
There’s no world, no time, no anguish, only rivers sparkling by,
Know they know that new life’s coming calls the time to come and die,
On a bed of crimson flowers, screaming life, the infant’s born,
Slowly, crosses Night the border, hushes Twilight, sad, forlorn.
In the hall, big candles shiver, strewing scents of creeping blight,
King of Night and Queen of Morning, King of Morning, Queen of Night,
On a dais three wizards, silent, tiny figures throbbing might,
On the floor, the infant sleeping, proud Ei-Leen, and Prince of Light.
Thin the wizard’s voice, and feeble, of unblinking eye and mind,
“This, the infant, Night to Morning in one kingdom’s might will bind,
Rule will make the law of justice, loved will be by beast and man,
Never’s been such peaceful joyance since the age that time began.
Law is law, and all are equal. No absolving is to come,
Yet from this the moment onward - old to new, to life succumb,
Old - the rules of world will vanish, new - the rules we here decree,
Roll will night and roll will morning, round the world for all to see,
Prince of Light, you’ll dress the morning, bound to light for evermore,
Ei-Leen princess, night your dwelling, light for you comes nevermore,
Prince of Light, the Sun we name you, Ei-Leen... Starlight, like nonesuch,
Evermore each other chasing, nevermore each other touch.
Long as ever is your passion, long as ever Sun, you burn,
Letting fires of damnation through your insides coil and churn,
Scorless hearts will sing your glory, scorless names for you be found,
Scorless times you’ll reach for Starlight, reaching none but grief profound.
Beautiful beyond description, Starlight, you will nights adorn,
Lone and lost inside the sparkle that your passion’s blaze will mourn,
Scorless hearts will sing your beauty praising your infinite charms,
Never will you feel the fire of your Sun’s embracing arms.”
To this day, the Sun in fury chases vainly Starlight’s love,
Fire pouring in his madness, scorching worlds from way above,
And in vain craves gentle Starlight, day to day, a moment’s bliss,
All she can is sprinkle dew tears, which he dries with fire’s kiss...»
Now you smile... Your knuckles tremble, holding tight the rose I bought
Years ago from that old gypsy, when my eye your blue smile caught,
Never did you leave that withered... crumbling... rotting... broken stem
Far from hand, from eye, from bosom... your most treasured gift and gem.
Now I can... My hand glides slowly to your left. Your thunder’s dead.
Like the rose my body crumbles, in your hair I sink my head,
Damn the curse and damn the battle that you lost with queenly grace,
Damn the angels that are singing in your warm and sad embrace,
Now you know... And I will wonder till my hand you’ll take and guide,
Did my dream join rose-dust perfume on that long, eternal ride,
Did you find a happy ending, one for which your heart did yearn,
«When the sun does touch the starlight and in love and flames they burn?...»