The prologue to an epic poem in the style of Chretien de Troyes.
|*Note: There are some lines that are still out of meter. I'm working on them... :)
Some tales are told by men who know
And through them hope some truth to show;
Their words while worth a spartan sum
Still spin a tapestry undone
By time not, nor wefts bleached in light,
But oft forgotten. Recondite,
They hang in somber halls of stone,
Mute to masses, truth unknown.
Some other songs are vast and vain
To weave a world to entertain.
With lark and lute and tenured tones,
They fly like stars yet feast on stones.
So soon they starve, their notes dissolve,
And to obscurity devolve;
For none their melodies can hum
When time has passed, their lyrics dumb.
But there is lore not of learned men,
With scribe's penned scratches older than
The vellumed page and ironed gall
That mark what muddled minds recall.
For there are thoughts that fall in spring
And with their words the flowers bring,
Their bright, fair petals sing with dew,
Remembering their words anew.
Still others swarm in swaying trees,
Their chanting echoes the bustling breeze,
Suggesting heroes young and old
Who battle 'gainst the brazen bold.
The blazes of the blistering sun
That beat o'er lands dry rivers run
Tell what the struggling hero's done
And with what torment o'er demons he's won.
The poetry of autumn's leaves
Dance in endless, grand reprieves,
Announcing victory all around
Till exhaustion pulls them mute to the ground;
And so to rest in blankets white
As silent winter brings respite,
In calm catharsis carrying sleep.
Thus Nature's telling is complete.
So cycles on with ceaseless song
Of men with might, of men with wrong.
Each year relates a story new
To be perceived by me or you:
Listen well to pelting rain,
And hear Achilles fight again
Watch raging rivers bend and flow
See Jason on the famed Argo.
As sown seeds sprout and raise their stalks,
They follow paths Gilgamesh walks.
When clouds obscure the pantoned sky,
Feel Noah's fear of floods gone by.
On rocky cliffs, his head unbowed,
Hiawatha's faith stands proud.
In barrows greened by farming folk,
You'll surely smell Old Toby's smoke.
In stalwart strata see Arthur's court;
In gulls hear cries of Carthage's port.
And as quick fires forests burn,
Aeneas' hope you'll surely learn.
In caverns' dark obscurity,
See shadows of Antigone.
Or when by wind or man oaks fall,
Vainamoinen still stands tall.
For man does not a story make
But from faint sense around him takes
What has in cycles ages old
With perfect words been already told.
Men of old were more content
To ponder Nature's long lament,
Communing with the plays of clouds,
Translating them to madding crowds.
The words they chose were words they knew,
And on the world round them drew
The scenes which now we paint as old,
For twas to them the tales were told.
But now we fail to listen thus
And let stray lights fall to the dust.
Colors we know compose those rays,
Yet care we not what white light says.
Attuned to weather we are now,
Though not for truth but to allow
Our own designs to play out right:
Avoiding rain and wind despite
Them screaming secrets at our doors,
Closed and locked against the wars
We wage in deaf defiance of
Their tales of faith and hope and love.
Instead we turn to fickle friends,
Like circumstance and fleeting trends,
In hopes these half drawn frames of time
Will aid our meaning's upward climb.
These ladders 'gainst this steepest cliff
We lean and try ascending, stiff
With muscles unused to the strain,
Confidence and might we feign.
As nearer rise we to the top,
More intense we fear the drop,
And so we fashion rungs anew
From those below us. Pretty soon
We've deconstructed all below
To strive for where we want to go.
What once was firm foundation now
Are two strained, bending beams about
To buckle under what we thought
Our righteous path to claim our spot.
Let foolish men fall from that height,
Who hold all Nature's truths in spite;
And let the wise once again turn
To hear the rain and from it learn.
Thus I in no way deign to claim
The words that follow in my name,
For they were not of my invention,
But rather of God's intention.
I heard them first in whispers small
As Mother hummed the songbirds' call.
The hero's fame then came to me
In Father's felling oaken tree.
His tragic flaw was a pavane
Sung in a howling hurricane.
And in the drought I knew his call:
For justice fight for one and all.
Against the narrator I fought
At first, a messenger I thought
I'd not want to be, for that life
Is filled with toil, fraught with strife.
But though in other work I buried,
Still the songs unsung were carried
To all my senses, try as I might
To cover ears and hide from light.
At last, tormented by the tune,
I gave up, begging of the moon,
The lesser of the illumed spheres,
To be forgiving of my fears;
And to with gentle light begin
To weave the threads that I would spin.
So she, the gracious and divine,
With words more pure and poised than mine,
To me this story's start did tell,
And I was wise to listen well.
She started slow and softly too,
For to this role I was still new,
Taking pain to well explain
And from more blinding scenes refrain.
So first in pearlescent hue
Of Ildran's will I saw and knew
As moonlit shadows bent and swayed
I learned of how his fame was made.
To bolder scenes the moon then turned
Of Ildran's love both won and spurned
Of Daedra's choice to him forsake
So that his life she would not take.
Still brighter then she sang and soon
The sun's first rays joined with the moon
In order that I'd better see
What grief was brought by boiling sea
Of lies that led an army strong
To Hilmar though he'd done no wrong
How by a judgment quickly made
A thousand men to rest were laid
Of Trellimane's long, golden hair
And of her mount, the silver mare
That tired not from trek nor climb
Nor aged through all the passing time.
While half the tale was left to tell
The moon bid me a fond farewell
Leaving me with risen sun
Who stayed until the tale was done
Of Perrinol, the perilous peak
Where Weldon spent a vicious week
Battling for the right to keep
His pride—though in the end he'd weep.
Of Rollingsford, its bulwarked walls
Protecting saints in splendid halls
But far beneath its towering spires
Looms a madness born of fires.
Of bloodred rivers, magic stones
Of golden trees and haunted thrones
Of prophecies long lost and of
How fates do fail when faced with love.
At last the sun came to its eve
A moment 'fore it turned to leave
It looked me straight from eye to eye
And gave one final gift goodbye
A sudden surge, a blistering heat
Came over me from head to feet
So e'en though night's cold wind I felt
These frozen words did start to melt
To share with man those truer things
The tale of Ildran surely brings,
With help of moon and sun I start
To tell his tale and do my part
As flooding words my mouth depart,
Listen well with ear and heart.