As soot among the trodden snow
forgetful of the extinguished flame,
he knows not his joyous name
while the winds of winter begin to blow.
Dancing along the bladed water
and blinded by vengeance’s charnel channels
of black and white, and wartime’s annals—
she is a needle-tongued daughter.
The little bird in the gilded cage
bethought her life silk to sew,
but found her castle made of snow
and her fairytale darkened with a turning page.
To escape the shadow of the tallest mountain
he drank wine and killed for sport,
finding himself drawn to a bird in court,
hounding her by the moonlit fountain.
To ascend the sky he had to fall,
shattering his mind upon many species
and scattering himself among the weir trees
to answer Summer’s green-throated call.
The bear and the maiden fair
do not always dance well, I can tell,
nor can he abide the flames that swell
in his cavernous heart— that exile lair.
Proud, golden-maned lion upon his rock,
having a hand in most everything hitherto,
and an unblinking glare that could wither, too,
though it did not save him from pointed talk.
Writ so small, yet shadow so giant in cast,
he tumbled for fun, up and down the rung
of the ladder, plying his witty tongue
to politics, and prostitutes; his mind vast.
A peach stained his grim mind
as he stood against his vine-entwined brother,
unwilling to give his claim to another—
he ground his teeth upon an unseen rind.
Hapless, but not helpless, he had a master
whom, like himself, no one wanted,
but upon the blackwater, in battle undaunted,
he helped save half a man from complete disaster.
Pale eyes like the ice-eyed Wights,
he was a man of a mold to the extreme
who let his blood run rather than teem,
unlike his son, a rabid dog that bites.
Through dire straits he traveled,
carrying bulbs beneath stone, without light,
costing him three fingers to become a knight,
and learning to read as his banner unraveled.
Misgivings of marriage, as a stagnant river
that has been rounded into a moat,
feeding itself on love and anger, as a knife to a throat,
even after Death, that failed peace-giver.
Upon a river the stag hammered a lizard
down into the rushing tri-fork
only to be slain by a bellyful of pork
before the gathering of the Great Blizzard.
As if centaur, part man and part horse,
and victories braided in his hair
as he mounted a dragon so womb might bear
a black stallion upon a dreaded course.
Having thought his destiny in hand,
he found love in his mirrored double
only to lose it all to some wartime trouble—
now no gold can compensate; nor title or land.