April 19: Colors

Red; Silver; Shades of green

 

Red

We guard against the darkness, and watch the folk who build
the bonfires high this night, to fill the empty skies
with merriment, laughter and dance; our hearts are worn from
duty, our shields weigh heavy, but on this night we are
flesh and blood once more, when spring is welcomed back
with open arms: when the maidens wreathe flowers in their hair
and dance to our soldier’s tunes to lift our hearts again.

We guard against the beasts that would consume us all in
the long nights, should our vigilance fail, and our watch is long,
but we take heart from the promise of dawn to come again;
I was resting ‘neath the rustling grand oak, contemplating,
when I saw her for the first time—
a single maiden who did not dance, merely stood and smiled,
with red ribbons in her hair, lacing around a single red rose.

I guard against things that belong in nightmares and
thought myself insensitive to joy; that remains for
the folk we defend – innocent and unaware; but the maiden
with the rose chose me: she only danced for my eyes, once
the moon rose high and the others sought their blankets—
she chose me, and gave me her blossom to keep, with kisses
on my weary eyes to let me finally sleep.

I guard against a darkness that seeps into one’s soul, thus I was
tainted by twisted things that should not be; but I was never as alive
in all my battles as I was dancing with the maiden ‘neath
the grand oak tree; a rose I now keep close to my heart gives me
all the strength I need, a lush, red seal to keep the red of my blood
inside, against the next spring coming with the dawn,
to see a maiden with red ribbons in her hair smile for me.

 

April 19, 2014

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Silver

Gilded silver goblet trembles, blood red wine
brimming with noxious fumes—
I listen to the silver-tongued man of black and white
and accepted his wine and his thoughts without
the pinch of salt he surely deserves; for he gave me
clarity I thirsted for so; the land is parched,
my predicament ominous in a hall that eerily resembles
a grand chessboard… perhaps his invitation
was sincere, and perhaps I am a prisoner until I agree,
so each night I wish wishes upon a silver full moon
that someone tell me why these explanations bother me;
on one hand, he says, what we do is justified
because we’re in a constant war with a great evil
that has no face, no voice, yet continually spreads lies—
but the wine turns to vinegar, and food at his table
tastes like ashes: the silver-tongued man is a preacher
who has an explanation for everything; he is
a man of black and white loyalties,
his goals have forever been clear – why, then, does he
need to keep me so near? the gilt is peeling off the mirror,
the reflection a silvery haze: I do not think this man
has ever used it, else he might see something unnerving;
conviction is mercurial in a mind like mine,
a maze, he says, where it’s difficult to find his way,
difficult to latch onto clear, whole thoughts and sway me,
with his silver-tongued ways… I am free, he says,
but why, then, all these restrictions? I am in a palace
where he speaks of inexorable poverty, walking across
a room with a chessboard, and I can’t help but feel
I’m just another piece to his grand scheme; he cares,
he says, about the people he’s never met, he desires
with a passion that all get their deserved shares; but that
silver is starting to wear on me, I don’t think I can believe;
I saw a pawn today, a broken man with eyes milky white
and he said to me that after he was paid, the promised
silver penny – he put out his sight to stop the dreams coming…
the gilt is flaking, I remembered, but the silver-tongued man
has pockets lined with gold: only a mirror gets this treatment,
and the minions amongst whom I am being recruited—
I fled beneath a silvery sliver of the moon, and doffed
my silver coat; fine though it was, gift as it is, I knew I was
wearing silver livery – and he will never willingly let me go.

 

April 19, 2014

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Shades of green

The words in your letters are blurred, emerald ink
running to morph into a vague painting of
green meadows burdened with memories—
memories that you shared with me, all laced
with fondness and anguish at their loss—
and my heart is green as I read, my heart is the green
of the sympathy of weeping willows, but though
my shade is a welcoming place for you to rest, I am
in truth only a shadow in your eyes, invisible
to your empty arms, and only thought of in jest;
you told me of doubts plaguing you, despairing
that you should ever be loved so deeply, yet you
wear your imperfections on your sleeve with pride—
and your imperfections seem perfection to me,
perfection my heart is green for, green
as a budding sapling brimming with hope,
gracefully bending before the storm of feelings,
but parched to know your tears, thirsting to give
the understanding you do not want from me;
you say that you have spurned many around you,
for the attention they give to you undeservedly, so
you keep saying, and my heart is green, my heart
is the green of poison ivy, an itch that slowly
saps my mind of sanity as I keep trying, crawling
over and through your walls with tendrils unnoticed;
you continue to take advantage of my enigma,
a person only known by letters – that spells safety,
my words a brief comfort you read with the stigma
of not wanting to truly change, and my heart is green,
my heart spells out the green of a jungle of complexity
that your words evoke in me, but forever a lonely island
whose shores were never even glimpsed from your boat;
we keep talking, though I think I must stop trying,
but your letters were wrapped in olive ribbons
begging forgiveness that provokes an unwilling smile—
my heart is green for your tact and your attention,
and as I imagine whoever finally captures your heart,
my own will be green, a green so deep it’s almost black:
the green of envy, and I know I’ll despair of ever
getting you back – though I know you wouldn’t have me.

 

April 19, 2014

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