wizardry

March 15, 2007

He tosses them up,
after-sound spears his words,
spell cast like a dragon of kites.

The defenders tremble, feel their mass
drain into the roots of trees. They fold
from their dimensions,
slicked to his syllables.

The wizard grins: you know, the words
don’t really matter.
I ask him where then
is the magic.
He grins again.
I say now

I must watch my grunts divide the carcass,
but first, teach me, as you promised.
He tells me
to honour my gods. These are a dragon,
a wolf, and a great bird
that calls morning. He asks me what price they take,
I laugh. It is always the same.

I wipe first my blade, then myself
on the pelt, and we share the meat;
I smile slightly and tell him my gods
only eat bones.

I nudge the fire.

He begins. The southern priests say
that a boy-god raised himself from the outer ocean
upon a lotus flower, and dreamed the land.
Magic is when we step closer to him
and he stirs for a moment.

My spit steams a tiny cloud from the flame.
What you say is nonsense. You have no intention
of offering your secrets. I know the world:

the days grow and split like vines,
the gods are names we give to the blade
that splits us like sickle slices of moon.
I ask you for the power to craft empires, but
I might as well pray to the ash between the stones.

The wizard laughs and opens my body with
my knife. Gods and cities spill out like butterflies,
each clutching my heart like a prize. I wake
outside camp, run to my companions
and tell them we do not have to fight.

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4 Responses to “wizardry”

  1. Dick Jones said

    An effective piece of narrative, haunting & dreamlike. It breathes a little new life into a much visited genre.

  2. Thanks, Dick. Was a risky one in terms of genre, yes, so I’m glad it doesn’t seem too cliched.

    Browsing through your poetry at the mo and enjoying them.

  3. Buddha would like this one.

  4. 🙂 that’s a lovely thing to say.

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