Saturday 1 February 2020

Forgotten Empires

by Nick Gisburne

Stolen from history, vanished from memory
Purged from their place in the annals of time
Empires and dynasties, rising in infamy
Conquer and kill in their glorious prime

Cities of wickedness, vicious barbarians
Tyrants and despots and merciless kings
Mighty, malevolent, fearless, invincible
Longing for war and the power it brings

See her, the sorceress, graceful and terrible
Leading her legions, delivering death
Daughter of violence, queen of depravity
Whispering witchcraft with venomous breath

Pounding the barricades, taunting her enemies
Murderous madness will fuel the fight
Engines of anarchy bludgeon the battlements
Deadlocked in daylight, but cometh the night

Twilight surrenders and blackens to ebony
Only the moon finds a place in the sky
Over the battlefield, gathering thunderheads
Summoned by sorcery, rumble and sigh

Dragging her chariot, spirited stallions
Find her a vantage point, high on a hill
Lifting a talisman up to the firmament
Conjuring chaos, she orders the kill

Rivers of energy flow from her fingertips
Surging and billowing, feeding the storm
Boiling with malice, the frenzy of thunderbolts
Tangles and twists in a turbulent swarm

Hurling the hurricane onto the citadel
Bursting, a holocaust, all is consumed
Splintering towers and shattering monuments
Bury the living, the dying, the doomed

Daylight reveals an inglorious aftermath
Smouldering ruins, the city is dead
Beaten and bleeding, a handful of prisoners
Soon to be crucified, cowards who fled

Pillaging scavengers savour the tragedy
Hunting for jewels and money, they thrive
Others have darker, despicable appetites
Raping and slaughtering all who survive

Striding triumphantly over the carcasses
See how the sorceress sneers at defeat
Death is her deity, brutal finality
Worshipping victory, certain and sweet

Slowly the glittering crown of the emperor
Turns to the touch of her blood-covered hands
Meaningless trinket, an impotent ornament
Quickly destroys it, returns to her plans

Empires and dynasties sang of her infamy
All did she conquer and kill in their prime
Nameless, the sorceress vanished from history
Lost and forgotten forever in time

I’ve been exploring different aspects of poetry for a while now. This one is full of dactyls – it is written in Dactylic Tetrameter, to be more specific. A dactyl is 3 syllables, long-short-short, or DUM-da-da if you prefer, so it gallops along nicely if you read it that way. Tetrameter means there are four of them to a line, although the second line ends differently, with a choriamb. You’ll have to look that one up, but I will be exploring choriambs shortly!

And, just because I cannot unlearn the following knowledge, I will repeat it here: this is the same form as the introductory verse to ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ by The Beatles. Yes, you can sing along using that tune with this poem. I discovered that halfway through the poem, which was not great when I wanted to finish it and couldn’t get the song out of my head! If I accidentally write something which can accompany ‘Baby Shark’, please promise not to tell me... ever!