Saturday 7 March 2020

Epic as F

by Nick Gisburne

In the bleakest bark of night
Painted by an elder star
Long there marched a wiping light
Draining from the deepest bar

Rising to a swarming swell
Velvets hailed a winter’s cake
On the shoulders of its shell
Curled the omens of the snake

As the lanterns blamed the sea
Limping danger caught their cry
Come to pour its golden knee
On their selfish butterfly

Currying with eager scrolls
All was foggy, all was game
Yet their grey, emphatic rolls
Could not flush the feeling flame

Wretched inks were crudely penned
Sullen bruisings witched the room
Shattered stripes no charm could mend
Peelings of a stolen bloom

And the membrane of the spheres
Rose beyond the winsome dew
Thence, the tumbled volunteers
Took their nails to strike anew

Linking through the scarlet silk
Vexed, with kettled charms they cleaved
Long before the dawn was milk
Pardoned feathers all received

Pressed to glean with crooked eye
In the parlous pit of dust
Garlands from a weeded sky
Let the splintered winds combust

Now the flaxen maidens clawed
Calling supple ants of lead
Much was laddered, much restored
Verdant dreams fell overhead

Castles, filtered, flagged and sealed
Thinning as a sister’s face
In the belt, their spins concealed
Pains, pulled numb from steaming space

Fragrant shimmers stopped their words
Seeking truth with valid coin
Nudging through the shrunken curds
Nothing balanced would it join

Fractured makings skived with ash
Soon their baleful candles graced
But the leakings burned as mash
Begging, failing, charred and chaste

From the larder’s pith and light
Stealthy as a moonish crow
Finding silence blushed with blight
Tepid pressings walked in glow

Each aglitter in its clay
Much was primed to salt their souls
Loathsome triggers leached away
Fallen to the bended holes

Fulsome sendings cracked their strings
Shadows rubbed the vowelled stake
Sombre shavings, templed kings
Choked a scaly, scented lake

Now the silvers stitched their nest
Orphans beat a sceptred fist
Ribbons, exiled, bled the quest
Striding through a stubbled mist

So it clung, the sneering source
Leathered engines, plagued with steel
Shards of resurrected force
Drove the evanescent wheel

Born of rage and boiling flow
None could drum its peerless kind
Ever heaving, scalding, slow
Onward lumped its cunning grind

Yet the martyrs of the plate
Dipped their zeal with starch and storm
Bridging autumn’s throw to fate
Charged their hearts to meet its form

Long they bulled its dappled beams
Thirsting for the bait of breach
And at last their staunch regimes
Proved the curtain of its reach

Carping walls once closed to flaw
Spread their keys with swollen cast
Tongues proclaimed abiding thaw
From the bane once overcast

Think ye not to grieve with woe
Languid stigmas dogged with darn
Let their legend burst and blow
Sworn and famed in epic yarn

For this self-inflicted challenge I decided to write a nonsense poem, in the style of an epic legend. However, I could not use invented words, and it was essential to retain a sense that something is happening at all times. It would be fairly easy to write multiple lines filled with any old random words, but in doing that you would end up with a pile of gibberish. The balance of this poem was much more difficult to achieve than I anticipated!