Sunday, June 17, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 6 - In Medieval English Woods

This one is from 1986. Twenty-one years later, and I've still got the same images playing through my mind! (Current novel takes place in Dark Age Britain)

In Medieval English Woods

The pound of hooves beginning
Bodies crouching
In the waiting

The hiss of leaves
And popping branches - torn
The rip of moss from earth
The thud of hearts
In night attack

Demon shadows leap
A fear-stained man
His arm to swing at air
While one who sees his moment
Their faces kiss
The slipping sliding for the stance
On blood-slicked rocks

The knights astride their mounts
Heavy spathas hacking
Stopped with wrenching force
By parries
Or the shield of breastbone

The sword sucks from the wound
The dying form
Slumps from his horse
And falls

Spirits linger
Cold tendrils hanging
From the shoulders of
The ones still fighting

Weary with the clotting blood
With steaming breath
The horses strain to bolt
Each head dragged by the bit
In the leaving

The knights canter from the scene
Indifference flowing from them
Like a billowing cape

The others slog
Exhausted through the mire
In confusion

Copyright 1986 Julia Smith