Take Heart in Knowing

Think of the stories that filled up your nights
The wonders that wash over you, the wyvern rides
When the moonlight and lamplight team up for you to read
And you go on and on, rampant with your bookworm greed

Think of the nights when comfort is the sigh of a turning page
A love that simply expands, only maturing with age
When the ever-changing play of expressions on your face
Owe their manifestations to printed text

Think of the seasons you were plagued by something sad
And the people had left but stories were all you had
So take heart and take comfort in the knowing
That this is the most burden and guilt-free owing

Just think of the stories that filled up your nights
The caves and the forests and the glorious lights



Why is it so easy to lose focus?
And twice, no, thrice as difficult to rebuild it?
I mean, is the secret hidden inside a looking glass,
And if it is,
Could I just reach into the identical world,
Rummage around and seize it back home?
What if all I find in my quest,
Is not the lost focus and determination,
But me scowling at myself with disappointment…

Head Full of Water

I have no story to tell
I am now empty and holding a vast space within
My desire to tell stories through art is somehow deeply rooted in my childhood
I grow old and apart from everything I ever held dear
And I hear in the back of my mind the rush of water
The rush of water when looked down upon from a bridge
The rush of water filling up my ears and lungs as I remain submerged in it
And I wave and I wave and I wave
Not for help, not out of panic or fear
But from the release of drowning in the lake of life without water
To be sinking and drowning in a river, finally breathing
Finally breathing, feeling my heart lift, adrift and afloat
Who cares if the mortal body meets the depths?
Who cares if slush and murk and sharp rusty metal rakes it into shreds?
I am free now. Free. Free. Free. Free. Free. The word cawing in my head
Seagulls and hawks and vultures circling overhead like uninvited guests to my party
Birds of prey that would’ve given me company had I been laying on land
A meagre feast of great sorrows as they would’ve picked me off in little chunks
Beaks pecking and claws ripping my innards out, drooling over the dripping juices
And the little secrets would’ve crawled out on their spindly legs
Maybe even grown a stinger or two to kill me again
But these were probably just crows and sparrows partially burning from the heat
And I was here in the coolness of the river, water entering and exiting my sight
The drumming in my eyes grew louder till it numbed and popped.
Still rushing and gushing, the water soothed, washing away the salt in my eyes
And to think that for so long I’d been wary of water bodies
But then again wait till night falls and my demons show up throwing tantrums.
But the sun remained hidden from view, resting behind some hill for a while
And I continued drowning, in peace, finally at peace.
I glanced up one last time, birds in their freedom enslaved to the sky.
And I sink and drown listening to the rushing water
Rocking back and forth in the waves
I close my eyes. Free. Free. Free. Free. Free.
Maybe dying isn’t such a bad thing after all…
Maybe dying in a part of my mind is better than doing it for real
And in the silence of the absence of the rushing water
I shut that fantasy, the moment between coming from there to here,
To pulling my head out of water from the soothing rush in my ears

Marked by Death

She was five when it first happened
It tore through the house like a colossal shard of steel
A dull thud and crack of skull echoed a moment later
Temporarily erasing the memory of her scream

It was recalled by none not even in the  slightest
Well, a child she was and children wailed all the time
Dots remained unconnected
And the mark in her fate waited silently to shine

She was eight when she screamed again
And news from distant lands reached them after days
Recalling and horrified, an elder in the family voiced suspicion
And she found herself under scrutiny, terror in everyone’s gaze

The events that trailed her after
Saw her locked in a cellar under a shed
She screamed and screamed herself raw
Tearing at her flesh till it bled

Night after night she hummed herself to sleep
Time warped not into dark and light but sounds of birds and the wild
Not knowing how and why she screamed sometimes
Chilling herself and the rats, till her  voice faded and died

And they heard her, they felt her, The Sheez
From across the valley, the sea, and the mountain range
“Sister”, they whispered, sending the swift and the ravens
To locate rumours and follow anything strange

Meanwhile saints and shamans were ushered in to the cellar

Each that came close to see her in their flickering candlelight
Backed away wide-eyed shaking his so-called wise head
In the passing years she had paled, and her eyes had greyed
And she could smell it on them, they reeked of fear and dread

Her family refused to look or even  glance at her
She was still just a child that needed love and care
Whenever they came down, in pairs with provisions
She pinned them with an unforgiving stare

One time unaware of whether it was day or night
She wove her frail hair, back against the damp wall
And then it happened, she screamed but not alone
She heard the howl and every inch of her skin crawled

They came for her weeks after her thirteenth birthday
Carriages drawn by horses as if from a war depiction on a tapestry
Reined by the veiled Sheez they stopped in front of the estate
How dare they disrespect their heraldry, lock one of their decree?!

They came for her, she heard the hooves echo
The door to the shed crashed overhead and she let out a cry
They came for her, gentle arms and gentle voices
And that day she realized, in there she wasn’t doomed to die

Bones aching and daylight hurting
Onto one of the carriages they helped her climb
For a moment all her scars of flesh and mind
Melted away and all she felt was sublime

Ravens flew overhead and wolves guarded their sides
With her weakened vision she watched the approaching trees
Away from the home she’d known, towards where she’d always belonged
The court of the much feared, and esteemed, banshees.


There is a crawlspace, a crevice
In the cold marble archway to the mind asleep
Artistic expression being the only nobility
Invited and having access to these quarters
Like a fitting glove and plaster mould
And excavation tools laid out
Art found in the heritage sites of our forgotten ruins
Are de-moulded and impressioned into catalogues
Because crevices under microscopic perspectives
Are ravines full of lost treasure and never-found secrets


She sneaked into the night, tipsy-toed
Eyes tired and drooping, swaying and dragging her feet
Towards the brink that marked the separation between the worlds

The edge between wakefulness and slumber
The forbidden rendezvous of skills awake and talents dormant
She stood there grinning and drunk, on sleep deprivation

This was where her wholesomeness came alive
Where her individual pieces welded together in a flash of exhaustion
It was utterly terrifying, and  electrifying at the same time

A few feet from crossing over to the other side
She lifted her foot, pointed and all
Motions akin to ballerinas and violins

But this was as much writing as it was dance
How long could you ballet in an intoxicated state
Till you toppled over into the dream realm?

Arms rising and falling in sync
With the rhythm rarely heard when conscious
She let go of inhibitions and remained suspended

In this shimmering place of not-here, not-there
For as long as she could because this was self-surrender
Before realities and fantasies could arrest her all over again

Dying Dawn

Kneeling in front of an age old altar
Surrendering his soul to the great divine
He weeps tears of remorse and grief
Swallowing as metallic scents combine

Harrowing bells mesh with pounding hearts
His brothers slumped on pews behind
The region’s best and mightiest
Victorious in war and defeated in mind

Tinted glass on stone walls
Casting hues that find you on battlefields
On rolling emeralds they bleed petals of crimson
Bone stemmed rubies in gardens of  greed

They went marching, slashing, and pillaging
Around worlds new and old
Leaving massacres as their mark
In bits and pieces, their morality they sold

Men of such valour and unmatched  feats
Resting their heads on ebony pews
Which soldier would want to return home
Only to see their land slaughtered and face dire news?

The rhythmic thuds echoed
On this blistering and dark afternoon
It was their doing, pawns in chequered games
The cathedral walls will taste their blood and soon

Thud… Thud… Thud…

They said their last prayers, the gradually godless
Now suddenly pious at death’s humble doors
Some still kneeling and reeling, it was on them
The invasions and enemies, from distant shores

Thud, thud, and CRASH
The battering ram splintering holy  wood
Came crashing in with its wielders
And so the equally battered men, stood

Mustering the last drops of their will
Watching as chains were dragged and swords drawn
They raised the jagged remnants of their steel
The slipping sunrays reflecting like a dying dawn

Arms raised to fight one last time
Severed before they could descend on foe
Whips lashing and chains tightening
Heads of friendly faces now rolling on stone

One by one they crumpled to their death
And the death of their realm that they’d sown
Pages and pages described this day on text
Yet of it only ruin, rubble, and broken crucifixes was known

Bards and Storytellers of Old

Oh, the bards and storytellers of old!
Oh, the minstrels and troupes painted gold!

Spilling narrations of gallantry and heroic swordplay,
That make many a maiden clutch her chest and weep!
Oh the harps, lutes, and lyres that behind the hedges play,
As the Crown Prince and his mistress, make love by the creek!

Ah! There is no boundary these tellers won’t climb,
No royal garden or orchard they wouldn’t trespass,
Of mulled court gossip they’d knock over every hive,
Wiping their scandal soiled shoes on royally trimmed grass.

Jesting and imitating courtiers too lowly born for higher ones to care,
Performers in cheap silk, and shiny attire, sway about grand halls,
Mindful of lustful looks exchanged between those that not wed but a bed share,
The coy smiles and lashes that beguile, while pretending to be enthralled.

Oh, the serenaders and musicians of centuries now dust,
Travelling by highways, either robbing or getting robbed,
Knitting folklore and castle tales by firelight and attentive trust,
Not a soul that heard the gripping melodies interrupted the dramatic or stopped.

Such are the legacies of bards and storytellers of old,
Sometimes mere trinket sellers and wanderers in search of home,
Sometimes spying and assassinating for kings and gold,
And yet empires later, their stories and harmonies in the dark of night roam.

Oh, the bards and storytellers of old,
Oh, the bards and storytellers of old . . .

Of Myths and Legends

Dragons tearing at crimson skies
Smoke and blood and death disguised
Clangs of armour and shields dented
Sweat and gore and defeat scented

Keeps on fire and forts unmanned
Spears and swords spearing flesh unarmed
Beating of wings deafening crowds
Chaos unleashed and cries that drown

Piercing arrows and hides torn
Scales dripping and wings shorn
Unclaimed through clamour spiralling down
From clawing talons to feral hounds

Many a hero dies amidst such clangour
Some buried unsung and without glamour
Legends and myths seek these battles
Taming tales from truth that rattles

And once again through crimson skies
Tumble down valiants with resounding cries
Wingbeats and reptilian screeches follow
To be reborn in retellings on the morrow