Verse: The Mountain Duel

(Originally shared on my FB Page on 6th May, 2016.)

Context: I tried this idea on my page. This was the only entry…

I had entirely for­got­ten about my offer to write poems on request, then yes­ter­day David Maja Salako wrote asking for “drag­ons and elves and for­got­ten moun­tains and men blinded by power.”


I could­n’t extem­po­rize this, because I had never done an epic before. Took a while to even invoke the dic­tion. Well, here we go.

The Mountain Duel

O! warrior doth thy spear yet glisten?
And thy burnished armour gleam?
Thy face set as thy native granite
At the cursèd dragon's scream –

This scream that strums the strings of hearts
And sets strong limbs aquiver;
With ashen face men turn to hearth,
As knight traverses river.

On to the breast the current suckles,
The mighty misty pile of woe;
In these depths lay bleaching legends,
Mounted trophies of the foe.

The foe is dread, the foe is terror;
His scales now whisper in the gloom.
Hear boot march to lure of talon –
Which one hurries to his doom?

Now a wraith of portent solemn,
Then the reverend sylvan fleet,
'Til all worlds stand by to witness
When the grim and gallant meet.

O the song of claw and sabre!
O the dance of steel and flame!
Mark – the sword describes a caper;
The fire by blood is tamed.

_ _ _

From the host beyond a murmur,
As of things beyond our light;
To this gleam the dark surrenders
Now a pale and grisly sight:

Where dragon lay, a champion –
Where warrior stood, a beast!
The wraiths swoop for the carrion,
And thus find their ranks increased.

In lieu of sword, our victor
Boasts now ten wicked blades.
He launches forth his lusty roar
To shake the cursèd glade.