GloPoWriMo – Song 21

Portal Dreams

through the portal–white-flat-white
to a world with no sky, no water, only
flat cold and stone, everywhere, stone
with the gaping maw, the hunger, the
stark loneliness of terror–that gape
in the gut, that hole that pulls down
into the abyss of the world where no
one no no the hole it gapes and then
the portal the light the bright the
pull the pull the whole brightness
of the sun and everything is golden
and sunflowers sparkle into the pull
of another portal where the sky is
covered in gears and the inside of the
clock is outside and the insistent
tick of time remember this is not
timelessness this is


this is not a dream. A dream is
a quiet home in the roots of a
graht oak with a fire in the pit
and a hammock near the window

this is not a dream–

it is a hero’s life.

Daily Prompt: “write a poem that… incorporates wild, surreal images. Try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic ,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

<< Previous

NaPoWriMo 2019

GloPoWriMo – Song 20

As Heard in Mournhold

“Is it true you slew the Daggerfall Army at Davon’s Watch?”

I try to walk unseen
the crowded street
the path, the shadows.

“I’ve got my eye on you.”

The guard, always,
trained to spot
the vagabond likes of me.

“Take pride in your work, I always say.”

I do, but it’s not
something I can talk
about, not with you.

“This is taking longer than I planned.”

It always does, whether,
like you, you sweep the steps,
or like me, travel the depths.

“I wish I was off adventuring.”

I wish I was home,
had a home, had a task
that kept me home, like you.

“Did you get it? Did your invitation arrive?”
“Rub it in, why don’t you? I’ve been rejected by Shad Astula, again.”
“Oh, I’m sure it’s just a clerical error.”

The voices of friends,
to meet complaint
with cheer, with hope.

“I’m in the middle of something.”

What was I thinking?
Oh, yes, friends.
To meet complaint with hope.

“Come! Do your trading here!”

I would trade my solitary
way for walking my path
with another.

“I’ve got what you need!”

Would you leave your stall,
pack your wares,
travel with me?

“No cost to have a look!”

No cost, but to step
out of shadows, to
meet another’s eyes.

“There are no rules here, but I’ll tell you if you break one.”

Daily Prompt: “write a poem that ‘talks.’ What does that mean? …it’s largely based in spoken language, interspersed with the speaker/narrator’s own responses and thoughts,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

Poet’s notes: The quoted lines come directly from overheard statements and conversations from NPCs in Mournhold. ESO has great NPCs!

<< Previous | Next >>

NaPoWriMo 2019

GloPoWriMo – Song 19


Almalexia called me to her:
I understand you have done well in my service,”
Who am I, to be in the service of a living god?

Boethiah, father to Dunmer, Prince of deceit and sedition,
has no use for mortal servants, unless we are tricked
to entertain him through our suffering,
and the suffering of others, at our hands.

Clavicus Vile might ask us to bargain,
but though I will serve, I will never deal
with Daedra or divine.

Dibella’s commands: “Open your heart
to the noble secrets of art and love.
Treasure the gifts of friendship.
Seek joy and inspiration in the mysteries of love,”
that I will serve.

What use has a god of a mortal servant?

Et’Ada contain it all:
sun and sunflower
and also, scorpion and snake.

How do I serve one god,
without serving them all?

For no one mortal, whose life
is precious because it ends,
can know the motives
of those without end,

Giving themselves over to
whimsy, desire, power. But
also to nurture, growth, life.

Hermaeus Mora, Gardener of Men,
hears each question. Are you a seeker?
Then you will serve him.

Indoril Nerevar–shall we be like him,
married to Almalexia,
sainted in our service,
to a god’s power over men?

How do these hands
serve those whose
hands have no use
for kneading bread
or forming clay?

Jone and Jode,
Stendarr’s Sorrow and Mara’s Tear,
seek not my service.
They watch over,
and all they see is dear.

Kyne’s breath, bringing
to life all of us: Altmer, Dunmer,
Chimer, Bosmer. Khajiit. Saxhleel.
Nord, Breton, orc. Perhaps we serve
her, with every breath, with each
storm we brave.

Lorkhan’s tears we drink,
in every stream, every still pond.
How do we serve that
which has made us? That who is
who we are?

Malacath, god of the ostracized,
earns my fealty–I would serve
one of honor, one who sees
those by others unseen.

Namira exacts too steep a price
for the power of the unseen–
her blessings: disease, pity, disregard.
If I am to serve, let me not serve decay.

Old Knocker Orkey
ensures my mortality.
Would I serve one
who guarantees life’s end?

I would. For if I am mortal,
then I can serve
those whose lives will
never end.

Phynaster lived for
hundreds of years,
thanks to his ring,
becoming more than
a hero, like a god.

But I have no use for
such a ring.

Rajhin, the Purring Liar,
might show me how to
steal a ring, or years,
or an extra life. But I
have no use for living more.

Sotha Sil might tempt me,
quiet, wise,
“Service, like all equations,
demands precise reciprocity.
I wonder, what would you ask of me?”

I would ask, only–
what would I ask?
I serve a god. I would
ask that the god I serve
would not slay another god
even in madness.

Trinimac could not
destroy the heart
of a god–it became
Red Mountain,
center of Vvardenfell.

Who will I serve?

Until answers are spoken–
answers will never be spoken.
We are asked to serve.
Does it matter? We serve.

Vivec, Warrior Poet,
consort to Almalexia,
friend to Sotha Sil–
might my heart
turn to him?

Wilderking or Wilderqueen–
my heart will glean
the spark of sun
on sunflower or fern

Perhaps I’ve come
full circle, round–
Bosmer, not Dunmer
I begin to feel
where I’m bound.

Xarxes, god of ancestry,
Begins to smile. Yes,
I know who I will serve.

My life will continue
as it had begun,
in Valenwood,
under the Graht Oak
And through my days,
no matter which path
in Nirn
I travel,

I know who I will serve.

You guess I will say

Y’ffre, the storyteller,
the first of earth bones.

But no, I go further.
I am Bosmer, no matter
where I roam,
whether I wear Psijic cap
or Mage’s robe.

I am Bosmer,
and I know who I serve.

I will not let
his presence fade.

At the end,
like the Ghost of the Green
I serve


Poet’s note: Oh! What a crazy long poem! I do not like long poetry. This compendium owes much to this comprehensive listing at the Elder Scrolls fandom Wiki.

Daily Prompt: “write an abecedarian poem – a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

<< Previous | Next >>

NaPoWriMo 2019

GloPoWriMo – Song 18

Five Clothespins

Five clothespins hang on the line
near the cottage in the village.
Between them span faded linens
and one dress, bright blue with lace.
I do not own a dress.

I spread my rough shirt
and binding cloths
on the granite rock
in the sun. Stained.
All I own is stained with blood.

A rough man’s hand’s grow gentle,
as he rests them on his wife’s shoulders.
The way the hard line of her mouth softens–
I can count on one hand
the times I have felt the hand
of another, laid on me,
that has not been the cause of pain.

The cedar shakes on the roof of the barn
shimmer with gold. Shimmer.
When I am lucky, I sleep
beneath pine bows and wake
to raucous crows to consider

the choices coerced by war:
you can be a warrior or a whore.
I chose to be a warrior, but
what if I had wanted a quiet life?
What if I had wanted
to be a kind man’s wife?

Daily Prompt: “write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

<< Previous | Next >>

NaPoWriMo 2019

GloPoWriMo – Song 17

Infamous Rain/Golden Particles of Light

We spy down from afar
on the worm cultists, whose chants
pulled us here, rubbing shoulders,
sticking at sides, forming
clusters until we grow
too fat for the strength
of clouds and as their
grips release, we tumble fast
and wild and wet and sodden
on the chanters, slayed by
riotous hands, on the daedra
and the ripping beaks
of clanfear. We fall until
the ground is soaked
in blood and all our drops
of infamous rain cannot
wash the stains of life
that might have been.

We gaze down from afar,
when the last undead have fallen,
the stones soaked black in blood
and rain and pity, we spread
in wave and particle to
shoot through space and
light the edge of every blade
of grass, of leaf, of crystal
gem hidden deep within
the spine of Nirn. We course
through all, consecrate
the last and the forgotten.

We carry the same message, each
drop of light, each wave of rain:
“You mortals only see life
as precious because it ends.”

Because it ends, the rain
is over. Because it is
precious, golden light spreads.

Daily Prompt: “write a poem that similarly presents a scene from an unusual point of view,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

Notes: The quotation in this poem comes from Meridia, during “The Final Assault” quest in ESO. Oh,yeah–this is another poem about destroying Molag Bal’s dark anchors. I guess that image has really inserted itself in my imagination and come to represent the whole path towards purity of spirit for me.

Also, because I started a day early, I gave myself lee-way to skip a day. I skipped day 16, which was to write a poem using a list to “defamiliarize the mundane.” (Fun prompt; tired mind!) Then, I got too busy (playing ESO!) to post this poem last night… so here’s Day 17 on Day 18! Hope to get Day 18 up this evening!

<< Previous | Next >>

NaPoWriMo 2019

GloPoWriMo – Song 16

Another Pup

You seem surprised to see
a dog trotting along the side
of a wandering warrior like me,
as if kindness were an act untried.

Your eyes dart to my sword,
blood-stained on the grass.
Yes, I’ve killed. You have my word
It’s not bodies I aim to amass.

It happens, in battle,
or on a road, abandoned, dark.
I’m no fan of that last rattle
of breath, no more to hear the lark.

Me or them. Or sometimes
to save another.
When the bell chimes
I remember: they had a mother.

They had a mother. You seem surprised
that I would think
of such a fact, surmised
by my armor, or this chink

In my shield. In the quiet
after battle, when shade spreads the night,
we search for treasure, to pry it
from lockbox, chest, our might

laying claim, to what we seize
inside. In the tent’s corner, alone,
a black pup’s cries brought me to my knees.
This is the dog, now grown.

You seem surprised. I was one
such once, abandoned, my baby fist
wrapped in mother’s silkspun
dress, her breath not even mist.

A Breton found me, in Bergama,
brought me home. Was circle’s fate,
wars later, this black pup without a mama–
He walks my side. He carries my weight.

Daily Prompt: “write your own dramatic monologue,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

<< Previous | Next >>

NaPoWriMo 2019

GloPoWriMo – Song 15

To Pledge a Promise, on my Word

I made a fast promise
to the sisters of the Wyrd–
to destroy each twisted vine,
on that they had my word.
Burn tendril, cut the root,
corrupt, decayed, and weird.

I made a hard promise:
Fingers of the worm cult,
I’d hack from each cleft hand,
every last devotee culled,
then to destroy each anchor,
to this fate I’d been called.

I pledged a solemn promise
to Dragonborn from Akavir.
Never to let war rage,
never attack afar.
Not for Dominion, Pact,
Nor Cov’nant, ack! I vow.

I swore an oath and promise,
my hand on golden ball,
that I would forgo rest,
end war’s relentless bawl,
not once stop in weariness
till we’ve slayed dread Molag Bal.

Daily Prompt: “write a poem that incorporates homophones, homographs, and homonyms, or otherwise makes productive use of English’s ridiculously complex spelling rules and opportunities for mis-hearings and mis-readings,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

<< Previous | Next >>

NaPoWriMo 2019