Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Land of Small Demons

A constant sky holds tomorrow
in place, holds it like a careless
glove, toying with its mate,
only to drop it along the way.

In the land of small demons, the days
are taken by the crimson hills.
Behind the sun, beneath the moon,
jackals dig for the ragged scraps.

A great king crossed here once and claimed
all as his realm. His treasury
could not hold the restless sand
nor the stars of a desert night.

Three jewels sing in tree-top, envy
of the silent stone forest.
The small demons are nimble; they climb
in search of their shining eggs.

A poet wandered over thirsty mountains,
full of songs to an unknown love.
Far away, where the day
meets the sky, does she still wait?

Gasping across the dust, mermaids
flop toward their land-locked pools.
Alas, the demons drank them all
and pissed them into the fiery sea.

This treasured pain, I wrapped in shadow,
narrow behind me. The little demons
grasp for it; they have taken
my eyes as tokens for their games.

I hear them gambling, casting lots
over empty egg-shells. Discarded
as useless, come dawn, how shall
I find them in the endless sands?

The coupling of gods and men has left
both weary and neither satisfied.
None rest in the land of small demons.
None heed the singing of the jewels.

Look up to the mountains, your distant borders.
Do streams flow there, cool waters of life
and forgiveness? It is not far.
I've heard their song. It is not far.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

The title here -- 'The Land of Small Demons' -- has been in my notes for a rather long time, along with some scraps of concept and phrase. This lies somewhere on the border between surrealism and fantasy, I suppose, if one is inclined to label things. No doubt it will see rewriting in time -- a thicket of symbols like this usually needs some pruning.

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