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Poem: "Falling Up" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
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ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Falling Up"

This poem came out of the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from westrider and jenny_evergreen, then sponsored by janetmiles.  It belongs to the Sort Of Heroes series.  Unlike the gritty humor of the other poems, this one is a haunting look at the insidious power of Good.


Falling Up


The Myrklord crouched in his tower
of glossy black tourmaline
and gazed at the stone table
with its sculptured map of the world.
One trembling fingertip
touched the ruined mountain
where once a staunch ally had stood.

He turned again to the whisper-sifter,
subtle artifact woven of stygian silk.
He had only to press his palm
against the taut sable veil,
and then he could hear  the sword
murmuring its advice into the henchmen's ears.

What made it all the more horrible
was that he knew  them both
and would have named them dutiful
if anyone had asked his opinion.
How many times had the Myrklord
gone to visit the Master
and drink duskwine in the Basalt Tower?
Nib had been there, his bland peasant face
always calm as they sent him on this errand or that.
Brod had been there, his stony trollish muscles
making short work of opening the heavy iron gates.

Now they were gone,
run off down the glory road
where only fools and heroes go.
The Basalt Tower was gone too,
crumbled into rubble and carted away by gleaners.
The Myrklord had seen it all in the gloomglass
with which he scried current events.
This left an uncomfortable gap in the balance of power
between good and evil, whose intricate web
kept the world steady and strong.
He could feel  it in his head,
missing piece making a worrisome wobble
so like a loose tooth that he kept wanting
to prod it with his tongue.


The Myrklord ran a hand over the roster,
marking his own minions in his mind
and wondering which of them would abandon him,
lured away from his worthy service
by some artifact's shining promises.
This one?  That one?
He could only hope not,
and hope was a feeble thing indeed,
laid against the weight of a man's own advantage.

With a sigh, the Myrklord opened his war chest
and the slim leatherbound ledger,
and began figuring how much he could afford
to offer by way of a raise.

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23 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: August 4th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a really interesting point of view. Nicely done, and thank you.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 4th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're welcome!

This one surprised me a bit. One doesn't ordinarily think of dark lords as having friends, or being missed when they die.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: August 5th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're welcome!

Yeah, that was an unusual, if interesting, path to take with that one. I likes!
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I love the fact that people sponsor things they didn't prompt, as well as things they did.

For those on a tight budget, remember that there are lots of non-cash ways to support your favorite crowdfunding projects.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Wonderful, thanks.
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: August 4th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
*giggle* hee! Love it!

When Good offers incentive, the smart Evil gives a raise.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

... and I don't think he realized how sticky Good can be, or he'd be more careful with that artifact.
siege From: siege Date: August 5th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

The whisper-sifter, you mean?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Primarily the whisper-sifter, yes, but he's also getting himself into trouble by eavesdropping on the sword.
From: minor_architect Date: August 4th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
This left an uncomfortable gap in the balance of power
between good and evil, whose intricate web
kept the world steady and strong.


Hmm, I see the possibility of a future poem which introduces us to the Evil Overlord(tm) who returns balance to this world... >;)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

It would be an interesting quandary. I get the impression that the settled ones are ... evil enough to provide an outlet for the evil that is innate to the world, without being so catastrophically destructive as to unbalance things in the other direction. Good and evil have their representatives, so that people have a choice. But that doesn't necessarily make it easy to stand back and watch.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: August 5th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)
This villain seems to have a sort of Taoist view point to things. Neat!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

In the sense of perceiving Good and Evil as things to be balanced, yes. But this version is an elastic balance, rather than a dynamic balance.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: August 5th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

Kinda like the Light and Dark sides of the Force, then? :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

That's closer. It's like ... a buffered solution. When Good and Evil are properly represented in this context, it creates a kind of springy resilience that discourages wild swings in either direction. The two forces thus tend to neutralize each other, like an acid and a base. Since the line between Good and Evil runs down the middle of the human soul, that's probably a prudent arrangement.

The dark lords work like anchors, one half of a set anyhow. Then there are free-ranging agents of light or dark, like our new heroes, who will be drawn or guided to situations where Good needs to tamp down Evil a bit.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: August 5th, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

Okay, I can visualize that. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

Yeah, I'm starting to wonder if that region puts their holy temples in the lowlands. ;)
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: August 6th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

That would have an odd bit of symmetry to it, I suppose. :)
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: August 5th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)
With a sigh, the Myrklord opened his war chest
and the slim leatherbound ledger,
and began figuring how much he could afford
to offer by way of a raise.


*chuckle* This feels very much like something out of Terry Pratchett's 'Discworld' series. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Wow!

I am honored by that comparison.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: August 5th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wow!

:)
eseme From: eseme Date: August 5th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, henchmen and women getting a raise is a good thing. I think...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 5th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Indeed it is. *cackle*
23 comments or Leave a comment