Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Knell"

This poem came out of the March 20, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from kelkyag, catsittingstill, janetmiles, and the_vulture.  It has been sponsored by janetmiles.  It's written in two halves, and although it's free verse, there are some tight parallels between the first and second halves.  This poem belongs to the Path of the Paladins series, and you can find the other poems through the Serial Poetry page.


Matin followed the sound of hammer on anvil.
It always made him shiver a bit, reminding him
of the tolling of the bell at a funeral.
More personally, a priest of Talaton was advised
to walk softly around a smith's forge,
for Barzay, god of smiths, was an ally of Gorrein.

Matin spread his toes in his sandals,
feeling how the balance of the world was shifting.
He had asked before.  He would ask again.
Matin lifted his chin and crossed the threshold.

"What do you want?" the smith asked,
whanging away at a red-hot blade.
"I am Matin, priest of Talaton,"
the stout man said with a polite bow.
"I am here to inquire about the balance of power.
Does Barzay still support Gorrein?"

The smith turned around, hammer emblem
swinging against his naked chest,
and Matin felt the world tilt underfoot.
"I am Einon, paladin of Barzay,"
he said solemnly. 
"I have not been easy with all things
that my god has asked of me.
I am pleased to report that 
He supports Gorrein no longer --
there is so much trouble, the ore does not flow."

Matin bowed lower,
bidding his giddy heart to tranquility.
"I thank you for this news, Einon," he said.
"I will pass the word to those who would know."
He walked away, slowly, evenly,
but his heart filled with music
and dance steps tickled his toes.
Everything was changing, tilting, twirling.

Bodil followed the sound of hammer on anvil.
It always made her heart quicken,
reminding her of the death knell
and the sweet war-song of swords in battle.
More personally, a paladin of Gorrein
was always welcome in a smith's forge,
for Gorrein and Barzay were allies of old.

She had need of a new sword.
She would go in and ask for one,
as she had asked before,
and it would be well worth the journey.

"What do you want?" the smith asked,
his anvil ringing as he worked.
"I am Bodil, paladin of Gorrein," she replied.
"I have come to commission a sword from you."
She gazed upon the fine blades in their racks.

The smith turned around, clasping his left hand
over the hammer symbol at his chest.
"Go away," he said brusquely.
"Barzay no longer supports Gorrein.
I will make no more weapons for you or yours."

Shock rocked her back on her heels.
"I will kill you for this!" Bodil snarled.
Einon bared his teeth.  "Here, in my place of power?"
He hefted his great hammer, muscles rippling.
"You are so very welcome to make the attempt."

The air shimmered with heat, pouring out of the forge,
as if the whole summer had come into this one moment,
ringing the sweat from her body until her black hair ran with it.
"There are better weaponsmiths," Bodil snapped.
"I shall commission one of them instead!"
She turned on her heel and left.

"No," said Einon,
"that there are not."

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, spirituality, writing
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