Join the Neopoet online poetry workshop and community to improve as a writer, meet fellow poets, and showcase your work. Sign up, submit your poetry, and get started.

ÇAÇÔ, Man of the Morning Star protasis, p.1 Harsh, b.1, canto 8

Canto Eight ~ Though many would dispute it, for little conclusive is known even now of the Clovis, Colonel Cridge is the greatest man of this age in Life’s Lurien and perhaps the world.
He serves, as do they all, the Monarchy of the High Seat and whatever his rank within the society of his own people he is not a king. The Legions of Empire are sprinkled with men and women of the tall and introspective Clovis, though nowhere may be found one who has accepted a rank higher than colonel. Cridge serves as de facto head of Garland Legion under its official commander, General Rory Alcroft and determines its day to day activities without apology. Nevertheless, due to the restrictions of a debt not fully understood by the masses, he is utterly subservient.
The sword he bears has been known throughout the land as Rune Black Covenant for centuries. Its nine feet are congested by runes of a language hidden from men and are rumored to explain the crimes of the Clovis and their eventual consequences.
The storm still rages as Colonel Cridge and his troops continue their cleanup of the battlefield twenty miles southeast of Laura. Their foe had been a small (eight hundred or so) army of predominantly farmers and merchants. Their aims unknown, he yet treats them with respect as citizens of the realm.
Cridge complains to himself of Alcroft’s irresponsible behavior concerning them. No reasons have been given him why the General waited to face them so near the city nor why only untrained soldiers, poorly armed, were sent. Particularly frustrating is the fact this scenario has occurred twice before.
Later that evening as he prepares for rest, Cridge contemplates the strangest factor of all. The military skills of Colonel Cridge are second to none in the whole of Kingdom and the instinct so commonly trusted by his race tell him the ill trained combatants were led by an experienced, subtle, though unseen commander. It troubles him deeply and he resolves to speak to the King following the impending ceremonies of Harsh several days hence.

Canto Eight

A few of his young officers
when requisitioned purchasers
drew quarters large and grandiose~
beyond the merely bellicose.

Yet seldom he denies request 5
of those who have no choice but wrest
authority elsewise unclear.
Weak leaders must create false fear.

Allusive image is therefore
a requisite for those with store 10
of governance charisma small.
God help the man with none at all.

A pageant disproportionate
is manner by which men can rate
the depth of leadership in those 15
that leadership had never chose.

‘Twas telling then in chains command~
the man owns but that in his hand.

Where Cridge might sleep his men but guessed.
Indeed, it seemed he never rest. 20

If pouring rain might dampen mood,
tall, strong and regal there he stood.
Rain, shine and snow; dust, dry, hot wind,
disease or flame would not him bend.

His helm he’ll hold in crux of arm 25
at all times save when he meant harm.
The Colonel shows his face to all
less those whom fate decrees must fall.
‘Twas lined intense with more than years,
though these he has… as well as tears. 30

A wisp of white round balding pate
hangs near to shoulders thin and straight.

Its likeness on his helm is tooled.
The eerie sharp precision fooled
when told it changed when also he 35
would change in mood. Still few could see
to risk a test, for none would look
for long. One dare not be mistook
as laggard in his presence once.
None welcomed rigorous response. 40

The hauberk worn beneath his cloak,
unmarked and black, would oft provoke
debate among his men of rank
and file. Some swear they hear its clank.

Of strongest steel it is some thought 45
or iron from the south ‘twas wrought.

In equal number there are those
that given chance could so expose
its nature as of leather fit
for more than kings, though all admit 50
its strength was keen… and side of point
be leather strap or tight steel joint.

For no one by design or chance
would dare approach his countenance
to touch the thing when on his back 55
and none had seen it off loose stack.

At all times he is gird for war.
Each line of his is sharp and bore,
the most his eyes, into one’s soul.
No common man in his patrol 60
may look his kind square in the face
and hold the gaze for long ere trace
of discomfiture or raw fear
o’erwhelm his state. They have no peer.

And of the Clovis, it was thought, 65
a peer within their ranks was not
to that tall man known as but Cridge.
To plum his depths are none privilege.

With all this taken to account,
‘tis odd that what is paramount 70
in most regards concerning him
would be the casual, though prim,
inflection when he would converse.

None took amiss an order terse,
but otherwise appearance seems 75
each man he speaks to he oft deems
to treat as might a stalwart friend.

Resultantly when Cridge would send
a man to death in combat’s need,
‘twas deemed a ruminative deed. 80

Of all those things characterist
in reference Colonel Cridge ne’er missed
is length of steel strapped to his back.

Oft sung in verse elegiac,
regaled as might a sacred shrine~ 85
the rune encumbered Clovis spine.
No plebian can match its height
of nigh ten feet nor could recite
the tale engraved from tip to hilt
that legend claims reveals the guilt 90
of Clovis and their ministry
beholden to the monarchy.
In duty ever vigilant,
they name the blade~ Black Covenant.

~ ~ ~

He stands atop the gore drenched hill 95
the rebel band had held and still
their bodies, dead and strewn, lie here.
He’s ordered each cared for as peer.

The weapons gathered, their full sum,
lends nary clue of where they’re from. 100

Collected on the field in piles,
their use in war reflect odd styles.
Though most were sharp and could cause harm,
best suited was the bulk for farm.

‘Tis here the same as twice before~ 105
this “army” knew what lay in store
upon the hostile, worthless hill.
This fight was waste. Why they not till
the ranging fields of grain and grass,
that as their wars would do to pass, 110
was more than he could comprehend.
No cause had they he might commend.

The lifelong struggle to subsist
should be the foe that they resist.
Eight hundred peasants came to fight. 115
Commanded by Alcroft, that night
the Colonel yielded nigh the walls.
That Cridge could not deny him galls.

At last his Captains and their men
began the skirmish within ken 120
of those far sighted tower posts
that standing tall above the hosts
of Garland Legion left behind,
could watch afar the battle’s kind.

At first Cridge had demanded more 125
than twice the force allowed. The core
of Garland’s fighting strength was left
on city walls to wait bereft
of chance to aid the unskilled swain
and scared recruits he had constrain. 130

The rebels failing died in flight
and what remained averred no fight.

Still those in his command Cridge lost
were numbered more than reasoned cost.

Alcroft will nothing else but preen 135
and ask for listings broad or mean.

Yet Cridge will take it first to him.
Therefore, when he comes mad and grim
to give the King most of his mind,
correct decorum of the kind 140
one wisely follows in command
will lend to him an upper hand.

Indeed, he must speak to him soon.
Perhaps on past next Harsh’s moon.

This show and tell Alcroft would trade 145
with he and liege has left Cridge splayed
three times now with too great a loss.
These grangers bring their lives and toss
them all away for what they feel.
For false held dreams they carry steel 150
not fit for war and die in sight
of city walls. None mourn their plight.

Beneath his breath Cridge makes his point.
“Just shoves my broken nose from joint.”
A Captain raises slow his hand. 155
“But Sir, I may not strike command.”

Cridge looks thru him as if he’d been
long lost at sea. The Captain’s grin
draws out the gentle smile’s intent.
The Colonel knows he’s weary, spent. 160

His mind has wandered more of late.
Perhaps there is a need to sate
of wishful rest. He is too old
to be this far from debt free cold.

“Forgive me man, I think aloud. 165
‘Tis time we left this quiet crowd.”

The officer, a man of height,
but stares as Cridge strides out of sight.
Three of the Clovis he has known,
each friends for life with trust deep sown. 170

And yet, as with the other two,
he questions vain concerns untrue.

Spite willingness to bow their head
to speak to such as he instead
of harking to the skies aloft 175
(as does that fool Rory Alcroft)
the Captain feels, as most his size,
he’s never looked in Cridge’s eyes.

~ ~ ~

Tall Colonel Cridge indeed does sleep.
Though fitfully, for he’ll not keep 180
the specters that he calls his own
from preying when his mind’s alone.

The bed he lays upon this eve
lays in a shallow cave. His leave
he grants to Captains three who may 185
him wake, but ask and each will say~

no one has ever wakened him.

He ponders things harsh, cold and grim.
Successful, he’s yet left in haunt.
Short fallen spite presumed wit’s vaunt. 190

His officers performed as told
and once more leave in field his cold.

This war, if he may call it that,
should have been fought on Turrin Flat.
Some forty miles from city’s gate 195
and Legion Rook deciding fate.

Alcroft yet wanted death in sight
of city walls that in the light
of bleakness dawning all could see
the rebel cause would roam as free 200
in death alone. Against them sent
a token force and to them lent
the least in arms he had to give.
Thus, proof to all that none should live
if in his whim he sends strong force~ 205
results the same regardless course.

At outset, Colonel Cridge agreed
to crush them swift and take from seed
of discourse chance to grow up wild.
Them spank as brash, young, errant child. 210

A simple task he felt at first.
‘Twas short work so to find their thirst
for righteous war was none too great.
Their want of glory quickly sate.

Few skilled at all in arts of war. 215
In bliss to be so blind of gore.
Naught left for him but to corral.
Yet, twice before he’d run afoul.

Then yestermorn again this dread~

these simple farmers here were led. 220

A driving, contemplative mind
was there decisively behind.
It ordered them within the field,
held some reserve and some as shield.

It knew astart it could not win. 225
They seemed to feel as well death’s bin
was where they’d go with nary hope.
And still all gave themselves to scope
of what unknown had been their quest.
To pose a threat they did their best. 230

Should numbers large enough of men
together rally ‘neath one’s ken
that one may do whate’er he want.
He need but have the nerve to flaunt.

His Legion could (and with great ease) 235
bring end to this. Alcroft will tease
these foolish men who think they might
stand ‘gainst the King and take this fight
throughout the countryside at speed.
In time spent thus, though who will feed 240
the countryside? Alcroft will wait
and make a show to demonstrate
his will against this foe of strength.
He’ll take the damn thing to such length
that field and forest he will drown 245
in blood of men lest taken down.

Before he falls to slumber’s fear,
Cridge hopes for one who’ll come that dear
men’s lives to him are held. He hopes,
against his rationale, taut ropes 250
of war this one will take, for face
he must as always has, this grace
is not for his or debt they own.

Above his head their curse has sown
the fate of Clovis and those left, 255
will not lift from their backs such heft.

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
The Editing continues.
Editing stage: 


I am not equipped to say anything about this epic work,
I can admire, I can see it is fascinating to those who know,
understand, and love the story, but it doesn't catch my
mind as something I would wish to dig deeper in to
better understand your work.

However, I do like parts of it for themselves, such as this description:-

"If pouring rain might dampen mood,
tall, strong and regal there he stood.
Rain, shine and snow; dust, dry, hot wind,
disease or flame would not him bend."

I sense that you identify with this when meeting us,
tame whimpering poets, next to your bravado,
and courage, but that's just how it is I am afraid.

Grist to your mill, Wesley
we wish you no ill.
we love you still.
Ann of Noroway.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

I had to scroll through your work to find canto one, since obviously canto 8 makes no sense if you haven't read the others. It's not something that appeals to me, although if I had it in book form and was spending a leisurely month in a log cabin I might be in the right frame of mind and be able to give it the time and attention it demands. If you have members here that have read all the previous cantos then that's fine but I think the format here, with most poems being reasonably short and none that I know being like your's a long story, I fear you might not be getting the right feedback here, it seems a very eccentric work, harking back to Romantic poetry, and a form that no longer resonates with any but a small audience who I think would be hard to target by a publisher but most probably you don't care and just like doing it. Which of course is completely cool.
ps are you a horse whisperer, what a great job you have.

thank you for looking in. No, I don't look for much feedback in this venue, but post them if an individual poet shows an interest and to have it around in case someone has a look. The chief audience is, was and always will be me. I progress my art through the workshops and my smaller poems while satisifying my whimsy writing this monstrosity.
Yes, I train horses for a living, though I don't do a whole lot of whispering.

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program

author comment

This one's easy to read. I'm getting used to this. I'm sure I can go the long haul. :)

You focused again on Cridge's worries and fears (perfect complement for a man of his fame and stature) instead of the actions that gave rise to them.

The Clovis, I'm guessing, are either not many, or not commonly seen. Your poem creates that picture. How many cantos are you going to take to reveal that debt that hangs over Cridge, and the unseen power behind the uprisings.

Peasant rebellion should be a common occurrence when a large kingdom/empire is on the wane. I'm sure this one is about to be.

By being acutely relevant to the story, I'm guessing Gundhag and the boy have nothing to do with any of this. I'll just have to read on to find out what'll happen next.

This line summarizes what I feel about the colonel:

"Before he falls to slumber’s fear"

Do these events happen before/during/after the episode with Alcroft and the Witch?

No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job. - TS Eliot

We must trade world's over lunch sometime.
My turn...
The Clovis are both. The mystery will be bled out over the long haul, but you can read Canto Twenty Five (conveniently located in my list of stuff) without reading out of order in the story. It answers a few questions and Claire is getting some answers right now in "my" time, but that's Canto Seventy Seven (more correctly known as Book Two Canto Eight).
I know... I've got it bad.
Gundhag and the boy have EVERYTHING to do with it, but the small story arc isn't necessary anymore. The characters survive, have even expanded their roles, but this tale is mostly windown dressing.
The two scenes you mention would more or less occur simultaneously.

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program

author comment

Were these unqualified men sent to that battle? I still wonder!
and why did Cridge sleep asked his men not to say that they've awaken him?


Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words ........Robert Frost☺

Please follow me on Instagram

to waken him as always, but no one has ever found him asleep. Hence the legend that he doesn't.

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program

author comment

I expected the new links, sir!


Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words ........Robert Frost☺

Please follow me on Instagram

(c) No copyright is claimed by Neopoet to original member content.