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Dismantled ~ Canto 3

'Dark-red the twisted wheels burned:
The bloody stripes Emindor earned
For not exalting in the gain
Of arms wherefore his friend was slain.
“You must excite and rouse the crowd,”
The Master hissed. Emindor bowed
To take the lash; his grief’s reward:
The cracks, the cries, the bloody cord.
At last, when twenty blows were spent,
Emindor was released and sent
Down to a lonely, barren cell
Wherein he would await the bell
Which summoned him to fight again
In the Arena ‘gainst his friends.
The walls were streaked with blood and grime;
The water-bucket filled with slime
Unnamed, and in a single ray
Of warm sunlight Emindor lay.
The storm had broke and eventide
Was rushing through the air outside.
Twilight permeated unchanged
Within the cell for those estranged.
A knock was heard upon the door;
“Yes, come in,” answered Emindor.
Through it stepped Kysébryte the Gray,
Emindor’s friend known as Tirrey.
“You have only yourself to blame,”
she said, referring to the game
When Emindor had mourned the loss
Of his friend’s life and paid the cost.
All Mirkem knew Arena Law:
“Be bloody, swift, and even cruel;
Anything that will satisfy
The people – loss or victory.
Your wins are not your own. The crowd
Pays to be entertained, not cowed
By guilt at your noble displays.
The man who quails is he who pays.”
He knew this, and had made the choice
To stay silent and not rejoice
At that which he could not call good,
“I did what I believed I should.”
Tirrey just shook her head, “You are
A fool, my friend, to sight a star
Which never could exist. You know
There’s no such thing as a hero.
Wake up, grow up, and stop pretending.
There’s no good out there worth defending.”
Emindor looked away and sighed:
“You speak because you’ve never tried
To see the person in a foe,
Or think about where he will go
When that sword-thrust pierces his breast.
Is life the fight and death our rest?
Or is death just another war?”
He stood, “I’d rather sight a star
That may not ever have been made
Than give up because I’m afraid.
There’s something missing from this plot,
But I cannot discover what.”
Silence ensued, long and unbroke.
At last, her eyes dark, Tirrey spoke:
“You do not know what I have thought,
Nor understand the wars I’ve fought
Within myself. Do not assume
You are the only in this room
Who aches to see a comrade fall
And wonders where he goes. Don’t call
Me coward. Second-highest I
Am of the Mirkem. When you die
I will be the foremost of all,
And then ‘twill be my turn to fall.
This is the cycle, yes, deranged.
But doubt not what you cannot change.”
“Then how will anything improve?”
Emindor cried, “If those who love
Cannot be greater than the night,
What purpose is there in the right?”
“None,” Tirrey replied, “For this strife
Is not for good or bad, but life.”
“And if we take another’s, then
What good is life with such an end?”
Emindor countered, eyes ablaze
With agony of his friend’s gaze
And all the other men he’d slain.
His voice was taught and filled with pain.
Tirrey sighed, shook her head, “You think
More than is good for you. Just drink.
I brought some wine to wash the stain
Away, and it will ease your pain.”
“No,” Emindor replied and sat,
“I’ll drink any poison but that.”
Tirrey knelt down and touched his head,
“We need you living, friend, not dead.
Destroy yourself with guilt and grief
And who will give your friends relief?
No, we do not hold your faith,
But painful good is more than death.”
With a low sigh, Emindor said:
“I’ll live. And yet my heart is dead.”

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
Oddly enough I had to stop writing this in the middle because it had me crying. Anyhow, I would love feedback, again, on logic and flow. After that, with this piece specifically, I am wondering if the dialogue actually works? Does it make sense? Does it feel repetitive? Too dramatic? I am going for a Tolkien/Shakespeare feeling with this work so far. Have I gotten anywhere near that yet? Thank you so much for reading!
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content

Comments

Thank you so much for reading and, even more, for investing the imagination it takes to enjoy something like this. And yes, this is the first draft of the poem version, though I have been thinking about and writing snippets in prose from this story for several years. You might call it less of a first-draft and more a transliteration.
~

"To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's true aim." Oscar Wilde

author comment

I find it so fascinating that this made you think of the Colosseum. I have never been there myself and only ever read about it, so that you saying my poor poetry skill has managed to recreate such a picture in your imagination is a great compliment.
Thank you for complimenting my ending. That actually, unlike the rest, took me about 4 rewrites to get it right. XD
And I will take that luck! This sporadic writer will need it.
~

"To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's true aim." Oscar Wilde

author comment

At first I thought of this as merely some rather good poetry and didn't see the inner workings of such a great plot. I didn't see that there would be times that you might not have the perfect rhyme and yet keep the reader's interest and forgive the stutter of an imperfect rhyme. My apologies! There are those places though, where if you work at it a bit, you may make some improvemnets.~ Geez.
.

It seems that the days and hours that people
are available for chatroom are staggered and
not a good match for most everyone. How about
if everyone just shows up at the door, whenever
they have a few free minutes?

And I am thrilled that this has enthralled your attention. The story is even more than the poetry to me, as Emindor is one of my greatest heroes and favorite characters I have ever discovered, and if I never complete his story, no other I write will feel like it deserves to see the light of day.
Oh, please don't apologize! You are right when you point out my rhythm and rhyme flaws. In everything I strive for perfection, so no matter how 'good' the plot may be, or characters, or settings, I still want the rhyme and rhythm to do them justice, not ride on their coattails if that makes sense.
Thank you so much for reading. It means a lot.
~

"To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's true aim." Oscar Wilde

author comment

Hello, Thalassa,
I definitely feel Tolkien / Shakespeare. I have throughout all three Cantos, along with splashes of emotion from The Gladiator and Braveheart. I can understand why you had to stop for awhile - I feel the heaviness of Emindor's heart here. Wow...
Thank you!
L

Oh, good, I am so relieved. XD Oddly enough, I have watched neither Braveheart or The Gladiator nor do I know much about them (save that they're movies about warriors . . .). I am so glad you can feel Emindor's heart, and I thank you for putting your heart into the read so that you could.
~

"To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's true aim." Oscar Wilde

author comment
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