2013 Poetry Theme Challenges

#15 Behind the Walls

The sword was a very elegant weapon in the days of the samurai. You had honor and chivalry much like the knights, and yet it was a gruesome and horrific weapon.
Dustin Diamond .

Happy quilling to you all


A Castle Old And Grey

I never see a castle
That is gaunt and grey and grim,
But my thoughts at once go backward
To the past so misty and dim.

To the time when tower and turret,
Kept watch far over the vale;
And along the sounding draw-bridge
Rode knights in their suits of mail.

I see the sunshine glancing
On helmet, pennon, and spear;
And hear from the depth of the forest,
A bugle calling clear.

I fill the hall with visions
Of ladies rich in their bloom;
And stately knights in armour,
And waving with feather and plume.

If I climb the broken stairway,
Where the stone is smooth and fine,
I hear a rustle and whisper,
And footsteps in front of mine.

Whisper of youth and maiden,
As they met in the long ago;
His deep and strong and manly,
Hers tender and sweet and low.

But maiden and youth have vanished,
Away from the scene and the light;
Gone, too, the high-born lady,
And the plumed and armoured knight.

Only the grey old castle,
Of crumbling stone and lime,
Still stands to speak of the ages,
And the iron footsteps of Time.

Alexander Anderson

Behind the Walls

Terry Clitheroe

Only the Sea
Xmas on the Somme

Peter Willowdown

Between the towers of Dawn and Dusk

Terry Clitheroe

Only theSea

And only the sea shall know them
The ocean depth will be their grave
The wind will tug the wet shrouds hem
Like farewell flags, the waters wave.
There is no church with bells to ring
No flowers cover the hallowed site
Nor choir with caring hymns to sing
Like farewell flags, the waters wave.
Neptune has claimed them all
And to his bosom they are gone
Till Armageddon makes the final call
Then welcome flags, the waters wave.
And only the sea shall know them
Like farewell flags, the waters wave.

Storm at Sea - Willem van de Velde the Younger


Xmas on the Somme

The purging of the day is past
Resting in the muddy trench at last.
You light a smoke and grab a bite
Softly humming "Silent Night"
Your trench mates pick up the mood
Bully beef and biscuits, your Xmas food.
Across no-mans land you hear it ring
And everyone joins you as you sing

"Silent night, Holy night" you all say
Shaking hands with your enemy of the day.
Carols by Flares are sung tonight
Sharing wine and Snapps, as is right
And for a while warriors were at peace
The Christmas mood brought release
But all to soon this mood must finish
And into the mist warriors vanish.

How do you look a hero in the eye
Knowing that you are all going to die
The night before was Christmas Eve
You sang and drank then took your leave
Today you gather, ready in the mud
That will soon be running red with blood.
That "Silent Night" you sang so well
Will be drowned out by the sounds of Hell.

The flares go up, and the whistles blow
And o'er the top, line abreast you go.
The enemy machine guns open fire
And shot and shell and barbed wire
Soon collect you and all your mates
And you all parade at the Pearly Gates.
Satan collects none and storms away
For only Saints and Heroes died today.

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Peter Willowdown

Between the towers of Dawn and Dusk

Between the towers of Dawn and Dusk
I followed the song of a little thrush,
over the hills and through the fringes of forest,
only pausing occasionally to eat cheese
and solid cubes of Grandma's porridge.
Naturally my friendly thrush desisted from flight
whilst I enjoyed these essential repasts,
sampling a portion of each and finding them both excellent.
We also shared the same most excellent sweet crystal stream
then fell asleep (it was a very hot day) and dreamed a little dream.
I dreamt I was on an old-fashioned sailing ship,
the thrush dreamed he was being chased by a cat
who thought that he was a piece of winged catnip.

after we were rested we continued on to the Pillars of the Afternoon
were two bearded ancients were exchanging tunes.
One played sweetly upon a rustic flute,
the other made a dreadful racket upon a homemade fat-gourd lute.
I bowed and bade them a good day but they both merely glared at me,
nor where they the least bit interested in listening to my small friend's song,
in which ignorence they were both regretably wrong
for surely he was a greater artist than they.

At the Pyramid of Antipathetic Angus
we listened to the groaning gnomes arguing
beneath the surface of the Silvermilk River.
Several of them were so hideous they made me shiver
but some looked so funny they made me laugh out loud.
The Bean-Sidhe (Banshee) came along in her long black shroud
but she was in a fairly conversational mood
and declined from shrieking.
Presently we were also joined by Weeping Robert,
who roams the hinterlands of Faerie
with blood leaking from his eyes
(nobody knows exactly why)
and we played a quick rubber of gin rummy.
But then it began to drizzle quite heavily
and all the cards got rather runny.
Robert sheltered under the Bean-Sidhe's cape;
my friend the thrush didn't mind the rain at all
but busied himself eating some of Robert's quite delicious seed-cake
(bartered, apparently, with the Dwarves of Silvermine Bay
for several gallons of his blood, which they use to make blood-pudding).
I got fairly wet but was determined not to avail myself of the available shelter.

At a quarter to four the rain rushed out suddenly through a suddenly opened door
(or a window of opportunity), calling to us that it had an appointment in Tangiers
where, it said, it hadn't rained for seven years.
Once the sun came out again I warmed up pretty quickly, sneezed several times
and had to put on a burst to follow the revitalised thrush.

I kept up with him as far as the Sarcophagus of Meister Faarstein
but lost him in a cloud of butterflies.
Naturally I was somewhat dismayed but the butterflies were very friendly and made me welcome,
brushing me with pollen and asking me if I'd ever been to Holland.
I told them I hadn't but I had been to Cheddar Gorge.
I was surprised at their desire to sample my cheese
but they toldme it was wonderfulfor their antennae and knees.
By the time our impromtu supper was ovwe a thousand stars had come out
and the Lad in the Moon let out his Big Shout!
It was midnight before I finally got back to Grandmother's cottage
(several tired butterflies accompanied me tosample her famous blue cottage cheese,
their antennae twitching, expectant popping noises coming from their collective knees.
Naturally this aroused the curiousity of Grandma's cicadas, who came to investigate
with gifts of honeysuckle cake and elderflower cider.
When we all started singing rather loudly Grandma woke up and called us all
a bunch of unsociable rapscallions but after several mugs of cider
she started chopping scallions to make a cauldron of her famous onion stew.
Don't scowl like that, we did,t drink it all
- I made sure we kept a bowl for you!

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