2010 Poetry Challenge

National Poetry Month

Peter Willowdown

Summer days of long ago

Summer days of long ago,
where do they go, where do they go?
In a brass jar on Azalbraan's desk
or the jug with a goblin's head
on the very top shelf where the
little purple wretch Nimbfitz
likes to sleep on Wednesdays and Saturdays
after he has been torturing swans
on lost tributaries of the Silvermilk River...

Mellow autumn evenings
when stars fall down from heaven
like favours artlessly dropped
from some great Lady's velvet gown
where do they vanish, oh where do they vanish
so swiftly that even the Moon's great vigilant eye
can not discover their fortune or fate?
Ah! Glimdrune the Imp collects them
in his satchel made of fire-scorched Spanish leather
and pressing a sort of russet coloured latex or milk from them,
uses it to tarnish the golden hair
of beautiful maidens while they sleep
and then, upon a signal from his horrible whistle
made from the eye-teeth of two cyanide-cats,
in creeps Miserly Meg from the Miasmal Hills
to paint little crooked lines about their eyes
with sticks of charcoal prepared from
lightning-blasted sequoia trees,
each jet-black carbon stylus,
although it comes up to her knees,
being no larger than a tiny needle
to the likes of you or me
although of course it does the job
for which it is intended adequetly enough,
pricking tears in slow time
with the turning of the seasons
and with each little wicked lesion
Miserly Meg shrivels up a little more
and becomes yet still more miserly.

Snowy dawn of fine silver light,
lightly brushed on frosted December lawns,
where is that bourne, where is that bourne
whence January comes in through his double-headed door
and despatches dotard December on the silent,
conspiritorial residue of snow
that yet meekly covers the doorstep of the thirty-first
beneath the hanging berries of the blood-red holly
and mute, malignant mistletoe?
Down the drain of dross they are tossed
by inglorious Ralf, the hunchbacked Dwarf of Little Remorse
where all the dirty sludge and slurry of Winter
is used to fuel the cold fires of Hell
and warm the toes of Lucifer
where he sits toasting crumpets on his pitchfork
and calling for his milkmaid Nell
to bring fresh milk for his tea,
piping hot from the udders of the Primordial Cow
as she wanders on the Original Glacier
searching for the first blade of grass
not entirely made of frozen ice and glass.

Summers of long ago, summers of long ago
- better it were if you had not stirred
> from the unlocked lawns and treasure-larder of the Uncreate
but stayed in sleepy stasis dreaming
between her great round cheeses and flagons of still-cider,
mustily cobwebbed and waiting for the final gourmet feast
when Alpha and Omega cancel each other out
and ravenous Fenris is finally released
for his long overdue walkies.
Oh, you would not perhaps have experienced that
brief illusory moment of glory
when you shone for an hour and all the world
bowed down before the beauty of your power
but you might have avoided that odious brass jar
on dour Azalbraan's sorry, mildewed desk at least
and the wretched goblin head that likes to masticate and shred
the brave and noble deeds of men and pretty speechs he has said...

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