All The Dragons Are Slain
It’s a small view, a leaded window on sloped roofs heavy with snow, and there’s a lightness of white filling the room. He’s ashen cold, the same as yesterday, winter on winter dipping deeper into blankets. Our poet, he’ll not fight the world today, his walking stick idles against the wall. On a better day, he’d slip it under his arm, and limp into his own weight. Old injuries. War’s attention. This soldier turned pauper and poet.
No poetry or poverty is consolation for devil-claw
hunger and cold, but he is encouraged by words
although his stove has no fuel. Choices – to freeze,
or set flame to his ballads, and torch his rhymes.
He’ll stay in his bed, under a woollen blanket,
a cap on his head, and his books at his side.
Hung above his bed, an umbrella hooked
to the ceiling. It keeps away the debris,
the falling plaster and dust,
drip-on-drip of rain soaking
through the roof. Winter, it
changes the shape of rain.
His knees are bent to
support sheets of paper,
he writes, he counts on
his fingers slow syllables.
Lines scribbled on the wall
from inspired dreams,
notes, marks and words
carved like a memory.
But his dreams lack mystery,
and his dragons are all slain.
Written for Miz Quickly’s Saturday project. The instructions are too lengthy to mention here, but pop over to the Saturday prompt and join in. The image is The Poor Poet is by Carl Spitsweg, 1837. Shared with #APoemADay on Twitter © Misky 2021