The Desert Ring

The Desert Ring Cover

Love discovered and then cast aside: There is only the desert left.

The following collection of poems tell a single tale of love and devastation.

The Desert Ring

Part 1: The Wasteland

On the ebon twilight, my soul rises free
Set roaming by the coming of night
Over and back the blasted wasteland

Beyond the tundra is a teeming forest
Inside, my last citadel
Once the core of life
Now armored from further pain
Over and back the blasted wasteland

Beyond the tundra is a living world
Inside, my final stand
Once a life of happiness
Now a crater of sorrow
Over and back the blasted wasteland

My tracks alone path a road to the gate
Footprints going and coming through the ash
Winds cover the tracks of others in the dunes
Lost roads that never found the way
Over and back the blasted wasteland

Stars light the path
Hidden to all eyes save my own
Blood-red halfmoon sets o’er the western mountains
Wind brings the faint sound of merrymaking
Lost beyond the dunes
Over and back the blasted wasteland

Still I quest for a mate, a love, a friend
Over and back the blasted wasteland
Over and back, but never found

Part 2: The Citadel

A shy man occupies the middle ground
The heart of a bard
Lying between the soul of a knight
And the armor of a warrior

His prolific pen slaying mighty monsters
But never rescuing beautiful damsels
Bleeding pain, rage, honor, loneliness
A black heart painting rivers of blood
    burning cities
    wounded knights
    nomadic strangers

But it is a heart blackened by fire
Not by a consummate evil
It took the love and strength of a huntress to find
Hidden away behind strong walls
In a blasted wasteland
That has claimed so many others before

And now she stands atop the wall
The wind blowing her tartan scarf about
While she beholds the hidden oasis

Outside, wild dogs gather
Howling at the gray wall
I am the storm that sweeps them away
The lightning that blinds their eyes
The thunder that brings them fear
For I am the bard’s guardian, Blaze
and I hold the horn
Blown to summon the Hammer
His winds scour the sands clean
Protecting the oasis where the bard sits
And the Huntress that sits with him

Part 3: Forge

She waits

A bed of coals
Warm, red
Lighting up a darkened room
By her merest presence

A bed of coals
Awaiting only a blast of wind
To flash white hot
Like a pool of oil
Lacking only the spark


Burning hot enough to purify steel
    to sunder stone
Holding within her hands Woman’s eternal gift
To both create and destroy
To build empires and shatter worlds
And she is secure in her power

She is the Huntress, daughter of the Moon
She is the Priestess, vessel of the Earth Mother
She is the face that launches a thousand ships
And the prayer that brings them home

She is the Forge, a bed of coals
And I am the wind

Part 4: Only the Frost

Know ye of my pain
Of a heart that awakened one morning
From sleeping long years
Healing over the old wounds

It dawned a new day
Filled with the promise of love, joy, peace

Shattered after but one day
By her words
Brown eyes flat and hard
Lacking only the executioner’s hood

I saw no smile in her eyes
Alas, no hate, nor anger, nor pain
Not the slightest twinkling
Only the frost

I saw her cast away my heart in many dreams
As she rejected me tonight
I watched it anew
A sudden pain, wrenching me
And I am hollow

She did not hold onto the dream
Letting it instead slip away
In her urgency for independence
She drove me away
But it is like turning loose a stallion
He will not return to the place
Where he knew so much pain
I am a nomad, and not unlike the brumby
Horizons beckon

She will not follow
Save to hunt me down
And I cannot be tamed by force

She has not yet mastered the game
Her move was slow and clumsy
Am I more the fool for letting it fall
Or watching it
There was no exultation, by either side
Only the frost
A chill wind out of her eyes
Into my soul
But even a chill wind will fill my sails

Part 5: Sand Castle

I built you a castle with my love
But you would not have it
Tainted, as it was, by my hands
And so the winds came
Burying it ’neath the sands

Perhaps the memories can warm you
In the lonely winter darkness
A picture of two children
Smiling with promise
Faces alone remain

The desert is calm, for now
Sandstorms threaten
Brewing eternally on the horizon
Shifting sands swallow the unwary
A graveyard for fools and kings

Was my love so vile?
Was my touch so loathsome?
No fire lights your eyes
Though I have seen it
Perhaps you are the greatest liar of all

Your anger led you from the citadel I built
Into the burning sands
After you left your hand blazed into my heart
You called the winds
And there is no path back

Part 6: Eyes

The howling winds pass
Yielding finally to silence
A wall of blasting sands reduced to a trickle
Like grains through an hourglass
Emptiness is approaching

…when the sands end…

You open your eyes
What will remain?
Sand castles crumble in the winds
Sand storms can eat mountains
While your eyes are closed

The winds that blind
Bringing the stinging sands
Fill my sails
Opening new horizons
While your eyes are closed

Another night passes
Another chance to hold on
You choose to fail
Is the empty bed a comfort
While your eyes are closed?

Part 7: Symphonies

Black and white blur together
Leaving a myriad swirl of grays
A dappled landscape of fog, or perhaps smoke

We cavort in the fog
Swirling in the mist
Doing the Dance of Faces
Changing masks at will
Strangers in the park

Is it a double life?
The woman comes and goes
Alternating with the child
Innocence fighting a last stand
Hometown slowly fading away
Lost, as all hometowns are eventually
Remembered only in the dust we carry along
And the memories of the child

Who knows when the fog will clear
Or where she might be
As the clock slowly edges towards midnight
Waiting to toll the final note
On what has been an intense, if brief, symphony
The wavering call of trumpets still hangs in the air
Echoing back and forth into nothingness
Slowly fading into the twilight
A final lingering kiss

But before it is suddenly dark, and quiet, and lonely
Perhaps the woman will return
Letting the child fade
Closing a day, a love, a chapter, a symphony
While there is still time to write other verses
Watch other sunsets
Linger on other kisses

Finality lands like a tombstone
Dropped from the sky by the gods that be
Covering the road back
Leaving only the way ahead

Part 8: Fire and Blood

I turn my back on a burning fortress
Feel the heat creep up my spine
Walls fall in noisily
A house of cards

The wind-swept desert lies before me
Dunes and skies
Stars holding no geas
New dreams of new ages
Dawns I never thought to see
But even the night could not conquer the flame

I carry little but memories
Crystals shattered and left behind in the ruins
Only two vials
Ashes to remind me of the flames
Water from the lost oasis

The hammering winds rip through my soul
Exploding briefly to bury the broken citadel
Disappearing back into the depths of my heart
Chaining the daemons to free me
Memories lie in the back of my eyes
Secrets written in an open book

I draw a line in the sand
Encompassing the new dune
Remembering an old life, an old lie

With fire and blood we forge steel
Closing a new link in the chain
Ringing hammerstrokes sing a symphony
Echoes keen a fading note in my heart

Part 9: (Untitled)

Each morning
I look into the mirror
And wonder who I am
Who will I be today
How much of yesterday have I lost forever

Names    faces
Dates    places
A misty, gray blur
Each morning
Something else vanishes

One grain at a time
Time buries a mountain
Or perhaps a tomb
Or a citadel

Part 10: Epoch

An epoch closes
The last notes of a symphony
    echoing into the darkness

The stones mark my road
Pulsing with past visions
    mountains remember the nomad

In the darkness
A candle disappears
    snuffed out by the beast

A star lost in the abyss
The night grows a little colder
    with the passage

Two silhouettes on the ridge
Watching the scene below
    as she falters

Nomads with visions and memories
We see her stumble
    the mountain becomes suddenly a wall

The stars are lost to her
Since she cannot look up
    sky exists only in memory

The falcon clips her own wings
Sacrificing tomorrow for yesterday
    faith for failure

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