(Dedicated to Stephen Crane)
The Mountain under the marble Moon
speaks to that blind assassin
whose cold shards impinge
upon a brave rider’s heart, and asks:
“Why dost thou not strike a flame
from off thy flinty eyes and lend a light
to this lost child that wends through thickets
of devils to reach the gardens of her gods?”
“Fool!” cries the Moon in pale fury, “the devils
are her gods and hence, my stony countenance
notwithstanding, I refrain from giving aid
to those who seek her bitter demise.”
The rider unaware of all but her own desire, puzzled
o’er the Moon’s cold stare and the Mountain heaving
‘neath her horse’s feet as if to urge her retreat,
yet rides on breathing, “Brotherhood for all!”
Now she hears a melody bewitching strong
as near a tomb o’erlaid with dew she spies a stranger
with a grinning mask of Pharaoh’s gold singing,
“Brotherhood for all,” and she hastily stops short.
Unease strikes her restless heart, she wipes her fevered brow
glad for once of the Moon’s restraining sight,
the Mountain’s sudden shadowed dips, and decries
the siren’s call that had led her thus on such false hope.
For that golden mask she knew had enslaved far more
than greed or fame, and hid a braggart’s deceiving face
to lead to doom all those who brotherhood seek yet flinch
to own the One who came as brother to die upon a cross.
The Moon shone brightly now she turned, still breathing,
“Brotherhood to all,” and a Mountain toad among sweet violets
croaked when dawn came glistening o’er the dew as the Sun,
once dark to see its Maker’s pain, now sang a song of life.
This ballad is in honor of Stephen Crane, to whom Shay’s Word Garden List pays homage this week. Crane is best known for his novels, but invested most of his thought and philosophy in his singularly distinctive poetry. Please click on the link to read more of Crane whose overarching influence extends to our day. Shay asks that we choose at least three of the twenty words she’s chosen from his works. I think I managed to use all but two. Click here to join us at the Word Garden.
Image credit: locurachile.com