On misty morn did I awake
unbeknownst to I, my location
gazing hard to unveil the landscape.
A shadow of mountain blankets my feet
its very silhouette looms to fill my vision;
a rising fear filling my vessel.
A path doth lead where I must traverse,
to discover the intent of my waking here,
the need to know quelling the unease.
Upon my path a creature I met,
body of a snake, but headed as canine;
it barks “to what pleasure may I provide?”.
“Wisdom!, or at least reason for my waking here”
I exclaimed, struggling to repress my anger
in this misty place, to which I have no bearing.
The creature, shaking its dog-like head but said
“In knowing, thy ignorance would grow”
and slithered away, disappearing into the mist.
Befuddled, and none the wiser I set back off,
the growing fear rising as the sun rises, steadily;
the mountain overhead stalking my every step.
Upon my path a lake revealed itself, the source of mists unease,
a flurry of insects skirt along the waters surface,
a beauteous sight, if not for the reality of my predicament.
The path, ever climbing, weaved and curved to avoid,
rocks and trees that mutated the landscape,
the well-trodden ways presence provided both fear and comfort.
“Oh woe!” shout I, “This trial does not suit me!”
“I am but a writer, and adventure does not thrill”
the wilds answer to my cry? The silence of the damned.
“Did I not bring joy to my revered readers?
“was I not a great success? I pontificated
and this circumstance did create much tribulation.
Left to my own hesitation, I fear I’d stay planted
but hark, a howl displaced my priorities
its existence, a reminder of the precariousness of my situation.
Renewed, my drive to discover the why
I set back along this path of uncertainly and animosity,
sloping ever upwards, though the mountain grows every moment.
An ache in knee and spirit doth linger,
a wound born in heart and mind, the brunt taken by the mind,
as though it originated in distant history.
Perseverance is but on vanity I endure,
the pain, continuing relentlessly, must be carried ever onwards
the inkling that a halt would be my very downfall.
The path ceases to ascend and begins to flatten
ahead a fork in road dominates my attention,
a beastly figure stands squarely, and patiently, in my path.
The figure clad in leather, a face of shaggy wolf,
its voice a growl, and amidst a tooth-filled grin, he snarls
“I grant thee a choice, ease to the left, endurance and hardship to the right”
Ever suspicious of the apparent easy choice, I ponder at the obvious trap
the path of ease would mitigate the ache in body and soul, a relief
and satisfied by this, I took the path to the left, with no hesitation.
The path of ease gave a merry vibe, slanted lazily to the left of the mountain
no menace seemed to puncture my mood, as there was no strain in movement
nor fear of future events, and upon this path my journey could be conquered.
As time passed the path remains no burden, my past trauma’s
neither blatantly felt or remembered with any certainty
as the path gently curved around the mountain.
Moment to moment, step to step, the mountain still lurks and dominates
my vision, and though a great distance I have traversed;
the mountain still remains imposing and unchanging.
As the mist behind did clear my vision, eyes widen as
some clarity of my terrain is granted, surveyed that behind a valley with a lake,
a lush verdant green field to the left, and the goal of my journey looming to my right.
Though the distance I have traveled is uncountable, the menacing
presence the craggy mountain remains a constant companion,
one that remains silent, but speaks volumes to my spirit.
Still the path of ease bears no additional hardship,
as the sun has navigated the span of seeing, the moon peaks its
face in the sky, and the horizon becomes a hue of reds and yellows.
A light upon my path alerts me to a cabin ahead, homely and inviting,
a knock thrice upon the door calls forth the occupants,
an refined pig-like creature answers, with top hat, vest and pipe as apparel.
The pig-like creature exclaimed “Weary traveler, come and rest your trotters”
“there’s wine, bread, grapes, why there is enough for a banquet!”
“stay for an age in comfort, for I shall not allow any burden in these four walls”.
And so I rested the night away, in greed, sloth and pleasant company.
The pig-creature encouraged my appetite, and no sign of fear or doubt troubled me,
and I grew in girth and lived in mirth for a while.
Indeed, time passed as countless suns passed overhead,
forgetting purpose, living with the pig-creature and filling myself,
with each passing meal, I mimicked my host ever so more.
One day, in fancy I questioned the pig-creature,
“Kind host, pray tell, how long ago did I arrive?
He laughed, and said “From birth til now you’ve resided here, and evermore shall you”.
At this remark a great panic seems to rise, I inspected myself,
a gut so large my feet obscured, but with a strain and a kick
I stood erect and breathed in heavily to see my feet, alas! they were as of trotters!
The pig-creature still laughing, only escalating my rising panic,
Fie and shallots, I have been caught in such a greedy curse,
with a great effort I left the cabin, at the worried shouts of the pig creature.
Immediately on exit, the overbearing realization of lost purpose overwhelmed,
with the looming presence of the mountain reversing all thoughts of comfort
from the cabin, and the curse of indulgence lifted.
With feet returned from trotter, the path of ease opened up again,
with wariness and uncertainty I trudged up the easing slope
the dangers of comfort and stasis a lesson learned most abruptly.
The journey to the mountain had only just begun.
End Canto 1
Hi guys, thanks for reading this far if you did, i’m working on writing a 10 canto poem, and this is the first installment (this ‘part’ was written on a 20 hour flight from Birmingham to Perth).
Eventually i’ll write up all 10 cantos (so 1000 lines of poetry) and finish off this story, but its going to take some time.
Any feedback about this part so far would be really great, specific or general, it all helps and i’ve never written anything like this before (was slightly inspired from reading Dante’s “Divine comedy”
Thanks very much!