Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NaPo 11 bonus - Snowdrop 6.2: The Oracle

Snowdrop 6.2: The Oracle

From the church the soldier chooses a track
that leads them down, they dip between
strands of briar-cane suturing the cliffs.

"Now most who come don't care to think
of this as real: it scares them, see?
So when the magic comes to them
they panic, scream and run away
before their telling's done and then
the telling's damaged, yes? They spin
and break their necks, or otherwise
go stark mad like our corporal did."

No animals call; the coiling mists
dampen all sounds and dapple outlines
in spackle moonshine, smothering shapes.

"It's dangerous, this oracle;
you have to treat it with respect
and take a mind to learn from what
it sets before your eyes and ears.
Now walk ahead and go to where
the mists are thickest, wound around
the fortune post - step bravely, child:
you'll know when you've discovered it."

At last the path levels to a ridge
of ancient cliff, its crumble smoothed
by egg-round hillocks of hard-edged grasses.

"Don't lie to it: the oracle
will know; it gives no mercy - fibs
will help it rip your mind away,
just like our lad lost his! You'll know
the rhymes to chant the magic, see,
it lays them in your head. Except
your name: that comes from you, and must
be true - for names have power, yes!"

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