Thursday, November 5, 2009


Should you be able to negotiate the outer walls of the tower
which have fallen haphazardly where they were pulled down and after
generations are overgrown, resembling the quarry which they
came from,
you would first traverse the outercourt, its paving stones
now split with bramble, thorns,
and then the chapel,
its ecclestiascal character preserved somehow,
though the famous stained glass windows
were shattered by catapaults
and such stones as the invaders --their victory complete--
could throw.
Finally you would come to the Keep,
its spiral stairs ruined, too,
difficult to climb in the dark,
and should you ascend
find the abscence of illumination seemingly final,
though thickening with each step,
compelling you to touch each step,
orienting yourself via the wall.
The stone is cold and cracked,
sometimes damp,
sometimes covered with moss or rough herbs
which you imagine--though it is impossible to perceive--
as albino.
As if it is a well you descend
rather than stairs you climb.
Your problems, moreover, multiply in this ascent
due to the uneven-ness of the steps, some wide and flat
some broken off so that your feeling hand
touches empty space, a drop, before discovering
the narrow margin you might rest upon
in order to continue
a necessity now as
much like a childhood dream
quite forgotten until the event
proves it premonitional
the steps behind have begun to disappear,
quite soundlessly at first,
but proven empirically true by your attempt to back track,
a wafture of cold air
such as is felt from a gorge of unprecedented depth
touching your face,
a pebble falling then
as if to illustrate that is is an empy space
it falls to
by making no sound for
five six seven heartbeats
before it hits the floor.
You have no time to exclaim
as the ledge on which you balance
begins to evaporate
and now your climb is a matter of haste
instinctual self-preservation granting at last
dim sight of a ladder at the parapet
barely nailed together,
a rung wrenched by your hand,
yet your sole means of escape.
Climbing with more agility
than you have shown in years,
you hoist yourself up
and notice the Castle Keep some great distance below,
half-disguised by cloud,
and yourself parallel to some faint star.

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